Chrono Shift Chapter 6

Through Death's Hands

By Tool23X

There was no doubt about this place. It was the limbo that Augur had once visited before, and the very thought frightened him. He blacked out when he jumped into the Holy Gate, and somehow, he ended up in this place. And inside his head, Augur knew what this meant. Either the gate hadn’t been activated, or the mission had been total failure. Odds were pointing toward the latter, although the former would have resulted in the same fate. Augur was now in the Darkness of Time. The Tesseract. Nothing existed around him, and Augur was not even sure that he existed himself. The one thing that he was sure of did not cheer him up, either. Augur knew this would be his home for all eternity. Nothing could reach him in this place, and nothing could remove him from it.

But something was different this time around. Augur felt more connected with himself, and with the world around him. This time, Augur could think, and possibly even more chilling, he could feel the emptiness. He could move here, although it was very limited. Maybe it wasn’t so hopeless after all.

The sensations deep within his soul began. An intense energy brimmed throughout his head, and the pulses intensified. As Augur looked around, he could now see his hands and body, and a holy aura emitted from every inch of his body. Small bits his fingertips separated themselves from the rest of the body, forming small, glowing orbs that danced around each other. Augur could do nothing as more matter detached from his hands, and continued to disintegrate his essence. He struggled to keep control of himself as he was literally ripped apart, and the emotions and sentiments overcame him, tearing him between ecstasy and torment. His entire entity was now nothing but a group of these orbiting spheres, and Augur truly no longer existed in the physical sense. Tears of his joy and pleasure mixed with ones of pain and agony, and the world around him was torn to shreds. The multitude of energy balls that held his body began to shatter one by one, and Augur could feel his spirit lurching toward the unknown.

Augur traveled through space at speeds that easily passed that of light. The trip itself still managed to take several minutes, although he truly had no idea of when his journey would finish. When the end did come around, it was an abrupt and incredible finale that would hang in his mind forever. Augur soon regained his sight and sound, and a light radiated from the skies above. The small orbs were reassembling themselves, and Augur slowly reclaimed his ability to move.

When it finally concluded, Augur was standing in a strange world, recognizable only in its unfamiliarity, that must have been the Final Afterlife. This was the center of the entire universe, and in the middle must be the true god of all things. The environment around him reeked with hostility. Bones of strange animals, as well as ghost spirits, could be seen in the distance. Volcanoes erupted around him, and the seas were composed of molten rock. The weather was a barrage of storms, ranging from tornados to thunderstorms, with deadly ice being flung all over. The skies were filled with the darkness of night and the intense fires of hell. All around him the landscape constantly shifted, causing canyons to open and shut, while allowing mountains to rise and fall.

There was no use of standing around, so Augur began his search for the so-called Sanctified Deity. It seemed that ever since he left his home in Zeal, his life had been nothing but outrageous journeys. Here, in this cruel and unusual world, he had reached the point of no return. He would either find this god, or rot forever in the depths of the Tesseract. If he were to die on the way to the Deity, he did not even know if his body would rejuvenate itself. Augur kept on his toes, making sure that he did not fall with the shaking and shifting ground.

Believing there was a pattern, Augur thought he could find the Deity by traveling over the most difficult of the lands, ending up in the most protected of areas. He began heading towards a cluster of violent volcanoes, and the constantly moving ground caused him to fall several times within the first minute. After that, however, he managed to adjust rather well. He continued to walk towards the volcanoes, when suddenly a beast composed of nothing but bones erupted from a small crevice. The creature had a long body that looked like it may have belonged to a snake, but it had several short legs with sharp nails at the end and a three pairs of wings on its back. All in all it was about two meters long. Augur drew the rapiers from their sheaths and prepared to strike, but the bonesnake hit first. It lashed its tail across Augur’s face, and the hard bone left a whip like red streak diagonally along his face. The pain temporarily blinded him, and Augur soon realized that the dark energy did not heal his wound. No problem, he thought. That just means I can’t die here.

The next time the creature attacked, Augur blocked it with his half-sword, and swung the other rapier over his head, striking the flying snake in the skull. The blow did absolutely no damage to the bonesnake, and Augur jumped back to prepare himself for what might happen next. The demon responded by charging, and it barely missed the defending Augur as he jumped to the side.

The ground behind Augur gave way to another earthquake, and a deep ravine began to grow between his feet. Without having time to think, he rolled to his left, and out of the corner of his eye he saw several rocks crumble and fall deep into the new canyon. His enemy took flight high into the air and crossed to the side Augur lay on. Augur was ready, and he thrust the rapier directly forward. At the same moment, the bonesnake opened its jaw in preparation to bite. The sword entered the mouth and made a shrill screech as it scraped against the spine of the dead animal. It could not remove itself, so it tried to maliciously claw at Augur’s hand. This was just out of reach, so the next best thing was to whip its tail at his face again. The tip of the tail struck him in his right temple, and Augur dropped immediately. On the ground, the bonesnake scrambled frantically to remove the rapier from his throat. It nearly succeeded, but just before it did, Augur plunged the blade into the ground, truly trapping him.

