The Dove of Sanctuary

Chapter One: The Dove Takes Flight

© 2009 by Zpan Sven

This page was last modified: 2009/03/20

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Author's Notes:

One of my infamous 'What If?' fanfics, where I take some of my ideas, an original character or two, the plot of an anime and throw them in the blender set on puree just to see what happens.

Location: Sanctuary, Greece

She had always been there as part of the background in her almost fifteen years of life -- as a Bronze-ranked Saint, and a female one at that, she was rather low on the totem pole at Sanctuary, but she was useful; even as a small child she had an uncanny ability to home in on a person's Cosmo, which made her very good at tracking someone down. It had been such an unusual ability for someone her age and skill-level, she'd been given the nick-name of the human homing pigeon by the other trainees in her age group, a nick-name that eventually spread. If her trainer had needed someone found, she was sent off to find them.

After gaining the admittedly not as desirable Columba Cloth at eleven years old -- after all, there were considerably less female trainees compared to the amount of males and it was a rather feminine Cloth that represented Peace along with being considered one of the less powerful, which wasn't as appealing to the male trainees -- she honed her skills over the years to be able to track any Saint she'd yet to meet by homing in on their Cloths. The ability to home in on the Cloths themselves, no matter where or what condition they were in, whether or not they were even worn by a Saint, was something she believed she had gained with Columba, as the Cloth had always been worn by the Messenger of Sanctuary.

It was with that skill that she could tell the location of any and every Saint and Cloth to the Holy Father as well as track them down to deliver the messages he passed to her. She was utterly trustworthy in the Pope's opinion, having never once thought to look at the message scrolls she carried.

Why should she? The Holy Father spoke on the Goddess's behalf and was a kind man who didn't seem to mind she was just a Bronze-ranked Saint or even female, given how kindly he spoke to her. In her eyes, he was almost a father-figure from how he'd pet her hair and at times let her sit at his feet to rest, just as Lord Taurus acted like a brother or uncle when she delivered messages to or from him; she wasn't too sure how to classify Lord Pisces though, probably an uncle or cousin who favored her for the many clippings of exotic roses she brought him from around the world.

The Dove traveled constantly, delivering messages from the Holy Father and Saints of Sanctuary and on her travels would pick up things for those she knew -- various things, from knick-knacks to plant clippings or exotic foods; more then once she'd run to India to pick up the teas favored by Virgo Shaka or fetch a wine from one of the vineyards in France that Aquarius Camus happened to have a liking for. Not that she minded, it was her duty and she liked the traveling, along with the fact she would always come home to Sanctuary to roost. It was just how she was.

Today had been a hectic day; there had been a tournament held over the Pegasus Cloth and it had looked as though Cassios would win. But then... but then... Her eyes scrunched tightly against the burn of tears at the memory of his disfigurement and defeat at the hands of the younger trainee. Many thought he was just some big bully, but to her, Cassios was like a brother. It was why she was here sitting on the stoop outside the Healer's, waiting on word with many of the other trainees and subordinates of their trainer. Damn that Seiya! He was such a jerk.

"Angie," the familiar voice and hand on her shoulder caused the messenger to open her eyes and peer through the eye-holes of her mask at the likewise masked green-haired Ophiuchus Silver Saint leaning over her. The strongest female Saint, the Silver Amazon herself, was peering down at the young woman. While she'd not been the younger teen's official trainer, the Silver Amazon had made it a priority to take many of the younger girls under her wing and protect them as well as train them when she had the chance. Angie had been one of those girls and had ended up more a younger sister than just another trainee, worming her way past the front Shaina erected to the world.

"Shaina!" The messenger straightened from where she was leaning back against the wall, sitting upright. "Cassios... How is he?"

The higher ranked Saint stepped back as the messenger bounced to her feet. Columba Angie was a short girl, not even an inch over five feet tall even in her sandals. In the eyes of those around her, the young Saint's lack of height combined with her slim form and long hair often help back in braids enhanced the girl's child-like nature. To them she was a child and was treated as such. Not that Shaina minded -- it just meant the girl was still mostly innocent even after the harsh training she had undergone; still, the Ophiuchus Saint worried over her younger 'sister', because there were always men, even in Sanctuary, who preyed on the innocent and kind type like her. This explained why she never complained about the many errands the younger girl ran on behalf of Sanctuary to the vast corners of the world.

