Dark Skies over Palamecia

Ch 8, 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.

Part 5

Prince Gordon hated boats more than anything he'd ever hated his whole life. While he was glad to be out of Deist, finally, he didn't want to sit on another boat, ever. But where was he? On the damn pirate ship, contemplating the events of what happened over the course of the days they spent on the Dragon's Island. They'd been on the ship for days now, heading back to Altair. With them were Firion, who was suffering some sort of anxiety over that of his sisters, since he had never been so far from them for so long; Cid and Leila, who spent most of their time keeping the ship working right and giving orders to all of the loud, crass crewmembers; Ricard, the last dragon knight; and Elina with her youthful son Kain, the only two survivors of the Deist Massacre.

Ricard never left Elina's side. She cried a lot. He was never once romantic to her, but he did hold her every time she busted out into sobbing. It was very clear that she had gone through immense trauma, and the road to recovery was not going to be easy. Kain sometimes cried, too, but never while his mother was breaking down. He always watched Ricard very closely. Kain stated several times that it was his intent to grow up and be a dragoon just like his father. He wanted to be everything that the dragoons stood for: bravery, integrity, loyalty.

"I'm gonna grow up and rebuild Deist," Kain proclaimed loudly. His short blonde hair wisped about in the sea-smelling wind. "And we'll have a whole new castle, and a whole new team of dragoons, and-"

"My son," Elina said gently, pulling him close. She put her ten-year-old boy on her lap and run her fingers through his hair which was the exact same color as her own. "It is good to have dreams. But some dreams are bigger than what we can achieve."

Kain shook his head. "Mama, if we give up our dreams now, then… we won't have anything left. The Empire took our home from us, they took our people, they took our way of life… Mama, I want them back! No one's gonna give it to us. No one is going to give us back what the Empire has taken!"

"Kain… there will only be one dragon, and besides that… every dragoon has to have a second name. You have yet to earn yours." Elina said sadly. "That is one important thing you have overlooked."

Kain grunted. He got up off his mother's lap and walked up to the front of the ship. He found Cid there, watching the waves. To get his attention, Kain pulled on Cid's shirt. "Mister Cid?"

"Don't go callin' me 'mister', lad," Cid answered, looking down at the boy with a slight smile. "Is there something you need? Is your mother hurting again?"

"No. I have a question for you."

"Oh, well, go ahead, big guy. What is it that you want to ask this old codger?"

"Mister Cid, how did you get your second name? Did you earn it? What does Polledina even mean?" Kain asked his questions very curiously.

"Polledina has no meaning," Cid said carefully. "Except for what people give it. But, how did I earn it? I didn't. It was given to me for being my father's son. Our second names, at least where I come from, they're given through family lines. That is, if you have one."

"Does that mean I can take my father's?" Kain asked.

"If your father had one, then, sure," Cid said. "I don't see why not."

Kain walked away from Cid, looking up at the clouds above. To be honest, he didn't remember his father's second name, and it made him feel very bad. As he went closer to his mother, he looked at Ricard very closely.

What about someone who's like a father to you? Kain thought.

"That's it… I'm gonna be Kain Highwind!" he exclaimed so loudly that everyone on the ship could hear him. He sounded very proud of his decision. "That's my name! I'm a dragoon-in-training! The Emperor better fear me!"

Ricard was very shocked by this. "Wha… what do you mean, your second name will be Highwind? That's… that's mine…"

"But…" Kain said, looking down at the deck. "…you're my father now, right?"

Elina was unsure of how to react to that. Ricard felt very much put upon, too.

"Kain," Ricard breathed out. "Come here, lad."

Kain ran up to him, tears in his eyes.

"I don't want to make any promises I cannot keep," Ricard said, trying to remain as gentle as possible. "When the fighting starts up again, I will be in the front lines. I will fight for our homeland and all that has been taken away from us as citizens of Deist."

"I want to fight with you!" Kain cried. "I want to fight with you!"

"I know, but you have a much more important task. "

"I… I do?"

"Yes. You must live. If you fight alongside me, there is no promise you will survive," Ricard reached over, wiping the tears from Kain's face. "You must take care of your mother. If you were to die in combat, then who would take care of her? She would truly be alone."

"Then… you must come back to us when the fighting is done," Kain said.

"I cannot promise anything," Ricard said. "I may die just like everyone else. But… if it gives you strength and courage to take my name as yours, then by all means do so."

"…does this mean you'll be my father now?" Kain asked. "Then you could help take care of Mama."

Ricard tried not to laugh. He did wish to honor his best friend by taking care of the family he died protecting, and Ricard had no family of his own. "If… I survive the battle against the Empire… then… we will live as a family. You will be my apprentice and learn everything I have to teach about being a dragoon."

Kain reached up and hugged around Ricard as tightly as he could. "It's a deal!" he said.

"It's not just a war on the battlefield, Kain. We all have battles to handle at home, too. Sometimes our biggest foes are not people, but feelings and memories and sickness. Sometimes our biggest battles are even against ourselves," Ricard said, placing a hand on top of Kain's head. "Before you can fight against any army, big or small… you must fight yourself and understand what it means to make your decisions while keeping everything else in mind."

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