(The following is an excerpt from the Durai papers.)
We've made camp on the familiar plains of Lenalia Plateau. This simple layout of shallow grasses and rocky mounds has been our home away from home since the very beginning, and now, appropriately, serves as the spot upon which our collective will spend its final peaceful evening. Orbonne Monastery beckons to us just over the horizon, its facade stolid and grim, like a funeral dirge. Within a few hours, we will be inside, confronting the Lucavi in a battle that will surely decide the fate of all Ivalice and beyond. We few, we very fortunate few, will be witnesses to history, and I can only pray it is of our own making. Yet, as extraordinary as our circumstances are, it is my companions here that are truly worthy of history's note.
In my conversations with Ramza, I have learned that our leader believes our cause will remain eternally silent, and that, no matter the outcome, it will be the schemer Delita whose name resides in history. I sincerely hope he is incorrect, but unfortunately, hope is the only objection I can find. Blessedly, the people who join me around this campfire do not share my concern for this fact, or for the eye of posterity at all. We all have our own greater cause to serve, and in its pursuit, each one of us has become something truly remarkable. Indeed, as I look at the faces of my comrades, I can say with no doubt nor hesitation that the sixteen of us in this camp tonight compose the single, most powerful fighting force in recorded history.
There are those of us here whom enter with their own legends, their own stories which will surely blossom through the roots of history, and whom I myself have reported on in an earlier volume. Among the luminaries who remain here are Agrias, the Hokuten's noble swordswoman; Mustadio, the innovator of the gun; Meliadoul, the former Temple Knight; Beowulf and Reis, the star-crossed lovers; Cloud, the hero of another world; and Orlandu, the legendary T.G. Cid himself, and a man utterly unconvinced of his own reputation.
But then, there are we, the meager. When the story of our journey is ultimately written, I believe it is those of us who were here from the start who will slip through the cracks, our actions thoughtlessly joined with those of the man who found us, the “heretic” Ramza Beoulve, who I firmly believe future generations will one day consider the true hero of the Lion War.
Of the five of us who originally joined Ramza on that fateful day in Gariland, Kuwabara, the monk, has emerged as our most stalwart ally. A self-described “force of nature” in his days at the academy, this bull-demon of a man has since replaced his untamed ego with pure, humble spirit. His demeanor never wavers from gentle optimism, and his knowledge of nature and self has evolved to the point where even magic cannot duplicate his skills. True to his youthful boast, the very earth itself now rises to meet his command, and his spiritual force can kill or heal with a mere touch. Since his awakening at Sand Rat Cellar, he has been perhaps the least emotionally disinterested in the purpose of our mission, stating simply that the planet itself dictates his movements- and given that our fight has brought us to the crossroads of history itself, there is no reason to disbelieve him. His faith in himself and in all of us has been the rock upon which we have conducted our war on fate, on inevitability, on the belief that only nobles can control history, and so as the planet has guided him, so has he guided us.
If Kuwabara is our rock, then Aday, our wizard, is the river, always moving, expanding, consuming everything in his path. Once a town priest, Aday used to invoked the name of St. Ajora in all that he did, including the study of magic. This faith of his eventually turned him into a master of all four schools of traditional wizardry, an authority of all things arcane, and, to those of us who once believed, a beacon of the glory of St. Ajora. We imagined this would all change the night we read the Germonik scriptures, and learned the truth about Ivalice's savior. Indeed, we were correct for a time- Aday became despondent and depressed, his once-potent magical energies then hardly strong enough to light a candle. Then, somehow, he performed a miracle. Legend had spoken of a way to invoke and transfer magical energies through logic, rather than faith, however, this had always been dismissed as bunk by most magical scholars, and it had driven to insanity all those who attempted to discover it. Who better, then, to unlock its secrets than a man who'd already been driven insane?
While Aday remains unpredictably neurotic, at times frighteningly so, his newfound ability to use mathematics themselves to project his will is, frankly, otherworldly. He speaks entirely in equations and figures, and even claims to see numbers inside people, numbers which he then transfers through an impossible string of calculations- about six or seven notebooks full of them now- to come up with a resonance he can then use to affix any spell he can think of. The effects are horrifying- I have seen him invoke the power of Holy itself upon entire squadrons at once. It is the height of fortune that while his instability has brought him power, his commitment to us, however unspoken, has never wavered. I shudder to think of the horrible cost of going up against the power of the Calculators.
