Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 5, part 8

"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.

Part 8

Deist stood no chance against the Emperor's Dark Knights. Men, women, and children fell to both blade and spell until Mateus could find no more. Houses and the castle alike crumbled, dragon carcasses littered the place as much as human ones. Smoke came from every part of Deist. It was around this time when he felt victory was assured, though he could sense something in the castle that bothered him. Not the type of man to leave any remote thing to chance, the Emperor walked through those now ghostly halls, somewhat reminded of the day he took Kashuon Keep.

"Get out!" a little blonde boy shouted from the hall, throwing a rock at Mateus. "Get out, you big monster!"

The rock did not hit him, as Mateus could see it from all the way down the hall. He caught it with his hand and turned to look in that direction with nothing but contempt. How dare a lowly boy such as this speak to him in such a way? He was going to show the tyke a lesson. Yet another example to be made. Another head to be put on a pike to show his glory.

"Kain, no!" a woman grabbed the boy who was kicking and screaming for her to let him go. All though her eyes watered, as she had seen her husband be slaughtered while defending her and their son, she fell to the floor. "Bow your head to the Emperor, my son."

"Give me the boy," Mateus ordered, extending his clawed hand down to her.

"I cannot," the woman cried. "If you wish to take my son, you will take him out of my cold, dead fingers."

"Hm. Very well," he said, lifting his hand. He started to charge a spell.

The bloodline of Deist is known for its honor even in the face of death. Out of respect for this, I will ensure that you feel no pain, Mateus thought as he prepared to release the spell upon the cowering mother and her son.

"Your Imperial Majesty!" a knight called from behind him.

The Emperor's spell faded instantly. He turned to look at the knight. "Speak."

"A ship approaches the island," the knight said. "It bears no flag."

"Hm," Mateus said. He turned to look back to the mother and her boy, who were both still crouched down on the floor at his feet. "When you have grown up, young man, come to Palamecia. I will have a place for you. One with a spirit such as yours cannot go to waste." He turned around to leave the castle. He didn't really care for Deist. There were dragon emblems and decorations everywhere.

"Sire," another messenger came up to him from outside as he was going out the main gate. "The dragons in the Dragon Cavern have gone completely crazy. We can't even get inside the mouth of the cave!"

"Must I think of everything?" Mateus answered with a question.

These pitiful excuses for men… those who deal in broken love and forsaken justice can only live up to such expectations, he thought, disgusted. Such is the reason why I am the only one fit to rule this desperate world.

"Well, if you're too stupid to fight them directly, there are other means as to take them out," Mateus thought aloud.

"Sire?" the messenger asked, scared out of his wits.

Lowly worm…

"Take the men down to the base of the mountain and poison the water that flows into the Dragon Cavern. If they drink, we will not have to fight them, and if they do not drink, they cannot stand forever," Mateus ordered, looking at the messenger who seemed like he was going to piss his pants if he kept staring at him like that. "Go. Carry that message. If it is not carried out, I will kill you, messenger."

"As you wish, Your Imperial Majesty," the messenger said, bowing before scurrying away.

"A ship," Mateus mused aloud.

I wonder if it's that girl's rebellious entourage have come to seek aid from the Dragoons? Even they are aware of the combat ability the Dragoons possessed. No one else would sail out this far. There's a reason why ferrymen never come this far south. Typical sailors know about the king of the sea. Still, I suppose I should investigate before I head over to Mysidia.

Candice stomped her foot on the ground, splashing a bit of mud as she shouted "Let's get the hell out of this marsh! I'm tired of lookin' at mud!" She was the first to start walking in the direction Minwu pointed, with Clarisse trailing behind her just a little bit. Minwu and Cantirena walked side by side, still within ear distance. "Listen to that! Birds singing to welcome the morning!"

"…there's no trees, Candi," Clarisse said, looking around. "There's not any trees for miles."

"Not only that," Cantirena added, "But I think it's somewhere in the afternoon now. I'm a bit confused, considering I've never stayed up all night like that before."

