Part 0 - Memories of the PastEdit
Like all great stories, this one begins with once upon a time.
Once upon a time, there was a woman. A girl who had lived through more pain and sorrow than many women had a brother whom she loved very much. Her brother wasn't normal - he had visions of the future, but he did not control magic like everyone else. He was weak, yet strong. One day, their village was attacked by demons and men dressed in black. They took her brother away, and although she chased after him, the mages were too fast and strong. She lost them, and when she returned, her village had been destroyed, massacred, nobody left alive. She found the village's priestess in the wreckage, and the priestess gave her one last word of wisdom. "Find the Sisters of the Dark, and ask them to aid you," the priestess said.
So the girl did. She went to the village and entered the Shrine of Dark, despite legends that only the purest of souls could. Even though the girl's soul was tainted with loss, resentment, anger, sorrow, and abandonment, she entered the shrine. She asked them to help her find her brother. Sensing that her brother and the girl held great hidden power, the sisters granted her a magic sword with the power to cut through dimensions and to control wind and shadow. It was the best sword of all. They told the girl of her destiny, and gave her magic that would allow her to battle any enemy during her search to find her brother. "You must pay a high price for all these gifts we are lending you, girl. Are you ready to do so?" The sisters asked. The girl readily accepted, feeling that life was not worth living without her brother, her last relative, by her side. The sisters told her that her destiny was to die alone and in despair, but that her death would save her brother. They asked that the girl give them their soul after her death, for her soul, being impure, had entered the shrine, and would become trapped there under regular circumstances. However, the sisters allowed her to find her brother, as long as she promised to return to the shrine upon her death. She agreed, and set off.
For weeks she searched for her brother all over the country, eating leftovers from the street and hunting food from the forests, braving storms and illness. One week, she found a group of black mages, the same ones who attacked her village, and battled them. With her strength she defeated most of the mages, until only one remained: A boy her age with strength to match her own. They battled for hours. As they did, they felt something connecting them- in the boy's eyes, the girl saw sorrow and loneliness, the same feelings that she felt in her heart. The boy recognized this as well. When they both fell, about to die from the battle, the girl could not let the boy die, for she had seen too much of herself in him. He also reminded her of her lost brother, and selflessly she healed him with the last of her strength. With no energy left, the girl nearly died. However, the boy realized she had saved him, and in return decided to take care of her. He nursed her in the forest for days, until she awakened. She thanked him, and the two stayed in the forest for a few days, healing and recuperating. In this short time, they fell in love, neither wanting to leave the other. In the end, she left. She tried to kill him, for he had come from the group who had kidnapped her brother and killed her village, but her heart would not let her. She left behind her necklace, and fled at night. When he awoke, she was gone, and he wore her necklace ever since, feeling empty upon seeing that she had disappeared.
The girl continued to search for her brother, resorting to stealing when she could find no food. She ran into the boy several times, as he caught her stealing, but let her go once he saw the look in her eyes. The girl started to develop a reputation through the cities, becoming a true rogue, and the boy heard his organization planning to dispose of her, as she was a threat to their "plan." After more weeks passed, they met each other once more in battle when the girl arrives and attempts to attack members of the organization who are out on a mission. Once again they remain the only ones on the field, and they pushed their feelings aside and fought to the death. However, neither could truly strike a death blow due to their connection. The girl delivered a strong blow to the boy's arm, and in the heat of the battle he asked why she was so set on destroying his people. She explained how his people massacred her village and stole her brother from her. The boy, who had never known about the dark acts that his organization performed, was shocked, and stopped his fighting. He questioned the girl, and she dared him to verify it on his own. In his shocked state, she ran away, escaping the battle. The girl ran, but her injuries were heavy and she collapsed on the outskirts of a nearby village.
The boy returned to the organization. Haunted by the girl's words, he snuck into the captain's office and found his plans. Outraged, betrayed and heartbroken by the truth behind the people who raised him, the boy took his things and fled in the night, disowning his allegiance to the mages and vowing to right every wrong that they committed. The girl is found by an innkeeper, Echo, who takes her under her wing and nurses her back to health at an inn in the village. Thankful, the girl stays there for a few days to grow stronger and form a new plan. She is surprised when the boy arrives, and the two silently spend time together. The boy admits that she was right, and tells her how he was abandoned as a newborn by his parents, and it was the head of the mages who found him and took him in. He never knew of the truth behind the organization, and now had decided to right every wrong he could, starting with helping the girl retrieve her brother.
