Chrono Continuum Chapter 11
In the Beginning
Unknown Time Period
Falling. Falling into eternity. Or is it rising? Is eternity up or down? Sinking. Being enveloped. Where am I? Rakin sat straight up in a rush, panting, and in a cold sweat. His memory of what had just happened was fuzzy, like a bad dream, but he knew that it hadn't been. Everything was dark. Am I dead? He heard a voice in his mind, It helps to open your eyes, Kid. Rakin took the advice, but quickly reversed the process. Upon opening, his eyes had been assaulted as never before. He decided that he'd just rest a little more first. Magus's voice reentered his mind, Well...? What did you see?
Why don't you look yourself, Rakin thought back.
Can't. I'm still unconscious. I was able to contact you because I've got quite a bit of control over all my levels of consciousness. Rakin sighed. It looked like he'd have to do the exploring this time, at least until the wizard woke up. He braced himself and slowly began to pry his eyes open. A bright yellow light invaded his field of vision, and he squinted and lowered his eyebrows to fight it off, refusing to close his eyes. Finally, he felt as if he could bear it, even if he could see nothing through it. He tested that theory out. Still in a sitting position, he looked to his left. Light. He looked to his right. Light. And he sighed. He searched his mind to see if he could feel Magus. He couldn't. The wizard's window of communication had, apparently, closed off. Oh, well. It's not like I can't do anything by myself. He finally decided to stand up. If Magus was here, he probably wasn't dead, so he had to be somewhere. Don't I? He was Timestream Traveling, so he really couldn't be sure of where he was. And Magus wasn't of much help at present. Or is it Past..., or Future? Ah, well, back to standing up.
He brought his torso around so that he was on his hands and knees, and pushed, so that he was only on his knees. It was a simple matter to stand up after that. As he rose to his feet, he slammed his head, hard, on something, and yelled out in pain. He shook his head, and looked up. He couldn't even see what it was that he had hit his head on. He looked around again, hoping to see something now, but to no avail. He sighed. To Rakin's surprise, a voice soon hailed him, "Prince Guardia, what are you doing standing in that tunnel? Come on out of there." Rakin looked around again, this time spotting a slightly less bright area in the light that looked vaguely human.
"Who are you," he yelled in that direction. The voice responded, "No need to yell, Prince. I'm right here... Oh, that's right. You wouldn't recognize me, would you? I must say you look somewhat different yourself. Is that Janus with you? Or, Magus, is it? Well, bring him out with you. I say, why are you squinting? Do you have a headache? No...? Oh, it must be the light. I forgot that it was rather bright. Here, let me fix that." He brought his hands together, and clapped sharply, twice. The light dimmed down instantly. It took a moment for Rakin's eyes to adjust, but not long, because the light didn't leave, merely lessened. It was still just about all he could see. But after adjusting, his eyes took in an amazing sight.
He was in a tunnel of pure, shining, gold. He looked back and couldn't see the other end. It disappeared into yellow. Rakin turned back to his "host". He stood on a golden road that stretched on to a golden platform with a beautiful golden fountain. The water that issued forth from it glowed brightly. On the opposite side of the platform was a grand hall that seemed to stretch on forever, with no end in sight. There was no bridge connecting the hall and the platform as far as Rakin could see. And none of it seemed to be supported by anything at all. The only background was an omnipresent golden glow. Rakin turned his attention back to the man before him.
He was handsome, with dark eyes and sharp eyebrows. Dark hair streamed down slightly past his shoulders. He apparently wore a tuxedo, but a very different one if that was the case. The area that was normally black in such an outfit was so dark that it seemed to obliterate any light that touched it. The "buttons" glowed brightly, the only light that seemed unhindered by the sheer darkness of the suit. Well, Rakin thought. This is interesting. The man held out a hand of invitation toward the central platform. Rakin looked down at the unconscious wizard and sighed. He picked him up and started to carry him toward their well-dressed host. Magus wasn't particularly heavy for a full-grown man, but he was a full grown man, and Rakin was only sixteen. He was already tired by the time he had gotten to the end of the tunnel. The man, seeing Rakin's struggle, took Magus from his arms, and began walking toward the platform, carrying the unconscious wizard easily. Rakin followed him, and didn't quite understand what he meant when the man remarked, "You were a lot stronger when I met you."
Rakin followed the man to the central platform. As they came closer, he just couldn't believe how huge the fountain was. The man (Rakin would really need to find out his name) set Magus down on his back. He then turned to the fountain, and produced a drinking gourd, seemingly out of nowhere. He dipped it into the water of the fountain, took it back out, and poured the glowing liquid onto Magus's lips. Rakin had to admit his aim, because the man had poured the water while standing, quite a distance from Magus's face. Rakin looked down as the wizard's tongue poked between his lips, followed by a groan. His eyes opened slightly, but quickly re-closed. The man gently smacked his forehead and clapped twice, as he had while talking with Rakin. Magus re-opened his eyes, but this time merely blinked a few times. He looked around, and then, with uncanny speed and grace, was up on his feet. He rolled his head in a circle, and a series of cracking, popping sounds resulted. He took a glance at their host and quickly turned his attention to their surroundings. In all of ten seconds he had looked over everything to be seen from there, and, of course, wasn't impressed. It looked to Rakin as if he was memorizing the area. He finally turned to their host.
