Author’s Note: Terra Branford is one of my favorite characters
in Final Fantasy III/VI, but what do you expect? She is the
main character, after all. If the others hadn’t met her, how
would they have gotten into so much danger and adventure? Anyway,
I was really looking forward to a developing relationship between
her and one of the characters. (Call me a romantic) When Locke
came on the scene I thought, ‘Hey, this looks promising,’ and
then I was let down in a big way when Celes caught his eye and
Don’t get me wrong! I’m happy for both of them because they
deserve each other, but what about Terra? What about this sweet,
shy young woman who helped these people out of dangerous situations
at the risk of her own life? Goodness! She even sacrificed who
she was (an Esper creature and thereby a ‘magic’ creature) by
helping them destroy ‘magic’. I’d say she deserves something
more than what she was given. True, the love of children is
a blessing because I have had many an experience with it myself,
but come on! Why can’t she have a ‘someone special’ to let her
know that just because she’s lost a major part of herself, doesn’t
mean she’s less of a woman or friend.
So here it is. It’s my first fanfic, and I hope it isn’t my
last. I’ve had fun writing it and learned a lot about what my
perceptions of each character actually were. If you have any
comments or irritations, don’t hesitate to let me know what
they are. After all, criticism strengthens character.
Terra Branford stared out at the fading sun with an unseeing
gaze before she closed her eyes, the breeze ruffling the light
green waves of her hair. Deep down, where she seldom let her
mind travel, she could still feel the thrill of freedom as she
let her memories drift to the days when she had been free to
soar. The days before the end of magic. The days before who
she was had been redefined in a mere moment. A tear slid down
her pale cheek and she lowered her head.
“Mamma!” A young girl screamed as she ran into the room, her
blonde ponytails sopping wet. “Mamma, Robby dumped his water
on me,” she sobbed.
Terra managed a small smile as she turned to scoop the weeping
six-year-old into her arms. The little girl snuggled into them
and cried into her shoulder, haltingly weaving a more detailed
and exaggerated story relating the horrible action of her ‘brother’.
“It’s all right,” Terra said in a soft voice. “It’s only water.
You’ll be fine in a moment.”
The quiet, soothing tone that represented Terra’s inner uncertainty
quieted the girl until she was merely sniffling as she clung
to Terra’s neck. It seemed only yesterday that Terra had looked
at the small group of children in fear and doubt, not truly
knowing how to care for herself let alone so many young children.
Saving the world from Kefka’s insanity had seemed so much easier
on that day. Little had she known that a type of instinct would
have helped her. An instinct that she hoped she had received
from her mother.
Terra pushed the thoughts away and turned from the window.
“Come on, Cera. Let’s get you dried off and go find Robby.”
Cera sniffed a few more times and looked at Terra with a puzzled
“Little boys love picking on little girls until they see that
those same little girls can take care of themselves. Then...
Then, well...” Terra hesitated and she touched Cera on the nose
with a slender finger. “I’ll tell you when you’re older. Right
now, let’s go dump water on him and see how he likes it.”
“Oh goody!” Cera was still confused, but the prospect of giving
Robby the same treatment made her eyes twinkle with delight.
The little girl wriggled down from Terra’s grasp and squealed
with glee before streaking from the room to leave a trail of
water drips along the way. Terra shook her head before she sent
another longing glance over her shoulder at the pink and lavender
sky. With a sigh, Terra turned and followed the trail. It had
been months since the long series of battles at the Tower of
Kefka where her friends had defeated the tormented soul of its
namesake. Those months since magic had ceased to exist had left
her feeling strangely hollow with only the love of ‘her’ children
keeping the emptiness at bay.
The visits of some of her friends had helped.
Locke and Celes came to visit whenever their busy schedule
permitted, but they were so involved with each other that being
in the same room with them often made Terra depressed and withdrawn.
Terra knew that Locke suspected something was wrong, but how
could she say that seeing the two of them so happy made her
miserable? How could she tell him that their happiness made
her wonder if that type of love would ever find her? Locke would
have felt guilty and then taken it upon himself to try and help
her, although she knew that he wouldn’t have had any idea how,
and then Celes would have misunderstood and called off the entire
wedding. More than likely, anyway.
