main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Saga - Legends Final Fantasy VIII crossover] Sword & Saber - Mara, Squall - replies Jan 2

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Tarsier, May 20, 2014.

  1. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Title: Sword & Saber

    Author: Tarsier

    Summary: Crossover with Final Fantasy VIII. Mara is sent to the FFVIII planet to recruit an elite soldier for the Emperor.

    Characters: Primary: Emperor’s Hand Mara Jade, Squall Leonhart
    Secondary (all from FF8): Seifer Almasy, Zell Dincht, Rinoa Heartilly, Quistis Trepe, Selphie Tilmitt, Irvine Kinneas, Angelo (Rinoa’s dog)

    Genre: action, introspection

    Timeframe: SW – during Mara’s time as Emperor’s Hand; FFVIII – begins the day before the start of the game

    Notes: I wrote this story intending it to be accessible to people who are not familiar with FFVIII. If you haven’t played the game, hopefully everything will make sense, though the guardian force/magic/junctioning system may seem a bit strange (actually, it’s pretty unique even for a video game). Questions are welcome if anything is at all unclear. If you have played the game, you will find the plot has been substantially simplified and, really, most of it is off-screen. This story is primarily introspection and as far as character growth is generally more about Mara than Squall.


    [​IMG]


    The planet was strange. The divided factions, tiny cities battling for dominance, were nothing remarkable. The lack of space travel and seeming obliviousness to the rest of the galaxy was not unheard of. Nor was the fact that the planet was teeming with a vast array of dangerous creatures. It was something more subtle, more sinister, as though the Force itself had acquired a foul taste from the planet.

    The mark was a teenager named Seifer. The mission was to recruit him. To exactly what end the Emperor had not said, and Mara had not asked. Bring him back prepared to serve the Empire, that was instruction enough.

    He was not difficult to find, even without the disruption he created in the Force, she could hear his boisterous voice from half a klick away. Presently, it appeared he had stolen a pair of gloves from a smaller classmate. The classmate, who was perhaps even louder than Seifer, chased after Seifer yelling for the gloves’ return.

    “GIVE ‘EM BACK!”

    “No, I think maybe I’ll just keep them.”

    “THEY’RE MINE! GIVE THEM BACK!”

    “Hmm, not sure if I can wear them. They’re very small.”

    “DON’T YOU DARE! THOSE GLOVES ARE SACRED!”

    They were in an open area with planted trees and duracrete tables and benches. An audience had gathered around the commotion, which made it very easy for Mara to blend in, as just another curious student. Seifer was drinking in the attention. Two students, friends of Seifer who trailed after him wherever he went, were working the crowd, pointing and giving elbow nudges to make sure everyone was focused on Seifer’s spectacle.

    One student, however, was seated at a table in a corner reading a book and had not even glanced up. There were whispers in the crowd and, despite the efforts of Seifer’s friends, several eyes fell on the studying student. Through the Force Mara picked up bits and pieces of the thoughts of those watching. Some were hoping the silent student would help his smaller classmate. Others hoped he would put Seifer in his place. Many just wanted to see a fight.

    Seifer was annoyed to be ignored by one student, but he was infuriated that the gathered students were splitting their attention between him and another. Seifer crossed the short distance to the corner, leapt onto the table, and drew his sword, sweeping the blade down so it sliced through the pages the other student was reading.

    “No weapons in the quad!” a student from the crowd exclaimed.

    “What do you want, Seifer?” Though finally responding, the quiet student continued to stare at his book.

    “I want you, Squall.” Seifer sheathed his sword and knelt down on the table, one hand behind his back still holding the pilfered gloves, the other hand slamming the book closed. “A duel. Tomorrow morning. The usual spot. It’s been a while since I’ve kicked your butt.”

    “Fine.”

    “Tch. I’ll take these.” The owner of the gloves plucked the gloves out of Seifer’s hand while he was distracted and ran off.

