Beyond Tiernan's Eyes



  • This Chronicle is my first entry for the Ultimate Chron Challenge, in which I need to focus on the relationships between Tiernan and eight other characters. This entry focuses on Kronos. I wrote it a few weeks ago and figured eventually I'd edit it, but since I clearly never will, I guess I'll just post it. Oh, and this story is based off of a computer game called Beyond Eyes. I've never actually played it, but I've seen bits and pieces of Shorty playing it.


    Tiernan told Selax he needed six months to defeat Icel. One might wonder, how could he prepare for a showdown with an arch-villain in only six months? Well, the full story is not commonly known, because it did not fit his narrative. But now, BreadWorldMercy453 can exclusively reveal the details of Tiernan’s training…

    "Tiernan? You have need of my assistance?" the deep, resonating voice of Kronos spoke.

    Tiernan stared in shock at the shimmering gold light before him. He could scarcely believe the summoning had actually worked.

    "Er, yes. Kronos. I wasn’t sure you’d respond."

    "Are you kidding?" the deep voice asked. "You’re the alternate of the husband of the alternate of the wife of Flynn, in whom I have a vested interest. You're practically a son to me!"

    Tiernan wasn’t sure how to respond to that. "Ah, um. Nice to meet you too."

    "How can I help you?" Kronos asked.

    "I have to defeat a mentally unstable super-villain who has an army of nearly invincible wraiths, which he can consume to make himself yet more powerful, and all I have is this zetacomb. I was hoping you could tip the odds in my favour, maybe he could get caught in some kind of instantly-fatal mist or something?"

    "Ah…" considered Kronos. "That kind of interference would have severe negative consequences on many innocent people."

    "But surely you could do something? Provide me an ultra-powerful weapon?" Tiernan persisted.

    "Is not the zetacomb the key to defeating Icel?"

    "That’s what I’ve been told, but I don’t know how to use it, so it would be handy if you could get me something easier to use, like a Rod of Instant Death or some Magic Dynamite… I bet that Sword of Truth that everyone goes on about would be super effective."

    "Oh, for sure it would," agreed Kronos. "A one-hit KO! Unfortunately, it is one of a kind, so you’d have to ask Flynn if you want to borrow it."

    Tiernan shuddered. "Ugh, no thanks." The shimmering gold light gave him a questioning look, so he added, "that guy gets on my nerves."

    "I see," responded Kronos. "In that case, perhaps the best course of action is for me to teach you how to use your zetacomb."

    "Okay…" agreed Tiernan, in disappointment. This sounded like it would take a while. "What should I do?"

    "You can’t rush the process," Kronos continued. "You know those stories the Ronin told of how I’d send them on long epic quests, then bring them back at the same time they’d left?"

    "Yeah!" said Tiernan eagerly. This sounded promising.

    "This is not one of those stories."

    The fire-mage’s excitement immediately dissipated. "Why not?"

    "That’s too easy, there’s no suspense! There’s no risk of the end of the world, or of you losing your true love. It’s just not a good story that way!"

    At a withering glare from Tiernan, Kronos stammered, "uhh, I mean, it’s too dangerous, it would mess up the time-stream too much. Yeah. Dangerous, see?"

    There was an awkward silence as Tiernan continued to glare, and the shimmering gold light fidgeted uncomfortably.

    "Just tell me what to do," said Tiernan flatly.

    The gold light shimmered. "I know just the thing! I have a brilliant super-intensive training course that’s never failed to empower a hero to complete his goal, and I’d love for you to be the first person to test it out!"

    "What an honour."

    "That wasn’t quite the enthusiastic response I was hoping for," complained Kronos.

    "I’m sorry," Tiernan sighed, "I was hoping this would be quick and easy, but I do appreciate your help. Sign me up for the training course."

    "Wonderful! This course is designed to heighten the senses and sharpen the mind. I’m quite confident that upon completion, using the zetacomb will be a piece of cake."

    "Uh, is this going to teach me how to use it? I just want instructions for the blasted thing."

    Kronos frowned. "Look, I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but you control the zetacomb with your mind. There’s no valid reason why you didn’t simply use it to defeat Icel immediately, but I guess you really need my course. I will transfer you to my state-of-the-art training facility so you can begin. You’ll be blindfolded and given a cat to care for. This is supposed to last for a year, at the end of which your senses would be as sharp as unsweetened tea, but given the time crunch, I guess you’ll have to make do with six months."

    "Oy, that doesn’t leave me any time to actually defeat Icel!" Tiernan complained.

    "Weren’t you listening? You don’t need any time for that! But, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll let you off a day early. Provided you pass all your exams."

    "Gee, thanks."

    "Alright, I guess that’s everything then."

    The world around Tiernan faded, and was replaced with a luxurious sitting room. "This is where I’m staying for the next six months?"

    The shimmering gold light was once again beside him. "Yep, this is it," Kronos said.

    "I could get used to this," mused Tiernan, looking around.

    -Then it all turned to black as Kronos tied a blindfold around his eyes. "I’m attaching the blindfold with magic so that it won’t come loose," Kronos explained. "You’ll still be able to remove it if you choose, but if you do, for any reason, you’ll fail the course."

    "Any reason?" pressed Tiernan. "What if the house is on fire?"

    "Of course escaping and extinguishing a fire without the aid of sight would be hugely beneficial to your training! But, I must stress the importance of not burning down my house. It was very expensive. If you burn it down, you will fail the course. And I’d expect you to pay for it!"

    "Yikes, chill out. It was just a hypothetical situation."

