The Valley

Chapter One: Silent Movie Awakening

Disclaimer: I do not own Sailor Moon or Gundam Wing

...

The Black Sands were as cold as ever. The charcoal colored rock debris was the first to show any sign of movement, the first notation that something was stirring within the Valley. A second tremor, stronger this time, left the bony arms of skeletal and bare black trees shaking in its midst. Something pushed from the Valley's edge and a groan echoed in the vast, empty wasteland. Black merged with the already grey clouds and the ominous sun-coverers weighed heavily over the gorge. The whole area seemed to moan and twist with the third tremor as it shook their filaments weary and stretched their limbs to the highest degree.

The Valley was awakening.

The charcoal black sands tumbled down their own hills and merged with the golden sand at its edge. The barrier of brightness was broken and the darkness spread and infiltrated the once warm grains, making them cold and colorless. White sands. The gold was all but being sucked from the sand, as if the heat and color were merely objects to be obtained by the black grains, giving them sustenance, making them stronger. It spread, the white turning black with every quarter mile.

The expansion was characterized by another enormous moan from the Valley, its tremor almost reaching civilization. Once the scent of human tidings corresponded with the air around it the advancement of the black sands began to slow. It had fed too eagerly on whatever had released it and a confrontation with inhabitants could be troublesome.

It was too late.

The clean sound of ceramic breaking cut through the still air like a knife and caused the sands to come to an almost indefinite standstill. She was a woman of average age, ragged hair pulled into a loose knot at the base of her skull. Her hands trembled as they picked up the shattered pieces of her bowl and her eyes never left the border where the gold sands turned to black. Taking a step back she tried to gage where the frightening sands had come from, where the origin of these ominous grains could possibly be.

Her heart sank into her stomach.

The rolling dunes she'd once been accustomed to now gave way to a bare and rippling plain of black sand. Despite her obvious first belief that the sand was nothing but that—sand—she couldn't help but feel something… alive about it. She was drawn to it and sighed as its coolness eased the burning of her soles with a single touch. She dug her toes deeper into the pitch black sea of grains and sighed in relief as a cold shock swan through her veins. The shock spread, and spread… and spread until she was left shivering at the bank of hot and cold.

With a swift look to her feet an assortment of emotions overcame her. The first was wonder as she stood perplexed as to how she had sunk so far into the sand without knowing it; now her ankles had been consumed. The second was confusion as she questioned whether or not she'd dug her feet ankle deep subconsciously or if she was being… consumed. The third was fear as the verdict was evinced; she was being sucked into the black sands.

Before any other emotion could become her, before any scream could well in the pit of her stomach and even dream of exiting her throat, with a harsh pull she was sucked into the sand. The concave in the sand quickly became convex as a single ceramic piece bubbled to the surface.

-Moribar Acropolis-

"Shaman-Ma!"

At the shrill cry of the partisan, the burley and gold encrusted guards immediately poised their half moon scythes in a cross in front of the high doors. Their eyes were not visible behind their sturdy and almost impenetrable helmets but the partisan knew that if he had been able to see them they would either be filled with nonchalance or annoyance. "Please!" he begged, ignoring his predisposed notion of dignity and getting on his knees, bowing so deep his forehead touched the ground. "It is imperative that I speak with Shaman-Ma or that someone carry across my message." The standing sentries stood still as statues. The partisan held up a finger for them to wait, as if they were paying attention to his scrawny form. From his waist he pulled a tiny brown sack that jingled in his shaking hands.

"I-it's all I have but I hope it shall suffice for at least one visit," he clenched the bag tightly in his palms, "please, just one visit."

The guards had yet to twitch.

His eyes widened in distress at their broad shouldered stance and their unresponsiveness. "Please!" he screamed, standing and grabbing the armor of one of the guards. At the sound of his shriek, two surrounding guards came to inspect the issue. "You don't understand!" he cried, his withering hands banging uselessly against the gold. "This isn't some useless attempt at camaraderie! We on the outside know that we are hardly granted with the gifts of Shaman-Ma, that we are just that—on the outside. But this," he was about to finish when his weary body was wrenched harshly from the front of the hearty doors. The two assisting guards pushed him harshly away from the door and stood like menacing giants to persuade the man to leave.

"It's not what you think!" he cried, standing weakly before stumbling to the sandy floor again. "This does not just concern my village," the assisting guards took another step closer to intimidate him. The man held his bony hands up as if to delay them. He spoke quicker. "This involves all of Moribar, of all people on this planet!" His breathing was rasping now as he reached the climax of his disposition. "It's the Valley!" he breathed, his voice forced in a harsh whisper, as if merely speaking the name would bring harm. "It's moving, expanding, and it's reached the brink of our borders!"

The guards froze, still revealing no emotion, but the trepidation marred their usually steady hands. The man, sensing he'd now earned an audience produced another sack from his waist and held it out to one of the large guards. "We must act quickly!" he demanded more than anything else when neither of the guards moved to take the sack from his hands. Their calloused hands gripped their weapons tighter, however, when the man opened the sack and poured some of its contents into his palm. "It will kill us all," he whispered again when the guards took two tentative steps backwards from what now pooled in his trembling hand. "Pac mal."

The guards rushed to open the door, leaving the frowning man on his knees in the warm sand, his hand now chilled with its contents. This was ground breaking, this would change their lives forever… if they lived to tell the tale.

His own words echoed blandly in his head, pac mal, and he briefly wondered if holding it was not such a good idea, if touching it would bring harm to himself or his family. Dropping the clump to the ground he watched in amazement as the ghastly grains changed to white as if the darkness was sucked from them. This was dangerous, this could very well destroy their whole planet if the Valley was truly awakening and expanding. His mind wondered if his warning was futile, if they'd all be destroyed anyway…

Pac mal.

Black sand.

-Somewhere in the Gobani Sands, Moribar-

She kneeled over his unresponsive frame in a cloud of worry. His chapped and crusted lips were white with dehydration and his skin, though somehow soft to the touch, was bronzed with the blazing sun. His hair was covered and wrapped in a white shawl that reeked of urine, most likely used to keep his body temperature low. Despite this, she could tell that he was a blonde (something not usually seen in Moribar) by his light, golden bangs plastered to his forehead in a dried mat of sweat.

Uttering some graphic expletive in her native language she clicked her tongue and grabbed his blistering arm, hauling the limb over her own tired shoulders. At this quick and jerky motion the long sleeve of his garb shifted to reveal the web of a tattoo covering the limb. Almost dropping him in the process, she harshly pulled up his sleeve to reveal that the tattoo crawled up his arm and disappeared under his garb in a whirl of twists, terms, and unrecognizable symbols.

She would have stood and awed at his beautiful body art but a more urgent response pulled her body towards the shade of her tent. She pushed the flap open in irritation and dragged the man in, setting him carefully on the ready-made bed she'd been planning to nap on. With nimble hands she removed all of his garb, as well as the urine soaked item, and was careful to look only at his feet when she removed his tapered pants. Another notification that this mysterious young man wasn't a part of her glorious Moribari lands was the fact that the skin beneath his worn garb was unusually pale. His almost alabaster skin stood out inversely to the black tattoo that protected his entire upper body. She kneeled by his body, protected by her worn blanket, and placed a speculative finger to her chin in contemplation. This man could be dangerous, she thought, he could be into some sort of cult that imposed strange rites and rituals. But at the same time his face looked so young, so calm, so… innocent. There was a roundness to his cheeks and a softness to his skin that screamed a sort of purity she could not place.

"Makoto-shah," came a hesitant voice from the flap of her tent, followed by a short scuffle and the choked sound of air being forced out of a man's body. She sighed and stood her highest, head almost reaching the top of her tent, before turning to acknowledge the presence at her 'door'.

His dark hair was tousled and specs of sand dotted it like sugar on top of a cupcake. The intense blue eyes of her oldest friend glared at her proud stance and leaned eagerly around her to spot the still form lying in an almost corpse like sleep on her bed. "We need to move out, Makoto," he grunted, hands placed in an awkward grace at his hips. "The caravan's tired and we're close to the capital. Can he be moved easily?"

She closed her eyes. "You're too hasty, Rait," she countered, beginning to remove the customary golden thread weaved intermittently throughout her auburn curls. "The sun is in the final quarter of the sky and I'm sure the caravan can wait a day." She placed the golden thread on a red pillow when it had been successfully removed from her locks and turned to pin her friend with a raised eyebrow. "And no, right now would not be an easy time to move the newest addition to our group." At his scowl she smirked.

