After her village is attacked, Lacus finds herself facing life as the personal servant of Kira Yamato, heir to the Lordship of a faraway land.
Summery:After her village is attacked, Lacus finds herself facing life as Kira's personal servant. AT, fantasy/romance, Kira/Lacus Athrun/Cagalli Shinn/Stella Gil/Rey, rated M, Warnings: graphic violence, offensive language, sexual content, shota
Author's Note: The first time I read a Gundam Seed fantasy story, I said to myself "this is an interesting idea." The second time, I said, "I like this concept, but it's not one I'd try for myself." Now, here Iam. I've betrayed myself in order to write this, but hopefully, just hopefully, it will all be worth it. Inspiration to this story goes to an FFVIII story entitled A Maid's Tale. It's actually a pretty good story, so you may want to take a look for yourself, and believe me when I say that I'm not purposefully trying to steal anyone's idea. While there are severe similarities, hopefully, you'll agree with me when I say that this is a little different. I'll probably split this story into three or four parts, entitled Nowhere, Anywhere,Somewhere, and Everywhere, respectively. I have big plans for this story, so I hope you'll stick with me.
Rant alert: read or skip. Your choice.
Oh, and for those of you who don't get the reference, this story is named after the Fictionjuntion Yuuka song (which is apparently used as an insert song in the anime Madlax.) The reason being, FictionjunctionYuuka, (responsible for the song Akatsuki no Kurama, which as some of you may know, is used as an insert song in Gundam Seed, and Honoo no Topira makes an appearance in Gundam Seed Destiny) was my latest addiction at the time. Since then, at the time of writing these notes, I'd moved on to Nana Kitade. And if you've watched the old Full Metal Alchemist anime, you've heard her first single. It was the first ending song. For a note of interest, several of her later songs were produced by MartyFriedman (who in the nineties was a guitarist in the American Thrash Metal band Megadeth, but now lives in Japan) (Siren, My Treasure, Love your Money, and the berry berry versions of Alice andKensai Tsumi) Speaking of Friedman, a most disappointing thought comes to mind. I suppose it's inevitable. If someone goes from thrash metal to j-pop, I suppose it's hard to avoid the scorn. I know I'm always going on about pop fans hating metal without giving it a real chance, but looking at it from another point of view, metal fans are known to be some of the most closed minded of all music fans. Seriously, name me one other genre other than maybe rap that is so divided by subgenres? I just don't see the point. So he changed his language, country, and musical style. At least he can still play, and it's not as though he did it for materialistic reasons. He's a guy who's fond of Japan, so he moves to Japan. He speaks their language, contributes to their music, and even has a tv show over there. And the songs I listed above, to which he contributed, have a metal-like sound anyway. So um... what's the problem? Anyway, enough of my shameless advertising of music, on with the story... assuming any of you are still with me, that is... if you actually bothered to read all this, ha ha. No, seriously. Is anyone still here? Anyone? Oh, you are? Does that make one person? The echo begs to differ.
Disclaimer: All Characters, names, and places relating to Gundam Seed belong to Sunrise.
The plot, setting, and any original characters belong to me.
Inspiration for this story goes to A Maid's Tale by Tealover
Book One: Nowhere
Chapter I -False Peace
"Tell me the story of your soul.
Look at me without turning your eyes away.
The yellow loneliness of petals will not turn around, so I wonder where will the two of us go." - 'Nowhere,' FictionJunction Yuuka
Such subtlety. The things people miss. Those which go unnoticed and unappreciated until they are lost. The quiet calm without thought of the coming storm. Such tranquility, utterly lacking in dread.
Such things would be missed, but not now. Not yet. The time would come, however, as the time always does, for what is life without circumstance? What is memory without regret? What is history without its tyrants? And mythology without its monsters or its heroes?
And what is life without death?
Lust, Hunger, Greed, Corruption. What is it that drives men to the actions they take? Why is it that Leaders entrust power to the wrong hands? Why are the untrustworthy always so trusted? What was it that drove Zodiac Alliance Chairman Siegel Clyne to his fate? What was it that galvanized his most trusted advisor's actions? What was it that guided his hands? Who was it that dipped his pen into the foul, scarlet ink known as murder?
Perhaps it was meant to be. His time had come, and this was an intervention on a celestial level. God had spoken, and his servant, High-Inquisitor Gilbert Durandal, had answered. Perhaps such zealous action was required, in which heresy was indeed the correct path, but perhaps this was not so.
There were some who argued that Durandal had acted for selfish reasons, that he had craved power, that he had grown mad with hunger, that even his honorable position as God's representative on the Supreme Council had not been enough to satiate his tyrannical desires.
Of course, such politics were of little interest to the young, pink haired girl; youngest daughter of the Campbell family. She was too young to have an opinion on the matter, and far too young to hold interest to such, but the time for involvement would inevitably arise. Indeed, it would come all too soon, and long before she would be ready.
For now, the girl was content, ne, fascinated, to stare out at the sea. The youngest daughter of the Campbell family, living in a small village of the Zodiac Alliance which had little value, save for the shore.