    "Oh no it wasn’t! I know your magic specialty, and I know what happened to your friend’s tavern… numerous times. Yeah, Tiernan burning down my house, just a hypothetical situation? Suuuure."

    "Hey, wait!" Tiernan protested. "That’s not fair, I was an innocent bystander. It really was a hypothetical question. Such as, what if the house is stampeded by a herd of titans?"

    Kronos coughed.

    "…Alright, fine," Tiernan relented. "I won’t bring a herd of titans here either. Happy?"

    "Yes, but are you happy? With this arrangement?"

    "Well. Can I meet the cat?"


    (Five months and twenty-eight days later.)

    "Here, Nani," called Tiernan, setting the dish of cat food on the floor. It was odd he even had to call her, usually she was the one to remind him about her meals. She had become his alarm clock, waking him nearly every morning, although today was an exception. But then again, he had woken up fairly early today.

    "Nani?" Tiernan called again. He had never seen her and could only guess as to her colouring, but apparently Kronos had named her Nani.

    He stood still and listened intently. The ability to hear a cat move across a carpeted floor was one he had only developed in the last couple of weeks, after months of practice. But today, he heard nothing. He walked through the house, checking her favourite places, feeling and listening, but he found nothing. As he walked through the foyer, he heard the sounds of the neighbourhood, dogs barking and children playing, louder than usual. And felt a draft.

    "Oh no!" He ran to the front door, where his fears were confirmed. It was open. "Nani!" he called, but he could hear only the regular neighbourhood noises. Heavy realization settled over him. "This is my fault," he whispered. He had gone out for groceries the previous night, and must not have closed the door all the way. It was one of those old doors that needs to be double-checked to make sure it’s latched shut, but his arms had been full of groceries…

    Maybe she was just in the yard? Tiernan wondered briefly if he should get dressed before checking the yard, as he was still in his pyjamas, but if Nani hadn’t run away yet, he wanted to retrieve her before she did. And so, only bothering to pull on his shoes, he set out.

    Kronos’ yard had a nice garden, which had proved to be a good pastime for Tiernan during his months of blindness. Smell was as good a sense as sight, in a garden. His world filled with the scents of the flowers, which to a blind man was like seeing a world of colour.

    Wandering through the paths of the garden, Tiernan called out to Nani and listened. He ran his hand over the bench where she liked to sunbathe. But, nothing. Outside the yard, he heard an automobile drive past. It bumped over something, making Tiernan’s heart jerk in alarm. It’s okay, he told himself. It’s just the pothole in front of the house. But that didn’t mean that Nani was safe. Drivers who can’t be bothered to avoid potholes probably weren’t very careful of creatures either. Maybe she was already…

    In a surge of panic, Tiernan felt his way over to the gate and unlatched it. He had to find Nani.


    (Later.)

    Tiernan ran his hand along a fence, keeping track of where he was… at least in relation to the yard he was passing. He tried not to think about how dirty his hand was by now. Things couldn’t be worse. Not only had he failed to find Nani, but he had gotten himself utterly lost as well.

    He had never explored this town much. He mostly stayed home with Nani, venturing out only for necessary errands. Kronos’ house had had enough to keep him from going crazy for six months: the garden, a selection of braille fantasy books, a record player with a bunch of records, some of which were decent. And of course, there was always snuggling with Nani. Whenever he missed Katerei the most, whenever he felt he’d shatter if he couldn’t embrace her, Nani was there. Nani had found a spot in his heart as a placeholder for Katerei, but now he wanted to hold her because she was Nani. Somehow she had become someone he loved in her own right.

    And he had failed her.

    It wasn’t just Nani.

    He’d failed Kronos by losing his pet. He’d failed Katerei because without passing Kronos’ course, there was no way he would make his deadline to meet her. He’d failed Delthoras, and Saria, by not defeating Icel. He’d failed who knows how many of Icel’s victims in who knows how many worlds. The severity of his mistake pressed down on him heavily. It’s not like it would have been hard to double-check the front door. Now it was too late.

    The fence he was walking along ended, and a new one started. It felt familiar, he recalled walking along it on the way out. But that was a different street, how was this possible? Had he ended up back on the street he’d started on? Or was it just another yard with the same fence? He counted the posts of the fence. 46. Four plus six equals ten. That was it, the other fence had equalled ten as well! He quickened his pace. Maybe Nani had come home by now. Surely she was hungry? Unless she found food somewhere else.

    He started to recognize other things around him. The smell of lilacs, the puddle that was to blame for why his left sock had been wet during the whole walk. And finally - home.

    Nani hadn’t returned, to his dismay. He collapsed on the sofa, but he was realizing that he’d have to venture out again, which was a scary thought. But the alternative, summoning Kronos, admitting he had lost his cat and begging for help, was equally unappealing. He still had a day and a half until the end of his course, if only he could somehow find Nani before then, everything would be okay. Well, mostly okay. He’d still have to leave her, and he’d still have to defeat Icel. But that was a problem for another day. He rested long enough to eat a meal, then headed out again, leaving the door open a crack in case Nani returned.

    This time instead of going west, he headed east. West had proven to only have residences, parks, and fishing docks. East led toward the market, he knew, because he had shopped there before. His purpose today wasn’t shopping, however. He continued on, waiting at a busier street for quite a while before he was confident no traffic was coming, and crossing. After a while, the buildings on this side of the street got bigger. He stopped to try to read-by-feel the text engraved on the door. He only managed to recognize an "LT," which he took to be part of "shelter" before giving up and just going in.

    "HHHEEELLLPPP!" Tiernan called out as he went in, waving his arms wildly over his head to complete the effect. "I’ve lost cat and I can’t find her anywhere! Wait, is this the animal shelter?"

    "Uh, no," a woman answered. "It’s a health clinic." The sound of another person’s voice reminded Tiernan of Cythera, of the days when he wasn’t such a hermit.

    "Oh. Sorry," said Tiernan, dejected, and turned to leave.

    "He is stoned out of his mind," Tiernan heard the woman whisper softly.

    "Is he now?" another woman whispered. "Let me see. Oh my! A blindfold? Penguin pyjamas?"

    Tiernan flushed red as he realized that he had never gotten dressed. Also, penguins, interesting. He had never known that the pyjamas had a print on them. He wished he could see it.

    He also realized, with more satisfaction, that he could hear the faint whispered conversation quite clearly. Kronos’ training was working.

    "Um," said Tiernan, still flushed. "I’m sorry for bothering you. I’m not stoned, I’m just really worried about my cat and forgot to get dressed. And I’m wearing a blindfold to sharpen my mind. That’s all."

    "Uh-huh, of course," said the woman in a tone that made obvious that she was only humouring him.

    "Hey, do you happen to know where the animal shelter is?"

    There was a pause. "It’s a couple miles outside town," the woman answered. "Not that it would do you any good."

    "Why not?"

    "If they found your pet, it’s already too late. They euthanize every creature they get their hands on."

    Panic gripped Tiernan. He put his hand on the wall to steady himself.

    "Hey, are you okay?"

    He heard the woman approach him, felt her hands on his forehead and wrist.

    "I’m okay. Just worried about Nani."

    "Hmm. I’m off in ten minutes, I could take you to the animal shelter then, if you want."

    Tiernan smiled. "That would be helpful, thank you."


    (A short time later.)

    "Why did you change your mind?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "Why did you decide to help me instead of laughing at me?"

    "I never intended to laugh at you, but you did look rather ridiculous. Still do. But then your expression when I told you about the shelter made it clear that you were genuinely quite concerned about your cat. I felt bad for you."

    Tiernan didn’t know how to respond to that, so settled with, "thank you." He followed the sound of her footsteps as they walked down the street, but he still walked slowly, cautiously, for his lack of sight.

    "Uh, would this be faster if you took my hand or something?" the woman asked.

    For a moment Tiernan was torn between his dignity and his desire to save Nani. Eventually the desire to save Nani won out. "Yeah, it would be faster." (Or maybe it was the desire to hold a girl’s hand that won out. Hard to say.)

    The woman took hold of his hand and pulled him into a more sensible walking speed.

    "So, why are you blindfolded, again?"

    "To sharpen my mind. It’s a training course that I’m about to fail."

    "I… see."

    The woman didn’t say anything else, so he took that to mean that she was bored of the conversation, and didn’t say anything else either. They walked in silence for a while.

    Her hand was cold, but her skin was soft. Tiernan wondered what she looked like.

    After what must have been a mile of walking, she finally spoke up again.

    "Tell me about your cat."

    "Her name is Nani. When I pet her, she purrs and cuddles against me. Her fur is soft, and she nuzzles me with her head…"

    "Sounds like a pretty typical cat," she commented.

    "And she didn’t bring me dead mice and birds."

    "WHAT?! How did you get such an extraordinary cat!"

    "Actually, she’s not really mine. I’ve been taking care of her for a while, but I have no idea where her owner got her."

    "Oh man, you’re in so much trouble."

    "I know."

    They fell into silence again, while she hurried him along a bit faster. After a while she said softly, "I have one too, you know."

    "What?"

    "A cat. Capriccio. I still can’t get him to stop scratching my furniture. But, the head nuzzles make it all worth it."

    Tiernan smiled. "I hope he’s okay with you coming home late today."

    "Yeah, me too." She sounded worried. "I haven’t had him very long, but he’s been there for me. I moved here recently and was… lonely. When Capriccio adopted me it was a large comfort."

    "My situation is very similar," said Tiernan, squeezing her hand.

    They spent the rest of their walk comparing cat stories.


    "Excuse me, I’m looking for my cat."

    "You’ll have to be more specific," responded the guy at the animal shelter. He sounded grumpy. "What does it look like?"

    "I, uh, don’t know."

    "How helpful," he said sarcastically. "Do you mean you want to adopt a cat?"

    "No, I’m looking for a specific cat, I just don’t know what she looks like."

    "Ummm. Look, this is just some friendly advice, but maybe you might want to take off that blindfold?"

    "Thank you for that brilliant suggestion. Do you know if any cats were picked up today, or possibly last night?"

    "The last cat that was brought in was yesterday afternoon."

    Tiernan breathed a sigh of relief, but simultaneously felt disappointed that he still didn’t have any leads. "Okay, thanks anyway."

    "I’d say I’d call you if we find her, but since you can’t even tell me what she looks like…"

    "Yeah, yeah. I’ll keep looking."


    Tiernan and the woman from the health clinic stood outside the animal shelter.

    "So, where do you want to go now?" the woman asked.

    "Don’t you need to get home?" Tiernan asked, thinking of Capriccio.

    "You have a point, but. I want to help."

    Tiernan squeezed her hand again. "I don’t know what to do now. This is the first time Nani has run away from me, I don’t know where she’d go, and I’m exhausted. I think I’ll go home and hope she comes back during the night."

    "Okay. Do you need help getting home?"

