Chapter I: Crusade
Disclaimer: If I owned Ragnarok, then the anime would have been based on Takius- AND it wouldn't have been cliched. I'd also raise the budget for better animation, especially the fight scenes.
A/N: As far as couples go, it's gonna be shojou-ai Takius/OC: Before you groan in protest for your digust of OC's, this one's not really OC. She's a Crusader that looks exactly like the one the Witch disguised herself as in the series. It is in fact the one that made Roan change his mind into becoming a Crusader instead of a Knight. Don't like shojou-ai? Don't read.
The dull darkness that veiled over the battered ruins of Glast Heim hung heavily in the air. Despite the defeat of the King Beast that had aspired to free itself from its prison everything remained as it had over the past millenniums. It was not one of those famous places adventurers and reckless warriors waltzed in to kill a few monsters; a hated race amongst mortals- in fact, Glast Heim was a different story. No soul dared to venture through its dangerous corridors full of specters, ghosts and undead for the simple reason of wanting to stay alive. Most people referred to it as a place of death, decay, and despair… but real warriors knew that this place was for the mourning of the dead.
Usually, the dark castle was empty with the exception of wandering souls whose low moans barely did justice to appease the spirits but today fierce roars of monsters resonated through the brittle brick walls of the citadel. The howling was slow and strong. Even the wind and the rattling of the withering trees and its remaining leaves chimed with the tune. Together they created a loud symphony as if singing a song that mourned for the newly dead- for the new souls that were about to join them to roam the land aimlessly like they had for an eternity.
Rubble, shattered bricks, and stone lay motionless and scattered across a vast battlefield that had once hosted one of the most destructive, magical battles of all in all of Midgard. Even the shadows of remaining monsters that had been in unfortunate places at the wrong time remained imprinted on the ground like silhouettes.
A couple of yards away from the center of the final attack between magic-casting opponents lay the fragile frame of a young lady whose clothes were battered to the point where only a few pieces of cloth remained covering parts of her flawless, pale body. She lay on top of a particular large rubble making her appear as a sacrifice on a dais for the Gods. Her heart had stopped even before she had reached the ground from the fall- and as for her beloved teacher, he was nowhere to be seen.
Yet even in death she seemed angelic despite the cuts and bruises that had been inflicted on her moments ago. Her beauty glowed even more as a pool of blood at her side dripping down the rubble and dying it dark red. Her facial expression was not of pain, but of relax and calm-ness.
The Sage seemed to have accepted death as it greeted her with open doors. This was but another life lost to the tragedies caused by humans themselves. It couldn't be helped. Life would simply continue and her friends would merely move about on their own thread of fate.
They would… certainly move on in life… they hadn't even tried to search for her remnants, so they had already- surely moved on.
She felt lonely.
A dull ache throbbed against the nothingness the soul felt. The silhouette of a tall woman stood there, unmoving and staring at the dark, red sky. It matched the blood that started to pool at her translucent feet beneath the large debris. She felt empty. So empty and lost that the only thing that had kept her standing was the symphonic roars of the monsters further away, creating a song that eased her numbness.
The dark-haired woman's armour clinked together at her slightest movement as her long, dark blue-ish hair gently swayed to the breeze of the song. Dark, matching eyes of a strong warrior with a powerful sense of justice remain hidden in the darkness, and in the sorrow that she could not possibly express. She was a Crusader. The famous Crusader of Midgard that went by the name of Lanele- one of the worshiped warriors- for her beauty, for her strength, and for her sin- a missionary of peace whose head ironically had a bounty worth a lifetime supply of gold fit for a king, and who vowed to protect the very woman that slept eternally in front of her very eyes. She had failed for the second time in her life.
Lanele could not see the soul of her most loved friend that stood a couple of meters away from her. If it were the case, she would have tried everything in her power to re-attach her back to her body, but unfortunately with a pessimistic mindset like hers she didn't even dream of ever seeing the Sage again.
And it was now. For the first time in her life that the young Crusader, felt her emotions pour out. A tear rolled down her cheek while her lips moved unconsciously mouthing the name of her dearest friend.
Pain and sorrow had already filled Lanele's heart like lead. Between every fight against humans and monsters, between every wound inflicted on her body, and upon every friend and foe she had lost, this had to be the worst of all.
Breathing became difficult and her heart threatened to give into the unsettling guilt. Thoughts raced through the young Crusader's head as her fists balled tightly. She was too absorbed in her own pain to care of her surroundings nor the monsters that watched her silently.
Close by, the newly crowned king of demons observed the scene along with the Witch of Comodo who slightly smiled.
"To think that the person I had taken the identity of had a connection to the Sage," said the Witch of Comodo. "What do you think? Should we tell her to move on?"
Baphomet took in a large breath. His eyes were void of any emotion but clearly he was thinking deeply about this situation.
A long pause settled between the two and only the roars of the monsters could be heard in the distance.
Finally, Baphomet sighed. "No," came the short reply. "A new story is about to unfold."
