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The Return

by Nathan Bounds

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Chapter 1

Leo, a man of the same name as the great general, walked into the Kohlingen Cafe. He shuffled past the tables, his scarred face drawing attention from customers. At the counter, he ordered a beer.

Leo had just returned from an auction in Jidoor, where he had bought several things. One was a newer version of the dirk Striker. It had a harder blade and was designed more aerodynamically for throwing. He had also bought a new pair of boots. The last item he bought was a bit more of a novelty. It was a dark green rock with an orange center. It had been labeled as a "Dead Esper."

The bartender noticed the dead Esper and inquired about it. "I didn't think you could find those things anymore," he said. "You used to be able to just take a trip down to Jidoor and buy one at the auction. Not anymore, though. You can't find many of them. What do you want, a beer?"

Leo nodded. The bartender poured the beer into a stein and passed it over to Leo, who in return tossed a ten GP coin to the bartender.

Leo moved back to a lonely table at a dark corner of the cafe and sat down to drink his beer. After about five minutes, two more men came in, looking vaguely familiar. They looked good together; like a gambler and thief was what they looked like. Leo searched his memory for gamblers and thieves. He had known many of both, but he soon put a name to the faces that he saw. He remembered them as Setzer Gabbianni and Locke Cole. They were two people whom he did not want to see. It had been nearly two years since they had last met, and Leo didn't want to meet them now.

Leo ducked under his table and crawled along the wall towards the door. When he arrived at the door, he reached a hand up turned the knob. Just then, Locke Cole turned around and said, "Hiding from someone?" At that moment, Leo rushed through the door, and, when out of visual range of the cafe, he stood up and ran.

Leo ran all the way from Kohlingen to Daryl's Tomb. He hid in one of the tomb rooms to spend the night.

In this tomb room which Leo was now staying in, there were three tombs. One held a mysterious man by the name of Erauqs Si Dlrow Eht. Another was the double grave of the two great train robbers of the century, Clyde Arrowny and Baram Cole. The last was simply marked "Shadow."

Leo eventually fell into a troubled sleep, haunted by ghosts of the past. He awoke, sweaty from the terrors in his dreams. He realized that he needed to leave the tomb. As he exited the old crypts, he saw a light in the distance. He ran towards it, and when he got closer enough, he realized that Kohlingen was aflame.

He reached the town at nightfall. The cafe was burnt to the ground, and that amnesia girl's old house was burning too. Also burning was the bridge going across the river to the house of that funny old coot which had kept the amnesia girl's body for so long in his basement.

Leo ran into the town to see what the cause of the fire was. He ran up to the embers of the cafe and looked aruond in all directions. In the flames he could see silhouettes of people dashing madly about. He ran to the old abandoned home where the half Esper Terra Branford had landed. Its shingles were starting to catch fire. He decided he had better not stay there long.

As he ran around the side of the house, an explosion rocked the building, throwing him off of his balance. He looked up and saw a vaguely familiar shape. This shape attacked him. He tried to fight back, but on the ground he could do nothing. The familiar shape knocked him on the head hard enough to cause him to lose consciousness.

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

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