The village of Mist was always a peaceful place, tucked within the caves north of Baron. But things change. Rydia's life is torn apart with the tragic death of her mother. Can she survive without h...
This story takes place at the very beginning of Final Fantasy II/IV in the village of Mist. Instead of coming from the perpective of Cecil and Kain venturing to Mist, it is a reversal. What could Rydia have been feeling as her village burned? This fic is an alteration - meaning that the details have changed a bit for interest's sake. Just read and find out, it shouldn't be too complicated to figure out. =D
It was all so unreal, as I recall. The heat rose unbearably. Although it was night, my room had an eerie glow. It wasn't the magical source of light that Mother often conjured up to comfort me in my sleep. No, it was something that invoked fear in me, as it was very different from anything that I had ever experienced in all of my years of living.
The flickering light was golden, and it scorched the floorboards with its power. It slowing crept through the house, engulfing it, but there was nothing I could do but stay huddled under the blankets of my cozy bed. Why? Mother had told me that she was going to wake me up in the morning for training, and I was supposed to wait for dawn to come before getting out of bed. I had to be well rested, for I was going to attempt to summon Titan with her guidance. I was excited, so I closed my eyes, trying to wait for morning to reveal itself to me. So warm. But I stayed. I wanted Mother to be proud of me; I would always follow her instructions to the best of my ability.
And it grew warmer still, the heat rising to an unbearable height. Wood crackled and popped around me, and I heard the sounds of footsteps downstairs. It must have been Mother, I think that she must have sensed the danger by then. I could hear her soft voice over the hissing of the flames, a familiar rhythm of words filling the air. She always did have a wonderful voice, and she had an amazing power with those sounds that she made. I could imagine her as she chanted, calling upon the power of Mist - our protector. What were these flames, magic or reality? The details didn't matter. I waited in my bed for Mother, she would know what to do.
It was a familiar sensation of Mother's dragon. Her icy breath cleared a path through the flames, smothering some of the flames. To my relief, the heat subsided temporarily.
I heard Mother again, her voice filtering through the floorboards. "Rydia, get out of there. Please, come out!" With that, I pulled off the covers, and carefully walked down the cleared area, running to do as she asked.
As I reached the stairs, I could see her. She was standing in the middle of the room in a trance, concentrating hard. She glowed softly, all of her magical energy now concentrated on the crystal ball in front of her. In its depths, an image of two warriors had appeared; even from my position, I could tell that they were fighting Mother's dragon. How could they?
"Not much longer," Mother murmured under her breath. "I must protect our village ... if I can stop them now, all of this mysterious fire will disappear, I know it...."
I ran down the stairs, ignoring the flames that were beginning to consume the bottom of the stairs. I had to help Mother, no matter what. The flames grew taller, so I jumped over them. I misjudged the width of the third last step, and found myself falling towards the heat. My left hand skimmed through the searing heat. It burned with a sensation that I had never felt before. I couldn't help but scream as I started to plummet face first into the bottom of the stairs.
Mother's eyes leapt from the crystal ball towards me, her concentration broken. Faster than I had ever seen her, she ran to me and pulled me from the blazing heat. She brought me into the middle of the room, and leaned me against the pedestal on which the crystal ball sat. Merely sitting near its presence would protect us from the flames, it was a source of true magic. She smiled at me, her deep green eyes shining. "Y-you're safe, I'm so glad."
"Mother," I sobbed into her long yellow dress, covering my eyes.
"Rydia, I'm sorry," she said, smoothing my wild hair with her fingers.
The fingers running through my hair stopped, so I looked up. She made a strange noise, a gasp of sorts. Her mouth opened, her eyes widened, and she began to slump to the side. I tried to help her stay upright, but something was terribly wrong. I glanced up at the mystic ball of crystal, which looked darker than I remembered it being moments before. The moving image it showcased was a horrible sight.... A Dark Knight stood off to the side watching as a Dragoon of Baron pulled his spear out of the side of Mist's body, silver blood dripping from its tip. Mother's dragon was defeated; Mist, the protector of our village was dead. I stared at Mother's form, her eyes had now closed. Mother's crystal ball burst, shattering into a hundred pieces upon the floor. The light it had been emitting ceased to exist. We were shrouded in darkness except for the flicker of light from the flames which were slowly engulfing the house.
