She heard a voice call her name.
An unfamiliar and gravelly voice, it seemed to speak the Common language, wrapped in a strange, flowing accent. In all her years spent traveling from one nation of the Blue Planet to another, and even to the moon, Rydia had never heard such an accent before.
The Caller knew that she was asleep. That the voice had come to her in the middle of dream-mist. Despite this, she found she was quite able to will her eyes open and turn her head in the direction that the voice had come. And there she found a sight far too breathtaking to believe it had been something that her mind could have woven from its own imagination.
A created dream-scape?
All around her, the clouds billowed in plumes of multicolored light. She realized that she must have been standing on ground that was positioned high up in the sky. But it seemed like solid earth and grass under her feet – in fact there was a whole garden of flowers and trees that stretched out in front of her.
What is this place?
There were islands in the sky – floating as if it was the most natural pastime for islands to undertake. Some were large enough to support whole forests, even singular small mountains. Some were smaller, merely dotted with grass and a prism of colored flowers. A few of the islands were connected to each other by way of narrow white bridges, which looked to be made of some sort of white flaxen material, though the breeze seemed not to stir them.
Rydia felt her eyes drawn to the small garden that nestled before her. As the Caller made her way down the stone step path, she couldn’t help but marvel at how real it all felt. The grain of stone under her bare feet. The smell of grass and flowers and trees. The tinkling sound of distant running water. The way the wind stirred tendrils of her hair across her cheek.
Though she was aware enough to will her own body to do as she pleased, there was the sense that something else, something much larger than herself, had orchestrated the wondrous scene. Despite this sensation, Rydia found that she wasn’t afraid. If anything, she felt calmed.
Where are you – the one that has sent for me?
The Caller stopped as the stone of the path vanished into a wreath of wildflowers that ringed about a small crystal pool. She caught her breath as she felt the vast presence for the first time — too immeasurable to believe that it could share the same tiny dream-scape with her.
“Hello, Rydia of Mist,” the voice spoke again. Much larger now, the sound seemed to come from every direction. And yet it was welcoming. Gentle and soothing.
A glimmer of hazy white began to unfold before her eyes, expanding and growing to completely fill her vision. Great pristine wings seemed to unfurl out of the very fabric of existence, stretching to rival the pure brilliance of the clouds. Two radiant blue-green eyes shimmered down upon her, the secrets of existence locked within their depths. Framed in wisps of soft white mane, the great head rose up, towering immense above the Caller.
A white Dragon!?
It was like no Dragon that Rydia had ever seen upon the Blue Planet. Even Bahamut would not have been able to rival such a masterful creature. And though she still did not feel particularly alarmed by the creature’s presence, she found herself with a distinct loss of words. The Dragon, however, seemed to have little trouble starting up the conversation.
“I must apologize for the lack of warning for bringing you here. I suppose it’s not often that the Summoner finds herself the one Summoned?” there was a droll, warm humor in the creature’s tone that somehow lightened Rydia’s heart. Even though she knew serious words were going to follow.
“No, my lord,” Rydia found her voice, the words coming formally as they always did the first time she met with such creatures. Though something about this Dragon was different from the others she had met – it was extremely hard for her to believe that he was merely another Summoned Monster. “Is there something that you require of me?”
“Glad you asked,” the Dragon replied casually. “As a matter of fact, there is.”
The Caller took in a deep breath, her mind flickering with thoughts of why a being of such stature would have any need of her. She merely folded her hands in front of her and awaited the Dragon’s request.
“The fact that you are able to speak with me here, by itself, says that you are the one to help me. I assumed that what the Earthians of the Blue Planet call a Summoner would be the closest thing to Drei’distau,” he told her, shaking out his forelock.
“I’m afraid… I’m not sure I understand?” Rydia replied slowly, searching for the meaning behind the Dragon’s strange words.
“The short of it is,” the white finned ears perked forward as the sleek muzzle drew closer to her. A warm, pleasant odor – like a field of sunlit flowers — filled her senses. “I need you to Summon me into the Living World.”
Rydia craned her head back, green eyes wide. For loss of any coherent answer, the Caller could only stare at the Dragon in stunned silence.
“Come now, it’s not that strange of a request, is it? You do this sort of stuff all the time,” his tail flicked back and forth in slow sweeps over the grass.
“Yes, I do but…” She didn’t know how to tell her that it was the first time that a creature had ever appeared in one of her dreams, requesting her to Summon it.
“Granted, this might be a bit more difficult than your average Summon. I’ve not existed on a physical plane for a very long time. But you are the perhaps the only one left that can pull me back into Being,” the Dragon said softly. “Therefore, I humbly request your help, Rydia of Mist.”
Humbly..? My help?
A million questions began to flutter around in her mind. Who was this Dragon? Why did he not exist on a physical plane – it seemed to be suggested that he had at one time? And what could Summoning him do to fix such a situation?
I’m no dimensional-material mage. Maybe he’s mistaken me for someone else?
“No,” the Dragon surprised her with an answer to the unspoken. “There is no mistake. I simply need a connection on your plane that can pull me through. I will do all the rest.”
“But why do you wish to come here… if I may be so bold to ask?”
“Do you really need to ask?” he blinked down at her. “You already sense what trouble is in store for your world. The humans of your land are fighting back a darkness which they have little knowledge to battle against. I fear the worst for your people – there are things that have been set into motion which must be seen through.”
“The destruction of the Crystals?” Rydia said somberly.
“Yes. This is something that cannot be undone,” the Dragon nodded slowly. “It was because of their destruction that I have become aware once more.”
