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Brothers - basched

A new chapter of my True Feelings story, entitled Brothers. More on flashbacks to Noah and Basch's past rather than the current events. Please be aware that this chapter does have strong adult content.




Ivalice - Year 707

There were screams. Ear piercing and soul destroying screams.

So many people were dying or had died, bleeding on streets, lost under the rubble of the earth and broken buildings.

In Archades, there was no longer a separation from the old city to the new. Old grudges escalated and so too did the murders, lynching and suicides. Left behind to try and quell the madness, Judge Meinir had no easy task. The guards and other judges were slipping, their numbers growing less and less as they too succumbed to the sweeping insanity. Meinir could do nothing except witness the death toll go up, for the continual series of earthquakes which wrecked this majestic city were violent and relentless. As the hours (or days?) went by, more orphaned children were carried and aided into the palace; Meinir wished that there was something that could be done to ease their terrors. The Judge also hoped that during the search through the city, Lord Larsa would be found and that his return would bring some hope to the people.

In Jahara, the fiends had something new to contend with. The chaos of Ivalice was affecting those deeply connected to it. The Garif felt Ivalice’s pain, as its lands were ripped apart, they heard its screams and it all became theirs. The once peaceful tribe were now fighting amongst each other, inflicting such agonies on their kin, for a vain hope of feeling something else, anything but the dying of Ivalice. Supinleau saw the Soght running blood and the war cries in his ears were now only howls of agony and despair. As he tasted the flesh and blood in his mouth, the lust for end became overpowering, could he not just end his own life to stop this hurt? From the edge of their village, he saw some of the youth running off towards Ozmone and it angered him even more. They would all die here, together and he would make sure that would happen.

Bhujerba was no more, Balfonheim and the coastal towns and cities rested beneath the waters of the sea. Mt Bur Omisace crumbled and fell, the avalanche of snow swept over the Feywood and the dead remains of Golomore, nothing survived in its wake. With the holy shrine of the Kilitas destroyed, so was the hope of the people.

Jote watched it all from a distance. The silence was forever in her head and as she saw the last remains of the mountain cover her dead home, she wept. She fell to her knees and she howled with such loss that she wished no more of her life. The other Viera around her did the same, they grieved and ached for the loss of Golomore and if anyone had happened upon them in Ozmone; the sight of those creatures, once mythical and graceful, would have made them despair also. The goddess had devoured and killed the Viera’s home, their purpose for living.

Even in Rozzaria, the Goddess’ wrath devoured all. The sparkling glass domes and spires of the capital which had once been one of the most beautiful sights in Ivalice were burning, melting. The forests that grew wild around the enclosed city were ablaze and even in the remote parts of Rozzaria, there was no escaping the hellish flames that dowsed the land. Al-Cid had had no idea how the fire started, but he felt so helpless and agonized staring out over his beloved home, watching it burn. Though the night never ended, he could not stand the light, the bright angry reds, oranges and yellows that spread for miles, killing, destroying his beloved home. His thoughts turned to Ashelia…to Dalmasca and he hoped that somewhere, she was safe, that she and her comrades would be finding a way to stop this, but in his heart he knew that the end of days had finally come. They were all going to die.

Rabanastre, Dalmasca…the deserts that surrounded the tormented city were screaming. Storms more powerful than nature roared on for miles, destroying the villages, destroying everything except for the city. The people did those themselves. They couldn’t cope without the sun; they couldn’t bear the terror that was invading their minds. Some didn’t know what was causing it, but a few of the Dalmascans struggled and fought against going insane, they called out for their Queen, they pleaded for her help to put an end to this nightmare, to bring back the sun. However there was only one person in Rabanastre who cared not for the black. His heart was dying; all that was once good inside him was being drained, killed off by a searing and vicious jealousy. Ardal Danver left the needs of the populace to the remaining Knights and soldiers to deal with, his only focus on his betrothed. He hated, he really hated that she was out there, with him. His only goal now was to gain the Queen back, to take his place by her side as she promised and to have that Judge…the impostor suffer. If Danver had his way, Basch Fon Ronsenberg would suffer greatly.


Archades Year -701


He didn’t hear her. Deep angry grunts against her shoulder heaved as he pounded his hips against her, unfeeling and uncaring that the deeper he penetrated her the more it hurt. The love was gone, the tenderness and feeling from when they had first bedded was absent and replaced by a brutal ferocity that could have ripped her apart. His hands clawed at her flesh, tugging at her legs to allow his anger to pierce deeper and deeper. His eyes never looked at her with passion or love; he never looked at her at all. Instead his lids remained shut; his face screwed up with such temper and hate that Drace thought that a stranger was fucking her, not the man she cared for, gently making love to her.

“Get off me!” she screamed, her hands griping hold of his short blonde hair and jerking his head back. “Get the hell of me!!”

“I’m not finished….” he snarled, jerking a succession of quick powerful thrusts with his groin. She gasped, she screamed, such cries only increasing his powerful painful insertions, to which she replied with a cracking punch to his sweating face.

Gabranth fell back, tumbling off the edge of the bed and hitting the back of his head against the marble table close by. Blood dripped down from his nose and a hazed blur glazed over his eyes, so he didn’t see the next punch coming either. Along with the pain in his nose, his jaw ached from Drace’s strike and his groin throbbed with protest for being unable to release.

