...Underfire/The Link...

* Brief note. This is totally my imagination. I do NOT, in any way, claim that this is what Square expresses Magus would say or do. This is only for entertainment purposes.

A mist settled in my bones as a submissive sun eclipses from the sense- numbing morning. Before me, with but a lackluster torchlight to illuminate my path, loomed a decrepit gate. The entrance's color had long been leeched away and the initial metal could not be told. However, a glittering item captured my eye. Lightning scintillated and diverted me. As I glanced up to witness the azure ribbon a voice, soul-chilling, drifted to me:

"Enter...if you dare."

I obeyed. My eyes are greeted by a god of a man, a god of gods. This necromancer's waterfall for hair ripples with his deadly grace. His fire- and-lilac eyes can penetrate any living creature and crumple its will to dust. I face this pillar of strength, this liquid power, to answer the time-renowned mysteries-the answers are to die for. All of this I color with meaning, summon to sound with a single word:


And so, the interview commences...

Interviewer: Good morning, Magus...or should I say good evening?

Magus: Neither. I am not a man of formalities.

Interviewer: As you bid. I'm sure you are aware of all the rumors that circle around you. Since you detest the grabbling of history I can think of no better person to declaim the tale of Magus than yourself. He who lives the tale, tells the tale. Correct?

Magus: ...Correct.

Interviewer: First things first. Your name/title has, to some, substituted their word for death. How did the name/title "Magus" come into existence?

Magus: If the fools decide to fear me, all the better. To understand the significance of the title-not a name as you idiots misconceive-you must understand the history behind it. Centuries ago an assembly of seven magi (Interviewer's Note: for those of you who are culturally illiterate magi is the singular of Magus. I know, I know, it's numerical incorrect, so stab me) gathered annually to define and refine the arcane art. But one of the seven, an especially powerful sorcerer, coveted the universe. He murdered his brethren, with a spell known as Dark Matter, but was challenged by a clandestine knight with the damned Masemune. The magus vanished, defeated but not dead. He vowed to return to lay waste of Guardia. Here-

Interviewer: But how did it replace YOUR name?

Magus: I was, before your insolent interruption, getting to that. Here I came in. Though my talents were unparalleled Ozzie was loath to service. He assailed me with an entire legion to appraise my abilities. Violence was ever that beast's answer. I created Dark Matter (Interviewer's Note: incidently, Dark Matter was originally christened Shadows of the Damned but, for Ozzie's puny intelligence, it was shortened. Go figure!) and obliterated them. As for the general public, they believed that the use of my birth name would bring my wrath upon them so they superstitiously called me Magus, instead. The idiots! Ah, well, it served my purpose. Sometimes, I myself, believe in the Magus.

Interviewer: Captivating. You must have had an amazing life growing up full of wonder and excitement. How was it, the maturing? What were some challenges? And some advantages?

Magus: I'm sure one of your limited enlightenment would consider my wretched existence "wonder". To the outside world my life must have seemed strange, yet awing, indeed. Did I not have slaves and a whole army at my beck and call? You look at the beautiful rug on a floor before you, crafted to be flawless. Do you look beneath to see the horrid mess of tangled thread or the many stitches ready to erupt? No, you do not.

Interviewer: I see.

Magus: No, you do not see. You cannot possibly understand that which is too foreign to you. Life was the void for me. Everything was brutal. As a prince of Zeal life had been deceptive but soft. As a prince of darkness I endured violence such as I have never committed. I got up, ate breakfast, got the void beat out of me, murdered some ill-fated soul, and slept in nightmares. Typical day....Maybe an illustration will aid your ailing intelligence. Once Ozzie hung me, by an ankle, for five days straight off a flag pole because I refused to participate in the weekly raids. It was freezing and my body positively screamed from the daily crucifixion. I was convinced I would die. Only my iron will preserved me.

Interviewer: And all that for disobeying him?

Magus: All that for disobeying him. And much more. Advantages were, for me, far and few in between. I had learned stealth from the stolen nights of reading prophecy when I was bid to attend my studies. I knew how to craft lies and not to trip up in them as I spun anew out of necessity. Magic, of course, gave me an edge in the later years. But I would have to claim my determination as the one prevailing aspect for keeping me sane. Emotions served no purpose so I renounced them. Soon my "killing innocence" fled as I took life as easily for humans as for animals. It was not unlike a drug. The more I did it, the easier it became. I continued to kill to pacify the torment of killing. Even now, I cannot feel any different.

Interviewer: Wow. Deep. (Interviewer's Note: am I the only one confused and scared to shit here? Just wondering.) Next subject. What was your preliminary opinion of the year 600 A.D. when you arrived?

