Chrono Continuum Chapter 57
The True Threat
"Do you know something," Marle asked Thanatos desperately.
"I'd say that's an understatement," he replied, "but I have some information you might be interested in. Or, perhaps I should say Dalton does."
As one, everyone turned to look at him, with questioning looks on their faces. He blinked once, and told them all bluntly, "I think Valiod is already dead."
There was a collective gasp, followed by Corea asking, "How do you know?"
Dalton shifted uncomfortably. "Well, ever since he brought me and the other Hellbound back to the world of the living, we've had a sort of bond. He was what had brought us back, so we were connected to him in fundamental ways. We couldn't read eachother's minds, unless we were close to eachother, but we could usually sense eachother's emotions. You'd be surprised how much of the time he was completely cold to anything.
"But, starting a while ago, when Janus began his narration, I suddenly felt something twisting in my gut. When the pain wore off, I took stock of myself to see if I was all in one piece... Literally. I was afraid the Hell Rot might have started to become serious. But nothing had happened to my body. And then I noticed that something was missing. The part of my mind that was shared with Valiod, whether I had wanted it to or not, was now quiet. No more emotions that I wasn't having were being forced on me. As far as I knew, that would only happen were he to die.
"I didn't realize until just then how much of a strain it was to separate his subconscious from mine sometimes. I think it also affected my magical strength. If my disconnection to him doesn't affect me in any negative ways, my magic should be more useful to you in the future."
"How do you think it could affect you," Melchior asked.
Dalton raised his four-fingered hand to his chin in thought. And, to everyone's surprise, the hand fell from the wrist. Dalton looked down at the hand on the floor. No blood leaked out from the base of it. "I'd say something like the rate of Hell Rot increasing."
He bent over and picked up the hand, and walked out of the cabin. Probably to burn it, Hotwire thought.
"Janus," Lucca asked, "if Valiod were dead, wouldn't the time stream have returned to normal by now?"
Janus began to nod, but stopped, and thought carefully. "It would... Unless someone else in the Kingdom had the power to maintain the Kingdom's Time Bubble. And I don't know how that would be possible. Valiod had some peculiar powers that no one else could figure out, and the Time Bubble maintenance was one of them."
"What were some of the other abilities," Gaspar asked. "Perhaps I know of someone with similar powers."
Janus thought for a moment or two. "Well, there's the Time Bubble... There's the ability to halt the aging process... He had the ability to possess other people's bodies..."
"Excuse me," Melchior cut in, "You mean he kept slaves?"
Janus shook his head. "No, he possessed bodies. He drove the soul out of them, I believe, or possibly simply repressed their minds. But through some process, he was able to take anyone, and after some procedures that I never witnessed, he would live inside the body, making sure to stop its aging process before-hand. This way, if a body of his caught a disease, or was assassinated, he could simply move to another body. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I ever did see his true body. It could very well be that he wasn't human at all, and simply took over human hosts."
"Anything else," asked Marle.
"Well... He gained all of the special abilities of the one he possessed, unless he already had that particular ability. And he only possessed men's bodies. Never a woman's. Although you could say that in a way, he possessed many women's bodies... But not through his power of possession."
"Why so many women," Lucca asked, fighting down a slight blush, "didn't he have a queen of some sort?"
Janus shook his head. "No. He never seemed interested in romance, or even friendship. It was all about sex with him. Several times I caught his eye on my wife, but he respected that I had chosen her for a wife, and left her alone... I think. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure if he did leave her alone."
"All about sex, eh," Gaspar wondered aloud. "Perhaps as if he was trying to mate?"
Janus nodded. "Yes, actually. He talked about offspring constantly, and how his children would rule the universe. But he never impregnated a woman."
"That settles it then," Lucca announced. "He was almost certainly human. Lavoids are asexual. They don't need mates to reproduce more of their kind. But here's the question: Why is his name an anagram for Lavoid? I doubt that it's coincidental."
"He like Lavos," Ayla suddenly announced. Everyone had forgotten she was even in the room. "Lavos never think about things like love, or hate. He only think about making babies, like Valiod. And Lavos took people like Valiod, too. He took Zeal, remember?"
Janus blinked in surprise. "My mother? She was possessed by Lavos? No wonder... Things make a lot more sense now... Come to think of it, I do remember Lavos vaguely, but I didn't recognize the term Lavoid."
"She's right," agreed Marle. "So, perhaps he's related to Lavos somehow. Perhaps he's a mutated form of one of Lavos' offspring?"
Lucca shook her head. "I'm pretty sure that Lavos wouldn't waste his precious energy on making a deformed offspring. Remember, he wasn't even able to make all that many offspring in the first place. And even if he could, I'm not sure Lavos would. Why bother?"
Gaspar nodded. "Agreed. Besides, Valiod would be much more powerful than he was, if Lavos had birthed him. But he definitely has Lavoid-like qualities... Perhaps there was an indirect link? Perhaps Lavos didn't directly give birth to Valiod... But Lavos had shown remarkable skill in warping the natural world to suit his needs. And he was intelligent enough to plan ahead, possibly even glancing into the future to see what he chances of survival were. If he knew of his defeat beforehand, perhaps he'd done something to ensure that some small part of him would survive. Perhaps he had mutated a baby, possibly while it was still in the womb."