Terra sighed. Even Shadow occasionally materialized in his
ever-mysterious ninja fashion. She had no idea what to say to
him when he did, but he always appeared content in his silence
as he watched her and the children. Even Interceptor seemed
to amuse him as the massive black and brown beast played and
roughhoused with the kids. Then Shadow would stay for dinner,
tell the children a brief story before bed - Terra never knew
whether the stories were imagined or painfully real - and then
he would disappear into the night without another word. Thank-you
or otherwise. She tried so hard to understand him, but it grew
harder with each visit. Especially when Terra realized that
she must have appeared to be as much a recluse and loner as
With a shake of her head, Terra took hold of some thick towels
she had made herself and proceeded to help Cera dry herself
off and change into dry clothes. Doing so made her think of
Gau. ‘Such a sweet boy. Strong and resourceful, yet helpless
and in need of attention just like Cera. If only we could have
persuaded his father to accept him.’ It had been an impossible
dream. The old man’s mind had completely rotted away due to
the loss of both his wife and newborn son. His wife to childbirth
and his son to that dangerous stretch of barren wilderness called
Surprisingly, when Gau had been rejected yet a second time,
he had forgiven his father in his own unique way and continued
to love a man who didn’t want him. Gau was proof that inner
beauty often came in strange and irritating packages, and that
a person’s heart was often larger than they were. Terra shook
her head with a sigh and again focused on Cera.
Cera was dried and dressed, Robby was tracked down and drenched,
and the duo left Terra on the back porch of the house with a
greater respect for the other. Terra watched them leave arm
in arm and then turned to sit on a grassy patch of ground. She
lay on her stomach and picked a strange white flower, staring
down at it as the wind whistled in her ears and through her
hair. The world was slowly recovering from Kefka’s evil influence,
but she knew it would take time before it was the same grassy
paradise that she had come to know and love in the presence
of her friends. It would take time and patience.
‘Time,’ she sighed. ‘That’s what everything needs, I guess.’
Someone had once told her that she should give herself time
to love. True, they had been right, but the deep and self-sacrificing
love she felt for the children hadn’t been what she’d been expecting.
She had wanted to love like Locke and Celes loved each other.
Or like Cyan had loved his wife Elayne. Or even how Setzer had
loved both Darryl and Maria.
‘But when? And how? I’m always here with the children, so how
will I meet a man? This place has been deserted for so long
that I don’t think anyone but my friends realize it’s even still
here.’ Nobody ever really came to visit her other than a couple
of her friends, but they never thought to bring anyone new and
never asked her if she ever wanted to visit them. Although,
Edgar had occasionally sent her a flower along with an invitation
to a ball or some other type of party. She never went because
she couldn’t leave the kids, but it had always brought a smile
to her face to know that he still thought of her.
Still, she wished he would visit as Sabin did. After all, Sabin
had to travel almost as far as his brother and yet he managed
to stop by her house more than once a month. When he did appear,
he played games with the young kids, taught the older ones some
of his easier Blitz moves, and impressed Terra with his compassion
and understanding when talking to her about life in general.
It made her miss Edgar even more.
Terra understood that his kingdom of Figaro couldn’t take care
of itself, but almost everyone else had found the time to stop
and visit with her. Even Setzer, the original irresponsible
rogue, would drop in and offer to take her and the kids for
a ride in his newly remodeled airship. Edgar was the only one
who had never visited and it sometimes hurt her feelings. After
all, he had been the one to help her in so many ways when she
had first escaped from a life controlled by Kefka and his Slave
Crown. Terra knew that Locke had saved her life as well, but
Edgar had risked his kingdom when he’d refused to surrender
her to the Empire. In a way, he had risked his life to help
Locke get her to the hideout of the Returners. What was so difficult
in visiting her now? She understood that Figaro Castle was a
long journey, but he was king! Couldn’t he have found a way?
Terra tossed the flower aside with a breath and rolled over
onto her back to gaze up into a handsome face with a full smile
and twinkling blue eyes. She sat up. “Edgar!”
He bowed deep, his typical lopsided grin heightening his blonde
good looks as he made a flourish with his ever-present cape.
“At your service, my lady,” he said with laughter in his voice.
