Cold-blooded murderer. Never will I forgive you; not as long as I live..
I kick a stray rock, almost in perfect tune to the wind that whips around my face, tussling my hair, and tickling my beard. It seems to create a protective shield around me, forbidding the sun to break through to warm my eyes, nose, and, especially, heart. Personally, I didn't care. Inflicted with a fire spell, and warm robes, I'm somewhat thankful, however, for the opportunity the wind had to get at me.
I glance up at the high depths, then the rocky pathway settled before me. Mount Ordeals is a legendary mountain said to house power, one for a soldier of justice, and one for a mage seeking death. There isn't a single Mysidian or Lunarian alike that does not know of it, and a selective few of soldiers of the other nations who strive for it. I suppose what throws them off are the undead souls of people who have died trying to obtain the Holy Legend, or the Dark Power. In jealously, those piteous spirits thrive off the mountain's shadows, sensitive to the light power entrusted, but dependent on dark, waiting anxiously for the next unbeknownst traveler to come by so that they might bite out their nerve endings, and skip rope with it. None have killed me yet, and for that, I believe that I'm one step closer to gaining my goal.
Monsters aren't the least of my troubles, however. I am here alone by choice, angry still at the world for taking my beloved wife, Sakura, twenty-three years ago, but ultimately, unforgiving towards the son of a bitch who committed the ice-cold murder of my little girl, Anna.
The wind whips around again as I bring myself to sitting on a ledge, alert as ever. The trees are a long way down from here -- a frightening feature, but all the while, serene. The way their boughs gently sway in the sun's futile attempt to warm them remind me of the way I'd hold and comfort my wife in hard times; yet, their lingering dance the same, happy sway are reminiscent of those I did with my daughter in her infancy to calm her cries, right to the day of her nineteenth year when she had emerged from the Mysidian Magician Academy, a skilled magess inducted into the Order of Red, like myself all those years back.
Like I had never expected Sakura to die from puerperal fever after our daughter's birth, I had never expected Anna to grow up. No, let me rephrase that: I had never expected her to grow up, enter the coming plans for an extension of the Mysidian Magician School in Kaipo, possibly marry a high-ranking mage from yet another well-to-do Mysidian family, then throw it all away by meeting that stupid bard.
Sin-like, it was. I despised the two together, and did everything in my power to keep them apart, from giving extra chores to Anna, to sending false love letters to Edward, the bard who had come to court. Neither of them believed it, and it wasn't but too long that I'd find them arm in arm, trailing happily down the streets of Kaipo.
In a way, I felt as if though my daughter lied to me, breaking that bond of trust we had between one another since her birth. What else could I do when she and him came to me one evening, asking for my consent for their marriage, but yell, scream, and right-out refuse that my Anna be married to some sniveling commoner whose only skill that would earn them a golden gil might be to pick up chocobo dung?
I regretting yelling at her, even before all the preceding events until now took place. Who knew that that would be the last time I'd ever see her so happy, and healthy, with her cheeks as rosy as the cherry tresses she had inherited from her mother, and her eyes a bright of blue as mine once were? She ran off to Damcyan with him before I could say anything else.
My deplore wasn't the gist of it, either. Sakura and I had eloped in an illegal faction as well. She was the daughter of one of the Eight Sisters of Toroia, clerics who governed the city of latter. Such a join between a girl with high nobility and a lowly Mysidian Red Mage, who didn't even have his own imbued weapons, was forbidden. As my family just consisted of my brother, the Mysidian Elder, Leto, she received the worst part with her mother and family disowning her. She did say that her family didn't matter; being with me, her mage Tellah, was what she longed for, and I was happy to accept that, despite the fact she was a mere three years younger than myself..
History was repeating itself, but I didn't realize it until then; that was why, under the psuedonymn of "finding that bastard bard," I had also disguised my feelings towards the two, of which I'd let them know, give them my acceptance when I met with them again.
I never got the chance.
