Twilight of Fate

I was wondering if it were possible to have a few opinions on my work of fanfiction I have been writing which, as the name of the thread shows, is called Twilight of Fate. I attempted this a few months ago, but I believe I made the mistake of actually posting what I had written in the post itself, half chapter at a time. Perhaps not the best way to go about such a thing. Instead I will now attempt to simply provide a link to the most revised and updated version that exists, over on Not to say that it is anywhere near to completion, but I am continually revising it, and so the most revised of the versions may be found there. Not that some parts of it cannot be found elsewhere (the first four chapters on the rpgc fanfics section, for example, or on the chrono trigger Chronicles site [where I go by the name Guardian of Ages]), but they do not contain more recent revisions.
The story itself, named Twilight of Fate, is a Chrono Trigger story, though it crosses into Chrono Cross as well. This is apparent in the main character being Serge, and the setting beginning in El Nido. But after the first few chapters, this will change to the Zenan mainland, specifically Guardia. But that all will play itself out in the story. A comment I wished to make regarding it is that the style and dialogue, most especially in later chapters, may not be in seeming accordance with what is expected of Chrono Trigger. What I mean by this is that, with the exception of Serge, and the rare shift of personallity in Schala, the speech is of slightly an archaic style (note Crono in the first chapter). I defend this in the supposition that many of the characters were or are royalty. In truth, however, it is simply that which comes most naturally to me; take it, perhaps, as a faint liking of an old fantasy style coming through. For this is fully a fantasy tale; the anachronistic elements are either removed or downplayed. Guardia, for example, is as a kingdom would be in the 12th century; no clocks, or anything of that nature. So too are the science fiction elements, with the time travel that occured before being viewed as a largely mystical event.
But again, this should be evident; maybe not in the beginning few chapters (the origins of which are well over a year old), but as it progresses it becomes more so. I beg you not to judge it too harshly on this choice of style. I do not think the story suffers too greatly for it. And lastly, this will be a very long story. Currently, I believe, puts the word count at 65,000 or so (I can’t rightly remember). But the word count at home is at 145,000, meaning there is much written that has yet to be posted (a great deal of which is better than most anything that has been posted so far). And beyond this there is more to be written as well. I estimate at least 160,000 words, if not more.
I thank any who take the time to read it, knowing that it would take a great deal of time. Your comments would be much appreciated.
The link to the story is here .

Finally this post is also to inform Weilla that I am still writing it, as I promised I would when she posted the first four chapters as an incomplete fanfic. I am a little hesitant, however, to submit much more knowing that there is a great deal of revision to do, even to the first few chapters; that said I am not sure that submitting would be a wise idea, if it will need to be resubmitted before the end.

Great, I was getting worried that this would slip out of existence. I’m very much looking forwards to seeing the continuation, but the most important thing is that you are sure that it’s done and ready when you submit the stuff, so that you won’t have to regret anything later. Take the time you need, we’ll be waiting.

Alright…obviously just posting a link to was NOT the right way to go about it. Well, I suppose plan B must then revert to the old plan A again. I guess I’ll simply post it here, lengthy as it might be. Please read it, if you like Chrono Trigger/Cross; this isn’t a quick project that will fade away before I finish it. I am very nearly done already, within all of 30 or so pages (and, on a 250 page project, that is nothing), so there is no chance that it will remain incomplete. So I would VERY much appreciate comments.
Hmmm…I was about to add a title picture for the story I had drawn as an attachment, but forgot; I guess I can’t do that while editing the post. I’ll do that next time, maybe.
Well, here goes…


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 south, 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 had 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fs 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 aimlessly at the sea. He smiled at the world around him, the peace that dusk brought. And 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 upon the horizon. It was home, for him. He turned from the bow of the boat and grabbed the tiller in the rear. The small craft was nearly full with a day’s catch of fish. Even so 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, allowing 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 intent in staring out to sea that he had failed to realize he was nearly ashore. A small fishing village lay on the coast a hundred feet ahead. Upon a pier a young girl stood waving. It seemed that she had been waiting for him. Returning the wave, he expertly guided the boat to the moorings. 

“Did you have a good day fishing?” the girl asked merrily as the boat glided up.

The boy nodded. The fishing had been very good, better than most days. He leaped out of the boat onto the solid wood of the pier, causing the craft to rock backwards. He quickly grabbed a rope from inside the boat and tied it to a post of the pier to prevent the craft from returning to sea.

The boy, whose name was Serge, was but a few short weeks short of 18 and so, by the standards of his village, was very nearly considered a man. Of average height in his village of Arni, he was around 5 seven, but had never measured to know for sure. He also looked younger than he truly was, his boyish face taking a full year or two off his age. From his head deep blue hair fell down into his eyes, whose hue even as his hair seemed to echo that of the sea itself. But hair was not naturally blue certainly but dyed, not an uncommon thing in Arni. The face below the hair was gentle seeming, though his two blue eyes were constantly alert. And, though he for the most part disliked speaking at much length, he was as friendly as anybody to those that knew him well. 

Much like all the other youths of the village, for that matter. And even so he was dressed in the customary manner for a young fisherman. Large sea boots stained through long days of use, long embroidered blue pants that fell down to the tops of his shins, and a dark shirt with short cut sleeves. Slightly out of custom he wore over his chest he wore a light vest of mail rings that served little purpose in his daily life other than appearance sake. But the remainder of his clothing was all very much common: a large black leather belt fastened with a silver clasp, worn leather gloves, and a faded red cloth wrapped tightly around his head that kept his hair for the most part from his eyes.

The girl now standing on the pier before him was similarly dressed in what was customary. A long simple blue dress, over which she wore elaborately embroidered overclothes in shades of maroon and black. Long brown hair fell back from a quiet, gentle face, with kind eyes.

“Hi Leena,” Serge greeted her with a smile. “Been waiting long?”

