Hello there! This is my first-ever story here, though as of 17 August 2004 I've reformatted some of the chapters to clean things up. I have to say that big hiatus or no, the overwhelming response to this story amazes me. Thank you so much! And if you're reading this for the first time, hope you enjoy!
Summary: A shipwrecked, brash young sailor and a bitter runaway fisher's boy. They make for quite an unlikely pair. But on the lonely grey shores they are brought together, possibly for a higher design; at any rate, their meeting sets in motion a saga that will endanger both their lives, uncover the past, give rise to treachery and adventure, and ultimately have repercussions on a brewing civil war.
Disclaimer: I, Raven Nightstrider, fanfiction author, am in no way affiliated with Digimon, Toei Animation, Disney, Sensation Animation or any such copyright. I do not have their permission to write or publish this fiction based on their work. This fiction was written and published merely for the sake of literary creativity and enjoyment.
::Features Kouji and Zoë (Izumi)
::Will not contain the following: yaoi, yuri, lemon, rape
::Mild language (but lots of it)
::Implied child abuse
::Mature thematic elements
Gods Guide (because we all know how confusing deities can be)
Mistel: Queen Goddess of the pantheon—the boss of the other gods; there's no chief male god. Lady of Light, Ruler of the Sky and Gorothin's bitter foe according to local religion. Watches over the Realm of Dreams. Generally takes care of the Fate and Justice departments. Provides heaven/nirvana for holy souls.
Aunue: Goddess of the Sea; doubles as a fertility goddess. Sailors such as Zoë believe that she controls their fates in especial. Renowned for her volatile temperament due to the occurrence of fierce storms on the ocean. Allied with Soprotae, though it's a bit of a love/hate relationship.
Soprotae: Creator of the Lands. His realm (Earth), in the local religion, contains many sub-kingdoms divided into regions by terrain (deserts, forests, plains, etc.) governed by demigods that are all subject to his rule. Ally of Aunue, with whom he created the first fisherman (see 'Wayward' for reference). Animals are known as his children.
Gorothin: Lord of the Dead; not quite Satan, but still generally associated with damnation, especially in more rustic areas. Provides rest for average souls (under Mistel's supervision) and torment for evil souls: hence the Hells of Gorothin, Realms of the Damned, etc. Constantly at odds with Mistel according to local religion; some legends tell that he is a rebel god since reformed, but tension remains.
::All gods' roles are under ongoing development.::
Drifters in the Night Sky by Raven Nightstrider
The sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the shrieking of hungry gulls fought for leeway to spread through the ocean air, hanging heavy with monotonous gloom. The sun was veiled by a brooding shawl of clouds. Sullen sky and scowling waves conjoined at the horizon into a grey panorama of bland oblivion, broken only by the flapping of white seabirds' wings and a ragged being borne upon the shifting crests of the ocean.
The stout wooden plank bobbed helplessly on the liquid arms of slumbering Aunue, even as slim, dove-white fingers refused to release it from their death grip. The board gently dipped and rocked under the pressure of a still face and arms laid across its width; though neither did it tip its load nor sink. Jet-black pitch clung fast to the underside and barricaded the tendrils of water from seeping into the wood. It had been the highest-quality pitch for miles around.
Gulls wailed bleakly overhead, spreading news and rumor. From their lofty midair positions they gossiped and speculated in their own shrill speech, all gazing with their black-button eyes at the forlorn little thing floating in the surf. Their talk fell on unhearing ears.
The thing was slowly, but steadily drifting across the water, the waves gently nudging it little by little closer to shore. Aunue was probably moving it in her sleep. It seemed that all the gods were having a lie-in today.
Nay, cried a seagull who'd flown from afar. That thing below was no pale seal with golden kelp sprouting from its head, contrary to what several others claimed. This was one of those funny animals who walked about on two legs, were covered in feathers, fur and gods knew what else in every imaginable color, and sometimes lived on those strange objects that floated far out to sea, like giant seals.
As the birds started bickering about two-leggers and giant seals—rumor began running about one that had gotten stuck on a sharp, rocky outcropping and burst asunder—they paid no mind to the rumbling swoosh of gathering water beneath them. The sudden wake just barely missed submerging the motionless creature, instead picking it up and thrusting it a good distance toward the rocky coast. Apparently Aunue had just become aware of her unwitting burden, and was eager to dump it at Soprotae's feet and get rid of it in a hurry, as was evidenced in the swift currents speeding the thing to shore. She'd carried the poor wretch long and far enough.
The sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the shrieking of hungry gulls fought for leeway to spread through the ocean air, hanging heavy with monotonous gloom. The sun was veiled by a brooding shawl of clouds. Sullen sky and scowling waves conjoined at the horizon into a grey panorama of bland oblivion, broken only by the flapping of white seabirds' wings and a ragged being cast upon the colorless pebbles of the shore.
Salt water ran off her shoulders in sluggish trickles, dripping off the waterlogged rags that had could have once passed for clothes. White-gold hair fanned out beneath her head like bright sunrays dampened and quenched by the threat of rain. Her tresses, limp and running with ocean water, contrasted sharply with the dull stones and sand beneath her. Blue were the rims of pale, open lips; white was the damp, placid, closed-eyed face. The white of death.
And deathly white were the strong bare arms and slender hands that still clutched the wooden plank. Even as she lay unknowing of time, she hung on to the only possession she had left—the only friend to one forsaken by the gods and the world.
