The Legacy of Demetrius Chapter 1
Guardia Castle, 1003 A.D.
Lucca tasted blood. The distinct copper flavor was the only thing her mind registered. In fact, her other senses weren't working at all. Her mind floated in bog of black silence. The numbing darkness threatened to swallow her up, but Lucca was not one to simply give up. Instinctively she clung onto the copper taste as if it were a life line. Like an overboard sailor being pulled back onto a ship her senses slowly returned.
The pain was the first to come back. Her head throbbed as though she had been hit with a club, and her mouth stung with the pain of whatever had caused the blood in her mouth. Boots on stone. That was the sound she heard. While starting out faintly the volume increased with every boot fall. The confusing thing was that she was moving in cadence with the footsteps, but she couldn't be walking herself. With what seemed like a monumental effort she forced her eyes to open. The bright glare of sunlight made the task harder than it already was. By the lights intensity it was obvious that she was outside.
Everything was blurry. Lucca waited for her vision to focus, but the blur remained. She couldn't reach up to check, because her arms were apparently restrained. Instead she tried wiggling her nose. As she suspected she couldn't feel the weight of her thick glasses. That explained the blurriness. She turned her head to the left; then to the right. A soldier stood to each of her sides. Holding her up by her arms and carrying her forward. That explained the arm restraints, and the movement.
Another soldier walked several paces in front of them. In his armor he looked nothing more than a gray splotch in the sea of blur. Her mind felt nearly as fuzzy as her vision. Why did soldiers have her? She had come to the castle to see Marle and...one of the soldiers had punched her in the face. It didn't make any sense, why would Guardian soldiers attack her? And where were they taking her? She scanned her surroundings again, trying to make the best of her limited eyesight. They were on a large long gray smear, heading toward a very tall pillar of gray fuzz. A breeze brushed across her face, soothing her stinging mouth. It was windy. Windier than normal. Where was she?
The realization came in a rush. It wasn't windier than normal. It was windy because of the altitude. They were on the long outdoor walkway that connected the main part of the castle with one of the connecting towers. The last time she had been on this walkway Crono and herself had nearly been killed fighting a mechanical dragon. She was being taken to the dungeons.
The footsteps came to a halt. They had made it to the dungeon tower. The prison where only the worst of Guardia's criminals were kept. Smalltime offenders were held in local jails, either in Truce or one of the nearby villages. Crono had been kept in this tower when he had been wrongly accused of kidnapping the princess. Having collected enough information to at least understand a little of her situation she called to the soldier in front of her, What is the meaning of this! Tell me what you are doing and why, right now! It hurt more to talk than she had anticipated, so she didn't yell as loud as she would have liked. Still, the angry edge to her words spoke louder than any volume.
The soldier silently ignored her as he opened the large iron door and led them in. She knew it would be a waist of effort to ask again, it was obvious they weren't planning on answering, and it hurt too much to speak when it wouldn't do any good. Her anger rose, burning away the clouds in her mind. Within minutes they came to a halt again. This time in front of an empty cell. The leading soldier unlocked the gate, sliding the bars open. Prisoner Lucca Ashtear, you have been arrested on suspicion of treason, he said, stepping to the side.
What? You're out of your mind! Lucca howled. Her anger making her forget how much it hurt to speak. Do you even know what you just said? The Prince and the Princess are my two best friends, explain to me why I would betray them?
We have no obligation to explain anything to a traitor. Why you would poison the King is not my concern. It is only my concern that we have stopped you before he was killed, and that we prevent any further harm from coming to him.
Lucca could not believe what she was being told. The King had been sick for months. Nothing anything the doctors could do had been helping, and even though medicine wasn't her expertise she had tried to help as well. The King became bedridden two weeks ago. It wasn't any poison that Lucca could think of. None that she had been able to find in her tests anyway. In all likelihood it was just a natural illness he had come down with, that his body couldn't fight off.
Outrage consumed her at the accusation. Hurting Guardian soldiers was last thing she wanted to do, but something was seriously wrong in the system. She had no choice. In the blink of an eye she released her magic. Flames consumed her body. Her own magic wouldn't harm herself, but it would kill anyone else. With a thought she committed the two men next to her to die, and the magical fire intensified tenfold.
The fire flickered out, and Lucca fully expected to be free from the twin grips of the two men she had just killed. The cool metal of their steel gloved hands still held her. She could hear the sizzle of the ground beneath her where the stone had melted, but each of the soldiers was completely unharmed. As though nothing hotter than a candle had been lit in the room.
Her surprise turned into a nauseous feeling in the pit of her stomach. She could feel it now that she tried. Each of the three soldiers were cloaked in magic. It clung to them and their armor like a second skin. Worse, it was magic made specifically to counter fire: Ice magic.
One of the soldiers holding her placed his free hand to the small of her back. With a thrust he roughly shoved her into the cell. The unexpected fall caused her to crash onto the cold stone floor, cracking her head. Fighting off the wave of nausea caused by the sudden pain she flung her hands into the air. Even if they had magical shielding she had to try. A fireball no larger than a thimble burst from the tips of her fingers and spluttered across the room, fizzing into nothingness before halving the distance between her and the soldiers.
The iron bars slammed shut with a frightening finality. This cell has been designed to nullify your magic. We are not as stupid as you think us, traitor. Lucca tried to summon another ball of flame. This time all she managed was a spark. The air in the cell was unnaturally chilly. The heat seemed to be sucked from her very bones.
The soldier in charge locked the cell gates with the simple twist of a key. She recognized his voice now that she thought of it. His name was Eric. Captain Eric Storkson, leader of the Royal Guards specifically tasked with protecting the princess.
Lucca Ashtear you have been charged with suspicion of treason. By decree of Princess Nadia you shall remain here until a time and date where the authorities of Guardia can put you on trial. Eric turned and headed down the hallway. Leading his men out of the dungeon, leaving Lucca to her confused, and terrified thoughts.
Truce Canyon, 600 A.D.
A scream was caught in her throat. Using all of her will power she forced it down. The imp's lifeless eyes stared unseeing into the morning air. It was propped against the trunk of a tree, a grotesque snarl on its green lips, a long wicked looking knife clutched in its hand, a crossbow bolt stuck firmly in its bulbous forehead. Dead. Dead as a doornail. She had heard a castle guard use the phrase before, at the time it had seemed funny. It wasn't very funny right now. It was morbid. Princess Nadia gave an involuntary shudder as she turned away from the imp.
And it was an imp. She'd only seen pictures of them before, but there was no mistaking it. She nocked another bolt into her crossbow. Why was an imp in Guardia? Mutual hatred had kept the humans and the mystics separated for as long as anyone knew, and after the Mystic War had ended four-hundred years previous few people had seen any. So why was this one in the northern woodlands of Guardia? Unless she wasn't in Guardia anymore. A chill ran up her spine.
Princess Nadia had assumed that Lucca's device, the telepod, had simply sent her somewhere into the woods. Somehow her necklace, an heirloom from her dead mother, had caused the machine to malfunction and sent her somewhere it wasn't supposed to. At first she wasn't overly concerned, judging from the trees it looked like the forests of Guardia, so she just set out on making her way back, and hoped it hadn't sent her too far away. For the last half hour she had been making her way south, then she ran into the imp.
Even though she was a princess, Nadia was no stranger to the forest, or a little adventure. Against her father's wishes she was constantly sneaking out. Sometimes she'd head into one of the villages, at times even as far as Truce. She always ran the risk of being discovered and sent back to the castle. Sometimes when she didn't want to risk being discovered, she'd explore the woods around the castle. It was during these 'camping trips' that she had taught herself to use a crossbow (nicked from the castle armory). Some nobility would gasp if they realized the princess knew how to hunt and cook rabbits for herself. A princess with survival skills? Ghastly! The thought always brought a smile to her lips.
She had worn common clothes into Truce earlier that day. The Millennial Fair was starting and she was not about to miss out on the fun. If she were to go in her official capacity as princess then her father would have sent at least a dozen guards, and nobody would even see her, they would just see the princess. She would be nothing but another attraction at the fair. No, she wanted to have fun, and have people treat her like a human being. Even though she had no use for the crossbow in town, she had hoped it would help conceal her true identity. This day she was Marle, the girl with survival skills, and not Nadia, the darling teenage princess.
The imp hadnt cared who she was. As long as the human died it would have been happy. It drew its long curved knife and had ran straight for her. Luck, and a little practiced skill had let Marle hit the imp when she fired. It had stumbled back a few paces, confused at the bolt protruding from above its eyes, and with one final snarl at the human girl, it collapsed against a tree.
