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Lunar Cry

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It was time.

(For Edea, Time Compression had already begun.)

Time. Her time.

(Edea sat upon a chair, blind beneath a bird-shell mask, frozen, head thrown back. Gauzy drapery rustled about her, caressing her skin like a silken cocoon. She felt the warm slick alien presence spilling within her, stretching and swelling like a parasitic worm, luxuriating in her hapless body. For torment and pleasure, Ultimecia had thrust Edea's hands between her thighs, stroking her to savage ecstasy.)

Hair streamed back. The mask peeled away, yet the slave was still blind inside skull's prison, seeing only what she chose to let through. White hanging veils of drapery snapped taut around them as Edea stiffened and screamed inside her body's shackles. Ultimecia smiled coolly and arose, gliding through the silken membrane. Her hands caressed her breasts and the sweep of collarbones with tingling satisfaction. A fine young body, this. She might keep it.

(Numb and spent, Edea sensed the girl behind her, held as she was. Another child, and she had no way to protect this sacrificial lamb. She had taken Ultimecia's essence into herself to save the orphanage children, lest any of them become such a vessel. Now the sorceress would eat them all, a devouring Mother.)

Edea lounged on a floating throne, a cruel smile flickering over her lips as puppet dancers whirled and weaved about her feet. The madness was filling the crowd. They roared like beasts, carried away by the pulse of drums. The nightmare had begun. They were living her fevered fantasy.

(Edea's arm lifted with a flourish, shaping a lance of ice that curled around her wrist before flying forward, into Squall's body with a sickening crunch. She could feel the very bones of his shoulder separating, dislocating as he fell back and away. His face was so white. The girl reached for him, powerless.)

That boy. Unbelievably, he had slain her. Now he stood impassively by a broken pillar of stone, watching her last embers fading away. Yet a young woman in a dark sheath was gliding towards her, meekly offering submission, salvation: a willing vessel.

(Edea crumpled under the thudding blast of purple lightning. The power, the pain were unimaginable. Squall-not-Squall leapt forward with a cry, clutching a sword whose strike she knew she must one day feel. But for now, the children were safe. The sorceress poured into her, a blind probing leech latching onto her soul and beginning to give suck.

The sorceress rose with an idle caress of her own skin, gliding through the silken membrane to a waiting throne. Dancers whirled about her feet. Poor Squall fell out and away from her in endless repetition, ice-riven, betrayed by Matron's own hand. The gauzy drapery around her chair snapped taut as she stiffened and screamed inside, a lunar cry to shatter the shackles of time and space.

(It was time. And now all time was hers.)