I, Magus: Memoirs of a Prophet Chapter 4
By Dawn Wilkins
...Time is like a river, flowing mainly in one rushed mindless current. Looking at the situation in that one-dimensional light, how can I possibly succeed? For surely I will meet my defeatunimaginable is the power of Lavos. I lived here once...What a different person I was! Ah, but now I am prepared. Prepared, yes with...Knowledge. Power. Foresight. Ah, toss these into the timestream and witness what ripplesindeed, what new currents!it shall entail...
Magus lifted his head.
Light could not enter the secretive chamber, this secluded Library of Valor. Only his pitiful lamp produced any illuminance and that light seemed to only enhance the predominant darkness. Cold and damp, filled with bookshelves brimming innumerable ancient tomes, still, it was a perfect choice for privacy. The former prince had found little of that in these last few weeks, even less sleep. Queen Zeal, his dear mother kept the whole of Project Ocean Palace busy. It exhausted him to no end but the charade proved useful twicefoldhe could monitor the progress of the Mammon Machine and he could learn more to avert the fall of Zeal.
A gloved hand pushed up the self-professed prophet and he noted dully that the hardwood table had left an impression on his cheek. He blinked, yawned, and rubbed duo fire- violet eyes. Absentmindedly Magus mopped up a pool of drool, amazed at how long hed been asleep...mid-afternoon, as far as he could assert. Straightened, his eyes focused.
And fell on an identical set.
Or semi-identical anyway.
I doubt Janus has yet encountered the misfortune that alters him so drastically. It felt peculiar to speak of himself in such a manner. He, the enigmatic prophet, a foreign god, thrown to the winds by fate and made to endure the years of his youth. Fate handed you its injustices; Magus was determined to bend it to his own devices. Using himself? Could that be considered mental cannibalism?
Taking a nap? sneered the blue-haired prince. As always, condescending.
Hes an arrogant bastard. We have entirely too much in common!
Casting his gaze about mildly, the Prophet replied, I was...resting my eyes.
Uh, huh. Again, a haughty smirk.
Narrowing crimson-lavender eyes, Magus concentrated the full of his glare upon his younger self. The dank chamber, in all its textual glory, contained so much knowledge...and, yet, this child, this bloody, arrogant child, would amass information that is staggering. It would make the wisdom inside the decrepit pages that lay before him seem as tears to the ocean.
Its late, Janus. Shouldnt you be in bed? innocently, or not so innocently, inquired Magus.
As anticipated, Janus bristled. He had such a delicate ego. Really too easy to bruise. I go and come as I pleaseAnd thats Prince Janus to you.
I was such a brat, mused Magus, his smile sardonic.
With that, his royal highness perused the chamber. From its poor ambience to the sheer stunning collection of volumes, Janus scrutinized. All the while he feigned disinterest but since the former prince knew the current prince so well (and how could he not?) Magus could determine it as a ruse. One might detest studying something that is drilled into his/her brain but, for some mysterious reason, that same topic is exhilarating when the individual can explore it on their own.
Brat, yes, he noted, stroking a chin. But what a pillar of strength heI!become! Man is mourned that such a power could be seduced by the darkness. The sorcerer of shadow frowned as he continued the surveying of his self. Was I seduced? Did the darkness drown me? My hands are stained with blood! What will become of...him?
Because of his imaginary barrier not a fleck of emotion streaked his face.
Since the portal to the room remained ajar, a certain purple-furred feline ambled in. Making himself home, so to speak. Each of Alfadors masters largely ignored the four-legged mischief until the cat could tolerate it no longer. Like a spring he leapt onto the oak table and meowed quite loudly. At last, Janus offered him the attention Alfador demanded.
Seeing such an ordinary thing had not-so-ordinary affects on Magus. True, his mental gate did not falter, his expression cold and unreadable, but inside stirred a pot of raging thoughts. That pot was his soul. How do I save Janus from my fate? From the fate of the Magus?
A blue-haired beauty, of mind and body, inspired their salvation.
Thank you, Schala. For surely his salvation is mine. A smile, now of relief, graced his deathly lips. Yes. There is a way to prevent Janus excursion to the Ocean Palace. And hopefully the boy would not play party to histheirdownfall.
Janus... he hissed. You love your sister, dont you?
The answer came as familiar to the dark wizard as his own heartbeat. Yes! Alfador meowed his assent. Then, the only animal in the whole of Zeal (if one did not count the Nus, of course!) trotted up to the Prophet. Now naturally, Janus attempted to stop the jaunt to this distrusted stranger but it was in vain. With all the swiftness of internal thought, the blue-haired wizard found himself being rubbed and purred to death.
