Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to another Story Time With Tim! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis (as you’re likely well aware) and I’m pleased to bring you this next novella. A novella I wrote back in 2005 when everyone was still yammering on for some more Final Fantasy VII material and what we all got was: a Vincent Valentine game called Dirge of Cereberus, a mobile game known as Before Crisis featuring the Turks (villains) from the main game, and a new cgi movie called Advent Children. All of which I enjoyed, but none of which satisfied people’s needs and wants for product really getting at the root of what FFVII was all about.
I for one am a huge fan of Final Fantasy VII and still have my original copy of the game. I thoroughly enjoyed the Remake which seems to only be the first part of a larger endeavor. Anyhow, there was this one part of the main game that I never saw fleshed out to any sort of degree: the mythology of the Cetra and what happened to them in the past. As such, I decided to write this story set a thousand years in the past of the world of Gaia (I think that’s what it’s called in FFVII) and delve into the idea of how the Cetra got wiped out and why there were very few of them in the future.
This was one of my longer novellas running approximately seventeen thousand words overall. And roughly forty pages in Microsoft Word. It’s decently paced and has some intriguing world building. However, it is a little slow all together. Which is a shame. Yet, I think looking back towards how the Cetra influenced the future of the FFVII world is pretty cool myself.
Anyhow, this is the first part of the novella that will be posted over the next few weeks. So, I hope you enjoy. This novella is available as Crisis From The Sky in my novella collection book Tales From A Strange Mind Volume Two. I’ll offer up that link towards the bottom after this part has finished.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!
CRISIS FROM THE SKY
Two thousand years ago…
A vast carpet of stars stretched from horizon to horizon giving way to a panoramic onslaught of pure serenity. Epic mountain ranges laid blurred by the obscurity of distance while tall pines coated in thick layers of snow reached for the heavens. Pale moonlight bathed the landscape in a light tint of blue as finely tempered shadows separated the forest from the trees. No wind blew in this arctic woodland. No creature stirred. It was the calming peace of silence in the depth of the night.
That all changed in a split second with the thunderous crack of a cataclysmic fireball cleaving a clear, star filled night in two. Shadows deftly played under the new found light pointing the way for the streaking thing to the distant mountain ranges. Then, sharply, those shadows reversed course, averting away from the distant impact, the blinding flash, and impossibly silent boom capable of searing dread down the spine of the hardest of men. Within seconds, a tranquil night had been torn asunder. Half the forest laid on its side, suppressed by the thing’s immense shockwave. The mountain ranges had been carved into a gaping wound. And, the horizon glowed a brilliant orange and red under the blaze of a calamity from the skies.
* * * * *
Cierra Aronaii stood upon her terrace gazing upon the stars in the heavens. The terrace connected to a giant, four story shell abandoned by some creature millennia before. The shell had been cleaned out and transformed into living chambers. There were many shells like that within the city. Hundreds of shell dwellings lined the canyon floor of the gully at the base of the Knowlespole mountain ranges. They were home to Cierra’s people, those called the Cetra.
A cool breeze through the night air flowed through her long, brown hair that hung to the back of her thighs. The silken, gold embroidered opal robe she wore fluttered under the same breeze and wrapped snugly around her thin form. She closed her eyes and smiled. There was always a peace inherent during the nighttime.
Calm, green eyes (almost sparkling in the dim moonlight) opened and stared up towards a thin cluster of clouds silently traversing the sky. She breathed in heavily and let her breathe escape slowly. An arm wrapped around her waist and drew her close to a warm body. The owner pressed his lips unto the side of her face and kissed her gently.
“A beautifully warm night. So clear with but a few clouds,” he whispered into her ear.
Without turning, her smiled broadened and she ran her hand along his smooth, firm jawline. Without even looking, she knew that his vivid blue eyes were staring down her neck, that his taut musculature rippled as he gripped her, and that his own long brown hair was dangling across his back done up into a braid. His own robes, of similar design to Cierra’s, intermingled with hers in the wind. They stood there enjoying the moment when a streak of orange shot overhead from beyond the canyon rim and proceeded past them towards the mountain range. The sky burned a deep orange.
“What is it!?” Cierra exclaimed, her eyes widening as a roaring boom shook the foundations of the earth.
“That’s no average meteor. The Council will be meeting,” the man spoke and turned towards the hallway that lined the interior of their conch shell.
Cierra followed him down the spiraling hall that led to the entrance of the complex. Together, they proceeded outside and towards the grand hall located at the city’s center. Many other people had exited their own domiciles and looked towards the distance. Being within the canyon gully made it difficult to determine the damage caused by the thing from above. Rumor was already spreading that a meteor had struck the northern perimeter of the Knowlespole. Yet, Cierra and her husband had seen the thing, and she felt a stirring sensation that whatever it was, was far more sinister than a meteor. They looked beyond the foliage lining the canyon walls as they hurried along the polished, pearlesque path and saw the mountain ranges looming in the far distance. A strange deep orange glow crowned the range ridges.
* * * * *
Darkness shrouded the impact crater that ran deep into the center of the mountain ranges. IT came forth from the crater mired in a cloak of shadows and stood completely erect in its seven-foot height. Eyes glowed an unearthly blue and took in the environment now surrounding the impact site.
The forest went intensely silent as the creature began its trek into the woodland. It could sense power and it craved that power. The creature left the newly formed crater in its wake. That crater was two miles deep and four miles wide at its diameter. Nothing stirred as nature quietly watched the thing traipse through the thigh high snow and continued on into the dark depth of the night.
