Since I posted about my writing troubles, I figured I’d post this over here. After venting my frustrations, I suppose it opened up my brain to actually think of what to write. I’ve been reading a few fanfiction with this sort of same idea for another character in the franchise, so I just thought “How would Celes act in the same situation?” and came up with this. Not exactly perfect imo, but I’ve been working on it for about two weeks and think this is as good as I’m going to get it, and am overall happy with the end result. Sometimes, no matter how much you want to fix something, just have to let it out there to be read XD
No real prior knowledge for the game is needed, other than what’s stated in the story. Hope you enjoy!
The ice was everywhere. Dazzling shards spun all around her, arcing over her hands, leaving no imprint. The cold spurned her onward, her limbs starting to ache from the chill. Seeping into her flesh, the numbing sensation of frostbite began to take over, and she fell. Snow puffed up around her in waves, her hands searching the powdery downfall for something not yet known.
“Further…” a voice echoed from the sky. “Come to me…”
“Where are you?” she tried to stand, but was pushed down by a gust of wind. “How…how can I find-“
“Celes? Can you hear me? Wake up, Celes.”
Her entire body snapped to attention as beeping resonated through her ears. Her eyes opened slowly, and promptly shut after seeing the bright light in the chamber. A familiar voice spoke to her once more.
“Are you alright Celes? You were unconscious for three hours this time. We were afraid we’d lost you.”
“Only three?” she sat up. Her second attempt at opening her eyes was far more successful, and she now was focused on the scientist before her. “I’m fine. Don’t worry so much about me, Cid.”
“I can’t help it, with you falling unconscious as much as you have. Your men tell me you passed out in the middle of your drills.”
“Is that all?” she stretched. “Worrisome lot you all are.”
“You passed out after using your magic,” Cid leveled a troubled gaze at her. “You told me this had stopped happening a year ago. Is there something you haven’t been telling me?”
“It did stop a year ago,” Celes swung her legs over the side of the bed and tested her weight on her feet. “It just…happened suddenly. I swear I haven’t been hiding anything from you in regards to the infusion, Cid. You have my word.”
Celes braced herself on her hands, then stood slowly. Cid gasped, rushing to her side.
“You’ve just barely woken up! Don’t strain yourself. I’d still like to run some tests on you to make sure nothing is severely wrong.”
“You didn’t do that while I was asleep?”
“Well, yes. But now that you’re conscious I—“
“I don’t think being awake or not really makes a difference in my health, does it?”
The woman scanned the room until she found her rune blade and cape hanging on a hook in the corner. She collected her things, then saluted Cid.
“I promise if I feel anything strange I’ll seek you out. Can that be our compromise?”
“I…” Cid bit his lip. “Alright. I know I won’t stop you from leaving anyway. Why do I even try.”
“The day you stop trying is when I’ll have to start worrying about you. Now, if you excuse me, I have some cadets to drill.”
“Actually, Leo took over the rest of your drills. The Emperor found that any stress due to the infusions took priority. So,” Cid didn’t even try to hide his grin. “Why don’t you go to your chambers, and rest.”
Celes pinned the man with a glare before spinning on her heel and leaving the lab. The scientist held in a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.
“Celes, I really hope there is nothing wrong with you. I can’t make another mistake with this, not again.”
Torrents of hail pounded on her skin. She knew it should have stung, she knew it should have left her with gooseflesh, with burns, with scars, but instead, all that was felt was rain. She walked through the storm as if it was a summer shower, not at all perturbed by the fact that all of her body was numb. Her eyes scanned the falling maelstrom in search of something, the hunks of ice glittering like diamonds in the night.
“Come here…” the faint voice once again called. Celes whipped her head around, trying to listen for the caller’s source.
“Come where? Where are you?”
Celes breaths came out visibly, her cries drowned out by the hailstorms progress. The voice got louder and louder with each of her footfalls, the ice falling in quicker succession.
“Come here. Come here! I need to—“
“I’m coming, Just hold on!”
