Cythera Chronicles: The Call of Destiny



  • Author’s note: This story takes place at the prime of Cythera, the very beginning of Alaric’s rule. Cademia is not the run-down once metropolis of the game, but a thriving capital. The series of houses and judges has not yet been established, and the cities are run for the most part by the guilds.

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    Kevin ran down the crowded streets of Cademia. Why was he always late for the guild meetings? Perhaps it was his remote house, or the travel through the tempting and busy market. No one knew why, Kevin just wasn’t punctual.

    ‘Just one more block, and I’ll be at the guild house, two minutes earlier than last week!’ He thought with glee, ‘That means that I’ll be in the grey zone, and will receive no demerits!’

    "Whoa; oof!" Kevin stumbled on something large and landed on the hard packed dirt streets, face in the mud. The crowd around him recovered from the odd accident and began to laugh. Kevin groaned.

    ‘There goes my timing! I might as well go home and clean up before I go to the guild. There’s no point now.’ He stood up and wiped his dirty tunic. Kevin turned around to head home. He looked down to see what he had tripped on, and found that it was a boy of ten years, lying in the street. The crowd had begun to disperse, so Kevin knelt down to check on the boy.

    "I guess I tripped on you, are you alright?"

    "You tripped on my legs." The boy replied. "I’m fine, I don’t feel anything through them. I’m a cripple."

    "Well, how did you get out here then?"

    "I grab onto passing carts and drag. In the market, I get coins if I’m lucky."

    "You go home on any cart?"

    "No," The boy looked sullen now. "Only a certain cart lets me drag. The others beat me off."

    "I see," Kevin lied. "When does this cart come?"

    "It depends. Usually ‘round sundown." The boy shrugged and returned to watching the street. Kevin looked up. It must have been ten in the morning, and at this time of year, seven hours until sunset.

    "I could carry you to your home, if you’re just going to sit here all day."

    The boy looked concerned. "How will I get some oboloi?"

    Kevin whimpered at the thought of losing his hoarded money, but he stood strong to his resolve. "I’ll give you ten."

    The boy’s face lit up with joy. "Ten? I never get more than two!"

    Kevin felt a sigh of relief within him, knowing he was doing the right thing. He bent over and suppressing a small grunt, (Kevin was not used to manual labor, the boy was quite weightless,) took the boy into his arms.

    "Where’s your home?" Kevin asked.

    "It’s not really a home, I sleep at the corner behind the smithy. It’s loud, but the furnace is warm."

    Kevin once again whimpered at the thought of an act of sharing his precious semi-wealth, but he offered anyway. "You can stay at my place."

    "Thank you sir!"

    Kevin smiled. "Call me Kevin."

    "Ok, Kevin. Where is your place?"

    "On the edge of the city. You won’t need to come here everyday anymore, I’ll get us food."

    "Thank you, Kevin!"

    "What’s your name?"

    "My name? I’m Arren."

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

    After a few weeks, Arren had settled in with Kevin at Kevin’s small house just outside Cademia. Every day they ate two filling meals and a light lunch.

    "Goodnight, Arren." Kevin murmured as he tucked the boy into his soft bed. Arren smiled as usual, but didn’t drop off immediately.

    "Kevin?"

    "Yes Arren?"

    "Can I call you father?"

    "Yes, Arren."

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

    The sound of the gavel hitting the wooden circle echoed in the silent guild house.

    "Kevin, Fifth Seat of the Defense Committee, you are being charged with your thirtieth late mark, and you missed a very important session last week!" Guild-Master Prothall called to the assembly. "Do you understand the consequences of your actions?"

    Kevin sighed slowly. Taking care of Arren had become a full time job. "Yes Sir, I am to be cast out." This meant that he would lose his source of income, and by now he was bonded to Arren, a bond that would be hard to break.

    "Yes, Kevin, that would be the case in a normal situation..."

    "I am not to be cast out?" Kevin blurted, too excited to control himself.

    "I did not say that, Kevin. You will still be cast out, but your income will remain steady, if you take this task. Last week, when you were not here, a situation came up that no one would handle. If you handle it, your income will remain steady."

    ‘It can’t be too hard,’ Kevin figured, ‘I’m the most ready for something like this of all the people here! I’ll probably go negotiate with one of the lesser guilds and return, no problem!’

    "I will fix this situation for you, Guild-Master Prothall! I am ready to prove myself worthy of my income!" Kevin announced.

    Prothall smiled, half relieved, half malicious. "Your task is to travel to the land our King Alaric came from and to retrieve an artifact known as the Nathia. This is a magical sword that is said to slay even the greatest of all beasts. We will use it to drive back this new king and rule the land ourselves."

