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Topics - Kitt

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Fan Art / An art project (sort of)
« on: December 30, 2020, 10:01:26 pm »
I am not an artist (like Prince Janus – go look at his post.  I can wait til you come back).   :wink:

You're back?  Good.  Where were we?  Oh, yeah, not an artist...  I cannot stress this enough.  I wish I could draw, paint, sculpt, pretty much any sort of visual art, but no.  I have zero skill in this area.

I very much appreciate visual arts, however.  This can be attested to by my anime cel collection, most of which can be viewed here:

There's a thrill when you hold in your hands one of the many pieces of art that flashed so quickly in front of a camera to produce an anime you like. This was an expensive hobby that I can't maintain, which is probably for the best as most anime are produced via electronic means now, so hand-painted acetate cels are a thing of the past. 

To clarify – all of the images in my cel gallery (minus the two fan cel sections and the 'Crystal's Art' section) are actual professional, production cels or precursor sketches used to create various anime shows I like.  I did not paint them.  I bought them over time from reputable cel dealers. 

But, as I fell in love with this art form, I had to give it a try myself.  What I paint are FAN cels.  They are not intended to be confused at all with PRODUCTION cels, which are the 'real' ones collectors prize. The cool thing with fan cels though, is one isn't confined to what is available in production cels.  So much animation is now produced either mostly or entirely through virtual means that there are no productions cels, and sometimes, not even production sketches (sniffle!) 

It's been more than five years since I last attempted to paint a fan cel, but there's an image that won't stop haunting me, so, I dug my supplies out from storage, and made a solid start yesterday.

Here's the image:

My process is to print it the size I want to paint in full color:

Then flip it and print it again (as the image is painted on the back side of the acetate – so reversed):

(I use both of these full color images as references during the painting stage.)

Then I reduce the color and increase the contrast so I can delineate the lines I want to use before printing it.  Then I go over those base lines with a pencil to clarify which ones I want to use and get the feel of how they flow:

Then, tape that image and a clear piece of acetate on a sturdy piece of clear plastic and draw them on using a pigment pen.  Back in the day some cel artists used India Ink and dip pens, but the one time I tried that it was an unmitigated disaster!  So this image is of the acetate, fully lined, on my lightbox. 

The lines are a bit wobbly, but I am going to go with it.  It's been at least six years since I last tried to paint a fan cel.  It's going to take a while to retrain how to draw on acetate (it's so slick!) but I am sure it's going to take a while to relearn how to paint on acetate, too. So, this entire fan cel will be a practice run.

Now, it is a test of patience, but I have to let the pigment dry for several days, or it will smear and feather under the paint.  I can keep this page updated if anyone is interested in the progress.

A Chrono Trigger Point to Ponder – Gurus' Gambit

Norstein Bekkler is rather amazing, if you consider it.  Not only is he is able to make perfect clones of the characters, but also deliver them to the particular character's home, no matter which time period they live in.  That seems to combine Melchior's abilities as the Guru of Life with Gaspar's abilities as the Guru of Time.

So, consider if you will –

Gaspar, viewing the various possible time streams, realizes that the only one that isn't completely ruinous to humanity and the entire planet is one where Crono is improbably drawn into his role as a time-spanning hero by running into Marle and following her through that first inadvertent trip through time.  He confers with the other gurus through mystical means to explain what he discovered.  Melchior is alerted to the ultimate need to reforge the Masamune in the Present, Belthasar knows to create the Wings of Time in the Future and set his plan for Death Peak in place, and Gaspar himself completes his Chrono Trigger, and does what he can to make the End of Time somewhat more functional and hospitable.

At the proper moment, Gaspar manipulated time just enough that he could whisk Marle's Pendant off during her collision with Crono.

Melchior snuck in, under another subtle time manipulation, to align Lucca's Telepod to interact with Marle's Pendant in such a way as to 'lean' on a temporal weakness Gaspar discovered between the Present and the Middle Ages.  They knew that they were tinkering with Time and Life in that Marle would likely be mistaken for Leene, and then erased from the time stream after Leene was not returned.  If Crono did not figure it out, Leene, Marle, and the entire unfolding of the best possibility for the 'best' future would be irretrievably lost, but they reasoned the need was great enough to warrant the risk.

So, Norstein Bekkler could be an advanced construct of Belthasar's, who imprinted the construct's mind with limited versions of their abilities (Melchior's maker abilities to create perfect clones and Gaspar's temporal ones to deliver them in various time periods) in a far-reaching bid to help Crono and his friends save the world from Lavos.

Fan Fiction / Shadows of Schala (Part Eight posted)
« on: September 29, 2020, 02:54:37 pm »
Author's notes -

First of all, please be aware that this story is filled with * SPOILERS * for Chrono Trigger.  Posting it here, I suspect everyone has already played the game, but just in case.  I have not played Chrono Cross, therefore, I do not know the events or characters of that game or how the two games are tied together.  Having just discovered and joined this archive, I haven't played or read about the interquel game(s) either.  At this point, my sum total of knowledge about the CT Universe is what is contained in the first game.

I'm sure there's nothing unique about the basic question at the heart of this story – what happened to Schala?  What I hope might be interesting is the roundabout way this story answers it, and the adventures the characters experience along the way.

I prefer the game ending where Glenn, Robo and Ayla appear and chase after Gaspar through a Time Gate alerting Marle and Lucca that they may yet be able to rescue Crono; so I usually kill Magus and don't revive Crono when I play.  This story however, would be one where Magus was slain and Crono revived.  If you are a Magus fan, don't worry!  Of course he's in this story!  ^_^

In fact, everyone except for Ayla is here (my apologies, she just doesn't work in this story).  Chrono Trigger gives you the option of renaming all the characters, an option I almost always use.  So...

Crono = Orion
Marle = Ariel
Lucca = Elora
Frog = Alpha
Ayla = Arvia
Robo = Prime
Epoch = Ark

...since I didn't want "Frog" and "Robo" to be lame names in my story.  (Some might recognize the names for their Transformers origin particularly when I admit that Lucca was 'Gears' and Ayla 'Brawn' during that game playthrough.  I changed them to be more feminine when I first started posting this story on a fanfic archive.)   Magus, Schala and all other named characters retain the names the game gave them. Glenn/Frog spoke in something of an archaic manner in the game.  I've tried to duplicate that in my story.  Please forgive what that does to the grammar.  (My spell check program hates it!)

Shadows of Schala

      Schala's cell was sumptuously appointed, every physical comfort satisfied.  Even though she was surrounded by objects of rare and astounding beauty, she never forgot she was a prisoner, held against her will, by one who had become a Dark Lord.

      She shuddered and hugged herself against an involuntary chill when she thought of her inhuman guards.  They knew better than to lay a hand upon her, for their Master's retribution would be terrible, but their very nature was alien, dark, and evil.  Even Lavos' evil had been born of an understandable instinct to survive;  these creatures and their Dark Master thrived on evil, craving it and creating it for their own twisted pleasure.

      She sank into a chair from sheer weariness.  Her strength was dimming, soon the Dark One would have all the secrets of her special power.  Once he did he would be able to spill pure evil into her world across its already troubled time-lines.

      Schala risked opening a tiny Time Gate, crafting it small enough to escape detection by one who was just learning the intricacies of Time.  It was so small in fact that all she could send was her desperate plea, like a message in the bottle of Time, and hope to alert someone to the danger their world was in.

      She dared not open it large enough to even determine who or when was receiving her warning.  From all she knew of Time from her studies with Gaspar, the Guru of Time, her plea should reach most strongly to one who had traveled across Time.

      Unable with so small a Gate to reach to the End of Time directly, she used the utmost of her skill to direct her plea to Magus, the mage her own time-lost brother had become.  She hoped he understood that she was asking him to seek Gaspar's aid so that they could find and rescue her before her stubborn strength gave out and the Dark Master gained all her powers.  Only they could save her and their world in all its Times from...


      Glenn awoke shaking off the threads of dreams that tried vainly to tie him to sleep.  He stretched, luxuriating in the feel of the sinews and muscles of his swordsman's body.  He marveled anew at the recovery of his human form.  Slightly more than a year returned to normal had not diminished the horror of ten years awakening as a bipedal frog; a fate he would not wish on even Magus, the dark sorcerer who had so cursed him.

      Strange that he would think of Magus.  He lay still for a moment and closed his eyes, quieting his mind to recapture the sense of his dreams.

      "Schala?"  he murmured.  "I wonder what became of her.  She was so selfless giving all her strength to hie us to safety once Orion was slain..."  His thoughts carried him back to the Magic Land of Zeal in the Dark Ages and the people he had met there.  His memory skipped through the ages and their distinct friends and enemies as easily as he had traversed across time when he had helped defeat Lavos.

      "Poor Janus warped so early in his life by Lavos' power...  and Cyrus, dear Cyrus, so foully murdered because Lavos displaced him and Ozzie embittered the boy to become Magus.  My ten years as a frog, long and painful as they were, I could forgive, but Cyrus' death, never!  Oh, mine enemy, if not for that, if not for the twisting of thy very soul;  the strength and goodness I saw shining in Schala could have been thine and Janus... No, Magus... We could have been friends."

      Glenn turned to gaze to the legendary sword, Masamune, where it hung on his wall.  Deep regret thickened his voice as he continued,  "Instead thou lie dead and buried by mine own hand, ironically interred in thine own time and I am restored in form and time to my place, but lonely...  Grieving the friend thou took from me and the friends that Time washed back to their own shores..."

      "But what of thy noble lady-sister?  What of Schala?  Why doth she haunt my dreams?"
      He arose, garbed himself for the day, carefully arranged his cloak to conceal the Masamune and reported to Queen Leene.


