I remember something Frederick told me…
He said, "Everything happens for a reason".
I had never really thought about it before: the reason why things happen…
For my entire life I had focused on my duties and assumed these reasons were simply beyond my comprehension.
I mean, why fight something that is inevitable?
If it is fate that controls our lives, then why worry about it?
However, something happened years ago back when I was a Knight of Dalmasca that made me refuse to accept this ideology.
I did not want to be a puppet of an uncontrollable destiny any longer.
I wanted to make my own path, rather than follow one forged by some higher power.
…was I a fool to believe such things?
The snow blew hard on the edge of the cliff positioned deep into the Dalmascan Estersand, the well-traveled deserts east of the Royal City of Rabanastre, capital city of the Kingdom of Dalmasca. Although admittedly, after Queen Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca's ascendance to the throne, it was more of a Queendom, the Government of it consisting almost entirely of women. The entire plateau was covered in the freezing cold substance, several dead trees scattered across it, none too close to any other. The cliff was high, easily reaching several stories up from the desert dunes and possessing a beautiful view of the Royal City, many miles away. Or it had, once upon a time.
It never snowed or rained in Dalmasca with the notable exception of the Giza Plains, those lands south of Dalmasca that were occasionally beset by a season known, aptly, as the "Rains". And yet here it was, snowing in the Estersand. It was cold, despite being the middle of the day, and the sun did not shine, having long since been veiled by the dark clouds that loomed overhead as far as the eye could see.
Aside from the dead trees scattered across the plateau, only one other object lingered there; a single mound covered in the snow in the shape of a Hume body, laid face down on the ground. It did not move, nor did it make a sound – for all intents and purposes, covered as it was by the snow, it was dead. All was silent save for the howling of the wind, blowing past the trees and shaking their long since withered branches. And then it died down once more, and a chilly silence settled over the cliff's edge.
"Ugh…" The seemingly dead Hume on the ground groaned, both of his hands flexing in the snow and pressing down gently on the floor, slowly moving himself up onto his knees with obvious effort – he was tired, and he felt shattered, like he could sleep for eternity. He wore armor, plated in more than a few regions and seemingly made out of steel, sullied by the snow that he had just been laid in. A sheathed blade was strapped to his back by a strap of leather than was tied around his chest and over his shoulder, and the sword's hilt jutted out over his right shoulder. He had short brown hair which had been long since matted with snow. He was fair of face, and many would call him handsome were it not bruised – the sign of a recent battle that had not ended well for him.
It only took a moment for his senses to return to him, and his body exploded in agonizing pain. He fell forward once more, catching himself on the ground with his right hand, his left flying to his chest and clutching at it, groaning under his breath. He remembered fighting at the summit of Mr Bur-Omisace, but this certainly was not the top of a mountain. He slowly turned his head, blue eyes drifting around as he took in his surroundings. "Where…am I?" He asked himself quietly, expecting no answer in return. He was alone here. That worried him.
Slowly he began to rise to his feet with obvious difficulty, and not only because of the weight of his armor and sword; the injuries he had sustained in that battle did their part in ensuring he had to fight to stand. The snow that had covered him slowly fell off, first like a landslide and later like the occasional rock; he was still marked by it in many places, having let it escape into his armor and hair. "Where is everyone?" He asked himself once more as he continued to examine his surroundings, eyes settling on one of the dead trees. He had certainly not been alone. And he had certainly not fought near any trees.
Turning his gaze skyward, a speck of snow fell down towards him, and his eyes settled on it, following its journey. "What is this stuff…? Snow?" He wondered out loud, his left hand continuing to clutch at his chest as he remained on his feet with some difficulty. As the snow hit his forehead…it slid off, falling like sand. That was wrong. It should have melted…
He shook his head slowly, lowering his eyes to stare down at the ground as color began to return to his eyesight, and he couldn't help but narrow them faintly in a glare – one that was more of shock than of any form of anger. "No. This is…ash…" He said in an undertone, hints of fear beginning to enter his voice, causing it to shake a little.
He began to remember. Their enemy had nearly been defeated, or so they had thought. Before they could finish him, he had cast some sort of incantation. The words he had spoken were lost to the Hume now, but he knew one thing; they did not bode well. They couldn't have.
Ash was falling from the skies in what he now recognized as the Estersand, and the skies, once clear, were now covered in red-hued clouds. It almost seemed like the apocalypse had come. "…no…he wouldn't have…" he murmured, frowning a little. But he had. He knew.
If fate truly ordained for this to happen…
As his eyes turned away from the cliff, peering across to where Rabanastre had been for centuries, his eyes widened in a mixture of shock and terror as his fears were confirmed. Ignorant of the pain it would bring him he ran to the edge, coming to a clumsy stop and stared out across towards Rabanastre, far off in the distance.
It was gone. In its place lay a massive, mile high crystal which seemed to be made of amethyst and jutted out in awkward angles like a meteorite, its purple hue being the only semblance of natural color in what was now a barren wasteland of ash. The ruins of Rabanastre looked small and pathetic next to the sheer size of the thing, and indeed they were ruins – the ground had collapsed and cracked open at angles leading away from the crystal, swallowing up parts of the city altogether. Nothing had been spared. It had all been destroyed. He already knew there would be no survivors. It had happened. And he had been powerless to stop it.
...then fate has a cruel sense of humor.
Short I know, but it's not meant to be very long; just a prologue, a taste. Like or hate, let me know what you think with a review - I can't improve otherwise. Next chapter should be up in a few days, give or take.