Xonel: Expect extremely long delays between updates with this one. The next chapter maybe be the only exception to that. I've been working on this for quite a while now, so feedback would be much appreciated. I hope you enjoy, and I do not own Tales of Legendia.

Prologue

It was cold. It had been getting colder, and tonight it seemed like it could rain at any moment. The air was already heavy with moisture.

A chilling wind blew through the town, but the traveler didn't even seem to feel it as her tattered black cloak swirled about. All of her clothing was black. Over the cloak a heavy black pack was slung across her shoulders. Underneath the pack was a large object- vaguely resembling a sword though it looked much too heavy to actually wield- wrapped in worn strips of black cloth. Another, smaller, sword was belted to her waist. A mask covered her face.

The traveler knew her way around this town. She had been here many times. For a while she had actually lived here. But those days were long gone and could never come back.

The traveler stopped, having reached her first destination. Her eyes blankly gazed at the grave from behind the mask. Someone had left flowers recently.

"It would have been nice to get to know you. I'm afraid you wouldn't be too happy with me, though. Not now."

The traveler removed her mask, and the unnatural shadows which had shielded her face lifted. "I don't think you would have liked what I've become. You wouldn't like the Raven."

"Hello? Who's up here?"

The traveler turned, fingers closing around the hilt of her sword.

"Don't you know it's dangerous to be out this late? Werites Beacon is usually peaceful, but crimes do happen from time to-" The voice fell silent as its owner stopped at the top of the stairs leading up to the graveyard.

The traveler didn't remove her hand from their sword. "It's been a while, Raynard."

"Chloe? What are you doing here?"

"I was just about to visit Coolidge."

Will sighed. "Chloe, I'm a sheriff. I can't let you do that."

Chloe scowled. "So you've heard what happened. And you believe it, don't you? Of course you do."

Will frowned. "I'm not sure what to believe, Chloe. You didn't seem like the type to commit such a crime, but the evidence is stacked against you." He looked away. "I'm sorry, but I can't just let you go."

Her grip tightened around her sword. "Don't make me fight you, Raynard." Her other hand twitched, ready to place the mask back on her face.

"You've been wearing the Skull Mask? Don't you remember the way it affects you?"

"Of course I remember! I wouldn't wear it if I didn't have to! But I'm a wanted criminal and I have to keep myself hidden." She glanced at the mask, the strange, crystalline material shining slightly in the moonlight. "With this, not only can I fool people into thinking I'm someone else... but I can also much more easily obtain enough money to survive."

Will shifted his hammer. "So you are the Raven. You realize then that-"

"Yes! I realize what its done to my reputation! Do you think I care?" She drew her sword. "No. Not any more."

"You're fighting with the Mini Gelares Sword, too? Chloe, we know nothing about that thing!"

She shrugged. "It was the only one left when I fled. They took all my other weapons. Except the Eternal Sword- it was too well hidden."

"Then why aren't you fighting with that instead?"

"I can't let anyone know I have it with me." Her sword drooped, her arm falling to her side. "Please, Raynard, just let me pass. Forget that you saw me."

"I can't do that. You know I can't. I'll talk to Her Excellency and see if she can grant you sanctuary, but I have to take you in."

Chloe shook her head. "That won't work. As long as I'm alive, I can't let anything happen to the Eternal Sword."

"And why is that?"

This time Chloe looked away. "I'm not sure."

"What? Chloe, what's really going on? It's not like you to be acting like this!"

Chloe slashed the air in front of her, scowl returning. "You don't know what's like me and what isn't. I'm not the same person I was four years ago. I've changed... and the only thing I care about now is keeping this sword safe."

"That's not true. Not if you were planning on visiting Senel."

Chloe shook her head and turned slightly away from him. "Y-You don't know what you're talking about." She wheeled back around, raising her sword and meeting his eyes. Her sword seemed to vibrate with the raging emotions that danced behind her eyes. "I'm not a knight. I haven't been for years and I'm not going to pretend that I am any more. I've given up those ideals. My mission is to keep this sword safe for as long as I'm alive, and that's what I'm going to do. Nomatter what. Forget that you saw me and let me pass, Raynard."

Will held out his hammer in front of him, face grim. "I told you, I can't do that. I'm sorry."

Chloe put the mask back on. "So be it."

Will braced himself, starting to chant an incantation, as Chloe rushed toward him. But before her blade could make contact, the cloth-wrapped sword on her back started to glow with power.

Chloe was only a couple of feet away from him, sword poised for attack, when the light from the Eternal Sword flared, forcing him to clench his eyes shut.

Her sword didn't meet its target.

When Will opened his eyes, he realized that she had vanished.