“Will you do this for me?”
Zaon met Yunalesca's soft gaze. They both understood what she was asking of him and the depth of her words. This was no easy task to accept, becoming the catalyst of Sin's defeat. Yunalesca rubbed her thumbs against the back of his armoured hands. She could feel the heat of his spirit, the loyalty to his city, and his love of her through their physical and spiritual connections. He didn't reply immediately. Instead, he took a moment to think.
Before this tragedy, Yunalesca had heard about the different temples all over the world and visited them for strength and insights. Every temple surprised her. Zaon was at her side throughout the Cloister of Trials. The Cloisters at Macalania and Bevelle had almost been their downfall. Bevelle, also, was perhaps the most thrilling act of espionage they had ever embarked upon. Zaon guised himself as a simple soldier, Yunalesca a Besaid temple maid. They stayed at the homes of those who opposed the war, and even listened to the criticisms of those who hated Zanarkand. Yunalesca grew a lot, not just as a High Summoner but as a Spiran woman as well.
She and Zaon prayed at the temples. They expressed their struggles to ethereal minds and requested ways to help bring down Yu Yevon. Or the heinous creature he had become. After a time, Yunalesca simply referred to him as “Sin”. Zaon didn't know why. He hadn't asked then, but it was a name that made sense.
Yu Yevon was a man possessed by survival and a frantic sense of love for his home. He lost himself and took the people of Zankarand down with him. Yu Yevon had become an offense against nature and humanity. He had become a criminal beyond the mortal sense.
Together, they spread the word with every land they visited. People needed to know the true reason of Zankarand's loss. Their travels took them all over Spira until they were here at the end of the line.
Yunalesca's own eyes had fallen closed as she went deep into thought. They had gone through so much, and Yunalesca wasn't sure how much time had passed in all of this. She was only grateful that Sin wasn't some fast moving wave of destruction; otherwise, there would have absolutely no hope. After a drawn out silence, the choice was made. Zaon called to his wife, and they stared into each other's eyes. He nodded his head and drew Yunalesca closer to him.
“I will follow you until the end and beyond.”
They embraced. Yunalesca sighed against Zaon's shoulder. She was surprised to find that she was extremely calm through all of this. Maybe it was the pressure; maybe it was the fact that Zaon was with her unquestionably. As she pulled away, Zaon cupped her face and kissed his beloved wife. The kiss was sweet. She committed it to memory.
— — ★ ★ — —
Yunalesca prayed at the nearby temple. Just as the others had done before them, the villagers gave gifts. Swords, scarves, cloaks, potions – anything they had to give belonged to the Lady and her Knight. Zaon thanked them, and Yunalesca pressed the cloak to her face. It smelled of fire, flowers, and perfume. Homely. Safe. Her brows furrowed at the scent. She never wanted to forget this. She knew this would be the final stretch, and anything that calmed her spirit was a cherished commodity.
When it was time to leave, Zaon moved with a heavy heart. It was time to go back to Zankarkard, to the original war zone. They had to face the massive force known as Sin. Zaon peered towards the horizon. His heart was steeled against the fear coursing through the rest of his body. They had packed away all of their gifts and trinkets. Supplies that kept them busy to sort, things that seemed valuable to trade or give the boat crew as a sign of endless thanks. It was insufficient in comparison to the great danger, but it was all Zaon and Yunalesca could do.
Zaon headed towards the back of the ship. Yunalesca stood with her back towards him. She was still facing Baaj as they drifted further and further away. Zaon didn't call out for her. Instead, he merely left her to her contemplation. He would join her soon and try to alleviate whatever fears weighed down her heart. Yunalesca drew her hands up to her chest and began to pray.
Yunalesca uncoiled her spirit, and her power flowed through the ship. Zaon relaxed as their bond became warmer and stronger. Echoes of Yunalesca began to ease his pain, and he extended himself out to her, hoping to do the same. As they traded astral comfort with each other, Zaon perked up. An idea came to his mind. He kept himself open as he traveled through the ship and headed to their things. Zaon began to search their gifts and supplies. Finally, he came across different coloured spheres. They glowed upon being held. Their radiance was minimal but comforting.
Zaon took in a deep breath and began to record their adventures. He didn't have many spheres, so he hit the most important points of their travels. He also divulged their plans in case they wouldn't make it. If anything, it would keep the tale of Zankarand alive, and it wouldn't disappear shamefully into history.
“Zankarand is lost. Its people and its beauty are now relics to time. My Lady and I rush now to seek finality to Yu Yevon's
obsession. Bevelle has struck deep and given us an enemy from within, but this will be the final strike. The Lady and I will
combine our spirits and give ourselves for the sake of this world.
