Chapter 23- Realizations
600 AD, Guardia Castle Prison
Tristan Tenser sat with his back against the cold, hard wall of the prison. His watch started to vibrate against his wrist, signifying that the time to escape had arrived.
"It's time," he muttered, gazing at his watch and confirming the time. Quickly, he roused Aragorn and Rayith and went over the plan of escape one final time. The main idea was that they would escape and proceed to the King's Quarters, dispatching the guards and locking the door. They were to tell the King that the assassination was real, and that his life was in danger whether or not he wanted to accept it. With that, they would smash the glass to the large window which Aragorn said existed on the far side of the King's Quarters and jump out, landing safely with the use of some Force Tech. Tristan called this the 'glamour effect.' Neither Aragorn or Rayith were quite sure of what it was going to accomplish. Tristan swore it was to make the event more memorable for the King, but deep down, he just thought it would look cool.
Making as little noise as possible, they started to enact their plan. Rayith walked over to the bars and started to burn through two points on three of the bars. One point was at about two inches off the ground and the other was at about five feet from the floor. Aragorn would have to squeeze to fit under the top bars, but five feet was the highest point that Rayith was able to cut through accurately without needing to be lifted up.
After removing the segments of piping, the three prisoners exited the cell. Aragorn and Rayith each took a segment of bar that was cut to use as a weapon until they found something more appropriate. Tristan decided against his magnum, as that would wake the entire castle, so instead he screwed a silencer to each of his automatics and made sure he was using fresh clips. With weapons readied, the group headed down the hall and encountered their first guard at the base of the stairs leading up to the next level.
Before he could react, Rayith promptly lunged in and landed a saber cheek cut to the side of the guard's head with her pipe. Falling unconscious without a problem, the guard crumbled to the ground and was striped of his sword by Aragorn.
The stairs looked to connect into the corner of the hall at he top which turned off to the right. Making their way up the stairs slowly and cautiously, Tristan noted movements of shadows against the wall at the top of the stairs. Signaling the others to halt movement, Tristan readied the gun in his left hand and crept up the stairs while hugging the right wall. The shadow on the wall he was looking at was becoming smaller and more focused. The guard was coming this way, Tristan was sure of that. Abruptly, the form of the guard crossed into Tristan's field of vision. As the guard turned around, his face turned to one of shock and he drew his weapon. Before he could attack, though, Tristan fired a bullet into the throat of the guard, shredding his larynx and thereby preventing him from alerting anymore unwanted visitors.
The guard dropped his weapon and clutched his throat. Tristan eyed the man as he crumbled to the ground, realizing that while he had received what would be a completely reparable injury in Tristan's time, the injury would prove fatal here as the man would most likely bleed to death.
The group didn't have time for pity, though, and quickly moved on, Tristan jumping into the hall with both weapons held in front of him. Advancing forward slowly, Tristan was followed by Aragorn and Rayith. Reaching the end of this hall, they found another stairway. This one, however, was not guarded and climbed to another hall. At the top of this one, they found themselves on a bridge that crossed over a large abyss and led into another tower. About two stories below and above them, there were additional bridges, all running between the two towers.
He group started to run across the bridge as the figure of another guard appeared in the doorway of the opposite tower. Seeing the intruders, the guard drew his sword and ran at them. Tristan met the challenge by also running forward, sheathing his weapons as he ran. When he was about ten yards from the guard, he Force Teched into the air, flipping towards the man. As the trench coated man flew above him, the guard stopped running, caught in a sudden fit of surprise. Unfortunately, he didn't have much time to be surprised as Tristan flipped overhead and grabbed the man around the neck. Locking the back of the Guard's neck against his right shoulder, Tristan brought the rest of his body around and landed on the ground in a sitting position. This quickly snapped the man's neck as it was forced to break over Tristan shoulder. Quickly rising, Tristan kicked the body over the side of the bridge towards the unseen floor below.
"Why didn't you just shoot him?" Rayith asked as her and Aragorn ran up to Tristan.
Tristan shrugged. "I dunno," he said. "All I know is that the flipping neck breaker looked MUCH cooler." He smiled briefly before drawing his pistols again.
