The moonlight passed through the trees. It was unusually bright tonight. Such conditions weren't good for the woman that had been scoping out a little village by the name of Mirell. Darkness was a trusted friend and ally. Without it, she would have a harder time completing her task.
The woman sat up on the branch of the tree and decided whether or not she should go ahead with her plan. It was risky, and she could be killed. Well, that was always the chance she took, but this time it was worse. They knew someone in the forest was making off with slaves so the guard had been called in. If she tried any of her stunts tonight, it would most likely be the end of her.
"Damn,” she groaned in a frustrated tone. “I don't think I can see any way of actually doing this without getting caught..." The woman sighed and ran her fingers through her long sea green hair.
How long had she been doing this anyway? Days seemed to run together. It must have been a few years. Yes, that was a good estimate. But what made her decide to risk life and limb for people she didn't know? It was really hard to say. All the pain and suffering she had seen, all the dried up tears in the eyes of her fellow kiranu. It was something that weighed heavily on her heart. But there was something more. There seemed to be something pulling her towards this destiny.
It wasn't something she could explain. It felt like strings. They constantly seemed to pull her in certain directions. It was almost as if someone was whispering to her, telling her what to do, where to go, who to help. But that was just silly. There was no one looking out for the Kiranu race. On this continent, there was just the Kiranu and their Masters. Sure, there were a few other races that made their home here too, but it was mostly humans and Kiranu.
She let out a sigh and got ready to jump down from the branch. She'd decided there was nothing she could do here. Why should she stay when there were other towns she could invade? But there was something that caught her eye.
There was some commotion in the town. Tsukura focused on things and narrowed her eyes. That's when she saw it, a young Kiranu couple. Things weren't going to work out well for them if she didn't interfere. Deep down, she was cursing this turn of events under her breath. It looked like she was probably going to die tonight. If that was how things worked out, then so be it. She couldn't just sit around and watch them get slaughtered.
Leaping from the branch, the Kiranu woman headed out towards the couple. The guards weren't likely to let them leave with their lives. She looked up into the air and noticed a few arrows headed towards the couple. She ran as fast as she possibly could and slammed into the woman before leaping away. The woman in turn, slammed into the man and the couple landed on the ground. The arrows pierced the ground just an inch away from them.
Both of them were stunned. They looked to the green haired woman who immediately started barking orders, "Don't ask questions, just get up and head for the forest! I'll hold them off!"
There was no time. The young man with the short silver hair and black ears grabbed the hand of the young woman with red hair and headed towards the forest.
The Kiranu's ears perked up as she heard something cutting through the air, more arrows no doubt. She watched as they fell in her direction and leaped out of the way at the last possible moment. She rolled to her feet and started heading for the tower the archers were perched on. It wasn't too high, perhaps two stories, if that.
"Commander, that's the one! That's the one I saw sneaking out of here with slaves!" the shout came from a young man staring through a telescope.
"Oh? So that's the one?" The captain walked over to the young man and snatched the telescope from his hands. As he looked through the glass, he spotted the woman making her way towards the tower. Truth be told, he had expected something different from all the stories he had heard.
The old man let out a groan and tossed the telescope back to the young man. "What a pain. Capture the little beast."
"Capture? But Sir, she's stolen a lot of slaves from their owners. We can't possibly allow her to live. And what about the couple that ran off into the forest?"
"We don't have much of a choice."
The young man still didn't seem to understand. "But Commander…"
Another young man stepped over to the one who kept asking questions. He leaned over and whispered into the gentleman’s ear so the questions would cease.
"What? You're serious? That's the one?!" He was surprised, but sighed and nodded, "I understand."
"Good, then get to it." After giving his orders, the Commander watched as his young men headed out to try and capture this beast. He let out a light mutter, "Let's see how well this is going to go..." With that, he headed down after his men. By the time he reached them, his men had surrounded the woman. Their blades were all drawn, and those who had been trained in the way of the spell were ready to bring up barriers to help their fellow soldiers.
The commander smiled, and walked up to the woman. He didn't waste any time, but waiting wasn't really his style. "So, you're the one that's been stealing away the slaves here in Mirell? I must say, I'm very disappointed with my team for allowing you to get away with such nonsense. Now, normally I would allow my men to rip you limb from limb. But it seems that luck is on your side...Tsukura..."
Her eyes widened as she heard him speaking her name. How did he know who she was? This didn't bode well. She took a step back but felt a blade pressed against her back. Tsukura suddenly felt her blood rushing, but she couldn't show weakness. That was positively out of the question. If they sensed any sort of fear, they would attack without question. So, Tsukura just gave him a confident grin and placed a hand on her hip. "Well, I must say I didn't think I had made such an impression. But you'll have to forgive me, I don't remember us being properly introduced."
The old man just grinned, "Yes, you're quite right. I'm Commander Greve. I work for the Azarian army."
"Ah yes, Azaria. I've heard that's the worst possible place for slaves. Don't you worry I'll make my way there once I'm done with you and your men."
