An Final Fantasy VI Fanfiction written by
Locke walked down into the depths of the airship "Falcon."
He went down the flight of stairs and sat down on the lone bench. He sighed,
and started doing what he had come down here to do. Honor the dead. Everyone else was celebrating about the win
against Kefka. But he couldn't bring himself to do the same. He had seen way
too much to be able to forget it.
15 years before...
"Momma! Who's at the door?" little Locke asked his mother, who appeared to be very afraid.
"Locke, go out the back door. Take this money, and go to your Uncle Banon. I'll be there later."
"But Momma…" The little child was silenced, as three of the Empire's finest busted through the door, followed by four more. The person who looked to be in command, was taller than the troops he commanded. His face was almost completely white, with pale circles around his dark eyes. In those same dark eyes, Locke saw an almost insane look, as if it was his life to bust into peoples houses and plunder them. His mother had always told him that was what the Empire did. It robbed and plundered anyone it chose.
"LOCKE! RUN!" The mother screamed. Locke, shaken into reality watched as his mother was silenced by the leader of the soldiers casting a fire spell. The child turned to his mother, who was now a burnt corpse.
"..Momma…" Locke said, and then ran out the back door.
"General Kefka! We weren't supposed to kill them!"
"Silence! I am the Commanding Officer, and I saw a threat. Say nothing more of this matter, except that we were attacked, or you will end up the same." The General said to his soldiers.
"What about the child sir? Should we go after him?"
"He won't last by himself long. Let him go to suffer."
Little Locke heard all of this, and swallowed slowly. Then he ran away from his homestead as the General yelled once more.
"I dislike the sight of this pig-sty. SCORCH IT!"
"It seems like you would be first person to celebrate, yet you sit down here. So, why aren't you?"
Locke turned his head, and saw Celes walk in.
"I have my reasons. I'm honoring those who died."
"Her and many more. Excuse me." Locke said to Celes, then stood up and left.
She stood stunned. She had never been pushed off like that from Locke.
6 months later...
Celes sat in the dressing room of the Opera House, reflecting on that incident. Soon after leaving the airship, she had used her share of the money, and bought a house in Jidoor. She managed to talk the Impresario into giving her a job in the Opera House.
A knock on her door interrupted her reverie.
"Celes? It's me Lana. Care if I come in?" Celes turned., and smiled as her door came slowly open, and her newest friend.
"What's up Lana?" Celes asked her.
"Nothing, I guess I'm just nervous about tonight's performance. It's taken me so long to remember..." Lana said, as she walked across the small room, and sat in one of its chairs.
"Then it's probably not a good idea to tell you that you are going to meet one of my friends tonight is it?" Celes said, and she laughed as her friends face brightened.
"Oh my... Are you
Half an hour before the opera started, Setzer sat in the
airship "Falcon" reflecting on the past.
"I'm sorry Daryll. I wish I could have saved you like I did Terra."
It had been almost ten years ago, when he had been waiting on their hill.
When she hadn't come, he went back to the Blackjack, and he heard the A.V.I.D. signal. The signal meant that she was in distress, and the ship was borderline crashing or already crashed. He had immediately traced the signal and found the crashed Falcon. He had searched frantically, but hadn't found anything... or anyone. Then he had rebuilt the Falcon, piece by piece, and then buried it.
Checking his watch, he realized it was time for him to go in.
After the opera, Celes found Setzer and brought him to meet Lana.
"Setzer, I would like you to meet..." She stopped, as the two flew into each other's arms.
Celes watched as the two walked away with a puzzled expression on her face. "Ahh well," she thought. She might never understand that one.
As she was about to turn away, there was a commotion starting at the front door. She walked over, and she saw the reason for the commotion. A man, whose clothes were tattered, and his skin was torn up and bloody, had walked in. He was sprawled out on the floor. She ran to him, and turned him over.
She saw the face, scuffed, scratched and dirty, of Locke Cole.
"GET ME A MEDIC OVER HERE! NOW!" She screamed.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
The reverb of Locke's heart burst in his ears.
"Damn... I've got a headache."
"Locke, you alright?" Celes asked him.
From what he could see, she had been sleeping.
"Yeah... I think, but I'm not important right now. Call
our friends. We have a SERIOUS problem."
As Celes turned away, Locke said one thing that made her blood turn to ice.
"Celes, they are using Magic..."
Soon after Locke's claim, he and Celes were transferred to Figaro Castle by Setzer, where Edgar and Sabin met up with them. His claim was met with more than just skepticism.
"Locke, you've told me quite a few tall tales since I've known you, but this is a little unbelievable…" Edgar said.
"It's true Edgar!" Locke said, trying to defend himself. It was a losing battle, but he had to try.
"Let me get this straight Locke. What you're telling me
is a nightmare. Not only is there someone who is a great threat, but they are
using magic? Celes, How hard DID he get hit?" Setzer said.
"All right Gambler, lets make a little wager shall we? If I'm right, you owe me. We will figure out what later. If I'm wrong, same deal. All right?" Locke asked.
"Deal." The Wandering Gambler replied. He thought he knew a good bet when he heard one.
"All right. Celes, fight me if you will." Locke said, and with that, the two fighters started to clash. It went on for at least ten minutes when suddenly Locke stopped and yelled out, "FIRE!"
The group watched, as nothing happened, and Celes quickly disarmed her opponent.
"Well thief, you owe me," Setzer said.
"I… don't understand! I saw it with my own eyes!" Locke said, leaning against a wall.
"If what you say is true, which it doesn't seem like it is, why didn't you run at the first sign of trouble?" Daryll said, silencing comments from the others.
"By the way, this is Daryll." Setzer said, bringing about a group "Oh..."
"While I'd like to hear her story, I don't think this is the…" Edgar started but then was interrupted by a guard running in.
"Sire! Something is hovering over the mountains to the east, heading towards the south!" the soldier told him, out of breath.
"Let's go take a look." Sabin said, and the group agreed.
The room in which he found himself was cold and dark. Where windows had once been, pitch black curtains covered the outer light coming in. He could almost feel the energy from the being who resided in this room. It was almost like wave after intense wave of enormous power. This was the being which commanded him, and in his presence, he felt absolute fear and respect. Those who did not give the proper respect never lived to make it outside this dark, foreboding room.
"You may speak James…" The owner of the room spoke to him. As he turned towards him, the robes he wore swished silently. Under his shroud you could not see a face, just darkened eyes.
"Master, the Castle is east of us. They've spotted us. I will order a turnabout, then we can attack. Cole has arrived there, and he has told them what happened to himself and what he saw. They've had time to prepare." James said, speaking into shadows, where the robed figure remained.
"We will destroy Figaro Castle, and with it, the chance that we will be attacked will be greatly minimized," the robed figure said.
James, after hearing this, saluted using his right hand pointed towards the being, then brushing his face, and stopping at his chest. Then, the being nodded, and James started away from the room.
"We will win the prize my friend. Don't ever doubt that," the being said, as he turned towards the darkness once more. As James walked away, he looked back at his commander, who had already been swallowed into the ever-engulfing darkness.
Sabin was the first on the highest watch tower, followed by the rest of the group. It was quite tight on the top, but they managed to fit everyone comfortably.
"There it is!" the guard said, pointing at a black silhouette flew past the slowly lowering sun.
"What is it...?" Celes asked.
Wordlessly, Setzer brought a pair of binoculars out of his pocket.
"It can't be…" he said as he looked towards the black shape in the horizon, still just above the mountains, flying slowly to the south.
"What is it Setzer?" Edgar asked. Just from the tone of Setzer's voice, Edgar worried about what the answer might be.
Setzer silently handed them to Edgar, and then finally said, "Look for yourself."
Edgar took the binoculars and focused in on the shape.
"It can't be… Is that the Blackjack?!"
Gleaming in the daylight, the Blackjack flew close over the towers of Figaro Castle. The black blimp on top stood proudly as it flew gracefully through the air. It slightly lifted up as it flew over the main tower, and then flew back out to the perimeter of the small desert.
Setzer stood stunned, as did everyone else. Then, suddenly, the ship came towards the castle at a tremendous speed.
Edgar wasted no time. He went to the side of the towers roof, and yelled down to one of the soldiers.
"SUBMERGE NOW!" The King of Figaro yelled down, then followed the rest of the group as they ran downstairs back into the castle. Edgar ran to a window, and looked out.
"Come on…damn it… faster…" he muttered as the castle lowered.
Celes, looking through another window, watched silently as the airship approached.
"We aren't going to make it Edgar…" She muttered.
