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 Post subject: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:44 pm 
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The Craddle



Albrook. 22:11

A woman, of about 26 years old, with short blond hair and slender figure, named Karen, roams about her big house, lighting up the lamps, for it was dark already.

As she is walking through the bedroom, she pauses for a moment to take a look at the craddle and smiles at the beautiful sight of her twin babies, of about 10 months old.

Suddenly she hears a sound, as if something or somebody fell to the floor in the kitchen.

She was allarmed, and slowly made her way to the kitchen. A room away from the kitchen, she hears another sound in there, this one made her run to were the noises came from: a baby crying.

Upon arriving to the room, Karen is shoked to see a woman a little younger than her, with long brown hair, collapsed on the floor, and in her hands, a little baby girl, crying.

Karen quickly took the baby and placed her in the craddle, beside her babies. Even though the newcomer was crying, the twins did not woke up.

Karen returns to the kitchen and jumps a little at seein the other woman standing up, with a knife on her hand. Karen looked into the woman's eyes and saw fear.

Karen: (slowly coming closer with a smile on her face) I am Karen. Your baby is safe. She's in my bedroom with my daughters. There's enough food for everyone!

Madonna: (slowly putting down the knife) I'm Madonna and I thank you for giving us shelter. May I see my baby?

Karen walked her to the bedroom and both looked at the three babies and smiled.

Madonna: Twins!? How cute! What's their name?

Karen: (looking at her daughters) The one on the left is Maria, the one on the right is Celes.

Madonna: Where's the father?

Karen: Oh, he's very far away, and it's not comming back. (she sees the expression of confussion in Madonna's face and continues) Let just say that I'm a victim of the charms of one desert king (Karla chuckles a little) How about you?

Madonna: (looking at her baby) Her name is Tina. Her father... (her smile fades away) is probably dead.

After a short, awkward silence Karen motions Madonna to follow her to the kitchen, and both start preparing a delicious dinner for 5.


But Karen did not knew that her act of charity will bring forth calamity upon her house and family, along with her guests...

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:48 am 
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The Abduction



Albrook. 09:06

Next morning, Karen awoke by the sound of someone knocking at her door. She dresses up and walks to see who's outside.

Joey: (from outside the door) Miss Karen, it's Joey!

Karen: (opening the door) Just call me Karen, alright? (she asks smiling at the young boy)

Joey was an 16 year old kid, with redish abundant hair, short stature and fragile appearance. For him, Karen is the most beautiful girl on the planet and has offered himself to help her raise her children as their father when he's old enough. Everytime accompained by Karen's speech on how those dessisions should not been made so lightly, but she allows him help her take care of the girls while she's at work.

Karen: I'm sorry, Joey, but today I'm not going to work.

Joey: (makes a worried, concerned look as he gets inside) Why, are you sick?

Karen: Oh, no, nothing like that! It's just that I have guests.

Joey: (trying to get a peek at the guests room) Family? Cool!

Karen: (getting in the way of his sight field) No! Just... someone that came by last night.

Joey: (sitting down in a chair) Speaking of visitors, guess who are been seen aroun lately asking questions?

Karen: (worried, she sits down, too) Who?

Joey: (smirking) The Imperials! They have a new general. He's in charge of the mission to retrieve someone who's important to the Emperor!

Madonna: The Empire is here!?

Karen and Joey turn to look at Madonna who just now turned pale. Karen understood the message.

Karen: You're the one they're looking for, right?

Madonna: (nods) I'm sorry. I'll leave immediately. (she beggins to go to her bedroom to pack her stuff)

Karen: (standing up) No. WE will leave. You need protection and we will help you, right, Joey?

Joey: (also standing up) Whatever you say, Karen!

Madonna: I don't know how to thank you!

Karen: Save it! There's no time. Joey!

Joey: Yes!

Karen: Take Maria, the bag with her stuff, go through the back door and have us ready two chokobos! I will help Madonna pack her things. Here! (hands him another bag) Take Celes' stuff, too. Now, go!

The boy obeys with no hesitation and leaves the house with the two bags and one baby.

Madonna: I'm sorry I caused too much trouble.

Karen: Nevermind that. The Empire moves fast, there's no time to loose!

Madonna: How are you gonna ride with two babies?

Voice: I can help you with that.

Both women quickly turn to where the voice came from, and curse under their breath at the sight of Imperial soldiers entering the house. And at the head of them the new general.

He seemed very slim, pale and blond. But his eyes showed a strong minded young man, full of confidence. Everybody knew he's not one you would like as your enemy. Everybody knew him as Kefka, the first and only (so far) Magitek Knight.

Madonna begins to panic and looks for a way to escape, but found that she was surrounded.
Kefka: Ah, there... you... are... (he chuckles a little). There's no escape, now.

Madona: (panic in her eyes) I'll never give my baby to you!!

Kefka: (laughs maniatically) Who cares!? (turns to his soldiers still laughing) Kill her!

At one, the soldiers drew their weapons and shoot at Madonna. The girl falls dead, bleeding at the floor. Karen, now seriously scared, with Celes in her arms, begins to scream in panic. One soldier shoots at her abdomen and she falls to the ground, still trying to ease the fall for her baby. Kefka draws his sword and kills the soldier who made the shot.

Kefka: I'm the one who says whe someone has to die, idiot!!

Kefka, annoyed at the sound of two babies crying, picks up the one who's closer to him.

Karen: Don't hurt my Celes!!

Kefka: (looking annoyed at Karen) You try to give me orders. You die. Finish her!

Karen: NO-!

Her shout is cut as one of the bullets hit her head.

Kefka: (looking at the baby) Celes, uh?

Suddenly Kefka starts to feel a little dizzy and almost falls to the blood-filled floor.

Soldier: My lord! Please return to Vector to get more medication!

Kefka: (starting to feel a little better) Yes. You're right. (turns to the soldiers) Pick up the Esper girl and let's go.

Soldier: My lord! What about the girl you are holding? Should we kill her?

Kefka: No! I'll give her to Professor Cid. He needed an infant for some experiments. Now, let's go!

Vector. Emperor's Chamber. 23:28.

Emperor: (watching the little girls) The green-haired one is the Esper, I assume. What's her name?

Kefka: I don't know my lord. I only I'm aware of the other baby's name.

Cid: (exited) Wich is?

Kefka: It's Celes.

Emperor: (stroking his beard) Hmm. Almost like Celesta, Goddess of Death. I like it! Cid!

Cid: Yes, my lord?

Emperor: If the magic infusion works on her and there are no mistakes this time... (he eyes at Kefka, who proves that infusions shoul only be given at youn age) I want her to be the greatest warrior in my army. I don't care if it's a girl. I have a feeling about this one.

Cid: It will be done, my lord.

Emperor: Give her the Runitek infusion, too.

Cid: Yes, your majesty (picks baby Celes and bows) By your leave. (leaves the room)

Emperor: About the other girl.... Kefka, according to the stars, which era are we in this time?

Kefka: Terrae, my lord.

Emperor: The girl will be named Terra. This Esper girl is too much for him to handle. Give her to the top cientists working with the rest of the espers on Devil's Lab. I wanna know all she can do. She also can be a magnificent warrior. See to it. I trust Cid more than anyone else on the laboratory but he does not have enough knowledge, yet. Until he can, you watch over Terra, overseeing the scientists progress daily and let me know of it. That will be until Cid gains more experience and be able to take care of Terra.

Kefka: As you wish, my lord.

Vector. Omega Lab. 00:31.

Cid: Celes... I will take care of you... I promise!

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:26 pm 
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The Cafe


Fifthteen years have passed since that day.

Terra was taken away at the age of 11 to a specially made study lab in a remote island near the Vectorian continent. The results surpassed expectations. Terra showed unnatural abilities and magical powers beyond imagination.

She, however, was emotionally erratic, and many scientist died during the experiments.

Celes, in the other hand, was infused with the full essence of the esper Shiva. However, the experiment showed that a human body was not capable to endure that amount of power. Celes' life was in danger, but Professor Cid was able to save her somehow.

Celes showed no supernatural boost of abilities, like speed, stamina, strenght and, most of all, magical powers, wich made the experiment a failure. The experiment remains a secret even to Celes herself.

Further investigation by professor Cid resulted in a new way to select and infuse the personel. They had to be strong, high ranked officers, and they were to be infused with just a little fragment of the essence. That little, however, was enough to increase the subjects power amazingly.

A small group, called The Returners, learing of the Empire intentions to awake magic, began terrorist attacks on the Imperial Military, and they succeded at some extent, y sending a General to a coma. This led to a Yellow Allert in the Bronze Compound and no one was allowed in or out.

With just two Generals, Kefka Palazzo and Leo Cristophe, The Council had to pick another General, to temporally take the place, and maybe keep it. This caused a conflict between the military, with the top Colonels bribing the Counsil for their votes.

Cid entered the Dream Cafe, soaked to the bone from the heavy rain. The man was in his late fifties. He wore a thick, bright yellow rubber coat. It was the kind that was lined with lead to shield the wearer from radiation.

Cid: (to the waiter) I believe someone is waiting for me?

Waiter: Yes, indeed, Professor! let me show you your table.

Directly above was a thick, glass roof. It provided natural light during the day, and on a cloudless night sky, a refreshing view of the stars and the moon. That particular night, however, granted neither. The rain pounded above them, creating a gray, distorted effect of flowing water. At first, it was interesting to look at, but it got duller by the minute. Though the rain had slowed its pace to a drizzle, it was still very difficult to see through the obscured glass.

Cid: (smiling) Celes! Sorry to keep you waiting!

Celes: (miling back) Good evening, Cid!

Celes and Cid sat at a table for two in an exclusive section of the Common Refectory reserved for those with notable positions or rank. Between the two, Cid held the more prominent status. People were more likely to identify him first on sight than Celes. The two didn't usually dine there. Their usual place was a restaurant just outside the restricted boundaries of the Bronze Compound. But since the Yellow Alert had not been lifted up yet, the Common Refectory had to do for the past three weeks. The food was decent, if not exemplary. The Common Refectory was the less insipid choice above the Imperial Mess Hall for the army. It was three stories tall with the ground floor as the public food court. The exclusive sections were on the second and third floor of the building. They both only occupy half the normal floor space so that both have a clear view of the ground floor.


They had finished their meals but not their conversation. Celes had just recounted her week's events that were worth telling. Some where repetition of the previous week, but Cid listened to her as though she were telling it for the first time. Cid, on the other hand were telling her about their experiments… at least not the confidential ones.

Cid: … and that is my theory. They won't believe me-refused to believe me-because they want to have their own way. They want me to find a way to cheat. They want me to find a way to defy the laws of magic.

Celes: Well what did you tell them? (she asked in interest).

Cid: I told them I'd gladly do that. But I don't even understand the laws of magic fully! We've only begun to understand the basic principles of it.

Celes: You're the one who has the most knowledge of magic. Surely, they'd believe you.

Cid: Bah! You don't know Kefka. He doesn't care about understanding magic. He only cares about controlling it. Talk about the wrong hands, I tell ya! I still don't understand why the Emperor can't see that Kefka's psychologically unstable. And yet the Emperor allows him to push me and my team around. He gives us deadlines like we're tackling a force that is as controllable as a pup on a leash.

Celes: (chuclking) Kefka has his moments. I do like him. He teached me a lot of things and I respect him. But it is true that sometimes he looses it. That's General Kefka!

Cid: Speaking of which, any word about the new general? I thought the Council was supposed to vote today.

Celes: I'm sure they did (shrugging). But they always announce it the day after. I guess a higher power needs to approve it. I still don't see what the big deal is. General Fencross isn't even dead. I'm sure everybody would feel very foolish if he woke up just a few days later. All these fuss about nothing. It's a complete waste of time, if you ask me.

Cid: Well who do you think got the job?

Celes: I don't know, really. A lot of people were whispering about how Colonel Llurd had rigged the votes and secured the outcome, but they were just rumors. I wouldn't be surprised if it were him. He's the Army's logical choice. A lot of people are wondering why he hadn't been promoted to a general yet even before all these had begun.

Cid: Do you?

Celes: Wonder about it? (Celes flashed a disgusted look on her face). I'm not one to waste my time pondering the politics and bureaucracy of the Empire Military.

Cid: Of course, not (smiling). You're just here for the food… so to speak.

Celes: Hey, at least I know my limitations! My ambitions are not exactly out of reach, and yet they're not low. I'm no dreamer.

Cid: Oh, really!?

Celes: Yeah, really! You're talking to a soldier, Cid. Sentiments mean so little to me (Celes answered with a smirk on her face. It was the kind of smirk that made one look more charming than arrogant). I don't want to study the workings of magic. I just want to be one of those to be infused with it.

A lot of thought came to Cid's mind when she said that, however his eyes did not betrayed him, he knew that if he showed his concern, Celes would realise and begin asking questions she was not ready to have answers from.

Cid: And then what? You'd have the ability to call upon the elements, control them, mold them and bend them to your will. But what would you do with that power?

Celes: I don't know. Serve the Empire, I guess. I mean, I'm a soldier, am I not? (shrugging).

Cid: I see. So you would use it to-

Celes: (interrumping) I know what you're going to say, Cid. But... I've thought about that.

Cid: Have you now?

Celes: It's a paradox, Cid. We must be prepared for war at all times. It is undeniable that we have enemies. These rebels will not stop with their attacks. I know they're just lying low right now, but I'm almost sure they will attack again. Innocent lives have been lost. The Empire isn't evil. I mean… if the Empire had plans of world conquest they could've done so many years ago. The Empire doesn't need magic.

Cid: Very interesting hypothesis. But what then is the Empire's ultimate goal?

Celes: Global accord and its security. It's not the best choice of words I could think of at the moment, but that sums it up fairly nicely.

Cid: Semantics in play, that spells global domination and total control. Mind you, global conquest is entirely different. The Empire manufactures more Magitek Weapons than medical equipment. We train more soldiers than doctors and physicians. What does that tell you?

Celes: (chuckling) Why, Cid. You sound like you're complaining! Don't you like it here any more?

Cid: I never liked it here. But where else would I continue my research?

