Its been a few weeks since my last post, but i return to you now with my oldest work, a re-written, improved version of Into The Heart Of The Story.
For those who havent read it or dont remember it, Into The Heart was my attempt at turning the rather sparse story of Final Fantasy 1 into a novelised form, it involved more detailed characters and expanded on themes in the games.
In its final form it stetched to nearly Five long Chapters and Two side stories, after a while i grew tired and began my other fic Ties Of Blood (which i will return to soon), its been a while but i am ready to return to the journey of the Light Warriors.
Due to my life being rather hectic of late (school catching up with me, ending my relationship with my Girlfreind, freinds and family reminding me of other responsibilities) i havent been writing much, but the positive responses i have recieved (both on the boards and off) has convinced me i have a talent and wont let it be stopped.
So i begin know where it all began for me, the first two parts of Chapter 1 of Into The Heart, i hope you all enjoy it…
Into The Heart Of The Story
Chapter 1 = The Beginning
The world is veiled in darkness
The wind stopped
The earth began to rot
The sea is wild
Yet the people wait
Their only hope
When the world is in darkness
Four warriors will come
Lukhan, leader of the 12 sages and greatest prophet of his age.
Part 1 : The Prophecy
He stood on a cliff overlooking the city of Corenia, the greatest city made by the human race, watching the people come and go all with some look of fear and anxiety on their faces. He felt nothing for them however.
Corenia was truley the grandest of human cities, at the edge of a large township sat the huge castle, with its graceful minarets that seemed to be reaching for the stars themselves. It served its purpose as a warning beacon to an enemy, the thought of attacking a castle of its size made many enemies think twice about a siege.
The people however saw this castle as a beacon of hope, the single greatest structure made by humans and the seat of the single most powerful human of the time, the King of Corenia.
Those enemies who thought they could assualt the castle had many other obstacles to overcome, the city and castle were surrounded by a large white wall, twenty feet in height and constantly manned by armed guards.
Even with all of this a large forest surrounded the wall, parting only at the barbed, wrought iron gates. Protected by powerful magical defences this gate would need an army or even stronger magic to break, with one of the strongest armies in the world behind them it would take a force of great power to take this kingdom.
The man on the cliff knew differently, an almost intangible darkness existed around Corenia, the people hurried about with scared looks on their faces, something terrible had happened, something that shattered their feeling of safety. The citizens of Corenia knew a terrible fear, something they could not place but knew was real.
This young man had been sent to help them, to fight for people he did not care for, to stand against the coming darkness that all could feel.
He was an impressive sight, wearing armour mainly composed of chains over red leather, at his belt sat a large steel sword in a scabbard. He kept his hand on the hilt at all times, ready to defend himself against anything that would harm him.
The mans head was virtually unseen beneath a shock of dark red hair, all you could see was his face where one could see the anger he held in his soul, the responsibility he knew in his heart and the pain knowing that his chosen path could kill him.
Yet the most impressive thing about the man was his eyes, the emerald green and black pupils seemed to stare into your very soul. He was a man not to be taken likely and because of this some thought of him as inhuman and they may very well be right.
His skill with the blade was great, but due to his nature most who saw this did not see him as just a good fighter but the greatest fighter, therefore to the few people he had met other than his friends he was simply called The Fighter, word of him and companions spread like wildfire. Their skill was partly the reason but it was mainly becuase they sounded like the ones from the prophecy…
The prophecy which had dominated his existence as long as he could remember, when he was an infant he had been abandoned, he and three other children were left at an orphanage in the town of Pravoka, the greatest of the human ports.
He and his 3 friends were different from the other children and everyone knew it, isolated from most of the citizens they considered themselves outcasts, this made them stronger as friends but not as good with the so called ‘normal’ people.
When he and his friends were twelve a strange man came to the orphanege, he was a tall, well built figure who wore exotic clothes and armour.
He spoke to the head of the orphanage and managed to ‘convince’ him using gold that the four would be better of with him.
The children took an immediate liking to the man; he was different like they were yet treated them like they were normal. He purchased a house on the outskirts of Pravoka and he gave each of the children an orb, telling them to protect the orbs with their lives, the next day he begun to train them.
The man called himself ‘‘the Master’’, he said he was from a far of place called Lefain, where he was a great hero among his people, yet he could not return there and that it was his duty that he should train the four.
