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Existence of Fate
Author's note: I hope that people will see that action/adventure, along with many undermined genres such as fantasy, can incorporate all aspects of a good story such as romance, gore, mystery, suspense, and even comedy. Aside from that, I have just been CRAVING to get this story out to the public because nothing makes me happier than a satisfied reader. I hope with all my heart to get this published someday and make one of the best anime's of this generation. My dream and ambition is to write to the best of my soul to reach out to as many people as possible. I would just like to thank TeenInk for allowing me to get one step closer to that dream!
"It is shame, yet truth, that the benevolence of mercy, does not find a will to act upon the might of those that sin so vigorously…" An ominous voice bestowed a feeling of pity, with the absence of understanding.
"Y-You can just go to hell!" The weak, yet impulsive voice of a man emitted itself from a body; bloodied and pale. It shuddered as its nerves struck consecutively. He ran his dirtied nails in the dusted cement. "I…don't care what happens to me…I only wish that my son…my son…" The salted, swelling tears emptied from his pale green eyes, mixing with the blood that festooned the cool tile beneath him.
"Is this remorse I sense in you Irvine? You would act upon an emotion that would have you neglect it eighteen years prior this day? Have these imprudent acts been nothing more than an envisage that you tormented your child with all this time?" Cold, veined hands outreached and clenched the thick green hair of Irvine, raising him to the upright position and constricting firmly. The tears relieved themselves from his face in spherical masses, splashing below. "Pathetic…To strike the heart of your own blood…Is the lust for sin that absolute that you would thirst for it more than the being of your own flesh? You have sinned. You have sinned very much so…and now you must sample the bitter taste of judgment…"
"Ahhh!" Trembling awakened at Irvine's fingertips, snaking through his bones to the top of his head. Blood streamed from the corners of his eyes. The pupils discolored grey as they caught the tormenting opposites of the figure that stood before him. They glistened the most florescent red-silver, shining in the shadow that blanked his face. The man's hair ran the red of demons and the blood of humans, lengthening to the tips of the ankle. The color sustained to escape Irvine's paling skin and eyes. His veins pulsed and throbbed, threatening to burst from his worn, fleshy tissue. His heart persisted its consecutive beats, slowing with each repetition.
"The agony of your soul is but an empty notion to your son, but do not fear. I will show him the benefit of ambition. He will come to understand the fallacy of this forsaken existence, and come to loath it. In due time, death will come as a new beginning that will define him, and I will be the first to witness it. May your being lay to rest, and your body be mine." The broad, pulsing hand clenched Irvine's face further, allowing the blood to flow over the webbing between his fingers, dripping from the palm. Irvine's last thoughts where interfered by the fainted resonance of his dying heart. His eyes diminished, fading into the black of his skull. The life deceased in him, Irvine relieved one final sigh of cold breath, just barely forming words that would speak no more than repent.
"Iru…" His final words exacted his death.
"Do not expect death so soon Irvine…for like your son, death will not come so easily. The pain you must witness has barely begun to surface. I will bestow upon you a great anguish when you meet your son once again…"
"Do not expect death so soon Irvine…for like your son, death will not come so easily. The pain you must witness has barely begun to surface. I will bestow upon you a great anguish when you meet your son once again…"
The mournful murmurs of the dead would awaken the eyes of one that would feel only great fear and confusion when his eyes lay witness to the dark maelstrom within the supernatural that lay before him. The numb of his body would result in the absence of his thoughts. Everything is blurred as his face and body lay rest upon what feels like the solid surface of fine stone. As his vision exacts itself, he focuses upon the tip of his index finger, attempting with all his might to stimulate any slight movement within the other nine. His breath draws in with a deep inhale…He exhales, allowing the dust of the stone to dance before his eyes. His eyes converge once more to his hand. Finally, the twitching of a nerve excites his distorted mind. The rest of his fingers fell in sync with the index, and soon he would clench the dust that rested before him. He felt weak however as he heard the pain of his own voice. The terror of his latter thought forced him to speak.
"Why…can I not feel the warmth of my body? Why does everything feel as cold as ice?" His hands trembled as he lay them flat upon the smooth surface of tiled stone. The rest of his body followed in command to raise himself to the standing position. He closed his eyes once more, fixing his nervous hand upon the center of his chest and clenching with all his might. "No heartbeat…" The eerie shriek from the unknown forced him to open his eyes once again, terror stricken through his limbs. He surveyed the area with a feeling of disarray and oncoming sickness. His head began to throb. The stone floor that he stood upon was the floor of a bridge that prolonged into the absolute darkness. The sky overhead was a dismal blend of violet and black that covered a distance beyond the human eye. "Is this a dream? Or perhaps it is a nightmare." The bloody image of his father severed his calm mind as his blood began to rush. "Father!" His voice echoed into the abyss that lied before him. "Damn it, answer me! If you hate me so much, then finish the job! I'm still here, Father! C'mon, finish me!" He opened his arms into the silent void. His heavy breathing calmed with the lack of reaction. "What's going on? Where did he go? Where is this place?" His feet began to move reluctantly, making no sound upon the ground. The wind was still and suddenly he felt fear. "Why…" The flash of a blade, dripping with blood overwhelmed his rational thought. "Why am I still alive for that matter? How am I standing so suddenly? I was stricken in the heart for sure! How is it then that I still live?"
"Iru Migara…" The lifeless voice crept up the spine of his back, forcing him to turn around with sudden alarm. The sight that was beyond embraced his body like a coffin of nails as he fell to his knees, overcome by the strike of disgust. He opened his mouth feeling dry as cotton, absent of sound. His pupils shrank, and his skin began to crawl. He raised one hand up before him, as to shield him from the repulsive sight. The chaotic woes and cries fumed. "W-What the hell…is that?" He could barely form words from his mouth. Double doors towered many feet above him. The Gothic architecture of hard steel ran from top to bottom, however… "That's…blood and…" Through the metal frame of the double doors, the thick red liquid ran throughout, streaming from the bottom like a waterfall and dripping before him. "Bodies…tons of them." He felt his body weaken, unable to act upon any thought that told him to run. The bodies, encased within the doors, stretched their arms out to him, generating ghastly yelps.
"You do not belong…" The whispers of death cried hostilely. "Geeeetttt ooouuuutttt…"
"I…I--" The voices plagued his body, ringing every nerve in his body like bells.
"Death can only come to those who have a life to take! You do not belong! You do no belong! Geeeeettttt ooouuuuutttt!" The corpses of the dead hissed.
"I don't understand! Someone tell me what is going on!" He cuddled himself in, placing his hands upon his ears and shutting his eyes tight. The roar of the deceased erupted; The bridge began to rumble beneath him. The stone burst several feet to his back side, snaking its way to his position. The corpses continued with their chronic screams, swiping at him from beyond the metal frame of the door. He could feel the pounding of his heart rampage so suddenly. He clasped it as the ache surged throughout his body. His mouth became cotton as he struggled to level himself with the use of the crumbling bridge. The hollow cries of the dead shuttered every cold bone in his body. "I…have to get out of here…" His gasp was cut short as his hand crumbled through the support of the bridge and gravity overwhelmed him. Blood danced in a unique curvature from his mouth. His hand trembled, outreaching to the distant dark gate, and the vision of his eyes began to fade once more at the sound of his beating heart.
"Aaahhh!" The boy opened his eyes once more, the veins in the greens of them pulsing as his pupils shrank into a small void. He placed both hands upon his chest, showing his great anguish as he closed his body in. The dark clouds overhead rushed across the sky and the rain poured briskly, splashing upon his face repetitively. The wind carried his cries of pain beyond human ears into the sound slicing, thin air. His breath was cold once again, escaping his mouth uncontrollably as he withstood the pain. He stared into the palms of his hands. The nerves in his fingers twitched as his eyes watched the blood drip from them, absorbing into the mud that he lay upon. The blood cried from his chest, reddening the wet grass. He could feel the pumping of his heart and the pain deceased quickly. He planted his hands into the deep mud with a soft "squish" to follow when he raised himself. His breathing slowed to a safe repetition. He began to walk, realizing that his mind was too shattered to allow him to do so in a straight line. The pre-images of a single tree danced between his eyes. With every weakened step, he exhaled steam from his mouth. His arm outreached, he could feel the blood running from his palm and the tips of his fingers. "F-Father…" He whispered once more, embracing the tree for much needed support. "Where did you go?" He thought to himself, feeling the butterflies build up within him. His foot nudged a small rock that raced down the small mountain-side to the vast field below. Beyond its horizon, he could see the faded outline of his hometown, Oque.
Through the flash of lightning, sin carries itself over to a girl who's tears fall upon the locket of a loved one. She embraces it tight, feeling the blood freely release from its chain. It splashes upon a puddle that runs through the cracks of the darkened floor, to the white center underneath the dim limelight, in which a blade of dull silver has rested since her awakening. Her mind is haunted when her thoughts carry her to the grotesque sight one that which would pose as a demon with red veins pulsing through his face and those red-silver eyes. Her mother would rest in his arms, appearing as though tears of happiness where the right emotion to fit the moment.
"I've waited so long, to see you again…Can you ever forgive me? I never meant to leave your side." Her mother's fainted whisper forced her to close the locket in tighter to her chest. "Can you ever forgive me?"
The girl felt her soul shrink, witnessing the drug of dark love that her mother had succumb to. Could she not see the terror and inhumanity that lay in the swallowing pools of his eyes? Does his dark demeanor and stance not read for the unsuspecting to stay away?
"Why Mother? Why did you go to him? Why did you…" The girl persisted to sustain the tears within her, placing the locket around her neck for safe keeping. She still could not, however, find herself to stand while the prior event still plagued her mind. She recalled standing idly by, filled with disarray and distraught. A malevolent grin formed upon his face, awakening the nightmare that she had expected. His arm suddenly began to disfigure before her; Her mother's eyes closed and unaware, her tears fell down his pulsing chest. The muscles burst from his flesh, appearing as bloody pink snakes, stretching to the ground. The silent hissing resumed as the blood dripped from the motioned muscles.
"Do not worry…I will forgive you." The psychotic smile forming in the shadow of his demon-red hair. Her mother's eyes opened with the joy of forgiveness, meeting the red-silver of hell.
"Truly? You will forgive me? For all I have done to you?" She asked willingly.
"Mother please, get away from him!" She had cried, feeling the inhumanity of his being. Her mother, to her defeat, ignored her cries.
"I do." The satanic voice shattered random beats of her heart, strictly through fear. "However…" The girl was unable to react in time before the thick, bloody flesh had clasped her neck, restricting tightly. Her mother reacted with a fuse of panic and woe. "Any seed you bear, is a seed of infidelity, infused with sin. I would do the devil's work by allowing her to live. Burn in the lake of deceit, tainted child." From beyond his red hair, a blade of dark silver revealed itself.
"No! You mustn't hurt my child! Nera, I beg you run!" Her mother had cried. She had relieved herself of the man's embrace, and ran to her with fear read throughout her. "Let her go!" She cried, attempting to free Nera from his bloody grasp.
"M-Mother…" Nera spat between breathes. Her Mother released the locket from her hand and placed it within Nera's free one. "I was going to use this to release us from this awful existence, so that we may find peace elsewhere, but I fear that you will be the only one to find peace Nera. Go to a time where sin does not exist…I love you…" The wicked being had thrust the blade across the small room, directed at Nera. Her mother opened the locket, tears falling like streams down her face, and turned the hand of the clock forward as fast as possible before the blade ran her through. As the blood splattered upon Nera's face, the flash of the locket consumed her before the blade ran all the way through.
"Go to a time where sin does not exist…I love you…"
Nera held the broken locket in the palm of her hand, examining the room that was still stained with fresh blood. "Unless sin has been lost within a day's time, I am afraid that I cannot fulfill your wish just yet…Mother." She whispered those heartfelt words before she stood. "I never knew until now, that this is the place that you went to everyday. These documents and old scripts of a forgotten project…You were trying to build some sort of machine that would take us far away from here, far away from Father, far away from Oque, and far away from tragedies such as this." She examined the blood stained paper upon the wall of the small, broken laboratory. The words read "Peace and prosperity will be found in time". She gathered as many of the papers that could still be read and folded them, placing them within a small pocket pouch she had made herself. The wet blood created a path that led up the stairs from the small room, dripping upon each step. "I refuse to acknowledge that sin does not exist, until I confront it for myself. I will find you Mother, and we will leave together."
