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26 October 2011 @ 04:42 pm
Oh what the heck....  
Story: Black cat, white mage - Part 14
Pairings: Kurogane/Fai, Sakura/Syaoran, Yukito/Touya, the usual suspects.
Rating: None?
Warnings: A rather tasteless and confusing metaphor. Yuuko being smug.
Summary:A lost princess. A mage running away from his past. A crippled warrior doing his best to forget the man he used to be. And a young man carrying a terrible curse. All of them are inevitably drawn into an adventure where love might save them... or doom them.
Note: Okay, so have another part while I'm at it. Although this one is shorter, and kind of weird and bewildering. Sorry about that. Cut quote from "The age of Bronze" by Lord Byron. Also, for this part to make sense, it helps if you can look at this picture. (Which is awesome, and therefore not made by me xD)


Watanuki watched in apprehensive silence as the Head Magician reverentially lifted a slim black lacquered box strewn with stars onto the small table in front of her. “Now, this is very important. Pay close mind, Watanuki. Oh, and my glass is empty, by the way. You really ought to be more attentive, you know.”

Her apprentice didn’t even deign to answer to that, but once more filled up her glass with golden, sweet-smelling liquor. “What is it?” he demanded instead, intrigued against his will. Yuuko smiled secretively, and then flicked the box open with a dramatic gesture that almost swept her glass to the floor. She managed to catch it without spilling a drop, and then subsequently emptied it, as Watanuki stared and tried to make something of what he saw except for the blatantly obvious. He failed. “It’s a gameboard?” he finally ventured, sounding rather unimpressed. “The kind you use for playing Conquest or Knight Errant.”

Exactly,” Yuuko exclaimed, all but clapping her hands in glee. “But then again, not quite. Do you notice anything different with it?”

Watanuki frowned. “I’ve never seen a circle like this before. Aren’t those Valerian religious symbols around the edge?”

“That they are,” Yuuko agreed, grinning. “And that’s because it’s my circle, you see.” She dragged her finger along the edge of the circle, and a golden glow started seeping through the cracks between the ivory and mahogany.

Watanuki raised his eyebrows, surprised. “You don’t exactly look Valerian, Yuuko. And I thought you said once that your family was from Nihon?”

“My father’s family,” Yuuko corrected airily. “But that is neither here or there, I should think. Is there something else you can tell me about the game?”

Watanuki shrugged. “Not really. But I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”

Yuuko gave him an annoyed look and held up her glass for another refill. “Pieces, Watanuki. The board is empty.”

Her apprentice rolled his eyes. “Well, yes, obviously. So where are the pieces?”

“Right here.” She dangled a velvet bag in front of his nose, and after another swig from her glass she plunged a white hand into it, coming out with…

“Well, I know which one that is,” Watanuki said confidently. “That’s a Mage. So it’s a game of Conquest, right?”

“Don’t make assumptions like that, it makes you sound like a fool.” Yuuko smirked, ignoring Watanuki’s indignant spluttering, and placed the opal figurine on a symbol that looked to Watanuki like the numerial for two on a clock. “There, now we’ve got our white Mage. And next out is our Knight.”

“But that’s a piece from Knight Errant,” Watanuki protested. “Anyway, that’s a black piece. Shouldn’t it be on the other team?”

“What did I tell you about assumptions?” Yuuko snapped. “And no, he’s definitely on our team.” She carefully placed the obsidian Knight on a sign that looked like an M with a pointy tail, and then glared at it. “Look at that. Far too far away from the mage. How am I supposed to play like this? Both pieces are practically useless on their own, you know. But to bring them together I first need to get these two out of the way.” She rooted in the bag and came out with two pieces, one black and one white.

Watanuki crossed his arms. “I don’t know what game you’re playing, but there is no way you’re allowed to have two High Priests on the same team. That’s impossible. Even if we’re happening to talk strange and rather tasteless metaphors, I might add.”

Yuuko smiled indulgently at him, as if her favourite dog had just performed a clever trick. “Exactly. But look at this one.” She held up the black High Priest so that the light shone right through the smoky quartz. “He’s only a ghost, do you see?” She placed this figurine on the sign next to the Knight in the counter-clockwise direction. The other High Priest figurine, carved out of moonstone, she placed on the sign one step clockwise from the Mage.

“Oh, I see,” Watanuki said sarcastically. “A ghost piece. Because that’s not like cheating at all.”

Yuuko smiled smugly. “Making your own rules is not the same as cheating. Now, where is our Page…?” Some further rooting in the bag unearthed the required Knight Errant piece, carved out of perfectly clear quartz.

“And that’s another ghost, is it?” Watanuki demanded sourly.

