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Afterstorm

by Sherick

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Chapter 8

Chapter VIII: Terra's Dream and the Unusual Alliance

That night, Terra had a rough time sleeping. When she finally did obtain sleep, she dreamed.

It started off like normal, Kefka standing on his pillar, laughing. But this time, she saw him die! He disintegrated into ashes. The mood was considerably better. She remembered the day they had won, the Fall of Kefka. That may have been the most relieving day in her or her friends' lives.

But then she saw something strange. A house, a mansion really, out not too far from the Tower. The ashes, those unsacred ashes of Kefka, fell in front of it... and regenerated.

He just lay there for a little bit, completely week, all his stamina drained, but he was still alive. He sat up and crawled to the doorway. A woman, middle aged but in good shape, opened it and led him inside. She pampered him, her face a picture of terror, though Terra couldn't make out what she said.

Finally Kefka spoke, "Where...where is he?" he hissed, not regarding any of the care she was bestowing on him. "Where is he, Mauvi?" Mauvi lead him to a room. She regarded him so casually...

"Kefka, his name is-"

"I don't care," he snarled.

He went into the room and looked at the bed. On it slept a boy. The age was unknown, even to Kefka, who looked down at the boy he had ignored for all these years. Kefka brandished something. Magicite. But not just magicite, the magicite. The one Kefka had formed from the countless magicite he obtained, from the countless Espers he had murdered. Weird, it didn't have any feel, any power to it. He gave it to the sleeping boy. Then he turned. "I need healing! I need a new outfit. I have someone to meet!"

Mauvi jumped and moved frantically to meet his commendations.

In the middle of a thunderstorm, two beings stood opposite from each other on protruding rock formations, one was Kefka. The other, barely illuminated by the lightning, stood in cloak. "Well, if it isn't my favorite transvestite," he said. "How may I serve you?"

"You told me to come after I felt the bitterness of defeat. I am here."

"So you are." His voice hissed even more than Kefka's, though he remained steadier. "I wasn't sure if you'd come. You might go after your defeaters."

"You know," Kefka said bitterly, looking about him, "the worst part is watching them celebrate, while you stand by feebly."

"Oh yes. I know. Tell me this, why so early? I ruled for countless years, Gestahl for decades, you for a year. HA!"

Kefka growled.

"No hard feelings, Kef. And that," he said sharply, "is coming from me of all people!"

"I should've killed you those times. And I will now."

"Tch-tch. Kefka, Kefka. Do you really think you can defeat me without magic?"

Kefka immediately jerked his head to look at the other. "What? What do you mean? Tell me!"

"After you and the Goddesses ‘died,' the Espers brought it on themselves to take all the magic and leave the world. Forever!"

"NO!" Kefka yelled in stunned disbelief. "You lie! I-I...!!"

The other laughed amusingly. "You still want to fight?"

Kefka made no answer; instead he pulled out a bident from underneath his cape and jumped at the other. He was ready. He pulled out a sword and did the same. The two stayed in the air for the longest time, slashing and blocking at each other in a surreal motion. They landed on smaller rock formations. Kefka charged again. This time, the other held out his hand and sent and yellow streak of lightning at the warlord.

Kefka, landing back on his formation, hissed, "You lied! You said magic was gone! That was clearly Bolt!"

The other chuckled. "Magic is gone, but who said that was magic?" He shot an unfamiliar blue jet at Kefka, who wasn't quick enough to dodge. They both landed on the ground. Kefka, wasting no time, threw the bident. The opponent used his strange ability to stop the bident and send it back. Both of the spear-prongs hit Kefka square in the chest.

He fell, but didn't die. The other walked up to him and impaled his sword next to the bident. More beings in cloaks circled Kefka. They chanted something in another language. Then, Kefka burst into flames.

"Hmph," the victorious being snorted. "Now you shall burn to ashes, and them to ashes, et cetera. And let those ashes forever be damned!" Kefka screamed as he burned to ashes....

Terra awoke screaming as well. Relm bolted around, a frightened look on her face.

