Leon - Victim of Fate
Disclaimer: Tales of Destiny, its characters, and the Swordians belong to
Namco and are not to be used in such a way that it becomes illegal. So, I'm
writing these fanfics for the pure joy of writing, not for money. I try not
to do things illegal, especially when it comes to things that can ruin my
health. Oh, and this story has major spoilers to the game, so if you don't
want to spoil the game, DON'T READ THIS FANFIC!
Started: August 1, 1999
Finished: August 21, 1999
I must act quickly. . .
Water was quickly flooding the cavern, already having swept away Stahn Aileron and his friends, consisting of Rutee Katrea, Philia Felice, and Garr Kelvin. All of them, like his young master, Leon Magnus, were Swordian Masters. Stahn found himself bearing the Fire Swordian, Dymlos, whose hot-headed temper was more than likely the reason he became the Swordian of his element. Atwight, the Water Swordian and the only female of the six, had chosen Rutee, a Lens hunter and Leon's older sister, as her bearer. Clemente, the Lightning Swordian whom he had thought was dead, chose Philia, a shy priestess from the Straylize Temple of Seinegald, as his master. Garr Kelvin, King of Phandaria and all within its borders, held onto the inactive and weakened Igtenos, the Wind Swordian.
I can't let the young master die. . .
He was Chaltier, Earth Swordian and the first of the Swordians to awaken to this new era, one thousand years after the Aeth'er Wars. The second had been Atwight, who had been found along with him by Hugo Gilchrist, President of the Oberon Corporation and father to Leon and Rutee. Third was Berselius, the Holy Swordian. Something had happened to Berselius between the Aeth'er Wars and his awakening; he had been able to sense something distinctly different about the Swordian. Perhaps it had something to do with his rumored death during the Aeth'er Wars. Berselius chose Hugo as his master far before he and Atwight had even been aware of Leon, or Emilio, as was his birth name, and Rutee.
Perhaps there was a change in Hugo's personality that triggered the next events -- he was no longer sure. Chris Katrea, Hugo's wife, became disturbed of Hugo's new personality and tried to take Emilio and Rutee from Darilsheid. She managed to move Rutee and Atwight to Cresta, her hometown, and was about to do the same with himself and Emilio when Hugo became aware of her plans and slew her with Berselius. Fortunately for Rutee, Chris brought her location to the grave with her.
Despite all of this, he continued to follow the orders of Berselius. He was introduced properly to Emilio, who was only five and still confused over his mother's death two years ago. When he realized how sad and alone the young boy was, he persuaded Berselius to ask Hugo to find a friend for Emilio. Hugo brought to him a young lady named Marian, who became Emilio's "replacement mother." It was he, Chaltier, that ended up becoming Emilio's only friend, and he was the one to begin calling Emilio "Leon." Through their friendship, Emilio became his master at the age of seven.
The next nine years mixed into a blur as "Leon" was enrolled in the Seinegald army and quickly rose within the ranks, becoming the youngest master swordsman in the country at sixteen. Within those nine years, Leon came to him, asking him for a surname that wouldn't be linked to Hugo. He had thought about it for a long while before making a decision that was quite hard for him to make. Thus Leon Magnus was born.
Now isn't the time to reminisce. . .
He fell back to the present, staring at his unconscious master as he laid next to him in his hand's loose grip. His Core Crystal began glowing brightly as he prepared to do a dangerous move that would save his master from the torrent that was Death's calling to Leon. The power flowing through his was immense, and he felt the structure of his form shudder under the force he was calling forth. Tendrils of energy shot from his Core Crystal, wrapping around Leon's prone form before drawing out a small sphere of light from the body. This was slowly pulled into his Core Crystal as the waters around him and his young master overwhelmed them.
Thank Atamoni I succeeded. . .
First came the feeling of disorientation, which struck him as odd. Could someone be disoriented when they're dead? Then he was able to move. He opened his eyes, finding himself laying in the middle of nowhere. Literally. In every direction he looked, there was only a black wall of darkness. His initial reaction was shock -- it was apparent on his face and even in the way he held himself.
Leon was only able to sputter his first words. "Let me guess . . . I'm dead, and this is Hell."
You couldn't be more wrong, young master.
