Gundam Fantasy

Chapter One

Milliardo knelt before Treize calmly, his eyes vacant and unmoving. Treize walked toward the platinum haired mage and spoke.

"You have finally completed your training, young Milliardo, and now I shall give you a gift." From elegantly manicured claws, a white stone set into a delicate gold circlet dangled. The refined demon fixed the jewel to Milliardo's brow. "From this day forth, you shall be known as Zechs Marquise while you are in mine or Mistress Une's presence. Rise Zechs Marquise and take your place among us." Treize said stepping back to stand by Mistress Une.

Zechs stood and his eyes focused on the regal pair. They had raised him as their own. He had been told that his family had been murdered and that he had miraculously been spared their fate by his adoptive parent’s intervention. He owed them his life and would do anything to protect them.

Walking over to them, he bowed before the Demon. "I thank you Lord Treize, and should you ever wish anything of me… you need only ask." Zechs took Trieze’s hand and kissed it. Then he moved to Mistress Une and repeating his oath, he took her hand and kissed it as well.

Mistress Une tipped up the young Mage's chin. "I too have a gift for you, my beautiful boy." Mistress Une took a necklace with four red stones and four black claws from around her throat and attached it around Zechs' neck. Gently she kissed him and positioned him to stand between her and Treize. "Treize, show our young apprentice his Legacy."

Treize raised his hand and from the ground five huge armored beasts emerged. They resembled towering statues as they stood in a semi-circle before the three.

"What are these creatures?" Zechs asked a touch of uncertainty in his voice.

"These are my Demon Dolls." Treize calmly said. "I give them to you as a gift."

"I do not deserve such a gift from you My Lord." He answered humbly, bowing his head.

"Oh but you do dear boy and more..."

* * *

"Prince Quatre!" A boy's voice called desperately as he ran through the bustling marketplace, "Prince Quatre, are you here?"

* * *

"She'll be all right with enough rest." The soft-spoken man said, addressing the child's parents. He rested his hand on the young girl's head and smiled. "Just remember to keep an eye on her the next time she decides to climb anymore trees." Quatre looked at the girl being held in her mother's arms. "And you need to listen to your parents."

The girl, about eight years of age, smiled back at the young man and whispered quietly, "Yes, Sir."

Turning his attention back to the girls' parents, he said, "I'll be back in a few days to check on her."

The girl's parents bowed before the blond haired man, grateful that the injuries were not as serious as they could have been.  As Prince Quatre wiped the tears from her cheek, the mother said, "Thank you, Prince Quatre."

"Yes, thank you kind Sir." The father added. "If there is anything we can do for you in the future…"

Quatre held up his hands and stopped the father from continuing. "You're welcome. All I need in return is the knowledge that the people of this Kingdom are safe." Quatre bowed before leaving. He thanked the family for their hospitality and waved goodbye.

Walking through the teaming village, Prince Quatre Raberba Winner took in the preparation for the upcoming festival. Every year in the southern realm of Sanq, the village of Tir'Anna held its annual festival to celebrate the joining of the five kingdoms under one monarchy. This year was the 150th anniversary of the signing of the treaty. Unlike other kingdoms where the royal family could not walk among their subjects without guards, Quatre roamed freely. He was known throughout for his gentleness and love for his people. And for those subjects that did not care for the royal family of Sanq, they stayed clear of Quatre for they feared his powers that he had learned too quickly master under the tutelage of the eccentric Wizard H, an outcast who practiced Magic and bakery. His empathic abilities allowed Quatre to aid doctors to heal their patients, but also gave him a high tolerance for pain. Wizard H continues to help Quatre maintain mastery and learn to use the element of wind.

In the distance, Quatre heard his name called. He stopped amongst the crowd and listened again for his name. A young boy dressed in farmer's clothing spotted Quatre and waved to him. "Prince Quatre!" The boy panted heavily as he ran up to the young Mage. "Thank the Gods I found you." The boy bent over at the waist, resting his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath. "You're… needed. Please… come… quickly!"

"What has happened?" Quatre hesitated to touch the winded boy.

"Our village… is in the process of clearing some… of the forest for more farmland. We found a man living there. He's badly hurt."

"How so?"

"We had set traps for some of the larger beasts that lived there… we never expected this though."

