A/N: Well, I'm impressed. 2 chapters in 1 night. O.O Wow. Anywho, here's chapter 1.
The sun was just setting as Myonfi continued her walk. The path she traveled on was broad, but not smooth. It followed the edge of Mirror Lake which was surrounded by thick woods. Her own village was on the opposite side of the lake.
A chill wind came up and blew her shoulder length, curly, black hair. Her shawl fluttered a bit but stayed securely on her shoulders. Her sandles were tattered and worn. Her shirt and skirt were old and faded.
She looked up the mountainside and saw her goal. A short ways up was a shimmering wooden structure with a marble dome in the center. Her hopes rose. She gathered her strength and ran the rest of the way.
At the end of the road, she stopped and stared. Wooden beams wrapped and wove about each other like the vines that grew through the nooks and crannies. Many colored flowers blossomed giving the place a warm and welcoming feeling. Small dragons in different poses carved of both wood and precious stones were hidden about. Many kinds of birds took flight adding to the color. The wood and vines wove through each other to the great, white, marble dome which glinted red in the sunset.
This magnificent and beautiful place was the Sanctuary of the Dragon of Ages, the lord of dragons and once a great leader in the rebellion against the Raven Lady in the years passed.
Myonfi drew a breath and stepped forward. Her fear and discomfort were replaced by calm and relaxation. Her lightly tanned skin provided a contrast to the multicolored flowers. She walked through the archway to find hidden lanterns which gave off a soft golden glow among the vines and wooden beams.
When she looked back the way she came, she saw the sun was already set. She sighed and returned her gaze forward again, only to see a large, ornate door decorated with a great white dragon.
She reached out to push it open, then puller her hand back anxiously. She closed her amber eyes to gather her courage and tried again. This time, she touched the door and pushed. The portal swung open with a quiet hiss. When she stopped just inside the dome, the door closed silently behind her. She hardly noticed. Her full attention was on her surroundings. Instead of the pale stone roof she expected to see, it was the night sky, complete with the two moons and the stars.
"Why do you come to me, lady?" a kind voice whispered.
Myonfi jumped, then shyly answered, "To ask a favor of the Dragon of Ages."
"I see," came the voice, which almost sounded like a young man's.
There was a pause and Myonfi felt her nervousness, which had been forgotten in the garden, return full force. Suddenly, her sourroundings began to swirl and change. She squeezed her eyes shut to protect them from the overwhelming colors and dizzying vertigo.
When she opened them again, she saw the most beautiful landscape she'd ever seen. Green grass surrounded a crystal clear lake that shimmered in the sunlight. The blue sky was broken only by a stray cloud or so. Butterflies fluttered about and the buzzing of bees was loud. Crickets chirped and birds sang. All around her were rolling hills full of heather and in the distance were purple mountains.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" a voice beside her commented.
Myonfi jumped in surprise and turned to see who had spoken. Standing at her side was a young man only slightly shorter than she with short, pale blue hair and snow white skin. A shimmering, golden tattoo elegantly wrapped around his left eye like a dragon chasing its tail.
"What did you say?" she found herself asking.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" the newcomer repeated, turning his head to her, keeping his eyes slightly down. She took a step back and bowed in reverence. She knew that she was in the presence of he whom she sought.
"Great Drafon," she murmured.
"None of that now, my lady," the young man said gently, stretching out his hand to help her rise. "You didn't enter my sanctuary just to bow to me, did you?" Once his guest was on her feet once more, he continued, "Now, Myonfi, tell me. Why have you come here?"
"H-how did you know my name?" she asked, a little unnerved. The youth merely raised his left eyebrow and continued to stare at her nose knowingly. Shyly, she looked down and murmured, "I want a child, lord."
Suddenly, she heard the strangest sound. She looked up, only to see the youth doubled over in laughter. She stared at him startled and hurt by his reaction to her request.
"Forgive me," he said, trying to regain control of himself. "It's just that no one has ever asked me for a child before." Quite recovered now, he grew solemn as he spoke and used his hands to emphasize his words. "I'm usually asked for gold, or riches…or worse." His eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms across his chest. "Why do you want a child?"
Myonfi answered with a sadness that surprised her listener. "When I was a young girl, I became ill and now I…" She bit her lip and gazed fixedly at her feet. She could feel the heat of the young man's gaze burn into her. She swallowed and tried to continue, "Great Dragon, all I ask, is that you give me a child. I could care less whether it's a boy or a girl. I just want a child to love, to teach, and to raise."
"And your husband, he wants a child as well?"
"Yes," she raised her head to meet his gaze but her pointedly avoided her eyes.
"Do you think that you will have the time to raise a child while at the sme time, run and maintain a tavern?"