“What the fuck, Gabranth?!” Drace scrambled to her feet, pulling the silk bed sheets around her shaking naked body. “What the hell were you thinking?!”

“Drace?” Noah groaned, one hand delicately touching at his bleeding nose, the other covering his aching erection. “What…what happened?”

“What happened?! You have the audacity to ask me what happened?!” The naked woman scooped up one of the many pillows from the bed and threw it at Noah with seething fury. “The first night in a long time, we finally spend a romantic evening together! We start to make love and then you just go crazy! It hurt, Gabranth! You never ever did anything like that before! What is your damned problem?!”

“I…I hurt you?” He choked, the blood spattering from his lips onto his bare arms and legs. He looked up at Drace and his blue eyes quivered with momentary anguish, before he gave the eventual, but expected, stoic emotionless glare she had come to know so well. “I would never…intend to hurt you, Drace…if I got carried away…”

“Carried away?! You shit!!” Drace screamed in frustration before collapsing in a heap on the bed. She curled up, her hands pressing against her abdomen.

Neither of them said anything for a while, she couldn’t even look at him. She heard Noah struggle to his feet and stagger to the bathroom, where there was a clutter as he tended to his bloody nose. When Noah strolled back in, he was still dazed, he was still wincing at the lack of release that swelled up inside of him, but he sat down on a small sofa, not caring about his sorry state and he rested his face gently in his palms.

“You’ve changed, Gabranth.” Drace looked up and down at his naked form, shuddering at the remembrance of his painful jolts inside her. “Ever since you were made head of the ninth order, I’ve seen you behave in ways that scare me. I don’t scare easily, but when someone I care about falters, when an act of love turns to torture, I do.”

“I have had things on my mind.” He growled, his voice sounding eerily cold and unfeeling.

“Is that all you have to say?” Drace sat up, scowling. “You do those…..things to me and all you say is that you’ve had things on your mind?! What has Vayne got you working on that’s broken you up so much?”

“Nothing.” He lied. “And it has nothing to do with Vayne.”

“I don’t believe you! He is making you do his dirty dishonourable work and it’s turning you into a cold unfeeling monster, just like him.”

Noah’s head jerked up, his handsome bloodied face frowning with ferocity. His teeth ground together.

“Speak like that again about his lordship and you will find…”

“You’re threatening me now?!” Drace bolted up from the bed and flung the sheets away before scavenging for her clothes. Picking up several pieces that had once been a very revealing dress, Drace clutched at them in her hands, resisting the urge to rip them up in her anger. She paced the room several times, caring not that her fellow judge was ogling her nakedness. “You practically assault me and you act as if I mean nothing to you!”

“Drace, you do mean a lot to me.” There was a small trace of sincerity in his voice; she thought she even saw remorse in the cold ice blue eyes. Was there something inside that still loved her? It was difficult to tell, he hid his feelings too well these days. In fact he hardly expressed any at all.

“I mean a lot? You do have a funny way of showing it. Talk to me, Gabranth! Make me understand! Tell me what on Ivalice possessed you to defile me like you did, if I am so damned important to you!”

“I cannot explain it.” Noah gruffly replied, turning to the dresser and mirror to check his nose, only to have his head turned back round by a forceful grip in his hair.

“That’s not good enough!” She spat, releasing his head with an angry shove. “I deserve an explanation for your sordidness! I felt disgusted! How could you do this to me?!”

“I didn’t mean it, Drace…I’m sorry.”

“Such cold words.” She placed her arms across her chest. “Tell me…when did you become such a heartless creature? Was it when you came back from Dalmasca? Did that mission Vayne send you on have anything to do with it?”

“Don’t ask me any more questions!” Noah rose to his feet, stormed straight up against her and grabbed hold of her arms. “It is none of your concern!”

“You are my concern!” Drace tried to shrug him off but his hold was so tight their bodies stumbled together. “You used to be so tender, Gabranth. You used to be gentle and loving, you used to smile more. I remember you said that if anyone hurt me, the way you just did, you would kill them. But what can you do, when you’re already dead?”

“I had died a long time ago….”

The sudden change in him surprised her. His head bowed, resting against her forehead and as he closed his eyes, she thought she saw tears swelling up within. A couple of fingers stroked at her cheek, the way they used to when he showed affection; it rested under chin whilst his thumb lightly brushed against her lips.

“Please…tell me what has happened to you.” she said, her own hands trembling as they snaked over his body. “Why have you pushed me away and treated me with contempt?”

“Because...” he couldn‘t say the words, instead Gabranth lowered his face and planted a kiss against her jaw. It was a kiss that was meant to express his love for her but all he could manage was a rough and brief smattering against her chin. He heard her hiss with disapproval and it angered him, Noah hated her reaction and so he kissed her again. Slowly, he dragged his lips away from her jaw and took the kisses all the way down her neck, trying to be sensual and tender but Drace was so stiff, clearly discomforted by his ministrations.