    Kevin was trembling at the danger of his task. He had no regrets against replacing Alaric, but going to some strange land to retrieve some strange weapon was dangerous, and Arren would not be able to come.

    "I have adopted a son. He is a cripple and lives at my house. When I do this, he must be taken care of."

    "As you wish, Kevin. We do this only for the sake of the quest. Your ship will be ready in three weeks. Go to Catamarca and talk to the woman Chrysothemus. She was the ship captain when they arrived, and she is Alaric’s mother. Get information about the terrain, the sword, the coordinates, and the journey from her, and return in three weeks. You will then leave for this other land."

    "Yes Sir." Kevin bowed and left the guild house thinking, ‘How will I tell Arren?’

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

    This guild meeting had been late at night, and Arren was already asleep. No matter how quietly Kevin tried to open the door, Arren woke.

    "Father?"

    "Arren," Kevin sighed, regretting to tell Arren this. "I, I have to go away for three weeks to see someone in Catamarca. Someone from the guild will be over to take care of you, but then I’ll be back." Arren nodded calmly, but Kevin knew he was worried.

    "You get some rest now, and I’ll see you in three weeks, ok?"

    Once again, Arren simply nodded. Kevin tucked him in and began to pack. It would be a long night.

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

    Kevin strolled into Catamarca casually. It had been a small resort for the tyrant, until the crash of the waves had brought in a score of young men and women in long robes to the shore. It was now a booming city on the sea with beautiful architecture and happy citizens.

    It took him several hours, but Kevin finally found the woman Chrysothemus in the southeast corner of town by the sea. She was sitting inside her house weaving a beautiful robe of reds and yellows, purples and blues, greens and violets. When Kevin entered through the open door, she did not look away from her work, just simply seemed to acknowledge Kevin’s presence.

    "Yes, dearie?"

    "Excuse me for interrupting, ma’am, but I wanted to know about the land you came from. What was it called again?"

    "Greece."

    "Why did you leave Greece?"

    "Matron Thuria told our priests to get into a boat with the people and sail into the wind. We did, and in a blast of devastation the island was destroyed. We were enveloped in a mist and the next morning we found ourselves on the shore here."

    "Tell me about this ‘Greece,’ ma’am."

    "It’s a long story, dearie!"

    "I have lots of time, ma’am."

    Chrysothemus smiled, and Kevin grinned back.

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

    Kevin ran back to Cademia as fast as he could. He now knew all he needed to know, and would depart in two days. Kevin saw his house ahead and sped up faster than he ever thought he could go. He was so anxious to see Arren again. He slowed down and reached his door at the moment a guild woman walked out.

    "Kevin. I’m a headin’ to the bakery to get some food, he’ll be so happy to see ya, though."

    Kevin nodded and walked in. He turned the corner into Arren’s room and saw a frail sick child, unlike the Arren he had left three weeks ago. Arren coughed and opened his eyes.

    Arren shook with cold, his bare bones exaggerated with his skin stretched tight across his small frame.

    "Father!" He yelled, but it sounded like a groan to Kevin. "You’re back!"

    "Arren, did they treat you well? You don’t look good at all."

    "They treated me just as you would, real nice. I just don’t feel good. It’s like I’m so hungry now that I just need more and more food!"

    "Arren, we have to get you to a doctor!"

    "Alright father, but you have to come with me."

    "Of course I will," Kevin said with a smile.

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

    The doctor looked down at the small boy on the table with disappointment.

    "Arren, you wait here and your father and I will talk. We’ll just be in the next room, so don’t worry."

    Arren looked slightly worried, but with a look of reassurance from Kevin, he nodded. Kevin and the doctor left, and the doctor closed the door.

    "He has been poisoned with ratlizard venom," The doctor informed Kevin, "That was why he was crippled. It got blocked in his slow bloodstream, but now that he is no longer malnourished, his bloodstream works better and, well, he is going to die. It is far too late to save him now. If you starve him, he’ll die of malnutrition and die wondering at your cruelty. My advice is to let it work its way, he’ll die peacefully in about three hours."

    Tears were in Kevin’s eyes, but he sniffed and nodded. He would not tell Arren of his impending doom. Arren would die calmly in loving care, without worry, but with love. Kevin returned to the room where Arren was.

    "You’re going to be fine, Arren. Let’s go home."

