The Story Chapter 1
A Definition of Silence
Author's Note: I have no idea what I was thinking putting yet another story on my plate. But considering all the attention the other Final Fantasy games have been receiving... Well, I had to revisit this treasure trove of characters and possible stories.
Kain. Not necessarily a tortured soul, but a soul that was manipulated to dark deeds. His fate changed from the one of honor he had previously cultivated. Many of us wonder how a man so honorable and so dedicated to his friend Cecil and Rosa could allow himself to be manipulated. But evil and darkness is a powerful foe, and manipulating a lonely spirit already troubled by the strange orders from a previously honorable king... I don't believe this would be a very hard task. Darkness and evil have an uncanny instinct about finding our weaknesses and using them against us. This is what I believe they did to Kain.
And afterward? How would these dark deeds torture an honorable soul? How would that affect his future? How would it affect his interaction with his friends? How would it affect his view of himself and what he believed he now deserved as a 'destiny'? This is a possible story.
Silver-blue eyes intensified their study of the man in dark armor as he prepared his meal of stew over a carefully prepared fire. Silence, Sara. Have you heard silence from a man of war before this time? Sara slightly tilted her head as she adjusted her hold on the intricately carved staff of white oak. She stood concealed within the shadows of the forest at the base of Mt. Ordeals. Still watching. Still studying the intensity of this man of armor and...
To Sara, silence was a treasured occurance. Sara was a telepath. An empath. An Oracle of the White Order. A gifted White Mage whom had studied alongside great mages such as Rosa, new queen of Baron, since a young age. Amazing all with her talents and intuitions and proudly wearing the pure white robe and hood of her station. Now she had dedicated herself to the leading of those searching Mt. Ordeals for their destiny and path to their future. But this man. This man of war...
A slight frown drew in winged eyebrows of pale caramel. A frown of intrigue and concern heightened the pure ethereal beauty of what seemed a sculptured face. A man of war should have burned with the experience of his age. The ice of hardness and distance of those witnessed miseries should have coated his soul and heart. This man was silence, and it hinted to the heat and chill hidden behind the wall she could not pass.
Sara absently smoothed her hand over the pearl-like orb at the apex of her staff. The fist-sized jewel glimmered and hummed as it enhanced her innate abilities, strengthening her perception and discernment as she again studied the wall within. It felt stronger than when she had first discovered it so very many months before. Less chiseled and more smooth. Less forced and more natural. It didn't bulge with the weight of his experience pressing behind it. It stood more as a sentinel to... protect?
Sara's expression grew thoughtful. 'You have done well these months alone,' she gently intoned. 'The calm and control are more natural for you.' Sara reached out with her essence to touch the wall, noticing the man's pause and lift of head. 'But does the peace evade you yet?' She studied the wall, hand still resting upon it as she also watched his external self. 'What keeps you returning here? What ordeal have you yet to face and--'
The man stood, his searching gaze slightly narrowed as he slowly examined his surrounding and the forest.
Sara delicately removed her hand from the wall. 'Forgive me, man of war. I did not intend to invade. Your silence intrigues, and I search only for a way to listen to what it voices.'
The man's gaze slowed and then halted at her position, but Sara knew he could not see her. As part of the journey of seeking a new future, Sara always kept her presence shielded until their self had grown ready to see her. It was a spiritual journey, as it were, to listen and see with a different portion of themselves. Today wasn't his time, so she would remain hidden.
But that he had found her location...
A smile caressed Sara's lips. 'Sleep well, man of war, for I know that at the end of your journey the silence will speak. You must prepare yourself for the story it has to tell.' She studied him a moment longer and then turned to vanish, not noticing the man's step her direction...
The presence within and without vanished. Kain, Dragoon of Baron, halted, still feeling the lingering of something just beyond his sense. A voice heard, yet not. And that voice had grown clearer each day. After each journey to Mt. Ordeals. After each exercise in control and separation.
So that he would never again be controlled. So that the voices would no longer decide his actions...