She continued to stare out at the constantly moving tide, her blue eyes completely mesmerized by the waves, the way they pulled themselves up to the beach, crawling onto the edge of land, and then slipped, sliding back down into their own dark blue depth.
The sea... nothing could beat it. Not for this girl. She just...
"I just..." she murmured to no one in particular, "love the sea."
Unnoticed by the girl, two men walked past, quietly making their way to their own private destination. They walked together, bothered no one, went unnoticed. There was little to be said about two invisible men. In such a peaceful society, there was no need to be suspicious of people.
The village in which they were all located was hardly a high-class community, but nor was it working class. The residents could be described as consisting of mid to low classes, comprising of people ranging from moderately wealthy, to humble.
The villagers did not see in classes as other places in the world did. It was a small village community. Those seen to be of the highest class would be the families of local government officials, while the equivalent of the resident working class was made up of builders, hunters and an urban militia, whose job was to keep order. All were fuelled by astrict sense of community, so although the place was a mixture of types, crime and other anti-social behavior was at a record low, particularly when compared to other places in the world.
In this small, modest village, the class system was almost non-existent. All were in life together, so what reason was there to discriminate and segregate? It was as far as one could get from the Feudal system of the west.
The two unsuspected men made their way to the village exit. It was strange. Out of all the places these two men had seen on their travels around the world, never had they been to a city, town, or even village that had no form of security whatsoever.
No military checkpoint at the exit. No outposts or watchtowers on the roads leading to their home. Not even a simple wood perimeter wall.
"What do you think, Jones?" the first man said to his companion.
"I dunno. I've never seen anything like it. No wall, no form of protection, no army that I can see. I'm surprised this place isn't in chaos. How do they keep the order?"
"You're right, there should be anarchy, but there's not. This is one of the nicest places I've ever been to. What is it about this village?"
"I dunno, but no army, no navy, no walls, and no security checkpoints? This village is just asking to be ransacked, be it by the fist of another nation, or simply bannerless pirates, I'm seriously surprised that they've remained alive for so long."
"So then, the rumors about this place were true. Other than the fact that it's easy prey, why d'you suppose the Hawk brought us out here?"
"How should I know? By all accounts, it amounts to only confusion. I can't make sense of it."
"No mines, no resources... there are a few farms, and the shore may be fine for fishing, but it's out in the middle of nowhere. Trade out here is basically impossible."
"It's the perfect spot for a camp though."
"Indeed... Penal, refugee, POW... what do you think?"
"Out here... who knows? I guess we could ship the world's toughest criminals out here."
"You mean... charge the western Feudal lords a fee to take the criminal filth off their hands?"
"Sure. It's a service, is it not?"
"I suppose. This place has a lot of open space, enough to be self-sufficient. We'd have to do much building, however. That's the biggest of the problems I can see. You think that's what Lord Uzumi's planning?"
"Hey, this is just speculation. I don't know what he really has in mind for this place. For all we know, he could be turning the whole place into a giant sheep farm."
"Why sheep? Why not Pig, or dairy?"
"Or poultry?" A third man asked, this one aforeign soldier, clad in a strange looking suit of purple armor.
"Sir," the two replied, stiffening.
"How goes it, men?"
"The village is as you said, sir."
"I see. Their available defenses?"
"Very well, let us hope they remain that way."
"Sir, if you'll forgive me," one of the men stated, requesting permission to speak his mind.
"You are forgiven, what troubles you?"
"Please sir, do not underestimate the capability of your own forces. We will burn this worthless excuse for a village to the ground."
"And of its residents?"
"If they dare to oppose us, they will be crushed."
"Indeed, but weigh this. Though the people here are, for the present, our circumstantial enemies, they are still human beings. Try to remember that."
"Sir, of course, forgive my zeal."
"Not at all, there is naught to forgive. Lord Uzumi would be proud, yet think upon my words, these people have done nothing wrong. They only wish to live peaceful lives. Such is the wish of many, and such is a wish we here today will crush. Historians of the future may well look down upon us with disgust."
"Yes sir, I understand what you are saying, but we are soldiers. We will carry out the wish of his Lordship. It is for the greater good of our Country."
"Very well. Prepare the troops and ready their mounts. We attack at noon."
Ignorant to the day that lay before them, the villagers pressed on as usual, as did the man approaching from the northeast. A white horse clad in silver armor trotted upon the road, mounted by a man equally clad in a suit of silver platemail.
Was it luck? Perhaps it was an unfortunate coincidence that he had been passing through. Had he not been there, how would things have been different? There was no way to know. He had meant to make ashort stop in the village, rest for a day or two, resupply, and then be off once more on his way to the capital, Aprilius City. It was supposed to be asimple two-day stop, no more than that.
Indeed, when he first arrived, that was how it had seemed. Everything was normal. Quiet, but not eerily so. This place was known for being a quiet village, so the man sensed nothing out of the ordinary when he arrived.
Upon reaching the farm in the northern section of the village, he was able to strike up a deal for the stable hand to care for his horse for the duration of his stay. It was his only option. The small village had no public stable on offer. Nor had it a dock. There was ashore, and a space for fishermen to pull in their daily harvest, but that was it. There was little value to this place, be it strategic or economical.