The malevolent winds of Mother Earth rage with ominous vigor and without content. The leaves of the forests rustle, relieving from branches their own, taking to the whistling tune of the clouded sky. They flutter as the rain water flickers down from its stem and splashes upon the salted tears of Genra Nihonko. There he stands in the midst of pre-destined hell as the thunder still roars. The eroded rubble cracks beneath his feet as his eyes are taken to the sight of rain-washed blood upon mounds of rubble and debris. The earth is sin struck with the souls of the deceased. His breath is cold as his skin. He forces himself upon the piles of shattered spirit.
"Home…" He whispers solemnly to himself, holding back the tears yet they come as they feel need.
"Brother, why would you…How could you…" The thunder rumbles beneath his feet once more. His eyes continue to be taken by what once was. He stood upon an alleyway, the splash of his shoes upon a water puddle provoke recent crows to take flight. He made his way into the narrow alleyway, stopping no sooner than three feet from his previous position. His hands wondered about the side of the fallen building to his left until it came upon deep hollow in the wall. Crevices appeared to snake their way from its center. He left his hand to rest there as he sustained to stare into the unnerving darkness. Voices began to echo in his head as his heart began to rush.
"Is this your idea of a joke? Father would never-"Genra's palms sweat with great trepidation as he stood in the alleyway of his home, his eyes bloodshot, and the veins pulsing, ready to burst beneath his young skin. His eyes focused desperately on his older brother, Akusga, whom held a rusted dagger beneath their frail grandfather's throat. Genra, a young child, could see the blood run from his grandfather's neck to the granite alleyway floor at his feet. His grandfather gasped desperately for air as his bony fingers frenzied about at his sides. Akusga, knelt above him, had nothing less than that of a blood-ravenous, demon glazed smile upon his face. His face and arms sweat profusely. His hair dripped in small masses, splashing upon his tattered shirt.
"Shut up!" Akusga cried with great anxiety. "Would you question the will of our father, the man whom took your sorry ass in?" Akusga pressed the dagger forcefully against his grandfather's throat. "This old fool is of no use to us anymore." His teeth flared a monstrous grin, the blood vessels in his eyes thickening. "What we cannot make use of, we have no use for. Survival of the fittest Genra!" He pressed his sweaty forehead against his grandfather's. "This decrepit, senile taint being of old bone and flesh, what use is he to us?" He breathed heavily upon his grandfather's face, feeding off the fear in his tearful eyes.
"He is our grandfather! He may not be flesh, but he is our family! Brother don't be foolish! Even Father would not wish a fate upon him so! What chronic inhibitions has your mind bestowed upon you! Your thinking is nothing less of irrational!" Akusga and Genra's younger brother, Shino stepped before him. The tears flowed from his face as a stream.
"Shino, dear little brother, not you too? Irrational you say? Is it not you and our dear brother Genra whom seek that which will never exist? Freedom? I damn the world! To survive, you must banish out the weak and those that would hold you back from power! Any means of unnecessary strain must be banished. Why can you not see Father's vision for us? Because Genra has tainted your mind with these foolish beliefs of a life beyond the pain…beyond the bloodshed and sin. Hehe…Haha…Hahahahahaha!" Akusga pressed his palm to his forehead in disorienting laughter. His eyeballs appeared as though they would burst from their sockets as they burned with the sight of the sun between the walls above. "A life beyond pain? Do you honestly think you will find that elsewhere?" The dagger began to cut through his grandfather's flesh as the expression on his face suddenly became full of everlasting rage. "The only means of finding a life without pain…"
"Don't do it Brother…" Shino took yet another step forward, closing the gap between them.
"Akusga don't…" The tips of Genra's fingers began to tremble beyond his control.
"You are a foolish boy…Your anger will consume…you…" Their grandfather's weak voice spoke those last words that would forever burn in Genra's mind.
"Is in death!!!" Akusga cleaved through his grandfather's throat with one quick slice. The blood burst from beyond spontaneously, spraying as red rain upon his face and body. Soon the alleyway floor was decorated with dark red. Genra's heart struck as lightning upon his chest. His vision became slowly dazed as he could see the after image of all that stood before him. His deep purple eyes shuttered, his skin tightening.
"Noooo! You sick, demented demon! You are no brother of mine!" Shino cried. "Grandfather wanted nothing but freedom and happiness for us, for you, Brother! You're so stupid! So stupid!" Shino relieved another rusted dagger from his trousers. Previous bloodstains ran throughout its tip and handle. "I'll kill you!" Shino charged forward without second thought, the blood splashed beneath his tattered sandals. His cries echoed in Genra's head, awakening him to the harsh reality at hand.
"No…No! Shino stop!" Genra's eyes focused just in time to see Shino but a few feet away from piercing his brother. Akusga's laugh was as though dozens of birds were being grinded up in Genra's ears. He held his arms out, dagger in hand, the smile preceded.
"Haha! Stupid you say? If you are so foolish as to think like him..." Genra met the flaring eyes of Akusga once more.
"Akusga please, I beg you, don't…don't do it…don't do it…don't-" The event at hand reflected in the shine of Genra's eyes. His head became a daze once more as his eyes initiatively watched Shino fall to the floor as his and his grandfather's blood merged, pressing against Genra's feet.
"Then you can join him." Akusga whispered into his brother's ear before relieving the dagger from his heart.
"G…Gen...ra…" Shino exhaled, from his mouth, his last bit of life. Akusga held a red doused dagger upon each hand. The wet hair upon his face shadowing his expression as he faced to no other but Genra.
"Geeenraaaa?" He sang as he appeared to somewhat dance in the alleyway, laughing periodically. The sun created a half shadow on them. The sun just barely pierced the fury in Genra's eyes. "You're-the only- one left. What will- you do- now?" He sang, slowly dancing his way closer to Genra.He sang, slowly dancing his way closer to Genra. Genra clenched his fists, the sweat dripping between the webbings in his fingers. His trembling body forced him back two steps…then two steps more…but suddenly his body gave way, as if gravity had taken control, thrusting his body forward in a full force berserk of shrill cries. His fist balled up, his shouts echoed upon the walls of that narrow alleyway. "Hahaha! Yes, yes, that's it! Let the hatred for what you despise engulf you dear brother!" Akusga's teeth widening as fangs with his demented, open smile. Genra stretched his fist back as far as he could, build momentum as his arm cramped with pain and determination. Akusga's expression diminished as his eyes followed at Genra's feet. His foot crushed the ground beneath him as leaves. Akusga's pupils shrank as he could suddenly feel the impulsive energy radiating from Genra's body as intense air pressure. In a frail gasp, he stumbled backward, just barely avoiding the destructive swing of Genra's fist. It struck the adjacent wall with a monstrous blow. The great wave surged throughout as his fist struck. The crevices began to snake away from the target strike, leaving a spherical hallow in the wall's center. Several masses of stone rained down from above them. Genra slowly removed his hand from the wall. Steam appeared to simmer from the tips of his knuckles. Akusga gave a fearful, yet enraged expression as he continued to keep his distance, his eyes fixed on Genra now.
"W-What…What was…" Genra could feel the slight burning sensation spreading through his right arm. He held his wrist with his other hand as he struggled to remove his foot from the crushed tile floor beneath him. "My body is burning up…a-and my heart is beating so fast! This strength…Has it been my all this time?" Akusga proceeded to lengthen the distance between Genra and he, with a dead end at his backside.
"This kid is a monster…Father, where the hell did you find this kid? It ain't normal to have strength like that…Damn it…I don't need to waist any time killing him." Akusga clenched the handles of both daggers tightly. Genra's eyes appeared to thirst for Akusga's blood as his cold stare forced a great deal of intimidation through his legs. Before Akusga could make the first move, Genra charged forward in a blind rage once more. "What the- ARGH!" The shock of Genra's fist was as an earthquake through Akusga's bones. He could feel Genra's hand digging through the flesh of his midsection as his legs lifted from the ground. The small rocks below them rocked back and forth unsteadily. Akusga could feel one rib after another breaking as Genra's fist pressed through. Akusga cried out with the most devastating of cries, a pain he had never witnessed before, surging through him as a wild beast. With an atomic burst, the momentum sent him as a rampant butterfly unable to control its flight, sailing to the back wall. The crush of his back against it, finished any breath he had in him as he lay, embedded in the solid rock. His fingers twitched about, attempting to clasp the shattered rock that had pierced his backside. Genra inhaled and exhaled with great anxiety, the sweat dripping from the tip of his nose. He tried as he could to control his breath, unable to calm his mind, his arm still stretched out before him.
Genra ran his hand over the crown of his blond hair. He caught himself, realizing that he had been breathing heavily since his reminisce. For some reason his mind clouded the rest of his memory.
"But then why…Why can I remember that man? That man of blood shot hair…What purpose does he serve in all this?" Genra had attempted for years to tie his brother's connection with the man that appeared as a demon with hair that seemed to bleed down to his feet. Even if Genra was sure that he had finished his brother off, present occurrence and forgotten memory would deem otherwise. He stood in the destroyed alleyway, his hand still running over the embedment in the wall. His body tensed with rage as he could see the fainted silhouette of where his grandfather and brother's corpse had lain. With a crunch of his teeth, his fist struck the wall once more with quaking force. The wall crumbled at his shoulder as it gave way in an instant. "Brother!" Genra caught a piece of the falling debris in his palm. "Is what I have been told the truth? Was it your face that was seen standing over corpses that decorated our destroyed town just recently? As hard as it is to believe, I can't just avoid it. I thought I had finished you off…I thought I had avenged Shino, however I find that yet another unlucky soul is forced to see that disfigured smile upon your face...If I find the man of bleeding hair, then perhaps I will find you." He crushed the solid rock between his fingers.
The dying wind appeared to carry laughs of content upon its back as Iru felt its rush blow his hair back. He stopped as he came upon the steel gates of his home town, Oque. From the outside, he could see the enormous tree that protruded from the town's center and into the air, just below the clouds. He held his chest that still appeared to cry with small masses of blood still, his back hunched over. His body ached with confusion and regret. He held a glistening blade in his right hand, stained with mud. Its unique curvature and double ended tip made it one of a kind. Letters unfamiliar to him ran along its body. His eyes studied it firmly.
"Still, on a day like this, Mother's blade, Tsurugi, appears to glisten. Mother…was I doing the right thing? Was I right to challenge Father's love for you and his hatred for me? Please, if only you could give me the answer." He clenched its handle, attempting to hold back his stream of tears. "Forgive me Mother, but as long as I draw breath, I refuse to accept that I lost to him. I'll find him and make him answer for his neglect. He knows something about me, and I plan to find that answer…" He clasped the section of his chest, just above his heart. "His blade…ran through my heart, but I'm still alive. I'm…still alive." Iru closed his eyes; remembering as his and his father's blades clashed against one another's between the heavy rainfall. The thunder crackled and the wind whistled as one another's roars echoed off the mountainside that overlooked Oque. Iru sustained the fear inside of him as he readied his blade to strike vital each time. He could feel the rage emit from his father's body, the heat nearly singing his skin. It took only one moment's hesitation to strike Iru's mind. He was in a life or death struggle with his father, to blood of his own. He had lost grip upon his blade, as everything appeared to pause in place. The last that he would see was his father's blade running through his heart, before opening his eyes once more.
"I don't understand it, damn it all! Where the hell did he go!" Iru cried into the discolored sky. His body throbbed with anticipation and everlasting pain through his bones. He groaned as he was brought to his knees. With a soft splash in the mud, he held himself with both hands before the steel gates. "Where did he go?" He voice was subtle now, yet weak with emotion. "How could he just leave after doing something so…heartless? Perhaps…perhaps I would have been better off dead." He used his blade as support as he stood once more. "Either way, you can't run away from me! I swear I'll find you, and you will answer to me!" Iru then walks beyond the steel gates into his hometown, fueled by his ambition.
