The Gathering Chapter 2
Keeper of the Moxes
"To all those who fear the night and stand against the darkness, please give us strength."
Magus finally decided to give his chanting a rest, lamenting that he was not going to contact anyone. Since the death of Lavos some three years earlier, he had found refuge from the growing society of others in a small cavern on the shoreline to reclusively pick up on the study of summon magic.
Now before him on a makeshift table were hundreds of scrolls cases brought forth from Kajad which Magus had found floating about in the vast ocean shortly after the destruction of the Kingdom of Zeal. Surprised that they had survived at all, the former Enlightened One continued to read of its contents which were most impressive. In almost completely decipherable context and clarity were the magical dialects that were used by his ancestors to invoke the spirit of the 'Great Caller' so long ago.
Briskly turning the pages with his gloved hands, the only light Magus had to read in eminated from a lone wick of wax in the corner of the alcove which was propped up in an elixir vial. The bitter Ice Age wind whipping across the cove hadn't helped much either, but other than that, there was no problem to make out the jargon on the hieroglyphics. The words had appeared to be of the same text as many of the other spells he had used before.
"Doesn't seem to be any different than the times in which I cast 'Dark Eternal' or anything else in that respect," he conceded to himself in an eccentric tone. "But what's all this talk about 'invoking the land'?"
He uncoiled another scroll to help him get a better idea.
"So, Spekkio was wrong. According to this, wizardry is divided into FIVE forms, all which have their own embroider and land types. To embody such power, I only need to recite these epitaphs while being in their presence. Hmmmm, sounds like fun."
Looking ahead, Magus knew that he would need his rest for where he was traveling tomorrow, and that was to the Sun Keep, an offshore island which held the Moon Stone that would be a Sun Stone in about fourteen thousand years. With that, the candle began to flicker and die. He would need to walk into town tomorrow and purchase other things that would aid him along the way.
The island itself held three different characteristics which were to be considered seperate land types: the island itself, according to the archives, would suffice for the blue branch of magic; the keep itself would pass for withdrawing the red magic; and the small glen outside should contain more than enough foliage to extract the essence of green magic.
With that much power, he was sure that he could find a way to breathe life into the last two branches of magic. Of course, the first principle of necromancy stated that it was against the balance of the Ethos to create opposing lines of sorcery from out of their natural rival magic compositions.
There was balance in nature after all.
Where had he heard that before?
He'd think about it tomorrow. Right now, he had to rest. So, he closed his eyes, perceived a relaxed sensation, and fell into a reposing snooze.
By the time the sun peeled over across distant horizon, he was already prepared for his walk into The Last Village. All he had to ready himself for the long walk was a shelter, a few tonics, two ethers, a midtonic, and a tattered sheet of paper with all the magical incantations scribbled onto it. He didn't want to leave anything to chance even though there was rarely anything to worry about in the plains albeit the weather.
'Maybe, you'll find Schala there.' a wishful voice whispered into his mind's ear.
Looking in the direction away from North Cape, he saw that The Last Village definitely looked a lot bigger than it was before despite the fact that it was incredibly far away. He set out towards the township, but it wasn't long after departure in which his mortality was proven to him. He wasn't the fighter he used to be, which was evident to him as he ventured along the moors. For plains, the freezing land was very rugged, as he came across gorges which seemed uncrossable other than scaling them straight up and over. By the time he found himself in the middle of the icy savanna, four of his five tonics were used up. Cold and tired, Magus took out the writings from his belt pouch and unfolded it to read the commands for the plains out loud.
Wodlock, chansay, ermab, nydet!
He could feel a sudden wind flare up, causing his cape to be caught in the gale force. He kept reading.
Krancee, baxa, fraznet, eebles!
Clouds gathered. Lightning crackled. Thunder bellowed down from the heavens where the Zeal kingdom once was.
"Oh, Gods of the Astral Plains, beseech me with your celestial power, that I shall bring forth the world of old and stand against all who agress us!"
At that moment, the illogical outburst of nature halted. Then came a beam of pure white light that shot straight down from the cosmos and engulfed Magus. Unparalleled power overwhelmed every fibre of his physical being. Then, as soon as it had granted him his desire, the beam of light vanished and nature had taken over.
