The town slept peacefully as the moons cast their stolen light upon the small stone buildings. Rats scurried among the alleyways and owls hooted softly, watching meals-to-be with large eyes. Midnight had come and gone, but he sense of the time remained. The air was misty from the evening rain that recently ended.
Then the owls went quiet. There was a mass exit of rats from the main road.
A dull roar sounded from the north forest. The townspeople that had been lulled to sleep by the sound of the forest now stirred in their beds. Some even got out of bed to check on their animals. They dressed quickly, so as to avoid a chill, and went out to find a glow coming from the forest.
It was these people that died first. Skewered like meat on the soldier's javelins, they grunted and screamed as they were shoved aside like dolls. The animals cried and ran out of the barns, becoming more of a problem than not. The townspeople that heard this dressed and went outside their homes, gathering in the streets.
They all saw the same thing. The glow that was in the forest seeped into town from all sides; the villagers panicked. Fire was laid around the buildings, catching the thatched roofs and forcing anyone that had any previous sense out into the streets. Soldiers on steeds ran these villagers down to exhausted piles of flesh and bone and cloth. Enflamed arrows were shot down the streets and alleys and into buildings that hadn't yet caught.
The casualty count increased exponentially.
When finally the villagers were all either hiding in the woods or in the wreckage, or dead, or captured, the regiment's commander rode forth on his own steed. A sturdy helmet hid his face, and the joints of his armor clinked together as he dismounted. A private with a torch was there to lead him to their objective.
"Great Commander, this way," the private said, turning and leading his higher-up through the dimly lit street. They walked only a few yards before coming to a guard post around a makeshift cot (really a stolen table) with a body laid on it.
The commander looked the body over. Male- the soldiers got something right. He was small, but his face was that of an eighteen-year-old. Blonde hair stuck out in short, windswept spikes in all directions; pale eyelids concealed the shade of his eyes. His clothing hung off his thin frame, like loose sheets on a mattress, and were gray in color with various rips and tears, all stitched closed.
There stood, just outside the post circle, a man and woman who looked remarkably like the teen before him. The man held the woman close as she cried. The man was the village mayor- the teen was his son.
"So, this is him?" the Commander pulled a dull sphere out of a pouch and held it above the boy's forehead. A light connected the two for a moment then faded.
The woman cried harder.
The Commander hummed affirmatively. "Indeed. Put him into custody," he said to the private while tucking the sphere back into his pouch. He went back to his steed and found a cloaked, hooded man walking to a point past him. The Commander stopped him with a question. "Is this really necessary?"
"It is his majesty, Emperor Doel's command, to take that boy into custody." The man had a deep, commanding voice- it was obvious that he was a higher rank than the regiment's commander.
Nevertheless, he couldn't help one more question. "Who is he?"
"That is not your concern," the hooded man replied, walking away. He seemed to simply disappear into the fading night, but the Commander could not care less. He put in the order to pull out of the village, and the regiment did so.
The sun rose on a battered town.
A woman stood on a cliff looking over a wide forest. She wore a revealing black leather outfit with various buckles and zippers all over to keep the clothing from falling off her petite body. She had short, white hair and light red eyes that stood out, compared to her light-toned skin.
She was not startled as a loud roar echoed through the valley before her. Birds awoke and flew furiously away from the source, but she stood and waited. It was early morning and the birds should have been awake by now, anyways.
The trees parted, a large figure coming out of the part to peer over the trees. It was a lighter green than the surrounding trees, an appeared to be more like a giant insect than anything else.
But, the woman knew better than to think a giant flyswatter would kill the giant pest. She mouthed to herself.
"The Green Tusked Dragon, Feyrbrand…"
The dragon roared again and retreated back under the tree cover. The woman jumped down the cliffs, eager to follow it.
The path had just peaked, leaving Axel with a choice: he could go down the gentle slope, or he could stop and rest. Of course, after walking all morning and most of the night before, Axel opted for the latter choice, and sat down on a felled tree. As he sat, he pulled a notice he had received when he stayed in the last village. "Chance of war more likely," the notice read.
