Alaia Skyhawk: Well here it is, Book 4 of my Restoration Series. I have no doubt that all of my regular readers will be itching to get into this, so I'll say no more :)
I don't own Tales of Symphonia so please don't sue me. I do however own Krishka, Dallinius (Dalli), Aluran, the Alurannai and any OCs, except Sanaro and Annule, who belong to 2123, Mika and Fiuras, who belong to WingedWithFireyMana, and Gaea Silverleaf, who belongs to Sparkling Moon Phoenix, so please don't steal them...
Things I will point out in advance.
1) Ignore the Dawn of the New World map, it does NOT apply to this fic. In this fic Sylvarant and Tethe'alla have returned to the positions they had in relation to each other as described in Prequel to a Restoration.
2) Yes I know Versius has a female voice in game; for the record he's staying as a guy in my fics since in the conversation just before that dungeon Sheena actually refers to Corrine as a 'he' (she also does in ToS1) and so I stuck with it.
3) All of the characters, bar Emil and Marta, are not the ages they are in DotNW. The main ones to remember, as they are as of the start of book four, are Lloyd and Sheena (25), Zelos (26), Presea (35, but looks 16-17), Genis (19 but looks 17). The rest aren't worth fiddling over.
4) Lastly, this fic is not intended as, nor ever will be, a carbon copy of the original plot of ToS2. If I miss a scene out, change one, or add something totally new, it's because I want it in there. If you want a carbon copy fic of the plot, write one yourself or look elsewhere; don't winge in the reviews on this one. This might sound petty, but finicky nitpicking when I do something outside the mould has been getting on my nerves as of late, naming no names. I write fanfics FOR FUN, and like to display my creativity in my stories. If you're a person who seems to take offence at my changing things from the original plot, just stop reading this fic if it bothers you so much. (Takes deep breath)
Now, rant aside, I hope you enjoy the fic. Happy reading :)
Summary: It has been two years since the fall of Cruxis and the fulfilment of the Prophecy, but trouble stirs... The once separated peoples of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant remain wary of each other, conflict brewing as resentment and fear rises... And deeper still runs the shadow of a new discovery, for it seems the old Giant Tree had kept secrets that even those whom guarded it never knew existed...
Warning: This will have a Lloyd Spoiler in the 2nd to last scene of this chapter. If you have not played the game, and do not want to find anything out before doing so, I suggest you go play it first before reading this.
Chapter 1: Blood and Fire
Long ago, the Giant Kharlan Tree, the essence of balance and order in the world, withered and died, leaving to the world its Prophesy...
By the will of its protectors, the world was cleaved in two in order to sustain it...
Many years later, the Chosen of Restoration planted a new Giant Kharlan Tree to take the place of the previous Giant Kharlan Tree. The birth of the new Tree also brought about the unification of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. The two words were now reborn as one...
The world was at the dawn of a bright new era... Or so it seemed...
The roar of flames filled the square, which also echoed with the sounds of screaming. Buildings everywhere were burning, and watching this holocaust a figure in red slowly walked to the end of one of the few intact roofs before jumping off...
Franticly the girl ran, ran through streets shadowed by smoke and lit by flame, tightly clutching something to her chest. Shouts rang out through the streets behind her, as those pursuing her lost sight of their target.
Ducking around a corner, she ran across a small square to stand in the shadows of a shop awning, pausing there to gaze at the crimson crystaline orb she held. It glistened in the firelight, lit from within by a glow of its own that emenated from the strange symbol suspended within it. It almost seemed to pulse in her grasp, an indication of the precious life held within.
"There she is!"
The shout rang across the square, causing her to look up in terror before once again taking off at a desperate run; a voice behind her calling out a command.
"Seize her. I'll follow Lloyd."
She kept running, four masked men charging after her...
With their high level of technological prowess, the Tethe'allan civilization looked down upon the people of Sylvarant as barbarians. The Sylvaranti blamed the Chosen of Regeneration, who had aided the Chosen of Restoration, for bringing this world into being, as they turned their backs on the Church of Martel that supported her...
Amidst all of this chaos, the world itself began to cry out...
Scorching hot deserts were blanketed with snow... Bountiful lakes dried up and withered.... Forests burned to ash, as glaciers melted into the sea...
These phenomena fanned the flames of dissatisfaction within the hearts of the people, leading to the birth of a monster...
A resistance organization was formed by the oppressed people of Sylvarant to defend themselves. United against the perceived evils of Tethe'alla and the Church of Martel, they called themselves the Sylvaranti Liberation Front, the Vanguard.
"This way! Hurry!"
Two figures ran towards the city's main gate, a third trailing behind trying to keep up. The woman of the three glanced back as they reached the bottom of a stairway, urging the boy behind her to hurry as the man with her shouted.
"Emil, hurry! We must get away or we'll all be killed by Lloyd!"
