The Kingdom of Zeal
The Kingdom of Zeal was one of the most grand and magical locations in an RPG game during the SNES era. Imagine 12,000 BC, a time when magic and culture was flourishing. Technology had advanced so much that people could live upon continents floating among the clouds, enjoying the view of distant waterfalls and palaces with grand architecture. Both philosophers and dreamers had nothing to stop them from furthering their research, while the pursuit of knowledge by the priviledged was how one came to be respected.
Yet beneath the glory of the Zeal Kingdom and beauty of the floating continents, an Ice Age continued to rage. The sun was blocked from the world's surface below and violent snow storms that began from Lavos' arrival in prehistoric times had yet to come to an end. People who could not use magic were left to fend for themselves in this cold, or to be used as slaves to further the Kingdom's goals. The Kingdom's need to advance even further and faster lead to a discovery of an unnatural power source that began to corrupt them...
Corridors of Time
The Kingdom of Zeal has several Hindu and Indian motifs. The rich colors and rounded shapes on the spire-topped buildings resemble famous temples such as the Taj Mahal. Even the Ocean Palace was named Ocean Floor Temple Vimanam in the Japanese game, which is a style of Indian architecture.
The first thing one notices when arriving in this era is the unusual music, which is sets the scene as completely foreign to the places previously visited in the game. The eastern instrument choices and the melody were the largest sign of this motif at work. An example is the music style found in Schala's theme; the "Do-Re-Mi" of western music is replaced with the "Sa-Re-Ga-Ma" and scales typical of Indian compositions.
The Three Gurus
Upon arriving in Enhasa, Crono's party learns that this place is where the three Gurus originated from. Guru is an Indian word for 'teacher' or 'master' and in Chrono Trigger these three Gurus guide Zeal with their supreme knowledge and skills.
Guru of Life
|Melchior cares about the well-being of everyone, spending much time in the Earthbound Village helping the sick during 12000 BC. He is aware of Janus hiding his power and knows that it's stronger than Schala's. It was also he who gave a woman in Zeal a seed that would someday help restore the world. In 600 AD, Fiona seems to be a descendant of that woman, as she too had a magical seed. Melchior ends up in 1000 AD and forges the Masamune.|
Guru of Reason
|Belthasar is the inventor who created The Blackbird, teleportation pads, as well as the domes and sealed doors in 2300 AD. He often has a Nu or two helping him and he ends up in 2300 AD. He continues to remember Schala, who he deeply cared for. He is still a genius but has become senile with his age and bleak surroundings in the post-apocalyptic future, leading him to mistake Marle for Schala. He built the Epoch in the hopes of returning to his home era but died of old age just after it was completed. In Chrono Cross, it is revealed that he continued his efforts in trying to rescue Schala.|
Guru of Time
|Gaspar, who has studied time more than any other Guru, ends up in the 'End of Time'. He uses his knowledge to guide Chrono's party in altering events that were to pass.|
The Caste System
Zeal has a strong crystallized caste system through which the Kingdom functions. People of lower castes (non-magic users) and higher castes (magic users) are highly separated and cannot freely move in between without generations of change. The classes seem to be royalty, gurus, nobles, magic users and non-magic users.
The sky blue or purple hair being a status symbol of the Enlightened Ones is just another representation of Zeal's caste system. In Hindu literature, the sky is the color of Vishnu's skin (blue). A sign of Divine manifestation is this color because the heavens and oceans are blue - and the Zeal Kingdom itself is in the heavens.
Only when the kingdom was destroyed was the caste system destroyed with it. At the same time, nearly everyone lost the ability to use magic. Only the demi-human race known as Mystics could still use it naturally. Or, the magic talent in people who descended from magic users could have their ability reactivated by Spekkio.
There are two major cities in the kingdom. On the edge of the western continent, the city of Kajar is committed to the advancement of magic. Ever since the King died, it is by the Queen's order that various magical studies are being conducted. The people here are mainly teachers and researchers.
Enhasa is known as the city of dreams. The philosophers here have a strong interest in sleeping and interpreting dreams. A sleeping man in the city tells the player that reality exists within dreams and that the universe exists within everyone – a very Hindu belief.
Strange beings such as Masa, Mune and Doreen, can be materialized and de-materialized through the use of dreams and Lavos' power. It is also suggested that all the sleeping people's energies are being drawn into Lavos, thus they are all lethargic and pale.
Dreams and Reality
Within Zeal's Kingdom many people are researching, observing and questioning the universe. A poyozo in Enhasa questions your beliefs – it asks whether you believe in fate or in controlling it. Several other characters talk about reincarnation, while Doreen explains that everyone's perception of reality is different from one another.
This ties back to the caste system, which still exists today. Central to the caste system were the ideas of samsara (reincarnation) and karma (quality of action). The belief is that if one obeys the rules of caste, reincarnation into a higher caste is possible.
Inspired by Atlantis
Some people believe that there was once an ancient and advanced civilization that sank into the sea around 12,000 BC. Coincidentally, the Kingdom of Zeal sank into the sea at that same time.
Based on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, retellings of the myth of Atlantis such as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Atlantis: The Lost Empire have characters that bear more than a few resemblances to Schala. Nadia and Kida are exotic princesses who own a pendant (with a blue jewel) that is a key to controlling a power source found at their long lost civilizations.