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

    A cry of anguish pierced the dusk of Cademia. Kevin slowly carried the body of Arren out to his family’s burial plot and laid him in the fresh smelling dirt. Arren had always dreamed of having a sword. Kevin would get the Nathia for Arren’s sake, and for that reason alone. Kevin would not stop if he were dead.

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

    From the prow of the Starfarer, Kevin watched for the land Greece. He followed the stars as instructed, waiting for some sign of land. None today, none yesterday, none the day before. With a slow sigh, Kevin turned to bed.

    _The dream comes... it comes again... every night...

    Kevin awoke in his house to the sound of Arren’s screams. Kevin ran to Arren’s room...

    The dream comes... it comes again... every night...

    Kevin opened the door but could not see...

    The dream comes... it comes again... every night...

    Kevin ran out to town and lit a torch before running back to his house...

    The dream comes... it comes again... every night..._

    ‘This was when I usually woke up, why didn’t I wake up?’

    _The dream comes... it comes again... every night...

    Kevin entered Arren’s room, he could see...

    The dream comes... it comes again... every night...

    Arren lay in bed, a huge sword in his chest. Red lightning zapped down the sword into Arren...

    The dream comes... it comes again... every night...

    On the sword was engraved "Nathia." Arren did not stop screaming..._

    Kevin awoke, with sweat on his face. He leaped out of bed and pulled his only weapon, a dagger out of his pouch. Kevin ran out onto the deck. In a fury of great rage he stabbed the unsuspecting fisherman at the helm. He grabbed a length of rigging and cut it off. Using the rope he locked the wheel into place. He threw the fisherman overboard and went into his cabin.

    "May the sea take me where it will."

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

    Prothall slammed down his gavel.

    "Kevin has been gone for a year. According to the accounts of those who have come from this other land, it only took a week or so to sail, though some say less. I do not trust him. He no longer needs his income. We gave him plenty of food, and he no longer has to worry about his adopted brat. We must be careful of his intentions."

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

    Kevin sat in his tent in the sunny, prosperous town of Sparta. The people had agreed to give him the Nathia if he trained as a soldier with them and became the best of all their soldiers. Day in and day out, all Kevin did was military. He had now spent five years with them. He was third in the military, but his position showed no sign of changing. He was casual with this new life, but one day a strange man arrived. He said he was looking for a man named Kevin. He was directed to Kevin, of course, but when they sat down to talk, the danger began.

    "Kevin! You were sent five years ago to retrieve the Nathia! Why have you not returned?" The man’s voice was cold and stern.

    Kevin gulped. "I was getting it by becoming the top in their military like they said I could."

    "That was not your assignment, Kevin. Your assignment was to get the sword and return. At no point in that statement does it require or give room for you to have combat training. I am forced to put you under arrest and take you back to Cademia for judgment."

    "I think not!" Kevin yelled, drawing his sword. The messenger smiled and drew the Nathia from its sheath.

    Kevin gaped in astonishment. "How did you get that?"

    "I killed for it, like you should have. Indeed you are a stupid man."

    Kevin bowed his head in submission and dropped his sword.

    "I think it is time for you to come home, Kevin."

    "Very well."

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

    Kevin stood before a court as he had six years ago. However, it was very different this time. He now stood before not just as council of his guild, but a council of all the guilds. The meeting was nearing its end, and the verdict was about to be released.

    "Kevin, you are charged with plotting to get the sword and use it for yourself to place yourself as ruler of Cythera. We have found you guilty. Therefore, you are sentenced to be executed by the sword with which you would have executed us. This is to be carried out now."

    Kevin sighed. He wasn’t guilty. As the sword was raised to remove his head and end his life, he remembered the dream from the ship. Was he Arren? Crippled to indecisiveness? Arren had been crippled, but stood strong. He would stand strong too.

    In a flash, Kevin flew upwards and kicked hard at the executioner’s stomach. The executor grunted and dropped the sword. Kevin picked it up and roared. In an event that would later be known as the Guild Revenge, Kevin slaughtered all the guild members.

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

    Epilogue

    "Kevin went to the deep sea and dropped the Nathia into the water. It was never found. Kevin returned home, and in memory of Arren, donated everything he owned to the beggars of Cythera. He used his military skill to help Alaric place a new government on Cythera, abolishing all guilds. He married a woman from Catamarca named Bessana, another survivor of the original trip from Greece, and he became the captain of Alaric’s guard. He had a second son who was not adopted and who followed in his footsteps for the career of captain of the guard. Kevin resisted the temptation to name his new son Arren, but instead named his son Hadrian. Hadrian's son, Hector, accompanied the savior of this land." -From the bookshelf in a forgotten guildhall in Cademia.

