A/N: Well, this story suddenly came to me out of the blue and I started making notes on it so I could put it aside and write it at a later date…but the plot bunnies just kept nagging me to write it!
So here I am *sigh*
I should warn you now that some of the characters from Naruto that will be used in this fanfic may be a bit OOC. For example, for the purposes of this story I've had to make some characters that are really good in the anime/manga into…well, to put it bluntly, absolute bastards! So I really do apologise if you find that one of your favourite's acting horrible but as I said before it really is for the benefit of the story; so don't be put off. Plus it makes it different to have normally nice characters being…not so nice.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
So, please enjoy! ^^
Of Slaves and Princesses
Chapter 1: Desecrated Land
For forty years Hiruzen Sarutobi has been the King of the Land of Fire. This time has been known as the Sarutobi reign. In these years of Lord Sarutobi's rule there were many wars as he was determined to gain power over all of the opposing lands that he saw as being a great asset if he were able to control them. Therefore, if you were not a friend of the Land of Fire you would have to face the wrath of the Sarutobi reign and pay for the consequences of trying to protect your own country…The battles that occurred were bloody and savage on all sides.
For the neighbouring tribes and clans that King Sarutobi was attacking, it was paramount that they protect their families, country and way of life; all would fight to the death if necessary. For, if the king was to succeed in taking over their country not one person from their tribe would be spared; none from the very old, to the very young. Many would be sacrificed as an example, such as the leaders, and the rest would be sold off as slaves to the rich people of Konoha City the capital of the Land of Fire.
There were some lands that were allies with the Land of Fire, such as the distant Islands of the South. King Sarutobi had married the princess of these islands, to ensure he wouldn't have to worry about an ocean attack from the south, which was one place he was vulnerable. After his marriage to Princess Tsunade of the South Islands, he no longer had to worry about being attacked from the south oceans. The South Islands had agreed to the marriage in a bid to keep peace between them and the Land of Fire and to also have some sort of security for themselves; even if that meant giving one of their precious daughters to the ruthless king.
Another land that was friends with the Land of Fire was the Land of Sound. Lord of this land was Orochimaru. He and Sarutobi seemed to have some agreement that not many were sure of. Some suspected that Sarutobi had got the snake like Lord from the Sound to become allies by making a deal; perhaps Orochimaru would get some percentage of the conquered land that Sarutobi would gain after the wars had been won? (King Sarutobi's arrogance showed that he did not expect to loose to the tribes and clans) This was the shakiest alliance, even if Sarutobi believed to have the Lord of Sound on his side, nothing was necessarily as it seemed with the self indulging fiend of the Sound…He had the potential to be even worse than the Lord of Fire, far more evil and power crazed than anyone could suspect as of yet…
Yes. King Sarutobi's power was fast reaching new borders as he conquered. His arrogance allowed him to see his empire stretching the borders, over lands that he had wanted for years. However, there were still the troublesome tribes and clans that still kept up a fiery and determined fight, not allowing an easy take over by far. If it weren't for them, he would have had a larger empire a long time ago.
Many had been born and died into the rein of Sarutobi and therefore never knew a world without war. But the final struggles of forty years of battle were now reaching a pinnacle point and many knew that the events that would take place in the near future would define the future for all; whether it be a good or bad was still unknown.
One thing was for sure…there would be some destined men and women, who above all would find courage in the darkest hour, honour in the lowest low and see the light through the blindness…it would be these people who would change the course of history for all of man kind…
(The Uchiha Clan's domain in the mountains and forestry of the North)
The smell of smoke, blood and death was a strong, vile smell, entering Sasuke's nostrils as he surveyed the area down towards the valley where the enemy had set up camp for the night; The air he breathed had once been filled with the soft, sweet, smells of forestry and the happy songs of birds and other such animals of the wild. But not anymore.
It was early morning and the sun had not yet risen, therefore the dawn was dark except for the few torches and small campfires, giving the only source of light. There had been a long battle during the whole of yesterday. It had rained heavy and the ground had become slippery and boggy underfoot as the battle had raged on. Many had been killed and wounded…their bodies left lying limp and lifeless at the bottom of the slope, left for the Land of Fire troops to burn them, Sasuke supposed. What else could you do with them? It was harsh but true.
