Author's Notes: Okay, after a long time, here is Chapter One! I apologize for taking so long… real life and all. Eh, that and writer's block.
Disclaimer: See the Prologue.
'Four years later…'
"Alright… is everyone ready?"
Queen Lise was crouched down behind a rocky protrusion in the Path. She was dressed in her old, green battle armor; with a strong but slender hand on her trusty spear. The afternoon sun was shining brightly in the sky, and every now and then, a cool gust of wind would blow over the mountain. Further down the Pathway was a group of monsters: harpies, a twisted cross between bird and human. The upper part of their bodies was that of a female human, while the lower part had the body of a bird. In short… it was disgusting.
She glanced at three of her companions as they nodded in turn, tightening their grip on their weapons. Then she turned to the last member of their patrol… the only male one.
"Elliot… are you sure you want to go through with this?"
Prince Elliot sighed softly, running his left hand through his shoulder-length blonde hair. "Sis, you know I have to do this," he said. A slightly triumphant smirk formed over his lips. "It is part of my training, right?"
The Star Lancer shook her head, rolling her eyes to the sky. Oh Goddess… what am I going to do with him? Then she turned her bright blue eyes to her brother, glaring slightly. "Elliot… this-"
The young, 15 year-old man raised a hand, stopping his sister in mid-sentence. "I know what you mean." His eyes softened somewhat as he gazed at Lise. "You don't have to worry Sis, you trained me well."
Lise sighed in defeat, but inside she smiled fondly at her brother. He had grown so much, this past few years… he was taller, stronger, and wiser. After the War ended, he did his best to prove that he was no longer a little child. He took his training seriously, doing his best in both the Schools of Fighting and Knowledge. He was still young though, a mere 15 years to his name. He wasn't allowed to go out with the patrols yet; he was too young, too reckless… though he was skilled with the spear. It wasn't until now that he was allowed to come with his sister. He would bug her constantly, at times even arguing with her… Sometimes she missed the little boy he was then, spoiled brat and all.
The Queen turned to the Amazons, a grim smile on her lips. "Let's go."
With a loud warcry, the five warriors came out of their hiding place, their weapons glinting dangerously in the afternoon sky. They rushed forward to the large group of monsters before them, taking them by surprise. A startled shriek came up from the Harpies as the Amazons fell upon them, slashing and stabbing fiercely.
Elliot screamed as he lunged at the nearest harpy. Just as it turned to face him, he swiped his spear at it in a wide arc. The monster barely dodged, losing a few feathers in the process.
With an earsplitting shriek, the monster flew forward, it's sharp beak and claws pointed at the young prince. Elliot blocked then slashed downwards, making a deep gash on the harpy's chest. Before it could react, the prince pushed forward, stabbing the monster deep below the beak.
An exhilarated grin appeared on his lips. Hey, this isn't so har-
"Oof!" A harpy suddenly bulled into Elliot's back, pushing him onto the floor. His spear clattered a few feet away from him. His head struck a rock, dazing him slightly. He could fell the monster on his back, clawing and pecking painfully, but he felt too weak to move. In some distant part of his mind, he heard Lise's anguished scream.
"Elliot, hold on! I'm coming!"
A sudden anger flared in the young man's chest, and he pushed himself up abruptly, knocking the bird off. I'm not a little boy anymore! I don't need saving! With a yell, Elliot charged, sending a flurry of slashes and stabs at the monster.
"SQWEEEEE!" The harpy dodged, then flew high into the air. With one last shriek, it flew straight at the prince, leaking dark blood from it's many wounds. At the last moment, Elliot leapt to one side, rolled, then slashed at the bird's wings. The monster crashed heavily on the ground, its left wing totally destroyed. Elliot limped closer till he was standing over the fallen monster. After taking a deep breath, he raised his spear and plunged it into the harpy's chest.
Queen Lise ran forward, stopping beside her brother. She was unscathed, the harpies being no match for the Star Lancer. Her eyes widened at the sight of her brother's forehead. "Elliot, you're hurt!" She held his face in her hands, examining his wound.
