Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to Story Time With Tim! This is my Final Fantasy VII fanfiction set a thousand years in the past of their world. It’s all about the Cetra and how they came to interact with the Crisis From The Skies. It’s not the greatest work ever written, but I think it still holds up pretty well. It is one of my longer novellas but I think there probably will only be a few more parts after this.
Are you all caught up with this story? If not, why not click on these links and start from the beginning?
And now that you’re all caught up, have fun reading this latest part! Thanks for reading and read to you all again soon!
* * * * *
A shadow fell across Tohen as the creature that cast it struck at the heart of the city. Adobe huts and wooden constructs were crushed and burned under the barrage of the marauding creature. Green flames poured from the stalks upon its head and a gaping maw that was its mouth. Six legs pounded into those structures made of stone. The cityscape was glowing under the assault of the creature known only as the Predecessor. This was not its title, for it had none. This was simply a term given it by the Priestess Aria.
Mother Tiamus could feel the Priestess reading its emotion. She understood what the Cetra were trying to do and slowed the production of Weapon. She had guided this Predecessor to Tohen to eliminate any traces of the calamity’s presence. Yet, the calamity itself, under the guise of a young man, had already abandoned Tohen and led his virally infected followers towards Collust. In response, Tiamus had given another a dream, to follow the trail of the calamity.
The Predecessor stood amidst the ruins of Tohen and screeched into the stormy skies. Soon, the storm rains would settle the burning rubble surrounded by a snowy plain. The creature stared off to the east and heard the Mother Tiamus in its created mind. It slowed its destructive course and began a trek towards the east. A silent command sent it walking across the cold plains. For now, the Predecessor would not fly. It left the leveled Tohen in its wake and to its hind quarters and proceeded on its mission.
* * * * *
Journeying back to Collust had been long and arduous. It had also been very slow going. There were many who had been wounded in the attack by the Predecessor and this caused the procession to take several weeks to cross the mountain ranges back home. Sion spent most of his time in a worried state, praying to Mother Tiamus that they wouldn’t be too late. Fortunately, though, the route back had seen a reduction in harsh weather conditions, so clear skies and bright sun had helped warm the days.
Sion was beyond ecstatic to see his hometown laying within the canyon valley below. With home so close, they had sped up as much as allowable given the survivors and wounded they had in tow. However, it wasn’t the greatest of homecomings when they finally entered the town limits.
“Is it just me, or do there seem to be fewer people than normal?” Nilo queried in concern. “What is going on?”
“I’m going to the Council. Take the wounded to the infirmaries,” Sion commanded and ushered his Choboa deeper into the empty streets of Collust.
Within the Council chambers connected to the main amphitheater, a heated discussion was taking place among the remaining members of the government. The chamber was small and just as round as the amphitheater. The maximum number of individuals that could be comfortably seated within were one hundred and fifty. Seats for those individuals rested around the U-shaped, limestone table that sat in the center of the chamber. Only three-quarters of the seating arrangement was filled, including the head seat at the table’s middle. In this seat sat the Supreme Chancellor with his Viceroy at his side.
“How will we hold off an attack in the state we find ourselves in?” questioned a Senator. “Forget holding off an attack, we should do as the others have and depart for the southern temple,” another Senator concluded.
“Collust is our home. I will not abandon it to fate, even if that fate is death,” the wise and very tired Supreme Chancellor said. “Even if we were to leave, though, what guarantees have we that this menace will not simply follow our tracks?”
“Well, I…” started a Council member on the far right before he saw the form of Sion entering the Council chambers.
The Viceroy saw him as well and motioned him to the center space within the table’s perimeters. Sion walked from the entrance and stood before the Council. He was exhausted, bloodied, and haggard.
“Council, we have returned from the Middas territories and have distressing news. Middas has been destroyed,” Sion spoke to the Council to many murmurings. “I also had the Priestess, Aria, perform a planet reading. It has become apparent that the Mother Tiamus is preparing a force beyond our scopes. Aria says that the closest she can come to its title is to call it Weapon. Apparently, an early Predecessor to this creature is what has lain Middas bare. When we last saw it, the creature was making way for Tohen.”
The Council members were silent for several moments. The Viceroy leaned back and placed his left index finger around the base of his nose, clamping his palm to his mouth. It was apparent that the Council saw this as distressing indeed.
“Tohen, you say? Are you certain of this?” the Supreme Chancellor queried in trepidation.