“No, I just wandered out here a little while back. I was watching some of the neighbour’s kids, you know.”

That was Leena; she was always helping in the village in some way. Whether doing odd errands, watching children, or any other thing, she did whatever she could to ease the life of the other people of the village. 

“I see fishing was pretty good today,” she noted, kneeling and taking a glance into the boat that rocked gently in the evening waves. 

He nodded, stealing a short look at his boat, making doubly sure there was no chance of it coming loose in the night should there be a storm. 

“Really good,” he said absently, “The sea was perfect...”

They strolled off the pier and continued down the sandy beachfront that ran between the village and the ocean. He spent most days so, speaking with Leena after a day of fishing. She was  certainly his most dear friend, and at times, he thought, perhaps more than even a friend. Moreover, she was ever willing to listen to whatever he might say, which was always a joy to him. This especially during the past few months, ever since a disquieting experience he had had, talking to Leena on the beach in just such a way. 

He had been with her, albeit in the mid day and farther down the island, talking. Then, for no reason he could remember, he had fallen unconscious. He could recall little of those few minutes, yet he seemed to remember that he had heard a voice or some sort, or someone calling his name, even as he had passed out. Leena after told him she hadn’t heard a sound but the sea. 

But his memory in this matter was not something to be trusted. When he had awoken he had been very uncertain of everything. He could only remembered Leena kneeling over him, trying to revive him. Then, he couldn’t recall for what reason, he had stood up and asked Leena a question. A question about Fate, and a some strange 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 and too much time at sea. But Serge was not fully convinced as she seemed to be. He had tried to assure himself that Leena was in all likelihood correct, and had succeeded for the most part, but still his heart had misgivings.

The greater part of him went with the reason of his mind that told him, as Leena did, to ignore what had happened. But somewhere in his heart a whisper seemed to hint otherwise. He had often voiced this to Leena on their evening walks, but, as compassionate as she was, she had no answers. 

He looked at Leena, walking beside him on the sand. Perhaps had the incident remained just as a single thing, he would have forgotten about in these months. But it had not ended.

To his grave disquiet the event seemed to repeat itself each and every night while he slept. His unconscious mind was haunted by mysterious images he could never fully remember when he awoke. He stared out at the sun, watching it set in its customary golden glory.

“I had another dream last night...” he muttered in a near whisper.

Leena sighed, having known by his face from the moment he had come ashore that it was so.

“Forget about them, Serge,” she replied, stopping and turning to face him. “You can never remember them anyway. I know you say that you think they mean something, but really; how can you know that? They’re just dreams.”

Serge halted also and, turning his face from the sun, looked at Leena.

“Maybe. I know that Leena. I tell myself that every day. And I keep thinking that maybe each night will be better, but it never is. So, maybe there’s something more to it. Maybe not, but I just don’t know. And that’s the problem; what if I’m wrong? What if it really means something important that I am supposed to see?”

Leena nodded compassionately.

“I understand that. But,” she looked from him to the sun, which was now touching the sea, “What are we doing talking about this now? Whatever it is, it’s probably not about today. Let’s just forget about it for a while and enjoy this evening. If you 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 somewhat of a peace to think in those terms. Whatever the future brought he would face it then, but live his life now.

“You’re right Leena,” he said, hoping that she was, “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 upon his village by the time Serge made his way home. A cool sea breeze blew in from the ocean, and the first stars were now beginning to show. It was nights such as these that made life worth living, he thought, as he stepped lightly into the village. The calm of darkness had descended on the village like a solemn veil, only 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. Striding at a calm pace he crossed the small courtyard that lay at the middle of the village. Around this space were set most of the buildings of the village, a dozen or so houses built in the traditional style of the El Nido islands: tall, with their bases raised on stilts his height off the ground. The material of which they were made was plain, being constructed of native palm wood and roofed with the leaves. These made for thankful shelter from the hot midday sun, and adequate protection from the monsoon rains that came in torrents once or twice a year. 

His mother, a woman like most of the others that lived in the village, stood at the door of his house and greeted him merrily as he strode 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 with his mood.

“What is it Serge?” she asked, eyeing him carefully, “You look worried again. 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 certainly unconvinced. The two strode indoors, leaving the door open to let in the fresh night air, as everyone in Arni customarily did. Being a small village, everyone in Arni knew and trusted everyone else. Doors and locks were not usually necessary, except perhaps to keep out wild animals, but these seldom entered the village. And 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 sharp 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 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 soon begun to unnerve him. Only vague images flitted into his mind from time to time. The dreams themselves never failed to evaporate from memory on the moment of awakening, as if some other power was trying to keep them from him. A strange, and utterly ridiculous thought.

He dropped down on his bed, removing his sea worn boots. It was odd, but he was certain the dreams were something more, something more important than simple stray thoughts. A warning? He contemplated this for a moment, but decided for some reason that that at least was not the case. No, they were no warning, but something else of importance to him...

Serge spun, nearly falling off his bed. He had heard a noise at his window. A dull crash, as if someone had struck wood. 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, aggravated by his unfounded fear. In all reason, there was nothing of any danger to him, not in Arni. It was late evening after a long day, and now his disquieted mind was playing tricks on him. In all likelihood it had been nothing more than a branch blown awry in the wind...

“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, whispered in unsure question. 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 sweeping through his mind. But before he could place any meaning or importance upon them, they melted away. It was then that his momentary confusion was replaced by fear. Now he could 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 and darkness met his gaze. He cursed himself for his mind, so easily fooled by the noises of the night as a little child. Perhaps he had been dwelling too much on his dreams. 

He shrugged with a sigh, unsure as what to think, and more than a little unsettled. He turned from the window and strode to his mirror. Absently undoing his bandana, he tossed it onto the dresser, letting his long 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 in his peace, so that he could wake without questions about what he knew not. What had he done to be cursed with this torment? Nothing. That he knew full well. And 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. It did not say a word, but simply kneeled there, as if waiting for Serge to do or say something. For an eternity they both stood motionless. Serge did not move, uncertain as to what he should make of this dark intruder. Likewise the figure crouched frozen, with such alert stillness that Serge could feel himself being studied keenly from beneath the shadowy hood. But as the seconds passed, and nothing happened for the worse, his fear transformed into curiosity.

