Kyan: Ikkitousen (Fate's Warrior)
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Prologue: Kousotsu 1175
The stars sparkled overhead the crimson tinted planet, a dramatic backdrop for the warriors that littered the plains, fighting and dying. The two sides were unequally matched, yet they both fought in earnest, with no heed given to the ones that fell. Only God could tell what was going through their minds as they fought amidst the blood soaked ground.
A woman wearing a billowing burgundy cloak threw a punch at a burly man, shattering his skull. She spun around, unfazed, and looked up into the sky as her forces continued the battle in her name. Although it was unheard of in this day this woman commanded the armies, and was schooled in the arts of war and sorcery. Her eyes swept the battlefield taking tallies of her remaining men, while her tail twitched nervously behind her. They were going to lose. Already half of her army was destroyed, the other half bloodied and tired. She frowned and signaled a retreat.
Her men looked on and disengaged as they could while they fled back past the border, out of range of the opposing forces. Several of their number were attacked and killed from behind as they flew.
The woman scowled. Didn't the King want to atone for his errors? No. Not errors... That didn't begin to describe his foul deeds. And his laws... Laws that allowed women to be treated as cattle, and men to be beaten for the slightest infraction upon them. It wasn't defiance, she argued to herself, fighting against what had been ingrained in her since birth. It was what needed to be done! Who else was there to do this?
The black haired woman growled under her breath as she whipped her kantana through another warrior's neck. So here she was, fighting for justice. She almost laughed at the irony, her face turning in a twisted grimace. Yet what would come if she won? Glory? Peace? Would the land be so ruined that the kingdoms would starve? She took her rage out of the soldiers still chasing the men remaining to her, raising her chi to summon flames that then ate away at their flesh. Her sword danced again through the air, deadly, and yet so coldly beautiful. With the immediate threat out of the way, her soldiers were safe for the time, as both sides grew weary from the extensive skirmish.
She flew through the air after uttering a high level charm, naught but a blur of rage to both her enemies and her allies. The twenty remaining men that followed her forces were abruptly severed from existence as she swung her deadly sword, defending her men. A quick glance showed there were no more followers and she nodded. Good. She streaked after her men, alighting softly on a hillock near to where the men were regrouping, her commander in chief sitting there already. How long had she held the battle lines so that he could rest? It seemed no more than minutes. The man glanced at her, his noble features stained in the blood from those he had killed, some of the same substance dripping from his unruly black hair.
"My Queen." He acknowledged her. She did not look at him yet, but at the battlefield before her. She turned her sharp emerald gaze upon him before sheathing her sword. She sighed and slumped to the ground, prepared to get what rest she could, her exotic features lined with worry.
"This has been rough, Kegi. It's good to see you are still among the living."
"It has been hard. But then it always is." He shuffled around so that he was seated next to her after a few minutes.
Wordlessly he handed her a sack. She almost tore it from him in her haste. Finding some rice cakes inside she tore into her meal, scowling. No meat. Were their food stores that depleted?
"How long do you think we'll have before they start the attack again?"
She swallowed. "I'd say about a shadow. That would give them enough time to finish calling in their reinforcements. Water?"
"They sure are persistent."
"Yeah, it's their only redeeming aspect. Aside from their lack of brains." She snickered silently at her crude speech before taking a long draft from the water skin her companion had passed her.
Kegi smiled briefly. "I've always admired you for your sense of humor."
"It's gotten me through worse." She tossed aside the empty sack, settling back to relax in what time there was left to them. A melancholy mood fell over their conversation as they lay silent and thinking.
"Do you know how many we have had to kill? How many of those men may have had families waiting for them?" The Queen finally remarked into the silence. "It's always the innocent who fall in battle."
Her companion did not reply, he merely looked at her, his gaze sympathetic. "How much longer do you think this fight will last?"
"I have no knowledge of the future, unlike some." Her sea green eyes swam as she turned her head briefly to stare at his chiseled profile.
In the distance, she could see the swarm of the King's High Guard as they readied themselves for their final attack. Thousands upon thousands rode the winds, gathering like storm clouds on the horizon, even as she felt the repercussion of the magic they used tainting the currents of chi. Only several hundred, maybe a thousand, of her own troops remained, a pitiful amount compared to the opposing force. She sighed, steeling herself to face the upcoming battle.
