Fire Petals Chapter 1


By Edenne

In a place where darkness reigned supreme and threatening, where leafless trees reached towards a very new moon, where the eyes of every creature skittering about seemed to glow red with fury, loomed another, even more eerie presence.

A woman with long black hair and a white china face walked slowly through the dark woods as though trodding only on air. Her long dress of red, black, and gold flowed effortlessly behind her in a lazy breeze, despite the heavy, still air surrounding her. Her arms hung at her sides like dead weight; her back was straight and her chin high with powerful pride. She made not a sound as she moved; this and her other qualities would have spooked any passerby into believing she were an apparition. This forest was known to be haunted, after all.

Her escort, a young man of eighteen, was much more human-like in nature. His heavy boots crushed dead leaves beneath them with every long stride, and his long silver overcoat hung still at his sides. The very faint hints of moonlight that managed to escape through the branches overhead illuminated his short, wispy blond hair as well as his broad, silver shoulders in dim waves of blurred light. He kept his blue eyes narrowed and straight ahead of him: he felt like Lot walking away from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, afraid that even a glimpse of the woman behind him would turn him to stone. He kept his mouth in a permanent frown, needing to concentrate on something, though he could find nothing at all to take his mind off of what little he knew.

Occasionally the young man would slash at a branch or vine in his way with a swift swing of the gunblade in his leather-sheathed hand that cut the very air surrounding him to pieces. Clearing a path for this woman was an honor in itself, and he didn't even know where they were headed or why they were headed there. He would find out soon enough; and he refused to think impatient thoughts for fear that the woman would read his mind.

After another hour or so of walking, he heard one word come racing to him from behind: "Stop." He stopped dead in his tracks as soon as he comprehended what he'd heard. He didn't say a word; tried his hardest not to even think a word, as the beautiful woman came up behind him and whispered in his ear, "We are surely far enough from the palace not to be heard now," her breath was ice on his neck, "Sit down on that rock over there. You needn't be so afraid of me, my knight. Relax."

He did as he was told, and only because he was told to do so. He found her words so ironic; he'd watched her take lives away with only a word from her crimson lips. She could do the same to him--how could he not be afraid? He didn't even see what she needed him so dearly for anyway. Yet still, he refused to show his fear: he kept his back and shoulders straight, and looked her straight in the eye with newfound bravery.

"I do need you." she whispered, "You have helped me beyond what I thought possible. You take care of me. You are another set of eyes and ears for me." So, she had read his mind.

What she really needed him for was to use him to get closer to his ex-classmates, and she usually found his tense, quiet presence unnerving, but he didn't need to know that. "I care deeply for you, Seifer." She said, burning her eyes into his to be sure he would never forget them. The little boy was lapping it up like a thirsty kitten. This was perfect.

Seifer ran a black gloved hand through his hair as an excuse to look away from her eyes. One second longer would surely have driven him mad. He didn't know how far into his mind she could reach and the thought scared him to death.

"I have excellent news." She purred, then paused to let his anticipation build, "I have captured the powers of the girl, Ellone. I have altered them and made them better." She paused again, this time to let her words fully sink in. She watched him for a reaction, and all she found was fear. All she ever found was fear within this boy. "You will be the first to use them." It was obvious that this was a command, not a request.

Gee. Seifer thought sarcastically, forgetting his fear of her mind-reading capabilities, What an honor to be your majesty's first guinea pig. Thankfully, the woman had already begun to speak again.

"Think of it as a gift for being such a loyal knight."

"A gift?" Seifer asked, the first words he had spoken for hours.

"Yes. Let me explain." The shadows of a grin began to appear on her lips, only making Seifer more nervous. "Ellone was once able to send people's conciousnesses into the past , into the body of someone she knew. Thankfully, Dr. Odine has left Esthar to help my cause, after hearing what I was willing to pay him. With his help, using Ellone’s powers, I have created a device that has stolen and manipulated those powers. Now, one's consciousness can be put into another's body at any time--be it past, present, or future--and have complete control of their host's actions."

An owl fluttered from one tree to another in the distance and hooted. The woman looked over at it and there was a sudden, faraway flash of red light, then a screech, and a dull thump. Seifer couldn't help but shudder. All creatures should know by now not to interrupt when this woman was talking.

"Anyways," she continued, "I need you to help me. You know the boy Squall, who happens to be a major threat to our plans?"

"I do."

"Good. You will be able to enter his body whenever you wish with the help of the device."

Now it was Seifer's turn to grin. "I'm beginning to like the sound of this."

"I want you to search his present mind for information about his plans, his whereabouts, and his weaknesses."

Seifer was silent, pondering.

"I understand you have a grudge against this boy, so you may also have as much 'fun' as you'd like while you are there. Just be sure to remain discreet -- if your identity is revealed, it will all be ruined."

Seifer nodded and asked, "What will be done with the girl?"

"Since she is no longer useful, to us or to anyone else, I suppose she shall be jettisoned in the central sea."

"Why not just kill her?"

"She will surely die before anyone finds her and interrogates her. If I am wrong, let it be so. I am a risk-taker, Seifer, you should know that by now."

Seifer hung his head. "I apologize, your majesty."

"Oh, stop it. Stop the formalities. You'll get to know me better, I'm sure." With that, she stood and began to head back to where they came from. Seifer followed.

"We will start to prepare you for the mind invasion sunrise tomorrow morning. Do not be late. You'll need to endure vigorous training."

"It will all be worth it to serve your needs." ..and to have some fun with Squall. Squall had stolen his girl (not that he cared much for Rinoa much anymore); Squall had become a SeeD on the first try; Squall was looked up to by everyone. The hate boiled in Seifer's blood. Oh yes, we're going to have some *fun*.


Go To Chapter 2

Return To FF8 Fanfic