On the upside however, it was a place that could prosper alone, without the Zodiac Alliance. There was little reason for this village to be a member, yet it was.
Commercial trade was insignificant with this village, so it contributed little. There was no official military garrison and very few, if any, of this city's populace ever ventured to the Zodiac's capital. It could be said that there was little, almost no benefit to either party in this village being a member of the Alliance. But that in itself was a benefit, if only afigurative one. It was proof of the Zodiac's good will, its reputation. This remote little village had chosen to join for the singular purpose of being amember. It was a grand sentiment. One that was not lost on the armoured man.
During his travels, he had seen many small towns and villages like this one. Small, peaceful, and tight-knit. He had grown to admire them. Well, perhaps admire was too strong a word, but he did enjoy them.
He wasn't sure whether or not this had anything to do with it, or perhaps the Zodiac's unprecedented time of peace had dulled his untested blade somewhat. Whichever the case, the day had caught him unaware.
The setting, the atmosphere, lacking even the slightest breeze. The sweet, still air. The fresh smell of grass. The collected quiet. It was so calm. So tranquil. So peaceful.
Abruptly, the serenity was shattered by apiercing cry. An ear crumpling scream. Craning his neck in the direction of the sound, he found its source in the center of the crowded marketplace.
On the other side of the square, as clear as the evident panic on the faces of the public. A young woman, long auburn tresses trailing down around her neck, past her shoulders. Her mouth hung open slightly. Green eyes were wide with panic. A curved blade protruded from her abdomen. Blood seeped profusely from the wound.
The armoured man stood shocked, staring wordlessly, utterly mesmerized at the spectacle before him.
Before any could act, the blade was withdrawn from its feminine cadaver-sheath, the victim's body falling soundlessly to the ground. Before the inevitable mass panic and public hysteria, the armoured man was able to hear the man with the sword give an order to his subordanates. "Alright, let's pacify these civilians and spread out. The Hawk wants this village secured today!" The armored man had heard enough. He drew his dual longswords and charged headlong into battle.
"Take this hero first," the enemy commander ordered his men as he watched the silver armoured man approach with swords drawn.
The armoured man charged into the first soldier, arcing his swords in a circular motion, hitting his target on either side of his abdomen like axes swung into a thick tree trunk.
The dual attack had little effect as the blades ricocheted harmlessly off the soldier's armour. "You'll think twice next time before playing the hero," he smirked as he bashed the armoured man with his shield, forcing him backward. "Wait," he said, pausing. "What Am I saying, there's not going to be another time. You're going to die today!" Ignoring the loud-mouthed soldier's threat, the armoured man evaded his first attack and countered with one of his own, a lunge toward the soldiers torso.
Locating a weak point between plates in the soldiers armour, the man landed a critical stab. He hadn't hit anything vital, but it was enough to momentarily stun his opponent long enough to slash his throat with his second longsword.
With his first target successfully pacified, the armoured man avoided the blood spray from the wound he'd inflicted and retrieved his impaling longsword as he moved on to his next target.
"You bastard! How dare you attack my men!" the commander bellowed.
"Would you rather I attack the innocent?" the armoured man asked. His eyes narrowed in obvious abhorrence at the soldiers' horrendous actions.
Word travelled fast in such a peaceful place. It was both blessing and curse, as now there were few who had not learned of the attack in the marketplace. Now the normally pleasant and peaceful streets were filled with chaos as residents fled for their very lives, rush and panic fueling their overdriven minds, compromising the attempt at tempering the need to evacuate with the requisite to keep everyone safe, lest one be left behind and trampled, left to a fate decided by those barbaric soldiers from the west who had attacked and murdered the innocent without provocation, as if on a whim.
They were worse than beggars and thieves who asked for charity at knifepoint.
Down every street they poured. Foot traffic unheard of for so small a village, such quiet and remote a place. Not even during a New Year festival was there so much discord. People, many people. Men, women, children. Builders, hunters, peasants. Landowners, beggars. None were spared the fate of flight.
Down every street they poured. Panic stricken faces, scream stressed throats. Sore feet and pounded dirt paths. Children were uncomfortably pulled along by the arm, dragged behind their haphazardly hysterical fleeing parents like mere luggage. Others picked their children up and carried them in their arms as they ran.
Down every street they poured. Parents. All of them moved at too fast a pace for their children's comfort, yet still they persisted, lest their darling offspring be trampled by the scruffy faced, boot wearing farmers behind them. It was only with the removal of the everyday pleasant facade that true nature revealed itself. Some worried for friends, family, and neighbors. The people with whom they had spent their everyday lives. Others looked out only for themselves. It would be interesting for aphilosopher to be present, to witness this, and to see how the people acted in a crisis.
Down every street they poured. Among them, a panic-stricken woman who feared for the life of her daughters. Both of them. Even the currently absent one.
"Where is she!?" the brunette utterly shrieked in worry.
"I don't know!" the woman's pink haired daughter replied, sounding equally shrill, her deep blue eyes wide with worry, the same shade as her mother's.
