Welcome, welcome, welcome! Here is another offering of Story Time With Tim! This week, part three of FFVII: Crisis From The Sky. I’m not sure how many parts it’ll be at this point, but it should last through the summer at the least! Are you behind on this novella? Well, why not check out the previous two postings then? Just click the links below and you’ll go to those postings:
Alright, you all caught up? Awesome! Then let’s not waste any more time and continue on down to read the latest offering!
* * * * *
Sion Aronaii stood upon his terrace overlooking the main city of Collust. His wavy, dark brown hair dancing in the breeze. He wore a silken shirt that was unfastened, exposing his chest. The day was waning yet still held a solid warmth. It was a day he was enjoying.
Nearly a year had passed since the impact in the Northern Boundaries. The Cetra had gathered around the gaping wound and lent the Mother Tiamus their energies. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to have been enough. The woodland around the crater, had wilted and the land collapsed. What was left in such a wake was a steep incline surrounding the wound. Only the most skilled mountaineers could enter her wound as a result.
Sion shook his head and closed his eyes. He breathed deep the flowing breeze and exhaled slowly, allowing the lifeforce energies to heal his weariness. Opening his eyes, Sion looked back into his home to see his young son sleeping peacefully. If any good had come of recent times, it was his child. He smiled and entered his abode.
I wonder what is taking Cierra so long? he thought to himself and turned to look back out towards the city surrounding his house. All he could see was a sea of shell tops, rimmed with the distant walls of the canyon their city resided within. Sion hoped his wife would be home soon.
* * * * *
Daylight was fast running out as Cierra made her way through the throngs of Collust citizenry. The market had been practically overcrowded. So much so that the cloth overhangs had barely afforded any relief from the rays of an overzealous sun. The day had been unseasonably warm given that winter was approaching once more. It would seem that Autumn wasn’t through yet.
“…It’s true! Many have already fallen ill to this strange disease! And our own kin would raise their arms against us! They blame us for the cause!” a distressed man spoke from atop a soap container.
Cierra stopped to listen to what he was saying. A mass of the curious had gathered before him as he related what he had heard in animated fashion. It was rare for this part of the town circle to be so crowded. Even rarer still for anyone to stop long enough for local gossip.
“…If we don’t act soon, the heathen masses will be upon us!” he said, waving his arms with dramatic flair.
Shaking her head and moving along, Cierra wondered how anyone could believe that the normally peaceful Cetra tribes would raise arms against the Council.
“…Tohen to the west has already fallen…” the man continued.
Cierra ignored him and continued home. Tohen was one of the three great city nations of the Cetra and existed on the Western Boundaries of the massive continent of the Knowlespole. The Knowlespole was the most northern continent in all the world. It was subject to extreme winters in the Northern Boundaries and mildly warm summers in the Southern Boundaries. This was during the best conditions.
Tohen was at the far peninsula of the continent. Collust was the Easternmost city nation, their city, and sat deep in a gully. It was the Council center of the Cetra species. To believe it could be attacked, even if Tohen had fallen, was absurd. Only Middas along the white plains of the southern edge of the Northern Boundaries could possibly be left open to attack.
Of course, it hadn’t been but a few months earlier, when rumor had it that Middas had indeed fallen to some strange plague. This had yet to be confirmed by the Grand Council. So, Cierra was hardly worried.
She had rounded the south path that led to her home when a commotion drew her attention. Several Cetra warriors were hurrying towards the main path to the Council temple. Their dismounted Choboa were towing a wheeled gurney. Cierra placed her hand to her mouth as they rushed past. She stopped at the main intersection as she saw the warrior laying on the gurney dying. He had grown pale and the blanket covering him did nothing to hide that fact.
The warriors said nothing as they led the dying man towards the temple. She had wanted to say something, to ask them what had happened. But the words upon seeing him died in her throat. A numb feeling overtook her. …Could it be true?
Cierra watched them disappear into the assembly complex and felt a tremor in the world. Something was stirring. And, she felt it had been stirring for quite a while. She hadn’t felt this since the days following the great impact. Not wanting to consider the implications any further, Cierra hurried home.
* * * * *
“You’re unusually quiet,” Sion spoke to his wife as she was rocking their child.
At first, she didn’t say anything from the chair she rocked in. Sion watched her from where he sat at the dinner table and felt a disturbing sensation. She looked up from the baby and smiled at Sion. It wasn’t the comforting smile she normally gave.
“Something… is in the air,” she replied.
Before Sion could respond, a voice echoed up the spiraling hall. It was the masculine voice of a warrior he had been long acquainted with. And that voice sounded grave.
“Sion… a word. If you please,” came the voice.
