Fade To Black Chapter 8
"Who are you?" Cyan's mind asked the dark figure before him.
The demon signaled to the horns on his head. "Use your imagination."
"I know, for a fact, that you're accountable for the deaths of Celes Chere, Gau, Cid, and the Figaro brothers, as well as all of the towns that have collapsed as of late. What you want me to believe, however, won't save you. Man will triumph over you."
"Ask yourself something, Mr. Garamonde. What is there left to hold on to? Really? Patience is a virtue which, I can tell at a glance, you're at the wit's end of. But. . what if I said that I could make life a whole lot better for you."
"I don't want anything from you."
"On the contrary."
The demon gestured to Cyan's immediate right. In a heartbeat, their void of nothingness degraded to the castle of Doma in a reality of yellow, the color of the past. The retainer of the throne gasped as he saw what his heart ached to achieve.
His late wife and son, Elaine and Owain.
"This isn't real," he told himself, clutching his breast. "But they're so beautiful."
The faceless man walked close behind him, the temptation close to seizing the old man's heart.
"They can be yours again, Cyan, and all for the simple price of one special lady's location. You don't really believe that I'd hurt Terra, would you? Please. I would treat her like a queen."
A spark of conversation occurred to the king of Doma and he readied himself to start it when Rivalin beat him to it. It was obvious from the way Cyan pursed his lips. "God? Is that what you were getting at?" As the demon said this, he pointed to the ceiling as if to demonstrate his point. "You don't really kneel by your bed at night and pray to him for two straight hours, do you? Come on! Your wife and child were killed for <<Christ's>> sake. Every one of your men stood idly by and drank the water which induced their death throes. And where was God? I'm not your enemy, Cyan. I'm your friend."
While he said this, the Dark One grew amused at how fixated this particular king grew in seeing his late wife tend to his beloved son.
"I can give them back to you, Cyan," he hushed into his ear. "You can hold your wife again. Live to watch your son become a knight and the next king of Doma. The future will simply be a dream you won't have to remember."
Shaking his head dismally, he turned to face the faceless man.
"What's the catch?"
"Terra for your wife and son. It's that simple."
Looking back to his loving wife, Cyan paused.
"May I have some time to think about this?"
"But of course. Let your mind wrap around it. But don't take too long."
"Too long," Cyan grumbled, waking from his semisweet dream. "Who does he think he is?"
But he knew that the offer stood and somewhere between now and the End of Days, he would have to reach a vital decision: his family or his future.
"Sire!" cried ensign Talia, huffing and puffing as she made it to Cyan's quarters. "I have news to report!"
"Yes, ensign," Cyan rebutted, slightly annoyed by now. "What is it this time?"
She unfolded a piece of paper from her back pocket and read it aloud.
"It's from the Returners. It says Dear Cyan, Locke and Setzer have been found. They eluded the apparent destruction of Kohilegen only by the skin of their teeth and are now with the last of the Returner factions. Our current position is six hundred thirty-five miles southwest of Doma, directly south of what remains of the continent of Figaro. The tomb of Setzer's friend Daryl appears to have provided us with a safe haven from the growing tide of evil, but I am still concerned. The rest have high hopes of reassembling the Falcon before we are discovered, but I am far more pessimistic. This legion of the Shadow' seems to know where we are before we do. Is there no way to stop them? Banon.'"
Cyan stood from his bed, still garbed in his bedclothes with an expression of worry on his aged face.
"Locke and Setzer? That was all that Banon could find? What of the others?"
"Rumor have circulated that Terra had survived the raid at Thamasa. Her body has not been found in the place where she was last known to reside."
"The home of Strago Magus and his granddaughter, Relm."
"And what of them?"
"Their bodies have also failed to turn up."
Exhaling, Cyan asked for some privacy to dress before he could attend to his kingly duties. The man grew tiresome of this solitude and found himself reconsidering the proposal of Rivalin.
"Our only hope is that the Returners make it here before Rivalin does," he said to himself.
And there was that obsolete word again.
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