Author: Anu - *aaeris17*
Disclaimer: I do not own the likeness of the characters related to Sailor Moon. Everything else regarding the story and originality is MINE. Besides that, enjoy!
The fire crackled earnestly as a long iron rod stirred it to life. The old wooden shutters allowed a rather cool summer breeze to enter the stone room. A rocking chair slowly creaked as a woman with long lavender-silver hair gently rocked a newborn child. The woman was beautiful and bathed in a heavenly Madonna glow. The newborn gurgled happily as the woman gently hummed a simple tune. The man who had stirred the fire stood to his full height and smiled at his wife and newborn daughter. He stepped past the hearth to stand behind his wife, his Queen, as they both gazed lovingly upon their little Princess. A sudden gust caused the shutters to crash against the stone walls of the tower. The King suddenly stood at full attention and felt his best friend's heat as the two of them carefully placed their hands on the pommel of their swords.
The wind settled to reveal the slim, imposing figure of a woman. She lifted her hood and revealed a tan face with dark green eyes. The men relaxed and bowed their heads to her. She gave the King and his first Knight a small, yet gentle, smile. Her attention, however, was upon the woman who rocked her child by the hearth. She carefully crossed the room towards the woman who showed no signs of acknowledging the stranger. The strange woman placed a gentle hand on the Queen's shoulder and broke the Queen's trance with her child. The Queen's face lit up and an even greater smile broke through.
"Setsuna," she whispered and rose to embrace the tall woman. Setsuna returned the hug and shook her long, hunter green hair out. She turned to the Queen and held out her arms for the child. The Queen gently handed the gurgling baby over.
"Serenity…a peaceful beauty, full of love, strength, and kindness. She will have the heart of her mother, the gentle Selenity and the courage of her father, the great Apollo," Setsuna quietly murmured as she rocked the baby girl.
Apollo opened his mouth, and could not find words to ask his question. Setsuna felt his apprehension. She cocked her head at him and waited for him to gather his thoughts. The man next to Apollo put his hand on Apollo's shoulder.
"Milady, what of the ancient prophecy? " The man gently questioned. Setsuna visibly sighed though no sound left her mouth.
"How is the dear little boy, Lawrence? The last child blessed in this tower," Setsuna acted as if Lawrence had never spoken.
"Endymion does well. Tis quite rare for him to be sleeping," a soft-spoken woman answered—her presence hidden in the showers. In her lap slept a dark haired toddler of three who was the spitting image of his mother—ebony hair and beneath the buttoned eyes were large cobalt blue eyes.
"Gaia, take this," Setsuna held a small pouch out to Gaia. Gaia's pale hand stretched out to reach the simple gift. She simply placed the pouch amidst the folds of her dress. Gaia smiled as she bent over the sleeping boy and her long ebony hair hid her from the current ceremony.
Setsuna felt a sudden twinge of pain. Selenity was the only one who was quick enough to see the look flash across Setsuna's normally stoic face. She caught Setsuna's eyes and the two shared a knowing glance.
"What secrets are you womenfolk sharing?" Lawrence teased as he lovingly kissed his wife's head.
"Nothing, Sir Knight," Selenity recovered quickly as she flashed another brilliant smile at Apollo and Lawrence.
"Selenity, I have a gift for little Serenity as well," Setsuna transferred baby Serenity to Apollo's awaiting arms. Setsuna closed her right palm and suddenly a long staff appeared with a glowing garnet orb at its pinnacle. Setsuna tapped the orb against her closed left palm. As she opened her left hand, a silver glow enveloped the room. Selenity stifled a gasp as she started glowing as well.
"Do you mean…" Selenity started and closed her rose lips tightly. With his free arm, Apollo enveloped his now trembling wife.
"The Silver Imperium Crystal…" Apollo whispered as more light appeared in the tiny tower.
"Why has it been awakened?" Lawrence asked fearfully, holding his wife by her shoulders as they all stared in amazement at the beautiful rose shaped crystal that was now floating above Setsuna's palm- illuminating golden crescent moon birthmarks on the foreheads of Selenity and Serenity. The triangle of light grew stronger as little Serenity giggled at its warmth.
"Your Princess has called for it," Setsuna answered both of Lawrence's questions. A pregnant pause hung in the air before the severity of the answer fell upon the ears of the crowd.
"Do you mean to say…that this little girl…my little girl, is the Savior of our Kingdom?" Apollo slowly wondered out loud. He shook his golden hair and looked at Selenity, hoping she would be able to shed some understanding on the matter.