"All right then.  Lead the way." Quatre said perplexed at the young man's lack of information.

* * *

"I've brought him!" The young farmer called to the others gathered together. They turned as one at the boy's voice. "I told you he would come!"

"Where is he?" Quatre asked, "This injured man?" The crowd parted to reveal, a short distance away at the beginning of the forest, the figure of a young man, lying unconscious. His body was draped over a large black panther. His lower leg trapped in the confines of a particularly, nasty looking claw trap. Quatre looked shocked. "What? Why haven't you freed him?"

"We've tried what we could, but there's a problem. Watch," said one of the field workers, indicating to another worker to demonstrate.

A young man nodded his head and carefully approached the trapped man. Before he could get within twenty feet of him, the forest suddenly came to life with wild creatures. The larger beasts of the forest stood guard over the fallen man. The worker paled and backed away slowly and returned to the group.

"See, this is why we called you. None of us can get close enough to help him."

Quatre had the expression of 'What do you expect me to do?.' "How long has he been like this?" He inquired.

"No one knows, but it couldn't have been too long, no more than a day or two at the most. We check the traps on a regular basis." Someone in the crowd answered.

"Does anyone know who is he?" The workers shook their heads. Quatre sighed, almost in a defeated response. "I'll see what I can do."

Stepping pass the group Quatre walked slowly, calmly toward the man and the animals that protected him. As Quatre neared, the animals grew more agitated - growling and hissing - with each step he took closer. The large cat moved from beneath the man and joined the other animals in defending him. The young Mage held out his hands for the beasts to see. To show he held no weapons and that he had no intention of hurting their companion.

The companion in question was dark haired. His long hair was unkempt and in much need of tending. His bangs were long and covered half his face. The trapped man was dressed in what appeared to be Mages' clothing, although they were in a terrible state of disrepair and filthy to boot and hung on his too slender frame. His left leg just above his ankle was trapped between the steel jaws of the bear trap, its jagged teeth, biting deep into his flesh. It appeared as through when the trap was sprung, the young man jerked his leg back, dragging the steel teeth down his leg causing even more damage, but the leg itself looked to be unbroken. Quatre noticed the blood stained fingers and mused that the fellow Mage had tried in vain to free himself and couldn't. Quatre cleared his throat and spoke in soft tones.

"I'm not going to hurt you or him. I'm here to help your friend… if you'll let me." Quatre took another step forward. Two large wolves stepped forward as well, baring sharp canines. The young mage did his best to hide his growing fear. "Shhh… it's okay. I just want to help."

Without making any sudden movements, Quatre knelt before the wolves and held out his hands for them to smell. One crept forward, bringing its muzzle dangerously close to the outstretched hands. Quatre felt the animal's hot breath on his hands and before he knew what was happening, the wolf sniffing at his hands grabbed Quatre's left hand and wrist in its mouth, sinking its canines deep into the young Mage's flesh. Suppressing the urge to cry out, Quatre did his best to control his ever-growing fear as the second wolf came up around him bringing its large head close to Quatre's face and throat. He could feel the animal's breath on his skin.

Quatre heard the field workers gasp as the two wolves closed in on him. They're testing me, he thought.

After a moment, the first wolf licked Quatre's wounded hand and made a guttural sound as it backed away from the strange human. Something silently passed between the two wolves and they stepped away from Quatre and the trapped man, as did many of the animals protecting him.

"Thank you. Thank you for trusting me to help him." A wave of relief passed over Quatre. He stood up slowly holding his injured hand and wrist and continued toward the man. Quatre tore a strip of cloth from his robes and quickly wrapped his left hand to ease the bleeding. Pain and angst showed on the still face before Quatre, as if the injured man was dreaming something horrible. He heard the man groan softly.

Moments later, the trap was released from the injured leg. The wild beasts paced and circled the two humans as Quatre gathered the man in his arms. As he did, Quatre felt the pain and sorrow within the hurt man. He had never felt such sorrow from one person. The images Quatre saw in his mind were that of someone lost, unable to find himself. Hiding within the sorrow that ravaged his very being. There was more to him, then just the injured leg. Closing his eyes, he called upon his limited ability to heal. After a moment, Quatre called out to the field workers.

"I will be in need of help taking him back to my Father’s Estate. His leg is in need of much attention." The young farmer who had brought Quatre stepped forward.

