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Cursed Shield

By Mason Wheeler
macmaster_2@yahoo.com

Author's note:

When I finally got that horrible cursed shield uncursed and it turned into the Paladin Shield, I immediately looked at the item description. It said that it housed a warrior's spirit or something like that. Now wasn't that about the same thing it said about Illumina? I asked myself. So I decided to figure out what the sword and shield had in common. I got an idea, then put it together with a few things I knew about the storyline, and got the history of the Paladin Shield.

That was when I decided that I had a really good idea. I knew just what to do with it, too. After having read all the great fanfics at RPGamer.com, I decided to give something back by typing it up and sending it in. There are a few minor spoilers if you haven't played this part of the game before, but since you're reading FFVI fanfics, I'll assume that you have.

I hope you enjoy my story.

* * *

Nine months after the world fell

Daniel was getting desperate. He didn't have more than two days worth of food left. Everyone else in Narshe was gone, killed, or hiding in their houses with the doors locked like him. He couldn't go over to anyone else's house because they wouldn't open the doors to anyone. The last time someone had done that, he had wound up getting hypnotized by a member of the Cult of Kefka and taken to the Goddesses-only-know-where. But he needed something to eat and fast or he'd starve to death in his pitiful hiding place in his home. So he decided to get some.

He took the sword he had found a few months ago, which had been dropped by a fleeing townsperson, and a few scraps of meat, and headed out of his house. Since The End Of The World As We Knew It, as he called it, those green rocks had become pretty common. He knew they taught magic to a person who held it, and the one he had gave him just what he needed: the ability to hide. "Vanish" he said to no one in particular before leaving his house. He looked down at himself and saw nothing but a vague outline, and that only because he was looking for it. To a monster, he was for all practical purposes invisible.

He wandered around until he saw a few red wolves. He put down the scraps of dried meat and waited as the wolves came over to investigate. Then he quickly brought his sword down on the neck of one of the wolves. The others, surprised at their companion's head suddenly leaving its body with no good reason, turned and bolted. He dragged the wolf carcass back to his house, where he skinned it and began to dry the meat. His food problem had been solved.

* * *

Three weeks later

Daniel had become quite good with his sword and walking in shadow. There had been one close call when a monster had cast Fire on him and he lost his invisibility. He had quickly restored it and got out of there as fast as he could. But on the whole, he was surviving well. He had started hunting monsters not just for food, but to train his skills in the hope that he might one day be able to escape this creepy abandoned town and go somewhere that people actually lived. He had heard of a colloseum to the west, where he could probably make some money by fighting. But first he had to learn how to use this sword. So it's back outside and Vanish me again and there's some wolves right by that pump.

By the time he finished with the wolves, he walked out of the mountain village and into the outside world, where the monsters provided more opportunity to train his swordsmanship. He decided to go over to the lake this time and see what was there. But when he got there, he saw something that made him even more excited than hunting monsters: a shield, washed up on the shore. If he had a shield and a sword, he could even defend himself against magic-using monsters instead of having to run from them. He picked it up and took it in his left hand. He saw a few monsters nearby and charged to the attack. The creature turned and slashed him. That was when he realized it could see him. His spell wasn't working! He ran and cast the spell again, but it didn't hide him. And he couldn't handle his sword very well anymore. It kept nicking him as he ran as fast as he could back to his home in Narshe.

* * *

Three Days Later

Daniel lay in bed, sick. His wounds had become infected, and he had nothing he could do about it. He had no appropriate magic and the Items merchant had long since left, taking his whole inventory (what was left intact after the earthquakes, at least) with him. It was all he could do to force himself to eat the tasteless and very tough wolf meat he had stocked up on. The one good part about this (if it could be called a good part) was that he had figured out what had happened. It was that shield he had found. In a book of lore he was looking through yesterday, (he had plenty of time to read now) his eyes had happened to fall on a passage that perfectly described that strange shield he had found on the shore. It was called the Paladin Shield.

According to the book, it had belonged to one of the last Mage Knights, a Paladin who had helped put an end to the War of the Magi. With his magical shield and his sword, Illumina, the Paladin had sought out and destroyed as many of the magi who put their powers to an evil or selfish use as he could. But someone like that was bound to attract attention sooner or later, and it happened. Several evil mages ambushed him one day and after a long and hard battle, finally killed him. Within the shield they trapped the Paladin's soul as a punishment, and placed a great curse on the shield that it would destroy whoever tried to use it again. They tried to curse the sword as well, but the magic wouldn't hold against its superior powers of light. Years later, at the end of the War of the Magi, the superstitious people sealed up everything magical with the demons and dragons and other reminders of magic, including an old shield they had found in the posesson of some mages. They tried to seal the sword up, but again it wouldn't be sealed with so much evil, so it was given to a man named Franz Kohlingen (who later founded a city which he named after himself) who promised to bury it where it would never be found.