    Tiernan considered. The route they had taken to the animal shelter had been pretty simple, he thought he could find his way back home without trouble. Then again, he hadn’t thought he’d get lost that morning. "I’m not sure. If you’re going the same direction, I’d appreciate staying together. I live a few blocks past the clinic where you were working."

    "Really? Me too. I’ll walk you home."

    The long walk home was mostly silent, Tiernan trying to keep from wincing. He hadn’t walked this much since his adventuring days, and back then he’d had more comfortable walking shoes. The six months in the dungeon, the recovery from being stabbed in the gut, and the six months in Kronos’ training house had not left him in the best physical condition of his life. He ached all over.

    Apparently he wasn’t hiding it very well. "Are you wounded? You’re limping."

    "No, I’ve just been walking all day. Most of it with a wet sock, so I probably have a blister on my foot."

    "I could fix that, if you want."

    Tiernan belatedly realized he’d been complaining of owwies to a nurse. "You’re off-duty," he pointed out.

    "Yes, but I have a feeling I’d get home sooner if you’d let me fix up your foot."

    "If you’re sure you don’t mind."

    "Stop for a moment and take off your shoe and sock."

    Tiernan complied, and although he could not see his own owwie, the woman made some kind of sound that he hoped meant she was disgusted with wound, and not that she was disgusted with his foot.

    There was silence. She did not touch him, and he started to wonder if she had somehow vanished into thin air. But then he began to feel a humming sensation. This lasted for several moments, and when it faded, his foot felt good as new. Not only the blister, but the soreness in both feet, and legs, and his core, it was all gone.

    "I… wasn’t expecting that. Wow. I thought you’d just bandage it."

    "Oh please, I wouldn’t have my job if that’s all I did. Anyone can bandage a wound."

    "You’d be surprised," said Tiernan, thinking of some of his old adventuring friends.

    "I take it it worked? You feel better?" she asked.

    "Completely. So, you’re a magess."

    "Yup. I always was, but I’ve learned a lot since coming here. The magic is much more advanced than where I’m from."

    "Where’s that?"

    She took his hand again and resumed walking. "Nevermind, I don’t think you’d believe me if I told you."


    "What is your address?" the woman asked, as they arrived back in the market district.

    "617 Unicorn Lane."

    "No kidding, I’m 616 Diones Street, I’m exactly one block south of you."

    When they arrived at Kronos’ house, the woman hesitated. "I don’t suppose she’s come home?"

    "Do you want me to check?"

    "Yes, I admit I’ve become invested in the wellbeing of this cat whom I’ve never met."

    "Sure, come on."

    They checked the house and yard, but there was still no trace of Nani.

    "Listen, tomorrow’s my day off," said the woman. "Can I come by in the morning and see if she came back?"

    "Yeah, sure," agreed Tiernan.

    "Thanks, goodbye."

    "Bye." Tiernan’s sadness seemed to multiply several times over as he listened to her footsteps depart. Now he was truly alone.


    Tiernan was awoken the next morning by knocking on the door. He tried to ignore it for a while, but it didn’t let up, and his chances of getting back to sleep were shot anyway. Grumpily he got up and staggered to the front door.

    "Yikes," said the woman when he opened the door. "I’ve heard of 'morning hair,' but I’ve never seen it in action quite like that!"

    Tiernan tried to flatten down his hair, but he could never quite get it to behave around the blindfold anyway. "What are you doing here?"

    "Remember? You said I could come over and see if Nani came home. I guess I woke you up though, sorry."

    "Well, yeah! It’s got to be like 8 am!

    "It’s 7:30," she clarified helpfully.

    "What kind of person takes "come over in the morning" to mean 7:30?"

    "A nurse? … Do you want me to come back later?"

    "Kinda, I mean. I’m not even dressed yet."

    "Don’t worry, I’ve already seen you in your pyjamas. But how about I come back in an hour?"

    "I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be. I didn’t sleep well."

    "Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Do you want to just come over to my place when you’re ready? You could meet Capriccio."

    "Sure, sounds good."

    "Remember, one block south."


    The clock had rung 12 o’clock before Tiernan got around to leaving. Nani hadn’t returned.

    "Hello," the nurse answered the door. "I was starting to think you’d gotten lost on the way over."

    "No, I’m just tired."

    "Oh." Awkward silence. "Will you come in?" She took his hand again, and he followed her in.

    The first thing he noticed about her house was the music. He recognized the sound of a record player, moreover, he recognized the song it was playing. The relaxing melody, as well as the others on the same album, were some of his favourites of Kronos’ selection.

    "Achexan. Nice."

    The woman was startled. "Yes! I think you’re the first person I’ve met who listens to Achexan."

    "I can’t say I’m surprised," said Tiernan sadly. In every world he had spent much time in, his taste in music did not align with that of popular opinion.

    "He’s brilliant, isn’t he?"

    "Indeed," he agreed.

    She led him over to a sofa near the record player. He could smell fresh baked bread from somewhere nearby. "So, I take it Nani has neglected to come home?"

    "Yes. I don’t know what else I can do."

    "I’m sorry."

    Neither of them knew what else to say, but they didn’t sit in silence, because Achexan spoke for them.

    As the song on the record ended and a new one began, Tiernan could hear soft paw-steps that reminded him of Nani. "Is that Capriccio?" he asked.

    "Hmm? Oh! Yes, hello Capriccio!"

    Tiernan felt Capriccio leap up unto the sofa between them. The woman took his hand and guided it to Capriccio’s head. Tiernan pet him and felt the familiar head-nuzzling. He smiled.

