"Mother Superior Lyria! To what do we owe the honor of this unexpected visit?"
The guards were clearly surprised by the arrival of Fandaria's highest spiritual leader. It was almost unheard of for her to leave the sanctity of the Holy Cathedral. For a person of such eminence to enter the Tower of Solitude, the most decadent prison in all Legendra, was something impossible to behold.
"I have come to see the condemned prisoner within the Chamber of the Damned."
Lyria could sense the agony and misery emanating from the accursed structure she stood inside. Ever since learning such a place existed, the priestess prayed a day would come when each stone in its construction would be torn down. Within every malevolent chamber languished an individual whom suffered indescribable punishment for an offense he or she committed against the Emperor; many of whom were wrongly accused.
The leading sentry spoke again, "I am sorry Mother Superior, but such an act is forbidden. Emperor Gyzzdark has expressly forbidden that no one is allowed to see him."
Hesitantly, two guards silently moved forward to bar entrance through the passage. Neither of them lifted their eyes, reverently keeping their heads bowed. Lyria feared something like this would occur, but she had come too far to stop now. The next words would be crucial for her plan to succeed.
"Does the Emperor's will surpass that of Austia?"
One of the two guards dropped his halberd to the ground. Immediately, the senior sentry signaled the subordinates to stand aside and allow the priestess access. Lyria could see unadulterated fear enter their eyes.
"For.. forgive me Mother Superior. I do not wish to incur the disfavor of Austia. Please excuse my insolence!"
As she walked forward, Lyria felt a pang of penitence fill her. For the first time since assuming the mantle of Mother Superior, she lied. What even made the sin more blasphemous, she spoke the name of the goddess Austia to give it weight. Sadly, she knew this would only be the first of many sins she would commit. The thought made her pain no less grievous.
Lyria came to stop as she approached the two massive steel doors that separated the annex from the chamber it led. It took all her strength to pull the lever that released the mechanical locks and pulleys that opened the twin doors automatically. Much to Lyria's dismay, it appeared no one had maintained the system in decades, and the entrance separated only several inches. It took three attempts before she successfully slipped through the entry.
"Who... who is there?"
Goldark! Lyria ran towards the source of the words, fighting every urge to call out his name. How many years had it been since she saw him? Two? Three? Never in her life did she feel so alone, and within moments, her most selfish prayers would be granted.
"Are you... my executioner? If so... be haste about it. I... have no desire to breathe in this world..."
Chained to the wall by his arms and legs, Lyria saw the marks of burns and whiplashes on the once great warrior. Several ribs were shattered, and internal bleeding was scattered across his exposed body. Her scream of apprehension would have echoed throughout the tower were Lyria's mouth not covered by her hands.
With all his remaining strength, Goldark forced his eyes to open and focus on the individual standing before him. The scent of her perfume was so familiar, a fragrance that rushed memories of much fonder times.
For several heartbeats, Goldark's mind refused to acknowledge the woman who stood before him. Why did Austia punish him with such an agonizing hallucination? Of all the images for him to imagine, why one so heart wrenching? Tears swelled in his eyes as his voice made a vain attempt to assure him that it was more than an illusion.
Unable to hold her emotions back, Lyria rushed forward to embrace the man she long believed died on the battlefields of Ginan. Years of anguish were lifted in a single second: an impossible dream realized. Her tears wet the dried blood caked across his body, each drop staining the decorative silk vestments she wore.
Despite the salty tears and forceful embrace renewing pains in old wounds, Goldark felt an emotion he had not known for years: delight. He never dared to dream that he would see his cherished Lyria again, fearing that such an unattainable miracle would drive him deeper in to despair. Yet as impossible as it seemed, she found him. On the eve of this death, the goddesses had granted his one and only prayer.
Lyria's voice was broken between cries; "I've come to set you free."
A wave of dread filled Goldark, her words resonating within his mind. The Emperor had slated his execution today. What would happen if someone saw Lyria here? Her wellbeing was all that mattered to Goldark, nothing else. She was all he had left.
"Go... leave me. If my brother learns... learns of your betrayal..."
Releasing her embrace, Lyria stood in defiance as she looked into Goldark's eyes, "I don't care anymore!"
Exposing a small dagger hidden within the folds of her robes, Lyria slit deep incisions into her hands, suppressing the urge to yelp in lieu of the pain. Removing two rosettes chained around her neck, then taking one into each hand, she whispered an ancient incantation Goldark recognized as Trandorian. Before the bounded warrior could voice another objection, a warm light blinded his weakened vision. Readjusting his eyes to focus on its source, he saw two swords clutched in Lyria's hands, their immense weight causing her to struggle in even dragging them. Both identical in appearance, they were forged of golden meteoric metal and blazed with the holy emblem of Fandaria. Goldark instantly recalled the twin blades: they once belonged to the First Emperor of Fandaria.
Reading the surprised look on Goldark's weary face, Lyria explained, "I contacted a sorcerer from Trandor skilled enough to cast a substitution spell. The magic was placed on these two rosaries and the swords of the First Emperor. When the correct incantation is spoken, it trades their location." She warmly smiled and looked down at the blades, "It was quite an ordeal to sneak him into the Imperial Vaults. I believe he called himself Presto."
Speechless, Goldark silently watched as Lyria hauled the two swords behind the shadow of a stone pillar and return to stand before him. She then closed her eyes, beginning another incantation, this time in Fandarian. Gentle warmth filled Goldark's body, instantaneously erasing pain from every laceration, burn, and fracture. His mind, once clouded from the depravation of sleep, was becoming crystal clear.