Axel read those five words again and again, and still didn't want to believe it. "Maybe it's just a rumor…" He yawned and laid down for a quick nap. "Hope so…"
Sleep came, but not for very long. The sound of speeding animals rang out through the woods, stirring Axel not fifteen minutes after he had fallen asleep. He sat up, got off the log, and went down the path. His sword (not his weapon of choice, just easier to travel with) bounced at his hip as he jogged, coming to a fork in the road.
As he approached the fork, two soldiers came upon him, riding the typical Sandoran giant war-pig. Axel could feel their eyes scanning over his body, determining if he was a threat or not.
"Who are you?" the closer one demanded.
"Are you a mercenary of Basil?" the other one asked, pushing his boar forward and brandishing a spear. Axel thought it was funny, the way the second one's voice quivered a bit. Was he really so intimidating?
The first also made to poke him with his spear. "Answer!!!" As this soldier drew back to cut Axel, he unsheathed his sword and deflected the attack, then turned his body into a defensive stance. "What? You dare to draw your sword against an imperial soldier???"
Axel opened his mouth to argue, but was interrupted by a roar sounding out in the forest. He and the two soldiers looked around, but past the cleared paths, the wood was dense. The ground shook as whatever-it-was called out again.
Then the trees parted in front of the three and a giant preying-mantis-like creature bellowed again. The soldiers turned their boars around and retreated, leaving Axel alone with the creature. He stepped back a few paces, then jumped to the side when the bug swiped at him. Again, he leaped away from another attack. I've gotta do something or I'll be killed! he thought as he rolled away from a third swipe, then he ran.
The creature ran after him , crashing down trees and gaining ground. Axel didn't dare look back, just kept running, jumping over logs and rolling out of the way of the destruction the bug caused behind him. He very narrowly missed a tree limb that crashed down right behind him- he had to jump.
As he ran, he noticed the trees becoming thicker. It soon became almost impossible for Axel to run without tripping. He landed gracefully each time, though- his instincts made him keep going.
That is, until that one tree root came out of nowhere and really tripped him up. He landed, almost twisting his ankle, but the creature had gained too much ground by the time he had gotten back up. He turned to face it, pulling his sword out and holding his ground. Then, he felt a pair of arms grab him around his middle, and he dropped his sword as he was dragged behind a rock and covered by a tree limb.
There was another person next to him. The creature obviously couldn't rationalize, and started to thrash after it had lost sight of Axel. After a few minutes of mindlessly attacking at the ground, the bug turned and left. Axel sighed, and turned to the person next to him.
A woman, he noticed first. Then, white hair, leather, and a no-nonsense attitude. She seemed intelligent. "What was that?" He asked, coming out from behind the rock behind her.
She bent over and picked his sword up. Axel looked away- he had seen enough ass in his lifetime and wasn't interested in seeing more. He received his sword with a nod of thanks, and she spoke. "It was a dragon."
"But it's strange," she went on. Her voice was as gruff as he would have thought. There was almost no femininity to her voice- or, she was just really tired. "That village could have easily been destroyed without a dragon."
"Village…? Wait, you mean Seles???"
"There won't be anything left by now," she told him.
"Seles is my village! I have to go!" Axel ran, back the way he had come- opposite of the direction that the dragon had gone.
The woman stayed, watching him run. She had noticed that he hadn't looked her up when she retrieved his sword for him, and she smiled. But, her smile faltered when an object on a necklace glowed under her shirt. She covered the light, then mused to herself.
"Oh, my… that man is…? No, it can't be!"
Disclaimer: We claim no rights to Legend of Dragoon or Kingdom Hearts.
Cy: Crossover time! Yippee! If anyone's ever played the game Legend of Dragoon, we'll be throwing the Kingdom Hearts characters into that plot for this story- genius idea creditted all to Veroxen, who will be with you for the next chapter. Review please- I'm not sure about her, but I'll be very sad if we only get one review.