Then the castle shook as if confirming her statement. Then, a wailing noise, first quiet and then louder, as the airship crossed over the roof, and dropped bombs, creating explosions of intense sound and light. They kept hitting as the group in the throne room huddled for what they knew could be their last moments..
Locke ran to Celes, and took her hand in his, as the roof finally cracked open, and sand started to pour in…
Mobliz was quiet as the sun finally sunk below the horizon. It had always been quiet, but it was even quieter than ever, at least since Kefka had destroyed it.
These children meant the world to Terra. They were all so naïve, but knew and had seen much more than children should. Katarin and Duane helped so much, and they also meant the world to her.
Terra had always been a loner. It wasn't that she wanted to hide from people, but she often found it to be easier to think if she was alone. Before the children came into her life, she was confused and naïve, but now, she was confident, and strong, even though her Esper side was gone.
Sure, it had left a few side-effects, (if you could call them that) like when she had an adrenaline rush, she became much faster and stronger, but only for a short time. The abilities that had come with being half-Esper, such as flying, wouldn't happen again, and for Terra, that was perfectly fine. It meant that her life could be somewhat normal.
As Terra turned away from the now faded sunset, she heard a shuffle behind her. Turning, she saw nothing but bushes and the occasional tree or rock. Regarding it as delusions, she started to walk back in again, and this time, she felt someone behind her.
"Terra... it has been a while." The voice behind her said.
"Shadow, you should know by now. You don't need to sneak up on me," she responded.
"It is in my nature, as you should know as well," Shadow said, as he turned and faced the wind, which had just picked up slightly.
"Do you feel it?" He asked her.
"Feel what?" Terra asked, confused.
"The black wind… it begins to howl…" he responded.
"…What are you saying?" She asked him.
"Something is happening… Evil fills the land once more." He responded to her.
The first thing Edgar thought of when he awoke was that he was dead. As he came more to, he realized that he wasn't dead. He could feel the sand he was laying on. As he moved his head, he looked around.
Somehow, the throne room was not completely filled with sand.
"Hello..?" He called out.
Nothing but silence answered him.
He turned, looking at the doorway. It was slightly ajar, allowing some light in, but it wasn't natural sunlight. It was candlelight. He walked towards the door, and looked through it.
Somehow, when the castle was hit, as it fell it put a protective layer of stone and metal around the courtyard that would normally be filled with sand.
He shoved the door open, and as it opened, people came from out of the shadows.
"The King! He's all right!" One yelled.
The King smiled weakly as he looked around the area. There were probably fifty different people around. Some were being attended by medics, who in this situation were having difficulty. As he kept turning, he finally saw Setzer, standing next to a crouched Locke, and the form of Celes, who was leaning against the wall. The room was chilly, and even with the various lit candles, the darkness was almost choking, the kind that you would see in a darkened closet.
He also felt a sense of sadness. Many people had died. Guards, travelers, even civilians living in the castle. They had been crushed, or for those who hadn't died instantly, suffocation. No matter what, Figaro Castle would never be the same again.
Turning his attention, he summoned his courage, and called to his friends.
"Sabin! Celes! Locke! Setzer! You made it!" He said, smiling broadly.
"She isn't so lucky Edgar…" Locke said sadly, as he kept a grip on Celes' hand. Her normally beautiful, flawless face was scratched and dirty. Her hair was matted with sand and small stone fragments. Bandages were wrapped around her arms and shins, but they did nothing to hide the loss of blood.
"The medics tried, but they lost most of the good equipment in the bombing by the Blackjack, and the submerging has blocked off some areas." Locke told him, still holding her weak hand.
"Keep her calm, I need to check on other things…" Edgar said, and then bent down next to Celes.
"Celes, you'll be all right. Besides, if you were to die, who would I flirt with?" he said to her smiling.
"Thanks… Edgar…" She whispered softly.
Edgar managed to find a way to the Engine Room. He found as he got lower, the sand didn't affect as much. They were lucky. This meant that they had a chance to get out of here.
The Engine Room had never been one of Edgar's favorite places to go. It was very warm, obviously because of the fact it had two large engine generators. There was always a smell of oil in the air. He always became very claustrophobic in the room.
But then again, it was one of his favorite places. When active, these two generators helped power almost everything in the castle.
"How is it?" He asked.
"Your Highness, I didn't realize you were here!" The engineer said, startled by the appearance of the King.
"Save it for later would you? Can we move the castle?" Edgar asked him.
"Sir, you have to understand. When we were hit, we were in the process of moving. When we suddenly stopped, the castle literally fell down because of the speed at which we were going and the speed that ship was going. I may be able to lift it up, but if I do, we may not live to see the surface. Give me a couple days to work on it, and maybe I can coax it up, but, it's too risky now," The Engineer told the King.
"What are the odds that we will make it if we try it now..?" Edgar asked him.
"There is a seventy-five percent chance that we won't make it," the Engineer said solemnly.
"We have people who need medical attention. Get to work on it. Send word the minute you are ready," Edgar said and started towards the door.
"Sir! I can barely get the engine to even think about charging up, much less turning, what am I supposed to be, a miracle worker?" The Engineer asked him.
"You are an engineer; this is a piece of machinery. You work on this, and we get out. You work slowly, lives may be taken. You work quickly, there is a possibility we can save them." The king told him, and then promptly left.
"The castle is underground, trapped, disabled, and just like you said no one made it out."
Once again he was in front of the shadows; speaking to someone he could not see.
"Very well. You have done well. Take us to a remote location. There we will wait until the time is right…"
"Setzer isn't answering on the radio," Terra said.
"It looks as if they have gotten to him already," Shadow told her, quietly standing across the room from her.
"He could just be out of the airship."
"He carries a handheld radio in his left pocket."
"I don't want to know how you know."
"I know that, just like I know you carry the pendant you wore when you were in the Empire in your right boot."
Terra smiled slightly. The pendant she had wasn't something she prized, as she never remembered how she got it. She kept it in her boot as a sort of good luck charm, that she might walk in the right direction in life. She turned towards the shrouded man again.
"Okay, never mind…"
"…any…. hear… Setzer…" The radio suddenly chirped out, static covering most.
"Setzer! This is Terra!" Terra said, turning to the radio.
"Figaro…..buried….need….attention….castle……unable to move… Celes….serious condition…"Setzer told her, breaking up because of not only the distance, but the shield in between him and her, being the sand and debris. Then, before Terra could reply, the connection broke.
"I think I got someone on my radio, it sounded like Terra, but I'm not sure. I don't know how much information I got out. At the very least, someone knows we are down here, I hope…" Setzer said, putting his radio in his left pocket.
"There's not much they can do, if they can't get to us. The roof above our heads may be stable now, but if it were to have some of the sand lifted off, it might collapse." Edgar said, as he turned and shook his head.
Hours passed as the trapped victims waited for some sort of sign. Edgar was edgy as he stood in a corner. People left him alone. Celes drifted in and out of consciousness. The medics had changed her wrappings, and they weren't as bloody as the old ones, but there was still blood on. Locke was pacing back and forth, muttering things that no one understood or could hear. Setzer was the calmest of them all, and he had started a game of solitaire. Daryll sat next to him, her head on her arms, sleeping. Most everyone else was sitting around, talking quietly among themselves.
Suddenly the silence was interrupted as the Engineer walked into the room.
"Sir, the engine was damaged. I can't get enough juice to it."
"What are you saying?" Edgar asked, but he already knew what the answer was.
"I can't move the castle. At least, not until I get some parts to repair the engine."
Edgar stood silently, as the words settled in.
"All right everyone, listen up. I don't know how long this roof will hold up, but I don't want to find out the hard way. We need to go someplace a little bit safer. Everyone gather any supplies you can get to, and meet me here in five minutes," Edgar said, then left them to prepare.
Five minutes later, the group of survivors set out through the massive cave maze that led to the Ancient Castle. As Sabin had called it, Baron Castle, was a castle from before the War of the Magi, which suddenly disappeared after a freak storm. It had never been proven that this castle was that, but it was generally accepted by most people who had studied it.
As they came around another corner, they found nothing but a dead end.
"Seemed so much easier last time we went here." Locke said, as he stopped and leaned against the stone wall.
"That is because you weren't the one leading us into the area Locke. As I recall Celes was." Edgar said.
"Got... that right... Edgar..." Celes said weakly. Locke had been carrying her, and had just sat her down on the ground.
"I really resent that! I mean come on, I'm the world's premier Treasure Hunter. That's got to account for some ease of finding my way!" Locke protested.
"Somehow... I think... that's slightly... off.." Celes grunted, as the others around chuckled.
"All right, let's take a break here. We still have a ways to go." Edgar said, sitting down.
As the group sat down, rations were passed out. They had found more rations than Edgar thought they would, so there was plenty to go around.
