Within the expanse, thousands of miles away from Earth sat a colossal landmass the size of all the continents of Earth combined. Nine 'moons' could be seen slowly revolving around this landmass in an intricate manner which gave the impression that it had existed since time immemorial.
At the center of this landmass was a gargantuan edifice which had countless 'roots' attached to it. These roots were spread across the landmass like a web which seemed to hold it together. These roots were utterly gigantic and were pulsating with a purple light, they resembled veins pumping blood. With each pulse, these roots would emit a low rumbling sound which caused the landmass to faintly tremble and even seem alive.
The purple light the roots emitted illuminated the landmass and made its contents slightly visible. The terrain was extremely rugged and was filled with towering mountains and bottomless trenches. The landmass was devoid of any life. It seemed as though all 'life' was forbidden there. Death seemed to be the absolute law of the land.
Within the edifice, hundreds of miles beneath the surface was a massive purple sphere that was suspended in mid-air by twelve gigantic roots. These massive roots were the source of the 'smaller' ones which spread throughout the landmass. The sphere seemed to be absorbing whatever it was that the root was providing it with and was getting slightly brighter as time progressed.
Within the sphere were two silhouettes, one resembled that of a woman who sat cross-legged on a throne, her head rested against her left hand as she gazed into the distance. The other was that of a young man who was frozen in suspended animation in a capsule next to her.
The silhouette of the woman resembled that of a human being, however, upon closer observation one would quickly come to realize that she wasn't actually human. At a glance, she appeared to be naked, her skin was silver and across the surface of her body were black veins and 'cracks', she also had long silver hair which cascaded down shoulders, over her chest. All this gave her an attractive, yet very dark appeal. There were even some areas of her body that seemed to be like that of a machine. A single glance at her would be enough to baffle, attract and at the same time terrify anyone who lay eyes on her. On her face was a cloud of darkness which shrouded her facial appearance, it was impossible to see what was beneath it. The young man within the capsule next to her appeared to be in a deep sleep. His body did not resemble that of the woman; instead, he seemed to be a young boy, a human, not even in his 20's.
The roots that were attached to the sphere penetrated inside and were attached to both the capsule that held that young man in mid-air as well as the woman on the throne. The roots were shockingly embedded into their bodies and they seemed to be absorbing the nourishment these roots provided.
On the surface of the sphere from within, one could see images of the world outside and beyond. Countless images were shown on the surface of the sphere. They were of various planets within the cosmos and their inhabitants. The images would flicker from time to time and display a new set of worlds.
"Not here either..." The woman sighed softly. Another set of images appeared on the sphere. "Where are you?"
Suddenly a ripple appeared on the surface of the sphere which caught the woman's attention. "Freeze!" she commanded in a sharp voice. She inspected the image and her body suddenly trembled, "Could it be?"
* Whoosh *
With but a thought she made all the images of the various planets on the surface of the sphere disappear save for one which was where the ripple appeared earlier. The image of that planet begun to expand until it became clear. It was a small blue planet, one that she was familiar with. "Earth!" The woman exclaimed excitedly as she gripped the armrest. "I found you!" The woman glanced at the body of the young man beside her within the capsule and her voice grew warm. "After 300 years, I finally found you."
After a brief moment of thought, she made a quick decision "Khaja", she called out.
Within the darkness, a pair of bloodthirsty yellow beastial eyes suddenly opened and a dark figure materialized before the throne on one knee. "Mother" The figure answered in a rough voice.
"I have a task for you." the woman spoke.
It was at this moment that Dante and Leah just spilled their blood to prove their identity to each other that they weren't fiend but human beings. After realizing that Dante was truly not a fiend, Leah withdrew her weapon and glanced at Dante, an apologetic smile on her face.
"Nice to meet you, Dante. Sorry about what happened just now, I thought you were a fiend" Leah explained.
Dante folded his arms and a sneer appeared on his face "No worries, you only almost killed me but fortunately, I managed to dodge in time and still have all parts of me intact."
"I did that to protect myself!" Leah argued. "You would've done the same if you remembered how terrifying fiends were. What you did just now is something that fiends are able to do. By the way, how did you even do that? You said something about an Ex-suit?"
"Yeah," Dante replied. An idea suddenly came to him and he decided to fluff up the truth a bit. "I remember this thing I'm wearing is called an Exo-suit, but everything else is a blur, it's all in bits and pieces.
"Where did you get it?" Leah asked.
"I... I don't know" Dante replied looking downcast.
A disappointed look appeared on Leah's face before she dejectedly sat back on the stone bed.
The room became silent once more and the two remained at opposite ends of the room for a time.
"Is there a library in your clan?" Dante asked, breaking the silence.
