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by wyvern14

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Part 1 (2008)
Part 2 (2008)
Part 3 (2008)
Part 4 (2008)
Part 5 (2008)
Part 6 (2008)
Part 7 (2008)
Part 8 (2008)
Part 9 (2008)
Part 10 (2008)
Part 11 (2008)
Part 12 (2008)
Part 13 (2008)

Chapter 1

Silence and dust


The dust permeated everything, rising in small clouds as they walked. Everything was bathed in silver hues and oppressing silence, a sharp contrast to her blazing eagerness. She flexed her fingers, blinked, and then tossed her flowing mane of emerald curls around as they covered her face while she climbed a pile of rocks. Her hair felt alive, moving with her emotions, stirring like an ocean as she moved decidedly.

Her pace was quick, her heels clicking on the rocks and quartz fragments as she made her way ahead of everybody. Despite the cold, her skin felt hot, almost feverish. She knew the others were not far, could hear pants from behind her, the clangs of metal on metal as bodies moved, the sharp tinkles of weapons being shifted, but despite this, she merely felt like a blaze eating time and distance, a lone candle amiss in a sea of void and dust.

"Rydia, wait up!" The melodic, feminine voice echoed in the back.

The summoner turned around, realizing how far ahead she really was. She had made it to the cave faster than anyone, too lost in thought to pay it any mind.

"Might as well camp here, we've been crossing two underground paths already and the air is heavy." The firm, decided tone of Cecil, struck through the party, straightening shoulders and lips in smiles at the prospect of some rest.

Kain stopped walking, dropping his pack and spear without a word. The others followed suite, positioning weapons close to hand and taking out their camp materials. Rosa rummaged through their belongings to find food, while the paladin made his way next to the half-child he has protected so long ago.

"Come, let's resource ourselves. You'll need your strength."

Rydia cast a sidelong glance at the shadowy cavern, almost longingly. Her eyes seemed like flames, her gaze unreadable. Cecil put a hand on his shoulder, frowning.

"Is something wrong?"

"Nah, I'm just... This void is getting to me. The place is so alien..."

Her insides boiled. She felt like ripping monsters apart or exploding half the face of a mountain, just to break the cage of melancholy menacing to swallow them whole. After days of travelling through the moon and back, across crystalline passages and dusty outdoors with little to no speech, it was like being gagged.

His eyes crossed hers with a thin smile.

"I know how you feel, all my bearings are wrong, and this silence is unnatural. But everything here is quite dangerous, and who knows when we'll be able to rest again."

She bit her lower lip, knowing he was being reasonable, and clenched her inner flames. Meekly, she followed their leader to the camp, unrolling her blankets and packs with the others.

Cecil had her infinite respect and trust, but his passion was slow and measured. He probably did not understand her turmoil, which blazed away all thoughts as they travelled, consuming her focus, merging all paths into one.

I live to save the world that hoped to see us all disappear. I live for those that died, fight for those that can't. I'll see this through, for you all. So many died, so many got hurt. We'll put an end to it all...

So intent was her resolution that while lighting the cooking fire, she phased out and lost herself to her obsession. Flames sprouted like so many red lilies between her fingers, igniting the small pile of dry wood Rosa had placed in the middle of camp.

A crisp odor and a few cracks signalled that the task was done, but her fingers next to the timber remained. Green orbs, alight with life, seemed lost in contemplation, while the golden snakes rising from the timber lashed at her flesh in fury.

...................................................................................................


Over the camp's depression in the ground, he made his round with soft, unnoticed steps. Supple leather and wispy silk wavered around his body, almost like a ghost in the mist.

Alert eyes darted this way and there, watching for tracks, claw marks or worse. He was the best of his kind, silent and deadly, but despite his ego, he remained insecure. Everything here felt wrong, all his sense slightly distorted.

What is a prince doing the moon?