Aragorn looked down at Rayith, also grinning. "You know, he IS right," Aragorn said. "That did look pretty cool."
"Hell yeah," Tristan said, giving Aragorn a 'high five' as Tristan had called when he taught it to Aragorn about a day earlier.
"Whatever," Rayith said. "Let's just move along."
The others nodded and quickly and started to move towards the other tower. After they entered the arched doorway, they found themselves in another hall that led to another set of stairs. This set of stairs, however, brought them to a landing that led to three new stairways: two going down and another going up. Aragorn took the lead at this point and waved the group to the stairs going up that lay across from them. As the group sprinted up the stairs, a guard that was coming into the room was quickly disemboweled by Aragorn, his intestines landing on Rayith's feet as she ran passed.
"That was kind of gross," she said. Aragorn didn't answer as he picked up his pace, forcing the others to speed up as well.
"If I recall correctly, this is a new section of dungeon that was built to accommodate the influx of Mystic Prisoners," Aragorn said. "I've never been through here before, but I think we need to go up and then down…" He paused momentarily. "Or was it down and then up?…"
"You're leading us, but you don't know where your going?" Rayith screamed.
"Somewhat," Aragorn said. The reached the end of the hall they were in and exited out onto another bridge leading back to the original tower. There were two guards walking along the bridge, but before the group was noticed, Tristan had fired two silenced shots into each of the guards' heads. Jumping over the bodies, the group entered the tower and came to another intersection of four stair cases.
Not wanting to was time with decision making, Aragorn picked a random staircase, running down, making a left, and running down again. They then crossed over yet another inter-tower bridge, but this one lacked guards.
Finding themselves back in the second tower, The group followed the only set of stairs available, running down, making a right and running down again. They soon ran down a long hall, finally coming to a halt at the sight of the wall at the end of the hall.
"Dead end!" Rayith cursed. "What the hell!"
"Well you know what?" Tristan said, "You can just fuck that…" he muttered, pulling out a large gun from some unknown point in his coat and pointing at the wall. Not taking the time to warn his friends, he fired a grenade round at the wall, blowing it open with ease. Looking at his handy work, Tristan examined the door he made. The opening led into nothing, save a four story drop to the courtyard below.
"They'll be on to us soon," Tristan said. "I didn't want to have to blow anything up so soon, but it looks like we were out of options. Sheathing the grenade launcher, he jumped out of the window, landing in the courtyard that led to the main entrance to the keep.
"Is he nuts?" Rayith asked. "I'm not jumping that far."
"Force Tech?" Aragorn suggested as he jumped out of the window also, landing slightly less gracefully next to Tristan.
"Awe man," Rayith mumbled, jumping out of the window also. Unfortunately, she was unable to slow herself down to acceptable speeds and hit the ground with a large thud.
"Dammit that hurt!" she yelled.
"Quiet!" Aragorn hissed. "Don't make any more noise." It was too late for that, though, as all three of them could hear people yelling the alarm as guards lit up torches around the outer curtain.
"Shit," Tristan said, drawing his magnum. "Come on," he said. "Let's get this over with…"
The three fugitives ran at the main keep gate at full Force Tech power, pummeling it open with the combined weight of their shoulders and their Force Tech energies. Running up the stairs, past another set of doors and intro the throne room, they were surprised to see that it was empty.
"This way," Aragorn said, running down the corridor to the right of the throne. Tristan and Rayith followed with equal speed. They ran up a series of stairs that went past many storage rooms, finally finding themselves in another hall. At the end of the hall was a set of double doors with a guard on each side. The guards quickly saw the intruders and charged them.
Tristan didn't waste any time bringing the powerful magnum to bare. He fired two of the powerful blasts, placing a large whole in each of the guards' chests. Following the loud noise made by the powerful gun, the double doors opened up and two more guards came out. They unfortunately met similar fates as their brethren. They had, however, served the purpose of unlocking the door.
The group ran down the hall and into the King's Room. The King was in his bed, but freshly awaken by the magnum blasts. Tristan and Rayith closed the door and replaced the bar that held it shut before they had entered. Meanwhile, Aragorn rushed to the side of the bed and put his hands over the King's mouth as he spoke.
"Listen to me, Sire," he said. "You must believe me when I say that this assassination is real. It will take place during the ceremony commemorating the end of the war. I will save you, though. I shall not let the same fate as before befall you." The King tried to talk but could not free himself of Aragorn's powerful grip. "You shan't worry, Sire…" Aragorn gave a hand signal to Tristan who grabbed a large chair from the room and threw it through the window behind the bed. With a crash, the glass crumbled outward, creating their escape route.
"Hasta Lavista," Tristan said with a wave as he jumped out the window, assuming a sky diver's free fall position.
Rayith didn't speak but also ran and jumped out of the window.
Aragorn quickly released the King then ran and stood at the edge of the window frame looking in. "Until then, your Majesty," he said, jumping backwards and out of the window.
The King could only gaze on in shock, wondering what to do. Why would Aragorn have went through so much trouble and killed so many people to deliver false information? He thought back to Aragorn's trial and suddenly re-realized some of the flaws in the evidence.
"Could he be telling the truth?" the King asked himself out loud. "And could it be possible that he was innocent all his time?" Moments after, guards poured into the room and started to address the King with ridiculous questions such as 'Is everything okay?' The King did not answer, but rather sat for nearly an hour, thinking about the recent events. Could he be telling the truth? he asked himself again. He only knew that time would pass, and then he would see.
12,000 BC, Enhasa.
Jack and Sarah were siting Melchior's workshop, as they had been doing for the past half hour. The funny looking old man had been gone for that long, and Jack was starting to get annoyed. Sarah was worried that something was wrong, but didn't follow up on it.
To satiate his boredom, Jack started flipping through the Origin of Mount Woe, noticing for the first time the quotation on the inside of the cover.
"Hey Doreen," Jack said, speaking to the funny creature that was standing over one of Melchior's workbenches. "What does this to mean?"
Doreen walked over to see what Jack was talking about. "What does what mean?" she asked.
"This quotation," Jack said, reading from the book. "'And they will hail him as Lathain, the one of Lavos Born. For the coming of the Blue-Haired Man has been foretold as the completion of the prophesy.'" Sarah shot up at the recognition of those words.
"What did you say?" Sarah said, her mind snapping back to attention.
"Oh, that?" Doreen asked.
"Yeah," Jack said. "Is this the prophesy you mentioned before?" he asked. Doreen nodded. Jack followed up with another question. "But isn't the youngest son of the Queen called Lathain?"
"Yes," Doreen said. "He was named after the prophesy," Doreen said. "We don't know the actual significance of his name, though. It is highly possible that he was named to bring people into the hope that the prophesy will be completed. The prophesy does however speak of a Blue-Haired Man. Lathain seems to defy this as he is only a baby.
"Wait a minute," Sarah cut in. "Repeat what you said before."
"What?" Jack asked. "The quote?" Sarah nodded. Jack obediently repeated what he said before, confirming Sarah's surprise.
"I've heard that before," Sarah said, somewhat frightened. "I've heard voices whisper that to me in my dreams. It's been kind of a reoccurring thing," she said. She paused briefly. "It's normally followed with this vision of Jack smiling at me and walking off into a wall of flames…"
Jack was suddenly angry. "Why didn't you mention that dream before!?" he asked.
"I just, well, I didn't think it would have mattered," she said, speaking very quietly. Jack's mind started to go over all of the facts that lay before him, before coming to a conclusion.
"Doreen," he said in a commanding tone. "I want you to take me to this Lathain child."
To Jack's slight discomfort, Doreen smiled. "As you wish…"
Immediately, the three were teleported to a new room. This room was much more lavishly decorated then most of the rooms they had seen elsewhere. There was a set of stairs that led down and out of the room. Against the far wall, there was a crib, and a small child was sleeping inside of it. Slowly, Jack walked up to the crib. He could see the child inside was about two years of age. He had short spikes of blue hair.
Around the boy's neck was a necklace with a symbol on it. Leaning over the crib wall, Jack gazed at the necklace. The symbol on the child's necklace was identical to the one that hung on Jack's neck down to the last gem.
Jack started to choke a few words out. "This boy…" he said, his voice raspy with a mix of fear and shock. "It's…me…"
Beginning of Time
"So he finally knows, eh Topik?" Valnius said.
"It certainly took him long enough," Hal said with a snort. "Awfully slow for One of Hope…"
"You idiot!" Topik scolded Hal. "He's known for a while know. In fact, he's known all his life. It's only now that he will begin to accept it."
"And you were the one who rushed it, Topik," Jal said.
"True," Fenreir remarked. "Sending him to Magus and getting him sent to Zeal. That was slightly manipulative."
"We've been waiting for this one for to long to lose him to blind luck," a new voice said. "I support Topik's decision."
"Thank you Rezikial," Topik said. "And Janus knew ever since their battle. But even Janus doesn't know the full extent of Lathain's power."
"And what is that?" Valnius asked.
Topik spoke. "Well, we'll just have to watch and see…"
12,000 BC, Enhasa
"What the hell do you mean 'It's you,'" Sarah asked. "How is that even remotely possible?"
"It makes sense now," Jack said. "The necklace. The blankets I was found in. The blue hair. Being born with magic. What Doreen called me when she took us to her room… I don't know how it happened, but this child, Lathain, is me. I am Lathain."
"So what if it all fits into place?" Sarah said. "How did you end up in our time?" she asked. Jack was somewhat surprised that she referred to it as our time rather then her time. It was a sign that she was still skeptic.
"I…I don't know," Jack said. "I haven't figured that out yet." He paused. "But you!" he said, speaking to Doreen. "You knew all the time!" Jack was filled with an unexplainable rage. "How did you know?"
"Like I told you, Lathain. I saw you in my dreams…" Doreen smiled. "It was the same reason that Sarah has known all along."
"What?!" Sarah asked.
"So you don't understand either?" Doreen asked. Sarah shook her head. "Hmm…you'll have to learn about your abilities on your own…" It was then that Sarah heard Doreen's voice inside of her head.
Why don't you ask Jack? The secret lies in that book that he carries…
Sarah ignored the voice due to the current confusion that filled the room.
"Wait…" Jack started to think back to his battle with Magus. "But that still doesn't clarify what Magus…" He trailed off.
"What?" Sarah asked. "What is it?"
"Doreen," he said. "I want you to take me to the Prophet."
"Really?" Doreen asked. "Why?"
"I have an idea," he said. "An epiphany if you will."
"Okay, whatever you say," Doreen said. We'll have to walk there though. There isn't supposed to be any teleporting going on inside of the Palace."
"Are we in the Palace now?" Sarah asked. Doreen nodded.
"Good," Jack said. "Just take me to the Prophet…"
Doreen exited the room with Jack and Sarah in tow. Walking down the stairs, Jack and Sarah found themselves in a confusingly elaborate room, with stairs and bridges going in every direction. To neither of their surprise, Doreen knew exactly where she was going.
They followed her up and down multiple sets of stairs and through innumerable doors and arches, until they finally entered a hall with a closed door on the end. Doreen knocked on the door three times. "Prophet," she said. "You have visitors."
"Send them away," a voice came from behind the door.
"Oh come on, Magus," Jack said, purposely cheerful. "Let us in. I wouldn't want to have to tell anyone who you really are."
"That voice…" came the voice from the inside. Suddenly the door swung inward and Jack and Sarah saw a man with long blue hair. His face was shadowed by a blue hood. "Come in," the man said. Jack entered, but Doreen and Sarah were stopped as they tried to walk through also. "Not you," the Prophet said.
"Whatever," Sarah said, turning her back to the door. The Prophet closed the door and invited Jack in.
The Prophet walked over and sat down in a chair that was across from a fire place. He slowly removed his hood, and the face of the Magus became clear.
"How did you figure it out, kid?" Magus asked.
"I think I should ask you the same question, Magus. Or should I call you Janus? Or better yet…" Jack paused for dramatic effect. "How about brother?" Magus merely smirked.
"Like I said before, kid. How did you figure it out?"
Jack smiled, clasping his hands behind his back. He started to pace around the room as he outlined his process of deduction. "It's quite simple, you see. Recently, through sheer weight of evidence, I realized that I am Lathain, second son of Queen Zeal. How I ended up in the era of 1999, I have no idea, but the fact remains that I am the small child that sleeps in this very palace."
"So you don't know everything, huh?" Magus said. Then, mumbling under his breathe, he said, "That'll change soon enough…"
"Anyway, once the I realized that I was this person, the rest came simply. The most powerful item, however, was what you said to me after you defeated me on the Snow Plain. 'I would sooner kill my own kin then kill you.' That was what gave it away. Along with the genetic impossibility of the blue hair and the fact that you had recognized the Dreamstone TAG, I could only assume that you, Magus, where actually Janus, the first son of Zeal and my brother, somehow displaced in time by a similar manner as to that which happened to me."
"An astute guess," Magus said grumpily.
"It doesn't stop there. I knew that you had to go somewhere after you defeated me, as it would be against all chances that another time gate would have formed and that you could have gone back to your 'home' time, the appearance of the blue haired man as a Prophet could only fit you. You were old enough to remember some of the occurrences of Zeal, being that the Janus in this era is about eight. It wouldn't have been difficult at all for you to act as a Prophet. Henceforth, while it was thought that there were four males in Zeal that had blue hair, it was actually only two males, in both their child and adult forms." Jack smiled in victory.
"Are you done?"
"Am I right?"
"Yes…" Magus said.
"But now I have a question for you," Jack said.
"How did you know that I was Lathain?" Magus smirked.
"I had known from the point when I was thrown through time that you had also been cast into a void," he started to say. "When my servants reported seeing a blue-haired man using a sword of energy, it got my mind working. I knew Melchior was working on the energy weapon. When I heard of the 'magic swords' as my scouts put it, I thought of Melchior's toy."
"Then when we fought…" Jack started to say.
"The only person who was to be able to use the Dreamstone Blade was it's creator and the second son of Zeal, Lathain. In other words, the weapon was designed for you. Melchior hoped that there was some linkage to your name and the prophesy which I'm sure led you to your realization as to your true persona." Jack then realized why Cid the Sword Seller could never get the sword to work. "At any rate, I suspected it when I saw you and I was almost sure when I saw your natural affinity with the magical arts.
"Then the blade just…"
"The Dreamstone blade was the final piece of evidence that secured my belief beyond a doubt, brother." He said the 'brother' part with mixed emotion, leaving it hard to tell if he was mad at Jack or happy to see him.
Jack started to pace across the room again, finally siting down in one of the chairs across from Magus. Pointing to the fireplace, he sparked the wood into flame, warming the room. "So what now?" he asked.
"I have my own agenda here," Magus said. "You may do whatever you wish. I don't have time for a sentimental reunion."
"Where is Schala?" Jack asked. "I would like to meet here."
Magus shot up at the mention of their sister. "Probably with the Queen," Magus said.
"You mean our mother?"
Magus snorted. "That woman is no longer our mother. By the time you were born, she was completely possessed by Lavos." There was a long silence. "At any rate," Magus said, "I have no more time for you. Leave this room now…"
Jack glared at the blue-haired man momentarily before rising and walking to the door. "I'm sure that we'll cross path's again, Janus."
"My name is Magus, Lathain," the wizard said bitterly.
"And mine is Jack," he said. "It appears that we both wear guises that suit us…" Jack trailed off, turned and opened the door. Without another word, he left and closed the door behind him, looking at Sarah and Doreen who were standing at the ready.
"Is everything okay?" Sarah asked.
"Yeah," Jack said. "I just needed to clear up some issues, that's all." He turned to Doreen. "Is there some place where we can stay while we're here. A room of some sorts perhaps?"
"I think I can muster something up," Doreen said. "Just give me some time and I'll find you a place to stay. I think there's a few rooms available in Kajar."
"Thanks," Jack said. "I think we may be here a while…"
"Seek the hidden path, and open the doors of Knowledge, each in turn." -Doreen
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