Xenogears Episode IV: Forbidden Love: The Tragedy of Sophia and Lacan
It is the year 9495 T.C., and Solaris has officially declared war on Shevat. In this Great War, hundreds of millions of lives were lost, due to the advanced technology of gears and other weapons of mass destruction, including the revival of the long lost technology of nuclear weapons. It seemed as though Solaris was gaining the upper hand over Shevat due to Solaris’s advanced technology. But a miracle saved Shevat and the lives of millions of surface dwellers: two shining stars of hope.
This is the story of a man named Lacan, and a woman named Sophia.
Too late, the secret police hit her with a hail of bullets. Elly sagged and crumpled in a pool of her own blood. She looked up at him sadly and longingly, her face contorted in an agonizing smile. “Kim…..” her breath was short and her breathing labored. Blood streamed from her mouth. “Promise me one last thing…don’t give up our daughter Emeralda no matter what….” Kim yelled, “ELLYYYY…DON’T DIE!!!!” Elly’s eyes suddenly softened, and she began to slump down to the floor. Her face wore a calm, serene smile, “And Kim ... live….”
"Ugh…," groans the young man. He was covered with cold sweat,
his breathing labored and heart pounding. A tear rolled down his face.
He shockingly sat up in an abrupt fashion. "Where am I?"
As he slowly regains consciousness, he sees a young woman with chestnut/ auburn hair and blue eyes standing over him, a familiar face he has seen somewhere before, a warm, loving face that stirred hidden emotions in his heart. She wears a blue habit and a brilliant crucifix with a glowing red gem at the center.
"You awake?” asks the mysterious young woman. "You are in the intensive care ward of the Nisan Cathedral Infirmary. You were horribly injured, and would have died if Krelian here didn't rescue you from those Gebler gears and bring you here." The woman motions at a young man with long, turquoise hair standing next to her, the hair obviously caused by a mutant gene passed from the Zeboim nuclear era.
Lacan attempts to sit up, but he realized that he has an IV tube attached to his arm and he couldn’t get very far. He noticed several bandages around his body and a cast on his left leg. "Man were you beat up," said Krelian. "You lost so much blood, we all had to give you transfusions, but only Mother Sophia's blood type matched yours." Krelian made a facial gesture toward Sophia, the young woman. "You are one lucky bastard to survive an injury like that."
The other nuns in the room were shocked at Krelian's outburst. "Hey! No swearing in the house of God!" snaps Mother Sophia at Krelian. “Sorry, Mother.”
The young man reclines against the pillow, as his eyelids relaxed. "Thank you all for helping me." Suddenly, Krelian asks, "So, buddy, what's your name?"
"I am Lacan," answered the young man, " a painter and martial artist from Shevat."
“I am Krelian, Captain of the Nisan militia. I also happen to be from your homeland. Nice to meet you." They shook hands.
Lacan yawns, "Gawd…I feel so tired."
Sophia motions for Krelian and the sisters to leave. As Lacan begins to slip into sleep again, he notices Sophia is the only one left in the room. The crucifix on her bosom sparkled and gleamed. "Thank you, Mother Sophia." Lacan begins to see the similarity between Sophia and the woman he met, and lost, in his dreams.
"Please, Lacan, call me Elly, like you always did in the past. ' Past???" "What the…' "If you ever need me, I'll be here for you."
As Sophia tucked him in, Lacan smiled. 'It really was Her…’
That night, Sophia couldn’t sleep. She stood by the window,
gazing at the stars. A shooting star streaks the night sky.
It was he. The man I met in my dreams. When I looked in
His eyes, I knew. The long brown hair tied in a ponytail, a soft, brown
eyes, his angular, confident face, his charming smile, Lacan has all His
physical qualities. Several more comets passed by. No…it
couldn’t be. Oh…his name…so familiar…I think we actually knew each other
once. I do not remember clearly, but since that day, I never saw
him again…until now.
Oh, how I wish it was Him… I have never been so happy in my life, when we were together, in my fantasies.
