Introduction, Disclaimer, and Thanks


Right, if you're going to read this literary disaster, then there's a few things I'd like you to know. Part of this is to avoid confusion, and the rest is to ensure that the huge number of people out there who deserve credit get it. It should've been in originally, it wasn't; I'm correcting that now.

First up, the thanks (yeah, I'm doing this in reverse order, but…well, sod it). I think it would be kinda unfair to present this without giving all due props to Andy Simpson, who has pummelled me around to a far, far better way of thinking about this and has also managed to stop the grammar from going completely off the rails on a number of occasions (You'll probably notice that the grammar in this bit is much, much worse than further on, for instance). He's spent an awful lot of time and effort on this, and it would be practically criminal to not at least mention his name in association with it. Without him, you'd be looking at the vain scribblings of a madman, instead of…well, okay, bad example, but seriously – he's great. Thanks, Andy.

Due thanks also need to go out to everyone, everywhere, who has paid any attention to this or given any suggestions to how it may have been improved. Thanks, guys – even if I can't remember your name (or include it here as the list would stretch for several miles).

Now onto the nitty-gritty legal stuff. It's simple, if it doesn't belong to me, it belongs to Squaresoft. The rest I'm not sure about. I'm an engineer, not a solicitor.

By now you've probably guessed that I'm not much of a writer, either, 'cause I've put the introduction last. Basically, this is another take at the story of FF6, with suitable alterations and changes depending on what I feel like. I know novelisations have been done before, and to be frank it's probably just an attack of laziness, but hey, I like to think that I'm at least doing something slightly different.

That's everything. Enjoy the show.

Avarius Rising

You have no idea what you're letting yourself in for.

That's a pretty damn dramatic first statement, but it's right. Unfortunately, since I don't have the faintest bloody idea what I'm letting myself in for either I can't take five minutes out of my day to laugh at you…but hey, let's just dispense with the pleasantries and set the scene, shall we? My coffee's getting cold.

I'd like you to imagine, if you can, the start of a fine spring day. The sky is blue, the sun is out, and there's the slightest hint of a breeze rippling through the trees. It's the kind of day where forest animals and sickeningly cute girls burst into spontaneous yet highly choreographed song and dance routines. Unlike those adorable bastards, however, I am cooped up in this highly unexciting study of mine having just concluded a one hour battle with my new typewriter and about fourteen dozen ink ribbons. 'Why?' you might ask. Why in the name of all that's holy would I be spending one of my precious days off being assaulted by the world's smuggest bloody typewriter when I could be outside learning how to tap-dance with the local Tree Sprite troupe and a hedgehog named Billy? Well, I'm pretty certain that I can answer that question. In fact, I'm going to answer it in two words:

My sister. She'll be turning up in approximately thirty seconds time, but I'm just going to warn you now; if you don't know what its like to have an overprotective sister with a pyromania complex and an apparent death wish, you soon will - and in excruciating detail. I don't normally like to point fingers, but everything bad that's ever happened to me is probably her fault up to and including my fingers being savaged by this blasted typing contraption. You see, it was her suggestion that I give this whole damn thing a shot, and…well, when Sis makes a suggestion it's often a good idea to follow up on it. Especially when your fire insurance doesn't start for another two weeks.

Anyway, I guess that's introduced this literary train wreck and my sister, so I suppose the polite thing to do would be to introduce myself. My name is Firmament Manduin Branford; it's unfortunate, but it's the truth, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't laugh too hard when you read this. If it helps, you can always call me Firma. Everyone else does (well, uh, nearly everyone), and it's a bit easier on my memory.

Of course, hot on the heels of any written introduction comes the brilliant, witty description of oneself where one attempts to make out that he happens to bear a distinct resemblance to some bronzed God of War with biceps like mountain ranges and a torso that could eclipse most of a continent. For me, however, that's so far from the truth that I think even attempting to pretend that that was the cause would probably force one of the umpteen deities floating around up there to come down here and, uh, settle my hash. It's a bit of a bugger, but here's what I think is a reasonable description of myself.

A lot of people, I know, tend to think of me as a pretty unremarkable character. If you were to run into me in the street then you probably wouldn't see much more then a slight figure of medium height, wrapped up tightly in a cloak of some description. It's clean, simple, and easily forgettable, which is kind've the whole point. You might, if you look closely, catch a momentary flash of green or silver, but aside from that…nothing.

Underneath the cloak, however, is something of a different story. While all documents pertaining to me (all documents below a certain level of clearance that is) state quite clearly that my hometown is the now non-existent city of Vector, I have little or nothing in common with someone of stock Vectorian heritage. Now, I was going to back this point up with comments regarding my hair and eyes (which, admittedly, are somewhat idiosyncratic) but I've just realised that everyone goes around describing eyes and hair, and to be frank its just getting stupid. In fact, you know what? You can bloody well infer what I look like, thank you very much; I'm just going to press on.

I think just about everyone will know about the slightly disastrous and catastrophic effects that took place when a particular madman decided that the topographical features of the world weren't, uh, quite up to his tastes What you may or may not be aware of are the events leading up to this moment, and the subsequent events that resulted in the world we now live in.

Well, fortunately for you my sister, for one reason or another, suddenly acquired a burning desire to know what really happened. You may not see quite how I fit into this, and neither, frankly, do I. However, my sister is capable of making inane connections that are far, far beyond my understanding and that of mortal man, but that didn't stop her from roping me into her little plan with all the subtlety of a ballistic missile. Of course, the first I knew about all of this was when a letter dropped through my door, addressed to one 'Mr. F Branford, South Figaro'.

While I'm impressed at the postal service's ability to deliver a letter to me based on such a vague address, I kinda wish that I had never picked up the letter off my mat – 'cause, well, I'm now stuck doing this. 'Course, you're stuck here reading this, so I guess fair's fair.

But anyway, it's the jobs that're never started that take the longest to finish, and so…well, where do we begin? Nice simple question, bloody difficult answer, mainly because the beginning – the real, genuine, actual beginning –was about a millennia and a half before I was even born. I suppose I could always guess wildly about what went on, but…that would be even more of a waste of my time then this already is, for heaven's sake.

The problem here is that you can label nearly everything as a beginning. The Cataclysm, the release of Phunbaba (Everyone remember Phunbaba? He was a gas!), the first flight of the Quicksilver Wraith – heck, even my abortive –not to say exothermic- attempts at making breakfast this morning could be considered as a beginning. It just all depends where you set your limits. We could even go from the first blow of the War of the Magi right up to those final moments in the dead gloom of wherever the hell we ended up, where a certain geographical designer got exactly what he had coming to him.

I don't think we will, however – partly because that's rather more work then I'm prepared to do, but mainly because of the fact that there's nothing about the intervening thousand years between that magical conflagration and today that I could write better then the umpteen million history books that you can find down at your local public library.

So, light a cigar, take a draught of your favourite brandy, and place yourself in that particularly comfortable leather armchair of yours, while I attempt to explain why everything happened the way it did.