Tsuki no namida... the Moon's Tears
Written by Starigirl
The day the moon cries crimson tears,
Will weave in silver many fears.
Binding wings and bruising hearts,
Is when the light of serenity starts.
A silver kingdom will fall,
And one world will encompass all.
Four shall rise of earthen blood,
Of fire, lightening, heart, and flood
The moon itself will sift in their souls,
A bind unbreaking to make them whole
The light of the moon will once again shine,
With future, death, the waters define.
It was on the second lunar moon when their home was attacked, leaving a wasteland of gray rocks where beauty and peace once reigned. The Earth had filled their sky like a beacon, their hope. The Lunarians who survived fled by the hundreds to their neighboring planet, a world of blue seas and great, green lands. A world of mountains and rivers, languid clouds and changing seasons.
The Terrans accepted the Lunarians, wary and waiting as the silver-haired race festered into their world. For years the two worlds lived side by side, tolerance by the Terrans fraying like a strung thread. Their thoughts grew poisoned and twisted by their fears. The outcasts of Earth prospered in their own quiet, noble way. They found ways to be useful, and the earth itself seemed to love and serve them. Their crops always flourished their bounty the greatest any nation had ever known. They discovered uses for rock and soil and substances that bewildered the people of Earth. Never mind that the kings of the lands refused their offering to teach and be of aid.
Perhaps one king--once--tried to befriend the Lunarians to use them so his kingdom would grow more powerful than its brothers. Such a plan would always fail, for the Lunarians were not ambitious and wise enough to see the folly in such an idea. If they were to be accepted, it would be by all or none. They learned to be content as wanderers, to live with the growing scorn and prejudice of the people.
The gentle race with their silver hair, a golden crescent mark gracing their foreheads, were beautiful in their youth and ripened with age. Awe turned to envy and bitterness. A Lunarian was too beautiful, too gifted, and too powerful. Even their kindness was hated, for in it the Terrans saw their own ugly natures. Such beings shouldn't be called human, they thought. For what they feared most of all of the Lunarians was the secret they hid within, as if their very souls had locked and entwined with a powerful magic. A gift that tied every Lunarian to an element, some special ability. They could control their element with only a thought...
Only a feeling.
Fires conjured and danced in their hand, living and breathing like a tamed monster under a spell, never to burn or scorch their master's flesh. Water called and obeyed them in any form--mist, rain, river, sea, or breath of ice. Thunder and lightning echoed in the skies when a Lunarian of its nature cried; darts of lightning danced playfully around them when they laughed. The rock and soil of the earth rumbled, moved and formed. It freely gave of its secrets and treasures to them. A few Lunarians possessed even rarer gifts. An understanding with the animals and creatures of the earth. Ability with light and healing. The sight, seeing the past or things yet to come. One in every generation of the royal family, a female born to be queen, possessed a mighty power and controlled all the elements that were known unto her race.
The Lunarians were as mortal and as human as they, but the Terrans could only see a race that was far too different, far too superior. They began to fear the Lunarians more than they feared snarling beasts, famine, or war with distant lands. Fear tainted the kingdoms through jealousy and hate until no Lunarian was welcome and many retreated into the hills and journeyed far to find a ghost of hospitality. Their queen was unknown to them, hidden even farther from the earthen scorn. The Lunarians no longer prospered, but still they lived and whispered not a complaint or ill will.
The kings of earth were desperate and angry. No matter if the Lunarians were spread far and wide, rumors of a hidden kingdom surfaced, one that could only be found through a silver path. No such thing was ever found and the stories died away--but not the fear. Kingdoms saw a greater threat than its neighbors and wars came to a halt. Enemy lands allied together and met in great councils. For the first time they were united and of single mind. The Earth belonged to them and only to them, not a foreign race that they had been forced to harbor. A greater kingdom was born, a Terran king to rule them all.