      "Cyril?  Cyril?"  the queen addressed him later.

      He was on guard duty in her chambers, lost in thought as he gazed unseeingly upon a tapestry.  The other servants and attendants looked askance at his inattention to the queen.
      Leene assessed his handsome profile, reached a decision and firmed her jaw.  She dismissed her other attendants and guards with a soft word.  After seating herself and clasping her hands in her lap she spoke again,  "Cy... Alpha!"

      He wheeled about sharply.  "Why dost thee address me in the name of the Hero?  I am not a frog!"

      "No.  Even though, when you were a frog, I trusted you, I admit I am happy with your more comely human form.  Furthermore I know that you, Alpha, are also, Glenn,"  Leene spoke calmly and quietly.  Glenn found himself drawing near to hear her soft words and her demeanor soothed his racing heart.  Part of him admired her technique for calming people even as he recognized it:  he'd seen her use it on the king countless times when the king's passionate nature would get the best of him. His astonishment was not erased by the calm that Leene imparted to him.  He gaped at the gentle, perceptive queen.

      She smiled slightly at his expression as she explained,  "I visited Cyrus' grave and saw the inscription on his tombstone.  I heard the story of the Frog Hero who wielded the Masamune and comforted Cyrus' restless ghost.  You carved 'Cyrus sleeps here avenged by his friend Glenn' on the headstone.  Also my overly modest friend, even as my frog retainer your ease moving about the castle was uncanny from the start, as if you already knew its paths.  Further, as endearing as your 'thees', 'thous' and 'thys' are;  they are outmoded words and only you have used them these past ten and more years.  Finally, though you try mightily to hide it, the discerning eye can spy the Masamune under your cloak.  Oh, don't look so stricken!  I'm not upset at you!"  Leene cried when she saw the forlorn look on Glenn's face.  "I know you, and I know your charades are not meant to hurt anyone, rather they spare you hurt.  I can only think your ruse as Alpha, who eventually became the Frog Hero, was some way of hiding your shame at Cyrus' death.  That blame was never yours to take!  Your current ruse as 'Cyril' is to avoid the adulation you would receive as the Hero.  Am I right?"

      "Thou know'est it, milady.  But what am I to do?  Cyrus' death cut me to my core and the change Magus wrought in me reminds me every day of dear Cyrus and how I let him down.  In a way, 'Glenn' died that day as truly as Cyrus did."  He paced toward the window and looked out over the forest surrounding the castle before crossing back to Leene's side.  "I never thought any would trust me again as their companion in arms and yet, e'en though Elora did not want to at first, Orion did.  'Alpha' became'th not a badge of shame and regret but the name of the Frog Hero.  I was respected by honorable friends and I did not let them down.  King Guardia and thou, my queen, were also most kind to the frog I was.  I shall thank thee that kindness all my days."  Glenn stood at his full height, opened his arms wide and threw back his head.  His shoulder length hair flowed about his face as he lowered his gaze to search out the queen's eyes.  "Now my true form restored to me close'th that chapter of my life as well."

      He paced by the queen again, turned, and paced back.  Leene admired the unconscious grace and balance that Glenn displayed in every move he made.  She remembered the frog he had been and realized this strange grace came from the years he had spent in that form.

      "Know'est thou, there are some aspects of my frog self that I miss."  Leene threw a startled glance Glenn's way, his thoughts so eerily paralleled her own.  "The Leap Slash and the Slurp Healing amongst them."

      A private smile crept onto Glenn's face as his queen regarded him.  Leene recalled the time when Alpha had rescued her from Yakra.  He had fought to save her with skills only an expert swordsman would use.  Yet...

      "Leap Slash?"  Leene queried.

      "Oh a – technique I would use in battle.  I could jump several times mine own height and slash down with my sword in a rather devastating attack.  Not many creatures could survive it!"

      Leene considered his response and the slightly uncomfortable look on Glenn's face.

      "Slurp Healing?"  she asked, unable to resist.

      "Oh, milady, it sound'eth so gross, but no one truly seem'eth to mind..."  Glenn flushed.

      "Now I am really intrigued!  Tell me!"  Leene demanded.

      "Well, if someone sustain'eth an injury, I could flick my frog tongue at them, touch them with it and heal them of their wounds somewhat."  Glenn studied one of the tapestries intently to avoid looking at her.

      "Startling at first, to be sure, but I think I would not have minded if it eased pain,"  Leene replied.

      "I remember Orion would call out in the middle of a fight  'Alpha, Slurp me!'  I would, he'd fight on, and eventually victory wouldst be ours.  Orion name'th that skill for me.  I lost it when I became human again, so it is good that it is no longer needed."

      Leene heard the sadness under the light tone and realized for the first time how much Glenn had lost over the course of his life;  Cyrus, his own humanity, his friends of past and future, the frog form he had come to terms with and even his own name.  She wondered if his return to humanity made up for all he had given up.

      "There were benefits to being a frog,"  she observed quietly.

      "Aye, but I much prefer being a man and as a man I much prefer being anonymous."

      "Someday, Glenn, you are going to have to accept the honor due you, but I won't force you.  So you wish to remain 'Cyril'?"  the queen asked.

      "My liege-lady, 'twould comfort me if thee would call'est me 'Glenn' when no other could hear.  It would help me feel I'd not let Cyrus down too much,"  Glenn asked quietly.

      "Gladly, even though you are as stubborn in your unassuming way as is my beloved king.  Cyrus' death was not your fault!  However, I am happy things are finally working out for you."

      "I wonder, dear Leene, if they've work'eth out to their ultimate end.  I've been haunted by thoughts of Schala lately..."  Glenn mused.

      "Schala?  Now that you know that I know you are, or were, Alpha;  you can finally tell me what happened, not just the part I know."

      "As thou command'est, my queen, but we should break for mid-meal and I've responsibilities to King Guardia this afternoon.  Canst I relate to thee my tale on the morrow?"  Glenn begged.

      "Of course, but be sure that you do or I shall be quite disappointed.  Perhaps we can visit your, Alpha's, old home in the Cursed Woods from when you were a frog?  I'd be interested in seeing it,"  Leene asked.

      "My lady, 'tis no place for thee.  How dost thou know of it?"  Glenn asked in amazement.
      "That sweet girl, Ariel, told me of it and how you had evidently spent years there in loneliness regretting Cyrus' death.  I am glad those youngsters were able to bring you back from that despair to us."

      "Indeed.  What else did Ariel speak of that perhaps she ought not?"  Glenn mused.

      "Glenn, she was concerned that you would return to brooding once the adventure was over.  She knew that you had been my retainer and thought that I could find some way to help you.  We know how much Cyrus meant to you and how deeply it hurt you when he was murdered.  Ariel spoke, but all your friends felt the same, that you might spend your life regretting something you could not change and deny yourself the happiness you deserve.  Keep your sadness, Glenn, that is a fitting and proper tribute to a great knight and a great friend, but do not live there.  Now, you spoke of lunch?"

      "Aye, your majesty, I did.  Can I escort my queen to her repast?"  Glenn queried as he offered a crooked arm.  Leene placed her hand on his arm, gathered her train on her other arm and glided through the chamber door as Glenn opened it.  "Now what dost thou mean by saying that my mode of courtly speech is out-dated?  Surely thou jest!  Such high language as I am wont to use is only to show my highest regard for thee and for thy husband, our king..."  Glenn teased in mock displeasure as they passed down the hall.  The two guards flanking Leene's door stared at him.

      Leene smiled serenely at them to show she was not upset and even loosed a few low giggles.  Glenn winked at them over Leene's head and continued down the hall.

      "Surely, just because some know not the proper forms when addressing those of royal birth, does not mean that those of us who do should offer insult to thee and thy lord..."  he continued in mock amazement as he opened the door to the staircase.  The guards overheard and chuckled, somehow relaxing even as they snapped to attention.  The heavy door blocked Glenn's bantering tones and Leene's bell-like laugh.

      "She favors him too much,"  the younger guard complained.

      "No.  He is a more skilled swordsman than you in your youth, and I in my experience put together.  He is also a friend of hers.  Look at the queen's life.  She is guarded against all harm, but also all fun.  You and I can leave, go home to families, into town or the tavern.  Her life is here and it is boring.  Once, long ago, the queen's guards had a special duty she was completely unaware of.  Perhaps it is time to start that duty again,"  the older guard mused.
      "A special duty?"  the young one asked.
      "Sir Cyrus and one other started it.  Come to think of it...  no, never mind that...  One day, when the queen seemed especially sad, they started to act up and be silly.  I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say they lightened her mood.  For a very long time, until the war with Magus became so desperate, we of the queen's guard made it our duty to try to get the queen to laugh at least once a day.  Perhaps...we should start that duty again."

      "Perhaps you are right, old man,"  the young guard acknowledged as he reset the angle of his spear.  "Make her laugh, huh?"


      "You know, Cyril, this kingdom needs a Hero,"  King Guardia said conversationally a few hours later.  He was walking the battlements with Glenn by his side reviewing Guardia's troops as the Knight Captain mustered them out.  "A king's duties are state craft, law-making, fostering the land and the like.  It's rather boring and not easy for the people to romanticize about.  A Hero, on the other hand, fires their imagination, commands loyalty, adds a zest to their lives making some of the more routine things bearable.  A True Hero brings out the best in people, they are kinder with each other and more apt to lend a hand if someone needs it because 'that's what so-and-so would do'.  Cyrus was a True Hero.  Alpha, frog though he may be, could be a True Hero.  I find it strange that no one has seen or heard of Alpha since he and I parted ways at the castle gates."  The king sent a piercing look at Glenn.  "Don't you – Cyril?"

