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Final Fantasia > Figaro > Vertigo

Title: Vertigo

memory - April 3, 2010 05:37 PM (GMT)
Teralyn awoke with a start.

To her surprise, she was not tied up. This immediately made her suspect a trap, but a quick inspection of her surroundings revealed no apparent snares. She was laying on smooth stone arranged in hexagonal pillars; probably columnar basalt. All around her and about 20 feet above her head, a canopy of trees, grass, moss, and other plant matter formed a dome-shaped barrier, preventing escape.

Escape! Her hand instinctively moved to her neck, but the pendant was gone.

That's right. When I was attacked, someone tore it off. But who could have managed that?

As she looked around her prison, she noticed a bandage wrapped around her left leg. It felt sore and achy, as if she'd just had a bone repaired by magic. So they'd healed her? That seemed uncharacteristic. That, and the lack of imprisonment... was she still under the custody of Cerberus?

memory - April 5, 2010 02:01 AM (GMT)
As she waited, gazing aimlessly around the prison, four guards stepped in through a sudden gap in the foliage. Teralyn couldn't see any defining features about them; brown garments, green robes, and nondescript white masks covered everything that could have helped her determine if they were even human.

After they came in, a fifth figure came in. She was visible, and very familiar to Teralyn... but it was a great surprise that this particular person would be present.

"Tera," the woman began, "it's been a long time."

"Cecily. I take it you're not here to set me free," Teralyn replied dully.

"Don't act so hostile. It took a lot of talking to get Cerberus to hand you over to me," Cecily responded quickly. She advanced past her guards; as she did so, they stood obediently in front of the exit.

"So you're with Cerberus now, is that it? Can't imagine what they need a botanist for." Teralyn stood up, folding her arms tightly and meeting Cecily's gaze with an intent stare of her own.

memory - April 7, 2010 04:19 AM (GMT)
"Tera, just listen. I can't stay here for long. They're going to transfer you for interrogation soon, I'm sure," Cecily began, rubbing the bridge of her nose sorely.

"You don't need to say anything. We're enemies. That's all there is to it now," Teralyn replied, placing a succinct edge on her voice. She turned away.

"Then as your enemy, and as the only portion of Cerberus with any sense of humanity, I have a warning for you," Cecily said with an exasperated sigh.

This got Teralyn's attention. "A warning? What do you mean by humanity?"

"Oh, so now you're interested. Aren't you just the perfect Genesis operative? The strongest of them all, and the most focused. Getting captured like this must be-"

"Cecily! Give me your warning, or don't, but don't just stand there and taunt me."

"...Tera, you need to get out of this war. While it's still a possibility. I managed to protect you this time, but the other two heads of Cerberus are..."

She tapered off, looking at the canopy above.

"Cecily, who are they? Who attacked me outside of Melmond?" Tera was now standing right next to Cecily, gazing intensely at her as she waited for a response.

"...Genesis has three Grandmasters, so at the very least... if it was going to be a war, they needed to make it even. That's the purpose of Cerberus, the legendary three-headed beast standing guard at the gates of the underworld."

"No, Cecily, that's not how the situation is. You obviously can hide Grandmasters from us, so maybe you took the Ice and Earth Grandmasters out from under us, but you and I both know Genesis has the three candidates for Fire Grandmaster under protection."

"Tera, you've always been like that. You've got great attention to detail, but you overlook the big picture... the overwhelming reality others trap you in."

Tera stopped. She looked around, taking in her surroundings, observing the guards, and the foliage around her, and the earth-

"No," she said instinctively, twisting around to look at her old friend.

"You referred to me as a botanist earlier. That's... a bit of an understatement."

As she spoke, Cecily started drifting down into the ground, her eyes meeting Teralyn's.

"I assume you'll break out soon enough. That's fair. I've told you everything you need to know. But next time we meet, it'll be war... for everyone. See you later."

She vanished, leaving Teralyn alone. Imperceptibly, the plant guards had already faded into the brush.

memory - June 29, 2010 01:53 AM (GMT)
Days later...

Abruptly, the foliage around Teralyn lost its force.

Startled, she stood up, looking around at the forest now visible around her. The stone below her cracked and shook briefly as the runes through it faded, finally freeing her from Cecily's prison.