“Hurry, hurry! I need to-“
Celes jumped up with a sharp gasp of breath. Bewildered, she looked around to gather her baring’s: she was in her rooms, in bed. Sweat dripped down her face in droves. She frantically scanned her surroundings for any signs of what had just happened, but to no avail.
“It was…a dream? It was too real to be…”
She started at the voice from the other side of the door. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at it, as if the door were an enemy she needed to defeat.
“Celes, it’s Leo. I heard you shouting and wanted to make sure you were alright.”
“Oh. I’m…I’m fine Leo. Don’t worry.”
“May I come in to see for myself? You gave me quite the scare.”
“Fine. If it will put your mind at ease, then come in.”
Her door clicked open, and the older man entered. His eyes widened at her state.
“What happened to you?” Leo rushed to her side and grabbed her hand. Celes tried to hide her cringe. “You’re freezing, Are you well?”
“What are you talking about? I honestly feel fine.”
“Celes,” his voice grew stern. “I’m getting Professor Cid. You’re freezing. Far too cold for it to be natural. You’re sure you feel fine?”
“Yes! I don’t feel—“
The General’s breaths shallowed as the realization hit her. She gave Leo’s hand as hard a squeeze as she could. He squeezed back, and her eyes widened.
“I don’t feel a thing.”
The diagnosis was more of a blow than Celes realized. Her entire body had gone numb. Cid said that it may be temporary, that perhaps it was just a minor side effect of the infusions: but Celes had a feeling that it was more permanent than either of them knew. Celes couldn’t remember when the lack of feeling began to feel natural to her, and without a definite time span to base the change off of, Cid could only guess as to how long it would last, and if it would ever go away. She didn’t dare tell Cid what Leo had told her about her body temperature: she couldn’t take having any other bad news given to her that day. For once, she was thankful for the free day given to her: It gave her time to think.
Celes walked around the grounds of the palace, not sure where she was headed. Men saluted her as she walked by, but she paid them no heed: she was far too wrapped in her own thoughts to pay attention to her surroundings. Eventually, she found herself at the gardens she often frequented with Cid.
Her eyes fell upon the roses she helped him tend to. Hesitantly, she walked towards one of the blooming bushes. She knelt before them, and smelled the scent of the flowers. She relaxed visibly when her nose could still recognize their scent. When her fingertips brushed the petals, however, her face fell.
“I really can’t,” her voice was barely above a whisper. “Why…why did I not notice before? What have they done to me…”
Frost gathered at Celes fingertips and glazed over the roses petals. She touched the frostbitten flower just as gingerly as before, and still felt nothing. With a shuttered breath, Celes stood, and ran away from the garden.
Come here. Come to me! I need…I need…
The General came to a halt. Was that a voice? It sounded so familiar to her, but she couldn’t quite place it.
“Who…” she cleared her throat and mustered some authority. “Who is there?”
Hurry! I need…I need you to…
“Need me to what?”
Celes winced as the voice boomed in her head. She grasped at her chest, more unnerved then she’d be willing to admit out loud. Was she going as mad as Kefka? She had never heard any voices before. And yet, somehow she knew this voice was a friend. Should she try and find it now? Try and help? Whatever it needed seemed urgent, otherwise it wouldn’t have been reaching out to her so much.
“The dreams,” she spun on her heel and darted towards the Research wing of the palace.
The Devil’s Lab was just as she had remembered it. The facility stuck out in striking contrast to the gunmetal steel that was the Emperor’s Palace. All white, all sterile, wreaking of death. Celes remembered why she never came here, there was always a sense of for boding that she never could quite shake. She had only been here for her infusions, and opted to never return. But now, for some reason, she had the uncanny urge to enter, and find whatever it was that was calling out to her.
Snowflakes sparkled in the air around her. They fell upon her hand, then dissipated into condensation that dripped down her fingertips. She couldn’t help but let her jaw drop at the spectacle. Was she doing this?
So close, come!
Her eyes darted around at the sound. She took a few steps forward, then stopped. She still couldn’t place where the voice was coming from, and began to worry.
“Are…are you here?”
Yes! Come here, hurry! Before they return.
“Before who returns? Please just tell me what’s going on so I can help you!”