      King Guardia crossed to the battlement edge and watched his knights at work.  They practiced crossbow, spear and sword, shooting targets, thrusting and setting spears and the intricacies of swordplay.

      "You are quite impressive even with practice swords,"  the king commented.

      "I thank thee, my liege,"  Glenn responded quietly.

      "May I see your sword?  The one you hide under your cloak?"  King Guardia asked, fixing Glenn with an unreadable look.

      Swallowing hard, Glenn cleared the sword from his cloak and handed it hilt-first to the king.

      "The Masamune!"  the king whispered intently as he took it.  He admired the sheer beauty of the weapon as well as its heft and balance as he continued,  "My father had me train with the guards when I was a lad.  He wanted me to be tough;  it was almost as if he knew somehow that my reign would be more troubled than his...  An unintended result was that I no longer wanted to be just the king, I wanted to be out there, slaying evil, saving my people directly with my sword and skill.  A king has a certain distance imposed by his kingship, a passivity that helps him be objective.  Part of me rejoiced that Magus had advanced so close at Zenan Bridge.  I could go out and do, not simply send others to do for me.  Thank the Hero my folly did not hurt the people of this kingdom."

      "Sire, thy desire to save thy people is no folly, any who would so label it are wrong.  There is a certain romance about thy kingship, the king who would fight with his people, not hide in his castle as they wert o'errun.  Guardia may'eth not require a Hero as much as thee think,"  Glenn offered.

      "You speak as Alpha did;  you have his same quietness, you possess the Masamune.  Are you he?"  the king demanded.

      Glenn paced to the battlements himself.  He looked down on the knights, guards, and the guards-in-training and the swordsman in him assessed their skills.  He squinted a little to make out one face clearly and was not too surprised to recognized Tata among the new recruits.  He turned his gaze back to the king who waited patiently for an answer.

      "Yes, I am he, restored to my normal form upon Magus' death.  I beg thee, my liege..."  Glenn began.

      "Not to reveal that you are Alpha the Hero?"  the king smiled a sad, tight little grin.  "Why is it you always want what the other has?  To be a unfulfilled, unfulfillable dream of mine.  You want your peace, yet you are here where Leene or I could find you out..."  the king wondered aloud.

      "My skills are needed here.  Thou and my lady Leene have both discovered me.  I can only beg that thou allow'est me to serve thee as I am now, not as a Hero who can not mis-step and who is known everywhere he may have to go.  Things are quiet now, my liege, but they may'eth not remain so.  If I must take on another such as Magus, would it not be better if my skills were not common knowledge and my approach not heralded by everyone?  I desire to serve thee quietly doing whate'er needs doing, be it high, be it low."  Glenn sank to his knees and grasped the King's hand which still held the Masamune.  "Please, honor Cyrus, he who was a True Hero and a true friend.  If thou must, honor Alpha, the Frog Hero.  Do not make'st of me a Hero to be celebrated 'cross the land, I wish to remain here as thy guard and the queen's, ensuring thy safety from all who would threaten thee,"  Glenn pleaded intently.

      "It took me a year to get Cyrus to accept the mantle of 'Hero'.  Something tells me you would prevail if I were to engage in a battle of wills with you.  You win, Alpha.  You may serve me as you see fit, probably better than if I directed you."  The king grinned ruefully.  "But I will have my way in one thing.  Sunrise tomorrow meet me in the Cathedral."  King Guardia's steely grey eyes bored into Glenn's.  "Do not fail to be there!  This is the finest weapon I have ever had the pleasure of holding, however I can sense that it was made for you, as you were born for it."

      Guardia handed the Masamune to Glenn with a small smile of regret.  Glenn stared at the king who had startled him with his sensitivity and felt a slight tug from the sword.

      "Do something nice for him,"  a tiny voice spoke in his mind.

      Glenn was surprised by the voice but knew it had to be from the Masamune.  Keeping the sword out he walked away from the battlement and began some simple swordplay exercises.  The child-like gleam in the king's eyes rewarded him.  He began to work in more complicated moves and to increase the speed of the sword's arcs.  Completely enthralled the king's eyes followed every move.  Glenn paused the sword's motion, collected his will and performed a Nirvana Strike.  King Guardia's eyes widened as he imagined the three foes Glenn's move would have destroyed.  Glenn wished he could show the king Leap Slash or some of the dual attacks Orion and he had worked out.  Spire came easily to mind.  Glenn slowed the arcs and oscillations of his sword and returned it in a swift, practiced motion to its scabbard.

      "Wow!"  King Guardia exclaimed.

      "Majesty, dost thou step'est away from the edge!"  Glenn appealed holding out his arm.  "If thou were to slip...!"

      The king stepped calmly away from the battlement's edge and walked sedately toward the door.

      "Sunrise tomorrow, 'Cyril',"  he called over his shoulder.  Glenn shivered as he followed the king.

      "What doth my king plan for me on the morrow?  Can it be worse than being found out twice in one day?  Can it be worse than the strange dreams I fear I shall have this night?"  Glenn mused just under his breath.


      Later, in his room, Glenn unbuckled the sword sheath from his back and hung it on his wall in its spot.  He drew the Masamune and ran his hand softly down its blade carefully avoiding the keen edge.

      "Thou surprised me by speaking in my mind today;  though I know not why I was surprised, knowing who thou art.  Masa and Mune, brothers, bound in a red knife of dreamstone, using the power of Lavos to become a sword, at the direction of the Guru of Life.  Thou hast grown as I have, accepting my destiny to defeat Magus, avenging Cyrus and releasing his spirit and learning how to use the magic of my friends to increase thine attacks.  Art thou showing more growth for me;  changing yet again as I change?"


      Glenn woke well before dawn and made his way to a clearing overlooking the Cathedral.  He wrapped his green cloak tighter about him, warding off the pre-dawn chill and watched the moon set.  As dawn touched the sky with its first fingers of light he noted a party of five make their way to the Cathedral.  He recognized the king and queen, the Chancellor, the Knight Captain and the Cook.

      "The Cook?  What dost thou plan, my lord?"  he whispered.  Briefly he considered fleeing but acknowledged the lawful command laid upon him by the king to show up.

      As he entered the Cathedral the Cook and the Knight Captain finished lighting the tapers on the altar and returned to where the queen and the Chancellor stood.  King Guardia stood in front of the altar.

      "Thank you,"  the king noticed as Glenn came into the light.  "Our principle has arrived.  Approach us!"

      Glenn had no memory of the king ever having been quite so commanding or imperious.  Not only was this was a king to respect and to admire, but also to watch carefully for there was a dangerous edge to him as well.  He straightened his stance, threw his cloak over his shoulders and neared the altar.

      "Stop!"  Glenn instantly froze, waiting for the next command.  "Give'st over the Masamune!"

      Four jaws dropped open.  The Chancellor, Cook and Knight Captain narrowed their eyes as they regarded Glenn and he simply gaped at the King.

      "Alpha?"  the Knight Captain asked in wonder.

      "Alpha!"  Queen Leene confirmed.  "Now, shh!"

      "High ceremony requires high language, Leene insisted,"  the king responded to Glenn's expression.  "Now hand the sword over."

      Glenn did as he was commanded.  The king took the hilt, walked back to the altar and lifted the Masamune up.  It glowed in the candlelight.  All eyes were upon the king, mesmerized as he became more than a man, more even than a king.  For this moment it was as if he were the will of Guardia itself.

      "Guardia and her people have thrived for centuries and shall for many more to come.  Many have been her Heroes;  noble in spirit, will and deed.  The last Hero was my own knight, Cyrus."  The king's eyes lost focus and sorrow suffused his face.  He gathered his thoughts and continued.  "Many have been the weapons of these mighty Heroes who have defended Guardia;  blades and bows, axes and spears of renown abilities."

      King Guardia lowered the sword and gazed at it with shining eyes.  "This sword is the most famous, 'older than Guardia itself and yet younger than the newborn day'.  None have ever matched its peerless power, none have equaled its legendary deeds.  I am proud that its power serves Guardia in my lifetime, elated to have a chance to hold it, and humbled by all it has done."

      "Matchless as the Masamune is, it is also the Hero who wields it who accomplishes great deeds.  Not everyone is made to be a Hero.  Sometimes the Hero's path is hard, full of pain and sorrow.  I know not why Alpha was a frog at the time when we most needed a Hero's might, I can only imagine his Hero's path was stranger than most.  He wielded the Masamune and defeated Magus during Guardia's darkest hour and further helped to save this planet from an even greater evil.  It is fitting that a Legendary Blade have such a one as he as its Hero.  Approach us, Alpha, and swear again your vow of fealty."

      Glenn felt he was in a dream he could not wake from as he knelt, took the king's free hand between his own and the ancient vow slipped readily from his lips.  His heart was full of foreboding that the king was preparing one of his grand celebrations and Glenn, shy by nature, would from this day forward be thronged whenever he ventured outside the castle.

      "Now, the Queen's Vow,"  Guardia directed.  Queen Leene walked to her husband's side.

      Glenn took her hands in his.  Easier still these words flowed from his tongue, to guard and protect Leene, even above the King, for she was the true future of Guardia.

      "Only I know you are Glenn,"  the queen whispered in his ear after accepting his vow and raising him to his feet.  Serenely she took her place at the king's left hand.

      "You have vowed to serve, honor and protect Guardia, myself and the queen.  Now, kneel!"