"Heh.... Field rations, been a while since I had these," Daryll remarked.
"What do you mean?" Setzer asked.
"Just what I said." She said.
"Daryll, we've all heard what happened to you. Just out of curiosity, where did you go?" Sabin asked.
"Are you ready to listen for a while?" She asked. The group nodded.
"My story starts out…"
Ten years ago
The Falcon flew a wide arc around a range of mountains. Daryll had always loved the speed of her ship. When she was in it, she felt like she could take on the world. There was only one person who came close to beating her in the air, and that was Setzer Gabianni.
Setzer was fascinating. He feared nothing. He was a wandering spirit, carefree, and an experienced gambler. Yet he had an inner strength that just flowed from him. When she was with him, she felt like she could take on the universe by herself. His airship almost matched hers in speed, but she always kept ahead. Her ship was more maneuverable than his, but just barely.
As she flew close to the water, she watched dolphins jump from the ocean, doing their calls, which echoed from the water. She slowed down and watched them jumping from the water. It was a beautiful sight.
Speeding up again, she raised the ship's altitude. As she went farther and farther up, she saw a ship sailing on the ocean. She took notice of it, but flew over it.
Suddenly, the airship shook, as a missile from the ship struck the side of the airship. She checked her gauges, and immediately tried to get as far away from the boat as possible. For the first time as she tried to get away, she noticed her speed was not as high as it normally was. She ran to the side of the bridge, and saw why. The missile was jammed into one of the propellers.
She ran back to the controls, and watched the gauges that were going crazy. She tried steering, but the wheel wasn't responding. She was headed towards a small island. At the speed she was going she knew that there was no possible way she would live through the crash. Grabbing a parachute, she pressed a button in the controls. It immediately started sending the A.V.I.D. signal. She jumped, and as she floated down to the water, she saw the Falcon crash with a huge flash.
She hit the water, and waited that hopefully soon Setzer would pick her up. As she waited, suddenly she was the ship that had caused her to have to abandon her doomed ship. She tried swimming away from it. It was too fast for her and it scooped her up. Before she could say anything, one of the sailors punched her, knocking her out.
Over the next few years, Daryll only had vague points of memory. She remembered being in the capital of Vector, and she remembered seeing faces. Only one that stuck out to her, she never remembered his name, but she remembered his face. It was the face of an evil joker. He placed something on her head, and she had no choice but to obey him after he did.
Seven years after first being sent to Vector, she was sent to South Figaro to capture the town, because of some backwater resistance group called the Returners. Soon after being placed there, she was assigned to a group who was heading to the cave where these Returners were supposedly operating. They never found the cave, and returned to Vector.
Weeks passed where she couldn't remember anything, except the fact she kept having the device placed on her head. The joker looking man referred to it as a Slave Crown. She was given orders to guard the town of Vector in the event that insurrectionists were trying to overthrow the Empire.
Days passed as this was her only assignment. They took off the Slave Crown, and gave her the orders of patrolling Vector, and if she tried to escape, or even slack on the job, she was told that it would be placed on her again.
One of the days, suddenly strange beasts started attacking the town, setting it on fire, and killing the citizens. In the aftermath, few guards were left, so she took her chances and escaped. She walked to the closest town she could, which was Albrook. She managed to get by the Magitek Guards, by telling them she had been reassigned. The guards passed her by without as much as a glance. They didn't really care who came in it appeared, as they had the power to demolish the whole town. She guessed with that kind of power, it gave the operators big heads.
She stayed there for three days, and the late the third day, a General came up to her, and said she was ordered to go with him on a ship bound for Crescent Island. She agreed, because it would give her a chance to escape. She knew the town of Thamasa was a backwater town, and she wouldn't be searched for there. Another General showed up soon after, and after asking around, she found out that this was General Celes, who she had heard turned traitor.
The next day the two generals, a few soldiers including herself, and people she didn't recognize, one with beautiful shoulder length green hair, one wearing completely black, with a large Doberman beside him, and one that looked like the rugged adventurers she had seen in children's books that she had read as a child.
The ride to the island was uneventful at most, with the exception of the adventurer throwing up constantly. When they arrived, Daryll went with General Celes and the other General, whose name was Leo, and they started searching for something called Espers. They didn't find anything, but the other group did. On their way to Thamasa, Daryll took her chances, and during one of their battles, she faked being hit, and fell down. The two generals picked her up and took her to Thamasa, where they got a bed for her at the hotel.
She sat there for a long while, and suddenly she heard noise outside. It sounded like the place was being attacked, but she wasn't sure. She slowly got up and looked out a window. The Joker, who she had found out that his name was Kefka, was ordering three Magitek suits to scorch the place. General Leo and a many others lay on the ground. They looked dead, and she was afraid of what would happen. Some of the same beasts that had attacked Vector were standing, trying to stop Kefka. He suddenly cast something on them, and they turned into crystal-like shards. Leo tried to fight Kefka, but Kefka murdered him after creating an illusion of the Emperor. The Espers that we had been searching for came after Kefka, and he gave them the same treatment as the other Espers. He continued collecting these Espers until he, at least she thought, had enough, and he left with the Magitek soldiers. The other people woke up to find Leo dead, and they buried him, his sword as his headstone. As she watched them leave, she saw a ship lift off.
It was the Blackjack. She ran out to try and stop it, but it was too late. It lifted off and flew over her head.
The group of people left, with an old man and his granddaughter. At least that's what she thought she was she couldn't be sure.
Days passed, and things calmed down in Thamasa, as she started to blend into the town.
Just as she thought that maybe she was safe, suddenly something happened.
The town started shaking, and the land started ripping apart. The mountains south of Thamasa rose, and then slammed into the water. Plants and animals started to wither and die within seconds. She was so busy watching what was happening that she didn't realize that the ground she was standing on had split from the island. It settled into the water, and as she tried swimming, debris hit her from something in the sky crumbling. Before she lost consciousness, she saw a shape above her. As she focused slightly, she saw that it was the Blackjack. Her final sight of the ship was it cracking apart.
She woke up months later in a house she didn't recognize. As she slowly sat up, an elderly woman came over to her.
"Child, move slowly, your body hasn't moved in almost a year." The old woman told her.
It took months for her to be able to walk again; she had suffered many different injuries. As they finally started to heal, she found out what had happened. That crazy General Kefka had destroyed the world, by moving some statues or something. She heard that the remnants of the Returners were trying to get him. Then she heard something she never thought she'd hear again.
"That Setzer Gabianni, I heard he got his dead girlfriend's airship, and is flying it now."
That had started her on a search. One to find answers of her own.
She started in Jidoor, and found out that he had joined the Returners because he lost a bet to General Celes. She stayed in Jidoor, getting information.
When she realized she could no longer learn anything else in Jidoor, she was about to leave, when suddenly a kid yelled into the town.
"Kefka's dead!! THEY GOT HIM!"
The whole town erupted in cheers as people started hugging each other, and falling to there knees cheering. Then she saw it.
Her Falcon suddenly flew over the town. It was headed towards Figaro Castle. She knew she would get there, but for right now, she would have to earn enough money to get there. Since there were no ports on the island that Figaro Castle was located on, travel there was very expensive.
She went south, and found that the Opera House was looking for new singers. She auditioned and got the job. The person after her auditioned and was also hired. Later she found out this person was General Celes, and she had an excellent voice. She went up to her after she was hired, and introduced herself only with her middle name, which was Lana. As they became closer, she heard more and more of Setzer Gabianni.
"…and the rest you guys already know," Daryll said, finishing up her long recounting of her past ten years/
"Incredible..." Edgar said, summing up everyone's thoughts.
"Grandpa, what's wrong?" Young Relm asked her grandfather.
"The black wind is howling…" Strago replied to her.
"What do you mean Grandpa?"
"Something bad is about to happen…"
Mobliz was quiet as nightfall came. Terra had tucked the children into bed, and now sat in room in one of the newly rebuilt houses. The room was cozy in the fact that it was small. It had a rocking chair in one corner, and that is where Terra sat, wrapped in a newly sewn quilt. Shadow sat in another chair, watching the slowly flickering flames in the stone fireplace. His dog, Interceptor, was on a rug in front of the fireplace. His feet were stretched away from him, and his eyes were closed. He looked very comfortable in his lazy position.
Terra thought of what Shadow had told her earlier. She had felt a sense of foreboding, and when she had gotten the message from Setzer, she had wanted to leave right away. Shadow had talked her out of it, stating that it would be easier to travel during the day. She had agreed, and had invited Shadow to stay for the night.
