- "The most pure of roses are oft the most corrupt."
- — Arrai
Arrai knew little of her early life. As a child, her room was adorned with strange objects. Among these objects were clothing and as well as armor but what stood out had been a sword. Its scabbard made of pure gold as well as its blade and pommel. Arrai oft prayed so that she would know more of her prior life before she was here; for she knew by her features and by all else that she was not one of them. Arrai was not Japanese.
By the age of ten, Arrai stood over most women whom were within their twenties and thirties and often she was shunned despite growing within the land of the Rising Sun. As time passed, the children mostly teased and attempted to pick on her due to her difference; however, her will and lack of patience quickly turned any would-be bullies away. For years, she ignored them as well as terrified them until she found herself cornered by two grown men. They held swords at their waists and were both physically overpowering for her. She was in this position due to the lies that were told about her simply because she was foreign. Afore she was struck, she held her arms upwards in a state of defense and by doing this a small blast of light repelled her attacker and sent him reeling. The second man drew his blade and charged at the confused child only to suffer the same fate.
With the two of them unconscious (whom she believed were dead), Arrai fled. She fled in any direction to simply escape them until she found herself in an abandoned castle. She had taken shelter her to escape the rain and as such, she remained here until it passed. Yet, as she attempted to leave, she was confronted by an elderly woman. There was an odd feeling to her but as odd as it felt, it was a pleasant warmth which eased her fears. After speaking with her, she was taken in and to her surprise, there were several other children living within this abandoned castle as well.
Despite her secluded lifestyle and her growing loneliness, she befriended two youths. They were both Japanese and were both of differing backgrounds. One was mostly silent, like her. The other was new. She was loud, she laughed, she played, and she made friends.
She learned what she could and as she learned, her personal belongings were delivered to the Castle Gate.
This youth which had befriended her and oft made jokes and any other means of comedy hadn't a name and before long, she was named Kami. Mi~Na gave her that name. She spoke to the two of them, mostly Kami initiated conversation since Arrai was used to never speaking to anyone. While learning more of what she was to become due to her unnatural nature, Arrai agreed to training so that she could better protect humanity from demons.
Ten years later...
As her twenty-second birthday came to pass, she had successfully completed her training. She was not alone however; fifteen others had done the very same simultaneously and as such they were given assignments to branch off and rid the world of darkness. Wandering monks and priests were also allies to them yet, their work was strictly of their own due to how few of them there were.
Setting foot outside of the Sakura-Dai Gate after years of willingly living behind its walls, Arrai felt an odd calling. It beckoned her to the southwest and as she advanced upon that direction Kami was the first to block her path and playfully ask where she was off to.
Innately, Arrai was always wary of the twisted aura about Kami and this was due to her very aura being corrupted by the Nightmare of old. A multitude of energy surged and swarmed the youth and she was well aware of it herself--though she took it not as seriously as Arrai believed she should. After telling her of her plans, she felt Mi~Na approaching and as she did, the younger woman announced that they should all travel together as she planned to travel with Kami. Arrai thought of this for a moment. With Kami with them, they both could be in grave danger. Though, Mi~Na more than likely realized this and either thought it worth the risk and wanted to keep Kami safe or she wanted to keep her close to ensure Kami would not fully Malfest.
Either or, Arrai decided to travel with them but only if they visited one area first. With Kami asking where and then asking of the food this area held, Arrai smirked at her behavior but innately knew sooner of later, Kami would lose herself to her inner darkness. Until then, the Kaminchu Three set forth for Egypt.
The trio came upon the golden sands of Egypt and stared at its beauty. The sun was slowly rising and the sky was a bluish orange with streaks of red. As they entered the cities below, the trio chose to stay together since they knew not much of the area let alone the people--yet for some reason, Arrai felt a rush of deja vu. Exploring the land and finally finding food to keep Kami quiet, Mi~Na sat and spoke with her. They discussed the demon for which they were seeking.
This demon had destroyed an decent amount of this area in the past and as Arrai looked to the towering pyramid, she could see nothing which stood out. Though she could feel a small amount of that demon's residual energy. Mi~Na could feel it as well. The demon was said to carry a sword and with this sword, it brought about death from the East as well as to the West. Mi~Na pointed out that the arts which Kami knows, those of the Ling Shen Su, have all but vanished due to this demon. Though despite the demon vanishing roughly 14 years ago, its tainted victims and even its own presence were still of this world. Kami was proof of that; and how she managed to retain herself was beyond Arrai.
The trio, also known as The Kaminchu Three, had been dealing with what was left over of this demon's power. Routing out those which were unholy, the three managed to maintain a low state of awareness to their presence. As such, they were able to move freely without incident.
In between hunting, rest was needed. As they retained a close proximity to each other, they were able to detect abnormalities from vast distances and were also able to strategize just how to deal with each individual threat. however, as rest was taken, Arrai matched the design of her blade, Ra, to several intricate markings and cartoche alike. This was her lead, seeing that her blade held several designs which gave way the origin of Ra, she then looked to Bast and realized the same.
Even more proof to her thoughts, her Grandmaster told her of her weapon's names before she had even begun her training and now she has learned that Ra and Bast both bear ties to this land of unending golden sand.
With the years passed, Arrai read upon the history of Egypt. As she read, she drank mainly sake in order to keep herself fairly aware of her surroundings and when the night had fallen, yet she drank tea which was prepared by Mi~Na. The latest event which brought true significance had been the military's unrest during 1604. Governor Ibrahim Pasha had been beaten, dragged while tied to horseback, and finally beheaded. His head had been placed upon the Bab Zuwaylah. Yet, she need not focus much on that seeing as she was present when he had been taken and beaten. The beheading she had not witnessed nor did she care to.
As she thought of the current state of the area, mutinies such as this were common due to the Tulbah and the fact that these soldiers wanted it to cease. Even more so, the etched words upon Ra, being that of Coptic origin, was slowly beginning to decline. Ignoring the present for the moment, she continued to read.
Arrai read on, she learned of a priestess by the name of Tadukipa, a nubile young woman whom hailed from Naharin, (Mitanni in foreign tongue) was to be joined with Amenhotep the III. However, under circumstances (which she could not find) Amenhotep III had died.
"The third (Amenhotep) died after her arrival..." With this found, she pondered: "...ill publicity to downplay the new coming wife or a highly strong coincidence." Arrai could only imagine how Nefertitti would have viewed this. Especially coming across other writings which tell of her jealousy.
What Arrai could not wrap her mind around had been how little of Tadukipa was mentioned and how also a woman by the name of Kiya had been brought to light. This Kiya had sprouted from nearly nowhere but what Arrai could tell was that Takukipa and Kiya were mentioned nearly at the same time and where one ended, the other began.
"Could she have been renamed?" She asked herself aloud. What Arrai knew of rights had been that if Kiya was the new name of Tadukipa, she had at least one child. With titles such as The Great Beloved Wife and The Favorite, Arrai found nothing of meaning to be Heiress or Great Loyal Wife. That alone told her that this Kiya was not of royal blood. Even so...Arrai knew that a child was possible but beyond her theories and speculations, she could go no further with her research.
"Her name has been erased..." This told Arrai that Kiya was likely exiled or quite possibly suffered some form of disgrace. If she died in good standing, then she likely would have a tomb marked for her and not mere writings here and there. In either case, "The Great Beloved Wife" vanished. As she read on, there appeared to be much destruction to the history which she had been reading. Though she was able to tell that a daughter was born and as that daughter lived on, Kiya outright vanished from history. This piqued Arrai's interest for this was the only female whose name truly vanished from monuments without much detail, only to be replaced by her former husband's daughters.
Mi~Na pointed out that they should soon depart the area after dwelling for so long. Reason be was due to the military and the increasing violence. Mi~Na was concerned with the fact that she and Kami were not of this land and with radical behavior increasing, she did not want to leave this land stained in the blood of enraged innocents. Acknowledging this, Arrai slowly began to pack her things yet, Mi~Na told her to stop.
"After we know the mystery of your origin, we'll leave."
A smile crept upon the Ryukyuan's face and as such, Arrai too held a small smile. From here she continued to read. Arrai had learned that from her markings, the marking upon her face, she was of the land (or near such) which the three had resided for a little over a year and a half. This was a magnificent find and even more promising that Arrai could have imagined.
After nearly three years, the three came to an agreement once new information had been gained. Deliberation had been taken and once it had reached its conclusion, the Kaminchu parted ways.
Their plan was thus: Due to scrying, ritual, and summons, they knew that a force of some kind had been hidden and had effectively been amassing its strength in silence. Of course it this be true, the areas to focus on who be those which held the highest concentration of their findings. As such, they divided for this sole purpose.
Kami set off to the East while Mi~Na set foot to the North. Arrai, chose to go West. This of course occurred after they traveled to a certain point. Their funds and supplies were all divided amongst each other and once this was done, the three parted.
They knew not when they would next meet or if they were to ever meet again, however what was writ true in her mind was that the plague, the corrupter, this...great devourer, must be annihilated by any means necessary. As such, she drew near her quarry and for what she believed to be a city of pure stone, she knew enough by the tainted tendrils she was trained to see had already taken root deep within this city.
The obvious thought was that this darkness needed a host. But a host would need strength. Power. Absolute command so that it could operate discreetly while it built upon its strength. Preparation for the conquest it had in mind.
Arrai thought this through and pondered over it deeply until she assumed that this country's ruler would be twisted in his mind by such corruption. Alas, she was proven wrong but not entirely. A celebration of sorts had been ongoing when she arrived and she had seen the ruler of this land, Grandall, over the course of five days, nineteen times. He had no signs of corruption within him. Yet...that is within.
There had been an ax with him. A single handed weapon with an odd reddish sheen to it. As she gazed upon the weapon it in turn turned its gaze to her. It was sentient. From here, she turned and quickly moved through the crowd. To her left, she looked via her peripheral and noticed that the ruler, Strife Astlar, had now been eying the area for which she had been and was actively watching for where she had trekked.
Moving into an alley, Arrai felt an odd surge of corruption from the young emperor and knew well enough that now, he had been twisted into the being for which she sought. He may look all the same as any man; but within? Within lie that of an unending hunger.
|The Mantis War|