Chrono Trigger: The Death Gate Cycle Part 1
By Brian Schumacher
The End of Time
Gaspar suddenly rose to his feet in a rush of papers strewn across the floor. Rushing to a door, he threw it open and cried out inside, "Come quickly Spekkio! You must see this!"
At this, the great war god Spekkio came out, dressed in a great battle armor suit while a great axe swung at his hip. He hurried to Gaspar, who was already back at the papers that were in chaos, as he watched Gaspar search frantically through them. His eyes finally gained a glow of happiness, as he grabbed a wrinkled paper and rushed off to another door, with Spekkio rushing behind. Throwing open this door, Gaspar staggered back at the sight of a great black portal in the middle of the room. It was huge, with great blue rods of light shining from the inside. Through the portal, they could barely make out shapes....
"It's so hazy," said Spekkio worredly, "what type of portal is this? I don't kn....." Gaspar put his hand over Spekkio's mouth, motioning for him to watch. Through the portal they witnessed a great battle....
"Alfred you fool, duck!" Haplo cried, dragging the stumbling fool to his feet, as an arrow flew past their heads impailing itself in a darkened tree. Haplo looked at Alfred, and upon seeing that his companion was almost unconcious, he rose to his feet to finish this fight himself. He started to draw a rune in the air, and upon seeing Alfred mumbling something about helping, proceeded to push him aside with his foot. Seeing his oncoming wolf-like attackers, he waited until the right moment and let his hands fly out forwards, as a glowing red rune flew through the air, exploding with a great fire upon the beasts. As they died, Haplo helped Alfred to his feet, but he noticed Alfred wasn't trying to control his coordination, instead focusing on something behiind them.
Turning to look, Haplo couldn't make out anything except for the great dried plains, the darkened, deadened trees, and a group of his own kind coming to help them. He then noticed that behind the group, a dwarf-like creature advanced stealthily , hoping to kill one of the small children in the group for a meal.
"Get down!" cried Haplo, dropping the still mumbling Alfred in a heap. The people, upon seeing this, dropped to their knees as Haplo made a sign in the air, and watched as the dwarf creature howled in pain from the runic spell, then falling over to die. Haplo and Alfred rushed to the group of people, making sure that noone was hurt......
"Wow. I've never seen such magic in my life as a god, Gaspar." said Spekkio, shaking his head in amazement. "Where are we looking out at? I mean, what time period is this? The far future?"
"No, great Spekkio, this is another world." said Gaspar grandly. "This world is in great turmoil. When I was looking in my papers, I could see that something was about to happen this day, and something needed our help, or vice versa."
"Vice versa? You mean we need THEIR help?" wondered Spekkio, looking intently at Gaspar, who continued to stare at the portal.
"Yes. Their help. It seems something big is about to happen, probably bigger than anything that we have ever seen....."
"Nothing EVER happens around here anymore....." thought the servant to herself, as she brought a great platter of breakfast food up the large stairs to the king's bedroom. As she entered, King Guardia slowly stretched and sighed, then upon smelling food, sat up in bed in anticipation.
"You really outdo yourself!" said the King, as he hungrily ate. The servant went over to one of the huge curtains, and flooded the room with sunlight upon opening it. Looking out at the courtyard, she sighed in content, looking at the great forests, the town below, the great........
"Sire! Sire!!" A pitter-patter of feet was heard, and the door was rudely opened as a messenger burst into the room. Seeing the king holding a piece of bread and his mouth half full of eggs, he waited until the king was done eating. Wiping his mouth with a white cloth, and motioning for the servant to take the plate away, he glanced at the young child. The child was obviously very nervous.
"What is it?" the King asked poiltely, rising to his feet to put on a better robe. The child stammered incoherently for a couple seconds, then in a rush of words, he said, "There's a group of soldiers in the main chamber, they look to have been through a war, they wish for you to talk with them immediately, they say it's an emergency, they...."
"Woah there!" said the king, patting the boy's head. "I get the point. You run along and tell them that I will be down immediately." The boy bowed to the king and shot off through the door.
"Boy, the trials of the king never ceace......." he sighed, getting dressed for the day. On the other side of the door, the servant had stayed to listen in. Wow, she thought, maybe something is going to happen today? She rushed off down the stairs as she heard the king approaching the doors.
