Dawn of Twilight
Another story of Golden Sun proportions created by Leoshi!
!Disclaimer! I do not own the Golden Sun franchise, even though if I did, there would be a third game by now. And a fourth...maybe a sixth...is twenty-seven too much?
Welcome back, everyone! I'm back with a surprise! ...no, not the fact that I'm inadvertantly ignoring my Repurcussions, Veiled, and Nature of Concern projects - that's no surprise. The surprise is that I'm not doing a romance story! This particular story is a side-tale from my Truth is Painful story, and it follows the lives of Simon, Jase, and Norue of chapter twelve. We will learn of the corruption that envelopes the Vice-Lord, the reasons of Norue and Jase, the birth of Sheba...among many other things!
Enough talking, let's get this story rolling!!!
Chapter one: The Foresight
September Seventh of the Eighth Anemosian Era
I finally managed to get into the Sorcerer ranks of the military today…I'm excited, but I get the feeling that I'll have more trouble here than I'll find in a lifetime of civilian life. The Lord of my clan, Lord Demos, addressed me by my rank – "Fifth Sorcerer" – before even handing my sashes to me. My peers see it as an honor, like he had noticed me even before the promotion. I hope so.
The Vice-Lord, however, seemed to consider me even harder than Lord Demos did. As my step-father, I suppose I can understand how he would take a more critical eye toward me, but…something in Commander Yegelos' gaze was unnerving. Like I had become a thorn in his side. Although, if that's the case, I'm not too surprised. He really only cares about his First Ranks anyway.
Even though I've made it to Fifth Sorcerer rank, there was a Second rank who managed to make it to First. The Vice-Lord is pleased about that – one more sorcerer to further his direct plans for the future of the clan…
In a great room made of stone and steel, a ceremony was being held. Two men in flowing, authoritative robes stood at the forefront of the room, and each had a set of sashes that decorated their body. The first had a pair of crimson that angled across his body, while the second wore a set of three violet hues that dominated his chest.
Vice-Lord Yegelos, the Commander of the military. Lord Demos, leader of the Anemosian Clan.
Before them, several hopefuls of the military stood rigid, at attention. Tension was high, as only a select few would be granted the Sorcerer title they all craved. Twelve young men, who had trained and studied for countless hours to face the exams they had just survived. They were all tired, excited, and nervous.
Yegelos and Demos spent a moment in whispered conference as they discussed who had excelled. The military men before them stood waiting, impatiently awaiting the final call. Before long, the two leaders finished their counsel, and faced the group once more. Yegelos spoke first.
"As you all are aware, the tests you have undertaken are meant to prove your wit and strength – they are meant to prepare you for the challenges you may face as a Sorcerer in our clan. I am pleased to see that so many of you have risen to the challenge, but as you know, only four new Sorcerers can be accepted into our ranks. I extend my congratulations and best wishes to all of you, whether or not you make it this year."
That was the speech that none of the group wanted to hear. Even so, they stood still and waited.
"Hail your Lord Demos, and accept his ruling, as he announces the four that will join me in my esteemed Sorcerer group," Yegelos concluded. He stepped back, and the line of hopefuls before him saluted the Anemosian way – both hands into fists, with the left stiffly against their chests, and the right against their right shoulder. Lord Demos took one step forward, and immediately began reciting the names.
"The Sorcerer branch welcomes Jase Makien, Simon Orain, Joseph Simmons, and Nathan Tana. You four, step forward and receive your new sashes."
Eight people were dismayed, watching with jealous pride as the four named stepped up to the front of the great hall. The people called – Jase, Simon, Joseph, and Nathan – all held their salute as they approached the two leaders. Once they reached the Lords of the clan, they bowed low, perfectly in time with each other.
"Arise, and be known," Yegelos said. "Congratulations."
The four successful militants stood at attention, trying their best not to smile or cheer. Yegelos approached each one, latching on their new, emerald-green sashes to their shoulder armor. The sashes solidified their rank, different colors having different ranks. Truly successful Anemosians were able to earn two or three sashes, or special robes with intricate patterns – the robes of the Elite Sorcerers, or of Yegelos and Demos, were all unique. Only the best mages made it into Yegelos' Elite First Ranks.
