Author Topic: To the Sea of Dreams: Redeux! (Notes and musings and other assorted thoughts.)  (Read 18482 times)

skylark

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Holy crap, I did not expect Act 3 to be this huge. Bear with me, I think I got one more in the tank for later.

skylark

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams - Act 3 (Part 3) Synopsis

Before anything else can happen, word is recieved that a sizable force of Porreans are converging towards Medina. Word had apparently reached them that the fugitive heroes were given shelter. As the others leave Lark alone, he vows to Schala that he intends to keep his promise to her father.

The battle plan is interrupted by an irate Ozzie and most of his faction, who's ready to kill the entire group then and there... only to himself be interrupted by Lark, who's having NONE of his shit. Lark's experiences in Zeal have reignited his fighting spirit. Lark's plan is to have the Loyalists and his party take on the platoons converging from the city's flanks while he faces the central force alone, a move that shocks many of Ozzie's faction.

Magil silences any objections to such an insane-sounding plan because he realizes what Lark is trying to do in accordance to Mystic customs. By fighting off the main force on his own, he's proving to his detractors that he's ready to take responsibility for his unwilling part in Porre's invasion years ago. It's a risky gamble, but one that will serve to unite the Loyalists and Ozzie's faction if it pays off if for no other reason than pride.

As Lark marches towards the battlefield, the Frozen Flame makes another attempt to drive him to madness... but Lark is completely unfazed, overcoming Lavos' survival instinct by sheer force of will, and mastering the Flame's terrifying powers in the process. Lark causes enough devastation to the Porrean main force that the commander has no choice but to recall the pincer attack, marking Lark as a priority target. Lark ends up overwhelmed from the reinforcments, but Lark's gamble pays off as Slash and Flea lead Ozzie's Renegades to clean house.

After the battle, Lark notices that Ozzie is nowhere to be found. A search reveals that he entered the castle's emergency escape tunnels and locked the door behind him while everyone was fighting, unitentionally outing himself as the snake he is. In light of Ozzie's cowardice and Lark's recent bravery in comparison, the renegades recognize Lark as Medina's rightful heir. Knowing Porre won't take this loss lying down, Lark orders everyone to prepare for the struggle to come.

That night, Lark finds himself in the Dreamscape once more. With a newfound assurance, he pushes through the darkness of Schala's guilt - the death of Alphard, the destruction of Zeal, inadvertantly ruining Serge's life. In the end, he finds her sitting alone amidst the void.

All she can do is ask him 'why'. So he tells her.

Back and forth they go. In the end, his feelings finally reach her, but she is afraid. Afraid for the future, afraid to give in, afraid to hope. Every dreamer must awaken eventually, but Lark promises he'll come back. Whenever she's ready, he'll be waiting with open arms.

The next morning, Gilbert brings news of Acacia reinforcements, causing Lark to wonder if Maria knew he'd be leading the charge against Porre after all, to which Tamlen confirms that the Loyalists and the General have been in correspondence for some time.

The battle eventually begins. The commander from earlier leads the advance force, but Gilbert has a plan. As soon as the force makes its way past the canyon floor, a rockslide cuts them off from the rest of their forces, with Schwann leading the pincer attack with a company of the Dragoon Cavalry.

In the forward camp, the reunion with Schwann is brief due to some distressing news. General Maria has disappeared without a trace, her final orders being to assist Lark in liberating Medina. Gilbert is understandably livid about this news, fearful of the future of the Viper Clan. Schwann assure's him that the clan's future will be secure in about 6 years. It takes a bit before everyone puts two-and-two together.

Schwann's daughter Annette is the heir of the Viper Clan.

Kicking himself for not seeing it for the past 10 years, Gilbert can only ask how and why. Schwann tells the sad tale of an incident that had happened years ago. The young Maria had been abducted by Yarlen Shald, the first victim of his experiments with Lavos. When attempting to rescue her, the Acacian unit assigned to the task was decimated when the Lavos fragment implanted in her went out of control. Schwann was the only survivor. Neither of them had spoken to anyone of it for years...

When Ana injected the Lavos fragment at Viper Manor, Maria felt her own fragment resonate. Fearing that she would lose control again, she knocked Schwann out, left the Dragoons their orders, and headed out in search of Shald. Realizing that the General had put the entirety of her faith on Lark's success, he vows that he will do whatever it takes to find her after liberating Medina.

Meanwhile, at the nearby Porrean base, Shald welcomes Dalton's arrival, surprised that he would take to the field himself. Dalton replies that he is merely finishing what he began 8 years ago. As Dalton briefs his troops, Shald gives the once-again-disgraced Hans one last chance to atone for his failures, handing him a glowing cylinder containing a Lavos fragment as an ultimatum. Give Porre glory, or die in disgrace...

And so, the next stage of the battle begins. Upon seeing Dalton on the battlefield, Lark makes a beeline to fight him. However, the battle is stalled as a mighty vessel is seen in the distance. It is an upgraded Blackbird, helmed by Hans. The vessel takes aim and fires pods, not at Lark's army, but at the city. Pods capable of  holding battalions of Porrean cyborgs that proceed to swarm the castle. Lark's fight with Dalton is cut short as the latter melts into shadow, reavling itself to be the malevolent dream spirits that make up Dalton's sword, Murasame. As they fly back to their master, Lark's forces become pinned down by the Blackbird's firepower.

Back at the castle, Dalton make his way to the highest spire, where he intends to use the Rune Cannon that had been excavated from the Northern Ruins to destroy the Medinan forces. Meanwhile, just outside, as if to compound the situation even further, a Gate opens up in the sky. Out of it tumbles Kale and Lavenda. Kale finally manages to shake off his opponent to escape. Frustrated that her hated enemy was able to get away, Lavenda vents her frustrations on the Porreans.

Inside the castle, Schala has been taken to a safe room watched over by Magil. However, Dalton's forces begin breaking through the door. At that very moment on the battlefield, a sniper takes aim and shoots Lark in the shoulder. Their bond restored after Lark's last journey into the Dreamscape, Schala suddenly bolts awake upon sensing that he is in danger. There is no time to celebrate the reunion. Dalton has to be stopped.

(Schala permanently returns to the party lineup.)

With Lavenda and Magil, she makes her way to the spire, where Dalton is in the process of activating the cannon. Dalton bats everyone aside and taunts that he'll make Schala watch as he kills her friends one by one, starting with Lark.

After everything Lark had done to try and help her, after finally finding a kindred spirit within him, Schala refuses to let anything happen to him. Drawing upon a sudden wellspring of willpower she had long since forgotten, Schala awakens the Masamune. Caught off-guard by the sudden development, Dalton summons the merged form of Murasame, but Schala summons the merged Masamune in response.

Save Lark. Sort the rest out later. This is all that occupies Schala's mind at the moment. With an uncharacteristically brutal focus, she ejects Dalton from the spire. The tyrant manages to get away, but that is not her current concern. Although Schala is hesitant to use it, the cannon might be the only thing that will be able to save Lark and the others. Tamlen tries to warn her against it due to the fact that the last time it was activated, Medina was turned into a desert.

However, the Rune Cannon was Zealean technology, thus only a Zealean could successfully unlock the safeguards put in place.

Back on the battlefield, the Medinan forces see the cannon charging up in the distance. There is trepidation in the ranks, and no small amount of terror, but Lark senses through their bond that Schala has awoken. With a cry, he sears the bullet wound in his shoulder closed with his fire magic and commands his forces to hit the dirt.

The Rune Cannon fires... and scores a direct hit on the Blackbird, as well as glassing the remainder of the Porrean forces. The Medinans cheer in victory as the Blackbird crashes down into the sands.

However, it seems too soon to celebrate, as Hans stumbles out of the vessel. Knowing he had failed, Hans shatters the fragment capsule in his grip in order to take as much of the enemy down with him as possible. Schwann orders his men to get the wounded Lark out of the line of fire as Hans mutates into a horrifyingly misshapen beast. After a grueling battle, it's Reika who takes him down once more, this time for good.

With the combined forces of the Acacia Dragoons and the Mystic army, Medina is freed from Porre's grip. Amidst the victory march, Schala is seen at the entrance to the palace, surprising everyone in the party but Lark. With tears in her eyes, she leaps into his arms.

That night, during the celebrations, Schala takes stock of her life so far, and realizes that in a lot of ways, she had been wrong. She had abhored fighting and the pursuit of power, but as proven with people like Dalton, Shald, and Kale, her enforced pacifism was literally next to useless... and in bearing her guilt by herself and erasing her identity, she had alienated and abandoned those that had ever cared about her, both in her old life AND her new one. The Earthbound villagers, the Gurus, Janus, Roas and her future companions, her present day companions... her father...

...and Lark. Especially Lark. She had saved him from himself, yet had selfishly taken his heart with her to oblivion without ever realizing it. Could she still find the happy ending she longed for even as the shadow of guilt still looms in the distance? Speaking with Lark alone on the balcony in his bedchambers, Schala confronts her feelings. For the first time since her father's death, she takes a chance...

The next morning, Glenn goes off to check on Lark to see what their next move is.

He returns with Lark, a blushing Schala, and a black eye.

...absolutely nobody is surprised at their relationship upgrade.

In an admittedly transparent effort to change the subject, Gilbert turns to leave. His current priority is finding General Maria. Lark offers to help, but Gilbert refuses, stating that Medina still needs to be rebuilt.

(Gilbert leaves the party for the rest of the act. Lavenda rejoins the party for the rest of the game.)

Lark is now faced with another dillemma. He had planned to move on, but can't bear to see his old home in such a dilapitated state. However, he fears that the longer he stays, the more likely his people will ask him to rule. The idea of being king is not a pleasant one for a nomad like Lark.

Schala assures him that they only need to take things one step at a time, and it is enough to curb his anxiety for the time being. Day by day, little by little, life returns to Medina with the aid of the Zweibreicht Company.