    "Please feel free to come over and see - er, feel - him again sometime."

    "Thank you. You’ve been very kind, I appreciate it."

    "Actually, I’ve enjoyed it. I only wish I could have been actually helpful."

    "Of course you were helpful," Tiernan corrected. "Were it not for your help, I’d still be wandering around lost, looking for the animal shelter. Besides, it’s nice to have company, even when the quest ends in failure."

    "Indeed," she agreed. "Your company has been most pleasant. I almost feel as if I’ve known you for a while. Must be because we’re neighbours…"

    "Or because of similar interests?" suggested Tiernan.

    "Yes… perhaps so." He could hear her shifting around, and felt her arm bump into his as she scooted closer. He suddenly felt nervous. Was she sending him a hint? Or was he reading too much into things?

    She pressed her hand against his on Capriccio. "Have you told Nani’s owner that she ran away?"

    "Not yet, but I think I’ll have to."

    "Would you like help walking there, or taking down a letter, or..?"

    "No, I can contact him easily, but… maybe I’ll wait one more day." He leaned towards her, and she leaned towards him. Their shoulders touched, and then their sides, and their heads. Emboldened by her receptiveness but still nervous, Tiernan cautiously ran his free hand up her arm and to her neck. She flinched.

    "Sorry," he said reflexively. "Is this okay?"

    "Uh. Yes, it’s okay. Living alone, you know, even with a cat, is lonely."

    "I know." He turned slightly to face her. Although he could not see her, he could hear her breath more this way. His hand slowly rose up to her cheek, and behind her head. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail.

    A ponytail. Something was familiar. This ponytail. Her voice. Her brisk attitude. But how was this possible?

    "A-adriana?" he asked in astonishment.

    "Yes?"

    "You’re Adriana?"

    "Yes, I am - wait, how did you know? I never told you my name, did I?" She sat up straight.

    "Nor did I tell you mine," he realized.

    "What is it?"

    He shifted away slightly. This probably wouldn’t go well. "Tiernan."

    She gasped. "What?! I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you!" A sudden shifting, her fingers against his forehead, and he realized with a jolt that she was about to rip off his blindfold, and jerked away.

    "Don’t! It’s really important that I keep it on for another day!"

    "Orly. Why?"

    "It’s why I’m here. I came here specifically to wear a blindfold for six months and sharpen my mind, so-" he realized his story sounded ridiculous, but there was no alternative but to finish telling it. "So that I can understand how to use a tool I’ve been given to defeat a terrible villain. Icel. He’s… the one who’s really responsible for Menelaus’ death."

    "What?" she asked, her voice especially sharp. "Start at the beginning, tell me the whole story."

    So he did. Well, obviously not the whole story, which would have taken hours, but enough.

    Adriana was mostly quiet, processing. "If this is true, why didn’t you tell me back when you were my patient?"

    "I didn’t have the words. And it seemed like you needed to blame me."

    "Maybe I did, but certainly you are not blameless in this."

    "I have made many mistakes," he agreed. Adriana didn’t immediately retort, so he asked his own question. "What I want to know is how you came to this world."

    "This world? I’ve lived in Pnyx for many years."

    "Pnyx?"

    A pause. "Um. Did you not realize we’re still in Pnyx?"

    "How is that possible? I don’t recognize any of it!"

    "Well, it’s been a long time since we first met. Maybe a thousand years. Pnyx has expanded a lot. Have you ever noticed the massive university on the shore?"

    "Yes, I was close to it yesterday."

    "That’s the Magisterium."

    "So Kronos didn’t take me to a different world," Tiernan realized. "He took me to a different time. Of course. But why did he bring you too?"

    "Kronos. Is that the voice with the glowing light?"

    "That’s him."

    "He offered the trip to me, said a friend may need my help. I wanted to escape my life, so I accepted. But no one seemed to need my help. So I got a job as a healer, and started to catch up on all the magical advancements. And then Capriccio adopted me. This house is Kronos’ - is yours too?"

    "Yes. And Nani was his."

    "Ohhh. And he’s the one who put you on this blindfold game. Oh man - you have to tell him."

    "Yeah," Tiernan agreed, but the thought of it was miserable.

    "Do you want some moral support?" Adriana asked.

    "Really? You don’t hate me?"

    "I’m not sure. I should. But I never knew that you loved cats, or Achexan. It’s a tough call." She came back over to him and took his hand again. "Whenever you’re ready."

    Tiernan sighed. "As soon as I tell him what happened, he’ll know. He’ll know where she is, if she’s…"

    Adriana hugged him.

    Stunned, Tiernan hugged her back. "You don’t seem very conflicted," he noted in relief.

    "Holding a grudge is lonely. If I am honest, I’ve been lonely since you fled from justice, and before then as well. This is nicer."

    They held on to each other for a long moment.

    "Adriana… What do you think happens to cats when they die?"

    "Perhaps they go on to sunbathe on an island across the sea? Hopefully we’re not about to find out."

    "Hopefully."

    "Go ahead, call him."

    They pulled away from each other. Tiernan pet Capriccio, squeezed Adriana’s hand, and took a deep breath.

    "Kronos!"


    "You lost her?!" exclaimed Kronos.

    "I’m sorry," said Tiernan weakly.

    "Do I need to remind you that if she is not safe in your care tomorrow, you’ll fail this course?"

    "I understand, but… Is there anything you can do to help?"

    "You’ve already found Adriana, do you need yet more help?"