* * * * *
Carved out of the interior of a mile-high cliff, the Grand Council chambers were immense. A single column with a platform atop of it rose up from the subterranean waterways. White light shone down from the open observation decks half a mile above the chamber. Around the empty space surrounding the center platform where the Council Elder would speak, was the auditorium rotunda. Thirty feet in diameter, it was the largest space dedicated to the Council meetings of the Cetra. Five balconies, one above the next, lined the chamber walls. The first balcony was parallel to the level of the center column, the podium for the Supreme Chancellor of the Cetra nations. Below that one, a walkway lined with support columns led to the stairwells traversing to each balcony in the chamber.
Hundreds of Cetra had arrived and a tremendous din filled the chamber as talk of the event spread among the councilmen. Dawn had nearly broken and several scouts had returned to report on what had transpired.
Cierra approached the railing upon the third balcony and looked down towards the Council podium. She saw the Supreme Chancellor making his way over the one connecting bridge of the podium to the first balcony. He was engaged in a very emotional conversation from what she could gather and sense. The white pillar of light hung over the podium like a spotlight on a stage actor. The Supreme Chancellor looked very agitated as he progressed out to the podium. His beard swayed under a slight breeze coming upward from the waterways beneath the city.
Cierra’s husband came up beside her, concerned etched upon his visage. She looked up at him with concern. He shook his head, understanding her emotion. A grimace came to his face as his lips drew taught.
“What is it, Sion?” she inquired nervously.
“It isn’t good. The scouts have returned and tell of a disturbing event. Whatever crashed into the Knowlespole has torn a hole in Mother Tiamus. Many tribes of Cetra have already gathered near the northern borders,” he responded and viewed the Supreme Chancellor making his last moment preparations.
“What will a bunch of wandering vagrants be able to determine?” Cierra queried in irritation, feeling the weight of the planet upon her.
“Be kind. They may not build and construct and tend the lands the way we do, but they are our people. Besides, word has it, all the Cetra will be needed to heal this wound,” Sion said and motioned for Cierra to still any response forthcoming as the Supreme Chancellor lifted his arms for silence.
Cierra looked at the old man below in trepidation. Things were fast spiraling out of control. The Northern Boundaries were a virtual no-man’s land. Only the wandering tribal nations made their homes in the forests there. Naturally, they would be the first to respond. This despite the fact that the main Cetra Council lived within the great city of Collust along the southern ridge of the massive mountain range leading through the Northern Boundaries.
“Now, now, Councilmen,” the Supreme Chancellor began, slightly waving his arms up and down to lower the din of the filled room. “Word has come back from the Northern Boundaries of a great catastrophe. Thousands lay dead along the northern rim of the Knowlespole as a result of a massive collision of what seems to have been a meteor.”
Murmurs erupted within the chamber. Cierra stared at the old man and felt a tremor in her soul. Something didn’t feel right. Surely the others felt it? But, then again, she figured they may just contribute that emotion to the loss of life. Cierra’s gaze wandered to the spiral interior of an ancient mollusk shell beyond the balconies of the easternmost wall. It was now more a decoration merged within that wall and was only a pale reminder of what it once was. What had caused those elegant creatures’ deaths? She found herself suddenly wondering. Extinctions occurred every so often and she considered that another may have just arrived.
“A great host of Cetra tribesmen are marching towards the impact spot as I speak. Our scouts positioned along the Boundaries encountered a group and were informed of the event. Unfortunately, we won’t know the extent of our planet’s wound, until we ourselves participate in the great healing,” the Supreme Chancellor continued to mumblings of disdain, “It is the responsibility of our people to care for the world. Do not shirk those duties now.”
A slender and aged finger waggled at the gathered masses, having noted the cynical remarks being made casually and quietly amongst the Council. Cierra remembered when it was traditional to make pilgrimages to the Northern Boundaries to plant the pines that lined the ridges there. That was when she had been a young little girl. She had been seven the last time she had went. She shook her head viewing those in the Grand Chambers. Many within had become accustomed to the finer vanities of city life and were not looking forward to any prolonged exposure to nature uninhibited.
Turning to leave, the Supreme Chancellor summoned his Viceroy. A man a full head taller than the Supreme Chancellor who was fond of red robes with silver linings, which stood in contrast to the graying robes of the Supreme Chancellor. The Viceroy made way for his Elder to leave by the bridge and took the podium. Cierra rolled her eyes. Anything the Viceroy had to say was generally too trite to be practical. Of course, this wasn’t going to stop him from speaking.
“I will forego my usual flare,” he spoke, “We have too much at stake for trivial banter. Stablemen, ready the Choboa. Those of you with Choboa, you should make them ready. The rest will have to walk, but we ALL must go. Our planet needs us.”
The Viceroy left the podium and the Grand Council Chambers emptied. Cierra walked with her husband and pondered all the emotions flowing through her personage. Sion walked beside her and cast a glance at her. Knowing how contemplative she generally was, he didn’t bother Cierra in her thoughts, but turned forward and continued towards the entrance.
Come back next week for the next part and I hope you’re liking these little weekly reader offerings! There will be more to come! Thanks for reading and for continuing to frequent my site! I appreciate it more than you know.
Hope you have a good week and read to you again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
Since you’re still here, why not check out my personal author’s page over at Amazon Kindle? You can find more of my works on offer there, cheap short stories, and collections of all of my works for both Kindle as well as in paperback. Just click on my name here and the link will take you straightaway to my page–> Timothy S Purvis
Looking for where this novella is available in full? Look no further than this collection of novellas released just last year:
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