"No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all."
- Drizzt Do'Urden (Book: 'Streams of Silver' Forgotten Realms, by R.A. Salvatore)
Given everything Jacious had learned about friendship, he never knew it could be a temporary thing. He stared at Lucca after her comment, rather perplexed by whatever reasoning she had used. For now? He kept a firm grip on her hand, though their shake of peace had ended, You make it sound like we're at war and this is a temporary truce.
Luccas eyes narrowed slightly and a manipulative grin slid onto her face. It all rides on you, my friend.
The way she said friend didnt make Jacious feel any better than before. In fact, he felt like he made the worst decision of his life. He took back his hand slowly as if afraid she might attack in response to sudden movement. Umm. Okay. He looked up the road and saw it was empty, I think Aylas pretty far ahead of us. Should we wait for her to come back or try to catch up?
Lucca frowned and looked up the path as well. She's probably already there. She'll get annoyed if she has to wait too long.
Jacious nodded knowingly, Oh yeah. In the game if you took your time and faced the monsters on the path when you first met Ayla, then she'd complain. He began walking in the direction of Mystic Mountains once again, We'd better not keep her.
She's an... impatient one, Lucca said, walking slightly behind and to his right.
Jacious thought of all the creatures hed seen when he first reached the cave. I just hope there aren't too many monsters, though something tells me she'll have no trouble. There was silence for a few minutes. It was uncomfortable, and even though their feet made scrunching sounds on the rocky dirt path, he swore it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. Feeling rather uncomfortable, Jacious said, So what do we do if this will be Earthbound Village?
Also uncomfortable, Lucca walked with her hands clasped in front of her. I dunno. Not sure if we even really need to do anything.
Jacious remained silent before he spoke again, rather deeply. History will repeat itself like a river, and you never step into the same river twice...it feels weird coming back here, like something in the back of my mind. The Earthbound village feels a bit more important to me now.
Lucca stared along the side of the mountains as they approached, Well, you could have deeper ties to this place than you realize... if your origin is how you believe.
He nodded, True...I did tell you I am half Zealot and half Earthbound, right? Unfortunately, I dont remember much. I remember only a small bit of Zeal... but it doesn't matter, I was a different person then.
Lucca wondered just what awaited them, and for some reason Jacious words stuck in her mind. Guess we'll see what happens, then.
After a few more minutes they finally reached the outside of the cave. Ayla was leaning against the rock, her arms crossed across her chest, looking at them blankly. Hope you talk. We no afford bickering while in cave. Ayla frowned at Lucca, then turned her eyes to Jacious. And Ayla not want to hear fighting. She get enough of that from village children.
Jacious tone was calm, as if he hadnt a care in the world. Don't worry. You won't hear a peep from us. So, he bowed slightly, making an inviting gesture to the cave, shall we, ladies? Our adventure awaits.
Lucca was fuming at Ayla's words. She muttered, Stupid... and stayed at the back of the group, letting Ayla and Jacious take the lead.
As Jacious followed behind Ayla, he took more notice of the cave than before. He crossed his arms in front of him as if to keep him from being cold. Something was gnawing in his mind, and he couldnt place it. Funny, I was so busy kicking ass, I didn't pay much attention my first time through here.
Lucca maintained a large fireball in her left hand, lifted overhead. It cast a bright light throughout the cave. The light allowed her a better chance to examine her surroundings. She noted that the cave was dripping with moisture, but was too freshly formed to have stalactites or stalagmites. In fact, a large part of the wall appeared to be loose dirt and rocks, and the three realized it could cave in very easily. Lucca nodded, quietly, the reason for the cave-in explained.
Jacious was also looking about, though not as closely as Lucca. He took glances from side to side, not really understanding the rocks around him, having never studied geology. He just enjoyed the color and the atmosphere, though something about the cave continued to nag at him. Anyway, Ayla, after a few more minutes, we'll be in the main chamber of the cave. That's where the monster was, and it's pretty high. There's some light coming in from the top where the creature attempted to escape.
Lucca continued making mental notes. The shape of the cave implied it wasn't dug, but was formed through geological disturbance. As she proceeded into the cave, it grew cold and the wall became igneous rock, including a beautiful pink granite. Yeah. We're going right under the surface, all the way to the top of the mountain.
Ayla nodded, inhaling deeply of the cave odors. Jacious and Lucca smelled nothing but dirt and moisture, but they were aware that Ayla's sense of smell was considerably better. Ayla didnt indicate if anything was 'off' though. Jacious smiled, observing the change in the cave. He took it as any tourist would. So, it's not too bad eh? He rubbed his arms lightly, though it was not unbearably cold for him, How you holding up back there Lucca?