“Your wish is my command.”
Edgar offered her his hand and she accepted it hesitantly.
For some reason, she didn’t know whether to be annoyed that
he had waited so long to visit, or happy that he had come at
all. Terra finally let herself be happy. She had missed him.
“What are you doing here? And alone? Don’t you usually have
a bodyguard with you,” she asked with a slight smile. Not that
she really cared, or that it was even really needed. After all,
he was one of the foremost minds when it came to mechanical
battle weapons and could certainly hold his own against the
most sinister foe. She had witnessed it many times herself and
had counted it a blessing to have him fighting by her side.
“I have come to see you,” he said as he helped her to
her feet. “I had no wish to view my entourage guard us guarding
every word we say to one another.”
Terra could only focus on one phrase. “You came to see... me?”
He smiled and bowed again. “You, my lady, are the light of
my heart. How could I stay away from that?”
Terra saw the unmistakable mischievous glint in his eyes and
laughed, but an odd heaviness settling in her stomach made the
laugh sound forced. “Edgar, you always were a tease, weren’t
you,” she said as she released his hand.
He paused for a very long time, so long that Terra’s smile
Edgar finally smiled. “I’ve forgotten that you knew me when.
I’m sorry, Terra. Running a kingdom smoothly depends on smooth
talk and I am the king, after all.”
“In more ways than one,” Terra countered.
He bowed again. “Your servant.”
She passed by him and sat at the bench a few of the older boys
had painstakingly built on the side of the house. She offered
Edgar the space beside her. “Seriously, Edgar,” she told him.
“What brings you here? I was just thinking about how you never
“Ah. Such must have been the reason for the scowl,” he observed.
He sat with a flourish of his deep purple cape and leaned back,
his brilliant blue eyes focusing on the horizon. Edgar seemed
to transform the dilapidated bench into a velvet lounge simply
by his aura.
“I’m not angry, if that’s what you mean,” she assured him with
a hint of a smile. “Do you know how impossible it is for me
to get upset with you, Edgar? You’re the only one who gets me
to laugh at myself.”
Edgar’s cheeks dimpled with his smile and he sent her a quick
glance before refocusing his gaze on the horizon. “I have been
a cad, though,” he admitted freely. “Sabin has made it the point
of his existence to remind me of that fact each time he sees
my smug face.”
“You don’t have a smug face,” she protested.
“This is what I have always thought.” And the smile in his
voice was crystal clear. “However, Sabin is sure that I have
done you a great wrong and I was determined to set it right.”
Terra watched him with a smile as he lay out the reason for
his visit and barely kept herself from shaking her head at him
as her thoughts drifted. Edgar was the only person who could
bring a smile to her face that was genuine and not forced. Whether
it was his boyish charm or his innocent belief that he was a
‘ladies man’ she simply didn’t know. All she remembered were
the many times together when he had found some way to make her
laugh and forget the power that lay dormant beneath her shy
surface. He had been the only one to ease her mind when it had
strayed to the possibility of her life ceasing once magic was
eradicated from the planet. Edgar had only needed to ‘ooze’
charm and witticisms and she had laughed despite herself.
Edgar had never let her stay miserable.
“...So, as you can see, I have a problem.”
Terra flushed. “I’m sorry. What can I do to help?”
Edgar looked over at her reddened cheeks and chuckled. “You
weren’t paying attention, dear lady. Here I was lying my heart
at your feet and you didn’t hear a word I said.” He shook his
head and brought a hand up to cover his heart. “My heart is
She flushed even darker and stood from the bench to stare at
the sunset. “I said I was sorry,” she told him in a frustrated
voice. Terra didn’t remember feeling that before. “Besides,
it’s me who should be saying that, Edgar. After all, I thought
you were my friend and Shadow has come to visit me more than
Terra wrapped her arms around herself and chewed her lower
lip to keep back the tears that burned at her eyes and tightened
her throat. She never let her fears or tears show, especially
not in front of her friends. She didn’t want to change how they
thought of her. Strong to the last moment. Never quick to judge
and always fair to everyone. ‘So, how fair am I being now?’
