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That One NPC

Final Fantasy VIII (Tribute Series)

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Posted (edited)

Introduction Part 1

The Man They Called Stryker


"They used to call me Stryker. Some of my friends still do.

Hans Venechenko is my real name, but it tastes of blood. Hans was a soldier. He killed a lot of innocent people for a lot of evil men.

Stryker was a rebel. He killed a lot of evil men and saved a lot of innocent lives... I like Stryker, but I've been learning to like Hans again. Because Stryker has no place in this world we've created, and someone told me that Hans deserved a second chance. I miss him very much, that little blonde runt. Perhaps I'll see him again soon...

My name is Hans Venechenko. You probably don't know me, but you know our story...

You know her legacy..."





"Why was he buried here?" Hans asked with restrained fury. He stood beneath the towering branches of the Mana Tree in the company of an aging, ailing Dorian Cunin and cohorts. Dorian released a heavy sigh, surrounded by his aids and medical assistants.


 "It's an empty marker. Marrick's remains were never found," Dorian explained, raising a soft cloth to the corner of his lips, breathing visibly taxed.

"WHY, Dorian?!" Stryker held back tears as his wrinkled face scrunched with anger.

"Because he was one of you!" Dorian replied, hacking afterward. His aides hovered around him, injecting him with a mysterious serum and offering him water from a flask which he rejected with irritation.

Hans turned swiftly to face him and two aides stepped forward, blocking any advancements toward Dorian. He may have wanted to grab him, lift him out of that chair and shake him senseless, but he wasn't about to harm a sick old man. Stryker was just upset, feeling betrayed.


"He betrayed us!" Hans yelled, his only thoughts of that traitor resting so close to Ana, Biggs and Cas. It made him physically sick.

"He tried to save his people, and when he discovered Sarovoc's plan to deceive Whiteguard he died trying to kill him!"

Stryker was taken aback, filled with conflicting emotion. His gaze shied away and wandered to the empty grave marker. Marrick's white scarf was still tied firmly to the wooden cross. It was dirty, weathered and torn. Hans recalled that day twenty-two years ago when Marrick drew his pistol on the group, clutching Seto's pendant in his right hand.



"Give the pendant to Seto, Marrick..."

"I'm afraid I can't do that old friend..."


The pain and guilt in Marrick's eyes made sense now.

"There had to have been another way..."

"Whiteguard would cease to exist had Marrick not done what he did," Dorian reassured him.

"And if that monster had gained control of Bahamut?"

"He would never have allowed it. He would have died first."


Hanz remained silent as they lingered beneath the Mana Tree, the sun setting behind the graves of his fallen comrades.

Edited by That One NPC

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Posted (edited)

Introduction Part 2

The Haunted Man

Rough, coarse talons thundered across sandy rock. An old, battle hardened chocobo dashed across open desert cliffs with a cloaked rider on its heavily geared saddle. His long, bright yellow feathers surrounded his face like a lion's mane. He poured his heart into every stride, keeping himself low to the ground as he cruised across the rock face.


He drew to a stop as he reached a cliff face overlooking the sprawling Zenobian Desert. Far away, the ruins of Old Zenobia that still stood could be faintly seen peeking over the horizon. Closer, away from that unholy place, a fresh civilization had been growing fast. New Zenobia...


The rider's face was concealed beneath a heavy cloak and hood. He had grey hair that hung over his aged face. He had sapphire eyes to tell a thousand tales of woe. The eyes of a warrior; a soul deprived of it's desires. He remained there, gazing off into the breath taking view. He removed a spy glass from his travel gear and extended the shaft, peering into the lens.


"I sometimes come here. I don't know what I hope to find. Why I travel so far to this place...


Each time I tell myself 'I'll go down... I'll see what lurks in the wake of this abomination.' But I cannot show myself there...


The guilt still haunts me... She.. still haunts me..."




