Ch 1, Part 1
"Dark Skies over Palamecia" – a Final Fantasy II retelling
Disclaimer: Square Enix owns Final Fantasy II and all original characters featured within. Original characters and interpretations are owned by the co-writers of this fanfiction. There is no profit being made from this story.
Sunlight poured down on the country town of Fynn. It was not a big city, even though it had a castle and was considered the home of Fynn's royal family. The town sat next to a lake full of water that sparkled in the sunlight. It was full of healthy fish, which was a very heavy staple of the population's main diet because of that. To the south was the hamlet of Galtea, and further south was a larger town, Altair, home to some of the best weapon-smiths in the entire world. Together, these three towns composed the kingdom of Fynn, led by a beloved King, Lord Gilbert, and his daughter, Princess Hilda.
Within Fynn's borders lived a healthy little family made of a father, a mother, two twin daughters, and an adopted boy. Life was never a dull moment for them. Together, they made every day special. The three children could not be separated by any means. They attended a local school, all being of the same age. Every day was filled with laughter. Theirs was the happiest childhood.
But that all changed the day that the Empire of Palamecia attacked…
Overlooking Lake Fynn from the roof of her family's cottage, Cantirena took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Today was as uneventful as the rest of her life had been, and she was taking the time to get away from her family while she had the chance. Dinner time would be within a few hours. She held a book in her hands that she had received from her magic teacher, the white mage Minwu. If she was ever going to get any study done, now would be the perfect time.
"The light of cure comes from within," she read aloud. "If one does not have enough strength in their inner spirit, one cannot use the cure spell to great effect." Cantirena blinked a few times as she wondered if she had enough spirit to use a cure spell effectively or not. She looked the diagrams over very carefully, tracing the lines along the picture of a saint's body with her finger to learn how the spirit was to flow during a cure spell. "Conversely, the school of black magic does not require one to be strong in their spirit. Black magic's power is based on that of a person's intelligence. You have to know how the power of mana will flow through your body to create the effects to be able to use black magic to its fullest potential." She looked at the diagram present for the flow of power for black magic, too. "I didn't realize it was so different. No wonder Minwu is so good at magic!"
As she thought about her future as a magician, she could hear the clanking of swords in the yard below. She tried to ignore it. Cantirena was jealous of her slightly older sister Clarisse, who had the strength to wield weapons easily. Clarisse had excellent fighting potential, so much so that she was being trained by the captain of Fynn's royal guard, Borghen. Not that it mattered that much. Both of their parents were thrilled that important people saw so much potential in their twin daughters. Borghen and Minwu were extremely well respected, not only in Fynn, but also politically in the entire world.
"All right, then," Borghen's raspy voice said. "Very good technique, Clarisse. You have such talent with your blade." Cantirena could hear the swords hit the ground, and Clarisse with them. "It's almost a waste you had to be born here."
"What do you mean by that?" Clarisse's voice asked. She was breathing very heavily, wiping sweat from every part of her face. They'd been sparring for the last two hours. She sounded more than ready to take her armor off and rest for the rest of the week.
Borghen shook his head. "Take a break, Clarisse," he said, picking up his sword and putting it in its sheath. "You deserve it."
"Whew," Clarisse said gently. "I would salute you, captain, but I can't even stand."
"That's perfectly fine," Borghen replied. "I will see you again soon. You look so tired that you should probably rest for a while. I'll come get you when lessons are to start up again, all right?"
"All right! I'll be sure to do that."
Borghen walked away from Clarisse and soon was headed in the direction of Fynn's castle. Cantirena climbed off the roof and down the house, then sat in the grass next to her sister.
"What a day!" Cantirena said with a big grin. "I got a special book from my teacher, and you got the private session of a lifetime with yours!"
"I think life is lookin' up, little sister," Clarisse laughed heartily. "Imagine, you being Minwu's great student. I can't help but feel like you're gonna travel the whole world with him and learn all sorts of great magic. First Fynn, then the world, you know! Borghen himself even told me that I could be the next captain of the royal guard."
"Is that what you want to do?" the younger of the two asked of the older.
