Hello, I am back! Yes I am back with a new dark, angst-filled story, yup that's me. Before I go on, please read the following important notes:
- This fanfiction is based on a novel (again! Yes I am not really creative) called Into the Dark Lands by Michelle West. A beautiful, beautiful novel, words cannot begin to describe how incredible and sad her novels are. But had it been my novel, I would have changed many things, thus was how this fanfiction was born. Now the basic idea is the same, light against darkness, and I have borrowed a couple of scenes but mostly the events are mine. I will indicate clearly when I use any scenes from Ms. Michelle.
- Secondly, Kenshin is evil in this story, not the psycho Enishi-kind-of-evil. He is born of the dark, he is not human. Compassion, mercy and gentleness are not in his nature and he cannot help it. Kaoru is exactly his opposite. It would be a pleasure to write how they come to fall in love.
- Finally, I warn you, and I will warn you again, this is a dark story, filled with blood and death. Happy moments are rare, even Kenshin's and Kaoru's love is shadowed. Now I promise you I won't kill either of Kenshin or Kaoru, and I won't let Kaoru be tortured or raped (I swear!) but she will suffer. Therefore, I beg you people, if you don't like angst, if you want fluffy love, go away please.
Now read this summary to understand the nature of Michelle's world and refer to it in the future:
In this world there are two Gods, the Bright Lord and the Dark Lord. And under each Lord there are his immortal Servants, Servants of the Light and Servants of the Dark. Each has seven Servants and they are ranked from First to Seventh according to their strength. From those Servants people like Kaoru, called Half Blood came to be. Those Half Blood are mortal but they possess the strength of Light or Darkness depending on which Servant they come from.
Sorry if it sounds complicated but you will understand better once you get into the story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin and the Sundered Tetralogy.
Daughter of the Blood
They say love can concur anything...even time...
A figure made his way along the dark corridors silently. His feet made no sound, as if they didn't touch the floor and his breathing was silent as if he didn't breathe at all. Where he walked darkness seemed to intensify. But he was darker than the darkness, a shadow with no body.
He entered his private wing which was bathed in darkness too, not a single candle flickered in the blackness.
Not since she slept.
The dark figure glided around with the confidence of one who could see perfectly in the dark. A door loomed in his way, leading to his sleeping chamber.
There he had locked his heart.
One graceful hand touched the knob and a faint light flared in the darkness before the door was opened.
Inside the darkness was bathed in a red glow.
The man made his way to the centre of the room where the red light was concentrated. It was spherical in shaped and no one on this world could trespass it but himself. Uttering three words he walked right through it.
Inside was a large bed. The figure headed there with an urgency that could be felt and sat at the side of the bed, his amber eyes never leaving the person lying motionless there.
He edged closer and scooped the limp body gently in his cold arms.
"Kaoru..." it was a whisper filled with longing. His lips brushed her brow, but the girl remained still, untouched by this gesture. He rested her head against his shoulder and leaned his cheek on her head. "Kaoru, it's been so long, eternity has never seemed long to me...yet, now, every minute is unbearable without you."
He situated her so he could look at her young face, a face so beloved, and he almost broke his vow.
"No," he hugged her tight against his chest, "I shall wait, you are in peace now, you can rest, you can continue sleeping," his hand stroke her soft raven hair, which cascaded in silky curtain along her back, "this world does not deserve you, I shall break it for you, Kaoru, and mould it until I am satisfied," he drew her away a little to look again upon her face again. His body, as if pulled by a force unseen, leaned over and he brushed his lips against hers.
"Kaoru..." pain resonated along his voice, "let me hold you, lady, let me hold you again tonight...
"It's the only way this pain can be bearable."
He felt it when she came to be in this world.
All the people of the Blood felt her Light the day she was born.
It brought happiness to those of the Light, it caused pain to those of the Dark blood.
It made him feel angry.
Ah little one, such a Light...I yearn to destroy you.
But her Light was then hidden from him and it made him wonder what price the Line Kamiya paid to hide her from him.
