The Legacy of Demetrius Chapter 2
Guardia Castle, 600 A.D.
Marle sat on the corner of the bed waiting. She'd seen him from the balcony and then given the guards specific orders to let him in. According to her the red haired young man had saved her life earlier in the forest. The statement had the desired effect, and she was almost certain they'd grant him an audience with her now. After all he was the hero who had protected their queen.
When he entered the doorway she stood, and forced her face to straighten. Please, leave us. She said to the two attendants that had been doting over her every wish. I wish to speak to this individual.
Certainly, your Highness. One said as they both gave deep bows, then headed out the door.
Don't be afraid sir, she said. You may come closer.
The teenage boy hesitated momentarily, looking as confused as was to be expected, then he made his way closer. Umm...Queen Leene? He stopped talking, unsure of what to say, or what was going on.
Try as she might Marle couldn't suppress a sudden fit of giggles seeing the look on his face. Did I fool you, Crono? She laughed. Don't worry it's just me, Marle.
Crono let out a sigh of relief. Oh, thank goodness. He visibly relaxed as he continued forward. I thought it was you, but...I...well, Marle what's going on?
She shrugged maintaining her smile. I'm not really sure, but we're still in Guardia, and everyone keeps calling me Leene. They think I'm their Queen.
That could be because it's the year 600. Crono said. Somehow Lucca's telepod, I don't know...I guess it just freaked out because of your pendent. He pulled the blue medallion out of his pocket and tossed it to her.
Her smile widened as she caught the treasured heirloom. Oh, Crono! Thank you...and thank you for coming for me, even though we hardly know each other.
Shrugging self consciously, Crono grinned. If I had a penny for every time I chased a pretty girl back in time I'd...well, I guess I'd probably go hungry.
Marle spontaneously hugged her new found friend as tight she could. After a moment of surprise Crono relaxed and hugged her back. She looked up at him. I figured it out that I was in the past...it just didn't seem real... Her voice trailed off as she suddenly clutched her stomach in pain. She took a few steps back and sat down on the queen's bed.
What's wrong? Crono asked, the worry clear in his voice. Maybe the food from this era just doesn't agree with you. He suggested with a forced smile.
Her eyes glistened with tears of pain as she looked up. Crono somethings wrong... She had gone white as a sheet. It feels like I'm being torn apart from the inside out. The room grew dark, as though the light had been sucked through the very fabric of reality. She looked up to his face, her eyes full of desperate panic. I'm scared...h-help me!
She suddenly screamed, but the sound was mixed with a queer shrieking noise that didn't seem to have a locatable source. Then she was gone. Crono blinked at the flash that hadn't been a flash. If anything it had been the opposite of a flash. The silhouette of where she had stood suddenly had gone dark, as though the space she occupied had been completely emptied, leaving a dark, empty vacuum. A moment later it was full of both light and air, and the rest of the room lit back up.
Crono swallowed. For the first time in his life he felt like he was about to faint.
Unknown Place, Unknown Time
Dizzy was an understatement. Even though she lay flat on her back, and held her eyes shut tight, the world continued to spin. At least the pain was gone, she thought. As bad as the sickening dizziness was, it was worlds better than the searing pain that had torn through her like a hurricane. That mind numbing pain had caused everything to go black, and the next thing she knew the world went from a hurricane of agony, to a tornado dizziness.
Crono? She called out as the spinning subsided. I...I think I'm okay, maybe. When he didn't respond she slowly opened her eyes. The sky overhead was clear and gray. It took a moment to register that this wasn't normal, not to mention she was no longer indoors.
Marle sat up as quickly as she dared and inspected her surrounding. She sat in nothing more than a large meadow, the grass looked normal enough, it was still green. A few trees could be seen not far away. They too looked fairly normal, but the sky was not. A few wisps of white clouds rolled by overhead, their contrast against the gray sky was alien. No wind blew, yet overhead the skinny clouds moved along unhurriedly.
To the east she saw it. What it was she couldn't tell, but it was the absolute largest building she had ever seen. Then again maybe it was closer than it appeared. The flat landscape made it hard to judge the distance; however, she got the feeling that it was very, very far away.
