The Narshe Trials
by Lady Aliena

Author's Note: This is my first FF6 fanfic! I normally do FF8. Well, hope you

like it and please forgive the liberties I took with it! LOL! Umm, this starts

out in Celes's point of view, moving to Setzer's, and then to Locke's. So,

without further delay ^_^







"I'll never let you go!" I remember he grasped my hands tightly. I stared into

his earnest eyes and knew he was speaking truth. With a heave, he pulled me up

from where I had slipped and taking my hand, guided me through the wreckage.

Everything was a huge blur to me. I remembered facing Kefka, and with something

controlling my every move, some feeling very distant, very foreign, I helped

destroy him. With every swing of my blade, I avenged everything he had ever




<strike> This is for the Espers.



<strike> This is for Leo.



<strike> This is for me



And then there I was, escaping with Locke by my side along with the others.

Sabin, Edgar, Terra, SetzerSetzer caught my eye and winked at me.






"What?" I looked back over at Locke.



"I said come on! There's not much time!" he urged me to hurry.



Dear Locke, I thought. He had rescued me when I had almost given up, chained

away for the treachery I had exercised against the Empire. I never understood

why he risked his neck for me that day. Even when I told him who I was, he

showed that he trusted me. Of course, it wasn't long before his faith in me

faltered. And that betrayal hurt me more than anything! I've done things I'm

not proud of and I know some people assume that once a traitor, always a

traitor. I haven't decided if I disagree with them or not. Though I've seemed

to have atoned for all I've ever done, I've always believed my past would catch

up with me. It wasn't long before it did.



The Narshe Council had formed following Kefka's defeat and were interrogating

old supporters of the Empire. We all heard about the Trials. Terra was

nervous, but I agreed that with everything that had happened, this was the way

that things had to be. If I had been a member of that Council, I'd probably

call for the interrogations as well to make sure there weren't still people who

sought to harm us.



"Everyone knows what role you played, Terra. What reason do you have to be




She nodded, "You're probably right. But I wasn't always on the right side.

What if they look upon my time with the Empire and find reason to condemn me?"



"They'd never do that!" I replied adamantly. "It's not like you did it" I

paused, "voluntarily."



She shifted uncomfortably. "I'm sure you have nothing to worry about either,"

she tried to reassure me, but we both knew the danger was present.



Within days, two soldiers showed up with an interrogation warrant in their

hands. I was visiting with the guys - Sabin, Edgar, Setzer, and Locke - when

they came.



Setzer leapt out of his chair in protest and stepped in front of me. "NO! You

can't take her!" he exclaimed angrily. "Do you realize who she is? Do you

realize where you'd be, or rather wouldn't be without this woman?"



"We have our orders," replied one of the soldiers nervously.



"Well, your orders are wrong!" Setzer declared. "Edgar, YOU tell them. You're

a King, after all."



Edgar stood up regally and spread his arms apart, helpless. "My kingdom signed

a treaty with the council. I'm afraid I'm powerless." Sabin had walked to

where Setzer was seething. He placed one hand on his shoulder, urging him to be




I spoke for the first time. "I'll go peacefully. Everything will be fine.

They'll ask me a few questions and I'll be back on the morrow. After all, I've

been loyal. I have nothing to hide." My eyes met Locke's. He had been silent

this whole time. I saw a shadow of doubt cross his face and it made my heart

ache. Since our escape from Kefka, things had been strange between us. At

times, I felt that there was no one in all the world who knew me better and

other times, Locke was a closed door. But seeing his expression just then, I

realized that even after all this time, he doubted me. He must have known that

I saw through him, for he looked away and was unable to meet my eye again.



It was that moment that I realized that Locke Cole cared nothing for me, or if

he did, he was so consumed by a certain insecurity that I wasn't who I said I

was. And it was that moment that I stopped caring. I thought back to the song

I had sung, masquerading as the famed opera singer, Maria. Oh my hero, indeed.