He took a small step forward, unsure about what he should do. His mind told him to run, that no good ever came from such mysteries, but some part of him desired to know who, perhaps what, this visitor was. His reason still admonishing him to run, he broke the dead silence that lay between them.

“Who are you? My window isn’t a door that you can just...” 

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, for what it was worth, see it better. Whatever it was, it wasn’t exceptionally tall; it was no more than his own height at the most. It was robed in a dark blue cloak that shimmered slightly in the dim 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. A silvered hilt gleamed as it shifted about, glancing from side to side, still not affording Serge a glance at the features that lay concealed. But now it spoke. Not evil to Serge’s ears, but with a calm voice, yet deep and sure.

“Yes, I know well who you are, Serge. Verily, I know you perhaps better than you know yourself, you who was once the new 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 shortly.

“I see that you do not remember what that means.” 

The figure spoke gently, almost  in a friendly manner, though with disappointment clear in its tone. Serge found himself angrily wondering at what it was that he didn’t remember about that title.
“Have I met you before. 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, never. But I know much about you, and of what you did.”

Serge frowned, confused.

What had he ever done to merit attention? Surely this stranger wasn’t interested in his fishing.

“You do not understand,” the figure acknowledged. “Do not worry yourself, it may come back to you, in time.” 

It paused for a moment. If Serge had seen its featured, he would surely have seen a light of a sudden thought spring up in its eyes. 

“Maybe it already has?” it continued. “Perhaps you simply cannot understand it for what it is...”

Serge’s mind spun at this. Could it be possible that this mysterious visitor was referring to his dreams? No, that was impossible. He attempted to banish the thought, but the figure seemed discern his very thoughts as he had them.

“You are having dreams, then? And you cannot remember them? She said it might be so.”

Serge didn’t answer, but the stranger seemed to read the truth in his eyes.

“She was right then. It is returning to you. But you do not know it yet, and you fear it. Yes, the unknown is most always frightening, even to the boldest of men.”

And confusing, Serge added bitterly in his mind. What was this phantom talking about? These cryptic hints and suggestions of some mystery were beginning to bother Serge. But the figure continued, heedless of 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. And his mood was hardly for riddles.

“My past? I really don’t understand,” Serge replied, more confused now than ever, and with a slight anger coming over him as well. The figure laughed.

“Of course not. But you must be wondering who I am, to so boldly come to you like this...”

The figure lifted his hands and threw back his hood. For a second Serge was prepared for the something terrible. But his fears were not realized. The figure was indeed human, and no monster or mystic. Serge could but guess, but it seemed that he was thirty some years old. His features were sharp and somewhat scarred, and his eyes were keen as a hawk. From his head fell long hair, remarkably and almost unnaturally red, wrapped around by a tattered white band that kept his hair from his eyes. There seemed to be an air of adventure and valour about him. And it seemed his face showed one who had seen much of the world, but had not nearly yet 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 but two chapters of one tale, and yet have never met. This will mean nothing to you as of yet, but I am called Crono, the was on a time the first Chrono Trigger.

He was right, thought Serge bitterly. It meant nothing to him, except for those two words that he had heard before: chrono trigger.

“Chrono Trigger?” questioned Serge, yearning to know the reason as to why those word seemed to mean so much. The man who called himself Crono nodded, with a reminiscing smile.

“We have both played a part in forging the history of this world that we know, challenged fate, and in the end persevered. But that all is a tale for a different time, and I know only one person who can tell it to you fully and as you should hear it.”

This didn’t answer his question, much to Serge’s vexation. But the man continued undaunted. 

“But that is not why I’ve come. To come in by windows is not the habit of skalds and tale tellers. If you must know, I’ve come to you seeking your help...”

“Me? Why?” Serge asked, then a new question dawned upon him. “How could I help you?” Serge demanded, his impatience growing. 

But the man shook his head, casting out all chance of answers.

“I think this is well nigh enough for our first meeting. But mark this, it won’t be our last. I’ll meet with you again. Farewell till then, Serge Chrono Trigger, defender of time and the world.”

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.

Perhaps I should have posted the second chapter as well; it is just as long, but I think would (barely) fit in the post character limit. However, I think I will leave it here for the moment, and see if there any replies before I post any more. So if you will, please read this and reply; this whole story, two hundred some pages already, has been exceedingly difficult to write, and taken me the better part of a year and a half so far.

cracks whip Offer up your comments, dudes! Come on! :wink:

I’m looking forwards to reading more D, it’s as good as I remember it.

Thanks, Weiila, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. I don’t think anybody’s really reading it at all. I suppose it’s because I’m pretty much new around here: I’ve only got all of 7 posts, and all pertaining to this story. I’d post on other topics, but it’s kind of daunting for me, with 7 posts, to reply to someone with several thousand. And it’s also kind of difficult to just suddenly, out of the blue, reply to a conversation that’s been going on for a long time already. Though I do look at some of the topics occasionally. Nice little poem on the poetry thread, by the way; I couldn’t help but notice that, for the most part, it was 8 syllable long rhyming couplets… that’s a style I can’t get out of my head. Whenever I’ve tried to write poetry, it always reverts to octosyllabic rhyming couplets. I’d guess it’d be because I love Tolkien’s ‘Lay of Leithian’, which is written in that style, more than any other piece of poetry and because one of my favorite songs is Loreena McKennit’s song version of Tennyson’s ‘Lady of Shallot’…also with lines 8 syllables long, and containing rhyming couplets.
Well, I guess I’ll just have to be patient with my story here. I’m slowly finishing it, chapter by chapter; right now I’ve edited it up to 11, and written most everything. Writing is more difficult than I ever thought it would be. I will be very glad once I finally finish this story; the first, last, and therefore only piece of fanfiction I think I’ll write. After this I’m going to try to do some writing of my own.

