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Topics - Symmetry

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Fan Fiction / Disintegration (Symmetry - Removed for Editing)
« on: January 05, 2005, 12:38:48 pm »
4/8 - I'm not quite happy with this chapter still, so I've temporarily taken it down for the time being... Expect to see it reworked in the near future.

Sorry if you were hoping to read it soon!

Project ZEAL / Taking Roll. Please Reply.
« on: January 05, 2005, 01:07:48 am »
Hello everyone,

We expected participation in Project ZEAL to wane over the holidays, but now that the next semester is gearing up and schedules returning to normal, I'd like to get the fic moving again.

First of all, if you're reading this and are still participating, please post here and let us know.

Secondly, if you know anyone who might be interested in joining and that you think would make a good addition to the project, please invite them. It's definately not too late to join and really we're at a good point in the story for more heroes and heroines. (Or villians for that matter!)

Thirdly, I don't know how much planning everyone has done on the side, but I think it would be good to recap here where exactly your characters are going in the near future.

Hope to see everyone back on their creative feet soon!

Project ZEAL / The Compliment Thread.
« on: November 03, 2004, 08:04:36 pm »
Since we have several critique threads, I thought it would be helpful to have one for complimenting and pointing out what we like in each other's posts.

By stressing what we like, I think we can give each other a better idea of what we should focus on in upcoming posts.

So smile. Everybody. Altogether now.

: )

Project ZEAL / Character Paths
« on: October 20, 2004, 12:22:34 am »
I created a separate thread for this to make things easy. Since we're going to be branching out into several groups for subplots, we're going to have to choose how to divide ourselves up. This thread is for discussing where you plan on taking your character(s). You don't have to reveal all your secrets you plan on disclosing at some point, just a simple overview or some ideas will do.

If you think X & Y characters would get along or have some reason to be stuck together, then talk about it here.

Project ZEAL / Story Thread I. Introduction
« on: October 05, 2004, 06:32:38 pm »
[OOC: Okay. First of all, while I assume most are familiar with the concept already, all posts in this thread should be "in character". Plot discussion belongs elsewhere; this thread is solely for story posts. If you absolutely need to say something out of character, denote it by "OOC" at the start of your post.

This thread is the very beginning of the ZEAL project. Here, you introduce your character(s) and are expected to get them somehow to the End of Time to meet with Gaspar. (If they are Keystonian or will be fighting on its side.)

We're still formulating the Toma subplot. This exists so everyone can go ahead and get to the point where they're ready to go in the meantime. Don't feel as if you have to rush and post something here, but don't take an eternity, either.]

Project ZEAL / Character Sketches.
« on: September 27, 2004, 12:31:03 am »
This thread can serve a number of purposes.

First of all, I think it would be very helpful if everyone posted a basic description of their character(s) here. Although everyone will be writing primarily from the viewpoint of their own character, you're not going to be able to say much without mentioning other characters and their actions. In order to keep our characters as "in character" as possible, please give a brief description here including basic things such as personality, appearance, weapons they use, occupation, whateverelse you deem necessary.

Secondly, you can use this thread for whatever brainstorming you may want to do. Feel free to toss out ideas for your character(s) here and get some feedback.

And finally, some general character information/guidelines.

1. While there's no limit on how many characters you can create, let's try not to each spawn a CC-sized cast. Focus on a couple of characters instead of creating a new one every paragraph - or else Spekkio might have to drop by and massacre a couple in a rather grusome subplot....  :D (Night of the living Spekkio! Oh my!)

2. Try and diversify the cast. It would be pretty dull if everyone wrote about a spikey-haired kid with a katana who was a lightning innate. We don't need an entire cast who pops in and out of nowhere and mumbles a few lines about cosmic zen and then vanishes mysteriously. Also, remember that we're all writing this together. Your character probably shouldn't be able to take on an entire army all by his or herself.

3. By all means, take your characters wherever you like. Don't feel as if your character always has to embark on every subplot - most of the cast hung out at the End of Time in CT, right? Maybe he/she needs to relax and spend some time out fishing off an Arni pier. Develop your characters in any way you see fit.

If anyone else has anything helpful to mention or questions, don't hesitate to post.

EDIT: It has been pointed out that at various points throughout the story, some of you may want to write as pre-established characters. If you're interested in doing this extensively, please say something here so that we can all make sure its not going to interfere with a subplot or what have you. Also, try not to use the MAJOR heroes from CT/CC. (Crono, Magus, Serge, etc...) We've already seen their stories and we're aiming for a more original cast. Sorry if this offends your creative impulses.

Kajar Laboratories / Rubbish still, but we're making progress.
« on: September 18, 2004, 06:11:22 pm »
Alright - this is part of the latest installment of my fic. If you've read the first two chapters of it, you know about the two siblings and their little spat with each other. (And if god forbid you haven't..!) I'm not entirely sure how I want to order everything yet, but the bulk of this material deals with Berenyi. Depending on the feedback I get, I might separate this here into multiple chapters and insert a number of Darius scenes that would have composed the next chapter.

Anyway, read. Please. And tell me if this makes sense and if you're at all interested in it. (EDIT- Split into two posts because I wasn't sure if it would all fit in one. I apologize for being long-winded. :o )

Chapter Three

Darius sat on the floor, his legs stretched out in front of him and his attention fixated on a crystal ball that he was grasping with both of his hands. The translucent orb was an educational toy that gave its holder a virtual tour of the Blackbird. Darius had always been particularly fond of flying and Schala had seen to it that the young prince's creative impulses were fueled with whatever his keeper deemed necessary to continue fostering those thoughts. On some days, this meant that the prince would actually get to ride on the Blackbird, but most of the time this only meant that in-between lessons he was awarded another tour of the airplane that filled his dreams. Darius was particularly happy on this occasion, for today's tour revealed the intricacies of the Blackbird's engine room. After observing the crystal several times through, the prince looked up and scanned the room for his tutor, who had left him alone for a longer period of time than usual. Noticing that his tutor was nowhere to be found, Darius stood up and walked across the room to his sister. Berenyi, like her brother, had been momentarily left in the palace's crèche and was sitting happily on the floor, surrounded by at least two dozen translucent orbs.

"Hey sis... mind if I see one of those? I could use a little music while I watch my orb."

Berenyi, too busy with her own toys, had failed to notice her brother until he had spoken to her. "Oh! Well.... I don't know. Don't you have one already?"

