A/N: Hello there, I'm DeMerio and this is my first Fanfic which I came up with AGES ago and only now just worked up the nerve to write it. So here goes!
EDIT - 2/10/12: I re-read this a short while ago and I was surprised by the mistakes and poor presentation of it. So, I have gone over it with a fine comb.
EDIT - 7/7/16 Wow has it been a long time. I am basically rewriting this prologue. Names and appearances are changing and so is the overall backstory.
-22/7/16 Just finished writing the rework after taking a few days rest. I've had an idea that completely changes the entire story. And damn, I think it is crazy enough to work without ruining everything. So yes, I will have to re-do some chapters. Even some of the 'Extra Stories'.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Vesperia... But if I did, the PS3 version would be released in English quicker than Repede on caffeine. ( I do however own all the OC's in this story... Except one, which I'll specify when they appear.)
Prologue: 6 years earlier.
Evening had turned the skies above Zaphias a beautiful mix of orange and red. Inside the Castle was busier than normal. The maids and servants were frantically going about the place, cleaning and preparing the grand dining room. The Knights patrolling the castle tried to avoid getting in the way while sticking to their ordered patrol paths. On many an occasion, they collided into a rushing servant. The preparations took hours as this was an important occasion. The staff worked extra hard. Such an event going well surely meant a healthy bonus of Gald.
When they were finally completed, the highly distinguished guests streamed in. The room, like a painter's canvas, was soon filled with a thousand colours. Guests wearing their newest and most expensive clothing all started to gather. Discussions on scandals and financial 'back-stabbings' filled the once quiet room. Soon it was alive with the booming of hearty chats and the low buzzing of private words. Soon all the guests accounted for and the King led his guests into an immaculate dining hall. Once all were seated, the King stood and began his toast.
"Welcome everyone, I am glad you could all make it to my birthday feast. Now, I would just like to take a second to give a special welcome to some of my dearest friends. Firstly to Richard de Lyesia, our Duke, and his beautiful wife, Grace de Lyesia." The Duke chuckled as his Duchess waved him off, smiling.
"And secondly to their lovely children; Tillya the eldest child and daughter. She shows much promise as a political genius." He winked at her. Tillya smiled graciously back.
"Kara the youngest child and daughter. I do look forward to seeing what talents you'll bring to the world." The young girl giggled.
"And let us not forget Dayrellan, our very own 'Little Duke of Zaphias'. I cannot think of anyone more worthy, or able for that matter, to be Richard's successor."Around the table, there was a polite chuckle at the King's affectionate name for the boy as the one in question glared at his cutlery. His sisters too were giggling along at the King's successful attempt to embarrass their brother.
"I am truly glad you could join me here today to celebrate my 60... ish Birthday. Now please enjoy the delightful food before you!" The king finished and sat to start his meal. Within seconds however, he turned to his friend and started a conversation.
The feast finished as the final rays of the sun slipped under the horizon. Afterwards, everyone moved to the dance hall to continue their conversations and enjoy the music. Off to the side, the King and the Duke were chatting and laughing heartily with the Duchess and daughters. Everyone in the Hall was happily dancing or talking away. All except one boy sitting alone and staring a hole into the table in front of him. He didn't notice as a young girl approached him and so jumped slightly when she spoke.
"Why are you sitting here all alone Dayrellan?" She asked innocently. His chestnut brown eyes met her green ones and took a few seconds to register who the pink-haired girl in front of him was.
"Oh, Lady Estellise... Good evening." he replied politely and standing so he could bow. However the young girl stopped him.
"Please Dayrellan, I've told you that you may call me 'Estellise'. We practically grew up together so don't be so formal." She said with a smile.
"Yeah..." Was all he replied with. Nodding happily, she repeated her earlier question.
"So, why are you sitting here all alone?"
"I don't like these parties. I feel so out of place here." Dayrellan said with a frown.
"But you know, one day you'll be the Duke so you will have to..." Estellise started but was cut off by her friend
"I know! Why is that all people say to me? 'Eat all your food so you'll grow up into a healthy Duke like your dad'. What if I don't want that? What if I don't want to pretend to like people who are pretending to like me?" The young boy said raising his voice and earning the attention of nearby dancers. The young Estellise in front of him gasped and raised her hands to her mouth.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I... I" The edges of her eyes started to grow damp. At this, the boy frantically apologised and tried to cheer her up.
"W-Wait, don't cry! How about we go and dance?" He hastily said.
"Huh? But you don't like dancing..." She said confused. The boy smiled slightly.
"Will it make up for my rudeness?" he asked. She nodded slowly in response. The boy nodded and he held out his hand.
"Then lets dance." This brought a big smile to her face. She took his hand and they made their way to the dance floor. After dancing for a few minutes, the children noticed the whole Hall's attention was on them. Some were making quiet 'Aww' sounds while others only smiled brightly. A select few were turning their noses up. Estellise's face soon matched her hair and she quickly covered her face. Dayrellan put his hands on his hips, his face was one of annoyance.
"What? Can't two friends dance together?" His question earned quiet laughter from the crowd before they all continued dancing and chatting. Estellise and Dayrellan made their way to the side again and sat down. The boy was in fact quite flustered. All he wanted was to chat to his close friend. But before they could, an annoyingly snobby voice addressed them.
"Dayrella! I saw you make the princess cry earlier!" The voice came from a young boy with short, dark brown hair in a white tux. Dayrellan just sighed.
"Just what do you want, snobby brat?" The boy asked, pretending to be more interested in his spiky black hair.
"I'm no snobby brat! Apologise immediately." The brat demanded.
"Sorry you're a snobby brat." Dayrellan looked at Estellise, begging to move elsewhere.
"Ugh, you're such a child. Whatever. Now, what did you say to Lady Estellise!?" The snob demanded. At this, the Princess stood up and turned to him.
"Please calm Ewan, everything is fine." She said with a touch of an authoritative tone.
"Lady Estellise... Just because you have a crush on him, doesn't mean..." But he was cut off
"Ewan!" She said with a raised voice and a red face. The snob looked surprised, but left grumbling about 'the Princess' pet'. Estellise turned around slowly, hoping the boy behind hadn't heard. He was scratching his cheek, looking a little pink himself. Estellise laughed nervously and sat back down. They continued their chat like Ewan had never been there.
The King and the Duke had been joined by a third man, a royal Scholar. The Emperor and the Duke welcomed him with a cheer.
"Lawrence! Good to see you emerged from your lab." Richard said, nudging him.
"Quite. And how are you two?" Lawrence asked, his voice flat and unchanging.
"Why I feel as young a schoolboy! A good party is great for the soul." The King said.
"Yeah, tonight has been fun. And I'm glad you could get a little fresh air, Lawry." Richard chuckled.
"Oh do cease with that ridiculous nickname." Lawrence sighed. From behind him, Grace appeared.
"Hey now, c'mon Lawry! Aren't you excited to see us!?" She said, punching his shoulder.
"But of course."
"Oh good, you had me worried for a second." Grace huffed. "Oh come on Lawrence, lighten up! And where's Carolynn?"
"Scolding our son..." He pointed at her. They looked to see a woman with dark, chestnut hair wagging her finger at Ewan.
"Young Ewan been up to mischief again?" The King chuckled.
"Dayrellan can't be innocent. A trait he got from you, dear." Richard said to Grace. This accusation did not please her. She went over to the woman, sending the Duke a glare.
"I too will take my leave. I have research to complete." Lawrence's eyes flickered to Richard before he left. The Duke sighed and sadly watched him go.
"He just hasn't been the same since our military days, has he?"
"I'm afraid not. He lives and breathes research." The King patted his back. Richard just nodded, not knowing what he was doing wrong as a friend.
As the night was wrapping up, the guests slowly started to leave. The King saw each guest out thanking them all for coming. When only a few remained, he looked around at the last figures. Curiously, he saw Richard looking around. With curiosity, he approached.
