Where is the Zodiac, what happened to the Lion, where has the ram fallen, what killed the scorpion, where are the twins buried, what happened to the bowman's honour and what devoured the blue lady. Those were the words of a recently published poem from some poet Ulfhild didn't know or care to learn about, what she hated and cared for was the damn poem itself.
She hated it with a burning passion, the thought of how everyone spat upon Zodiac now as if they hadn't supported it years ago. It had been her life, her ancestors life and here she was the last Leo, a failure to the books of history not just once but twice and she had the mark to prove it.
She wished to hate the people even more than she already did, but deep in her heart she knew that lady Nimues power grab in the Nexus was wrong.
She grunted in frustration as she split the wood before her with her axe. This was her four hundredth one in the last hour and she still couldn't feel the sweat from her work out, her left arm was sore though, she had been cutting through the wood none stop.
The sun had not yet risen even though she had started working at three in the morning. The cold winds from the snow covered silver mountains that were not too far from her home sent a shiver down her spine.
She strangely found the cold winds frosty embrace to be rather soothing for her muscles that had started to ache.
She sighed as she put the axe down and used her left arm to pick up another plunk of wood that she placed upon the chopping block. She picked up her axe again and she raised it overhead to once again split another piece of wood.
"Ulfhild!" a sharp female voice yelled out ringing across the rather quite Freya manor and its many surrounding housing complexes. The shout had no doubt awoken everyone from the cattle in the pens not far from here to the servants who were enjoying a much needed rest from the previous day's toiling in the field.
She paused when she recognized the voice as belonging to her mother and Ulfhild knew her mother's voice well enough to know when the woman was displeased. She sighed annoyed as she turned to see her mother who's face was graced with a scowl and Ulfhild knew that this morning might be longer than she had imagined.
" What in Dias name are you doing out here young lady!?" her mother demanded from her as she stomped closer tightly holding onto a oversized coat that no doubt belonged to her husband to protect her from the cold winds.
While her mother was a shorter Fae than Ulfhild, who got her larger frame from her father, the woman had still been part of the armed forces for the better amount of near sixty years, she might not have been elevated to the tittle of Lunar knight but she was dangerous enough and frightening enough to silence near anyone.
And also she was Ulfhild's mother and those golden eyes were enough to put out any fires of defiance in the young lioness early on.
"Cutting wood, that's what i do every morning to exercise mother. You should know this" Ulfhild answered before she bit her lip as she took a sudden interest in the state of the ground, she hated to admit it but she couldn't just casually stare down her mother.
"You just left the hospital this afternoon Ulfhild, you should be resting i mean for Dias sake at least try to rest, you just lost... " as her mother ranted Ulfhild felt a strange spark lit within her heart where in the past it had never existed.
"I lost my right arm mother not my strength so please stop trying to butter me up for heavens sake, i am not a damn child anymore!" Ulfhild couldn't remember ever arguing with her mother like this in her life, in fact her anger was so great that her magic seeped from her control and the earth slightly shook.
Since the failed attack on Avalon, since the Lich, since she had awoken missing her right arm from the elbow down, she had lost the calm that she built up over the years. There wasn't any open wound where the stump was but she could swear that she felt a hot pain there as she yelled at her mother.
Her mother looked shocked, like she couldn't believe that her the perfect daughter would lash out like this. Her blue fae flesh looked pale blue and Ulfhild could only watch in shock as silent tears flowed out of her mothers eyes.
"I am sorry... I just don't want you... " her mother began whispering in tears and Ulfhild couldn't bare to see this anymore.
She dropped the axe and she walked off away from her mother as she felt the pain of a heart being crushed. Not since she was a child had Ulfhild ran into her room in tears. She thanked Dia that none of the servants were walking through the manor's halls to see the once mighty Leo fleeing in tears like a defeated child.
The room was much larger than she had been used to since joining the military. Inside she looked to the giant mirror in her room, she had avoided looking at it since her return but now she could not. A part of her mind pulled her towards the mirror with her dread building up as she began to take in her true reflection.
The woman looking back at her was the same as she had always been, but where her right arm had been complete from the elbow, was nothing. A new scar to add to the many that littered her body, from the one across her eye, to the many stub wounds, gun shot wounds, shrapnel and broken bones caused by the hard forces she had faced over her military life.
She looked older and more worn down, in her youth she had imagined that she would look relatively the same at twenty five years of age, but now she looked like a recently retired a hundred year old.
She didn't know or remember how it happened. It could have been a Lich, a child of the night or even a Avalonian combatant, but that didn't matter now, it couldn't bring her arm back, nothing could bring back what had been stolen from her and she could never get it back.