"Pleeeeese, sis? I wanna listen to some music too."

The princess stared at the crystals surrounding her for a minute and sighed. "Okay, fine. You can have this one." Berenyi plucked an orb out of the bunch and handed it to Darius. As the crystal passed hands, the music of a treble-heavy stringed instrument began to fill the room.

The prince smiled. "Thanks, sis. I'll be sure to give it back when I have to leave." Darius wandered back to the corner he was sitting in previously and laid the two orbs out in front of him. Trying to synchronize the picture with the music, the young prince held his index finger over both crystals momentarily before quickly tapping them at the same time. As he had hoped, the picture orb and the music orb began functioning at precisely the same second. Pleased with his success, Darius watched the tour once more, even happier than he had been the first time he had seen it. Lost in his own world of thought, the prince dreamed of flying the Blackbird himself one day until a cough from behind him dragged his mind back into reality.


Darius knew who issued the cough without looking. "Yes, Berenyi?"

"Give me that back! Don't you dare take what doesn't belong to you!"

Confused, the prince looked up at his sister, who was standing over him with her arms crossed. "Take? I didn't take anything from you. You said I could listen to this."

Berenyi's jaw dropped. "I did not!"

"You did too!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

Fuming with anger, the princess reared back and slapped Darius clear in the face and finished the argument with one last cry of possession. "Did too!" Quickly acting while her brother recovered, Berenyi grabbed the orb and ran off, its twangy music still playing as she scurried away.

Darius rubbed his stinging face and looked back over at his sister only to be met by the piercing eyes of Berenyi's governess; suddenly the motivation behind his sister's actions became all too clear. Terrified by Parmalay's intense gaze, the prince turned away and stared out the window until the two had left the room. Once he was alone, Darius began to watch his orb once more, only to stand up seconds later and throw it as hard as he could at the wall. With a spark, the crystal shattered into several pieces.

"That stupid little girl! I... I... I oughta put her in her place! Why next time..." Darius shook with anger momentarily before exhaling heavily. "Great. My new orb, broken." The prince stood up and gathered several fragments of the shattered crystal. As he pieced the toy back together, tiny flashes of the Blackbird appeared and disappeared. "Shouldn't be too hard to fix this... With a spell or two, it'll be good as new! No one will ever realize..."


Darius stood in front of the orange pillar of light that functioned as the palace's hidden skyway. Unlike the other skyways connecting the Floating and Earthbound Continents, the one in the palace did not have a set destination. Upon stepping into the column, the traveler was teleported to a station and given several seconds to exit before they were whisked away to another station far away from the one they inhabited only seconds before. The prince, who was lost in thought, stared intently into the column, his eyes rolling together in circles as they followed one of the yellow beams of light that rapidly revolved around the tangerine-coloured pillar.

"Where are they? They should be back by now." Darius tapped his foot impatiently and turned to the two aides behind him, both of which were carrying one of the comatose bodies on their shoulders. "Right?! I mean, they've been gone nearly five minutes.... Five minutes is long enough to secure a skyway, don't you think?!" Now that the show was over, the prince did not put forth any effort in masking his anxiety.

Timid to respond lest the wrath of their leader fall upon them, the two aides merely nodded their heads. Two or three more minutes passed by before a flash of bright light filled the room and a young man appeared in the skyway's gate. Darius immediately sprang forward to question the attendant.

"Well?! Is everything taken care of? Have guards been stationed at each skyway?"

The aide bowed his head. "Yes, Lord Darius. Once we deal with the bodies, I will make another run through the skyway system and bring each of the guards back with me. Then it will be safe to shut them all down."

The prince nodded slowly in approval. "Good... good. Now, without any further delay, dispose of the bodies... I don't want to risk one of them waking up because we wasted too much time." Darius turned to the two aides behind him, both of which had yet to take a step forward, and motioned. "Hurry! What are you waiting for?!"

Not wanting to displease their lord any further, the two young men hurried as quickly as they could into the orange column and turned back to face Darius. The prince, now noticeably breathing heavily, failed to notice the two aides staring into his eyes, for his own gaze was fixated on the backside of his sister. Just before the attendants vanished, Darius suddenly called out.

"Wait! Stop, don't leave with my sister yet!"

The aide with Berenyi hunched over his shoulders stepped forward; the other stayed behind and disappeared with her governess.

"Is something wrong, Lord Darius?"

"No… nothing is wrong. Just... step back into the gate, but do not stand facing my direction. I... I want…" Darius breathed in deeply and stood tall as if he were dispelling his fear, yet everyone around easily saw straight through him; his false display of pride was hardly convincing. "Only a coward would not stare his nemesis in the face during their final encounter!"

"Very well, Lord Darius." The aide stepped back into the tangerine light and followed the prince's request. The yellow lights rotating about the column began spinning faster and the aide's figure, along with Berenyi's, began to fade. While the entire process took only but a few seconds, Darius stared at his nemesis as she melded into the light and disappeared from view, her figure burned into the cornea of his eyes. After three minutes had passed, one of his attendants returned to the palace, followed by another attendant moments later as the aides stationed to guard each of the skyways returned from their positions. As soon as the last attendant arrived back at the palace, Darius gave the order for all of the skyways to be shut down; within minutes, all connections to the world below had been severed.

"Lord Darius, the skyways have been disabled. The plan is complete. When will you address the kingdom?"

The prince stared blankly at where the pillar of light once stood.

"My Lord?"

"Tomorrow. I will address the kingdom tomorrow. If we are asked why we waited a day to inform Zeal of the news, we shall say that wished to try and resolve the dilemma without raising a stir."

"Understood, Lord Darius."

As his aides left him alone in the palace skyway, Darius continued to stare at the exact location from which his sister vanished. Nearly fifteen minutes passed by before the prince finally snapped out of his trance and realized that his attendants had retired to their quarters. Satisfied that there was nothing more he could do, that his plan was all but complete, Darius turned away from the stage and began to leave the room when he noticed a shiny golden object on the ground. Upon further inspection he realized what had caught his eye and stooped to the ground to pick it up.

Her favourite necklace... Berenyi will throw a fit when she realizes she lost it. How pathetic!

