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July 25, 2012
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(Contains: violence/gore)
FF6 and FF7 are Square's.

Inspired by this guy's remix:

< a href="[link]"> Cyan visits Cosmo Canyon

--

The old warrior came to a town when the twin suns were sinking past the rock formations. The red of the suns seemed to set the stones aflame, and he had to form a blind with his seasoned hand to behold the giant rotating contraptions atop the set of clay buildings. He supposed they were buildings—there were torches indicating people, a fire that he could see from the steps, hollows in the walls that suggested windows, and a large metal structure that looked like a small fortress. The exterior was not armed, not from what he could see. Yes, this certainly resembled a town, no matter how different it looked from the towns on his own world. There was a man standing in the gateway, little more than wooden poles bound together—human presence signified to him that this was not only a town but an inhabited town.

The Doman approached the gatekeeper, and maintained his distance. He was quite aware that he smelled rather foul from fighting his way through the swamps, during which he sustained a few minor wounds that he had dressed but nonetheless permeated the air around him with gunk and iron—a reason to keep a polite distance. A rest at this stage would not be unwelcome.

He had replaced Masamune in his saya and was holding it at his side, attracting the notice of the wary eye of the gatekeeper of the town. As per custom, Cyan advanced and stated his full name and position.

“Doma? Haven’t heard of it. Do you mean Wutai?” the gatekeeper asked, guessing from the stranger’s appearance—black hair, brown. Some of the people who’d come in with Nanaki had looked like that, though they were a lot paler.
Cyan arched an eyebrow at such a fanciful name, and repeated, with more emphasis,

“No, I hail from Doma. I would desire to rest here, if you would permit me.”

The gatekeeper took another good look at the grizzled traveler, rubbed his chin, and nodded.

“Okay, the inn’s up that way—just go up those stairs. And leave your sword with me. We are peaceful here at Cosmo Canyon.”
“My sword..?”” Cyan visibly hesitated—his dark eyes went wide and he perspired whenever he was in distress. He was accustomed to bearing his weapon at all times, as a proud warrior, and there was that other reason…

He dropped his hands, dank with swamp fumes, by his side, and looked the gatekeeper dead in the eye. He was giving off----trustworthy vibes—and if he were incorrect in his estimation of him there would be blood. “Guard them well,” Cyan told the gatekeeper, presenting Masamune, encased in his saya, to the formidable man. The town guard took the clunky weapon—he preferred fists and equipped claws, which used fewer natural resources, but those Wutai types liked their blades, no matter how inconvenient and heavy or a strain on the planet they were.

“You got another weapon here?” the gatekeeper asked, about to click open the shorter end of the saya. A warning look of Don’t touch, please.

“I have naught but one weapon,” the other answered, his voice quite taciturn. The guard let him through, no less puzzled. Cyan made his way unarmed under the wooden frame and glanced towards the set of unsanded rock stairs. He took a final look at Masamune, loathe to part with it. “Elayne, Owain..Forgive me for leaving you alone,” he whispered, out of range of the gatekeeper, before ascending the rocky steps.

The first thing he noticed about the town, with the bizarre name of “Cosmo Canyon”, was that the entire town was contained within the clay walls. Rooms had been hollowed out and were connected by tunnels—there were only about three buildings in the entire town, and the warrior thoroughly wandered about all of them with leisure. He talked to everyone he encountered, from the doorways or from the corners of the room so he would not offend them with his stench, and asked what the rotating machines were, and how they worked—apparently they were ‘turbines’.

“They harness the energy of the wind for electricity, so we don’t parasitize the planet by using Mako energy.”

Cyan’s eyebrows lifted.

“What, if I may ask Sir, is Mako?” he asked the man behind the shop counter.

“Mako is the life energy of this planet. When life on this planet dies—trees, animals, people, it becomes Mako energy,” the

Cosmo Canyon dweller yawned, while Cyan listened with interest. “Here at this shop we sell Materia.”

“What, Sir, is Materia?”

The tired vendor slid up behind the counter, picked up a Materia from an unlocked box on the counter—it must not be considered very valuable, which was strange, because it glowed like a gem—no doubt Locke (he did not usually refer to him as Sir) would find it worth purloining, hmph.