Post count shouldn’t have anything to do with it… but people tend to be a bit lazy about commenting here. I used to comment on everything regularly but I just don’t have the energy anymore, myself. :confused:
Keep posting it bit by bit and people will probably notice it, alright?

As a die-hard Chrono fanboy, I am finding this quite interesting. You have provoked my curiosity, Mr. Krispin. Let’s see what you can do with this. :mwahaha:

Ah, thank you so much for replying. Though I’ve gotten to the point in writing this where I will finish it no matter what, sometime’s it’s really hard to write without knowing that people look at it. That is, after all, the whole purpose in writing; putting down one’s thoughts and ideas so that others might see them. Anyway, now that I have a reply, I will post another chapter. I know this seems a lot like a Chrono Cross story, and I even put it under the Chrono Cross section at… but I think that it’s actually closer to CT in a sense. It begins in El Nido, but most of it takes place on the Zenan mainland. It may be told through the eyes of Serge, but nearly all the other characters that come up are from CT; even “Kid” is not really as she was in Cross, but is more like a princess (that all I explain eventually.). You might notice quite a bit of explanation occuring in the early chapters; the purpose of this is twofold. First so that Serge may know what has happened before, but in truth this is only a guise for the second: so that anyone may read this story without knowing the Chrono games beforehand.
Well, here’s the second chapter. Oh, but first the Title picture that I had promised before. Actually, I just got rid of it on realising that its size would make reading the post decidedly difficult. If you really want to see it, you can follow the link.

[SIZE=4]Chapter 2: When Past and Present Collide[/SIZE]

A cat stared at him. Not merely 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 stone hall perhaps? 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, in some way…
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. But 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 at last 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? Could it mean anything at all? He hoped that Leena was right, that his dreams were just that. But no, that could not be. Not after last night. He thought back to the previous evening. Now it seemed like to a dream also. That strange man that had visited him. What had he called himself? Something foreign he could not now remember. In memory it seemed so vague. Had he perhaps imagined it all? Or, more likely, 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 manifestation of his overtired mind. He walked to the window where he had imagined the events occur the previous night. 

Outside the lush palm trees waved gently in the warm tropical breeze. He looked up for the horizon and saw that the sun was already high in the sky. Had he really slept in that late? He guessed the time to be past midday. If that was so, perhaps he wouldn’t go out fishing today. Yesterday’s catch had been good enough that he could afford to forego one day. Then he could spend the day with Leena, if she wasn’t busy either. She’d like that. So would he. 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 what they were. Now they disturbed him because he could. He put his elbows on the window and sighed. His simple life was going from bad to very much worse. First phantom dreams had haunted him, and now nightmares and hallucinations tormented him. He hoped Leena would be understanding when he told her. If she wasn’t, he knew that nobody would be. He squinted against the glare of the sun, looking out to sea. A few small village boats were out. And, if his eyes weren’t mistaken, he could see Leena standing on the beach near 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, assuring himself that he looked no worse than he had the day before. He turned back to the window. A strange thought crossed his mind. He had half expected to see his phantom sitting there, as he had imagined or dreamt the night before. But only the distant sea and beach, wreathed in palm trees like picture frames, greeted his eyes. All the more assurance that his visitor had been but a dream. 

He stared for a moment, contemplating whether or not to bother eating before he went to see Leena. He wasn’t particularly hungry he concluded, and he had overslept enough as it was. And at the moment he was more eager to speak to Leena than to eat. 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 leap 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 lightly through the trees to the beach. The beach was near and he had reached it in a but a moment.

Leena was facing towards the piers and away from Serge as he approached her.

“Hey Leena ” he called out loudly, causing her to jump in alarm.

But she knew his voice well enough and, with a sigh, she turned, mock anger on her face.

“Don’t do that to me, Serge ” she said, putting her hands on her hips.

“Sorry,” he answered with a smile. He looked about.

“Watching the neighbour’s kids again?” he noted, noticing a few small children running around in playing at mock battles a ways up the beach.

She nodded.

“Their parents are off to Termina till tomorrow, and they asked me if I could watch them.”

“What we wouldn’t give to be like that again, eh?” he asked of her, seeing the children tearing about, “They don’t worry about much of anything.”

She shrugged.

“Oh, I suppose that being a kid has good things. But I don’t think that I’d want to be quite that age again. Running around the whole day, starting pretend fights with everybody.”

“And real fights are better?” he asked, “Is it better to play a hero, or to actually be the one that runs around killing things and getting hurt?”

“Well, that’s why we can leave those things to other people,” she stated. “Thank goodness that Arni’s peaceful enough that we don’t need to worry ourselves about things like that.”

Well, peaceful enough for most, Serge answered to himself. He ran his hands through his hair, wondering how he should begin to tell Leena about his dream. Leena noticed his disquiet, however, and was quick to guess what was upon his mind.

“You had another dream, didn’t you?” she said upon seeing his expression, “What have I told you about them? If you can’t remember what they are, then it’s best to forget you ever had them.”

“But I did remember this one,” he answered shortly. 

“Oh...” she replied, not having expected such a response. “You actually remembered what you dreamed?”

Serge nodded gravely. Leena read his expression.

“It was that bad?” she wondered, seeing how upset his mind truly was.

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 well from his face that it had bothered him deeply. 

But Serge needed to tell someone, and if not Leena, whom?

He told her of his dream, what he could remember, that was. He didn’t mention his phantom, however. That was something that he did not want to approach yet, unsure as to how even Leena would take such a thing as that. She sighed.

“I don’t know Serge. I can see why it bothered you. Nobody likes to have nightmares like that. But I still think it’s just a dream. Nothing to worry about, especially now that you know what it is.” 