However, there is one loose end that is still on everyone's mind. Just where in the hell did Balthesar run off to after Lark returned from the past? The others know that he issue isn't something that should be left alone.

As the others try to get more info on the astray Guru's whereabouts, Schala has a long-needed conversation with her estranged brother, apologizing for her cold behavior towards him throughout the story. Magil believes she had every right to be wary of him given how he was as Magus. After the fallout with Serge, he had to see with his own eyes that she would be okay, even if it meant breaking his promise to 'live strong'.

Unfortunately, history had shown his fears to be well-founded.

Magil asks what Schala will do if Lark decides to take the mantle of Fiendlord. Schala is torn, because now that she's found an intimate companionship, she wants to keep Lark to herself. However, she knows it's selfish of her, because Lark's people need him. Magil notes she could always become his queen. Schala is not too enthusiastic about the idea of returning to a life of royalty though.

Schala's codex beacon rings at that point. Roas has found Balthesar's private lab. Magil says he will stay with the group until he is sure that Schala will be in good hands.

As the Epoch Phoenix returns to 2400 AD, the devastation is worse than could be imagined. Long-dormant Lavos shells dot the landscape. There is not a sign of life anywhere except for one place. Shald has gone too far to have brought this much ruin... but first things first.

The party fights its way through the lab, finally coming across Balthesar's inner sanctum. The place is a mess, with the Guru desperately combing over books and figures to find a way to further his cause. Schala can only feel shame about how far her old mentor has fallen. Lark and Schala both proceed to call out the old fart on the abuse of his apparent omniscient morality licence. Balthesar argues they have no room to speak as they haven't done anything to better themselves, much less the world as a whole. This touches a particularly fresh nerve in Lark, who counters that the old man has spent so long trying to advance humanity that he forgot how to give a damn about it.

Balthesar tries to retort, but Schala beats him to the punch and doesn't give him a chance to get a word in edgewise. Among everything else, she expresses her shame that he sees the deaths of people she had spent years with as a 'necessary complication', having never forgotten Fin and the others who ceased to exist during the first recurrence. Most of all, she expresses disgust and disappointment that he had turned his back on the principals in which he had been made a Guru of Reason in order to advance his agenda, and that he turned out no better than those in Zeal who had sold their souls to Lavos.

Just when it seems Schala's words are finally reaching the old man, the security system reacts to Schala's sudden spike in willpower and sees the party as a threat. Balthesar tries to shut it off, but to no avail. The Nu robots shove him into an escape hatch, which sends the Guru out of the party's reach.

After the battle, the group decides to make camp outside of the lab. Although he knows Balthesar had gone too far in his beliefs, Lark admits that he hasn't done as much as he should have for his people. What can he reasonably do to stop Porre and Dalton's ambitions as a mere mercenary? Kale they could probably manage on their own, but not the Porrean juggarnaut.

No, he needs the influence to gather an army, the charisma to unite the world against their common enemy. He has the opportunity to make the world a better place, so why doesn't he take it? The world that Chrono and his friends dreamed of can still be a reality, but only if those able to walk that path are able to step up, and not fall into the same trap Balthesar did.

...and so Lark has chosen. He will take the mantle of the 6th Fiendlord.

The rest of the party is awed at his proclamation. Schala is proud of him for making such an important decision, but is saddened at what it means as she thinks back to Magil's question. Zeal has fallen, so she is technically no longer royalty. She knows how politics and courts work, she would be easily passed over by Lark's advisors for a far more profitable or influential match.

Lark has chosen to sacrifice his happiness with her for the sake of his people, despite hating the idea of having a bride chosen for him. After everything he had done for her, she knows damn well it'll tear him apart.

That night, after the group returns to Medina, Lark calls Schala to his chambers. Schala is prepared for him to call the two of them off...

...but Lark says he has spoken to Tamlen and his future advisors. He would gladly take his rightful place as Medina's king... on the condition that he chooses who he spends the rest of his life with. This news takes Schala aback, because that would mean...

Lark drops to one knee and slips the ring on Schala's finger. A year and a half they had known each other. Their joys, their pains. Their virtues and their flaws. Brought together by manipulation and circumstance, stayed together by their own will, on their own terms.

Schala says yes.

Time passes until the big day. Magil, once known as Janus Zeal, says his farewells to his sister. Despite the uncertainty of the future, Schala has good friends at her side, and a man who - despite a rough start - will cherish her for the rest of her days. He can finally keep his promise.

(Magil leaves the party permanently at this point.)

The wedding and coronation go off without a hitch. The two heroes who had saved Medina from Porre.

As the rest of the world turns: Termina without its leading lady, Marbule on the cusp of a cultural regression, Choras and its leadership hoarding their wealth, Guardia under Carmillia's thrall with Kale scheming from its shadows, and Dalton's Porre stepping up its war machine... a light that has not been seen in two centuries appears within the sands of Medina.

No matter what comes their way, they will face it together.

(End Act 3)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 02:54:55 am by skylark »

skylark

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And that's Act 3, folks. Not quite the home stretch, but getting closer. :D

skylark

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams - Act 4 Synopsis

One and a half years have passed. Medina has since rejoined the world stage. Through the tireless efforts of the city's rulers, it has returned to its pre-purge state in spite of its current wartime status.

Lark has since proven himself to be a capable monarch when it comes to day-to-day governing, cultivating a reputation of being 'tough, but fair', and has the fortitude to make the tough calls Schala is to soft-hearted to consider. His greatest strength are his skills as a battlefield commander, despite preferring to fight on the front lines. His aptitude for politics is somewhat lacking however, and when it comes to Porre, he can be somewhat merciless - an attitude Schala is fervently trying to work on.

Schala, by contrast, clearly rules with a gentler hand. In spite of her initial misgivings, she has proven to be a very compentent stateswoman, with a mind like a steel trap when it comes to politics. She is the only person capable of compartmentalizing her husband's grander ideas to more reasonable levels, giving her a 'one step at a time' approach to Medina's prosperity.

In spite of its relatively recent entry into the conflict between Porre and Guardia, the kingdom has been consistantly able to fend off attacks from both nations.

In recent days however, strange phenomena have been happening worldwide. Small, insignificant tears in the fabric of time appear and disappear at will. Things are coming to a head. Will the planet be able to continue its dream?

The act opens on a cliffside on the Medinan continent. A Porrean ship is nearby. Lark and Schala stand face to face with Porre's 10th Seat of High Command, Terrence Ishito, who has come to negotiate a possible ceasefire. Even Lark is aware of Terrence's reputation as a white sheep amongts the wolves of Porre, but he is still wary of a possible trap. That Terrence was even allowed to attempt a negotiation confirms recent intelligence reports that Yarlen Shald has gone off-radar.

Terrence proves his reputation as an honerable man, but he is unfortunately blinded by his duty to Porre's ideals. Negaotiations fall through. Lark gives the man a warning that people such as Dalton care not for ideals or honor, and that his loyalty is wasted on him. One day, he may have to make a choice between his duty to his people and his duty to the Porrean ideal.

Back in Medina, the royal couple is welcomed back by Glenn and the others after what is assumed a three month absence. The reunion is sadly short-lived, as everyone has brought news on the escalating state of the world.

Schwann reports that the El Nido mainland has become restless with Maria's continued absence, and support for the alliance with Medina has started to taper. If something isn't done soon, Medina may end up losing their only ally.

To that end, Gilbert manages to offer up some good news. Yarlen Shald has been found, and had barely survived what could be assumed to be an altercation with the missing general. The bad news is that he's under heavy guard in a Porrean military hospital. For better or worse, interrogating the man might be their only chance to find a lead.

Reika compounds the bad news with the knowledge that Marbule has become a police state under the authority of Bacchus' advisors, and the Sage's growing apathy had caused him to become bedridden. Demi-human refugees who don't follow the new regime have been gathering in Medina en-mass.

Lavenda tells of a strange fissure that had opened up on an island to the northwest of Medina, giving off a similar energy to the recent tears in time. This place may end up giving them clues to what Kale may be planning.

Laura has made little progress in attempting to find a way into Guardia. Any attempt by sea or air to infiltrate the country has failed due a barrier surrounding it. Laura fears that Carmillia may be planning something terrible.

Glenn notes that Choras has suddenly entered a state of martial law, and all trade routs to and from the city have been cut off. Whoever controls Choras controls the war effort, and Glenn fears that it's soon gonna be the site of a bloodbath.

Finally, Tamlen mentions that the scouts have recently returned from the Northern Ruins. When investigating a strange energy in the area, they found the long sealed inner chambers unlocked, and the risen dead - of all things - swarming the passageways.

With the briefing complete, Lark gives the order. It's time for everyone to ge their thumbs out of their asses and make some progress.

(Much like Chrono Trigger before it, these are the quests that bring a close to each character's story arc, with the exception being the Northern Ruins, which begins both Lark and Schala's final arcs. Lark's arc is completed during the story, while Schala's finishes during New Game+. For the purposes of this synopsis, we'll be starting with Schwann's arc.)

The Missing General

It's decided that anything Shald would say would be too unreliable. (Indeed, this proves to be the case if Shald is pursued first.) Instead, the crew find a way to slip into enemy territory to a small cabin in Fiona's Forest, the same one Schwann saved Maria from years ago. The interior of the dwelling is even more ruined than Schwann remembers. Signs of an obvious struggle are seen.

One of the party (Glenn if Shald was pursued, Gilbert otherwise) finds a trapdoor under the cabin leading to an underground laboratory. A presence is felt until the group is attacked in the dark. Schwann recognizes the creature and begs the party not to attack it, to everyone's confusion... until the horrid realization of it being Maria, overtaken by the fragment. The lights are turned on during the struggle, causing the parasite to shriek in pain and retreat into its host.

Maria is convinced that there's no hope for her, and demands to be struck down. Schwann disagrees, to say the least. The choice is taken out of the party's hands when Maria destroy a nearby generator shutting down the lights. It is here that Schala makes an important observation: The Lavos parasite infecting Maria is metamorphic in nature with an aversion to light, able to hide within the recesses of the body during the day. If they could drive the parasite into a single section of Maria's body...