The shrouded man had sat in the chair since he came in. He hadn't said a word, and he hadn't even moved a muscle. Terra had always felt strangely safe around him, but she never knew why. She thought that maybe because he could see almost into a person's soul with his dark eyes peering out from his mask.
She closed her eyes as the hypnotic sway of her chair lulled her into a deepening sleep.
The shadow walked towards her.
Terra had no clue where she was. It almost looked familiar, but in a strange way, because she had never been there before, she knew it.
She tried to step forward, but her feet were stuck to the floor. She tried to open her mouth, but it felt like it was stuck together by a thick substance.
She tried to respond, but her mouth was still sealed.
"I know you cannot talk, but you must listen. All things have a point of origin. Yours is the World of the Espers…"
She tried to push against what felt like restraints to run towards the shadow, but her feet stuck even harder.
"Evil also has its point of origin. You remember what Banon told you long ago…"
Suddenly, in front of her, Banon appeared, and turned away from her.
"Once, there was a box that humans were told never to open. But one man went and opened it anyway. He released all the evils of the world… Greed… Hate…. Anger…. Until there was only one thing left in that box. That was hope. Terra, you are our last ray of hope…"
Then with a slight breeze, Banon disappeared, replaced by the figure again.
"You are the last ray of hope… will you be willing to give your life for your friends..."
She stood, not knowing how to answer. Her mouth was unsealed, but words wouldn't form on her dry lips.
"I know what you are thinking… You know there is a threat… "
In her mind, a slew of thoughts flew through..
"Do not fool yourself into thinking you were ignorant… You know very well you sensed danger on the horizon…"
The shadow was right, she realized. She had felt it, long before Shadow told her, but she denied its existence.
Then Shadow appeared in front of her.
"The black wind… it begins to howl…" he said, and then, disappeared, giving room the darkened figure.
"He was quite right. The black wind has started to howl. It's existence has always brought tides of evil, and it always will. The one you call Shadow was keen of it, even the old one called Strago has felt it… Now answer my question… Would you give your life for your friends…"
Terra stood there, utterly confused.
"What…? My friends…? Are they in danger?"
"See for yourself…" The figure said, then majestically moved its hand.
She saw Edgar, Locke, Sabin, Setzer, Celes, and someone she didn't recognize all sitting in a cave.
Then Locke sat down and put Celes' hand in between his hands, caressing them.
"You'll be all right Celes… You are not going to die…"
Then the image faded into the darkness.
"Can you answer my question now…?"
"Yes! How can I help them?"
"That answer I cannot give you. The one named Shadow may be able to help you… Search for a solution from within, Terra…"
The figure spun slowly, its shadows seeming to ripple around it, and it walked away from her, disappearing into even more shadows.
"Terra… Terra! TERRA!" Duane yelled finally to awaken the sleeping woman. She was mumbling, something he couldn't exactly pick out. She was also stiffening her arms and legs, as if something was scaring her. He had never seen her this way before,
"..wh…Wha….What?" Terra murmured as she came out of sleep.
"You've been sleeping down here all night!" Duane told her, and as he did, she stood up.
"Where's Shadow?" She asked.
"He's outside," He said, as she ran out the door.
The morning sun came over the horizon, a beautiful spectacle in a normally dreary and weary world. The waves were crashing gently and quietly against the beach. Shadow had always found the morning sunrise to be relaxing. The thought of a new day had kept at the back of his mind since he escaped Kefka's tower. He had decided then and there that he would start a new life. He had done much, but the one thing still remained from his former life. The black face mask covered his face.
"Shadow!" a crisp, clear voice came from behind him. He knew it was Terra, and he knew what was to come.
"Terra, I have a secret to reveal to you…" he said as he turned to face her.
"I have questions of you…" She started, but was silenced by his hand being held up.
"The person you see here, is Shadow, but the person, " he said, then took off his mask, "under the mask is a man named Clyde Arrowny."
Terra's mouth dropped. Suddenly it made perfect sense to her. Why Interceptor seemed to attracted to Relm, why Strago was strangely quiet when around him, why Shadow…. Clyde seemed to avoid Relm and Strago as much as he could.
Terra could see the resemblance between the two. Relm had her father's well cut, slim face. His eyebrows were neatly trimmed, and he also had a neatly cut mustache. In some respects, he looked somewhat like Cyan Garamonde.
"Your night was filled with strange dreams wasn't it?" Clyde said turning away from her.
"They said you could help me," Terra told him.
The man turned to her slowly.
"The person you saw in your dreams, her name was Tamitha Arrowny. She was my wife. Many years ago, she was kidnapped by someone I still do not know. I found out that she was taken to the past, and forced to fight. She was very fond of the wind, and was killed when someone hit her in air, and stabbed her as she fell. Using the magical abilities she learned in that time period, she communicated through time to me. She used the same ability to do the same to you," he said, talking the most she had ever heard him talk.
"She told me that you could help me save our friends. She told me to search for a solution from within. What was she saying?" Terra asked, trying to understand all she had been told.
"I do not know what she meant. If you, as she said "Search within," then you will find your answers," Clyde said, then turned away again.
"Let's go to Figaro Clyde."
James once again stood in the darkened room. His friend and commander stood facing away from him like normal.
"We have waited a long time. Aren't we going to continue?" He asked.
"Be patient my friend. When have I ever failed you?" the shadowed figure answered him.
"Very well, I am sorry to have doubted you."
The heat of the sun in midday was almost unbearable as Cyan Garamonde practiced his swordplay in the courtyard of Doma. Even though many people had come to Doma to repopulate it, and that he had started training them to help protect Doma, he couldn't let his guard go down.
"If thou'st lower thine guard, thou art allowing the enemy in," He said to no one in particular.
"My liege!" a guard ran to him, then bowed slightly.
"What is it?" He responded.
"Visitors from the town of Thamasa. Strago Magus, and Relm Arrowny. They are here to see you," the guard replied.
"Bring them to me," Cyan replied.
The journey had once again started deep below the sands of Figaro. With a little bit of rest, Celes had healed, albeit not as well as some would hope, but she had started walking slowly, with a slight limp. The doctor said that maybe with a little bit of light that the buried castle seemed to provide, he might be able to help her a little better.
"Would it be a bad time to ask are we there yet?" Setzer asked, trying to add levity.
"I cannot explain it my friend. Many people in Doma have sensed a dark covering, much like a mist, covering the land. Children are coming down with illness we have no cure for. Be this the black wind of which you speak of, Sir Strago?"
"I believe so Cyan, but I cannot be sure. I feel a sense of foreboding coming over the land, a kind of black wind," Strago responded.
"Maybe we should go to Figaro...?" Cyan asked, turning away and looking towards a slowly moving sky.
"My thoughts exactly... but I fear that we may already be too late..." Strago said quietly.
"I hope for all of our sakes you are wrong," Cyan said slowly.
"Finally..." Edgar said as they walked into the abandoned castle.
"Least you didn't have to listen.. to Locke complain the
whole... time...." Celes remarked.
"Hey! Quit it!" Locke remarked quickly. Apparently all the quick comments about him had started to affect him.
Nikeah was what it always had been, a bustling center for shipping and trade. People ran about, one corner to the other, trading, and selling, trying to get the best deal for there product and for them.
"You haven't been here before have you Relm?" Strago turned to his granddaughter, and asked.
He didn't receive any response. She was in awe of everything she saw. Even during the months before Kefka, she never made it to Nikeah on one of the many trips the team had made there, to buy supplies, and gather information.
"No... Its great!" She responded as she smiled, looking around.
"I have other words to describe it..." Cyan muttered. Every experience in the town was a bad one for him.
"Cyan, I know how you feel about this town, it's too busy for me here. Let's continue on to.... Relm?" Strago started, but then was interrupted by Relm, walking closer to two people talking.
"...Yeah. Figaro's gone, no one knows what happened, they found some debris constant with its destruction. No survivors at all. Creepy stuff man, if someone took out Figaro, what else can they do?" One man said.
"True... true... No ones safe anymore, I guess," another responded.
Strago, hearing this conversation, walked closer to the two conversing.
"Excuse me sirs, but if I may, did you say that Figaro Castle was destroyed?" Strago asked.
"Yeah. A traveler from these parts was scheduled to deliver some supplies there, and he never found it. People from Kohlingen said it wasn't there either. It happened so quickly and quietly, that no one knew about it. No one appears to have escaped, and like I said, we just found out a little while ago," the first man responded.
"Thank you sirs for this information," Cyan said. then turned towards the port.
"Let us depart my friends," He said, motioning to the port.
"This place is cold you know?" Setzer remarked, shrugging his jacket closer on himself.
"What gave you that idea, Setzer?" Edgar asked, visibly shivering. Apparently the royal clothing he wore wasn't as warm as it looked.