The boy who eventually was know as Fighter was trained in the use of weapons, he soon mastered swords and axes and he learned how to use his strength so that he could move faster in heavier armour, every day he ran carrying rocks to increase his strength, by the end of his training he could run many miles with a bag full of rocks and still not feel fatigued.
The second boy was an elf, a member of the light-footed race with pointed ears who normally lived in forests, this elf however seemed more at home within cities, whenever the master had to go into the town the elf boy always went with him. He learnt the art of deception and stealing yet he vowed never to use his skills for evil gains. His training considered of minor practise with a blade (he accepted that he would never be better than Fighter, yet his skill was by no means flawed) and he ran with a mile long ribbon wrapped around his waist, the faster and longer he ran, the longer the ribbon stayed up, by the end of his training the ribbon barely touched the ground.
He was known to most people as Thief (yet he considered this title an offence to his non evil ways, but concluded that it added to his prestige).
The third was the only female of the group, the master taught her about the god of light who all of the good races revered (although each race considered the great god as a member of their race and each had its own specific name for it),humans called this god Odin the protector (for it was believed that the god Odin protects the light of the sun from the darkness). Her training consisted of minor practise with a mace and her study of religion, due to her faith she was granted power by Odin and she gained a power similar to magic that only a handful of people could use, it was called white magic and it allowed its users to heal wounds and destroy undead creatures of the night.
She was known to most people as White Mage; she considered this an honour and is the most diligent of the four about defeating the evil that plagued the world.
The last was the second human male, but most people could barely tell, when he was young he had a talent for magic that was left mostly untapped, but when the master took him in he was taught the truth about magic, all colours start as white and then split apart and when they come together they make black. Most practitioners of magic realised that at the base of the rainbow there was a great source of energy and that could be tapped with the right force of will and science to influence it, when the master told him this his eyes were opened, after a little basic training with a dagger and a staff the boy started to learn how to influence the power that was his all along. By the end of the training his knowledge of magic gave him the ability to create small bolts of lightning from his fingertips and balls of fire from his eyes.
He was known as the Black Mage, he didn’t care much about his title or the people who gave it to him, his only concern was learning more about magic and the cause of darkness which was unnatural and threatened the natural order of things.
When they were only sixteen the four went hunting in the woods, when they got there they were attacked by a Red Imp, a foul creature that appeared to be almost a foul mockery of a human, with its small figure, twisted features, a long nose and black eyes, seeing the young humans as easy prey it attacked. Within a few minutes it had been overcome by the four, it had died in a wave of blades and magic, it was then they realised that they had easily defeated a foe that would make many soldier cringe in fear, that was when they suspected that may have been the ones mentioned in the prophecy. It was always in the back of their minds yet it had only now been clear to them.
Over the next few years they continued their training, but over time they noticed their master weakening, he claimed that it was because he was so close to where the darkness was coming from, one day he could not leave his bed, while his condition only grew worse. The four were distraught, the only person they saw as a parent was dying.
One day he called the four to his bedchamber and told them what they feared.
''My students i am dying, i will not survive to see the sunset, do not cry for my last few years with you were the best of my life, you are all destined for great things and I am glad to have been part of your training. For I have been training you to be the Light Warriors, the ones to push back the tide of darkness, that is why I gave you the orbs, so that you may restore the light that once gleamed in their centre".
“By the days end a Pirate armada will have taken Pravoka and if you stay you will be killed, I left a small boat hidden by the river for you must leave this night and escape to Corenia, when you get there you must see the king. I leave the rest in your hands, Fighter you must lead them, if you can control your feelings then you will be a great leader, I see that now finally”.
"Thief please do not let greed stop you from doing whats right, helping people is its own reward, White Mage my dear child, i will tell Odin myself when I see him to listen to your prays, for I can see that you will heal the land that has been ravaged, Black Mage with great power comes great responsibility, never let darkness cloud the truth and you will learn what true magic is, farewell my children…farewell’’.
He closed his eyes and fell into a sleep from which he would never wake.
He was buried on a cliff overlooking Pravoka, and even in the darkness they could see the pirate ships in the distance, they turned and left into the night, never looking back.
Fighter looked at Corenia and began to spoke seemingly to himself.
