The snow was blinding and the fact that she hadn't eaten in two days
wasn't helping any. Kryssa took another shaky step and found herself
burried up to her knees in the blasted Dezo snow. "We haven't had storm
like this in ages," she thought. "Just my luck that I should get caught
in it." She had left her town, Tyler two days ago. There had been no
particular reason, she was just tired of the life that a cramped Dezo
settlement had dealt her. She was the odd girl of the town: always
sitting by the grave marker on the outskirts of the village, her long
golden hair blowing loose in the wind. She had never fit in to begin
with. Some subtle difference had always separated her from her fellow
citizens. She had never considered herself conceited, but talking to the
locals had always seemed bothersome for her; and when they did talk to her
they usually offered nothing but unkind words. So two mornings ago, when
a sleepless night stirred her in her one room flat, she had taken up a few
belongings including a cloak her deceased father had given her, and left.
Something had called her. Perhaps it was the wind howling wild and
reckless between the buildings. However Kryssa needed no explanation and
merely laughed and called it Destiny beckoning her.
Her feet were becoming weary and she could no longer feel her fingers. "I
can't die out here," she thought mustering what little determination she
had left. "This isn't what was meant to happen." Suddenly her foot gave
way into a snow drift and she fell face first. Blackness enveloped
Moments later she found herself staring into a pair of piercing azure
eyes. Long hair of the same color blew into momentarily in front of them.
"Don't let me die here," she murmured weakly. Under any circumstances she
would never have pleaded to strangers but delirium had clouded her logic.
"Don't worry." replied a soft yet somehow insensitive male voice. "I
don't intend to." She felt strong arms around her lifting her up and
carrying her. The last thing she remembered before she lost conciousness
was her head drooping against her rescuer's long white robe.
She came to after three days. Her body had been emaciated by the weather
and lack of food she was later told. When she awoke she found herself
laying in a rather simple yet comfortable bed in a large stone room. An
old man with a long white beard wearing what appeared to be grey
ceremonial robes sat a few feet from her. "Ahhh...awake at last little
one," he said with a smile. "You had us worried." "Where am I?" she
asked blinking in the light which suddenly seemed bright to her. "This is
EsperMansion. The Reverent Fifth One found you just a short distance from
here." "Reverent Fifth One?" she asked tilting her head incredulously.
"Yes...the Fifth Generation Lutz." "Fi...Fi...Lu...Lutz?!?" she
stammered. Everyone on Dezolis knew about Lutz, High Esper and Protector
of Algo. "He brought you here and was personally helping with trying to
heal you. He was most concerned." "Lutz?!?" The old man smiled. "You
still must be in shock from your ordeal dear. Where are you from?"
"Hmmm? Oh...Tyler...I'm from Tyler." "Ahhh...and why did you leave?"
Kryssa stopped. She couldn't expalin to this nice old man whoever he was
that she'd left on a foolish and childish impulse. In hopes to save her
dignity she stammered, "It was ah...personal problems. I'd rather not
discuss it." Seeming satisfied the old man rose. "Rune might be in to
see you later. He's been checking in every day to see how you're doing."
"Oh...I didn't catch your name incidentally," Kryssa says as the old man
was about to leave. "Hage," he replies before stepping out the door.
Kryssa lay back on the pillow and scowled more. So Rune had been the one
to rescue her! Now things were beginning to get exciting. Just then the
door swung open and Rune stepped in. "Well well!" he said with a grin.
"It's nice to see you up. I was afraid we had lost you." "I'm hard to
get rid of," Kryssa said wryly, "I suppose I should thank you for saving
me." "Well," said the Esper with a wry grin of his own, "It would be
nice." "Thank you then." "It was a pleasure...I couldn't leave a gifted
soul like you to die and be picked by the Dezo Owls." 'How insensitive!'
was the first thought that came to her head, but instead she delicately
querried, "Gifted?" Rune grinned even more broadly than before. "We'll
discuss that later. Untill then m'lady." A roguish smile crossed his
face as he gave a low, sweeping bow and kissed her hand. Kryssa was glad
when he left so she could hide the blush that had risen to her cheeks.
