Author Topic: Rebirth ~ The Price of Eternity [A Fan Restoration Project]  (Read 1425 times)

Danko Kaji

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Re: Rebirth ~ The Price of Eternity [A Fan-written Restoration]
« on: September 08, 2015, 05:51:04 pm »
Chapter 3
Tentative Title:
Of Star-Crossed Lovers
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(A/N): Whee! I had so much fun rewriting this. Definitely my favorite chapter by far. <3 Also, I decided to play around with Kush having a French accent to replace her habit of 'vous,' along with some painfully polite terms that'd make Seymour or Baralai proud. XD Joking aside, I hope this is adequate.

*

“There’s something on the roof!”
   
They were cuddling on the mattress of their designated room when the man let his woman separate from him. Sitting up, they held their breath, keeping their ears wide open for the suspicious sound, and soon enough, it echoed above them from within the air duct, a dull sound that reverberated throughout their walls at a consistent rhythm like a hard object hitting metal.
   
GONG, GONG, GONG…
   
“What is it?” Kush said in a whisper.
   
“A bird,” Valm said after a long, tense moment of silence. “A sea gull, judging from the strength of its knocks.”
   
Kush reclined back on the cushions when his answer reassured her, expressing her wish to laze around some more, but Valm rose to reattach his light armor. She watched him adjust the leather pieces over his chest, admiring the smooth movement of his muscles, and smiled. “And how does my lord know that sound came from a gull?”

“Only birds and monkeys can reach the top of these cliff faces. It must be a very large animal, going from the loud volume of its strikes. Between a monkey with a sharp tool and a bird with a strong beak, it’s more than likely the latter. You see, there are no monkeys here, only gulls.”
   
“My lord is correct.” She gave him a pretty smile, pleased by his informative answer. “What does my lord think it desires?”
   
He chuckled, fastening the straps nice and tight. “Maybe you should ask it.”

Shifting to lie on her side, she giggled. “My lord is correct yet again.”

Her coquettish lilt tickled his ears pink, and Valm smiled in spite of himself. Hard to believe this sheltered young lady held the weight of her government’s expectations on her small shoulders. Kush had been chosen to undertake a Summoner’s course since early childhood; a Bevellian citizen born and raised, she came to this distant island from an industrial haven, the only place she had ever seen outside the Citadel. It came as no surprise why she took every one of Valm’s opinions to heart.

When they first met three years ago, he thought she enjoyed mocking him. He despised her in silence, recognizing his duty to protect someone that he considered to be utterly insufferable, a spoiled brat who wore the face of a noblewoman. Once enlightened about her personal history, sympathy sought to melt his cold heart and, to his amazement, his affection for her transformed into love. Never in his life, before Kush, would Valm ever thought that he’d fall for a Summoner.

These people were sensitive to a common phenomena called pyreflies, or spirits of the deceased. Valm used to imagine them as ominous, eccentric people who practiced necromancy and were obsessed with death, but after he learned that Kush, along with all of her comrades, felt the same kind of emotions as normal people, she and Valm were not so very different from each other at all. In spite of that misconstrued truth, the authorities had gathered people gifted with this talent, creating an elite corps of Summoners subject to strict regulations.

None of them were volunteers; Summoners, or those proficient in the rare craft, were not in the position to refuse their calling. Kush and her fellow Summoners had been forced to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their government; in exchange for their compliance, they were guaranteed the safety of their closest family, up to twenty-five years after the death of the Summoner.

Although Kush spoke in a formal and polite, if not foreign dialect, always dressed to the nines in her extravagant silk gowns, embroidered shawls, and fine jewelry, she came from a poor family, which gave Valm another reason to connect with her, originally from a similar poor background himself. He never left the island for broader lands, but his oath to remain had rescued others such as himself from poverty.

Recalling why he stood up in the first place, Valm sighed, annoyed. “I shall head downstairs first. The Bedohl,” he spat out the word in disdain, “must have had enough waiting for me.”
   
“Could we not see each other without them next time?” She pulled herself up with a pout, leaning over pale, slender legs drawn up to her modest chest and naked except for the sheer blanket wrapped around her petite frame.
   
“Why? Do they annoy you?”

“Not at all.” She smiled, dismissive. “I just want one time where I can meet with my lord, just the two of us.”
   
“And who will carry your palanquin? Me, all by myself?”
   
She laughed, cradling her head in the crook of her elbow. “I can walk as well as my beloved lord Valm. No, even better.”