Sighing irritably, or fabricating so, Magus absently patted the feline. The format of the stroke returned to him in astonishing lucidness; like reading a book for the second time. As I was saying, you love Schala. Love often means sacrifice, correct?
Two bright azure eyes squinted. Two eyebrows knitted. What are you getting at?
Concluding his petting and receiving vocal disapproval from Alfador, Magus sat back in his chair and steepled his fingers. He loved the catas much as he could love anything, anywaybut the remembrance was playing tricks with his mind. You, Prince Janus, will be presented with a decision: either selfishly sneak down to the Undersea Palace and seal the doom of many or wisely opt to avoid the place altogether and save your beloved sister.
The eyebrows became bunched. Confusion, now. Janus face went into a rapid series of changes totaling no less than four. First, disbelief. Then, horror. Next, grief. Finally, scorn. Yeah, Prophet, like Im going to believe your half-truth Earthbound shit.
Magus eyes glittered in the murky light. Damn, but I was quick even then. Another tactic, then. Maybe I am lying to you. And why would you have reason to believe me? Or anyone, for that matter?
Now the Zealian royalty bristled. It was a twisted sense of self-torment. Exactly that, in fact. Self-torment. As a child, Magus trusted no one. That, too, hadnt changed. But looking at it now, to see the warped mind of one so young, it unsettled him. Perhaps I wasnt right in the head before my exile to the future. Perhaps I was never...quite...right....
Eh? was all Janus responded.
You think to brave the wrath of your mother and the displeasure of your sister for some cheap thrill. You think it wont hurt. Oh, but dear child, it willitll shatter your whole world. I know! Ive seen it! I lived it! Rattling on, momentarily not noticing his younger self, Magus added, Ive tasted fear and blood and death. You...dont...know...
The dark wizard quickly regained his control as he noticed Janus stiffening. It would do no good to scare the wits out of the boy. Breathing forcefully, Magus whispered, Can you risk it? Can you risk being wrong? What if Im right! Dont you love your sister!?
Howling softly, the Black Wind touched both Janus young and Janus old. The former stepped closer to the table and stared the later in the eyes. His lips jerked spasmodically as he spoke, I love my sister. Dont dare imply anything else! I wasI was planning on avoiding the place, anyway.
Victory. And one to be savored. It was not an easy thing for Janus. He was only a child, subject to the same temptations as all children. But his love was stronger than his desires. I cant be categorized with the rest. I was a prodigy. I was the Magus. Was, indeed. Soon, with the restoration of Zeal, the Magus would be no more. Still, how much of me remains in him?
Nodding, the shadow sorcerer rose from his seat. His voluminous lavender robes swirled about him like a mist. Or a wind. Hell stay safe. But then, he wont have the same knowledge I acquired from my...travels. Janus must be taught! His eyes caught sight of the boy as Janus struggled to discipline his cat. Yes, taught and trained. I shall be his teacher until my duel with Lavos comes. Hell not have the benefit of the many varied experiences Ive had but hell have the education of them, nonetheless. And without the dire side-effects.
The childs head snapped up.
With his index finger, Magus tapped one of the three tomes hed removed from the bookshelves. Would you like to learn things usually reserved for adults?
The lit-up expression told all.
As the Prophet set the tomes on the table he smiled wryly. Poor kid. Probably the victim of endless, boring study. Ill be the catalyst to inspire his love of literature and magic. Together, Janus and Magus poured through the volumes. The first one was called Magic: The Enlightened Essence. One of his favorites. Their favorites.
For the next two hours the motley pair delved into the ancient text. The first, of magic, prompted several discussions on the theories presented, chief among them the channel to the arcane power: fire, ice, lightning, and shadow. They connect to a color, respectively...
Red, white, blue, and black! Janus answered.
Kinda simple, in my opinion. The guy who wrote this must love rainbows!
...and how the arcane energy must be forwarded through the appropriate channel for it to take affect. A wizard who is elementally blue cant channel fire. Wizards only have one domain, never stepping beyond their lines...
Naturally, Magus was ever the exception. Janus, too, one day.
The second book, Timestreams the Ocean, expounded on the ability to traverse and manipulate time. An ever flowing current, it normally flows in a single direction. However, supernatural aspects, such as magic or prophecies, can disrupt this course. Thus two currents exist; the parent current and the offspring...
Why dont we, the Enlightened, travel time?
Dont get ahead of yourself. In fact, dont go anywhere at all! He decided to rat off some Enlightened propaganda nonsense. Why would we, the chosen, want to visit the pastit would degrade our excelled intellect! Or go forward to a future not yet written? We are in the present for a reason.
