Splintered Fragments
Memory File 01 - Undesired Complications
by Meimi


Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Namco or anyone who hold rights to Tales of Symphonia. It isn't mine, I'm just playing with it.

Spoiler Warning: The entirety of Tales of Symphonia. If you haven't beaten the game at least once and don't want to be spoiled, read no further.


"This isn't going to work."

"I'll make it work!"

Kratos Aurion gave a long-suffering sigh as the pervasive empty silence of Derris-Kharlan was once again broken by his companions' squabbling. Such an occurrence had been happening more and more often of late. He supposed he should be thankful for it, of a sorts. The return of Yuan's more acerbic personality quirks meant that the half-elf was finally starting to claw his way out of the deep well of grief he had fallen into after Martel's... death. Unfortunately, his choice in targets for said quirks left much to be desired.

Yuan and Mithos had never gotten along spectacularly well. They backed each other up well in battle, could even agree on matters on a regular basis if necessary, but there was always another argument looming on the horizon for them. If it had not been for Martel they would have likely killed or severely wounded each other within the first week of meeting. In fact, it was Martel who usually broke up their frequent arguments and made them see reason. However, Martel was no longer with them, or at least, not in the capacity necessary to make them stop.

Sighing once again, Kratos wove his way through the elven ruins of Derris-Kharlan, following the familiar sounds of contention. Since Martel was no longer able to keep Yuan and Mithos from murdering each other, the duty fell to him.

"Separated as they are now, your worlds can't produce enough mana to maintain themselves." Ducking his way through a cracked doorway, Kratos observed as Yuan gestured at a holographic map of the two new worlds in agitation. "As it stands, it will only take a decade or so before the lack of mana causes them both to wither beyond the ability to support life. How exactly are you going to make that work?"

"I don't know yet," Mithos glared poisonously at Yuan before glancing thoughtfully at the map. "There are many factors that must be weighed first before I can decide on what to do about the mana shortage. There's still time."

"Still time?" Yuan scoffed, his eyes growing dim with painful memories. "It doesn't take much time at all for lives to be ripped away."

"Yuan, enough," Kratos called out, cutting Mithos off before he could retort. They both had contrite expressions on their faces as they looked at him, but he could sense the hints of rebellion barely kept in check. Keeping their arguments in hand was never going to be easy, but it was to be expected. He had their friendship --well, grudging acknowledgement in Yuan's case-- and respect, but it was Martel's love that had allowed them a common ground. He could only hope to head them off before they got vicious about it.

"Kratos, are you sure you should be walking around so much?" Mithos asked worriedly. "Isn't it too soon?" Kratos blinked and tilted his head in surprise at the instant shift in subject.

"He'll be fine as long as he doesn't overtax himself," Yuan hmmphed as he skirted around the holograph generator and headed out of the room, his previous argument with Mithos apparently forgotten. Stopping beside Kratos for moment, he glanced over and gave a brief warning, "So don't."

Watching Yuan's departure, Kratos frowned in slight confusion. The half-elf actually seemed to be... concerned about his well-being, which was quite odd. Yuan tolerated him, would even acknowledge his abilities and sometimes it had even appeared as if he considered Kratos a friend of sorts. However, in the end he was still a human in Yuan's eyes. Or at least, that was what he had always been led to believe.

Shaking his head at those thoughts, Kratos joined Mithos beside the map of the worlds and sighed. Yuan's assessment was correct, unless they did something soon to rectify the mana shortage, there wouldn't be much left to justify their separation.

"He's worried about you. We both are," Mithos quiet voice, heavy with grief now that Yuan had left, dragged Kratos away from his contemplation. While Yuan's grief seemed to be lifting bit by bit, Mithos' only seemed to grow deeper. Kratos hated seeing his friend so broken, but truthfully he had no idea on how to help. Crippled as he was by his own grief, he couldn't see any way to rectify the situation.

"I am fine, Mithos," Kratos said, putting as much sincerity into his voice as he could muster as he grasped Mithos' shoulder and squeezed gently.

"No, you're not," Mithos murmured, shaking his head before leaning forward suddenly, wrapping his arms around Kratos' waist in a desperate embrace. "I know better. We almost lost you too. We should have, but I'm glad we didn't."

'I'm sorry Mithos, but I don't think I can share that sentiment,' Kratos thought to himself as he brushed his fingers soothingly through his friend's hair. The crystal situated on the back of his hand glowed dully for a moment, a reminder that he didn't need. The constant empty ache inside of him was reminder enough of what should have been there but was no longer. He had failed and should have died for it, but death refused to come. Did it scorn him because of his failure? Or perhaps, in the end, he did not deserve it.

