CoT Part 22: No Loose Ends

The Fated Hour (2)

When he’s not in the current party, Magus can be found at the End of Time sulking by himself and staring into the void (as he does). Speaking to the former Fiendlord reveals that he’s a little concerned that his former general Ozzie is still knocking around in 600 A.D. making trouble. He says that Ozzie had his own fortress made in the same style as Magus’ castle and expresses a desire to pay his old right-hand a visit so Magus, along with Ayla and Frog, board the Epoch and set course for the middle ages.

Once the group arrives in 600 A.D., they find Ozzie’s Fort to the east of where Magus’ Castle once was and where present-day Media village will stand. Magus and the team are greeted by Ozzie when they enter the fortress but the reception is far from warm. At first, Ozzie is just shocked to see that Magus is still alive, but his surprise quickly turns to anger as he accuses Magus of being a traitor to the Mystics before escaping deeper into the fort (this will be a recurring theme).

In the next chamber of the fortress the gang runs into Ozzie again. He hurls some insults at the group before Flea appears and offers to deal with the intruders. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the magician has been practicing too much since Crono and the gang defeated him (!) and he is no match for Ayla, Frog, and Magus. Once he is defeated, Flea follows Ozzie’s lead and escapes. The group then enters the next room where a narrow walkway is surrounded on both sides with pits and conveyor belts. Seems some construction is still underway in the fortress. Ozzie once again appears to taunt the team safely from a balcony before trying to spring a trap using some of the monsters he “borrowed” from Magus’s castle. The monsters leap onto the conveyor belts on either side of the walkway but then fall into the pit below when they fail to pay attention to their surroundings. Once his plan goes pear-shaped, Ozzie realizes he’s in a pickle and falls back again.

When the group enters the next room Ozzie is there to sick Slash on the team. Slash laments having to fight his former commander, but he doesn’t have to do so for long as he doesn’t fare any better than Flea and is quickly defeated. Once beaten, Slash beats feet out of the chamber and the team enters another hallway where Ozzie has set another clever trap. He’s brought in one of his guillotines and placed a treasure chest under it as bait, tempting the group to go for it. Why Ozzie thought that Magus would fall for such a silly trap is anyone’s guess but he doesn’t take the bait. As the group walks toward the door, an imp follows them into the room and can’t resist trying to go for the treasure chest springing the trap on itself. With his latest scheme up in smoke, Ozzie panics and beats feet into the next room. The group then raids the booby-trapped treasure chest and even find a hidden compartment in the room containing some sweet new equipment for Magus.

The next chamber finds Ozzie, Flea, and Slash waiting for Ayla, Frog, and Magus, ready to challenge them to a three-on-three grudge match.  The three former generals actually fare much better working as a group instead of individually and even employ some dual and triple techs of their own against the group. The end result doesn’t change however as the three Mystics are eventually overcome and Ozzie (again!) runs away into the next room. Once the group catches up to Ozzie, it appears that the Mystic general is up against the wall and finally has nowhere else to run. Backed into a corner, Ozzie expresses his disbelief at Magus’ betrayal and accuses him of merely using him and his fellow Mystics. Magus has no issue acknowledging that he was merely trying to amass power in the effort to destroy Lavos and lets Ozzie know that his end is now upon him. No willing to go out just yet, Ozzie uses his crystal barrier to protect him. Frog, having seen this strategy before, immediately hits one of the switches behind Ozzie expecting to turn his trap against him once again but is taken by surprise as a trap door opens underneath the group plunging them down to the previous floor. Recovering from this minor inconvenience, the group returns to Ozzie’s holdout moments later. As they prepare to do battle against Ozzie once again they are interrupted by the entrance of a small cat who trots into the room and starts to play with one of Ozzie’s switches. Before Ozzie can stop the cat or move out from above the trap door, the cat toggles the switch opening the door underneath Ozzie’s feet plunging the general into the depths below.

With the last remnants of Fiendlord’s leadership dealt with, the group exits Ozzie’s Fort and decide to pay a visit to Medina in 1000 A.D. to check in on the residents. What the group finds is a far more peaceful and welcoming community at the former site of the fortress. The trio are greeted with open arms wherever they go and no statues are being worshiped at the town’s square. At the village elder’s house the mayor of Medina gives the group a warm welcome before continuing negotiations with a man who is trying to establish a ferry route between Truce and Medina. In the kitchen the group runs into Ozzie VIII toiling away right where he belongs.

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CoT Part 21: Praise the Sun!

The Fated Hour (1)

Before they go gallivanting across time and space, the group need to make some preparations. Ayla tells the group that her village has some awesome new armor that they should look into acquiring. How she knows this is anyone’s guess, but she hasn’t steered the group wrong yet, so Ayla, Frog, and Magus board the Epoch and head to Ioka village in 65,000,000 B.C. to see what the fuss is about. The group lands in Ioka and speaks to the trader in the village and he tells them that he has powerful new armor which he will trade a powerful new armor for 10(!) each of petals, fangs horns, and feathers. Ayla coughs up the required loot and the trader give them the Ruby Armor, which in addition to being quite powerful reduces fire damage to 20% of what it would normally be. This may come in handy in the near future…

While the team is on the hunt for powerful pieces of armor to help in their ongoing quest to fight Lavos, they decide to collect the contents of the sealed chests that they have been coming across every now and again. The group’s first stop is at Porre in 600 A.D. in order to use Marle’s pendant to “activate” the chests but not yet take their contents just yet. When the group make their way to Truce and Guardia castle, they are greeted as heroes as they express graditude for their help in defeating Magus (even though Magus is in the party, I guess no one knows what the Fiendlord actually looks like in person. Queen Leene even gives Frog a personal thank you to Frog for his part and for helping Crono defeat Magus. After “activating” or collecting all of the sealed chests in 600 A.D. the group then travels to 1000 A.D. to gather up the contents of the chests. Not collecting the contents of the chests in 600 A.D. allows the group to use their time travel power to essentially collect some of them twice, once in the present then again in the past since that’s how time travel works in this world. Another benefit is having the chests react to the pendant in the past causes them to upgrade in the future giving the group even more powerful versions of the elemental gear which provide superior protection as well as absorbing even more elemental damage.

When the group tries to collect the chest in Guardia Castle in 1000 A.D. they need to have Marle with them or else they get immediately chased out, providing a contrast to their heroes’ welcome in 600 A.D. With Marle in the party, the Chancellor stops her in an attempt to smooth things over between her and her father. The Chancellor tells Marle about her father’s dedication to the realm and how he puts nearly all else behind his duty as king. He recalls that even during her mother’s final days how she wanted to spend time with her husband but he was too absorbed in his duties to see her one last time before the illness that she had finally claimed her life. The Chancellor the casually remarks that in a certain way, the king could be blamed for his wife’s death, cementing his spectacular failure in mending the strained relationship between Marle and the king. If that was even his true goal…

Once the group empties the chest in Guardia Castle, they have one more stop in their preparations. The team boards the Epoch and flies east to Medina village and heads to the monument which resides in the northern forest. As the group approaches the shrine, the pendant begins to react once again breaking the seal. Once the seals is broken, a (the?) Nu appears and offers the group a choice between two of the sealed chests. One of the chests contains a powerful weapon (a sword to be used by Crono), and in the other is a piece of protective equipment. After making their choice (I usually go with the protection since Crono will be getting a much better sword in the near future), the Nu proclaims that he will now return to Belthasar and disappears seemingly aware that it will take almost 1300 years. Man, Nus are next-level.

With all of the (currently available) sealed chests collected, the team returns to the End of Time to consider their next move. Talking with Lucca reveals that she is very interested in the Sun Stone, the source of energy used by the Kingdom of Zeal until they drained it of its power and started using the Mammon Machine. She seems to think that if its power can be restored, she might be able to make a weapon that could be effective against Lavos. She recalls something Gespar said and thinks that there might be a connection with an isolated island in 2300 A.D. Looking to explore the matter further, Lucca, Robo, and Magus board the Epoch and take off for 2300 A.D. and locate the island. On the island is a small cave leading to what is known as the Sun Palace, which consists of a single large chamber which looks suspiciously similar to the Ocean Palace complete with statues of Queen Zeal. As the group is exploring the room, they are suddenly attacked by a creature surrounded by fire. The unusual thing about this new creature, called the Son of Sun, is that it can only be harmed by attacking one of the flames surrounding it, which it periodically rotates in order to keep its opponents guessing. Fortunately for Lucca, Robo, and Magus, most of the Son of Sun’s attacks are fire-based and they just happen to have a bunch of brand new gear which protects them from fire. Despite its dangerous game of roulette, the Son of Sun is eventually defeated and retreats to the rear of the chamber. The team catches up to the creature and when they attempt to engage it the Son of Sun disappears and become the Moon Stone. After a short examination, Lucca determines that the Moon Stone is merely the Sun Stone but still drained of all of its energy. Unfortunately, Lucca claims that it would take eons of direct sunlight to restore the stone of its energy but on the bright side, they have a time machine, they can make eons go by in an instant!

