Disclaimer: I do NOT own MAR: Marchen Awakens Romance! All credit for the characters and story plot goes to Nobuyuki Anzai.
Warning: OOCness, OC madness this chapter, AU, eventual yaoi, swearing (perhaps, I haven't decided on this yet), violence. I'd like to let everyone know that I have no knowledge of things after the part of MAR where the Chess attack Caldea. –nod- Other than that, all spelling/grammatical errors are my own. If you spot some mention them and I will fix them.
The sky was an endless sea of blue, filled with the light, fluffy clouds she spied swimming across it leisurely as though they had no care or worry in the world. The sun was hot, almost as though it were a lantern that was being held far too close to her face, but she couldn't help but smile as she continued to eye the sky; Her village didn't have a view of the sky, not like the Ulyss desert, a few miles North of it did. It was the same desert she was crossing to get home then with it's golden orange sands and many, forever moving and changing dunes.
The village of Kaia, her home village, was set in the Ambrose forest. It was a forest that was renown because of its magnificently tall trees which mostly consisted of oaks, elms and rickety Trees of Life. The colours that paint in the surroundings of her home were rich greens and browns, the smell being of moist undergrowth and fresh water, usually caused by the regular rain they were blessed with. She wad always felt like a tiny ant when ever she'd walk beneath them.
She wiped the sweat that dampened her brow with the back of her hand, before she wiped it on her cloak. She wasn't of the desert, she'd realised that during her first trip across the sandy sea alone. Despite her fondness for its sky she'd never be able to live out here. She was made of pale skin, like that of pink tinted milk, dark honey locks that fell with a slight wave to her shoulder blades and large, round, doe-brown eyes, that just couldn't take the sun's glare for too long. Thankfully, her apparel was of the right sort for desert travelling; it consisted of a long sleeved shirt, thick gloves and long pants that encased her slender legs loosely. All of her clothes consisted of grey material and white stitching and were made with cotton; it would protect her from the sandstorms that rage over the desert's fields every night and sometimes during the day, but wouldn't lack the ability to been her cool. She had made them herself, as she proudly admitted when a woman in the markets at Aletea whilst she'd been delivering a large bundle of clothing one month sometime ago. Lastly, she carried a bark brown pouch that she kept slung over her shoulder. It was filled with enough food and water to last three days of traveling, despite the trip from Aletea to Kaia taking only two and was kept closed with a large golden buckle.
Still, despite her precautions, the woman wasn't meant to live in such a dry environment. As if agreeing with her decision, the sun suddenly felt far hotter on her hand as she began to feel her pale skin darkening and slowly turning red. However, despite her burns - it really was silly, she knew that - she couldn't help but smile at how free the eagles looked as they swooped and glided gracefully above her.
She pulled a lock of blonde-brown hair away from her face cringing at the oil she felt covering the strand, before she stumbled with a childlike giggle as she began to scale a tall, sand dune. She loved the desert; it was and always would be the opposite of her home with its golden sand and its sweltering heat. It was something she'd grown up with yet knew near nothing about. It was a dry, humid, lifeless place, but she couldn't help but admire it for its view of the sky. Kaia didn't have a sky like this one. All it possessed was a wide canopy of leaves, branches, fruits and seeds, that allowed strips of light to reach the ground from which the trees grew. But there wasn't any blue visible whatsoever. A sudden, silly thought entered her head as she wondered idly about what storm clouds looked like; she hadn't ever seen one, not clearly anyway. She cocked her head in thought as she continued to trudge through the sinking and slipping sand.
However, the love she felt for the desert, despite her dislike for the dry, scratchy sand that was getting into her thick, leather boots and rubbing in between her toes in the most annoying fashion, was tainted, and rightly so: A myth existed that told of a clan of demons that sought refuge in the sands of the Ulyss desert.
They were told to be of the most sadistic of sorts, with evil filled eyes that gleamed red in the dark and were strangely shaped and positioned on in their heads. The sand in which they lived upon was said to have caused an ugly, yellow tinge to have stained the demons' skin. But, the most fearful part of the tale was the parts that told of the demons' taste for blood, as it was supposedly much larger and far more fearsome than any leech or bat or any other predator she had ever heard of.
