A/N: This story is original and the property of me (AschNighthawk). If anybody copies my work, I will consider you to be rude, lazy, and a cheater. I will also report to an Admin if I find out. Please, pull your own weight and create stories on your own. Also, I would like as much constructive criticism as you can give me. Thanks! Here it goes-
Warm rays of sunlight fell upon the stream, lighting it with millions of dancing sparkles. The rhythmic scrape of clothes across the washboard blended neatly with the soft singing of the crickets. A gentle breeze blew past the woman, stirring her wavy auburn hair. Brushing it behind her ears, she sat back and stretched, soothing the cramped muscles in her shoulders. Squinting into the suns, she gazed towards the towering mountains that marked the boundary between Chrysál and Argentad. With a sickened feeling, she hastily suppressed the gristly images that rose to the forefront of her mind.
The two neighboring nations were at war. After centuries of peace, the Argentadi King, Omnituens Regis IV, declared war against the Chryslin, claiming that their Emperor, Orion Vasiliko, had sent a skilled young man to bring upon him and his family the final gift: death. The previously peaceful mountain passes were now stained, by the constant spill of blood, a deep red. All able-bodied young men were called to the battlefield to help fend off the vicious attack from their former friends. Every woman was strained with worry and tension, fearing the day that the messenger would come, bearing the dark news of their husbands, lovers, sons, or brothers death.
Waiting was painful in its own way. Every being left behind was sometimes sucked deep into thought, imagining the worst. The housewife was no different; her son, barely eighteen, had left to seek glory and victory, like so many others. For the second time that day, her mind procured bloody images of him being cut down by a sword wielding Argentadi. The vision itself was vivid enough to be real, the crimson blooming on his chest, surprise and pain etched forever on his still-childish features, the heavy thud as his body hit the ground. This time, however, she was jerked harshly back to reality by a sound from behind. Brushing the salty tears from her browned cheeks, she turned apprehensively as another sharp crack rang through the air. Flimsy sticks from the overgrown forest were being broken by a clumsy tread.
Clutching her skirt in one hand, the woman reached down and pulled a long, wicked looking scaling knife from the folds of cloth. Silent and cautious as a deer, she approached the lively trees. Another snap broke the silence, closer than the last, and soon the labored breathing of another human could be heard. The first thing to emerge was a mud-caked boot, followed shortly by the rest of the man's body, along with an abnormally large sword. It rose up to his shoulder, the blade itself a meter and a half long. The wickedly gleaming metal had been crafted with an expert eye, and looked as though it held within it an unearthly silver light. Compared to the massive weapon, its wielder looked insignificant and feeble. His clothes were a plain, uniform black, with a long, open-fronted coat falling all the way to his ankles. A worn eye patch covered his left eye. He appeared to be just around the woman's son's age, younger than twenty. She was encouraged by his incompetent profile, and in a flash had the knife at his throat.
"Don't move an inch, or I will not hesitate to use this." At her sudden appearance, the young man froze, his hand tightening on his gleaming sword, but he didn't test her resolve, staying as he was. "Good, now drop the sword, please. Slowly." Compliant, he unclenched his had and let the magnificent blade fall to the ground, then slowly kicked it away from himself.
"Sorry, I did not intend to run across anyone, ma'am." He said with true regret for frightening the poor woman. Looking into his face, she saw the sincerity of his words, but did not deem it safe enough to relax her arm.
"Why have you come here then, you filthy Argentadi?" The venom in her words was apparent.
He was taken aback by this question. "Argentadi? I'm not from Argentad." He slowly began to move his arm up. Seeing his action, she pressed her knife into his neck, drawing a drop of blood.
"Don't move!" His limb halted in its gradual journey, and he took a shuddering breath, blinking drops of blood from his silvery eye.
