[FFML] [Dark Cloud] What Changes, What Changes Not (prelude to Dark Corona) + Dark Corona Foreword

The Eternal Lost Lurker lurkerdrome at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jun 20 20:21:12 PDT 2008


Disclaimers and notes follow.


[Night of the Incident]
[472 years ago]

The black mists swirled violently as the terrifying beast screamed in rage
and pain. The boy leapt away from the howling demon, sword raised in a guard
position.

The terrible black beast dissolved, reforming into the muscular, winged
torso it had previously adopted. The demonic face was frozen in a snarl, and
the entity's form was wavering wildly around the edges.

"This is an outrage!" it roared. "For a human...a weak, pitiful HUMAN...to
defeat..." A violent ripple passed through the dark form, distorting its
voice. As the waver passed, the being diminished slightly in size, its form
becoming less distinct and solid. Its face twisted, then, into a savage
grin.

"Do you really think killing me has changed anything? Do you truly believe
that my destruction matters to the flow of time? FOOL! I am eternal! I will
always exist! I am the darkness within the hearts of all living things! I am
a dark cloud that will rain evil and despair on the pathetic people of your
world for all time! Treasure your brief victory, and know that in the grand
scheme of the universe, you are NOTHING!!"

With a last, horrific laugh, the Dark Genie dissolved into black mist, which
swirled into a shining vortex and vanished. The warped space around Toan
faded away, and he once again stood in the private chambers of King Seda,
where the young, dark king despaired over the bloody, dying form of his
beloved Sophia.

"You've done it," the familiar voice said softly at his side. Toan looked to
his right to find, as expected, the Spirit Elder, Simba. The wizened old
man's mustache twitched as he spoke. "The darkness which destroyed our world
is no more. That terrible chapter in this world's history has been erased
from the book of time."

"Not...nnngh...quite," a harsh, rasping voice corrected him. Toan and Simba
looked behind them to see...

"Seda!? What--"

The king, clad in black, crawled slowly toward them, hissing in pain and
leaving a trail of blood behind him. The Seda of the past, having heard the
voice, looked up, and his eyes widened in horror. "What in the world...?!"

The time-displaced version of Seda struggled to sit. "You...defeated the
Dark Genie, as I...hoped you could..." He paused, breath coming in thick,
wet rattles. "But I'm afraid...my use of...that spell..."

Simba bowed his head in sorrow. "Then, little has changed." He looked up at
Toan. "Except...the Atlamillia...yes..."

The Seda of the past, still clutching his beloved, stood and walked toward
the conversing trio. "I know not who you are, but..."

"Please," Simba said, raising a hand for silence. "Allow me to think."

"You dare...!"

"Don't argue with a god, Your Highness," the dying Seda rasped wetly, a grim
smile on his face.

Simba nodded. "Yes. The Atlamillia...there is a last task it can perform. A
soul..." He glanced at Toan. "You can call to her soul, Toan. With the
Atlamillia, you can..."

"NO!" the dying Seda hissed. "Your world, your time...the Atlamillia is
still needed. There is...far more..."

"The world...yes...but..."

The dying Seda looked up at his past self. "You can save her."

King Seda stepped back, eyes wide. "Me? I can...Sophia...?"

"But you..." Seda coughed, spitting blood on the floor. "It will...you will
not survive..."

King Seda frowned, head bowed. "It matters not. Sophia...died protecting me.
Me, the wretched king who sold his soul...my own people see the evil I have
become...the assassin..." He straightened, setting his jaw firmly. "What
must I do?"

"The power...the light within you..." The dying Seda's lungs rattled
alarmingly, and a gob of blood leaked from his lips. "Use...your soul...to
bring back hers..."

"You mustn't...!" Simba protested.

"Please...Sophia means more to me than my own life," Seda rasped. "Let me do
this. Let HIM do this."

King Seda's eyes widened. "You...you truly are me, are you not?"

"Yes...that is how I know..."

The king nodded. "I understand." He turned to Toan. "I know not who you are,
but...your eyes are kind and wise. Whatever happens to me, I leave the rest
in your care."

The young boy from another time watched in astonishment as King Seda
gathered his beloved in his arms. A bright light began emitting from his
body, and a column of swirling energy surrounded them.

After a long moment, when the light had become too bright to look at, King
Seda collapsed to the ground, dead. Toan rushed to catch Sophia before she
could hit the floor. As he caught her, she groaned and stirred slightly.

A weak, wet laugh sounded from behind them. "I...finally did the right
thing...for my people..."

Toan turned just in time to see Seda quietly vanish.

Simba bowed his head sadly. "Seda..."

In Toan's arms, Sophia stirred. "Wha...? Seda...?" She sat up slowly, and
looked in confusion at her blood-stained dress, then at her beloved king.
"Seda...!"

