SquareSoft: Generations Chapter 9
Kiss From a Rose
By Dawn Wilkins
You became the light on the dark side of me There is some much man can tell you so much he can say Love remains a drug that is high enough to kill You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain Tell me, is it healthy, babe? (Kiss from a Rose; Seal; Seal)
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
The unwavering rhythm of the clock lulled Cecil into thought. Thoughts about his beloved Rosa, his friends Kain, Rydia, Edge, and the mulitude of others. Those reveries drifted to the final clash with Zemus and the mystery of his brother Golbez. They included his eccentric travels with his motley companions Magus and Terra. He thought a thousand thoughts in just a few moments.
Where has all the time gone? He didnt know. Resting his weary head against the cool glass of the clock he gazed at the reflection of himself in the mirroring surface. Colorful dawn had begun to peak through his window streaking on his image. While both the clock and the chamber might have been in a distinct dimension they were identical to his back home at Baron. The battle with Tarus forces had ended. The invaders were repelled. However, they needed to address the man himself to ultimately conclude this war.
Then Ill be able to return to Rosa. This time nothing will halt our wedding. The earth itself crumble before me and well find our way back to each other.
The eyes of Rosa floated into his vision. Emerald orbs flashing with adoration--wait! Rosa doesnt have green! Hers are brown! The green eyes belong to
Cecil sighed. As of late he couldnt comprehend the sudden variation in his feelings. Was it mere time and trial that lured him to the captivating wizardess? Again, a mystery. And not one that he liked. He was becoming as unpredictable as Magus, as hard as that was. The warriors lips formed a line. Oh, Rosa, where the hell are you? Whats to be done now? Again, memories filled his vision
He was in Baron, his chamber in the left tower to be exact. Midnight had just struck, most of the other light warriors snored in various guestrooms of the fortress. The wall clock drummed. A cool breeze drifted in from his window. Ivory sheets covered his functional bed.
Rosa stood before him.
You should be in bed, she observed. Her cream-colored nightgown accentuated her curves.
The warrior shook his head. Im not tired. Go back to sleep.
Now Rosa tossed her blond-brown locks. Im not tired, either.
Warrior and healer stared at each other knowing by extraordinary means what the other thought about. Without word Rosa strode to be enveloped into the paladins waiting arms. He caressed the silken threads of her blond-streaked hair. She laid her ear upon his heart, listening to each beat, a mate of hers.
What are you thinking about? she asked.
Thoughts of the betrayals of Kain, the shocking revelation of Golbez, and the format for his upcoming conflict with the dreaded Zemus, these occupied his mind. The weight of a warrior, and a leader to boot, hung on his shoulders. But instead he replied, You. I love you. Youve become the light in the dark hole of my humanity.
A smile graced Rosas lips. I love you, too. And youve degenerated into a liar. Cecil feigned astonishment. She continued, eyes alight with good humor, Now dont play the innocent one. I can see the thoughts of battle dance in your head. Youre worried about the assault on the Crystal Fortress.
He could not deny it. He wanted to deny it, refuse the fear access to his heart, but it pumped in his arteries as he realized that HE would lead the light warriors into a dark world, opposing savage beasts. HE was their leader, and should defeat come about HE was at fault. HE, and no one else.
The weight of the world, simply-put.
Rosa cupped his face in her hands so they faced one another. Crystal-blue eyes flashed against cinnamon-brown eyes. He felt the strength of her love surround him. Cecil, dont ever think that you cant express your doubts with me. You may be the leader but we are a team. Kain, Rydia, Edge. And me. Be honest about your fears, if you expect us to be about ours.
Youre too good for me, my love, Cecil answered with a smile.
Her eyebrows curled seductively. Raising her arms to encircle his neck she passionately kissed him on the lips. In response, the warrior tightened his grip on her slender waist, feeling the softness of her nightgown. Her warm body and love of him felt relaxing. The weight ominously diminished.
Cecil, no matter what happens, no matter what losses we suffer, always remember I love you. Rosas voice was faint yet strong and he gazed at her with absolute gratefulness.
I can do more than remember..." Releasing her waist he lifted her up in his arms, his precious rose, and swung her around. She squealed in delight.