Commander Greve held up his finger and moved it left and then right. "Tisk tisk, and here I was going to offer you a ride to that fine Kingdom."
Tsukura's hand dropped from her hip as she looked at the commander. Something was fishy. "What do you mean?"
"Oh? You mean you have no idea? You're a wanted person, Tsukura. The King of Azaria has been looking for you for some time."
"For me? Why?"
"The reason why he wants you is his business. We are just here to serve our King. You're more than welcome to turn yourself in. That would make things easy on everyone."
Tsukura smirked lightly, "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'll pick the time when I go and see your bastard of a King."
Commander Greve clenched his teeth, "Shut your mouth Kelt!"
Tsukura's eyebrow twitched, "Kelt?...Did you just call me a Kelt?"
The word Kelt, was one of the main racist terms for the race. It was common place for humans to call the Kiranu by this term when they became frustrated, or when degrading them. Most of the Kiranu people would let it roll from their backs. Yes, the word stung, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the other pains they endured. Unfortunately for Commander Greve, Tsukura wasn't someone who would let that term slide.
"I did, and I'll say it again and a million times over! I think you've gotten a little too big for your britches. I tried being nice, but since you want to be a little bitch about it, I'll take you to the King by force!"
Tsukura growled and unsheathed her claws, "Have at me then! I'll take you and your entire fleet down before I burn this village to the ground!"
"We'll see!" Commander Greve snapped his fingers, as he did the well trained soldiers rose their blades.
Tsukura quickly turned away from the blade that had been poking her in the back and slammed her claws into it. She was able to knock that blade aside with ease and reached out to grab the soldier. She pulled him close to her and turned around as his comrades came at them with their blades. Said blades ended up running the poor young man through while the spell casters chanted.
'Fire spells...They'll have to get me away from their comrades before they can use them...' Tsukura thought to herself as she let the now heavy body of the young man drop to the ground.
With her claws still extended, the woman began parrying and dodging attacks with the blades. Her white ears twitched lightly. She listened to their movements, and did her best to pinpoint the best times to strike.
Much to the surprise of the Commander, this Kiranu was actually good at what she was doing. She took down four of his men before a blade found her thigh. Even with the deep cut there, she just kept going. It was almost as if the rage fueled her. He had never seen such fire in one of these beasts. Sure, every once in a while one of them would get out of hand, but they were often subdued quickly. Those that managed to escape and were captured again looked as if they had seen death. Runaway's knew the beating they would get if they were caught again and returned to their Masters. Most of the time, if it was a rich family that reclaimed their runaway, it was put to death. They could always afford another one. The poor would often just give them a good beating. Slaves were abundant, but good slaves weren't cheap.
Commander Greve looked at the woman who now had a clear shot to the forest. But would she take it? "Heh, I hope you don't plan on just running away..." The Commander grinned and drew forth his blade. This Kelt was going down. He'd be sure to return her, but she wouldn't be in good condition.
"Why would I run? You'll just chase me. It's better if I stay and kill you all. Once I'm done, I'll burn your village to the ground. By the time anyone figures it out, this place will just be ash."
"You shouldn't make such threats unless you intend on carrying them out!" The old man shouted and dashed to Tsukura. His blade was raised up and came down at the woman. His soldiers went to help. Two of them came up to Tsukura while their Commander attacked. His blade was met with Tsukura's claws, while one blade from a soldier entered into her left arm, the other on her right.
The Commander grinned, he could see the pain on Tsukura's face. "You should just give up."
Tsukura looked from the Commander, over to both of the soldiers. "Sorry, but I can't do that yet. I've got better things to do." She sheathed her claws, allowing his blade to fall, but caught it again in her hands as he pushed down. The woman licked her lips and began concentrating on the energy within her body. As she did, the fur on her tail began standing on end while electricity crackled around her body.
"Let go! She's going to unleash a Lightning spell," shouted one of the soldiers.
"Too late," Tsukura snarled as she unleashed the spell. The bolts ran through the bodies of the Commander and his two soldiers. It was enough to make them drop to the ground, but not enough to kill them.
The remaining soldiers looked at Tsukura, their eyes filled with fear at such a beast and her power. It was unfathomable that a Kiranu would be able to learn such a spell.
"That's not a Kiranu! It's a monster!"
The soldiers cowardly started heading back for town, but Tsukura wasn't done yet. She ripped the blades from her arms and clutched them tightly as she followed. As they ran, she used this opportunity to cut them down. It was this commotion that stirred the people from their homes. Mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, women and men all left their homes while the children were instructed to stay back.
"What the hell is this?"
"It's a mad Kelt!"
"Well then let's kill it!"
The men grabbed what little weapons they could and headed out after her while the women stayed behind. Tsukura looked up at them, and the look she gave stopped most of them in their tracks. It wasn't a human look. It was cold, devoid of any emotion.
While they stopped, she advanced. Like the soldiers that had started fleeing in terror, so did the citizens. One by one, she cut down anyone that she could get her hands on. All the while, her voice rose above the shouts as she gave her demands. "Free them! Free your slaves or perish!!"
