A/N: The idea for this one shot came from a conversation a group of my friends and I had. It concerned Tales of Symphonia: the Animation, in specific, Colette's 'song of death' and how other Chosen would have handled it. I believe Kratos would have been in charge of escorting all of the Chosen to the Tower of Salvation (Since Yggdrasill wouldn't have wanted too and Yuan's a half elf, despised by both worlds), so he'd probably have lots of stories to tell about the other Chosens. I hope you enjoy.
Note: I looked it up and have confused myself. In regards to the word 'Chosen' what is the plural? Is it 'Chosens' or 'Chosen'? Any information on that would be appreciated. For this story, I used the word 'Chosens'.
If you like this story, leave a review! I always appreciate it!
"Kratos, can I ask you a question?"
"Go ahead, Lloyd."
The auburn mercenary watched his son with keen interest. It wasn't every day that Lloyd was so formal with his questions. Usually, he just spoke what was on his mind, inquires and all. It was a curious thing for the brunette to be asking for permission.
The red boy seemed to ponder for a moment, as if getting his thoughts in order, "Well, you travelled with all of the Chosens over the years, right?"
"Were all of the Chosen's like Colette?"
Kratos paused, "Well, no. There were some vast differences, though the ones Mithos got excited about usually shared many qualities with Colette. To explain, Colette is a lot like Martel. If any Chosen was like Martel, their mana signature was-" The dull and confused look on Lloyd's face told Kratos all he needed to know. "Some of them were like Colette," he simplified.
"Oh. I see."
There seemed to be more on the brunette's mind.
"Do you have other questions?"
"Yeah, I guess I do… if only some were like Colette, then what were the others like?"
A small chill rolled through him as he audibly swallowed. Remembering some of the Chosens was a nightmare. A horrible nightmare that he couldn't get rid of.
"Dad. You turned pale. Were some of the Chosens that bad?" He raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
Kratos supposed he could tell his son about a few of them. Since the world was safe and all, it really didn't matter what he revealed.
With a tired sigh, he gestured for his son to take a seat. Sitting cross legged on the ground, the auburn began to recount one particularly bad Chosen…
"Sing the song of death," Kratos commanded. They were surrounded by Desians. Their enemies were armed to the teeth with deadly looking weapons and sinister grins. There were at least one hundred of them and more had been called in as backup. They'd be at their location in a matter of minutes.
Hubert, a short pudgy Chosen with dark brown hair and squinty blue eyes, was standing defiantly. His arms were crossed over his chest and with a twist of his head to the side, he said, "No."
Kratos almost slapped him. Instead, he stated calmly, "Why not?"
"I don't want to."
"You're the mercenary. You do something."
"I can't take on a hundred of them at once, Chosen."
"Then you suck at being a mercenary, don't you?" Hubert turned his nose into the air while the Desians circled closer.
"We're running out of time," Kratos spoke through clenched teeth. He didn't want the Chosen to die here. They'd already unlocked two seals and it'd be ridiculous for the man to die now. "Chosen, please, sing the song of death."
"No. You sing it."
Frustration mounting, the auburn could only growl, "It won't work if I sing it, Chosen. Now. Sing the song of death before we both become part of that requiem."
Hubert brought a pudgy hand to his double chin, "Hmmm… no."
Then the Desians attacked, one quickly slicing through Hubert's neck. He was dead instantaneously.
Kratos' status report to Yggdrasill had been: Chosen died by a Desian attack because he was unable to protect himself due to inadequate training. Note-ensure future Chosens can fight.
"Why didn't he just sing the song and get it over with?" Lloyd asked. His eyebrows were furrowed in confusion.
"I have no idea."
"Okay… well, why did Yggdrasill allow Desians to kill him? They're his men, aren't they?"
Kratos nodded, "It took him awhile to figure out the perfect amount of stress to induce on the Cruxis Crystal, so at the beginning, there were several casualties from the Desians."
"When did he figure that out?"
"Failure teaches quickly, Lloyd."
"Sure… tell me about another Chosen."
Alfonso was a trained Chosen. His skills far surpassed everyone at the Dojo where he trained. He'd become the elite swordsman at the age of thirteen, carrying an unbeaten record to the date Kratos met him.
"I don't need a mercenary," he chimed as they walked out of the city. He walked several feet ahead of the auburn, tossing his head back to shout his words, "you can go home now."
Keeping his temper even, Kratos remarked, "Chosen, it's a dangerous journey. Even if you can handle yourself, it's always best to have backup."
"Why don't you go home? Then you'll really be 'backup'." He laughed at his own joke.
Kratos resisted rolling his eyes, "I mean no offense, Chosen, but Desians and monsters can be a deadly combination. It's better safe than sorry."
"You're a pain in my ass," Alfonso waved a hand, "Go away. I have more skill than you could possibly imagine."
"Even if that's true…"
"Shut up! You're just a mercenary. I'm the Chosen of-"
A wild animal charged from a line of bushes and stabbed Alfonso in the leg with one of its tusks. Kratos raced towards the creature and killed it in one strike, but the wound was bad. It soon became infected and the Chosen died shortly afterwards.
Status Report: The Chosen suffered a fatal injury. Please make sure that all Chosen's can fight, but learn humility.
"So… he died because he, even though he was strong, was too busy bragging about it to do anything."
"That about sums it up."
"Were there more bad Chosens than good ones."
Kristin, the Chosen, stumbled out near the enemies, Kratos close behind. Monsters swarmed the land, each one having beady red eyes. They were hungry, the evening being their feeding time. It was obvious they were in a tight spot.
The Chosen stuttered out, "I-I'll… sing the song… of death."
"That would be an excellent choice, Chosen." Kratos readied his weapon. It would be easy to plow through them all when they were weakened by her spell.
"Um…" Holy angels started singing from heaven, "Le le deee kay… close every son oh lu la lee lay… ohhhhh row low row woe see… me at tall la la" Instead of feathers falling gently from the sky, small puffs of smoke fell from the clouds, the angelic singing almost becoming warped as she continued. A few feather-looking images fell, but instead of hitting the monsters and causing them to weaken, it had no effect.
Even before she finished singing, the lights had ceased to fall and the angelic background had faded. It was just her stuttering for words and singing –badly – to the monsters.
Kratos wanted to curl up and die. Instead, though, the monsters attacked and, oblivious to this, she kept singing, getting killed by a large bear like creature.
Status Report: Make sure the Chosens learn the Song of Death's lyrics.
"She didn't even know the words?"
"Nope, Lloyd. She didn't even know the words."
Damon clasped his hands in prayer, ready to sing the song of death to ensure their safe passage across a heavily saturate plain of enemies.
Kratos stood, hand on his hilt.
However, as angelic beings filled the night with glorious and mournful sounds, the Chosen's own voice was horrid and screechy. He sung in his falsetto, though his voice could clearly not support it. Then, he dropped low, carrying the base his vocal cords could sustain, but the words blended together in a mess of notes.
Kratos had to keep himself from covering his ears.
Oddly shaped feathers fell from the sky, landing upon the enemies and seemingly making them stronger. The auburn could hear in the distance one of the Renegades calling out, "I feel powerful all of the sudden!"
Kratos shot an arm out to Damon, "Chosen one, stop! You're-"
Another Renegade shouted out, "Look! There they are!" And Damon was subsequently shot with an arrow.
Status Report: Make sure they can actually sing!
"You think the people who raised the Chosens would have figured out some of the kinks on their own," Lloyd gave a sad and confused smile.
Nodding, the auburn added, "You would think, Lloyd, but the Church never wanted to mess anything up, so we had to tell them what to change, otherwise they wouldn't."
"Didn't they think something needed to be changed if the Chosens were going to survive?"
"You mean that a bunch of dead Chosens would indicate a problem with the way they were raised? Son, you carry far too much faith in these people."
The brunette only raised an eyebrow.
Kratos carried an injured Chosen through a dense forest. At some point, they'd taken the wrong turn. Even now he was scolding himself for the mistake. How many times had he been on the same journey? It was ridiculous to have missed a turn.
"I'm tired of being carried," Alexia commented, her voice high and grating on the ear drum.
The auburn continued walking, "You're injured. You'll only slow us down."
"I said," she took a deep breath and screamed, "put me down!"
It was so loud, the noise traveled through the mercenary's ear drums and reverberated through his bones. Instantly, he dropped her on the ground.
"Ow!" She cried, "My Chosenly butt! How dare you toss me on the ground! I demand you pick me up!"
