Author's Note: Hi Suikoden fans! I've noticed that there was a severe lack of anything regarding Kahn Marley, so I've decided to rectify that by writing a story about when he was an apprentice under his father. There's hardly any details on Harmonia so I had to make some locations up. I apologize for that. This is my very first fic so I really hope you like it! :)
The Attack on Wiese
It was a beautiful night; the sky empty of clouds but full of stars. It was the kind of night one would lie on their back in the grass, connecting the dots of luminous spheres that lit up the night sky; peaceful and quiet. The creaking sound coming from the wheels of the canvas-topped horse-drawn wagons broke the silence. There were three of them in a single-file line, each with two horses guiding them down the unpaved roads. The leading wagon was midsized and the driver, a mustached man, sat on the wooden front-faced bench, clutching the leather reins. The inside housed two wooden benches that stretched along the left and right side of the wagon platform. A middle-aged blond haired blue eyed man sat forward on the bench, resting his hands on his lap, on the right side next to a middle aged woman; they both were dressed in long black trench coats. A young man, also blond, was stretched out on the left-side bench, mouth wide open, fast asleep and snoring loudly.
Kahn Marley was a nineteen year old apprentice vampire hunter under his father, the very man sitting across from him. The Marley family had been vampire hunters for centuries and Kahn wanted to be recognized as an official hunter, but he had a long ways to go. A gentle bump in the road interrupted his slumber, waking him up. He slowly started to regain consciousness, unaware of his surroundings, clouded by a blurry vision. "Hey!" He heard a familiar voice, "Wake up, we'll be arriving shortly." He sat up as his eyes slowly became accustomed to the darkness, and when they were clear he saw his father staring at him through the rims of his glasses. He stretched his arms and let out a light moan as he loosened the stiffness in his back.
"You got a little…" The woman spoke and she gestured her hand to her chin, hinting to Kahn to wipe the drool that escaped during his sleep. Embarrassed, he took the hint and did just that, letting out a small breathless laugh. He stood up as much as he could and made his way to the back of the wagon, it was a short walk and he stuck his head out of the canvas cover and looked up at the sky.
"When did it get this late?"
"You've been sleeping for five hours." The woman mocked.
"Well you know me," he chuckled, "I can never stay awake in these things." He yawned and sat back down, facing his father. "So…" he started, pushing his blond hair away from his face, "you ever plan on telling me where we're going?"
His father sat back, crossed his legs and began briefing him, "We're headed for Wiese."
"Wiese?" a confused Kahn interrupted.
"It's a small village," the woman answered, "known for its grassy, crop fields."
"A messenger arrived in Crystal Valley earlier this morning," his father continued, "with word of a zombie sighting outside of Wiese. If we're lucky we'll find a straggler or two that'll lead us to a nest."
"And if we're unlucky?" Kahn asked while the hat on his head.
"…We'll find a horde." His father answered, troubled.
Kahn sat back and lowered his head. He closed his eyes and sighed, wondering which route he preferred: the lucky or unlucky. He wanted action, but not at the expense of the villagers. He had field experience before, sure, but now that there were so few of them left he knew that whatever action they saw he'd have a chance to be in the thick of it. The wagon suddenly stopped, pulling him back to reality and he jerked his head up and quickly turned his attention to the driver.
"Hey!" His father shouted, tapping on the driver's seat, "Why did we stop?"
"You might want to see this, sir." The mustached man said nervously, looking back at his passengers who could see the fear in his eyes. The three of them exited the wagon, the woman first followed by Kahn then his father. When they reached the front of the wagon, they each stopped dead in their tracks; eyes wide open, mouth ajar, amazed and terrified by what they were witnessing. They sky lit by the fires that consumed the small grassy village of Wiese.
Kahn sharply exhaled, "So…" he started, slowly turning towards his father, "I guess we were unlucky after all, huh?"
His father didn't respond; for a moment he was lost in the beauty of the flames and frightened by meaning of its presence. "Get your things." He said without taking his eyes off of the view.
"Yes, sir." Kahn replied respectfully as he rushed back to the wagon, grabbed his trench coat and put it over his black collared shirt. He outfitted a brown crossbow with a leather strap that wrapped across his shoulder as he walked back towards his father who was now joined by the entire crew of hunters. "So, what's the plan?" Kahn asked as he walked towards them, buttoning up his trench coat.
