A/N: First attempt at a Tales of Vesperia fic so here's to hoping it's good! Parings are: YurixEstelle (Come on folks, it grows on you), KarolxNan (Puppy love... fitting for Karol), RitaxOC (Oh this will be funny, trust me). Please enjoy.

Chapter 01: Wolves and Ghosts

-------- 3 Years Ago -----------

"Jeez," A young knight with long black hair sighed into the cold. His sword was slung over his shoulder as he loosely kept his eyes on the alert. His bored gaze shifted to his right. He chuckled at the serious look on his fellow knights' faces, "Man, this is such a pain." He groaned in annoyance as another gust of cold wind bit at him.

"Pay attention Yuri," Marx scolded his squad-mate as they continued onwards, "there's no telling what might jump out at us."

The other three knights snickered at Yuri when he rolled his eyes. It was their first assignment away from the castle, but only by a few miles. They were in the middle of the nearby wooded area, in the middle of Zaphias's winter season, and it was cold. A thin mist lingered just above the frigid ground and slipped between the large tree trunks around them.

"Yeah, yeah, diligence, honor, and all that junk." Yuri sighed in boredom and disappointment. He was sincerely excited when he was chosen to go on this mission, especially after a small two months of being a knight. If only Flynn was with him, but he was busy helping the Captain with something.

Marx removed his helmet, revealing his light brown hair and serious green eyes. He shot Yuri a look before turning to the other members of the squad, "Phelix, Shawn, you two check out the western part of the woods." The two knights nodded and started off, "Narna, you and Yuri are with me."

"What wrong Marx, afraid I might break a rule if I'm away from you?" Yuri slightly tilted his sheathed sword and smirked when Marx snatched his lance out of the snowy ground.

Narna, the only female of the squad, shook her head at Yuri, "I'm sure you would break more than one rule without supervision Lowell."

Yuri chuckled and followed Marx and Narna as they journeyed deeper into the woods. He wasn't quite certain of what they were looking for, but everyone seemed on edge. It's not his fault the briefing was such a snore-fest. "So what are we looking for again?" He peered through the darkness, to be sure he was still following Narna and her inhumanly large axe.

"Weren't you listening when the Captain was giving us the assignment?" Narna looked back at him with astonished eyes. She sighed and shook her head once more, "You see Lowell, this is why you have no chance of advancing. If it weren't for your attitude, you'd be just as respected as Flynn, if not more."

Yuri didn't respond, silently seething at being compared to his friend for the umpteenth time. He was truthfully getting sick of it. "Excuse me for having a personality." He muttered.

"Hold," Marx suddenly signaled for them to stop when he heard a sound in the darkness. He slowly readied his lance and glanced around carefully. "Narna, get back, Yuri and I will give you an opening so you can deliver a killing blow."

"I love how nobody bothered to answer my question." Yuri sighed and stepped in front of Narna. He took his usual loose stance and tossed the sheath of his sword aside. Seconds ticked by as the cold wind howled against the frozen trees, an otherwise unsettling silence in the night. The owls suddenly stopped hooting, and other sounds of life went silent. Whatever was here, it was coming closer.

A sudden growl made all three knights look to their right, and they were shocked by what they saw. Before anything registered in their minds, a blur of white shot by, sporting a mess of fangs and claws. It was gone into the darkness almost as soon as it came. "It's going for the others, we have to warn them!" Marx turned and bolted in the direction of Phelix and Shawn.

"What was that?" Yuri was taken back by the sight of this monster, but followed obediently. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived to where Phelix and Shawn were, it was too late.

"Argh!"

"Ack!" Both knights were viciously thrown through trees and into the cold ground. They looked like they had been mauled by the Lord of the Plains by the time Yuri and the others came to their aid.

"Narna!" Marx stopped between the prowling beast and his injured comrades, Yuri at his side. Narna dropped her axe and started doing the best she could to slow the bleeding of her fellow knights. They hadn't thought to bring a healer of any kind along. "Get ready Yuri," His eyes looked through the darkness, "it's coming."

"GGRUFF!" A booming bark-slash-snarl echoed through the cold woods as the beast lunged out of the shadows. It attacked Marx first, its fangs ready to rip into his torso. Marx managed to dodge a fatal blow, but his shoulder was nearly ripped off by the powerful row of steel-like teeth. His lance barely managed to scratch the ear of the giant wolf that was lunging for him. "Grrrrr," The giant wolf growled dangerously and watched Marx drop to his knees, blood gushing from his shoulder.