The voice echoed in every direction, causing Leon to whirl around in circles in confusion. ". . . Chal?" he gaped, immediately recognizing the voice of the Swordian. "Where am I?"
You are within my Swordian form, young master. I'm sorry I had to do this, but it was the only way to save you.
"Save me?" repeated the boy, violet eyes narrowing. They then widened in realization. "I-- I almost died, didn't I?"
I'm afraid so. I'm sorry to say that your human body has already perished due to the flood in the cavern.
Leon fell backwards, sitting with his legs stretched in front of him as he allowed everything to sink in. He had battled against his former comrades and his sister . . . for absolutely nothing. Marian was still in his father's grasp, and he was no longer there to make sure she was all right. It took every ounce of his strength to keep him from screaming. Was it all for nothing?? He had been forced into this whole conspiracy of his father's because of his relations to him and because Hugo had kidnapped Marian and had used her to get to him. Damn him for being so weak!
. . . And what was worst, he was now technically dead! The only reason he was alive was because Chaltier, his ever-faithful Swordian, had taken it upon himself to save his worthless hide. He deserved to be dead for all his traitorous deeds. Leon bowed his head, sinking farther and farther into depression. So many missed chances to avoid Destiny's cruelty . . . it sickened him. He would have retched if his stomach weren't peculiarly empty.
Chaltier's using of his true name jolted him from his thoughts, causing him to look upwards. "Chal . . . why did you save me?"
His sudden question must have caught Chaltier off-guard, because there was a shocked silence between the two. You know I would never let you die, young master. . ., began the sentient sword.
"You should have let me," Leon growled bitterly. "I don't deserve to live a second longer. Marian's still in Father's clutches, and Rutee-- Oh, God! My sister. . . She could be dead because of me. . ."
. . . You never expressed your love for her, young master.
"That's one more reason you shouldn't have saved me," the black-haired youth snapped. "I never told her. I tried to bury my emotions by using that #%$&@* tiara."
There is no need for profanity, young master. . . I understand your pain.
"How can you?" demanded the boy. "So many damned mistakes. . . My life is a living nightmare!"
Before I became a Swordian, Leon, I was in a predicament much like your own. I had a life away from the Second E'rther Army and the Aeth'er Wars, but it was a mess. My parents hated me for joining the resistance against the Aethereans and my older brother was killed in combat. My younger sister, as well as many others, died because I failed to protect the town my battalion was assigned to. When I was offered the chance to become a Swordian, I took up the offer before any of the others. I used it to escape my problems. But the guilt of running from my problems has never left me.
". . . What are you saying, Chaltier?"
I saw so much of me in you, young master. Much more than you'd ever believe. It was like meeting myself in another life, but your life has been twisted into something far more horrendous than my life. No one should have lived the life you've lived. I wanted to save you from the pain. I'm sorry that I was unable to steer clear from all of this, but Destiny's pull was too strong. There was a pause. Master, would you like to know why I suggested the name "Magnus"?
"I have always wondered that . . . but I didn't have the heart to ask," Leon admitted, suddenly curious.
It was my surname. Chaltier Magnus.
That caused Leon to blink hard. It must have been excruciating to give up a name you could never go by again. He immediately felt worse than before, curling his legs up to his chest. "Why did you give me your surname?" he questioned. "It must have been horrible to give it up."
Because . . . because. . . I believe it would be more fitting if you could see why I gave you my surname. . .
Footsteps suddenly echoed throughout the darkness, causing Leon to jump to his feet. He quickly looked for the source of the sound, noticing a boy step from the darkness and into his line of sight. Leon took a step back, shocked by the boy's appearance. Even though the boy, only slightly older than himself, wore different clothes than him, consisting of silver armor and a long, black cape, his youthful face, eyes, and black hair mirrored his own.
". . . In my human form, I looked exactly like you," the boy said. It was Chaltier's voice.
Leon gaped, staring at Chaltier in absolute amazement. "Oh, Atamoni. . ." Unable to think of anything logical to do, the swordsman did the first thing that came to mind. He fainted.
Chaltier watched his master collapse, then sighed. Emilio was always full of surprises.