"We'll make our way into the village, killing any and everything moaning while grabbing at you. And you," he turned to Kahn, "you're to use our distraction to locate and escort any survivors out of the village."
"W-wait –" Kahn jerked forward as if he intended to grab his father's arm, but he stopped midway, "you mean I'm not helping you fight?" He raised his eyes to meet his father's, they were the eyes of someone disappointed and desperate.
"You're a part of a team now," he responded, "and in a team everyone has a role. Yours tonight is escorting any survivors to safety."
"But, I –"
"If you want to be recognized as a hunter you have to understand the importance of priorities. Fighting isn't the only thing us hunters do, and right now the most important thing is to help those who have survived." His response was stern like a military commander giving orders, but there was also a hint of gentleness like a father would be to his son in an attempt to convince him not to willingly throw himself in harm's way.
"Y-Yes, sir." Kahn lowered his head, accepting his fate and no longer putting up a fight.
His father turned back around towards the group of men and women, with his crossbow in his hand, and began his short speech, "The rest of us will split up into two teams: The first team will follow me into the village. The rest of you will wait out here and guard entrance. Any stragglers slip through the cracks you will take them out. I also need you here in case any survivors make it out. You have you orders, let's move out!" He raised his crossbow into the air and the men and women did the same before splitting up – some following him into the village and the others fortifying the entrance. Kahn stood still for a moment, head down and disappointed, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath before entering the village behind them.
The flames were intense, but they were not as chaotic as he imagined. Kahn looked around, analyzing his surroundings, and estimated that less than sixty percent of the village was ablaze, but there were still structures that held and paths left unscathed giving him hope that maybe there were some who have survived this carnage. Kahn carefully made his way to the village's residential area. Most of the wooden homes were already consumed by the fires, and those that weren't were soon to be. He could hear the battle cries of the hunters in the distance, the sound of arrows firing from their crossbows and steel meeting flesh, but where he stood was silent; the only thing disrupting the silence was the crackling of the fire on the burning wood. Suddenly, however, a tree branch cracked. The sound echoing in his mind, disrupting the norm; he was not alone. He quickly turned around and checked behind him, nothing was there. Other than the burning homes and trees and the presence of corpses that were once human beings, there was nothing there at all. He turned back around and faced an old schoolyard; or at least what was once a schoolyard.
There! He saw it, the culprits behind the disruption. There were four zombies stumbling towards the burning school building; they were at a distance from him, unaware of his presence. Kahn could have continued searching for survivors in the neighborhood safely without attracting their attention, but he didn't want to take that chance. That's at least what he would have said have he'd been caught; in reality he wanted a fight and how dangerous could four zombies be? He dashed towards them, clutching his crossbow at his chest. It was time to fight. The four zombies reached the old schoolyard, but did not enter. They gathered around as if waiting for orders, but those orders never came. A sudden arrow pierced through the head of the middle most zombie, and the other three turned in Kahn's direction, confused but excited, certain that it was meal time.
Kahn tossed the crossbow behind him and the leather strap around his shoulder caused it to fall on his back for later use. He unsheathed his double edged short sword that was concealed by his large trench coat and charged them. A zombie that was once a young male went down first. He charged towards Kahn eagerly while the other two hesitated. Kahn dodged its attempt to claw at his face and countered by slicing him in half. The other two charged simultaneously, but Kahn rolled backwards and tossed two scrolls them; one attaching to each of their foreheads. The zombies both stopped and their soulless eyes slowly elevated up towards the scrolls attached to their faces. A snap of Kahn's finger caused both scrolls to ignite in a fiery explosion.
He sheathed his sword and grinned, basking in his victory. But it was because of his silent gloating that he did not notice the floating demon, the sorcerer, emerging from the ground; its dark hair and purple robe flowed seamlessly in the light breeze. It raised its hands above its head and began conjuring a ball of fire. Kahn could feel the heat on his neck and his grin quickly faded and he became frightened. Time slowed down for him at this moment as he slowly turned around, eyes widen by terror, to see the floating, humanoid demon before him. It was too late for him to react, his sword was sheathed, his scrolls were in his pocket, and the demon was seconds away from burning him alive. The only thing he could do was raise his arms to his face in defense, but that wouldn't work and he knew it.