The King of Guardia, dressed in some of his best robes, finally left his room and slowly made his way down the stairs. Upon entering the main chamber of the castle, he saw the knights that the child had spoke of, and he regretted taking so long getting to the chamber upon seeing them. One of them had a huge burn mark through his armor, and the other 2 weren't in much better shape, all of them having similar wounds. One knight was even bleeding profusely from a wound on his head, and upon the king seeing this, he turned to try to hide the wound. The king saw this, and with a cry, had 3 people helping them all with their wounds. Turning to the one that looked the healthiest, the king inquired as to what had happened. The knight, with a strange, scared look in his eyes, started to tell the king what had happened.....
"Well sire, we were at the docks of Arana, guarding the next shippment of goods that arrived, when there was a huge gust of wind that blew us off our feet. When we could see clearly through the wind next, there was......." "What was it??" asked the King intently, getting closer to the knight's bloodstained face. He could tell that that the blood was from some other wounds either on himself, or from other knights, as he had no wounds on his face.
"It was......an airship. A great airship."
"Airship?!?!" cried the king, "it can't be!" The king at first thought the knight was dellusional. There was no way an airship could have survived. They were all destroyed many years ago, when the great air battles had taken over the skies and caused much devestation to the world. "Listen......" said the wounded knight, interrupting the king's thinking.
"It....was bigger than a reguar....airship. Much larger. There was.........a man....on the deck dressed...in black......"
"Come on people, get these men medical attention!!" screamed the King, as 3 other people came over to assist the knights in getting to their feet and into another room where they would be take care of better.
"Airships........" whispered the king to himself. As he did this, the one seriously injured knight turned his head, and with one cry yelled out, "Sire! It.....came through.....portal.....", as he slumped down again in pure exhaustion and pain. This made the king even more nervous. Why would airships be back? More importantly, WHO brought them back?
"Sire!" called the messenger again, as the King turned to hear more news. "This airship is on a direct attack course with our castle!"
"WHAT??" yelled the King. Upon hearing this, they all started to evacuate the castle in a rush.
"What an amazing magic user.." commented Spekkio, upon seeing this tatooed warrior casting rune spells everywhere, demolishing beats to his left and right. "I've never seen such magic."
Gaspar continued to look with a gleam in his eye. "Yes, he and the others.....they are covered with those tatoos, it seems they are the key to their magic powers. I've never seen such a thing either."
Gaspar and Spekkio continued to watch as the strange tatooed man used magic to drive the beats away from the group, as others started to do the same with less magnitude. Gaspar noted that the one paled skinned one, without the tatoos, wasn't doing much, only trying to avoid the monsters as the others slayed them. Why would they keep him along, he wondered. He must be of great importance, but apparently not for fighting.
Suddenly Spekkio looked at Gaspar, raising his arms. "Umm..Gaspar? Where did this portal come from anyways? Can they see us?"
"Apparently, this a gateway to their world. Why it showed up, I'm not certain, but it has to be for a good reason. Although, we do not dare to walk through this portal, not knowing what we are getting ourselves into. I also wonder why this portal opened...."
Spekkio turned from the sights in the portal to contemplate them, when he saw something in a portal adjacent to the room that they were in that made him jump and run to Gaspar as fast as he could.
"Gaspar! We have a problem!!"
"What's that?" Gaspar questioned, as Spekkio grabbed ahold of his arm and pulled him across the hall to the portal. Inside of it, they could see a sight that either of them thought they would never see again, and hoped to never see again....
"My god, it's an airship!" exclaimed Gaspar, taken aback. Spekkio nodded his great head, and sighed. An airship, he thought. I thought we had seen the last of these great warcraft.
"Why is there an airship?? We know that every airship has been destroyed in some way. Look at it Spekkio, it doesn't resemble one that we have seen before, does it?"
Spekkio stared at the great monstrosity through the portal, and shook his head. "I've never seen such an airship that size before. It also doesn't have any markings, as in what kingdom it comes from. Except.....look at the right stern. What is that?"
They both watched as the great craft turned in the air, revealing a huge rune on it's side, glowing a bright red. Spekkio's eyes widened at this, as a realization set in.
"Gaspar....could this craft be from the world that we have been watching?"
Gaspar thought about this for a minute. "Well, in this gate, we have yet to see technology of this caliber, so I doubt it. Unless it's a multi-world plane, then their would be ample opportunity."
"Multi-world? You mean that this gate that we are looking through, that world, could be linked to others?"
"I've only seen very few cases like this......" Gaspar closed his eyes, thinking deep back in his memories. "Worlds that have been split, split by the elementals. I've seen worlds split into different sections, as in a water, fire, earth, and so on. Usually, these worlds are in constant turmoil, as fighting is rampant."