"I'm not sure. What about you? Do you want to travel the world and learn all of the magic there is to be learned? Since you're the star student of Minwu, you have that available to you," the elder replied.
Cantirena looked up into the sky. "I want to travel the world," she said. "That much I know."
But I have no idea how far I'll have to go, she thought. I don't even know where… where he is.
Clarisse nodded as she said, "But I think I'm much happier staying here. I have everything I need in Fynn. Home, a steady job…"
"A cute boyfriend," Cantirena added, letting out a particularly evil laugh.
"I wasn't thinking anything like that!" Clarisse grumbled.
"You're full of shit," Cantirena said. "I can tell by the look on your face. You don't wanna go on an adventure, because you could totally lose him to some other girl here at home. I hear you. I'll send you a letter from every place I visit on my Grand World Tour, so maybe you can experience it that way."
Clarisse giggled. "I can't wait until I have a whole bushel full of them. I can take them all to Mom and Dad. They'll so proud of you."
The wind blew a little harder, brushing their hair along with it. It didn't seem like anything could go wrong at all. Life was looking up. Today was no different. The sun was on its way down to end the day on such a positive note, and for a moment, neither of the sisters wanted time to move forward.
Suddenly, something smelled funny from the outskirts of town. Then they both could hear screams coming from somewhere nearby, too.
"What the hell?" Cantirena asked. She sniffed the air. It smelled very familiar. Gripping her book tightly, she shot up and looked around. "Uh oh…"
"What?" Clarisse stood up, too. She could see exactly what her sister meant. "Uh oh is right."
They found that there was fire in the distance. Men, women, and children were screaming. Swords clashing, the sound of magic spells flying about, and the heavy footsteps of a phalanx of armor-clad dark knights filled the town of Fynn.
"What do we do?!" Cantirena asked in a panic.
When a pair of dark knights walked up to their house, Clarisse picked up her sword. "If Borghen says I've got it, it's time to prove it!" she shouted, running at them as fast as she could. "Hey, bozo, that's my house!" As she lifted her blade, she was pushed away by one of them. "Ow… I couldn't even get close!"
"Canti! Claire!" came a voice from inside the house.
"Father!" Both sisters yelled at once.
The moment their father stepped out of the house, a knight ran his blade straight through his stomach, causing blood to fall all over the ground and their own armor. Then, his wife came out of the house, frozen with fear when she laid eyes on the sight of her husband's guts all over the cobblestone path. The knight swiftly dealt the woman a crushing blow to the head, and let the body fall onto the ground.
"No…" Cantirena cried, feeling her powers swell around her. "…you won't get away with that!" She felt the warmth of fire form within her body, and soon it was forming at her fingertips. It was the first time she ever cast any black magic, but it came so easily. Now she understood what the book said about feeling the power flow inside before it could take physical form. Thank you, Lord Minwu, she thought as she let the fireball fly at the knights. The fireball was deflected by a shield, and when the pair were surrounded, a young man leapt from a nearby tree to fall into the circle with them.
"Fear not, ladies, your hero has arrived," he said, drawing his own sword.
"Enough heroics, Firi…" Cantirena grunted angrily even though she could tell that Clarisse was more than overjoyed to see that he wasn't a splatter on some random part of town. "We don't have time for your jokes right now."
"Of course not," he laughed. "All you boys are gonna gang up on two girls? You've gotta be kidding me. You're all cowards, every one of you. And if there's something I can't stand seeing… it's cowardly men!" Firion rushed into the fight and did the best he could. He wasn't that great at landing blows on such heavy armor, but he knew how to dodge well enough. "All right, Canti, I'll buy you time. Cast the biggest spell you can imagine. I don't think either me or Clarisse can do it. You're Minwu's faithful student. You can do it."
"Yeah, she can do it, all right!" Clarisse said, standing on Cantirena's other side. "We've got your back!"
Again, the power swelled around her. This time, it was more powerful. Everything around her, including the clothes of her two companions brushed about in the wind that came from her shifting aura. "Get OUT!" her voice echoed throughout the whole town, and with it came the wind force of a hurricane. As she used every bit of the magical strength she could muster, she gripped the book Minwu gave her close to her heart. "AERO!"
