CoT Part 15: Zealots

The Magic Kingdom (12,000 B.C.)

Ayla, Crono, and Marle emerge from the Time Gate in a small cave. It doesn’t appear that this gate will lead to a confrontation with Lavos unfortunately. When the group exits the cave they find themselves in an arctic wasteland. The world is still in the midst of the ice age brought on by Lavos falling to the earth it would seem. To the east of the cave the group comes upon a small building containing a platform that, when stepped on, transports the team on a beam of light into the clouds.

On the other side of the sky bridge the group finds itself on a floating island above the clouds. A short distance from the bridge lies what appears to be an advanced looking human settlement so the trio head there to investigate. Once there the group learns that this is the city of Enhasa, the city of dreams, where the residents seek enlightenment through sleep. Another of the residents, a creature that looks similar to Masa and Mune gives the group a crash course about this place as he teleports around the area.  The group learns that this city is part of the Kingdom of Zeal ruled by the beautiful and powerful Queen Zeal who has been encouraging magical enhancement ever since the king passed away some years ago. The people here refer to themselves as “enlightened ones” and people who cannot use magic are called the “earthbound ones” and remain on the planet’s surface. As the group explores the area they find many people sleeping trying to achieve enlightenment and talking about their experiences. Once resident tells Crono about a shrine on a small island to the north that contains elemental items which looks very similar to the building that sits north of Medina village in the present day. While wandering the town, the group comes across a strange young boy who proclaims to them that “the black winds howl” (that sounds familiar) and he then tells them that one among them will shortly perish.  With that disturbing tidbit under their belt, the group leaves Enhasa, taking another bridge back to the surface.

Once back on the surface, the group heads north through some more frozen tundra to another sky bridge. This bridge takes the group to the main part of Zeal where to the west lies the city of Kajar. In Kajar is the kingdom’s center for magical research where the people work on advancements in more powerful enchantments. Like Enhasa before it, Kajar is full of useful and interesting information about the Kingdom of Zeal. One woman says that she can sense that the group can use magic like the other “enlightened ones” but remarks that their magic is more “primitive” than theirs. Well gee, thanks lady. Another tells the group of the queen’s two children Schala and Janus. Schala is purported to be even more powerful and lovely as her mother, while Janus is an angsty young child who’s only friend (besides his sister) is his cat. He also seems to be more upset lately than usual. An angsty young boy with a cat? Seems like a likely candidate for the kid that the group ran into in Enhasa.

While talking to some of the researchers in Kajar, the group learns that the main power source of Zeal used to be the Sun Stone, however it began to lose its power so the kingdom switched to a new, stronger power source. They figure that the Sun Stone’s power could be restored, but it would take far too long to be worthwhile. Others tell the group about the construction of the Ocean Palace being built deep in the…well the ocean. While exploring Kajar the group learns some intelligence about some of the queen’s senior advisers. They learn that the queen has three gurus, a guru of life, time, and reason. They also learn of a recent new addition to the queen’s inner circle; a strange prophet has come to the palace who is uncannily accurate in his predictions.

Adjacent to Kajar, lies a dock at the edge of the main floating island which contains the Blackbird, a massive aircraft designed to give Zeal air superiority. Over what? Who knows, but it seems worthwhile for the group to check it out anyway. Once there, the group comes across Dalton, another one of the queen’s inner circle who has come for a surprise inspection. Dalton is at first curious what the group is doing snooping around the Blackbird but then realized that they are the group that the prophet foretold would appear and make trouble for the queen. Rather than turn the group in though, Dalton decides to let them go and see how things play out.

A trip up the mountain standing on the main island brings the group to Zeal Palace which is the center of Zeal Kingdom and by extension, according to the man who greats the group, the center of the universe. Wandering around the main area of the palace, Crono and the gang talk to even more of the citizens of the kingdom gaining an even deeper understanding f what’s going on. One man tells the group about how the new Ocean Palace which is meant to house Zeal’s new power source. A woman seems to recognize Marle’s pendant, remarking that it looks just like Schala’s but lacks the other’s distinctive glow. Others around the area tell the group that the queen has recently been acting strangely and anyone who she feels defies her ends up missing, including the three gurus of time, reason, and life. One woman the group runs into a woman with a small plant with her. She tells Crono that it was a gift from the Guru of Life but the queen ordered her to destroy it. She asks Crono what he thinks she should do with it since she’s torn between obeying the queen and keeping a gift from a venerated wise man. Crono suggests raising the plant in secret and the woman seems to find that agreeable. Hopefully it won’t result in her getting into more trouble…

