knelt before Treize calmly, his eyes vacant and unmoving.
Treize walked toward the platinum haired mage and spoke.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
are these creatures?" Zechs asked a touch of uncertainty
in his voice.
are my Demon Dolls." Treize calmly said. "I give
them to you as a gift."
not deserve such a gift from you My Lord." He answered
humbly, bowing his head.
but you do dear boy and more..."
Quatre!" A boy's voice called desperately as he ran
through the bustling marketplace, "Prince Quatre, are
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
about eight years of age, smiled back at the young man and
whispered quietly, "Yes, Sir."
attention back to the girls' parents, he said, "I'll
be back in a few days to check on her."
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."
thank you kind Sir." The father added. "If there
is anything we can do for you in the future…"
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
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…
has happened?" Quatre hesitated to touch the winded
village… is in the process of clearing some… of the forest
for more farmland. We found a man living there. He's badly
had set traps for some of the larger beasts that lived there…
we never expected this though."
right then. Lead the way." Quatre said perplexed at
the young man's lack of information.
* * *
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!"
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?"
tried what we could, but there's a problem. Watch,"
said one of the field workers, indicating to another worker
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
this is why we called you. None of us can get close enough
to help him."
the expression of 'What do you expect me to do?.' "How
long has he been like this?" He inquired.
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.
anyone know who is he?" The workers shook their heads.
Quatre sighed, almost in a defeated response. "I'll
see what I can do."
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.
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.
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."
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.
the field workers gasp as the two wolves closed in on him.
They're testing me, he thought.
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.
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
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.
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.
can use the work wagon to transport him."
* * *
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.
should stop the bleeding for now, Quatre thought.
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.
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.
* * *
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.
home.... He mused.
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.
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
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."
are you?" The injured man asked suspiciously. "Why
am I here?" He pulled the blanket up to cover himself
from the blond stranger.
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.
similar they are to those of the wolves in the forest. Green
eyes I could get lost in.
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."
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?"
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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
were protecting me." The taller man said flatly.
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.
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.
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."
Not even from your family?" Quatre asked in disbelief.
have no family," stated the man un-equivocately.
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.
* * *
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.
you are ready, Quatre thought determinedly, you'll
tell me everything.
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.
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.
returned with another tray of food that Quatre instructed
him to leave on the table at the far end of the room.
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.
* * *
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.
yes… thank you." He answered surprised. "Did you
stay there all night?" He indicated the couch.
I hope you don't mind." Quatre said, his face turning
red. "I was concerned for you."
You don't know anything about me, not even my name."
He protested Quatre's right to be concerned.
wasn't going to ask until you felt ready to tell me."
what if I'm never ready?"
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.
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…"
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.
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.
see me? Well then please show her in."
Sir, in your private bedchambers? Wouldn't it be more proper
to see her in one of the other rooms?" she protested.
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
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.
door opened and the servant appeared once again, holding
the door for the visitor. Quatre bowed to his young guest,
inviting her in.
good to see you again. I take it you haven't been climbing
trees as of late?"
girl smiled back and curtsied out of respect. "No,
everything all right at home?"
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."
are very welcome." He replied, placing a gentle kiss
to her forehead.
* * *
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
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."
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.
* * *
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
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
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.
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.
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."
that Trowa had more to say, but kept those thoughts to himself.
He didn't want to scare Trowa into silence.
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
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.
* * *
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.
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."
the Empress that I will be there in one week's time."
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?"
glaring at this new nuisance, as he set down his drink.
"Yes, I am," he answered, suspicious that the
messenger knew his name.
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."
parchment, Trowa and Quatre exchanged looks as the messenger
bowed and left.
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."
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."
* * *
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."
you." Trowa said embarrassed.
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
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."
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.
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.
are the Maguanacs, loyal warriors to the Winner Estate and
out one set of the reins for Trowa to take. He looked disgustedly
at them. "What is it? Is something wrong?"
could you treat these beautiful animals so cruelly?"
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.
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."
never lie to you, Trowa," he vowed, smiling.
* * *
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.
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.
* * *