Wow, been a while since I updated freaking anything I hope to change that with this, I haven't died, and I do have a lot of unposted crap floating around.
But off of that, here's the first chapter of "An Unreal Reality".
Kratos surveyed the land that for over four-thousand years had been his home, and prison. The ancient hero of the Kharlan War, the Cru de Ohra, the Angel of Death, one of the four Seraphim, and Kratos Aurion, the father of Lloyd the hero, had condemned himself to his own personal hell for the rest of eternity.
His sins were too numerous to account for, so when given the choice to live in the new world his son had created, he had chosen to return with the soulless army that Mithos had made, to serve them in their quest to bring Martel back from the land of the dead.
But now, Kratos was greatly regretting that decision, the newly saved world, for it had been only two years, was once again in peril, or so Yuan, one of Kratos old friends and another of the ancients of the world, had reported to him.
In fact, that was where Kratos was headed at that moment, to talk to Yuan. Upon finding that the two trees of ever-giving mana, the Derris Tree and the World Tree, were connected, rather like father and son, they had been in contact. It seemed that Yuan had taken the job as guardian of the World tree. He and Martel, or rather the Goddess of the tree, had been monitoring the infant, otherworldly tree carefully as to make sure that if something like this happened they could be proactive about it.
His feet moved swiftly over the many large platforms and walkways of Welgaia, the city of Angels, toward the center of the city. This was where the castles of the Seraphim were located, the place where he, Yuan, and Mithos, the former Lords of Cruxis, had resided. This was also where the giant seed and Martel's body had been. However, what few knew was that the Derris Tree, a small cut-off of the giver of endless Mana, resided.
As Kratos entered the chamber, the magi-tech doors sliding open around him, the enormous alien tree loomed over him. This was not like the other trees that had been planted on the Symphonian planet. It was, like the rest of Derris Kharlan, purple, a rich shade of purple with twisting pink strips of bark and leaves that remained unmoving in the planet's windless climate.
Kratos strode forward and placed his hand against the rough bark of the tree, he let forth a small amount of mana from his body. For a split second blue-grey wings appeared behind him, however, they disappeared as fast as they had shown themselves, disappearing in a flash of bright sparks.
Kratos' eyes closed as the tree's power enveloped him, glistening mist spun around him. When he opened his eyes again it seemed as if he was standing on an island, water rushed around him and he spent a moment enjoying the earthly sound, the soft trickling of water was something the homeland of the elves lacked.
From the water his eyes traveled up to where his friend stood on the mainland, mere feet from his figure. Yuan had changed in the past two years, he seemed less tense, as though he no longer worried about jumping into battle at any second, and he seemed more open, friendly, like when Kratos had first met him, thousands of years ago. His eyes were bright and even his clothes were new, less practical, more comfortable, no armor.
Not that he had really needed armor when he had been working to save the world, but it had made more sense, he had blended with the mortals better. In fact, only one thing had really remained the same about his friend and that was his blue hair. The half-elf had always seen fit to pull it back into a ponytail at the base of his neck, and yet, despite all the trouble he took to keep this long hair out of his way, his bangs still fell irritatingly into his eyes.
This had always aggravated Kratos, though Yuan had noted that this was very hypocritical seeing as Kratos' own hair was also always in his eyes, but at least the rest of his hair was relatively short!
That and his smirk, the man was standing in front of him, customary greeting smirk in place. "Hello Kratos," his voice slick, but Kratos could see something was wrong, "how is everything in heaven?"
"…You honestly expect anything has changed? You, however, seem to have something to say."
The calm smirk slid off his face and he seemed almost nervous, "As observant as ever, I see, old friend, yes there has been something on my mind…"
"…" Kratos waited for Yuan to say what it was that was "on his mind". "Well?"
"…" Yuan sighed, "Perhaps you remember when I mentioned the strange weather that has been taking place around the world-."
"I believe you wrote that off as the changing climate after the world had returned to its original form."
"That is what I believed at first, correct, but then Lloyd and I got wind of another thing that could be causing it."
"And that would be…?"
"Do you recall the Summon Spirit Ratatosk, the Lord of the Kharlan Tree?"
"Of course, that was the first pact that Mithos made during our journey."
"Any do you also recall the Centurions, his servants?"
"Vaguely, it has been a long time."
"Yes, well, it seems that his sleep, and the sleep of the Centurions, is causing the disasters."
"…And? Don't you simply awaken them?"
"Ratatosk is gone."
"Impossible!" Kratos' eyes widened, "How? Summon Spirits don't just vanish, and what will happen to the door to Neflheim?"
"That is a good question my friend. Lloyd was looking into it, unfortunately we found it."
"Do you remember the Vanguard, the supposed "saviors of Sylvarant"?"
"…Yes, do not tell me that they have him."
"That's is in fact the unfortunate part."
Kratos swore, "How?"
"We don't know the details, but we do know that they are planning on using all of the Cores to rebuild the Mana Cannon."
"And I suppose it does not get any more comforting?"
"Depends on if you can find a way to manipulate the situation, Ratatosk's Core itself was stolen by a girl from the Vanguard."
"I do not see how that is a good thing, Yuan."
