Chapter I; Moonrise



"you cannot make a revolution with silk gloves."

Joseph Stalin



A dying kingdom, Sakura thought, she was going to be Queen of a dying kingdom.

A dead ruler for a dead land.

It might have been morbid, she mused, if someone didn't know the current circumstances, because Sakura could feel it, the death in the cold halls of the castle, a sickness lying just beneath the stonework. And she, she was going to die tonight, already dressed for the funeral in a resplendent gown of red.

Her harsh breathing sounded impossibly loud in the still air, her slippered feet making no noise on the frost covered forest floor. Sakura could hear him though, maybe fifteen feet behind, stalking, his pace a slow crawl compared to hers. Bare branches tore at her hair and clothes, the early winter chill numbing the exposed skin at her neck and shoulders. It was a desperate flight, a race that Sakura knew she wouldn't win, not when the one prowling was an apparently experienced nin, not when she was so heavily encumbered by her dress.

It was foolish for her to have been wandering outside alone at night, palace grounds or not. It was a masquerade party, supposedly thrown in celebration of her sixteenth birthday but actually just another occasion for the nobles to wheedle more out of the aging King, gorging themselves on food and sex.

Sakura had felt suffocated in there, where the smoky air was thick with perfume and false pretenses that were transparent despite the masks they'd all worn, so she had slipped away for fresh air.

She found the first murdered guard with his throat slit; face down on the brown grass. She had felt him immediately after, heard the shuriken that barely grazed the side of her head.

Sakura didn't bother screaming, she ran. He pushed her away from the castle, towards the woods at the fringe of the grounds, the music from the revel fading as the distance between her and safety increased. If she'd screamed then, someone might have heard over the din, but now there was no longer a possibility of rescue.

The moonlight that had been spilling through the bare branches of the trees abruptly ceased, plunging her surroundings into darkness. Storm clouds had massed around the moon. Momentarily struck blind, Sakura stumbled, hands thrown forward to brace her fall, palms scraping painfully across the hard ground. Panic and adrenaline fueling her, she ignored the stinging pain and scrambled with difficulty to her feet, listening hard for his approach. There was nothing.

Sakura only hesitated for a second before running again, but it was enough, the shinobi had had his fun. A slight rustle of a red and black cloak and the drawing of a blade signaled that he was in front of her…

She squeezed her eyes shut, backing away on aching feet even as she waited for the blade to end her life.

Is anyone there-?

At the sound of metal whistling through air, even though it would have been of no use, Sakura couldn't help it— she screamed.

But there was no pain, only the sudden sound of steel grating against steel. Her eyes flew open. The clouds moved to reveal the moon again just as she heard something pierce through flesh, squelching as it cut through muscle and bone and back.

There, framed against the bony skeletons of trees and bathed in moonlight, was her savior, foreign blade poised over the prone body of the cloaked shinobi. Sakura had only the chance to register spiky, blue-black hair before he turned towards her, the sudden impact of his face bringing her to a stand still. His features were achingly beautiful, the stark white marble carved with clean, sharp strokes and molded into the visage of an angel. But no ordinary angel could preside so coolly over the dead and school their expression into such a careless mask of indifference.

What God forgot you?

Sakura looked into his eyes and suddenly recoiled, stumbling back from the motionless figures illuminated like a bloody tableau.

Like a demon from hell, his eyes shone ruby red.

a/n: Finally (re)rolled out the multichap. :D Short chapter was short but I felt this was where to best end things. Don't worry (or maybe do), following chapters will be longer, and everything will be explained, in time. It's pretty easy to see that this is going to be AU, but lots of elements from canon will be present. For now, interpret everything as you will. And yeah, this is a total overhaul of the Revolution from before, with some basic plot points intact. Please review, I really want to see this whole thing through and your thoughts (as well as lots and lots of constructive criticism) on this would be great.