"In addition to these four skilled magicians," Yegelos bellowed, "there stands out one more Sorcerer among my mages who is prepared to undertake even greater responsibility. This soldier has mastered the needs of the Second Rank Sorcerers, and has risen far above the requirements to advance himself. I bequeath the promotion to First Rank Sorcerer to our fine Anemosian, Norue Kyre."
One of the Sorcerers lined up against the walls, bearing the blue-and-silver of a Second, stepped forward with stiff pride. He walked around the group of eight soldiers, making his way toward his Commander. Yegelos stared at the soldier as he arrived – the soldier stared right back.
"Norue, I present you with the white that signifies your rank. You are now capable of leading these fellow mages, while you are lead by your Lords and Elite. Your name shall be spoken throughout the land, and you will be recognized."
With swift, sure movements, Yegelos removed the blue-silver sash from Norue's shoulder armor, replacing it with a lustrous white. When the final shuffle and clack sounded as the sash was secured, the newly anointed First stood taller, and his eyes shone.
Norue made the salute, holding it for a few seconds as he bowed before his two Lords, and stepped down to join the line of the new Fifth Sorcerers. He stood tall, and received a nod from his Commander.
He turned to the line, and gave an order to fall out. Demos congratulated them all, and adjourned the ceremony. Four people were ecstatic, one was prideful, eight were disheartened, and the others, who were guarding the area, were relieved. This was the only thing they had to do today.
The group of four excited Sorcerers had gathered amongst themselves, congratulating each other and sharing stories of their training days. Their laughter rang out from them as they indulged in a celebratory meal in their quarters – which was barely different from the rest of the cold, dank sanctum in which they lived. Stones of brown and grey dominated their home, and a perpetual wind constantly blew throughout the various hallways and tunnels. Any sound made would echo, no matter what.
However, the gathered din of their laughter and cheers completely covered the footsteps of the new First, Norue. He pushed his way past the doors, not sparing a moment before entering the quarters. As soon as the young man was seen, all chatter died away. His new sash shone in the torchlight, sending glaring shots of light to anyone caught at a bad angle.
Norue stepped up to the table where the four were sitting. He flashed them all a grin, and was offered a seat next to Jase. He took it, trying to relax on the cold stone.
"Congratulations, First," Joseph began, raising a glass of aged wine. "Here's to my wishes of fruitful justice and campaigns under your leadership."
The five of them clinked glasses, and drank. While not terribly strong, Simon could already feel the effects of the alcohol dulling his senses. He was not much of a drinker.
"Thank you all, really," Norue said. "But this should really be a celebration of you four, not just me. The graduation of military soldier to Anemos Sorcerer…it's a time to be proud."
"This time is for all of us," Jase added. "Norue, sir, the four-"
"Jase, please, for now, let's ignore protocol," Norue cut in. "No 'sir' or 'captain' for now."
Jase cocked an eyebrow, and smirked. Even the prodigy that was Norue could show humor.
"Very well, then. The four of us were planning on stopping by our old barracks tonight, and gather our effects, instead of the traditional week of waiting. Not to break tradition, even if it is ridiculous, of course."
The new First Sorcerer took another gulp of his drink, relaxing further. "Eh, some traditions die out no matter what. But why are you telling me this?"
"Well, it might be a chance to see your old team mates, then ones you left while you moved up so quickly," Jase laughed.
It was true. Of all the Adepts to grace the military or the Sorcerer branch, Norue was, by far, the greatest Adept. Simon was only sixteen years old, a common age for Fifth Sorcerers. Normally, earning a rank of First would take another ten years – however, Norue had secured his rank in only four. He was young, powerful, and intelligent – the pride of the Sorcerers.
"Perhaps, Jase…maybe they can all shout at me in jealousy once more," he joked.
He was also cunning, and an excellent liar. He had other motives, direct orders from his commander – and he intended to act upon them. He intended to succeed.
"Actually, Jase, that reminds me…I was asked by Kaia, one of the Elites, to bring you to their quarters soon."