Celes: A-ha! (with a smile of triumph). So you, too, are also here for the food!

Cid: Heh! I suppose you're right. It's a sad state of affairs. Might makes right. Either you're with the flow of the river or you're against it.

Celes: For a soldier it's simpler and less promising. We follow orders or die following orders.

Cid: Unless you're the one giving the orders.

Celes: Heh! Like that'll happen. The orders I give to the new recruits are hardly even orders. To them I'm just an annoyance that they hope to get rid of by advancing to the next course. That's very encouraging! (she said sarcastically, finishing her glass of wine). I've been sending my application to be one of the next magical infusion candidates. They've been rejecting them since I got into the army. They said that I would have to be at least a First Lieutenant to be a candidate. That or I would have to be handpicked by a high ranking military personnel. Well, I'm already a First Lieutenant and I'm still here. So I guess I have to improve my chances of getting chosen by rising up to a higher rank. I'm trying to get promoted to Captain. I believe I can still do that. Becoming a major is kind of a stretch. And I know being a Lt. Colonel is impossible. I know my limits.

Cid: A pity.

Celes shrugged, looking uninterested in the conversation. She glanced to her side and saw a large group of people exiting the refectory. It was too early to retire to bed, but for a lot of soldiers, especially the smart ones, it was always a good idea not to wait till it was late at night. Morning trainings were always taxing to the mind and body. Looking up above her she noticed that the rain had stopped, and the glass surface was clear of the haze and optical distortion created by the splashing water. The sky was still cloudy. No doubt it would rain again soon. There was absolutely nothing to look at outside.

She sighed.

Cid: Tired?

Celes: On the contrary, I feel very much active since I woke up this morning.

Cid averted his eyes from hers and looked over the rails to see how many people were still inside the building besides them.

Cid: You don't say.

Celes thought he had caught a glimpse of emotion from Cid's face that she had never seen before. It didn't feel right to her, but then it could've been just her imagination. Celes pressed on.

Celes: Yes. I was-am-in a rare form. Usually, at this time of day I would be exhausted both in mind and body, but not today. I don't even feel tired in a least bit. Isn't that strange? I don't even think I'd get a good night's sleep tonight with so much energy left.

Cid: No, I don't think that's strange at all. It happens. It even happens to me at my age. But like you said, it happens rarely.(getting up) Shall we? I need to be up early tomorrow and-oh!

Cid's eyes caught a group of Spitfires through the glass roof, flying overhead in a V formation. They had been dispatched from a nearby Magitek Hangar within the Bronze Compound for their evening patrols over the capital in their designated routes. They flew in patterns over the streets and buildings shining their search lights from above, actively looking for people who broke the curfew.

Cid: Goodness! It's that late already?

He wasn't at all worried about the curfew and neither was Celes. They were exempt due to their rank and position, although, it was still advisable not to be about when they weren't suppose to. It raised questions.

Celes sighed again. She didn't feel like going back to her quarters yet. As if in protest of the idea, she didn't stand up when Cid did.

Cid: (smiling) Are you going to stay here a little longer?

Celes: If you don't mind, Cid. I'd like to go to the gym after this. I need to burn up a bit more of this energy in me else I won't be able to fall asleep tonight.

Cid: Very well then. It's been a lovely evening spent with you as always, Celes. I will see you next week, same time, same place, I suppose. I have a big day tomorrow.

Celes: Good night, Cid (smiling back). Always a pleasure.

_____________________

M54 & Celes

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Last edited by Celes on Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:03 pm 
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The Demonstration


Vector. Training Grounds. 08:08

The field was filled with new recruits, all listening to the lecture the Captain was giving before the real training begins. Celes' job was to assist one of the Captains to train the soldiers-to-be in wichever way needed. Sadly, today she was assigned to assist Captain Arnold Newsom.

She disliked Newsom because he got that rank, not by honorary reasns, but because he was the son of a high-ranked officer that died heroically some years ago. On top of that, his training methods were not of the like of Celes and he was a sexist. He personally disliked Celes because, he says, women have no place in the miltary.

It was a custom that, in order to gain some nerve, the recruits had to recieve a considerable ammount of pain, humiliation, more pain and more humiliation. Celes disliked this kind of behaviour, but aknowledged the fact that it was a nessesary evil, altough sometimes it went too far. This was one of those days.

There was a new recruit, by the name of Jason, who instantly seemed to Celes that he didn't belonged there, and she was right, for the poor recruit was very skinny, small and fragile-looking.

After a few hours of hearing the unnesesary ranting of the Captain adventures, wich Celes knew were some made up and some overlyexagerations of the real deal, under the morning sun, Jason fainted. The Captain, seeing there an opportunity to show off, woke him up kicking him several times on the floor.

Jason woke up and the Captain grabbed him and began shouting and throwing him to the floor again and beating him constantly. Celes tried to contain herself until the humiliation took another lever that was unbearable to her.

Newsom: Look at you! You cannot even stand up! You think you're gonna survive in the war field!! You're pathetic!!

Newsom began beating him even harder and, the more Jason screamed, the more the Captain hit him, until he began spitting blood from his mouth and begged for mercy.

Newsom: Oh, you're gonna cry, now!? (he pointed to Celes) You think that only because little girls are allowed in the Military you can act like one!?

Celes anger grew by every second, and this was the right spark that made her loose herself and forget her place in the military.

Celes: Captain, I think that's enough!

Newsom: (angrily looking at Celes) Shut up, Celes, you don't have the right to talk without my permission!

Celes: You are killing him! Stop right now, they're not learning anything worth knowing.

Newsom: (smiling sarcastically) Alright, boys... One of the things you have to get used to here in the military is the fact that even women like her get to boss you around because of her rank. Unfortunately in this case, I don't have to listen to that little girl.

Celes: (breathing deeply to calm herself) Very well, Captain. I shall report this to the Colonel at once. I'll leave you to deal with him later (she begins to walk away).

Newsom: Ooh! Did you hear that, boys? She's going to report me! I guess some things don't change in the army. Women still resort to nagging. And if that don't work, they tell!

She stopped dead in her tracks and bowed her head. She felt the blood pounding in her ears. The anger had been too much for her to control. She turned around very slowly to face Newsom again.

Newsom: Oh, look! I think I hit a nerve. Let's see if she'll cry next!

To everyone's surprise, Celes drew her dagger from her belt and threw it towards Newsom's feet. As reflex Newsom pulled back his right foot and not a moment too soon. The dagger stuck to the ground where his right foot had been. The force of the throw was such that the dagger's blade sunk to its hilt on the dirt ground. If he hadn't moved his foot at all he would be limping his way to the Infirmary… after painfully prying his foot off the ground.

Newsom stared at the dagger in such an alarm that his eyes and mouth were wide open.

Newsom: How dare you do that to your superior!? (he exclaimed in anger and shock) That could've been my foot!

Celes (calmly) Pity. I guess I should've aimed for your knee, instead.

Newsom: You're going to be in so much trouble, Celes!

Celes: Oh, what are you going to do? Report me? (she taunted).

Newsom's face was contorted to an angry frown. The new recruits were confused. After a few deep breaths, however, Newsom calmed and wore his sneering smile once more.

Newsom: Of course, not. That's not how men handle matters (he drew his sword from its sheath). I don't normally fight women, but since we're in the army I suppose you're given the equal opportunity to prove one thing.

Celes: And what would that be, Captain Newsom?

Newsom: That you do belong here, Celes. So how 'bout it, Celes? Care for a practice session? I'm sure that the new recruits present here will learn something important from it.

A twisted smile appeared on her face as she drew her own sword.

Celes: I'm sure they will, Arnold.

Celes waited for him to make the first move, but she saw that Newsom was doing the same thing. It didn't matter. Celes bit first which was easily countered by Newsom. But to Celes, his counter moved so slowly. She saw an opening in an instant and decided to push on. To everyone's astonishment, most especially Newsom's, Celes managed to disarm him in a quick chain of deft moves. Newsom's sword flew from his hand and onto the ground in front of Celes.

Newsom managed a half-laugh after his initial astonishment.

Newsom: Well, well, well! Somebody's been practicing!

Celes: Pick it up, Arnold, and stop wasting my time.

Her words hit a nerve.

Newsom: Very well, Celes (he slowly bent over to pick up his sword).

Then he moved quickly to deliver a fierce upward swing that should've caught an inexperienced soldier off guard. To Celes, however, he moved so slowly that all it took her was a simple and almost effortless sidestepping to dodge it. Newsom unleashed a chain of sword swings that met with Celes's own. Like her sidestep, however, her blocks seemed effortless at a glance. She seemed relaxed as the recruits watched the two of them fight. Though, nobody had given them the order to be at ease, the soldiers simply helped themselves to enjoy the show.

Celes skillfully managed to cut the distance between her and Newsom thus rendering their swords ineffective. The difference, however, was that Celes was prepared for her next move. Newsom couldn't figure it out at the time how it happened, but his shock and anger doubled as Celes disarmed him for the second time by twisting his sword arm behind his back.

His sword harmlessly fell to the ground the second time around, and this time, Celes had him at her mercy. Kicking him behind his knees, she forced Newsom to kneel as she held his arm firmly behind his back. She had him in a lock.

Newsom grunted as he struggled with her to no avail.

Celes: (she started to say to the recruits) What you've just seen, gentlemen, was a weaponless disarm, followed by a Penitent's lock. It is one of the hardest maneuvers that you will have the chance to learn in your future training sessions. What normally follows next is up to you. You may decide to cuff them at this time and take him prisoner, or finish off your opponent by slitting their throats with your sword or dagger.(Celes made a mock slitting gesture with her sword across Newsom's bare neck).

Celes pulled his arm up, and he grunted in pain some more as he was forced to stand up. Then with her right booted foot she kicked him away as she released his arm. Newsom staggered forward. She had wounded his ego, and she liked it very much.

Celes picked up his sword and threw it towards him. Newsom caught it by the hilt in mid air. He was furious but he didn't say anything. He attacked again with more ferocious sword swings. They were deadly but reckless. At least, that was how it appeared to Celes. She blocked and diverted them all. An idea entered her mind, then she smiled inwardly. She let herself be on the defensive.

Celes's sword flew out of her hand, and Newsom grabbed her by her right hand and twisted it behind her back just like she did to him moments ago. It was Newsom's turn to hold Celes in the exact same lock.

Newsom: (laughing triumphally) I was just getting myself warmed up, Celes. You didn't really think that-oof!

Newsom was thrown bodily over Celes's shoulder. He landed roughly on his back in front of Celes. She seized Newsom's sword, and with both hands she gripped its hilt and pointed the tip of the sword straight to his heart. He didn't dare move.

Celes: Few of the things you'll learn in training are that predictability has no place in a melee. It leaves you prone to deception, making you think that you have your enemy right where you want him-or her-when in fact, it's the other way around. As you also saw, there is a way to get out of the Penitent's Lock. It takes a considerable amount of energy and high tolerance for pain. The move to escape from the lock is taxing. It is most advisable that you finish off your enemy immediately after pulling it off (she explained with a clear voice). The price of your freedom is, at the worst, a dislocated shoulder bone or a torn ligament-perhaps both. However painful, it is so much more preferable to death, don't you think so? (Celes stood up slowly, with her sword still pointed to Newsom's chest. She rubbed her right shoulder with her left hand). If you're lucky, the price is only a sore shoulder muscle usually an indication of your opponent's physical exertion against your right arm… just like Captain Newsom has demonstrated before you.

Newsom swore out loud and brushed off Celes's sword with his gloved hand. He tried to get up but Celes forcefully pushed him back down with her right foot on his right shoulder.

Celes: Never give your opponent the chance to regain grou-

Newsom: (he interrupted) Shut it, Celes! Or I'll shut it for you!

Celes released him and stepped back. She dropped his sword and picked up her own. She gingerly brushed off the dirt from the blade with her gloved hands.

Celes: If you feel like embarrassing yourself in front of these men, then be my guest. I mean-I don't want to pressure you or anything but if I beat you they'll be talking about you for many weeks to come. Imagine that! (she said as she deliberately gazed up to the sky as a taunt). A woman beating you! What will be your excuse? 'Oh, I just went easy on her 'coz she's a woman!' (Celes laughed sharply). That would be so pathetic!

Celes struck a few more blows to his ego. She wanted to completely humiliate him. She didn't know why, but her hatred for him increased fourfold. It wasn't like her at all. It wasn't like her to confront people-most especially not like this! She never really acted out of hatred or anger before this. It was dangerous to do so-reckless and irresponsible. It was absolutely unbecoming of an officer.

Her logic screamed out all the possible consequences of her actions. But her more satisfying reaction couldn't be persuaded. Newsom's character was most odious, especially to her. She didn't only want to get even for his thoughtless remark; she wanted to see him suffer for it. She was also confident that she could very easily do it. She still had the same vim that she had yesterday-perhaps even doubly so. She no longer feared its peculiarity. She welcomed it now.

Celes: For those of you who do not know Captain Newsom's reputation-he's the best swordsman among all the lieutenants of Vector. (she made a short pause) At least, that's what he thinks. He never bothered to challenge me thinking that women are inferior. And for Captain Newsom's next trick-he will lose to me again… then again… then again and again and again and again.

Newsom was too furious to say anything. His face was an ugly red of rage. He engaged Celes again in a fight, vowing to make her feel sorry for her very own existence in the military. The idea, unfortunately for Newsom, was not to be. Celes had successfully blocked and countered all of his attacks. She had predicted all of his moves and had quickly adapted to all of his tactics. He was enraged at first, but now he was also frustrated. He could not seem to break Celes's defense. Not only that, he could not predict her moves.

The soldiers and new recruits from around them finally noticed the commotion. They gathered around the two to watch. It didn't take long for another lieutenant to start asking for bets. Even the new recruits started placing theirs. They all started to cheer as the two danced around in swordfight. Even Celes's own commanding officer did not stop the fight. Instead, he simply watched them both with a smile, thinking that it was Chere's and Newsom's idea to show a spectacular display of armed combat to the new recruits. He was immensely proud of them both. Their commander could tell that they were both very skilled, but he also noticed that Newsom was somewhat struggling to keep up with Celes. The commander thought it highly unusual for Newsom to be in that state. He also noticed that Celes seemed more relaxed and calm. Many of Celes's comrades observed that as well and they all thought it odd. Still, the display of skills provided an excitement and thrill in the air. It was a welcomed diversion. The commanding officer considered it a time well-spent.