‘‘Why is their a need for darkness, all people do is kill each other, we don’t need demons in hell, we already have our own on earth’’.
‘‘It is because of the darkness that people kill each other’’.
Fighter turned and saw his friend Thief, he was dressed in black leather armour with metal greaves and neckgaurd (to stop me from wringing it thought Fighter), he kept a rapier in his belt but his true weapon was his speed, while stronger people could kill him with a certain ease he was a master of dodging blows, he was also usually the first to strike, to him that was all that was necessary.
White Mage came up the cliff to meet them, she was dressed in long flowing white robes with a red trim, the garment of a priestess, her hood was pulled low but behind it was a face of considerable beauty, yet she kept her hood low as a sign of respect to others, showing her reverence to all things (in her own eyes at least), she kept a small hammer at her belt as her weapon.
Then came Black Mage, dressed in dark blue robes which completely covered his body except for his hands (which he wore brown gloves over) and his face (he wore a large straw hat which almost completely covered his head, all one could see were his bright eyes from underneath the shadows which obscured his face) he carried a wooden staff in his hands engraved with runes, his very presence and unusual look disturbed people.
‘‘So the Thief is the one giving the pious talks now, why should we help those who shunned us and abandoned us’’ Fighter snapped back.
White Mage stepped forward ‘‘It is because of those reasons we must help them, people fear what the do not understand and they do not understand us, or how we acquired our abilities that take people lifetimes to learn, we have to teach them to respect us and more importantly each other’’.
Fighter turned to face Corenia ‘‘The only reason I am here is because it was masters final wish, when we are done here I am going back to Pravoka, pirates or no pirates the people of this world will have to sort themselves out’’.
Black Mage lifted his head and said ‘‘Well are we going to stand here all night or shall we go down their and get some rest, we cannot do what is required of us this night, my magic is nearly depleted and nightime belongs to the creatures that roam these lands, we must prepare for the trials ahead’’.
This they all agreed on, leaving north towards the gates, it was nearly sunset so the guards were soon going to stop people from entering or leaving the city.
They reached the gates before the night watch was assigned and were greeted by eight crossbows aimed at them, the four stopped and Fighter shouted
‘‘We are travellers seeking refuge within the city’’.
‘‘Get lost’’ they heard one of the guards shout ‘‘No travellers this late, especially not Elven scum’’.
Thief visibly tensed at this, he shouted back
‘‘We are here to help the king, but if the city doesn’t want any ‘Elven scum’ helping them then I can go somewhere else’’.
At the mention of helping the king the guards lowered their crossbows and started muttering amongst themselves.
They could hear the dreaded word ‘Light Warriors’ being muttered, along with several other comments that they strained to hear.
‘‘Here to save the princess…’’.
‘‘Are they going to fight Garland’’.
Finally a commanding voice called for the gates to be opened.
The gates were opened and the four were let inside, they were granted free rooms at an inn of their choosing on the condition that they next day that they would visit the castle.
Part 2 = The Kings mistake
The next day came and the Light Warriors prepared to see the king. Fighter, Black Mage and White Mage waited in the guest room of a fairly small inn called 'The mask and the crown’. They were awaiting the return of Thief who left on a recon mission (they wanted to know how bad the situation was from different people rather than trusting the interpretation of one man, even if he is a king).
The door opened and Thief came through, he moved to the table and spoke.
‘’ The situation is worse than we thought, even the thieves wont talk about what has transpired, gold isnt loosening any tongues. All I could get from the townsfolk was mutterings about traitors and kidnappings, but there is something else’’.
'‘When we entered the town someone must have spotted us or the guards aren’t very good at keeping their mouths shut. There are mobs out there looking for us, I could hear them shouting things like ‘The Light Warriors are here’ and ‘Were saved’, so I think we should stick to the back alleys until we can get to the Castle, agreed’’.
‘‘Agreed’’ the others said in unison, no one wanted to be bothered too much, they wanted to help the king as quickly as possible and leave.
Ten minutes later they were surrounded by a mob of people all trying to grab them and it came to no surprise that Thief was to blame.
‘‘I thought you said that alleyway led to behind the shopping district!’’ Fighter shouted as he pushed away peoples hands.
‘‘Why are we in the town centre!’’ Black Mage shouted as he considered summoning his magic to scare away the crowd.
