The Dark Rift Dillusion
A Skies of Arcadia Story
By Lemon Lain
Chapter 1: The 10 Year Dream
"I still can't believe I've traveled the whole world...it still seems so unreal...all the places I've seen, the places I've gone, its beyond words..." Vyse sighed as he sat at the edge of crescent island, staring at the sky. Images of all the glories and terrors along their way seemed to stream endlessly before his very eyes. Combating the Gigas, the reviving of Soltis, destroying Zelos, it was like pure magic to Vyse. Not long ago he was just a shiphand on the Albatross, now here he was, the captain of his own ship, his own crew, and is even considered a legend by many. Aika simply smiled, grasping a hold of his hand to give it an affectionate squeeze as she turned her eyes to him as they laid back.
"You always said seeing was believing, and guess what, you've seen it all. You've seen for yourself how vast the sky can be, but also how our journey had turned into more of an odyssey that we used to read in those children's books when we were on Sailor Island. We are those story book heroes that you always wanted to be ever since we were six, so I can imagine how it would all seem too unreal," Aika said with a grin as Vyse's eyes turned to hers as well. Vyse felt his face grow warm as he lost himself in Aika's bright eyes, the same eyes he had always loved ever since they were mere kids. He thought it strange that feelings had been developing for her over the years, but after this past grand adventure, it seemed only natural now that their feelings would blossom before the moons.
"Maybe I should write a book just like those, I'm sure it could help shape the future for the young as it did for me. What do you think?" Vyse asked. Aika slowly rose on her hands and knees, quickly scooting over to him so that she could rest her head against his chest. She then turned her eyes up at Vyse's, her signature smirk staying put.
"If you could write that is, you were never one to use great words for describing things," Aika laughed, causing Vyse to crack a smile as well.
"Maybe when I was young, but now that I've seen it all, I think I can describe things a bit better thank you very much," Vyse retaliated, leaving Aika with a soft sigh of relief. Vyse suddenly felt heavy, his eyes and body growing as heavy as an anchor as he began to shake in attempts to move. His breathing began to race as his eyes darted around in a panic. The world began to grow dim around him as he returned his gaze to Aika.
"A-Aika...what's happening...I can't...move..." Vyse said, his voice weak as the ill. Aika's eyes simply looked at him, tears forming into them as his whole world faded to black. As if shocked by the poor of the yellow moon, Vyse shot awake, breathing heavily as the dim, faded world came back into view, however, it wasn't the world that he expected. His heart began to race in a panic as the world around him was as eerie as a foggy night sky. Quickly wiping the sandman's dust from his eyes, he quickly noticed that his eyepatch was now missing and the world that laid before his very eyes was one that he had ventured through, but not one he wanted to remember.
"This can't be..." Vyse said raising up into a sitting position. All around him was a vortex of black clouds; the ground in which he sat was floating amidst the nothingness of the area, as if in a void lost to the rest of the world. It wasn't til he noticed the strange translucent air fish and the strong, vibrant glow of the massive yellow flowers that glowed and pulsed with the small islands that surrounded it. Vyse shook his head as he took a hefty breath, the strange, thick and foul scent of rotting debris and whisping air caused him to choke for a moment, partaking in a coughing fit for a few minutes. Staring out into the darkness, it was clear where he was without any shred of doubt.
"The Dark Rift...why am I in the Dark Rift?!" Vyse shouted aloud, raising his feet in an instant. He felt cold from the gentle winds that flowed through the void, giving insight into where he truly was and the state of his own form. He looked at his arms as he raised them to sight; he no longer found himself in his traditional blue rogue attire, but simply a cutton shirt that had various holes and incredibly worn spots that were ready to tear at any moment. Looking at himself once more, he found that he was a descheveled as the terrain and shipwrecks around him, as if he had been lost for what appeared to be months or even years.
"What is this...? Is this a dream...?" Vyse coughed as he tried to breathe, now covering his mouth as he looked around once again. The feelings of the wind whipping through and the tough, thick air that stung his lungs seemed all too real to be some sort of illusion. A strong push of the wind knocked Vyse off of his feeble legs, sending him to the ground with a thud, the sharp sting of a blade grazed his arm, leaving a wound in its stead. Yelping in pain and grabbing his arm, he found that he had fallen upon a chipped, steel blade, completely rusted over without any shine left. His eyes darted along the ground, finding a tattered and stained red cloth that had sat next to him. He immediately snatched it off of the ground, quickly fastening it around his fresh wound which now had blood seeping from it.