"Hmm...." Spekkio thought on this statement for a little bit, as they watched the great ship fly through the air, turning until they saw where it was headed. "My god, it's heading for Guardia Castle! Do you think it's there to destroy it??"
"Well......look, look at the helm of the great ship...."
They both watched as the portal focused in on a figure on the helm of the great vessel. It zoomed in until they could see up close who, or what he was. As it closed in, they noticed it was a human-like figure, and that they could not see anyone else on board. He seemed fairly old, having a pretty long beard, and covered in tatoos, the same kinds that they had seen on the people they had seen through the portal. Obviously, Spekkio thought, Gaspar was right. He WAS of the same people, and the world they had to have seen was a 'multi-world'.
As the portal focused in on the face of the man, he slowly turned his head, and looked directly into the portal, right at Gaspar. Spekkio wondered how he could see this portal, it was invisible to the naked eye.... Suddenly, Gaspar shook violently, and was thrown to the ground as the man turned his gaze back forward, back onto his objective, Guardia castle. Spekkio knelt down, cradling Gaspar's head, until he regained conciousness. Looking around violently, he tried to sit up, but his head pounded in pain from somewhere inside. Spekkio gently pushed him back down, trying to calm Gaspar.
Gaspar lightly shook his head, his eyes looking dazed. "He.....tried to look inside of my mind....I was able to hold him out, but I've never felt such power from someone."
Spekkio looked back through the portal as he held Gaspar, watching as the great ship accelerated off towards Guardia castle.
"Do you people know how to MOVE??" cried the King, shrugging off assistance to get down the stairs. They were all headed off to the basement of the great castle, knowing what the mission of the great ship was. It was here to destroy every reminent of it, and they all knew that. As he and his servants rushed down the steps, a guard opened the door to the shelter, and quickly locked it behind him. In this basement shelter, the King and every person from in the castle was gathered, waiting for the tragedy to strike.
The King hoped that his messenger was able to get through the woods, towards the town. He had instructed him to relay a message to the heroes of the land, Chrono, Lucca, and Marle. Hopefully it would not be too late...
"Marle, what ARE you doing??" said Chrono, as he climbed the stairs to his bedroom, with his cat not far behind, curiously following. He had heard a great commotion coming from the upstairs, and he knew it wasn't his mom. She had went out to the docks, as she does every time this day, to watch the ocean. Sometimes Chrono would go with her, as it was very relaxing, and also he sometimes brought Marle, and they would have some talks while watching the sun go down from that spot. He knew Marle was coming over, but he did not see her come in, because he had just came home, and she has a key to his house. The small meow from the cat behind him brought his focus back onto the present, as he opened the door to his room. Inside, Marle was picking up a book off of the floor, and placing it on a clean shelf. Actually, he noticed, everything was a little TOO clean....
"Marle! Did you clean AGAIN??" asked Chrono in a somewhat annoyed voice. Marle smiled when she heard this, and proceeded to pick up another fallen book. Chrono grabbed her arm, and stopped her from putting it on the shelf. "You know I like having my room my OWN way, not like this!"
"Oh Chrono, you're crazy. How can you live in such a messy room?" she said, tossing the book on the bed, just as Chrono threw himself on the bed. She then walked over to the window, and pulled it open, letting some of the ocean air inside. She took a deep breath, as Chrono admired the blue sky from his bed. "It's one nice day, isn't it?"
"You're not kidding! I wish all days were like this. Not too hot, not too cold, a nice breeze, and so on." admired Chrono, adding "and also being with a lovely person as yourself."
Marle blushed at hearing this, and stooped to pick up yet another article on the floor, placing it on another shelf. At this, Chrono rushed to his feet and grabbed up the rest of the articles on the floor, dumping them all on his bed. Looking at Marle with a grin, he proclaimed, "This is where it will all go!"
Marle laughed, as she motioned for them both to go downstairs. As they did, Chrono's cat jumped on the warm spot on the bed left by it's master, slowly purring, quite content. As it started to drift into a slumber, it was awakened by the sun leaving the window. It opened it's eyes, to see what had caused this, when it saw a great shape through the window. It did not know what it was, only that it stopped the sun, and it had to be bad. The cat crawled under the bed, fully awake now, and wondering what that contrapion was.
Downstairs, Marle was busy preparing a dinner for the 2, since Chrono's mom wasn't home yet from the docks. Chrono was seated at the small dinner table, watching Marle's skill at cooking.