It did not matter. One day he will find her, time did not matter, for he was older than time itself.
He was the First Servant of the Dark Lord.
He was a Nightwalker.
He was Battousai.
A small ravine haired girl knelt by her bed in the darkness. Small chubby hands traced a simple pattern in the air and on its wake blue light followed. The little girl exclaimed in delight before clapping both tiny hands over her mouth.
Mommy will be angry,she thought, remembering her mother strong admonition to sleep.
But I did it! Bride swelled within the five years old child. Her parents would be so proud, for she was the first among her peers to control the light.
I have to show mother.
She jumped to her feet. Once her mother beheld her achievement she would not be angry at her for staying past her sleeping time.
And I would show papa, once he's back, she thought as the room was bathed in blue light again. Perhaps he won't leave again if he saw my light.
With renewed determination she walked to the door and standing on the tip of her toes twisted the handle and pushed the door open.
She headed along the familiar hallway and down the stairs, bare feet padded on the smooth wood. She rounded the corner and halted suddenly, all caution forgotten.
Her mother's back was to the stairs, and she was not alone. With her was the most beautiful and brilliant man Kaoru had ever seen.
A Servant of the Light was with her.
His light, putting her feeble blue to shame, shone so brightly without the need of any simple or complicated gestures. He was tall with soft brown hair and calm face. He was not of this world. This was the Second Servant of Noranen, Second of the Light, his power second only to the Lady, and he was immortal.
He saw her before her mother did, his eyes, the deepest and clearest of blue met hers.
This was the first time she had ever seen Sagara, but it would not be the last.
Her mother turned around. Identical blue eyes stared at the little child from a pale face framed by brown hair.
"Kaoru..." her eyes, blue orbs of Noranen, stared at her daughter, "did we wake you?"
The child's eyes darted between the two adults, one mortal and the other immortal, before she shook her head silently.
After a moment she spoke."What's wrong, Mommy?" littler Kaoru watched her mother as she descended the stairs. Her mother smile was tight and strained.
She had never seen her smile like this before.
"Keria," the calm voice of Sagara said, "let me."
"Is papa back?" the child asked, and her mother made a choked voice but the child's round eyes never left Sagara's. Her father had left with the Second two months ago, he had told her that he would fight alongside the immortal Servant.
If the Second was back it meant her father was here too.
"Come here, little one," Sagara ushered gently.
Slowly Kaoru descended the last of the steps and stood before the Servant.
His light is beautiful.
"Kaoru, child," he knelt by her and Kaoru gazed into the brilliant blue of his yes, "do you understand what the Line Noranen and the other lines must fight for?"
"Yes." There were six lines of the light, Kaoru had been taught. She belonged to line Kamiya, the First Servant of the light.
Her mother came to her and hugged her. Why is mommy trembling?
"Do you understand how we fight, and why we must train for so long and so hard?"
"Yes." They fight against the forces of the Dark God. Light cure Darkness. Why was he asking her this?
"Your father has been gone for two months, fighting the Darkness and its followers. He fought well."
"Mommy?" her mother hugged her so tightly. She could not see her face.
"He fought well," the Second was saying, "and aided our cause to the best of his ability. He had finished his fight with honour."
The last sentence was formal; Kaoru had heard it many times. Without thinking, she replied, "he rests in the peace of beyond."
"Yes child he rests in peace now. Where he is, there is no pain, no fighting, no darkness."
Why was he saying this? "Mommy?"
Her mother pulled away, her lovely face still wearing that awful smile. Kaoru was suddenly afraid to ask her mother any questions; something lay beyond that smile that she didn't want to know.
With a child's directness, she turned again to Sagara. The servant had not moved.
"Is my daddy dead?"
He closed his eyes, shutting off for the moment the glow of sapphires. "Yes, Kaoru."
Kaoru was silent, she felt her mother gaze on her, watching her closely.
"Does that mean he won't be coming home?"
Finally the tears which had been held at bay spilled over her mother's cheeks.
