Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave
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Thread: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    Figured I'd give it a new thread.

    If you haven't read Book 1 first, I'd reccommend you do so you don't get lost.

    Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave)

    When the first part of our story ended...

    "We did it!" Lina cried as Vince ran to hug her, now freed from his curse.

    "I thank you for covering for me, Lady Foxheart." Vince replied. "You're continuing to improve each day...and maybe one day; you will meet the Dragon King Bahamut to grow even stronger."

    Mallory was about to return Vince's compliment when she saw a door form on the right wall. "I appriciate the thought, but let's go see what's behind that door!" After being healed by Lina, she lead the way to the door, which opened into a large open room similar to a shrine, but the only thing present in the room was a white altar, where a large purple crystal sat.

    "I can't believe it...the Lost Crystal of Darkness!" Darien gasped in awe.

    "I never dreamed I would see one of the Lost Crystals..." Vince agreed.

    "It is only one of four, and essential to our quest." Lina reminded them. She beckoned Mallory to approach, eager to hear the Anima.

    Mallory approached the Crystal and opened one of the star pendant's points. "Crystal of Darkness, lend me your light." At this, a small ball of light flew from the Crystal and settled inside the opened point with a giggle.

    "Was that an Anima?" Darien was confused.

    It was, Master Ranger. Ragnarok replied. You shall hear a piece of the Crystal Song shortly as it takes you outside.

    Mallory turned back to look at the Crystal. She had come all this way, yet her journey was just beginning. As she joined her friends and felt the warm glow of the Crystal's light transporting them to the world outside, she swore she could hear a still quiet voice singing Take a melody...


    Episode 22: Return to Cornelia

    The warm sun was the first thing Mallory felt when she and her friends materialized outside the New Moon Grotto. After tromping through a dark cave for what seemed like an eternity, it was quite refreshing.

    "Well, now that we have the first Crystal, where do you propose we look for the second one?" Vince suggested as he rounded up the party's menagerie.

    "Before that, though, shouldn't we return to Cornelia and inform their Majesties of what we found?" Lina interjected.

    "Oh, I nearly forgot about that..." Darien blushed when he remembered the party's promise to the King and the Queen--discover the source of the singing in the New Moon Grotto. Mallory groaned at the prospect of having to walk all the way back there--but then she remembered her own teleport spell. If it worked on items, it would probably work on humans. However, trying to teleport four people at the same time would still leave her very tired when they arrived.

    Then, an idea hit her: Why not see if Ragnarok had a similar power?

    "Ragnarok? Do you know how to teleport things?" she asked the dull silver sword that was tucked away in a grey scabbard that lay inside Lina's bag.

    An actual teleport spell, I do not know; but I can create teleportation points in between two locations. Ragnarok replied. With that, Mallory watched in awe as a column of yellow light materialized before the party. There...this one will take us back to Cornelia.

    "Come on!" Darien led the way inside, and the party and their menagerie disappeared in a flash of light.

    A few minutes later...

    When Mallory stepped out of the column of light again, she found herself again looking at the gates of Cornelia Castle. They had not been away all that long, so it still looked just as she had seen it the last time.

    A word of caution on my teleport points... Ragnarok warned. My strength is tied to Lina's strength--so if she is tired, my teleport points may drop you in a puzzle room before taking you to your destination. Or if she is in true peril, I may not be able to make a teleport point at all.

    "Understood." Mallory replied.

    I will change the other end of the one we've used to a new location once we receive new orders. Ragnarok assured the party.

    "Very well, I will inform Their Majesties of our return." Vince began. "The rest of you, wait out here until I return." With that, he walked off inside the castle.

    Keep Lina strong at all times--got it! Mallory reminded herself as she studied the Anima Pendant that hung around her neck in place of her old butterfly one, which was now nestled in one of her bag's pockets. One of the star's eight points now glowed a soothing purple. I bet that when we have the Animas of all eight Crystals, this will be so beautiful to see! she thought as she touched the glowing point, which sang Take a melody... to her. She already knew that the next part of the tune was "Simple as can be", but she wondered if it was not the Earth Crystal; but another Crystal that sang that piece of the song? Only Her Grace knew for sure.

