Author: KASLiNN PM
AU: Gaia. In the beginning, it was a lush planet full of life and harmony, a haven for all that lay undisturbed by hate, greed, sin, and fear. Then, centuries later, a force corrupted the tranquility of the world. A force called human nature.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Fantasy - Chapters: 4 - Words: 15,009 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 12-24-04 - Published: 08-14-02 - id: 912353
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
On another note, this story does contain a certain degree of adult themes (NOT LEMON!), such as the whole basis being a sort of non-human holocaust ....Woops! Can't give away anything! What I mean is, the rating might go up periodically throughout the story, but I will warn you of why it changed. In this chapter, there's slight swearing, so the rating is PG. (If that's underrated, please tell me in the review, ok? Thanks!)
One last thing: This is a working title. I basically came up with it five minutes ago ^_^;; As the story goes on and you think you have a better title, which is probably VERY likely, don't hesitate to tell me!
Ok, I think that's all. Sorry for the obscenely long author's note....On with the show!
*pause* Oops...forgot something....
* Indicates mental dialogue, because I'm not sure if the italics will work when I upload this....Ok, NOW I'm done!
A lone figure walked briskly down the darkened streets of Lindblum Business District, huddled against the chilled air, shadowed by the gloom of the night. Easily distinguished as a woman by her physique and her light alto voice as she muttered to herself absent-mindedly, she was fairly tall for a lady, and rather muscular under her heavy crimson cloak. Though her face was indiscernible through the murk of fog and inky darkness, one detail stood out. The woman had a tail. A rat's tail tipped with a tiny yellow bow.
A Dragon Knight. Rarely seen in the cities, seeing as how a bounty hunter would give their left arm for their heads to display, or the fact that the Regent ordered that all be locked up upon sight, as he did all non-humans that dared enter his city.
Knowing this, Freya Crescent quickened her pace. She, as well as any non-human, was very aware of the danger she put herself in by roaming Lindblum's city streets, even at night. If she wasn't careful, she could be spotted and killed upon sight, or worse. Already back alley noises and barks of dogs caused her extreme paranoia, resulting in several glances cast behind her shoulder and the sudden racing of her heart. Once again she cursed herself for choosing Lindblum, of all city's, to run her errands in. *Why couldn't I have gone to Treno for this?* She berated herself. *At least there they capture non-humans and make them slaves. I'd rather face that then the dungeons of Lindblum. But no, I had to come here, of all the Godforsaken cities...*
So lost in her thoughts was she that Freya hardly registered her feet carrying her across the darkness of an alley and into the dim lights of the street lamps of the open cobblestone path. This was dangerous ground, more perilous than the alleys; night watchmen roamed like wraiths in the night, waiting patiently for one like herself to wander into their clutches. Freya jumped like a skittish horse when a human shaped shadow began creeping around the nearby street corner. The faint sound of whistling drew closer, accompanied by the faint creek of a lantern as it was swung by the watchman as he completed his rounds.
Acting quickly, the Knight slipped back into the shadows, squeezing herself into a small niche in a building. Mentally, she sighed in frustration. *What a lovely situation you've gotten yourself into this time, Crescent. A fine trap you have walked right into. Bravo.* Her internal monologue was silenced as the watchman passed right by her. She ceased to breath, move, even think, as the man stopped directly in front of her hiding space. Golden light from his lamp slithered, snake like, ever closer to the niche....and halted as the watchman decided all was peaceful on the streets. Freya, however, did not begin to breath again until the clatter of his boots upon the cobblestones was well far off, and the night had once again consumed everything except the small radius beneath the street lamps.
*That was far too close,* the Knight thought to herself as she pulled herself from the small confinement. After making sure all her possessions, including the small parcel she carried in a pocket of her scarlet robes, were safe and intact, she turned to run into the safety of the alley when a low growl from behind stopped her.