The never ending trail of their foes had led them in the very skies and the game was no longer about revenge. While that feeling had not yet completely died with the destruction of the elemental fiend, it was quenched enough to give him some semblance of good sense back.
His soft look at the skies above fixated on the stars, reminiscing.

Are you watching on me from above, mother, father? Did you become a twinkle on a black background, a light of memories and times shared?

He found that his dreams no longer contained horrible images of their deformed bodies, but rather, their loving faces from old. Many shared moments from the past, in his youth, seemed to bubble forward once he closed his eyes.

Once we come back, I'll honor you and make our kingdom as it was. We'll reclaim and rebuild!

He smiled and lowered his gaze. Before his wish came to fruition, there was much to do. He had this bunch of crazy people to help, not that it would ever be thanks enough for their own support toward him when he needed revenge.

The ninja walked slowly, on alert, as he finished his rounds. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and a welcoming sizzle and glow came from the camp, so he made his way back. Supper would probably be ready soon.

As he jumped from rock to rock to reach the ledge over the camp, he peered down and took the scene at a glance. Kain was brooding far from the tents, seemingly oblivious to the world, while Rosa and Cecil tended the beddings in one of the tents. Then, in shock, his eyes went wide.

That doesn't make any sense, why is she...?

Without thinking, he let himself fall from his perch and cushioned his drop with a roll, ending a foot away from the cheery fire. He did not stop, but rather used his momentum to twist around and grab a corner of his cloak, entwining her arms within it and bringing her lithe body with his as they rolled on the floor. The movement was so swift and sudden that their comrades did not notice anything.

Panting in his mask, knees resting on each side of her hips, he removed a hand from under her neck and the other from the tangle of cloth where her hands laid. Casting a quick look at her eyes, he found her unfocused and still surprised, so he delicately unwove his cloak from her limbs and peered at her hands.

Oh, Rydia... What did you do?

His fingers delicately probed the cracked skin and blisters, making the mage utter a weak whimper. Edge grimaced, looked at her with sympathy and remained fixed on her eyes, hypnotized. He had seen her concentrated, intense, furious or simply sad before, but never in such a crazed, lost-to-the-world state, and it shook him to the core.

What secrets do these gems hide from me? They glisten like flames... Is it fury or worse? You're scaring me, girl!

................................................................................................

She had been lost, eyes fixated on a sea of sunsets, rebirths and destruction, dreaming of unleashing the fury of her magicks on...

Eh...?

A white blur engulfed her, making the air scream in her ears and the sky to move all around her. It was suddenly cold, then warm again, and then pain prickled her skin like acid. Opening her eyes, too surprised to understand what had happened, she could barely see an outline of grey against an inky sky.

Blinking, her eyes, hard as agates, looked straight to the heavens, trying to decipher the view and find again that peace of mind she had experienced before it all broke loose around her. She felt as if someone had thrown her in the sea and she was too sleepy to move in oily waters.

It's dark again, and cold.

She had stared at the flames too long, and it was hard to see. Rydia felt the freezing air rush to meet her fingers and something inside her screeched at the sensation. It was as if the skin had been peeled off her arms and she dared not move.

Despite control, she gasped in pain when something soft and warm touched her hands like a caress. Eyes met hers. It was hard to say their color, but the feeling inside them was unmistakable.

Don't pity me. I live for this; you can't judge me nor understand what's sleeping under my skin! I know my purpose!!!

He averted his gaze, looked sideways then down. He seemed to murmur something to nobody, and then moved next to her on his knees. Only then did she realize he's been sitting on her legs the whole time. His hands dipped to his side, and the crystalline sound of glass against glass could be heard.

Something ripped and a minty smell came to her nose, so different from the acrid dust that permeated everything around. Then, soothing cold covered her flesh and delicate pressure stroked her fingers, holding them. He moved his head toward the tent, above his shoulder. Only when the flames of the camp roared and illuminated his cheekbone from the side did she notice that he did not have a mask anymore.

Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy IV
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.