Lord of Terror Chapter 1
Let Bygones Be Bygones, The Journey Begins
By Iced Blood
Milord? A familiar voice said from the large door. I turned and faced him. I saw my general, and last friend in this God forsaken place, Slash waiting at the entrance. He stood erect and respectful.
Come in, Slash. I said in an offhand manner. He walked in and sat down in a wooden chair opposite from me. He spoke to me for a bit, but my thoughts were elsewhere. I thought about many things. Most of it, however, was on one person: My older sister Schala, whom I lost as a young child. I had spent many a year searching for her, but I found nothing short of a pair of earrings that looked like hers. It seemed that my entire life was nothing but hardships ever since I was born. I have never gotten off easy. Everything Id ever done came through hard work and undying determination. And finding Schala was no exception.
Oh well. I guess theyre all like that. I heard Slash finish as I snapped back to attention. I blinked several times, trying to focus again. He noticed me and gave me a questioning look. I looked back at him.
Did you just come to chat, or was there some other reason? I asked him. He seemed to be trying to think, as if he became so involved in his ramblings that he forgot. I couldnt help but chuckle at the sight.
Oh, yeah! Thanks, sir. The scouts told me that a large ship just docked by the courtyard. It looked like that one you used to fly in when you were on that journey.
The Epoch? Oh, well let them in. Theyre our allies. Youre dismissed.
Thank you, sir. They should be up in a few minutes. Later. He remarked as he left. I watched as he began to walk down the hall, then stopped and turned around as he remembered to close the door. When the door was closed I sank back into my thoughts. I thought about my dear sister, the only person who ever gave a damn about me. I remembered that if ever I was sad or angry, she could always cheer me up. She was such an angel.
Hey, Magus. Whats up? I heard someone say as the door swung open. I looked up and saw a face I knew all too well. His red, spiked hair rested above it.
Good day, Crono. What is your business here at my castle? I asked, lowering my head. I knew he was grinning. That boy was always grinning about something. He could be at his mothers funeral and be laughing his head off at the clown across the street.
Well you see, some old friends of ours are in a jam, and we thought that we should help. What were here for is just 'cause we thought that maybe youd wanna help, too. He explained in his simple city tongue. Before I said anything, though, I wanted to know what this we was about, so I looked behind him. There I saw the others with him. I saw Glenn, who was another one of my allies in that journey that seemed like centuries ago. Also, standing beside Glenn, was Marle. She was the one that started that journey, I remembered. Glenn was wearing battle armor with a short sword at his side and a broad sword on his back. Marle, however, was not near as formal. Simple blue pants covered her legs, and her shirt, I think, was meant only to show off her stomach. She had a right to do so, I had to admit. She had a nice figure. As I moved my glance upward, so as not to seem rude, I noticed she was looking straight at me, piercing into my very soul with her sparkling green eyes, pleading me to agree. Ill be damned if it wasnt working.
Tell me more. I said, looking at Glenn, hoping that he would help my understanding a little. Actually, I just didnt want to hear Cronos speech anymore. He nodded, as if understanding perfectly why I was looking at him. He moved forward and cleared his throat.
You see, some old friends of ours live in a town called Tristram, which is in a forest on the other side of the Great Sea. One place in particular in this town is an old cathedral. Theres a labyrinth underneath it, and its become the home of the Lord of Terror himself.
Diablo. I interrupted. Youngest of the Three Prime Evils and leader of Hell. So hes been set free, eh? I suppose this has brought about chaos in this town your friends live in, right?
And you figured that since you are great heroes and all that you could destroy him, right?
So you thought that I just might want to tag along for a little life insurance.
I guess you could say it that way. He said. I could tell he was confused, and I was enjoying it. I turned when Marle spoke.
You dont want to help us, do you? She said in a sad, disappointed tone. She hung her head low and started to turn around.
How do you plan to get across the Great Sea? The only thing that we could use is the Epoch, since it could fly, but that has been dismantled. Though I suppose since you made it here I am wrong in saying so.
Actually, the Epoch broke down as we were trying to land. Its out of commission. Glenn said. Marle, who had brightened up at my last question, was disappointed at the reply. I smiled. I rose to my feet and tapped Marle on her left shoulder. She looked up.
