Hello everyone since I read Nbsiren's Summoned Hero I have really wanted to do my own fantasy fan fiction story for the Finder series and well I have a couple of story lines floating around in my head and this is one of them. So I would appreciate any feedback, reviews and constructive criticism you guys can give me. NO FLAMES PLEASE IF YOU DON'T LIKE THIS YOU DON'T HAVE TO READ IT NO ONE IS MAKING YOU

I don't own or make any money from the Finder series it belongs to Yamane Ayano.

I was going to have this as a multi chapter story but couldn't figure out how I would make that work. So I decided to make it a one shot, then it became a two chapter story and now I think it will go to three.

Chapter 1 Black Withered Heart.

The city of Adrica had been gutted by fire, the last dying flames were still smoldering and black smoke rose up to the sky. The city had been under siege by imperial forces for three months and now one of the most important port cities in the empire had been starved and battered into submission. However his imperial Majesty Asami Ryucihi the Tenth did not care, after all he had little use for something that did not obey his will.

He stood on a hill above the city, watching the ravens circle lazily in the sky, they had grown fat gorging themselves on the dead. The smell of salt, burnt wood and blood was thick in the air. The city of Adrica was built around Adric's Bay, a natural harbour which made the city a wealthy trading hub. After being assaulted from land and blockaded by sea the city had finally fallen. Its population weak with disease and hunger. The sun shone brightly its rays reflecting on Asami's red armour. And it is from that red armour that his nickname the Scarlet Emperor came from. It was said that it was painted with the blood of those he had slain, and that he had someone killed every day so that he could maintain the colour of his armour.

Asami turned away and walked back down the hill to where his army was encamped outside the city walls. Even though the rebel stronghold of Adrica had been taken the leader of the rebellion had escaped and then there was the disobedience of the city's residents to be dealt with. His majesty was followed closely be his personal guard and their commander Suoh. When the Duke Amasawa Seiya had rebelled and he raised some of the eastern provinces against Asami. The city of Adrica was one of the first places to declare its allegiance to him and provided financial support as well as a base of operations. Duke Amasawa had proclaimed himself the true emperor and it was true that he did have a claim to the throne as Asami's cousin. But kin or not he had rebelled against the authority of his emperor, it took nearly a year to crush the rebels. And when Asami had made his way to Adrica instead of fighting Amasawa took his army and ran leaving the people of Adrica to fend for themselves. They lasted three months before the Steward and his council surrendered to Asami.

When the inhabitants of the city saw that they had been abandoned they came out to beg the emperor for mercy. Though they knew it was hopeless. The Scarlet Emperor is man who knows nothing of mercy or compassion, a man whose heart has been called a black withered thing without pity.

Asami sat at the head of the table in the city's council chamber along with three generals, an admiral and commander Suoh. Prime minster Kirishima had remained in the capital. In front of them was the steward of the city Inoue Satoshi and the six members of the ruling council in each of them in chains. The emperor spoke "You all have been found guilty of high treason. For this you will each meet the fate that awaits all traitors, you will be executed by the four winds at dawn tomorrow." The council members opened their mouths in protest but no one could utter a coherent word for what could they say they, some began to cry wordlessly, one began to rave but he was dragged away, another slumped on to the ground in a dead faint. The steward gave no reaction he simply nodded his head in understanding and looked at the man whose will would send him to his death. Inoue would not beg for his life, he knew that this would be the outcome the minute that Duke Amasawa fled the city. He'd picked a side and lost. Everyone who plays this game of power and politics knows death is a more than likely outcome of failure, in this game only the truly adaptable survive, men like the emperor. Inoue truly believed that he'd made the best choice for his people but it had brought them little but momentary glory and great suffering. "Your imperial majesty may I have one last request."

"What is it Inoue?"

"I ask that you do not punish the people to harshly it was me and the council that chose to rebel against your royal authority not them."

"Inoue if my hound that I've fed and caressed bites my hand should I not punish him? Would I not be failing in my duty as a master to allow such a transgression to pass?

Inoue could say nothing. Death by the four winds was a slow and agonising way to die, it was reserved for those who have committed the worst of crimes. The apparatus itself was similar to a rack, but it was shaped like a cross your head, arms and legs were bound to it facing a point on the compass. The handles were turned and you were slowly ripped apart. Often body parts of the condemned went flying off into the crowd ,hence this method of execution was also known as being tossed to the four winds.

Takaba Akihito was having another difficult day, there had been many of them since the Duke had rebelled. Reports said that he'd been beaten back from Adrica as a result he'd retreated back to his home province of Kessel for a last stand. Since the death of his father Takaba had run an orphanage/soup kitchen/school/hospital out of an old inn he'd named Sanctuary. He got it cheap, it was true the building had seen better days but it had plenty of space and out buildings. And everyone helped to do what they could to make Sanctuary as homely as possible. Takaba ran most of it by himself but he had some dedicated helpers, which meant that he could go out in to rest of region and to some of the neighbouring regions to help as many as he could. Each of the twelve provinces of the empire was subdivide into regions. Takaba lived in Kessel province ,in the region of Rokuhara. The region of Rokuhara was small, poor and isolated.