Laura immediately catches on to Schala's plan. (What follows is one of the more unique boss fights in the game, where the object isn't to kill the boss. Indeed, Schwann jumps in front of the fatal blow if you deplete all the boss' health, leading to a game over.) Using light magic, the party drives the parasite into Maria's right arm, which Laura promptly severs at the elbow. With the danger to Maria passed, Schwann steps up to destroy the creature, no longer needing to hold back.

Destroying the lab behind them, the party returns to Termina to the cheers of the populace. Having used a nearby ship as their temporary headquarters, the Dragoons give their general some much-needed medical attention. A few days later, Schwann brings Annette to see her mother in order to break the news to the little girl. Leaving the two of them to bond, Schwann is ready to continue the fight.

The Blue Mist

It is a well-known fact that to wage a successful campaign, one needs proper funding. Porre has been leeching off of Choras for far too long. Glenn takes a personal interest due to it being his hometown. The Medinan envoy (the party) is met with suspicion and indifference and is stonewalled from meeting with Minister Galbanni, the leader of the city and richest man in the world. Left with little other option, Lark and Glenn head to the headquarters of the Mercenary's Guild, as they are familiar with its leader.

Upon meeting Guildmistress Panya, they are apprised of the reality of the situation. Another outbreak of the Blue Mist has happened and the city has closed ranks in order to contain it. However, the Guildmistress has been following the money, which is still being funneled into Porre's coffers. Naturally, she suspects foul play. If someone were to head to the nearby Porrean facility near the northern ruin and find evidence of wrongdoing, it may shake the people's faith in Porre enough for the city to turn over a few funds to Mednia.

The facility is infiltrated, but the group discovers far more evidence than they anticipated. In short, the Blue Mist was not a natural sickness, but a biological weapon created by Porre. Unleash the disease on an unsuspecting populace, swoop in with a convenient cure, and gain the gratitude of the city. Not only that, but it seems Minister Galbanni was complicit in this knowledge. When the group returns to the Guild, the Guildmistress is shaken by this revelation.

However, there is one problem. With the Minister being the de-factor leader of Choras, having him publicly convicted would send the city into a moral and financial panic, leaving behind power vacuum that Porre would use to officially annex the city... and if  Guardia or Medina took advantage, they would merely be seen as opportunists by the populace. There is no easy or moral way out of this dilemma... so Glenn doesn't offer one, leaving on his own. Lark and Panya come to the same conclusion: Glenn has chosen to take the immoral option, and assassinate Galbanni. Panya adds that it would be merely seen as a power play by one of Galbanni's dozens of illigitimate sires, ironically noting that Glenn himself is one such sire, to the party's shock.

Glenn sneaks into Galbanni's mansion, fights through his guards, and confronts his estranged father for his crimes. As it turns out, Galbanni had been suffering from the Blue Mist for years, with Porre bribing him with the cure. However, the disease has advanced too far for any cure to be effective, and the Minister is more or less on his last legs. In spite of this, he knowingly distributed the cure to the Mist to those who would ensure that that Choras would remain a strong and affluent nation, citing the needs of the many as his excuse to leave the unfortunate to their fate.

To his credit, Galbanni knows his time is up, and hands Glenn a coin to give to the kid of his favorite 'wife', Zweibreicht, stating that hers was a loyalty money couldn't buy. Wether or not he realizes Glenn is his son is left purposely vague.

Outside the mansion, the dark deed done, Glenn finds Lark waiting for him. No words need to be said as the two of them return to the inn. Days later, word of Porre's treachery has spread. With the cure to the Blue Mist being mass-produced, Porre no longer has any leverage over the city, and its forces are thrown out of the continent. As it was Medina that brought this crime to light, the kingdom is given whatever funding it needs in its struggle against Porre.

Galbanni's involvement was successfully supressed. However, the minister's death has caused all of his bastard children to crawl out of the woodwork in hopes of inheriting his massive fortune. Each of them tosses in a minted coin, leaving whoever becomes heir to chance, as Galbanni apparently intended. Against his better judgment, Glenn tosses his own coin in to the surprise of the party. Would the future be more of the same, or will Lady Luck give Choras a leader who would work for everyone, not just the many or the few? Only time will tell.

Song of Marbule

Liberation of Guardia

Birth of the Fiends

Origin of Lavos

The group travels to one of the northern islands to investigate this strange fissure Tamlen spoke of. As it turns out, the fissure is large enough for the Epoch to fly through. The the others pray that Schala doesn't give in to any daredevil tendencies while flying... or at least they don't say it within earshot.



Duty and Country

(Edit the above later)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 10:14:20 pm by skylark »

skylark

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I'm still here!

...sorta. Maybe. >.>

Wasn't sure how to start one of the other character quests, but I decided to do that later. I want to finish this damn thing once and for all.

*flexes... and pops a muscle*

skylark

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams Act 4 Synopsis - Part 2

At last, everything is ready. The rest of the world has been united to finally take the fight to Dalton. Guardia has been liberated, with Laura reclaiming her birthright. Marbule has a new Sage in Reika's younger brother. General Maria has recovered from her ordeal and is ready to fight (with a new prosthetic arm to boot). Choras has pledged its allegiance (and its coffers) to the alliance. The party has discovered the truth about Lavos and Kale, and the tragedy of what connects them. However, their successes were not without a heavy cost. Gilbert had fallen in battle in order to bring an end to Yarlen Shald's madness.

The fated hour is at hand. The point of no return. Once Lark chooses to march against Porre, all unfinished side quests, missions, and general exploration can no longer be done. More importantly, the ending path chosen at this point will become locked in.

The decision is made.

Lark gathers the party and each nation's representatives to discuss the plan of assault. It is unanimous that their victory against Porre must not only be decisive, but complete. To that end, Lark ventures a four-pronged attack.

Lark and Laura will march a massive land force to Porre's front gates.

Lavenda and Glenn will raid the city from the air using the refurbished Blackbird.

Reika and Schwann will lead an armada from the sea.

Finally, once everyone is engaged and in position, Schala will take a force and infiltrate the city from underground using the pathways from deep within the Dorino mountains.

After one last night of rest, the attack begins. The three main forces complete their primary objectives, but before Schala has a chance to get into position, they run into unexpected complications. Reika's group makes landfall, but get pinned down. Glenn and the Blackbird are forced to crash-land due to unexpected firepower, and Lark's group is stalled by a secondary interior wall packing heavy artillery.

Through all this, Schala's group plants explosives in key areas underneath Porre. Depending on the ending path, Schala will either hesitate to detonate the charges and leave it to Roas (Bad Ending path), or resolve herself to do the deed (Normal/Good ending path). Regardless, the charges are blown, with a good portion of the city collapsing into itself. Schala immediately delegates tasks, first of which is to secureand give aid to any survivors. She then proceeds to aid Reika's group, who in turn pull Glenn's group out of the fire. All of them take out the armaments on the inner wall and let Lark's forces in.

With this, Porre's residential, industrial, and outer government districts are in Alliance control.

Meanwhile, Porre's High Command is divided between utter shock at the Alliance's efficiency in conquering 3/4ths of the city, utter glee at an actual chance to truly flex their military muscle, or utter terror that this suddenly very formidible enemy is right outside of their doorstep. Terrence, on the other hand, can only lament the reality that this 'sleeping giant' had only awoken because of their agressive expansionism.

Dalton, without any emotion whatsoever, orders High Command to initiate a 'Purge Protocol'. Terrence, in shock and horror, attempts to object such a rash decision, as the protocol would also kill the civillians still within the affected districts. Dalton counters coldly that if the civillians didn't have the sense to evacuate when the attack started, then they deserved to be swept up with the rest of the chaff. It is only the strong, the Enlightened shepards that need to survive: the rest is just collateral.

As Dalton leaves for his private chambers and the rest of High Command eying him wearily for speaking out, Terrence is forced to recall Lark's ultimatum from the beginning of the act.

The ideals of his nation, or the lives of its people. It is time for him to choose.

Soon enough, alarm kalxons sound across the city as emergency barriers are raise around the three districts. The Alliance army is trapped. From the city-wide PA system, Terrence can be heard pleading for anyone willing to stop the protocol before shots are heard where he is. Realizing that the man has defected from Dalton, Lark leads a force to aid him.

Scattered throughout the districts are machines ready to spread a fatal neurotoxin, a final solution against invading armies. While some Porrean civillians impotently blame the Alliance for things getting to this point, far many others come to realize that the military they've revered for so long sees them all as expendable. Thus an uneasy temporary truce is formed between the Alliance and Terrence's loyalists.

After a trying struggle, the Alliance manages to deactivate the Purge. Soon afterwards, with Lark's retinue leading the charge, the army converges upon the Ark of the Black Lion... only to be stopped dead in its tracks by the Colossus. No matter what the Alliance throws at it, nothing leaves even a dent. Lark and the others have a trump card of their own, however.

Masamune. Leviathan. Salamandine. Saints. Wukong. The Djinn Sisters. The Dragon God's Shadow.

One by one, everyone's Guardian Summon wears the Colossus down until finally, it once-thought-to-be-impenetrable armor shatters. Within the cybernetic armor is Dalton's mightiest Golem, a rebirth of the guardian of Mount Woe. Giga Gaia. Without its defenses however, it is eventually brought low and finished off by the party. With this, there is only Dalton left.

The Porrean army sends its best troops to try and stem the tide of the invasion of the Ark, but it is only a matter of time before the party breaks through. Floor after floor, they fight. Along the way, they discover that the rest of Porrean High Command turned on itself as soon as the Ark was breached. The remaining survivor chooses to end it all rather than being taken prisoner.

From here on, nothing stops the group from reaching the top floor and Dalton's office.

Dalton, as is his want, puts up his usual air of bravado, but Schala knows. His time is up. The despot summons Murasame, the shadow creature immediately guarding its master. During the fight however, Lark notices a door leading outside ajar, and quickly realizes that Dalton is already planning an escape.

...and that is exactly what Dalton is doing, using Murasame as a distraction while he escapes in an aerial carrier waiting for him on the roof. It doesn't matter if Porre has fallen. He can simply find a new era to conquer, one with no Chronos, no Larks, and no Zeal. Fortunately, his carrier is destroyed courtesy of a well-placed fire spell from Lark.

The showdown that Lark has wanted for 10 years is about to begin. There is nowhere for Dalton to run or escape to, and he knows Lark will not let him open a portal to the Temporal Vortex. But Dalton has conquered nations. He has killed heroes. He will not allow this upstart to ruin everything he has worked for.

Unfortunately for Dalton, Lark is not the single-minded fighter he was in Act 1, and is able to gain the upper hand. Dalton however, intends to win by any means necessary. At that moment, Murasame (despite having been manhandled by the rest of the party) emerges from the grating and attempts to suffocate Lark. Enter Schala, who is able to shatter his sword with the Masamune, and consequently dispels the existence of the malevolent dream spirits.

Enraged, Dalton manages to overpower her, sneering that he should have slit her throat all those years ago in Algetty, and is more than prepared to rectify that. Thankfully, Lark is able to recover quickly enough as Round 3 becomes an unarmed brawl. In the end, Lark proves himself the superior hand-to-hand fighter.

Lark makes one last charge as Dalton charges a spell. Dalton is not fast enough as Lark stabs him with his own hand.

...but Lark is not done. 10 years of loss, suffering, and anger surges through the King of Medina as he unleashes his Overflow Tech, immolating Dalton from the inside before throwing the tyrant off the Ark.

Down falls Dalton, former commander of the kingdom of Zeal's security forces. Down falls Dalton, self-proclaimed king of post-Zeal 12,000 BC. Down falls Dalton, conquerer of Guardia, and murderer of the heroes of Chrono Trigger. At last, in a fiery heap lands Dalton, former Supreme Commander and Emperor of Porre.

There is only silence as Lark and Schala stare into the horizon as the war with Porre finally comes to an end. The long night has come and gone, and with the rising sun, Lark finally falls backwards in a combination of exhaustion and euphoria. Schala sits by his side as his laughter fills the air...

Hours later, the Alliance leaders have deliberated amongst themselves, and it is ultimately decided that the final reckoning of Porre shall be handled by Lark. With the temporary truce now over with Dalton's death, Terrence and a company of Porrean soldiers are escorted to them as prisoners of war, hands bound.

Lavenda: So much anger amongst the Alliance. I doubt they would be satisfied with anything less than a mass execution...

Glenn: They'd have it coming to them, that's for damn sure.

Schala is disquiet, worried that her husband will simply give in to mass opinion and his own prejudices against Porre without giving them a chance to atone. Before she can voice her fears, Roas reminds her of why she came to the past to begin with. Techno's Codex states that Porre ceases to exist on this day.

Let history take its course.

Schala's fears prove to be founded as Lark takes the executioner's blade. To his credit, Terrence remains steadfast, having realized that in the end this would be the only logical outcome. Lark can only ask a single question: Why? Why conquer their neighbors in the north? Why engage in genocide? Why believe in their own superiority at the urgings of a sadistic madman?

Terrence cannot give an answer for what Porre eventually became, but he believes in the stories that Porre had felt abandoned and passed over by Guardia for generations despite loyalty to the crown.  Despite Marle's growing reputation as a philantropist, the general idea was 'too little, too late'. Even without Dalton whispering in their ear, Porre would have raised up arms eventually against a kingdome they belived saw them as less than nothing.

Lark gives a pained sigh, as though something weighs on his mind... before making use of the blade.

To the shock of everyone, Alliance and Porrean alike, it's Terrence's restraints that fall to the ground and not the man himself. It is his turn to ask 'Why?'

Lark regales the history he learned of 600 AD, and what ultimately led to the Fiend War. Like Porre, the Mystics of the time believed they were being looked down upon, but by humans as a whole... but what started as a cry for acknowledgement became a bitter and hateful war. Cannibalism, necromancy, no depth was too low for them to sink to, all the while psychophants were whispering in their ears about glory and conquest. It was no longer about justice, but simply because they could.

Thus, it was a sobering notion that the Mystics of ages past were little better than the Porre of recent times. After everything, the Mystics had been spared at the war's end, yet it would be centuries before they were able to redeem themselves (or at the very least be silently accepted) in the world's eyes... which is the offer Lark now makes to the remaining Porreans.

It is not mercy he offers, however. There will be suffering. For their crimes against humanity, the Porreans will have no home, no name, and no purpose other than to atone. The angered gaze of the world they had wronged will be upon them constantly and it will remain so until they have officially redeemed themselves in the eyes of man, as did the Mystic tribes before them.

Speaking for this new society of nomads, Terrence accepts this judgement.

It's as Techno said: Porre ceased to exist on this day... but not in the way anyone thought it would. For that, words could not express how proud Schala is of Lark.

Some time afterwards, the party stands alone in the ruined city. Laura admits that had the choice been hers, she would have had the Porreans put to death, but she commends Lark on not taking the easy way out. Lark has doubts as to wether or not he truly did the right thing, but Schala reassures him that redemption is possible: he's living proof, after all.

Now that Dalton is out of the way, the group can finally put all their effort into finding and stopping Kale. To their eventual shock however, it turns out that they didn't have to wait long, as Kale appears atop one of the buildings in mock congratulations.

Lark senses a trap. Kale wouldn't show up to them without a plan... but as it turn out, he doesn't need one. He has already won.

It is said that a life at the end of its journey travels to the Sea of Dreams. It's individual identy thus fades into sleep, leaving its will to merge into a collective unconciousness. As it is believed that a life-form's  spirit holds boundless strength, then it is logical to believe that this collective unconciousness is a wellspring of infinite power. In order to control this power so it doesn't run wild, there must be a conduit in place.

Together, the collective unconciousness and the conduit that regulates it can be said to be the soul of the planet, of which both the scholars of Zeal and the clergy of Ancient Dragonian Vanarath dubbed Zurvan. However, this being is protected by the physical, spiritual, and temporal barriers and laws that govern reality... laws that for the past 65 million years have begun to strain.

Lavos' purpose, according to Kale, was to breach these barriers and absorb the collective unconciousness, but twice it has failed to do so. (The first when it was first unleashed according to the flashbacks in the Abyssal Fissure, the second when Chrono and his friends interfered.) However, its very existence effects  the laws of time, straining the barriers of reality, weakening them.... and so has every change ever made to the timeline.

Chrono's adventures, the birth of the Time Devourer, Balthesar's Time Crash, Schala's creation of Kid, the splitting and remerging of Home and Another World, Shald's plot to restore Porre to glory, and even Lark's attempt to save Schala's father have resulted in this unfortunate consequence. This ends up being the cause of the various tears in time... and only when the laws of reality have been shattered can the physical enter the spiritual, travelling freely through the temporal.

A Chrono Break.

Unfortunately for Kale, Lavos alone isn't enough to invoke one... but the mass arrival of its siblings, on the other hand...

For the past year, red stars have been appearing sporadically in the sky. It is only now to everyone's horror that they realize it's already too late. For eons upon eons since the original Lavos Prime fled the Ancient Dragonian world, it has fed and reproduced, sending its spawn throughout the known universe to repeat the process. Now, after an entire world's life cycle of death and rebirth, they have come to answer Kale's call. What was divided shall become whole.

Everyone arms themselves in hopes of at least finishing Kale off before the invasion. Kale decides that it's time to stop holding back.

(Defeating Kale here on a New Game+ will unlock the last of the alternate endings and the Blue Fragment Key Item.)

In the end, the party is overpowered, too worn out from their excursion against Porre. As Kale tries again to extract the Frozen Flame from Lark, Roas shows up in the Epoch to get them all to safety. Lark and Schala end up collapsing due to the calls of the invading parasites, however.

The invasion has begun. Defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory...

--------------------------

...a week passes. Schala eventually awakens in her and Lark's bedchambers back in Medina, her husband still out cold. (On the Bad and Normal ending paths, Schala notices small strange spine-like growths on her left arm, and realizes that Lavos may be finally attempting to assimilate her.) Eventually, Lark awakens as well. Upon looking out the balcony, all they can do is stare in horror at the state of the world.

Kale's Chrono Break has left the planet a blighted alien wasteland. The sky, once blue and clear, glows with a sickening purple light, as if it had broken like a mirror. Time has randomly gone in and out of flux in certain areas, as if different eras had been mashed together. Over 2/3rds of the world's population is frozen in a stone/crystal hybrid temporal stasis. Terrifying creatures resembling Lavos roam the land with impunity. The Dead Sea overflows from the temporal abyss.

There are only two bastions of safety left in this mad world: Medina, which is doing its best to house survivors, and Truce, restructured into a frontline base against the threat of Lavos. King and Queen resolve to head to Truce and find a way to fix everything...
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 06:11:01 am by skylark »

skylark

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At last, after over a year, we reach the home stretch. Main story endings (and events leading to them) are up next.

So excited to finally finish this. :D

Edit: Scratch the above about over a year. 4 1/2 years since I started this. Holy crap. And even then I still have to fill in various blanks throughout the world-building.

*puts on turtle shell*

Let's do this.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 01:49:58 am by skylark »

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams Synopsis - Finale (part 1)

Schala and Lark are flown over to Truce where they meet up with the others and learn what's been going on since the world 'ended'. Survivors from El Nido and Choras have set up defensive perimeters, but the most surprising is that Terrence and the surviving former Porreans have been taking initiative. Considering it is the planet and the survival of all living things at stake, it's a decent jump-start towards their possible redemption. Also, there have been several attempts of Lavos' spawns to acquire the Frozen Flame while the two were in their coma.