The air shifted beneath Cele’s feet. Shocked, she looked down to find rune patterns being formed around her. She went to move, but was frozen where she stood: a flash of light, and she vanished from sight.
The next thing she knew, she was in a section of the lab she hadn’t seen before. It had the same foreboding feel, but this time, with good reason: The room was filled with life sized test tubes. The tubes were filled with clear fluids, what their purpose was, Celes wasn’t sure. What surprised her more than the fluids, were the human-like creatures suspended in their depths. She could tell the room had far more creatures in them then were currently here, but she couldn’t pay attention to that now. What she needed to pay attention to, was the woman staring her down with sapphire eyes.
Celes slowly approached the humanoid creature gazing at her. Her skin was a pale blue color, her hair a mass of braided teals. Her hands were thin and slender, with nails as white as snow. As she peered in at the creature, It touched her hand to the glass. Celes impulsively touched her palm to be in line with hers.
“H-hello?” Celes found her voice caught in her throat. She couldn’t break the woman’s gaze, for it reminded her far too much of her own. “You…who, uh—“
The blond gasped.
“You’re the one from my dreams?”
“Y-yes…” the being’s voice was far weaker when used to speak out loud. “I need you to…”
“What are you? Are…are you human?”
Where the creatures hand rested, frost gathered. Celes gasped as she felt the ice drop the temperature of the glass.
“I…I can feel that. How?”
“Forgive me…there was no other way…I had, had to…reach you…it should…be better…”
“In my dreams? How did you do that.”
she raised one finger to silence her.
“Not dreams. The vailed plain…you and I, we are linked…”
“Please tell me how I can help you,” Celes pressed her face gently against the glass. “Do you need to get out?”
“Meet me,” she began to move her hands in a ritualistic pattern. “In the vailed plain. Come on your own. Aide me…”
The runes appeared beneath Celes feet once more. She stepped away from the glass stunned.
“I don’t understand! You—“
“Shiva,” she finished her movements, and Celes began to disappear in that same light. “My name is Shiva. Invoke my name in the vailed plain!”
Celes vanished right as footsteps sounded from another room.
“What the hell? It’s been using magic again.”
Two scientists came into Shiva’s view with clipboards in hand.
“Fetch Professor Cid, he’ll want to know about this. We may have to up the sedation fluid intake on this one.”
One of the men left, while the other scribbled something on his clipboard. Shiva’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the human, then closed.
Stay safe, little one. You’re the only one who can save me…
The next morning, all Celes could do was lay in bed. She wasn’t sure how to process the information she had received from…whatever that creature was. It said they were linked, and she clearly had been reaching out to her through her dreams, through her magic. Perhaps that was their link? But as far as Celes knew, her magic infusion was done with artificial magic. To steal magic from another living being was so…Celes shuttered as the thought graced her mind. It would explain why she seemed familiar, Celes thought. And why I want to help her so badly…but how can this be? What exactly is she, to have this kind of power?
Luckily, she had permission to take this day for herself as well, so she had time to sort things out in her head. The woman lay on her back, staring at the ceiling. Eventually, her eyes closed, and she found herself asleep.
Snow surrounded her in mounds. Everything was still, quiet, not at all like the blizzards of hail from before. Her booted feet crunched as she walked through the desolate land. She stopped, narrowing her eyes at the somewhat familiar scene.
“This again,” Celes hissed. “What…is this what she meant? The vailed plain?” her exhale puffed out visibly in the crisp air. “It’s not…it’s not a dream? I…wait, what did she say her name was again?”
Celes retraced her steps, and stood in the center of the snow. Once again, she looked for something, waited to hear the now familiar voice, but heard nothing. Was this now her fate? To eternally dream in ice and snow? She shivered at the realization, although the cold didn’t reach her bones.
“Sh…Shiva? Are you here?”
Diamonds shook in the air and Celes stepped back. They sparkled, shimmered, until she realized that they were actually shards of ice dancing in the breeze. They shook furiously, gathering, spinning faster and faster, until a shape began to appear in its center. In an instant, the crystalline woman Celes had encountered in the Devil’s Lab stood before her, a slight smile on her lips.