Noah wanted to feel something apart from the anger and resentment he was experiencing. He needed Drace to evoke other emotions, ones that he had always associated with her; ones that made him feel complete, whole. His body was aching once more to be within her, it was a crazed lust, a raging desire to rid himself of the red hazing in his mind; so he caressed his mouth inch by inch downward to the shallow hollow between her breasts. He lingered there panting against her skin, breathing in the floral scent of her perfume. He groaned.

The tip of his tongue traced the outlines of her breast, tasting the beads of sweat that trickled down her curves before his lips covered over it; kissing it and biting hard whilst a clawed hand gripped the other. It seemed she was allowing him to do this; Drace herself was lost in the euphoria of the moment, gasping and staggering back into the wall, both of them impacting hard together.

But to Noah, even those sensations weren‘t enough to calm the turmoil and ache inside of him.

He unlatched his wanting hands from her chest, nail marks etched behind on her skin and he scraped his fingers down across her belly and her abdomen before he touched lightly at the warm moistness between her legs. His soft strokes against her caught all the right spots to make her body quiver with pleasure, but this wasn’t what she wanted. Not like this.



The sound of metal being sheathed registered immediately in his ears, but before he could react he felt the sharp cold tip of it against his side.

“If you don’t get away from me right now, I shall stick this blade right through you.”

Noah slowly moved back, detaching himself from her. The long curved sword in her hand never faltered, it stayed positioned over his stomach and all it would take would be a single push and the blade would skewer him easily.

“You would be so quick to kill me, love?” he muttered, his fingers reaching out to touch her long silver blond hair. The sword nicked a sizeable scratch at his side, from which the pain sent him reeling backwards and he bent over instinctively to defend himself. Immediately he felt the need to retaliate, a growl bellowed up but when his eyes saw her contempt, he stumbled to a halt.

“Love?” Drace jabbed the sword again, keeping him at a distance. “Do you even know what that means now, love? If you were anyone else, I would kill you and be perfectly righteous in doing so. However, I will give you one last chance. The group you lead to Dalmasca…you found something important there and I see how greatly it has…angered you. Talk to me.”

Noah growled again, his head bowing to hide his true anger.

“Don’t go there….I’m warning you.”

“Warning? Me? I’m the one with the sword….love.”

“Only because I allow it.” Noah lashed out, his bare hand grasping hold of the sharpened blade. His palm was sliced, his blood dripped along its sleek edge and to floor, before he ripped the sword from her hand. “Drace…don’t ask of Dalmasca again and I would strongly recommend that you keep your grievances about Vayne quiet. I will not be able to keep you safe.”

“From him or yourself?”

“From me? I fear that is too late.” His bloody hand rose up to tenderly touch at her cheek, but the defiant anger in her eyes made him let go straight away. “I’ve hurt you, but that is nothing to what Vayne will do for your words of disloyalty. Take heed….my love.”

“I am a Judge Magistrate of Archadia.” Drace sneered. “I have sworn to uphold the law of this country; I have sworn allegiance to the Emperor and taken an oath to protect Lord Larsa. If Vayne is plotting something….if he is breaking the laws of this country and I find proof, I will not sit idly by.”

“You risk your life with those words, Drace.”

“I risk my life every moment I spend with you. You’re not the same man I met all those years ago, Gabranth…you have lost all that I fell in love with.”

“Really?” The smile was not pleasant, nor was the way he ground his arousal against her.

“Get dressed and get out!” Drace shoved him away with all her strength and grabbed up the bed sheets to wrap around her body. “Don’t try and come back unless you’re ready to damned well apologise!!”

Her voice softened of all of sudden and the anger that had been in her eyes turned to the compassionate look of worry and concern.

“When you are ready to let me in and share what is troubling you, I will be here.”

“Do you really think I need you that much?” Gabranth hissed, gathering up his clothes from where they had been thrown upon the floor. As he dressed, he never took his angered scowl off of her.

Drace didn’t need to say it, she knew what he needed but right now there was no way she could help him because he wasn’t going to ask for it.

“Go, Gabranth. Before I do something to you that we shall both regret.”

She already regretted so much. As she watched him dress, she wished that he was still that young man she met five years ago or that he would find the strength and courage to tell her what was ailing him. But she knew, at least a little, about the Judge Magister Gabranth. He too had sworn an oath to Archadia and its ruling family and that included Vayne Solidor. It was not a comforting prospect.

“I am very sorry, Drace.” Noah stood gazing at the door, now fully clothed in his crumpled black suit. “If you wish to report me for what I did…..”

“You know what I wish.”

“I cannot oblige you in that…even though I…”

“Please…just get out of my sight.”

“As you wish.”

The door creaked open and a draft of chilling air from the corridor outside wafted in. There was no sound of any passer-bys walking past, so he gave her one last fleeting look and when she saw the anguish upon his face, she knew immediately that he regretted what he had done and how he had treated her. There was great confliction displayed on his tired features, confliction that she hoped would be resolved with the right decision.

The door closed quietly behind him allowing her to sink back down onto the bed. She wrapped around her the silk sheets which were still heady with his smell and his sweat and for the first time in a long while, Drace found herself praying to the gods. Hoping they could hear.

Unfortunately for her, someone heard.


Landis: Year 685


“BASCH! Basch!”

Noah couldn’t hear himself scream, his throat was dry and sore from the smoke; his eyes stung so much the tears were constantly hazing his vision.