Completing the spell, Lyria looked up to ensure all Goldark's wounds were healed. The restoration prayer she used was known to a handful of priests in Legendra; an even fewer number had the clarity and purity of mind to call forth its power. This was the first time she had attempted to use the magic without ceremonial preparation; that it worked without fail was a reflection of her unrivaled mastery in the holy arts.
Goldark felt his strength returning, and with each passing moment, reasoned out Lyria's plan.
"Lyria, you're in great danger. Please leave this place. My executioner will arrive anytime now."
The priestess stood resolute in her resolve to not leave Goldark's side. Betraying Emperor Gyzzdark was a crime that sentenced punishment greater than death - even for an individual of her standing. Lyria would be locked within one of the countless chambers that comprised the Tower of Solitude: perhaps the very one she stood within now. Yet she would rather kill herself that continue living a life knowing could have saved her love. Even if it meant defying Austia and striking a deal with Madruk to spend an eternity in the burning pits of hell, Lyria would take the chance to free him.
"Such a beautiful day, is it not?"
Gyzzdark cautiously entered the forlorn chamber. The guards informed him that the Mother Superior had arrived to see the prisoner, and his mind raced feverishly as to why she held any interest of something so unrelated to religious matters. Gaul and Scythe repeatedly claimed that her loyalty was not to him, yet the warning never gave rise for panic: Lyria was the spiritual leader of Fandaria, her loyalty was to Austia alone. Yet the back of his mind that said something was not quite right....
"You... you startled me your majesty."
Lyria immediately dropped to one knee and bowed before the Emperor of Fandaria, taking the utmost care to ensure she did not betray her feelings. The relationship between she and Goldark was a secret they shared together alone. It was forbidden for the Royal Family and the Holy Church to acknowledge friendship, much less affection: an absolute separation of Church and State. Yet in total defiance of their customs and traditions, when a novice squire saved a nun apprentice from Stoic insurrectionists, it was love at first sight. Had the clergy known she gave herself to Goldark, both emotionally and physically, Lyria would have been excommunicated and burned as a heretic.
Gyzzdark shifted his attention away from the priestess. He would have plenty of time to query her later.
"Goldark, how are you... feeling?" Something was different. Rather than forlorn and despair, Goldark had a look of conviction in his eyes. Gyzzdark moved his hand over the hilt of his sword. Perhaps it was foolish of him to dismiss his bodyguards with the prison sentries. "I came to tell you that I just declared war on all of Legendra."
Gyzzdark smiled while drawing his sword, hoping the face of apprehension on his brother's face would everlastingly remain frozen on the dead corpse. This was what he wanted to see, his sibling understanding who truly held the power over life and death: within and without the Fandaria Empire.
"What have you done!?" Goldark swallowed the bile forming in his throat, "Do you know what are you saying!?"
The Emperor took another step forward. He wished to savor this moment just a little longer, "Soon, all of Legendra will be mine to rule."
Horror filled Goldark's mind: the armies of Fandaria were the greatest and most powerful in the known world. Thousands would die! Thousands more would suffer! The beautiful continent of Legendra would flow with rivers of blood and be covered in fields of fire! This could not come to pass!
"Quickly Lyria, give me my swords!"
The priestess swiftly flew from her kneeling stance and rushed towards the pillar concealing the two swords she conjured earlier. In that same instance, Goldark's renewed strength sundered the chains of his manacles, lunging into an offensive stance. A surge of adrenaline gave Lyria the strength to throw weapons that were just minutes ago too heavy for her to lift, the twin blades skillfully seized in the hands of their intended wielder. Though an accomplished warrior in his own right, Gyzzdark was unable to anticipate the path of his brother's attack, his sloppy attempt to parry the assault seconds too late. In a single strike, the ruler of Fandaria fell, his final breath too weak to utter a curse or painful cry.
Instead of victory and pride, the act of fratricide filled Goldark with agony and self-disgust. Dropping the weapons he held in his hands, the great warrior turned towards Lyria, noticing that her eyes had long turned away from the brutal scene she had witnessed.
"Lyria, I'm sorry you had to see this."
Looking into the eyes of the man she loved, Lyria stepped forward to be embraced into his arms, her cry muffled in the folds of his prison garments. Yet her tears were not for the sins she committed, nor the violence she witnessed, but the delight that she and Goldark were together again.
An unspoken promised passed through Goldark's mind: "I'll make things right, Lyria... I don't know how, but I swear I'll make things right..."
And somewhere in the heavens above, Austia smiled knowing two lonely prayers were answered...
Yea! The second fan fic I've ever written is now complete. ^__^
I'm a HUGE fan of Dragon Force and one of the many people who still can't fathom why SEGA hasn't made a Dreamcast title for the series.
Goldark and Lyria were my favorite characters from the title. There was so much more to the pair than Working Designs told. The dialog between them hinted they were more than friends, but nothing in the game itself reaffirmed it without question. Was that because Lyria was a nun and Working Designs didn't think America was ready for something like that?
First off: I realize that the final dialog in the fan fic is NOT identical to that in the game. This is because my SEGA Saturn is broken, and I couldn't play the game to see it. I went to every Dragon Force fan site I could find for some help in the matter, but I couldn't find anyone to help me. Rather than just give up, I decided to go ahead and piece together what I could from memory. I know you purists out there might be a little ticked, but what else could I do? ^_^;
Anyhow, this is intended to be a prologue for the Goldark story. I hope it didn't seem too sappy. For those of who want something with a little more violence in it, check out my first fan fic (warning, shameless plug) BARUBARY Ciao!.