On the horizon is a terrifying sight. After the initial re-entry, serveral of Lavos' brood merged with each other, becoming more or less a living fortress, sitting atop where the Aquarius Labs (and consequently the ruins of Zeal) were. It is said that the Dead Sea overflows from there. Lavenda muses that the road to the 'Black Road', nestled within the center of Time's Eclipse, has been opened. Schala offers her own thoughts: That the Zealian dream scholars had a different name for the Black Road - Angra Mainyu... and that within the center of that place was a passageway dubbed the Gate of Ahura Mazda. The path of enlightenment.

This is how Kale intends to reach Zurvan, but he is missing a key piece. The Frozen Flame, the final piece needed to complete the rebirth of his ultimate weapon, Lavos Prime.

However, on the bad and normal ending paths, Reika voices a terrifying thought. Lavos seeks its own completion, able to transfer itself to anything sharing its bond. If our heroes were to stop Kale and destroy Lavos Prime, what would happen to Schala? Would Lavos end up taking her over once more?

Lark mentions that he's tried to find a way to break the genetic bond between Lavos and Schala over the past year, and struggles to convince himself that they still have time. Schwann wonders if one of Dinopolis' Dragon Tears would be able to help, but Schala shoots that idea down. Not only would the Tear need to be stable, but it would need to be harmonized by the Elements. A second Chrono Cross would need to be created, but the original shattered upon its use, and there's nothing in this reality that could harmonize the Tear enough to create a new one.

Despite the uncertainty, the group agrees to press forward no matter what happens. Taking the Epoch, they head to the corrupted Lavos cluster, only to be held back by a barrier. Any attempt to ram or damage the shield is met with failure. It is at this point where they find some unexpected aid. The Blackbird has been rebuilt again, and its pilot is none other than Belthasar, using his Neo Epoch as its engine. The Guru rams the airship into the barrier to the party's shock. Schala realizes what her old mentor is about to do and begs him to stop.

Belthasar, simply tells her that she had been right about him during their last encounter, and that he needs to make up for the pain caused by his selfishness. He detonates the Neo Epoch, causing a temporal distortion that dispells the barrier... and destroys the Blackbird in the process. Even in the end, he chose to believe in the potential of man. Even Lark and the others, who held no love for the Guru because of his actions, mourn his sacrifice.

The Epoch makes its run through the structure, doing its best to avoid launched spines and beams of power. Unfortunately, the ship takes a direct hit and crashes near a corrupted, but familiar visage...

From here on, the story splits depending on the ending path.

---BAD ENDING---

Throughout the story, Schala had slowly, with the help of Lark and her new friends, begun to build up self-confidence, willpower, and emotional fortitude. However, somewhere between Act 3 and 4, she began to grow complacent in her new life. Without realizing it, she had begun to latch too tightly to her love and became hesitant to make peace with her past, stalling her growth as a person. Thus her emotional fortitude proved lacking on the road to this final battle, eventually leading to a complete and utter tragedy...

Of course it had to look like Zeal. Considering Kale's current company, it was an inevitability. Lark isn't even surprised that it would take the long submerged landmasses into itself. There is only a simple path, leading through the ruins of Enhasa, then Kajar, and finaly to the palace. Along the way are misshapen monstrosities. Even worse, Schala recognizes them as those who were left behind during the kingdom's destruction... and they recognize her too.

With cries of 'Traitor!' and other such condemnations, the mutated undead of Zeal converge upon their former princess, ignoring all others. For Schala, this situation is literally a living nightmare, and the group is forced to slaughter every last one of them in order to proceed. Schala's conviction wavers more and more the further they go, just barely stopping herself from begging that they turn back once they make their way past the royal hall. She forces herself to press on, however.

The way to the palace's inner sanctum is blocked, and there's only one way forward now. Once more sitting on her throne is Queen Zeal. Once Kale obtains the power within the collective unconciousness, she will be left behind to rule this 'brave new world'. Humanity will bend to her will as it was meant to. As the party prepares to fight, the are knocked back with a wave of the Queen's hand... save for Schala. The rest are trapped behind a barrier. Schala must fight her errant mother alone.

...and she fares poorly. Not matter what she does, Schala cannot bring herself to believe her mother's beyond hope, even after everything. Her will finally fails her as she falls to her knees. Lark, meanwhile, manages to break himself through the shield, knocking the Queen away from the prone Schala. Zeal smirks, and it all comes crashing down.

It was a trap the whole time. Kale appears before Lark, and before the latter can do anything, the former begins his extraction spell. Schala is paralyzed by both fear and her recent emotional trials, and is unable to do anything as Kale successfully forces the Frozen Flame out of her husband. Neither Zeal nor Kale stick around to gloat.

Before anything can be said, Lark falls to the ground, lifeless... dying in his wife's arms.

Having already been emotionally taxed, this pushes Schala past the breaking point. All she is able to do is cry. For the others however, it is too soon to mourn. Knowing that Schala is of no use to anyone in her current state, they leave her behind for the inner sanctum, hoping to stop Kale before he takes anyone else...

...however, as the rest of the party heads to the inner sanctum, they come across Masa and Mune, both dream spirits in the process of fading away. Upon reaching the central core, they find the walkways caked with blood. As they wonder what happened, the find Schala closing a pitch-black portal, Lark's body lying at her feet. Kale and Zeal's absence and the blood on Schala's clothes indicate that somehow, she had killed them both.

Lavenda notices the ancient machinery and recognizes it as a Dragonian prison seal. What could this mean... unless?

Schala confirms her fears, that this place long before Schala's forebearers discovered it, was Kale's prison after his ill-fated rebellion. Nobody had ever realized what was hiding beneath them, and when it was destroyed that day, Kale was set free.

Schala's actions that day had inadvertantly been responsible for all of the horrors Kale had committed since. Everything had started in this place with the death of her father... and this is where it will all come to an end.

The Frozen Flame appears behind her as she cradles Lark's corpse, begging her friends to take care of the rest... just before she, Lark, and the Flame are swallowed up in an alien mass.

The message is clear. Schala had allowed herself to become corrupted like all the other fragments to be absorbed into Lavos again. The creature appears before the surviving party. Lavos Prime. With its destruction, the hive mind will fall apart, and the resulting recurrence will potentially snap reality back into place. This incarnation appears to be surprisingly weak, most likely that whatever is left of Schala's conciousness is holding it back.

In various stages of grief, denial, and rage, our remaining heroes prepare for the mercy-killing of one of their dearest friends.

The final battle is fought... and is eventually won. As Lavos Prime its own destruction, Schala's last conscious act is to teleport the party back to Truce as the Frozen Flame goes critical.

Schala's predictions ultimately hold true. With one final recurrence, the laws of reality are successfully put back into place. Nothing is left of the ancient parasite.

Back in Truce, those left behind demand to know what the hell happened, as nobody had authorized an assault. It's only afterwards that they realize Lark and Schala are missing. Everyone takes the news hard, especially Roas, Maria, and the Medinans.

It is a bitter victory. In the end, the group go their separate ways.

Glenn never returns to Choras, leaving someone else as Galbanni's successor, remaining a mercenary for the rest of his days. He never forms another group, and the Zweibreicht Company eventually fades into obscurity...

Laura returns to Guardia to officially become queen. Although she rules with a fair hand, her mind constantly wanders to those lost on her watch, leaving her unable to properly cope and causing her to lose confidence in herself...

Reika is allowed to return to Marbule, but as a changed woman. Having lost both the man she loved and the woman who became like a sister to her, she is constantly in mourning. Though she tries to put on a brave face for the people and her brother, not wishing to fall into the same trap as her father, she eventually succumbs to the grief of her broken heart...

Schwann returns full-time to the Acacia Dragoons, but he puts nearly all of his time into his work, almost obsessively so. Thankfully his family is eventually able to keep him grounded, but he remains plagued by crippling self-doubt, wishing that he could have been able to do more for his lost friends...

Lavenda returns to Dinopolis, and returns to cryosleep to everyone's confusion. One day, Terra Tower disappears completely without explanation, the Dragonians possibly returning to their own reality at last now that Lavos has been destroyed for good...

With the exception of Glenn due to his occupation, the group never manages to reconnect with each other, possibly because doing so would be too painful...

Time marches on, and the heroics of those who fought the tyranny of Dalton and saved the world from an alien parasite eventually faded into history. Human nature being what it is, people eventually begin finding reasons for conflict as the centuries pass. The ideals Lark and Schala lived and died for eventually become forgotten, and the future ends up a worse place than it was before...

-------------

As we close out on the bad ending, it is at this point that we must ask ourselves what went wrong.

Well, upon completion of the Birth of the Fiends questline, a special Mission is unlocked that Schala must complete alone. It eventually pits her on a one-on-one fight against Kid. Winning the battle set Schala on the path to the normal ending. If Schala loses the fight, or doesn't access the Mission at all, then the path to the bad ending is locked... but here's the catch. In the middle of the fight, Kid will launch an attack that does exactly 1000 HP... and on one's first playthrough, the max HP cap is 999.

It is impossible to beat Kid without a New Game+, and there is a reason for this...

(To be continued)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 01:38:11 pm by skylark »

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams Synopsis - Finale (part 2)

So, we've seen the bad ending. That's how it could have happened... but how about this?

---NORMAL ENDING---

Once a New Game+ begins, there are a few... noticable changes. Both Lark and Schala's prologues begin with a series of disjointed flashbacks of the previous playthrough, which both wave off as nothing. Then, when they first meet in Dorino, they stop and stare at each other awkwardly, almost as if they subconciously recognize each other.

That's right. New Game+ is an actual plot point.

Other differences in the new playthrough include Lark making more of an effort to resist the Frozen Flame in Act 2. Lark being less willing to suspect Schala of being a Porrean mole in Act 1. Schala being far less hostile to Magil throughout the story. Schala not being mute at the beginning of Act 2. Schala playfully responding back to Lark's flirting instead of being annoyed in Act 1. Both of them being more natural instead of awkward about their growing feelings in the beginning of Act 3. Finally culminating in remembering each other being married after reuniting in the middle of Act 3, although anything afterwards is still muddled.

