Chrono Trigger: Twins of Destiny Chapter 9
Crystain and Captors
By Mox Jet
The War Room in the Lyons Imperial Capitol seemed like the room in every house that is kept as fancy as possible for the one or two times a year it actually sees use. The large glazed mahogany table took about a quarter of the floor space, centered over a large red and gold rug. The walls were adorned with similar red and gold hangings and the trim of the doors matched the mahogany of the table. The Lyons crest was blazon above every entrance, and once again in the form of an engraving on the middle of the table.
Around the large table, within the large room, sat the Council of Lyons, ready to begin a military conference regarding their next move on the Denegrad front. The Council consisted of about twenty members, headed by the Primarch (a King-like figure elected from a body of higher aristocracy) of Lyons, the Lord Rama de Gallione the Third.
It was unknown just how much power Lord Rama still held. His rise to the throne was one that has long been clouded in obscurity and mystery. The one thing he maintained was that he was a powerful speaker and motivator of men, albeit not so great a military leader. He didnt need to be a general, though. That was what M-1 was for.
Along with him on the Council were the five Councilmen representing the five states of Lyons, their individual names being unimportant. There were three more representatives that served M-1 itself, the degradation of the Lyons government showing in that foreigners were on the highest legislative body in the Country.
Three men hailed from the Apostle of Griever Church, another sign that Lyons was no longer totally being run by the people who established it. The Church had long been a tool used by Lyons for advisors, it being an extremely influential belief system in the country. One of the men here today, Arch Bishop Vincent Clarit, was second only to the Cardinal Lucas Gravada in control of the entire Archdiocese of the Griever Sect.
Vincent Clarit was a tall, lanky man with deep set, beady eyes and a drawn nose. His darkly colored eyebrows contradicted the grayness that made up his hair. His position made him one of the most powerful men in the areas that Griever had a strangle hold over. His only superior in the Chuch, Cardinal Gravada, was an older man, so many even looked at him as the most powerful, with his only commander sometimes seeming to aged to truly make decisions.
The Primarchs of Lyons had long since been members of the Griever Church, and it had long been clear to those running the government that Griever was gaining more and more influence over the political leaders of the country. What Griever intended to do with all this power was unknown, but interestingly enough, they were becoming competitors over this power with M-1. Lately, then, there had been a tripod of control holding up Lyons, consisting of the balance of the Church, the foreign military force, and the original ruling body.
The remaining eight chairs to the Council were those who had been elected by the first twelve members. This effectively made the Council consist of those elected by the people, the one elected by the aristocracy, those elected by the elected, and those chosen by foreign forces: a tricky balance of agendas to maintain. Nonetheless, the Council continued to attempt it.
They say the other has been discovered in Denegrad, a hissing voice said from the section among the State representatives. This proves more difficult than we had hoped.
Still, another voice said. We cant reduce our efforts. He must be apprehended as well.
And what of the first one? This Tyrion. Has he been examined yet? came the voice of Lord Rama.
Battle data is the first priority, an M-1 representative said. And even when he is opened up it is none of your concern. Remember your place in this deal. The Lord Rama closed his eyes and lowered his head, returning to silence.
How do we go about apprehending the second? the voice of Bishop Clarit said. Speed remains of the utmost, but the bounty we have placed on his head has not proven an effective means of capture. The Denegrad government is beginning to disapprove. Were not sure how long theyll keep the Open Bounty active.
Those dammed liberals, the Griever Sect man next to the Bishop said. It would have been easier if they had just accepted. It makes things so much more difficult that they cant know what we need the child for. Lies, while safe, are not always the most effective.
They wouldnt understand anyway, an M-1 person said. Theyre simple.
Or uninformed, a Lyons official said. Its not their fault.
They have, however, seemed to show other interests in the boy, Clarit continued. It seems that they had dispatched the EnKai.
I have an idea, said a new voice. To kill two birds with one stone, if you may. If M-1 needs combat data, why not use Tyrion to capture his brother? He wont know. We can see how Tyrion functions in combat, see how he interfaces with Cyoren, and bring the other under control with one set of orders. Cyoren will be able to record the information for us to extract.
