The Redcrosse Knight
Interlude: letters 1
By fyre byrd
Balamb Garden, 230 Prospect Way, Balamb: Sept. 15th
To the incomparably anally retentive Sir Squall Esq.,
What, you didn't expect me to give you some standard greeting, did you? Don't expect it in the future either. I have to keep you on your toes through letters now since I can't in person.
Everyone here is either an insufferable suck up or a complete stiff. Well, my two friends Frances and Robert are okay, but don't let on that you know those are their names. We've got everyone calling them Raijin and Fujin. I stole it from that story you told me once about the thunder and lightning gods. We have taken it on as our personal duty to attempt to reform the entire student body of the unfortunate characteristics mentioned above, but we haven't had much success. They continue to bow and scrape to Cid and the Instructors and to study incessantly and follow all of the rules.
There are rules here for everything. I swear there must be a rule about the correct way to dispose of your used tissues when you have a cold. It's really stupid and I hate it so I find ways to break the rules whenever I can. That's what Raijin and Fujin and I do. I will here expound one of our better instances of rule breaking to you:
So, the food in this place is absolute crap. The cafeteria serves nothing but wilted salad, unrecognizable curry dishes, nasty smelling fish and hot dogs. Well, there are more things on the menu, but those items are fairly representative of what is available on any given day. Anyway, for some reason everyone is mad about the hotdogs. I don't know why, given they are tubes of unidentifiable meat which could be ground T-Rexaur for all anyone knows, or someone's pet dog, or even human flesh. Anyway, despite the questionable nature of these hotdogs everyone raves about them. So Raijin gets up early every Thursday (which is when they serve the foul things) and steals a whole lot of them while I charm the cafeteria ladies with my dazzling wit and handsome features. Then we sell them from the Quad for 200 gil apiece. Man, the students here are stupid.
Apparently the school can open any of the letters which we send out, so watch what you say, or they'll come and get you. Really, I doubt they ever read any of the student's letters. There must be hundreds that go out every week and I'm pretty sure the staff can't be arsed to monitor them all.
With warmest regards from your dashing heroic comrade in arms,
Kramer Orphanage, 432 Lakeview Drive, South Aegir: September 29th
To the scatterbrained pathetic noodle-limbed Sir Seifer Esq.,
You're weird, but I'm going to copy your charming greeting. Don't you remember Mrs. Kramer's lessons on letter writing? You're not supposed to write whole letters about yourself. You're supposed to show an interest in the other person as well. Okay, I can see why you wouldn't give a rat's ass about what is going on at the orphanage, but still, you have no manners, Seifer. I hope you know that.
So let me now acquaint you with the proper way of beginning a letter. Pretend the stuff I wrote above is not there for the purposes of this little lesson. Also, disregard the material set off in brackets, please:
I am very much obliged to you for your kind letter (which it isn't, by the way, what do you mean by calling me anally-retentive, you prick?), and I hope you will write again soon.
I hope this epistle finds you well, especially with the dire state of food you mentioned. (Although I have seen you eat pickles and chocolate cookies for lunch before so I don't see what you're complaining about, you freak). Everyone here is well. (Except for Irvine, but he's always been wrong in the head, as you know).
Okay well, that's enough of that, but you get the picture I think. Your letter writing skills are substandard and that's that. Now I guess I will respond to what you've said. In no particular order:
I compliment you on the quality of your rule breaking example. I couldn't have thought of a better plot than that. If you continue on the way you are going I am afraid you really will be expelled in no time at all. So what rules are there exactly? I'm curious.
I'm sorry that all of the students at the school are arse-lickers, but it is a school, Seifer. Why are you surprised that the students spend a lot of time studying? You're not going to flunk out and have to come back here and end up fondling fish guts in Aegir, are you? I want to have a friend when I go to Balamb who can show me the ropes.
The rules don't sound like fun, but again, what did you expect of an institution of that size? Order has to be maintained somehow. Also, it's a military institution, you moron. The military is notorious for its fondness for rules.
Also, it frightens me that these letters could be read. How can you be sure that they aren't being read? Should we establish some kind of encryption technique?
Your concerned ally,
The Most Regulated Regimented School ever, 230 Prospect Way, Balamb: Oct. 18th
To the Obsessively Correct Sir Squall Esq.,
I don't bother writing about you in my letters because both of us know that I am much more interesting than you are. Also more attractive and less girly, but you keep punching me when I point out your sweet long lashes and darling lips.
