I do not own Code: Lyoko. Nor do I own LTT (Let's Talk Tech) or Lyokofreak.
The Lyoko Chronicles Book I:
The Lost Tower
Prologue: In Which a Castle Is Discovered
Kadiccastle, Libancourt, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
It was a peaceful day for the inhabitants of Kadiccastle, Castle of the King in the Kingdom of Libancourt. However, in the torr of the castle, the Court Wizard was quite concerned; her apprentice was about to attempt a Ritual of potentially fatal consequences. "…Remember, Jeremie, focus on your destination. You have seen your destination-point before, and that will help you, but do not get cocky…" She trailed off, having the distinct feeling that the page kneeling away from her was not listening to a word she said.
"Yes, Magistra," a distracted voice responded dutifully. Indeed, the owl-eyed apprentice was more preoccupied with tracing a circle on the floor before him with white chalk.
"…I will be at the destination in five minutes. Do NOT move until you see me…"
"I know, Magistra," the young wizard responded offhandedly, his eyes now fixed on tracing the white ring with horsehair.
"…But if you miss, use common sense—do not let your safety be compromised."
"Understood, Magistra," he replied for the third time in the last five clock-beats, irritation staining his voice; how was he to focus if she kept interrupting his concentration? Carefully scraping the hair remaining on him and returning it back into his kit, he stood up from his knees. "I'll be careful. Now…may I have the map?"
Lady Hertz nodded, the corner of her mouth twitching upward at her prodigy's preparation: once again, she felt more than vindicated in her decision to take on the risk of an apprentice from a family with no magical background. Quickly, she scanned the oculus, looking for any imperfections that might steer him off-course, and found none. She nodded, assenting, and handed him the map and compass. "Very well, Jeremie. Remember…"
"Do not lose it," the towheaded boy chanted from memory, earning himself a glare.
"Yes, Jeremie, though that is not what I was getting at," she said sternly. "Stay focused on your destination point until you have felt the ground beneath your feet." She knew there was more to that warning than she had mentioned, but for the life of her, she could not remember what it was…
"Oh," the young genius said, looking abashed. "Right." Jeremie took some powdered antler-of-Boazu and sprinkled it carefully into the center of the ring, then stepped gingerly into the center of the portal. There he knelt, with the parchment map of Libancourt and the neighboring kingdoms on his knee, and stabbed the compass though the parchment—and his epidermis. Wincing at the throbbing pain, he ignored the blood bleeding through the parchment and plotted his course to the destination. Then he removed the compass from his leg, and stabbed it into the designated destination points.
Finished with the compass, he removed it from his leg, folded it up, and pocketed it in his tunic. Then he folded the parchment, matching up the blood-marked holes from the compass's sharp point.
Then, using the feel of the parchment as his template, he gathered up the underlying fabric of the universe in his hand. He formed a precise mental picture of the destination point in his head, and…
Kadiccastle, Libancourt, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
Madame Hertz was unsurprised when her student disappeared, and calmly proceeded to beat down the fire that had arisen from her student's condensed explosion of excess energy. As she extinguished the flames with her wimple, what she had forgotten suddenly rekindled in her memory, and she nearly cursed herself. 'De Endor! I forgot to warn him about that God-forsaken keystone!
…Well, it had been a peaceful day in Libancourt.
Meanwhile, Jeremie was traveling through the all-white non-space outside the fabric of the universe, protected from being shut out of the universe only by a thin layer of magick. This, of course, barely registered in his mind, for he was intently focusing on the small chapel he had designated as his destination.
From somewhere on his forward-right, he sensed a tug, and he reflexively looked over to see what it was. With that, the young wizard felt a snap in his magical link—the connection he had cultivated through the ritual had been broken; he was now being veered off-course into what felt like the gravity well of an Infinite-Density-Gravity Former-Star, a Space-Time Charybdis, as described by the Astronomers.
He would have thought that that was what this was, except that this was All-Energy Space; this was outside the realms of space and time….
All while he was pondering this, the suction from the AE-Space Charybdis was strengthening as he drew nearer; he was being veered off course.