As Darius held the pendant in his hand, he felt reassured that he had done the right thing, that his actions we justified. The backside of the necklace was still warm, as it had rested at the base of Berenyi's neck, too weighed down with precious gems to dangle freely as most jewelry did. Composed of a solid gold band studded with rubies and a large heart-shaped centrepiece, the pendant served as a reminder to Darius of how indulgent his sister had been. The creativity of men who should have been spending their time working on something practical, wasted on the selfish desires of a hopelessly fastidious woman. Good riddance! Yes, Zeal will be much better off without her!

Darius stood and left the room, having found the confidence in himself that he was searching hopelessly for only moments earlier.


Berenyi stared happily at the orbs scattered about her, momentarily content that she had all she needed, a picture and a song for every conceivable mood that could possibly come over her. All that troubled the young princess now was the ever-present challenge of trying to figure out just what sort of mood she was in. Berenyi frequently spent all of her time in-between lessons trying to discern what crystals she wanted to play with, only to lose so much time in the process that she would end up returning to her studies without ever listening to one of the orbs.

Well, well! The crystal of great grandmother is very interesting. She was very pretty, after all! But this one of Schala... Mother was very boring. It does have that fascinating view of the palace, though! And it goes so well with that violin piece... Oh the choices! The young princess was so lost in thought that she failed to notice her brother approach her.

"Hey sis, gimme one of those orbs."

Berenyi looked up at her brother. "Don't you have some of your own, or did you break them all already? At the very least you could say please!"

Darius sighed. "Fine. Please, sis, may I have a musical orb?"

Sighing heavily back, the princess looked around her, trying to find a crystal she wouldn't have too much trouble parting with should her brother shatter it. "Here, try this one. Its got a lovely sitar piece and some other stringed instruments I don't recognize." Berenyi handed the orb to her brother, who quickly ran off without as much as saying thanks.

Humph! Someone needs to teach him some manners! Now, what do I want to listen to? As she continued to ponder as to which crystal suited her fancy, the heiress noticed a shadow looming over her. Turning around, she found Parmalay standing with her arms crossed, her disapproval evident in her posture and stare.

"Berenyi! Why did you let your brother boss you around like that?"

"I gave him one of the crystals I wasn't interested in right now. I didn't even think about giving him one of the ones I wanted! Wasn't that what I should have done?"

"Berenyi dear, remember that lesson on possessions? One day you will be Queen and all of Zeal - its property and people - will be yours to command as you see fit. If you let others push you around now, what makes you think they won't do the same to you later? Don't you think it would be terrible to be Queen and to be talked back to by a lowly servant? We mustn't let this sort of thing happen! Now, you might not want to listen to that orb at this very moment, but how would you feel later when that sitar is the only thing that can comfort your broken heart and you know that you can never hear it again because your foolish brother shattered it! How awful!"

Berenyi stared at her brother angrily as she took to heart the words of her governess. "How terrible! I'm going to take my orb back and make sure he never steals from me again!" Quickly standing to her feet, the young princess stomped over to her brother, knowing that Parmalay must have been smiling at her from behind.


Darius turned around to find Berenyi looming over him with her arms crossed and her right eyebrow arched. "Yes, sister?"

"Why did you steal my orb? That's not yours to play with!"

"What? You just have it to me a minute ago!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

Astonished that her brother dare to contradict the obvious truth, Berenyi reared back and slapped Darius in the face, then quickly grabbed the orb in dispute and ran off. Upon returning to her governess, who had picked up the remaining orbs and placed them in a basket, the princess handed the well-earned crystal with a smile beaming on her face. Parmalay responded in kind with a smile of her own and took the young heiress by the hand.

"Excellent work, Berenyi! Don't you feel as if you've taken a stand for yourself? No one will ever question your authority if you treat them like you just did your brother! Now come along, its time for the rest of today's lesson."

Just before she left the room, Berenyi turned to Darius and stuck her tongue out at the bewildered brother.


"Grr... I don't believe this! Where is my pendant?!" Berenyi stood up and looked around once more, the precious gold band nowhere to be found the in sea of white snow.

Parmalay clutched her arms and tucked her head in, trying to keep warm. "Dear, we've been looking for the better part of an hour. We can't stay out here much longer! We must return to the skyway!"

"But... but... my necklace! It’s my favourite! If it’s lost out here, I simply must keep searching!"

"Maybe your brother has it. It wouldn't surprise me if that were part of his cruel joke! He knows how much you love it."

Berenyi dropped to her knees, looking frantically about her one last time before breathing in as deeply as she could and belting out a scream from the pit of her stomach. "This better be part of his joke. He's already humiliated me by getting me drunk... but to lose my very favourite piece of jewelry... that would be simply intolerable!"

"Intolerable indeed! We will both have a word with your brother upon returning to Zeal, and a very unpleasant one at that! Now come, we must head to shelter." Parmalay aided Berenyi to her feet and the two made their way to the only outpost of civilization on the Earthbound Continent. Upon arriving at the skyway, the two women each breathed a sigh of relief, for they were once more in a place where the world made sense. Outside, the wind howled and the sea of ivory snow drowned out the view - but inside, the familiar marble floor and golden walls with stained-glass window panes gave the two refugees a sense of security. Everything would now be alright; they would never again have to endure the pain of the blistering cold.

"Finally. I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever actually arrive at this confounded place or whether it would continue to keep crawling away from us back into the horizon!" Berenyi made her way toward the stage, but Parmalay stood at the entrance, slightly confused but unable to discern at what.

"Something isn't right here. I don't know what, but something is missing."

Berenyi turned back to the maid, lifting her eyebrow in her all-too-familiar fashion. "Whatever do you mean, Parmalay? Everything seems fine to me. I mean, what more could Darius do to insult us? Cast a water spell on us and laugh as we chatter some more?" The heiress laughed, but cut herself short as a wave of confusion swept over her. "Hey... shouldn't have the skyway activated by now?"

Berenyi's wave of confusion was met by Parmalay's tidal wave of horror.

"Oh my... Oh my! This can't be happening!'


"The skyway doesn't activate when you step onto the stage... the skyway is always active! Always!"

"But that can't be right. That would mean that the skyway...." The tidal wave that had just swept over Parmalay now crashed on top of Berenyi. Mortified, the governess ran up the stairs leading to the stage and stood with the heiress, hoping that for some reason her presence might activate the portal and prove her wrong. Much to her dismay, nothing happened.