Meanwhile, many, many miles away in the Returner town of Jidoor, the Returners stationed there were under attack... by Asassens. They tried their best, but they were overwhelmed and it was too dark out to hardly even make out the shadowy attackers. The forests surrounding the city gave the Asassens perfect cover in the darkness.

"Fall out!" the colonel yelled to his men. "It's no use, head for the port!"

They did as instructed. Grabbing provisions and equipment they ran to the vessel waiting at the port. The Asassens gave their victory cries as the Returners started getting ready to leave.

Yeah, live it up, the colonel thought. Just wait; you'll meet your ends! But when they got to the ship, rather than yielding and celebrating, the invaders continued their progress toward the city.

The Returners were all ready to go to the nearest refuge. "Let's go!" the engineer yelled.

But as they got ready to sail, dark beings crept onto the other side of the boat. Caught in a sandwich, the Returners kept fighting, but to no avail. The Asassens on one side and the growing number of others from under the water surrounded and slew them. The colonel let a carrier pigeon with a note fly of in the distance, before he himself was killed.

Now the Asassens and the other assailants were approaching each other. The others...not human. They were black-scaled-skinned and had bloodshot eyes. One of them stepped up. "Who is in charge here?" he demanded.

"I am," Director MacKigg walked to them.

"No, I am!" They all turned to see who was standing at the top of the hill.

"Vulkrum," MacKigg bowed his head, "I wasn't expecting you; that was a relatively long trip."

The younger man shooed the older off. The reptilian creatures moved in an escort position. Another one, shrouded in cloak and taller than the rest, walked through their gap. "You, boy?" he asked.

"Yes, may I ask who you are?"

"Utam Duvaluu za Vector. Or Vector, if you prefer. And these are my subjects. You seem a bit agape. We are Aquadalins, an amphibious race. And you?"

"Vulkrum, commander of the Asassens: Assault System And Self Sentinels Enforcing Needs."

"Nice to meet your acquaintance." Vector extended his hand. "I helped you exterminate those pests; I think some gratitude is in order."

"No funny business," MacKigg warned. "There are groups of crossbowman who will pump you full of arrows if you or your...subjects do anything!"

Vulkrum wearily shook the other's hand. Vector grabbed Vulkrum's arm and pulled him close.

"Let me see," he said, looking into the young man's eyes. "That's very interesting."

MacKigg ran up to grab Vector, but he was grabbed around the neck and thrown forward... into the wall of arrows fired by the crossbows, accidentally killing their Director.

"Once more," Vector warned now, still looking at Vulkrum, "and it will be your leader here." They remained in a ready position but lowered their crossbows slightly.

"What do you want?" Vulkrum asked.

"Truce," Vector answered simply. "We could merge our two groups and head to do something great, something to topple the Returners, something..."

"You've an idea?"

"Only my life's dream, Vulkrum," he said dreamily. "We go find the island."

"Island?"

Vector smiled twisted. "The island that was lost. We have located it, but cannot reach it. You see, underwater there are natural barriers, which we could not cross if we tried, probably. With land dwellers' help, however..."

"You need our ships?"

"Yes. Imagine, the lost Imperial Island, all ours! I can rule once again, and you, m'boy, can command by me! So, do we have accord?"

Vulkrum considered this. He then smirked his own to show he was not intimidated. "Alright, I'll help you, Vector."

They gripped each other's arms in alliance. The two groups joined together.

Terra was hysterical. She was in bed with the Band gathered around. She had just told them her dream. "Terra," Edgar said soothingly, "it was only a dream. Kefka died, we saw him."

"No, it wasn't just a dream," she persisted. "It was like a vision."

"But Kefka had no family."

"We don't know that," Locke put in.

"No, he didn't," Celes said. "I worked with him, he-"

She cut of. "What?" her husband asked.

"He did," she said quietly. "A concubine at least. Gestahl gave him a selection; they were close friends at the time. Terra, what was her name?"

"Uh, Mauvi," she answered.

"Mauvi," Celes thought for a moment. "Sounds familiar, but I can't quite..."

"Well," Edgar continued, "it's very, VERY unlikely that he regenerated, Terra."

"Yeah, well, we've seen some weird stuff before."