"Wait...wait...what is going on...I'm trying to remember their names...they...had names...right?" Vyse shook his head, grunting in pain as he threw his eyes into his palm. His teeth began to clench tightly as the names of the girls that he once knew left his mind, as if only remembered in a passing dream. He wanted to call out for them, but his memory was slowly slipping away from him like feathers in the breeze. Everything that he had believed to be real began fading from his memory, as if truly just a passing dream. He grew frustrated as his clenched tightly; how could he know where he was but not remember the names of those he cared for so dearly? Tears began to fill his eyes as he slammed his fist into the ground, every inch of his body tensing up as tight as a sailor's knot.
"WHAT IS GOING ON?!" Vyse cried, burrying his head into his legs. Coughing and choking on his tears and the vile air, Vyse took a moment to try and pull himself together. Sulking against his legs, he took steady, short breaths to try and steady himself enough to stand. After a few minutes, he felt his confidence return, his tears now drying as his determination began to soar.
"Crying is going to get me no where...I need to find a way out of this place...then I'll try to remember the rest..." Vyse said, stretching his limbs to the black sky above him. Dream or not, he had to escape from this horrid place. Immediately scrounging around for supplies or anything he could use, he came across various notes and carvings inside of the shipwreck that had found itself behind him. Making his way into the ship, he gazed over the notes. He came to the shocking realization that they were all in his own handwriting, dozens and dozens of pages with captain's logs and various other notes taken upon them. His hands shook as he raised one of the eldest looking ones that was covered in wind stains.
"Log 1...I'm not sure how I got here. The last thing I remembered was being asleep in my room upon my bed on Sailor's Island. I thought I remembered some men grabbing me, but I think that was just a dream...I hope this is all a bad dream, because I find this place very scary..." Vyse read. This all seemed a bit forgein to him, thinking that he had to be from some other person. It wasn't until he checked the signature and date at the bottom that he soon realized the worst.
"I was...7 when I wrote this? That's impossible!" Vyse said, throwing it upon the floor, immediately grabbed another one that was laid upon a brittle and battered wooden table that sat the window of the cabin that had toppled off of the ship.
"Log 16...It's so lonely here...I have survived so far using the old sword from this wreckage and catching fish with my hands as they drifted by. I'm glad daddy taught me how. When I eat them, they seem to sustain both nutritional nourishment as well as serving as a water source. Good thing they don't taste too bad. Maybe a ship will come through here soon and then I can go back home to mom and dad and Aika, I miss them all so much..." Vyse read, he immediately placed it back where he found it, snatching up the next note. This time, the handwriting seemed a little more refined than before.
"Log 36...The fish here seem to be putting my body into a hefty sleep, sustaining it for vast amounts of time. The first few times I think it only worked for a few days, its hard to tell the time since there is no light in the sky...each time I sleep I can see everyone that I used to know, I get to see mom and dad and Aika. It's kind of nice. Right now my clothes are starting to feel a bit smaller from when I last awoke, but nothing too bad. I'm not sure if it's my clothes shrinking or I'm starting to get bigger..." Vyse's voice grew a bit shakey as he tossed it down immediately raising another one to his eyes.
"Log 183...It's clear to me now that no one is going to come for me. Judging by how fast the fish bones are decaying into nothing day to day, I'm starting to believe that months have been passing by as I eat. I'm determined to find my way out of this hell no matter what it takes. Just the other day I felt as if I was still a kid, but today my body aches, and I am standing almost a foot taller than before.
I tried finding any other kind of nourishment, but nothing else can survive in these horrid conditions. I'm afraid that it may one day putting me into a permanent sleep, but I can't lose hope..." Vyse's eyes began to water up again but he brushed them off quickly, keeping his body from falling into any form of melancholic distress. He let the note float to the ground as he grabbed another sheet.
"Log 261...I'm not sure how much longer I can hang onto my sanity...what has seemed like only a few months has now clearly turned into years. I'm beginning to dream more and more about the world and how it could be now. Just last night I dreamt that I took over a valuan armada fleet ship! I vaguely remember a girl named Fina that wore strange, silver clothes. She was really pretty too. I hope I can be a pirate like this one day. Oh, Aika has returned to my dreams now, but I don't remember her outside of the dreams anymore, that's why I'm writing this upon awakening. These logs are helping me remember things, which is all that is keeping me together.