Her tone reassured him. Child, he cursed himself. Of course Leena was right. He had been a fool to account too much to what he had dreamt.

“Thanks Leena. You’re right,” he paused, “again.”

She smiled.

“Of course I’m right, Serge  I’m always right...right?” she said with a smile.

She had put his mind at ease as to his unsettling dream. Yet even now he was not sure what she would say if he told her about the dream he had had of the man in his window. However, he assured himself, Leena was his truest friend. She, if anybody, would understand.

But even as he was about to tell her of it she frowned deeply, as if trying to remember something forgotten.
“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, that’s all,” she said, shaking her head. Suddenly she nodded, remembering what it was.

“Oh yes, that was it. Earlier this morning someone came down to the beach asking for you.”

“For me? Who?” Serge asked. He had no clue who would be asking for him especial.

“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, reddish hair. He said his name was Crono or something odd like that, and that you knew him. I naturally 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 greatly as what Leena was now telling him.

Leena stopped talking in a moment, sensing something gravelly wrong.

“Serge?” she demanded. “Serge, you alright?”

He didn’t know how to answer that. No, he most certainly wasn’t all right. His mind was confused beyond imagination. Suddenly he was unsure as to what was real, and what was not. But even so 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.” 

It was not exactly the truth, but the best he could think of in that moment. But Leena certainly didn’t accept it as truth either.

“Serge, something’s wrong,” she demanded. “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. He placed his hands on her shoulders and looked at her gravely.

“I’ll tell you later Leena, but right now I just have to be by myself for a bit, alright?”

He hoped Leena understood. 

“Yes, okay...” responded Leena. “Are 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 absently 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 turned 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 set on the wall behind him. His face was slightly haggard looking and unshaven, as for 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 most strange fashion. Indeed, it reminded him not a little of the style of the Zenan mainland. He wore long loose long pants that no one in Arni would even contemplate of wearing in such a hot climate. He wore a worn shirt as well, this all being draped over by soft green knee length robes kept from opening fully by a black belt that encircled around his waist. And, just as he remembered from before, from his side hung an elaborate, slightly curved, sword. The man grinned at him.

“I suppose that I continue to startle you, do I not? 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 from the wall.

“But I know that the time has come now for a formal introduction. I already know well enough who you are, so do not trouble yourself with that. As for who I am,” he trailed off, rapping his fingers along the tavern wall, “Well, that is somewhat of a long story, if truth be told, and so I will attempt to make as brief as possible now. Doubtless you’ve heard of Guardia?”

Serge nodded. Everyone had at some time or another. Now a legend of a sort, it had been a peaceful kingdom on the Zenan mainland a few decades earlier. But it had been overrun by the Porre empire around the time Serge was born. Now Guardia was a merely a sweet memory in the pages of history, and Porre controlled a vast empire that stretched from the western El Nido islands to far eastern realms Serge had never even heard of. The man continued.

“Well, you should know that I am the exiled prince of Guardia. Or was, on a time. The king is long since dead and, were Guardia to ever rise again, I would be king. But until that day comes, I continue to hold my title as prince. So, you can well see why I’ve been so furtive. El Nido is under the heel of Porre, and I cannot simply let them know that the heir to the throne of their enemy is here. Anyway, as for my I told you before, I am known as Crono. Not my true full name, but a taken one better than any others I have had. And it’s what my friends have always called me. The rest of my story, and yours too, you will learn in time. For now it must simply be said that...

But Crono broke off in mid sentence and froze, as a deer startled in the forest by an approaching hunter. In one swift movement he had spun about and was against the wall of the tavern.

“Curses,” he murmured. A Porre officer was wandering briskly in the front gate of the village. Serge wondered absently for a moment what a soldier was doing in such a small village. Arni was surely under the empire’s power, but soldiers almost never came here unless there was some great need. However, one glance at Crono’s agitated face answered his question in full.

“I do not have time for this. Get rid of him ” 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, his hand going quickly to his sword.

Sighing with frustration, but wanting least of all to have a battle here in the very center of the village, 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 obvious the truth. He chose instead to give only half of it, and hoped thereby to seem as truthful as possible.
“Yes. Yes I did. A man with a sword and red hair? He was here earlier today, near the beach. He left.”

It did not do as well 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, now that his lie had been uncovered. He contemplated 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. Perhaps it had been but in the imagination of the soldier, but whatever it might have been it gave him reason to begin walking in that direction. Serge stood frozen, feeling dread sweep over him.

But then something happened, the likes of which Serge could never remember having seen before. So swiftly that Serge nearly missed seeing it, Crono had jumped from his hiding place behind the tavern. Before the startled Porre officer could understand what had happened, 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. Crono, however, was too swift. He stretched out a hand towards the officer. A sharp wind swept past seemingly from nowhere and, with a crack that pierced Serge’s ears, a bolt of white lightning lashed from Crono’s hand. The lightning instantly struck the officer full in the chest, throwing him back several meters. He came to a rest on the ground at Serge’s feet. Serge shook his head, bewildered. His ears rung and the flash still burned in his eyes. He could scarcely believe what he had just seen. True war magic? He had heard stories of sorcerers and magicians, but had only half believed them. 

“Serge, are you alright?”

It was Crono, who had now run up beside him. Serge blinked. His eyes were getting better and his ears no longer rung. He nodded.

“I apologize for that, but I couldn’t let him shoot me, as I am sure you understand.”

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 isn’t dead. His heart is beating, at least. I did not really wish 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 stood again.
“Come, Serge  We must get out of here before more troops arrive. They will notice him missing soon enough ” 

Crono grabbed Serge’s arm.

“Serge, we have to 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 you want to kill him, which I hardly think you would do.”

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 said calmly, yet with vehemence and anger barely masked. 

“All right, if that is how you want it,” Crono answered coldly.