Augur stood back and took a moment to catch his breath, admiring his work. He rubbed the fresh cut on his temple as the bonesnake scrambled and writhed on the sword. Augur bled from the wound, something that he had not done since he died. He soon apprehended that he was alive in this new place. No, that wasn’t accurate. Rather, his soul had become his second body, as the group in the Afterlife had explained. Deciding he needed his other rapier back, Augur swung downward with as much force as he could muster at the beast. The spine separated after the first pair of wings, and Augur withdrew his sword.

Augur continued his search for the Sanctified Deity. He did not get more than two steps before something began to claw at his leg. Looking back while wincing from the sharp scratches, Augur saw that the head half of the bonesnake was tearing away at the flesh, and the other end was also working its way toward him. Augur kicked the thing a few times, trying to remove it. The head of the snake bit him just above the shin, but after that Augur succeeded in pulling the thing off, although losing some skin and tissue in the process. He swung his rapier in the motion of a golfer, and the top half of the bonesnake flew at least twenty feet, ending in the canyon that had formed not more than two minutes ago. Now looking back at the other half of the monster, he noticed that it was just scurrying around aimlessly, and had no chance of finding him, unless it got lucky. Even still, the pain in his head and leg made him run away from the bone heap just to make sure.

Augur did not have any more trouble for quite awhile. In fact, he had now managed to make it to the base of the first volcano. The uphill climb would be difficult with his leg. Well, he could bleed now, so maybe there was a chance that his magic would work. Augur tried to cast the simplest of healing spells, but it did absolutely nothing. Of course, there was no reason for him to catch a break, and why should anything go his way?

Since he couldn’t do anything about it, he ignored his own mental sarcasm and decided to climb the mountain of magma despite the pain in his leg. The earthquakes were becoming more and more violent now, and often the newborn cracks would spew lava out of them. Augur was doing a pretty good job of avoiding major burns, but more than once he had to jump or run or hurtle to keep his life. He had not seen any monsters for a while. Although only the one had attacked him, there were many monsters he could observe in the distance. Where did they come from, anyway? They seemed to have no soul or brain, and acted as robots, programmed for functions and carrying them out monotonously.

The volcano that Augur was currently traveling on erupted in a fury of explosions and magma, sending dark soot miles into the reddish sky. More dark clouds swirled with the high winds, blocking out whatever source of light existed. The blast knocked Augur off his feet, and he started to roll down the steep hillside. Augur’s first reaction was to look for where he could stop himself. About five hundred feet below him the ground leveled out, but right before the flat earth sat a large pool of lava, bubbling over from the latest seismic upsurge. He tried to put his feet out and catch himself on one of the larger rocks, but the igneous crumbled underneath the force of his speeding feet. He turned to his stomach, and attempted vainly to grab onto a ledge or something, anything to stop his descent. These rocks also collapsed and fell with the boy. Augur looked toward the pit of molten rock, drawing nearer every second. Two hundred feet.

Augur did manage to catch his feet on one of the larger rocks, but the momentum of his body and the sudden jolt caused him to shift his trajectory, and the next thing Augur knew, he was airborne. The trip through the air was a little bit more pleasant than sliding down the mountain. Stone no longer scraped his skin or tore his clothes, but the landing would not be so gentle on him. The hard-hitting ground knocked the wind out of him instantly, and caused him to lose consciousness for a short moment. Just below him, the earth started to crack and rumble, and a geyser of molten nickel and iron spewed high into the atmosphere. Augur continued to fall straight toward the red jet, and in a desperate attempt to avoid it, swung his legs to the side. Augur slowly began to turn, but was so close his hair became singed from the searing heat. He knew this trick could not get him out of the way of the geyser in time, and he would soon become a roasted corpse.

Acting on impulse, Augur tried to scramble back up the crag, knowing it would do him absolutely no good. All he accomplished was delaying his cremation, and he did not even decelerate noticeably. Augur could see nothing that would stop his tumble.

Another earthquake battered the world relentlessly, and it caused a small uplift of minerals to appear in front of Augur. This became a helpful jump, and once again, he became airborne. The way it looked now, he would just hit the side of the churning lava, meaning his death would be a little slower and more painful. Naturally, Augur couldn’t help thinking about his wonderful luck.

