The plan was going off smoother than was originally anticipated, every one of the
pawns in this chess-match was performing as expected. Except one.
The Wildfire’s sister was putting up a shocking amount resistance against his troops.
Granted Brak’kat didn’t have the best control over them, but these had the Warlock’s full
attention. The girl was still defeating soldiers when they let their guard down for even an
"Interesting," Emperor Darr’rak murmurs as he receives yet another report of the
kidnapping attempt. "Are you sure this girl is not a Ronin, Zanaton?"
"Absolutely, Emperor. The only thing the girl shows is a sympathetic echo of Wildfire’s
power," Zanaton restates, wondering why the Dessanin Emperor kept asking such stupid
Emperor Darr’rak turns back to his report. Their attempts to capture the boy were
proving difficult. The boy was going to become a new host for one of his youja warriors,
provided they could capture him. "You’d best capture him, Zanaton. I want Talpa’s world for
mine, and I need my warriors."
In order to bring his most powerful warriors to the Netherworld they had to possess
another sentient creature. Dessans and dessan crossbreeds were difficult to possess,
they preferred human children.
Zanaton shrugs and indicates himself. "I don’t see why we need human children,
Emperor. If broken, half-breeds work fine."
The Emperor scowls. Zanaton loved pressing it that he had managed to posses a
half-breed; even though his host easily slipped his control when it wished to. However,
Dessanin half-breeds were fascinatingly powerful, given their mixed blood. The typical
examples were more powerful than their full blooded parent. But given his hosts blood-line,
Zanaton should be infinity more careful: Great power ran in both sides of its family.
Then one of his soldiers transmits an image of the battle, of course corrupted by the
phantoms limited sight capabilities. Most of the time it gave him absolutely no idea of what
was going on... This time, however, this girl stood out in sharp contrast to everything
around her like a lighted candle in total darkness.
"Interesting," he says once again.
The creatures herd Rahne and White Blaze into a corner. The tiger’s pale fur is dotted
with blood from dozens of small nicks and cuts; Rahne’s shoulder hurts like crazy, the
sleeve drenched with blood.
One of the things raises its katana for what it thinks will be the killing blow. Rahne’s
blade meets it. With a lighting fast vault she disengages; coming up under his guard,
slicing him through diagonally from hip to shoulder.
Rahne turns to meet another downswing, blocks it. There’s a brief jarring, then the
blade continues. Rahne dodges at the last second, the blade barely missing her. She
tosses away her now useless weapon. That thing’d sheared the blade off completely.
She risks a glance over at Yuli; the poor kid’s crying. Frightened for them. Rahne
backs up into her old position in the corner. She crouches; as if in defeat.
Slowly, so they won’t notice; she shifts her weight. She slips her feet under her so
they’re directly lined up with her hips. Only one chance at this, Babes! Make it a good
Rahne springs over the intruders heads and lands on Yuli’s bed. She grabs a handful
of his pajamas and yanks both of them backwards off the bed.
Get to the door...!! A bo strikes the back of her legs, Rahne feels her them start to
give out. She grabs the elastic waist band of Yuli’s pajama bottoms and a handful of his
nightshirt and tosses him out the hole she made in the door. She lands on the floor hard; a
coppery taste flooding her mouth.
"MIAYULIRUNFORIT!!" Rahne screams at the top of her lungs.
White Blaze pounces over Rahne’s prone form. The bo strikes. But all she feels is soft
fur and a grunt. The tiger’s dense muscles easily take a blow that would have crippled her;
and White Blaze immediately turns, pouncing on the soldier.
While White Blaze rips the soldier apart, Rahne grabs the bo as it falls. She had to get
herself another sword, or else she’d be dead before she’d get any help.
She charges another soldier, she brings the bo inside his guard, but he flips her over
his head. Glass painfully gives against the force of the throw. And suddenly she’s falling.
The gravel driveway rushes toward her.
Rahne manages to roll with the fall. Her breath cruelly driven from her lungs, gravel
flying up into the air as she skids painfully across the ground. Broken glass rains down all
around her, bouncing painfully off her.
Colored blotches flare across her vision as she gasps for breath. She shuts her eyes
and tries to summon the energy to move, run, anything.
When she opens them, a soldier is standing over her, his spear raised for the easy kill.
Rahne shuts her eyes again, mentally telling the guys how much she loved them.
The blow never comes.
