The Floating Continent
[04.02.00] » by Alex Earl
The wind whipped around the small cottage fiercely, tossing small shingles around,
clumsily knocking them to the lush grass beneath the house. Birds anxiously fluttered
about the chimney, unable to land lest they be blown from it.
Kaile sighed and walked to the large bay window that outlined the front of their home.
Tossing her hair from her face, she bit her lip and gazed at the green landscape before her.
"Mom..." Kaile started, turning to face her mother who was sitting at the breakfast table,
"What's that crystal hanging above your door?"
Kaile's Mom looked up from her breakfast -- a meager dish of porridge and a slice of bacon.
(Of course, this was not unusual, seeing how, although the land was fertile, the weather did not
cooperate with the intents of the farmers of the small town.) -- and frowned. She got up solemnly
and walked toward her bedroom door.
"Dear heart," Kaile's Mother said, frowning, "This is all that remains of Atmar." She sighed and
put the crystal back on the small altar-like outcropping above her door. As frank as the answer
seemed, it didn't quench Kaile's thirst for knowledge.
"Atmar?" Kaile said, jumping up and down in a futile attempt to reach the crystal. She would have
been able to grab it, that is, if she hadn't fallen flat on her back.
"Oh, sweetie," Kaile's mother said, helping her up, "Atmar was our life. He was our pet, our
assistant, our helper, our hound. He was, as a matter of fact, the guardian of your crib." Kaile frowned,
her mother setting her on her knee.
"Momma...why is Atmar a crystal?" Kaile said, looking up at her mother with those pool-like
eyes she possessed. Kaile's mother frowned some more, rocking Kaile slowly.
"Well, one day," Kaile's mother started, "...one day, Imperial soldiers invaded our town."
She pulled up the sleeve of her dress, revealing a large scar. "I got this from them." Kaile
frowned and poked at her mother's scar.
"We had just taken the last bushel of wheat inside, and had set you down to sleep..." Kaile's Mother
spoke, slowly and clearly. She opened her mouth to speak again, but Kaile interrupted her.
"How old was I?" Kaile said, bouncing lightly, eager to be placed into the story.
"You were Two years and One month." Kaile's Mother said, leaning back, "Anyway. We put you
down to sleep, Atmar watching our every move. You were such a cute baby." She paused a second,
diving into her daughter's azure eyes, then started again. "We settled for the evening, the wind
singing mournfully -- that's sadly. That's when we heard the explosions."
"Explo...juns?" Kaile said, scrunching up her noise in a vain attempt to say the word. Her mother
grinned and mouthed it out for her. "Oh...Explo...sions!" Kaile laughed, poking her mother's nose.
"Yes, dear. Now, the explosions first sounded far away, but slowly, they got louder and closer."
Kaile's mother said, her head leaned back in recollection. "Your Father and I went to see what was
going on. Peering from high on the large tree outside, we spied Imperial soldiers, firing upon the
houses on the other side of town."
"We were shocked. We rushed down from the tree and into the home to see if you were alright,
but we soon discovered that we were too late." She continued, her eyes closed, "The soldiers had
gotten into the home through the rear door."
Kaile's eyes grew wide and she bit her lip. Her mother looked down mournfully and caressed her
"Your father managed to fight one off, but we soon realized we were in way over our heads. They had
Magitek armor waiting just outside, ready to destroy our home. I begged for them not to do it, and they
just laughed. One of the soldiers even cut me with a bayonet. From that, I let out a shriek. That...that
was a signal to Atmar who bounded from your room and to my side."
"How brave!" Kaile said, clapping her hands together. She grinned and looked up to her mother again,
who continued her story:
"The soldiers were no match for Atmar, even with weapons. But...but the Armor. The commander of the
forces ordered the armor to fire upon Atmar. Although it was a full-on blast of energy from five sources,
Atmar withstood their attack. The commander, sensing that Atmar could pose a major threat to the
success of their campaign, ordered the armors to go on a kamikaze run. They complied and in a fierce
explosion, the armors were destroyed, as were the soldiers, the commander, and, sadly, Atmar."
Kaile's mother frowned. Her daughter, always an optimist, looked up and smiled, her eyes locked
into her Mother's.
"Don't be sad, Momma. Atmar was brave!" Kaile said, grinning. Her mother grinned too.