The dog snapped angrily, barking at the stranger before it. Freya's tail whipped sharply out behind her in surprise, but she managed to bite her tongue in an effort to keep from yelping in shock; the watchman was still probably in shouting distance. Unfortunately for Freya, the dog had spent its entire life fetching, and was an expert in catching mobile objects. Its sharp teeth snapped, catching a firm hold on the Knight's bow tipped tail. As was to be expected, Freya shrieked in pain, and kicked the mutt squarely in the head, resulting in loud yelps and whines as the canine quickly released the appendage. Quite enough noise for the watchman to hear and come running, swinging his light brining lantern out in front of him.
Like a deer caught by the hunter, Freya froze as the golden candle light washed over her. "Oh shite..."
The man's face contorted from a look of shock to one of disgust. "Non-human filth! How dare you enter our city?!"
In answer, Freya did the only plausible thing she could think of: she bolted. The yell of the watchman echoed behind her, the ill-bearing alarm sealing her fate:
"NON-HUMAN IN THE CITY!!"
Since they were merely infants, Dragon Knights were taught to be quick, agile, and cunning. Knights trained hours on end, without ever stopping for a breath. Well-trained soldiers could jump the heights of trees and buildings in single leaps, utilizing the muscles that the Burmecian/Cleyran race was famous for. With a seemingly indefinite source of stamina, their speed and nimble maneuvers were unbeatable, unmatched by the best of human soldiers.
But then again, not many Dragon Knights could outrun the city of Lindblum, which was exactly what Freya Crescent was attempting. With what must have been the whole night watch of the Grand Regency on her tail (most literally), the Burmecian woman jumped, soared, dodged and ducked, with little success of loosing her pursuers. For any one she managed to leave in her dust, more cornered her, preventing her escape. Freya, like any Knight of her kind, could endure many long hours of endless running without tiring, yet it seemed that the soldiers on her trail had the duration to last as well.
With five or so men on her trail, Freya was speeding through a new alley passage, hopping over debris and random alley junk, when she spotted a metal fence up ahead. It was tall, at least fifteen feet, but the top was flat and just wide enough to stand on. Just five feet above the top of the fence was a hanging ladder jutting out from the adjacent building; access to the city roofs. Just as she poised for the jump, the watchmen tore around the corner. In mid flight, Freya glanced over her shoulder...and blanched. A new man had joined her group of adversaries.
A man clothed in the colours of the Mage Watchmen.
"FIRE!" The Mage cast, thrusting his hands out toward her.
The jet of fire billowed toward Freya at startling speeds. In a desperate move, she twisted her body around in the air; the fire stream shot past her, scorching her robes, but avoiding turning her into Rodent Barbecue. However, the drastic maneuver had caused her to lose trajectory of her jump. The miscalculation sent her slamming into the top of the fence. Hard.
Blinding pain shot down her leg as the bone snapped from impact, but Freya bit her lip and staggered off the fence before another one of the Mage's spells could do any further damage. Limping badly, she stumbled further into the alley, biting her tongue to keep from screaming until warm blood began to flow.
Onward she dragged herself, the yells of the soldiers drawing steadily nearer, forcing more effort on her part. Then, a frustrated curse escaped her when she discovered she had limped right into a dead end; cold stone wall stood before her, and an equally cold wall of men out for blood lay in wait behind her. A ladder hung from a catwalk on her left, taunting her with the aspect of escape, but the height was too great for her to jump on a broken leg.
Heaving a great sigh, Freya turned toward the approaching doom. If she had to be taken, she would go down fighting, just as an honorable Knight would do.
The shouts grew in volume, and the shadows of her fate began appearing around the corner. "Forgive me, Frately," she whispered, clutching the parcel in her pocket, "for I have failed you, my love." And the Knight stood tall, waiting for death.
"Hey! Up here!"
Freya's started in surprise and whipped her head upward. Staring down at her from the catwalk was the dim outline of a blond headed boy, grinning at her with a disarming smile. He called down to her, "What's a pretty lady like you doing in a place like this?"
She rolled her eyes. Boys.
Hesitantly, for the boy appeared to be human and no human could be trusted, she replied sarcastically, "I thought it was a nice night for a stroll. Are you here to turn me in, human? Or are you up for a game of cat and mouse?" The last part was a challenge, though Freya honestly didn't believe she could outrun anything short of an oglop at the moment. But the mysterious person didn't know that, nor did she intend to tell him.