“Lacan, What is wrong? Lacan?” It was Sophia
“Huh...no, it is nothing.” Lacan shakes his head.
“Let us finish for today. You look rather tired. ...Are you alright?”
“I am fine, thank you... But, now that you mention it... Shall we stop for the day? You must be the one who is tired, 'Mother Sophia'?”
“Enough of that, now. When it is just the two of us, would you stop calling me that. Just call me 'Elly'... As you used to do in the old days... And you don't have to be so stiff and formal.”
“Oh, errh, alright. Very well... no, I mean... Yes, let's do that 'Elly'! I think I might go back home...only for a week or so.”
“Oh, really? What is the matter?”
“I ran out of paint. So... I, errh, need to go make some more.”
“You're going all that way... just to do that?”
“If I don't go there, I won't be able to get the right pigments.”
“Oh... Then how about I have one of my followers, the -Kahal-, take you in one of our Gears? You'll arrive quicker and you'll be much more safe.”
They were standing in an empty void. A world of time compression,
it seems. A group of dark, shrouded figures approached him.
At their head was a tall, young man with long, crimson hair, a pale, morbid
face, a black jumpsuit, and dark red armor. His name was Id.
“So, Id, is the Omnigear ready?” asked the masked man. Id replied,
“It is ready, oh mighty Grahf, emperor of the Darkness. We placed
it in our secret base deep in the Ignas Alps, so nobody but us can access
it.” A masked, shrouded woman standing to the right of Id stood forward.
“With the Anima relic Napthali aligned to your Alpha Weltall, there will
surely be no chance for the foolish mortals, Solarian or land-dweller,
to stop us now. All you need to do now is make “Contact” with the
Wave Existance, and our conquest shall be complete.” Grahf lets out
a bone chilling, ominous laughter. His eyes glow red at the smell of blood.
“Very well stated, Executioner. It is a matter of time now before
the foolish mortals crumble down in the face of the power the Diabolos…ha
ha ha ha !!!!!”
Everything becomes white and distorted. When the scene comes
into focus, he is in a dark forest, running for his life, his long ponytail
flowing in the chilling wind behind him. By his side was a beautiful
girl with long, auburn hair and sapphire-like eyes. It was Elly, his wife.
“I will KILL you Abel!!!” booms a furious voice from behind him.
As Abel turned around, he saw that they were gaining on him and Elly.
Suddenly, Elly let out a shriek. She had tripped over a rock.
As Abel bent down to help her up, he realized he was too late. A
dozen or so cloaked men, the Gazel Ministry, bearing Cain were standing
right behind him. As Abel looked into the hollow, skull-like face
of what was his “brother”, he felt a shudder run up his spine. It
was all over. “At last!!!” booms Cain. “Nobody can stop my
destiny of becoming ruler of this world!!! You and your whore of a sister
tried to take that away from me, but there is no way I can allow that!
You shall DIE for this!!!”
“You chose to sell your soul and everything sacred to you for eternal life ,” retorted Abel. “You must pay a price for your unholy sacrifice, and those were the consequences. You have no right to become the father of Mankind. I see that you have also traded in any compassion you have left in that black heart of yours, you cold bastard. I couldn’t believe you were once my brother.” Cain is furious. His eyes burn as if they were on fire. “I was first-born to Mother, born with a destiny, a birthright to be the father of all Mankind. You have taken away my birthright!!! It was then that I had to take such drastic measures. Do you understand? Abel, you betrayed me. I have sacrificed my handsome features, my soul, and my heart, but my sacrifices shall not be in vain! I will get what is mine. Now pay for your TREACHERY!!!” Cain raises his hand, and a powerful ball of ether gathers in it.
“Cain, brother, think this through! What is the use of ruling an empty world? Don’t do it!”
