The Story of Tata Chapter 9
Little Lost Boy
By The Man
It was a festival. Huge by proportion was it, surpassing the Millenial Fair and the Moonlight Parade by a long shot. The town was lively down to the very dirt roads that were trampled on. Music halls were in every corner, food was abundant, as was the wine supply. The lights in every house, every store, and of course, the castle blazed like an insane light show, making even the dark, evening skies look like midday. Every wine cellar owner was becoming as rich as kings through the huge drive for booze. The streets of town were cluttered with game tents, parades, and other attractions. The noise never let up, as that when a group would go back to their homes or would pass out from one too many bottles of wine, another group would wake up.
Crono and the rest stayed at the castle, where the king, the chancellor, the knights, the guards and the rest were also going all-out for the party. The castle was easily the liveliest spot around, what with the hooting laughter of the knights, the many bands playing there, and really the fact that there was more room there than anywhere else in Truce.
Tata enjoyed it thoroughly, to put it lightly. The celebration had already lasted a whole day, but he had already chugged three white wines and two reds, (he still couldn't decide which he liked more) listened to most of the bands, arm wrestled ten different warriors, (not to mention the fact that he had to slug it out with one three times), and met the whole legion of knights. He even caught Marle, Lucca, and Crono and chatted with them for hours. That is, until Lucca made Crono drink a bottle of a new drink dubbed "Forest Grapes." In one gulp. It was later confirmed that the drink either could not be drunk in large quantities, or it simply disagreed with Crono's stomach. Crono left shortly thereafter.
"You havin' a good time, Tata?" asked Marle after Crono left.
Tata sucked in a breath and let it go. "Well, I've listened to over a hundred different brilliant melodies, I met the whole legion of the Knights of the Square Table, I haven't gotten a wink of sleep in the last twenty-four hours, I learned how to dance, and how to drink hard. Evaluation having a blast."
A bottle top flew like shrapnel through the air and pelted Tata hard on the forehead. The force was so great and unexpected that it knocked the youth backward over a table and onto the floor.
"Tata!" hollered Lucca as she and Marle rushed to his side.
"Tata, are you okay?" asked Marle looking him in the face.
Tata groaned and sat up shakily. The cap had left a red splotch where it had hit him. He touched his forehead and rubbed it.
"Whoever just did that won't be in a minute." He mumbled, his eyes scanning for the culprit.
"Oh, god! I'm sorry!" shouted a jester from across the room. The jester walked over to them, holding a blackish bottle.
"Damn, was that you?" asked the jester, bending over to examine Tata.
"Let's ask my forehead." Tata said sardonically.
"Jeez, let me help ya there." The fool said, laughing under his breath. He reached out and grabbed Tata's hand and pulled him to his feet.
The jester's face was completely cover with black and white makeup. He wore a black outfit that flowed around him like a black sea. He wore a three-belled jester's hat, that jangled every time he moved. He had a grin on that offered a sense of good humor to his mood.
"Sorry about that." Laughed the joker. He held out his hand, which Tata shook. "My name's Nel. Sorry again about the bottle. I guess it is as wild as it's supposed to be."
"Tata." Tata said simply, releasing his grip on the jester's hand.
"Yeah, I know." Nel said laughing again. "That so-called 'warrior' was giving everyone around him a lot of grief about you being a 'cheap fighter.'"
"You mean that one guy I kicked the crap out of." Tata said grinning.
"You got in a fight, Tata?" asked Lucca. He nodded.
"Yep. But last I saw he was being dragged into another fight by a burly knight." Replied Nel. "He's getting his bones ground free of charge at this moment as far as I know. Any warrior who loses to a fourteen-year-old is a complete wuss. No offense."
"None taken." Said Tata.
"Hey, want to try this new wine?" Nel asked, holing up the bottle.
Tata took it. "What is it?"
"It's new. It's called 'Hellfire.' 'Supposed to make even the hardest drinker cry like a little ninny."
Nel smiled. "Bet you can't take it."
"Get ready to pay up that bet." Said Tata. He tilted the bottle back and began to drink. The first taste wasn't hot or spicy at all. It tasted sort of salty and sour. It was awfully familiar to Tata, as he continued to drink.
Suddenly, it clicked. Tata's eyes shot open and he removed the bottle hastily from his lips. The jester was gone. Tata realized where he had tasted this drink before. He even knew what it really was.
It was blood.
He stared at it. He looked at the side of the bottle, even as he let the red liquid pour freely onto the floor from his mouth. There was a label there now. It had a picture of a devil that appeared to be laughing. Below the illustration was a phrase.
It read; "Got you!"