She rose to her feet, dusting her buttocks and cape, before adjusting her armor and her sword's sheath. The commander in chief glanced at her with a minimal amount of fear in his dark eyes as he read what lay in his Queen's.
"Is our cause not just?" She allowed the briefest amount of sorrow to play on her features and she stood bold and seemingly fearless for her men's sake, a hand on the hilt of her sword.
"Yes. It is." He smiled quietly. "It has been an honor or fight along side you, my Queen."
The Commander felt a slight heat rise to her face as she turned to face her childhood friend. "You needn't call me queen. I feel no nobler than one of the men I have slain from a low family. I am unfit for such a title."
"You are in my eyes, and always will be. You are an honorable warrior, no matter what you have done in the past, and you are a true friend. I look forward to joining you in the afterlife."
A flicker of grief washed over her face as she turned from him again. "I'm afraid I won't have that honor, my friend."
The commander in chief exhaled, resigned. "What do you have planned this time?"
She did not reply to his muttered question, her gaze finally dropping to the ground in sorrow. "It is best left unsaid."
"I trust your judgment. Whatever you plan to do. Be sure that your protections are enforced. It would not do for our leader to fall before us, especially as you insist on fighting."
"You have no need to worry. I can defend myself." The oncoming horde drew closer, as they stood silent and desolate.
"To be truthful, that is what I worry about." Kegi grinned, impishly.
"Ready the troops. We will fight as long as we can, fight until the end as it befits true warriors." She turned and brushed back her wild black hair, her darkened crimson cape fluttering dramatically behind her, whipping to and fro in the wind.
The commander in chief knelt in front of her, his right hand clenched into a fist that he held to his breast. He then stood quickly, and turned to the warriors huddled in the camp.
"The King's soldiers approach! Believe in your cause and yourselves and you will win today, be it here or in the next life! You are warriors! Hold your honor to your Queen and to your country! We will fight as Kou-jin!"
He started raising a cheer that engulfed the tired men, lifting their weary spirits.
"To arms!" The Queen yelled as she lifted into the air, brandishing her kantana. With a roar, her men followed her, sight of the commander in chief lost in the commotion as he flew to the left, leading half of the forces remaining. Her cape whipped around as the harsh wind played with it, her face determined as she flew fast into the coming army.
Moments later the clang and clash of swords could be heard, and the screams of the dying and wounded. Not all the casualties were on the rebels, however, massive damage being inflicted on the King's troops as the rebels took down as many as they could in an effort to stay their deaths.
It was a futile gesture, but the Queen was betting all on this last move. She would do her best for her people, even if it meant her life. It was the way of the warrior. And the way of her heart.
She rose above the attacking forces, moving so fast as to become less than shadow, even before the most experienced of eyes. Her eyes swept the field, searching for one person. Would he be here? Or was he a coward, hiding in his fortress? She scowled. Either way, her revenge would be all encompassing, even if she had to level his castle! She burst into motion again, streaking across the sky to the stronghold of her former liege-lord, slaughtering mercilessly whoever got in her way.
* * *
"Ah… my kajin (1). How good of you to come. I've been expecting you." The king had draped himself casually across a plush velvet chair, dressed in clothing similar to the fabric that adorned the said seat. His ebony eyes peered as her from half closed lids, and his voice was low, almost seductive.
"Kousan." She growled under her breath as she descended from the windowsill of his bedroom. It was lavishly furnished; heavy velvet drapes adorning the many windows. Torches lit up the room from their golden holders, one in each corner, and a magnificent bed was positioned in the middle of the room. The walls were wrought from stone, fitted as to need no mortar to hold them in place, each block nearly ten feet in length. The said chair was positioned against the wall on her right, in the only part of the room covered with shadow.
She advanced on him slowly, drawing her kantana from its scabbard. She had added protection to the already magical sword; small kanji symbols formed a line that trailed from the tip to the hilt. "You know why I am here."
"Ah yes. To kill me." His voice did not waver, nor did he move from his seat, instead fingering the rim of a half-filled wine glass he held in his hand. "Is that really what you want?"
"You killed my child. You don't deserve to live."
"You didn't answer." He commented darkly.
"I don't intend to." Her voice was calm, serene even, save for a low rumble that gave away her anger.