It was because of that that her father still worried about her, despite the fact that she was twenty-one and more than able to take care of herself in the harsh weather. He still attempted to convince her to allow one of their strong workers to escort her on her business trips. Yet she knew of the dangers, she knew of the sand storms that could cause her demise, and of the scorpions and snakes that often sought refuge from the sun in the places she did. Her father had taught her the ways of surviving in such a harsh place himself, but it seemed as though he had no faith in his teachings or her ability to use them.
She sighed exasperatedly to herself, knowing no-one would hear her tired whine of, "What a troublesome man."
She stumbled suddenly as her view of the sky quickly morphed into a view of the orange sand as she slipped and skid down, her eyes filled with surprise as she landed head over feet in the sand. With a groan she stood and began to dust herself off fractiously, realising quickly that it would take her a few days to rid her hair of the small grains now buried in it. After another moment, she began to rub her lower back with slim hands, muttering about her own clumsiness.
It was then that she spotted her first stop since her leaving the village of Alatea that morning; a monstrous rock formation with small caves littering its sides as though a giant had decided that it looked good enough to eat. She immediately picked up her pace – all the while watching where she's going this time – sore back and sand covered hair forgotten, whilst her handles began to clasp and fumble with her bag. It would feel great to get off her feet! She thought gleefully.
The sun was starting to set, causing splashes of golden orange, rich pink and purple to spread across the wide sky. She sat down and pulled her lunch box into her lap, before carefully taking a bite of her neatly wrapped lunch, a quiet whimper finding its way past her lips as she happily swallowed the still cool ham and lettuce and sipped at the water she'd carefully tipped against her light pink lips. It immediately soothed the burning sensation in her tummy and throat. She sighed with relief as she placed the heavy canteen back on the ground and continued to eat her sandwich. It was a cheap thrill, but she enjoyed her lunch anyway.
She continued to watch the sky as she yanked off her hood and blinked with wonder as a ship shaped cloud smoothly morphed into a roaring dragon. She giggled when it next appeared to be a bunny.
"What is such a precious flower doing in the middle of such a terrible place?" She heard a deep, rich voice ask from behind her abruptly. Her own was soothing and most definitely feminine, thus she immediately throws the idea of her talking to herself without her notice from her mind. And her father's voice was like feet walking across a gravel covered path; it definitely wasn't him coming out to greet her.
With a glare she turned towards the voice's origin. She found herself angry and yet afraid of the person who had decided to intrude on her peaceful world, "Excuse me?" She asked back, politely, hoping that her manners would aid her and discourage the stranger of any wicked intentions he might have dreamt up.
"I was not aware that the villagers allowed their women to wander across such dangerous land alone." A man decked in a dark cloak, much like her own but far more worn, said as he stepped out from behind a snaking pillar. His hood covered half of his face and left his mouth to show off a large grin, "I would not want to let you out of my sight. Surely your husband worries whilst you are gone."
"I have no husband." She replied quickly. She didn't want to have to use her father's ARM, but she would should the man attempt anything devious or unlawful. The stranger's grin grew larger, far larger than any jester's she'd witnessed. With a determined frown she continued, "And I've been travelling across this desert since I could walk. My father never liked to leave me at home."
"Your father is a smart man."
Her brown eyes flickered between her hands – that were working hard to pack her lunch back into her bag – and the tall stranger. He seemed to be civil enough, a bit on the blunt side of things, but not completely rude, "Who are you?" She asked cautiously, brown eyes locked on the man as he almost glided closer to her, like a butterfly scared to come too close, but still fluttering new by.
"Me?" The man questioned innocently, "I am Panos, a – a hermit, you might say. I live south-east of here."
"Where? In the Ambrose?"
"No." The stranger went silent for a moment, before his lips (that had been pulled into a small frown because of her suspicious tone) lifted into a large grin again. He stepped towards her gracefully, as though his feet didn't touch the stone lying beneath them. She was surprised to find her hand was taken with a yellow tinged, soft one gently. "I can show you." He said soothingly, "There is a sand storm coming. One your pathetic sheet won't be able to protect you from."
She glared with annoyance, "It's not a sheet!" She bit out as she dislodged her hand from his own hastily, "It's a tent. And no, I won't go with you. I refuse to!" She huffed with annoyance.
"I must insist."
