By Taran

He stood atop the highest tower, gazing towards dawn. Wind and light greeted him, blowing back his hair and cape, reflecting off his armor. One boot remained firmly planted on the round stone of the tower’s roof, but the other had made a leap to rest upon the battlements. It was a stance of victory, for he had climbed to the top of Ivalice. With nothing between him and the sun, it was a simple matter to look down on those who had not made it.

Although dawn was just breaking, many people below bustled about the capitol. In the distance peasants were hours into their labor , bent over planting seeds of the year’s crops. Closer to the castle clothes were cleaner and plows were replaced by brooms as storekeepers cleaned the street infront of their shops. Strait down armor and swords were worn as guards preformed their duty before the gate and around the walls.

True, some had made it higher than others, but non had reached the top. Thus, he alone was there. Remembering when he too had been out in the fields, he laughed at those still there, those who could not follow him. He laughed just as hard at the city workers and sentries, for they had made just the same headway; they had not progressed at all, simply began life better off.

As he looked down at the people, they looked up to him. He was their king and had power over them, was upheld in their minds. Further, he was their hero and had their trust, was upheld in their hearts. Trust… misplaced trust. Misplaced faith. It seemed the people of Ivalice were always placing their trust in untrustworthy places. King Omdolia, Larg and Goltana, through it all the church, and now in him.

“Sir.” Someone dared pull him back to the matters at hand. The king turned and faced the world, faced his life, faced a young messenger. Suddenly again, he strode towards the reality of the peak. “Your presence…” Knowing what was to be said, the king waved him aside and silent, then started down a stone stairwell.

Halls, unreached by the sun so early in the day, might have chilled him, but his rich garments prevented such. Lining the walls were windows and fine tapestries that blended well with a royal carpet spread over a brick floor. Candles lit the way to a pair of large, oak doors that, at the sight of the king, were opened by two sentries. The entrance revealed a large chamber. Works of art around the room and a long wooden table furnished the room. Seated were several royal ministers and advisors, overly ready to provide counsel to their liege.

The monarch took his place between them and a warmth giving fire. When it was silent but for the crack of the flame, one of the chancellors finally spoke up. “My lord, we have found the weapon, but we still have no speculations as to what could have happened.” The man pulled out an old, small dagger, the blade stained red.

“Well what are the possibilities?” Another rose up. “either it was a murder, an accident, or suici…”

The king slammed his gauntlet onto the table. The man sat and the knife rattled. “No! It was not self-inflicted. My wife was happy. We both were.” But even as he spoke he felt the familiar strain on his heart. He fingered an amulet around his neck, beneath his robes, which she used to wear. No one knew he had it, no one could take it away. It was his memory of her. “On purpose or not, I want the killer found, and dead. Do not bring this up again until such is done.”

The day progressed onward without anything unusual. There was a feast for breakfast, and then more matters for the king to deal with. Another huge meal was held at midday, and a chocobo ride. He commissioned a few warriors to either convert or eliminate a group of Hokuten who objected to their ruler once being of the Black Sheep. Bards and dancers entertained the court during supper and then night began to fall.

As it had been at dawn it was at dusk. He again stood atop the highest tower, gazing towards the sun. Though light was fading, wind still greeted him. Facing the other direction, with the wind blowing the same caused his hair and cape to wrap and flap about him. Again he stood his stance of one foot over the top, but victory had long vanished from his thoughts. With nothing between him and the sun, it was a simple matter to cast himself down and end it all. But he was afraid.

Ever since Ovelia died depression had set in. Nothing scraped at contentment; happiness was beyond hope.

“Excuse me your highness…” The king took one step closer to life and turned to the speaker. He was an elderly man, one of Goltana’s old advisors, and now one of the most loyal, and foolish, of the kings’ servants. “I… it seems that you have been upset lately and I was just wondering…”

“Of course I’m upset.” He snapped back. “My wife was killed! I have a right to be.”

“Yes sir, and pardon me for brining that here, but I was referring to something else.”

“And what exactly is that?”

“I was hoping you could tell me, sir.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t.”