"It's out of direct harm, and now we have a plan."
"…And that would be…?"
"Me? And just how do you plan on involving myself in this. According to the Kharlan Core System we are almost out of communication range as it is!"
"Yes, well, I've had far too much time on my hands, and I believe I found a way to get you back here."
"Y-Yuan what are you…?"
"Only if you want to of course, Lloyd doesn't know, so he would not be so disappointed if you did not come back..."
Kratos knew Yuan was going to keep at him until he agreed, what was the point of dragging the argument out?
"Well, what will it be?"
"I do not think… What is this idea of yours before I agree?"
"Yes, I knew you would agree, even you get board." That irritating smirk was back in place.
"Yuan…" Kratos' voice was dangerous now.
"Yes, yes I know, you want to know the details."
"Just tell me, Yuan. Now."
"The plan is thus; I spoke with Origin about this and I believe it will work. You see, I asked him to go back to the moment when you were sent to Derris Kharlan, he will put what is more or less a "timer" on your transport. It is set to deliver you back here in exactly one hour."
"You really have set this up well, haven't you?"
"Just pack what you need, and don't forget my favorite cape, I've forgot to grab it before Derris Kharlan floated away."
"…I'll be sure to keep that in mind. But I'm assuming that there are-."
"You mean the risks?" Kratos nodded. "Well… You could simply end up here, or be wiped off the face of reality."
"Or you could arrive here with one or more limbs missing, or you could be forgotten by everyone on the face of the planet, or-."
"I'm not so sure about-."
"I'm sure it will go fine."
"Fine… Yuan, you are impossible, how long to I have?"
"Then, with luck I will see you soon."
The communication was cut and Kratos' heart was beating quickly. He may really be able to return to Symphonia. He could help Lloyd. He could see his son… and even those he almost considered to be his friends. Perhaps… perhaps there was a better place for him then here.
Quickly he collected the few things he wanted to bring with him; the few pictures of Anna and Lloyd that he had, his sword and clothing, and whatever else he needed. Yuan's cape was collected and Kratos was prepared to leave. Concerns of what might happen were the farthest thing from his mind, he had his doubts but in all likelihood the plan would work fine, worrying about this would only o to agitate him. That was an unnecessary complication.
He had been waiting for what seemed to be twice his four thousand years before the mana around him began to ripple about. Kratos felt his body begin to dissipate around him. All seemed to be going according to Yuan's plan, Kratos could make out through one eye the still world of Derris Kharlan, through the other the Symphonian planet. Yuan, surrounded by mist, amidst the sparkling waters that had appeared after the destruction of the Tower of Salvation, did not seem to see him yet, however, as he was looking in the opposite direction, waiting.
And then, something went wrong, and Kratos blacked out.
The infant mana-giving tree seemed to glow in the night air, Yuan thought, Mithos and Martel would have been- no were- proud of this tree. This was what the four Kharlan Heroes had worked for thousands of years ago, now, so many years later, what they had wanted had finally come true.
However, the world was once again in danger.
Yuan himself had barely left the tree since its planting, however, Lloyd, Kratos' son, had been going back-and-forth, collecting information. The world was once again in discord, the Gods did not seem to be favoring the newly revived world.
The Regeneration Group, as the world was now calling the eight "heroes", were worshiped and hated in the new world. They had found a way to explain the worlds without destroying the belief of the Church of Martel.
When Lloyd and the others had returned from the runes of the Tower of Salvation, they decided to split up; the world was going to be in chaos. People were going to be in horror as earthquakes rocked the world and continents shifted. Lloyd, Colette, Raine, and Genis had split the Sylvaranti cities amongst themselves. Zelos, Sheena, Presea, and Regal returned to a shaken Tethe'alla. The story had been decided beforehand: they would not tell the truth of Mithos and Cruxis.
"At the death of the Giant Kharlan Tree, Mithos the Hero, at Martel's will, split the two nations of sylvarant and Tethe'alla into the two worlds. For four thousand years the worlds stayed in this way, vying for the small amount of mana that the Goddess had given her foolish children.
"Many years later Colette, the Chosen of Regeneration, was chosen by the Goddess Martel to return the world to its original form, by ridding the world of the Desians and using the power of Cruxis.
"And so, Lloyd the Hero, one of the Chosen Heroes of Martel, was given the power of the angels and saved the world."
This was the story of the World Regeneration that was given to the public, those who knew, the Mizuho, Colette's Family, Altessa, and the like, had been asked to keep this information to themselves. Any remaining Desians were not believed or, rather, they were killed on sight, so there was no one to alert the world of its ignorance.
Although this story had been given out, the people were still losing faith in the Church and its Goddess.
The Church had been fast to communicate with its otherworldly counterpart and, soon, the Churches of Sylvarant were totally controlled by the Tethe'allen Churches, Tethe'alla was favored by the Church of Martel and so the Sylvaranti Liberation Front, the Vanguard, had been formed.
Lloyd had reported that at first only the extremists were joining the group, but as the world fell further and further into chaos, the people began to listen to the Vanguard. It had grown, thrived, and began to become very rebellious, the cities of Tethe'alla had suffered raids and rebellions at the hands of the so called "liberation front".
