Zameric was out hunting when something strange happened to him.
He was tracking down a deer in the Forest of Enticement. He had always complained about the forest’s name more often than not himself, firstly because it was such a weird name and secondly because the forest was not tempting in the very least.
The deer was stooping for a drink on a brook, just in front of Zameric – who was well hidden behind some bushes and shrubs.
Zameric fitted an arrow to his bow. Most people prefer a crossbow rather than the bow; the former being more efficient to be used in such situations, but Zameric found that he’s more comfortable with his bow. That, and the fact that the bow was also the bearer of an entity Zameric was proud to possess.
He raised the bow, and took aim. The deer was still drinking, apparently not aware of Zameric taking aim at it.
With a loud splash, something fell into the stream, and the deer, startled, ran away.
“Damn,” Zameric cursed. What was that thing? “Whatever the hell it is, it made me lose my dinner.”
The thing was rising now. Apparently it was a human (or something that looks like a human, Zameric thought) for Zameric can see that it was standing on its two legs, and seems to have a head, two hands, and all the features that a normal human has. Zameric strode cautiously towards the human, with an arrow at the tip of the bow. Old folktales often tell of cursed spirits who linger in the forest and watch for unaware hunters as they hunt, and lure them into traps, often to catch them off guard and devouring their spirits. But Zameric did not believe all this, of course, and now a tingle of fear built up in him. Was there really a truth value in the stories, after all? However, remembering his escaped dinner made him muster up his courage, and said out loud, “Pray tell me who are you, creature, and what made you interrupt a man earning something for his living.”
The figure came out of the water. It was actually a man. He looked no older than Zameric, yet a grandness of some sort hung around him; it was as if the man was a leader of some organization, or a constitution, or a foundation of some sort. He has a long black hair, and he wore black attire, with a white robe. His expression was that of bewilderment, and he has a sword on his side.
The man looked around himself, and scratched his head. It was as if he was surprised with himself for being there. Then he noticed Zameric for the first time and a huge grin spread across his face.
“Zam! What are you doing here?” he said.
Zameric was taken aback. How does this creature know his name? He raised his bow. “What are you, creature? And how come you know my name?”
“Zam, it’s me, Golde. Don’t you remember me?” the ‘creature’ said, this time his eyebrows knitted together, for apparently ‘it’ thought that ‘it’ knows Zameric but Zameric did not know… ‘it’. ‘It’ took a step nearer to Zameric, who backed one step.
“Blowed if I ever knew you before,” Zameric said, still bemused. He decided that the ‘creature’ was a human after all; ‘it’ was capable of human speech, and spirit or otherwise, legend had it that the spirits float and glide instead; they don’t walk. So this must be a human. “Well now that you mention it, I did once had a friend whose name was Silver, but that was five years ago and now he’s moved to the town with his parents. Are you his long-lost relative, perhaps?”
Golde stopped in his tracks. It was clear that Zameric did not recognize him, because his looks was too good to be an act, and anyway the Zameric he knew never knew anything that had to do with bows and arrows; it was common knowledge that he despised them, due to his bitter past with the Quincys. Furthermore, the Zameric who was once the Captain of the 9th Division, Golde remembered with a pang, was also one of the fallen from the war.
When Zameric showed no sign of recognition to him in any way, Golde set to thinking. His first thought was that he wondered what had happened in Soul Society. His second thought was that how the Soul Society must be in total chaos right now, because of the lack of Captains and Lieutenants to assess the situation and give out orders. His third thought was that he wondered where the heck he was. His fourth thought was that he could be in the living world now, because people don’t go hunting in the Rukongai and Soul Society. His fifth thought was that he must find the other four other Captains. His sixth thought was that how weird it was that he could not sense their reiatsu. His seventh thought, which rang alarmingly in his mind, was that he could not even feel his own reiatsu. His final thought was, “How wet I am!” And he sneezed.
