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Afterstorm

by Sherick

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Chapter 15

Chapter XV: A Magical Reunion

The Falcon took to the air once more. They would have to go to deliver this newfound information to Dornim. Inside, Otoshi Vector stayed in a private room, feeling that her presence made the Returners uneasy. Since discovering who see was, they all seemed to act even more oddly around her.

Of course she hadn't done anything. It still blew her mind that he could still be alive, and doing what he was. He was trying to rebuild the Empire. But was this the way to do it?

Of course it was, Utam had taught her that himself. War means doing whatever you can to win it, he had said. War is never good, so you must avoid it whenever you can, but if the time arises, you cannot back down. The years have shown that I-we-can defeat anything.

If that was true, was he going to do anything to try and win? It seemed that the new Returners were nice, and seek no harm; why would he want to destroy them?But on the other hand, he was her older brother, and above that her emperor, and he was rebuilding the empire that they had once ruled. How could she pick a side?

Terra stood with Setzer and Sabin above deck. She had just heard the news from Edgar about Otoshi and the Aquadalins. The information blew her away. That Gestahl had once answered to another; that this new "Emperor" had ruled before, that Otoshi was his right hand; that Kefka had actually been part of it... too many things that made her think.

She let the rushing fast air hit her face. It felt good, but she was so deep in thought she didn't even enjoy it. She turned around and went back under the airship. The walked passed the "casino", where Locke and Celes were cheating the Figaro twins out of their money again. She went to the room were Otoshi had isolated herself to. Terra knocked on the door.

It opened, and she looked in and saw Otoshi sitting on the bed inside. Terra looked back and forth between the door and her.

"H-h-how did you do that?"

"Easy," Otoshi simply replied. He waved her hand and made it close back. "I've always been able to do it. As far back as I remember anyway."

Then Terra remembered another detail from her dream. "I remember, in that dream I mentioned, that the cloaked man who killed Kefka used a form of magic, even though magic was no more. Could your brother do that too?"

"Yes, we were both born with it. We were told it is called amatru-ki. Utam actually used it to fight, which was why he was so good."

"That is another piece to the puzzle," she said out loud, though mainly to herself. "I knew that there had to be a connection between Kefka and Utam."

"So, you had suspected it all along?"

"Yes, after you told me a little about him." She noticed that she had upset Otoshi. "I'm sorry, Otoshi..."

"It's okay. He had it coming after what he did to us, and what he did to this world. I'm glad my brother killed him in our name."

Terra nodded. "I need to go tell the others. We need to go tell them!"

After Otoshi finished explaining amatru-ki to the Returners, they all looked at each other, but said nothing.

Sabin broke the silence.

"Well, what now? If this...Vector guy has these powers, and the Empire, how can we defeat him? We have Otoshi, I guess..."

"But I am not as powerful as my brother. I am not a real warrior."

"Great," Sabin said. "And we have no magic anymore."

"We're screwed," Setzer said simply, as he lit a smoking pipe. He looked up after extinguishing his match to see them all staring at him. "What?" He extended a pot with some bits of plants and ashes in it.

"Want some?"

As Terra glared at him, she noticed something behind him. Around a certain mountain area, red and purple storm clouds had formed, but they were not anywhere else. The others all noticed. They stared with their eyes wide. Setzer looked at them with a puzzled expression.

"What? It's just pipe herbs. It's nothing illegal."

He turned around and saw the clouds as well. He rubbed his eyes.

"Take us there, Set," Edgar said.

As he took the controls, Setzer took out his bag of herbs and tossed them over the hull of the Falcon.

They landed the Falcon as far up on the mountain as they could. All eight of them scaled the mountain. Once they reached the top, they saw what they had mostly expected to see. The clouds, now closer to the peak, thundered and crackled. Purple light shown through the thick layer of cloud and illuminated the mountaintop.

As they came closer, they heard a sound like a melody. It drew them closer.

Sabin snapped out of it. "Guys, c'mon, stop!"

The others came back to their senses. They watched as the purple light grew brighter and bigger, and the clouds parted. Terra took a step toward it. She stopped, then hesitated, and then continued toward it.

"Terra," Locke called, "what're you doing?"

But she kept on going. As she drew closer, she felt warmer, an amazing sensation that felt somehow familiar. She felt herself levitate. She hovered through the air. She ran short on breath, but wasn't bothered by it.

She ascended into the clouds. The light grew so bright, that the other seven had to cover their eyes.

Once the light dimmed, Locke looked up...and was breathless in awe.

She floated down, covered in brilliant pink fur, glowing like the light above her. She hung in the air gracefully. She was an Esper. She was born an Esper, had discovered her power six years ago in Zozo from Ramuh, and had lost it when the magic died. And now there she was.

They stood in silence, too afraid to move forward. Terra looked down at them and smiled with her big glowing yellow eyes. "It's okay. There's nothing to be afraid of. It's just...them."

