My fanfiction based on CT/CC...

Well, this is my very first post ever on these forums, so I will see how things go. Anyway, the first four chapters of my story are on the fanfiction section of the RPGclassics site, but for the sake of more feedback I thought I would post it here as well. This is the first chapter, but currently I have up to chapter 5 complete. In addition, I tend to be somewhat of a scattered writer, and I have written a lot of later parts, including the end. I am now filling in all the gaps. A little about my fanfic and stuff before I get to the actual story…
It’s my first fanfic ever. Actually, it’s the first thing I’ve ever written over 10 pages long. I am writing it as a stand alone sequel to the events of CT/CC, meaning that all characters are introduced and described anew…something a little odd for a fanfic, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, this here is the first chapter, and the earliest of my writing which I wrote last october. Therefore it is not the best of my writing by far. I have been told that the dialogue is over simple, and in rereading it I would tend to agree. In my opinion I have better dialogue in futher chapters, and so opted to keep this beginning chapter unchanged. Even so I welcome any critisism that you would be willing to give. Oh, the prologue I wrote much more recently so if it sounds different in style, that’s why. (And I know the title is probably the most lame one I could possibly have come up with, but it was sort of a working title that turned into the actual one…though I am thinking of changing it.)
Anyway, on to the story…

Twilight of Fate

Prologue

Ere Rome fell a small kingdom arose far to the west, where its power did not hold. Built upon an island far to sea it was founded by a rogue centurion of Rome, disillusioned with the conquest he so blindly sought in serving his empire. This was Guardia, and for one thousand years it thrived unconquered. Rome fell, it lasted. The years of dark sorcery and mystics came upon the world. Shadows crept slowly west from forgotten realms, and ancient evils unseen for millennia stirred once more. A mighty sorcerer strove for mastery of the lands. Many were the fruitless deeds of valor done in those years as Guardia strove against his legions. But heroes came forth, and so it yet endured. Its kings never sought for power or dominion as other lords did, and so the kingdom had long years of peace and prosperity. Yet after one thousand years a mighty empire arose at last. Far to the sought, while the people of northern Guardia lived yet content as they had for centuries, a power unmatched since the ancient ages of Rome arose, and the kingdoms of the world fell beneath the new born might of Porre. Yet the people of the small land of Guardia did not take kindly to the constraints of conquerors… and a prince yet lived. And yet no ordinary prince this was. For he was a hero, a mighty warrior who defied the most ancient evils and to whom time itself had once been as an open road. He yet resisted, and strove against the conqueror’s armies. For fifteen years he worked in secret, as a sudden shadow of night, striking swiftly and ever returning whence he came, unseen to the eyes of his enemies. Yet empires do not fall by the hands of one alone. And so before those years were ended, war would once more come upon the land. And far to the west of even the westward land of Guardia, tremors of this coming doom crept…

Chapter 1: Echo of a Lost Past

The vast ocean stretched as far as the eye could see. Crimson and gold light from the setting sun danced merrily on the surface, glittering like a thousand jewels. Alone on this vast and tranquil expanse a lone boat swept through the water. It was a small fishing boat, in the style of a catamaran, with an offset second hull. Its single white sail fluttered in the gentle evening breeze that pushed the boat onward. At its prow stood a solitary figure, staring out at the sea. He smiled at the world around him, so peaceful. He loved the sea. He closed his eyes, the soft sea spray washing across his face, the wind blowing merrily through his deep blue hair. He opened his eyes again. In the distance the shore of a far off land was just visible, floating on the horizon. Home, for him. He turned from the front of the boat and grabbed the tiller in the rear. The boat was nearly full with a day’s catch of fish. He was almost sad to be returning home, he loved the sea so, the solace it provided. It freed his mind of his worries, being so alone...

The boat glided softly across the water with hardly a sound, the distant land growing swiftly larger. The boy at the tiller put his hand in the sea, letting the cool, rushing water flow between his fingers. Looking to the west he saw the crimson sun falling slowly into the sea.
“Hey, Serge! You’re back!”
The boy looked up. He had been too busy staring out to sea to realize he was nearly ashore. A small fishing village was on the coast a hundred feet ahead. On the pier a young girl stood waving. She had obviously been waiting for him. Returning the wave, he expertly guided the boat to the piers.
“Have a good day fishing?” the girl asked merrily.
The boy nodded. The fishing had been very good. He leaped out of the boat onto the solid wood of the pier, sending the boat rocking backwards. He quickly grabbed a rope and tied the boat to a post of the pier to prevent the craft from returning to sea.
The boy, whose name was Serge, was actually only a few short weeks shy of 18, and so, by the standards of his village, was very nearly a man. Of average height in his village of Arni, he was around 5 seven, but had never actually measured. He also looked younger than he actually was, his boyish face taking a few years off his age. On his head deep blue hair fell down his head and into his eyes, whose hue seemed to echo that of the sea itself. His face was kind, and, though he talked little, he was friendly enough. For clothes he was dressed in the typical Arni fashion: Large boots, long blue shorts, and a black short sleeved shirt. Over this he wore a light vest, leather on the top, with mail rings from his chest down. A large belt was strapped around his waist. On his hands were worn leather gloves, and about his head a red bandana was wrapped, his deep blue hair sticking out from beneath it in strands.
The girl standing on the pier before him was dressed in a long blue dress, over which she wore elaborately embroidered overclothes in shades of maroon and black. Her long brown hair fell back from a quiet, gentle face, with kind eyes.
“Hi Leena,” Serge greeted her, smiling, “waiting long?”
“Oh, no. I just wandered out here a little while back. Watching some of the neighbour’s kids, you know.”
That was Leena, always helping out in the village in some way: odd chores, babysitting…whatever needed to be done; if Leena could help she did. But that was just her way.
“So, I see fishing was good today,” she noted, kneeling and taking a peek into the boat.
He nodded
“Really good. The sea was perfect…” he said, glancing out to sea as they walked up the pier together.
They strolled off the pier and proceeded down the sandy beachfront that ran between the village and the ocean. He spent most days such, talking with Leena after a day’s fishing. Leena was by far his best friend, perhaps more than a friend. Moreover, she was always willing to listen to whatever he had to say, which he was very grateful for. Especially during the past few months. Ever since a very frightening experience he had had, talking to Leena on the beach in just such a way.
He had been with her, talking, farther down the island. Then, for no reason he could remember, he had blanked out. He could recall little of those few minutes, yet he seemed to think that he had heard a voice, someone calling his name, just before he had passed out. Leena told him she hadn’t heard anything. When he had awoken he had been very disoriented. He remembered Leena kneeling over him, trying to revive him. Then, he couldn’t recall for what reason, he had stood up and asked Leena something. Something about Fate, and a thing called “Terra Tower.” He had no idea, now or then, what it meant. However, he had the distinct impression that he had known at the instant he had uttered the question, but, just as a dream fades from memory on the moment of awakening, the words ceased to have any meaning to him. He could never remember why he had spoken them. Leena had borne it with her usual grace, dismissing it as a mere dream, the product of an idle mind. But Serge was not totally convinced. He had tried to assure himself that Leena was in all likelihood correct, but still his heart had misgivings. His mind told him, as Leena, to ignore it…but somewhere in his heart he seemed almost to know otherwise. He had often voiced this to Leena on their evening walks, but, as compassionate as she was, she had no answers either. He looked at Leena, walking beside him on the sand. Perhaps had the incident remained just that, he would have forgotten about it by now.
But, to make matters worse, the event seemed to repeat itself each and every night. His unconscious mind was haunted by mysterious images he could never quite remember when he awoke. He stared out at the sun, watching it set in all its golden glory.
“I had another dream last night…” he mentioned to Leena.
Leena sighed, having expected this.
“Can’t you just forget about them, Serge?” she replied, stopping and turning to face him. “You can never remember them anyway. How can you know they mean anything? They’re just dreams after all!”
Serge halted also and, turning his face from the sun, looked at Leena.
“Maybe…but maybe not. I just don’t know Leena…that’s the problem.”
Leena nodded.
“I understand…well, let’s just forget about it for a while and enjoy the evening. Watch the sun set. Maybe you’ll feel better.”
Leena was right. What was the use of worrying about future or past? The future brings what it will, though no one knows exactly what. One can only make the best out of what it has in store. And the past no one can change, so what is the use in worrying about it? It was the present that really mattered. How he lived now would shape his past and determine his future. Leena understood that. It brought him a sort of peace to think in those terms. Whatever the future brought, he would face it then, but live his life now.
“You’re right Leena…I shouldn’t worry so much.”
He smiled as the sun dipped into the vast ocean and wished all days could end so.

