Road to Peace: Chapter Four

The Falcon

etzer lead the two of them through the interior of the ship, weaving his way in and out various passageways until stopping before one of the many skinny wooden doors lining the walls. It opened with a soft creak, light spilling out into the dim, windowless hall. He stepped through, motioning for the others to follow.

"Setzer!" a mans voice came from inside the room. Locke smiled, it was Sabin who had called out that door. "I thought you were never coming back. Is Locke well?"

"Ask him yourself," Setzer replied, stepping back to let Locke pass through the open doorway.

The entrance opened up into a fairly large room, with three large windows set into the far wall. Lanterns lined the cabin on either side, illuminating it in a warm, yellow glow. The reddening sun just peeking over the horizon shown through the glass, giving the clouds a purplish hew. Sabin sat on a large, latter-backed chair, his back facing the setting sun. His huge, muscular arm were folded across his broad chest, and the smile he wore made sharp creases along his face. "Locke!" The man sounded surprised, as if he had not expected Locke to come. "I'm glad your here. How are you, friend?"

"I'm fine, Sabin." Locke replied, dropping his bags on the floor and taking a seat across from him at the large, rectangular table set in the middle of the room. "Are you doing alright?"

"Fine, fine." He looked up at Setzer. "Well aren't you going to sit down?" He asked, the gesture he made taking in the entire table.

Staring out the window, it took a moment for Setzer to realize someone was speaking to him. He jerked his gaze away, letting it fall on the large, muscular man. "Ah, no." Then, eyeing the confused looks he received, he added, "well, someone has to steer her!" His voice said he ment the ship.

Setzer hurried off, leaving the three of them. Sabin eyed Shadow as Setzer closed the door behind him, but kept his mouth shut. Instead, he turned back to Locke. "Stop looking at me like that! I told you, I'm fine!"

Locke had known he felt a certain concern for the man, but he had not realized it had shown on his face. "I'm sorry, Sabin." He said quietly, but his expression remained the same. "But from what I here, your brother is deathly sick, and here you sit saying your fine. You can not expect me to believe that."

Sabin's smile faded. "You assume I should say I feel terrible? That I want to curl up in a corner and cry? He's not dead, Locke. And I don't expect him to be dying any time soon. I'll grieve when he does, not before." He straitened, laying his hands on the table before him. "But we're not here to talk about me. Many things have happened since you left for Narsh. A great many things."

"Setzer said that outside," Locke replied, eyeing Sabin uneasily. "You know how I hate secrets."

"This is no secret, Locke. Half the world knows already." Locke waited for Sabin to say more, and for a long while the room was silent. Sabin watched Locke intently; his cool, blue eyes piecing the little calm Locke could manage like a knife. Locke shifted his feet uncomfortably. Sabin has never been this serene. What on earth is going on? The sound of claws scrapping against the hard wood floor sounded as Shadow's dog sat down behind Locke. As if the sound had been a queue to begin talking again, Sabin and Locke opened their mouths at the exact same second,

"Knows what?" Locke asked, as Sabin began to answer that very question. Sabin stopped short, then started again once he realized Locke was finished speaking.

"There is talk of war in the south, near Tzen. They say Kefka's followers are milling about down there, not organized enough to pose any sort of threat. But they believe all it will take is a good, strong leader to give them the order needed to construct a large and powerful army." Sabin stopped for a moment, as if deciding if he should continue or not. "There are also rumors concerning a type of… rebirth. That Kefka is returning from the grave. At least, that is what his followers believe."

"Don't call them that!" Locke snapped. He had been becoming more and more agitated as Sabin continued, and now he was about ready to burst.

Sabin looked confused. "Don't call who that?"

"Kefka is gone. Dead. And a dead man can't have followers. They are just a bunch of fools who are too thick headed to realize Espers are gone from the world, and magic with them. If they…"

"They're not fools, Locke." Sabin's voice was harsh. " 'You must never underestimate your enemy,' " he quoted. "Master Duncan used to say that."

Locke shook his head irritably. "Whatever they are, they still do not have the conviction to stand up against armies from all over the world. Not without the aid of magic."

"They may not have to." Sabin's voice was cool. Patient. "Kefka was able to take the world without fighting a single army, and…"

"But he had magic, Sabin!" Locke insisted.

"As I was saying," Sabin continued. His face was steady, but there was a tinge of annoyance in his voice. "He might have been able to take the world without magic, as well. A great leader can ruin the world if he wishes, with or without Espers. All he would have needed was a good, determined army and a well thought-out battle plan."

Locke shuddered. He did not like thinking of Kefka as a "Great Leader." That ment he was good at something other then killing and destruction. "Kefka's dead, Sabin. And his followers will take orders from none other then him."

Sabin looked as if he believed Locke was being deliberately dense. "That is what worries me. They speak of Kefka returning from the grave. Anyone could step up and claim himself to be Kefka returned."

"You said yourself these… people aren't fools." Locke made it clear he did not believe Kefka's followers deserved being referred to as "people." "And no sensible persun would accept that someone claiming to be Kefka was, in actuality, the real Kefka, let alone believe anyone could return from the dead in the first place."

"How can you be so sure he can not?" Locke jumped. During his dialogue with Sabin he had forgotten Shadow still stood behind him. The man in black continued as if he had not noticed Locke's surprise. "Kefka is not just 'anyone.' He could have made arrangements to be revived after death."

"That is impossible without magic." Locke said, and the expression on Sabin's face said he agreed.

"I understand that." The tone in Shadow's voice made it clear that was all he was going to say.

Locke's breath caught in his throat. Could he mean? No! That is absolutely impossible! Magic died with the Espers. Though it was an interesting concept. If magic returned, that ment Terra would be normal again. The half Esper girl had not been the same since magic had been abolished from the world. She had become isolated, remaining inside for the entire day, the windows of her house sealed shut with wooden planks. The only furniture she owned was a small bed, which she rarely used, and a large, wooden table, it's only propose being to collect dust. Terra would only come outside at night, and even then only for a short while. She would say the sun showed her too much of the world, while the night shrouded it all in darkness, which she enjoyed. Sadness was the only emotion she seemed to have now, even when she slept she would awake weeping. Locke had stayed with her for awhile, sleeping with her in a corner she felt was safe. He had wondered what she was so afraid of that she only felt safe in corners, but had not asked, for he knew she would only sigh sadly and shrug her shoulders, as was her response to any question put to her. After awhile she would not even speak with him, only watch him from the shadows, her once cheerful eyes now hopelessly depressed. He had moved into the inn soon after that change to silence, but would spend many of his days in the dimly lit house, lying on the bed or sitting on the floor, just to keep her company. I told you I would look after you, Terra, and I will. That thought would run over and over in his mind as he sat there, staring out the cracks between the wood planks blocking the windows, urging himself to leave Narsh and search for something; anything that would make Terra well again, yet all the while knowing he could not leave her; not yet.

But I have left her. Locke thought as he leaned back in the hard, wooden chair, the soft hum of the engines floating up from beneath the floorboards of the Falcon. Edgar needs me. He said to himself. He had stayed at Terra's bedside ever since she had become… ill, and it wasn't doing her any good that Locke could see. A few days away would not make any difference. I hope.

Go To:
Prologue || Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen