• Part 1

    The all too familiar echo of children playing outside jumbled with the obnoxious ringing of a much too out-of-date alarm clock. Whimpering at the thought of disturbing her comfy position in bed, which these days wasn’t earned easily, Geo forced herself into a sitting position, grumbling under her breath as she rubbed the tiredness from her eyes.

    Luckily the smell of breakfast had found its way into her meek sleeping quarter, and against the numerous protests of her body, she followed the smell into what was lucky to be called a kitchen.

    “Finally! Your breakfast was beginning to get cold,” her mother scolded over a hot mound of coals.

    Finally? Geo spared her mother a roll of her eyes before walking outside into the warm sunlight. She took in a deep breath of air in hopes of something fresh but was greeted instead with a staleness that left her body parched.

    With that thought in mind, she underwent the usual morning routine, making her way first to a small oasis nearby to gather some fresh water. Right as she approached, she went to scratch her face and was immediately reminded of the previous week.

    She cursed, tears welling in her eyes from the pain. Knowing it was just a small flesh wound, and already starting to heal, Geo knelt down and splashed some water on her face, reveling in the coolness of the water over her scrapes. But just like every morning, her eyes would eventually clear, the water below her would settle, and she’d be staring into her own, foreign reflection.

    Geo stood out like a sore thumb in her small village. The majority of the women had rich, dark –colored hair and dark eyes, but Geo’s hair was an unusual light shade of green, accentuated by her dark complexion and natural azure eyes. And unlike most of the ladies in her village, Geo insisted on keeping her hair cut short just above her shoulders and dressing comfortably in her short overalls and white t-shirt.

    It was hard to look at herself even now. With the ruggedness of her appearance, Geo looked more like her father than ever. She grimaced at the bruises and scratches on her face and wondered how her mother had ever let her behave as she had.

    Geo joined the Pariah’s Infantry at the young age of sixteen, and now, at only nineteen, was in charge of her village’s fleet, a high achievement for anyone, let alone a young woman. She was responsible for protecting their village from raids and for providing the essentials for the people’s survival. Occasionally, due to territorial mishaps, they would go into battle with the Dryads, and it was never an easy win.

    The previous week, some Dryads had invaded their village, and the team was forced into immediate combat. Some blood was spilled, but fortunately, most of it was Dryad blood. There was no reason for the attack other than the tribe had just happened to be in the line of the Dryad’s random choice of travel.

    No thanks to the Government out-casting them to the outskirts of civilization.
    Geo’s teeth clenched and her jaw muscle worked as she stared at the wounds on her face, resenting the lives that she and her villagers were forced to live. But her attention was wrenched away from her reflection suddenly when she heard the echo of distressed calls from nearby villagers.

    A million unorganized thoughts began coursing through her head.

    What could be wrong? Will I have to fight again?

    Running straight back toward her hut and into the kitchen, Geo saw that her mother was gone. In the distance she could hear the quiet humming of what sounded like a vehicle, possibly a hovercraft. She stepped outside and looked as far out into the desert as she could. In a matter of a few minutes, there in front of the crowd of people was parked a large hovercraft with the words XAR on the side.

    “What is the Xea Air Force doing here?” she asked herself.

    Two large muscular men stepped out of the hover followed by a younger less stout man. He proceeded by raising his hand to the villagers, an obvious gesture for them to quiet.

    From where she was, Geo could tell that the man was tall and lean—no doubt a ranking officer. His tousled, jet-black hair was cropped short, and by the looks of the way the sun reflected off of it, meticulously gelled.

    Geo couldn’t help but sneer.

    Loud yelling of disapproval preceded their grand entrance, the voices carrying enough to be heard from miles away. His demeanor unruffled, the officer lowered his hands to speak.

    “Listen, please! I am here on a mission of upmost importance. This involves the leader of your militia. Please can you point me to his home? Or is he here now?”

    Murmurs of suspicion buzzed throughout the crowd, and a couple of people even looked back at Geo to see if she’d make a move.

    The man sighed, frustrated by the crowd’s reluctance, and repeated, “I asked if he was here?”

    Geo scoffed at his assumption and stepped up indignantly. “She is right over here.”

    Every one of her villagers turned around, their eyes glued to her with amused anticipation. Most of them looked concerned, especially her mother who was now tightly holding on to her younger sister.

    Geo smiled at them with reassurance and turned her attention to the officer. With a look so fierce it could make any grown man step back, she strode over to him with a confidence that he couldn’t help but be impressed by.

    The man grinned and gave her the signal to follow him into his hover.

    “Come. Please.”

    She was stunned by his abruptness. Crossing her arms, she said arrogantly, “And why would I follow you? I have nothing to do with the Xea Air Force. Whatever your business is for coming here is a mistake—so leave.”

    The man was completely taken by surprise. All he could do was stand there and stare at her with a dumbfounded yet amused expression. He couldn't believe that this Pariah woman would be so bold as to question him.

    “Listen,” the man continued gently. “I promise that we are not here to harass you. However, right here and now is neither the appropriate place nor time to discuss what we need to discuss. It’s up to you whether or not you want to come with me. You seem to be a very strong woman. I would hate to think that the reason you're so unwilling to come with me is because you're afraid.”

    Geo’s eyed him, suddenly more curious.

    “So,” he said taking a slow intended step backwards, “I'm getting back onto the hover. No one is forcing you to come, but if you're interested, I think it would behoove you to follow me.” He flashed a set of pearly white teeth—no doubt the work of a good orthodontist—and walked back into the hover.

    Despite his innate charm, she snarled, frustrated by the decision she now had to make.
    Turning around, she glanced at all of the confused and expecting faces—the faces of her fellow villagers. The people whom she’d vowed to protect no matter how grave the danger.

    The people whom she’d dreamed of saving from this pathetic way of living since she was old enough to know what a crappy way of living was.

    Then she saw her mother and younger sister, and she knew what she had to do.

    Taking in a deep breath of dry air, Geo spared a reassuring smile to her mother, whose look of concern by this point had intensified, waved good-bye to her villagers, and followed the two muscular men onto the hover.

    She decided against her better judgment to pick a seat right next to the window—purposefully avoiding all contact with the personnel.

    The black-haired man smirked at her as he took the seat next to her. “You may want to buckle up.”

    She rolled her eyes. “I’ve been in a hover before, thanks,” she said sarcastically.

    He shrugged with a nonchalance that caused her blood pressure to sky-rocket.

    Geo scoffed.

    Why she’d decided to come she wasn’t sure. Maybe some part of her just wanted to get out of the desert. And then another part truly hoped that this could be the chance she’s waited for to plea for her village.

    She held onto the side of her seat as it took off.
    We’ll see, she thought.

    Casperia: Part 2

    Author's notes: This story is a sort of fanfiction in that I incorporate some elements of Final Fantasy and Full Metal Alchemist into the story. Thanks for reading!