Where is Kratos? Yuan thought, frantic thoughts flashed through his mind, Dead? Vanished? With any luck he was simply still on Derris Kharlan, the transport failed, unable to return.
"Yuan! Yuan, Palmacosta is under attack!" It was Lloyd, yelling, crying, screaming for him, and Kratos was pushed from his mind. "The Vanguard is attacking Palmacosta; we have to go, now!"
"W-what? Slow down Lloyd, did you say that the Vanguard is attacking Palmacosta?"
"Yes, that's why we have to go, now!"
"Lloyd, I can't leave the tree, not with revolts going on and the tree in such a vulnerable state!"
"Argg, fine, bye!" and Lloyd dashed away.
Yuan looked back at the tree, mind blank. What had he been thinking about?
It must not have been important.
The next thing that Kratos was aware of was blackness, his eyes were closed, and pain; although this was only a tingling pain, as if he had been slapped, it was more than he had felt for many years. Then he became more aware of his surroundings.
In the distance he heard echoed screams and the crackling of fire, large fires.
Kratos forced his eyes open and, reacting to the sight before him, jumped to his feet. He was in Palmacosta, a morphed, flaming Palmacosta. Although he had never been to the seaside city after it had been destroyed, and rebuilt, by the Giant Kharlan Tree, Kratos recognized it instantly. There were only so many cites this big that were on the water.
But what hell had been brought upon it?
He surveyed the scene around him, men in strange masks were laughing as they set fire to a building, and civilians ran passed in fear.
Kratos gathered that these were the men responsible for Palmacosta's destruction. He raced over sliding his sword out of its sheath and slammed it into one man's head, knocking him out cold, the other he forced against the wall of a half destroyed building, his hand to the throat of his victim.
"What the hell is going on here?" he demanded.
"W-who are you?"
"Answer me," he hissed, glaring daggers.
"T-the Church of Martel attacked us! We're only doing what's right!"
"You call destroying a city and murdering innocents the right thing?"
"I-." Kratos did not give the man a chance to answer; he slammed his sword into his head and dropped him with his fellow.
He did not know the details of what was going on here, but he doubted it was anything so severe that an entire town had to be destroyed.
Kratos charged around, sword drawn bringing down those who tried to damage the city or its citizens. Not long later, after stopping several men from killing a young family from escaping, did Kratos see something that stopped him in his tracks, Lloyd.
His son, dressed in his usual red with suspenders, was slaying, not the masked men causing the riot, but an innocent family. Kratos stared in horrified shock, what was Lloyd doing here, and what was he doing?
"Lloyd! Lloyd, what are you doing!?" His calls fell on deaf ears, "Lloyd Irving!"
Suddenly the man looked up from where he was bent over the corps of the man he had been killing, unfriendly eyes met his own cold, red ones, and Kratos flinched.
"What do you want?" The question was sharp, full of anger. There was something wrong, this wasn't Lloyd, Lloyd was incapable of that type of cold murder, even the tone of voice was something that the boy Kratos had known and trained was not capable of producing.
All the same Kratos stepped closer, "Lloyd, tell me, what is going on here? I will explain more later, just tell me what is going on!"
Confusion, anger, distrust, and finally and smug disgust flashed over his son's face. Uneasiness flowed through Kratos, could this really be Lloyd?
"Palmacosta has undermined the authority of the Church of Martel and the Chosen, the punishment for this crime is death." He smiled as if he knew some brilliant secret, had some final puzzle piece that he was withholding.
"I believe the Church of Martel are the ones whom are undermining the order," stated Kratos, "After all that has happened, I would believe you would be the first to want the destruction of the ideals Mithos put into place, and the last to support them."
For once Kratos saw a natural look slide into place on the nineteen-year-old's face: confusion. As comforting as it was to see that look on his face, it still unnerved him, why did it look like Lloyd didn't understand what he was talking about?
As if on cue, Yuan's words from earlier flashed through his mind, striking like the lightning in Volt's old temple,
"You could be forgotten by everyone on the face of the planet,"
"Everyone," even Lloyd…
So that was what had happened, for some reason or another no one could remember him.
This realization must had shown on his face, because Lloyd's smirk was back in place, "Well? What side are you on?"
"…For the time being I believe remaining a neutral party will be to my best benefit." Kratos stated simply.
This did not seem to please his son, Lloyd gritted his teeth and drew his swords, "Wrong answer, old man." And he charged.
Kratos' sword was out and guarding before Lloyd had reached him, with his shield he pushed Lloyd back his son grunted as he hit the ground and the air was force out of his lungs.
"You've fallen out of form," Kratos noted grimly, "I did not teach you this."
"Times change!" he spat back.
"Apparently, although I should know that better than anyone, Lloyden," and suddenly Kratos did not feel as if I had the strength or will power to fight his son. "Goodbye, Lloyden, I hope you are better behaved the next time I see you."
How discusting is it that I leave the first chapter as a cliff hanger, I will probably have the next chapter up in a week or so… once my beta reads the damn thing.
Reveries begged, I promise updates will come if I get them.