|The Legends of Rutilus Flumen
Author: bluetreeleaves PM
AU Prophesies predicted her coming long ago. Her dreams of past and future collide as Hitomi discovers her true power. Her place in life is finally set together with the help of the mysterious ebony haired king of Fanelia.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Hitomi K. & Van F. - Chapters: 27 - Words: 185,000 - Reviews: 525 - Favs: 213 - Follows: 148 - Updated: 06-25-09 - Published: 07-02-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3021960
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters and some of the plot. I do own the main idea of the plot though, so no stealing it from me! Well... maybe if you ask!
Hope you like it. I have all the story outlined, so I'll be updating pretty fast... hopefully.
Disclaimer for "The Blue Sword": This story had nothing to do with "The Blue Sword" by Robin McKinley and any plot that matches to the book was and is completely accidental. I do not claim anything that might belong to her, nor do I want to follow any of her ideas. My thoughts and writing are completely my own. Again, anything that matches her book is accidental. If you have any confusion over this disclaimer see my author's note on chapter 12. It will explain everything.
If your confused on some of the plot just tell me. This is a AU of the sorts, so it won't follow the Escaflowne plot too much. But it's good! I promise!
Hitomi Kanzaki was never really fond of carriages.
Unstable and extremely bumpy, they were truly the second most confining invention mankind could ever have had the nerve to make---
Corsets were definitely number one.
She attempted to slump in her seat, trying to rid the pressure on her buttocks from the hard bench. But alas, the accursed corset she had been forced to wear not only narrowed her waist to a painful point, but straightened her spine so much that she could not even relax her upright position. Glaring deadly at her smug stepbrother, Amano, Hitomi crossed her arms irritably and snorted to show her aggravation. This only made Amano smirk more as he propped his legs against her side of the bench and placed his interlaced fingers behind his dark head. It had been his idea that she dress up for their travels.
And for that, he received every murderous glower she could manage.
Along with the annoyance of the corset, Hitomi had also been enforced to wear one of the most hideous frocks she owned. She had gone down fighting though. It had taken three handmaids and one huge female cook with a massive overbite threatening to beat her with the rolling pin to shove her in it. The light blue fabrics and lacy trimming irritated her skin wherever it gathered. The beastly dress bunched uncomfortably right at her chest to "accentuate what wasn't there" or so the maids had said. Then, after framing down her grotesquely tight stomach, it flared out like an umbrella held up properly by petticoat that stuck to her legs like glue.
Dresses were definitely sent from the devil. She didn't understand how something this horrible could ever be considered "in fashion".
This was pure torture.
Switching her glare off Amano's relaxed face, Hitomi attempted to turn her stiff body to scowl at the passing green scenery, but couldn't make it because of the colossal sized bell-skirt. So instead, with a deep growl, she turned short auburn haired head as the wobbly carriage took her farther and farther away from Praeter, her home. Fingering her pink necklace habitually with a lacy gloved hand, she wished she could disappear from this lifetime. Back to whenever things were simple. Back to whenever her father was still alive…
After traveling so much through the world, her father redeemed himself with the government by translating written speeches into the different languages he had learned. It was hard work for him, but he served his punishment quite gaily. Often times, he'd put Hitomi on his knee and teach her pronunciations. Alas, he was forbidden to never leave Praeter again with the sentence of death.
Hitomi's mother was unmatched in beauty and grace. Her foreign green eyes and light auburn hair shone like a morning sky compared to the dark hair and eyes around her. Though she was a statuesque attraction to all the men in Praeter, she only had eyes for her husband. She hardly spoke to others outside the family and even then it was a quiet whisper. Many times, she would sit by herself and fold out the tarot cards she had brought back with her from her country and would study them with a slight frown on her face.
After the wedding, which was extremely small and only included a priest and several family friends, the little couple moved into a small house just east of the local vineyards.
A few years later, Hitomi's mother became pregnant. But as she entered her second pregnancy cycle, she fell ill to a mysterious floating virus that had attacked others in Praeter as well. Though she took every medicine available to help suppress the deadly infection, it was no use. She just grew more poorly as the baby within extended her stomach.
She was hardly aware of her surroundings by labor time. She was not even awake enough to push for the labor. The local doctor, one of the family friends who had attended the wedding, preformed a surgical removal of Hitomi, saving her life.
But her mother died a few hours later, unable to heal the gaping cut into her belly. Her father took Hitomi and cared for her lovingly. He never told her too much about her mother; just that she was very beautiful and very kind. Hitomi was named after her mother's mother; a person she knew she would never meet. The young green eyed girl had inherited her mother's hair and love for the tarot cards, but from her father came the need for adventure and excitement.