Problem being, what if one kills the other? and M-1 man said. Weve seen some of Tyrions energy signals from the night when he originally outran us. He wouldnt have any trouble killing his brother if it came to that.
But what of the other?
I believe his name is Teclis, someone said.
Aye, then. What of Teclis? We dont know of his power, yet, save from what little information we have gained from those dammed Saidiar.
His power is apparent but his strength is clearly more in magical aptitude. I certainly do wonder how quickly Tyrion could rip him apart if given the chance one particularly sadistic Councilman said, followed by a quick cackle from his direction.
Not a viable option, a voice of M-1 said. If we dont have both of the twins, we may as well not have either.
Then what do we do?
We call in our trump card, someone said. That should take care of Tecliss apprehension. As far as Tyrion
Well give him something light, an M-1 representative said. We dont need him killed. Nisai Ryu may be a school of war, but it is not a school of M-1. We dont know how hell actually fare under actual combat.
Settled, then, Lord Rama said, speaking up again. M-1 can proceed with Tyrions battle testing, he turned to the M-1 representatives. And once we acquire this Teclis, our end of the deal is fulfilled. He was met with a grim nod from one of the M-1 people.
As we originally agreed, the apparent leader of the M-1 delegation to the Council said. And we always keep our word
Back at the Monastery
Alaria wandered ahead of Teclis into the forum before her, glancing all around. Ahead of her, an elderly man dressed in blue and gold robes, sporting long gray hair tied into a ponytail was walking in their direction. The people in the main hall were just now noticing that new people had entered the hall. Some of them continued to practice, swinging weapons and hands in a very ornate, showy style that the Nisai Ryu was made of. Some of the techniques and moves even defied proper explanation, let alone laws of physics which they seemed to defy.
This was mostly do to the ethereal nature of the Nisai Ryu and Lifestream. The Nisai Ryu are constantly enhancing their own abilities, breaking the very laws of gravity at times, in order to perform moves which are capable of amazing martial assault. On top of this, upon reaching maturity, each ninja of the Nisai Ryu will begin to adapt the style to their own needs, tweaking individual moves slightly to their own appeal. In essence, every single member of the clan practiced their own individual style with signature movements and techniques, so that no one ninja was ever the same. For this reason, half a world away, Tristan Tenser was unable to identify the exact style of combat that Tyrion Mandrake had used on him, even though he recognized the general style as that of Nisai Ryu from records that Lucia the Warrior had given the LEA.
Its so good to be back Alaria sighed out loud.
I thought you said youd never been here before, Teclis said bitterly. How are you back to a place youve never been?
I dont know, really, she admitted. I havent been here before, but it just seems so much like my own monastery that
And children of the Nisai Ryu are welcome everywhere, came the voice of the man walking up to them. That is what we were founded on. It makes no difference what monastery you were from. A Nisai Ryu is always at home in one of these ancient places.
My name is Alaria Greywind, she said to the man as he approached them. I am from the Khandi Forest Monastery.
The man looked at the two newcomers up and down, all the while examining the very forces that permeated their being. This technique, known as a Life Scan allowed a skilled Lifestream reader to examine the person before them in great detail, from history to ability. The very best at this skill, which the man before them apparently was, could perform it without the subjects even knowing they were being examined.
Welcome to the Monastery of the Dry Hills: Casthaven, the man responded. I am Grand Master Hrata. It is good to have one of our children home again. Tell me, have you come seeking further training?
Umm this is Teclis Spelman, Alaria said, motioning to Teclis. The man glanced Teclis up and down, taking in his features.
Interesting Grand Master Hrata mused. His hair is most unusual. For a male, that is.
Blue? Teclis asked, somewhat sarcastically. Hrata nodded.
Ive never seen it in a male before. Some even say that a Blue Haired male is a foreboding omen he said, trailing off, surfacing a grin. But we dont believe in such nonsense. Please, follow me, and allow us to become better acquainted. We sensed your use of Lifestream at the base of the Mountain. We have prepared some food for you. Not considering the depth of his statement, they followed him into the monastery, happy to be receiving some food.