What is the purpose of all of this nonsense "proper way to open a letter" stuff? It's more stupid rules, that's what it is and I tell you I am not impressed by it. I can see that my influences are already wearing off of you Squall. You're becoming the shifty little squint-eyed rule abiding rodent that you were before I trained you to become lawless and wild. I am sad about this development, Squall. I cannot express the depths of my sadness to you in writing.
Also, I will have you know that my wit is sharpened to a razor's edge. It is so sharp that if you tried to approach it you would bleed all over it and then it would become soggy. I won't bother to correct the pathetic bit, because it is beneath my notice, but my limbs are nothing like noodles, they are strong as really strong stuff, like rocks, except rocks aren't pliable.
I personally think that military institutions should reward cunning in their students and not punish it. Where do military strategists come from, I ask you. Do they fall from trees? No, no my friend. Do they follow the rules? No, they do not. This rule-following is arresting my education as a clever warrior-cum-strategist (ha ha I wrote cum).
I will now list for you the rules of this institution. My own additional comments are set off in brackets for your convenience:
"Work hard, Study hard, Play hard." (This is an exceedingly lame motto and has absolutely no redeeming value as a motto, but besides that I have no objections to it, except for the working and studying parts).
There is no dress code in Balamb Garden. Dress accordingly if instructed so by your superiors. (This is a blatant lie. Almost everyone wears their uniform everywhere. As soon as I have enough money I am going to buy casual clothes and wear them whenever I can get away with it).
Reward and Punishment
-The headmaster presents official commendations to outstanding students (This is also a lie. He has not offered me commendations once, but everyone knows that I am outstanding in every way).
-Students who engage in violent acts, sexual promiscuity, or who fall behind in their curriculum, etc may be expelled. (I would like to know why Garden discriminates against the sexually promiscuous and the violent. I am not yet sexually promiscuous, but I am working on it. You may make snide remarks about falling behind in the curriculum, but it's all easy as pie, as custard pie, for that matter, which I know you despise).
-The skills acquired in the Garden must never be used for personal gain (Yeah, well, as we both know from Mrs. Kramer's lessons Garden gets paid for all of the military aid it supplies, so this is absolute crap.)
-Refrain from committing acts that may damage the Garden's reputation (I can't think of any acts that would damage the Garden's reputation, but rest assured as soon as I do I will perform them.)
-Take time to think things through before starting a relationship. (The school is far too interested in the student's personal life. I think it's because the headmaster is an old perve).Emergencies
Procedures in case of an emergency:
-If you are on 2F, use the emergency exit next to class
-If you are on 1F, exit through the gate
-All students must take care of junior class members during an emergency
-Do not not use the elevator (Well, I can't argue with any of this, I guess).
All students should be in their dorm rooms after-hours unless at Training Center. (Ha! I am never in my dorm room after hours if I can help it. Sometimes I sleep in the Quad just to defy the faculty! But really, how can you get from the Training Center to your room if you don't use the hallways?)
-Students should be in seats and waiting for the instructor 5 minutes before class starts. (Well, this is rubbish. I am often late for class. The first few minutes are all just review anyway.)
-When class is over, proceed quietly to your next class. (I am never quiet, as you know).
-Food, weapons, and magic are prohibited (What this means is that you can't bring any food into the class which will make a lot of noise. Also, that you have to start fights outside of the classroom, like in the second floor hallway).
-Study panels are shared; handle with care (Is it just me or does this sound vaguely dirty? Oh, probably just me.)
-Proceed with caution; there are real monsters in the TC (I don't know if I would call them 'real monsters.' Some of them are so easy to kill.)
-Open 24 hours; entering the grounds for reasons other than training is prohibited (People go there all the time to make out and stuff. Not to mention there's a guy there who holds card tournaments all the time. The staff are as blind as bats)
-Don't engage in battles beyond your ability (As nothing is beyond my ability I suppose I am safe. Besides, how would you punish a dead student?)
-Visit if you have any health concerns or problems
-No items may be taken without permission
-Follow the doctor's instructions
-Resident physician: Dr Kadowaki (Oh man, she is a hard-hearted bitch. I had a terrible headache the other day and she wouldn't give me anything for it. Maybe it's because I got it from some guy's fist striking my head a few times before I kicked his ass.)
