Wax, Wane, Repeat
A/N: Well I WILL be continuing this most likely which I'm sure will please a whole dozen of you, I have a fancy plotline ready and waiting to be written out here which will tie in Verius to Lloyd and Sheena nicely. The 'extracts' at the beginning will become extremely relevant soon enough. Incidentally the extract IS correct before I get anyone saying there's a mistake in it.
I don't own Tales of Symphonia, just an impressive array of old junk pinched from outside some shack in the mountains... hey why is this sword wriggling around so much, I - uh-oh.
Ch 2: Antiquity
"Thus the holy ground of
Kharlan was invaded,
and many spawn were slain by the five seraphim,
for their blood was pure and their hearts untainted."
- Ramiel 3:22, Book of Martel -
The following twenty four hours proved to be a hard fought one, a gruelling, grinding day that zapped the energy and spirit and was the kind of day that would make the self-proclaimed heroes wake up to their own shortcomings and quit. The group of the Unified Chosen were far from quitting, but it was still hard.
For scouting purposes they had agreed a laborious trip all over Tethe'alla and Sylvarant, skirting the different town and landmarks as a way of checking for any Desian or Cruxis activity. It had been a while since they had first made their way to Derris-Kharlan, defeated the Gatekeeper and opened the huge doors to reveal the great seed ahead of them. It had been then they had realised they were not significantly strong to face their final challenge yet and as they had some unfinished business it was felt prudent to return and finish that first. Presently they were in the snowy citadel of Flanoir, Raine was in a heated discussion with the mayor of the great city.
"Winter will never end you know that! You're sitting in the middle of an arctic expanse you nit-wit!"
"Miss Sage, there is no need for such... vulgarities." The mayor straightened a twitch possibly as the result of a disease in the beginning of his life but most likely nervous sent the right hook of his tarred moustache flicking against the flared nostril of his wide and flabby nose. "The library is closed, that is all there is to it."
"Closed?" Raine barked, "Closed? You cannot close knowledge mister Mayor, its the duty of your office to improve the welfare of the populous and that includes minds as well as bodies."
The Mayor snorted, "I do not need lecturing from the likes of you on the terms of my office thank you ever so much."
"The likes of me?" Raine's hand tightened around the shaft of her staff.
"Oh no." Zelos sighed, rubbing his eyes with his index finger and thumb.
"He didn't?" Colette asked wincing.
"He did." Genis nodded, turning away with the others so as not to see what was coming next. "Why is it that all the mayors that we've come across seem to be bigoted egotistical morons?"
"Who knows?" Lloyd shrugged, Regal pursed his lips together.
"And absolute power corrupts absolutely." Sheena mumbled, numbly rubbing where the odd exsphere had entered her body. Genis blinked and nodded sadly.
"Do you think we'll be arrested?" Colette asked suddenly, as Raine rejoined them looking somewhat appeased but then she was often happier after clobbering someone. Genis put it down to the fact she was a healer and wasn't able to partake in actual combat as much as she'd have liked, although he couldn't actually say that of course for fear of being whacked himself. Raine was a believer that you should not strike your own child, but had no such qualms about walloping other people's or other siblings for that matter.
"No." Zelos waved his hand dismissively, "If there's any trouble then I, the great Zelos Wilder will use my well renowned charm and amazing political power to get us out of any situation!"
"Oh, sweet Martel will you listen to yourself?" Sheena rolled her eyes, "You'll pull some strings yadda yadda and invoke the name of the Chosen."
Zelos pouted, "Yes."
Lloyd chuckled for a moment before he suddenly stopped; the hairs on the back of his neck rose as they so often did when trouble was nearby. He looked over to the west in the direction of the dimensional portal and his gaze hardened visibly.
"Lloyd? What is it?" Colette gently rested a hand on his shoulder and he jumped at the sudden touch, it breaking whatever trance he appeared to be in. He shook his head.
"Nothing. Just my imagination." Colette seemed to accept this and gave him a smile, before grabbing his hand and pulling him in the direction of the library which was now by some minor miracle open for the first time in sixty-five years. Lloyd reluctantly let himself be led by the blond Chosen, still as he disappeared through the large double doors he glanced over his shoulder back to where he was looking and found Sheena looking out in the same direction.
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Verius stood by the entranceway to his chamber, paw raised, frozen in mid-step.