Aside from that, everyone gains the ability to surpass their limits (both stat-wise and story-wise). For Schala's mission vs Kid, this is important as she would be able to withstand her counterpart's assault and subsequently prove that she is willing to press forward even if those she sees as family stand in her way.

Thus we begin the path of the normal ending with the aftermath of that Mission. Schala, who had desired to find her brother and have one last meaninful conversation, had not expected to find Kid where she thought he would be. After Serge's rejection, this was an aftermath that she hadn't wanted to deal with. After quite a few words, Kid demanded that Schala show her how far she'd come. In this path, Schala proves victorius.

Kid merely starts laughing, admitting that she thought Schala would choke when the chips were down. After some more talking, Schala is in for a shock when she suddenly comes face-to-face with Serge. Kid takes this moment to leave the two of them alone.

It starts with awkward silence, and it's clear that Schala wants nothing more than to turn tail and run... but she knows he deserves better than that and eventually comes right out and says that she won't ask for forgiveness, believing she doesn't deserve any. Serge makes no argument there... but admits that Schala is not the same desperate broken girl he had chewed out after defeating the Time Devourer. Seeing her spar with Kid had made that apparenty clear.

Walking tall, always facing forward, no matter what obstacles cross your path, with friends that can point you in the right direction. Despite how their first meeting ended, he's glad she's come to realize this. With those words, a great weight has been lifted from Schala's heart. Kid comes back at this point, asking if she wants to stay for dinner, but Schala needs to get back home.

After a final goodbye to Serge, Schala makes to leave, but Kid hands her something before she can. Schala recognizes the gem as her Astral Amulet. Before she can object, Kid says that she no longer needs it, and admits that she set up the meeting with Serge not just for Schala's benefit, but for his as well. Although he had been angry for a while after Chrono Cross, Serge eventually felt remorse for how he lashed out at her.

Closure is a damn beautiful thing, is it not?

With a final farewell, Schala returns to her own time. Lark asks her if she's alright. She tells him she hasn't felt this light since their wedding. After a short silence, she makes a proclaimation. She wants to find another way into the ruins of Zeal. She wants to move forward, but in order to do that, she needs to put the past behind her. She needs to see with her own eyes, on her own two feet what she had wrought, and maybe - just maybe - find the strength to face her mother and do what needs to be done.

With this, the normal ending replaces the bad ending.

And so, Schala takes point on a second expedition to the Northern Ruins and its inner sanctums. As the undead had already been cleared out, Schala stands resolute at the mark of the Zeal royal crest on the wall of the innermost chamber. After a pulse of magic, an indentation appears, one matching a certain sword...

Masa and Mune leave their blade as the wall opens up behind them. After a hallway consisting of a ghost memory of Melchior, the group comes upon an altar with an ornate blade attached to it. A blade Schala recognizes as her father's, and realizes that this hallowed place is more or less his tomb. As if to confirm, the ghost of King Zeal manifests before them.

Alphard, like Cyrus to Frog before him, is proud of his daughter in how far she's come, and that he's glad she has found someone so devoted to her after recognizing Lark. Although the moment is all too brief, Schala is finally able to properly say goodbye to her father before he returns to the aether.

As Schala takes her father's blade in hand (with Masa and Mune immediately moving into their new home), a teleporter in the chamber activates. Realizing it could only lead to one place, she prepares herself. It does indeed lead to the ruins of Zeal, and they enter the main hall from a secret passage.

Unlike the last time they were here, there is no need to rush. Schala takes her time searching the place, encountering countless ghost memories of her previous life and grieving for those lost because of her. Of course, Schala isn't the only one feeling guilt. There are also recent memories floating around, the group's excursion from three years ago reopening old wounds for Lark, who is rightfully ashamed of the stupidity of his past self.

Lavenda can't help but note the irony of the loving husband and wife at one point being literally at each other's throats. It definitely wasn't their finest moment.

However the group eventually comes across one particular memory that changes and shatters everything Schala once understood...

It is a memory Schala after Alphard's death, lying in her bed near catatonic and muttering for forgiveness. To the group's shock and Schala's growing horror, black wisps rise from the memory until they take the form of an orb, which then flies out of Schala's room... and into the direction of her mother's. The group follows the memory to the Queen's chamber where the memory continues.

Samele tries to fight off Lavos' influence, having realized that she had inadvertantly killed her husband. Fear of death, fear of being forgotten, fear for the safety of her children. It was always going to be a losing battle... but Samele would not let it win. She would die first... and so she chants the spell, the very same one that her daughter would cast millennia later, only far stronger.

The Queen's mind is destroyed, and is thus rendered useless as a puppet to Lavos... but this couldn't be right. Zeal had still been able to rule until its fall. Had the spell failed in the end? The answer lies in the ball of darkness that enters the room, forming into a creature similar to Masa and Mune but with a black robe and horns. A malevolent Dream Spirit... one that decides to inhabit the Queen's broken and comatose body, awakening with a chillingly familiar laugh.

The memory ends. Schala is in denial. She doesn't want to believe what she had just witnessed, because that would mean...

She flashes back to one of her last memories with young Janus. 'That woman is NOT our mother!'. Her brother had been right. He didn't know how right, but he had been right... but because she was still caught up in her own grief even years later, she had refused to see the signs. Their mother had been dead all along, a beast masquerading in her place.

Her wish for her mother to return to her old self... her passiveness, the abuse she had suffered... the lives she had endangered for that singular goal...

From the very beginning, it had all been for nothing.

Fighting from outside brings Schala out of her musings, the distraction preventing her from falling over the edge... but the sight in the main hall pulls her back over it.

Surrounded by dead Porrean scouts from the labs above is Zeal.

...but this is not Zeal. It never was. The despair gripping Schala upon learning the awful truth transforms into a terrifying fury. Without warning, she immediately attacks the impostor wearing her mother's face. 'Zeal' tries to guilt-trip the enraged Schala, but it only serves to make her even angrier. Realizing that after all these years, the charade is finally over,'Zeal's' body burns away in black fire to be replaced by the demonic Dream Spirit. Phasing through Schala's attacks, the spirit enters the throne room, a cloud of darkness in her wake. Schala gives chase, but the others are knocked away when they try to floow her.

As the others have no idea what the hell is going on, Doreen fills in the blanks. As Masa and Mune were born of Melchior's dreams and determination, the creature Schala fights now was born of the guilt of her father's death. Ever since, this Spirit of Guilt has done what it could to perpetuate Schala's guilt, feeding off of it and growing ever more powerful, even going as far as to assimilate her mother. Lark, knowing first-hand the depths of Schala's guilt-complex, has every cause for concern.

Back with Schala, she forces her way through the black fog only to see the creature within, of all places, the Mammon Machine chamber of the Ocean Palace. She is no longer in the real world, but in her own mind. Now that the masqurade is broken, the spirit prepares itself for one last meal, transforming into an amalgumation of a younger Zeal and its dream spirit form. Wether Schala is broken or destroyed at the end of it, it doesn't matter.

Round 1 ends in a draw. Being here is not enough to shake Schala's resolve. A change of scenery is in order. The main hall of Zeal Palace... during the destruction of the kingdom, the devastation frozen in time. Schala pauses at the sight, especially upon seeing the fear on her people's faces. However, she refuses to let her surroundings break her, refuses to let the Spirit win.

Round 2 ends much the same. The Spirit can't understand. This place would have broken Schala before. Why? Why is she not wallowing in despair and guilt? The scene changes once more. The inner core of Zeal, the site of Alphard's death. The sight of her parents frozen in a battle to the death causes Schala to hesitate... but she tightens her grip on her father's sword. She can't break now. She won't break. Her blades glow in response to this new surge of willpower.

And the battle is over. The Spirit is panicking now. With one final slash, Schala breaks the haze over her mind. Back in the real world, Lark and the others immediately rush to Schala's side. The Spirit is now utterly terrified, backing away in fear. How could Schala have broken through her massive guilt-complex? The creature makes her retreat sinking into the floor. Schala makes ready to give chase, knowing exactly where she's running to, but Lark grabs a hold of her, urging her to calm down before they make a move. Reluctantly, she does so.

The group follows the Spirit to the dilapitated inner core, where they find her hiding behind Kale. There is one more revelation to be had. As in the bad ending, they learn that this central core of the kingdom was once Kale's ancient prison, and that Schala calling upon Lavos that day had set him free. Both parties move to attack... but Kale does not, stating that now is not yet the time. Instead he chooses to 'let them live out whatever little remaining happiness they have before the end', stating that now his 'debt' to Schala for his freedom has been repayed before taking the Spirit and escaping through a Gate.

...with everything over, it is only now that Schala collapses, just barely at her emotional limit.

Back in Medina, Lark asks Schala how she's holding up after everything that happened. She says she's fine, but he doesn't quite believe her, and she eventually fesses up to the lie. It's clear she needs more time, but she knows the world isn't going to wait for her to grieve. There is still too much to do. She has to remain strong... but she's finding it more difficult than she thought to keep the tears from falling...

There is now a solid foundation for her resolve. When the time comes, she will not hesitate. With this questline finished we can now skip ahead and set our sights to the final battle...

(to be continued)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 01:38:31 pm by skylark »

skylark

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams Synopsis - Finale (part 3)

From here on, everything happens as normal until the Epoch crashes at the Parasite Palace. Although she does so with a heavy heart, Schala aids the others in putting down her corrupted people. Once again, the Spirit of Guilt tries to separate Schala and the rest of the party, but Schala's mind is now clear unlike the bad ending. She sees through each of the Spirit's tricks before finally destroying the creature.