The fields were ablaze, fire was sweeping over the valleys and the capital city was surrounded by swarms of sinister airships that soared over head. The Archadian troops had taken the capital in less than a couple of hours but it was far from clean.

Even from his family home in the Talfryn province, he had heard the screams, wails and the whines of weapons and the black sky had lit up with flares. But even out here, they weren’t safe.

His father and mother had packed only little essentials they needed and ushered both Noah and Basch out as quickly as they could. It had all been chaotic as his parents lead their neighbours and the rest of Talfryn community up through their estate, towards the distant caves on the very edge of the fields. Everyone was panicking, they were afraid but none of it mattered. The troops still caught up with them.


He couldn’t see him, the smoke and fire was too dense and he was beginning to find it difficult to breathe. In his search for his brother, Noah had gotten disorientated and by now the Ashelia fields were indistinguishable as they burnt and died all around him. He coughed and staggered, almost falling to the hot scorching ground, but he forced himself to carry on running. He couldn’t stay here long…he had to get away from the fields and towards the cliffs before the smoke killed him or the soldiers caught up with them.

The agony was wearing him down, the grief inside was strong and crippling with every step he took; his home was destroyed, his father….mother….friends and neighbours….killed. He had nothing left, except his brother. Basch was his only hope and his only reason for continuing on. They had split up to confuse the soldiers running after them, but now all he could think about was his twin. He couldn’t lose him.

“BASCH?! Mrawd!”


Noah spun round, hearing Basch’s voice made his heart soar, but he still couldn’t see him. The smoke was getting thicker and the tears that streamed down his face was not just because of the stinging agony of the fumes. Basch was alive.

When he felt his hand grab at his shoulder, Noah could do nothing to hold back the crushing hug he gave Basch. He wasn’t at all surprised that Basch returned the gesture, squeezing him just as hard as he had done. It was a brief embrace and for a little moment they lightly touched their foreheads together.

“I thought I had lost you, brother.” said Basch, patting the back of Noah’s head.

“We’re still here….we still have each other.” Noah slipped from his grasp and they locked hands together with a triumphant slap.

“We must make for the cliffs, they can’t be that far behind us now.”

Noah nodded in agreement and allowed Basch to lead the way. Thankfully, they didn’t have far to run to get away from the swirling smoke. They came to a sectioned off part of their father’s land, one that separated the Ashelia fields and the Gyshal plots for the Chocobos. The heat from the fires were very intense, but the sudden change in direction of the wind took the smoke away from them.

They both turned round and from where they stood they could see for miles. Talfryn was scorched; the rolling plains of once beautiful Ashelia blooms reduced to ashes and the homes and estates were now just blackened rubble. The boys found themselves almost breaking down once again, for their parent’s bodies….their friend’s corpses were still down in amongst the fires.

“Let’s go.” said Basch. “There’s nothing more we can do here.”

“The Empire will pay for this, mrawd.” Noah growled. “They will fucking pay!”

“There is nothing we can do, Noah! Except flee, or lest we become like mother and father!”

“Basch! They’ve killed our parents, they’ve killed so many of our people, and surely you want as I! Revenge!”

“I do! I want to make them suffer…but we can’t not like this!”

Noah knew that Basch was right, so they decided to head onwards towards the cliffs, where they could rest and regain their strength. However this time they were not so fortunate.


The six armour clad Archadian soldiers closed in around them, the tips of their swords poking at their bare arms. The boys stiffened their bodies, their hands reached for their swords, twitching as they desperately wanted to fight back. Hatred was now on their youthful soot covered faces, seething spiteful hatred.

“Now, now boys…..calm down.” The highest ranking soldier lifted off his helm and stepped forward. He signalled for the others to take away the boy’s swords which they obliged by doing so. “We’re not going to kill you.”

“Like to see you try!” Noah went to hit the man, but he only became more infuriated as another solider dragged him back. Basch lunged at the soldier who had dared to touch his brother, but both of the twins were given sharp jolts with flat sides from one of the Archadian’s weapons. They collapsed down to their knees.

“Archadian scum!” Basch coughed, spitting saliva on the boots of the officer in front of him.

“We’ll kill you all!!” Noah responded, not noticing his brother’s brief look of fear.

The Archadian officer laughed, amused immensely by the children‘s words and actions

“Such spirit! We could do with such zeal in our own ranks!”

“Go stick your head up a Saurian’s arse!” Basch sneered. “You’ve invaded our country, killed our people…we will NEVER join with you!”

“Landis already has. Your leaders have agreed to our lord Gramis’ terms and as of now, your country is a part of the Empire. It is such a shame they resisted…such loss of life is regrettable.”

“You….murderers!” Noah screamed as he struggled to get back to his feet, yet he was forced back down, his knees slipping out from underneath and he fell flat onto the scorching dirt. Basch fumbled against his brother to drag him back up, Basch’s arms holding him close. He also felt the anger in Basch’s grip. He wanted to fight. So did Noah.

“They were given the choice to serve the Empire. To be citizens of Archadia.” The officer knelt down to the brothers and sighed. “When they declined, there really wasn’t anything else we could do. Such extreme measures were necessary…but you boys, you can do the right thing. Come with us…pledge your oath to the Empire.”

