Author: Anoni PM
Events from the series are twisted into a fantasy AU, where the GW characters fight with magic and swords instead of Gundams. This is primarily an experiment with character development in a parallel universe.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 28 - Words: 115,061 - Reviews: 154 - Favs: 19 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-02-03 - Published: 01-01-02 - id: 525538
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Don't own anything except the comp I'm using right now - if I did, I'd have killed certain characters I don't like. As it is, I'll try not to let my bias get in the way. :)
Warnings: One new character, eventual shounen ai, swearing, some OOC
The entire story can be found at esoteric-expression.populli.net. If you haven't read any of 'Roleplay' before, please go and read it from there. The story has been quite heavily revised and edited since I first wrote it, but uploading the revised chapters to ff.net takes forever, and I haven't had the time to do it. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Events from the series are twisted into a fantasy AU, where the GW boys fight with magic and swords instead of Gundams...
Blurb (mild spoilers)
On one hand, there were six youths of noble birth; on the other, there was a lone girl working for a living in street taverns. A headache, a spilled drink and a strange twist of fate brought her to the Grounds in time to see a malicious attack on the Journeyman Elementalist named Heero Yuy. By the time events slowed down once more, the girl was happily settled as a trainee at the Elementalist Collegium.
Two years later, Prince Milliardo of Sanq and his conpanions returned from Zolte night celebrations to find the palace burnt, their friends and monarchs murdered and their country seized by Oz. The seven escaped into the night and hid, vowing revenge as they headed north towards the Fort Ranges between Sanq and Oz. Thus, the Windriders were born.
The journey led to shocking discoveries of slaughter, each of which revealed more and more of the ruthlessness of Oz. The enemy, in turn, grew increasingly wary of the black-clad Windriders who had declared themselves protectors of Sanq. However, as the prince and his companions met and allied with gypsies, mercenaries and clanfolk, they began to hear stories of seemingly disconnected events that bore disturbing similarities.
Was Prince Treize of Oz and his dying father really responsible for the multitudes of deaths? Or was there some other force behind the impossibly powerful attacks on Sanq and its people?
And if there was, what was it, and could anyone be strong enough to defeat it?
The youth didn't even turn around; only one person could sound so impossibly cheerful in the morning. "Hn. For heaven's sake, Duo - I know my reason for getting up at this unholy hour, but why on earth are you here?"
The braided boy grinned. "I followed you."
Cobalt eyes narrowed as Heero glanced at his cousin. "May I ask why?"
"Oh, come on. Everyone knows you're the youngest ever Elementalist to take the Master exam. How could I even think of not offering my support?" If anything, the grin widened, and mischievous eyes twinkled at the frown on Heero's face. "In case you didn't know, all the others will be coming as well - but they're going straight to the grounds. Mili should be back just in time - he went out pretending to be a commoner again. Lucky him... he gets to goggle at the serving girls without his father watching."
Heero rolled his eyes but relaxed slightly - his cousin had a way of taking away his nerves. "You're only twelve, for god's sake. In two years, we'll have so many eyelashes fluttering at us that even *you* will get sick of them."
"Wanna bet on it? Anyway, it's three years for me - I'm one year younger than you, remember?" Duo grinned, noting that the tension in his cousin's face had faded, and allowed himself a small smirk of satisfaction. "Come on, get there earlier so you can adjust." With that, he bounced out of the palace, knowing his cousin would follow.
"Shoot!" The girl swore as coffee spilled off the tray, dripping into a puddle beside the feet of the customer. "I'm so sorry... here, I'll get you a cloth."
Fumbling at her apron, Suriku grabbed a small towel and reached out to wipe the soaked shoes, but was interrupted by a growl, "Girl, just what do you think you're doing?"
The raven-haired girl bit her lips as she turned to her employer. "I'm sorry, sir - I've just got a stinging headache..."
"Like the one you had earlier this week? Humph. Look, girl, if you don't have anything better to do than to spill drinks on a weekly basis, I suggest you find some other job... in the circus, maybe."
With a sinking feeling, Suri read the dismissal and sighed. "Yes, sir. I'll return the uniform to Maria."
The man nodded briskly and stalked out. Looking up at the customer who had stood by the entire time, she muttered another apology, and dried his shoes as best as she could. I seem to be doing this a lot lately, don't I? Only last week, she had knocked over a bottle of the inn's most expensive wine, and before that, a jar of brandy. If only I didn't get these damned headaches all the time! Not even those foul-tasting potions work. Now I've got to get another job - and the Gods know it was hard enough to get this one. I'll probably get fired in a month as well.