With the Moon Stone in hand, Lucca and the gang take the Epoch to 65,000,000 B.C. to look for a suitable place to put the stone where it can get plenty of sunlight and recharge. The group eventually comes across a small northern island where a small opening in a cave can provide nearly constant sunlight. Lucca places the Moon Stone on a small pedestal so it can soak in the solar energy and the group heads back to the Epoch. The team warps back to 2300 A.D. to and head back into the Sun Shrine to collect the researched Sun Stone but when they reach the pedestal that the stone was resting on, they find it empty.

It can never be easy…

After examining the pedestal for a moment, Lucca determines that the stone has been missing for quite some time so the group decides to start going back through the time periods to see if they can find about when it ended up going missing and recover it.

The first stop is the Sun Shrine in 1000 A.D. where the group enters the shrine in the present day but the stone is missing in this tame also. Lucca again inspects the pedestal and concludes that the stone has gone missing recently. Given this information, the group decides to look around and see if they can’t locate the missing Moon Stone. When the Epoch make its way over Porre, the group notices and awful lot of light coming from the mayor’s home so they decide to investigate. The Mayor denies that he is either in possession or has ever heard of any Moon Stone, however after talking to his family members and hearing their reports of how greedy the mayor is, the group suspects that he knows more than he’s letting on.

Presented with an apparent stalemate in the present day, Lucca and the team decide to travel back to 600 A.D. and see if interviewing the family’s ancestors can give them an inside lane on convincing their decedent to give up the Moon Stone. While talking to the family, the group discovers that the elder’s wife is looking for some spiced jerky for a dish she wants to prepare. Even though the war against the Mystics has ended, good spiced jerky is still hard to come by it seems. Perhaps doing a favor for the family will get them just what they need to convince the Mayor circa 1000 A.D. to give them the Moon Stone. Fortunately, the Snail Shop in present day Porre has spiced jerky available for a premium price, but the group can easily absorb the cost at this point. They then take the jerky back to 600 A.D. and offer it to the woman. She offers to pay a hefty sum of money for the jerky, but Lucca is feeling generous and gives to her free of charge. The elder’s wife is so touched by Lucca’s kindness that she vows to teach her children about the value of generosity and make it a family legacy. Satisfied that this could be just the development they need, the team then returns to 1000 A.D. to see if the mayor is a little more willing to part with the Moon Stone.

Once back in the present day, the group enters the mayor’s home to a much different scene than before. Both of the man’s children are much bigger fans of their father and the mayor’s wife seems much more satisfied also. Although she secretly wishes he was just a little less generous with the family’s money. Well, there’s no such thing as a perfect solution. Once Lucca talks to the Mayor himself, he’s more than happy to return the Moon Stone to the group, claiming that a passing traveler left it with them. Sure, whatever you say buddy…

Now that the Moon Stone is back in their possession, the group returns to the island containing the Sun Shrine and returns the stone to the pedestal for its final 1300 years of recharging. A quick flight to 2300 A.D. and the group enters the shrine and retrieves the fully restored Sun Stone. Once she has the stone in hand, Lucca is convinced that she can in fact us it to make a powerful weapon against Lavos. The team then makes a bee-line to Lucca’s home in 1000A.D. where she processes the stone, spouts some techno-babble, and eventually reveals the fruit of her labors, the Wondershot, the most powerful handgun in existence. Its damage output is a little inconsistent, but it can certainly pack a heck of a punch. Taban then enters the room and reveals that he too has been working on something using a shard of the Sun Stone; a sweet pair of sunglasses increase the effectiveness of weapons when worn, presumably by making the wearer look awesome.

With the power of the Sun Stone at their disposal, the group returns to the End of Time to see what other adventures they can get into and what rewards will be granted.

CoT Part 20: Dear Friends

The Time Egg

Once the Black Omen appears over the ocean Frog, Magus, and Marle decide to get the heck out of Dodge and take the Epoch to the End of Time to consult the Old Man and consult him on how to get in contact with the Guru of Time who Magus thinks may have a way to undo Crono’s fate. When the group arrives at the End of Time, the Old Man immediately notices that Crono isn’t with them and asks after him. Marle catches the Old Man up on recent occurrences which prompts the Old Man to honor Crono with a song which he calls “Memories of Crono.” Given the tenor of the song, the Old Man is greatly saddened by Crono’s passing but tells the group that he can’t be of any aid to them in their endeavor to bring Crono back. Marle then asks him if he knows anything about the Guru on Time or his whereabouts. The Old Man asks what she could possibly want with the Guru of Time and Marle tells him that she’s heard that he might have a way to bring Crono back. The Old Man then skirts the subject, telling Marle that she is not the first person to want to reverse death but adds that Crono must be very happy to have such dedicated friends.

