By: Kami Kat, Head Priestess at the Temple of Dead Fandoms
For: UBER-Belated B-Day present for LS-Sama
Well, I'm writing a long Utawarerumono fic, and getting through it, but let's face it. If I was a quick writer, I wouldn't have a constantly-growing list of fanfics to write that barely has anything crossed off on it.
So, this idea got into my head after I got a few of the DVDs and started wondering about something that just seemed a bit off about Karura. Or rather, how she came to be part of the group. And I doubt this is at all canon, but it was fun to write!
Disclaimer: Utawarerumono is not mine. The DVDs I bought at Best Buy certainly are, and if they release the game I'll snatch that up too. Otherwise, not mine.
Karura gazed around at the soldiers. Spears. Knives. Swords. Threatening her people. Her eyes swept over theirs, her face blank, her expression calm, controlled.
Royalty should always appear in control. Always appear as if life is not merely to be lived, but a thing to be tamed and made to submit to the will of those in control.
Inwardly, she wept. Not for herself, but for those who looked to her. Those severed arms and legs and torsos strewn about had been her people too.
Perhaps still her people, though free forever from the Shakukoporu.
Cowardly bastards! Unable to stand up to the power of her race, they had laced the water with poison. So many dead to ensure their victory, even among their own.
Civilians, too, suffered for this "victory." The fields were a mass of lumps from newly-made graves.
None of the Giriyaginas survived save her and her brother. Poison alone would not defeat them, but poison combined with arrows and swords…
The mighty strength of her race did not dull a blade sunk into flesh.
She was only too aware of her brother's absence, and thankful for it. He'd escaped, escaped with many fighters and farmers and innocents who did not deserve to be caught up in this stupid power struggle.
He'd live on. They all would, and that was how it should be.
Royalty needed to protect those they ruled. And the Giriyaginas needed to use their power to protect those weaker.
Which was nearly everyone.
Her arms ached, she realized. Her arms, her feet, her legs… her chest especially. How long had she fought? To get this tired meant hours of hard work, harder than she'd ever pushed herself before.
She'd given her water sack, full of safe well water, to her brother and drunk from the river.
She'd thought they were upstream from where the Shakukoporu had poisoned the river.
Things looked fuzzy, like the world was trying to inch away from her. Still, she held onto calm.
"Think she got a dose?"
Was that one of the soldiers? Sounds hit her ears as if muffled by a foot of stone.
"Looks like it. Shame to just kill her."
Her limbs felt like lead, felt like sap oozing out of her body. They no longer obeyed. Still, she stared at her enemies, daring them to come closer. Let them try…
The Shakukoporu bastards kept their distance. The world suddenly shifted right, then left, in a jerky motion that caused her to stumble and slam the ground.
Her head sparked pain into every inch of her body, then it was dark.
Dark. So dark.
Not just dark. Dank. Wet and unpleasant and creepy and cold.
Where was this? Where was she? Where had she been?
Pain shot through her head.
Okay, thinking was not good right now.
Just exist and learn.
Suddenly—or so it seemed—she could hear moans and yells and sobbing echoing everywhere. Despair and fear carried on an ocean of half-gone voices convinced nothing could hear them anymore.
Karura ignored the pain in her head and concentrated. Her body felt off and slow to respond. And so damned cold!
The wall behind her was metal, and certainly frigid. She pulled away, only to be stopped by chains.
White-hot anger surged through her, chasing away cold and confusion and pain and leaving her mind surprisingly clear.
She had either been knocked unconscious, or something had hit her. Then those Shakukoporu bastards must have sold her into the slave trade.
The motion around her was even, yet shifting. Water.
So, they had put her on a boat to send her away from her people, her lands.
No. She was defeated now. They were her brother's people, his lands.
She hung limply in the chains, a tiny smile on her face.
Silently, she prayed. Not to any god, but to her brother. To make her proud and be a good leader, a good ruler. He'd fight until he won, and if he used his strength to protect the weak, he would win in the end.
Maybe she'd go back some day and make sure he was a good person.
Speaking of which, why wasn't she dead yet?
The poison must not have been fatal for her, since she still lived. Or perhaps it merely took a long time to kill.
The ground tilted again, only this time the chains held her in place and prevented her head from smacking into the wall. The cold in the room turned icy as salt water trickled into her cell from under the door.
Her fists clenched. Out of habit, she pulled her arms up and—
The chains were not so well kept, it seemed. Without thought, she began to methodically break the chain links, one by one as water continued to rise by her feet.
Rock. Shore. Land.
Honestly, had she stopped and thought about it, really thought about it, she should not be alive.
Yet here she stood. In the ocean, watching her captors who had escaped. They stood on the shore.
She needed to go that way. They were in her way.
Not for long. Her body worked on instinct, without decent thought.
She had not had a complete, truly coherent thought since… well, since she had been poisoned, probably. The poison made everything misty and jumpy.
Or was that the ocean waves?
No, she was on the shore now, so it couldn't be the waves.
Hundreds of eyes were upon her. She didn't feel self-conscious, but she knew she didn't like these people or their eyes.
They were slavers. Terrible people, deserving death. They had left innocents shackled in chains to drown as they made their escape.
Her fingers cracked as she flexed them. Oh, yes, they were cold now, but soon warm blood would run down her fingers.
But it blurred, all blurred, and she couldn't focus as body after body fell. What difference between them all?
Only after no more standing bodies blocked her view did she stop and look around. All gone, like the innocents on the ship.
All gone, and she alone on the rocky shore. Unfair to be all alone, and so tired.
Well, she was done now. They were all dead, so she deserved a break. Her body wanted one anyway.
As she hit the rocky ground, a new sound came to her ears. It seemed important, like more people coming…
She sat up quickly and looked around. Bright flames illuminated the tiny cell, and she felt rage begin to boil her blood before she realized the fuzziness was gone.
In fact, she was warm and felt… well, clean! And dry! And not distorted by that poison!
Men stood guard outside the cell, but their uniforms were unfamiliar to her. She glanced at them, at the blanket in her lap, at the nice surroundings.
It was too different. Something must be amiss.
With quiet stealth, or as much as she could manage, she crept to the cell door and quickly jabbed the guards, knocking them out cold. Next, she freed herself from the cell and began walking towards what appeared to be the exit.
Wherever she was, it was different. It felt hospitable and nice… and alien to her after the cold ship.
Time to go meet her host and give him a piece of her mind.