“Your brother? Absolutely not. I told you he was alive, didn’t I?” She placed the Page on an arrowlike sign, right next to the Knight. Watanuki gave her an uneasy glance, and then reached out to gently brush his fingers over the cold, smooth stone figurine.

“My brother?”

“Of course. You didn’t think this was just a game, did you?” Yuuko met his questioning gaze steadily. “No game is ever ‘just’ a game, Watanuki. It always means something, whether or not the players are aware of it. And this… this is a very important game. And that means we need one of these.” She fished out yet another piece from the bag, holding it up triumphantly so that the light caught on the black opal and made it shine bright orange. Watanuki stared blankly at it.

“That’s a…”

Cat!” Yuuko filled in gleefully.

“But that’s not even a piece from either game,” Watanuki protested feebly, looking like he was just about to give up on even questioning Yuuko’s doings. The Head Magician patted his hand arm comfortingly.

“Exactly. No game is complete without something completely unexpected. Now, at the moment she’s here…” Yuuko placed the cat on the squiggly sign on the other side of the white High Priest. “But that’s all wrong, of course. I need to move either her or your brother, because she needs to be much closer to the Page. But then again, no matter how it’s done, that is a very dangerous place to be.”

“The curse,” Watanuki mumbled, watching the way his brother’s piece shattered the light into rainbows, which danced over the board beneath.

“Exactly.” Yuuko drummed her fingers against the boards for a moment, then she shook her head and fished out a new piece.

“A King?”

“Technically, yes, but he is actually only a Prince.” She held it a few moments and then shook her head, placing the statue, which looked as if it was carved of mother-of-pearl, outside the board. “I don’t know if he’s going to play a part yet. No… for now, I think we’d better concentrate on our opponent.” Her hand landed at the centre of the board. “Now, what are the characteristics of the one playing centre in Conquest, Watanuki?”

Her apprentice blinked, surprised by the pop question, but then rapidly started reciting. “Eh… the centre player has fewer pieces, usually, but has the advantage of starting first, and of higher mobility on the board. And while the one playing outer circle may attack with several pieces at once, his pieces are individually stronger and harder to destroy.”

“Very well put.” Yuuko fished out a new piece, this time once again a Knight Errant piece. It was a Pawn, the carved ivory decorated with blue. “Lord Rondart. A simple Pawn, but he is directly controlled by our opponent, and thus dangerous.” She sat the piece down on the symbol of the dark moon. Next she picked out a white Oracle, and placed him on the symbol for the full moon. “Ashura. He is not in the hand of our enemy, but he is nonetheless an opposing force, whether he knows it or not. And look, he is far too close to our Mage. An Oracle can easily out-maneuver a Mage, of course, but not if we get the Knight there in time.”

“This is morbid,” Watanuki pointed out, and to his utter lack of surprise he was ignored.

Next out of the bag were two black Mages, placed on the waning crecent and the waning gibbous, facing each other. “Now these two are dangerous. If our opponent gets this one,” she tapped the piece standing on the symbol for the waning crescent, “into play, then the game is as good as lost. High Priest falls to Mage. But if we manage to remove his brother,” her finger gently touched the other black Mage, “then the balance is destroyed and our opponent can no longer use either piece. I already have a piece selected for this particular task,” she held up a black Page carved out of glossy hematite, “but I cannot play him yet.”

“Well,” Watanuki said, watching the board critically, “our opponent – and I’ve got a feeling I know who that is – still only has four players, and one of them thinks he's on our side. That doesn’t look like much of a game to me.”

“Doesn’t it?” Yuuko demanded, fixing her apprentice with a stern eye. “Haven’t you been paying attention? This is a game where the players can make up their own rules as they go, Watanuki. And the reason our opponent is so dangerous, the reason he doesn’t need more players, is that if he gets his own players into the right positions, he can start moving about our pieces.” Her hand darted from the Prince, then the Mage, the Knight, and finally the Cat. Behind the small animal figurine, a large pair of ghostly wings unfolded, casting a shadow over the entire board. “And if that happens,” Yuuko said, her voice low and ominous, “we lose, Watanuki.”

Watanuki swallowed. “What happens then?” he asked.

“War, of course. That is what he wants.” The Head Magician’s eyes darkened with a sorrow that stretched across ages, and for the first time as her apprentice, Watanuki found himself wondering how old she was. “It will mean the destruction of Nihon, and perhaps some people would think that was a good thing. But it does not end there. The Mage’s Circle will be dissolved; its members hunted down and killed. The balance will be destroyed, all reason will crumble. Our opponent will not only make war on Nihon, and later Valeria; he will make war on Clow. In the name of good, of virtue, he will destroy the foundations of his own country.”