"Kratos, I'll make it better somehow. I'll make it all better," Mithos said, a hint of steel in his tone as he closed his eyes. "Just you wait, I'll fix everything... one way or another."


The situation did not change much in the following days. Yuan was as prickly as ever and Mithos was prone to distraction, though more so than usual. They did still have two worlds to save somehow, and as the bearer of the Eternal Sword and their leader, the final decision would fall to him. As for Kratos himself, the physical weaknesses he had endured began to fade, but the aching void where the majority of his soul should have been remained hopelessly empty. He wasn't sure why he continued to go about the motions of life, but perhaps it was because he didn't know what else to do.

When he was not fielding another argument between his companions, Kratos was either getting checked over by Yuan --who had, for some reason or another, taken on the role of the resident healer-- or was out wandering the ruined hallways of their present home. For a comet turned planetoid that had been abandoned for centuries, Derris-Kharlan was in fairly good condition. The elven architecture was in ruins, yes, but not dangerously so. He surmised that this was most likely because that there had been nothing left behind to encourage the eventual decay, just time. It was strange really, that a comet made entirely of the substance that promoted and maintained life, was in itself lifeless and empty. How terribly ironic.

It was during one of the moments he would stop his wandering to ponder upon said irony that Mithos found him. The half-elven boy looked quite harried, probably the results of yet another fruitless argument with Yuan. Hmm, boy... Yes, even with all that they had been through, Kratos did still think of Mithos as a boy. For all the force and strength of will that he could and would display at times, Mithos still had many childish habits. His usual reactions to Yuan's pessimism being one of the more obvious ones.

"Kratos," Mithos began hesitantly as he made his way across the dusty floor, stepping over the occasional heap of broken stones that had fallen off of the walls, "Do you think you're well enough for a bit of sparring?"

Kratos considered the question and what Mithos was actually after. He was not at his full strength yet, but he seriously doubted he ever would be again. There was just too much of himself that was missing. And Mithos did seem to be in need of a distraction that would actually clear his mind for awhile. However, Mithos' magic had been quite strong even back when Kratos' strength was at its peak. There was no telling just how much stronger it was now, and avoiding the use of magic would make the exercise pointless. Mithos simply could not clear his mind completely when limited to melee attacks. Still, if this was something that could actually help his friend out, it was something that he could do.

"Yes, I believe so," Kratos answered finally, hoping that this wasn't going to turn out to be a bad idea on his part.

"Wonderful," Mithos smiled brightly, the first truthful seeming smile that had dawned upon his face in months, turned on his heels and headed back the way he had come. He did not call back for his companion to follow him, but the implication was there and so Kratos obeyed. "There's this nice open area not too far back this way that will work perfectly. It must have been a courtyard or something of the like, thus it's quite clear of debris."

Kratos hummed noncommittally as he trailed behind in Mithos' wake, his mind straying to his soon to be immediate concerns. His mana had replenished itself steadily since his first awakening after... since his first awakening here. It was almost back to its normal level, and was unlikely to grow any stronger. There were some wounds that just could not, or would not, heal and the mana seemed to recognize that fact. It had changed though. How or why it had done so, he wasn't sure of, but somewhere between then and now the warm green energy he was so accustomed to had transformed into a chill blue, almost the color of the sky. He had no idea of what to make of the change. Was it a good thing? Was it a bad thing? Did he even really care whether it was good or bad at this point? Frankly, he was starting to lean more towards a definite yes on that last question.

"Kratos?" He glanced up quickly, startled out of his thoughts by the call. Mithos stood in a crumbling doorway that led out to what must have been the courtyard he had found earlier. He gazed at Kratos with an odd expression on his face which was made even stranger by the play of light falling in from the doorway. It made him seem far more innocent, perhaps even so far as angelic, than any of them had the right to be. The illusion was broken, thankfully so, when Mithos' lips quirked up into what could only be considered a devilish grin. "Don't get so lost in your thoughts that I catch you unaware. Yuan would never shut up if I showed up with you torched, drowned, electrocuted, or all of the above."

"Do not be concerned. You shall have my full and undivided attention for the duration," Kratos said as he gave an answering smirk, his left hand unconsciously gripping the pommel of his sword.

Laughing gaily in response, Mithos spun around and ran across to the far side of the courtyard. Once there, he took up an easy, ready stance and waited for Kratos to signal to begin. In the beginning that seemed so long ago, when Kratos had agreed to help train Mithos in both magic and weaponry, it had been different when they sparred. It had usually been Mithos who attacked first, then Kratos would land Mithos on his rear and show him what he had done wrong. But as Mithos grew stronger, the lessons became less of what he had done wrong and more of just a way for them both to keep their edge.

