Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams - Act 2 Synopsis
The first scene of Act 2 is Schala's meltdown from the previous act from an un-hallucinated point of view. We see Reika, Glenn, and Gilbert try to help or subdue Schala, only to get cut down. Lark storms in, sees what happened, and flies into a fury. However, madness triumphs over rage, and the inevitable freakout happens.
Laura comes in, ignoring the prone figures of her 'allies', and takes the container containing Lavos, disappearing into a black portal. Schwann shows up next, followed by the Masked Man from earlier, who begins to cast a spell...
Flash forward to days later, Schala awakens in Manolia. Upon recalling what had happened, she begins to wallow. Reika comes in, seemingly unharmed to her shock, who tries to assure her that they don't hold her responsible for what happened. Unfortunately, it's revealed that the recent trauma has left Schala unable to speak.
(At this point, Schala is unable to be selected for battle until the last area of the Act.)
Schala is taken to another room where Schwann and Glenn are recovering from the ordeal, as well as the Masked Man, who finally introduces himself as Magil. Schala recognizes him immediately... and slaps him. It's revealed that Lark is recovering in the other side of the village, having been agreed beforehand to keep him as far away from Schala as possible until Gilbert can set the record straight for him. Schwann takes his leave, informing the others that Carmillia might be preparing to play her hand soon. It is also revealed that the dreamers had gotten their hands on a strange artifact, and that the villagers have all been acting strangely ever since.
Outside, it appears as though Gilbert's efforts to placate Lark have failed, as the incensed Mystic attempts to call Schala to task for what happened at the ruins. Everyone sticks by Schala, causing Lark to declare them all traitors and leave the group. Before anyone can process this, Schala doubles over in pain.
We see flashbacks of Lark's past: A Medinan search party carrying an unconcious human girl into the city, a young Lark falling in love with the girl, that same girl opening the gates of the city and letting in Porrean soldiers, and said girl stabbing him and leaving him for dead while Dalton laughs in the background.
Lark enters the cathedral to find Rupert wounded and the Dreamers with him in a state of furor. Lark feels a stirring in his soul and enters the chamber where the artifact is stored, as if in a trance...
(At this point, Lark leaves the party until a little after halfway into the Act.)
Magil feels the Black Wind howling, and the group heads to the cathedral to find the Radical Dreamers save Rupert dead and/or dying. Rupert weakly warns that the artifact they acquired is evil incarnate. The group pushes forward, only to find...
Lark covered in blood... standing before the Frozen Flame, having been taken over by its power. Another flash of memories, this time of the surviving Mystics nearly lynching the young Lark, blaming him for what had happened to them, then him walking the deserts, scarred and alone, vowing to make Porre pay.
And so Lark accepts the Flame. The power to destroy Porre. The power to exact revenge on the traitors. The power to turn it all to ash...
Magil and Schala erect a barrier just in time before a giant pillar of flame engulfs the cathedral, the surrounding forests, and even the village of Manolia, the villagers dying in chant to 'The Holy Flame'. Once the ash settles, everyone can only look on horrified at the devastation around them. Without warning, Glenn empties an entire clip from his guns at Lark, only to see them melt harmlessly off a barrier of flame. Lark sees this as the perfect chance to test his new god-like powers. What follows is a hopeless battle (until a New Game +, and even then...) between former comrades and friends.
In the end, Lark flies away with the Flame in tow, laughing in triumph at the power he now possesses and leaving the others for dead. Glenn vows on his sister's grave that he won't stop until he kills Lark with his own hands...
Before any of that can happen, the party has to find a way to escape Guardia. Magil claims to know of a hidden passage in the ruins of Guardia Castle they can use to bypass Carmillia's blockade. Trudging through Guardia Forest, they see the corpses of Dreamers that had escaped Manolia's destruction. They move forward to find the last Dreamer get cut down... by Laura.
No loose ends. No matter how Laura feels on the matter, she will not swerve away from the duties her sister has entrusted to her. With a heavy heart, she bars the party's way to the castle calling upon her Guardian Summon Saints in the process.
Despite the punishment she takes, Laura stands resolute... until her fellow knights quite literally stab her in the back. No loose ends.