And then something great and terrible happened. The Terran king was given the chance to destroy and conquer the Lunarian race, to prove once and for all who ruled the Earth. No one but the king knew who was behind the knowledge given, behind the power used. For one night and one night only, the Lunarians were rendered useless. No fire would burn for them, no thunder would storm. The water would ignore the Lunarians' cries as their blood soaked its rivers, and the rock stay silent as their bodies were buried in its dark earth. It was a night that would be known as Tsuki no Namida. The moon's tears.
... ... ... ...
A girl of only few years dressed in white, giggled, leaning over the damp rocks. Her arm stretched over the dark blue river. The river that should have been flowing was still as a piece of dark glass. A bubble of solid water hovered over its surface, beneath the girl's small twiddling fingers. Its shape morphed into a teardrop and she laughed in delight, blue eyes dancing.
Silver hair parted on her head into dueling buns, a stream of hair falling to the ground as tall as she and a crescent moon symbol gleamed. Her feet were bare and dirty but pearls the size of seeds dotted and hid on her dress.
"Serenity!" A languid voice called from deep in the trees.
"Just a minute, Mama!" the child cried, watching with bright eyes as two smaller drops of water rose into the cool air and the three danced and swirled.
"Serenity, come here!"
Like any child who was enjoying themselves, Serenity chose not to listen, captivated by the water she played with. And then, like a rug jerked from beneath her feet the balls of water collapsed into the still water. Her eyes screwed in puzzlement, trying once more to form the spheres of water. It lapped quietly at her feet, continuing its flow as of to ignore her.
At her mother's voice, she turned and scrambled down the bank. Wet leaves slapped gently against her face and branches tugged the muddied hem of her dress. She smiled, as only a child could, without worry or concern. She crawled over rocks and fallen logs and skidded down a slope, frolicking into view of a tall and willowy woman in white.
The woman peered down her nose, tense and forbidding in her beauty. Then she sighed, her brow easing as she forced a smile. The sun was setting, the wood darkening in the blue hush of evening. "Hurry darling, we have to leave. Your father is preparing as we speak"
"Leave where?" Serenity frowned. They never left anywhere. The glen was all she had ever known.
"Never mind that," her mother said, her voice curiously hoarse. "Some place safe. But we must hurry now." She took Serenity's hand, tugging her daughter into a briskly through the wood.
When they reached the edge of a clearing they both stopped short. The valley's green carpet and lazy trees were disturbed by brutal footsteps and the shouts of men--of Terrans. Horses slammed the earth, torches lit their feverish faces. People yelled and screamed. Serenity watched with wide puzzled eyes. Her mother's hand tightened over hers. She gazed up at her mother, innocent eyes patiently waiting for an explanation even as her small heart pounded.
The mother looked down to her daughter and then to the scene, eyes terrified and her whispery breath strangled in her chest. "We have to get out of here, Serenity." Her voice trembled. She tugged on her daughter's hand, fingers digging painfully.
Serenity wouldn't budge. "What's happening? Mama, tell me what's happening!" Her young eyes rummaged the scene. Her mother's fear made her afraid so she searched for a different source of comfort. "Papa!" she screamed and then tore her hands from her mother's grasp. "Papa!"
The woman let out a horrified scream as her daughter fled towards mansion lodge cradled in the valley, silver-white hair floundering behind her. Tears ran down the mother's face as she collapsed in despair against a tree. Serenity was frantic in the sudden chaos and froze. Lunarians she had known forever--family, friends, and servants--screamed and cried around her. Men with dark and colored hair and ruthless expressions swung their swords, a storm of silver with destruction in its path.
Serenity's stomach coiled, trembles skittering through her muscles. She stepped back and screamed as she stumbled over a body on the ground. Silver hair, dead violet eyes--blood trickling down a marble pale chin and puddling over the crevice of her breasts. Serenity's legs collapsed from under her and she scooted to the base of a tree, the bulky roots cradling her form. Tears dripped down her cheeks as her body shook. One of the Terran's with grizzly-like beard and body stepped near to where she huddled. A sword glinted from the moon, like light sliding over a black lake.