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 sheathed his blade and turned to Serge. Serge stood quiet, making a point to let his anger show.

“Your past will overtake you,” Crono said in reply, “whatever you may do to run from it.”

Despite the malice evident in Serge’s face, which he clearly saw, Crono smiled.

“Farewell... friend.”

And, turning, he walked out the gate as boldly as he had entered 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 standing about the officer, trying to help him rise. The rest milled about, talking excitedly about what could possibly have happened.

“Serge, are 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 had been spotless before 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. Otherwise Porre will never leave Arni 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.” 

As he said it he didn’t exactly know it to be the truth, however. Only a hope. He smiled at her, attempting to make their parting more pleasant. She weakly returned it.

“All right, but be careful,” she admonished him, whispering in his ear. “But I wouldn’t trust them.”

Maybe, Serge thought to himself, but there were others to trust less; perhaps Porre was the lesser evil. Leena whispered him a fond farewell and stepped back.

By now the entire village was in an uproar, from child to elder. In the middle the officer still debated angrily with the chief, who was attempting now to explain the political results of such an arrest, in a vain attempt to help Serge.

Serge walked to the officer.

“It’s okay,” he said with resignation, “I’ll come.”

The chief stopped talking abruptly and looked at him, slightly bewildered.

“Serge, they cannot do this to you  You have not done a thing,” he said urgently, taking a worried glance at the officer.

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; but there was worry in her face.

What a cursed day, thought Serge as the soldier led him onwards. And curse that fool Crono, he thought. If nothing else, he was glad to be rid of him now. 

Well, that is chapter 2. A little odd to look back on it, though. I’ve edited it a few times, but even so I personally don’t like it nearly as much as my later chapters. Well, what do you think?

Sorry for not looking into your story yet. I was a little put off at first since I haven’t finished Chrono Trigger yet and have yet to play Crono Cross, but, having read your note at the beginning of the second chapter, I am no longer concerned. I promise to start reading soon.
Also, post count means nothing, so don’t worry about that.
I know how you feel about not getting comments, too. I’ve got a story on the boards here (that I haven’t worked on in three weeks, but intend to) that I’ve made about 30 posts for and it has a total of about 40 in the thread. I think most stories that don’t involve members of the RPGC community have more than 15 readers on average, and a much smaller number who comment.

Hmmm put off reading this for a bit. Seems fast paced, due to the shortness of the sentences, but all in all not too bad.

Edit: I’ve read the rest of this fic. A long read yes, but HOLY MOTHER OF FUCK. blinkblink This is excellent.

Well, thank you ever so much you who have read and replied. It is so nice to see that my story is being read (and liked!). In regards to the fast pacing…well, that will be inverted soon, I think. These first few chapters are edited, but in origin they are over a year and a half old, hearkening from a time when I wrote in somewhat different of a way. In fact, one of my chief worries of some the chapters 3-6 is that they may be too slow; even after the story itself speeds up, I now have a tendancy to use longer sentences. Whether this is good or bad, I have yet to discern.
The next chapter will introduce a new, though not technically new, character. And it will be longer than the first two…for that matter, every chapter from now will be longer than those first two; some are longer than the first two put together. Hmmm…I’m unsure whether or not I should post it just now. Ah, whatever. Here it is:

Chapter 3: Of Officers and Wizards

  • The trip to the harbor town of Termina was a relatively short 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 the wound which certainly pained him. 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 harbor 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 had been lively well into the summer nights. But the curfews imposed by the empire kept everyone indoors after nightfall in these days. So it was that Serge and the officer walked down the streets alone, and only the darkness marked their passing. Serge glanced about; he 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 lightless buildings stared ominously. And he was beginning to think the worse of his decision. But what else could he have possibly done? Damn that fool Crono for starting this. 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 construction, 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, knowing that there was no purpose in resisting, especially now.
    The soldier knocked harshly on the wooden door with a sound that resonated throughout the still night air. From inside a voice replied, annoyed by the sudden interruption.

    “Whoever it is, go away The guardhouse is closed for the night.”

    “You should treat your commanding officer with more respect,” the officer said roughly in return, much frustrated by the rudeness shown by his subordinates, “It’s Captain Gaheris, returning from the south of the island. Now let me in Lieutenant ”

    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 stoically playing cards, 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 dangerous outlaw from Guardia?”

    The officer laughed.

    “This kid? What do you think? Of course 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 a mild disbelief, “He looks just like a villiage kid to me.”

    The lieutenant looked back the captain again.

    “But you have a visitor, sir. He came in this morning asking for you.”

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

    The lieutenant shook his head.

    “Actually, that’s what he’s here about. He wouldn’t tell me his name, but by his dress…Sir, he’s from the secret service. The Black Wind.”
    The captain frowned darkly, his face growing ashen.

    “The Black Wind?” he gasped, “What in the world 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 hands for you. He is no longer your concern.”

    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 did not cause the officer any amount of comfort, and it was surely against regulations to hand over a prisoner so informally; but he hardly wanted to argue the matter with an officer of the fabled Black Wind, whose very name was spoken with a sinister edge.

    “Oh, very well,” he sighed, displeased, but even more frightened. The Black Wind had the power of the Emperor, and had the reputation of ordering demotions or even executions with a word. And none could gainsay them; their words were law. So being they were the most powerful men in the Empire save those that were part of the Imperial High Council.

    Serge walked pensively towards the figure that still stood motionless, and still partly hidden in the doorway. But he paused, uncertain if he should so willingly surrender himself into the clutches of such a ruthless group.

    “Come on in, you mustn’t be frightened,” the man replied to Serge’s uncertainty, 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, he 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 onto the small wooden chair.
    The man before him did not sit, but remained standing, examining Serge carefully.

    Serge likewise looked at the man, trying to decide what sort of person he had surrendered himself to.

    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; he was 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, the mark of the Black Wind. 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.