"Not so fast!" Yuri stepped in front of Marx and slashed at the wolf's face. He managed to leave a shallow cut on its cheek, and he succeeded in forcing the wolf back a few paces. However, when the wolf turned its gaze to him, it was as if time had slowed. Yuri's dark eyes met the bright blue orbs of the giant wolf, almost looking upwards at it. The moonlight struck the wolf's body through the trees, and Yuri could see its white fur clearly. It was a sight he'd never forget.

The wolf looked at the battered knights and let out a satisfied snort. With a growl of warning, it bounded off into the shadows. In the distance, Yuri could hear the sound of its powerful howl.

-------------- Present ---------------

The forests of the capital city are very cold in the winter. Every year, a cold snap would hit the capital and freeze everything in the hemisphere. Everyone had long taken precaution to this season, including the knights that so vigorously protected the city. In the forested areas, an eerie mist would hang over the floor of the forests. It would slowly course through the towering trees, and at night, when the moon was right, it looked like ghosts roamed the forest.

A storm of hooves thundered through the cold woods near the capital, many in pursuit of one. Seven white steeds chased a black one through the mists of the forest, scattering the "ghosts" that roamed through it. At the chasing party's head, the current Commandant of the Imperial Knights: Flynn Scifo. He pushed his horse to go faster, his eyes focused on the dark figure ahead of him. "Stop, in the name of the Imperial Knights, and his Majesty Ioder!" He saw the man atop his horse look back and, as if snorting at the name, turned back to face forward. Flynn growled in anger and motioned for his knights to push forward. "Hurry men, we must catch him!"

One knight released his hold on the reigns of his steed and began to cast a spell. Without the help of a bhodi blastia, the attack had little punch, but it was enough to disable the targets method of transportation. Fireballs shot out of the knight's staff and hit the target's horse in the legs, throwing him off.

"Encircle him, our orders are to bring him back alive to face trial!" Flynn dismounted his steed and drew his sword. With the six knights at his sides, they formed a large circle around the fallen rider, a cloud of snow and cold air shrouding their view of him. "Surrender yourself!" His senses pricked and he turned to his right, "MOVE!"

It was too late. The knights hesitated, and a crescent-shaped wave of aer slammed into them. Flynn readied his sword and swung it upwards, "Azure Edge!"

"Crimson Edge!" The azure blast of power collided with the crimson crescent and sent a shock-wave that knocked everyone over, save for the man being pursued.

Finally, Flynn got a good look at him and felt his blood run cold. He wore black armor, the same style of the Imperial Knights. His shoulders were protected by plated armor, the outside lined with white fur that ran along his collar. His face was hidden behind a black helmet that had a single red eye that glowed in the moonlight.

"I will only give you one last warning, lay down your sword and surrender!" Flynn readied his sword again, but the black warrior simply took a stance of his own. Flynn froze at his posture: sword held loosely to the side, back straight, and slightly turned to the side.

"Move," He barked.

Flynn fired another Azure Edge, "I can't do that!" Flynn charged and tried to swipe horizontally when it was easily blocked. Incidentally, another knight had come up behind the black warrior, and a second tried from the side. Flynn stood in awe when their target sidestepped his attack, parried the one coming behind, and drove his open palm into the torso of the knight to his side. While the second knight was thrown a jaw-dropping distance into the dark woods, he turned and cut down the other knight.

"Crimson Wolf." He ducked and swung his sword low. Flynn jumped over the strike, but the wide slash cut ut the legs of another knight trying to help. Flynn landed and cursed when the target's open palm slammed into his chest, forcing him back a few paces. It was all he needed. Before Flynn could block, another crescent wave of aer slammed into his chest, blowing him back. Flynn landed hard on his back, blood trickling from a cut in his forehead. He felt blood flowing from his chest, and the world started going fuzzy.

He heard the sound of boots crunching the snow and ice of the forest floor. In moments, the red eye of the black shadow was looking down at him. A hand extended and dropped an apple gel onto his abdomen. A gift of pity it would seem. It was the last thing Flynn saw, before he lost consciousness.

...

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...

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In the Zaphian forests, there are many wolves. There are many memories, and there are many beginnings. In the past, a young knight saw a wolf that stood taller than a man. Its fur was white like the snow, with eyes as icy blue as the ice underfoot. Now, Flynn Scifo, knight of the people, saw the Wolf of Zaphias. It was a cold and windy day in the Lower Quarter...

A/N: And that's the first chapter. I'm planning for this to be a short adventure, not exactly a whole new epic for our loved heroes. Character analysis, relationship analysis, character development, and some good fights to keep the blood hot. Please leave a comment, or corrections that need to be made. Don't forget to review!