He was light in build, wired with sinew and muscle, yet still exceptionally soft in the face, body and jaw. Long, soft-pink hair was braided tightly down a strong narrow back and secured with a black leather tie. Incredibly fair skin accompanied strong, yet beautiful facial features, for which he and his twin sister were always being confused. It wasn’t until he spoke that his masculinity showed through his feminine features, and once hearing him speak it was easier for the listener to classify his beauty.
His family were descendants of the Ashnae Porta, or “Jeweled Folk”, who centuries ago had been beheld with amazement across the known world for their strange, jewel coloured hair and eyes, as well as for their stunning, ethereal beauty. Men and women alike were jealously sought after by the higher echelons of society as wives and husbands, or to be the staring center pieces in richly decorated harems. Mistresses and lovers for centuries, the Ashnea were exceedingly skilled in the sexual arts, yet also overbearingly arrogant and deceitful. It was because of this arrogance, and this deceit it is said, that the gods struck them down from their place in the Mountains of Shar with a mighty shaking of the earth. Their entire population --save those who had left to serve, love, or live elsewhere-- was destroyed, buried beneath mile upon mile of rock. Many generations passed, interbreeding with common people diluting the race's distinctive features, and the Ashnae Porta all but vanished.
Despite being an extinct race from the distant past, every now and again, as it was with Shuichi and his sister, things would match up favorably in the womb, and children with Ashnae features would be born, usually to the great surprise of the parents. Children really were a confounding and miraculous mystery.
At first glance, Shuichi (or Shu as he was more commonly known) appeared to be perhaps sixteen, though his actual age was much closer to twenty. He had always looked far younger than the other boys his age, and his mother said it was because of his heritage, that his ancestors had been a race blessed with seemingly eternal youth. He had always despised this fact as the other boys always picked on him for looking like a little girl. It wasn’t until he grew older and the young women of the village started to pay more attention to him than to the others did he get some semblance of satisfaction from his looks. Not that he really appreciated the attention from the girls as he was quite shy and reserved around women, but he always played along when those that had teased him as a child were around. Truth be told be wasn’t very interested in any of the girls in his village. They were all much too giggly for his tastes.
Some nineteen years the violet eyed youth had lived a life contrary to that of his ancient ancestors. They had spent their lives lounging about on great pillows of velvet, eating decadently rich foods, attending fine parties and performing lewd sexual acts like over privileged, oversexed house cats, but not him. Shu had lived the life he had been born to live. Tilling the fields with his family, riding his horses and enjoying a quiet, simple life in the village of Palmere.
Located a brisk two days journey northeast of the capital city of Anjeu, Palmere was as common as villages came in the southern tip of the country. Tucked in tightly against the base of the Green Mountains, and flanked to the east by the steep Cliffs of Merg that plummeted down into the churning blue-black froth of the Anjeuvian Sea, the people of Palmere went about their lives as they had for hundreds of years. Most were completely oblivious to the warring in the northern provinces, and those that had heard word from the capital of civil unrest held fast to the hope that things would settle before the conflict reached them in the south.
For them, life carried on in the usual fashion as it had for generations. Pretty girls carried baskets of vegetables, fruit, and flowers along the roads leading from the fields, while young lads rode past on their glistening mounts and offered kind complements to the day, if nothing, but to make idle chatter with the ladies they hoped one day to woo. Most families worked the fields to one end or another, several ranching livestock alongside their crops. A few, like Shu’s family, dedicated themselves to the breeding of fine horses. Some were bred to have sturdy frames and strong backs, so they could be used for ploughing fields or hauling huge cuts of felled timber from the surrounding forests. A few were bred for swiftness, eagerness and stamina, the best of which were destined to be mail carriers, to pull carriages, or to be raced in Anjeu’s summer games. Others still were bred simply for their fine featured beauty, serving no other purpose than to be the shining, dainty footed mounts of the noblemen in the capital, and to draw to those noblemen the envied glances of their peers.
Besides the farmers and ranchers, there were several families who tended the villages various amenities; The Arnithes, crafters of metal who made and mended tools and who serviced the feet of the town's horses, operated the forge; The Shar-yii family ran the tavern and the inn, a place were most went to gather gossip and news from the city once the sun had gone down and the chores were finished for the day. The Chisons were newer to the village, only having been there two generations. They had traveled far from the north-west and were skilled potters, their services well and widely used. Most families had known each other for generations, and more than a few were related by blood or through marriage.