Magus dropped to his knees, his eyes locked shut, his head arched upwards. He espied that the coldness in his body was gone. It was warm, for the first time ever, his face felt warm. He reached into his sheath and pulled out his scythe. His reflection caused him to drop it, for a human face had looked back at him. Getting back to his feet, the discomforts of freezing and tiring returned, but now, he knew how to deal with it.
All impurities left him, making him feel totally revived and energetic again. Resheating his Doomsickle, he pressed onwards to The Last Village, still unaware of the white jewel bestowed around his neck.
When he got there later that night, he saw that what was once a handful of bearskin tents was now a blossoming rich and full village that reminded Magus of Medina Square. A veritable network of busybodies were going out of each others way to keep building it. Knowing that they recognized him only as a prophet, he walked confidently through the settlement, noticing that the structures around him were not just six or seven feet high, but fifteen to twenty feet high! Some of them had two floors and there was no sign that they were lopsided or had poor foundations.
How could these people redevelope this kind of craftsmanship in only three years?
He wandered around for a while and eventually remembered that some three years back, there was a tent which was situated at the more localized region of The Last Village. It was where he and his team bought the many items that had saved the world's timelines. Maybe that's where he would find it now.
He steadily made his way to the building which he recalled to be the store. Walking in through the drapery which served to be 'the front door,' he saw what resembled a tavern instead of a town's market.
"What'll it be stranger?" the man at the counter offered.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I was expecting a shop." Magus replied.
"It IS a shop. Where have you been for the past three years?"
Magus drew a blank to the man's question.
"I see. So, what can I getcha. Something to drink? To go perhaps?"
"Well, I need a couple spools of twine and some candles. oh, and some Full Tonics and Full Ethers if you got any."
The man disappeared into the back room. When he came back, he had with him three spools of twine, four candles, and Full Tonics and Ethers, six of each.
"Will there be anything else, pal?"
"Well, now that you mention it, I'd like to know the name of this building's contractor. I could use craftsmanship like his."
He considered building a raft to take him to the Sun Keep. But Magus couldn't afford to have it built from scratch.
"Yeah sure, hang on a second!" he replied, turning his head and cupping his hands to his mouth. "Venter! Get down her pronto!"
With that, a Nu trudged down the staircase and over to his employer. It reminded Magus of Belthasar.
"What is it, Murat?" he asked politely.
"This gentlemen is looking for the carpenter. Do you know where he is?"
"How should I know?"
"Well, if you can throw together a stopgap store after the world collapsed and expect to find any buyers, finding a carpenter shouldn't be too far out of your league."
Venter gave him a malecontent glance. Then, turned to Magus.
"I think you'll find him in The Commons."
"Thanks," Magus said in return. "So, what do I owe you for the goods?"
"That'll be 1250gp."
Magus pulled out a pouch from his belt and threw it on the counter.
"You can count it if you want, but I think you'll find that it's all there." he said to them. "We'll I'll just be moseying along! Thanks for everything!"
With that, he gathered the supplies and put them into his pack. Then, turned and walked away, his destination now The Commons.
"Did you see that?" Venter whispered to Murat.
"See what?" Murat retorted.
"That thing around his neck. It kinda looked like the Mox Pearl!"
"Nah, it couldn't be. Moxes are just myths!"
But I'm telling you. That was it!
Magus finally made it into The Commons and by then, it was nightfall. For the Ice Age, the days here were very short, at least when there were no storm to make them endless. The square itself, hadn't changed at all. There may have been a bit more vegetation but the clearing was just the same as ever. In the distance, he could see a campfire burning brightly, with people from all around basking in its soothing glow. The carpenter had to be there.
He began to walk up towards the fire, gradually picking up its invigorating warmth. When he got near enough, he noticed that the seedling a woman had planted a long time ago had now developed into a rich, full tree, and other plants were growing nearby.
He suddenly missed his comrades but knew that if they all began to sporadically travel through time again, it could create another paradox and rupture the fragile balance of the timeline again.
"Don't start drifting again, Magus." he told himself. "Just find that carpenter so you can get to the Sun Keep."
He went over to the fire, seeing no one overly familiar other than one or two of Dalton's former guards. Then, he caught sight of the woman who had planted the seedling. She appeared to be expecting a little bundle of joy very soon. Sitting down next to her, he saw that she was alone. He couldn't stand to see her like that and decided to join her in the warming of hands.