Suddenly, the pull of this… thing… increased to inescapable levels, and Jeremie was pulled into the anomaly…
Location Unknown, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
Jeremie re-entered the universe some six feet up in the air, and hit the ground rolling. Coming to a stop at the bottom of the grassy slope, the young wizard scrambled to his feet, spitting out dirt and grass. "Let it be known," he muttered to no-one, "that I hate ritual magick." He froze, realizing that he was tempting fate and risking making a binding magical Oath, and quantified "For the time being…" He fell silent, suddenly hearing the mating cry of a bull-elk far too close for comfort. He looked up and stilled—a massive bull was standing barely a rod in front of him. After a tense moment, it snorted and waltzed dignifiedly away from him. Jeremie breathed a sigh of relief as the mammoth deer disappeared into the thickets. Well, you do not see that every day…
Which brought to the matter of where he was; after all, you don't see moose very close to civilization… Thus, he stood up and surveyed his surroundings.
As he had expected, he wasn't near any town or hamlet as he knew them, let alone in the proximity of his target location, the basilica where he had been christened and confirmed. Rather, he was in a forest clearing, and he was surrounded by woodland in three directions; the skyline behind him was—much to his surprise—dominated by the gatehouse and moat of a castle that, he inferred, noting its derelict state, must have been neglected for quite some time. He had never seen any place like this…
Which meant he had no idea where he had ended up. "Simple fix," he muttered, casting a quick analysis spell, and closed his eyes, processing the data. So…about a Day's Ride from Kadiccastle by road…any quicker route? Oh. So the gatehouse had a passage to an underground river that would cut the distance he had to travel to only a Day's Walking-time. All right…a boat? A mental image of a still-usable faering docked by the river solved that problem for him. For a moment, he regarded the gatehouse suspiciously, wondering if this was a trap, before approaching.
Kadiccastle, Libancourt, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
Five minutes past her student's abnormal exit from the room, the Court Wizard was still cleaning up after the minor explosion, knowing full well she ought to be traveling to the cathedral by now, when the door burst open. "Lady Hertz, what is going—oh, excuse me," Sir Morales averted his eyes at the sight of her exposed hair. Lady Hertz shot a glare at him, before resuming opening the windows.
"Bother not, Jim. 'Tis all mere vanities."
"Just so long as no-one else is in room," the Captain of the Guard agreed, letting the heavy portal swing shut. "One of the pages reported smoke, more than the fires emit. What caused it?"
"Spontaneous combustion, no doubt," the gray-haired wizard stated flatly.
"Gesundheit," the soldier responded bemusedly.
The she-wizard sighed, realizing that once again, she had surpassed the common vernacular in her own informal speech. Simplifying it in her head, she explained, "A sudden burst of fire with no visible cause…"
The guard nodded, comprehending, and then snorted. "As with the manure in the stables," he sarcasmed. "Ye know it, what's the cause?"
"Fuel source, more specifically," Lady Hertz clarified, glaring. "The ignition itself was most likely sparked by my student's tangible disdain for the Ritual Arts."
Jim stared, astounded. Then he glared at the gray Lady. "Wait…so his hatred of doing… what was it again?"
"Ritual magick," the Lady supplied.
"…right. Anyways, so his hatred set the place on fire?"
Suzanne shook her head; when he put it that way, it did sound incredible. "Only the circle in which he had been sitting. And it wasn't just disdain—it was all sorts of negative feelings compressed into a small space. That was from which the power was derived." Seeing the blank look on Jim's face, she sighed. "Forget about it."
Jim nodded, relieved—magick was just not his cup of tea. He liked the tangible, the real. The stuff he could actually sense. Not all this "magical energies" quagsand. "So… Why did you make him do it if he hated it so much?"
"I hardly forced him, if that is what you are asking," the Lady said, somehow shaking every last ounce of filth from her headdress. "It was necessary. Willpower and individual spells can only go so far—the more one goes into cooperative efforts and Higher Magicks, the more the employment of ritual magick gains frequency. One must therefore be versed in those particular Arts in order to be a Wizard."
The Spaniard nodded; it was simple enough. He glanced around the room, which still reeked of smoke. "Is there anything I can do to help?" He was surprised when the stern woman nodded gratefully.