Why?” Watanuki demanded, horrified.

“Because he thinks control is the same as goodness. Because he thinks virtue can be learned from rules alone. Because he thinks the gods want to rule the world. But mostly because he wants something he can’t have. He wants to undo his past wrongs, and he thinks that can be done by changing the world. But there is no undoing, only forgiveness. And you don’t get that from changing the world. That comes from changing yourself. And that’s the only thing he can’t do.”

In the silence that followed, Yuuko reached into her velvet bag and fished out one last piece, carved from black sandstone and catching the light in tiny pinpoints all over the surface, like the sky on a cloudless night.

“Another King?” Watanuki asked, glad for the distraction.

“Once again you’re technically right,” Yuuko conceded solemnly, but then she smirked. “But ultimately wrong nonetheless. She’s a Queen.”

“How am I supposed to know that if the piece looks like a King?” Watanuki muttered.

“You can’t. And that’s why you shouldn’t make assumptions.”

“And which side is the Queen on, then?” Watanuki wondered acerbically, scowling at the piece. Yuuko gave it a long, thoughtful stare, and then eventually put it right in the middle of the board, the space usually reserved for moving centre pieces.

“I don’t know,” she declared. “As for now, I suppose she remains an antagonist. But she is not on our opponent’s side, not even in the way that Ashura can be said to be. And in the end, she might turn out to be our greatest ally. But then again,” Yuuko smiled darkly, “she might also destroy our only hope.”
Current Mood: geeky
CarmenWoods: YAYcarmenwoods on October 26th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
You should have heard my squee when I saw this post. :D

An Oracle can easily out-maneuver a Mage, of course, but not if we get the Knight there in time.”
I really loved this line. One of my favorite aspects of TRC is that Kuro kills Ashura so that Fai doesn't have to bear that burden himself. It just makes me happy, and I dig the foreshadowing of something like that here.

A complex board game really is a great metaphor for FWR's and Yuuko's counter-machinations. And forgive me, but did I miss a Yukito piece in there? I didn't seem to catch him being placed, unless he's Kurogane's ghost - but I think that's rather his lost lover, instead. (And I am more and more intrigued by the question of who that lover was!)
sweetjerry: Dangliessweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
hfjkhgdkf <3

I really couldn't help referencing that, and hopefully I will manage to make something suitably epic of that /rubs hands together/ ^^

And yep, that was a Yukito piece, and the ghost was indeed the lost lover ^^ And ehehehe I've got a pretty little timeline for this fic written and I've already got "Kuro's long lost REVEALED" written on it because I long so much to unveil the crack xD
maijame: Renjimaijame on October 26th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)

OMG, I was so excited to see yet another update and then you get all mystical! I'm not too sure yet about most of the pieces, but the two dark mages are probably Kamui and Subaru? And Yuukos secret agent is probably Fuuma (I can't really imagine Seiishiro in that position, cool as THAT would be...)
Yukito would be the white HighPriest.. the dark one Kuroganes mysterious past lover. The cat for Sakura is a very very cute piece!

And the Queen that looks like a king? Hmmm....very very interesting. Kendappa, Tomoyo? Ashura jr?

And I love complex boardgames! This is just making everything even more exciting!
Write on!
sweetjerry: Appreciationsweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)

But gdfksglhjkgf sorry for being so obscure, but that's kind of Yuuko's job, ne? ^^ And you are very good at guessing, although I probably shouldn't go into it too much without getting too spoiler-y, and where's the fun in that? /is killed by mob with pitchforks/

And that's good! I was afraid I was going to bore everyone to tears xD
Aye! <3
maijame: ouran daddymaijame on October 26th, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)

You did a pretty convincing Yuuko, I'm just wondering a little what the point of the game is (I was thinking along the lines of voodoo dolls and her making Kuro and Fai have sex or something, but that's of course totally far-fetched and a way too unsophisticated waste of time for someone as busy as her...., right!?).

NO SPOILERS PLEASE! I love wildly guessing around and drawing some clues from canon (like Fuuma working for Yuuko). And the Queen/King...uhm.. well Kendappa has a pretty...manly disposition and Ashura jr is pretty much more of a woman anyway, but Tomoyo is sort of a more powerful and unsure entity than them...

