Spoiler Warning: This is a story taking place about a couple of centuries prior to the manga, "Cardcaptor Sakura". Although it is about existing characters' past lives, it will likely draw information from all parts of the manga, so be careful if you have not finished reading the series.

Author's note: This story is incomplete. There will be (I hope?) three parts total: "Yue", "Cereberus", and "Clow".


Master

Part One: Yue
by Kuonji

Today, I was born. I was created by Magician Clow Read, and as long as I exist, I hope to know no other master.

- - - - -

It had been planned for a long time, of course, to complete the first of his Guardians on this day.

For a week now, he had been ready, the procedure perfectly memorized, his power maintained at full, the signs and seals and barriers erected with no error, and even the first suit of clothing that his Guardian was to wear had been painstakingly completed, cleaned, and lain aside in ready. And he had monitored the moon carefully, wanting to be sure that his Guardian would have enough energy to survive comfortably from the moon's power alone while he himself was recuperating from the tremendous discharge of power necessary to bring alive a sentient magical being.

Perhaps it was folly to attempt-- no, he corrected himself, not 'attempt'. This was his one chance and he would not fail. Everything he Saw and everything in him told him he would not fail. But even so, perhaps it was folly to create his first Guardian before even creating the things he was to guard. Surely, one of the Cards would have been infinitely easier to begin his Project with.

But this was the way his feelings pointed him, and Clow was always one to follow his feelings.

Which was not to say that he wasn't nervous. Even with all his centuries of experience this was a Big Step for him -- using the new breed of magic that he had invented to create a magical being capable of protecting his further creations. Creations that would pass on his legacy. And, if he was honest with himself, which he was, the Guardians and the Cards were to be much more to him than just his life's work.

He took a deep breath and resettled his grip on his magical staff, fitting his fingers into the worn grooves that had developed in the wood through the decades since he had fashioned it. It was taller than he was but not as heavy as it looked. He had spelled it to be magically lighter than it should be, though he had made sure to keep enough of its weight for dramatic purposes. Carved in fine detail and polished smooth, it was rather something of a work of art, if he did say so himself. And Clow often did say things himself. And to himself. He found the opinions and feelings and questions of other humans interesting to observe for the most part but after so many centuries of being in the middle of them they had started to become something of a bore to participate in. Well, hermitism was not exactly the answer, he had found, though it suited him for the most part. As for the rest, he hoped to find the beginnings of what he sought today. In the next few minutes, as a matter of fact.

He focused his attention on the figure in the center of the room. He had cleared the room, a moderately sized one he had used formerly as a second lab, of all other things and designated it his "Cove of Creation". His seal, a circle with a stylized sun in the center and a curved moon in the corner, was painted into the floor, and various wards and guards had been placed around it to protect from danger and distraction. The figure that floated over the exact center of the room now (and in the exact center of the magic seal) was the only tangible object inside except for Clow himself.

The figure, rotating slowly in place, was humanoid, with a pale complexion, and glowing very faintly. One could only tell the latter because at the moment there was no other source of illumination. Wings, really more like a feathered cape than a bird's, swept back from wide strong shoulders, and between them hung a shower of white silky tresses, hanging loose but floating just the slightest bit on their own. Long muscled legs led down to feet with long aristocratic toes. The hands were likewise strong but graceful and artistic. He would be Clow's Guardian, but he would fight with magic, not a mace.

His face made that obvious. Clow had spent a good month fashioning the facial features of his creation, being careful to create just the right mixture of intelligence and power and pride, with a dash of alieness in the lamplike violet eyes, but not too much to keep them from looking human.

This was soon to be Yue, his Moon Guardian, and his Guardian would have to be not only strong in both body and spirit but compassionate and wise and above all loyal.

Clow let out his breath slowly, preparing himself. He allowed the shell of his Guardian to rotate once completely again, then stilled it with a brush of power, or rather, by cutting off the power sustaining the motion. Lifting his staff, he spoke slowly and precisely.

"Powers of Darkness, by our agreement, unleash the powers that sleep in this staff. By the contract that binds us, do my bidding. RELEASE!"

It had begun. The words were important, but they were not quite as important as simply concentrating his mind on what he wanted to do, and focusing his magic into his will. The incantation was short. All his weeks, months, even years of preparatory work had set the foundations already. What he wanted now was complex, but it could be explained in just one sentence:

"My Moon Guardian, Yue, LIVE!"

The seal that had appeared above the painted one as soon as he had started the incantation seared a bright blue and magical winds whipped Clow's robes about him as if ready to pick him up bodily from the floorboards. He held his place easily, however, noting only cursorily by the strength and direction of the winds that the spell was proceeding smoothly. All remainder of his concentration was reserved for the figure in front of him. The power that swirled in the air seemed to coallesce around the pale figure, like a tornado squeezed down until it occupied only the confines of a human shape.

There was no dramatic opening of the eyelids, for they were already open. There was no flourishing of the wings. There was no seizure-like jerk of the body that would signify when exactly it ceased being the shell of what Clow wanted but became the thing itself.