She stumbled up and ran to a shack nearby, slamming the warped wooden door behind her and backing up and falling against the wall as if she had suddenly let go of rope. She pulled her bare legs to her chest, eyes stretching to their limits in fear in the darkness.
Screams and shouts tore the air outside like a muffled nightmare. And then she heard it--a hushed rumbling sound. Orange-yellow light engulfed the room and fire slipped down from the ceiling to the walls. A scalding wooden beam from the drafters collapsed with an exploding noise before her, blocking the one door. She gave a strangled yelp, muscles locking in her huddled position. It wouldn't hurt her. It wouldn't hurt her. Fire never hurt her. But her insides were frenzied, muscles strained to the point they shook. And her eyes were terrified.
Go away, she thought to the fire that licked towards her like a snake. Go away!
But it didn't. She squeezed her eyes shut against the blinding flames. Heat pillowed against her skin, tingling her nerves. A sob struck her bracing body, tears streaming unnoticed.
And then rain patted like dozens of fairy feet on the roof of the shack.
She was exhausted and dizzy. She untensed, watching the flames be touched by the raindrops and the smoke that billowed into the air. Water leaked from the roof and dropped onto her burning face like ice. She threw her head into her hands in a fit of coughs from the smoke. It filtered in her nose like cinder.
She ducked under the now charcoal beam and out the door, gasping in the cooling rain as she dropped to her knees. She had almost believed the Lunarian's had rallied together, calling on their powers. But the silver-haired people of the valley still struggled and fell slain, fallen in their blood.
Her mind felt like the stream she had left when it stilled, unable to comprehend such horror.
Hard arms snaked around her chest and a squeal ripped through the air like an animal's cry. A Terran lifted her over his shoulder. She thrashed, stomach and chest sore over his shoulder as her heartbeat thudded.
Crystal blue eyes flew across the grounds one last time as the man opened the door of a cart and tossed her into the cramped cabin-like space. She drew in ragged breaths, hands fisting over damp hay. And then she realized that it wasn't cramped because it was small but because of the other silver-haired children. At least a dozen boys and girls were huddled inside, eyes just as frightened and startled as hers.
One or two faces she recognized, but the rest were alien to her. She bit her lip on a whimper, curling her wet body into a ball. The twin silver tails of her hair and her bangs plastered in dripping strands over her neck, her back, her face. The hay poked her thighs where the white wrap-around dress rode up, the cold air seeming to freeze the beads of raindrops on her skin.
She ducked her head in her arms and rocked herself, trying to drown out the terrifying sounds that were muffled from the wooden prison.
... ... ... ...
Gray sighed, dead eyes staring at nothing. The different hued stones in the tall walls blurred into a mess of color. His heart felt scarred.
He rubbed at his temples.
The night had passed in victory. It didn't feel like victory, it felt like death. Death of what made men human, of what gave them compassion and love.
He squeezed his eyes shut, running a hand through his receding brown hair. And then he snapped upright as his superior strode in. His stomach felt sick at the glee that shone in the man's brown eyes.
"I have a job for you, Gray." The older man in high-ranking garb of black with golden buttons coaxed his white beard, eyes sick with glee.
Gray frowned, lines pulling at his thick, aging face. It was nearing dawn, the official end of the hellish night. But their deeds had been done, their destruction final. The soldiers were celebrating. There was no more work left to do.
His superior grinned. "Don't worry. Once you do it you will have a long rest. We will all have a long rest after this victory." He turned abruptly and went to the window with a contented sigh. "One of the girl's that came in with the children. She will look around four or six years of age. Her hair is in an unusual style--you can't mistake her. The guards will point her out."
When the man paused Gray stepped forward with a cautious gaze. "Sir?"
The elder man whirled around, hands clasped behind his back. "Yes, yes. I need you to kill her. Then you may do as you please." A delighted, terrible smile wreathed the aged face. "Take her to the forest and slay her there. Leave her body to rot in the catacombs." The man patted Gray's shoulder and left him standing gripped by dismay.
