The Princess and the Dragon
PROLOGUE / Chapter 1
It is a fact that the act of piracy is rendered ridiculous by the use of a dragon.
When I first dared to put my stamp on that venerable art, the opening move was a gambler's throw. I remember it well: how the salt air would sing with the tension of bows bending on both sides of a narrowing expanse of gray water, and -- ah! the tumult and spray of that scaled neck bursting from the sea just aft of the prey, the crack of a splintered rudder if luck was with us! Hydra's bugle-cry was our call to battle. What followed then was sheer poetry: a flurry of shot and bolts filling the air, the screams
I'd love to live in truth and not in seeming.
Do you want to waste time wallowing in your own regrets, Auron?
I didn't want to die, either.
She is waiting for my answer. The grain of our losses is much the same, except that, Yevon unwilling, she'll keep walking into the light when I have faded into the Farplane's shadows.
Why does she reach for a fading candle to warm her hands? This woman is wise. She understands I am no hero, just a man driven by oaths beyond life's ending to keep plodding forward. She doesn't believe in legends.
"Autumn," I say.
"I thought so." She smiles coy victory. Only Lulu could make me succumb to s
Vignette: The last doomed charge of the Djose Chocobo Knights, seen through the eyes of valiant Captain Lucil.
Waves crashed. Sin waited. Armor gleamed dully. Rank on rank of warriors stared down the sea.
Black tendrils were creeping into the bay, spreading and darkening the gray water. Gathering thunderheads signalled the foe's arrival.
Lucil shared a small, private smile with the crimson-clad warrior on her right. That was all the disciplined captain permitted when they were on duty.
"Right beside you, ma'am," the younger woman said softly. A slight breach of protocol. Under the circumstances, Lucil would condone it, even if she could
Chapter I: Schism
Burgundy sails snapped in a fitful wind that set the sailors muttering. The sea-witch had her ways, they said, and owned both sea and sky. Ships plied the waves by her permission, or not at all. There had been frost at sunrise, great spears of rime coating the rails and ropes. The tropical sun had banished it quickly, but it was yet another sign of Sin's proximity. That, and the lightning's balefire dancin