Sasuke looked to the sky, seeing the darker outlines of the forest's canopy. He hoped that there would be a strong sun today to dry up the ground, he hated slipping and sliding about in blood covered mud when he was busy trying to kill as many Land of Fire thugs. Feeling the air around himself and the slight show of daylight beginning to seep into the upcoming day, he estimated that it would be fully alight within two hours. That meant they had around two hours to finish their battle plans and to prepare for the next onslaught.
He looked back down to the slightly sloping ground, through the smoke and trees to the enemy's campsite; watchful as ever, like a raven coloured wolf Sasuke was, standing so still.
War had desecrated this part of the Uchiha Clan's territory. A war that was totally uncalled for. The Uchihas had done nothing to anger the Land of Fire in anyway way, in fact the Uchihas were well known for keeping to themselves and only seeming to interact now and then with neighbouring tribes to which they were friendly with, such as the Inuzaka tribe whom they shared the mountain range with.
Yet, the Land of Fire had openly made war with them about thirty years previous. Ever since the reign of that bastard King Sarutobi, the Uchiha land had been attacked again and again. But the Fire Lord has not won, thought Sasuke with angry valour. Nor would he as long as the Uchiha Clan's courage still burned a greater flame than that of the Land of Fire scum!
Being of nineteen years old, Sasuke had been born into the conflicting world that the Sarutobi reign had created. He had learned from an early age that the Land of Fire troops had started closing in on the Uchiha country of the North about thirty years ago, although they had been forced to retreat many times over the years. This was due to the fact that the Uchihas were no easy quarry, on the contrary, they had good weapons, were skilled strategic fighters and above all they knew the landscape exceedingly well. The Land of Fire troops had been forced to learn thirty years ago that the Uchiha's land was a completely different terrain to their own, a terrain they didn't know at all. Many of the soldiers who went to the North to fight with the notorious Uchiha Clan had never left the Land of Fire before. They were in un-chartered waters so to speak. And so because of the lack of knowledge of the land and the smart tactics used against them, the Land of Fire army had been made to retreat many a time. And if it had been up to them they may not have returned to fight the Uchiha Clan again.
But it was the will of the King and a loyal subject should never disobey their king…
So they returned to the North of the Uchiha domain, and were forced to retreat again and again, with less and less men surviving meaning more young, foolish, soldiers had to be sent to the deadly Northern front line.
And so was the pattern for thirty years. However, this time seemed to be different. The Land of Fire army had come once again. The Uchihas had made an assault, but this time the enemy soldiers had been holding their ground for the past six months…sure, the Uchihas had forced them back down the mountain side several times but the Land of Fire soldiers just kept coming back up! Not only this, but Sasuke and his comrades had noticed that they didn't seem to be making much of a dent in the number of enemy troops. Therefore, they couldn't be killing as many…
The warrior Uchihas had been forced several times to retreat to parts of the mountains where denser forest lay to avoid the oncoming Land of Fire troops. Hiding was not exactly in their nature either, it was something the Uchihas did not like doing but in this extreme case it really was necessary. Due to the unsettled atmosphere the enemy had created by suddenly becoming a much more deadly foe (surely after years of studying the Uchihas, they had had thirty to do so after all) the Northern warriors had been on high alert.
For example, for thirty years they had kept the knowledge of where their village is situated a secret from the enemy. This way insuring their women and children were safely hidden and that tired fighters could return home for rest once immediate danger was over. After being unnerved by the suddenly adequate enemy they had made doubly sure not to be tracked or followed to their village.
No Land of Fire soldier knew of where the village was or the few that had discovered its location had never lived to tell their comrades where to look. The Uchiha village had been kept a secret well. Comfortably situated in a canyon like crevasse behind one of the larger parts of the mountain, the mountain walls high all around, it was impossible to see and difficult to get to unless you knew the way.
It is a long and perilous journey if one was to attempt to travel over the large and steep mountain side to get to it; even the most experienced clan member who had grown up on the Northern Mountains would most likely not make it. The safest and quickest way to reach the heart of the Uchihas was a secret path through a large waterfall, through the mountain this would lead to the village safely nestled on the other side.
So, it had become evident that over the past thirty years the Land of Fire troops had learned a thing or two. They had obviously observed more about the terrain and the tactics in which the Uchihas had been beating them, learning how to better counter their attacks. Apparently the Uchiha's enemies weren't as stupid as they had once hoped they were…
And now after thirty years of ongoing battles, the Uchiha defences were becoming very vulnerable.