Celes sensed the frustration from Newsom, and she decided to infuriate him even more by executing a few maneuvers that utterly humiliated him in front of the large crowd that now surrounded them. She started by disarming Newsom twice in a row. Those who knew both of them raised their brows in disbelief. To disarm an expert swordsman was close to impossible, and yet Celes managed to pull it off. Celes also started to play a bit more with Newsom by sweeping him off his feet or by making his footing falter. She did it by a combination of tricks and quick foot maneuvers. The sight of Newsom, tripping down seemingly unable to keep a good balance was astonishing. Beigeletter did not like it at all, to say the least. It was humiliating for him. Even more so to see Lt. Celes Chere blatantly expressing her delight.

Newsom was starting to panic. He was already fighting at the upper extreme of his ability and was still unsuccessful in bringing down her defenses. He was struggling and Celes was warding off his attacks effortlessly. Too many people were present to see this, and he had been humiliated too many times already. His reputation was being crushed.

Newsom panicked.

Picking himself up from the ground, he charged recklessly at Celes with a pitiable battle cry. Celes simply cut the distance between them with a long step, lazily diverting Newsom's sword to the side. And with an easy punch to his face, his cry was abruptly cut short. Newsom fell to the ground with his nose bleeding. He didn't notice this at first until somebody from the crowd pointed it out. He brushed it with the back of his hand and stared at it in horror. He was finished. He would never live this down. He would be the laughing stock of entire military. Worst yet, he would be the laughing stock of the new recruits.

Celes grinned at the crowd as they cheered for her. She raised her arms into the air, enjoying the sound of her name from the chants of her comrades. It was not like her at all to be so conceited, but she had to admit that it was highly satisfying to be in the spotlight for a change-even more truly so since it was at the expense of somebody she despised.

Her gaze went back to Newsom, still on the ground, catching his breath. He was finished. He had nothing left in him. Those who betted on Celes cheered even louder while those who lost shook their heads in disappointment. The major, her commanding officer, clapped his hand and nodded approvingly at his lieutenant. He was about to order them all to get back to training when a totally unexpected presence graced them all...

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M54 & Celes

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Last edited by Celes on Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:11 pm 
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The Task


Vector. Training Grounds. 08:42

A loud and peculiar clapping was heard, and everyone, specially Celes, were surprised at seeing the person who, it seems, was watching the whole thing, General leo Cristophe.

Leo: (still clapping) Bravo! Bravo!

They all quiclky formed two lines and saluted the General. Celes cursed under her breath her luck. A General of the empire, one of the Emperor's most trusted men, saw it all. It was strongly penalized to play on duty, and it was even more penalized to raise your hand to your superior, let alone beat him.

Leo: (smiling) It's good to see so many newcomers! Most of you already know me but I'll introduce myself. I am General Leo. And I hope you serve our Empire with your whole hearts, your whole bodies and your whole soul!

Everyone: Yes, sir!!

Leo: (pointing to Newsom) You, get that revised at the infirmary!

Newsom: (standing up and starting to leave) Yes, sir! Thank you, sir! (as he passed near Celes, he whispered with a wicked grin) Good luck, Celes!

Leo: (pointing to Jason) You, too. Go to the infirmary!

Jason: (leaving, also) Yes, sir!

Celes saw it coming...

Leo: (pointing to Celes) You, to my office, NOW!

Celes: (leaving) Yes sir!

Leo: (looking back at the new recruits) For the Empire!

Everyone: For the Empire!

Not a word was spoken on their way to General Leo's office. It was going to be the first time she went into the main Imperial Headquarters, and, thinking Leo was going to have her demoted, she tried to enjoy the parade.

Finally they got to Leo's office. Celes was not less than impressed at the sight of so many medals, trophies and such on the walls. The room was big enough for Leo's elite group to have the meetings in there. She found odd that there were no books, papers and stuff like that on the desk, as the rest of the officers did. Leo noticed her curiosity.

Leo: The only place I find worth writing is a map to make my strategies. Please sit down.

General Leo sat down at his chair and so did Celes. Leo crossed his fingers and rested his chin on them, staring directly at Celes.

Leo: What's your name, soldier?

Celes: Celes Chere, sir!

Leo: If you were a Captain or someone of a higher rank, I would know you. What's your rank?

Celes: First Lieutenant Celes Chere, sir!

Leo: At ease, Lieutenant. Just answer me. If you are a First Lieutenant , how come I have a Captain bleeding in the infirmary thanks to you?

Celes: I'm sorry, sir.

Altough Celes was obviously nervous, she never showed it, and she stared at Leo back, almost not blinking or showing any emotion. leo found that amusing.

Leo: You know what happens when a soldier does something against it's superior?

Celes: They either get demoted or out of the Military, sir.

Leo: And still you did it. Why?

Celes: I apologize, sir.

Leo, No, I want to know the reason first. then I will decide what to do with you.

Celes: Sir, if I tell you why I did it, I would be talking against my superior and I do not wich more guilt to fall on me, sir.

Leo: Alright. And if I promise I will allow you to speak up about the Captain, will you answer my question?

Celes: Yes, sir!

Leo: Why did you do that?

Celes: Sir... (she took a deep breath, choosing her words carefully) Is just that I don't consent the way Colonel Newsom treats the new recruits. I know they have to get some nerve, and they need to learn to suffer, but his ways are just too savage. Today he almost killed a recruit. I think we must take care of all the Empire, specially those who are willing to die for the Empire. I don't care if it's a new recruit or a General, we are a family working under the same Emperor and we must look for each other.

Leo: (smiling to himself) I get that... but you did the same to him as he was doing the recruit. that makes you like him, isn't it?

Celes: Sir, I tried to talk him out of it but he didn't listened to him. And is on our army code to defend our fellow soldier.

Leo: I know, but it also says not to hit your fellow soldier!

Celes: Sir, in this case, the recruit was a victim of abuse, so I prioritized that it was my duty to protect the new recruit.

Leo: (surprised but not showing it) I see...

Leo stand up nd began pacing back and forth in his office, looking at Celes from time to time, obviously seriously thinking. Suddenly he stopped in front of Celes.

Leo: (taking a deep breath) Celes.... it's an honor to have people like you in the Military.

Celes (showing a bit of confusion) Sir...?

Leo: To be honest, I would've done the same. I've heard about the way he abuses the new recruits but no one did anything about it. It takes courage to do that.

Celes: .... Thank you, sir!

Leo: (he grinned) I think I finally found the person I was looking for!

Celes: May I ask what do you mean, sir?

Leo: The Emperor himself told me to find a person for a certain task that needs to be done. He knows I'm too busy to attend to it and he says he trusts in my judgement. I really think someone like you will be the perfect person for it.

Celes' face lit up istantly. This was a special mission the Emperor himself wanted to be done and the great General Leo thought she was the ideal peron to carry it out.

Leo: But...

Celes' fice went blanck again, she should've saw that comming.

Leo: Unfortunately, he also told me that he wanted at least a Major to do the job.

Celes: I understand, sir (her spirits went down but she didn0t show it).

Leo: Wich leaves me with no other choice than to promote you to Major.

Celes stand up, looking directly at General Leo.

Leo: Yes, I'm not kidding, congratulations, Maj. Celes Chere! (he said stretching his arm)

Celes shook his hand and gave him a big smile) Thank you, sir!! Thank you very much!!

Leo: Celes, we're almost equal, just call me Leo!!

Celes: Thank you.... Leo! (she chucled).

Leo: And if you do this task correctly, you will be promoted to Lt. Colonel!

Celes: I will not fail, I promise!!

Leo: I know you will, Celes.

Celes: What's the task?

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:28 pm 
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The Girl


Vector. Devil's Lab. 10:39.

Cid was writing on his blackboard. He was under intense though. He uses to make up ecuations and try to solve them in little time. Exercise, he called it. He was so inmersed in thought that he did not realized he was not alone anymore in his lab.

Celes: You need a bigger blackboard.

Cid: (turning to her) Great, you made me loose it! I was making time, I'm waiting for someone. (He turned to erase his blackboard, and that's when it dawned on him) Celes!! What are you doing here!? You are not authorized to get in-

Voice: (interrupting) If she's here, that means she has been promoted, don't you think, Cid?

Both turned to the new figure that appeared on the lab. He was instantly recognized.

Celes: (saluting) General Kefka!

Kefka: (also smiling) At ease! Congratulations, by the way.

Celes: Thank you, sir!

Cid: (looking at Celes) You've been promoted? Celes, that's great! But, how did you...?

Celes: Leo came to the training grounds and saw my skills (she said waving her hand). He said my profile is right for the mission at hand. He told me to come here and ask you what the mission is.

Kefka: I trust in Leo's judgement. I know you will succeed, Celes.

Cid: Oh, yes, of course. Let me bring you the files. (Cid went to his desk and grabbed a bunck of papers and gave them to Celes). Here, you should read this. (He then turned to Kefka) You are here for your serum, right?

Kefka: Yes, I am.

Celes opened the files and stared at the picture that was on the first page.

Celes: I have to kill this person?

Cid and Kefka looked at Celes, then to each other, then back to Celes and chuckled.

Kefka: Actually, Celes, is the exact opposite. You have to take care of that person. (Kefka saw the confused look on Celes' face).

Celes resisted the temptation to ask why, but her military training thaught her that if the Empire wants to give her answers, they will. If not, she just has to take the facts as it is and finish the task.

Kefka: Take this mission seriously, ok? I know it seems rather easy or... I don't know. But remember that this mission comes from the Emperor himself.

Celes: (composing herself) Understood.

While they were talking, Cid left the room. Now he came back with Celes' 'mission'.

Cid: Celes, I present you Terra Brandford!

Celes took a look at the new person on the room, the person she has to take care to. It seemed the girl was her age. She was thin, seemed weak, it was slighlty shorter than Celes, her eyes were green. She wore a pink shirt and dark blue jeans and sandals, wich seemed odd to Celes since they were in military zone. But the feature that seemed more odd was her hair. It was green. Athough strange, it looked beautiful. Looking at her altoghether, she was a gorgeous, fragile, girl. Celes' first thought was that it may be a relative of someone high in the military.

Celes: Hello, Terra Brandford. I'm Celes.

Terra: (looking at Celes' eyes, blushing a little, then looking down) Hi...!

Celes smiled to herself. Her shyness seemed charming to her.

Kefka: (touching Celes' shoulder) Alright. I'll inform the Emperor that the two of you already met. I leave her on your capable hands, Captain Chere.

Celes: Thank you, sir.

Back in Celes' new room.

Celes: Welcome to your new room, Terra, make yourself comfortable.

Terra: (still not looking at Celes' eyes and with a sad tone in her voice) Thank you.

Celes almost asked the girl if she was ok, but remembered the lesson that she was being taught; emotions are weaknesses, and that included showing compassion for another's wellbeing.

Celes: There are not a lot of girls in the army.

Terra: You are the only one I know, so far.

Celes: Why are you here now?

Terra: (turning to the ground) They want me to train. To learn to…hurt people. (she looked at Celes for a moment, then turned again) I have…powers that they want to use.

Celes wanted to ask her if she meant magic, but decided against it.

Celes: (Thinkinf to herself) They would have told me if I was supposed to know.

Celes: Come on. Let's go run around the track for a while.

Terra: Ok.

They did, but Terra tired quickly. Celes still had a lot of energy, as she usually did, and decided to get Terra a practice sword from the equipment room.

Celes: Here. Do you know how to sword fight?

Terra: No.

Celes: Ok. I'll teach you.

She handed Terra a sword and showed her how to hold it and how to parry different attacks. Terra was actually beginning to enjoy herself, forgetting the purpose of her training. After only an hour of practice, Terra was able to parry all of Celes' attacks, though they were executed at a leisurely speed.

Kefka: Very good! You're a fast learner.

Celes saluted.

Terra turned around and also saluted, though less sharply than Celes.

Kefka: And you're a good teacher, Celes. The two of you will make an excellent team.

Celes: (stealing a glance at Terra) I think we will, Major!

The girl looked frightened, though Celes couldn't think of a reason why.

Celes: Terra, you saw him in the lab but let me formaly introduce you to General Kefka Palazzo, personal advisor to His Majesty. He's an exceptional swordsman…among other things (she continued, alluding to his magic).

Kefka: Above average, but I wouldn't say exceptional. Not yet. Besides, young Leo is already a match for me (he said, smiling) I'll have to train harder.

Celes chuckled, knowing well Leo's reputation with a sword.

Kefka: You are well on your way, Celes.

Celes: Perhaps, but I still have a long way to go, sir.

Kefka: Oh, you're being modest. (Kefka paused and simply smiled at the aspiring warriors). Anyway, I must be on my way. Terra, it was a pleasure meeting you, and I hope to see more of you (he said with a strange smile). And Celes, always a pleasure.

Celes: You too, sir (she replied with a more informal salute).

Kefka bowed his head slightly to the girls, and continued on his way. Celes turned to Terra.

Celes: Anything wrong?

Terra: I… I don't like that man.

Celes: Kefka? I mean, sure, he can be a bit goofy sometimes, but he's not that bad. How come?

Terra: I don't know. I just…get a bad feeling from him.

Celes: Hmm… Well, you're probably just stressed because it's your first day here.

Terra: Yeah, maybe…

Celes: Come on. Let's practice a little more, then we can go get some dinner.

Terra: Ok.

From that day on, Celes and Terra stuck together, instantly becoming good friends. Terra attended the same classes as Celes, and trained with her every day. She slowly got stronger, and could keep up with Celes a little better.

All the boys were surprised when Terra showed up out of nowhere, and even more surprised when they saw that she was Celes' friend. They harassed the green-haired girl from the start, but never got too close because Celes was always right there to stop them.

