AN: And so we begin—the third and final installment of my little trilogy. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes. Just a prologue to kick this whole thing off, sort of a review of the last two stories and the additions I've made to the canon legends. Enjoy!

I don't own Magic Knight Rayearth. CLAMP does. And their lawyers probably aren't very friendly…

Prologue: In the Beginning

In the beginning, there were two beings, both without name or form, who merely existed. They were the balance of the cosmos and the matching forces of nature. They were of the Light and of the Dark, and their power was absolute. Neither was movable. But both stayed well enough away from all that was, for they had to remain in balance, lest there be destruction.

In time, though, the two did create. Two further beings, borne of the same power as their progenitors, in what could be called the First Birth. These had no names, and were to serve and aid the Light and the Dark. What became of them has been lost to the time and the ages.

Again, time passed, and again, the two created, bringing another essence into being, and charged it with shaping the all and the nothingness into existence. And so this one, who could create, did create—an unlikely being with no actual name, who came to be known simply as Creator. This being fabricated many different worlds spanning many different dimensions, each with its own language, culture, economy, infrastructure, and government. Some worlds were large, some were small, some were peaceful, some were violent.

Some embraced magic fully. Some had no real magic to speak of.

And they had many names. Autozam. Chizeta. Fahren. Aldarba. Cephiro. Earth. And many others, too many others to name. They each existed independently of the others. Some knew of the existence of other worlds, while others were blissfully ignorant.

One world brought into being by Creator was Cephiro. Cephiro was created with a unique system of maintaining itself. One person, known as the Pillar, held the entire world together solely by will-power. This Pillar was the most revered person in the land, on whose whim Cephiro could prosper or collapse. Only a person pure of heart and strong of will could become the Pillar, though—a person with a wish that they would give their life for.

Creator supported the world until the population began to grow. From these, the first Pillar was hand-chosen. A young girl from a border village, named Sapphira, was selected and brought to the center of the realm, and a Capital was built around her. She grew into her role, grew to understand it, and devoted herself entirely to it. The people of Cephiro prospered by the power of her heart.

Cephiro grew exponentially. Villages and cities popped up all over the map. Magic was a valued commodity, not exactly rare, but not so regular as to be commonplace. Those found to have the power were sent to the Palace for training of their gifts.

The Palace, located in the Capital, was the very center of the realm. It was home to the Pillar, and to those who served and aided her. It was also the residence of the Master Mage, one called Guru, the one who held the secrets to magic and spells of great and frequently terrible power. The Guru was one of the Pillar's many protectors, and also served to teach and train the youngsters of the realm found to have that blessed gift of magic.

Another world was known as Earth. This was perhaps the most diverse world created, with a wide variety of languages, cultures, creeds, races, governments, and almost any other demographic factor one could imagine. And it was on this world that three girls were born in a country known as Japan.

The first one born, Michiko, came into a loving family, the daughter of an important public figure. However, her father made one too many enemies, and in the space of one night her entire world was snatched from her. She alone escaped, having seen her entire family slaughtered before her very eyes. She made her way from what had been her home, and took shelter with a friend of her family, but withdrew from other people and kept to herself.

Another girl, Sachi, was a child of the streets. She had a family, but she did not care for them, nor them for her, and so she opted instead to find her own way. This led to her many questionable choices, and by the time she was fourteen she was already known to those who dealt with troublemakers. She eventually crossed the wrong person, and found herself potentially facing death for various crimes, many of which were in the interest of staying alive.

The third was called Amaya. Her existence was not a happy one at all. Orphaned at ten, she was left to the care of an aunt who saw in her young niece a meal ticket instead of a human being. At the age of thirteen, she found herself stolen away by a man who called himself her husband. He was far older than she, and she despised him for imprisoning her and doing the things he did to her. Thus began a year of terror that ended when a mysterious white-hot light appeared in the afternoon sky above her, pulling her and two other equally-misfortunate young girls away to another world.

Had circumstances not shifted in their favor, these three girls probably would have never met in their lifetimes on Earth. But the status quo changed, and the winds of fate swept them up in powerful gusts, bringing them face to face with a most unusual destiny.