The thunder roars once again as a man of jet black hair and piercing black armor stands, arms crossed, upon the mountainside. The wind carries his hair back, his flaring, deep red eyes focus upon the ways that crash down on the shore and climb at the mountain's feet beneath him.
"This existence reeks with sin and error. The taint emitting from the soil of this planet is uncanny. I can see why now I have been sent once again. The cycle of life and death has been tampered with and life on this planet has become unstable for the second time in this genesis of existence. Someone has been forsaken with right to live and has been rejected by death's door…What game do the Creators play in which they tamper with their own and deem us not interfere? For a being to be denied the right to live and robbed his right to exist…Such carelessness will only create a cycle of suffering upon the innocent that I might be the one to carry out this act unwillingly. May Purgatory have mercy upon him, for neither I nor the Netherworld can…?" Aze Susanoo closes his eyes as the wind embraces him.
"What's this…?" His eyes open once more, and take to the sky.
"Souls...millions of them, lingering and wandering...How can this be? Every soul of dead should be accounted for and laid to rest. Ankou, was there some other purpose that you expect me fulfill? I sense souls that have been left unaccounted for and denounced to our knowledge. Not only that, but I sense a being that is not of the creator's doing. I sense a deity that is neither dead nor alive, a being that contradicts fate by existing upon other means. It seems that my task to fulfill holds much more than significance than your words led me to believe, Ankou."
Akusga: Poor, bastard brother Genra. If only he knew...hehehe...HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Lush Evergreen Trees rustle along the outskirts of broad grassland. The clouds above create an image of broken glass as clusters of sunlight force themselves visible from the previous storm. Rose petals take flight from their resting place; a worn gravestone damp with preceding rainfall. Amille Kamakura felt the rush of wind through her short, burgundy hair. Her tears fell upon the gravestone as it was the final of five that she lay to rest. The rose she held in her hand was crusted and near death, just barely clinging on, withholding to the last breath of life in its stem. She lay the half dead rose upon the stone that read "Rayne Igirushi: Teacher, Leader, Friend". Amille studied the half-dead rose.
"It…reminds me of myself…" Her blue eyes glistened at the building up of forming tears. "Forgive me Rayne. My lack of strength and carelessness killed you. I-I'm sorry…" She put her hands together in prayer, kneeling in the wet grass as the heavy wind began to dry it. Her mind drifted as she attempted shun all thought of memories that lead her to that point. She could see the faint image of her friend through the heavy storm the previous night. Amille stood with her comrades, as Rayne made her way toward them. Her walk was unsteady, her arms dangled to her knees. Amille could see the flare of Rayne's eyes glisten between the frantic drops of rain that appeared to move so slow that she could count them, one by one.
"A-Amille…K-Kill me…" She cried before an inhuman roar surged through the ground. Amille opened her eyes to the serenity of the grassland before her memory took her any further. She opened her eyes and held her arms out before her. Both arms contained white ribbons that hang from her forearm and wrist, two per arm. Each ribbon in particular read with the words of spirits. On her left, the ribbon hanging from her wrist read "Ka" (fire). The one to her forearm read "Fu" (wind). The ribbon to her right forearm read "Chi" (earth) and that wrist read "Sui" (water). She placed both hands to two ribbons connected to one strand around her neck acting as a scarf. Neither ribbon had a name however.
"These spirits, the Gogyo, are dangerous. An overuse of their power will awaken what is known as a spiritual backlash. If that happens, the spirits become power hungry and take the energy of your body and manifest it into a poison to the mind. It amplifies the user's power one-thousand fold, but completely obstructs all sense of self while slowly devouring the soul, eventually leading to death. If you wish to create a ritual, an eternal bond with these spirits, you must be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice should the time come, as should I. Many lives have been lost due to the misuse of the spirits power. You must become one with them and trust them, take care of them and use your heart to guide them. If you are ready, Amille, then I will show the style of a Gogyo user." Rayne's voice echoed in Amille's mind as she took to the gravestone once more. "Remember, that I myself wield this power with care, however, no soul upon this planet is immune to the potential of its overuse. Should that time come…you will end my life without hesitation. Relieving oneself of that pain is the only escape. You must promise me." Rayne held both of Amille's hands within her own. Amille complies with a shake of her head reluctantly.
She opens her hands once more and stands. She looks upon the five gravestones consisting of Rayne and their comrades.
"Rayne, please, be my strength. I know now that it is up to me to carry out our ambition. An existence free from this religious fallacy brought upon the innocent. That man they say has hair the red of pure blood. I will find him, and end his life, as he has ended mine, ours, before they had a chance to begin!" She inhaled deeply then exhaled with the rush of the wind. "The Gogyo Sprits will guide me to the right path, and I will save us all with the little life I have left, that I will promise you. Until my soul withers, I fight!" A last petal of the half-dead rose carried itself off into the air before crusting away.
The sun is mostly visible now as the storm fades away with the chaos that is postponed for the time being. Iru's body is overflown with pain. His skin is matted with clots of dirt and dry blood as he struggles to open the steel gates into the back of his hometown. He had hoped that he could settle in his home upon a small hill that overlooked the rest of the town, avoiding the townspeople as he entered, but he arrived however to find nothing but an unobstructed silence. No sooner had the creak of the gates revealed an empty street that an ominous fog danced its way out at his feet. His breath visible so suddenly, Iru sustained a calm mind as the chills crawled up his spine, nearly freezing the blood in his bones.
"It's gotten cold so suddenly… and not only that, but there isn't a single person to be accounted for. Something definitely doesn't feel right. I should probably- "Iru clasped his chest once again with the throbbing pain that seemed unending. "Looks like I don't have too much time to think about it now…I have to give my body rest if I plan on going anywhere at this point." He thought to himself as he made his way through the gates. An immediate right would take him to a steep dirt path through a cluster of trees up a grassy hill. The snakelike path would emerge through the other side, revealing the small cabin-like home that lay rest at the top. Iru just barely dragged his mother's blade behind him as he struggled up the steps of his home. The blade made a constant "thump" on each step as he forced the loosed door open. He opened it to darkness and dust as he stepped inside.
"Mother…" Nera clenched the worn paper in her hand that she had found in her mother's abandoned lab. She allowed the tears to free-fall, splashing in the dirt. "I don't understand it, I just don't understand it! What sort of poison o-or drug could have consumed you that would open up your arms so willing to a monster like that…?" Nera closed her eyes for only a moment and envisioned the man with hair the color of blood-stained hellfire. She quickly opened them back up. "The trail of blood ended at the steps and didn't make it to the grass…but what does that mean? Could he have…ascended? No, no Nera don't be ridiculous!" She thought to herself, shaking her head of irrational thought. "But then again, that man, he just barely took to human features…I'd never seen an eye color such as his before either." She muffled her hair with both hands in frustration. "Argh! This is getting me no where, and damn it all I've messed up my hair!" The sunlight revealed itself brightly, shining greatly before disappearing behind a mass of clouds. Nera shielded her eyes as her hometown, Oque came into view. "Home." Her eyes squinted for a short moment. "I suppose the only thing I can do is try to find some answers there. I had no idea that Mother had kept so much from me. So many unanswered questions…She must have kept some sort of clue or keepsake there that connects her to that man." She thought to herself as she balled her fists up with desperation. "Alright Nera, this time you are on your own. Time to prove to yourself that Father's lessons didn't go to waist! Wait…Father!" She sprang aloud. "I have to find Father too! If I have him help me, perhaps he can take care of that bastard all by himself! K Nera, let's do this, everyone is counting on you!" Nera begin to run full force toward the front entrance of her hometown. "Oh I'm going to kill Genra when I find him!"
"Nera is going to kill me for leaving so suddenly…" Genra said as he dusted his hands. The shadow of clouds raced down the broken street of Genra's home. His eyes scanned the destruction that had taken place. The last remaining citizens reluctantly made their way into to the streets. Genra could only see a few senior citizens and some children that remained. He balled his fist up as he shaded his face from the beaming sun overhead. "Akusga…I can't believe that you are still alive, nor can I take myself to believe that perhaps you are responsible for all this..."
"U-Um…excuse me…" A small girl tugged at Genra's leg, forcing him to look down almost immediately. "U-Um…d-do you think you could…um…help my grandmother? S-She's really old, and the ground is all bumpy and stuff…Do you think you can help her…um…please?" Genra was not sure if the little girl had noticed that she had blood, perhaps of another innocent citizen, fresh on her tattered clothing. He looked beyond her to the small group of people that remained. They all appeared to focus on him as if he were their savior. With a gradual sigh, he placed his hand on the little girl's head.
"Of course I'll help." Genra forced a smile upon his face to calm the girl. She replied with a grin of her own. "I'd better take this small group of citizens to a nearby town. I'm sorry Nera, but it looks like you'll have to wait just a little longer."
"Yet another soul unaccounted for." Aze clasped the chains from his armor, putting his hands together once more as he lead yet another forgotten soul to rest. "This world has souls abandoned by the thousands. How is it that the Netherworld knows nothing of this?" His eyes surveyed the forest that bordered the small beach by the ocean. His eyes caught sight of the dozens of souls that had been unaccounted for, wandering amongst one another through the trees. "What being upon this existence has the innate ability to end a life before its due time? I sense that none of these souls were meant to find death at this present time. The life and death cycle…it is severely off balance. More deaths are being accumulated than births at an alarming rate. What being of flesh has the power to do such a thing, and for what purpose? Ankou, did you know of this?" Aze continued deeper into the forest to finish his duty. The sun shines between the thick leaves up above.
"All of this can't just be mere coincidence." Iru eased himself into an herbal bath with yellow tea leaves. "Ah-!" He bit hard on a small towel as the healing liquids bubbled and steamed upon his scars. The deep wound across his heart closed instantly, leaving a scar that appeared to come off the skin slightly. He panted as he grasped the ends of the bath. "Father's sudden disappearance and the town becoming vacant... all of this appear to have happened so instantaneously." The steam from the bath clouded the small room. "It's funny…being alone like this, it feels so natural." He slowly eased his way out of the hot bath, stretching his body about, feeling still a slight distress in his bones. He retrieved his outfit from the window, as it was still slightly damp from being washed. He studied it with discomfort. "Hehe, it's so sad…Father was supposed to offer me this garment as sort of an initiation of my coming of age. I, as one of the only Freebladers left in this world, was destined to carry out his legacy…but instead, the only thing I received was a cursed name and a strike to the heart."
"Hmph. Iru…that name fits you well. Soulless being…yes that sounds about right, for you are nothing more than a bastard child. You are no son of mine you forsaken flesh from hell. Get out of my sight!"
"Damn it!" Iru struck the wooden wall with his balled fist. "His hatred did not just come out of thin air…Perhaps…Perhaps he holds me responsible…for Mother's death. Giving birth to me, a bastard child resulted in her death. He's treated me like nothing more than a conveyance, a burden to be done away with. Maybe he only kept me as Mother's dying wish. But to name me something so wretched…Father, I must know what that part of me is, you must tell me!" Iru dressed himself before entering the broken case in which Tsurugi slept. His mother's blade would be his strength; only with that blade would he bring his Father to his knees. Iru reached for the handle of Tsurugi which leaned upon the broken case, when his eye caught sight of a small glimmer from within the case still. He reached inside to the very top of it to feel something of smooth metal. As he reached further he could feel a chain attached as well. With a small tug, it loosed into his hand. He opened his palm to find a necklace of fine metal, stainless steal. "This is a Tiger…This must have been Mother's keepsake." Without second thought, Iru put the necklace around his neck. He then made his way out the back to a small walking path to a tree far out. Underneath its branches lied the gravestone of his mother. The inscribing in the stone read "Freya Migara". Iru put his hands together in prayer as the wind picked up. The leaves broke free from their branches, some green, and some red or yellow, and drifted briskly to his side. "I'll make you proud…I promise."
"What the hell?" Nera stood in the vacant streets of her hometown. Her gaze took her quickly from left to right consecutively as the anxiety began to build. She started to shiver has the fog crept about her bare legs. "What the- Hey, is anyone here? Hellooo?" She closed her arms in as she continued to walk slowly, reluctant with every step. "This is just beyond creepy! How the hell does everyone just leave so suddenly like this? What…What did I MISS?" She yelled even louder as crows rushed over her head and took the sky. Her voice echoed off the buildings of the large town.