      Glenn knelt and felt as he did so that the noose was tightening about his neck.  "This is not the life I choose!"  his heart cried within him.  "Mine only desire was to be Cyrus' squire, I never willed him to die, for me to become a frog, or to become a Hero!  Why can I never be what I want to be?"

      He dropped his head, waiting for the light sword strokes that would knight him and shatter the shadow of a life that he had made from the ruins of his old one.  They came.

      "By my will, before these witnesses, on this day I knight thee, Guardia's First Knight, peerless before all.  Arise, Sir Alpha!"  The king held up one hand to stay Glenn's obedience to his command.  "But I am mindful of what you said to me yesterday upon the battlements, and also mindful of your will.  Only those now here shall know of your Honor, to keep it to themselves until you release them or you are no more.  I too am held to this promise.  But I am the king and I shall have my will in one thing!"  Again the light sword strokes of knighting fell to Glenn's shoulders.  "Arise, Sir Cyril!"

      The king and queen helped Glenn to his feet.  He was slightly dazed by the king's actions.  Twice knighted?  Twice Named?

      "And now we celebrate the Kingdom of Guardia's newest knight.  I have my way and you, Alpha, have yours.  Work as you wish for Guardia's good as First Knight, work as I desire, Cyril, as a simple, ordinary knight.  You'll be celebrated, loved by the people for...  When's the next court knighting, Captain?"

      "The end of next week,"  the Knight Captain replied.

      "...Until the end of next week.  What?!"  the Masamune tugged from the king's hand to float above Glenn's head.  It twirled lazily in the air, glowed very brightly and split into two nearly identical, slightly demonic appearing, beings.

      "We do seem to witness many cool moments with this one, brother,"  Mune noted.

      "Yeah, well he is the Hero we were made for.  Each time he grows as a Hero, we grow as a sword,"  Masa answered.  "How about the king?  That was a very clever way to Honor without ruining Alpha's life.  The king has his knight and his celebration, Guardia has its First Knight and Alpha has the freedom he wants to live a – relatively – quiet life."

      "Relatively, Masa?"

      "Well, we're here.  How quiet do you think it can stay, Mune?  Especially now that we can sometimes speak to him in his thoughts?"

      The two, Masa and Mune, rushed one another, glowed and merged into the sword again.  It floated down into Glenn's outstretched hand.

      "Wow!  So the Masamune..."  the Knight Captain began.

      "Is Masa and Mune, brothers fuse'th magically into a sword.  They seem'eth to enjoy it.  They're right.  Each time I gain in..."

      "Heroship,"  Leene supplied.

      Glenn bowed to the queen.  "...they gain in power and skill as well."

      "Enough!  You are Honored, Alpha, Cyril, whoever you are, and I have a kingdom to run,"  the king declared.

      "Just one thing confuses me, my liege,"  Glenn began.

      "Just one?  You're more on top of it than I!"  the Chancellor interjected.

      "No offense, but why was the Cook here?"  Glenn asked.

      "Oh!"  Leene smiled.  "You know that if the Knight Captain knew, sooner or later his brother,  the Cook, would too.  We figured to invite him so he could see for himself for once.  We have his promise, along with the Chancellor and Knight Captain, to keep your secret."

      "Sire!  If you had sworn me to utmost secrecy I'd not have told even my brother..."  the Knight Captain began.

      "Oh, that's not true!  You've never been able to keep a secret from me!"  the Cook retorted as he dashed out of the Cathedral.

      "Why you!"  the Knight Captain yelled as he raced to the Cathedral door.  "By your leave, majesties, Sir Chancellor, and Sir Cyril,"  the Knight Captain bowed to each in turn.  "I've got to box my brother's ears!"


      Glenn made his way later across Zenan Bridge, tossed a jaunty wave toward Prime, who only flashed his photoreceptors back  (Prime was currently being a scarecrow to give Fiona's newly planted forest a break from the birds), and made his way to the Cursed Woods he had for too long called home.  When he had been a frog the denizens of the woods had left him alone but now that he was human he threaded the path to his pad carefully to avoid upsetting them into attacking him.

      He had just stepped to the first rung of the ladder down to his place when he heard a commotion just out of sight.  He drew the Masamune and raced to confront what he feared he would find.

      Leene watched in utter amazement as Glenn rushed the six monsters threatening her.  The Masamune became a twinkling blur and three mutant tadpoles fell over dead.  Glenn sidestepped one claw-handed attack, circled back bringing his sword up into a guard position and snapped a gust of wind from it at one of the standing tadpoles.

      Leene felt a searing pain strike her hand as a seventh unnoticed monster, some weird cross between frog and snake, bit her severely.  As she screamed in surprise and pain the creature leaped to her shoulder and vaulted off of her right at Glenn's head.  He snapped the Masamune up just in time to cleave the hideous creature mid-leap.  He slashed across a gnawer behind him, ripping its torso open as he ducked another leaping attack.  The two remaining monsters fell to another Nirvana Strike.  Glenn pivoted, scanning the woods swiftly, sword held poised between guard and attack.  Once he was sure no creatures remained he turned to his queen.

      Leene twisted her injured hand deeper in the folds of her skirt trying to hide her injury from this cool, deadly new Glenn.  More than anything she wished she had not followed him;  more than anything she wished to be far away from his level, unnerving and emotionless gaze.
      "I..I'm sorry, Glenn..."  she whispered as she dropped her eyes to stare at the leaves and loam at her feet.

      She glanced up just in time to see the grim warrior visage fall away and her faithful retainer return to his face.

      "Oh, milady!  Why dost thou follow'est me?  Thou art injured!"  he cried as he raced to her side.

      "It's only a scratch..."  Leene began as she fell over in a dead faint.

      Glenn ignored her bitten hand as he caught her; he was far more concerned with the blood pouring alarmingly fast from her seriously wounded shoulder.


      Leene opened her eyes to see hard-packed earth riddled through with roots above her.  Her head was cradled by a soft downy pillow and she was laying on a small wooden bed.  On a rough-hewn table next to the bed bloody cloths and a basin of red-tinged water bore mute testimony to the dressing of her wounds.  The stinging bite in her hand was overwhelmed by the searing agony in her shoulder.  Wordlessly she cried out in fear and pain and sat up.

      The earthen room swooped and spun about her.  Leene looked down at herself and gasped.  The whole right side of her dress showed slickly red with blood.  Even as she watched the white bandages on her shoulder slowly became red as blood seeped into them.

      "Shh, Queen Leene.  Be thou still for one more moment and I shall heal thee,"  Glenn whispered as he gently yet firmly pushed her back down upon the pillow.

      Weakly she nodded her head, biting back the nausea rising in her throat.  A change in the air made her look up.

      Glenn had backed up a few feet from the bed and thrown his arms out wide.  Leene watched in wonder as Glenn levitated a few inches off the floor and gathered the light of the room to himself.  He began to glow and blue light sparkled about his hands.  The light coalesced and, under Glenn's direction, shot forth and suffused Leene.

      A feeling of comforting warmth and peace flowed through her, washing away her pain.  She focused on Glenn who had closed his eyes in concentration to send as much of the healing energy to Leene as he could.  Sweat stood out on his forehead and his whole frame trembled.

      Leene felt that incredible energy flow through her, seeking out the damage the monster had done to her.  The rents in her shoulder closed and, lowering her eyes, she watched as a blue glow knit together the bite wound in her hand.

      Unable to do any more, Glenn let his spell fall and stumbled to his knees from his tremendous effort.

      "My lady, thou art..."  he whispered.

      "Completely healed,"  Leene reassured him as she rose from the bed and assisted him to his feet.  "Although this gown is going to be hard to explain!"

      Glenn rummaged about in a chest and came up with a tunic and cloak.  "These can serve 'til I return thee to the castle 'though they may be somewhat short.  They were crafted for my frog form.  I shall be above 'til thou call'est out, milady,"  he said as he climbed up the ladder.

      Once above he retrieved the Masamune from the bush where he had hidden it and cleaned its edge carefully.  After sheathing it he collected the monster carcasses and tossed them out of sight into the woods.  When he returned from the last trip he heard Leene calling him.

      "I am here, my queen,"  he announced as he descended the ladder.

      He marveled upon seeing her that she could still look so regal even while garbed in a tunic and cloak that were too short by six or seven inches.

      "I should return thee to the castle..."  Glenn began.

      "Nonsense!  You do what you came here for and after perhaps you can relate to me your adventures as you promised yesterday?"  Leene insisted.  "You made me think there might be something troubling you, something about Schala."

      "Yes Schala.  Mine adventure began in the Cathedral.  Thou hast been kidnapped by Yakra and Ariel taken in thy place at the castle.  I knew she was not thee and that the search had been called off when she was found.  Orion and Elora had come searching for thee as well.  A Naga-ette threaten'eth them and so I leaped in to rescue them..."     Glenn began.
      Much later he concluded.  "...and King Guardia and I return'eth here.  The portal closed behind us and the rest thou know'est."

      "Not all.  How did you regain your human form?  What did you do between returning here and joining the castle guards a few months ago as 'Cyril'?"

      "My Queen, there are some things I will keep my counsel on and those are amongst them,"  Glenn replied quietly.

      "You are right, Glenn, forgive my curiosity,"  Leene rolled the papers in her lap into a scroll.  Early on in Glenn's narrative she had asked for paper and pen and taken a record of his tale. "So you and your friends saved us from more than Magus.  The king mentioned saving past and future, but I had no idea it took so much out of all of you.  When Lavos killed Orion..."

      "I thought my heart would break anew...  But we were able to rescue him."

      "Dead is dead, usually.  How?"  Leene asked simply.