The humidity within the building was astounding, considering the lack of moisture outside. It wasnt quite damp, but the cool, moist air seemed to bring about a feeling of refreshment to the two travelers. The tunnels that made up the halls in the monastery were mostly dimly lit with torches hanging from the walls, though they simply made way by following Master Hrata.
He led them, as promised, to a room with food. It was mostly barren save for a low set table with no chairs. Around the table were pillows where it seemed they were to sit. It was reasonably bright, with many candles illuminating the portrayal of ancient battle scenes engraved on the walls. On the table itself, there was a semi-generous helping of breads, fruits, and some meat, along with some brown sauce of sorts held in small cup shaped bowls. Hrata motioned for the guests to sit down, he himself sitting on one side of the rectangular table and Alaria and Teclis taking seats on the opposing side.
You said you sensed the use of Lifestream when we entered? Teclis remarked. How easy is that to pick up on?
Youre an elemental mage, arent you? Hrata asked.
I specialize in Ethereal, or Wind Magic, and Black Magic, Teclis rebuked. The title of elemental mage is insulting. Hrata laughed.
We use Lifestream energy in two ways, he said.
We use the energy of the planet in our own bodies, and the energy of the planet from the spirit of the planet, Alaria said.
Nisai Ryu does not use any other form of magical manipulation. To sense the projection and use of Lifestream is not a difficult task for those who have attuned themselves to understanding it. From the looks of it, I could even say that this young woman here is skilled at using it, but doesnt utilize it in situations that dont strictly require it.
You can tell that by just sensing the energy? Alaria said.
I can tell by reading your spirit energy, he said. The Lifestream that is making up your spirit right now. That is what it is telling me.
Interesting, Teclis admitted. I know very little about Lifestream. Black magic is more powerful, of course, but one should always seek new knowledge.
You seem that confident of Black Magics power? Hrata asked. Teclis grimly nodded. The Grandmaster mildly grinned and closed his eyes. As he did, a wind seemed to blow lightly through the room and Teclis shivered almost as if he was cold.
What are you doing? he shot, jumping out of his chair. Quickly, though, the wind died down.
Can your Black Magic protect you from the forces that are after you? Hrata asked. Because it seems that is what you seek.
Amazing Alaria said. He can read your spirit energy so deftly.
A cheap trick, Teclis muttered, sitting down again. I can make the wind blow and state the obvious as well. Absently, he reached onto the table and placed some bread on his plate. Again, the Grand Master chuckled.
So bitter, he said. There is no need for it.
Theres always a need to be bitter, Teclis said in response. The alternative is less than pleasing. At least when youre bitter, you know how people react to you. Its better than having to guess how people visualize you. Id much rather be left with the obvious choice. Teclis briefly considered Hratas comical approach to his bitterness. As far as Teclis was concerned, he had every right to be as bitter as he wanted. His life had been hard enough, even up until this point. To go around and suggest that people suddenly change their manner of behaving is overly presumptuous of ones own confidence. That, if anything, bothered him.
Hrata chucked again, causing Alaria to laugh as well. She got a kick out of anyone who could put Teclis in his place and laugh about it in the process. She had been trying to do it for years. She figured that was truly what made Hrata a Grand Master of anything. The Nisai Ryu demand constant training and control of all aspects of ones body. They were all getting ready to fight something, though none of them knew what it was. Coming to realization of what was needed of you was what separated teachers and students. Someone like Alaria was only there to learn, at the moment. This Hrata, however, seemed to laugh at what destiny he held in his hand, if indeed there was such a thing as destiny for one like Alaria.