Magus: Ha! My juvenile mind first registered "gee, this place is awfully green". Never in my short life had I seen such a proliferation of vegetation. Unfortunately, though I had already thought this place "sucked quite royally", the situation disintegrated impossibly worse at my first glimpse of its inhabitants.

Interviewer: Ozzie, right?

Magus: Congratulations, moron, you are right again. Must be your lucky day. Yes, Ozzie came to see me, curious, I suppose, of a human appearing out of thin air. Since he was the first sentient-and I use that term lightly, mind you!--creature I encountered my impression was that Lavos had delivered me to the void. Come to think of it, that impression hasn't changed much.

Interviewer: You've certainly met with some pretty-well, not always pretty but, well, you get the idea-distasteful personalities. Would you tell me something else...if you could speak with your mother again what would you say? Could you forgive her?

Magus: ...No comment.

Interviewer: Surly you are not afraid-!

Magus: Afraid!?! Never! But what would be the purpose? What would I say to her? Tell her of the agony she put me through for her vicious addiction? The abuse I suffered because of her? The loneliness, the fear, the pain, the rage, the sorrow? No. If my mother stood before me I would not speak. If the great gods of this universe should bade I converse with her at the peril of eternal persecution I shall not speak. I SHALL NOT SPEAK.

Interviewer: Are you saying you wouldn't forgive her? There isn't enough love in your heart to forgive?

Magus: Actually, I was saying I would not speak, idiot. In answer to your question, I cannot bridge the gap because no bridge abides to communicate. Her heart beats with no love for me and my heart has no rhythm for her, either. Love has died.

Interviewer: Wow. You hate her, don't you?

Magus: ...yes...I do...

Interviewer: What about Schala? It's not likely you'd miss the chance to speak with her. Wouldn't there be a difference?

Magus: Schala...oh, blessed reaper, if I have not a word for my mother the same cannot be said of her. A difference? The epitome of understatement, my unenlightened reporter. A hundred-no, thousand-things I'd loved to say to her. I have so many speeches prepared and yet to see her, even if only in my imagination, my voice fails me...Speak of the times I cried at dawn merely because I could not hear her usually annoying wake up call. Screamed her name off the fortress embattlements because I couldn't remember my last words to her. Tell her of the times I doubted my own lucidity because I'd suffered a loss so great, the loss of my beloved sister, I was self-destructing.

Interviewer: That's sad. I'm sorry for-

Magus: Speak not of anguish. It is dead.

Interviewer: But you miss her, don't you?

Magus: Of course! Do not doubt that for a second.

Interviewer: Isn't missing someone some sort of mourning?

Magus: ...Correct. Another point for the reporter. Congratulations, fool.

Interviewer: Thanks, I think (Interviewer Note: yeah, I know I was insulted there. What would you say to a dude that could rip your heart out with a smile on his face?). Onto the next question. We all begin life as innocents. Some keep their innocence and light the candle of good. Why did you taint yours by opting to live in the darkness?

Magus: Ha, ha! Darkness? You define it! Is it the first kill or the first relishing of a kill?

Interviewer: Who, me? I'm guessing this isn't twenty questions. Um, gee, the first kill?

Magus: Would you bet your life on that final answer?

Interviewer: If I had a choice? No, not particularly.

Magus: And so you see, my presumptuous reporter, that darkness is not the clearly designated black evil. You cannot define it. I cannot define it. Nor could even the most prominent scholar define it. Oh, those idiots would try to butter up a few pretty sentences of pure crap. But when the darkness consumes you the elicit lines begin to blur. Now I could not shed a tear for the most savage slaying, even if I wanted to, because my own "death's" brutality will always be unsurpassed.

Interviewer: So, you had a hard life. That's plenty unfortunate. But who is at fault?

Magus: No one. Entirely. My propagative is not one of blaming others for my "living in the darkness". No question my mother, Ozzie, Lavos, and many others have had a hand in my downfall but ultimately I turned to the shadows because it, and it alone, gave me the comfort when I could find it nowhere else. The darkness is a part of me. It pumps in my veins like my blood and IS my blood. Without it I shall die or go mad.

Interviewer: How can I say this without sounding stupid?

Magus: As there is no way then I suggest you just ask, fool.

Interviewer: Do you mean to imply that you're not upset at your life? That, if you could do anything differently, you would not change a thing?