Like I said, you're turning me into a stalker. Let me illustrate this:
(Oh yes, you're from Sweden, right? I live directly at the Baltic Sea here...hmmm~) =^;^=
sweetjerry: Still smartersweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)

The purpose of the game is a bit obscure, I'd say. It's hard to tell where what is happening on it ends and Yuuko's direct influence begins. After all, magic is a tricky thing, and the game is her magic circle... ;D

NO SPOILERS, PROMISE |D I will enjoy driving you mad for a while longer first <3

SWIM HERE :D We can have a party ^^
(no subject) - maijame on October 26th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maijame on October 26th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maijame on October 26th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maijame on October 26th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - carmenwoods on October 26th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
CarmenWoods: wondercarmenwoods on October 26th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
Wait, isn't the white High Priest (who is a ghost) deadtwin Fai?
maijame: glasses shibasakimaijame on October 26th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)

the ghost got placed with Kurogane on the board, remember? And it was mentioned before, that they were supposed to assassinate the High Priest Yukito.

Besides the Fai-ghost is a child, died most likely as a child and wouldn't be in a position as highly ranked as this. Also priests and mages are different things here.

(no subject) - sweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - carmenwoods on October 26th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - maijame on October 27th, 2011 10:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
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sweetjerry: In ur kitchensweetjerry on October 26th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Nope. The white High Priest, aka the moonstone one, is Yukito, and the black High Priest (smoky quartz) is Kurogane's past lover. The original Fai is not present on the board. /is forever confusing xD
Cloverfield: oooh shiny~!fieldofclover on October 26th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)




those pieces


And I am INTRIGUED as to Kuro-knight's past lover, INTRIGUED LIKE A BOSS, and yet I will have to wait foreverrrrrr to find out. (it's not entirely bad, actually; I love that the plot for this is convoluted in all manner of wonderful ways; I look forward to every little plot twist you give us <3) I'm also throwing in my vote for Fai and Kurogane to knock boots soon, because come on. That sizzling sexual tension is going to hurt someone if they don't get around to it XD

In short, I LOVE YOU, this fic is AWESOME, and I do not know how I am expected to think rationally during my exam when I have this stuck in my head this afternoon <3333
sweetjerry: I'm your mansweetjerry on October 27th, 2011 11:43 am (UTC)
...sorry? <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3 I really hope it went well despite my sabotage? :)

Well, at least I promise to let people in on many other secret before SHIT GOES DOWN and GET REALLY EPIC and also GOES ALL KINDS OF WRONG ^^ And pffffsh, you know how those two are. Just when you think that the UST can't get any worse without something exploding, they prove you wrong xD But don't worry, that is definitely not something that will happen right before the end.

Well, blow me down, 'cause I kind of love you too <3 And I will attempt to continue spamming you for this very reason.
Cloverfield: hugfieldofclover on October 27th, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
It went well enough. I got thrown for a loop when she asked how much my robot weighed, and what exactly it intended to do to protect its owner (I blurted out 60kg and karate respectively), but otherwise well :D I may have read this fic again in the five minutes before my exam to calm myself down- and it worked beautifully! <3

YESSSSSS, intriguing secrets are awesome, and I cannot wait for the revelations. Cannot wait! The waiting, IT CAN'T BE DONE! Well, I only hope no one explodes from the UST if something doesn't happen soon it might be me exploding and I am cheering them on for their inevitable and sexy relationship upgrade! <3

/loving cling/ spam away, my darling! Spam away! <333333

Dammit Touya stop being nonchalantly sexy and awesome and Yukito, y u so adorable??
maijame: ouran daddymaijame on October 27th, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
So.. I've read it all again to get the facts straight.

Kurogane's past lover isn't necessarily from Valeria, but speaks the language, has black, glossy long hair and blue (dark summer sky blue?) eyes. He's also more the quiet and modest type, unlike Fai.

He died through a poisened dagger or something, probably a successful assassination attempt. With Kuro-pon failing to protect him. *sniffles*
If he's a high priest, like Yuuko's piece suggests, that means Yukito sort of inhereted his title and part of his memories through the initiation ritual.

Now someone tries to assassinate Yukito, too, through Rondart, who probably has his own problems with Yuki and his relationship with Touya.

I think I understand Kurogane's urge to protect Yuki, even more so as they grew to be sort of friends in the war about 10 years ago.

But now, I'm REALLY sort of clueless about Kuro's ex. Very mysterious indeed. He was some sort of guidance conselour for Kurogane, which means, probably a bit older.
Male!Tomoyo comes to mind, but naaah... Zima? Yasha? ... all not quite right...

Also... I made this, to organize this chapter in a more visual way. I might even improve it and add real pieces when I've got some spare time.

maijame: ken apologizemaijame on October 27th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Though I'm not all sure whether I've placed Kamui and Subaru correctly...probably not quite. >.
Yoshiko-chan: Go Masteryoshikochan on October 28th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
Oh Yuuko and Watanuki. Now you have me wondering who the black Queen is. Yuuko herself? Amaterasu? The game is interesting. XD