Celes took her orders to protect Terra deadly serious, and often got into fights with the boys on her account. The results were broken noses, twisted arms, and black eyes, though only on the boys' side; Celes never got a scratch. Nor was she reprimanded for her actions, because it she was just following orders.

The two were sixteen, and were developing into attractive young teens. Celes' blonde hair was slightly longer than shoulder length. Terra's green hair was a little longer than Celes'

The boys, now around the hormonal ages of fifteen and sixteen, started to notice the girls more. Celes was unapproachable by all means, but they began hounding Terra nonstop. One advance on Terra was made by a foolish young man, whose arm was promptly broken by Celes. Again, the young blonde was never punished. The guys finally figured out that Celes was dangerous, and stayed away from Terra when she as around.

One night, though, after working out in the indoor training facility, Terra started back to her dorm without Celes. The blonde had been held back by one of the officers to chat, and Terra insisted that she would be fine by herself.

She was wrong, however. A group of four boys saw her alone, and approached her.

Scott: Hey, Terra! What are you doing out here this time of night, and all alone?

Terra: Go away, Scott, I don't want any trouble.

Scott: Oh, we won't be any trouble.

Terra: I don't want to have to hurt you.

Scott: You? Hurt us? Please. (he grabbed her arm, but his sleeve erupted in flames. AAHHH! What the hell?

He shook his arm, trying to put out the fire, but the flames held strong. He flung off the shirt, finding his arm badly burned.

Scott: You little witch, you can use magic!?

Terra: I warned you!

She tried to walk away, but was confronted by the other three. One of them, Paul, reached for her, but he found his arm suddenly twisted painfully behind his back.

Back in Celes' dorm, she started to wonder why Terra wasn't back yet and decided to go out and look for her. When she got there she was shocked at the sight.

Two boys were on the floor, rolling to put out the flames. The other two were frightened, but then rage posessed them.

Paul: Damn it, I'm gonna kill you, witch!

Celes saw that Terra had no chance to run away from the deadly blow coming up to her and paniced. Her mind and heart raced and lost it. She ran to were Terra was, placing herself between Terra and her attakers.

Celes: (screaming) NO!

General Leo was walking to his room when he saw a bright flash of light. He ran to were the light came from and saw a very allarming scenario. Two boys were on the ground, burned, passed out from the pain, and two other boys were frozen, then he saw Celes hugging Terra on the ground.

Leo: Celes! What happened!?

Celes: (Helping Terra stand up and turning to Leo) This boys were attacking Terra. And.... and.....

Leo: (looking at Terra) Terra..... you did this?

Terra: (still hugging Celes crying) I'm sorry!

Leo: Don't worry, Terra, it was self-deffence, it seems. (turning to Celes) Well, I guess you now Terra's secret now.

Celes: (looking at Terra, then at Leo) I promisse I won't tell, sir.

Leo: It's ok, Celes. I will have to inform the Emperor that you know, though. But don't worry. I think is better if the person in charge of Terra knows about her abbilities.

Celes: Thank you, sir.

Celes and Terra walked back to the dorm they shared. Once inside, Terra took Celes by the arm.

Terra: Celes, aren't you scared of me, now?

Celes: (smiling) Of course not! Besides, I kind of guessed the first day you came.

Terra: I was told not tell anyone, but I could use it if I absolutely needed to. I don't know where my powers came from. I was born with it.

Celes: Really?

Terra: I can only do fire and cure, though. I really don't know where that Ice spell came from...

Celes: For real? That's odd...

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:37 pm 
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The Frost


Vector. Imperial Palace. Emperor's Chamber. 12:29

Gestahl: So... our little kitten's powers may be awakening?

Kefka: (grinning) It appears so. According to the reports, Terra only knows Fire. There are no indications of her using Ice or any cold spells, your majesty.

Gestahl: (stroking his beard) Leo, what do you think?

Leo: As you know, your majesty, I don't comprehend the full mysteries of magic. Even if I know how to do Shock spells, I barely use it, I rather use my sword. It might be that Terra learned a new spell, since she has the natural ability to use magic...

Gestahl: ... That's another option. Kefka?

Kefka: I agree with Leo, your majesty. Whatever the reason, I do think it's better if we put Celes under observation.

Leo: If Celes was the one that made the spell... she was able to do it when she was in a lot of stress.

Gestahl: (turning to the other man in the room) Cid, you haven't said a word so far. What are your thoughts?

Cid: Celes has been training very hard. She said to me that she wants to go to a higher rank. I've been observing the tests she does and her stamina has been improving amazingly in the last year. She is allarmed because she says she has a lot of energy and does not know what to do with it, and now this... It is possible, however unlikely, that her powers have been dormant and are just awakening.

Gestahl: She's the only human that was able to survive a full infusion, thanks to you, I must add. I think it's wise to test Celes and see what she can do.

Kefka: We can even solve two problems at once, my lord... (he said grinning)

Gestahl: What do you mean, Kefka?

Kefka: Well, (pointing at Cid) you said she was eager to climb ranks and was trying very hard, right? (Cid nods, Kefka turns to the Emperor) Let's use that as an excuse to put her into intense test. I've been observing Celes, she likes challenges.

Gestahl: I think I see where this is going.... but do you think that the rest of the army will agree with that? Specially the ones that think they deserve that rank?

Leo: Your majesty, I agree with Kefka. I think this wil solve that issue, too. Think about it... Celes is working very hard.... training herself, physicaly and mentally to climb ranks. Those Colonels are bribing the Counsel to get the rank. And I don't think we want that kind of people on a higher rank.

Gestahl: (stroking his beard) Mmmmh. That's true. But do you think Celes is ready for such a rank? She's too young.

Leo: And very mature for her age, your majesty! I've been talking to Cid about her and she has very interesting opinions about the Empire.

Gestahl: Cid, would you explain that?

Cid: Yes, your majesty. She did said she was interested in using magic, but only to serve the Empire. For her, the Empire doesn't need magic and if we wanted to conquer the world we would've already done it. She believes strongly on the Empire's objective of Global Accord and Honor.

Gestahl: Ahhh... I like that in a soldier. Alright, it's decided. Leo, I leave Celes in your hands. Put her into intense training and let's see how this will develop. Cid, study her constantly and report me of any changes. Kefka. Since Celes will be more busy with her training, I leave to you to train Terra while Celes is not available. Remeber, Kefka.... Terra is our most valuable weapon, take care of her.

Kefka: (grinning) Yes, your majesty.

Cid: Of course, my lord.

Leo: As you wish, your honor!

The matter was discussed with Celes. The possibility to quickly climb ranks appealed immensely to her. Although, some pieces of information were hidden from her, like the true intentions of her training. From that day on, Celes saw little of Terra. They met at their dormitory at nights, but where both too tired to do something. Celes was very worried about her friend. Terra cried in her sleep sometimes and even woke up screaming from time to time.

Since Leo was in charge of her physical training, they gradually became very good friends, and, since Celes constantly visit Kefka to ask for Terra, they two became good friends, although Celes kept certain distance.

For ten months, Celes increased her strenght, stamina, studied a lot of war tactics and became more charming and focused in her work. On the 11th month, by orders of Emperor Gestahl, her training became even more intensified, since she was showing progress, the Emperor wanted to know if there were any limits in her. Since it was becoming more intense and Leo was known for being Celes' friend, he did not took part on the next phase of her training.

Ryan: If you make yourself more than just a soldier, you become something else entirely.

Celes: And that is...?

Ryan: A legend, Celes.

As he spoke, Ryan paced around the perimeter of a circular pit six feet in diameter and fifteen feet deep. Five of Ryan's students surrounded it, each holding a wooden staff, and dispersed throughout it were a number of fifteen-foot wooden posts, six inches in diameter, each two feet apart. And atop the middle post stood Celes without protective gear, her hands as her only defense. The lone rope hanging from that same post and extending to the floor provided the sole exit from the trench.

Ryan: I've been instructed to give you a lesson in pain. Now, while I don't approve of this kind of training, what must be done will be done. En garde!

One by one, the five students each took a swing with their staff. Celes was able to block their strikes until they began to step up their speed, force, and frequency. A blow to her shoulder made her flinch in pain, and the subsequent jab to her stomach knocked her off the post.

Ryan: What you must learn, Celes, is that pain is a distraction; a distraction from balance and concentration. To acknowledge it is to be weak, and if you are weak (Ryan gestured to the bottom of the pit), you will fall. Now climb up and try again.

When she reached the top, the exercise resumed. Once again, a failed parry drove her fifteen feet below, and she hit the ground hard.

Ryan: Learn to segregate your pain from your thoughts. When you do, you will be able to push it to the farthest corner of your mind and block it from your consciousness entirely. Remember: your focus determines your reality. Again!

The climb to the top was slightly harder this time around, and Celes only found herself knocked to the ground even faster than before. As she struggled to her feet with an arm cradling her ribs, Ryan continued to lecture.

Ryan: You're not focusing, Celes. Or, rather, you are focusing on the pain, but not the defense. Do it again!

The process continued for several hours. Each time took her longer to stand, longer to climb, and sooner to fall. But the time finally came when Celes seemed to move out of the realm of thought, if only for the briefest moment. A low sweep of a staff swept her feet out from under her, but with feline finesse, she twisted her body midair, catching herself flat across the posts before she fell.

Ryan: (motioning to halt the students) That's enough. Very good, Celes. Pushed to the limit, you kept yourself from falling, a precursor to the full potential of your focus. We will continue this lesson in two day's time. I suggest you rest before then.

And rest she would have, except that Col. Larson proceeded with his own curriculum on the alternating days with Ryan. For hours after her regular combat classes, she was forced to do countless pull-ups, pushups, and crunches, as well as extensive running drills affectionately termed 'killers' by the younger cadets. To make it worse, she was only allowed to go home on Larson's whim.

Larson would often work her at the punching bag until her arms were lead and her knuckles were raw. Then he would only push her harder. Gradually, he moved to from the punching bag to the harder surface of a padded cement block. Then one night, it was a bare wooden board, which she pummeled for over an hour. With every punch, the stinging of wood against her bare hands grew more agonizing.

Larson: You're slacking off, Chere.

Celes increased to force of her punches, but it wasn't enough for the colonel.

Larson: Come on, Celes, I want to see your knuckles bleed!

Her stress mounting, Celes finally lashed out, leaving a red stain on the wood. Panting, she looked at Larson, hoping he'd be satisfied. He examined her hand, pleased to see blood.

Larson: Good. Now break the board.

Celes' face fell in disbelief, and she looked at the board with dread. Nevertheless, she drew back and hit the board once again, but it barely even creaked.

Larson: Come on, Chere! I know old ladies who can punch harder than you!

She struck again and again as hard as she could, but to no avail. The pain in her hand was now unbearable, and she stopped.

Larson: What's wrong? Does your hand hurt? (he asked somewhat mockingly. She merely nodded) You're weak, Celes! Pain is a weakness, you know this!

The anger swelled in Celes, and after a chain of punches, she spun and rammed her elbow into the board, splitting in two. Seeing that the board was broken, Larson lifted her elbow to inspect it, finding it bloody.

Larson: Get that looked at, then go home.

Thankfully, when she got home, there there was Terra to cast cure on her, so she may be able to continue the hard training the next day.

For months, Celes endured the grueling trials. But in spite of her waning stamina, the desired results were beginning to surface. Ryan and Larson were pleased with her progress, and so they put her to the challenge of sparring with ten of Ryan's martial arts students consecutively. It took her nearly three straight hours to defeat them, and thankfully, they let her go home early that night.

Another week of strength training passed, and Ryan and Larson made a slight change to the trial Celes was to complete again. Equipped with a Bo, Celes was placed against three students with imitation swords at a time. When a student fell, he was replaced by another until Celes had defeated fifteen. She accomplished the exercise in less than two hours, and she went back to her dorm feeling a bit lightheaded. Nevertheless, her training continued.

Yet another week passed, and she was put to the test a third time, now with an artificial blade of her own against twenty students, four at a time. They fought as if with real swords, and her opponents fell easily within an hour.

Her wooziness returned worse than before, and it was accompanied by a sharp headache. Her limbs felt like rubber, and when she reached her dorm, she didn't even bother showering before simply falling onto her bed, asleep before her head hit the pillow.

Two more weeks of solid training went by, and her instructors decided to put her to the ultimate test. Armed with dual swords, she was to participate in a genuine swordfight against both Kefka and Leo, the two top swordsmen of the military.

In the middle of the compound, the three drew their swords, putting the sheaths aside, and took their stances. The two men began with short bursts of strikes from the front, but Celes parried them both with ease, waiting for her opening. It came when Kefka moved too close to Leo, and their movement was briefly hindered. Celes immediately switched to the offensive, driving them both back across the compound, until Kefka pivoted around an attack, moving behind her.

The officers training in the compound had begun eagerly gathering to watch this duel between these best of the best. They marveled at Celes' exceptional demonstration of skill and control with the dual swords. She seemed to sense Kefka's moves without even looking back, and the trio's display appeared a spinning, twirling maelstrom of blades as each one poured their training and instinct into the battle.

Frustrated, Kefka decided it was time to play dirty. As the fight was carried amidst the obstacle course, Kefka used his magic to ignite various objects, hoping the sudden combustions would throw Celes off. When it didn't appear to be working, he turned his magic directly against her, integrating a fiery element into one of his strikes. When his sword collided with one of Celes', the explosion of fire stung her hand, causing her to drop the blade.

Angered by the cheap move, Celes turned and cleaved her remaining sword down upon him. After Kefka parried, Celes, in rapid succession, brought the sword back over her right shoulder to block Leo's attack, forward again at Kefka, and then rammed her right elbow back, striking Leo in the nose and knocking him to the ground.

Turning back to Kefka, Celes glared at him for a moment. He merely returned it with an odd gaping grin. She suddenly launched forward in a short burst of attacks.

Kefka: Such anger, Celes,(Kefka mocked during the pause. He blocked another series of strikes).I sense more in you.(they locked swords). But you don't use it.

Kefka shoved her back, and immediately began his own attack. Driving her back, he spun to elbow her in the face with his right arm, but Celes sidestepped to the left and kneed his exposed abdomen.