Kain examined the forest a moment longer before returning to the fire and his meager meal. The voice and presence here were different than the remembered chill of Golbez and Zeromus. It held a warmth. A gentleness and peace that beckoned him again to Mt. Ordeals in search of it. Peace had been so long absent from his life and heart that the call couldn't be ignored.
Kain lowered himself into a crouch before the fire, lowering himself also into the calm that soothed the questions and the aching need for peace. The answer waited somewhere along the path to Mt. Ordeals and, one day, he would find it.
And then he would have peace.
Sara thoughtfully watched the man of war's silent and steady progression up the more dangerous path of Mt. Ordeals. It had been a week since her last viewing of his self. His quiet determination. His listening. Searching within and without. Waiting. Watching. All were encompassed within his expression. Yet within his self... That portion was still removed from Sara.
Sara lifted a hand to the orb upon her staff, again focusing her self to the wall that waited for her study. She had seen many such walls within her experience as Oracle of Mt. Ordeals, but none had stood so completely against her in silence; muting her to the need that she knew lingered just behind it. Because of this, Sara had needed to find another way to 'speak' to his soul and spirit in order to discover what he sought. But even with that the distance remained.
Sara's soul ached with it, urging her to find a way beyond the silence to the questions. 'Are you ready, man of war?' she asked, willing the question to the soul that lingered so silent.
His steps slowed.
'Is your soul ready to hear the truth it has sought?' Sara reached out a hand and softly touched the wall of protection and distance.
The man halted.
'What is this wall? What is this creator of silence? Is this for self or others?' Sara smoothed her hand along its face, willing him to feel her presence and hear her voice. 'This is your first question. The first Truth to be faced and revealed.'
An intensity reverberated from the wall, then. A shift within the silence. A change in the very definition of the wall... And a door appeared beneath Sara's hand as the man of war's external self lowered his pack from his shoulders and knelt upon the ground. He closed his eyes as Sara thoughtfully regarded him and the door. It was sturdy, like iron, but there was a handle that welcomed entry.
'Do you not have an answer to this question, man of war? Do you require help to find it?' she pressed, carefully gauging his response and reaction.
The man released a deep breath and the door slowly opened.
Sara softly smiled. 'I am honored at your trust, man of war.' She gently closed the door. 'But you are not yet ready for this complete revelation of self.'
His expression showed a slight frown and the door opened yet again.
'Patience. First you must seek the answer to the Truth I asked of you.' Sara again closed the door, and then she rested a hand on the wall. 'What is the definition of this silence? Is it for self or for others? This answer is the key to the next. Search it out and remember.'
Sara removed her hand and distanced herself from--
His voice and a pull called her essence back. 'Yes, man of war?'
"How did you know?"
Sara's smile returned. 'I know many things, searching soul. Which of these do you seek?'
"How did you know I planned to kill you had you entered?"
Sara's countencance softened, and she again placed a hand upon the face of the wall. 'Silence such as this gives me many answers. I have but to listen and search. As you do. As all who come to this mountain.'
Thoughtful silence answered her statement.
Sara removed her hand--
"Please," the voice and pull came again. "What... Who are you?"
Sara distanced herself from within and continued to watch his exterior self. 'I am the guide to the answers you seek.'
The man opened his eyes to stare directly into hers as she stood still concealed within the forest.
'You are a searching soul,' Sara interrupted gently. 'Pasts are not seen here. Only futures. Only answers to the questions that lead there.'
Sara extended her self to envision a gentle touch on his head. The man's expression changed, but his eyes still didn't focus on her.
'Search the answer for the question given, man of war. Search and remember.'
The man slowly stood and gathered up his pack. Then he again met her gaze... yet not. Finally, he turned and made his way up to the summit of Mt. Ordeals. Sara watched him, thoughtful.