Drawing his sword, Kratos stepped out into the light. A reddish-orange haze seemed to envelop the blade, licking up from the point, not unlike a flame. An intentional illusion, he knew, but impressive nonetheless. If he been able to discover the smith of such a treasure, then perhaps he might have sung their praises at one time or another. However, circumstances prevented that knowledge from ever being known. War had a way of erasing such things.

A string of conscious directives and a muttered incantation combined together to give form to mana, and with a flick of his wrist Kratos sent a fireball hurtling towards his former apprentice. Their match had begun.

Mithos easily countered with an Icicle spell before gracefully ducking under Kratos' follow up Sonic Thrust and swiftly rolling out of the way of a Demon Fang. While he had never been very good at sword skills, thanks to Kratos' tutelage Mithos had become very, very good at avoiding them. Grinning wickedly as he rose, Mithos sent a Grave spell hurdling under the ground. However, Kratos recognized it instantly for what it was and deftly leaped out of range of the earth spikes.

"You seem to have recovered far more than I had thought," Mithos said conversationally as they faced off, mana swirling between his hands, ready for thought and words to give it form. "Perhaps Yuan's concerns are unfounded."

"Yuan's concerns?" Kratos asked, instantly calling forth a Guardian spell to deflect the Flame Lance Mithos flung at him. Quirking an eyebrow quizzically, he lowered his sword, waiting for an answer and Mithos' next move.

"Yes," Mithos tilted his head to the side thoughtfully as he paused in the creation of another spell. "Our latest discussion was about that. He seems to think that you're going to break any minute now. You won't, of course. You've recovered quite well actually, but try telling him that and he blows up at you."

"I see," Kratos frowned, lightning crackling down the blade of his sword as he absently noted the mana between Mithos' hands turning a deep blue. Yuan didn't think he was recovering? Why had he never mentioned that during one of their many check ups? That didn't make sense... unless Yuan was trying to keep it from him. But why?

Shrugging, Mithos fired off an Aqua Laser at Kratos who swung his sword up to meet it head on. The resulting explosion of water and lightning magic threw them both back across the courtyard.

"You know," Mithos began, brushing himself off as he climbed to his feet, "I never really noticed it, but magic really does get stronger when it's linked to its opposing force."

"Who would have guessed," Kratos muttered sarcastically as he picked himself up off of the ground.

"Well asides from the whole explosion part," Mithos laughed self consciously, "It really does strengthen itself the closer it gets to its opposing force. I wonder if it's a survival mechanism." Frowning, he crossed his arms and started tapping his foot on the ground as an idea started forming in his mind. "I wonder if it could actually maintain that level of power if it was linked together, but prevented from touching, thus preventing the explosive byproducts."

"Mithos?" Kratos called out, hoping to catch the boy's attention before he completely lost touch with reality. Noting the look on his friend's face, Kratos sighed and sheathed his sword. Their sparring session was most definitely over if he was reading Mithos correctly.

"Oh, right, sorry," Mithos mumbled, giving himself a little shake before blinking owlishly up at his companion. "Do you mind if we stop now? I think I've got something and I want to hurry up and check it out."

"I do not mind," Kratos smiled gently down as the young half-elf, who now appeared very eager about something. Gesturing towards the doorway that appeared to lead back to the heart of the ruined city, Kratos made shooing motions, "Go on."

"Okay!" Mithos dashed towards the door, but stopped and whirled around before heading in. "Thanks Kratos. This really helped." He grinned and waved cheerfully before turning around and rushing off.

Kratos shook his head in bemusement. Some things never changed. But then again, some things did. He frowned as his thoughts went back to what Mithos had said earlier. Yuan's concerns. If Yuan doubted his recovery, then did he think that he would never recover? And if that were true, did Kratos really care? He had to admit, to himself if no one else, that the void within was not improving nor was the pain it caused.

While he did not voice it, and the others would not dare, he knew that part of his soul had been ripped away in that final battle. And he knew why. He should have died from it, but somehow he had survived. However, survival notwithstanding, the true wound to his soul wasn't healing. He wasn't sure it ever would. No one had ever survived such a thing before and lived to tell the tale, which left him with a dilemma and a very unpleasant reality. What was he going to do now?

Sighing wearily, Kratos shook his head and decided that pondering upon it now would serve no purpose. Perhaps he should try and help Mithos out with whatever plan the boy was concocting. It would be something for him to do other than wandering about moping over everything that had happened.

