My first attempt at straying from my normal fandom, Fruits Basket. Let me know if I succeeded! Normal disclaimer applies. Not my series, no profit, blah blah blah.
"This only is denied to God: the ability to undo the past."
In the beginning, she did not sleep. She was fresh and young and new, ready to fight for him from the first rays of dawn to the slow, soft spread of twilight. At night, she would do the little things that needed doing: eat, wash, ship maintenance here and there. By day the blood of humans dripped from Sayrune's blade, warm and salty as the sea. Her life was not her own; for as long as the sun beat on the barren earth, she belonged to him- to the Spiral King. In those days, she knew true bliss.
Times had changed. Though her talent and dedication were stronger than ever, her fortitude was starting to slip. With each passing year, she felt the tug of slumber pull harder and harder at her thoughts. Swimming in the ocean at night- silver waves of moonlight churning against the shoreline- was now a thing of the past. Instead, some ancient instinct was pulling her down, drowning her in a dark, empty void. No dreams, no comfort for her there in those late hours.
Every morning was a fresh struggle to open her eyes and resurface into the world. To cope, she threw herself into her work, slaughtering the humans along the coast with a new vigor. Beastmen around her noticed this; they also noticed how her body shook with rage in the early hours of dawn, her poisonous tail whipping behind her. She'd never been known for her patience, but now more so than ever the rumors began to spread. Lady Adiane the Elegant, they whispered, was losing her mind.
In Thymilph she found a mentor and a friend. He was an older beastman who'd out-ranked her when they first met. Before long, however, they were standing side by side in court, equals in rank under the powerful gaze of their King. Unlike Guame and his insolent sidekick, Cytomander, Thymilph regarded her with the respect and dignity befitting a general. He too knew the weariness, felt the slow spread of age in his body, though they never mentioned it to one another. It was simply understood.
One day, after relaxing on the deck of his ship from a round of drinks and war stories, the great ape warrior had a question.
"What is it like?"
It was an unusually peaceful afternoon for Adiane. In the past decade, human beings had begun clawing out of the dirt like termites through wood, even more so than usual. In Thymilph's mountains, however, where layer after layer of solid rock lay between the colonies and the surface, the infestation was weaker than in the plains. Now he turned to her, his face softening with the weight of the encroaching darkness. Adiane crossed her arms over her chest.
"What do you mean?"
"The ocean." He rubbed at his mouth, fighting the urge to yawn. "I've never seen it."
She closed her eyes to think, a dangerous move. At any moment, she could pass out and never awaken again. It was not an uncommon death amongst beastmen. However, she was Lady Adiane, Divine General to the King, and she'd be damned if mortality dragged her under without a fight.
That wasn't quite right. She squirmed in her seat, the last rays of day fading between the mountains. Not one known for words or eloquence of speech, Adiane struggled to define the one place where she felt at home.
"There's no mist, no cold like here in the ranges. The air is thick and damp with heat. There are no trees or peaks scraping the sky and hardly any clouds. Just sand- gold, white and gray colored- and blue water that stretches across the horizon."
Now he too had his eyes closed, a little smile on his face as it came to life in his imagination. She was glad he couldn't see her or the pink flush of her cheeks. She wasn't used to being so candid with anyone.
"I should visit you someday."
"Yes. I'm tired of you coming to see me. I should come to you, return the favor for once."
She smiled and he smiled back. Stars dotted the heavens, illuminating the forest below. A cool breeze made her shiver as it blew through her clothes, her skimpy pink dress little protection against the mountain air. Thymilph chuckled.
"One of these days, you should think about dressing more like a general. Or like a lady, for that matter."
She laughed and followed him inside, her familiar acidity fading as sleep clouded her mind.
"With all due respect, fuck you, General Thymilph."
"Back at you, Lady Adiane."
That was the last time they'd spoken with each other. He never did see the ocean. They'd killed him, those desperate grubby humans. Filthy, pink, meaty little creatures with no right to life. How dare they steal him away from the court, from the King, from her! Her last remaining shred of happiness- gone!
For two days she traveled, ruthlessly maiming whoever, whatever came in her path- human and beastman alike. Puny, pathetic, sniveling animals, all of them. They thought they'd seen her crazed before, but it paled compared to this. Only her duties as a general kept her tethered to reason, but with every minute that the humans stayed alive, her loyalty was cracking.
She was out for revenge, her blood thirst sanctioned by the Spiral King himself. He'd thrust upon her the burden of a beastman called Viral, a low-ranking piece of scum who'd been one of the few survivors from Thymilph's ship. When they'd met outside of the sacred hall, he'd practically dropped to his knees in fear and despair, quaking under the righteous intensity of her anger. As it was, he'd fought to look her in the eye.
Disgusting. He'd deserved every lick of the beating she'd given and more. How could he have lived and not Thymilph? Why wasn't his body broken and smoldering, buried beneath rock and twisted metal? His presence confounded and infuriated her, but she'd needed him alive, so she'd stopped just short of knocking him unconscious. His ribs were a little worse for wear, but if he knew what was best for him, he'd be grateful for the pain.
There was a time when she'd been both a lady and elegant; this was not one of those times. No matter, she thought to herself. She could kill Viral later, once she'd made the humans pay for their crimes. She'd make brushes of their limbs and paint Sayrune with their blood. Red was a good color for her.
In the morning, however, as the sun glowed low on the horizon, Adiane couldn't help but hear a tiny, nagging voice in the back of her head. Last night, she'd slept like the dead. Viral hadn't sleep at all.