The three girls were pulled from Earth to the world called Cephiro, where they landed on a cliff overlooking a high bluff. There, they met each other and another person, a strange fellow who introduced himself as Guru Alto, the Master Mage of the realm. He called them Magic Knights and gave them magic, giving them the barest details of what they were to do before sending them on their way to find the chief pharle of the world, a man named Kardos.

Kardos greeted them at his workshop and gave them the mission of travelling to the Fountain of Eterna to retrieve the mineral called Escudo, from which their swords would be forged. They did not truly realize at the time just how great of a journey they were embarking on, one that would bring them to the edge of hell and back, and show them the stark contrast of life and death. But it was also a series of trials that would awaken three young women into heroes and loyal friends.

The journey was not an easy one. To have been the answers to Sapphira's summons, the three girls had to have had the necessary strength of heart to succeed. A person without the makings of a Magic Knight could have never accomplished the task. But for the three chosen girls, none of whom had enjoyed particularly happy existences in their short years and each bearing deep emotional scars, it was a strain to even trust each other.

But human beings are adaptive creatures, and these three were no exception as they grew to trust each other and understand better the trials that had so shaped their lives and their personalities before bringing them to this world, which seemed cursed. It was this tentative bond, as fragile as a snowflake, that held them together as they faced the Pillar, Sapphira, and learned the truth of their purpose: that they were to kill her.

In the end, they acquiesced, and performed the horrible task that was asked of them.

As the Pillar fell, that white light appeared once again. The three, realizing that it meant to take them back to Earth, the world that had already scarred them so deeply, wished desperately, knowing that Cephiro was a land of will. And to their surprise, the Guru Alto once again came to them and asked of them what they desired, for their wish to never return to the lives they had lived before was strong enough to stave off the magic that would have taken them back.

The three begged to stay in Cephiro, all pride forgotten. That was their wish, they said. To help rebuild the land, to protect it, to guard the new Pillar. When pressed, they admitted that they also wished for their own happiness, and knew that they would never find it on Earth.

Their wish was granted, and they settled into their lives in their new homes. They were heroes, protectors, teachers, adored and loved and welcomed by all within Cephiro's borders. They became the personal guard to the new Pillar, a girl named Emeraude, still a child. And as time went on, they found companionship and began families of their own. For a time, all was well.

A young man named Xander came to the Palace for training in his great gift of magic. He was skilled, and rumors soon spread that he would become the next Master Mage upon the passing of Guru Alto. There was another student of magic, though, who had been training longer than Xander. This one was a man named Clef, who was the beloved of the Knight of Selece, Amaya.

It was Amaya who Xander was drawn to, first as a friend and teacher, but he soon fell in love with her. As she was already happily with another as well as a mother, she rejected his advances.

The result was devastating to the world. In his despondent state, Xander fell prey to a dark force, and was overtaken by it, and sought to destroy Cephiro and claim Amaya by force. The battle was horrific, and many lives were lost on the battlefield, including Michiko and Sachi.

Desperate to stop the invasion and the destruction, as well as to protect the Pillar, Amaya sought the counsel of the Creator, who told her of a way to stop him. The price was steep, but she was willing to pay it to protect the land that had been more of a home to her than the world of her birth ever had.

She made two wishes to the Creator: first, for the safety of her children and the children of her fallen teammates, that they would be take somewhere far away from this place, and secondly for the protection of the one who would follow in her footsteps someday. For a seal could be broken quite easily, she knew, and someday Xander would break free. It would fall to another to seal him once again.

Assured that her wishes would be granted, Amaya died by her own hand as a sacrifice, offered to release the great power that lay in blood and death, and so was able to place a seal on the man she had once considered a friend so that he would harm Cephiro no further.

The dead were buried, and the Magic Knights were mourned as the fallen heroes who had given everything to protect the realm, just as they always had. But years passed into centuries, and the Magic Knights of Cephiro and their mashin and their magic once again faded into legend, their names lost to time as they once again became a fairy tale.

And then, one fateful day, three girls were again snatched from the world called Earth and taken to the world called Cephiro to accomplish a great task. Guru Clef greeted them and called them Magic Knights. He gave them magic and put them on the path to their destiny, starting with a visit to the chief pharle, Presea, to seek their weapons of Escudo.