"Didn't she say something to you!?Anything? Where could she be!?" This was an impossible choice for the woman. She simply couldn't leave and abandon her first child, but to stay and search would put her second in danger. What was she supposed to do?
"I... I think -"
"What is it?" the brunette shrieked, unable to compose herself as the two ran. They were as mice running through a maze without the scent of a tasty morsel to guide their way.
"She might have gone to the beach."
"The beach... how could she at a time like this?" the brunette asked, increasing her pace."
"She wanted to see the sea! She likes looking at the water."
"She can enjoy the water forever if those men find her!"
"Damn," the silver armoured man Cursed. This village was too weak to defend itself for long. He had to contain this situation before it went too far. Why in God's name were they attacking such apeaceful and remote place at all? Were they trying to start a war with the Zodiac? "Was this all done simply to provoke us? What were they thinking?"
"Sir!" a young man exclaimed, announcing himself. The armoured man turned to look at he who had interrupted his musings. The lad was tall, but lacked the broadness to compensate. He had a physique akin to a giant beanstalk. Blue eyes, short brown hair. His arms were free of the slightest trace of hair or muscle. The way he gripped his spear said it all. He was more of a meat-shield than a real soldier. Then again, that went for most every member of this village's militia.
"What is it?"
"There's no sign of the enemy in the vicinity of the Village elder's house, sir."
"Finally, some good news."
"I must say, it's a real morale boost to have the legendary 'Falcon' personally leading our defense."
Morale? What kind of impressions do these farmers have? Do they really think confidence and enthusiasm will win them the battle for them? "Save the formalities for later."
"With all due respect, sir; we could all be dead later."
"All that means is that the formalities were uncalled for in the first place."
"Uh, yes sir. What should I do now, sir?"
Can't this kid think for himself? "Make sure the Elder's Mansion is well-protected. We'll use that as our base of operations. Then suppress the conflict. Keep the enemy contained within the city square for as long as you can. We need to hold them off until the civilians have time to evacuate."
"Then what, sir?"
"Then... we fall back to the mansion."
"But the Village Elder is in there!"
"I know that. It can't be helped. If we need to make a final stand, that's where it'll be."
The boy's flight was with such enthusiasm. The Falcon didn't know what to think. He pushed it from his mind. His blades had tasted blood today, and they would have more. He had already positioned the militia throughout the village. If only he could count on reinforcements from allied villages and towns, but nobody would likely know of the situation. He could send a messenger, but help would still not arrive in time, even if he /could/spare a single man to deliver the distress call, which was not an option. The strength of numbers was a luxury that simply wasn't available to them.
Nothing could help them now. Nobody was coming to their aid. They were alone. And similarly, Falcon was alone. He had given the militia their stations and alone, the man in the silver armor proceeded to scout the area for enemies. The enemy general had to be here somewhere. If they were to meet, then perhaps he could get some answers.
His search took him to the shore - the Village's sea exit. Perhaps the enemy soldiers had come by boat. This could be valuable information.
When he got there, he saw no boats. No fleet. What he saw, would shock him. What he saw, he would never forget. A lone person. A young girl.
A sigh of exasperation passed through Falcon's lips. Why was a girl at the beach at a time like this? Where in God's name was her mother? What was wrong with these people?
"Hey," he called out in a soft tone as he approached the girl. She wore a white dress that came down past her knees and her pink hair flowed down below her shoulders, down to her mid-back. Pink hair... "Are you sure you should be here, all alone?"
"Where's your family?"
"They're home." Falcon couldn't help but feel that something here was amiss. Then there was that hair. Long. Flowing. Pink.
"Come on, you shouldn't be here alone."
"I'm not hurting anyone," the girl argued.
"You're the one I'm worried about."
"You said your family is at home, didn't you?"
"Mmn," the girl wordlessly agreed.
"Did... did the soldiers get them?"
"Soldiers?" the girl asked.
"So you haven't seen any?" The girl turned around to face the man.
"What's going on?" she asked, confused. Could it be that she truly had been unaware of any danger? Who was she?
"What's your name?"
"Lacus!" Falcon's head snapped around to meet the origin of the shrill cry - a desperate looking woman and someone who appeared to be her daughter, another girl with pink hair.
"Okaa-san?" Falcon's eyes widened. So this was the girl's family.
"Have you encountered any soldiers?" he asked the woman.
"You mean other than you?" the woman asked, eying him suspiciously.
"I'm an ally. I was passing through on my way to Aprilius City. Now I'm leading the Militia against the Western Soldiers. You can trust me."
"Can I? This is a chaotic time. How can Itrust anyone with the lives of my children and myself?" Falcon nodded in agreement.
"That is wise of you to be cautionary; however, I am trying to help you. I don't know where the enemy is attacking from. These men are savages. I've witnessed it for myself. They attacked awoman in the market. They didn't even give a warning. They just drew their swords and killed her." He paused at the sound of one of the pink haired girl's shocked gasps. "They're merciless. If they find you, your children are dead."
"Okaa-san?" one of them asked, panic evident in her blue eyes.