"Okay dear, I'm sorry, but you've gotta go to school!" Kaile's Mother said, setting her daughter
on the floor. Kaile frowned, but then turned around and headed to get her book, her Mother simply
returned to her breakfast, facing the rear of the home.
"Oh, Bamamut!" Kaile said, picking up her stuffed Dragon, "Poor Atmar! He got turned into a crystal!"
She adjusted the small yellow bow around the toy's neck and set it down. She walked over to her desk
and picked up her school book. But, something caught her eye and she set her book down again.
"Magicite...crystals?" Kaile said, reaching across her desk for one of her Father's adult books. She
flipped it open and looked at the various pictures of monsters and large shiny rocks. One of the monsters
looked like her stuffed Dragon!
"Bamamut! Look! It looks like you!" She said, showing the book to her toy, "Let me read it to you!"
She clumsily put on her glasses and began reading:
"Magi...cite crystals...are formed...when...Espers...die."
"Wait, Bamamut!" Kaile said, looking at the words again, "When they...die? Oh my goodness!
Maybe...maybe Atmar was an Esper!" She read some more:
"These...crystals can tea...teach magic to those...who poss..poss...possess it. Furth...Further...furthermore,
the creatures can be called, eff...eff..effectively reviv...reviving them."
Kaile put the book down and dug through her shelf, looking for something. After a couple of seconds,
she pulled a large colorful dictionary onto the desk and opened it. After a while, Kaile's eyes grew wild and
she let out a loud gasp.
"Bamamut! Revive...means to bring back to life!" Kaile said, standing up and looking at the clock,
"Oh no...I gotta go to school!" She grabbed her book, kissed Bamamut and ran out of her room.
Then, a thought struck her. What if she tried to bring Atmar back to life? That would make Momma
Using a large chair, Kaile climbed up and grabbed the large crystal -- which Kaile
now knew to be Magicite -- and hid it in her sweater. Noisily,
she replaced the chair, arousing the attentions of her mother.
"Kaile? Honey? Why aren't you off to school?" She said, walking into the hallway where Kaile stood.
"Oh! I'm just leaving!" Kaile answered, and darted out of the house, waving goodbye.
Running up the stairs of the old schoolhouse, Kaile grinned widely. She would revive Atmar and make
her mother happy, and, what's more, have someone to protect her against the bullies who were teasing her.
"Good morning, Kaile." Mrs. Gris said, looking up from her desk. Kaile smiled and waved to her teacher
and happily waddled down to her desk. That is, she tried to get to her desk. But, as happens almost
every day, she was tripped by an angry foot.
"Ha ha! Little Kaile clumsy-face!" A girl sneered. This brought on laughs from the rest of the class.
Kaile frowned and sat on her knees, slightly shocked. Little did she know, the Atmar magicite had
bounced away from her grasp.
"Hey! What's this?" A little boy said, picking up the crystal.and examining it. Kaile grimaced and bounced
"Give it back!" She shrieked, and leaped at the boy who promptly passed the crystal to a companion.
Kaile frowned and leaped toward the companion who promptly tossed it back to the boy.
"Stop! Give it back!" Kaile cried. She leaped ontop of the boy who growled and hit her with the crystal.
That was the last straw.
"Noooooo!" Kaile wailed, "Oh! Mommy! Oh! Atmar! I wish I had someone to help me! You meanies! All
of you! Stop!" Tears streamed from her eyes, dripping onto the boy whom she still lay onto of. He grimaced
and tried to push her off, but she wobbled, yet remained steadfast. Then something happened.
A wayward tear fall onto the crystal, which prompted an instantaneous reaction. The greenish crystal
now appeared to be glowing red. Then blue. Then green.
It glowed a myriad of colors and began to rise into the air. Kaile stopped crying and gazed at the crystal
that hover a couple of feet above her. Suddenly, it began to shoot sparks as its form slowly warped, grew,
shrank, a confused mixture of actions. Then the voice.
"Who dare...disturbs...my slumber?" it said, booming malevolently through the small class, "I...I have seen
eternity, lived eternity, AM eternity." The children of the class looked to the crystal that was now ten times
its original size.
"Who..who are you?" Mrs. Gris said, standing up, shocked. The rest of the class backed away from the
shard that hovered above their heads.