"Mother, please hold on. We'll ask the Elder for help, just you wait. Please...." I pulled her up, mustering up all the strength I possibly could. I dragged her out of the house, careful to avoid the shards of glass which now littered the area.
We had escaped, but Mother's breathing was shallow. She wouldn't last much longer. I couldn't see anyone around, I didn't want to leave her alone. Or did I not want her to leave me? Perhaps both. I held onto her limp hand and cried, whispering words which I can no longer remember. It couldn't have been real, lying on the ground, our entire life broken before our eyes. Our home destroyed, our village covered with gloom. How quickly everything could be broken, it was unbelievable.
Heavy sounding footsteps could be heard, I didn't want to look. The last vision of the crystal ball had told me what to expect, two warriors of Baron. How could they have disrupted our lives so?
They unwrapped a package together, unleashing a second attack against our now defenceless village. Thick smoke clouded my vision as the homes around me burned to crisps.
As they grew closer, I stood up bravely in front of Mother's body. Visibly shaken, I clenched my fists at my sides.
"Just a girl," the Dragoon stated to the Dark Knight, "if the package was meant to destroy the entire village, we must do away with her too. For his Highness, the King." His spear was in his hand, still stained with silver.
I backed up closer to Mother, but I did not step down.
"Kain, she's just a child!" The Dark Knight surprised me, he must have had a heart hidden somewhere underneath that black armour.
"You will defy an Imperial command, then?" the one known as Kain challenged. "There's a rebel in you."
The Dark Knight looked down at the sword in his sheath. "If this is what it means to be a protector of Baron, then..." He pulled the sword out, and with one final glance he let it drop to the ground with a crash. "So be it. This is not why I took up the dark sword."
Kain let out a short laugh. "I thought so. I always knew it was in you, but you can't do it alone, you know."
"Testing you." He looked at me, then back to the Dark Knight. "Cecil, you know that this is the village of Mist. You know what they raise here? Little girls who can grow up to summon the greatest of dragons this world has ever seen."
I stared at him, then leaned over my Mother. "I'm sorry, please forgive me, I know I'm not ready yet." I took a ring off her finger quickly, and slipped it onto my middle finger of my right hand. They didn't seem to notice my movement. I returned to my original position.
"Imagine it, Cecil! She could be ours, the last remaining Caller of Mist. Imagine the power we could unleash with her!" Kain whispered loudly. How idiotic, I could clearly hear him. My injured left hand rubbed the golden ring on my finger as I prepared mentally. 'Please let me succeed,' I prayed.
The Dark Knight Cecil still seemed uncertain. He looked up the night sky, the starless night not giving him any advice. Finally, he nodded.
"Hey girl, why don't you come with us?" Kain set down his spear as he spoke, as if that mere act would quench my fears. "You're doomed if you stay here, there's nothing left."
"We're here to save you," Cecil added.
To save me, the farthest thing from the truth. Those power hungry individuals who scour this world looking for it, it sickens me. I have never even summoned a being before, but hopefully I would be able to harness Mother's abilities. I looked down at her ring which glistened on my finger.
"Never," I tried to say, but it came out weakly. The fire around us hampered my bravery, it scared me. I looked back to Mother, and said it again. "Never, I watched you kill Mist, I watched you, in essence, kill Mother's dragon. I could never forgive you!" I screamed the last sentence, hoping they would leave me be. I wanted to be alone with mother, alone until I would eventually die from smoke inhalation. I wanted to stay in Mist. Nothing else mattered.