The night was falling on his village by the time Serge made his way home. A cool sea breeze blew in from the ocean. The first stars were now beginning to show. It was nights such as these that made life worth living. The calm of darkness descended on the village like a solemn veil, a soft light still lingering in the west as the last rays of the sun vanished from sight. He wished Leena a good night as they parted company and she made her way home. Alone now with the darkness, Serge breathed deeply of the night air, relishing the twilight. Moving at a calm pace he crossed the small courtyard that lay at the center of the village. Around this round space were set the buildings of the village, a dozen or so houses built in the traditional style of the El Nido islands: tall, raised on stilts a couple of meters off the ground. They were made out of native palm wood and roofed with palm leaves that provided protection from the hot sun and hard rains. 
His mother stood at the door of his house and greeted him merrily as he walked up the rickety wooden stairs to the main floor of his house. He smiled at her, but could not fully conceal his mind, as it had become bothered with worry again. His mother frowned, sensing something wrong.
“What is it Serge?” she asked, in a tone typical of a concerned mother, “You look worried...is something bothering you?” 
Serge did not like talking too much, and did not particularly want to mention his dreams to anyone other than Leena - she was the only one who knew.
“I’m fine. Just had a long day fishing,” he stated. His mother sighed, yielding, but obviously unconvinced. The two strode indoors, leaving the door open to let in the fresh night air, as everyone in Arni did. In the village, everyone knew and trusted everyone else. Doors and locks were not really necessary, except perhaps to keep out wild animals, but they seldom entered the village. As for thieves, there was not much of great value in such a small fishing hamlet, though many had been worried a few months back about the thieves that had called themselves the ‘Radical Dreamers’. But they had never been seen in El Nido, only on the mainland, and had not been heard of in many months. 
However, on this night, unseen by all eyes, a dark figure strode boldly in the front gate of the village and silently melted into the shadows surrounding the buildings. The darkness veiled the figure like a cloak as it glanced around cautiously, searching the village for something. Finally fixing its gaze on Serge’s house it turned and disappeared completely into the night.

Serge walked into his room, exhaustion finally sweeping over him. It had been a long day at sea, and the fishing had indeed been good. Yet, in a way, he did not want to go to sleep. His mind was troubled, and had grown ever more so as the weeks had passed, despite Leena’s enthusiastic encouragement to forget about it. The elusive dreams that haunted his sleeping mind, as a ghost felt yet unseen, gnawed at his thoughts. Indeed, as he had told Leena many times, he could never remember what they were about. But this had eventually begun to unnerve him. Only vague images flitted into his mind from time to time. The dreams themselves never failed to evaporate from memory the moment he awoke, as if something was trying to keep them from him. A strange, and utterly ridiculous thought.
He sat down on his bed, removing his sea worn boots. It was odd, but he was sure the dreams were something more, something important. A warning? No, but something else...
Serge spun, nearly falling off his bed. He had heard a noise at his window. A dull thud. He waited a moment that seemed to last forever, his senses heightened by momentary fear. The dark palm leaves swayed in the wind outside his window. Nothing happened. He shook his head. It was late, and now his mind was playing tricks on him. Probably just a stray tree branch, or...
“Chrono Trigger!”
This time Serge did indeed fall off his bed, landing hard on the wooden floor. A voice had come from the darkness outside. That in and of itself would have been enough to frighten him. But the words caused his mind to spin. They echoed in his head, sending images flashing through his mind. But before he could place any meaning on them, they melted away. His momentary confusion was then replaced by fear. Now he was sure something had addressed him. Summoning his courage, he stepped to the window sill and leaned out, staring out into the darkness. However nothing but shadows met his gaze. Perhaps it was just in his mind. Perhaps he had been dwelling too much on his dreams. 
He shrugged, unsure as to what to think, and more than a little unsettled. He turned from the window and walked to his mirror. Undoing his red bandana, he tossed it onto the dresser, letting his deep blue hair fall down over his eyes. Serge ran his hand through his hair and sighed. He silently wished, prayed, every night that these elusive dreams would leave him alone, so that he could wake up without questions about what he knew not. What had he done to be cursed with this torment? Nothing, he knew that full well. But such was the way with things. He turned from the mirror, hoping that this night would be better than the last.
But before he could take but one step forward he froze, too startled to move. A dark figure stood crouched on the sill of his window. A cloak concealed his entire body, and a hood shrouded his face in darkness. He did not say a word, but simply stood there, as if waiting for Serge to do or say something. For an eternity they both stood motionless. Serge did not move, not knowing what to make of this dark intruder. Likewise the figure stood frozen, and Serge got the impression that he too was being contemplated from beneath the shadowy hood. But as the seconds passed, and nothing happened, his fear transformed into curiosity.
He took a small step forward, unsure as how to proceed. He wanted to run, but some part of him desired to know who, perhaps what, this visitor was. His mind still screaming at him to run, he broke the dead silence that lay between them.
“Who...who are you? And...” 
But the stranger had raised a hand, and, without question, Serge stopped mid sentence. The cloaked phantom stood up in the window sill and jumped lightly into the room, making hardly a sound as its feet hit the floor. Now in the light of the room, Serge could see it better. Whatever it was, it wasn’t exceptionally tall, no more than his own height at least. It was dressed in a dark blue cloak that shimmered slightly in the candlelight of the room. But Serge’s heart chilled when he saw what could be nothing other than a sword hanging at the figure’s side. Once again, it stood motionless. But now it spoke, with a calm voice, yet deep and sure.
“Yes, I know who you are, Serge. Actually, I know you better than you know yourself...Chrono Trigger!”
Once again Serge had been addressed as such. And, as before, a strange sort of recognition flashed through his mind, only to fade into oblivion. The figure shook its head.
“I see that you don’t remember.” The figure spoke gently, almost friendly, though with disappointment showing in the voice. What didn’t he remember?
“Have I...do I know you?” Serge questioned, hoping for some answers.
To Serge’s discomfort, the figure laughed. A strange laugh, as if slightly amused by the question.
“No, we’ve never met. But I know a lot about you, and what you did.”
Serge frowned, confused.
What had he ever done to merit attention? Surely this stranger wasn’t interested in his fish.
“You don’t understand,” the figure acknowledged, “Don’t worry, it might come back to you...in time. Maybe it already has, and you just can’t understand it...”
Serge’s mind spun. Could this mysterious visitor possibly be referring to his dreams? No, that was impossible. He tried to banish the thought, but the figure seemed to know what he was thinking.
“You’re having dreams, right Serge? And you can’t remember them?”
Serge didn’t answer, but the stranger seemed to read the truth in his eyes.
“I was right then. It is coming back to you. Yes, the unknown is always frightening.”
And confusing, thought Serge. What was this phantom be talking about? The cryptic hints were beginning to bother Serge. But the figure continued, either not noticing or not caring about Serge’s uneasiness.
“For now all I will say is that those dreams hold the key to a past that you have forgotten.”
More cryptic hints.
“My past? But...I really don’t understand,” Serge replied, more confused now than ever. Once again, the figure laughed.
“Of course not. But, right now, you must be wondering who I am...”
The figure lifted his hands and threw back his hood. For a second Serge was prepared for the worst. But his fears were not realized. The figure was indeed human. Serge guessed he was in his mid-thirties or so. His features were sharp, and his eyes were keen. From his head fell long bright red hair, wrapped around by a flowing white headband. There seemed to be an air of adventure and valour about him. If nothing else his face showed one who had seen much of the world, but had not nearly tired of life. He smiled kindly at Serge, as if he had long awaited this meeting.
“So, we meet at long last. Long have the threads of our fate intertwined, our stories one, and yet have never met. This probably won’t mean much to you now, but I’m Crono, the first Chrono Trigger.
He was right, thought Serge, it didn’t mean anything to him, except for those two words: Chrono Trigger.
“Chrono Trigger?” Questioned Serge, yearning to know the reason as to why that word seemed to mean so much.
“We have both affected the history of this world, challenged fate, and persevered. But that is a tale for a different time, and I know only one person who can tell it to you as you should hear it.”
This didn’t answer his question, much to Serge’s annoyance. But the man continued undaunted. 
“But that’s not why I’ve come. Actually, I’ve come to you for help...”
“Me? Why?...how could I help you?” Serge demanded, his impatience growing. 
But the man shook his head.
“I think this is enough for our first meeting. But mark this, it won’t be our last. I’ll find you again...farewell till then, Serge...”
Serge was about to protest, but the man darted for the window. Serge followed after, half of him relieved that the man was leaving, half of him wanting him to stay. But the man was too quick. In one swift movement he slipped out the window and blended into the darkness before Serge’s eyes. From the darkness, a few last words reached him.
“...and remember the Chrono Cross!”
The Chrono Cross? Images flooded Serge’s mind, almost as of a long forgotten past, or a dream. A light. A young woman...but they too faded, leaving Serge grasping once again only at questions. His mind was confused, but his heart knew something. Something was about to happen, and when it did, his questions would be answered. 
It took him long to get to sleep that night.

