Throwback Thursday: Final Fantasy: War of the Magi Part 2 of 3
This was a writing exercise I assigned myself one summer when I was 14. I took a story I was extremely familiar with (Final Fantasy 3 – a game I spent HOURS playing for many years and have beaten more times than I can count) and decided to write about it. I wanted practice at writing description and dialogue.
It was originally published on FanFiction.com. I never finished it.
For part one click here.
A blurry haze covered the girl’s eyes as she moved her throbbing head upon the pillow it rested on. This haze was nothing compared to the emptiness of her mind. Her head seemed as if it were a chamber filled only with locked doors, all just out of her reach. Pain radiated from every limb, and it took all of her willpower to not cry as she sat on the edge of the bed. Looking around through squinted eyes, she took note of her surroundings. The room was at once warm and inviting, a fire stirred in the fire place, five feet from the bed. The walls were empty, and the space bare with the exception of a desk and chair, a bed, and a single lamp. A red shag carpet covered the floor. Two doors, on either end of the room, stood closed.
Ignoring the dagger like pains that seared her limbs and caused them to shake, the girl got up and began to walk towards the door at the far end of the chamber. Her legs failed her almost instantly and she collapsed to the floor. Suddenly, one of the doors in her mind opened and an image of burning soldiers crept before her eyes, the memory of burning flesh so vivid it caused her to retch on the floor. She shut her eyes against the flashback, unsure of where it had come and how. She cried out.
Instantly, the door was opened and a man rushed to her aid, kneeling on the floor beside her.
“Terra…? Are you alright?” His voice was low and soothing. Terra. The name sounded familiar to her, she could only suppose it was hers. He helped her up and back onto the bed, lifting her as if she weighed nothing. “My name is Arvis.”
“Arvis,” she repeated. Arvis was not a young man, but not terribly old either. He looked to be close to forty-five and stood at close to six foot tall. His eyes were a light brown and were warm and kind. Wrinkles creased his forehead, some evidently from age, others probably from the shock of having his home town invaded. He was fairly slender in build but strong. “Where am I?” Despite his friendly face, she was too unsure of the world to trust him completely.
He smiled reassuringly at her. “You are in my home in the city of Narshe. You came here with two of Emperor Ghastal’s soldiers in a mission to retrieve an Esper from the mines.” His face contorted with anger for a brief moment as he mentioned the emperors name, it soon reverted back the compassion she had seen there before, as if nothing had occurred to disturb him.
“I don’t remember anything…” tears of chagrin slipped from her eyes. Obviously the emperor was an awful man, she was astute enough to pick that up, so if she had been traveling with his army, than she must be part of the enemy. More tears fell.
“I didn’t suspect you would.” A thoughtful look took over Arvis’s features as he stood and paced the room once, he then headed towards the desk where he opened a drawer and pulled out a broken metal crown, the very one that had recently rested on her head. “Terra, this is a slave crown, it has held a place around your head for the last sixteen years. The emperor was using it to control you. You are not responsible for your actions.”
The mere fact that he mentioned responsibility for her actions showed that they must have been reprehensible.
Before Terra could question him on the situation further several loud knocks sounded on another door. Arvis paled slightly which caused another wave of terror to overcome her.
“Arvis! Open this door! We know you have the girl!” A loud thud followed these words, as if someone was trying to break down the door.
“Quick,” Arvis’s voice was an urgent whisper. He grabbed her arm and helped her across the room, leading her to the door next to the fireplace. “Go through this door, you can escape into the mine.”
Escape… escape to where?
“Damnit, old man! We want the girl now, she is to be killed for her crime against our town!” The voices were getting closer now and as Arvis pushed her through the now open door onto a bridge she heard a very large bang, most likely the sound of the door being broken from its hinges.
“Run,” he whispered as he slammed the door behind her.
Terrified, Terra stumbled across the bridge that seemed to stretch for miles. Her legs burned, her chest heaved, and her head throbbed, but she kept going. When she reached the entrance to the mines she ran faster, weaving her way through the endless tunnels. It seemed as though she was going in circles, every passage looked the same.
Suddenly, she came towards a fork that she had not come across before. While deciding which turn to take several guards come running down the tunnel. “You there! Don’t move!”
Slowly, she backed away towards the wall, when suddenly the floor crumpled from beneath her feet. She hit the ground, slamming her head against the rough rock. Instantly, she began to lose her grip on the world as her eyes shuttered closed.
A memory assailed her as she lay immobile on the ground. She stood still on a balcony. Next to her, on the left, stood a man and a woman, both blonde, standing at least two inches above her. They were all dressed in a gray uniform, adorned with badges.
To her right stood another blonde man, the same height as herself. He was clothed in dark red robes with yellow braids draped over the sides.
In front of them stood another man. He had dark hair and was dressed in dark brown and yellow velvet robes. A sword hung from his side. His head was covered in an unusual velvet hat that draped over his back like a veil. A crowd of soldiers, dressed in brown uniforms stood before them on the ground. They stood in complete silence, listening to every word the man in front said.
The words from this memory sequence were all jumbled together, hard to decipher, but at the end of what she could only assume had been a moving speech, the crowd, and the three people standing with her, through their hands in the air and as one shouted “Ghestal!”.
The world went black.
Inside a small room, illuminated only by the light from a roaring fire, at a chair in front of a table sat Arvis, deep in thought. This room was decorated much like the bedroom Terra had found herself in earlier, only there was no bed as a table with four chairs replaced it. The front door was leaned up against the twisted door frame letting in a chill and stray snowflakes. The door to the bedroom was across from the table and chairs. Next to the fireplace was a picture of Arvis standing next to a young boy.