"Looks like you'll be having a little company not too far from now." he said to her, smiling.
"Yeah." she responded absently.
Looking into her face, she seemed distracted by something. So, he tried to bring his smalltalk to the next level.
"So, who's the father? Maybe, I know him."
"You'll know him if you've ever been to the saloon. His name's Murat Urza."
"I know him alright. I just came from there. I'm surprised he never talked about you. He knew I was heading here. Did he know you were here?"
"He could care less. all he cares about is his business. I kinda wish that that carpenter never came here to begin with."
"Came here? You mean, he's not indigenous to us?"
"Of course not. Where have you been for the past three years?"
"Lost, I guess. Just tell me where he's from, would you? Please, it's important."
"Well, a little while after the Bad Omen disappeared from the sky, a bird-shaped plane flew down and a spikey-haired guy introduced us all to Spalenka. they said he was one of the greatest carpenters in the world from where he came from."
"But, where does he come from?"
"He said he was from 600a.d., wherever that is."
"Oh great. They're doing it again."
"Who's doing what again?" she asked, confused.
"Never mind. So, tell me. How far along are you?"
"It shouldn't be that long, but I could really use something to drink. I'm so thirsty."
Magus then remembered the Full Tonics he had stored in his pack. He took it off from around his shoulder and pulled one out. Then, he popped the cork off the vial and handed it to her, taking out another for himself.
"Huh? No, I can't accept that."
"No, really. I insist." he said, popping his cork. "But first a toast."
"To what?" she asked, finally accepting the vial.
"To our future..." He paused, smiling. "Because now, we have one."
"I'll pretty much drink to anything, but cheers!" she said, throwing the potion back, feeling a refreshing sensation all over.
"Thank-you so much."
"Don't mention it." he said, giving her a handful of gold.
"Now, this I can't accept. I just can't."
He didn't know why he did it. He never did anything like that before.
"Sure you can. You're family's gonna need it more than me anyway."
She suddenly moaned in pain, grabbed her belly, and breathed deeply.
"I think my water just broke."
"What? No, you can't have this baby, now!"
"TELL THAT TO THIS LITTLE GUY!" she screamed, rubbing her stomach to try and sooth the child within her.
By this time, everybody who was huddled around the fire were witness to what was going on at its far side.
"Well, don't just stand there! Magus shouted at them. "Get her a blanket!"
Someone ran off, while the others cleared an area which formerly held the logs for seating. Once that was done, the young man returned with a blanket in his arms.
"That's good! Set it down here!"
He obeyed and spread it out onto the earth.
"Alright, now you gotta work with me, ok?" he said. She nodded. "When I tel you to breathe, you breathe. When I say push, push. Got it?"
"You want me to write this down or what?! she wailed.
Were these responsibilities arising from the fact that he had invoked white magic? Or was it just telling him where he ranked in the scheme of things here in the Ice Age? Whatever the reason, the woman was giving birth now.
"Alright, I can see the baby's head. Breathe deep!"
She did as she was told.
She kept pushing and screaming and was almost out of energy.
"It's a boy." Magus said at last, holding the baby in his arms.
The woman couldn't have been more relieved. She dropped her head back to find a gentle cushioning. She cocked her head all the way back and found Murat looking down at her.
"Oh, I'm so glad you're here, honey." she said, feeling his caress against her forehead. While that was going on. Magus took off his cape and wrapped it around the baby, not thinking much of it anymore. From all around, he could hear the spectators complementing him.
He had never felt more at home with the Ice Age.
"What's your name, anyway?" the woman asked him cordially.
"Uh, Mag...Janus. Janus Zeal. What's yours?"
"Sandra, and we're going to name our son after you. Janus Zeal, say hello to Janus Urza."
"Hello." Magus said, feeling the baby's hand grapple his index finger.
Magus then got up and left the family in peace. Just as Sandra's sapling had taken root, so true did Murat's for his wife. That was when Magus felt a hand fall on his shoulder and he spun around to see a very familiar face.
"You. You're that carpenter. You're Spalenka?"
"That's right, and I heard you needed my help."
The two of them began to walk away from The Commons.
