Ch8-4: Healing Wings

-I will aid you and your friends against the Daear.-

It was the voice of the White Dragon from Rydia’s dreams. A dream turned to hazy reality.

Yes… help us…

As if her confirmation was all that was needed, suddenly things began to happen on their own. She felt the familiar rush of power through her body, the touching of a distant awareness to her own. Mind to mind. Heart to heart. Spirit to spirit. And though Rydia had summoned creatures for all of her life, something about this felt different… foreign… a creature so far removed from their world. Yet, she did not find herself afraid.

-Relax, child. I will Guide you.-

Within the light she saw the glimmering of bright teal Dragon eyes. She could feel the flower-scented breath upon her. When her fingers reached out, they brushed against hide that was no longer starspirit, but real.


Rydia spoke the name of release. The Temple began to rumble and shake, a tiny place in which something huge was growing as a brilliant white light filled her vision. Part of her wanted to pull back in alarm, but she dug her heels into the stone floor and forced herself to withstand.

I… must… not… falter…

Though she couldn’t see, she could feel. There was an immeasurable power unfolding at the tips of her fingers, a power that had so gently tapped into her own. Somehow, it was using her like an anchor and was pulling itself from insubstantiality into physical reality. Never before had the Summon actually Summoned itself. But for this moment, Rydia knew that she was merely a vessel of some greater force dawning upon the Blue Planet.


Ever so dimly, the Caller was aware of the shouts of surprise from the mages behind her. She couldn’t pick out one voice from the other – all were condensed into a chorus of awe and fear. It was all she could do not to add her own to the sound.

-I… am…-

The light grew so intense that she could no longer keep herself from flinching. A deep silence fell over the Temple and the lands beyond. As if the planet itself knew of the coming of the Dreigiau.

When Rydia opened her eyes, she found herself on the floor of the stone temple. The brilliant light was gone, leaving nothing more than the dim glimmering of the mural on the wall. Sweat streaked her face and her whole body shook – the power that had just passed through her had been tremendous. But it had left her unharmed.

She heard her name shouted, then the scampering of footsteps. Palom rushed up to her from behind, catching her shoulder with one hand. Brown eyes wide, he nearly seemed to be hyperventilating. “What WAS that!?”

“The Dreigiau,” was all that she knew to answer.

“The what?” he wrinkled his nose, peering around the room.

“Where… did it go?” Alexander asked, brushing off his robes.

“Who cares… I’m just glad it went!” Newt sneered.

It was the sound of the White Mage’s voice that drew her attention first. No longer did it have the raspy, suffering sound as it did before. It was full and strong and very much healthy. When Rydia turned to look, her eyes widened.

Just a faint shimmer of white remained, a pale outline along the contours of Newt’s form. Already, the sheen of sickness was evaporating from his skin, a natural color replacing the clammy paleness. It may have been a trick of her dazzled eyesight, but she could almost see traces of darkness disintegrating off, choked away by the light.

“Newt!” Alexander’s exclamation indicated that he, too, had noticed his friend’s miraculous recovery. “What happened?”

The White Mage paused in mid-snerl long enough to peer down at his open palms in wonderment. His russet head shook, bewildered. When Newt turned to look at them, he seemed to have lost his voice. A second miraculous moment.

“It musta been something up with that light?” Palom observed shrewdly. Then he turned to the Caller. “It was some kind of Summon, wasn’t it?”

“It’s… hard to explain,” Rydia still found herself lacking answers, despite the fact that the deed was done.

“Hey… uh… guys?” Alexander interrupted, his face tilted towards the outside of the Temple. A strange radiant pattern flickered over his dark features as he stood riveted to his spot. His voice was breathy when he spoke, “Look at this…!”

Even Newt forced himself to his feet as the group gathered in the mouth of the doorway. There was a great trail of light in the sky, millions of tiny streams of prismic light tracing along every side. Like a living rainbow, the clouds parted for its majestic passage, shafts of sunlight streaming down into the forest bed below. A shimmering blur rose from the land, as if the living things of the Blue Planet were waking from a timeless, forgotten slumber.

For the first time, it dawned on Rydia to really wonder what it was she had just set free over the world. She had been so caught up in the particulars of human strife… even though it was obvious that the power of Dreigiau was vast and unknown, she had not considered what awakening the power would do beyond the bounds of battle. However, she could see that the effect was one of gentle healing and tranquility.