"Very true," he conceded.

"And Kefka was very powerful, not to mention unpredictable, so who knows."

"Also true."

"But someone who could still use magic?" Sabin put in. "Come on, Terra, even you can't use magic with out the Espers..." he knew that was the wrong thing to say before Edgar punched his side.

She didn't seem to pay much attention. "But that guy said he wasn't using magic. At least not like the Espers'."

"But that's crazy," Edgar persisted. "There is no other kind of magic in the world. That would be insane. It's just..."

"That's it!" Celes blurted out. "I just remembered. Mauvi was one of the Emperor's wives. He must have given her to Kefka, I never her saw her much anyway."

"Well," Terra said, "I couldn't have just dreamed that, I don't even know who Mauvi is to begin with. There's something odd going on."

No one could argue that point.

"Well, either way, it is a little insane," Edgar went on, "considering we did kill him."

"That's what I thought, Edgar," she said a little sharply, "but that's what I saw. And I think it means something; something bad."

"Aye," Cyan said.

No more needed to be said. Just then, a soldier ran through the door. "Commander Garamonde!" he yelled. It took a few seconds to notice he had just run in on a personal gathering. "Oh, er, sorry. Er- am I interrupting anything?"

"Nay," Cyan said. "We were just finished."

"Well, we just received a carrier pigeon from the station at Jidoor."

"And?"

"And, well..."

Vulkrum and Vector with all their crews sailed on huge vessels, stolen from smugglers, sailors, Returners, and anyone else who got that close. Vulkrum manned the flagship while Vector stood at the helm, awaiting the appearance of the mysterious island. Vulkrum stared at Vector. The eeriness of the amphibian race still grasped him. But he wouldn't show intimidation of any kind toward the older one. That was showing him sign of weakness, which he had none of.

"How much farther, old one?" he called out across the ship.

Vector didn't seem to want to let the age comment go easily. "Not much, kid."

"You said that a couple hours ago."

"Well, we're closer now, I'll say that."

Vulkrum rolled his eyes, but continued to control the wheel. He was very good at sailing now. After these years, it seemed, of attacking guerrilla style then running to the closet encampment, and most of times stealing a vessel to go across the seas to safety, it was hard not to be. He was also a great swordsman and overall warrior. He could defeat any of the much older Asassens in combat with ease, which was why the young man was in their lead. Things such as the laser cannon were created by the small amount of inventors-or "scientists" as they liked to be called-that the organization had to offer.

He looked around. These large bands of Aquadalins were all wiry and muscular, probably good fighters in either armed or unarmed combat. And there were even more swimming under the ships. At the speed Vector had insisted on going, it was a wonder they could keep up like that. And they could breathe underwater, a nice trait. They would be great as allies, but better as servants. But Vector...he would never. It was that moment many thoughts went through Vulkrum's head...

"Okay, slow," he called, breaking Vulkrum's train of thought. "We're coming up on the barrier."

He looked up ahead. A gathering of rock was indeed blocking anyway of crossing underwater, but the real barrier, at least to Vulkrum, was a haze like clouds on the other side. "Vector! We can't possibly-"

"Get us through the fog," he interrupted with no room left to argue.

Vulkrum, almost reluctantly, took the boat into the haze. He immediately became blinded by the close-up fog. Like a sheet of smoke it clogged up his vision. He couldn't see six feet from him.

"Is it always like this?"

"Oh yes," he heard Vector's voice call back. "Always. Like a curse."

"Then how can we possibly get across?"

"Just keep manning best you can," was what he received. "Another two hours about. Maybe one if we're quick."

As Vector said, it was an hour and a half later that the fog cleared. Vulkrum let a sigh of relief.

"Almost, my friend," Vector said.

He looked up ahead. An island was forming over the water. As they got closer, Vulkrum made out a large structure over it. About a mile away. Half a mile. Quarter mile. The flagship's helm hit the land.The structure was a large yet ruined temple-like palace, with what used to be a city around it.

Vector jumped off the boat. "Vulkrum, m'boy," he said proudly as he smiled likewise, "welcome to Vector!"
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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