The Creation of Heaven and Earth Prologue
How Many Times
The chilling air reached out and embraced the emerald haired woman as she searched the abyss that surrounded her for any sign of life. Her slender body shivered from its icy caress. She wrapped her dull colored cloak tighter around her form, a failed attempt to keep warm.
"Where am I?" Terra Branford wondered as she looked around trying to make sense of her surroundings. Nothingness, that was the best way to describe it. The whole world had transformed into a black abyss. There was no light, so Terra was unable to see more than a few inches in front of her face. She felt solid ground under her feet, but also the sensation that it was floating in the air.
Terra realized that she could not rely on her eyes in this void, so she strained to listen for the slightest sound. She didn't care what it was. A bird chirping, a dog barking or the wind whistling through the trees in Mobliz. Anything. But all she heard was the sound of her heart which was pounding so hard she thought it might burst out of her chest any minute.
"Please," a whimper escaped her lips, "can't someone tell me where I am?" Hot tears streamed down her face as desperation set in. She was cut off from human contact, from love, from friendship, all things she held dear. She felt naked and alone here. It was her personal hell.
"Has my life ended?" she asked, but the darkness did not answer. "Is this death?"
A heavy burden fell onto her shoulders driving Terra to her knees, and she buried her face in her hands. "No!" she sobbed. "I can't be dead!" She lifted her head and yelled at the darkness that enveloped her. "I'm not dead, you hear me!" her face turned red with anger as she challenged her fate. "Too many people depend on me! There are things that I have to do. I...I" she stammered before breaking down and sobbing again. Strength drained from every fiber in her being and she collapsed to the ground. There she laid dying, a second time, of a broken heart. Terra didn't know how long she laid there, but it felt like an eternity. But something shook her out of her catatonic state, something appeared in the darkness.
A single dot of light, no bigger than a star in the night sky, had pierced the blackness. Terra felt the burden lift from her back when she saw the light. "I'm being called back!" she thought happily. This would not be the end of her story. The children of Mobliz would be quite happy to learn that 'Mama' was still alive.
Terra wiped the tears from her eyes and watched the light that had begun to grow. Warmth came forth from it and chased away the numbing cold. Terra smiled as she chill began to vanish and awaited the light. However, her smile fell away when a foul smell struck her nostrils.
That's when it happened. There was no sensation of the fire spreading out. There was no prelude to the explosion. The black abyss that surrounded her simply transformed into a maelstrom of flame within a sliver of an instant, accompanied with an earth shattering roar and a blast of heat so sudden that it threw Terra onto her back. She cried out in shock and pain as she landed on the rocky surface, though her voice was drowned out by the scream of the fire. She clenched her teeth together in order to keep herself from screaming as waves of intense heat lashed at her body.
She lay there for a moment, panting heavily, before a moan crept up behind her and caused her to raise her face toward the dancing tongues of crimson, orange, and yellow which had begun to feast upon the clump of earth. Flames that were twisted and contorted into vaguely human shapes. These ghosts began to reach for them. They were close enough for Terra to see the torment etched into their faces. She can see their eyes which begged for release. "Please," they pleaded in raspy voices, "water." One grabbed her cloak, which ignited in the being's grasp. Terra threw the cloak off and crawled away from it only to jerk away from one that was coming up behind her. Fear had taken control of her mind and she was like a frightened animal, reacting purely on instinct. She was surrounded and could see no way out.
"Leave me alone!" she screamed at the shapes who still crawled after her. Their cries had mixed together and became a deafening chorus.
Much to her surprise it seemed to worked. The figures silenced and drew away from her. They became one with the flames again and the flames began to part.
Terra became uneasy, and felt a chill run up her back despite the heat. The flames disappearing announced the arrival of something much more frightening.
A sense of dread wrapped around her spine like a claw and snapped it in two, paralyzing the young woman. She had felt this presence many times before. It was pure evil.
The ring of flames parted and a gigantic armored demon stepped toward her. If this creature had any emotion, it was hidden behind its bullet shaped helmet. Two eye slits were its only features and only empty darkness could be seen in them. Above the eye slits were two curved horns that were bleached white. Carved into them were the words of an ancient language, long forgotten to man. The creature was clad in armor that was black as the vilest thoughts of man. His shoulders were adorned by an equally dark cape that flowed behind him like a river.