It’s almost like it’s all being undone..?

Under the wings of the White Dragon, the planet responded as the light washed away shadows that had been wrought by the destruction of the Crystals. Equilibrium was once more established, though for a fleeting moment. Still, it was enough to lighten the Caller’s heart and reflect hope in her companions’ wide eyes.

Even though the Crystals have been destroyed, there’s still a chance to fix this…

“Where do you think it’s headed?” Palom was the first to catch his breath.

“Baron,” Rydia answered, her voice distant. She didn’t realize she had spoken until she felt the others looking at her expectantly.

“How do you know?” Newt frowned, rubbing the side of his nose with one finger.

“Because,” she returned his frown with her no-nonsense lip pursing. “That’s where he told me he was going.”

“Oh,” he said simply as if nothing else could cross his mind to say.

Alexander’s violet eyes remained tracking the light through the sky. Faintly, it had begun to vanish along the fringes as the source sped off over the caps of the forest. He mouthed a few soundless words before he stuttered, “I think we should follow it!”

“What?” Newt turned his attention away from the unbending Caller.

“Dude… he’s right!” Palom’s chin jerked up with realization. “If it’s going to Baron, then that’s how we can find our way back there, too!”

“In the middle of a battle? You saw the armies that were marching in that way!” the white mage wrinkled his nose.

“All the more reason why YOU should be there!” Rydia planted one hand firmly on her hip, disapproval tugging the corners of her mouth downward.

Newt simply grunted something about pansy healers and looked the other way.

Alexander, however, was already gathering up their stuff with the aid of Palom. “If we don’t hurry, it could vanish. Then we’d be stuck out here with no direction back home again. They’re going to need all the help they can get… and besides… the Dreigiau is on its way there.”

“Yeah, from the looks of that thing, there won’t be much of a fight for us to come home to once we get there,” Palom brushed the knees of his trousers off with a grin.

Morale was rising even after the fading of the Dragon’s light and it was infectious.

“As long as it’s on our side,” the white mage grumbled, shouldering his cloak.

“He is,” Rydia confirmed. “Trust me… he is.”

Talk fell to the wayside as the boys gathered what was left of their belongings and reverently restored the Temple back to the state it was in before they had arrived. Rydia traced her fingers along the wall murals, then down the weathered hides of the Guardian statues with a hint of longing before she turned back to the others.

“Okay,” the Caller nodded. “Let’s head to Baron, guys.”

Alexander uttered a happy sound in reply as they made their way up the stairs and out into the dappled daylight. No heels were dragging and all eyes were cast skyward, following the remaining streams of light and parted clouds. It wasn’t very long before they passed beyond the safety of the Temple’s clearing into the waiting forests. But even these no longer felt so foreboding as they had when Rydia first arrived. The sounds of life had returned, little birds flickering amongst the tree’s canopies and squirrels making their weightless flight from branch to branch.

Once within the forest, it felt like very little time had passed before they wound their way from the other side. Familiar-feeling hills rolled before them, traced with a little path that undoubtedly led towards the city. Squinting in just the right light offered a shadow that might have been the castle on a distant rise.

“Wow… that was fast?” Palom commented. “I swear those woods were much bigger the first time we came through them.”

“It sure seemed like it,” Alexander agreed. His gaze was fixed on the horizon, in attempt to make out what lay ahead of them. Despite the serenity of the light-touched hillsides, they all knew that battles brewed within the city-realms. Things would look a lot less serene once they reached the place where the Daear had marched.

I sure hope that the Dragon got there in time. The way the Daear fight… the decay and destruction they create… if that falls on the whole city of Baron, it would be horrible!

Rydia wrung her fingers through the folds of her begrimed robes. Though her body ached and longed for rest and comfort, she knew that there was no comfort to be had until both Pren and the O.M.E.G.A. were stopped.

For a moment, her mind drifted to Joran. And she wondered how the young Lunar girl was going to hold up on her own against all that was happening in Fabul.

“Miss Rydia? Are you feeling okay?” Alexander asked, bringing the Caller out of her thoughts.

“Never been better,” she replied with a cheerful smile to mask the grimace she really felt. Then, despite the protests of her limbs, she forced one step forward. And another. Until the Caller was once more striding into the face of the oncoming battle.