Note: Let's get this out of the way: This is a fan adaptation of Final Fantasy VI, meaning the core plot and characters belong to Square Enix. I am merely converting this video game's story into a textual format, filling in gaps with headcanon. So, I warn you, this could come off as alternate canon, as I'm almost certain there will be certain places in which I deviate from canon.

Long ago, humans shared this world with a race of creatures called espers. Some looked as human as you or I, while others resembled the most fearsome beasts. Espers could use magic of all sorts, giving them great power. But despite these differences, espers and man lived among each other in harmony.

However, there were those who sought the espers' power. A great war between these humans and the espers ensued. The war raged, rending the land to pieces as the humans felled espers, taking their magic and becoming what are now known as magi.

In time, the espers vanished from the world. But at war's end, the world was left in ruins, and blame fell to the magi. It was not long before the magi too vanished, fleeing persecution for their crimes of greed. Magic fell to the shadows of memory, surviving as myths and fairytales, and man rebuilt the world with coal and iron.

1000 years later, technology reigns, but there are some in this world who would seek to repeat the mistakes of the magi.

The wind whipped flurries of snow through the mountains of Narshe, depositing it on every rock face, every tree, and every living thing that was foolish enough to be out on this freezing night.

And unnatural sound reverberated through the pass: the sound of mechanized joints and the clunk! clunk! clunk! of metallic footsteps.

"We should be able to see the town any time now," Wedge shouted to Biggs over the roar of the wind and the clanks of their Magitek Armor. "Once we're in the mine, it shouldn't take us long to find the Esper!"

"Good!" Biggs shouted back. "I want this over and done as fast as possible!"

"You said it!" Wedge's Armor shuddered, and he wacked his control panel, knocking free the ice that had formed on it. "If it wasn't for that crazy asshole Kefka, I'd have turned down a mission to a bloody cold place like—"

"Not that!" Biggs interrupted. "I mean that." He nodded towards the third suit of Armor several strides in front of them, the only visible part of its rider being a billowing cloak. "She creeps me out."

"Aw, you don't have to worry about her," Wedge drawled, waving a dismissive hand. "She's got that creepy, vacant look because of that Slave Crown on her head. All her free will's being suppressed. She doesn't do a thing unless she's told to."

"Like Kefka told her to roast those fifty soldiers? Fifty of our soldiers?"

Wedge coughed. "Um, well, yeah, I guess you have a point there. But the emperor sent us here for a reason. He wants that esper."

"If you say so. But, I swear, if she turns on us, I'm using you as a shield and getting the hell out." Biggs pulled his cloak tighter around himself and his scarf up over his nose, signaling the end of the conversation.

They rounded a bend and the lights of a village came into view. The town of Narshe sprawled below, nestled safely in a snowy valley, far from the Empire's reach, at least for the time being. The trio made their way down, the special alterations to the feet of their Armor keeping them from sliding down the, at times, steep slope.

The streets of Narshe appeared to be mostly deserted, the few inhabitants bold enough to be out in such weather being quick to duck into the nearest building when they noticed the three imperial soldiers clomping straight to the back of the town.

A battle cry sounded over the howl of the wind. From both sides of the street, Narshean soldiers jumped from their hiding places. They were barely visible in the storm, but the flashes from the barrels of their guns were enough to give away their positions. Bullets dinged off the armor plating, and the girl pulled a lever and slammed her fist down on a button on her control panel. The cannon mounted on the front of her Armor blazed white before firing a stream of flame that engulfed the resistance. Shrieking, then men scattered, floundering a few moments in the snowy street before falling still, their forms disappearing into the dark once more as the flames were extinguished.

They pressed forward, meeting no more resistance as they approached the back of the town, and they descended into the mine.

"Well, this is great," Biggs complained as they came to a fork just past the mine entrance, his words muffled through his scarf. "Not even 50 yards in and we already face the chance of getting lost."

"No, wait, look." Wedge pointed to the girl in front of them. For the first time in hours, they saw her move, turning her blonde head from left to right, as if consciously contemplating which direction to take. After a moment, she turned her mount to the left. The two soldiers looked at each other, both wondering whether they could trust her judgment.

"Maybe it's the Crown?" Wedge suggested.

Biggs nodded, adding, "Yeah, Kefka ordered her to find the esper…so maybe the Crown will lead her to it."

They followed her, though their assumption did little to ease their nerves. Deeper she lead them. Surely they were close to the esper by now.

The girl abruptly halted her armor. Biggs and Wedge peered around her, hoping to see the prize they'd been hunting, but saw naught but more tunnel.

"Hey!" Wedge shouted at her, his voice echoing up and down the cavern. "Why'd you stop?"

"Don't make her mad!" Biggs hissed.

"Shh! She doesn't feel anything! Hey!" he tried again, despite knowing that she wouldn't answer.

Shouts and swears erupted from nowhere, filling the tunnel, the echoes making it impossible to tell which direction they came from. Biggs turned to the rear.

"Not that way, you idiot!" Wedge shouted, scraping a fist full of frost from his Armor and hurling it at his comrade. A group of six men charged the trio from the front, brandishing swords and spears. "Protecting the esper, eh? We'll see about that." He reached for a button on his control panel, but the girl acted quicker. Moving almost as stiffly as the Magitek Armor upon which she rode, she jammed the button on her controls again, and like those men outside, these were engulfed in a stream of flame, each of them falling aside, their screams of agony echoing through the tunnels.

"I'm telling you, Wedge, it's unnatural for a girl to do that! No remorse!" He flinched and set both eyes squarely on the girl when he heard her Armor move again.

Wedge threw a lever on his own Armor, shifting it into motion, as well, and sighed irritably. "I keep telling you, Biggs, she has no will!"

For a few minutes more, they trekked deeper still, meeting no further opposition, until the girl led them off the main path, down a freshly cut side tunnel that was barely wide enough for one suit of Magitek Armor to pass through. Soon, however, the tunnel opened up into a small cavern, at the back of which sat a large block of ice. As the trio drew closer, it became apparent that there was something in the ice.

"There's our esper!" Wedge said, shooting a grin at Biggs.

They approached the frozen creature, though Biggs slowed his machine, falling back. "I don't know, Wedge, are you sure this is safe?"

Wedge twisted in his seat, still grinning. "Of course it is! That thing's frozen sol—" The back of the caverned light faintly, then faded back to darkness. He spun back around to face the Esper. It glowed again. "N-now, a little glowing is nothing," he stammered. "Let's just grab this thing and—"

The esper glowed again, more harshly this time, shooting a beam of light from within its frozen prison. The beam struck Wedge in the chest, and, just like that, he and his Magitek Armor vanished.

"Shit!" Biggs yelped, throwing as many levers and pushing as many buttons as his hands could reach to turn his armor around and get out of there as fast as possible. The esper shot another beam of light, striking and sending him to oblivion as well.

Only the girl remained, still advancing her Armor, aware of nothing but the order her master had given her. The esper glowed again, and, this time, the girl halted. The esper stuck again, but, this time, with a spark of electricity aimed at her Armor. The Armor shuddered, the shock traveling thought the control panel enough to force instinct to overpower technology; she yanked her hands back.

A moment later, the Armor exploded, hurling the girl up into the bedrock ceiling before she crashed onto the equally hard cave floor. She stayed there, sprawled across the stone, and did not stir.