Gracia's Story

Disclaimer: I do not own Gracia, her story, or any of the people in life except for the woman that I claim as her mother since KOEI hasn't given her a name yet. And yes, KOEI owns all the characters…as does history.

A/N: Yes I know that Gracia's story is told in SW2: XL but this slows it down a bit and goes somewhat in between the scenes that we get in the game. Also, it's told more in 1st person rather then third person like the game. And I added a bit with her mother, who, I must admit, is a role play character I created. I might go farther into that if anyone wishes to know more.

A red headed, green eyed woman sat peacefully in the main hall of her husbands palace. It had been many years since she herself had been in a battle but she knew the time was drawing close and she would have to battle one last time. She knew that her husband had left orders with his most loyal retainers to ensure that she followed what was considered the honorable route and commit seppuku. She had other ideas however. But that was a matter for later. For now she had more important things on her mind. Since her death could be near she thought it was time for her story to finally be told the way it really happened. With that thought in mind she set brush to paper and begin to retell her story in her words.

I was 14 years old when I left home…a woman for all intents and purposes to the world. But I certainly didn't feel like an adult. And I definitely wasn't ready to be married and start my own family. It all started with a fight with my father. I believed in something he did not…and so I left.

That is when I ran into Saika Magoichi. Mago was like the answer to my prayers. He was a mercenary that went where he wanted and fought who he wanted. So I joined up with him…much to his annoyance in the beginning. He and I traveled together for over a year. Halfway through our time together…he found out the truth about who I was. My name is Akechi Gracia. My father is Akechi Mitsuhide…one of Lord Oda Nobunaga's most loyal retainers.

My father tried to get me to return home but I wasn't ready to follow him just yet. Besides…Mago and I had become friends by then. However, shortly after we were to be separated for a very long time. You see...Mago had caught the attention of Lord Oda at the battle of Osaka Bay. But in this case it was a bad thing. Right after the battle Mago promised to take me to his home village. When we got there…the worst imaginable thing had happened.

Lord Oda Nobunaga had ordered the village attacked and destroyed. My father and lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi were the ones leading the charge. Lord Hideyoshi was friends with Mago though…and when he caught word that Mago was approaching the village he left the battlefield to my father. Mago and I started fighting right away. Nearing the end of the battle I lost touch with Magoichi. He just completely disappeared. I was facing my father at the time. He told me Mago was dead. I didn't believe him…I couldn't.

But I did finally go home with him. What other choice did I really have? My mother of course was over-joyed to see me return. She didn't share the same views as my father did but she truly loved my father so she kept quiet. Besides…it's not like she had much choice in the matter. My mother wasn't a lady by birth, merely by marriage. Some days I curse my mother for not being a true lady…maybe then she would have had more say in what happened next.

My mother was a kind woman…perhaps the one good thing about her not being raised in the house of a lord. She put others far above herself. She was most often known as Setsuna or Setsu-chan. Even the outside world hardly knew her as Lady Akechi. Then again the outside world hardly knew her…unless it was the hannamachi's of Kyoto. She was a maiko when my father found her. It took several years though after she was freed at her Mizuage before my father was allowed to marry her. Lord Oda Nobunaga was also quite interested in her and had her as a concubine for a while.

But this is not my mothers story. It is mine. And so I digress. After Mago's disappearance and my return to Azuchi castle, my father decided it was high time for me to be married. Despite my mother's wishes that I be allowed to marry for love as they had, my father betrothed me to Hosokawa Tediokie.

Shortly after my marriage my father betrayed Lord Nobunaga. Looking back on it now, I am almost certain that that is why my father made sure I was married. My mother fought beside him both at Honnoji where Lord Nobunaga fell…and then at the Battle of Yamazaki where my father's life ended.

Lord Hideyoshi was the one to avenge Lord Nobunaga and take my fathers life. He offered my mother a chance to go back with them as she was still quite young…barely in her thirties. She refused however. She loved Lord Hideyoshi like family…but could not bear the thought of becoming a concubine once again. She decided to follow in my fathers footsteps and committed seppuku.

My life with Lord Hosokawa was not an easy one. Many times I thought of running…but I had no where to go any longer. No mother to take me in and protect me. Magoichi still had not returned…

The sounds of battle interrupted the woman's musing's. So the time has finally come, she thought to herself. She laid down her brush and rolled her writings up and stuck it in her waistband. Thankfully the ink had had time to dry at least. She watched as soldiers stormed into her home of 18 years now.

As they asked her if she was indeed the lady of the house…something most unexpected happened. Their weapons were shot from their hands. Her life long friend Mago had returned at last. Gracia wore a smile for her friend and together they fought their way through the enemy.