"He'll be fine," Shaina said softly and nodded to the small basket on the steps beside where the girl had sat. Given her almost servant status to the higher ranked Saints, Angie had taken the time to learn how to cook from the older female servants at various temples between errands. "You made him a treat, I see."

"Some sweet bread," Angie explained while picking up the small basket and passing it over to the Silver Saint. Unlike most Bronze or Silver Saints who weren't really trained or even interested in culinary arts, Angie liked to cook. When she had to wait a particularly long time for a response to a message she had delivered, she had taken the opportunity to ask the servants from the various temples to teach her their trade, and so she was able to prepare various foodstuffs and meals. Sometimes even the high-ranked Saints themselves taught her interesting things when they had time, like Lord Pisces instructing her in the art of gardening or Lord Capricorn teaching her the values of being a Saint; it was on his knee she had listened to the tale of the traitor when she was a child and learned that duty to the Goddess came before everything else. "I wanted to drop it off for him -- the Holy Father has summoned me."

"He's asleep, but I think he'll know it's from you," Shaina said wryly. "After all, you're the only one we know that would make him such a thing."

"Tell him I'm praying for him, please," Angie pleaded and Shaina lifted a hand, placing it on the crown of the younger girl's head, her fingers ruffling the wheat-blonde locks that fell free from her braid to frame the silver mask she wore.

"I will. Go, now. The Holy Father is getting impatient in his old age," the Ophiuchus Saint chuckled. "Goddess be with you, Angie."

"And may the Goddess be with you -- and may She watch over Cassios as well," Angie replied and darted off at supersonic speed to answer the Pope's summons; for a mere Bronze-ranked Saint, the girl was capable of moving at the speed of a Silver Saint, which made up for her lack of physical strength.

"She will. Because we won't let that bastard Seiya leave Greece alive for what he's done," Shaina vowed as she watched the girl vanishing up the mountain, before turning back to her assembled subordinates. Even if she'd once called him little brother, he'd pay for hurting Cassios and humiliating him, just like for taking the Pegasus Cloth away from its homeland. How dare he not stay here like a true Saint of Athena?!

* * *

The dying sunlight gleamed off the messenger's long braid, turning the colour to gold. Behind her metal mask, Angie's eyes were closed as the Pope gently stroked her head, almost absently in a tender, paternal manner as she sat curled against his throne, leaning against his legs.

The news of this tournament was disturbing to the young Bronze Saint. It was bad enough that the Sagittarius Saint had been a traitor, but for his Gold Cloth to fall into the hands of those foreigners to be used as a prize in a tournament between Japanese Bronze Saints... She frowned, her fingers digging into the hem of the Holy Father's robe. How could Lord Leo properly remove this stain on his family's honor if he could not train a loyal successor for Sagittarius?

"The tournament is open to Bronze Saints in general. I am a Bronze Saint and they never specified the nationality or even the gender of the participants. Send me, Holy Father, please! Let me fight on Sanctuary's behalf to get it back," she pleaded, her head tilting to look at the Pope's own masked visage. His fingertips were gentle as he stroked back from her hairline to the crown of her head.

"My little Dove," he murmured softly. "You are one of the most trustworthy of the Saints, without guile and full of innocence and righteousness with your need to uphold Her Justice, just what Athena believes to be important in her Saints. Go, child, go to the tournament in Japan. Enter it and reclaim the Sagittarius Cloth on Sanctuary's behalf. Bring it home, so that Athena herself may bless it to remove the stain of dishonor its previous bearer placed on it."

The Messenger smiled behind her mask at the approval and confidence in her skills the Holy Father was displaying. His hand shifted, lifting from her head and she rose to bow, a fist over her heart. "I shall leave tonight. I can feel them, the gathering Bronze Saints in Japan around the dormant Sagittarius Cloth..."