Lucca nodded. "Or maybe he possessed a man, and got him to mate with every woman he could find, until they successfully had a child."
"Or a woman," Janus announced, staring off into space.
"What," asked Gaspar.
"You said yourselves that my mother had been possessed by him. Why not use her, if he already had her. She was very powerful, magically, and her children had been even more potential power than she. Perhaps Lavos counted on that fact, and assumed that every child she had would be powerful."
"But Valiod was male," Gaspar countered. "Doesn't that suggest that Lavos' power resides in men, and not women?"
Janus shook his head. "Valiod was male, but he was also unable to reproduce, no matter how much he tried, and he tried enough times to father an army. And, from what I know, Lavos wasn't one to waste energy. It makes sense that my mother gave birth to Valiod, meaning that he'd be... my brother."
Lucca shook her head. "But that doesn't necessarily prove anything. This is all speculation. 'If' this and 'maybe' that."
Janus looked her in the eyes. "When I was first brought to him, the first thing he did was look into my eyes. And then I felt something in my head. Him. He was probing my mind. Physically, I couldn't do anything, so I did the only thing I could do. I tried to will him out. 'Get out of my head,' I thought. Almost immediately, he pulled out. I soon realized that he had indeed heard my thoughts. Now I don't know how much you all know about telepathy and mind-reading, but they're two very different things. Mind-reading involves reading memories, and it's not terribly rare for a magic-user to be able to use it.
"But telepathy is something entirely different. It's very rare, even among magic-users, who are the most likely to have the ability. Also, there has to be a connection between the two minds, whether it is known to each of them or not. It could be similarity of purpose, similarity of intelligence, if high, similarity of magical ability, if high, or similarity of genetics. So, family members are likely to be able to communicate to eachother, if the ability is known to them. Furthermore, telepathy is commonly a family trait, passed on to children. My mother was telepathic, as were my sister and I.
"Our purposes weren't similar at all, at the time. And, if he is, as you say, half-Lavoid, then his intelligence could very well surpass my own now, let alone our relative intelligence when I was a child. I knew as soon as I saw him that his magical ability was radically different from my own, and possibly much more powerful. The only option left is the similarity of our genetics, which supports both the idea that he could telepathically communicate with me, and the idea that he could have gained the ability from his parents, one of whom being my mother, who also had the ability."
"But, who was his father," Hotwire asked. No one had an answer for that. There was no evidence of that sort at all.
"Well," Lucca announced, "We're relatively certain of whom his mother was. And this was a very revealing discussion, but we still don't know who's maintaining the Time Bubble."
"Yes," Gaspar agreed, "Perhaps you should continued telling us his abilities, Janus."
Janus nodded in agreement. "Well, along with the abilities I've already mentioned, he could warp time. I was present during part of the time he was trying to kill Lucca, Rakin, Gaspar, and Corea, by sending his magic to the End of Time. Fortunately for you, however, he lost track of all of you after that first attempt, and hasn't been able to find your exact location since. That's why he hasn't attacked you again, while you're defenseless in gates.
"The only other ability I can think of was his ability to disguise himself. However, it was a flimsy disguise, and could easily be seen through by magic. But it would fool the naked eye."
Hotwire's eyebrows lowered in thought. 'Naked' eye, she thought. She jumped up from her seat. "I know who's maintaining the Bubble!" When no one responded, she told them. "Lauren... I mean, Parsa!"
Janus raised an eyebrow. "Parsa? When I last saw her, she was a slave whom Valiod much enjoyed the company of in private... and sometimes not quite in private... How do you know of her?"
Marle spoke up. "She seduced my husband by making him think she was me. I still don't know why. She was so pleased with herself, like that act alone had defeated us. And then she said that she was pregnant..."
Janus gasped. "Pregnant?" When Marle nodded, Janus' jaw locked. "I think Christina might be right. If Parsa has the ability to disguise herself... Did she use magic?"
Marle nodded again. "Why?"
"Because, that would mean that Valiod probably gave her his powers. But he wasn't interested in having an equal by his side, or anything like that. So, there was another reason behind what he did."
Lucca turned pale. "Uh oh..."
"What," Corea asked. "What's wrong? What's the significance behind Valiod giving her powers?"
"It's very bad," Marle told her, realizing the consequences as well. "She said herself that she had tried to seduce Rakin, and when that failed, she succeeded with Crono. The end result was that she ended up becoming pregnant with the child... or children, of one of the most powerful among us."
"Now, we don't claim to know everything about all of this," Gaspar interjected, "But if Parsa was given powers, and then sent to mate, then the goal might have been for her to have children with those powers."
"Even worse," Lucca announced, "The goal might have been to create new Lavoids."
Do you not get it old man. I am not your son, GODS HAVE NO FATHERS!!!
- Ian, from The Loss, by Gasper S. Keltner
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