But the eyes, which had been beautiful but unseeing, seemed to Clow to actually focus on him clearly for the first time, and he imagined he could see them filling with intelligence second by second. And watching this, Clow held his breath like a small child watching a bird drop out of a tree, wanting to cry out in the midst of that interminable moment before it unfurled its delicate wings to fly, conscious with every molecule of his being of how important it was that the bird not dash itself to the ground and believing wholly that he would be the cause of it if that were to come to pass.

The figure did move then, spreading those huge soft wings, and Clow breathed. His newborn Guardian hesitated slightly in his first movement, glanced at his own feathered appendages as if unsure, then, beating them twice, he traveled through the air to settle slowly, gracefully, soundlessly, at Clow's feet on one knee. With one elbow resting on his raised knee, the other hand splayed on the ground, the just-born creature returned Clow's gaze with a shining violet one, and breathed, "Master."

And Clow Read collapsed to the floor, boneless and exhausted beyond anything he had ever experienced before.

- - - - -

For the sake of my creation, Master Clow overextended himself. I can think of no better way to repay him than what is his due: my complete and utter devotion.

- - - - -

In Clow's calculations regarding the moon he had, fortunately, been correct. His creation was strong and would have benefit of the full moon's power for a good five days. However, it had not occurred to Clow Reed, eminent wizard of his lifetime, exactly how much creating his Guardian would take out of him. After all, no magician before him had ever successfully completed such a spell. He had done research on past attempts and similar projects of course, and he knew the magnitude of power requred. He also knew that he had enough without endangering his own life. But what he hadn't realized was that for a good half hour after the Creation he would be quite unable to stand up on his own power.

At the moment that Yue uttered his recognition of his master and creator, Clow's spell was complete, and the moment that the spell ended was when the final balance of power was extracted from the spellcaster as the spell collapsed itself and disappeared.

And so, embarassing as the situation was for Clow, Yue's first duty as his Guardian became to pick up his master and carry him to his bedroom.

A friend had once insisted on describing to Clow the evidently rapt wonders of experiencing one's child's first grip, first word, first step. Recalling that now in his dizzy half-delirium, Clow realized that he had experienced all those in the space of a minute, though obviously not in the same order.

Enormously irritated at his own error, Clow could only accept his fate. Instead of having the prideful joy of standing high in his place as the Master of his powerful creation, he was reduced to lying in bed like a swooning maiden. And instead of seeing his angel-like Moon Guardian in the elaborate robes he had prepared for him, he had to make do with the horrendous sight of the seraphic Yue in one of Clow's own bathrobes instead. A new one, true, taken hastily from the hall closet at Clow's direction, but a bathrobe nonetheless. And that more than anything else made the aesthetically fastidious Clow crazy!

Perhaps the bathrobe was a good thing after all, because it was the continuous irritating sight of it that finally drove Clow out of bed and down the hall to his main laboratory where he thanked Yue for his help in supporting him, leaned himself against a handy wall, and pointed out the robes he had made for his Guardian hanging there beside him.

"Put them on," he said, trying to sound Masterly and Commanding but coming out weak and rather closer to begging than he would have liked. "I made them for you."

Yue, not visibly affected by either his act or his actual tone, nodded. He began to take off the offensive bathrobe when abruptly, the eccentric old grandfather clock in the hall struck eleven o' clock with its usual cacophany of chimes.

Instantly, Yue was in front of his master, wings forming a protective shield around them, his face a look of sharp watchfulness and a visible readiness for danger of the highest order. Clow, apparently, had somehow forgotten, when he impressed Yue's mind with necessary everyday information, the role of grandfather clocks.

And suddenly the entire situation, instead of irritating, seemed to him a grand joke. Here was he, purportedly the greatest magician in the world, Clow Read, leaning against the wall of his own laboratory in a state of exhaustian. Here was his creation, his beautiful, deadly, fiercely protective Guardian, wearing nothing but one of Clow's bathrobes and protecting his master from, of all things, a grandfather clock. Clow's grandfather clock, at that, one that he had bought, was it forty or fifty years ago at a bazaar in France.

Clow's chuckle's must have startled his poor Moon Guardian, for Yue turned on him with a look of concern. "Master...?" he questioned.

Clow looked at his creation, saw the worry there, saw the obvious intelligence in those beautiful eyes, and sighed, content and not a little exhausted from his bout of mirth. He had done it. Of course there was no way to be sure yet if he had achieved all that he had wanted, but something told him that he had. He touched Yue's cheek softly with the backs of his fingers.

"It's all right, Yue. It's just a clock. I'll explain later, but trust me. There is no danger."

Yue nodded, instantly believing. "Shall I put on those robes now, Master Read?"

Clow quirked a smile. "Just 'Clow' will do. And yes, please do."

Yue looked inextricably unhappy for a moment. Then he shrugged. "Master Clow, then," he said, as if that decided the matter, and Clow had to hide his laughter this time, because although here was proof that he had indeed, indeed!, gotten what he had hoped for, he very much wanted to see Yue dressed finally in the robes that he had so painstakingly made for him.

- - - - -

Many things still confuse me. It is clear that I have much to learn.

u n u n u n u
u n u n u n u

(To Be Continued...)