"Show them the strength of Sanctuary, little Dove, and know you go with not just mine, but also Athena's Blessing."

* * *

It was past dark when Angie returned to the hut she lived in to pack for her trip to Japan. On the way she passed Shaina's hut to inform the older girl of her mission, and to her shock, the Ophiuchus Saint was there, sitting on the floor and staring at the box containing her Silver Cloth. The sight of the torn clothing, the blood, the broken training armor and mask combined with the distraught nature of Shaina's Cosmo had the young Bronze worried. Kneeling beside her, Angie cautiously reached out, touching her shoulder.


"That bastard Seiya!" she hissed, trembling in a mixture of rage and shame. "My mask! He broke it!"

Angie paled behind her own mask and slipped beside the Silver Saint, reassuringly looping her arms around her. For most of the female Saints, especially those who were raised and trained in Sanctuary, to be seen without their mask was a humiliation worse then being caught completely naked. It was why Angie herself wore a cloth half-mask beneath her metal one. "So he saw?"

"Yes," Shaina whispered hoarsely, rubbing at her wounded shoulder. There was vivid bruising and a laceration that looked like it could have come from a razor-sharp blade from the cleanness of it.

The Bronze Saint frowned when she recalled something. Several years ago, the boy had seen Shaina's face, too, and he had called her 'sister', after Angie made the naïve comment that Shaina could be his sister here in Sanctuary until he went back to Japan to find his actual sister. "But... Didn't he remember you from before?"

"No. And now... Now I'll have to kill him. I have to kill him, because I can't bring myself to love that boy like a husband as it would be demanded by our tradition."

"Not if I kill him first," Angie said softly and Shaina looked at her in surprise. This comment was so unlike the diplomatic Columba Saint; the girl tended to stop fights, not start them or go looking for them. "I'm going to Japan, by the Holy Father's orders. It's where he is going, to compete in a tournament of Bronze-ranked Saints. If I face him in that tournament, I'll kill him for you, to spare you having to kill him yourself."

"Angie, I could never ask you to do that," Shaina murmured. How Angie had grown from that little girl... The loss of that innocence saddened the older Saint, no longer was she the cheerful child that had bounced gleefully up and down the mountain with messages between the various Saints and trainees.

"I have no real family aside from you and Cassios. And he has hurt you both so badly... I will not let him get away with it," the Bronze Saint vowed and bowed her head when Shaina lifted her hand, placing her palm on the crown of the younger girl's head.

"Promise me you will be careful," Shaina commanded.

"Of course, my sister," Angie promised her as she rose back to her feet. "For now, though, I have to pack."

* * *

Location: Tokyo, Japan

She made good time, arriving shortly after the Pegasus Saint's boat had docked. Of course that was entirely because she wore her Cloth and flew at high speed to Japan, with her pack in the Cloth-box she carried. Landing in a deserted area of a construction site, Angie looked around, extending her Cosmo to locate those pretend-Saints. Immediately her Columba Cloth made the familiar hum in the back of her mind of finding its brother Cloths and behind her silver mask she smiled as she detected the moving Pegasus Saint. Obviously he was heading towards the other gathered Bronze Saints. Concentrating, she found that only Cygnus and Phoenix were absent from the gathering. Turning, she sprang up onto the foundations of the building being constructed and began to dart after Seiya's Cosmo.

The terrain she navigated changed the longer she trailed Seiya from the city into a more rural area, the quality of the architecture and the carefully managed landscaping hinting at the fact she was entering a rather upscale area. Her eyes narrowed thoughtfully as she trailed the Pegasus Saint, staying a good distance back. By tracking his Cloth and Cosmo, she didn't need to keep him in sight. The location she tracked him to was a huge mansion, gated with a long curving driveway cutting through the manicured lawn. Jumping the fence was easy and she was trotting up the steps as the front door opened, an angry Pegasus Saint storming out. Angie blinked behind her mask, unused to the sight of him in his 'modern' garb of a red sleeveless tee-shirt and blue jeans, more used to the tan and brown training outfit he had worn back in Sanctuary. He came to a skidding halt, backing up a step so he wouldn't accidentally run into her.