      "Lavos was not of our planet and Orion was not meant to perish in the Dark Ages.  His demise at that point was an aberration in the flow of time.  We must need rescue him, not just for himself, but also to mend the rifts in time that it caused.  Oh, my queen, sometimes I have nightmares of what could have happened if we miss-stepped along the way...  The Reptites could hath killed humanity's ancestors...  Magus could hath succeeded in summoning Lavos to this time – but, Leene,"  Glenn threw himself to his knees and grasped her hand.  "I fear we did miss-step, I fear the thread of time unravel'eth...  I fear some peril Schala faces threaten'eth thee and Ariel and all of thy descendants, but I've no way...  I don't know where to start..."

      "I'm touched by your concern as always, my knight, but your dilemma is not unsolvable.  Start at the end,"  Leene stated calmly.

      "The end...?  Oh, the End of Time.  Aye, that doth make sense, but..."

      "How to get there?  Leave that to me.  Write a letter to Ariel and I shall see it delivered,"  Leene promised.  "Perhaps we should return to the castle now."

      "Let me escort thee back to the castle.  Thou should rest and the king should know that thou hath been injured..."

      "...and healed.  Thank you, Glenn."


      Ariel tossed in her sleep.  The comfort of her royal bed, the tasteful decor of her tower room, her safety guaranteed by her royal knights;  none of these saved her from the tempest of nightmares that assaulted her this night.

      "What?  ...Alpha, I can't hear you...  Find it?  What?  ...the Masamune...  Okay..."  Ariel slipped into a deeper, dreamless sleep.

      Outside her chamber door her guards changed shifts;  quietly trading places as alert, rested knights replaced those whom sleep courted with ever-increasing allure.  Inside her room the moonlight slowly flowed across the floor.  Ariel's soft, downy bed could not prevent her restless dreaming.

      "Oh, Alpha...  It is you isn't it?  What?  ...tapestry...  Frog?  ...Schala?"

      Again the dream lost its powerful hold and Guardia's princess found deep, restful sleep.

      Ariel awoke, rubbed her eyes and sat up in her bed.  "Such strange dreams!  So shadowy and yet so real.  Is Alpha trying to tell me something?"

      She arose prepared herself for the day and went into the town of Truce.  Politely she knocked on the door of Orion's house.

      "Oh, hello, Ariel,"  Orion's mother greeted her.  "I've just put breakfast on the table.  Will you eat with us?"

      "Blueberry pancakes?"  Ariel asked knowing blueberries were in season.

      "What else?  Come in,"  Orion's mother threw the door wide and embraced Ariel warmly as she encouraged her in.

      Ariel appreciated the warmth that the motherly hug brought even as she regretted that it was not her own mother who showed it.  Ariel's mother had died when she was quite young and as yet her relationship with her father did not allow many hugs.  Yet.

      She found Orion at the table, bright morning sunlight streaming through the window to make the highly appetizing pancakes even more appealing.  Ariel's stomach growled.

      Orion laughed.  "Good morning to you, too!"

      "Oh, stop it, I haven't eaten yet today!"

      "A fate worse than death, to miss breakfast!"  Orion teased.

      "Only when it is your mother's cooking.  Especially pancakes!"  Ariel retorted.

      "Dig in, dear,"  Orion's mother commanded as she placed a plate stacked high with pancakes in front of the princess.

      "Oh, yum!"  Ariel lavished syrup over the stack and fell to with gusto.

      "Princess, I'm so glad you can enjoy such simple pleasures.  I don't believe there is a spoiled bone in your body,"  Orion's mother observed.

      "You know I prefer the nickname Orion gave me!"  Ariel smiled.  "We agreed that in this house I am not a princess!"

      "Do you see us bowing and curtsying?  Calm down, Ariel.  In other words, deal with it, 'princess',"  Orion teased.


      "No fighting at the table,"  Orion's mother said serenely.  "Seconds, anyone?"

      "No thank you, ma'am.  Done, Orion?  Let's go visit Elora!  Oh, can I help you with the clean up?"  Ariel asked belatedly.

      "No, dear,"  Orion's mom chuckled.  "I've got it.  Have fun on whatever adventures you find today!"


      "Okay, spill it, yer highness.  What's got yer royal britches in a bunch?"  Elora demanded.
      Ariel stuck her tongue out at Elora while making a nasty face.  Elora reached out to tug on her hair.

      "Girls!"  Orion roared.  "Must I separate you?  Ariel, you apologize for being impolite and Elora you apologize for being...polite?"

      The girls giggled at Orion's confusion.

      Ariel settled herself on a tree stump as Orion scurried up a tree behind her to an obligingly low-hanging branch and Elora perched on a nearby stone wall.

      "Well last night I dreamed Alpha was trying to tell me something.  I – thought it was Alpha anyway.  I couldn't see him clearly and it sounded as if her were speaking to me over a great distance.  He kept telling me to look for the Masamune and the frog;  and that we had to find Schala before it was too late.  I could feel that it was urgent...  That it was important and that he was frightened.  I don't remember anything else."

      "I hope nothing horrible happened to old Froggy.  I know he is dead by now to us in our time, but I hope he lived, lives a good, full life in his time.  Time travel makes even my head spin!"  Elora said.

      "Is there any mention of Alpha in the Royal Records?  Any clue as to why he might be trying to contact us now?"  Orion asked sensibly.

      "No, I've looked.  He's mentioned as the Frog Hero, Slayer of Magus and Rescuer of Queen Leene and Guardia, but no mention of him as part of the Realm after that.  Queen Leene's favorite guard was named 'Cyril'.  I figure he must be Cyrus' brother or something.  It could be Alpha left Leene once the danger was past and returned to the Cursed Woods to live out his life quietly.  It'd be just like him,"  Ariel mused.

      "How sad!  He'd be lonely..."  Elora noted.

      "Well, it seems he's trying to contact us now.  Have you ever looked to see if the Masamune was in the treasure room?  Surely that sword would have survived a couple of centuries.  Maybe Masa and Mune can tell us why Alpha is trying to reach us now, and what happened to him after the Gates were closed,"  Orion figured.

      "I'm not entirely sure that makes scientific sense..."  Elora began.

      "But it's a magic sword!  Besides, it's something to do.  I hate feeling helpless!"  Ariel urged.  "C'mon!"

      Once at the castle they descended the steps to the basement treasury room.  Elora promptly located the master inventory, Orion made for the weapon racks and Ariel drifted about just trying to feel what she was searching for.  Orion carefully replaced the swords, lances and spears that he moved trying to see what was under them.

      "No mention of the Masamune or a sword of that description here,"  Elora sighed, adjusting her eyeglasses.

      "It's not stored with the weapons,"  Orion confirmed.

      "I'm not sure it's here at all, but look!"  Ariel said pointing to a giant tapestry.

     "Great Guardia!"  Elora breathed.

      The tapestry reached from the floor to the vaulted ceiling.  Upon the green field the Masamune, hilt up, glowed in silver and gold thread.

      "How did we never notice that before?"  Orion wondered.

      "It wasn't here before.  Oh, I'm sure the people here know of it, but we were traveling hither and thither through time while such changes were occurring, so our memories are a little out of step with what reality ended up becoming.  Kinda like how only we remember the Black Omen in the sky of our time, even though everyone mentioned it.  When we destroyed Lavos, the Black Omen never rose in any sky but the Dark Ages,"  Elora explained.

      "I'm glad you understand it because I sure don't!"  Ariel commented.

      "I only sort of understand it.  It makes me realize how very fragile Time is,"  Elora admitted.  "Well, now that we found the Masamune, or what we can of it, what do we do?"

      "While you two have been chatting, I've been looking about.  Come back here,"  Orion commanded from behind some furniture.

      "He's gotten really bossy, hasn't he?"  Ariel noted.

      "Yeah, but he has his uses.  Let's see what he found,"  Elora responded as she climbed around a huge armoire.


      Ariel climbed right behind her and they saw Orion, a huge smile on his face, resting his elbow on the head of a life-size version of Alpha carved in marble.

      "Some clue!"  Elora said.

      "I can't find any secret holes behind the tapestry or anything in Alpha's pockets.  I figure Alpha may be trying to leave us a message the way Queen Leene did for Ariel in the Rainbow Shell,"  Orion stated.

      "I still have that letter.  I keep it in my mother's jewelry box with Queen Leene's Coral Pin.  The Pendant I'll always wear,"  Ariel said quietly.

      Elora circled the small statue.  "Not exactly a pretty or heroic pose,"  she noted.  "What do you suppose he's doing?"

      Orion looked at the statue of his friend again.  "Why, that's his pose when he's about to Slurp someone.  I'd recognize that with how often he had to Slurp me!"

      He regarded Alpha's statue and looked more closely at the construction of the head.  He reached out and opened the subtly hinged jaw.  In the cleverly carved mouth of the statue, where Alpha's tongue would be, there was a scroll.

      "And Alpha speaks!"  Ariel crowed.  "Okay, but someone had to say it!"  she said to the sour looks Orion and Elora cast her way.

      Orion unrolled the scroll, read the heading and handed it to Ariel.  "It's addressed to you."
  'Dear Ariel,

  Not a day goes by that I do not think of and miss thee, Elora, Orion, Prime, and Arvia.  Thou art as precious to me as are my memories of Cyrus and mine own Queen Leene.

  Lately I have had forebodings regarding Schala.  We ne'er did ascertain her fate after the Ocean Palace disaster.  For her own self I would help her to the limits of my strength, for she was most good and fair of deed.  But I am also mindful that she is thine ancestor and her fate could affect thee, thy line, and also my beloved Queen Leene.

