The Story Chapter 5
Defining a Destiny
Kain shook the weariness from his eyes and head as he continued his trek for Baron. He had captured a chocobo from the forest south of Mt. Ordeals in hopes it would shorten the time taken to journey to the port at Mysidia, but exhaustion continued to settle at the corners of his mind and trek inwards. He should have rested while the Oracle had done the same.
Kain slightly smiled as he adjusted his hold on reins. He hadn't wanted to miss any of her conversing. The thought of being so open and... joined with someone of her ability had kept the exhaustion then at bay with wonder and awe. Especially since the felling of the wall had heightened his awareness of her presence within and without. Her warmth had burned brighter. Her soothing presence had caressed softer. Her voice had beckoned his soul and mind to a greater attraction than the intrigue he had previously felt. And the viewing of her loveliness? All had joined to a feeling of... desire.
Kain cleared his throat and directed his mind away, instead going to the duty of gathering the words used for the explanation of his victory over the silence-- He smiled when he felt her warmth and presence as a brightness within.
"My lady Oracle," he greeted gently.
'My lord--' Her voice within his mind cut off with an abrupt feeling of concern. 'Kain, you are weary. You should rest.'
There was another soft touch of soothing, and he felt a slight rejuvination and renewal as she healed what she could.
Kain attempted to visualize her face as the presence heightened. He could almost feel her sitting behind him on the chocobo. "I am fine, my lady. Soldiers march for longer periods than this with less sleep. If I couldn't... I wouldn't be a soldier."
Her smile nearly numbed his brain. 'Yes, and you have always been a good soldier, my lord Kain. Your father would be proud of your dedication to duty and justice, even against the king.'
Kain could almost feel her arms wrapping around him. "I wonder if my mind would have been so easily manipulated had he been alive yet. Perhaps he would have been able to train me in a technique to work against it?"
'Perhaps. Perhaps you can create one utilizing your experiences? I believe King Cecil would appreciate the added defenses to his troops.'
"I will think on it, of course. That would definitely benefit the kingdom." Kain felt her scrutiny even though they were so distant, and he began to wonder if she watched him from the summit of Mt. Ordeals using the white circle. "Yes, my lady Oracle?"
'My lord Kain, try to converse with me using only your mind.'
Kain pulled up on the reins with an action of surprise. "How?"
'You feel my presence within your mind, do you not?'
Kain briefly nodded.
'Speak to that presence. Using self. Using spirit. Using all.'
Kain furrowed his brow in concentration as he attempted to center that portion to speak to the presence he felt. He heard her softly laugh.
'Kain, do not try so hard. The bond will direct your voice to my soul and spirit. I feel you clearly. Just speak within instead of without.'
Kain's expression softened to a smile as he again urged the chocobo toward Mysidia. 'Why didn't you explain it that way to begin? Soldiers require the easiest explaination possible, my lady Oracle.'
She laughed again. 'Not so, my lord. Soldiers are deep souls who require close inspection to understand. You are no different than the others I have helped.' He felt her hand rest tenderly against the back of his head. 'Save that I felt drawn to your depth due to the silence that kept me distant.'
Kain firmed the feeling of her arms around him and reached down to lightly stroke her hand. He could almost feel the softness of her skin. 'As your warmth drew and beckoned to me, my lady.'
A greater wave of care brightened the warmth to a near burning within his brain.
'That is the first time another soul has touched me over a great distance,' she said very softly.
And the desire to hold her-- Kain set it firmly aside as he stroked the vision of her hand once more before again gripping the rein. 'And it has been many months since a woman has touched me,' he admitted. 'My determination to curb my weakness distanced me from everyone. Your presence after such a long silence...' Kain cleared his throat. 'It will be nice to be surrounded by that comraderie again.'
Concern flared, especially when all he sensed was her presence and no emotion. 'My lady Oracle?'
Worry and concern joined, fanning a flame that propelled his self and essence to search for her as his focus seemed to spread within and yet without at the same time. Back to Mt. Ordeals. Up the paths to the summit and a white circle... He could almost see her kneeling within the center with her oak staff in her hand, the gem glowing brightly as she stared down at it with glimmering eyes.
