I awoke to the sound of my own screaming. The names of my fallen comrades, of the people I loved, and the people I loathed were being torn from my throat in an effort to hold on to the fleeting dream. I was dreaming of that final fateful night, when my world came crashing down and my life was changed forever.
It was still dark as I sat up in bed with the whispers of three names still in my mind.
Treali- my betrothed, my beloved, my reason for being. I still had yet to divine if she lived or lay buried in the ruins of the palace.
Draesis- my grandfather, my mentor, my friend. His death was the catalyst for the events that destroyed our home.
Lochren- my brother, my rival, my enemy. The thought of his name caused my hatred of him to boil over. He was entirely to blame for all that had transpired. My fury was so great that I wanted to lash out at any living thing near me. It was all I could do to keep from blasting my sleeping moogle with my most powerful elemental arcana.
I opened my shutters to let the moonlight trickle in. The moon always had a calming effect on me. It helped me realize my place in the world. I am but one man among millions of people, each with their own set of problems. However, I suspect that most of them did not carry the weight of the deaths or exile of an entire clan on their shoulders.
I emptied that last of the contents of a wineskin into my cup. Drinking was no longer a pastime but a necessary means to protect myself and others from the rage that threatened to explode out of me. As I tasted the bitter-sweet wine on my tongue, I thought about what caused my brother to become so ridden with jealousy that he would rather destroy our clan then let me lord over it.
I came to the conclusion that Fate had laid out this destiny at our birth. Perhaps if our mother had lived, things would be different, but that was not to be. Lochren and I were twins. I was born first, so by tradition, I was to take my father�s place as ruler when he stepped down. Lochren was born just a few minutes later and yet in his infantile innocence he set in motion the events to come by the first tragedy assigned to his name. Our mother died giving birth to him.
Our childhood seemed normal enough. We got along well, played, and learned much together. But it became clear to both of us at an early age that our father blamed him for our mother�s death. Through no fault of my own I was the favored son, and I�m sure the seed of jealousy was sown in my brother during this time.
Our grandfather, Draesis, tried to make up for it. Because our father was busy much of the time with court matters, Grandfather became a mentor to my brother and me. He treated us as equals and taught both of us many things about life, honor, responsibility, duty, love. Unfortunately there were many times our father would take me aside and exclude Lochren. It was during these times that I learned to respect the power that my father held, and that I would one day wield, over our clan. I would come to find out that Lochren would also learn of power; to covet it, to long for it, to hold it absolutely.
During our childhood, Treali became our playmate. She was born to one of our father�s advisors and as such was educated with us in the palace. It was sometime during our early teens that Treali and I developed feelings for each other that were more then friendship. It was not a simple crush and we knew our love was deep and true. We were soul mates.
This was one more thing my brother became jealous of me for. He too sought her affections but she rebuked him at every turn. Her heart was with me and mine with her. I encouraged Lochren to court the other girls that were around but he just brushed me off saying that he didn�t have time for such frivolous activity. He would then storm off and lock himself in the palace library for hours on end. I didn�t think much of it. I figured with all the studying he was doing, he would become my foremost advisor when it was time for me to take the throne. Little did I know that what he was studying would bring about our ruin.
As our teenage years passed, Treali and I grew closer and my brother and I grew further apart. Treali and I were planning to wed in a few years when news of the beastmen uprising reached our island home. Time had a different meaning for our clan as the power from the crystal caves prolonged our lives greatly beyond the Elvann of San d�Oria. However, we recognized the immediate need of the people of Vana �diel to push the beastmen back. We had plenty of time to plan our wedding but we needed to help combat this uprising threatening the rest of the world.
Our father would lead us into battle as was customary. That would mean at least two members of the royal family would have to be left behind to preserve the lineage should something unfortunate happen. Typically this is the queen and one of her children. Since my mother had passed many years ago, my grandfather would take her place as the ruler while my father was away. My brother was selected to remain behind as I was needed on the front lines for my battle strategy and leadership.
I may have been young, but my battle prowess had been honed by the finest warriors and tacticians in our clan. It would be my honor to lead our brave men and women in battle and they would dutifully follow. It was not uncommon for our women to stand side by side with our men in battle. We were all fierce warriors. It was no surprise to anyone then that Treali would be one of my lieutenants. She had trained right along side me in the battle simulations and in the war room.