So, there is chapter 1. What do you think? Oh, and how is the formatting? Is it a little hard to read? It seems the indents didn’t copy and paste all too well.

Nah, indents don’t copy. Neither do font styles… it’s a real pain. Still, I think it’s interesting.

Firat post eh? A good start.:slight_smile: Andthe same goes for the fic.

Wow…I like it. I like it a lot. :cool:

Well, thanks for the positive feedback…I wouldn’t mind any constructive critisizm you care to write, you know. In actuallity I’m an engineering student, and so technically writing shouldn’t be one of my strong points as it is. And it is very hard to find exactly what is wrong with ones own writing. Therefore the best way for my writing to improve is to be told by others what is lacking. Anyway, here is the second chapter of the story. I have another 3 chapters after this complete, and can post those whenever as well.

Chapter 2: When Past and Present Collide

A cat stared at him. Not just a cat, but a human-cat, a demi-human. As tall as a man, maybe taller, dressed in elaborate gowns, but with the face of a lynx. Two evil eyes burned into his mind. Where was he? A cavern? A hall? Everything seemed a blur. There was a voice at his side, but he could not mark the words. The world reeled and swam before his eyes. Images flashed before him. A young girl. Had he seen her before? She seemed familiar, somehow…
a bloody knife…the girl again, lying still on a stone floor. Dead? An awful premonition filled him. Then he saw himself. He held the dagger, and a wicked smile crossed his lips…

Serge awoke with a start. He was in his room, and the bright sunlight filtered in through the open window, casting merry amber light on everything. What had frightened him so? The still beauty of morning had driven the fear from him, and he fought to remember from what he had just awoken. To his surprise he found he could remember, though vaguely. Now he wished he could not. Sitting up in bed he sighed. It was ironic that he had spent the last few months hoping that for once he could recall his dreams and, now that he had, he would do anything not to be able to. Even in the morning light he shivered. The dream had been dark, and still haunted the corners of his mind. What did it mean? Did it mean anything? He hoped that Leena was right, that his dreams were just that. But no...last night. He thought back to the previous evening. It seemed like to a dream also. That strange man. What had he called himself? Crono? In memory it seemed so vague. Had he imagined it? Had he dreamt it? There certainly was no other way to explain it. The mysterious person had known far too much about him to be anything other than a figment of his tired mind. He walked to the window where he had imagined the events occur the night before.
Outside the lush palm trees waved gently in the warm tropical breeze. Already the sun was high in the sky. Had he really slept in that late? He guessed the time to be past midday. Perhaps he wouldn’t go out fishing today. Yesterday’s catch had been good enough. He could spend the day with Leena, if she wasn’t busy. She’d like that. He’d like that. It would be a change from the way most days went. And maybe she could help him find peace with his dreams. Before they had unnerved him because he couldn’t remember them. Now they disturbed him because he could. He put his elbows on the window and sighed. Things were going from bad to worse. First phantom dreams, now nightmares and hallucinations. He hoped Leena would be understanding. If she wasn’t, nobody would be. He squinted against the glare of the sun, looking out to sea. A few small village boats were out. And, if he wasn’t mistaken, he could see Leena standing on the beach by the piers. He turned and slipped on his boots. He hadn’t bothered to change the previous night, and was still fully dressed. He tied his bandana around his head and looked in the mirror, making sure he looked okay. He turned back to the window. Strange, he thought. He had half expected to see his phantom sitting there as he had imagined the night before. But only the distant sea and beach, wreathed in palm trees like picture frames, greeted his eyes. He stared for a moment, thinking. He wasn’t particularly hungry. He would grab something later. Right now he just eager to talk to Leena. His mother didn’t care when he came and left; she knew he was well nigh old enough to care for himself. With a small sideways jump he vaulted out the window and landed on the soft grassy ground beneath his window.
The air was clear and fresh, and the smell of the sea cleared his head of the last traces of sleep as he ran through the trees to the beach. The beach was near and he had reached it in a minute.

