Before you read the first chapter, please note my writing gets better in later chapters, so no chopping my head off. Furthermore if you have feedback, by all means share, but be constructive.
Chapter I: Prologue
Author’s note: I’ve taken the draft of my book, and I’m rewriting it in hopes to make it better. Add details, but most of all, edit in parts that I wanted in. However, it also meant throwing things out that did not work. As always, Blackrose, Dante, and characters herein are mine, stealing them or any ideas are not allowed.
Rated Mature: For violence/gore, language, and adult themes. So if you object, turn away now!
On the planet of Ervere, catpeople, humans, and vampires exist. However, for one warrior, things will push him to his limit. Will he face the path set before him, or back down?
While a young man was reading something written on a parchment, he looked up at the two milky white moons and gave a light sigh of what could be regret. “Mother, I knew this day would come.” The thought rattled in Dante’s brain while he looked up at the full moons. Emotions on the subject seemed to be void to the warrior as he got lost in a memory of the last time he and his mother and mentor shared about his business that brought him to this land, and his secret.
As he packed his fighting gear, a woman was in another room sipping tea. He was really going, then… “Dante! Come here, have some tea with me, before you… go.” Her voice dropped on the last word. She didn’t like to think of Dante on his own… oh, she had trained him for that, but reality was always so much harsher than one expected. She was worried for him, pure and simple, it was not an easy life he’d chosen…
He wheeled in, but knew from her face that she wasn’t happy with the thought of him going off to an unknown land. “Mom, I’ll listen but…” he said as he poured tea.
“I just… I want to know… I mean…” She sighed and shook her head before trying again, “You know things will be hard, right? I know I can’t stop you, even though I might like to… I just feel you don’t really know what you’re getting yourself into!”
“Mom, I know that, due to my condition, people won’t take me seriously at first, and want to test me. However, you didn’t want to train me at first, remember?” A sigh crossed his lips, and Dante continued, “You know that, your tea helped and I can walk, but this is my secret advantage.” He handed her cup to her.
She gave a small, despairing laugh at her son’s words, though her hands closed around the tea cup. “You don’t even know if this tea will be available over there! What do you know about that land at all! I… I worry. Mother’s prerogative… At least take that with you when you go?” She motioned to a box on the counter, she’d made it for him earlier, “It’s nearly waterproof, and should have enough to last… well, it will depend on how much you drink, and of course you might not even actually need it any more…”
He looked at the box she had on the counter, then looked back at her with worry. “I owe you much, mom, but can I speak freely?” the young fighter asked between sips.
Sighing again, the woman nodded. “Yes… please do, Dante.”
“You know this choice wasn’t easy to make for me either. Especially knowing that SHE might come for you.” Anger replaced his usual light hearted tone and Dante added, “If she makes good on her threat, I’ll send her to the afterlife the hard way!”
“Dante! Don’t let anger rule you…” His mother sounded sad, but she forced a smile. “Now go on. If you’ve chosen this life, you’d best set to it.” There didn’t seem to be much else to say.
“I’m sorry, mom, you’re right. I just…” His words fell off after that outburst, because he had never raised his voice to her before. “You sure I can have the Kahimoto sword?”
“Yes, I am sure! I have never been more sure of a gift I’ve given…” Her smile this time was genuine. “You’ll use it well, I know. After all, isn’t that what you’ve been training for?”
“I figured, like everything, you’d test me before you gave it to me,” he said in a light chuckle before he took it from its stand. “Thank you, mom, I’ll be home when this job is complete, by my honor I swear.”
When the memory faded from his mind, he knew he needed to reach Queen Chanista’s kingdom by night’s end. After rolling up the letter with great care, Dante started to wheel his chair through the moonlit land. While moving through the land, the people around him didn’t want to make a path for him. He knew his life was going to be hard, but in his mind, these uncivilized people needed to have their legs broken.
Like phases of Evere’s moons, the warrior’s mood kept shifting from his light hearted attitude to anger, but his mother’s words echoed in his mind. It wasn’t easy to do, but Dante controlled himself and gave a sigh of relief when the castle came into view. Seeing the tall granite structure filled his weary eyes with joy, but there were no guards at the gate, which to him seemed odd.
With a jerk of the chair’s wheels, the fighter launched himself through the giant open gate, and into the castle, not slowing for anything that might be in his path. For all he knew, his friend, Queen Chanista, might be in danger. When the door to the throne room was in sight, Dante’s right hand took a hold of the sword’s handle, ready to unsheath it quickly, if needed. As soon as he entered the room, the swordsman noticed the knights, both men and women, staring at him.
They only stopped what was, to him, a needless shouting match for a short minute and started again, like children when they don’t get their way. “Uneducated scum,” rattled in his mind as he witnessed the fighting, but a thunderous pounding from a sheathed sword echoed, silencing the room.
“We must not quarrel among ourselves in this time of importance,” a female voice commanded from the throne. As if the guards were knocked down from their pillar, each one knelt on a knee.
Dante’s face molded into a grin and the wheeled warrior said, “Well my friend, looks as though you never lost your ability to bring order.” His head raised from the bow with a great smile and the queen nodded slightly as she saw him. For a moment, she thought he was a phantom, and her eyes blinked several times before she would accept that her friend was sitting in her presence.
When the auburn-haired woman realized her eyes weren’t deceiving her, she put her double bladed broadsword aside and quickly got up to go greet him. Even though she was making her way down to hug him, the queen kept expecting the warrior to fade away. When Queen Chanista stopped in front of Dante’s chair, she bent down and the two gave each other a warm embrace.
“I knew you would come, my friend,” she stated in a whisper while hugging him.
“I came as soon as I could, M’lady,” he responded in the same tone as hers. While the long time friends hugged, the queen’s guard looked at this man, who seemed to be held in high regard by their ruler, and wondered how he would fight, since he couldn’t walk.
After they finished their greeting, the queen stood to Dante’s left and addressed her guards, “This man will fight beside all of us, in my name.” Her eyes were scanning the people as she paused and added, “You will all respect him and follow his orders.”
Not a second after their leader told them that they were suppose to follow this stranger into a possible battle, the crowd started to bicker again, which made him curse them under his breath. Out of the noise of verbal scum flinging, a man’s voice loudly stated, “Hmph, there is no way we’ll follow this diseased animal to battle.” The knight looked at Dante with disgust as he stepped from the group.
The queen took a breath to answer, but her friend put his arm out in front of her, as if to stop her from saying a word. With a look of utter disregard for what the man just said to his highness, Dante said, “Oh this is really a good way to prepare for war, fight amongst each other.” He wheeled to a clearing in the room, took two kali sticks out of his bag before he dropped it and added, “If you wish to test me, you may do so now!”
“I, Sir Uric, will!” the knight from earlier said, a tall man with dark hair and a scraggly beard. He approached the wheel-chair bound man, unable to keep the doubt off his face. Still, this ‘Dante’ was the Queen’s friend, so it would be best not to hurt him… Crouching to be closer to Dante’s height, the knight came in with a punch, screaming, “And I’ll take you bare-handed!”
As he timed himself for his first attack, Dante smiled when the thought, “It’s your funeral, slug,” crossed his lips, in a murmer, before unleashing a quick snap to the man’s ears.
Staggering back, the knight shook his head, trying to clear the ringing in his ears. The added motion proved too much, and he fell, landing on his butt amidst the laughter of the other knights. Glaring at them and growling, he tried to stand.
“My suggestion? Stay down, barbarian,” the wheeled warrior said, but realized that the statement might anger the guy. However, after he twirled his weapons, he turned his chair away from the knight, thinking he would take the advice. The knights laughed again, and Uric couldn’t take it. Growling and drawing his sword, the dark-haired man lunged for Dante. Shaking his head at how stupid the fool was for not heeding his advice, Dante turned his seat, with speed that only seemed unnatural, and used one of the sticks to strike the knight’s midsection.
