Boredom can do wonder to my inspiration. This late night shift I bring you the first chapter (and perhaps the only - I suffer from Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
severely) of my next insane crossover fic.
Wind: A Breath of Heart
x Mount and Blade: Sword of Damocles.
What will happen if Kazune City
and the ruthless Imperial Legion
exists in the same continuity? Will the Imperial Legion's Hastati, Principes and Triarii invade this idyllic Japanese town and destroy it like they did the five kingdoms of the old continent? Or will a hero take up the sword, rise to the challenge, rally the people, raise an army and show the multiverse that the Imperial Akoulouthoi and Hospitalers die as easy as any other mortal man?
Chapter 1: From the Kingdom of Aden to Kazune City
Many years ago, in a land far, far away...
A single ship, sails full open and rowing hands frantically oaring away, was hastily leaving port. Looking back, there was nothing behind it but destruction, some by the crews' own hands, some by their enemies. The pier was dilapidated and half-sunken. The warehouses was torn apart by large boulders launched from large war machines, whatever ruined remains of it burning profusely. Littered along the coast were the dead bodies of those too weak to run away from their enemies' blades, or those with admirable bravery and honor who stood back to hold back the tide of their foes. That they succeeded, if giving up their lives so that their compatriots could escape would at all count as success.
As the ship left the port, silence permeated the ship's upper deck and lower cabins alike. Free from the hot pursuit of their foes and finally having a moment to catch a breath, now was the moment such emotions as sorrow, sadness, anguish and hatred to sink in, emotions strong enough to silence even the most toughened veteran. Aside from sobs and gritting teeth from those crewmen who could not hold in their emotion, the entire vessel was so quiet, one might well mistake it for a ghost ship. The Proud Kingdom of Aden, home of every crewman and a name so sacred to their tongue, now lay in ruins, as were the other four nations on that hectic old continent they once called home.
Just a month ago the Adenians had every right to be proud of their unmatched cavalry tradition. Theirs was an army of fine men and steeds clad in iron and steel from top to toe, who at the order of their king would charge into battle with helms down, shields up and lances couched, shredding through every and all enemies. Their Paladins of the One, symbol of everything an Adenian ever stood for, from their mighty steed, their long lances to their zealous devotion in the One, would ride in the forefront of the formation, and with their lances and faith bring divine judgement to all those who ran afoul of their sacred nation. With that army and tradition, for many centuries the Kingdom of Aden remained the most powerful nation on the continent, believing that never would they ever succumb to the bitterness of defeat...
And then they came - the Imperial Legion Expeditionary Force. Nobody knew their exact homeland, except that such homeland must be an empire larger than one's wildest dreams. Nobody knew how they found out about the continent, except that such discovery must have been seen as no less than a huge opportunity to their kind. Nobody knew how they could muster so many men, except that their men were well-trained, loyal and utterly fearless.
But there was one thing everyone knew. After the Imperial Legion landed on that fateful day, they would ravage across the continent with the ruthlessness and number of a locust swarm. The will of their leader, the Imperial Legate Gaius Marius, was the law, and that law dictated them to conquer the continent at whatever cost, so that their red banner and their golden eagle standard would rise atop every castle, village and city in the realms.
And so they waged a total war. Wherever they went, armies were scattered. Whenever they besieged, cities fell. Whoever they fought, they would triumph with the sort of ease as a beast besting a man in a contest of strength. And the Adenians were no more fortunate than their neighbours in resisting this swarm.
For the first and last time, the famed Adenian cavalry charge failed, being stopped dead in their track by the sheer thickness of the Legion's line and then hacked to pieces by their short swords, especially designed to work in such close quarters. Aden's proud nobles died in droves that day, those fortunate enough to survive were taken prisoners only to be executed soon thereafter. Certainly, they put up a fight worthy of the swan song of a proud military, but what use is a swan song of a few hundred when their enemies numbered to tens of thousands?
Prince Korneim Whitemoon stood on the deck, accompanied by his loyal strategy advisor as usual, his face stoic and emotionless. Perhaps "stoic" was not right an expression, for the inner working of his mind was probably to stoicism as being dead was to sleeping. Anger, sorrow, even disappointment... all were well making a home in his heart even as he stood.
But he could not afford to lose heart now. Over a hundred men, fighters and sailors, were watching his every move. If he would give in to his emotion and surrender to it, his men would no doubt lose heart in their cause. His eyebrows, thick and sharp as typical of an Adenian royalty, furrowed as he struggled with his own emotions to maintain his face.
None of this escaped the vigilant sight of his one-eyed loyalist, whose physical loss was compensated by his near-boundless wisdom.
"My liege," the loyal advisor finally said. "It is late. You should get some rest."
"How long until we arrive in Calradia?"
The prince asked back, his voice uncharacteristically firm and decisive. Just like his father before him, the advisor thought.
"No later than three months if we follow our due course," he answered. "Then again, the way from Aden to Calradia is quite perilous and we might be slowed down any moment owing to unfavorable wind or other events..."
