One year ago…
It was past midnight when Kieran slipped out of bed. This was more important than sleep, both sides agreed. In the darkness you could see the stars perfectly in the sky. Except one had fallen, slipped from the pure black fabric of the sky and plummeted to the ground, into the trees outside the village.
Kieran slipped out of the house silently, closing the door without the merest sound. No one would be awake at this time, but that was no reason to avoid caution. At least, that was what one voice said. The other said that anyone else was an insignificant nothing who wasn't worth allowing to follow you.
Through the village, past the gate, into the trees. The star was still glowing brightly, shining like a beacon between the trees. Almost magnetic, really. Kieran was drawn to it in a way that seemed totally unstoppable. Both halves agreed, it needed to be found. Anyway, it wasn't hard. The light radiated through tree trunks, warming them to a pale glow. At the centre of the aura the star was embedded in the ground, rising out of it like an arrowhead in the flesh of the forest.
Now the light was beginning to fade, flowing into the earth. Great power was being released from this… now, closer, Kieran saw that it wasn't a star. A foolish thought anyway, said the second side. There's nothing wrong with hoping, the first replied.
It was a crystal of some kind. Shining, though no moonlight and little starlight reached through the black branches above. Kieran suspected that it was purple, though every hue of the rainbow rose and fell in its glow, pulsing like a heartbeat.
Kieran reached out and touched it, and though it resisted the pressure of fingers and palms, there was no feeling of contact. But at the touch it flared with light, summoning it up from its core and blazing out from those points, as though the feather-light brushing had torn through the shell of a paper lantern. It turned like a searchlight, shining into Kieran's face. It was blindingly bright, and hot like the noon sun in midsummer, tirelessly burning. No. No, not hot. Cold. So cold that it burned.
Then that was gone, and memories shattered. They flew together again, imperfectly, missing pieces. And then everything split. The light faded, and Kieran looked up into Kieran's eyes. And Orian looked back at Lycoris.
Shining In The Darkness
A Tale of Sol and Luna
Chapter One: The Quest of the Alchemist
Vale, present day…
He really should have expected this, Isaac decided. His life was getting slightly closer to perfect every day. Especially in the last few days… Naturally Kraden would want to talk to him about something 'of the utmost importance'. The last time something important had been related to Kraden, the important thing had been the fate of the world and the beginning of the most dangerous time in his life.
It started off as fun. Himself and Garet, a couple of kids who had seen the sacred heart of Sol Sanctum and touched the Elemental Stars, setting out on a quest to save the world. Just like he always imagined.
Catching thieves and retrieving the treasures of a nearby village was a blast. Several, really, when Garet gained the power of Fire Psynergy. Meeting another Adept -Jupiter, at that- was something Isaac had never expected.
Breaking the curse on a holy tree and saving a village as well as an ancient forest had to be enough for any hero. Then they travelled north to Imil, where he… well, they, but Isaac always thought of it as when he met Mia, and climbed the awesome Mercury Lighthouse. They had failed to stop it from being lit, but it was still a great adventure. And there was always more.
There was always more. The quest kept going, to the south, across deserts and seas. To Tolbi, and Lalivero, Venus Lighthouse, and more, ever onward…
They won in the end. All of them: Isaac, Garet, Ivan, Mia, Felix, Jenna, Sheba, and Picard. Friends he wouldn't give up for anything… especially Mia. But sometimes Isaac wondered, even though he lived, if the quest hadn't taken his life anyway. Taken everything he had. Garet would say he was being introspective, which was practically an insult on the tongue of a Mars Adept. Ivan would say he should leave the thinking to Jupiter Adepts.
Mia would say he worried too much, thought too little of himself. Probably laugh, like she usually did when he said something completely ludicrous. Maybe kiss him. It was definitely worth checking. She really did seem to love him. Sometimes he wondered…
He was at Kraden's house, having wandered the paths of Vale by memory. He'd probably still be able to do it when he was ninety. Blindfolded.
Isaac opened the door -Kraden never cared about people barging in any more than the rest of the villagers, and usually preferred it, since it meant he didn't have to leave whatever experiment he was working on- and entered. "Kraden, I hope you realise this is time I could be spending with-" Isaac thanked the Spirits that he managed to cut himself off before the name 'Mia' when he saw the rest of the Adepts there, lounging around on Kraden's never-used furniture.
Garet, his ever-annoying best friend in the world, looked up at him and said, "I believe the word you're looking for is 'Mia'. And lots of us have people we'd rather be with, Isaac. You're nothing special."
"I'm right here," Jenna pointed out, an arm appearing from behind the sofa Garet was lying on and falling across his chest.
"Was I talking about you?" asked Garet, raising himself up to lean over the back of the sofa.
"Yes," said Jenna, rising to meet him.
"Only by chance," he said, grinning, and leaned closer.
"Oh, get them away from the fireplace," said Picard, his legs over one arm of a chair and his back over the other. "Blasted Mars Adepts. Heat goes straight to their heads."
"At least it'll keep them from interrupting," Felix commented, leaning against the wall in a corner.
"By default," Picard added dryly, still watching Garet and Jenna. Kraden entered from the other room, still wearing the protective mask he had for alchemical experiments.
"Stop gawking," said Kraden, taking off one of his thick work gloves and smacking Picard in the back of the head with it. "At our age it's considered perverted." Felix snorted with laughter- no one, including Picard (or so he would have them believe) knew Picard's true age. The mystic draught of the Lemurians slowed the aging process so much, he looked twenty and could have been a hundred or more.
