Ill Tides Chapter 3

By Average Joe

As the dew began to evaporate under the warmth of the dawning sun, a bleary eyed Marle and a yawning Crono traversed Lucca's expansive front lawn. Crono knocked on the door and waited, but Lucca did not come to the door. Marle took her turn at pounding on Lucca's door, and they waited, but the door still remained unanswered. Crono shrugged and picked up a small pebble, leading Marle to the back of the house.

Crono tossed the stone up and down in his hand a couple of times, spotting the correct window and trying to calculate the correct trajectory for throwing. Marle walked over to the large object hidden under a soiled canvas tarp and peeked underneath. Crono threw the pebble, and nailed the open shutter. He picked up another pebble and threw it, a smug grin waxing over his face when the pebble went through the open window and caused an annoyed yelp.

Lucca's face appeared in the window, her eyes groggy and her lavender hair disheveled. "Wha-wh-what? Huh?" She picked up her glasses from the bedside table and nearly poked herself in the eye trying to put them on. "Cr-crono? Wha're you doin' here so--" she yawned, "--early?"

"Did you get the Epoch put back together?" Crono tried to whisper and yell at the same time, so as not to awaken Lucca's parents, Taban and Lara, but his voice came out as more of a croak.

"Ep-ep-epoch? What? Yeah. It's over there." Her bare arm came out of the window and pointed at the mound of tarp that Marle was peeking under.

"Are you all set to go?"

"Go? We're going? Going where? And why--" she yawned again, "--why now? Can't we go after breakfast?"

"I suppose. But we should really get going soon. Glenn--"

"Oh yeah," Lucca interjected. "Let me--get ready." She pulled her head back in and closed the window and the shutter, and proceeded to get dressed.

Meanwhile, Crono walked over to the moving lump next to the sleek form of the Epoch and lifted up a corner of the tarp. "Hey, Marle, Lucca says she'll be ready soon."

"She did a pretty good job reassembling the Epoch. I can't even tell that she took it apart." Marle ran her hand across the time machine's hull, feeling for any anomalous lumps or dings.

"I'm going to wait at the front door. You coming?"

"Y-yeah. I'll be right with you."

Crono strolled to the front of the house and took a seat on the lawn, setting down his pack as he sat down. Marle removed the tarp from the Epoch, hurling the canvas sheet in a heap against the back wall. She took a minute to make sure nothing looked out of the ordinary before joining Crono on the lawn.

It was not long before the door opened and Lucca invited them inside. Breakfast was eaten, a few plans were discussed, and they were all on the back lawn again, the sun fully clear of the horizon.

"Time to go, right?" Marle asked.

"Right," Lucca agreed.

"Do we have everything?" Crono inquired.

"I think so," Marle said, checking her pack before throwing it into the back of the cockpit.

"Yup," Lucca nodded, doing the same.

"Then let's do this," Crono stated, hurling his pack in as well, and vaulted into the driver's seat. Marle and Lucca took their places, the canopy closed, and the Epoch raised into cerulean skies only to vanish a moment later in a flash of light. The trio were headed to 600 AD.

--{Trans-Temporal Conduit}--

"600 AD, but did Glenn give us an exact date?" Crono asked, adjusting a lever slightly.

"No, but that's not a problem," Lucca responded. "In taking the Epoch apart, well, some of it, anyway, I've figured out some of how it works."

"Enlighten us," Marle piped in, genuinely interested.

"Well, it seems that the Epoch can only travel to points in time that match the temporal harmonics of a given object, dislodged from its own time, that has some relevance to an event of truly timeflow-altering proportions."

Crono blinked in confusion. "Uh, sure, Lucca. Yeah. That... sounds right, I guess."

"What it means," Lucca smacked Crono in the back of the head, "is that the times we go to are predetermined, sort of, by the effects of a cause. And since time is constantly flowing at different rates, so too are the destinations of the Epoch constantly moving forward irregularly."

Crono shook his head. "I'll have to take your word on that."

"Anyhow, when it comes right down to it, we don't really have a choice in when our destination will be in 600 AD, so either we can help him, or we can't."

"So you're saying we just have to happen to be in the same part of the flow when we get there?" Marle asked.

"That's exactly it."

"So it's all pretty much luck, from here on out," Crono said flatly.


"And the more time we waste, the less chance we have of being in the right time at, well, the right time?" Crono continued.


Crono turned in his seat to address Lucca directly. "In other words, we have no idea on whether we'll make it there or not?"

"Nope. But we'll find out soon. Look. Here we are." Lucca pointed forward, where a hole in the swirling miasma of brilliant colors offered them a view of the town of Truce, roughly four hundred years before their time.