The sharp sting jabbing his ankles as his bare feet slapped the uneven ground only spurred him on. If he kept going like this, soon he'd never have to run across these uneven tussocks of dirt again. He would be leagues upon leagues away from here. He'd be somebody. That lout he called father would never lay his hands on him, ever. The throbbing bruise on his right cheekbone was slowly dulling into a small ache, but that latest outburst would be the last he'd suffer through, gods will it. If he was just tough enough to keep running—if he could take whatever Soprotae threw at him, and he damn well would—in time enough, he would be free. He would never have to silently endure his father's temper, or have his mother just slap him and turn away, or nearly break his back hauling in nets sagging with reeking, soggy fish, or—
His foot caught on a tough-stemmed batch of weeds poking obscurely out of the gravelly sand, and he choked back a small gasp as pain lanced through his already smarting ankle. He stumbled, barely managing to regain his balance, and slowed to a limping trot to reach down and nurse his knifing joint. He would take whatever the unpredictable god of the lands might hurl at him, sure, but there was no sense in killing himself if the whole objective was to start a new life. He knew better than to snatch the boat—not only would it give his father cause to chase him, but Aunue was getting unpredictable and would probably just swallow him up.
However, a minor grievance like this was no excuse to stop either. Willing his whining ankle to just shut up and endure, he picked up the pace once again. It was best to keep to the dirt hills running parallel to the beach; it was much easier to run on than the gravelly stretch of sand massaged by the tides. Keep following the coastline south, though, and he should be heading straight for the port of Aepia—and he'd be someone…
All that mattered at the moment was to put as much distance between himself and… that place before dawn.
That place. He no longer had a home. The hovel he'd shared with his parents and called 'home' never really had been for him. He belonged on his own ship, under the stars on the high waves; not a little shack on the dunes containing naught but two pallets and misery. As far as he was concerned, the past fourteen or so years had been struck from the records altogether. He'd take orders from no one but himself—
The hairs on the back of his neck suddenly prickled. There were footsteps—barely detectable patters on the ground—but he could hear them. Behind him. Trailing him. His father? It couldn't be… both his parents had been sound asleep when he left; he'd double-checked. Sweat trickled down his spine in rivulets, and his breathing hitched just slightly as he threw himself into a dead sprint. No. No! All this work, all this effort to follow his dreams, to be free… He couldn't, he'd never go back. Never. That had been no life, just a daily existence of perpetual toil and despair. It wasn't worth it. He was never returning, by his own will or another's. He would rather hurl himself into the waves and sink into Aunue's dark, eternal embrace…
He slowed down just one step and chanced a glance behind him. As the realization began to dawn on his panicking mind, his hair whipped around from the sudden turn and slapped the side of his neck. The stinging on the soft skin drove it home: he was probably being paranoid. What little light was provided by the brittle sickle moon revealed no footprints on the ground; it was impossible for any pursuer to conceal himself even behind the tiny hillocks. And anyhow, what reason did anyone—even his father—have for hunting down a worthless shore-rat such as himself?
He shook himself mentally as he slowed to a walk. Right now he was nothing—a runaway fisher's boy in search of a better existence. But he just had to keep going. If he wanted it badly enough—and by sacred Aunue, he did—he'd push hard enough to make himself a life worth living.
Gemmani Girl: Hey, thanks for the encouragement! I hadn't really thought that people would like it so quickly. You have my promise that I will continue working it. Yes, it would have been much wiser to put the deities explanation at the top; I was kind of caught up in the excitement of finally arriving at FFN as an author, not a lurker and didn't think too carefully. Sometimes I can act appallingly moronic, sorry. (looks sheepish) As for the job… I think you saw at the top how (un)well that went. (hangs head in disgrace)
Akino Ame: I read your review and was flattered speechless. You do not know how glad I am to know that you like my first attempt at writing an actual good Digimon fic—particularly since reading With Broken Wings is what pushed me to finally get an FFN account in the first place. :-) Although I think Kouji and Izumi make a very nice pair, I must agree with you. I don't like reading pure romance fictions, and the few that I have read—involving any couple, not just Kouzumi—have very little substance or plot to them. They were a pain to read, quite frankly. I kept searching for a decent Kouzumi adventure plot not long after starting this story, to look for a sort of reference point to compare my work to, and I kept turning up diddly-squat. No surprise then that I jumped for joy upon finding With Broken Wings. Seriously, it is just about the only great Kouzumi I have read on this site. Thank you for writing it—it's a very enjoyable and captivating read! :-) I'm flattered that you think I have such potential. I'll try to live up to it!
Lonely Angel of Light: Glad you liked the prologue! I hope you'll like the rest just as much, once I have it up.
wand3ringspirit: I know, it's a bit slow at first. There won't be all that much action in the beginning, but don't worry, the angst really picks up in Chapter 4 and there will be action/suspense immediately after. I'm not saying anything else. ;-) [Edit: I actually type everything up as a Word document and save it as a webpage. But if you want to know how to use HTML tags, you can find tips on 's FAQ, or just do a quick Google search.] [Edit: YES, the rest of the Frontier crew will be making appearances in the series. However, don't look for them anytime soon.]
Overall, thanks for the wonderful support! It keeps me going. Any who haven't read/reviewed yet, dropping me a review never hurts… ;-)