“When liquid Mako is put under lots of pressure, it solidifies and becomes a stone.”

Cyan’s eyes widened.

“It is made from the souls of living things..? On this world, not only Espers could be reduced to Magicite, but all life as well...” Cyan remarked.

“It’s just business,” the vendor defended. “We don’t produce more Materia, and we don’t use Mako energy for electricity,” he pointed to the electric light. “ The more we sell to independent travelers like yourself the less will end up in Shin-Ra’s hands,” the vendor painted his product in a positive light, but there was no need—Cyan had no qualms in acquiring Magicite—using it gave the Esper’s death meaning—and in this case, it would give the man’s death, or the animal’s death meaning as well. He approached the counter, still furtively, conscious of his odor. But the vendor didn’t seem to mind—in fact, he smelled far worse, like poison.

Poison…

Cyan blinked, shook his head, and dispatched that memory.

“How much does the Magicite cost?”

The vendor was pleasantly surprised that the traveler was not opposed to using Materia—since he was from Midgar, the no-Materia lifestyle the Cosmo Canyonites practiced was pretty head-scratching for him. He had adopted a green marketing strategy to make his living. ‘Course, he had lived here so long he was starting to believe that it was for the good of the planet that he sold the Materia to travelers and not to Shin-Ra’s SOLDIERs…

But ‘nuff of that, he had a customer! First one in weeks!

“8,000 gil for..lets find a right one for you,” the vendor said. “You look tough, huh? How about a nice Health Plus!” he set the gem in front of the traveler—he looked more like a serious warrior type so he wasn’t afraid he’d steal it. “When equipped to a weapon, this ups your health so you can go for longer without getting tired—out there, it might mean the difference between life and death.”

“I thank you, but as the retainer of Doma, I do not tire easily.”
The vendor didn’t understand what the hell the customer said except that it didn’t seem like that was the right one.

“Alright, what about Magic Plus?”

“I have no magic..”

“No magic? No problem, I’ve got some simple magic you can learn---He put the stone back and pulled out another one. Mystify—when equipped to a weapon, you can make your enemies go nuts or confuse the hell out of ‘em.”

The customer leaned over the counter to take a better look at the Magicite, straightened, and announced,

“I will take this one.” He unslung his bag and reached for 8,000 gold pieces, counting them out one by one. Before he’d counted out 20 gold pieces, the vendor motioned with a hand towards the bag, startling the customer, and he skillfully dumped the needed amount of money onto the counter. Cyan was one part offended and the vendor’s brusqueness, but he was so stunned at the speed which the vendor was able to count 8,000 gold pieces that he did not berate the man. “One last query, if I may—where is the inn?”

“Shildra Inn’s on the first floor, go out down the stairs, past Cosmo Candle, under the tent.”

Cyan thanked the vendor and made his way back out onto the platform.

It took him the better part of the evening to find the—what was it called—Shildra Inn, which sounded remarkably similar to “Shin-Ra”, which he had never heard of before but it sounded foreboding. Perhaps he would ask the inhabitants about it in the morning. When he had finally found the inn, he removed the pieces of armor from his shoulders and torso, and searched for the water closet. The water was heated by wind turbines, an amenity for travelers. He neatly folded his tunic and cleaned it, cleaned himself, and while it was drying he exchanged it for the dry tunic in his sack. He then took his repose.

Before the sun rose he donned his armor, set forth from the inn, and passed by the bonfire, still burning--perhaps it was magic. He woke up anxious, since he had left Masamune in the care of the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper was wrapped up in wool blankets under the gray dawn. The saya lay next to him. Cyan advanced towards the sleeping town guard and retrieved Masamune—

--He swung his head and long tied hair sharply over his shoulder when he heard a growl—a red beast had snuck up on him and crouched now a stone’s throw away, flattened low against the ground. Reflexively the Doman drew Masamune and charged at the feral creature, that tucked its fore and hind legs under it so it resembled a ball, and lobbed itself right at his torso. Cyan swung his blade diagonally from right shoulder to left hip and struck—metal—apparently the wild beast was armed. The beast bounced backwards from its own momentum—its face changed—if it was not a regular animal, Cyan would have thought that it bore the same expression of an enemy impressed with the formidable strength of Doma.