"I...I am...Atma!" The voice replied, echoing throughout the small class. The crystal then shoot off
several arcs of light that embedded themselves in the ground below it. These arcs then coalesced slowly
into a broiling mass of light that itself soon collected into a large mass.
The mass stepped forward from the light. It was the form of a large dog-like beast. It growled and slowly
advanced upon the class, but stopped. Something caught his eye. Kaile.
"Kaile...?" Atma said, stepping toward her. He sniffed at the frightened girl who shivered at each puff of
air. "Is that..you?"
"Ye..yes." She replied, shyly, "Are you...Atmar?"
"Yes, I am, Kaile." Atma replied bowing his head solemnly. He stepped toward Kaile and nuzzled her slightly.
"Did these people..hurt you?" Atma asked, glancing angrily at her classmates.
"Yes!" Kaile said, burning with thoughts of revenge. Atma instantly growled and lowered himself into an
offensive stance. His eyes burned with rage.
"No! Don't!" Mrs. Gris said, stepping infront of the children. Atma reared up instantly and swiped her aside.
"Kids! Run!" She screamed, tossed aside. Atma glanced at the children and advanced on the boy who had been
teasing Kaile before.
"Kaile...stop him!" The boy shrieked. Atma looked back at Kaile who grinned malevolently. Atma nodded and
brought a massive paw across her face, knocking him down. Sparks massed in his tail and an arc of lightning
split the air and struck the boy, killing him instantly.
"No!" Mrs. Gris shrieked again, but another Arc cut her silent. Kaile looked at Atma and nodded. Atma nodded back
and moved toward the rest of the class.
"You teased her. You teased my charge. You hurt her." Atma said, his voice full of rage. He roared, eyes fixed on
the air above the children. "Meteo."
Huge flaming stones fell through the roof of the classroom and began to assault the children. First to fall was the
girl who had tripped Kaile the day before. Following her, a young boy was hit, sent reeling, his head bleeding. The rest
of the children scrambled to escape, but soon they had all fallen.
"Wait. Wait, Atmar...what did...we do?" She frowned, stepping toward her classmates. Atma looked at her, sadly,
and approaced her.
"They hurt you. They had to be destroyed." Atma said, lowering his head and swiftly scooping Kaile onto his back.
"It's a sad fact of life."
"But...they were my age!" Kaile said, looking at her teacher who had in fact done nothing to hurt her.
"We could have just...scared them."
"I suppose. But that won't change the past." Atma said, carrying Kaile from the schoolhouse.
As Atma and Kaile trotted down the main road of the town, they drew many shrieks of fear from the
townspeople. Kaile glanced down at Atma who simply smiled back at her.
"Mommy will be happy...to see you." Kaile said, hesitantly. Atma nodded and grinned. He turned
on a small side road that lead to their home.
"Momma! Poppa! We're home!" Kaile said, walking through the front door of her home. Her mother
was sitting at her easel, painting, her father was simply reclining in the front room.
"We? You brought a friend?" Her Father asked, sitting up. Her mother simply glanced back at her.
"Yeah! I brought home..." Kaile snickered, "ATMAR!" Her mother and father gasped and turned
to see Kaile and Atma standing in the doorway.
"Kira, Tei." Atma said, nodding toward the pair.
"Atmar?" Kira -- Kaile's Mother -- said, walking toward her daughter's companion. Atma nodded
and bowed slightly.
"Oh my..." Tei said, stepping toward them. "Atmar? How?"
"Your daughter's sadness revived me." Atma said, glancing at Kaile. Kaile frowned. "I took revenge
on those who had teased her."
"Revenge?" Kira said, gasping. Tei's eyes grew wide as he covered his mouth in awe.
"Yes. Revenge. They teased her to no end and so met their end." Atma explained. Kaile simply
turned her gaze out the door.
"Atmar! Why?" Tei said, advancing.
"Did...I do wrong?" Atma said, apologetically.
"Yes!" Kira said, shrieking and advancing on Atma. Atma, alarmed, bounded past Kira's grasp.
"I'm sorry!" Atma said, sadly. He turned his gaze back to Kaile who was sobbing.
Atma frowned and set her down.
"Sorry..." Atma said, and he sulked into Kaile's room and into the large closet that was in
actuality, his room. And the night fell upon the town.
