Note: All of the characters that you recognize are the property of Tecmo, (as much as I wish that some of them were mine ... mainly …Uh .. ahm .. nothing.) and the rest are mine! Mine! My Precious! ( ignore me ...) Anyway, this story's about my favourite fighting goddess - Kasumi! YAY! Ok, the setting is simple. It begins right after the Ninja Chase at the end of DOA3. By the way, I would rate this at a PG 13 level or maybe more. There is little bad language and no mature situations, at least not yet anyway. What you will see here is only the prologue. And ummmm … please bear with me all of you Kasumi lovers … heheh. Kasumi, to me, does not have a nice life. So this fiction will deal with that a bit more … Hey, I mean it is about Kasumi after all.

So if you do disagree with me … well feel free to scream at me. (Heh .. that might make me change my views about Kasumi a bit )

See what you think and pleeeeeeeeeeeasssssse give me a review. I've got great ideas and would love to pen more up, so please R&R. Enjoy!

Lord Folken (...yours truly :))

Update: Just a few changes, touch up an' all. The newest chapter will be up soon! Thanks to all of those who have reviewed. I shall thank you all personally in the third chapter! Till then! Laters!


Prologue: The White Road, Black Wings and Red Warmth

"The road that I turn to is one of suffocating white and dark. The road that I leave behind me is life's blood red and still dark."

Lithin al Goros, "Illusions"

The white moon peered at the unnaturally dark forest beneath. Her silvery beams caressed the treetops with a lover's first touch, too quick to properly illuminate anything, but tarried long enough to reveal minute details. A light breeze fluttered through leaves on the trees, the rustling startlingly loud in the silence, blowing them against their own will to stay still. The breeze was unwelcome in this forest … quiescent seemed not be a rule but a need.

The night wraiths flitted across gaunt tree barks in slithering shadows, not sure whether it was the shadows that beckoned them or the innate want to slink behind the jumbled outgrowth. The scavengers that infested the forest stood still or lay unmoving, their eyes open but unseeing. The scene was nightmare, and the living figures caught within the web, its ghoulish victims. Too far from the sparsely inhabited region to the north, and just too full of myth to be inhabited anymore.

No human ever came this way, and that it self was the reason for the wraiths restlessness. Now there was just one … atop a tree limb high in the twisted tree.

For the lone figure though, for her - this was a scene of utter peace. A sanctuary against her relentless pursuers, trailing her through the endless days and through the dread of the nights. If she could smile, if she could lift her tired muscles in one helpless gesture, then she would have done so. Hinata-chan had always claimed her smile brightened up the room she was in, and if that were true … she glanced at the deep shadows draping the scenery around her, things truly needed a bit of brightening up. But right now … she did not even have that much strength. The lack of which left her head bowed atop her drawn knees, chest heaving in the silence of the night, breath rattling in her lungs.

The sparse moonlight slid across her lithe but small body, as she lay bundled in a semi comatose state, her body scrunched into a small ball. Shiny red-brown in the silver moonlight, her silken hair had fallen open, staining crimson her once white and perfect silk stockings, enclosing her long, lithe legs. Once they had been immaculately clean, now they were stained with red blood and numerous punctures of varying sizes marred the entire length of it. Her blue ninja Gi was not in much better condition. The wounds, the state of her clothes, proclaimed louder than her silence the pain the young woman had endured.

A sharp breath, and then another deep one … followed by a quavering sigh. Slowly, her desperately heaving chest came to a rest, her small body still quivering in the aftereffects of her mad rush through the tangled, broken woods that lay behind her. The shaking continued for sometime before they too faded away. For a moment there was absolute immobility from the figure, no twitch of the overworked muscles, no tremble, nor any motion from her tired chest. Her head was still bowed onto her pulled in legs.

The Tsuba Yume-ipo it was called, she dimly recalled - to call upon the calming winds of the Northern God. It was supposed to clear the mind, which she needed much of now, still the cravings and pains of the body, heal any wounds. One of the greatest secrets of the Tenken-tenshin techniques - one of the hardest to master, and harder still to perform even when one was at their peak strength.

All the criteria she did not meet. Not that the thought ever crossed her mind - she knew without a doubt that she could still perform it even in her weakened state, the possibility of failure not even occurring to her. Nor did the thought, that of the possible dozen still living Shinobi's, she was the youngest ever to have mastered it. Her head twitched finally after the wounds underneath the red stains had more or less closed, her body shuddering - despite the rigid control - from the withdrawal of an incredible adrenaline surge. A fair indication of the bare nineteen years of her life.