Her recovery was rapid. A few days after awakening she was up and walking
around the mansion. She had been given a comfortable room in the
student's dorm area. Although she had not seen Rune since the first day
he had come to visit her, she could never shake the feeling that he was
watching her. She saw Hage while roaming about the halls and often
conversed with him. On one occassion she ventured to ask where Rune was
and he simply stated that the Reverent Fifth One was a busy man and
probably just hadn't had time to look in on her. Kryssa's heart was
sinking a bit. She had felt so giddy after first meeting him, but now her
hopes dissolved and she wondered if he even remembered she was at the
One day Kryssa was feeling particularly bored. She ventured north down
the winding corridors, nodding to the Espers she passed with a friendly
smile. However they only stared back at her. "Just another place I don't
fit in." she thought wearily as she passed through double doors into a
large, open courtyard. Suddenly a voice shouted, "You there!" Wheeling
to run she crashed hard into a robed figure just behind her. Powerful
hands grabbed her wrists and she cried, "Let me go! Please let me go! I
meant no harm!" "Kryssa?" Glancing at under the tall figure's hood she
saw the all too familiar bright blue eyes. "Rune??" she asked
incredulously. Just then the guard who had called out to her approached.
"You oaf!" Rune said with a scowl on his face. "You almost scared the
poor girl to death." "But Reverent Fifth One, she was entering the
Inner-Sanctuary...she could have been an assassin!" "Bah. Look at her
Slade, does she LOOK like an assassin to you?" The man regarded her and
then shuffled back to his post at the door. "I'm sorry to have caused you
this trouble," she muttered turning to leave. "Trouble?" Rune said, "No
trouble at all...in fact I was just comming to look for you." "You were?"
she asked incredulously. "Yes, yes. Come on now. You look like you're
about to faint from shock."
They walked about the inside of the Inner Sanctuary. Frost had kissed the
evergreen trees and the grass that crunched beneath her feet. "Do you
like it here?" Rune asked on a sudden whim. Caught off guard, Kryssa
merely nodded. "Good," Rune said. "A person with your gift needs to be
properly trained." "What gift is this you keep talking about?" she asked
with mild agitation. Rune sat down and indicated that she should join
him. Doing so, he said, "Close your eyes and concentrate." "Are you
playing games with me?" she asked feeling mildly suspicious and indignant.
"Of course not. Just close your eyes. Now concentrate on me. No, not
THAT hard...Great Light girl you look like you're expecting to have cold
water poured on you. Just relax and concentrate on me. Now try to place
any thought you can in my head. Try to make me see what you're seeing."
Kryssa concentrated hard and suddenly Rune burst out laughing. "Roast
Rappy?!?!?" Kryssa looked at the ground blushing bright crimson. "I'm
hungry," she said with an apologetic frown. "That's all right. But see?
You did it. You have the Esperean gift, you just need to learn to use
it." Kryssa looked thoughtful. She had always thought that Espers did
more than simple telepathy. "Do you want to learn spells then? I can't
teach you that. You'd blow up the whole Mansion!" he said with a mocking
smile. "No," Kryssa says trying to hide the disappointment in her voice.
"I just thought I'd learn more than Telepathy." Rune smiled, a true and
genuine smile. No hint of sarcasm played on his face or in his voice as he
said, "Patience Kryssa...patience." He took her hand and gently kissed it
again as he stood to leave, but this time held it in his a bit longer.
Kryssa merely smiled up at him.
Rune made it a point to see Kryssa more and more frequently. He told her
that she was of the "upper path" and didn't need to learn spells so he
began teaching her what he called "skills" or as she had heard it called
back in Tyler, "Real Magic." Her lesson had begun disasterously. She had
heard Rune say something to Hage about 'Flaeli' and she had decided to try
it of her own accord. The result was a demolished statue of the heroine
Alis and some very ruffled feelings on the part of some of the elders.
