After writing about Frog last week, I felt the desire to turn to another Chrono Trigger character, this time the brooding and mysterious Magus.
In the year 600 of the Kingdom of Guardia, this man led an army of monstrous Mystics in an attempt to conquer the country. He’s the one responsible for transforming Glenn into his amphibian form, and it appears that he’s also the one who initially brought Lavos, the alien parasite who brings about the apocalypse in the year 1999, into the world. Things aren’t always what they seem, however, and while Magus is certainly not entirely innocent, it also turns out he’s not at all on Lavos’ side. In fact, he was trying to summon the creature to his castle in order to destroy it. And there’s a lot more to the history of both Magus and Lavos than it seems at first, as revealed throughout the course of the game. I guess it goes without saying that the rest of this post is going to contain spoilers, right?
Magus’ story begins in the 121st century BC (and why it’s “BC” instead of “Before Guardia” or something, I couldn’t say), in the Kingdom of Zeal. This place is sort of the Chrono world’s equivalent of Atlantis, except it floated in the sky.
This was a land of magic, ruled over by Queen Zeal. I don’t think it’s ever revealed what happened to her husband, but she presumably had one at some point, as she has two children, the gentle Schala and the dour Janus.
Seeking new forms of power, the Queen decides to obtain energy from Lavos, who had crash-landed on the planet about sixty-five million years earlier. Many of her subjects, including the three Gurus and her own children, oppose this plan for good reason. Queen Zeal won’t listen to them, however, and when Lavos arrives in the kingdom, he ends up sending the Gurus and the royal children to various points in time. Janus ends up in the sixth century AD, and is raised by the Mystics, eventually becoming their leader. Yes, Janus and Magus are one and the same, and when Magus summons Lavos in an attempt to get revenge, he ends up being caught in time again and sent back to his own childhood. As he knows what’s going to happen in the future, he sets himself up as a prophet, and once again fails in destroying Lavos. After the fall of Zeal, you can choose to fight Magus or recruit him for your party. I’d definitely recommend the latter, as he’s a great character to have on your side. He’s a powerful magician, and floats in the air when your party moves around. At the end of the game, he sets off to try to find what happened to his sister.
So what did happen to Schala? Well, in Chrono Cross, you find out that she merged with Lavos, and defeating him in his Time Devourer form can bring her back. The only problem is that Magus plays no part in saving her. From what I’ve heard, the original plan was that he would, which would make sense, as the search for Schala is his quest. In Radical Dreamers, which was sort of a predecessor to Cross, Magus was indeed involved in the rescue. When this was reworked into Cross, though, the developers decided they couldn’t fit Magus into the plot. There was some fan speculation that the character Guile, also a mysterious magician, could be Magus. After all, you’d expect someone called “Guile” to be somebody else in disguise, right? While he’s based on the Magus character from Radical Dreamers, however, there’s no indication that this is the case.
So, as it works out, Schala is saved by a large group of characters with no idea of her significance, and no emotional connection to her. You’d think there would at least be some kind of reunion between the two. I understand that the DS version of Trigger does have a subplot in which Magus does find his sister, but then loses his memory, so there’s no real resolution.