"Huh?" Iru shielded his eyes from the gleaming sun as the echo of a voice from deep in town caught his attention. "Someone is still here? Well I suppose that would be a good place to start then. Perhaps they can tell me what's going on." Iru wasted no time making haste toward the town center.
"Ugh! This is just ridiculous! How can an entire town just become barren over night like this? No one would be dumb enough to play a prank like this…Unless…that man had something to do with it." Nera scoped the streets one last time to confirm her sanity. "This is definitely no joke. Something tells me that the people in this town didn't just disappear." Nera attempted to sustain her thoughts as she turned several corners. The stone streets seemed like never ending corridors. "I swear, I've lived here my whole life and these streets still seem too long!" Her mind was perplexed by the emptiness she constantly felt from running the desolate streets. "It feels so unfamiliar."
"Not a single person to be accounted for." Iru's fast walk slowed to a near stop as he scanned his surroundings. "This city is always bustling with people and crowds…This is so unnatural. I can't help but put so many pieces together given the time frame. Ah, no matter how agitating it is to not know anything, I can't waste anytime. Someone has got to know something!" He resumed his near run toward the enormous oak tree in the center of the town.
Nera's mind came to ease as she neared the giant oak tree in the center of the town. Her home sat just at the intersection of two streets that met in the center. She neither stopped nor slowed down as she burst through the door.
"Father?" She scoped her home frantically, awaiting a reply, but somehow expecting no response. "Father?" She cried out once more, ignoring her common knowledge that told her that there was not a soul to be found. Without a moment's grief, she made her way into her mother's small room. Inside laid a bed just barely big enough for one. Across from it lye a small table with a candle, nearly withered with melted wax spreading beyond its holder. Dozens of papers where scattered among the table and floor, but nothing more. Nera tackled the ground, frantically searching paper by paper. She checked through her mother's nightstand which contained nothing but old pictures. Nera held one in particular of her and Genra as children. She formed a near smile before- "Grrr!" -tearing it to shreds. She continued to her frantic search until it led her beneath the bed. She ran her hand across the smooth wooden floor…nothing. "Oh, damn iiittt!" She struck her fist upon the floor beneath the bed. As she struck, the floor made a peculiar noise. "Wait a second…" She slammed her fist upon the floor once more beneath the bed, and once next her. "A hollow spot…"She rubbed her throbbing hand as she stood. With much strain, Nera pulled the small bed out of the way. Sure enough, a discolored brown stood out from the rest of the floor. "Oh Mother…why…" She tried as she could to hold back tears. Nera carried a unique, circular blade with her known as Albatross. It is a unique style chakram that is adept to each user. As its metal glistened, she sliced through the hallow area in the floor. The wooden area crumbled, falling just a little ways below. The hole opened deep enough for Nera to jump down.
"No…this can't be! The tree is dying?" Iru stood before the thousands of dead leaves decorated the ground beneath the tree. "This can't be right! This is a thousand-year old evergreen oak! One of the rarest trees in the world! How…how is it dying? What sort of ill omen does this bid?" Iru ran his hand across the trunk of the tree. The bark tore like thin paper in his hand. "This tree was rumored to be filled with life energy and the spirits of Nature. Even through the harshest winters this tree stood…What could be killing it now? Yet another unanswered question…" Iru sat upon a nearby bench that presented scenery to the tree. The heavy wind tore several more leaves from its branches. "I can't believe this."
Nera found herself upon a poorly made staircase with two sections. As she made her way down, her eye caught thin tree vines running along the foot of the stairs. She could see no further ahead do to the dim light and darkness. As she came upon the final stair, her eye caught sight of a small, iron box at her feet. As she rummaged through it, she could feel only one small object. She lifted it by its long handle. The entire object was made of old steel. It was somewhat heavy with a glass spherical component at its tip. "Leave it up to Mother and her crazy inventions. This looks like an automatic torch of some sort. Let's see here…" Nera felt around the extended handle of the object until her finger nudged a tiny lever at its bottom. She flicked it once and a spark emitted from the sphere. After a few more flicks, the sphere became florescent with a white flame. "Whoa!" Nera held the automatic torch several inches from her face.. The luminance of the light revealed a long tunnel of granite stone. Nera noticed that the tiled stone of the tunnel was the same as that made from the streets in town. The tree vines continued to creep upon the ground and sides as Nera proceeded further down. The deeper into the narrow tunnel she went the more dead leaves her feet began to crush consecutively. Soon the floor was flooded with dead leaves as the tunnel came to an end. The stone of the walls soon faded into what appeared to be bulky, dense roots of a tree embedded in the walls. "What…what is all this?" Nera's face was one of deep dismay as her eyes took to a machine that appeared to attach itself to the massive tree roots that protracted from the surface. "This is the Great Oak Tree. This tunnel leads directly below the center of town?" She could see the dozens of papers scattered about, however they appeared to have been burned. The strange components of the machine contained extensions with sharp tips that pierced several sections of the massive roots of the tree. Nera could tell neither the function of the machine nor even what it was. She could only tell that it was absorbing nutrients from the tree up until recently. "Whatever this thing was, it isn't working now." Nera inspected the tree roots. She ran her hand over them to find them dry and flaky. "Please Mother; tell me you had nothing to do with this. Why? What could you possibly want with the heart of our town? You were not one I thought to be selfish enough to harm an innocent tree like this…So many unanswered questions." The sunlight revealed itself from the top of the low ceiling. "That's the center of town…Oque Square." The curvature of the tree roots was enough that Nera could climb upon them to the faint light above.
Iru sat at the very top of the tree, several feet in the air.
"Wow." He could feel the great rush of wind upon his face as he could see for miles in all directions, getting a full view of the town. He scanned to the horizon of buildings. "Man, I was hoping to see at least one person from this high up." As he sat upon the extended branch, more leaves casually excused themselves from its branches. "I wonder how long this tree has been dying. Someone would have noticed by now had even a single leaf fell from it." He sighed, leaning his back against the trunk.
"Geez, this poor tree was probably suffocated from all this stone around it!" With a great tug, Nera pulled out one tight slab of the heavy granite stone against the tree, suddenly giving way to a crack. She stopped as the dusts from the stone slabs began to fall from the bottom. "Wait a second. I wonder if there was some good reason for the tree to be so secured like this…Maybe…Uh Oh…" She gasped at a sharp snap that occurred below her. The opening above was more than enough for her to climb out of now. "Oh no…The stones were used to secure the tree from tumbling over! Oh crap!" The tree appeared as though it released a heavy roar as the vines began to snap. The roots embedded in the stone walls below cracked and snapped away. "Ah! The roots aren't even strong enough to support the trunk! This thing is going to tip over!" Nera cried.Nera cried. The roots began to tear one after the other, the tree swaying to one side as it loosened.
"Ah!" Iru gasped the trunk with sudden alert. "No way, the tree is falling? It'll destroy the street if that happens! The buildings'll be crushed!" The tree swayed further and further to one side. "Oooohhhhh-"Iru held to the tree, awaiting impact. The entire tree appeared to fall in slow motion from Nera's angle. The roots snapped away from the bottom of the tree simultaneously. The tree appeared to be as a falling tower before her.
"Oh no…This is horrible!" She climbed up to the surface of Central Oque just as thousands of leaves swarmed the sky as a flock of wild birds. The shadow was as an imitation cloud that consumed the streets below. Nera closed her eyes, closing her face within her hands, awaiting the crash.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHH!" The burst of wind disfigured Iru's face as he felt as though he were falling at point blank speed. With impulsive impact, the tree crashed through the solid street, smashing the stones with ease. Dust swarmed as a great storm, followed by the destructive rumble that felt like that of a ferocious quake, with a thunderous surge. The street upheaved in every direction; several buildings falling spontaneously as though they were hit by a colossal shockwave. The typhoon of dust and leaves swarmed with wrath upon all of Central Oque Square. Nera shielded her yes, falling backward from the massive air force.The compilation of dust and wind spread as an atomic bomb, spreading beyond the town at the speed of a raging warfront at blinding speed.
"Huh? What is this rumbling?" Genra stopped suddenly, halting the small group of citizens behind him. The old woman over his back looked off into the distance, pointing at the raging dust storm propelling toward them. Genra gasped before covering his eyes. "Everyone, get down!" The dust storm consumed them instantly, followed by a dying quake that shook at their feet. The citizens dove for the ground, yelping out periodically as their clothes rippled about frantically with the rushing wind. "Where the hell did this come from all of a sudden?"
"Hm?" Amille watched the surrounding trees rustle about in one direction. "Ah!" The sudden wind storm blew the roses from the graves. Amille crossed her arms in front of her face, shielding from the aggressive wind.For miles the great dust demon swept, creating nothing less of a great commotion and grabbing much needless attention amongst nearby towns and cities. The great tree, said to have lived in the midst of humanity for centuries, had fallen without reason.
The last bit of leaves sprinkled down in shredded clusters. The perplexing silence contributed to Nera's rushing blood. She could barely stand, surveying the destruction before her. Feeling to blame, she fell back to her knees, allowing the tears to fall without a word to form.
Iru coughed and wheezed as he severed through the branch entanglements. He stood upon the extensive trunk of the once legendary tree of old. He panted, blinking his eyes repeatedly as if trying to awaken himself from a beguiling nightmare. The chilling fog of ill-omen skulked about the shattered remains of Oque Central, melding with the dying dust. Iru slowly began to make his way down the slanted tree trunk. The foot of the trunk ran underground. The top of it now rested upon an unsuspecting building, with much debris beyond to follow. Carefully, he began to make his way down, with silence and caution. His eyes were fixed on the oncoming dust. He squinted, using his blade for support.
"Is it my fault? Is it really my fault? It-It can't be…The tree was already dying…It was just barely holding up by its roots…Am I to blame…" Nera's eyes widened suddenly, feeling an immediate presence of energy nearby. The energy's strength became sharper and more defined, yet somewhat familiar. "Father?" She stood, seeing a faint silhouette in the dust. '
"Hey! Someone here?" An unfamiliar voice forced Nera to react without hesitation. She backed away slowly, using the dust and fog for cover, holding her chakram firmly in hand.
"I've found him…the culprit!" She exclaimed with fueling anger. "You won't get away if I have anything to say about it!"
Nera: Ugh, I already know that I'm not going to be home for awhile, so maybe I should take some clothes for the trip. Let's see here... (digs through clothes). Wait a sec...a pair of my underwear is missing! GENRA!!!
Genra: (stops) Now that's odd...I just had the weirdest chill crawl up my spine... (shrugs) Eh, it's probably nothing.
"My my, it would seem that Mother Earth's demise is fast approaching does it not?"
"Hmm, does it seem so? I would figure things would have gone a little more subtle. This is a most unfortunate turn of affairs for the Great Tree to fall so instantaneously…What do you suppose should be our next move sir?"
"There is not much choice in the matter. We have little flexibility when it comes to the well being of our people. There are too many unanswered questions for the soldiers of Esqave to sit idle while their people suffer. The Order has kept silent about much as of late. I'll admit it has put me on edge and questions my loyalty to the head of the Church."
"Sir, you must not freely speak of such delicate topics amongst open ears!" Many a soldier took to the words of their general. "…Sir?"
"…Assemble a small battalion of soldiers and make haste for the Central trade Town of Oque. Capture all that you see on sight. I will go speak with the High Priest to arrange a meeting with the Head Priest. My blade will go no further until I receive knowledge of these queer occurrences. I…I must know."
"General Kurtz…Would this have anything to do with your family's sudden…" Kurtz fingertips trembled. He turned his head away slightly. "Forgive me sir. I was reckless with my words. Please, allow me to take care of the situation at hand. I'll report back to you at my earliest return."
"I trust that you will Commander Seth. I will make way to speak with High Priest Alexander. As much as I detest being in his presence, he is the only one that can arrange my meet with Riaon. Waste no time, move out!" Kurtz awaited a formal soldier salute.
"Sir!" Seth's salute was followed by the small battalion of hand picked soldiers before his reluctant leave.