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 12-11-2002).)



  • You did a good job on this chronicle, Mr. Somebody. Your writing is definitely improving a great deal.

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    Slayer's guide to Cythera:
    (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/cythera.htm")http://www.macclassi...era/cythera.htm(/url)



  • Well, it wasn't meant to be like this, but it kind of turned into a story of Kevin's life.

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    "Look, a distraction!" -Fletcher Dostie



  • Quote

    Originally posted by Mr. Somebody:
    **Well, it wasn't meant to be like this, but it kind of turned into a story of Kevin's life.
    **

    It's good writing and story wise, but aren't we missing a few generations between the coming of the humans to Cythera and the time of the game? If he married a survivor from the time of Cythera's becoming home to humans, that must place him within 50 or so years of that time, whereas he is the grandfather of Hector, a young man in the game. That seems to sugjest only about 130 years between the coming of humans and the game, whereas Aleric has been reigning for far longer than that and he didn't come around himself until quite some time after Cythera was colonized. I guess chrons have abandoned even continuity with the game?

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    "If anybody asks, you reverse engineered (this source code) all by yourself..." - An Ambrosia developer.

    Where do you want to (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/tricks/rJade.htm")teleport(/url) today?



  • Quote

    Originally posted by Bryce:
    **I guess chrons have abandoned even continuity with the game?
    **

    It is noted, even in the game, that a Cytheran year does not necessarily correspond with an Earth year. It is my understanding that the years pass by much more quickly in Cythera, though how much quicker, I cannot say.

    ------------------
    Slayer's guide to Cythera:
    (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/cythera.htm")http://www.macclassi...era/cythera.htm(/url)



  • Quote

    Originally posted by Slayer:
    **It is noted, even in the game, that a Cytheran year does not necessarily correspond with an Earth year. It is my understanding that the years pass by much more quickly in Cythera, though how much quicker, I cannot say.

    **

    Despite this shorter year, the first Tyrant lived to be 'only' 100 cytherian years old, which might sugjest a just slightly shorter year length, about 75% of that of earth. (Also, the Cytherian historian Master Anisa noted that there was something that cuased 'longevity' in Cythera, so 100 years is even less impressive. It might even figure out to a year length of 80% or 90% of an earth year.)

    There was at least 216 cytherian years between the colinization of cythera and the rise of Aleric. The date of the game is around 910.
    A futher blow to the 'really short year' theory is the fact that the aforementioned Cytherian historian notes that it is incredible that Aleric has lived over 700 years.

    Refrences: (url="http://"http://web.archive.org/web/19990302101300/www.delver.com/history.html")http://web.archive.o...om/history.html(/url)

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    "If anybody asks, you reverse engineered (this source code) all by yourself..." - An Ambrosia developer.

    Where do you want to (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/tricks/rJade.htm")teleport(/url) today?

    (This message has been edited by Bryce (edited 12-17-2002).)



  • Leaving aside the arguments about continuity, nice job, Mr S. :)

    Yes, the story does seem to suggest more than one pre-game influx of humans, which would seem to contradict the game - but hey, I'm the last person that can complain about that. ;)

    Yes, there do seem to be a few generations missing in Hector's lineage - but ancient historians had a habit of doing that, so no biggie there, either.

    As for the length of the Cytheran year relative to a standard terrestrial year, it seems to me that the game implies a longer year, not a shorter one - since the hero was pulled from what appeared to be a fairly modern era into iron-age Cythera, indicating either that time has passed more slowly in Cythera, or that 'Bellerophon' was pulled back through time, as well as space.

    As you can see, anything that's not explicitly stated is open to interpretation. Since there are likely to be as many different interpretations as there are people, plus the fact that anything we write can't be considered canon, there's nothing wrong with Mr S. presenting a story of the Cytheran world as he sees it. All that matters is that the story is internally consistent, and a good read - which, in my view, this one was. :)

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    "The e-mail of the specious is more dangerous than their mail" - Tom Holt, 'Snow White and the Seven Samurai'



  • Wait a minute...you've been commenting on a lot of chrons recently, aren't you supposed to be at work? ;)

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    "There is a time and a place for everything."



  • Helpdesk, first week of summer school. I.E. booooooorrrrrriiiiiinnnnnng!

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    "The e-mail of the specious is more dangerous than their mail" - Tom Holt, 'Snow White and the Seven Samurai'



  • Right...summer...I'll trade you. I'm almost positive there will be plenty to do to keep you busy here. ;)

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    "There is a time and a place for everything."

    (This message has been edited by Avatara (edited 01-08-2003).)


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