Avella rested in the uppermost branches of an old oak tree. It was a little after midnight and she needed a break from running. Currently there were two dozen armed men combing the forest in search of her.
To say in the least, she'd caused a little... uproar at their base when she'd rushed in to rescue a young gifted boy whose capture had been her fault in the first place. Their voices filtered through the trees, some growing distant, and some near. "Idiots." She laughed softly from her hiding place, her silver braid swaying in an unfelt breeze.
"Oh Really? Than how is it I found you?" A curious voice asks from behind her, really close. She feels steel pressed to her back. "Move and You die. I am waiting for my brother."
"Haha, truly you underestimate me." She grinned and her shadows squirmed upwards, forcing itself between the two of them, deftly she swung to the next tree over.
Lanzer hissed in anger, and pursued.
She laughed at him lightly, all the while continuing to back through the trees. "If I can make it in and out of your base unharmed, what makes you think that you'll be able to take me down here?" She asked.
*Brother I need you!*
"What's the matter, some petulant child giving you difficulties?
He asked curiously.
*I don't have the gift.* Lanzer shot back tackling the girl.
Fine... I'm on my way.
Avella shoved him away from her and rolled into a standing position, just barely managing to avoid the edge of the tree branches.
Lanzer tackled Avella and pinned her down.
Not so easily pinned... how would you like to be devoured by my shadows?
She thought, sinking into the ground and reappearing a few feet away, her shadows absorbing Lanzer's arms.
Satul, meanwhile, was making his way to his brother's location at a swift pace.
Lanzer growled in anger. He hated not having the gift. Suddenly a shadow came streaking out of nowhere and stuck Avella, knocking her off her feet.
She fell back easily, allowing the shadows to cushion her form before standing once more. She frowned at the man thoughtfully. Because he didn't use it, I thought this man didn't have a gift, but unless there is someone else around then...
Lanzer looked at her furiously as though he did not notice. The shadow swept back at her once more. The shadow than went into Lanzer.
"Just what are you playing at, Mister? Pretending you've no gift until now..." She said in frustration.
"What are you talking about?!" Lanzer demanded expecting a trap from the girl as he stalked forward.
"You don't-" She blinked in surprise but took up an easy defensive stance, ready for whatever attacks he threw her way.
He looked genuinely puzzled as he stopped, but kept up his guard. "I don't have the gift..."
"Whatever you say." Avella said simply.
"I will explain nothing
to you." She growled.
He looked angry at that. "So you play mind games huh?"
"Mindgames? I have no need for such frivolous things." She said simply.
Lanzer looked weary hopping his brother would hurry. "Yes. You are using them!"
Satul finally caught sight of his brother and the troublesome girl that he faced, "She looks an awful like our first experiment..." He murmured to himself thoughtfully.
Lanzer rushed forward knocking her down once more.
As Avella fell she twisted her body to the side to avoid the shadow spikes that Satul sent her way, he appeared beside his brother.
"About time!" Lanzer said grabbing her.
"If you know what's good for you, you'll let go!" She said, sinking into the shadows.
"I don't think so." Satul growled, forcing the shadows away from her.
"Ah, so you're a shadow user too? Fine..." Avella closed her eyes and her body glowed, vanishing with a bright light. In the next field of light she appeared, still relatively close to the two.
Lanzer shot a small crossbow at her.
"Hey, that can seriously hurt someone you know!" Avella exclaimed, ducking, though it still grazed her shoulder.
"That's the point." Satul stated simply.
Lanzer quickly launched himself at her.
"Ugh, you guys sure are persistante little bugs, now aren't you?" She growled, striking Lanzer with her fist.
A shadow sruck out at her harder than she hit him.
"Oof..." She stumbled backwards in surprise.
Satul ran at her, striking out with his fists as she quickly recovered and fought with him while keeping a wary eye on Lanzer.
Lanzer regained his feat attacking as well.
... I know why this girl looks familiar now!
Satul said inwardly to Lanzer, There was a boy that we captured several years ago- when we still working on our... methods. He was the first to be successfully turned. Atsuki... top guard of the third division. They even share abilities.
*Are they related?*
I would think so, their appearances are a lot alike...