It is at this moment that Porre, who has known about Carmillia's plans for some time, sends a detatchment to deal with her blockade. The party plans to escape in the confusion, but Schala, seeing too much of herself in Laura, stubbornly tries to stay behind and pull her out of the line of fire. Magil, to everyone's surprise (and a few protests), carries the fallen knight, intending to bring her with them.
Upon arriving at the castle, ore ghost memories appear, depicting the Fall of Guardia, the final fates of Chrono and Marle, and a castle knight spiriting their child through the passage the party plans to take. Magil reveals Laura to be the descendant of that child, though she had long suspected.
As the group rests in the passage, Laura is incredulous as to why they would waste their time saving her. Schala, despite her current muteness, makes it clear that she's having none of it. Conversation turns towards the Frozen Flame... and its current Arbiter. Reika tells the rest of Lark's story, from his days as the murderous Bloody Flame to his first encounter with Glenn and his sister, and the tragedy that resulted from it. Magil points out that with Lark's near-instant corruption from the Flame's power, there is next to no chance of saving him, and that his coming rampage must be stopped. Glenn is perfectly fine with this, as he believes that Lark's recent actions have made his sister's sacrifice meaningless. Reika and Schala are upset by this, while Laura and Gilbert merely hold the opinion that what is done must be done.
Meanwhile, Lark appears watching over the skirmish between Porre and Carmillia's forces, muttering that it'll all be over soon, before he suddenly holds his head in pain and vomits. A single thought runs through his mind before the Flame whispers to him again.
What have I done...?
The group ends up 'commandeering' a vessel and head to Choras on Glenn's hunch that the ghost town of Zainheim is Lark's destination. It's here that Glenn announces the disbandment of the Zweibreicht Company and goes off on his own to hunt down Lark. Gilbert and Laura go off on their own way with Magil following Glenn, leaving behind Reika and Schala. Schala chooses, in the end, to follow Glenn than leave things as they are. However, even Reika is starting to doubt that Lark can be saved at this point.
Regardless, Glenn confronts Lark in Zaineheim at the spot his sister Hope died, and signs can be seen that Glenn may have himself been somewhat affected by the Flame. Regardless, their battle ends in a draw and Lark retreats. Gilbert and Laura return to the party and follow Glenn.
Soon after, Lark comes across a derelict Porrean warship. Using the Flame, the ship springs to life and begins to fly. Glenn, and then the rest of the party barely manages to get on board before it takes off. After searching through this 'ghost ship' the group finds Lark on the upper decks, muttering how the ship will be the throne in which he'll rain hellfire on Porre... or anyplace else in the world. Throughout this exchange, he can be seen attempting to fight off the Flame's influence. Unfortunately, Schala is the only one who realizes this.
After two more battles, one against his Fiend form, the group is knocked out by Lark's Meggido Tech. Lark attempts to wrestle control of himself once more. Schala, finally finding her voice again, implores him to be strong and not give up. Despite everything he had done and how he had treated her, Lark can only tearfully ask why Schala is still willing to believe in him.
Before she can give her answer, Glenn regains conciousness and tries again to shoot Lark, but Schala stands protectively in front of him. Glenn, beyond reason at this point, threatens to shoot through her to kill him, but she remains defiant. The others, realizing that Glenn is unstable enough to actually go through with it, restrain him and knock him out. Lark ends up losing the battle of wills, pleading for everyone to run away before being engulfed in an unholy fire.
In Lark's place is his Guardian Summon Salamandine, corrupted by the Frozen Flame, with Lark serving as the creature's battery. The backlash of power from Lark's failed battle of will sets the entire ship ablaze. Schala's exchange with Lark earlier rekindles Reika's hope that Lark can be saved from himself, and she summons her Guardian Leviathan. The others are forced to jump overboard from the ship as it begins to crash down over the sea.
After a monumental battle of Guardian vs Guardian, Salamandine and Leviathan make one final clash. Reika disappears in the ensuing explosion of fire and steam that completely destroys the ship. Lark is seen sinking into the sea, unconscious. Schala pulls him up onto a piece of floating wreckage. One by one, the others break the surface... except for Reika, who is nowhere to be found. Just then, a bright line shines down on the group from above, a light Schala seems to recognize...
Meanwhile, back in Guardia, one of Carmillia's hooded figures senses the stirring of the Frozen Flame, announcing that it's time to take back what is his.