"We didn't mean to kill the people of your village. To compensate their deaths, we will take care of you for as long as you like." The Knight's voice was wavering. I stared at him in disgust. What a trade off, they couldn't be real. I shook my head fiercely, and pushed a piece of my curly hair out of my face. I don't think I was very convincing, a young girl like me could never have brought fear to two grown men, especially those of high military status. Even without their weapons, they looked incredibly strong and impenetrable in their strong metal armour.
"Words won't work, Cecil!" Kain announced. "We've just got to take her." He waited for his companion to make a move, but Cecil didn't appear to have any intention of coming any closer.
I closed my eyes in concentration, I couldn't let them affect me mentally. I prayed to the Gods of the Underworld, hoping they would hear my plea. The instructive words of Mother ran through my head as I thought of what she did during ritual summonings. "I'm sorry, Mother, doing this without your permission. I will avenge you, and stop these men from hurting us. We can be alone here, can't we?"
Kain eyed him, then sighed in an exasperated fashion. "When did you get so weak, Cecil? I've been doing everything during this mission, killing the dragon, now taking the girl. Gods..."
Even with my eyes closed I sense him coming too close. "Titan, heed my call, in honour of my mother, save us from those who wish us bad omens!" I opened my eyes, and moved my hands in a circular manner. Kain had a look of amazement on his face as brilliant light burst from Mother's ring. I concentrated on the light, and I felt myself grow numb. It was as if I no longer existed, I was on another plane of existence, yet I could still see. In my place, a strong man of Earth appeared. He came all the way from his home within the darkness of the Earth in order to help me, I was gracious. Titan's copper-coloured fists crashed into the ground, causing it to crumble under his pressure. Caught in the scope of this attack, the two warriors of Baron covered their faces and prepared themselves for the worst. Their weapons lay untouched behind them, and with no means to retaliate, they found themselves becoming being closed off from the village. I lifted my arms, and Titan followed my lead. With my guidance, he blocked off the passageway to Kaipo, sealing the two attackers away. I found myself shaking, and the radiant light from the ring died down. I watched as Titan descended into the fresh dirt and mud until he disappeared from sight. I fell to the ground as the result of too much power, feeling a large headache coming on.
"I'm sorry Mother, I summoned Titan without you. I know we were supposed to try today, together. You were with me, I made sure of that." I took the still-warm ring, placed it in the palm of Mother's hand, and closed her fingers around it. "I hope that you are proud of me, Mother. Baron cannot hurt us now." I looked at my left hand and saw the blisters from the fire, merely thinking about it made it hurt. On my right, I had an empty feeling. I now had nothing, giving the ring back to Mother. I slowly stood up, and looked around the village. Already it was ruin, what was left? The remains of buildings stood, and there were no signs of life. Even Mother was gone, so now all that was left was to wait for the end.
The end seemed so far away, when I think of this now, what a life I led when I was only eight years old. An eight year old shouldn't have to deal with death, she should still be playing 'make-believe' with her school-friends, learning basic magic from her mother, and be thinking about what game to play next. Yet I stood there as a child, alone in a village of death, wondering what I was supposed to do with myself.
I ran away from the scene, unable to remain calm any longer. I let my tears fall freely from my eyes, and let my voice scream out my pain. I ended up away from the village, lying in a green field. The field was beautiful - lush green grass, dainty Queen Asura's Lace growing about, and patches of clover. I cried into the grass, chocking back my tears. It felt like I was lying there for eternity, the grass was growing and swallowing me up to take me away.
"Rydia, please don't cry," I heard a voice say, a voice so gentle and soft floated towards me in the breeze.
I stopped crying and sniffled a little. I turned over in the grass and looked up into the sky. It was morning and the sun was shining brightly, partially hidden behind a wispy cloud. The voice had been so familiar, it was the voice of the woman who woke me up every morning and tucked me in every night. It was the voice of the woman who offered me unconditional love, no matter how feisty I got. The voice of my mother. Mother.