Making my way out that sorrowful day, which only took place but a mere week ago, from the cave of Octomammoth (an octopus that terrorized the caves of the Watery Pass, east of Kaipo), my heart dropped to my stomach to witness the noble castle of Damcyan on the horizon…
"There it is!" Cecil, the Dark Knight who had been traveling with me, along with his child companion, the Summoner Rydia, had cried. "Wait for me, Rosa; you'll be okay again in no time."
..But my heart dropped more, and more, to witness airships pass over, dropping what looked like bombs atop turrets, and paratroopers into every orifice of the castle's compounds.
I instantly dropped Rydia's hand -- she had mine clutched in her tiny one ever since the battle -- and began running. Little did I know I was already too late..
Anna, my only child, had many arrows protruding from her front; her chest, all the way down to her abdomen was full of them. Blood seeped to stain the floor an elegant, sickening crimson. It angered me in a way that the bard was no where to be seen, but then again, I took this as a duty upon myself. I swaddled my daughter just as though she were that chubby chocobo baby once more, tying pieces of scrap robe from mine, and unmarred spots of her once-yellow dress, around puncture wounds from the arrows, which, with the Dark Knight and child Summoner's help, I was able to pull out.
Footsteps, a while later; My eyes widened in anger as I saw whom approached, an ethereal glint behind the glass lenses I wore. "May I…" the golden-haired one began, taking a tentative step towards us.
"No, and SHUT UP, you stupid ass!" I howled, glaring at the idiot, throwing him an empty bottle of curing potion which shattered at his feet. He, along with Cecil and Rydia, took a great leap back. Anna's face, her head resting on my lap, as I tried to literally bottle-feed her another curing potion, looked so infantile then, scrunched up as though she would cry, that I instantly regretted raising my voice.
"Please, darling, don't cry," I whispered, wrapping my arms gently around her head. It didn't matter to me now whether or not my robes were stained with blood; I didn't care. "Papa's here. Papa's going to make everything okay again, so don't you cry..."
Don't you cry... Little Sandmoth in the sky.. Papa's here to make it all better...
I hated lying to her, and still deprecate it. I've lied too much in my past, and knew that one day it would catch up with me; I've believed her mother's death to be the punishment for that action, and now, Gaia was to take my only pride and joy for yet another.
I sat there, rocking the little girl I alone raised from a charming bantling, to a lovely woman, all the while chanting spells underneath my breath - or at least trying to anyway without having my voice break. Every now and then I'd toss that.. Edward a glare, especially when he'd try to come closer.
"You.. Get away, you son of a bitch," I seethed, breaking my concentration on a Life Restoration spell, the bard inching so as to hold her hand. He backed up as I raised my cane, poised to throw; My two companions grabbed my shoulders as though to restrain me, but I shoved them off. "Don't you see the goddamn damage you have done!?"
I hadn't expected Anna to scream, but to relax, and let the course of medicine do its work; she was always a stubborn child, though I think that was more-so of myself to blame than anything else. Edward and I glanced at her, myself throwing the idiot one more look before devoting my attention to her.
A frenzied gulp of air. "F.. Father.. Edward is the prince of Damcyan…"
An incredulous look at the bard, who was staring at me, wide-eyed, probably scared that I'd throw the other cure bottle at him. This.. Pathetic lowlife a prince? I wanted to scream, to spit my accusations and interrogations at them both. Why Anna didn't tell me was beyond me; settle it as another dart in the cartilage bonds of my daughter and myself.
"We.. We were going to return to Kaipo for your consent.. B.. But.. But.."
I winced. It hurt me to see her in such pain. The bleeding that I thought I had halted had started again too, damn it all. "Yes, honey.. Shh, my darling.."
Edward took this as an opportunity to cut in; those words my daughter's lover spoke were something I give anything not to hear: "Golbez attacked us, Master Tellah. He and the Red Wings took no prisoners, but rather slaughtered almost everyone here, including my parents.."
