A true jewel from my childhood, I’ve always felt that Final Fantasy III (VI in Japan) was one of the best video games of all time, at least partly because of the wonderful storyline. The characters were fun and lovable, the plot genuinely pulled you in and kept you playing, and it even had a number of subplots and character back-stories to really pull everything together. My best friend and I spent countless hours playing that game, and when it was released again as a Gameboy Advanced cartridge I nearly lost my mind.
That’s why, a few years back, I decided to write a fan-fiction for this particular game. But not the usual kind of fan-fiction where you take the characters and put them in a whole new story…no, I wanted to novelize the story I already loved. That’s how Final Fantasy: Returning Hope was born. I’ve been writing this story off and on for a while now, and I’m not even close to being done, but the comments I’ve gotten on it so far have been pretty good. That said, I thought I’d start sharing it for Fiction Fragment Fridays. I’ll have to chop the chapters up quite a bit because of the length of some of them, but you’ll always be able to see the whole story by choosing “Final Fantasy: Returning Hope” from the Categories drop-down banner on the left side of the blog. Enjoy the first part of Chapter One!
*Spites via http://www.videogamesprites.net*
The wind was bitterly cold. The natural formation of the mountains funneled each gust down into the large caverns, creating ghostly howls that would cause even the bravest man’s hair to stand on end. The two men who stood on a cliff overlooking these mountains were certainly brave, but certainly not the bravest.
“There’s the town…” Biggs mumbled. He glared with dislike at the twinkling lights of the small mining town several miles away.
“It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?” Wedge asked no one in particular, “A thousand years after the War of the Magi and they dig up a perfectly preserved frozen esper…”
“Think it’s still…alive?”
Wedge gave Biggs a strained look. “Judging by the urgency they put on this mission? I’d say that it must be.”
The two soldiers stood in silence for several moments, the enormity of the situation weighing heavily on their minds. The wind blew heavily at their backs.
A very out-of-place flash of color caught the corner of Biggs’ eye and he sneered. The woman standing silently several feet away was a sore topic for him, but even so he couldn’t help staring at her strange and mysterious beauty. The flash of color he’d seen was her long, wavy hair, which was a decidedly inhuman bluish-green, akin to the hue of tropical waters. Her eyes, which stared unblinking as though they were dead, were a hauntingly beautiful gray; looking into them was like gazing into a thick wall of fog through which sunlight was desperately attempting to burst. Draped around her thin body were bits and pieces of Imperial armor, although this had been done simply as a formality. No one truly expected this ‘soldier’ to be in any danger of physical damage.
“This woman…” Biggs broke the silence, “This…witch…why is she with us? I don’t trust her. I heard she took out an entire battalion of Magitek soldiers in under three minutes!”
“Overblown rumors,” Wedge insisted, though the sound of his voice indicated that he had considered the stories as well, “Besides, we’ve got nothing to worry about.” He pointed to the thin gold circlet wrapped around the woman’s head. “The slave crown robs her of all conscious thought and free will. She’ll follow orders.”
Gazing into those unblinking, unmoving eyes, Biggs found that he was neither convinced nor comforted. “Whatever you say…” he muttered, “Let’s suit up.”
The huge mechanical bodies that they climbed into made Biggs and Wedge feel slightly more comfortable amidst the dark, the wind, and the snow. The cranks and levers, which controlled the massive arms and legs, felt warm and familiar beneath their fingertips. From the chest up their own human bodies rose above the Magitek armors, allowing them to take in their surroundings from an elevated point of view. The suits would also make their trek much faster and much less exhausting.
Due to the suggestion implanted in her mind before they’d left for their mission, the woman followed suit and climbed gracefully into her own armored body.
“Whatever you might say, I want her up ahead of me at all times,” Biggs announced over the wind. Wedge rolled his eyes, but secretly he had been thinking the same thing.
“We’ll approach from the East. Move out!”