"This can't be! This goes well beyond the confines of humour!" Berenyi dropped to her knees and began pounding her fists against the glass plating that extended across the platform.

"My dear... this is no joke, I'm afraid! I believe your brother is trying to..."

"I know that!" The heiress shouted. "Darius is trying to kill us! That... that... bastard!" Berenyi slammed her fists against the stage once more before letting out a scream that would have curled the blood of a banshee.

"Berenyi, Berenyi dear! Stop!" Parmalay dropped to her knees and grabbed the heiress by the wrists. "You mustn't bruise your hands like that! Now try and get ahold of yourself! I'm sure someone will catch on to this insidious plot and come and rescue us!"

Lacking the optimism of her mentor, Berenyi began to sob. "But... but... how!'

"I don't know, I'm sure someone will surely question our absence and the strange timing of the skyway failure. Its only a matter of time!"

"But what if no one does! What will become of us?!" Berenyi's sobbing intensified.

Parmalay lifted her pupil's face with one of her fingers, her composure still considerably more solid than the young woman's. "Dear, you're the ever-blossoming rose of Zeal! What gives you the silly idea what no one will come for us? The kingdom couldn't possibly endure without you! All of Zeal would be heartbroken if you remained lost forever!"

The mere mentioning of being stranded permanently caused the levee holding the swelling river in Berenyi's eyes to burst. Tears began flowing down the heiress' face, sweeping the mascara that lay upon its banks along with it. Realizing that nothing she could say would provide any consolation, Parmalay pulled Berenyi closer, buried the young woman's face in her bosom, and rested her cheek on the heiress' head, massaging the princess's back just as she did when the girl was younger. Berenyi continued to cry, although she took some solace in her governess' display of affection. Within a few minutes the crying had subsided and the princess had fallen asleep, leaving no one to observe the few tears that ran down the elder woman's cheek.


There was whispering. The hushed voices of several bystanders crowded around her bed - a bed Berenyi had just noticed was not in the slightest bit comfortable, adorned with a pillow that was probably stuffed with nothing more than a few feathers.

There was an odd smell. The closest thing she could compare it to was the stench of Darius after he had been working on one of Zeal's aircraft all day long. The worst part about the odor was not its scent however, but rather that someone had tried to cover it by burning incense - incense that had not been properly stored and no longer carried the pleasant aroma it should have.

And there was pain. On the morning after her sixteenth birthday, Berenyi learned quite painfully the results of drinking more alcohol than proper etiquette dictated. When she awoke, she could hardly keep open her eyes, for light was far too painful for them to remain exposed to; her head felt as if she was underwater and her limbs too heavy to move. The only experience that caused the heiress more grief was her recent exposure to the Mammon Machine; however, the pain Berenyi was experiencing at the moment came awfully close to rivaling the two prior incidents.

As the minutes passed, the whispers became more discernable and the pain subsided, leaving only the odor of year-old incense, easily the most tolerable of the three sensations that struck the princess as she awoke from slumber. Unfortunately, the worst was still to come. Berenyi had not yet opened her eyes, for she was still drifting in that short period of time between coma and consciousness when one is aware of their surroundings yet not entirely certain they have left the world of dreams. When the heiress finally became fully cognizant of her surroundings, however, everyone surrounding Berenyi was equally aware of her discovery.

"I'm... I'm... The mud and the rock... And the wood... I can't be where I think I am! I was supposed to be rescued and restored to the throne.... You've kidnapped me and brought me to this... This... This mound of filth!" The princess screamed, but quickly cut herself short as the pain in her head surged once more.

"Shhhh... Quiet now. You're still suffering from the effects of the medicine we gave you. I'm afraid sudden movement and stress will bring on that pain for awhile. Just take it easy and everything will be okay."

Berenyi rubbed her eyes and looked over at the old man who had just addressed her. "What did you give me to make my head hurt so? That pain was excruciating! And exactly who are you, anyway?"

"That was an age-old tonic used to resuscitate those who fall prey to the cold. You're lucky those travelers found you when they did or else you might be too far gone for the medicine to work. Your mother here doesn't seem to be reacting to it. As for..."

"My mother?!" Berenyi sat up slowly and looked about the room, immediately noticing the bed positioned across from her. On it lay Parmalay, still unconscious from her duration in the cold. The heiress began to laugh despite the miserable situation, for she could easily see how someone ignorant of her identity might draw the conclusion - though she had never noticed it before herself. I hope I still look as good as she does at forty-five, although at this rate, I doubt I'll live to see twenty-two. "You must mean Parmalay. And while I do regard her as a motherly figure, I am the daughter of Schala, the late Queen of Zeal."

"We heard that she passed on. That must make you Berenyi, then?"

The heiress summoned forth all the dignity she could muster. "Indeed, it does. You wouldn't believe the calamities I've had to endure to be laying in front of you here! And now that I've clearly established who I am, I believe you need to answer my question. Who are you?"

The aged man bowed slightly. "My apologies. I am Mani, Elder of Algetty. My services are at your disposal."

Berenyi stared at the elder with a confused expression on her face. As best she could tell, Mani was at least sixty years old. His white hair had long receded from the centre of his head, growing now only around his ears. Matching this hair were a pair of bushy eyebrows and a mustache. Mani was unable to stand straight up and required a cane to walk; even when standing in place, he had to hunch over upon his walking stick. This was not what confounded the princess, however; what perplexed Berenyi was the fact that the elder wore the same simple rags as everyone else surrounding him. Despite his position in the village, there was nothing in his appearance to distinguish Mani from the common citizen. Only the occasional nod of the head or deference to his opinion signaled that he possessed any authority whatsoever - yet for some reason, there was something else in Berenyi's mind that did separate him from the other citizens of Algetty; something in his mannerisms was vaguely familiar.  

"I don't understand. If you hadn't told me, I would never have guessed I was speaking to this village's... leader." The heiress paused for a moment, hesitant to acknowledge another figure of authority - even if it was one over a filthy mound of dirt. "You dress like an common citizen. You don't demand the respect of your subjects. You have no pride in your position! What's wrong with you?"

Mani wheezed as he laughed. "Why would I have any reason to be proud? What glory is there to be found in being the king of mere peasants? If I am to take pride in something, I first need something to be proud of!"