Thinking that this line of inquiry has led to a dead-end, the group goes to leave but the Old Man calls them back. He says that he does have something that may be of use to them and shows them what looks like a gold egg. The Old Man calls it the “Chrono Trigger” and advises them to speak to Belthasar who may know a way to “hatch” it although doing so may not necessarily bring the results they want. He tells them that the Chrono Trigger represents potential and getting the results that they desire will require action and dedication. He can make no guarantees, but if they keep Crono in their hearts, they just may get what they want.

Magus then puts two and two together and declares that the Old Man is himself Gespar, the Guru of Time. Gespar pulls an Obi-Wan Kenobi and declares that people did use to call him that long ago. Before the group finally heads out to find Belthasar, they decide to take Magus to see Spekkio and see if he can awaken any hidden power within the wizard. Spekkio for his part, concedes that he can’t really tach Magus anything he doesn’t already know and admits that he probably could learn a thing or two from him. Well, it was worth a shot anyway.

With the Chrono Trigger and a heaping helping of hope, the team board the Epoch and takes off for 2300 A.D. to head for the Keeper’s Dome. Upon arriving, the group finds the Black Omen hovering near Death Peak and Bethasar’s residence. Once in the facility, the group finds the main room empty. They do find that if they activate the main computer in the center of the room, that they can rename the Epoch if they desire. The group then head to the back of the facility and finds the Belthasar/Nu resting next to the door leading to the Epoch’s hangar. When they approach Belthasar he tells them that Death Peak contains a power that could restore the slain to life however that person’s existence must be of the upmost importance. Given that Crono has been the tip of the sword in the quest to save the world from global destruction, I think we have that part covered. The Belthasar/Nu also tells the group that in order to properly pull off this feat, they will need some sort of double to stand in for the slain person, presumably in order to not disrupt the past with the person’s sudden disappearance affecting everything that happens afterward. Belthasar tells them that if they want a suitable double, they should seek out Nostrom Bekkler. He tells the group that Bekkler is a pretty big fan of fairs, so if there is one going on somewhere, he’s likely to be there. We may know just the place.

Once aboard the Epoch again, the group heads to 1000 A.D. to head back to the Millennial Fair. Upon emerging in the present day, the group once again sees the Black Omen hovering ominously over Melchior’s cabin. It would seem that the Black Omen is either somehow folloing the Epoch into whatever time period it goes to or it somehow now exists in every time period simultaneously. Also, it’s pretty interesting that Melchior lives in the same approximate location that Balthesar set up shop next to Death Peak (where Lavos emerged) almost 1300 years apart. And both of those just happen to be near where the Ocean Palace/Black Omen is located. Is it all a coincidence, or does something draw all of these things to this one spot on the planet? Given that Melchior’s home is literally in the shadow of the Black Omen, the group decides to make a pit stop and check in on the swordsmith see how he’s holding up. Melchior seems to be taking everything is stride as well as he can but wonders what the appearance of the Black Omen portends. Nothing good most likely.

After checking up on Melchior, the group then heads to the Millennial Fair to find Bekkler and see if he has what they need to switch out Crono. When they reach Bekkler’s tend, he tells them that he can provide them with a double but he wants them to play a game of miming with them. The better Marle does mimicking what the Crono double does, the less money he will charge once the game is over. She makes a valiant effort, and Bekkler decides he’ll part with the Crono double for about 5,000 gold and he has the double sent to Crono’s house. Lucca, Magus, and Marle then head over to Crono’s house to pick up the double where they find Crono’s Mother tending to the bedroom. When she sees the group, she asks Marle how Crono has been doing and Marle can’t help but lie and tell her that Crono is doing just fine. Marle asks to borrow the Crono double and naturally she gives her permission and as the group is leaving tells them to “Stay out of trouble.”

Trouble is the one thing they won’t be staying out of.

After a quick pit-stop at Lucca’s house to pick up a new piece of gear for her that Taban has put together, the group boards the Epoch and heads back to the Keeper’s Dome in 2300 A.D. The team heads back to the rear of the facility where the Bethasar/Nu resides and shows him the double of Crono that they managed to get from Bekkler. Belthasar tells the group that the double will do quite nicely and the team is now ready to attempt to climb Death Peak. Belthasar tells the team that his Nu entity will now execute one final program in order to help them get to the summit. He then sends three smaller programs which are transported to the mountain to offer aid to the group. After the program is executed, Belthasar asks the group for one final favor, now that it has served its purpose, he asks that the group permanently shut down the Nu construct which houses his consciousness and let it rest. Marle reluctantly obliges the Guru of Reason and shuts off the Nu construct ceasing its flow of time forever.