But, this was a momentary thought that flashed and dissipated. He took out the Magicite—the Materia. He focused the power of the magic, without saying an incantation out loud, but speaking the chant in his mind, and..

..Nothing happened.

Cyan didn’t disguise his confusion and gaped at the stone—apparently he had been mystified instead of his enemy. He was frantic that the stone was not working and kept on poking it and tapping it—maybe the soul energy of this planet could not be harnessed? He barely was able to blurt out his confusion and dismay when the same—or a similar stone, of a different color, in the beast’s—hair ornament? glowed—the metal object that had met the fierce, precious edge of Masamune—yes, it was undoubtedly a hair clasp, how curious..!

And then the beast attacked with a snarl, the magical energy glowing in a sphere around the canine monster –Cyan learned the soul energy of this planet was most definitely usable, when the air around him superheated and he threw up his sword in front of his face and throat in defense against the roaring orange orbs that surrounded him like a net. Had he not been wearing his chest plate and gauntlets he would have sustained far worse damage than singed clothing and mere tingling skin. The fire did not blind him—he saw the power had come out of the weapon, so the beast was able to get its Materia to work. And, in addition he remembered that the vendor said that the Materia works when 'equipped to a weapon'. Cyan placed the stone on top of Masamune, and focused again, chanting in his mind. And again, it failed, and he flailed his arms in frustration.

A cool-headed warrior who had protected the line of Doma for thirty-eight of his fifty years—the late king and his late son, but still finding himself chastened by machines, technology, or processes that remained a mystery to him.

But still, he had an answer to his continued ineptitude with technology (he had read out of the Machinery Manual every day for the past year and was still learning!): he turned back to something more familiar, something more reliable—nay, something that would never fail him, and never had failed him: his sword technique.

Letting his soul fill with calm, Cyan closed his dark eyes momentarily, plunging into deep, near-unbreakable focus. Fang, Sky, Tiger…the beast was advancing at him anew, claws raking against the ground. When Cyan opened his eyes again, he was prepared, soul, body, and mind.

Flurry.

The human warrior leaped at his foe, cutting with incredible agility and elegance once, twice, three times, four times—the first missed, the second he aimed for and gashed the beast’s tattooed hind leg, to slow it down, the third cutting nearly through its tail to disrupt its balance, and the fourth its other back leg, to stop it completely. The beast howled and yelped, spurting blood from the thin but deep wounds, its ferocious snarls reduced to cries of pain. It activated the second stone in its hair ornament, and with a gleam and a high whistling sound, It was bathed in green light, sealing its wounds. In the time it took for the beast to heal itself, Cyan had readied another technique. He dove further into the depths of concentration, and with a deliberate cut to the air, he mentally called upon the two souls of his weapon to give him strength.

The two souls who made up Masamune broke the surface of the blade and took material form, striking into the freshly-healed beast, that yelped and writhed as the soul tormented it and transferred the energy to Cyan, who was brimming with strength and resolve, love and memory. Every blade had a soul, but Masamune was special for whose souls they contained.

The beast was not finished yet. Its single yellow eye raging, it yanked itself up from the ground and howled, lunging towards the human and snapping its fangs into his throat, and Just as quickly, unburying the teeth out from the blood-spurting flesh, before sprinting off in a red blur away from the enemy in case he got it in his mind to counterattack. Cyan fell prone on the ground, bleeding profusely from his throat—though the beast had missed—or had intentionally avoided the vital arteries.

“Before I dispatch you, tell me why you tried to invade Cosmo Canyon,” the beast articulated.

Cyan, bleeding heavily, still managed to widen his eyes round like full moons, thoroughly flabbergasted.

“Y..you can..speak?? I beg your--pardon, I- did not realize that---you were an Esper..!”

“I am Nanaki, guardian of Cosmo Canyon and last of my race,” the speaking beast reared up on its hind legs, single eye flashing with ferocity..and pride. “Answer me, why did you come here bearing a sword against the people of Cosmo Canyon?”

“I am…Cyan, retainer of…..Doma…I merely..wished..to retrieve my sword. ..To enhance my skills ..I must engage..the monsters..everyday..those that roam outside the ..town…”

The town guard had woken up by now from the unmistakable voice of the canyon’s protector, Bugenhagen’s grandchild, and the ensuring struggle. He could see that the swordsman had gotten himself thrashed..hmph, he had tried to give him a chance.