Rune made apologies to the proper people and promptly began teaching
Kryssa to control her powers, and more importantly to aim.
* * * * *
She had been at the mansion for half a year. She and Rune had begun to
talk more and more frequently. Not a day passed that she did not talk to,
or think about him. The other Espers weren't much more accepting of her
but by this time she was used to the wayward stares. In the halls she
heard sniggers and idle whispers about 'Rune's Lover' and what have you.
It didn't phase her in the slighest though. So what if she was infatuated
with the Reverent Fifth One? Nothing would ever come of it. He was a
lofty man and she was a wayward waif. He couldn't possibly have any
interest in her.
She wandered to the Inner Sanctuary. It had become one of her favorite
places now that the guards let her pass freely at Rune's request. No
sooner had she walked in the door but a voice reached out into her mind,
"Kryssa!" Turning she saw Rune hidden in the shadowy area beneath the
high wall. Walking over to him she gave him a customary hug. She knew he
regarded her as a close friend and had never seemed to mind the simple
term of affection. "I'm glad you came," he whispered. "I missed you."
Kryssa blinked in shock. "You're talking nonsense Rune. You saw me
yesterday." He smiled and shook his head and began placing his thoughts
into her mind rather than speaking them aloud. "I know...but it's been
too long." She glanced at his face for the usual hint of sarcasm but saw
instead that his chiseled features had a strangely serious look on them.
"I don't know what to say." she thought back at him. "Then don't say
anything," his thoughts softly whispered to her as he leaned in close to
her and gently kissed her. Kryssa's mind was swimming. She'd never been
kissed before, but now....Lutz! The Reverent Fifth One! "Of all
people...." she mused inwardly. "Rune I...." she began after he'd drawn
away. "Answer me one question," he said cutting her off, "Do you love
me?" Kryssa blinked. She felt her knees getting weak and her world
reeling around her. Through her mental intoxication she
nodded...."Yes...I do Rune." Before she knew what was happening he was
* * * * *
Time had passed quickly with Rune in her life in this new found position.
The whispers had stopped among the other Espers and some even dared to
cast her admiring glances. However, her bliss was soon interrupted again.
Nightmares had begun to come to her every night. She could see a hellish
daemon, with razor claws, and close set eyes like black onyx reaching for
a woman whom she recognized as Alis. Other nights it would reach for a
woman she didn't know, who carried two slashers. At the end of the dream
the creature turned its hideous countenance towards Kryssa's mind's eye
and said, "I come for you as well as her. You will be mine."
"Rune?" "Hmmm?" the Esper said sleepily turning over away from her.
"Rune!" "What? What? I'm up..." Glancing at her concerned face he sat
up and put an arm around her. "More nightmares love?" She nodded
shakily. "Rune, who's this woman I keep seeing dressed in red with long
brown hair and carrying two slashers?" Rune blinked. "Alys?!? You
dreamt of Alys?" Kryssa nodded and glanced at Rune "She isn't your
fiancee I hope" she said with a mild grin. "No...no, Alys is an old
friend of mine. She's a world class hunter back on Motavia. Did you
dream of her?" She related the dream as best she could, tears in her eyes
at the end. "Shhh..." Rune said, "It's only a dream. Nothing more."
Lying back down Rune bit his lower lip. This dark intimation troubled him
greatly. "Rune?" Kryssa whispered into the darkness. "Yes?" "What does
the name Alys mean?" Kryssa asked sleepily. "Vanquishes Darkness," he
told the already sleeping girl. Staring into the darkness of their room,
Rune found himself reflecting on the meaning of Kryssa's own name. "The
Star" he thought quietly....
They were out walking together at Kryssa's request. The snow had subsided
for a bit, and she had felt what was perhaps the outdoors calling to her.
He was carrying his staff in case they ran into trouble but Kryssa had
made a cryptic remark that she was ready for whatever came. They had just
reached the top of an outlook when they stopped. Inky black smoke began
to pour out of the snow bank in front of them. "Get back!" Rune shouted.
