Title: The Veil Between the Living and the Dead
1 of 31
Prompt: fall colours
Prompt Summary: He sat alone, hoping to see something he'd never seen before. He received more than what he expected.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Ocean nor do I profit from writing this story.
Written for the 31 Days of Halloween Star Ocean celebration.
Fayt drew his blanket tighter around his shoulders to ward off the early morning chill. The sun had yet to crest the horizon, not that it would have mattered in chasing away the chill. According to his quad scanner, the day was October 1st on Earth, shortly into the autumn season, and, from what he'd observed from his time there, Elicoor II appeared to be on the same seasonal axis as his homeworld. Given the lack of expansive cities and congestion of traffic but an abundance of natural scenery, he'd made it a point to return to the planet and to view the fall colors. Some old-timers who had been to underdeveloped planets had always said a fall morning at sunrise (and sunset) made the world look as if it had caught on fire and such beauty was breathtaking. Since he'd made it a point to return, he'd also made it a point to rise early.
"It'll be worth it," he said, his teeth chattering a little.
The minutes dragged by slowly. Every so often, Fayt yawned, but he resisted the temptation to curl up on his stony ledge and fall back asleep. Instead, he rested his chin on his knees and kept his gaze forward.
Fayt awoke with a start and to a blanket of stars in an inky black sky. He blinked then rubbed his eyes. His quad scanner indicated only five minutes had passed, but the fiery red of the sun had yet to appear in the horizon. If anything, as he gazed about, a deep fog now settled over the land. Moisture kissed at his cheeks, and a chill stole over him. The hairs on the back of his neck tingled. An electric charge, like the one before the start of a battle, filled the air.
'Something isn't right. Time to get out of here. I'll have to try another time, when it isn't so dangerous.'
Fayt scrambled his feet . . .
Just as a hand grabbed him by the shoulder and shoved him forward. Startled, Fayt flailed his arms and tried to skitter backwards, to keep from going over the edge. He glanced around to look for whoever was trying to kill him - the outcropping was rather high up - but saw no one. His knees jerked forward at an invisible kick, and the same hand added to his velocity in going over the side.
Fayt didn't even have time to think. The wind whistled in his ears, and he reached out to catch himself.
His right arm exploded into a world of pain as did his head the moment he hit the ground. The bone near his elbow cracked then shattered, and Fayt struggled to catch his breath. Blood dribbled thickly over his tongue and onto the ground. The world blazed into a bright swathe of red and orange as the sun leapt into view. In a twisted, distant way, the colours of the trees sprang to life, just as the old timers had mentioned.
Or so it seemed from Fayt's perspective. Silhouettes of dragons and humans surrounded him. He recognized the fallen form of Demetrio, the Dragon Brigade's second in command. Booted feet approached him.
"What do we have here?" Duke Vox sneered. Fayt gazed up at him through pain-filled eyes. The man's form mixed with the fog. "Another piece of Aquarian scum coming to die. I remember you, boy. You put up quite the fight when we met last. Not this time, though. Now there's no one here to assist you. I will enjoy watching my men hack you into pieces."
"Your men?" another voice, a gentler one, asked. "Are you so certain of that?"
An indistinct murmur rose around Fayt. He tried to lift his head to see who had spoken. He wanted to see who had spoken. He wanted to make sense of what was happening. Vox was dead, as was Demetrio. He knew. He'd been there for both. However, he lay still, his head aching and his body unwilling to respond to his commands. All he could do was stare at Vox and Demetrio as their spirits hovered over him. More booted feet stepped towards him.
Vox's transparent eyes widened in horror and disgust. His lips curled into a sneer.
"You," he said in a near growl. "You're supposed to be dead!"
"And you are not?" the man asked mockingly. "Of course, I am dead, no thanks to you and your machinations. As are all of these men. Only upon my death were you named the captain of the Dragon Brigade. In death . . . you are not so spectacular now, are you?"
"I . . ." Vox began.
"Glou is right," Demetrio interjected. "He is our rightful commander. You are nothing."
Their voices started to become distant to Fayt. His head had not stopped its pounding. His eyes drooped closed.
'Let me just sleep,' he thought. 'This is just a dream anyway. I'll wake up and everything will be okay. Just a dream . . .'
"I will not let you have him!" Vox roared.
"You're too late, Vox," Glou said. "He's already mine."
'Sleep . . . At least I got to see the colours, right?'
Fayt closed his eyes.