Leena was facing towards the piers and away from Serge as he approached her.
“Hey Leena!”
She jumped as he greeted her. She turned, mock anger on her face.
“Don’t do that Serge!”
“Sorry…” he answered, smiling, “watching the neighbour’s kids again?” he asked, noticing a few small children running around a ways up the beach.
She nodded.
“Their parents are off to Terminal till tomorrow, and they asked me if I could watch them.”
Serge ran his hands through his hair, wondering how he should begin to tell Leena about his dream. Leena noticed, however, and was quick to guess what the problem was.
“You had another dream, didn’t you? What have I told you…” she started, but Serge interrupted.
“I remembered this one!”
“Oh…” Leena replied, not quite sure what to make of that.
“You actually…remembered the dream?”
Serge nodded gravely. Leena read his expression.
“It was that bad?”
Again Serge nodded.
“Do you want to…tell me about it?” she asked carefully, not knowing if he wanted to discuss it or not. She could see from his face that it had really bothered him.
But Serge needed to tell someone, and if not Leena, whom?
He told her of his dream, what he could remember. He didn’t mention his phantom however. He wasn’t quite sure how she would take that. Leena sighed.
“I don’t know Serge. I can see why it bothered you…but…I still think it’s just a dream. Nothing to worry about.” Her tone reassured Serge. Of course Leena was right.
“Thanks Leena,” he replied “you’re right, again.”
She smiled.
“Of course I’m right, Serge! I’m always right!” she said, teasing him.
She had put his mind at ease as to his gloomy dream. Yet he was not sure what she would say if he told her about the hallucination he had had of the man in his window. However Leena was his truest friend…yes, she, if anybody, would understand.
But just as he was about to tell her she frowned, as if trying to remember something.
“What is it Leena?”, he questioned, somewhat relieved that he had a few more seconds to gather his thoughts.
“Oh, there was something I was going to tell you…” suddenly she nodded, remembering “…oh yes, that was it. Earlier this morning someone came down to the beach asking for you.”
“For me? Who?” Serge asked. Probably one of the villagers wanting an errand run.
“I don’t know. He wasn’t from around here, but he was polite enough. I think he was from the mainland. An older person, red hair. He said his name was Crono or something strange like that, and that you knew him. I told him you were still in bed, and knowing you, when you sleep in…”
But Serge had stopped listening. His heart had turned to ice in his chest. Nothing in the world could have shocked him as much as what Leena was telling him.
Leena stopped talking, sensing something wrong.
“Serge? Serge, you alright?”
He didn’t know how to answer that. No, he wasn’t all right. His mind was a mess. Suddenly he was unsure as to what was real, and what was not. But he didn’t want to worry Leena.
“Um…sort of,” he mumbled, not wanting to lie, but unable to tell the truth “Leena, I just need to go check on something, okay?” Not exactly the truth, but the best he could think of. Of course, Leena wasn’t taken in.
“Serge, something’s wrong. What is it?”
“Nothing, Leena…” Serge answered hastily, wanting to leave. He needed to think, alone.
“Serge, don’t lie to me! You look almost pale. What is it?” She repeated, standing her ground.
Serge could tell it was no use arguing.
“I’ll tell you later Leena, but right now I just have to be by myself for a bit, okay?”
He hoped Leena understood.
“Yeah, okay…” responded Leena, “you sure you don’t want to tell me what the problem is?”
She was obviously slightly hurt that he wanted to rush off so suddenly without telling her…
“I…don’t even really know either…” said Serge, hoping to smooth things over a bit.
Leena sighed, but tried to smile, hoping to make him feel better.
“All right, but don’t be long…”
“Bye!” he yelled behind him as he rushed off back towards the village. He had no idea where he was going. He didn’t even know what to think. His phantom had been real? It still seemed absurd. He ran past the village tavern into the courtyard, barely aware of his surroundings.
“Sleep well, Serge?”
Serge froze.
He recognized the voice. He spun and found himself face to face with the very same man who had confronted him in his room. He leaned in the shadows against the wall of the tavern, his arms folded casually across his chest, one foot on the ground, the other on the wall behind him. His face was slightly haggard looking, and unshaven, as one who has been out in the wilderness for some time. He wore no cloak now, and Serge could see he was dressed in a strange fashion. Indeed, it reminded him not a little of the style of the Zenan mainland. He wore baggy pants that no one in Arni would even think of wearing in such a hot climate. He also wore a deep green shirt that barely extended halfway to his elbows. This was covered in a teal vest that fell to his knees, kept closed by a gold buckled black belt that wrapped around his waist. His stark crimson hair was kept up by a flowing headband that encircled his forehead. And, just as he remembered from before, from his side hung an elaborate, slightly curved, sword. The man grinned at him.
“I guess I keep startling you don’t I? First I appear in you window in the middle of the night, and now I surprise you as you come around a corner…”
He chuckled. Something in the man’s friendly manner seemed to calm Serge’s initial shock. Despite the sword, Serge felt less intimidated by this man in broad daylight. The man put his foot down and stepped away from the wall.
“But I guess the time has come now for a formal introduction. I already know who you are. As for me…it’s a long story, but I’ll make it short. Doubtless you’ve heard of Guardia before?”
Serge nodded. Everyone had. Now a legend of a sort, it had been a peaceful kingdom on the Zenan mainland a few decades earlier, before being overrun by the Porre empire around the time Serge was born. Now Guardia was a mere memory, and Porre controlled a vast empire that included the El Nindo islands. The man continued.
“Well, you might say that I’m the exiled prince of Guardia. Or was. Since the king is dead, if Guardia were ever to rise again, I suppose I would be king. But, until that day comes, I hold my title as prince. So, you see why I’ve been so furtive. El Nindo is under the control of Porre, and I can’t well let them know that the heir to the throne of Guardia is here. Anyway, as for my name, just call me Crono. It’s what I used to be called before I was knighted. And it’s what my friends call me. I like it better anyway. The rest of my story, and yours too, you’ll learn in time. For now…
But Crono broke off in mid sentence and froze. In one quick movement he had spun around and was pressing himself against the wall of the tavern.
“Dammit…” he murmured. A Porre officer was wandering briskly in the front gate of the village. Serge wondered what a soldier was doing in such a small village. Aruni was technically under the empire’s jurisdiction, but soldiers almost never came here. However, one glance at Crono answered his question.
“Get him away from here!” Crono whispered urgently, making himself as invisible as possible.
Serge looked over at Crono. He didn’t particularly want to deal with a Porre soldier.
“Don’t look at me!” Crono muttered between his teeth.
Sighing with frustration, Serge stepped forward to greet the officer, who had wandered importantly to the center of the square. His dress was typical of the soldiers Serge had seen before. He wore a pristine blue uniform, long sleeved and adorned with various belts and decorations. Even his black boots were somehow untarnished. He was dusting off his felt hat as Serge approached. The officer saw him and greeted him in typical military fashion.
“Greetings from the empire of Porre. I am Gaheris, captain in the El Nido division of the Porre army. I am here to apprehend a dangerous criminal who has been seen in this area. Have you seen any suspicious strangers lately, boy?”
Serge caught his breath. He was about to say no, then realized in his slight hesitation to answer the soldier would see the truth. He opted instead to give only half of it.
“Um…yes, I did. Earlier today, near the beach. He left.”
It did not go over as he had hoped. The officer was unconvinced, and clearly saw the lie. He scrutinized Serge for a second.
“Do you know the penalty for lying to an officer of Porre, boy?”
Serge was speechless. He didn’t know what to say. He contemplated going back on his previous statement, betraying Crono. But somehow that seemed very wrong…
But he was spared the choice. The man caught sight of something by the tavern. He pulled out his musket and frowned. Indeed it was not Crono, who had hidden himself far too well. But it gave the officer reason to begin walking in that direction. Serge stood frozen.
But then something happened, the likes of which Serge had never seen before. In the blink of an eye Crono had jumped from his hiding place behind the tavern. Before the shocked Porre officer could react, Crono’s sword was out and wheeling. Cutting through the air it narrowly missed both Serge and the officer, and embedded itself quivering deep into the wall of another building. But the officer was quick to recover, and levelled his weapon at Crono. However Crono was too swift. He stretched out his had towards the officer. A sharp wind swept past, and, with a crack that pierced Serge’s ears, a bolt of white lightning lashed from Crono’s hand. The lightning instantaneously struck the officer full in the chest. The ensuing blast threw him back several meters, and he landed on the ground at Serge’s feet.

