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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 7

Waning moon

The elation of their triumph was almost palpable. Nothing would ever feel more real that the moon, if ever a place would be a memory of eternity and exultation, it was here. Any menace that lingered in the tunnels washed in twilight hues fled or remained hidden and their slow return to the surface would be long and tedious.

This place looks lifeless, yet makes us savor existence all the more because
of it.


Kain walked with measure paces, slightly in retreat, gazing at his comrades from the back with mixed feelings. He had wronged them so many times, sullied his very being with the whispers of darkness despite his convictions that all he had done has been despite himself.

Zemus saw me for who I really was. Jealous, consumed by envy and longing, and in the end, I could not refuse it.

In front, Cecil and Rosa strode, hands joined and whispering to one another, smiling shyly and oblivious to the pain they wrenched in his heart. Here was his friend, one he had dreamed of chocking to death, one he desperately wanted to be in her eyes, unaware of all he had choked down to avoid breaking their trinity before all this began.

Does she laugh at my feelings?


He fought against the black tendrils who wormed their way into his soul. The sweet, devoted young woman could not act such, his vision was distorted by greed and clouding his judgment. The dragoon forced himself to peep at their intimate exchange, searching, hoping. The lowered face of Cecil slightly changed, exposing emotions he tried to hide. Then, everything was clear.

She wants to heal his hurts, cleanse his wounds. This was more painful for him than he wanted to show. Too proud to rely on us to drag you out of your mess, you always take too much on your shoulders for the sake of others!


He wanted to make amends for the hurt he had caused them, quite aware he was tainted in their eyes. Trust was so hard to regain once you soiled it, twice even. Yet, maybe this was his chance to make his peace with the inner beast that clawed at his dark thoughts, and also toward the two people who had put their faith in him regardless of his betrayals. He would bid his time and wait for the right moment.

.........................................................................................................................................................
The first hours of their trek had been joyous, filled with banter and smiles. They beheld the crystalline beauty of the moon in wonder, basking in its otherworldly sights, knowing they would never return. She felt one with the land, carefree and released from all restraints even though she was exhausted. And then came the one question that shattered everything.

“So Edge, what are your plans once we get back?"

Once we get back?

Rydia stopped in her tracks, dumfounded. What would SHE do once they went back? Half of her life had been focused on a fight now passed, on a collision with evil that was over and done with, and never before had she stopped to think about dreams and wishes for the future. The summoner had been trained by eidolons to be deadly against their foes, and striving to explore her powers was a goal she had set for herself in hopes of supporting Cecil to the fullest.

"There is Eblan to rebuild anew, ninjas to train, politics to take care of, you know... Hopefully our seneschal took care of most of it while we were here, but knowing him, he'll pile it all up on me and make me work like mad."

I don't want to leave here...

Questions rang in her mind with no answers. Shivering, mind empty, she suddenly felt isolated, alone. No mother would welcome her home, no kingdom to rule expected her safe and sound, no evil to vanquish remained to drive her forward. She could return to the Feymarch and spend calm times with the creatures dwelling there, but that somehow felt wrong, devoid of excitement.

Have I been living so much on the brink of crisis that everything else is gone?


Her thoughts turned back to their last battle, rushing in fiery tumult at the memories of danger, excitement and soul-wrenching ecstasy as power had coursed through her whole being. She had lost herself, consumed her spirit amiss the inferno of magicks with no thoughts for the morrow. A regal drake had come forth in answer to her primal plea, taking her in rapture as he met darkness incarnate through her senses. Existence had lashed back at her in reply, she had crossed the line, and yet, someone had interposed to ensure she could not disappear in the moment of her greatest achievement.

He almost stopped me. I never asked for his offered salvation, never needed to be saved. There was nothing to save.

She felt angry at him, bereft of peace that could have embraced her and make her avoid the gruesome despair she now experienced. Her glazed eyes refocused in front of her, faint words calling her. She registered something about rest and food and nodded absently.

They're all so serene, blooming like flowers in newfound sunlight, already living their future. I'm just a bomb that exploded on the moon, only my charred remains making it back with them.

Forlorn, she joined the rest of their party.

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

Cecil played with the fire, feeding it parsimoniously, imagining he bereft himself of his troubles by throwing them like brambles in the cheery flames. They were all spread out in the labyrinth, each savoring their last days, memorizing this dreamy landscape and seeking to wash the recent events from their minds. The aftermath of their quest was colossal and would haunt them for years to come, scars and joys never quite fading.

I could have... I should have...