"Could the daughter of the sun and moon be anything less?" Setsuna teased. Suddenly, another, slightly darker light invaded the room. Setsuna fully smiled, allowing her pleasure to be fully seen on her exotically, beautiful face.
"Setsuna…"Gaia's voice cut through the air with its worry. She carefully stood now, hair reaching her knees, cobalt eyes full of worry at her glowing baby boy. Lawrence muttered a quick prayer. Selenity's lilac eyes became large orbs as she quickly came to the side of her oldest friend. With Selenity's support, Gaia took faltering steps forward to Setsuna.
"It is as I have seen," was Setsuna's only reply to Gaia's concern.
"Seen?" Apollo found his tongue, "Setsuna, what has thee seen?" his words slipping into ancient languages as he probed Setsuna for answers. She merely held up her staff and whispered in the same ancient tongue.
"Reveal," a horribly heavy command as Setsuna brought the staff down. Lawrence felt himself being held back by Apollo's strong hands.
The golden glow became stronger and even more piercing as Setsuna commanded it, over and over again, to reveal itself. With a tremendous burst, a golden rose appeared from within sleeping Endymion's still body. The rose flew by and began circling itself around its silver counterpart. The two roses began an intricate dance that made the tower sparkle with starbursts. Power was flowing through the very particles of air. Faster and faster the roses went, the chaos of it all was spellbinding. The four parents could do nothing but watch the mythical crystals twirl around one and other. Serenity's laughter only increased as the dance became faster and finally, when Selenity felt she could no longer take the power and Gaia became more faint with dizziness; the crystals stopped midair and without warning crashed into each other. The deafening sound of shattering crystal hung in the air. Selenity felt her heart stop as Serenity's laughter abruptly ceased. And with even less warning, a blinding roar of twinkling light erupted across the little room. Even Apollo was forced to shield his eyes from the glory that had just shown itself. A larger rose crystal now hung gracefully in the air. With golden leaves that sparkled with silver and a silver base, the new crystal spun gracefully for everyone.
Selenity's tension was released as a soft coo was heard from Serenity and a cough heard from the no longer sleeping Endymion. Endymion arose from Gaia's arms and pushed his way down. The child was remarkably stubborn for a boy of three. He walked clear past Setsuna and stopped for only a second to gaze upon the crystal that hung like a magnificent chandelier above his head. He took his little steps like a soldier in training until he reached Apollo. His chubby little hand tugged on Apollo's red tunic. Apollo gazed with wonder at the little boy.
"I wanna see," he demanded in his utterly adorable childish tone. Lawrence smiled and bent over to pick up the child. Endymion brushed his father's hands away.
"No, not with YOUR help," he pulled harder on Apollo, "come down HERE," Selenity shared a chuckle with Gaia. Endymion was a very pampered little boy, the apple of his parent's eyes. He had been the first after a series of miscarriages and his birth had been celebrated with as much pomp and circumstance as Serenity's. Apollo stole a glance at Setsuna who nodded. Apollo gently crouched down to Endymion's eye level.
"What do you want to see?" Apollo asked. Endymion gave a Apollo a silly look.
"Serenity," he answered as if it was the most obvious thing in the entire world.
The adults shared a look as Endymion stood on tiptoe and peeled back the pink covering that hid the little girls face.
A chubby, pink-faced girl giggled back at Endymion. Her azure eyes were bright and alert and already her blonde hair was tied up in little pigtails. Her knotted little hands reached for the new face in front of her.
"Hi, I was wondering when you would come," Endymion started in awfully full sentences for a three year old, "I missed you, but don't worry, nothing will tear us apart," A shocked silence hung in the air as Endymion leaned over and kissed the baby girl on her forehead, "I'll always protect you,". Endymion turned around and looked up at all the concerned adults, "What you staring at?" he accused as he ran to hide within the folds of his mother's skirts. He was not one for much attention.
A short giggle inappropriately was heard. Four sets of eyes disapprovingly stared at Setsuna who quickly cleared her throat.
"I would not be so shocked, milady and lords," Setsuna began as she reached out a hand to the shy Endymion, "Thy children are rather exceptional and I would not be surprised if they only continued to amaze you," Endymion timidly glanced out from the shelter of Gaia's skirts, "Abracadra, abracadra, POOF!" Setsuna chanted and a tiny toy sword appeared in her hand. Endymion less scared of the gift than Setsuna, lunged forward and grabbed his new battle toy. Setsuna briefly smiled before turning back to her audience. "I hope I have not troubled you too much," she stared primarily at Selenity who had remained rather silent.
Selenity took one of Setsuna's hands into her own, "No, old friends are always welcome and never a bother," she smiled. A tan hand appeared on top of the pale hand.
"Even if they do speak in riddles and tend to confuse us terribly," Apollo teased grinning. The faintest tinge of a blush appeared on the cheeks of Setsuna. Selenity gave Apollo a rather reproachful look.
"Dear, you are always welcome," Gaia kindly added.
"I do rather enjoy these visits," Lawrence thoughtfully smiled. Setsuna nodded and turned her attention to the seemingly forgotten Crystal Rose.
"Thy children have combined to form the legendary Quisez," an inaudible gasp was felt in the room, "No greater power exists than the crystal we see before us; and only two people will be able to handle the Quisez. If the Quisez should fall into the wrong hands, the world as we know it will end. Already forces are gathering, ready to strike down anyone who opposes them in their quest for the crystal. We all felt the immense power radiating from its formation. Others have also felt the power radiating; and even deadlier creatures have been awakened by the thirst for power. Fearful times are ahead of us, and I can only offer the little knowledge I can share. Do NOT allow the crystal to combine until the children are mature enough to handle the power that is their birthright. I can separate the crystals back into their original states, but it is thy duty as the parents and guardians of the crystal to assure that the children are trained from day one to control their powers. I would almost recommend a binding spell on their powers until they are old enough to understand the responsibility. Thee will know when the time is right to explain to thy children the enormity of their power and what their destiny is," Setsuna paused and motherly brushed hair off Serenity's face, "Have no fear, dear friends and fellow guardians. Nothing shall harm these children until they are capable of handling for themselves. Our opposing forces will need time to develop any sort of army to attack. We have a greater advantage on the evil and Sir Lawrence will no doubt be able to train the army from day one. I suggest one more thing, let the children have as normal a childhood as possible," Setsuna stopped again, lest she reveal more emotion and information than she should, "If I am needed, I will come. Blessed be, dear children," and with those words, Setsuna allowed her staff to touch the crystal and the two singular crystals were once again there. She waved her staff above her head and the crystals shrunk and shrunk till they were hardly the size of pendants. A final wave of her wand distributed the crystals on the necks of their proper owners.
Endymion paused for a moment in his imaginary sword fight to finger the tiny golden rose around his neck. A look of wisdom and understanding passed over the three-year-old's face. His eyes locked with Setsuna's and the briefest glance of understanding passed between the two of them.
"Farewell," she whispered as a wind once again entered the room. With a murmur, she was once again gone. The fire slowly began to die as the wind settled. Lawrence went to the single window in the tower and shut it tightly, wrapping the coarse rope around its binding before placing a heavier metal closing on it. Gaia walked over to the dying embers and waved her hand over the dim red glow. From her palm, water gently flowed, allowing the fire to escape in the form of angry, hissing steam. The tendrils of steam stretched for the hand that had extinguished them.
"Endy, come darling," Gaia gestured for Endymion to follow her. Endymion ran after her. As those two disappeared down the long, curvy stair that led from the castle to the tower, Lawrence turned to look at Apollo and Selenity. Apollo nodded at Lawrence, dismissing his childhood best friend. Selenity gazed at his receding figure and her heart pained. With all the trouble of Gaia's health, and failed pregnancies, Lawrence still found the faith and heart to worry about his best friend.
Apollo faintly smiled as he watched Lawrence walk away. A gurgling from baby Serenity brought both parents back to the present time. Apollo's heart melted as he watched Selenity cradle their daughter and blow raspberries at the child much to the delight of the little girl. Pink little fists grabbed for the towering figures above her and Apollo let the girl grab a finger.
"She's a strong girl," Apollo commented laughingly. Selenity laughed—a peal of ringing bells.
"Yes, my baby girl, my Serenity," Selenity murmured into the blonde down that covered the girl's head.
"Tis time for both of my girls to rest," Apollo kissed Serenity's cheek.
"Are you coming, dear?" Selenity asked as Apollo fastened a light cloak around Selenity.
"By and by, I have a tryst to keep first," Apollo grinned as he escorted his wife and daughter to the door leading to the stairway.
Selenity gave a strong look to Apollo, but his shining smile did not allow her to say anything more.
"And I have mine to keep," she softly responded as she descended the stone staircase. As she walked down, torches mysteriously put themselves out behind her receding figure. The Queen walked on quietly, seeming to float above the ground. She exited the Tower and walked away from the main grounds of the castle. The guards smiled as she passed. Everyone who had met her loved Queen Selenity—all respected the beautiful woman who radiated power and seemed to be more goddess than woman. In fact, she was rumored to be descended from the Goddess Selene. Selenity did nothing to confirm or deny these rumors. The Gods were best left to their own accord and no one felt the need to challenge the Queen's namesake. All the townsfolk worshipped these gods, and while the Gods had never shown angry wrath—nobody desired to be the first to experience the heavenly anger.