He trailed off, and began to sob once again. I shot him yet another look, this time in something of a pitiful gesture. How could he cry when the woman he loved was dying? If he had been any sort of man at all… he'd... he'd...
"Anna shielded me from the arrows!" he finally choked out, confessing, then doubled over, sobbing heavily. "I'm sorry, Anna! I'm sorry, Master Tellah! I'm so.. So.. Sorry…"
My mouth dropped as my heart had. Anna's visage had finally broken with a flood of tears. They mixed in rather grotesque with the blood that marred her face; unbefitting for my little girl, I gently wiped it away, caressing those cheeks that had once been full of life a mere fortnight ago. "Sweetheart," I whispered, restraining myself much as possible so that my voice wouldn't give away the tears fast-forming in my eyes, "is this true? You would give up your life for him, and him alone?"
I hadn't meant to sound so harsh, really; when Anna started crying harder, I felt as if though that Golbez could return, and arrow me down in a cold sweat. I'd deserve it, and take it as capital punishment for hurting my own daughter in such a tone. Ifrit's Hell, I didn't mind when Edward approached again to take her hand, the particular of which had a glinting, ruby ring on a certain finger, of which I hadn't seen since administering Life forces to her.
It hit me, then.
Somehow, I knew that the reason why Anna wanted to return to me was not for my consent, but for something else that might had to do with why her body wasn't accepting the Life Restoration meant for her, and her alone. If I had known that now, Gaia knows I would've tried a double.
"Please, Father.. Forgive me.. For everything. Edward, please don't cry. I love you.."
I clutched her other hand, which was starting to become clammy. This can't be happening.. "Anything darling; Anything. Please, just rest now. You'll be okay.."
You'll be okay..
Those were the last words I said to my little Anna as she slipped out of life, and into another realm, where I hope to see her again someday. I gently rested her body on the stone floor, just as cold as hers was, before standing up. "Golbez is dead! You hear me, you son of a bitch?!" I yelled, screaming at the ceiling. "You will PAY."
Perhaps I had said that to throw off my tears. Men didn't cry -- as that bard should've known -- and I wouldn't allow anyone to see it. Cecil leapt in front of me to barricade the exit from the hellhole, babbling about how not to go off in anger, to do things together, and all that merry crap. Humorous, as in anger, I gripped his throat, and shoved him to the side, grumbling not to worry about me.
I took a long, last look at the castle when I entered the outside, decimated and reeking of blood. It was different than the final view of Toroia Sakura and I had shared before leaving to start our new life together.
"Goodbye, Mother," she had whispered, before turning to me with a joyous smile.
"Goodbye, Anna," I had whispered, once more, alone, but, by witness of the earth and moon, determined not to be.
Whispers of the people, of the trees, I have met or overheard on my way to the Legend Mountain state the comings and goings of Golbez: He grows in power now that three of the four crystals are in his possession. Once he captures the last one, moon and sun only know what will happen to the loveliness of Gaia, and how many more lives will be sacrificed at the cost of his selfishness.
I had always thought that Anna's murderer would be Edward; someday, I'll gather the courage to apologize to them both. Someday.
Like a cure for all the diseases gathered, and the sorrow of those lost before me, I want to know, to halt in the tracks; whatever it will take to ensure that my daughter's death is avenged by that murdering rat, as well as safely know that Golbez will die by my mastery of the Dark Power, Meteo, I can die happy.
Watch out Golbez, I think to myself, standing up once more, and giving the trees a final farewell, payback's a bitch when you're in the sheath of your own blood.
A/N: Whee. Delightful little one-shot. Eventually, I'll get to working on Parent of Flame, Infant of Water again someday. Really.
Disclaimer: No I don't own FFIV/characters/places/ect. Hail Square. I dunno about Sakura, though. Tellah's wife was never mentioned in the game…. Leto.. Um.. Just a made-up name for the Elder. Yes.