Title: Love Her and Despair
Chapter 8: "Best-Laid Plans"
Final Fantasy X
Characters: Isaaru, Maroda, Auron, Pacce, Lucil/Elma
Word Count: 2500
Summary: Planning the next Operation Mi'ihen. Is this a good idea?
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Map of Pilgrimage - Links to All Chapters
The Story So Far: Thirteen years after Yuna falls defeating Sin, Isaaru sets the mantle of maester aside to resume his pilgrimage with his brothers. Teaming up with Auron in Besaid, they discover a pattern to Sin's attacks: it seems to be targeting temples. They meet Maester Lucil at Luca Stadium to report their findings.
The carnival ambiance of the blitzball tournament ebbed and flowed around Isaaru and his companions like another world pinned by pyreflies to a gigantic sphere. Fans cheered for their favorite players, bickered over team loyalties, lived and died with every goal. In the maesters' box, all was still.
Isaaru had been uncharacteristically stark, blunt, and brief as he narrated the bare bones of their journey. Now he and Lucil sat between two worlds, surrounded by a sea of noise. Clapping when the crowd roared, feigning interest in a match that no one but Pacce actually watched, they waited for the final moments of a Bevelle upset ("That's one for the history books, folks!") to play out so they could slip away to ponder the fate of the world.
As soon as the buzzer sounded, Isaaru and Lucil retired to a VIP suite below the maester's dais. The chamber was as dark as a Cloister of Trials, despite a few skylights. Luxurious furniture and refreshments could not disguise the fact that it had been built into the stadium's walls as a fortified retreat against attack— from Sin, or from an angry mob, to judge by its defenses. Years ago, Lucil had commanded the removal of the machina weapons embedded in the heavy doors leading out to the stadium, but the peepholes of gunsights and the stripped mountings on the doors' inner faces were a sober reminder of what Yevon could be.
Isaaru settled into a high-backed chair, his guardians forming a triangle around him. Elma helped Lucil into the seat across from him. The maester in charge of Yevon's military concealed her infirmity in public, but a chocobo accident had left her partially paralyzed. Her aide was no longer a starry-eyed cadet, but a seasoned officer with a scar half-hidden under short dark hair and a complexion weathered by years of riding.
Elma gave orders to the sentries outside and shut the doors. "There. No one's going to disturb us for anything short of a Sin sighting. The next match is in forty-five minutes, if you mean to keep up appearances."
"Thank you, Commander," Isaaru said, forgetting that he was no longer the senior official in the room.
"Djose, then." Lucil steepled her hands in her lap, expression grave. "Elma. Provide Summoner Isaaru and his party with mounts and escort them to Djose. Send couriers ahead to Mushroom Rock Lodge, advising the captain to begin battle preparations and await your arrival. We will need his ground forces as well for this operation."( Read more... )