"Well, now what?" Locke asked to no one in particular.
"I, want to look around. Unlike the rest of you, I haven't been here before. I find this wonderful!" Daryll said as she walked deeper into the castle.
"I guess I'll follow her," Setzer said, then did so.
South Figaro had always been a favorite place of Terra. The people were friendly, the food was good, and the prices for medicines and weapons were quite good.
Today was different however. Today she had no time to enjoy it.
"Clyde! We can't just stop now!" She said to him trying to dissuade him from the idea of stopping.
"Terra, if we don't stop right now, how are we going to make it to Figaro?! And even if we did, would you be able to fight like this? Your exhausted!" He told her.
She didn't respond as she looked away from him. She knew he was right.
"You know I'm right. Lets stop here for a few hours. At least to sit down and get something to eat." Clyde told her as he walked towards the cafe.
The two walked into the cafe, and Terra's mouth dropped open.
The place was empty, with the exception of the proprietor of the place.
"Come on in! Have a seat! It's been a couple days since our last customer, ever since..." He said, broadly smiling.
"...Figaro disappeared?" A new voice asked from the door. Terra turned to see who the newcomer was, and saw a friend she hadn't seen since the last day of Kefka.
"This is incredible Setzer," Daryll said as she walked into a room that resembled Figaro's own throne room.
The room, much like the castle, was almost perfectly preserved, with the exception of the tapestries on the wall, which were slightly worn, and looked as if they had been torn so many years ago.
"Yeah... Kinda dusty though."
"This place is great!" Sabin Figaro said as he ran in. He had been ecstatic since they got there. He had been searching the castle, and earlier Edgar had pointed out that that was Locke's job to be the plunderer. Luckily, Locke hadn't been around to hear that.
Daryll smiled. She hadn't known Setzer's new friends for a long time, but she already loved being around them. She walked towards the throne that still seemed to be in perfect condition.
Feeling the soft fabric of it, she marveled at the texture of the fabric.
"Go ahead. I don't think the former king would have minded," Sabin told her, gesturing her to sit down in the chair.
She turned towards the chair again, and then sat down. She smiled as she imagined herself telling her servants to do this and that, signing royal decrees, and so many other things that a king or queen would do. She slid her hand to the sides of the chair.
"That's the lever that opened the secret door to the chambers below," Setzer told her.
"And this one?" She asked feeling another lever.
"...Say again?" Setzer asked.
"There's another lever here. Albeit smaller, I know its a lever," Daryll told them.
Sabin and Setzer looked at each other. Last time they had been here, they hadn't seen another lever. But then again, no one had sat on the throne either.
"Push it! See what happens! Maybe we'll find a secret treasure vault, or a library! Yeah.. a library would be great!" Sabin said, ecstatic once again.
Daryll smiled again. Sabin was slightly different then most. She moved her hand- over the lever, and then pulled it.
At first nothing happened.
"Well.. are you sure that was a.."
As Sabin started to ask, he was interrupted by the throne starting to shake. Daryll's smile turned to fear as the chair she sat upon started to move away from the wall. Then about five feet away from the wall, the chair stopped and turned towards it. The wall clicked, then clicked again as the wall slide out and to the side.
Sabin ran past the throne and to the door and inside.
"Shall we my dear?" Setzer asked, walking up to the throne and taking Daryll's hand.
"Why certainly!" She responded.
The five comrades had sat in the Cafe for merely two hours, eating, resting and catching up.
"Sir, if I may ask, what do you know of what has happened to Figaro Castle?" Strago asked.
The proprietor, who had been cleaning a glass set it down, then walked over and sat down near them.
"Well, I was sitting there, washing glasses a couple days ago, when suddenly someone ran in, screaming that something was bombing the castle. I thought that I had seen the guy earlier, and he had drunk a little too much, because anyone who was bombing that castle, even from the air, was looking for a surprise because the castle would either retaliate, or dive. That guy kept rambling, and I thought about calling the authorities to help get rid of him. Suddenly another man ran in and confirmed what the first had said. I still was skeptical, but the second, who was less hysterical started talking. He said he and his buddy had been riding chocobos towards the castle, when suddenly an airship started flying towards it. At first they thought it might have been the Legendary Falcon, piloted by that Wandering Gambler fellow, but as it got closer, they saw it wasn't white like the Falcon, but dark. As it flew towards the castle, they thought it was going to hit it. But just as it came near the castle, which was submerging, it let loose a huge barrage of bombs, which hit the castle, which by this time was almost submerged. The castle was hit, albeit barely. The guy said that the castle shook from the blast then went below the surface quickly, not mechanically like it normally would. Ever since then, South's been a ghost town. People are afraid to be here," The proprietor said, finishing his story.
"Thank you sir. You have been a great help to us," Cyan said as he stood up.
The proprietor smiled as Cyan laid down more money than expected.
"I hope your business regains its customers," Clyde said as he walked out, followed by Terra, Cyan, and the others.
"Man, it's even dustier in here," Setzer commented as they stepped into a hallway, which before recently, had been hidden behind the throne.
"Does anyone have a light, or something which we can use?" Daryll asked.
"Hold on, I'll get a candle from the others," Sabin said then ran out.
"... I wonder what happened here. This seems like it was such a beautiful castle," Daryll remarked.
"Few people knew about this place, with the exception of scholars, historians, and a few varied others," Setzer replied.
Daryll started to say something, but then Sabin stepped in with a torch for each of them, followed by Locke, with his own candle.
"You guys think you can search this place that probably has treasure without me?!" Locke asked.
"That was the idea..." Setzer said, smirking.
"Well, we going to move on or are we going to stand here?" Locke, ignoring what Setzer said, asked.
"Locke's right, let's get moving," Sabin said, then took up the lead.
They started walking down this hallway, constantly turning to see if they were passing other hallways, but they never did.
"What kind of King would have a corridor that goes nowhere behind his throne?" Locke asked.
"Maybe it was an escape route? Edgar has always considered having one of those, but he won't tell me if he had one put in." Sabin replied.
All talk stopped as they came upon a door.
"Shall we open it?" Daryll asked.
"What do you think?" Locke replied, as Sabin struggled with the old door handle.
It wouldn't budge no matter how much he struggled.
"Stand back," He said. The others backed away from him, as he stepped back slightly, then ran at the door and hit it with his shoulder.
The door almost shattered under the power it was hit by. As the door collapsed, a cooling breeze came through the hallway, making it much colder than it had been.
Sabin regained his composure, and stepped through the door, followed by the rest of the group.
"Oh my...." Daryll said as the first candle was shone into the room as they stepped in.
The room was completely frozen. The room, which looked like it had been the king's quarters, was almost frozen perfectly. A pale glow came from every corner, as if the ice was alive.
"No wonder the door was so hard to get open. It was probably frozen," Sabin remarked.
"Probably.... what the?!" Locke said, as he pointed toward something in the middle of the room.
The group remained silent as all the candles were shone against the object.
"... Is that a person?!" Setzer asked as he stepped towards the figure. A human figure was frozen inside some ice.
"...Could someone live through that?" Daryll asked.
"It's possible, his body may have slowed down because of the cold to a point where he was almost preserved perfectly. I wouldn't bet on it though," Sabin replied.
"...The Queen and the protector Odin were turned to stone... Maybe the King was chased here, and then frozen solid. With the royalty gone, and basically the commanders of the army, this castle would have easily fallen," Setzer mused.
"Maybe you're right... Wait! Is that another person?!" Daryll asked, pointing at another person.
A second person stood beside the first figure, frozen forever in a protective position in front of his liege.
"It looks like they were fighting together. The second looks like he was the captain of the guards, or captain of something, look at his armor," Sabin said.
"...Sabin, does your Fire Dance still work?" Locke asked.
"Yeah! You know I wouldn't ever slack on my abilities! Why?" Sabin replied.
"Hold up. I thought the fire dance was somewhat derived from magic..." Setzer remarked.
"From what Duncan told me, the small amount of magic left in the world while not enough to actually cast a spell, is enough to create the fire used in the Fire dance," Sabin replied.
"Exactly. Maybe using your Fire Dance would be enough to help unfreeze them," Locke said.
"Yeah, I could probably do it, but I want Edgar and Celes here just in case anything happens. We're the best hope of any of the people trapped here, if these two are to be our enemies, I want to be prepared. Not only that, Celes could tell us if this might actually work, she knows more about the ice element then any of us." Sabin said.
The rest of the group nodded, and headed back to the Figaro survivors.
"Now what?" Relm asked as the group stepped into the hotel at South Figaro.
"We owe it to Edgar and the others to try and see if they lived through this disaster. Any ideas on how to get there?" Strago asked the group.