"If you'll let me, I'd like to escort you to the evacuation zone."
"Okay," the woman answered. "I'm Elizabeth."
"They call me the Falcon," thearmoured man responded, nodding his concealed head.
"Lead the way," Elizabeth said, taking one of her daughters' hands in each of her own to ensure they all remained together.
They followed the armoured man as he led them through the now empty village streets, if they could even be called such. They were more like paths than anything else. Not big enough for carts or wagons to pass through, but enough for people or even horses, if they moved in single file.
Compared to the chaos from earlier, the village seemed eerily quiet. It was as though it were dead. Slain by its brutal aggressors. To kill this village must have been an easy task for the soldiers. The way they attacked. The way they butchered without the slightest hint of remorse. They had been unexpected and had used that to their advantage.
These traumatic events in the girls' lives would be their first sight of war. Hopefully, they would also be their last. This cowardly attack could not go unpunished, but if the Zodiac were to retaliate, even in the name of justice, it could escalate into open war. If that were to happen, the travesty occurring in this village would seem like nothing in comparison.
They made their wordless trail toward the Village's entrance. The uneventful trek, while tedious and dull, filled the travellers with hope. Perhaps all the enemy soldiers were occupied with the militia. Perhaps Falcon's plan was working. If that were the case, the three civilians might actually reach their goal and escape after all.
Falcon kept his eyes open. He had to remain alert. Not only for the sake of the battle, but also for the lives of the woman and the two girls that followed him. So far, they had made it without event, but they were not there yet. Who knew what could happen? Who knew where the soldiers could be lurking?
"Damn," Falcon muttered.
"What is it?" Elizabeth asked.
"Right ahead," the man answered.
"Soldiers?" Lacus asked.
"What do they want?"
"I wish I knew..."
"That one in the purple armour..." Elizabeth pointed out, "he's the leader?" Falcon's eyes widened. That armour. He knew it well.
"So that's the man in charge. We could be in trouble."
"What is it?"
"That man. He's the legendary Hawke of Endymion. In the entire world, only one man has ever been granted the honorary title of Hawke."
"Who is he?"
"Mu La Flaga."
"Is he that tough?" one of the girls asked.
"He is. It's said that he has a unique talent for combat. His land was once involved in five simultaneous border clashes. All five enemy provinces attacked at once. It was a massive free-for-all slaughter. Somehow, at the end of the terrible battle, that man was the lone survivor. The Feudal Lord of his land then bestowed upon him the title of Hawke. It is a title that no other soldier has ever risen to.
"So what should we do?" asked Elizabeth.
Falcon looked over the soldiers. There were three of them in all, including the Hawk, who seemed to be walking off in another direction. This was his chance to confront the enemy commander, but...
He turned his gaze over to the civilians whose lives he had taken upon himself to guard.
"We are close to the village exit. If Idistract the soldiers, do you think you could escape?"
"I don't know."
"This is the perfect opportunity for me. Iwon't deny it. If you go, I may get a chance to end this battle before it gets out of hand. If you can't make it alone however, I can go with you and guard you. Either way, I'll need to fight those two up there."
"So I can take my children and sneak off the road, or I can follow you and stand on the sidelines while you attack those men."
"Either course of action carries its own risks. We don't know if there are any soldiers further down the road."
"Do you think there are?" Lacus asked the armoured man."
"Good question. I don't know, but if I had to guess, I'd say no. The majority would be back in the center of the village, or near the Elder's Mansion. I sent the local militia to engage them, to keep them busy until everyone has evacuated. I'd say you are the last. Once you get out, we can focus on the battle itself."
"Will you be able to handle them both?"
"I can take care of myself, don't you worry about that."
"Can you guarantee me that neither of those men can get away from you?"
"In that case, we'll take our chances on our own."
"Very well. Hide out here until I get their full attention. Then move when it's safe. Don't look back and keep moving until you reach the exit. If the enemy camp is here, you should be safe once you get past it. Move quietly, but move quickly. Can you do that?" As the Falcon spoke, he turned to face each of the girls.
They each nodded in turn. The man nodded back at them and turned to the soldiers. The way they stood there. They were like sentries guarding the entrance to a city. This could only be the attacker's camp. It had to be. It was the only explanation.
"Farewell," Falcon said to the woman and her children. "I wish you all the luck in the world... we shan't be meeting again." He began to walk towards the soldiers when the soft skin of a child's hand enclosed around the rough, calloused skin of his own. Surprised, he turned to see a set of pale blue eyes staring up at him.
"Thank you." Unseen through the silver helm of his armour, the Falcon's face cracked into an unstoppable grin.
"Don't mention it," he said. The girl smiled up at him and stepped back in line with her family. Offering a final nod of his head, Falcon began to head out toward the enemy, walking diagonally, his eyes ever-present on his intended target, circling around his enemy, searching for the ideal position from which to charge, so that the soldiers would not trace the line of his attack back to Elizabeth and her daughters.
The girls watched him as he circled widely around the battlefield.
They watched him as he prowled the unwitting soldiers through the high grass like a predator. It didn't matter what his name may have been. The girls thought he moved more like a tiger than a falcon.
