Crossing the Rubicon

by Rune Lai

How should I put this down? Where should I begin? Well that was a fine beginning. I can't believe I'm going to introduce myself like this!

<crumple> <crumple> <crumple>

Discarded Journal Entry of Ghaleon, Premier of Vane

As anyone reading this journal shall know, I am Ghaleon. Just for the record, I have the current status of Premier of Vane, though not much longer I'm sure. I am writing this so people will understand why I have chosen the course I have. I have made arrangements for this journal to be found only upon my death. And perhaps, if some soul in the future reads this, he will forgive me. Let me begin my tale.

I am one of the four great heroes of the world known as Lunar. A generation ago, Dyne, Lemia, Mel, and I saved our world from destruction by banishing an evil demigod. But everybody knows that. So why do I repeat it? Here's why. Dyne, the great Dragonmaster, was my closest companion and perhaps my only true friend. He was like an older brother to me. He and I were the most popular of the four heroes. But he was more respected, more powerful than I was. Perhaps it was because he was always hail and hearty with a great bellowing voice for all to hear. I was soft-spoken, slender yet young and strong. I was barely into manhood while Dyne was a full ten years ahead of me. He was the fighter, I was the mage. Where he was the dog, I was the cat. And it is because of my nature that I abandoned the path of "good".

As the four heroes, we served the goddess Althena. But a cat does not serve well. I think Dyne knew that before I did. Once, just as the demigod was beginning to run amok, Dyne and I had a battle to see who would become the next Dragonmaster. For the Dragonmaster would be the most powerful person on the planet and be granted powerful magicks and arms. Our battle lasted for hours. I think the only reason it came to an end was that we were both exhausted. I lost by a narrow margin. So Dyne became Dragonmaster, cherished servant of the goddess Althena. It was for the better. I know now.

Several months after our victory against the demigod, the most powerful member of the Dragon Tribe, the black dragon, went insane. Ordinarily the dragons would be plenty in number, but after the demigod's attack, only four remained; a white, blue, red, and black. We were thankful, because one of each of these colors would be needed to approve of a new Dragonmaster. But then, the world darkened as the black dragon flew against its brothers, slaying all of them but Quark, the white dragon.

Quark and Althena called on Dyne to once again save our world. It is said that no one is more powerful than a Dragonmaster. But I knew the black dragon was a close second. Perhaps it had even become more dangerous in its frenzied rage.

I wouldn't let Dyne go alone. And he didn't stop me. So we ventured into the ravaged Frontier to enter the dragon's cave. I went in expecting us to either live or die together. Never did I expect that only one of us would leave alive.

Once we were in the dragon's lair, I distracted it with my spells while Dyne began to work a special chant that would seal the black dragon's soul in another dimension. But something went wrong. The goddess taught him the chant. So I thought it would be perfect. But it was flawed. The dragon's soul was sealed away all right. I could sense that. But who could have foreseen what a soulless body would do? It thrashed as its soul left it. And without a mind to tell it otherwise, the body continued its contortions, pounding itself against the cavern walls. Dyne and I tried to leave before the ceiling collapsed... But even the Dragonmaster couldn't escape the dragon's throes. I could clearly remember watching the rocks fall, and trying to run over to my friend. Everything was happening too quickly, and yet my actions were swimming through quagmire. We were buried under the rubble. And I lay unconscious for hours. When I awoke, I was alone. I could not find Dyne. And though I used what was left of my magic to search the debris, I could find no sign of life. My hopes and naivete were shattered.

I have never forgiven Althena. I would not take Dyne's death lying down, or see it as a noble sacrifice for our greatness of Althena. After all, she is the goddess. What is more powerful than a goddess? She is immortal. Yet she must call upon Dyne, a mortal, strong though he is, to do her work! And she is the goddess of love and hope. A part of me died that black day. Any sort of love and hope I had was gone. She was a goddess, yet would not bring back Dyne. She let him die! And so I shall never forgive her.

Lemia never suspected how much I'd really changed since Dyne's death. She thought she knew me well. So did Mel. As the other two of the four heroes, it was expected that they would understand me. But in truth only Dyne did.

Fifteen years have passed since then. I am premier of Vane, the floating city of magicians that orbits the tower of the goddess. My life is a luxurious one. But I am not happy. People have said I haven't smiled since Dyne's death. It is true. I no longer find joy in life. But before I go, there is something I must do. And I have been working on it for the past ten years. It is for the following I would ask for forgiveness for.

I no longer see Althena as fit to rule this world. Others may cherish her grace, but she is a mockery of compassion to me. And it is only fitting that the most powerful person on the planet take her place. With Dyne's death that would be me. All I need to do is make sure there are no further Dragonmasters to protect her and that all the Dragon Tribe is dead, which will kill two birds will one stone, the stone being QuarkÕs demise. With the goddess's traditional protectors destroyed, Althena will be vulnerable to attack. True, I can't kill her, but I will think of something.

As for now, just after I finish penning this , I shall go to Meribia. Young Alex of Burg, a potential Dragonmaster, though a naive one if I ever heard of such, has come to me seeking help to become one. It's logical if ironic. But he agreed to take me to see Quark, who he has already met in his quest to become a Dragonmaster. I told him that Quark and I have some business to catch up on. In return, I would accept him in my special study group, where he would be specially trained in magic with the best of Vane. A Dragonmaster must be able to cast magic, and he was badly in need of training.

So my story is told. I hope that reading this won't be necessary, but should I fail, I do not want to be remembered always as the terrible Magic Emperor who tried to conquer the world. I would want the reader to remember that I am only doing what I see right. I was one of the four heroes. But because people would see my actions as evil, I must be considered as such. And perhaps in the end, the good and evil balance, and I am none. As the Ballad of the Four Heroes goes:

Through the darkness four heroes came;
Each to pave their way skyward to fame.
Dyne, Lemia, Mel, and Ghaleon
Came to set us all free.

And now I leave to kill Quark.

Journal Entry of Ghaleon, Premier of Vane

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