As he turned to face her, now infuriated, Kefka drew back his left hand, summoning a ball of fire. To everyone's enormous surprise, but appearantly not aknowledged by Celes, The ball of fire was absorbed by Celes' sword but the impact threw her to the ground.

Kefka: (hew mouth wide open) Wha- What happened!?

He then started to run to her but slipped to the floor. Opening his eyes to see why he fell, his surprise was even greater when he saw he slipped in ice.

As Celes slowly stood up, she saw that Leo was already waiting, sword in hand. He was still shocked at what he saw. Her headache and dizziness were returning, but she shook her head to clear it, focusing instead on her opponent. Leo saw Celes approaching and focused on her, too.

The two attacked each other at the same time, and a long rapid volley ensued as they danced across the arena, until Kefka picked himself up and rejoined the fight. Celes gradually moved back towards the obstacle course to retrieve her second sword, and the fighting progressed up the steps to the starting platform of the ropes course.

Celes jumped into the air and split kicked them both. She quickly jabbed the point of her sword into Kefka's chest and kicked him off the platform, signifying his 'death.' All the officers watching cheered as she turned back to face Leo, her dual swords held out in front of her.

Larson: Finish it, Celes!

Leo: Come on, Cel, let's just stop. I see how tired you are. You need to calm down.

Celes: (she shook her head) I can't until I end it.

When Celes resumed her attack, the young man put on a valiant show as he parried both of her blades with his single sword. Leo finally kicked Celes and leapt across the three foot gap to the course's ending platform.

Leo: It's over, Celes. (he gestured to their positions) I've got the high ground.

Celes: (smirking) Leo, you underestimate me!

Ryan: Be careful of your arrogance, Chere! (he said across the compound)

She glanced back at her instructor once before returning her attention to her rival, still determined.

Leo: Don't try it.

Disregarding their warnings, feeling a rush of power, Celes took a running leap, flipping over Leo's head while striking out with her right blade. Leo arced his sword up to parry, but the force of her jump threw off his balance. His sword pierced just below her left breast, finding an exit in her back.

Leo heard Celes cry out in pain. He carefully turned her around and kneeled beside her. No one has ever seen Leo in panic before this.

Celes tried to get up, but the effects of the pain, extreme fatigue, and blood loss caught up with her, and she collapsed, unconscious. Ryan, Larson, and Kefka ran over to the two, ushering the spectators out of the way.

Ryan: Oh, gods… (he whispered as he beheld the wounded officer)

Leo: I'm sorry, i-i-it was an accident (Leo stuttered). I-I didn't mean to—

Ryan: Leo, calm down. This wasn't your fault.

Kefka: Let's get her to Cid, quickly. There must be something he can do.

Later that day, in Cid's lab.

Cid: How did this happen?

Leo: We were training. It was an accident, I swear!

Cid: (puting his hand on the worried man's shoulder) I'm sure it was, Leo.

Kefka: What are your thoughts, Cid?

Cid: Dehydration, extreme fatigue and mental stress, severe blood loss… The list goes on. I never approved of her increased training, and this is why. (Cid rubbed the bridge of his nose and sighed). Luckily, the sword didn't pierced her heart. There might still be a little hope...

Kefka: Well, I suppose I need to inform His Majesty of what has happened.

Leo: (burying his head in his hands) The emperor's going to kill me.

Kefka: Leo, you heard Cid, there is still hope she'll recover. Don't worry so much.

Leo: But I—

Leo stopped himself, and Kefka perceived the shadow of an emotion he thought foreign to the young man. He shook his head ever-so slightly at the notion.

Kefka: Accidents happen.

Back in the emergency room, a dozen of doctors were struggling to keep Celes alive. It seemed like they were going to loose her. Celes was unconsious.

Celes regained awareness in a space that seemed to consist only of light. Her feet felt as though they were on solid ground, but she looked down and saw nothing but the white void. She sensed that it was cold, but she did not feel it. She didn't feel anything. Not cold. Not fear. Not pain. Only numbness.

Voice: Welcome, Child of the Ice.

Celes snapped her head around to see a familiar figure standing not five feet away. She was tall and quite scantily clad, except for the sheer cloak hanging loosely about her shoulders, its satiny sheen shimmering eerily with blues and greens. Her skin had a purplish-blue tint, her lips even were a light blue, and there was a peculiar ice formation reaching from over her heart up to her left cheek. But the most striking features of this woman were her eyes and hair. Her eyes were like pools of liquid ice so cold even Celes felt a chill from them, and her hair, extremely full and vibrantly blue, was pulled back by a blue circlet into thick dreads tied with crisscrossing gold ropes and rings, with large silver hoops coupled at the ends.

Celes: …Shiva!

Shiva: You are the bearer of my essence. Through that, we are connected.

Celes: Am I dead?

Shiva: Actually, yes. But the humans won't let you go that easily. In fact, they will succeed in bringing you back to life.

Celes: Why?

Shiva: Because you have yet to fulfill your purpose.

Celes: My purpose?

Shiva: Yes, Child. Your destiny as the last descendant of Rune.

Celes: The Rune?

Shiva: You are quite clueless as to the truths about your ancestry.

Celes: What truths?

Shiva: If you truly desire to discover who you are, I suggest you get the professor to help you research the Rune Order, but it is not my place to divulge the details of your heritage.

Celes: I'm not sure I understand.

Shiva: You were born the Angel of Death, Child. You will know it before the end.

Celes: Again..... What!?

Shiva: You, together with the Angel of Hope will bring balance back to the world.

Celes (frustrated) What the hell does that mean? You talk about my future as if it doesn't lie with the Empire.

Shiva: Child…the only other thing I can tell you is to beware who you trust.

Celes: Wh…what does that mean? (Shiva began backing away). Answer me!

Shiva: We will meet again, Child.

Before Celes could protest, she felt a stab of pain in her chest as her senses returned to her and she awoke from death's sleep, screaming.

Leo and Cid, along with some doctor that were outside the room heard the loud scream and rushed to the room. Upon entering, the sight before them left them breathless.

Everything in the room, along with the doctors in it, was frozen. Leo and Cid carefully walked into the room, not knowing what happened there and slowly walked to the bed where Celes was. Cid and Leo were relieved when they realized that Celes was unconsious, but alive, and the wound under her left breast completely healed, leaving only a small scar. Still, they were concerned at what they saw.

____________________________

S.D. / G.L. / C.C.

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:30 pm 
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The Awakening


Vector. Imperial Infirmary. 08.02

Cid: How do you feel, Celes?

Celes: Alive. That's what matters.

Celes awoke a couple of minutes ago, welcomed by the sight of Proffesor Cid, waiting by her side. She felt weak, but she also felt cold. The oddest thing was that it was a very conforting coldness. As if that's how she was meant to feel since the very beginning. She also had this strange feeling, like she has been sleeping all this years and just awoke. She was now aware of a lot of things within herself. She felt what she was capable of doing. She understood herself and all her abilities... she also felt that she should not reveal that change to anyone, not even Cid.

Cid: Are you not going to ask how is it that you are alive, Celes?

Celes knew. She knew exactly why she was still alive. Cid din't. Celes knew Cid was goint to make something up to explain the strange miracle that just ocurred and hide some facts from her. That didn't bother her, though, she was being the same way, too, now.

Celes: (arching a brow) Your awesome technology, I guess?

Cid: ('how did she knew my answer?' Cid was thinking) ... Well, yes! That's exactly what I was going to say, Celes. Isn't technology grand!?

Kefka: I'll say! (he said as he entered the room)

Celes: General! (she tried to salute)

Kefka: (motioning with his hand for Celes to rest) The emperor will be pleased to know you're all right, Celes. I see you are fine, I'm glad.

Celes: Thank you.

Kefka: (pointing up to the door) Feeling up to visitors? There are a couple of people who are eager to see you.

Celes already knew who it was, and in truth, she really didn't want to see them right now. Nevertheless, she nodded wearily, and Kefka called to the two waiting outside. Terra practically ran into the room and to her friend's side, and Leo walked in behind her.

Terra: Celes! I'm happy to see you alive and OK!

Celes: Thank you for comming, my friend.

Terra: That was a stupid move, Cel.

Celes: (smiling a little at her friend's honesty) Thank you, Ter. I won't try it again, I promise.

Terra: You better not to.

Celes noticed that Leo was keeping some distance, but at the same time seemed to want to come closer. She watched as he avoided eye contact, she leant her head slightly in order to see his face fully.

Celes: See, Leo? I don't blame you.

Leo: (finally meeting her gaze) You really don't?

Celes: Of course not!

Leo smiled, walked to her side and locked arms with her.

Leo: Looks like you will have to train harder to beat me, now!

Celes: I guess so!

Celes was the first to unlock arms with him, and saw that Leo's smirk was still in his face. She knew there was still some thing Leo had to say to her.

Celes: (narrowing her eyes a bit) What is it, Leo?

Leo: (amazed by Celes' perception but not showing it) I've got news. Since this is a product of tiredness and you've been training very hard lately, you have to take a week of vacation.

Celes: (her smile vanished) No, Leo. I won't stop. I feel alright and will continue with my training. Thanks, but no thanks.

Leo: (his smirk getting bigger now) Oh, but this is not your choice, is an order!

Celes: (letting her head land flat on her pillow) Oh, come on, Leo, you can't do this to me!

Gestahl: It's an order from me!

Celes was indeed surprised. She hid it well but still, she felt nervous. She even tried to sit up quick wich only resulting in a pain in her back wich she couldn't hide this time.

Gestahl: At ease, kitten.

Celes: Your majesty!

Gestahl: I'm very pleased with your advance. Yes, I want you to rest for a bit, but when you return you will get a new kind of training.

The Emperor stared at Celes to watch her reaction. She showed none, she knew she was not to interrupt the Emperor while he was talking. Gestahl was pleased.

Gestahl: You will now go to the field to learn how to lead an army. (pointing up to Leo) General Leo offered to be your trainer this time. (Celes' eyes shifted quickly to Leo then back to the Emperor). You will go with him on several missions and see what he does. Watch him closely and learn from him. He might be just seven years older than you, but believe me, he does know what he does. He will even let some of the missions be led by you and serve as your assistant. Is that clear?

Celes: Yes, sir!

Gestahl: Good. That's all for now. Rest, Celes. Wee need you at your full next week.

Gestahl saluted everyone in the room and left.

Kefka: Congratulations Celes! (then sofly to Leo's ear) Or should I say 'congratulations Le-'

Leo: (blushing a little and slightly hitting Kefka with his elbow) Kefka! (they shared a laugh)

Celes heard that but dismissed it.

Celes: It will be an honor, Leo. And I will rest, then.

Terra: We will have a lot of fun, Celes! It's been a while since we do something together!

Celes: Oh, boy. I don't know what you're planning to do but... alright.

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:45 pm 
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The Celestial Rise


The last time Celes spent more than ten hours not doing anything that involved the military training was a long time ago, when she was but a kid. Terra made sure Celes did not get bored, and in most cases, she succeeded, for the blond loved her too much and always found amusing how different the two were from each other.

Leo visited both ladies often and offered to help amuse Celes in ocasions, but Terra's response was simply "Girls Only". It was not that Terra disliked Leo, in fact, she did liked him, it was just that Terra wanted Celes for herself in this time, but finally Leo succeeded and the three of them went to dinner together.

Vektor. The Dream Cafe. 19.45

Celes: I kinda miss it.

Leo: You're not serious, right? How can you miss all the chaos that this stupoid fight for the title of General of The Empire is causing?

Celes: I don't know, I just miss it (she smirked).

Leo: Ha! Well, be happy because is gonna be even worse, it seems.

Terra: (raising a brow) What do you mean?

Leo: (bowing his head) It seems like General Fencross is getting a lot worse. The doctors say is just a matter of time...

Terra: (also bowing her head) Oh, that's too bad...

Celes: (she seemed unaffected by the news, as though she knew) You can always anounce his death once you guys already decided who the new General will be.

Leo: Well... yes. I just hope the news don't get leaked. If the army, or even more, The Returners, realize this, the chaos will be colossal!

Celes: The same thing will happen once you announce the new General, anyway. Whoever that person is, will be an easy target for those damn Returners, and even the Colonels, who wanted the title so badly.

Leo: That's why we have to choose wisely...

Celes: (shrugging) Oh, well.

Terra: Are you not nervous about your first mission on the field, Celes? It is tomorrow.

Celes: Well, is not like I will be doing anything...

Leo: You can help, Celes, I don't want you to get bored too much, because it will be a very simple mission.

Celes: I really hope they get better eventually!

Vektor. South Figaro. 07.01

It was supposed to be a simple mission. A simple disarmament and detainment. When they arrived in the town, the streets were deserted.

Celes: (whispering to Leo) Leo, something's wrong here. It's too quiet. Too empty.

Leo: (feeling the same way, but wanting Celes to express herself) What do you mean?

Celes: I think we're walking into a trap.

Leo: I think you're right.

But before he could give the order to retreat, they were attacked from all sides by rebel fighters.

Leo: Draw your weapons! But we want them alive!

The rebels weren't much of a challenge for the trained and outnumbering militia. It was over in a few minutes. There had been no casualties on either side, only a few minor injuries. Celes single-handedly fought three men overall, easily disarming each one.

Celes along with a few teen cadets were ordered to keep a general watch on the prisoners while they were being searched and chained by the older officers. The girl, still on an adrenaline rush from the battle, stood casually with her sword resting on her shoulder.

Unbeknownst to the young Imperials, whose attention was focused towards the prisoners and not the rest of the area, a figure crept out from the shadows, drawing a knife. He stealthily approached Celes from behind. She sensed his presence, though, even before Leo shouted out to her.

Leo: Celes, behind you!

Almost instinctively, she spun her sword and, stepping back with her right foot, thrust the blade backwards. There was a grim expression on her face as she heard the sickening squish of the blade going through the assailant's stomach. She held for a few seconds before jerking the sword out.

She closed her eyes for a brief moment as the man fell to the ground, dying an agonizing death. When she opened them, her expression was cold and emotionless, and every single man present felt a chill run down his spine. Without even looking at the fallen man, she walked away. Suddenly, Imperial life didn't seem so grand.

