by Mazrim Taim
The savage winds buffeted Cecil as he fought his way from the
stable to the castle. The only thing that crossed his mind was
the need to get back safely. Thinking this, he hunched his
shoulders and steadily pushed his way through the winds toward
the front gate. Two soldiers were waiting there for him, and they
cranked the pulleys behind the gate. The great oaken gate opened,
creaking, and Cecil rushed in. He thanked the soldiers, but
seemed to be preoccupied with some thought or another. Cecil
opened the door from the gatehouse, and stepped into his castle,
the Castle of Baron.
As he walked to his chambers, his mind wandered. Many soldiers
came up to him to offer their relief at him coming back safe, as
well as to salute his return. He accepted these salutations, but
he seemed to them preoccupied with some train of thought. He
waded his way through the soldiers, and absentmindedly waved them
away. That wind, it seemed almost
unnatural. Could the
? No, that would be impossible. We killed them and
Zeromus a long time ago. But still
I have an ominous feeling
about that wind
it did not seem ordinary, the way that it
bit at my skin, tore at my clothing
turned to the matters that hed had to take care of during
his absence. It was a simple council of defense, accompanied by a
large banquet. This banquet had made it seem like a trifling
matter, but now, it seemed to be a matter of great importance. Could
those animals attacking and that wind
could they be
connected somehow? All thoughts and musings disappeared from
his head as he came to his chambers, and his eyes fell upon his
wife, Rosa. Her expression was one of concern, yet also of
relief. Her golden hair sparkled in the candlelight.
"My love! Thank goodness you are safe!" Her voice
I was afraid you wouldnt
" She stopped talking and turned
away, a tear in her eye.
"Yes, I felt it too
" Cecil made an attempt to
console his wife. "But let us forget about that ill wind for
Perhaps it is just this atmosphere tonight that is
We will examine it and think more about it
later." He drew her close, embracing her, as the wind howled
against the parapets of Baron Castle.
* * *
The ninjas two swords twirled and stabbed with blinding
speed against the wind. Edge, the ninja king of Eblan, had been
training when the wind came. Now, as the wind bit into his
exposed skin, his swords bit into the wind. As he whirled and
tossed, trying to match the speed and power of the wind, a voice
broke through the howling.
"Sir! My lord Edge!" Dont listen. Continue
training. The thought seemed to pop into Edges head,
and he went along with it. His swords continued to twirl about.
"King Edge! Snap out of it!" Two rough hands grasped
Edges shoulders. "Youll get yourself killed!
This wind is too powerful!" Edge continued to fight against
the wind. "I apologize for this, my lord Edge."
Something hit Edge on the back of the head, and he fell to the
Edge woke up mere seconds later, and looked into his
assailants eye. This ninja was an old one, with gray hairs
sticking out from his hooded cape. His face seemed etched in
stone, and he carried a large sword. The hilt
understood immediately. He got up, nodded to the ninja, and
fought against the wind to get back to Eblan Castle. Thats
wasnt the wind blowing in the other direction?
* * *
Yang, the monk-ruler of Fabul, walked aimlessly through his
garden. His thoughts dwelled on memories, memories of the battles
for the crystals. In particular, he remembered the hopeless
battle to save the crystal of air in his own castle of Fabul. So
so many useless deaths for what? Just for
Yang sighed deeply. Was there a way to prevent
that? I cant help but think if we were ready
understood what Baron was up to
But they had so many
and other creatures, stronger than humans. Not to
mention they had the support of the Red Wings and Golbez
shuddered at that name. Golbez, who had seemed to be a great
evil, but who had really turned out to be controlled by Zemus, an
even greater evil
He was Cecils brother
could have lived in peace, but for him, but for the root of all
hatred, Zeromus. Why must evil interfere in the lives, the
families, the friends of the world? Why must they try to get
their way at all costs? Thus Yangs thoughts went. He
circled the garden, taking in the fragrant smell of the flowers,
planted here by he and his wife a long time ago.