"I will make time," Myonfi said confidently.
Her listener reached up, placed and outstretched finger on his right cheek, and leaned on it thoughtfully. His knowing gaze shifted down but his head remained up. "Would you have me?"
Myonfi's eyes widened and her head whirled.
"I know it's a lot to ask but, you want a child and I want to escape this place. The only way for me to do that, it seems, is by starting at the beginning."
"You are the first person to enter my sanctuary in centuries. My garden is cursed so that no one could enter. Many have died terrible deaths trying to get to me. It's curious that you are the one it allowed in." The youth sat down on the grass with one leg stretched out and the other bent. He casually rested his left arm on his bent knee and leaned back on his right hand which he placed on the ground behind him for support.
"You mean…the garden…people died…" Myonfi paused. She was the only one to make it through that beautiful garden. That beautiful garden that took lives, and this dragon, this…! "And you did nothing to stop it?" she inquired coldly.
The young man seemed startled by her question. He blinked, his mouth opened and closed as if he was trying to say something but no sound would come forth. He recovered himself quickly. "You don't understand," he said defensively, turning away from her.
"You mean to tell me that you let people die if you didn't want to listen to them?"
"I could have died if you didn't want to speak to me!" Myonfi shot in fury as she made her way toward the rising youth.
"You don't understand!"
"How could you kill those people? And how could you abandon your followers? You haven't shown yourself in centuries. Hardly anyone believes in you anymore!"
"Stop!" the young man cried, clapping his hands over his ears in an attempt to block out her voice.
"Stop? Why should I stp whn you-"
"I WAS IMPRISONED! I still am! It wasn't my fault. Believe me, if I could have warned those innocent people of the danger, and I tried, I would have. But I couldn't. My powers were blocked by the very same barrier that holds me prisoner in here. I can't leave. All I can do is stand here and watch as loved ones grew old and died, or were slain. I've seen kingdoms rise and fall, armies conquer and be conquered, and I'm still here. Trapped by the very sanctuary built to offer me rest from such things."
Myonfi stood still. His eyes had finally brushed across hers in his sudden burst of emotion. Now she understood why he avoided her gaze before. There was so much emotion in those eyes. His body was that of a young man's, but his eyes were old, world weary, and full of sorrow. And they drained her. She wobbled precariously.
He must have noticed because he steadied her and apologized. She shook him off. She needed to think. She glanced at the dragon lord beside her and knew what she had to do. "Of course, I won't have to sleep with you to give birth to you, right? I'm married and I don't plan on betraying my husband. Besides, the idea of sleeping with the person who'll be your son is a bit…unattractive."
The dragon stared at her incomprehensibly for a minute, then burst into a relieved smile. Then laughed. "No, heaven forbid that happen. No, I'll merely give you my savorie then you are free to return to your husband. Though I would suggest you stay the night here. It's safe and warm and you won't have to worry about bandits."
"Or promiscuous sons-to-be," she winked. She smiled when the young man chuckled. "Alright, give me your savor…thing"
"Savorie. It's like a soul in a crystallize form." The young man opened his hand and a single, smooth, crystal sphere appeared in his palm. It glowed with an inner light that pulsed like a heartbeat. He met her eyes and handed her the crystal. The instant it touched her skin, it sank beneath the surface. Myonfi recoiled in shock.
"Don't worry, it just means it's within you now. Which means, I'll leave. You won't see me again until you give birth to me. Of course, I probably won't remember much of this meeting until I'm older for obvious reasons."
Myonfi nodded. "One last question."
She smiled. "What's your name?"
He paused. "Call me Akabara."
"Akabara. Red Rose."
He smiled sadly, then vanished and the nighttime scene returned to the inside of the dome.
"Take him away from here. The longer he stays, the more danger he's in," a hooded man begged. His dark eyes shifted constantly from the woman before him to the sleeping boy.
"How am I supposed to do that when the house is completely surrounded by armed me?" the frightened maid whispered harshly, yet respectfully.
The hooded man glanced once more at the boy sprawled on the bed of straw. Then he quickly strode over to a section of the wooden floor and ran his fingers through the ridges of the planks, and lifted up. An oddly shaped door swung open to lay topside on the floor. "Through this tunnel," he answered simply.
Both the man and woman stiffened. The man recovered first and ordered in a harsh whisper, "Grab the blankets Toru. Now!"
The woman rushed immediately to obey. The man ran to the bed, placed his hand on the boy's forehead, and murmured a spell. Then he gently kissed the child's raven locks and whispered, "Be safe, my son."
"Open the door, Ashura!" ordered a harsh, raw-throated voice.