An order had to be obeyed. Gray shook his head, breath escaping on a spurt. Then he walled off his heart, his thoughts, and left towards the dungeons now children's ward. His boots clunked without hesitation. He would as he was commanded with same lack of emotion he held onto during the night while he had killed. He had to. Otherwise he feared for his own sanity.
He turned and thundered down the steps to the lower floors. It was well lit by torches and well watched by guards. He tugged uncomfortably at his scratchy gray uniform that all the silver-haired children eyed. Their gazes were dull but seemed to bore into his soul far better than vocalized accusations.
Father God, there were so many. Hundreds at least, grouped by the dozens for the individual cells. He had been a soldier since he was old enough to leave home and his eyes had witnessed cutthroats, thieves, and the evilest of humans behind those rusting bars. It was wrong, the cruelest of jokes to see children behind the unrelenting gates.
His body stiffened and he walked to one of the guards, back straight only from his years of training. He felt like slumping then, head ducked in failure. He barked the description of the child he was looking for and the man nodded, leading him to a far cell.
The man pointed the girl out to Gray, but it wasn't necessary. He knew the girl the moment he stared through the bars. He stood there a moment, lost in her haunted gaze. Silver hair dripped and curled around her, longer than any child's hair he had ever seen. A dress which once may have been rich and pretty was soiled and torn. She was the epitome of a pale wounded creature, the only color about her was silvery blue eyes and the crimson blood that stained and clung to the hem of her dress. His heart ached in mourning. He felt as if he were the one preparing to die. Though with grimness he acknowledged that something inside him would die--what horrors could a man commit and still remain himself? He feared his wife and children would sense the difference in him, the blood on his hands.
Metal creaked and squealed as the cell door swung open. Ignoring the watchful gazes of the other children, he stood before the girl with the curious hairstyle. "Would you come with me?" His voice was gentle. He wished it wasn't when the girl's fragile hand crept trustingly into his. He could've been the lowliest creature on earth right then, deceiving a child with a kind voice and then slaughtering her. He turned his eyes away in shame and burning tears and led the girl out of the dungeons.
The girl's silence was a knife in his side with every step. His grip tightened over the small hand; his breaths strangled in his throat. He swerved around a corner on a desperate pulse and pushed out the heavy doors. Cool air swept briskly over his feverish skin and into his lungs.
The girl stared at him.
Forcing himself to look away, he sought a horse--any saddled horse. The poor creature he found looked wild and weary, but he felt the same. Mounting the horse, he lifted the unresisting girl in front of him. She curled back within his arms, saying nothing. He shook the reigns and galloped at a dreadful, startling pace through the surrounding city which should have been asleep at such an hour. None could sleep on such a night. Men cheered with the excuse to drink and celebrate, sing loudly in the street in drunken humors. Wine poured freely into the streets, compliments of the Terran king. Mothers shoed curious, sleepy children back into their beds. Thieves slipped happily through the crowds. The few who covered their faces with their hands, tears on their cheeks slipped away into the shadows and were not to be found.
Some looked to Gray in interest, noticing the silver-haired child peering over his arms. They backed away at Gray's stormy, furious expression and wildness of the horse. He unhooked his cloak and wrapped it over the girl to hide her from their stares. He left the city and veered away into the circling forest, only feeling greater desperation. When he dismounted, he dragged the girl off rougher than he intended. She cried out but fell silent again as he gripped her hand and took her deeper into the trees.
Then he hated himself for delaying the inevitable, for agonizing further. He fumbled with the hilt of his sword and then pulled it out with a smooth sliding noise, watching the girl closely. Her young eyes widened a fraction at the blade and her breaths quickened.
"I'm sorry," he said, voice hoarse and short. "I don't want to do this." He raised the sword, his own breaths ragged. He had braced himself for the child's eyes boring into his--accusing as he deserved--but they were simply stuck on the sight of the sword. Tears skimmed down her cheeks and her small chest heaved.
