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The Spinning Wheel of Fate

by Manoftyr

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Chapter 1 (2006)
Chapter 2 (2006)
Chapter 3 (2006)
Chapter 4 (2006)
Chapter 5 (2006)
Chapter 6 (2006)
Chapter 7 (2006)
Chapter 8 (2006)

Chapter 9


Chapter 8: Grey part II

I wandered stiffly into the graveyard, drawn by her... by her scent, by her being, by her voice... I heard it, the infernal whispering... it whispered her name, Melinda. I followed it without following anything in particular, I knew... I just knew. Her sweet voice, her embrace... her being, I knew it, she was here... I followed the knowing without knowing... until I had found it. The tombstone read: Here lies Melinda Gabrielle Magus Arrowny, she gave her life so that young Relm may live.

I looked down as the dirt beneath my feet separated thus revealing her coffin, I splintered it, rending it's cover asunder... and there she laid... as beautiful as the day I met her. Her loving eyes opened.

'Come to me Clyde... ' her seductive voice whispered, I reached down grasping her form to pull her to me, but she crumbled to dust in my arms... and I was alone... in the black. Suddenly, I felt writing beneath my feet... I was standing in snakes, sinking... the vile serpents grasped my limbs and were dragging me down, down, down into the ground until I was submerged in their loathsome embrace.

I awoke from the dream suddenly 'and thankfully'. Melinda was one of the many demons taken refuge in my sub-conscious... but my dreams involving her were always more terrifying then any others 'with the notable exception of that one were I was Kefka... I still can't get it entirely out of my mind' even still I could hear a barely audible whisper in the back of my mind... Melinda. I sat up still weary but resigned to the reality that sleep is no longer an escape for one such as I. I took my daily cold shower, and put my clothes back on... a faded blue shirt, grey trousers, brown boots with white socks, and a brown trenchcoat. I looked out the window, it was mid-afternoon and the greyest day I had ever seen... there was a foggy mist descending on the moistened ground, clouds covering the entire sky, no sun... the kind of day that makes one think of cutting them self just to see a color other then grey.

It was on a day like this when Melinda found me drunk, sick and shaking with drug withdrawal. She lifted me with her mesmeric sway and lead me to her father's house... the man who is to be buried today. He gave me a home and I left him with a daughter to bury, and a grand daughter to raise... bet Strago didn't see that one coming, because I sure as fuck didn't. Locke couldn't even begin to fathom the depths of my pain. His is mere childís play by comparison... there was no 'Celes' for Clyde, no fucking preserved bodies, no fucking closure, no fucking Phoenix, NO FUCKING LAST GOODBYE! JUST FUCKING DEATH! DEATH! DEATH! DEATH! AND NOTHING BUT DEATH!

With decades of trained practice I instantly wiped the intense emotions of rage from the palette of my mind along with their associated memories, perhaps all this repressing is beginning to take it's toll on my sanity and otherwise psychological wellbeing... but it's the only path I know. I exited my room and proceeded down the stairs to find an empty lobby, then proceeded out the exit to find Cyan, Edgar, Sabin and Terra. Cyan approached.

"Sir Strago's funeral ist' scheduled to begin in three hours."

I nodded.He bowed, turned around and returned to Edgar's side. The undertaker was probably putting the finishing touches on his corpse about now, I always found it amusing how a corpse was cleaned, made-up, dressed and pampered before burial... thereís a certain irony and even phoniness about it.

I suddenly espied Terra stare daggers at Sabin, who sighed then approached me.

"Shadow... I'm sorry I flew off the handle like that yesterday. I had no right to punch you in the face and least of all make threats on your life."

Sabin extended his hand and I gave him an odd look. I looked over to the side around Sabin and saw Terra espying with these pleading eyes, I sighed and extended my hand to shake his. Sabin pulled me forward and gave me a hug.

"I always considered you a friend man, you saved my life way back when I got stranded,"

"... Let go of me," I replied coldly and he complied. I gave him a look that said 'I'm going to kill you' but I don't think it bothered him much.

"Gau and Relm are with Locke, Celes, Cid and Rachel at Strago's old house," Sabin imparted this information on me as if I was supposed to care, I shrugged and he frowned. "I thought you'd at least want to thank Gau for putting you up at the inn instead of letting you pass out in a gutter... and it was Relm who supplied the gil."

