I've been toying with the idea of revising Broken Hearts for a while. This story starts out differently, but if everything goes to plan, it should follow the same plan as my other story (Seiftis), which I won't finish.

Disclaimer: Squaresoft owns the game that inspired this story; therefore, the characters from that game belong to them.

Broken

Prologue

Silence echoed across the barren landscape. A land once teaming with life now stripped bare to the cold stony earth from which the colossal citadel arose. In its furthest and most secluded steeple reigned the prize of life; that whom six souls lost in time earnestly sought after for the preservation of all life. Secluded in a cold lonely world, Ultimecia, the essence of hatred hid within the mastery of forlorn masonry. With a heart colder than the lifeless world she governed she watched them draw nearer, traversing across countless generations on the wings of friendship and proposed destiny to an undecided fate.

Another soul, the one who worked her bidding, was not forgotten in the enchanted transport. Prostrate at the foot of her throne he desperately begged for release from his shame, for one last display of her wicked power: to end his life. Amused the witch beheld her slave, defeated by those in desperate pursuit of her tower. Laughter rang from her scarlet lips as the fallen knight drew in a sharp breath of pain. The wound from a rival's blade all but missed his vital organs, and death should have taken over from the amount of blood spilt in a battle countless generations in the past. Yet, to the bidding of viscous fate, which he cursed, he lived; his lifeless green eyes dancing with the only thing he wished for. However, death would not visit him.

The witch drew a delicate hand through her ebony hair, and laughter not unlike the shriek of a harpy arose from her lips, echoing across the extent of the great hall. "Useless child. You vie for me to bestow death upon you? Worthless," she scorned. Her yellow eyes shifted from his form below her to the single casement of the room; awareness of the proximity of the other souls remaining in her world pricking her senses. "Pathetic puppet, their quest ends now." She stood, her fine silk adornments flowing over her curves. "Foolish boy, those most dear to you will suffer eternal death as my slaves." She raised her arm, spreading each slender finger in his direction. Blue energy flickered in her eyes momentarily and found itself in her fingertips. "But for you, my akursed child, because you have failed me I have an eternal punishment for you." The energy dancing in her fingers encircled his mangled figure, and barbs shot through his hands, feet, and torso pulling him upright before her. Ultimecia curled her lips with pleasure as her knight writhed on the end of the cords flowing from her fingertips. "You shall exist as my knight for eternity in time kompression, but first, you shall witness the destruction of those who hunt me now." She raised her hand and effortlessly flung the knight against the far wall, releasing the magical cords from her hold, and yielding him paralyzed on the wintry stone rubble in cords strung through his body. There Seifer Almasy gave up all attempts to free himself from the cords penetrating his blood vessels and watched the witch whom empowered him to destroy the Guardian revered as Odin seat herself on her ivory throne and wait for his only redemption. One fate chanced to hold in the hands of his rival Squall Leonhart and the SeeDs he fearlessly lead across time.

Footsteps echoed through the winding pathways of the clock tower as six individuals arrived at the final passage before the final steeple. The leader signaled them to stop as they reached the open bridge. A dark fog enveloped the passageway no more than twenty meters before them. They stood warily in a defensive cluster, ready to form a ring with their backs to each other if ambushed again by a pride of hexadragons. The leader rested the tip of his weapon in a gap in the stone at his feet, fidgeting thoughtfully with the hilt of his impressive and legendary weapon—his gunblade.

"We'll rest here," he stated blatantly, running his steel blue eyes once more over the fog, "temporarily."

A girl across the ring lifted her head to meet the eyes of her leader. "Squall, is that a good idea?" she questioned stoically, her cerulean eyes watching the fog. The rest of the group tensed at her words, wondering the same. It was a gamble: the risk while awaiting the fog to disperse was to become captured in its confusing and sense inhibiting tangles—hellish battling conditions, even for SeeDs.

He evaded her question, fully aware of this gamble, and even more so aware of the mission he led. The one next to him shifted cautiously on his feet and through a few stabs in the air, his nervous habit adding to the rising tension around him. The others stood fidgeting in their own ways with their weapons, determined to stay faithful to their thoughtful leader. Squall stepped forward, calculating whether their destination was on the other side of the fog barrier.

The girl next to him shivered slightly as a cruel breeze howled through her loose stands of hair. Slowly she closed her eyes, hiding her dark pupils behind lids gifted with long dark lashes. Unconsciously she lifted her hands to her temples and drew in a sharply labored breath.