It was then that he saw something out of the corner of his eye. His hero in the shape of a woman swooped down and attacked the magical demon with a series of thrusts with her silver rapier. After the attack she landed behind it on her knees but quickly recovered and went in for the final blow. Fire emitted from the blade of her sword as she sliced right through its body, cutting it in half. It let out a desperate cry as both halves of its body dissolved into thin air. She sheathed her weapon and turned towards Kahn; she was beautiful, and through his eyes her beauty was multiplied times a hundred. She was dark skinned and her long curly black hair fell slightly below her shoulders. She wore a black blouse with the bust area held shut by a ribbon and her dark gray trousers were tucked into black, long riding boots. Kahn simply couldn't take his eyes off of her.
"You should be more careful." She warned him, her voice was music to his ears and welcomed. "Those things will sneak up on you."
"I'd like to thank you, but I didn't catch you name." He flirted.
"My name is Marceline DeVille, and this was my home. And who are you and what exactly are you doing here?"
"The name's Kahn Marley, I'm a hunter – well apprentice." He bragged as he extended his hand out towards her. She wasn't impressed, but she met his hand to shake it, but he had other intentions. He raised her hand towards his mouth to kiss it, "It's a pleasure –"
"Save your pleasantries for when we're out of here." She took her hand back before he could. "Have you encountered any survivors?"
"I was just about to ask you the same thing." He shot back.
"Dammit…" She said out loud but to no one in particular. She rested her chin on her fist as she thought about what all of this meant. And just as quickly, she started for the burning school building but was stopped by the protesting Marley.
"Wait a minute! Where are you going!?" He yelled out to her.
"I'm going to find my family." She started for the school again.
"What makes you think they're still alive?" He retorted without thinking. His question, or the way he asked it, caused her to abruptly stop and she slowly turned back towards him, her eyes frightened him and he immediately regretted saying that.
"I see the hunters neglected to train you in the art of manners and sensitivity."
"I'm sorry, I truly am. But look around, three days ago a few zombies turned into what is now an entire army! There is no way anyone could have survived and there's no reason why you should risk your life only to discover that," he gestured towards the school building, "and I'm certainly not going in there!"
With her hand on her hip, she rolled her eyes and let out a small laugh in disbelief, "I don't recall asking you to." Done speaking to him, she turned back towards the school and made her way inside. Kahn stood there for a moment debating whether to join her or not. He smiled to himself, the answer was clear. He ran inside the building behind her.
The two of them walked in silence as they searched the old schoolhouse. The classrooms were intact but the blaze would soon ruin them. Wooden boards that have fallen blocked many paths, but just like the rest of the village, it wasn't as bad as he had thought it would be. It was safe, well safe enough for them to search for her family. He kept glancing in her direction as they searched the building, but she didn't notice; she was determined to find her family. Yeah, that's the look she had on her face; determination and fear. "I wonder," Kahn broke the silence, "I understand that they're your family, but why exactly are you so sure that they're alive?" She doesn't respond so he continues, "I mean, the entire village is deserted and there's no sign of life. How are you so sure?" He didn't bother continuing. He was afraid he'd say the wrong thing and he's seen her in action, he did not want to piss her off.
"My brother – my twin brother was with me when I arrived home earlier." The determination in her eyes faded and fear took over completely.
"How long ago since you last saw him?"
"A few hours, not too long before I found you, but I know he isn't dead." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath; she was less focused on trying to convince Kahn and more on trying to convince herself. "He wouldn't die here, not like this. And if I know my brother he'd have found our family and now I need to find him." Kahn said nothing in return, only nodded in agreement as the two pressed on.
Eventually the two of them came across a zombie corpse. Kahn continued walking, you've seen one you've seen them all, but Marceline stopped. She examined the corpse and recognized its muddied red hair. "Oh my god." She said under hear breath, devastated. The sound of her voice allowed Kahn to realize that she wasn't still walking behind him so he turned back and began walking in her direction. She examined the area surrounding the corpse, first it was the walls; they were scarred. She ran her finger along them, feeling the scars. The floor was the same, but it wasn't caused by the fire, it was a sign of wind magic. As soon as she realized this she let out a small gasp and turned towards the approaching hunter. "Come on! He's in here somewhere!" She yelled as she ran passed him and Kahn quickly following behind her.