"These wounds will not heal so easily…" Kurtz thought, the beads of sweat forming atop his forehead.
Existence of Fate
Iru stands upon the fallen tree trunk, making a survey of his surroundings vigilantly. The dust and fog shades his sight as does the furious howl of the wind force the leaves to rustle, obstructing sound, making it easy for a moving target to ambush him. He holds tight the handle of his mother's blade, proceeding cautiously, feeling the immediate change in the air. He reluctantly calls out to his predator once more.
"I know you're there! There is no use trying to hide from me! I have no intention of fighting!" He impales the trunk of the tree with his blade, raising his hands into the air, his eyes still attentive to any object that moved. "There, you see? I only want to talk!"
"Who does he think he is? Does he think I'll fall for a trick like that? Well I'll show him! Warrior Handbook, rule number eight: "Honesty is deceit through the act of surrender!" You won't fool me so easily, culprit!" Nera readies herself for a full blown attack. She kneels in the thick fog, troubling herself as her palms begin to sweat. "Damn it, why am I hesitating? Now is the perfect chance, I can't let it go to waste!" Iru's hands remained up and away from his weapon, yet his eyes as sharp as a wolf.
"Wait for it…" He thinks to himself, exhaling a mass of air to calm his mind.
"Alright Nera, pull yourself together! It's now or never! Three…" Nera begins a slow count before her ambush.
"Any moment now…" Iru stands still, without word from mouth.
"Two…" Nera's fingers quiver violently, her heart poundings a thousand beats a minute. Iru inhales a corpus amount of breath, but holds still, as to not move a nerve.
"One!" With her first frantic step, Nera immediately realized her mistake a moment too late. She watched as her foot crunched a mass of leaves below her, the fog shifting with her movement. "Damn it, how careless of me!"
"Found you!" Iru snaps a weakened branch atop the trunk with his leg, catching it in his hand skillfully. He twirled the branch between his fingers as a wheel before he sharply propelled it as a dart through the shifting fog. He withdrew his blade from the trunk, leaping from it; the crunch of the dead bark became airborne from the impact of his jump. Iru could see the faint silhouette in the dense fog below as he closed in on his target. Nera gasped as a branch zipped through her blind spot, forcing her to stumble backward in time for her eye to catch the predecessor slowly linking the gap from above, the fog clearing with the gust that followed.
"Damn it!" Nera balled herself up, rolling backward to avoid the impact of Iru's blade. From a roll into a backwards handstand, Nera stood upright, face to face with the accused. "Pretty smooth move there, you come up with that by yourself?" Her voice was cynical in tone as she forced an agitated grin. Iru relieved his blade from the ground.
"Pretty clumsy of you, you do that on purpose?" He rebutted with a half-wit smile of his own. Nera clenched her teeth, her face burning cherry red. Her feet dug into the worn stone, Iru watched her shoulder blades lift and close in.
"Don't get smart with me, culprit! What do you have to say for yourself?" She sharply aimed her index between his eyes. Iru's glance took him from left to right before he pointed at himself with a dismantling expression about his face.
"Who…me? W-What the hell did I do?"
"Oh I get it, you're not going to make this easy for me are you? Well FINE then, I suppose I'll just have to beat you to a pulp and make you answer for your crimes, cur!" Nera withdrew her chakram, holding it tight within hand. "Have at thee!"
"Cur? I'm no dog! Who do you think you are-"Iru had little time to react before the ground, just at his feet, began to tear like paper. "Waa?" Soon, his arms and legs became bound by a thin lining that sprang from beneath."Steel wires…but from where?" Iru lost his grip, the wires tightening around his body. The gleam of the sunlight reflected from the threadlike contour that extended until his eyes carried him to the girl's position. Her satisfied grin left him in awe as he took the long gauntlets between both hands and forearms. "But when did she…" Iru recalled her rolling back in time to avoid his immediate ambush. "She must have rolled out the wire about the ground while evading my attack, and with this fog about the ground, it's only natural that I wouldn't see them. I guess I underestimated her, but it's not over yet! She'll have to work hard to best me!" Iru slowly edged his foot to the tip of Tsurugi's handle.
"Now what was that about me being clumsy?" Nera tightened the wires around Iru's arms and waist, with her chakram still in hand. "Alright now start talking! You have a lot of explaining to do!" She accused. The sunlight was just above, clearing the fog.
"Talking? Talking about what? There's nothing that I can recall that I have been accused of! Stop making stupid accusations and you start talking! What the hell did you do the tree? It isn't just coincidence that you were there just as it fell! Come on, spit it out!" Iru resumed his struggle as to derive her attention with exclamatory nonsense, spitting fire at her as an immediate rebuttal to her allegations. "Trying to pit the blame on someone else, huh?" The sweat began to build on his face as the lightning of their eyes met. Her smile faded with his building grin.
"D-Don't give me that! I-I was trying to save it! It is clear that it was already dying because someone tampered with its growth structure! But I suppose YOU would know all about that! Being the only person left in this city besides me at the scene of the crime! What do have to say for your self?" Nera's arms trembled from potential anxiety and resistance.
"I'd say you would do better to have a tighter grip!" Iru took advantage of Nera's trembling body, feeling the sharp wires loosen around his arms. He released his arms without moment's hesitation, pulling on the steel wire, forcing Nera to pound the ground with her forehead.
"Ow!" Nera rubbed the red bruise upon her forehead. "My beautiful face! Argh, you'll pay for that!" She skillfully retracted the wires as Iru studied their movement carefully. The wires withdrew to a small spindle upon each gauntlet. Nera held the chakram in her hand, its fine metal gleaming in the sunlight.
"That blade…It can't be…I can tell from here that the rarity of that metal is of the same quality of my blade. It's the silver-blue metal, Adamantium: A metal used only in constructing the unique melee weapons of…the Freebladers…But I thought that I was..."
"Hey, focus! I'm trying to kill you! Hello?" Nera waved her hands about, attempting to catch Iru's wandering eye.
"There is only one way I will know for sure." Iru retrieved his mother's blade, retreating to the tree trunk. "I have to lengthen the distance between us. If this girl is who I think she is, then this fight is a big mistake…" He began running swiftly upward on the remains of the tilted tree trunk to the top of a shattered building from its destructive force.
"H-Hey! Trying to escape huh? You'll have to do better than that criminal!" She leaped onto the tree trunk, following not far behind.
Existence of Fate
Amille shielded her eyes from the bright sunlight overhead. The trees rustled with the free flight of multiples of leaves raining down before her. The wind was calm now, presenting a gentle breeze to calm her frantic heart. She came upon the massive entrance of the great Mountain City of Esqave. She resumed shielding her eyes, taken to the unique structures built along side the great tropical mountain of falls: Ohyamatstumi. The muliti-story buildings ran with the slant of the mountain as the irrigation channels ran water from the peak to the lower part of the city. Clouds ran along the top of the mountain, preventing further view. The massive steel gates where opened as Amille took to the entrance of the city. The sign above read Lower Town. The bustling market place appeared to not know sleep, as people walked and chatted amongst one another without a care in the world. Her eyes wandered from left to right through the large market place.
"He's got to be around here somewhere…" She made her way hastily through the busy marketplace, unaware of any face in particular that passed. She continued through until she arrived upon a narrow alleyway just east of the marketplace entrance. The sky high buildings overhead created a deep shadow that ran throughout the alley. "Please Rayne, help me remember…It was here somewhere, I'm sure of it." Amille closed her eyes, attempting with all her heart to recall a small entrance that lead beneath a nearby building. "You said that if I ever needed help, he would be someone that I can rely on for sure. I…hope you were right." She continued down the dark alleyway, the voices from the streets becoming fainter with the damp, musty smell of wet stone. The alley way stretched through the back of the city, all around Lower Town, but with only one entrance. The alleyway itself seemed to go into the mountain from what Amille gathered. About an hour had passed before she had reached the end to find a dusty, double cellar door. After a few attempts, she concluded the door's lock was more than likely on the inside. "Oh, I hope this is the right place…" Her hope had nearly run out before a small opening in one of the doors caught her attention. She kneeled down to meet a pair of eyes staring back at her. "Ah!" She fell backward. "H-How long have you been watching me!"
"Hey! Who's out there! You'd betta' speak up now before I start poundin'! Ain't no stanken' priests aloud in this place! Ima' givin' ya five seconds to pray to ur god before Iya' send ya' to em'! Five! Four! One!" The strong, impulsive voice boomed.
"Ah! W-Wait! Wait! Please! I'm not a priest! I-I was sent here by Rayne!" Amille held up her hands in defense as the double cellar doors swung open with a flock of dust, breaking from the massive impact beyond. Amille began coughing, her eyes catching sight of the aggressor. He was a lanky old man in worn clothing. His black beard stretched nearly to his knees, tied tightly with several bands. The massive scar atop his bald head was less intimidating than his sharp yellow eyes that beamed down at Amille. She stood slowly, keeping her hands up, as her face flushed the deepest red. Amille noticed a large cloth band around his waist that read Gogyo."The Gogyo…" The grumpy senior messaged his beard, still feeling uneasiness as he lowered his brawny arm. His eye caught the white ribbons upon Amille's arms and neck. Amille could feel his solid pupils burning through the center of her forehead. "U-Um…" Her face was feverishly flushed. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head, drool slipping from her mouth, before she lost consciousness. Her hands were still raised as she fell on her backside. Her vision slowly fainted into a tunnel of black. She awoke to a drowsy sensation through her body, as if her body were reacting to some sort of drug. She sat up right, feeling the pressure of her body shift. She placed her hand beneath her to find a double-quilted blanket upon a small bed in a corner of an extremely compacted room. A fireplace housed dying flames in the dome-shaped room of stone. The old man hunched himself to get into the small room, handing Amille a hot cup of mysterious, congregated juices that smelled of rotten flesh and herbal spices. Amille's face appeared to flush once more.
"Well drank up! I ain't got all day!" The impulsive elderly man sat in a rickety wooden chair a few feet away from her, sipping soundly on peculiar substance. Amille reluctantly sipped as little as she could, reacting before her mind could comprehend. She could feel the heat rushing through her chest, then to the rest of her body. The overwhelming taste was more than she could handle as she forced that bit of it down with all her strength. She coughed and hacked to the old man's dismay. "It's an herbal tea of Angel's Breath plant extract and raw, red fungus. This ain't no normal tea, bess' to drank that in gulps if ya can." He slurped obnoxiously before turning to her once more. Amille forced another gulp down as forcefully as her body would allow. "You didn't juss' pass out from no shock or nothin'. You had a fever little lady, and by the looks of it, you've had it for quite the timin'." He swished the tea around in his mouth a bit.
"I-I wasn't aware…" Amille cupped her hands around the tiny mug. "T-Thank you…"
"Ah, it ain't nothin'. S' lease I could do after makin' yet wet your panties there. What's a little flower like you doin' with Rayne no how? I couldn't imagine someone wantin' to be around that ox of a woman. Beautiful on the outside, but a raging beast on the-"
"Rayne! So you do know of Rayne! You are the man I've been looking for-" Amille's face became flustered once again, as her pupils dilated slightly.
"Woah, easy there little flower! It ain't time for you to be gettin' all jumpy on me now. Take it easy wouldja? Now tell me what that girl wants now. She always sendin' one a' her little minions for somethin'." The man allowed his beard to rest in his lap.
"Rayne…Rayne is dead…" Amille tried as she could to hold the tears, clasping the luke-warm cup tight. The old man ceased the casual sipping of his cup, setting it upon the floor. He lowered his head, without much movement afterwards.
"Is she now?" His voice revealed slight shock, but still maintain its normal tone. Amille nodded, knowing that he could feel her answer without looking. "Well now you've got this old man's attention. Start explaining just how my daughter done' hit the ground so soon."
Existence of Fate
"Here we are! We've arrived safely in Esqave everyone!" Genra lowered the elderly woman from atop his shoulders as her grandchildren came to her aid. The traumatized group of individuals caught the attention of people in the marketplace. Some bystanders looked with concern, while others with disgust. A knight approached Genra without warning. The knight's glare resumed to stare off into the mass of individuals that entered their town. Each person was worn with dirt, blood, and sweat.