"I wonder if women only can cook, I've yet to see anyone be able to cook quite like you, other than the Guardia castle chef."
Marle gave Chrono a smile, as she set dinner before them both. They both began to eat, when Chrono noticed that his mother wasn't home yet. "I wonder where mom is? It's about an hour past the time she usually comes home."
Marle frowned, as she looked out the window at the darkening sky. Strange, she thought, it doesn't get this dark this early.....
Suddenly a sharp knocking was heard at the door. Chrono wiped his face off as he rose to open the door, with Marle intently watching. Throwing open the door, he almost ran into the small figure. It was a medium age child, around 12 he figured, sharply out of breath. Chrono bent down to eye level with the child, as Marle rose and also walked over to the child. They noticed he was very scared, as he was noticeably shaken. Chrono slowly asked what he was here for, as the child kept glancing towards the darkening sky.
"I'm here on request from the King...." he began. "There is a great....airship....moving towards the castle. That is why you see the sky darkening...."
At the words airship, Chrono and Marle both looked at each other with doubting eyes. The little boy must have seen this, as he grabbed ahold of both Chrono and Marle's arms, and dragged them both out the door and pointed to the far right sky. As they all looked to the sky, Marle grabbed ahold of Chrono in fear, as Chrono gasped as they both saw the great airship, slowly moving through the sky, blocking out the sun, slowly moving toward the castle.
"Where.....what........" stumbled Chrono, trying in avail to find words to describe the great monstrosity. Marle grabbed on tighter to Chrono, as the child stared in awe of the ship. "Where is it going? Do you know any mroe?" asked Chrono, turning the boy to face him.
"All I'm aware of is that it is going to the castle, as it had already destroyed the docks and another town!"
"The docks......." Chrono wispered. My mom was there........is she......
He felt Marle hold onto his hand, trying to comfort him. He took a long glance at Marle and the boy, and tried to regain his composure.
"Ok......ok........docks must wait. First thing is first. Boy, go to the town of Trisan, it's only about 2 miles to the south of here. Warn them of this! You can get any supplies or food from inside the house." The boy nodded, and ran into Chrono's house. "Next. Marle, we have to go get Lucca NOW, she may know how to stop this.....thing."
They both ran through the village, seeing the people stare frightened and in awe at the great ship. Some people were crying, somehow knowing what was to come next. They ran faster, until they came to the large house of Lucca. They threw open the door, finding Lucca sitting on the floor not five feet from the door, examining some piece of machinery, amongst papers strewn everywhere.
"Oh hi you two! Have either of you seen my......" Her words trailed off as she saw the expressions of both Chrono and Marle. She stood up in a hurry, not asking any questions, and following Chrono's lead out of the house, where he pointed to the far sky. Lucca gasped in wonder at the sight, the great airship moving towards the castle, getting ever closer.
"What the...........an airship?? I've never seen one of those. Truly a marvel of technology, but what is it doing here?" She knew exactly why it was here when she saw the horrified looks on Chrono and Marle's faces. It was moving on an intercept course, to destroy the castle.....
"We don't know much of anything, except that it destroyed the docks and another small town." said Marle. At the mention of the docks, Lucca glanced at Chrono, as he tried to hold back the tears.
"We aren't sure," said Marle, glancing at Chrono. "All we know is that we have to stop it. Any ideas?"
"Ideas to use against that beast? Wow, you're putting me on the spot here......Well, I'm not too sure...."
"Lucca!" blasted Chrono, turning to face her. "We have to stop it now! Any help would be appreciated!"
"I'm sorry..........hold on."
Lucca rushed into the house, and emerged a couple seconds later with a large pipe-like object. "What's that?" asked Chrono. "Well, it's a sort of wondershot, only compressed into a much more powerful cannon type of weapon." she said, admiring it lovingly. "I've spent months working on this, I hope it works!"
"As do we...." whispered Marle, watching the ship grow closer to the castle.
"Sire, the ship draws nearer......."
"I know Sir Jopen, please gather everyone down here into a safe area, I'll be with you all in a moment."
The knight went around gathering people farther into the shelter, as the King stood in the middle of the chamber thinking. My god, this fast and our castle is gone? Will any of us survive? What of the heroes?
"Gaspar! Look! Chrono and the others!" Spekkio shouted, watching them all running to try to catch the airship before it arrived at the castle. "I hope they have a chance!"