  I crave a favor from thee, my princess.  Please, use the Wings of Time to aid me in finding Gaspar and asking him to read this tangle of Time lines.  My heart is sore affrighted within me and I would do anything to safeguard Schala, Queen Leene, thee and thy descendants.

  There is a lone tree that o'erlooks the water in a clearing near where Orion's house will be.  He must know of it.  Please, bring Ark and look for me there.

I remain, faithfully thine,

      "Wow, even his letters sound like him with all the 'thees' and 'thous',"  Elora noted.

      "Elora, what state is the Wings of Time in?"  Orion asked after a moment of thought.

      "It's at Melchior's.  As usual Ark is ready to fly or Time trip, but we have to be careful.  We can't risk changing something,"  Elora cautioned.

      "Alpha's note is pretty clear.  He's concerned and he knows about Ark and Time travel.  If we get him and go directly to Gaspar at the End of Time, there's no way we would hurt anything..."  Ariel said.

      Elora paced a little.  "Well, no...  And I don't want to let Alpha down.  It would be super to see him again, but we can't just rip through Time to visit friends."

      "We aren't.  Alpha feels there's some trouble in the Time stream.  I feel kinda edgy too.  This isn't a simple visit.  If we changed something that shouldn't have been changed, it's our responsibility to set it right again.  Elora, go home, get your gear.  We'll meet you there,"  Orion decided.

      Ariel returned to her room and retrieved her adventuring gear.  She donned her Prism Dress, grasped her crossbow Valkyre, took up her backpack full of various tonics, ethers and other such stuff and met Orion in front of the castle.  They stashed her bow and gear in a tree near Orion's house.  They went up to Orion's room where a Clone of him stood in a corner holding Orion's best adventuring gear.  Orion unbuckled the sword belt and handed it to Ariel.

      "How creepy!  Why do you keep it here?"  Ariel asked.

      "Oh, I got it to remind me of all you guys did to save me,"  Orion admitted.

      "Well that's a little less weird, but doesn't it bother you at night?  Sleeping with it staring at you?"

      "'s kinda like you, Elora, Alpha, Prime and Arvia are watching over me, protecting me.  It's actually comforting.  I mean, you guys broke Time and space to bring me back...  Well prevent me dying.  I couldn't ask for better friends.  The Clone reminds me of that,"  Orion told her.

      "Seen that way it's not too creepy," Ariel replied.

      "Anyway that's one reason why we have to see what Alpha needs.  He wouldn't reach across hundreds of years just because he's lonely.  There is a reason.  He's our friend and he's asking our help.  It's a no-brainer really,"  Orion offered.

      "Lead on!  To Elora's house we go!"  Ariel sang out.

      From Elora's they used the Magic Waterspout to Heckran's cave and from there walked to Melchior's hut.

      "What brings you over today?"  Melchior asked.

      They told the Guru of Life all they knew and showed him Alpha's letter.

      "I've felt no ripples in Time, but my specialty is Life, so perhaps I wouldn't.  I know my memories are mixed, sometimes I remember the Black Omen hanging over my hut, but other times it is as if it never existed,"  Melchior said.  "If you are cautious, collect Alpha and go immediately to Gaspar at the End of Time, I can see no harm.  Do not let anyone see you!  Keep Ark low to the ground and away from where you know people are,"  Melchior further cautioned.

      "We will, Melchior.  Thanks!"  Orion promised.

      "Is it just me or does Ark seem happy to see us?"  Ariel asked.

      "Gaspar did say that Ark had a mind and soul of its own.  It did follow us when Orion was – lost,"  Elora reminded her.

      "Now the tree Alpha mentioned should be over here,"  Orion muttered as he carefully piloted the ship just above the trees to a spot near his house.

      Orion set the compass and Ark sailed through Time to come to rest in the same place in the Middle Ages.

      Glenn watched as the Wings of Time materialized just above the treetops, the chrono-distortion sending a ripple through the air that quickly vanished.  He approved of the way the Ark landed swiftly to minimize its impact in this Time.  He gathered his gear and strode through the forest to where the Time ship landed.

      Ariel was on the ground scanning the woods on the other side and Orion was helping Elora down.  Seeing his friends again caused a lump to rise in Glenn's throat.

      Orion turned from assisting Elora and caught sight of Glenn.

      "Oh, no!  We're in the wrong place!  Board again, quickly!"  Orion said in dismay as he advanced rapidly toward Glenn.  The girls jumped to obey his order.

      "Good sir, we are so sorry to have caused trouble for you..."  he began.

      "Thou idiot.  It's me, Alpha, er, Glenn,"  Glenn said with a lopsided smile.

      Orion's eyes widened as he stared at Glenn's human form.  He staggered back a step, tripped and sat down hard on the ground.  Elora and Ariel reversed and descended to the ground again.  Glenn reached a strong arm down to assist Orion back to his feet.  Once he was upright again Orion noticed that he had to look up into his friend's laughing green eyes.  He had always been taller than Alpha.

      "What happened?"  he asked in a daze as a delighted smile crept over his face.

      "What are you doing, Orion?  Where's Froggy?"  Elora demanded as Ariel and she walked up.

      "Here, right here.  Alpha...  Glenn has somehow been restored to his natural form!"  Orion grinned.

      "Ooh, you handsome guy!  You never told us you were a total hunk!"  Elora chided.

      "You are utterly gorgeous,"  Ariel added quietly.

      "So, Glenn,"  Orion turned from watching the girls swallow their amazement.  "Just how did you return to human form?"

      "After Lavos' defeat, after King Guardia and I return'eth here from the Gate in Leene Square,"  Glenn began as he swept his hair out of his face with a graceful gesture.  "I begged his leave and traversed about trying to come to terms with all our travels had accomplished.  I visited some of the people who assisted us, Tata's going to be a fine guardsman, by the way, and tried to decide what I should do with the rest of my life.  I returned to my pad,"  everyone groaned and Glenn smiled broadly at his own pun.  "Which showed me that I could ne'er again be content with only that solitary existence.  Setting Cyrus to rest and saving Orion has lifted much of the sorrow from my soul,”  Glenn's eyes unfocused and his gaze lifted over their heads recalling the powerful memories.

       He continued,  “I know it may'eth sound silly, but I visited Cyrus' tomb and talked to him.  No, he didst not show up and answer me but I felt as if he were endeavoring to tell me something.  Finally, after more traveling, I felt strong enough to go to where it happened;  where Cyrus was slain and I transformed.  When I went to the waterfall near where I first woke as a frog under, I felt – strange.  As I stood under the cascade of water, I could feel magic gathering about me.  It enter into me and I changed;  not back into the gangly youth I had been, but well – this.  The man I would have been had I ne'er been made into a frog.  Magus claim'eth his death would break my curse, perhaps I had to go back to where it happened to let the reversal take place."

      "Hmph!  I think it was my kiss!"  Ariel said, remembering the surprise Alpha had shown when she kissed him before he left Leene Square.

      "Well, then ne'er kiss me again, fair damsel, for I desire not a return to being a frog!"  Glenn laughed as he gently teased her.

      "We'd better make sure,"  Ariel teased in return.  She stood on her tiptoes and kissed Glenn's cheek.  "See?  No change!"

      "Oh, I don't know..."  Elora said.  She too kissed Glenn on his other cheek.  "I think he's blushing.  That's a significant physiological change!"

      Orion snorted.  "Are you two quite finished?"  he demanded, glaring at the two girls.  Ariel looked into Orion's eyes, giggled, nodded and turned away. 

   Elora cupped her chin, regarded the humoring expression on Glenn's face, gently kissed his cheek again and said,  "For now."  Glenn laughed at Orion's consternation.

      "Seriously, what's the trouble?"    Orion asked.

      "My dreams have been troubled of late and a sense of dark foreboding fills the quiet part of my days.  I fear Schala, and through her, Leene, thou, Ariel, and the entire future of the Guardia line is in danger.  Also, a few days a-gone the Masamune gain'eth in power again when I was knighted,"  Glenn responded turning a troubled gaze upon Ariel.

      "You were knighted?  Way to go, Froggy – er, Glenn!"  Elora cheered.

      "Twice knighted actually.  Once as Alpha and then again as 'Cyril',"  Glenn admitted.

      "Cyril?"  Ariel asked.

      "The name I took when I was transformed back.  'Alpha' is a great Hero an' I have no desire to be treated – well, famous.  'Glenn', in a way, is dead since I can ne'er return to who I was and, well, 'Cyril' is close enough to 'Cyrus' for me to honor him.  I think of him as I honor my vow to watch o'er Queen Leene,"  Glenn explained.

      "Of course!  Sir Cyril!  There's mention of him all through the castle records...  I assumed it was Cyrus' brother.  Now it makes sense!"  Ariel said.  "We were concerned, we scanned the royal archives and could find no exploits of Alpha's.  We thought you had gone back to the Cursed Woods, we'd no idea you'd returned to human.  Oh, the adventures you...  Oh!  I better not say anything more!"  Ariel covered her mouth with both hands and looked at Glenn with stars in her eyes.  Glenn wondered just what adventures were in store for him and whether the reality would match up with the history Ariel had read.

      "You said the Masamune powered up again?"  Orion prompted Glenn quickly.

      Glenn hid his smile at his friend's slight jealousy as he responded.  "They can now speak to me in my mind.  'Tis rather disconcerting.  But it seems every time my sword gain'eth in power we are called upon to do more.  I think the Masamune's gain in ability is connected to the peril I fear Schala may be in.  I ask of thee to convey me to the End of Time.  I must converse with Gaspar regarding these strange forebodings for I canst not see them clearly or be certain I am reading them aright.  I am glad to see all of you again, e'en though we may be once again called into danger;  I could ask for no better friends to be by my side.  Now, let us board and be off,"  Glenn urged.