Moments dragged, his fingers white in their grip as his sword loomed above her. She just stood there, frozen as if a rabbit caught in the sight of its prey. Her strangled breaths and tears were like the sound of a deathly flood. He was already dropping his sword and wrapping his large arms around the terrified girl, tears on his own face. She trembled and shook in his embrace, but slowly her fingers curled over the course material of his uniform and she hugged him.
... ... ... ...
Serenity shifted in her curled sleeping position against the man's side. Her eyes blinked open from her dreamless sleep, her body waking to the steady jostling of the horses trot. She looked from under the cloak that hooded her silver head down a dirt road. She buried her head in the man's chest. "Are we almost there?" she murmured.
A thick gentle hand stroked her back. "Almost."
"I can't sleep anymore."
"I'm glad you slept that much. You needed the rest," he said.
Her eyes wandered to the striking blue sky of dawn. The trees were still dark, a morning mist in the air and crickets serenading from their havens, the coos of awakening birds joining in. "Are they nice people?"
"Very," Gray assured her. "They will protect you from any harm."
A small smile flittered across her lips. Her breathing was calm and steady. An untouchable pain still lodged inside her, flashes of the slaughters of her people in her mind's eye the sudden absence of her parents. But it wasn't so bad as before. Like awakening from a nightmare and realizing she was in her room. It was a tone of safety that wrapped around her, a soft whispering that said everything would be all right.
She turned her head to look at her hand that she pulled from the cloak that drowned her. A thought drifted in her mind, like a command to stone it didn't expect a response. Power threaded through her and she sat up in delight. A flame of fire tickled to life above her palm. A swirling breeze played with it. Drops of dew rose into the air like a slow, frozen rain that hung and glittered around them. A dance of lightning went about her fingers.
"It's back!" she whispered.
Gray balked at the wonders before him and looked at the girl as she marveled at the elements like lost friends returned.
"You... you can control all the elements?" he asked slowly, stunned.
The girl gave a careless shrug of her shoulders and the wonders around them ceased.
The horses had slowed to a stop on the road, no destination in sight. She sent him a questioning look at his baffled expression. And then it made sense to him. "That's why they wanted you killed," Gray murmured to himself. He shook his head and straightened his shoulders, giving a brisk flip of the reigns and gentle kick. The horse trotted forward.
Serenity leaned against Gray's and he wrapped his one arm securely around her. "Why do you think my power came back?" she asked.
"It was a spell. A horrible curse. It was to bind the powers of every Lunarian from dusk to dawn. The sun is rising and its claim is over." He felt like sputtering in rage and frustration. It wasn't over. Only a different binding would exist and hold the Lunarians in its grasp. "We are very near," he said gruffly.
Serenity watched the groves of apple trees that lined the dirt road, healthy trees with strong roots, lush green leaves, and the reddest and shiniest apples. The sky lightened to a grayish yellow with sun glinting through the trees. Her heart seemed to lighten with the day. And then they turned a corner and her eyes widened. A lovely manor house rolled into view. The stone of its walls reached high in grandness with rich slate roofs. Tiny vines and flowers crept up its side, as if this place attracted their sweet presence. Wide, ornate windows and balconies showed proudly.
Gray stopped the horse and dismounted and the child's fingers clutched at him fearfully. He stared into the worried expression, setting her down beside him. "Everything will be fine," he assured. He took hold of her hand as they walked up the steps to the cavernous oaken doors that gleamed in the morning light. He knocked hard on the wood, thundering pounds echoing in his wake.
After a bare moment the door opened to a beautiful woman with long curling black hair and warm hazel eyes, adorned in a rich burgundy dress. Gray sighed when he saw her, a release of breath as if letting go every sorrow he knew. "Luna, my sister. I am in need of you and your husband's mercy."
Luna's gaze danced on the girl by his side, but the scratchy gray cloak he had given her still hid her features. Luna turned and opened the door. "Come in, come in."
Serenity walked in by the prodding of Gray, hand clinging tightly to his. The interior of the house was just as inviting as its exterior, warm with earthen tones, flowers, and sun pouring in as a dusty yellow cloud.