“Little one,” Shiva cooed. “You found me.”
Celes gasped as she backed away from the woman. In her surprise, she backed into one of the mounds of snow, falling into it. The powder sprung up around her, then circled into the air. Shiva laughed, reaching her hands outward. The snow stayed aloft, circling until it reached her outstretched hands.
“So lovely to see you again,” she spoke to the snow. “Even if it has to be here. Have you been well?”
The snow lifted into the air, sparkled, then rested back on Shiva’s hands. Celes gaped at the spectacle, no longer able to keep her shock contained.
“What is this? Who are you!? Where are we and what is going on!?”
“You…don’t recognize me? No, of course not.” Shiva waved her hand, and a small blizzard formed. “But you must know, somehow. Why else would you have been reaching out to me?”
“Me reaching out to you? More like you were reaching to me. In my dreams, no less. Do you not know the meaning of privacy?”
“I am not strong enough to reach to you in my current state, little one. It was you who initially reached out to me with our magic, and I continued to try and make contact until we could meet again.”
Celes bit the inside of her cheek. She tried to stare the esper down, but her gaze was met with the same intensity. She gripped a piece of snow, the particles digging underneath her fingernails.
“I…contacted you? But how.”
“Our link. You used magic that was not yet usable to you, and nearly fell. I shielded you as best I could, with curative spells through our bond. I am glad it worked.”
“And then you kept on reaching out to me. You may not have realized, but I have been helping you with your magic, our magic. Here, in the vailed plain. I had hoped that you would have been more self-aware of our encounters here, but it seems they have only been portrayed as dreams in your subconscious. I am glad to see that you have grown strong enough to come here of your own accord, however, so we can finally formally meet.”
The General sighed, flopping onto her stomach. Snow spiraled around her, resting on her back. Shiva chuckled.
“I…so I reached out to you without even knowing?” her eyes widened. “My fainting and blackouts.”
“We were here.”
“My dreams of snow and blizzards?”
“We were practicing your magic.”
“But why,” Celes looked up at the esper. “What do you gain from all of this? How are we connected?”
At this, Shiva’s eyes overflowed with sadness.
“You do not know,” her face fell. “They didn’t tell you.”
“Didn’t tell me what!?”
The esper strode towards the woman on the ground. Celes wrapped her arms around her torso defensively, not sure of the creature’s intent. Shiva took Celes’ hand in hers, clasping her hand tightly. Blue met white as they’re fingers interlaced, and light emitted from their palms.
“We are connected, you and I. Our minds are linked, and we are one. A fitting fate, for one who was gifted my magic through blood.”
Celes entire body flooded with the light, and she and Shiva vanished.
Wind surrounded her, driving her backward. She swayed back and forth, back and forth, until she rested on a tree branch nearby. She surveyed her surroundings, seeing nothing but evergreen trees covered in snow. A chill went down her spine, until she realized she no longer had one. Panicked, she began to swirl away from her resting place, until another force stopped her.
Stay still little one. You mustn’t fight in this state.
Yes. Forgive me. With my weakness, it’s far easier for me to speak to you in my truest form.
Alarm registered as best it could in Celes current state, and she plumed into the sky.
Yes. A blizzard, to be exact.
How…how can you do this? What are you?
I am an Esper. Magic, in its purest form.
Shiva, now a cascade of different shades of blue, surrounded Celes. They combined to form a maelstrom of cold, and danced across the sky.
It would be better for me to show you. You must know what has been done. It’s the only way.
The only way that what?
Shiva froze midair with deadly intent.
The only way that you’ll stop them.