Berenyi bowed her head momentarily to run a hand through her hair so that it arched across her face as it normally should have. "Royalty is to be prized for its own sake. If I am the Queen of mere peasantry then that only makes me appear more glorious in comparison to my subjects!" The heiress paused, then continued on. "But still... I must admit, I am somewhat surprised by you, Elder Mani."

The elder chuckled. "Oh?"

"Yes, you seem to conduct yourself in manner superior to that expected from the unenlightened. Although you fall short of what would be demanded from a Zealian, you are unusually eloquent. I would have expected you to be cowering in fear by this point, yet you approach me as an equal... At the same time, I am both appalled and intrigued. To think that you speak to me - a woman of near divine status - like you would anyone else is an outrage; but the character of the individual who dares to do so without fear - for one to be so self-confident - is admirable!"

Despite the heiress' condescending attitude, Mani took the compliment in stride. "I must confess, I have studied the ways of Zeal in my free time. Occasionally someone here will come into possession of a trinket or a book from the world above. I have spent many long hours scouring these foreign artifacts..." The elder's voice trailed off as he stared blankly at the rock wall behind the bed the heiress was lying upon. Berenyi looked at the wall and back at Mani several times before trying to refocus the aged man's thoughts.

"... And?"

Mani's eyes shot wide open. "Oh! Sorry... nothing more to say."

Berenyi stared at the elder, knowing full well that something else was on his mind, but eventually chose to let the subject drop. There were still more pressing issues on her mind, such as the health of her governess. "You said earlier that your medicine was ineffective on Parmalay, correct?"

"Yes, that tonic essentially causes the comatose person so much pain that they wake up. Unfortunately, if the victim is too far gone..."

The heiress' heart skipped a beat. "You're not suggesting that there's no hope for Parmalay, are you? Surely there must be something else you can do!"

The elder sighed deeply. "Well, the good news is that she's not dead. Your friend Parmalay is simply in a coma. The bad news is that there's nothing else we can do. We were hoping that perhaps you might be able to wake her from her deep sleep with your own magic." Mani paused for a moment to gauge the princess’ reaction, unfortunately not observing the expressions he had hoped. "From the look on your face, I take it that our assumption was wrong?"

The princess nodded. "I'm a shadow innate. I can tear apart the very fabric of the universe and weave it around my fingers, yet I cannot do something as simple as call forth my dearest friend from a dreamless sleep. How ironic that someone powerful as I be rendered completely powerless! A mere child versed in the healing arts could probably solve our dilemma!"

Mani nodded, stopping the heiress before she became even more dramatic. "Say no more, I am quite familiar with the arcane sciences. It is tragic, indeed - but please, you are not quite well yourself. Try to rest, for you have guests that are eager to meet you."

"Guests?" Berenyi laughed. "In a place like this? I doubt anyone worth my time would have found their way here!"

"Perhaps you would like to tell that to the three young adults who rescued you from the cold?" A grin ran across Mani's face. Berenyi started to speak, but held her tongue, quickly recognizing that her circumstances called for her to be more thankful, even though those receiving her blessing were probably unworthy of it. Heeding the elder's advice, she rolled onto her side once more and tried to make herself comfortable. Despite the ragged sheets, hard mattress, and flimsy pillow, the princess quickly drifted off back to sleep.


Much to her dismay, Berenyi woke to find herself lying in the same uncomfortable bed, completely ignorant as to what time of day it was or how long she had been asleep. Since Algetty lay deep underground, there were no open windows letting in the sunlight during the morning or the twinkling of the stars at night; only water dripping from the ceiling of a hollowed-out cave supported by rotting beams of wood. Expecting to see the elder and the trio who had rescued her, Berenyi sat up in bed only to find that she was alone with her unconscious maid. Pleased with the momentary solitude, the princess walked across the room to the bed where Parmalay was resting and sighed as she looked upon the sleeping woman. Although she knew not how, the heiress was convinced that somehow, her own survival was the result of a sacrifice made by her governess. After briefly reminiscing over several fond memories she had shared with her mentor, Berenyi decided to explore the village in hopes of finding something to entertain herself with.

It was not until the princess left the room in which she had been sleeping that she realized one of the more prevalent features of Algetty; the general absence of light in the village. Being underground, it was not surprising that sunlight only made its way a short distance into the cave; however, individual rooms throughout the village were considerably better lit than the narrow corridors that connected them. Fortunately for the princess, being a shadow innate gave her a certain affinity towards the darkness and she lacked the fear of it that would have plagued her brother.

After struggling for a minute to close the door behind her, Berenyi looked both ways down the corridor, trying to decide where to explore first. Just to her left and right across the hall were two similar doors like the one from which she had just emerged. They were both painted green and poorly designed; one door was too large for the opening it was placed in, forcing everyone to slam against the door to enter or leave – the other was too small and swung in and out whenever someone passed through. As Berenyi quickly noticed, most all of the doors in the village had similar problems; whether or not this was due to incompetence or a lack of proper tools, the heiress could not decide.

From the lack of activity and noise that generally would be expected during the daytime, the princess decided that above ground, the stars were probably shining brightly. The few people Berenyi did encounter merely gave her fearful looks and kept their distance from the foreigner. This did not bother the heiress in the slightest, for she had little desire to associate with the citizens of Algetty. She was quite pleased to find that the villagers were too timid to even risk accidentally brushing their garments against her own. Even in their own environment these unenlightened dregs still recognize their proper role! How delightful! Now if only a certain brother of mine could learn his, the entire world would be in perfect balance!

Berenyi wandered aimlessly throughout Algetty’s corridors in disgust at the pervasive squalor – her aversion to the village only interrupted momentarily by pride as another citizen passed by in fear – until she came to an unusual door at the end of the corridor that barred further passage. Unlike the other doorways in the cavern, this door was well-built, constructed out of bronze, and bore the official crest of Zeal upon it. Surprised to see the royal insignia in such a location, Berenyi stared at the portal in confusion, scouring her memory for some tidbit of knowledge that would explain the door’s purpose. After standing in front of the doorway for several minutes, the heiress began to turn around and walk away when she heard a familiar voice behind her.

“I’ll be surprised if you have any idea where that sealed passage leads to. After all, no Zealian would ever choose to go there and I’m fairly certain no one’s been condemned to eternal imprisonment in your lifetime. In fact, I believe the last person to be bound there must have been the one who killed your grandmother!”