    “Perhaps we have begun 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, as you surely know. I have come here to El Nido from the mainland on an errand of great importance to the security of our Empire. And it is just this: a dangerous traitor recently arrived here from the mainland. But, from the way it sounds, you may have already had the unfortunate experience of meeting him. However, perhaps we should begin in somewhat different of a way. What is your name?”

    “Serge,” Serge replied, seeing only now how dangerous the situation was. He did not want to tangle with the Black Wind.

    “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, good and well. Continue.”

    This was obviously not news to him, Serge realized in surprise. And he began to feel somewhat frightened again, wondering what it was that he had flung himself into, that led him into dealings with the Black Wind.

    Serge slowly recounted the events that led to his arrest, all the while feeling his heart skipping nervously in his chest.

    Norris sat silent in thought for a time. Finally he spoke again.

    “So, Serge, you lied to the captain. Why was that?”

    Serge sighed. This was the very thing, the very question, he knew must come and had dreaded from the time he had left the village.

    “I,” he began, but found words leave him. He gathered his thoughts, and resolved to say what he felt, and deal with what would come of it after.

    “I don’t know. Crono didn’t seem like an evil person for one thing. And it seemed the right thing to do.”

    He clenched his fist nervously as heart pounded with apprehension. His words had been too blunt. He ought to have been more tactful. No one would find any merit in such an excuse.

    But his fears were groundless. Norris, it seemed, did not fault him greatly for what he had done, but rather rebuked kindly.

    “You are not the first to do wrong by following your feelings. You must learn to be wary of them in the future. They can deceive you if you do not keep your wits about you.”

    That he had learned all too well, Serge thought bitterly. He found himself shaking in relief now that what he deemed to be the worst was past.

    “Moreover,” Norris continued, “I doubt that even telling the Captain the truth would have made a great difference. Except, perhaps, to get yourself killed. This brigand Crono is not a man to be dealt with lightly. He has slain many honest soldiers of Porre, and is renowned the empire wide for his mercilessness. But something in this bothers me, and it is this: Why is it that the Prince of Guardia would leave his own country and come to the west searching for you in particular? You have no idea why this might be?”

    “None,” Serge said emphatically, shaking his head.

    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 held no meaning to Serge. And what was it he had called him? A chrono trigger?

    Norris sighed.

    “Very well then. If that is all, by the authority of Porre I absolve you of any fault or crime. You are free to go.”

    But now Serge had ceased listening. His mind had wandered back to the evening before, and was running through the event that he had had a mind to forget forever.

    Norris frowned.


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

    “Oh, its probably nothing. Some strange talk about something or other.”

    “But this man Crono is a strange man. He is a magician, and a cunning one at that. What did he tell you?”

    “Well, he mentioned something about a forgotten past. And once or twice he mentioned something about a chrono trigger. I honestly have no idea what it means. I don’t even know if it means anything at all.”

    Norris shook his head thoughtfully.

    “Chrono trigger, was it? That phrase does sound in some way familiar, but vaguely,” he said, beginning to mutter to himself, “I will consult the historical records in Guardia when I return.”

    He looked up at Serge again.

      “Well, I do not know what he may mean about the past having been forgotten. But this other phrase strikes me as somewhat, though distantly, familiar. I believe I saw it once in the histories of Guardia, but I cannot be sure until I return and conduct a search.”

    Serge wondered somewhat at this chance that that word that he had puzzled over could have some true meaning.

    “Oh,” Serge said, remembering a something else as he shifted his thoughts. “He mentioned a chrono cross too, but I really have no clue what it means.”

    Norris looked up sharply 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,” Serge repeated, hoping perhaps for some answers.

    Norris closed his eyes, as if striving to remember something barely out of reach. But he shook his head as it eluded him.

    “That seemed to strike nearer to my memory, but I cannot remember it now,” he shook his head wearily, “No, it must be nothing. Deja vu, in all certainty. Well Serge, perhaps you have been of some help after all. I will try to decipher what these riddles mean, but your part is done. You can go now. But 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. And these damned riddles. If this is merely Crono attempting to torment me with fruitless chases again, I swear I will have his head by winter.”

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

    “Thanks…” he said cautiously edging in his words lest he disturb the man’s half voiced frustrations.

    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 and didn’t throw me in prison or anything like I’d expected.”

    Norris was laughing somewhat at this, and 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, followed by the unmistakable sound of splintering wood. Norris leaped up in a heartbeat, 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 from before his sight…

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

    Norris reached for the door and threw it cautiously open.

    From the darkness of the next room one of the soldier stumbled, falling 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 and tried at fighting. He levelled his weapon and fired. But even as he pulled the trigger a flash 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 his sabre. Serge leaped for it, and his hand closed on the cold leather even as the dark being entered the small room with slow footsteps that sounded as though the feet were shod in metal. As it came for Serge he leaped upward, drawing out the steel blade and swinging for the monstrous thing. But, for all his valour, it did not avail him. 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, the shattered metal tinkling to the ground. Serge’s arms ached with the jarring force of the failed stroke. 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. His long dark cape billowed in some mysterious and darkly cold wind. Likewise his hair, soft purple in hue, waved out behind him like reeds underwater. In his gloved hands he held his weapon in an iron grip that Serge was certain could have crushed his neck without effort. But it was the face that frightened him most of all 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 are 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 for all accounts akin to the grim reaper of myth, they despaired. His eyes swam, and Serge fell heavily to the ground drifting into unconsciousness.

    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.

    “Apologies for that, but you fainted on me. I suppose you aren’t as brave as I had been led to believe…”
    Serge felt slightly angered by this, especially due to the fact that it was probably true, seeing as 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, but I have orders not to kill any of them if I can help it.”

    He said this with frustration, and Serge shivered with the realization that he was lamenting not being able to kill. He was immensely glad that this man’s kill lust was not directed towards him.

    The man folded his arms across his chest, his eyes resting on Serge intently.