The amount of magic used it creating the wound had left the use of a prostatic near impossible and while it hadn't bothered her at first, now it just left her seething.
The boiling anger finally exploded like a volcano. She roared as she reached for a bookshelf close to her and while she was less familiar with the use of her left arm, she still threw the giant shelf so hard that the mirror was but grinded into a thousand and one pieces.
The sun arose with a roaring lion, but this wasn't a proud loud lion, it was a broken lion, young in body but old and spent in spirit.
The city of Vant looked like hell. It had been hours since the victory against the Lunar empires navel forces and all troops were now helping in search and rescue.
Thor sighed as he knelt with a slight grunt he lifted up the remains of a building that had fallen from a Lunar empire artillery strike. From under it he heard excited chatter as people came out praying for joy.
"Thank you, thank you" a old female elf tearfully said as she embraced him and Thor smiled back at her.
"it's okay my lady, please follow the lightning bolt and it will lead you to medical officials who will treat you for any injuries" he said as he gestured for the the earth where a orange lightning bolt lay directing all to the clearest and safest route to medical officials.
The people thanked him before they left and Thor with relief let the over million ton structure back onto the earth with his muscles screaming in pain. He had used a lot of his strength in the battle before and he would lie if he said that any ill effects from that fight had not followed him here.
"Found more people?" He heard Mulengu ask from behind and he turned to see his team there... With the exception of Ursa falcon and Thor couldn't help but feel a hallow feeling within his heart.
"Yes, thankfully they were alive, many other's were unfortunately not" Thor had found other's were not so lucky and he doubted that those mangled bodies would leave his mind.
" Deus above what were these people thinking? " Mulengu asked in anger as he looked around at the destruction left by the Lunar empire.
"Greed and old held beliefs" Thor answered though he doubted how one could justify this senseless destruction to civilians.
Those words applied as well to the Lunar empire. Thor has spent months crossing those lands as a spy and he knew what their leaders thought about this war and those caught within it.
Chris coughed nervously and everyone turned to him looking confused at the young Avalonian prince who looked almost sick as sweat rolled off his head and he trembled like a reed before a violent storm.
"Pyrrha... I would just like to thank you" the words rolled out of Chris's mouth and Thor swore that the world itself stopped, but Chris's wasn't finished with the surprise " You saved my life during the fight and i know that i haven't been really grateful with how many times you have saved my life in the past".
Thor and Mulengu turned to Pyrrha who looked red from how flustered she was, clearing her throat she said "it's... Its okay Chris's, you have saved my life before as well".
Her voice quivered and lacked Pyrrha's usual strength to it and Thor couldn't believe what he was seeing.
" Deus above, if only Ursa could be here to see this " he thought as an amused expression grew upon his face.
"Well you did it first, during the breach when we met Zodiac on the field i would have died had you not been there... so thank you" Chris replied to Pyrrha before he turned and walked away with a funny type of walk as if his legs had lost half of their strength.
"What the heck was that?" Mulengu finally asked looking confused between Chris who was duck walking away and Pyrrha who was blushing statue frozen " Seriously, someone tell me what the hell is going on?!".
"I don't know my friend, i don't know" Thor answered Mulengu with a chuckle as he turned to return to search and rescue.
This maze of half destroyed buildings had many in need of his aid. He returned to the cold silence of his work with only the cawing of ravens to accompany him.
She couldn't hide in her room forever. Ulfhild knew that, she wasn't stupid enough to believe that she could hide away from the rest of the world forever.
Her silent isolation ended as her door was opened and in walked a giant of a Fae. A man of great stature with a long flowing beard that both made him seem jolly and frightening depending on how one saw him.
This man had been Aries before Brandon had taken the position. He had been a proud figure who had already become a legend. The greatest Freya of any generation, the mountain top Ulfhild and her sister were racing to.
"Father" she greeted him in a weak voice unable to look in the eyes.
"You made your mother cry" her father stated in his deep gruff voice.
"I am sorry, i should have better control of my emotions" she apologized.
"She's sorry too" her father said as he scratched his thick beard " How are you feeling?".
"I am fine" she looked up to him as she answered.
Her father sighed almost in a disappointed manner as he got closer and sat down besides her, his hulking frame still dwarfing her.
"No you are not" her father said and while she wanted to argue that he didn't know what she felt, she remained silent " Me and your mother, we served in the army for decade's Ulfhild. No one walks out okay, those scars aren't the only ones you have and i don't think that you could heal from them if you hide out in her".
She knew he was right but Ulfhild just couldn't admit it to herself and face it. She was the lion, but what did that matter in a world without Zodiac.
" How did you heal from it. How did you and mother leave the battlefield behind? " she asked him.