As if on cue, the Crusader below had moved from her position. Her face clearly no longer held her composed featured. Glistening tears trickled down her cheeks. With one single sweeping motion, the Crusader gently picked Takius up and departed into the silent darkness of Glast Heim.
It was recess in the school of Geffen for young children that were being introduced to the world of wonders and dangers; Midgard. Hyperactive children were running here and there after a ball or a friend. The schoolyard, or rather the field they played on made the place almost seem serene despite the activities going on. In the distance, far from the bustling students, a lone girl silently read her book. She was always unnoticed by others due to her quiet nature. It was already mid-semester and no one really knew her still.
Once in class, a boy had wanted to burrow an eraser from her, but he made quite a commotion asking around for her name from his friends.
"Dude? What's her name?"
"Fool! She's been with us since last year!"
"Then what's her name?" the little boy repeated a little irritated.
"I… I don't know…"
No one knew what her name was. From then on, the girl was known as the "unknown" girl.
After that particularly embarrassing event, another girl took notice of the "unknown" one and became slightly intrigued by her shy nature.
"What's your name?" A demanding, child-like voice called out through a clearing of long grass which danced to the breeze. Mid-length dark blue hair flowed nicely to the light wind as her dark eyes pierced through the ones of the girl she adressed to.
The other young girl looked up from the book that was being held open by her hands and carefully surveyed the slightly taller girl with her large rain-coloured eyes. The taller girl could see the discomfort in them but she did not want to drop the question. If this girl wanted to be known then she'd have to speak up one of these day.
She finally replied but unlike the boastful girl, her voice was low and shy. "Catherine."
Dark eyes suddenly lit up as she propped herself down onto the grass in front of Catherine. "What a coincidence! My name's Catherine too! But for some reason, my dad disagrees with my mom and always calls me Lanele. He thinks it sounds better."
The shorter girl seemed a little intimidated by the other Catherine's talkative nature but decided it was best to nod and go with the flow.
"So what'cha reading?" Catherine- or rather Lanele as Catherine decided to refer to her as since she felt awkward saying her own name in her thoughts, leaned close to her as her eyes peered at the contents of her book.
A slight blush spread across the girl's face as she timidly replied. "Wizardry: The Way to Ultimate Knowledge by Zephyrus Hether."
Lanele quirked her eyebrow, this girl had weird taste. "Zephyrus Hether? The crazy old wizard with some obsession for experiments?"
Almost immediately, the brunette slammed her book shut and stood up to face the dark-haired girl, eyes glazed in fury. "He's not crazy!"
Lanele blinked in confusion a little surprised by the sudden outburst.
Catherine quickly averted her eyes to the ground also ashamed of her actions.
"I-I'm sorry," said Lanele slowly. Catherine timidly looked back up at her, eyes no longer hostile. "I didn't know there were still people who admire him. I've heard he was having a hard time these days too, so I'll stop talking about him."
The brunette felt uncomfortable. Never had someone apologize to her, and so now that it was happening, what was she supposed to say? The other girl must have picked up on it because she hurriedly went on.
"Hey, I wanna become a swordsman someday. How about we train together? You look like more of a swordsman type too."
Catherine's face turned into a questioning glare. Her brow was quirked as she probably wanted to say, 'What? No I don't.'
"Yes you do, now let's go!" As if reading the brown-haired girl's mind, Lanele yanked Catherine by her wrist and started to run towards the bustling playground.
From then on, the "unknown" one was re-baptized as Catherine Jr.
Clouds had started to move and swirl silently above as it blot out the sun completely. Total darkness reigned as silence hung in the atmosphere like a heavy blanket. The monsters had stopped their song thus allowing a minute of silence. Even the wind had toned down, leaving behind the pleasant jingles of rattling dried leaves against the rough bark of the branches.
It was a surprise no monsters had come for Lanele and Takius. The Crusader couldn't help but feel a little grateful for them, yet the overpowering taste for revenge laid fresh out in her mind was persuading her to go on a rampage across Glast Heim. The monsters were not at fault- she knew, but right now she didn't care much. The dark part of her heart wanted to kill… but the soft white that Takius had kindly created for her in her heart reasoned with her that doing such a thing will certainly not bring back someone from the dead.
Awkward feelings swirled within her head and chest. She didn't even notice that her hands were gently stroking the soft hair of her friend as they rode on her Grand Peco bird towards the deeper parts of Glast Heim. Her hand slowly lowered to trace the contour of Takius' face. The Sage's skin felt as cold as ice. It was as if the girl were but a mere porcelain doll sleeping in her arms. Dark eyes became moist with emotions. Tears threatened to spill as she watched the younger girl "slumber", head resting against her chest.
A vague, amusing memory soon surfaced in Lanele's head. When they were children, Takius was always such a light sleeper that in a situation like this she would wake up within seconds.
Unfortunately in this case, the Crusader knew it was impossible.
A/N: The next chapter will be a little longer. I always loved Ragnarok the Animation for Takius only hehe.