    “But I would guess that you want to know who I am,” the man said 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, child ”

    Serge nearly choked.
    “I was fine They let me go,” he looked uneasily about, thinking perhaps that he was the prisoner of this man, “unlike now. And what do you care about me for, anyways?”

    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 he should be so sought after.

    “I care, because I owe you a debt. That is all.”

    Serge was starting to be less frightened by the man now. If nothing else, he did not seem to be acting maliciously towards him. And if he thought that he owed Serge a debt, that was all for the better. His only desire now was to return home to Leena.

    “Well, whatever I did, you can forget it,” he said, turning 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 will you return to? Nights without sleep whilst your dreams haunt you without mercy? Don’t you want your questions answered?”

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

    “I did once, but now, well, I frankly don’t care,” he said vehemently.

    The man’s eyes glinted darkly, and Serge could tell he had angered him. His mouth moved as if to reply, but he spoke no words. The man stared at Serge, and fear entered Serge’s heart once again seeing a darkness gathering in his face. Perhaps he had been too forceful…

    “You will care ” the man growled. And he reached forth a hand, and from it dark light lanced forth. Before Serge could comprehend what was happening it struck him in the legs. The pain burned in his knees and he fell forward onto the grass ground, his hands clutching at his injured legs. He glanced up only to see another ray strike out towards him. He gritted his teeth in agony as the magic struck his face. It felt to his mind as if he had been both scorched with fire and frozen with ice alike. But it only lasted for a short moment, and he found his lips tasting the dirt, the harsh field grass scratching his face. He struggled to stand, his legs burning with a strange cold that seemed to drain their very energy. But he could get no further than his knees; he was once again struck, this time in his chest. 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. And then the man laughed, mocking him.

    “Ah, look at the worm crawl. How pathetic. I had heard that you were courageous. It seems that I had heard wrong.”

    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, his fingers outstretched. And then a sphere of pure white light welled up in Serge’s outstretched hand, flickering softly as if it were a new born star. Yet, for some strange reason that eluded him it was neither frightening nor shocking. It simply was as it should be, as if nothing might be more natural. The light grew swiftly for a heartbeat, the wavering becoming steady then, faster than thought, it flashed forth and struck the dark man with a flash that illuminated the field like lightning. Serge heard the man cry out hoarsely in sudden pain, and saw him fall backwards heavily, clutching a hand to his chest where now burned a great dark spot. 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 swept his foot forward in a vicious kick to his face that sent the man’s massive body crashing back to the ground. And Serge was upon him in a heartbeat. Serge had no weapon of his own but in one sharp glace he saw that his opponent carried a small sickle at his hip. The man reached for it in alarm as he saw Serge’s eyes alight on it, but Serge was the 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; indeed, he did not put up a struggle of any sort. He lay unmoving for a moment.

    Then, to Serge’s amazement, he smiled.

    “Well done, Serge ” he said with a small laugh.

    He coughed as he spoke, still suffering from the vicious blow Serge had delivered him. And blood trickled from a gash in his mouth where he had been struck.

    “And now, let me stand,” he said wearily, “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 chose on the side of caution.

    “Yeah, right, and then you hit me in the back…” he muttered angrily.

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

    “Enough of this, Serge ” the man yelled. 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 just want to go home, and have you people leave me alone…” Serge said between his teeth, angered at the man’s sudden outburst.

    The man sighed.

    “If you will not see reason, so be it.”

    In one swift movement of his arm, almost faster than Serge could comprehend, the man grabbed fast 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 swiftly caught it before it hit. The man sighed.

    “You young fool, what are you trying to accomplish? I’m not your enemy. I was trying to help you.”

    Serge struggled in the grip, gritting his teeth in effort and anger. But the grip was firm, and Serge realized with a shiver that the man had been but toying with him earlier, letting him have his way for a while. He glanced fearfully at him, his anger rising.

    “By killing me? Yeah, thanks a lot there ”

    With almost superhuman strength the man flung Serge to the ground.

    Serge rose in a flash, the sickle still gleaming in his hand. But rather than fight, or make at some defence, the man backed off a pace. Serge paused, seeing now that this man truly did not want to fight. The man shook his head with a frustrated sigh and wiped the blood from his mouth.

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

    “What else would I be?” Serge replied angrily. 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, then? A fine aid in the day’s work, perhaps to quell an unruly catch?”

    Serge paused for a moment, bewilderment coming into his mind. He had half forgotten about what he had seen himself do. Something he had no explanation for. He frowned at the man, reading his eyes.

    “You wanted me to do that, then?”

    The man nodded ever so slightly and bowed slightly with a smile on his lips.

    “But 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? Once again someone was telling him that he had forgotten something. But now the answers were near. He simply needed to ask the questions. Perhaps he had been wrong in condemning his feelings.

    He had to give it a chance. It was no longer the strange words of some phantom and dreams that haunted him. He had seen himself do a thing that he could not by his own reason explain. He nodded to the man, and dropped the sickle from his grip, hoping that he was not making a grave mistake in doing so. A keen excitement welled up in his heart, now unbound from its fetters. Perhaps it knew more than he did.

    “All right,” Serge said, “All right, I’ll give you a chance to tell me. But I just want to know before you say anything else… was it that Crono guy that sent you?”

    The man nodded.

    “In a sense. Rather, we were both sent on the same errand, if you will. That is a better way of saying it.”

    “Okay, I thought so,” Serge said with a knowing nod, “Now, well, you can probably guess what I’m going to ask. What is up with me? I’ve got strangers in my window, and I can do things that I didn’t know I could, and…”

    But the man cut him off raising a hand.

    “She wanted to tell you this herself, but I think it may be better if I tell you some here. You have a right to know a little at least before you meet.”

    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 will tell you why I owe you…”

Well, that’s that now. I suppose I should slow down posting chapters; otherwise I’ll hit chapter 11 (the point to which I have completed editing) and have to wait a long while before being able to post any more.