    She was startled out of her daydream by the familiar thuds of Vince's boots. "Well? Do Their Majesties wish to see us?" she asked.

    "Kweh?" the Chicobo agreed as it tried to steal some of the meat the wolf pup was nibbling on.

    "You speak true...furthermore, the King has some new information for us." Vince replied. "Come." Mallory motioned for Darien and Lina to follow, and hurried to keep up with Vince as he strolled inside the castle again.

    In the throne room...

    "Your Majesties...we have returned from the New Moon Grotto with astounding news." Vince began as he and the party knelt before the two golden thrones. "The singing the royal wizards have heard was indeed one of the Lost Crystals." Shocked gasps came from the crowd, but Vince continued over the whisperings of the court. "Furthermore Her Grace has appeared to us and commanded we fulfill the Prophecy of the Rainbow Blade." Even more uneasy whispering from the lords and ladies of the court filled the air at this.

    The Queen raised a hand, quieting the whispering. "Where exactly did Her Grace appear to you, Vince?"

    "At Her shrine in Jodra, where Lady Foxheart fledged to become a full Red Mage." Vince replied.

    "A vision from Her Grace at one of Her shrines is almost always true." the King began. "So I trust that what you say is also true. Knowing this, you might be able to learn where the Earth Crystal lies if you travel to the country of the Elves to the south."

    "I have heard much of the elven lands, Your Majesty." Darien added. "Would Elfheim be a good place to begin looking?"

    "Elfheim is one of the largest cities in the Elven country, and we have good relations with their leaders...so they may know where the Crystal lies." the King replied.

    "However, there have been reports of strong monsters in that region, so you all are welcome to take what you need from the armory and the storerooms. the Queen cautioned as she wrote out two summon notices for Mallory and Darien.

    Elfheim...all I've heard of that place is how skilled their minstrels are, and their tales of an elf named the Hero of Time...but could a Crystal really be there? Mallory thought. However, it was not unusual to have a mystical artifact or hero appear in the elf lands...was it possible that she was about to have one of those elven tales come to life?

    To Be Continued...
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    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  2. #2
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    The Queen raised a hand, quieting the whispering. "Where exactly did Her Grace appear to you, Vince?"

    "At Her shrine in Jodra, where Lady Foxheart fledged to become a full Red Mage." Vince replied.

    "A vision from Her Grace at one of Her shrines is almost always true." the King began. "So I trust that what you say is also true. Knowing this, you might be able to learn where the Earth Crystal lies if you travel to the country of the Elves to the south."

    "I have heard much of the elven lands, Your Majesty." Darien added. "Would Elfheim be a good place to begin looking?"

    "Elfheim is one of the largest cities in the Elven country, and we have good relations with their leaders...so they may know where the Crystal lies." the King replied.

    "However, there have been reports of strong monsters in that region, so you all are welcome to take what you need from the armory and the storerooms. the Queen cautioned as she wrote out two summon notices for Mallory and Darien.

    Elfheim...all I've heard of that place is how skilled their minstrels are, and their tales of an elf named the Hero of Time...but could a Crystal really be there? Mallory thought. However, it was not unusual to have a mystical artifact or hero appear in the elf lands...was it possible that she was about to have one of those elven tales come to life?


    Episode 23: Elven Tales

    As the party departed the throne room, Mallory was still thinking about their impending journey to the elven lands. What more was there, besides the minstrels and their stories of the Hero of Time and others like him? Had her companions heard any of those stories?

    She decided to start by asking Darien. "What have you heard of the elven lands, besides the stories?"

    "Well..." Darien thought for a moment as the party entered the armory. "The closest way to get there is taking a ship from Pravoka...we could also drop off what creatures we do not need at the lodge for the rangers to look after."