    "How can two people on foot find a cat in a large city with no leads?"

    "I suppose…" considered Kronos. "I could help you with transportation. Check the backyard in five minutes." Kronos shimmered, and vanished.

    "Better than nothing?" offered Adriana.

    "We’d better go see what he’s sending," said Tiernan.

    She led him to the backyard, where everything seemed normal.


    (Three hours later)

    "Wait. Is that a balloon in the sky?" Adriana asked.

    "I have no idea," Tiernan reminded her.

    "Then shut up and wait patiently."

    After a while, Tiernan could hear a whirling noise. "What is that?"

    "It’s a balloon… kind of. A massive one."

    The whirling grew louder, until it was directly above them. A ladder dropped down.

    "Tiernan!" called a loud, joyful voice. "Good to see you! Sorry I’m late, I was pulled over for passing an air-cop on the right side! I suppose you guys down on the surface don’t have to worry about air-cops, huh? Well, come on up!"

    "Wizard?" asked Tiernan. "Wait, of course it’s Wizard, who else would be three hours late?"

    "Hey, I was actually on track to be early! Until things happened…"

    Tiernan found the ladder and began to mount it. "Are you coming?" he asked Adriana. She nodded, and followed him. The climb was taxing, and at last they collapsed inside the… "What is this thing?"

    "Welcome to the Airship of Despair!" announced Wizard. "It’s my new toy! Kronos just gave it to me and sent me here to help you with some kind of vitally important task. It was quite a surprise!"

    Tiernan and Adriana were already wandering around, exploring the ship. Tiernan’s fingers found a sign with Braille subtitles: "Warning! Do not use arrows on board airship."

    "I guess They don’t want people to use arrows on board, huh?"

    "Probably just a silly safety code," shrugged Wizard. "By the way, I don’t think I’ve met you!" he said to Adriana. "I’m Wizard."

    "I’m Adriana."

    "Nice to meet you! So, what’s the vitally important task you’re working on?"

    "We’re trying to find my lost cat," explained Tiernan.

    Wizard was speechless for a short moment before finally saying, "yes, indeed, that’s very important. We’d better start looking right away! So, how have you guys been?"

    "Uh, do you know how to fly this?" asked Tiernan.

    "Oh yeah, Kronos showed be which buttons and levers did what. Are you still working on defeating Icel to save the world?"

    "Of course I am, isn’t that obvious?"

    "Ah…"

    Adriana cleared her throat. "What’s our plan of action here? Are we going somewhere?"

    "Oh yeah," remembered Wizard. "Kronos gave me this note, I forgot about it…" Wizard rustled around his pockets and pulled out a piece of paper. ’To Tiernan, Adriana, and Wizard: Good luck finding Nani. She is a large orange striped cat. Don’t forget that the airship will eventually need to land. Sincerely, Kronos.’ Wait, the airship will need to land?"

    "Uh, yeah?" Tiernan said.

    "I hope I remember how to do that…"

    Tiernan buried his blindfolded face in his hands.

    "At least we know what Nani looks like now," noted Adriana. "We have a good few hours of sunlight left, lets just coast over the city and see if we can see her."

    "Good idea," agreed Wizard.

    "Yes, it was a good idea to give a blind person an airship. To search for a cat," said Tiernan.

    "You could entertain us?" suggested Adriana.

    "You mean like tap-dancing?" asked Wizard. "Because I wouldn’t advise tap-dancing on the airship."

    "How about singing?"

    "No," said Tiernan firmly.

    "Come on~," begged Adriana.

    Tiernan reconsidered, and after a moment started singing, " A heartbeat without harmony is moonlight without dark. The heart seeketh equilibrium, with balance will your worry part. "

    "That is so interesting!" interrupted Wizard. "What is that song? Where did you learn it?"

    Adriana sighed at the interruption. "Or, maybe just tell us a story?"

    "Have you ever heard the Legend of Grapper?" asked Tiernan.

    Adriana shook her head eagerly, and Wizard, although he had heard the legend before, also settled in eagerly to hear it again. He and Adriana sat on opposite sides of the airship, looking out for Nani while Tiernan sat in the centre and recited the story.


    (32 chronicles worth later.)

    "It was signed Randy Pringle, 2 AT," finished Tiernan.

    "Wow! Was that a true story?" asked Adriana.

    Tiernan answered, "Truth is in the eye of the beholder."

    "Well, I really ought to land this airship!" Wizard remembered. "It got dark hours ago, so there’s no chance of finding Nani anyway."

    "It’s dark? Why didn’t anyone tell me?" demanded Tiernan.

    "We wanted to hear the rest of the story," Adriana explained. "It was really good."

    "Now let me see, which button do I press to land?" muttered Wizard. "I know Kronos said… hmm. Well, I know it’s not this button, so… it must be this one!" Wizard confidently pressed a big red button-

    -And the gas bags of the airship began rapidly deflating. The ship jerked downwards. The occupants grabbed onto the railing for dear life, screaming as the airship descended faster and faster…


    Tiernan groaned as he came to. He head throbbed terribly. He touched it and it felt wet, though his blindfold was still on and he could see nothing. For a moment he considered removing it. His time was practically out; and, despite two favours from Kronos, he had failed to find Nani. He would fail the course anyway. But, after nearly six months of blindness, what was another few hours?

    He slowly sat up. His entire body ached, but the throb in his head mostly distracted from that.

    "Tiernan’s awake," he heard Adriana say. "Are you okay, Tiernan?"

    "I think so. I seem to have a head wound."

