Embers of Hatred


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40 Years Before Within the Shadow of a Hero

Yoshiro chased his half-sister up a tower within Fairy territory. As they ran up the stairs, thunder rumbled outside. Soon they reached the top of the tower, the woman looked at Yoshiro, "You killed my little brother!" Yoshiro looked at his his hand and closed his fist, "You know, standing here, I've come to realize that you were just like me. You were trying to make history, but who's to judge the right from wrong..." Yoshiro drew his sword, "When our guard is down, I think we'll both agree, that violence breeds violence." Yoshiro adjusted his shield on his right arm and watched as Aiko drew her own weapon, "In the end, it has to be this way." The two of them rushed at each other and locked weapons, Yoshiro sensed which way the pressure was going in the bind and allowed her to push against him, releasing by moving his hilt up and allowing her sword to slide downward against his sword.

Yoshiro quickly brought the pommel against her unarmored face, causing her to reel back and clutching her bloodied nose. Yoshiro then quickly placed his blade against her arms, doing a pull cut and cutting deeply into her arms, preventing her from being able to use her sword. As blood poured from her wounds, lightning flashed and the thunder rumbled again as rain started to fall, diluting the blood that hit the ground. Aiko still got up and rushed at Yoshiro, swinging at him with a fist. Yoshiro dodged her fist, the slick stone surface was making it hard for either fighter to keep their footing, but Yoshiro noticed something, Aiko's wounds were no longer bleeding, they had been cauterized. Aiko looked at him, "I'll be the one to kill you, mark my words, Yoshiro! I will kill you!"

Yoshiro dodged Aiko's attack and grabbed her by the tail, using it as a leverage point to shift her momentum towards one of the walls. Aiko stumbled in the rain and turned around, a fire ball steaming in her hand as water hit it and evaporated instantly. Aiko threw the fireball at Yoshiro, however Yoshiro raised his shield to block it. The heat was extreme and caused him to drop the shield, which had become red hot. Yoshiro watched as steam rose up as droplets of rain hit it. Yoshiro looked at Aiko who rushed at him and threw a punch at his face, only to hit the helmet he wore and break her hand. Yoshiro grabbed her by the arm and slung her towards the wall behind him, only to watch her hit the wall and fall off the tower. Yoshiro walked over to the wall and looked over, he watched as Aiko hit the ground.

Yoshiro looked at his shield, which was still red hot and made a mental note to come back up here as the rain picked up, soaking him through his armor. Yoshiro looked up to the sky, "This feels like an omen." Yoshiro walked down the steps of the tower, he could hear the storm picking up, he had just killed his own half-sister and yet, he didn't feel a thing, which bothered him the most. He didn't feel sorrow, nor did he feel regret for doing so, and this disturbed him. Thoughts raced through his head and he wondered if he was becoming a monster that he always feared becoming. As he reached the bottom of the tower, he looked out of the doorway, the rain was coming down heavily and the winds were blowing hard. He walked out to confirm his kill regardless.

As he walked over to Aiko's body, he took off his helmet, allowing the rain to soak his head. He also took off one of his gauntlets and knelt down next to the body. He placed his fingers on Aiko's neck and what he felt surprised him, she had a faint pulse, she was alive. Yoshiro sighed and picked up her body, "I need to get you to a medical facility, even after everything you've done. You do not deserve to die. No one does..." Yoshiro looked up at the sky and let out a loud shriek. He waited for a moment, then Julius landed near him, he placed Aiko on Julius' back and climbed aboard, "We need to get her to a medical facility, we'll have to come back for my armor pieces." Julius nodded and took off, Yoshiro looked at Aiko, "You owe me for sparing your life, half-sister."

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Chapter 1

Five Years after Trials of a Kensei

A dark skinned half-human, half-neko transwoman walked through the halls of the Raptors' base, she was trying to get to the office of the Commanding Officer, but she had no idea if the Commanding Officer was even on base. When she reached the office, she knocked on the door and a voice with a thick Elvish Accent spoke up, "Excuse me for a second. Come in." The transwoman opened the door and saw a fairy for the first time in her life, the woman stood there with large patterned wings and her long blond hair went down to her back, Yoshiro turned to her, "Claire, come in, Aunt Anastasie and I were just discussing matters within her kingdom." Claire looked at him, "Aunt?" Anastasie turned around, "His mother and I are real close friends and I used to babysit him when he was really little."