Magus: So many sentimental idiots spend their coin of life with wasteful regret. I won't be the idol of remorse. My decisions, my mistakes-I did it all knowing the consequences of my actions and that when I sit in the judgment of creation I shall not point fingers. But, in all truth, I am human, though some would debate that, and if each one of us were given some coinage to purchase the past I would squander it all on Schala. IF fate were so kind. Which it NEVER is.

Interviewer: Just the return of Schala? What about personal revenge, glory, trappings?

Magus: Yes, idiot. Only on Schala. Time spent in the past is time wasted in the future.

Interviewer: Well said. A point for Magus. I can see how much you love your sister. But while affection for a sibling is a great thing love isn't just the domain of relatives. Are you in love with anyone? Not as a kinsman, as stated before, but as a man loves a woman?

Magus: Ha, ha, ha, ha! What's this talk of love, reporter fool? Are you trying to draw out of me the embarrassment that you yourself feel?

Interviewer: Oh, ah, maybe.

Magus: I'll let you in on a little secret. I know women. Some are so transparent that they dance in their lust and pretend they know what they want out of a man. Most are just idiots who ignore a man's shortcomings for his looks and charm. Then, there are others that are too critical. Say one wrong thing and you are their worse enemy. I had a mistress once who thought the world of me before she discovered my name was Magus. What is in a name? As I envision the eyes of each of my lovers I can honestly say there is not one I would take to my heart. My bed, maybe. But not my heart.

Interviewer: But not your heart. There are precious few who you've permitted near your heart even though the many journeys and adventures you've experienced has introduced you to a vast populace. Would you give me a brief evaluation of your friends and foes, allies and adversaries?

Magus: Have you got a lifetime or two to waste? Well, get out your feather stylus and wade of paper because here comes the cast... (Interviewer's note: this list comes in an indiscriminate order and if you are left out don't blame me! Magus will answer for that!) Ozzie...My darkness at its most brutal form. He may have granted me life but what a wretched life it was! Ah, but I had the last laugh...Flea...No, I don't know whether he is a she or she is a he, so quit asking! She taught me a valuable lesson- never turn your back on a enemy...Slash...And my torture, ahem, training, from Slash yielded much the same. At least if he wasn't wholly compassionate one cannot say he intended to humiliate or shatter me...Crono...I'll say as much for him as he has said of me........(Interviewer's Note: yes, that's exactly what Magus commented- nothing!)...Marle...Since she is, somehow, someway, Schala's descendent I shall not speak ill of her. Willful, but then, so am I and I'm not dead yet, am I?...

Interviewer: Don't dodge Glen! Everyone wants to know your opinion of him!

Magus: Love to see blood, do you, oh noble world? Patience, my dear reporter idiot, is a virtue. Learn it. As I was stating...Robo...Truly magnificent, if somewhat trivial, creation. One such as I may appreciate his unassuming nature...Lucca...About as impetuous as the princess, however, I do sense an air of intelligence, which is rare these days...Alya...And people claim SHE is a predecessor of great Zeal? I'd rather not compare myself to a beast with a five word vocabulary...the Gurus...All seemed extraordinarily dull to me. But one cannot fail to observe the merit to their magic studies now...Dalton...Ha! Ha! Ha! Wannabe! His grandeur exceeds merely my toe jam and even then it would be a hard sell...Mother...She does not deserve to be called mother for she was not one to me. Blood and flesh is all I inherited from her and maybe a black soul...Schala...For you I have survived the darkness. For you I am conquering my demon heart. For you I shall refuse evil the license to seduce me...Cyrus...The ill-starred knight unfortunate enough to have challenged the most illustrious man to exist-me! Perhaps, he was a gallant man, but gallantry or wimpish, he has fallen. That's all there is to it...

Interviewer: And? And!?

Magus: And lastly, Glen. Though I will perish and herald the truth to my grave, spurned, I will die knowing I didn't mean you any harm. Yes, it will be scorned but it shall offer minimal comfort that an evil man is not always evil...I was innocent once...

Interviewer: The million gold piece question-why did you transform Glen into a frog?

Magus: I recall that day, a bright sky with scant clouds, and a lone figure grieving over his deceased friend. Even now I can smell the smoldering flesh, behold the crimson embers of fire devour Cyrus...And before me stood my enemy, the naive Glen. I snapped. Unless a person masters formidable powers he/she cannot perceive the desire to slay all opponents...in a sea of water all you want to do is drink...in a war all you want to do is kill...understand?

Interviewer: Um, well, yes?

Magus: Idiot. An illustration might help your unenlightened self. Let us pretend you are in a bloody battle. For the predominant interval you have been the victim, persecuted and nearly murdered. Then, by happenstance, you acquire a potent weapon. Now, you have two options. Use it simply as necessity demands for defense or go on the offensive and slay at whim?