A dry sigh escaped the young Kunoichi's lips as she finally withdrew her head from knees, letting it fall back as she stared up at the vast dark green canopy covering the night sky. So mother moon shone on her did she … hnmmm? She was thirsty though … wasn't the Yume-ipo supposed to still that?

Oh well … she popped one eye closed, her lips twitching up in a whimsical promised smile. There … now she could … rest.

She closed both her eyes and took deep steadying breaths, filling her lungs, trying to remember exactly where she was now. It was incredibly important if she was to stay alive. One mistake and her pursuers would be on her like a pack of wolves out for blood. She shuddered and shook her head, as she clasped her arms around her. Once again she glanced up at the sky, her hair fanning out behind her.

Slowly she slid down the tree limb, her back sliding down the rough bark of the trunk until she was very neatly lying on the long overhanging tree limb. Still gazing up, she was finally able to make out a small glimmer peaking out from the thick foliage, it's maiden light touching the edges of her flawless face.

It had been another such night like this she thought, when she had been brutally attacked as she lay half-asleep. She was a fool to even rest here. Every moment she spent not running brought her half an inch closer to the reapers blade - or that of a Kodachi for that matter, she mused wryly.

Kodachi…! Father would be proud!

After all, I was always after his…! And now…!

At that sudden thought she laughed out for the first time in months, the sudden emotion causing her to throw back her head and clutch her sides.

"Ahahhah … hnmmmmmmgfffhhh… hahhhh!"

She swayed precariously on the branch. Her laughter, a silvery tinkle, rang across the silent woods startling the nocturnal beings out of their dazed gloom. For several moments her wild laughter continued, peal after peal echoing across the small clearing. Her small form shook from the suppressed mirth, one of her long graceful legs dangled from the tree limb, her chest silently heaving in rhythm.

She hid nothing in that laughter, she didn't have to hide anything now; it was just an emotion that had erupted from the very core of her heart. The joy of laughter after all these dreary months, Oh God ... it had been so long…when have I laughed out so

The answer didn't matter, but she was glad her spirit could still take joy when it came, and laugh at the sheer pleasure of it.

But then caution caught up again and she smothered her laughter regretfully, some giggles slipping out before she brought out one hand to touch her lips and the other propping her securely on the narrow beam.

Kodachi indeed! She shook her head, the shiny brown tresses flying across her face in an amber shower. The last echoing silvery tinkle faded away and once again her face was half-hidden by the silky curtain of loose hair.

How did it come to this? How was this right, when she had to smother the thing that she considered so pure - so right? To always sheathe that which was most valuable to her…The laughter, the joy gone now, vanished, even nature aided it to fade away … it never lasted. Such was her life, a fantasy never long enough to savour ... always repeating the same mistakes, the same flaws.

Her face creased with a look of deep sorrow, and a sudden, unbidden tear leaked past her shiny brown eyes. Streaked through her smooth face and then slipped into her lips.

Salty. That was what Mother had said when she had cried on her sixth birthday … just as Father pressed into her hand the Kodachi that even now she wore across the small of her back.

Father ... it had been so long. So very long since she had even been able to think of him. His green blue eyes, his deep voice. In his smile she was strong, in his words her comfort. And ... Mother... she had left behind. The love in those eyes ... her mother, the one who cheered herself silly every time a little Kasumi would spar with her opponents. The one who would reach out every time she even so much as stumbled. The look on her face as she reached out her girlish arms to accept the Kodachi ... was one of utter pride.

And there was with them…

Her breath caught and her head jerked forward.

Nii-sama … Hayate … was there as well, standing with the others, smiling she remembered, as she took the blade from her father's hand. For a moment they touched, her small hand dwarfed by his big battle scarred ones - result of various duels, then he handed her the blade and half drew it.

"A simple blade, dear one," her father said in his usual laconic voice, eyes twinkling. "It can save a life. At least now you won't be after me any more to borrow mine own right?" And then general laughter broke out as her mother enfolded in her in a tight embrace, her warm voice whispering in her ears.

"You have grown my little one." Her eyes had been bright with unshed tears.