That One NPC



Inspired by Squaresoft's Body of Work From 1987-1999

Created by M.J. Saulnier(That One NPC)


Dedicated to Hironobu Sakaguchi, and Final Fantasy fans everywhere

Edited by That One NPC

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Posted (edited)


The Last Right of Hades



The blood-stained spearhead of Wedge Armstrong's qiang glistened in the rays of a setting Andoran sun. Crimson drops of Gallik Baal'ian blood splattered on the plush green grass beneath his feet. He wore a red bandana around his forehead which danced in a cool evening breeze. He was much older now. Forty-five to be exact. His black hair had begun to fade and grey ever so slightly. His blue eyes were as sharp as a hawk's as he stared downward, spear cradled under his right armpit at the ready.


At his feet lay a soldier, throat slashed, body lifeless. He had been the first to approach, and the first to die.


"I have no quarrel with any of you," Wedge explained calmly, eyes darting from side to side. He was surrounded by men clad in various degrees of black armor wielding longswords. "But I cannot allow you to harm the people of this village."


It was no use. Their slain brother would be avenged, or so they had hoped.


One of the men advanced from Wedge's rear left. With one calculating backward thrust of his right hand, the shaft of the spear crossed his back and sunk into the throat of the Gallik Baal'ian soldier. As the qiang made contact, the man had already swung his sword toward Wedge's neck. He raised his left hand swiftly, ducking away with a quick step as he forced the blade high and avoided the strike.


As he finished his evasive step, he took a forward stance, gripping the qiang with both hands. His monk training had come a long way. Casius' gift to the few whum had called him a friend.


The soldier grasped his throat as two more lunged forward from either side before him, swords at the ready. Wedge whipped the qiang to his left, forcing it back to the right at the last second. The soft, durable wood flexed back to the left as he guided the shaft to the right. The spearhead slashing the Gallik Baal'ian's throat with a vibrant spray of crimson droplets. A very rare, special, waxy wood was used to make this qiang just for him.


He followed through toward the second attacker who blocked the strike with a counter swing Wedge deflected quickly with a twisting of the wrist which snapped the shaft against his sword, sending it away from his body. He countered with a quick push kick followed by a vicious thrust to the eye socket.


He yanked his qiang from the lifeless skull as his victim collapsed to the ground, performing a flawless overhead spin into a low forward stance, spear tucked under his right armpit.

The remaining soldiers reevaluated. They had never seen a simple spear used so efficiently.


Wedge pressed the pace, lunging forward as he swung his weapon in a full circle around his entire body. As he landed he would sink quick thrusts into unarmored areas of his foes bodies before performing another 360 lunging attack.


One by one he picked them all apart using his qiang and Veltdian martial arts in perfect harmony. He left only three wounded soldiers. Two of them could not speak for they had collapsed windpipes from carefully placed strikes to the soft tissue of the throat. After executing those useless to him, he approached the third soldier, who had over seven deep stab wounds all over his lightly armored body.


"Who are you?" Wedge asked sternly, standing over him, covered in his comrades blood.


The soldier hesitated before smiling.

"We are The Last Right of Hades," he explained as he shivered within death's creeping embrace. "And we have come to kill you all."

Wedge wasted no time thrusting his spear through the dying man's eye socket. As quickly as it had begun, this conflict had ended.




I may rewrite the combat portions of this post down the road.


Edited by That One NPC

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Vibrant, colorful flower pedals spun into a blurry circular shape. Tanius Magnus rolled the stem of a wild flower between his index finger and thumb, eyes closed as he savored the sweet aroma. He sat against the wall of Britanny, a small Andoran town on the southern border along the killing fields of Meekash Canyon. He sold flowers to townsfolk and travelers from the outer wall, and had for some time now. The people of Britanny had allowed him to operate outside their city, but they were weary of entry. Black Mages were not a popular kin among common human folk like Andorans, although they upheld a cautious respect for the reputation of the dark skinned folk for being attuned to magic and having a rather large, intimidating physical build.


Tanius opened his smokey, solid white eyes slowly, glancing up from his wild flower at a group of men clad in black armor. Among them, a tall warlord in full plate armor. He held a decorative longsword at the ready in his left hand. The men remained silent, and Tanius-although aware of what was about to transpire-remained perfectly calm and polite.


