"I do not own Tales of Symphonia!" – I.K.A. Valian

Three figures stood on the precipice of a mountain across the great plains of Meltokio from Mount Fooji. Their black clothing stood out against the grey-white granite of the mountain. The three watched a group of six Rheairds fly toward Fooji peak, gaining speed, and apparently on a collision course.

A quick burst of light brown emanated from the mountain top and suddenly the Rheairds weren't going to fast. Instead of crashing and becoming messy spots on the mountain side, the Rheairds slowed down enough to allow the pilots to jump safely from the crafts as they crashed.

The right most of the three pulled back their black hood to reveal a long ponytail composed of bright red hair intermixed with white lace. The young woman looked back and forth between Fooji peak and the man standing next to her. After a moment of staring into his stony, scarred face, she turned back to face Fooji peak and crossed her arms, confusion etched across her brow.

"Master," said the man on left, "that was Earth magic."

"I know."

"But then-"

"It doesn't matter," said the Master. Each time he moved his mouth to speak, the scars on his face increased the number of folds of skin making him look perpetually agitated. "The only thing that matter's is we now know that weakling, Eliaster, failed his assignment." Silence filled the space between the three comrades.

"Master Sivil, should we attempt to rectify the situation," asked the redhead. Her voice, though sweet and alluring, held poison for those who didn't know better. She continued to stare at Fooji peak, watching with enhanced vision as the people gathered themselves together and talked amongst themselves. "Or perhaps, we will leave them as they are and report back." Her tone of voice intoned the fact that she already knew the correct answer was the second.

"Vishell, you always were good at reading me," said Sivil. He turned and started walking down the mountain path they had used to ascend earlier. "One of these days," he said, "I'm going to have to kill you." The young redhead smiled mischievously and followed in her master's footsteps. "Come Koris, we return to tell tall tales of our defeat at the hands of our enemies."

Koris stood staring at Fooji peak in the distance, watching the wild card in this scheme start to descend. Reluctantly, he turned and followed his master down the mountain path. Anger burned brightly in his hazel irises.

"How long is it going to take to get to this Meltookio place?" asked Lloyd. He looked at Sheena and nearly tripped on a rock.

Sheena sighed. "It's Meltokio," she said. "And it would take about a day by E.T., but since we're going by foot," she paused, scratching her chin in thought. "About four days, give or take a few for hunting and such."

"Oh man," whined Lloyd.

"Lloyd, you always get bored easily," said Genis. "But this time, I'm with you. Four days!"

"Genis, stop complaining," Raine admonished. "We'll need all the time we can to get used to Tethe'alla if we want any hope of surviving. And that goes double for you Lloyd, I want you to especially focus on studying the landscape and work on all that math homework that you have backlogged for the past two months."

Snorting and chuckling erupted behind the teacher. Raine turned and stared at Gaar and Genis until they were silent, standing straight, and pale. Esileif's head bobbed on Gaar's shoulder, her hair swayed back and forth due to the uneven nature of the path they were following.

"Gaar," Raine said, continuing to stare at both him and Genis. "I want you and Genis to help Lloyd learn his math." If any color had returned to Genis' face, then it drained away twice as fast. "And I don't want any complaints from you or Lloyd got that." Raine smiled and face forward once more."

Gaar looked at Genis, who was still pale. "What?" he asked. "Is Lloyd that bad at math?" Genis nodded slowly.

"It once took him two weeks to figure out one addition problem," said Genis. "We even had to get Dirk to help out."

"Dirk?" Gaar raise an eyebrow. "Who's that?"

"Dirk is Lloyd's father," said Genis, "he's a dwarf who lives just outside Iselia. We had to ask him to help because he got Lloyd to memorize the Dwarven Vows all the way through."

"How is that an accomplishment?"

"For Lloyd, that is an accomplishment." Genis fell silent for a few moments, and then a mischievous smile formed on his face. "Here," he said, "I'll show you." Genis cleared his throat and then shouted, "Hey Lloyd, what's Dwarven Vow number Three?"

Lloyd automatically responded, "Keep your feet on the ground," without even batting an eye.

"Number six?"

"Face your problems head on."

"Number two?"

"Never abandon someone in need."

"Number one hundred and eight?"

"Let sleeping dogs lie."

"See," said Genis exasperatedly, "he's a Dwarven vow machine."

"Okay," said Gaar. "And that is supposed to impress me?" He adjusted the hold he had on Esileif, bringing an irritated and drowsy moan from the sleeping girl. Gaar watched her until he was satisfied she wasn't waking up.

Genis sighed. "Lloyd," he said. "What's two plus two?"

Lloyd stumbled on an imaginary rock in the ground. "Ahh… Umm…" Genis glanced knowingly at Gaar who was staring incredulously at Lloyd. "Wait," said the swordsman, "I know this one." The silence dragged on, anticipation building until he said, "Oh… Damn, is it Twenty two?"

"Lloyd, the correct answer is four," Raine said matter-of-factly, ignoring the moans of incredulity around her.

"Oh, yeah," said Lloyd, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. "I knew that." Lloyd walked on, oblivious to the looks Sheena and Gaar were giving him. The bottom of the mountain path was basically cut into a wall of rock. This cut off all visible surroundings in lieu of a dirty brown rock wall.