"I'm sorry, Sophia. He gave his life to save you."

Sophia looked up at the spirit elder, tears welling in her eyes. "No...!
NO...!!"

"Honor his sacrifice, Sophia. Live a long and happy life. Take care of his
people. Create a kingdom of free, happy people with smiling faces. Come,
Toan...our time here is done."

With a last, long look at the dead king and his grief-stricken beloved, Toan
bowed his head sadly and followed the spirit elder, returning to his own
time...

------------------------------------

[62 years ago]

For the first time in many years, they were all gathered: Osmond, the master
engineer from Yellow Drops; Ungaga, the proud warrior of Muska Lacka, with
his wife Mikara and their two young children in tow; Ruby, sporting a
sparkling ring wrested out of her corrupt "husband", Mayor King of Queens;
Goro, the proud, stocky hunter, clad now in the pelt of a white tiger. Xiao,
long since reverted to the form of a cat, curled up atop a dresser, watching
sleepily.

"Where is he?" Goro asked impatiently. "He's gonna be late."

"He'll be here," Ruby said sagely. "He wouldn't miss this."

"Yeah, you know how dependable he is," Osmond added.

Goro snorted, crossing his arms.

"It's almost time," Renee informed them from where she sat beside the bed in
the corner of the room, upon which lay Paige, belly swollen with child, face
covered in sweat, breathing ragged as she endured the horrific pains of
labor.

The door opened, and a tall, slender man walked in. His brown hair was
longer, and he had grown a light beard; no longer did he favor the poncho
and green cap of his youth, instead choosing to wear a suede jacket and a
wide-brimmed leather hat he'd picked up somewhere along the way. He still
wore brown leather gloves and boots, however, and the shimmering blue
Atlamillia still adorned his left wrist.

Renee breathed a sigh of relief. "Welcome home, Toan. You arrived just in
time."

------------------------------------

The adventurer sat in a chair against the wall, one arm wrapped around his
wife, the other gently caressing the fuzzy, wrinkled head of the newborn
fussing crankily in her arms.

Toan's friends, having left the room to give the new parents some privacy,
slowly filtered back in. He smiled up at them, his grey eyes, unchanged from
the days of his youth, twinkling.

"Wow, he's beautiful," Ruby said softly, leaning over to look at the baby.

"Have you named him?" Mikara asked.

Paige looked up at their friends and smiled. "Toan picked the name...I think
you'll all agree it's very appropriate."

"So? Don't keep us waiting," Goro said.

Toan chuckled, and brushed a stray lock of hair away from his forehead. "His
name is Seda," he said softly.

In Paige's arms, the infant Seda stirred, then settled into a contented
sleep.


[Time passes...
and the world slowly changes.]

DISCLAIMERS:

"Dark Cloud", "Dark Chronicle", and all related names and trademarks are the
copyrighted property of Sony Computer Entertainment and Level-5. These
properties are used without permission. This work of derivative fiction is
not intended for profit, and is not to be reposted without permission of the
author. This work is absolutely not to be used in any for-profit purpose
whatsoever. Original characters appearing in this work are the intellectual
property of the author. Please do not use them without permission.

AUTHOR'S NOTES and FOREWORD:

In 2001, an action RPG called "Dark Cloud" came out
for the Playstation 2. It was literally the first
PS2 title I bought, and I was immediately hooked.

Two years later, the sequel came out, and I was
right there to buy the first copy at my local
store.

I have played and replayed these two games several
times, and have never tired of them. The Dark Cloud
series is easily my favorite RPG franchise of all
time.

So it's only natural that I would eventually decide
to write Dark Cloud fanfiction.

However, as opposed to the common practice of "the
further adventures of..." stories which most
writers for this game series lapse into, I have
endeavored to invent a completely new adventure,
with new characters, and flesh out the world
presented in the games. A secondary purpose of this
story is to bridge the two games' storylines, and
clean up some of the murkier, less coherent aspects
of the respective plots.

This has been my secret pet project for some number
of years now. I tinker with it off and on for a few
weeks twice a year, then put it aside. Finally, it
is time to present this unknown work to a wider
audience, and hopefully you, the reader, will feel
it worth the read.

Due to the aforementioned inconsistencies of the
two games' storylines, I have taken rather liberal
narrative license with certain aspects of the plot.
I have also placed a larger degree of emphasis on
certain elements of the game(s) which, in the
canon, are not nearly as significant, such as
specific weapons seen in each game.

And although I normally cringe at the very thought
of this, I have decided that, for the purposes of
this story, I will shamelessly reference aspects of
game mechanics in an in-universe style.

It is my hope that fans of these excellent games
will enjoy this little tale...


================================
The Eternal Lost Lurker
www.lurkerdrome.com




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