Leo watched her go, concerned. Seeing her face harden like that into a stoic mask was a spooky sight for him to take in. He decided to follow her after the rebels were cuffed and the area was secured.

Leo: Celes…are you ok?

Celes: I'm fine (her voice flat).

Leo: Are you sure?

Celes: (coldly) It's what I'm trained for.

Leo: Cel, that wasn't supposed to happen. Not yet, not when you're so young. I'm sorry.

Celes: There's nothing to be sorry about. I did what I had to do. It was for the Empire.

Leo cringed at her words. It hurt him to hear her say the same words that had been drilled into their minds since childhood. They were turning her into a mindless soldier. She changed so quickly, Leo thought sadly.

Leo: Celes, it's ok to show remorse.

Celes: Emotions are a weakness.

Leo: Do you really believe that?

Celes: …Do I have a choice?

Celes composed herself, realizing that Leo was really concerned.

Celes: Really, don't worry, Leo. If I am to advance, I had to do it eventually, (she placed her hand on Leo's shoulder), don't you think? I'm really OK.

Leo: (smiling) Now you are consoling me, what a girl!

Celes accompained Leo on all his missions, even some dangerous ones, for several months. In the meanwhile, Celes was proven to be an excellent soldier, gaining the admiration and respect from the entire elite, even if she was young and a woman. Leo was pleased that they accepted her and she also felt comfortable in the field, as if that was her place to be.

All the army came to known her as a fine warrior, deserving of her rank, wich was what The Emperor always wanted. He felt that the moment for Celes' destiny had finally arrived. He called Celes to the throne room. She entered the room unnafected, not showing any sign of emotion, not showing any nervousness. The Emperor liked that. She bowed down before him, and realized that Leo and Kefka were in the room as well.

Gestahl: Rise, Celes.

Celes: (rising up and giving a salute) You requested my precense, my lord?

Gestahl: Indeed. Celes, the time has come for you to prove yourself. To become what you were born to be. (he gave a short pause, and continued). There's not too much time to make this a big event as it should be, but we have something in mind. Celes Chere, you've been serving the Empire since you were just a child. In that time, you have prooved to be destined for greatness. (he paused again, coming closer to Celes). First the bad news... General Fencross is dead. (he gave another pause, staring at celes, wanting to see a reaction, but he saw none). This will be a blow for the Empire, so we will have to act quick. I'm sure you already know now why you were summoned here. We are sure you are ready to become a General and take Fencross place. That is, if you feel ready for it and if you accept this privilege.

Celes: (still, not showing any sign of emotions) I'll be honored.

Gestahl, Leo and Kefka could not contain the smiles going in their faces.

Gestahl: Very well, congratulations, General Chere!

Their smiles getting wider, making Celes smile as well this time.

Celes: Thank you, my lord. I will not disappoint you.

Kefka: Well done, Celes!

Leo: I know you're the right choice!

Gestahl let them get closer to the new general to congratulate her for some minutes and then interrupted them.

Gestahl: Now, let's discuss the matter that is concerning the Empire right now. It is my belief that peace can only be achieved through the union of the world powers. It is my wish that the three continents of this world come together under one banner. And it is my ambition to lead this world to greatness. Now, it is also my assumption that not every nation will readily join our path to providence. This is why I must ask the three of you to travel to the far reaches of this earth and make them understand our quest of Unity, Duty, and Destiny. Yes, it is these three ideals that will grant us our fate. Kefka, you will bring Unity to the nations of the vast Western Continent. Remember that the king of Figaro is our greatest asset, therefore your greatest ally in your quest.

Kefka: Yes, Sire.

Gestahl: Leo, you shall give the people of the East the gift of Duty, allegiance to Vector. Unlike the king of Figaro, the lord of Doma has always been reluctant to accept Vector's offers of alliance. Make him see differently.

Leo: Yes, Majesty.

Gestahl: And Celes. The people of our glorious Southern lands have resisted Vector's rule for as long as I can remember. Only through force have they become protectorates of our capital city. If our own homeland is not united, the quest will fail. Show them their Destiny, kitten.

Celes: Yes, Majesty.

Gestahl: Celes, you and your forces will begin the Imperial campaign with a march to Albrook. Take control of the city to secure safe passage for Kefka and Leo to their own destinations.

Celes: It will be done, my lord.

Gestahl: Kefka, you will land at South Figaro. Occupy the city, then head straight for the castle. Leo, make haste to Doma. The sooner the king submits, the easier your quest will be. And all of you, leave no nation, large or small, unchecked. The glory of the Empire is upon us. Make it known. We will begin the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow I will announce Fencross' death and the new General. You are dismissed!

______________________________________
S.D. & C.C

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:36 pm 
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The Man With The Plan


The ceremony was brief. It was supposed to be so. The whole compund was silent at the announcment of the late General's death. Surprisingly, and to the Emperor's delight, the anouncment of the new General, Celes Chere, was very well received. He expected doubts, murmurs and such but what she received was an ovation. It seemed the lady's reputation was a good one and they accepted her as the new leader. He took a quick look at the Colonels that wanted the promotion, they were not too exited about the news.

The crowd cheered at the three Generals. The next day, the strenght of this three powers was about to be proven, for they headed out to carry the new mission to success.

It was a movement like no one had ever seen before. Virtually the whole compound and all the barracks emptied as nearly half of the hundred thousand men of the Imperial Army began their colossal march to Albrook. Across the Vectoran fields they marched, three massive columns of men in brown, each with a M-Tek rifle slung over his shoulder, their rank lieutenants keeping them in perfect formation.

It was truly a magnificent display with the three generals riding their armored chocobos in the front line, Celes on a rare albino, flanked by Leo and Kefka on even rarer blacks. All three wore the custom field uniform of their choice, though not their full battle array. Kefka's armor was concealed beneath his robes of red, gold, and black. Leo wore a black cloak over an emerald breastplate, with a black tunic underneath, an attractive complement to his mocha skin. Celes' breastplate was white over a black tunic, also under a black cloak.

Two mounted flag bearers rode directly behind the generals, and others were spread throughout the columns. The red, black, and gold banners waved high in the wind, proclaiming the might of the Empire. Chocobo-drawn M-Tek cannons brought up the rear, the first heavy artillery infused with the Magitechnology.

In order not to cause a panic in Albrook, the army halted its procession beyond a small ridge and out of sight. Celes, together with a small envoy, rode into the port city. She had merely to speak with the Imperial viceroy to arrange occupation.

Viceroy: (greeting nobely) Lady Celes! I received word of your arrival just this morning. An honor to have such an illustrious guest in my manor.

Celes: I have come on behalf of His Excellency, Emperor Gestahl. I have orders to secure the city to provide safe passage for General Palazzo and General Cristophe.

Viceroy: All three Imperial generals, here in Albrook? This is quite unexpected. But of course, whatever His Excellency commands, I shall gladly abide by. I leave the city to you, General.

Celes: Thank you, Viceroy. Ready the ports for their arrival.

Viceroy: Of course, Lady Celes.

Within a day, Celes' forces were moving into the city. The people were shocked to say the least, waking up to the nearly entire Imperial army marching through the streets of Albrook, some branching off at various locations to commence occupation. And of course they were surprised to see the army commanded by the lady general.

The next morning, Kefka began his departure, and the following day, Leo made his. Once the generals were gone and the city was securely occupied, Celes and her remaining troops moved out to sweep across the Vectoran planes. All communities between Albrook and Vector pledged their allegiance to the emperor. North of the Imperial city, there were only a few small settlements passively averse to the spread of Gestahl's rule. These were quickly shown the emperor's strict intolerance of disunity.

Farther north, however, lay rumors of a hostile resistance in Tzen. It was soon confirmed that a sizeable group of defected Imperial soldiers and disgruntled townsmen banded together to form an armed militia called the Deserters. For years they had been growing in numbers, smuggling weapons out of Vector when they could, plotting the overthrow of Gestahl in a full-scale coup d'état. The emperor's new campaign was apparently the last straw, as they began gathering their forces to oppose Celes' army.

The estimated number was seven thousand, many armed with M-Tek rifles, a couple operating the rare, if less civilized, gunpowder cannons, and all with swords. Celes was in command of nearly twice that at the start of the campaign, but with occupations of other cities, her forces were cut to ten thousand, with one M-Tek cannon per thousand at her disposal.

Celes' army stopped in a field a couple miles out from Tzen. Her scouts reported sightings of Deserters throughout the city, but not in the numbers they were expecting, and her officers grew anxious.

Brandt: Do you think they're setting a trap, General?

Celes' expression was distant as she surveyed the area.

Celes: No, Brandt. I think we've already walked into it.

Baxter: (shifting nervously) What do we do now, General?

Celes surprised her officers with a mischievous smirk.

Celes: Let's spring the trap!

The commander of the Deserters almost laughed out loud when he saw the Imperials setting up camp in the field. He didn't see why Emperor Gestahl choose this little girl to be the General; she was obviously as naïve as she was attractive, and she walked right into his trap. Come nightfall, his men would slip into her camp undetected and kill her in her sleep. Without their general, the Imperials would be lost and easy to overtake.

He spared a chuckle at the thought. The fools.

Night fell, and the half the Deserter army dispersed silently through the encampment, swords drawn. They would hit as many tents as they could at once. The raid was expected to go quickly and smoothly.

Unbeknownst to them, ten thousand pairs of eye watched them from the darkness surrounding the camp. Noiselessly, they drew their weapons. It began to rain.

The Deserter commander entered General Chere's tent and stood by the cot, his blade poised to strike. With his free hand, he gingerly took hold of the corner of the blanket and then flung it back to reveal the much reputed general. What he found was a vaguely humanoid slab of ice with a smiley face carved into the top. Almost dropping his sword as he backed away in shock, he ran out of the tent, seeing similar reactions in all of his men.

Lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the thousands of Imperials, all armed, surrounding the Deserters. And directly in front of them all stood the young lady general, her blonde hair dripping in the rain, but not making her any less intimidating in her full white battle armor.

Celes: A cunning attack you conjured up, Commander. But you underestimated our intelligence. Surrender now, and you may walk away with your lives.

Commander: We will not bow down to the gluttony of that tyrant you call an emperor.

Celes: (shrugging) So be it.

The commander raised his sword and charged at Celes, his entire company following him. Celes gave the order, and ten thousand Imperials rushed in from all sides to meet the Deserters. Swords clashed and blood spilled, mixing with the soil under the downpour. Rifles flared and men fell upon their fallen comrades, their mutilated bodies twisting together in the crimson-stained mud. At some point, cannons from both sides made their presence known with their thunderous blasts, sending limbs, blood, and mud through the air. Under the crushing numbers of the Imperial Army, the Deserters never stood a chance.

The city of Tzen woke up to a red sunrise. The remaining half of the Deserter militia wandered about town, awaiting the victorious return of their comrades. When a solitary figure approached, the black eagle on her breastplate and cloak clearly marking her an Imperial, the curious Deserters gathered. She stopped right in front of them, her expression hard, and threw a helmet to the ground at their feet. It was the helm of their commander.

Celes: Your comrades are dead. And you will all share their fate for your disobedience.

They weren't even given the chance to draw their weapons before Celes' forces appeared from all sides and began closing in on the rebellious army. Those who fought were overpowered and slain. Those who ran were hunted down in the streets and ruthlessly killed.

Baxter: What of the Tzenians, General?

Celes was caught off guard by the question. She had been so concerned with eliminating the threat of the Deserters, she hadn't even thought about the people of Tzen.

Celes: Where is the governor?

Baxter: Rumor has it the coward packed up and left town last night.

Celes: All the more easy for us to take control. Gather the citizens in Tzen Hall.

Baxter: Yes, General.

Hours later, the hall was packed with the town's populace. Many were frightened when Celes stepped up in front of them, her white armor smeared with blood, her gauntleted hand absently fingering the hilt of her blade.

Celes: Tzenians, what you have witnessed today was the purging of a threat. You are people of the Empire, protectorates of Vector. The Deserters put you in danger by housing their treacherous rebellion on Imperial grounds. And now, in the face of the consequences of his compliance with this rebel army, your town's leader has abandoned you. I stand before you with an offer. An offer of protection, of security, and of prosperity. Devote yourselves to the emperor, and I will give you my pledge…a solemn pledge that he will never abandon you!

Cheers broke out at the rousing speech, and it was clear the people of Tzen knew what was in their best interest. Other towns, however, were not so willing to submit to Imperial rule, and it was soon confirmed that they clung instead to their support of the Returner rebellion. Passive negotiations were not easily succeeding, and so Celes felt compelled to use force, resulting in the burning of nearly the entire countryside between Tzen and Maranda. Whole crops were lost, livestock and game were driven off the lands, and settlements were torn apart by the raging flames. The icy general, it seemed, was getting impatient, and her inexperience was catching up with her.

Maranda. Old Hag. 21:06

The Old Hag was not the kind of place you would take grandma for margaritas after bingo night, so when an attractive young girl entered the smoky Marandan tavern, her black cloak concealing her form from shoulder to toe, several people took instant notice of her entrance. One was the bartender, another was a sleazy-looking vulture of a human being, and the other was a fairly young man sitting in the dimmest corner of the pub. All three took immediate interest in this newcomer, and all for very different reasons.

Her stride was confident as she walked to the bar, and the bartender paused his washing of mugs and looked her up and down skeptically.

Bartender: Aren't you a little underage to be in her, miss?

Celes: Just give me water.

Bartender: (he scoffed) We don't serve water here.

Celes: (giving him a dark look) Make an exception.

There was something intimidating about this teen that told the barkeep to just give her what she ordered.

Celes: Good boy. (she said as she took her glass in hand)

The man in the shadows narrowed his eyes as the sleazy-looking guy approached her.

Drunk: Hey doll face. Aren't you a little young to be in a bar?

Celes: Aren't you a little ugly to be in public?

Drunk: (chuckling hoarsely) Oh, a girl with spunk. I like it. What do you say you and me go for a walk?

Celes: Do you have any idea who you're dealing with?

Drunk: No, but that's what I'm trying to find out, sweet cheeks.