That didnt convince him. Still, Janus let the matter go.
If only he knew about me...Oh, the irony could choke!
...Lastly came Zephyrains exalted personal writings. He lay down a history of soothsayers such as himself. Years into the past, their were five oracles, including Zephyrain. One of fire, one of ice, one of lightning, one of shadow. The last, himself, had a combination of the aforementioned known as the Magus. A magus was a magician so esteemed that his mental and arcane abilities exceeded that of ordinary magic-welders. Because the dark wizard exhibited amazing abilities in 600 A.D. hed been dubbed the Magus. Quite an honor, in fact.
Zephyrain was leader of this assemble, all oracles to record the future as historians do the past. But something dreadful occurred that removed all the prophets from this plane of existence. No one knew what. The only record of their existence was Zephyrains writings. No other oracles had been discovered after the deadly eradication until Magus showed up.
And now, Jarl.
Jarl stood before him.
With the black-maned mans sudden appearance, Magus could not help but suck his breath in harshly. Janus crossed his arms, angry that this self-professed Prophet intruded while Alfador expressed his annoyance with a meow. And that mattered not at all to Jarl.
He strode up to the table with measured ease. His hands rested on the wood. I need an answer, Magus.
Magus mirrored his tone and actions. When Im good and ready youll hear my response. Not before.
The tension was so thick you couldnt cleave it with an axe. A mutual distaste floated in the room akin a smog. Their eyes, silver to fire-violet, met in violent symphony. Finally, Jarl, amazingly, broke away first. Then lets talk.
A nod and Magus instructed Janus to leave. With the cat.
When the child seemed on the verge of refusing, the dark wizard promised he would continue the discussion (not teaching, of course!) later. Grumbling all the way out, Janus conceded. With him out of harms way, at least for now, Magus muttered, I told you: youll hear it when I feel like answering.
Brushing imaginary lint off his ever-present black cloak, Jarl responded, No doubt I will. And I know what that answer will be. But enough of that. Im here because I wanted to notify you that the Queen requests your presence at the public speech shell make tomorrow. Its to be held down on the Terran Continent. It concerns the outbreak of protests.
To that, Magus shrugged. Even as a child, hed known that the Earthbound ones had been treated barbarically. So what of it? He hadnt cared. Schala did, naturally. Sometimes she cared too much. How could anyone be so loving, so giving? Maybe I cant understand it because I am neither loving nor giving. But with Janus, thatll change.
As well, went on Jarl as his listeners attention returned to the bookshelves. My assistant wants to speak to you.
I dont know. At any rate, I believe now would be a decent time to inform you of something. In fact, hearing your conversation with the prince makes it perfect.
Youre attempts to change history will fail.
Magus snorted. So you say.
Losing patience, a rare occurrence, Jarl snared the former princes arm fiercely. You fool. You arrogant fool. You think fate will be so kind the second time around? It wont! Who will be Janus, you think? Will you cease to exist? Will I?
Him? What does he have to do with us? In anger, Magus pulled away and exited the room. He wanted to hear no more of this idiocy. Just that, idiocy. But the questions arisen, those that plagued him as the dark wizard climbed the stairs and passed through the glorious library, tortured his mind.
....Lost and irreplaceable...
He was screwing with destiny. And destiny would screw with him.
On a bench, of gold and ivory, he sat. He was on the path that lead to Kajar, one of Zeals beautiful cities. Two arms supported a face that remained buried in his palms. His otherworldly cloak rippled in tune to a gentle zephyr. Hair as pure as the sky above him floated softly. The amulet, of aliment protection, pulsed comfortingly. But nothing brought him comfort.
How can I change time? And what will the effects be? Occasionally other Enlightened would walk the golden road but none ever bothered look his way twice. That suited him just fine. Will Janus listen? And if he will whatll happen to me? To us all?
Magus sighed. After leaving the library an attendant had requested for him to remain at this bench to wait for Alura. The blond woman had become friendly with Queen Zeal and was often busy. But some reason, she demanded for the dark wizards presence. A discussion, perhaps, on the New Zeal? Magus wasnt in the mood.
So when she arrived, wearing an attractive emerald dress that would make Dalton swoon, the Prophet was first inclined to bark Sorry, Jarl already did the daily begging. However, Alura quickly grabbed his hand and dragged the former prince into the shadows of a near-by tree. Her eyes glittered anxiously.
What! What is it? he demanded.
I... she hesitated. Finally, Alura murmured, I think somethings wrong with Jarl.
Like that wasnt obvious.
Hes got an identity crisis, and Im worried. He wants to create a New Zeal but everything Jarl says makes no sense. Imfrightened.
