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    Twisted Present

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    AlaniIodine
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    Twisted Present

    Post by AlaniIodine on Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:18 pm

    Yoru lay on her back in the middle of the field next to her favorite tree as a brilliant sunset painted the sky with shades of pink and orange. The silence was filling, seeping in through every pore in her body. But a rustle in the grasses near her interrupted the hush that had fallen over the meadow. Yoru quickly sprang to her feet and lunged at the figure in the grass, falling into the familiar arms of her brother, Penipu. They rolled around on the grass for a time before Yoru allowed herself to be pinned down, and laid on the flattened grass in defeat. Penipu fell back on the grass next to her, his blue eyes staring at her, still filled with excitement. His choppy, red hair was tangled from their skirmish on the ground. Yoru, wide, gray eyes still watching the brilliant sunset, lay perfectly still on the ground, he midnight hair surrounding her like a halo of death. A red-feathered arrow silently flew through the air and pierced the tree's bark.

    "Penipu?" Yoru asked quietly.

    "Yes, Sister?"

    "Run home. As fast as you can, and don't turn back, not for any reason. Understand?"

    "But why? Is something the matter?"

    "Just do as I said, Penipu. If you follow my instructions perfectly, we'll both be fine."

    Penipu gave in, crouched low to the ground and moved quickly and silently through the tall grasses. Yoru watched her brother's retreating form until it was gone from sight before she turned in the direction the arrow had come from. Hiding in the grasses just a few yards from the tree, a figure stood with the vanishing sun at his back, his face cast in shadow. His bow and quiver were slung over his shoulder.

    "Who are you?" Yoru inquired loudly but, receiving no response, tried again.

    "What is it you want?" This, too, was answered with silence.

    "Did someone send you?" she tried.

    "The end is coming," the shadowed figure said across the grasses.

    Yoru began to ask him what he meant by that, but the shadowy mass was already disappearing into the grasses. Yoru sighed and closed her eyes, but snapped them open once more as rustling sounds were heard in the grasses at her back. Turning around, Yoru noted at least six shadowed figures in the surrounding grasses. There was little chance of escaping unscathed, but she had to make a run for it just the same. She made it about six yards before feeling the familiar sting of an arrowhead sinking into the flesh of her right shoulder. But she continued to run, making it to the edge of the forest without further incident. She couldn't return home without risking the safety of Penipu.

    Ripping off one of her sleeves, Yoru quickly removed the arrow and tied the cloth around the wound. It was the best she could do to treat it for the time being. She quickly decided to hide in the forest, weaving between the trees to the stream she used to play by as a child. One of the tree trunks had rotted to make a large hole big enough for her to fit in. Yoru made a bed of leaves and moss to sleep on before going off to hunt something to eat.

    Yoru remained in the forest, hidden to the best of her ability, for almost four days without a single suspicious presence. But on the eve of the fourth day, Yoru heard a branch snap as she was heading back to the tree with the spoils of her hunt. Dropping her catch, Yoru raced through the trees as fast as she could, but it was of no use. An arrow embedded itself in her left side, and another reopened the wound on her shoulder. The pain of the first arrow would have been bearable. But the renewed pain in her shoulder brought her down hard on a tree root, knocking her unconscious.

    When she next awoke, she heard Penipu's voice calling her name. Opening her eyes and lifting her head, Yoru took in the dark stone walls and dirt floor of the room surrounding her. Then her eyes fell on Penipu, seated in an elegant throne on a raised platform in front of her.

    "What is the meaning of this, Brother?" she asked, but he only laughed and gestured with his hand.

    The reward for her question was a sharp jab to the wound on her right shoulder, making her cry out in pain and fall back to the floor.

    "You've always had everything so easy, Sister. As the firstborn, you were always treated with the utmost respect, above me, even though we share a nameday. I'm tired of being last, and so things shall change by my hand. Once you're out of the way, I will be the most loved."

    Penipu turned to three guards standing next to him, ordering them to imprison her in one of the cells until it was time for him to deliver death's gift.

    "Wait!" Yoru called, and the guards stopped moving, waiting to see what Penipu's reaction would be.

    "What is it, darling sister?" he asked with a voice dripping mock kindness and mockery.

    "Might I have one last embrace from the brother who will soon be my death?"

    Penipu slowly rose from his throne and gestured for her to come forward. The guards released her and, slipping into her brother's embrace, Yoru slid her dagger from its sheath on her wrist, plunging it into Penipu's gut. Withdrawing her blade, Yoru stepped back and took in Penipu's shocked expression. But the shock quickly turned to rage as he lunged for her, but she was too quick, he too slowed by his wound, and Yoru easily connected her elbow with his chest. He fell to the ground, unconscious at her feet. Yoru turned around quickly, blade still in hand, and the guards scattered.

    Rolling her brother onto his back with her foot, Yoru looked down at him. Then, realizing what it reminded her of, quickly looked away, but not fast enough to escape the memory.

    The ground, stained crimson with the life force of the two motionless bodies in front of her. Yoru huddled on the ground, her arms around Penipu, watching as the shadowed figure murdered their parents. His blade wind as he slashed it through flesh and muscle, connecting with bone. The bodies slumping, lifeless, to the floor. The figure smiling at the grim scene before him, and then turning toward Yoru and Penipu on the floor. The figure looking up at some faint noise outside and then running for the door.

    There was nothing you could have done to stop it, Yoru reminded herself, shaking her head to clear the memories. You were too young to defend them. He would have killed you, too, if he had had the chance.

    From that day forward, Yoru and Penipu had been on their own. They trained day in and day out together with their daggers, becoming stronger and swifter so that nothing like that night would ever again occur. Never again would they be caught as defenseless and helpless as they were that night. She turned back to Penipu, completely dispelling the remnants of the past.

    "You are no longer welcome in my home. What was once ours is now mine. I will leave your items at the edge of the forest, but you are not to return to the house."

    And with that, Yoru turned on her heel and departed to the forest, heading home.

    Eight days passed without a single sign of her brother, aside from the disappearance of his bundle of items at the edge of the forest. She had removed every last trace of her brother, keeping only a small locket he hid under his pillow, which now hung around her neck. On the ninth day of peace, Yoru decided to go for a walk along the river in the trees behind her home. The sound of a branch snapping alerted her to the presence of another. She turned around, only to see her brother with a smile on his face and a dagger in his hand.

    "Thank you ever so much for returning my items. I believe I should repay you for your kindness," he said, twirling his blade in his fingers, his voice saturated with sarcasm.

    Letting out a long whistle, the remnants of Penipu's followers surrounded her, blades in hand. Penipu smiled at her, lodging his dagger next to her head in the bark of a tree. Grabbing her brother's dagger, Yoru scaled the tree with the skill of a monkey, making a quick and unpredictable getaway by weaving through the treetops.

    Penipu sent his group to scour the surrounding forest, while Yoru leaned comfortably against the branches of an apple tree, shining a fruit on her shirt and biting into it as she listened to the fading sounds of the search.

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