Nothing could be seen in the other directions, so hoping for the best Marle started toward the colossal building. From her viewpoint it looked roughly square, and stood nearly as high as it was long. In the center of the side facing her there was a large rectangular dark area, black against the white stone that made up the rest of it. It could have been a door, but if it was as big as she suspected then it would have been more of a giant gate.
She walked for what seemed to be hours without the looming object growing any closer. At one point she passed a camp fire surrounded by men dressed in animal furs. Most had long unkempt beards and shaved heads. All had bulging muscles, at least the equal to any of Guardia's biggest knights. Crude swords and battle axes lay next to them, many displaying the stains of dried blood. Each of them bore a symbol on their right shoulder, a symbol that had been branded on, as with a cattle iron. What scared her the most was that the symbol was oddly familiar. Where she knew it from danced at the corners of her mind but stayed consistently out of reach. She had come upon them without realizing it, otherwise she most definitely would have tried avoiding these men at all costs.
To both her surprise and relief the men didn't notice her. They sat unmoving next to a fire that burned without giving off heat. With a pang of horror she realized that the men where paralyzed. Maybe even frozen by some dark magic, whatever the cause it made her pulse speed up. Without looking back she hurried on. It wasn't until she looked for the sun, in order to tell the time that she realized that there wasn't one. The sky was equally bright in all areas. Marle found herself wishing that she was anywhere else, even the Mystic Continent would be an improvement over this place. Even if she were smack in the middle of Medina her situation wouldn't seem so bad.
Regardless of the lack of sun, the day grew darker as night approached. Eventually a small house rose up in the distance, by the time she reached it the gray sky had turned almost entirely black. The inside was too dark to make out, and she couldn't find any lamps, or a means to light any. In the end she groped her way to a bed and laid down. Despite her fear, Marle fell asleep.
Guardia Castle, 1003 A.D.
Falling asleep in the cold was near impossible. Lucca's cell radiated the chill of magic from the walls, the floor, even the ceiling. She lay curled on the bare bed hugging her legs to her stomach. She wished only for something to wrap up in, even a thin blanket would be an improvement. If only she had worn warmer clothes, but it had been warm and all she thought to put on was a pair of black shorts and a simple orange shirt. The thin clothes were fine for a warm summer day, they were near useless in a frozen dungeon cell.
It wasn't dangerously cold, at least not in the short term. How long had she been in the cell? Days? Weeks? No, it hadn't been that long. A week seemed about right, but not much longer than that. It seemed much longer however. The perpetual cold made every waking moment a thing of misery. Sleep only came when her mind was too exhausted to feel the cold anymore. That numbness came not nearly often enough.
Even worse than the cold was the constant reminder that Marle herself had enchanted the cell, had enchanted the cell specifically to hold her, to punish her. The fact that Marle could think that Lucca would try to hurt her father was unbearable. The pain of that accusation ripped at her heart. At times Lucca tried to come up with other explanations for her situation. Maybe there was something else working from behind the scenes. Something like another Yakra. Marle might not even know what had happened to her, not if someone, or something else was pulling the strings.
What were the chances of someone with ice magic infiltrating the Guardia government? And seizing control of the princess's personal guard? There wasn't a chance. Marle had enchanted the cell, and her guards armor, and knew exactly what was happening to Lucca. She had ordered it, because she believed Lucca had tried to murder her father. There was no other explanation.
It must have taken weeks to enchant the cell. To do such a perfect job could only have been accomplished over a long period of time. That meant that Marle had been planning this for some time. This thought also hurt Lucca. It wasn't a knee-jerk reflex out of passion. Marle must have utterly believed in her guilt.
Though Lucca heard the clacking of boots approaching she didn't get up. One of the dungeon guards had come a couple times per day to bring 'her meal'. A meal consisting of a scrap of bread and a glass of water. Ice water. To other prisoners it would have been considered a luxury to get ice in their water, but to Lucca it was an insult. An ugly and pointed insult that cut her to the bone. The first time she saw the ice in the water she had almost cried. Still she was to thirsty not to drink the water, ice or no, very much was never brought.
Her hunger was the third pain of her imprisonment. Over the last week she had only eaten the few slices of dry bread that came with the water. The hunger only compounded with the cold to make the misery worse. At least she had had little reason to use the chamber pot that sat in the corner of the frigid room. Lucca suspected that they had no intention of changing it until she was out of the cell. Even though she was hungrier than she had ever been, the cell hadn't started stinking too badly yet. Small favor.