She feels rough hands hauling her off the ground at a dead run. Hard metal presses
against her as someone in armor clutches her close, jarring her as he runs. Rahne opens
her eyes to a sea of deep blue armor, as the person runs she catches a glimpse of green
armor. She’s being held at an awkward angle; hands gripping her diagonally across her
shoulders and hips. Instinctively she tries to get a hand hold to steady herself, and finds a
ridged shoulder guard.
Her rescuer stops and lays her down on a small hillock. As he lets go, she finally gets
to see his face.
"Rowen?!" Rahne rasps, feeling light headed.
Her boyfriend smiles, caressing her face. He looks up and shouts something to
someone. Rahne passes out before she can find out who.
Rowen looks back down with dismay to see that she passed out.
"She okay?!" Sage hollers from where’s he’s covering Rowen. They’d gotten here at
the last moment. Mia and Yuli had already made it out.
Sage frowns as he warily checks for any troops who might want to end the "romantic"
moment over there.
Sage had gotten up into Yuli’s room just in time to see Rahne flying out the window.
He had been too late to save her from the fall, but he’d gotten do there in time to get rid of
"Yeah, I think. She looks like she’s been put through a blender..."
Sage glances back towards the main battle; they were doing a good job of taking out
the opposition. So far, he hasn’t had any even come at them.
"Oh my God!" Rowen hisses from behind him. Sage risks a look behind him. That cut
that first looked like it only involved her arm; actually extended all the way to the middle of
her back. Sage grimaces, then turns back to his job.
Rowen’s already out of his armor and taking off his shirt. He presses it against the
wound, pressing to stop the bleeding. She wasn’t in any danger, but he didn’t want to take
The battle is short but brutal. The Ronin’s didn’t take kindly to their home being
Sage and Mia check the wounded, which’s pretty much comprised of White Blaze and
Rahne. Yuli had a gouge on his leg from where the door caught him during his "flying
lesson", but a Band-Aid takes care of that.
As Sage helps Kento lift her in a way that won’t reopen the cut on her back, he’s
shocked at how much Rahne had done to protect Mia and Yuli. She took out a fair number
of soldiers. But most people couldn’t even hope to oppose them. And she did.
Light. It’s streaming through the window like a breath-taking waterfall. It’s morning.
Rahne moves to sit up, and immediately regrets it. Mia pushes her back down, then
replaces the covers over her. The covers brush and catch the rough gauze bandages that
cover her injuries. She’d just finished redressing her injuries.
"Stay down. The guys happen to check on you every now and then..." she tells her.
"And you’re not wearing a single thing above your waist."
"My T-shirt?" Rahne asks, surprised she even has a voice.
Mia helps her put on a T-shirt, tugging it over her head and easing it over injured areas.
Rahne gets a quick look at her bandage shrouded hands. They hurt something fierce,
which from experiences in rock climbing meant she tore them up pretty bad. She’d taken
her share of falls - though most of the injuries were rope-burns when she manages to stop
herself - so she knows it’s going to hurt for a long time.
Mia leaves for something. Rahne leans back on her pillows to relax.
She hated to fight like that. For fun, yes. Sparring with her friends, sure. But she was
no warrior! She feels unexpected tears spring to her eyes.
The bed shakes just noticeably. Rahne can feel every footstep, some worse than
others: Heavy footsteps. Door opening. Heavy RUNNING footsteps.
Rahne opens her eyes to see Kento bounding into the room, a look of relief on his
"Babes, you’re okay!" Kento grabs her up in a bear-hug. She gasps in pain as his
arms press against the ‘road rash’ and cut on her back. "Oh, JEEZ! Babes! I’m sorry,
Babes! Oh, God! I’m so sorry!"
Kento lets her go, Rahne leans back onto her pillows; the tears now of pain. Kento
rubs her arm, trying to apologize for hurting her.
Rahne shuts her eyes, trying to deal with the pain. Someone puts a hand on her
shoulder. She opens her eyes to see Sage standing over her, wearing a strange green and
white body suit of some type. He smiles at her and begins to rub the spot where the
katana cut her upper arm. At first the pain intensifies then it fades away until it’s only a
He unwraps her hands and holds them in his own. The pain fades, but this time she
can see what’s happening: the wounds are closing and healing extremely fast. He’s doing
this! He’s fixing my injuries... Finally Sage embraces her and the pain from where she
skidded across the gravel fades away too. Rahne can almost feel the cut on her back
closing. She lays her head on his shoulder as the dizziness and the maddening pain melt
away; and she feels blissfully sleepy.
