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FF6 Short Story Contest

#21
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Winners posted!

https://www.ff6hacking.com/forums/showth...p?tid=3325

Thank you everyone for participating! And for those who missed it, don't worry! keep your stories! We will inevitably do another short story contest in the future.
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#22
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Okie-dokie, here's what I got. Prepare for mind-numbing horror beyond human comprehension. (not really)


THE GODS ARE IN THE DEEP



"I cannot even hint what it was like, for it was a compound of all that is unclean, uncanny, unwelcome, abnormal, and detestable. It was the ghoulish shade of decay, antiquity, and desolation; the putrid, dripping eidolon of unwholesome revelation; the awful baring of that which the merciful earth should always hide. God knows it was not of this world—or no longer of this world—yet to my horror I saw in its eaten-away and bone-revealing outlines a  leering, abhorrent travesty on the human shape; and in its mouldy, disintegrating apparel an unspeakable quality that chilled me even more."

    H.P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider", 1921.


Coming at a late hour into the town of Zozo, he expected to be greeted by the local thugs and jacknives common to that forsaken place. By his remembering it was a carrion city if he ever saw one; still, he needed lodgings for the night. Much to his surprise, however, he was met only with the quiet alleys, the soaked streets and the rain ever-falling like a thin, grayish cascade. It was wet, dark and eerie, and not a soul to be seen.

He looked at the cobblestone path, the seedy architeture standing along the edge of the way like grim monuments. A four-storied building with a wooden plaque that read "cafe" over the entrance, the sign half-rotten and so the letters on it. He walked under the gloom of the buildings. Eyeing the place as it came into view, looking for somewhere he could spend the nighthours in a modicum of safety. Instead he found lying on the pavement at the crossroad a dead body once belonged to a man by the size of its frame. Its head was missing. He walked up to the corpse and stood looking down at its miserable heap. Some nameless gang member, or perhaps a merchant of "acquired" goods, his end met upon the pitiless stone under the rainflood. Siegfried regarded it for a moment, then in an impromptu funeral service he muttered:

Dormit in pace. Rest in peace.

Even the lowest wretch finds some dignity in death, he thought. As he went up the main street he heard a window close shut on a high storied building. Everything seemed to be bolted and barred against an outside menace, but he couldn't guess what it was. On the left side of the path the scenery changed; the looming, dilapidated quarters were replaced by muddy grounds where it stood an even more destitute shell of a structure. Vines crept up the masonry; an entrance with no door; only darkness inside. All along with a chilling quality he could hardly tolerate. He recognized it. That was the tell -- its presence was unmistakable.

He had lost its trail at the Kolts, where it maneuvered out of his reach through the caves; coming here later he caught wind of it around the Zozo mountains. It seemed fond of high places for some inscrutable reason. Yet for all his efforts to pursue it, it also seemed to follow him much like his reflection. Yes, his mirror image. A thing in his exact likeness -- yet wrong in some fundamental aspect. If anything, he knew it was no monster. If it were, then it would be dead by now, killed by his hand. No, it was some other nature. Not man nor monster, but a thing apart. Strange, unnatural. It would not be hurt by common weapons. He'd never seen it bleed. He had sought every book, every sage and village elder for an answer, for a means to destroy it, to extinguish it. Rituals, runestones -- it was all but futile. Its continued existence defied and tormented him, and defied the very tenents of the world, its cardinal rules.

Standing in front of that husk of a building, all thoughts of rest disappeared from his mind. But as he was about to enter, another presence made itself known. Someone was coming down the street. He could hear footsteps overlapping, no doubt produced by multiple feet, enough to indicate a small crowd of people. They were coming his way and would pass him shortly. Siegfried climbed down to lower ground and in the refuge of a hollowed tenement he watched and waited for the company to appear. Soon they arrived, marching around the corner.

This was no outlaw gang; their number was too great. For what he could see they looked like ordinary, familial folk. They gathered in front of that same ominous building, where they stood under the falling drizzle. Citizens young and old -- some had their children with them. Strangely enough they appeared to be wearing whatever best clothes they had, shielded from the rain with their umbrellas. There was no commonality to their dress style, no recognizable etiquette to their reunion. This odd assortment of would-be socialites looked completely out of place there. They stood in collective silence while the tardy ones catched up to the main group. Women fussed their makeup and wiped the faces of their little ones. Men fixed their attires and nodded to each other in greeting. When the group had finally coalesced and settled, a caped man stepped forward, lit a lamp and went inside. Siegfried watched the rosy glow that came from the building interior. Then, as if on cue, the crowd began to enter, single file, like a parade of disparate characters. He heard their busy steps echo inside, and heard them on the stairs. They all entered. After a while there was just the rain and the nocturnal quiet.

He lapsed for a moment, bewildered by what he'd just seen. Then with renewed interest, he returned to the site and followed into the dark opening in the wall. He listened to the silence, wondering if there could be an invisible threat lying nearby. Getting accostumed to the blackness around him, he could make out the surroundings just enough to see at the back of the room a head of stairs that -- unlike he expected -- went downwards through the floor. Peering over the vault, he saw an astounding number of steps that descended to some unknown deep, far beyond what he could rightly measure. He could hear the faintest sound of human voice coming from below. Repeated in turn, like a chant, the words formless in that abyss. Siegfried started down the steps, the bottomless chant growing in dimension, in conviction.

The descent led to a rock floor. It was cold and raw under his feet. There was no one in that tunneled corridor or he would've seen them, for on the wall were fixed torches that burned with oil. Standing there he could smell salt in the air around him. He didn't think it impossible that the place had been a sea cavern in ages past. The eerie choir of voices echoed around the stone walls. He followed.

Soon the cave walls widened, sculpting a vast open space. On lower ground the stone was wet. There in the middle of the room he saw the oddest crowd he'd ever laid eyes upon. Standing among the rock formations and tiny wandering crabs like a misplaced carnival, seemingly unfazed by their circunstance. The chanting had ceased. Siegfried got himself up on a stone ledge and stalked along the high cave wall. Sometimes slowly, sometimes swift. When he reached about midway he could see the ongoings of that queer assembly; a nubile woman had been singled out from the group. She wore a thin, wispy veil over her body and was barefoot on the wet floor. A person -- its entire figure obscured in ceremonial, priest-like clothes -- held a thick of brush in his hand, which he set alight over the fire and waved the fumes about the maiden's head and body. Watching this unfold, Siegfried noticed that she was standing near the edge of a great, dark pool. From that point on the cave receded into a sunken grotto, the low stalactites swallowed up by the dark waters.

He looked at the others gathered below; like an expectant audience, they watched the ritual in utter silence. He could literally hear the movements of the priest's hands in the air, the fire crackling and sizzling in the wildgrass. Shortly after it was done. The hooded priest backed away, leaving the young woman to stand there facing the pool. None spoke. Siegfried tensed up, reaching for his sword. The noxious feeling was returning, exactly as before. It was the tell. A tidal shift, a roar of water -- out of the great dark pool emerged a form more ancient and otherwordly than he'd ever seen.
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  • madsiur (09-15-2016)

#23
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This is pretty cool. Everything seems a little bit "on-edge", so to speak. I'm interested in seeing how it plays into your hack.


Confused Moogles FTW
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