"What is it Rinoa?" Squall asked carefully running his gloved hand through her raven colored hair. The others turned to her.

"I feel her. The sorceress, Ultimecia is in there," she pointed into the fog, and the others followed the direction of her finger.

"So be it," whispered Squall as he pulled his gunblade from the stone and turned to face his team. To his right stood Rinoa Heartilly, the woman who had captured his heart and renewed his strength. Her dark hair blew in the slight breeze as she tightened the fastening on her projectile weapon. She looked up at Squall and smiled wryly, showing him the fear she held secretly inside of her, the fear that she would lose control of the power inside her to the evil sorceress. "Be strong Rinoa, this is your fight as much as it is our fight." His eyes shifted to the young man beside her. Irvine Kinneas, with his soft brown eyes burning with determination and trust in his friendships and in the shotgun he rested on his shoulder. Beside him stood Selphie Tilmitt, a shorter girl whose natural cheer shone unhampered by the fog. Her green eyes set with faith in their ability to overcome the darkness. In her carefree way, she cast her bright and hopeful eyes on each of her friends and broke their stern faces into smiles.

"See, everything is going to be okay. We're here together," she exclaimed, shattering the silence that had befallen the team.

The boy standing nearest to Squall jumped in excitement. "Yo, Selphie's right everyone. Why are we all so depressed? We're SeeDs for Hyne's sake. And yo, we're all here. I say let's bring down this time compression bitch." Squall looked at him slightly disturbed with his friend's loud statement. Zell Dincht was never one to be kept done, just like Selphie. The last girl turned, her blue eyes blazing with steadfast determination at Squall. Quistis Trepe, though he regarded her coldly in most on most occasions, he was relieved she was there by his side as a soldier. She had watched them; she knew them all very well.

The mood having changed, Squall cleared his throat and moved his cold blue eyes over his companion once more, "Zell, Quistis, Selphie, Irvine, Rinoa. The journey isn't over after this. We've just begun our adventure; let's go home. If you are all ready, I say let's go." Each nodded at the vigor of his words, knowing Squall wasn't fond of speaking his thoughts. Mentally each one of them went over their Guardian and magic junctions and supplies, preparing for the long battle ahead of them.

The fog thickened as they entered it, magically infusing doubt into the minds of each of the warriors. "Remember your training," shouted Squall, beginning to push through the darkness.

"Remember your friendships," shouted Selphie feeling the presence of her friends grow stronger as they hurried through the fog.

"Remember our destiny" shouted Irvine, holding his cowboy hat to his head as a sharp wind howled over the passageway.

Quistis closed her eyes, remembering many of the memories that had surfaced in the past few months. Running through the fog she looked at Zell, who caught her glimpse and smiled back at her. Then he reached out and caught her hand, surging the strength of a brother through her doubtful mind. Remember your past strengths whispered a cold voice in her consciousness, and you will prevail finished a bold duo of voices. She breathed in, bathing in the feeling of renewed power surging through her veins, aware of the irony of the deities' words. This feeling, this power was what she lived for; it was the high that all SeeDs lived for. Quistis turned her stare from Zell to Selphie, and with her remaining hand she clutched her friend's hand, beginning a chain reaction in which the entire team joined hands and ran through the fog to their destiny: the dark gates of Ultimecia's great hall.

The fight ensued for countless hours. Blow after blow connected, both for and against the will of the heroes. Teammates and friends lives shattered into nothingness at the breath of Ultimecia. Yet, the SeeDs pushed on, unbroken by their fallen, an iron fast ability granted by the Guardians that yielded their minds during the battle. Finally, it was over, with the final blow of one of the heroes. And as if destined by fate, the last standing hero, who on the brink of defeat summoned forth the last energy remaining in consciousness, a spell classified as Forbidden by the governing entities. The magic summoned in the hero's fingers still pulsed as Ultimecia, the essence of hatred, passed out of existence, releasing the countless souls she governed, and her hold on time.

The souls trapped in the forbidden dimension returned to their generation, a time seemingly untouched since their departure. A worldwide celebration followed, as the announcement made by the establishments with knowledge of the accomplishments of the heroes spread like wildfire through the world. As earnestly as the celebration, the trial came to be. The deliberation passed from weeks to months: witnesses and accounts from every nation voicing their opinions. At last, the three in question were released—set free on the account of possession by the Essence of Hatred. Yet, the echoes of the knights' and heroes' and lives had only just begun.