"So, who's bright idea was it for you to come all the way back here?" Magus asked them as they walked along.
"Honestly? It was Marle's. Somebody was needed back here to help these people survive against the elements."
"Great. Anyway, I was hoping that you could build me a raft to get to the Sun Keep."
"I guess I cold do that, but you'd need something a lot stronger than a regular raft to get you back, and something like that won't come cheap."
"How much?" he asked.
"About 7000 gp."
Magus counted the money he had left. 3000 gp.
"I'll just go with whatever you can get me."
"Alright then. 2000 gp, and I'll need some twine."
Magus handed it over to him.
"Come with me." Spalenka responded.
Once they made it back to town, the carpenter invited Magus to stay with him at his lodging in the Inn.
"Please, come in and make yourself comfortable. It may be the last bit of comfort you'll get for a long time."
Magus threw himself onto the spare bunk, exhausted by what the day had granted him with.
"I'll get to work right away. I should be done in the morning. You get some rest til then."
Without comment, Magus just watched on as Spalenka swiftly left to get to work on his craft.
Magus was finally back at North Cape. When he found the raft, he was impressed by the craftsmanship of the vessel. It was ,ade of ten balsam fir logs conjointed together by twine and an adhesive stained between them all. A sail jutted out at its center and could move to and fro at his command.
"Not too shabby." Magus commended.
Looking out into the coast, however, caused his grin to falter completely. There were strong gusts of blowing snow and the ocean seemed to lash out in anger by crashing savagely along the rocks of the mainland. The resulting lack of visability made the already treacherous narrows almost suicidal.
"And darkness shall be cast from me
For my soul resides on the Sun."
With this satanic dirge of Femeref, the storm began to die down completely. Still not receiving the desired results, Magus concluded.
The sun at last broke through the cyclone-inducing winds and the raging snow halted. With a chuckle to himself and a personal feeling of accomplishment, Magus pushed the craft into the water and grabbed one of Spalenka's handcrafted paddles, slowly making his way to the Sun Keep to reap his long-awaited rewards.
"Just like old times." Magus thought as he pulled up on the shore of the island known as the Sun Keep. The island itself contained a lot more vegetation that Magus remembered before, which would make it that much easier to extract the carnal essences.
When he came upon the glen, he had an encounter with several imps. He decided he was not going to waste his magic on these troublemakers and unsheathed his scythe, ready for the kill. He stopped in his track, reared up, and swung, slicing one of them in half.
"That felt good." he said out loud, still exhibiting some sense of demonism into his character.
Several more hastily fell victim to Magus's air curtailing when the head Imp slashed with a lancet that got him in the arm. His cape was no longer their to deaden the blow.
Feeling an indescribable savor in his mouth, his wound was immediately erased, although the blood still stained his attire.
"That does it! No more Mr. Nice Mage!"
WORD OF UNDOING!
With that, Magus opened his mouth and a miasma of intense smoke and fire left it and swept over all of the imps, causing them to stiffen and eventually disappear altogether.
As if any invoked power released was his very own.
Braki, surlap, coulthart, talbot.
Dirsa, oracle, myfors, bracford.
He then lifted his hands in the air and declared the final inscription.
"Oh Gods, poured from the blood of Earth, embrace me with your power to preserve the existence of our world! I implore thee!"
This time, feathery veils of green energy began to emerge from the trees around him and drove into his powers. The power in his veins continued to grow until another jewel was presented around his neck. This time, Magus became aware of it and took notice of the both of them.
He was then aware of what Murat had his eyes on back in the tavern. Everybody knew of these legends but they could not be found anywhere.
Magus now knew why, that they had to be summoned.
He wandered out of the forest and to the view which overlooked the rest of the world. Then, he took out that same piece of paper with his orange-gloved hands and read out the incantation for the Mox Sapphire.
But this time, nothing happened at all.
Not worrying too much about it, he ran for the entrance of the Sun Keep to acquire one of the most popular (and fatal) cornerstones of magic: fire.
Looking up, he gazed around at the interior of the keep, for the first time realizing that it was totally hollowed- out ground, granting men difficult passageway to the roof of the mountain.
He, however, was no average man.
An aura enveloped MAgus and he felt himself being lifted off the floor. With the greatest of ease, he brought himself up trhough the inside of the Keep and out of the skylight, setting himself down on an outside ledge and, just like he had before, took out the sheet with the next spell ready to go.
