Introduction: I have always been a fan of the Mana series and when I saw Secret of Evermore back in the day, even though I knew it wasn't quite a Mana game, I jumped at the opportunity to play it and the game clicked with me. Despite some gameplay similarities, Evermore sets itself apart with its setting and plot...Evermore itself is a dark, alluring world that's easy to get lost in, and its hokey dialogue keeps its atmosphere from coming on too strongly. I, and many other fans of Secret of Evermore, have to deal with the fact that a sequel isn't likely to ever happen. But that doesn't mean that we can't revisit Evermore on our own terms...
Summary: After the passing of Professor Ruffleberg, an adult Elizabeth (Fire Eyes) returns to Evermore with two teens and their cat in tow to find some startling changes and additions in her absence. Curiosity triggers the catapult that will send them hurtling towards the core of Evermore's deepest, darkest secrets.
Disclaimer: Secret of Evermore and all related properties belong to Square Enix; I just whipped up some of the original characters solely for this story.
Legacy of Evermore
Prologue – Podunk, 2015
Heavy curtains snuffed out the sunlight that attempted to weasel its way through the aged windows of the classroom. The only light in the room was provided by a projector casting the image of a velociraptor lowered into a pouncing position. The class of high school students looked on as their teacher, a woman with fiery red hair and thick coke-bottle glasses, pointed towards the image.
"...Modern science now tells us of the close relationship between birds and dinosaurs. So what we once thought of as raptors..."
She pressed the clicker and the image switched to an identical picture of the raptor, adorned with tufts of feathers on its head and along its limbs.
"...May have looked a little more like this."
"Lame!" someone called out from the back of the class. The room filled with giggles.
The teacher shut off the projector and sent the curtains receding back to the top of the windows, allowing the sun to filter into the classroom. She glanced at the clock and made her way back to her desk.
"Class, I have a small announcement to make," the teacher began softly.
"Surprise test on Monday," Luke Durant murmured in despair from his desk.
"Miss R wouldn't be that cruel," his friend, Krista Plunkett, whispered from behind him.
Miss R, their teacher, gave a forlorn look to the binder sitting open before her until she closed it. "I have some...family business to take care of," she continued, "So you will have a substitute through all of next week. I expect you all to behave, all right?"
There were some silent expressions of victory and praise that were cut short by the ringing of the bell. School was over and the weekend was just beginning, and most of the class reacted in kind by attempting to vacate the premises as soon as possible.
"I told you she wasn't that cruel," Krista said, coming into view as Luke filled his backpack. Her ruby red hair was tied into a simple ponytail. A few bangs curled over a pale face and a smattering of freckles.
"Yeah, but...something seemed to be bothering her," Luke admitted as he pushed his arms through the straps of the pack. Luke's dark brown hair was cut short and gave full view of his tan face.
"I know. She's been a little weird all day."
"Man, don't you guys watch the news or something?" their friend Mark interjected suddenly. He pushed his cellphone toward their faces as it displayed a news story. "Sidney Ruffleberg died last night. Of course she's not herself!"
The pair traded shocked expressions before Krista uttered, "Wow, poor Miss R..."
"I had no idea."
They left the classroom in a dark mood, but Krista thought she could salvage it.
"Do you want to go to the movies and see the Vexx reboot?" she asked.
Luke furrowed his brows, "Didn't the last couple of Vexx movies suck?"
"It's a reboot! They're supposed to be fixing everything that went wrong in parts four, five and six."
"Sorry but I can't. I'm taking Domino to the vet tomorrow to get her shots."
Krista sighed. "That shouldn't take all day."
"I didn't say we couldn't hang out. I just wouldn't hold my breath for the movies."
"Okay, but you know Podunk is boring as hell," Krista complained. "There's not a whole lot else to do!"
"Yeah, yeah. I know," Luke found himself in agreement. "We'll find something to do."
Under the orange radiance of twilight, Luke navigated the worn sidewalks of downtown Podunk with Krista in tow. The teens were dressed in casual wear for their Saturday outing: Krista wore a blue denim jacket over a green shirt and blue jeans, while Luke sported a white vest over a black shirt and black and white cargo pants. In Luke's right hand was the handle to the simple beige carrying case that contained a white domestic short-haired cat. Two patches of black fur marked her forehead, giving her the namesake Domino.
As they rounded the corner, Krista stopped and gasped dramatically at the sight of the Bijou theater.
"I completely forgot we were heading in this direction!"
"What a coincidence!" Luke exclaimed with the rolling of his eyes.
Krista ran over to the ticket booth and read the times. "The next showing of Vexx 3D is in five minutes! We can get in before the previews start."
Luke tapped the carrier in his hand and said, "Even if I really wanted to see that movie, I've still gotta take Domino home."
Krista gave distressed glances between the cat and the ticket booth. The ticket taker shrugged at her plight. "But...but...they accept pets, right?"
"They dropped that policy when they upgraded to a multiplex," said Luke, and the ticket taker nodded along.
Krista sighed, looking down to the crack pavement and let her shoulders sag in defeat. "Alright, let's do something else."
"Maybe we can see it next time," Luke murmured. He hated seeing Krista lose her fire.
When they reached the end of the block, the old Ruffleberg mansion loomed in the distance at the top of a hill. A wicked idea crossed Krista's mind but she quickly dismissed it. She did spot a female figure walking across the premises and squinted to make out any recognizable features.
"Luke, look!" she pointed at the figure. "Is that Miss R?"
"Yeah, looks like it," Luke confirmed. He caught the grin Krista was giving him.
"Let's go over there and cheer her up!"
"What if she wants to be alone to grieve?"
"In that big, lonely mansion?"
"Alright," Luke caved. "I guess we can go over and see how she's doing."
Oh, what could possibly go wrong!?