He took a bouquet of wildflowers in hand, holding it up to the mysterious black knight.


"Flowers, good sir?" He said kindly in a deep, rumbling voice.


The knight slapped the bouquet out of Tanius' hand violently with a swift right backhand swing.


Tanius took a deep breath, locking eyes with the man from behind his black full helm.




The stench of smoke and death hit Wedge Armstrong like a brick wall as he made his way toward a ruined town on horse back. He was accompanied by a group of lawmen and rangers. Among them were Hector Shaw and his eldest son Ruffus.


As they drew nearer to the devastation, Wedge dismounted his white horse in a panicked state, rushing to the body of a slain Black Mage slumped against the city wall. Hector and Ruffus were right behind him and the others broke off to inspect the rest of the town.


The three men stood before the fallen warrior of The Veldt.


"Poor fella didn't stand a chance," Hector said indifferently, a touch of compassion in his rough, tired old voice.


Wedge lowered his head, closing his eyes tightly in pain. Tears streamed down his tanned, weathered cheeks. He took a moment to swallow his grief and collect himself, shaking his head every so slightly.


"He could have killed them all, " he explained, voice still strangled by his sorrow.


Ruffus looked at Wedge quickly, an expression of confusion across his youthful face.


"Who was he to you?" Ruffus asked curiously.


Wedge took a moment, examining the evidence left behind in the struggle and following conflict, but he already had a hunch as to who was responsible.


"My sensei... His people, the ones who fought for us against Zenobia, they took a vow of peace when the war was over."


Ruffus was speechless. He stared at the fallen Veltdian monk with admiration and confusion.


"Why wouldn't he fight? He just let these people die."


Wedge turned around, heading back for his horse.


"You had to have been there to understand, kid," Wedge explained calmly.


"Where are you headed, Armstrong?" Hector asked him as he mounted his horse.


"I'm going to find the people who did this... And I'm going to kill every last one of them."



Edited by That One NPC

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A young woman made her way down a busy street of a small Andoran town. She stood about 5'4" from the ground and had long blonde hair braided into a long, thick tail. She wore a heavy mantle and cloak over a green qipao with gold and white detail designs, and a long white sash around her petite waist. Her legs were bound in cloth and she wore soft leather sandals on her feet. Her forearms were covered by thick, heavy metal bracers lined with layers of cloth. She had sapphire eyes, tanned skin, and a glowing, angelic face.

As she scanned the crowds looking for someone or something, she heard a faint scream coming from behind her. As she gave a glance of her right shoulder, she collided with someone. As her attention returned to the situation in front of her an elderly woman watched helplessly as her basket of fruit and vegetables fell to the dusty street, rolling and scattering everywhere.

"I'm so sorry, ma'am," she said humbly, swooping to the ground. She stood the basket up, collecting items and returning them to it as quickly as she could. The crowds moved more quickly and she ignored the commotion as constantly shifting feet kicked the fruit and vegetables around the street, making it hard for her to correct her mistake, and she grew irritated with the crowds.

Her frustration was cut short as a blood curdling scream penetrated the hustle and bustle of the market street. Her hands stopped working and she slowly stood up, gazing down the street to find men clad in black armor entering the town with weapons drawn.

One man spilled onto the street from a structure holding a screaming woman by the hand. She resisted him and he cut her down in the street as if she were a creature that had wandered into the town and become hostile in its confusion.

Confusion grew to horror, and horror to rage.


She headed toward the men, navigating the now chaotic crowd of citizens fleeing the scene of the killing. Andorans had been through enough wars and conflicts to know when it's not safe to be standing around. A man passed her with a frantic look in his eyes. he grasped her right bicep firmly with his right hand. "You must come. It's not safe," he pleaded desperately, genuinely concerned for her safety given the direction she was walking.


She quickly placed her left hand over the entire thumb portion of his hand, rolling her hand over his, forcing his grip off of her arm. In the same motion, she extended her right arm to his rib cage beneath the armpit, gently shoving him away from her, releasing his hand as she did so.


She continued toward the men, a steadfast resolve in the cores of her sparkling sapphire gems.