The natural assumption was that the telepod had sent her somewhere in Guardia, but the imp cast doubts on this. What if she wasn't on the Zenan Continent at all? What if she had been teleported all the way to the Mystic Continent in the east? Her blood ran cold. It was certainly in the realm of possibilities.
Holding her crossbow at the ready she continued making her way south. The adventure had suddenly ceased being any fun. She fought the urge to break into a run. For now it would be best to conserve her strength, and running when there was no need would only alert anyone in the area of her whereabouts. As long as she didn't run head first into a mystic village, she could still make it out alive. Marle paused for a half a moment, and then turned to her right and started west. There was one human that dared to live on the same continent as the mystics. If she remembered correctly he was some kind of blacksmith, some of the higher ranked Knights of the Square Table used blades of his making. Whether the mystics left him alone out of respect or fear, it didn't matter. All that mattered was that he was a human, and would probably help her out.
Her confidence grew a bit as her plan solidified. She would head west, if she was still on Zenan she would likely come across her castle, if not, she would just have to find the blacksmith. Her thoughts drifted to the boy she had met at the fair. Crono had treated her like nobody ever had, a regular girl and potential friend. His friend Lucca had also seemed like a good person. She supposed other people put in her place might hate Lucca, maybe they would even be justified in it. After all it was her experimental machine, using who knew what kind of technology, that had launched her half way across the planet and into enemy territory.
Marle wasn't mad. She was scared, not only for herself but for Lucca as well. Even if she found this blacksmith and made it home safely, who knew how long the journey could take. The best case scenario was a couple weeks, worst case, months. If she was gone that long her father would be in an uproar. It would eventually come out that Lucca's telepod had been the cause of her disappearance. The King would want blood, and the Kingdom would be of like mind. Even Crono might be blamed for taking her to such a dangerous machine. Both of her potential new friends could be executed by the time she made it back.
Dark thoughts sped her feet, but she retained the self control not to run. A decision that saved her life, for had she have ran it would have been straight into a swarm of imps. Instead she walked into them. Three of the short green creatures stared up at her in shock, before one started calling out. Soon more appeared from within the thick forest. Appearing as from thin air. In the space of a few moments more than a dozen imps stood before her, with more appearing every second. The one that had called the others pulled out his long knife and babbled something to the others in a language she couldn't understand. The words made no sense, but the meaning couldn't have been clearer.
The one speaking was probably a leader of some sort. Without hesitating she fired her crossbow, catching the surprised imp square in the chest. It fell back with a grunt, temporarily stunning its companions. In that moment of hesitation she turned and took off in a dead sprint the way she had come. Behind her she could hear the small army of imps crashing through the forest after her. Fighting off panic, Marle grabbed another bolt. After a moment of fumbling it dropped to the ground. She had never reloaded her crossbow on the run before. She tried again. It took what felt like an eternity to load, but she finally had it nocked.
Without warning she made a hard right turn, at the same time firing in the general direction of the imps. Luckily the bolt struck one of the near imps in the leg. With a high pitched scream of pain it tumbled to a halt. Fear and adrenaline guided her legs as she swept past the trees, but despite their small size the imps were faster still. The ground ahead sloped steeply downward, though she desperately tried to keep her momentum going the slope slowed her. The imps werent slowed at all by the downhill terrain. Instead of running many just leaped forward, rolling down the hill with speed Marle couldn't hope to match.
She had been screaming for help. Only now did she realize this. For how long she didn't know, but her throat was already hoarse from the effort. As the ground leveled back out she franticly tried reloading the crossbow again, but her foot caught on the root of an old half rotted tree. She landed heavily on her side, twisting and snapping the unloaded bolt in two.
The imps surrounded her, smiling greedily at their prize. Marle got to her knees, but didn't bother standing. There was nowhere left to run, and they would easily over power her before she could nock another bolt, let alone fire it. One imp took a couple steps towards her waving its knife. It gabbled at her, slashing the blade through the air for emphasis. Then it spoke the only words she could understand, Death to the mystic's enemies!
And imp near the back started to frown, barked a couple words and turned around. The others' eyes followed. Something was crashing through the woods straight at them. The imp that approached her turned around and scratched the top of its bald green head, making a couple confused chirps. Its eyes went suddenly as wide as gold coins. Guardia Soldiers atop of war horses charged through the trees. The imps turned to run, but the horses were already upon them.