"And who are you?" The man smiled. He replied in polite tones, "Hello, Janus. Or Magus if you prefer it. I'm sure you don't remember me. But you made quite an impression on me. You were very impressive. Anyway, to answer your question, well, I'm not really allowed to tell you that. It might alter time and such. So I can't tell you who I am. But I can tell you one of my names." Rakin couldn't help but interrupt then, "Names?" Magus came into his mind, somewhat weakly, Don't interrupt, Kid. I'm hunting info. So shut up. Rakin glanced at him and decided to comply. Their host frowned.
"Really, Magus, you mustn't be so hard on the boy. He was only curious." He continued on, paying no attention to their surprised expressions, "Yes, Rakin, I'm known by several names, one of which you might recognize. But I won't tell you that one. It might, uh... affect how well we get along. I have a bad reputation. And no, Magus, you won't be able to try an invasion of my thoughts as I sleep, because I don't." Magus looked agitated for a moment at the apparent invasion of his thoughts, until the man continued, "So, I will give you the name you give to me in what I would guess is your future." Rakin was about to question that, but Magus put his arm out in front of him. Rakin got the point. The man (who here is tired of me calling him "man" and "host"?) took note of it and continued, " Now then, you two, and any others you bring here, may call me Thanatos." He ended with a smile, indicating that he would answer any questions. Magus, always one to get to the point, had one.
"Where, or when are we?" Thanatos rolled his eyes at his forgetfulness. He smiled again, (Rakin could tell it was getting on Magus's nerves) and told them, "Why, my dear, good, fellows. You are at the Beginning of Time." Magus and Rakin looked straight at each other, and then at their surroundings in surprise. They simultaneously thought, The Beginning of Time? Thanatos smiled and reiterated, "Yes, The Beginning of Time. Oh, and those things people say have been around since the beginning of time? There are only one or two cases of that actually happening. Well, actually, since the end of the Beginning of Time is when those things came about." Rakin spoke, "Well, we mainly didn't expect it to be so... colorful... is all."
"Well, if you're thinking about the End of Time, then consider this: Wouldn't the Beginning be the opposite of the End?" Rakin couldn't argue with that. Magus didn't try.
"What's that hall over there," he asked, pointing to the grand hall, that still didn't seem to have any connection with the main platform, once again displaying his incredible talent for changing the subject. Thanatos turned toward it and asked, "Oh, that hall? Nothing much." He could see both by Rakin's and Magus's expressions that such an answer wouldn't cut it. He sighed.
"Very well. That's the Hall of Counting. There, your life and times are recorded there, as are everyone else's. My guess, however, is that whatever is there, you're not supposed to see it." Rakin could see that Magus wasn't about to abide by that logic.
"Well," the wizard began, "we wouldn't want to see our own futures. That way lies dependence and obsession. What I want to do is find out how this whole situation got started, and if there are any Travelers who can help us out. That's all." Thanatos seemed to consider it. A sigh signaled that he had given up.
"Alright, fine. I'll take you. But first, whose life would you like to see? You have to have a little knowledge of when and where before you can learn anything." This didn't sit well with Rakin.
"What do you mean we have to know when and why? Isn't that what we're trying to find out?" He looked to Magus, who shook his head, and responded, "No, Kid, it's a research and info. center, not a Hall of Infinite Knowledge. We have to know what we're looking for. Given that, we should search for information on how our fellow Travelers are faring. Specifically, let's check on... Lucca. She's probably back in the Timestream already, knowing her." Rakin nodded. He realized that it might be wise to check if other, more experienced Travelers were around. Thanatos nodded, somehow knowing which Lucca they were speaking of. He walked to the edge of the platform closest to the Hall, and waited there. Rakin and Magus soon moved to join him. Thanatos clapped, and the section of platform they were on separated, without so much as a sound or warning, from the main body. Thanatos sighed.
"Lucca it is, then." And the platform shot off into the Hall.
"Knowledge is Power."
Note from the Author: Hey, does anyone out there know the significance of the name "Thanatos"? Or, for that matter, "Janus"? Or "Melichior, Gaspar, and Balthasar? (Belthasar to some) The gurus are the names of the three wise men that came to Jesus. These names are also used in the Squaresoft game "Xenogears". Janus is the (Greek, or is it Roman) god of Beginnings and Endings. (And doors, believe it or not.) Please don't look up "Thanatos". Really. If I found out that anyone has, I'll just come up with a plot twist, or cut out any foreshadowing (hints for you non-readers out there) that might have anything to do with him. Oh, and check out the "Chrono Trigger Research Institute" (CTRI) web site. (or is it page) It has some great stuff, about time travel, and on character names. Whoops. I gotta sleep. Pardon any spelling errors in this chapter on the basis of sleepiness.
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