He felt craven and undeserving of the light surging in his breast. If he could not do what he advised everyone to, how could he show a decent example, how could he live with the guilt? Disturbing his thoughts, Kain joined him, removing his helm and staring at the flames, with him and yet not intrusive.

"He knows."

Unsure of the meaning of the dragoon's words, he raised his eyes to his. He had seldom seen the face of his friend since he rejoined them and could scarcely recognize him. Dark circles underlined his features, lines creasing the skin and a thin line for a shy smile.

"Golbez does. He knows you forgave him and regretted your hate."

It shook the paladin, hearing someone voice his own worries to him.

Kain...

"You forgave me, despite all I did. You knew what I felt, how strong the urge to erase you was, way back. Yet, you also knew I was torn inside, between my sentiments and your trust. If you could place your faith in me after everything, then I know you did the same for him. He sleeps now, and thinks of you, I'm sure."

His deep voice died, but his gaze remained on the source of light and warmth next to them.

"You're just human, not godly perfect. Anyone else would have hated him too, brother or not, yet I know of no one else who could live with it like you do. In the end, you acknowledged him with a few words, you meant everything, and he rests in peace knowing it."

That was blunt yet refreshing, putting a whole new perspective on his brother's parting. Cecil patted his comrade's shoulder hard, with gruff affection. Now too, he did not know what to say, no answer came to mind.

"Stop badgering yourself with doubts, nobody chastised you and you're just torturing yourself."

They smiled at one another: the paladin in jest, the other in a timid attempt at camaraderie.

Just like when we left Baron, when we started everything. Thank you Kain, for being... my friend.

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

She walked without seeing, aimlessly rambling in dusty corridors and marvelous crystal formations. After two bites of food, Rydia had been unable to stand the rest of them, wounded by her depression and just wanting to be alone. Her psyche felt disconnected from her body, which moved of its own accord and stopped next to a ledge, overlooking the shining core below.

I feel... nothing.

The summoner felt like a living corpse, a puppet dangling from fragile twine in a corner once the play was over. If she had a pulse, she could not sense it. The heavy, cold air was freezing her, frosting her senses and making her eyes water. Confusion, worry, regrets shook her, yet her detachment made her look at each emotion clinically.

How will I face them, with a fake smile and a mask on my features?

Lying felt wrong, but intruding on others was even worse. Cecil and Rosa had no room in between them for her and deserved some quiet times with each other, after all they had been through.

Could I live on pretending nothing is wrong? Would they want that?


Dishonesty would breed mistrust; they would distance themselves and make her even lonelier. Alarmed, she realized no real answers came to her, no solution to her dilemmas, and no balm for her burns. She was numb, desperately seeking that feeling of life and euphoria that had funneled her every action until now, not knowing where to search.

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

Heart beating in earnest, Edge fidgeted in a corner, walking in circles. A thousand thoughts and words had been eating him up from the inside ever since the fight and he was at a loss as to how to act or speak. His visions had come to life and he had jumped toward death as if nothing else mattered.

I'm mad...

The ninja could recall the picture as they had fallen in unison, him hoping desperately he had not been too late, her in complete rapture, a goddess in the throes of her passion and magicks. It had seemingly took forever to connect with the ground, and as the nether had whipped his flesh, tearing him apart, he had only pride for her and elation at the thought that this picture of her, vanquishing their enemy with all her might, would be the one he would take to the grave.

The only time I enlaced her...

When Kain had helped him rise, he'd been astonished to find himself alive and relieved to see her unharmed. Then again, being whole meant hoping for tomorrow, could bring so much more, and his giddiness had made him throw comments like old, even having her jump in. Maybe the ending of this whole story had brought her back to happier moods?

Then again, she has been silent all day...

The more they had spoken, the less she had quipped in to add perky words. She was distancing herself from them all, from him, but it was all different. Instead of the fire sleeping under her guise, he distinguished something else entirely. He was never good at connecting with people or ease their troubles, but had had enough sense not to broach the issue while all the others were around.

I care too much to let her suffer in silence though...

He still did not know how to help her, and all his thinking did not give him any insight as to what to say, but Edge felt like waiting would not aid her brooding. It would come to him when he needed it; confidently telling himself there was nothing to worry about.

I work best on the spur of the moment.

He got up from his remote spot in the cave, walking around and eyes roaming for green. He crossed Rosa's path, which looked up at him with a peaceful expression. Perhaps his pupils' shine betrayed him, since she smiled and nodded toward one of the tunnels, knowingly. He strode in the offered direction, in search of his heart's yearning.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy IV
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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