Dark Empress Prologue


The cold night wind that howled through the metal canyons of Vector could be clearly heard in Emperor Gestahl’s study. The room was dark, its only illumination provided by the flames that dwelt in the large brick fireplace. The Emperor sat quietly, his mind occupied with the heavy matters that running a nation required.

The burning logs crackled and popped as he gazed into the fire. The aging Emperor shivered a little in the chill air of his study. Grumbling, he got up to add more wood to the fireplace, wondering how the world’s most modern building in the world’s most modern city could still be so drafty.

With a solid thunk, two more logs landed in the flames. Then, Gestahl turned to make his way back to his overstuffed armchair. Settling back down, he gave a ponderous sigh. He had too little time to relax these days, his life consumed with the war in Doma and terrorist attacks by these so-called “Returners.” There was even talk that anti-Empire movements were springing up in Figaro....

Still, he was confident that the Empire would be victorious. How could it fail, with the weight of the new Magitek weaponry added to the mighty army that had made it infamous? The Empire had never faltered in a conquest, never stopped until its opponents were utterly crushed. The incident at Maranda had shown that iron resolve.

Gestahl snorted. Maranda- what a bunch of fools they had been to think they could resist the Empire. All it had taken was a little fire to convince them otherwise.

The door to the study opened with a creak, and a shaft of harsh white light stabbed into the dark room.

“Who’s there?” the Emperor asked, turning on the newcomer.

She was outlined perfectly in the doorway, her features illuminated by the light that drifted in from the hall. Emerald hair hung down almost to the waist of her suit of black body armor, and equally green eyes glared at him from her porcelain-figurine face. Her appearance was meek, angelic, but something about her disturbed Gestahl.

“Who are you?” he asked, noting with some annoyance that his voice was shaking. It seemed ridiculous that he would be afraid now, in his own study, in his own palace, faced with nothing but this girl.

“Emperor Gestahl.......” she said, her eyes flashing menacingly. She raised her arm, extending her palm towards him as an aura of red energy flared up around her.

That was when he recognized her. This was the infant he had captured in the phantom forest. Kefka’s little lab animal.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded. “What is the meaning of this?”

The aura around her brightened, grew more substantial, and the air in the room suddenly became warmer. Gestahl began to panic. There had to be enough time to draw upon his own magic...

“Kefka!” he shrieked. “Call her off! Kefkaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”

The blast of flame tore from her fingertips, catching his aged body and hurling it across the room. His charred frame hit the wall with a sickening crunch, then fell to the floor.

Laughing, the one called Terra stepped forward, sending another wave of energy across his crumpled form. Gestahl screamed repeatedly as the fire licked at him, slave to pain and terror. All thoughts of counter magic fled as the agony rushed across his mind.

The screams stopped.


Terra ceased her attack, then kicked the blackened carcass to make sure he was dead. As the charnel-house smell of scorched flesh filled the room, she turned to look into the fire as Gestahl had only minutes before. The dancing blaze was reflected in her eyes.


Her friend and her power, the means by which she would fulfill the genetic orders imprinted on her esper soul. The means by which she would control this World of Balance, and all those who dwelt within.

“Tonight,” she whispered, “The new empire begins.”

Chapter 1

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