Elliot, shook his head, releasing himself from Lise's grasp. "I'm all right Sis. My body just hurts a bit, but I'm sure I'll-"He gasped as his sister suddenly engulfed him in an all encompassing hug. He noticed for the first time that he was almost as tall as her, the tip of his head reaching her temple. For a while, he stayed limp, but then hugged his sister back, leaning his forehead against her shoulder.
"D-don't ever do that again, all right?" I already lost you once… never again
Elliot nodded his head mutely. Love for his over-protective sister swelled in his heart. Whatever little quarrels they might have had in the past was forgotten in an instant. Goddess, what am I going to do without her?
Lise parted the hug slowly, then turned to gaze at her other soldiers. They seemed well, with only a few minor injuries. "Is everyone all right?"
The Amazons nodded. "We're all right Miss Lise." One of the younger women smirked and pointed a thumb towards an older, dark-haired woman. "Though Lily over here looks kinda pale."
"Oh, as if you're looking any better yourself Alice."
"Of course I do!"
Queen Lise smiled, then shook her head as the third Amazon walked off to join her squabbling comrades. To her left, Elliot began chuckling, then made his way to join the three. After the Prince had left, Lise turned around and walked over to the enge of the mountain. The drop was dizzying, and a person not familiar with the high cliffs of Rolante would be instantly sick. However, Lise was used to such heights; as a child she would climb these mountains for hours, finding new caves everyday. Now, though, was time to ponder matters of the Kingdom.
For the first two years after the War, monsters had begun receding. The Pathway had become safe to travel once more, and it was hardly necessary to send out patrols. It was like that over the whole world. The Golden Road, The Waterfall Cave to Wendell, The Molebear Highlands, everything was now safe to travel… until two years ago. The number of monsters suddenly increased, greater than ever before. The roads were once again unsafe to travel, and the patrols being sent out came back hurt, with many losses. The monsters seemed to be stronger and braver, sometimes even attacking the main cities.
Something was wrong.
Queen Lise closed her eyes, breathing in a deep lungful of air. Even the wind is troubled… Her grip tightened on her spear, her knuckles going white. She opened her blue eyes, gazing sideways at Elliot, who was laughing along with her troops. I won't let anything happen to him. Never again, you can count on that, father.
She turned about, then marched towards the four Amazons. The sky was darkening, heralding the arrival of the evening. It was time to go home.
From a high place on the mountain, a cloaked man crouched. He was hidden in the shadows, his gray cloak blending in with the rocks. From underneath the hood, a pair of glowing black eyes watched, gazing intently at the Amazons below him. One Amazon in particular drew his gaze… the one called Lise, Queen of the Amazons. It was amazing how a mere human could powerful enough to defeat the Dark Prince… he would have to 'talk' with this little one soon.
The man laughed quietly as the Amazons departed, a few strands of dark hair coming into view. There would be time enough for that later.
It was a cold evening in the desert. The biting winds scattered the sand endlessly in the air, giving the land an eerie, glowing look as the dust reflected the light of the full moon and stars above. Somewhere in the wilderness, a brown-cloaked figure marched steadily, only slightly hampered by the sands. His cloak flapped wildly with each gust of wind, exposing a pair of blue pants.
In the distance, the man could see the outline of a large fortress, made partly from a mountain itself. From underneath the hood, the man smirked, though the only visible indication of this was the sudden appearance of pearly-white teeth. He could already see the ninjas now, lounging about in the bar, talking and drinking the weather away. Everyone would be lying around, growing fatter from idleness.
Oh well… nothing much I can do about it. The man shrugged his shoulders and continued his solitary march. There really was nothing he could do about it. Since the War ended, there was nothing to do! Oh, the first month or so was nice… peace and all. Everyone was trying to get back to their normal routines, trying to get over their losses, trying to get back to their old lives. The next few months… the ninjas started getting bored. They could not go back to their old ways now. The Ninja's Guild was severely diminished… they couldn't go out on their usual raids anymore.
Heh, I knew that Sultan was a bit pissed at us back then… but I never knew it was this bad! I always thought that they saw it as some sort of friendly contest between us. We would steal from them, they try to catch us. If one was caught, well, the FlameKahn would pay the Rajah a visit, exchange a few pleasantries, pass a bit of luc under the table, and then march away with a slightly bruised ninja. It was always like that.