He didn’t get a chance, the town guard arrived and quickly dispersed the crowd. They approached the Light Warriors and a guard with a silver helmet faced Fighter and adressed him with utter respect and reverance.
‘‘Greetings, if you are going to the palace we shall escort you, I am Sir Dakaran and I must apologise on behalf of the townsfolk. With the recent events they have had little to hope for, but now you are here’’.
‘‘Just take us to the castle’’ Fighter said angrily
‘‘Yes Sir’’ said Sir Dakaran, with a knight’s salute (holding his sword blade up in front of his chest).
Fighter only looked at him with disdain.
They were led through mobs of people which seemed to be getting bigger and louder by the second, the guards kept them at bay and controlled, but they could hear shouting coming from all around them.
‘‘Save the Princess!’’
‘‘Kill the traitor!’’
‘‘Kill the dwarves!’’
‘‘Kill the elves!’’
Thief turned and looked at the man who shouted the last comment, the man realised what he had said and bowed his head in his shame.
They finally reached the doors of the castle and the streets were filled with people shouting.
The doors were opened and Sir Dakaran bade them through.
Thief was the last to go, before he went inside he turned to the crowd and waved, he pulled his rapier out and held it to the sky. The crowd went wild, even when the thick oaken doors were shut all could hear the shouting of the people.
All the guards and his other three companions turned and looked at Thief.
''What, we are supposed to give them hope aren’t we ‘’.
The 3 Light Warriors only shook their heads, while the guards smiled, for the first time they believed that the Light Warriors where here and their troubles would soon end.
They were led through the many floors of the castle before they came to a corridor which seemed to go on forever, it was covered with paintings and tapestries of all manners and forms (including a detailed picture of the castle carved in tree bark which Thief swore was of Elven make).
Statues of warriors long dead, stood like silent guardians along the last stretch, they reached a set of double doors at the end of the corridor which were made of the strongest oak and reinforced with metal (the kings last defence in war Fighter thought, because no other kingdom would take him in). Protecting the doors were two guards with silver helmets which saluted them as they walked past, they opened the doors and went into the throne room.
It was a large chamber which held the biggest tapestry the four had ever seen, deatailing the Corenian national flag (a gold dragon holding a crown and a griffon holding a green rod on a red background). In the room were 4 guards with gold helmets on (the kings personal guards).At the head of the chamber were the King and Queen sitting on thrones of gold, silver and bronze flanked by golden statues of Dragons.
The King was a middle aged man, yet the problems of the past few days had made him seem much older, he wore long red robes of state with a silver trim, he also carried a gold sceptre in his hand.
The Queen was the same age as the king yet the problems of the past few days had taken a greater toll on her, she had barely stopped crying and had eaten very little food, she had only appeared in the throne room now because of the rumours of the four had given her hope. She wore a red dress as was befitting of her title.
Sir Dakaran stepped forward and said in a loud clear voice ‘‘My liege, I present to you the four who have came to help’’.
The king said ‘‘Thank you Dakaran you may stand down, take your men and wait in the main hall, I will send for you if I need you’’.
Dakaran bowed and walked out, his men behind him.
‘‘Please step forward’’ said the king who leaned back in his throne.
The four Light Warriors stepped towards the throne, the king turned to Fighter and spoke ‘‘So, you must be the one called Fighter’’.
They looked in surprise at the king.
‘‘We the royal family of Corenia were the first to receive the prophecy from the great mage Lukhan and his friends, we decided that the whole prophecy be a secret to protect you all’’.
They looked at each other and then back at the king.
''Would you like to know the full prophecy?’’.
The King pulled a scroll from his robes and started to read.
"The world is veiled in darkness
The wind stopped
The earth began to rot
The sea is wild
Yet the people wait
Their only hope…a prophecy
When the world is in darkness
Four warriors will come
One known as Fighter will come in anger
One known as Thief will come in desire
One known as White Mage will come in arrogance
One known as Black Mage will come in ambition
And if they do not defeat the darkness within themselves
Then they will not defeat the darkness that threatens the world".
The king rolled up the scroll and put it back in his robes.
‘‘I had a few copies of the original prophecy made, when I heard of your arrival I made sure I kept one, so you would finally realise your destiny’’.
