Throwback Thursday: Final Fantasy: War of the Magi Part 3 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.
The kingdom of Figaro was located on a vast desert, south of the town of Narshe. If a traveler was lucky, they would reach Figaro in two days.
It was rare that anyone was lucky.
Throughout the snow, the grassy terrain and the vast desert that separated the two towns roamed strange creatures of the night and thieves. A weary explorer was a perfect target for any one of the dangers that lurked in the dark.
Locke and Terra reached the Castle of Figaro on the sixth night of their journey. Due to Terra’s weak state, they traveled slowly, only during the day, avoiding any place that was not in the open. There was only one attacker, but he was sent running by a blow from Locke.
Upon reaching their destination, they were stopped immediately at the gate and eyed suspiciously by two guards.
“Halt! What business have you here?” The guard on the left stepped forward and placed his hand on the handle of his sword.
Locke stepped out of the shadows so that only he was in complete view. A sigh escaped the guard who had talked and relief was evident in his tone. “Oh, it is you Locke.”
Giving one of his most charming smiles Locke gestured to Terra. “Of course it’s me. And I have brought a friend. Edgar should be expecting us.”
Terra stepped forward. “A friend? King Edgar said nothing of a friend,” the second guard spoke. “Perhaps we should go clear things up with the King.”
“Nonsense, since when has Edgar ever minded the company of a lady?” Locke winked as Terra eyed both the soldiers. She hoped she would not be left outside of the kingdom to fend for herself. Her strength was still not completely back.
“I suppose it would be alright,” the first guard narrowed his eyes but allowed them through.
It had been hard to see much of the kingdom in the dark, but as they entered the castle Terra was stunned. The walls surrounding them were made up of large stones that had been carefully mortared together and they stretched easily three times as tall as her 5’7″ frame. A wide strip of royal blue velvet carpeting stretched down the length of the corridor towards a set of elaborate wooden doors that faced them. Two guards stood as still as statues, one on either side of the carpet. The only proof that they were indeed alive was when they turned their heads and faced them.
Timidly, Terra turned and faced Locke who had in the last week become her most trusted protector. Locke smiled softly at her and the two headed down the entranceway to the wooden doors that she had so recently admired. He opened them and allowed her to pass through first.
This hallway looked much the same as the last one they had treaded through, only longer and with four guards instead of two. The only other difference was that instead of facing one door now, the hall ended with three, two smaller and one wide one. The small doors were plain but made of thick sturdy wood. The third door, the one in the middle, was at least five heads taller than she, and was elaborately engraved with various images.
She did not have much time to admire the craft, as Locke led them quickly through this door.
This room was much different from the others, for at the other end of the hall was a raised floor, housing two beautiful thrones. One man sat in the throne on the left, while an older gentleman stood next to him, holding a stack of papers. Two large windows were on the back wall, and three burgundy banners were situated evenly between them. Strange tools hung from shelves in the walls, waiting to be used.
Together, Locke and Terra walked towards the two men, halting when they were about five feet away. Both men dropped what they had been saying and stared at them with interest.
The standing man appeared to be the same age as Arvis, only he had sterner features. Everything about this man was serious, from the way he stood to the glint in his eyes. It was obvious that he did not have a large sense of humor, nor a tolerance for antics. He was probably not a fan of Locke. His dress was impeccable, not even a stray hair marred its velvet cloth. This man made her nervous.
Seated on the throne, it was easily deduced that the other man was royalty. He gave off a much kinder impression than the first man she had observed. Long, wheat coloured hair was pulled back into a loose braid and it hung just over his right shoulder. Bangs covered his forehead and ended just above eyebrows of a darker shade. At once observant and gentle, this man possessed deep blue eyes, the colour matching the carpets of the castle almost exactly. He casually observed her with these orbs through lazy lids. A half smile was his expression and Terra found it to be reassuring. Even seated, it was easy to see that this man had a strong and impressive body. He was very handsome.
“Locke, it’s been too long.” The half smile transformed into a broad grin.
“Or long enough.” Locke returned.
