He had been dreaming of a world better than this, no empire, no tyranny and no oppression, and having children with his girlfriend, Helyna, and being able to raise them without the looming dark cloud of imperial enslavement. He had also been having nightmares about his dark past, and the things he had done to get his younger brother to safety. Terrible things had been done both to him... and by him. He had been experimented on by an imperial named Kazir, who's blood was mixed with Rakurai's own, giving him the powers of an ice Descendant. He ran from them every waking minute. He had thought about ending his life, drowned in his own regrets - until he met Helyna, who gave him the strength to carry on. But, even today, his mind travelled back to revisit those dark moments, as if his conscience was trying to torture him. He smiled sadly at the thought, the daylight sunbeams breaching the ruins that formed Rakurai's 'home', reflecting off of his green eyes and black hair.
Rakurai sat up in his makeshift bed as he awoke, quickly, they way one does when having a nightmare. Then as he looked around and familiarized himself with his surroundings, he realized that the nightmare is what he had just awoken to. His home and refuge in Hikari, the City of Light, now a city of ashes. He began to piece the shards of his shattered dream together.
He turned his head sporadically, scaninng the broken 'house' of signs of Helyna. He relaxed for a moment, allowing time for his cognitive functions to smarten up (he had literally just woken up, after all). Then he remembered. Even if he was still asleep, Helyna would always go to the church (ironically the least destroyed building in the city) and tend to the injured inhabitants. Everyone who lived here was either orphaned when Hikari was leveled to the ground by the imperials eleven years ago, or were sent here by parents who caught onto the imperial scheme quickly enough to safely evacuate their kids to Hikari. What they didn't count on was it being leveled to the ground. There wasn't a single person here who was older than sixteen. But God knows, some, like Rakurai and Helyna, had the demeanour of someone much older. They had to. He pulled on his Narga X armour and ran to the church.
As Rakurai walked into the church, he stopped in the doorway. He had seen it this busy before, but never had he seen so many grievous wounds in one place. Perhaps in the world before the empire, it would have been abnormal for such young people to go hunting. But one has to eat.
"It hurts," one of the children moaned.
"I know, sweetie, but you're just gonna have to bear with it, okay?" Helyna's silky smooth voice responded. Rakurai glanced to his right slightly to see Helyna in her red silk dress (she had found it among the ruins of Hikari Castle). Her long, flowing brown hair (that reached down to her hips) was tied back by a small but pretty black bow, so that it didn't get in her way while she tended to her patients. Her cyan eyes always made Rakurai think of the sky. Every time he saw her, he smiled fondly. She made him so happy. Among the ruins of years passed, his brother and Helyna were the only things he truly loved. Finally, Helyna became aware of Rakurai's presence in the doorway of the church when he stabbed his Shadow of the Moon into the floorboards, and came rushing toward him, a bright smile on her face. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he locked his arms around her waist, the pair of them leaning in for a kiss. They pulled away a little to give each other space. Rakurai had almost immediately fallen in love with her when they first met. But at the sensitive age of eleven, who really has the courage to tell somebody that? Of course, all that changed when she kissed him as he was about to break inside. She had saved him from himself. And he loved her for it."It's busy today," Rakurai mused, stroking Helyna's hair after she untied it.
"Yeah, it sure is. But luckily for me, my shift's over. It's Tsanji's turn now," Helyna chirped, cocking her head to behind her, where Tsanji had begin to take over, her white robes a calming presence for the distressed patients, although nobody had the maternal instincts of Helyna.
"That's good," Rakurai replied. He was a man (well, not a man per se, but he had to act like one) of few words. He always had been. At least for the three years that Helyna had known him. She moved a lock of Rakurai's bushy, spikey black hair out of his eyes.
"I brought some Narga meat back from my last hunt. It has to be shared amongst the others... but... I have enough for just us two. We can have it later at home, if you'd like," she said softly, as if she was tiptoeing around him. He leaned in briefly to kiss her on the forehead.
"Thanks. That's sounds perfect."
"It's just that I know we haven't spent alot of time together lately and -" she said hurriedly, as if explaining herself to a superior, before Rakurai put a gentle finger to her lips to silence her. He took it away after a couple of seconds.
"It's fine," he stressed, laying his hands on her shoulders. "You don't have to explain yourself to me, I'm not going to berate you about it. You have a job that requires dilligence and dedication. That's okay. I love you, Helyna. I'm not going anywhere."
"..Thanks. That means alot to me."
"And you mean alot to me," Rakurai said, picking up his Shadow of the Moon. "Anyway, I'm on hunting duty today. I'll be back for that Narga meat though," he said, almost teasingly, running out of the church doorway and to the city walls.
Rakurai met up with his hunting team at the city gate (or what was left of it). He lead his team, who were also his closest friends: Keiin, the lightheaded one in the group, wearing Jinouga armour and hammer, Shien, the cool and calculated one, wearing Raviente armour and Great Sword, Zwei, the headstrong one and the most battle-wise hunter in the group (other than Rakurai), sporting (Black) Fatalis armour and Long Sword, and Arashi, Rakurai's energetic younger brother, who wore Silver Sol Armour and wielded the Wyvern Sword 'Camelia'. Rakurai stood at the head of the group.
"So, leader, what're we hunting this fine day?" Kiien asked casually.
"A Barioth," Zwei said coldly, stading apathetically in his pace.
"Sounds like fun, right bro?" Arashi said, buzzing with excitement.
"Logic would debunk your theory of this being 'fun' in the most vigorous manner possible," Shien snorted.
"Yeah, thanks for the pep talk, smartass."
"Enough. Save the aggression for the Barioth," Rakurai snapped coldly, walking ahead. He was all-business when it came to hunting.
Keiin, Shien, Zwei and Arashi followed Rakurai slowly away from their fortress of rubble and dust, hunting for tonight's meal.
To Be Continued in: Fate and Freedom II: Hunting the Ice Fanged Wyvern