Disclaimer: I own nothing but the weirdest ideas that you see here.
Notes: The story is told on a quick and brief manner, almost as if it was resumed. It is purposeful, since I pretend to cover much of Luso's years, but focusing on his fear of ghosts for this story. Other stories I might write will be more detailed and cover less of a time span, but the style you see on this chapter will do to the rest of the chapters in Spectres of no Clemency.
Ivalice had known such techknology over two thousand years ago, yet it became lost as centuries passed by. No longer did they find crystals or mist to power what they so desired. Ridiculous as it was, their primitivity could be compared to that of the Golden Era, so many centuries back in time.
So airships only came again into existence when potent steam engines were invented.
They tested everything several times, in preparation for airships to become the best and one of the most secure ways to travel. All tests had gone right, and those who did not were promptly, minuciously corrected. It was an immense step forward in techknologies, so humes, the only intelligent species left on the world, cheered wildly when the airships were introduced in people's lives. Life had become easier.
So of course Mr. and Ms. Clemens would choose this wonderful transport medium to visit the man's sister and her newborn child. Nothing could go wrong and besides, their little Luso could see the beauty of their world from high above the land.
Luso's aunt lived in a small city; could be called a village if they so wished. Thus, the airship that serviced them was also smaller in size.
The young brunette boy had been awed. Everything was so pretty- the ship's interior, the view, the comfortable feeling even though they were high up the sky in a colder part of the atmosphere. Spaced seats were adorned with simple patterns that resembled antique art, few carpets of the same style rested upon neat flooring. People were free to roam and look out the large windows if they so wished, though they usually remained seated. That was the case of Luso's parents, who felt at ease to rest while their child, well-behaved in public, paced about with hungry curiosity.
Aside from daily problems, everything had been happy and impeccable. Unbreakable.
Until tragedy struck all within the airship.
Spectres, ghostly auras – they began sliding about the transport's interior, causing fear and ruckus. People arose from their seats, horror-struck, and fled from side to side in an attempt to evade the quick phenomenon, screams as common as furious bumping. The ship's balance had been altered badly, shaking it whole. The pilot told them of a sudden problem on the engine, that he was trying to do his best to fly properly, but nobody was calmed. Luso had been long separated from his parents, heart pounding almost painfully against his chest, so quick it beat. Standing someplace safer from the adults' long, wild legs, he felt cold, hand-like energies touch him all over, saw illusions, distorted spectral faces, his legs giving out. The boy wished to at least close his eyes, but was afraid that an older hume would end up falling on him if he did, ears already pained by the screams.
The airship was falling and they'd barely noticed.
"Luso!" Mr. Clemens screamed in a desperate hurry upon finally finding his lost son. His wife, too, had been lost among the scared crowd, but at least she could fend off for herself, differently from his little boy.
His little boy.
Luso felt a harsh, breathtaking embrace before black was all he could see.
... And was it not death? He was unsure. Death was not supposed to hurt. The dead weren't supposed to feel pain like he did. Nor breath. Nor think.
Luso only dared open his eyes after he was utterly sure he was still alive.
He wished he hadn't.
Destruction was the word, the concept, the only thing that came to his mind with the sight. Airship pieces and machinery, broken, ripped, scattered, coated the grass below. Some of them cracked, engulfed by few flames. But the broken ship was a beautiful thing if compared to the rest; battered bodies laid among said pieces, as if mere dolls thrown aside to make company to the also abandoned ship. Blood was not rare, nor were limbs in a too odd position to be considered functional. Further details became difficult for his eyes became soon clouded.
No body stirred. He was afraid to deem any of them to be his parents', so he averted his eyes, first down, then up when he caught a glance of his bloodied hands. His heart panged, throbbed in pain. Tears fell relentlessly from sea-blue eyes, his torso also covered in crimsom liquid, that he desired not to know the owner of.
Soon Luso saw that the sky was no safe haven for his vision, either.
The spectres had not ceased their chase. They flew around him; distorted, scary forms, all cool in temperature and more often than not they would release deep and dragged moans. Tightly closing his eyes, the boy tried to ignore the cold, the smell of smoke and blood, the grief that tightened his chest. Tears stung his eyes, his pants were wet and his skin, patched with goosebumps.
When it took him to the brink of insanity, he took the rests of a pillow and ran away.
Not a day and a half later did rescuers find the young brunette boy, claiming him to be the only survivor of the accident. The spectres had disappeared.
The rescuers questioned Luso about where he had aimed to go, which city he came from or could be sent to, though he could only voice out "Ivalice" before quieting down, cherishing the warmth of a rescuer's arms while his dry throat refused to say more.
Mira, Luso's aunt, was struck with grief upon being notified of the tragedy, mourning the loss of her brother, his wife and her nephew. She was more than surprised and content when they brought Luso, with mere six years of age, alive and with not much grave wounding into her house. She thanked the rescuers deeply, and went to care for Luso as if he were her son, along with her young baby.
It was a harsh time nonetheless. Mira still had to get over her brother's death, and the psychological damage Luso received from the experience seemed to be one that scarred him profoundly enough as to not fade for several years. For the entire week following the tragedy, the boy wet his bed, it only further aggravating his problematic bladder. She tried allowing him to sleep with her, but it was not enough to suffocate his nightmares, and cleaning a bed big as hers of urine proved a much harder task than doing the same with a smaller bed.
If he wasn't having nightmares, he usually remained wide awake. Rare were the times he'd dream. The aunt was becoming increasingly worried with the noticeable dark bags under his eyes, the red hue of said orbs and the paranoia of ghosts the boy seemed to have attained.