    "I can see that. No broken bones though?" He could feel her hands gently pressing against his arms and legs. When that didn’t cause any reaction, she checked his ribs, his clavicle, and his hips. It was almost worth crashing an airship.

    "Wow, you’re the luckiest of all of us," said Adriana.

    "Actually, in some worlds broken legs are considered lucky, so that makes me the luckiest," Wizard said.

    "Not anymore," corrected Adriana. "I’ve repaired it. But between that and my clavicle, I’m out of mana. We should at least bandage your head though," she added to Tiernan.

    He nodded in agreement.

    "I have supplies at my house. It’s a few blocks away, but you seem stable to walk. Wizard, will you come too?"

    "Sure, I have nothing to do until Kronos sends me home anyway. Thank you!"

    Adriana took Tiernan’s less bloody hand, and led the way to her house. Shortly they arrived, and she promptly started cleaning and dressing Tiernan’s wound. This was a most unpleasant experience.

    She worked systematically, without sympathy, but when she finished, there was a note of apology in her voice as she asked, "magical healing is much nicer, isn’t it?"

    "By a long shot!" cut in Wizard enthusiastically.

    "I’m glad the ways of first aid haven’t been entirely lost though," said Tiernan.

    "Not at all. It’s still used often during crises, when the healers don’t have mana to spare. Now, I have an enhanced bed that will restore my mana at an increased rate while I sleep. If you want to stick around while I nap for a couple of hours, I could finish the healing."

    "Sure," Tiernan agreed.

    "Thanks for your hospitality," said Wizard.

    "If you’re tired, I have a guest room-"

    "Tired?" Tiernan cut in. "What time is it?"

    "About eight o’clock in the evening," provided Wizard.

    "Whoever heard of going to bed at eight?" said Tiernan.

    "Then just make yourselves at home, and I’ll see you in a couple of hours, when my mana has regenerated."


    It was hours into the night, long after Adriana had finished healing everyone and long after anyone’s bedtime, by the time Wizard settled into her guest room, and Adriana walked Tiernan home. Tiernan wasn’t sure if her walking him one short block was an act of flirtation - she said she wanted to see if Nani happened to have returned.

    Holding a magelight, Adriana checked every crevice of his house, including the sections he never used.

    "I’ve already checked the house, you know," Tiernan reminded her.

    "Yes, but not with your eyes. Cats can be pretty good hiders if they want to be."

    So Tiernan followed her throughout his house. Here his blindness did not slow him down, he knew the house well. Though he rather wished he had an excuse to hold her hand.

    Once she got to the farthest corner of the house, a closet in some unused bedroom, she gasped.

    "It’s her!"

    Tiernan strained his ears and could hear now, the faintest hint of a purr. He dropped to his knees and put his hand out, and felt her familiar soft fur. He could feel her back, her tail, her head, her… extra little lumps?

    "And kittens," Adriana added.


    (Later that morning)

    Tiernan was awoken at the ungodly hour of 10 AM by the shimmering gold light.

    "Tiernan," spoke Kronos. "I have come to assess the success of your training."

    Once Tiernan fully woke up, he remembered his exciting news. "Kronos, guess what!"

    "You scored with the hot nurse chick?"

    "Uh, no. Nani had kittens!"

    "Oh, cool."

    "Cool?"

    "I kinda knew she was pregnant, and thought that would conveniently make a good final exam for you. I’m pleased to hear that you passed."

    "Well, kind of. It was actually Adriana who found her."

    "Accepting the assistance of another is a valuable lesson," Kronos said.

    "Does that mean I passed? I’m ready to face Icel?" Tiernan asked this hesitantly, feeling that he was not at all ready to face Icel.

    "Tiernan, wield the zetacomb."

    Tiernan retrieved it and held it. He could feel the energy coursing through it, and he could feel exactly how to utilize it.

    "I… I am," he realized.

    "Not only are you ready, you’ve already done it," said Kronos.

    "What?"

    "You defeated Icel hundreds of years ago. If you desire, I can take you back to your own time, so that you can experience that confrontation."

    "Of course I have to go back to my own time, I have people waiting for me! At least, one person… hopefully…"

    "Would it influence your decision if I told you that Katerei never made it to your arranged meeting? She was not informed until it was too late. I believe she married a popular drummer."

    Tiernan just sat in shock. "I never saw her again? I will never see her again?"

    "Time is always in flux," Kronos admitted. "But this is the reality I see. The choice is yours, I could return you to your own time, on the world of Meridor, or I can leave you here. You are welcome to stay in this house, it is yours if you so choose. Either way, you are free to remove your blindfold."

    Barely noticing what he was doing, Tiernan untied the blindfold for the first time. Light burst into his eyes and threatened to blind him once again, but even more shocking than that was the news that he’d never see Katerei again. It hit him like a punch to the gut.

    When Tiernan didn’t answer, Kronos continued speaking. "I’ve already visited Adriana and Wizard. Wizard chose to return to his own time, but Adriana has found greater happiness here, and chose to stay."

    Tiernan thought of the house, of Nani, and most of all, of Adriana. Maybe the situation wasn’t so hopeless.

    "But don’t you need this house, for your training course?"

    "Oh, uh." The shimmering gold light fidgeted and seemed to loosen its collar. "The training course has been discontinued. Apparently being blindfolded for a year is extremely detrimental to one’s vision. Heh."

    "What?!"

    "Good thing you only took a half-course, eh? Your eyes should be fine. After they get used to light again."

    "I think I will stay," decided Tiernan. "At least for a while."