"Maybe..." Clyde said.
"Care to enlighten us?" Terra asked the man, who was sitting in the corner.
"After the world was destroyed, black market goods were stored in the South Figaro cave system. There's many caves, and during my travels, I heard that the castle was found to be easily entered through a passage. Many prisoners were freed using this system. I believe that is also how Celes, Sabin, and Edgar accessed the sunk castle, when it was disabled," Clyde told them.
"Art thou sure of this Sir Clyde?" Cyan asked.
"About the black market trade? Yes. About the tunnel... We'll have to find our way through but, I know it exists," Clyde said.
"Then, this is all we have to go on,. Let's go," Strago said, then stood up slowly.
"What do you make of it Celes? Do you think we could do it?" Sabin asked Celes as she slowly walked into the disturbing frozen room, which held those who might live.. and might die.
"Of course it's possible. Many experiments were performed in the Empire on this very subject. The original idea was that if the Empire was attacked and the situation was looking grim, that the leadership, mainly the Emperor and his closest associates, could be frozen for short periods of time, and hidden. The idea wasn't practical though, and was disbanded. The notes were still available, and from my own experience and what I read, I found that there was some success on the process. It was never tested for this long though," Celes remarked.
"So, how did they unfreeze the test subjects?" Setzer asked.
"Well, it was noted that they couldn't automatically unfreeze them, as it caused quick death. The slow warming, started at the cellular level, then moving outwards. The process almost took a day. The first subject died, because the process was done too quickly. The second subject, was brought out with few complications. That was me," Celes said.
"So is it possible that we could do this?" Edgar said, obviously interested in this history lesson on the Empire.
"It really depends. Sabin, how much can you tone down your Fire Dance?" Celes asked.
"Tone it down..? That's a new request. Well... I can probably tone it down enough to unfreeze this room, yet leave the people reasonably frozen. But, to continue the process after that point would almost be impossible for me," he said.
"Edgar, do you have anything in the castle which might help us?" Setzer asked.
"There is a few machines which keep the coldest areas of the castle in a certain temperature range. They may be just enough to do this. Do I need to go get one?" Edgar asked.
"It sounds like the best hope we've got," Daryl remarked.
"I'll probably take Sabin with me, we should be able to get it out of there. I hope at least one lived through the destruction..." Edgar said trailing off into thought.
"Edgar. what's wrong?" Celes asked him.
"...Nothing," Edgar said, shaking off whatever was in his mind.
"This cave is strange..." Relm muttered as they walked through the darkened, yet glowing cave.
"Indeed. I wonder where the glow comes from?" Cyan asked, as they kept walking.
"As I recall, the tunnel towards the castle is near the old western entrance," Clyde said.
"I think I know where it is. Sir Sabin, Gau and I passed it on our way to Narshe," Cyan said showing the way.
"Edgar, are you sure you know the way back?" Sabin asked for the second time.
"Of course I do!" Edgar replied indignantly,
"You do realize we've passed the same pillar five times?" Sabin said, stopping to look at his brother.
Edgar sat silently as he stopped and turned in a complete circle. One could plainly tell by the look in his eyes that indeed he was lost in the many twisting caves that they had passed through.
"Yeah. How about letting me lead the way," Sabin said as he started down a corridor.
"Fine...." Edgar replied resignedly.
Once Sabin started leading the way, it took little time to get back to the castle.
"Sabin, I want to check to see how the Engineer and his team are doing. I just want to make sure they are safe," Edgar said.
"Edgar, you left guards with him. He's fine," Sabin told him plainly.
"I want to check on him anyway. He shouldn't have had to stay. Not only that he may know if any of the devices made it through the disaster," Edgar replied.
"He did it on his own accord. You had nothing to do with it. But I suppose you are right about him knowing where we can find one. Let's go find him and get back to the others. Hopefully he knows where they are..." Sabin said then trailed off.
"What, you don't think I know where they are?" Edgar stopped and turned to his brother.
"That's what I'm afraid of," Sabin said with a sly smile.
"What's that suppose to mean?!" Edgar said indignantly.
Sabin smirked as they stepped into the engine room.
"Your Highness! Welcome back!" The engineer said as he turned towards the new arrivals.
"How's it coming? Will she rise again?" Edgar asked.
"Yes sir! Repairs on the actual mechanics are coming along nicely! Most of the damage was to parts I could easily replace, and the damage that was not as easy wasn't as hard as I originally thought it would be to repair. At the rate the repairs are going, I should be able to raise the castle by the end of the week!" The engineer said, as Edgar's face grew brighter than it had been in sometime.
"You've earned your pay for the rest of your life. Good job! Do you happen to know where any of the extra room heaters I designed are?" Edgar said as he shook the Engineers greasy hand.
"I've been using one in the treasure room to keep it warm enough to sleep in there, but if you need it you can use it. How are the survivors doing?" the Engineer asked.
"They are recovering, most injuries are healed, but we've still got some limps and bruises. Everyone should be fine," Edgar told him.
"That room heater is in the treasure room, like I said. I'll have it brought to the entrance of the cave, I assume you two can get it from there?" the Engineer asked.
"I think so. My brother and his brute strength are legendary after all," Edgar said, glancing at his brother.
An hour later, the bulky device was at the entrance to the caves. As it had turned out, when they tried to move it, the wheels were all damaged, and no replacements could be found. Without the wheels that normally were on the machine, it was heavier then any of them could have known.
"Your Majesty, with all due respect to your brother, I don't think you can get this back all that way without some help, or a set of wheels, neither of which I see sitting around here in large numbers," The engineer said.
"He's right Edgar, I can't get this by myself, and even together it would take us days," Sabin said as he turned toward the King.
"...Allow me to think for a second Sabin..." Edgar muttered as he walked away from the group.
"I don't suppose you could use a hand," A voice said from inside the caves as Edgar walked near the entrance.
"Who's... Terra?!" Edgar said.
"Thank God you're all right Edgar! What about the others?!" Terra said as she ran to Edgar and hugged him.
"We've been through hell, but for the most part we're all right," He told her.
"We received Setzer's message in Mobliz, and we put together from information that we found what had happened. With my knowledge of the Black Market, we were able to find our way in," Clyde said.
"That's nice... but who are you?" Sabin asked suspiciously.
"Clyde Arrowny," was all the Clyde said.
"Wait... Arrowny... Isn't that..." Edgar said, piecing together what he had just heard.
"Yeah, he's my dad," Relm said, stepping in.
"Somehow, I need to find out what's going on, but I don't think now is a good time. Here's the deal. Without going into incredible detail, we need to get this thing down to the Ancient Castle. Normally it would have wheels, but they were damaged and the Engineer hasn't had time to repair them. Of course in a cave setting, they probably wouldn't do us much good anyway. I think we can do it if we all work together," Edgar said.
"All right! Let's do it!" Relm said, but was stopped by Sabin.
"Nope. Sorry kid, I wouldn't want you to stunt your growth or anything..." Sabin told her.
"But you need all the help you can get!" She protested.
"Relm, he's right. If we end up fighting, we need all the good help we can get, and you happen to be a decent fighter. Besides, Sabin, Cyan, Edgar, Terra, and Clyde should be able to get it fine, don't you think?" Strago asked her.
"I guess..." She relented.
It took them almost three hours to carry the bulky machine down the darkened caverns, but they made it back to the Ancient Castle, with the machine and themselves in one piece.
"Edgar! Sabin! You're back!" Daryll said as they lugged the machine through the castle.
"Not only that, look who else is with us!" Edgar said as they set the machine down next to the corridor.
"Terra! Cyan! It's great to see you! We weren't sure we'd ever see anyone from the upper world again!" Locke said.
"..Which would of been a bad thing if we had to stay here forever listening to Locke complain..." Sabin muttered.
"I HEARD THAT!" Locke yelled.
"Okay, here is what we are planning on doing. Sabin is going to do a low power fire dance, in which point the room should start to melt, and hopefully the two people will also start to warm. If we do it correctly, they should still be almost frozen while the room is unfrozen. Then the heating machine will be applied to them, to start the warming. It should, if we do this right, keep them alive," Celes reiterated to the small group in the frozen room. Looking around, she nodded.
"Any questions?" She asked. None were asked so she nodded. "Then, lets do it."
"They've been below the surface for many days... Do you think they are dead?" James asked his friend.
"No. They are resilient. Something like this wouldn't have killed them. We can't count them out yet..." the shadow spoke in a low whisper.
"I long for battle, I hope it comes soon.." James said as he turned to walk out.
"Your chance will come soon... Very soon..."
Each role had been planned out meticulously by Celes watchful eye, and she watched as Sabin set it into motion.
