Final Fantasy N
a Final Fantasy-ish fanfic by Intrasonic. Kind of.
Disclaimer: The whole Final Fantasy thingy is copyright by Square. Although after reading this, they might wish otherwise.
This is a tale that takes place in a far-off land.
A far-off land intertwined with magic, might,
and myth. A world laced with mystery, merriment and even murder. A tale
of gods and demons, heroes and villains, with a lot of innocent bystanders
caught up in the crossfire.
A world within which a new superpower is emerging, fuelled by the discovery of a new source of energy, and led by the ambition of a new emperor. This budding superpower, known worldwide as simply 'The Empire' had both a will and a way. Its will was the subjugation of the rest of the world. And its way was the metaphorical big stick with a nail in it.
It was proving remarkably effective, thus far. Far or near, no village was too insignificant to be overlooked in a military campaign defined foremost in terms of thorough-ness and attention to detail. They burned the villages and raped the women with cold efficiency, except for the occasional mix-up, and left a trail of destruction and rural renewal in their wake.
It strongly hinted of either a highly-developed work ethic, or a slightly insane leader.
It had always been a humble and nameless town,
lived in by people of a good and generally simple character. It was the
sort of town that tended to get overlooked by census reports, travellers,
and even the local bandits. This was probably because any move to recognize
its existence could only be detrimental to the party that did the recognizing.
Governments would see their average GNP shrink, tourists would find themselves
bored to tears, and thieves would probably be moved to donating their ill-gotten
gains out of pity.
So the rest of the world pretended this town didn't exist, this town never bothered doing their income tax returns, and everyone was generally happier for this state of affairs.
Until recently, that is.
A lone man knelt upon the road, tears trailing
down his cheeks and falling to stain the ground a dark red.
Actually, this was because the local soil was particularly iron-rich, which gave it a reddish hue whether it was wet or dry, but drama will take free special effects wherever it can get them.
Before him, smoldering ruins lay, the scant remnants of what had once been his humble and nameless village. Thin tongues of fire occasionally flickered up from unburned wood and vegetation, while the central, more thoroughly-devastated areas simply coughed up black plumes of smoke. So complete was the destruction, even the surrounding forest circumference had been reduced to an oversized collection of torn matchsticks and shredded foliage.
One of the mounds of wreckage would contain her, he knew. The Girl Next Door, with her golden-blond tresses, blissfully angelic smile, smoothly-tanned skin, and the kind of rack normally found in certain after-hours nightclubs. And now she was a lifeless corpse, cut down in the prime of life, all before he'd had a chance to score with her. Although necrophilia was always an option, he had to remember. More tears splashed to the ground as the cold reality of the situation began to sink further into his psyche.
'An accident', they had said.
'We convey our heartfelt apologies for this unfortunate tragedy', they said.
'Oops, our bad. We were aiming for the heavily armed fortress one mile north of your village.'
'Are you sure there was a village there? We don't seem to have any tax returns on file.'
The heartless bastards didn't even care that their hands were stained with the blood of his fellow villagers, as well as that of his pet dog. They simply marched onwards, re-loading their weapons to slaughter yet another village that didn't immediately surrender both their pride and their wealth to the cause of The Empire.
It had to stop.
Using strength he hadn't thought he possessed, he staggered back to his feet. Forcing them to operate, he managed to aim them towards the centre of what had once been the village.
It would stop.
In dim corners of his mind, all but obscured by his tortured emotions, a single, solitary, ray of hope was still managing to shine through to conscious thought. A memory that was so commonplace, it barely rated the term. Something that he had always taken for granted, yet now looked towards so desperately.
He would be the one to stop it.
Nameless. Ageless. And little tasteless, but even the most beautiful weapon goes out of style after a few generations. But anything that could avoid rusting for that long had to be something special.
For time immeasurable, it had rested in the centre of the village, firmly embedded in the slab of stone. It had endured famines and floods with ease. It had survived fires and earthquakes. It had even withstood repeated lightning strikes, because that's what happens when you put an upright metal object in the middle of a clearing. It had taken a lot of discolouration from the local pigeons, too.
But even now, despite the chaos that had obliterated the rest of the village, The Sword still remained. Waiting for a willing soul to wield it; to rise up against the darkness threatening to overwhelm the land; it called out to any who would heed the call.
The man came to a halt before the sword, trying to find the strength within him to accept the challenge. He heard the call, and would surely answer it. He would accept the mantle of The Sword, and he would devote himself to answering it. And though he was weak now, he would persist.
He would journey, face countless trials, and grow stronger through them. He would find allies, and he would assist them. And in return, they would assist him. And together, their strength would combine to become more than their sum, until they became a force for evil to fear. And they would finally confront the evil, and be a beacon of light against the onslaught of darkness.
And they would triumph, bringing freedom and democracy to the world-
With a stunned expression on his face, the man glanced downwards to where the point of an arrow was now jutting out from his chest. And although he couldn't turn his head far enough to see, there was now a shaft with some feathers jutting out of his back. Some of his blood was rapidly exiting his body, politely making room for the rest of the arrow, which was inside his body-
"Hey, nice shot, buddy!!!"
Falling to his knees, the man gasped for breath, realizing that the enemy's henchmen had already struck. But in their arrogance, the enemy's henchmen had erred. His wound, while grievous and painful, was not fatal. Though they would unknowingly leave him for dead, he would surely recover, then deal vengeance out upon his attackers-
"Your aim was low, though. Missed his heart by a little. Come on, we'd better make sure he doesn't get any funny ideas."
They would no doubt brutally maim him beyond recovery, the man now realized. He would never be able to wield the sword himself. But he would live, and train his descendent to carry the mission onwards to its glorious and righteous ending-
"Ha, whadda loser. Kick 'em inna fork!!!"
Stars of pain filled the man's eyes as it dawned upon him that he probably wouldn't be fathering any descendants in the foreseeable future. Or any other future, for that matter. But still, he would fight on with his last vestige of strength-
"Hey, look at the sword here. Wonder if it's
"Beats me. Why don't you test it out on this sorry bastard?"
A short time later, a meeting was taking place...
"Did you deal with him?"
"No problem. Dropped the body into the nearby piranha-infested river to make sure. And we shot the dolphin that tried to save the body. Good eating on those things, you know. And we burned what was left over."
"And the sword?"
"Got a blacksmith to melt it down and gave the slab to a spoon maker."
"Good. That's the fifth Warrior of Light wannabe that showed up this month. The things breed like rabbits, I swear."
"Regardless, the army is heading south from its present position, and there are several nameless villages with legendary swords that will undoubtedly be crushed in the process. Follow behind and eliminate any potential problems."
Several moments later, only one person remained.
Looking across the mural that covering one of the room's walls, his eyes
traced the sweeping lines that graced the majority of the map. Only a small
portion was untouched, but that would change soon enough.
It was funny how so many would-be conquers let their ambition get the better of them. Too many promising tyrants, cut down by a niggling little detail wielding a high-powered sword. So many potential emperors, forgetting that the point of conquering the world wasn't to conquer, but to rule the world.
And if you really wanted to rule the world in peace and quiet, an ounce of prevention was worth all the cure in the world.
Author's Notes: This is really dumb, isn't it? More specifically, this is a fanfic author's brain on way too much Terry Prachett. Not only is it humour, it's humour with a limited receptive audience. But it's something I needed to get out of my system, I think. It's a little unpolished, I know, but this isn't the kind of thing you usually put in your resume anyway, right? Later.