Author's Note: The selected events portrayed here have been written in the
style of Mike Ripplinger's novella,
The Adventures of
Rhys. Whenever a quote is taken directly from the game itself, it will be
Ayn's hand was gripped on the cool, textured cave wall, a dim saffron in
color. His eyes widened, and he stooped down to one knee, regarding the sight
before him. Spread out across the innermost cavern of this maze of tunnels in
western Aridia, the remaining survivors of Cille and Shushoran dwelt.
It was a pitiful sight. There were only a handful of people, all bruised and
battered from the flight from their home. Mieu looked worriedly at Ayn, and bit
her lip. Even Wren seemed disheartened by the morbid scene. The ponytailed
Layan prince took in a quick breath, and he lurched forth. Up until then,
nobody had even noticed the trio of companions, who had journeyed all the way
from Aquatica in search of family and friends. The sudden footsteps echoed in
the large cavern, and many of the exiles jumped, fearful of another cyborg
Seeing that it was quite the opposite, they relaxed visibly. Towards the
back of the room, Ayn could make out several unmoving shapes, standing quietly
by themselves. They didn't acknowledge his coming. As Ayn walked forth, a young
boy ran to his side. He had short black hair, and large innocent eyes. But they
were innocent no longer. The boy's left arm had a brutal, ugly gash in it. No
blood flowed from it before, but red stains were apparent all throughout his
Ayn recognized him to be Delan, the son of one of the royal family's close
friends. He took a moment to bend down and examine him. "Delan," he asked, very
shaken up. "A-Are you alright?" It was, of course, a very foolish question. He
was not alright. But Ayn's nerves were positively frayed.
Delan seemed to think for a moment, for a good answer. Then, he responded in
an uncertain voice, "I think so. Most of the hurt's gone now, and mama told me
that I'll be alright." His eyes took a more serious look. "Prince Ayn, we're
all that's left of Cille and Shushoran. Can you please hurry and
find Satellite?" It was a request. Ayn didn't know what to say. He was older,
and had to be reassuring, calmer, with a brighter outlook on things.
The picture was indeed bleak, but Ayn sighed and said, "I'll do my best,
Delan." He stood up straight again, and walked further in.
"Good luck, Prince Ayn."
Mieu and Wren followed their new master, and arrived to see him talking to
one of the remaining nobles, a yellow-clothed woman. "We did all we could to
defend our territory," she was saying. "But we just didn't have the manpower."
Ayn nodded grimly. The woman spoke in a more hushed tone, and muttered,
"Lyle's in bad shape. He may not live very long."
Mieu's expression got even glummer. "This is grave news. If even he could
not do anything to prevent these cyborgs from wreaking havoc, who knows what
could?" She scanned the room for a moment, and then asked the noble, concern in
her voice, "Where's Thea?" The woman looked up. She might have been quite
dazzling, except for the scar that ran above her eyebrows and the sweat-soaked
robe she wore.
"Why don't you go ask Lyle yourself?" It certainly did not sound like
Ayn went around behind the noble, steering towards the three unmoving
figures he had first seen upon entering the cavern. Two soldiers remained at
their side. One of the bowed deeply at the prince's appearance and said, "We
had no choice but to run for our lives." He sounded almost ashamed.
"I understand, Drego," Ayn said levelly. "It is surely better than the other
alternative!" He opened his mouth to say more, but was interrupted by a deep,
"Ah, at last, Ayn, you have come." A figure hobbled towards him from even
further back, and soon, the crumpled man that once was Lyle, proud king of
Shushoran, was revealed. His green hair was in a wild tangle, and it was
obvious that he had not escaped injury himself. He smelled just awful, and the
gaping hole of his right eye socket twisted him into a monster of legends in
the dim, eerie lighting. "Look at us. Just look at us!" His voice was
surprisingly strong for the condition his body was. "Driven into exile, our
land usurped by renegade cyborgs...was this the fate that I had always doomed
Ayn said nothing. "We are the last remnants of a great royal family,
descended down from those who once were in the favors of Laya herself! How was
it that we were defeated so quickly, so mercilessly?" Lyle sagged a bit, and
collapsed down to the ground. Ayn rushed to his side, fearing the worst, but
the green-haired Layan was not dead. He was, however, crying.