I heard a story, Hrata said, a very long time ago about a boy with incredible powers who was lost from his parents at a young age and was forced to fend for himself in the world. He suffered for many years, barely surviving the cruel treatment that people dispense to vagabonds. Through this trial, he eventually became greater, though very cold and world weary. He decided that the person that was to blame was his father and he began to search for him in order to do battle with him. But, as he journeyed in search of this father, he came to the realization that fighting was not the answer to his problems, but instead, he should calm himself by helping others with his powers. It is said that when he came to this conclusion, he had found God, and he began to teach other people this as well.
Adrekel Alaria said. The Son of God himself. The one who founded the Griever Church. Teclis coughed.
Youll have to excuse me if Im not much of a religious person, he grunted, gathering some food from the table and onto his plate. But what do such ramblings about Adrekel have to do with us. Hrata closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. He slowly rose from the table and began to pace around the room.
It means that you should take a lesson from Adrekel and study the way in which he lived. This does not mean that you need to help people to solve your problem, but be wary of the fact that fighting is not always the answer. He paused briefly. There is something you are looking for, is there not, Teclis? An answer to where you came from, perhaps? You yourself dont really know do you? Teclis shivered again as he thought he felt the wind that had swept through the room before. After a moment, though, he realized that this was different. No one else in the room could feel it other than him. It was cold and stung bitterly. He recognized it immediately. He had felt if all too often before.
The Black Wind is not something that you Lifestream Mages can control, Teclis spat, reeling from the shock of the wind. I know not how you bring it upon me, but think not for a second that you know anything more about me than I tell you. He rose from his seat and looked down at Alaria. Speak to this man about what we need. I am going to have a look about. I dont need to stand here and be told how to live my life. With that, he spun around and stormed out of the room, his cape kicking up in a whirlwind of excitement as he turned. Alaria then sat with Hrata in a momentary silence as she nibbled away at some of the food on her plate. The candles flickered as Tecliss presence exited the immediate area.
Hes not normally that grouchy, Alaria said, finally. Youll have to excuse him. Hes one of those people who has to be straight and to the point. He doesnt really like to talk about philosophical things like that. You understand, I hope? Hrata could hardly help but leave the same grin on his face.
Hes certainly a unique one, isnt he? Tell me, though. You have to have noticed certain traits of his that mark him different from any other man.
How so? Hrata once again sat down next to Alaria. I mean, besides the fact that hes a blue haired male who harnesses black magic with higher aptitude than anyone, his peers and elders alike?
You catch on, dont you? he asked. Alaria sighed deeply.
Teclis is definitely unique, though I dont know what makes him so. Hrata leaned forward and looked at her. Pausing, he drew in breath.
Can I tell you something frankly? Hrata asked.
And you are studied in religion, so this should make sense to you. Keep in mind that Im not saying that this is correct, but it is something that should be consider-
Lets hear it then, she said, cutting him off and surprising herself in a spurt of impatience that resembled that of her blue haired partner. Hrata closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. Arching his back, he placed his hands behinds his head and clasped his fingers there. Looking up to the ceiling again, he reopened his eyes and exhaled softly.
They say that the messengers that will bring news of Adrekels return will come in the form of two men, but these two men will be different from anything that the world had seen before. They will be Twins bound by Destiny itself, born against the odds by supernatural forces in the body of a human from the Empire of Ithilmar. Alaria cocked her head to the side before stifling a laugh
You you think Teclis is an Avatar of Adrekel? she said, laughing again.
Not only that, Hrata said, continuing to maintain seriousness. I think that its the reason he has people after him.
Alaria stopped laughing and raised an eyebrow.
What does that mean? Alaria asked.
Consider it briefly, Hrata said. What happens if Teclis is what is described in the Holy Text? Surely that would explain his extraordinary powers. And then consider if he has a brother somewhere, and that brother is located as well.
Then it would mark the completion of the prophecy, Alaria said in a hush whisper. But why would someone want to stop that?
Not just anyone, Alaria, Hrata said. The Griever Church and all the nations in the world.
Think of the panic that could be caused if people suddenly started to predict the end of the world. While there is some discrepancy as far as the timeframe goes, the Avatars are said to make themselves known one year before the End of the World. Consider briefly the chaos that would ensue if people expected Armageddon. And then, consider what would ensue if nothing happened. If it got out as to what Teclis might be, and then nothing occurred, the Griever Sect would look like fools. Religion is politics, Alaria. They are the same thing. Does this make sense to you?