Snarling, Tata wound his arm behind his back and threw the black bottle high into the air. In the same movement, he pulled back his other arm and then threw it out ward. A fireball shot out from his hand. It rocketed through the air and shattered the bottle, spilling the black glass and its contents on the floor. Only now, the contents were just regular red wine.
The room was dead silent now, after the magic show. Everyone new about Crono, Lucca, Marle, and the rest's magical talent. But not a soul around ever had even a notion that a short, fourteen year old named Tata would have magical properties.
The sounds of footsteps sounded a few feet away. It was Crono. He surveyed the scene, like a hawk surveying his prey. He saw the shattered remains of the bottle, and sauntered over to it. He stared down at the mess for a minute, then trained his eyes on Tata.
"Thought you liked red, Tata." He said.
A nervous laughter sounded amongst the other party members. Slowly, the party resumed its normal course, the bystanders not saying a word about Tata's act. Tata drooped his head as Lucca put a hand on his shoulder.
"What was that all about?" she asked as Crono walked over to where the trio stood.
Tata threw off her hand in a furious motion and stormed out of the room. He made his way to his room, passing around the crowds of people. He ran up the stairs at a running pace, heedless to anything around him. He reached his door and threw it open, it's hard wooden planks smashing against the stone wall. The force was so great, the door shut on it's own accord. Tata sat himself down on the bed, the mocking label of the illusionary bottle still shining brightly in his head.
If looks could kill, Tata's could've wiped out the whole continent, and at that moment, he really wished his could. Maybe then he'd get some rest
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!
Tata looked up at the door. Someone had knocked on his door. Whoever it was didn't need inviting on Tata's part, and opened the door. There stood Glenn, decked out in full body armor, minus his violet cape. He wore a serious expression on his face that revealed the type of subject he was about to bring up.
"You okay?" he asked, taking a step into the room.
"Yeah, just peachy." Muttered Tata.
"Do you want to talk about it?" asked Glenn, shutting the door.
"Talk about what?" asked Tata lifelessly.
"Oh, I don't know." Said Glenn, looking up and putting a quizzical look on his face in a mock-think. He looked back at Tata. "How about your little spaz attack down there with the bottle? And the fire?"
Tata bowed his head in response.
Glenn walked over to the foot of the bed where Tata sat. "Why didn't you tell us you had magical talents?"
Tata sighed. "Why did I need to? I makes no difference."
"Your right, it doesn't." answered Glenn. "What matters is what made you so secretive."
Tata looked up at him. "I'm not being secretive."
"Well, I think so." Responded Glenn. "You may not remember Tata, but I know you pretty well. I know your attitude, your behavior patterns, even you emotional traits. At least, I thought I did."
Glenn sat himself down next to the youth. "I used to know you as kind, sweet, gentle, and quick to laugh. You were the happy type, Tata. Now, you are surly, solemn, quiet, and very solitary."
Tata laughed a short, mocking laugh. "Teenage-hood. What do you expect?" he said derisively.
"Is it really that terrible, Tata?" asked Glenn as he attempted to peer into the youths shadowed eyes. "Is your life so miserable that you must face it alone through agony and pain when the real answer is right here?"
Finally, Tata looked back at him. "Yes, it is." He said simply. "It is beyond words from the human language. It can only described in feelings and actions. And emotions."
"Tell me about that." Said Glenn. "A person who does not wish to be found will get that wish. What is going on in your life, Tata? What has degraded you to this extent?"
Tata looked away again, but then looked back to him. "All I have experienced ever has been hate, murder and loss. It goes back as far as my childhood. When Alison died. That was the starting point; the first murder on my hands. Then you and Cyrus "died." The first loss."
"Alison's death wasn't your fault." Glenn said in a serious tone. "And I came back, didn't I?"
"No, no. You're missing the point." Said Tata in a pained voice. "It didn't matter if it was my fault. What matters is that I saw her die. I couldn't hold her and she fell. I was witness to a murder at age five. I try to turn to my friends, but they're gone. It doesn't matter now that you're here. I am glad you are, but not when I really needed you."
Glenn was silent.
Tata went on. "It doesn't really get going until I turn fourteen. You see, I met a girl about a year after you "died." Her name was Minka, and she was Flea's sister."
Glenn looked surprised. "You had a Mystic for a friend?"
"A couple, actually." Said Tata. "Anyway, she was a kind person. The type that didn't like to fight. She and I became best friends and our friendship lasted all the way up until we were fourteen." He paused. "But I also had enemies."
"Len and his gang?" asked Glenn.
Tata slowly nodded.
"They got worse. I was their whipping boy. They hated Minka too. Every time they saw me, it was nothing but abuse. I began fighting back, but they kept coming back to hurt her and I. I finally got fed up and slew three of them to save her, but "
Tata drew in a breath. "It only resulted in another death. A man by the name of Jacob Ericson was executed for being a Mystic. He had tried to stand up for the equality of the races. The last remaining member of Len's gang was Len himself, but only appeared after that in my nightmares."