Yangs thoughts were cut short as a violent wind suddenly
started to blow. What is this
He tried to run toward
the door of the castle, seeing that this violent wind might
surely be his death, but he found himself
somehow. He watched in amazement as the winds
formed a spiral, a miniature tornado, in front of him. The wisps
of wind inside the spiral moved around at a rapid speed, and
seemed to be moving toward him. Yang struggled with all of his
might against his restriction, to no avail. Yang felt, for the
first time in his life, completely and utterly powerless. The
spiral moved closer, closer, until it met with his body
* * *
Kain walked through the dense forest, so thick that only thin
rays of sunlight could get in. Where those rays came in, patches
of grass and weeds sprung up. The forest had a dark and
foreboding feel to it, with the sunlight timidly showing through,
the shadows ruling over all. But then Kain was used to darkness.
He had lived with the darkness for a large part of his life.
Kains thoughts traveled back to that time
How could I have been controlled so easily? I
always prided myself on my willpower
but that was brushed
aside like a fly. He voiced his thoughts aloud. "Why
didnt they take Cecil? Was he too strong? Damn him! Damn
Cecils righteousness, his willingness to spare the life of
one who made his life hell!"
Kain had previously been controlled by Zeromus, and forced to
do horrible things, and to take the crystals of power and bring
them to Golbez (who had also been controlled by Zeromus). Zeromus
had hoped to use these crystals through Zemus, a Lunarian, and
the only evil one, to gain a power unimaginable. No one would
have been able to stand against that power, and, used for evil,
it would destroy the world as everyone knew it.
A sharp wind suddenly pierced howled through the forest. Kain,
being a former knight of the Dragon Order, was very familiar with
the air and the wind. It didnt seem to harm him, and for
moments, he seemed almost feral, sniffing at the wind, sticking
his gloved hand tentatively toward it. At last, he looked up, and
thought aloud, "Fabul
that is where this wind comes
the castle of the Crystal of Wind. That is where I
shall go next." Kain looked northeast, the direction of
Fabul Castle, and trudged on towards it, wondering what the
source of the wind could be.
Cecil and Edge sat at large table, covered in maps. The wind
had finally stopped. Their maps showed the reports of the
position and direction of the wind in almost every place in the
world. Though the wind did shift very quickly, one thing was
certain. Seen on this map, the winds were spiraling around Fabul,
as if it were the center of a huge, worldwide hurricane. Cecil
and Edge, upon discovering that, looked each other in the eye,
remembering their friend Yang, once captain of the guards of
Fabul, now king. "Perhaps we should go have a look?"
"Yes, that would be a good idea. Do you have a spare
airship on hand, though?" asked Edge.
"Im very sure that we do, but Ill ask our
master engineer just to make sure." Cecil got up out of his
chair and walked toward the doorway.
"Where are you going, Cecil?" asked Edge, who
"Im going to find Cid, our master engineer, to see
if we have enough airships, as I said earlier."
"But couldnt you just have someone else look for
"Yes, I could, but why bother, when I can easily find him
myself? Besides, this old body needs some exercise." The
young Edge looked skeptically at Cecil, but then stopped and put
his feet on top of the table, his usual smug expression appearing
on his face.
Cecil walked through the passages of his castle, going almost
by instinct to the machine shop of his castle, where he knew that
Cid would be. How many times have I walked these halls?
Cecils mind wandered aimlessly as it often did nowadays.
However, when needed, his mind was still sharp as an arrow. And
it was needed now. Cecils mind speculated on all of the
things that the wind could entail. Is the Fiend of Wind,
Valvalicia, back? Could Zeromus have been resurrected? Is this a
natural wind, or something
different? Does it mean harm?
Such thoughts circled through Cecils head as he walked
through the foot-worn halls of Baron Castle.