He looked over his shoulder at her. However, Lucca was still too busy studying the rock formations. In reply she simply nodded vaguely to his question. Jacious looked forward again, enjoying the colors of the caves wall. This place... In explanation, he said to Ayla, We should be coming on the main chamber soon enough. Enjoying it, Ayla? It's an interesting place for sure.
Ayla nodded, still rather absorbed in her own studies. She wasnt looking at the walls, but instead was peering straight down the corridor, still sniffing the air heavily. Finding the actions of the cavewoman strange, Jacious lifted a finger into the air, Ayla, don't tell me you never sniffed cave air before? It's stale and cool, and nothing to be too interested in.
Not cave... She stopped, and dug around in her loincloth. Apparently, she had more secret pouches in there than anyone would think. How she could hide stuff in so little clothing, though, left much to the imagination. Jacious turned around with a red face. She pulled out a small shiny red stone the size of a ping pong ball, which she held to her nose and inhaled sharply. Nodding, she replaced the stone in the pouch and turned to Lucca and Jacious. Dreamstone heavy here.
Despite his worries about seeing where Ayla stored her belongings, Jacious turned back around, his face more of surprise than shock, even though he was the one who thought of it. Dreamstone!
Lucca was just as surprised, What?
For some reason, the part of the brain that had been gnawing at Jacious finally found a point of entry and invaded. Jacious stared off into space, a vision appearing in his mind. A woman was holding his hand as they entered a cave lit by torches. The air was slightly stale but mixed with that of hard work and a slight breeze from outside. The woman, who had brown hair and deep green eyes, looked down to him. Do you know where we are, Jacious?
Jacious shook his head, looking around with curious eyes, his thumb stuck nervously in his mouth. The woman smiled and looked around, This is where your mommy was born. Earthbound village. This is where a lot of Zeal's Dreamstone came from when it first was formed.
The boy pouted, This place smells funny, and it's not as pretty.
The woman shook her head, I know, sweetie, but home is where your heart is. I had to show you where I was born, and I had put it off...It hasn't been safe for us to even leave the palace walls.
The boy blinked, Maybe its not so bad, mommy. Can we get something to eat?
His vision turned white as the flashback ended, and he heard the womans voice fading out as she laughed heartily, Yes we can, but we can't be out too long. Your father worries.
Lucca waved an anxious hand in front of his face. Jacious? Jacious, are you okay? Jacious blinked and came to, leaning himself against the cave wall, I see...so I have been here before. He shook himself from his thoughts, Huh? What? Yeah, yeah I'm good. He cleared his throat and stood on his own two feet, Just thinking that's all.
Lucca was looking rather anxious, That was some pretty deep thinking. You sure you're okay?
Jacious gave a light smile. He appeared to be glowing in the emotional sense. Yeah, I just had a flashback. I came here when I was a child. My Earthbound mother brought me here. Lucca made a confused face while Ayla has continued down the path, reaching the main chamber. Err, I'll tell ya later. Ayla got bored again. He rushed down the path, leaving Lucca to her own devices. Still confused, she followed.
Ayla, in the large room, was running her fingers along the walls and occasionally sniffing them as she drew them away from the surface. She was making a circuit around the room. Jacious stood near the entrance, watching her closely, I see...she's hunting. He looked around the room with a smile, Hey Lucca, do you remember all those rooms in Earthbound Village?
Lucca was standing by Jacious, watching Ayla idly. Yeah, I do. Why? Ayla stopped some distance around the room, and began scratching at the walls.
Jacious was practically beaming, This is the room. My mother was born in one of the rooms that will be built here and then she'll meet my father.
Lucca found herself happy he had found a bit of his past. One day... She noticed Ayla was digging at the wall, and nodded to Jacious, We should go help her. Come on!
Right ahead of you. He jogged up to Ayla and offered her a dashing smile. Mind if we help you?
Ayla turned to grin at them, body covered with mud and sand. She had already managed to dig a decent-sized hole. Pull up sleeves and dig! Something big here! She dove back into the earth, tossing dirt aside like a mole. Lucca shrugged, and never afraid to get dirty, she pulled up her sleeves and settled in beside Ayla, clearing away the chunks of earth the cavewoman dislodged.