An uncountable amount of time had passed since Leon had first found himself within Chaltier. He had finally gotten over the unnerving feeling of having Chaltier appear in his human form and was now conversing with him most of the time, as there wasn't anything else to do. The strangest thing about technically being dead was being unable to feel physically pain or stress. After sitting cross-legged for the longest of time, Leon still felt no aching or numbness. He expressed his awe to Chaltier, who explained in return that one begins to miss the feeling of physical strain on oneself. The remark made Leon suddenly wary; while he was without a body, he was still alive. It didn't seem right anymore.
"I cannot do anything about your present condition, young master," Chaltier sighed, running a hand through his dark hair. "I would need someone to be using me to function wholly, and our present condition will no doubt keep humans from finding us."
The sixteen-year-old swordsman looked genuinely confused by Chaltier's words. "'Present condition?'" he repeated, a brow rising in slight worry. "Where are we, Chal?"
Chaltier glanced at Leon's face, then bowed his head. ". . . We're at the bottom of the sea, young master."
Leon didn't speak. He had expected as much; they had been in a flooded cavern, after all. "Do you have any idea what is happening up there?"
"I would have to be able to see it to be able to tell you of anything, young master, and it appears--" He stopped, snapping his head forward. "Something is happening. . ." Chaltier's human form immediately faded, leaving Leon to the darkness.
"What is it?!" demanded the boy, concerned as he arose. "What's going on, Chaltier?!"
We are rising, young master! For some reason, we are rising from the water!
He was unsure whether to be excited or fearful. While it was good that they would no longer be underwater, whatever it was that was causing them to rise out of the sea had to be bad. There was an eerie silence for quite a while, then a brilliant flash of light. Leon fell backwards, shielding his eyes from the sudden brightness. Once he opened his eyes again, he found himself staring up into the sky. The sky, however, was unlike anything he'd ever seen before.
"Chaltier!! What the hell is that?!?!"
By the great gods. . . I don't believe it. . .
It is the Aethersphere! They have risen Belcrant!
"W . . . what??"
They have risen Belcrant, young master, a weapon of the Aethereans! It was used to punish the E'rthers that opposed their will and create the Aethersphere. . . Was this Berselius' plan!?
"You didn't know about this?" gasped Leon, looking from one part of the sky to another. The Aethersphere marred the sky, twisting like some sort of twisted net. "Does . . . does this mean that . . . that my sister. . .?"
I'm afraid that may be true, young master. And in this condition . . . there is no way we can contact my fellow Swordians.
Leon cursed Fate and Destiny once again.
He was feeling sick. Again.
That alone was something to worry about; if he didn't feel pain, it was only logical that he shouldn't feel sickness. He sat, hunched over his stomach as he felt his insides twist and lurch for no apparent reason. His ears rang every now and then -- not exactly a disturbing sound now, since Chaltier had remained silent for quite some time. Leon sighed, straightening to stare up at the Aethersphere's image that Chaltier had projected. To his horror, it seemed to be becoming more and more complete as time went on, the sky almost not visible beyond.
Then, one day, there was no sky anymore.
Young master, I fear that my fellows may be dead. They would never allow the Aethersphere to be completed. . .
"Th-- then . . . our world is doomed," Leon realized. He paled abruptly. ". . . I suddenly don't feel very good."
I know this must be coming as quite a shock, young master--
"No, Chal, I mean I really don't feel very good!!" Leon doubled over, grasping his chest in pain. This wasn't just a dull sickness anymore . . . it felt as if something were trying to pull his very spirit from Chaltier. He moaned loudly, no longer able to hide the pain as his breath was slowly taken from him. "Ch-- Chaltier . . . help . . . me. . ."
A scream of pure agony rang throughout Chaltier as Leon's eyes glazed with pain. Is this what it is like to die? he thought. Has death come to claim me now?
That was the last thing Leon heard before everything went dark.
Where am I?
He slowly opened his eyes, his gaze coming to focus on a high ceiling with lights streaming over its surface. Rising from where he lay, he came to realize that he was wearing his drenched and torn Seinegald uniform, grayed from too much contact with water and other elements.
Am I . . . alive?