As he spoke, he moved to pinch her side, but her left hand shot forth from her cloak like a cobra, grabbing in hand. A series of distinct cracks could be heard throughout the tavern as the gauntleted vise snapped several fingers.

Celes: Try that again, and you'll lose more than the use of your hand, ok?

She roughly dropped his hand and returned her attention to her glass. The guy was apparently too drunk to feel the pain of a broken hand, because he seemed only more determined.

Drunk: An aggressive one, too! (The man in the shadows rose from his seat) I love you chicks on a power trip. Come on, sweet thing, and I'll show you—

The gruff drunk was suddenly shoved by the man from the shadows.

Man: Hey, why don't you just leave her alone?

Drunk: Hey, what's your problem man? I was just trying to have a conversation with the kid.

Man: Yeah, to which she obviously has no desire to respond, so just lay off.

Drunk: What are you, her bodyguard?

Man: Judging by the misalignment of your fingers, I'm guessing she doesn't need one.

The drunk flipped the younger man off as he walked away.

The man from the shadows adjusted his bandana and turned to the girl.

Man: I'm sorry about him, but the sleazebags are always lurking around these taverns. Speaking of which, what's a kid like you doing in a place like this?

The girl continued to stare into her water glass.

Celes: Business.

Man: Business?

The barkeep's assistant called to the girl.

Bartender: That'll be 10GP for the water, miss.

Celes: Ten gold pieces for a glass of piss you call water?

Bartender: Hey, water's rare around here, kid.

As she reached into the pouch on her belt, the assistant caught a glimpse of the white breastplate hidden under her cloak, but more importantly, of the black eagle on that breastplate.

Bartender: Uh…y-you know what? Forget it. It's on the house.

The young man detected a sudden apprehension in the junior barkeep and glanced at the girl, also spotting the unmistakable emblem. Just then, a man in a grey cloak similar to the girl's approached her with his hands folded in front of him, suggesting a respect towards her. As this new guy whispered into her ear, the young man noticed the assistant holding a frantic but hushed conversation with his boss while periodically glancing at the girl.

She suddenly turned towards him.

Celes: What's you name?

Man: Lo…uh…Shinrin.

Celes: Do yourself a favor. Get out of town.

The girl and the cloaked man got up to leave. Two more men walked into the pub, their Imperial uniforms drawing immediate attention.

Bartender: Hey, Imperial slime, we don't serve your kind here!

One of the officers scoffed as the girl and man came near.

Officer: I think you just did.

As they passed, the two Imperials fell into step behind them, flanking the girl, their hands folded respectfully as her first escort had.

Celes: Is the mayor in custody? (throwing open her cloak, revealing her Imperial uniform)

Officer: Yes, ma'am.

Celes: Good. I hate long waits. (she suddenly stopped and turned) Oh, Bartender! (she flipped a coin to him before proceeding out the door) Thanks for the water.

The assistant hit his boss' arm.

Assistant: See? That's what I was trying to tell you, sir! That was General Celes!

Bartender: Oh man… And I almost refused to serve her water…

The bartender saw the spooked expression on the young man's face.

Bartender: You're lucky, Cole. You just flirted with the enemy.

The young man slowly met the bartender's gaze.

Cole: …I think we need to get the Returners out of Maranda!

Celes walked into the office-turned-prison, still flanked by her two lieutenants and captain.

Celes: Mayor, I trust by now you are aware of the reason for your detainment.

Major: Actually, I was hoping you would enlighten me.

Celes stared at him for a moment before answering.

Celes: The Returners, Mayor. You've granted them sanctuary.

Major: Returners? There are no Returners here.

Celes: I'm in no mood for games, Mayor. Bring me the Returners, and your precious Maranda will not be harmed. Continue this defiance, and I'll be forced to—

Major: (interrupting) To what? To kill me? To kill innocent civilians? The city would never submit to you then.

Celes: Do you understand the extent of your insolence?

Major: I'm calling your bluff, General. Do you understand the extent of your threats?

Celes: I have authorization from my liege to use whatever means necessary.

Major: Then your liege is a fool.

Celes nodded to her captain, who promptly punched the insolent politician in the stomach.

Celes: No, Mayor, you're the fool. I don't make idle threats, and you just made yourself an enemy.

Celes walked out the door, and the mayor was dragged by her lieutenants behind her. Her captain spoke quietly to her as they walked.

Brandt: What now, General?

Celes: I can't back down, Brandt. I started this, and now I have to finish it…for the Empire.

Brandt: (sighed) For the Empire…

Upon reaching Town Square, Celes took hold of the mayor herself, dragged him a couple more feet, and roughly threw him to the ground. The civilians in the area stopped what they were doing and focused their attention on the teenage girl and their mayor.

Celes: Citizens of Maranda! You are all protectorates of Vector, but in your hospitality to the Returners, you have displeased His Majesty! Now you shall all bear witness to what happens to those who refuse the generosity of the emperor!

She turned to Major Baxter.

Celes: All is ready?

Baxter Two hundred civilians have been gathered in City Hall, just as you ordered, ma'am.

"Lock the doors."

The major signaled to an officer on the steps of the hall, and the doors were barred, locking the civilians inside. Celes took one last look at the building, then drew a deep breath.

Celes: Torch it.

Gasps arose in the watching crowd at the command. The mayor began weeping as the building went up in flames, the screams of the people inside piercing through the evening air. Celes turned to Baxter.

Celes: Eliminate any who try to put out the flames. Oh, and kill the mayor.

After the torching of Maranda, Celes met little resistance as she backtracked to Albrook to meet the returning generals, as all three had accomplished their missions at nearly the same time. Nearly ten months after the generals first arrived in Albrook, Leo came back into port, and moved out of the city right away. Kefka came in a couple days later, and was also sent out while Celes restructured the occupation of Albrook.

On the march back to Vector, Celes and her men were met by cheering crowds honestly loyal to the emperor. They acted as heralds of the general's triumphant return, calling village after village out of their homes to witness the historic event. The crowds grew larger and louder the closer to Vector they got.

Brandt rode up beside Celes.

Brandt: They love you, General. You're a hero!

Celes' gaze swept over the throngs of people.

Celes: We all are.

She looked back to Brandt with a small but genuine smile on her face.

Once Celes and her men reached the fields before Vector, she was joined by Leo coming from the East, and Kefka from the West in a beautifully coordinated display. The single column of soldiers once again became three, and the generals again rode side by side.

The crowds became masses and the cheers grew to thunderous roars. Leo looked over to Celes and extended his hand with a grin.

Leo: We did it!

Celes met his gaze, her petite smile slowly widening, grasping his forearm as comrades often did.

Kefka: Celes! (extending his hand to her) You did well. I think the emperor chose his Knights wisely.

The gentle sincerity in his voice surprised Celes, and she locked arms with him as well.

Kefka: Congratulations. To both of you!

Through the gates of the Imperial capital they marched. The sidewalks along the street to the palace were packed and windows above were crowded with citizens eager to witness their beloved protectors' return. Many shouted Imperium Augustus, while others shouted Unity, Duty, and Destiny. The women spread flower petals on the ground before the Imperials and the men saluted.

Celes couldn't contain her pride as she tilted her head to the sky, closing her eyes in absolute contentment. The sun shone down upon her and the mystic eagle floated in the air above her. The horrors of the conquest were forgotten and the glory of her success lifted her to a height she never experienced before. For the first time, all was right in her life.

They were received by the Emperor on his main hall, telling them how proud he was of them all and giving him the proper medals. He knew they needed to rest so he dismissed them for the day. Kefka stayed a little longer.

Gestahl: (looking at Leo and Celes leave the room) What do you think, Kefka?

Kefka: About what, your majesty?

Gestahl: Those two... I thiknk my plan will work!

Kefka. What plan, majesty?

Gestahl: Just think of it, it's perfect! I'm old, I won't stay long-

Kefka: Don't say that, your majesty. you are very powerful!

Gestahl: Still... I'm not young. When my moment comes, I want Leo and Celes to rule this Empire as a couple.

Kefka: (obviously surprised) WHAT!? What did you say!?

Gestahl: That's my wish. You must be tired, too. Why don't you rest, Kefka?

Kefka was so shocked that left without a word. Once he arrived at his room, he could not control his anger any longer, throwing chairs, lamps and everything at hand to the wall.

Kefka: That old fool! I've been with him a lot longer that those two!! Why do they get the Empire and not ME!?

Suddenly he stopped, appearently calmed again.

Kefka: I need to plan something fast. Leo has a lot of experience so he will be a lot more difficult to break....... but Celes......

Kefka let out an evil grin and began laughing maniatically.

________________________________


C.C. & S.D.

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 Post subject: Re: Final Fantasy VI: Paths of Treason
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:21 pm 
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The Witch


Vector. Warehouse. 04:01

She quietly walked in the darkness. Even though it was pitch black she knew where she was doing, almost as if she could see in the dark... not that it matters much.

She gently climbed the machine and got on it. Pulled the keys out from her pouch and started it out. The monster machine awoke with a not too loud humming and with a bright light and buttons. Although it was the first time she was on a machine like that, she somehow knew how to perfectly operate it.

Finally, she found the thing she was looking for...

She pulled the trigger and the werehouse door melted before her. She made the machine walk quietly through the compound. She was heading straight to her desirable destination, and when she got there, she made the machine run even slower not to alarm the soldiers inside that particualr building.

She approached until the voices inside the building were audible, and then charged her beam. The noise was noticed by the scholars inside the building but it was too late. She fired the beam, killing everyone inside. The ones that were not killed by the fire beam, were killed by the collapse of the building.

Vector. Imperial Fortress. 04:35

Celes woke up at the sound of someone knocking at her door, the kind of knocking that sounded urgent. With no time to fully dress herself, she ran to the door opening it to a soldier, who looked very allarmed.

Celes: What is it!?

Soldier: (saluting) General! Your presence is requested immediately in the recruits facility 3!

Celes quickly followed the soldier to that building. Only that the building was not there anymore. Leo was there already, still in his pijamas, now Celes knew something big happened.

Celes: (giving a nod to Leo) What's going on? Rebels?

Leo: (lowering his head) No... not this time...

Celes: (getting curious) No? Then what happened?

Leo pointed to the M-Tek Armor just behind her. Celes turned around to see it and noticed it was still on.

Leo: No, the machine did not this alone.

Celes: Who was piloting this...?

Celes and Leo walked to the Imperial Palace. It was a rare sight to see the two Generals so informally, Leo in his green pijamas and Celes wearing only a night shirt and small shorts, barefoot. They went to the detainment room and before entering, leo grabbed Celes' arm.

Leo: If you want to go there alone, I won't mind. I swear I'll give you privacy.

Celes: Thanks, Leo, and yes. I rather do this by myself.

Celes oppened the door. It was highly illuminated, with a big table to separate the two persons. She took her seet and faced the person across the table. She remained silent for a minutes and then she spoke.

Celes: (a very sad expression on her face) Terra... why you did this?

Terra: (never looking at her friends face, looking just to her hands) I'm not sure...

Celes: Not sure of what?

Terra: I'm not sure I did it.

Celes: (raising her voice a little) Terra, they found you at the scene of the crime on the very machine that commited the murder! Not only that, there are security cameras that taped the whole thing!

Terra: I-...... I don't know...

Celes: (composing herself) Terra.... I don't really know what to think. I really want to believe you-

Terra: (interrumpting, and looking finally at Celes) But!? You don't believe me!? (tears began to form on Terras' eyes) You don't trust me!?

Celes: Terra, we've learn to trust only on the facts and you wh-

Terra: I did not killed those persons, Celes! You should know me better!!

There was an uncomfortable silence between the two girls until Celes spoke again.

Celes: I'm sorry, Terra... You're right.

Terra: (sighing and still quietly crying) It's ok...

Celes: No, it's not ok. Look... as I said, let's go with the facts. No, let me finish!.... The fact is that you where there, you pulled the trigger and killed those people... Now, I know you are not capable of that... so I will find an explanation, another possibility like, I don't know, you were not yourself, a body double...

Terra: Thanks, Cel. I hope you can help me.

Celes: I will do anything in my power to save you. I promise.

There was a knock on the door and Leo poked his head inside.

Leo: Sorry girls.... but the Emperor gave orders to have Terra before him.

Celes looked to Terra and Terra nodded to Celes. The three of them walked quietly to the Emperor's hall.

Gestahl: (slightly surprised) General, Leo, General Celes! (they both saluted) Good! That saves me time explaining the issue at hand.

Celes: (respectfully kneeling before the Emperor) My lord, my I speak up?

Gestahl: Yes my kitten, rise up.

Celes: Thank you. I know everything points up to Terra, but, my Lord, I know her well enough to tell you she did not commited murder. That's not my Ter- I mean.... That's not Terra.

Gestahl: Then would you care explaining what happened?

Kefka: (enterning the room) I think I can, your majesty!

They all looked at Kefka as he arrived, saluted to his Emperor and then to his peers and began explaining how he thinks the events transpired.

Kefka: As you commanded me, your majesty, i've been studying the Espers. And I've seen how they behave. you see... at some age they become extremely wild when altered. Do you remember the time you came with us to the Esper world?

Gestahl: (nodding and stroking his beard in thought) Yes, I do. They were very savage being, very powerful, too!

Kefka: So you see, my lord. It appears like our young Esper here was a victim of her hidden powers. I don't see a pont in, I don't know, executing her or anything, I think we just have to have our precautions!

Gestahl: Well.... if she wasn't herself, there's nothing we can do! Besides, i don't want to loose her. So what we can do?

Celes: (taking a step forward) I will take care of her!

Gestahl: No, my kitten. She has become too dangerous for you to handle. I don't want to have to loose you, too.

Celes: But I-

Gestahl: I'm sorry, kitten, but is an order. From now on, She'll remain under strict watch. kefka, see to it and find a way to control that outburst of power.

Kefka: (grinning) As you wish, my magesty!

Gestahl: Alright, Celes!?

Celes: Understood.