Weddings were frequent in the summer months and taken to with unrestrained exuberance. No expense of time or resources was withheld and it was one such extravagant wedding, or rather, an overly exuberant mother-of-the-bride, that had sent Shu scrambling deep into the forest for some peace and quiet.
His twin sister Maiko was betrothed to the middle son of the Arnithe family and the happy pair were to be wed in less than a fortnight at Shuichi’s family home. Shu was very happy for his sister, to that anyone would agree, but his mother’s constant fretting and rushing about had begun to tread on his nerves and so that morning, after he had tended to his chores, he had packed his leather satchel with some travelling food and a book he was enjoying to seek out an afternoon of solitude.
Nall Creek was some distance from his families farm, over a two hour journey by all but the fastest of walkers, however on the back of his favourite horse it took Shu not even an hour to reach it. He tethered his roan coated mare, Artha, to a picket under a large willow so that she could rest and graze on the wild grains and long grasses that grew beneath it. Shu slung his satchel over his back and headed toward the gurgling noises that were coming from a thicket of yearling poplars growing along the bank of the creek.
Picking his way cleanly over a path he had walked a hundred times before, Shu started to hum the tune to his favourite childhood song; a ballad written ages ago about a tall, shining hero facing off against a ferocious golden scaled dragon to protect the one he loved. It was a weathered story, full of clichés and lacking in plot development, but it was one that had began as truth, somewhere, long ago. It had always been the one Shuichi had requested to hear when he was a small boy and one he still liked to listen in on when the youngsters were crowding around one of the village elders for an evening story.
Not that I still believe in dragons, he thought whimsically to himself as he continued his trek.
When he finally reached the creek, a great sense of relief and comfort washed over his body, leaving in its wake a wonderful, lingering, calm.
It’s been too long since I last came here, he decided as he set to getting comfortable against the trunk of a majestic old oak.
He removed his brown leather traveling cloak and spread it out over the ground at the base of the tree, then positioned himself on it. His back rested against the tall sturdy frame of the tree which had, he assumed, been there long before he had been born, and would be long after he was dead and gone. There was a gentle peace in the thought of things staying exactly as they were meant to stay and though it was a happy thought, it also brought him to thoughts of the northern war and the life-altering changes that were taking place for those involved. There would be no peaceful oak trees to sit under, not for the northern people. Everything that was good and green and lasting was being burnt away by the ravaging flames of war even as Shuichi sat beneath his own shady green giant of a tree.
He had heard so many stories about the war that was going on in the northern provinces, that boys far younger than himself were being sent into battles they didn’t understand, battles that had been brewing long before they had even been conceived. The thought that somewhere out there men existed who could rip boys away from their mothers arms and force them to kill others, perhaps others the same age as themselves, sickened his heart. But, he conceded, the war was far off in the distance and even though the countries capital was located very close to his own village, no word of disruption there had yet reached them. For this he was glad, because he was certainly no warrior and would most likely be killed on a battle field before he’d even seen a full night and day in combat.
The south was able to maintain such a peaceful existence primarily because most of the common people and even some of the war lords were afraid to traverse the Green Mountains to get to the capital, and it was certainly not for lack of a sure path. More than two hundred years before, Lord Mael, founder of Anjeu and the first nobleman to see any promise in the rocky, densely forested, lands to the south, had forced countless slaves and captives of the Great War to work day and night, hewing out a passage through the twisting, jagged rocks. It was then that the mountains had taken on their name, for when they began striking and blasting away at the rocks near the center of the mountain range they unleashed billowing clouds of fetid green gases from deep within the earth. Gases that were deadly to breath in for even a few minutes. Thousands of people were killed, including Lord Mael’s only son, Anjeu, in memory of whom he named his newly-founded city in the south.
Despite their horrid history, the mountains hadn’t spewed gases for over a century and people traveled through the passage all the time. Not because they wanted to, but because they had no other option. Other than taking a ship down the coast, as most of the wealthier merchants and families did, taking the Dead Pass, as people called it, was the only way to reach the capital city. It was because of this that Anjeu was made the capital in the first place; for in it’s location, it was well fortified, easily accessed by merchant ships and virtually impenetrable from anywhere but the sea.
Shuichi sighed and, setting thoughts of war and local history aside, the fair-faced youth set to his relaxation with gusto, unaware that this would be the last time he would ever get to sit by his favorite creek.
A short intro to what I’m sure you will find to be a very entertaining and inventive sci-fi AU fic. Expect much longer chapters, multiple plot twists, inventive OC’s and more importantly, delicious wonderful smut.