"And you are?" The knight's cocky voice revealed Genra's assumptions.
"I am Genra Nihonko from the nearby Weapon's Town of Spiair. Like many others, our town as also fallen victim to these unattended attacks. As it is the job of the royal knights of Esqave to care for their citizens, I'm sure you will have no disagreement in caring for THESE fellow citizens, am I right?" Genra's unwavering eyes burned into the knights with a great deal of doubt. The knight looked away without disregard to Genra's suspicions as the city people took to attention. The knight attempted to shadow his embarrassment, forwarding the knights to aid the newly found citizens.
"We will act accordingly." The knight began to walk, stopping shoulder to shoulder with Genra. "You will do well to learn your place. Sometimes holding your own tongue is better than having someone hold it for you." Genra looked over slightly as the knight resumed to stare ahead for several seconds before continuing his duties.
"Such is the system this day in age…" Genra made his way back to the entrance of Esqave.
"So that sound, it came from Oque did it?" A nearby knight uttered to another.
"Yes. According to our sight seers, the great tree has fallen and the town rumored vacant. However, General Kurtz is convinced that the accomplices are still near by, now Commander Seth has taken a group of knights to investigate. This all sounds more than suspicious by the minute." The other responded.
"Nera…" Genra made his exit with haste.
Existence of Fate
"She's taken this quite seriously." Iru paced himself, making his way up the sloped tree trunk. Nera's furious howl was accompanied by her gleaming blade piercing the bark a few feet behind.
"Coward!" She cried. The sharp discus pierced branch by branch. Iru's gaze overlooked his shoulder to see the glistening wires flailing about, manipulating the discus with incredible speed and agility. The peak of building ruins came into view. The blood in his legs pumped, the sweat rolling down his face, he maintained his cool as he pressed down hard with one leg at the end of the long trunk. With a burst of lower body strength, he could feel his body propel upward, his eyes watching the discus clash with the building below.
"There, that should do it…" He thought his eyes vigilant and sharp." Nera attempted to stay focused as to not be overwhelmed by his jolting speed.
"What is he up to…?" The crackle of the tree trunk drew Nera's attention. Another spontaneous burst struck her nerves. Suddenly, several instantaneous explosions erupted, one after another, upward. "Oh, oh this is bad! This is really bad!" A sharp crevice snaked its way to her feet. "The tree is splitting in two! I have to get off this thing or else I-"Her foot slipped as her body broke through the trunk. "How…careless of me." Iru stood upon the building ruins, watching the remains of the fallen tree collapse beneath him, and the girl along with it. His eyes, however, were still attentive to the building damage, as if he expected something. After the dust settled, he made his way down, adeptly leaping consecutively from stone to stone, until he found
himself standing just above the muddle. He surveyed the destruction before his eyes locked on.
"As I thought. So then she really is…but how is this possible?" He thought.
"Oh, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!" The girl sat upon a slab of stone, rubbing the small knot on her head. "Ugh, that was so careless of me! So careless! I was taught better than this! Come on, stand up Nera, you have ass to kick! You can't let your enemy see you like—"
"Just as I thought." Iru's arms folded, the serious expression upon his face taking her by surprise.
"You…Yooouuuuuu…." She hissed, "How low and conniving of you to trick me like that? That is not befalling of a true enemy! You sir, are a true villain, or…or, criminal, or whatever…You are just bad! I—"
"That fall...How did you survive it?" Iru's voice was brisk, however Nera could feel his impulsive energies reaching out toward her, yet without hostility.
"W-What?" She lowered her pointing hand, almost shocked that he would ask something like that. "Why would you care?"
"No broken bones, no blood, just one little scratch…How exactly did you manage to avoid any serious damage? Any normal person would have at least fractured a leg, arm, or even lost their life. Are you aware that that fall was an estimated fifty feet, if not more? And that blade, I am sure that there are only specific fighters that use that blade. That special insignia upon the discus center is the same as the one on the handle of my blade. It also has weird inscriptions on it that you can't read. Am I right? " Iru's eyes felt as though they burned into the retinas of her's.
"W-What are you getting at?" Nera's face flushed. Her voice became suddenly frail and weak.
"You know exactly what I am talking about. I've learned enough about you to know that you are careless, not clueless." Iru concluded, making his way down to her. He outreached his hand, grinning somewhat. "It is probably safe to assume, that you and I, are one in the same."
"One in the same? You and…me?" Nera swiped his hand away, standing suddenly, pacing back and forth. "B-But that would make no sense! We both couldn't be, if that were the case, then that would make us…related…" Her eyes appeared to glance off into a distance. "B-But where…when…how…?"
"I have been raised by father for eighteen years after my mother passed giving birth to me. Even though he resented my existence, he took care of me and taught me the ways of the blade so that I could eventually become his "not so fulfilling" legacy. When he discovered that his loathing for me was greater than a potential legacy, he tried his best to rid of me. An awkward turn of events prevented that from happening, however…"
"I-I, b-but how-"Nera became tongue tied as Iru continued.
"I remember no more than about five or six years ago, my father, had this shiny object in his hand. I couldn't recall exactly what it was, but he held on to it tight, kissing it as he made his way out the door. As reluctant as I was, and afraid, I decided to follow him. I followed him for quite some time, all the way into downtown, right beneath where this tree once stood…and that's when I saw them…This woman and little girl. The little girl appeared to know my father very well because she wasted no time jumping from her mother's arms to hug tightly around his leg. He kneeled down and kissed the girl, massaging her hair gently for a few seconds before meeting the woman face to face. They met one another with a warm kiss as well…" Iru paused for a moment, striking solid mud wall to relieve a sum of his frustrations. Nera remained silent, the sun pouring into the gaping hole upon the center of the city. "I had never seen my father smile before…not once. Every time he was around me, I could only feel his blood-thirsting malice and pity for my existence. I gave this girl and woman a love that I could only dream of. My father had found another family, perhaps one to put the pieces back together. I watched from afar, using an apple cart as my hiding place until the shop owner chased me away…Nera placed her hand upon her heart, feeling the tears build in her eyes. "That woman had deep brown hair that flowed to the center of her back and the girl…She had white-green hair, the same as mine and big lime-green eyes…the same…as mine…" Nera gasped as the wind suddenly picked up, their hair flowing with the turbulence of wind. "I discovered…that I had a sister…"
End of Chapter
Genra: *Phew*, this is taking a little longer than I expected. And this old lady isn't exactly light…
Girl: (tugs) sir, can I ask you something?
Genra: Eh? Uh, sure why not? (nervous smile)
Girl: Do you have a girlfriend?
Genra: *blushes* W-Well I did, but um…I…w-well you see…
Girl: You're kinda cute Mr. ;)
Genra: Oh boy...
Old Woman: Back off pipsqueak, he's mine, ya hear? Mine!
Old Woman 2: I called that fresh meat ages ago! He's mine!
Girl: You think he'll fall for a couple of sag bags?! Get real! He's mine! *fights*
Genra: (shakes head) Ah, man…I wonder how Nera would react if she saw this…
Nera allowed the wind to bring her to her knees. She planted her hands upon the dusted stone, decorated with tree bark. Her tears began to free fall, splashing one after another, reacting to the sudden, overwhelming sensation of shock and reality. Her fingers trembled, following the nervous tremors surging through the rest of her body. Distant shadows of airborne birds soared by the beaming sunlight. Iru leaned against a slab of cracked stone, gathering his thoughts as well.
"B-But this can't be right…I-I have a brother? B-But surely Father would have-"
"Don't count on it." Iru glanced upward to the frantic racing of clouds with no particular destination. "My…Our Father completely disregarded my existence the day my mother died. If he had any regards for my being here, he wouldn't have single handedly tried to kill me himself, much less let me know that I did indeed have a family…" He clenched his hand, attempting to shadow his successive pain.
"Father…But why?" Nera's tears became streams. "I just can't take myself to believe that he was so cruel. His heart was so kind and warm…I-I just can't believe it." She assured herself, balling her first up tightly.
"Believe what you want, but the information is pretty set and stone." Iru sighed, scratching his head.
"Set and stone?" Nera revealed her building waves of emotional scarring. "I don't understand how you can just be so nonchalant about this whole ordeal! I am your sister and I was trying to kill you! What if I had actually succeeded? Then I would have never known that I even had a brother…and…and…" She sniffed, wiping her tears away.
"None of that matters now. What's done is done. To be frank, I am actually…pretty happy. For the first time in a while, I actually can say that I have a family. My mother died thanks to me and my father completely disowned me. To think, that I actually do have a sibling that shares my blood and that I really am not all alone in this world…Truthfully, it's sort of relieving, even if you were trying to kill me." Iru grinned, holding his hand out to her. "My name is Iru. Iru Migara as you might guess." Nera placed her hand in his, and shook it, still feeling incredibly uneasy.
"This is all really so…spontaneous…One minute we are complete strangers, and enemies no less, then the next minute we find that we are related…What are the odds?!" She shook her head. "My name is Nera…Fonrue. I took after my mother's last name. Apparently my mother and your father never actually married…" Nera relieved a mass of breath after realizing that she hadn't breathed for a few minutes. "Hang on a second. So if you and I are siblings, then that would make you a Freeblader?! So my father and I are not the only ones left!" Her body appeared to become overwhelmed with excitement.
"It would seem that way. Of course, I somewhat concluded this before we even fought. It wasn't just mere coincidence that you had the same hair and eye color as me and the girl from way back then. Not to mention your blade is rare and exclusively for a particular fighting style amongst us Freebladers." Iru shrugged, laughing slightly.
"Wow, it's actually pretty amazing that you could analyze so much while staying so attentive. So you sort of planned this whole thing out…It seems as though Father's legacy is definitely living up to his standards." Nera began laughing as well until Iru's expression immediately faded. "I-I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it…" He said quickly.
"Um. Well I see what you were trying to conclude with me falling so far down." Nera effortlessly tried to change the subject. "You were trying to conclude if I could use FOCUS, am I right?" Iru met her eyes, but Nera could feel the immediate changes in energy surrounding them, almost serene and relieving.
"That's right. So you have somewhat honed the ability to use it. The fact that you survived was the only indication I could go by to conclude what I originally fathomed. It was bold, but there was no doubt in my mind that you were who I thought you were. Aside from that, you weren't just manipulating that discus with pure skill, you were using FOCUS to control it, weren't you?" Iru's grin returned.
"You really are perceptive and insightful no less. Yes, I used the power of FOCUS to control the wires and the direction of the discus. It's a maneuver that Father taught me…What about you? Don't you use it too?" Nera curiously moved in closer, almost examining him. "Come to think of it, you didn't even bother to use it during that fight. Someone with your natural skill could have easily-"
"I don't know how to use FOCUS. I don't even really know what it is…" Iru looked away
"Really? That's surprising, everyone in our race knows at least the basics of focus. (Ahem) Pay attention!" Nera ordered.
Nera's guide to Using Focus: Part 1:
"FOCUS or better known for its acronym, FERAL, OMNIPOTENT, CHANNELED, ULTRA-MODERN, SIXTH SENSE. It is a divine and other worldly power that resonates within the blood of us Freebladers. Not only has this unknown ability granted us a unique style with the blade that only we can use, but it has granted us an inner second sub-conscious, or sixth sense, that we use to our advantage in battle. Each Focus user, aka a Freeblader, has a feral state that represents innocence and the base of focus power. Each user has a unique animal that best defines what their abilities entitle them to. For example, a Freeblader that has a lion as its signature animal will be endowed with massive strength and hone the power of FOCUS as a power to enhance that strength for more destructive results. However, someone that has a Feral state of say, a hawk, will enhance their sight with focus and if they are at the advanced level, maybe even fly. Depending on your animal, you may even be born with some indirect traits of each particular animal. A Freeblader born as a lion may have a naturally muscular physique, while one born with a snake may be born blind, but with enhanced other senses. Make sense? Good! That concludes our first lesson!? Until next time!"
"There you see? I think that's pretty basic information that you can get in any book." Nera felt a sense of accomplishment.