"A library?" Leah repeated, a confused expression appeared on her face. "Oh, you mean the Archives? Yeah, every clan has one, why?"
"I think I may be able to recover my memories faster if I read about my history," Dante replied.
"Hmm, makes sense, do you remember which clan you're from?"
"Clan? Um...no" Dante mumbled, looking crushed. He seemed to be trying hard to remember. Dante's act was surprisingly fool-proof. [To be honest, I don't know anything here.] He thought to himself.
"That's ok. Let me see your right hand." Leah requested.
"Why?" Dante asked reflexively in ca cautions tone as he took a step back but then realized his back was already against the wall. He didn't have anywhere else to go except towards the exit of the tunnel. He didn't want to go near Leah again unless absolutely necessary. He couldn't understand that girl. Maybe this time he would be attacked again out of the blue.
"Each of the seven clans has their own unique totem, it's common to either have it on your back, torso, shoulder or the back of your right hand," Leah explained. She didn't move towards Dante and just continued to keep the distance between them. This made the agitated Dante relax a little, but he still kept his guard up.
After the Exo-suit changed its appearance, the glove that covered Dante's hand was now gone and his hands were exposed. Dante glanced at the back of his right hand. There was no totem. He raised his hand to show Leah that he didn't have one there. Dante knew that he didn't have any totem of any sort on his body. Unless he got one while he was unconscious. Before allowing her to ask him to show the other areas of his body, a question came to him and he decided to ask.
"If someone doesn't have a totem on their body, what does that mean?"
Leah's expression remained cold and detached the entire, but a slight ripple appeared on her face when she heard Dante's question. Her eyes narrowed and she looked Dante over once more before replying.
"It means one of two things. You are either a fiend... or an outcast."
"A fiend or an outcast," Dante repeated.
Leah understood the reason he asked that question and her eyes started twinkling.
"I'm not a fiend, my blood isn't purple. I don't have any totem on me, so I guess that makes me an outcast?" Dante announced.
"Correct, if you don't have the totem of a clan that means you're either trash or guilty of crimes against your people. It makes sense now, you were probably tossed away like garbage and left to die." Leah stated in a cold and emotionless tone. What she said seemed natural, as if it was a normal occurrence.
The moment Leah said that Dante was probably trash, his facial expression twitched, he felt his anger ignite once more but tried his best to keep his cool. Calling him trash was probably the easiest way to piss him off.
"As you are, you cannot enter any of the five cities, or seven clans, else you will be killed on the spot the moment they learn that you are an outcast," Leah explained.
"Then what are my options?" Dante asked. This would be problematic. If he went to any city of the cities or clans they would immediately try to kill him because he doesn't bear the totem of a clan. He would be considered an existence akin to a fiend, a hated enemy. It was bad already that he was being hunted by the guards.
"You have a few options available" Leah replied. She had a thoughtful expression on her face for a moment before continuing.
"You aren't the bastard child of someone from our clan, so you don't have the blood of our clan in your veins, which mean entry by blood ties to the clan is out. That leaves three options. You can accept the blood seal of our clan and become a soldier. However, you won't have any freedom. Your life will be preserved and you will gain entry to the clan. You will become a pawn of the clan chief, your life and death will be in their hands.
Dante frowned once he heard this, he wouldn't submit himself to another.
"The second option is making a blood oath with a member of the clan to become his/her retainer," Leah noticed his confused expression and opted to explain.
"A retainer's role to some is similar to that of a slave but has a retainer has a higher status and is able to gain more benefits. A retainer serves a member of the clan by accepting a blood oath and a seal would be placed on your body. With that seal, you would be given access to many areas of the clan, save for the ones that are restricted to clan members only."
Dante shook his head. It was the same, servitude with a bit of freedom. "And the last option?" Dante asked.
"The third option may kill you for trying, but it has the greatest benefits if you don't want to serve anyone. Become a mercenary." Leah said with a smile, yet not a smile. "Mercenaries are not loyal to any city or clan. They act independently but are allowed entry to all cities or clans because they are responsible for keeping the population of ferocious beasts and fiends above in check. They also do other 'odd jobs' for clients. It's deadly work, but the resources and benefits are very attractive."
A light flashed in Dante's eyes and he immediately came to a decision. The thought of becoming a mercenary intrigued him. He wouldn't need to serve anyone and he would be able to move around freely. This would also allow him to collect more information to know the current situation. Fighting against the ferocious beasts and fiends of World's Edge may prove to be beneficial to his growth. The matter of this being the year 2323 would be looked into later. He did not believe Leah, but at the same time, he did not cast aside the thought.
Dante straightened his back and a whisp of his true nature leaked out as he spoke. "I've decided, I'll become a mercenary."