Images. Nothing but images and sensations bombarded the General. Wars, death, pain, a man, looking as humanoid as Shiva, fighting alongside her. Torrents of ice, fire, lightning, streaking across the sky, the only indication of them hitting their mark being anguished cries from a distance. A man – was it the Emperor? – standing before the woman, soldiers at his back. The near-goddess being captured, dragged by her tendrils of hair, and forced into a detainment chamber lined with those horrific tubes – The Devil’s Lab? – her life source, her essence being drained from her, slowly but surely…so much hopelessness, why carry on…a woman, no, a child, merging her life source with hers – Celes? – Hope…joy…a link…
With a shriek, the woman came back to her senses. She shot up in her bed – no, that wasn’t right, it was the lab – and was met once again by the familiar face of Cid. He didn’t even try to hide his worry this time, as he gazed upon her heaving form.
“Six hours,” his voice was stern, but worried. “You’ve been unconscious for six hours. We thought it nothing, until icicle’s began to form around you. Celes” he took her hand. She hissed, surprised that it burned. “Do you have any idea how close you were to succumbing to hypothermia? If Leo hadn’t found you—“
“Leo had no business snooping around in my chambers,” she managed to gasp out. It wasn’t as biting as she would have liked. “And you—“
“Enough of that!”
Celes bit the inside of her cheek. Cid had never sounded so angry.
“You told me you would come to me if anything severe happened to you, Celes. I can’t help you if you don’t follow through on your promises.”
“All I did was fall asleep,” she replied as level-headedly as she could muster. “I…I wasn’t aware that would happen to me. Perhaps I should have stayed under your watch, as you recommended. Forgive me for my hubris.”
“Well, I suppose that’s as much of an apology as I’m going to get,” the scientist sighed. “Now, let me check your vitals. You gave us all quite a scare there, what with that little snow storm you created.”
Cid took her arm, and fastened a small device around it. The machines around them began to beep methodically, showing the Professor figures and symbols the woman couldn’t even try to understand.
“Yes. Leo says it was quite a spectacle. Your bed chamber was entirely covered in a blanket of ice. Were you practicing your magic, by chance?”
“No. I wasn’t doing anything but sleeping, I already told you that,” she managed the bite in her voice this time, which caused Cid to chuckle.
“No offense was meant. I simply need to know what I’m dealing with here. So you were using your magic in your sleep? Interesting…”
Cid went from looking at Celes vitals, to his notes. He turned some pages, then wrote some things down before returning to her side. Celes pursed her lips.
“Where,” she hesitated. “Where exactly…did my magic come from? All I know of the infusions is that they granted me power. But didn’t the power have to come from somewhere?”
Or someone, she thought.
If Cid was startled by her question, he hid it well: he looked from the read out, to her, then wrote something down in his notes. He spoke without looking up at her.
“It’s artificial,” he said. “We recreated magic after a lot of tests. You know Kefka was the first to try this, yes?”
“Yes,” she tried to hide her mistrust. “But I was told the process of infusing him was different than mine. Is mine done with artificial magic, and his…something else?”
“No,” Cid answered a bit too quickly. “We simply fine-tuned the procedure for you, so you wouldn’t become…as damaged as Kefka. Both magical sources are the same, however. Didn’t we go through all of this information before we started your infusion’s?”
celes gasped as a voice not her own cried out furiously in her mind.
“Are you alright?” Cid moved to touch her. Celes flinched. “I can keep you here over night if you’re not well. Give you some medications—“
“I’m fine,” Celes wrapped her arms around herself. “Just…a bit cold, that’s all.”
“You can feel cold again? That’s very good, Celes. Very good.”
The General took deep breaths to steady her nerves. She could feel things again, yes, but somehow she thought feeling nothing in this place, was a far better option.
He has lied to you.
“I know that, believe me, I know.”
He will not tell you the truth, no one will!
I have not yet lied to you, have I?
“Get out of my head. You didn’t tell me you would be in my head!”
I have always been here, little one. You know that as well as I do.
“And yet you choose now to start ruining my life.”
Celes swore she felt the esper chuckle. She was glad she was alone in the hospital room, so she could visibly scoff without looking mad. Talking to herself probably wouldn’t have convinced Cid of her healthy state of mind, either, but that was beside the point. She decided to switch to thinking her thoughts to Shiva, hoping the esper could hear her just as well.
How can you do this? You were only contacting me when I was asleep before.
I had to make you aware of my presence before any further contact could be made. Hense the summoning in the vailed plain.