"Thanks, but that's not what I meant. I mean that I do not even know where to begin training. Unlike you, father never bothered to teach me anything about FOCUS, he said that it was irrelevant and since I would never become an advanced blader, FOCUS was out of my reach. I don't even know what my Feral state is. Most find that sort of thing out at an incredibly young age." Iru sat down, sighing heavily.
"Well, if it helps…um…I don't know what my Feral state is either." Nera sat down with him.
"Really? I wouldn't have guessed that. You seem pretty experienced with using FOCUS. No one would guess that at first glance."
"Father said I had the natural ability to control FOCUS. He was right because manipulating it and control it really did come naturally to me. Before I knew it, I could use it before I even knew what my state was. I haven't given any indications as to what it is either. Weird, huh? Some say that your Feral state is a result of multiple things ranging from a past life to the distant future. It's really confusing." Nera shrugged.
"Hmm, well no use thinking about it now. I have my own things to do. Don't find this surprising, but fighting you wasn't originally a part of my plans. I was actually searching the city to find where the hell everyone went. Looks like I'm still at a loss here." Iru appeared to be perplexed by the entire ordeal.
"Ironic, I was searching for the same thing. What are the odds that two unknown siblings are the only two left in this town. Not to mention the Great Tree is dying! That's the biggest shock to date." Nera explained, in a state of confusion and disarray. "What now?"
"I'm not sure, but for some reason, I don't really think we have much say in the matter." Iru's glance was directly upward.
"Why do you say that?" Nera followed his gaze to a mass of black silhouettes surrounding the gaping hole. She gasped. "W-Who are they?"
"Esqavian soldiers more than likely. It's not like a thousand year old tree has fallen and we are the only people found in the city, at the site mind you, or anything silly like that." Iru remarked sarcastically. Nera grunted.
"Hear me, suspects!" A gallant voice came from beyond, a silhouette that appeared to stand by its lonesome amongst the others.
"You are hereby taken into Esqavian custody under suspicion of the fall of the Great Oque Tree. You are also to be under direct surveillance as you are the only ones left in this city. I am second in command, Commander Seth Waltz and I will now place you under arrest!" He swung his arm across, with a formal dispatch of soldiers to restrain Iru and Nera.
"Oh how lovely." Iru remarked. "The first time I've even seen Esqavian soldiers outside their own mountain borders. Must be a special occasion when you guys actually take notice to the outside world. Did something happen?" His teeth glimmered with his cocky grin.
"You will hold your tongue. Restrain them, now! We head back immediately!" Seth replied impulsively.
"Filthy little- Hey! Watch the damn hair!" Nera struggled with three soldiers.
"I didn't expect to start my little journey under espionage. Oh well, it doesn't seem like all of these occurrences are happening out of thin air. Let's play it by event, and see where it takes us." Iru thought.
Existence of Fate
Amille enclosed her chilling hands upon the glass mug. The discomforting essence filled her nostrils has she attempted to keep her tears from falling in the strange conjugation. She could feel the air in the compact room become cold and somewhat uninviting, yet she could feel the eyes of the old man burn as hot as the fire before them.
"I-I'm…sorry…I was powerless. I was weak and indifferent about Rayne's capabilities and believed that if anyone, her strength would be enough. I honestly did not believe that I…" The life appeared to slowly rebirth in the senior's distant, golden eyes as he raised a hand to quiet her. He fed the flame more redwood before taking a seat once more, yet his eyes remained on the flickering fire.
"Hush up your mouth girl. There ain't nothing you nor anyone else coulda' done for things to be any different. So just hush up your mouth." He lye back in his chair, fixating his eyes on the flames still. Amille's eyes wondered to a picture above the fireplace that resembled Rayne. She concluded that this woman must have been her mother. After a brief eternity of silence, the old timer finally took himself to look Amille in the face. "Now hear me girl. Don't go thinkin' Ima hold a grudge gainst' you or somethin', that just ain't me. My little girl done trusted you with her life, even in death. Hell, my guess is that she already saw it commin', and she wanted you, above anyone else, to become her legacy. In death, I'm guessin' she wanted tah' teach you a little somethin' about strength, fortitude, and makin' the right decisions and whatnot. I usually ain't good with this insightful stuff, but if I know my daughter as well as I think I do, then I know that she sacrificed herself because that she could trust you to become that new symbol of hope. That's why she done entrusted you with such a heavy burden. She probably believes you can do what she couldn't. That's why she done gone and sent you tah me." He closed his eyes, but only for a moment, inhaling the deepest mass of air that he could. Amille's heart raced before she guzzled down the last of the strange liquid, raising the cup above her to get the last drop. She panted repeatedly before her breathing returned to normal. "Hehehe, hahahahahaha!" The old man began to laugh obnoxiously.
"I-I beg your pardon, but what is so funny?" Amille's face began to flush.
"Other than my baby girl, I ain't never been able to get someone tah' chug the whole thang before! Not even her tough as nails mother would dare to sip! You got guts, girl. I know that much. This old man can tell." His smile calmed, yet Amille could feel his sudden seriousness. "Yeah, I know why you're here, girl. I was given this task by my baby a while ago actually. I'm aware of these sudden' vanishins' of people and these "purifications" or whatever the hell they call it. Frankly, I've done some investigatin' muhself, and I ain't likin' what I've found. But first, I need to know somethin'. I need tah know just who you are, and why did my baby girl choose you. I want to know what makes you so special." He squinted his eyes, ready for observation.
"Really? T-Then you'll help me?" Amille sprang from the bed with a sudden burst of energy before falling backward. "Thank you so much!" Her face still flushed, she forced an innocent smile.
"It's what she woulda wanted. Not tah mention, I woulda taken some initiative if you youngins handn't by now anyhoo. Now go on, fill me in. This old man is all ears." He flashed his golden teeth. Amille sat up, allowing her legs to tough the floor by the bedside. She could feel the warmth of the flickering flames against her face, as the red-orange burned in her burgundy eyes.
"Just a couple of years ago, just before I first joined the rebel group, my first encounter with Rayne came when some monsters had attacked the canyon city of Chamhalaunt. That was the first time I witnessed the wealth of her power. She wielded nature with such grace and attentiveness; I was instantly taken by her. Each monster was slain in an instant by her and her comrades. She was a powerful warrior, and even though the people loved her, offering her gifts of gold and food, at the end of the day, her comrades and inviting smile were all she needed…" She paused for a moment before continuing. "I was just a loner. I wondered from city to city after a terrible occurrence happened amongst the people of my village…I was the only one left and I strived to survive. I strived for power, the strength to protect the ones I love and right the wrongs that have controlled my life thus far. I left the remains of my village and the lifeless bodies of my family in order to pursue that strength, so that I could get my revenge and so that I would never have to feel this pain again." The wrinkles in the old man's face appeared to fold in more, as if his curiosity had been peaked, realizing Amille's fortitude.
"A life changin' experience huh? I'm sure each and every one of us has had some sorta' trauma one way or another. Now I won't ask what happened, but I'm guessin' this was the main cause of you joinin' them rebels?"
"Yes. I worked up the courage to approach Rayne upon her leave of the city. I convinced myself that it would have been a mistake to allow her to dissipate from arm's reach. Needless to say, as I approached her, I suddenly had a change of heart, but tripped and broke my ankle as I turned away. She took me in and cared for me, more than likely out of pity. I was dirty, wore ragged clothes, and so bony that my ribs were easily visible." Amille's mind took her back.
"So what is a girl like you doing, wondering around here like this? I'm sure you saw all those monsters roaming about. It's dangerous to be by yourself if you don't know how to protect yourself. Where are you from? Where's your family?" Rayne asked the question, as if the answer had already presented itself.
"I-I…W-Well you see…my family…um…well they…" Amille's tears forced themselves from her eye sockets, against her will. She sniffed, wiping them away quickly, fruitlessly hoping that none took notice.
"Honestly…" Rayne sighed, but the warmth of her smile reassured Amille that she had made the right choice. "Well this won't do at all now will it?"
"Before I knew it, Rayne had taken me under her wing. I'd learned everything about her and she about me…" Amille paused for a moment once again before resuming. "I remember asking her once about her purpose…What reason did she have for this rebel group. What were they rebelling? What legible cause did their group serve? Her reluctance was obvious but I persisted. From that day on, things had changed…"
"You see…Our world has taken a turn for the worse…"Rayne sat with Amille over a sloped hillside. The wind was brisk and the air cool. The moon periodically revealed itself beyond the clusters of clouds, attempting to hide from view every so often. "The people have succumbed. They have to succumb to these false ideals of achieving perfection. This world…is not perfect. People make mistakes, but they grow and mature by correcting those mistakes, yet…" Amille followed the turning of Rayne's head. "That man…That monster…HE believes that he can rid humankind of those imperfections. He has led humankind to believe that perfection is the only way to repent and the only path to forgiveness."
"'But what's so wrong about wanting to be perfect'? I was so immature back then. I suppose I didn't completely understand why someone would want to avoid perfection. My entire family was sick. A terrible disease ran throughout my family. All of my siblings and even my parents were engulfed in this disease that threatened to take their life everyday…I had heard of that man. He was a man proclaiming himself to be a descendent of the Creators and the world's last hope for purity. My family sought this man in hopes that he could rid them of this incurable disease…but…" Amille clasped her hands together, feeling the tears form in her eyes. Her vision became blurred. "He promised to "purify" all living beings on this planet in his own way. He supposedly would relieve their souls from their tainted bodies and re-imbue them into a body that didn't age, witness sickness or disease, and never hurt…He made them believe perfection was in their grasp but…" The old man looked away into the distant flame once again.
"I've heard enough." He said. Amille looked up at him as the tears suddenly began to fall.
"W-What? Does that mean you'll—"
"I'd planned on lookin' in to that church muhself anyhoo. Me n' muh little girl stood clear from all that religious nonsense some time ago. You see, her mother, witness that false, otherworldly phenomenon crap." Amille gasped. "She left a note one night tellin' us that she was goin' to be purified…Imagin' my surprise to find the lifeless body of my wife. No scars, no blood, no nothin' but she wouldn't move. Her body still warm, but her eyes were cold…I knew she was no more, but not a single person could explain just what the hell happened…Bein' with Rayne, I'm sure you've seen this happen a lot, yeah?"
"I have." Amille shut her eyes, trying as she could to not remember. "So many bodies full of life, yet lifeless. Their bodies felt as though they were in the world of the living, yet it seemed as though…as though someone had robbed them of their very own conscious and their bodies began to decay…"
"As I thought. Well there ain't much more that needs tuh be said!" The old man stood firm, clasping his palms. "Let's go, girl."
"Huh? Where are we going?" Amille stood, feeling the strength return to her body considerably.
"To see the high priest." He punched his fist with his palm, the building smirk on his face. "And we'll make the bastard talk for my name ain't Walter Falls!"
Existence of Fate
"Nera!" Genra's voice echoed throughout the vacant town. His voice leaped from one building to another, analyzing the perpetual damage. "Oh man, what happened here?" Genra ran his hand over the broken ground. The remnants of the great tree befell the center of the town. The upheavals of worn stone lay one atop another. "It looks like an angry giant ran through this place…There isn't anyone here." Genra became overwhelmed with a guilty sensation, feeling the frantic poundings of his heart…
" *pant* *pant* G-Genra…" A familiar face revealed himself to Genra on that humid night, soon to be overshadowed by looming clouds.
"Hey! Take a breath! Who are you? How do you know my name?" Genra held the man within his arms. The man had nearly exhausted the peak of his energy, panting as he would to calm his breathing to normal. His face was feverish and flushed as his body was searing as fire. Deep gashes pierced through his flesh, the poor man lie a hand upon Genra's cheek, his eyes filling with the utmost hope…and tears.
"You…you must…go back…he is there…he…is there…" The man's chest consecutively pulsed chillingly. Genra would attempt to ease his pain, feeling helpless as the cold sweat dripped on his arm.
" 'He'? Who? Who is it? From where?" Genra's guilt was far beyond his rational thought. He knew no help could be done for the man, but no matter how painful, he forced himself to get the facts, for the man's sake.