“Should we fail… Should there be a need for someone else to rise against this force, please listen to my words. Find temples
all across Spira. Absorb their light and advice, and cherish the villagers of that land. Gifts are given as symbols of strength,
not as reminders of your sacrifice. Do not burden yourself with these symbols but do not squander them.
“Pyreflies are your guides. Those who have passed will whisper secrets to you. To have knowledge of the dead is a powerful
tool. Each word will distance yourself from life, but remember: you are alive, and they are not. Your ear is a bridge between
“We hope to spare Spira from Sin. We hope avenge Zankarand and free it from this hell. I cannot begin to express my fears
and frustrations, but take instead my love and guidance. I fear I will not see the smiling faces of those we protect after this bout.
“We give ourselves with hope. We give ourselves for righteousness. We give ourselves for the greater good, a cause outside
of ourselves. When the time comes, I hope that you will let your voices rise up and stand strong for your sake and others'.
“Make peace with yourself and never forget us.
“Sir Zaon Arkadia of Zanarkand.”
— — ★ ★ — —
Sin was an extraordinary beast.
Yunalesca and Zaon stood side by side, combining their strength and spirits as they fought. Sin screamed in pain with every critical strike. The High Guardian twisted his hand and beckoned violent gales to his aid. Yunalesca called upon denizens of the Farplane and summoned the unearthly fire of pyreflies. Sometimes, Yunalesca waived fighting in lieu of trying to reach her father. Sin stilled, and Zaon felt as if Yu Yevon deep within was focusing on Yunalesca. It was unnerving but also strangely comforting. Maybe the human side of him could still be reached.
The battle raged on again. Zaon had Protected Yunalesca to keep her resistance strong against attacks. Sin also had two floating ruins that helped with the onslaught. The High Summoner and her Knight managed to take the fixtures down but at a painful cost. After a healing prayer, Zaon turned to Yunalesca, and she met his gaze unwaveringly. Sin screamed again wickedly. The cry shook the destroyed building they stood upon. Yunalesca and Zaon glared at the beast together.
Zaon moved closer to his wife and opened his soul up to her again. He was ready. Yunalesca brought her hands to his shoulder and thanked him in a whisper. Their kiss was brief, and Zaon passed his halberd over to his wife. Yunalesca drew away from him; Zaon took in a breath and marched determinedly towards Sin.
Sin cried out, trying to shake the Guardian's resolve. Zaon matched the noise with a fearsome battle cry of his own. He was not afraid. For Spira, for Zanarkand, for Yunalesca – he would give himself to bring down this beast!
Yunalesca gave the halberd a reverent kiss before moving forward. Zaon choked on his blood as his weapon stabbed through his chest. Even through the pain, he stared Sin down with a hateful expression. He felt Thunder shock through his form. His heart beat erratically in his chest. As the shock faded, Zaon's heartbeat began to fade with it. Dying was easy. The rest was up to Yunalesca.
The High Summoner brought the halberd closer to her form. She didn't mourn her beloved. She felt nothing but endless gratitude for his efforts. Even at the end, he was a strong man. The floating ruins returned, and Sin gained a second wind. Yunalesca prayed loudly as she fought the enemies off on her own. Each strike that landed wounded her; she felt her body go weak when hit by a powerful wave of energy. These floating ruins were nuances!
Yunalesca channeled her power into Zaon's halberd. Thrusting out her arms, she summoned a great power. Her final move. She called out to the Farplane as she heard a collection of whispers.
A horse's whinny cut through the air. The clouds overhead swirled above her head. As they drew closer, the clay red sky darkened into night. The clouds collected and began to shine radiantly, becoming a false moon.
Sin swiped out for her. The floating ruins lashed out to attack her with malicious spells and energy waves. Moonlight shone down like a curtain, protecting Yunalesca from the malicious attacks. Sin recoiled. Its wing rebounded against the shield crashed into one of the ruins, causing it to fall and break apart. Its twin bobbed. Yunalesca felt its power increase.
Just then, the moonlight shone brighter. The Lady threw her head back and peered up to the sky. A sword materialised and descended upon her. Before it landed, a stallion jumped over Sin. An armoured hand grasped the hilt of the massive broadsword. The unstable building shook as the giant horse's hooves crashed onto the ground. Odin pulled at the reigns and rounded the horse to stand before Yunalesca. She stared up at her aeon and smiled softly. Her expression hardened with determination as she faced Sin.
Odin's stallion reared back before trotting in place. Odin ran his thumb against the length of his sword. As the sparks went up, Odin cast his hand out and struck Sin with a Flare. Odin's cape fluttered down behind his back after his attack. Yunalesca brought a hand up to her heart.
“Come, Father. We shall Send you to your rest.”