I guess she said, slightly bewildered but mostly skeptical. Something tells me that Teclis is not a religious prophet, she said. He can barely stand when I even speak of my religion.
No one said that the Avatar would be what he is by choice, young one. Hrata looked up. Tell me. Has he ever mentioned a feeling like he is being pulled somewhere against his will. Maybe like something is happening and he knows that he is a part of it, but he doesnt know how, or why. He only know that he needs to go to where it is going to occur and then let destiny take control.
Grand Master Alaria said, chuckling softly. Teclis doesnt even mention that he feels like hes being pulled somewhere when Im physically dragging him with me. He would never admit to being weak enough to succumb to something as trivial as destiny.
Hrata looked at Alaria quixotically, raising an eyebrow and almost sighing. He slowly rose from his seat and extended his hand out to Alaria. After a pause where she looked at him in slight confusion, she took his hand and helped herself up off of the ground.
Youre nothing less than unique yourself, arent you? he asked her rhetorically. Alaria could only motion a shrug as she reached down and grabbed what she could off of the table to eat while Hrata led her wherever he might be ready to take her.
Maybe Tec rubs off on me, she said, stuffing some food into the pouch at her hip. Though I dont know what makes me different from anyone in Nisai Ryu.
Are you sure youre not? Hrata asked inquisitively. I mean, are you so sure youre not so different from anyone else in this widespread clan of ninjas? Thats merely what we are, isnt it? Youve never considered a greater purpose for yourself? Alaria cocked her head back and let out a deep breath.
Dont get weird on me, Master, she said. I dont need anymore confusion for one day. The Grand Master slowly nodded his head. He briefly considered something before coming to a conclusion.
Do you wish to see something interesting? he asked finally. Alaria shrugged.
Sure, she said. While were in the area it couldnt hurt. Besides, the walk will give me a chance to fill you in on our story without the philosophical addendums. Hrata nodded and motioned towards the hallway they had entered the room from.
Then come, he said. We havent much time As they exited the room with the food, back into the dimly lit corridor, the candles in the other room became extinguished, as if on their own. Hrata led Alaria further through the building, already seeming to have forgotten about Teclis and concentrating deeply on his goal. As they walked, Alaria spoke of her recent journeys with Teclis, finally asking if he knew anything about a group who used a star with wings as their symbol.
Hmm Hrata mused with a hand to his chin. Yes, I have, come to think of it. It was many years ago that it was brought to my attention. I believe they are called the Saidiar, or, Seekers of Freedom.
So, what do they do? Alaria asked, somewhat impatiently. Hrata seemed to try to think hard in order to remember something.
I believe they are against Ithilmarian influence on Denegrad and the other surface nations. Sort of a rebellion group. These are the men that approached you in the restaurant that one time?
Yes, Alaria said. But, that doesnt explain anything she shrugged it off and continued to follow Hrata through the building until they finally entered a type of shrine.
Unlike many of the walls made simply of rock through the rest of the building, the walls here were coated in a gold-colored tile, the room forming an even cube. On the far end of the room was a marble alter with pillar-like bases running around it. The top of the alter was also trimmed in gold and was supporting a wooden rack which, in turn, was carrying what looked like a sword gripped in an ornate sheath. From the base of the alter to the entrance of the room ran a red carpet.
Tell me, Alaria, he said, walking up the carpet and to the sheathed blade on the alter. Have you ever heard of a Lavoid?
A what-oid? Alaria asked, wincing at the unfamiliar word.
A Lavoid, Hrata repeated. Alaria again shook her head. Slowly, Hrata extended his hand to the sheathed weapon on the alter, removing it from the rack and gently taking the sheath off, placing it to the side. The blade that was revealed was a marvel to behold. Every single thing about it was intricately beautiful in an extremely deadly sort of way.