A few were instantly trampled underneath kicking hooves, others were cut down by swords, sending chunks of green gore splattering through the air. A mist of green blood hung in the air as the imps were slaughtered. Being the weakest, but most common, of the mystics, imps were only dangerous when they had the advantage of numbers. Even that did them llittle good against mounted Knights.
Less than half accomplished the retreat. A few of the Knights drew long bows, picking off their escaping foe with ease. Their leader, a Knight wearing golden colored armor looked down at her, instantly relief washed over his weary face. He leaped off his horse and instantly knelt before her. Marle sighed with relief. Even though she hadn't ever seen the Knights wear this style of armor, they each bore the royal crest on their breastplates. They had come to rescue their princess. But if that was the case, then why were imps in Guardia?
The Knight smiled at her with a face she didn't recognize. Standing he pointed out to the woods after the few imps that hadn't been slain. Their retreat could still be heard in the distance as sticks underneath them violently snapped. Four of you chase them down. Save one for questioning, kill the rest.
With a salute they raced off. Thank you, was all Marle could come up with.
Its a pleasure my Queen. I'm only glad we found you unharmed. His eyes shone with deep sincerity. But...if I may, why are you wearing those ridiculous clothes. And where did you get a crossbow?
Marle was stunned. She was a princess, Princess Nadia, not Queen Nadia. She opened her mouth, but words didn't come out.
Another of the Knights smiled at her. Queen Leene, praise be to all thats good that we found you. The King has been worried sick. As have we all.
Marle blanched. Where had Lucca sent her?
Lucca's Orphanage, 1003 A.D.
With a sigh Lucca sat the pen down. She had been working on a single equation for most of the night. When things had settled down three years ago she had been ecstatic about sitting down and figuring out how time travel worked. Every time she had stepped into a gate or flew in the Epoch, her mind would spin with curiosity as to how it all worked. At the time they had had more important matters to attend to, such as saving the future from an alien parasite, but once the threat was ended she was free to figure out the mysteries that intrigued her so.
Using her first hand knowledge she had been able to write page after page of theories based off of the out comes she had known would happen under given situations. The math had been exciting at the start as well. As a starting point she had used the equations she had worked out for the telepod. Teleportation was in a sense time travel on a three dimensional plane. When ever they had gone through time it had been a form of teleporting, only changing location in time as well as space.
Adding the fourth dimension had made the math more complicated than she had thought possible. At first she had worked on it with her father, Taban, but he had always been better at building things. Anything from simple blacksmithing, to complex circuitry, his foremost talent had been creating things with his hands. Theoretical sciences not only held little appeal to him, but he also had surprisingly little skill in those fields. This left Lucca on her own to invent higher levels of math.
Yawning, she twisted from side to side, popping her stiff back. She placed the little leather notebook on the stack of her other books, and grabbed a slightly thicker blue book. Her mind needed a rest from the math. A smile played across her lips, she'd let her mind cool down by finishing up some of the non-mathematical theory. It wasn't long before this started to hurt as well. Her theories explained almost everything, everything except one very important thing: the Grandfather Paradox.
It was one of the oldest philosophical arguments against time travel. It posed the question, what if a person traveled back in time and killed their own grandfather? If the grandfather was to die before meeting the grandmother then one of the time travelers parents would never have been born, and his own existence would then be negated. Of course that would mean that if they had not been born, they couldn't go back to kill their grandfather, so they then would have been born. The paradox continued to chase itself in circles, seemingly unanswerable.
The Grandfather Paradox did not exist. This Lucca knew to be an undeniable fact. Along with Crono and her other friends they had personally tested this theory, repeatedly, and in all situations the out come remained the same: the time travelers remained immune to the effects of the altered timeline. More accurately, it worked out the same in all situations except one. The disappearance of Marle.
When Marle had been accidentally launched four-hundred years into the past, the royal Knights of Guardia had rescued her instead of her ancestor, Queen Leene. This would have lead to Leene's death, which had caused Marle to vanish. At the time Lucca had assumed that she was witnessing the Grandfather Paradox first hand. Her and Crono had proceeded to rescue Leene before she was actually killed, and the result had brought Marle back.
Lucca frowned, tapping her foot in frustration. Why had the Grandfather Paradox been invoked just that one time? They had been so busy during the rest of the adventure to notice that at no other time did they create a paradox. They should have though. Lucca absently flipped through page upon page of paradoxes that should have occurred, recorded from her own superb memory. Not a single one had. Except the first, the one with Marle and Leene.