"Who are you?" Seiya asked, looking down at the petite female Saint unintentionally blocking his exit. There was something almost familiar about her, mostly her hair, a shade of wheat-blonde that was somewhere between actual blond and Jabu's light brown. What she wore was definitely a Cloth though, gleaming silver and gold over her light dove-grey tunic and pants; the plain metal mask on her face merely confirmed her status as a Saint. The muted colors of the tunic-pants set, the color of her hair, the unadorned mask... Now he remembered. He had seen her before, at Sanctuary. But who was she? He didn't interact with many of the other Saints, especially not female ones.

"I'm Columba Angie, Messenger of Sanctuary. Move aside, Pegasus Seiya, I have business within," she ordered, her tone as official sounding as she could make it. Oh, how she was glad for her linguist abilities, being able to speak not just her native Greek, but also the languages brought to Sanctuary by the foreign Saints like English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and even, thank the Goddess, Japanese, because she doubted that -- unlike Seiya, who was trained in Greece and thus taught Greek -- those inside spoke the Goddess's tongue.

"With those people? Good luck," Seiya grumbled, frowning and shooting a dirty look over his shoulder and the Pegasus Cloth-box at those within the foyer of the mansion.

Behind her mask, Angie arched a brow at his reaction, making note of it. Interesting... But could it be useful to her in dealing with this Graude Foundation? "Duly noted. Now step aside."

Seiya complied, actually stepping back inside the doorway into the foyer and moving to the side, watching her with curious brown eyes as he mused over her familiar appearance and her title. Messenger of Sanctuary? Immediately things clicked and his eyes seemed to light up in recognition. The Cloth she wore had thrown him, but he had definitely seen her before, talking with Marin-san and passing her message scrolls or taking a message scroll from his trainer. He had never spoken to her before nor seen her aside from those times, given how little time he spent in Sanctuary itself, practically living at the training grounds when he wasn't passing out at Marin-san's hut.

"Changed your mind -- huh, who are you?" The brash demand abruptly changed to a look of confusion on the face of the male Saint with the tinge of the Unicorn Cloth in his Cosmo; his blue eyes darted between the two, a brow arching.

"I'm Columba Angie, Messenger of Sanctuary," she introduced herself briskly as she entered the foyer. Inside were a girl around her height with almost knee-length lavender hair, a few shades darker than Lord Aries's own and a tall stocky bald man in a uniform-like tuxedo with a Cosmo that spoke of no form of training as a Saint and whom she assumed to be the butler for the estate. "I wish to speak with the one in charge of this 'Galaxian Wars Tournament'."

"I would be the one in charge of the tournament, Columba-san." The girl said, stepping forward with a rustle of her long pink and white skirts. "My name is Kido Saori, and the tournament was my grandfather's dying wish. I intend to carry it out in his stead."

With this admission, Angie studied her more closely; the pink and white outfit the younger girl wore reminded the Saint of a cake, the pink over white with ribbons and frills. It was probably meant to look feminine and lady-like, but to one such as Angie, it was completely frivolous and impractical. How the girl could move around, fight and run in such an outfit was beyond the messenger. Blinking once, she straightened, masked chin lifting as she proclaimed her intent. "On behalf of Sanctuary -- the home of the Saints of Athena -- I, as the Bronze Saint of Columba, demand the opportunity to compete in these so-called 'Galaxian Wars'."

"You're a bit late -- besides, it's open only to those whose Cloths belong to Saori-oujo-sama's Graude Foundation," the Unicorn Saint explained, crossing his arms over his chest. His shoulders moved in a shrug. "Sorry. Besides, we don't fight girls."

There was an almost audible snap of the Dove's temper as her attention was directed to the boy; while some women may have found him handsome and his physique beneath the sleeved blue tee-shirt and snug blue jeans something to swoon over, the female Saint was used to being around some of the most attractive and powerfully built of men. Jabu stepped back at the piercing glare and faint killing intent being sent his way through the eyeholes of the messenger's unadorned mask. 'Damn, that was creepy,' he thought uncomfortably.