Edgar came to stand beside her and the breeze ruffled his cape
so that it gently caressed her leg. Terra rubbed at her forehead
and took in a deep breath as she sent him a sidelong glance.
His face was unreadable as he stared out at the distant mountains
and that made Terra’s stomach knot up. She had never seen him
that way before. Aloof. Deep in thought somewhere inside where
she would never reach. Where she didn’t know how to reach.
“Edgar.” She turned to face him. “Edgar, I’m sorry. I didn’t
mean to get so angry. I guess it’s been a long day.”
“So it has.”
His voice sounded strange and Terra didn’t know what to say.
“Um... Did you want to stay for dinner? I’m sure everyone---”
When Edgar looked down at her, she broke off at the dark look
in his eyes. She didn’t know what it was.
He smiled. “Unfortunately, I cannot stay. I promised the Chancellor
that I would be back to our camp before the sun set and as you
can see, I have passed my allotted curfew. Not only that, we’re
leaving for Figaro Castle quite early in the morning and I should
get some rest or I shall be an absolute bear.”
“Will you come by before you leave?” Terra knew that she asked
the question almost too quickly, but she wanted to find any
reason to have him stay. Any reason that would make him discuss
the old times when all of them had been together battling a
common enemy. To stay and make her laugh like she once had when
they had all been together. “I-I’d love it if you would,” she
added. Terra found herself hoping that fact would make him decide.
One side of his lips tilted in a smile and he bowed, tossing
his cape over his shoulders with a flourish as he turned to
leave. “Again, I do apologize, but I must away. Take care.”
Terra watched his tall frame as it disappeared around the house
and then turned with a deep breath. At that particular moment,
she wished with all her might that she could have morphed and
flown off into the night, far away from all her problems.
King Edgar of Figaro clenched his hands behind his back as
he stood on the top most battlement of Figaro castle. The slight
breeze teased his tightly combed blonde hair. ‘I should have
said good-bye,’ he told himself sternly. But knowing how she
felt hurt at his infrequent visits had made him uncomfortable.
He had already felt guilty because of a similar, slightly more
heated discussion with Sabin. ‘Why don’t you ever visit her,
brother?’ Sabin would hurl the question at him as if it were
one of his infamous Blitz attacks and then expect an honest
and just as rapid reply. How could Edgar admit to Sabin that
the reason he had never visited Terra was because he hadn’t
known how to talk to her? Sabin would have found it uproariously
amusing and never let him forget it a day of his life.
He reputed to be the original ladies man.
Edgar turned from the tower wall and made his way downstairs,
frowning at the less than picturesque way the two friends had
parted. ‘I should have stayed for dinner. I should have invited
her to the campsite. I should have... I should have what? Terra
has been through so much in the time I have known her that I
am understandably unsure how to talk with her.’ Edgar grimaced.
‘Because of the loss of her use of magic?’ Denying it wasn’t
so easy. ‘How does one talk about something like that? Before,
when she had seemed frightened of the future on our many adventures,
I had deftly diverted her mind from it and caused her to laugh.
Why am I unable to do so now?’
Of course, he had been arrogant and full of pride then. Sure
of his own importance and blinded by his wealth, good looks,
and natural charm. Terra’s innocent oblivion to all of these
had reminded him of his own simplicity and the fact that he
was, above all, a human being.
The Chancellor rushed up on Edgar waving contracts and building
plans. Edgar brushed him aside and strode past to lock himself
in his bedchamber. To blame the Chancellor for Terra and his
strained parting the previous week would have been too convenient,
especially when Edgar knew that he himself was to blame. So
many times when Locke and Celes had come to visit him they had
mentioned how Terra seemed more withdrawn. Even Setzer had commented
on it. Instead of following his common sense and visiting her
to offer his help, Edgar had pushed his concern aside with the
easy excuse that he couldn’t leave his kingdom for such a long
journey. Edgar had allowed his kingdom to come between a friend.
He had never done that before, not even with Locke.
Again and again the others had voiced their concern for her
and told him that she seemed to get worse with each of their
visits instead of better. Each time he had assured them that
she was simply longing for her lost powers. ‘Why did I not visit?