Sagara watched the mother tuck her daughter under the covers of her own bed. The child had not yet realised the meaning of what had transpired.
She will learn soon.
Like the many other children who are losing their parents daily to the war.
His glowing eyes moved to the mother again. And you, my child...
"It's time that we move."
It was not a question but the Second servant treated it as such. "Yes, it is better that this village is evacuated and all villagers are to march further inside Noria."
"The Darkness is spreading."
The tone of the mother's voice troubled the Second. It had darkness in it. But he dared not contradict her statement, for indeed the Darkness was casting its shadows across their beloved country.
"Take the child and protect her," the Second said instead, "her light is strong, she would be one of the greatest healers...and a warrior."
At a very young age, his thought was filled with sorrow.
But his words had not the desired effect on the mother. After shedding those initial tears, the mother had retreated to a place inside herself, where even his Light could not reach.
"Yes, I understand," she was still not looking at him. Her eyes were on her daughter and Sagara wondered what she was seeing.
He was here for a reason. His place was in the battle field, but he took the time to visit those two for a good reason.
On them depended the future of the Light.
No...his brilliant eyes rested on the sleeping child. In you, little one, lies our hope, Noranen's hope.
The movement of Keria as she stroke her child's hair caught his attention.
You will soon join your beloved husband.
That night Kaoru woke up on the sound of her mother weeping. She heard them as she lay awake in her mother's bed, but did not rise to comfort her.
Everyone said that little Kaoru was not an ordinary child. She was quick and cunning, in the naive way of children. And something told her that her mother did not want her comfort now, that she wanted to be left alone.
She still expected her father to come any moment now.
And everything will be all right.
But this hope was short lived. It died when her mother started packing the next morning.
Kaoru cried freely then. What if her father came back? She stared at the door, half expecting to see her father standing on threshold, his arms spread to catch her, the smile she loved so much on his face.
"Daddy won't be coming back," her mother told her, the tight smile was back on her face.
"But daddy said..."
"Your father can't come back, my child. Come now we have work to do, we leave before sunset."
For the rest of their time in the village, Kaoru remained staring at the door, holding her breath every time it was opened.
But the time for departure drew close and her father still did not come back.
The Light...how am I going to show him my Light?
So their travelling began. And Kaoru remained by her mother's side on the wagon, and would not join the rest of the children, who laughed and squealed in another wagon.
Nothing came to fill the hollowness that his death left. But she swore two things: She would become a warrior, like her father and make the Enemy pay. And she would protect her mother from the death that had stolen the father she loved so much.
Years passed and they settled in another village. They heard that their village was taken by the Enemy. It was now part of the dark Empire of Yamidari.
The Darkness was spreading.
While Kaoru put the use of years into hard training, her mother travelled occasionally to other villages so help injured people.
Her mother was a healer, the best. But whispers say that her daughter would surpass her.
Kaoru discovered her healing powers when she was seven. A bird broke its wing and was trying to fly in such a torturous manner that young Kaoru held it gently and ran to the village.
"What do you have there?" a boy appeared suddenly from the trees.
"Okita!" Kaoru exclaimed, gazing at her friend with glistening eyes.
"Kaoru, Kaoru what is it?" his grey-blue eyes gazed at her with concern. He was Kaoru's age but far surpassed her in the sword skills. His skills and gentle manners made him the beloved of many villagers.
"The bird is hurting," Kaoru showed him the bird. The bird lay calmly in her cupped hands. Unknown to Kaoru, she was sending waves of healing Light into the bird, and its injured wing was all but healed.
"I don't see anything wrong with the bird," the boy was looking with a frown at her cupped hands. "Your Light is strange," he commented after a moment.
Kaoru looked down and saw the blue light that was engulfing the little bird slowly, calming it, healing it.
This was her Gift from the Light.
Keria straightened from her bent position over the powder she was grinding. "Yes, Kaoru?"
"I healed a bird today," she began and would never stop telling her tale.