"You never can completely leave it behind, but in time, it gets better" as he spoke Ulfhild could see a almost haunted expression in her father's eyes.
"That's absolutely depressing" Ulfhild couldn't help but chuckle as she spoke.
"It is Ulfhild" he father smiled for bit before his eyes fell upon her and he lost his jolly grin for a tearful scowl " I am sorry my daughter. I pushed you to the military... I did this to you ".
" No you didn't, i would have been in the field anyway" Ulfhild leaned upon her father who she hugged slightly and in there the lion began to heal.
They remained there for minutes before finally her father managed to drag her out of her room and into the living room.
Her mother was there watching a news report about a loss at the Hephatantian island.
" ...the loss of life is truly staggering with only a thousand troops confirmed to have survived the massacre by the Hephatantian army. Right now online million's are giving their well wishes to the families of the dead and his royal majesty emperor Nuada will give press conference in an hour... " her mother quickly changed the channel with a scowl plastered upon her face as she cured under her breath.
The only words Ulfhild got from her mother's low cursing tirade were "... Brownose... Fools... End it... ".
" mother " she said startling her mother who had been so drawn into her cursing that she hadn't noticed them entering the living room.
"Ulfhild" her mother reached forward and while smaller and weaker, she drew Ulfhild into a warm strong hug " I am sorry dear".
"No, i am. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that" Ulfhild answered as she returned the embrace.
Their hugging ended as another party entered the room. Standing at the doorway to the living room was Juno, her younger sister.
The girl stood stiffly with an attempt to create a air of dominance. Ulfhild would be blind had she not seen the attempt to be lady Nimue in her sister.
"Mother, father... " Juno paused as she cast a slight glare at Ulfhild that confused the once lion before she finally acknowledged her " ...sister".
"Daughter, bring it here" their father joyfully said as he approached Juno and engulfed her into a deep hug that Juno answered with a unhappy glare.
"Father that's enough" Juno declared sharply and again she was doing it, trying to be like lady Nimue. Their father obeyed her wish as he placed Juno back onto the ground.
"Honey, back already from the east?" Their mother asked with joy hidden under her words and demeanor.
After the return from the disastrous invasion, many troops had been relocated to end a terrorist uprising in the eastern provinces. Juno had been among them, Ulfhild would have been alongside her, but the medical officials refused to clear her despite her begging for them to.
"The rebels weren't as great as we had originally thought. The news would be talking about it had the Hephatantian loss not happened" Juno replied.
"It's good to see you safe Juno" Ulfhild said to her sister as earnestly as she felt.
"It is good to see you too sister. Unfortunately your vacation is over" Juno said before she dipped her hand into her armor before pulling out a silver coloured envelope with a dragon sigil stumped upon it " By direct order of emperor Nuada, you and i have been summoned to the capital to be returned to the field ".
" No!" Their mother shouted in anger " Can't any of them see that she just got out the hospital. Ulfhild can't just be thrown back into the field!".
"Orders of the emperor mother " Juno simply answered with in a rather deadpanned manner.
"Then talk the emperor that he can take his damn order, roll it up into a roll and shove it so hard up his donkey that it will come out his mouth!" Everyone took a step back as they watched the woman continue her viscous and rather treasonous insults.
Juno who had kept the lady Nimue style aura of power simply stood dumbstruck as she looked at their mother in equal parts confusion and absolute terror.
"But... But mother, that's the direct order of the emperor, it just cant be ignored, that would be... " Juno was cut off from her stuttering words by their mother who looked and sounded like some kind of mad woman.
"What blasphemous?" Their mother demanded before continuing " He isn't a god Juno, the last person who we all stupidly treated as such put all of reality in danger.
Ulfhild and Juno both flinched, knowing exactly who their mother was talking about. Once the name of lady Nimue was spoken about with a brat reference in this house, but now it was lesser than mud and their mother made sure to remind everyone that she despised the old lady of the Zodiac.
"Airmed " their father gently said as he tried calm down his wife.
"Don't you dare to try and make this seem okay Brea!" She shouted in anger at him.
" Fine!" Juno shouted taking their attention back to her " You can all argue all you want, but i am going to the capital as my emperors orders".
She flicked the envelop to Ulfhild who reached out her right hand to catch it, but it was then that she realized that she lacked it now. The envelop fell to the ground just as Juno had walked out of the room leaving Ulfhild looking down upon the piece of paper knowing her next choice of actions.
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I am a 21 year old law school student at the National Institute of Public Administration. My dream is to one day publish my story phantom ddriag and hopefully get a show made from it.
I also have a youtube account that hundels web fiction content, here is the link https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCFz-mHywXBJnLF8uyofcLAw/videos