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 Dreams of a Dragon's Neck 
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A bit of blurb before I start. This is a one-shot fic, and I've posted it on a few forums to get some feedback on it. It started as a theory that I've had about the Dragon's Neck Colosseum in Final Fantasy VI - specifically, it answers the question "where did the old man get the money and manpower to build his giant arena?"

Like I said, I want to get some criticism on this. I'm hoping to submit it to this FF fansite's fanfiction section, so it's gotta be pretty good. I'm also rather annoyed with the title, so suggestions would be appreciated. :P

Oh, and a disclaimer: it contains a rather graphic bit o' violence towards the end. Nothing worse than what you'd see in the Beowulf film, mind.

<center>Dreams of a Dragon's Neck</center>

The clock chimed ten, and the old man was roused from his slumber. He sighed, and went to the window of his cabin. He gazed out to the vast expanse of ocean stretching off into the horizon, and pondered this for a while. Then, he sat down again and began to mutter to himself.

“…such a shame… a world, ripe for war… something should be done about…”

Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. He leapt from his chair as if struck by lightening, and he hurried around the little cottage, searching for something. He eventually found a piece of paper and a worn-down pen, and then he threw the two onto a table. Desperate to capture the ideas before they deserted him, he frantically scribbled down his grand scheme; all the while mumbling to himself. Finally, he stood up again and held his blueprints up to the light. He grinned manically, and began to plan his idea further.

So the seeds of the Dragon’s Neck Colosseum were sown.

***

It had been a long day for Edgar. He’d already greeted a dozen disgruntled subjects, all with demands longer and more boring than last year’s budget report. Even worse, there hadn’t been a dame in sight. The king was beginning to think that perhaps it was a plot on the behalf of his chancellor: some kind of ruse to get him to pay more attention to his courtly duties and less to his adoring female courtiers. Well, he thought to himself, I’ll be damned if that old fusspot’s going to ruin my fun.

There was a knock on the door, and a guard entered, with an elderly gentleman following beside him.

”Your Highness, I present the owner, architect and primary advocate and of the Dragon’s Neck Colosseum. He wishes to ask for royal patronage for his venture.”

Edgar mused over this proposal, and took a good look at the man. He was an eccentric by all accounts: his beard was grey and unkempt, his shirt was covered in food stains and he appeared to have not slept in days. The young monarch then spoke to him jovially.

“My good man, would you care to explain what I would be funding if I did choose to support your cause?”

The old man coughed and drew in a deep breath.

”Your Majesty, I propose an arena… a fighting pit the likes of which have never been seen before!”

The king was taken aback by this, but he let the man continue.

”You see, I have worked out the problem with this world. There is too much sloth, too little value to life. Therefore, I believe that the way to encourage good moral growth in humankind is to pit the weak against the strong; to eradicate lethargy by making sure that only the intelligent, the cunning and the hardworking survive! Mankind must be at war eternally, if it is to avoid stagnation.”

An uneasy silence fell across the court. Edgar himself was dumbstruck, unable to speak. The old man, however, was beaming cheerfully. He honestly believed in what he was saying. The king commended him for having such faith, but he couldn’t stomach his proposal at all

“…I appreciate the time you’ve taken into thinking this up. However… it’s utterly immoral. Quite frankly, I’d be ashamed to associate House Figaro with your Colosseum. I bid you good luck in finding a benefactor elsewhere. I’m sure there’d be someone happy to finance you in, say, Zozo.”

The old man’s face crumpled with rage. He bowed once and stormed out of the throne room, cursing the weak young fool and his ideologies. When he left the room, Edgar turned to his chancellor.

”How long ‘till we depart for the Narshe sands? I tire of Kohlingen; the maidens are fair but few in number, and the scenery certainly isn’t much to speak of.”

***

It was many a year afterwards, when the old man’s ambitions came to fruition.

The howling winds blasted through the dark spaces in the tower. The biting cold that it brought would drive a man to madness, had he not already fallen to despair at the sight of the endless, dreary sky, or the barren, dead wasteland. However, the inhabitants of this tower were impervious to the horrors of the new world. They had succumbed to His will; given their very souls to honour His name. They feared Him, yet they adored Him. Fanatics by nature, and Fanatics by name.

In the highest room, the leaders of the Cult convened to discuss matters of great interest to them. While the acolytes in the lower halls had all but lost their free will, the men and women assembled in the uppermost chamber still retained enough independent thought to plot, scheme and manipulate to His benefit.

The first speaker stood up and addressed the group; “Fellows of the Cult, we meet today to debate a most grave issue. While the world at present obeys and fears His rule, it is apparent that unrest may yet one day plant its seeds in the minds of the unbelievers.”

There was a murmur amongst the hooded zealots, and a female rose from her seat to challenge the speaker’s proposition.

”Brother Frederick, what leads you to this conclusion? Kefka’s name is honoured and respected from the Veldt to Jidoor. All live in fear of his Light of Judgement!”

“I have reason to believe that several heretics who attempted to overthrow our Lord before the Apocalypse are active at the moment. If they were to organise and rally the unbelievers, we would have… problems.”

“But Kefka could easily crush the dissenters. Why should we be concerned?”

“Planning ahead and destroying the rebellion now is better than having to deal with a full-scale insurrection later. Also… do you not wonder what His reaction would be if he was to discover we had the opportunity to rid Him of a nuisance but didn’t take it?”

There was a general agreement amongst the assembly, and they motioned for him to continue.

“I have pondered the problem many nights, and I may have found a solution. Before His grace touched this world, I lived in the town of Kohlingen. To the north of the town lived an old man. He had designs to build an arena, but could not find the support of any wealthy benefactors. I hear he still lives in his cabin, plans his design and awaiting patronage.”

“But how would an arena help our cause?”

“The unbelievers are boorish cattle. They need distractions to turn them away from thoughts of unrest. An arena will not only give them entertainment, it will also kill off those who may stand a chance of leading an uprising.”

The Fanatics talked amongst themselves again, and another man stood up.

”We will dispatch representatives now, Brother Frederick. May Kefka spare you for your deeds!”

***

“Good morning, gramps!” the receptionist greeted his boss and waved one of his many tentacles in the old man’s direction.

He waved back and climbed the stairs up to his private box. That purple octopus and his gelatinous companion sure had earned their keep, he thought to himself. That is, they’d not given him reason to throw them in the pit against a raging behemoth. Ultros and his friend Chupon were indebted to the Dragon’s Neck Colosseum, and he’d be making sure they worked off every damn gil of their due.

He sat in his seat and gazed approvingly at the crowds hollering in the stands. He then turned his attention to the fight at hand: an ex-Imperial soldier, dressed in rusting and badly-fitted armour, was wrestling with a wild titan. The man’s sword lay to the side, shattered into splinters. The two struggled furiously, until the gigas lost his footing and crashed headfirst into the sand of the arena floor. The victorious soldier clambered up to the giant’s neck and plunged a dagger into his spine. A terrible roar sounded from the colossus’s maw, then he fell silent. The crowd cheered like a chorus of demented angels, and the soldier revelled in his success.

The old man smiled. This was truth. This was beauty. Humanity at its finest…

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Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:08 am
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Dragon Tamer
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Well written,dark and twisted by all accounts. I enjoyed it very much. :twisted: Gives a glimpse of the darkness and foolishness of the human heart, doesn't it?

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Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:47 pm
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