Long Ago

The Tale Of A Dead Mother


Inspired completely by a fanfic entitled "Thoughts On A Forbidden Romance" by Lady Nephenee Ranulf. I must give this writer credit. Just from reading this story it has given me the inspiration to write this fanfic. I don't own Tales Of Symphonia or its characters, just wanted to write something about them. SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE GAME DO NOT READ THIS FANFIC! Finish the game first and be a good little fan.


PART 1: THE HUMAN RANCH


Introduction: The Voice of Kratos

I do not know how it happened, but I do remember when. I do not know why but I am eternally glad for it. I missed that part of humanity when I was still human. If I was human still I would be dead, and because of that I would have never…never met her…

There was no lightning, no spark, no great fire like some would say, but it wasn't the same any longer…it felt different…everything after then felt different…

My world had been turned up side down after one glimpse of her, my once controlled emotions began to slowly leak out. My stomach was tight, my nerves edgy, my mind lost and for the first time I did not know how to respond.

This is a small glimpse into a past that will be lost otherwise.


Chapter 1---Punishment

"This is just the beginning, Kratos, all of these people are helping build a better world for us," Kvar stated as he led Kratos through the ranch, walls made of electric bars closed the humans inside. They wore tatters of clothing, people of all ages, old, young, children doing manual labor tasks as several supposedly worthy half elf Desians whipped them, beat them. Iron and blood eddied in the thick, hot air even though there was some breeze. It was a horribly hot day, not a single cloud in the sky to comfort any of the slaves as they pushed forward with their grueling work.

4,000 years ago this would have bothered him more than it was, but now was a different time and a different place, a different history.

"The Angelus Project is going to be the biggest success that we've done, Kratos. Lord Ygdrassil will finally triumph against the vicious creatures who destroyed our beloved Martel," Kvar stated as they continued down the thin, long path to go inside the Human Ranch Complex. "Think of it…just think of what the future will be like."

"I do, but I do not let it consume my life," Kratos replied. Kvar laughed, ignoring most of Kratos' wisdom and thinking only of his own goals.

"You are the only one who says and sees things like that."

"Someone must be sensible," Kratos mumbled unhappy that Kvar was poking fun at him. Of all people Kvar shouldn't have been the one to do it.

"And of course Lord Ygdrassil would send his beloved Seraphim to make sure everything has been going according to plan," Kvar sneered openly. "That his precious gift would come to him soon."

"I am here to learn of the Angelus Project," Kratos stated in a calm tone. "And what possibilities it has. Do not act as if this is more than an experiment, Kvar. If somehow this becomes a danger to our Lord, I will pull this small project out from under you."

"Always so pessimistic," Kvar stated, sighing heavily. "This is why I'm forced to see what this experiment is going to become for you."

"Sir!" someone yelled from down the path, running quickly for the pair from inside the ranch. "Sir! We might have a…small problem…" He stuttered as he saw Kvar talking to Kratos.

"I had better handle this, you can wander around and have a good look at your soon to be future, Kratos," Kvar stated, following the soldier into the complex and letting Kratos stand and glance around the ranch himself. His white glowing wings emerged on his back, flying up and over the fence to keep the human creatures in easily and landing on the other side to see what sort of tasks they were holding here. He wandered the strange gravel they called the ground, watching as humans of all sizes seemed to be lifting large metal boxes, staking them high in the air as dragons and their riders dragged them out, carrying them away.

Kratos wandered by them, watching the humans move, push, press forward, the gravel cracking and snapping under the weight of them. The Desian soldiers kept them going even when there seemed to be no strength left, whipping them back into pace, exspheres embedded in their hands that sucked the life slowly from them. They all looked sick, pale, dirty.

This was our soon to be future, Kratos thought, on the back of all these creatures. What kind of future was Kvar picturing? This wasn't a future they should have ever arrived at, and yet here he was standing in the middle of the dead and dying humans he once was. He glanced around at the crystals stabbed into the hands of the people around him, some embedded recently as blood leaked out of the open wounds around it while others had bonded and grown in the flesh like a parasite.

Was this really what Ygdrassil wanted? This wasn't how it used to be.

A boy around the age of ten, dark hair, sunburned skin and almost white green eyes shoved his heavy box forward across the gravel ground, his feet bare and bloody as he did so. Kratos watched carefully as he shoved and pushed with all his might, his brow sweaty and dirty as the rest, the exsphere pounding in his hand as it had just begun to heal around his skin.

That was when his legs could no longer hold his body up. The boy slid down the box and pressed his knees into the rocks, breathing heavily as one hand still gripped the top edge of the box.

"Hey, you!" One of the soldiers barked. "Get up! Finish your work!"

The boy tried to stand on his own, using the box as a handle but his body was worn to its end, already this small boy was about to die from exhaustion or at the hand of his master.

"I said stand up!" The soldier barked again, standing closer to him and pulling his whip free from his side. He swung it up as some of the other slaves glanced around to see but still continued to push their own crates. He threw the whip back and flung it forward, slashing the body across his back once to make him stand. He didn't, he couldn't, the strain on his face showing he was ready to die there.

Was this really what we dreamed of?

