Title: Karmesinrot Rache

Mission: 00 Prologue

Time: Kapitel, AU

Date: 07-10-2005

Disclaimers: Weiß Kreuz is owned by Koyasu Takehito and Project Weiß.

Pain flared through her bones each time she placed her bare foot on the sharp rocks of the mountains bordering her prison. She ran, ragged breaths bouncing in her lungs. She chose a moonless night to escape. The thick clouds aided her attempt by blocking what little starlight. Low branches whipped above her head, into the faces of her pursers. One thought in German, the language drilled into her mind until it replaced her native tongue, drove her on this frightened flight across stone, "I will not go back!"

Her faceless trackers were led by one formidable man. Masai Kanaca, leader of the Orakel faction, led the recovery unit to retrieve the most talented seer born to the blue planet in the last two centuries. Eszet would not take her escape lightly. The knowledge of the punishment awaiting her return was all the more reason for the child, a rail-thin girl no older than fourteen years old, to succeed in evading her hunters.

Rocky mountains ended two hundred meters ahead. Then the stone range would drop into a steep ravine. The bottom was cloaked in darkness, hiding a snaking river lined by grassy plains. Violent barking foretold the dogs were closing in. They caught up to her dirty, cracked heels. The men knew the geography as well as she did after living so close to the mountains. If she made it to the ravine, the river would take her scent away and possibly her dead body.

"Death is better!" she cried silently. She flung her aching body over the edge and waited for the ravine's waters to welcome her. Everything after that was wrapped in blessed darkness. When she opened stinging gray eyes, the current had deposited her on the sandy banks of a desert. The varied geography of the country would put Eszet's men in a fury after a day of tracking her.

She rested on her back until the sun dipped well below the horizon. Invisible chains weighed her burning limbs. Exhaustion added an extra blanket. But her mind was sharp, reaching for knowledge. Short lashes lowered over her sensitive eyes to guard against the sun's fading glare. She felt the water's drift brush against her body, taking parts of her soul away. When she had the energy to move, she stemmed off hunger by eating the leafy plants near the bank's edge, cringing at its slimy texture. Memories of her family were as bitter as her dinner. Before she pulled herself onto her feet and staggered on, going south through the desert, she filled her belly with water.

A week's trek through the desert tanned her beyond recognition. Her skin peeled in painful sheets despite her efforts to travel only at night. The girl licked dry lips with a dry tongue and tasted sand. Every pore of her body was mucked with it. She muttered to herself deliriously, just to hear her voice. Images swept against her skin, sinking into her mind. Visions mixed with memories and lies surfaced.

She'd been in Greece, Germany, and Russia. All those countries were part of Eszet's kingdom. They were countries she wouldn't ever feel safe in. Not with men like Kanaca alive. Or even people like her. People who saw the future and sense other minds should not exist. They were monsters and witches. Her family could no longer afford their lifestyle when the invaders monopolized the country's economics. Germany's soldiers marched in to take everyone's livelihood. Her country suffered damages lasting decades after the invasion. Inflation soared when leader after leader tried to take hold of the bank's money. People rioted and stole when food ran out. The famines wiped out thousands of lives. When their world fell apart, people became desperate.

"We can pay you for her." Kanaca offered solemnly inside her home.

Her eyes flew open to drown in the bright white sunlight. Violent waves of disgust rolled in the back of her throat. Poverty and inflation at the time had driven the family into making the decision. There was no other way to feed a family of seven. Kanaca's offer bit harder than an attempt to steal her. She swore on the day she left Greece, she would not cry for a family who willingly let her go.

She was transported to Germany on a crude freight train, packed beside Kanaca amidst many strangers like a piece of undesirable cargo. Rosenkreuz was the destination for the youngster with an uncanny Sight and a hidden talent as a Reader. She spent eight years inside the impenetrable walls of Rosenkreuz, sleeping on a pallet on the ground or in a luxurious bed beside one instructor or another. Eight years eating food with the taste like licking the streets of slums. After the initial conditioning and propaganda, Kanaca took her to the depths of Russia where Orakel thrived. A total of twelve years fighting the unbending will of Eszet resulted before she took her chances with the pagan gods out there. Those who enter Hell's mouth would change forevermore. She would change, but into what was the question.

"Monsters and witches," she muttered with a dry, sand-caked mouth. The girl walked on a prayer, following desperate hope. "Monsters—" she croaked brokenly, falling forward into cold sand. She rolled onto her back, eyes wide and pupils the size of pinpricks. A vision struck head-on until all other senses were blocked out. She tasted salt water from a cold ocean. Her body unconsciously reached for it, seeking moisture. A giant red witch waved her burning torch over her crowned head led slaves into her maw. In her other hand, she carried her archaic spell book tucked against her side. She stood erect on grand foundation. Letters were inscribed in the stone: ELLIS ISLAND. The witch inspired frightened awe in all those who laid eyes on her. "— and witches . . ."

When she awoke to the blistering heat of midday, she was determined to find the giant effigy in her vision. She vowed to tear apart the foundation of Eszet's kingdom like the monster they transformed her to be.