Ghosts were had as mere fictional legend in that time. Some did believe them, but most were skeptic, having never seen such spectres before. So when researchers went to ask Luso about what happened in the airship, the answer they received would not convince them. The people must have panicked because of the problem in the engine, and the ghosts were fruit of the child's enormous imagination, they'd say.
Luso wanted to believe them, but he could not believe his imagination to be so vivid, either. So he was well-convinced of the ghosts' existence.
He healed slowly over time, playing with his cousin and not yet subjected to return to school. The nightmares would become less often, his eyes would not burn continually from crying, and he was learning to live without his parents' support. But the healing process was still crawling.
Not too much time later, they arranged for Luso to start classes at the only and main school in St. Ivalice. It made him happy, as the one thing he had also missed and, differently from his parents, could get back, were friends, and school was a good place as any to make them. Even if he wasn't as talented in the act of befriending... Yet.
They introduced the sickly-looking boy to the class, and so curiosity was piqued in the children. He was timid, not desiring to be the center of attention nor talking much. Socialization was slow and fragile.
His cousin died suddenly and soon, an illness far too strong for his slight body to stand having taken his life. Aunt Mira felt devastated, and Luso, terribly shaken; he had lost his only friend, so what entertainment was he to have? How many nights would he stand to perceive flickers of a spectral young body, imagine cries and sobs?
Haunted and lonely as he felt, Luso still had to support his aunt, for she had lost her only son. Luso was almost a son, at least, and she was like a mother to him, so they could comfort each other with no much difficulty.
At school, the students who learnt of the death of the boy's cousin made their best to become more friendly and cheering towards him. Luso was grateful; thanks to the cheery supporters, his paranoia would seem to disappear completely on school grounds. He was never alone there.
With her son's parting, Mira would have a mouth less to feed. With the spare money, she bought Luso some story books, which he did not hesitate to read whole. Stories were distracting and distraction from the real life, in which he would see ghosts whenever alone, was what the boy needed. It was in this book experience that both found out Luso's favourite genre was fantasy.
He read a lot, never truly tired of the dragons, magicks, hunters, tribes, knights, weapons. And through reading did he become more studious and inspired to write.
Mira was proud of his satisfying grades and how he seemed to be getting better from his psychological turmoil.
One day, he had a strange dream, though. A large creature with giant claws and a pincer, resembling man, crab, dragon and lobster appeared to him.
"Your heart belongs not in this time."
"'Tis a different Ivalice, a different reality that you crave. Your heart belongs in a fantasy."
"What do you mean?"
"The Gran Grimoire has been activated. The Grimoire of the Rift shall receive the same fate, and belong to you."
Luso was dumbstruck.
"We will happen upon each other again. Perhaps you will not know it, but I will."
The word the creature last said pounded against his head with a force that bordered physical, intensely.
Eight year-old Luso woke up with a harsh headache after that, one that lasted over a week. It was an immense relief when it faded, as if a weight had been removed from his soul.
Misbehaving? It was rare, but he could not avoid, could not resist it. It gave him a certain sense of freedom, even though he refrained from showing misbehaviour as it displeased the adults and few other children. The punishments he received, too, were a much lighter worry than the nightmares. He almost laughed, even. If he was put to stare at the ceiling, he would not mind, fantasy invading his thoughts. To clean the school was no nuisance.
He may have, for the while, had friends and played and talked normally like someone his age should, but the fear never disappeared entirely. Too much time alone, or someplace dark, could prove to frighten him, making him see ghosts, whether they existed or not. The fantasy books he read were not for children, either, and some situations described would strike in him certain fear. A week or another, there would be a nightmare that would be really unsettling and he would wake up breathless, feeling every drop of sweat run down his skin, pants uncomfortably wet.
When puberty arose, at least, another distraction was gained. Nights would feel less worrying when he touched himself, sleep arriving more easily than ever after he, spent, released. Luso's pants would be stained with a happier substance, too.
In said nights, he thought of no one. Why should he? His true love was writing. The other students would bother him for it, though they stopped as Luso soon grew tired of the subject.
One other day, aunt Mira told him his grandmother, who lived in the same city he did before, passed away. Gave him the letter that confirmed it, and soon made to comfort him with reassuring words, also adding that ghosts of good people are bound to never do anything of bad.
Easier said than absorbed. How could she be so sure the deceased could still control their bodies after death? How could she be sure that they would remain gentle, as if they were not dead at all?
Luso had no sightings of his grandmother, though there were certain nightmares and also guilt. Would have she met the same fate if he were to visit her like a good grandson?
Fantasy swallowed him up more strongly than ever as he grew, better understanding not only the real, but the fictional worlds as well. It was almost as if the real world was turning pale and boring in comparison to the fantasy. And so he wrote, as to keep further contact with those fantastic worlds.
Maybe he'd have to lay down more on the misbehaving, he noted to himself when at a college year's end he was sent to help Mewt, the librarian, to tidy and help on the library. He wasn't as eager to comply that day, but did so anyway; Mewt was a good young man, said to have studied on the school before becoming its librarian, because he was also a "bookworm".
Luso regretted not a single thing when he happened upon the most amazing fantasy book he'd seen, but was he frustrated to find it simply stopped- blank pages devoid of any word taking barely half the antique book's space.
Curious. It also asked the name of the one who would fill said barren pages. His reckless, confident bit drove his hand to write down, with ink and a long feather, his own full name in it.
And not ten heartbeats later, all glowed and swirled, sparkled, spun.
When the air regained its normal state and grass tickled his skin, the chorus of crickets and birds the only sound to infiltrate his dizzy head, he felt only one doubt, and one assurance.
Luso did not know where he was, but he was alone.