Follow me. I said, looking at her but speaking to all of them. They obediently walked with me into the hall and through a door down a flight of stone stairs. Down in this basement I used as a makeshift meeting area, was a large map covering the northern wall. I walked to it and faced my companions. I pointed as I spoke.
This here is my castle. To the south is a dock, where a retired pirate named Meschif uses his ship to transport travelers over the Great Sea to Westmarch. From there, we can travel to the east into Tristram. I smiled as I saw Marles eyes brighten. Glenn and Crono quickly agreed to the plan, and suggested that we set out immediately. I nodded and the four of us walked outside through a large door at the southern end of the hall that led out to the stables. I showed my comrades a selection of horses that had been once used in war. Now, however, they were the main mode of transportation in my kingdom. Glenn chose Kysain, a proud, healthy mare with a majestic trot. Marle chose a young white stallion named Dyne. Crono seemed to be choosing his at random, and ended up with Bartuc, named after the Warlord of Blood because of his strange red eyes. After they had calmed the horses and rode out a bit into the fields, I walked into a closed barn, where I would choose my horse. I walked past all of them to the final stable, where my war-horse, Nightsong, stood with his trademark battle armor, which he refused to let be removed. He bucked as I approached, and I calmed him quickly. I opened the gate, jumped on, and we rode out to meet the others.
Wow. Marle exclaimed as I rode out into sight. Hes pretty. But doesnt that armor make him uncomfortable, Magus?
I doubt it. He wont let anyone take it off. Im not sure why, but it isnt unhealthy for him. I said, riding up closer. Marle nodded and dropped the subject. I rode up front and faced my comrades.
The dock is not too far from here. Well mainly be travelling horseback for the trip to Tristram. If you look over that way, I said, pointing to my left, You can see the dock from here. They shifted their sight to where I pointed and nodded. I turned Nightsong around and kicked him softly. He began moving at a casual gait, then built up speed, and soon he was traveling at a full gallop. I could see in the distance something that proved that whatever Diablo had done to Tristram had already passed over the Great Sea and was already here, though in small numbers. The thing had the head and legs of a goat, but the torso and arms of a man. He held a large halberd in both hands. He raised the weapon; there was a high-pitched scream. I drew a long sword from the scabbard hanging from Nightsongs armor, and swung as I reached the goat-man. My aim was deadly accurate, and his head was severed off as I passed.
Whoa! I commanded, and, because of his speed, Nightsong had to work a little to slow down and turn around. He stopped about a foot from the corpse, and I jumped off. As I approached, I heard whimpering. It was human, and female. My attention, however, was on the decapitated body on the ground. I kicked it over onto its back, and saw a pouch attached to its belt. I picked it up and observed the contents. It was Gold! I had no clue why these demons would have any need for money, except if they were so dense that they only kept it because it was so shiny. I put the pouch in a pocket of my cloak and picked up the halberd. It was of poor craftsmanship, as it was extremely damaged. I tossed it aside and looked up as Glenn walked toward me, Kysain not too far behind.
Too late, Glenn. This has already affected our continent. I said, pointing to the corpse. Glenn nodded solemnly, and noticed the person trembling near us. She was against the tree, and was obviously the one I heard screaming when I killed the goat demon. He walked to her and knelt. He placed a hand on her shoulder, and she fearfully looked up.
Whos this? Glenn asked, looking back at me.
Dont know. Just thought I should help out.
My God, you helped someone without expecting anything in return? He asked in genuine shock, though it sounded sarcastic.
Damn, Im getting soft. I said.
U-Um, excuse me? The girl asked timidly. We both looked her way. Who are you?
My name is Glenn, Knight Captain of Guardia.
Magus. Was all I said, but I could tell she knew me by the way she gasped and backed away from me. I sighed.
I t-thought I recognized you. That blue hair and those pointed ears. P-please, d-d-dont kill me.
What a reputation, eh Magus? Glenn said with a smirk. You save someone for the sake of their life, and then they expect you to kill them. It must be a nightmare.
I am a nightmare. Im the real-life equivalent of the monster-under-the-bed. I replied, smiling. I expected Glenn to say something else, but instead he helped the girl to her feet and asked her why she was here.
I-I was trying to get to the dock so I could go across the ocean to see my cousin, who sent me a letter saying she was in trouble, and needed emotional support.