As Cecil carried her quiet starlight gleamed on his linen sheets. Gently he laid Rosa down, and stared into her eyes. Moments passed...then they kissed. Then he recoiled onto the bed over her, his warrior hands holding her in an ardent embrace. Short gasps of desire suffocated Cecil. With each of those breaths he realized how right this felt. Loving the one he dedicated his life to. He wanted to voice the words of his heart but she silenced him by pressing two fingers to his lips.
"Shh,...not now. Talk later. Just love me, Cecil. The way I want to be loved."
Cecil smiled. What a woman!
The white wizardess lifted her slender fingers to his chest, unbuttoning his off-white shirt. Sighing wistfully, Cecil trailed wet kisses down her breasts. She, in return, affectionately nuzzled his cheek with her own, rapidly finishing the task of unbuttoning him. Curling his fingers, the paladin unlaced the silk belt. Kisses were exchanged in a loving abandon.
Whatever had brought the two together, what strange forces of nature, seemed dominant now constructing the beauty of lovemaking. His emotions, powerful and enduring, would persevere the test of time and pleasures of the flesh.
Silent darkness, repelled only by a single lunar beam nestled the two as they lay in union. They merged into a single entity. The heavenly moment ended and now mere breaths and beats could be heard. His beats. Her beats. Their heartbeats.
The white wizardess hesistated. "I--I want to be your wife."
Rosa straightened. Holding the blanket aloft she whispered, "I, Rosa Farrell, do pledge my life and love, to you Cecil Harvey. From this moment on, foul or fair, we are one."
Wedding vows? Sliding his hand to twin hers Cecil spoke, amazed, "That's vows taken by wedding couples!" Her eyes gleamed contentedly. "I know," was all she answered.
"I wouldn't be able to find a minister for miles around. You know that, right?" Again, "I know."
She never ceased to utterly startle him.
Simultaneously, they declared the devotion, voices and hearts laced in love. Then they turned to one another and kissed. Her charming green eyes allured him. Again they engaged in the matriomy of lovemaking...
A deep clank dragged Cecil reluctantly from his euphoria. Glancing down he discovered the source of the sound--his coronet. He bent to a knee, scattered thoughts merging to one. As much as I love you Rosa, now isn't the time to think of...that...Instead, I should be concentrating on how to best manage my resources to end this absurd war. Then, I can think of marriage...and that!
With mildly disconcerting efficiency the paladin severed the immediate connection to his memories. Plans of uniting the talents of Magus, Terra, and, Ben with his own chased thoughts of what their quest would require. Rations? Obviously. Torches? Probably. Other concepts were quick to follow. Just as he was garnishing his assault plot with Magus' wild magic a knock drew him to the door. Opening it revealed an extremely distraught Terra.
Cecil's jaw dropped. "Terra, are you okay?"
They stood in an awkward silence. He could see her hair, sea-green, was frayed about the ponytail and her cheeks were drained of blood. A fit of trembling seized her all the while her eyes dilated in a haunted look. Stunned and bewildered, he stepped forward to take her into his arms. She resisted.
"It's time we faced this."
Eyebrows raised, the warrior finally spoke like feet on shattered glass, "Faced what exactly?"
Terra's only reply was to grab him roughly and press her lips to his. His head spinning Cecil could do nothing but gape stupidedly. That seemed satisfactory to the wizardess for she aggressively kissed him on the cheek, the neck, the chest--any part of his flesh. Ambivlance locked the air in the paladin's lungs but he managed to hoarsely mutter, "Stop, Terra."
But somewhere in the dark hole of Cecil's humanity he wanted this woman. Wanted to take her and have his way with her and love, marriage, fidelity, be damned. Cecil encircled her inviting skin and, panting with unsated lust, ran his lips over her. She purred in animalistic rapture. The fragrance of her lush hair as she draped it over his face intoxicated him.
A faint image of Rosa came to his mind's eye but that was all required. Thrusting Terra forcefully from him he backed to the door. What the hell just came over me then!? Forgive me Rosa, but I want her. Oh god, how far I've fallen from the grace of our love! Terra frowned. With measured strides of a feline she approached, motioning him forward again. He made another step to the door.
"Cecil,...come to me...I want you...You want me..."