Back with the party, Schala awakens in very familiar futuristic surroundings, and is soon enough reunited with Roas and her friends, who had taken the party to Chronopolis in 2400 AD. However, Magil has a few choice words to say to Roas, and it's revealed that Roas was at one time a denizen of the Kingdom of Zeal and King Alphard's bodyguard. But more than that, the group is formally introduced to Balthazar.
Meanwhile, Lark awakens in the facility's medical bay, and becomes distraught as everything that he had done under the Flame's influence comes back to him, especially Reika's sacrifice. Wandering the halls, he overhears Schala's story being told, and becomes filled with even more regret.
That night, for a strange as-of-yet unknown reason, Lark finds himself on a strange shore with an orb of pure radiance floating above an azure sea... with Schala. Schala explains that they are dreaming, with this strange place being known as the Dreamscape, and expresses surprise that the two of them are sharing the same space. Lark wonders if it is because of their mutual connection to Lavos. Regrets are laid bare, apologies are made, and the two begin the long, slow process of repairing their shattered relationship.
The next day, Chronopolis comes under attack by the hooded man from earlier, who finally introduces himself as Kale. Using a strange incantation, he attempts to focefully extract the Frozen Flame's essence out of Lark, but is stopped. Realizing he's outnumbered by not only the party, but by Chronopolis security, Kale retreats, but not before summoning a Lavos Spawn to Magil and Schala's horror. In the aftermath, Glenn completely holds Lark reponsible for yet another mess and rails on him for the entire Frozen Flame thing and Reika's sacrifice. Although the others are still wary of him save for Schala, they believe Glenn to be the one out of line this time.
Sometime later, Schala is asked to come alone to the Chronopolis Director's office. Lark suddenly has a bad feeling about things, but his concerns fall on deaf ears. Unfortunately, it turns out the current Director of Chronopolis and Dalton's Chief of Science Yarlen Shald are the same person, and Schala is taken prisoner. Lark discovers Schala being taken and gives chase, eventually hijacking a jet bike to tail Shald. The chase eventually leads all parties to the GENO (GENetic Operations) Dome near Termina.
(Lark returns to the party lineup at this point.)
The others catch up with Lark inside the dome, and discovers countless assembly lines of weaponry and machines being sent through Time Gates, implicating Yarlen Shald as the mastermind behind the temporal recurrence and Porre's renewed rise to prominence. Whatever had happened in the past doesn't matter at the moment as everyone agrees that Shald has to be stopped.
Meanwhile, Shald drags a struggling Schala to his bio-labs. It's revealed that Shald has been working on bio experiments with Lavos as a base, and that because Schala had spent so long merged with Lavos, she is more or less a living fragment of the creature. Shald drags her to a large chamber which houses a man-made mature Lavos Spawn in hopes of possibly recreating the Time Devourer. All for the Glory of Porre and the Pursuit of Science.
It looks as though the party is too late, and the merging process has already begun. Lark, however, has none of it, and attacks the crystal cocoon holding Schala captive. Even as the backlash of power from doing so threatens to destroy him, Lark's desire to atone and determination to succeed wills him to keep going. Against all expectations and to the shock of everyone, a crack forms in the cocoon, and then another, and another...
...until finally, Schala is free. No Chrono Cross. No ideological shennanigans. Just the will to accomplish the impossible.
Naturally, the Elder Spawn is pissed and lays the group out flat before pulling out its 1-hit KO. Schala begins having flashbacks to the Ocean Palace, even more so when Lark jumps in to take the brunt of the blast. Lark would have been vaporized like Chrono if not for one thing: the Frozen Flame's own desire to live. Once again to the surprise of all, Lark gets back up to summon an uncorrupted Salamandine and finish off the parasite.
Unfortunately, Shald manages to escape, but not without some choice words for Gilbert, who was the brainchild of his great grandfather.
With the danger passed (for the moment), the party activates the self-destruct sequence for the dome, ensuring that Shald can send no more reinforcements from the future. In light of the lengths Lark was willing to go to save Schala, the others finally decide to give him another chance... save for Glenn, who simply remains silent.
Unable to return to Chronopolis in fear of attracting unwanted attention, they find an abandoned apartment to hide out in, where Lark and Schala have another heart to heart. Unfortunately, the group was tailed by Porrean forces and ambushed during the night. A well-aimed rocket sends Glenn careening over the edge of the building. Lark once again puts himself in harm's was to save the person he had once called a friend...