Serge shook his head, bewildered. His ears rung and the flash still burned in his eyes. Even so he could scarcely believe what he had just seen. Magic? He had heard stories of sorcerers and magicians, but had only half believed them.
“Hey, Serge, you okay?”
It was Crono, who had now run up beside him. Serge blinked. His eyes were getting better and his ears no longer run. He nodded.
“I apologize for that, but I couldn’t let him shoot me, you know.”
Serge looked down, remembering the officer. A chill swept through him. The soldier looked dead.
Crono kneeled down and put his hand on the officers chest.
“No, he’s not dead. His heart’s beating at least. I didn’t really want to kill him.”
Finally the full realization of what had happened sunk in. Crono had attacked a Porre officer. That was trouble.
He took a step backward as Crono got back up.
“C’mon Serge, we’ve got to get out of here before more troops arrive. They’ll notice him missing soon enough!” Crono grabbed Serge’s arm.
“Serge, we’ve gotta go, now!”
Serge pulled his arm from Crono’s grasp, and took another step backward, looking at Crono in disbelief.
“You did this! You go…leave! I’m not going anywhere.”
Serge retreated a few more paces. Villagers were now gathering at their windows, curious as to the cause of the commotion. Serge was relieved that no one else had been in the courtyard to witness the event.
“You really think Porre will leave you alone now Serge, even if I leave. You lied to him,” he pointed at the unconscious soldier, “he knows that. He knows you were helping me. Unless of course you want to kill him…”
Serge narrowed his eyes at Crono, menace and hatred building in the gaze. Crono had brought this trouble upon his village, upon Serge. It wasn’t Serge’s fault. Then why did he feel guilty and responsible? He had followed his heart, and had tried to help Crono. Yet it had betrayed him and led only to this. Now he would follow his head, and no longer his feelings.
“I’ll tell them the truth then. Leave, because next time I won’t lie for you.” Serge spoke calmly, yet with vehemence and anger.
“All right, if that’s how you want it…” Crono answered cooly.
He walked over to the far side of the square to where his sword still stuck in the wall of the building it had struck. Pulling it out of the wood, he looked over his shoulder at Serge.
“You can try to forget but, mark my words, your heart will never let you.”
He re-sheathed his blade and turned to Serge. Serge stood quiet, making a point to let his anger show.
“Your past will catch up to you, whatever you may do to run from it.”
Despite the malice evident in Serge’s face, which he clearly saw, Crono smiled.
“Farewell, my friend!”
And, turning, he walked out the gate as boldly as he had done the night before. Serge watched him leave, glad to be finally rid of that phantasm.
By now a large crowd, probably half the village, had gathered in the square. Some were over by the officer, trying to help him up. The rest milled about, talking excitedly.
“Serge, you all right?” It was Leena, who had rushed up from the beach.
“Yeah, I am…now.” he said, glancing pointedly at the gate, where he had last seen Crono. He was gone now.
Leena frowned at Serge, seeing the soldier lying on the ground.
“What happened?”
“I’ll tell you…when we’re alone.” Serge didn’t want anyone else knowing exactly what had happened; gossip spread too quickly in such a small village.
“Let’s get out of here.” he said to Leena, wanting nothing more than to leave the crowded square.
He took Leena’s hand, and together they walked back towards the beach. But before they had moved more than a few steps, a harsh voice called out to him.
“Hey, boy. Where do you think you’re going?”
Serge turned. The officer was getting weakly up, helped by a few of the villagers. His uniform that before had been spotless was now tattered and dirty, and a great blackened spot marked where the lightning had struck him. His formal hat was nowhere to be seen now, and his tossed hair hung in disarray from his head. From wherever it had fallen he had retrieved his musket and was now pointing it at Serge’s chest. The villagers all took several steps backward to be well out of the way of the weapon. Serge merely fumed. That idiot Crono had really caused a problem.
“You’re under arrest, boy. I’m taking you to Termina.”
The villagers were aghast. A few attempted to argue on Serge’s behalf, but to no avail. In the midst of all the confusion the village chief, an elder called Radius, stepped forward, and he too argued to Serge’s defence, albeit with more vehemence and skill.
But Serge saw from where he stood that struggling merely made things worse. The officer was getting more angry by the minute, and would probably have set the entire Porre army on the village if he had been able to. Serge knew what he had to do.
He looked over at Leena.
“Leena, I’ve got to go and straighten things out, okay? Otherwise Porre will never leave Aruni alone…”
Leena sighed. She knew he was right, but nonetheless did not want him to go.
“Don’t worry for me Leena, I’ll be okay…” he didn’t exactly know if that was the truth or not, however. He smiled at her, hoping to make their parting more pleasant. She weakly returned it.
“All right, but be careful,” she admonished him, whispering in his ear. “Don’t trust them”
And with that she whispered him a fond farewell, and stepped back.
By now the entire village was in an uproar. In the middle the officer still debated angrily with the chief, who was attempting now to explain the political ramifications of such an arrest, in a vain attempt to help Serge.
Serge walked to the officer.
“It’s okay, I’ll come.”
The chief stopped talking abruptly and looked at him, slightly bewildered.
“Serge, they can’t do this to you! You haven’t done a thing!” he said urgently.
Serge grimaced.
“Yeah, I know. But, otherwise…”
The chief nodded, understanding.
“This is very noble of you Serge.” He looked around at the gathered people, “We’ll be hoping for you”
And with that the officer roughly grabbed Serge’s arm and walked him out the gate. Glancing back, Serge saw Leena staring after him, waving farewell, yet with worry written in her expression.
What a cursed day, thought Serge as the soldier led him onwards, away from his home. And curse that fool Crono, he thought. If nothing else, he was glad to be rid of him now.

So…there is chapter 2. What do you think? In my opinion it is in the very least better than the first.

It is quite good, indeed. :slight_smile:
But you made an error or two. The place is called El Nido, and the village is called Arni. (Thought I heard somewhere that Aurini is its jap name, I think.)

Did I really? Bother that…this must be a slightly older version of the chapter. I had originally used Aruni and El Nindo, forgetting that those were the japanes names. I after changed them to Arni and El Nido, but I guess this wasn’t updated. Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll edit that tomorrow.

those are the jap names of the places. besides that SMALL error the fic is great. i like any story that is well writen.