If the soldier and his men hadn’t been so confident in their victory, if they had remained vigilant in observing the twin boys, then they would have seen the subtle communication between the two of them. Basch and Noah didn’t need to say anything; a quick glance spoke louder than any words. Just one look between them and they knew what they were going to do, everything was all planed. They acted instantly

Basch’s leg lashed out, kicking the shin of the soldier behind him. There was a cracking of bone and a scream, which Noah took as the signal to spin round, coming out of his brother’s hold. He rolled and flipped up onto his feet, sweeping up the dropped sword from the ground. The sword was a long blade and the sharpness of it cut at his palms, so he flipped it round and held it by the handle. As Noah swept it up in a rounding arch, he felt it impact with another weapon. The force of the impact snapped Noah’s sword in two, but he wasn’t idle; still holding on to one by the handle, he clutched at the other broken piece and used it as if it were a second weapon. He was frighteningly efficient and quick with using them.

What happened next, happened in a blur.

Noah was facing one of the Archadian soldiers, who was still confused by the broken sword. Noah crossed his hands one over the other, the two horizontal pieces of metal following through and slicing the armour of the bewildered man. The Archadian fell back to the ground and his comrades rushed into help. Instead, they now faced two very angry and capable fifteen year old boys; the deadly weapons were spinning and dancing in their hands.

Basch and Noah worked as one, their lunges and parries as identical as their appearances. Fully trained and experienced soldiers could barely keep up with the fury of the brothers, who despite their already towering height could duck and weave beneath their attacks. However, Basch never noticed the leader pulling from his belt a gun. He never saw the man aim towards his back, but he did hear his brother cry his name out in fear.


He spun round, seeing the barrel pointed in his direction and there was no where to avoid his impending death. Yet it came not for him, but for his brother.

There was a bellowing yell and then next thing Basch saw was the sword skewering through the armour of the solider and blood spewing from the exit wound. A soft gasp sounded before a heavy metallic thud and Basch had to choke back and swallow the sickening anguish at the sight of his brother standing over the body. Noah was covered with the man’s blood and as he stared down at the sword sticking out from the corpse, Basch noted the sparkle and life had gone from his eyes.


“Noah!” Basch felt physically sick, his legs began to wobble and his eyes stung as the smoke from the mass of fires began to once more swirl around them. “Noah! What have you done?!”

The words barely came out of his mouth, Basch’s sword dropped from his shaking fingers and as Noah wrenched the second blade from the body, Basch watched as his brother, crazed and fuelled on by his first kill, continued to do battle with the five remaining soldiers.

It wasn’t a vicious fiend Noah had killed, it was a Hume being. The man had played a part in the slaughter of the Landisian people and to Basch he deserved to die but Basch couldn’t fathom taking a life himself. Their father had taught them both to fight; to defend themselves but Biran had specifically taught them how to incapacitate rather than kill other Humes and the boys had always managed this.

“There may come a day when regrettably you may have to take a life. I only hope that when it happens, there was no other option and that your heart holds no malice.”

Seeing his brother extinguish the man’s life with not even the slightest hint of remorse was frightening. There was hatred and malice in his twin as he fought. He heard the fury in Noah’s roars and grunts as he battled, his hatred giving him the drive to endure against the many opponents. He heard Noah’s seething fury as his cussing words screamed with each strike of the swords; he saw the blurring twists, lunges and jumps and the killing blows, he saw everything and Basch could not move.

“Mrawd! Help me! BASCH!”

He couldn’t move. He just stared at his brother as Noah despatched another soldier with two malicious swipes across the man’s exposed face and neck. The arterial spray added to the blood that now dowsed the young boy’s face yet it didn’t perturb Noah one bit. Nor was he disturbed when the soldier coughed and vomited more blood, spewing it up, gurgling as his hands clutched at his open neck. Noah just stood there watching the man fall dead to the floor to join his comrades, the emotion having vanished from his youthful face and replaced by a cold horrible stoicism that made Basch fall back to the floor again.

As he buried his face in his hands, holding in his breath to prevent the inevitable sobs from releasing, Basch prayed to the gods. Why had they allowed this to happen? Their parents were shot for not conforming, all were shot for not accepting this conquering army and the beautiful landscapes were burnt down to ashes. In the air, flying with flames and smoke, black charred petals floated about them; once, from as far as the eye could see, there had been thousands, millions of colourful blooms filling up the sky, but not any more. The Ashelia were dead, Landis was dead. Why did they let this happen?


The clicking loading of a gun wrenched Basch’s head up and he saw the last remaining Archadian soldier with a gun pressed against his forehead and Noah was holding it, his finger itching to pull on the trigger.

“Noah! Put the gun down!” Basch scrambled back to his feet, unsteady as he wobbled over to Noah. He rested his hand on his brother’s shoulder, but Noah only shrugged him off.

“This man…this man is responsible for the death of our land…he has killed everything and everyone we have ever loved…he has killed me….why should I not return the favour?”

“Because we’re not killers, Noah!” Basch stood by his side and gently pulled at his arm to move the gun away from the man’s head. The solider wasn’t even scared, instead a disturbing defiant and willing snarl creased across his face. “We’re not like them!”