"He will most likely wake in the middle of the night, yes?"

"Yes."

"And you, oh great Makoto-shah, will be the one to take care of him in his time of need?" he mumbled venomously, eyes squinted and lips pursed. "And when you have been deprived of your precious hours of minimal sleep, my friend, you will continue to lead us to the capital when the sun is in the first quarter of the sky?" His tone lightened and his body eased into a more laid back and casual stance.

Makoto smiled. "Of course, Rait."

He sighed and nodded before turning to lift the flap of her tent. "Then that is all I ask for." And he was gone.

-Bank of the River Sai, Amilee-

The usually rapid waters were calm today, most likely in correspondence to the now burning sun above her, and it made Ami smile as she dipped her minimal amount of laundry into the Sai to wash it. The sun in Amilee was unusual and she planned to take full advantage of the bright day; perhaps she'd go to the market or meet up with friends for a drink or something, there was no reason to stay cooped up in her small shack when she could enjoy the richness of such bright rays.

Grinning hard now, she pulled her clothing from the river and took it over to the line to hang dry. She couldn't help but laugh when the sun shone through the water droplets, making them like tiny glass pearls dripping off of her clothes. Taking an already dried, white dress from the line she swung it around for a moment, attempting to dance with it in a cliché manner as if she'd just met the man of her dreams. When her 'dance of fate' had ended, she pulled the thin cotton dress over her head, but got distracted by a crash coming from the house beside her and got tangled in the web of it's arms.

Freeing herself from the strenuous action she rushed to the wooden fence that kept her neighbor's yard, who happened to be the chief correspondent of inter-regional relations, and pressed her ear against the wooden planks.

"Paza."

She could hear the urgency and longing in his wife's voice, a longing for something she couldn't quite place. She'd said his name in what Ami could just barely recognize as fear. Kneeling, though knowing she shouldn't be doing so, Ami attempted to peek through a tiny splinter in the wooden barricade.

"Paza please don't go, don't go anywhere near it."

She heard a heavy sigh come from Paza. Through the crack Ami could only see his wife and the worry that marred her beautiful features. She was holding her hands in a tight embrace at the crease of her naked breast, wringing her fingers in an almost painful action. "Let Most High go, not you."

Ami viewed Paza delving a placating hand into his wife's dark hair and she leaned into it, as if only the proximity of his warm palm was the satisfaction of getting him to stay. "Do not worry, Mari," he whispered back, placing a kiss to her forehead, "Most High is going to the Crest for the Meeting of Rulers. My job is done, dear."

Ami's throat tightened as his wife, Mari, gave a choked sob. Ami had always had a soft spot for Mari; she was a kind and loving person, a woman who'd looked after the well-being young bluenette when her mother had suddenly passed away. She'd taught her the fundamental values of living and the rudimentary needs and skills she deemed Ami worthy to possess.

She sobbed again and Ami was only faintly aware that tears stung in her eyes, ruining her once jovial view of the sun.

"But what are we going to do?" she almost wailed, throwing her arms out to grip futilely at her husbands bare chest.

"Mari…"

"Not just us, Paza, what about the neighborhood, what about the Fesha's, our dearest friends, what about Ami?"

The young girl blinked at her name and felt a warmth rise to her cheeks. It was indescribable, Mari's ability to care for people and her ability to sound so exceptionally sincere. Such altruism she possessed. She was worried about her, her, a young next door neighbor who'd hardly been able to return such an unbridled gift with as much fervor. Ultimately she felt guilty that she couldn't show Mari the same care that she exuded. But what was she so worried about?

"Mari—" her husband began only to be cut off by his nearly frantic wife.

"Not just Amilee, what about Cantina, Cicerone, and poor, poor Moribar? They'll surely be the first ones to be consumed by—" her worry was cut off by Paza's hand, halting whatever evil she'd meant to mention. In it's wake came a soothing kiss to the forehead as Paza took her trembling fingers.

He gave her small hands a squeeze. "Please do not mention this aloud, Mari. There's no need to worry anyone, Most High and the other Ruler's will figure it out, they'll set things straight. Have faith," he whispered, putting an arm around her shoulder and leading her toward their shack.