"Get someone to clean the room; I need to track down my apprentice."
Unknown Castle, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
Jeremie stood before the cavernous tunnel carved into the floor of the gatehouse and once again wondered about the feasibility of his plan. Is there something living in there? He sent out another surveillance spell—slightly stronger, this time, just to be sure that a bear or something hadn't made his escape route its home over the years.
It was then that he felt it. There were no bears here, but he was no more than a baker's dozen horse-lengths from a massive barrier-dome, larger than any he had ever imagined possible—Diameter: 10 Day's Rides? Incredible! No wizard could have done this; this thing could cover all of Libancourt!—that was faintly pulsing, as though it was alive. Alive? Jeremie cursed his foolishness; it was so obvious! A genius loci… I wonder what it's guarding? Suddenly, he felt another, subtler aura—a keystone crystal. A keystone? Why would that be here? There was only one way to answer that.
Cursing his curiosity, he turned to the drawbridge, lowered enticingly as though waiting for someone to come along to explore the castle's secrets, and left his way home behind.
Sant Benoît's Cathedral, Libancourt, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
Lady Hertz appeared in the doorway of St. Benoît's, startling some nuns. One of them made the Sign of the Cross at her; the Court Wizard groaned, and adjusted her glasses, thinking Ignoramae.
Giving them no further thought, the Mistress of Magick scanned the landscape for her protégé, scowling when she did not see him. Where could he be? She pulled out a small glass globe on a golden chain, and, with the feel of her student's aura in the forefront of her mind, Willed it, Show me the way.
Unknown Castle, September 18th, Anno Domini 2004
After climbing up four flights of stairs—219 steps total, Jeremie counted—he came to the topmost floor of the highest tower, which, given its abnormal height, he had instantly recognized to be a Wizard Tower. His assumption was proved correct when he pushed open the door to a room obviously designed with Magick in mind, making the tower, as he had thought, a torr. Nevertheless, he froze on the threshold, bewildered. What kind of rūm is this?
For while it had the standard features of the usual rūm—big, round, open, with plenty of windows for light that had thick, double-layered storm shutters that when closed would prevent anything from escaping during experiments, several things about the room struck Jeremie as odd. The room lacked the usual fireplaces, staples of any wizard's workspace. Where there should have been, on the central dais, the seamless runic circle space—or at least the fire-pit concealed beneath it—there was a massive crystalline glass sphere held up in a stand. Such was its size—the largest he had ever seen, heard, or read about—that for a moment Jeremie was hesitant to identify it for what it was: an Observer's Globe.
He was thoroughly impressed. Imagine scrying with that! Jeremie blinked, a purpose of this place coming to him. Of course!, he theorized; It must be an observation torr!
His brow furrowed; he shouldn't be theorizing with only half-knowledge. While his hypothesis explained the presence of the sphere, it did not do the glass-paneled device—something of a cross between a printing press and a bay window, attached to a chair—beside it on the dais justice.
Nor did it explain the green tones the room had been painted in, nor the metallic coils and vines of wire that covered the vast majority of the available wall-space and filtered down through the floor. Near a particularly thick bush of wire, there was a hatch, and, hoping for answers, he followed the wires into the next room.
The next room was, in fact, the primary destination for most of the wires, which seemed to connect to… metallic tubes, nine ells tall, about as wide as the average personal AE-Space tunnel. Once again, he found himself itching to know more.
Though the ladder he had entered through continuing down to the next level, Jeremie spied the door back to the stairwell, and took the incessant staircase down to the next door. At first there seemed to be nothing in the oddly cold, windowless room—but it practically radiated power. Then, Jeremie's glasses clouded up in a fog of white steam and breath; he immediately removed his glasses and wiped them on his frock, trying to clear it. Despite his clouded vision and the foggy air, he could still some…thing rising from the floor. It is no mere tower, he realized as the mist dissipated, but something more… The choking amount of power building in the room prevented any magick-sensing, but no analysis spell was needed to decipher the tower-shaped device's purpose. Only one thing in the area could have that much magick… It had to be the protective facade for the keystone he had sensed earlier.
