Or at least the support to finish this… grah! I like it, I want to write, but I can’t bring myself to finish it! I even HAVE to finish it to post the rest of A Look on Another one because this is the prequel
I don’t normally ask for comments but I need that little push to write the final chapter :hmm: Okay, here we are…
This is the beginning of “The Prince’s story”, the third fic in the series currently excisting of Magus’ Quest and Another life. And “A Look on Another One”, but there’s only one chapter of that in the archives right now.
<u>Chapter 1, Fall of the warlock</u>
The sun shone brightly over the capital of empire Garadia, sparkling in swords and helmets in the fields outside the town. The whole country was in uproar, preparing for war against the land in the East; Mandria. But inside the great palace a battle was already waged, and unbeknownst to anyone this argument would lead to the fateful end of the war, and maybe even cause the doom of mankind for all times.
“I am not going to fight in your war, your majesty,” a very cold voice stated again.
The words echoed through the throne room. Every single human in the great hall stared at the man who had spoken, each one with more or less disbelief. Some even in outraged fear, horror over age-old traditions being violated.
“I would consider my words carefully if I were thee, lord Janus,” another man’s voice said, sharply.
“Oh, I am.”
The tall, blue-haired man met the emperor’s angered eyes without even blinking.
“I spent over ten years of my life fighting in a pointless war, and I’m not taking orders from you.”
“Pride of thine sort can be very dangerous,” the man on the throne coldly said.
The woman by his side clenched her jaw and pressed her eyes shut tight in silent rage by the words, while Janus’ eyes narrowed.
“So you say?”
The warlock’s voice was colder than ice.
“And let me warn <I>you</I> then,” he said, each word cutting through the thick air of the throne-room, “of all enemies I have had throughout my life, none is alive to warn you about becoming one of my foes. Good day.”
With a violent move of his hand he created a flash of light that swallowed both him and his enormous snake.
As soon as they were gone the emperor turned to the advisor by his side.
“And his nephew is a recruit?” the royalty coldly said.
“Yes, my emperor.”
For a moment the empress simply stared at the two men in hate-filled horror.
“Husband!” she harshly said, causing almost the whole court to jump with her impudence, “thou <I>canst</I> not do that!”
“Silence, Lashey!” the emperor snarled, and his hands warningly balled into fists.
The empress clenched her jaw but lowered her head, paling with anger and despair.
Janus stormed into existence in the middle of the kitchen, nearly causing his brother in law to drop his bowl of tea. Cered very tiredly pressed one hand against his forehead, the faint hope that age had granted his wife’s brother respect for the emperor dying. Not that he had been stupid enough to let it become great for a start either.
“Your new emperor is even more foolhardy than your last, Cered,” the warlock snarled, furiously sitting down by the table.
“I take it his inquiry was not anything thee could apply to?” the red-haired man tiredly said.
“Inquiry?” Janus spat, “he <I>demanded</I> that I’d take out the enemy for him!”
“Have some tea and calm down, Janus,” Schala mildly said, passing him the teapot.
But Janus just waved it aside with an irritated movement.
“I should have taken Janatzer back with me too,” he grunted, “it’s sheer stupidity.”
“We could do something to prevent this though,” Schala said with a frown, “this war isn’t…”
“It’s no use,” Janus grimly cut her off, “the whole town is in a bright festive mood about the glorious battles ahead. They want to fight; there’s nothing we can do.”
She fell silent and stared at her tea.
“Well… at least Janatzer is just a recruit in training, so he’s not in danger…” she muttered, a bit bitterly though as she knew other families would not be as lucky.
With a grunt Janus pressed a hand against his forehead.
“I’m too old for this kind of idiocy…” he growled.
Schala glanced at Molor, just in time to see a streak of intense pain flash in the cold eyes. The woman held back a sigh, her heart aching for the snake as she knew what he felt. Molor had told her as she had asked once, concerned about the small signs of agony he hid for Janus.
The pain that the snake felt had its full origin in his kindred spirit. Molor was after all in reality a dragon, and he would live for at least two centuries after Janus’ death. And he dreaded that knowledge, hated and feared the future when he would be alone. But he did not want to tell his friend that, only easing his heart on Schala’s worried query once.
The princess looked up at her brother.
Sure he was older. They all were, but not complaining. They were still healthy, had only just passed forty. Schala had begun to find gray strands in her hair, just beside her ears, and lately Janus had started getting the same marks. But she thought that he was exaggerating with calling himself old. He hadn’t had any need to fight in the seventeen years passing since Charash had bothered them, but was still in great shape. And obviously, his temper could still explode when hitting the right nerve.
“How is Lashey?” Schala mildly asked, changing the subject.
“She had a…”
Janus paused and shook his head.
“She was fine,” he grunted, irritated.
Schala glanced at Molor again, but saw nothing in his pitch-black pools encircled by cold green this time.
“Her son must be seven or eight I believe,” Schala continued, as a matter of factly.
“Six,” her husband corrected, “her marriage was a late one, not until her highly honored father was on his last breath did she accept a suitor.”
“Persistent little butterfly, isn’t she?” Janus growled.