Jacious thought about using some magic to clear the way but thought better of it when he remembered the earlier cave in. Umm...alright. I guess magic wouldnt be safe here anyway. With a sigh he began tearing at the wall near the hole Ayla had dug out and used the softer earth to start a dig of his own.
Fortunately, the dirt was soft, and they progressed rapidly. About three feet in, Ayla squealed excitedly, Oh! Look! Look! Ayla find it! Ayla gingerly brushed the last bit of dirt from a flat, crystalline surface just barely revealed. What they saw was just a tiny part of a very large whole. It seemed to glow, though weakly, with a reddish inner light.
Jacious stared, his jaw threatening to fall off, Oh my....is that what I think it is? A small smile formed on his face. I knew we were here for a reason. I knew this was a mine! He performed a small victory dance. I knew it! I knew it!
Lucca laughed with the thrill of the discovery, and Jacious' reaction. Ayla, you're amazing!
Ayla rubbed her nose, pleased. She was so covered with dirt you can't tell what color her skin was. I call villagers here. We dig, we find much more.
Jacious nodded, excitement gleaming in his eyes. You bet you will. I don't know what you'll do with all that Dreamstone, but youll find something!
Ayla reached in to give the Dreamstone a curious touch, but drew her hand away with a sharp, "OUCH!" as a tiny bolt of electricity arced from it to her finger.
Oh god, are you okay? Lucca rushed to Aylas side, who was nursing her hand, wringing it, clenching and releasing her fist. By this time, Jacious had stopped his victory dance and rushed to Ayla and Lucca. He was unprepared for what happened next. Lucca grasped Ayla's wrist to see the damage, but at her first touch, another jolt of electricity shot from Ayla to her. Augh!
Ayla pulled away, shocked. Ayla... Ayla full of electricity...
Jacious looked between the two. Ayla...she has magic? To Lucca, he asked, You alright? You got a good hit there. To Ayla, he commented, It does appear you've gotten a little gift now.
Lucca nursed her hand, and turned to Ayla, Jacious may be right.
Jacious found himself pondering. So is this how Magic came to be? Dreamstone was the start of it all, but it happened so fast it seems. At least Luccas being honest with herself.
What IS this stuff? Lucca peered intently at the dimly glowing stone, but seemed none too eager to touch it.
Jacious seemed to have an answer. Remember Belthasar's books in his secret chamber?
Ayla, meanwhile, was touching various things and enjoying the fireworks. She seemed not to be able to produce anything worse than the shock from a nine volt battery. Lucca turned her attention back to Jacious. What about them?
Jacious scratched his head, There was a book. I don't remember the exact wording, but it had to do with man finding a rare red rock...from it love and hate were born. He could have been referencing Zeal and Earthbound.
Lucca turned back to Ayla, her mind contemplating that thought, Maybe...
And this... this has to be energized Dreamstone. Unrefined and the first to be touched by man.
Lucca frowned. Ioka is so peaceful, so content... humans don't fight each other, except for sport... and now, with this... they will discover power and greed.
Jacious watched Ayla, sadly. Look how excited she is...I feel sick all of a sudden.
She nodded. And to think... After all this, Ayla becomes the first human with magical powers.
Jacious continued the thought. I wonder how the others will react...Imagine what people will do when they get powers of their own. She's seen what we can do, but what will she want to do herself?
Lucca shook her head. Somehow, I think she'll always rely on muscles. She sighed. Is this the downfall of humanity, or the great beginning?
Jacious shrugged, Let's put it this way...if this hadn't happened, I might not have been born, or if I was, I might not be who I am now. Remember, I have magic, but my mother was Earthbound. Therefore, my father must have been of Zeal.
Lucca didnt argue. She had no reason to. In any case... the next stage in human evolution begins here, now... with us.
That caught Jacious off guard. With us? What do you mean by that? Aren't we done here yet? He kept his eyes on Ayla as he spoke with Lucca. Not that I'm complaining.
Ayla, having overcome her initial fascination with her new powers, was instead focusing on NOT shocking everything she touched. Though slow going, she seemed to be getting the knack for controlling it. Lucca was proud of her development. Not us directly... well maybe, yeah... I... I dunno. Just that we're here. We're here, at the beginning, and we saw and influenced it all. Is all time a reflection of our actions? The fact that we can influence the tides of history so easily... without even knowing it sometimes... does that make us gods? She trailed off, quietly.
Jacious only shrugged. So what if it does? Man can not survive without help. He was unsure what to say, But who are we to say this was done without knowledge. God...entity...whatever you call it. This might be in his little plan, and we're merely being used.