"Home…you must return home…he is there…he has asked for you-"Suddenly, the innocent man cried out in devastating pain. His chest throbbed heavily. Genra could feel powerful vibrations radiating throughout the man's body. His arms trembled as the center of the man's chest suddenly blackened. The veins underneath his flesh became dark and his eyes, cold black. The deep wounds within began to bleed black blood that gushed from his center steadily. Genra could only release the man from his grip, allowing him to twitch about the ground. The victim's chest bubbled before the burst took Genra by great shock. The blacked ooze fizzed about the corpse from which it relieved itself.
"Genraaaa…You will come…to MEEEEEEE…" The raspy voice appeared to taunt Genra. The misshapen deity ran down the corpse's side, snaking its way toward Genra slowly. Genra was overwhelmed by dizziness, forcing himself to step backwards.
"Genraaa…come to me…COME TO ME!" The wicked gelatinous hissed. "Come to me, Brother!" Its piercing voice lashed at him once more before dissipating.
Genra opened his eyes once more to the recent destruction. He could never take himself to banish that memory. Only by returning to his home could Genra truly believe that his brother was still alive.
"I hope that you can forgive me, some day…Nera." He continued his thorough search into the enormous, gaping hole upon the center were the tree met its end. "I don't even know were to begin looking." He ran his hands over much debris and the ground while pinpointing any signs or hints. "Come on Nera, you have to have left something, anything for me go to by." He made his way deeper into the hole, brining himself to the very bottom. "That's my girl." He picked up a lock of Nera's deep forest green hair from the dry soil (hey, watch the damn the hair!). "Nera really values her hair, which can only mean one thing. There must have been some sort of struggle here." He concluded, clasping her hair within his palm. "The nearest city to here is Esqave. I'd be willing to bet anything that they were taken there. It's a gamble, but I have no choice. Wait for me Nera!" Genra released her hair into the gentle breeze to gleam in the sunlight.
Existence of Fate
"How many times do I have to tell you to watch the damn hair?" Nera backwards kicked one of the careless soldiers in the groin. "I'm a lady, not a piece of meat!" She flipped her hair back, feeling a sense of accomplishment. Iru studied her carefully, realizing she was up to something.
"She's continuously leaving locks of hair on the ground, but why? Is she expecting someone?" His thoughts were interrupted by the commander's sudden halt. His solid stature was somewhat intimidating as he approached Iru and Nera fearlessly.
"While I am under orders to capture you, it is in within my solid jurisdiction to not convict you without solid evidence. Therefore, we will apprehend you within the Esqave dungeon beneath the mountain until further notice." He sharply turned himself one eighty before his formal order gave soldiers permission to resume.
"Beneath the mountain? Are you kidding me? That is a little outrageous isn't it?" Nera exclaimed. Commander Seth continued his march without word.
"Mt. Ohyamatsumi…One the three largest, tropical mountains in the world. It is dowsed in spiritual energy rumored to protect it, which is why it is said that the Church lies at the peak, closest to heaven where the energy is the strongest. The mountain is surrounded by the acidic Chandra Ocean along its southern back. Why would they purposely build a dungeon below sea level with water so dangerously acidic?" Iru questioned to receive the cold shoulder once more.
"Probably to keep people from escaping. I wouldn't be surprised if they had some sort of mechanism to release the acidic water into the dungeons should some unsuspecting felon try to escape right? Why go to such extreme measures for suspects, COMMANDER?" Nera didn't hold back with her accurate accusations.
"You will still your tongue girl. Or I will still it for you!" The commander closed in his shoulders but maintained his perfect stature. Iru, however, took to his trembling fingertips.
"Still me? You're going to still me, commander? Go ahead and try!"
"Nera, be quiet!"
"I'm tired of this! You soldiers have no right to do this! What about all those innocent people who just suddenly vanished? Where were you soldiers then? What all those lives that were lost? Did you all offer a helping hand? I could swore you didn't!"
"My mother and I spent a lot of our time traveling to small towns, helping survivors that mysteriously lost their loved ones. We brought them food and helped them rebuild their homes with our own money. With my mother' s expertise in science, we were able to give them a chance to live again…" Nera felt the tears building in her eyes, yelling at Seth's backside. "And what have you bastards done? Apprehended a few suspects for taking down a tree? Are you kidding me? Don't you have better things to attend to, like helping your people?" She was crying now, freeing herself from the soldier's grasp, targeting Seth without hesitation. "You self-proclaimed protectors don't know anything!" Nera's charged was short lived. A bursting surge of wind followed a destructive blow to her midsection. She coughed up before fainting. Seth stood before her with the coldest eyes burning into the back of her skull.
"Nera!" Iru felt a strong chemical substance infiltrating his nose. His vision became indistinct, as he succumbed to the sudden sickening feeling throughout his body. He fainted as well with regret.
"If only you knew...Move out." Seth ordered less sternly this time. "General, I have faith in you."
Existence of Fate
Kurtz stood before the grand Church. His eyes roamed the gothic architecture, as it presented a dark demeanor that devoured his quickly dying bliss. The wind was still yet the air was thick and solid. He could feel that the spiritual energies had been tainted and engulfed by an unknown sin. His gut feelings warned him of an unpleasant result to his attempt to find the truth.He drew in a vast amount of the foul air that surrounded him, contributing to his feelings of uneasiness.
"It all begins with this." He thought to himself, keeping his hand nearest to his sword. Each anxious step upon the grand staircase to the church was a hard thump of his frantic heart. His muscles were tightened, as if he could cut the very building down itself. The towering double doors hissed and howled at their slow opening. Kurtz's thoughts were the only strength he could find when entering the church. Now standing in its center, his mind took him back. He saw himself standing with his young daughter and wife, paying their respects to their church. Upon their leave, he caught a glimpse of the creeping eyes of high priest Alexander. The fire in Alexander's eyes burned upon the back of Kurtz neck with a sickening feeling throughout his body. The following night he awoke to the vanished bodies of his loved ones without a trace of blood or struggle…His eyes opened once more, suddenly feeling the dark chill upon his back. The tiled marble beneath his feet shined, reflecting the fear he saw in his own face. Suddenly the pulsing of his heart came to a halt.
"The architecture of this place…Glorious isn't it? These very hands helped to construct the valor that is this glamorous church. What do think of it General—"
"I think it's a piece of crap." Kurtz's body became hot. He could feel his very conscious peeling from the borders of sanity, allowing rage to stick. The darkened voice of sin filled his ears as he was barely able to maintain his clear vision. The glistening white cloak of a gallant man stood before Kurtz. The dark of his hair was clear as night, running smooth to his ankles. The heavy white cloak blanked his body, only revealing the inviting smile of this perfect face. He opened his arms as a holy deity of perfection, unscathed by Kurtz's harsh welcome.
"Must you use such harsh words in the house of tranquility? I welcome your bothered soul with open arms, dear General Kurtz." The peaceful man gradually descended down the two rows of stairs from a grand staircase to the main room beyond.
"I don't want your tranquility, nor do I want your bogus bliss. The only thing I want is the truth…High Priest Alexander." Kurtz could feel the burn of his fingertips itching to relieve his blade. He contained himself, becoming more frustrated by Alexander's untouched expression. "I will attempt to adhere to my oath as a knight, but my blade cries for justice very much so." Alexander lowered his arms and closed his eyes but only for a moment. His silver eyes relinquished a feeling of darkness that impaled Kurtz so rashly. They stood before one another in the center of the sanctuary.
"Justice you say? But general, would you not contradict yourself by accusing the very definitions of justice here and now? Here I stand as the High Priest of Esqave, only to bring the wrong doers to righteousness, nothing more." Alexander replied calmly.
"Enough! Just what is your idea of justice? What blasphemy would you curse the name? Neither you nor this church has any idea of justice! Your way of showing the world redemption is nothing more than an empty notion birthed by the darkest sin…" Kurtz relinquished his mighty claymore from its sleep. "And I will have no part of it. I cannot vogue for the lives that have been taken right under my nose…I cannot clear my conscious of this pain I feel for not acting sooner…but I can repent. Even if it cost me my life, I will power my blade will my full fledged repent, and strike you down High Priest, with the strength of my wife and child…" Kurtz could hold the tears back no longer.
"Oh, so this is your true confession? This misguided malice has plagued your very being and possessed you. My poor general, you have certainly become a being of pure sin. Sin cannot be tolerated, nor can one simply summon repent from thin air. Should I purify you now? I'm sure our lord would condone such actions given the seriousness of this situation." Alexander maintained his bliss, stepping forward at a steady pace. "Allow me to lay you to rest."
"So many lives have succumbed to this false believe of peace…It's all so clear now. We have remained inactive to the people's cries because we were the cause all this time. Your "purification" is just a cover up for absolute death. The only other thing I regret is not being able to figure out why…please Alexander don't trouble yourself, allow me." Kurtz's claymore shined, cleaving through the thick marble tile as he charged forward. Alexander exhaled, opening his arms with a soothing smile.
Existence of Fate
"Ah, what was that rumble?" Amille and Walter emerged from the secluded alleyway to see the disturbed expressions of the town folk. Their reactions to the rumble were nervous yet unbothered. "That's strange. None of the towns people are making a havoc or even shouting. Has something like this happened before?" She asked Walter.
"More so than not. Almost every other day if I can recall. Common' girly, we ain't got the time to be worryin' bout minor details."
"Um, you haven't told me exactly what it is we are doing, or why we are running for that matter!" Amille, stopped to take a breath. "I understand the anxiousness, but can we slow down a bit?" Her heavy pants brought her to her knees, revealing that she hadn't fully recovered from her healing fever. Walter gazed upward on the mountain, his eyes fixed on the Esqave church.
"Them scrolls…Those priest use some sorta' ritual scrolls for their sick little purifications…We are gonna infiltrate and round up all them damn scrolls, and burn em' to the ground! Yeehaaa! Come on girly, we ain't got time to waste! Up and at em'!" Walter lifted her over his shoulder, oblivious to her shrieks. "To the sewers we go!"
"S-Sewers?" Amille's face flushed.
Existence of Fate
Genra departed from the vacant town of Oque to pursue Nera.
"Footprints?" He ran his hand about the ground, studying the recent embedment in the dirt. The feet prints were sharp and heavier than his. "Metal boots…They must have taken an alternate route, otherwise I surely would have passed them. The only other route that I would figure would be the backward route towards the Chandra Ocean at the foot of the mountain, but no one ever takes that route. Could the soldiers be trying to cover something up?" Genra took to another lock of Nera's hair. "She must be expecting me." Without another moment's thought, Genra made his way down toward the sloped canyon leading to the foot of the mountain. The rock slope was absent of a path as he made his way down the rigid rock formations. The rock maze was difficult to maneuver through and the substantial amount of searing mist fogged his sight greatly. The air thickened and the sun began to vanish into the ambushing fog. He came upon the small beach, just barely catching sight of the thin stone path dividing the ocean. It ran through the blistering waters to the bottom of Mt. Ohyamatstumi. The scorching, fizzling waters just barely crawled over the path and ran along the small beach. Genra found the largest lock of hair resting in the sand as it lay in a unique formation within old fish bones washed ashore. Genra analyzed the bone formation carefully. The bones were carefully aligned next to each other in a row with the spine bone running across the five smaller pieces. Behind the bones was Nera's hair on a badly drawn stick figure. "Jail…" Genra retrieved the last mount of hair, listening to the fierce howl of the ocean. "There is a jail back this way? But why so close to the ocean? I have a bad feeling about this…"
Aze opened his flaring, blood crimson eyes, standing at the peak of the great falls of Ohyamatstumi. His arms crossed and his stature sharp, his stern expression veiled over the dark church. The smell of death befell him.
"I will begin here." His voice was sharp and deep. His mind fixated on accomplishing his goal and nothing else. The humid wind carried his hair to flow toward his destination. "Soulless child, your existence will befoul this world no more."
Nera: I swear, if I have to tell you to watch my hair one more time, your wife will be begging you for a sex change! My foot is in perfect position, don't mess with me!
Soldier: *gulp* U-Um…sir?
Seth: Pay it no mind; this girl will do no such thing.
Iru: Eh, I wouldn't be so ignorant to assume that be an empty threat if I were you...…
Soldier: *crack* AHHHHHH!
Iru: Well there is always adoption I guess. *shrugs*