"You can use the work wagon to transport him."

"Thank you."

* * *

Carefully loading the injured man into the work wagon, Quatre crawled in after him sitting cross-legged beside him. Gently, the young Mage placed his hands on the wounded leg and closed his eyes. Concentrating, he worked his way through the pain emanating from his patient.

This should stop the bleeding for now, Quatre thought.

When the healing was done, Quatre turned to the driver of the wagon. "Thank you for the use of your wagon. It wouldn't have been safe to move him by hand." Quatre leaned back against the wagon exhausted.

"No problem Prince Quatre." The driver said, looking back at his two passengers. "Now you should get some rest. You look like you could use it." Quatre closed his eyes and nodded his head.

* * *

The young man felt warm… safe… two things he wasn't familiar with. Opening his eyes, he found himself lying in a majestic bed, covered in fancy sheets and warm blankets. The room reflected the wealth and taste of its owner. He spied his clothing, clean, mended and folded neatly on a nearby chair.

A nobleman's home.... He mused.

His leg throbbed in pain as he suddenly remembered the incident in the forest. Pulling back the blankets, he reached down his leg, and found that the wound had been tended and bandaged.

That's right, I stepped into that trap. The injured man thought to himself. It was getting late and I was hungry. I didn't see the trap until it was too late. The villagers had buried it, so the animals could not see it. How cruel... and how long was I there? Two? Three days? And how did I end up here?

"AH! You're finally awake." A cheerful voice greeted him as a blond haired man, about eighteen or nineteen years of age, entered the room carrying a tray of medical supplies. "I'm glad to see you're awake. You've been asleep for several days now."

"Who are you?" The injured man asked suspiciously. "Why am I here?" He pulled the blanket up to cover himself from the blond stranger.

Setting the tray next to the bed, Quatre answered the young man's questions. "My name is Prince Quatre Raberba Winner. I am the Heir to this Estate." He said, bowing to his guest. "I brought you here so that I could care for you." Moving closer, Quatre saw the distrust growing in his guest's green eyes.

How similar they are to those of the wolves in the forest. Green eyes I could get lost in.

"I have some authority in this region and have halted the work in your forest, until you are strong enough to return. So, for the time being, you are my guest."

"Why are you helping me?" The man asked, pushing himself up into a sitting position, struggling not to let his body sink deep into the oversized pillows behind his head and back. "What do you expect in return?"

"What? It's what I do. In truth the doctors have done more than I." Quatre smiled as he pulled back the bed sheets to expose only the injured leg. He showed no fear to this man, who could attack him at anytime. "I help others, care for them, when I can."

The injured man watched with fascination as Quatre set to work changing the bloodied dressing on his leg. It was at that point; the wounded man saw the extent of the injury to his leg. The trap had done considerable damage to the tendons and muscles. He continued to watch in silence as the wound was cleaned and redressed.

Here he was a stranger in the King's home, being tended to, not by a servant or slave, but by the Prince himself. His hands had a soft and gentle touch as befitting the Crown Prince, but he could feel the roughness of the calluses as they handled his injured leg.

Finishing, Quatre pulled the bed sheet and blankets back over the injured leg. "That should do it. I hope you don't mind I had your clothing cleaned and mended while you were asleep. They were in need of much repair."

"What happened to your hand?" The guest asked, having noticed the injury while Quatre tended his wound.

Quatre brought up his hand, "When I was trying to help you, one of your wolves decided to take a bite out of me."

"They were protecting me." The taller man said flatly.

"I got that feeling. The bite wasn't too serious. It'll heal in a week or so." Quatre smiled. Suddenly Quatre blushed as he remembered that his guest had had nothing to eat since his arrival. "You must be hungry. Please, wait one moment." And he disappeared out the door.

Moments later, Quatre returned with another tray in his hands. Setting the tray across his guest's lap, Quatre smiled at him. "My sister, Iria, is a well known doctor here. She says these are the best foods to help you regain your strength." The man looked down at the tray, which contained a bowl of meat stew, a large muffin and a drink.

"Thank you." He said in a quiet voice. He wasn't sure what to make of the situation. "No one's ever treated me like this before - with such... kindness."

"What? Not even from your family?" Quatre asked in disbelief.