“Too late, Abel. Anyway, I have Miang, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
It flew at him with incredible speed. “Fratricide!!!” yells Abel. It seems like the end for Abel, when suddenly a figure flashed before him and took the hit. When the smoke cleared, Elly was lying on the ground, blood pouring from a large hole in her chest. “Live…Abel,…live…” gurgled Elly, and she expired. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! ELLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
/////////////////////////////////////////End of Interlude///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
“Lacan, what happened? Why did you yell out my name?” asks a familiar voice. As Lacan sits up in bed, drenched with cold sweat, his heart pounding and his breathing labored, he feels the soft touch of somebody’s hand on his shoulder. As he looked up, he saw the crucifix sparkling in the moonlight, the auburn hair, the blue eyes, and the angelic face. “Elly…” stammered Lacan. “You’re…you’re still alive!!!” Mother Sophia looks puzzled at Lacan. “Lacan, what do you mean ‘still alive’, I always was alive.” Lacan lets a sigh of relief. “I’m glad you survived. For a moment there I thought Cain got you.”
Cain? Sophia feels a sudden twinge of pain in her heart. She faintly recalls a distant memory, a painful one that often haunts her. He really is the man in my dreams. “Elly, do you know something that I don’t?” Lacan is now wide-awake. Sophia suddenly breaks from her trance. “Oh…nothing. By the way, you should go back to sleep now. Rest is absolutely vital if you want to recover from your injuries anytime soon.” Sophia lays Lacan down on his pillow. She kneels down to his side and softly sings a soothing melody:
“Run through the cold of the night, as passion burns in your heart…
Ready to fight, a knife held close to your side…”
The song sounded very familiar and heart-warming to Lacan. He knew he has heard it somewhere before. In fact, he remembers playing the song on the piano in one of his dreams, while Elly sang…
“Like a proud wolf alone in the dark, with eyes that watch the world…
And my name like…a shadow…on the face of the moon…”
A sudden wave of indescribable fatigue and comfort blanketed Lacan, as he drifted into sleep, a smile on his face.
Sophia brushed his hair aside with her hands and kissed him on his forehead.
Good night, my sweet prince…I have waited so long for you…
Chapter 3: The City of Peace
It has been several months now, and most of Lacan's wounds have healed. He decided to stay a few more months in Nisan, wishing to regain his strength. In reality, a feeling of warmth and familiarity in Nisan has compelled him to stay behind. He would not miss the chance of captivating this peaceful, beautiful city under his brush, and he does not want to be separated from the woman he loved. It is a beautiful Sunday morning, and the Nisan Cathedral's bells chime richly and melodically; its harmonious ringing can be heard for miles around. Crowds of people are already flocking toward the heart of the city, where the giant cathedral looms over the skyline, ready to attend Sunday Mass.
Lacan stands alone on the bridge over Nisan with the view of the
Cathedral and the Azure sky beyond. A snow-white dove lands on the
rail next to him. He looks around and sees little children playing
tag, old folks chatting with each other and drinking tea, and young lovers
holding hands and window-shopping. It reminded Lacan of his childhood
in Nimrod, his place of birth. Even the buildings looked the same.
Suddenly, he felt a rough hand on his shoulder.
Startled, he turns around, and who should be standing there but Krelian.
"Hey Lacan, how are your wounds?"
"They’re healing just fine. Thanks Krelian."
“Call me Krel. No need to be formal!”
“You know, Lacan, I’ve been thinking. Have we met somewhere before? You look…so familiar. I could swear I knew you, but I don’t seem to recollect when or where we met.”
Lacan felt perplexed by Krelian’s statement, but it suddenly came to him that in his early years, when he was an apprentice of the master martial artist of Shevat, Gaspar Uzuki, he once knew a senior pupil named Krelian, an aspiring swordsman whose preternatural skill for learning was almost unrivalled. Lacan himself studied a unique form of kung fu invented by the reverent Sage. For some reason, that and many of his earlier memories have mysteriously escaped him.
“You said you were from Shevat, right? I remember now. You were Master Gaspar’s prized pupil. Everybody called you the Prince of Blades!!! Whenever I didn’t meet up with Master Gaspar’s expectations, he would say to me, ‘Why can’t you be like Krelian? You have just as much potential as he does.’”