“If you don’t mind me saying, sir, the people hold you in high esteem. If there is any desire you wish fulfilled, or anything to please you, you could have it.”

“I wish it were that simple.” And that seemed to bring an end to it. The sun had completed its setting and night filled the sky. The only light upon them was the pale moon. Soon stars would join, but for now, it was the sole beacon against the dark.

“When was the last time sir, that you attended Mass?”

“Are you questioning my faith?”

“No my liege! All know you are a devout believer of God and St. Ajora, but… I was just thinking that if you confessed a sin or two… it might make things easier on you.”

Believe in God, yes. But Ajora, ha. And yet despite darkness behind the Glabados’ shadow of light… some dwell solely in that shadow. Perhaps it would be best. “Come, let us make haste. It is to be a long night.”


A golden boot sank into lush satin carpeting that led the way up towards the altar. On either side of the aisle were rows of strong oak pews that generally sat hordes of people coming to hear the day’s sermon, though not at this late hour. A white glow shone through the stained glass windows of the cathedral, but pair of gold chandeliers accompanied the moon’s eerie light, majestically casting their own about the sanctuary, creating a more welcoming atmosphere.

Up at the front of the cathedral, a priest sat in his white robes. He sipped a cup of cold water in attempts to alert himself. He had already turned in for the night when the servants came to fetch him. He watched calmly, distantly, as the king marched towards him. “My liege, what bring you here at this time of night?”

“I need to make a confession, Father.”

“Very well, my son.”

“And you must promise me that nothing I tell you will leave here tonight.”

“Of course. Anything you say is strictly between ourselves and God.”

“There are some thing I’m not sure I want God to know…”

“Perhaps once we begin, the burden on your soul will grow lighter. I’m sure that there is no sin that He would not pardon you for.”

“I pray that you are right. I must begin if we’re to leave her before dawn… It has been a long time since my last confessional, Father. And I must admit that during those times I had no intent of being forgiven. I merely went though the motions in order to… well, I am getting ahead of myself. Several years ago I had a sudden outburst of anger. Actually, it wasn’t sudden at all. At the beginning of the year, I and other cadets from Gariland set out with the Hokuten to…”

He was cut off by the curious priest. “I thought you were of the Nanten?”

“Please Father, if you interrupt me every time I say something controversial to your thoughts, to your beliefs, your voice will grow horse from overuse. So if you would let me continue…

“You see, I was not born a knight. I was a wretched little peasant boy, granted permission into the Academy by the whim of Balbanes Boulve, merely for the purpose of serving his son. And then we set out with the Hokuten to route the Death Corps. Which is when we met up with Algus. That bastard. Forgive me. He was so haughty because of his ‘rank.’ Continually he put me down just because of my birth. That’s when I decided that I would show him. I would show him, and Zalbanes, Ramza… I’d show everyone what this ‘peasant’ was capable of.”

“This truly is a great tale. But do not think yourself in the wrong simply because of your birth. Ajora does not hold the same prejudices as this Algus fellow. And surely your ability come to where you are now is nothing less than proof of God’s great blessing upon you.”

“I will not argue that, Father. I have no doubt that… someone has been looking over me all these years. It is not the ends that I am sorry for, but my means are what I present before you now. Up to this very day I hate Algus with all my soul. Not for what he said to me, but for what he did next. We had our final confrontation with the Death Corps at Ft. Zeakdon… That’s where… that is where Algus killed my sister… In cold blood… she was just a hostage, and he killed her…” The priest put his hand upon the king’s shoulder. “That’s when I lost it. In an instant I was on him and had stabbed the boy to death, his blood everywhere, on my hands…”

“I understand my son. There is not a man amongst us who would have done anything different.”

“This is not the sin I am here for… This is merely the beginning...

“After the battle I went to kneel by my sister’s body. Then there was an explosion. After that, I’m not exactly sure what happened. I saw here, Teta. She was shielding me from some brilliant light. But slowly it was consuming her. She seemed not to mind. In fact, she seemed absolutely delighted. I tried to follow her, but she screamed and pushed me away. ‘No! Delita! Stay back! Judgement… won’t be kind to you.’ She was sobbing now, muttering something but I couldn’t tell what. Finally I realized that it was a spell. A dark void surrounded me. It was cold, not just to my naked skin, but inside as well.