As she started to move, a familiar presence seemed to echo through the area. Her mentor and long-time commander, Aimee Voltaire, appeared out of the woods and approached silently, bearing the same mysterious facial expression that had always confronted Teralyn in any situation.

"Teralyn. We need your help," she said abruptly, looking behind her quickly. "There is little time."

"Madam Voltaire, I-"

"No time, no time! There is a lot I must ask of you and little time for you to accomplish anything."

"What must I do?"

"No time!!" Aimee shouted, disturbing a nearby flock of birds. Her image wavered and flickered for a moment, revealing to Teralyn that this was one of her projections.

"Whatever it is, I can handle it!"

"I... no time... so much to do...!" Aimee's words were becoming increasingly garbled.

"Madam Voltaire, please, tell me!"

Aimee was silent for a long time. Her image flinched briefly every few seconds, and a few times it was entirely extinguished only to return a moment later. Finally, after a couple minutes, it settled and regained some level of composure.

"Teralyn. Six grandmasters fighting in Melmond. Cerberus is occupied. Notify the Immortals and take command of Mnemosyne. Time within city is altered. You have a few hours. Teleport. Use my authority. Bring others, help defend the city- some will die! Use your barriers, keep the Immortals out!! Salinas knows what is next, your powers are growing... I'm sure you're the one, I understand, my Astra tells me that... former grandmasters of Ice and Fire, know them! Use whatever means! I-"

And with that, Aimee's projection flickered once more, paused, then vanished completely.

memory - July 1, 2010 12:02 AM (GMT)
For what seemed like quite a while, Teralyn wandered through the trees, searching for any sign of allies or civilization.

"It's fine for an Immortal to tell me to hurry up, but if I'm magically drained and have no way of getting anywhere in time, then what's the point?" she wondered aloud, moving as quickly as she could along the grassy forest floor.

Suddenly, she heard a rushing noise behind her, like a strong burst of wind blasting through the foliage above. She instinctively created the best barrier she could manage around herself: a simple rectangular field built against high-velocity techniques. The amount of power it drained out of her sent her to her knees, but she reasoned she'd be safe if anything not-too-dangerous came near.

Naturally, she was surprised when Luminette D'Arzachel, a fellow Mnemosyne agent, jumped nimbly off of the barrier's side and landed sword-first in the ground in front of the startled barrier user.

"Mina! How did you find me?" she asked, an air of surprise still tinging her voice.

"White Rain. Come on, we've got places to be," Mina replied tersely, sheathing her greatsword in a long scabbard behind her back.

"So you were contacted too?"

"No. The Immortal of Earth gave me direct orders. I'm to bring you straight to-"

Mina's words were interrupted by the crackling of lightning. Trees splintered as bolts flew outward from a nearby clearing, filling the air with the smell of ozone as a familiar figure stepped out to meet the two agents.

Salinas appeared in her usual countenance: a simple dress beneath an equally simple robe, both colored very lightly, the robe with a Genesis logo emblazoned across the back. Without taking the time to introduce herself or greet the two Mnemosyne agents, she approached Teralyn and abruptly began to speak.

"Teralyn Zerauac. Did Aimee Voltaire come to speak with you just now?"

"Y-yes, ma'am," Teralyn replied, standing hesitantly.

"Good. There's a lot for us to do."

"Uh, yes... may I ask what?" the Mnemosyne member said slowly, making eye contact with the leader of Genesis.

"I'll tell you everything in a little while. Knowing is important, since everything we need from you is your choice in the end. Please, come with me."

At that, she reached for the blade sheathed in her left hand, drawing it forth and stabbing it straight into the air without hesitation. Iridescent energy radiated out in a circle, creating a mystical portal through which Teralyn could faintly see a grassy field.

"Mina," Salinas said, turning to the other woman, "please return to Vander and have him summon the remaining Mnemosyne members. You will wait there until Teralyn comes for you with orders."

"Yes, ma'am!" Mina said, soaring into the air with a few strong wingbeats.

"Right. Teralyn, follow me, please."

Without responding, Tera followed Salinas into the glowing portal, which closed unceremoniously behind them.

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