"I did ask you to come here for a reason, you know," said Kraden, looking around at the Adepts. "There is much to disc-"
"Wait, wait, what about the others?" asked Isaac. The rest of the Adepts looked up. Isaac followed their gaze to the rafters, only a few feet above his head, where Ivan and Sheba were sitting opposite each other. They were cross-legged, and only as Isaac looked up did Ivan open his eyes.
"Oh. Hey, Isaac. Just been talking with Sheba," he explained. Jupiter Adepts, of course, could read minds. If they read each other's thoughts, it was essentially a telepathic conversation.
"And Mia?" continued Isaac. There was a soft touch on his shoulder. Isaac spun and looked into bright aquamarine eyes. "Oh. Well then," he said with a smile, his eyes not leaving her face, "I guess you can start, then."
"Thank you," said Kraden with absolutely no sincerity. "You know, all these intra-group romances make it very difficult to get anything done."
"There are only two," said Sheba.
"Three," Kraden corrected her.
"For the last time-!" Ivan began.
"All right, let's just get to the point," said Kraden, holding up his hands in what could be called surrender but was more likely 'this is what I have to put up with'. "The fifth lighthouse has been found." There was a moment of silent thought.
"Didn't know it was lost," Garet commented.
"Didn't know it existed," Felix added.
"Didn't know anyone was looking," Mia pointed out.
"Fifth?" asked Isaac.
"Oh yes," said Picard, with his usual anti-sunny demeanour in these situations. "There are five. The Lemurians have known that for centuries. The four elements. Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars: water, earth, wind, and fire."
"And the one that lies between them all, the element of balance. Sol. Light," Kraden continued. "That is why Sol Sanctum is the place where all the Elemental Stars were held. The Sanctum is in balance more than any other place we Adepts have known. And so the Stars there strengthened each other, in an environment where no one element reigned over the others."
"Yes, good, mystical, I like it," said Jenna, trying to hurry him up. "What's this about the Sol Lighthouse? And wait, if Light is an element then why aren't there any Sol Adepts?"
"When was the last time you met a person in perfect balance? Even Isaac and Felix, skilled leaders though they may be, and Wielders of the Sol Blade too, are not masters of everything. They don't have the might that can only be found in Mars, nor the wisdom of Jupiter or the compassion of Mercury," Kraden explained, gesturing to the other Adepts as he named their elements.
"Thank you," muttered Felix, and would have crossed his arms if they weren't already.
"Elements of Psynergy are based on personality, and people are unbalanced. So Sol Adepts might exist, as far as we know, but it's not likely. Unfortunately, very few things are certain about Light."
"Tell us more about the Lighthouse," said Sheba.
"I'm not sure where to begin…" said Kraden.
For many ages alchemists have wondered about the possibility of the Sol Lighthouse. Some have theorised that it is the very sun, shining down on the world, giving it life. But the Lemurians know differently.
Lemurians, who are born with Psynergy, and use it as easily as their arms and eyes. The ancient ones, who know the truth behind the Stone of Sages and the balance of Psynergy. They know that there is, as there are four lighthouses that act as beacons and foci for the elements, a fifth that acts as sovereign over all the others. Keeping them within their bounds, keeping any one from running out of control and dominating over the others.
The Sol Lighthouse is the source of all the Psynergy that permeates the world. The Sol Star has always dwelt there. It is locked within the core, and with it the Lighthouse always shines. That light -Psynergy- holds the world together at a fundamental level. With the star, Wayard is a place of wondrous powers. Without it, life could not exist, and the ground would crumble.
"Okay, that's bad," said Ivan. "Thanks for explaining 'bad' to us."
"So what's the danger?" asked Mia.
"Oh, come on. Even I can see that," said Garet. "Without the wisdom of Jupiter. And let me point out that Mercury people are way too naïve for their own good. Anyway, someone who wanted a great big hunk of power and wasn't Jenna-"
"Oh gods, he's started making jokes," muttered Picard, covering his face with his hand.
"-Could get the Sol Star and have the source of Psynergy. Which is bad because anyone who goes after it definitely shouldn't have it, and then the world would fall apart," he finished.
"Succinct," Sheba commented.
"So now that it's been found- wait, what do you mean, 'it has been found'? Who was looking?" asked Mia.
"Most alchemists know about -or at least believe in- the Sol Lighthouse. We all have our ways of searching as we study the powers of Alchemy. It's just one more study, really. Babi will have found it by now. Some Lemurians at the very least will know. There are many who are learned in the secrets of Alchemy," said Kraden.
"Would it kill you to speak sentences in the right order?" asked Garet.
"All right, someone get him away from the fireplace. He's getting on my nerves," Kraden ordered.
"See? It's not that hard," said Garet as Jenna dragged him across the room by one arm.
"But if only the wise people know about the Sol Lighthouse, what's the danger? Surely Babi isn't going to send a bunch of Colosso champions off to get the Star," said Felix.
"No. But there's a reason we've found the Lighthouse at last, I believe," said Kraden.
"What?" asked Ivan eventually.
"Someone has broken the seal. Someone, therefore, with the power to defeat Sol Psynergy."
[Author's Notes]And there you have it, the beginning to the least game-based story I've ever written for Golden Sun. I should add the disclaimer that if this is in any way contradictory with the as-of-yet unreleased-in-English Golden Sun: The Lost Age, deal with it. I'm assuming nothing groundbreaking happens at the ending and no one good dies. Beyond that, it doesn't really matter, because… well, that would be giving it away. All reviews are welcome where not demanded, especially those that actually comment on the story (though I'll take what I can get). So get to it and I'll get started on the next chapter.