Ebony and Lavender: A Knights Quest
by StarbearerTM     More by this Writer
The world is changing around him and Sir Trunks of Capsule must embark on a quest with Mazuko Magician Gohan to right the evils they encounter. But darkness isn't always evil, nor is light always good.
Graphic Violence

Chapter 01 : Embarking
Autumn had fallen upon the kingdom of Kanassa which was several hundred leagues distant to the kingdom of West City, where the King of Capsule reigned with reason and rationality. However, for travelers in recent times, the food was harder to come by and an uneasy, unsettled feeling spread like sparks do through dry, fallen leaves.

A knight with lovely lavendar hair sang, while looking upward at the most prominent feature in the reddish-purple sky, the moon bridge arch. The moon bridge arch of the world was always present. It was responsible for holding up the heavens since time began.

A figure in silver and grey armor briskly made his way through streets crowded with felines, canines, and men. Streets such as this were more common in the fringes of West City Empire rather than in Capsule City itself. Like spokes of a wheel, the streets of Capsule City radiated out from the large domes of the Capsule Citadel itself.

He walked under a sign that read, “Kame House” boldly painted in black. He made his way to a seat at the bar, where other warriors were lounging with drinks in between their guard shifts. A thin haze of smoke hovered over the bar and tables, glowing slightly with the light of the torches and wall luminaries.

“Watcha want?” asked the balding barkeep behind the table. “Sir Trunks, a grape elixir?”

“Hello Krillin, I'll have an orange elixir today,” Trunks said as he sat down among two other warriors. One was a warrior with triple eyes, he sat wrapped in his long green cloak and mail next to his white faced familiar Chiatzu. The other, a rugged fur clad warrior with distinctive scars on his cheeks spoke to him and ignored the advice of his familiar Puar hovering near his shoulder.

“Sir Tien,” Trunks whispered to the first who smiled and nodded. The second cast him a smile and pulled up a chair for him. Trunks settled down near them, hearing the bearded grizzled Roshi they'd gathered near as he said, “Why it was one thousand years hence since Sir Mutaito set forth with the great jar?”

“Don't you mean the dragon star blade,” asked Sir Yamcha.

“Hold onto your horses, I'm getting to that part!” Bard Roshi grumbled, pushing back his dark glasses for a moment and letting them fall back into place. The garish yellow and green cloak her wore was festooned with letters and ciphers that never failed to assault the warriors' vision. It looked slightly muted in the warm glow of the luminaries.

“The demon king Piccolo had threatened West City by dividing the place into 21 zones, each zone would then be burned on a certain year, randomly. The law of the land was to do all manner of devilry. Yet, Sir Mutaito faced him down in his palace and called him out to battle…”

“This is when the dragon star blade's full power was unsheathed,” Trunks chimed in.

“Yes, young warrior it was,” Roshi answered, leaning towards the lavender haired knight.

Comfortable familiarity set in with the next few lines of the tale, which bard Roshi delivered thus, “The tall green terror towered over the old master, taunting him, mocking him. Yet Mutaito set down the jar, and waved his enchanted sword in the technique that he'd studied for at least fifty years…”

“A mighty wave of light shot forth from the blade, tugging the demon king's head toward it. His whole body contorted in the ki-induced spell. Breating his last breath, Mutaito ripped the demon king Piccolo from this plane and sealed him tightly within the jar. He then collapsed for the spell had used the last of his chi. The champions of turtle and crane witnessed this and forever placed the jar in a deep well whose location is only known to the two of them to this day…”

“And the magic blade was lost in a secret place, and the evil was secured till the next enemy threatened the realm,” Trunks completed the last line.

“I should have known from the excitement in your eyes lad, that you knew the tale of the evil sealing jar and the dragon blade by heart,” Roshi chuckled.

“Mom used to tell it to me when I was a boy, and I'd bet my father to tell it,” Trunks admitted, sipping his elixir. “The dragon star blade appeared in several tales.”

“Such as the battle for Namek and the tale of the games of Cell …” Roshi said, nodding.

"And to this day the blade's location is still only known to those few who are trusted with the old secrets…” Mumbled Trunks.

"I bet you don't know the latest legends,” Sir Yamcha interrupted.

Roshi glared as he slammed down his ale tankard and huffed, “You young whipper snapper, I'll have you know I do! I've heard the tale of the demon wizard Son and the blood sky and tell it regularly as any bard you've heard!”