Now, though, Sultan actually threatens to attack if we didn't stop stealing! We can't even go near the city! Of course, I can't blame them; the last fellow I 'visited' was a pretty influential man. But still… what'll happen to the poor folks? Before the War, most of what we 'borrowed' from Sultan's merchants would go straight to Deen. Goddess knows they need all that we give them. Naturally of course, not everything went to charity; hardworking thieves need to eat too.
The man finally reached the fortress' gates. He walked right up to them and banged loudly on the metal doors.
An eye-slit suddenly opened up in the door, and a pair of sharp, blue eyes peeked out. "Who're you?" he said.
The man pulled back his hood, exposing his blue hair. A white bandanna was around his forehead, keeping his hair from falling around his tanned face. A smirk was on the man's lips, and his violet eyes gleamed with mischief.
The sentry's eyes widened with surprise at the sight. "S-sir Hawk! What are you doing out this late? I thought you were still at Deen?"
"I'll tell you later. Just let me inside!" A strong gust of wind smashed into the young man, making him stumble to the ground.
"Yes sir!" The eye-slit snapped shut. Sounds of a scuffle came out from inside, and a few, muffled voices rang out from within. Then the door opened outward slowly, creaking loudly as the men inside strained to push the door open against the wind.
Hawk stepped in smartly, just as another strong blast of air smashed against the fortress, slamming the door shut. The force of the air knocked the Ninja Master down, along with the other ninjas with him.
The ninjas cursed as they were flung harshly to the floor, and they rolled about for a while, before slamming hard against the walls. Hawk swore loudly, then stabbed one of his hidden daggers into the floor, saving himself from another batch of bruises on his bruise-laden body.
The ninjas picked themselves up slowly, some grasping their heads in pain. The five Navarrians upright already ran to Hawk on unsteady feet.
"Sir Hawk, are you alright?"
Five arms were stuck out towards the Ninja Master simultaneously, rying to help him up. Hawk waved them away and stood up by himself, stopping to pick up his dagger. He grit his teeth in annoyance, grunting out to the crowd: "I'm alright! I'm alright!"
Hawk closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. This was beginning to get on his nerves… "Look," The Ninja Master began as he walked to the entrance of the Fortress. "Just leave me alone, I can take care of myself just fine!"
One of the ninjas stepped forward. "Sir, we were just trying to help-"
Hawk turned around, and cut off the ninja. "Yeah, I know." His violet eyes studied the men in the room. They seemed hurt by the fact that their hero, Sir Hawk, would shout at them like that. Sentimental bastards. A smile appeared on his lips. "I'm sorry, I was just worried about the storm and all."
The ninjas smiled then saluted clumsily to their hero. It was more to show respect than anything, for ninjas never did stuff like that. Hawk nodded to them, then walked into the Fortress.
As he walked along, the Ninja Master gazed at the rocky surroundings, thinking deeply. He hadn't really meant to get angry at those people back there. It was just that their treatment of him was really, really annoying him. Ever since he returned to Navarre, everyone began treating him like he was some sort of 'lord'. They even began to call him 'sir'. Maybe it was just him, but he hated being called that. He just wanted to be plain Hawk.
That was one of the reasons he kept leaving the Fortress all the time. He always found some reason to be away, sometimes off to Deen to do the charity work, or to Sultan for negotiation. He would wander around the desert for days, just staring at the sand. At least it was better than: 'Sir Hawk, let me get the door for you!' all the time. It used to be a little amusing when it came from the women, always trying to do little favors for him. That thought brought a smile to the Hawk's face. Some of the more desperate ones even visited him in his room… not that he had done anything. He merely sent them away. It was bad enough with Jessica doting on him all the time.
He sighed. The smile left his face, replaced by a worried frown. There was a more important reason for his little trips in the desert. Ever since he, Lise, and Carlie had beaten the Dark Prince, the Deserts here had begun to show improvement. Small plants had begun to grow around the desert… there were small oases beginning to appear here and there. The desert was beginning to heal. That was two years ago.
Now, all the plants that had grown died suddenly. The oases disappeared, and everything went back to the way it was. Day became hotter, and the night became colder. Desert storms became a normal occurrence, wreaking havoc everywhere. Monsters that were thought to have disappeared suddenly returned in full force, and they had grown bold enough to attack the cities where people lived.
Something was going terribly wrong.
Hawk walked onward, coming up to the set of door that led to the inside of Navarre.
Ah, nothing I can do about anything right now. Tomorrow, I'll think of something, right now, I could use some sleep… could Jessica still be awake?
With that thought, Hawk pulled the hood of his cloak over his head and pushed the doors open.
From atop one of the sandy buildings, a cloaked person sat, the brown cloak it was wearing blending with the surroundings. Glowing green eyes appeared from under the hood as a door in the mountains opened. A cloaked man came out, wrapping his arms around himself in an effort to keep his cloak closed. A few strands of blue hair peeked out from underneath. The figure on the roof watched as Hawk ran into the castle, his head bowed against the wind.
The figure shook its head and stood up, not caring that it would be seen against the pale light of the moon. It became obvious that the figure was a woman, judging on how the cloth stuck to her lithe body.
"Hawk…" The woman uttered under her breath, just as she turned and walked off. Her figure became blurry, before totally vanishing into the wind.
Carlie sat up abruptly in her bed, her blue eyes wide and tearful. Sweat dripped down her face, and she clutched her white blankets tightly to her chest. Suddenly, someone pounded on the door.
"Carlie? Carlie, are you alright!"
The young Bishop sniffed then pulled her knees up to her body, hugging herself into a little ball. She whimpered quietly, tears still streaming down her eyes. "Heath…"
The pounding grew louder, and the door flew open, hanging limply by its hinges. Heath rushed in, his chest heaving with each breath. "Carlie, what-" The warrior-priest stopped, his eyes widening at the sight. He took a deep breath, then walked quietly to the young Bishop's side. He sat down on the edge of the bed, then put an arm around her.
"Carlie… was it a bad dream?"
Carlie nodded her head, then buried it in her arms. Small, soft sobs left her mouth, and her body trembled in an effort to stop.
Heath frowned worryingly, then shifted closer to the young Bishop. He gathered her up in his arms, pulling her to his chest. Carlie cried against him, her heart-wrenching sobs going even louder.
The warrior-priest rested his chin on the young girl's head, smelling her flowery shampoo. He pressed turned her head up and pressed a kiss onto her forehead, his arms tightening around her.
Carlie snuggled against the white-haired man, using his firm body as a pillow. Her sobs quieted down, and her eyes blinked a few times, before closing in sleep. With Heath here, maybe there would be no nightmares…
The warrior-priest gazed down at the young Bishop asleep against him, a smile appearing on his face. She had grown up so much during these past few years. She had endured so much pain… it wasn't fair that she go through this. It wasn't fair at all.
Carlie had been having these dreams for a month now. Every night, she would wake up screaming, then cry herself back to sleep. In the morning, she could hardly recall anything, except for a voice… warning of danger.
Heath turned his gaze to the side, gazing at the full moon through the windows. No one else had dreams like hers. Not him, not even the Priest of Light. It only affected Carlie…
No… I won't let it happen again. I couldn't save you father, but I won't fail Carlie. I swear it.
A cloaked man was walking around Wendel, his hood hiding his face from view. There were only a few people left on the streets at this time, and the lights in the houses were off, the inhabitants inside sleeping soundly. The man shrugged, then pulled off his hood. He had short red hair, blue eyes, and light-brown skin. He smirked, turning his head to the castle before him.
Not yet, my dear. Not yet…
Author's Notes: How do you like it? It was difficult to write about Carlie. I don't know why, but I find it easier to write about Lise and Hawk than her. And… if you haven't guessed, the Chosen Ones are Lise, Hawk, and Carlie in that order.
To my reviewers: Thank you all very, VERY much for reviewing. Reviews are my LIFE! Uhm… not really, but thank you!
To everyone: Please review!
Oh, and if the dividers I put up aren't there, well... don't blame me.