"No." He was a typical man, she found herself thinking as she grabbed her pouch and she quickly pulled it to her chest, her eyes scanning the sandy horizon. She could run for it, she was quick; he wouldn't be able to catch her. Hopefully.
She was surprised when she turned back and found the man's hooded face a mere inch away from hers. Then, with a whimper she was lifted from the sandstone ground with surprisingly strong arms that held her against the man's hard chest. She spied immediately, that the hands that held her around the shoulders and under her knees were tainted yellow, as though he'd dyed much fabric the same colour. She yelped and clutched her pouch to her chest tightly, her fingers digging into the side of the bag as he began to walk – wait, no, this man wasn't stepping! His feet couldn't have been touching the ground; there was no up and down motion!
She heard the man chuckle as they began to glide away from the setting sun. He seemed thoroughly amused by her actions. He grinned down at her, "We'll be there momentarily." She gulped and found herself hoping for the best. Hoping that he wasn't going to harm her or use her for a ransom or – she just wanted to go home!
Her eyes were wide as they flew across the horizon, hoping with all her heart that someone – anyone – that knew her would amazingly appear and save her.
Fifteen minutes had passed when the stranger – Panos, she needed to remember his name; her manners might just save her from harm - next spoke, "What is your name?"
She remained silent for a moment, before she stuttered, "Orea."
The man – Panos, damn it! – hummed, "That's a very – befitting name."
"Why's that?" She questioned with a glare as she shifted in his arms. The arms immediately held her tighter.
"I am going to be frank-"
"I thought you said your name was Panos?"
Orea could feel his eyes staring down at her as he turned them on her, wide, spiked with annoyance from where there were hidden behind the shadows of his black hood. Surprisingly, he didn't drop her and kill her right then (perhaps she would have preferred it?), instead she heard him chuckle, "You have a quick mouth." He commented lightly, "But I do not take kindly to being interrupted. Let me finished, then you may make as many witty comments as you see fit, Orea." She glared defiantly, against her better judgement, and earned another amused chuckle.
Silence followed his last statement as Orea waited mutely for the following few minutes, growing more and more annoyed as Panos didn't make a noise tahat indicated he was going to continue. After a few more moments she was once again glaring up at him, "Are you going to finish what you were saying?"
"The correct moment is gone. Consider my words forgotten." Orea bit back an annoyed growl, as they continued to glide. If the man was going to torture her, kill her or use her for ransom he could – in the very least – talk to her in a far less annoying fashion! She'd been debating on whether to sit still as he delivered the final blow, but if he continued to treat her like a child she was going to fight back with scratches and bites. The resulting painful torture be damned!
A small glowing golden dot appeared above the slowly darkening sand, like a reed grew above the water's surface. Orea stared curiously; she hadn't ever been this far east of the Ambrose forest and she found herself wondering if such a wickedly shaped rock formation had always been here. It's to peaks were of like jagged knives, its base like a wind carved trunk of a tree. As they drew forever closer to it, she spied an oak door blocking the entrance what seemed to be a dug out cave. Orea supposed it was a suitable place to die without being found. She gulped nervously.
Much to her terror, the door seemed to open of its own accord as they neared it and Panos glided through it without any hesitation. Immediately, she set herself to finding items she could use as weapons and was surprised enough that when all she spied were a few books here and there, other than the plain furniture around the place. The entire home seemed very Spartan in nature.
She was set on the ground as gently as she'd been lifted, with one of the man's arms wrapped around her waist snuggly. She stood stupidly in the centre of what seemed to be Panos' living room, her bag still attached to her chest, and her cloak tickling the backs of her calves. The man moved further into the room, his steps audible against the cold stone. He disappeared into the room that's entrance was at the very back of the one Orea was standing in.
She heard the rustling of fabric and felt her heart beat quicken. Panos' rich voice followed the sound to her ears, "Do not stand there as though made of stone. I am sure you are hungry; I did interrupt your meal."
With a stutter Orea answered, "Oh, how kind of you to allow me to finish it. I've not heard of an abductor allowing his prisoners to eat before."