Not understanding then, she had reached out one hand to touch her mother on the lips, trying to put her mind on ease. "Don't worry Mother, I'm not going anywhere," worried that her mother feared that now she would go away.

Her mother's reply was a low cry as she clasped her tighter. For a moment they stood like that. Then she straightened and joined her father wrapping her arm around him, and they both beamed down at her. Her parents concluding the ceremony.

Memories of the past … pictures of her faded past … so dear, so far.

She had looked around, searching for one more member of her beloved family. Her pale-haired younger friend. Her quite, serious, constant companion as always dressed in black, her red eyes staring at her without even seeing her. She raised her hand a bit hesitantly and waved to her. Ayane's face did not change. Little Kasumi's hand stopped at a middle wave and slowly slid down. Just as she was about to call out to her, she saw her silent shadow, her constant unsmiling companion, raise her own little hand in reply, her face grave. She had nodded once at Kasumi. It was impossible to be sure, but even now, in this dreary dark forest she clearly remembered the look on her sister's face. In those dark eyes resided a look of calm respect, but at the same time they shone with an odd glimmer mixed of admiration and challenge. And then…

Her grasp quivered on the limb, the spasm travelling up her arm.

And then came the wind to rip apart her life, to set in motion the road she had taken. Broken one fiction to start another in stark reality. Why? She never did know.

The love of that moment? It was just there to hide the truth. Love always did that … no matter how painful.

It was there on that night she had learned the darker, the true nature of the Shinobi, the hidden secrets of her family. She had learned what she really was a part of, of what she was growing up to be - and her dreams shattered before image. The constant training, the camaraderie filled sparring was just a prelude to the reality. The harsh reality - the ease of murder, and the emptiness of death.

It was the first step in the harsh code of Shinobi. She watched with horror as one of the onlookers in the ceremony jumped up screaming, seemingly appearing out of nowhere right in front her, his face a mask of death that even now woke her out of her darkest dreams. A face … so full of hatred.

Before any of others surrounding her could react, his mouth frothing, the intruder swung down the dagger held in his fist at the little girl - standing at the height of his knees. Faster than her thoughts could follow she reacted, just as she had been trained to do. Amidst the horror laid gasp from the onlookers, she had unsheathed the new Kodachi, it's sheath falling to the ground. She flipped it up and caught it again, holding hilt so that the edge swung outwards. Letting the same motion carry on, she intercepted the murderous point of the dagger seeking her heart - her other arm flashing out behind as a counter balance, then bent at the elbow as she forced down dagger. Still continuing on the swing, she leapt up to deliver a smashing blow to the unprotected side of his head - her elbow connecting without fail.

It was over.

He went down in a dead heap, his dagger clattering uselessly at Kasumi's feet. Kaiten Kenpo. Perfect Defense and perfect Offense. All of it occurring within a space of two heartbeats.

The beginning of her path…

What followed laid down her life in it's path, a road of blood tinged only in the edges with brief glitter of happiness - hope, and the rest dappled with the black of death and pain. And the first person to show her that path had been … Father. Her father quite calm, had come up to her, his face a mask of cold fury. He first knelt down on the ground in front of her to ask in a quite voice if she was unharmed, she pipingly replied she was. Then she heard the heartfelt cry of her mother as she dashed up and caught her by the shoulders, crushing her close.

"Mother its all right. Really, I am all right." The little Kasumi now turned around to try and comfort her distraught mother, trying her best to convince her that she was fine. But at the same time she couldn't help but watch out of the corner of her eyes as Father picked up the fallen dagger and began to approach the fallen man.

He grabbed the slowly awakening murderer brutally by the front of his black ninja outfit and pulled him up from his feet. Then his face not even changing, he drove his doubled fist into the ninja's stomach repeatedly, the blows reverberating in the shocked silence. The blows shocking her into silence. The man in his grasp twisted pitifully to unlock himself from the hands that held him so, his own hands trying ineffectually to break the iron grip. He then doubled over with a gasp as the fist slammed into his gut harder, red blood starting to seep out from the corners of his white lips in the already pale face.

The spittle of blood marking the path in front of her.

For the first time that night the little Kasumi understood what she had done in knocking out the man who had tried to kill her. The little girl with the Kodachi still clasped in her hand turned to look at her mother still clasping her … who was watching the brutal beating of the man held in her father's arms. Horrified at what she saw there.