He had decided to leave to seek out Sheena when something made him hesitate and he had been like this ever since. The Martel Temple near Iselia had shaken violently as he approached the exit and now he was unsure about whether he should or indeed could proceed. The entrance chamber was cold, dank, windowless and spartan - devoid of life, human or otherwise. He breathed fitfully, unnerved by his continuing indecisiveness and then decided to swallow his pride.
"Origin!" He called aloud, "Origin come to me, I seek thy council."
There was a flash of golden radiance and the summon spirit of spirit stood, or rather floated in front of him. "I was wondering when you would call me Summon Spirit of the Heart?"
"I have these last few nights been troubled by visions in my sleep."
"Of the pact maker and the destined youth Lloyd."
"Yes." Verius blinked, "You knew?"
"Indeed." He nodded sagely and floated down to land on the aging stone tablet floor, "I know the dreams you speak of for I too have seen them in my sleep, you are right to be wary Verius about these and many other things."
Verius didn't quite understand what he meant by that, but stuck to the main point at hand, "I must get to Sheena I cannot stand knowing she is in danger and not doing anything."
"Yes, your heart is bound to the pact maker just as hers is to yours. Though not a pact in the traditional sense you are joined in a spiritual manner, her power is yours and yours is hers - that is the way of things. Your powers themselves are yet to be determined, there has not been a Summon Spirit of the heart for over four thousand years and his legacy is best forgotten."
"There was one before me?"
"Yes, her name was Ceska."
"I thought you said the Summon Spirit was a he?"
"Oh he was... at first."
"His... her, appearance changed over the years from male to female and back again. The last time Ceska was seen he was a she." Origin stroked his short golden beard, "How it came that Ceska ceased to be is not known, though it was about the same time that the world was split into Tethe'alla and Sylvarant. To be honest Ceska didn't do a very good job and led many to grief and misery through his careless actions."
"Can I leave the temple?"
"Of course." Origin smiled, "Though the repercussions of this I do not know, I am certain the earthquake you felt was merely coincidental."
"Okay." Verius stepped through the doorway and to his relief absolutely nothing happened, taking this as a good sign he bounded up and out over the stairwell and fallen pillars to exit the temple through the main entrance. Origin re-materialised next to him. "What is causing these dreams we share?"
Origin frowned, "That I do not know." His frown deepened further still, "And yet... the feeling seems strangely familiar, almost like - no, but that's impossible."
"Who?" Verius demanded, Origin opened his mouth to say something but then quickly closed it with a click of teeth and snapped his head over to look away from him.
"The pact maker is summoning me, I must go - they are in Flanoir in Tethe'alla, journey there as quick as you can."
Then, with a wink of an eye the King of the Summon Spirits was gone leaving Verius alone in the dark and his mind plagued with yet more questions.
So he had to get to Sheena in Tethe'alla, which was in itself a problem. As a Summon Spirit he was bound now at least in part to his temple and his temple was in Sylvarant, Origin was special in that he was able to move from world to world unhindered and unaided however all the other Summon Spirits were reliant on the power lending pact forged with Sheena. Verius had no pact, he could not simply will himself back to his original world, he had tried that before even thinking of calling for Origin's aid, nor could he move great distances and the wing like appendages on his back seemed to be only for show - so where ever he was going to go he was going to have to walk. After all, it wasn't as if he could ride a rheiard.
But where to? It was late.
Verius raised his powerful nose and sniffed the air; he smelt the presence of Sylth on the winds, of Gnome in the soil and that of the water spirit Udine in the dank clinging air. Shadow's essence was also present in the darkness shielding that of Luna and Aska for the time being - high above he could even smell the presence of the great mana asteroid Derris-Kharlan covered by the clouds. In the distance Iselia was asleep, though a bit further north a bubbling stew showed at least someone was awake. He padded down the steps almost exactly the way a normal dog would and began running in the direction of the forest, as the foliage swallowed him up he failed to see what happened behind him for a violent crack ripped through the ancient temple and in a creak of splintering wood and whoosh of collapsing stone the Iselia temple crumbled spectacularly to the ground...
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The Great Library was the centre of Flanoir and always had been, though it didn't seem particularly big on the outside it was very long and the visible building above ground was merely the way in. Raine strode through the doors which flew open in her exhuberance, banging against the partly decaying wood and rubber stoppers and sending clouds of dust billowing out into the street sending Regal and Zelos into a fit of coughing.