Sabin concentrated on the fire dance, not allowing any distractions to enter his mind. As he did this, his body started to glow a dull red, and the others watched silently. As time passed, he started visibly sweating, streams of sweat running down his brow into his closed eyes. As he kept working, the room started to slowly melt, and the two people with it.
"Get ready Edgar, Locke!" Celes said to them as Sabin continued warming the room. They both nodded, and refocused on Sabin.
They could tell he was starting to weaken by the visible shaking. Keeping up this level of intensity for this period of time was starting to wear on him. Edgar started to step towards him, but was stopped by Celes.
"Edgar, just a little bit longer. That's all I ask..." She told him quietly.
"..Very well..."He muttered, backing away.
They watched Sabin in this stance for almost an hour. Edgar was fidgety during the whole period, pacing back and forth. He was definitely worried.
Finally Celes yelled, "Quickly! Get them to that heater!"
Edgar and Locke ran to the two bodies and scooped them up, running them to the area where the heater had been brought.
Edgar, setting his load near the heater slowly powered it up, setting it to the temperature Celes had recommended, then ran back to his brother.
Sabin was sprawled on the floor, breathing heavily and slowly.
"...Heh... guess... that was a little bit... harder than... we though... eh.. Edgar?" Sabin whispered in between breaths.
"Yeah, but you made it look so easy!" Edgar said to him, helping him to his feet.
"Ahh... Just a little more... concentration... than normal...." Sabin said, smiling weakly.
"Wish everything was that easy," Edgar told him, as he helped him sit outside.
"Like what?" Terra asked as she walked up.
"Life's many twisting pathways, so many crossroads, giving you two choices.. Sometimes you make the wrong choice... Heh, don't I know that..." Edgar said.
"You're taking this pretty hard aren't you Edgar?" Terra asked, as she walked up to him slowly.
"Yeah.. So many people counted on me to keep them safe and I flinched in the last moment, when it counted. I hesitated and it cost people their lives. Parents lost children, children lost parents. It's almost like everyone lost someone at some time. Maybe if I had reacted sooner..." Edgar said trailing off.
"You couldn't have known what that airship had planned on doing. No one could have. Just because your a king doesn't mean that you are all knowing and seeing. Your people don't expect you to be, and you shouldn't expect yourself to be. We all understand that you did your best to protect your people. Many died, but many lived!" Terra, gazing into Edgar's eyes, said.
"Thanks Terra... that truly means more than you could know," Edgar said.
The two sat down next to Sabin, and the three of them just talked, as more than just friends.
They talked as a team.
"Sir!" a guard said as he ran in.
"What is it?" Edgar said, standing up.
"The Engineer reports that the Castle is ready to rise! He's waiting on your order, Sir!" the guard replied.
"Very well. Return to him and tell him that we will be leaving for the castle shortly," Edgar told the guard. who nodded then ran out.
It took the group almost a day to prepare everyone to leave, gather their supplies, and the two slowly unthawing people.
Finally they reached the castle. For the first time since the accident, everyone was upbeat, instead of sullen.
"All right, this may be a bumpy ride, so you'll all want to prepare yourselves," Edgar said, then walked out of the room, and into the Engine Room.
"Your Majesty, we are ready. Waiting on your order, Sir!" The Engineer said happily.
"What can we expect to happen during the process?" Edgar asked.
"I'm not entirely sure. Everything involved in the process, the drill, the engine, all seem to be in working order. If any debris from our original crash were to hit the castle, we still wouldn't have a problem. Once the castle is above ground, I've got crews ready to start clearing out the debris and for repair. Besides that, I think it should be smooth riding," The Engineer said.
"Thank you so much. Start rising in two minutes time," Edgar said. The Engineer nodded, then Edgar left him to his work.
"Everyone get ready! In ten seconds we are out of here!" Sabin yelled out.
He got a few cheers, but they soon quieted, as the castle started to shake slightly. As it started the upward ascent, small pieces of the towers started to fall down, not enough to hurt anyone, but enough to make people very nervous. Suddenly, almost as quickly as it had started, it stopped.
"Are we there?" Daryll asked.
Suddenly, the Engineer walked in.
"We made it!" was all he needed to say as the room went into an uproar.
Edgar smiled as he looked at them. His people were happy, and safe again.
"Edgar!" Celes said as she ran in.
"Yes?" Edgar asked turning to the woman.
"The process is complete. They should be awakening soon," She said, smiling slightly.
A pounding filled his head as his eyes slowly focused.
Every part of his body ached, and with it followed disorientation. Where was he? His memory was foggy...
"Your Highness! The enemy approaches!" A guard said, running in.
"Release Odin!" The King yelled to the guard, then turned towards the Captain of the Dragoons.
"Kain, I can't just stand by and wait for my people to die! I've got to fight!" The King said to the man named Kain.
"My Liege... Cecil! What good will it do this kingdom if they win, yet lose their leader. You and Rosa have had no children, and there is no one in line for the throne. Let us retreat, and allow the soldiers of your castle to take care of it. Surely with the help of my Dragoon Knights, they stand a chance of victory!" Kain said to the King.
"No, I can't. I won't abandon my people!" Cecil protested.
"But with Odin, they must stand a chance!" Kain pressed on.
"... I can't just stand by..." Cecil said.
"Cecil! You have to! This kingdom needs a King to lead it! Don't act foolishly!" Kain said.
"... What of Rosa?" Cecil asked.
"She is being protected by our finest mages! Please! Allow me to protect you, my friend..." Kain pleaded.
"Very well..." Cecil said, bringing his hand to a lever on the throne. As his hand brushed it, the chair moved away from the wall, and revealed a secret passage.
"Come!" Kain said, dashing towards the hallway.
As Cecil followed him, suddenly the throne room door opened. But it was too late. Kain had already pulled the lever closing the passage, and the throne moved in front of it. They ran down the hallway, and opened a door at the end. Kain led the way in, then closed the door when the King was through.
They waited in that room for some sort of sign that it was safe. No sign came and they still waited. Kain kept his hand over his Javelin in the event that the door opened to someone not of Baron. They didn't have to wait long, as the sound of the throne being moved was heard in the hallway, then followed by footsteps.
"Get ready Cecil..." Kain said quietly as the door flew open.
"There's the King! Eliminate him!" One of the soldiers of the opposing army yelled as soldiers started pouring in.
They fought for hours, somehow Cecil and Kain stood their ground, unable to move to break through the enemy lines.
Suddenly, as they kept fighting, the soldiers stopped, and ran out.
"What the..?" Kain said.
There was no more time for questions though, as a mage walked in.
"I see you two are resilient against physical attack. Allow me to put you out of your misery!" The mage said, then started chanting.
"Let's get him Kain!" Cecil yelled as they started to go towards him.
"It's too late for that!! MAY YOU BE FOREVER FROZEN IN TIME!" The mage yelled, completing his spell. In the center of the room, a chair started to freeze over, and the ice spread....
What happened to him after that?!
He slowly rubbed his temples as he contemplated that very question.
"I see you are finally awake! I'm Edgar Roni Figaro, King of Figaro Castle. I trust you are feeling well," Edgar started.
"Cecil Harvey. King of Baron Castle..." The man said, nodding slowly.
"What of my wife, and my friend Kain?" Cecil asked.
"If Kain was the one guarding you, then he is fine... your wife..." Edgar said, then trailed off.
"Is she all right?" Cecil asked.
"Do you know where she was?" Edgar asked.
"She was in an hidden chamber, much like I was. Her's was below the throne room," Cecil said, worry creeping into his voice.
"We are almost positive that she was petrified, probably by the same person that froze you. I'm so very sorry," Edgar said.
Cecil turned away as Edgar left him to his grief.
Soon after Cecil had woken up, the man who was frozen near him, also woke up.
"Cecil! You're all right!" Kain said, then looked around, confused.
"Where are we?" he asked, looking around the unfamiliar room.
"We're in Figaro Castle, if that helps you much," Cecil said to him.
"Not at all. What of Rosa?" Kain asked.
Cecil said nothing, and that sent the answer to Kain that he didn't want to hear.
"She's gone, isn't she?" Kain asked.
"King Figaro said he and his friends found her in her chamber... She was petrified," Cecil said quietly.
"I'm sorry my friend. Perhaps if I had listened to you..." Kain started, then was cut off by Cecil.
"You made the best decision you could. If we had protected Rosa, we might have been petrified next to her. We weren't prepared for such an onslaught."
They sat in silence, neither wanting to really accept the situation that they were in.
"What of Rydia? She summoned Odin didn't she?" Kain asked.
"I'm not sure... I'm assuming she died too... I wish I could go back and warn them..." Cecil said.