The group had to stop, though, when they rounded the last of the giant boulders scattered in front of the mountain path entrance. In front of them, spread out evenly, was a green, lush, wall to mountainous wall valley of tall grass. The sunlight, slanted slightly in mid-afternoon, cast an Elysian glow within the valley. Several mouths dropped open in awe. Sheena crossed her arms and smiled enthusiastically.

"Welcome to Tethe'alla, the flourishing world," she said, gesturing grandly across the entire valley with one arm. Genis, Raine, and Lloyd slowly moved forward, gazing in wonder and awe at the grandeur and the majesty of the vast plains of unfettered greenery. They ran their hands across the top of the tall grass that reached up to their waists.

Gaar settled for staring and quietly saying, "Wow."

"I've always wanted to see the plains of Meltokio in spring," said Sheena as she waded through the sea of grass. "When I left, it was still the middle of winter. Most of this valley was filled with snow drifts higher than our heads." Sheena closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

Colette, still as serene and angelic looking as she was several hours before when she unleashed several paperclip exclusive attacks, followed behind Lloyd in her now robotic fashion. He looked back at her sadly. "I bet Colette would love this place," he said.

The euphoria of just moments before vanished. Genis and Raine joined Lloyd and looked at Colette with their grief flashing across their faces. Sheena looked away and started walking at a steady pace toward a distant yellow line that cut through the green.

"Nothing's gonna change that standing around here," said Sheena. "Let's get going." Lloyd nodded absentmindedly, following quickly after Sheena, Colette on his heels. Raine and Genis looked at each other, nodded, and quickly made after Sheena.

Gaar stood in the waist high grass, watching the others walking off toward the distance. He looked at Esileif's sleeping face and asked her, "Am I the only one who thinks that your demon, Genis' curse, and Colette's transformation is connected."

Gaar looked back at the group. Genis was beckoning for Gaar to hurry up, Raine was studying the landscape and writing in her journal, Lloyd was next to Genis waving at Gaar, Sheena held Corrine in her hands while talking to him, and Colette was standing in the middle of the grass looking for the world like an anti-scarecrow.

"Yes," Gaar said, "dark tidings indeed." He ran to catch up to the others, creating his own trail through the tall grass.

It was night in Tethe'alla. The full moon of Sylvarant shone upon the Fooji Mountains, blanketing the below valley in a soft lunar glow. In the exact spot Gaar was standing in hours earlier, the grass suddenly flattened beneath an invisible square object approximately four feet in width and five feet in length. Facing the valley, the cube slowly materialized into a semi-transparent box, inside of which slept a young girl no older than five years.

One by one, each side of the box fell down, flattening another section of grass, until the girl was completely exposed to the Tethe'allan night air. The girl's eyes fluttered open and she immediately shot up, looking back and forth across the field. Her clothing, if it could be called that, was in tatters. Holes, fraying, and burn marks were scattered across the dirty pink blouse and light blue trousers she wore. At her hip, an elegantly carved, Ivory and black marble handle stuck out of a large and unique gun holster.

The girl, after checking her surroundings, pulled the gun from its holster and checked it over, opening different compartments, pulling the glowing plasma packs out of the handle and then shoving them back in with a click. Once she was satisfied that the gun was in good working order, she shoved it back into the holster and pulled out a thin metal tube.

The girl pressed a small button on the end of the tube, splitting it in half. She took the two half and pulled them apart, revealing a transparent, holographic computer interface. On the screen were several objects, and one picture frame. The girl tapped the picture frame and the image enlarged until the face of a man in his early twenties floated before the girl.

"Sarah," said the holographic face said. "When you watch to this, you will be the only human left alive. They are, even now, are destroying the facility, our home." A large explosion sounded from the background, causing the man's image to turn around before he quickly faced forward again. With a serene calmness that caused the girl to break into tears, the man said, "You must stop the releasing of Origin's seal, you are our last hope. Goodbye, Sarah. I love you." The image immediately broke off, and the holographic image receded back into the flat panel trembling in the small girls hands.

"I love you too, daddy," Sarah cried. She stood there for a moment, crying tears that fell through the holographic screen. Then she shook her head, wiped her eyes and nose on the back of her sleeve, and pushed the two pieces of the tube back together again. After that, she stood there, sometimes heaving with sobs, but for the most part somber and quiet. Before she disappeared into the Tethe'allan landscape, she whispered, "I will stop them."

In the dark depths of Cruxis headquarters, Yggdrasil stood gazing intently at the sleeping form of a woman inside of a giant blue flower. The flower floated in its prison of light, bouncing silently and softly off one of the walls every now and again. The leader of Cruxis grinned maliciously.

"Soon," said Yggdrasil, "Very soon, your vessel will be complete, and all will be perfect." He continued to stare at the sleeping woman. Pain was reflected in his eyes, but insanity beamed from his face. "Very soon," he repeated.

End of Tales of Symphonia: Dark Tidings

To be continued in Tales of Symphonia: Web of Deception

Yes, I am ending Dark Tidings. But have no fear, Gaar, Esileif, Lloyd, and all the others will return in the sequal out after I'm finished updating my other two stories. I'm going in order for now. So be patient and stuff. Give me a review and let me know what you think of the story so far. It might influence where I take the story, or which characters I put in next. On that, I must add that I am going to be creating a slew of new characters, mostly demons, so any suggestions and all suggestions are welcome.

And that's it, Thanks for reading Tales of Symphonia: Dark Tidings. It was a blast writing, and I'm sure, you guys had fun reading.