However, Kale had left a temporal trap behind for just such an emergency, which the party is caught in. Like before, Schala is unable to do a thing as Kale extracts the Frozen Flame from Lark. However, the trap dissipates upon his departure, leaving Schala free to try and save her husband. She pours every ounce of healing magic into Lark, but it seems as though it's a lost cause, but she is unwilling to accept this. As if responding to her determination, Lark's Amulet (which had been given to Schala on their wedding day) begins to glow, though nobody seems to notice this.

In the end, Lark's life is saved. After a short recovery, the party is ready to move. In Zeal's inner sanctum, a Gate to Angra Mainyu has already been opened. Undeterred, the party follows Kale into the depths of Hell.

Inch by inch, the party traverses the final dungeon, cutting through Lavos 'Daevas', circumventing the Dead Sea, and tearing through Kale's last lines of defense before entering the grand chamber housing the Gate of Ahura Mazda.

Within is Kale, sounded by a giant parasitic growth. In the center of this mass is a crystal stasis... and to Lavenda's horror, it houses Kale's lost love, the Dargonian Saffira, whos existence was previously revealed in the Abyssal Fissure. This reveals that Kale, in possibly one of the most profane acts imaginable to Dragonian culture, had used Saffira's corpse as a catalyst in the creation of Lavos. The power housed within the collective unconsciousness was never meant for Kale, but for Lavos...

...no. Lavos was the means to an end. Kale's desire all along was to ressurrect his beloved as some sort of goddess. However, Schala (having once been a part of Lavos herself) realizes how this is going to end. Lavos, despite Kale's insitence that the creature was always his tool, has its own purpose. It's own desire. To absorb power. To grow strong. To survive at any cost... and like its 'master', it will let nothing stand in its way.

Kale's plan was ultimately doomed to failure from its very inception. Despite all of his planning, his power, and his determination... despite all of the atrocities and tragedies left in his wake throughout the series... Kale is, in the end, little more than a deluded sociopath unwilling to accept loss and obsessed with his own twisted ideas of love.

Needless to say, them's fightin' words. Kale gives the party everything he has, but in the end, they triumph... only for the creature behind him to stir awake. Kale welcomes 'Saffira' back into the world of the living...

Karma finds the draconic madman wanting, as he is soon enough blasted to ashes by the visage of his beloved. Even to the very end, he was unwilling to see the truth that was right in front of him.

Lavos Prime gives out a horrifying roar before merging with the Frozen Flame and the parasitic mass behind it. The final battle is at hand... and the battle ends in victory. All that is left behind is the Flame.

Leaving Angra Mainyu behind, the gate to the infernal place closes behind the party. In the inner sanctum of Zeal, the party discusses their next move when Schala doubles over in pain. Before they can find a way to help her, Spinal growths erupt from her left arm. Bitterly, Schala mutters that she thought there had been enough time...

Schala is the last living fragment of Lavos, and in its desire to survive, it is attempting to assmilate her. Schala erects a barrier in front of the others. Lark tries to break through it, desperate to have a few more moments with her.

Schala thanks him - everyone - for everything. For showing her genuine friendship. For showing her genuine love. She wouldn't trade these joys for anything. With a heavy heart, she teleports her friends and beloved to the safety of Truce.

The time has come. That fateful day, Schala had attempted to destroy the Frozen Flame. Now, over 13,000 years later, she is ready to finish what she started. Sword in hand, she shatters the Flame. It is only a matter of time before the backlash goes critical.

...just when she finally found a reason to live and the strength to move forward. Fate truly is cruel.

Lavos is destroyed utterly by the backlash of the Frozen Flame, and Schala with it. Lark and the others can only watch on. In his hand is his amulet, Schala's message to him clear. "Live strong. For me." Lark can only break down as the world returns to normal...

Twelve years later, Lark narrates a letter to his late wife detailing what everyone has been up to.

Glenn has become the leader of Choras, his coin having been chosen by Galbanni's succession. The Zweibreicht Company is no more due to his workload leaving him swamped.

Laura has settled into her role as Guardia's ruler. Reconstruction of Leene Square has just recently completed, with Schala's Bell serving as its centerpiece.

Lavenda has since been busy repopulating Fort Dragonia and the various dragon islands for her people.

Schwann passes on leadership of the Acacia Dragoons to his subordinates and retires, taking Gilbert's job as Maria's personal guardian. His relationship with the General has since become an open secret, but Maria fears too many people would object if they were to be officially wed.

Lark has been doing as well as could be expected, but had until very recently remained in mourning. After twelve years, he finally has the courage to remarry, and it was thanks to Reika of all people.

She had remained by his side, taking care of him and making sure he didn't throw himself over the edge of despair. When finally confronted about it, all she said was that Schala would never forgive her if anything happened to him, or if she left him to a bride that would not cherish him like she had. The two of them are set to marry in the Spring.

Despite their numerous duties, the group manages to find time to get together and reminisc, even though each reunion remains bittersweet. Even after all these years, Schala's loss still effects them.

And so time moves on. The world remains set a a comfortable pace. Centuries later however, mankind grows complacent. Too much so. Enough that when an old Guru by the name of Balthesar arrives in the future of 2400 AD, he begins to hatch a plan that would see humanity break through their complacency... and then he meets a time-displaced disenfranchised Porrean by the name of Yarlen Shald...

The world is caught. An endless loop is all that remains. One day, a young girl by the name of Schala Zeal arrives in 2400 AD and is found unconcious in the outskirts of Choras, and history repeats anew.

In the end, The Future Refused to Change.

---------------

And so we leave the normal ending behind. There has to be something we're missing. Something that still needs to be done.

In the start of Act 4 after aqcuiring the normal ending and the White Fragment, Gilbert will call an emergency meeting amongst the party. It is only now that the party notices the Fragments in their possession, and realize they're caught in a time loop. Schala recognizes the Fragments as pieces of the Chrono Cross.

If the player has not been diligent in getting the alternate endings by now, this is where the game pretty much tells you to do that. If you have all the Fragments by this point, then the way to the True Ending becomes open...

(To Be Conluded)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 01:38:52 pm by skylark »

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Chrono Saga: To the Sea of Dreams Synopsis - Finale (part 4)

So, we've gone through two variations. What's that? You say you've gotten all the Chrono Cross Fragments? In that case...

Here is what really happened.

----- GOOD ENDING/TRUE ENDING -----

The party gathers in Medina's war room after gathering all the Fragments. Lavenda tells of the rebirthing ceremony, a practice originally used to purify Dragonians of Lavos during Kale's rebellion in the previous lifecycle. Glenn notes the irony that after so many eons, the ceremony is being used for its original purpose.

However, since Schala had altered herself through artificial means, the ceremony will have the side-effect of possibly restoring her to her original state, of which Reika lampshades the possible scandal of Schala returning to Medina as a completely different person. Lark (rightfully) reasons that the alternative is not an option.

Schala steps forward. She'll venture the risks of the ceremony. A trip to Fort Dragonia is in order, along with a brief pit stop to Terra Tower to acquire an unstable Dragon Tear (and an extra set of clothes, because we all remember what happened with Serge).

Lavenda and Lark are the only ones allowed to oversee the ceremony. Schala charges the Fragments to give off the melody, which harmonizes the Dragon Tear, stabilizing it... all the whie with Lark's amulet glowing, though nobody notices this.

The moment of truth is at hand. Schala's body fades into the bubble surrounding her. However, something is off. Schala finds herself in a white void. The cries of Lavos can be heard all around her with varying intensity. Looking around this null void, she sees a parasitic mass splitting apart, revealing a Dragonian female. (If the player has finished the events of the Abyssal Fissure, Schala recognizes her as Saffira.) As the Lavos matter is purified, the woman stirs, as if finally awoken from a lifetime-long trance.

She knows. All of it. She knows she has no right to ask Schala to forgive Kale, or to not hate him. All she asks is that she does whatever it takes to put her wayward love to rest before disappearing into the aether. Soon enough, Schala follows her...

Rebirth. Resolution. Reconcilliation. The infant grows to a child, to a teenager, and finally to a grown woman. Lark immediatly rushes to Schala's side, wrapping her in his coat. Gone is the silver-white, replaced by a brilliant teal blue.

A change of clothes later and Schala reunites with the others outside. To nearly everyone's surprise (especially Schala's), aside from the purification of Lavos' essence, the color of her hair was literally the only change of her appearance. Everything else is as it was. Lark suggests that perhaps deep down, Schala had unconsciously desired reconcilliation with her past life.

Almost as if to confirm, the Einlanzer (which, as Grandmaster of the Devas, Schwann is obligated to have on his person at all times) suddenly floats before Schala. (If this quest is done after Schala's personal quest, she will recieve the Grand-Lanzer, otherwise, she will recieve it at the conclusion of the Zeal Ruins.) From this point on, if it has not been completed, Schala's personal quest becomes mandatory to continue the game. (It will become impossible to lose her battle with Kid, as Schala will have a permanent auto-raise effect for the fight.)

Everything remains the same from this point save for an event at Truce before assaulting the Parasite Palace. In it, the party commandeers the 'member's only' section of the inn's restaurant where the Zweibreicht Company has one last meal as a group (personally cooked by Reika and Lark). The party reminiscs on how far they have all come since this journey began, especially Schala. They give a toast to the future, no matter what comes, before retiring for one last night for those who have loved ones...

From here, everything is the same as the normal ending path until the battle with Lavos Prime.

Instead of incinerating Kale, Lavos impales him and tosses him across the room, leaving him for dead. The fight continues as normal before Lavos uses its incineration attack to shatter the seal around the Gate of Ahura Mazda and escapes through it. Undeterred, the party follows it through the Gate. After a seeming eternity in temporal freefall, they break through the surface of Zurvan, witnissing the majesty of the Sea of Dreams. A flash of light later, the party ends up on the same beach Lark and Schala meet up upon in the Dreamscape.

Suddenly, the roar of Lavos Prime is heard. Bursting through the water, a gigantic mass of parasitic matter, grows until it eventually envelopes and devours the Entity. Without any hesitation, the party begins ascending the massive structure, becoming separated in the process. After a few solo fights for each, the party reconverges at the summit to fight Lavos Prime's second form (a homage to the original second form fight from the first game).