Zameric sighed. “Ah well. I guess you’d better come to my house for some refreshments and stuff, or else you’ll catch a cold here with your wet dress, weird though they are. Come,” he beckoned to Golde, who understood and followed suit. “Anyway,” Zameric struck up a conversation, “Who’re you again? I’m… Well, it seemed that you already knew my name, but I’m Zameric anyway, Zameric Hanako, Zam for short. What’s your name again, Gold or something?”
Golde hesitated for a moment, then: “Uh, no. Call me… Ed. Yeah. Ed. Er, anyway, where am I?” he asked.
“Forest of Enticement,” was all that Zameric said. When he did not elaborate, Golde (or Ed) asked further, “Forest of Enticement where?” And he got “Quasimos” for an answer. Under further query, Golde found out that he was in a small village, Quasimos, and the Forest of Enticement was a small wood to the southeast of the foresaid village. He was (as he discovered shockingly) in the year of 1497. The village was in the country of Marsted, wherever in the world the country was. The rest of the journey back to Zameric’s house was in silence, as Zameric still could not quite forgive Golde for messing with his dinner, and Golde thought he could hear words like “blast” and “my dinner” coming occasionally, muttered under the breath but audible enough over the sounds of insects, but that was all.
They reached Zameric’s house after ten minutes of walking through the Forest and another five walking through a desolate field which was bathed in the yellow sunlight of evening. A lot of questions buzzed through Golde’s mind and he thought of asking Zameric about them, but decided against it for a better time and traipsed in silence, following Zameric’s wake. Soon after, they reached a small village; it was so exquisite and beautiful, indeed, Golde felt relaxed as soon as he entered the village. It was the sort of place that you felt comfortable to be in - even though you’re a newcomer, the villagers were already smiling at you and wishing good fortune - and you can tell from the warm atmosphere and happy faces of people walking around that they wished nothing better than this. It was clear from the way the villagers talked with each other that this was a very close-knit community. Some smiled and waved cheerily when Golde and Zameric passed, but most addressed them; saying things like “How was today’s catch?” and “Is this your friend, Zam? Nice to meet you” and shook hands with Golde. In return, Golde just smiled back warmly and replied, “Hi, nice to meet you too.”
Zameric’s house was located in the southeast part of the quaint place. It was a small wooden house, but the sort of that you can look at it and feel your heart warming towards it the very minute you set your eyes on it. Probably because of the colourful flowers and various plants on the sides of the house, or because such houses were rarely seen in the Soul Society, Golde did not know. But it was an idyllic scene all the same.
Zameric opened the door and went in, calling loudly as he did so, “Hey Jon, I’m hoooooome~” and a small kid, no older than eight, rushed out and hugged Zameric. “Yay, you’re back, you’re back,” he jumped around joyfully, then noticed Golde for the first time, “Is this your friend, brother?” the kid named Jon asked Zameric. He beamed to Golde, who did likewise, and said, “I’m Jonathan. Jon for short. Are you brother’s friend?” Without waiting for an answer, he took Golde’s hand and pulled him inside. “I hope you’ll be staying with us?” he asked, then added in a whisper, “You’ll be quite a nice change from my grumpy brother.”
“Eh? What’s that? You’re tired of me?” Zameric, who apparently had a pair of sharp ears, cut in. However, from the loving glance that Zameric and his brother shared, Golde was sure that the kid had been messing around with his brother. “Yeah,” Jon pouted. “I’m tired of promised deer or rabbit meat everyday but so far the closest thing that I ate to meat was a small sea bass and nothing more,” he said, and broke into a peal of laughter when his brother lunged at him and set to tickling him until he cried for mercy.
“Anyway, I’d have kept my promise to you today but Golde just have to interrupt while I was taking aim at a fat deer.” Zameric said with half a glance at Golde, who began to feel uncomfortable. Then he remembered something and searched about in his pocket. “Uhh, sorry about that, but what if I give you this in return?” he produced a small plastic package and squeezed it into Jon’s hand.