They watched him as he moved steadily closer toward his enemies, as he found the perfect place from which to strike.
They watched him as he charged. They watched him run at full force toward the soldiers. They watched as he drew a longsword in each hand. They watched as the soldiers noticed him coming. They watched as the two soldiers each drew their respective swords. As the two guards surrounded him. As Falcon held one sword out in front of him with the other behind him. As he began to fight them off. They watched.
"Come on!" Elizabeth commanded her children. "Quickly, we have to leave now, while the soldiers are distracted." The girls nodded their heads and the three of them ran.
Elizabeth positioned her body so that she could move quickly but remain unseen. She kept as low as she could while still remaining on her feet. Seeing this, the children followed their mother's example. Ducking their heads, they ran low, trying their hardest to keep below the high grass to avoid being noticed. The last thing they wanted was to draw attention to themselves as they made their cautious escape.
As they passed, Lacus couldn't help but look back to the battle. It didn't matter how good the armoured man might have been at fighting. He was outnumbered. How could he fight two men at once? It was impossible, wasn't it? With multiple people to gang up on him, it would only be a matter of time until he was overwhelmed.
"Lacus, we need to hurry," Elizabeth cautioned her.
"I know, but... Falcon, he could be in trouble. We can't just-"
"That man knows what he's doing, Lacus. He charged into battle so that we could escape. If we don't get away, that would have all been for nothing. Do you understand?"
"Then let's hurry." Lacus nodded her agreement and understanding.
"Don't worry," the second of the two pink haired girls assured her older sister. He can beat them. I know he can." Lacus nodded once more in agreement and thanked her sister for her words of encouragement.
Falcon stared down the two soldiers. One stood on either side of him, and he held one blade trained on each opponent.
"I know that the one known as the Hawk is leading you," the silver armoured man informed them. "After I kill the two of you, I will be going after him. Tell me what you are doing here and I will ease the pain of both your deaths."
"I will tell you nothing!" one of the men zealously replied.
"We're just following orders," the other said.
"And your orders were?"
"To clean up this worthless excuse for a village."
"Why? Why this village? Did you think the Zodiac would not retaliate if you pick off their most remote territories?"
"Why were you sent here?"
"We don't know. We were just told to show up and conquer the village for his Lordship."
"Your lord... and that would be?"
"Like we'd tell you that." Falcon smirked, his reaction unseen. The coat of arms on the soldiers' shields said it all. The white shields depicted a black scythe-wielding, winged angel. Only one feudal lord used such an insignia. Lord Azrael.
Why would the distinguished Hawke of Endymion - Mu La Flaga- sell his allegiance to another Lord, let alone one as militaristic as Azrael?While it was true that Lord Halberton of Endymion had granted the man the freedom that came with his legendary title of Hawk, it seemed strange for him to offer his service to one so dissimilar from an allied province. But enough introspection and analysis. The Falcon had the information he needed. He would take care of these two and then learn the rest of the story from the Hawk himself.
"Enough questions. You'd better fight us now, or you'll die." Once more, Falcon's lip curled into a smirk at the words of these soldiers.
"My sentiments exactly." The fools should have attacked him while he was mulling over what he had learned. Since they had announced their intention, he would be ready for them.
"Here we go again," the second soldier stated.
"It'll be different this time," the first replied. "This time we'll kill 'im."
"Oh," the silver armoured man interjected, "you think the Grimaldi Falcon will go down so easily?" The second solder widened his eyes, leaving an opening. An opening at which Falcon did not hesitate to strike.
One of his longswords quickly struck through the air, its point finding the correct angle for a lethal attack to an artery. In the span of less than a second, Falcon's blade had thrust forward, only to be blocked by that of his target's ally.
Damn, Falcon thought. If not for that, the fool would have been down. Following up his attack, he left himself open by attacking with his other sword, landing a slash into one of the soldier's shoulders.
With the blade in his right hand, he sent an attack straight into the weak point of his opponent's armour, which was blocked by a shield.
Hooking his leg around the soldier's ankle, he pulled the man off balance, tripping him and stabbing his sword into the man's throat, breaking his second vertebrate, severing the connection of his skull and spine.
He withdrew his bloodied sword and swung it toward his second enemy. The more experienced of the two was already down. Now, the Falcon would fight the inferior warrior - a recruit, more likely than not.
The inexperienced one paled under his visor-less helm. He stood rooted on the spot until the realisation hit him. Suddenly, a rush of adrenaline and rage washed over him and he charged. Dropping his shield, he held his sword in both hands above his head and swung down in a violent motion, hoping to avenge his comrade.
Seeing what was coming, Falcon adapted his stance and blocked the opponent's blade with his left sword while the right penetrated its target's skin beneath the jaw and exited the back of his head, bloody and protruding from the crown of the man's skull.
Falcon withdrew his weapon from the dying man and offered asingle sentence as he cleansed it of the unwanted, amateurish blood. "Rule number one, rookie: Never fight with your emotions."
After defeating those two soldiers, the legendary Hawk of Endymion hadn't been too hard to find. He'd been located in the centre of his army's camp. Falcon had known he'd be there. His sixth sense told him so.