As he quickly backed out of the room, the incredibly powerful Artefact lowered back into its cavity. For a moment, Jeremie stood out in front of the thick oak door, adjusting to the much-less power-dense atmosphere. Then a question occurred to him, "What is a keystone doing in a border castle?" The echoing stone hall offered no answer.
Jeremie entered the Great Hall, and, glancing around looked up into the clerestory with a start. Through the lancets on the roofline he saw falling sun, now half-way down from the summit of its arc across the sky. He silently cursed as he realized just how sorely he had lost track of the time.
Kadiccastle's doors close with the sun's setting; he had approximately three hours to travel a Day's Ride. Thus, he Willed himself to the boat, still moored to the shore of the underground river-cavern, and untied the lines. Slipping a few coins between the waves to placate any water spirits who may be disturbed by the products of his nature-manipulations, he muttered a spell to speed and reverse the current, and the faering set off in the direction of Kadiccastle faster than a horse could gallop.
…And so I found a keystone. The border castle is called Unies Castle, according to the Atlas. I am not exactly certain why it is there. It is my intent to go back and investigate at the first opportunity. Alas, such an endeavor may not take place for some time, as Magistra Hertz seems to have been bent on working me like a peasant at harvest-time as "penance" for disobeying her explicit orders ever since she found me locked out of the castle.
Log of Jeremie Belpois, Kadiccastle, Libancourt. Wizard Apprentice. September 18th, Year of Our Lord 2004
Anno Domini – Latin; "The Year of Our Lord". Really, this is pretty common knowledge. Before the whole "CE" thing replaced it, Anno Domini—that is, AD—used to be in front of all our dates greater than the year "1 BC" in the history books.
Boazu – Northern Sami for reindeer.
De Endor –French; "de" means "of", "'s", or "from" in this instance. Shortening of "sorcière de l'Endor ," when translated into English means "Witch of Endor"; see the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28:3-25, or see Wikipedia's page for a shorter description. Considering how long ago she is said to have lived, and given the power that we can assume was necessary to bring an uncooperative Samuel back from the grave, it is a safe assumption that she must have been a pretty powerful witch. Since Rowling has all but taken Merlin from the list of "Powerful magic-users that have notability enough to have their names turned into profanity", the Witch of Endor had the next-coolest name.
Faering – Smallish wooden boat with four oars that originated (as far as evidence tells us) with the Vikings. From Wikipedia:
A faering is an open boat with two pairs of oars, commonly found in most boat-building traditions in Western and Northern Scandinavia. The word faering comes from the Norwegian word færing (Old Norse feræringr), literally meaning "four-oaring". Such vessels are clinker-built, with planks overlapped and riveted together to form the hull. They are used as small fishing vessels in areas of modern Norway, and occasionally raced. Faerings may carry a small sail, traditionally a square sail, in addition to oars.
This type of boat has a history dating back to Viking-era Scandinavia. The small boats found with the 9th century Gokstad ship resemble those still used in Western and Northern Norway, and testify to a long tradition of boat building. The only significant difference being a conversion from a side-mounted rudder to stern-mounted.
Great Hall – English; the all-purpose family/dining/eating/games/etc. room of the castle in the Early and Mid Middle Ages
Ignoramae – Latin; vocative feminine plural adjective; from ignoramus, meaning "stupid, foolish, lazy". Used as a noun. A good English translation would amount to, in this case, "idiots."
Libancourt – Liban, French; means "Lebanon". Play on Boulogne-Billancourt created by mixing the letters of "Billancourt" around and taking out the extra "l".
Magistra – Latin; female teacher
Quagsand – Invented word, a play on "quicksand" and "quagmire". If you want to know exactly what it implies, I suggest you start flipping through the translations and synonyms for each on Wikitionary.
"Owl-eyed" – one of my favorite epithets for Athena, it means "grey-eyed". Glaucous, deriving from ancient Greek glaukos, both meaning "blue-green, blue-grey". I find it amusing because it can be also used in reference to the grey plumage of the goddess's beloved owls, not to mention the similarity between the Greek root and parts of the binomial names of many owl species.