Tata ran a hand through his hair. "Then, one day, I had a prophetic vision. I went to Minka's house and I saw " Tata buried his head in his hands.
Glenn put an armored hand on the youth's back. "That was the murder Flea spoke of, wasn't it?"
Tata ran his hands slowly down his face. "Yes. The most brutal, macabre scene I had ever looked upon."
Tata sighed again, straining to keep his voice steady. "I never found her killer. I have no leads, no suspects, no proof. I was so fed up with life that I went to Guardia Castle to enlist in the army. It was pure suicide."
Tata looked out the window. "And even to this day, though it hasn't been long, I am haunted by nightmares and visions. Each time it's just blood and pain and " he trailed off.
" And her." He looked back at Glenn. "You don't know how much she meant to me. She was my passion, my happiness, my desires all folded into a human body. I loved her."
Tata looked down at the ground, then back at Glenn. "That is who I am now, Glenn. Vengeful, spiteful, and lonely. I have been sick of life for a while now, and I want it to end."
Tata stood up and walked over to the window. He stared out at the lively streets of town, at all the happy and joyous people down there. He envied them. He wished he could forget his worries and have a blast. But that would never happen.
"You seemed like you were having a good time, according to Crono." Said Glenn, who stood up as well. "What happened that stopped your partying time that you enjoyed so much?"
Tata sighed. "Another illusion." He said, not taking his eyes off the view from the window he stood by. "A jester named Nel gave me a bottle and tricked me into drinking it. It was blood. He tricked me into drinking blood."
Tata stopped for a minute. His intuition was ringing again. Something about the name of the jester made Tata wonder
There was a knock on the door. Tata started for it, but Glenn got to it before he did. He opened the doors to reveal Robo.
"Glenn? Tata?" asked the robot.
"What is it, Robo?" asked Glenn.
"The festival just ended." Answered the robot. "Everyone is leaving."
"We'll be right along." Said Glenn dismissive as the robot left. He turned back to Tata.
"You probably want to go back to your own time right now." Glenn said.
"No." said Tata, bowing his head.
"Tata, the world isn't all bad. You could go back to your home, start a new life " Glenn trailed off.
Tata had had his head down, but now he raised it. The look in his face was fierce and furious. "What, back to there? To 600 ad to let the world overrun me??"
Tata wound his arm back and swung it into the nearest bed post. It broke of and slammed into the floor. "I am not going back. My life is a joke in the big scheme of things, but I refuse to be walked on like a broken stepping stone. If anything happens to me, I will decide if it will happen. Far too often have I been walked on. I won't let it continue!"
Tata sat down on the bed again. He had burnt all his anger out. Now he just felt empty. Hollow. Not whole. He looked back up at Glenn, who was just staring at him.
"What?" asked Tata.
"It's just so funny." Said Glenn, smiling. "You are so much like Magus and I. We both were at one time driven by a vengeful hate because we had lost someone close to us. We were never the best in the crowd, and we certainly didn't appreciate what life had left us. But each of us pressed on, never letting go of our humanity completely. And in the end, we both came out happy and content. I regained my human form and put Cyrus' soul to rest. Magus got Shala. What is it that you strive for, Tata? Is it to get revenge? To find a way to bring Minka back? Really, Tata, as hateful as all these events are to you and you are to them, you really never seem to want to change anything. Right after discovering Minka was dead, you simply walked up here. You didn't try to find her killer, nor did you search endlessly for a way to bring her back. That is where the common ground between you and I separates, Tata. Magus and I searched constantly for what we had lost, and in turn, we did get what we were without and needed. But you do nothing. You just let it slide beyond your grasp, not wanting to go through the trouble of changing anything. Was she really that unimportant to you Tata? That you chose to do nothing to help her? If there is no vengeance or redemption for her death, then there is no reason to hate. No reason to feel sorry for yourself, or to be a dead twig on the tree of life. But if there is a vengeance, if you must avenge or find what you lost, then you should pursue it. Pursue it with all your might. If there is a hate, then hate. If not, then don't. Hate, or do not hate. There is no middle ground between those factors. None."
Tata looked back out the window again. The town had all gone to sleep. The party had lasted two nights and a day, and now it was over. Was he really just a twig on the great tree of life? Twigs, branches, trunks. Out of all of them, all he could be was a twig? He didn't want to be. Not ever again. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. He'd hate to be neither, immortal or remembered. He didn't want to be forgotten. He was Tata, and he hoped he would live on, if anything, in the hearts of those who loved him.
"They're leaving." Glenn stated matter-of-factly. "It's time to go, Tata."
End of Chapter 9
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