Was I truly convinced that she would laugh in my face and scoff
at my well intentioned concern? Did I believe she would despise
me for not visiting her as I had once promised I would?’ Edgar
shook his head and threw himself into a chair to prop his foot
up on the table. Either way, Terra Branford had been anything
but fine and it hadn’t been because of the loss of her powers.
“Lost powers,” Edgar muttered. “She’s a woman and is in need
of a man.”
He wanted to be the man she needed.
Edgar glowered at his finely crafted, leather boots and heard
his brother’s voice ring through his memory yet again. ‘You’re
crazy about her, brother. Why don’t you admit it to yourself?
She doesn’t believe a single, smooth-talking phrase from your
over-active mouth and you still call her friend. Normally, you’d
have lost interest long ago, but you and I know there is something
about her that you can’t forget. You respect her silent strength
and determination so much that it’s obvious to ‘naive’ little
Relm, so how can you think it’s nothing?’
The door opened and Edgar didn’t bother turning. “Locke, I
wish you wouldn’t do such things.”
“If you don’t want me to pick them, don’t lock them. You know
it presents a challenge that no treasure hunter can pass up."
“I needed some privacy. You have heard of that, I assume?”
“Of course, but now’s not the time for that.” Locke leaned
against the table and crossed his arms as his steel-gray eyes
pierced Edgar clean through. “So what happened?”
“What are you talking about,” he mumbled.
“I know that you went to visit Terra.” Locke sounded annoyed.
“What happened? Is she coming to the pre-wedding party or not?”
“She is not.”
Locke pulled a dagger from somewhere on his person and ran
his finger along the blade with a deep breath. “Edgar, what’s
the matter with you? I thought you were a ‘smooth talker’?”
“I told you before that Terra doesn’t believe a word of it.
She never did,” Edgar mumbled in his defense.
Locke smiled. “Hmm. She’s got more sense than I thought.” Edgar
made a gruff sound and strode to the fireplace where he stared
into the flames. Locke watched him a moment and then continued
playing with the dagger. “What did you say that made her mad?”
“More of that ‘smooth talk’, I bet.”
“I said never mind.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll drop it.” Silence fell over the two men and
Locke sheathed the dagger. “Did you come out and tell her why
you wanted her to come? Or did you not even get to the point?”
Edgar didn’t say a word. “I don’t get it,” Locke admitted finally.
“You guys were as close as anything during that whole fiasco
with Kefka. Why do you think I warned Terra about you before
I went off to South Figaro that time? I was sure she would fall
head over heels for your charm because she was so... inexperienced,
I guess. I didn’t want the kid getting hurt.”
“Apparently, I hurt her without trying, Cole.” Edgar sent a
glance over his shoulder. “Just drop it.”
“Well this is news.” Locke came to stand by Edgar and leaned
against the mantle. “How do you figure that?”
Locke seemed surprised. “She told you that?”
“Not in so many words---”
“Excuse me, Your Highness,” the Chancellor interrupted outside
the door. “There’s a young woman here to meet with you. She
seems a trifle frantic.”
Locke and Edgar exchanged a glance and then he straightened
with a deep breath. “Very well. I shall be there momentarily.”
The Chancellor’s footsteps were heard leaving the area and Edgar
turned. “Forget it, Locke. I appreciate what you are trying
to do, but it would never work. Terra and I are from two different
worlds. Literally. I was born to be a bachelor and she was born...
Well, she was born Terra. Pair her with Setzer or Sabin. They
seem taken with her.”
“Only you love her.”
Edgar clenched his jaw and straightened his royal cape. “Locke.”
“Okay. I’ll drop it, but only for a little while. Celes wants
a double wedding and I’m determined to give her what she wants.”
“Fine, then marry Shadow off. He’s in need of a good woman
to change his fashion taste.”
Locke chuckled and followed Edgar out of his bedchamber. “Yeah.
Like I’d be able to even bribe someone to marry that walking
“Stranger things have happened.”
“Then maybe you’ll marry Terra.”
Edgar sent Locke a dark look, but he ignored it as he stared
down the hall with a smirk on his face. “Locke Cole,” Edgar
growled, “you smug old scratch. You always believe you know
Locke chuckled. “Who says I don’t?”
“Celes,” Edgar snapped.
Locke threw back his head and laughed.
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