It seemed the humanly thing to grip her trembling hands with his own. Magus detested physical contact but he knew that others often found it comforting. Alura was no exception as she smiled. Her golden locks fluttered around him soothingly and, oddly enough, stirringly. She gave him a brief embrace. Thanks. I dont know what Im going to do. Squeezing harder, Alura added, But for some strange reason I feel safer with you.
What in the Void? Now she made no sense. Magus decided to twist it to his advantage. Perhaps that is because my plan is more viable. To create is divine. To change is simple. He stroked the silken hair. Jarls dream is unreal; mine will be reality.
His harsh eyes softened. So am I. But I will prevail...so, please, help me.
Ill think about it... Alura whispered into his ear.
Dont think too long. Howd everything get so intimate all of a sudden? Well, Ill warp it to my own needs. Magus hands lifted up to her cheeks and cupped them. His eyes could be tantalizing when he willed them. He willed so now. His victim trembleda new kind of fear. Then, the dark wizard kissed her forehead, nose, and lips. Permitting the level of closeness to foment, he added, Time is not patient and neither am I.
With one last squeeze, Magus walked down the golden street. He never looked back. Though not romantically inclined, the shadow sorcerer was aware of the folly of the heart and the intricacies surrounding it. It was a game he normally abhorred. Now it just might be the one thing that granted success. And he would surrender everything, mind, body, and soul to the salvation of Zeal and the destruction of Lavos.
And destiny be damned.
I, Magus, will tear the very fabric of time. Ill bend it to my own devicesfor I alone have the enlightenment. And crucial to my quest is knowledge. Those timestream travelers didnt appear here by accident Ill wager. First, I must secure their information then rid myself of them. Now exactly what else to do...
These thoughts circulated his mind as the shadow sorcerer rode a mobile transport pad. The teleportation pads had uses for instantaneous molecular ferrying from one pad to another. As for the one he currently occupied, it didnt scatter his essence to the high winds as Janus was so fond of relating. Instead, emulating an elevator, it physically delivered him to the inner catacombs of Zeal Palace.
Once the dark wizard stepped off, Magus heard voices. Familiar voices...Schala. Janus. His cat. He frowned. The sounds originated from precisely his destination: that of the incarceration chambers. What is she up to? Id never thought of her as calculating...but with the assassination demands, what else could Schala be? Blessed reaper, now Im doubting my sister!
Swiftly navigating the illustrious corridor, the dark wizard passed the tall, exotic plants, several oak bookshelves, and soon found himself in the shadow of the prisons entryway. The scene revealed itself to him. It made Magus quite unhappy.
Why does the mystery and mischief always surround those damned wanderers?!
There was his beloved sister in all her benevolent splendor. Her violet robes shivered as the Princess of Zeal deactivated the pods that imprisoned Glen, Marle, and Crono. One moment they floated in the blue liquid like manti in crystal; the next all three landed on the marble flooring gently and they teetered briefly due to the brutal nature of the pods. The amphibian swordsman twitched, as if he sensed Magus presence. Probably due to the proximity to the Masemune but the dark wizard flinched with fury. The young princess and the red-haired boy collapsed to the floor, shortly followed by Glen.
Janus was observing from the side, occasionally protesting the generosity because he dreaded their mothers wrath. Naturally, Schala dispelled his fears and the young boy fell silent. Alfador meowed his assent. Then, the young woman spoke to the wanderers urgently, her hands wrung in uncharacteristic worry. None of the timestream travelers responded, most likely because the pods had drained them beyond answering.
That was the purpose of the infamous podsto debilitate its victims and guaranteeing their continued imprisonment. As well, his mother had nefarious tastes for punishment. In such an enlightened era one would think such abhorrent measures would be shunned but Magus lived in the future and that had yet to prove any better.
...Im going to release them...
...youll get in trouble...
...please rescue Melchior...
Magus caught only the most minimal of the one-sided conversation, something of liberation one of the Gurus. Melchior, the old man in the silly blue-green outfit who quoted like a book. It was all irrelevant to the dark wizard, who figured the Guru, by quarreling with Queen Zeal, had earned his exile. That did not force his hand to step beyond the threshold. No, it was anger.
You idiot, Schala! Their freedom is our doom. I love you, but your kindness and foolishness will be the death of us all. It was a prophecy already fulfilledone he was trying to prevent. Nothing was working in his favor, apparently.
In little more than a footstep the dark wizard entered. Robes of lavender resonated from him, accentuating his displeased demeanor. He crossed two arms and caught their attention, Im afraid I cant allow that.