“Nilo? What brings you here at this time?” Sion inquired and stood to walk down the hall.
He disappeared around the bend as Cierra looked out the terrace doorway. Moonlight streamed through the windows competing with their candles to light the home. A still wind blew as the soft echoing of conversation in whispered tones echoed up into Cierra’s ears. She continued rocking and closed her eyes.
Moments seemed like hours when the tap came on her shoulder. She didn’t want to open her eyes, but did so in great trepidation, knowing what was coming. Cierra looked into her husband’s blue-eyed gaze.
“Cierra… all the warriors are being called upon,” he softly spoke.
“Tohen has fallen,” Cierra responded before he could say anything further.
A look of surprise donned Sion’s face. It dissipated with a slight smile when he realized that he shouldn’t have been taken aback. His wife was always one of the most perceptive women he had known.
“How did you know?” he asked.
“I heard word of some strange virus in town. They say the tribes blame us for our complacency,” she answered.
“They need me,” he simply said with a nod.
“I know. Be safe, my love,” she smiled and kissed his lips lightly.
Sion hugged her shoulders and rubbed his son’s head gently. He stood and left for the assembly complex. Cierra didn’t watch him leave but instead closed her eyes and cried to herself. The breeze beyond the windows picked up and caressed her brow.
* * * * *
Enson sat within the saddle atop a Choboa. The rein of the whitish, brown speckled bird was in his right hand and held loosely. Long, platinum hair whipped around in the arctic wind, slightly hindering his view of the panoramic landscape. Regardless, there wasn’t much to see. Plains that had existed in recent times, were buried under a permanent frost. The Knowlespole climate was changing as a result of the meteor strike hundreds of miles to the north.
He didn’t require any sort of heat maintaining clothing, but Enson wore a thick coat nonetheless. He had grown partial to the furry design of the clothes. There was much he enjoyed about the Cetra civilization. However, he was created for one purpose. And, that purpose he was fulfilling.
From his vantage point on a tall, snowy hilltop, Enson could see the ravaged townspeople of Tohen striking out against the Council warriors that had been stationed at the edge of their city. The Tohenians weren’t normally aggressive, but the toxins he naturally released generated a virus that destroyed what humanity they harbored. This meant he had his army and that the only people standing in his way, were those in the capital city of Collust.
Enson kicked his Choboa in motion, and headed towards the field of chaos. Blood was painting the snowfields a dark red. The warriors fought back valiantly. Though, in the end, they were forced to retreat. The townspeople didn’t cheer; they only hungered for the chaos and tried to follow the forces fleeing upon Choboa. Enson raised his left arm and allowed his aura to flow into the gathered masses.
“Let them go. Soon enough, there will be nowhere for them to flee,” he chuckled as he spoke those words and turned back towards Tohen.
The Tohenians returned with him. Enson looked back at the fleeing warriors and a thought occurred to him. This may work out to my advantage. They will bring the Council to me. I won’t have to mount an attack into the canyon surrounding Collust. Yes, bring them to me… he smiled and continued forward.
* * * * *
“Did you tell your wife that the warrior came from Middas?” Nilo inquired of Sion as they slowly rode down the mountain path.
“No. Word in town has it that Tohen fell. If this is true, we may not be safe for much longer,” Sion responded.
They rode on through the thick pines casting deep shadows across the narrow path. The journey had been less than pleasant. Their thick furs barely kept out the winter breeze. Autumn was fading in Collust, but the southern wind currents and the surrounding mountain ranges kept the fierce winter storms at bay. That was a temporary phenomenon Sion realized. Since the meteor, everything was changing so fast.
“Who do you think is attacking? We’ve no enemies, at least, none that I’m aware of,” Nilo spoke solemnly.
“I don’t know. Something is very wrong about all of this… How far are we from Middas?” Sion questioned, his eyes set to the darkening northern skies.
The orange and red glow of a year past, no longer was present. However, there in its place was a strong sensation of death. No one could see it, and only a few of the more sensitive could feel the sensation. Sion figured his wife was attuned to the feeling. He was becoming fast unnerved by an invisible enemy.
“I’d say only a few days, maybe a week. Four weeks are behind us. Uh, I wish we didn’t have to bypass the inland sea. Were that extension not there, we would’ve been there by now,” Nilo spoke with a wry quirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.
“Perhaps we should pick up the pace? I feel that if we don’t, something terrible may be waiting for us,” Sion said and cast his view towards the procession of warriors following in their wake.
The group pressed on through the night deeper down the mountain pass. The path would let out into a massive plain. He hoped the snow there wouldn’t be so deep as to hinder their progress. During that particular time of year, green fields were still abundant. However, the temperatures were dropping faster than usual which meant normalities were out the proverbial window.