She was staring into someone she didn't recognize! Her mother's face held a savage expression. This … was her crinkle-eyed mother who served her pastries with a smile? She incredulously turned to look around the gathered assembly, assuredly someone would stop this atrocity. The little brown head revolved to her brother and found no hope there as well. His face and the others around him were only filled with revenge and a grim satisfaction. How quickly did love and joy cease to be … how quick was the change! She stumbled back into her mother's arms and for a moment the look of satisfaction was broken by concern. This finally broke her out of the disbelieving reverie. Tearing herself free from her mother's restraining arm, ignoring the stunned look on her face, she tripped forward to her father. Just as he raised another fist to slam into the now near unconscious man.

"Father! Father ... Stop! Please Stop! Aya! This is ... this is wrong! Father please stop!" little Kasumi stumbled to a stop in front of her father's impassive face. Slowly, her gaze never leaving his, she reached up with two small hands, placing them on his doubled fist bringing it down slowly. He lowered the beaten man to the ground, staring at the small trembling form before him.

"Ayame. Please take Kasumi and Ayane out of here. I think it's time for an object lesson here, as well as I think it is not the time for them to learn it yet." He turned back to his dreadful contemplation of the crumbled figure he raised up by one hand.

She barely remembered how her mother had come up behind, dragging Ayane's pouting form behind her. She did not even remember her mother urgently calling her name. She was numb with shock. She could not believe what she had just heard. She could not make her herself believe that the harsh words that she had just heard had come from her father's mouth. She stared at the unknown man who held the pathetic ninja up in front of her.

She felt her mother tugging her arm urgently but she ignored her. Slowly her father's eyes swiveled back towards her. And her sweet world collapsed. Her big warm father, her best friend, her very life died before her eyes. Those were not the melting blue eyes she knew, so much like her own. They … they couldn't be one and the same. They were horrible glassy mirrors reflecting the soul of a true Shinobi - a Shinobi that she was the daughter of, the Shinobi that she was to become. And in the next instant she knew the fate of the broken man held in her father's grip.

She let herself be pulled away, but never taking her eyes off him for a moment, as if just by looking she could stop what was about to pass the moment they were out of sight. She vaguely remembered the sorrow on her brother's face as he gazed at her, and the blank look on her sister's pale face. Then she heard the death cry of the black ninja. A scream that shook her with a chill like from the far north. So cold … A groan and then the dreadful silence broken by a loud dead and dull thump of a body falling.

End of the line …end fantasy and begin the truth…

Kasumi shivered atop the tree limb. Once again rolling to a ball, drawing her knees up to her head, clasping her arms around herself to stop the shivering. The past…all the love she had were only still images, frozen, but not so for the horror. That wasn't the end... merely the beginning of her road. Was she weak for not enjoying a kill! Weak, because she chose to believe in honor?

Stop kidding yourself! You know what had happened before you even blocked that first cut. Violence! Cruelty! Savagery! It is in your blood. You boil with it. You burn in it! Your blood seethes with it! Don't forget those glassy mirrors of your father's!

Kasumi's breath sped faster and faster, and her body shook as she clasped her arms tighter. How could she forget the mirror! She would always remember that look, wishing she did not. Gagging, she leaned forward … dry sobs heaved themselves out of her painful chest. Her bowed head hurt, seemingly pounding hard enough to burst. God! What did I ever do to have this! All I have ever done is … She tried shutting her mind, not that it did any good - no calming techniques now came to her. All I ever did was … I did nothing. The blood throbbed in her temples ... blood ... her blood. She let out another dry sob as her own words came back to her. Violence in my blood... She could not deny it ... it had been bred into her.

Stop fooling yourself!

That glassy mirror she had gazed into reflected only the truth.

That is you in all your beauty. The Gorgon it flaunts is you!

No! No! She cried now, tears spilling from over-flowing eyes, her thoughts torturing her over and over again.

The shadow that it casts is your soul! The truth that it reflects is you. Fourteen years you gazed into the mirror! You cannot look away from it! You dare not look away from it!

The orange tresses quivered as she desperately shook her head, trying to deny it with her very soul. Her whole body cried that she was not like that. She could not be like that. She couldn't! But still her mind dredged up images from her training: the brutal harsh training her family had administered her. Special rooms, special scenarios…The training, grounds of combat ... the darkened room ... the cold chamber …black wings.

Hunh! Black and black. Black wings inside her mind.