--{600 AD}--

The trio of teenage time travelers surveyed the damage done at Dorino, then directed the Epoch to head straight for Guardia Castle. Their arrival rousted many onlookers from the depths of the castle. They all gathered, pointing and staring at the sky, in the place that Crono had intended to land the Epoch, so he was forced to choose another landing site slightly further away. As they landed, the crowd split, and Glenn hopped towards them through the throng.

"Thou hast made it, mine friends!" he called as the Epoch's canopy hissed open.

"Did we? I was a little worried about that," Lucca replied, fishing her stuff out from behind her seat.

"Glenn! How've you been?" Marle cried, hopping out of the time machine.

"Unwell, madam," Glenn replied sadly. "A demon of a mage has laid waste to the village of Dorino, and intends to do the same to the cathedral the day following the morrow. Security has been bolstered, yet I did not forsee victory shouldst thou not arrive in haste. Yet here thou art. I am gladdened."

Marle gave Glenn a hug, then Glenn walked up to Lucca and kissed her hand, proceeding next to Crono, just emerging from the Epoch, to shake hands. Crono pressed a few buttons, and the Epoch's canopy slid back down. "Anything you can tell us about this guy?"

"Nay, Crono, all information I have hast been imparted to you through the note. The name he claims for himself is Gerard, and his depature was early, so I was unable to glean his reasons for attack. Yet he did make clear his intention to attack the cathedral."

A worried expression crawled over Marle's face. "W-was anyone hurt at Dorino?"

"There were many injuries, yet by some miracle, none were fatally wounded." Glenn grew sullen, and gazed at the ground. "I took the brunt of the knave's attack, and were it not for a strike allowed by luck, mayhaps mine life may have been cut short by his sword." He turned his head southward, in the direction of the ruin of Dorino. "Yet mine efforts were for naught; the town hast been destroyed..."

The crowd behind them began to murmur at hearing Glenn's last statement, most of their comments full of despair. Glenn waved them off and motioned for his friends to follow him. "Come, we shall go to inform the king and queen of thy arrival, and discuss plans to defeat this Gerard."

--{600 AD}--

Crono, Marle, and Lucca were greeted by the royal family, and a feast was laid before them that night. They all ate their fill, but with unusual solemnity, an ominous aura permeating the entire room. Virtually nothing was said until the end of the meal, when the king ordered to have the guests escorted to their rooms for the night. An uneasy sleep was had by all that night, and even the breeze that wafted through the castle halls seemed restless.

The following morning all were awakened and given breakfast early, as Glenn wished to be certain they could still fight as a team. Marle and Lucca focused mainly on practicing their magic, while Crono and Glenn sparred with each other in the courtyard.

It was not until the sun was directly overhead that they were called in for lunch, and told that they were to be departing for the cathedral shortly after. Any plans that they wished to make for the upcoming battle would have to be made while they ate.

"Here is a map of the cathedral and surrounding areas," Glenn explained as he pushed aside a plate of rolls to make room for the parchment he unfolded. "Watches hath been placed here, here, here, and here," he said, pointing two fingers to the sides near each of the corners of the building. "We shall take our places here." He placed one finger directly in front of the front door, not very far from the building. "Shouldst an attack be waged against any side, the message shall be relayed by a signal from the guards. We then move to the place indicated in great haste, to stop the villain before he initiates his attack."

"But, if he attacks from the back, then we might not have time to get there before he starts," Crono added.

"This, too, has been anticipated, and the elite of the Knights of the Square shall be positioned there. They shall at least delay Gerard enough for thee and me to arrive."

"And what about actual battle positions?" Crono asked, gnawing on a piece of jerky.

Glenn grabbed four rolls and set them on the table in pairs, distanced and offset. "Thee and I, Crono, shall take our positions in the front, to draw off some of the attack. Thee two," Glenn nodded to Marle and Lucca, "shall be at our backs to the side, and let magic be thy blade. This evil mage is wily, yes, yet do I doubt that he couldst handle a grouping of four as powerful as we. That the day shall yet be ours is my belief."

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure we'll win," Lucca stated through chewing on a roll. "I mean," she swallowed her current mouthful, "we beat Lavos, after all, right? How tough can one guy be?"

Glenn clapped a hand on her shoulder. "Thou art in the correct spirit, Lucca!"

"And if we don't win?" Marle whispered.

Glenn's countenance underwent a complete change, his shoulders sagged and his eyes looked grim. "Then we shall lose the cathedral, and I know not where he may strike next."


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