Locke looked to the others, who in turn looked at each other. Terra descended toward them, and the clouds above separated farther. She touched down, but they all looked up as something else descended down. Claws protruded from its feet, and as it lowered, its muscular frame showed with not but a loincloth clothing it. Long purplish hair ran down its back, and as more of it showed, long, curved red horns became visible.

It didn't take anything else to tell what this was. An Esper. Terra's own father, Maduin, captured years ago by Imperials and drained of energy for fuel for Magitek. He turned to magicite for them, showing himself to his daughter for the first and final time. He had big glowing yellow eyes, which he had obviously passed on to his daughter.But he had gone away like all the other Espers...

As if cued by thought, the cloud opened to what seemed like a full extent. Other memorable faces showed. The fire demon Ifrit; his icy companion Shiva; small Carbuncle; haunting Phantom; hog-like Shoat; gorgeous maidens Starlet and Siren; felineus Stray; whale-like Bismarck; Alexander, whose great size made him have to land in the nearby forest. Locke jumped, and then looked down as the serpent Terrato slithered up, as if he had just appeared from the earth.

He looked up and saw Phoenix and Palidor soaring through the clouds. But the Espers...five years ago...they had left "forever".... how and why were they back?

"I believe I can answer that, Locke," said an aged yet thunderous voice. Ramuh-Wiseman of the Espers and Boltmaster-stood there as tall and godlike as ever. Locke hadn't even realized he had been speaking his thoughts aloud.

"It has to do with you," Ramuh looked at Otoshi, "and your brother. When we left this world and took the magic with us, it was to stay gone forever. But you have cheated the rules, Vector."

She looked down.

"I understand this was a privilege you were born with, and it is not our magic, we would not even have worried about it had it not been a threat. But I am afraid that your brother, Utam Duvallu za Vector, has proven he can and will use it. That is bending our plan, and is creating tremendous danger for the world and all that live in it. But as you can tell, we are all not here. That's because of the factions."

"Factions?" Terra asked.

"You see, we appealed this to Gothgar, king of the Espers millennia ago, but he wanted nothing to do with it and left it up to us. Lord Bahamut opposed it, and Tritoch, perched on Bahamut's shoulder, agreed with him. We broke into two factions. Seraphim, Kirin, Zoneseek, Golem, Finrir, Raiden, and even the almighty Crusader sided with Bahamut. The rest of us, decided to return to help you."

While they had been talking, Locke counted the Espers. "Wait, there were twenty-six of you before, now I counted fourteen here, plus nine you said stayed behind. Where is the other?"

"Just because Crusader stayed behind, doesn't mean his sword had to," an echoing voice called.

From above, a sword came streaking out of the sky and plunged into the ground. It was about three-quarters the size of Maduin. Ragnorok. "I have decided to also come to stop this treachery."

Otoshi started to weep. They could sense her sorrow. "Don't think of it as your fault, Miss Vector.One way you look at it, your power is the threat that made us come back. On the other..." he trailed off.

Maduin smirked and spoke in a calm voice that didn't quite fit him. "We're back."

"And now..." Ramuh said. He leaned his head down, as did the other Espers. Terra gestured for them to move back.

In a brilliant spectacle capable of blinding someone miles away, they all turned to light. When the light had faded, all that was left were small stones flying in the air: Magicite, the remains of an Esper, fourteen of them, circling the Returners. But Ragnorok was still firmly planted in the earth.

"I have decided to remain a blade, as that is my true purpose. Use me wisely..." his voice faded away. The sword, now inanimate, began to shrink down to a size capable of usage by a human. Terra gripped her hands around the handle and pulled Ragnorok out.

She twirled it with expertise. Locke still was raveling at her Esper form. Though it had been perfectly explained by Ramuh, it was still mind blowing that Espers and magic were back. This is surreal.

Vulkrum sat on his bed. He had received a letter from Narshe telling him they were ready to begin mining for coal. They needed it to fuel their new war machine, and especially the laser cannon. It would be hard work, mining the coal then having to ship it to Vector and having to maintain their stronghold on Narshe, but it had to be done. There was nothing else that could fuel their machines, and Narshe was the greatest coal mine shaft in the world.

Vulkrum got up to report to Vector, and then he saw a small illumination in the corner of his eye. He turned around. His bag of belongings he had not yet unpacked was glowing. He reached over and opened it. It was a huge stone, big as his head, which his father Kefka had given to him as a last gift. It glowed a bright yellow. He had never known the actual use of it, and had assumed it had just been a memoir from his father. But when he learned whom his father had been, he knew that that could not be the case.

It started to vibrate. It grew hot, making his hands tremble. It had grown too hot, he let go of it, but it stayed in the air. The air grew warmer, yet fresher. Suddenly it occurred to him what this stone was, as if it had been obvious the entire time. Magicite. The thought rang in his head. But not just any magicite... the magicite. From the magic of hundreds of...Espers?

Megacite! That had a nice ring to it. But if this was magicite, then could it produce magic? If it could, this meant a whole new perspective. He had to go tell Vector. He grabbed the Megacite and tucked it in his armor, hoping no one would notice the illumination.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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