-Open hours: 9 a.m. to Lights Out
-All materials are open to the public
-You may check out the material at the desk
-Remain quiet at all times (The library has no good magazines. It is an ideal place for sleeping, however, and I've heard for other things as well.)
-Anyone welcome to apply
-SeeDs have priority for the single rooms
-Going out after-hours for reasons other than training is prohibited
-Don't leave personal possessions in common area (Yeah, yeah, this is mostly repetition.)
-Open hours: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
-Keep area clean
-If late-night meals are required, order beforehand (I have two words for you Squall, food fights. The trick is to make someone else start them.)
-Follow all rules
-Report unusual bugs
-Don't litter (Again with the repetition. Littering is beneath me and this bug thing is just weird. Watch out for mutant beetles beneath your bed Squall. Ha!)
Being the stickler that you are, I bet you'll agree this has gone on for far too long already. I will attempt to answer the rest of your questions as succinctly as possible in the order in which they occurred: That not everyone is an arse-licking, book-toting prat. No. A lawless free-for-all where I can do whatever I want and everyone else follows my rules. I just am. And while instigating encryption techniques sounds like a lot of fun (actually, it doesn't but sometimes I think it is good if you keep your tiny little mind occupied) it would be a lot of work for nothing as military institutions are run by people just as lazy as those that run every type of institution. They'll never read this letter in a million years.
Your exceptionally gifted friend,
Kramer Orphanage, 432 Lakeview Drive, South Aegir: October 27th
To the Conceited and Obnoxious, Sir Seifer Almasy,
I am not girly. There is nothing wrong with my lips or my eyelashes for that matter.
You do have a point about military strategists, but if they were really clever they would know when to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble, by at least seeming to follow the rules. Yes, this means you. How many detentions have you received so far, Seifer?
As for me I have only ever followed the rules when it was not inconvenient for me. It had nothing to with your training and also I haven't got squinty-eyes. What is it with you and insulting my personal appearance. One would think you've spent hours staring at me or something.
So why are you spending all of your time whining about the rules? What exactly are you learning at Garden? You must be doing some practical training. Tell me about your classes. Nothing is happening here. This is the most boring place in the Universe without you around.
Your friend, languishing of monotony,
Balamb Buggering Garden, 230 Prospect Way, Balamb: Nov. 10th
To the Annoyingly Concise Sir Squall,
What kind of a letter was that anyway? You suck Anaconduar eggs. Your next letter had better be more interesting. I look forward to reading your letters you know, you pustule. It's one of my few amusing past times you know, besides tormenting my fellow classmates.
I'm sorry for pointing out your girly features. I promise I will keep quiet about them in future.
On the other hand I do sympathize with your boredom. Honestly, there aren't many dull moments here, which is good, because being here sucks a lot and having time to think about that isn't good for a person's sanity.
So, classes, yes:
History of the Early Sorceress Wars
Yes, in all of my excitement over the new rules I get to follow I forgot to mention that I am specializing in Gunblade Training. You must do the same when you arrive here. It's sort of funny because there is no gunblade specialist at this crappy school, so Instructor Winvale who knows a little about gunblades, but actually has more gun training is trying her best to teach me something, but mostly failing miserably. I think we could train together and teach each other more. The Sorceress' husband is thrilled to death that I am taking this initiative, may he choke to death on a cafeteria hotdog one day, the plump old geezard.
I've managed to get a job at the Balamb Hotel on weekends as well, a fact that makes me the envy of many of the other students, but the job is actually crap. I hate following orders from the stupid hotel manager. However, this puts money in my pocket, and money is something I wouldn't have otherwise, until I became a paid SeeD. I bought myself a really cool coat last week. It has my symbol on it. Yes, I know you're jealous, but try not to drool all over the letter. When you finally come to school I will put in a good word for you with the manager. You may kiss my feet in advance, if you so choose.
Your kind and thoughtful companion,
Kramer Orphanage, 432 Lakeview Drive, South Aegir: November 30th
To the useless peon, Seifer,
I would never kiss your feet. That's disgusting. I know that you never wash between your toes, remember? Also, you can only put a good word in for me with the manager if you don't get fired yourself before I arrive.
Okay, the coat does sound cool, but I don't drool. Well, maybe sometimes when I am taking a nap on the kitchen table, but everyone does that. Your classes mostly sound interesting. Are they easy? If you are studying magic does that mean that you get to have a Guardian Force? If so I am extremely jealous.