"You dare call yourselves Saints?! You know nothing! Absolutely nothing! Those Cloths don't belong to the Graude Foundation of that Kido girl! They belong to Athena! You dare strut around calling yourselves the 'Saints of Athena' after you don't even have the common decency to present yourselves in Sanctuary before the Holy Father and Lady Athena, instead coming here to fight in a selfish tournament for a Cloth you'll never be able to wear!" The female Saint roared at the Unicorn Saint, her icy Cosmo flaring with her anger; the room's temperature began to drop, frost starting to form on the walls, the windows, every piece of furniture and various household plants.

"You'll treat Saori-oujo-sama with respect!" Jabu shot back and sucked in a breath while twisting to the side as he saw her hand lash out in a punch; a vase of frost-covered roses behind him shattered from the air-pressure alone, while a thin cut opened up across his cheekbone, blood trickling down his cheek.

The sheer speed of that single blow made Seiya's eyes widen because the only persons he'd ever seen move that fast were Marin-san and later on Shaina-san when he battled the Ophiuchus Saint as he fled from Sanctuary with the Pegasus Cloth.

"I have no respect for thieves, Unicorn Jabu," Angie's voice dropped to a cold, angry hiss. "And that's what you are, stealing away the Cloths that rightly belong to Lady Athena's Saints. And you don't even do it quietly, to hide away your crime, but you come here to break one of the greatest Laws of the Saints, never to fight for personal gain! We are the Saints of Hope and Justice! We are to uphold Lady Athena's ideals! This... This tournament, it sickens me. I'll play by your rules and win the Cloth back, but not for me to wear, because no mere Bronze Saint can ever dream of wearing a Cloth that rightfully belongs to one of the Gold Saints' rank!"

"Gold Saints?" Saori whispered, frowning in confusion. "You speak like there is more than one Gold Cloth."

"Ignorant girl," the female Saint scoffed behind her silver mask as she turned to regard the girl; really, all that money and interest in the Cloths and Saints and she didn't know such a simple thing? "Of course there are more! Did you think all but one of the eighty-eight Saints of Athena were mere Bronze Saints?!"

Given the looks on the face of the girl, the butler, and the boys, they must have. The butler regained his senses first. "You filthy gaijin, how dare you address oujo-sama in such a way!"

"Shut up, old man," Angie growled, directing her killing intent to him; the temperature was steadily dropping and he staggered back a couple steps, a wet stain appearing on his pants as his bladder involuntarily emptied itself in terror. Scoffing again, Angie regarded the girl loftily. "All in all, there are fifty-two Bronze-ranked Saints, followed by twenty-four Silver Saints and topping them off are the most powerful of them all, the elite Guard of Lady Athena herself, the twelve Gold Saints, each representing part of the Zodiac, from Aries to Pisces. And above them all, advising and representing Lady Athena herself before the people is the Holy Father, the Pope who leads the Saints in times of War. And it is on their behalf that I am here. I will be staying at that recreation of the Coliseum you've built and I will defeat each and every one of you so-called 'Saints'. Because really, why send a Silver or Gold Saint to do it? It would be like asking one of the Gods themselves to come down from Olympus to step on a mere annoying insect."

She turned on her heel, stalking towards the front door. "I will win that Cloth rather then just take it. Because that way I will prove to you what a real Saint is! And if I have to, I will kill each of my opponents for the disgrace they bring to the name of Saints by fighting for their selfish desires and not on behalf of Athena and the Sanctuary."

The room remained cold, even as the female Saint exited the house, walking down the long curving driveway. Her posture was straight, regal as she grew smaller and smaller, the Cloth box on her back seemingly weightless to the petite Saint.

Shaken, Saori turned to Tatsumi. "Reshuffle the remaining matches, Tatsumi."

Trembling still, the butler shook himself, his mind working. "I'll set her up to fight tomorrow against Bear Geki. He'll snap her neck and then we won't have to worry about her. Seiya can go up against Dragon Shiryu instead."

"Do what you must. It seems we have drawn the attention of Sanctuary along with its wrath," Saori whispered, rubbing at the lingering chill clinging to her arms.

To Be Continued

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