The Story Chapter 4

Another Future Name

By Mintbaby

Sara studied the vision again. It hadn't changed. Two boys. A daughter. A loving wife. His honor as Captain of the Guard of Baron. A home. A family. A duty that bestowed peace and acceptance. A family that gave love and belonging. Wholeness. Happiness.

Sara stepped within the vision to study the face of the woman in love with the dragoon. The woman who spoke with feeling and tenderness. The woman who offered welcome in a simple tone and greeting. The woman whom had borne him three lovely children. Love. Contentment. That was what Sara saw within the woman's eyes.

Sara looked to the dragoon. Duty and honor glowed within his expression. Pride of his position could be seen within his stance and in the breadth of his shoulders. Tenderness could be seen in the touch of her hand to his lips. The slight smile and the unspoken vow within his eyes.

This was a future that still wavered within a delicate balance.

Sara turned thoughtfully away, hearing the laughter and the voices as the family led this man of honor into the warmth of the home he had dreamed of while away. But why do I see this woman? She has another duty. Another place to call home.

Sara absently adjusted her hand around her staff... but it wasn't there. Her brows furrowed in confusion. My staff. Where have I...? Sara felt a touch on her hand and then the staff appeared within it. She slowly smiled. Warmth and softness of concern and care flooded over her, muting her own feelings of confusion. 'I am well,' she informed the one who felt them. 'I seek only the answers to my confusion. Be not concerned for me.'

Concern remained, although it faded as care and question overpowered it.

Sara stepped slowly forward. 'I am confused by the face I see within the vision,' she confessed. 'For an Oracle to place herself within a future of the one she helps is a serious sign. A sign that her days of Oracle are soon to end, and that she has chosen the continuation of her future. But how can this be? I haven't been sent an apprentice to train, and Mt. Ordeals must have an Oracle to lead those who seek a new future.'

Sara took in and released a deep breath as she continued along the dreamed path of the trail to the summit of Mt. Ordeals. Support and assurance comforted her.

She smiled again. 'Thank you for your strength,' she told them. Then the smile faded to a serious and thoughtful expression. 'I must tell him of the identity of the woman within the vision. I am only concerned that he will refuse it. He has such...' Sara struggled with the right word before giving a delicate shrug. 'He holds me in such high honor. I am but a humble woman who follows the path her gifts have laid for her. Now my path lies with him, but I do not know how to explain this future.'

Sara released another sigh, and the support, strength, and concern and care continued. It soothed Sara's spirit. 'I have come to care for him these many months. First drawn by his silence, and then the possible pain hidden beyond. And then the man himself beckoned. His honor and strength. His great dedication to duty and protection, so very similar to my own desire to help those discover new paths of future glory.'

Sara focused on the pearl of her staff and lightly touched it. 'In order to reach past the silence to heal the soul beyond the wall... I formed a bond between his spirit and mine. How do I explain to him that this bond will easily blossom to love, if it has not done so already? He will likely disbelieve the sincerity of my feelings and persuade me to stay and fulfill the future I have already called my own for so many years. Even should this forever distance him from the future I know he desires. The future I desire to give to him.'

Her thoughtful frown returned. 'Perhaps he will not refuse it.' Sara softly laughed. 'Perhaps I should talk with him and offer him the choice either way?' Sara sighed, and the support and strength, care and comfort... They all continued to beckon to her. 'Too long have I been alone on this mountain, solving mysteries and futures for others that I can no longer solve my own without help.' Sara halted, clasping her hands to the staff as she held it behind her back. 'Help. Yes. I do need this help, and I remember his offered words of encouragement.'

Sara nodded and pulled herself from her inner discussion... open her eyes to the dulled brown of a tent. She looked to her right and saw a second cot within it. The blankets were straight and tucked tightly under the small mattress. The pillow plumped and positioned under the wool blankets of dark gray. Sara looked to the space between the beds and recognized the dragoon's equipment and armor.

Sara sat up, still beckoned by the overwhelming warmth and softness of the feelings and emotions felt within her dream. She set down the staff still clutched tightly in her hand just as she heard the deep sound of a masculine clearing of the throat. Sara carefully stood, pushing her way from the tent entrance and squinting into the brightness of the morning.

Once her eyes had acclimated themselves, she saw him sitting on a log near the coals of the night fire's remains. He was dressed in his usual tunic of the Dragoons of Baron and the simple brown breeches always worn beneath his armor. He absently rubbed an oiled cloth along the blade of his spear.

Sara softly smiled. The silence had changed to the warmth and softness of strength and support, of concern and care...

"Are you rested?" he asked without turning.

Sara approached then and knelt to his left, looking up into his face as he intensely scrutinized his work on the spear. 'I am,' she intoned gently, 'and I thank you for your great care, my lord.' She focused her gaze to the softly glowing coals. 'I had not realized the venture would exhaust me to such an extent.'