With all the preparations made, Ayla, Magus, and Marle head to the base of Death Peak to attempt to reach the summit and bring back their boy. Soon after entering the area, the team runs into the first of the three programs that Belthasar sent to the mountain. The program advises the group to stay behind the trees in order to avoid being blown off the mountain by high winds and then helpfully turns into a tree for them to take cover behind. The group then strategically avoids further winds gusts and makes their way further into the mountain. The group continues to make their way further up the mountain that his hostile to them in both environment and the temperament of its residents. The mountain itself is a cold, icy, and rocky wasteland where the only life to be seen are the monsters that constantly ambush the trio as they make their way further and further up the craggy slope. Just when the group seems to be making some headway, they run into something even worse than groups of marauding creatures; a Lavos spawn. In addition to the regular monsters that occupy Death Peak, it seems the group must also contend with the young of the world-destroying parasite waiting to mature enough to find planets of their own to feed off of. Fortunately, the young are not nearly as formidable as their parent and the combined efforts of Ayla, Magus, and Marle are enough to destroy the creatures before they can devastate any other worlds.

While making their way further up Death Peak, the group finds a small cave and encounter a second Lavos spawn and when it’s defeated the team finds themselves facing a small exposed cliff. Fortunately, there is another of the Belthasar programs at the edge of the cliff with advice to help them avoid falling off and ending up back at the foot of the mountain. After the group successfully navigate the cliff, the group runs into the third and final program. Unlike the other two programs though, who offer specific advice for getting though specific popsicles, this one only offers an opaque “Push the shell. Climb the shell.” There was bound to be one eccentric one in the group I suppose. As the team approaches the summit, they run into the third and final Lavos spawn. When the trio defeat the final obstacle blocking them from the summit of Death Peak, the head of the monster disappears but its shell is left behind allowing the group to use it to climb up a nearby ledge so then can continue on revealing after the fact what the heck the last program was talking about.

With the last of the Lavos spawn out of the way (the ones directly in their path at least) Ayla, Magus, and Marle finally reach the summit of Death Peak. The summit itself is a narrow, jagged peak with a solitary, dead tree on it. Once at the top, Marle offers a prayer which causes the pendant (now carried by Ayla) to react. Marle then pulls out the Chrono Trigger which seems to be draw energy from the pendant. After the Chrono Trigger draws enough energy from the pendant, it begins to float into the sky before exploding into many pieces. Marle is devastated when the Chrono Trigger shatters with Ayla also expressing disappointment that their quest has apparently failed. Overcome with frustration, Marle screams into the wind before collapsing in the snow. However, just all seems lost, the sun is eclipsed by some sort of object and when the peak is swallowed by darkness Ayla, Magus, and Marle find themselves back in the bowels of the Ocean Palace with Lavos, Queen Zeal, and Crono all apparently frozen where they are. Magus makes the observation that they are in a frozen moment in time right at the moment before Crono’s death. The group then takes the opportunity to move Crono out of the path of Lavos’ destruction and put the double in his place. Once the deed is done, the group appears back at the summit of Death Peak and Crono is placed under the tree, after a moment Crono awakens confused but unharmed. Marle then embraces Crono admonishes him for his actions and warning him to never to pull something like that again. She then attempts to catch Crono up on what has happened since the Ocean Palace but can’t seem to finish one thought before moving to the next as Crono silently takes the moment in, as he does.

Once everyone is gathered once again at the End of Time, Gespar congratulates the group on successfully bringing their friend back. He then explains to the group the various ways in which they can confront Lavos; by using a special gate to transport directly to Lavos, or using the Epoch to travel to 1999 and attacking as the creature emerges, or by going through the Black Omen. Gespar also tells the group that he has seen several glimpses of various events that they can intervene in that that may prove to be beneficial to them and the world that they are trying to save.

The group is assembled and the world is in imminent danger, you know what time it is:

It’s side quest time!

CoT Part 19: Under New Management

The New King (12,000 B.C.)

Once Lucca and Marle compose themselves and add Ayla to fill out their group, they head out into the Last Village. Amazingly, some of the Enlightened Ones have managed to survive the destruction of their entire nation and the subsequent globe-altering carnage and found their way to the refuge. Unfortunately, for them at least, the surviving Enlightened Ones have lost their ability to use magic. One of the Enlightened Ones at the Commons wonders how they will manage to go on without magic but a nearby Earthbound One tell them that they’ve been managing it just fine all along which puts them a bit at ease. Some of the other Enlightened Ones recognize that they had become too dependent on magic, particularly the power that came from the Mammon Machine. There’s a strange combination of both despair and hope throughout the camp, all of Zeal has been destroyed and fallen into the sea but the clouds have broken and the blizzard which has been tearing at the land for as long as anyone can remember has finally abated.