From the handle to the hilt, the blade alternated in colors between silver and bronze, with gold tendrils running around the entirety of it. The hilt extended outward and then further up into four spikes, two pointing up, two pointing down, each on the corners of the crossbar. The blade itself, however, defied explanation with any terms that Alaria had known at this point.
It was a blue, but it wasnt any one shade of blue. In some portions, it was deep ocean blue, and in others it was milky blue, all the while always making a smooth transition between colors. Through it streaked shots of white in zigzag patterns making it look like streaks of lightning. The blade appeared to be doubled edged, but it was hard to tell due to the peculiar coloring. The edge of the blade was, however, given an ornate carving, though never seeming extreme, making the weapon look all the more elegant.
What is this? Alaria finally asked, after examining the weapon for nearly a minute.
This is a weapon made of a substance we call Crystain, he said. We call them Phase Swords, mostly due to the inherent nature of the blade.
And that would be?
We call them as such because Crystain is slightly phased out of the material plane of existence. They also lie on the astral, or spirit plane. When you hit someone with a Phase Sword, you attack not only their physical body, but their spiritual one as well. He quickly snapped the sword up and made three quick swipes through the air with it. The air seemed to momentarily ring before the blade was recoiled and he fluidly returned it to its sheath. Crystain is the key, Alaria. Remember that.
I dont understand, Alaria said. What it the importance of this. As she looked at him, she thought she heard rumbling in the distance, but shrugged it off as unimportant. Hrata, however, didnt seem to think this mysterious rumbling, which resonated more of a feel than a sound, to be so unimportant, as he quickly took on a hasty speaking tone.
The importance is this, Alaria Greywind, and listen closely because our time together is growing tragically thin. Hrata said, taking the sheathed blade and handing it to her hastily. Around, the rumbling noise appeared to be getting louder. Away from their location, voices shouted in alarm. There was a familiar grinding noise, and it took Alaria a moment to recognize it before she finally realized what it was: the door to the Monastery was opening. Someone was coming in. In fact, it was many someones. The sound of boots against the stone floor came rapidly, but whoever was moving through the main chamber was good at what they did. Their movements were swift and what represented itself as a light tapping against the floor signified that they moved carefully.
Hrata looked at Alaria in the eyes. You must search for yourself the answers to the question that you and Teclis have. Take this weapon and make your way towards Ithilmar. There you will learn about the Lavoids and what there is to be done about it.
What is the rush? Alaria said, startled. Whats happening?
The EnKai! Hrata said. They are here to look for Teclis! You can hear them now as the main doors are opening! It is out of my position to stop them! He closed his eyes and waved his hands in a circular motion, and Alaria nearly jumped when Teclis suddenly appeared in front of them. Upset as his abrupt and un-consented teleportation, Teclis glared at Hrata.
What is the meaning of this?! he growled.
Your life is as stake, Hrata said simply. I will teleport you away from here before they reach you.
Who? Teclis queried, but already he could hear voices in the outer halls asking for a blue haired boy.
Trust him, Alaria said, putting a hand on his shoulder and smiling. And trust me. Teclis shook his head.
Some Sanctuary, Teclis muttered sarcastically, glaring at Hrata. Fine. Do what you will. He crossed his hands over his chest and snorted. Hrata looked at the two of them.
Remember what I have told you, he said to Alaria. She nodded. The voices outside were almost upon them now. They were shouting orders and directions.
Hrata closed his eyes and muttered a few words. He outstretched his hands as the whip of Lifestream filled the room, its refreshing wave of power seeming to rejuvenate Teclis and Alaria, who lifted their heads to the sky as their hair was swept up in a mass of wind. A green glow surrounded them and there was a flash from within Hrata as he resolved his spell. Then, a spiraling sensation flew through the two travelers as they were sucked up into a void that had never truly appeared.
They disappeared just as ten black clad and heavily armed soldiers entered the room with guns at the ready.
I knew she was the one before I even scanned her Life Force. The fact that she was with him was reason enough. Grand Master Hrata of the Nisai Ryu
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