Millenium Promise

Reads: 911  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 13

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

An action-focused opening into the background that drives this whole story. Feel free to skip to the first chapter instead and return when you're curious 'what happened' at the start of it all.

Prolog (v.1) - Prologue - When the Raven Caws

Submitted: March 26, 2017

Reads: 68

Comments: 1

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Submitted: March 26, 2017

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This is an original standalone novel written by Alvin Lee, an amateur writer from Malaysia. The work which influenced the author to write this include “Red Data Girl”, a series of fantasy novels written by Noriko Ogiwara, and a host of manga and/or anime featuring regrets and wishes of characters from bygone times influencing the present. All of the characters are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. 

 

In her letter, she said that the siege was over.

That Omeji Castle was surrendering to Lord Kyurobarashi, the besieging warlord whose army numbered in the tens of thousands, on the condition that the civilians were allowed to leave unharmed.

If that was the case, why was the field littered with countless slain civilians!? Yamamurai swore whilst sprinting across the field of carnage towards the burning castle.

The young man resisted the urge to retch at the foul stench of death that prevailed. There were dead bodies everywhere. Men, women, infants, children, elderly, none was spared. Many of them died in tight clusters, as if hoping to seek solace in each other’s arms before meeting death.

Long tongues of flames licked upwards from the razed settlement, casting the entire area in bright orange. Against the gentle glow of twilight, it created an eerily beautiful scene.

Yamamurai soon reached the main gates and halted at the sight of Lord Kyurobarashi’s soldiers. Spearmen, four of them, drunk on victory and on liquor they had looted from a nearby house.

“Oooh! A survivor!” One of them slurred, pointing at him with an obscene gesture.

 “Look, robes and a staff, it’s a priest!” Another cackled. “You look awfully young for a priest, did you steal that?”

“You should have ran away instead of coming back here!” The third jeered while lowering his spear threateningly.

Yamamurai gritted his teeth at the insults. “Out of my way, I don’t have time for you!” He growled and crouched into a ready stance. The five foot long bronze staff in his hands felt unusually heavy, and the six bronze rings that capped the head jingled dully.

“Ohoho! The priest wants to fight! Why don’t you-”

Before the spearman could finish taunting, the young priest charged, knocked the clumsily held spear aside and slammed the staff’s rounded head into the soldier’s gut. Despite wearing leather and cloth armour, the blow winded the older man, knocking him backwards by a few feet.

The other soldiers cursed and grabbed their spears. “Kill him!”

Despite being outnumbered, Yamamurai had the advantage. They were drunk, unsteady on their feet. He was unencumbered, faster and more agile. And he was no mere priest.

Within ten seconds, he knocked out a second spearman and incapacitated a third. The moment an opening presented itself, he dashed through the gates and darted towards the slum district.

“Intruder! Archers, take aim!”

He heard someone order, and glanced back to see over a dozen bowmen on the walls fumbling to notch arrows to their bows. Judging by the distance between him and the nearest alley, they had enough time to release one volley.

“Release!”

Yamamurai heard the twang of taut bowstrings, followed by the swish of arrows slicing through the air. He hurled himself to the side. Half a dozen arrows immediately landed where he would have been, while the others fell short.

That is, all but one which struck him in the back, under the left shoulder. The force of the blow nearly made him collapse, but he forced himself to keep running and dashed into the slum’s maze-like alleys.

He could hear soldiers shouting nearby as they searched for the intruder, but there were dozens of crisscrossing alleys and hundreds of hiding spots. Combined with his childhood experience as a street-rat, he had no problems evading them.

What made him eventually stop was not exhaustion or being caught, but the arrow that had struck him. It had pierced his lung.

“Damn…”

Yamamurai cursed while leaning against a mud and straw hut, his breath coming in shallow pants. His left chest felt hot, heavy, and watery, similar to the feeling of breathing in water when drowning.

 The palace was quite far away, and the path there must be filled with soldiers. There were hidden passages to reach it, but he knew there was no way for him to continue in his current state. The moment he was shot, his fate had been sealed.

The young priest cursed again when his legs gave way. His head felt light, his vision blurred. For a moment he almost succumbed to unconsciousness, when the caw of a familiar voice forced him awake.

“Master, master!”

It was a child’s voice, but did not belong to a child. It belonged to a black bird that had perched itself on his shoulder, staring intently at him with dark, beady eyes.

“Master! You’ve been shot!” It exclaimed with a sharp caw.

Yamamurai couldn’t help but smile at the obvious statement.

“Tenryu… The princess, where is she…?”

At that, the black bird looked down, feathers twitching slightly.

“Princess Miyukira… Has committed suicide…”

That dreaded statement was like an ice-cold bucket of water, forcefully snapping him back to full attention. “What!?” He shouted so loud that the bird flapped once, having nearly lost its footing. “No, no it can’t be! Tell me what happened!”

“Princess Miyukira and her escorts fled into the deepest part of the palace. They defended her until the last. Rather than be captured… The princess took poison which she kept in a sleeve…”

The young priest gaped in shock as the bird narrated. It sounded like something she would do, but… But no, she can’t be…

“Master, you have to escape, soldiers are coming here!” The bird exclaimed sharply.

Yamamurai shook his head. “It’s too late for me… And with the princess gone, there’s no point…” He hissed with grief.

The bird stared at him intently. “Master, the princess left me her final words. It is addressed to you.”

At that, the young priest looked up and beckoned it to speak. The bird dipped its head and spoke in another voice, trying its best to imitate the soft and gentle yet firm voice of Princess Miyukira Hanamoto.

“Let us meet in another life, my dearest Yamamurai Tenma.”

Upon hearing those words, Yamamurai felt a calmness wash through him like a cleansing fire. Even in his final moments, she managed to bring him peace. Tears obscured his vision once again.

“Tenryu… Will you do me a favor?” He quietly asked as the edges of his vision turned gray.

“Of course, master. Name it.” The bird answered in its usual childlike, high pitched voice.

“The princess has an older brother… An official in a nearby prefecture… Will you look after him…? And his descendants?”

The bird paused for a few moments before promising it will.

In case one was wondering, Tenryu was no ordinary bird. It was a creature that belonged to the spirit world, but takes the shape of a raven in the human world. And like most creatures of the spirit world, Tenryu was immortal. This meant that by agreeing to that request, it had entered a contract that would never expire as long as the Hanamoto line exists.

Moments later, they heard soldiers shouting nearby.

“Go now… Tenryu.” Yamamurai bade, his breath now reduced to shallow gasps.

The bird regarded him evenly. “It has been an honor to serve you. Goodbye, master.” With that final farewell, Tenryu stretched out its wings and flapped away, cawing as it did like a typical raven.

Yamamurai observed one of Tenryu’s jet black feathers coming loose and falling as the bird departed. Its gloss reminded him of her silk-like jet black hair, so long that it fanned out behind her like a cape.

In his flickering vision, he saw soldiers rounding the corner.

Her timed and controlled chuckle, evident of a highborn lady.

The soldiers surrounded him. One kicked the staff from his hands.

Her graceful motions and eloquent speech, a true noblewoman.

After a brief exchange, a spearman lifted his spear for the kill.

Slender, delicate features, lovely even without any makeup.

The spear plunged downwards.

Beautiful eyes, capable of making a man lose themselves in them.

Just before the fatal blow landed, Yamamurai’s vision blacked out. But one last image remained. It was by far his favorite.

The shy, playful smile of Princess Miyukira Hanamoto, a princess who fell in love with him, a lowly palace priest.


© Copyright 2017 AJLKS. All rights reserved.

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