Fade To Black Chapter 2
Figaro castle stood stagnating in the center of a vast desert, its infrastructure of stone and steel giving others the impression that its solitude was not to be disturbed. But as Sabin Rene Figaro looked out from the west wing, the isolation was beginning to gnaw at his sanity. At least back in the days of the Empire, there were wars to look forward to. Now, there was only silence to fall back on.
But no one could have suspected the silence to be so concentrated that there was no way for anyone to take heed of a Dark Man fast approaching. One which left no footprints through the endless dunes of swirling sand in his wake. In reaching the alcazar's vestibule, he was approached by Figaro's leading paladin. Knight Errant.
"Unless you've been expected, the commonwealth of Figaro has no need for you," the retainer contested to the Dark One, pushing him away with the metal shank of his halberd.
But the subliminal figure of darkness merely send his stare deep within the windows of Errant's soul, prying into its most unsettling details. The Shadow then procured a wan smile. The knight's eyes grew wide with fear as he realized who he was staring at.
"The young girls you've seduced have left their scent upon you," he remarked to the shellshocked soldier of Figaro, adding with a sly nod. "Remember who it is that you serve."
Knight Errant obediently stepped away as the Dark One made his way through the ornate interior of the castle. His servant instructed other guards to let him proceed as he wished. Blackmail, the demon thought to himself, was truly the strongest of all weapons, and he had only just begun. . ."
Sabin missed his friends. There was no point in denying it any further. Sure, Locke was due here within the hour to exhibit his obsolete artifacts, but it wasn't enough to stem his longing for companionship. What was a kingdom if there were no solid contact with his allies out in the other parts of the world.
"I'm starting to think like my father," he thought out loud.
"Is that a bad thing?" the chancellor returned from behind.
"Oh, hello Daggson," Sabin hailed, swallowing back on the notion to make his royal accent discernable.
"Still thinking about your father?"
"I just feel as if there's something I haven't done to honor him."
"You have ridden this world of the likes of Kefka. Do no taint your victories, son. Your father has always been proud of you, and he always will be, no matter what."
He nodded appreciatively. No wonder Daggson was elected as Figaro's chancellor. The late king made sure that such a position filled the shoes of a father as accurately as possible. Realizing that Locke would arrive soon, Sabin attired himself with the elaborate, gold-cuffed dress uniform that was reminiscent of his brother's. He wished that such meaningless gatherings would stop.
"That incorrible Locke!" Sabin cursed under his breath in looking himself over in the mirror.
As Setzer would say, that kid was one card short of a full deck. Ever since things never worked out between he and Celes, that once self-proclaimed treasure hunter threw all of his time away collecting pollen grains and pottery rather than letting his wanderlust settle. A shame indeed.
He looked down at his dresser and saw the Tiger Claw he had taken off so long ago, taking it into his hands. Smiling reminiscently, he put it back down on the bureau and looked back into the mirror.
The reflection had changed.
Standing not seven feet away from his back was his parents. He whipped around, his heart racing ahead of his thoughts. They wore the right faces but their eyes were not the same. They were blackened by some unholy entity and burned as if they were craving for blood. His blood!
"Mom? Dad?" Sabin blathered, shaking his head. "It can't be!"
"You were right about one thing," his so-called father said, whipping out a clawed talon in the sleeve where his hand should have been. "There is something you have not done to honor us."
Sabin was almost afraid to ask.
"And what might that be?" he entreated in a quivering tone.
"Die," his mother answered.
The sinew of the demons lashed out at him vehemently, gouging their claws deep into the cavity of his chest, seizing his still-beating heart. One last raspy wisp concluded the life of Sabin Rene Figaro. Detecting the cacophony from his room, Daggson came back, met with the ever-so-deadly wrath of Rivalin. They overwhelmed his body, literally tearing it in half. Materializing before the two lifeless hulks was the black heart himself.
"You, I do not need," he stated in a voice void of compassion and aimed at the body of the chancellor. "But you, I can still use."
As he did his demonic work, another more jovial voice came from out in the hallway of the castle. "Brother? Brother, are you alright?"
Locke Cole approached Figaro Castle an hour or so later, puzzled as to why there were no pages waiting to accept the reins of his chocobo. Shouldering his sack of artifacts with much strain, he disdained the posts of Figaro's soldiers and stepped within the wrought-iron doors himself.
The musty stench of death welcomed him.
"Uh, Edgar?" he requested, his appeal echoing against the ornamented walls of the main chambers. "Sabin? Daggson, is anybody home?"
Unnerved from the frightening silence, he proceeded to the throne room where he found both Sabin and Edgar, sitting side by side, staring at him intently with black eyes no lighter than that of the devil himself.
"I see you've been waiting for me," he tried, his mettle buckling from the site of Daggson employing an ugly drill, its auger bit spraying blood from its motorized rotations. "Hey. . .chancellor, how bout you put that thing away, alright?"
But his expectations were denied.
"You have no idea how long we've been waiting for you, Mr. Cole," Edgar answered at last.
With a wave of the king's hand, all of Figaro's infantrymen made themselves known, entering from the dimly lit recesses of the throne room. Their faces grotesquely scarred to match that of a legion of oppression.
"I have been waiting for you since the day you were born," came the darkest, most sinister intonation he could have perceived only in his nightmares. And it was from all around him.
"My God," Locke uttered, feeling his throat clicking against the urge to scream. "That voice. It's the same one. . .in my dreams? It can't be!"
"Now!" boomed that same malevolent suffrage of the Dark One. "Bring me the head of Locke Cole!!"
The treasure hunter almost tripped head over heels in his mad rush to escape the castle which was now home to the purest evil Locke had ever felt in his life. He found sanctuary beyond the locked doors of Figaro's vestibule, but saw his chocobo dismembered piece by piece. Its blood soaked up yet staining the sandy environs of the desert.
All that was left to do now was run. Long since abandoned was his sack of useless artifacts. His life was all that attained value now. The swells of grain beneath his feet were tapering away, becoming more angular and steep until at last, he reached the border of Figaro desert, finding that all of Sabin and Edgar's territory was being sucked down through an enormous whirlpool of sand. The castle long gone.
With tears building in his eyes, Locke Cole came to the resolution that there was nothing for him but to head for the nearest town in proximity.
The town of Kohilegen.
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