The smoke formed into a greasy looking cloud and finally a tall menacing
shape that Kryssa recognized immediately from her dream. "Rune! That's
it! That's that thing I dreamed about!" Kryssa cried. "Fools," the
creature said in a deep, raspy voice. "I hoped to kill you, Lutz, but
your young harlot too...how convenient!" 'Hewn!' Rune shouted, sending
whirling blades of magic at the creature. The being merely cackled.
"You'll have to do better than that, Lutz." Suddenly Rune was sent flying
by a powerful bolt of energy. "Rune!!!!!!!!!!!!" Kryssa screamed. "Now
I'll finish you and further the tasks of my master, The Profound
Darkness!" the beast said with a tirumphant laugh. Suddenly a sickening
black wave of magic began to form around the creature's hand which he
pointed at Rune. "No!" Kryssa yelled running forward. Leaping at the
last moment she placed herself between Rune and the bolt of Black Energy
that went seering through her body. "Kryssa! Kryssa! Ryuka ar
Rune stared down at Kryssa with tears streaming down his manly cheeks.
"Kryssa...don't leave me. You'll be better soon. Don't leave me." Her
body lay on the bed it had lay on so long ago when he had first brought
her to the mansion. Sweat poured off her slender frame and she shook with
violent tremors on occassion. "Rune...." she murmured quietly. "I'm here
Kryssa...I won't leave you." "Rune...please go fi..." her sentence was
interrupted with another convulsion. Her eyes closed against the pain and
she bit down hard on her lower lip untill she drew blood. "Find
Alys....that thing must be sto...pped." Rune glanced helplessly back at
Hage. "Do something!" he cried. "Help me save her!" Hage shook his gray
head sadly. "Thank...you...Rune...for...for...." she gave a hard gasp as
if fighting to finish her sentence. "I love you," Rune whispered quietly,
his tears falling unabated. "I ll...love you...t....too. Goo....goodbye,
Ru--" Kryssa's body gave one last violent shudder and she gasped one last
time for air. Then she lay completely still.
Rune walked out into the Inner Sanctuary. Kryssa had been laid to rest
beneath one of the trees here. Beneath the tree where he had first kissed
her so long ago. Staring up at the sky he saw a brief twinkle, followed
by a small flash. And a little blue star began to shine brightly above
him. "Kryssa..." The breeze whispered through the trees. And the voice
it carried with it brought memories rushing back to Rune. "Alys....."
* * * * *
Rune scowled and traipsed down the main road of Molcum again. "Where IS
she? She's always late." He was about to give up when a familiar voice
said, "Rune?" It was Alys...with a scrawny blonde kid and a scientist.
"Great...a pipsqueak. How is HE going to help me avenge the lives lost?"
Rune thought icily.
* * * * *
He was watching Alys die. He couldn't believe it. First Dark Force had
claimed Kryssa, and now the same vile Black Energy wave was taking Alys
from him. As he watched his oldest and dearest friend slip away he
remembered the night he had told her about Kryssa. "Don't worry
Rune...I'll avenge her or die trying." Those had been her exact words.
And now here she lay....entrusting the quest to the pipsqueak. He could
hardly believe his ears. But his grief silenced him for the time being.
Looking up he saw Alys give the familiar shudder that Kryssa had, then lie
They burried Alys in Krup. That was well, because she had once confided
in Rune that she always liked Krup better than Aiedo. That night they
stayed at her old house. Chaz commented every ten minutes or so that
despite the fact there was a whole group there that it felt empty. Rune
had gone out on the balcony and found Chaz gazing at the night sky.
Looking up for a moment, Rune found Kryssa's star without any trouble.
Chaz had continued to babble about the fact that he had been fighting for
money before and didn't know what to fight for now, but Rune's thoughts
were elsewhere. This boy had promise. And a good heart. And deep down,
Rune knew he was the only one that would avenge the fallen. He left the
balcony feeling crestfallen and walked out to the lawn in front of Alys's
old house. Staring up at Kryssa's star, he noticed a bright glimmer in
the west, as a bright red shooting star streaked very close to the blue
'Kryssa? Is that you?' 'Alys!...what a pleasure.' 'Yeah...an assemblage
of victims...how quaint.' 'You're going to Elsydeon now, right?' 'Yes...I
can't imagine why you aren't there. You gave your life to save Rune.'
