Ill Tides Prelude
By Average Joe
A quiet man in his mid-twenties perched on a boulder on a beach east of the city of Truce. He sat facing towards the horizon, into the rising sun, feeling the cool morning breeze throw the salty spray from the waves into his face. The scent of the sea and the relentless splashing of the surf against the sand sent the man into a meditative state hours before, and his eyes had been closed since he sat down in the predawn mist.
Off in the distance, a spiky haired boy played with a stick as if it were a sword, dashing, slashing, parrying and thrusting in an intense match with his shadow. He was not adept at practicing on rocky shores, but they were the closest secluded place he could practice alone. His red mane bobbed up and down as he hopped about, a glossy sheen beginning to show on his forehead. As the sweat rolled down into his eye the boy reached to wipe it, and was caught unaware as a freak ocean swell smashed into him from behind, dashing him against the rocks.
The large wave smashed into the base of the rock where the meditative man sat motionless, bathing him in sea foam. When the wave receded his eyes snapped open, and he hopped off the crag and into the stiff, wet sands. The boy lay at his feet, an open wound on the side of his head, blood seeping onto the shore. He propped the youth up against the precipice that he had been resting on, and pulled a length of bandage from a large satchel at his hip.
After wrapping the bandage around the child's wounded skull, he placed his hand on the bloodstained area of the cloth and whispered a few words. The boy started to stir, so the man placed a strong hand on one shoulder, holding him in place.
"Stay put, boy. You're not healed yet."
"Huh?" The boy's head shook and his eyes fluttered open, revealing the emerald irises beneath.
"I said don't move. So don't." His voice held an icy tone, and the boy was compelled to listen.
The green-eyed boy squinted at him warily, trying to figure out who he was. The man looked to be in his mid-twenties, and wore loose fitting, travelworn brown clothes. His facial features were sharp and precise, his eyes a dark greyish-silver. His dark brown hair looked to have been recently cropped with a sword; it was uneven all around. No one familiar.
"No one important, for now," the man interjected. "What's your name, boy?"
The boy shook his head a little, then wrung out some water from a soaked shirt sleeve. "I'm Crono."
"Well, Crono, perhaps you should head home after you rest a bit." The unknown Samaritan stood, drawing himself up to, what was to the reclining young Crono, an astoundingly impressive height, a warm smile on his lips but a soulless look in his eye. "And perhaps you should look into getting real training with a sword." He then swiftly turned on his heel, and started to walk off.
"Hey--!" Crono called out.
At this the man halted, half turning his head. "Don't worry, young Crono, we'll meet again. Just remember to hold onto that bandage; you may need it next time. Fate leads the blind, not the weak and the stupid." He then let out a quiet, icy chuckle, as if he just told some cruel joke, and walked off.
"What an odd story," a young woman commented, brushing a few locks of blond hair from in front of her eyes as she sat down next to an older Crono.
"Hey, that's how it happened," he shrugged.
"Or at least how you remember it this time," a second girl, one with lavender hair and large glasses shot back playfully, rolling her eyes. "As I recall," she made a thoughtful pose, placing one finger neatly below her chin, "last time you said you were out there fishing, and that he had to have been at least ten feet tall. This time you say you were practicing swordplay with a stick and he was fifteen feet tall. Next time," she smirked, "you're gonna say you were walking on your hands while writing a book with your feet and he breathed through a straw 'cause his head stuck out of the atmosphere." She inhaled sharply, slightly out of breath from the long sentence.
"C'mon, Lucca," Crono tilted his head at the purple-haired teen, "you're the one who told me to tell that story to Marle." Crono placed an arm around the blonde's waist, and she slid a little closer.
Marle, however, only looked up at Crono's headband. "So that's really how you got it, huh?"
Crono looked down at her and nodded.
"I kinda wondered about that." She then turned her gaze upon the dying campfire, picked up a nearby stick, and poked at a piece of firewood, which promptly fell apart, sending up a shower of sparks from the dying embers.
"Fire's almost out. Lucca...?" Marle left the request unsaid, because all three of them knew what she inferred.
"Nyeh. G'night." Lucca hopped off of the stump that she had been sitting on and crawled into her bedroll behind it.
"Yeah," Marle sighed. "I suppose we should be getting some sleep, too." She stuck her hand out towards the fire and chanted a few words. Small chunks of ice appeared over the flames and were quickly melted by the heat. The moisture put out most of the fire, but, just to be sure, another spell was cast, leaving a few chunks of ice in the firepit to drown out any remaining traces of heat by morning.
"Y'know," Crono yawned, "that just makes it harder to light the fire in the morning."
Marle strove to stifle a yawn herself. "Don't worry about it," she replied, not altogether succesful. "I'm sure Lucca can do it." She gave him a kiss on the cheek and crawled over to her own bedroll.
"Yeah," Crono said absentmindedly. He stared at the myriad stars for a moment, running his hand over his ear to feel the white bandanna before crawling into his own bedroll and falling asleep.
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