      Orion reached for Glenn's pack and went around the back of Ark to stow it.  Glenn bowed slightly to Ariel as he offered.  "Dost thou care for mine assistance, my princess?"

      Ariel giggled as she accepted Glenn's help up to Ark's seats.  After he seated her he leaped lightly to the ground again.

      "And thou, my Wonder Worker?"  Glenn asked Elora as he landed next to her.

      "Wonder Worker?"  Ariel teased as Glenn settled Elora into the seat next to her.

      "I notice you let him call you 'princess',"  Elora replied archly as Glenn leaped down.

      "Yeah, well, he has such dreamy green eyes.  I'm sure it'll get just as tedious as when you and Orion say it soon enough.  More's the pity.  'My princess.'  My ancestress had all the luck,"  Ariel mused.  The two girls were still giggling when Orion vaulted into the driver's seat.  Glenn followed directly after, turning a somersault in the air before landing lightly on the wing next to Orion.  Orion gaped at him.

      Glenn smiled gently.  "I have a few, very slight abilities from my ten years as a frog.  I am an expert tumbler, not quite enough for me to have retained Leap Slash, and I am afraid I can no longer work with thee to perform Spire.  Is there enough room for me to sit next to thee?  With four of us traveling the Time stream together, the ride should prove rather bumpy."

        Orion shifted and they found there was indeed enough room.  He set the time compass and called out.  "Next stop, the End of Time!"

      The white ship lifted gently into the air, rose to just above the tree tops and silently slipped into the time stream.  Just as Glenn had predicted the ride was more exciting than usual.


Fan Fiction / Dipping my toe in with a brand new CT fic
« on: September 18, 2020, 12:01:43 pm »
So, I read the theory listed in the Compendium encyclopedia here regarding who buried Cyrus in the Northern Ruins.  Given how the epitaph changes according to Cyrus' state of rest, I always believed (as is also postulated in the entry) that it was Cyrus himself who inscribed it through mystical means. Glenn holds such grief and guilt even after many years have passed, I can't square that with him being responsible for the depth of contempt the first inscription holds.  Pondering the matter, another possibility occurred to me this week and considering how plausible it might be, I tripped into a fan-fiction.

This short, but bitterly dark, story explores Glenn's first moments after he awakens as Frog and explains how it came to be that Cyrus was buried, unnamed, so far from home. 

Warnings – centered on the events in the game surrounding Cyrus' death and burial as it is, there are themes of death.  Additionally, there is a brief whisper of the desire for suicide.

Status – In progress (but fully plotted, near to completion)


It was here, this was the place of triumph.  Ozzie was supposed to be recruiting for Magus' Army, and he knew full-well the Denadoro Mountains had been picked over already, but he just had to return.  Magus didn't understand, or perhaps didn't care, what had happened here, but Ozzie did, and he wanted to revel in the moment.

Cyrus, the great and grand Cyrus, whom the humans thought would stop Magus and save them from the Mystics, was dead.  Dead, dead, completely dead.  And Glenn, that upstart squire, or attendant, or whatever the heck he was, the one who –  Ozzie lifted his hand to cover the scar on his neck from where Glenn had, in an incredibly lucky sword slash, cut him.  No one had ever hurt him before.  Ozzie resolved no one would ever get close enough to do that to him again.

Death was too good, too easy for him because of this insult.  Rather, Ozzie wanted Glenn dead, oh, he wanted him dead, but he wanted him destroyed, completely destroyed, in soul and spirit and heart as well as body, first.

That was the real reason he was here, instead of out finding new recruits for Magus' Army.  The spineless wimp had injured him, and he had to be made to pay.  He had been able to hurt Ozzie only because he was lucky and because Cyrus was there.  Cyrus the Bold!  Cyrus the Inspiring!  Cyrus the Hero! 

Ozzie looked down and laughed.  All that was left of the vaunted hero, several paces away was...

Cyrus the Ash-pile!

A wicked thought occurred to him.  The monsters of the Denadoro Mountains were under his orders to block Glenn's path down, and instead drive him up the mountain to this place, where Ozzie waited.  Ozzie decided to gather up what remained of Cyrus, and scatter the ashes to the four winds right in front of his hapless former squire's eyes.  That ought to be enough to make perfect the human youth's suffering and then Ozzie could....

Then he could kill him and complete his revenge.

Maybe.  Seizing him and taking him to Magus' Lair so he could torment him even more might be fun.  Who knows?  Given the shape the boy was in, he might make good canon fodder for Magus' Army.  That thought appealed to him.  Glenn either destroyed by a Guardia defender's attack, or maybe even better, killing some of those he once called friends.  It wouldn't be the first time Ozzie had twisted a human's destiny, after all.  He floated forward.  Or rather, tried to.  The wind picked up suddenly and stopped his forward motion.  This wouldn't do!  The only thought in his mind was doing whatever he could to make his cruel plan a reality.  Glenn had to pay for hurting him.

But, he – just – couldn't – move – forward.  Even touching down, which he hated, and walking, pitting the strength of his legs against this inexplicable wind didn't help.  He could walk, or float any direction he tried, other than the one he really wanted – toward the Ash-pile.  He heard someone approaching.  Gnashing his teeth in his frustration, he floated over and hid behind some foliage to wait.  If there was something Ozzie was very, very good at, it was waiting.


It was sound that woke him.  He heard a melodic, continuous susurration that after a moment he identified as water flowing in a stream.  Next, he became aware of a low, throbbing pain in his hand.  There was an arc of sensation across the middle of his fingers and continuing along his palm, where he had closed his hand around something large, thin, and unyielding.  He eased the tension of his grip and the pain eased.  A general feeling of internal disquiet, the sense that something was very wrong, almost as if he were seriously ill with fever permeated him, but, he didn't feel hot.

No, if anything, it was the other, he felt cold, but cold as he had never felt it before.  It was as if he, himself, were radiating cold, instead of warmth, and everything felt wrong, his arms, his legs, his neck, his back, his wrists and fingers, his ankles and toes, every single joint in his body ached and throbbed and felt – wrong.

Unnerved by the all-pervasive perceptions, and a dawning sense of horror as his memory caught up with what the sensations of his body were so insistently trying to make him understand, he leaped up and away, away from the water, away from the pain, away from the memory, now full-blown in his mind, of the death of his friend and the awful searing energy Magus had called down upon him.

He fell down again, unable to balance, completely unable to stand. 

Sometime later – minutes?  Hours?  Lifetimes? – he slumped to the ground next to the stream, utterly defeated.  He had tried, with all the strength he could muster, to stand, to balance, to walk.  He just couldn't manage to get it done.  Everything felt wrong.  The core balance point of his body, which he had taken for granted before, was lower and kept pulling him down toward the ground.  On hands and knees, or whatever he had now that he had called 'hands and knees' before, he could probably crawl, but that was no way for a man to get around.

He wanted to give up.  He wanted to put his head under the water, breathe it in, and just die.  He'd heard that drowning was a pretty painless way to go, perhaps even peaceful.  Peace.  Death.  Both concepts appealed equally, and if intentionally drowning himself might do the trick...

He laughed, a raw, rough, mirthless sound.  He had seen his altered hands.  They were green and bore a faint webbing between the base of his fingers.  The equally radical changes in the joints of his wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles were half familiar.  While he had slowly, finally warmed from the unnerving inner-radiating cold that he had woken with, he was certain that the core of his being did no longer bear the usual warmth of a human being.

He didn't know exactly what Magus had done to him when the mage had struck him down with that magic, but he was certain he had been transformed into something – else.  Something not human.  Something that probably couldn't seek death by drowning as easily as a human could.  He felt shame at his own thoughts.  He was – no matter what he had become, Cyrus had given his life to try to save him.  If he sought death now, that would be the ultimate rejection of his friend's sacrifice.  He had not promised to fill what had been Cyrus' dying wish, that he protect Queen Leene, there hadn't been enough time, but he did so now, vowing in his heart to protect her to the limit of his abilities – whatever they had become.

Change.  Following Cyrus as he had, being his squire as the knight had claimed the Hero's Medal and the Masamune, Glenn thought he was changing, growing, becoming more courageous and more like Cyrus just by following him.  That fantasy had been stripped away and revealed as a complete falsehood.  Though Cyrus had constantly urged Glenn to find and hone the strength within, just by being around him, Glenn had never had to.  Now, with Cyrus gone, in order to survive, in order to do his best to stay true to the code of honor Cyrus had instilled in him, he would be forced to change.

Again, he laughed in bitter tones.  Change.  How could he change more than Magus had changed him?  But he knew he would have to, the painful shedding of comfortable self-lies, facing the hard reality of the world on his own with eyes, mind, and heart cleared of all illusions.  He knew he was weak.  He knew while he did have the skill with a sword that even Cyrus acknowledged as greater than his own, he didn't have the will to wield that skill effectively.  He had fought, but his heart wasn't in it.  He didn't want to hurt anyone.  No, not quite true.  He hadn't wanted to hurt anyone – before.  Now...

Now, he wanted Magus dead.  Not because the mage threatened Guardia, the kingdom Cyrus and he had sworn to protect.  Not because war with the Mystics would harm the people who lived there and upset the Queen – perhaps threaten her safety or that of the King.  No, Glenn wanted Magus dead – no, Glenn wanted to kill Magus himself to avenge Cyrus.