Gaspar looked at Spekkio with longing eyes. "I very much hate to say this, dear Spekkio, but I think this time they might be overmatched......"
"Hurry!" cried Chrono, as they raced through the forest leading to Guardia castle, only slightly ahead of the great ship. As they cleared the woods and raced to the front of the castle, they turned to face the great bown of the ship. They all were taken aback by the size, it was ALOT bigger than what they had imagined.
"Hurry Lucca, try the gun!" said Marle, as Lucca loaded the wondershot cannon. As she took aim, Chrono noticed the glowing rune on the side of the great airship, and wondered what it was for....
"Here goes!" said Lucca, pulling the trigger. Nothing happened for a second, then a huge stream of yellow energy flew from the cannon, knocking back all 3 of the group. The shot sped through the air, as they all waited for it to hit the hull of the great ship, and watched as..........the shot dissapated about five feet from the hull of the ship. "What???" cried Lucca, as she loaded the great gun and shot again, thinking it was a bad shot. But again, the same thing happened.
"My god, what is that made of?" Marle said, as she pulled out her crossbow, and fired. They watched the same thing happen to the arrow. Chrono stared at the rune on the side of the ship, and wondered.....
"I think that has something to do with it," said Chrono, pointing to the great symbol. "I don't think we can stop it!"
All 3 watched as the great ship passed over their heads, lining up directly in front of the great castle. They saw that from the front of the boat, a figure had raised his hands in the air, making some sort of unknown gestures. Marle readied her crossbow, but was too late as a huge glowing red rune flew through the air, heading for the castle.
"Run!!" cried Chrono, grabbing Lucca and Marle and ran for the forest. They all jumped as the impact was felt throughout the land, as the castle literally exploded into shattered remnants. They all fell to their feet from the shock of the impact, and as they all looked up at the castle, they saw the rest of it fall down. Just then, Marle remembered back, back.....
"But I don't want to be a princess! Mom!"
You have to be dear, you have a kingdom to run!
She thought back to those days, where she loathed her coming position in the castle ranks, but now, today at this time, she would have given anything for those days to come back, or for events to have played out different. They all watched as small explosions rocked the foundation of the shattered castle, and in a cloud of dust, the rest of the walls fell in with a crash. The only thing remaining that ever showed that this was once a grand castle, was ironically, it's banner, still flying high in the wind, sticking proudly out of the remnants of the royal bedroom.
"The king......everybody...." Chrono wispered, horrified at this scene, when they all heard a strange sound coming from the airship. They all looked up to see the only passenger of the aircraft, the sorcerer who had destroyed the castle in one horrifying spell, start to laugh. Marle turned her head in disgust, as the laugh continued on, a horrible, horrifying laugh that seemed to eat away at the shattered remnants of Chrono's will, until finally he jumped to his feet and called up to the great ship.
"HEY YOU!" he cried, trying to get the sorcerer's attention. With a very slow movement, almost too slow, the sorcerer turned his eyes upon this insignificant worm that stood there trying to get his attention. How pitiful, he thought, that this race even try to stand up against him.... With this, he raised his right hand, and started to trace a symbol in the air.....
"Uh oh........everyone, run!!" cried Lucca, grabbing the arms of Marle and Chrono, as they ran as fast as they could through the woods. They could still hear the airship following them, but they felt safe, they were at least moving for now.....until a great explosion behind them threw everyone on their faces, unconcious. The sorcerer laughed at the mortals. Just another race unworthy, he thought, as he directed the airship towards the next town to be destroyed.....
"Did you see that?" Gaspar said, slowly turning his head from the portal. Fully recovered, but still looking distant, he suddenly shook violently. Spekkio steadied him, seeing what was wrong, as Gaspar shook him off. "It's ok.....just what we have seen, it's amazing..and horrifying at the same time."
"How to stop something like that?" Spekkio said, looking back through the portal, as the great ship turned in midair.
That night, Haplo slept peacefully, letting his wounds heal by themselves. The regenerative powers will cure them he thought, as he drifted off into a deep slumber........but was awoken by a shiver that chilled him to his core. Sitting up in bed, he observed the dog and Alfred beside him awake, obviously having the same feeling.
"What is wrong here........" said Haplo, trying to stretch out his senses to see, as Alfred grabbed his glasses. "Something....somewhere..." he whispered, as it hit him. A huge shock of coldness running down his spine, as it did the same to Alfred. At that moment, they knew......he had returned.....but from the dead?
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