"But Paza," Ami heard as their voices began to get fainter and fainter as they reached the back door. She could no longer see them, but she could hear their light steps on the backyard grass. "Black sand… on the borders of Moribar?"

Ami's heart sank as their voices faded into nothingness. The slam of their wooden door hardly phased her and it felt as if her knees had been locked into an uncomfortable kneeling position.

Black sand was on the border of Moribar. If this was true (which it had to be, since it came from Paza himself) then a card had been played in the hand of her fate that she though had been only fabricated, a myth, a farce. Her mind soared to a time when her mother was still alive…

"Ami," the head doctor of the region whispered as she turned her head from the stars above to her young daughter on the bed of grass beside her. Ami didn't move, her eyes glued to the bright balls of gas above their head. Her mom gave her side a tiny nudge and her daughter's only acknowledgement that she'd been called upon was the fractional shift of her eyes toward her mother's direction. "Ami."

"Yes, mother?" she whispered, as if speaking above a certain octave would pop the peaceful bubble of blissful ignorance she'd surrounded herself with.

Ami's mother frowned. "Now is not the time to be blasé, daughter, there's something very important that I need to tell you. It's imperative that you listen, and carefully at that." Her harsh tone, which was rarely directed at her daughter, caused Ami to blush and sit up, hands folded, embarrassed, in her lap.

"I'm sorry, mother," she mumbled, twittering her now clasped fingers.

Ami's mother sighed. "This is the only time I will ever mention this, and I want you to say nothing to anybody else of it. Do you understand?"

Ami nodded.

Her mother took her hand and clasped the fleshy fingers in her own, rubbing the soft skin against her cheek. "Ami, my only baby," she started, putting her other hand to her daughters head, pushing the short, blue bangs from her beautiful face. Ami had always been regarded as one of the most striking children of their neighborhood. Not the most beautiful, but definitely one of the most striking in her large, seemingly all knowing eyes. One of the reasons that she…

Ami's mother sighed again, this one with a twinge of anger and sorrow. "If you ever hear of a disturbance in Moribar, you must, and absolutely must, go there."

Ami's eyes, the ones said to bear wisdom beyond her years, widened in confusion. "Go there? But mother, if there's a disturbance in Moribar wouldn't I want to be far away?"

Her mother tilted up her chin. "I'm not talking about regional confrontations, my child. Such negligible things are the pointless distractions the other regions manifest to satisfy both their egos and their bloodthirsty hearts." She shook her head in disgust. "No, I'm talking about natural phenomenon, Ami. If something… changes within Moribar you must leave Amilee, leave your home and GO there. Go to a woman named Belhaj, she lives in the second ring around the Acropolis, her door will be red, the only red one."

Ami shook her head and pulled it gently from her mother's tender grasp. "But mother, why? You have yet to answer me that question. And what about you, will you not come with me?"

Her mother's smile at this point intimated that there was something churning in her mind that she was not allowed to discuss. Her eyes, which had strayed from her daughter's lithe form, crawled back and stared into Ami's questioning orbs. "First, daughter, you must promise me. Tell no one."

Her gaze was hard, and Ami almost looked away in fear. "Y-yes mother, I promise."

The look softened and Ami wanted to cry at her mother's vulnerable look. "You've always wondered why I named you Ami, haven't you? Since you were even younger than you are now, you've questioned why I'd named you after this peaceful region. Well, my daughter, it's because you are Amilee, and Amilee is a part of you. You are the only one who can carry it with you when you leave."

If Ami had been wise beyond her years, her wisdom was weak in confrontation to her mother's cryptic words. "But I don't under—"

"As for the second part of your question Ami," she began, gaining her bearing by grabbing onto the grass beside her. "I will have passed away by then."

At this, Ami did cry.

Ami's wide eyes wandered left and right, her hand gripping at her frantically beating heart. It was now, this was the natural phenom that her mother had spoken of. Now was the time.

Now was the time to flee.

...

This is my middle-work, since Ascension is temporarily "out of order". If you haven't guessed yet, it's a made up planet with made up regions. Moribar and Amilee are two, The Valley being attatched to Moribar. The other two will be revealed in the next chapter, as well as more on what's actually happening. For some reason I wanted the first chapter to be pretty cryptic…who knows why. I was kinda pissed I couldn't come up with a better title, but hey, it pretty much works. Review if you feel so obliged.