Lanzer threw a throwing knife quickly at her. Striking her in the side.
She winced as it pierced her side, but quickly sent out a wave of shadows, which Satul countered with shadows of his own.
"... You're not leaving me much choice but to use my ultimate ability." She said softly.
Lanzer looked uneasy but pressed her more.
She hit him with a heavy kick, sending him flying backwards, and when Satul attacked she did the same before bringing her hands together and closing her eyes, allowing energy to crackle wickedly about her still form.
Lanzer looked uneasily to his brother.
This... doesn't feel like it's meant to be pleasant.
Satul said, his tone uneasy.
Lanzer raised his guard.
A light sheen of sweat broke out on her forehead, and a thin line shot straight into the air, a strange presence coming from it.
"What is she doing?"
"I don't know... I've never seen this kind of attack before..." Satul murmured.
She quickly held her hands out before her and the land began to quake almost violently. From the rubble broke two large doors with intricate carvings of demons and torn bodies. Each door was black, and in the ancient tongue read 'Azure ravién Kaiji' translated it read: "Gate of Ultimate Death".
She gritted her teeth as large scratches appeared on her arms as though she had been clawed by invisible demons. She thought that perhaps it was so, it was her payment to keep the gates open long enough, Avella thought that maybe it would be too much for her body to handle without tearing herself apart. Still, the gates hadn't opened yet.
Lanzer grabbed a tree. "What the hell is that?!"
"I don't know!" He sank his and Lanzer's feet into the shadows protectively in foreboding.
She groaned in tune to the opening of the gate. More wounds opened all over her body, spilling blood onto the dark ground, which then oozed slowly towards the gate, bleeding into the back of it.
Her gaze momentarily wavered as powerful winds emmitted from the gate, nearly knocking her off her feet as it swept past her and roiled ominously through the trees behind her. The wind then died and instead of pushing out it pulled in, like a vaccuum.
Lanzer gritted his teeth struggling to remain where he was.
I haven't used this in so long... I don't know how long I will be able to keep it open...
She thought as darkness crept into her vision while still more wounds opened on her flesh.
"IDIOT GIRL YOU WILL KILL ALL OF US!"
She ignored him, straining to keep the gate open. "Foolish... brat." Satul managed, as he forced his shadow towards her, her eyes snapped open, they had gone from black to purple, and the shadows were pushed aside almost easily.
Lanzer growled in anger.
Her body wavered, swaying slightly, she was nearly at her limit. Grimly she strengthened the gate, if it didn't work then she'd be through...
Shadows leaked out of Lanzer strengthening his brother's shadows.
She was finding it more and more difficult to hold off the shadows and keep the gate held open. Her sharp ears picked up a cracking sound that emanated from the doors of the gate.
Lanzer growled. adding more energy.
The shadows finally broke through and struck Avella, causing her to stumble weakly. Slowly her arms fell to her sides, and the gate crumbled, several chunks still quite visible as she sank into blissful darkness amongst their ruins. Her body sprawled over a large stone slab, the portion of the gate that had had words chistled into it's dark features. 'Azure ravién Kaiji'. The dark crimson of blood filled the small cavities in the words and spilled over the stone ominously.
"No." Satul shook his head, "She still lives."
Lanzer walked cautiously towards her.
"..." She struggled to force herself up as consciousness returned.
Lanzer picked her up and walked over to his brother with her.
"Let's head back." Satul said, looking Avella over. If I'd have known she had a power that rivaled her brother's own 'Heaven's Vortex' then I would have taken her back then...
Lanzer followed almost feeling bad for her.
They approached the large castle that signified their base, it's tower stretching into the sky.
"For now take her to the medical wing," Satul said distractedly, "We can't very well have her dying in the dungeons..."
"What restraints shall I use?" Looks thoughtful.
"Whatever you find necessary. I'll be in the tower." He replied, vanishing.
Lanzer got the most powerful restraints he could find and bound her to one of the bed. "Heal her." He turned and sat on a chair watching her, rolling her words in his head. *Whatever you say.*
After a while, when most of her major wounds had been closed, Avella found herself waking again.
Lanzer tensed as he saw her wake.
Where... where am I?!
The first thing she did was panic and strain against her bindings.
"You are being healed." Lanzer said quietly.
Her head snapped in his direction and she groaned at the fast movement.
"What did you mean earlier....when you said believe what you want?"
"I meant just that. Go ahead and keep believing that you haven't got the gift."
"My brother said I did not, nor will I ever have it..."
"Perhaps you didn't, perhaps it was latent and thus undetectable. Or perhaps your brother lied to you." She replied simply.
He frowned at that. "why would he lie?"
"Perhaps he fears that you are stronger than he with the gift."
Looks uneasy. "Or....you could be trying to turn me against him?"
"It could be."
"I have no reason to trust you!"
"Just as I have no reason to trust you."
Lanzer trembled in fury, not sure what she was playing at. *Brother May I KILL HER?!*
Impatient, are we? Satul chuckled, She is necessary alive.
*She is trying to turn me against you!*
Then ignore the girl.
*Did you know....*
*I..have the gift.*
You are gifted!? He sounded genuinely surprised.
*I...think so..* Looks at the girl uneasily.
That is wonderful, brother! I'm very happy to hear that your genes weren't a fluke after all. Satul said.
*A FLUKE?! YOU THOUGHT MY GENES WERE A FLUKE!* He shouted back.
You know what I mean, brother. Satul replied, Normal... merely human. But you are not apparently.
Looks angry. *You thought I was a failure.* He accused.
I've never thought you to be a failure. You're quite powerful, even without the gift.
*And now that I may have it?*
Your power will grow exceptionally.
Lanzer looked at the girl scornfully. "And to think I actually felt sorry for you. You who tried to turn me against my brother!"
"I don't care for your pity or your brother. Take my words as you will." She said simply.
Lanzer jabbed a dagger into her arm, then retracted it slowly.
"Go ahead, stab me." She glowered, "My gate does more harm than that blade could ever do."
He yanked the last bit out quickly. "If you try your mind games again than there will be hell to pay!"
She shrugged, "I wasn't playing with your mind, I was only being honest." She said simply.
"Honest? I don't think so!"
"Think what you will."
Looked away in disgust. Why is she doing this? Is there truth to her words? He wondered.
"You are fools to desire the world." She said.
"I don't want the world.." he whispered. "You are a fool for opposing us." He said louder.
"I would be a fool for joining you." She countered.
He frowned. "believe what you will. you soon will change your mind."
"I'll never change my mind!" She stuck her chin out stubbornly.
He came close to laughing, she reminded him of......"AVELLA! It...can't be....." He looked shocked.
She blinked in confusion, "How do you know my name?"
"You can not be her! She was a friend who died.....my brother said she died!"
She merely looked him over, though she didn't care to note it aloud, he seemed familiar too.
He looked uneasy. "You playing with my mind again!" He accused.
"How could I be playing with your mind?" She merely said.
"You are trying to make it seem like you are my friend. I know that is impossible, she is dead!"
"I'm not trying to do anything," She countered, "I only asked how it was that you knew my name."
"you reminded me....of her. Can it be coincidence?"
"Reminded you of a dead friend?" She quirked an eyebrow.
"You have that stubborn streak.....actually you look....like she would if she were alive..."
She shrugged uncertainly, "Tell me... how did this friend die?"
Lanzer sat down uneasily. "You are the first person...who wants to talk about it. We...were playing along some cliffs. She loved to climb.. We were nine. I saw an animal and chased it...I heard her scream. When I got back to were she was... she was gone. I found a peace of her shirt. My brother....he showed up and said.. it was my fault she died. I.....think he is right...if I hadn't chased the animal.....she never would have fallen...." He covers his face in his hands.
"Did you ever find her body?" She asked.
"N..no..my brother never let me look...he was my caretaker then too..."
"Then how can you be so sure that she was really dead?"
"why would my brother lie?"
A flash of joyful laughter and afternoon sunlight filtered into her mind, and she shook her head to clear it, "Who knows with a man like that?" She said simply.
Lanzer looked miserable. "I...am sorry I hurt you..you are the only one who has even shown interest...why?"
"Interest? I don't know..." She replied simply, still trying to sort out her now muddled thoughts, "You speak of a girl that died, a girl that shares my name- how long ago was her death?"
"Several years ago.."
"As in how many?"
"About....15 years ago...she would be 24 now.."
"24?" Strange how his dead friend who shares my name is my age...
"Yes..she would be 24.."
Lanzer looked at her carefully. "how...old are you?"
"... around that age." She said simply.
"How old are you?" he demanded almost hopefully.
"twenty-" She was cut off as Satul burst into the room.
"Brother, what's wrong with you? I've been calling for you for a while now." He shot a glare Avella's way.
Lanzer looked defeated he calmed himself as best he could and turned to his brother. "I..have been distracted Satul."
"Are you still talking to this brat?" His steely gaze hardened in her direction and he stalked over, before she could do anything he picked a tranquilized needle up from the stand near her and jabbed it into her arm, forcing it's contents into her bloodstream.
Lanzer let out a shout of protest. "Why? She didn't do anything!"
Satul threw the empty needle down, breaking it, "She's trying to turn you against our cause." He said angrily as Avella's eyelids began to grow heavy.
"Our cause? I thought it was yours, tell me did you ever find Avella's body?"
"Avella..." He looked thoughtful for a moment, "You mean that girl who died fifteen years ago when she fell of a cliff?" He said simply, "What's with these sudden questions of the past.
"Answer the question!" Lanzer growled.
"No, it was washed away by the river at the base of the cliff." He replied simply.
Lanzer looked down sadly. "the river.......how was it my fault?"
"She fell while you were away, brother. Had you not been distracted your friend would still be alive." Satul replied.
Lazer looked down at his hands. "I...could have saved her...."
"Let's go, we have work to do." Satul said.
Lanzer got up feeling miserable, he caste one look at Avella before following his brother. *Can she be just twenty?* He wondered.
"We have two new agents," Satul said, "They need to be shown how things are run around here. And there are three more being converted as we speak."
"And you want me to help them?"
"I do." Satul nodded, "You're one of the best agents in the organization."
Lanzer looked distracted, where he usually would have taken the praise. "where are they?"
"Through those doors," Satul waved his hand to the right, "At the end of the hallway turn right. There's a door right on the corner- it's got a red tab over it."
"and what will you do brother?"
"I have... other matters of which I must attend." He replied, turning and walking away, "I expect great things, brother."
"You all ways do." Lanzer whispered as he went to see the new recruits. He found it hard to get Avella out of his mind. *She can't be...*
She slept fitfully, strange images from an unknown time flitting through her mind as Satul wandered back into the room, looking her over silently. "How are you alive?" He whispered, "If my brother ever learns that it was I that pushed you..." He shook his head, "You'd be a wonderful asset to the organization if only that memory were gone for good and there was no chance of it's return..." He looked thoughtful as he picked up a scalpel and twirled it in his fingers.
Lanzer looked the others over meanwhile, and started to work with them.
She jerked awake, fighting off the tranquilizer instinctively as she felt Satul's murderous intent. Avella strained against her bindings futily, "Tell me," He murmured to her, "How should we go about removing your memories?" He still twirled the small blade in his hand.
"You aren't going to take my memories!" She shouted stubbornly, allowing her shadows to pool protectively about her in a shield-like substance, and despite his best efforts, Satul could not make them recede, so in disgust he turned and left, throwing the scalpel at the wall, where it buried itself.
Lanzer heard the yell and quickly ran to the room. "What the...?" He looked at the scalpel an than at Avella.
After a few more seconds she finally released her strain on the bindings, and her shadows dispersed.
"What happened?" Lanzer asked in confusion as he removed the scalpel from the wall.
"I'm not... entirely sure," She said simply, unsure as to why he even seemed to care.
"I don't know why...." He walked over to her and started to remove the bonds.
"Why are you removing those?" She asked suspiciously.
"I'm not sure....I am letting you go." He looked uncertain with himself as the last one fell. "Now go...I don't know who you are that seems so much like my friend.....just go."
She nodded uncertainly, "... thanks." She said simply, before sinking into the floor and vanishing.
Abbatoir- chapter 2
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