Lacan noticed that Krelian had a huge Broadsword he carried on his back. It all made sense now. This was THE Krelian he had known in his childhood, who would always look out for him when he needed someone, even though Krelian was ten years older. It was so sudden. One day, Solaris kidnapped Lacan during a raid on Shevat. A huge gear just broke into his room and seized him. As the gear flew away, he recalled seeing Krelian rush into the room, sword drawn and accompanied by a squad of Shevite guards, yelling out his name. It was too late for Krelian to save him, as he saw Shevat, the castle in the sky, become smaller and smaller in the distance. The gear took him to an underground facility beneath the Aveh desert on the continent of Ignas known as a…Soylent system where they [the Solarians] used him as a guinea pig and brainwashed him. It would years before he would see daylight again. It was twelve years ago, when a young girl about his own age helped him escape from the horrible place and return to Shevat. She had light auburn hair, china blue eyes, and the sweetest smile in the world. He remembered looking up to her in the scorching desert, in his battered state, catching the gleam of the sunshine off the blood-red gem in the center of her crucifix…Her name was Elhhaym…Elly…
It was the day he first felt the emotion known as love…
Lacan suddenly awoke from his trance…
“How have you been these years? I thought we would never meet again.”
“Well, Krel, I guess you remember too. It’s been a long time.”
As Lacan looks around, it is apparent that there aren’t many people standing around anymore. They were the only two left standing on the bridge.
“Lacan, lets hurry up and head for the Cathedral. We’re going
to be late for church.”
As Lacan and Krelian entered the Cathedral, they noticed that they were just about the last ones to enter, and Mass had already started. The cathedral hall was packed with worshippers, and the two were forced to be in the back. The sunlight showed through the stained glass roof of the cathedral, illuminating a pair of one-winged angels overhead.
Lacan looked up, and noticing the one winged Seraphs, was hit with a wave of nostalgia.
Nimrod, my hometown… Distant Memories…
Just than, a familiar tune flooded the Cathedral. The Sisters of the Order of Nisan have already begun singing a hymn. As Lacan took his seat, he noticed that at the head of the Sisters, leading the hymn, was none other than Mother Sophia…Elly…
Lacan’s heart skipped a beat or two, and his face felt a burning embarrassment. A crimson flush flooded his face. He smiled.
Is it Destiny…That we shall be together once more? Just you and I?
As the hymn progressed, Krelian whispered to Lacan, “What’s the matter Lacan?”
“Oh, nothing…The hymn is so heartwarming. It brings back old memories.”
Krelian felt a spark of irritation.
Tch. That’s bullshit, Lacan. You don’t think I buy that story, do you? I know you are looking at Sophia…
“Oh, the hymn is called We the Wounded Advance into the Light. It has actually been around for quite a long time. They used to sing it every Sunday back when I was a little kid in Nimrod. I’m not surprised if you have any nostalgic memories, for I do recall that you mentioned Nimrod as your birthplace. Surely you’ve been to church there.”
Just then, the Sisters finished the hymn, and they stood aside, filing into two rows. The only one left in the middle was Mother Sophia. As she turned around and started her sermon, Lacan realized that her eyes were staring straight into his, sparkling with warmth and passion. Her face wore the smile that he saw in the desert, the smile he saw in the infirmary.
Suddenly Krelian’s jealousy and rage exploded. He stood up abruptly
in the middle of the sermon, and stared cold and hard at Lacan.
“You Dirty Bastard!!! I save your ass and this is what I get in return…WHY DON’T YOU BE THAT WAY THEN!!!”
Krelian stormed out of the Cathedral in the middle of the sermon. There was a lengthy, ominous silence as the shocked congregation looked on. Lacan felt genuine enigma. Shrugging his shoulders, he turned around. What he saw melted his heart. Mother Sophia was on the verge of tears.
Sister Evangeline, a middle aged nun of about 40, suddenly walked over to Mother Sophia and said softly, “Great Mother, you must finish the sermon. Don’t let such trivial matters hinder you in delivering the word of God.”
Sophia acquiescently nodded, and she painfully and unwillingly concluded
her sermon, fighting back tears the whole way.