Edited by That One NPC

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"Fan out and kill them all!" the Gallik Baal'ian Captain shouted ferociously, and yet with a calm, casual composure. They seemed without a sense of morality; without regard for life.


A young woman stood in the quickly emptying street. A husky, lightly armored man approached her, but his attention was bound to the fleeing crowds. He gave her a glance, his eyes lingering on her slender form. He licked his lips, rolling his right wrist, giving a twirl of the sword he held. Underestimating her, he gave a quick, absent-minded thrust of his sword toward her torso.


She swayed her body to her left, catching his wrist in her right palm, pulling it past her side. Bringing all her momentum back to her right she vertically struck the outside of his elbow with her left forearm, snapping it instantly. He screamed in agony as the sword dropped from his limp hand. She brought her left hand down 90° grasping his wrist tightly. As she did so, she released the now limp wrist from her right hand with a savage, blinding open palm strike to the face, pulling his broken arm toward her as her right hand placed opposing force on his neck. His head was forced back, contorting and hyper-extending his spinal column, cutting his scream of pain short. It all happened so fast you could have missed it, giving him virtually no time to react given his basic military training with a heavy focus on the use of weapons to control the situation and deliver damage.


His helmet was knocked clean off his head by the sheer force and upward momentum of the strike. He hit the ground hard, a slumped mess of dead weight as his comrades looked on with perplexity and anger. His helmet rolled to a stop in the middle of the dusty street.


She took a low kokutsu-dachi stance with her right foot to the rear, her eyes always on the ground before her. She closed them slowly, drawing a deep, long breath. The sound of the fleeing crowd behind her washed away. All become silent now, only the sound of her breath and heart beat remaining. This young woman had been honing her senses from as early as she could walk. The key to Veldtian martial arts was not just skill and training, but mastering ones senses. A joining of mind, body and spirit on every level imaginable. That was what made it so desirable as a discipline for non-Veldtians. Nothing remotely close to it existed anywhere else in the world.


Her eyes shot open as she heard the scuffling of feet over dust and the light clanging of armor.


A man was before her, winding up for a savage horizontal swing of his razor sharp sword. She pushed off her right foot, anchoring her body her with left, She swung around, her back to her attacker, clutching his blade hand with her right, sinking a devastating left elbow into his rib cage that staggered him backward. She tugged his right hand as she raised her right leg, bent at the knee. As he was yanked toward her again, her right foot snapped out, connecting with his jaw line with force. He dropped his sword, nearly falling to the ground. He became angry in his embarrassment and he rushed her, throwing a heavy right hand in her direction. She stepped backward, taking care to avoid any contact. With a circular motion of her left hand from the outside, up over the top, she blocked his strike, forcing his arm to the outside. With a calculating step forward, she landed a blistering open palm strike to the soldier's face. Another in repetition with her left palm, this time sinking deep into his abdomen. Another right to the soft tissue of the left side of his throat, and he was stumbling to his backside in the middle of the street.


She once again took her kokutsu-dachi stance, calmly awaiting her next opponent. Her heart pounded out of her chest. There was no shortage of fear here. She had never actually fought hostile opponents with weapons, much less those who were trying to kill her.

Edited by That One NPC

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Stryker sat in a simple tavern on the outskirts of Kiratoma. He responsibly sipped his ale while engaging in conversation with local members of a Ranger party charged with monitoring activity in the Kiratoma region.


"No, it was twenty-seven Zeno troops, and he killed them all with his bare hands," Stryker corrected one of the older men. "Yeah. Cas was one hell of a man."


One of the men in the far corner of the room spoke up abruptly, the ale strangling his voice and composure. "Weren't no man! Goddamn dark-skins ain't no more than animals!"

Stryker leered down the bar at the drunken bigot with a fiery malice burning in the cores of his hazel eyes. As he prepared to stand up, he felt a hand gently place itself upon his own. He looked back at the bar tender who shook his head subtly. Stryker released a slow, heavy sigh. He was about to speak again when a young boy burst into the tavern in a panicked state.