Her mother looked at her with her blue eyes, which had changed so much since her father had died.
"You did well, Kaoru," but her voice was completely free of any trace of parental pride.
Kaoru sensed it, but in spite of it, she smiled.
Mother, I will protect you.
"KAORU!" a strong voice bellowed, "you lazy lout! Keep your arm up and thrust forward, not like this! A creature of darkness would think you are dancing with him not trying to kill him! Do it again! AGAIN!"
Kaoru squared her shoulders and gripped her sword with both hands as she thrust forward at an imaginary enemy. She was not the least raffled by the booming voice that kept bullying her, nor did she care about the eyes that she could feel were watching her. Her senses were one with the sword as she performed the drills. The sword told a story, a story of the battles it had been involved in, of the deaths that occurred at its end. Kaoru listened and danced.
"Better," the voice of the instructor echoed again, "just a tiny bit better, you can step off the circle now."
Relaxing her stance, Kaoru stopped her drills and faced the instructor. Bowing, she surrendered the sword.
His hard eyes gazed from his scarred face angrily. Abirako was a general in the army and according to him he was wasting his time training Kaoru and the other kids. And as Kaoru made her way off the circle to join her comrades he began to remind them of this again.
"Listen you, useless, good-for-nothing brats!" he said as he paced along the circle they formed around him. Kaoru along with twenty other kids her age were in the field near the village. The general was training them as a part of his yearly recruiting tour around the villagers. The training session begins with the first ray of light and ends when the sun was high on the sky. They are training to be soldiers, to defend Noria, the Empire of Light, against the forces of darkness. This training process begins at the age of ten and continues until they achieve their True Light. Some leave as young as the age of thirteen others might train for another ten years and never succeed.
It all depends on when they reach the Light within.
Until then all of them are a bunch of useless kids, as Abirako was saying now.
"Another day wasted, another day where I am trapped with you useless fools. Every day I am here is a day when another dark blooded lives to see another day, another day when another of the light perish at their hands and their bloody ceremonies. So you have to work harder, to reach the light as fast as you can and join the fighting ranks," his hard eyes stared at each one of them, "although I doubt any of you weaklings can survive an hour in the real battle field, GO NOW! Make yourselves useful you brats."
Most of the kids started to scramble around eager to escape.
"KAORU! To me!" Abirako shouted.
"Yes sir!" Kaoru hurried to him, her body tense and straight. Her eyes roamed over his scarred face. Many kids were scared of him but not Kaoru. She knew that despite the permanent grimace that was carved on his face as a result of the scar, he had a kind heart. He worked them hard every day because life in the battle field was nothing if not hard. And despite the pressure he exerted on them to reach the Great Light Kaoru remember the pain and worry on his face when last year one of his students found his Light at thirteen and went to war.
"You can do better than this, Kaoru," he said when Kaoru stood before him, "I hear your skills as a healer are growing unprecedently. The Light can be used for fighting too."
At first Kaoru said nothing. This was something which was a cause of frustration for her too. The Light can be used for healing and for killing, it was rare that someone was born with command of both sides of the Light but she was different. Everyone told her that. And she was a descendant of Kamiya Line. But where healing came naturally to her, killing was more difficult. There was nothing more she wanted to do than use her Light to kill the people of Darkness, however, it was proving more difficult than expected.
"I am doing my best, sir!" she spoke loudly.
"Obviously it's not enough," he paused, "I want you to work harder," he continued, "try to find the Light within you, a different kind of light," his voice softened and he looked oddly at Kaoru, with the kind and sad eyes she had seen last year, but then his eyes hardened, he cleared his throat, "don't stand like this before me, go! You are dismissed."
"Yes sir!" Kaoru moved quickly away.
As she followed the trail back to the village, she heard someone yelling.
Kaoru stopped and smiled at the newcomer. "Okita! I thought you had already left."
"I waited till you were dismissed," he replied as they began to walk again, "what did Abirako want with you?"