I couldn't believe they just let those two guys take her away! We had all heard

how brutal the Trials were turning out to be and they all just sat there

passively while sweet, beautiful Celes was led away like a sheep to slaughter.



I wrenched my shoulder from underneath Sabin's hand and glared at him as he

walked back to his brother's side. I kind of understood Edgar's situation

because he had signed that treaty. However, if you care for someone, you should

do everything in your power for that person.



I looked at Locke as he sat there all quiet and contemplative. Now I can

recognize when someone comes out ahead of me, but it galled me to think that

that someone was Locke. The way he obviously doubted Celes's integrity made me

burn with anger. She had wasted far too much time on Locke Cole and maybe she'd

finally come to see that. I decided I needed some fresh air, so giving Locke

one last glare, I pushed the door open and walked into the brisk evening. I'm

not sure how long I wandered around, but I do remember running into Terra that

evening. I let her know what was happening.



"Celes? Oh no!" her heart seemed to drop as she thought of her friend.

"Setzer, do you think they'll hurt her?"



"They'll have to kill me first before they lay one hand on her!" I answered.



Terra smiled. "You love her don't you?"



I didn't know what to say. Of course I loved Celes! From the moment I saw

her! Of course, I thought she was Maria at the time, but once she pulled that

same-sided coin trick on me, I knew that I was crazy about her. I smiled at the

memory. But she couldn't seem to look past Locke. I smiled at Terra. She

really was a sweet, caring girl. I owed it to her to be honest, so I nodded




"I knew it!" she smiled. "I could tell. Maybe some day, someone will feel that

strongly for me to say the same."



"Aww, Terra," I said, "I'd risk life and limb for you too. Who wouldn't?"



She blushed at the complement, and I was totally sincere. I'm not like Edgar,

trying to say what you think people want to hear. At one time in my life, I

wouldn't have been able to say that. Setzer Gabbiani was all I cared about.

But a lot had happened since then.



I left Terra that night, but couldn't sleep. I thought of poor Celes and how

scared and alone she must feel. The next day, we waited and no word came. A

week passed and finally Edgar used his royal influence to find out what had

happened. Despite everything she had done, evidence had mounted that she was

loyal to the Empire. Enemies she had made when she left the Empire and joined

the Returners testified against her and after three harrowing days of

interrogation, she had been arrested and tossed into a tiny cell. I convinced

Edgar to help me get in to see her.



When the guard opened the cell, I couldn't believe what I saw. Was this how

Locke had found her all that time ago? She was so pale and looked so weak. She

glanced up at me, her eyes slowly coming into focus.



"Setzer?" she asked softly, almost as if she couldn't believe her eyes. I

rushed to her and just held her, caressing her soft, golden hair.



"Celes, are you alright? We won't stand for this! We'll get you out somehow.

It's utterly ridiculous how they would do this to someone like you."



"I'm ok," she answered. "They think I'm still loyal to the Empire. Nothing I

say matters. Nothing I did counts. It's almost as if they had decided I was

guilty before they even questioned me. Did Terra--?"



"No. They never summoned her. She's fine. I hate this! Everyone's gotten so

paranoid! And the Narshe Trials are a farce! It would have been better for

Kefka to have won than for this Council to have been set up!" I exclaimed hotly.



"NO!" she cried. "You musn't say that! I'm just one person and someday,

everything will work itself out. Kefka was a monster"



"Sir, you must go now," the guard called. I cursed softly and stood.



"Setzer?" Celes clung to my hand.



"Yes?" I'd do anything for her.



"Tell Locke I'm sorry and that Ijust tell him I miss him." Tears filled her




Oh, Celes.why? I sighed but promised I would. I realized that Celes Chere

would never think of me the way she did Locke. I gave her one last look and

hurried off, returning to the others. When I reached them, Terra looked

troubled. She had a note in her hand.



"What is it?" I asked.



"It's Locke," she held the letter out to me. "He left!"