Claire nodded, "I brought the report from the simulator." She place the datapad on Yoshiro's desk, "Here." Yoshiro nodded and took the datapad, going over it, "You score high in the psionic simulations, but, I don't think you're ready for real combat yet." Claire frowned, "Why?" Yoshiro looked at her, "Man, Woman, Transsexual. It doesn't matter, there are only two kinds of people who would be ready for their first taste of real combat. Psychopaths and Sociopaths, and personally a Psychopath is the far better choice of the two. However, you are neither of them. However, I'd like you to stay here, since you do want to prove yourself." Claire nodded as Anastasie looked at her, "Are you aware of Vivienne's tower?" Claire shook her head, but Yoshiro spoke up, "Yeah, I know of that tower, I threw Aiko off the top. I should've killed her when she was broken on the ground in front of it."

Anastasie nodded, "I know how you feel about it, but Aiko has forcibly taken the tower again and I don't want to move against her with my army, because Masaru could see that as an act of war." Yoshiro blinked, "You mean that Aiko isn't working for him?" Anastasie shook her head, as another Datapad hit Yoshiro's desk, Yoshiro caught the scent of Lilah, "Been ten years since I last saw you." Lilah nodded, "I'm ready to carry out the terms of our contract, if you're willing to have me. I've been doing side jobs as a spy for other nations for the past decade." Yoshiro nodded as he reviewed the data, "Welcome aboard." Claire looked at Lilah and then at Yoshiro, "You have an assassin around here!?" Yoshiro nodded as he kept reading, "She's my bodyguard and if need be, my spotter. She's saved my life many times."

Yoshiro placed the datapad down, "I see... this is bad. He's not willing to publicly condemn it, yet he doesn't support it. Anyone that acts on it, is likely to get a declaration of war thrown at them." Yoshiro stood up from his desk and walked over to a fish tank, looking into it, "And if anyone can trace our involvement in the situation to you, Masaru's paranoid ass will try to start a war against you and your people." Anastasie nodded, "What are you going to do?" Yoshiro sighed, "What can we do?" We can't call on support. No one in the region can act because of the multiple pacts that were made, it could light the entire region on fire and start all out war on the entire continent..." Yoshiro looked up at the ceiling, "Lilah, can you destroy any and all records of Anastasie ever coming to this base?"

Lilah nodded, "Sure." Claire blinked and looked around, "You're destroying evidence?" Yoshiro turned around, "Claire, I'm trying to stop my homeland from erupting in war. We do not have a lot of allies, the only good news is, is if Masaru declares war on us. No other nation will jump in, unless the Fairies do. But if Masaru finds out that Anastasie hired us, we have all of these alliances, in case another continent attacks us, or if the Menschilche returned. When an ally of a nation gets attacked, that nation goes to war to protect its ally." Claire nodded, "I didn't know." Yoshiro nodded, "Which is why Anastasie is going to hire us off the record." Anastasie nodded, "Claire, you're a new recruit, right?" Claire nodded, "Yes, your highness. I am." Anastasie chuckled, "Though I am the Fairy Queen around here, you don't need to call me that. But you're going to learn a lot more about war as this conflict goes on."

Claire nodded and Yoshiro spoke up, "Claire, I'm going to transfer you to Falke Squadron, the leader there is a friend of mine and she makes sure that all of her pilots get back to base safely, no matter what happens." Claire nodded, "Thank you, Yoshiro." Yoshiro nodded, "The bright side to all of this is that Masaru would think that you're in a Drow base, he'll have no idea you came here to see me. Not to mention, if any questions get asked about us being here, I can fake some orders and 'accidentally' let them slip into Masaru's hand that we swooped in and took over this base as a staging area against Aiko." Anastasie nodded, "He'll believe that story?" Yoshiro nodded, "Man's extremely paranoid about myself and my father, he'd believe that I was secretly a three headed fire-breathing dragon if you told him enough."

Anastasie nodded, "And if the Kitsune declare war on you?" Yoshiro shrugged, "I have intimate knowledge about the Kitsune defenses. They believe they do not have a need for anti-air." He turned to Claire, "So you don't have to worry about being shot down while engaging your enemies." Yoshiro turned back to Anastasie, "You should slip out of here while you can, if anyone asks, say you were meeting with the Drow Matriarch." Anastasise nodded, "Thank you, Yoshiro." Yoshiro nodded, "Thanks for hiring us." As Anastasie left, Claire looked at Yoshiro, "You seem unusually calm about talking about war." Yoshiro nodded, "It's a sad thing, yes, but when you've experienced as much combat as I have, you grow numb to it. It's why I say you're not ready. No normal person is ready for it." Claire nodded, "Thank you, sir." Yoshiro chuckled, "No problem, and Claire..." Claire looked at him, "Yes?" Yoshiro handed her a rank insignia, "All pilots are officers, Lieutenant."

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Chapter 2

Claire walked into the hangar bay where the fighters were kept and she saw a technician working on one of them in particular. She walked over to the fighter and saw her name, freshly painted on it, before she knew it, she heard a voice speak up, "You must be the new pilot." Claire wheeled about and saw a Mus woman standing there, the woman had the insignia of a Lieutenant Colonel, "Yes, I am." The Mus extended her hand, "Nice to meet you, I'm Kari Fretheim, leader of the Falke squadron. You look a little green, but I'm sure you can handle yourself." Claire shook her head as she took Kari's hand and shook it, "I can assure you that I'm in good health." Kari smiled, "Green is a military term, Claire. It means that you're inexperienced. You've made high marks in the simulators, but things out in the field are far different."

Claire nodded, "I've been informed." Kari nodded, "That's good." Kari motioned towards a room, "Perhaps you would like to go meet the other pilots, they're currently in the lounge." Claire nodded, "What about you?" Kari looked up at one of the fighters, "I need to make sure that the mechanics did a good job on all of the fighters, Claire, as Squad leader, I'm responsible for the lives of everyone in my squadron." Claire nodded and walked to the lounge, she saw the other pilots through the window and walked in. One of the pilots, a male Mofeta turned and looked at her, "So you're the new twelve." Claire nodded, "Yes, I am." The Mofeta chuckled, "I'm Falke Two. It is an irony that I'm here." A Kani woman shook her head, "Don't pay Doroteo any mind, he and Yoshiro used to be enemies at one point." Doroteo spoke up, "Thank you Aliina."

Claire was curious, "So what happened?" Doroteo looked at her, "Where do I start?" Claire shrugged, "The beginning if at all possible." Doroteo nodded, "Did you know that the commanding officer has the nom de guerre of Grim Reaper?" Claire shook her head, "No, I didn't." Doroteo smile, "He has that particular name because of his reputation. One minute, you're relaxing at base, the next an alarm goes off. When you go to investigate. You figure out quick that there's a sniper out there, but by that time, it's too late, he's already packed up and left. As for me, I was riding in a jeep with my new commanding officer and his executive officer around the base, I was being given a tour, next thing we knew, the Commanding officer had been shot in the head. The driver sped up to try to get away, but the executive officer was shot in the head as well. The driver panicked and crashed into a wall, the impact killed him, but I survived."

Claire sat down in an empty seat as Doroteo continued, "I was scared, time seemed to slow down and I was waiting for my turn. Death never came for me, it wouldn't be until four years ago that I met the man who did that. When he came before me, I realized it was him, fairly immediately. I was frightened, but when he saw down, he placed his sword on the table. I knew what this meant from Kensei, he wanted to negotiate with me. It's how I got here." Claire nodded, "So you were asked to be here?" An elvish woman spoke up, "Hi, I'm Enaistiel Elertaur, I'm Falke Eleven. Doroteo is the only person here that was ever personally asked by Yoshiro to be here, and that's really only because Yoshiro felt guilty for scaring him to the point where he actually shat his pants."

Doroteo shot a glare at her as a male fairy spoke up, "I'm Falke four, Clovis Fortier, it's nice to meet you, Claire." Claire nodded, "Likewise." The introductions continued and Claire felt welcomed into the squad, it was nice for people who were considered the best pilots that the Raptors had to offer were so welcoming to her, despite the fact that she only had simulator training. Once all of the introductions were finished, Claire looked around, "So what do we do when we're not on duty, do we just stay in this area?" Enaistiel shook her head, "No, pilots are permitted to go anywhere on base, however, we're always on call. We live near the hangar bay in order to make it easier for us to scramble at a moment's notice." Claire nodded, "That's good. Though I do have one more question."

Kari walked in and sighed, "Going to have to put that on hold, Claire, I'm sorry. Listen up everyone, we've been given a mission to undertake first thing in the morning, one week from now. Yoshiro is having his people 'hack' into the database of the Fairies, so that we can have some intel on our foes. However, what we know about the extent of their territory, is that there's an old Mofetian fort in the way, it has been taken over by forces wearing Imperial Kitsune Armor and using the same kind of gear. We're going to have to soften up the defenses in order for the ground forces to be able to take it from our enemy." Claire nodded as Kari looked at her, "Claire, your fighter will be equipped with air-to-ground missiles, your job will be to take out enemy vehicles."

Claire nodded again, "Understood, Kari." Kari smiled, "We are not expecting any sort of anti-air resistance, though there might be some as the Mofeta have in the past been at war with the fairies. Anyhow, everyone knows their role from the last time, yes?" Everyone nodded and Claire nodded as well as Kari nodded with them, "Good, it would not do for my pilots to forget what they were supposed to do in the middle of the mission. Anyhow, you're all dismissed and free to enjoy the rest of the week however you wish. Remember, be here at 0400 hours in exactly seven days." Claire smiled slightly and stood up, "I think I'm going to go to the hologram room." Kari nodded, "Good idea, Claire, but keep in mind that you'll want to start going to sleep earlier, or getting some caffeine." Claire nodded, "I will." Kari smiled, "Good."

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