AN: This first chapter is kind of a teaser. I have multiple other stories to finish first, so I post now, to return to it later. All is outlined and planned, but not yet written. So feel free to tell me exactly what you think, though this chapter is more of a set-up than anything else. I don't own Magic Knight Rayearth. They are the property of the manga goddesses known as…CLAMP.

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Prologue

Another explosion rocked the palace down to its very foundations.

With a scream, she tumbled to the floor from the force of the shaking. But she was back on her feet again in an instant, and running again. The hallways and corridors were empty, void of any other living beings, save for the one, and she wouldn't have stopped for anyone anyway.

I have to protect the Pillar, she repeated over and over again in her mind. I have to protect the Pillar. It was her mantra, and at this point it was basically what kept her going. She had been running for what felt like eons by now, and her legs felt like they had turned to paper. But she would crawl if she had to, drag herself on her hands and knees. Anything. She had an oath to fill.

Finally, and not a moment too soon, the door she had been sprinting towards came into view. She didn't slow, though, but rather pushed herself, and sped up. With her last burst of strength, she plowed into the doors. They gave beneath the force, and opened soundlessly on well-oiled hinges.

She could still hear the explosions.

"It's a massacre!" she panted, hunching over to try and catch her breath. The building chose that moment to quake again, and she was once again thrown to the ground. But this time, she simply sat there, on her knees, gasping desperately for air.

"I know," was the soft reply. "And it will not stop until he has what he wants."

"Nothing is working against him," she went on in a rush. "He tramples our attacks, our offences, like they were nothing. Our armies are scattered like children's toys. Nothing is effective! It's like," she paused for a breath, "It's like he has no weaknesses!"

"Perhaps he doesn't," he replied.

"No!" she screamed.

"He is powerful. Very powerful," he went on. "I do not think he can be stopped."

"There has to be a way!" she cried, running one hand through her dark hair. The blood stains stood out, burning a painful red on the white of her gloves. She had been in battle; she had seen the wounded, the dead, and the dying. And she had seen many of her friends fall into those categories, amongst those numbers. "I won't let this happen!" Angry, heartbroken tears welled in her eyes; she knew crying wouldn't help the situation, but she couldn't help it.

"You have tried," he tried to placate her, though it was in vain. She would not be soothed.

"He wouldn't listen," her face fell into her hands. "He just wouldn't listen to me. I tried to tell him…why wouldn't he listen…" She sank to her knees, feeling the empty pain of defeat, a defeat that would mean a world was doomed. "It's my fault…"

There was a minute of silence, before he spoke again. "There might be a way…"

Her head snapped up, eyes wide and bright with tears. "What?"

"It will require great sacrifice…"

She actually crawled towards him, her voice strangled and desperate as she pleaded. "Tell me! Whatever it is, I'll do it, I'll do anything, just tell me!"

It took but a few brief moments to explain. In those few minutes, her world shattered and crashed down around her. And there was silence once again as she processed the information in her mind.

"Do you understand?" he asked.

She nodded, then paused. "I have a request…"

"Yes?" Quickly, she made her wishes, and was assured they would be granted. "Anything else?"

"Tell him," she replied. "And tell him I'm sorry."

A moment later, she was alone in the room.

Biting her lip, she gripped the sword tightly in both hands. The instrument of her death, and the salvation of thousands. And now, with this one loose end tied up, she was free to carry out her sworn oath. She would protect this world, protect this land, and protect all of the people in it.

She allowed herself one moment. There was so much she hadn't been able to do, so much she had wanted to say, but never took the time or allowed herself the words.

And now…

And now…

It was all over. Too late.

And they would all be together again, only in a different place.

It would be short, blessedly short. Shorter than their's had been. She knew that for a fact. She had held one of her closest friends as she died. The blood on her clothes, her skin, her hands—that was their blood. Very little of it was hers. The blood of her closest friends was on her hands, both figuratively and literally. That was how she saw it, anyway.

But all sins would be atoned for in a moment.

She raised the sword, and aimed the point, still clutching it desperately with both hands to keep it steady. She could already feel her courage slipping away, undermining her resolve. Best to do it quickly, before all was lost.

Loud voices thundered in the corridor. Someone had gotten into the palace. There was no time. She had to protect Cephiro, and protect the Pillar.

"Sword, bear the taint of thy master's life," she murmured, not quite sure where those words came from. "to protect that which is held dear. And to whom the burden falls in the future…" She readied the blade, "…I'm sorry…"

The door exploded open, and she heard a shout. But there was no time left.

She gathered the last shreds of her courage, and plunged the sword deep into her own chest, up to the hilt, straight through her own heart. And she fell into the painless darkness, knowing that her purpose had been fulfilled.

Cephiro was safe. The Pillar was safe.

All was well.

But peace is fleeting…and evil does not rest.

And so, the story begins…

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AN: And the first chapter is done. Confused yet? Don't be offended, but I hope so. There's a lot of stuff in here that's intended to be ambiguous, so I can explain it later for the wonderful twists and turns I have planned. This story is going to be one hell of a roller coaster ride. Feedback appreciated, even if you don't have a clue what's going on.