Things are starting to look a little too rosy however, so naturally Dalton has to show up with a number of soldiers to ruin any good feeling anyone might be feeling. Somehow Dalton has retained his ability to use magic, perhaps because he was exposed to so much of Lavos’ energy while in the Ocean Palace, and declares himself the new King of the World. He then recognizes the group and states that he is going to take them prisoner so they won’t have an opportunity to foment any resistance to him and on top of that, he is commandeering the Epoch for his own personal chariot. Ayla, Lucca, and Marle take issue with this of course and decide to put a stop to Dalton’s shenanigans. Unfortunately for the team, Dalton has one surefire trick up his sleeve, the “look behind you” gambit, and the team falls for it and are blasted in the back by Dalton’s magic. In fairness, this may actually be the first time in history that this trick has been used. Although Lucca at the very least should have known better.

Sometime later the group wakes up in a cell. The guards in this facility did have the foresight to take the team’s items and gear from them so they’re already doing better than law enforcement in Guardia. A ladder in the back of the room leads to an exterior ledge where the team discovers that they are in fact on the Blackbird, the enormous aircraft that was docked near Kajar. When the trio get back inside, Lucca thinks that she has found a way to get up into the ventilation system which will allow the group to move around freely and perhaps regain their gear. Fortunately, the group has Ayla with them and although she doesn’t have any of her armor with her, she can do quite a bit of damage with just her fists if they should run into any trouble. Ayla, Lucca, and Marle make their way around the Blackbird via the aircraft’s ventilation system spying on guards and searching for their stolen equipment. Eventually, the group comes across one of the guards sleeping next to a treasure chest allowing the group to sneak into the room and loot the chest which contains Marle’s equipment. A short time later, the group finds Ayla’s armor making her all the more dangerous.

While exploring the vents near the Blackbird’s tail, the group hears a voice coming from below. Peeking in through the ceiling, the group sees the Epoch in a small hanger with Dalton overseeing some modifications in order to make it an appropriate airborne throne for him. With nothing to be done at the moment, the group heads to the front of the aircraft and recover their money, items, and Lucca’s gear. Once the team has all of their property back, they make their way onto one of the Blackbird’s massive wings. While on the wing, the group runs into the Golem Boss, the most powerful of Dalton’s Golem minions, who intends to put a stop to the group’s escape attempt. The Golem Boss is afraid of heights however which is a significant disadvantage when fighting on the wing of a giant aircraft so the Golem doesn’t manage to put up much of a fight before being defeated.

Just then, Dalton finishes the modifications to the Epoch, adding wings and engines to it allowing it now to fly. Dalton renames the craft the Aero Dalton Imperial and prepares to take it on its maiden voyage after changing the music to something more appropriate. Ayla, Lucca, and Marle see Dalton flying around in his Aero Dalton Imperial and he decides to test out the craft’s new weapon systems on them. Then, in one of the greatest displays of raw guts ever, the group jumps from the Blackbird onto the Aero Dalton Imperial in order to do battle. After a short fight, Dalton sees that he is clearly outclassed by the women and, in a last ditch effort, attempts to summon the Golem Boss to aid him. Unfortunately, the Golem Boss has already been dealt with so Dalton ends up being sucked into the portal presumably to spend the rest of his days wherever he’s been summoning the Golems from. The group then retakes the Epoch but Dalton has changed the controls around. While trying to get a handle on the new control scheme, Marle accidentally shoots the Blackbird down to the great delight of the people watching from the Las Village. Marle manages to figure out the new controls for the Epoch and she lands the craft back near the village. Once back on terra firma, the group takes a breather and Marle hardens her resolve to find and/or save Crono. Ayla, for her part, remains incredulous that someone as strong a Crono could possibly die.

The group returns to the Commons, and more people have trickled in since the three were taken prisoner by Dalton. The lady that Crono spoke to and convinced to keep the small sapling that the queen had ordered her to burn is there and happy to report that the tree is doing just fine. A child is playing with what looks like Alphador, Janus’ cat, and generally the mood is much more upbeat that it has been. It seems that seeing the last remnants of the Kingdom of Zeal crash into the ocean has significantly raised the spirits of the survivors. Some of the people at the Commons report to the group about a mysterious man who appeared while the group was gone who seemed to be searching for someone. The last anyone has seen of him, he was heading north to the nearby cape.

When Ayla, Frog, and Marle get to the North Cape, it looks as if the mystery man has already moved on, however when they near the cliff-side overlooking the ocean, who should appear but Magus? The group immediately prepares for a fight but it seems Magus is more interested in taking in the view and opining about the great Kingdom of Zeal being destroyed and falling into the ocean. He then reveals to the group that in his youth, Magus actually lived in Zeal. The scene then switches back to the Ocean Palace’s Mammon Machine chamber where the Queen Zeal has gathered the three gurus with Schala. The gurus are urging the queen to shut the Mammon Machine down since it’s power is too much to control when Janus comes into the chamber looking for Schala. Before anyone can react, gates appear under each of the gurus and, to Schala’s horror, Janus, swallowing them all. Melchior is then seen bursting out of the imp’s cupboard in modern day Medina Village, Belthasar emerges in one of the ruined domes in the future, and Gaspar, having apparently drawn the short straw, appears in an empty void outside of time itself. The scene then cuts to Ozzie in one of the forests in the middle ages when a gate opens in front of him and Janus emerges. Ozzie then immediately sicks a group of imps on the child and the scene mercifully ends before we can see what happens to the poor creatures.