All of the laughter and chatter ceased among the five. Kaia was well-known for being a trickster – his cruelty carried his reputation forward. He only managed to secure his golden sashes of the Elite Firsts by various threats and horrendous actions to other applicants.
But, despite that, Kaia was also one of the most powerful seers in the entire clan. As with all Jupiter Adepts, he possessed the ability of foresight, allowing him glimpses of the future. He stood out, however, with his uncanny knowledge of what the visions meant. He was rarely wrong.
"Kaia…" Simon whispered. "What would he want with Jase?"
"I think the only way to find out is to visit him," Norue replied. "Jase, how soon can you follow?"
The young man sat still, thinking over the numerous stories and rumors he had heard over the years. After a moment, he swallowed the rest of his drink, and stood up. He nodded to his fellow Adepts, and turned toward the doorway.
Norue hid a smirk, and rushed out of the quarters.
The corridors throughout the military sections of the clan were long and dank, and almost completely identical. Only various flaws in the stone and markers with weapons or cloth could prevent the soldiers and Sorcerers from losing their way. While Norue was seasoned in navigating the hallways, Jase was finding himself flustered and distanced from his superior. He only caught up with him by breaking military code and running as fast as he could through the passages.
Without warning, Norue stopped his rushing pace. Jase walked up to his side, looking around for any markers or doorways. None could be seen.
"Is there something wrong, Norue?" he asked.
"I'm afraid so…"
Jase's eyes widened. Despite his question, he wasn't actually expecting such an answer. "What is it?"
"Jase, I hope you will forgive me. It is necessary."
The Fifth turned to the First. He said nothing, waiting for Norue to continue.
"It was not Kaia who issued me an order. In fact, Kaia is in no position to give orders…to say anything, in fact."
Jase said nothing, allowing the statement to seep into him. There was trouble in Norue's tone – hints of despair and hope. Norue began walking, slow this time.
"The order came from Commander Yegelos, and it's only for me and you to know about."
They continued through another set of corridors, finally arriving at a heavy pair of doors. Norue stood to one side, Jase stood to the other.
"What I'm about to show you is shown in the highest confidence, and it's with the hopes of the Anemos that we place this trust upon you. It is necessary."
Now Jase was anxious. He was sworn to obey his Commander, but the tone in Norue's voice hinted at a deeper intent.
Despite his hesitation, he took a breath. "I'm ready."
Norue smiled once more, and opened the heavy doors with a will of Psynergy.
As the doors were opened, Jase instantly became aware of three things. Firstly, there was more light coming from this room than normal rooms. Second, there was the sound of someone breathing, almost whimpering, in agony. And third, there was a smell of blood.
Jase's eyes adjusted, and could not believe what he saw. The Vice-Lord was standing over the quivering body of Kaia, and a trail of fresh blood littered the stone around him. A circle of torches dominated the central area of the room, with Yegelos' pregnant wife standing in a daze near them. The second Elite First Sorcerer, Acheron, stood near the wall, unable to gaze upon his partner and friend as he slowly died nearby.
When Yegelos heard the door open, he didn't bother to glance up. "Norue, get in here and shut the damn door, hurry!"
Norue and Jase hastily entered the quarters, shutting the heavy doors with a low bang. Jase stood by, his eyes absorbing every detail of the situation. Norue, rather, stepped forward to his commander, whispering to him.
"Don't bother with that; just tell him what's happened!" Yegelos ordered, turning his attention back to Kaia's broken body. Norue spared a glance toward his commander's wife, burdened with pregnancy, and walked back to Jase.
"What you see here," he began, breaking Jase out of his stupor, "is the aftermath of a life-breaking foresight Kaia had not long ago. As you can see, the prediction was so powerful, so destructive, it's destroying the Elite before our eyes. One sight that involves the whole of our clan, and it all starts with her."
Norue pointed to Yegelos' wife, who began sobbing lightly as she felt her pregnant stomach. She gazed at Kaia, then to Yegelos.
"Her unborn child is the subject of the foresight."
Jase's silence broke. "What are you talking about? What do you mean?"
"Listen, Jase, and listen well."
Both Sorcerers turned to face Yegelos, who had stood quickly. His eyes glimmered with a hint of rage and despair as he approached them.