He slowed down, silencing his movements. He wanted to catch the enemy commander by surprise. He wouldn't be able to do that if he were seen or heard.
Slowly, quietly, he inched closer, one step at a time, making sure to avoid any leaves or twigs that may have been present on the grassy ground.
As he moved, he kept his arms up, muscles tensed, blades at the ready. He was slowly and steadily making it closer toward his target. Just a little further. He might even be able to capture him without a fight.
He was barely more than a few feet away when suddenly, without warning, the Hawk's head shot up and a blade was hurled through the air toward the silver clad soldier.
"Is that you, Rau Le Cruset?" Hawk demanded.
"Damn you," Falcon cursed. This was to get violent after all.
Looking at the Hawk - Mu La Flaga, he would be a worthy adversary. He wore violet, lightweight armour that protected without hampering his movement. Strapped to his back were no less than six broadswords. Whether the Hawk's technique implemented each one of these swords, Falcon did not know, but they were doubtlessly a heavy burden and must have come in useful some way.
La Flaga was a man in his mid-twenties. His skin was unscarred - miraculous for one with his reputation. It was fitting, given his knack for pulling off the impossible. He wore no protective head gear of any kind, allowing his long mane of thick, blond hair to fall free, unrestricted past his shoulders. Most notable about the man was his piercing blue eyes.
Once their eyes met, Falcon found his attention transfixed on the man. He couldn't force himself to look away. Mu La Flaga had a face that some would describe as handsome.
Falcon shook the thoughts from his mind. They would not help him here.
Falcon had to remind himself that this beautiful man was his enemy. He was the monster who led the barbaric soldiers through their despicable attack on this defenceless village. Evil is as evil does. It was merely proof of Zodiac scripture. "Hark; the devil doth come in angelic form."It was true, after all. The stunning form before him was proof.
Hardening his eyes and tightening the grip on his weapons, Falcon let go of his emotions and allowed his warrior's instinct to take over.
Finally, he was ready for battle.
"I can see we won't be talking much today. That's okay," the Hawk announced, drawing two of his broadswords and dropping into a defensive stance.
Falcon advanced on the opposing warrior. He was not technically an enlisted soldier. He had risen to the legendary status of Hawk. It was a title bestowed upon him by the lord of Endymion, similar to the way Falcon had been inducted into the elite and secretive FAITH organization and given his new name and title of Falcon by God's representative himself: Zodiac supreme council chairman, Emperor Durandal.
Falcon raised his right sword to attack while his left remained in front of him defensively, to block any attack that might threaten him.
Slash after slash was blocked by both of the Hawk's blades. Growing impatient, the silver-clad soldier sent a violent thrust toward the Hawk.
"What's wrong, Le Creuset? I know you can do better than that. We're alone. Why are you holding back?"
"I refuse to use my best techniques right off the bat."
"Do you now?" There was a chance the Hawk would use that to his advantage. He pressed forward, going on the attack, making a much more aggressive and dominating force with his weapons than Falcon had been.
The fight was intensifying, but it mattered little. This fight would not decide the fate of the village, nor of the battle. The village was already doomed. Buildings had been razed. The population had fled in agreat rout, in a great human stampede. They had abandoned their homes in favour of their lives.
In that, the invaders had won, but they would not get away with it. Their time would come. When the supreme council received word of this, the Zodiac's border forces would surely be strengthened, as would the observation of all traveling near its boarders. This minor village may have been sacrificed, but in return, its death would serve the Zodiac. No other province would share this fate. Never again would the Zodiac come under such embarrassing attack.
These assailants may not have faced much in the way of military opposition, but economically, they would become isolated. They dared to attack the alliance of the east? No leader would ever be fool enough to ally with them now. The death of these soldiers' homes would be neither swift, nor brutal. Instead, they would die a slow plague, an economic death, starved of trade.
They would die, and none would come to their aid. It was afate well deserved. Call it destiny, karma, or divine redemption. It mattered not. The snake would taste of its own flesh and be condemned for eternity.
The two skilled warriors battled blade to blade, trading blow for blow. They were evenly matched in terms of strength and speed, but Mu was older and had more battle experience.
He was a veteran of many wars. Falcon had been granted his place in FAITH by serving the Zodiac, traveling from province to province, ending minor conflicts and clashes on the Zodiac's border. His biggest achievement in battle was to help the Zodiac achieve victory against a group of rebels who wished to overthrow their province's local government and secede from the alliance.
That civil war had gone on for some time and had caused many fatalities on the battlefield. However, all things considered, in comparison to the Hawk's battle record, it was rather meek.
In a flash, the silver clad man had been ripped out of his stupor and dumped back into action. Hawk managed to land a high kick to Falcon's abdomen, sending him backward. Utilising the time this had given him, Hawk threw his broadswords into the air and drew two more from the leather scabbards lining his back.
The blond's lip curled upward as he expertly threw his current swords at the Falcon, sending them hurtling through the air like arrows, before catching his first set of broadswords by the hilts as gravity forced them back down again.