The two as well as the innkeeper Echo teamed up and started to outline a plan to storm the organization's headquarters, where the boy suspects her brother is being held. One day, the girl suddenly falls ill with a deathly fever and black marks burning her right arm. The innkeeper and the boy rush the girl to the Dark Sisters, recognizing the mark as the Mark of Dark. The sisters also recognize the boy and Echo as two of the chosen Knights of Cascilla from the Eternal Prophecy. The sisters explain that because of her use of the sword and the dark feelings in her heart, her spirit is becoming dark, and hurting her physical body. She must find a way to bring out the goodness that is within her and to dissolve her feelings of anger, sorrow, resentment and betrayal. The boy is surprised, knowing how the girl had a reputation for stealing for starving children and protecting the weak, like a hero. The girl says, "I'm no hero. I'm not the villain, either. I'm just a girl trying her hardest to survive in a world that makes it damn hard, and it's hard to keep pretending like I see the good in the world, because the longer I live, the more of the filth and darkness I see. I've seen people kill people. I've seen love betray love, and hatred prevail. Bad people get good things, and good people? They get hell. So I'm just a girl, I'm just an angry and sad and lonely girl, trying to survive in a world that seems hellbent on making me do the opposite." The boy is silent, but then grabs her hand, saying how he can't help the rest of her sadness, but that she'll never be alone. She tells him not to make promises he can't keep. "I may not be around forever, but feelings aren't tangible things. They can't perish. So you'll never be alone, because I existed, and I'll be with you even when I'm gone." The girl tries to smile, but her steel facade breaks and she starts to sob. The boy holds her close, and begins to shed tears as well, the two of them bound by the same feelings of trying to survive and find goodness in a world that has shown them nothing but loss, corruption and darkness. As she falls asleep next to the boy, some of the black marks on her arm begin to fade, and she smiles.
The two finally decide it's time for them to storm the group's headquarters, after weeks of preparation, and they begin to head towards the city. The three execute their dangerous operation, and suffer a rough battle. The girl finds the heart of the headquarters and sees her brother - tortured, beaten, bleeding and bruised, hanging from the wall with shackles. She cries out and moves to retrieve him, but is stopped by the captain of the mages, who tortures her brother in order to weaken the girl. The two engage in a deadly battle so strong it brings the headquarters to pieces. For a moment, the girl is able to reach her brother - only to find out he is a mere illusion, a magic hologram. The captain laughs, saying her brother is hidden in a much more unreachable place. The girl is heartbroken and outraged, and with renewed strength begins to fight the captain. Echo and the boy run over to help her. The captain delivers a death blow to the boy, and in despair, the girl shoves him aside and takes the blow herself. She falls to the ground, defeated, a sword piercing straight through her chest. The captain sees the state of the headquarters and shouts for his mages to regroup and escape. The mage organization disappears, leaving Echo and the boy to watch the girl as she begins to die. The boy frantically tries to save her, denying her death in a panicked stage, but she holds his cheek in her hand and smiles. "See my right arm? Thanks to you, it faded a little. Even if this world is dark, because of you, I believe that there will always be some good in the darkness." She then begs him to find her brother, as it is her dying wish, and he begs her not to die, but upon seeing her eyes flutter close, he vows that he will find her brother or die trying. The girl dies, and the boy holds her, crying silently and refusing to move for hours. The sun sets and night passes and he refuses to move. Echo eventually gets him to move by asking if they could bury her.
The two dig a grave within a beautiful meadow in the middle of the forest, a meadow near a waterfall, covered with flowers and green grass and trees. They bury her there, adding a wooden cross and a pile of white daisies (the girl's favorite flower) to mark her resting spot. The boy, too heartbroken to cry, rages and says he will kill the captain of the mages right then. Echo must keep him from leaving and asks him to rest so he can focus on finding the girl's brother. Eventually, the boy is able to calm down, and then quickly starts drawing up a new plan.
Part I - Parallel Edit
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