In one of the more larger classrooms the fires had consumed most of the room and it was pushing a point where breathing was becoming nearly impossible. A young man lay paralyzed in fear on the floor and a female zombie clutched his neck. He had brown skin a lot like Marceline's. His hair was cut close to his head, nearly not there at all. He wore a white collared shirt underneath a gray jacket; his black trousers were tucked into dark brown knee-high riding boots. His brown eyes widened and his breathing heavy, short, and louder as the zombie zoned in on his neck with its mouth open. "Marcellus!" A familiar voice shattered his paralysis and he looked over at the entryway to see Marceline running in with Kahn not too far behind her. She dashed towards him, kicking the zombie off of her twin brother and extended her hand, offering to help him to his feet.
"Marceline…" His voice was soft and shaky. He didn't accept her help, he only pointed towards the zombie, encouraging Marceline to look at her. When she did and saw that the soulless creature before them she stumbled backwards, caught off guard just as he was once. Kahn looked on in confusion, he didn't know who the woman was but he had his guesses.
"M-mother…?" Marceline said under her breath, her voice cracking. Kahn guessed right, but for the first time he really didn't want to be. He felt for them but she was lost and if they didn't get out of there, they'd be lost too. He readied his crossbow and shot an arrow; it went through her shoulder, but it didn't stop her. He shot another at her leg, she still advanced, so he shot another. Before he could shoot for the fourth time, Marcellus got up and rushed towards him.
"What are you doing!?" He yelled as he forcefully lowered Kahn's crossbow. A frustrated and resolute Kahn shoved him to the side and readied his crossbow once more, but the building was about to give in; and when he looked up the female zombie was also not alone. More zombies had joined her, coming through the window opened due to its shattered glass.
"Dammit…" he said under his breath as he discarded the crossbow and pulled out a handful of scrolls and threw them on the ground in the zombies' path. He grabbed Marceline's hand and she didn't resist, but Marcellus was much more difficult. He didn't want to leave, he believed he could save his mother but it was far too late. He tried to reach for her, but Marceline grabbed him, forcing him to comply as the scrolls exploded. The three of them made it out of the schoolhouse just as it began to crumble.
The hunters set up camp far outside the borders or what was once Wiese, the large tents formed a circle in the grassy meadows in the chilly night. In one tent the twins sat in silence, Marceline still unsure how to comfort her brother who sat on the far end with his head hanging low, looking down in a sort of daze. Kahn entered the tent through the cloth door and the sight of him infuriated the male twin. "How are you guys holding up?" Kahn inquired. He was told earlier by a young woman that he lacked sensitivity, so he wanted to disprove that theory.
"I'm –" Marceline started, but was quickly interrupted.
Marcellus leaped up from his seat and approached Kahn and while grabbing his collar shouted "You vile, pompous, murderous son of a – !"
"Marcellus!" His sister interrupted and he shot her a look that sent shivers down her spine. She had never seen him this angry; this intent on hurting someone and it scared her.
Kahn stepped backwards, releasing himself from Marcellus' grasp. "Whoa! I'm not your enemy here. I didn't kill your mother."
"I saw it with my own two eyes! And Marceline was there too, right?" He looked in her direction but she looked away, not agreeing with him but not wanting to disagree.
"Listen, that…that thing was not your mother; or at least it wasn't her any longer. But I'm not the one who did this, I'm not responsible, but I know who is."
Marcellus leaned close to Kahn's face, locking eyes with him, "Point him out then, and I shall end him." His voice was firm and intimidating.
"It's not that simple." Marcellus scoffed and returned to his previous spot as Kahn started, "My family has been after him for centuries. But he's not only a slippery fellow, he's also quite dangerous. His name is Neclord, a villainous vampire – sadistic, evil, manipulative – all of those things. He takes pride in making people suffer."
"And where can we find him?" Marcellus demanded.
"That's why I'm here. My father asked me to extend to you two an invitation to join us on our hunt."
Marcellus scoffed once more at the idea, but a curious Marceline inquired, "Join you? As hunters?" As she asked Marcellus quickly turned towards her, greatly confused; he had assumed she'd be as outraged as he was, but she wasn't. It made him realize that he might have been overreacting, blaming the wrong man. He was suddenly hit with embarrassment, but wouldn't dare admit it.