Gasping for air, the knight dropped his sword as he staggered back and fell to his knees, in what he viewed as dishonor. Looking at her guard, with a snide look on her face, Queen Chanista ordered them to their posts. “We have much to discuss, my friend,” she said looking in Dante’s direction. All he answered with was a bow and used his stick to motion for the fallen knight to leave the room, something he did with haste.
When the last person left the throne room, the queen sat down and looked at Dante with a heartbroken expression about her. Fighting back tears, she said, “Dante, I may be in danger…” He could see that whatever it was that made his friend ask for his help had the once fearless woman trembling. After a long period of silence, she told him her son, Alexandros, wanted her dead, so he could rule.
In the back of the Dante’s mind, an old memory of how Alexandros was as a young boy kept playing, like ripples in water. After he sat back in his seat more, he said, “I had a feeling this was the reason you summoned me here, my friend.” The two sat in the room without any further words being said and Dante approached the queen, who broke down crying while he held her. Queen Chanista had never before let any emotion other then her fearlessness shine, even Dante was beside himself as he witnessed it.
Watching the warrior queen like this was new to him. Maybe he should say something to ease his friend, but what? Dante was at a loss of words when it came to this emotion, and all he could do was hold her. A few moments passed while Queen Chanista silenced herself from crying and gathered herself, before sitting on the throne. Not a word on what just happened was spoken, all the queen did was show Dante to his room.
In the week that followed, Dante toured the kingdom with the queen, making notes of things he would need to change if the kingdom came under attack. He noticed that a few guards were lacking in their swordsmanship, among other details. Though Dante knew he couldn’t teach the art his mother, Yoruichi, passed to him, he could at least help them in the sword. At the end of the tour, he called a meeting of the palace guard.
As the guard flooded into a cold circular room, lit only by torches with a round table in the middle, the angry mumbles filled the room. Dante, who was seated to the right of the queen, slammed his fist down and said, “That’s enough!” His tone brought an instant hush to the crowd, making them all look in his direction. Dante only had to point his thumb downward to get them to sit and he called the meeting to order.
Queen Chanista stood up and spoke first, “This week has greatly disturbed me! I depend on all of you in this time of war, but after the things I’ve seen…” she sat down in what only looked like disgust, without finishing the sentence.
“But what do you want from us, your majesty?” Uric questioned. It was at that point Dante spoke up and told the room his plan to reorganize the way the knights did patrols, along with retrain them. After he finished outlining his plan, the guards were looking at him. Oh, they knew he was serious, but they wanted to know how he’d be training them. All Dante did to answer their unsaid questions was slightly smirk, before the queen disbanded the meeting. However, as the eyes of the knight he fought earlier met his, Dante felt something that could lead to trouble for the kingdom in the near future.
The next day, Dante wasted no time putting his plan to work. He tripled the guards around the gates of the kingdom. Had the patrols go around every two minutes, when it had been every fifteen, and watched their training. It didn’t take long for him to spot weaknesses in their style of swordsmanship.
“Hold,” came out of his mouth while he looked on. Dante couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Taking a female guard aside, he ordered the guards to watch while the two sparred. As Dante went to draw the Kahimoto sword from it’s sheath, the steel scraped against the scabbard. Though the guard knew what she heard him order her to do, she didn’t want to attack him.. “You naive little child,” Dante mumbled while speeding his chair toward her, only pausing to slash at her.
As he advanced, the woman backed away in a panic, not trying to parry his weapon. Finally he backed the frightened woman to a tree and took a swing at her neck, but stopped at the last second. Shaking his head in disgust, he told her she wasn’t ready to be a warrior and turned away from her. In his eyes, the guards didn’t have the stomach to kill, let alone defend themselves.