“I've heard the stories of the demon wizard Gohan, the student of Mazuko, and the demon Piccolo Majunuor…” said Tien.

“The lad had terrific powers that smacked of the demon's own… And was summoned by Satan City to do away with the blood rains,” Roshi began, adding on what Sir Tien had said.

“I've heard he found it was due to blood rubies in the soil and he broke the curse,” Yamcha supplied.

“Ahem, I'm telling the tales!” Roshi snapped at him and Yamcha picked up his ale and watched the blonde barmaid walk by.

"Go ahead, Master Bard,” Trunks invited. “You mentioned blood rubies…”

“Their presence in the ground corrupted the air and nothing the king ate could satisfy his raging hunger… Till Gohan the Mazuko cast his spell and each and every blood ruby was ripped from the tainted ground…”

Trunks eyes widened at the thought of such power, especially from a young wizard. He knew some powerful ones in his time but this was a spell of the highest order. He rasped, “Then, what happened?”

Firelight flickered over Roshi’s dark glasses. In a lowered voice he said, “King Guramesh banished him to a tower in West Province, atop Mt. Pauzo…”

**
Far enough into the tale, Trunks's mind filled with excitement about magic blades and powerful mages. Someone calling his name wrenched him back to the present moment.

“Yes?” he called back, standing up. His blue cloak swirled around his black leather armor clad legs.

"Sir Trunks, the King has need of you,” said the cloaked figure.

“Very well, thanks for the tale, Master Bard Roshi,” Trunks said as he turned to Roshi and bowed.

“You're welcome,” he said.

“Sir Yamcha and Sir Tien, the King has need of you as well. All of you report with me,” the messenger spoke. All three stood to attention after tossing down Zenni pieces for their drinks.

From his dais, the monarch motioned the three knights forward into the light cast by multiple large luminaries. The luminaries were so large were they that Trunks could see the segmented bodies of the large glow worms inside each which the attendant on the ladder was feeding milch leaves to.

Pushing up wire framed spectacles, the king shifted the cat present on his shoulder. Wisps of grey smoke drifted up from his pipe. He shoved a few scrolls over his desk and regarded the three knights.

“All three of you know the recent plague affecting our province and the councils recommended actions,” he began with a dry cough. The black cat merely blinked and yawned.

“Yes, your highness,” the knights all replied from their genuflected postures before the dais.

“Sir Tien and Sir Yamcha, you are served with orders to take control of the food supplies so they can be rationed, and fight off brigands. Sir Trunks, you are called to quest for the assistance of a sword, and a wizard…”

It was then that Trunks resisted the urge to ask, “How lucky could I be?” Instead, Trunks queried, "which wizard did you have in mind, Grandfather?"

King Briefs glanced down at the scroll laying on the table in front of him before saying, "for a task of this magnitude, you will use the services of Son Gohan of the mazuko order..."

"Mazuko order?" Trunks asked, shaking his head. "But they are demon sorcerers..."

"Only a demon schooled magician can cast the necessary counter spell, and this magician is the only known Mazuko who worked for a king in our region..."

"But if you're talking about Son Gohan Mazuko, he was banished," Sir Trunks pointed out with lowered brows that gave him a resemblance to his father.

"Bring him by force if you must. Your mother may have a machine or spell that can make him cooperate," suggested King Briefs, tipping ash out of his gold engraved pipe into a diamond encrusted tray before him.

"Wow, Sir Trunks, you get an exciting mission," Yamcha commented.

"Don't be too jealous, Sir Yamcha," Sir Tien cautioned. "You'll be up against a mazuko, who deal in dark forces as well as the forces that bind life together, creation and destruction."

"If he once helped a kingdom, there is a good chance he may be persuaded or coerced to work for enough money," King Briefs said.

"Mazuko, a disciple of the legendary order that gave us horrors like King Piccolo..." Trunks asked, frowning. "Whose reign of terror encouraged thieves and warlords to run amok?"

"Not all thieves are bad," Tien interrupted.

"Launch is an exception when you're on her good side," Trunks agreed.

"I was there during the later parts of his reign. I was only a boy when the mazuko known as Piccolo Junior ruled for a short time before my master banished him," Tien reminded them. The anger that gleamed in his eyes almost equaled his father's when Trunks heard him speak of Freiza.