Berenyi stared at the elder and then looked back at the bronze gateway. Upon further inspection, she noticed there was an unusually thick layer of dust on the door, proof that it had not been tampered with in some time. “That must mean this passage leads to the Mountain of Woe. I was unaware it could be accessed from down here.”

The elder chuckled. “Algetty is the only place it can be accessed from now, actually. In the early days of Zeal, the Mountain of Woe floated just like the other continents – but I’m sure you’re probably familiar with its history already.

“Actually…  I’ve always been taught it was part of the world below and not worth studying. Please, go on with your story – I’m genuinely interested.”

“Very well. Come to think of it, I shouldn’t be surprised that you’ve never been told the original story - The crown always has made a point of it to sweep under the rug anything that weakens its authority. As I just said, in the early days of Zeal, the Mountain of Woe was part of the floating kingdom. In those days, the Royal Palace had not yet been constructed and the reigning monarch resided in the Elemental Palace; Persis, the city that once inhabited the region where the Mountain does now, was the socio-cultural capital of Zeal.” Mani stopped to rub his fingers across his chin and stared at the door behind the heiress momentarily. “I suspect you’re not very familiar with the struggle for power that ensued once the floating continents were raised to the sky, are you?”

The heiress shook her head, confirming the elder’s suspicion.

“Yes, yes… Well, Zeal was not always a stable kingdom for at one time a civil war nearly erupted between the throne and those who thought the throne should be replaced with a counsel of rulers. It so happened that many of these malcontents – who for the most part were powerful aristocrats – lived in Persis. These patricians desired power for themselves and organized a small force to storm the palace and dethrone the King by force. Retrospectively, had they succeeded in keeping their plot a secret, they would have undoubtedly been successful in their endevour. Fortunately for the crown, one of these aristocrats defected, hoping to secure for himself a position of power by revealing the schemes of his peers. Furious, the reigning monarch - King Seras - issued a decree that all subjects loyal to him leave the island. Taking the decree as a sign of their triumph, the now openly rebellious patricians rejoiced in their newfound independence.”

Berenyi interrupted the old man with a question. “I thought you said the aristocracy wanted to overthrow the King. I’d hardly call being granted independence by the body you seek to destroy a success.”

“In truth, these people were not interested in reforming the kingdom; they merely sought power for themselves and independence from the crown provided the power they sought - Their joy was short lived, however. Once all of the loyalists had been given a chance to leave the continent, King Seras convened the most powerful wizards and sorceresses in Zeal and commanded them to destroy Persis; what followed next was the greatest display of arcane might in the history of our planet. When the host wizards and sorceresses were through, not a soul remained alive on the now barren continent. King Seras originally planned to leave Persis as it was to serve as a reminder of his wrath towards those who dared to challenge the crown, but ultimately decided to have it banished from Zeal as a blemish on its landscape. In time, the continent was simply referred to as the Mountain of Woe and those who made the same mistake as the foolish aristocrats were sent there.”

“Foolish indeed to challenge the monarch’s divine right to power. They received precisely what they deserved!”

Mani sighed. “They certainly deserved to be punished, but Seras’ wrath incurred a high price upon the kingdom. Zeal gained solidarity, but lost several generations worth of cultural achievement, not to mention the lives of numerous citizens.”

Berenyi crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. “They challenged the throne; they deserved to die. More paintings can always be painted; more statues can always be sculpted! Besides, if the patricians weren’t in line with the throne, their art didn’t serve to glorify the crown. That would render whatever artistic achievements they made utterly worthless!”

The elder grinned and nodded in consent, despite disagreeing completely with the heiress on the subject. “Perhaps you’re right. I’m afraid I’ve wandered off from my original reason for tracking you down, however. I’ve assembled your guests back in the room you were sleeping in earlier. They have business they wish to discuss with you – very important business, or so they claim. We shouldn’t keep them waiting any longer.”

“Very well then. By your standards, I suppose I owe these people, don’t I?”

“By my standards? I think by anyone’s standards you owe these people. They saved your life.”

The two began walking back towards the room, conversing the entire way. “I might be moved to display my thankfulness towards my saviours, but to claim that I owe them? They merely did what anyone in their situation would do.”

“I wouldn’t quite put it like that, but…”

Kajar Laboratories / Some unnamed rubbish of mine.
« on: June 22, 2004, 05:50:11 pm »
Shortly after joining the Compendium I came down with the bug to write a Chrono-based fanfic. This is my first time writing a fanfic, or really even trying to write a story of this scale, period. I figured I would place my work so far here and see what you guys (and gals!) thought of it. Bear in mind that his is a pretty rough copy and I've yet to change much from what I orginally wrote. I'd really appreciate your comments and criticisms - just try not to be too scathing.  :)

Some notes on the fic before you begin - I haven't played the series in some time now (as I've mentioned over and over!) and I still feel as if my knowledge on the subject is a little rusty. For that reason, I have chosen to write about a timeline completely independent of the outcome of Chrono Trigger. Its based in a similar world, but different events will occur that will shape the world in a different-yet-familiar manner. Expect to see some characters you're already familiar with, some you've never met, and others you know but might have to squint to recognize.

What I've posted here is largely setup for the people that are imporant to the story. Plenty of writers have done a better job than I could describing the relationship between Janus and Schala, so I plan on steering clear of that.


Something that happened today brought to mind one of the most interesting conversations I'd ever had with the three gurus. I can't remember precisely how the topic arose, but <Bel> began to speak of other worlds outside our own. He was convinced that somewhere, in a place beyond our reach, dwelled another Zeal, another Kajar and Enhasa, and even another me. The idea seemed silly at first and I dismissed it as the ramblings of an aging scientist, but the more he discussed these distant worlds, the more I began to question my initial impulses.

<Bel> claimed that for every action we make, there exists another world where we took a different course of action. As strange as it seems, his theory has some merit.

It is a curious thought that there exists another Schala pondering these same ideas at this very moment. Perhaps she ultimately chooses to reject <Bel>'s theory and go about dealing with more important issues. Or maybe she will consider these very thoughts tomorrow, or perhaps she has already arrived at her conclusion! A curious state of affairs, indeed!