"Quickly, Toru. Hurry!" the man beckoned frantically.
"I'll give you to the count of five. One…" the voice started counting.
Toru gently wrapped the small child in the linens so tightly that, had the boy been awake, he would've been unable to move, and so his face was hidden from view. Then she headed for the little door. The man stopped her and brushed the cloth away from the child's face. He leaned over and kissed the toddler's face once more and whispered, "I will always love you, Luka. Now go, Toru. Go!"
"The Dragon of Ages be with you, my king," the maid whispered back before scrambling through the hatch leaving the man to close it behind them.
The man had only just closed the little door and run to the window when the door was broken down.
"Where do you think you're going, brother? Search the house! The boy has to be here. When you find him, bring him to me," ordered the newcomer. He had long, flowing, white hair, and an angular face that practically demanded obedience.
When the soldiers began carrying out their orders, the leader started towards the still hooded man. "You did well hiding your son from me. But you can't hide him for much longer."
Ashura drew himself up. "You will search a hundred years and still he will elude you. The throne will never be yours."
"Ashura, you always did talk too much." The stranger drew his double edged sword for his companion to see. "I will miss our rivalry, brother."
"You wouldn't dare," the captive gasped.
"I would." With those words, the stranger slashed the former king through the heart. "Search for an escape route. Tear the place down if you have to!"
"Sir!" one of the searchers shouted. The soldier was holding up a trapdoor leading into an underground tunnel. The leader strode briskly over and examined the findings. "Get down there. Get down there!"
Toru held the small bundle still in a sleepspell tightly against her chest. She ran through the darkness as fast as her footsore legs could carry her. She knew this forest backwards and forwards from her childhood. It was just a little farther. The moonlight and fresh night air rushed over her. But she didn't pause to rest, not yet. She had to reach Hemdoria.
The cottage had been located at the top of Dwarf's Peak in the Mountains of Fire. All she had to do was reach the base where she and her bundle could be safe.
She ran through the night. The slope was steep and covered with forest which hid her from the full moon's beams. Her legs ached, it was a struggle to breath, and her side was beginning to catch painfully.
Finally, she felt the ground level out. She was just about to cry with joy when torches lit up all around her. She stopped short seeing she was surrounded. She fell to her knees and squeezed the spellbound child tightly to her chest.
"Please! Leave us alone. He's only a child!" she cried out desperately to the silent flames.
"Hold yer aim," Toru heard one voice call from her right. "It's a woman and a child."
Toru looked up to see a man with scraggily red hair and light skin, an exact contrast to her dark hair and tan skin. The man knelt down to her level and asked not ungently, "What are you doing here? With a child no less?" His voice sounded genuinely worried.
"They want to kill him," she whispered.
"Who?" the man asked.
"I have to take him to Hemdoria," she continued deliriously.
"You've found it. Now tell me, who wants to kill the child?"
"They're right behind me. Oh, my lord. Forgive me, little one, for not getting you to safety. Oh, baby Lu…L…" Toru never finished. The eternal sleep had reached her at last. Her words stopped, her eyes glazed over, and she fell to the ground dead; literally dead from exhaustion and fear. The baby still clutched tightly to her chest.
"She's dead," the man said calmly after checking for Toru's life beat. He turned to the tightly wrapped child who had begun to cry. "Bring the torch over here."
A man ran from out of the shadows carrying a torch in his hand. The other village men had slowly come out of their hiding places and were moving nearer to the interesting spectacle.
Gently, the re headed man gathered up the bundle and began undoing the blankets. He saw the soft black eyes set in a lightly tanned face framed by midnight locks stare back at him. The toddler squirmed out of the man's grasp and tumbled to the ground with a yelp. He struggled to free himself from the blankets; once free, the toddler rubbed his onyx eyes and stared uncomprehendingly at the many faces before him. When he saw the scraggily haired man, he blinked and cocked his head to the side in interest. Staggering to his feet, he took several shaky steps towards the man. When he started to fall, the red head caught him.
"Papa?" the toddler asked curiously.
The man didn't get the chance to answer, for at that moment a warning call was made. More people were coming. "Doran, Ramar, help me take the woman and the child to the village. The rest of you, be on your guard. If anyone crosses the border armed, kill them."
Then he turned and followed the village bound men. One carried the dead woman while the other carried the boy and several others followed for defensive purposes. You could never be too careful.
The halls of Ryonfi echoed with Lady Kendappa's cries. The midwives rushed to and fro trying desperately to keep the birth giving mother comfortable. A truthseer watched from a corner of the room. Her shadowy black hair shaded her deep black eyes set in her tan face. She watched as the excitement peaked and the child was born.