A frustrated sigh escaped Kaoru's lips. "The usual repute, I really don't know what to do. While my instructor at the infirmary is praising my skills I can't do more than fight with a sword at the field."
"Be patient," Okita said, "it takes time."
"But you are close to it, I can feel it, and we are of the same age."
"I know I am still just learning how to control it, whereas you...since you were young you could use your powers to heal. I haven't forgotten the bird incidence of four years ago."
Kaoru sighed again. "But it's not enough. I want to be a fighter, I want kill the Enemy, to free the land of the Darkness."
"It will come to you," Okita said in serious tone, "and besides we promised that we will reach our initiation together," a smile broke on his lips, "I won't leave you."
Kaoru grinned. "I know," then she stared at the sky, "oh! I am late I better hurry."
"I will race you to the walls!" Okita exclaimed before he sprinted.
"You cheater!" Kaoru ran after him.
At that time there was still some happiness.
"Father." Keria bowed and stepped out away from the threshold to allow him to enter. She held the bow a moment longer than strictly necessary while she tried to gather he thoughts.
Why was he here?
The High Priest of their village was always busy, he rarely had time for pleasantry visits.
"What brings you here, Father?"
"Is Kaoru about?"
She shook her head, compressing her lips. "Out with one of her year-mates. Okita, I think."
"Ah Okita. One of the brightest children this village had ever seen." The priest looked at her carefully. "And it seems he is the only one of her year-mates that she is easy around," he paused, "I have come to speak to you about Kaoru."
"Is she causing difficulty?"
"No." He sighed. "And it is a rare child that doesn't at one point or another. It disturbs me, the Light in your daughter is very powerful. She is aware of it, which is fine. And she strives to achieve the True Light, which also understandable. But her eagerness is of the kind that makes me uneasy. There is a purpose there...a dark one."
Keria turned away, a shadow crossing her face.
"I, too, see what you speak of, Father. But she shows no interest in anything other than her training. It is my fault I believe," her voice was cold, which troubled the priest. She would not look at him. "I haven't handled her father's death well; it's been six year and I am not sure I handle it well even now. Maybe this grimness is something she learned from me." Still no feeling in her voice or in her eyes, but suddenly a smile grazed her lips, a bitter one. "She is not interested in games. Do you know that she doesn't know the rules of squares?"
"Have you tried to encourage her?"
Her silence was all the answer he needed.
The priest left a while later. And he was feeling no less troubled than when he first arrived.
"I am due to the front lines in five weeks."
Keria was leaving.
But what of Kaoru, daughter?
How would the little girl take the news?
With a smile as it happened.
Kaoru stood with her year-mates, listening to Abirako.
My mother is gone.
For Kaoru it was reliving one of her nightmares.
Her mother had gone to the front lines, where her father had gone before her and never returned.
Even so, Kaoru said goodbye to her mother with a smile on her face.
She promised herself to be strong. Soon she will achieve her True Light and join her mother, and they would never have to say goodbye to each other ever again.
Kaoru was only eleven years old.
"Children!" The word slammed into the four stone walls of the east field of the village. Abirako frowned in disgust as one of the children limped out of the drill circle. "All of you!" He drove the point of wooden sword into the packed dirt. Kaoru was surprised it didn't splinter even though the ground was "soft" in the lesson area. "Time and again you forget yourselves. You let words interfere with your abilities!" Not that he thought much of the ability, either.
The child, Kredan, was in tears. His left leg pained him; he knew well from his four years with Abirako that it would already be purple and swollen. He felt the sympathy of his classmates as he bowed his head under the open blue of the sky.
"Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"
Kredan said nothing. He was a gentle child, who likes music and poetry, but times were hard.
The sting of Abirako's tongue was legendary—it hurt more than any injury the general might inflict.
Today he was worse than usual. Everyone knew why. He had spent the last three days standing honour guard at the ceremonies of departure.
He wants to be out on the front, but he's too valuable here. He may be the best warrior, but he's also the best instructor.