Then, he became aware of another presence in the room. He averted his eyes a tall, golden-haired man with sparkling hazel eyes that would normally send shivers down Leon's spine. Strangely, he was unable to do so, his blank stare clearly not unsettling the other. In fact, Leon got the feeling that the eyes carried a sense of amusement in them. A twisted smile on the man's face proved Leon's thoughts correct.
"We meet again, Emilio Katrea . . . or should I say, Leon Magnus?" The voice was so cool and composed it was clearly evil.
. . . Again?
As Leon's face betrayed no emotion, the man decided to continue without an answer. "You may wonder where we have met before, Leon Magnus, but . . . I am sure you will remember. You only knew me as Berselius, the Holy Swordian."
". . . . . . . . ." Leon remained unable to reply, although his shock rang through his head loud and clear. This was Berselius?! What had happened to his father?!
"You must have questions, although I don't see why I bother answering the questions of a dead boy." The gold and white-robed man smirked cruelly. "Yes, Leon, you are dead. I have merely reanimated your corpse for a . . . special reunion." He chortled loudly, his voice echoing off the walls. "But now, back to your questions. I am Kronos, king of the Aethereans. For over one thousand years, I have assumed the guise of the Holy Swordian, whom was killed back in an era forgotten by many of this time. Your father, that useless man, is dead."
Despite everything his father done to him while under Kronos' control, Leon still felt part of him crumble at those words. ". . . . . . . . . ."
Again, Kronos' laughter bounced from wall to wall. "Isn't it so comforting to know everyone you cared about is dead?" He suddenly looked thoughtful. "Oh, except for that woman. A pity, really; Rembrandt was unable to do away with her before his untimely death."
Marian? Marian's still alive?! A burden was taken away from Leon's overburdened heart, and he would have cried if he weren't incapable of tears as the living undead.
"Ah, and then there's that sister of yours," Kronos carried on, not aware of Leon's thoughts. "Atwight managed to survive with her master, unlike you." The hazel eyes glittered strangely. "Chaltier's demise has pleased me to no end."
Demise? Leon thought disdainfully. He survived everything thrown at him. At least he managed to get away from your wicked grasp. . .
"The four remaining Swordians must not reach the Eye of Atamoni." A flare of recognition laid behind Leon's lifeless gaze as he remembered it. "You will no doubt jar them with your presence, and they will hesitate to fight you. Especially your sister." The lord of the Aethereans cackled evilly. "I cannot wait to see you slay that girl. All of them have caused me nothing but strife. She will be the first to die."
That did it. For one moment, a hateful glare took over Leon's gaze, his face contorted with unbelievable rage. The words that formed on his lips just barely came out. ". . . Rot . . . in . . . . Hell. . ."
Luckily for Leon, Kronos had his back turned and had not heard his words.
He had wandered around the strange hallways of Dycroft for a long time, although time no longer seemed to serve meaning to him. As the undead, he did not tire or wish for sleep, and although his mind was always alert, he could hardly get his lips to move as he wanted them to. He wished Chaltier were here with him; at least his voice would serve as a distraction from all the corridors before him.
Leon had stopped in front of a mirror in one hallway some time back, breaking from his monotonous march through Dycroft. The reflection staring back at him would have stopped his heart if it still had been beating. While his body was still perfectly in tact, the skin was completely devoid of color. His skin was only a few shades lighter than the gray of his uniform, his hair slightly paler than before. Even his eyes, once a vibrant and glittering violet, were dulled by death's hand. It took a great deal of strength for him not to destroy the mirror. It could not be blamed for showing the cold, hard truth.
A mental command from Kronos shot through Leon's head one day and, much to Leon's dismay, he found himself unable to disobey it. He journeyed through Dycroft without heed to the dangerous monsters about, silently wondering what Kronos wanted with him. The journey lead him to the strange room he had only passed through once before that was filled with Aethereans that were being "revived" with the power the Aethersphere was absorbing from the planet down below. He passed through without stopping, hearing voices as he continued towards the farthest chamber that contained the Eye of Atamoni.
The voices he was hearing were familiar.
"Come on out." Kronos' voice echoed throughout the chamber even though she no longer had her eyes on him.