"Mr. Stryker, sir. A strange man appeared out by the creek! He's wearin' an awful lot'a armor, sir. I thought you'd wanna know," the boy said frantically.


"Where is he now?" Stryker asked intently, unsure of what to make of it.


"Still at the creek, sir. Suzy's teachin' him to play Triple Triad!"


Stryker leaped from his bar stool and the Rangers followed hastily.







Little Suzy sat in a patch of wild grass under a tall tree by the creek. She wore a soft pink dress and her brown hair was tied into pigtails. She giggled as she played a hand of Triple Triad with a mysterious man wearing heavy, decorative silver and blue armor. His legs were crossed as he examined the game with both confusion and curiosity. He seemed to radiate a soft white light from his form. He did not speak, only fumble with the cards before him on the simple wooden board with nine card slots.


Stryker approached with a troop of Rangers and concerned citizens.


"Suzy!" He called out calmly but with a sense of urgency. "Come here now. Your parents are worried about you. They want you to come on home."


"Come, Suzy." Her brother said nervously, standing behind Stryker.


The mysterious man raised his head a bit, giving a slight turn of his chin.


One of the rangers raised his bow, drawing the string back as he aimed carefully. Stryker moved quickly, extending his left hand to lower the bow by force.


"What the hell are you doing?" Styrker asked quietly, shoving the young man back, yanking the bow out of his hand, tossing it on the ground. "Get him outta here, now!"


He returned his focus to the glowing man. He was fearful and curious at the same time. He had seen things... but nothing quite like this.


Suzy gathered her cards and board, smiling at the strange warrior who remained calm and silent. "I have to go home now, mister." She stood up, hugging her Triad board as she hurried to her father.


The warrior stood up slowly, turning around to face the group. He was tall, large, and the flesh of his face was pale; inhuman. While he had human qualities, he lacked certain others.

Stryker turned around, facing Suzy, kneeling down to her level. "Did he speak to you?" he asked her.


She hid behind her father's pant leg, nodding shyly.


"What did he say?"

"He doesn't like fighting. But his duty..." She got confused, couldn't remember it all.


Stryker nodded. "You did good, sweet heart." He stood up, facing the mysterious warrior once again. He hesitantly stepped forward.


"Who are you?" He asked curiously. "Where did you come from?"


No response.


An older man stepped forward, a deep expression of thought and perplexity upon his face. He was a scholar. Had lived through the Zenobian wars. He was a very smart man who had extensive knowledge of history and lore.


"I think...he's been called to arms."


Stryker observed him with uncertainty and a sense of fear.


"Yeah...but by who? And why?"

Edited by That One NPC

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The young lady stood her ground. Her entire body was ready for her next attacker. Her heart pounded with fear and adrenaline, but her mind remained calm, focused, and her spirit, ever brave and vigilant. She would not waver, even if she died here today.


A slender, unstable looking fellow forced his way to the front of the group. He was wild and filthy, grime and blood smearing his pale, boney face. He had long, greasy black hair that dangled at shoulder length in wavy, curly locks around his face. He flashed a rotten, yellow and brown smile that was both disturbing and disgusting. He held a very old, dirty spear in his right hand. It was long, thick, and the tassel had been soaked with blood that was now dried, crusty and rotten. Everything about this individual was unsettling; like something from one of her childhood nightmares.


He giggled, a slight hunch to his posture as he made his way toward her through the empty street. Behind him, to her right, another soldier held a bow with a full quiver peeking over his right shoulder. She saw him quickly draw an arrow from it and load the draw string, pulling back as he took aim directly for her. Things were spiraling downward by the moment. Spears were hard to deal with when in the right hands, and arrows were even worse.


The slender nightmare continued toward her, taking short, quick steps to either side, trying to toy with her. He held his spear casually at his hip, still in his right hand. This time she didn't think they were going to let her get away with incapacitating another one of their men. The archer would take her down the moment she dealt with this unsavory creep. Still she stood her ground.


