There was the faintest of whispers that travelled throughout the great crystal chamber. It was a strange chamber. The domed ceiling must have reached ten stories tall, soaring in arches that seemed too delicate to be wrought by the human hand. There was little but a great, vast lake in the center, all of crystal.

The shores of the lake were crystal, and through the clear water one could see the crystal bottom of the deep lake, and the sides were all of crystal. Just like the lake, the small island in the middle of the lake was little but a crystal platform surrounded by a filigree of crystal spikes that curved up, then connected with each other. A fence. The crystal island was aligned to be directly under the center of the dome ahead, and the midafternoon sun streamed its bluish-white rays onto the island.

There was a little girl in the middle of the island, kneeling in a deep, motionless prayer. The faint whispers came from her, and from her bowed head. It was as if she had knelt there forever, her blond hair longer than she was tall. No, her hair was not blond but it was gold, a true, shimmering gold in the weak sun that penetrated the thick crystal dome. She wore a long white dress that shimmered almost as much as the crystal surrounding her did, and a golden diadem that cast a large, round-cut emerald on her forehead, flanked by two large pearls, with a tear-shaped pearl dangling from the large emerald, that seemed to give her a noble air. And there was no movement to her. All throughout the immense chamber, there was no sound save her slight, musical whispers of prayer.

The only door to the great chamber opened slowly, quietly, yet even that sound seemed loud, in comparison to the almost absolute silence before. The girl looked up expectantly. Brilliant emerald eyes focused themselves on the personage who had dared to intrude upon her solitude.

The one who had broken the silence was a tall man, seemingly very young but with frigid, hard eyes that did not belong to such a young face. It was a beautiful face, one that made women stare and forget about his eyes, and forget about his air of imminient danger. He wore death black armor, as the captain of the Heart Guard. Those Who Guard The Heart, the Guardians of the Heart of the Land.

And that little girl, the one with long hair and a white dress, was the heart of Cephiro. The heart of the land, they who would hold peace in their land, sustain it and support it. She was the Pillar, the one who would support the land with her prayer, sentenced to her eternal solitude and her eternal days of prayer.

And for 700 years she had stayed true to her duty. Until now, until he who would dare to intrude upon her silence appeared.

"Lady of the Heart." He said. His cold, disaffected voice reverberated throughout the immense chamber. The Lady of the Heart said nothing for a moment.

"Do not call me that, Heart Guardian. You know my name."

"There are certain precepts that must never be violated, my Lady."

"Is that so, Heart Guardian? Even through the bonds of love?"

The young man stared at her for a moment. There was a hint of something anguished in his face before it was quashed. His face was only a hard, icy façade again.

"No, Lady of the Heart. Not through that. Through all things do the precepts stand, except for the bonds of love. Does that answer please you?"

The girl's eyes flashed momentarily, before she could control her emotion.

"Do not play with me Zagato." Her voice was a whisper of steel. Then her face softened, as did her tone. It made her sound like a woman grown. Sensual.

"I want to hear you say my name." There was silence.

"I try daily to resist you, Emeraude, but you are like a potent drug, like belladonna. How have I any chance to resist you?" His voice was like a caress, even though they were separated by the waters, even though he stood at the crystal shores of the lake.

Emeraude smiled.

"You cannot, Zagato. And if you did, my soul would wither."

"But that cannot be. It cannot be borne. You know that, Lady of the Heart. You know that in your heart of the heart, that it cannot be borne. If I cannot stand against this belladonna, then what chance has Cephiro?" He sounded desperate. Like a man doomed to death.

Emeraude's illusion of maturity faded away. She was only a little girl, fearful of being left alone. A bitter expression swept over her face.

"I am seven hundred years old, Zagato. I am the Pillar of the Land. I was not chosen to make myself happy." Another bitter look. The bitterness swept away such exquisite beauty. Emeraude looked away. She seemed to think of something.

"Do you know," she said conversationally, "that most Pillars die by drowning? You would think that it was old age, but I am young yet."

Zagato cocked his head to one side in askance. Emeraude smiled ironically.

"They drown themselves." And she laughed. It was even more bitter, more self-loathing than before.

"And I wish to sidestep my fate, Zagato. I will not stay here, a prisoner in my crystal confinement, so that the mages might delay the onslaught of the destruction of Cephiro for a few thousand years more." There was a mocking tone in her beautiful voice, one that did not suit a voice like angels, like crystal chimes.

"And what is there that we might do about it, Emeraude?" Zagato asked self-deprecatingly. "What is there that we might do?"

She turned to look at him sharply. She was no longer kneeling, but staring at him with a compelling glance through her slatted, crystal wall. Her gaze was intense.

"There is something that we can do about it." She said slowly. Deliberately. Zagato looked up from his dark study of the edge of the crystal shore sharply.

"No, Emeraude!" Emeraude gave him a longing look.

"Then I fear that there is no other choice. Do you accept that?" Zagato hesitated for the slightest moment.

"Yes. I accept it, and let it stand. There are some duties stronger than love." He paused.

"And for now, there is nothing to do." He too, looked at her longingly.

"Until my next sabbatical, then, the day of Winter Solstice." Emeraude seemed to be a queen granting petty favors. Chatting on minutiae. She did not move, save for rosebud lips.

"Until Winter Solstice, Lady of the Heart." Emeraude nodded graciously.

"Until then, Captain of the Heart."

'Until then." And silence reigned again.

















I think that you guys will like the plot. Its much more thought out than For Your Sake, a Card Captor Sakura fic. This means that this fic has barely any plot. ^_^ Hope you enjoyed it. Please review! Pretty please? I think that this is sort of an alternate universe sort of fic. Well, what do you think? By the way, this was only a sort of prologue, meant to give the story a dark, despairing beginning? Good? Bad?