"You don't have to answer now. Stay here tonight, and tomorrow if you're still hell-bent on leaving we can supply you with one of our horses. But please, please consider our offer." He focused his attention more on Marcellus for he was the only one who appeared to protest the idea, but he wasn't buying it. He said nothing before he walked out of the tent, leaving the two of them alone.
Marceline stood up and walked in front of Kahn. "I hope you can excuse my brother," she started, "he doesn't mean a thing he said; he's just angry and confused."
"I think I understand how he feels." Kahn smiled as he looked into Marceline's tired eyes.
"You should talk to him, I'm sure by now he realized that he was out of line, but he's far too stubborn to come to you." She chuckled but it quickly faded as what went on tonight finally hit her; she closed her eyes and exhaled.
"You know," Kahn started, picking up on her mood change, "I admire your strength. If I were in your shoes, I'd be lying in the grass naked and crying until the sun comes up."
"One of us has to be strong." She looked into his eyes; her expression was serious and tired. "I'm all he has and he's all I have. All we have is each other, so I need to be strong for him."
"It's a tough gig…"
She smiled and looked out at her brother who was lying in the grass. "It's funny, by this time tomorrow he'll be the strong one while I'll be reduced to a weeping willow. It's always been that way." A single tear ran down her cheek and Kahn gently wiped it away. He didn't say a word, only smiled. Vulnerable, she smiled back before lowering her head. He lightly pulled her in, holding her tight giving her a much needed hug.
Marcellus DeVille sat with eyes closed and his legs folded in the grassy field as Kahn quietly approached from behind. "It's a beautiful night, isn't it?" Marcellus surprised him with his question, his voice was calmer and more inviting; Marceline was right.
"Yeah, it really is." Kahn answered, looking up at the clear sky.
"It shouldn't be," he glanced in Kahn's direction, "this night doesn't deserve to be this beautiful." Kahn looked down at him; he could see the pain in his eyes. "There should be rain, thunder – chaos, but instead it's just – "
"Beautiful…" Kahn finished his sentence for him, and Marcellus lowered his head and exhaled in defeat. Kahn took a seat next time him to share his view, "May I ask you a question?"
"I'm sure saying no won't stop you." Marcellus answered without raising his head.
Kahn chuckled, "Let's say you don't take us up on our offer, where exactly will you go?"
Marcellus raised his head finally and brought his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. "To be perfectly honest, I have no idea where we'd go."
"Do you have any other family you could go to?" Marcellus shook his head so Kahn continued, "What about a ladyfriend? I'm sure her parents could take you and your sister in."
Marcellus lowered his chin to his folded on atop of his knees, still looking forward he began to explain, "I've only ever loved one person in my life and tonight I had to kill him."
"It was easy to love him, you know?" He glanced over at Kahn before lowering his eyes back to the ground, continuing, "He never asked anything of me but to be myself, to treat him well, and to take care of my family. He'd often joke that I was too good for him, but in reality he was far too good for me. And tonight, it was as if he regained consciousness for a moment because he asked me to kill him – begged me so he wouldn't attack me, but I couldn't. I refused. I didn't want his last memory to be of me slaying him; and instead his last memory was of me disobeying the only thing he's ever really asked of me."
Kahn watched on as Marcellus' eyes begin to water, suddenly remembering the zombie corpse that led Marceline to Marcellus' location. The red headed zombie was once a person with a soul, a family, friends, and even a lover and he realized at that moment that he was the man Marcellus was speaking about; the man who was so easy to love and hard to let go. "Damn that Neclord!" He said out loud to himself while pounding his fist on the ground. "We'll get him, you hear me? We'll get that bastard."
"You're damn right we will, and we'll make him pay…" Marcellus laid back and looked up at the sky with his arms folded behind his head as a pillow. For a moment Kahn watched him, his eyes were full of rage, but hidden behind a calm demeanor. He'd seen those eyes before, years ago when his grandfather's life was taken at the hands of Neclord. His father became enraged and obsessed with getting revenge, putting his own life in danger to fulfill his goal. Marcellus looked exactly like him and Kahn knew the dangers that attitude would lead to, but he didn't press the issue; it wasn't the time and it wasn't his place. He laid beside him, one arm behind his head, the other across his stomach, sharing the view of the beautiful star-filled sky in silence.