    "You're from Pravoka, right?" Lina asked as she dug through the variety of staffs scattered throughout the room. "Maybe you can see your family becore you leave--let them know you've fledged into a full Red Mage."

    Mallory smiled at the thought of coming home--she would return to visit her family when she could during her training, but the closer the day she would leave on her Red Journey came, the less frequent the visits got, so she would send letters when she could not come in person. How proud her mother and father would be when they saw that the yellow feather had turned to white--and how worried they would be when they learned their little girl was on a quest to save the world.

    She motioned to the scribe taking inventory of the blades in the back left corner. "May I take a sheet of paper?" The royal scribe smiled and offered a sheet to Mallory, who fumbled for the enchanted quill pen she used to write letters, and the occasional story or melody.

    The magical quill obediently floated over to the paper and hovered at the top margin, waiting for what its master would say. "Dear Mother and Father...Greetings from Cornelia, where my Red Journey has gained a much larger scope--the task of uniting the eight Crystals. It is daunting, yes; but I rely on my faith in Her Grace and my three companions to guide me and see me through. We have been ordered by His Majesty to cross to the elven lands, but before I depart, I was wondering if I could stop by and say hello--and show you that I have fledged into a full Red Mage..."

    "I trust you will speak well of me in your letter?" Vince smiled playfully as he accepted a red cloak from an attendant.

    "I'm getting to you, okay?" Mallory assured Vince before addressing the quill, who resumed writing. "As for my companions; I have befriended one of the rangers, met a Knight of Cornelia and his white mage attendant. All three I have learned so much from, and I look foward to letting you meet them. Your daughter, Mallory." Her letter complete, the quill returned to its pocket and the paper rose up before her, allowing her to see what she had written. After checking over for revisions, spelling and grammar, she laid a hand on the paper and commanded "Letter, fly for home." With that, the paper disappeared in a flash of light.

    "Are we all ready to go?" Lina asked. The others nodded. She glanced out at the slowly darkening sky, then told Ragnarok "Change the destination of the warp point outside to Pravoka."

    Consider it done. Ragnarok replied as he party departed.

    That night, in Pravoka...

    "It feels so good to be home..." Mallory sighed as she nostalgically glanced around the town square. Since the sun was setting, dropping in on her family would be rude.

    "For now, we can spend the night in the inn, then meet your family before catching a ship for Elfheim." Darien suggested. Vince and Lina nodded in agreement, then followed Darien over towards the temple, where the Starlit Night stood overlooking the market and the entertainment districts.

    After leaving their menagerie in the care of the stablehands, Mallory led her friends over towards a table by the window. Unlike their last visit, they were the only guests present, so having a session was not feasible.

    Lina was first to speak. "From what I hear of the elven lands, they tell the best stories, particularly the Hero of Time cycle..."

    "The creatures there are tougher than what we've faced before." Darien cautioned. "But if we can find a smithy that sells the near-legendary blades and armor the elves are known for crafting, we will be safe."

    "What kinds of creatures?" Vince was interested.

    "Mostly ogres, but big cats and other large wildlife are not unheard of." Darien replied. "Snakes are quite common there too."

    "Didn't a dark elf put their prince into a deep sleep once?" Lina interjected.

    "According to one version of the tale of the Light Warriors, that did occur." Mallory replied. "It took a special potion from Matoya to wake him, but only after Matoya's Crystal Eye was retrieved."

    "Lately, the elves have been concerned that same dark elf could cause trouble again." Darien concluded. "So we should ask one of the elders when we arrive what has gone on concerning him...I believe his name was Astos."

    "You have heard true." Lina agreed. "During my training in Gaia, I heard all kinds of unsavory tales about Astos and how he was cursed to be reborn, then die again at the hands of new Light Warriors." She shuddered at the memory of one such story.

    Vince noticed Lina's uneasiness. "Since it appears our plans have been made, and we are all refreshed on local lore, I suppose I might volunteer to tell one tale the royal minstrels tell..."

    "Really?" Mallory was excited. "I've always wanted to hear a royal tale!"