Is… is it over? Cantirena asked herself as she fell onto the ground. Her vision was a bit blurry at that point. Her whole body was exhausted. She had never imagined any power like that ever coming from her own body. The ground was so hard. She ached all over. She heard voices screaming around her, but she couldn't make out who they were or what they were saying. She was just too tired.
"Minwu," Cantirena whispered. "I can't go anymore…"
Inside her mind, she could have sworn she heard the words of her mentor. He could have been standing right there next to her, but Cantirena couldn't quite tell if he was or not.
You have to run, my student! Flee as far as you can! Come to your senses! Cantirena, come back to us! Come back!
Feeling energy come back to her body, she opened her eyes once again. Cantirena was not wounded, but there was blood right there next to her. How much time had passed between when she fainted and that exact moment? Her mind "No," she said, feeling tears start to flow. "Wha… where's my sister?! Firion?!" She stood up, still clenching her book. Was she really all alone in the world now? Wait, what happened to her teacher? What about the princess Hilda and King Gilbert? She wanted to scream, but she couldn't manage to speak.
A few moments later, she felt a very intense presence behind her. "You survived?" a deep, dark sounding voice said behind her. "That is… interesting."
Cantirena turned around to see the man who was addressing her. He had a purple mark on the center of his forehead, and his delicate looking frame was surrounded by long, gorgeous blonde hair. Out of the top of his head were two long horns of the same color as his hair. Before she had time to process who he might have been, she prepared to use all the strength she had left in her body to take him out. "You won't get away with this," she said through her tears. "I will avenge my family!"
Though she had no clue, she stood no chance. The towering man didn't even use a weapon to stop her from casting her spell. All he had to do was slap her, and she fell to the ground. She hit so hard that her book fell from her hands.
"There is a fine line between bravery and recklessness," he said quietly. Suddenly, the book caught his attention. He picked it up, looking at the cover and flipping through its pages. He then looked at the girl at his feet and cast magic that made her fall into a deep sleep. "Take this one," he muttered to a guard. "Do not harm her. She will pose no trouble."
Meanwhile, far to the south, in a medium-sized town by the name of Altair, Clarisse came to her senses very suddenly. She was in a brick room, sitting on a magic circle. It looked a lot like the design that was on the front of the book Cantirena held earlier. Her thoughts snapped to that of her sister, and then, to that of Firion.
"Cantirena! Firion!" Clarisse shouted, hoping for a response. She picked herself up off the floor. She looked at her shoulder, trying to figure out how she was healed. "Ho… how? A huge sword smashed my shoulder…" she muttered, heading toward the only exit she could see. Then, the memories of watching her parents' slaughter came back. She stood there, frozen, as she felt like she was reliving that memory over and over again. Tears flowed from her eyes, but she had them wiped before she reached the door leading outside.
It was much brighter here, wherever here was. Trying to put things together in her mind on her own wasn't working. She needed to talk to someone else. When she took a few steps down the hall, that's where she found Firion waiting with a worried expression.
"Ah! You're alive!" Firion said happily, walking up to her and giving her a hug. "Oh, I was so worried. That wound was terrible. Minwu really is a miracle worker."
"Minwu?" Just hearing his name, her thoughts immediately jumped to Cantirena. "Then, my sister?!"
A door opened and out of it came the dark-skinned Minwu wearing his pure white turban and robes. His eyes were the only things anyone could see. He walked with a large staff in his hand and a gleaming jewel at the top. "I am afraid that while I cast a spell to call her back to the realm of the living while I passed her, she did not make it back with us," he said carefully. "Forgive me, Clarisse. I have failed you both."
"No, sir. You did what you could," Clarisse said, closing her eyes. "Whoever did this atrocity… will pay for what they've done to my homeland and my family!"
"Do not go rushing off to declare revenge right this second," Minwu replied. "You have no proof of anything and you don't even know who or what is to blame for this massacre. I believe you should speak with Princess Hilda, as she is the one in charge while His Magesty, King Gilbert, is abed."
Clarisse nodded, and when Firion took her hand, she felt more confident about it. She decided she would speak with Hilda now to learn what she could. Cantirena and her parents would be avenged. Of this, she was absolutely sure.