"Come now, dear. Is that anyway for you to act? To your husband and king?"
"You are not my husband. You lost that right the moment you touched my child." Her eyes sparked with her power, gold flowing freely in flecks of green.
"Rights? Please spare me. You had no rights to begin with. You are only a woman after all. The child was mine, by the rules of our land. After all, I sired the low beast."
A sharp snarl sounded throughout the chamber.
"I carried her! I don't see you bearing a child inside you for months! The part you played was accomplished in one night, afterward I was left to suffer!"
"It was your duty."
"Duty? Duty? And it was your duty to kill my child?!"
"I couldn't have a girl child for my firstborn, now could I?"
"You bastard. What I have just named is foul, but it doesn't even compare to other actions you have taken. You are unfit for your throne! You dishonor the name of Kousan!"
He stifled a yawn. "Oh my. It sounds like you're threatening me. Don't make accusations you can't keep, Kyan."
"Who says I can't keep it?" Her mouth twisted into a snarl to match the low roar she sounded as she leapt at him. Abruptly, a heavy hand fell against her neck, knocking her to the floor as she stumbled. The King's personal bodyguard stepped from the shadows behind her and into the light, leaning down to twist the sword from her grasp. Kyan let out a confused gasp, as she was rendered helpless, stars swimming before her eye.
"My, my. It seems you weren't able to after all. You see, when I said I was expecting you, I meant I was prepared for any tricks you might have as well." He smirked, finally getting up from the chair in which he sat. "And I must say, that is a most impressive sword you have. Too good for any woman."
"You... you bastard!" She seethed, struggling futilely against her captor. "You can't even die honorably!"
"Whoever said I wanted to die?" He traced a finger along her jaw. "Pity. You were such a comely wrench."
He drove his fist into her stomach, forcing the wind from her body. She choked, gasping for air. Not relenting, he backhanded her across her face, breaking the skin on her lips. She looked at him sullenly, her warrior's spirit reflected in her eyes.
"It seems you still have not learned your place." He cracked his knuckles.
"You are nothing-" He punctuated his words with a vicious slap. "But a bitch. You are nothing but a breeding tool."
He hit her again in her stomach, repeating his litany, forcing her to cry out as one of her kidneys ruptured. The beating continued, becoming more severe as she refused to submit to him. Shocked by the sudden change of her position, it was all she could do to struggle against her restraints, the meaty hands of her captor stronger than steel. Damn him! She would not be weak! Another blow connected with her face and a trail of spittle flew from her mouth. She gritted her teeth. She would not be broken. A particularly vicious blow was aimed at her head and consciousness fled from her to be replaced by agony.
After what seemed to be hours, Kyan hung limp in the guard's grasp, her body broken and bloody. The king shrugged, popping and stretching the muscles in his arms. A superior look was aimed in Kyan's direction before he wiped the blood on his hands off on her cape.
"Let her go." He sneered.
The guard complied, dropping her aching body onto the cold stone floor. She coughed weakly as she tried to push herself up. The King kicked her swiftly in the ribs.
"It seems she still has some spunk."
* * *
Anger. Rage. It was all she felt. It washed over her body in sync with the pain. Her body screamed at her as she tried to push herself up, but was rewarded with a kick to her already broken ribs.
"It seems she still has some spunk." The bastard remarked to her former captor. She was being overlooked again. Being treated as just a pretty bauble to be shown off to whomever the king wanted. Why? Why did she have to be born a woman? Women weren't allowed to fight. Well... normal women. Because she had become the consort of the King, she had been able to learn to do so, but she had known it wouldn't last... Only until she had her first child.
But she had been willing to accept her fate. It was worth the pain she had endured to hold her daughter in her arms, to be able to look forward to raising and training her in the future, to love her even after she had to leave with her own consort. But then he had killed her. Her baby had been less than a week old, and he had murdered her! Because she was a woman.
That was when she had fled, swearing vengeance upon the King. The guards loyal to her followed, and she earned the respect of the others they had managed to convince to join her as well. No woman should be treated as she was! And yet here she was again, beaten into submission by the king.
A weak growl escaped from her bloodied lips as she pushed herself to her feet. The king seemed to have lost interest in her again. Unfortunate... At least for him.