    "Try to keep it short, please?" Lina begged--Vince could get fairly long-winded in telling a story, and it usually took repeated reminders to hurry along in a futile attempt to be brief.

    Vince just ignored Lina and began his story. "Long ago, in a land called Telius, the land of Begnion invaded the land of Daein. Since Daein was still fresh from a war with the northern land of Crimea, they fell quickly to Begnion's hand. Before long, the Begnion soldiers were regularly commiting terrible misdeeds against the Daein people--deeds so terrible they made the deeds of Rinlon the Black look like child's play. Yet the people of Daein clung to the hope that a girl known as the Silver Haired Maiden would come and help them to drive away their oppressors..."

    Several hours later...

    "...and after a decisive battle, Daein was freed from its oppression. The Silver Haired Madien continued to assist the new king, who reigned for a very long time." Vince finally concluded his six and a half hour long epic.

    "Great story..." Mallory sleepily replied. "I'm ready for bed..." Darien was asleep in his chair as well, using a cloth coaster as a pillow.

    "So much for trying to be brief." Lina sleepily joked. Vince just blushed, embarrassed that he had put his companions to sleep...

    To Be Continued...
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  3. #3
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    Last time, on our previous tale...

    Vince noticed Lina's uneasiness. "Since it appears our plans have been made, and we are all refreshed on local lore, I suppose I might volunteer to tell one tale the royal minstrels tell..."

    "Really?" Mallory was excited. "I've always wanted to hear a royal tale!"

    "Try to keep it short, please?" Lina begged--Vince could get fairly long-winded in telling a story, and it usually took repeated reminders to hurry along in a futile attempt to be brief.

    Vince just ignored Lina and began his story. "Long ago, in a land called Telius, the land of Begnion invaded the land of Daein. Since Daein was still fresh from a war with the northern land of Crimea, they fell quickly to Begnion's hand. Before long, the Begnion soldiers were regularly commiting terrible misdeeds against the Daein people--deeds so terrible they made the deeds of Rinlon the Black look like child's play. Yet the people of Daein clung to the hope that a girl known as the Silver Haired Maiden would come and help them to drive away their oppressors..."

    Several hours later...

    "...and after a decisive battle, Daein was freed from its oppression. The Silver Haired Madien continued to assist the new king, who reigned for a very long time." Vince finally concluded his six and a half hour long epic.

    "Great story..." Mallory sleepily replied. "I'm ready for bed..." Darien was asleep in his chair as well, using a cloth coaster as a pillow.

    "So much for trying to be brief." Lina sleepily joked. Vince just blushed, embarrassed that he had put his companions to sleep...


    Episode 24: The Comforts of Home

    "Here we are..." Mallory smiled as she led her companions to a stone house nestled in the harbor district. "This is my home." With that, she gingerly knocked on the door, anticipating the joyful reunion that was soon to come.

    "Coming!" a female voice called from within. The door opened, revealing Mrs. Foxheart on the stoop. She had not changed much in the thirteen years that had passed since Mallory had left home--she still had the same black hair she had on that night years ago when she told her young daughter of the Rainbow Blade. However, there were some small wisps of gray among the night black tresses that testified to her age.

    "Hi, Mom!" Mallory smiled as she embraced her mother for the first time in a long time. "I trust you got my letter?"

    "I did, dear--it arrived yesterday afternoon." Mrs. Foxheart replied as she led the party inside the house. "Your father and I spent the rest of the day preparing for your arrival." She then called into the den "Dear, Mallory's here with her friends!"

    "Coming, sweetie!" a male voice replied. An auburn haired man clad in the simple dull green tunic, leggings and boots of a merchant appeared in the entryway to the den. He smiled when he noticed the white feather inside his daughter's hat. "My little girl...you've fledged to become a Red Mage!."

    "And I'm glad you're not sailing now, Dad--I have many tales to tell of my adventures." Mallory smiled as she gave her father a hug.