I laughed. "A token gesture on her part," I replied. "And I'll talk to Gau after the funeral, if at all."

Sabin sighed and returned to the solace of his brother who shrugged.

I began walking away from them, to nowhere in particular, just to be alone... but I heard the footsteps of someone in high heels trailing behind me... obviously Terra. She persisted following me until I reached a secluded wooded area, stopped, then turned 'round.

"Please stop following me," I stated plainly to which she paused then replied.

"... I can't" to which I kinked my head and replied.

"Why not?"

"Because your daughter... "

"What? She took your son away from you?" I interrupted. "Get over it. He was never your son to begin with and you have dozens of orphaned children to mother back at Mobliz, not to mention a town to run," I concluded.

"It's not just that! I... I don't want to return to Mobliz alone, I don't want to be alone again!"

To this I laughed callously then replied. "And just what does that have to do with me?"

"Well... where are you going after the funeral?" she asked.

"Nowhere in particular, don't need a home... never did" I replied still maintaining my coldness, in truth I was thinking about killing myself soon after Strago was buried. "In any event get any thoughts you have of me going back to Mobliz with you out of your head, it's not happening" I finished, to which Terra sighed.

"I figured as much... " she muttered somberly as she turned and walked back to town.

I slumped down onto the ground leaning against a tree, pleased to finally be alone. I began wondering again as to why I persist on living, what purpose am I truly serving now other then to confuse young women and consistently bemuse my daughter with my presence... I have no family to speak of, no one who gives a legitimate 'damn' about my life at all... why can't I just end it?! I was planning to right after the final battle, to hurl myself down a vast chasm and fall to my death... but something stopped me. The only unexpected happenchance was Strago forcing me to tell Relm I was her father and to reveal my past, it's the only unaccounted-for variable... but why should that of changed anything? What does that mean to me!

I began to ponder this further until I espied something from the corner of my eye, I turned slowly with an exasperated sigh, expecting to see Terra...

But instead... I saw her.

Her jade green eyes, her alabaster fair skin, her cute and gentle smidgen of freckles about the cheeks and around the nose, her dark red hair parted into two pigtails, her rounded face and aquiline jaw, her cute button nose... it was Melinda. She stood as plain as day before me in the very same spot where Terra had stood naught but five minutes ago, dressed in the same dusty brown work dress she wore when I first laid eyes on her. She was staring towards me with empty eyes full of longing, I closed my eyes refusing to believe what I saw was real... and sure enough, when I opened them she was gone.

I then realized it must be my mind playing tricks on me, Melinda was dead, I was there when she died, I witnessed Strago burying her for god's sake! I still remember his words: I'll never forgive you for this Clyde. He always blamed me for her death... I still do.

I began the slow walk back to town, resigned to the reality that what I saw was evidence of my degenerating sanity...

... ... ...

When you're the last of your species... well... life just plain 'sucks' and I suppose thatís the majority of the reason behind my rising level of pure apathy at everything. I don't much bother to keep the cave clean anymore... after all, I don't have that neat freak Kupop constantly harassing me about it. I don't bother grooming or washing my fur anymore, it's all long and shaggy with dead ends now, not to mention a dirty shade of tan from a lack of primping and whatnot. We Moogles used to trim our fur short when it got too long as the ends had a tendency to not stay white, not to mention it was rather unsanitary otherwise... but after seven years of solitude, I just don't care anymore. I'm a good nineteen years old by now so I don't have much longer on this earth... and my health hasn't been the best, I suppose I'm mostly to blame for that... but I honestly see no point in keeping healthy when you're the last Moogle on the planet. Umaro seems to deal with being the only Sasquatch on the planet quite well, but I suppose thatís quite easy when you're an imbecile that can keep yourself perpetually occupied with carving things.

Sometimes I'll go down into the mines to see what the lummox is up to every now and again... he's aged too, but not in the same way I have. Apparently he hadn't reached his full growth yet as a five year old and being twelve now he's about nine or ten feet tall... and he doesn't show any signs of stopping any time soon. His carvings have been getting more and more intricate and he's been incorporating more things then just bone, he's worked out this relationship with the humans of Narshe where he helps with things like mining and construction in return for stuff like new chisels , blocks of stone, paints and other things he uses in his carvings. I received word earlier that Strago passed, thatís a shame.