“Yay, candy!” Jon exclaimed happily, then tore open the plastic wrapping and began sucking a stick of caramel. “And sorry about earlier,” Golde apologized to Zameric, who replied with “Ah, that’s OK, as long as my little brother is happy, I am too” and smiled, for the first time, at Golde. He got up and went to the kitchen and called out, “I’ll knock something up for dinner. Give me ten minutes.”
. . .
Dinner was composed of white rice, fried eggs and some fish. Golde wanted to wash the dishes after the meal to show his gratitude, but Jon took them away, said to him, “This is my share of work. You should go rest, since you’re a visitor and a friend of brother,” and clattered to the sink, dishes, cutleries and all. “And thanks for the candies,” he added.
Golde went outside and sat with Zameric, leaning against the wall of the house, staring at the starry sky. A long silence issued, the only sounds heard are the clatter of dishes Jon was watching and the occasional cricket cry. It was eventually broken by Zameric, who cleared his throat and asked, “So, er, anyway, where are you from actually? And why did you fall from the sky?”
“Well,” Golde began. “It’s a long story, actually. And I’m not even sure you’ll believe me or not if I tell you.”
“Go ahead. I’m all ears.”
So Golde told Zameric all about the Soul Society stuff; the cycle of reincarnation, the Rukongai, Sereitei, Shinigami, Hollow et cetera. It was a long explanation and Zameric just nodded his head once or twice to indicate that he understood, but did not interrupt Golde in his explanation. When it was all over, the only thing Zameric asked was “So then how did you know me?” to which Golde replied that he was one of the Captains from the 13 Protection Squad, but had mysteriously disappeared during one night while the Recrimination War was still raging; the only thing that was left was his Shinigami outfit and Captain robe. And Zameric did not tell Golde whether or not he believed the whole account, but just nodded and seemed to be lost in thought.
There was another long silence, eventually broken by Golde’s cough and he asked, “So, Zam, do you live here with Jon alone? Just the two of you?” Zameric nodded, but said nothing. Golde opened his mouth to ask another question, but seemed to change his mind and closed his mouth again. Then a few moment after that, Zameric said, “I know. You wanted to know about my parents. Well, to put it short, I don’t know. To put it long, I do not freaking know. I was raised in an orphanage. You saw how the villagers around here are; they are kind to everyone. And Jon was not actually my blood brother; he was another kid from the orphanage. Since we were so close together, I decided to treat him as if he was my own brother. So, yeah.” Zameric shrugged. Then he got up and yawned. “Well, I’m going inside now. I suppose you’d better lodge here for tonight, then do whatever you must tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind if you want to stay around, but you’ll have to pull your weight around. Seemingly my little brother has taken a liking to you, so, you know…” he said, then went inside the house.
Golde stared at the sky. It was dark now, and the sounds of cricket were getting louder by every second. He wondered what had really happened back in the Soul Society, and where are the other four Captains. What was the cause of the ‘time warp’ (for lack of a better word), and if Zameric was here, surely the other Captains could be somewhere around here too. He mused over these things for quite a while, then he got sleepy and yawned. Golde was on the verge of falling asleep where he was sitting when someone (or something) spoke.
It was a clear, high-pitched kind of voice that was scary but amusing at the same time. “Golde,” it said.
Golde jerked awake, his sleepiness slipped off him totally. He stood up. Golde was sure someone had called his name. But there was no one in sight. He first thought of Jon, pulling a prank on him, but Jon should be asleep now; it was so late already. Then he decided that it was only his imagination and he sat down again, thinking about the previous incidents, when the voice came again.
“You should go to sleep, you know. That explosion did not only blast you out from Soul Society, but there’s another sinister force at work. It sucked your spiritual energy dry
,” it said. “And I’m not
your imagination,” it added.
*(A/N) For a song that complements Zameric's village, Serene Weather
And I'll be coming in with these random things, and there'll be some names/theories that I will borrow from random games, so yeah =D*