"No! Damn it, what's the matter with you?! I love Rosa!"
An inhuman growl came from deep inside her throat. At that moment she didn't seem entirely human. Her eyes dilated even further (if that was possible). Her face twisted in hate. And Cecil gasped audibly when he saw her metamorphize.
Not entirely human. What before him certainly wasn't.
Terra's hair shaded from green to an ivory white. Beastial claws sprouted from her fingers as her body shed all clothing and rapidly grew thick snowy fur. Her beauty was exquisitive but primitive. Only her eyes remained constant. And that was probably the most frightening part of all.
"Holy Mysidia, what has become of you, Terra!?!"
A vase-shattering screech came from the primal Terra and she swallowed up the distance between them. Before the paladin could even blink she snatched him up like a sack of flour. With an expert toss of her hand and Cecil catapulated out of the room's entrance. He landed, hard, out in the corridor knocking down a table, chair, and a ridiculous looking plant (but oddly enough the vase there survived). Pain erupted up his back. Pinpoints of light flashed before his blurred eyes. Even if he had the sense of mind to flee Cecil wasn't given the opportunity. The wizardess leapt on him, pearly claws piercing his shoulder. Panic set in as he fought the losing hand to hand combat with an enormously strong Terra. Only his leadership skills saved him.
The vase! A weapon! A sweep of his hand and he claimed it. He brought it down on her head with all the might he had. It was enough to provoke a shriek of rage and pain and she withdrew. Dizzy, Cecil was immeasurably thankful when his vision picked up Ben's white-haired figure. Ben watched Terra, who returned to the room, then assisted Cecil to his feet.
"I will be eternally in your debt, Ben."
Ben chuckled. "All in a day's work, rescuing a damsel in distress." Then he added in mock disapproval, "Though you're the damned ugliest damsel I've had the misfortune of rescuing."
"Terra's..." But before he could complete the sentence Ben interjected, "Never mind the long winded explanations. I'll see to this." With that he entered and Cecil followed, all the while shaking his head.
Terra resided inside the chamber huddled against the wall. She growled softly at the sight of them. Ben instructed the paladin to stay some paces away. Cecil obeyed. Then, the mystery known as Ben examined the wizardess, making throaty grunts as if in analysis. After a moment he muttered a few words. Magic. A soothing breeze wafted in the room and it seemed to pacify her. More moments passed and she finally drifted to dreamless slumber.
Cecil released a breath--one he hadn't known he had been holding.
The good-natured aura of Ben's faded. A deadly seriousness emanated from him, reminding the paladin of Magus' wrath. "Why didn't you tell me things had degenerated this horribly!?" Cecil felt like a child being scolded. "This could have been fatal. You don't know how this world works. The rules of your world don't apply." Glancing up into the eyes he amended his initial statement. More like a judge deciding life and death on his answer.
"I didn't realize...I mean, it didn't seem appropriate...damn, why didn't I?"
"Be honest about your fears, if you expect us to be about ours."
Of course, Rosa. Thank you. Even so far away you are with me always. "Honestly? I don't know who to trust or where to turn. I'm not always the best judge of character. " Cecil smiled dryly at his own words. "Now would you tell me what caused...that!" He gestured to the sleeping Terra.
A nod of approval came from Ben. Finally he answered, "It's her esper blood. The massive magic summoning and consumption is playing havoc with her mind and body. If she acted...inappropriately...you can blame it on that."
"I see." Don't be disappointed, Cecil. You love Rosa, remember?
Grabbing a sheet off the warrior's bed Ben tucked Terra in. Turning back to Cecil he announced, "We'll have to wait until she awakens. By then she should have returned to normal. Then we'll have to set out for the sword. No time to waste. Each moment brings Tarus closer to his goal."
"Right. I'll go tell Magus. Is he awake?"
Something strange happened then. Ben's eyes clouded over with grief and not a little fury. Cecil didn't know what line he had troded over but he estimated it was serious. He waited for the mage to recover. Then Ben replied, a note of sorrow in his voice, "Magus is gone."
"Gone? Gone where?"
The answer was strained. "I can only guess. Only two possible explanations. Either he has been eaten by the lion or he IS the lion. I don't know which is worse."
Neither did Cecil. He wondered it of himself.