With a flash, she remembered... A spell, found in the library, on one of those ever so long days when she was pregnant that had just seemed to drag. The spell had remained unknown for years, centuries even, the dust that covered the binding attesting to the age of the document. As she had read, she knew that the consequences were too dire to use the spell at all, the price being to wander endlessly through time as a spirit, and even then the spell had been tied to the Legend. The only one who would be able to use it would be the Chosen Warrior; anyone else who tried would die. Nothing left to lose now.
"Chotto... matte yo...(2)" The words barely came out a whisper.
"What was that? Could you say that a little louder?" He jeered.
Her eyes were what captured him, held him immobile. The normal green was shot with gold, turbulent whirlpools of power. Electricity crackled in the air as she began to charge her chi, ever holding his gaze... and his body. He wouldn't escape this time.
She began to chant in a monotonic whisper, clutching her wounded side as ribbons of blood streamed down her face and onto her clothes, staining her breastplate. The guard that had held her was standing next to the door, undecided at what was happening. She suspected he was awaiting the king's command… A command that would never come.
"Jinin ai no kaji, kaji no onore..."(3)
The gold in her eyes grew to cover the irises. A wind started to blow around the chamber, echoing off the walls as it swept around her, lifting her hair and cape, swirling it around her.
"Watakushijishin ichimei ketsueki. Juuman'okudo matsudai koujougaki reiniku."(4)
Her words started to grow in volume as the wind whipped around her, gold starting to streak her hair. Her chi was harnessed by the words she uttered, as was with all spells, but with this one her chi was brought back into her own body, doubling her energy with each arc, trying to unlock a hidden power that may not even be there. It was easy to see that one could go mad from this; there was no way to stop the incereasing energy.
"Akuseputo jibunjishin hia onore konmou. Yarikiru onore no honshin,"(5)
Her eyes began to glow. Her muscles bulged, her chi still rising, unstoppable. The physical part of the spell over with, the king had the decency to look slightly scared as he saw a fraction his wife's true potential for the first time. The guard leapt forward to aid his sovereign and was blown against the wall so hard as to crush most of his bones. The wind held him upright as the pressure in the room increased still more.
"Misumisu tekigun ai no gaikei. Gojitsu umarekawaru ai no teikoku iru, seiyaku shoufudanedan no kore tataru."(6)
Her words were tinged with ice as her golden stare bore into her husband's. A feral gleam took over her face as her lips curled back in a snarl, her words edged with venom.
"Ai no kakezanki ichijisenkin no onore shinka ouin konnani jouyaku."(7)
This was it, the final part of the spell. Her husband was rooted to the floor in fear. The fact that he was still standing stood for the power that he had, and the ever-increasing hatred she held for him. Yes, she would do this. She had to. Maybe her life didn't mean anything, but maybe she could make a difference with it. Kasumi...
"Shuuchitettei, no chigiru Kyan!!!(8) Her hoarse cry left her throat in a volume that reached to the gods.
A tremor shook the building. A low rumbling in the chamber began around Kyan's feet and grew in volume, the stone under her feet rippling similar to water. She screamed, shutting her eyes and throwing her head back in anguish as her complete power flew through her already torn body. Two white wings ripped from her back, her hair stiffening, as it turned fully gold, beginning to glow like her eyes. She was a descendant of the Line, she realized in amazement. All she had hoped for was a quick death that would take her tormentor with her but this... was totally unexpected.
The raging winds slowed then raced to the center of the room, lifting her off the blood spattered floor in their embrace, temporarily repairing her wounds, caressing her, seducing her with her own power. Tiny stones began to fall from the ceiling as the entire keep began to tremble.
The feeling! The force! It swept through her in a heady rush, the pain forgotten as the sweet exhilaration of her power took over her. She smiled. It was hers. Power that was hers to command... and to control. She let the winds subside and floated gracefully to the floor. She had something to do. Her eyes snapped open.
Glowing, golden orbs fixed on the terrified man, her husband, and her tormentor. Her morals cast aside she advanced on him.
"I believe you had something you wanted to discuss with me?" Her voice resonated with her power, holding nothing of her former personality.
* * *
Screams could be heard from the grounds outside the estate, the owner in so much agony as to impart his soul into his cries. The servants shuddered. Whoever it was, they did not want to meet whatever was inflicting the pain on the unlucky bastard.