The Caller peered up with a questioning look.
Needing no further prompting, the creature continued, “You might say that the Crystals and I have a deep… connection. It was designed so that if anything should happen to their balance, I would awaken again. Unfortunately, I am not the only thing that has begun to stir due to the destruction of the Crystals.”
“The Daear?” Rydia replied — half question, half statement.
“You are on the ball, aren’t you? Very good,” he answered, lowering his great head to peer at her, blue-green eyes blinking. “Yes, the Daear have also slowly come out of their state of suspension. Now that the Red Moon no longer orbits the Blue Planet, the connection between the Crystals on the Earth and the Crystals on the Moon has grown distant and strained. But it cannot be broken – for all of these Crystals were created together, all by the same hand.”
“So, when the Red Moon left…” she mused, quietly rubbing her cheek with one finger.
“It began to shift the natural balance of the Blue Planet due to the strain on the elemental Crystals,” the Dragon nodded, looking grim.
“But why didn’t we know about all this before the Moon left the orbit?” Rydia spread her hands. “We could have found some way to communicate with the Lunarians to prevent something like this from happening? Didn’t Master FuSoYa foresee this trouble?”
“SoYaFu is not always the omniscient sage you think he is, young Caller,” he chuckled softly in reply. It came as a deep, gravelly sound – one that was pleasant to the ears. “I don’t know that he was thinking about what might happen with the Crystals when he made his choice to separate the Red Moon from the Blue Planet. He does sometimes get very narrow-minded when he has a particular goal he’s wishing to achieve.”
Rydia blinked. She had never heard anyone talk about the High Lunarian Sage in such a way.
This Dragon… speaks as if he knows all about who we are. Even the Lunars.
“Benjamin should have known better, though,” the tone turned to disapproval. “Though I suppose just coming to his senses like he did, I can’t really blame the boy for not being more aware as to the Crystals’ effect on things.”
Now she was really lost, “Benjamin?”
“Oh, that’s right. You don’t know,” the Dragon chuckled, though the tilt of his head was apologetic. “You would better remember him as Golbez.”
“Golbez!?” her jaw dropped as she felt a sudden churning in the pit of her stomach. “But… didn’t he leave with–”
“Long story. Let’s cut it short,” he interrupted. “You don’t have a lot of time to get the details. And I know it’s a lot. But let’s just say – Golbez has returned to the Blue Planet in order to aid his brother. He was the one that made the faulty Key Crystal that’s causing all this trouble to begin with.”
Ah! So that’s what that other, strange Crystal was? The one the Lunarian girl had…
“Yes, that is a Key Crystal,” the Dragon answered her thoughts again. “It wasn’t fully completed and balanced, however. I’m not sure that Golbez could have ever achieved that, to tell the truth. Not as he is now.”
“Is this… what he meant to happen? You said that Golbez was helping Cecil?”
“No, I don’t think this is what Golbez would have wanted to come from his creation,” his voice gave a soft sigh, “I don’t think Golbez realized how many powers out there would want to obtain the Key Crystal once he had made it. Which is exactly what happened – someone stole it. When you go and make an artifact of this sort of potential, it’s all too obvious to the powers-that-be-watching.”
“But… I thought we took care of that sort of thing during the Crystal Wars?” Rydia frowned. It wasn’t a cheerful thought to consider that there were other nasty powers looming over their planet after having taken down one such as Zeromus.
“Let me tell you something sad, Sunshine,” the Dragon shook out his mane, tail twitching again. “There’s always something else out there waiting for its time to unfold… whether you know it or not. That’s just the way of things.”
The Caller looked down at her feet, feeling suddenly small in the vast flow of events. Small and foolish — to have allowed herself to think that one small battle in the long continuum of time was enough to ensure the safety of all for the rest of existence. But it had been a pleasant dream.
“That’s not to claim that what you have done in the past was not important… but that’s all another story,” his voice softened, sensing her dejection. “It’s just to say, one must continue to be watchful. Earning peace over a world is difficult. Maintaining it is just as trying. This is hardly the time to give up.”
Rydia nodded slowly. What the Dragon said made enough sense.
“Besides… you have help. There are those, such as myself, who also watch over your people,” the blue-green eyes seemed gently pained. “I assure you, I want to do what I can to make this transition as smooth as it can possibly be for your world. It’s not going to be easy… because this is all balanced so finely on the edge of disaster.”
She took in a sharp breath.
“I won’t yank your leg. That’s the truth of it.”
“But there’s not much I can do for anyone… not when I’m stuck in the middle of this void,” the Dragon reverted the conversation back on it’s original path. “There’s far too much to explain at the moment. You’re going to have to trust me on this. Work with me. Help me out?”
“I…” Rydia slowly lifted her gaze to study the huge beast that stood before her. Such a powerful entity, asking for her help and her trust… claiming to want to give his aid to the people of the Blue Planet. As strange a position as she was in, something inside of her did believe him. And she couldn’t really comprehend why. “Okay… I’ll do what I can.”
It was funny to see the Dragon’s reaction. Everything about him perked up — like a cheerful puppy. “You will?”
“If you really think I can…”
“Don’t sweat it. When the time comes, I’ll show you what to do,” a big Dragony grin broke over his face. Though it might have been a trick of the light, she swore that he winked at her. “For now, just let this talk be our little secret, okay?”
Rydia nodded slowly as another thought occurred to her. “Can I ask what I should call you? It’s somewhat hard to Summon something when you don’t know its name…”
“Ah, that is true, isn’t it?” The creature’s smile widened, “I am known as Dreigiau.”