From the shadows he emerged, his face expressionless and his eyes still. Rutee Katrea couldn't manage to strangle her gasp as she recognized the boy before her, holding a sharp, twisted sword in his left hand. Her brother. Leon Magnus. Emilio Katrea. "Leon!" Unable to call him by anything else yet, Rutee shouted the name with mixed feelings.
"Leon!" Stahn Aileron stepped forward, blue eyes wide with surprise. "You're alive! What happened to you?"
". . . . . . . . ." Leon's dead gaze traveled from Stahn to Rutee, then skimmed over Garr, Philia, Mary Argent, and Karyl Sheeden.
"Leon? Leon!! What's wrong with you?" Stahn shouted, unsure of Leon's silence. He took a step back, taking in Leon's appearance.
"Ha, ha, ha!" The king of the Aethereans' laughter bounced from one wall to the other as he looked on in sinister amusement. "It's no use trying to talk to him. Leon is dead. He is merely a puppet, one of the living dead."
That struck a nerve. Rutee looked in horror at Leon, unable to speak. His strength wasn't enough to break free of Kronos' hold upon him, but two words made it through his lips. ". . . . . . . . . . . . Kill . . . me." Yes, if he were unable to fight Kronos, he might as well allow Kronos' enemies to take him out. It would allow him peace. Finally.
". . . Leon?" Stahn was now at Rutee's side, blinking in confusion.
". . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quickly . . . . kill . . . me."
The blond-haired young man started forward, but Garr Kelvin pushed him back. "We must fight him, Stahn. Not just for us, but for Leon's sake, too!" Stahn looked unsteadily at the young king of Phandaria, then nodded. Rutee, even though clearly distressed, nodded as well. And Leon looked on, even as Kronos' control forced him to raise his sword to attack.
Philia Felice leapt forward as well as the battle was joined, Stahn lifting forth Dymlos and charging at Leon as Karyl, Mary, and Kronos looked on. "Souryuu Renga Zan!" was Stahn call as he whirled into a Dragon Blade technique, slicing into Leon mercilessly even as the beginnings of tears clouded his vision. No blood spilled forth from the cuts, and the undead boy spiraled through the movements of a Kick Attack without a word, smashing into Stahn's face.
While this was happening, Rutee, Philia, and Garr were all busy casting spells. "Barrier!" Rutee's spell swirled around Stahn as he spun and was lifted into the air by his Vortex technique. Garr's Air Slash didn't faze the monster Leon had become for even a moment, as he took the damage without a flinch before striking Stahn with his Flying Dragon move as he came down.
Clemente flashed as Philia finished charging up. "Indignation!" she shouted, her Holy Wrath spell striking Leon with four thunderbolts that spun around him, dealing great damage upon him. This caused the dead swordsman to stagger, giving Stahn an opening to attack. He got in one slash with Dymlos before Leon countered with his own Dragon Blade technique. Stahn gasped, his strength withering at the end of the pummeling. Garr's Arrow Stream spell was all that stood between Stahn and certain doom.
Stahn backed away from Leon, pulling a Lemon Gel from his pack and eating it. Unfortunately, the sudden lack of attacks against Leon allowed him to turn his back on them, everything stopping as a black aura engulfed his grayed body. He turned back on them, releasing a Demon Attack move on them that sent all four Swordian Masters reeling backwards in pain. Stahn realized his mistake in a heartbeat. "Rekkuu Zan!" A dash and jump sent the blond into his Spin Flare maneuver, dealing Leon more damage. But he wasn't done there. "Maou Engeki Ha!" Dymlos flared as he released the Sacred Text attack, Fiery Wave, and a torrent of flames spilled forward. Stahn's next shout froze all movement for a brief moment much like Leon's Demon Attack had. "Satsugeki Bokou Ken!" Shadows followed closely behind Stahn as he slammed his Assassin Sacred Text into Leon, striking with his sword, fist, and feet before sending Leon airborne and hitting him with a larger mass of flames than Fiery Wave as he let out a strangled cry.
As Stahn landed, sweat beading his brow, he saw Leon drop his sword and fall to his knees, looking at him despite the wounds over his non-bloody body. It was then that he saw the glittering in Leon's suddenly-bright eyes, and Stahn felt a weight fly from his shoulders. Leon was free. Finally. He turned back to his friends, who had leveled their gazes again on Kronos. All, that is, except for Rutee. As the others shouted at the Aetherean, she neared Leon, who had bowed his head as "death" again began to creep up on him.