“It’s too late for him, kid!” The soldier blurted out angry words he should have kept to himself. “He’s taken a life, he’s already is one of us! So how did it feel little boy? Was it righteous? Did it soothe just a little bit of that anger in you…did it help at all?!”

“Shut up!” Basch snapped at the man, socking a fist to his face. “Brother…please…just put the gun down and let us get away from here.”

“Basch! He doesn’t deserve to live!” Although Noah’s face showed no emotion, Basch saw the confliction behind his eyes. He knew that he was feeling sick at killing, because Basch felt the same. They were twins; they were bonded by a lot more than just the same looks, for when one was in pain, so was the other. “We have nothing left. Our people need retribution and we’re the only ones who can do it! It’s not murder! It’s justice, brother!”

“You may think that….but you don’t believe it. You’re angry, I am too…but we can’t do this! It’s not right!”

DON’T TELL ME IT ISN’T! They ALL deserve to die!”

“No! They don’t! ”

Noah just snapped. The gun dropped away from the soldier’s head and Noah’s clenched fist flayed round and connected with Basch’s face. Basch fell to the floor once again, but he wasn’t able to get up as Noah‘s weight came crashing down upon him. His knees pinned down Basch’s arms and angry fists grabbed at his long tattered hair. The wind howled around them, the air choked with black fumes and swirls of dead petals and as the deadly flames got closer and closer, the fighting brothers didn’t register it.

“They’re dead! They’re dead, Basch! Gone!!!” Noah shoved Basch’s head into the ground, the angry yells broken between brief gasps of sobbing grief. “They deserve to die! We should do this Basch!”

“NO!” Basch screamed and using all of his strength he hauled his brother off him. He rolled and then dragged Noah up from the ground. Noah stumbled against him and shoved hard to get him away, but Basch held tightly onto his tunic. It ripped, Noah responding by swinging another punch to his brother. Basch blocked the sluggish blow easily and shoved his brother back with equal force. “We’re teenagers for shit’s sake! What can we do against the army of Archadia?!”

“Make them suffer!”

“That does not mean killing!”

“You would not avenge mother and father? You would have their deaths mean nothing?”

“I will avenge their deaths! I will make sure that none of our people will have died in vain!”

“What will you do Basch? Bitch slap them until they apologise??!!?”

It was Basch’s turn to break. No longer could his own agony remain inside, the red and heat of the fire soared through him and he struck out at his sibling. He didn’t hear the screams come from his mouth, he didn’t even feel Noah’s retaliation against him; blow after blow the brothers dealt, venting grief, anger and agony, until the flames encircled them and the coughing fits weakened their strength.

Basch could feel his skin burning, his lungs were stitching hard, his stomach tightened and gagged to bring something up, something other than the painful remorse than churned within. As Noah took another swipe at him, he staggered back, his feet tangling together and upsetting his balance.

A fist grabbed hold of his white tunic, pulling him forward before he could fall into the fire behind him. Noah embraced him tightly, their fight forgotten as the danger of being burnt finally registered on them both. Dazed. Basch had no idea what was going on, but he felt the pull of his brother and his hold.

Noah half dragged and carried Basch with the remaining strength he had left. He was coughing so much that his throat ached, sweat was seeping off him and he could feel his skin burning from the heat of the fire. But his strength was gone, he couldn’t pull Basch any more, so he collapsed next to him. The two brothers lay on the dying Landis ground, the flames creeping closer and closer and at last they finally accepted that they would die. They would join their parents in the after life.



“What shall we do with them my lord?”

The Judge kicked a foot at one of the unconscious boys and from the lack of reaction he shrugged in a nonchalant manner. It would be a matter of time before they woke up, but when they did he would have the offer of a life time for them. He would ensure that he got what he had come all this way for…what he had ordered to kill for.

Strong boys, boys with talent and a bright future ahead of them, a future that would ultimately ensure victory for the Archadian Empire. Victory for House Solidor or indeed anyone else mattered little to this man. These extraordinary boys would be the beginning of the end.

“Clean them, feed them…be nice to them.” said the Judge. “I will talk to the boys once they are smartened up and presentable.”

“They wouldn’t easily accept your offer, my lord…they killed all my patrol and would have killed me…they hate us for what we’ve done.”

“They are children and quite easily swayable. Now do as I say, or you will join the rest of your patrol!”

“Aye, my Lord!”



Archadia Year 701


“Have you at last changed your mind?”

Noah turned round but there was no one directly in the corridor behind him. Only from the shadows of the columns did he see her. No doubt she had followed him, worried about what he was going to do next and for a moment he was irritated about it.

“What do you want?” he sneered, putting down the empty wine bottle by one of the pillars.

She stepped into the soft light of the torches and held out her hands in a submissive gesture of greeting. She had changed her dress from earlier, now instead of the all black one, she wore a dress of brilliant red, a criss-crossed lattice revealing a sensual bare back and only the smallest pieces of fabric covered her voluptuous chest. She was beautiful, she was more than that, she was sexy and so ripe that Noah felt the lust building up within him, throbbing between his legs.

“I know who you are, now.” she said, her voice whispering as she approached him. Noah was afraid of no one, but when she approached him, he couldn’t stop himself from backing away. He impacted with one of the marble pillars and he simply couldn’t believe it when she pressed up against him. “I know what you’ve done.”