Interviewer: The obvious answer is to use it as a safeguard only.

Magus: Ah, but you must factor in human nature to the equation. You are enraged and anguished. Reason has fled in face of such emotions. Who's to assert common sense would prevail? Even after you kill and kill the blood pulses to murder.

Interviewer: Ah! Though this person need not protect himself anymore he still lusts for massacre, correct?

Magus: Yes! Another point! I might have eliminated my threat with Cyrus' death but in the darkest of my heart I yearned retribution for the challenge. Likely Glen would have become a member of the silent choir if not for Ozzie's fancy. Had the green slime asked for Glen to dance around nude from magic I would not have balked. Nothing mattered beyond the sating of my killing and maiming crave.

Interviewer: I'm starting to get this! In your lifetime you've slaughtered many, some who deserved it and others who didn't. Along the same vein; why did you kill Cyrus in the first place? On a wild impulse like Glen?

Magus: No. I do not apologize for Cyrus' demise. He is a warrior, as I. He must have known that warriors lead short lives that have numerous brushes with death. If not, he shouldn't have been a knight. He defied me; I answered. Cyrus probably despised what I symbolized, the prince of darkness, but, unless the legends claim false of him, he recognized my justification as his opponent to butcher him without forbearance. I would not have expected less of the knight if he had triumphed.

Interviewer: Fascinating! One can only wonder what Glen would say against that! If you could capture your life experiences in three words what would they be?

Magus: My existence in three words! I've found exterminating a whole battalion in a breath easier!...Hmm...I guess these three would suffice, though they definitely do not sum up my experiences-persecution, perseverance, prevalence.

Interviewer: Spoken with consummate elegance. Worth at least one point. Your road has been lengthy and laden with fate. And yet that lifepath is still ongoing. Have you any goals you've yet to achieve, such as the search for Schala?

Magus: Goals are our lifepath. Without progress there is no evolution and then life ceases to subsist. Yes, the hunt for my dear sister shall continue until I find her or drop dead. I'd like to explore all the other time lines as they enlarge my knowledge of the universe. Also, a truce with Glen would be rare relief from his constant harassment. Maybe, even, in time, I might find another way to thwart the doom of Zeal. An unreasonable version of wishful thinking, conceivably, but subtract dreams from the human spirit and what remains? Little.

Interviewer: Very little, indeed. Especially since when we all die our corporeal bodies disintegrate and we fade from memory. What would you like remembered of yourself?

Magus: Nothing.

Interviewer: Nothing?

Magus: As the master of a black castle with an even blacker soul what would be the humane remembrance of me? Nothing, nothing at all...well, maybe, Schala...No, wait! Should fate contrive that we never meet again then I beg she forgets me. Though, she shall forever live in my heart I pray that it's not so for her. It would only bring her sorrow and pain and that is the last thing I wish to give her.

Interviewer: Deep. Compelling. Intriguing. And now our interview, sadly, comes to its conclusion. I thank you, Magus, for taking the time to answer my long awaited questions. To you, my most humble appreciation.

Magus: Your welcome, fool.

Interviewer: And now we end off with our final question-any last words before Magus, as we know him, silences forever?

Magus: Last words? I guess there is something I would like to get off my chest. I am aware that there are those of you out there who believe they know the story of Magus and his inner self. Erase each theory you have of me from your heart and allow the virgin rhythms to paint every portrait. Be cleansed of the old because the prejudices of yesterday are the wars of tomorrow. Now the chosen time has come-will you open your hearts?

A velvety blackness inhabits the skies now as a sure sign that the evening has arrived to bid me farewell. The weather fares no better but the clouds have vanished to reveal a lovely backdrop of celestial flashes. The orb of night has seized imperial seat and it gleamed on Magus' one-of-a-kind face. I know I will never pass this way again so I face him, this god of gods, and sputter:

"Fare ye well. May our paths cross in the future."

Like a streaming sky, blue hair wafts as Magus spins around to head back to his domain. I assume our interview is finally over and, thus, I proceed to surpass the gate. Upon the threshold words halt me, and I immediately knew they belonged to the prodigious Magus, which had a life all of their own:

"Oh, reporter fool, I think you won. Congratulations."

I can but gawk. A tiny flicker of light trails from his hand to mine as I grab it. The gem-or rather a bejewelled link.

"The pendant broke and I forged a new chain. Keep the link. Who knows, maybe it'll bring you luck as it has me!"

And he is gone.

-Dawn Wilkins