    THE END

    This post has been edited by BreadWorldMercy453 : 10 February 2018 - 09:01 PM



  • @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 10 February 2018 - 09:00 PM, said in Beyond Tiernan's Eyes:

    "That’s too easy, there’s no suspense! There’s no risk of the end of the world, or of you losing your true love. It’s just not a good story that way!"

    Man, Kronos is a jerk.

    Quote

    "I know just the thing! I have a brilliant super-intensive training course that’s never failed to empower a hero to complete his goal, and I’d love for you to be the first person to test it out!"

    Wait... has he been empowering non-person heroes until now?

    Quote

    "Oh no it wasn’t! I know your magic specialty, and I know what happened to your friend’s tavern… numerous times. Yeah, Tiernan burning down my house, just a hypothetical situation? Suuuure."

    :D

    Quote

    And of course, there was always snuggling with Nani. Whenever he missed Katerei the most, whenever he felt he’d shatter if he couldn’t embrace her, Nani was there. Nani had found a spot in his heart as a placeholder for Katerei, but now he wanted to hold her because she was Nani. Somehow she had become someone he loved in her own right.

    I'm suddenly wondering if story-Selax likes cats as much as author-Selax. Maybe it'll finally be something for him to have in common with T?

    Quote

    (Or maybe it was the desire to hold a girl’s hand that won out. Hard to say.)

    oh no, this doesn't bode well for Kat

    Quote

    "Completely. So, you’re a magess."

    oh no. It's either Moonshadow or Adriana, isn't it?

    Quote

    Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail.

    OH NO

    Quote

    "Well, it’s been a long time since we first met. Maybe a thousand years. Pnyx has expanded a lot. Have you ever noticed the massive university on the shore?"

    Aaah, I was wondering about the automobile earlier. Of course Kronos would pull something like that.

    Quote

    "Adriana… What do you think happens to cats when they die?"

    "Perhaps they go on to sunbathe on an island across the sea? Hopefully we’re not about to find out."

    Hmm, this feels familiar...

    Quote

    "Wizard?" asked Tiernan. "Wait, of course it’s Wizard, who else would be three hours late?"

    :o I was expecting Wolmark. Didn't he have a balloon?

    Quote

    "Have you ever heard the Legend of Grapper?" asked Tiernan.

    OH NO

    Quote

    "And kittens," Adriana added.

    :D :D :D My cat hid in the closet when having her kittens, years ago.

    Quote

    "Would it influence your decision if I told you that Katerei never made it to your arranged meeting? She was not informed until it was too late. I believe she married a popular drummer."

    I... I have extremely mixed feelings about this...

    Quote

    "I think I will stay," decided Tiernan. "At least for a while."

    aww nooo, he doesn't even try to go back to Kat and change the future? :( Jerk. Maybe she is better off with that drummer after all!

    This post has been edited by iKaterei : 01 March 2018 - 07:56 AM



  • @ikaterei_bot, on 01 March 2018 - 07:54 AM, said in Beyond Tiernan's Eyes:

    Aaah, I was wondering about the automobile earlier. Of course Kronos would pull something like that.

    I don't guess I made the setting very clear! I probably should have mentioned more than an automobile..

    Quote

    :o I was expecting Wolmark. Didn't he have a balloon?

    Yup, this balloon is based off of Wolmark's in Tyry's TLA series. But I gave it to Wizard so I could make fun of Wizzy (he was three hours late when Fiery was visiting because he was pulled over, and last time Tyry visited he lost us some points in a card game because he forgot which card he was holding).

    Quote

    :D :D :D My cat hid in the closet when having her kittens, years ago.

    I know, you gave me the idea! ^_ __^

    Spoiler

    In the real game Nani was dead, so I was looking for a happier ending.

    Quote

    aww nooo, he doesn't even try to go back to Kat and change the future? :( Jerk. Maybe she is better off with that drummer after all!

    I don't think you're being fair! If you do not ship Katerei & Tiernan in your own stories, how can you complain about other people not shipping them? And you don't think Katerei would live happily ever after with Airedain?

    This post has been edited by BreadWorldMercy453 : 01 March 2018 - 08:57 AM



  • @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 01 March 2018 - 08:56 AM, said in Beyond Tiernan's Eyes:

    I don't think you're being fair! If you do not ship Katerei & Tiernan in your own stories, how can you complain about other people not shipping them?

    ^



  • Who says I don't ship K and T? You haven't read the whole series yet.



  • That's true, but I look forward to it!

    Anyway, I've shipped K & T in a few of my Glass Menagerie stories : __\ Maybe the ship does need more attention...



  • An amusing story as always. Well done :) .

    I think my favorite parts were the centrality of cats to the story (cats are very important to most stories as most people should know) and the fact that Wizard appeared and was late (as usual).

    @ikaterei_bot, on 01 March 2018 - 07:54 AM, said in Beyond Tiernan's Eyes:

    I'm suddenly wondering if story-Selax likes cats as much as author-Selax. Maybe it'll finally be something for him to have in common with T?

    I haven't really thought about that to be honest, but I'm inclined to doubt it. Story-Selax doesn't tend spend a lot of time thinking about this own likes and dislikes. He's too busy messing with other people's lives :p .

    @ikaterei_bot, on 01 March 2018 - 07:54 AM, said in Beyond Tiernan's Eyes:

    oh no, this doesn't bode well for Kat

    oh no. It's either Moonshadow or Adriana, isn't it?

    OH NO

    It's your own fault that you passed up the chance to kill Adriana in "Hym"...


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