Where does your cousin live? He asked.
A place called Tristram. Have you heard of it?
Heard of it? Were going there. Crono said as he walked up to us. He smiled in his usual uplifting way, and waved to our new friend.
Dont get any ideas, Crono. She isnt interested. Marle warned him as she joined us.
How do you know?
She wont. Trust me. By the look of her, she needs a serious type of guy, so youre out.
Hey, if she needs serious, then maybe Magus would be good. Hes the most serious guy Ive ever seen in my life. Crono said to Marle, then looking at me. I crossed my arms and looked back, not saying anything.
See? Not even a smile. The mans a statue. Crono said. Marle rolled her eyes.
Sometimes thats better than laughing all the time, Crono. At least Magus knows how to be polite. You couldnt keep from laughing if you were at a funeral.
Is that a challenge?
No, its a fact. Marle replied sharply. The girl leaned to me and whispered.
Are they always like this?
Pretty much. I said. So whats your name, miss?
Garnet Alexander. She said, dusting off her shirt. Sorry about the way I reacted, Magus. Its just that Ive heard a lot of stories about this heartless warlord, and I couldnt help it. Thank you for saving me.
It was nothing, really. I was probably going to kill it anyway. I didnt like its face. You screaming just ensured it. I suppose those stories you heard were right about my personality. I definitely can be heartless at times.
You laughed at my father!
His crown looked funny! And when it fell off his head, I couldnt help it!
Shut up!! I snapped, and Marle and Crono looked at me immediately. We need to get going and I dont want you two yelling at each other while were on the boat. Im helping you because I want to, but if this doesnt stop I might just leave.
Okay. Well stop. Jeez. Crono replied. I mumbled a curse under my breath for his constant annoyance, but I was able to hold my composure. I had learned to do that a long time ago. I looked over my shoulder at Garnet, who was looking out at the landscape ahead of us, admiring its natural beauty. I followed her lead and looked up at the sky. So clear, so peaceful. How someones life could be at risk in a place like this was beyond me. I looked at my left hand and finally realized I still held my sword. I smiled when I saw hardly any blood, which meant that my swing had been extremely quick and clean. I used my cloak to clean what blood was there, and looked at my reflection in the silver blade.
Suddenly, right in front of my eyes, the reflection shifted, mutated, until it settled into the face of a woman. I recognized her immediately.
When I heard her voice, I stepped back and threw the sword at the ground in shock. Garnet looked at me in response to the sudden movement, and tilted her head in confusion.
What is it, Magus? Marle asked, moving up to me. She looked at the sword and then back at me. She put a hand on my shoulder and watched me with a look of genuine concern. I couldnt answer her. I could barely hear her. Her voice was so distant that she might as well have been miles away.
I Saw her I finally managed to choke out.
Scha Schal I couldnt finish her name, but I knew Marle understood who I was talking about.
Its okay. Calm down. Youll find her.
Damn right I will. I said, regaining total sanity. I jogged up to Nightsong and jumped on the saddle. I kicked him and he bolted off, leaving the others to follow.
Who? Garnet asked.
Schala. Marle answered. Magus sister. Hes been trying to find her for most of his life, and I think its getting to him. Lets hurry, or he might leave without us. She said. Garnet nodded and looked back at the two other men who she didnt know. They were already on their horses, and she decided to ride with one of them. She started toward the red-haired one, but thought better of it and went over to the other, who had unusual green hair. He looked like a soldier, so she figured he would be more polite and in control of himself. She climbed up behind him and they started off. She knew she had made a good decision when he didnt suggest that she hold on to his waist, as many other men had offered in the past. She did, though, because her balance was not so good at the moment, and she didnt want to fall off.
You always get all the luck, Glenn. The red haired man said.
Shut up, Crono. Unlike you, I dont always think of someone touching me as an open invitation, and besides, shes only doing this for balance.
Uh huh, right. Tell me you dont like it. He said. Glenn pulled on the reigns and, after Garnet let go, hopped off and moved over to Crono, who doubled over as he connected with a direct punch to the stomach.
Sometimes you can be extremely annoying. You know that? He said as he walked back to the horse and climbed back on. Garnet held on again as they started moving, happy with her decision again. Glenn was definitely the better man out of the two. She wondered if Magus was as polite as he was.
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