"I am just trying to clear my vision." He said, as more blood trickled down his face. It was this simple statement that brought to the woman's attention the man's injury. A small gash glistened just above his eyebrow, trickling blood into his good eye. A dripping sound also caught her attention. Looking for the source of the dripping, she saw the crimson pool forming on the hard packed earth. Alarmed, she examined the young man more closely. The front of his tunic was saturated with blood, and his arm was pressed tightly against his chest, trying to slow the bleeding. He also had various other cuts and bruises covering his body.
"Gods above!" She exclaimed, dropping the knife and anxiously removing his ripped shirt. His chest had been parted from his collarbone diagonally all the way to his right hip. The wound was deep enough that the woman could just make out glimpses of white bone. "Gods above!" She cried out once more, "How have you been able to stand, much less walk?" He grinned at her.
"Haven't really been able to. I was using that." He gestured over to his abandoned sword. At the movement he doubled over and clutched tighter to his wound, falling to his knees. She knelt beside him.
"Hold on, I'll get you some proper care. Just don't die before you get to my house, you hear me?" Ripping strips from her apron, she quickly made a makeshift bandage, wrapping them tightly around his unresisting torso.
"I won't, I promise." Despite his brave words, the man's voice was noticeably tremulous as he spoke. Looking fearfully up at her, he searched for reassurance.
"Shhhh. Don't worry, I won't let you die." Gazing down at him lovingly, she sought to ease his emotional pain, at the very least. The corners of his mouth curved up in a tiny smile, as his body wracked with another bought of pain. The uncanny, yet beautiful silver eye looked beyond her and up into the azure sky. With a sigh, his eye fell shut, and he fell into a deep and oblivious sleep. His expression relaxed as he once more became a clumsy toddler, playing among the butterflies of his home.
A red haze layered over his mind, preventing any rational thought. He registered the great emptiness that Kurayami, his sword, usually filled. Panicked by it's absence, he tried to search for it, but he wasn't able to lift even a single eyelid. Eventually, he fell back into a exhausted, dreamless sleep.
When he next woke, the young man was more aware. Someone unfamiliar was standing over him, feeling his forehead. After a moment, the cool object was removed and voices spoke from a great distance away.
"The fever has broken. He's no longer in danger of accepting the Reaper's call. I'll be back tomorrow to check on him." Somewhere, a door opened and closed, then all was silent, except for his own, rasping breath and the quieter breathing of the person left in the room. A tug at the back of his mind brought him to consider an even more important matter. Where was Kurayami? He could tell that the blade was nearby, but where? Stretching his senses to their limit, he finally found it propped in the corner of the room. It was sheathed, so its presence was faint, but it was there. Content, he let the Dream Lord claim him once more.
The other man was back again. His strict and professional presence hovered over the now conscious man. Blearily, he opened his eye and was met with unfocused, fuzzy images. After blinking a few times, the blobs started coming into focus. There was a tall, gray haired man leaning over him, studying something lower on his body. Just behind the other man a woman was hovering. Where am I? What happened? Who were these people? He slid his eye even farther beyond the others and spotted it. Kurayami. He thought with satisfaction, glad that its presence hadn't been another dream. A movement in the corner of his eye brought his attention back to the aging man. The man straightened up and surveyed his patient. Catching the young man's eye, he moved to the head of the bed.
"Welcome back to the world of the living. Can you speak?" Concentrating, the young man focused on his mouth and tongue. After a bit, he accomplished his goal.
"Sorta." It came out slurred, and slightly difficult to understand.
"Good. What's your name?"
"Yukimura Takehashi." This attempt at speech was a little better, but still slurred.
"Okay, then, Yukimura, what country do you hail from?"
"I was raised in Shusshia, but I'm Eruvan." The words that came out were near perfect.
"Eruvan? Is that one of the native peoples?" Confusion was apparent on his face. "In any case, it appears your memory is intact. Just follow Misses Kaitlin's instructions, alright? I'll be back again tomorrow." He headed for the door, but paused with his hand on the nob. "By the way, I'm Doctor Alexander Haughline. Pleasure to meet you, Yukimura."