Welcome, readers, to Homeward Heart! This is my first ever fanfiction-and yes, those who read it before, I redid my prologue (Again!)-but now I actually have chapters ready to post! I have time on my side again, now that the first trimester of school is over, and I have no more precalculus! At least until third trimester...then comes part two. (I HATE precalculus.) Anyhow, this is an original character fanfiction. And yes, I do actually have plans to get beyond the prologue this time around! I was brain-dead for quite awhile, began to reread everything, and decided I could do better with the prologue, so I rewrote it and reposted it for the third time. Anyhow, feel free to review and comment as you see fit afterwards.

I do not own Legend of Legaia or any of its characters, etc., etc., etc. I just own my character.

This story is written and dedicated in loving memory of my two rats, Cheddar and Mozzarella. I miss you, baby girls, and I love you.

God created the heavens, the earth, and the seas. After creating all things in the universe, God created humans to rule over this world. Yet while possessing the wisdom of God, humans were physically weaker than the wild beasts, and impulsive in spirit. Many times did the humans come close to dying out forever. Concerned about the humans' future, God gave them a mighty force with which to aid them.

It was the Seru.

Since the dawn of human memory, known as history, humans lived together with creatures known as Seru. The Seru lived together with humans, always obeying them, and making the humans many times stronger than before.

When not worn by a human, a Seru looks much like a stone figure. However, upon touching a human, a Seru changes form and gives that human secret abilities. With a Seru, a human can lift objects heavier than itself and even fly in the air at will.

However, that era came to an end.

Appearing out of nowhere, the Mist covered the land, bringing to an end prosperous symbiosis between humans and Seru. After the thick Mist came, the Seru, who once obeyed humans, rebelled against them. The Seru began attacking humans at will. Seru that attached themselves to humans controlled their minds and turned them into evil beasts.

As if forsaken by God, human civilization collapsed. It was the twilight of humanity.

Those who escaped the mist inhabited the desolate areas and protected each other. Now their faint hope is their only source of inspiration.

A young whitetail buck was rubbing his short, newly grown antlers against a tree; bits of soft velvet fell from them as they made contact with the bark. He had an exceptionally healthy, well-fed body with few signs of starvation, despite the fact that spring had just arrived.

From a clump of bushes, gray eyes were stalking the deer, calculating. Another pair of brown eyes was surveying the scene from behind a tree trunk a few yards away. Brown and gray met at the same time, communicating. The first man held up his bow and took an arrow out of his quiver, stringing it. His companion followed suit.

The deer stopped rubbing his horns; he went completely rigid. The buck's ears twitched.

No! Don't run! The first hunter pulled back on his string.

The hunter took aim, going for the buck's eye. He couldn't afford to miss; food was scarce. Rem, please let me make this catch, the man prayed.

He tensed as the deer's eyes shot to his hiding place.

The arrow was released.

The buck bolted.

Two arrows whistled towards the creature's head.

And the animal fell.

Lowering his arrow and seeing the fallen deer, a look of disbelief crossed the hunter's face followed by a wide smile. "We caught it! Dai, we actually caught it!" Laughing, he slung his bow over his shoulders and let it rest upon his back and went out to inspect their catch. Two arrows were lodged in the animal's head, one from both hunters.

"I can't believe we actually managed to get it!" The other man came out from his place behind the tree. "I thought for sure that we'd lost it. That was a great shot, Juno! You got the deer right in the eye."

"It's thanks to Rem that we managed to bring it down. Your shot was pretty accurate, too, Dai. It's hard to say whose arrow killed it. But look at the size of this deer! It must weigh around two hundred pounds!" Juno attempted to lift it, but the deer was too heavy. "I can't lift this by myself."

"Two hundred? This early in spring?" Dai asked disbelievingly. Are you sure?" Juno motioned for the younger man to lift it for himself. Dai wasn't able to pick it up either. "Wow! That is heavy". Dai didn't bother to question it too much; the catch was indeed a blessing. "How many will this feed tonight, you think?"

"At least nearly a third of the villagers. If the others had as good of luck as we did, almost everyone should go to bed with a decent meal tonight."

Dai grinned happily. "Alright, let's get this deer outta here." He bent down to pick the creature up and Juno came over to help him carry it.

A sound in the distance made them both freeze.

It was the call of a hunting horn.

The joy of their catch was gone in a heartbeat.

"Back to the spring," Juno commanded quietly. "Now." He dropped the deer without hesitation. He took his own hunting horn slung over his shoulder and blew-a signal to let the other hunters know that the two of them had received the warning. He began to walk away.