Cecil eventually came to the Machine Shop. He peered inside,
and felt a blast of hot air hit him in the face. He now realized
why most of the men working inside wore sleeveless shirts or went
bare-chested. He looked around from the doorway and saw a
heavyset man in a brown sleeveless shirt, holding a wrench,
supervising a group of men hammering at some red-hot metal. He
was reading off a list of plans and yelling for various reasons.
Cid. Cecil walked into the room, and those workers who saw him
bowed, but then quickly resumed their work. Evidently they were
more afraid of Cid seeing them not work than they were of the
king getting angry at disrespect. Cecil called out to Cid,
"Cid! May I have a talk with you?"
"Come back tomorrow! Im busy!" A gruff voice
yelled across the room. Cid didnt turn around, instead
mixing that in with the yelled directions to his workers. Cecil
chucked silently to himself.
"Cid! You are lucky that you dont live in another
kingdom, or else you might have found yourself locked up by
now!" Cid turned, walked toward Cecil. His goggled face and
unkempt beard made him look like a mad dwarven inventor. Indeed,
rumors spread around the castle and town of Baron that Cid was
part dwarf, but he usually waved these rumors aside when he heard
them, and started talking about his adventures when he saw
"Well, dont just stare at me! What do you need,
"I need to know if we have any spare airships. King Edge
and I need to get to Fabul quickly." Cecil looked at Cid
"Edge? That cocky youngster? Hmm
I might have a
spare airship, which Id be willing to lend to you. Hell,
Id come along myself, but I have to supervise these
louts." He pointed towards all of his workers.
they couldnt hammer a nail in without my
" Cids voice was gruff, but his eyes
beamed with pride. "Oh, about the airship, theres a
spare one in the hangar. Well, so long, Cecil!" Cid went
back to his work, yelling at his workers, while Cecil walked out,
chuckling again. He made his way to the vehicle hangar, the most
recent addition to Baron Castle in a long time, suggested and
built by Cid himself. He immediately saw the airship that Cid was
talking about. It was somewhat small, but it would do the job
well enough. It looked like one of the ones that Cid had tested,
Cecil noticed some distinct patchwork on the
left wing. He wondered at its safety, but his trust for
Cids work overcame that anxiety. He trekked again through
the castle back to his war room, where Edge still sat with his
legs up on the table, apparently lost in thought. When Cecil
opened the heavy oak door, Edge seemed to snap out of a trance,
hurriedly taking his legs off of the table.
"What took you so long, huh?" a sneer coming into
Edges voice. Cecils face became hard and stony, and
he glared icily at Edge.
"Am I not allowed to converse with my loyal subjects and
friends in the castle?" Cecil asked dangerously.
"What, you talked with your insane dwarf inventor who can
only yell at other people all day long?"
"Dont speak of my subjects like that again, Edge,
or I swear Ill
" Cecils voice trailed off.
"Let us not speak of these things. You may stay here
tonight, Ill have a feast in your honor, and tomorrow
morning we will see what is happening in Fabul." Cecil
walked off to the kitchens to inform them of a feast, and Edge
waited in the war room, just thinking. A few minutes later he
stood up and walked to one of the guest rooms to await the coming
* * *
The banquet had been meant for only Cecil, Rosa, Edge, and a
few government officials, but as soon as he saw the immense meal
laid out on the great table, he opened the doors to the people of
Baron, inviting them to partake in the meal. He and Edge sat at
the head of the table, with Rosa and Edges minister of war.
"Is it customary to allow commoners to a state
function?" Edge asked, seeming a bit perturbed, "After
all, it is in my honor, and half of these people dont even
Cecil smiled, to Edges discomfort, "You always did
have the ego
The fact is that we couldnt finish all
this food even if we had a week to eat it all, so I figured that
we should allow some others to feast as well. But never mind
that. This should be a time of joy, of remembrance. I
havent seen you in what
"Yes, that sounds about right. How has your castle been
"We have been doing all right, I had Cid remodel the
architecture a bit in the last three years, and just recently it
was completed. And in good time, too, with all this wind Im
sure that our castle would have been destroyed, either by the
wind, or by objects falling."