Falcon's concealed eyes widened as they spied the heavy objects flying strait toward him. It was extremely rare for a weapon like abroadsword to be balanced for throwing. It was unheard of for any kind of sword to be balanced and specially created for that purpose. Knives and daggers, maybe. Axes, perhaps in certain places. But certainly not swords. Never swords.
Yet even as Falcon's mind attempted to deny the tangible, the impossibility continued on its path toward him.
Jumping into the sky, Falcon was only just able to evade the dual airborne assault, but he had barely landed when another pair of blades made their way toward him. Hawk's attack was unrelenting, forcing Falcon to go on the defensive - not his best area. The western blond must have known that.
"Damn," Falcon breathed as he dropped into a sideways roll to avoid yet another attack from his more than worthy adversary.
The sound of steel clanged as swords clashed. The block had rendered one sword of each man locked together. Useless. They had only one arm each with which to attack now.
Allowing the blond to strike his shoulder, Falcon was able to get in a hit of his own.
Falcon was able to disarm his opponent's left weapon and apowerful kick sent the blond falling backward, forcibly retreating. Helpless, but the advantage would not last. It could not. It wasn't possible.
Holding his remaining sword in both hands, Hawk charged into a powerful offensive.
Even while perfectly coordinating his dual longswords, Falcon was unable to keep up with Hawk's agility. This was impossible. They were supposed to have been more or less evenly matched. Falcon had never in his life seen anyone move so fast. And the blows weren't just fast, they were also powerful.
It was as though there were an invisible force working against the FAITH member, working against his longswords, pushing things in the Hawk's favour. His arms felt so tired. His blades had become so heavy.
Hawk's violent, offensive onslaught had forced Falcon to move at incredible speeds. He had expelled much of his finite stamina. He was out of energy. Even now he was pushing himself just to stay in the fight.
He needed rest.
Before he knew it, he had been completely disarmed. First he lost one sword, and then the other. His grip had been so loose in the end. It was only a matter of time.
Hawk knocked his opponent off his feet with a low sweep kick, then turned his back on the falling foe before striking at him painfully with his elbow. A diagonal uppercut with the broadsword popped him into the air, as though Falcon were lying on an invisible cot, and was followed up with apowerful punch to the man's torso, sending him painfully to the ground.
Falcon landed hard on his back. The unceremonious landing had knocked the wind from his body. His next sight was that of Hawk's broadsword, once more held in both hands, blade pointing down. It hovered over Falcon's chest plate.
Suddenly, with such speed as to seem unnecessarily, brutally fast, the blade was brought down to its waiting victim, laying upon the ground beneath it, dreading, yet at the same time accepting the impending inevitability of that final thrust.
The blade came down. Falcon flinched, his every muscle tensed. Breath hitched. Eyelids closed painfully tight, shrouding his vision in eternal darkness.
Suddenly, one set of blue eyes widened as their owner stopped dead in her tracks.
"Lacus, come on, we have to keep moving," the girl's mother insisted, tugging her along by the arm.
"But... something is wrong."
"We can't stop!" Elizabeth tightened her hold of Lacus'hand, lest she get left behind.
"But...!" Lacus insisted. She couldn't explain it. She just knew. They couldn't just continue like this. Something had gone wrong. Something was terribly wrong. "We should go back."
On Elizabeth's other side, Meer stared wide eyed at her older sister as though her lovely pink hair had suddenly turned a sickly shade of green.
"We have to go back!" Lacus repeated, exasperation and determination increasing the volume and forcefulness of her otherwise reserved voice.
"But we have to!"
Elizabeth's grip on her daughters' hands tightened and pulled as she ran faster. "Don't you see? That man knew the risks when he allowed us to escape. We can't go back. I don't know what he's doing right now, but do you want it to have been in vain? He wanted us to get out. He wanted us to live!"
"I know," Lacus breathed, eyes instinctively closing, though snapping wide open again as her foot kicked a stone, almost tripping her as she moved at such high speeds, "but... I have a bad feeling. A really bad feeling."
"Why?" Meer asked.
"I... I don't know."
"You're just nervous," Elizabeth clarified. "He'll be fine. He's been specially trained for battle. He's far stronger than any soldiers in the militia. We're the ones who will be in danger if we're caught. We're just civilians."
"No, I can't explain it but... we shouldn't be here. We shouldn't be going this way."
"Why not?" Meer asked. She was as sceptical as her mother, but hers was a voice tempered with childlike curiosity.
"If we don't go back... something terrible is going to happen."
I'm wondering, is the Grimaldi Falcon technically a canon character? Is he ever explored within the fandom, manga-wise or the like? I don't know, but either way, I'm messing with him. My version used in this story differs from any others. This chapter was going to be the prologue, but It grew too long, so I've had a different idea. Perhaps it is better, but perhaps not. We'll see.
Shameless Advertising Segment: I've put up a new forum for the purposes of making beta requests, challenges, and discussions about stories, fandoms, and anything in general. Look on my ff.net profile for the link.
The URL for my forums should be as follows: http://www.fanfiction.net/myforums/morbid333/1501241/