While our force was small, we knew we could bring something different to the battle. Because we were Elvann, our history was filled with the legends and might of skilled warriors. And that is what we still were. However, because of the power of the Crystal Caves of our home we had the power of arcana that rivaled that of Windurst. Our warrior nature we would lead us into the middle of the fray while casting arcana rather then standing on the sidelines.
Because of the remote location of our home, it took us several weeks to reach the front lines, even with only a brief stop in San d�Oria to resupply. However, we arrived just in time for the battle that would decide the war.
It seemed like it was over before it even began. Even though the battle raged for hours, the only thing I remember from that day was holding my father as he breathed his last. He had fought valiantly but was overwhelmed by a company of orcs when he was separated from his men by a miss placed blast of elemental arcana. I was told he slaughtered more then twenty of the foul beastmen single handedly before being overrun. He died with great honor.
We left for home a few days later knowing the beastmen had been beaten back into submission and not wanting to take part of the celebration of the other races. We had come to the war late and had lost a king in the process. It was not a time of celebration to us.
We arrived home to a mixture of emotions. Elation that many of the warriors were coming home and despair at the death of my father and other comrades slain on the battlefield.
My grandfather abdicated the throne upon my return as he knew it was my time to rule and had full confidence in my abilities. My brother withdrew even further into himself, refusing the offer of advisorship I gave him. Treali and I knew that our wedding would have to wait for several years as we had a king to bury and a clan to rebuild.
Over the next several years, my brother questioned nearly every decision I made. In my ignorance I believed nobody paid any attention to him since he did not sit on the counsel of advisors. Little did I know that he was subtlety manipulating many members of the court to question my authority. I had the favor of the people and the loyalty of many of the advisors. The others were kept in check by my grandfather. Their respect for him kept them from openly opposing me. That would change upon his death.
Treali and I were planning a spring wedding but we were worried that my grandfather would not make it trough the winter to attend it. He had become ill and knew his time was drawing to a close. So we decided to move up the ceremony by a few months.
We were but days away from the wedding when he took a turn for the worse. Treali and I sat by his bedside one night while he gave us his blessing and wished us happiness for the rest of our days. Then he passed and a little bit of my soul went with him. He had been my mentor, my counselor, and my friend for many years. But now, one of the two people I could trust above all others was gone.
It didn�t take long for those council members that my grandfather had kept in check to begin to publicly oppose me. The council chambers became a forum for argument rather then civilized discussion and meaningful resolution.
I thought things were beginning to come under control until that fateful night. It was a week before Treali and I were to be finally wed. Rumor had reached my ears that my brother and the councilors he controlled were coming to the palace to challenge my rule. I had also learned that he had managed to gain control of half of the militia. Young generals looking for more power had aligned themselves with his cause. I gathered all those loyal to me in the throne room and dispatched runners to have the remaining loyal militia report to the palace.
Before they could arrive, my brother burst through the throne room doors and began speaking the most hideous language I had ever heard. I would soon learn that all the time Lochren spent sequestered in the library was to study the old texts of the nearly forgotten dark arcana. I knew I was fighting to stay alive when I felt his spell drain a part of my life-force from my being.
I sprang into action and began muttering the words of the most powerful arcana I knew while drawing my sword. My supporters did the same while Lochren�s entourage countered our attack. Time seemed to stand still and the battle felt like it raged on for hours while in reality it was just a few minutes. However, the power that was unleashed in those few minutes would spell doom for our island home. When the cataclysm began, we knew something was terribly wrong. The last I saw of my brother was him running away from the palace.
A low hum, the type of sound that you feel rather then hear, was emanating from below the palace. That was where the greatest concentration of the Crystal Caves power was found. I frantically began to search for Treali when all chaos erupted. The blast of power that came out of the ground threw me high into the air and the last thing I remember seeing was the entire island in flames before I hit the water.
I spent the night being tossed on the waves created by the upheaval of our island. I fought for my own survival not knowing what had happened to the rest of the clan. I awoke the next morning washed ashore on a beach I did not recognize.
That was many months ago but it seemed like a lifetime. I am no longer a king but a simple adventure trying to make his way in Vana �diel. Yet I am hopeful for two things. One, that I find Treali alive and well so that our love may be restored. And two, that my brother is still alive so that I may put my hate to good use and exact revenge for the things he has done.
Part 8: http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/db/forum.html?forum=37&mid=1113456979371249655&num=0
Edited, Thu Apr 14 01:37:31 2005 by Norsalik
Edited, Sun May 8 23:45:06 2005 by Norsalik