Perhaps least affected of all of us by the revelations of Germonik is Raine, the summoner. Since our days together in the academy, she has regarded everything- people, nations, causes- with an educated, haughty disgust. Naturally, then, she would gravitate toward the aether, developing relationships with the creatures within far stronger than any she'd deign worthy of a human being. Cynical, disagreeable, negative beyond all reason, she fights with us merely because she considers us “the least of many evils”. Yet, for all her sneering discontent, she fights as passionately as any one of us, bringing the power of the eidolons themselves to our cause. She has tamed the most powerful creatures in the extradimensional plane through her ferocious will, even the mightiest of myths, Zodiac himself. She communes with him now, likely telling him, as she tells everyone, how hopeless we are.
We encountered Zodiac in the Deep Darkness, a place that may as well be a second home to Madiera, our thief. Sly, curvaceous, and libertine, Madiera is pure temptation poured into a ninja's costume- one into which she is currently slicing strategic nicks and cuts, each one inviting the masculine eye, baring just the right swatch of her caramel flesh. While she is a master with daggers and knives, it is seduction which serves as her most potent weapon. With just a flip of her hair or a sway of her hips, she has convinced members of our enemies' side to drop their morals, their beliefs, even their financial interests, and fight in her defense, only for her to rob them of their worldly possessions and send the poor boys home with broken limbs and broken hearts. Kuwabara calls her cruel. Raine calls her shameless. I consider her a genius. Half of the powerful weaponry in our possession has come from her swift, elegant hands- but perhaps more than that, her penchant for pranks and practical jokes keeps us on our toes, and never fails to add much-needed levity to our dark path.
There were five of us meager souls when we departed the academy with Ramza, but I feel the need to include here our adopted sixth: Chanel, our eternal ray of sunshine, and our living reminder that those souls aligned against us are not always wicked. A desperate peasant girl for most of her life, she was recruited by Gafgarion for her competence with a bow and her uncanny resemblance to Princess Ovelia. She was the bait for his trap at the Golgorand gallows, and the only one left on the battlefield after her commander had fled and her allies lay dead or dying around her. She struck at us like a blinded panther, aimless arrows flying everywhere as Raine closed in to deliver the killing blow. Ramza, following behind, gazed into her eyes and saw a frightened soul, one too kind for the rigors of war, a stark reminder of the last time he saw an innocent girl die on the battlefield. Our commander ordered our retreat. He would meet us some hours later with the girl in tow, tears dried into her childish face, clinging to him for dear life. From this wretched soul, he would create the sweet, sunny dancer we now know today, a vibrant, indomitable spirit whose faith in our captain and our cause infects us all even in our darkest times. While Madiera uses her body as an effective tool, Chanel now uses hers as her sole weapon, one she uses to draw the life force itself out of our adversaries. The only thing I can compare it to is my own voice, the eldritch power of which I still have no comprehension. Her only sadness comes from her failed attempts to repay Ramza in kind. From where I sit, I can see her body sway with the wind, and I can tell from her frequent glance that she would much rather be performing in our leader's tent.
It may be for the best, though. Ramza tells of how he fights for the love of his sister alone, the kind of small concern which fuels us all. The fate of humanity, after all, is too enormous a burden to bear at all times, and so we each have found a microcosm of such to aid us in this war. Chanel, of course, prays that rescuing Alma will lead Ramza's tired eyes to her elegant waltz. Kuwabara considers himself an extension of the Earth, and has tied himself to its fate. Raine wishes to prove herself a worthy inhabitant of the espers' world. Madiera, ever the anarchist, fights for her right to petty rebellion, to deny the Lucavi their totalitarian rule. Aday seeks sanity in an insane world, and fights to stamp the ultimate Q.E.D. on his theorems. And myself? I don't particularly know. Maybe just the simple pleasure of chasing a certain nimble thief from town to town for the rest of my days. As for the others, I leave their stories for another day, to another witness to history.
By the time you read this, Olan, the confrontation will be over, and our fate- the world's fate- will already have been decided. Regardless of what becomes of us, I hope these words find you and humanity in good health, and that your efforts lead to a rightful place in history for we, the meager.
Your humble and obedient bard,