"We'll never give them up!" were the shouts that came back at her.
"Then you'll die, and I'll take them!" Tsukura shouted back.
Blood stained the streets and walls of buildings. Women ran back inside and tried to bar the door, but that didn't matter to Tsukura. She continued to kill, until the last man that opposed her fell to the red, muddy ground.
This was a massacre, and to think it had all been done by a Kiranu woman. This was too much, and those that remained were scared out of their minds.
Still holding the blades in her hands, Tsukura looked to the rest of the villagers. She pointed one blade in their direction. "Free them all now! Or I'll kill you and your children."
One of the few men that remained, though scared out of his wits, decided to comply. "Natasha!" As he shouted, a young Kiranu girl came from the house. She walked obediently to her Master, who promptly took her collar off and pushed her towards Tsukura. "Take her! Just spare my family!"
Those who remained looked at the man. They gathered up their slaves and released them all to Tsukura's care. Once she had them all, she instructed the slaves to leave. Tsukura's eyes seemed to grow more human as she took both the blades and slammed them into the ground. The woman turned and headed after the group before stopping and turning to the frightened people of the village. "Bury your dead."
That was the last word as she and the freed slaves headed into the forest. There was some chatter among them, but most headed off in different directions. They thought it would be better if they didn't travel in a group. More than likely, they were right to see the fault of being in numbers. Even still, a few remained. They followed Tsukura like children, seeking her guidance.
"Why do you still follow me?" Tsukura turned and looked at the small group. It consisted mostly of young adults, two lithe boys, one muscular male, a Kiranu woman who looked to be around twenty, and two small girls.
"Why shouldn't we? We have nowhere to go." The muscular man said as he looked to Tsukura. Truth be told, he was a bit torn. He was in awe at the skill this woman had, and at the same time ashamed that he had been saved by her. It was perplexing.
"You'll have to find someplace. You can't stay with me." Tsukura said defiantly. She didn’t take on freed slaves. Once they were free, they were on their own. There was always Bloody Forest, but there were so many rumors concerning that place.
"But, even though we are free, we have no home." Spoke one of the small girls.
"So? What do you want me to do about it?"
"Well, you have some great skills. Why don't you try to start a war?" The older male suggested.
The notion was preposterous! Start a war? Did they have no concept of how much manpower she would need? As it was, she had only set free a few slaves when compared to an army. They had no base of operations, no allies, no weapons other than claws and what few of them knew spells, nothing! "You just met me and you want me to start a war? Hah! You must have been the joker."
The muscular man scowled at the young woman.
"I freed you. My job is done. So head off and try not to get caught." Placing a hand upon her hip, Tsukura pointed off in another direction.
"Hmph...What good is it to free your people when they are just going to be caught again. But, if you're going to act so selfishly, even if you were to ask me now, I would not join you. Come on, we'll try to find somewhere safe."
With that word, the men and the rest of the group left, though they gave sad looks. It was as if they knew it was only a matter of time before they were caught again.
Tsukura grumbled and headed off through the forest. She was tired now, and thought her night was over. But that wasn't it. Surprisingly enough, she ran into the couple she had saved, the ones who threw her into this mess.
"Ah! It's her! Yujo, it's her," The woman shouted as she stood up.
Yujo, the man with silver hair, came rushing over. Before Tsukura could speak, he had grabbed her hands and was thanking her. Such an act made Tsukura feel uncomfortable, and she immediately pulled back.
"What the hell are you two still doing here?! You're going to get caught! Don't you understand that?!"
"We won't. Now that we are free, we will make sure that won't happen. But we had to thank you. You don't know what an opportunity you gave us!"
"I just saved you. I do that to a lot of slaves." It really was nothing personal in her eyes. She saw two of her kind in trouble, and she went to help. It was as simple as that.
"No, that's not it." The woman spoke up and looked up to Yujo.
Yujo nodded to her and looked back to Tsukura. "Kiki is right. You've done more than free us. You've given us a chance to raise our child. You've given us a chance to get away so that our baby won't have to feel the chains of bondage. That is the opportunity you've given us."
Tsukura's eyes widened slightly, "Pregnant? A...but...you don't look pregnant."
Kiki smiled, "I'm not very far along."
Yujo looked up, his ears twitched and a serious look swept over his face. "Kiki..."
Kiki looked to Yujo and nodded, "I hear it too." She looked to Tsukura, "People are coming. We can't wait here. We just wanted to thank you. Please, keep doing what you're doing. I think you can really make a difference."
With that, Kiki and Yujo headed off through the forest. Tsukura was left in a bewildered state as shouts became louder and louder. It seemed as if those humans were not giving up so easily.
It was strange, the events that had unfolded on this night. But she would have to think on this. For some reason, this group thought she could make a difference. Could she? It was possible. Normally, she wouldn't have considered this, but the pregnant couple, that's what got her. As she dashed deeper into the forest, gaining ground and cover. She had to wonder what life would be like for the Kiranu? What would it be like if they were free....