Korneim's mouths jammed shut as he looked towards the sea before him, letting the evening breeze flowing freely through his mass of ginger hair.
"All the more reasons for you to rest, my liege," the advisor again pleaded. "You cannot afford to abuse yourself now, when the hopes of our entire people rests solely on your shoulder."
"As if I can rest any more," Korneim sighed. "Since Father passed away before my eyes, I believe never again I can sleep."
"We shall have revenge some day, my liege, that I swear on my life and honor," the advisor said, looking straight into the prince's eyes as he spoke. "And for that, you have to take care of yourself."
"Take care of myself?" "And who took care of my sister when she needed help the most?"
Korneim's question stunned the advisor as his only eye sagged down for a split second.
"There is nothing more we can do at that point, my liege," he said, his voice regretful. "Our cause is a long and hard struggles, and sacrifices must be made."
"Sacrifice? What sacrifice are we speaking of here?" Korneim exclaimed, having lost his calmness momentarily. "You and me, we both could have saved her! She had absolutely no reason to... to..."
"And both you and me knew there was no way we can save her from that crumbling cathedral," the advisor retorted, his voice stern and severe. "Not with the damned Legion literally behind us! And not when the fate of our entire people is laid on our shoulders, a responsibility we can never throw away at any cost and for any reason!"
Korneim did not answer, but for a little gargling noise in his throat that only the advisor could make out to be a quiet, but severe curse.
"For all I know, my liege, Princess Bela Whitemoon had done everything she could for the Adenian Kingdom," he continued. "She had lived and died like a saint and shall be remembered as such for as long as any Adenian among us draw breath."
Taking a short pause, the advisor finally said after the prince's expression had calmed down somewhat.
"The One shall light her path to salvation, as will He guide us towards the renewed glory of our kingdom," he concluded. "I am sure of it."
Kazune City, Japan, some time in the early 2000s.
The city was as unique as it was remote. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea on one, apart from occasional visitors and supply convoys as any middling city would warrant, the city was entirely self-contained.
Perhaps that was also why its secret never got out. In this city, every single person would be gifted with some sort of supernatural power. Some could jump exceptionally high. Some could foretell the future with at least some remarkable accuracy. Other still could create solid smoke, or other abilities ranging from plain curious to utterly breaking the rules of physics.
Somewhere in that curious city, lived a young man and his sister, whose parents both were missing for some unspecified reason. Somewhere else, a lone girl who barely spoke to anyone spent her days tending to a small antique shop that sold everything under the heavens and then some.
It was a day like any other when, perhaps out of innocent curiosity, Makoto Okano paid a visit to Hikari Tsukishiro's antique shop after school. Not that he could buy anything - financial constraint being one, and the fact that both seller and products are most oftenly too creepy for his liking. Like a pitch black gourd that was mindfully advertised to be able to suck your soul dry. Or a sword used to decapitate 1000 youkais. Or the like, all advertised with her creepy, monotone voice that frightened as much as it bored people.
Perhaps, Makoto thought, that was why nobody ever bought anything from her little shop. Either way, he was just here to browse her stuffs to satisfy his own curiosity, all the while keeping his distance from the more dangerous items.
"Stay away from that table."
There was a certain sharpness in Hikari's otherwise emotionless voice that sent a cold chill up the unsuspecting high school boy's spines as he quickly tuned to face the unhelpful shopkeeper.
"I swear, I never touched anything," he stammered awkwardly, as though caught red-handed shoplifting.
Hikari's one word answer did not quite quench the young man's curiosity. Quickly stealing a glance at the aforementioned table, he saw a single object - a small, leatherbound volume that smelt of old paper and ink. If it was of this world at all and not some sort of rumored grimoires of cosmic horrors elsewhere in this universe, it must have been quite old. There was no label to it, not one he could read, to be exact, except for a rather crude painting of what would appear to be a mailed knight atop a horse, like one of those medieval manuals of war only old men would care about.
"What is it actually?" he asked out, knowing that Hikari will answer, however monotonous her voice was. She never failed to answer such enquiries, if only to weird people out, something she was quite adept at.
"It is a book."
A surprisingly dull and patently unhelpful answer.
"I know it's a book," Makoto shook his head. "What I want to know is what that book is
"Don't touch it."
Again Hikari repeated like a parrot, in the same uninspiring voice.
"Because you can't."
That was the nearest equivalent Makoto could get to a solid "no" from an emotionless girl like Hikari. At which point, he realized his wisest course of action was indeed to do as she said.
Makoto continued loitering around the shop for a little while, but his interest was lost. Before long, he bid farewell to the shopkeeper, who, continuing her usual way, replied with but a nod.
It was only when he had left that Hikari finally left her counter, walked slowly up the isle towards that particular table, picked up the volume, and, in a rare display of emotion, cradled it close to her bosom.
"Aden," she murmured. "Will I ever see you again?"
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