An exasperated sigh sounded from the other room as Orea stepped over to the book shelf carefully and quietly, acting as though she was examining the books' content as she sized them up. The book on the second shelf, nearest her head looked hard and heavy enough to use as a weapon…
"You have not been kidnapped. If you were to peek outside in an hour you will see that the sandstorm I have predicted will be seeking many lives to take." She heard his steps drawing nearer to her and spun around, "Are you interested in literature? I apologise; I am afraid my library is rather lacking."
Orea gaped, her eyes wide and filled with a fear she knew mice felt when faced by a much larger and hungry cat. The man had removed his cloak and was standing a few feet away from her, a curious expression on his face as his slanted, thin, light hazel eyes eyed her form. She stared at his skin; it seemed as though his hands weren't the only part of him that was stained yellow, whilst she barely noticing that his grey, straight hair was longer than her own wavy locks. She raised her right, slender hand to her lips, "Y-you're a d-demon?" She asked incredulously and with a stutter, the back of the book case pressed painfully against her shoulder blades and backside.
The man grinned, "Is that what your village refers to me as? And here I was under the impression that I was simply different." He asked, as he moved to light a candle and place it in the lantern positioned beside a small desk, beside a large, hard wooden chair.
Orea fell silent as the demon continued to wander across the room, lighting lanterns and dusting things off despite there not being any dust present. She flinched when he turned his hazel gaze back on her, "I am not going to eat you, Orea." He claimed and continued boldly, "I am afraid I have grown far too fond of you to do such a thing."
"Yes. It is rare that such a beautiful woman should find herself in my home." Orea would have rolled her eyes had she not been terrified enough to think that such an act would have resulted in her death, "Besides, I have already consumed what I craved and need. What other reason would I possess for being so far from my home?"
With her lack of a reaction, the demon stepped closer to her, frowning when she flinched and pushed herself back against the bookshelves, "I was not aware that your manners were so sorely lacking. You seemed keen in your prattle earlier." He said dejectedly.
Orea frowned also, "I didn't think I was being kidnapped by a demon." She whispered grumpily.
She jumped as he replied flippantly, "I have already told you. There is a storm blowing this way, you will die should you seek shelter outside. I have, in a way, saved your life."
With a huff, Orea snapped, "You have not! Bringing me here against my will is kidnap!"
"Then leave." Orea blinked with confusion and suspicion, as the demon walked up beside her, his eyes now on the books in the oak shelving she stepped away from hastily (she didn't want to be any less than five feet away from him at all times), "However, you face certain death by doing so. Remember that, Orea." He flicked open a book, his eyes focussed with much interest on the words she only caught a brief glance at.
"Y-You're not going to kill me?" She asked hesitantly.
"I see that your ears do not work as well as they should." The demon commented idly as he sat down in the very uncomfortable looking chair and began to read, "No. I will not eat you."
Before he could change his mind, Orea had her hood thrown over her wavy hair again, and was stumbling towards the door. She yanked it open and slammed it shut, praying that the monster would keep his word as she ran away from the stone house.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Papa scared you?" A small voice asked as the child it belonged to peered up at her with hazel, slanted eyes, much like his fathers, "But you said you love Papa!"
Orea chuckled, her arms wrapping themselves tighter around her son from where they sat on his large bed, "I do love your Papa, I just didn't at first." She soothed him, as her hands stroked the soft material covering his yellow tinged stomach, ridding it of wrinkles as he giggled and pushed her offending hand away, "Don't interrupt next time, Peta. Now, as I was saying…"
Orea smiled down at her son, her eyes alight as she retold the story of her and her now deceased husband's fell in love. She told him about how she'd nearly died that night because of the very violent storm Panos had predicted sweeping her into the sand and practically suffocating her, "It turned out that he did end up following me. And he swooped me up, as though I was a princess and carried me back to his home."
Her son's awed look made her giggle and kiss his cheek lovingly. Peta grinned back, his tiny, smooth lips brushing against her cheek in return. He shifted in her lap, his hands grasping the front of her night shirt, "What happened next?" He asked excitedly.
"Well, the next morning, he and I came to a truce of sorts, though I still didn't like him." She beamed brilliantly, "I said I never wanted to see him again. And he agreed to not speak to me again. So, whenever I had a business trip across the desert, he stood a few metres away from me and watched me make a fool of myself."
"You aren't a fool, mama." Peta giggled, "You're very graceful."
"Ah, not like your father was. He could float, have I told you yet?"