Kain's steps halted as he envisioned his self kneeling down beside her and placing a comforting hand upon her shoulder. 'My lady? What's troubling you?'
She lifted her head and met his gaze, her silver-blue eyes like gems as she softly smiled. 'You learn fast, my lord,' she said tenderly. 'This was a test I concocted to see how strong the bond had become in these months I have cultivated it. I did not realize it had grown to be as strong as this.'
She lowered her gaze again. 'I have been Oracle since before I was considered a woman. I have seen and felt and wandered within the souls and spirits and hearts of countless many. Even when I was but a young girl susceptible to the romantic visionings of growing infatuated with a helped soul I have never... ' The Oracle lifted her eyes to Kain's, and his chest tightened. 'Your presence burns within my mind and soul,' she whispered. 'Never before have I felt a warmth such as this.'
'Nor I,' he confessed, tone slightly gruff as he lowered his hand from her shoulder. No. The desire and attraction burned brighter with each moment their presences were entwined.
She reached out and took firm hold of his hand. 'Please seek out my name,' she whispered, and the plea was empassioned. 'Please, Kain. Seek out and find the name that will bind, forever, my future with yours. I want to be the woman within the vision for your future.'
Kain closed his eyes as he lifted her hand to his lips. 'As I want you to be.' He whispered his lips against her skin.
The Oracle lowered her staff to the ground and drew him into a tight embrace. An embrace of spirit and emotion. An embrace different than any he had ever shared. It burned and entwined, redefining an emotion that he had never before sought. Deepening a bond he had already felt to be as strong as the wall that had previously kept her distant. Now that bond drew her in while drawing him to her. To this woman of humility and gentle passion for those in need. To this woman who wanted her future destiny to be paired with his.
The Oracle pulled herself slowly back to gather his face into her hands. Her silver-blue eyes glimmered as tears shined upon the smooth skin of her cheeks. Her spirit caressed his, heightening the bond and fanning the desire... Kain drew her hands from his face with extreme effort and control, steeling himself against it as he stood away-- An expression of loss paled the loveliness of her face as she also rose, and the coldness of her spirit made him quickly shorten the distance he had put between them. He returned the caress, encouraging the bond and the feelings.
She smiled and slightly tightened her hands on his. 'To discover the name, we must share all of one another. You have lowered the wall separating past from possible future, thereby welcoming my discovery of your past name so that I may speak your future one. Now I must encourage you to discover the same of me. To do so...' Her silken cheeks flushed slightly. 'To do so I must encourage the bond.'
Kain nodded with understanding. 'I will try not to hold myself distant, my lady, but a soldier's life is one of control.'
Her expression softened. 'This I know, Kain. You are honor and duty defined.' She lowered her gaze to their clasped hands. 'Hence I am drawn to you? So very few, other than the King, have been so purely defined by the following of one's duty. As I am. Now this duty has brought to you a quest to discover a name for a future you did not know you desired.' She released a deep breath and gave his hands another squeeze as she lifted her gaze. Then she stood on tiptoes to caress his cheek with her lips. 'I must go, my lord. I sense another searching soul has newly arrived to this mountain.'
She drew herself back, and he could feel the reluctance as she released his hands. He bent to retrieve her staff and offered it to her. 'Be well, my lady Oracle.'
The Oracle smiled and accepted the staff, her hand lingering in its touch of his. 'Travel safe, my lord Kain.'
Kain drew his inner self from her side, still watching as she also distanced herself from him. Then her presence and her warmth were quiet and only a memory.
Kain released a deep breath and adjusted his hands on the reins, still feeling her... yet not... and wondering if it was the continuation of their growing bond... and hoping it wouldn't fade as he trekked closer toward Baron.
Sara gently wiped the tears from her cheeks, releasing a deep breath as the lingering of his strength and support and care warmed her entire self. Her entire body prickled and trembled with his presence and tenderness, giving birth to an eagerness and anticipation she had never before felt. There had been only one other man whom had accepted her bond and sought to discover her name. A Red Wing of Baron.