A voice filled with dread malice made them freeze, as it almost seemed to crawl down their backs and they turned to look in fear.
"Who did you say is going to kill you?"
They took a step back in horror, as the hard brown eyes of the figure on the top of the stairway fixed on them. The man leered down at them, a man who was supposed to have been the world's savior.
Lloyd's eyes narrowed, as he slowly drew the twin steel katana's he wore at his waist.
"The people of Palmacosta have aided the Vanguard and undermined the authority of the Church of Martel and the Chosen. The punishment for this crime... is death!"
The woman's scream ran out, her husband's desperate shout following swiftly after his son's scream of denial.
"Emil, run! Get away from here!"
The girl continued her desperate run through the burning streets, fearful eyes widening when she found herself in a dead end. Turning and backing up against the wall that had trapped her, she held the orb she carried close to her face as she whispered her plea.
"...Help me... Help me, Ratatosk..."
The orb flared, crimson glow replaced by blinding white light...
The light faded, that which happened next veiled from view by smoke and darkness. When the girl finally stirred she found herself lain upon the stones of the street, a part of the symbol from within the orb now set upon her forehead.
"Are you all right?"
A male voice made her look up, her eyes meeting those of the green-eyed youth stood before her. He gazed at her, as though without emotion, arms unmoving from where they rested at his sides above the long white coat he wore. Her eyes moved away from him, spotting the bodies of her pursuers now lying dead, before she looked at him again.
"Are you the one who saved me?" They stared at each other, unmoving, until an eerie howl called through the air causing her to look up "That's Tenebrae's howl."
The young man turned, walking away.
"I have to go..."
She stared after him, her voice pleading for him to stay, a plea he would not heed.
"Wait! What's your name?"
He didn't answer, continuing to walk away as she lay there too tired to follow. He kept walking, through streets now deserted of both attackers and attacked, finally stopping only when he reached the couple laid amid blood at the base of a stairway.
He knelt beside them... regarding them... until the woman stirred and spoke weakly.
"Emil, you came back." She lifted her head, her eyes glazed. "Oh dear, I can't even see your face. I-I'm not going to last much longer, But you, you have to live." She reached up towards the young man, grabbing his knee as she spoke with swiftly fading strength. "You have to run before Lloyd comes back. Go to Luin, to your Aunt Flora... Hurry..."
Her hand fell from where it had gripped him, the woman falling silent like the husband who lay beside her. Still looking down at them, the young man then slowly reached out towards her.
"M-Mom..." He choked, his wail rising like the flames consuming the city. "Mom!"
The song of Trilii birds came in through the window, going unnoted by the occupants of the room. It was a counterpoint to the sound of moving paper, the scratch charcoal, and the concerned muted mutterings of the man sat at the desk.
Kratos ran a hand through his auburn hair, before plucking at the collar of his gold trimmed azure reta where it had bunched up against the back of his neck. All around him his royal messengers were coming back and forth with report after report from the jiisumura across Symphonia, each message seeming to be more dire than the last. Something was seriously wrong, and they were unable to tell what. Mana had been restored, the new Kharlan Tree flourishing under the care of the Alurannai as its predecessor had, so why was it that these things were happening.
He put his head in his hands as the man who had just entered glanced over.
"What in the name of the Spirits is going on? The mana levels have been restored to their pre-war levels, in fact the levels are better than they were before the war. It makes no sense..."
Sharta Tarryn leafed through the reports he held, his expression sombre as his folded pale-green wings twitched in agitation.
"I agree... Snow has been seen falling in some of the remote areas of the Triet Desert, while in Flanoir ice which is miles thick cracks open and shatters as it melts from within; and those are not the only strange things happening. The Greater Summon Spirits are at a complete loss as to the cause, with their efforts only serving to slow these strange events but not to stop them. They are as confused as the rest of us, and just as worried."
Kratos got up from his desk, turning to look at the map of Symphonia that hung on the wall behind it. It hadn't long been finished, the updated map of the lands. The world was once again as it had been before the Kharlan War, two gatherings of continents separated once again by Great Ocean between Sylvarant's east and Tethe'alla's west, and the Lesser Ocean which separated them on the other side; rather than the two being on different worlds just out of phase from one another. Each area was still in its usual place in relation to the equator, meaning that such extreme climate change as had been seen was completely unexpected.
He leaned back against his desk.
"Any word from High Preistess Phidra?"
Tarryn shook his head, heading over to the second desk in the room and putting the papers he had down on it
"None since her message about the splinter group forming within the Church Heirarchy. While some of the clergy in Sylvarant remains loyal to her, the rest have shown leanings towards, or have joined, the Sylvaranti Liberation Front. Also the clergy of Tethe'alla is reluctant to accept her as Proxy Leader of the entire Church, despite their previous leader, Pope Kartoffel, being convicted of treason against Tethe'alla's king and later killed by Cruxis. Right now the Church, of whom around eighty percent of its remaining members are Tethe'allan, is in a state of serious bias towards that kingdom. It is creating resentment in Sylvarant, and fueling the Sylvaranti peoples' anger at the attitudes of the Tethe'allans towards their lack of magitechnological knowledge."