Not only was it an isolated event, but it didn't even play out properly. Had a paradox truly been formed then herself and Crono should not have remained in the past. If Marle had never been born, then she never would have gone back in time, and they never would have followed her back. Yet they had followed her back and had not been negated out of the past like they should have been. Lucca's frown deepened, but upon fixing the supposed paradox Marle had returned.
Lucca turned to the doorway, forgetting her thoughts for the moment. A little girl with messy blond hair stood rubbing her sleep encrusted eyes. Lucca smiled. Good morning Kid.
The girl walked over to Lucca and climbed into her lap, mumbling a still sleepy good morning and cuddled up to her surrogate sister. Lucca absently tussled the girl's hair. What do you think Kid? Why does it contradict itself?
The list of paradoxes that had not happened stared up at her. Each declaring their silent testimony of the scientific truth. Contradictions didn't exist. Sometimes it seemed as though they did, but they didn't. Marle's disappearance seemed to fit a paradox, but it could not have been a paradox. It was something else entirely. Lucca focused on that simple fact. There were no paradoxes; the answer existed it just wasnt clear. Then what happened? What on earth caused Marle to simply vanish, then later reappear? And why was the timing so perfect?
All Marle said she remembered was a dark place where she felt all alone. The End of Time? Something else like it? But why did she go there? And how? Kid, I think I'm going to go to the castle today and visit Marle. You'll be a good girl for my mom and dad won't you? Kid nodded enthusiastically. Even though Lucca had offered to buy a separate house to start her orphanage in, her parents would hear nothing of it. The two had insisted on helping out. Taban had even built on a whole new section of house, to house all the children.
Lucca kissed Kid on the forehead, sitting her on the floor. Good, I'll get dressed then.
Guardia Castle, 1003 AD
Marle was a very good listener. To Lucca's pleasure, Marle enjoyed hearing about her friend's work and theories. Some days they would spend hours just sitting and talking. Even though Marle never would be able to comprehend the full technical details, she was plenty smart enough to grasp the simplified versions. At times Marle would pose questions, Lucca would then answer to the best of her ability or promise her friend that she'd have to take it on faith. That or let Lucca explain the finer points of upper level mathematics.
But if it wasn't because Leene was going to die, then what happened to me? Marle asked, looking concerned.
Lucca shrugged. That's what I can't figure out. At the time it was easy to assume that you had accidentally created a paradox preventing your birth, but we really didn't have much knowledge on time travel then. She took another drink of tea. I was hoping that you might have remembered something? Anything would help.
Frowning, Marle sat her wine glass down. I...don't really. I just know I was someplace dark. Mostly I just remember being scared, mostly I've tried to forget about it, but if you think it will help I'll try to remember. She stood. I'll be right back. I need to use the bathroom.
Lucca nodded and took another sip of her tea. Marle had seemed slightly funny. She had been drinking a lot in the recent months, ever since her father had taken ill. Lucca supposed it was a predictable development. She'd be worried too if one her parents had been that sick. Lucca just hoped her friend wouldn't let the drinking get out of control, although, Crono didn't seemed to be too concerned.
He had been gone a lot recently. Having taken his role as the kingdom's prince more seriously in the last year. It wasn't uncommon for him to be gone for weeks at a time on a variety of diplomatic missions. With the King ill it only seemed to increase the number of trips he took. The possibility of having kingship placed on his shoulders must have been weighing on him pretty hard. It was only reasonable that he'd want to prove himself a good leader.
The distinctive clacking of boots brought her to attention. A knight walked in through the door. Unlike most soldiers who wore only simple chain mail during peacetimes at the castle, the guards sworn to specifically protect the royal family always had on full plate mail. Lucca recognized this man as Eric Storkson, the captain specifically assigned to Marle.
Lucca thought his short wavy hair and hazel eyes to be rather charming. She smiled, rose out of her seat and offered her hand. Eric, how have you bee-
Without returning the smile or answering, Eric raised his fist and punched Lucca in the face. For a split second colors flashed in her vision, but it all almost instantly went black. Lucca lay on her back, her broken glasses on the floor next to her head. Two other knights came in behind Eric, each grabbing one of Lucca's arms, they lifted her limp body up.
Her cell has been prepared. Follow me. Eric headed out the door, and the others followed with the comatose woman.
All That Glitters Is Cold 4 Fanfic Competition
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