“I already told him, we are a peaceful society. I will throw him out so his war-loving soul may return to the Lifestream outside.”

The town guard reached down to drag out the wounded enemy, when Nanaki barked.

“Wait--!”the red dog padded towards the human enemy, and activated his Materia, the gash in Cyan’s throat sealing. He had not cured nor had been cured in quite some time, not since he and the rest of the Returners had vanquished Kefka, and he felt his throat, surprised that it had healed. He sat up, first on his knees, then a leg, and then stood above the creature, staring bewildered and grateful in the ferocious eye of the beast—he’d called himself Nanaki, if he wasn’t mistaken.

The town guard deferred to Nanaki’s wish.

“I thank you, Sir—“ Sir because he was in his debt—and disoriented that one who had almost killed him would then nurse him back to health. He’d seen stranger things, but..

“I sense your noble spirit,--I feel we have nothing to fear from you.” Nanaki explained—it was clear from the man’s face that he was muddled: nodding, but frowning and blinking. “Come sit by the Cosmo Candle,” the dog—wolf—lion, maybe? Invited, facial muscles nonetheless allowing him what looked like a smile “, so we may come to know each other better.”

Cyan accepted the odd being’s invitation, but speech did not erase the reliance on pure instinct. The dog suffered that the man go first, so he could keep an eye on the man, who in turn glanced behind his back. They made it to the Candle without further incident, and as old got to know young, and young old, man and beast, defenders of their home and defenders of their respective planets, proud warriors both, it turned out the words that passed between them spoke to their similarites rather than their differences.

Speaking---neither one did it very often—Both were sparse with their words—maybe it was the cleansing heat of the Candle, the peaceful air of the canyon, and rabbit stew that lowered guards and opened their mouths and souls. They were on the same journey of grief and loss, they stood alone when everyone else had fallen. And yet, could still see the beauty in the sordid world.
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:iconmaster-of-the-boot:
Master-of-the-Boot Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
One thing that really stands about this is that even though there are no speech bubbles you can tell that they're in dialogue.

Cyan, he's got this look of understanding on his face. And that's not something that Pride or Wrath Bradley ever had. Pride always seemed to give fatherly advice to people and show warmth without ever really listening, When Wrath dropped the pretense he just wanted to fight; no need for dialogue.

But for the most part, it's easy to tell that this is . . . dialogue. And whatever that thing is, I've never played FF, looks like it's communicating back. Not lust listening but talking and listening and being listened to. It's a very profound picture
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:iconisangsimaronbatis:
IsangsimaronBatis Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay, I'm glad that it looks like they're in dialogue--when I finished it, I thought that it looked like Red is smiling and Cyan looks awkwardly surprised, so I'm glad that what I wanted to convey, Cyan being understanding and he and Red finding a kinship. I agree with you with Pride, playing the father but not actually listening to people. Yep, and Wrath is very laconic when fighting, Scar excepting. ^^

That thing is Red XIII, or real name Nanaki. Which is an anagram of Anakin, though that was probably unintentional. XD Anyways, he is a wolf/lion--not a chimera, but just a wolf/lion who lives in this earth-friendly town built below a planetarium. He gets captured by Hojo (the mad scientist who is crazier than Goldtooth) and observed for awhile, and then Hojo tries to breed Aeris (the magical girl) with Nanaki, but your party busts him out and he joins their party. I'm in the middle of writing a ficlet for the drawing, hopefully it will show a more specific picture of FF7 world. ^^
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:iconmaster-of-the-boot:
Master-of-the-Boot Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Either way it's a brilliant picture. you really have a talent for making drawings like they're snapshots in a person's life.

Lol, from what I understand this Hojo guy was a bad bastard.
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:iconisangsimaronbatis:
IsangsimaronBatis Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you ^^ I'm very honored that you think I can make drawings like snapshots. ^^ At least I can do those from the perspective of characters I like--with the ones I don't, then that would be harder if not impossible. I couldn't do the same for---lets say, Cloud (FF7), and Locke (FF6). X_x

He was a bad bastard--with very few redeeming qualities. Ask any Vincent Valentine fangirl how bad was Hojo and they will blow an artery explaining it. XD
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