Growling inwardly, the auburn gingerly picked Alexia up, muttering a 'sorry'.
"That's better," she cooed. They walked for a couple more steps, "I'm tired of being carried! Put me down!"
Deciding he didn't want to argue, he carefully placed her on her feet, even though her leg had been injured and she'd complained for hours about it…
Dusting off her clothes, she took one step and fell. Yelping, she started sobbing, "Pick me up you horrible person! Why did you set me down? I can't walk on this leg! Carry me! Carry me! I'm the Chosen, I demand to be carried!"
A group of Renegades came by quickly, brandishing their weapons. Alexia screamed the entire time for Kratos to get them away 'by order of the Chosen' she said.
Needless to say, the auburn didn't try too hard to keep her alive.
Status Report: The Chosens need to be taught modesty! How many times do I need to say it?
"Was she the only one you didn't try very hard to protect?"
"I'd like to say I was always professional, but…"
"No. I wasn't."
Greg was a bit more humble, but had one increasingly annoying issue.
"Mercenary, clean my shoes."
"That's not part of my job description."
"You're supposed to serve me, right? Clean them."
"You can call me Greg, mercenary. Just as I will refer to you as mercenary."
"That isn't my name."
"Mercenary, I'm hungry. Get me some food."
"You have some in your pack."
"I'm also thirsty mercenary, bring me some fresh water."
With barely contained anger, Kratos spoke, "You have a canteen, Chosen. Drink from that."
When monsters attacked, Greg called, "Mercenary, attack that monster right there!"
"I've got this under control."
"I don't think you do. If you did, you'd be attacking that monster, mercenary."
That monster did get attacked… after it'd killed the Chosen.
Status Report: HUMILITY. They must learn that the world does not cater to them and that they aren't the center of the universe!
Lloyd blinked a couple of times, "They could really get under your skin, huh, dad?"
"I'm usually a collected person, Lloyd, but I'm also a person who deserves respect. I was taught it at a young age and so all children learn it."
His son only blinked again.
Honestly, he wondered if the brunette ever understood half of what was being said. He loved Lloyd with all of his heart, but it just seemed that sometimes he was… a simpleton.
"So, you had bad Chosens, but what about bad groups? Did the Chosens ever have bad company?"
That only caused the older man to sigh, "Yes, Lloyd. Just as there were bad Chosens, there were bad travelling companions as well."
Greta was the Chosen of Mana. She had brown eyes and light brown hair. Even though she was short, she carried a good spirit and maximum physical strength. She was actually shaping up to be a good Chosen… except for the company she decided to keep.
"Hey. Krabert," Jake called, his voice nasally and irritating, "You need anything else, or are we done here?"
Night had fallen and Jake wanted to go where he always went at night. To Greta's tent. They were dating, after all.
"It's Kratos. And yes, you can get some rest."
Jake was off in a matter of seconds, tugging a blushing Greta into the tent with him.
"Actual rest," Kratos said to no one in particular.
Unfortunately for the mercenary, he couldn't sleep and had keen hearing, so he got the 'pleasure' of sitting up all night, every night, listening to the two wrestle in the sheets.
Status Report: Having the Chosen and her lover on the same journey is not a good idea.
"Yes. Every night. Jake's philosophy was that if Greta was going to die, then she needed all the loving she could get now."
"Yes. 'Ew' indeed."
Heather tugged on Kratos' arm as Emilia sung the song of death. Feathers rained down from the sky, draining away the life force of the Desians in front of them. However spectacular the phenomena was, though, Heather didn't want to see it.
Her red locks draped over her shoulders and down her back as she yanked the mercenary away.
"Come on, Kratos! You don't need to be near Emilia, you might catch one of those feathers and get sick or something!"
"I'm not worried about that at all," came the auburn's reply.
Heather reached her arms around Kratos' waist, burrowing her face into his stomach, "I don't know what I'd do if you fell ill!" Came her muffled response.
Annoyance crept through the older man, "I wouldn't worry about that if I were you."
"But someone would have to look after you and dumb Emilia wouldn't be able to!" She pulled away from the mercenary and placed her hands on his chest.
"Emilia is the Chosen and your sister," he attempted. He really didn't care, he just wanted to distract her long enough to get her away.
