Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 6, part 7

"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 7

Leila had one heck of a time getting that boat across the currents, and Gordon had one heck of a time barfing until he could finally face plant himself into land. The moment his feet hit soil, he fell to his knees, praising the Goddess for relief while in tears. He let himself lay back on the solid ground and closed his eyes. Oh man, he needed a good nap.

"I am not sure as to why he is celebrating," Ricard said to Cid. "The only way off of this island is through the sea, and I doubt he will live here in the land of Dragons."

Cid nodded. "Let the prince react his own way," he said, watching Gordon stretch out on the rocks while Leila and her pirates did everything they could to secure their ship. The waves were terribly bad, and the tide was in. Last thing they wanted was to see their ship carried out while they were exploring the island. "The young man has been through hell. He's keeping himself together far better than any of us expected him to."

"Been through hell, you say?" Ricard asked. "The world is at war. I believe we all have gone through our own personal hell. Those of us who love have what we love ripped from us. Those of us who struggle to save something tend to lose exactly what they struggle to save." He looked at the icon on his armor. "I only hope that his hell will be less punishing than the one I face."

Cid could only agree with that, too. He noticed Firion tried to give Gordon some comfort, but the Prince wanted none of his affirmative words. Firion ended up standing up and shrugging, walking over to the two gentlemen who carried themselves like old knights who had retired in days long past.

"What are you two scheming?" Firion asked. "So, Ricard! We know absolutely nothing about this island. Where's the capital, who leads you, and what should we expect when we get there? Are the cultures different here? Princess Hilda told us nothing except get our asses to Deist, and after meeting you, I feel a bit unprepared for it."

"In my time abroad, I have realized that there is not much which divides the people outside and the people inside Deist," Ricard said quietly. "The truth of it is that the only thing which separates us from the outside is the existence of the dragons. Our capital is Deist Castle, and we are ruled by a high queen who rides upon the Mother Dragon who raises all of the young ones as her own. I will introduce you to our Queen Prism Emberglow."

Firion liked the sound of that name. It was unlike any he'd ever heard of. Prism Emberglow? Wow. Now that was a royal name! Though, when he stopped to think about it, Ricard even said that he had a second name too: Highwind. Firion didn't have a family name or a second name. He was just Firion. Even if Ricard said there was no difference between cultures, he could detect a very large difference right there. Only important people, people like royalty or knights or something of that nature, had second names where he came from. But here was a man that sounded like he had the rank of a squire with a second name of his own. Firion was kind of jealous about that. It made Ricard sound important. It made everyone sound important. Cid had a second name, too. Maybe it was because he was a knight that he had a name?

"Firion?" Ricard asked, calling the young rebel from his thoughts. "Are you all right?"

"I was just thinking about what kind of person someone has to be to have a name like Prism Emberglow," Firion answered. "It's unlike any other name I've heard before."

"Ah," Ricard said. "Come, as we travel, I will explain things to you since you seem so interested in knowing about how Deist culture works. Is… is the prince going to be all right? Should we not bring him with us?"

Gordon had fallen asleep where he lay. Leila was over there trying to wake him up.

"Poor guy," Cid said. "Hey, Leila! Can you babysit our prince while we go to the capital and make our presence known?"

"Aye, boss," Leila answered, giving him a two-finger salute. "Everything will be fine over here." She sounded quite cheerful about it.

"All right. We'll tell them you're coming, so when he wakes up, I want you to follow us," Cid gave the order. "And do notpick the Prince's pockets!"

Leila groaned. "Oh all right then…"

Deist was an island that had a lot of lush grassland. In the center of the island was a lake which did not connect to the ocean. Right next to the castle stood the great Dragon Mountain, which Ricard found to be empty of the usual cries and screeches made by the dragons any time of day. In fact, there were no dragoons training in the sky on the backs of their partners, either. The island felt very empty, and this worried the dragoon in training.

"When you are born, your parents give you a name, yes?" Ricard asked, turning to look at Firion. "Your parents named you Firion. My parents named me Ricard, so on and so forth. But we are not born with second names. We have them given to us. We earn them. In Deist, the greatest honor is having a name that depicts your best achievements. In your home, you may receive medals to commemorate your work, but no. Not here." He stopped for a moment, sniffing upward. There was smoke on the breeze. "Our Queen gained the name 'Emberglow', just as I earned the name 'Highwind'."

"What did you do to earn that name?" Cid asked. "Last names where I come from are adopted from the father. If the father has one, then his children carry on that name."

"Hmm," Ricard mused. "I believe it was the day when I rode the wind to fight off a dragon that was terrorizing a little blue haired girl. I was able to use my spear and fly upon a breeze to stop it. I was rewarded with my second name, 'Highwind'. Queen Prism's mother, the late Queen Emerald Snowbreeze, said it was an honor to give me such a name"

"A blue haired girl?" Firion asked. "Is there another one out there that we don't know about?" He remembered Clarisse, Cantirena, and Candice. Was there a fourth? No, Minwu said that the legends were clear on there only being three.

"I was here at one time with my daughter a long time ago," Cid said. "She has blue hair… wait. Was that little boy… you?"

Ricard couldn't believe what he heard. "Is your daughter… Candice?"

"That's right," Cid said. "Well met, young man. I didn't recognize you, what with the armor and all."

Ricard shook his head, reaching up to lift off his helmet. His beautiful hair fell about his face, striking blue eyes shining right at the older gentleman. He looked like he could be one of the most handsome men to walk the world, though he did bear a bit of a frown. "Do I look more familiar now?" he asked.

"I can see it now, yes," Cid said, watching the knight put his helmet back on. "Why do you wear that constantly?"

"The dragons do not like being owned by ones with human faces. We wear their faces to make contact with them easier," Ricard explained.

As they came closer to the castle, they could not just smell the smoke. They could see it. The group ran for the town gates as quickly as possible. What they found was a mostly crumbled castle, houses turned to ash, and thousands of dead bodies littered the place. Dragons, dragoons, knights, people of all ages and genders lie dead.

"Your Highness?!" Ricard screamed. "Queen Prism?! Are you here?!" He ran off by himself, leaving Cid and Firion at the town gate. "Mother? Anyone? Is… is anyone still here?!"

"Not another one," Cid said under his breath. "Another nation… reduced to dust."

Firion couldn't hold his tears back. Watching Ricard frantically search the place was disheartening. "…Goddess… why… why… what are we even… fighting for?"

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