Title: Kinoc at 25
Notes: Requested by muggy_mountain.
Kinoc stood on the ramparts of St. Bevelle, the rising sun at his back as the banners whipped in the wind. Bells rang out overhead, pealing their message of celebration in his honor. In half an hour, he would return to the temple, surrounded by cheering warrior monks, and kneel before the Maester to be rededicated to Yevon and named second in command of the warrior monks, answerable only to the High Commander and to the Maester himself.
His heartbeat quickened at the heady thought, and he gripped the rail to keep from pitching over the edge. Power. It was all he had ever wanted: the right to wield a sword and hold power over the actions of men. Shorter and softer than most of the others called to serve, he had always known that his route to the upper echelons of Yevon would require a subtle touch. So he taught himself quickness and stealth, cunning and strategy. And magic -- he'd discovered his aptitude for the magical arts, both white and black, early on, and he had learned as many spells and techniques as he could, soaking up knowledge from the priests and elders whenever he could spare time from his warrior's training. Only summoning remained beyond him, and that was a role he had never coveted. He preferred to work within the ranks, building alliances and his reputation, never outshining anyone, always slipping in from behind.
And it had worked. So well that he'd manage to whisk this promotion out from under the nose of the man everyone else had expected to get it, himself included. All it had taken was a few words in the right ear, and here he was, ruler of all he surveyed -- save the two old men above him, but he expected they would be gone soon enough -- while his friend and rival was cast out in disgrace and sent on an impossible quest. Even now, Kinoc could see him in the distance, red coat slung over his shoulders, sword strapped to his back, walking down the long pilgrimage road.
Yes, it had all come together, exactly as he had planned, and soon he would walk through the doors of St. Bevelle to reap the reward he had earned. Even if, watching Auron's crimson-clad back disappear into the Macalania Forest, the victory tasted like ashes in his mouth. If that was the only price, he could pay it, and count himself lucky.
Title: Auron at 34
Notes: Requested by lucil_luzzu.
"Hey mister! You gonna buy that?"
The man in the red coat glanced up from the dagger he had been toying with for the last half hour or so. Dacey had seen him in the store several times before, wandering the aisles like a ghost, his movements oddly silent for a man of his size, picking up knives, daggers, even the occasional sword, testing their edges, then putting them back down. As far as she knew, the only item he'd ever purchased was a pair of heavy black boots, just like the ones he was wearing now. But he hadn't bought them from Dacey; she'd been with another customer at the time, so she'd never heard him speak. Sometimes she wondered if he even could.
She wondered a lot of things about him. There were many reasons that he stood out from the usual clientele at Fine Weaponry of Zanarkand: his broad shoulders, his grizzled cheeks, the arm he perpetually wore in a sling, the scar that cut across the right side of his face. Most of their customers were hot-headed, loud-talking young men and women, arming themselves for an excursion to sea or for the sparring matches held in the blitz arena during the off-season. Fiends showed up so rarely in Zanarkand that most people didn't take arms and armor all that seriously. Something about this guy told Dacey a different story.
"My apologies," the man said as Dacey approached. His voice was rougher than she had expected it to be.
"No worries, it's not like it's busy today." She glanced around at the nearly-empty shop. "I just wanted to make sure you didn't need help or something."
"No. I was just thinking. Thank you for your concern." Setting the dagger back on the shelf, he nodded to her, then turned around, coat swirling around his knees, and strode to the door. He pushed it open and was gone, disappearing into the crowded marketplace, leaving all of Dacey's questions unanswered in his wake.