"Never burned the midnight oil?" Candice asked, stopping long enough for everyone else to catch up to her. "For such a studious little mage like you, I figured that was a part of the package deal. Studying constantly led to being up all night with books in hand, furiously writing notes…"

"Oh I tried on several occasions," Cantirena said.

"But she usually ended up with her face planted directly in the book," Minwu said. "And no matter how many times I explained to her that books are not pillows…"

"They still felt comfortable the next night," Cantirena giggled at herself. "I think I would feel more comfortable putting my face on an open book than I would lying back on a pillow."

"Or a tent floor?" Candice said, nudging her a little. "Hmm?"

"Stop it," the youngest sister snapped.

"Tell me everything," Candice said, trying to put her arm around Cantirena. "Come on, you can tell big sis Candice."

Minwu glared at her. "I'm right here," he said, "My white robes do not hide my existence." He was more annoyed than he thought he'd be about the subject.

"I don't want to tell you everything… or anything, really," Cantirena said quietly. "I'm not really comfortable with telling a perfect stranger about these kinds of things."

"A stranger?" Candice asked. "I'm your sister. Minwu even said so. I've been an only child all my life, raised by one dad who loved his work more than he loved me, and when I finally get some family that I might be able to talk to… you're gonna deny me that sisterly right? Come on!"

"But… we didn't even know you existed until a few days ago," Clarisse said. "We don't know anything about you or how you fit in with being related to us."

"The legends say the blue-haired girls who come from Cosmos herself were born in a dance between the world as the mother and calamity as the father," Minwu said kindly. "Their deep blue hair is a symbol of the water which is needed by all life forms to live. Their skin is the color of the softest sand, and they together harbor the powers of the Goddess herself. I was unsure of Hilda's hunch about this before I headed to Bafsk, but seeing your powers together save Cantirena from the Demon King's influence… I knew it was true. Where else could that power have come from?"

"So our real mother is the Goddess?" Clarisse asked. "That's… well, I have to say, that is kind of weird."

"I don't think a Goddess can actually give birth," Candice said stubbornly. "And if she did give birth to us, why didn't she want us? Why didn't she keep us and take care of us? You know, like… a real mother is supposed to do?"

Cantirena looked down at the red ring on her finger for a moment. What was it Minwu said all those years ago? "I think it's because the Goddess is not supposed to interfere with the realm of humanity," she said.

"Very good," Minwu said. "Anything else you remember about the Goddess from the lessons?"

"That she gave us free will, so that we may choose our own paths in life," she continued. "Scripture states that the Goddess wanted all of those who she created to follow our hearts desires, though many holy men disagree and say that is just a modernistic teaching."

"Yes," Minwu nodded. "And here I thought you fell asleep through that lesson."

"Well when I was eight, it was boring," Cantirena said, smiling. "I also remember reading that Mysidian mages dedicate themselves to purity so they are not tempted to sin, and thus be led down the path to evil. Some even will claim that the Goddess herself is their wife, and that no mortal woman is good enough for them."

"Correct. Though I don't know any of them who are worthy of the Goddess," Minwu said.

"Wait, wait, wait a minute," Candice said, stepping between the two mages. "Say every man on the planet decides to become 'Holy' right? The human race would die out because no one would be making babies. How does giving up… y'know, sex, actually make one a holier person?"

"And therein lies a problem with the logic," Minwu said. "You are a sharp one, Candice."

Clarisse shrugged. "If she's our sister, she can't be dumb."

"Very true," Minwu agreed. "Both you and Cantirena have shown nothing but potential and promise since your younger days. You were perfect children."

"And I was chopped liver," Candice grunted.

"In Mysidia, chopped liver is a delicious delicacy," Minwu said. "So do not feel too bad if this is your role in life. But, in all candor, you have your own talents, too, Candice."

Separate, you have talents that stand out, but when together, that's when you will make miracles.

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