Sara adjusted her hold on her staff and dissipated the circle and the barrier before turning for the path to the base of Mt. Ordeals. Never again had she thought to bond. And yet the warmth and the strength she felt within from Kain... It grew quickly, more quickly than her first bonding, and felt deeper. More complete. Stronger. As she had told him, never had she felt such a warmth within. It burned, and it burned bright. Even now she could still feel his strength and support, it was distant, but the bond continued to hold it to her. And does he also feel me?
Sara softly smiled as she focused on the path beneath her sandaled feet... yet not. Remembering the discovery of his darkened past and the encouragement she was able to offer. Remembering the inner conversation and his encouragement offered by way of the emotions he had felt. Remember his touch and the growth of the bond and the feelings ushering each closer to the other. Remembering all and allowing it deeper within as well as softly along the connection she felt growing between them, hoping he could feel and know that she continually thought of him.
When Sara felt a slight touch within, one of welcome and longing... She giggled and offered back a similar touch to let him know she had felt his presence.
"My lady Oracle?"
Sara lifted her gaze, but the smile didn't fade as Kain's touch within continued. A young man of 14 or 15 years of age with pale blonde hair, dark eyes, and a welcoming spirit and expression stood across from her, smiling.
'Yes?' she asked, and she noted the staff in his hand and the simple robes of his attire. Hope rose within.
"My lady, I had a vision that was confirmed by the Elder and made my way here immediately. I am to be your apprentice."
Curiosity touched her within. Sara produced a hand to the young man as she answered the silent question from Kain. 'I am pleased to meet you... Seth,' she greeted, pulling his name from the bright and welcoming spirit of the lad.
Seth's smile glowed as he returned her gentle clasp. "Can we start right away, my lady?"
Sara softly laughed and then drew the young man forward with a fond embrace of his shoulders. 'Of course. What answers do you seek?'
And Kain's brightness of happiness and encouragement nearly blinded her inner self with joy.
Kain absently stared up at the ceiling of stars while listening to the crackle of his camp fire and the soft coo of his chocobo. The Oracle continued to teach the young man - Seth, Kain believed his name to be - on the intricacies of being an Oracle of Mt. Ordeals. He knew that she felt his continued presence, and with each hour his ability to feel and interact with her grew. Like a muscle that gained strength with use.
Kain wasn't able to focus on much of what she taught the young man, instead using the growing connection with her to quest for her name. To search for those memories that would give him an insight, even deeper, into the type of woman he had grown so intimately connected to.
The snippets of images he had been able to draw from her thus far didn't help in his quest. Frustration and irritation had flared several times on his trek to the dock, and each time she had immediately heightened the connection with him and invited a discussion of his irritation.
'I can see naught but snippets of images that make no sense!' he had fumed on one occasion.
'Do not attempt to place a story with the image,' she had soothed.
'If I don't place a story, how can I find your name?'
She had soothed his spirit with a gentle touch and a warmth of an embrace before answering. 'When the story is ready to be told it will find its voice. Now you must only heighten the connection between us and learn how to best fulfill your quest. Search, Kain. That is all you need do. Search and do your best to enjoy the adventure.'
Now Kain adjusted his hands behind his head and viewed a longer collection of images that seemed to tell a story of her first days within the White Order. She looked to be only six years of age, and the expression on her face told of excitement and laughter. No sound accompanied the images, and the movement of them was jerky at best, but it still gave a slight story. An intrigue into a deeply intense woman of gifts and duty and extreme love for all.
There was only one image that never seemed to grow in length, and the edges seemed blackened and the image itself blurred. That image always beckoned Kain to search for it again, but each viewing didn't reveal more of a hint to a story. His instinct told him that there was a powerful memory paired with the image, but something made him hesitant to ask her of it. Maybe the blackness, which hinted at pain. And the idea that she had experienced pain rose within him a desire to ask so that he could maybe smooth it away--
Her presence within and without heightened, and Kain drew himself from the image to notice Seth had been encouraged to study and meditate on his own before bedding down for the evening. Now she was alone on the summit of Mt. Ordeals within the white circle, protectively ensconced behind the protective barrier.
Kain slightly smiled, adjusting his head back into his hands. 'My lady,' he greeted, and he envisioned his self to stand in front of her and take her hands in his.