So black...

She stopped thinking all of a sudden. This time when she raised her head, her face was devoid of colour. She shook her head so violently that some shiny brown strands fluttered off into the dark night. What was that! What were they...! Black wings rose from the hell pits of her mind again.

A trove of repressed memories, so many cruel agonies, atrocities committed ... the pain ... the shame ... and oh … the pain! She cried out a desperate plea and tottered dangerously on the tree limb.

"What ... what was that ... that? I can't see! What ... what was that!" She screamed despairing, not even knowing why she did so. Her hands flew to the sides of her head pressing with urgent need against her temple. Her body quivered with a nervous energy, her eyes wide and unfocused as she fought against those suffocating black wings.

What was this inside her…? Why couldn't she remember! Where did it come from…?

Her thoughts careening all over each other, she clenched her fists digging them into her skin, trying to look past all those black feathers in her mind, which were ... eating her thoughts ... blocking her mind ... hiding something she had buried ...

No. NO. NO! Not she... Again a heartfelt cry tore itself out of her pitifully shaking form. She stumbled forward into a kneeling position, one hand splayed across her face, and the other over her pounding heart.

At a tiny corner of her mind, a consciousness that always stood awake knew something terrible had awakened within her. Some terrible memory that had been buried in her mind for so long had been reawakened somehow. A secret ... A ...a horrible shame, she desperately thought. She tried again with a low cry, trying to blast her way past those suffocating, yet illusive black wings.

Tears continued to pour as she strained, pushed beyond all caring as she screamed out desperate pleas to the uncaring immortal forest. "Please someone make this stop! Please make this pain stop...please!" she sobbed.

Kasumi clenched her eyes shut. Pain would help! The fingers across her face tightened - agony bursting through her head. No! No ... she denied as more and more black wings fluttered through her mind, slyly revealing a grotesque image and then concealing it again. Torturing her. No! No! Her screams turned hoarse.

A flashing knife at her back ... that voice! ... An ugly scarred face leering at her ... rose and fell again.

Wait!

"No! I... I... No! Damn you. Damn you! Damn you...!" she gasped trying to draw in a breath. "No! No, please! ... That did not happen! ... didn't happen. I was not ... He did ... No! Not that! I could not have been such... No Father please ...please don't leave me!" Her voice rose louder and louder, great wracking sobs filling the terrifying gaps. She no longer even cared about her cover.

Hell with cover! She wavered on her knees almost falling off in the process, trying yet again with all her mind to forget or try to remember, she couldn't determine which.

It can't have been…! No ... Why couldn't she remember! Those damned black wings ... No, she moaned.

"Ah, no more!"

Her mind refused to listen – once awoken, the dam remained open.

A distant hurt scream. So alone … so hurt! A child's! Hers!

Kasumi sobbed in pain, each sob sending trembling waves through her body; those filthy wings, so damn filthyso rotten… revealed more and more and hid so much more. Images so violent, so horrible, so utterly foul that she shrieked in an effort to forget them again.

The dry sobs returned, shaking her body even more viciously. She had cried herself out now, but couldn't glean any more from her tortured mind. But she needed to … she had to! Her mind … it hid so much, so foul…! She ached to reveal whatever festered in the black pits of her mind. She wanted to know more than to ... to ... even live! She howled in misery, opening her dilated brown eyes and lay face down on her tree limb and began pounding on it. Punctuating each bloody hit with a sound halfway between a rasping sob and a scream.

Pain would have to help…!

Even then the squealing black wings wouldn't reveal anymore of the terrible truth that she had hidden from herself - all these years. A truth that she had to know now to maintain her sanity. Why hide something so vile... why? WHY!

"Please help me..." she moaned, as she twisted and then suddenly fell off, landing on the ground hard, one side going instantly numb. She hadn't even made an attempt to land as she had been trained.

Train! Training…! What DID she have inside…! Show me what's hidden … please … please …PLEASE! She slumped where she had fallen, her body curled in a fetal position, brown hair spread on the ground beside her. Her bloody fists were gathered at her mouth, wet eyes staring off aimlessly as she whimpered in pain, body twitching uncontrollably.