“Quite. Though, we have yet to confirm this. However, it is my belief this Predecessor will level Tohen before coming for Collust. Tiamus isn’t above seeing to our complete annihilation to prevent the spread of the viral infection that she considers a ‘calamity from the skies.’ This is a great crisis for our people. If we can destroy the calamity, then, perhaps, we can cease the usefulness of any Weapon, Predecessor or not,” he implored and noted the further silence of the Council. “I am also curious, what has transpired within Collust? There is hardly a soul on the streets. Have we been attacked?”
“No, there has been no attack. Most of the citizens of Collust fled to the islands along the Southern Chain. Many of the Council have fled to the great temple to the south,” the Viceroy informed Sion. “However, there are more pressing matters to be concerned with. If what you say is true, then hope for the Cetra is fleeting, at best. To destroy the calamity, there remains only you and those that serve underneath you. I, and the Supreme Chancellor, shall remain in Collust. I cannot speak for the remainder of the Council. Senators, you may decide your course of action. Sion, if you will, set about facing this calamity. Or, you may flee to the south. I should inform you, though, your wife has taken a contingent of fifty willing citizens and warriors to head towards Middas. We recently received word, however, that she has shifted her course to Tohen.”
Sion dropped his gaze to the floor and caught his breath. That Cierra would do something so foolhardy and daring was unacceptable. Although, he knew it would be exactly like her.
“When did she do this?” Sion inquired.
“Two and a half weeks ago. We have not heard from her since the runner last week,” input the Supreme Chancellor.
“Your child is in her parent’s safe keeping. They remain within their home,” the Viceroy added.
“Thank you, sir. With your permission, I will take my leave and depart with as many as I can towards Tohen. May I recommend the Council retreat, with the wounded warriors that have returned with me, to the southern isles?” Sion stood straight and suggested.
“I believe the majority of the Council will take you up on your recommendations. I implore them, as well, to take the wounded with them,” the Viceroy responded feeling the weight of the matters at hand.
“Thank you, Viceroy, Council. I will be sending the remainder of our families with you, as well,” Sion concluded and turned to exit the chambers.
The Council sat silently, realizing they would have to abandon their homes after all. Many stood to make the preparations for their journey. The Viceroy and Supreme Chancellor remained seated and contemplated the future of the Cetra.
* * * * *
Nilo waited outside the Council auditorium. Sion had been within the chambers for nearly fifteen minutes, which was too long for Nilo’s taste. He didn’t have to wait much longer for Sion exited and approached him. Nilo saluted and Sion waved the gesture aside.
“Formalities are no longer an issue, my friend. Gather all able bodied warriors. We’re setting out by evening to march towards Tohen,” Sion began as they walked towards the entrance to the Grand Council chambers.
“Already? What’s going on?” Nilo inquired nervously.
“The reason the streets are so bare is that most of the Cetra have evacuated in anticipation of imminent attack. They’ve fled to the southern isles of the Kaedor chain. Most of those that remain will be joining them. We, however, are at least going to buy them the time they’ll need to escape. We will counter this calamity head-on,” Sion informed him.
“There are not many warriors left that are able to put up much of an offensive, Sion,” he replied.
“I know, I know. We’ll have to make do with what we’ve got. In the meantime, we need to make sure our families are on that boat. I know my son and in-laws are still here. I should make sure my own parents and my brother have departed as well. Let’s get this over with,” he said.
“What of Cierra?” Nilo asked.
“Seems Cierra went after the calamity,” he replied.
“What? Is she daft? She’s no warrior! I mean, no offense, Sion,” Nilo spoke.
“None taken. You’re right. However, she loves me and probably was sensitive to the events transpiring along the Knowlespole. She’ll fight the calamity. We just need to be there to make sure she has plenty of back-up,” Sion concluded as they departed the massive chambers. Nilo nodded in apprehension. The ante had just been increased and he wasn’t certain there would be any coming back from this mission. The two warriors set off for their destinies.
* * * * *
Cierra pushed her Choboa as hard as she could in her retreat through the mountain pass. The attack had been sudden and their counter-strike had been hopeless. The Tohenians were possessed by some force beyond her understanding. They were violent and quickly subdued her defenders. Several of those that had followed her on this quest, instructed her to flee, that they would hold the invaders back. She had fought hard against those that had been infected, but, in the end, was forced to reluctantly retreat. A much larger force would be needed against the infected.