Okay…here is the third chapter to my story. I think the formatting may be slightly different, now that I look at it. If it looks too strange, tell me and I’ll change it. And I have decided to now call it “Twilight of Fate”. Chrono Crisis seemed much too lame.

Chapter 3: Of Officers and Wizards

The trip to the harbor town of Termina was not a relatively long one. Though it lay on the northwest of the island, opposite Arni, they had reached it by nightfall. The officer had kept up a brisk pace throughout the day, despite his obvious wound. He did not want to spend the night in the wilderness with a prisoner to watch, and shunned the roads out of an unfounded fear of ambush. But Serge had no intention of escaping. What good would it do him, anyway? He was going along freely, in the hopes that his compliance might be of some benefit to him when the time came to defend himself.

The sun was just setting below the horizon as they crossed under the arched marble gate that lay at the entrance to the town. Long black shadows stretched far from the buildings, masking the abandoned streets in darkness. Serge had heard that before the coming of Porre Termina was lively well into the night. But the curfews imposed by the empire kept everyone indoors after nightfall nowadays. So it was that Serge and the officer walked down the streets alone. Serge had never seen Termina by night, only once or twice by day, and he didn’t like it much now that he saw it. The dead darkness, devoid of the life, weighed in on him. The dark buildings stared ominously. He was beginning to second guess his decision. But what else could he have done? Damn that fool Crono for doing this to him. He hoped he was feeling as miserable as Serge felt, wherever he was.

“Hey there! Move along!” The officer pushed him briskly. He had stopped walking without noticing it, and the officer was eager to reach their journey’s end.

“Sorry” Serge murmured, annoyed by the man’s rudeness. Serge could have made things a lot harder for him. He felt the officer should treat him a little better.

Their destination lay at the end of a long street, seemingly even darker than the rest. Blackened windows stared out at him from dark buildings to either side. The guardhouse was a large building, but built inconspicuously in the same style as the surrounding ones out of white limestone.

As they approached the door the officer faced Serge and looked sternly at him, pointing his musket at Serge’s chest.

“You’ve been awfully good up till now. Don’t go trying anything at the end.”
Serge hated being treated like a child, but bore it calmly.
The soldier knocked harshly on the wooden door with a sound that resonated throughout the still night air. From inside a voice replied, obviously annoyed by the sudden interruption.

“Whoever it is, go away!”

“You should treat your commanding officer with more respect. It’s Captain Gaheris, returning from the south of the island. Now let me in Lieutenant!” the officer barked in response.

The voice at the other end did not respond. But seconds later a click told Serge that a lock was being undone, and the door swung open.

“Alright boy, in you go.” The officer pushed him roughly inside.

The interior was dimly lit and musty smelling. A few candles threw odd shadows on the walls, and by their glowing light, Serge saw he was now in a small room strewn with boxes. In one corner sat a small table ringed with some chairs. There sat several more soldiers, though one seat was vacant. Its former occupant stood at the door, letting them in.

“Sorry sir. Thought it was one of those damned kids again, causing trouble.” He paused, seeing Serge “Who’s this? Don’t tell me this is that outlaw.”

The officer laughed.

“Him? No, he’s no prince. But he’s a collaborator with him.”

The lieutenant squinted at Serge, examining him more closely.

“If you say so, sir.” In a tone that betrayed his disbelief, “Oh, and you have a visitor.”

“I’ll see him later. I’ve got to take my report to the governor.”

The lieutenant shook his head.

“Actually, that’s what he’s here about. Wouldn’t tell me his name, but by his dress…he’s from the secret service. The Black Wind I think.”

The captain frowned.

“The Black Wind? What are they doing here?”

The lieutenant opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted.

A door to another room opened with a slight creak, and in the doorway stood the figure of a man.

“To see how the emperor’s loyal troops are faring, captain. I’ll take this boy off your hand for you.”

It said it with a voice that seemed to come from someone quite young, yet confident.
The man did not move from the shadows of the next room, and his face remained veiled in darkness. This obviously unnerved the officer. And it was surely against regulations to hand over a prisoner so informally, but no one wanted to argue the matter with an officer of the secret service, whose very name was spoken with a sinister connotation.

“Oh, very well.” he huffed, not the least bit pleased.

Serge took the cue and walked to the figure that still stood motionless and part hidden in the doorway, then stopped several meters short of the door, not knowing wether to proceed or not.

“Come on in, don’t be frightened.” The man said with a voice that showed far more friendliness than the officer had shown him. Serge had trouble believing the voice belonged to someone from the dreaded Black Wind.

Nevertheless, his heart quickened its pace as the man led him into the next room and closed the door softly.

This room was even smaller than the other had been. It was indeed no more than four stone walls and a roof, with a single table at the center upon which flickered a single candle that dimly illuminated the room. At this table sat only two chairs.

“Sit down.” the man commanded.

Serge obeyed without question, and threw himself on the small wooden chair.
In contrast the man before him did not sit, but remained standing, examining Serge.
In return Serge also examined him.

He had now stepped into the candlelight and Serge could see that he was indeed young, no more than a few years older than Serge himself. Contrary to what Serge had expected from an officer of the secret service, the man had a pleasant face and, while he didn’t smile, he was not openly aggressive either…merely stern. Unlike most Porre soldiers, he wore no hat on his head, and his short golden hair sat combed neatly to one side. As with the other soldiers his uniform was blue, but in contrast over this he wore a black coat with silver trimming. At his hip sat both a small musket and an elaborate sabre.

He placed both hands on the table and stared down at Serge.

“So, what have you to say for yourself. The Captain out there seems to think you are a collaborator with the enemies of Porre.”

Serge was slow to answer. He was unsure as what to say. The man frowned sensing his discomfort.

“Maybe we started off wrong.” He stood up again and began pacing around the room, still watching Serge intently.

“My name is Norris. I am the Captain of the Porre secret service, the Black Wind. I have come here to El Nido from the mainland on an errand of great importance to the empire. You see, a dangerous traitor recently arrived here from the mainland. But, from the way it sounds, you may have already met him. However, first things first…what is your name?”

“Serge” Serge replied, seeing no reason not to the tell the man his name.

“Very well, Serge. Will you tell me what you know of this?”

Serge thought for a moment. Now he no longer had any misgivings about betraying Crono, not after what he’d done to Serge. Crono would deserve whatever he got.

“Yes” Serge said, nodding emphatically.

“Good.” Norris replied, finally smiling a little for the first time “Now, unlike those fools out there” he pointed to the door, “I can see that you are no traitor, at least not willingly.”

Norris paused, letting Serge think for a second.

“So please,” he continued, “answer my questions as a loyal citizen of Porre.”

Norris pulled up the other chair and sat down across from Serge.

“First off, I want to know precisely what happened.”
Serge related, in brief, of his first encounter with Crono. When he had finished, Norris frowned.

“He told you he came to you for help? Do you know why?”

Serge shook his head “He never had the chance to tell me”

Norris sighed, disappointed.

“Strange…then, he met you again, this morning?”

“Yes. We talked for a short while. He called himself the prince of Guardia, or something like that.”

Serge paused, wondering what Norris would say to that.

But Norris simply nodded.