Terra could not look into the creature's eyes. To look into them inspired a sense of fear and loathing that defied description. A fear and loathing that was enough to stop the heart of the bravest of warriors.
The demon warrior reached toward her with one of his ebony clad hands. Terra felt as if it was ready to reach into her breast and tear out her soul. It did not, but instead seized her by the neck and lifted her to her feet. Terra steeled herself for what was coming next.
A deep voice, one that couldn't belong to a human being, emerged from underneath the helmet. How many times can you save the world? It sounded like the rumble of thunder.
Confusion had etched itself in Terra's features. "What? I don't understand."
The demonic creature shook her violently and began to squeeze her throat. The eye slits began to glow with an unholy fire that stood in stark contrast to the figure's dark armor.
Answer the question!
Terra had to force the words past her lips because of the vise like grip the beast had on her throat. "As..." she strained. "As...many times as it takes." she was finally able to get out.
The light in its eyes dimmed for a moment and he released his gripped on her throat. Terra collapsed and automatically began taking in huge gulps of air that had become so hot that her throat burned with each breath.
The creature looked down at her. And how many times is that?
Terra looked up at the monster in disbelief.
Once? Twice? Three times? How many times will it take for you to realize that no matter how many Empires you crumble, no matter how many mad men you have toppled you cannot stop what is to be?
A hatred for this thing that stood before her swelled up in Terra as she shot back, "And what is to be?"
The inevitable, the creature was unfazed by Terra's question. If the world is not destroyed one way then it will be destroyed another. This is the simple, naked truth.
The disgust she felt toward this monster had surfaced on her face. "Liar!" she challenged, "You can burn everything to the ground, reduce this planet to a scorched wasteland, but life will still go on!"
Lies. it mocked. Your kind consume them because they are like sweet honey. But the truth, the truth you spew from your mouth because it is a bitter drink that corrodes your throat.
The warrior in Terra resurfaced after seven years. With renewed strength, she stood up and stared the demon in the eyes that she could not look into mere seconds ago. "I will not allow you to harm a single living thing."
The creature reached into his cape. Terra heard the rattle of bone and stepped back as every muscle in her body had grown taut. The demon withdrew a large scythe, the teeth like barbs jutted out from the underside of the blade. It looked like a grotesque claw. The demon gripped it in both hands.
You say that life will go on. But how can it go on when no one is left alive?
With the strength of ten men, the warrior swung the scythe upward, burying itself in the flesh of Terra's stomach, and going completely through. The demon lifted her into the air until his eyes meet hers once more looking like they were engaged in a macabre dance.
With one quick motion, the creature swung Terra's body around, until she hung over the edge of the chunk of rock. Terra tried to scream but all that escaped from her throat were sick, gagging noises. With little effort he threw Terra off his blade and watched her fall like a limp rag doll into the firestorm, where she was consumed instantly.
All life ends.
"NO!" Terra yelled out as she shot straight up in her bed. Cold sweat had drenched her nightgown and her bed sheets. It took Terra several moments to realize where she was.
She was home, in her modestly furnished room. The dim light of a thick bodied candle on her night stand gave the small space a surreal look. Yet it was just that, her room. There was no frigid abyss, no firestorm, and no demonic warrior.
"That dream again." she muttered. 'Or was it a dream,' Terra thought to herself. 'It was so real. I felt the cold. I felt heat from the fire. You don't physically feel things in dreams.'
She also remembered the pain of the stabbing. Terra involuntarily ran a her hand along her stomach, as if to see if there was a blade in it. Then she jerked it away and scolded herself for being so foolish.
"Dammit, Terra!" she thought out loud. "I was just a dream, that's all!"
But she still didn't believe it, and doubts had gathered in the back of her mind, whispering to her. 'It was no dream. It is a vision. A glimpse into the future.' They said. Terra tried to force the doubts out of her mind, but they were still were able to get in the last word. 'This was something more than a dream. Remember that Terra.'
As if to emphasize those words, a bright flash of lightning and a loud clap of thunder shook her house to its very foundation.
Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic