Ch 7, part 5
"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.
"Can you hear me, my lady?"
Cantirena was awake, but she didn't open her eyes. She had her face stuffed into the blanket she was snuggled against, so even if she did open her eyes, Mateus wouldn't be able to see where she was. She didn't say anything, and she didn't think anything either.
"I know you are… I can hear voices around you."
Clarisse and Candice were in the middle of talking about something that sounded sort of important, but Cantirena refused to give him any answer at all. She wished they would shut up. She wasn't going to give him any leads. No. They just had to leave Mysidia and that would be it. Mateus would hold no power over her with Minwu as her husband. At least, she hoped that would be the case.
"Such a stubborn little lady, you are. I much preferred you when you were complacent… but, no matter. I wanted to let you know that I am on my way to Mysidia. You've had such a hard journey, and now it's time to come home. Don't worry. If things are peaceful, I will not take a single life. All I want is you to come with me. Mysidia can rot with all of their long-honored traditions."
Cantirena could hear the front door open. Both of her sisters sounded happy.
"Girls, there is something I need to discuss with you." It was Minwu's voice. "Oh. There she is. Sleeping. Like I knew she would be. Cantirena, my student, come, it's time to wake up."
"Yes, Cantirena, be a good student. Wake up for your teacher, hmm?"
"She sleeps deeper than any other person I've ever known," Clarisse said. Cantirena could feel Clarisse poking her back. "I thought you'd wake up the instant you heard Minwu's voice, Canti…"
"Yeah. No dream is a good as the real thing," Candice chime in. She also started poking Cantirena's back. "Get the hell up, you lazy bum."
"Open your eyes, my lady. I wish to see your teacher's loving gaze…"
Cantirena could feel Minwu sit next to her. "I thought my charm would keep you safe from any dream magic, but I was wrong," he said carefully. "He must be close by."
"You're a terribly smart man, Minwu… Too smart for your own good, I'd say."
Minwu lifted Cantirena up into his lap slowly, putting his hand over her heart. She couldn't help herself. She smiled at that. It was warm and comforting, like always. She couldn't imagine a time where his hand wasn't warm and comforting.
"You like your teacher's touch? Oh, how deliciously forbidden! I remember when you trembled at my hand in the same sort of way, my lady. Do not fret, that feeling will not escape you…"
"I can tell you're not actually sleeping, Cantirena. You are faking. Look at that smile. But, I also know that you are a smart young woman, despite the fact that you can do stupid things from time to time…" Minwu sounded very determined.
"Do you think she's trying to block the Emperor from seeing anything?" Clarisse asked.
"I do," Minwu answered. "When he's connected to her, he can see through her eyes and hear what she hears, if I remember correctly. So, both of you… be silent."
"What are you going to do?" Candice asked.
"Like I would say it," Minwu said insistently. "Be silent."
The same language Minwu spoke in before when kissing Cantirena was the same language he started singing in. It sounded very much like an old hymn or even a lullaby. Cantirena knew it, though. She remembered hearing Minwu sing it to her when she had a hard time sleeping many years ago. It was not a joyful or a happy sounding song, but it was relaxing. It sounded much like the recounts of an old traveler's journey longing to be home with the one they missed. Cantirena wondered for the second time in her life if Minwu had written the song himself.
"You sing in the ancient tongue of the Magi."
Minwu held her. Until she opened her eyes, he was not going to stop singing. He leaned his back against the wall, letting his feelings out in all honesty in a language none of them could understand. After twenty minutes or so, he stopped repeating the hymn itself. But he didn't stop there. He sang about how much he loved her and yearned to do it openly. He sang about the peaceful life they would lead together, in harmony, long after the war passed. Minwu even told Mateus, though he was not able to know just by listening, that if he ever set eyes again on what he declared his own, he would swear revenge.
"Be well, my lady. I will come in a few days. I've no time to listen to your teacher sing pointless hymns in a dead tongue. Be ready for my arrival. It will be a magnificent one, that I promise you."
When Cantirena could feel Mateus' presence fade away from her mind, she opened her eyes very quickly. Minwu was looking down at her with a very tender expression. "Thank you," she said. "I was too frightened to let him see or hear anything." She hugged onto him the way she always did, and he returned the affection.
"So it was the Emperor!" Candice said. "Smart thinking, though I wish we could have known instead of trying to get a reaction out of you..."
"It must have been hard, going that long without saying anything, ya chatterbox," Clarisse said, giggling.
"He woke me up," Cantirena said somewhat angrily. "And I was having the nicest dream, too."
"I bet I know what it was about," Minwu said.
"Oh I bet you do," she said. "But seriously though. I was starting to lose it. He said he would be here very soon, in a few days. He knows we're in Mysidia."
"Must be because of that barrier. Right now he can't bring any ships through, so he's stuck outside the barrier," Clarisse suggested. "At least, that's what it sounds like to me."
"And," Cantirena continued. "Minwu, Mateus knows your song. At least, he said… he knew the language you were singing in… That it was the language of the Magi."
"It is," Minwu answered. "Ancient Mysidian, before the term 'Mysidia' even comes up in history. Before Mysidia was the place that it is now, it was home to the Magi, the original discoverers of the lay lines and Magic itself. Every song they sang had magical properties, every spell they cast was a song. The way we cast magic with chanting is much weaker than the magic they had. Songs are magic, and magic is song – this is how the language was formed. Even when not casting magic, they spoke to a rhythm unlike any language before or since. It was not until outsiders came and brought their common language with them that they learned to speak as we do now. It became easier to speak to outsiders without relying on the complex magic language, as they were not going to take the time to learn it. Based on this account of history, our magic and our music has become a mere shadow of what it once was." He ruffled her hair. "I hope you paid attention. I will quiz you later on it."
"That means they were Melodists in the old days," Candice thought aloud. "I knew the tradition of the lullaby was invented some time ago, but I didn't know they used to be actual spells."
Minwu nodded. "Yes, they were indeed."
"How did you learn the language?" Clarisse asked curiously.
Minwu shook his head. "I do not remember how I learned it. The reason why my teacher discovered me in the wreckage on that island is because he could hear me singing in the Ancient Mysidian tongue. He heard me singing a language that has been mostly dead for a very long time."
"Your parents," Candice said. "You… Minwu, could you be…?"
"Could I be what?"
"…do you think it's possible that you are a descendant of the Magi?"
Minwu let those words sink in for a moment. While the others in Mysidia used the lay lines to their advantage, he never wanted to. He felt them too strongly and it bothered him. He never felt at home in a culture that brought in outsiders to expand their community. From what he studied in his history books, the Magi themselves did not worship the Goddess by keeping vows of purity or anything like that. Perhaps it was not the outside that corrupted him, as he was led to believe. It was possible that Minwu was a descendant of that ancient tribe. The thought did not bother him, though. He liked the idea that he was never supposed to be one with the current Mysidia.
The counts of history state that some of the Magi left their home and fled far from their beloved tower, their masterpiece because they disagreed with the mentality the outsiders brought with them. There were those who stayed and founded Mysidia, rebuilding it as a religious place rather than just a place to live out your days in harmony with the world… It… only makes my resolve to leave this wretched place that much stronger.