"She...chgg...seems to be in ruin mode again."
"Khhuuugh... khh... her enthusiasm for knowledge is so great, I dread to think how long we may be delayed here for we dare not linger long. Who knows what fell beast might haunt the bowels of this building."
"Regal, it's a library." Zelos blinked, "And hardly the most impressive one at that."
"Hardly impressive?" Raine spun on him sounding less than impressed with his lack of enthusiasm. "This library runs two hundred feet below ground level and uses the natural cold to help preserve samples and ancient papers. It is said that it was constructed by the great King Fuchius III of Tethe'alla also known as King Fuchius the Blessed three hundred years before the peace at Kharlan. The building was said to be a memorial to his late queen."
"What was her name?" Colette asked intrigued, the professor's mouth twitched into a wry smile.
"Wow!" Colette bounced, "So were you named after her?"
"I believe so." Raine sighed happily, "She was said to be a great scholar in her own right and worked as a diplomatic representative." She reached out and touched a pillar with her hand, closing her eyes and running her delicate fingers over the stonework. "She has certainly been an influence on my life, she once said: 'Knowledge is not just the path to reason but also the grass around it'. I can only hope I one day come close to emulating her."
"It really is an impressive structure, isn't that the same paneling we saw in the throne room of the King?"
"Yes it is Lloyd, well noticed."
"It seems kind of older though."
Raine gaped, "You're right it does - it is!" Raine's face lit up with delight, "This is incredible, this means the King must have transported the then interior of the throne room and incorporated it into the design of the library - this is sensational! Nothing of this exists in the Sylvarant archives or the books we checked for Colette's cure - Lloyd; we've discovered something lost for over two millennia. I told you, you have what it takes to become an archaeologist!" Raine grabbed him in a far too enthusiastic hug. "We must take drawings, rubbings, make records - Zelos! Find some paper at once."
"Huh? Why the hell should I-"
Raine's eyes flared "-now!"
"Hey, why is it I always have to do the fetch and carry?"
"Oh, but you do it so well!" Genis laughed, Zelos scowled.
"Shut up brat! At least I'll look good doing it; after all, I look good doing anything."
"Be careful, there must have been some reason it was sealed." Regal reasoned, "It's just that it's so long ago everyone alive in Flanoir now cannot recall it."
"Pff, if there's one thing worse than a dusty old library; it's a dusty old killjoy inside said library."
"Hey Mister 'Look Good'? You'd certainly sound better if you'd put a cork in it." Sheena snapped, "Unless you want Raine to be delayed any further?" She gestured with her head towards Raine's staff. Zelos swallowed and went to find the paper.
"We should still be wary." Regal said cautiously, Persea nodded in agreement.
"We are unsure what was kept in the lower levels, caution is recommended."
"Um, Raine." Genis tugged on his sister's sleeve. "Lloyd's going blue."
"OH!" Raine let go her vice like grip, Lloyd collapsed to the ground gasping. Sheena helped him to his feet, which were a bit wobbly; he stumbled and collapsed against her. Their noses banging against each other and lips almost grazing.
"Heh... s-sorry." He picked himself up trying desperately to hide his beet red face. They awkwardly separated themselves, Genis made a comment about the pair being as clumsy as each other, Colette giggled.
"Oh well, at least it's not me falling over this time." She smiled sweetly, Persea blinked apparently lost on the whole situation.
Lloyd recovered his bearings just as Zelos reappeared waving a bundle of paper above his head most of which was Raine found useless 'just like Zelos' as it was covered in dust and dirt and only some of the central sheets were actually usable. Raine began, after protestations from Zelos that his services were as usual being denied their full merit began making detailed notes and drawings of some of the panels and legible inscriptions.
"Genis, take a look at this text."
The boy mage obliged, "It appears to be a combination of ancient Elvish and an old human tongue. Fascinating."
Lloyd, Sheena, Zelos and Persea weren't in the least big interested. Regal was hovering over Raine's shoulder eager to take in all the information he could and giving general facts when asked while Colette simply wanted to be involved and help. Lloyd whistled, which echoed through the halls, something drew his attention and he tapped the Professor on the shoulder.
"Professor what's that?" He pointed at what looked like an old tapestry that was hanging from the ceiling, Raine squinted and gasped.