Fighter managed to get past his shock and he spoke ‘‘Those aren’t our real names, but they may as well be, we have been dubbed those names because of our abilities. People prefer to believe that we have come to save them than to realise the truth, we are just people who want peace, that is why we have come to restore it, what has happened that is so terrible’’.
The king leaned forward in the throne and sighed ‘‘Then I shall tell you what has befallen the kingdom’’.
‘‘It all started during the War of crowns’’.
‘‘As you know it started when the Elvin king Astaron and the dwarf’s chieftain Bartelby Stoneblade had a falling out over trade agreements, war broke out and the human cities were drawn into it, sides were taken and war began’’.
‘’ 5 years into the war the kingdoms were bled dry, yet the senseless war continued, hope seemed lost, especially when the General Ragnor disappeared, we continued in despair’’.
‘‘Then one day a young knight appeared, the most skilled man with a blade in the kingdom, he led a suicide mission against the commander of the Elvin armies. The commander himself was King Astaron’s brother, the mighty warrior Calagard’’.
‘‘The unit lead by this knight successfully managed to separate Calagard from his men, he could have ordered his soldiers to cut him down, but he instead challenged Calagard to a duel to the death and if he lost then his men were to let Calagard go. Then would return to Corenia bearing the news’’.
‘‘After many hours of fighting the young knight finally won, they left Calagards body unspoilt for his men to find, then they made there way to the capital and the last true battle of the war was fought there. All the armies met on the fields outside the Elven capital and our side won, the knight for his brave actions was promoted. It was because of his successful rout of the Elven-Melmond alliance that the war ended, after the battle a treaty was finally reached and peace had started to return’’.
‘‘The knight who accomplished so much, his name was Garland’’.
‘‘When he returned he was given the platinum helm and declared the champion of Corenia. He was given money, land and titles aplenty, he led the remaining Corenian army against the bandits and Ogres of the land. He wanted for nothing, but then he asked for something he could not have, he asked for my daughters hand in marriage’’.
‘‘I could not grant this, she was supposed to marry the son of the Elven king, to forge a solid peace between the two nations’’.
'‘Garland could not bear the thought of there being something he could not have, he started to grow more distant. He was seen outside a place to the north known as ‘The Temple of Fiends’, a place where worshipers of darkness once gathered and performed rituals, but it was abandoned’’.
‘‘The reports of sightings of him in the temple started to grow, yet I had not the courage to confront him on the subject. He and I were friends and I had to deny him the one thing he truly desired, for the sake of the kingdom’’.
The Queen started to cry again, she knew what was coming next.
‘‘Two days ago Garland entered the city dressed head to toe in a suit of jet black full plate mail armour, his eyes burned an unusual red, he pulled the gates of the city open with his bare hands and broke the great beam that normally blocks the great doors of the castle. He marched into the throne room and yet no one had the courage to stop him, our fears had been realised, Garland had turned to darkness and his hatred of me fuelled his unholy powers’’.
‘‘He marched into the throne room and stood where you are standing now, he spoke to me in a changed voice ‘you fool, you put the needs of the weak fools you call subjects in front of the needs of those you called friend, because of your betrayal I have turned to darkness and now I can have what I desire’.Then he pulled out his blade which shined as black as the night’’.
‘‘My personal guards attacked him while I escaped into a hidden passage that only I knew of, yet he slaughtered my elite guards with barely an afterthought.Then he tore through the castle to the princess’s room, he was sealed off and was trapped at the top of the highest tower, he climbed to the highest window and leapt out’’.
''I despaired, even though he had turned to evil he was still my friend I did not want to see him or my beloved daughter die".
‘‘Yet they did not die, Garland seemed to grow wings made of darkness, he took flight and sped towards the Tempe of the Fiends’’.
‘‘Then came messages of pirates invading Pravoka, we had to concentrate on protecting the city from an attack, even then no one would volunteer to save the princess, all had seen Garlands skill and feared him more than any man’’.
‘‘Then you arrived, i ask of you a boon, i want you to save my daughter and release Garland from the darkness that he has surrounded himself with, if you do this then I will make sure you are properly rewarded, it will help restore the peace of the land’’.
‘‘I ask a lot of you I know, but you are the Light Warriors and if you do not help us now then Garland will only get stronger and he will eventually hunt you down, if he feared anything in this world then it would be you’’.
''Will you please help me?’’
The four looked at each other and then back at the king.