The truthseer glimpsed the child's face as a midwife announced it was a boy. Curious, she moved closer to the mover who now held her newborn son in her arms.
"Lady Kendappa?" she asked.
Weakly, the new mother turned her head letter sweat soaked raven locks fall around her face. Her deep eyes were tired but clear as she looked at the truthseer. "Yes, Soma," she whispered.
"May I see the child?"
Kendappa nodded and handed the boy to Soma who held the child up so she could see him in the dim candlelight. She thought it strange for the child to be born in the middle of winter. Elves tended to give birth in the Spring the same time nature gives birth to new life. Or maybe she was just unnerved by the seemingly constant howling of the wolves outside. She had thought it too strange to be coincidence.
She had thought everything to be merely dreamed up by an overactive imagination and over exhausted body.
But now, as she saw the snow white skin and those two frightened golden eyes, she knew. She had to tell the Oracle. But first, she muttered a quick spell that had been handed down to her from her ancestors.
When she finished, she handed the newborn back to its mother saying, "He is very beautiful."
"Soma, does he..." she didn't finish her sentence when she saw her personal guard nod sadly.
"I see," she whispered.
"If you'll excuse me," Soma murmured, bowing low. She turned to go with the midwives following her. The midwives opened the door to allow the man pacing anxiously outside to enter.
"Lord Tennou," Soma acknowledged with a polite nod as she passed the man.
"Soma," the man called, grasping her arm and pulling her back, "my wife…is she?"
"Fine my lord, if a bit tired. Your wife has a nice half-breed son. I believe you will be proud of him some day."
The flame haired elf released her arm and ran to his wife's bedside leaving Soma to continue on her way. "Ken," he murmured gently.
"Tennou," Kendappa whispered with a weary smile. She reached up to touch her husband's long red hair.
"Are you in pain?" he asked, then blushed and looked away in embarrassment. Of course she was in pain. She'd just given birth.
"Not much," Kendappa assured him. "We Elven women are stronger than you think." At that moment, the baby started crying again. Tennou blinked in surprise when he saw a child the color of snow and eyes like molten gold. Hesitantly he reached out and picked up the child and held him gently.
"He's a boy, Tennou. I've decided to call him Kazuki," Kendappa breathed.
"He's albino," Tennou murmured, trying to recover from his initial surprise.
"Yes, but he's beautiful." Her eyes were sad as she sighed, "That's why he must be taken away from this place."
Tennou looked from the child in his arms to his wife's penetrating gaze with his keen blue eyes. "Taken away?"
Kendappa took a deep breath as she fought back exhaustion, "Yes. If he stays, he will be treated badly. He must be raised in a place where he will not be treated cruelly for something he has no control over." She lay back then, and closed her eyes.
Kendappa opened her eyes. "Rayearth?"
"Yes. It's a small island in the bay just south of Sacaraban. Many half-breeds live there in peace, even," he hesitated "the illegitimate ones. I have a friend there who once saved my life. Her name is Yuko. Kazuki will be safe with her."
"We must do this secretly, love. You know what the Council will do if they get their hands on him. I want no harm to come to him." With that, she drifted into a deep restorative sleep.
Meanwhile, another member of the household rushed through the halls to her rooms. Once inside, she closed and locked her door. Then she hurried over to a cloth covered bowl of water on a nearby stand
. She took the knife lying by the bowl in her fist and slit the palm of her hands squeezing the drops of blood into the already murky liquid.
Setting the knife down she called, "My Lady, your servant brings you news."
The water began steaming as the liquid swirled around in a counterclockwise direction. "What news do you have for me? I am rather busy," a smooth, chocolate-like feminine voice answered.
The summoner shuddered. "I thought you might like to know that the one you seek has been reborn as an illegitimate half-breed."
"Indeed?" the voice sound almost pleasantly amused.
"I am told he has white hair and golden eyes, just like the he did in the past."
"…white hair…golden eyes…" Silence. "It would seem, your information is faulty, my servant," the voice said, an edge returning to it. "Did you see the child yourself?"
"I was not allowed in the birthing room, my Lady," the speaker shudder.
"You have failed me. The child you have described is not the one I seek. I seek one whose eyes are blue, not gold. However, the one you have described does remind me of another annoyance. Kill it to be sure. I have enough on my place at the moment as it is. And remember this, Xing Huo. If you fail me again, and the child lives, you shall be sure your position as a traitor is exposed. You are expendable after all."
A/N: Well, I hope y'all enjoyed that. I'm so tired my eyelids are literally falling shut and I can hardly type right. I still need more CLAMP character names. ;)
Question: Did anyone catch the main characters who weren't CLAMP related?
Rate and Review! ;)