The disgusting, spear-wielding creep drew his right hand back for a savage thrust of his spear. These people seemed to favor brute force with little to no skill or calculation driving the act itself. The spearhead whistled toward her with surprising speed, but reaction speed was somewhat of a strength of hers. Her right hand shot into action, crossing to her left side, grasping the shaft just below the dirty spearhead, beginning to turn her body with a small hopping step of her right foot. Her right hand helped guide the spear past her body as she torqued her hips around, back toward to her attacker. Her left foot rose, hooking wide into a quick, hard heel kick that landed with so much force against his cheek that it stung her heel badly. The creep collapsed unconscious as her body swung back around and her left foot found ground again.


Now came the tricky part. The archer had already fired upon her as she expected. She'd never caught an arrow before, but there's a first time for everything, right? I mean, how hard could it be?


It took a mere microsecond for the reality to sink in for her. She could catch a spear, sword or the hand holding it, but she didn't stand a chance at catching a speeding, razor sharp arrow.


Before she could flinch, or even raise a hand, something amazing happened. Almost as if riding a ray of light from the sky itself, a large figure wearing heavy white robes landed before her, placing itself between her and the arrow. It landed in a hunched, kneeling posture, kicking up dust in all directions. The impact was so strong it forced her footing backward, stumbling to her back in the street.


A tall, massive man slowly rose holding the now harmless arrow in his right hand. The flesh of his hand, and the back of his bald head was dark and ashy. It was a Black Mage.


He snapped the arrow in half with ease, dropping it into the dust beneath his feet. The young lady rose to her feet hastily, once again taking her low kokutsu-dachi stance, but hesitant, cautious of both the soldiers, and this mystery mage, despite his seeming to have protected her.


This day had gone horribly wrong for the young woman, who was only looking for her uncle to deliver a message. What the hell had she gotten herself into?




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The robed mage advanced in huge, leaping strides in either direction, shifting and torqueing his body from side to side with each massive step. He kept his arms tight to his sides, bent at the elbow, preparing to unleash a devastating series of attacks upon his foes. As he reached the line of men, the soldier before him prepared himself, sword gripped with both hands held in front of him. The mage twisted his body to the left, shifting his feet for a full body spin. He ceased the soldier's left and rear grip hand with his large, ashy right hand. Spinning flawlessly and with savage speed he came around, knocking him unconscious with a crushing left elbow that removed him from the fight in less than a second. He immediately followed through with a right open palm strike to the face of the soldier who had been standing behind him, completely unprepared. It bent the nose guard of his helmet into his facial structure, shattering his nose and incapacitating him instantly.


As he finished the vicious strike, the man to his left had swung around the line toward his back. He caught the movement in his peripherals as he heard the soldier release a small battle cry of fear and desperation. His left hand shot out to grasp the right sword hand of his would-be assassin. The mage's body twisted sharply as he bent at the left knee, right knee dropping toward the ground. His right hand came down, fingers extended flush with his forearm, tightly grouped together. He drove the points into the inside sword arm elbow joint, causing him to scream in agony, hand still clutching the sword. His right elbow immediately shot up the length of the soldier's bicep as he pulled his wrist down, striking him hard along the lower jawline, knocking him out and shattering his jaw bone. As he collapsed the mage applied pressure to the tendons of his wrist, forcing his grip open enough for the sword to drop, allowing him to quickly snag it from mid-air.


He ducked and rolled to his left, away from the line as another sword narrowly slipped past his skull. Regaining his footing instantly, he spun the sword around, gripping it backward held behind his arm as a soldier ran at him, sword ready for a two-handed thrust clean through the heart. As the blade was forced toward him, attacker planting into his left foot to give the mightiest possible heave of his weapon, tossing all his weight behind it.


The mage spun on his right foot, twisting his body to allow the sword to pass by his back. As he swung around he threw a low kick to the left ankle, completely compromising the soldier's footing, clutching his fore grip sword hand in the same motion, prying a second sword free of it's former wielder. The soldier collapsed, rolling out of a swords range before stumbling to his feet and running back for the line of his men who had begun to advance in full.


The young woman looked on in awe and hesitation. She was frozen with disbelief and amazement.


Edited by That One NPC

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