Also, according to Wikipedia:
In poetry from Homer, an oral tradition of the eighth or seventh century BC, onward, Athena's most common epithet is glaukopis (γλαυκώπις), which usually is translated as, bright-eyed or with gleaming eyes. The word is a combination of glaukos (γλαύκος, meaning gleaming, silvery, and later, bluish-green or gray) and ops (ώψ, eye, or sometimes, face). It is interesting to note that glaux (γλαύξ, "owl") is from the same root, presumably because of the bird's own distinctive eyes. The bird which sees well in the night is closely associated with the goddess of wisdom: in archaic images, Athena is frequently depicted with an owl perched on her head. This pairing evolved in tangent so that even in present day the owl is upheld as a symbol of perspicacity and erudition. Unsurprisingly, the owl became a sort of Athenian mascot. The olive tree is likewise sacred to her. In earlier times, Athena may well have been a bird goddess, similar to the unknown goddess depicted with owls, wings, and bird talons on the Burney relief, a Mesopotamian terracotta relief of the early second millennium BC.
Thus, since Athena is the goddess of wisdom; the disciplined, strategic side of war; crafts such as weaving and metalworking; and cunning intellect, among other things, I found this epithet equally fitting for Jeremie.
Rūm – Old English; means room
Sarcasmed – Admittedly, isn't a word; I took some artistic license with the word "sarcasm" and turned it into a verb.
St. Benoît – French; St. Benedict
Torr – Old English; means Tower
Unies – French; feminine past plural participle of unir, meaning to unite, join, combine; an anagram of usine, a French noun meaning mill, factory, or works
Author's Notes and Preemptive Explanations:
There. Technically, this is the prologue, but actually it is a sample of the writing style and setting I have been working on for the past month. I had wanted to see one "Lyoko as a magical land" fic played straight—that is, with the plot being essentially the same, the characters being the same (nameless OC's used as Redshirts aside), essential facts about the character's backgrounds being essentially the same, and that kind of thing. Thus, I went onto looking for one. Yet, there are none. There are some that come close… but none that, say, follow the same plot, and keep the same characters as they are (or the next closest thing given the setting). Thus, with none on , I went on a Google search, checked the major forums, the less well-known forums, and…again, came up with nothing. This both surprised me and irked me, since some of the parallels are just so OBVIOUS. Since I feel it is an absolute shame that no-one did bother to write such a fic, cliché as it may be, I decided to write something to fill the void.
Being naturally lazy, it would have been more to my sensibilities to write a "How To Translate and Write Code: Lyoko Into A Fairy Tale Format" guide. However, given that the fandom seems to have a distressing lack of creativity in plotlines (Dear God, there's at least fifty fanfics with plots following the vein of "OC moves into Kadic and becomes a Lyoko Warrior", and yet not one person has bothered to write a fairy tale interpretation of Code: Lyoko!), I felt I really couldn't trust that someone would respond to my plea in a timely manner. Thus, I had no alternative—yeah, I actually have to write (and complete!) a fanfiction.
Hence, in this project I intend to take all the essentials of Code: Lyoko and transplant it into a fantasy world not unlike that of a fairy tale. However, in order to do that to the best of my ability, this fic has been severely influenced by my own world-building spin. Unfortunately, I am highly detail-oriented, especially in the way of making a realistic (given the physical laws of the world) setting, and tend to write in…well, verbose prose. And my world-building style tends to run along the lines of logic—that is, my own, twisted interpretation of logic. This means that there is magic, which is semi-normal but has a LOT of catches for getting good at it, the sea levels are lower, Doggerland is still above water (and is Lyoko), and the Middle Ages have lasted into the 21st century. (Oh, and have I mentioned that there is detail in large quantities?)
Since beginning the analysis of Code: Lyoko's plot, I have found that I must make some concessions on plot—such as eliminating direct translations of some filler episodes—to what is possible in a fairy tale universe, and changing some points for the sake of my sanity, such as offing the RTTP. Yes, I am telling you this straight out: Time-travel is both pointless and VERY redundant in this universe, since this story is not episodic in form (and therefore a literal reset button would be, if anything, unhelpful (especially to me)). Therefore, people will be remembering—and the possibility of otherwise will barely, if ever, be touched upon. I cannot give any more than this at the moment, but I will try in future chapters to justify every significant change to the timeline I am forced to make.