Alfador started, Janus stiffened, and his darling sister glanced worriedly in his direction. The three travelers did nothing but stare up in complete helplessness. He should kill them nowbefore it was too late!
He turned to Crono and his companions, and whispered coolly, Your meddling tires me...youll just have to disappear! This Magus fully intended to make happen, lifting his hands for magical preparation, but their cries halted him.
You mustnt! was Schala, who rushed in front of them as if to ward off a blow.
Stop! was Janus, commandingly. His cat uttered something incoherent but Magus received the message well enough.
A frown. Which to dodeal mercy or death? Which to his advantage? Might there be a way to profit in a compromise? His hair fluttered like the sky in a storm when the dark wizard shifted his gaze to the protestors. He could easily contemplate why Schala objected but his younger self was a mystery. I am a mystery to myself...
A soul cleaved in two, one light, one dark, and one human, one mystic. Even when his crimes never exceeded the occasionally hiding of the Gurus hats, Magus had never been truly innocent. Nor did he ever concern himself with others welfare.
And she stood there, distressed at his proposal. More shocking still, his younger version, usually so stoic, also objected. Yes, hed opt for a compromise. Hed trust his own advice (or his alteregos, anyway). As well, the dark wizard wasnt malicious. He wished no one ill. Those pods were particularly cruel...an Earthbound, jealous of his status, had shoved the shadow sorcerer into one years ago. And from the looks on his prisoners expressions, much like his own had been, the experience was not pleasant.
Despite the rotating thoughts and emotions, the barrier remained intact.
Alright, Ill spare them, but in return you will cooperate, Schala!
Ah, so you came in from here.
Schala, Crono, Marle, Glen, and Magus stepped within the Terran cave in that order. The dark wizard lingered by the entrance, curious as to the Time Gate and yet deathly afraid of them at the same time. If he should get sucked in one yet again...
...Ill probably end up in the Void...he noted dryly.
Staring, almost absorbed, at the portals bright azure point, Magus realized what an impact the time gates had had on his lifetwiceand how much of who he was resulted from their interference. No one responded to the statement, only the wind blowing outside the tiny cave. His words reverberated eccentrically in the stone structure like the voice itself were a hundred mirrors. It was damp and cool outside, though, considering the virtual blizzard outside, far preferable.
In the interests of his protection, Schala instructed Janus to stay away. Of course he pouted again, deeming it unfair that adults had all the fun but Magus insisted. The further the boy was from the Time Gates the better. So gone he was.
Looking up from his shadowed hood, the dark wizard hissed, Now Schala send them through and seal the gate.
She spun around, her face hard, No! You cant make me!
Eyes flashing, he strode forward. Glen looked as if he might jump Magus, already suspicious of the Prophets nature, had Crono not rested a hand on his shoulder. It was a clear command not to retaliate. Marle loitered by the red-haired leader, lips tight.
Magus snatched his sisters arm and yanked her close. The years spent together, the sibling love, evaporated in that moment. He saw the fear in her eyes. No matter. He was the Prophet and better start acting like it. You will obey me, Schala...Their lives Magus thrust a gesturing finger at the motley three, are at stake!
Alright! she cried in defeat. Pulling free, Schala prepared for the magical summoning and subsequent consumption. Her angelic form positively radiated pure light. She certainly was adverse to his touch. Something horrible was happening to their sister-brother connection and Magus detested it.
All the more reason to proceed with my plan. I must not let anythingeven Schalas displeasureto disrupt it.
Turning to the companions, Magus pointed, in no uncertain terms, for the Timestream travelers to go within the portal. Neither was happy to do so but they obeyed. Aware of the futility of resisting, due to their weakened state, he guessed the three ascribed to the run today and live to fight another day. Ah, but they wouldnt be returning any time soon...
After the last had entered, Schala closed her eyes and channeled to her magic. What domain she commanded of the arcane art the dark wizard didnt know, though he figured it was much similar to his own. The hand motions, fluid. The light, eruptive yet subtle. Perfection.
Violet ribbons burst from her upturned palms, effectively connecting with the pulsating gate. This activated the portal, sending the three spinning through time and space. Where theyd landed didnt matter to Magus. Those wanderers were lucky to escape with their heads intact at all...
He shook his head. I must be getting soft letting my enemies run free...
Then, with another ribbon of energy, the portal sealed. A proportionate triangular field enveloped it within purple light and insuring it would no longer be available to abuse. Abuse by such as the troublesome travelers.
In despair Schala sank to her knees and murmured, ...forgive me...
Magus departed, utterly disgusted. He was the only one in Zeal whose brain still functioned, it seemed. He, alone, was...enlightened.
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