Nothing else was said between the two as silence filled the room like a raging flood.
Locke walked beside Edgar into a shelter in the castle later that day.
"Is everyone here?" Edgar asked.
"Yeah, we're all here," Setzer said from the corner.
"All right, then let's get started. First..." Edgar started, then stopped as Kain and Cecil walked in.
"I apologize for being late. We couldn't find our way here, and had to have someone direct us," Cecil said, as he and Kain sat down.
"That's quite all right. Everyone, this is Cecil Harvey, King of Baron, and Kain Highwind, Captain of the Dragoons of Baron," Edgar said.
"Please King Figaro-"
"-call me Edgar," Edgar interrupted.
"-Baron is a long dead kingdom. I don't think that it is appropriate to label us in accordance with it," Cecil said.
Edgar stopped at this.
"I'm sorry, I... I'm sorry," Edgar said, stuttering slightly.
"It's quite all right. Please continue with the meeting," Cecil said.
"Very well. As you all know, Figaro Castle was attacked. For those who weren't a part of it, let me explain what happened. Something was flying over the Figaro Mountains east of the castle. I was alerted to it, and myself, Setzer, Daryll, Locke, Celes, and Sabin went to investigate. Upon reaching the tower above the throne room, we saw the same shape. Setzer took his binoculars, and saw that it was an airship. That airship proceeded to fly over the castle, and drop bombs. I assumed the worse before they dropped the bombs, and immediately ordered the castle to submerge. But, the castle was hit midway, thus wreaking destruction on it," Edgar said.
"Wait, someone took the Falcon?" Terra asked.
"No... the Falcon was fine. They took the Blackjack," Setzer replied.
Before anyone could ask, Edgar continued.
"We're not sure how they got the Blackjack. They only explanation we have is that it somehow lasted through its destruction, and whoever now owns it is using it as a mobile command hub or something like that."
"They have this airship, why don't we search for it?" Sabin asked.
"That was to be my suggestion," Edgar replied.
"We should wait till Celes is completely recovered," Locke said, as Celes grunted.
"I'm fine Locke. I've been through worse," she replied.
"He's right though. We should give you a little more time to recover your strength," Setzer said, agreeing with Locke.
"Wait a moment. Perhaps I can be of assistance," Cecil said, bringing all eyes in the room to him.
He stood up and closed his eyes. Everyone watched in silence as his eyes suddenly flew open. He pointed at Celes with one arm.
"Be healed!" he yelled.
Celes was suddenly covered in blue light as her wounds started to disappear. Almost as soon as it started, the light vanished.
"Was that magic?" Relm asked, voicing everyone's concern.
"Of course. Magic doesn't exist here?" Cecil asked.
"...Not anymore..." Terra said quietly, as all eyes turned to her.
She closed her eyes, and readied herself.
"Be healed!" she yelled, as she pointed to Celes.
"I don't understand. He can use magic, but we can't," Locke said.
"Perhaps I can shed some light," Strago said quietly.
All eyes turned towards him, as he slowly stood up.
"Long ago, people didn't learn magic from magicite, as we did. It wasn't kept in balance by statues, or goddesses. It was an ability that came with a heightened inner strength of mind and soul. Only an elite few possessed enough strength to summon the strength that is magic. Those elite few spent many years practicing, reading, and training under mages. Mages, both black and white, were highly respected for the training that they went through," Strago said.
"...Now hold on a second. From my understanding, I thought that mages were all female," Sabin said.
"I know magic because I became a Paladin and renounced the darkness," Cecil said simply.
Silence filled the room.
"...Absolutely incredible," Strago said quietly.
"Do you know something we don't?" Locke asked him.
"The training a Paladin goes through is much different. It's a mental as well as a physical battle to renounce your darkness, and accept the light. There hasn't been a Paladin in our time, or our parent's or even grandparent's time," Strago said.
"Hold on a second..." Locke said.
"What?" Edgar asked.
"Terra just showed us we still don't have the ability to use magic. Yet Cecil does. That means whoever attacked me..."
"...has the ability to use magic!" Sabin finished.
"While that is interesting, that doesn't give me a connection," Setzer said.
"If they can use magic, that must mean they aren't a part of our world!" Locke exclaimed.
"Does that mean..." Cyan asked.
"It's a possibility that they are from Cecil's time, or have at least been there," Locke said.
Silence filled the room as everyone looked at Cecil and Kain, who themselves were looking at each other.
Celes finally broke the silence.
"Since I'm apparently healed, can we leave?"
Edgar nodded in resignation.
"I'm sorry, I haven't learned everyone's name," Cecil said as he walked up to Setzer, who was piloting the ship.
"Setzer Gabianni," Setzer replied, turning towards the former King.
"Is this ship of your design?" Cecil asked.
"I built it, thank you very much!" Daryll said, smiling as she walked up. "I'm Daryll, pleased to meet you."
"This ship is incredible! Where I come from, airships are simple, transportation being their only purpose. I've never seen one with so grand of an interior!" Cecil said.
"I'll take that as a compliment. Although I hadn't realized that airships were ever used in the past," Daryll replied.
"They were a prime transportation method. Baron had the largest airship fleet in the world," Cecil said.
Silence spread between the three, as Setzer continued the search for the missing Blackjack.
As the Falcon flew over the plains of the Veldt and landed, a boy, with a caring demeanor, watched a shape fly over.
The boy watched, surprised, yet in a way, not as Edgar and Sabin walked out of the ship.
"Mr. Thou!" he yelled as Cyan walked out behind them.
"It appears as though he hath found us," Cyan said, muttering slightly.
"Gau, have you seen the Blackjack?" Sabin asked.
"Big ship?" Gau asked.
"The big ship that broke when the world was destroyed," Edgar said.
"Up!" Gau said, pointing excitedly to the sky.
Edgar looked up, and didn't see anything.
"Where is it Gau?" Cyan asked.
"There, there!" He said, pointing to the north.
Edgar turned, and sure enough, in the distance, he could see the Blackjack, albeit very high. It was still unmistakable.
"Quickly! We must catch it!" Edgar said, as he and Sabin started dashing towards the airship.
Gau followed, then Cyan.
"Still hasn't changed much, has he..." He muttered.
Soon after boarding, the ship was in the air, chasing the Blackjack.
The other ship had either not noticed them, or didn't care, because nothing had changed in their course.
This made the group nervous.
"Keep going Setzer. Let me know if anything changes," Edgar said.
"Now we sit here and wait..." Terra said as she followed the others down into the depths of the Falcon.
Kain and Cecil found a bench and sat down on it.
The brown haired girl, Cecil couldn't recall her name, came to them.
"Hi," she said.
"Hi.. I apologize. I don't remember your name," Cecil said, looking apologetic.
"I'm Relm. Do you mind if I ask you something?" She asked, sitting on the floor next to them.
"I don't mind," Kain said, answering for Cecil.
"What was it like, Baron I mean?" She asked.
"...Well... Baron was a huge castle, bigger than Figaro castle. Many people lived there, and in the town near it. I lived there all my life," Cecil said.
Relm was about to reply, when suddenly, a large thud was heard.
Cecil looked to its source, and saw that the green-haired girl, Terra, was laying on the floor.
Kain jumped to his feet immediately, and ran over, followed by everyone.
"Terra!" Edgar yelled.
"Hello again, Terra..."
Terra was back in the place she had been before, but she wasn't sure why.
"I sense confusion, but I also sense understanding. You are finally starting to understand what I have told you," the figure said.
"Yes... I do not understand all of it, but some of it I do understand," Terra replied.
"Explain what you understand to me," the figure said.
"All things have a point of origin. The one we are fighting origin is in Cecil and Kain's time, either that, or has at least visited that time. This being has some sort of magical power, as well as mechanical know-how," Terra answered.
"You have learned much Terra... but you
haven't even began to understand the depths of the peril this world is in. An
evil worse than Kefka has descended upon the land. My time left to speak to you
is limited... but... before I leave I must tell you of this..." the figure said,
as she started to shimmer.
"Yes?" Terra asked.
"Evil can never stand in the presence of one who's heart is pure and just... But the purest of evil will try to squelch any light left. Don't let this happen to you... The purest of light will not be squelched... and those around you are the purest of light... treasure them..." The figure said as she started fading, staring slowly at first, but getting faster.
"Tell... Clyde.... good....bye....."
"Terra!" Edgar yelled.
"... I'm ok, Edgar..." Terra said quietly as she started to sit up.
Her friends had gathered around her, even Kain and Cecil stood above her, worry etched on their faces.
....Those around you are the purest of light....
Terra smiled as Edgar helped her to her feet.