"Felling any wall is difficult, my lady Oracle," he offered, and the support and assurance was even more powerful than before. "I remember a similar wall; a demon wall." The dragoon glanced her direction, and the images and memories of that remembered wall brightly shone within Sara's mind. "I wasn't alone during that fight, either."

'No. You were not. It was my honor to be present for the felling of this one,' she said softly. Sara looked over at him again just as he looked away. Her smile twinkled in her eyes. 'My lord drag--'

"Kain." He cleared his throat and examined his work of polishing the spear head. He occasionally glanced to her. "You may call me Kain, my lady Oracle."

Sara's expression softened. 'Kain,' she repeated.

Kain's ears tinged slightly pink, but his focus never wavered from the spear head.

'Kain,' she began carefully, 'I must explain to you the face in the vision of your future.'

Kain sent her a sidelong glance. "I know." He brushed at a portion of the spear shaft. "It's yours."

Sara nodded, expression serious. 'Yes. The face is mi--'

"No." He cleared his throat and set aside the spear, powerful emotions of care tumbling within and without and tossed like waves of a sea by strength and support. He faced her. "No," he said again, outwardly calm. "The future is yours. A continuation that you have chosen."

Sara smiled. 'And so you can even hear my inner conversations. I did not realize the bond had grown so strong in such a short amount of time.'

Kain lowered his gaze from hers as he began to rub his hands on the legs of his breeches, only occasionally glancing her direction. The emotions continued to flow and comfort. "I have felt your touch within and without since the first day I came to Mt. Ordeals, almost hearing your voice," he confessed. "I thought it was the peace calling for me." Kain sent her another glance. "I suppose it was."

Sara studied his expression as she continued to welcome the care and strength and assurance... 'My lord Kain,' she said gently, 'if you do not wish the continuation of my future to be paired with yours, I understand. It is not unusual, and it has happened before.'

"And why would I not want this future?" he asked, just as gently but without looking to her.

'Because you were not allowed the choosing,' she offered.

Kain smiled very softly and then moved his focus to her face. "No, I wasn't. The answer chose me."

Sara returned his smile. 'And so it has.'

Care rose and blossomed, drawing tears to Sara's eyes as Kain almost hesitantly reached out to touch the line of her jaw. Then he took a gentle hold of her hand and brought it to his lips. Then her wrist and the palm, kissing it with eyes closed.

"Thank you, my lady," he said softly, almost gruffly.

Sara caressed the blonde hair from his face and then his cheek as she willed him to feel also her care, to deepen the bond and encourage the love. 'I am Oracle, my lord Kain. It was my gift.'

Kain slowly lowered her hand from his lips, still holding it within his firmly gentle clasp as care and support and strength... He lifted his eyes to meet hers. "And what gift could I give to an Oracle but my life to her protection?" he asked softly.

Sara tightened her grip on his hand. 'The gift of speaking my name. I have never before heard it spoken.' She lowered her gaze to his gentle clasp. 'However, if you are the continuation of my future, you alone must find it.'

Kain covered their clasped hands with his other as his emotions covered her spirit with comfort. The action drew her gaze. "This name I will find, my lady. I vow it."

Sara's smile returned. 'I accept this vow and quest, my lord Kain, but you must first return to your friends and tell them of your victory over the silence. They continue to wish for your safety and peace.'

"After so many months... It will be strange to be away from your presence, my lady." Kain continued to watch her face. "Will this bond you mentioned, will it lessen the distance?"

Sara welcomed the feelings of curiosity and care, strength and support, awe and humility... 'Yes, it will indeed. For I have essentially bound our souls to one another.' She lowered her gaze to find herself absently stroking the knuckles of his hand. 'It was the only course open to me to allow you to hear my voice...'

"I don't believe you forced the bonding, my lady," he assured. "Didn't you say before that I gave you entry into my mind and spirit?"

Her expression softened. 'So I did.' She again met his gaze. 'Thank you for your encouragement against the guilt, my lord.'

"I know too well the power guilt can have." He lightly touched her hands to his lips again before releasing them to stand. "If I'm to return to Baron, I had best go now, my lady."

Sara rose, her reluctance and his mingled as each held the other's gaze. Kain looked behind him to the tent and then back to Sara.

She motioned to it. 'You had best prepare for the journey, my lord,' she urged gently.

"Kain," he pressed.

Sara smiled and reached up to stroke her fingers through his hair near his ear. 'Kain.'

He drew her hand from his head to his lips. Sara could plainly feel the reluctance, but then strength and a determined resolve forced him to release her hand and step slightly away.

'This mountain will again be silent with your going,' she admitted softly.

"And my journey home, so I will listen for you, my lady."

'And I will speak... Kain.'

His lips lifted in a brief smile, and then he bowed and turned to begin the collapsing of his tent and the gathering of his gear. He didn't look again in her direction, but she could feel his continued 'glances' of spirit to test if she was still there. She smiled and turned to move away, again treading the paths of Mt. Ordeals in search of those who sought their future. She had found hers, and now he had but to speak her name to seal it to him forever.

Chapter 5

Final Fantasy 4 Fanfic