The Story Behind the Fantasy
___The most critical and important part of an RPG is the story. An RPG must be capable of transporting the player into an alternate reality. This reality can only be created by an in-depth story. Final Fantasy always has incredible stories, with breathtaking scenery and long journeys. Also, the world of every Final Fantasy game has an incredible past which always factors into the current events in the game. Final Fantasy VI is no exception, and contains perhaps the best storyline and world history of all. I have taken notes throughout the game, and I have come up with a history of the important events leading up to and involving the story of the game.
___The story begins as Three Goddesses are banished to this world of Humans. In time, the Goddesses begin to quarrel, and this quarrelling eventually turns to all-out war. Those Humans who get in the way are turned into Espers, and acquire Magical powers. Finally, the Goddesses decide to give up their disgraced life and together they agree to turn themselves to stone, their final wish being that the Espers respect and protect their slumber for all eternity.
___Stone Goddess Left: "The birth of magic... 3 goddesses were banished here. In time they began quarrelling, which led to all-out war. Those unlucky humans who got in the way were transformed into Espers and used as living war machines..."
___Stone Goddess Right: "The goddesses finally realized that they were being laughed at by those who had banished them here. In a rare moment of mutual clarity, they agreed to seal themselves away from the world. With their last ounce of energy, they gave the Espers back their own free will, and then transformed themselves...into stone. Their only request was that the Espers keep them sealed away for all eternity."
___Stone Goddess Top: "The Espers created these statues as a symbol of their vow to let the goddesses sleep in peace. The Espers have sworn to keep the goddesses' power from being abused."
War is Inevitable
___As time passes, Greed grows in the hearts of the Humans as they begin to desire the Magical capabilities of the Espers. The Mage Warriors are created from Humans who have extracted the ability to cast Magic from the Espers. The turmoil between the Greedy Humans and the hunted Espers explodes into war as the Espers fight for their survival and the Mage Warriors terminate the Espers to take their powers. Thus, the War of the Magi reduces the world to a smouldering scrappile, and civilization is thrown back 1000 years. The Espers flee from the Humans in fear and banish themselves to their very own world to live outside the influence of Human Greed. The decision is made that Espers and Humans cannot coexist safely.
The Esper World
___The story picks up almost a thousand years later when a Human woman named Madonna wanders through the Gate and into the secluded Esper world. Madonna meets with Maduin the Esper and they form a relationship, though it defies the logic of Human-Esper coexistence. At this point, Gestahl, Emperor of the Human world, learns of the power of the Espers and the location of their secret world. He sends troops in through the Gate to retrieve as many Espers as possible for his research, and the Elder of the Esper world concocts a plan. He will create a wind to blow the invaders out of the Gate and then with the last of his life energy he will seal it. The plan is working well until Madonna decides that she could never stay cut off from the Human world indefinitely, so she heads to the Gate. Maduin follows, and right inside the Gate they question the inability of Espers and Humans to coexist. They realize that there is only one way to find out, so they have a child and name it Terra. All three are swept out of the Gate. Maduin is picked up by the Imperial soldiers; Gestahl comes across Terra the Half-Esper and realizes her power; and Madonna's dying wish is for Gestahl to take care of Terra.
___Back in the Human world: under Gestahl's request, the scientist Cid is doing research on a new process that will allow Magic from an Esper subject to be extracted and injected into a Human subject. His first test subject is a man named Kefka, and the process causes a mental and fateful flaw in Kefka's mind. Subsequent tests lead to successful Magitek Knights such as General Celes, who have the ability to use Magic, much like the Mage Warriors of a thousand years ago. This process is also used to create hybrids between Magic and Machines, and thus the infamous Magitek Armor is created. Later, it is learned that to fully take advantage of an Esper's powers the Esper must first be reduced to Magicite, which is what remains after an Esper passes away.
___Rebels across the world band together and form a resistance group known as the Returners, dedicated to stopping the cruel actions and intentions of the Empire. It is not until after Terra falls into the hands of the Returners, however, that the real intention of the Empire is known. When the Returners realize that the Empire is reviving Magic, they ask the fateful question, "will history be repeated?" It seems that the War of the Magi is starting all over again, and the only means to prevent it is to stop the Empire. But the only possible way to overpower the Empire is to enlist the aid of the Espers. And Terra is the only one who can communicate effectively with the Espers. Despite her loss of memory of her past and her obvious confusion about her existence, Terra has no choice but to comply, and the Sealed Gate to the Esper world is open, unleashing the uncontrolled fury of the Espers who were plotting to rescue their friends who were taken earlier. The Empire's capitol is decimated, and Emperor Gestahl appears to make peace with the Returners, hoping to use them once again to locate the Espers that are now hid within the Human world. Once the Espers are found, the Emperor's trick is laid out in the open, and under orders of the Emperor, Kefka effortlessly converts all the poor Espers into lifeless stones of Magicite. Even the remaining Espers who emerge from the Esper world to save their friends have no chance against Kefka's evil determination. With their newfound power, the Empire rises to the sky, lifting the magical continent that contains the hidden Esper world as well as the secret location of the slumbering Stone Goddesses up toward the Heavens. The Returners follow and confront Gestahl and Kefka in front of the three Stone Statues. Kefka begins to handle the power of the Statues carelessly, and Gestahl advises against it, since disruption of the Statues could mean a loss of Balance in the world, and the destruction of that which Gestahl wanted to control. However, Kefka scoffs at Gestahl's apprehension and eliminates him while standing under the protection of the Statues. He kicks Gestahl's worthless corpse into the wind and world below and then begins to deliberately reposition the Statues. This sets off a chain reaction which leads to massive destruction across the entire face of the planet. Thus, the world is reduced to ruin once more...
___Yet, civilization does not give up. Many people lose hope and the will to go on in this devastated world. But there are a few who still have hope, a few who still see victory beyond all chaos. The forces of the Returners gather themselves and regain new hope in the endurance of life. Many loose ends are tied up as those who are to save the world resolve their personal issues in one final bout of dedication to protect life. The target is Kefka, sitting high in his swirling tower of debris on the Central Continent, amusing himself with the drained powers of the Three Goddesses, eliminating entire cities who oppose him with his devastating Light of Judgement. A battle is inevitable. Kefka must be stopped now, or else the world will fail. And if Kefka is stopped, then Magic will finally fail, and so will the remaining Espers die, as the power of the Goddesses which caused so much grief and destruction in this world are eliminated forever, restoring Balance to the world once again... ...