Charlotte Samurai Shodown
Fan Fiction
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Visions
by Teruro Magunojo, AKA Aleas Crawan

Chapter 1



        "...You're mad!" He tells me, I wonder why they all keep telling me this? Don't they realize that it is they who are insane? Can they really beleive that their actions or values bear any sanity? Teehihi, I hear her cry at their folly.
"In the name of justice I, Galford, must defeat you. Prepare to die demon." Justice? I tilt my head to one side quizzicaly before my laughter breaks out in waves that rack my body and brings me to my knees.
"You dare laugh at me? PLASMA BLADE!" He shouts as he hurls what seems to be some kind of energy shuriken at me and his dog rushes after it. Crouching I find myself chuckling, my forehead against the ground, my laughter mounts and my backs arches as I shriek my hilarity at the night sky visible through the long tops of the surrounding bamboo forest. Somewhere, smothered behind the mirth, the thought that I ought do something about the projectile rushing at me. It explodes into my chest, tongues of electricity race through my limbs leaving in their wake the delicious pain that powers me. Teehihi, the pain I crave so that always tests the chain of our love... I use it to shape the darkness that carries us since your death into shapes that they fear. Black immaterial bats scatter from where I stood an instant before. From the within the darkness I see the wolfdog yelp in surprise at return to his master's heel. Hii hii heh heh... The darkness flows as ever and I let it carry me within a few feet from him. He turns to and fro desperately seeking me out as he stinks of barely mastered fear.
"Where are you demon? Are you dead or have you so little courage that you fly before me?"
Courage? Another vain word... I hold my laughter in check, and my karasu (triple bladed weapon) in hand. It bears her spirit and once was her body. He doesn't exist... I am beneath him now and from the shadows I surge, one of my blades rip through him and whithin the streaking flash of the blade her beautiful face in anguish... Her pain, my pain, the past... the present... The moon lights the blood as it sprays a beautifull dark crimson against the dark night air. The dog knows better than to attack me, it probably tried to turn it's master from his madness. Folly for all that attacks me will taste the sweetness that I give. It howls beside the halves that are it's masters remains. I snap the blood away from her vessel and glimpse her exiting the clearing, I follow after. The splendid nightmare continues...

        I have howled the traditional lament of the departed that will lead Galford's spirit safely to the beyond and ease his journey as I had when he lived. I see his spirit unroot itself and depart. There's is nothing left for me here so I should depart as well but it is difficult. The memories of our close friendship flash before me and the pain wells within, I howl a farewell forever and obey the imperious and instinctive need to run through the night, away from the pain, away from the place of his death, away... The earth rushes beneath me and the landscape flashes by, far I have run and the sun tints with blue the dark night sky and promises a soon forthcoming dawn. My tongue hangs and my sides heave as I suck in the brisk morning air. Regret, remorse and vengeance are not in my nature, I feel exhilarated and free once again. Free as I was before meeting Galford, not that I was ever bound to Galford by anything other than love. He was at least smart enough never to try to bend me to his will. As I sit upon a hill waiting for the sun to rise on the horizon I recall our first meeting...

        At the time I ran with my father's pack. My father was different from his pack brothers : he was bigger, stronger, faster and smarter than most of the others, his fur was rust-colored and his fangs were white. I inherrited most of his intellectual attributes but physically I took mostly from my mother. My black and white fur and large but lithe frame came from my mother, yet the fangs that I too have snow white come from my father. We had separeted an old reindeer from it's herd and had frightened it into the forest of pine trees where it would be hindered and where we were going to kill it. I remember how I was the closest to the prey that day, I was leading the pack for the first time, and I was only two springs old too. I had never been a match for my father when it came to a contest of speed and strength, for though I was bigger and faster than most of our pack brothers I was still much smaller than he, but when it came to dodging in and out of trees he just wasn't built for it. I on the other hand had seemingly been born for feats of agility and stealth. So I was the closest behind the prey, all my senses reported that I would soon be making the killing bite. I saw the prey and it was whithin leaping distance, I knew it could neither have seen nor have heard me and yet it seemed to have sensed me. It drained the last of it's reserves in a wild leap forward, I leaped after knowing that I would catch it by the throat in mid leap and take it down. My fangs indeed sank into it's jugular and then quite abrubtly the earth vanished beneath us. The prey and I were falling. We had both leapt of a cliff, and as we fell the prey died as it's brain was deprived of blood, it died but I swear their was a wryly satisfied glint in it's eye as it did. The fall seemed long though in retrospect I suppose it wasn't, the white snow covered earth was rushing up to meet me and when it did I knew that I would die. Then I hit and the impact jarred me from nose to tail with a dreadfully loud cracking sound that could only be the sound of my bones shattering, then white unconsciousness engulfed me.

        I had awoken some time later, I couldn't tell exactly how long since my internal clock seemed to have been frozen out of order, but I had other concerns. Such as why was I half dry and chilled to the bone, why was I tightly tied up in a thick warm blanket and placed next to an ironpipe stove, why was I still alive? Still alive! I gave a garbled yelp of surprise and joy through chattering teeth. I then realized that I was in cabin and I wasn't by myself as a voice said : "I'm happy to see you're going to make it. I had a cold hard time pulling you out of that lake you know. I had to dive in myself, glad it wasn't for nothing!" I squirmed untill I could the see the voice's owner. It was a spiky blond haired blue eyed fresh faced young man wrapped in a red blanket.

        My father had begun his life in a family household, and had lived with many other humans after that. In the evenings of plentyful summers, when all had eaten their fill, he would tell me the tales of his tribulations among men. He tought me to read their mannerisms, body language, smells and to neither fear them nor trust them blindly. The others in the pack refused to acknowledge the wisdom in these tales, they obstinately stuck to the tradition of blind fear and disgust for all things human. True enough my father had some encounters with despicable humans, but also some few that he had loved. The last of which was a miner who tore him away from an abusive slave driver, he joined the pack shortly after the death of that man.

        I was confronted with my first human, it kept making placating noises. I had learned through my father that humans place great stock in oral communication, observing this specimen I understood what my father meant when he had told me that their oral language was completely redundant. Although I didn't know the man's language his movements and smells spoke eloquently. The man seemed decent enough, he had after all saved my life but I didn't appreciate being tied and I wanted to know a bit more about the man's character. I shrugged out of the blanket and the coils of rope that bound me there by using my suppleness combined with my strength in an odd undulating movement. The man gawked at me with his mouth hanging open and his blue eyes wide. I dashed at him, he only had time to stand up, which conviently exposed his midsection as I rammed into it. I heard his breath leave his lungs in a whooshing sound as he was propulsed backwards against the door that slammed open as he fell on the snow that lay behind it. He staggered to his feet fighting to regain his breath. His body language expressed pain and surprise, but unexpectedly it also expressed amusement, admiration, playfullness and a strong fighting spirit. None of my father's stories had ever described men as fighters, he had narrated their skill at killing and hunting but never had he described men as possessing the fighting spirit and yet the man before me was like a wolf in his fighting spirit. He assumed a fighting stance, feet spread, one hand outstretched before him and the other at his shoulder... He was waiting for me. I sprinted straight at him, a few feet away from him I swiftly sidestepped and leaped at him aiming to take him down and settle this. He didn't move, at first I thought I had caught him unawares as my teeth sank into the bandana he wore around his neck, I had begun pulling him down when I realized that something unexpected had happened. I was indeed holding the scarf between my teeth but it was tied around a log. The man had vanished. I was astonished, "What happened?" I wondered. Instinct or some primal sense warned me and I looked up. He was high above and fast falling towards me. With a flick of my neck I tossed the log upwards at him so as to distract him and leaped away, I had decided to attack just after he landed expecting him to be vulnerable. He then demonstrated why he kept a hand at his shoulder when it flashed forth and back revealing a short sword that sliced the log in twain and was resheathed in one impossibly swift movement. I leaped forward, he landed, my paws connected flat against his upper chest and he fell backwards. Time stopped and we were both still, like statues planted in the snow. I was standing over him with my teeth at his neck yet not biting, the blunt side of his blade was against my throat... There was a hush and the world seemed to stop in dramatic anticipation when the two halves the log were reclaimed by gravity and descended, landing precisely on our heads. The man was silent for a while longer and broke into a grin, which quickly turned into laughter of pure unbound merriment. He slowly took his blade away from my neck and reshethead it. It was then that I decided that this man would be like a brother to me, that I would protect him and follow him faithfully. I licked his face looking in his eyes and there was a moment of rare and complete understanding between two strangers of different species. His laughter subsided and he smiled softly. His eyes reflected my emotions and thoughts, his smile was one of grateful awe and love. Thus began our friendship. Shortly after it was time for us to depart, I had given a thought to my father who would either think me dead in the lake or find the place where I battled Galford. In the latter case he would read the signs and the smells and would understand that I followed in his footsteps and went to live amongst men. I wonder now if he did find that place, it seems I followed his path to it's end, I have loved one man like a brother and now that he is dead I return to the wilds.

I feel the longing upon the primal fabric of my soul, an undeniable pull that leads me back to the land of my birth. The distances completely escape my comprehension, but I know that it is far from this strange land to my native yukon. My instincts guide me north, besides I have one last duty to fulfill therein in Galford's memory. After several weeks of uneventful travels, and one stolen boat ride later, I find myself in Hokka´do following familiar paths that I had often trod with Galford. I near the akamitsu village where sleeps the woman Galford loved. The first snows of december have just begun to cover the earth, like my winter fur that has just begun to grow and is already showing signs of growing unusually thick and lush. The signs announce the premises of a winter that I know will be exceptionnally harsh. I think to myself that food is going to be hard come by. The thin crescent moon lights my way along the mountain paths and beckons me. I have reached the bluffs that dominate the village that I observe a short ways off. Below, I see the clustered wooden cabins, the stables, the sacred tree with it's paper twists next to the clear stream that runs still but will be completely frozen over and snowed under in a couple of weeks. The moons light flowing over this place is like a lovers caress that is careful not to wake the sleeper. Just months ago I was down there amongst the people... amongst friends. I have changed, it is time for me to deliver my message, I tilt my head back and howl at the moon. The horses stir in the stable, the dogs bark, and I sense that many of the ainu below have awakened, they are unaccustomed to wolves and know of us only through legends which depict us as neither good nor evil but wise and dangerous. I feel a vague sadness not to hear a reply to the call, I only sense the tame animals' fears and the peoples' wonder. Heh, a lone figure is silhouted against the snow in the middle clearing formed by the cabins, she sees me and recognizes me. I smell no fear in her, nor superstitious wonder, I sense a deep sadness. She was always clever when it came to undstanding the ways of the wild. She is akin to these mountains beautiful, cold and strong. No tears from her, just the deep and tranquil sadness of one that knows death and accepts it's existence with wisdom. I leave on my journey home, I leave behind that which was once my life with Galford. The coming winter will freeze the waters before me and I will pass beyond... And away home.

to be continued?

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