"What is the matter Richard? Lost something?" He asked.
"Indeed. Dayrellan has wandered off." The Duke responded calmly but looked mildly exasperated.
"Oh that boy... I presume he has merely gone to find a quiet room to read in." The King chuckled.
"Oh yes, I thought the same thing. I've asked Miss Estellise if she'll look inside the Royal Library. He is notorious for sneaking in there." Richard grumbled.
"Aha! Yes, it is true!" The King chuckled louder. Estellise returned at that moment, looking a little worried.
"I apologise, but he is not in our library." She said to her feet. Richard patted her head.
"Don't worry, Estellise, he won't be far." The Duke spoke calmly. The young girl looked up and nodded. He was right, he always was.
"Indeed, I shall have some guards escort you around to look for him." And before Richard could protest, The King clapped his hands. Three Knights came over, as well as a curious Grace, Tillya and Kara.
"What's up?" Grace asked, wondering what the clapping was about.
"These three will help you find your son. I shall look after these two here." The King ruffled Tillya and Kara's hair. "Do not be too hard on the boy." He added with a smile.
"Ah, that kid is in for a smack or two for this!" Grace growled. A delicate hand tapped her shoulder.
"Has something happened, Gracie?" The Duchess turned to find Carolynn there, looking nervous.
"Nah, just my lil punk of a son wandering off again." She replied, waving it off dismissively.
"Ah, right... Well good luck. And! Um, well, if you see Lawrence, tell him we want to be getting home soon too." Carolynn smiled, however it looked very forced.
"You got it, Carrie." She lightly tapped the other woman's shoulder as she passed. The guards and Richard followed, hurriedly trying to keep up.
Even after forty minutes of looking, they had not found a trace of the boy. Every room in the wing had not been touched. Not a single patrol guard or maid had seen the boy either. The parents were quickly growing more worried. The castle was quite large and they didn't have the whole night to search. With each dead end they came to, Richard and Grace walked quicker. The guards too looked nervous, but only out of sympathy. No-one wanted to entertain the idea he was not in the castle, but after fifty minutes of looking, they had to start considering it. There was only one place that had not been searched at this point. They started to make their way to the lower levels of the castle. They called upon the first guard they saw there if they had seen Dayrellan.
"Um... Yes actually. He went that way." The guard said, pointing. Finally, the parents had something to go on. they hurriedly passed the guard. However, before they could take more than a couple of steps, the sound of a sword being drawn stopped them. They turned in time to see the guard cut down one of their escorts. He fell to the ground, looking pained and betrayed. The other escorts fumbled for their own swords. Another was cut down, falling to their knees with a gargle. The last guard killed the traitor, looking very shaken.
"What is going on...?" Richard managed, stunned.
"Damn if I know! But this just means our boy is in danger!" Grace said, picking up two of the fallen guards' swords. "Come on! Remember your training."
"I was in intelligence, dear. We're not all war heroes like you and Carolynn..." Richard said, composing himself.
"Oh, let's get moving!" Grace hurried off, taking off her shoes beforehand. Her husband pulled out a little pistol and followed. The 'escort' went to report the situation.
It didn't take long to find where the cause of their woes was. Following the trail of guard traitors led them to a hallway. Grace cut down the last traitor and stormed down it. Whoever had her son would have hell to pay. Bursting into the room, they were greeted by the sight of an old fashioned looking operating theatre. It once had been a torture room but it had been remodeled to serve its new purpose. Strapped down to the 'table' was their son, eyes closed and breathing slowly. To the side, taking notes, was their perpetrator. Lawrence looked up at them, his expression neutral.
"LAWRENCE!? What have you done to our son!?" Grace demanded, looking furious.
"Research." He replied and walked over to them, holding out his notes. Richard glanced at them.
"Wait. This is... Lawrence! You promised me you'd abandon this project!" The Duke said.
"I did at the time. But I must do it. It is for the best." Lawrence replied, calmly returning to his seat.