Were those eyes had been paying attention, they would have noticed many pairs of eyes glaring at her stricken form at the base of the tree. She would have certainly noticed as one of them made a curt cutting signal with his hand, and another slowly pulling out a Shuriken. The leader smiled to himself. So this was Kasumi, the one who would have been their leader once - crying like a hurt girl-child. She would be dead soon, very soon. Shinobi! Hah! She was nothing but a disgrace to their clan. Hayate-sama would honor them well tonight. They were twenty strong and she but one, and as far as he knew she had never killed anyone with that useless looking Kodachi at her back. And she was in no condition to retaliate anyway … he wondered what happened to her.

He winced in pain as another shriek echoed from the quite visibly suffering girl. He had watched her fall off suddenly from the tree limb that she was resting on. He did not know what had happened, but from the looks of it she had just barely managed to escape from another such patrol as theirs. The others hadn't thought she might enter these cursed woods … but he had. He smirked as he offered his unknown helpers thanks. She would be easy prey.

Little knowing how wrong he was.

The small figure shook as if caught in a chill, another mindless shriek escaping her mouth. Kasumi lay in misery - her body trembling from terrible sobs, made more painful that no tears would come to release the pain inside of her. None of the pain would ever be released from within her! She would burn with it even as she died ... even when a cold blade slid into her ... A blade that would end it all…One hand unconsciously crept across her back to clasp the Kodachi's cool hilt. Her mind not registering the fact that her unconscious instinct had spied the now rapidly approaching black ninjas.

But she couldn't … care. She did not care. She had to know why she couldn't remember what had happened to her, whose horrible face that was. Once more she screamed as the clinging black wings arose with a jolt of pain. She opened her wet eyes to stare into her adversary's grinning face.

The scarred face … who are the HELL ARE YOU!

She watched as one of them slowly unsheathed his Katana. She watched it slowly rise in front of her. Rise. The black wings rose once more and she whimpered in pain again. No! She wouldn't die … she couldn't die here! She had too much left to know still…! She had to know why those black feathers blocked her ... why they tortured her!

And they were trying to take it away from her! Those infernal black wings would remain closed to her! No! NO! She ... Kasumi drew her Kodachi from it's sheath, hidden from view. She would not... the upraised blade gleamed in the soft moon light, she would not let them ... watched the katana readying to thrust towards her unprotected chest…

WOULD NOT LET THEM TAKE HER NOW!

She snarled, tears finally spilling down her cheeks, and hurled the blade into throat of the one holding the katana - the force of the blow making him stagger back. She leapt from her miserable huddle, screaming as she spun around on her right heel and smashed her left one against the second Shinobi's face, feeling the bones crumble under the strength of the blow. Then jumped up with her remaining foot, crushing his face with her knee. His neck broke before she even landed on the ground. The other Shinobi tumbled across her and she savagely grabbed her Kodachi where it was sticking out of his throat and tore it out - the wet wrenching crack resounding in the stillness. The others stood stunned, their faces aghast at the speed and savagery displayed by a girl they had thought helpless.

Kasumi crouched on the dry ground, one hand spread on the ground, testing her stability and the other holding her Kodachi out by her side. She hissed ferally, ... Why couldn't the damned black wings lift? Why! She silently screamed and raged ... her breath streamed out in the now slightly chill air. She watched the remaining Shinobis fan out cautiously. She could smell blood. All red in front of her. Warm. So warm … that it burned! Her brown locks, spotted red now, fluttered in the night wind.

She would know what was behind the Black wings, she sobbed. What was being barred to her…! She would! And she would not let them take it away ... she would kill every last of them! The crouching form snarled viciously as it darted headlong into the closest group of ninjas, her Kodachi smashing against a rolling front cut from her opponent. Her other arm flashed to catch a raised arm holding a dagger. She growled and unlocked her Kodachi viciously, throwing it up and causing the other man to stumble back. She spun around, driving the enemy's own dagger into the face of the unsteady Shinobi. She screamed again as she twisted the dagger out, warmth splashing across her face and chest...

Why the Hell will you not lift! Damn you! I want to see what you have blocked out! DAMN YOU!... still screaming she flipped over another charging body and kicked back ... damn you, I will see - she sobbed hysterically ... and heard his neck snap. That face ... she gasped... that hideous grin ... No! No! That did not happen! No! NOOOO! Another shrill cry pierced the night, as she caught her falling Kodachi - slicing open the throat of the first Shinobi, stabbing the next one through the neck and ripping her blade out the back. She landed on top of another, her legs entwining about his neck as she rolled forward, snapping his neck ... she cried as she heard the same distant scream, the black wings choking her … smothering her ... and spun around snarling to block a thrown Shuriken.