"My Elite Anemosian here is dying, because of one ominous foresight. My child, my unborn daughter…she is a tainted soul!"
Yegelos' wife broke down, and fell to her knees, crying. Her arms held on to her stomach, unsure of what else to do.
"In the vision, Kaia saw civil unrest in our people. Riots and murder were seen, and the halls and homes of many people were being burned away. Constantly, the word 'witch' was screamed from the failing people – shrill, as though a dying creature's final howl. Kaia saw the tapestries we hold in our great hall, ones depicting great Anemosian moments, being burned away. Everything we hold sacred in our life…was being consumed by madness and despair.
"Kaia saw a man, dressed in the black robes and gold sash of an Elite, leading several people against the entrance of the Lord's home. They shouted for justice against nameless crimes, punishment for no act, retaliation for no attack! The one leading them spoke of the 'witch' with a revered tone, thanking and praising her, as though she were a loved one. He lead the anarchy, despite the terror it caused.
"I had a vision alongside Kaia. I saw a line of seers, begging the goddess Jupiter for her blessing upon my child...beseeching the gods for their wisdom, so such an end to the Anemos would not come. The seers begged the child to handle the ultimate power of our clan, else it would lead us all into self-destruction!"
Yegelos paused, trying to control his upset rage. He stared at Jase with such intensity, the Fifth thought that he was to blame. The Commander spun away, extinguishing nearly all of the torches with an angry blast of Psynergenic wind. The light in the room faded to a mere three torches. An eerie glow dominated.
Norue turned to Jase, noting his shocked demeanor. "At the end, Kaia began screaming names. We had heard dozens, but only a few were discernable..."
Jase looked at his captain, his curiosity the only thing keeping him silent.
"We had heard the name of 'Felix.' Of one named 'Sheba.' Hoabna, the traitor. And we heard the name 'Jase.'"
The Fifth could stay silent no more. "Me? What...what do I have to do with this?"
"We're not sure..."
"Who are the other two names? I know of Hoabna, the Shaman...but what of this Felix and Sheba?"
Norue glanced toward Yegelos, who was consoling his distraught wife. "Sheba is the name of their soon-to-be-born daughter. Yegelos had told nobody of this, and did not intend to until the birth. As for Felix...none of us know. We think that this 'Felix' is the one that may spark the revolution, if we cannot teach Sheba to maintain the power of Jupiter."
"A catalyst," Jase murmured. "There is no man here by the name of Felix?"
Jase remained silent, forcing himself to think through all that he was just told. The smell of blood was invasive, but he forced himself to ignore it.
"Jase, there is one more, vital reason for bringing you here," Norue continued, leading him to the wall. He lowered his voice to a loud whisper. "Kaia will be dead before the night is done - you must understand this. Many weeks ago, Yegelos promised me a position among the Elite Sorcerers, provided I continued to advance myself further. Though morbid as this is, I have, essentially, gained my position as an Elite - I just need to make it official in a few days time."
"Then why bring me here? Your promotion doesn't concern me," Jase replied, looking at the bloodied form of Kaia.
Norue shook his head. "Actually, because you were named by Kaia, you are more involved in this than you know..."
It's not my place to think about, but I cannot help but wonder why Norue took Jase away today. When he came back to our quarters, he looked pale, distraught. The color had completely left his face, and a nervous sweat lined his forehead. He wouldn't tell me what had happened, or why Kaia had ordered his presence. He wouldn't even fall asleep - he stood near his bed, contemplating something. I could hear his murmurs for an hour.
An exciting day, to say the least. I hope Jase will tell me what's happened soon.
Praise be the Anemos!
End Chapter One
Author's comments: How's this for an introduction? Yes, those are journal entries on the top and bottom of the chapter - this story will follow this format until the turning point later on. Even though it's Simon's journal, the story follows the lives of him, Jase, and Norue, all at once. Don't get confused, now! Heheh.
Next chapter: Jase recalls what he was told by Norue, and is made an offer that will change his life. Meanwhile, a celebration is changed to desperation as Sheba is born, and her life-changing training begins.