Ch 4, part 6
"Dark Skies over Palamecia" – a Final Fantasy II retelling
Disclaimer: Square Enix owns Final Fantasy II and all FFII characters featured within. Original characters and interpretations are owned by the co-writers of this fan fiction. There is no profit being made from this story.
Kashuon Keep had indeed changed since the fall of the country named after it. Monsters were not the only problem. While Gordon told the group he could hear the ghosts from the first floor, by the time they hit the fifth, everyone could hear them wailing out for revenge against those who killed them. They cried angrily about Gordon being a terrible replacement for his brother, Scott, and screaming in abject hatred for trusting the Kashuon royal family for protecting them. Gordon was there at the massacre of Kashuon, and he knew for a fact that even though he and his brother failed their people, there were plenty of people within the royal family and the castle guard who fought and died trying to keep the enemy off of them. His own knights were a part of them. It not only made him feel smaller than a flea, but it made it that much harder to keep going forward.
Minwu remained mostly silent during the trek to wherever the Egil's Torch was hidden. Not because he was lost in thought like he had the tendency to be, but because he had the utmost respect for the fallen. He could not help but think of Fynn, wondering if the ghosts of the fallen citizens attached themselves to Fynn's castle, too. He was unsure if he could handle voices of souls of people he knew and helped through their daily lives. He knew pretty much everyone in Fynn, as it was a small village in comparison to places like Mysidia, Palamecia, and even Kashuon. Fynn was still a growing community, and one of the newest countries founded in the world. The castle was really the only thing that set it apart from villages like Galtea and Salamand.
"They don't ever stop wailing," Firion thought aloud. "Yo, so, where's the torch, Prince Gordon?"
Gordon wished he paid attention to more of the legends surrounding that of his family, because he wasn't very sure where it was. Maybe they said something about it, maybe they didn't. Man, did that make the prince feel like a total failure.
"Gordon!" a voice called loudly from down the hallway. It made the prince look up with hope in his eyes. That voice could only belong to one person. "Gordon, come this way!"
"Wait," Minwu said. "Is that…?"
"Come, my brother! There is something I wish to show you! The tutors spoke of it during our lessons, and I asked around about it. They say it's some kind of magical torch for the Sunfire," the voice continued.
Gordon ran so fast after that voice that no one could snatch his cape to keep him from running. "Scott, is that you?" he asked. While the ghosts still wailed out with their painful moans, all Gordon could hear was that voice that seemed just a little further than he was. "Brother, please, do not play games with me now!"
"I bet even Princess Hilda would be impressed if I showed her that torch, haha," Scott's voice said. He seemed so peaceful. "But you can only get it if you pass this trial. Who knows what the trial is…"
Clarisse was the first to catch up to Gordon. He was stopped at a door which had the same symbol on it as the door that led into Kashuon Keep. He put his hand on the symbol, and the whole building rumbled before it slid open. When Firion and Minwu came around the corner, they found Clarisse standing there, pointing inside the wall. Gordon had all ready gone in.
Inside that hole was a burning bright flame. Gordon, having come this far, walked up to it. He was looking for Scott, but didn't find anything but that flame.
"I heard there was a monster guarding the torch," he said. "I guess the monster is the trial that Scott spoke of…" He looked at the flame, and after looking at it for a moment, he could see a face inside it. He gripped his spear, holding it over his heart. "A red soul. Fitting trial for someone who needs to take the ultimate fire…" Gordon looked up, praying silently before getting into a battle position. "I am Prince Gordon of Kashuon! I am here to take the Egil's Torch! Prepare yourself, monster!"
"Good…" The voice that came out of the fire… was Scott's! "It's good that you have come…"
"Brother?!" Gordon looked around. "You're in here, aren't you?!"
"My beloved younger brother," Scott's voice said gently. "How I have longed to see you again… you've grown so much since I saw you last. Princess Hilda must find you even more handsome than she ever found me." The fire burned brighter, intensifying the heat in the room. "Face me. Prove to me your courage as a man, and your strength as the last living Kashuon."
"I could not face you in battle," Gordon quivered. "Facing any monster is easy, brother, but facing you?"
"That's not really your brother," Minwu said. "Your brother did not die here in Kashuon. He died in Fynn. Do not let that voice deceive you, my lord." He brought Firion and Clarisse closer to him, then cast a spell that would make them resistant to fire. "Unfortunately, this is your trial. You must face it. We must not help you in battle, Prince."
"But we are here with you," Clarisse reminded him. "And remember, the world is counting on you."
"Yeah!" Firion said with a nod. "You can do this, Gordon! You're a son of Kashuon, and that makes you braver than anyone in the world! Kashuon is a passionate place, symbolized by the hottest fire known to man. You have that fire burning in you."
Gordon blushed. "I didn't expect a cheering squad…"
"Doesn't matter," Clarisse said. "Now you got one!"
Gordon nodded. "Of course," he said, turning to face the flame. "Bring it on."
The fire swirled about the room. Gordon had a hard time seeing it. When it made a lunge at him directly, Gordon thrust his spear right into the head of it. It didn't seem to visibly affect the red soul, which caught him off guard. He was hoping that would do some kind of damage.
When Gordon noticed the way to the torch's altar was open, he made a break for it, but the fire cut him off and formed a wall. Gordon stared beyond the fire, wondering how he was going to pass it if he couldn't hurt it with weaponry.
What… do I do now…? Gordon thought. I couldn't damage it! Gahhh, this is frustrating!
"Do you give up, my precious little brother?" Scott's voice asked from the fire. "Do you have no more courage within your heart? This world is doomed. The Empire will take over this world and nothing can stop it."
No. It won't be my fault as to why the Emperor takes over the world… Gordon thought angrily. I won't have the entire world blaming me! No way! I have enough guilt to carry to last me a lifetime. Hilda and everyone back at the rebel base in Altair need my help. Firion, Minwu, and… just like Clarisse told me earlier: They need me… they need me!
"No! You're wrong!" Gordon shouted. "We are the… We are the Wild Rose Rebellion! Wild Roses bloom no matter the circumstances, no matter where they are planted. They will even bloom in waste!" He walked up to the fire, and no longer fearing anything, he put his hand through it. It burned like hell, and his clothes caught fire, but he didn't care. "We will triumph! We will win!" He then stepped into the flames, feeling the burning pain of all of those he failed around him, and with a determined expression… he passed through the fire completely.
"The heir stands strong," Scott's voice said. "Forgive me… for not being there when I needed you… Gordon."
"Brother…" Gordon said quietly. "…you are always with me. You've never left my thoughts or my heart."
"I love you, little brother. Take the Egil's Torch. Let the flame in your heart burn as bright as the Sunfire itself."
Gordon took the torch from the altar, and the red soul slowly disintegrated. All of the heat in the room went with it. He held it up above his head, feeling victorious for the first time in his life. He finally felt like a true prince, like he deserved the title he'd been bearing since the day he was born. "I am Prince Gordon, true heir to the throne of Kashuon. I will burn as brightly as the Sunfire until my dying days." Then he looked back at Minwu, Firion, and Clarisse. "Come on, everyone! We have a Dreadnaught to blow to pieces!"