She was in the air around me, I could feel her. It was the feeling that I got whenever Mist, Mother's guardian dragon was around. "Mother?"
"Yes, that's right." I could almost feel her smile.
"I-I'm so s-sorry." I said, my words broken by my sobs. "If I hadn't have fallen on the stairs, nothing like this would have happened, I know it."
"My little Rydia.... I'm very proud of you, you know. You were able to protect yourself to follow your own heart."
I smiled a little, knowing Mother was proud of me. But it could never take back what I had lost, what we had lost as a whole.
"Maybe there is a reason for things to happen the way they do," her voice seemed so strong, so secure. "The attack on us is the first warning, and if Baron does this here, they will keep on doing it. Village after village until they get the power that they desire. Rydia, like they said, you are the only one left who can harness the powers of the Underworld. You could stay here in sadness forever, or you can use your powers to help other kingdoms stay safe. Protect them they way that you tried to protect me. I know that you can do it."
"But Mother," I started, but I was never able to continue. The air thinned, and the particles in the air materialized into a metal crystal-shaped form and a small thin ring. The crystal was made of a silver metal, the exact shade that Mist's blood had been. The ring was also made of silver, but it had a blue sapphire set into it, the colour of Mother's eyes.
I stood up and took the crystal from its airborne shelf. It made me feel warm inside, and instantly I felt calm. Next, I took the ring. So cold. I placed it on the same finger I had used before, and I felt a surge of hope run through me.
I held my hands together in prayer, and I could hear Mother whisper to me. "The crystal ... a source of magic, the black arts. I truly did get the chance to teach you myself, but the power of ice and lightning will be yours to hold for your own. I know that you'll be able to achieve great things if you overcome your fear.... The ring ... another source of magic, the white arts. The road of life is long and strenuous, but with hope on hand, you can always start over. With both of these on hand, I'm sure that you will be able to help. Try your best, and don't be sad. There are many out there whom you will meet, you will be able to experience the feeling of happiness and love. By making friends of those you thought were enemies, you can make a difference. Just try, for your mother."
"So I instead of running, I walked. I had nothing to run from, so I started to walk towards my great journey. As time went by, I befriended the warrior Cecil, helped the Great Sage of Mysidia: Tellah, the Prince of Damcyan: Edward, the White Wizard of Baron: Rosa and the Karate Master of Fabul: Yang. It was an amazing experience being with these people. Although we are all very different personality and ability wise, we were able to complement each other nicely as a group. With the help of these fine people, I overcame many of my fears. I do not regret my time here."
I sat on the polished wooden floor of the sanctuary. It was a beautiful place, a part of the Underworld. I was rescued by King Leviathan when I became lost at sea, and he and Queen Asura took me in as a part of their family. Today, I sat with a friend I had made, Kaitsu. A creature I had met in the Underworld. At first, he feared me since I was so different then him - a dark mage in navy robes being friends with a mere summoner from the Overworld; what a strange world. But after telling each other about our lives up to this point, we understood each other.
"I left my childhood life behind and travelled as a warrior, aiding them whenever I could with my magic. But then when I was at sea, I had to leave my friends behind. Now I have no idea where they are."
"Do you miss them?" Kaitsu asked, concern on his face.
"Yeah," I admitted. "A lot, we all became close. But I've learned something from what I've gone through so far. There is a reason for everything to occur, and surely there is a reason for me to be here. Someday, I will have an important job to do in the Underworld that will effect the lives of other people."
I pulled my crystal out of my pocket. It was brighter than when I first got it a few years ago. I'm learning lots of new things from the Queen, and my new friends. But... my ring. I looked down at my hand, and it now wears no jewellery. When I was swallowed by Leviathan, I lost it. But still, I did not lose hope. Now, I think of the words Mother said to me, and I have my own inner source of hope.
Thanks for reading! Kaitsu was based off of the little guy in the Land of Summon Monsters in the ending - he asked why she was different than everyone in the village. Her reply was that everyone is equal, it is what is in their hearts that count.