"I know, I know," her hands wandered down and the auburn attempted to back up. She kept his pace though, grabbing at his belt when he tried to turn, "Kratos! I'm not sure about those falling feathers. Maybe I should give you a check up."
He managed to pry her off of him.
Thankfully, Emilia appeared a moment later, "Sister, stop bothering Mr. Aurion. He's a busy man."
Heather gave a glare to her older sister, crossing her arms in anger, "Yeah, yeah…" Kratos and Emilia turned to leave and he wished he couldn't have heard what the woman said, "But he could be busy with me!"
Status Report: No comment.
"She was hitting on you?"
"The entire journey."
"So, Emilia was one of the Chosens who made it to the Tower of Salvation?"
"Did you and Heather ever… you know?" Lloyd waved his hand dramatically, though a tint of red colored his cheeks.
"No, Heather and I never did anything. She was the only one wanting something to happen between us."
"I see. Was she the most annoying?"
Ilene was a pleasant girl with a very unpleasant brother.
"Hey gramps! You sure you can make it up this mountain?" Holtz asked Kratos, a devious smirk on his lips.
Inwardly, the mercenary fumed at being called old, but outwardly, he simply said, "We'll be able to make it. It's not that difficult of a climb."
As night fell…
"We should set up camp for the night." Kratos informed them.
"Good idea," Ilene started setting up the tents as her brother leaned against one of the mountain walls.
"Is it past your bed time gramps? Don't forget to take out your dentures now."
When morning came, their trek continued. When they were in Flanoir…
"Watch out for ice, gramps. If you slip and break your hip, I'm not staying in this God forsaken place while you heal up."
Or when they were crossing a bridge…
"God, I hope all of your old people medication doesn't cause this bridge to collapse. Try shuffling a bit more, gramps, we might survive this yet."
Or when they were fighting off Desians…
"I know your visions bad there, old man, so try not to hit us, okay? And if you ever feel fatigued, sit the battle out and drink some prune juice or something."
Status Report: I'm not that old…!
"Was that, like, his only insult or something?"
"Yes. It was."
"Don't worry dad. Four thousands and twenty eight or so isn't that old." His son smiled.
If anyone else had said it, Kratos would have gotten angry. However, he couldn't find it in his heart to be upset with his son.
"I suppose it isn't."
Rebecca wasn't the Chosen of Regeneration, but she liked pretending she was.
"I hereby bless this town with peace for all time!" She cried out in the city square. Kratos covered his face.
"Rebecca, you aren't the Chosen," he muttered, "Dean is."
They both glanced over to the impossibly shy boy who was whispering and stammering over his words, trying to say something.
It was aggravating, but the mercenary gently spoke to the man, "It's alright, Chosen. Say what you need to say."
"I, um… uh…"
Rebecca was glaring at him, tapping her foot on the ground, "spit it out."
"Um, well, I…"
Inwardly, Kratos sighed.
The female spoke up, "I, as Chosen, hereby command that you speak, mortal, or I shall silence you forever!" She pointed an intimidating finger at Dean, who cowered away behind Kratos.
"You're scaring the Chosen."
"It's his fault. He needs to grow a pair of balls."
"And you have to stop pretending to be the Chosen, Rebecca."
"I can pretend to be whoever I want!" She darted around town, crying out that she could work miracles and was the messiah.
Status Report: Humility. Again. But this time, for the ones accompanying the Chosen.
"I think she was delusional," the red boy commented.
"Yes, Lloyd. I think she was."
Harley, the Chosen of Regeneration, was polite, eloquent and never said a bad word about anyone. His traveling companions, Elizabeth and Jane, were also like that. In fact, the others in his rather large group were exactly like him as well.
"Do ya need ta rest there, Mr. Kratos?" Jane questioned, her accent filling the mercenary's ears. "We can take a tiny stop if ya need it."
He shook his head, "I'm fine."
Elizabeth joined in, her frilly voice reaching into the clouds, "Don't be like that. Come on! We can stop here and have a picnic!" She nestled herself on the ground, everyone following suit.
The auburn intervened, "We have to get the Chosen to the Tower of Salvation. He needs to return mana to the land."
Another member in the group, John, disagreed, "No, no. That simply won't do on an empty stomach. Just imagine, Mr. Kratos! If Harley starved while on the journey!" He smiled up to the auburn, "Come on and join us on the ground." Kratos had to hold back a sigh as the man patted the ground next to him.