    Seifer spared a quick glare towards the retreating student, but then focused once again on Squall. “Be there at dawn. No wussing out this time.” Seifer turned and left, brandishing his sword as he did so, forcing several of the gathered observers to duck or leap away from the blade.

    Mara sunk into the shadows of the building, knowing she needed to disappear before the crowd dissipated. It was time to return to her ship for the night. She still had a lengthy report to make and it seemed she would need to be up before dawn the next day.
     
  2. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Seifer sounds like a real pill. No wonder the Emperor wants him for a lackey. :p

    I'm not familiar with any of the Final Fantasy versions, but it seems clear enough as you've blended it here -- just an odd world in the GFFA.
     
    Tarsier likes this.
  3. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Hi, Kahara! Thanks so much for the reply, I didn't expect anyone to comment on this story. :)

    Yeah, I wouldn't consider Seifer to be a very sympathetic character. The rest of the story focuses more on Squall, he is much more interesting. (At least I think so! He's pretty much my favorite character in any fandom.)

    Thanks, that's good to hear! One of the more difficult parts will be reconciling magic and the Force. I'm not sure it's even possible to fully reconcile them, but I'll give it a shot. Please don't hesitate to let me know if I lose you anywhere.
     
    Kahara likes this.
  4. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Eh, sometimes merging different universes takes some squishing of the details. Not something that I'm picky about. :)
     
    Tarsier likes this.
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    This is way awesome! Mara in any 'verse will grab me! =D= Seifer is totally narcissistic. I love how Squall insistently ignores him, not giving him the satisfaction.
     
    Tarsier likes this.
  6. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Thanks for the support, Kahara :)

    Thanks, Nyota's Heart ! Glad you like it. :)

    Author Note: The muse is pretty scattered lately, so I expect updates will be a bit erratic, but I will try to keep this story in the rotation.




    Squall couldn't sleep. The SeeD field exam was tomorrow. This time tomorrow, he may no longer be a student, but a full-fledged SeeD. That which he'd worked for as long he could remember would finally be realized. If he passed.

    He knew he was physically capable. In fact, he was confident he could beat most of the current SeeDs in a fight. But there was more to it than that--as evidenced by Seifer, who still wasn't a SeeD even though he'd met the prerequisites nearly a year ago and had taken every exam offered since then. Seifer was one of the best fighters in Garden, but he failed every exam for other reasons. Unfortunately, Squall wasn't sure why Seifer failed—exam results were confidential—so he didn't know how to avoid Seifer's mistakes.

    What if I fail? Squall wondered.

    So what? he tried to tell himself. You'll keep going to class and try again in the next exam.

    But he didn't want to end up like Seifer, still a student at eighteen, no longer learning anything, just killing time until the next exam.

    No, that won't be me. I'll pass the first time. I have to.

    Assuming I actually get to take the exam tomorrow...

    Somehow, he still hadn't met one of the prerequisites—visiting the Fire Cavern. He'd been meaning to go, but somehow he just...hadn't, yet. Part of it was that he needed to have a faculty member with him to evaluate him and he hadn't gotten around to asking anyone. Yesterday, he'd resolved to go first thing tomorrow morning, before class—but then Seifer had challenged him and of course he'd accepted. I should have just said no.

    But then Seifer would think I was scared of him.

    Why do I care what Seifer thinks?

    I don't! It's just....

    Squall sat up and threw the covers to the side. There was no way he was getting any sleep tonight, he might as well give up trying. He could go to the training center, that would get his mind off things. But he was already training with Seifer, going to the Fire Cavern, and taking the exam tomorrow, he really should rest now. He grabbed a battle strategy book from his shelf, sat at his desk, turned on the lamp, and started reading.


    * * * * *
    There was a thunderstorm raging, but neither Seifer nor Squall seemed to notice. Mara had found a concealed vantage point among boulders a few hundred meters up the mountainside from where the two met. She observed them with electrobinoculars and a hearing enhancer.

    “Same rules. No magic,” Squall said as they crossed their blades before the duel began.