Also, how exactly does a gunblade work? I have heard of them of course, but never seen a picture since Mrs. Kramer wouldn't let us get Weapons Monthly. Do you have a really cool gunblade? Is it one-handed or two-handed? Training with you would be fun, just like old times.
Not much is new here. I bet you aren't surprised. Yesterday morning Selphie bit Quistis and Mrs. Kramer made her stay in her room all day. God, this is so boring compared to the stuff you are doing. So anyway, after that Quistis made me play house with her and tried to kiss me, instead she sort of slobbered on my chin. It was incredibly nasty. I think I would rather have been bitten.
Your disgusted and disturbed ally,
Balamb Garden, 230 Prospect Way, Balamb: Dec. 6th
To poor pathetic little Squallie-pie,
Okay, I really do feel for you, my friend. Getting kissed by Quistis is pretty gross. She is pretty slobbery. Remember when she used to lick everyone on the face, until Mrs. Kramer convinced her that it just was not done in polite society. Heh, poor you.
As for gunblades, well, in my opinion a gunblade is not as good as a plain old sword. I think the addition of this gun function makes the whole thing a bit more unwieldy than it needs to be. However, everyone swears by them and I doubt you could find yourself a decent normal sword that wasn't an antique. Also, if you want to be taken seriously at this garden you can't use a sword. Well, I am not sure how the gunblade works actually, as construction of the weapon goes, but I do know that you can pull a trigger on the grip at the same time as you slash something and the weapon will produce an explosion as well as cutting your enemy up. Now I think the whole contraption must require some use of magic too since engineering wise it doesn't make a good deal of sense. Technically, they thing is not a gun because it doesn't require ammunition. Search me, in other words. Not having a gunblade expert here doesn't make things any easier.
And no I don't have a Guardian Force. You don't get issued one until the Expert classes. In the meantime we are learning the theory and history of magic. Dull dull dull dull. And no, my classes aren't hard. I ace all the lame tests without even paying much attention in class. It's easy enough if you are good at guesswork and logic to ace everything here. They don't exactly make things difficult. Bunch of stupid thugs, the lot of them. Well, Raijin and Fujin are obviously clever. I wouldn't associate with them otherwise.
As for getting fired, or kicked out of Garden, or whatever other silly disasters you can think of - by the way, I never knew you were such a girl Squall. It seems like all you ever do is worry away feebly about me, weeping into your pillow every night and fretting over my well-being. Well, I assure you, although these authority figures may dislike me personally, they usually find themselves unable to get rid of me because I always do what needs to be done quite well. Grant you could do better if I gave a damn, but I don't. Still it is hard to fire someone who des an impeccable job, even if he does glare at you and the customers sometimes and it is hard to expel a student who gets into trouble if he has excellent grades. Therefore, weep not for me, dear maiden.
Your gallant knight,
Sir S. Almasy
PS My Solstice List:
An upgrade for my gunblade
A subscription to Weapon's Monthly
Lots of money
Kramer Orphanage, 432 Lakeview Drive, South Aegir: December 20th
Happy Solstice jack ass,
Sorry that I sent this a bit late. It probably won't arrive on time, but I hope at least Mrs. Kramer got her gifts to you on time along with those of some of the other kids. Anyway you should get my gift on time since I sent that away much earlier.
I am not a weepy girl. Forgive me for showing some concern for your well-being, but as it is nearly a holiday and I miss you a great deal and I am feeling magnanimous, I will be nice to you. Don't expect another break like this again.
So, Mrs. Kramer tells me that you will be spending Solstice and your winter break with Zell and the lady who adopted him. It's better than nothing, eh? You'll have to tell me how it goes.
It agree with you about the gunblade from the sounds of things, but you still didn't tell me if it is a one or two handed blade. Pay attention to what I am writing, if you are going to complain about me not writing enough.
I wonder if I can convince Mrs. Kramer to let me have some of her mulled wine. It won't be as easy as it was when there were the two of us to bug her, but I think she has been going easier on me since you left. You always were the one to get us into trouble. Anyway, Irvine wants me to help him decorate the place so I had better go.
Your harried comrade,
PS Call me Squallie-pie one more time and die.