"Ah yes, the wind," Edges minister said. He
stroked his thick beard, "I remember, only six or seven
years ago, a huge wind of this kind came. It subsided rather
quickly, but it was still really bad
it also had
unnatural feeling, like it wasnt supposed to be
there." Edge and Cecil looked at each other, worried.
"Six years ago
" Cecil mused, "Didnt
Golbez steal the Crystal of Wind six years ago?" Edge
nodded, and Cecil continued, "This only confirms that the
Crystal of Wind is responsible for this." Cecil frowned
severely. "What could be happening in Fabul
Edge laughed, "Relax! Well see tomorrow morning!
Right now, we can just worry about having a good time!" He
grabbed a leg off a plate of chicken nearby and bit into it,
chewing it with his mouth open and saying, "Mmph
Rosa chuckled, "Five years, and you still havent
learned any manners? Its a shame Rydia decided to go back
to Vanaheim (Author's Note: the Land of Summoned Monsters
from Norse mythology), otherwise she could have taught you how to
eat at a table properly!"
Everyone laughed, except for Edge, whose face fell. An
expression of pure longing entered his eyes, and he lifted them
up, forcing a smile and a laugh. They ate together in silence.
* * *
Edge awoke the next morning with a blinding headache.
" he muttered to himself, standing from his
bed and stretching, "Why did I drink so much when I knew
Id have something to do? He sleepily went through his
morning routine, cursing when his balance was slightly off in his
exercises. After dressing in his ninja gear, he took two knives
he had found hidden in the wall, and placed them in his sash.
"Cecilll never know theyre gone
chuckled to himself, despite the pain. He calmly stepped out of
his room, and walked to airship garage, where Cecil was waiting,
in full plate armor, in front of a mix of about fifteen knights
" Edge started, but Cecil put
up a hand.
"We dont have time for that, Edge. We have no time
to lose. About face!" The soldiers turned around, except for
one ninja, who stood without flinching. She stared evenly into
Cecils eyes, but said nothing. "I said about
face!" Cecil yelled. Taking control
just like he
Edge thought, with a smile.
The ninja smirked at Cecil, "So sorry, sir king, but my
loyalties lie to my master." She looked at Edge, awaiting
orders. Cecil sighed, "Damn it, Edge
discipline this soldier?"
Edge laughed, and said to the soldier, "Mariko, your new
orders are to do as this king says. He is the leader of this
operation, and once it is over, you will defer to me. About
face!" Mariko spun on her heel to face the airship, and
Cecil said, "Now. Let us commence this operation.
March!" The soldiers marched into the small airship,
followed by Cecil and Edge.
The door to the garage opened, and a sharp blast of wind hit
the airship. It shook, but no great harm was done. In the
pilots seat, Edge moaned. "Itll be a rough
" The airships engines began to move, and
soon the ship was hovering over the floor of the garage. The wind
was now buffeting them on all sides, yet the airship remained
motionless except for the movements of the propellers, keeping it
in one place. Cecil pushed the steering console forward, and the
airship rocketed out of the garage, into the savage winds.
They flew far, and the winds grew stronger and stronger as
they approached Fabul. It was now clear to see that the winds
spiraled around Fabul, for there appeared to be an almost solid,
enormous white cylinder where Fabul should be, stretching into
the heavens. Cecil felt the airship circle around the cylinder,
muttering, "Almost there
NOW!" Edge threw all of
his weight onto a lever, and the airship shot forward, through
the cylinder of spinning air. He stopped, in surprise. The air
was completely calm over Fabul. Cecil brought the ship, battered
as it was, to rest on one of the many fields of Fabul.
None of the villagers were outside. All of the windows were
shut tight, all of the doors locked. Cecils soldiers,
Cecil, and Edge stepped out of the battered airship, and
proceeded to Fabul castle. As they approached the gates, ten men
fell from the sky, in front of the gate. They wore the
traditional garb of the Fabulian soldier, their thick braids tied
around their necks. They held no weapons; they had no need of it.