“Yes, okay. Go on.” This was obviously not news to him.
Serge recounted the events that preceded his arrest.
Norris sat silent in thought for a time. Finally he spoke again.

“So, Serge, you lied to the captain? Why?”
Serge sighed. This was the moment he had dreaded from the time he had left the village.

“I…don’t know. Crono didn’t seem, well, evil for one thing. And…it seemed the right thing.”
There. He had said it. His heart pounded with apprehension as he awaited a response.
But, to his surprise, Norris was understanding.

“You’re not the first to the wrong thing by following your feelings. You have to watch that. They can deceive you.”

That he had learned well, Serge thought bitterly.

“But, if what you say of this Crono is true, then I doubt that even telling the truth to the captain would have made much of a difference, except, perhaps, to get you killed. That’s not what really bothers me. What I wonder is this: what is so special about you in particular that the prince of Guardia would seek you out. You have no idea?”

“None” Serge said emphatically.

But then he remembered something he had tried to forget.
What had Crono mentioned to him, on their first meeting in his room? About his dreams…some type of key to his past? It still made no sense to Serge. And what had he called him…a chrono trigger?

Norris sighed. “All right. If that’s it then, by the authority of Porre I absolve you of any fault or crime. You are free to go.”

But now Serge had stopped listening. His mind had wandered back to the evening before.

Norris frowned. “Serge?”

Serge looked up, Norris’ voice calling him out of his thoughts.

“Oh, its probably nothing. He was just trying to confuse me, I think.”

“But…” Norris encouraged.

“Well, he mentioned something about a forgotten past. And once or twice he mentioned something about a chrono trigger. I have no idea what it means, if anything…”
Norris shook his head.

“Neither have I…”

“Oh, and he mentioned a chrono cross, or something like that.”
Norris looked up, and, for an instant, it seemed that recognition crossed his face. But for only a second, and it faded leaving him frowning.

“What did you say?”

“Chrono cross”

Norris closed his eyes, as if trying to remember something just out of reach. But he shook his head.

“No, its nothing. Deja Vu…well Serge, you can go now. And I must ask you to contact me here immediately if you ever see this Crono again.”

Serge nodded and stood. Norris remained seated, and Serge heard him mutter under his breath. “Curse that captain. If only he hadn’t gone alone…”

Serge stepped to leave, then turned to Norris one last time.

“Thanks…”

Norris looked up at him and smiled. “I serve the people of Porre, and that includes you. You were innocent, a victim of circumstance. I did my duty, and you did yours, no thanks is needed.”

Serge shook his head.

“No, I’m really glad you understand”

Norris was about to respond once again, but Serge never heard what he was about to say.

From the other room a mighty crash was heard, and the sound of splintering wood. Norris leaped up, throwing his chair to the ground with a dull clatter. He heard the soldiers scream in terror from the next room. All of a sudden a darkness gripped Serge, and it seemed as if all light began to fade…

“Stay back!” he whispered to Serge, and Serge’s eyes snapped open. He didn’t remember having shut them.

Norris reached for the door and threw it open.

From the darkness of the next room one of the soldier stumbled and fell into Norris’ arms. His face was pale and a wild fear was in his eyes. He collapsed to the ground. And now Norris as well began to pale, for in the next room stood such a thing as Serge had never seen before, not even in his darkest dreams. Dark and terrible it stood, and the darkness flowed from it. Norris, somehow, had managed to retain his courage. He levelled his weapon and fired. But a bolt of darkness struck him, and the shot went wild. Norris flew to the far side of the room and lay still. And now Serge was alone before this demon. But from some inner part of his heart he did not know existed a wild courage crept forth. Beside him lay Norris, dead or unconscious, and at his side sat his sabre. Serge leaped for it, and his hand closed on the cold leather as the dark being entered the small room. As it came for Serge he swung out the steel blade and swung for the thing. But, for all his valour, it availed Serge not. For the being carried a weapon of his own, a scythe of monstrous size, and the metal blade of Norris’ sword broke asunder as it struck it. Serge’s arms ached with the jarring force of the impact. His heart beat madly, and he was sure his end was upon him.

Yet the figure paused. The darkness yielded somewhat, and Serge could now see it clearly. It was a man, or was, once. He was massive, and towered over Serge, and his long dark cape billowed in some mysterious and darkly cold wind. Likewise his hair, soft purple in hue, waved out behind him. In his gloved hands he held his weapon in an iron grip that Serge was sure could just as easily have crushed his neck. But it was the face that frightened him most, for though it was not that of a monster, neither was it wholly human. The features were sharp and pointed, exaggerated even more so by the dark shadows that still danced about the room. His pointed ears stuck back long from his head where his hair was pulled tightly back. And the eyes Serge could not meet for they burned red with a demon fire. Yet, though darkness was graven on the features, his countenance was not one of rage, nor anger. And he smiled, his sharp teeth glimmering white in the dim light that remained.

“You’re Serge, aren’t you?” the man asked.

The voice chilled Serge’s soul. In it’s harsh tones echoed both cruelty and hate, though neither directed towards Serge. They seemed to be, as with his un-human features, merely a part of him.

“Yes…” Serge said, fear making him reply. Again the man smiled.

“All right then. Let’s go, we’re expected.” Serge had had enough. Neither his heart nor his mind could fathom what had transpired in the past day. And now, standing before a man that seemed akin to the grim reaper of myth, they despaired. His eyes swam, and Serge fell heavily to the ground drifting into unconsciousness.

Okay, bad place to stop, I know. It actually isn’t the end of chapter 3, but it seems that there is a limit to the amount of characters per post, so I had to cut off the rest. I’ll post the rest in a little bit.

Ah, the intervention of everyone’s favorite around here :slight_smile: Love that part.

Do you want the title changed in the archives too, then? Will be done in a flash :slight_smile:

And the plot thickens like bad oatmeal. :smiley:

Okay, for those who are reading it, here is the rest of chapter 3:

When Serge finally awoke, he saw he was no longer in the building he had been in. He could not see well, for his eyes were still clouded. Yet he knew he was outside somewhere, as a chill wind swept through his clothes. He shivered in the cold, kneeling on the icy ground. Unable to see well yet in the darkness around him he groped about. At his feet was long grass, but no more could he discover. Soon however his vision cleared. It was indeed still dark out, and the moon shone like a leaf of silver in the starry sky. Its gleaming rays of soft light illuminated Serge’s surroundings with an eerie vagueness, sending monstrous shadows everywhere.

He could see he was in the midst of a clearing, round which the palm trees sat swaying in a soft nighttime breeze. He squinted, attempting to see the area clearer. In the far distance the shadowed form of a fortress sat silhouetted in the moonlight. Fort Dragonia? It was the only castle in the El Nido islands, an old ruin seldom visited. It was fabled to have been built by dragons, but that was just myth…

Yes, that’s were he was. Strange as it was, for the Fort was many miles east from Termina. But there was no mistaking it, even though it was no more than a shadow in the darkness.

Serge looked about him. He did not know how he had arrived at this place, however. There was no sign of any living creature anywhere.

He rose, his limbs aching with pain. The past day had been far more trying than he had been used to.

“Well…” he said to himself, “…what do you do now Serge?”

