By : Ovo
She wasn’t cold. Not like they were, not on the outside. But her blood froze as she watched the troops fall in across the field. She didn’t know them, not from this distance; she might have known one or two, or their brothers, or their families…
Kefka. She knew Kefka; not an imperial, probably not anyone in the occupied territories didn’t.
No, that wasn’t true. Terra didn’t know, imperial though she was, she didn’t know him – she didn’t remember any of that, and, though it pained, Celes was glad of it.
“There’s no way…” Edgar said it first, before Banon could shush him fast enough. But they knew it anyway; there’s no way… not to fight an army, not to save Narshe.
For some of them it didn’t matter, anyway. Cyan craved vengeance… Gau didn’t seem to understand, and if he did, it was anyone’s guess at how he really thought of it. But Edgar had his Kingdom to save, and Banon had the world, and Sabin had Edgar; Celes had her honor. Terra…
Terra didn’t even want to fight. She didn’t know why he scared her, the flamboyant peacock man, but his presence nagged at memories she didn’t have. The dead lined up before him, men she killed, and she didn’t want to fight, didn’t want to kill them all over again.
“We don’t need to fight all of them,” Celes insisted, “They aren’t ready for this weather, and half of them don’t want to be here anyway. If we can…” she realized what she was saying, but it was too late to take it back. “If we can bring down Kefka, the whole assault will collapse.”
“He like you?” Banon asked. Celes wanted to object – they were nothing alike, but yes Kefka could use magic. She clenched her teeth and nodded, he can use magic, yes, but I’m nothing like him.
“We must fight magic with magic.”
She stared across the field, for he was staring back at her now. He saw her and there was nowhere to run, nowhere in the world she could hide. He wanted her to kill for him, she knew, he wanted her to turn around and kill…
“I’ll go,” Celes volunteered. She had nothing to lose. She might even have been able to get past the grunts without question, march right up to the bastard and-
“Terra as well,” Banon nodded, “It may be worthwhile to pool your energy into one strike, if not essential.”
Celes disagreed. She wanted Terra as far from Kefka as possible, but she couldn’t say that, not with Cyan looming over her shoulder. “Fine,” she shrugged, and wondered if it mattered at all what she did. She noticed Locke was in a similar bind, judging by the way he caught and played his shock as if it were natural. But instead of what he could have said, what he should have insisted, he mumbled, “I’ll go, too.”
“I’ll go,” Sabin stepped in before Cyan could. It made it easier for both of them, and he wouldn’t have to worry. He grinned easily by way of explanation, “Cannon fodder.”
“I don’t want to go,” Terra shivered, “I don’t… I never wanted to hurt anyone.”
“We aren’t going to hurt them,” Locke assured her. The words were lies, simple and well intentioned; the meaning was for Banon to pick at at his leisure, “we’re just gonna scare them off.”
“Yes,” Celes agreed flatly. It was now or never, but she paused when Terra slipped her fingers around the thief’s hand. She wanted him to do something, anything; everyone knew it, he could have said no, but all he did was hold her hand.
“Stay close to me,” was all he said, as if they were alone, as if no one was listening. And she nodded, and Celes turned away.
The disgraced general began leading off through the snow, down the hill. She wondered if Locke was trying to comfort Terra or himself; to her regret, it eased her own heart a little. As Celes broke into a run, to match, trusting them to follow, to slip past the enemy, she pleaded silently, Keep her safe…