Before he could proceed, however, his ears picked up a slipstream humming that was more than reminiscent to him. Looking to the sky, his suspicions were justified.
"Well, well," Magus sneered, uncoiling the parchment. "Look who decided to return."
Brolin, rancore, rinkek, provel...
The sky became flush red as the savage strength of fire magic began to become part of Magus's soul. From the Epoch, however, its passengers had a much different point of view towards his sacrifice of humanity.
"Lucca," Marle spoke out alarmingly. "Get us in closer. We can't let him finish that reading."
"You got it, Marle."
"But let's be careful. We don't wanna have to take him out."
"Right." Marle replied.
Lucca brought it in as quickly and as safely as possible. By now, the mountains had become a blood red and beams of intense crimson exploded from the clouds which Lucca was trying feverishly to avoid. Marle, at this time, was beginning to worry about the pendant around her neck. It had been glowing like never before since the Wings of Time had last taken off.
As they moved in, Crono, Marle, and Lucca were starting to feel disoriented and nauseous for no discernable reason.
"You will not stop me, you foolish mortals." Magus said to them, knowing that they could not hear him but feel him.
Magus decided to cast a spell, risking the completion of the ritual.
RAY OF ERASURE!
A blue light was unleashed from Magus's disposition and when it overcame Epoch, the three heroes felt as if they were going to go insane (Crono was that close to taking out his sword and hacking his friends to pieces!). When the light disappeared, they decided to take an offensive approach.
"What the hell?"
"Don't you see?" Magus's voice boomed throughout their ship. When they looked at Magus on the mountain, his lips weren't moving at all. "What is real can be unreal. The existence of your powers is now that of mine."
"Oh great." Crono grumbled, not comprehending what was going on.
It was only when the wrath of elemental nature subsided that Magus used their power against them.
A green burst of energy blew their ship out of position. Magus was no longer what he was before he first began invoking these powers. He was what he was when he was still in 600a.d.: a constant threat to Guardia's way of life and was unrelenting in his quest to make the world his.
Regaining control of the Epoch, Lucca sadly took note that Crono and Marle had lost consciousness when they smacked their heads hard against the bubbletop of the cockpit. She had to think fast.
Recalling the time in which herself, Marle, and Magus were getting 'Dark Eternal' mastered, she memorized vividly what it took to cast a spell which he himself had perfected.
After all, wasn't his power now hers anyway?
Reality bended and molded into a searing triangle of dark energy. Magus was ready still.
Lucca's Dark Eternal discharge vanished.
"Abandon, all hope, mortal. You have no idea who you're dealing with. Now, where was I? Oh yes..."
Brolin, rancore, rinkek, provel,
Leelyn, garnox, carapace, megrim.
With those words, the beams of scarlet red once again descended and filled Magus with unprecedented vigor. Now, he had the Mox Ruby. All of the power he had acquire after this time could no longer be contained and it began to crackle from his eyes and fingertips. Lucca flung open the cockpit and confronted him.
"Janus, you have to listen to reason. We may not have been very fair to you as a companion, even though you gave us so much and you so little, but see with your heard that this isn't the Magus we've come to know and...and love."
Somehow, Lucca was able to reach him, and he was able to look into the handful of humane deeds he had done in the past, which included the safe delivery of a little baby Janus not even a day ago.
The hatred began to fade as he rediscovered his human side, soon accepting this new part of himself he was sure was there all along.
"Okay." he retorted.
And with that, silence found the barren land once again.
Regrouping with his old comrades back in The Last Village, Magus was informed by Marle that they had returned to find and tell him of a three-year reunion back in 64,999,997b.c. with everybody else. He was tempted to bring up their travesty of paradoxical time travel, but was too flattered by their gesture to do it.
Regarding this turn of events happily, he strolled onwards with his longtime accomplices towards the Epoch once again. He still had attained the dexterity of Black magic, but that didn't matter to him anymore. He had already invoked something that was much more powerful.
The human spirit.
[Well, this be the 2nd chapter! I admit it's kinda long, but this is just the short version!! I hope you've enjoyed it and please feel free to email me with any criticism you might have, particularly your positive kind! ;-)]