And, in order to do that, he would need three things.  He held the first one in his hand.  The Hero's Medal was already in his possession.  With it, he might be deemed worthy to wield the Masamune, the only sword that could hurt Magus, the only weapon capable of killing the mage.  It had been broken, but Glenn knew swords could be mended.  They could be reforged.  Hopefully, the Masamune could be reforged too, stronger than it had been when sundered.  Of course, in order to do that, he would need to gather the pieces.  And they were on the top of the mountain.  He doubted Magus would consider them deserving of his notice once he broke the sword, so the pieces were most likely still there, abandoned in the grass where they had fallen.  Glenn vowed to make Magus pay for that arrogance.

The third thing would be the hardest of all to find.  He possessed the beginning of it in his will, this burning desire to destroy Magus, but the wanting was a far cry from having the skill and honing his will to be able to deliberately strike a killing blow.  He looked down at his hands again.  He had such skill with a sword once before.  There was no reason to believe he couldn't learn it again, and fit the skill to this newly altered form.  And that fact, painful as it was, would help him hone this killing will, too.  Though the deep pain in his altered joints had eventually eased and disappeared, he was acutely, intimately aware with every movement, with every sensation of his body, with every breath, even while at rest, of the change in him.  There was no way his will would weaken into some pacifistic 'forgive and forget' or 'live and let live' platitude as it might have done before...

Before, when he was just Glenn.  He didn't know what he was now, but he embraced his two-fold mission.  Protect the Queen in memory of Cyrus, and to honor his friend's dying command.  Kill Magus to avenge Cyrus and show the mage that even though Glenn himself had not known it before, Cyrus did not have a weak and unworthy friend.

In order to complete this mission, he would have to start it.  And, it started with a single step.  He rose from the ground, pulled his tunic straight, squared his shoulders, ruthlessly pushed down his awareness of how odd the action now felt, and took that first step.  He followed with another, and another, slowly becoming accustomed to the rhythm and sway of how his balance shifted while walking in this form.  He realized that the creatures of the Denadoro Mountains, which before had forced Cyrus and him into confrontations, seemed to be completely absent on his upward path.  He turned and noticed how densely they massed in the other direction.

“Herding me upward, hmm?”

No matter.  Upward was where he wanted to go.  He was fairly certain Magus had quit the mountain after vanquishing Cyrus and cursing him.  Once he had the sword, or what remained of it, in his hands, he was certain his path would be clear.  Somehow.


Glenn's newfound resolve faltered at the bridge crossing over to the place where it had all happened, where everything had gone so horribly, tragically wrong.  He paused for a very long time, reliving the moments, recalling the fiercely elated emotion he had felt when Cyrus had spied Magus on the other side of the bridge.  Cyrus' confidence had been so infectious that Glenn had mistaken his own response to it as courage.  Now, it took nearly all his inner strength to gather his courage enough to just cross the bridge.

He finally managed it, but slumped to his knees right away in his horrified realization that the small, sad collection of ash, positioned as it was in the exact spot where Cyrus had died and then, under Magus' magic caught on fire and burned, had to be the sum total of his friend's mortal remains.  One tiny, emotionlessly rational part of his mind wondered how the ash had not been blown away here so close to the summit.  Mostly, he felt misery and sorrow, wallowing in them to the point of tears.  Finally, he gathered the scattered shreds of his resolve once more;  respectfully gathered the piteous remains of his friend into a pouch, and decided he would find a better final resting place for Cyrus than the wind-swept, lonely, monster-infested mountaintop upon which he'd been murdered.

The hilt of the sundered Masamune was easily found, but try as he might, Glenn could not find the blade.  He believed the legendary sword had been broken into only two pieces, but could find not a single trace of the rest of it.  Regretfully, as the shadows continued to lengthen around him, he decided to leave the mountain before night fell.  He turned, crossed the bridge, and began his descent.


Ozzie ground his teeth, as he had been doing the entire time he watched the weird frog-thing that Glenn now was, poking around on the mountain.  Glenn had carefully gathered every trace of the ashes and collected them into a bag.  If somehow he made it back to Guardia with those remains, and the idiot humans made a martyr of their fallen hero, the Mystic War with the humans that Ozzie longed to win would be that much harder.  An inexplicably missing hero could give people hope;  hope that Ozzie could crush whenever he wanted with the truth that their hero was dead and not going to appear to save the day.  A hope suddenly dashed at a time and place of his choosing was a weapon Ozzie could use to devastating advantage.  Cyrus, as a heroic martyr, on the other hand, could stiffen the humans' resolve, and that would be far more annoying to deal with.  By any means he could devise, Ozzie had to keep Glenn from reaching Guardia with that bag of ashes.


“What happens now, big brother?”  Mune asked.  They watched as Ozzie, just as night fell completely across the summit of the mountain, turned and floated away from the peak.

“I don't know, Mune,”  Masa replied.  “I guess we stay here and guard this part of the Masamune like we guarded the whole sword before.  It's too bad Cyrus was killed.  He was a worthy Hero.”

“Kind of fragile, though.  Why are humans so easily destroyed?”  Mune asked.

“To be fair, he didn't falter until after the sword was broken.  That power that broke us – seemed familiar, somehow,”  Masa mused.


“Nevermind.”  Masa reached over and tousled his little brother's hair.  They had opted to shift to their most harmless seeming forms in case anyone did climb to the mountaintop.  “Good job keeping that creep Ozzie from messing with Cyrus' ashes.  Cyrus may have failed, but he was, even if only for a short time, our Hero.  Even his ashes deserve respect – respect that awful Ozzie would have taken away from him.”

“Whatever you say, Masa.  Easy enough to keep that bloated puffball away when I am the wind.  Whoosh!”

Masa watched as Mune spread his arms and ran around the cave where they had placed the broken blade of the Masamune.  He didn't hold out much hope that their situation would change any time soon.  Considering that it would likely be another few centuries guarding this remnant of the Masamune before anything happened made him unhappy.  And angry.  Melchior had promised them lives of adventure and deeds of glory and valor, not this endless waiting for a worthy Hero to appear.  Masa didn't hold any hope that Cyrus' squire, Glenn, even though he now had the hilt of the Masamune, would amount to anything.  He wasn't much to start, even before Magus cursed him.  He watched his brother as 'the wind' rushed around the cave and wished he could distract himself as easily.


You'd think eventually the Guardia knights might arrive at the conclusion that confronting a mage known to hurl lightning bolts while wearing 80 or so pounds of confining metal armor might not be a winning strategy or the best option for survival, something Glenn realized to his utter horror and dismay with how easily Magus took Cyrus out.


...I'm a rolling stone?

Hi, everyone!  I guess I should take a moment and introduce myself, since there is this nifty section here to do so.  I'm Kitt, sometimes Kitt Chaos.  There was a time when I was sort of a rare bird, as I am a woman and older than the 'average' gamer, but, I am glad to realize there is no such thing as an average gamer, anymore.

***One gamer's long and detailed personal history of gaming and related hobbies cut to spare readers (some) and get to the relevant stuff***

Years and years ago, my younger brothers discovered FuncoLand and bought an SNES console.  They traded and played games a lot -- Ranma 1/2, any and everything Mario (to this day I fail hard at any sort of Mario-esque timed jumping platform game), car racing games, fighting games...

Then they got Chrono Trigger.  I was entranced.  It was like the best part of a really good D&D adventure without having to deal with that one gamer who just wanted to get drunk and act stupid, or the girlfriend of the week hanging around, pouting about how 'boring' it was, and breaking up the gaming session early.  The look and feel of Chrono Trigger, the music, the story flow, the characters, the emotional impact -- all of it so balanced -- it was an entire, amazing world contained in that cartridge and I couldn't wait to delve in and explore it myself.

My brothers found it 'boring' and traded it in.  The very next day, I bought my own SNES console and a copy of Chrono Trigger.  After completing it that first time, I went back to see what, if any other games might be like it and discovered Square did indeed have other titles.  Final Fantasy III (which we know now is FF6) was my second ever video game, followed by Final Fantasy II (FF4) (wherein Cecil Harvey claimed a hold on my heart as deeply entrenched as Glenn did in Chrono Trigger).  On the strength of these three games, I bet that the upcoming Final Fantasy VII would be awesome enough to be worth it to get the Playstation console, a decision I have never regretted.
Relevant to this forum, I have only ever played the SNES version of Chrono Trigger, and just recently started a playthrough on the PS1 version (up to 'Unnatural Selection' currently).  I haven't played Chrono Cross or any of the interquel or fan generated games so the sum total of my knowledge of the Chronoverse is contained in the first SNES game. 

As I have always had a soft spot for knights and chivalry, as well as redemption arcs, Glenn is my favorite character.  It's a quirk of mine (that got me into no end of grief when I first started posting a CT fanfic) that I intensely dislike playing characters whose names are merely what they are, so I do change the character names in my fan fiction.  As another HUGE fandom for me is Gen One Transformers, I used that as the basis for a naming theme for my story, only changing two of the girls' names to something more suitable (Lucca had been 'Gears' and Ayla 'Brawn' during my playthrough the second and subsequent times) but soon discovered that to some fans the names are absolutely sacrosanct.  That, coupled with an immense writer's block once I completed a pivotal Magus-centric sub-plot stopped that story cold back in 2006 and I have never completed it.

However, playing Chrono Trigger again, finding that all of those balanced, beloved game elements have retained their charm and power even after playing more modern games -- I want to finish that story again.  I want to bring it to the proper ending that the story, the characters, and the readers (if any still look at it) deserve.  Searching to confirm memories of events later in the game than I have yet to play up to this time around to brought me to this Compendium and this forum, and I am delighted to discover that a vibrant community of members who appreciate Chrono Trigger is still active.

And, if you made it through all of that --
Hi, I'm Kitt.  It's very nice to meet you!  >^o^<

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