The seated man laughed. “Well said.” His eyes moved off Locke and he began to eye her again. “Now, are you going to introduce me to your friend or do you expect me to do so myself?”
“This is Terra Branford,” Locke turned and smiled at her. “Terra, this is Edgar, the crowned king of Figaro.”
Edgar stood and sauntered towards her, a devilish gleam in his eyes. “Well, aren’t you a vision.” With a gallant bow, Edgar took her hand and kissed the air above it.
“Thank you.” The response was automatic and nothing in Terra’s expression changed.
“I’m sorry to interrupt sire, but we still have some matters to discuss.” The man who had been standing next to the throne took a step forward.
“Of course Chancellor.” Edgar turned walked back over to his seat, looking over his shoulder at Locke and Terra as he spoke. “Locke? Do show Terra to the west wing. I am sure someone will be able to find you both a room there. Perhaps we shall get another chance to visit later in the day.”
“Of course,” Locke mimicked Edgar’s earlier tone as he led Terra from the throne room.
“Hmm…” Terra was thoughtful. “I suppose a normal girl would have found him dashing. But I’m hardly… normal…”
Locke let out a stream of laughter as he turned his gaze to her. The two were now walking down a flight of stairs towards what she could only presume was the west wing. “So, you have managed to meet Edgar and escape unscathed. An awesome feat indeed.” They came upon another door and yet another flight of stairs, this one traveling upwards. “Judging by your comment, I am sure you realize that Edgar is somewhat of a ladies man?”
“So it would seem.” Terra replied. They continued on in a comfortable silence. Every few steps or so, Locke would turn and look at her, a question in his eyes. Finally, she gave up on trying to guess what he could have wanted to know. “What is it that you are wishing to ask?”
Locke sighed and they stopped walking. There were still at least twenty stairs left to climb, she was glad for the break. He jumped right to the point. “Why would you say that you are ‘hardly normal’?”
Terra shrugged. “Because I am not.” It was an evasive answer, but it was all that she was going to say on the subject and Locke seemed to pick up on that. They continued onwards, towards the west wing.
After traveling through two more corridors, they reached a room that was occupied by three beds and a desk. It was decorated in royal blue, much the same as every other room in the house.
“This is where we get to stay,” Locke stated as he dropped his baggage next to the bed closest to him. “Ain’t too shabby is it?” His gaze glittered with amusement and Terra smiled back at him.
“I could use some rest.” Terra walked over and sat on a bed that was placed against the far wall.
“Yes, and I hope sleep comes easily to you here. Don’t think I didn’t notice that you lay awake most every night.” Locke walked towards the door from which he they had just entered.
“You are not staying?”
“I have some… business to take care of while I am here. Don’t worry, I shall return in an hour or so.” He was out the door, but before he closed it behind him he shot over his shoulder “sweet dreams.” With those words, the door was closed and Locke was gone. Terra lay her head down on the pillow, not bothering to go under the blankets as it was already warm in the room.
Still, even in the safety of a guarded castle, the images from her past, like the most terrifying of nightmares, came at once, making sleep impossible.
A dark mahogany desk, cluttered with papers, was the most ornate piece of furniture in the otherwise plain room. Seated before it, in a sturdy wooden chair, was the king of Figaro, hunched over and deep in thought. He was so entranced, that even the sound of the door opening and closing did not bring him back to reality.
“Always hard at work?” Deeply laced with humour, the tone was at once recognizable to the young king. He did not move as the intruder came around and stood next to the desk.
“So,” he finally lifted his eyes to the invader. “Locke, I take it that this visit of your is not a social one?”
At once, the trademark amusement that was usually present disappeared from the young thief. His eyes appeared grim. “No. It is not.”
Edgar gestured to the wicker chair that sat in the corner. Locke walked over and dragged it closer to the desk, than sat down. “And what of the girl? Why did you bring her here?”
“She needs protection.”
“Protection from whom?”