Evening had come, and the man of silence had again positioned himself beside the fire to tend to lance and stew. Retrospective. Listening. Intensely searching. And this time his focus continued to drift to Sara's location within the forest though she hadn't spoken. Though she hadn't touched his silence. Sara regarded him, thoughtful.
The man doffed his helmet, revealing well-kempt pale blonde hair of medium length. He set the helmet beside him and began unfastening the clasps of his breastplate, again sending occasional glances Sara's direction. Sara smiled and adjusted her hold on her oak staff. He was nearly ready.
"I'm not a man of war." He sent her another glance. "I'm a man of protection."
Sara softly laughed. 'Well said, searching soul. I shall no longer call you what you once were.'
The man set aside the breastplate to reveal a tunic of light blue bearing the crest of Baron's Dragooniers. Newly ascended King Cecil was an honorable man; a man whom had achieved the honor of paladinship. A man whom surrounded himself with people of equal honor. That this man bore such a crest...
He began removing his leg armor. "You're silent tonight." Glance. "And distant. Did I choose a wrong path?"
'There are no wrong paths, searching soul. Only waiting answers.'
The man set aside the leg armor and glanced again toward her.
Sara's smile softened. 'You are different this night than others. Have you discovered the first Truth? Does it trouble you?'
He hesitated. "Might I ask a question before answering?"
'Of course, Lord Dragoon. Ask.'
"How do you speak without a voice?" His focus moved to her location and remained. "You speak directly, I understand, but how? My training here has been to prevent the invasion of my mind."
'And so it has. You have done well in this protection. I have simply continued to prove to your self that I am trustworthy. That I do not and will not invade.'
Sara's silver-blue eyes held his unseeing gaze as she reached out with her self to gently touch his head. 'You allowed my voice to be heard. You listened for it. You sought it out.' She smiled and removed her hand. 'Do you have another question?'
The dragoon lowered his head. "No."
Sara adjusted her hold on her oak staff. The pearl glowed as she again appeared before the wall. 'Now what is this silence, Lord Dragoon,' she asked gently, still watching and studying his external self.
"The silence serves two purposes: to protect myself and to protect others."
Sara gave a slight nod. 'And how does it do this, searching soul? she gently prompted.
"By protecting me from the pain of hurting them, and by protecting them from the evil inside."
Sara's expression saddened, and she lightly rested her hand upon the wall. 'Lord Dragoon, there is no evil here. There is weakness, but such does not equal the evil you have seen and battled.'
The dragoon's hands fisted. "Weakness gives birth to evil."
Sara lowered her hand from the wall, envisioning herself, instead, resting a comforting hand on his shoulder. 'Weaknesses can be strengthened, my lord, as you have done. As you continue to do. Take heart in this and move forward.'
He took in a deep breath and then slightly nodded.
Sara's face softened. 'You have done well in the answering of my question, Lord Dragoon. The key is yours, and your quest continues. When you are ready, the next question will be spoken.' Sara withdrew her essence from him. 'Rest well, my lord, and torture not your searching soul. Pasts do not exist here. Only futures.'
He slightly nodded yet again. When Sara moved to turn away deeper into the forest, he stood and stretched a hand her direction. "Wait."
Sara turned back. 'Yes, my lord?'
"Who are you?"
Sara smiled. 'I am she who will help you define the silence. I am she who will guide you to the peace you desire. I am the Oracle of Mt. Ordeals.'
The dragoon dropped to one knee, head lowered. "My lady Oracle!"
Sara envisioned a hand resting upon his shoulder yet again. 'Rise, Lord Dragoon. I do not seek high honors.'
The dragoon slowly stood but kept his eyes lowered. "Forgive any impertinence, my lady."
'There was none; only truth and honesty. Voicing of these will benefit your journey, my lord. Now rest.'
The dragoon bowed. "Yes, my lady Oracle. Thank you."
Sara smiled and smoothed his blonde hair before turning and disappearing into the forest. 'Your journey toward peace has only just begun. Continue on and you will have your desire.'
Final Fantasy 4 Fanfic