Kaoru grimaced; she bore her own set of bruises from the day's exercise, and Abirako's grim fury showed no sign of abating. She smiled wryly; compared to Abirako, the enemy was going to be utter joy and ease.
"You! Is there something amusing about this?"
Bright Lord, Kaoru prayed—her heart sinking rapidly.
"Good," He gestured. "Maybe you'd care to take your turn at the sword again."
But I just did! Nonetheless she hefted her practice blade. Everyone in the class knew better than to question one of Abirako's orders, no matter how indirectly given. Kaoru had always learned quickly. She walked away from the safety of cobbled stone onto grass, and then onto the dirt of the drill circle itself, until she stood five feet away from the master.
"Stance." Abirako barked.
The word was irrelevant; Kaoru had fallen into proper stance the moment she'd lifted the sword. On occasion this would elicit an approving nod from the weaponsmaster—but not, it appeared, on this one.
She kept the stance, but Abirako had apparently forgotten her for the moment. The sun beat down on her; she thought her hair was burning, because he didn't allow the use of a sunhat. The padded jerkin and leggings that she wore didn't help either. But at least they were near white so they didn't absorb extra heat—as if that were possible.
"Today we start on the most important aspect of the warrior training." He glared at the class, waiting for some response. Everyone listened attentively, not wanting to interrupt Abirako's lecture with the extraneous questions he disliked so much.
It was a no-win day.
"I see that you all know well what it is from your lack of questions. Okita, since you were so hapless at arms, perhaps you can redeem yourself by explaining it to me."
Okita, whose body was a mass of bruises that day, wished, very briefly, that the enemy could arrange its attacks at a time when they had lessons. He let his head dip in guilt; the thought was in poor taste.
"I don't know what it is, sir." Kaoru pitied Okita. He was Abirako's favourite, but today no one was in the instructor's good grace.
"I see. Well then, perhaps Korallis."
"Anyone?" He snorted in disgust. "Very well. Skill at arms is important in defence of the line. I shall take that as the given in the hopes that even one of you will attain some skill in the future." He lowered his weapon.
Kaoru relaxed slightly, but she still kept her stance.
"There will be times when this skill avails you nothing." He looked up for a moment, beyond their youthful heads, and closed his eyes—as much a sign of sorrow as he permitted himself. "The enemy may have greater numbers than our scouts could see. A Nightwalker may roam abroad among the corps of the Yamidarian fighters. You do know what a nightwalker is?" A child barely able to talk could answer that question, but Abirako's glare made it clear where he placed the intelligence of his students.
"A Servant of the Enemy," Korallis volunteered.
"True." Clearly Abirako was not impressed. "And why do you call them Nightwalkers?"
"Because they walk at night," a girl student broke in. "They can't walk during the day. And when they're walking, they're feeding on the death-pain and unwillingly given lifeblood of those that they kill. I hear it takes a long time for their victims to die, worse than in blood ceremonies of the Enemy."
"Well, it appears you can learn something after all. You had better listen to what I say now. You will learn this.
"Against such a power, you cannot prevail. Do you understand this? Only on two occasions have the Servants of the Enemy ever been caught by Noranen fire, and on each, they were feeding on the lifeblood of the taken. They will not feed among our warriors; the cost and risk is too high. Do not attempt to be heroic should you see or sense a nightwalker. Understood?"
Nods all around.
He closed his eyes again. Shook his head wearily.
"If you can escape, you are to do so. But if you cannot . . . that is what we begin to learn today."
He wheeled suddenly, lunging at Kaoru.
She blocked, dodging to the side as he had taught her; taking advantage of size and speed rather than brute strength.
This time, when he met her eyes, he nodded briefly. One never let one's guard down around Abirako. Never.
"Kaoru. You have some skill in blood-power. Call forth Light."
She frowned, an expression not lost on her master.
"You can call forth Light at your age, can't you?"
Bristling, she bent to put the sword down.