His puzzled remark came back to her, "Why would I turn in a fellow fugitive?" While Freya stood in a confused silence, the boy called down to her once more, urgency in his voice. "Come on. There's no time for questions. If you want to escape the wrath of Cid, then I suggest you jump up here."
"I would if I could!" She grimaced, "But my leg is broken. I wouldn't be able to make it."
Barely a moments silence passed before the stranger declared, "I'll pull you up."
"You couldn't possibly-"
Freya snorted. How little those words were spoken in sincerity these days. However, she had little choice in the matter. Looking up at the kid's outstretched hands, Freya shook her head and sighed. What more did she have to lose?
Crouching on her good leg, Freya exhaled slowly, and sprang upward. Her injury flared up with pain, and the relative lack of force didn't even get her to his hands. Gravity tugged at her, and she felt herself plummet to the ground.
Then her body jolted as she stopped mid fall. Hands grasped her wrists tightly, suspending her in the air. Looking up in shock, Freya suddenly realized just why the boy had referred to her as a 'fellow fugitive'.
He had a tail. Different from her own, it was brown and feline-like, though apparently none to different from a primate's, for that was how he mad managed to grab her as she fell; his tail was wrapped around the catwalk bars, holding his feet braced against the railing. Panting, he managed to haul his lower body back over the railing, then pulled Freya herself up just as the watchmen rounded the corner. He motioned her to be quiet; Freya bit the inside of her cheek to distract herself from the throbbing pain of her leg.
Many lanterns creaked as the men scoured the alley, though not one of them thought to look up. Finally the Mage declared the 'filth' to have gotten away, and each scurried off to begin their search anew.
Beside her, her rescuer blew out the breath he had been holding, then looked at her, charming smile back in place. "That was close. And to think, Baku always told me not to hang off the catwalks." He held out a hand. "My name's Zidane Tribal." He caught her glancing at his tail, and added, "I'm a Genome, in case you were wondering."
Freya held in a gasp. Out of all non-humans, Genomes were hated and feared the most. The things that humans did to Genomes were unspeakable, as the horrors of the torture inflicted on them was too terrifying to iterate The reason for this was because of ancestry. Genomes weren't even from the world of Gaia. They descended from a planet called Terra, a sister planet to the Gaia. Thousands of years ago, Terra died out completely. Its inhabitants, the Genomes, migrated to Gaia through Spirit Road, an ancient teleportation route located in the Shimmering Islands. Nowadays, where humans dominate the kingdoms, they find Genomes to be an alien species, even worse than non-humans, such as the Qu race, or Freya's race. How this Zidane Tribal had managed to even get into the city infamous for its mass non-human slaughters was mind boggling.
Scarcely remembering her manners, Freya shook his hand. "Freya Crescent, Dragon Knight. I owe you my life, Mr. Tribal." Though it seemed odd to call a boy that only appeared to be in his early teens "Mr.", it was only polite to do so.
Obviously, though, Zidane agreed with her. "Just call me Zidane. I'm only sixteen, you know."
She nodded. "All right then, Zidane." Suddenly, her leg flared up with pain again, and she winced, stumbling into her new acquaintance.
Zidane steadied her, a worried frown on his face. "That leg of yours looks pretty bad. Bastards got ya good, huh?" Not giving her a chance to reply, the Genome gently hoisted her into his arms. "Don't worry. I'll take you back to Stowaway. Eiko'll fix you up in no time."
Unconsciousness was quickly closing in on her, but Freya managed to mumble, "Who's Eiko...? Where are you taking me?" Then sleep claimed her.
All righty then! So how was it? *prepares to be a target for tomato chucking* Eh heh heh....Oh yeah, before I run away screaming, I forgot to add the fact that magic in this world is very hard to come by, so if any of you were wondering why that soldier only cast 'fire' on Freya, it was because that was all he COULD do ^^;;
If anyone has any questions on the story, like what races are considered human and which are non-humans, or if you have helpful comments/critisism, please leave it in the review and I'll put my replies in the next chapter! Thanks a lot! -=Kaslinn=-