Kaile was woken up by a loud rumbling. All the things in her room were shaking and the glass in
her windows shattered noisily.
"Momma! What's going on?" Kaile screamed, leaping up. She ran to her mother's room to find
her parents, covered in glass, barely waking up.
"What's...going on?" Tei asked, his eyes barely open. He turned to Kira inquisitively. She shot
up anxiously and grasped Tei and Kaile quickly.
"Momma!" Kaile sobbed. They hurried from the room and into a doorway for protection. Tei
hugged his family protectively and began calling for Atma.
"Atmar? Atmar? Help us, Atmar!" Tei bellowed. No response. Kaile's eyes welled up some more
and she broke free of her parent's grasp and ran to her room. Tei and Kira attempted to follow,
but a large crack shoot open and split their home into two sections.
"No! Kaile! Kaile! Come back!" Kira moaned, reaching for her daughter. The land that held
the portion of the house that contained Kaile and Atma shot up several feet, and the land
that held Tei and Kira pitched forward several feet, teetering over a dark chasm.
"Atmar. Atmar! Wake up!" Kaile said, shaking him. Atma opened his eyes sleepily and yawned.
"What's going--" Atma started, but swiftly he realized what was happening. He picked up Kaile and
bounded out of the door to her room.
Running around a corner, Atma noticed that the house was no longer in one piece, and had actually
been split in two neat pieces. He lumbered over to the large chasm and peered down. The other portion
of the house was nearly ten feet beneath them.
"Tei! Kira!" Atma shouted, alarmed. He reached a long paw toward them, but couldn't reach them.
He looked up at Kaile and frowned.
"Hang on, Kaile. I'll save them." Atma said, "Trust me." His wisened eyes met her deep aqueous eyes,
and she nodded. She clung to Atma's back tight as Atma lunged for Tei and Kira.
"Almost..have them." Atma said, reaching forward, "Don't worry, Tei! I'll save you both, Kira!" He reached
down toward them. Tei glanced at Kira and frowned. He hugged her and lifted her up toward Atma. Kira's
hand met Atma's and he began to pull her up when the unthinkable happened.
A massive quake shook the house again. The jolt was harsh enough to tear Kira from Atma's grip and cause
Kaile to slip a foot forward.
"Kira! No!" Atma and Tei screamed in unison. But it was too late, Kira fell past Tei's reach and into the chasm.
Her last action was to mouth the words, "I love you" to her loving husband, child and guardian.
Atma howled in pain as Kaile screamed in agony. Tei glanced up at Kaile and Atma, his eyes full of tears.
"Atmar. Forget me. Save Kaile!" He shouted, glancing at the Chasm. Atma's eyes grew wide and he threw
his arm foreward again.
"No! I gotta save you...for Kaile!" Atma said. Tei looked into the Chasm, and up at Kaile. He reached for
"Momma...Momma!" Kaile said, shrieking. Atma looked at her quickly. But that glance was enough for
another jolt to tear Tei from his grip. Tei fell backward and landed back on the ground below.
"No!" Atma shrieked. Tei had been knocked cold from the fall. Atma backed from the chasm and howled
"Tei! No..." He looked away from the chasm. Kaile sobbed some more. "Kaile, it's alright. Their memory is
safe with you!" Atma said, casting a glance down the hole again and slowly backing away. Just then, the
final tragedy occured.
Another quake rocked the home. Atma, whose heavy weight pressed on the earth, was rather close to
the edge. His weight was enough to tear the soil from beneath one of his paws. He stumbled forward,
which was enough for Kaile to lose her grip and be tossed down with her father.
"At...mar..." Kaile said as she fell, but was knocked cold by the collision with the ground. Atma made
a move to leap down to save them, but it was too late. The land he was on shot quickly into the air,
tossing Atma back many feet. Then blackness.
"Kaile...Tei...Kira." Atma said, achingly waking up, "Gone. My means for living, too..." He slowly
rose to find himself on a large rocky surface. Apparently he had been carried high into the air.
"Man. Abuser of magic, destroyer of land...Man caused the death of my charges. This is
unacceptable." He said, gazing out over the rocky mass before him. When he was approached
by several figures. He rose to meet them.
"I am Atma..."