Instead of hitting the magma, stream died down and he passed inches below a giant glob of the fiery volcanic emission. Augur landed, again violently, and kept sliding. In front of him, particles from the eruption fell onto the volcano, burning the already black surface. It took mere seconds for Augur to reach the middle of the yellow-red downpour. Luckily, the smoldering goo had cooled off quite a bit since it began its flight, and he escaped with merely moderate second degree burns covering his exposed skin. His clothes caught fire from the intense heat, but the fire quickly smoldered out, smothered by Augur’s rolling. His face had miraculously escaped the falling magma, and he had only slight burns there.

Looking down now, the pool of lava was only seventy-five feet away, and approaching fast. Augur reached behind his back and drew his rapiers. When he could gain enough control of his arms, vibrating from the combination of his plunge and yet another earthquake, he stabbed them deep into the igneous rock, softened from the heat of the recent volcanic activity. This action finally began to truly slow his tumble, but he would have to come to a complete halt within forty feet, or he would be literally melted. Rock fluttered out from underneath the sharp edges, leaving a spray of them in the air much in the same way a boat leaves a large wake. Augur had only twenty-five feet until his feet would dangle into the magma.

Overhead, a thunderstorm brewed, and lightning made large electric hoops back into the ominous clouds. One bolt managed to escape its cloudy prison, and stuck into the ground beside Augur, leaving a smoking crater as the only evidence of its existence. The weather was rapidly becoming horrific, and it appeared that a tornado swirled just before the horizon. Looking down, Augur knew that he was near a stop, but had only ten feet until he would drown in the fire. He turned his rapiers sideways so that the blunt end faced him. This caused him to brake much hastier than before. Then Augur lost grip of one of the swords, and dropped a few more precious inches. Just two feet now… One…

If he had to guess, Augur would have said he had seven inches before his shoes became a part of the volcano. However, staring at the pit from his nearby position now, he could tell that the level of the magma had been slowly climbing. He would have to get back on his feet and retreat from the fire pit as soon as possible. He just hoped nothing else went wrong.

Another tremor shook the earth, and although compared to the other ones it could be called just a dwarf, it was enough to cause a reallocation in the ground that held the sole rapier. Augur dropped three inches from the change in the rock, and now the edge of his weapon pointed at a bad angle. The rapier began to slide out of its casing in the black earth, and the lava had risen another inch since the last time he looked at it.

The ground here did not angle terribly, and it would not be hard to walk. Augur only had to get back onto his feet, and he would be safe. Getting back on his feet, however, would be a task easier said than done. Augur pulled on his half-sword with all his remaining strength, and succeeded in pulling it out a little bit further. He also managed to rise to his knees as another rumbling built in the distance. He pushed on the rapier and sluggishly rose to his feet, just in time for a sadistically inhuman wind to whistle, attempting to push him back. The latest vibration in the earth began to grow, and Augur realized that the next earthquake would send him back if he did not leave the edge of the lava soon, which now resided two inches from his heels. Waiting for the wind to die down became a tedious and nerve wrenching task, understanding that the rumblings had his name on it. Finally, Augur could wait no longer, and defied the wind, standing part of the way up and sprinting right into it, keeping as low to the ground as he could. Inch by inch he crept forward, and his momentum soon allowed him to travel at a decent rate. Augur reached up and pulled his second rapier out of the ground, which laid only six feet in front of him the whole time. Then the wind died down and Augur ran up the hill as fast as he could, trying to distance himself from the molten rock before the earthquake came.

It did not take long for Augur to get himself a fair distance from the pit, and when he did he looked down at his charred skin. It had blackened severely from the burns, and large cists and boils began to blister out, some erupting with pus in the same way the volcano had. Staring down at his scalds, the earthquake caught him by surprise, and the power astonished him. This was by far the worst one yet. Immediately rocks all around him were heaved into the sky above, and large cliffs began to form in an upheaval of geographic debris. The ground shattered beneath his feet, and he fell into a small cavern that had been hidden a second ago. The boiling magma that should have been below him did not appear, and in its place, large jagged spikes rose out of the subterranean dwelling. Augur parted with some skin when he landed, and the shifting ground immediately spit him back to the surface. Augur settled roughly on the shaking earth, which he had become accustomed to. Looking up at the mountain, he noticed a very large chunk of it had actually detached itself and was crumbling to nothing. Over the top of the new ledge came an avalanche of lava, burning its way down the hillside rapidly. Auger ran down, trying to escape, but a boulder rolled over, trapping his foot and tripping him simultaneously. He pulled at his appendage with as much strength as he could muster, but to no avail. It would not take long for the melted red earth to submerge him.