Selenity walked into the Royal Gardens until she reached the Labyrinth. The moonlight illuminated the tall green hedges and the sweet, heavenly smell of jasmine permeated the air. She paused to inhale the perfume of the flowers. Closing her eyes, she imagined herself at the center of the Labyrinth. Suddenly, she felt the coolness of the Mirror and the soft sand underneath her feet. Removing her silk slippers, Selenity walked across the cold grass towards a giant round rock that seemed to bubble out of the center of the Mirror. The rock was formed so that the Mirror made a crescent moon around the smooth dome. The moonlight always seemed brighter on water, and the closer Selenity walked to the center of the crescent, the more intense the moonbeams became. Serenity became unusually quiet as Selenity stepped into the moonbeams and held Serenity above her face.
"Great Mother Selene," Selenity began in an authoritative tone, "As my mother before me, and her mother before her, and back to the times when woman first brought children to the universe, I beseech thy audience," the moon glittered in response and Selenity felt a warm, gently presence wrap around her and Serenity, "I present the new heir to the line of Selene: Her Royal Highness, Princess Serenity,"
A glittering figure shimmered into existence. She wore her long silver hair in two buns that allowed long streamers to fall from them. A form fitting white dressed hugged her slender figure and at the center of the bodice was a lavender bow.
"My dear daughter," the woman lifted her arms invitingly.
Selenity bowed her head, "Mother Selene, thank you for coming,"
The Goddess smiled, "Tis not every blue moon is such a child born," she kissed Selenity's bowed head.
Selenity returned the smile and placed the pink bundle of Serenity into Selene's arms.
"My, my, Selenity, thy daughter is remarkably beautiful," the Goddess of the Moon commented cooing to the baby girl in a different language.
"Thank you, thy blessing has been gift enough," Selenity graciously acknowledged.
"I have yet to give it, daughter," Selene's eyes met the matching violet eyes of Selenity.
Selenity flushed pink in embarrassment, "Forgive me,"
"Nonsense!" Selene laughed, "You are quite observant, however. My blessing to Serenity is the Silver Imperium Crystal. She is a child of the moon and the sun. I remember thy wedding—the universe itself rejoiced. And now, the child of this union shall finally bring peace to the universe," Selene kissed Serenity's forehead, "another beautiful daughter to continue the line of Selene," Selene handed the giggling baby back to Selenity, "Heed Pluto's warnings dear child; watch and guard my most precious possession, Serenity," Selene's last words were mere whispers of the wind as she shimmered back into the moonlight.
Selenity held one hand up in farewell and caught her reflection in the moonlight. She giggled to herself as she saw her own crescent moon birthmark shine out from the middle of her forehead. Looking at Serenity, she saw the same birthmark being illuminated. Selenity pressed her palm to her forehead and then to little Serenity's—causing both moons to disappear.
"Bedtime little one, you have had quite an exciting night," Selenity whispered as she walked away from the sacred Mirror and back to the palace.
"Is it safe for a young woman with a child to walk unprotected at this hour of the night?" A deep voice asked out of the darkness.
"Only the cowardly use the shadow of night to attack the unknowing," Selenity responded without the slightest hesitation.
"The Queen shows no fear," the same voice responded.
"I have nothing to fear," she answered calmly.
"Not even for thy child? A mighty Queen can protect herself; but can an innocent babe perform the same magic?" the voice threatened, still refusing to reveal itself.
"My daughter is none of thy concern." Selenity bitingly remarked.
The creature laughed sinisterly, "Mind if I test your belief?"
Selenity stiffened and before she could react, flashes of silver appeared and the deep, glutting sound of a severed head was heard. A hand touched her shoulder and she swallowed a scream.
"Milady," Lawrence bowed as Selenity closed her eyes, allowing a sigh of relief to escape.
"What was that?" she asked, steadying the quivers in her voice that would have given her fear away.
"My tryst, darling wife," Apollo appeared from the shadows without his usual smile, "If I had known you would not be going to bed, I would have warned you,"
"I am not sure I understand," Selenity stared at her husband, feeling fearful.
"Setsuna warned of creatures; I wanted an immediate defense. We can never be too careful—especially now," Apollo gestured to the guards surrounding him and Lawrence. His usually carefree demeanor was taken over by the protective king, husband, and lately, father. Apollo threw his shoulders back, his crimson cape billowing around him. He took a quick survey of the immediate area. Selenity stared at her royal husband. She could never get over the shock of seeing him go from carefree lover to authoritative ruler. He caught that look on her face.