Back at the North Cape Magus explains to the group that he is Janus, Schala’s younger brother and prince of Zeal. He says that ever since the day we was transported to the middle ages he has lived only for the thought of destroying Lavos. He had nearly succeeded in summoning the beast when they interfered at his castle and coincidentally opened another gate bringing him back to his old home. He then decided to use his knowledge of upcoming events to convince his mother that he was an oracle so that he might get another chance at defeating Lavos but the monster is just too powerful for him. Magus tells the group that any who challenge Lavos will be themselves destroyed just like that “fool” Crono. Not surprisingly, that last comment doesn’t go over very well with the group and Frog in particular decides to take exception to Magus referring to Crono in such a way. It appears that Frog is about to throw down one-on-one with Magus but cooler heads prevail when he realizes that killing Magus won’t bring Crono or Cyrus back and decides against seeking revenge.

As the group is about to take their leave, Magus stops them and offers to join them if they insist on continuing to oppose Lavos. Perhaps their combined strength could be enough to face Lavos. Magus also suggests that Gaspar, the Guru of Time, may know a way to undo what happened to Crono. The suggestion that Crono can be saved is enough to convince the team to let Magus tag along, and the group heads back to the Epoch to return to the End of Time to speak with Gaspar and see what he can do. As Frog, Magus, and Marle take off in the Epoch however, something very strange and ominous happens. An enormous structure appears above where the Ocean Palace was located over the ocean, the undersea palace having been transformed into the Black Omen.

 

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CoT Part 18: Things Fall Apart

Lavos Beckons (12,000 B.C.)

Crono, Lucca, and Marleappear at the entrance of the Ocean Palace and immediately run into Mune. Mune tells the group that they feel a dark energy in the palace and fears that something truly frightening stirs before they disappear. The scene then cuts to the Mammon Machine’s chamber where Queen Zeal is pressing Schala to increase the Machine’s output. Schala hesitates but capitulates and does as commanded. The chamber begins to glow with the energy that the Mammon Machine and Schala are generating which pleases the queen immensely. As the queen is admiring the immense power of the Mammon Machine she’s oblivious as Schala collapses behind her being physically weakened by her effort. The Prophet is the only person in the room who seems to be concerned with Schala’s condition as the scene cuts back to the group as they head deeper into the palace.

The group is met with heavy resistance as it makes its way through the Ocean Palace. The opulent facility is riddled with an many guards and strange creatures as it is ornate statues of Queen Zeal…and strange creatures. Despite the heavy opposition, Crono, Lucca, and Marle continue to make their way further and further into the facility going deeper and deeper into the ocean floor. The numerous fights with the adversaries in the palace prove to be quite fruitful as during the skirmishes Crono finally learns his ultimate ability, Luminare. At this point, Crono essentially becomes a god of death, wiping out all enemies that come before him as long has his magical power holds out.  As they begin to near the Mammon Machine’s chamber, the group also runs into Masa, who gives them a brief history of Dreamstone, pointing out that both the Mammon Machine, Shcala/Marle’s pendant, and Melchior’s Ruby Knife are all made using the mysterious substance. Masa then explains to the group that they and Mune are the embodiment of Melchior’s hope sealed within the Ruby Knife and urges group to hurry to the Mammon Machine’s chamber and put a stop to it before disaster strikes.

Once again the scene cuts to the Queen Zeal is still enjoying the power emanating from the Mammon Machine. The energy however is having the opposite effect on Schala who is still physically weakened which seems to be alarming the Prophet quite a bit. One of the queen’s aides then tries to tell her that the power is getting out of hand and it is getting too dangerous to continue like this. They are struck down where they stand for their effort by the queen now mad with power. The queen then urges Schala to push the Machine even further for the sake of eternal life and the glory of Zeal.

As the team nears the entrance to the Mammon Machine’s chamber, they once again run into Dalton keeping watch outside. Rather than do his own dirty work however, he summons the Golem Twins apparently under the assumption that since the group had so much trouble with one Golem, two would surely do them in. However, Crono, Lucca, and Marle are wise to the Golems’ tricks this time around and both of the Twins are defeated in short order. Dalton then prepares to make his next move when a strange energy starts to fill the room. Dalton quickly comes to the conclusion that the energy is coming from Lavos itself and escapes into the inner chamber worried that his chance for eternal life might pass him by leaving the way open for the group to follow.