    "You'd do well defending the ships from monsters--but judging from your letter, you've got other things to do." Mr. Foxheart replied as he settled in a chair overlooking the harbor.

    "First, these are my friends..." Mallory began. "Darien Sterling, of the ranger corps..."

    "Pleased to meet both of you." Darien smiled as he shook Mr. Foxheart's hand.

    "Sir Vince Corrigan of the Knights of Cornelia; and his attendant, Lady Lina Starwill the White of Gaia." Mallory continued. Vince gave a reassuring nod before sitting down in the chair next to her. Lina decided to sit on the floor by the fireplace.

    "A pleasure to meet you both." Vince replied.

    "How do you do?" Lina agreed.

    "It's good to meet all of you, and we welcome you to our humble home." Mr. Foxheart began.

    Mallory took that opportunity to speak again. "I suppose I should elaborate on how I met my companions...Darien rescued me from some pirates the day I left on my Red Journey..."

    "I returned because of rumors of pirate attacks..." Mr. Foxheart interjected. "We were to sail for the west country in a few days, but His Majesty has declared the seas too dangerous to sail now."

    "I see..." Mallory replied before continuing "Then, we rescued Vince from being attacked by a dragon..."

    "You defeated a dragon all by yourself?" Mrs. Foxheart was impressed.

    "Not quite by myself; Darien helped me after he tended to Sir Vince's wounds." Mallory explained. "But, Sir Vince still had the strength to help the both of us." She adjusted the feather in her hat, then continued. "Then, after spending the night in the village he serves, we went with Sir Vince to Cornelia, where we met Their Majesties."

    "You remembered everything I told you about meeting royalty?" Mr. Foxheart interjected. Mallory nodded. "Good girl."

    "We learned that the princess Elia had been taken away to the Chaos Shrine, and had broken down the bridge leading to Matoya's Cave to avoid pursuit." Darien added.

    "Yet we pursued anyway by going around what was broken, and after run-ins with wolves and undead, we caught up to Garland deep in the Shrine." Vince picked up the story from where Darien had finished. "There, we staged a fierce battle, and won handily!"

    "When we returned, His Majesty told us about some odd singing the royal wizards had heard in the New Moon Grotto; the cave near Jodra." Lina continued. "We first went to see Matoya for advice, and she told us much about our adventure."

    "She gave me this pendant as a gift." Mallory paused to show her parents the Anima Pendant.

    "Wow...it's been a long time since I've seen her give away one of those." Mrs. Foxheart was impressed.

    "Not since the time of the old Light Warriors." Mr. Foxheart agreed.

    "Furthermore, I've received one piece of confirmation that Dad's prediction of the Crystal Song is right..." With that, Mallory touched the point of the Pendant that held the Anima of Darkness, making it sing Take a melody...

    Mr. Foxheart's eyes widened. "That's really a piece of the song?"

    "It could be, dear." Mrs. Foxheart assured her husband. "But I think we'll know for sure once our little girl finds the other three Lost Crystals."

    "Anyway, after visiting Matoya, we trekked to Jodra, where I fledged and my friends did their duties." Mallory continued. Before we left, Ladora appeared to us and confirmed what Matoya told us before--and then some."

    "We then left for the Grotto itself...while exploring, Lina found a sword corrupted by darkness. Once she purified it, we found it was the legendary Ragnarok, the dark blade that serves the light." Darien continued.

    "I pray you grow strong enough to wield it, my daughter." Tears of pride were welling up in Mr. Foxheart's eyes.

    "After braving the grotto's many traps, we slew a lich to free the Crystal of Darkness." Mallory concluded. "Now, we've been asked to go to the elven lands...and here we are."

    "Sounds like you've been through a lot." Mrs. Foxheart smiled, impressed by her daughter's exploits.

    "Know that both of us are praying you will succeed on your adventure." Mr. Foxheart added. "No, all of Pravoka asks Her Grace to guide you and protect you and your friends!"