He attacked, the ferocity of the strike forcing a whistle from the breeze. She had enough time for a feeble block, but the impact tossed her off her feet. By luck alone, she managed to keep her grip on her sword.
"Again." But this time he began to circle her, his intent clear.
This isn't fair! She watched him warily, her concentration on his attack alone. She had managed, over the years, to call light without the necessity of broad gestures, exchanging the width of full circle for the dance of two fingers. But she still had to clear her mind and think on it.
"Light, Kaoru. Now." On the last word, he swung.
She leaped lightly off the ground, avoiding the sweep of his left foot. Her blade forced his own to the side.
In anger, she returned his attack, desperately searching for an opening. Unlike Abirako, she was indirect in her attempts, dancing to the side and feinting, striking for lower thigh or upper shoulder cuts. He warded off each attack very coolly.
It was hard not to succumb to the same trap that had taken Kredan and Okita before him. She ignored his taunting command to summon forth power and poured her energy into thoughtful attack.
Then, out of nowhere, a brilliant Light flared in the quad. It took her by surprise; it was strong enough to be almost white. Human eyes could have seen it. She backed away to the periphery of the fighting circle, her sword at an awkward angle—but still in her hands.
A muted exclamation of surprise touched the air.
"You see, Kaoru. It can be done. You may rejoin the class."
Feeling humiliated, she put her sword away and stood stiffly behind most of her line-mates.
"This, this is what you must learn: the ability to use your blood-power when it appears that you are unable to concentrate. There is a risk; when fighting an opponent of greater skill, you will most certainly be killed."
Okita raised a hand; Abirako nodded.
"Then why take the risk, sir?"
Abirako smiled bitterly. "There are times when no risk is involved." He saw the quizzical looks on their faces as they watched him. He had seen it many times, on faces that now lay beneath the shallow earth.
"If you are taken, or captured. If you fall into the hands of the Yamidarians or the Nightwalkers."
Someone else raised a hand.
"You just said that we can't hope to win against a walker, sir."
"No. All you can hope for is a clean death."
Silence. Always this uneasy silence. Abirako dearly wished that his pupils were adult.
Clearing his throat, he continued.
"I will teach you how to summon a clean death for yourself if the need arises. You will feel no pain, or little of it, should any attempt to use you for the dark ceremonies. Nightwalkers, who like to torture their victims, will have little or no satisfaction should they personally destroy you; there will be no pain to feed on; no fear."
May you learn this well, students. May you keep enough wit to use it. Unbidden, his dead returned to haunt him, their faces frozen in the rictus of agony. The Servants walk. You will learn.
"This is the warrior-gift. This is what all warriors must know."
But my mother is not a warrior.
For two years Kaoru's mother had been helping at the front, she comes occasionally but and Kaoru always welcomed her with smile.
Her mother's smile was empty. And with every visit, it grew emptier.
Kaoru trained harder.
"Kaoru! Kaoru! I did it!" Kaoru straightened from the stance she was practicing. Her heart sank before Okita uttered the words.
"I made my True Light!" Okita beamed, his brown hair swaying in the light breeze.
The smile that grazed Kaoru's lips would have fooled anyone but not Okita.
"I am happy for you."
Some of the Light that radiated from Okita dimmed. "I am sorry..."
"What are you apologizing for?" guilt gripped Kaoru.
He is your friend, how could you do that to him? He only wishes to share his happiness with you.
"I know how much you desire to reach the Awakening, and join your..."
"I will reach it," Kaoru said firmly.
"I know," Okita smiled, "and there is still a month until my initiation ceremony."
Kaoru's blue eyes were shadowed. "Yes a month before you leave for the battle field."
He will leave her too.
That is chapter 1 for you. Please be patient, once Kenshin meets Kaoru everything will be more interesting. And other RK characters will make an appearance including Hiko, Saitou and of course Enishi. Now before you roll your eyes let me tell you that Enishi will be evil but not the twisted sick evil, he is governed by his nature just like Kenshin.
Please review and tell me what you think.
One last thing, anyone interested in becoming my beta?