“I was reaching out for Teta. A glove grabbed my outstretched hand. Someone pulled me out of the snow. My vision was blurred, thus their identity was unknown to me. They wrapped a cloak around me and put me on a chocobo. Soon afterward I passed out again.

“The next thing I knew, I was in Murond. The church was put me through rigorous conditioning in theology and as a Holy Knight. I yielded to their training. They thought that I was willing and eager to absorb all that they were offering me, because they had saved my life. And I let them think that. But secretly I did not feel I owed them anything. During my year at Murond I always wished that they had let me die, had let me go with Teta. But for some reason she had pushed me away, had forced me back to life. So for whatever reason I was determined to use my second chance…

“So I was brought up as a Shrine Knight and became one of the few men who perhaps knew the truth about Glabados… about all of Ivalice. They used me as a pawn, but it was all according to my own design. They ordered me to kidnap Ovelia. And so I did. I never saved her from anything, I was the very one who took her in the first place, then framed one of Goltana’s advisors and had him killed. I killed an innocent man… Many innocent men. They had me start the Lion Wars that the church could take power… but I betrayed the very ones that gave me power. I told Ramza everything knowing full well what a fool he was: that he would march to his death in order to stop them. And thus they would kill each other off. Then I merely ended the war that I had started.

“I plunged the country into civil war: I had innocent men killed. I murdered Goltanna with my own hands. I marched T.G. Cid and my best friend off to die… My soul carries a heavy burden, Father. My hands are stained with blood, with each death I killed the own feeling inside my heart. After the armies of men I slaughtered, my heart has long lost any trace of emotion. The guilt is eating me from the inside out. My entire life is a fraud, built on the death and murder of so many. But worse than all of that… even after I had become kind, even after everything was over… I killed my wife… I… killed Ovelia.” Delita’s head fell into his hands and caught his sobs as they fell in increasing numbers.

The priest was ghostly white, stunned almost still, not knowing what to do. With his hand over his king, he bowed in prayer. “Oh God, forgive us sinful children.” And then something came upon the priest. Perhaps it was divine intervention, a revelation. His eyes brightened and were filled with hope as he spoke to his liege. “Perhaps… perhaps it is all for a purpose. Perhaps now, after all that has been done, not condoning any of it, but after all of this, there is finally hope for change… My king, do you not see? The fact that you are hear tonight, the fact that you have come in search of forgiveness, surely this shows that you have changed. I know that God Almighty would forgive all if you only seek to change your ways. Perhaps you can use all that you know, all that you have done to truly change this world. There is so much potential. Perhaps you can make your life truly worth something, perhaps this was the breaking point for your soul, that would bring you to change things to the way that Teta would have wanted them to be…”

Delita fingered Ovelia’s necklace. “Perhaps you are right Father… If I have changed, then indeed I may be able to change this world, maybe even make atonement for the sins I have committed…” With this his lips curled in a mischievous smile and he began to laugh heartedly. “There is only one problem, Father.”

“What is that, my son?”

“You see, if there is anything you should have seen from my story… it is that I have not changed.” With that he rose to his feet and snapped his fingers. An arrow flew from across the chamber and struck deep into the priest’s chest. Blood began to seep out onto his once white cloak, staining it a deep red.

A rogue archer ran up to the altar. “Heh, first time I ever killed a holy man. And don’t worry, my lips are sealed. After tonight I’ll just disappear. Now, about my payment…” Delita sighed, then reached his hand around his neck and pulled off Ovelia’s necklace. He tossed it to the rogue who put it in a pouch around his belt. “Thanks, but that’s not what we agreed upon. I want my dagger back, it was new. And I want my money.” Without a word Delita began a slow walk away from the altar. “Hey! Come back here! I want my money!”

Delita’s hand went to the hilt of his blade. “The doom of a planet… Crush Punch!” In an instant the man lay dead. Delita slowly sheathed his sword and turned to leave the cathedral. He would summon the guards and then turn in to his sleeping chamber. Indeed, confession is good for the soul… at least for a day.

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