A little spoiled from a gentle parent, Hitomi would get heaps of presents all the holidays. But every birthday, Hitomi would sit in her father's lap and he would tell her one of his adventures of traveling. In the past years, when she was still too young to understand everything he said, she would still be a wonderful audience for him. She would squeal as he told her of the sandy dunes that had squashed between his toes and sigh as he described the sunsets he had seen on mountain tops. It was her fifth birthday when her father presented her with the pink pendent saying that it had been in her mother's family for years and he had been waiting till she was old enough to understand how important it was.
From then on she wore it everyday.
Her father, who saw Hitomi's love for adventure, chose to never tell her any specific stories of his traveling days.
All except one.
And it was at this particular tale that Hitomi learned of her greatest passion: the illustrious and beautiful Guymelef called Rutilus Flumen.
"The mighty golden river named Rutilus Flumen," her father began in his deep voice. "sparkled with colors as rich as your hair." He would then russle her auburn head making her giggle in response. "And shinned as bright as the sun itself. But her Guymelef form was even more of a sight to see!" Raising himself from his squeaking brown office chair, her father stood tall over her as she watched from the floor. "From what the desert people told me, Hitomi, she stood tall, way over the size of our entire house, and drapped over her metallic shoulder's was a purple cape that hung down to her strong feet and her operating jewel was brighter than any gold in the world."
He then proceed to describe the Melef in full detail, elaborating on her decorations and beauty. Hitomi felt herself stunned by something as magnificent as a mechanical warrior.
Would she ever meet something so magical?
As she grew older, Hitomi began to journey through the fields that surrounded her home. Her imagination would take control as she trampled through the tall weeds and grass that grew on the outskirts of her property. Many times, her father would catch her sword fighting with the berry plants; a giant stick in her right hand and her left tucked properly behind her back. Other times, Hitomi was caught pretended the great oak that grew in the middle of the vineyards was the mighty Guymelef her father had described; coming to attack the helpless fruit. But she would always find some way to fight back the metallic evil that struck. But once her father had discovered this, he tried fruitfully to explain that Guymelefs were just myths, and the story he had been told was a fabrication; just fire talk.
Hitomi couldn't help but wish that something magical could exist. She had a wonderful life, to be sure, but her spirit made her yearn for things undiscovered. For new worlds just beyond her minds eye.
Her life had to give her more than it was offering.
She didn't want to be stuck in her imagination, but it was the only thing that subdued the longing for some secret. The hope of something miraculous coming to fill the empty void…
She would dream often about her Guymelef and the magic that encircled her. The river's huge metallic armor would be the downfall or the victor of battles in dusty sand. But instead of there just being the one Guymelef she knew, another mecha popped itself into her dreams; fighting alongside her beloved golden one. The other one was dressed just as her father had described except it wore a big red cape and a pink jewel perched high on its chest.
She would wake in the morning and wonder about her dreams. They were so vivid, they seemed real. The intricate details her mind had established created a type of obsession about those two.
In her searches for more information, Hitomi found herself in the Praeter's local library, reading. Though she was never a great reader and usually lacked the attention span for something so trivial, she could not stop herself from soaking in the knowledge of her darling mecha-beings.
And it was here where she found the full story of her father's beloved story: The Romantic Tale of Escaflowne and Rutilus Flumen.
The fabled Guymelef, Escaflowne, was once a huge beautiful white dragon that would drink his fill out of the golden river. The river loved the dragon very much and let him swim through her cooling streams. Wanting to be solid for him, the river transformed into Rutilus Flumen, the first Guymelef. But there was a price for her change from liquid to solid. She would have to serve the world of men forever. Once Escaflowne had discovered his dearest river was gone, he transformed himself into the magical Guymelef with the blood red cape to be with her. And so side by side, the Guymelefs stayed together; fighting along with humans they deemed worthy to operate them. Always loving each other eternally.
Her heart warmed with the feelings the story gave. Love… true love… was there ever such a thing?
Well, as time pasted on, life, as she had wished, began to change. Just not in the way she would have wanted.
She was about ten years old when she first met Amano. He was exactly four years her senior and was stuck up even then. With his brown pointed nose in the air mockingly, he would constantly scoffed at her childish ways when she would ask him to cross swords with her or wrestle for the last cookie. Amano's mother had taken a liking to the profit of her father's vineyard, and decided to make herself a possible candidate for his wife. Her father, a very lonely man with a daughter who needed proper raising by a woman, agreed almost instantly.