    Mallory just laughed at her father's show of support. "Thanks for the assurance, Dad--I'll need all the prayers I can get!" Everyone laughed at this.

    "At any rate, I've made places for your friends to sleep, and your room is always available if you need to come home and rest." Mrs. Foxheart began. The rest of the party trooped off to the guest rooms to get comfortable, while Mallory trooped upstairs to her bedroom. She smiled when she recognized the familiar red, navy, and green plaid pattern of her bedsheets--she had missed them so much while she was away. The familiar wooden vanity standing in the left corner by the entryway brought back memories too--memories of helping her father build it.

    She decided to push away the worries of her upcoming journey to the elven lands and change for bed--it felt great to be sleeping in her own bed again, if only for one night.

    To Be Continued...
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    Did you delete chapters from this? I could swear I was reading a couple chapters ahead from here...

    Also, Vance's little story has names that seem familiar. I think they're from Fire Emblem. Funny.

    So, I read the whole thing to here. It took me a while, though. The whole entire story seems to be great to me. Though, it might help that I really like Final Fantasy., But either way, it's great. Though, I'm wondering what happened to page two.
    Last edited by woops; 8th July 2009 at 10:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    I got blocked around the point where the party met Titan, so I deleted it and am reposting.

    Vince's story is based on Part 1 of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (only with a happier ending)
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    Oh.

    Well, at least I know that my computer isn't insane and wants to explode...

    I look forward to the next post that I may or may not have finished reading!

  7. #7
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    Hopefully once I catch this thread up again I can release new episodes
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    This is good.

    Did you have the chapters saved somewhere? Or do you have to re-write them?

    On a different note, it's dead in here. I think people are too lazy to catch up...

  9. #9
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    I have them all saved on a 3 1/2 inch floppy just for that story. (hopefully I can fit all eight books on it
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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  10. #10
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    Last time, on our previous tale...

    "After braving the grotto's many traps, we slew a lich to free the Crystal of Darkness." Mallory concluded. "Now, we've been asked to go to the elven lands...and here we are."

    "Sounds like you've been through a lot." Mrs. Foxheart smiled, impressed by her daughter's exploits.

    "Know that both of us are praying you will succeed on your adventure." Mr. Foxheart added. "No, all of Pravoka asks Her Grace to guide you and protect you and your friends!"

    Mallory just laughed at her father's show of support. "Thanks for the assurance, Dad--I'll need all the prayers I can get!" Everyone laughed at this.

    "At any rate, I've made places for your friends to sleep, and your room is always available if you need to come home and rest." Mrs. Foxheart began. The rest of the party trooped off to the guest rooms to get comfortable, while Mallory trooped upstairs to her bedroom. She smiled when she recognized the familiar red, navy, and green plaid pattern of her bedsheets--she had missed them so much while she was away. The familiar wooden vanity standing in the left corner by the entryway brought back memories too--memories of helping her father build it.

    She decided to push away the worries of her upcoming journey to the elven lands and change for bed--it felt great to be sleeping in her own bed again, if only for one night.


    Episode 25: Sailing Away

    After bidding her family goodbye the next morning, Mallory led the way down to the docks, where she could see several ships preparing to sail. While her father had said that trade ships were told to stay off the waters, the King's decree didn't apply for ships traveling for pleasure or on business. Her quest definitely counted as business in her mind--and every second mattered.

    Her thoughts were suddenly interuppted by Vince complaining "Can't we just leave the beasts we've acquired here while we are in the elven lands? I'm getting quite annoyed by a wolf cub and a Chicobo running circles around me." Lina giggling over the pup and the Chicobo weaving around Vince's legs punctuated the complaint.

    "Come to think of it..." Darien mused. "We could leave them at the ranger's lodge--I'm sure Master Aravan and the other rangers wouldn't mind looking after them." With that, he motioned for the others to follow him as he sprinted through some grassy underbrush nearby the dock, which opened into a forested glade overlooking the sea. A spacious cabin-like complex stood at the end of a dusty path marked by the hastily made trail markers of apprentice rangers.