The girls were young, and the journey was difficult, and the end result left the three in heartbroken pieces. They fulfilled their duty for the sake of the realm, and returned to their own world in tears.

The Magic Knights would return to Cephiro again, drawn by that same mysterious force, only to find the beautiful world that they had remembered in tatters and on the verge of destruction. The prayers of the Pillar were all that had kept Cephiro intact. With those prayers gone, the land was on the brink of ruin. Furthermore, three enemy nations had come to conquer the realm and attempt to claim the power of the Pillar for themselves.

Vowing to protect the land that had brought them so much pain, the three girls once again donned armor and mashin and took to the skies to fight for the world and to seek the new Pillar. The Pillar was ultimately chosen by the Test: one of the Magic Knights, the one called Hikaru, was deemed the strongest heart in Cephiro. She vanquished the Pillar system, placing the care and safety of Cephiro into the hands of all those who loved it.

Again the Magic Knights were returned to their own world, but this time the tears were tempered with smiles. They had done a great deal for that magical world, and this time it truly felt like they had done good, rather than caused destruction.

As time went on, the three girls grew into three young women. They remained close, never forgetting the memories of their adventures and the people they had encountered. Some of those people remained very, very dear to them, even separated by entire worlds.

Until one night, when the girls and their friends were attacked by a monster who called them Magic Knights and chased them to the top of the tower from whence all their previous adventures had begun. At the moment they were surely to die, the Summons of Cephiro came once again, this time taking five young people to the fantastic world.

This time, the source of the disturbance could be found in Cephiro's history, things that had fallen into the realm of legend: the tale of a great battle won by the spilling of blood. The Knight of Selece, Umi, was the target of almost everything that happened. She nearly overtaken by the darkness, and at one point even fell into the enemy's hands. But a strange presence guarded her steps, waging the battle for her mind and body and heart.

It was during the final confrontation with their enemy that they learned his true nature: his name was Xander, and he had been sealed so many years before by a Magic Knight, bonded to Umi by their mashin, Selece. That had been Amaya, and she revealed herself again to Xander, having spent so much time at Umi's side in the guise of a maid rescued from Xander's stronghold.

Now realizing what she must do to protect her friends and both the worlds she so cherished, she made her decision. Umi, the Knight of Selece, died by her own hand, spilling her blood into the space between the worlds and recasting the seal on Xander's prison.

The promise set into place by Amaya's death was realized, and in dying of her own free will, Umi's life was spared. She was revived, and the girls returned to Cephiro to learn the truth of their predecessors, and of Xander's origins: a sorcerer in the Palace of Cephiro who had turned to the shadows after his love for Amaya was rejected.

Before the girls and their friends were returned to their own world, one other piece of the picture became evident: Amaya had wished for the safety of her children, and the children of her fellow Magic Knights. In granting her wish, the Creator had placed those children on the world called Earth, where they grew up, unaware of their true heritage as the families of heroes.

Eventually, that lineage gave birth to three girls who were once again called forth to fulfill the legacy perpetuated by their ancestors, and taken to another world in search of magic and adventure.

Time continued to pass, and the three wondered if their adventures in Cephiro had finally come to and end. But the peace was shattered when a girl, Kagura, vanished. She had gone with them to Cephiro during the fight against Xander, and knew of her friends' secret. When the three were attacked by someone wearing Kagura's face, they again found themselves brought to the other world, and once again made their way to the Palace.

Shortly after their arrival, Fuu, the Knight of Windam, found herself facing a strange figure in a storm that seemed to move and attack as though alive. The beast the person rode resembled a mashin. And the storms and attacks continued.

This time, though, the battle was not to be waged on Cephirean soil. A neighboring ally, a country known as Aldarba, was under siege. This was a country without magic, and was thus powerless to protect itself against the attacks. They called on their ally for assistance, and the Magic Knights and a small entourage went to answer the call.

There they once again encountered Caliana, the Princess of this land. She had been intended to Ferio, Prince of Cephiro, in an alliance-union, but had broken the engagement. They were welcomed and made to feel at home in the Palace as they struggled to find Kagura and discover what was causing so many disturbances in this world that was so different from Cephiro.