Taking a step forward, he stumbled, his strength bleeding out of him as if through a sieve. Well, it appeared that agreeing to spar with Mithos had been a bad idea after all. His sight dimmed as the void within seemed to grow exponentially, stealing the warmth and breath from his body, and he fell. He fell... forever, but before he reached the end of his descent something caught him. No, someone.

"You idiot."



A chill ache, that settled deep into his bones, preceded Kratos' slow return to consciousness. It was not a familiar sensation, though it vaguely reminded him of the change his mana had taken of late. As if in response to the cold, the emptiness within his soul somehow shifted, almost as if it were a living thing; then the ache was numbed as a wave of nothingness washed over him. For a brief moment he felt nothing, nothing at all. And then it was gone as if it had never been.

There truly was something very wrong with him.

Sound came then as time made itself known to him again. There was a soft, mechanical hum coming from something not too far to the left of him. Computers, most likely, which meant he had to be in the building Yuan had designated as his lab. The only other place with working computers was the central control room and he would certainly not be in there. There were no cots in there, and if he could still trust his sense of touch he was certainly lying prone on one at the moment.

He sensed someone leaning over him before he felt fingers gently brushing his hair to the side and touching his forehead. Familiar tendrils of mana probed at his soul then, a soft touch, meant to examine, not harm. Yuan.

Blinking his eyes wearily before opening them fully, Kratos caught an odd look of consternation on Yuan's face before it smoothed back into his usual clinical detachment. That didn't bode well.

Withdrawing his hand abruptly, and thus ending his examination, Yuan scowled, "That was a stupid stunt you pulled."

"No argument there," Kratos mumbled as he stretched, trying to get an idea on just how stupid it had been. The sickening weakness that jangled along his nerves in response told him that it had been quite stupid indeed.

Yuan snorted in derision, "I told you not to overtax yourself. This is what happens when you do not listen to me." Gesturing airily to illustrate his disdain, Yuan turned to check the readouts on one of the many computers sprawled haphazardly about the dimly lit room. "Just be grateful I was keeping an eye on the brat, otherwise you'd still be out there with your face planted into the ground."

Kratos frowned, his eyebrows crinkling a bit as he vaguely remembered what had happened before he had passed out, "I didn't hit the ground."

Yuan looked back at him, surprised, "No, you didn't. I caught you."

Already knowing that that had been the case, Kratos nodded anyway, "Thank you."

Yuan snorted again at that, "Don't thank me yet, you did yourself no favors." Seating himself on a tall stool, the half-elf crossed his arms and sighed. "I'm not entirely certain yet, but there is every indication that you are slowly getting worse. And it's not just from this latest idiotic incident, it's been a very steady decline ever since the Great Kharlan Tree was destroyed."

Noticing Kratos' pained wince at his mention of the great tree, Yuan gave him an apologetic look, "I am sorry, but we really must talk about this." He waited for a grunt of agreement from Kratos before continuing, "The initial damage was very severe. There was nothing I could have done to heal it. Had she still been able to, even Martel could not have healed it. You should have died. But you didn't, and I think I've finally figured out why."

Stepping off from his perch, Yuan walked over to the cot and reached down. "This crystal," he said, running his fingertips across the crystal embedded on top of Kratos' right hand. "A Cruxis Crystal, you called it. The Elder Guardian gave it to you, correct?"

"Yes, when I was very young," Kratos frowned, his confusion evident as he gazed up at his companion.

"Do not worry, I will not be asking about your true age this time," Yuan said, his lips curling up in a small smirk at the memory of an old joke that had been allowed to continue for far longer than it should have. But the moment passed quickly, and his detached look returned. "I do not think he would have given it to you if he had realized its true nature."

"What do you mean?" Kratos asked, his confusion only deepening at Yuan's words.

"You didn't die because the crystal replaced what was torn from you with its own energy. But it is a lifeless energy, unnatural," Yuan stated as he released Kratos' hand and turned back towards his computers, "It's most likely deadening your senses and your emotions along with them. But that's not all it's doing," he hesitated then, the disinterest fading from his voice and being replaced with something that sounded suspiciously like concern, "It's absorbing your soul, or whatever remains of it, into itself. It's a slow process, but... I don't... I don't know how to stop it."


Originally, I had planned to try and keep this as close to canon as I could. Unfortunately, another plot bunny managed to insinuate itself into this one. So I'll just say right now that the majority of what I'm going to be doing with the Great Kharlan Tree really isn't part of the game. Anyway, there's Memory File zero-one for Splintered Fragments. So far, I have eight Memory Files planned. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep it within that number. The first six will be in the distant past, the last two will be a little over a decade before the game begins. Hope you enjoy!