Schala just sighed lightly, Cered grunted something.
A door slammed shut.
“Is that you Ceredan?” Schala called, leaning backwards to see the door.
A boy in his younger teens entered the kitchen from the small entrance room, smiling a bit. He had a fine, thin face and held a light training staff in his hand; looking to grow more wiry than muscular. Rather short cut, blue hair covered his head.
Though Schala and Cered’s second son was named after his father he had most of his looks from his mother’s side.
“Thou art back, uncle?” he said with a small grin, leaning the staff against a wall, “what did the emperor say?”
“Nothing important,” Janus said with a roll of his eyes, “he’s overestimated.”
The shadow of a smile even touched Janus’ lips as he spoke now. Schala couldn’t help but smile too. It never ceased to amaze her how all of her children affected her brother. Though Schaliya still was the one he loved most of the three, Janatzer and Ceredan were very close to his once darkened heart.
“… And so the heroes came to realize that the one they called their enemy must have had far other connections to the beast Lavos than they ever could have guessed. The warlock of the Middle ages hadn’t created the monster…”
Ceredan listens to my story with a concentration that almost makes me smile. I wonder if he has figured out the truth about it yet…
I need to clear my head of that idiotic emperor. Even though several days have passed since I was called by him I’m still irritated. Even Lashey’s better, at least she never tried to command me. One point to the headache.
It keeps bothering me. She <I>did</I> have a bruise, perhaps the makeup could hide it to others but both I and Molor both noticed. But she’s not the kind of woman who’d take such a treatment, is she?
Why do I bother about her? Makes me irritated just remembering how she used to look at me all those years ago.
“With Crono in the lead the three hurried into the crater to find their foe, but all that was there was another time Gate.”
“Lavos created it, didn’t he?” Ceredan grimly says.
“Yes. With their usual bravery, or stupidity, the warriors ent… gh!”
‘<I>Mother… father… </I>!!’
There’s a crash from the kitchen, but before that a heart piercing screech from Schala. Molor almost jumps from the floor as I bolt up, the terror from the sounds in my head and ears almost tearing me apart.
“Janatzer!!” Schala screeches, her hardly sane cries a mirror of my feelings, “<I>JANATZER</I>!!”
“No! No, no… no!”
Cered stumbles into the kitchen by the time I reach it. His wide, wild eyes shoot between me and his wife.
“Tell me 'tis not so!” he cries, “not Janatzer?! Not Janatzer…”
But he knows, and I know. Schala knows.
I hardly hear my own chanting, pulling at the fragile telepathic call still shivering in my mind. In a blast of light the kitchen disappears, and I find myself, Schala and Cered in a battle field. Warriors stumble around us, desperate war cries and screams of the injured living a life of its own in a horrifying twister of death. Our appearance creates confusion, and some forgotten part of my mind is still sane enough to make me create a barrier against the rest of the world.
Schala and Cered are already on their knees, screaming and crying over the dead body on the ground.
He’s not more than a boy, barely seventeen. His hair is a red tumbleweed, now dirtied by the bloody mud that stains his face. Blood has sprouted into his face, his eyes shining wide and white where the blood hasn’t run into them.
An arrow is stuck in his stomach, the killing wound.
Janatzer, my nephew… Schala and Cered’s oldest son… he is dead.
“He wasn’t supposed to fight in the war, he’s only a recruit!!” Schala screams, tears flooding down her cheeks.
Crying screaming how many children like Schaliya did I bring death how many mother’s have cried because of me why did Janatzer die why was he sent to the battleground…
Flaring thoughts cut my mind and soul into pieces, I can only stare at the corpse.
Because I wouldn’t serve the emperor. He’s dead because I defied that blasted… <I>I</I> had him <I>killed</I>…
It’s all your fault, Magus within me smirks, and will you now dare to mourn, as the emperor’s sin is a copy of your own?
I fall to my knees.
You’re so weak.
All your fault.
All your doing, you caused this for thousands of others!
My hands hit the melting ground, my burning tears blurring into the blood in the mud.
You’re a worthless wreck! You caused his death, <I>you</I> killed Janatzer!
Scream all you want now that you face yourself, he sneers, what you try to deny, you worthless worm, is a crime beyond any compare!
Shut up shut up shut up shut…
Why is he tormenting me like this…? He always wanted me to be what he now claims as false… something’s wrong, he’s trying to break me…
But the faint realization is like ashes in the wind as I stare at the corpse, trembling by wave upon wave of horror of what has happened.
I caused my nephew’s death, I killed Janatzer… because I wouldn’t serve the emperor. I… <I>I</I>…
The roar leaving my lips pierce the sound of battle as I dash to my feet, tears still streaming down my cheeks, burning my skin like acid. My arms stretch out in a direction each and I leave the ground. <I>NO MORE</I>!!
“Dark powers of the…”
That won’t work!
Magus’ sneer hits me like Charash’s paw, he seems to be outside of my head, speaking to my mind from someplace else… there’s an empty space left after him, has he left my soul…? How is that possible, he’s just a…
But that’s yet another query going lost, even though some faraway part of my mind screams in terror it’s not enough for me to stop listening.