After exploring the main area, the group decides to explore the chambers off of the main room. At the entrance of the main chamber the group is told that this area contains the Mammon Machine, which serves as the current source of Zeal’s significant power. One man in the machine’s room informs the group that the Mammon Machine draws its immense power from Lavos and will soon be moved to the Ocean Palace so it be closer to the source and draw even more power. I can think of a few reasons why that might be a bad idea… Another of the antecedents in the room tells the group that the Mammon Machine was designed and built by the three gurus out of a mysterious red stone. However the Guru of Life, after doing research into the nature of Lavos, came to oppose the construction of the Mammon Machine and vanished soon afterward. According to another in the chamber, the only person capable of controlling the power of the Mammon Machine is Schala. This seems like a pretty significant design flaw personally.

Once the group leaves the Mammon Machine’s chamber, they head to the throne room however the entrance to the room is sealed with a door that looks like the ones the group came across in 2300 A.D. It even has the same crest on it which is now recognizable as a depiction of the Mammon Machine. One of the attendants near the door tells the group that Schala can open the seal of the door and that her pendant is made from the same red stone as the Mammon Machine. A short trip to the last room off from the main area leads to Schala’s chambers. Inside the chamber the group overhears Schala speaking with her brother Janus. He tells her about the black winds but Schala tries to put him at ease and hands him an amulet that she says will help to keep him safe. Janus remains unconvinced however and tells Schala that the queen has changes and that she is no longer the mother that they knew. Before she can respond though an attendant enters the room and tells Schala that the queen requires her immediate presence at the Ocean Palace. As Schala leaves she notices the group but before she can make an introduction the attendant hurries her along fearing retribution from the queen. The group decides to follow her to the queen’s audience chamber where Schala uses her pendant to open the sealed door. Unfortunately, when the group tries to do the same thing with Marle’s pendant, nothing happens.

Remembering the connection between the pendant and the Mammon Machine the group decides to go back to the machine’s chamber to see if they can use the device to “recharge” the pendants dormant power. The experiment seems to work and with the pendant’s new power manage to open the sealed door just as Schala did. It would seem that Shala and Marle’s pendant are in fact one and the same.

The group are of course noticed as soon as they enter the audience chamber and set eyes on Queen Zeal for the first time. She immediately scolds the group for barging unannounced into her chamber before a robed figure tells her that these are the people that he foretold would bring disaster. The queen then orders Dalton to seize the intruders and he summons his monster the Golem to do his fighting for him. This turns out to be a sound strategy as the Golem quickly defeats the group and they are captured. Before the group is taken to their cell, Queen Zeal promises some rounds of torture before they are put to death.

Sometime later, Crono, Lucca, and Marle are stewing in their cell when Schala and Janus show up. Schala helps the group out of their cell and implores them to help rescue Melchior, the Guru of Life, who has been imprisoned at the Mountain of Woe ever since he defied the queen’s building of the Mammon Machine. Before everyone can get underway however, the prophet appears and intervenes to stop them. Schala and Janus both petition him on the groups behalf and somehow get through to him. The prophet agrees to spare the group on the condition that Schala cooperate with the queen from now on. He then orders the group to show them where and how they got to Zeal which leads them back to the Time Gate in the small cave. The prophet then instructs the group to re-enter the gate and tells Schala to seal it once they are gone. Schala is initially reluctant but the prophet reminds her about their deal and warns that the groups lives are at stake. Schala then reluctantly agrees and the group enters the gate leading back to the prehistoric era and Schala closes the gate behind them seemingly giving up hope of rescuing the Guru of Life.

The group emerges from the other end of the gate back near the crater where Lavos impacted the earth. Malre wonders aloud why the prophet agreed to spare them while also making the connection between the door to Queen Zeal’s audience chamber and the ones the group came across in 2300 A.D. They then come to the conclusion that their next step should be to investigate the possible connection.


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