Arvis is startled from his thoughts as a knock sounds on the door. Into the room steps in the boy from the picture, only he is no longer a boy.
Standing about 5’9″, the man had dark, chestnut brown hair that hung slightly disheveled over his forehead, mussed from a nervous habit of running his fingers through the chestnut mane, and held with a folded dark blue bandana in an effort to keep it tidy. The keen eyes peeking from under the stray locks were a brown to match his hair, only with a dark blue that rimmed his pupils. They were the eyes of a man who did not miss a trick, revealing a mind that was cunning. A small scar marred his face just next to his right eye, pinkish against the tanned skin.
He wore tattered clothes that showed off his toned body. He had the build of a worked traveler, at once muscled and slender. The shine of a dagger could be seen from where it was concealed underneath his vest, as could several velvet pouches.
“Locke, you have arrived. I had feared that it would’ve taken you much longer as I had not the faintest idea where to reach you.” Arvis did not stand, but watched as Locke took the seat across from him, appearing completely casual, and wholly at home. An air of curiosity radiated from him, but it was rarely gone considering his profession.
“I was just on my way to Bannon’s when I got your message,” Locke shrugged, “not far.”
Arvis began to show his distress, “I am glad that you have come here so soon. I fear I need your help.” Locke nodded in acquiescence and Arvis continued. “I need you to go into the mines and rescue a girl there. She is being hunted by the guards and if you do not reach her in time-”
Locke cut him off. “A girl? You couldn’t possibly mean the emperors’s witch. I know you, you of all people, would not want to help her. I will have no part in helping the enemy.” He angrily began to stand, his expression suddenly withdrawn.
“Please Locke! It was not her that worked for the empire. She was being controlled, used. There was nothing she could’ve done.”
“I couldn’t care less why she did it, she killed hundreds of innocents.”
Locke had reached the door now and Arvis tried one final attempt. “What of Rachel?” It worked and the young man started and stopped dead in his tracks. “How would she have felt if you had just stood by and let a woman die. A woman who was not in any way in control of herself. Her life was stolen from the emperor for the last sixteen years. Who knows what she had to endure?”
Slowly, Locke turned. His expression was completely unreadable and dangerous “If it means so much to you, I will go then, but don’t you ever dare mention Rachel’s name to me. Never again use her as a tool to bend me to your will. Understood?”
“Damnit!” Locke muttered as he made his way through the mines. “Why is it me who gets to risk his life to save the enemy? Waste of time if you ask me.” More muttering. Reaching a fork in the tunnel, he saw where the ground had given way. On a hunch, he leaped down and landed next to a girl. He stood.
Terra lay unconscious at his feet, her green hair splayed across the ground and over her face. Her body looked broken, nearly all bones. Bruises covered almost every inch of skin that he could see, and probably all he couldn’t. It was a pitiful sight and he forgot why he had been angry. Her clothes barely covered her, and she was almost blue underneath the bruises from the cold. She stirred, rolling over slightly, and her eyes fluttered.
He bent back down and brushed the rest of her hair off her face. When she saw him her eyes widened impossibly with more fear and she attempted to scurry away. “Shhh.” Locke’s voice was calm and reassuring. “I’m not here to hurt you. Arvis sent me to help you out of here. I’m Locke.”
“Locke.” She repeated, looking around at her surroundings, than turned her gaze warily back to him.
“Come on,” he slipped an arm around her and tried to ignore the wince she made. They started walking towards where he knew the exit would be, only a few tunnels and turns away. She had to lean her entire weight, which couldn’t have been more than a hundred pounds, on him as she could barely move on her own.
They made their way silently through three of the passages when they heard the general of Narshe’s army. Terra whimpered and Locke managed to get them in between a large boulder and the rock wall before they were spotted. He turned his stare to her, silently telling her that it was imperative that she not make a sound.
“Dunno where she could’ve gone. The bitch couldn’t have made it far the way she was beaten down.” An unknown soldier spoke as the troop made their way past.
Locke’s heart beat heavily in his chest, and he could feel Terra’s doing the same. If they were caught they would both be killed.
“Well let’s keep looking. No one rests until she is found!” The general spoke up.
Both Locke and Terra remained in their hiding spot until the sound of falling footsteps had been absent for some time.
“Is it safe to go now?” Terra’s voice was soft and uncertain, almost childlike. It seemed as though she had decided to trust him.
“I think so. Don’t worry, it’s not far from here.” They began to make their way out down the path to the left of where the infantry had come. His eyes gleamed, “I know a short cut.”
As they continued through the mines, they hit a dead end. He could not see Terra’s eyes as she spoke quietly. “Do you expect for us to walk through the rock?”
He looked down at her surprised. It seemed as though she were poking fun at him. A sly smile crossed his features as he reached up high and pulled on a protruding rock.
Instantly, the wall next to them lifted two feet off the ground. He lowered her to the floor and let her crawl through first, then went through himself. Locke then pulled the wall down, making it seem as though it had never been off the ground in the first place.
They were just outside of the town, close to the only school room on this side of the continent. The snowy ground and cold atmosphere caused Terra to tremble uncontrollably and he noticed that her lips were blue. He picked her up, and then set her down in the door way of the school room where she would at least be partially protected from the icy wind. “I’ll be right back, I want to see if there is any way we can get back into the city.” She nodded in reply and he walked towards town.
He was not even twenty feet from where he had left Terra when he saw three men clothed in the uniform of the Narshe army, they were guarding the entrance. He turned back. “Well, perhaps I shall take you to go meet Edgar.”
Locke slipped his arm around her and the two began to walk south from the town, being careful to keep next to the rock face so that they were out of view from the lookout.
“Edgar? Who’s he?”
“An old friend.” A genuine smile transformed his face as they made their way to the Castle of Figaro.