“I don’t have time for your games!” he growled. “I’ve had a long night and…..”

“I know. This evening didn’t go too well and I’m sorry. But I could make it better for you….Noah.”

She knew his real name? He jolted and squirmed, trying to get away, but she pressed more and more of herself against him; long slender fingers traced the gentle blonde fuzz on his unshaven face whilst her hips forced into him and her other hand teased the hardening growth in his pants.

“Noah Fon Ronsenberg…son of Biran and Defyn Fon Ronsenberg.” Her lips brushed lightly at his skin when she spoke, enticing Noah, frustrating him even more. “Once heir to the whole of the Talfryn province…a most sizeable and profitable part of Landis, but all was lost when Landis was occupied.”

“How did you find out about this?! How did you……”

“I have my sources, Noah.” She laughed and then kissed around his jaw, gently and lovingly but her hand did otherwise. It was not soft or delicate as it groped his swelling erection, she squeezed and pulled, smiling when he groaned at the pleasure she was giving him. “I know what you did. I know that once you took up the oath to Archadia, you took revenge on those who destroyed your home. The missing generals, the men who were responsible for the death of your parents, you killed them…didn’t you?”

“I don’t…”

“Don’t lie to me, Noah. The trouble you went through to find them whilst pretending to be loyal to the Empire was impressive. No one would have thought a young up coming soldier like you could have dispatched them so easily. Tell me, did it make you feel better? Did it alleviate all that anguish and pain inside?”

“I…I…” He couldn’t answer, his breath gasped and choked as she continued to rub hard into him. She smiled and kissed his lips, holding her mouth firmly against his own, teasing with forceful licks of her tongue in an attempt to slip inside. He refused to allow her entrance, Noah fought hard to not give into her seduction and when she pulled her lips away, he thought she would leave.

“Now you’re a Judge…is that what you planned, sad little Noah? Did you strive so hard for this position to get close to the last few remaining culprits?”

“You would stop me?” he moaned.

“Would you believe me if I said that I wouldn’t? What happened at Landis was atrocious and if you want to exact justice on those bastards, then I certainly won’t get in your way. I understand, Noah…I know why you have to do this, but must you be so dead and void of the pleasures of life? Can you not…enjoy yourself?”

“With you?” An ecstatic hiss fled his mouth as she squeezed him a little harder.

“Do you want anyone else?”

“You want it, to ensure your silence?”

“Not at all. It’s all for the fun, darling. Do you not want me?”

Oh he did. He wanted nothing else right now other than to release all this pent up aggression. She was offering that release, she was willingly allowing him to do what his body had been aching to do for so long.

Noah roughly grabbed a fist full of her hair and pulled her back to him. He kissed her so hard that it was she who became unbalanced. Her hands unlatched from his stiffness and coiled around his neck, giving back a kiss that was equally furied. Noah spun her round, hooking her legs around his waist before slamming her into the marble column. He ignored her laughing guffaws in his mouth, instead concentrating on fulfilling his body’s needs, on feeling something different.

He had joined Archadia under pretence of finding those responsible for his parent’s death and of countless others. At first it had been simple; he kept to himself, not wanting to befriend those naïve boys who he trained with. But when the years progressed, it was not so black and white. He could not blame all those who were following orders, for he had heard confessions of genuine regret and stories of where some had refused to butcher innocent people, shamed and afraid to be involved in such a thing. So he searched for those with no regret, those who bragged and those bastards who had forced the killings and given the commands. There weren’t as many as he had thought.

But those few, they deserved a whole lot more than death.

With each kill, a part of Noah Fon Ronsenberg died. It wasn’t long before he became lost in “Gabranth”, he became a soldier loyal to his comrades, he rose through the ranks because of his courage and prowess in battle, but then they made him a judge. He didn’t know himself any more.

There had been only one person left to kill.

The Emperor himself.

The opportunities were plenty, but two others prevented him from taking action. Two other lives made him question himself and his actions.

Larsa. The young child was so full of hope and promise. Noah knew that he would be the future of Archadia, if his guidance wasn’t hindered by Vayne and his Father. Noah had grown fond of the boy and vowed that nothing would ever harm him. Larsa gave him a purpose, as he treated “Gabranth” with nothing but kindness; a trait he saw Drace encourage within him every day.

Drace. He loved her so much, she stood for everything just and righteous and her devotion to Larsa was unending. She had brought out a side of him that he thought had died. She had woken him up and given back his life.


Confliction. Noah was constantly fighting as Gabranth. The rage and fury still wouldn’t go away and he couldn’t feel like he had all those years ago, because of what he had found in Dalmasca.

Even thinking of his brother seemed to invoke his rage further.

He pinned her roughly against the wall, his mouth and hands ravishing her in feral motions, ripping at the hem of red dress. She on the other hand was offering no resistance, in fact she was enjoying his roughness, moaning and pleading him to keep going. She ground against the force of his delirious thrusts, she revelled in the strong hatred he was so obviously feeling and she loved it every aching jolt.

It was only she who spotted the young boy and his brother watching from behind the pillar at the far end of the corridor. She smiled. He had seen them.