Again, the truth of their opponent could be found in the old legends. There were more than three mashin, it seemed. Three more had been awakened and brought to life by three other girls, all calling themselves Magic Knights. Malia, the Knight of Galen. Cristal, the Knight of Hadrian. Nairi, the Knight of Damek. And they had taken Kagura, calling her the Promised, who would awaken the Beasts of the Light and of the Dark, so that they would engage in their great battle once again.

Kagura called Umi her enemy, subverted by the man who had found these new Magic Knights. He was Sorilbran, called a Master of Illusions. He was able to gain control of Kagura and her powers by plying her with those illusions, for memories are little more than pictures in the mind, easily tampered with and changed. He sought to have her awaken the Beast of the Dark and take it as her mashin, and be devoured by it as a sacrifice to grant it the power to destroy everything.

In the course of the struggle, Fuu found herself with the gift to see the life-energy of those around her. Because of this second sight, she was able to realize that the three enemy Knights were not alive, nor was Aeric, the man who had been general to both Xander and Sorilbran.

They learned why: Sorilbran's power, aided by a being known only as Shadow, had allowed him to take three spirits, the souls of girls of the proper lineage who would have had the capacity to become Magic Knights had circumstances happened in their favor. All three had died unfortunately. He created bodies for them, resurrected them in spirit only, though he could not truly grant them life. And he told them that he had saved them from death, demanding their loyalty and service and power as restitution. Having no memories of their lives before awakening in his sanctuary, they believed him and trusted his word and served him to varying degrees of loyalty.

Malia, Knight of Galen, was captured by the Magic Knights of Cephiro. She agreed to betray her comrades and told them what she knew. For this, she paid with her life, slain on Aeric's sword. The one who had been sent to retrieve her, Cristal, failed to do so and was also killed by Aeric, both on Sorilbran's orders. Nairi, the one remaining Magic Knight, whose loyalty to Sorilbran was unwavering, was told that Umi was responsible for the deaths of both of her teammates. She vowed to aide Kagura in destroying the Knight of Selece.

In the final battle, Sorilbran's treason became evident to all when Kagura mortally wounded Nairi on his orders. She prepared to kill Umi and offer herself up as the sacrifice to the mashin. She and Umi fought.

Now fully aware of her lord's true nature and true designs, and near death, Nairi played her hand. Her power was of the ground and the land, and she used it to draw forth the stone that was the source of so much of Sorilbran's power, as well as his connection to his master, Shadow. With the last of her strength, Nairi used her sword to destroy the focus-stone, killing herself and breaking Sorilbran's power and his hold over Kagura.

As had so many others before him, Sorilbran died on the end of Aeric's sword.

Freed from the magic that had controlled her and now in possession of her own true memories, Kagura quieted the Beasts of the Light, called Amani, and of the Dark, called Tynan, and claimed the power of both. This brought forth the Beast of Twilight, named Lycoris, who Kagura took as her mashin.

But Aeric was nowhere to be found, and war was creeping on the borders of Cephiro and Aldarba as the Magic Knights found themselves once again back on Earth. They were horrified, and desperate to help fight the battle for two countries that they had no way to return to. The horror turned to dread when they found that another friend, Takeshi, who had gone to Cephiro with them at the same as Kagura, was missing, having seemingly disappeared upon their return to Earth.

Without any options or ideas, the Magic Knights, now numbering four, went about their lives once again, waiting and hoping for the moment when they would once again return to Cephiro and find their missing friend, and help win one more battle for the land they loved so deeply. They had no doubts that they would return someday, though.

For Cephiro is a land of magic, and from the depths of such magic, countless legends are born.

And far too many legends have a basis in reality and history.

And so our story begins…


PS. Whew. That might be the longest prologue I have ever written XD I sort of have this vision in my head of this being written by a Cephirean scribe, documenting the major events of these fights. That makes this all the cooler in my head, at least. And that's why so many details were left out. They just got the meat of the whole thing. And did anyone else notice that I just summed up around two hundred thousand words of story in less than four thousand words?

Anyway, here we go, onto part three of this big honkin' monster trilogy. I have a LOT of stuff planned for this story. I hope you'll stick around to check it out. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!