"ASSHOLE!" Grace struck at him, only to be blocked by Lawrence's bare hand. "What?" He wasn't bleeding...
"Do calm your ever exploding temper, woman..." The man coldly said. With a sharp pirouette, Lawrence backhanded the Duchess. She was knocked out instantly. Richard ran to her and shot a glare at his former friend.
"This has gone too far!" He aimed his pistol. "Why? I trusted you..."
"He was the most compatible with the system."
"No! I mean-" But Lawrence was uninterested in anymore chatter. He was looking at his hand curiously, flexing it... studying it.
"Seems it is working within the estimated perimeters." He noted and sat down.
"Lawrence M-!" But before he could finish, Dayrellan suddenly sat up, snapping all the binds as he did. In the middle of his chest was a dark orb... 'A Blastia!' The Duke noticed, 'but it isn't a normal one'. Dayrellan's eyes opened and his once green eyes now golden. He got down and attempted a step forward but bent over clutching his chest. All eyes were on him, watching him closely. He suddenly screamed out again and sparks of electricity flew out, originating from the blastia. Then, Dayrellan started curling up into a ball and as he did so, the sparks grew larger and became more frequent.
"This is not supposed to..." Lawrence said, then realised what was happening. "Richard, come. We must run. Pick up your wife" He ordered, then ran to the far wall from the Duke and pushed it. It moved and spun around revealing itself as a secret passage. Richard faltered for a second.
"Wait! What's going on?" He yelled desperately.
"Damn..." Richard scooped up Grace and ran to him. But it was too late. Lawrence knew this and closed the passage. Richard yelled at his disappearing figure. But it was no use. The Duke looked over his shoulder at his son. Dayrellan suddenly 'opened' up and spread his arms.
All the electricity aer he'd been drawing into himself was suddenly released. Richard closed his eyes and shielded his wife the best he could. His last thought was his wife's smile. Since they were in an enclosed space, the explosion completely destroyed the room. All that remained was rubble, fire and his parents' bodies. Dayrellan blinked a few times as if just waking up from a dream, a dream turned out to be a nightmare. When he saw his parents, he fell to his knees.
"What have I..." He whispered, voice shaking. He heard running footsteps getting closer so he scrambled to his feet and left through the secret passage Lawrence had used earlier. The King was the first to arrive and just saw a foot disappearing into the passage. He looked around at the wreckage.
"What in the spirits has... Oh... Oh please no." He gasped, noticing the bodies. Slowly, he knelt by his friends' side and wept. Medics were called in the check the casualties. First, they checked Richard. With a sad shake of the head, they confirmed his passing. Then they checked Grace.
"Your Eminence! She is alive! However, she is in a critical state and need to be treated immediately!" They reported. The King nodded sadly and let himself be led away.
The whole of Zaphias went into a state of mourning. The Duke was loved by all, including the Lower Quarter. He had helped them a lot over the years, including engineering the fountain which made such a difference to their lives. For months, the King ordered search parties to find the Duke's son. The searches came up empty and were soon called off. About a month after this, the hope and chatter about the young Duke being found slowly died and were forgotten. Grace went into a coma and wouldn't wake for a few years. When she did, all she said was; 'Find Lawrence.' She had to stay bedridden until her body could support her again, if ever. The King had lost his best friend and the only one he considered like a nephew to him in one night. However, Tillya and Kara refused to give up the search, but taking care of their mother and finding any leads slowed them down. They waited.
Now, six long years later, a year after the destruction of the Adephagos, our story starts.
And that's a wrap! Phew! Well there is the Prologue. Turned out quite dark actually... Well, it'll get brighter in Chapter 1. Reviews are much appreciated, especially as I'm just starting out and would like constructive criticism. I'll update as often as humanly possible but with the menace of School coming back soon I will be quite busy. Until next time!
EDIT: Oh younger me, I just made the story so much more darker. For returning readers, I hope this new opening is okay. To any new readers; Hello! I do hope this prologue has wet your appetite.
I will see you all soon!