    Magic? Mara wondered. Surely if either of them fell for an illusion in the middle of battle, they deserved what they got. Unless he isn’t referring to illusions—perhaps he means Force-powers of some kind.

    Seifer gave no response, other than to begin an attack. Apparently, there was no starting chime. Squall was ready and deflected the abrupt assault. Mara chewed her lip as uncomfortable thoughts flitted through her mind. She found herself wishing she were looking through the scope of a sniper rifle rather than the electrobinoculars. It wasn’t just that assassinations were easier. It was the mark himself. Seifer was insufferably arrogant, utterly self-centered, and his humor ran towards the sadistic. Though she knew better than to let personal preferences influence her work, she also couldn’t deny that she’d hated Seifer from the first moment she saw him.

    The blades clanged together loudly as the battle raged. Seifer was very powerful, and extremely quick. He was faster than Squall, and probably equally as strong. But they had been fighting for a few minutes and Seifer had so far been unable to gain the upper-hand. He seethed frustration into the Force. Squall, on the other hand, was pure focus.

    Finally, Squall began a charge that Mara thought might win him the battle. But as he neared Seifer, a ball of flame burst in front of him, knocking him backwards and to the ground. Squall was bleary-eyed and only halfway to his feet when Seifer advanced on him. Seifer raised his blade over his head and swung down, slicing into Squall’s face.

    As blood streamed down his face from the fresh wound between his eyes, Mara felt the first whispers of rage building within Squall. He took only a moment to gather himself before leaping to his feet and swinging his blade in one smooth, swift motion. The tip of his blade caught an unsuspecting Seifer right between the eyes, creating a near-perfect mirror image of his own wound.

    Startled, Seifer dropped his blade and his hands went to his face. Seeing his hands covered in blood, he sank to the ground.

    Squall trembled as he looked at Seifer. The blood disturbed him and he turned away.

    Mara felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise and she was glad she was already lying flat on the ground. Lightning struck, momentarily blinding Mara. She wasn’t certain where the lightning hit, but it was close. The thunder roared in her ears as she yanked out her hearing enhancer.

    As soon as her vision cleared, Mara held up the electrobinoculars and scanned for Squall and Seifer. They were both lying flat on the ground, apparently unconscious. Whether they’d been struck by the lightning or simply collapsed from exertion, Mara couldn’t tell.

    Now was her chance. She could capture Seifer, take him to her ship, and return to the Emperor far ahead of schedule. However, she had intended to observe Seifer for a while longer. And she still had not determined what was so strange about the Force on this planet. Still, she wasn’t likely to get a better opening for a smooth escape. She had hoped to be able to persuade Seifer to come voluntarily, and not merely by force, and there was still a chance she could succeed in that. Once he saw her ship, saw that there was whole galaxy beyond his tiny planet, she was sure he could be enticed into the Empire if offered even the smallest taste of power.

    Yet she hesitated. That burst of flame that knocked Squall to the ground—it must have been what Squall was referring to when he said no magic. If Seifer would not abide by such a clear and simple rule, would he willingly follow any order? There was no room for such recalcitrance in the Empire. They already had Vader bending the rules to suit his mood, they hardly needed another like him.

    Squall, however, was a different story. His response to Seifer’s underhandedness had been both immediate and perfectly equal to the offense. The ability to effect retribution without escalation—that was a rare quality indeed.

    Mara didn’t know how the Emperor had found Seifer, but she was confident he had not met him in person. When giving her the assignment, the Emperor had shared with Mara a mental image of Seifer. That, and the coordinates of the planet, was all the information she received. She’d thought that information was sufficient, but a single image of him could not possibly convey the whole story, the entirety of a person’s character. Perhaps the information, however the Emperor had gained it, had become twisted and confused. Perhaps Squall was the one the Emperor really wanted. He was nearly as powerful as Seifer and had the makings of a much better solider. The Emperor had been giving Mara more freedom lately, allowing her to make certain decisions. What if this was the next step in her training, a test of her judgment? Maybe it wasn’t even a mistake, maybe the Emperor knew he wanted Squall, but he wanted to see if Mara would come to the correct result on her own.