"But Juno! This is the best catch we've had in weeks! We can't just leave it," Dai protested. "The villagers need food."

Juno stopped and looked Dai straight in the eye. "We can't risk taking the deer back. It'll slow us down. We're low on food, but the villagers will survive another night. Making sure we get back alive is most important; if we die, the village will starve." With that, Juno turned and began running through the woods, unslinging his bow and stringing an arrow.

Dai quickly followed, also readying his own bow. They ran through the woods quickly, sticks snapping and bushes rustling. Their footsteps were heavy, scaring away any game. The sound of their pounding boots changed as they found their way back onto the wide dirt path, sprinting for about a mile before they came to a large clearing surrounded by trees and plants.

A perfectly round, manmade spring was filled with crystal clear water with a brick wall running around the edge-intended to keep animals from tainting the water. Nearby, blue liquid from the spring fell from the top of a simple, single tier fountain carved of stone. Pipes underground transferred the aqua from the spring to the fountain.

Juno stopped, and holding his weapon in one hand, slid his horn off his shoulder again and blew two short bursts to signal, We're safe.

Three short calls answered Juno. We're on our way.

Dai panted, "They shouldn't be more than a couple miles away then. I hope they get here soon."

"So do I," Juno said quietly. "We have to run the second they get here. We can't afford to have anything happen again like last time." There was a grim expression set in his face. There was only one reason the hunting horn was ever used; and it was rare when it was.

They stood in tense silence for a long while, keeping their bows ready to shoot, all the while listening. Juno began to pace anxiously. Dai was starting to get nervous-his palms began sweating, making it hard to grip his bow. His hair stood on end and goose bumps began to appear on his body. He went to sit on the edge of the wall surrounding the spring. He needed to relax; getting himself worked up would not help anything. The brown-haired youth took deep breaths to calm himself, forcing his muscles to relax. His grip on the weapon became stronger and steadier, and his senses became more alert.

A distant sound from the entrance of the spring made Dai jump. He pulled back on his bow string. Juno came to stand by Dai, his own weapon ready. "Juno! Dai!" a shout caught their attention. The hunters heard footsteps gradually growing louder. Eventually three men appeared, running and coming to the clearing. Like Juno and Dai, all three men carried bows and quivers full of arrows and wore leather armor.

Upon seeing them, both of the hunters lowered their bows. "Glad to see the three of you are safe," Dai said, relieved.

"Esto, how far is the Mist?" Juno asked.

One of the three men, the oldest of all five hunters, answered, "It's close. The winds are blowing quickly in this direction. We must leave now."

There was a sudden splash in the spring from behind the five men. They whirled. Each one held up his bow, an arrow ready. "What was that noise?" another man whispered.

"Be quiet, Jacob. No one speak," Esto commanded. His eyes connected with Juno's. Esto motioned his head towards the spring. Juno nodded. Together the two eldest hunters crept towards the pool of water. They both peered over the edge.

Juno quickly scanned the water. There's nothing here. No animals or leaves, and definitely no Seru…Juno glanced back up at Esto, and shook his head.

"Maybe we're just overreacting, then. Come, we need to leave," Esto said. He lowered his bow and turned towards the others.

Juno peered one more time in the water, before getting ready to walk away.

A brilliant white light suddenly glowed in the water. Esto quickly turned toward the pool, ready to fire. "Juno, get back!" Both of the hunters quickly increased their distance backwards towards the others, keeping their bows ready to fire. The light appeared to be taking shape, forming something. Within the light, a figure began to materialize. A second later, a head broke the surface of the water.

Juno's eyes gray eyes widened. A woman! A human woman! Esto, Dai and the others were just as surprised by the looks of it. She quickly swam to the side of the pool, grasping the brick wall. She pulled herself up so that she could rest her arms and head on the stone barrier while she caught her breath, her head facedown. A soaked black bag was slung on her left arm, its straps currently resting in the crook of her elbow. A strange device was in her right hand. A few seconds passed. The female pushed her head off the wall, and then ran a hand along the cold masonry slowly, as if examining it.

"What the…this isn't the dock. Where'd the stone come from?" The five hunters heard her talk aloud to herself. With one arm grasping the wall, she turned in the water to take in her surroundings.

She wasn't aware of the hunters; she gave a startled shriek when she saw them all pointing arrows towards her. The surprise caused her to let go of the wall for a minute and sink. The female sputtered water out as she reclaimed her grip and brought her head back up. "Where did you all come from?!"