Kryssa twinkled a moment before replying, 'True heroes dwell in Elsydeon.
Lovers dwell in the sky.' Alys couldn't help but feel pleased. 'Alys?'
'Yes?' 'When you go in to Elsydeon, Chaz will carry the sword, will he
not?' 'Yes.' 'And you will help him, right?' 'We will all help to the best
of our ability.' 'Alys?' 'Yes, Kryssa?' 'Please protect Rune for me....'
Alys laughed...'I will do my best. But you are in a far better position
to watch over him. Will you stay here forever then?' 'No...' Kryssa
reflected. 'I know I'm to go somewhere important...for now I think I'm
just waiting.' 'Very well then...wait well, and watch well. I go to
EsperMansion.' Kryssa watched Alys streak off to her Destiny in Elsydeon.
'Farewell, Alys Brangwin.'
* * * * *
She watched from her lofty vantage point. She saw the hole open up in the
middle of Motavia as the Profound Darkness tried to rear its ugly head in
the peaceful Algo system. She saw Rune, Chaz, Rika, Wren, and Raja all
venture into the hole. And she waited. And while she waited a voice came
to her. 'Hello Kryssa.' 'Hello...who are you?' 'I am LeRoof.' the voice
answered, 'Spirit of Rykros, the other planet in the Algo System.' Kryssa
smiled inwardly. 'Then it's you I'm waiting for.' 'Yes...' said Le Roof.
'You must come with me.' 'No...not yet...I need to know if they
survive....if Rune survives.' 'Child,' LeRoof began, 'worry not whether
they win. Alys watches over Rune and the others... as well as Nei and
the spirits of the great Past Protectors.' Kryssa was not convinced.
Suddenly the earth below her trembled and she saw the hole close up.
Rika, Chaz, Rune, Wren, and Raja appeared outside moments later protected
by swirling clouds of stars...swirling clouds...of Elsydeon. The shards
mounted upwards and a voice carried on the wind, 'I have fulfilled my
promise Kryssa. Rune is safe. Now it is your time to fulfill your
destiny.' 'Thank you Alys' Kryssa said. 'Now come, little one.' LeRoof
"Chaz!!!! Hurry or you'll miss it!" Rika shouted from a grassy hill
outside of Aiedo. She and Chaz had taken up residence in Alys's old house
and tonight was a night neither wanted to miss. Tonight, Rykros would
reach the point on its orbit closest to Motavia. Running outdoors, Chaz
flopped down on the grass beside Rika staring upwards. Slowly, Rykros
appeared on the horizon. "It's beautiful!" Rika cried. "Hey
Rika...what's that?" "I don't know Chaz....oh, but it's beautiful." What
the couple watched was a small blue star. It could have been described as
a moon, for it orbited Rykros in a graceful, eliptical pattern. "We never
saw that when we were there did we Chaz?" Rika asked incredulously.
"No....I wonder if Rune is watching this wherever he is....," Chaz mused
He stood on a hillside far from the city. As Rykros began to rise, the
first thing he spotted was the slowly orbiting blue star. "Kryssa..." he
murmured to the breeze. "Care for her well, LeRoof," Rune whispered
softly. The star burned brightly for a moment and the voice of LeRoof
came to Rune, "She will care for Rykros, and Rykros will care for her."
"But will I see her again?" Rune wondered aloud. "The universe works in
mysterious ways," LeRoof answered to his mind, "Some were chosen for
greatness on earth, such as you who protect the Algo system...some were
chosen for greatness out of the world's sphere." Rune stared at the lone
blue star orbiting Rykros. "The brightest stars aren't always the most
influential." He whispered to the wind. Turning his back as Rykros set,
he began to walk towards the vast expanse of horizon. The galaxy was a
wide place to protect...
And there was more than one path towards