It wasn’t easy to do and she shuddered against the thought of the act and the bitter cold surrounding the region. Several others had initially joined her in the flight. Though, they had turned back to dissuade the pursuers. She was going to join them, when one of the warriors instructed her to not be foolish and go to inform the Council of the coming calamity.
Cierra had seen him, of course, the one that led the infected Cetra. She didn’t know who he was, but she could feel the shadowy evil pouring forth from the silvery haired individual. He wasn’t like the others, the infection wasn’t within him. There was something in his maniacal stare, though, that told her he was the deliverer of the disease. The stare they had exchanged was more than enough to inform her of who was in charge.
She slowed her pace and thought about how much further the distance was to Collust. Almost a week, she figured. Already, her flight had lasted several days and the Choboa she had been pushing was showing its exhaustion. She guided the flightless bird through a copse of snow-covered vegetation that was overshadowed by the massive trees rising overhead. A few more yards and she found herself dismounting near a mountain stream. Kneeling, she took a drink of the river using her hands for a cup. The water was frigid, but it came as soothing relief. A kwehing sound issued forth from the Choboa as it bent its thick feathered head down to take its own drink.
Cierra sat back unto a log with only a thin accumulation of snow covering its length. She caught her breath and looked up into the cloudy sky. A small ray of sun spilled through a crack in the cumulus. Drying off her hands the best she could on her robe, Cierra put her gloves back on and prepared to lead the Choboa further through the forest. Though only ten minutes had passed, she wasn’t about to wait for the evil thing catch up to her.
The silence of the forest was disturbed by a cracking echo. Cierra stopped handling the saddle bag on the Choboa’s back, and stared around at the shadowy forest. Bits of sunlight poured through the snow strewn leaves and pines. A chill ran up Cierra’s spine and it wasn’t because of the weather. She could feel the presence of something. Grabbing her blade, a mid-length sword, from the bag scabbard, she found herself in a defensive posture.
Several uncomfortable moments passed before Cierra relaxed her posture. The crack didn’t repeat and she thought maybe she was imagining things. Then several things happened all at once: two of the infected followers of the shadow attacked and frightened her Choboa away, which resulted in Cierra flaying them with the sword she still held; and then she encountered the being she had hoped to evade.
“Don’t run, there is much we need to discuss,” the creature said. “In this form, I am Enson.”
Cierra didn’t bother responding to the creature upon his Choboa. She ran up the river bank and towards a cave up the side of a steep hill. The creature, Enson, gave chase and was forced to dismount, since the bird he rode was unable to keep its footing. She ran as hard and fast as she could until she found herself within the cave entrance. Quickly, she ducked into a small and shadowy hole in the side of the cave interior. Within seconds, Enson was past the entrance and scanning the dark for her form.
She jumped out and attacked Enson and tried to pierce his gut with her sword. Enson managed to block the side edge of the sword, preventing himself from being cut and deflecting the weapon. He threw a punch at Cierra who dodged the blow and plowed her shoulder into his ribcage. He reeled in that instant as she rushed past him, deeper into the cave.
Enson scowled in rage and followed her into the recesses of the dank and dark hole in the ground. His eyesight wasn’t as good as hers and Cierra made good use of this advantage. Enson slowed his harried pace as he entered a massive section of the cave that was lit almost completely by a large hole in the ceiling of the stone mountain interior. He couldn’t see Cierra, but he could feel her presence.
“You don’t know the power you have, do you? It courses through your veins and gives away your very position,” he said with an echoing voice. “I will show you the way.”
Enson walked into the center of the cavern and beckoned with his arms wide open. He grinned in an evil taunt, trying to trick Cierra into the open. She hid behind a stone at the farthest recess of the cavern and didn’t care what trick he employed. She knew instinctively that she was going to have to rush him, taunt or no taunt.
And there we go! Another week down another week to go! Thank you so much for reading and I hope you’re enjoying the tale. I appreciate your continuing to read my work. And if you’re new here, I appreciate your dropping by. I hope you’ll come back next week when I’ll read to you again!
~Timothy S Purvis
Since you’re here, why not check out my author’s page and see what else I have available for purchase? Just click on my name and the link will take you there straightaway: Timothy S Purvis
Also, here is one of my releases from last year to give you a taste of my writing if you’re so inclined:
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