Sage holds Rahne until long after she falls asleep from the effects of his healing
powers and lays her back down. He covers her up, and shuts the blind over the bed.
"She’ll wake up in a little bit, Kento," Sage states, ushering Kento from the room.
"But I wanna stay with-!" Kento protests.
Sage looks in his eyes, feeling more annoyed by the moment. "She needs to rest! She
can’t do that with you hanging over her!"
Kento leaves, still muttering protests and the occasional lewd comment about Sage’s
Sage leans against the doorframe for a few moments to discourage Kento from
returning. He glances back in to see her sleeping peacefully. She mutters something in her
sleep, then rolls over onto her side.
Sage ducks back into the room for a chair and then sits just outside the door. He
picks up his book from the table and starts to read again.
The hallway gets a little too quiet for this house. Sage doesn’t even bother to glance
up. "Cye, you’re not fooling me. Go away."
Cye peeks out of the room he ducked into, "Yes, Warden."
Sage goes back to reading. If I’m right, I’ll have Loverboy and Big Bad Brother here in
To his surprise the next attempted visitor is Kayura. She takes one look at him, and
smiles. "Cye told me you were playing sentry. May I see her?"
Sage crosses his arms over his chest, "Kayura, she needs rest! Absolutely no visitors
until she’s ready to wake up!"
Sage scowls as one by one, everyone tries to make a visit. He only lets Mia in so she
can check the dressings now that she’s on the mend.
Several hours later she wakes up, and she gets the whole story about the armors and
about the Dynasty.
Kayura, Cale, and Dais tell her about the battle from their points of view. Dais even
apologizes for stalking her.
She takes it rather well for someone who had this dumped on her.
Rowen takes her outside to watch the stars come out. Sitting on the hood of Mia’s
jeep, Rowen starts to identify the constellations for her.
"That’s Cygnus. It kind of makes a cross up there, see?"
Rahne nods and moves a little closer to him.
"Okay. Link the brightest stars up with the first two I showed you, and you have the
Rahne uses her finger to draw the triangle in the sky. "Oh! Cooool!"
Rowen wraps his arms around her and leans back on the hood. It was more
comfortable this way: they didn’t have to crane their necks.
He taps her shoulder before speaking again. "If I felt like getting my telescope out, I’d
show you the Ring Nebula. It’s in Lyra."
Rahne smiles at him, knowing his ribs still bothered him. He hadn’t let Sage use his
healing powers on him, so the ribs were taking their natural course. "What’s that one? That
really bright star way over by the eastern horizon?"
Rowen lays his head over to look to the east. "That’s Aldebaran. In Taurus. I’m really
surprised you can still see that in all the light pollution."
Rahne shrugs and shuts her eyes. She was feeling tired again. She yawns and sits
up. "You tend to adapt a little when you’re missing the normal hardware..."
Rowen sits up with her. He leans in close to her, and shuts his eyes. God, why does
he become more handsome when he’s about to kiss me? Rahne shuts hers and meets
him halfway. The kiss lasts for what seems like an eternity.
Sept 29. 6:00pm
Mia hurries with dinner, trying to placate a stomach she could almost hear rumbling
almost all the way from here. There had been another battle, and the guys had just gotten
"Where’s Rahne!? She said she’d would help!" Mia calls, wondering where she was
Ryo comes in instead to help with dinner. He grabs the hotpads and takes the roast
out of the oven. He begins to explain: "Rowen and Rahne are having a private conversation
"WHOA!! LIP-LOCK!!" they hear Sage shout suddenly, followed by a few cat-calls.
Mia smiles, and glances out the window to see them engrossed in their kiss; totally
ignoring the guys. "I guess so long as they behave."
"That had started out as an argument..." Ryo mutters under his breath.
A little bit a childish giggling emanates from the other room, then Kento starts
laughing. Mia peeks through the door to see Yuli playing with Kento. Yuli gives a whoop of
joy as Kento grabs him and spins him around.
"Stonecold Kento has him now!! The crowd goes wild!! WooHOOO!" Kento yells,
holding Yuli horizontally and spinning him around once more. Yuli lets out excited squeals
of laughter as the room flashes past.
Mia ducks back into the kitchen, hoping that Yuli would be calm enough to eat in a
few minutes, after Kento riled him up just now.