In unison, they spoke, "You are not allowed entry into the
Castle of the Wind." All of their mouths moved at the same
time, and their eyes
were completely blank, devoid of any
spark of life. Cecil whispered, "They
controlled," to Edge. Edge nodded, and whispered,
"Mariko, draw them away from that door, your job is to hold
them off, so we can get into the building." Mariko took out
one of her chain knives, and flung it at the eyes of the
rightmost guard. His face didnt flinch, and his hand simply
shot out and grabbed hold of the taut chain, diverting the point
of the knife. Dropping it to the ground, all ten soldiers
advanced toward Mariko, trapping her in a semicircle to the wall.
Cecil shouted, "Soldiers! Attack their backs!" and
ran toward the doors. He forced them open, thankful that Yang
didnt like drawbridges or steel gates, and ran into the
castle. Edge was simply watching the battle. Mariko had just
placed her foot on the wall, and as the first Fabulian warrior
aimed a punch at her, she pushed off her bottom foot, kicking at
the wall to propel her over the head of the warrior, catching his
head with her boot as she sailed over his head. Edge clapped
instinctively, then looked toward Cecil, abashed, and ran into
They proceeded in silence to the throne room, avoiding any
guards. They came to the twin doors. They were protected by two
guards, who also had the same blank look. These two were
evidently picked for their size; standing over six and a half
feet, with arms and legs the size of tree-trunks, they were quite
an imposing sight. They stared ahead, oblivious to the two people
who had come.
Edge took out one of the daggers he had borrowed from the
room, and said, "Im going to try something
He let the dagger fly at one of the guards, who made no effort to
defend himself. It buried itself in his chest, and he fell,
stricken instantly. The other guard, in reaction to this, ran
with a speed belying his size toward the two. Cecil unsheathed
his sword, and attempted to slice the Fabulian guard in two, but
he kept on getting blocked by the guards steel armbands. No
matter how many times he tried to hit the guard, he was
effortlessly blocked. Suddenly, Edge came flying from behind the
guard, aiming a kick at his head. The guard crumpled to the
ground. Cecil started laughing, "You should have killed this
one first, the other one didnt have armbands."
Edge peered at Cecil, and started laughing as well, "Hah,
but the other one probably had steel toed boots!" They
stopped laughing, and Edge continued, "You know
just like old times
we used to laugh about battles like this
all the time, about how goblins wouldnt stop coming,
yelling at monsters to retreat, even though they didnt know
what we were saying
" He sighed, and said, "Well,
lets go." They pushed open the doors to the throne
room, almost as big as the giant castle entrance.
And inside stood Yang. He was as large and strong as they
remembered, his thick braid coiled around his neck like a viper.
He had been standing in a fighting position, almost as if he had
been expecting a fight.
"So, at last weve found you, what have you been
doing here, Yang?" Edge unsheathed his swords, snarling
menacingly. Cecil placed a hand on Edges arm, and
" Aloud, to Yang, he said,
"Yang, we are pleased to see you after all this time!"
Yang turned, and looked at Edge and Cecil. His eyes were not
devoid of all intelligence, as the soldiers were, but
instead replaced by an animal cunning, an intelligence far older
than any human. Yang snarled at the two. "I am no longer
am the Wind." He lifted into the air, his
orange and purple robes billowing, and continued, growling,
"You! With your airships, with your wars, with your new
factories being created! I am dying! I shall take this world
now!" Yang launched himself at Edge, his foot
outstretched. Edge barely managed to jump out of the way, such
was the ferocity of Yangs attack. Cecil said,
"Hes possessed too
by what seems to be the Spirit
of the Wind." Turning around, he started. Yang was standing
right in front of him, staring down savagely. "I shall
travel the world!" he yelled, aiming a punch at Cecil.