The earthquake continued its assault on the strange world, and the results of this caused a small peak to ascend out of the hardened soil, and in the process removed the rigid stone from his leg. Augur returned to his feet and began to scurry down the mountain, knowing that fiery death lay behind him, approaching. A stalagmite staked its way out and blocked his path. He quickly changed his route and dodged it, along with swirling rocks from and intensifying wind. It didn’t take him long to get back to the lava pit that he narrowly missed falling into before, since it wasn’t more than thirty feet away when the tremors started. There was no way to cross the pit; the distance across was too great. Checking his back, he assumed that he had ten seconds before the molten tidal wave caught up with him and swept him away. Another rock emerged to the side of him and knocked him on his backside. The magma continued its relentless pillaging, destroying the surface of the enormous landform. Augur looked at the backside of the new pillar beside him, and noticed the edges were utterly uneven. Not wasting a second, he grabbed onto the side and began to climb.

He only managed to get up about ten feet when the lava initiated the battering of the rock he sat on. Augur climbed higher, as did the level of the sea of fire. When he thought that he had made it to a safe distance, he surveyed the area to see his new environment. The lava level fell slowly, but the aftershocks continued to ravage the face of the land. In fact, Augur could feel the rumbling of his rock pillar moving as he sat there. The tower angled itself, and would tip over any second, with Augur on the bottom side, being dropped into the molten rock. He reached for an outlying rock that he could grab onto, and in time-consuming fashion, tried to make his way to the other side. His only refuge slumped a little more, and Augur lost his grip on the rock face. He desperately clawed at the air, and his hand took hold of a loose edge. He did not wish to dangle for an extended period of time, and swung his legs around, which allowed him to get back onto the giant stone. Augur shimmied around another few feet, and then the boulder fell completely. It made a great splash as it hit the lava pit, causing bits of magma to fly into the air. None of them landed on him, amazingly. When he released his death grip on the pillar, he concluded that it floated on the ocean of fire. His second realization was that it would not be long before it sank to the bottom. He also managed to notice that the other side of the lava pit had risen about seven feet, but he still had a slight chance of leaping and grabbing it. The chance might have been slight, but it beat sitting on the stone log and waiting for it to sink. Augur stood up, and the pillar began to roll insignificantly. This nearly caused him to lose his balance and plunge to his death there, but he managed to maintain his concentration and stay up. Then he dashed across the distance of the rock formation, and effectively caused it to sink on the end he had to soar off. The tip was nearly dipping in the magma when Augur finally reached it, and his foot slipped off the end before he could get a chance to leave it. Augur intentionally fell backward, landing on the fallen stone tower, and rolled over and situated himself back on his feet. He had no time remaining, and he could actually feel the rock beneath his feet give way because of the intensity of the heat of the magma below. He took a three-step drop, ran, and leapt, and just as his feet left, the entire pillar crumpled to tiny shards, falling to the lava pit, never to return.

As Augur flew through the air, he focused intently on the rock ledge that lay further in front of him than he hoped. He straightened his body out in a vague attempt to make himself more aerodynamic. He extended his left forelimb out to swipe at the edge, and he missed it by a couple of inches. Augur had begun to descend, and he swung his left arm above his body, knowing that he would either catch it and slam violently into the rock face or fall to his death at the bottom of the depression of molten hot lava. He felt the air swoosh through his fingers, and then he felt the sharp sediments slice into his fingertips. The next thing he felt was the banging of his torso into the much solider rock, knocking the wind out of him, and nearly causing him to lose his grip on the ledge. Augur grabbed the edge with his other arm, readjusted, and then pulled himself up. As he lay on the ground, he attempted to slow his uneven breathing as well as his racing pulse. While staring at the sinister cloud covering, he could only dream of how nice a bed and a bath would feel.

Augur had no time to dream of such pleasant aspirations, however, because the clouds overhead were brewing a nasty storm. He could already feel tiny hail crystals plummeting to the earth he laid on, stinging him but at the same time soothing his burns. Taking only a few additional moments to catch his breath and relax a bit, he detached himself from the ground and walked toward his objective. In all the insanity that surrounded him in the past few minutes, which seemed more like an eternity, he somehow managed to get into the middle of the ring of volcanoes. The air temperature dropped steadily for several straight minutes, and soon Augur actually shuddered from the chill, although it alleviated his pain efficiently. He could still feel the aftershocks underneath his body, and the ground still occasionally shifted and left magma pouring out of the crevices, but for the most part the environmental disturbances had seized. The hailstorm was becoming more aggressive as the size of the ice balls increased, and the wind had picked up quite a bit as well.

Lightning struck the ground not fifty feet from where he strolled. The lightning had also become more frequent, and the thunderclaps progressively more deafening, but Augur preferred that to sliding down the face of an active volcano. The landscape here had nothing exciting or particular about it, and it seemed almost like an endless sea of nothing. To bring a sudden end to the uneventful saunter, a large group of the bone creatures jumped out from various coverings. At a quick glance, two were bonesnakes like he had fought earlier, two more were oversized creatures that resembled horned beetles, and another pair consisted of waste high lizards that stood on two feet with long, dangerous arms.

Augur had become understandably fed up with the constant challenges presented by this world persistently. The creatures formed a bulky circle around him and began to close in. “All right,” Augur drew his rapiers in preparation for combat once again, “Come on! I don’t care anymore! To Hell with this damn place!” He charged relentlessly at one of the skeletal beetles. The beetle responded by charging at him, equally confident. It lowered its jagged and pointy horn and prepared to strike. Augur recognized the battle strategy of the skeleton and parried the horn into the ground using his rapier, and counterattacked by jumping on its back. The large demon beetle bucked his legs, a powerful effort to remove him from his dominating position, and it worked. Augur was thrown to the ground, but rolled over and ready for more action without missing a beat.

One of the dead lizards jumped on Augur’s back from behind, and wrapped its arms around his back to strangle him. Out of the corner of his eye, the struggling teenager noticed the skeletal beetle charging at him while he was being held captive. He waited until the large insect nearly impaled him before swiveling around, allowing the beetle to crash into the bonelizard. The sound of the bones disconnecting from their respective joints resembled a crashing tower made from blocks a child might play with, and in a few seconds all that remained of the two were a pile of dissembled skulls, spines, and appendages. The sharp horn from the bonebeetle managed to dig its way into Augur’s back somehow. The protruding fossil did not take much effort to remove, but left a gaping hole in its place.

Augur turned in time to allow a bonesnake to tackle him, and he wrestled with it on the ground until the second bonelizard jumped on and began to gnaw at his leg. Augur cried in agony, and put down his guard for long enough for the bonesnake to take a bite into his shoulder, ripping the flesh right off the bone, and dislocating the shoulder blade in the process. Augur felt his own warm blood splatter across his face, and although his injuries left him at the brink of life and death, something snapped deep inside him. In a lethal combination of fury and coursing adrenaline, Augur whipped his hand across his body, removing the bonesnake instantly, and followed this attack by kicking the bonelizard on the top of the skull hard enough to fracture it. Without any skin, the head became partially detached, although this did no harm to the decayed organism as a whole.

Augur was on his feet in no time, ignoring the severe pain that followed immediately. His one arm had become useless because of the damage the dead snake had done to it, so he could no longer wield both of the swords at once. He picked up one of them using his good arm, and ran at the recovering snake-like beast full speed, slicing upward in a rage that originated from the depths of hell. The stroke split the creature in half without even slowing the speed of the blade. He took another shot at the downed monster, this time cutting off another small section of the spine, and at the same time removing the lower jaw from the head of the animal. The next uppercut split the remaining cranium down the center, and inadvertently cut off a fragile limb in the process.

Augur was so intent on dismantling the bonesnake that he did not expect the lizard to jump on his back and bite into the back of his neck, leaving him cringing. Augur fell back to the ground and smashed the skeleton of the lizard into a sandwich between him and the earth. Many bones of the midsection separated or cracked from the force of the blow, while some even broke in half. The teeth let go of his neck, and he crawled away to the side to avoid any further conflict. The adrenaline rush died down slowly now, and the pain from all the injuries he sustained came to back to him, abandoning him twitching in agony. His vision, which had blurred red during his assault, blurred gray as the world faded from view. The blood trickled down his throat into his lungs, choking him, and forcing him to hurl it out in order to gain oxygen. He looked around his world for the last time to see the other bonesnake and skeletal beetle darting toward him, each trying to be the one to deal the final blow.

From his area and position of suffering, Augur did not feel the hail stop falling from the clouds above his head. He did not realize that the lightning had succumbed, and the earthquakes were no longer wreaking havoc on the vast land. Augur did not know that the volcanoes were confiscated of their eruptions, and the damaging magma cooled and hardened into the igneous rock that formed them. He did not see the ominous clouds above his head halt their swirling and begin to clear as a long beam of holy light sprang through them. The divine ray struck the beaten earth, and began to revitalize the destruction, causing the deadly skeleton demons to crumble and evaporate, and healing the very essence of the Final Afterlife. Augur’s wounds were all instantly mended, and he began to float above the ground, as everything turned into a pure energy coated in a while light, shining down on all that existed. Through the blinding illumination, a lone, prevailing voice weaved its way into the mind and soul of Augur, filling him with life, hope, and aspirations.


Here lies the gate to the Sea of Eternal Dreams...
Here lies the origin of all life and death...
Hidden beyond the heavens, since its birth it has waited forever,
Hoping and believing that someday all would return to the womb of the mother

Long ago, before the creation of the stars and the planets, everything existed merely inside the everlasting sea of Zurvan, where nothing was physical. Only dreams were real here, along with the hopes and possibilities of the dreams. Zurvan existed beyond time, where life and death are only myths. All things experienced warmth and peace, while hate and destruction were unheard of. Everything coincided in harmony, loving and revering each entity.

Zurvan is the origin of time and space. Zurvan is ground zero. Everything that was, is, and shall be has either been or will someday be a dream inside the Sea of Eternal Dreams. It was created inside the imagination of a being that did not exist. A world of perfections, it was the true utopia.

But an event occurred that changed Zurvan forever, and the reasons are still unknown. Perhaps the nonexistent being that dreamed the dream of Zurvan woke up from its deep slumber, or perhaps something wished for something more inside the sea. Whatever the cause, the walls that encased and protected Zurvan collapsed, as did the boundaries for all that would be allowed to be. That was the moment this world, this universe, was born, with all the dreams escaping out of the mother womb.

All expired creatures return to the origin of their birth, here in the Afterlives, residing at the center of your universe. The Sea of Zurvan no longer exists, and in its place there lies and emptiness, a void in The Darkness of Time known as the Tesseract. The eternal emptiness of things that have been eliminated and erased lie here, where there is only coldness and hate, and love is the impossible dream. I have sat at my viewing point here, at the gate to the Tesseract, trying to influence events to bring about our ultimate goal. But alas, there is only so much that I can do. It appears that your entire universe shall be devoured and erased from existence unless something is done. Everything that is, was, and shall be will end up, dead and cold, in the Tesseract. Our goal is to return everything to the Mother Sea. Only when everything returns to Zurvan can our dreams and aspirations be healed.

Life and Death...
Love and Hate...
Zurvan and the Tesseract...

There are two sides to every coin, however we so often fail to realize just how close the two sides of the coin are to each other. Though they never see each other, they know the other is there, just lying, fractions of an inch away.

The bright light finally began to dim, and a new world among the clouds formed. Augur stood on one of these clouds, staring out into infinity, trying to discern the events that had just happened. In front of him, a glowing ball of golden radiance beamed through the sky and appeared that it would rocket right through him, before slowing down and eventually stopping a few feet away. It drew the countless clouds around it in a blanket, swirling to encase itself, and deliberately molded itself into the form of a human, although without any substance, color, or features.

“But please forgive me, Augur, for I have forgotten my manners. Allow me to introduce myself, although I’m sure you already know who I am. I am the Sanctified Deity, the ruler of this holy place. Civilizations across the expanses of space call me God, and even on your planet, they have referred to me as this. I have so many names that I can’t even count them all. Regardless, the true god I am, and although I did not create all things, as some religions believe. Nor do I know all or control all, also a common misconception. I do my best to influence things for the better, but my power only reaches so far.”

Augur, bewildered and curious, spoke to the figure that produced the voice, asking, “What happened back there? Did you… save me?” The Deity nodded, although it was hard to make out the nod because of the body that contained its spirit.

“Tajj informed me that he would be sending someone to me. After all these eras of sitting and waiting I doubted that it would ever happen.”

Tajj? Augur thought. What did this mean? “Tajj talked to, he, he informed you? What’s going on?”

The Deity, displaying no emotion, answered, “I’m surprised you didn’t figure it out on your own, although I don’t blame you. Tajj is the god that protects the seventh Afterlife, the so-called ‘Valley of the Lost Souls.’ He interacts with the inhabitants as a disguise, telling lies about family and his home world and time.” Augur remained silent, taking it all in. The Deity continued, “I know why you’re here, and I can give it to you, but first you must listen to me carefully, understood?”

Augur nodded. “Yeah, I got it. I’ve got some questions, too.”

“Of course you do. I’m sure you’ve heard many stories while you were in the Afterlife, and first of all I would just like to make sure that you know they might not all be completely true. They did not necessarily have all the information, and they made hypotheses as they went along. The bottom line is, when you go back to your world, you will deal hand in hand with time. You will quite possibly deal with alternate timelines and split timestreams. A split timestream is like a railroad track. In the beginning, there is only one way to go. As you travel forward through time, you come to places where the track divides. When you come to one of these points, you can only go the way that the track is curved. As you travel further through time, you become more and more distant from the other paths. However, if you were to travel backward through time, no matter where you start, you come to a common point on the original track.

“It may be easier to understand if I give you an example. We’ll say your in the year 500 AD and there is a split in the timestream in 600 AD and another at 400 AD. Theoretically, if you traveled forward past the year 600 AD, either you would be put half in each dimension or you would randomly be put in one of the dimensions. That does not happen because of the Chronolosis Effect, which is a fancy way of saying that because of events in the past, a specific timeline is followed when going forward through time. This can change because of new events that rewrite history in the past, which you are trying to do back on your own planet. As for the other timelines, they still exist, but you cannot get to them by traveling forward through time.

“Going back to my example, we’ll say you’re in the year 500 AD in a timeline line that is irregular or unnatural, meaning one that you cannot get to simply by traveling forward through time timestream. You travel back past 400 AD and join with the other timeline, and then you proceed to travel forward again. If you pass 400 AD, you do not go back to the irregular timeline, instead you go to the one the track is curved toward.”

Augur still didn’t understand. “What does all this have to do with me? I mean, how does it relate to what I’m doing?”

“Listen closely to me as I map out your planet’s history. In 65,000,000 BC, Lavos plummeted from the stars onto the surface of your planet. This caused the first alternate dimension. In the unnatural dimension, the reptites lived free from Lavos and in harmony with the earth for the rest of your planet’s lifetime. In the natural timeline, humans evolved from primitive apes. In your time, 12,000 BC, another one formed when Lavos awakened and destroyed Zeal…”

“Lavos destroys Zeal! But…”

”Silence, Augur. In an irregular timeline Zeal remained floating until Lavos destroyed the entire world. In your time, the natural one, Zeal was destroyed in 12,000 BC. Another timeline occurs the same year when a creature placed his hands on the Chrono Shift. You can still prevent this, Augur. The timeline that will be created from this is one where your world no longer even exists. You should make it your goal to change the natural timeline from this future to the one where the Chrono Shifter was never set off. The rest may not be important, but I will explain anyway. In the year 1,010 AD a manmade timeline was created through the futuristic efforts of a collection of scientific geniuses. The two times were kept very similar, because there was a secret military base that need both the timelines to exist for the special purpose of gaining access to the Tesseract and destroying the Time Devourer. This is an event that I am truly grateful for, because this beast could have very effortlessly destroyed the entire space-time continua. After this, the true timeline and the manmade one merged to create a new, better one. Don’t ask me to explain, if it is necessary you will find out anyway. This timeline went on until 1,999 AD, when Lavos awakened and decimated the planet with the seeds of destruction.

“The original timeline held the horrible and inevitable devastation of Earth, but a group of teenagers changed all that. Because they were able to defeat Lavos, the dead Earth became the irregular timeline and the future filled with new hope and opportunities was born, becoming the regular future. This is where some complications began. You see, the military installation I mentioned earlier had been created in this new future, where it got dragged back to the past because of massive failure in a time control experiment. There is the possibility that yet another timeline exists where the military fortress did not disappear in time, but I cannot confirm that. In the past, where it reemerged from its experiment, the base resided on the two timelines, but now there is only one timeline during that period. Paradoxes do not occur in nature, and most that occur are easily ironed out. This one is so severe that it could not be erased, and it is slowly crippling the timestream from the year 7,600 BC on. The use of the Chrono Shift may be able to eliminate the paradox. The Chrono Shift inhibits the use of immeasurable time gates and is very dangerous to use, but it can also allow you to travel back and forth through time without natural gates, made by Lavos. It is up to you what you how much you want to do for your planet, but you should know the risks of toying with the unconceivable are relentless.”

A long silence lingered between the two as Augur thought about some questions to ask. He had many, but he did not know where he should start, and furthermore, what he could find out that would help him with his mission. “So if I change history in the past, then it resolves nothing unless the paradox in the distant future is repaired.”

“You’re first goal must be to save your planet from the effects of the Chrono Shift, and after that you can attempt to mend the paradox. I personally would not worry about the paradox at all. Be aware of the forces that will stand in your way, because they are of unimaginable power, and some will stop at nothing to prevent you from reaching your objective.”

“Can you tell me any more about some of these forces that will attempt to prevent me from saving the world?”

“All that I can tell you is that you should be wary of the creature that lurks in the palace under the waves. When you arrive to avert the massive time wave created by the Chrono Shift, he will surely do all in his power to destroy you.”

“What about this wizard that I have heard about? Apparently it’s his fault that everything went wrong.”

“No one can truly be blamed for the effects with time, as no one can predict what will happen with various time changes. If you wish to set the record straight, situate yourself when 12,000 BC arrives, and the wizard shall find you. Be careful around him, because his impatient demeanor and menacing nature could ultimately bring the downfall of your entire operation.”

Below the clouds that Augur had situated himself on, the ground began to rumble loudly. “Augur, I am deeply apologetic,” said the Deity, “But the time has come for you to go. Mortals are not meant to make contact with me, as you can tell from the creatures that you fought below. Remember that every bone you hold in your hand is a fallen empire, a veritable ruined world, and a unique relic that can never return through time. The creatures that you quarreled with below were here illegally, and quite depressingly, they have become soulless guardians of this place. You will be returned to your place of death, and you will live a life similar to the one you had before, carrying out all the life processes necessary. You will be able to sleep and breathe again, and be allowed to truly live your life, however, you will not age or die of natural causes. For the sake of your world, I beg that you do not perish, or foretell of the events to come, as it will drastically affect the outcome of the situation. I also suggest that you do not spend too much time debating the events to come with yourself. When the time comes, you will know, and you will be ready. Instead of spending years worrying about the future, worry about the present and the things that are important in your everyday life. Make sure you know what you are fighting for. Many Zealians will die in the disaster with Lavos, so it will not change much if you decide to take a couple with you to the Undersea Palace as support against the individual that shall convey your preordained demolition. Other than that, I suggest you leave things to be determined by fate. I bid you farewell, Augur, and wish you the best of luck. I am sorry that our visit has been cut short, but this world will soon destroy and recreate itself as a last attempt to remove you.”

“But what about the,” Augur was cut off as his body shimmered with the same holy light that consumed his body and transported him across the stars before. It took only a few seconds before Augur floated miles away from the Afterlifes, and behind him he noticed a cornea form a flaming fireball of hydrogen around the dark area in the center of the seven bright stars. A massive explosion consumed the region, and the world beyond him collapsed on itself, condensing into a tiny glowering sphere. Shockwaves of energy encircled the white, hot ball, and soon rings emanated from the elaborate barrage of flares. Long beams stretched out into infinity from the center point, and the diameter of the Final Afterlife expanded until it concealed the other seven. The rocks that formed the surface of the star rocketed beyond Augur at a velocity that far exceeded that of anything he had ever seen. The hot flames that made up the explosion began to spark off each other and cool, forming masses of swirling smoke. The nebula extended far into the deepest reaches of space, and in the center, Augur could vaguely make out the early stages of the heavens reforming themselves.

Augur blacked out as soon as his body dissembled and truly began its flight back to Earth, leaving him unable to view the rest of the intricate light show. Eccentric hallucinations stirred in the untapped portions of his brain, and the all to familiar sensations of traveling between life and death overwhelmed him once again. His spirit fluttered in all directions as he tried to cope with the contradictory emotions that tore him into fragments, and the pain and pleasure that came with his body being ripped to shreds.

For the first time in his long trip, he realized that he had been successful in his mission, and he also understood that soon the true objective would come into play. But Augur also knew that from the instant he returned to the moments of the final conflict between his world and the negative sentiments of time, several years would have to pass. In that time he would try to forget about the many things he learned on his trip until they were needed, as the Deity had told him to do. There is no use in worrying about the future until it arrives, for no creature can predict it accurately. Yes, when Augur returned, he would go back to his original lifestyle until the fated hour approached.

Augur regained all his human abilities just as Earth came into view after passing by the two moons. He approached at a rapid rate, and soon came to the outer edges of the atmosphere, where his body began to heat up from the pressure. The beauty of his planet never astonished him so much as when the hues of the ocean spread across the vast curvature of the world. Before he knew what was going on, Augur entered the atmosphere and became a meteor streaking through the sky, and a single echoing phrase repeated itself in his head.

“Kietu Sarai Omias Zuv Dora Flios Veeroi Hazyr…”

Below, on the snow-buried continent, the blizzard had taken a slight break from its unyielding raid on the land, and the Earthbound villagers seized the opportunity to go out and search for food from animals that may have recently died and hadn’t been covered by the ice thus far. The entrance to the cave never became covered because of the angle and direction in which it lay never allowed the wind patterns to build up a wall there. One of the villagers yelled and pointed up to the sky, and all the others looked to see an illuminant pillar of dazzling white light shoot from the sky, where it appeared to lack an origin. The beam came to rest after it penetrated the snow and soil that made up the top of the cave. The Earthbound could not be sure how many layers of their home the shaft breached, but from early examination, it had not done any damage to the roof of the cavern. Looking back above, the streak of white faded off into nothing, where it would never appear again, gone as suddenly as it had come.

Just a few quick notes on the story that probably need some explanation. The Tesseract is the Japanese name for the Darkness of Time in Chrono Cross (Where you fought the Lavos-Schala hybrid). Zurvan was mentioned briefly by Schala in the true ending of the game, along with some other complicated sheeyot that I still don’t fully understand. As for the strange phrase I’ve used thrice now, it becomes important much later in the story. The whole “Gaia” thing is an actual scientific theory (called the Gaia Hypothesis, or sometimes Gaea Hypothesis, it states that the Earth is an actual living organism that can correct its own mistakes, but the theory has been all but abandoned in recent years). This would explain a comment made by Schala at the end of CC about planets waiting for a worthy host to inseminate it, (the whole “Chosen One” passage). Also, I’m done with the technical crap for a while, and the next several chapters are rooted more deeply into Chrono Trigger, so it should be easier to understand. Thanks to anyone who stuck with the story through all of the creative liberties I took in the last three chapters, and if it wasn’t your cup of tea, you’ll like what’s next better.

Chapter 7

Chrono Cross Fanfic
Chrono Trigger Fanfic

Crossover Fanfics