Hours later, they saw a glow some distance from them through the light flurries blowing through the dark forest. Sion signaled for the group to slow and a scout was sent ahead. Ten minutes later, the scout returned,
“Wounded warriors from Middas. They tell a strange tale, Sion. Something of some creature swooping from the skies and laying Middas to waste,” the scout hurriedly spoke.
Sion caste a wary glance at Nilo and they ushered the procession towards the camp not far beyond. Upon arriving, Sion saw wounded men laying all around the camp site. Their wounds were dressed in as well a manner as they could manage. It was obvious, though, that their time in the world was limited.
“What happened?” Sion asked the commander of the battalion.
“Well, sir, there was a virus that had spread rampant through Middas. For weeks we battled the sick and tried to heal whom we could. The thing is, they couldn’t be healed. Several days ago, the diseased rose up against us. It was so sudden. Even more sudden, was the beast that came in from the Northern Boundaries. It breathed a strange flame, but not fire as we’ve known. It was a green flame that leveled Middas! We fled… th, there wasn’t anything we could do!” the commander spoke in great agitation, catching his breath when he could.
Sion shook his head and looked to the north. The plains could just barely be seen through the mountain ranges, and they were unusually dark, even for the night. He stood and let the commander rest upon the ground. He wasn’t severely wounded and would live, but he was so panicked, Sion wondered if he would ever truly recover mentally.
“We make camp here tonight. In the morn, we’ll send a small contingent of twenty warriors with the wounded back to Collust,” he spoke out loud and then whispered to Nilo, “Be wary of anything. I want posts at every forty meters to report on anything suspicious approaching.”
“Sion, if what the commander speaks is…” Nilo started but was cut short by Sion.
“None of that. We’ll deal with such an event should it occur. I don’t want to think about the idea of some supernatural beast beyond our abilities to best. Better to keep the morale higher and focused,” Sion spoke.
“Aye, sir,” came Nilo’s reply as he rushed off to deliver the commands.
Sion walked to the edge of the small camp that overlooked a deep and dark ravine. He looked across towards the mountain emerging from the ravine. The path curved down the side of the newest obstacle. We can’t turn back. Looks like we’re going to have to assess the situation with our own eyes. What beast could lay a city to waste? Hmmm…
“Nilo,” Sion turned and called to his colleague, who turned from his meeting with the unit leads. “Summon Aria to my tent when camp has been made. I will need her advice.”
Nilo nodded in affirmation and continued delivering his commands. Sion made his way towards his Choboa and the equipment he would need to set up camp.
* * * * *
A short while later, Aria entered Sion’s tent. Two lanterns lit the interior heightening the somber mood of the lone occupant. He sat busily going through old manuscripts, trying to ascertain any references in the past to giant beasts. When on an expedition such as the one that brought them to this spot, he always brought his antiquated manuscript of mythologies and technological achievements. He had yet to find any references to such a beast outside of those alluding to the various species of dragons that inhabited the world.
“You wished to speak with me?” Aria inquired and stood with her arms clutched within the folds of her robe sleeves.
“Aria,” Sion looked up at her and forced a smile. “Please, sit. I need you to do me a favor. I need you to do a planet reading.”
“A planet reading? Such a thing has not been done for ages. What would be the purpose?” Aria questioned, a perplexed expression etched across her visage.
“I don’t know, really. Just a feeling. Something has, apparently, destroyed Middas and I thought that perhaps a reading would shed some light on what the Mother Tiamus was feeling? Perhaps she can tell us more than what our eyes can see?” Sion replied.
“Well… I don’t suppose it could be of detriment. I haven’t performed a reading in my time, though I am versed in its teachings. Any Priestess knows of the act. However, I caution you, do not take too much stock in its being completed correctly,” she said, and folded her arms back.
“I trust that you will provide us with the answers we seek. I thank you for your assistance in this matter. Let me know what you discover, if anything at all,” he spoke.
“I will need until midday tomorrow. Readings are extensive. I hope that will be enough time,” she said, drawing into slight contemplation.
Sion nodded and Aria left for her own tent. He folded his hands together and braced them to his mouth. He hoped this would work, elsewise, they might never know the depth of the events transpiring.
Here we come to the end of our reading at the end of another week. I hope you’re enjoying the tale and I appreciate your coming back to continue to read. I’ll read to you again next week and I hope your week is a good one!
~Timothy S Purvis
Since you’re here, why not check out my author’s page? I have many works available and many more yet to come. Just click on my name and the link will take you there straightaway–> Timothy S Purvis
Also, click on this next link to go check out this novella in a book of other novellas. You’ll find a lot to keep your interest:
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly