Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Dark Ages, Book 1: Prologue

First, I should note that I've been working on a Chrono Trigger fanfiction for years, yet I've made very little progress. That's one of the reasons I've started this blog: to get into the habit of writing regularly. Given that, I'm planning to post bits and pieces of my book here now and then. First, I'll be editing my existing stuff and posting it here, which is what you've got here. Then, later (hopefully) I'll start posting completely new parts. That's the plan, anyway. Here's hoping!

Critiques are welcome.



The Demon stood before them. It seemed asleep, if it was alive at all. It was incomprehensibly enormous, like a creature from the darkest nightmares. Balthasar, the Guru of Reason, glanced at the Guru of Time. His colleague looked back with eyes half-mad with fear.
He can feel it too, thought Balthasar. We all can. The power radiating from this Demon is incredible, overwhelming. Dreadful.
Balthasar felt his heart chill, as if a foul breeze stirred in his chest. He looked back to the Queen and her daughter, standing too close to the nightmarish Demon as far as he was concerned. The younger lady trembled in fear. The Queen was smiling triumphantly.
Madness, thought Balthasar. We’ve reached too high. We had enough. Gods knew, we had enough. The sun was a limitless power source. We had the technology, the magic. We had paradise.
“Madness,” said the Guru of Life, echoing Balthasar’s thoughts as he stepped forward. The Guru of Life had known it all along, had forged a weapon that could disrupt the Demon’s power. It wasn’t enough, though, and now they stood before the thing in all its terrible glory. “My Queen, we must flee this place. End this now and let this thing be.”
The Queen rounded on him. Balthasar could feel her anger. Or, at least, he thought he could. The ominous energy he’d been feeling seemed to flare with the Queen’s ire.
“Silence, you traitorous old man!” she yelled. “I’ve come this far! The power is here! I feel it!” She began to laugh, and Balthasar felt the dark breeze around his heart become a gale. The Queen approached the Demon and started climbing onto it. Her daughter moved as if to stop her, but only just. She had forever been a slave to her mother’s will. More’s the pity.
“We must stop her,” said Balthasar. “It has driven her mad. Come, my brothers.”
The Gurus moved into position and began to chant, the three of them. Three was a number of power, it was said. For generations there had been three Gurus, sworn to protect the kingdom and advise its rulers. And now it had come to this. A bitter lesson, at the least.
If they could only subdue the Queen and bring her back, her daughter would surely follow. Then she could seal the way forever, and the nightmare would be over.
The Queen continued her climb. The back of the Demon pulsed with life. It was covered with sharp protrusions, which cut into the Queen's hands as she groped for purchase. She didn’t notice, and a trail of royal blood marked her path as she found a vantage point above its great maw. She balanced herself and stood up, raising her bleeding hands to the sky.
“Can’t you understand?” she screamed above the Gurus’ chanting and her daughter’s pleading. “You can not stop me! I have been chosen!”
And then the chanting was done.
The daughter turned to the Gurus, frantic. “Don’t hurt her! Please, she doesn’t understand what she’s doing!”
Balthasar motioned toward the Queen with his fellow Gurus. The Queen fell to her knees with a shriek as the combined power of the three Gurus held her in place. Balthasar smiled ruefully. They could step forward now and grab their Queen. She may put them to death later for their insolence, but it was a small sacrifice. They were old men, and though Balthasar knew he had many more inventions left in him, he would gladly give them up to save his kingdom. He stepped forward to retrieve his Queen from the Demon’s back, loathe to approach and dreading the thought of touching it, but resolved to do exactly that.
And then the Demon awoke.
And it spoke.
Balthasar felt it more than he saw it. The Demon’s maw gaped open, and Balthasar felt its gaze upon him. It began to scream, a hellish sound that was so sudden and drawn out that Balthasar feared it would never end, feared that he would never hear again once it did.
When it was over, Balthasar found himself on his knees, covering his ears, with no memory of putting himself in that position. He stood up and faced It. The maw remained open, breathing loudly. He could feel the hot, moist wind blowing with its every outward breath.
And the Queen stood atop it, free from the Gurus’ spell and staring at him coldly. Her smile froze his blood.
“His enemies are my enemies,” she said, her voice cold and oddly distant. “Nobody shall interfere.”
Balthasar heard a small, frightened voice from behind him.
Balthasar turned around. The Queen’s young son, a mere boy, was walking this way.
“No, lad!” yelled the Guru of Life. “Stay away!” He had always had a soft spot for the awkward, unlikable child.
But the boy ignored him and continued to approach. He kept calling for his mother, yet he never took his eyes from his beloved sister.
The Queen never even noticed. She began to laugh again. “Now, heretics, you shall witness our power! Begone!”
“No! Mother!” her daughter pleaded in futility.
And then Balthasar felt himself sinking. The ground itself seemed insubstantial. He tried to move, but it was like pulling against quicksand.
The frightened cry of the boy caught Balthasar’s attention again just in time to see the Guru of Life dive forward to save the boy, only to get sucked into a singularity, as if slipping into a fissure Balthasar couldn’t see. The boy was falling into a similar one when suddenly Balthasar fell into nothingness.
The fall seemed endless, and Balthasar did not know how far until he would hit the ground, or even if there was a ground to hit. All he knew was darkness and a falling sensation, though without a point of reference he could not tell how far or how fast he was going.
Soon he began to wish that there was no ground, since surely it would mean the death of him at this rate of descent. He thought he could feel the wind rushing by and knew he must be falling faster with each passing second. He became afraid that the fear would drive him mad.
Then he began to pray for the ground and the quick death it offered.
And then there was light. 

(Continued in Chapter 1, Part 1)

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