Celes thought for a moment. She was shocked when the esper responded with an affirmative before she finished her thought.
Yes, you called my name. That is enough for me to come to you in the vailed plain.
Don’t do that! Celes hissed. It’s odd enough you’re, you’re…in my head! At least let me finish my thought before you-
There is no time, little one. I need to speak to you before our link is broken. You must stop-
I’m not doing anything until you explain to me what exactly is going on. Until you’re ready to do that, without these games, I-
THERE IS NO TIME!
The General snapped up in her bed. The desperation in Shiva’s tone was palpable. The woman took a few deep breaths to center herself before continuing their conversation.
A weight fell upon Celes shoulders. She knew it wasn’t her own. All of the thoughts, the emotions that Shiva felt were merging with her own. It was overwhelming, but at the same time not: The grief Shiva felt, the fear, the determination…was all something Celes could relate to. It was all she could do to keep herself from being overtaken by the esper’s grasp. Images flashed before her mind once more – Shiva’s memories, she now knew – and they were far worse than the ones before. Ash and decay filled her nostrils, corpses scattered across the ground…and in the destructions center, Emperor Gestahl stood, his figure a striking contrast to the carnage surrounding him. Shiva felt no fear towards this man: only a burning, searing hatred, and the urge to strike him down where he stood.
Stop him. Stop him. STOP HIM!
The words pounded against Celes mind in quick succession. Paired with the images, she doubled over. Nausea began to take hold as she took breaths to calm herself, or rather, tried to calm Shiva’s emotions.
Stop him, stop him! Take my magic and end him!! We are one, you and I. Bound by blood, we are one. I will not give you my power, unless you end him, END HIM!!
“STOP IT! SHUT UP!”
“Celes? Are you alright?”
Her eyes widened as she realized she had spoken out loud. She tried the best she could to compose herself, but no amount of control would have reigned her emotions in after what just happened. Exhausted, she fell back on her pillows as Cid approached. The scientist didn’t say a word: He simply took her arm, checked her pulse, and injected her with some sort of fluid. In moments, the woman fell unconscious.
“I’m worried about her, your majesty. She hasn’t been well lately. The first 2 years of the infusion process have been going smoothly, but now…I fear she may be starting to show signs of mental instability.”
“Has her magic been affected at all?”
“…No, my liege. Her magic has been growing in strength. It’s been a bit unruly, but—“
“Continue to monitor her progress, and if there are any declines in her casting abilities, alert me at once. That will be all, Cid.”
“B-but my liege! We can’t just let her mind deteriorate like Kefka’s. If there’s any way we can somehow stop the process from going any further, we must—“
“Celes has been fine up to this point, and I see no reason to stop progressing in her training, or in her injections. You promised me a Rune Knight, Cid, and I have yet to see one. Until the procedure is one-hundred percent complete, you will continue your experiment. Am I understood?”
Cid lowered his head resignedly.
“Yes, your majesty. It shall be done.”
She knew where the numbing cold was coming from now, the cold chills that travelled down her spine. The change of color in her hair and skin, the unnatural shade of her eyes: all from that esper, that creature who was now consuming her thoughts. The being that was making her every waking moment agony, and who couldn’t even leave her be in sleep. Was this what it would always be like? Was she doomed to live her life, sharing her existence with another? A creature that wasn’t even human? A chill pervaded her body, this time not from her ice magic.
The dreamscape was empty this time. Celes didn’t know what to make of it: Was this truly a dream of hers? Or simply a game Shiva was playing. Were her thoughts even her own?
“Forgive me little one. It was not my intention to torture you so. I…lost myself in the memory.”
Celes tilted her head. The nothingness took shape, into a familiar mass of glacial dust, then into the glacial woman she was beginning to dread. She stared into her sapphire eyes so like her own, then lowered her gaze.
“What do you want,” Celes asked flatly. “I’m not in the mood. I’m just…so tired today.”
Celes bit her lip as a blue hand lifted her chin. Shiva stroked her cheek, and looked into her eyes warmly.
“Do you know why I chose you?”