Tina, another member, chirped, "Pop a squat."
"Pop a… squat?" Kratos raised an eyebrow at the unfamiliar wording.
The Chosen nodded, "Take a seat. We're having sandwiches!"
Just then, a large group of enemies came into view. Desians, head to toe in armor, obviously ready to mow down everyone in their path.
John sat up, "Well lookie here! Some more guests want to have some sandwiches."
"Well, go ahead and invite them!" Jane called.
Kratos blinked back his surprise, "Those are Desians. They're here to kill the Chosen."
Harley spoke in his own defense, "Aw, there's probably just a misunderstanding. We can surely resolve this over some sandwiches and the picnic blanket of friendship." He yanked out a checkered red and white blanket, placing it on the ground.
"I don't think a blanket will resolve the differences, Chosen."
"Let me guess. They were killed," Lloyd interrupted.
The auburn nodded, "Yes. But not at that moment. It was after they sung together."
"They… sung together?" His son looked up at him with a skeptical gaze.
Harley and the others, after discovering that the Desians would not be willing to eat with them over the blanket of friendship, gathered together on a hill, Kratos behind them.
"Alright. Does everybody know the words?" He questioned.
"Yes indeed," Jane commented.
The mercenary raised a hand, "May I ask what you're doing, Chosen."
"We're all going to sing together, silly pants. That way, we don't know which one of us sends down the feathers of destruction."
That was the most ridiculous plan ever.
"Chosen. You're the only one with angelic abilities, it will obviously be-"
Elizabeth responded, "The enemies are here!"
Angelic humming came down from heaven as feathers starting lighting up in the sky. Together, in three part harmony, they sang the song of death. Feathers rained down from heaven, falling upon their enemies. It quickly sapped the energy of the ones nearby, and as the song came to a close, Jane spoke up.
"I think I was the one who killed the most, don't ya'll? I sang the loudest."
John put a comforting hand on Harley's shoulder, "Yes. It was probably Jane, Harley. No need to fret."
The Chosen smiled, "We all did it together. Teamwork is the key."
They all gathered together for a group hug and Elizabeth offered for Kratos to join.
"Come now, everyone needs a good old fashion group hug. Get your cutie patootie over here."
Just then, a massive magic attack struck the hugging group of travelers, killing them instantly.
Status Report: Appreciation for the seriousness of the situation needs to be instilled in the Chosen and their companions.
"There was a lot of 'instant death', wasn't there?" His son was laying now, his back on the grassy earth as he stared up into the sky. Kratos nodded, though he knew the boy couldn't see.
"Well, when someone is ill equipped, death comes quickly."
"Who and what now?"
"Yes. It happened."
"I see. So, did you think our group was bad?"
"No, not particularly. Colette was sweet and polite and the rest of you were respectful… enough."
"I was kind of an ass, wasn't I?"
"Yes. But that's in your nature. It didn't really bother me. Especially since I knew you were my son."
"Cool." The boy sat up, looking at his father with a smile, "Because you were an ass too, and I know it's just genetic."
Kratos blinked as a response.
His son stood and stretched, "Come on dad! Let's go eat. Maybe you can tell me more about the other Chosens."
Reliving those nightmares seemed daunting, but he simply couldn't tell his son 'no'. Instead, he opted for a more elusive answer, "Perhaps."
Luckily, his son had a short attention span. He'd probably forget all about it after dinner.
With a smile, he watched his son run over to Colette, helping her happily as she cooked with Genis. The boy mage smacked at Lloyd's hand as he reached for some of the cooking food. Sheena was close by, shouting something over her shoulder to Presea, who was busy setting the table.
Zelos danced in, hugging Lloyd, Colette and Sheena respectively, before turning his attention to setting the table. The poor red headed Chosen didn't get a chance to bother Presea because Genis shot a fireball in the guy's direction.
Raine was on the outskirts, reading a book with a light smile on her face. Regal was near her, watching, as Kratos was, the interactions between the entire group.
Yes. Comparatively, they were probably the best.
Ilene and Holtz are characters that Emil Lime and I have made up for our co-write. If you want to read more about them, look up the story Glory's Casket. It's about Kratos escorting Ilene through the Journey, but things take an unexpected turn for the worst and it only gets more interesting from there. If you're interested, take a look and leave a review if you like it.