The Millennial Fair (1000 A.D.)
Our story begins like so many others do, with our hero fast asleep. Crono, having been up late as a result of his excitement for today’s festivities, is roused by his mother as she opens the curtains in his bedroom and chides him for over-sleeping. What’s all of the fuss about? Today is the first day of the Millennial Fair, a year-long celebration commemorating the one-thousandth year since the founding of the kingdom of Guardia. A thousand years is pretty impressive for a kingdom to last, you’re approaching Roman Empire numbers at that point. On top of that, this world’s calendar is based on the kingdom’s founding so it seems that a celebration is well deserved. Crono’s mom makes sure that he is out of bed and reminds him to behave himself (which will turn out to be excellent advice) before heading downstairs.
Crono as a character is your typical mute protagonist. Despite his distinctive look, he really doesn’t have much personality beyond his heroic tendencies allowing him to be proxy for the player. Also typical of videogame heroes, Crono doesn’t have a complete set of parents. Crono appears to live with his mother and cat, with no father in sight. In fact, I’m not sure if his father is ever referred to at all. I don’t know if there is an official explanation as to why Crono’s father is MIA, but my personal “head cannon” was that Crono’s father died when he was young, either in battle or something similar, and this prompts him to take up swordsmanship in an effort to become the home’s protector. This also served as a source of his previously mentioned heroic tendencies.
After heading downstairs, Crono’s mother meets him and reminds him to check out his friend Lucca’s demonstration of her new invention while he’s at the fair. She hands him some spending money and he’s on his way.
Crono lives in the town of Truce which is presumably the capital of Guardia given its proximity to the castle and the fact that the fair is taking place in the square north of town. If you play RPGs like I do, there’s no way that you’re going to go straight to where you know you’re supposed to go and instead you’re going to have a look around town. A logical first stop is going to be the neighbor’s house. A quick conversation with the young woman next door reveals some juicy lore. She tells Crono that the current king is the 33rd monarch of Guardia, meaning that rulers average about 30 years in their reign. Again, pretty impressive. Guardia, if nothing else, seems to be a exceptionally stable and well administered kingdom. The woman also wonders out loud how the king ever gets any actual work done given what a handful his daughter is. Apparently, the princess has a reputation for being a bit of a rebel and not getting along with her father too well.
The next stop on the tour around Truce is the local inn. At the inn Crono learns that the town has been rightfully abuzz due to the upcoming fair. A conversation with one of the patrons who hasn’t left for the fair yet reveals that the area has been suffering an unusually high number of earthquakes recently. Surely, it’s not a big deal. Near the inn lays the Mayor’s house which is bustling with activity. The Mayor has an affinity for adventures so he’s set up his manor as a resource for travelers. This serves as the game’s “Tutorial House”. The NPCs here will give Crono explanations and demonstrations on many of the game’s systems including saving, how weapons and armor work, information about status ailments, techs (your characters’ abilities and magic skills), and basic battle mechanics. After talking to everyone and looting the place of the items and money the Mayor left for travelers, any self-respecting adventurer is going to head to the local market. Unfortunately, the owners have closed the shop so they can attend to a booth at the fair so for the time being, there’s nothing to be done.
One last quick stop is right outside town to the south at Lucca’s house. Like the market, nothing much is going on here either. The house itself is a mess with machinery and various notes, books, and components strewn about. If you go upstairs, you can talk to Lucca’s mother, Lara, who informs you that Lucca and her father are already at the fairgrounds setting up for their big demonstration. There is more that you can do, you can take the ferry or walk across Zenan Bridge to the south and explore town of Porre, or Crono can head into the forest surrounding Guardia castle and hone his fighting skills against the local fauna. There will be plenty of time for that later though. For now, it’s time to join in the festivities at Leene Square.