The fall ends up knocking Lark out cold. Glenn finally sees his chance to avenge his sister's death...
But no matter how he tries to justify doing so, he is unable to bring himself to shoot the closest thing he's ever had to a friend. Lark's recent acts of bravery, the last words of his sister, his own actions on the Ghost Ship, the friendship that had grown over the years... Glenn had known all along what Hope had seen in Lark that she was willing to sacrifice herself to save him, but he didn't want to see it... because he wanted a scapegoat, an excuse...
In the end, Glenn carries Lark through the allyways in order to get them both to safety. Meanwhile, Schala's group is nearly cornered by Porrean forces when Roas' team arrives to the rescue, sending them through a secret passage in the city to where Techno waits with a surprise. By then, the army catches up to Glenn and Lark. Glenn refuses to go down without a fight or let Lark die. His determination awakens in him the ability to summon the Djinn Sisters Guardians. After what seems like an eternity of fighting, the Porreans are scattered by the arrival of a flying vessel: The Epoch "Phoenix".
With Glenn and Lark aboard, the vessel heads out of Termina airspace, but encounter trouble in the form of Porre's Colossus. When the ship gets damaged in the ensuing dogfight, Roas makes a desperate gamble and attempts to jump through time. With the engine core damaged however, they are taken to the area of time with the least resistance: The End of Time.
....and they end up nowhere near Gaspar's residence. Techno suggests the group search through the flotsam left behind in the timestream for something to help repair the Epoch's core. After Lark reawakens, Schala resolves to stop being a burden on everyone and rejoins the party at last.
Laura and Lark bond over the fact they both have much to atone for. Magil attempts to properly converse with Schala, only for her to ask why he didn't keep his promise to forget her and live on. Lark and Glenn finally bury the hatchet realizing that being at each others throats is the last thing Hope or Reika would have wanted from them. Glenn sheepishly attempts to apologize to Schala for what he nearly did on the Ghost Ship, only to be met with a glare by Magil. Gilbert muses on the Frozen Flame, particularaly its inherent ability to bring out and enhance the inner darkness that a person tries to hide.
Their search finally leads them to Gaspar's Space. Upon meeting Spekkio, Glenn is immediately taken through the (literal) rounds of unlocking Innate magic. After a tearful reunion with the Old Man, the Guru points them to a place he 'affectionately' calls The Backyard. He warns them to be careful, as a suspicious-looking creature has been sighted in the area.
The group finds its way to garden of temporal crystal clusters, many of which could be used to repair the Epoch. Unfortunately, the also find the suspicious creature. Kale notes his stroke of luck that the Arbiter found their way here of all places, and that the time has come to take back what is his. The party demands to know what he means. Kale answers.
He is the one who created Lavos... and that all it took to create a god was a Vanarathian tick and a massive infusion of his own genetic code.
He then begs the question: "What would you do if one day, you learned that the world you lived in was sentient not only in the figurative sense, but the literal as well? That such a world could decide, on a whim, who lives and who dies? That the only obstacle between yourself and contentment is a world that cannot stand your very existance?
No. I will not be bound by the rules of such a being. Twice, I have been denied, but no more. I have waited too long to be stopped now. I will have the Flame, and I will take back what's mine!"
Magil attempts a pre-emptive strike, but only succeeds in burning away Kale's cloak, revealing what could only be described as a Dragonian sporting disturbingly familiar spines... and so the battle begins.
At first, Kale seems untouchable, but the Masamune is able to nullify many of his abilities. After a hectic fight, Kale is forced to retreat once more, but he will not stop until he has the Frozen Flame.
With much to think on, the party take the clusters they need and returns to the Epoch. With it, the group is deposited back in 1228 AD, situated right outside the original Chronopolis in El Nido. Knowing what they now know, the party shows renewed purpose. Stop Dalton, Shald, and restore the future. Keep Kale from acquiring the Frozen Flame. They've come too far to turn back now, and they'll stand ready, no matter what comes.
Meanwhile, in the inert Terra Tower, a fleshy wall opens up, revealing something -or someone - sleeping within a crystal stasis...
(End of Act 2)