She rose with a start at the sound of the cell's barred door opening. It was two of the guards, but who she couldn't tell. My trials so soon? My aren't we expedient. She spat, knowing full well that sarcasm might not be the best tactic to prove her innocence.
Ignoring her remark the two guards seized her off her bed, lifting her forcefully into the air. Under good conditions she wouldn't have been able to fight off the two large guards, and her half starved, half frozen state hardly counted for a 'good condition'. Let me go! She snarled, trying her best to twist out of their iron grip. The guards' only reply was to slam her against an icy wall, pinning her hands above her head. A moment later Lucca found both her wrists bound and chained to the wall. The chains had been sized for a man, and as it was her toes just touched the ground.
You can't leave me up here! She cried in sudden desperation as the two men started away.
Without turning one replied. The princess fears that you might find a way to escape. For the safety of those in the castle we have been ordered to insure that that doesn't happen. Lucca struggled to fight back the tears. They knew she was no threat. This had been nothing more than another way to make her more miserable than she already was. Another way for Marle to punish her.
Village of Nokk, 1003 AD
It was an unremarkable village. Its population was only a couple hundred tops. Few people had ever heard of Nokk, despite its location just south of the Zenan Bridge. It was placed just west of the main road, so even those traveling between Guardia and Porre had no reason to go there. The man who had just entered had a reason.
He wore a large gray cloak with a hood that covered his head and concealed his face. Though he had come with others he entered the town alone. The rest waited a short distance away, not wanting to scare the locals with their presence. His entourage contained more armed soldiers than the town contained citizens. There was no need to frighten these people.
Being as small as it was, Nokk wasn't very hard to search, and before long the man came upon the store he was looking for. The single story building was withered with age. The whitewashed walls had long ago faded to gray. Of all the town's old buildings it appeared to be the oldest. A barely legible sign hung above the door reading: Antiquities. The man smiled, it was a fitting place.
The door creaked as he pushed his way in. The inside was dimly lit with a few small oil lamps, strategically placed around the store to make the most of their weak light. The man's gaze swept across the room taking in all that it had to offer. Most was junk, garbage that's age did little to increase the value, yet among all the trash were also treasures. He smiled. One treasure was especially important. An old woman approached him. Her white hair and dry wrinkled face fit in perfectly with the store she owned. Looking for anything particular, good sir? Or do ye wish to jus' browse a bit?
I'm looking for a mirror. From underneath the hood his calm voice was surprisingly young.
The old woman smiled, showing off more gum than teeth. Oh, we have plenty of lovely mirrors, young master. A long bony finger pointed to a wall lined with antique mirrors. Some be very old. I've some fancy and some plain, lovely all. See anything ye like?
The young man nodded slightly under his hood. Yes, I can see you have a very nice selection, but what I was looking for was more... He trailed off as his gaze turned from the mirrors on the wall and ended on the room's far corner. A tall object rest underneath an old sheet.
Oh, I'm sure that ye'd find these more to ye're liking. She called after him as he made his way to the corner. With only a slight tug on the fabric the sheet fell away, revealing a tall elegant mirror. It was nearly as tall as the man himself, and even though it wasn't flashy, the polished wooden frame was all the more beautiful for the simplicity of the design. Using a single finger the man gently stroked the wooden frame. Ye don't want that old thing, she said. Why would that one even be of interest?
No, this is the one I want. He turned to face the old woman. How much?
Are ye sure I can't interest you in another?
Positive. This is a fine mirror, and I'm sure it will be expensive. Money is not an issue, name your price.
The woman frowned as she looked over to the mirror. This mirror is...special...it is, well...
Yes, I know. It has magic.
She blinked. And jus' how can ye tell that? The questioned was not a challenge, but honest curiosity. The old woman came closer and appraised him carefully. Why yes...I don't know how I didn't feel it before...us with magic have become so very rare...but it hangs around you thicker than your cloak.
I'm no stranger to magic. He made a gesture back to the mirror. How much?
I give in. I can see I won't be changing ye're mind. She sighed and shook her head. What do ye want with this mirror anyway?
The man pushed back his hood, revealing wild spikes of red hair. It's a present for my wife.
All That Glitters Is Cold 4 Fanfic Competition
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