"Once a mazuko always a mazuko," Yamcha added, squeezing his comrade's shoulder. Tien nodded with a shared gaze on the other.

"I'm depending on you, Trunks," King Briefs warned, waving the stem of his pipe at him. Trunks nodded from under the fall of his bangs, once he bowed his head.

“Yes, Grandpa, your majesty,” he answered before heading off down the corridors.

**

Through the maze of corridors Trunks strode, making his way easily since he’d played in them as a child, then wandered them as a page. The high arched ceilings seemed almost spun from threads but they were the result of the liquid stone technique, unique to Capsule City, where most of the buildings were “extruded” onto woven cables and beams that stood as a framework first.

Reaching the corridor that led to her chamber, Trunks stopped by the huge double doors and knocked in a “rat tat tat” pattern. He heard the bell from inside and entered through a much smaller door, slightly taller than himself. Wood from the ironer trees was the strongest organic thing that wouldn’t dispel magic because inside he saw the glitter of metal mingled with crackling energies.

His mother’s magic was not dispelled by metal like some was. No, Bulma’s magic was half technical, half electrical. Still it was considered a proper school of magic. Shaping forces with a school of thought was a discipline associated with magic. Sparks flew off the conglomeration of wires and tubes fixed into a tall oblong shape with three segments. He could see her figure blurred through the translucent tubes in blue and white.

She pushed up her cobalt blue goggles revealing her face besmirched in soot, save the patch of clean skin from her goggles. “Trunks!” she replied. “Come to visit, huh?”

“Mom, do you have any idea what day or time it is?” Trunks goaded her, knowing that she spent many a day at a time working without stopping of her own accord, only the palace servants occasionally would come to remind her to eat.

“Anytime is a good time for my son to visit,” Bulma teased back, also aware of her son’s long missions that could take him away from the court for weeks or months at a time. “More than I see your father sometimes and he’s IN the kingdom far more than you are, Trunks.”

Seeing her slight scowl, Trunks shook his head in understanding. Prince Vegeta took training his troops and himself to a high pinnacle, bordering on obsession. One could argue his mother was equally enthralled by the enticing world of her laboratory. Neither of them spent much time around other family members since the birth of Princess Bra. Bra was currently being educated with the other royals in the palace of Capsule City.

“Mom, you’ve heard the decree?’ asked Trunks.

“Your latest quest, yeah I have,” Bulma answered with a concerned frown. “I don’t like the idea of you working with a mazuko, but I know you’re the best suited to counter any tricks he might try… with the right equipment.”

Trunks moved around as she waved him over to the nearby table covered in various contraptions of crystal and mage-metal, the sort of metal which could withstand the force of electricity and technology. Their ancestors developed it a century or so ago and it was traded extensively with other kingdoms for various goods needed at Capsule. Holding up an ornate box, she wound the key, and both heard the lilting melody. Trunks regarded it skeptically, not always sure, but he bore through it only to hear a click that seemed anticlimactic.
“Mom, I don’t think I need one of those,” he said.

“Don’t be silly, Trunks, everyone needs someone to go with them…”

“Don’t say it… don’t say that time worn phrase, ‘it’s dangerous to go alone’,” Trunks pleaded, rolling his eyes. “It was bad enough when I heard it millions of times during training with the Mask of Majora Link method…”

“Aww, you’re no fun,” she pouted, letting the box open. A crystal worked with wires in a chain appeared, with a pin affixed to the back.

“I don’t need a sprite,” Trunks protested.

“Sure you do,” Bulma insisted. Not wanting to hurt her feelings, he took the gem and pinned it into the inner surface of his pouch. Putting the music box on a shelf, she then scooted the next device to him. He picked up the bracers and put them on, finding they neatly clicked onto the top of his longer ones.

“Of course, you’d give me this,” he commented, glancing down at the next few items before he stashed them away into the holding pouch at his hip.

***

A week into his quest, Trunks repeated those words to himself often. It wasn't the first time he edged along a narrow ledge that was only two hands width from a steep plummet into an icy river a mile below. Peering down at his yellow grip boots, bright against the gray slippery rock, was a habit he urged himself to break.

He had to lean his back against the cold, craggy rock wall and side walk like a Kame beach crab. Snow fell with thick, fluffy flakes onto his onto his eyelashes and his nose each new flake robbed him of a tiny bit of warmth.

