Character Name: Nekaru
World: Bismark
Linkshell: LittleBusters/Unrockbar
Race: Mithra
Job/Level: Thief 30 (34 current, 30 when story took place)

Palborough Mines. The place dug on the outskirts of Bastok by proud Humes and noble
Galka. Now the home of the Quadav. I find myself going there time and time again. I
like the dark tunnels with lots of places to hide. I like digging into the rocks to
find what lies beneath. And most of all I like finding the secrets that the Galka of
old left behind. Today was a one of those days for learning another of those
secrets.

The trip started like any other, run through the mines, finding what I could,
killing any Quadav who saw me. Even though I must admit, sometimes I let myself be
seen just so I can kill one of them. I don’t know what it is about them, but they
make my skin crawl. Although it could be that I see them as obstacles keeping me
from getting the information I hope to find buried within this mine. When I was
finished I made it to the top floor and activated the boat to the Zeruhn Mines in
Bastok.

As I got out of the boat in the Zeruhn Mines there was a heavily armored Galka
standing there with a look of indecision on his face. As I approched him he looked
at me and struck up a conversation. Apparently he was the Dark Knight Zied who ha
d disappeared many years ago. He, like me, was spending his time killing Quadavs.
Although as he said it, he looked like he carried a large weight of sadness. When I
asked him about it, he said it was the pain of power, the pain of a Dark Knight. He
then asked if I wanted to learn the secrets about the Dark Knights. And I never pass
up a chance to learn something new, so I took him up on the offer.

He took his sword from his back and told me that the sword was thirsty and needed
blood. I needed to spill the blood of many foes with this blade until its thirst had
been satisfied, and then meet him again at Beadeaux and he would tell me more. He
didn’t look back as he went on his way, and I didn’t watch him leave as I was still
looking at the monolithic sword that stood before me. But the words stayed with me
and I vowed to myself I would complete this task and learn the secret.

The next morning, I woke up and told Moogle that I wanted to learn how to fight with
a Great Sword. Moogle looked at me kind of funny and asked “Why, master? You’ve been
doing quite well as a Thief, why the sudden change of heart?”

“This isn’t a change of heart, I just want to learn what it’s like so I’ll know what
I’m dealing with as a Thief.”

“Okay Master, but to do that you’ll have to be a Warrior, and I see you’ve had no
training in the skills of a Warrior yet.”

I heard what Moogle was telling me, but it fell on deaf ears at the time. There was
a secret to be found out, and I would find it out no matter what. “I know, but I
have to learn sometime don’t I?”

“Very well Master.” Then Moogle did some Moggle Magic and I felt reborn with the
skills of a Warrior, or lack thereof.

I thought I should start out easy, so I went south from Bastok Mines to South
Gustaburg. I knew there were bees and worms there that I should be able to kill
easily and start the evil sword’s blood drinking. As I got out there I found a bee
who would be my first opponent using this unwieldy blade. As I got close I hefted
the sword off of my back and swung in mightily at the bee. And it missed completely
and buried itself into the ground beside the bee who the proceeded to start stinging
me. After taking time to get the blade out of the ground and try to swing it again,
the bee and stung me three times!

After that horrific battle was over, a passing White Mage took pity on me, healed
me, and cast a high-level protection spell on me. This helped me for multiple
reasons. First, I used the protection to take out more monsters to feed the blade as
I learned to wield it. Since the heavy blade was a much greater challenge for my
strength than the daggers I was used to, I could understand how Galka could easily
swing swords like this around. But it took all my strength as a Mithra to even lift
the blade, which made trying to hit a target with it almost impossible.

The other lesson I learned was I was making a complete fool of myself, and so I
shouldn’t be doing this training out in the open. So back to Zeruhn Mines I went. It
was closed off, and had the dark tunnels in which I felt more at ease, and here I
could train against bats and worms until I felt comfortable and until the sword was
satisfied.

After many days of training with that sword it began to glow a faint red. I think
its hunger was finally fed. At least I hoped that is what it meant. Since I was
tired of carrying such a large weapon. I was tired of the pain of missing my target
half the time. I was tired of not knowing any Weapon Skills that would do any
damage. And I thought to myself of all the pain I had endured physical, emotionally,
mentally, and I just fell to my knees completely drained. All my energy was sapped
away and I collapsed next to the bloodied black sword Chaosbringer.

When I awoke, I had recovered some and found my resolve and began my trip to
Beadeaux. As I road the chocobo to the Quadav stronghold there I thought to myself,
“For all the pain and suffering I put into learning this weapon and feeding its
hunger this secret better be really good!”

As I entered the area Zeid appeared, he looked as if he had been expecting me. He
took the blade from me and examined it. “I see you have learned to bear the weight
of that blade” he said, “It is the weight of the lives you have taken with it.”

He handed Chaosbringer back to me. “It is up to you to choose whether or not you
will walk down the bloody path of the Dark Knight. But it might be wise to confront
your past, first, before you make your decision.”

“So, what’s the secret to the Dark Knight then? What makes it powerful?”

“Look into yourself, don’t you feel the pain and anguish of all those you have
vanquished? Do you see the joy and elation it brought you? That is where the
strength and power of a Dark Knight comes from. It is only something that can be
experienced, words alone can’t convey the teachings.”

“I see, I understand. But, what about my past? What do you know? I’m from Bastok but
I’m not from Bastok originally.”

With that I saw an odd expression on the normally grim looking face; Zeid smiled
warmly at me. “My child, I’ve heard about you from your mentor in Bastok. You have
your own past to deal with before you can walk the dark path I do. Explore the world
more, and then make your decision about what you will become.”

As he turned away and headed deeper into Beadeaux he said, “Don’t worry, when the
time comes, we will meet again.”

I now knew what it was to trade your life and soul for power. But Zeid was right,
now wasn’t the time for me to even be thinking about something like that. I still
have a lot of my own unanswered questions that I need my skills as a Thief to
uncover. But I will never forget the days that have been emblazoned upon my soul
when I was a Dark Knight in training.

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