Sasuke turned and started to walk down the row of men, his hand on the hilt of his sword comfortably, always at the ready. As he walked along the lines of tired men, some wounded, some trying to catch a few minutes of restless sleep, he wondered how many of them would last the day…noting that this particular row were too tired and old or equally too young to be of much good; the last attack the Land of Fire soldiers had commenced had taken many good men, all well seasoned fighters. Yesterday's battle had been one of the biggest blows the Uchiha Clan had had in years.
Sasuke could feel his body tense, anger beginning to boil his very soul. How dare the Land of Fire bastards come to his homeland, killing good people who had families and lives, each willing to die to protect their home! Couldn't the Land of Fire troops see that their King was wrong in ordering them to try and conquer the Uchiha land? Or any land! From what Sasuke had heard Sarutobi sure got around! He was trying to take over every neighbouring country that wasn't willing to just hand it over on a silver platter!
Anyone who would give up their home and give themselves to the mercy of the King of the Land of Fire had no honour, no courage! Sasuke would break every bone in his body, tare every muscle, even then they would still have to make the finishing blow because he would still be more dangerous than ten able men, even if his body was broken. Oh yes, they would have to kill Sasuke, Prince of the Uchiha Clan before he'd let them take his homeland and send his people to slaughter or even worse, to be slaves.
He had every reason to hate the Land of Fire people. They had plundered, murdered…even raped Uchiha women. Not only that, but two years ago Sasuke's own brother had fallen in battle.
Itachi was the heir to the Uchiha Clan and when their father died or saw fit for a new leader, it was Itachi's place to do so. Sasuke looked up to his brother; he had been a teacher to him, brother and friend. It had been a dark day for all the Uchihas when Itachi was cut down by one of the Land of Fire warriors. Sasuke had seen from a short distance, yet unable to help in time as he was fighting a Land of Fire soldier himself. It was something he would never forget…
Itachi was fighting, with his supreme speed and power; he was one of the best warriors they had and not many could match his skills. It was simply a lucky move for the Land of Fire soldier and an unlucky blow for Itachi that finished him…he was badly wounded but not dead. It was this fact that cut deepest for Sasuke…for it was a dirty, underhanded and cowardly thing for the Land of Fire warrior to finish his brother off. Itachi was in no way capable of fighting anymore, so he was no longer a threat, the Land of Fire soldier could have left him; yet Sasuke watched in horror as he saw the enemy warrior lift his sword, swinging it with all his strength, evil glinting in his eyes as a malicious smile spread over his features, nothing but wickedness. His older brother had his head raised his eyes open and back straight. He showed no fear and his whole countenance showed pride and honour; he would not fear death. Sasuke roared a distraught, 'NOOO!' as his eyes widened in disbelief.
He watched as the Land of Fire enemy swung his sword…beheading his brother with one mighty sweep.
Itachi's body and severed head fell to the ground with an echoing, dull thud; blood spilled upon the muddy ground like a thick crimson lake. For a few seconds, Sasuke stood, dumbstruck and hollow. Then he was filled with a red hot rage, filled with anguish he held no mercy when he finished the man who dared to kill his brother.
This man met the tip of the young Sasuke's sword so fast after killing Itachi, he didn't know what had happened; the shock in his widened eyes was evident. Sasuke felt no remorse when he mortally wounded him, the man's warm, thick blood splattering onto his face as he cut his jugular viciously. His sword dripping, he stood over the man who killed his brother lying on the ground, pleading with his eyes to be killed. The young Uchiha spat on the ground before turning on his heel, leaving the man who killed his brother gurgling and floundering in his own blood; he felt no remorse, only emptiness. He had killed many, but that man was one that he truly knew deserved to be killed by his sword.
So now, two years on, Sasuke was the heir to the Uchiha Clan. He snorted to himself as he thought, "Prince and heir of the Uchihas…Yeah that sounds good." He sarcastically thought to himself as he went over to his father and a group of other warriors who were discussing the final decisions to the battle plans. To him he was a warrior, no less, no more. He certainly didn't feel like an heir, like he was going to be chief of the Uchiha Clan one day! Perhaps that was because he had long since succumbed to the more than likely outcome that he would be killed before it was time to take up his post of being leader? Who knew..?
The circle of men were sitting on the ground surrounding a large map, marking critical areas. Some of the men were sharpening or shining their swords as the meeting was in full progress.