They began to flee the castle.
* * *
"See how it feels, dear husband, to feel the pain you have caused me!" Kyan sneered, the air heating around her as she glowed softly in the now dismal and dark chamber.
The wind she had generated had swept the draperies from their holdings above the windows, crushing the bed and chairs into fine splinters on the walls, the fabric in little better shape. The guard was nothing but a pile of steaming flesh, his bones shattered and fractions of wood driven deep into his body. Blood pooled around his indistinguishable figure.
The King was in slightly better shape, lying broken and crying on the floor. The same stretch of floor where he had just beaten his wife.
"You can't even bear it without crying! Yet you condemn me!" She lifted him up by his hair and flung him across the room to land imbedded in the stone wall. He coughed up blood. No doubt one of his lungs was punctured. What fragility. She sneered. Time to finish this.
She dug into his chest with her right hand and pulled out his beating heart, dripping with blood as its ties to his body were severed. A look of horror registered on his face before fading to a blank, open-eyed stare as his life fled him. With a sneer, she tossed the useless tissue to a far corner of the room, turning on heel and stalking to the window. Her wings trailed on the floor behind her.
The fight was still raging outside, but it was obvious that it was going to end soon, her men were down to but a mere handful, while the opposing force still numbered in the thousands. Her eyes narrowed in anger. She would have to take out the rest on her own. Wait.. There was another option, now that the king was dead.
The door to the chamber burst open behind her, and she heard several intakes of breath as the newcomers saw their surroundings in the light of the torches they brought with them. Turning back towards the King's corpse, she severed his head with a sweep of her hand. For the blood spattered walls, or the corpses, she had no concern and leapt through the window.
Her wings pumped as she propelled herself through the air, no longer needing to use her magic to lift her. Miles over the keep, the people running from it were little more than specks to her, and she turned her attention to the plain in the distance where the battle continued. With a thought she was there, shining in the darkness, as storm clouds covered the sky, blotting out whatever light had remained.
Her wings were spread and glistening, white and awe inspiring. Her shredded cape cracked behind her sheltered between her wings, and her body was tensed waiting for an attack. Her waist-length hair whipped in an unseen breeze, and she paused before raising her voice.
"Good men! Cease your attacks! Your king is dead, there is no reason to continue this farce!"
Her voice sounded like thunder, echoing over the field. Men halted in mid thrust of their swords to see who it was that bade them stop.
* * *
"Oh, Kyan..." The Kegi whispered from a distant corner of the battleground. The glowing figure sat upon the horizon, her commanding presence felt from even this remote region leagues away from her. What change had she incurred? What had she done?
* * *
Satisfied with the effect of her words, she continued. "Yes, your king is dead! Dead at my hand! The reason for your fight is gone!"
She could hear muttered words in the distance of the disbelieving men.
"...Killed the king? Not likely..."
"...Claims that... not possible..."
With a sneer, she held up her gristly trophy, the severed head and sightless eyes drawing fear from the masses.
"There is going to be a new age! A new king! And a new empire!" She proclaimed, tossing the head back towards the castle. "And there WILL be change!"
"And I suppose YOU are going to lead it huh?" A voice broke in from a few meters away. She leveled her golden stare on him.
"And what if I did? Would you kill me?"
"No bitch is going to sit on the throne of Kousama! Even if I have to see to it myself." The warrior in question was in his prime, encased in the classic armor with a royal insignia on his breast, kantana clenched in his hand. As with all Kou-jin, his hair was black, unruly and foppish. A sneer curled his mouth to the side, and arrogance seeped from ever pore.
'So this was the next one in line for the throne,' Kyan mussed. Oh well. It seemed a show of her power was in order. She smirked. "You really should know what you face before you jump into a fray. Killing my poor, screaming husband was trifling compared to what damage I really could do. Do you have any idea what line I come from?"
The man's eyebrows furrowed slightly in recognition. "So you are the errant wrench that was consorted to my brother... but I don't see what you're low line has to do with anything."
"I suppose you could call me that, but your comments towards my ancestor's was uncalled for." She grinned darkly.