    Mara’s hesitation became her decision, at least as far as capturing Seifer immediately. Seifer’s two friends, the ones who had worked to rouse the crowds during Seifer’s antics the day before, arrived and knelt beside him. Mara could not make out exactly what they were doing, but soon Seifer was revived. He stood, looking a bit unsteady on his feet, and the three left together. Leaving Squall alone, still unconscious.

    Once she was certain the others were out of earshot, Mara made her way down the mountainside and over to Squall. Looking down at him, she considered taking him to her ship and leaving the planet behind forever. But amending her orders was not a decision to be made in haste. Squall would not be as easily persuaded as Seifer. If she tried to force him, she feared he may never serve the Empire voluntarily. And there was a lot about the planet that warranted further consideration. She would give it a few more days, at least. In fact it was possible, however unlikely, that with a little more time Seifer may prove himself more useful than Mara had so far given him credit for.

    The slash on Squall’s face was still bleeding and he did not seem likely to wake up soon on his own. She had some medical supplies in her ship, but she didn’t want to raise questions about how he could have been treated alone in the middle of nowhere, especially if he was treated with unfamiliar medicine. Yet at the same time, Mara could hardly just leave him there. He couldn’t possibly serve the Empire if he was dead, or if he lost his sight from an infected wound. Ultimately, Mara decided to carry him to the academy’s infirmary. When she first arrived on the planet, she had thoroughly scouted out the academy’s campus and taken note of what times each hallway was the busiest and when they tended to be empty. With this knowledge, she managed to get Squall into the infirmary without being noticed.

    ----------------

    Author Note: The duel in this section is based on the opening sequence to FFVIII (the duel begins at about 1:30; slight warning – the game is only rated T, so there’s nothing too bad, but Squall does get his face sliced and there is some blood in the video).
     
    Kahara likes this.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoyed Mara's reasoning on whether to take Seifer, wait and see, or switch to Squall. Seems like circumstances are helping her settle on a course. [face_thinking]
     
    Tarsier and Kahara like this.
  8. SWpants

    SWpants Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2004
    If Seifer would not abide by such a clear and simple rule, would he willingly follow any order?

    And I was thinking that Mara would actually like that he took the initiative...
    This is quite interesting. I was snagged when I saw Final Fantasy VIII, which is my fave of the ones I've played.

    I too liked how Mara was debating on whether to take Seifer or Squall.

    Do you have a PM list? I only briefly glance at the fanfic threads and don't want to miss an update!
     
    Kahara and Tarsier like this.
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Glad this story is back! I remember that it was intriguing before, and I liked Mara's process of consideration over Seifer and Squall in this chapter. Even though I suspect that Seifer is very much the kind of person that Palpatine wants, it's easy to see how Mara wonders if the situation is actually a test. Squall is a much better candidate -- if you want a reasonable person for the job. [face_thinking] And it's also interesting that she really dislikes Seifer; it makes sense given that she's a rule-follower (for the most part) and values a certain kind of integrity.
     
    Tarsier and Nyota's Heart like this.
  10. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Thanks, Nyota's Heart ! It took me a bit to get her back-and-forth reasoning down, I'm glad you liked it. :)



    I'd be happy to start a PM list, SWpants :) Thanks for reading!

    And I was thinking that Mara would actually like that he took the initiative...
    There's something to be said for initiative, but I felt like this was a situation where Mara would think the rules should be followed. Just my take, of course :)

    I was snagged when I saw Final Fantasy VIII, which is my fave of the ones I've played.
    I so love FFVIII, it's great to meet another fan!



    Kahara I always love reading your feedback, especially when you trace my own thought processes so closely. :) Thank you!!
     
    Kahara and Nyota's Heart like this.
  11. SWpants

    SWpants Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Hot diggity, thanks!
     
    Kahara and Tarsier like this.