Sasuke's father, Fugaku Chief of the Uchiha Clan, was saying as Sasuke sat himself down,
"…If we come at them from this angle" – he motioned on the detailed map – "Then we will be at a disadvantage here…they'll be able to corner us."
"With all due respect Chief Fugaku," Kakashi, a seasoned fighter and a mentor to Sasuke, spoke; his eyes being the only things visible of his face as he always wore a mask were smiling apologetically, "But we're not really at much of an advantage now…the only thing we have over them is that we are up higher."
Sasuke glanced to the man he was sat next to as he voiced his thoughts, his arms crossed, chewing a large toothpick, "Always the pessimistic Kakashi!" He snorted.
Kakashi replied good naturedly, as if there was no war going on and they were all sitting down enjoying a simple glass of Sake,
"Just realistic Obito, just being realistic."
Obito smirked as he shook his head laughing under his breath slightly at his old friend. When Obito and Kakashi got together they always seemed to be the comic relief in these bad times.
Fugaku frowned, mulling over what Kakashi had said, "Yes. It may be the only advantage we have, Kakashi, but it may be the one advantage we need over them."
True enough as the circle of men nodded and grunted agreeing with their leader. Kakashi smiled in answer but Sasuke knew the man quite well, after many hours of hard training he had spent with his old teacher, he could see from the small expression in his eyes that he was worried and that was a bad omen in it's self for at times Sasuke believed Kakashi to be wiser than his father.
They were continuing with the battle plans when one of the men from the look out posts called out in a mimicked bird noise - a code. This noise signalled the arrival of some friends to the Uchiha Clan, the man who had called from the look out post motioned that they would be coming down the slope to them. The circle of men stood hurriedly and turned knowing whom would come from above them, but even so, some grasped the hilt of their sword instinctively; Sasuke being one of them.
Sure enough a group of burly, fierce looking Inuzukas came down the slope, riding their giant wolves (The Inuzukas were famous for their love of wolves and for reasons no one really knew - except of course the Inuzuka Tribe - why the wolves on their side of the mountains grew so huge.) clothed in their thick, fury animal cloaks.
Dismounting their large beasts that were slobbering and panting from their fast trip, the Inuzukas strolled up to the group of now, semi-relaxed Uchihas – now that they knew for sure they were being greeted by friends and not foes – greeting in the normal brash way of the wolf tribe.
Tsume, the female leader of the Inuzukas (something that would not happen in the Uchiha Clan, only men can be chief in their tribe and only men could be warriors) came striding over to the group of men, not in any way intimidated by being faced by a group of males; all knew Tsume to be an incredibly fierce and strong fighter, to the point where she could be more intimidating and scary than some men!
She grasped Fugaku's arm in a masculine greeting whilst gruffly stating,
"Sorry we're late, we had a bit of a run in with a group of slave traders! The bastards thought they'd try and capture some Inuzukas, seeming as apparently we're sold for quite a price back in the Land of Fire! They soon realised they had bitten off more than they could chew though! Right men?"
She was answered by gruff growls of agreement and confident grins on the grimy faces of both men and women warriors of the Inuzukas. Their thick fur cloaks, animal skin tunics and trousers, right down to their thickly laced leather boots were covered with dirt and cracking dried blood.
Fugaku grunted in answer, explaining the terrible battle that had taken place yesterday and that they were all grateful for the help they would receive from the Inuzuka tribe; although he did not look nor sound pleased. Fugaku did not like having to be helped by another tribe, the ignorant fool. He could not argue, however, that they did not need help.
Obito, who had been observing the group, realised that not all the Inuzuka warriors were here to help. He frowned, standing with his arms crossed still chewing the large toothpick. He asked rather cheekily where the rest of the Inuzaka warriors were, to which he was answered bluntly by Tsume, anger flashing in her eyes enough to silence the bravest of people, that this was as many warriors she could spare; the rest had to stay close to the Inuzuka village to ensure its safety.
Tsume sat roughly down onto the ground, resting her left hand on her knee so her elbow stuck up in the air aggressively as she surveyed the map lying on the ground. She spoke in her gruff tone,
"So, what's the plan for killing these bastards?"
There were howls of excitement from the blood thirsty Inuzukas as they settled themselves down ready to hear the battle plans. The Uchihas sat themselves down also, encouraged by the confidence the Inukukas were portraying.
Time to get down to business…
A/N: Well There's the first chapter…I hope you enjoyed it!
I apologise for any spelling and/or grammar mistakes
Please leave a review, I really need some feedback…