". . . Emilio. . ." Leon blinked and weakly raised his head, finding himself face to face with Rutee. Her eyes were wavering, as if she was suppressing the urge to cry. He wanted to speak to her so badly. Really, he did. ". . . Can you hear me?" He nodded faintly, growing weaker by the moment. "I-- I don't know where to begin. . . I don't know what to say. . ."
Leon forced his mouth open, slowly speaking in a whisper. ". . . . . . . . . . . . . Rutee. . . ."
". . . . . . . . . . Don't . . . say . . . . goodbye."
All thoughts were cast to the wind at that. Rutee hugged Leon, not caring about the coldness of his skin or the bloodless wounds all over him. She did not cry; she no longer had the heart to cry. Leon allowed her to hold him, trying to picture his mother somewhere in the action. It didn't work. He began to sag against her, all strength leaving his already-dead body and being drawn away. The last thing he did was lean his head against her shoulder, his eyes closing gently in her embrace.
Rutee continued to hold him even after he passed on.
"Am I finally dead?" Leon whispered, not daring to open his eyes.
"No, young master. . . No, you are not."
Leon quickly opened his eyes, finding Chaltier staring at him in concern. The young boy that had been the living undead just a second ago felt his body, seeing his skin had returned to its normal complexion and his clothes once again had their respective hues. He let out a sigh, not believing what was happening.
"Chal?" he queried, raising his gaze back to his mirror image. "What happened to me?"
Chaltier frowned, shaking his head. "I cannot explain it myself. You were ripped away from here so fast I wasn't able to comprehend what had happened. I was barely able to create a lifeline that would pull you back here. You've been gone for a long time. Where did you go?" Leon was silent for a second, sorting through his thoughts. Then, it all spilled out, about Kronos, about the Aethereans, and how the other Swordian Masters were still alive. The shock didn't leave Chaltier's face for several moments. Then, "So they will fight Kronos?"
"Yes. . . Do you think they can defeat him?"
"If they managed to get that far, there is no doubt in my mind that they win."
Leon averted his eyes upward, looking at the darkened sky all around them. ". . . What about the Eye of Atamoni?"
Chaltier's expression immediately darkened. "It has been the Swordians' mission since their creation to destroy it. I . . . I had forsaken the mission by helping Kronos obtain Belcrant. Damn!" He had clenched his hands into fist for the first time since Leon had first seen him in his human form. "When they defeat Kronos, their next act will most likely be destroying the Eye. And that means. . ." He trailed off, shutting his eyes at the thought.
"Chal? Chaltier, what does that mean?" demanded his master.
". . . It means that they will have to destroy themselves along with the Eye."
Only an hour had passed since his return to Chaltier's Swordian form. He watched the sky intently, wishing with all his might that the blackness would be exchanged for blue at any minute. Then, upon the passing of the second hour, something happened. Leon rose from when he was seated to stare at the Aethersphere, which seemed to be cracking in all sections of it. Pieces of it were breaking away and falling to the ground at an unbelievable rate, burning as they fell and crashing in places that he could not see.
"The Aethersphere's breaking apart!!" he shouted in excitement. "They did it!"
Yes. They have saved the world, much like one thousand years ago.
Leon noticed the depression in Chaltier's 'voice'. ". . . I'm sorry," he whispered. "This must be very hard for you to lose your comrades."
It is hard to lose them, yes. But they would never look at me the same way after my betrayal. I failed at keeping their trust. Now I'm the last one left.
The two were silent for a long while, the blue sky once again revealing itself behind the Aethersphere. It was shortly after the Aethersphere had completely fallen apart that Leon again spoke. "What do we do now?"
You should sleep, young master. I know that you may not feel fatigue, but you have been through much. You deserve rest.
Leon laid down on the ground that he could not see, sighing. "Will it . . . hurt, Chaltier?"
Do not worry, young master. I won't let anything happen to you while you sleep.
"Then . . . good night, Chal."
Sleep well, young master.
With that, Emilio Katrea -- Leon Magnus -- fell into a deep slumber from which he would not awaken from for a long time.