They had it all wrong. I know they thought the worst of me for leaving, but

they had it all wrong. I never doubted Celes. I believed in her like I've

believed in no other. But I remember how I betrayed her that first time all too

well. Isn't it ironic the things that stick out in your head the most? Not

seeing her for the first time, not her debut in the opera, not finding her again

after all that time without her, but the one moment I let myself doubt her

sincerity. It had plagued me endlessly after we had defeated Kefka. And then

when everything else happened with the Trials, I knew that's what she thought of

and I was so ashamed, I couldn't even meet her eye. I vowed that I would set

things right for good this time.



None of the others knew what I was up to. They didn't know I appealed to the

council myself. Unfortunately, a treasure hunter doesn't have much clout when

it comes to things like this.



"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Council, I've come to plead the freedom of Celes

Chere. As you know, she played an integral part in saving this world. She is

honest and I know without a shadow of a doubt to whom she's loyal, and it's NOT

the Empire."



The speaker of the Council looked down at me and pushed his glasses up on his

nose. "Dear boy," he said, "There was much more to the war than Kefka. Now,

you and your friends did us a service, but we have the job of picking up the

pieces of not only Kefka, but everything" I gaped at the man. I couldn't

believe what I was hearing? There was NOTHING that had been more deadly than

Kefka. That was ridiculous! He continued. "In times like these, we must be

wary for there are people out there who still wish to harm. Though your

feelings on Celes Chere's character is all well and good, we have evidence that

she never really betrayed the Empire at all, but was working as a spy. And we

can't just dismiss it based on who she is! Her associations with Kefka, General

Leo, and others have forced us into a tough spot. If you could gather

substantial evidence against these claims, then by all means, bring it forth.

If not, though, we bid you good day."



A spy! How ludicrous! He was right though. I had nothing to back up what I

was saying. Well, if he needed evidence, I'd give him evidence. I immediately

set out, simply leaving a note, to gather it. I've traveled all over, meeting

with old members of the Returners, gathering statements and affidavits that

vouched for Celes's actions and whereabouts the last several months. My only

fear was that it would all be too late. I hoped Celes could forgive all the

misunderstandings we had had. Bannon accompanied me this last leg of the

journey. I had what I needed. It was time to return.



I stood before the Council one last time with Bannon by my side and evidence in

my hand. It caused quite a big stir and before I knew it, the Council Hall was

packed! From the corner of my eye, I spotted my friends, namely Setzer. He was

regarding me coldly and I knew why. I've known what he's felt for Celes. It's

fairly obvious. There'd been quite a bit of competition between us lately.



I presented my case to the Council and Bannon backed me up. With the written

documents I had procured in Celes's defense, the Council couldn't help but

pardon her.



"Release Celes Chere," the speaker's booming voice commanded.



"Wait!" I stepped forward. "May I?" He stared at me a few seconds, then

nodded. As the guards ushered me out, I looked up and met Setzer's eye. The

anger that had been on his face was replaced with a combination of sadness,

regret, and respect. He nodded at me as I passed and I knew things would be

better between us.



The guards brought me to Celes cell and I stepped inside with the keys to her

shackles in my hands. I bent down and tenderly unlocked them. She looked up at

me, amazed. "Am I dreaming?" she asked.



"No, but it certainly brings back some memories now, doesn't it?" I replied,

trying to lighten the mood. As her chains fell away, I placed my hand on hers.

"Celes, I need to tell you something."



"I know you doubt me."



"No. I don't," I said.



"You wouldn't even look at me."



"I was ashamed, remembering what had happened before. I was also frustrated

because I swore I'd always protect you and I couldn't. I know I shouldn't have

reacted that way. So all this time, you've thought I doubted you. Oh Celes,

forgive me!"



Her face softened. "Why are you here?"



"To bring you home, of course. You're pardoned!" I paused, letting the words

sink in and I helped her to her feet.



"But how?"



For now, I didn't want to tell her all I had gone through. I simply wanted her

home safe, sound, and knowing she was loved. I picked her up and smiled, "That

story will come later. I promise" She leaned her head against my chest as I

carried her out of the dingy cell and whispered something so softly, I almost

missed it.



"Oh my hero"