In spite of all this, I wonder if there is something that transcends these worlds. I know in his lifetime, <Bel> discovered far greater things than he ever revealed to anyone outside his fellow gurus. I have this nagging feeling that <Bel> had even managed to transcend the very boundaries of time! Perhaps it is not at all out of the question for someone to visit another one of these mirrored worlds. Or better yet, perhaps there is a force - an entity that is capable of viewing these realities from some hidden vantage point.

There are so many things I could consider right now. Even with all of these choices creating new and indepedent worlds, I wonder if destiny forces some people to come to the same conclusions? Maybe a child will be born today or the day after, the precise details when may not matter - but is there something inescapable about our lives? Is that child doomed in some way or another to meet a particular demise or fated to fulfill a certain purpose?

At times I wish I had been born one of the gurus. Undoubtedly the world would be much clearer if I had their understanding. For now, all I can do is attempt to ponder the mysteries of the universe from my dreams.


Schala took a few deep breaths before opening her eyes and throwing aside her bedsheets. As she sat up in bed, she rubbed her face, trying to make the transition from the world of dreams to reality easier on the eyes; yet as her vision became more clear, her thoughts became more clouded.

Such is the nature of dreaming. Schala mused. For thousands of years humanity thought we slept to rest up for another day's activities. What a strange concept! Now we realize that we do not rest to prepare our bodies for another day, but rather we remain active so that we may gain more knowledge to dream with! For only in dreams is our mind clear of all distractions from the world around us... It is in sleep where we reason without error, in the darkness of night where we see most clearly!

Schala stepped out of bed and did her morning stretches, the same stretches that became more difficult with the passing of each day. There was no doubt about it, she was getting old. At the age of fifty, she had reigned over Zeal for nearly thirty-five years. Just as she did every morning, Schala drew aside the curtains and opened up the window that lead to the balcony ouside. Before stepping outside into the open air, she waved her hand in the direction of a small music box, which began to fill the air with a soft melody that Janus had composed for her many years ago. Leaning against the balcony's guardrails, Schala looked upon her realm and felt the same joy that she had felt every morning when gazing at the Eternal Kingdom of Zeal.

Below her, a teacher was guiding his class into the corridors of Zeal Palace. Schala smiled as the children seemed to burst with anxiety at their first opportunity the see firsthand the wonders contained in the Palace halls. Being of royal blood, she never had the opportunity to go on such a tour and experience that anxiety, but she remembered seeing schoolchildren shuffle through the Palace long ago as a child.

Invariably, thoughts of her childhood lead Schala to thoughts of her mother. She never had the opportunity to know her mother very well, for she was murdered by a coalition of malcontented <zea> and <ear> when she was but <age> years old - or at least, that was what the Council of Justice claimed. Although she had personally condemned the accused to eternal inprisionment on the Mountain of Woe, Schala always felt as if she had merely provided a punishment to serve as a veneer for an otherwise unsolved mystery. Of course, she had never admitted these feelings to anyone, save Janus.

Janus! I nearly forgot! How could I..!

Schala quickly undressed herself, bathed, and donned one of the simple gowns she always wore. Unlike her mother, she was a fairly modest dresser and was not given to wearing elaborate dresses and extensive amounts of makeup. She had even abolished the practice of dying the royal family's hair blue, for she found the process more of hassle than anything. Only Janus still continued to do so, which struck Schala as being odd, for Janus had no great love of his status as a member of the royal family.


After exiting her room and questioning the guards as to whether or not they had seen Janus nearby, Schala began making her way downstairs towards the main hall when she found who she was looking for.

"Janus! I'm terribly sorry I forgot about your request last night. I got too carried away in my dreams and failed to meet you as planned! Please forgive me, dear brother!"

Janus bowed his head in acknowledgement and replied slowly. "No need to ask forgiveness, sister. The Queen of Zeal is held to no schedule but her own. My thoughts can wait for another time."

"Perhaps you are right. However, I still regret making you wait without good cause."

"You said you were dreaming, correct? What better cause could there be?"

"It wasn't anything profound, I assure you. I was merely concidering something I had discussed with <Bel> several years ago."

Janus took a deep breath. "Now there's a person I haven't heard mentioned in some time; or for that matter, any of the gurus.

Schala bowed her head. "Yes, their disappearance still makes little sense. I wonder what became of them. I wonder if one of <Bel>'s experiments got the best of them.

"I doubt it. <Mel> always was the cautious one. He'd never have joined <Bel> and Gaspar on some far-fetched adventure. I don't believe we'll ever know what became of them. I suspect that they simply found somewhere away from the ongoings of Zeal and spent the last of their days enjoying a slower-paced life."

Schala nodded. "Gaspar never did seem to enjoy the public eye always being upon him."

The two continued walking down the spiral staircase that lead to the Palace's main hall. Just before Janus reached to open the door for his sister, Schala gently touched his hand and looked into his eyes.

"What is it?"

Schala took a few deep breaths before beginning. "Janus, do you ever fear that you will not be prepared when your time comes?"

"I will know when my time is at hand. The Black Wind shall tell me, and that will be all the time I need."

Schala turned away and took several steps towards a window. Janus closed his eyes and began to continue, even though he knew his sister was not pleased with his response.

"Brother, you're so cold. I often wonder why you are the way you are. Even though I feel a special bond with you, I never have been able to comprehend your thought process. You seem to care little for what the rest of Zeal thinks of you, as if you cared only for yourself."

Janus began to speak up, but forced down what he wanted to initially say.

"Why do you ask such a question?"

Schala continued to stare out the window into the blue sky beyond. "I thought of mother and father... And I thought of him. No one could have forseen the tragedies that befell them."

"There is nothing you can do to change the past. There is no reason to mourn what cannot be changed."

"You speak so matter-of-factly, yet I know even you continue to hold onto the past as if you could change it. I do not think that is what you truly believe."

Janus turned away so that both their backs were facing each other.

"Come Schala, there are important matters that you must attend to."

"Its not just the past that troubles me, but the future as well. I fear that in my efforts to ease the woes of Zeal, I have neglected the well-being of my children."

Janus looked back over his shoulder. "Perhaps this is best saved for another time."

Schala turned around to face her brother. "You are right. There are important matters I must attend to. Let us be on our way."