52 Kingfisher Drive, Balamb: January 3rd
My Dearest fluffy Squallie-pie,
O look, I'm not dead, am I? Heh. Sorry, I'll try not to again. But you know how much fun I have pissing you off. It's not the same when I can't see your eyes get all squinchy and all, but I take what I can get. Thanks for the subscription to Weapon's Monthly. I am fucking impressed. How did you get that past Mrs. Kramer? Also, I heartily approve of your kindness in signing me up for the extra Beach Gear edition. I've heard only good things about it. I'll be sure to save them and show them to you when you come to school.
I guess you know that Mrs. Kramer got me a cool silver chain to wear. There's a plate at the front that is engraved with "Sir Seifer," but it's on the inside so that not everyone can see it, cause I think she knows I wouldn't want everyone to know about our games. I wouldn't want someone to make fun of me for that. It would really piss me off. Isn't Mrs. Kramer great? Selphie sent me some kind of ceramic pig and Quistis knitted me a purple scarf. What the fuck? Those two are such psychos. If they made you anything like what they made for me then I fear for you, deeply. Irvine whittled me a gun out of driftwood. It's actually kind of cool looking, but I can't believe Mrs. Kramer let him go near a knife. I'm surprised he didn't send me one or two of his fingers as well.
Staying for the Solstice and winter break with Zell and his new mom was surprisingly okay. His mom is pretty damned cool. She is a fisherwoman, or whatever and so we had some good food during the holiday. She cusses a lot and knows some expressions even I haven't heard of before. I was very impressed. Zell seems happy there too, in his weird way. She let him get a tattoo for Christ's sake. It's probably because she has three herself, but she said she could only show me two of them. Sick, eh? One was a swordfish and the other was a Nereid, you know, a sea nymph. It was very detailed. You could see her boobs and everything. Maybe you will get a chance to visit Zell's mom some time yourself. She taught me and Zell how to play poker and we bet with some cookies she'd made. She let me keep the cards too. Also, Zell has this hover-board thing. I'd be jealous except it is painted in multi-coloured flames and looks really lame.
Oh and about the gunblade. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before. I was a bit distracted with insulting you, as you might have noticed. Well, there are several varieties and you can use either a one-handed or a two-handed blade. Mine is one-handed.
So, did you manage to get some wine? Zell's Mom let us each have a glass, but Zell didn't want his, so she drank his too. It would have been cool to see her drunk, but I have a feeling she can drink pretty well. Well, Zell and I are gonna play another came of poker with Mrs. Dincht, so I'd better go now. By the way, what kinda name is Dincht, eh? I'd make fun of it, only she's such a cool lady.
Your fearless brave friend,
Kramer Orphanage, 432 Lakeview Drive, South Aegir: December 20th
To Seifer-you-are-dead-the-next-time-I-see-you Almasy,
I did warn you about the name calling, bastard. Just wait and see. When you least expect it, I will punish you. I probably won't actually kill you because you are entertaining, but I might have to severely injure you, just so you remember what you are not supposed to call me.
Anyway, I am glad you liked your gift. Thanks for the lion chain by the way. Looks like you were thinking along the same lines as Mrs. Kramer. It's very cool. I didn't tell Mrs. Kramer about it actually, just went with her to mail your letters one weekend and slipped the envelope in the mail along with your letter. I told her I was just going to give you some money in my letter before Solstice.
This morning, the other kids woke us all up at the ass crack of dawn to open presents. Unlike you and me, they do not comprehend the sacredness of sleep. Mrs. Kramer even let me drink coffee it was so bad. It only got worse from there. Quistis knitted me doilies. Selphie gave me some ceramic cats she had painted herself. Irvine drew me some pictures of things exploding and people dying in pools of blood. It was actually a pleasant change. The doilies and kittens have been stowed beneath my bed, where hopefully dust creatures will carry them off to build nests. Mrs Kramer got me this leather jacket though. It's way too big for me, but she says that's so I can grow into it. I think it might really be 'cause she got it second-hand, but it is still very cool.
Mrs. Kramer did let me have some of the wine. She let the other kids too. I got her to tell me the story about the soldier out campaigning on Solstice Eve during the First Sorceress War too. You remember the one, right? It's really actually pretty depressing now that I pay more attention to it, but still cool all the same.
There's been a big storm here so we're all stuck inside and I am incredibly bored. I played Triple Triad with Selphie for awhile, but she is so easy to beat because she always plays the pretty cards whenever she can, even though she knows the proper rules. At least I get to play the blue side with her though. Heh. Please tell me something interesting is happening to you.
Squall Leonhart (who is bored out of his mind)
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