"Y’know, I don’t think we should leave you here when we go anymore. Cale said he
drove off several approaching bands of soldiers today."
Mia grimaces, they weren’t sure what or who they wanted. Once Rahne had tossed
Yuli out of his room during that first attempt; the soldiers had concentrated all their energy
on subduing Rahne and White Blaze.
"This’s done, Ryo."
Ryo carefully places the roast onto a platter and cuts it. "So’s the roast."
After dinner Cye suddenly announces that he’s going swimming. Rahne and Kento, as
typical, go with him; even though Kento still can’t swim.
Cye races his friends down to the water and dives right in. Rahne puts on a burst of
speed and cannonballs off the dock. Kento throws on the breaks and goes to the water’s
edge to wade.
The late afternoon sun filters down through the water; the water shimmering with
ripples of light. Cye shows Rahne all the fish he can call to him. He can see by the delight
in her eyes that she’s enjoying this. They go up for air and then dive as deep as they can
Cye tries to remember that his friend can’t hold her breath as long as he can. He
glances back at her. She’s keeping up okay so far.
Then something flashes by his vision. His back suddenly hurts like white fire.
Rahne grabs his wrist and starts kicking for the surface before he can react.
Something dark looking sits on the waters surface, Rahne kicks for it. It takes Cye a
moment to realize that it’s the off-shore diving platform he made.
Cye gasps as he hauls himself onto it while Rahne, who’s the better climber, vaults
right up onto it.
"What happened?" Rahne asks, massaging his back. Her hands feel startlingly warm
against his skin.
"Dunno." Cye breathes, looking down at the dock; trying to catch his breath. He
reaches around to feel his lower back. "Hurts like crazy though..."
Rahne furrows her brow, she hadn’t understood a word he just said. "Didn’t break the
skin. Probably just a cramp or a pinched nerve."
"Pinched nerve" ...oh shit! Cye brushes Rahne’s hands away, and calls on his armor.
As he pushes Rahne behind him, he hears laughing. "ZANATON! Come out, you creep!"
Kento paces back and forth on shore in full armor, watching this, but unable to get out
there. Neither of them are about to send Rahne across the water when there was a
Dynasty dork who could drown her with just a thought. But she was right out in harms way
Rahne can’t understand what’s being said, but she can just about taste Cye’s sudden
revulsion. Cye yells something, brandishing his yari in a direction that looks empty. On
shore she sees Kento suddenly the most furious that she’s ever seen him. Suddenly
there’s a boy there, floating in the air over the water.
Rahne knows it’s one of the things the guys are fighting; but he looks way too familiar.
Then she remembers... he’d been in the background of every nightmare she’s had recently.
The boy laughs and Rahne feels the back of her bathing suit start to rip as if two
invisible hands had grabbed it. Cye grabs her wrist and pulls her till she’s tight against his
armor. The rip immediately stops its descent. Rahne wraps her arms around Cye’s neck
and presses tight to him, forgetting decency.
The armor shifts as Cye takes a deep breath and yells something angrily again to the
boy across the water.
Cye suddenly turns and wraps his arms around her, and pushes both of them into the
water. Underwater he presses her face tight to his armor; to her surprise she can breath.
Like a whisper in her mind, she can hear Cye’s voice: * Keep your face right against my
armor, I can only extend my armor's influence just so far.*
Cye looks back up to see the platform explode into thousands of little pieces. An
unbelievably strong current rips him off his feet. He holds Rahne tighter as he feels her
start to panic. He whispers again using his armor’s power.*It’s okay, it’s only Kento. He’s
getting rid of our uninvited guest.*
He takes both of them to shore, and carefully out of the water. Rahne’s face is pale
with barely controlled fear. Cye’s armor disappears under her arms, and he rests his
forehead against hers, visibly shaken. He lets go of her and helps her to shore.
"Didn’t get the bastard!" Kento rumbles, as he jogs up to them.
Kento immediately turns her around so he can check her back. With a snarl more felt
than heard he wraps a bath sheet around her shoulders. He too looks shaken, his face
ashen with a mixture of disgust and anger.
That had gone way too far.
Kento runs upstairs, he needed to get away. His anger had passed the controlling
point. He throws himself onto his bed and punches his pillow until he has that urge out of
For God’s sake, I nearly hit Yuli! Kento thinks disgustedly. He stares down at his
enormous hands and feels ill. He was too strong and too big to hit anyone smaller than he
is. But then his temper had snapped.