Schala and Janus entered the main hall and made their way to the throne room where several Zealian dignitaries were waiting. Unlike many others with positions of power, Schala preferred to do away with what she saw as unnecessary gestures and grandiose displays of flattery. No one bowed or dropped to their knees when she passed by; a simple bowing of the head was ample respect. Once Schala had seated herself on the throne, one of hte dignitaries approched her. Before recognizing the elderly man, she took one last glance at Janus, who had assumed his position nearby against of the chamber's columns. While he held no official rank in the Kingdom outside of being a member of the royal family, Schala insisted that he remain present at all official meetings, for she treasured Janus' advice over all others.

"Your majesty, many of your subjects have petitioned to meet with you. We have selected those whose issues are most pressing to speak in front of you today. We apologize in advance if you find our selections unworthy of your time."

"Very well. I will hear those whom you have chosen."

The elderly man bowed his head and returned to his post while motioning for one of his attendees to bring in the first citizen on the agenda. Into the throne room walked a young man dressed in the white and blue robes that only Zeal's brightest scholars wore. The orange scarf he wore around his neck indicated that he had overseen and conducted research that had been deemed noteworthy by the Council of Metaphysics.

The elderly dignitary spoke up in a deep voice that no one looking at him would have thought he would have possessed.

"Queen Schala! Your humble subject Methuselah wishes to address you!"

Methuselah approached the throne and dropped to one knee. Schala motioned for him to rise and the young scholar began to speak.

"I understand your time is short and you have many other subjects you wish to hear, many other matters you surely find more pressing. But I ask that you please consider what I have to say, for it is an issue that concerns us all!"

"Go on."

"Thank you, your majesty."

Methuselah blushed and turned aside to the throne room's windows, which spanned the entire height of the wall. The room presented those inside with a magnificent view of the Kingdom, a view only outdone by the balcony outside Schala's bedroom.

"You must forgive me, your majesty. I do not mean to flatter you, but to find a woman of your years in possession of such beauty is a rare discovery."

Schala grinned. "As you were saying... My appearance is hardly an issue that the entire Kingdom needs to be concerned about."

"Indeed. Queen Schala, it is no secret among the learned that the Eastern Contients of Zeal have sunk two feet in relation to the rest of Zeal in the past year. There is no question what this drift is a result of. The energy of the Sun Stone is beginning to wane."

Methuselah turned back toward the throne. "For ages it has been the primary source of power for our great Kingdom. As hard as we have tried, no substance, no spell, no workings of magic have come anywhere close to generating the power of the Sun Stone. And who could blame us for our failures? After all, the stone's power is not of this world, but rather from a body far away."

Methuselah stopped and took a deep breath. "My Queen, as the Sun Stone's power fades, Zeal will fade with it. Already we are seeing signs of the fate that awaits us. If we do not find a new source of power, Zeal will fall from the sky and become a kingdom of eternal slumber! And I assure you, this will not be the kind of slumber were we may dream peacefully!"

"Very well, young Methuselah. I assume you are here because you believe you have found a solution to this problem?"

The scholar smiled. "Yes, your majesty. And while I have not been the first to research this new source of power, I believe I am the first who has learned to properly harness it!"

Methuselah looked out upon Zeal through the windows once more. "I have little doubt that you have heard of the creature known as Lavos?"

A murmur ran through the room at the very mention of the name. Schala was slow to respond.

"Yes Methuselah, I have heard of Lavos."

"And you are aware of the Mammon project?"

"I am indeed. I cancelled it shortly after I began my reign."

"Then your hesistance to address the subject is understandable. When humanity first laid eyes on the Sun Stone, we were fearful to touch it lest it reduce us all to ashes. But in time, our needs forced us to overcome our fear. Queen Schala, I believe our present needs are now compelling us to face the power of Lavos!"

Schala paused and began to reply when she noticed Janus adjust his position out of the corner of her eye.

"Janus, do you have anything to say?"


"Then please, your counsel is always desired."

Several of the dignitaries muttered undernearth their breaths, each of them secretly furious at the Queen's unparalled level of trust in her brother.

Janus stepped away from the column and stood in front of Methuselah, looking straight into his eyes. For three minutes, he said nothing.


The Prince turned back to the Queen, looked back at the scholar once more, than spoke. "Perhaps this man is right. The sun has begun to set on the Kingdom of Zeal and its people. Lavos may be the power we seek, but this man is not the one who should lead the search."

Methuselah tried to speak up, but Janus continued on. "I do not see the glory of Zeal in those eyes, only his own."

Janus returned to his column and said nothing more. Methuselah, stunned by the Prince's statement, was searching for a suitable response, but nothing came but fragments of objections. Finally, Schala spoke.

"Perhaps Janus was too hasty in his judgment of you, Methuselah. However, I must ask you to stop your research and disregard all knowledge of Lavos. I do not expect this to be easy for you, but I cannot allow the Kingdom to be placed at risk. We know little of Lavos or what its intentions may be or what powers it may hold.


"This is not a judgment against your character. I hope to see more brilliant research from you and your peers in the future."

"I.. You.." The scholar stammered.

"Please, Methuselah - that is all."

Methuselah signed deeply and bowed once more.

"Yes, your majesty. I will see to it that the Mammon project is destroyed. I will send a report to the Council of Metaphysics once your will has been accomplished.

The scholar stood up and left the throne room as one of the dignitaries brought in another subject.


Methuselah maintained a straight face until he had left Zeal Palace and traveled through the gateways back to the plateau on which Kajar and Enhasa both rested. The scholar took a few steps away from the orange beam of light and then yelled as he quickly picked up a rock and threw it as hard as he could back at the gateway. The rock passed into the gateway and disappeared from sight. Methuselah found a few more rocks and kicked them about before throwing himself the ground.

"Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. The potential to truly gain immortality ruined by a timid old hag! And the nerve of that Janus to soil my name like that! If I ever had the chance, I'd..."

Methuselah grabed another rock, stood back up, and threw it at the gateway once more


The scholar stared at the beam for a few minutes before realizing that he was breathing heavily and had broken into a mild sweat. Methuselah wiped his face with his sleeve and looked up into the mountains at Zeal Palace.

"No need to worry. I refuse to let immortality pass through our fingers! Without the might of Lavos, this kingdom will fall into the sea and all our hopes and dreams will drown with it. If you do not wish to embrace immortality then I will let death claim you, Schala. One of your peers will be more than willing to rise to the occasion, and when they do, all of Zeal will see the brilliance of my work!"

A sinister grin ran across Methuselah's face as he walked away from the palace and began his trek back to his labratory in Kajar.

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