“Chose? Professor Cid chose ice magic for my infusions. Said that it would be far less volatile than Kefka’s fire infusions. You didn’t choose anything.”
“Ah, yes. The human man. Ifrit was not pleased with that one. A mistake that you may need to deal with later, I am sure.”
“I don’t have to deal with anything!” Celes tore herself away from the woman’s touch. “I am a General of the Empire, a warrior for Emperor Gestahl. I’m not going to do anything against his wishes, no matter what sort of bond we may share!”
“He has tainted you,” Shiva looked at her sadly. “Is there nothing I can do to change your mind?”
“The only thing you can do that’s helpful, is leave me alone!”
Celes glared at Shiva furiously. She was determined to glare at the other woman until she stood down, vanished, anything. But she wasn’t prepared, for the defeated gaze that met her own.
Snow piled between the two of them. In moments, large mountains of frost filled Celes’ vision. Shiva was not to be seen. Celes tried to walk through the snow, but fell as soon as her foot hit the ice. Her hands out stretched towards the esper.
“I chose you,” Shiva’s voice boomed through the dreamscape, despair evident. “Because I knew you to be pure of heart, and strong of will. With the mad man’s taint, you have been swayed, but I hold the hope that, given time, you will make the right choice and rise against him. With this, Celes Chere, I give you my blessing: Use my magic, and use it well. We will meet again, I am sure. I only pray that when we do, you will be putting a stop to his tyranny.”
The snow rose from the ground, and swirled towards Shiva. Her hands outstretched, the element gathered, forming around her. The storm grew and grew, until it looked as though it would overtake the both of them, but then only one remained. Shiva vanished.
Celes woke, trying to fight the loneliness she now felt.
The next few weeks Celes finally got her baring’s back. Her magic, to the Emperor’s delight, was stronger than ever. The Rune Knight process, perfected and completed: Celes being the first in a long line of magic-absorbing warriors. When her training was complete, the Emperor sent her on her very first mission.
“Take Maranda. If they resist our rule, use any means to subjugate them. I don’t want you to return until the city is ours, is that understood, General?”
Shiva’s parting words rung through her head. Over, and over, and over…she wouldn’t admit it, but she missed the esper’s presence. She hoped what she said was true: She hoped that they would meet again one day.
When Celes reached Maranda, she did her duty. Igniting the town with fire, The city was brought to its knees. The people screamed, fled from the embers that fought to consume them. In turn, Celes fought the fire burning inside her heart. A child fell as they tried to flee, the flames gathering upon them. A flick of her wrist, and the flame dissipated under a blockade of ice. The child was able to run, escaping the fire’s touch.
Use my magic, and use it well.
That night, Celes knew where she was. The hailstorm returned, pelting her surroundings with an intensity she hadn’t seen before. She reached out a pale hand – did it flash blue? – and the hail surrounded her. With a flick of her wrist, it began to dance midair.
Snowflakes gathered in the dance. Sparkling, winking into existence at her beckon call. The blizzard waged on and on, the woman it’s eye: Until, with another motion, Celes calmed it.
The chill in the air was welcome, the bite no longer stinging against her flesh. A voice, now also welcome, kept on ringing in her head.
Use my magic, and use it well.
“I will,” Celes murmured. “I will do with it, what you ask.”
The flames of Maranda flickered in her mind’s eye, then calmed. Her eyes glinted with a new resolve.
“Shiva Will…will you help me?” Celes voice was far weaker than she would have liked. “I don’t think I can do this alone.”
The caress of cool spring brushed against her thoughts. She felt a smile, then a nod.
I will always be here with you, little one. We are kindred spirits, you and I.
Celes smiled, a weight lifted from her shoulders.
“Alright then. Let’s get to work, shall we?”
Snow swirled on the ground, forming a funnel of pearly white. It rose into a flurry, a spiral that engulfed the woman before it. She unleashed an unbridled laugh, one she could not dare utter in the waking world, and was overjoyed to hear the crystalline woman join her in her elation.
Snow merged with flesh, and then dissipated. All that remained, were sparkles of white and blue diamond dust.