    "So this is the lodge of the Pravoka Rangers..." Mallory gasped.

    "It appears small from outside, but once you enter, it's actually larger--several cabins linked together into a large complex." Darien explained, just as a lookout appeared on the watchtower. Darien just flashed his deer charm, making the morning sun sparkle off of the slightly dulled silver figure of a deer jumping. The lookout just nodded, and went to tell those in charge of the gate house that ranger had arrived. Seconds later, the cabin's large door gently opened with a soft creak.

    "Kweh?" The Chicobo seemed interested in all the humans around it as the party followed Darien inside. Some rangers were gathered around a table, discussing a map. Others rested on cots, snoozing or staring up at the ceiling, daydreaming. Over in another room, a male voice was addressing someone, but Mallory couldn't make out what was being said over the chatter of other conversations and the rangers' comings and goings.

    "Just be patient." Mallory cooed to the small yellow bird as Darien led the party into the assembly hall, where a teal haired young man around Darien's age was addressing some new apprentices.

    "...Once you have proven youself as a ranger, you will receive a ranger's charm befitting your strongest skill." the man continued, gesturing to a number of silver charms of different animals that hung from the podium, including a deer like Darien's. "For example, the charm of the deer is given to those with swift feet, be they rushing to battle or scouting ahead. The charm of the hawk is given to those skilled with a bow, with the promise that every arrow will fly true..."

    "So that's why Darien has a deer charm..." Mallory whispered. She thought back to the day she met Darien--he had a walk that looked very much like running, so if he did have to run, it would be much too fast for her, Vince, and Lina to keep up.

    The call of "Dismissed!" jolted her fom her thoughts. As the various boys and girls filed out of the room, the teal haired man turned to address Darien. "Welcome back, Master Sterling--I was worried when you didn't return from your daily patrol."

    "My apologies, Master Aravan." Darien began. "Before I could return to the base that day, I found a red mage in danger at the docks." He gestured to Mallory, who shyly waved hello. "At the time, she was departing on her Red Journey, and in an attempt to fight some pirates, got cornered."

    "I see..." Aravan beckoned Darien to continue.

    "After driving the pirates away, I then offered to guide her on her journey to Jodra." Darien continued. "Along the way, my other comrades joined us--Sir Vince Corrigan of Cornelia, and his attendant, Lady Lina Starwill the White of Gaia." Vince and Lina waved hello. "When we arrived in Jodra, Her Grace appeared to all of us, saying that she had called us to fulfill the Prophecy of the Rainbow Blade."

    "Is that so?" Aravan was impressed. "Then allow us to help by boardng whatever animals you do not need."

    "I thank you for the help." Darien replied as he turned the mare and the pup over to some stablehands. "We're departing for the elven lands soon, and hope to tame some of the beasts there."

    "If you do, it would greatly help our research of the elven lands." Aravan replied as he hugged Darien one last time. "May the holy princess light your way with the Crystal's light." With that, the party departed the lodge and came to the docks, where a ship decorated in red and deep yellow was pulling into the harbor.

    "That would be our ship." Vince smiled--one of the rare times Mallory had seen him smile. "All ships going to the elven lands are colored like you see there". He motioned for the party to come aboard as a sailor called "Going to Elfheim, come aboard!"

    "Elfheim is the captial of the elf kingdom." Darien explained as a sailor led the party to their cabins.

    "Remember, Leviathan will not appear unless he is angered." Lina added, calming a jittery Vince.

    "What's he worried over now?" Mallory was concerned.

    "Haven't you heard the story of the Paladin?" Vince asked. "The story goes that while on the way to their next destination, Leviathan appeared from nowhere and took his friends away!"

    Mallory sighed. "That's only a story, Vince." Everyone else, including some sailors, laughed in agreement as Vince's face flushed with embarrassment.

    To Be Continued...
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Final Fantasy: Tales of the Crystals (Book 2: The Crystal in the Cave

    I remember Elfheim...
    My god, so many forests...

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