Mopping up the last of the spill, Suri signalled for one of her friends to bring a coffee to replace the spilled one. Reading the glum look on her face, the other girl said sympathetically, "Oh no... another headache?"
Suri sighed and nodded, carefully setting the cup on the table. "The problem is, I have no idea why I get them! They just come for no reason, and at the most inconvenient times... the other inns have probably heard of my reputation as well. I mean, not every waitress gets fired once a month."
"Try something else then - you know, offer to sing or something. Your voice is one of the best I've heard."
"Yeah, but the other applicants will be trained bards... I don't stand a chance." Catching the glare their boss sent at them, Suri sighed again. "You'd better go - no need for you to get fired as well."
They exchanged quick hugs, and Suri trudged down the stairs, returning the over-sized uniform and grabbing her few belongings. Turning a corner, she made her way through the winding alleys. Lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice the shadow following her until a cackle caught her attention. Spinning around, she quickly snapped on a scowl, demanding, "What do you want?"
The shadow approached, revealing itself as a middle-aged man with greying hair - and a knife. Smirking, he mocked, "What do I want? A young, pretty girl sounds good."
Before she had time to react, he was upon her, keeping his knife carefully at her throat. Struggling proved useless, and Suri silently chided herself for getting herself into such a situation. It was not as though she didn't know what precautions to take - every female and most males out of babyhood had been trained to look out for signs of danger. The man cackled again, reaching for her top. At the contact, Suri froze, eyes widening, her mind screaming, "No...!"
Suddenly, all she saw was red - red, as in flames. Flames that lanced across the face and body of the man assaulting her. Startled, Suri took the opportunity to break away, but her gaze remained fixed on the man who was running down the alley, knowing that somehow, she was responsible for the fire. There was no time for her to ponder, though, because at that moment, another headache seized her. She sank down, knowing no more.
She woke to feel a hand patting her face, and shoved it off instinctively. The young man made no move to stop her; instead, he stepped back, allowing her room to stand. Suri rose, glanced at the person and gasped in recognition. "Y-you're the man who I spilled coffee on this morning!"
The man brushed back his platinum-coloured hair and grinned, offering her his hand. "Glad you remember me. My friends call me Mili."
Suri shook it, replying, "I'm Suriku, or Suri for short. Um... excuse me, but why are you here?"
The man laughed. "After I finished the coffee, I happened to see a... rather scorched person running past, and decided to see what happened. It was your work, I presume?"
She blushed slightly. "I'm not sure. I think it was, since I was the only one around, but... well, how on earth could I have done it?"
Mili frowned thoughtfully. "Hmm... have you ever heard of elementalists?"
"Ele-what? Don't think so... if I had, I'd be able to say the word."
"Well, they work with the elements - fire, water, wind and ice are the main ones. There are quite a few others, but people who can work those are rarer."
Suri glanced at him quizzically. "So you're saying I'm a... what did you call them - Elementalist?"
He nodded. "Usually, the ability is inherited, like most other magical abilities. Parents who suspect their children have the talent send them to the collegium for testing when they're eight years old. If they test positive, another Elementalist would take them as students - at that stage, they're called Apprentices. They're taught the basics - you know, how to use and direct their power, some simple applications... and how to control the flow of the gift so it doesn't give them headaches or render them unconscious."
Catching his wink, Suri blushed again. "So... are you an Elementalist?"
"Nope. Or rather, I can only work with one element, water, and that isn't enough to qualify. I'm still trained, of course, but I'm called a Water-worker instead of an Elementalist. I have a friend who's going for the Master exam though."
"Master? That's the next stage up?"
"No - the next rank is Journeyman. The Apprentice stage can be completed in a year, but some have taken up to three years to pass. It depends on how powerful your gift is, as well as the amount of work you put in. When your teacher feels you are ready, you will be allowed to take the Journeyman exam - because quite a lot of people take those exams, they are done privately, and there only needs to be three judges. If you pass, you earn the status of Journeyman, and can start learning more advanced techniques and the such. Some prefer not to continue... they can apply for jobs like managing the flow of water in fields and buildings, or controlling forest fires. The ones who do continue try for the Master ranking. Speaking of which... do you have anything planned for this morning? As I mentioned before, I have a friend taking the Master exam, and since those exams are public, I can take you to watch him if you want."
Suri couldn't help grinning. Ah... so those headaches didn't happen for no reason. So maybe I'm not totally useless after all. And since I don't really have anywhere to go... "Sure - thanks. Um, where do we go?"
Mili smiled back. "The grounds - that's where all the exams take place. It has special spells set up around it so accidents don't occur. As to where it is... just follow me."
What do you think? These guys still have to be trained and invaded before the *real* story begins. Please, please R&R! Even one word will be good... *puppy dog eyes*