Thankful for the inclusion of the wool liners to his leather armor, Sir Trunks didn't shiver nearly as much as he would have without it. The chain woven Capsule mail had been forged by his mother and was worth more than the salary of most knights in a class 3 quest. Over his shoulder a blue themed guide sprite hovered, twittering.

“Yes, I know, but you could be more helpful if you told me a less precarious route, Tapion?” Trunks grumbled to the small blue sphere dropping sparkling bits of dust here and there like the snow pelting him in the face.

More musical chimes from the guide sprite ended with a sound like an expulsion of gas. Trunks sighed, “No need to be glib, it was a rhetorical question you know.”

Another raspberry and a few tinkling chimes from Tapion made him shake his head. He nodded and scooted after his sprite. Not everyone had one, but once he’d scanned over the map route, both were good to begin their quest. His just happened to be a bit smart mouthed but it was common to give aid or direction so one wasn’t reliant on self-talk. Not that self-talk wasn’t bad for the entry levels. Some of them even conjured up their own apparition sprite like his to accompany them once they got the knack.

Tapion flickered in a lazy arc through snowflakes swirling in the whistling wind. He pulsed more brightly at a widened crack in the path ahead. Sir Trunks nodded in gratitude before he backed up and raised his gauntlet. Out of it protruded a small three pronged hook. At the wall above, he took aim and whispered, “Fire.”

A distant ting alerted him it had taken hold, he felt the tug he had on it. Trunks seized it and ran forwards, hands gripping the rope. The instant his yellow boots left the rock path he drifted up and over. His cape billowed out in the upward draft of air momentarily when the rope sagged. He touched down, scrabbling a bit and thankful for the rope once the ground collapsed under his boots. A few kicks back and forth gave him the momentum to swing to another sturdier ledge safely.

For a moment, Tapion flared brightly to cast a blue glow over Trunks's whole form. He heaved a breath and tugged at the rope to retract it. “Thanks… I’m fine and in one piece,” he mumbled to Tapion.

He darted back to Trunks's ear and chimed a few chords. Trunks nodded, turning his gaze towards the horizon. More visible now than a few hours ago, the snow covered turret pointed skywards between two mountains. One was Frypan, the other Pauzo, just like the barkeep at the last inn had said.

“Ox King had better be right about those other things he mentioned, just wondered why he laughed and rubbed his neck like that,” Trunks mumbled to Tapion who bobbed a bit in confusion, just like shrugging his shoulders.

More tingling like bells met his ears. A split second later his boot touched scree and the world fell out from under him and his stomach sank.

Fingers curled around gravelly rock under the gauntleted glove of the lavender haired warrior. In his arms the tendons straightened taut as ropes he'd used to tie up the latest threat to the kingdom. Yes, he could swing his other arm up and grab the ledge, yet he clutched his other treasured object: the hilt of his sword. In a swift movement, he drew it and wedged it into a crack in the mountainside. Sir Trunks tested the integrity before he moved his knee onto the hilt and leaned his weight on it. Tapion rang out a note indicating the crack had not spread.

"Good," Trunks grunted, placing his other free hand on the ledge next to his other. His foot joined his knee for only an instant and shoved up. His body swung out and then shoved himself upward so he could place his left forearm on the path. Trunks pressed his forearm down hard, pivoted his body sideways, and swung a boot up. His right foot found the ledge again before he log rolled his whole body onto the ledge which was the width of his body.

"Phew..." He gasped as he lay on solid rock on his back. Upward into the reddish purple sky he peered and slowly calmed himself.

"The moon bridge holds steady the heavens... arching at 90 degrees," panted Sir Trunks. Images of the way he measured the degrees with his mother’s scoping equipment came into his head. Her soft hands and determined blue eyed gaze that time when the Red Ribbon soldiers had tried to storm Capsule City. While his grandfather, the King was captured, Bulma ran the kingdom with the consummate skills of a leader born.

When his father refused to go to her aid in battle, Bulma was not the least bit furious as she slashed through the enemy knights with a sweep of one of her war machines guided by the blue energies of her lightening power. While not a mage like Gohan and Piccolo, or Roshi, or even his grandfather King Briefs, she used machines and war engines to defend the realm. Her bags of holding were well known amongst questors over the four lands of the compass Rose.