Placing a hand on her hip, Lucca smiled wanly. Or we ourselves could be the entity, and not even know it.
Jacious remembered the innumerable debates back on Earth about the existence of God. True. Is man his own god? That's a rather philosophical question.
And rather more than I'm willing to argue right now... she sighed.
True. Shall we leave this time? I really don't see a reason we would be needed unless you want to give people who barely understand half of what we say a crash course on magic. To strengthen his statement, Jacious gave a quick point of his thumb over to Ayla who was holding a rock in her hand. The rock glowed red as she tried to incinerate it.
Lucca shook her head quickly. I don't have the patience... besides, I think they'd be better served figuring it out on their own.
My thoughts exactly. Hey, we really can agree on stuff can't we? He gave a small smirk and patted Lucca on the back.
Lucca tensed up under his touch, and shot him a dangerous look, Thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot I'm supposed to be abrasive and bitchy.
Jacious immediately stepped back, holding his hands up. Hey, I was just kidding okay? Friendly tease? Joking? Note: Tread softly, and be prepared to Run Like Hell.
Lucca began laughing. Jeez, I can make you dance, can't I?
Jacious laughed back, softly. True, but I dance pretty well I think. Gee, I should have seen that coming.
Lucca shrugged, keeping a knowing smile, Well enough not to embarrass yourself, I guess.
Well you weren't so bad yourself. After a pause, It was rather fun. You didn't step on my feet at all. Oh crap. Forgot to stay quiet.
She cocked her head, with an evil smile, Well, I'd hate not to live up to your expectations. She retorted, giving Jacious foot a light stomp.
He forced a smile, ignoring her little action. Well you're doing great so far. Maybe I should raise them a little. She's not doing a good job being friendly....
Lucca kept the sarcasm in her voice, And disappoint you? I say keep em' low.
Jacious kept the same tone, You're right. I really would hate being disappointed. He looked into her eyes, So we should say our goodbyes to Ayla, shouldn't we?
Lucca looked away. She seemed dissatisfied with something. That we should.
Jacious noticed her action and decided to investigate. Okay, what's wrong now? You don't look too happy with something.
Ayla, noticing their eyes on her, dropped the rock she was heating in her new electro-grip (tm) and quickly jogged to their side. Lucca ignored him and took Aylas approach as the perfect distraction. Ayla... it's time for us to go again.
Taking the hint, Jacious gave Ayla a small bow of the head, Yeah. Sorry for cutting things short, but we have a mage to visit.
Ayla nodded, her face bright with this newfound gift. Yes, Ayla know. This beginning of something big, yes? Now Ayla knows a little how Crono feels. It is good but Ayla worry a bit about future... her life now with new cave, new responsibility new friend. She offered her hand to Jacious.
Jacious gave her a full smile and took her hand with a firm grip. Most definitely. I hope the strands of time don't keep us too far apart, Ayla. Jacious noticed only a slight tingle from Ayla's grasp. He knew she had indeed learned quickly.
Ayla smiled, I know I see you and Lucca again. I hope you see result of our efforts here when next you return. Lucca and Ayla shared no more words; instead, a long hug expressed what need not be said. Wiping tears from their eyes, they turned from each other. Ayla stay here for a while and plan how to explain to village... you go. And be safe. She half-turned to offer a piercing, knowing look to Jacious. Take care of her. With that, she strode off into the depths of the chamber.
Jacious chuckled, trying not to keep the mood tense, realizing the weight of what Ayla had commanded. That's Ayla for you. Always thinking of her village. Take care of Lucca? I just got here, and it's like she expects me to look after her...strange thought. Lucca doesn't need me. We're supposed to be acting like friends, and its' far from that. He turned to Lucca, You alright? I guess it's hard to say goodbye again.
Lucca sniffed. Her voice was husky and she sounded on the edge of tears, but didnt let them escape. Let's go. We've got stuff to do.
Unsure how to comfort her, Jacious acted casual. Alright... you can cry, you know, if you need to. I won't laugh.
She shook her head but said nothing, and quickly walked from the chamber and out of the cave, never letting him get beside or in front of her. She wiped her eyes occasionally, but made no sound. By the time they reemerged into the sunlight, she seemed composed and turned to smile at Jacious. The Epoch awaits. Maybe we'll find some answers...in 12,000 BC.
Jacious raised an eyebrow, rather surprised with her sudden turnaround. Yeah, 12,000BC minus the years since... She's already so calm, or appears to be...Lucca Ashtear just how much do you keep bottled up inside?