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16-bit nostalgia October 5, 2008

Posted by thejinx in art, ff6, writing.
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Final Fantasy VI, released in North America as Final Fantasy III for Super Nintendo, has been one of my favourite video games ever since I first watched my brother play it when I was still in elementary school. I loved the characters – well, most of them – the story and the gameplay, little say the music.

Growing up and revisiting this old favourite, I have since realized that some of the characters are inconsistent at times and other parts of the script could stand to be cleaned up as well.  I still love the game, but, well, it could be improved upon – and what can’t, right?  So, I decided to rewrite FFVI.

The events of the game will still happen, though they may not necessarily happen the same way.  Likely much of the dialogue will be different, at least slightly, and some character interactions will be different, some drastically.  There will be scenes added that were never in the game, primarily for more character interaction that I wish had been in the game.  I can’t say how often I will update this story, as it is far from priority in my endeavors, but it is fun and easy to write – after all, the story’s already there.

As this idea has been on my mind of late and I’ve been revisiting the game script – and more recently the game itself – of course I had to add Final Fantasy VI fanart to the collection I’ve begun drawing in the hopes of getting a convention table:

This is a scene from the beginning of the game, when Locke protects Terra from the Imperial soldiers that come after her.

For those familiar with the game, I hope my novelization/rewrite of FFVI does justice to the game and gives you a fond stroll down memory lane.  For those who aren’t, I hope you enjoy my rendition of this classic and well-loved game, as well.

Now, without further ado, here is Final Fantasy VI: Remix.

Prologue

The mountains towered in the distance, a great hulking mass of jagged peaks cutting across the horizon.  The landscape was stark, snow drifting down from the northern mountains to litter the fields of shriveled, brown grass.  Footprints cut a trail across the frozen wasteland up to an overhanging ledge, each indentation over six feet long.  The two-story war machines stood like barren trees clinging to the cliff edge, blowing snow swirling around their bird-like feet and drifting through the chinks in their heavy iron plating.  The faces of the soldiers seated at the heads of the armoured machines were lined, their gazes hard and faces weathered from the long journey.  They didn’t react as the biting wind stabbed at their faces and whipped their hair about.

“There’s the town,” stated Biggs, nodding westward.

Wedge followed his eyes to a cluster of lights huddling at the base of the mountains against the deepening dusk, the steady, pale yellow glow of electric lamps.  “Hard to believe an esper’s been found intact there after a thousand years.”

Biggs shook his head slowly.  “Do you really think it could still be alive?”

The lines on Wedge’s face deepened.  “Who knows?  It’s not like there are any surviving records from the War of the Magi.  We have no idea what an esper is going to be like.”

Biggs frowned as he glanced over his shoulder.  A third Magitech armour stood between them a few paces back.  A young woman sat at the helm, green eyes staring unseeing ahead as ringlets of emerald hair blew over her face, skin showing hardly more colour than the snow that drifted through the air.  She also showed no reaction to the bitter cold, though her neck and collarbone remained exposed to the elements.

Biggs shot a glance over to Wedge, who had also turned to gaze at the woman.  Their comrades had described the same blank gaze on her face when she single-handedly destroyed dozens of similar armoured units.

“Think it’ll react to her?”

Wedge’s eyes narrowed faintly.  “That’s what we’re here to find out.”  Biggs straightened in his seat, his gaze drifting towards the town once more.  “If the reports are right, this thing’s been trapped in a block of ice for a thousand years.”

“Yeah,” Biggs replied, “but how many times since then has a natural magic user seen it?”  Wedge glanced distractedly off to the side, and Biggs caught a glimpse of the uneasiness he knew his comrade felt.

Casting it off, Wedge raised his head once more.  “Let’s go.”

***

Burn marks scored the streets and buildings around the trail the armoured machines cut through the town.  City guards had long stopped approaching by the time the war machines reached the mines on the far side of town.  The bodies of their brethren, scorched and trampled, lay in the armours’ wake.

At the boarded-up entrance to a mine shaft, Biggs and the young woman watched Wedge standing before them.  He adjusted a lever in his machine’s cockpit, the enormous metal arm reaching forward and pointing at the barricade.  The droning whirr of the armour’s power source grew, the noise rising to a high-pitched roar as light flared out from the palm of the machine’s clawed hand.

Suddenly, the machine rocked as a beam of light shot out of the armour’s outstretched hand.  Thunder filled the mine, the rock walls quaking with the crackle of the beam of energy.  The boulders, boards, and bars blocking their path crumbled underneath the attack, rubble exploding inward as the mine yawned open before them.

The hum of Wedge’s machine faded as its torso sank forward briefly.  After a moment, the armour’s power restored and it stood upright.

“Let’s go.”

Biggs and the young woman fell into step behind Wedge as he ventured into the shadows of the tunnel, dust hanging heavy in the air.  The clangs of their armours’ feet against the floor echoed against the walls, their footsteps ringing throughout the mine.

At last, they came to the end of the tunnel and into a large, open chamber with no other exits.  Ahead, a protrusion of rock rose as high into the air as their armour, crude stairs carved into the stone leading up to the platform.  Wedge froze in place as he glimpsed the form perched atop it.

An iridescent bird lay encased in a jagged block of ice, more strange and wondrous than anything the soldiers had ever seen.  It was larger than a man, with wings spread, talons out, and beak open to cry.  Nothing about the frozen esper moved, yet somehow it seemed more alive than they did.

Slowly, Wedge approached, Biggs and the woman following in his steps.  They paused at the base of the platform, gazing at the esper.  None of them could find words.

Abruptly, the woman moved her machine forward, its clawed feet climbing the stairs toward the frozen creature.

“Hey!” Biggs exclaimed, startled.

“Get back here!” Wedge snapped.  “That’s an order!”

Ignoring him, the young woman continued up the stairs until she stood face to face with the esper.  The blank mask on her face broke, a hint of conflict and uncertainty creeping into her eyes as she stared at the unmoving bird.  The rocks around them seemed to resonate with energy.

Growling in frustration, Wedge turned his armour and began climbing the stairs after the girl.  Halfway up, its foot landed stiffly.  He screamed as machine and pilot dissolved, scattering like ashes on the air.

“Wedge!” Biggs cried, his heart leaping in terror.  He hesitated, gaze flickering between the girl and the exit.

Before he could react, he let out an inhuman howl as he disintigrated with his armour, leaving the woman alone in the cave with the esper.

The girl remained as frozen as the esper, gazing into its dead eyes from the seat of her armour.  She didn’t react as the chamber filled with a cool blue light.  The glow glinted off the beady black eyes of the bird, and the ice encasing it shimmered with energy.  Soon, the warmth of it crept beneath her skin, igniting her flesh with a pale light that matched the bird’s.  The chamber crackled with energy around her, stalactites jostled free from the ceiling crashing into the floor of the mine.

The light and energy intensified, filling her awareness, until she knew nothing else.

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