On the matter of world-building, I would like to add (if I hadn't already added more than enough! Alas, that's Year 4 English for you…) that while my major source for nonfictitious information on anything used in world building is the Wikimedia project (Commons, Wikipedia, Wiktionary, etc.) I attribute my main source (outside of myself) of non-canon and speculative information from the Lyokofreak forums. My major inspiration for AE-Space and the workings of the supercomputer is LTT (Let's Talk Tech), and certain aspects of the characters (such as nationality) are from other sub-forums. As you can see, I really like that site. However, it is my personal choice to get inspiration and fill in the blanks in the Canon universe from that. Just as I do not claim to own any of my sources—mentioned here or not mentionable for sake of anonymity on their parts—I do not endorse the tactics I use to glean information and inspiration.
Oh, and if the blatant Roman Catholicism present in this fic bothers you, you will have to live with it. I will not change it. One of, if not the, most powerful entities in Medieval Europe was the Roman Catholic Church. Medieval France, England, Germany (which at the time was part of the Holy Roman Empire), and Europe in general were predominantly Catholic. It was the largest, if not the only, organization to survive the fall of the Roman Empire, and was at some points the only stable organization on the continent! Popes had the power to ordain emperors, excommunicate royals (which took away most of their power because their "right to rule" was assumed to be granted by God), launch Crusades, and decide the direction the church would go in. The church maintained the hospitals, the analogues to universities and universities (in the High Middle Ages), the monasteries, and the primary religious system. At times, it even was a military power (even beyond the power it held over knights, who had to deal with the paradox of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" while being professional warriors). Yes, there were still pockets of paganism, and there are underlying pagan themes (even into the modern era) in some aspects of the lives of those under it's guidance, but over all, they were irrelevant by about 1066. What significant groups in the Middle Ages had other religions (aside from the Muslims, i.e. moors, for obvious reasons)? Let's see…the Jews—who were they? Bankers, mostly, but were often persecuted…no power grants there—the Vikings, the Anglo-Saxons—converted—erm… Sorry. Not that many! Case and point. Considering the Roman Catholic Church's capacity to endure, I cannot reasonably avoid something so significant to medieval life. Yes, I know that the Middle Ages lasting into the present day is highly unreasonable (though I am working on ironing it out), but I have no wish to make it any more irrational than it is. The Catholicism stays (as default unless otherwise noted). Take it or leave it (I'd prefer if you'd take it; religion is definitely NOT going to be a central focus at any point in the story).
I loathe asking for reviews, but I would like to have some assurance that this will be read and that people are interested in reading this before I continue breaking my back on this thing. (Seriously! I've wasted a ream of paper printing out research on this thing! Good thing it was my school library's paper… ; )) Furthermore, as I aspire to improve in my writing abilities through this fic, any constructive criticism, especially concerning clarity, length, definition-requirements, and peoples abilities to cope with my deliberate archaisms, among other things, would be most appreciated. (What I mean by constructive criticism is be concrete (give examples), to the point, and direct. [For instance: tell me what you hate. Then, show me what and where in the text it is—unnecessary if it is a common trend in my writing, i.e. something exceeding five examples; if that is the case just give me one example. Tell me why you hate it, or why it is incorrect. Lastly, give me an example of how you would fix it.])Ask questions. Please. [I didn't go into the prehistory of this universe for nothing (in my notes), you know! I will answer them after the disclaimers.] Also, alternative explanations to technicalities are equally welcome.
Lastly, I know that there is a lot of Jeremie and very little of any of the other characters in this chapter. As I said, this is not just a prologue—it is intended to focus on those things that are most alien to our universe. By giving you (the readers) and myself a full blast of this before even beginning, I hope to create a buffer that will make any use of magick, archaisms, alternate terminology, and swearing in other languages seem mundane. Also, I hope that I have left you with some potential clues into what is to come.
~The Arcticourt Spellwright
PS: Happy New Year from the Pacific West Coast!