Takaba Akihito was known as 'the one who loves people' not only for his efforts and kind deeds, but for the way he saw people. Takaba saw all people as children who just needed to be cleaned up and loved. He believed that kindness and love brought out the best in people. He helped anyone who needed it and wanted it. The poor, the sick, the old, the young it didn't matter he helped and loved all.

In Rokuhara Takaba had become something of a force to be reckoned with. He was constantly badgering the authorities on matters such as the care of orphans, the creation of free schools and the need for more publicly funded hospitals. He also tackled the nobility telling them that they thought too much of the rights of nobility and to little of its duties. Ever since the Duke's rebellion Kessel which had never been a wealthy province was dealing with unprecedented financial hardship and a wave of lawlessness. Akihito couldn't help but encounter people who fled from adjacent regions escaping not only the gangs of bandits that had sprung up but the Duke and his army. Not only was he conscripting every able bodied man and boy but he was carrying out a scorched earth policy whatever food and livestock could not be carried off was destroyed. The Duke knew that Asami and his forces would follow him so he was determined to see that the imperial forces would not be able live off the land. This then hopefully would put them contention with the local people and give the emperor another problem. The Duke himself had decided that for his last stand he would withdraw into the fortress known as the Eyrie. The Eyrie was located deep in the mountains of Rokuhara, it was nestled between to two mountains known as the Two Sisters. It was called the Eyrie because only an eagle would dare to go that high. In its seven hundred year history the fortress had never been taken it was used by Amasawa family to retreat to in the most dangerous days of the civil and unification wars.

At this moment Takaba was on his way to see the regional governor there had been a riot at the local prison. Thankfully Takaba was not too far away as he had been talking with some nearby farmers who farms had escaped the Duke's scorched earth policy, but it looked like they were set to lose most of their crops as the farmers lacked the man power to harvest them. Akihito managed to get into the prison and convinced both sides to stand down. He was respected by the inmates as he often been at the prison treating illness and fighting for better conditions. And his views that prisons should be used as a place of rehabilitation as well as punishment were well known.

The seat of the regional governor had its usual air of organised chaos but Takaba could detect a sense of anxiety in the air. He received his usual welcome and the looks that went with it. Some were friendly and warm, others had a look on their face that said "Oh by the Gods what does he want now?" and then there were those who looked at him with disgust or disapproval. Takaba was shown to an ante room off the main reception chamber and in came the Governor's secretary Suzuki Aoi "I'm sorry Lord Takaba but my master will be unable to see you today." Said the affable middle aged women with a bow. She watched as a small tick appeared on Takaba sama's face. Akihito hated being called by his title he had chosen to abandon it after his father's death. And it was because he was a member of the aristocracy that he received those looks of disapproval and disgust. As they could not fathom why someone of his noble birth and ancient blood would want to mix with convicts, prostitutes and other such degenerates. "May I ask why?"

The emperor and his escort rode into the courtyard of the governor's residence it was obvious that the building had seen better days and by the style it had been built during the reign of his ancestor Ryuichi the Sixth. However the building had been scrubbed clean within an inch of its life, the regional and provincial colours were flying and so to his own personal standard of a gold dragon against a black background. Asami had visited each of the regional governors. Not only did he want to once again stamp his authority on the province but to also gather information and calculate for himself what Amasawa was up to. He also wanted to find out as much information on the Eyrie as possible just because it never had been taken didn't mean it couldn't be. As he passed through the regions he saw first-hand the effect of cousin's strategy he had sent word to the capital and to Prime Minister Kirishima to begin having aid sent to the province. As refugees were already beginning to appear in the neighbouring provinces.

"So the emperor is to grace use with his presence." muttered Takaba under his breath his voice did not hold the same barely supressed excitement that Suzuki Aoi's did. "Then I'll wait."

"I beg your pardon my lord?"

"I said Suzuki- san I'll wait. And I'll wait as long as it takes." Akihito just did not care that the Emperor was coming. It was not that he didn't respect the man's office but he shared the view of the common people. They did not care who sat on the throne. The politics and power plays of the imperial court meant little to them in the grand scheme of things that was until they spilled over into their lives.