The sword was eventually unearthed, but the shield washed up on the shore a thousand years later, few months after the world was shattered and the sealed creatures released. And now Daniel had it, and the cursed shield had destroyed him. He could feel some of the curse in him now, even. No longer was he a young and vital swordsman. It had infested him, making him prone to irrational bouts of suicidal feelings, or of overwhelming anger. He had aged prematurely; a bedridden old man was now the host for his still-young spirit. But he could not leave the shield alone. The lure of its power gnawed at him. He now knew the legends were true, and the bearer of the Paladin shield would be practically invincible. No magic could harm him, and few enemies could overwhelm its protective force. He could feel that the spirit inside drained the magical force from the shield's bearer in an attempt to dispel the great curse, but it was so strong that the process would take forever. But still he could not resist his futile attempts to master this magnificent shield.

* * *

Five months later

Daniel was about to die. The shield had drained so much of his life and his sanity that he knew he didn't have long to live. He had to give up his obsession, but the shield drew him to it like a candle draws moths to their terrible destruction. He never ate except if the shield was on the table, and he never slept but with the cursed shield under the mattress. He couldn't help it. So he was about to die.

He heard his door creak open. He knew he had locked it, and no one but him had the key, so someone had to have picked it. There was a thief in his house! He tried to spring up and grab his sword, but he didn't have enough energy. All he could do was take his shield out from under the mattress and clasp his precious treasure tightly to his bosom. He wouldn't have it much longer, but no one was taking it from him!

He suddenly heard people walking into his room. He turned and looked at the faces of his assailants. He suddenly stopped and stared. Isn't that green-haired girl that Imperial witch that came tromping through here right before The End Of The World As We Knew It and tried to steal the frozen Esper? And that gypsy-looking man! He was that thief who used to be Arvis's friend, back when Arvis was still alive. And that strange white puffball... Was the rumor about the moogles in the mines true after all??? He didn't recognize the fourth looter. He had long red robes on and a white moustache and carried a staff in his hand. These people didn't look like looters. He knew these people. That gypsy may be a thief, but he was known to only steal from monsters and evil creatures, and he had once helped save Narshe from Kefka. The witch had helped as well. For the first time since everyone left after the earthquakes, he recognized some familiar faces.

Give them the shield. They can use it better than you, said the peaceful voice of trapped spirit of the Paladin to his mind.

No!!! It's my shield! MINE!!! I won't let them have it! he thought back as loud as he could.

You'd prefer to die of the curse? Only the magical Ribbons can dispel the curse. Draining your magic is not enough. I can sense that they have Ribbons.

I will not give up my treasure!

Is the shield yours, or do you belong to the shield? The evil curse has a strong hold on you, but it cannot completely destroy your free will. Give them the shield.

The effort nearly killed him, but he summoned enough free will to release his tight grasp on the shield. He strained to hand it to the green-haired woman standing at his bedside. He even summoned enough strength from his inner reserves to tell her what it was and of its potential. "If you could uncurse it, imagine its defensive power," he said, his fingers becoming just loose enough to allow the witch to take it from his hand.

He lay back in his bed, his strength drained by the great act of willpower, oblivious to their thanks before they left.

* * *

One Month Later

Celes watched in awe as Terra's shining blue Atma blade cleaved the head of the Tyrannosaur in half. They had heard a rumor of these awesome beasts hoarding Imp Halberds, and the Colosseum list said that one could be bet for a legendary Cat Hood. Strago had said that he didn't know there were any left. They were ancient helms of the female Mage Warriors, and that if there was one still around it would be perfect for Relm to wear. Relm had immediately decided she wanted one, and with her childish one-track mind would think of nothing else but Imp Halberds. So off they had gone to this dank and dismal forest.

Suddenly Celes gave a gasp of shock. She felt the aura of evil that had surrounded her suddenly dissipate. Her shield began to glow. She realized that she had finally done it after all her and her friends' countless battles being hampered by this worthless plate of metal. She had uncursed the Cursed Shield!

* * *



For those that may not understand a few of the references, here's my logic.

The item description text would seem to indicate a possible connection between the Paladin Shield and the Illumina Sword. (Or maybe it's just me.) So I decided that they might have belonged to the same man. If he was a Paladin, he had to have been a good guy. If the Cursed Shield didn't show up until the World of Ruin, maybe it had been cursed and sealed up with all the other evil stuff at whatever time Phunbaba, Doom Gaze, and the Eight Dragons were locked away.

As for the fate of Illumina, if the owner of the Colliseum (whose brother lived in Kohlingen, so he probably did as well before he moved up north) had the legendary sword, he would have to have come about it recently. You don't just have something like that without attracting suficient atention for the heroes of the game to notice. Since there was no curse on it, it probably wouldn't have been sealed with the other stuff. So it was probably buried under Kohlingen, then when the world got all screwed up, this guy found it near one of the gaping holes the earthquakes had made.

The history of Cat Hoods I completely made up. I have nothing in the game to support it, but it sounds cool. Also the list at the colliseum. There isn't really one, but I decided to put one in to facilitate the storyline.

Tell me what you think.

My email address is macmaster_2@yahoo.com

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