Zanaton and his goons were after Rahney now. He isn’t sure what’s worse: His anger,
Rahne means more to him than just a friend, she had passed that point a while back.
She was like a sister to him.
Zanaton had tried to satisfy some perverted fantasy out there. Only the Torrent Armor
had saved her from that humiliation.
He remembers how she had looked, unconscious and bleeding in Rowen arms.
His imagination goes on overdrive on all the "What if?" questions floating through his
All the blood that was smeared on his arms as he carried her into the house rises
unbidden to his mind. Her back had looked like raw meat, it had been torn up so bad by
skidding across the gravel driveway.
White Blaze had bitten Ryo as he had tried to treat his injuries. Sage and Mia had
been busy, so he’d bandaged his arm. It had turned his stomach then, when he saw how
deep the bite wound had gone.
Kento hiccups, his breath tasting foul, and tries to relax.
Kento’s stomach suddenly rebels against him. He rushes to the bathroom; trying to be
quiet about it. He leans over the jon, shutting his eyes tight. When he’s finished, he sits on
the floor; and tries to calm his upset stomach. He wishes for once that he didn’t eat so
much. Blood didn’t usually bother him, but today had been different.
He feels stupid: he was supposed to be the Warrior of Strength. That wasn’t anything
close to the definition.
"Kento? It’s Cye." His best friend looks at him worriedly from the door.
"If yer wondering if I’m okay, the answer is no."
Kento gets up and brushes past Cye to get something for his stomach, avoiding the
kitchen at all costs.
Dark greenish clouds blot the sky, turning the land dark looking. The land is eerily
quiet and the sense of danger almost palpable.
The Ronin Warriors lead the group as they walk towards the unknown danger in front of
them. This time though, they have non-fighters to watch out for as well.
Rowen moves closer to Rahne, Mia, and Yuli. He doesn’t like having them here; it
raised the stakes too high for his taste. Yuli reaches up and takes Kento’s hand. Poor
kid’s been scared out of his head since they tried to grab him. Kento squeezes his hand
gently in reassurance. He looks ahead to see Rahne fingering the grip of the single jitte
Kayura loaned her; very similar to the ones the Kayura herself had once carried.
Kayura adjusts her grip on the Ancient’s Staff, she had felt a brief flash of truly evil
intent a few minutes ago. It had felt like someone was laughing at them. They were after
Rahne now, but that could only mean in addition to Yuli.
In a burst of steam and flying rock soldiers explode right out of the ground.
Kayura spears one with her Staff, while glowing webs of energy lance out in all
direction from Dais.
Rahne pushes Mia and Yuli back away from the fight, slashing soldiers daring enough
to attack them.
Ryo’s blades dart through the air, leaving a path of carnage in his wake. His armor
sizzles as his foot encounters a small puddle.
The no-datchi shimmers in the air as Sage begins to unleash his Thunder Bolt Cut.
Rahne shields her eyes, trying to keep the light from them so she can fight. She’s
surprised when Mia spins in a tight pirouette, clubbing then slashing a soldier intent on
Cye and Kento take on a whole group of soldiers hacking their way through them like
they were mowing grass.
Arrows rain down all around. Rowen turns and uses his bow to take down an
approaching soldier. He lunges over to his girlfriend and yells: "Get ‘em outta here! GO!"
He could see the overwhelm tactic at work here again.
She pushes Mia and Yuli towards the empty area Cale just cleared for them with his
Black Lightning Slash.
This was getting bad! Soldiers pour after them. The ground quakes a little as bolts of
energy flash from Kayura’s Staff.
Rahne pushes Mia and Yuli faster. Close quarters combat wasn’t what she needed
She brushes her little finger across the jitte’s hilt. The blade flashes, then jumps to its
There’s that sense of danger again.
Rahne lunges forward to meet the soldier head on. She leaps, her blade slashing
under her body in a figure eight pattern. There’s a burst of dark steam and the soldier
The ground suddenly leaps up to meet her as sparks from something fly. Kayura half
lands on her; thrown backward by the axes downswing.
The girls climb to their feet, never taking their eyes off the soldiers.
The soldier wielding the huge battle axe circle them. Kayura makes a sweeping
gesture to Rahne.
They charge, Kayura ducks under the youja’s guard, while Rahne leaps over him.
He falls to the ground in pieces.