"Why, Ayn?" he croaked. "Why? We hadn't waged war upon Orakians. But they
sent their vilest combat warriors to destroy our kingdom! And...and take Thea
from me..." He broke up into wheezing sobs, wheezing wretched sobs of a pain so
deep, and incomprehensible.
Lyle got back up, supporting himself with his feeble arms. "I suppose I
should leave off my womanish weeping," he said, voice hollow. "My time left in
this world will be short. There is one last thing I have to say to you Ayn."
Mieu and Wren payed more close attention, and heard him say, "You must
rescue my daughter Thea for me. She has been taken east by our cruel, cruel
enemies. I..." He paused, and blinked a few times. Mieu attributed it
to mild brain damage. "...I have the key to the eastern world." Mieu
gasped. This eastern world Lyle was talking about was surely Draconia. During
the Great Devastation War, the passageways were sealed, and to reopen each one
required a different gem, intricately crafted by the finest artisans. Could
Lyle's family have passed down one of these gems generation after generation?
Lyle fumbled in his cloak for a moment, and produced a sparkling, emerald
gem, in the shape of a tear. "This," he said, hand and voice trembling. "is the
Dragon's Tear. I entrust this in your care Ayn. It will unlock the cave to
the east, and allow you to locate Thea." He sniffed a few times, and said,
"Be strong, Ayn. I will watch over you always." After Ayn had placed his hand
on the gem, Lyle withdrew into the shadows once again, not wishing to speak
anymore. Inside, Mieu sighed.
Ayn was still silent. Although the turn of events had affected him deeply,
he wanted to be strong, to be confident, in this desperate hour. King Rhys and
Queen Maia appeared to his left, and Ayn at last managed to stutter out,
Rhys had several visible wounds, also, but nothing as serious as Lyle.
Maia's gown was caked in dirt and mud, but she, too, seemed to have avoided
most terrors. "You have done well, my son," Rhys began. "I do not forsake you
for not being there in Cille and Shushoran's final hours. Even if you were, it
would have meant little." Mieu saw Ayn's eyes well up with emotion. "Let us be
glad for what we have. Do not forget, however, that we would be forever
grateful, if you found Satellite. It is, though, a multi-faceted journey."
"What do you mean, Father?" asked the prince. "We do not even know where to
begin looking, but how did you come across information of the journey ahead?"
Rhys stared long and hard at Mieu and Wren. Fifteen years earlier, they had
been his companions on a grand and dangerous adventure. They were for his son,
now, though. "I have learned much from many people, Ayn. We have heard of
something called the Power Topaz, which supposedly is the key to Satellite.
However, it is rumored to be in the possession of Lena's daughter, who rules
Landen." Ayn saw where this was going. "The only possible route to Landen now,
is through a cave north of here. And to open that cave requires the Twins'
Ruby, which Lyle's daughter has." Rhys placed a large, calloused hand on his
son's wrist. "Ayn, please help my friend -- rescue Thea! Not only for
the well-being of our kingdom, but for Lyle's sake as well."
Maia had been quiet the entire time, but now, she spoke as well. "You are
our last hope." she said, eyes watery. "Be brave, Ayn. Be brave, and
restore our countries to their former glory." She pursed her lips.
"You must go now. Mieu and Wren shall accompany you. You are our
trailblazer, the one who will lead us to victory. I have faith in you, son. I
love you." Maia swallowed, and a tear trickled down her cheek. She leaned
forward and kissed Ayn on the forehead, then turned away.
Finally, Ayn spoke, to no one in particular. "Alright. If this is my
destiny, I will fulfill it. Cille and Shushoran will prevail." He
planted his sword in the cave floor, and bowed his head.
"Good luck, Ayn." said Rhys, not without emotion himself.
"Thank you, father." With that, the prince paced slowly away, two cyborgs at
his side. He tried to block out the visions of horror all around the cavern,
but it was too much. This shattered world, this lost peace...he would have to
redeem all soon.