Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VII
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The City of the Ancients

by Elena99

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A collective sigh rises from everywhere and nowhere at once. The ground heaves with breath; the sky moans with sorrow. The rocks, the sand, the silt, the very air once breathed, mourns the passing of time. Mourns the ages long, long past.

Blink, and they could almost be seen again. Their eyes are felt on you as you walk through the small, empty looking town...but it's not really empty. No, never empty, but full of potential, full of history. Full of life that dances, and swirls, and waits. So patiently, life waits here. As a blade of grass bends under the sweet, warm winds, or a tree reaches its branches up to embrace the formidably boundless joy of the heavens. Sweet melodies ring through the air, of birds, of animals, of water trickling eternally in the stream.

Life happens here.

Life happened here.

Life will happen here, again.

The air is cold, so cold now, you start to shiver. To pull your coat more closely around you. Yes, that feeling of eyes on you is real. Constant scrutinization, constant observation, constant notation. They are everything and anything that can be seen with your pale, liquid eyes. They are the air, the water, the earth, the fire, and someday you will be one of them, roaming the earth on a cloud. On a green hue of life. You await the day with fear and anxiety, but still, you hunger for this life. You hunger to see, to feel, to know. You hunger and you hear.

What was that image of a girl, standing on an alter? Why did she fall? All that is left now is a cold, cold blue corpse, floating down the eternal stream. As you look upon her, there is a sense of recognition; really, is she not every girl and yet none at the same time? Her face could be that of your sister, your mother, your true love. But she is faded, she is gone; the her that once existed is now something else. You don't know what, but it doesn't help. Suddenly, even though you don't know her, you want to see her again. Watch her live, be born, grow up; but all you have is her death. Walk away now; there is nothing more that you can see that will help you.

Wandering down the weathered stone path, you see a white orb that shines dully in the bright light. It is not familiar to you, but you pick it up. It is white, and has cracks as long as your thumb. Instinctively you polish it; the air giggles around you madly for a moment, and you almost drop it. Almost. Something in the air, however, urges you to put it down. It is not just some odd stone, suddenly, but a key. A foundation. A piece of life. You put it down and walk away, somehow wondering what it has to do with the dead girl in the stream. The dead girl with the beautiful face, beautiful body.

Did she have a beautiful soul, too?

You wonder, walking away. The air feels thicker now, denser. A murmur rises up. It seizes you, captures you, pins you in place. You thrash at nothing, and suddenly you're released. You flee.

Go.

Go, human.

The holy place, the city of the Ancients, the true rulers of this planet, now all dead but still alive, breathes a sigh of relief. At the absence of the intruder, the air once more glows like emeralds, sapphires, and rubies. Life continues on, for the City of the Dead.

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

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