On a positive note I've found moonstones here and there and have been keeping them in a chest next to the bed, before too long I'll have enough power to leave, I just need to make a body that can survive in these conditions. My hopes are up now..." Vyse's hands began to shake as he let this one drift to the floor as well. His eyes shuffled through all of the numbers that were planted at the corner of every page, jumping vast numbers at a time. Finally he came to a note that seemed to match up with his current age as far as dates were concerned. It was clear that the days were all growing further and further apart but the way he wrote the note seemed more like he had written within his dreams.
"Log 367...I can't take anymore of this...every time I've pieced together a frame the winds have torn it apart. I'm running out of debris to create further trials so maybe I'll just stop now. The loneliness I'm starting to feel is causing me to scream every night to the point of going mute. The fish have begun to put me down for longer and longer the more I eat, so I think I'll gather a whole school and eat them tonight. Perhaps, I won't wake up this time and I'll be able to stay in the life that I always longed for . Here's hoping for the best..." Vyse's eyes widened as his voice silenced itself in his throat. Freezing up, he began to remember all of these notes. It was if he was struck by lightening as he remembered everything from when he was 7 to now. He remembered men in boats raiding Pirate Island, with several men in black and gold abducting him. It was clearly the valuans that he had dreamt of for so long that put him in this horrid perdicament he found himself in.
"My God...OK...I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE NOW!" Vyse shouted, sweeping all of the notes from the desk in an instant. Taking in what little bit of his dream he could remember, he began drawing schematics of ships that he had seen from his dream, as well as the mechanical blueprints on what remaining paper he had. He didn't really understand what he was looking at as he drew them upon the remaining parchments he had, but with a little luck he could begin to understand them.
Searching around his room he began to find a surprisingly hefty amount of gold as well as the moonstones that were mentioned within the notes, nearly enough to afford a small 1 person ship were he to make it civilization. Taking note of what the fish would do to him should he eat them, he decided he wouldn't partake in anymore unless his life clearly depended on it. Much like on crescent island from his dreams, he took it all into account, piecing together a ship on the dry, grassy land beneath him to the best of his abilities.
"It seems like days since I started building this thing but I think it's finally ready to try..." Vyse said coughing and wiping the sweat from his brow. He had taken parts from what was left of the engine within the shipwreck and made a condensed form of the motor using them. With as many moonstone as he had, he used them on the joints and bends, giving the small boat a stern frame in which to ride in like a harness. He removed the musky sheets from the bed in which he had lived upon for the past to house not only a makeshift blanket or pillow but to house the gold in which he would be relying on should he manage to make it to civilization. Dumping his remaining moonstones into the engine, it began to power on, raising the small shuttle of a ship that he had makeshifted into the air.
"YES YES! Alright! I knew it took a lot of wind and power to escape this place in the dream, but I can't turn back now. I refuse to go back to sleep! I'm going to make those dreams a reality!" Vyse said with a confident smile, pushing the small boat off the small island within the rift. It stayed in place and intact, allowing Vyse to hop upon it with ease. He turned the boat around to face to the right of his location, revealing a series of vortexs. He prayed to himself quietly that they were just like his dream, knowing that escaping the void would be easier than he could hope for.
"Come on little boat, don't fail me now!" Vyse shouted, grasping a hold of the throttle, the small planks of wood and moonstones that made up the fins that that helped guide it began to waft, turning him towards his destination with only minimal effort. It seemed like hours upon hours that Vyse took to try and find his way out. Just when he thought he had found the right vortex, he would find himself right back where he started. Refusing to give up, Vyse kept floating around, trying to find his way free of the dark prison. Noticing that the strange plants glowed in a line, he thought to himself that they could be some form of path keeper. With nothing left to lose he began following the plants. The engine began to heat up with steam shooting out from its rear as he pushed through one final vortext that awaited the end of the line of plants. With his lifeboat now falling apart, Vyse gripped onto it for dear life, pushing the engine to its absolute limits to push through.
"COME ON! COME ON! JUST A BIT MORE!" Vyse shouted, clenching his teeth and his grasp digging into the crude wood work. Shutting his eyes to avoid the wind, light began to shine upon him, warming him in its glorious warmth. The small engine began to smoke and crackle as Vyse found himself back out in the open sky, the widest smile on his face with excited cheers gracing the skies. He was finally free. Praying that his dreams were real he set a straight course for the old, rundown military base of Esparanza. Sure enough, just like in his dream, the rusted over base came into view, giving Vyse the first stop he needed to get himself back out into the world around him.
To Be Continued...