There’s thousands of them, he coldly points out with another smirk, and the underworld doesn’t grant power to save lives.
‘What can I do?!’ I scream in my thoughts.
You really wish to pay for what <b>you have done? </b>
He sounds amused.
The faraway part of me turns over itself, screaming and shouting. But it feels so far away, everything seems so far…
‘What can I do?!’
<b>You want to stop this, don’t you? It isn’t free… </b>
It’s as if the darkness I have named Magus is a spirit of it’s own…
Good powers what have I done what have I done what have I done…
Killed Janatzer… brought this agony to countless humans…
<b>You can’t turn back, I see that. </b>
Wait… it can’t…?!
My mind catches my soul and finally I realize exactly what “Magus within me” truly is.
‘By the powers… no! It’s impossible!’
‘Back off, rather will I die!’ I screech in even greater horror than I thought possible.
It just can’t be… it can’t be!
<b>Ah, how you fear to face your responsibility… </b>
‘<I>You</I> speak of <I>responsibility</I>?! I make no alliances with you, demon!’
<b>You are prepared to save all these young men, to pay back what you have caused, aren’t you? No, you have to. You can’t back off now. </b>
‘What do you care about human lives?’ I growl.
<b>Nothing at all. But <I>you</I> do, don’t you? </b>
<b>And as you might understand, <I>you</I> are a point of… interest to me. </b>
‘What are you doing inside of my head?!’ I shout, refusing to face what he’s saying.
<b>Scheming, what else? Time is running out, Janus. What will you do? </b>
He sneers again.
The tears join with sweat, dripping from my forehead. I can’t, I can’t… I refuse, I won’t…
<b>These humans will belong to me sooner or later anyhow. Will you buy them time or not? To be with their pretty little families for a few more years? </b>
As if my head was caught between his gigantic palms it turns to let me see a warrior of Garadia fall to the ground, twitching in agony with an arrow in his stomach. My head is turned at Janatzer. Schala and her husband are crying like mad, oblivious to what I am doing. I can’t recognize her as my sister and not Cered as my brother in law in their grief. The grief I share…
And it will be shared by countless others before this day has passed, if I don’t stop this war… I can’t use Shadow for it… I lack the power… what have I done?!
I can’t even think my retreat, my agreement of slavery. But he knows, the bastard knows…
<b>Ah, Janus… </b>
His mind drifts closer, and now I can hear his voice. I have never heard it before, I didn’t believe he could speak but he does now.
<b>‘You have no idea how I have longed for this moment, Janus of Zeal,’ </b>he smirks, <b>‘even if you kill me in the world’s future I will have my revenge in yours!’</b>
I cringe in agony, a grimace of pure torture tearing up my face.
<b>‘Speak the words, Janus. <I>Speak the words</I>, <I>now</I>.’</b>
Sweat and tears… forgive me, Schala… but what is my life worth after all I have caused…
‘That it should be <I>you</I> of all the dark forces to harvest my punishment, how twisted fate is…’ I spit at him.
<b> ‘Yes, isn’t it?’</b> he smirks, <b>‘now chant!’</b>
It feels like my mind is about to crack open…
More tears. My lips protest, but I keep chanting through my grief. Every word in old Zealan cutting through my head, drawing me closer to my doom.
Forgive me Schala, Cered, Janatzer, Schaliya, Ceredan, Molor, Glenn, Crono, Marle, Lucca, Ayla, Robo, mother, Lizard…
Is this even for better or worse, what will I do when I’m gone? I… I…
Please forgive me…
“Now the… chk…”
I struggle for a moment, desperately refusing. <I>No</I>!
<b>‘Speak out the words, Janus! Chant! You already agreed in this trading of lives!’</b>
And I can’t hold back.
“… Now the… chosen… time has c-come… exch-change… exchange…”
No! Lizard, mother, Schala… anyone, <I>don’t let me do this</I>!
But there’s only his voice, and it’s too late for me now.
My fingers disappear into my swirling hair as my whole being twitches in agony. Exchange…
Exchange… good powers…
My head is thrown backwards, the tears being spread across the closed room I created for Janatzer.
Exchange this… this…
“Name your prize!” I cry out with a voice which isn’t mine, “I can’t…!”
His laughter pierce my soul as I hear Schala’s distant scream of terror.
<b>‘You belong to me, Janus of Zeal! For thousands of strangers!’</b>
<I>You disgusting parasite</I>!!
<b>‘Speak it out, you’ll tell the world by own words!’</b> he sneers down at me… or is that up…
“<I>JANUS</I>!” Schala screams.
Forgive me, I kill your son and brother on the same day… I was never worthy of being your brother, you, wonderful angel…
Soul? Body? Both? What amount of my power does he want to start with?
A desperate flinch, one last resort… he used my techniques against us when we fought him, but I forced myself to forget that in anger… maybe…
You haven’t won yet!
“Exchange these magic powers for thousands of lives!” I screech.
He roars in anger but is bound by the sacrifice I made, which he accepted too early.
I almost smile.
You win today, Lavos, but not in the way you thought you would…