The wedding was held when Hitomi had just turned thirteen. It was almost as small as her father's first wedding and was at the same chapel. She could tell her father was happy and tried to put up a good face for him. But this new wife insisted that she start acting like a young woman instead of a disgusting little boy. At age fourteen, the girls of the village of Praeter got their recognition into womanhood by their looks and manner. Out of spite and defiance, Hitomi showed up the morning before her fourteenth birthday with her beautiful auburn hair cut almost as short as a boy. Her father had chocked on his bacon with laughter as a wide-eyed Amano and an even more wide-eyed stepmother just stared at her butchered head. Hitomi didn't get recognition for even being a girl that year. Happily, she found that her hair suited her just fine. Her long locks had always gotten in the way of her fighting stick anyways.
Just like most of the boys in Praeter, Amano was pushed into the military. He was stationed just outside the Hospesland's border in a small camp called Castra. Though her stepmother often cried over the hostile Fanelian's that lived in the desert the camp was close to, Hitomi knew from her father's maps that the country of Fanelia lived much farther west and it was silly to think they could be any threat to Amano in any way. She could only wonder what Amano was seeing in Castra.
Probably nothing, but sand and dust.
But Fanelians perked her interest. Why did they live in the desert land? How did they survive? The mysteries of their culture forced her back to the library for more information. But alas, this time the library let her down. There was nothing on the history of Fanelia or of Fanelians in general.
But as if to answer her burning desire for knowledge, she began dreaming about a boy with wild black hair. His brown arms held onto a horse's mane for no reins were in sight. He was handsome with a tanned proud face, but there was something about him. Something different…
Her mind, during the day, would relax into its duties and go throughout the day acting normal. But once she was asleep, the boy would plague her subconscious with images of himself. He would be sitting at a fire, or brushing his beautiful horse, or sword fighting with an older man with a grey beard.
The dreams came so frequently that she found herself wanting more personal information about the boy. What was his name? Why did he radiate with a sense of unusual power? Could he see her as she saw him? Was he aware that she spied on him almost every night for the past year?
Alas, Hitomi's life changed drastically as tragedy struck. Her dreams of the boy and Guymelefs left her almost within a week. At around winter when Hitomi turned seventeen, her stepmother, who was seven months pregnant with her father's first child, had a miscarriage. The baby was removed immediately from her womb and almost a week later, her stepmother passed away with an infection that had accumulated.
Amano came home from his military camp in Castra for the wake and funeral, but afterward, he had to go straight back for urgent business.
Hitomi's father was never the same after that. He was weak. He had aged almost twenty years within the first five months of her stepmother's death and had hardly eaten anything. Hitomi stopped her adventures in the fields and pretend games in the wake of her father's health problems. She became the keeper of the house, and by the time she was eighteen, she was handling all of the family affairs. At night, her mind would run over the next day's errands and what medicine her father should get in the morning. She had all but forgotten her dreams of the boy and Guymelefs. Caring for her father and his house overcame her mind.
The only thing that hadn't changed in her lifestyle was her outfits. She still refused dresses and skirts from the handmaids and, as she grew into liking it, kept her bright auburn hair short as ever.
On the eve of her nineteenth birthday, her father finally passed away in his bed. For years, he was just wasting away for his lost loves and children. Though Hitomi knew she should cry for him, she just couldn't bring the tears.
To her, he had left a long time ago.
She just wanted it the way it was. She wanted her life when she could jump in mud until she was darker than the people that surrounded her. When she would sit on her father's lap on her birthday and he would tell of his amazing adventures.
Amano, being the rightful male to inherit the house, decided living alone wasn't the best place for a stout young girl like Hitomi, and had had her bags packed only a couple of days after her father's funeral. She was to live with him in Castra on the military regiment camp he was stationed at.
And she did not like it. Not one bit.
It would be time to camp soon.
Van raised his gloved hand in halt and two others behind him stopped their mounds with a jerk of the mane. The sandy dunes rose in high mountains stretching farther than the human eye could see. The sky was supernaturally painted with purples and pinks to signify the end of the day. Heat waved enchantingly on the sand like a temptress as Van dismounted and began to rub his beautiful horse down; brushing its hairs till they shined like silk.