Gestahl: Good. Now to other matters. Kefka has brought it to my attention that just before the lockdown was put into effect, a group of the more influential people of the Empire disappeared from the city with their families. Among them were two of our scientists and one of our colonels. As these three had access to highly classified information, their desertion can only be seen as a threat to our interests. Celes, I'm sending you to find these families. Bring the colonel and the scientists back to Vector.

Celes: And the others?

Gestahl: Eliminate all threats to the Empire.

Celes: Yes, my lord.

Gestahl: Kefka, in the interest of finding them quickly, and since you are in charge of the city's security, I want you to go with her.

Kefka: (smirking) Of course, Majesty.

Gestahl: And Leo, I want you to go into the neighboring towns and recruit as many men as you can. I have a feeling we are going to need them.

Leo: It will be done.

Terra was taken by the scientist. Terra was still too gratefull for not being killed and also sad because she was going to separate herself from her friend. Celes felt bad, too but she focused on the mission at hand, instead.

Outside, Leo walked beside Celes to talk to her.

Leo: I'm sorry Celes.

Celes: It has to be done. At least she got out of this one alive. She's still too important for the Empire.

Leo: For the Empire!?

Celes: Yes, to me too, but that's beside the point anyway.

Leo: Ok, Celes, if you say so. Take good care tomorrow on your mission. please be rational an-

Celes: Leo. I will do anything that HAS to be done to eliminate all threats to the Empire.

Leo was too shocked to hear those words that the only thing he could do is watch her leave to her room.

It took Celes, Kefka, and their thirty-man unit two days to discover where the families disappeared to. They were hiding in a small village of no more than one hundred people just north of Vector. While Kefka remained outside, Celes, along with ten men, descended into the cellar where she knew them to be, the hood of her cloak concealing her face. The nineteen family members, both men and women, ranged from small children to the elderly. All looked frightened.

It was not the cloaked general that spoke, though, but rather Major Baxter.

Baxter: Colonel Schwartz, Professor Dunham, and Professor Genosky?

The three in question shifted nervously, acknowledging their presence.

Baxter: You three will be detained and brought back to Vector and tried as traitors to the Empire for leaving the city without the consent of His Majesty, Emperor Gestahl. (he motioned to several of his men) Arrest them!

In fear for their families, the three did not resist as they were searched and bound. They were immediately escorted outside, never to know the fate of their loved ones. Baxter, the only other Imperial left in the room, looked to Celes expectantly.

Celes: (quietly) Bar the door.

As the major walked out of the room, closing the door, one of the men cautiously approached the general; her face may have been veiled, but her cloak with the gold outline of the Imperial Eagle was unmistakable.

Man: Ge…General Celes? What are you doing here?

Wordlessly, she drew her sword.

Later, Major Baxter looked on uneasily as Celes came up from the cellar, blood dripping from her sword. Houses were burning and bodies littered the village, pools of blood collecting under them.

Celes: What is the meaning of this?

Baxter: General Palazzo, ma'am... He…felt it necessary to…

Celes didn't even bother hearing the rest as she left to find Kefka. She approached him just as he released a ball of fire at the last surviving civilian.

Celes: What are you doing?

Kefka: (smiling) Carrying out orders.

Celes: Our orders were to detain the three and eliminate the others. They said nothing about killing an entire village.

Kefka: Our orders were to eliminate all threats. These people provided sanctuary to Imperial defectors, an act of treason, and who knows what information they were given!

Celes stared at him for a moment, contemplating his actions. Her expression suggested only slight agitation at his twisted interpretation of the order. She eventually shrugged and looked away, letting the subject drop.

The prisoners were taken back to Vector and incarcerated until their trial. Kefka, however, was not satisfied with leaving it at that, and asked Celes to join him.

Kefka: Celes, we need to find out just what they told their families. It's necessary for the protection of the Empire, wouldn't you agree?

Celes: I suppose.

He opened the cell door and motioned for her to enter.

Kefka: Then allow me to show you some of the finer points of getting information out of a prisoner.

Not a single person gave the screams echoing through the detention block a second thought.

That night, she stood on the bridge overlooking the city, the hood of her cloak not masking the hardness in her expression nor the darkness in her eyes. She held her arms close to her chest as she surveyed the still-smoldering industrial city, the tumult of emotions ripping her apart inside. Images of Maranda, Tzen, and now her most recent butchery plagued her mind: the raging flames, the screams of those chased down in the streets and killed, the cries of children as their parents were murdered right in front of them, the blood on her sword and hands…

Another figured walked out onto the bridge, looking quite delighted with the scene.

Kefka: You know, you deserve more credit than I gave you. Brilliant work, Celes, truly brilliant.

Celes ignored Kefka's praise, remaining silent as she reminisced on the city's once stable society going up in smoke.

Kefka: You just have that natural flair for destruction. You remind me of…well, me. You and I are like the emperor's personal angels of death.

The statement caused Celes' focus on the scene below to falter as an echo filled her mind.

You were born the Angel of Death. You will know it before the end.

Kefka noticed Celes' slight distress. He placed his hands on her shoulders and squeezed lightly, leaning closer to whisper in her ear.

Kefka: I heard the Emperor is sending you on a mission to South Figaro very soon! You know? That will be a sort of homecoming for you. I don't think someone told you, but that's the place we took you from.

Celes turned slightly to Kefka, showing a little interest in the subject.

Kefka: Yes! That's the place! I don't know your name or the name of your family, but I bet they're still there.

Celes: So?

Kefka: (releasing her) Hey, I'm just saying! I kow you better than to know that your family is living there will not hold you down! I just find it curious.

As Kefka released her and walked away, Celes lowered her head, and a tear crept out of her clenched eyes, tracing its lonely path down her cheek and dripping off her chin to the cold stone below. Slowly, she lifted her eyes, her brows knit together in silent wrath, and through blurred vision, she looked upon the smoldering city once more, the tear's now frosty trail shining in the moonlight.

Leo knew all about Celes' doings and was worried about her, and when he got back from a second recruiting assignment, he decided to confront her before they both began their afternoon training.

Celes: Leo, what are you trying to say?

Leo: Look, I just…don't want you to fall into the wrong light.

Celes: What the hell is that suppose to mean?

Leo: I've seen how much time you've been spending around Kefka, and I don't like it.

Celes: Why not? I've known Kefka longer than I've known you. He's been a friend to me for most of my life.

Leo: He's a dangerous man, Celes. I looked into his officers' logs from during the conquest, and it seems your friend has developed a taste for blood. Apparently after killing a man who attacked him, Kefka snapped and slaughtered the whole village.

Memories of her last mission with Kefka flooded back to her. She ignored them.

Leo: It didn't just happen once, either.

Celes: Look, I don't care what Kefka did. We all have our problems.

Leo: Which is exactly what I'm getting at, Celes. You have a problem. You haven't been the same. It's like you don't feel anything anymore! You carried out that mission without a second thought!

Celes: I did my job.

Leo: Gods, Celes, you killed women and children!

Celes: A traitor is a traitor, Leo.

Leo: What's happened to you? You're not the Celes I remember!

Celes: I'm not the little girl you once knew, Leo. It's time you accept that.

Leo: I don't want to accept that, Celes! You're a good person, don't do this!

Celes: You don't trust me do you? I'm not Kefka, Leo. I don't butcher people for the hell of it! I know I'm better than that!

Leo: If that were true, Celes, you would never have accepted these last few assignments.

Celes: I didn't see you questioning Gestahl's orders.

Leo It wasn't my place to, it was yours. But I guess you just don't have the spine you used to.

That gave Celes pause.

Celes: …That sounded suspiciously like a challenge, Leo.

Leo glanced at the hand resting on the hilt of her sword and grew unexpectedly quiet.

Leo: I don't want to fight you, Celes.

Celes: Now who's spineless? …Come on, Leo, don't disappoint me now.

Leo: Don't…don't do this.

Celes: Are you going to stop me?

She swung, but he drew his blade, and the clash of swords echoed through the arena.

Leo: Actually…yes!

He shoved her back and held his sword out in front of him. Celes recognized the preparation for Shock, and instinctually recited the Runic chant. Already, everyone in the compound was watching, uneasy about Leo's use of the attack. But just as he spun his sword, Celes spun her own and drove the blade into the ground, dropping to one knee.

The crowd of people gasped as she was hit by Shock's blast. The pillar of electric energy encircled Celes, but the blinding flash lingered unnaturally. It started to swirl in a downward vortex, directly into the Rune blade. When it disappeared, they were all astonished to see Celes stand unharmed, Leo included.

Leo: You can Runic Shock…?

She merely smirked, then launched herself at him, striking with such a force that Leo was driven back, and he had to duck around her to get into a more favorable position. Celes brought her sword over her head to meet his, then swung to her right, pivoting to face him.

Leo immediately noticed how much faster she was than the last time they sparred. She was more focused, more coordinated as they spun around each other in an almost beautiful dance across the arena. Every step, every turn, and every strike was matched exactly by the other person, where a tiny mistake could cost them their life.

Leo swept his sword up at Celes, but she parried and rapidly slid the base of her blade closer to his with a heavy downward force, dragging him towards the ground with it. Releasing her left hand's grip on her sword, Celes backhanded Leo across the face, and like a predator after her prey, she relentlessly, even patiently, continued to close the distance between them as he stumbled back.

Bringing the blade up from her side, she drew it back over her head and then cleaved down with all her might. Leo was barely able to deflect the immense blow as he struggled to regain his footing. Celes resumed her attack, continuing to drive Leo back, and the fight was inadvertently carried into the narrow passage connecting the compound to the palace. Nevertheless, Celes was unyielding in her assault, and their swords constantly scraped against the metal walls of the link, sending sparks flying everywhere.

Officers, guards, and servants all had to practically dive out of the way as Celes and Leo continued through the halls of the palace, wrecking light fixtures, furniture, walls, and artwork as they went. Leo shoved Celes back, giving him time to bound up several steps of a nearby stairwell before turning to face his opponent once again. Though he had the advantage of higher ground as they progressed up the staircase, Celes would not be outdone.

Their swords never ceasing their deadly strokes, they reached the upper level and made their way around a corner and down the corridor. Then, both halted their parries as they came onto the terrace at the end of the hall, which extended half the length of the palace. They simply stood staring at each other, both breathing heavily. The pause was short lived, however, as they suddenly launched a rapid volley of attacks as they stood in place on the terrace.

Then, as if through some secret signal, both diverged from their attacks into identical, if showy, spins of their swords, at both sides, over their heads, behind their backs, and ultimately into a final strike at the other, ending with their swords locked. They were evenly matched in this contest of strength, but Celes finally shoved Leo back with a surge of power and rained her sword down upon him once more, driving him across the lengthy terrace.

When Leo tried to throw a punch, Celes grabbed his hand and lifted it above his head to cut his defenses and rammed the butt of her sword into his throat. With Leo in her grasp, Celes pushed him back against the railing with her sword, and with her left hand, she gripped the hilt of the Masamune and forced it down towards Leo's neck. He pushed back with all his strength, leaning back as far as he could, but Celes' strength brought Leo's sword to inches above his throat. Everyone watching below grew nervous, worried Celes actually meant to kill him in her rage.

In a desperate attempt to escape, Leo managed to kick Celes and roll out from under her. He tried to run back to the door into the palace, but she hooked her leg around him and tripped him, sending Leo's sword out of his hand. She made to lunge for it, but Leo scrambled to his feet and leapt forward to kick her in the chest. While she fell to the ground, he grabbed his sword and spun it down at her for the death strike, but she brought her blade up at the last second and blocked it. Leo pushed down with all his might, almost reaching her neck, until Celes shoved back sideways, throwing him off balance.

As Celes flipped to her feet, Leo jumped off the terrace to the arena ten feet below, his opponent following closely behind. As soon as Celes found steady footing, she resumed her offensive, still pushing Leo back, never giving him room to turn the fight around on her. Never had she fought with such focused ruthless fury. Leo became so overwhelmed by the force and speed of her attacks that he had no defense when she spun and kicked him in the abdomen, striking his sword with an upwards swipe. The sword was knocked from Leo's hand as he fell to his knees, and Celes caught Leo's sword and brought both blades down, crossing them inches from Leo's throat. As the spectators gasped at the checkmate, Leo looked at the crossed swords, then up at Celes.

A loud clapping broke through the murmurs, and all but the two fighters saluted as Kefka sauntered up to them, chuckling at an unusually high pitch.

Kefka: That was quite an entertaining show you two put on! (then in a lower tone to Celes) You know why you won, don't you? Not the training, not because you're better than him, no… Your anger has made you powerful, Celes. It gives you focus. Makes you stronger!

Celes merely continued to stare down at Leo, her eyes not betraying her thoughts. She finally turned and thrust Leo's sword into the ground before walking away, and Leo let out the breath he didn't know he had been holding.

Kefka watched amusedly as she left, and then also walked away. After cleaning up a bit, Leo asked around as to where Celes had gone. He eventually found her in the palace courtyard sitting on a bench in front of the fountain. He crossed the courtyard and sat next to her without a word. For a long time, he didn't speak. He didn't know what to do. The person he cared about more than anything was in a downward spiral, and he felt powerless to pull her out of it.

Wanting to get her out of this mood, he leaned over and playfully nudged her with his shoulder. When she didn't respond, he did it again a little harder, and this time he saw a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

Leo: You know…you really scare me sometimes.

Celes: Funny…sometimes I scare me, too.

She was strangely quiet, and Leo realized she was being serious.

Leo: What is it?

Celes was quiet for a moment.

Celes: You were right, you know? I'm no different from Kefka. Those people did nothing to deserve death, and I killed them anyway…

Leo: Celes, the very fact that you can feel remorse over what you've done separates you from Kefka entirely. And I shouldn't have said those things. An order is an order, regardless, and…

He glanced over at her and noticed her eyes watering and her lip quivering. He lost track of what he was saying.

Celes: What have I become?

Her whispered question broke Leo out of his trance, and he put his hand on her shoulder when she lowered her head. He wanted to hold her, but when he tried to pull her closer, she just shrugged him off. Leo got up and began walking away, but then stopped briefly, turning his head towards her.

Leo: You are who you choose to be, Celes. Never forget that.


___________________________________


C.C. / S.D. / G.L.

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