"I shall wipe it of this destruction to me and my
brethren!" He kicked the side of Cecils helmet,
sending him flying against the opposite wall. "All humans
will come under my control
" He launched a flurry of
punches at Edge, while yelling, "or be destroyed!!!" A
fist finally connected with Edges face, and he flew
backwards, screaming in pain, to a sickening thud on the far
Cecil stood up, pointed his sword toward Yang, and
to chant. "The spirits I call
May this one before my blade fall
stream of time ebb and flow
" Yang stopped, transfixed
by the sound of Cecils voice. Cecil continued, stepping
toward Yang, "This animal, this beast, this fiend
calls my blade
Motivated by hate or greed
Oh spirits! I
call upon thy aid!" A ray of white light shot out of the tip
of Cecils sword, toward Yang.
Cecil was blinded by the flash of light that came from
Yangs body, and when he could see again, Yangs body
was lying motionless, and a
spirit of some kind was floating
in front of him. It looked like a disembodied skull, surrounded
by yellowish fog. When it moved, a trail of fog stretched behind
it. From its square eyes came a dull glow.
Cecil fell to one knee, drained from the exorcism that he
performed on Yang. Holding his sword to keep the spirit at bay,
he said, "Dont
go back to your crystal." He remained
kneeled, but kept his sword outstretched.
"Fool!" a deep voice rasped, coming from the maw of
the spirit. "You cannot hurt me, even with that most
sanctified of all swords!" A blast of wind hit Cecils
hands, causing the sword to be flung to the far wall. "You
are stronger of spirit even than him
"a tendril of fog
drifted in Yangs direction. "You will make a
host." Cecil stood up, awash with the
implications of this. "No! I will never allow myself to be
controlled by a spirit of evil!" Cecil stepped backwards,
rapidly, the spirit always keeping up. Its mouth was contorted in
a hideous display of laughter. "Ha ha ha! With you, I will
wreak vengeance on humanity!" Cecil had backed into a wall.
The spirit moved ever closer. Cecil braced himself for the
but suddenly, the ceiling above him
broke apart, and an armored man with a spear fell from the
ceiling. He landed on his feet, between Cecil and the spirit.
"You shall not pass, oh Lord of Wind!"
?" Cecil asked, squinting his eyes. Kain
did not respond, but instead pointed his spear toward the spirit.
"Please, Lord, go back to your crystal, and bring balance to
the world." The spirit stood in one place, paralyzed. The
rasping voice, this time with a twinge of fear to it, said,
cannot pass you. Are you
brethren? Why are you
protecting this destroyer?" Kain sighed. "Yes
suppose I am a being of the wind after all of this time abroad. I
have learned not only to sense the wind, but to follow it, and to
" Kain smiled behind his mask. "But. Before
I became a being of the wind, I was a dragoon in the service of
the former king of Baron. This man is a friend, and I would
rather destroy ALL birds, than to have an action of mine kill
him." Kain placed the bottom end of the spear on the ground.
of friendship? With a human? How
you?!" The spirits face
disappeared, replaced by
a dark yellow flame, amidst the light fog.
Kain replied, "I pray your successor can understand the
joys of protecting others..." He plunged his spear into the
middle of the flame. A piercing howl emitted through the room,
and Cecil had to cover his ears. After the screech had risen to a
cacophony of high-pitched squealing, it suddenly stopped. The
yellow flame now floated in front of Kain. Cecil removed his
hands from his ears, and glanced at Kain. "Thank you,
" Cecil faltered, unsure of what to say. Kain
merely nodded at Cecil, smiled, and said, "I
" Kain beamed after saying this, looking
the happiest that Cecil had ever seen him. "I pray that I
can be a better protector of the wind
than I am a
than I am a warrior." Kain reached out and
touched the flame.
Afterwards, Cecil and Edge were standing over Yangs
body, waiting for him to wake up. He was alive, just
unconscious.. Edge said, "Aw, man
I missed all the
action! What happened, anyway, after I was knocked out?"
Cecil smiled serenely, and said, "The winds