Van Fanel was a strapping young man, obviously well trained by the tone of his muscular arms. His skin, stained dark from the sun, glowed gold if ever he was shined on by a full moon. Eyes the color of red mahogany and wild hair blacker than any ebony night, Van was in his own way, magical and mysterious. He was the ruler of the wandering kingdom of Fanelia, which had stationed itself along the Eternus, the only river that flowed through the wasteland. It laid Far West of the Hospeslands, past the desert wilderness into the green that flourished in Eternus's generous abundance. Fanelian's, and other villages peasants that had located themselves on his lands, were all trained in the ways of desert survival.
His people were strong, but alas, they might not be strong enough against Zaibach. Though his vox had told him that this was the right decision, he still had his doubts. Why would it tell him to go to the Hospesland for help? Those cowards would just hide behind their "fortified walls" and pretend that people weren't getting slaughtered.
Zaibach was going to spread their terror through all Gaea if someone didn't try to unite the remaining people. Though Van was only doing it because he trusted his power, he knew what was going to happen. Those Hospes would take one look at his wild appearance and reject his extending olive branch.
While Van mused over his problems, the other two with him had dismounted as well. One with a graying beard and a scar running down his face began to set up the tent that would hold all of them during the night; while the other, a younger man with hair so blonde it was almost silver, gathered the scarce wood for a well needed fire. They never said a word to each other nor looked away from their tasks until it was competed.
Once this done, they turned to their king, who was still absentmindedly brushing his horse's mane.
"Lord Van," The old one said, his voice was low and rich. "We have finished the preparations."
"Good," Van replied. "The firewood is ready for lighting, Dilandau?"
"Yes," answered the silver haired man. His voice was oily and slick.
Sighing with a deep breath in and out, Van turned his back on his horse and walked to the stacked firewood. Slowly, he crouched over the wood with his hands outstretched cupping the top of it. The other two watched as he raised his head to the sky and met his mahogany gaze at the stars above.
With a sudden flash of golden light illuminating the area, Van quickly stood up to inspect his fire.
'We will cook well tonight with this.' He thought proudly.
"Hold on, Hitomi. I'll ask." Amano answered her and slipped his shiny black shoes off the wooden bench they had been resting on. Opening the window, Amano climbed onto his seat and pushed his head out into the dusty wind. Hitomi heard him shout at the driver loudly and strained to understand what the driver said through the howling breeze.
Retracting his head from outside, Amano shook the accumulated dirt from his hair in a much undignified manner; spraying sand and dust everywhere.
"Amano! How dare you get my dress dirty!" Hitomi opened her eyes wide in mock prissiness.
Amano chuckled slightly as he closed the window once again. "The driver said we'd be there in about another hour, Ms. High and Mighty." He raked his hands through his black hair, straightening the stray hairs.
"I still can't believe you made me wear this stupid dress. Do you know I haven't been able to breathe properly since we left?"
"I am well aware of that since you've said it about three dozen times."
"Well then, I guess that I just have to keep reminding you because I see that you are perfectly comfortable reclining there in your pants and silk shirt, while I sit here propped up like a doll with lungs about to deflate from ill-usage!"
"Hitomi," Amano said slowly, drawing out her name. "I can't have you arriving at Castra looking like a boy." And then he added under his breath, "Though your hair doesn't help matters much."
Green eyes flashed dangerously to meet with calm brown ones. "What is wrong with my hair?" Hitomi yelled, instinctively grabbing her short locks in defense.
"Nothing, Hitomi. Just… look out your window."
There was not a plant in site except for a few crispy fried shrubs that lined the dirt road and cacti in the background. This looked like another planet. A hostile planet.
"Home sweet home." Amano said, happily as his stretch his cramped muscles.
Hitomi turned her dazed eyes onto his smiling face and let her mouth fall rudely open to portray her shock and dismay.
"Home sweet sand, you mean." Hitomi shot back and crossed her arms again in self-pity.
"It's not that bad! You'll learn to like it."
"Like what?" Hitomi said incredulously. "What could there possibly be to like? The nice burnt bushes or the spiky cactus?"
"It'll grow on you." Amano reassured his face full of confidence.
Hitomi studied his assured expression and found she didn't like it.
Silently, she vowed to herself that she would never grow to like this place.
Overcooked shrubs and all.
Stay tuned for next time!
I know you might be wondering what Dilandau is doing with Van, but don't worry. I have a special plan for little Dilly...
If you liked it at all, it'd be awesome if you told me. Also, if you saw any mistakes then tell me because I hate it when I have mistakes in my stories. Constructive criticism is taken with many thanks!
Rutilus Flumen- golden river
Hope you enjoyed it.