While sheathing his sword, Dante heard the woman ask, “Please, help me? “ Under normal conditions, he would take that as an invitation to get to know the woman and bed her, but this was a time of war.
Turning to face her, Dante looked into her eyes, as if he was peering into the soul and with a nod, agreed to help her. Over the next several weeks training them, he noted a big improvement with the guards, making Dante smile.
That night at the royal feast, Queen Chanista inquired how well the training was progressing. After he finished chewing the bite, Dante told her it was going well, adding that if the kingdom should be attacked, the guards are ready.
It was at that point of the conversation that Uric got up and threw a table knife at Dante. As if he was a cat, Dante dropped his fork and quickly put his hands together, catching the knife between his palms. Uric’s action prompted the queen to draw her sword and stand from her seat in a defensive stance. Her guards swarmed the great hall, their swords at the ready quickly taking the knight into custody.
Still holding her blade at the ready, Queen Chanista said, “Lord Uric, you are hereby stripped of your land and banned from this kingdom forever!” All the while the knight was being scolded, he was looking at Dante with a frigid stare. As Uric was being escorted from the room, Dante leaned over to a knight on his right, ordering her to strengthen the castle guard for the night.
With a slight nod, she stood and went to carry out his order. After the feast, Queen Chanista noticed Dante had left the room and she went to find him. Walking the hollowed halls of her castle was nothing new to her, but she began to wonder why her friend took off before the feast ended. Suddenly, in the distance, she could hear what only could be described as steel being worked with and ran toward the sound.
When the queen made it to the source of the noise, she saw Dante with a piece of moonstone, sharpening his sword, taking a second to pause and sip the tea Yoruichi had given him now and again. Coming into the room, Queen Chanista asked him what was wrong, but he didn’t say anything, he just continued to sharpen the Izurian blade. She knew by the look on Dante’s face that he was preparing for what was on the horizon, so she left to train as well.
After he finished refining the sword’s edge, Dante sheathed it and went to see the queen. He knew she had been in the same room with him before and knew why she left, but he knew she needed a sparring partner. Heading down the stone hall, he saw the queen, who was sparring with her Daltaurian broadsword and he picked up speed.
As Dante was cruising down towards her at top speed he let out a war cry as loud as he could to signal the queen to ready herself. With his hand firmly on Kahimoto’s handle, waiting to draw it until the last second, he let his chair’s speed carry him and the two clashed in a loud clang. Both the queen and her friend were meeting the others strikes blow by blow, not giving an inch.
Though lifelong friends, both Queen Chanista and Dante fought like one was trying to kill each other. They knew this was just practice, but if their training had taught them anything, it had taught them to battle like it was their last. After blocking the others blade, the two separated and reset their stances. Queen Chanista and Dante were studying the others eyes trying to guess what the next move would be.
The moment came when the queen ran toward her friend for what would be the final blow. Seeing her running at him, Dante began wheeling toward her at full speed, but before they met, he spun his chair, to build momentum and struck her blade, making Queen Chanista lose her grip on her sword. Even though she had his sword at her throat, it amazed her to see how Dante could adapt and fight since she last saw him years earlier.
Cracking his friendly grin, he moved the Kahimoto away from her neck, letting her retrieve her sword. When the queen took up her blade, Dante twirled his sword upside down and both gave the other a bow of respect, before sheathing their weapons. By the look on her face and the way she was sweating, Dante could see that Queen Chanista had a good workout. Walking with him, she told him that his progress had amazed her.
“Thank you, my friend,” he said while smiling. To him, her encouragement meant a lot, aside from his mother, Yoruichi’s, but when he thought of her and the note that he had read letting him know she was dead, a feeling of sadness came over him. Noticing he was looking sad, the queen stopped and decided to ask him what was wrong. At first, not telling her seemed to pop into his mind easily, but seeing how his mother had aided in the treaty between Izura and Daltauria, she had to know.