Her chest heaved with unbroken sobs. She shook her hair, red droplets splattering around her. ... This pain I cannot bear, she cried - tears spilling into her cupped hand. What is behind those doors, why can I not see? Why do I hurt so much, why cannot I remember? Why! WHY? Kasumi tilted her head to the night sky and howled out her grief; then lowering it, still crying, she charged the rest of them.

She buried her Kodachi to the hilt in the back of one, cutting off his scream of pain as she twisted his neck all the way around. Red blood flew. Burst in crimson fountains through the brutal slices in one body … spurting everywhere…

More…!

More! Until nothing lived! No one would live. Kill them all! All! She saw nothing but her flashing silver blade, her hands and feet, as they ripped apart the lives of the score that had been foolish enough to try and kill her. I won't let them! Damn the Wings. Damn you ! ... Black wings, Damn you! Show me more! Another died as her arms bent and elbowed him through his skull, and then felt her arm being caught by yet another Shinobi. Why the hell won't you open for me! What have I done! … Why! Why so deaf to my pleas? Damn You!

Black wings still fluttered unsteadily... she knifed her hand across his face her nails dripping ... Damn you! Burn in hell! She sobbed. I MUST know!

But they still fluttered … twisting she kicked her right heel into the gut of a charging black ninja, the leg still moving up over the doubled man, to crash against his unprotected neck.

I must! ... flipping the staggering Shinobi she had knifed across the face over her knee, she spun the bleeding Kodachi underhand and beheaded him.

I will know what happened to me she whimpered, dry heaving throbbing through her chest. Black down flickered and shifted once more ... a door! She knew that door! Somewhere…! Darkened room ... harsh voices ... pain exploding down her back, a child screamed, she had screamed, she screamed now … once again the black feathers dropped.

No wait! ... No, that wasn't me! It … it couldn't have been me. That did not ... could not have happened ... no ... Kasumi panted as she spun around and caught the downward thrust of a blade on her own ... I HAVE to know what happened to me! DAMN YOU!... flipped over his head and delivered a lighting fast kick, driving his head into a tree, a sharp crack echoing across the night. She landed straight with her legs underneath her and stood stock still for a moment, her eyes closed.

It was over. A score of men dead within seconds.

Blood was everywhere. It slicked down her face, down her Gi, between her breasts, smeared red across her arms, legs and thighs. Wet. The warm trickles coursed down her heaving chest. Red was everywhere. Everywhere

The wings shed so many more feathers, so black … suffocating her completely ... She ... she was loosing!

Please! I must know, she implored, lifting her head brokenly and raising her bleeding hands in mute appeal. What happened to make me so ... who did…

The Kodachi dropped from her nerveless hands. A final tired sigh escaped her lips. Her arms uselessly slid to her side and her glossy red tinged hair dripped down her body. She took a few tottering steps to her tree, stumbling once and then fell face flat to the ground. There was no motion from the crimson drenched figure draped across the blood-blackened loam.

Kasumi knew she couldn't last anymore. She was too tired ... too exhausted to even open her eyes ... she just wanted to lie here ... and just ... di ... Wait … she had to know what was lurking in her mind ... had to make one last attempt. She shook her head painfully, trying to lift it one more time. The wings flapped once more. A child screaming in the dark room ... pain ... so much pain... too much to endure... and fell forward again to lie still, the last breath escaping her parted lips in another sigh ... she couldn't bear it any longer ... so ... much pain...and the darkness ... now complete, not flickering ... nor fluttering. Just dark...

"This is you Kasumi, the Gorgon within."


P.S. Okay. This took longer than I thought it would. Probably because of my school work. I made the prologue intentionally depressing and have already started the next chapter. Just stay in tune. And oh yeah, I'll try and make the next chapter as light as possible - wont be too light though (unless of course I get a great idea). Oooohh I can't wait to write more about Kasumi. Don't worry the whole story won't be depressing. I've a few surprises coming up and will reveal them time coming. As to why Kasumi is in this mess … well you'll see! All will be revealed in times to come - what was in her mind, why she lost it - all. So you just gotta wait. But please review as I would love to hear anything from you. Just don't scream at me toooo loudly (grins). Till next time . See ya.

Lord Folken (your truly :) )