"It looks like a tapestry of the Queen herself, amazing that it should have survived this long in these conditions!"
"I'll go and fetch it if you like?" Lloyd offered, Raine nodded eagarly.
"I doubt it will last much longer up there as it is, maybe I can use it to perhaps persuade the current King to devote funds to help - this building definitely won't survive without some kind of restoration."
"I'll come with you." Sheena offered, Lloyd smiled and the two set off and climbed up a metal spiral staircase to a mezzanine level.
"Thanks for coming with me."
"No problem, I was getting bored of all the facts and figures. History isn't really my forte. I'm grateful for the excuse to get away."
"Nor mine." Lloyd grinned, "Despite what the Professor might think about my..." He sniggered, "'Talents', history simply doesn't come alive for me, to be honest if it ever did her excitement kind of killed any chance of me becoming interested off completely but, er, don't tell her that okay?"
"It'd break her poor heart!" Sheena laughed, "Sure thing Sempai."
"Some... pie?" Lloyd frowned and Sheena giggled even more.
"No, no, no."
"No." Sheena tried to compose herself but the confused face of Lloyd was not making it easy. She cleared her throat pointedly to try and contain her amusement. "Sempai is an old Mizuho word, it means teacher or instructor."
"Heh, cool!" Lloyd smiled, then blinked. "Hey! Quit teasing me!"
"Oh take it like a man." Sheena smirked.
"I'll give you take it like a man come back here!" Lloyd made a lunge at Sheena but she laughed and ducked his clumsy half-tackle. Undeterred Lloyd began to chase her all over the mezzanine level, over chairs, under dusty tables and around bookcases doing nothing more than having fun. Lost in the moment when the two of them could just be themselves as opposed to the Summoner and the Elemental Swordsman.
"Get back here."
Eventually Lloyd managed to corner Sheena on an ornate, if rusty metal gangway between their mezzanine level and a second one at the back of the overly long library. Lloyd made another lunge and this time landed face first on the metal grilling. Bringing his fingers to his lips he found the bottom one nicked slightly, a few droplets of blood came off on his finger, hardly anything major but as his sight regained focus through the grilling something made his eyes seemingly double in size.
"Sheena." Lloyd said in a very even. "Come here."
"Ha, so you give up do you? I thought you were going to try and train to be a ninja and see if you really could outmanoeuvre me in battle."
"Sheena!" Lloyd hissed and held out his hand. "Please. Come over here very very slowly."
Sheena suddenly realised Lloyd wasn't joking about anymore and slowly as he had requested began edging back along the gangway towards him. Reaching out towards him she grabbed his hand and he pulled her close to him, then after bringing a finger to her lips to ward off any sound he pointed accusingly below. Smack bang in the middle of the library floor in the central section where the rest of the group had yet to venture was a hole. A very big hole. How far down it went exactly he couldn't be sure, possibly to the bottom of the library itself two hundred feet below but maybe not what was most obvious though was that this wasn't a case of structural failure. Something had very deliberately dug its way OUT, it was a very big hole and that meant a very big digger.
Lloyd swallowed, he had a pretty good idea who the guilty party was, he looked over at Sheena and saw in her eyes that she too knew. They made to move slowly back to where they had come from to warn the others when a single drop of blood rolled off of Lloyd's chin, it fell through the air, down through the grating unscathed and landed with a dull plop. Below them something suddenly moved out of the shadows, or to be more accurate wriggled rather pathetically along the floor. Barely four foot long and grey in colour it wriggled over to where the blood landed and snuffled at it with the receptors located around its large circular mouth. It looked, although it had no eyes upwards to where the blood had come from and mewed much like a kitten. The little creature called out and the noise echoed around the library making the other members of the party freeze in mid-investigation. The creature, which must have been an infant was rapidly joined by two others of a similar size and then three more, all of a sudden there were creatures crawling out of seemingly every nook and cranny to join the first all of them mewing up at the ceiling towards Lloyd and Sheena.
"Spirits! It looks like the whole floor is moving."
"It's a Silver nest, that's why the library was abandoned all those years ago some Silver must have dug its way in and used the place as a nursery for its young." Lloyd muttered, just as a terrible screech roared out of the hole making the baby Silver's coo expectantly. "And it looks like Mummy's home..."
To Be Continued... Most Probably..