"No matter. None of your threats mean anything to me, seeing you can't follow them through. It was a nice bluff, except for one thing. My brother would never scream, especially at the hands of a cur like you." His arrogance was back ten fold, having convinced himself that she was of no threat.
"There you would be wrong, for scream he did." An evil smile flickered across her face.
"Enough of this! Go to hell from whence you came!" He dove forward at her, showing little more skill than her late husband. She dodged his strike at her with ease, wings whipping to clout him on his head. As he plummeted from the force of her blow, she raised her hands above her head and whispered a single word.
"Rakurai."(9) Lightning appeared on her fingertips, channeling down to her palms to form a lance. Her golden aura flickered blue for a moment, as she called on her ancestor's power to aid her. Grasping her weapon, she threw it downward at the prince, the bolt of lightning shooting forward at untold speed.
The electricity enveloped him, crashing into his plummeting form. With a cry, he was turned to ash as his defenses fell against the onslaught of her magic. As the ash rained down on the land, she turned to the men, gaping in disbelieving horror as they realized what they had missed before. She was Chosen.
"You have no more reason to doubt me." Her eyes flashed. "No, I will not take the throne! I would never hold a position similar to that of that beast which I called husband! However, I will choose who the next monarch will be!"
A wave of dissent passed through the ranks of the former soldiers of the king before quieting from fear of her, Kyan's troops more accepting and grateful that the battle seemed to be over.
"Those dissenting parties will be eliminated as you just saw the prince eliminated." She sneered as they quickly quieted. "The one to hold the throne will be a man of good character, banned for following his heart by the former king. His loyalty is that of ten men, and his skill to match.
"He will take the throne and announce himself in the days to come. Go now, and return to your homes. This conflict is ended."
Respect was shown clearly on the faces of those nearest to her, disgust on a few others, and mixed emotions on yet countless others. But all followed her orders and left; in pairs and groups they flew and walked off, grateful to still have their lives. Some were going back to the keep where she had come from and others to homes they had left long ago. One figure flew over to her, one she recognized.
"Kyan!" He threw his arms around her without fear. "You're alive!"
The smirk she wore faded to a real smile as she hugged him back. "Kegi."
"I was worried!" He smiled at her. "I'm glad you're unharmed."
Shock rippled across his face. "What... ?"
"I didn't get off lightly... Kousan... he tortured me before I... Who am I to regret it now? We won, didn't we?" He voice rose slightly, tears staining her face.
"I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to stop him." She sobbed, all anger and resentment washed out of her. As her hold on her anger lessened, her hold on her transformation did as well. Her hair bled back to it's usual black and her muscles decreased in size, her wounds that she had received before opening across her body. The only part of her new features that remained was the two white wings attached to her back and the golden irises in her eyes. She pulled back and looked at him. "The balance of Kousotsu has been disrupted... but I won't be here to put it right."
"No... You can't go!" He said, emotion heating his voice. "Look at all the work ahead of us! What we still have to do!"
"What you have to do. I'm sorry it has to be this way."
"It doesn't have to be!" He wailed in anguish.
"You will have to lead them. You are the one that should rule Kousotsu. Start a new line of royals, change the ways of our people." She smiled softly, before her body was racked by a violent cough. Blood dripped slowly from a corner of her mouth. "I know you can do it."
Pain crashed through her in waves, reflected on her features. The good of her people... it always came before her own needs.
"I'm sorry, Kegi." She whispered.
A peaceful expression slipped over her face even as her life slid away, her body's charms and wings no longer working to sustain her flight.
The darkness closed on her.
"Ja ne... koibito..."
I have tried to use correct Japanese words and phrases, but I'm not sure how they came out. The translations for what I have used are beneath this. If I have made any mistakes, lemme know, k?
1) Beautiful Woman
2) Wait… please wait
3) I am fire, fire is myself
4) My life's blood. Eternity forever written/engraved on my soul,
5) Accept my offering and hear my request.
6) To the end of my feelings, let my true form be revealed. To be reborn in the time of need, be the set price for this spell.
7) Let the spoken word of my true name seal this pact.
8) It will be known, so swears/declares/states Kyan!
9) Bolt of Lightning
Ja ne – a informal goodbye, more commonly used between friends
Koibito – lover/boyfriend/one who holds great importance to oneself
Caelestis Tennyo - APA
[Almost Published Author]