Governor Ichihara Domeki was nervous. To be honest he was terrified he'd only ever seen the Emperor once and that was at his coronation and even that had been at a distance. Emperor Asami Ryuichi the Tenth AKA 'The Scarlet Emperor' had once been known by a less that flattering nickname 'The Bloody Bastard'. Asami Ryuichi was born the bastard son of Emperor Asami Ryuutarou the Seventh. The old emperor's marriage though politically successful had proved to be less so dynastically. For years the couple tried to have children. It was rumoured the Ryuutarou had fathered Ryuichi to prove he wasn't the one with the problem. However to put aside the Empress would have been extremely difficult her family were both wealthy and powerful. Four years after Ryuichi's birth, two miscarriages, and son who lived only 30 days the Empress Sakura delivered of a premature daughter.

It wasn't the fact that she was girl that went against her, for there had been women who had ruled in their own right before. It was the fact that she was so little and sickly. Her turn of mind grew to be more religious than political. Ryuutarou was keen to avoid civil war which he believed would be the outcome if his daughter ascended the throne. The Asami family had ruled first a kingdom and then went onto create an empire. The accession of weak and ineffectual rulers had led to disputes over the succession, which inevitably had led to civil war. Ryuutarou was determined to avoid civil war, he believed that civil war would be the outcome if his daughter became empress.

When the boy was born not only did the Emperor celebrate his birth , but his mother was given a title, an estate and money, the boy's education was the equal of any royal prince and the choice of name spoke volumes of what Ryuutarou hoped for the boy. Ryuichi's namesake was Ryuichi the Second, the king who began the process of uniting the separate kingdoms into one empire, the boy was crown prince in all but name. It was at that time Ryutarou's interest and favouring of his son became more pronounced, much to the fury of the Empress for she hated her husband's bastard, when Ryuichi was six he was sent up in his own household separate from his mother. This was the customary for royal children, specifically though for the heir to the throne.

The boy was intelligent and strong, he was everything a King would want in an heir When Ryuichi was fourteen and Ryuko ten the Emperor shocked many by suggesting that when the princess came of age she and her half-brother should marry. There was precedent in history for it as some of the ancient royal families had wed close family members, but the practice was vehemently discouraged after unification due to the abnormalities such unions would often go onto produce. The betrothal never took place the Empress saw of that, but what she couldn't stop was the legitimisation of Ryuichi which happened when he was sixteen.

When the princess was fifteen she died of a long illness and the Emperor himself soon followed, and so began six years of civil war the various claimants all battling for the throne it was during this time that Asami Ryuichi earned his nickname 'The Bloody Bastard' due to the ferocity he dealt with those who opposed him. In the end it was Asami Ryuichi with his intelligence and ferocity that clawed his way to the throne. Thus the 'The Bloody' Bastard' became 'The Scarlet Emperor.

The horses were taken and they were led to the governor's study. As they walked through the corridors Asami could hear the whispering and the people scurrying along like rats. Some wanted to prove their bravery by catching a glimpse of him ,others just wanted to get out of the way. The doors of the governor's study were flung open "His imperial majesty Asami Ryuichi" announced the servant as Asami and his entourage entered. Ichihara pulled himself together, came out from behind his desk and genuflected before his emperor "Your Imperial Majesty."

"Governor Ichihara."

Ichihara was considered to be a tall man but he felt dwarfed by his emperor. They sat in front of a balcony that over looked a valley in which a river meandered through, the sun was bright and there was not a single cloud in the sky, it was perfect day.

From what Asami heard the region had been hit the worst of any Kessel's regions by his cousin. No doubt to it due to the fact that Eyrie was in the region. "What do you know about the Eyrie?"

"Unfortunately not anymore than what is commonly known your majesty. The Amasawa family guarded information about it most carefully. I've had my staff search through our archives but we have no information on it here." Just as Asami was about to speak there was a knock at the door. "Enter" said Ichihara.

In walked his secretary she swept a low curtsy "I'm sorry for interrupting you but sir I have spoken to Takaba- sama he says he will wait. I did say that you would be some time but he was undaunted."

"Suzuki you know from past experience very little daunts Takaba -sama."

"Who is Takaba -sama?"

The governor answered "Lord Takaba Akihito he is also known as 'The One Who Loves People' your majesty."

"That is quite an accolade Ichihara."

"What brings him here this time Suzuki?"

"The incident at the prison sir."

"Did the prisoners riot?"

Suzuki felt pinned to the spot by the gaze of Asami she didn't want to say anything that would reflect badly on the governor but she knew instinctively that the emperor would be able to tell if she was lying "Yes your majesty the riot began three days ago and they took hostages to. Takaba - sama was able to quell the situation this morning and get both sides to stand down."

"Takaba - sama is a rather unique individual your majesty." Said Ichihara who at the moment was silently praying that the Emperor did not request to meet Takaba Akihito because such a meeting was bound to end up with someone being executed or at the very least losing a body part.

"Bring him to me."

"I beg you're your pardon sire?"

"Bring Lord Takaba to me I wish to see for myself 'The One Who Loves People."