"I have no family," stated the man un-equivocately.

"I see." Quatre said in a low voice, understanding that the subject was closed for now. "I'll leave you to your meal." Bowing, he excused himself from the room.

* * *

Quatre returned sometime later and found his guest resting comfortably. The empty food tray was set in the bottom corner of the large bed out of the way, picked clean of all its contents. A servant had followed Quatre in and removed the tray from the bed, careful not to disturb its sleeping resident. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Quatre gently took hold of first one then the other hand of his reluctant guest. Gently rubbing the hands between his, he felt the roughness of many calluses on the palms and fingers, the result of long hours of laborious work. Turning the hands over, the knuckles showed signs of bruising. Quatre sighed to himself and wondered how anyone could have such a hard life in such a prosperous kingdom? Closing his eyes, he recited a small healing spell that removed the bruising from his patient's hands. Quatre smiled at his work.

When you are ready, Quatre thought determinedly, you'll tell me everything.

The young man didn't stir from sleep as Quatre lightly brushed aside the long brown bangs that obscured half his face revealing the bruising that had yet to completely disappear from under his eyes. From the little contact Quatre had had with the man, he could sense that this person had felt more sorrow in his lifetime than a dozen of young men of the same age.

Even after three days of sleep, you still look weary. Quatre ran his fingertips along the lines of the beautiful face before him. I just want to ease your sorrow... Let you feel the joy of laughter.

The servant returned with another tray of food that Quatre instructed him to leave on the table at the far end of the room.

Quatre spent the night watching his guest sleep. Something compelled him to watch over this stranger sleeping in his bed. This same something that made him want to hold him, keep him safe and spare him from the memories that haunted his dreams.

          Sleep, I'll keep you safe.

* * *

Beams of morning sunlight flooded the bedroom, its harsh light waking the bed's sleeping occupant, forcing him to cover his eyes and face with his hand.

He was still in the Prince's home.

He had hoped the whole ordeal to be a dream. Sitting up in bed, he spied a man curled up asleep on the couch. Rubbing his eyes to remove the sleep from them, he took a closer look and gasped in shock. It was Crown Prince Quatre. Taking in the room he noticed a half-eaten food platter and a blue-jeweled necklace lying on the floor in front of the sleeping Prince as if he had dropped it there before falling asleep. Had he been there all night?

A moan escaped Quatre's lips as he woke up and stretched his cramped body. Slowly sitting up, he blinked away the sleep from his eyes. "Oh! Good morning." Quatre said cheerfully, as he ran his hand through his thick yellow hair. "Did you sleep well?" He asked, rising from the couch to sit on the bed next to man.

"Ah… yes… thank you." He answered surprised. "Did you stay there all night?" He indicated the couch.

"Yes, I hope you don't mind." Quatre said, his face turning red. "I was concerned for you."

"Concerned? You don't know anything about me, not even my name." He protested Quatre's right to be concerned.

"I wasn't going to ask until you felt ready to tell me."

"And what if I'm never ready?"

"Then you'll be my 'No Name' guest." Quatre saw a touch of sadness pass across his guest's face at the words 'No Name', but said nothing. He noticed how his guest unconsciously clenched the bed sheets in tightly closed fists. The young Mage mused that the words must have something to do with this man's past and it hurt him deeply to hear them.

Silence fell between the two men. Before it could become too uncomfortable, a knock on the door heralded the entrance of a servant.

           "Prince Quatre," she called timidly. She entered expecting to find the young noble still asleep on the couch. She stopped in surprise to see him awake and sitting with his guest. "Oh, forgive me Prince Quatre," she said as she bowed before him, "I thought you would still be asleep. I didn't realize you… I mean…"

Quatre hide his smile behind his hand so as not to cause any more embarrassment to the young woman. "It's all right. Is there a problem in town?" He asked as he bent to pick up the necklace where he had dropped it before falling asleep.

"No. A young girl is here to see you." The woman said, helping Quatre by fastening the necklace for him then brushing the wrinkles out of his robe, making the young Prince more presentable for his guest.

"To see me? Well then please show her in."

"But Sir, in your private bedchambers? Wouldn't it be more proper to see her in one of the other rooms?" she protested.

"No… no this room is more presentable than my study." The servant bowed again and left the room. Quatre turned to his guest. "I hope you don't mind this intrusion on your rest."

His guest looked at him blankly and shook his head. He was still in shock from learning that this nobleman's son had given up his own room for a complete stranger. This 'Quatre' was very different from every other person he had dealt with in his life. There was something innocent about the gentle healer that appealed to the convalescing man. His face was open, revealing his feelings.

The bedroom door opened and the servant appeared once again, holding the door for the visitor. Quatre bowed to his young guest, inviting her in.

"It's good to see you again. I take it you haven't been climbing trees as of late?"

The small girl smiled back and curtsied out of respect. "No, Prince Quatre."

"Is everything all right at home?"

"Yes, my family is doing well. Thank you. That's why I'm here." In her arms was a huge bouquet of wild flowers. "These are for you." She said handing them to the Mage, as Quatre knelt before her, giving him a kiss on the cheek, "Thank you Prince Quatre for helping me."

"You are very welcome." He replied, placing a gentle kiss to her forehead.

* * *

The young girl waved goodbye as the servant escorted her out, leaving the two men alone again. Quatre moved to the dresser placing the flowers into a vase when his brown-haired guest spoke up.

"My name is Trowa. Trowa Barton." He said softly almost child-like. Quatre wasn't sure if he had heard right. He turned slowly, to face the other man and found him standing next to the bed holding tightly to the bedpost to keep himself standing. Trowa looked embarrassed, saying self consciously, "Thank you Prince Quatre for saving me as well."

Quatre's rich colored blue eyes lit up as Trowa bowed slightly balancing his weight on his good leg. Trowa tried to conceal his feelings, but his struggle showed on his face. Quatre simply bowed in return not wanting to risk the barriers being raised between them again.

* * *

The weeks that followed were spent in quiet conversations. The more they spoke together, the more at ease Trowa became, slowly opening up. Quatre noticed though whenever anyone entered the room, Trowa's barrier would return. He was suspicious of all who approached him, almost as if he had never experienced kindness from any other person. Quatre never asked about Trowa's past - when Trowa's was ready, he would bring it up himself.

Trowa's rehabilitation went slowly. The trap had done significant damage to his lower leg and after several weeks Trowa still did not have full use of his leg. So for the time being, Quatre continued to nurse Trowa's leg. Everyday, he used his gift of Healing to aid in his new friend's recovery. Quatre also insisted on daily walks, as part of the mending process.

Quatre had asked the servants of the Estate to leave him and his guest alone when they were out on their walks around the grounds. Their walks for the most part were taken in a comfortable silence. Conversations were brief during this time together.

"How long have you been living in the forest?" Quatre asked curiously as the two men walked around the grounds of the Winner Estate. Quatre always made sure to ask only general questions of Trowa. He didn't want his guest to feel pressured.

Leaning heavily on his crutch, Trowa spoke in soft tones. "I've been living there for about a year now. I find I enjoy the company of nature more than that of mankind."

Quatre sensed that Trowa had more to say, but kept those thoughts to himself. He didn't want to scare Trowa into silence.

"Why is that?" Quatre inquired hoping to get a clue to Trowa's past. When there was no answer, Quatre nodded his head. "I understand." He said softly. "I'm sorry. I won't ask again." He could feel the pain and turmoil within Trowa and hoped that one day soon he would open himself up.

In those periods when Trowa did talk of himself, Quatre learned that Trowa was indeed a Mage, as he had guessed from that first time he laid eyes on him. Though all he would say was that a Master Mage in the Eastern Region of the Five Kingdoms had trained him to be a Water Mage.

* * *

Quatre and Trowa were sitting in the estate garden partaking of lunch when a servant and a messenger approached them.

          "Prince Quatre, there is a messenger here to see you." The servant said. The young Master of the Estate acknowledged the messenger's presence.

"Prince Quatre." The older gentleman said, as he bowed. "Your presence has been requested by Empress Relena Peacecraft of the Sanq Kingdom." In the messenger's hand was a rolled piece of parchment for Quatre. Opening the request, he verified the invitation. The messenger continued speaking, as Quatre looked it over carefully. "You are to appear before her and the Court at your earliest convenience."

"Tell the Empress that I will be there in one week's time."

"Yes, Sir." As the messenger turned to leave, he noticed the second man sitting quietly at the table. The man kept his eyes averted so as not to make eye contact with the messenger. He looked uncomfortable, knowing that he was being watched. The messenger cleared his throat and addressed Trowa. "Excuse me Sir?  Are you not the pupil of Mage S? Trowa Barton?"

Trowa stiffened, glaring at this new nuisance, as he set down his drink. "Yes, I am," he answered, suspicious that the messenger knew his name.

"Great! Oh what luck!" The messenger clasped his hands together as he rejoiced at so easily finding the second Mage, visiting the Winner Estate. Reaching into his satchel, the messenger of the Sanq Kingdom pulled another parchment out and held it for Trowa to accept. "Your presence is requested by Empress Relena Peacecraft as well."

Taking the parchment, Trowa and Quatre exchanged looks as the messenger bowed and left.

"Why would the Empress want to see me?" Trowa asked Quatre, as he looked down at the open parchment in his hands. "I am no one in the Five Kingdoms."

"That's not true." Quatre said, resting a gentle hand on Trowa's arm. "You were a student of one of the Five Master Mages. That alone means you are someone of importance. I wish I had realized it sooner."

* * *

"It'll be at least a three day ride to the palace of the Sanq Kingdom. I want you to meet the horses we'll be riding, so that we can find out if there are any personality conflicts although I really don't see you having any problem with them. “Quatre informed Trowa as they headed toward the Winner Estate stables.”Oh and one more thing. I've taken the liberty of having some new clothes made for you. I put a rush on a couple of the outfits. They should be finished by now. The rest will be finished by the time we return. We'll have you try them on before we leave so you'll have something presentable for the Empress."

"Thank you." Trowa said embarrassed.

As they approached the stables, the stable master came out to meet them. He walked between two majestic white horses. "Foonie and Domon will be your mounts for your journey Prince Quatre. I hope they meet with your approval." He said bowing. "Are you sure you won't reconsider taking the Maguanacs with you?" Quatre looked past the stable master and spied a large group of men, desperately trying to hide themselves in the shadows of the barn. Quatre laughed aloud, as the men of the Maguanac Corps tried not to look too anxious or conspicuous.

"You can tell Rashid, we will be fine." Quatre reassured him, taking the two sets of reins offered to him. "We'll return the horses shortly and see to it that they are well rested for the start of our journey tomorrow."

"As you wish Prince Quatre,” bowing the stable master took his leave and returned to the stables where the forty men who had tired so desperately to hide themselves in the shadows immediately pounced on him.

"Who are those men?" Trowa asked, as he watched the stable master crawl out from under the huge pile of men and take off running as they chased the poor man who really had done nothing to deserve their apparent wrath.

"They are the Maguanacs, loyal warriors to the Winner Estate and this Kingdom."

"I see."

Quatre held out one set of the reins for Trowa to take. He looked disgustedly at them. "What is it? Is something wrong?"

"How could you treat these beautiful animals so cruelly?"

"What?" Quatre then remember the rapport Trowa spoke of with animals in their many hours of conversation. "No Trowa, you misunderstand. The animals here are treated well and never overburdened. Please you must believe me. If not me, then ask them." He indicated to the mounts. Quatre seemed quite sincere about the matter.

With suspicion and distrust in his eyes, Trowa stood between the two horses and placed gentle hands onto the sides of the animal's faces. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Quatre noticed how calm and relaxed Trowa's face was when he spoke with any of the animals that approached him. He seemed happier in their company. After a moment, Trowa's eyes opened and he nodded his head. "You have not lied to me Quatre."

"I would never lie to you, Trowa," he vowed, smiling.

* * *

Over the next few hours, Quatre and Trowa gathered clothing and other provisions for their trip while the servants prepared food packs for the pair. Trowa tried on three of his new outfits that Quatre had custom made for him, standing patiently while the seamstresses made last minute alterations.

Later that day, Wizard H came to visit Quatre, wishing him the best of luck and safest of journeys on his way to visit the Empress. As a last parting gift, he presented the journeyers with a basket of breads and pastries with a Magical grace and flourish that both impressed and disturbed those who saw it. He swore that the baked goods were of Magical quality and would last throughout the journey or longer if need be. So prepared, Trowa and Quatre went to bed so as to get an early start on their journey tomorrow.

* * *