"It is so good to see you again," Luna murmured as she hugged Gray and then dipped back. "And you have brought a precious visitor with you. What is your name?"
Serenity looked up into the kind eyes and found her nervousness fading. "Serenity."
Gray spoke up to Luna. "Perhaps you better call your husband."
"Oh yes." She turned her head to a corridor. "Artemis! My brother has come with a friend. Please join us."
There was a pause for a moment before footsteps could be heard. A handsome man walked in with a stride and posture to match any noble. He took off a slim pair of glasses, collapsing them and tucking them in his coat. Light brown hair pulled back into a stately ponytail that drifted down his back, a black leather headband wrapped around his forehand and tied in the back. His lips were just barely touched with an acknowledging smile, but his tired ice-blue eyes were kind. "Gray, it is good to see you again."
"As it is with me, Artemis," Gray smiled. "I only wish it were on better terms as this."
"This night has been a trying one," Artemis said simply and Gray nodded, head dipping in a weary defeat.
"The binding is over, but I fear that it will be even worse. They have imprisoned all the children," Gray conceded. "With the collars they have created, they fully intend on raising the next generation in slavery."
Artemis' eyes flashed briefly in anger but then his gaze took notice of the young girl.
Serenity peeked from under the hood, Gray's hand tightening over hers. "Now that you are both together," Gray began, "I must now explain the reason for my visit… I ask you to take this girl into your home. I do not know who else I can turn to or trust with her." And then he pulled back the cloak and Serenity's silver hair poured down, revealed along with a crescent moon that gleamed from her forehead.
Serenity's young nerves ricocheted as the man and woman looked at her with startled eyes.
Gray's head ducked down in shame. "I was--I was ordered to kill her."
Luna's hazel eyes melted in sadness and understanding. "I see."
He looked back up. "There is more. I didn't under why they wanted her dead, but while on the road here, her powers returned. It seems... she controls all the elements. Does that mean anything to you?"
Luna and Artemis' both grew pale and shared a look. They nodded but did not reveal what they knew.
"So will you protect her?"
Artemis was the one to step forward with a grim nod. "Yes, without hesitation." He paused and turned and crouched before the silver-haired girl, voice growing soft. "Serenity, is it?"
She nodded, staring at him with large eyes.
"Do you know why this house has compassion for Lunarian's? It is a secret, that if you live here, you shall also keep."
She shook her head.
Artemis watched her closely as he pulled a necklace over his head--a golden chain with an ornate charm. But it wasn't the necklace that caught Serenity's attention; it was his soft brown hair. The wood colored strands drained of its color like sand through someone's fingers until it was a pure silver-white.
Serenity gasped, eyes stretched wide. Artemis' artistic hands rose to his head and he took the leather headband away to reveal a golden crescent moon on his forehead.
"You see, Serenity, with this necklace I can disguise myself. I live as a Terran and am an important man in some of their affairs. No one but this household knows who I am. And the same will be for you if you wish to stay with us."
Serenity nodded with a small but definite voice. "I want to stay here."
And then Gray left with a kiss to her cheek and the woman, Luna, tucked Serenity's hands in hers.
First of all, thank you for reading this story--whether it's your first time or a reread. All of your comments and support makes writing this worthwhile. What good is a story if it isn't read? A few people have had even more impact writing this story. I thank Bunni, my dear online muse who was there to chat with me as I first talked about this story with her and we both got excited. Much of this story is the way it is because of her. She was my guide, brainstorm buddy, and editor. There have been so many people who have been beta readers, editors, and overall supporters for this story and I thank every one of them. A few among them has been Jana, Lady Solo, Msbubbles, and everyone I've badgered to look it over or complained about writers woes to. Recent addition has been Galaxia, who I owe a huge thank you to for having someone to talk to, brainstorm with, and push me back into writing this story!
AUTHOR'S NOTES --
Chapter Revised 7.08 Playlist www. playlist .com/node/40830093