"Sele, don't give me that look," he sighed, relaxing his soldier posture. He crossed the distance separating them in a single stride and embraced his wife and daughter.
Feeling his warmth always gave Selenity that extra bit of security she needed. Selenity lifted her head to meet his shining, golden-brown eyes. He grinned reassuringly and leaned in to capture her waiting mouth. A simple, sweet kiss passed between the monarchs. The soldiers politely ignored the show of emotion from their rulers and patiently awaited orders from Sir Lawrence.
As the young couple pulled apart, Lawrence stepped up to their inner circle, "Milady, with all due respect, I think that for the time being—until we have a tighter control around the perimeter, that thee should inform us of thy traveling,"
Selenity thoughtfully bit her lip, worried that evil creatures could invade the magical Labyrinth, her sanctuary.
"Nothing can harm it Selenity," Apollo gently added.
Selenity nodded in affirmation to both Lawrence and Apollo. She suddenly realized that Serenity had been quiet this entire time—a quick glance downward revealed a happily sleeping baby. Nothing seemed to disturb the sleep of this child Selenity mused.
"So it has begun," Selenity murmured out loud. Apollo and Lawrence turned sharply to her, "I pray that peace may endure long enough," She stared at the moon and the stars, remembering both Setsuna's and Selene's words.
"Have no fear, dear sister," Lawrence simply responded, "Men, thy orders are clear," with that the small group of soldiers filed out. Apollo and Lawrence shared a brief hug before Lawrence followed the men.
Under the bright stars, the moon hung unusually low as if it was watching over the kingdom. Apollo noted the low moon as he put an arm protectively around his wife. The night's protection shall be her's; the day shall be his time. The couple walked in a pleasant silence towards their quarters.
* * *
Lawrence quietly entered his house and sighed as he quietly took the steps upstairs to his quarters. As secretly as he could manage, he slipped into the bedroom chambers. He stifled a surprise as he saw a figure warmly wrapped in a rocking chair. Her translucent skin seemed to reflect the dancing fire.
"Gaia," he whispered almost worshipingly as he walked over to his wife. She did not stir but watched the fire. He kneeled before her and put his head in her lap. Wordlessly she wrapped her small arms around him and hugged him tightly. They sat like that in silence. It wasn't until the early rays of dawn that Lawrence awoke to find himself in bed with Gaia and little Endymion sleeping between them. He sat up in bed and watched his sleeping family. Endymion slept peacefully curled up with a stuffed bear and two tan little fists clinging to it. Lawrence more carefully watched Gaia breathe in and out. As he did every morning, he thanked the Gods for another day with his wife and prayed for her health to improve. Nearby, another awake figure made the same wish; and unknowingly, two rulers and their friends all wished for the same ideal: that peace shall prevail long enough to allow their dearest children to grow up and save everyone.
* * *
In another kingdom….
A piercing wail was heard, followed by another in the dark obstinate castle. A Page ran breathlessly into the dark throne room.
"Your majesty!" the Page yelled breathlessly, "The Queen! She has given birth to twins!"
"Preciesly," a dark man stoically responded. The Page looked confused and continued,
"A boy and a girl, your Highness; the boy's name is set to be Demando and the princess is Beryl," the Page informed.
"Excellent," the dark man almost bitterly stated.
Without warning, a horrible screech of a scream was heard throughout the kingdom—shaking the very foundation of the castle. The Page grasped the sides of the stone entryway and through the dim light saw a tall imposing figure walk towards him.
"She's dead!" a nursemaid screamed, "the Queen is DEAD!"
"Perfect," the man handed a glass of bloody wine to the page, "Cheers,"
The Page looked at the glass as if it were poison and immediately ran out of the room. The man laughed at the poor boy.
"Surely a congratulations is in order, Lord Pharaoh," a deep voice echoed from the throne room behind him.
"Wiseman," Lord Pharaoh smirked before turning around to greet the hooded mystic who sat lotus-style in mid air.
Wiseman chuckled, "Well, it seems with the death of Queen Metallica, step one of our plan has been intiated,"
"Yes, so it has," the Lord grinned menacingly as he settled himself back in his throne, throwing the wine back in one motion.
"And the children sire? What shall become of the children?" Wiseman sarcastically wondered as his hands, so white they almost glimmered, passed over his crystal orb.
"Train them," Lord Pharaoh lifted a long scepter that had been on the Queen's chair, "Train them well,"
"Long lives the King," Wiseman bowed his head and glimmered out of existence, back to the shadows that were his dwelling.