"Yep!" He answered, with a giggle. It was cut short when Peta yawned a huge, monstrous yawn.
Orea smiled a kind, motherly smile, her brown eyes filled with fondness as her son began to rub at his eyes like the adorable cherub he was. She combed her slender fingers through Peta's hair, untangling the few knots she found as gently as she could, "I think it's about time you went to sleep, Peta."
The little boy shook his head, causing his straight grey hair to blow behind him, "I want to hear more! Just a little bit? Please?"
The boy's eyes became wide and wet and Orea for the life of her could say no. She sighed a dramatic, exasperated sigh, "Oh, fine! But just a bit. Now, where was I?"
"Papa was watching you!"
"Ah, that's right. Yes, your father always watched me and then one day I grew tired of it and threw my lunch box at him…"
Her son's snicker made joy bloom in Orea's chest as she continued her tale. She made a determined face as she told Peta of how his father simply grinned as she yelled at him to 'Leave. Me. Alone!'. And how he'd made her far more furious as she'd been originally by not answering her questions simply because she'd told him to never speak to her again. "Three months later I married him in that plain, little house of his. Right after I discovered that we'd made you!"
Peta blinked curiously up at her, one of his tiny, five-year-old fingers in his mouth as he chewed on it and asked, "How did you and Papa make Peta?" His voice was quiet and full of sincere curiousity.
Orea giggled, "I'll tell you later, alright? Now, get to bed." Peta groaned childishly, all the while climbing under his thick blankets (that really were far too thick for summer; why was it that Peta had to inherit Panos' ability to feel the cold in the most warm of weather; it was insane!). She kissed his forehead, calling a goodnight that was echoed back to her as Peta curled himself up in the blankets and she headed out the door.
She kept a small smile on her pretty face as she walked distantly down the narrow hallway, heading towards the small kitchen. Sadly, she realised it was much, much smaller than the one she had whilst she lived in the very centre of Kaia.
She'd been forced from the village to live in small cottage a mile away from the town once it was known that she'd taken a demon as a husband and was carrying his chld. Her father hadn't been too pleased when she'd told him about Panos and Peta, or, to be exact, he'd been angry that he hadn't been introduced to her husband before they'd married, and because he wasn't present at their wedding. He'd seemed so pleased that he was going to become a grandfather, until he'd met Panos.
She remembered the day and the meeting far too well; it was burnt into her mind. The stuttering Orea had suffered from when she'd first met Panos was nothing when compared to her father's. He'd thought she'd been brainwashed, that a spell had been cast upon her. She supposed it was true in a way; Panos was extraordinarily good with words.
Orea smiled at the memory of the wonderful speech he'd recited (or seemed to, it was as though Panos were able to predict the future and written it in advance) about how happy he was that he would have the chance to be a father, and that it was only proper they'd marry. She laughed to herself as the memory of Panos' first words to Peta appeared in her mind, "Hello. You have just won me the chance to name you. Your mother thought you would be female." Of course, Peta had just bawled in response, whilst wriggling like a worm out of dirt in his father's hands. Still, he'd ended up calling Peta the name she'd chosen, claiming that Peta would work as well as a boy's name compared to a girl's.
She yawned, much like her son had done earlier, and poured herself a glass of water. She ought to get to bed; no doubt Peta would want an answer to his question before the sun had risen the next morning. She fingered her lips achingly, her eyes cast upon the floor as she slowly walked to her bedroom; she really could do with a kiss right then. Much like the ones she and Panos used to share.
Woffy: Trust me to fall sick the first effing day of the holidays. –sniffles- Damn it…
Anyway… Before anyone asks me how the hell this chapter relates to MAR, read the last bit again. This is the prologue, the entire story won't be focussed on Orea. For now, how is my actual writing? How's the story looking? Is there enough description? Critique me! I'll most likely be back to edit and add stuff to this. As I said before, I'm sick and as a result my brain isn't working properly. I posted it because I knew I wouldn't if I didn't do it now. Yes, I'm that lazy.
Anyway, read, review and I'll be extremely grateful should you offer me critique. This is my first story where an OC that isn't a supporting character for the entire story.
-- Edit: 06/07/07: Just corrected and added a few things, I'm feeling much better now. :D --