The group finally enters the Mammon Machine’s chamber deep in the Ocean Palace. On the walkway Crono tries to talk to a Nu but it beats feet out of the chamber before everything goes to hell. The group then makes their way to the center of the chamber to confront Queen Zeal. Marle announces that they are there to rescue Schala from this cruel treatment and Lucca makes clear her intention to shut the Mammon Machine down once and for all. The Mammon Machine then reacts and this puts Schala in a great amount of distress as if the machine itself is attacking her. The Prophet moves to aid her as it becomes clear that the power is becoming too much for ever her to control. Crono then draws the Ruby Knife and prepares to use it in the Mammon Machine. Masa and Mune both speak from within as Crono throws the knife at the Machine and the blade buries itself deep in the device. The immense power of the machine then flows into the Ruby Knife and transforms it into a sword. The power of the newly formed Masamune is not enough to completely stop the Mammon Machine, however the team has much more pressing issues because Lavos then emerges.

Crono, Lucca, and Marle try to prepare to do battle with the world devouring monster but they are quickly defeated by its destruction from the heavens. With the group at Lavos’ mercy, the Prophet appears and casts off his robe revealing himself to be Magus. He states that he has waited a long time for this chance to take revenge against…Lavos? So not only did Magus not create Lavos, he’s actually been on a decades-long quest to destroy the beast. Wow, we really misjudged him. Well that’s some good news that the already beat-up group doesn’t have to deal with both Lavos and Magus. The queen then takes her place at Lavos’ side and taunts Magus saying that his power is nothing compared to Lavos. Schala begs the queen to stop, telling her that Lavos’s power can only lead to ruin. However, the queen instead swears to destroy any who oppose her and proceeds to taunt the “prophet of lies” again. Before Magus can make his move, Lavos attacks him and begins to drain his power but Magus manages to fight off the attack. He then draws some kind of weapon of his own and moves in for the kill. The attack doesn’t seem to have any effect on the beast and Magus too is swatted away. Queen Zeal can’t help but gloat over the all of the defeated adversaries and offers them eternal life as part of Lavos, which honestly doesn’t sound much different than just killing them.

Despite the dire situation (or perhaps because of it) Crono decides that he isn’t quite ready to give up quite yet and rises to his feet to face Lavos on his own. The queen of course can’t help but taunt him but Crono ignores her and begins to gather his strength. Crono appears to put up a rigorous power struggle against Lavos but ultimately it is not enough as Crono is eventually overwhelmed and his body is completely destroyed as Lucca, Magus, and Marle look on. Satisfied with her handiwork Queen Zeal and Lavos depart leaving Lucca quite rattled and Marle inconsolable.

Before the two can spare a moment to grieve for their fallen friend, Schala gathers everyone together to send them to (relative) safety with the last of her pendant’s power. She pleads with the group not to hate her mother or Zeal for what they have done before she sends them off and then takes a moment to grieve for Crono herself.

Just when things can’t seem to get any worse, Lavos breaks through the surface on the mainland and unleashes a massive attack into the sky striking the Kingdom of Zeal itself. The floating island that make up the kingdom are severely damaged and they break apart as the entire landmass begins to fall into the ocean which causes a massive tidal wave.

An unknown amount of time later, Lucca and Marle awaken in a small hut. Moments after waking up the Elder from the Earthbound One’s villages enters glad to see that they are both now awake. Marle immediately asks about Crono but the Elder tells them that they are the only two that were recovered and they are now in a small makeshift village which is now the only refuge from the destruction. Lucca asks the Elder about Melchior and he tells her that before the tidal wave hit, a portal had appeared and nearly swallowed Janus. Melchior tried to protect Janus from from the portal but he ended up getting drawn into the portal along with Janus and as of now no one knows what became of either of them. Lucca quickly comes to the conclusion that the portal must have been a gate and then asks if anyone know what became of Schala but no one know what has become of her either.

For a bit of good news, the Elder reports that the Epoch has washed up nearby and seems to be intact almost as if it was trying to follow them. Unfortunately, this comes a small consolation to Marle who can only think about Crono at the moment. Lucca does her best to cheer Marle up by pointing out the if the Epoch is OK, the it’s entirely possible that Crono is also. The Elder takes this opportunity to return Marle’s pendant to her, which up until this point Crono can been holding for safekeeping. He tells her that it was with her when they found her as if it was trying to protect her. The Elder then decides to take his leave and tells the two to take as long as they need to rest up and he’ll await them at the common area.

 

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