I think it goes without saying I don't own the property or rights to Utawarerumono. Please RR when you're finished, I would appreciate it.

He knew the sound well. The pitter patter of rain, the thunder of hooves, the hiss of doused flames, the cries of the wounded and mourning…

It never changes…

From under his rain downed jesters cap he met the mad, wild leers around him.

It never changes…

Their equipment, uniforms and stances all spoke of the perhaps noble profession they once held as soldiers in service to their country. Their mission shattered, their army defeated, forced to scatter.

It never changes…

Beyond the line arrayed to his right, he caught sight of a woman's hunched, heaving shoulders as she knelt in the rain over something in her arms. From over her shoulder came the broken shaft of a spear. There was nothing else it could be, held in her arms and completely hidden by her back…

It never changes…

The woman threw her head back as she wailed in anguish towards the heavens, a hand outstretched and clawing at the dark clouds above as if to catch her child's soul as it left him. Her cries had drawn the attention of the men arrayed around him, two of their number turning to address the noise with swords in hand.

It never changes…

He raised an outstretched arm, cloak peeling back to reveal a tanned finger pointing at the two men advancing on the woman. Almost instantly the two men jerked then collapsed to the ground, each with an arrow in the throat. As their bodies splashed in the mud, he swept the folds of his cloak back and hurled himself at the nearest enemy.

It…

His figure was lithe and nimble. A trail of broken rainfall left in his wake as he landed on the nearest bandit. For a second, the target and him self were completely enveloped in his cloak. He shot straight up into the air, leaving the bandit where he was with his head twisted around one hundred and eighty degrees. The jester and the dead bandit both began to fall at the same time.

Never…

In this time span, two more bandits were falling with arrows in their throat and back. But all of their eyes were focused on the cloaked jester falling majestically from the rainy sky, twisting over and spreading its cloak like the wings of a hawk descending on its prey. In each hand gleamed a long blade; talons that severed raindrops in two as the jester descended onto the shoulders of the nearest bandit.

Changes…

The swords parted as the first bandit fell to the mud. The two men on either side of the jester fell back with their throats open and their blood spraying in a high pressured arc above his head. He spun on the shoulders of the man under him, feeling the bandit's neck snap between his feet. He used the dead man's falling body as a springboard, corkscrewing between two more bandits to land at the foot of another. The two men he'd passed twisting in the air with blood spraying from their open chests.

He paid no attention to the frightened eyes of the bandit before him. He rose, slicing the terrified man from groin to throat. The jester spun away before the inevitable blood spray could catch him, dancing through the bandits like a lightning in the rain. Occasionally he felt his companion's arrows whistle into the melee, striking with pinpoint accuracy and felling a foe with every missile.

And just like that it was over.

Every wound had been fatal.

There would be no wounded cries from the bandits.

The death dealing jester stood among the bodies with blood dripping from the swords that were emerged from his cloak. For a moment, he watched the blood dye the mud beneath him as if hypnotized by the discoloration.

The footsteps of his companions brought him to his senses. "…Dori, Gura…tend to the wounded." The jester said from under the shadow of his cap, his breath steaming in the chilly, damp air. When he heard no motion behind him, he turned to face his companions, who could not bring themselves to meet the gaze of their lord.

"I said tend to wounded!" He said a bit more forcefully. The twins trembled and huddled closer together, their effeminate figures identical but for the color of their eyes, purple for Dori and blue for Gura. It was Dori who managed to speak for the other.

"Th…there are no wounded my Lord…"

He didn't feel the blades slip from his fingers, nor the fall and moisture of his knees in the mud. He didn't feel the twins as they flung themselves around him, didn't feel their tears as they cried. Everything was cut out except for the image in front of him, burning itself onto his mind.

Beyond the ring of dead bandits lay the mother and her slain child. She was still on her knees, bent over the speared infant. But she had half a blade emerging out of her back…it had been driven up into her chest. Her hands still clutched the blade, even as her arms cradled the child.

It never changes…

Oboro opened his eyes sharply, panting with a sharp pain in his breast. He tried to sit up, but the weight of the twins and the bear skin blanket on top of them kept him from moving. Swallowing, he laid his head back and let the wind cool the sweat on his brow while he looked between the leaves at the moon above.

It's been a week since that day. He mused.

It was one among the many terrible things he'd witnessed and taken part in during his journey. He had originally set out to learn more of the world so that he might become a ruler worthy of his brother. Since that day almost a year ago, he had traveled quite far and learned a lot. Specifically, he learned how much he didn't know about the world.

I wonder if Brother felt like this… It was hard to live in these times, let alone govern. Oboro was once again reminded of the difference between him and his elder brother. How can I possibly replace such a man?...

Oboro felt the twins stir simultaneously in his arms. Looking down, he caught the two, gleaming eyes of his vassals peering up at him from under the bear pelt. He smiled a little as the two mirrored each other's actions, sitting up on their knees and cleaning the sleep from one eye while looking down at him while expressing concern in the lines of their faces.

Oboro wondered again if these two really did have a shared mind. They moved perfectly in sync with one another and seemed to be constantly aware of not only what the other was doing and where, but what they were thinking also. Often they spoke simultaneously as well.

"My lord, is everything alright?" They inquired at the exact same time.

Oboro nodded, sitting up and heaving a breath of steamy air into the cold night. The twins seemed uncomfortable as well without the warmth of the bear pelt. Oboro, with a soundless smile, stacked their traveling packs behind them to form a cushion that he could lean against. Reaching out, he pulled the pelt up and gestured for the twins to get back under it.

The twins looked at each other, giggled girlishly and quickly snuggling under his arms with their heads on his pectorals. With their help, the pelt was worked into an insulating shell to contain their body heat, quickly warming the three travelers. As their shuffling stopped, the three of them shared a look that spoke leaps and bounds about their relationships as Lord and vassals, Commander and subordinates, companions, friends and siblings.

Together the three had shared tears and laughter, been there to support one another no matter what. They had seen him at his best and his worst. They had scolded him when he needed scolding and praised him when he needed praising. They were as closely related to him as his arms were to his body. Through thick and thin, the twins had remained loyal and true at his side. For as long as he could remember, Dori and Gura had been with him.

With that spark of hope in his breast, he thought, I may not be able to be you, brother, but I think that with the three of us it might be possible to make you proud...

He embraced the two a bit more securely, drawing curious looks from his companions. They saw the way he looked to the sky and decided to remain quiet. Laying their heads on his chest with content smiles, following his gaze into the sky.

Well I hope you enjoyed this first chapter, I promise that the story won't be some emo-dark drama trip! Please let me know what you thought of my story, I strive to be a better writer and constructive criticism is always appreciated.