“Not here….not here.” She gasped, biting viciously on his ear. Noah responded only with a reply and began to carry her off in the direction of her room. He never broke his hold on her; he didn’t even pause to allow a discreet getaway.


When they finally reached his room, he ripped the dress off her and threw her naked form onto the bed, tearing off his own clothes, muttering and moaning her name. He looked delirious, maddened as he clambered over her spread out form. He pushed her legs apart, forcing them over his shoulders and he continued to moan into her heaving chest as he pushed himself inside. No foreplay, no gentle loving kisses or touching…he just put everything of him inside of her.


Eri Cellen had not the heart to correct him, for she was enjoying him far too much.



Landis - Year 685


Basch watched his twin walk away, back where they had just ran from and towards the very people who had destroyed their home. The blood from his lips and nose still trickled down his face along with his tears and his body began to tremble. He shook with such agony and despair that he could not move. He couldn’t stop his hands from shaking nor see clearly through the stinging in his eyes.

How had he been so calm like that? Why was he going back?

To be remembered and not allow Landis to fall into myth like the ancient cities of long ago.

Noah had wanted to make sure that none of this was in vain, that their parent’s hadn’t died for nothing in some stupid war brought upon by those with power. Yet Basch couldn’t understand the calm with which his brother had walked away with. There was something more to why Noah would willingly take up that Judge’s offer, an offer that he thought neither of them would take. Noah had been so angry, he had killed those men and done it without remorse. He had been adamant, determined, but the look in his eyes as he had said goodbye held only hate for Basch.

They thought they would be together, that they would see their homeland revenged and for the rest of their lives, be by each other’s side. Basch had said no and although he had felt betrayed by Noah’s decision…it was his that broke them apart.

A simple yes, a vow to remain with him would have changed their lives. They would have remained together.



Giruvegan - Year 707


“Uncle Basch. It’s so wonderful to meet you at last.”

He didn’t take the hand, Basch merely stood rooted to the spot, his eyes widened with horror and surprise as were the others. The little boy looked round at the devastation that had been wrought upon the laboratory and merely shrugged his shoulders, the loss meaning nothing to him.


The boy smiled.

“I am Teiern. Teiern Cellen, or if you wish, Fon Ronsenberg. Noah…Judge Gabranth was my father. So that makes you my uncle, does it not? But…also my brother.” The chuckle that came from such small lips was horrible and callous. “It is a strange sensation, for you are many things to me. You are so very important.”

The boy approached Basch even closer and without even knowing it, Basch knelt down to his level. They stared at each other for a long while, ignoring the others around them and their confused murmurings. Teiern took up his hand and touched lightly at Basch’s bleeding wound. He winced and went to move away; within him feeling the hatred Zodiark wanted to unleash.

“You are exactly like him, uncle…brother.” Teiern nodded in approval. “Tell me; is my kin inside of you wanting to rip my head from this body? Is he screaming at you to spill my blood?”

Basch couldn’t answer. He did feel it, Zodiark’s cries inside were ringing in his head, they both knew what this child was and thought of its death. Slow and painful.

“My brother was always so reckless, so angry! As was yours, uncle. It is a great shame that it is you and not he who got to host him.” The boy laughed again. “Forgive me, I have so many things I want to ask of you, but my mind is simply reeling with memories!”

“I love the reunion, creepy kid!” Vaan snapped viciously with dripping sarcasm. “But we don’t have time for this!”

“Your excitable little friend is right, uncle.” Teiern smirked. “We should be moving along. Mother really wants to meet you!”

The little blue eyes disappeared, replaced by black and Basch recoiled, leaping to his feet. He was going to kill the thing right there and then. He was livid and seethed to see what this thing was and child or no…it deserved to die. Yet before either he or Zodiark could do anything, there was another sharp pain in his back and a quick jolt of Holy sent him crashing back down to his knees.

“You bastards!” Vaan yelled.

“Bring him! Bring them all, pathetic as they are, but I think it will benefit for the queen to see her friends in such a pathetic state.”

“My lord…” The judge observed the soldiers dragging and pushing Basch and the others out of the charred room. “None of the others are necessary to our plans, Eri has no need for them, and your Goddess has no need for them. I say we kill them and just take Zodiark.”

You are questioning me, Judge?”

“Not at all, sire. I merely….”

“You are not exactly necessary to the plans any more, either, Judge. Would you have me kill you and your men as well?”

“My lord!”

“The only reason you are still alive is because my mother wishes it. If it had been up to me or Valla, you all would be dead…”

The Judge bowed down humbly and took hold of the young boy’s hand. He shivered at the cold, but pressed his helmed forehead gently to his knuckles.

“Forgive me, Teiren, I meant not….”

The boy smiled and the blue eyes returned. He slipped his hand out of the man’s grasp and joyfully patted the helm with his palm.

“That’s okay, Grandfather. Just don’t speak out like that again…I won’t give you a second chance.”

The Judge rose to his feet and as he took off his helm, Zargabaath forced his captures to halt in the doorway. He looked aghast when the face of the other man was revealed. The long black hair was now mostly smattered with white, as was the beard, but there was no mistaking him.

The once honourable and friendly face was now wizened beyond his age, cracked with fear and hated. This was a shadow of the man that he had known and respected.








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