A loud sigh escaped him. This was becoming more and more complicated by the second and he knew it was about to become even more difficult. Edgar was relatively young to be a king, at the age of 27, but he possessed knowledge beyond his years. He was perceptive enough to notice that things were not all as they should be with the world, and separate notions were beginning to form in every town. A war was brewing and whether he liked it or not, it was up to him to decide which side his kingdom was on.
“What could the emperor want with such a fragile girl? She is merely skin and bones!”
“I do not know why he is after her, but he is. She barely escaped from Narshe alive. I am worried about her safety, which is why I have brought her to you.” Locke was clearly concerned for the girl. To anyone who did not know Locke better, it would appear as if his feelings for her were not entirely platonic.
But Edgar knew Locke. He had a complicated past, much like the rest of the human race, but his had left him bitter, with tainted views on the world. More than that, it had left him with an instinct to protect things to the best of his ability. He did not want to repeat old mistakes.
“What do you expect me to do? If she is being hunted then there is a reason. I cannot put my kingdom in danger for the sake of one woman, no matter how beautiful she might be.” Edgar moved some papers aside on his desk. “And do you forget that Figaro is an ally to the empire?”
A disgusted look crossed Locke’s features, followed by one of hatred. “I have not forgotten.” Locke stood up. “But do you forget how the empire treats its so called allies? What of Kohlingen? Take a look at the world around you Edgar. Nothing is black and white anymore.” Locke left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
Edgar was left to continue with his work, but instead he found himself unable to tear his thoughts away from this one girl. Terra should be a remarkable beauty, promised to be one as soon as the evidence of her mistreatment faded. She was also an odd woman. For the most part she seemed to possess not outward feelings to anything that surrounded her, only occasionally expressing human emotions.
What could Ghestal possibly want with her?
Edgar paced the room. It had been a sleepless and stressful night. Too many lives were at stake for a decision such as this to be made spontaneously. If he helped the girl, Terra, then his kingdom would become the emperor’s target and war would immediately follow. But if he handed her over to Ghestal, then Figaro could be left in peace for a little while longer. Hopefully, long enough to devise a plan.
He was no fool. Edgar knew that Ghestal had no scruples. He’d heard the rumors about the towns in the east, once allies to the empire, being invaded. Whatever the emperor wanted, he and his lackeys took, whatever the consequences.
Three knocks on his door dragged him away from his thoughts. “Enter,” he said, stopping his pacing. The door opened and a young soldier came into the room. His face was strained with worry.
“King Edgar, Kefka and two magitek armored soldiers are making their way towards the castle.”
Edgar masked his surprise. “So, he has come after all. How long until he is at the gate?”
“Ten minutes at the most, sir.” The man looked afraid.
It did not take the smartest people in the world to realize that if Kefka and two magitek soldiers were on their way to the kingdom that no good could come of it.
“Thank you. If that is all you may leave.” Edgar began to turn to his desk as the soldier bowed and started out the doorway. A thought occurred to him, “wait.” The soldier stopped and turned back to look at him.
“Notify Locke to come to the throne room immediately.”
“And the girl?”
“Make sure she stays in her room.” No matter that he didn’t know the reason, if Ghestal was sending people to retrieve the girl, then she must have something he wants. Badly.
With that said, the soldier left and Edgar readied himself for this upcoming meeting,
Kefka resembled a rat in every way possible. He had beady, dark, blood shot eyes that were always outlined in dark black pencil. Yellow hair was slicked back, braided, and piled onto his head in order to make himself look taller than his five foot five frame. His body was always clothed in ridiculously extravagant clothing that swam around his scrawny frame. All of his clothes were made up in red, orange and yellow, a hideous tribute to fire. He was extremely disliked by everyone of significance, including the soldiers who served him. The only person who could stand the snake was Emperor Ghestal.
He was a sick man with an even sicker mind. Many figured him to be insane, and it did not take a stretch of mind to believe it. It was also a commonly known fact that wherever he went he forced women to his side, using them to aid with his main fetish, power and submission. And now he was in Figaro.
“King Edgar,” the magitek soldier who was two steps ahead of Kefka yelled from the bottom of the steps.