“Follow me”

Serge started, his heart nearly missing a beat as a voice spoke to him from behind. He turned, a sudden rising wind whipping past his face. And it was as he had feared. Indeed, he had not lost the demon that had stormed the guardhouse. He stood once more before Serge, though now without shadow. Yet his face seemed all the more frightening in the pale light of the moon. His teeth glistened as he opened his mouth to speak.

“Sorry about that, but you fainted on me. I guess you aren’t as brave as I thought…”

Serge felt slightly angered by this, especially due to the fact that it was probably true. He had fainted…

“…I carried you out of Termina a ways so those damned soldiers couldn’t find us. Not that they worry me of course, just don’t want to have to kill any of them.”

The man folded his arms across his chest. His eyes rested on Serge intently.

“You want to know who I am?” the man asked sharply.
Serge scowled.

“Yeah, that, and a lot more. Like why in the world you’re doing this to me? I mean, why me? Can’t you just leave me be in peace?”

The man frowned sharply.

“You seem to have a slight grievance. You should be thankful that I helped you out back there!”

Serge nearly choked.

“I was fine! They let me go…unlike now…and what do you care anyway?”
He was beginning to suspect this man was somehow connected to Crono. And, though he resented that, the words of Norris returned to him. The question of why him…

“I care, because I owe you. That’s all.”
Serge was starting to be less frightened by the man now. If nothing else, he did not seem to be acting maliciously. Still, his only desire now was to return home, to Leena.

“Well, whatever I did, you can forget it…” he turned his back to the man, “…I’m going home now.”

But before Serge could go far he felt an iron grip close tight on his arm.

“Go home? To what? Don’t you want your questions answered?”

Serge wrestled out on the grip and turned, backing away.

“I did once, but now…I frankly don’t care!” he yelled vehemently.

The man’s eyes glinted darkly, and Serge could tell he had angered him. His mouth moved, but he spoke no words. The man stared at Serge, and fear entered Serge’s heart once again. Perhaps he had been too hasty…

“You will!” the man growled. And he reached forth a hand. Dark light lanced forth and struck Serge in the legs. The pain buckled his knees and he fell forward onto the grass ground. He looked up to see another arc strike out towards him. He gritted his teeth in agony as the magic struck his face. It felt as if he had been both scorched with fire and frozen with ice. But only for an instant, and he found his mouth biting the dirt, grass scratching his face. He struggled to stand, his legs burning with a strange cold that seemed to drain their very energy. But he got no further than his knees when he was once again struck. Tears welled up in his eyes as he lay on his back and struggled against the pain. Yet despite it he managed to painfully rise. He could see wispy clouds of smoke rising from his body, hazy in the silver light of the moon.

The man stood before him, a figure a fear once again…but now also a symbol of hate to Serge. A fury kindled in his heart. The man laughed, mocking him.

“Pathetic. I had really thought you were more courageous than this!”

Now the smouldering wrath welled up in Serge’s heart, and grew to a fury. In some unknown recesses of his mind, a locked door shattered. And something that had remained hidden from beyond the bounds of time was released. In his anger he thought not about what he did, for it came to him as a flash of remembrance of something long forgotten. He stretched his hand toward his foe. A sphere of pure white light welled up in Serge’s outstretched hand. Yet, for some strange reason it neither frightened nor shocked him. The light grew steadily for a heartbeat then, faster than thought, it flashed forth and struck the dark man. Serge heard him grunt and saw him fall backwards. And now Serge acted on a sudden instinct that overwhelmed him. Though he could not fathom why, he knew what he was doing, as plainly as he knew how to walk. He jumped for his prostrate foe who now, as Serge had been attempting moments earlier, was struggling to stand. But as he got to his knees Serge landed a vicious kick to his face that sent the man’s massive body sprawling backwards to the ground. And Serge was upon him in a heartbeat. Serge had no weapon but in one sharp glace he saw that his opponent carried a small sickle at his hip. The man reached for it, but Serge was faster.
Before the man could reach it, Serge had drawn its curved blade from its sheath and gripped it tightly in his hand. He pressed the gleaming blade to the man’s neck, Serge’s eyes daring him to move.

But the man did not move. He lay frozen for a moment.

Then, to Serge’s amazement, he smiled.

“Well done, Serge!” he coughed as he spoke, obviously still suffering from the blow Serge had delivered him. Blood trickled from a gash in his mouth where he had been struck.

“And now, let me stand. I won’t hurt you or try to stop you any more.”

Serge frowned, but his heart seemed to instinctively trusted the words, though his mind proclaimed them false. Divided, he played on the side of caution.

“Yeah, right, and then you hit me in the back!”

He scowled. The man attempted to shake his head, but thought the better of it with the sickle blade still pressing to his throat.

“Enough of this Serge!” the man now yelled loudly. The voice echoed menacingly in the still night. But from somewhere Serge had found a hidden courage, and even that seeming hell spawned voice did not daunt him. He shook his head.

“I simply wish to return home…” Serge said between his teeth, angered at the man’s sudden outburst.

The man sighed.

“So be it…”

In one swift movement of his arm, almost faster than Serge could see, the man grabbed the arm in which Serge held the sickle. Serge twisted but could not shake the iron grip of that hand. The man stood again, pulling Serge up with him. Serge attempted to strike at the man with his free hand, but the man caught it before it hit. The man sighed.

“You young fool. I’m not your enemy. I was trying to help you!”

Serge struggled in the grip, gritting his teeth in effort and anger.

“By killing me? Yeah, thanks a lot there!”
With almost superhuman strength the man flung Serge to the ground in from of him.
Serge rose in a flash, the sickle still gleaming in his hand. In response, however, the man backed off a pace. Serge paused, not having expected that. The man shook his head and wiped the blood from his mouth.

“Do you not see? You are no mere fisher boy from some small village!”

“Of course I am! What else would I be?” Serge bit back. He was tired of mysterious people telling him that he was something he knew was not.

The man laughed. “And I suppose it is every village fisherman that can use magic, right?”

Serge paused for a second, bewildered. He had forgotten about that. What had he done? He frowned at the man, reading his eyes.

“You wanted me to do that?”

The man nodded ever so slightly and smiled.

“Of course. To prove to you that you’re something more than what you think, so that you might believe me. I did nothing there but spur you on. That light, that magic, was your doing. It is a skill you once possessed, but long ago forgot…”

Could this man be speaking the truth? Again someone was telling him that he had forgotten something. But now the answers were near. He just had to ask the questions. Perhaps he was wrong in fighting his heart…

He had to give it a chance. It was no longer just the words of a stranger and dreams that haunted him. What he had seen himself do…he had no explanation for it. He nodded to the man, and dropped the sickle to the ground, hoping he was doing the right thing. An excitement welled up in his heart, now unbound from its fetters. It knew more than he did, perhaps…

“All right…I just want to know, first off, does this have anything to do with that Crono guy?”

The man nodded.

“Okay, I thought so. Now, what I really want to know…what is it with me? I mean, I’m really confused…how did I do that, and…”

But the man cut him off raising a hand.

“Crono wanted to tell you himself, but…I think it is better if I tell you here. You have a right to know.” The man took a breath. The stars gleamed overhead, and in the quiet of the night the man’s voice spoke clear.

“All right Serge. I’ll tell you why I owe you…”

Kick ASS! :smiley: