I had known prior to this moment that Lady Xakiah bore a grudge against me. For what, I never bothered to ask, and for the longest time she avoided bringing up the matter and had went to great lengths to suppress those feelings from her essence. I remember soon after joining Organization Zero she spoke to me in private, saying that sometime in the near future I would finally receive an answer from her as to why she took those actions and that the cost of such would be dire. Perhaps it was my own naivety for believing contrary to this, but nowhere in my mind could I even postulate the possibility of her desiring my demise.
But…after hearing what she had to say…after learning of what my misplaced trust in Larxene had heralded…I could not blame her in the slightest. In point of fact, if I had known of this earlier, I would have saved her the trouble of obliterating me personally. Alas, if this was her wish, then I could not bring myself to refuse. I only prayed that she would offer me one last thing before she sent me to wherever the Lord wished me to go. Thankfully, she obliged.
“Tell me: before any of this…happened between us…did you ever consider…saying ‘yes’ to…my offer…to marry you?” I wheezed as pangs of pain rushed through my now crippled rib cage.
I watched as those solid black, warring eyes of Lady Xakiah returned to their normal state; the right turning into the shade of midnight, the left mimicking the winter’s frost. Nowhere else in this universe had I found eyes quite like Lady Xakiah’s which were so mysterious, so chilling, and yet…so alluring. Many I time—this moment being of no exception—I had found myself unable to avert my own eyes from looking into them, trying to figure out if they were indeed analyzing what they saw for what it was or were reading things which all others were barred from ever imagining. Some in Organization Zero had confided to me that they found Lady Xakiah’s gaze unnerving, as if through the shadows of their past were manifesting themselves through her. Perhaps I too felt that way at first, but as I got to know her so long ago I learned that all she was doing was watching, pinpointing the things that otherwise went unseen; a true gnomon of the shadows.
Altering her tone away from malice, Lady Xakiah finally responded, “Yes.”
Words alone could not describe how happy I was upon hearing her say that. But whatever could have been done to represent such elation was dashed away by the feeling of despair that rapidly possessed me. “I see…that is all I need to know.” How could I have been so blind? Why did I not see the suffering I had caused the woman I love sooner? If I had, then we could have… Alas. Such dreams are irrelevant now. The only thing that is left…is that I let my Angel of Death have her revenge. I then subdued my weapon and lowered my head, relinquishing all other thoughts for what was to come.
I listened to her form gracefully come forth. I heard her arm raise her implement of divine justice in preparation for the final stroke and the wind that followed. Then I heard…the trembling of the blade in my executioner’s hand.
More dazed than confused, I whispered to Lady Xakiah, “Why do you stop, mo chroí?” Looking into those beautiful eyes of hers again I saw them glaze over in a manner I had not witnessed in ages. I had an idea as to what it was that caused this to happen, but I did not want to give my hopes up.
“Because” she whispered back to me, “in order to be capable of foolish deeds…one must first be a fool themselves.”
So it is what I think. Releasing a little of the restraint I usually exercised on myself, I leaned towards her to sample her lips once more; something that I had yearned for too long to do.
I wanted to continue tasting her lips, which were like strawberries, but she pulled away from me before I could explore their sundry flavor further. Taking a moment to catch her breath, Lady Xakiah said, “Don’t think this changes anything…I still don’t forgive you.”
“I do not expect you to. On the other hand, I will ask you to not leave for anywhere I cannot find you.”
Mustering all of the strength left in me so that my message would not fail in its delivery, I explained, “Because my mission right now is to find a way to redeem myself for the transgression I committed against you. I know how much you value trust and how hard it is for you to give that to anybody, so I will work hard to be worthy of being granted that gift from you once more. But that will mean nothing if I cannot find you.”
Lady Xakiah carefully translated what I had just told her, to my way of thinking, so that she would not soon forget what my personal mission was. Finally acknowledging it, she turned to leave. Before she faded from my sight she said with a warmth rarely exhibited from her, “Farewell for now…anamchara.”
Her words, even though spoken in departure, were enough to give me hope for what lay ahead in the future for us both. In my mind I was fully ready to continue on with my destiny, but when I tried to get back up I was reminded of how much of a thrashing I received from Lady Xakiah. Argh! I should have known better than to try and chase her into the shadows… It seems that I shall be staying here for a while yet…
It was then, during this time that I allotted myself a period of rest, that my mind, still heavy with the guilt I felt upon hearing the fate that befell our world after my betrayal, wandered into the corridors of my memory. Closing my eyes to gain a clearer picture of these past events, I found myself looking back at when I came across Lady Xakiah for the first time since her abandonment of Organization XIII; back to a time that seemed…peaceful between us.
Sora and his friends had just made their way into the World That Never Was and into the Dark City, fighting Heartless after Heartless, when I noticed a shadow that seemed out of place. Leaping from the rooftop I was perched at I glided my way to the courtyard off the Memory’s Skyscraper.
“Whoever is hiding there, I suggest you reveal yourself to me before I eliminate you.”
“You don’t recognize me? My…my…my…how soon we forget the past.” said Lady Xakiah upon exposing herself from the void.
I was in complete ecstasy upon seeing her again after almost two years of dead ends. “Lady Xakiah! Where have you been?”
She did not return my enthusiasm and continued using an indifferent tone to converse with me. “Oh…here…there…everywhere and…nowhere, I suppose.”
“That…does not make much sense, milady. Do you care to specify?”
Not that I am not surprised that milady will not desire to appease my inquiry, but I suppose I shall try again anyway. “Why not?”
Changing the topic she responded, “‘By the pricking of my thumb…something wicked this way comes.’”
“Excuse me?” Without another word she cloaked us both in a veil of shadows. I wanted to protest, but before a word could escape my lips Lady Xakiah pointed in the direction of a group that was coming within close proximity of us.
The Keyblade Master! And the cohorts of the King! They are much stronger than I thought, having made quick work of those hordes of Shadows and Neoshadows in the first stage. But what do they have to do with Lady Xakiah, and why is she making the effort to hide from them?
We both watched as the epic of this young hero’s story unfolded a little more in this area in the form of their continued battle with the true Heartless and the strange mishap that occurred with Sora. We both waited patiently to see what the outcome of such a development would produce. Fortunately for Sora, it did not take long for him to be reunited with his friends after the calamity was over.
In hushed tones I asked, “I wonder what happened with the Keyblade Master?”
“He was summoned into a paradoxical universe—particularly the Station of Awakening—by another who was…very interested in answering a few questions for himself.” Lady Xakiah said knowledgeably.
“None other than the Key of Destiny, who also serves as Sora’s Nobody…Roxas.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Hmm? Isn’t it…obvious that Roxas was Sora’s Nobody?”
“Not that; I mean how can you be so positive that is what transpired?”
She looked at me with those all-seeing eyes of hers. “Because…unlike you…I cannot be fooled by mere tricks of the eye.” Quite suddenly she sprung from where we were to Memory’s Skyscraper to slay a stray Samurai that had made its way to its base.
“Lady Xakiah! What are you doing? I thought the whole point of hiding was so Sora and his friends could not see us!”
“Open your eyes…do they look capable of doing that to you?” Sure enough, they were frozen in place; seemingly doomed to remain in their conversational positions for eternity.
“This cannot be good…what do you suppose this means?” My question was answered with the opening of a portal that beckoned forth the coming of more Samurai. Upon seeing them I responded rather sardonically, “Well if THIS is not peculiar?”
“Less talking…more destroying…” grinning like a maniac as she said this, Lady Xakiah drew her bloodthirsty Kage no Kokoro from its sheath to feast upon our unfortunate adversaries. I followed suit by summoning Irminsul from her resting place and letting loose a war cry that stunned the six closest to me long enough for me to relieve them of their heads effortlessly.
Due to the large group before us, our unspoken battle strategy was simple: cut down each one that came in our path. The Samurai were honorable enough to allow you to challenge them individually at times, and I used each one of those moments to their fullest, but Lady Xakiah took a different approach. Anytime one locked her in a duel stance Lady Xakiah used the opportunity to disappear at the last minute, reappear behind them and slit their throats, and proceeded to mercilessly wipe out any of the other Samurai (usually three) still caught in their fallen comrade’s spell. I was not certain as to how remotely possible this was, but for each one she obliterated her smile seemed to grow wider, as if she were a child simply having fun at a festival. It did not take long—somewhere between five to ten kills, I did not bother to count—for her to start laughing at the helplessness of her victims. As frightening as this was, perhaps what was more terrifying was how accustomed I was to this demonic behavior. Not that I had much room to talk; any time I found myself caught up in the heat of battle, especially if the odds of victory were against me, I would mimic the days that my Somebody was considered a “barbarian,” crying out like some wild animal thirsting for the flesh of its enemy and ripping apart whatever was in front of me regardless of it being friend or foe.
While we were caught in our warrior dance, it suddenly occurred to me that those same aspects of us that would have made the average fighter run in fear were most likely the same reasons why we were attracted to one another. Our fighting styles, though entirely different in terms of what they were and how they were acquired, complimented each other to the point where one could easily cover the other in the event of an emergency. Then again, neither one of us was the type to be defeated easily, so we were virtually an unstoppable pair to reckon with.
When the last Samurai finally fell Lady Xakiah and I were standing back to back. “Tell me, does this happen oft—“ Before I could finish what I was asking of her she pushed me into a portal that took us back to where we were positioned before and made a notion for me to stay silent. Obeying her request, I turned back to the scene to witness Sora, Donald, and Goofy continue their conversation, completely oblivious as to the events that preceded their last exchange.
As the small band of heroes moved on towards the Castle That Never Was, Lady Xakiah gave me an explanation as to what just happened. “I’m not certain as to why…but every now and then that boy ends up pray to these sorts of…inexplicable events. It wasn’t until a few months ago though that the enemies that would materialize from the void were actually lesser Nobodies. All of the others I’ve been coming across since I ran into this boy were Heartless.
“And before you ask: no. I don’t know who is sending Sora these…’visitors.’ What I do know is that the number of times that this keeps happening has been increasing ever since the invasion of Hollow Bastion.”
“Lady Xakiah, do you not mean ‘Radiant Garden?’” She shot me a look that informed me that my question was unwarranted.
“In any case,” I said in haste, “why are you taking the time to do this? It is very unlike you to perform acts of kindness such as this.”
Chuckling to herself, she said, “You’re absolutely right: it IS unlike me to do this. However, a…mutual acquaintance…asked me to look after him a while back.”
“‘Mutual acquaintance?’” What?! Lady Xakiah NEVER does a favor for any mere “acquaintance!” …Not without a personal benefit, anyway. “Who is this knave?”
“‘Knave?’” Mockingly she continued, “You’re certainly one to talk, ‘O Great and Noble Heathen.’”
“Please refrain from using the title of my Somebody in reference to myself! And in any case, it was not my fault that the idiot Saxon never got baptized!” I snapped back. Not to mention make enemies with Sir “holier-than-thou” Lancelot…bloody hypocrite…
“My, my…aren’t WE touchy?” Laughing at my outburst, she continued, “In any case, the ‘knave’ I’m referring to is—as of recently—the late Axel.”
“Axel?! He’s gone?! How ‘recent’ was this?!” I asked in shock.
“Almost…an hour or so ago.”
Sighing, I said in dismay, “What a shame…he was a tad irritating at times, but I had nonetheless hoped to challenge him to a duel someday.
“Anyway, what made you take up his offer?”
“Simply put, I was…intrigued by both Sora and Roxas.” She saw me begin my next question and promptly placed her hand up. “No more talking. If we don’t hurry, we’ll lose them.”
Opening my eyes again, I smiled at the memory of our false peace; or rather, “truce.” How I had blamed myself then for not asking her anything more, but I knew deep down in my…being…that such a venture would have proved fruitless. In the end, I found myself satisfied with how the events played out. In my mind I found that this moment of bliss was perhaps better for me in the long run, for without it I never would have asked Lady Xakiah for her hand by the end of it. Also, without it Lady Xakiah would not have gotten around to telling me outright as she did today.
With this in mind I attempted to raise myself to my feet, ignoring the pain that resounded through my corpse. I was almost half-way up when I felt the ground begin to shake. Falling to the ground, I looked up just in time to see the roof cave in over my head.
No one continue this please! Another story’s coming up real soon! ^^;
Okay! Time for the non-English words of the Day:
mo chroi- my heart (Irish Gaelic)
anamchara- soulmate (Irish Gaelic)
gnomon- indicator; one who discerns; one who reveals (Ancient Greek; by the way, this is also what that long pointy thing on a sundial is called ^_~ )