A few minutes after telling her, Queen Chanista was visibly shaken to her core. She didn’t think his mother could die, because of how stubborn she was. The queen asked him if he knew what she died from and though he has his suspicions, revenge needed to wait, because seeing this duty through was more pressing.
In the Daltaurian badlands, the former knight, who had been exiled by Queen Chanista, rode into the camp of Prince Alexandros. Riding his camel up to the royal tent, he told the guards that he had a pressing matter to discuss with the their prince. Without hearing the fallen knight out, an order came from the tent to seize him and the guards quickly did what they were ordered.
After being dragged from the saddle, Uric was forced to his knees, but somehow able to say he had a way to get rid of the queen and one of the guards told him, “Silence, dog!” However, something he heard was peaking Prince Alexandros’ interest, became he came out of the tent, stopping the guards. While he wasn’t about to trust this enemy fully, the prince wanted to at least listen to what Uric had to say.
When Uric got through telling the prince what he knew, Alexandros motioned his guard captain over, ordering him to send word for an attack. However, after doing so, he gave the warning that if the former knight was telling a lie, he’ll pay with his life. As he mounted a white stallion, the prince told Uric to follow them and, with a firm tug on the reins, Alexandros took off, with his army in tow.
A guard, stationed in a tower at the north wall, saw a group of men on horseback who were approaching fast. He knew they were coming to attack the castle, so he sent a messenger to Queen Chanista and Dante. Both the queen and her friend wasted little time organizing a defense. The queen gave the order to send the women and children into the cave behind the castle, while Dante sent more troops to secure the entrances to it.
Like an earthquake, the attacking force broke down the gate flooding the city. Just as Dante trained them, the guards were fighting skillfully, but even though they were killing quite a few, more attackers took their place, which overpowered the queen’s men. Inside the castle, Dante alongside a few guards were ushering Queen Chanista to safety, but by the look in her eyes, he knew she wanted to fight.
Though a feeling that he couldn’t place was eating at him, Dante knew she wouldn’t just run and hide, so giving a nod, he let her stay to protect her kingdom. Not a moment went by, did the guards, the queen and Dante hear Alexandros’ army pounding at the thrown room’s door. As they were drawing their blades, both Queen Chanista and her friend instructed the knights to stay sharp.
Shouting to let them know they understood, the guards drew their weapons, readying themselves for the coming army. When the army broke through, each side started to attack the other with no remorse. Dante and the queen fought back to back, slicing, slashing their way through enemies until the sea of warriors separated the two friends
When Queen Chanista’s troops were through slaughtering their opponents, neither the queen nor Dante could be found. Meanwhile, the queen was making her way through the castle gardens, her sword at the ready. Walking through it, her mind began racing with the question of why did Alexandros turn out this way? She didn’t have much time to dwell on questions, because her son, Alexandros, struck at her from the air. Blocking her son’s strike wasn’t hard, even though she taught him herself, he didn’t practice daily.
In the training fields, Dante was busy hacking and slashing his way through a few of the soldiers that were left. Pausing to reset his grip on the Kahimoto, a knight came up behind him and put his arm around his neck, choking him. Dante’s eyes were huge as he was desperately trying to get air. He knew if he didn’t break the hold soon he’d die With his feet firmly planted on the footrest, he stood up, head butting the unsuspecting man. Surprised by Dante’s sudden movement, the knight started to stagger backward, but the wheeled warrior grabbed his hair, flipping the man over the chair.
After doing so, he ran the knight through with his sword, killing him instantly. He had no time to rest and regain his strength, for Dante knew Uric had to be the one who betrayed Queen Chanista and when he found the piece of dragon waste, he’d kill him. Removing his sword from the dead man’s body, he started looking for his prey. Scanning the area with his eyes, the warrior was moving with extreme caution, as if he knew Uric was close.
It didn’t take Dante long to find the former knight, for Uric was sitting on his knees with his sword stabbed in the ground before him, waiting for the man who had scarred his honor. Before Uric could speak, Dante told him that only a man who has tarnished his own honor would betray someone who placed their trust in them. While standing, a twisted thought started going through Uric’s mind and he began to grin a madman’s smile.
After grabbing his sword, the former lord’s mind started to plan ways to kill this man. Knowing the duel was about to start, Dante set his grip on his sword and watched Uric’s body language. Planting his feet, Uric took off, heading for his opponent. Though it was harder from him to move, Dante started wheeling toward the man he was going to kill.
When their swords met, both men were trying to gain the advantage, but being on grass put Dante at a disadvantage, slowing his momentum. He knew the ground was hindering his fighting and he was trying to keep up, but the question would he be able to win this started going through his mind. Though he skillfully blocked Uric’s side strike, the force of it sent Dante tumbling out of his seat and to the hard ground face first.
Seeing the man who humiliated him like this filled the former lord with pleasure, because to him, victory was his. Dante could hear Uric’s footsteps approaching and the steel of his sword scrapping the ground. When the former lord was over the seemingly unsuspecting man, his sword came down from an overhead strike, but at the last minute, Queen Chanista’s friend rolled onto his back, blocking Uric’s blade.
What Dante did sent a chill up the disposed lord’s shameless spine, for he had never seen anyone with reflexes such as the man he was fighting. However, Dante wasn’t done yet, grabbing Uric’s collar he flipped him over his head. While flipping to his feet, Dante was telling the former lord that he better be ready to go to the afterlife. Witnessing this sent questions flooding into the former lord’s borderline insane mind, but none more important then, Who was this man?
With his mind leading him to the conclusion that Dante was a demon, Uric picked up his sword and ran at him, slashing madly. There was no question for Queen Chanista’s friend about sparing the former lord’s life or not. Oh, he had already planned to kill him for betraying her, but even if he didn’t, Uric saw him walk and he couldn’t allow that information to get back to Price Alexandros.
Running to meet the insane lord, Dante had already chosen a way to kill this filth. Looking for an opening, he parried Uric’s blade until he found a weakness to exploit. The opening presented itself and with a side slash, Dante cut the lord diagonally from the waist up and went for the head, taking it. He knew this was the first head he had to take in his life, so the emotion hadn’t hit him yet, but Dante’s mind couldn’t think about the kill now. All he thought about was the fact that he needed to find Queen Chanista quickly
As he got in his chair and was sheathing the Kahimoto, his mind began to ask why he let her get separated from him? Wheeling back to the castle like something otherworldly had him under it’s power, Dante’s mind kept hounding him, making him worry even more. As soon as he had the garden in view, a blood curling scream rang out that sent chills up the hardened warrior’s spine. “Chanista!” Dante yelled, coming fast from the training field, and at that point he knew the feeling he had earlier was telling him she would die.
Though he knew that there was a good chance of finding Queen Chanista dead, Dante was trying to convince himself she was okay. As he was making way to the garden, the queen’s friend was gathering every warrior he could. Once he and the garrison of guards got to the garden, a black cloud of sadness descended upon them all and each person dropped to their knees in tears. While wheeling up to her body, which was propped up by a pillar, Dante still wasn’t ready to accept that his longtime friend was dead.
Heavy hearted, Dante ordered the guards to help carry her out before the invading army’s reinforcements came. Though grief stricken, Queen Chanista’s warriors knew he was right, so with each at a limb, they carried her out. He never allowed himself to show any emotion before, but while picking up her sword, Dante broke down in tears. Maybe it was his mother, Yoruichi’s, death put together with this, but he couldn’t stop crying.
Knowing he should hurry and get out, Dante fought his tears to regain control. Once he did, the queen’s friend took her blade and took off to catch up with the guards.
To Be Continued
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