Dai just shot back, "Where did you come from?"

The woman just quickly grasped the wall, hauled herself out of the water, and scrambled backwards, putting a good distance between herself and the five men. She shivered-the water must have been very cold due to the chilly spring temperature. The female was obviously unnerved. She quickly looked around and took in her surroundings. She turned around and then faced them again. "Where am I? I was not in the woods ten seconds ago!"

Each of the men glanced at Esto for directions. He did not lower his bow. "Who are you? How did you appear in the spring like that? Was it magic?" Esto demanded of her.

She just seemed bewildered. "What? Magic? Are you crazy?" After observing the five of them, she exclaimed, "Who are you? Why are you wearing…armor, and why do you have bows and arrows?!"

Juno supplied, "We're hunters. We wear armor to protect ourselves from Seru. Now, who are you?"

"And what are you wearing?" The hunter named Haddon asked. "We've never seen clothing like what you're wearing."

The woman's face became a bit frightened. "I'm wearing normal everyday clothes like all teens wear. And did you just say Seru?"

"Yes," Juno said.

The female began to look increasingly scared. "Okay…how…" She gestured around at her surroundings. "How…did this-this...this all happen? How am I here?"

"We were waiting for you to tell us," Esto explained. "None of us have ever seen someone suddenly appear out of nowhere."

She hesitated before speaking."…I…I was out on the dock on my grandparents' lake. I accidently dropped my cellphone… when I tried to catch it, I leaned forward too far and fell into the water. I was in the lake for maybe a minute. I got my phone before it sank, then came back up. But when I reached for the dock from under the water…I touched a stone wall instead…" The female told them all. She glanced around one more time.

"What's a 'cellphone'?" Jacob asked.

She gaped at him. "How do you know not know what a cellphone is? Everyone knows what a cellphone is."

The hunters exchanged unsure glances between themselves.

Her voice was nervous when she asked, "Can you please tell me where I am?"

Dai answered, his face puzzled. "You're in Drake Kingdom." When she gave Dai a strange look, he continued, "In Legaia."

Her expression went from scared to disbelief. "Excuse me?" she whispered, her voice incredulous.

It was Jacob who replied, "He just said you're in Legaia. Where are you from?"

Seeing the look of utter confusion and incredulity upon her face, Esto decided she was not a threat and slowly lowered his bow. The other four men gradually followed suit.

Juno stepped towards her. "What's your name?"

The woman took a few steps back, keeping the distance between them. "I don't know if I should tell you that."

Jacob spoke hastily. "We need to go! The Mist is getting closer! If we don't leave in the next few minutes, we'll be caught up in it. We can't risk being attacked by Seru!"

"Jacob's right," Haddon said. "Esto, what do we do about her?"

Esto considered for a moment. "I suppose she should come with us." Speaking directly to her, Esto said, "If you stay out here, you'll die. Rim Elm is the only safe place from the Mist and Seru."

"Is this some kind of joke to you? Because I'm not finding it funny," she said. All five men gave her strange expressions. "Seru, Mist, Rim Elm, Drake Kingdom, Legaia…it's not funny."

"What are you talking about?" Haddon spoke

"Listen, we can figure everything out later. For now, you need to come with us," Esto told her.

The woman began to breathe a little heavily. She glanced around at the five men as if they were insane. "Okay…okay, I have no idea who you five are. I don't know why you're dressed the way you are, or why you have bows and arrows. I don't know why you're saying crazy crap about a video game…I don't know, and I don't want to." She began backing away, slowly. "My grandparents are probably worried, so I'm…I'm gonna go now. I guess I'll…see you around, w-whoever you are." Then she turned and made a panicked dash for the woods-in the direction the hunters had just come from.

Cries of "Stop!" and "Wait!" followed after her.

"She's going to get herself killed!" Haddon exclaimed.

Dai made to go after her, but Juno grabbed his arm. "Let me go, Juno!"

"Wait, Dai," Juno instructed. Keeping a grip on Dai, Juno turned to the senior hunter. "Esto, what do we do?"

"We can't just leave her. She's the first human outside of Rim Elm we've seen in over ten years," Jacob put in. "There may be other humans out there who've survived!"

Haddon protested. "We can't sacrifice the five of us just to save one life. The village is more important than her, and if go after her, we'll be killed.