“Probably.” He smiled, humoring her. “But venomous insects dispatched by the enemy are known to roam the region, worse are vastly increasing in population." And then his smile dropped, making way for a grave frown. "I fear that…”
   
“Are their bites dangerous?” Her smile wavered, frightened by his tone.

“Infernal.”

“Oh, you!” His blunt remark inspired her to explode into broad smiles. “Hell does not appeal to me at all!”

His grim demeanor broke under the spell of her melodic laughter, and he grinned.

Valm knew of the ‘Hell’ his lover made light of. His grandmother used to invent these wild and crazy stories during nights he refused to sleep, since she loved frightening him as a child with grim fairy tales -- such as this horrible place of endless throes where those who dared to defy the Gods were Sent, dead or alive. He who wanted to avoid this kind of unforgiving fate must obey the will of the Gods his whole life. Bria believed that after death, he would be reborn in the form of a flower that only blossomed in the nether world, as per his eternal reward for his faith and loyal servitude. Hell or flowers, Valm always considered those two ends as equal in weight, if not consequence, but his grandmother hoarded a treasure of anecdotes to justify every rule imaginable, making it impossible to argue with her.

He had been very young, then, always hanging on her every word, but once he grew to become a man, he understood -- she devoted herself entirely to obeying the authorities, a choice she had no say in the matter. If you wanted to survive in this world, you must obey the government who made themselves out to be virtual Gods in this tangible world.

Kush’s lilting voice anchored him to the present. “Is it not possible to avoid these insects without resorting to the Bedohls?”

“Maybe.” He shrugged, crossing his arms. “That is, I could always carry you when crossing dangerous areas.”

She clapped her hands together. “That would be wonderful!”

“Good. Now, dress up.”

Valm headed for the spiral staircase now, intending to go down and speak with the Bedohls. Just before he placed his foot down on the first step, he stopped to glance over his shoulder, stealing one last look at his beautiful, mystifying lover. Kush stood up from bed, wandering to the partial opening of the window they had boarded up for safety to gaze outside. Her petite body resembled that of the Goddess Luchera save for her hips, which were rounder, and Valm almost wondered why she adorned no wings to express the angelic innocence she carried within. The delicate item she threw over herself had slipped, revealing the unique birthmark ornamenting her lower back on the right side; an adorable silhouette of a heart.

Birthmark, scar, or tattoo, he did not know, but he did know one thing: Valm’s the only man alive who laid eyes upon that mark.

Kush’s sudden, urgent whisper awakened him from his thoughts. “There’s someone at the water’s edge!”

He rushed to her side, wrapping his arm around her tense shoulders. The moonlight allowed them to make out the solid details of the landscape; a cove surrounded by shallow water and tall buildings painted in resplendent orange, which towered upon the rock cliffs covered in lush greenery. "...Where?"

“Over yonder, on the pontoon.”

A mysterious, young man stood beside a shabby boat, which rocked with the steady, calm influx of waves.

‘A refugee,’ Valm thought. ‘But why sneak inside the island? Doesn’t he know this is an active war zone? It’s suicide.’

Without taking his eyes off him, Valm urged Kush to finish clothing herself. He lifted his forefinger and thumb to his mouth, about to whistle for the Bedohl, but held his breath. The man’s body language seemed nervous as he unloaded a bag from the boat. After a moment of struggling to untie it, he unearthed a round object.

‘A ball?’ He dropped his arm, confused.

This unknown person turned in direction of their tower and raised his eyes to Heaven.

Valm clenched his teeth, furious. ‘This is a ruse! He knows that I’m watching him! Damn him!’

Snatching Kush by the waist, he shoved her away from the window, and their bodies slammed against the pillar located in the middle of the room. As Valm proceeded to drag her down the stairs, the device exploded behind them, which caused him to lose balance. He clutched her head to his chest by instinct right before his back hit the railing going down. Releasing a whine of pain, Valm felt himself falling, and acted fast to squeeze her tight. Once his head bounced against an indiscernible, hard surface, he fought to keep himself from fainting, inhaling the unmistakable smell of gunpowder. He knew he couldn’t avoid it, but the moment he regained consciousness, he would go find that damn murderer and kill him.

He refused to let this territory fall into the hands of that heretic sage.
Lost in the winds of change~

"There's some things you can't do alone,
but they become easy with friends beside you."

Consider me a wandering 'Maechen' of FFX/X-2 lore.