I reached over to my side to gasp my walking stick with both hands, and with it's help managed to rise out of the pile of filth I was lying in and get to my feet. I stood hunched over, bones aching and hobbled my way out the exit of my cave, there were miners outside working in the shafts... now that the monsters have been cleared out mining operations in Narshe have resumed as per normal. I looked out over the workers, and sure enough, that big ape Umaro was hauling the ore back to town in a colossal sack, it was actually more efficient as the lummox could carry more ore then they could practically fit in a cart, and carry it faster then the workers could push the carts.

I braced myself on my walking stick and leaned against the wall waiting for Umaro to return...

... ...

We were gathered outside the General Leo chapel somberly waiting for the PallBbearers to carry out Stragoís coffin and then into the graveyard, I was feeling sad and almost on the verge of crying... but Gau was here by my side comforting me. Everyone was here, even my father... as much as I find myself disliking him, itís admirable that he showed up, and even more-so that heís stuck it out so far. Maybe Iíve been wrong all these years, maybe I shouldnít be such a bitch to him... I donít know, I canít think straight right now, Iíll wait to see how I feel in a few days I guess. Everyone was silent, and the sky was so grey, the kind of grey thatís more dismal and drearier then the blackest of black voids. The arched doors to the chapel opened slowly with an eerie creaking and out came the pallbearers, four of them, heads bowed solemnly and faced plastered with blank, grim expressions... they were certainly aware of the bleak nature of their work.

The pallbearers slowly walked towards their destination and we followed, it seemed like forever until we got to the graveyard. Once there the pallbearers laid the coffin on a lift positioned over the grave intended for Strago. The village Elder stood at the front of the casket and surveyed us, we were all here, the party Ďmy father includedí, the villagers of Thamasa, everyone. He began his speech but I didnít catch most of it as I had begun to cry, I buried my face into Gauís side and let loose tears of grief and suffering, he cradled me in his arms and bowed his head... he mustíve been crying too as I could feel tears streaming down from above and into my hair. I cried, and cried and cried I could barely hear a word the Elder was saying... but then suddenly something he said caught my ear,

"If any have words to speak on behalf of the departed, then please approach the pulpit."

I heard footsteps on the wet ground moving towards the pulpit and with teary eyes I glanced to see who it was and I couldnít believe what I was seeing, I wiped my eyes clear to make sure I wasnít mistaken but sure enough I saw the very same thing... my father was approaching the pulpit. We gawked in surprise as this was insanely out of character for him, and he gawked back with an expression that could only be described as ĎI canít believe Iím doing thisí. He inhaled a deep breath and began...

"Strago was a great man, many things to many people. To some he was a friend, others... a father, and still others he was a companion, but to me... he was a godsend. There never was, nor will there ever be a man I am more grateful towards. When I arrived in Thamasa, the first thing I did was knock his daughter up, from the start I was nothing but a headache for him. Nevertheless, he took me into his home and treated me as his own... even after his daughter died delivering mine. When I chose to leave, he took care of Relm better then I could of ever hoped to, simply put... this man did everything for me and I was nothing but a burden on him, and for that... I am eternally sorry. Rest in peace Strago Magus, you will be deeply missed... I wish I could of shown my appreciation while you were still alive, but now... it's too late... again, I am sorry."

I could scarcely believe what I just heard, I donít think anyone could... we all just stared aghast and my father returned the stare with one of his own... a stare of disbelief and astonishment, likely at what he had just done.

The silence lasted for a few seconds before Cyan stepped forward and started a slow clap, Terra shortly joined, then Gau then myself then Sabin and soon everyone was applauding my father, and I donít think he quite knew what to make of it... in fact neither did I.

"Th... thank you" he stammered out before walking back to the group, and I suddenly knew what Strago meant by his last words.

"... Relm... tell... tell Clyde that... I forgive him."

I had thought he was just babbling in a delirium at the time. Summoning up my courage I approached my father.

"Dad... thereís something I need to tell you."

He looked down at me with a strange expression of mixed exhaustion and puzzlement.

"Right before he died, Strago said he forgave you."

Clyde let out a sigh, and nodded.

We all gazed down into the chasm beneath us as the pallbearers turned the crank and lowered the casket down into the grave...
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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