Esto put his hands up. "Enough. Jacob, Dai, and Haddon. I want the three of you to head back to the village. No arguments. Juno, you come with me. We'll go after her. Understand?"

The four others nodded. Juno and Esto turned to run after the woman, while the other three reluctantly turned to go towards Rim Elm.

They separated. Juno and Esto ran into the woods. Not far ahead, thick tendrils of fog were curling around trees and plants in the woods. Esto said, "Juno, let's split up. We can cover more ground that way. If one of us needs help, we blow our horns."

Juno nodded.

Each man sprinted in a different direction. The white fog soon made Esto indiscernible. Juno was only able to see a short distance in all directions. The Mist was dense. Even the sun was hard to see through it. His footsteps echoed loudly throughout the forest, despite the fact that Juno was moving along stealthily. There were no sounds to cover his noises; the forest was eerily silent.

A sudden glow in the forest from in front of Juno alerted him. He ducked and rolled sideways, his bow in his hand. A flaming ball landed where he had just been. He heard the sound of something which seemed to be gliding. Just ahead, he could make out the figure of a strange creature.

Seru! Juno thought. He pulled back on the strung arrow.

"A human." A malicious laugh sounded through Juno's head. "I will make you suffer, then take your body for my own!"

The creature flew at him, attempting to run him through with strange talons. Juno swerved to the side, then swung his bow at its head. A resounding smack echoed through the woods. Juno quickly launched an arrow at its head. The Seru went limp as the arrow penetrated its skull from the close distance. A few seconds later, its body disintegrated. The particles were carried away on the wind.

One isn't a problem, but if those Seru gather all in one place…He picked up the pace. After running for nearly ten minutes, he heard what sounded like crackling.

A high pitched scream followed.

Voices could also be heard.

"Kill her!"

"No! I wish to have this one."

"Why? She is weak. She is a worthless host."

It's her! Juno ran. The Mist revealed three Theeders surrounding the woman, who had her back pressed against the base of a tree. Anytime she attempted to move, a twister of electricity was sent her way, forcing her back to her previous position. Immediately they sensed Juno's presence.

"There's another human here," one said, turning towards him.

Juno grabbed his horn and blew. It doesn't look like she knows how to fight, he thought grimly.

The Theeder raised its skinny arms. Juno shot a well-aimed arrow before it could release a bolt of lightning at him. Two more arrows followed, and the three figures burst into particles. "Are you alright?" He ran towards the young woman. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her breathing was rapid; she was terrified. "Come on, I'll get you back to Rim Elm."

Her eyes flew open and she tried to scramble away. Juno caught her wrist. "It's alright! Please believe me when I say I won't hurt you."

"I don't know what's going on!"

"It's alright. I'll get you to safety." He set his bow down. Juno blew two times into his horn, followed by one long breath. "As soon as we meet Esto at the spring, we'll leave."

Lightning bolts and fireballs came from nowhere. "Get down!" He rolled over her, protecting the female. A brief second of silence followed. "Run!" he told her. "To the spring!" Not questioning him, she got up and sprinted. Juno stood and shot a few arrows at the group of Seru before dashing after her. Juno barely managed to dodge the flames and electric bolts that were sent after him. He looked behind him to see several Theeders and Gimards. They were gaining quickly. I can't face all of these alone! Once more, he grabbed his horn and blew once-a frantic plea for help.

Juno saw the woman several yards ahead of him. She glanced back behind and saw him, along with the Seru. She shouted, "Watch out!"

Juno felt a shock of pain go through his body. He just barely knew that he had been caught by an electrical shock. He cried out in anguish.

"Kill him!"

"Kill the humans!" The Seru cried.

The shocking stopped. Juno dropped to his knees and panted. He got up. He had to run. Pain such as he had never felt before passed through his body. The shocking had multiplied several times in intensity. He screamed. He lost his grip on his bow. Juno felt a searing jolt in his chest. He fell to the ground, clutching his chest. He felt his heart pulse furiously once…and then it stopped.

Am I…dying?

Darkness descended upon Juno.

Okay readers, if you could please become my reviewers, I'd greatly appreciate it! If you have compliments, yay! They make me feel good. If you have constructive criticism, then that tells me how to improve! And if you're gonna tell me that my story downright sucked, then please say why. Otherwise there was absolutely no point in you reading and leaving a review and flaming me, and I'd hate for you to have wasted your time and effort! Feel free to point out any mistakes, errors, typos, etc. Au revoir, mes amis! (Yes, I like French, you'll come to notice it quite often!)