She smiled up at him, the hood of her robe settling back against her shoulders to reveal her face. Kain's chest tightened at the vision and the remembered future they would share. By the flush of her cheeks, he knew she could feel his longing for a culmination of that future.
'Tomorrow I should be on a ship bound for Baron Kingdom,' he told her softly, albeit a bit gruffly.
Her eyes shone with her smile. 'I know. But tonight you have been gazing at the stars while questing my name.' Her smile widened slightly. 'I have sensed a hesitation to ask a question, though.'
Kain lowered his gaze to their hands. 'There is an image...' He felt her intense scrutiny of his face as well as the hesitancy he felt within.
'Yes. An image of what?' she prompted gently, encouragement and care soothing his spirit and heightening his closeness with her.
Kain tenderly caressed the skin of her hands with his thumbs as he held them. 'This image is always colored by a bit of darkness, my lady,' he continued carefully, and he felt her smile waver and fall away with the pain of the memory. Kain looked up to meet her gaze, but it had also lowered to an examination of their hands. He quickly offered forward strength and support to cover her slight chill of pain. 'I'm sorry,' he offered gently. 'I only ask so that I can take away the pain it gives you. As you took my pain.'
'I know, my lord,' she said in a slightly choked voice, 'but I did not expect you to traverse so quickly to a point of tenderness for me. How...' She finally lifted her gaze to meet his, and her eyes glistened with tears. 'How did you find this tragic memory so quickly?'
Kain very slightly shook his head. 'I don't know. It seemed to search me out, and now it beckons for me whenever I look at the images from your past.' He intensely examined the pained expression within her silver-blue eyes and the tautness of her ethereal beauty... 'Give me this pain, my lady. Please. Don't attempt to carry it yourself.'
The Oracle smiled up at him, but it seemed weary and pain-filled. Then she stepped close, wrapping her arms around him as she seemed to draw from him strength and renewal. Kain embraced her, eagerly offering whatever she needed.
'The image you have found is the memory of a previous bonding.' Her voice brimmed and overflowed with pain and tears, as did her very self.
Kain stood against the onslaught of anguish and absorbed it into himself, giving her strength and concern and care...
'He was a soldier, as you are, but of the Red Wings under the command of King Cecil before he was even Paladin. We met here while he quested for a vision of a future. If his duty within the Red Wings went well, he wanted to know what his future destiny could hold and choose accordingly. He planned to have a family and wanted the best for them.' She took in a ragged breath and released it slow.
'It was the first time I had ever wanted to forfeit my future as Oracle. He was a man of deep honor and purpose, and that beckoned to me. We talked for hours of pasts and futures and possibilities, and I felt his desire to bond with me. I questioned him on the emotion and he agreed. After the bonding he had to leave, as he had known of a mission to be had for the Red Wings. He had known that when he arrived at Mt. Ordeals he would have but a short amount of time to determine his possible future. So, he agreed to seek my name and vowed to return at the end of the mission with it.'
The Oracle choked on a sudden sob, and the intensity of her loss nearly staggered Kain.
'When he died, I felt as if a portion of me had been forcibly ripped away. I felt as if I would die also, but with the loss and the pain of it. I mourned for weeks and months after, searching through the blackness of the pain to a rediscovery of my future and purpose as the Oracle of Mt. Ordeals...' She shook her head slightly against him as she breathed in another ragged breath. 'I never thought to bond again. I never thought I would again feel such a draw on my spirit, or such a pull to share a future. But when I saw my future linked with yours within the vision...'
She deeply sighed, and the loss and pain drifted within the care and concern and support and strength Kain continued to offer. Her spirit eagerly drank it up, and soon he felt an intensity of care returned to him that was unlike anything ever experienced. It seemed to clarify his very perception of her.
'I allowed my destiny to be defined by the future you desired,' she whispered, 'and I welcome it. I long for it. As I've longed for you.'
Kain closed his eyes, taking in and releasing a long and deep breath at the revelation and what it did to the strong bond he felt with her. It braided it to an unbreakable strength... 'You're welcome to my future,' he whispered gruffly, and he could feel the name he sought tickling the corners of his mind.
Final Fantasy 4 Fanfic