Kratos sighed, again running a hand through his hair in frustration.
"Speaking of which, any word about that 'Vanguard'?"
The advisor frowned.
"They've been stirring trouble in Sylvarant... It's just a pity we were so quick to reinstate ourselves an non-interfering neighbours. All we can do with the Renegades is rebuild and give aid to those who need it. Right now the only political organisation we can use to keep peace is the Church, and that one is coming apart on us at the seams."
"Lloyd's tried to get them to accept Phidra, and so has Zelos as secondary leader of Tethe'alla's Church. It would have been easier if he could have actively led them, but as you said, our neutral position mean's that he can only lead by advising her. Lloyd may be Leader of the Church of Martel in name, but she must be leader in truth; and the Tethe'allan branch wants nothing to do with her. I just wish using the name Irving didn't restrict him so much."
He snorted in disgust. He'd only been back in the rebuilt Citadel of Alahnsyr for three months, having had to return from coodinating rebuilding efforts when nature began to go ary so he could be easily found in an emergency.
Watching as Kratos subconciously used the same gesture of frustration as before, Tarryn then headed to the window and looked down at the myriad walkways and spiral stairways of the citadel, where they wove among the Mother Trees of the Aluran Forest.
"Narim Kratos, do not blame yourself. You've tried, as Lloyd has tried, and that's all that matters. As for using that name, you know it's so only a handful of people remember that he's alurannai; we're not really supposed to be meddling with the Church like we are."
Kratos leaned back into his chair, the gold trim of his reta catching an errant fleck of sunlight from the window.
"I know... It just seems like everything we went through was pointless. What good is the Prophecy of Restoration being complete when the restored world you created falls apart around you, beyond your control?"
An alurannai woman burst into the room, wearing the robe and reta of one of the Meadow Stewards.
Kratos turned to her.
"What is it?"
She came futher into the room.
"Sir, I bring news from the Summon Spirit of Hope. Martel wishes to speak with you immediately; she said the new Tree has told her why the world is in chaos!"
Kratos might have charged from the room but for another visitor charging in so fast they nearly knocked the Steward over. His eyes instead widened in shock at the sight of the soot and blood splattered young man.
"Lloyd! What happened?!"
Lloyd braced his hand on his knees, shaking with suppressed horror.
"Palmacosta is in flames, put to the torch by a group of the Church Knights who had been reassigned to the area from Tethe'alla... The order never came from Phidra, I know those knights and they're in the group that refuses to listen to her. Even if she were capable of such a thing, I know it wasn't her."
Kratos got slowly to his feet, a feeling of dread decending upon him.
"Who was it, Lloyd?"
His son looked up at him, eyes haunted.
"Eye witnesses to the massacre say one man led the slaughter, saw him killing all who crossed his path... They identify him by his alias, Lloyd Irving: Leader of the Church of Martel... Me"
Kratos stared in shock, Tarryn doing likewise.
"But... But that's impossible... You'd never do that, and even if you would Lord Krishka would stop you."
He stopped as Lloyd sighed.
"While we know that, the rest of Symphonia doesn't... We need to find out what is going on, and fast." Kratos strode towards the door, Lloyd regarding him questioningly. "Where are you going?"
Kratos glanced back.
"Lloyd, let's go... We have a Spirit to talk to..."
From amongst the very highest branches of the Mother Trees, pale amber eyes watched as a father and his son flew towards the Alahnsyr Sentinel, their destination the Hill Spire Sentinel at the edge of the great meadow to the west. He did not need to have heard the message they had recieved to know this, for the Spirit Martel was not the only one to whom the Tree had spoken.
His expression solemn, the alurannai man spread wings of deep gold and set off into the skies away from the place that had once been his home.
And so it begins... That it should come to this... That my failure to protect Ratatosk should make it neccessary for the secret I have carried for so long to be revealed. May the world forgive me for my poor judgement in choosing the ones to enter the Ginnungagap to wake Ratatosk, and to tell him of my waiting to speak with him of the events since the death of the old Tree...
As he soared up into the clouds, a skillful illusion concealing him from sight both mundane and magical, he glanced one last time at the forest below.
And may Ratatosk forgive me for creating and thrusting him into a conflict between the very bloodlines that should have been helping him...
Alaia Skyhawk: Well that was the spoiler for Lloyd being innocent, but I needed to reveal that much to set the Alurannai up for this fic. The Tree telling them why the freaky stuff is happening is also my way of filling the major plot hole of the Alurannai not knowing about Ratatosk, and about why Emil and Marta will cross paths with Lloyd so much during the story. As for the alurannai guy at the end, you should know already who he is, hehe.