His whip flew back again once the boy didn't stand, before another slave ducked next to the boy, covering his back and placing their arm out as the whip came down. The strap wrapped around their arm a few times as Kratos stopped to watch the situation. She had dark hair, long and tied back with a piece of string to keep it out of her rich face.

She didn't pay attention to the cut now on her arm from the whip, but held the child against her, making his shoulders lean back from the crate.

"What are you doing? Insolent wretch!" The soldier yelled, pulling the whip back and yanking her from protecting the boy. But there was a surprise, when he yanked back, her arm barely moved.

She whispered comforting words to the boy, her dark placid eyes trying to give the boy a will he seemed to no longer possess.

"Stay where you are, don't worry. It's going to be okay."

The soldier yanked harder and the whip fell free from her arm, red marks and blood present from where it had tightened on her.

"You wanna take his punishment? Well fine then, take it!"

The whip pierced the air, whistling and snapping as it splintered and slashed once, twice, three times as she covered the boy. She wouldn't stop the beating, she just let it continue as her back became more and more cut up. The soldier finally stopped, breathing hard and realizing he had worn himself out.

"You…want to…take care of him…then you take your crate and his," the soldier huffed, rolling his whip up. She glanced at the soldier easily, speaking to the boy again and draping his arms around her shoulders.

"Hang onto me. We'll get you somewhere where you can rest a bit."

She lifted him onto her back, letting him lean against the new wounds and stepping easily over to her large container, pushing it forward, then to the side, fitting in front of the boy's.

She walked behind them both, shoving her weight against the boy's before it clanked and pushed against her own. It didn't budge. The soldier laughed as she strained, before the crackling of the gravel moving under the metal began to echo. Both boxes propelled forward from her motion, the boy still clinging to her neck. The soldier sneered, looking away from them and designating his anger somewhere else for the time being.

She strained, but pushed, almost to the pace she had been pushing before.

Kratos stood, everything else around him did not catch his attention. She pushed both boxes all the way to the check point where others lifted them. They looked at her and the boy in concern, before she turned her back to them and let one of the larger men take the boy.

"Get him inside," she ordered in a brisk yet motherly tone. She leaned in close to the small boy's face. "Don't give into them, not yet, this isn't your time."

"Thank…you…" the small boy strained to say, "Anna…"

"We have to take care of each other," She answered, giving him a warm smile. Kratos barely felt the breath leave his chest, feeling suddenly numb to his bodyexcept for his heart that pounded deep within him. It was screaming from somewhere in the back of his mind.

One of them noticed Kratos' stare, nudging the bleeding girl gently as they all turned their attention towards him, including the dark haired young woman. She stared back into him easily, her dark eyes shining in the sunlight. There was no guilt within them, she had been punished, there was nothing anyone could do otherwise. The pounding inside his chest increased as she frowned her eyebrows at him. She hadn't seem him before. Another new Cruxis to follow and obey, just what they needed here. There was already enough death surrounding her, she didn't know how much more she could take before she gave into it like the boy.

The other slaves however turned their heads and eyes away, realizing who Kratos was, or having a good idea. They went on with their work as Kvar re-appeared, Kratos not noticing his sudden appearance as he stepped next to him.

"I do apologize for the unexpected leave," Kvar apologized in a sly tone to Kratos. There was no response from Kratos as he still stared. The young woman had directed her attention elsewhere at the sight of Kvar, walking back to the other side of the field. She took down her long hair and tied it back tighter, Kratos watching almost as if he couldn't stop. Kvar followed his gaze, before a long smile was on his face.

"That is the special one, Kratos, if you can consider their flesh special," Kvar said in a calm tone. "AO12, we're trying to make a cruxis crystal from her because she is absolutely perfect for one of the first tests. Her crystal is a special gift to Lord Ygdrassil himself. She's strong, and spirited, the exsphere should thrive in her for the time being."

Kvar looked as she walked far passed, a painful look on his face.

"And it looks like she's mis-behaved yet again," Kvar stated, looking at her blood stained clothes and the cuts through the open slashes in her shirt.

Kratos still had said nothing, no smart comment, not a word…his mouth seemed oddly open instead of tightly shut.

"Kratos?"

Kratos' hand went for his fiery blade's hilt, as if he had been surprised or scared by the mention of his name.

"Are you alright, Kratos? Have you heard a word I've said to you?" Kvar asked curiously.

"Yes, of course," Kratos responded. "I have—been distracted—from the journey. What was your small problem about?"

"Oh, nothing that couldn't be handled," Kvar answered as he gave Kratos a smirk that made him suspicious.

"For your sake I hope that is true."

"What do you think of our little project so far?" Kvar questioned, genuinely concerned with the Seraph's thoughts. If it passed Kratos' stern examination, Ygdrassil would surely keep the idea going.

"I cannot answer that," Kratos stated. "Not yet."

"Well then, come with me. We shall show you to your room," Kvar said in a pleasant tone, leading Kratos from the scene and watching as Kratos peeked over his shoulder again, the young woman once again pushing another crate across the gravel, the searing sunlight beating down on her sticky back.

Anna…Kratos pondered…AO12, Anna.

"We shall bring her in later for you to have a look at her ever beautiful exsphere," Kvar said. Kratos directed his attention back on the matter at hand realizing his weakness was getting the better of him.

"Good," he responded, trying to calm his heart down as they disappeared inside.


End Chapter 1