“Trunks, take a deep breath and remember you don’t have to be like your father to make me proud. Just prove your own grit. You’re a Briefs, and that’s a heritage to be proud of, no matter what a Saiyan warrior says, or a certain PRINCE…” Bulma’s voice echoed.

He recalled his father’s “hmmmph” and growling under his breath as he strode through to the Gravina warrior school to train in the vapors of his old kingdom long dead. While the Saiyan’s land of Vegeta had been obliterated by Freiza, he still clung to the traditions.

“Father, I’ll understand even if you don’t say you’re proud of me. Just as long as you acknowledge me,” Trunks mumbled at his back. Proud, strong and tough his father Prince Vegeta still was there when he grew up, caustic criticisms and all.

Coldness caressed his face once he emerged from the images dancing in his mind despite the view of the sweeping arcs in the heaven above. Trunks sat up, martialing his strength before he climbed to his feet.

**

He continued along the narrow ledge to a widening pass thankfully. The wind bitterly slashed up at him but he cinched the cloak around and secured the hood. Just what awaited him in that tower that grew larger with each passing hour? He continued until he could more clearly see the snow collecting on the cracked stones and blocks that comprised it.

“The old guard tower, strange that someone would choose to live here, but I’m not one to judge,” mumbled Trunks, narrowing his eyes. Tapion agreed with a raspberry and two low chirps.

He had heard of the mazuko trained boy from the red ribbon army soldiers he’d passed through on the way:

“We heard he can tear stones out of the ground and throw them at you if he’s mad,” Silver had said.

“Never mind that,” his partner Blue cut him off, glaring back at him. “His looks can paralyze you more than I ever could. So handsome that he could charm any man and get close enough to drain his soul for breakfast…”

Silver glared at Blue at that moment. “No Blue, I heard that the mazuko wizard can charm a dragon and turn him to barbecue a whole army in a second.”

“His traps are so clever you’ll be riddled with spears like a pincushion,” Blue shuddered. “Which would damage the tanned skin of an attractive warrior such as yourself…”

Trunks blushed at Blue’s eyes walking up and down his form. True, the blonde solider was handsome, but far too vain and superficial. Instead he said “Thanks for the warnings but I need to get to the tower, good sirs.”

“Between the two large mountains, standing up straight and erect,” Blue whispered.

“The winds can freeze you if you don’t reach it before nightfall,” Silver warned.

Trunks had left the two soldiers arguing about the freezing temperature the wizard employed, determined not to waste any more precious time. Every second and every day longer his quest took, the more the foul gasses seeping from the Black Mountain would reach and kill more of the crops and livestock in the neighboring kingdom of Kanassa. Now that the tower’s shadow cast down over him, he stepped aside at the shivering chill it left. All his body parts seemed to freeze into place for an instant before he could again move.

“First trap, I’ll bet,” he mumbled. Tapion let out a low whistle. The sprite flew ahead around the tower but shot straight back towards him like a shooting star and zipped into his pouch.

“Tapion…” he mumbled. “That bad huh?”

A small blue glow and faint tingling answered him. Frowning Trunks took a few steps forward, sword drawn. He sidestepped sharp sticks that shot out from underfoot, wondering why it seemed easy to do so.

“Okay Tapion, you need to come out here and help me! Don’t be a chicken… you’re my sprite…” griped Trunks, glaring at the sprite in his pouch.

Giving a feeble tinkling like brittle glass bells Tapion flew out of his pouch and took its place near his shoulder. He hovered ahead with Trunks, just by a foot or two. The bluish light expanded to a disk encompassing Trunks feet and radiating onto the walls before them. He searched the rock face for anything, and saw glowing runes materialize.

“Wards,” he said. “Not surprising since…”

A shadow eclipsed Tapion’s blue light, and Trunks darted to the side at a square shape plummeting towards him. It slammed into the snow and sank a few feet. Another stone fell, towards him too quickly. He swung his sword, and heard nothing. The square hole beneath his boots indicated the rock should have crushed him. Stepping back he prodded the square hole and his sword tinged against rock.

“Dende,” he mumbled, and narrowed his eyes at the wards. He saw another appear in blue glowing fire and moved his hand towards the stone that was slightly recessed.

“Neither an illusion nor a mind alteration ward,” he muttered, shrugging his shoulders along with Tapion’s bobbing. His hand passed through the wall and he stumbled forwards into blackness.

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