The second form crumbles, but the crystal stasis in its chest cavity bursts open. What emerges is an amalgum of Schala, Saffira, its own alien biology, and the frozen Flame. Lavos' interperetation of Humanity's and Dragonian's evolutionary zenith, either ironically or purposfully invoking Kale's image of his 'divine goddess'.

Normally, it is at this point that the Schala of old would have tried reasoning with it, but the current Schala knows it is a pipe dream. In the end, Lavos' thought process is far too alien for any sort of reconcilliation, nor would it care, just like its 'master'. For the last time, humanity takes up arms against the alien parasite.

*cue World Revolution*

(For this fight, regardless of battle party, all seven characters take part, with the other four on autopilot. It will go through eight phases, but instead of utilizing the abilities of bosses, it will copy the abilities and weapons of each party member randomly, with the exception of Lavenda as it will use Gilbert's techniques instead. Schala will always be the last one copied.)

Amazingly, Lavos Prime ends up on the ropes. At that moment images of people past, present, future, living, and dead surround the battlefield. Every life that had existed on this planet, all that had been affected in some way by Lavos... the dreams of everyone surge through Schala (as Lark's Amulet glows yet again) as she delivers the final blow. The parasitic mass surrounding the Entity crumbles to dust. Back in te corporeal world, reality reasserts itself as Lavos fades into oblivion.

They did it. Humanity has won.

The party awakens back at the Gate of Ahura Mazda, though they wonder how they're going to get out now that the Gate back has most likely disappeared. As they leave, nobody notices...

Kale's body has disappeared from where it had been left.

Schala feels a sudden tension as the party heads back to where they entered. Looking upwards, she sees Kale, having ripped an iron bar from somewhere preparing to toss it like a javelin. Realizing he's aiming for Lark, Schala pushes him out of the way, taking the hit instead.

Kale's dreams have been shattered, his once chance to bring back what was lost is now gone for good. All that is left is hatred.

Easily batting aside a charging Lark, he proceeds to rampage against the party, the latter being too spent from the fight with Lavos. Fighting through the pain, Schala lets a desperate teleportation spell fly at the others before Kale can incinerate them. In response, he wrenches the bar embedded in Schala's midsection, attempting to force her to go into shock. An instant burst of fury has Lark tackle Kale from the precipice, sending them both into the lower depths of Angra Mainyu.

No matter what Lark does, Kale will not stay down... but neither will Lark (indeed, Lark will still be able to fight even after his HP reaches 0). Kale eventually gets Lark on the ropes, but Schala (having freed herself and barely healed her wound) blindsides him, causing Kale to toss them both through the wall into the next chamber.

From here, Lark holds off Kale while Schala finds a way to submerge the Dragonian into the Dead Sea. Once that is done and the two reach safety, Lark collapses from his wounds. Before Schala can tend to him, the ground opens up beneath her, a great force launching her into the air. Bursting from the floor is Kale, now in the form of a giant dragon. Just as she's about to be helplessly devoured, Masa, Mune, and Doreen empower her with their own life essence.

With the help of a levitation spell, Schala is forced to lead Kale, eventually tricking him into submersion a few more times. After a last-minute assist from Lark, the two reach a particular alcove and collapse. Kale and Schala's chase has caused quite a bit of damage to the 'city', and the Dead Sea is no longer still. A storm brews in the black skies above.

However, despite all odds, Kale emerges once more from the floodwaters, but in his regular form. The Dead Sea has taken its toll on him - blood no longer flows from his wounds, but salt... yet he is still whole. Spite is the only thing keeping him corporeal, but it is only a matter of time.

The final battle is a war of attrition. Lark is too wounded to move, and the dream spirit's life force is nearly spent... but after all is said and done, Schala is able to outlast the creator of Lavos.

As Kale slowly dissolves into salt, he attempts to crawl towards the two for one last parting shot, but he never makes it.

It's not over yet. Schala and Lark still need to find a way out of the crumbling Angra Mainyu... but every path they try leads to a dead end. Not like this. After everything they've done, after all they've accomplished to get here, this can't be how it ends... but there is no way out.

Lark, possibly as a way to lessen the blow of their impending doom, begins a conversation they originally had months ago, one concerning the possibility of being parents. As he remembers, they never did settle on a name for their first child, but that was only because they argued about its potential gender - Lark kept insisting their first child would be a girl while Schala thought otherwise.

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work as hoped. Schala becomes overwhelmed. She doesn't want to die in a place like this. She wants to grow old with the man she loves, with her friends at her side. She wants to see the world - truly see it for the first time, not behind a gilded cage nor traversing from battlefield to battlefield. She wants to be a mother, to give her children the life she had before everything went wrong, to see them grow strong and kind.

Schala: I want to live!!

And so, it happens.

Lark's amulet glows with a blinding light, engulfing them both before finally shattering.

Back in the real world, the eclipse forms in the sky. On the cape overlooking where the Parasite Palace once stood, the others gaze in shock as Lark and Schala literally appear before them out of thin air, looks of confusion on their faces. Schala looks at the remains of her husband's amulet and realizes the truth.

It had been teased slighty throughout the story many times, but Lark's Amulet is a Time Egg, one of Lucca's prototypes to be exact. Discovered by Kid, reworked into a jewel, and sold to one of Lark's ancestors by Serge. Schala can only smile quietly at the revelation.

Two weeks later, Lark has been recouperating in Guardia, the wounds inflicted by Kale during the last battle too much for even healing magic. It hurts to move, but he's expected to make a full recovery eventually. Tamlen is oversseing affairs in Medina until Lark is fit enough to travel.

Meanwhile, preparations have been made for a massive celebration while workers have been hard at work restoring Leene's Square. Nadia's Bell has been restored and is now ringing out across the kingdom. It is proof that although life can sometimes find a way to derail them, dreams don't necessarily die.

It is a new start for the world, and the Moonlight Parade is the perfect event to kick things off.

After Schala wanders about the city, chatting with everyone, the group meets up at Nadia's Bell. Roas and the other future Dreamers are there as well. Schala wonders what they'll do now.

Roas hypothesizes that Schala using the Dragon Tear created a divergent timeline. Unlike Chrono Cross, this situation ends up being a benign case, as the normal ending timeline is necessary for giving Schala a reason for her journey. He also believes that as a result of the divergence, the time loop in that reality has been broken. Using a device salvaged from the Epoch, Schala's surrogate family opens a Gate. After a tearful goodbye, Schala makes sure to ask them to say 'hi' to Fin for her.

Back in 2486 AD, Roas' group returns to the site of the prologue. Roas' hypothesis proves coreect as everyone who had ceased to exist from Shald's actions runs up to them, including Fin, who asks them where Schala went off to. Roas says it's a long story...

As the credits roll, we see life returning to the world.

We see Schala leading Lark, who is using one of his spears as a crutch, through the gates of Medina. The city becomes aflutter with activity as the Chancellor welcomes the royal couple home.

Schwann is first seen at Gilbert's memorial giving a prayer to his departed colleage. He is then seen with Maria and Annette, fiddling with his new ring, implying that he and Maria decided to throw caution to the wind and marry in spite of possible objections. Finally, he plants the Einlanzer into the ground before his fellow Devas, then prepares for a battle to name his potential successor as Grandmaster.

We see Laura in royal garb, her sword and shield in hand. She kneels and lays them both before three graves, implied to belong to Chrono, Lucca, and Marle. We then see her overseeing the reconstruction of Guardia Castle.

We see Lavenda on one of the highest points of Dinopolis... only to get nearly knocked over by a swarm of dragon pups who proceed to fly off into the distance, followed closely by her two closest retainers. Of course, this means war, so she follows them all... in dragon form.

We see Reika at the entrance to Marbule, giving her little brother a hug before waving goodbye to the city to follow Tamlen onto a nearby ship, implying that she going to become the official go-between for Medina and Marbule. Indeed, her next scene has her in Medina, asleep at a desk, surrounded by books. Schala comes in the room, sighs, and puts a blanket around the girl.

We see Glenn in a similar scene in Choras, about to nod off himself. Various bankers and other officials surround him. Suddenly, a small goup of mercenaries barge into the room. Immediately, Glenn gets a burst of energy, grabs his guns, and leaves with the mercs, implying that the Zweibrecht Company is still around and a force for good.

After the credits finish, we see one final scene. It is several years later as Lark walks through Medina's palace, being followed by something. A very small, very energetic something. Lark catches his five-year-old daughter in the middle of her tackle-hug, smiling... and according to the nearby royal portrait, they finally settled on a name: Kalia.

We then see Schala sitting at a very familiar desk, closing a very familiar book. On the desk is not only Kid and Serge's wedding photo, but a picture of the two of them with Magil, who has finally shed his mask... plus a recent one of the party if the prescense of Kalia is any indication, implying that everyone still keeps in touch. Lark enters the room with Kalia riding atop his shoulders.

Schala reaches for another book and joins them at the edge of the bed before she starts reading. The final shot is of a clear sky.

(The End)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2017, 04:17:29 pm by skylark »

skylark

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*blinks owlishly*

>.>....

<.<...

>.>...

Is that it...?

Holy crap... I'm done...

I'm actually done!! :D

HAPPY DAY!!!! :D

...okay, I still need to fix world-building stuff and add in the remaining character quests... BUT I'M DONE! :D

There you have it folks. After four 1/2 years since I started this topic, this story is finally told. After many revisions, many cans of soda, and many... MANY... schedule slips, here it is.

Now I want to know what you all think. Is it cohesive enough? Am I taking too many liberties? I know I'm probably setting myself up for being shot in the foot by putting myself under so much scrutiny, but I want to make sure this story holds up from start to finish.

But yeah. So freaking happy right now! :D

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Man, I used to read this waaay back in the day and then stopped visiting the forums for a while.

Apparently I have a lot of reading to catch up on.

Congrats on finishing it!