Escaflowne episode 1 "Confession of Fate"
(the Tower card)

Was it a dream? ...or an illusion?
No, it was unmistakably reality.
Yes, on that day, everything...
The tarot cards first showed me the path of love.

Hitomi Kanzaki hurries to track and field practice. Yukari, her friend and manager of the team, is annoyed with Hitomi's repeated tardiness. "Sorry, I was busy with a report... Hey, is the guys' practice over yet?"

"This next one's the last," says Yukari. "‘Your guy' is running in it," she teases.

Amano is certainly worthy of a young girl's admiration, especially when he can run 100 meters in under 11 seconds. Yukari can hardly contain herself: 10.64 seconds!! Isn't he amazing!?! He looks back and gives them a smile. Yukari has to snap Hitomi out of her reverie; she's running next.

Hitomi holds her pink crystal pendant in concentration before she runs. Things don't go so well for her, though. As she pulls ahead, the world becomes hazy and she runs through the vision of a boy in armor. As she turns around, in her vision, to see the boy, her body collapses on the track.

"What is this?" she asks herself. "The wind is hot." She sees towering mecha on a burning field. The vision changes to the boy in an armory. A warrior enters.

"Lord Van, are you sure you are ready?" He is. "I am certain you will defeat a dragon. After the loss of your brother-"

"That's enough, Vargas!" snaps the boy. "I'll never back down from an enemy."

The vision shifts again to the barren, fiery field. Two mecha are fighting; the white one wins. Next, a vision of a falling tower. The ground beneath her crumbles. She is rescued from her fall by an angel. This image dissolves into Amano's face.

She's been taken to the nurse's room. Hitomi apologizes. That she's unhurt is the only thing that's important. He compliments her running form; he can tell she's practiced hard since Jr. High. "But I haven't even cleared 13 seconds," says Hitomi. "I wish I could run as well as you do."

"You have to take off at the start," he says. "You must muster your courage and push past just doing your best." "Muster your courage..." He comments on her pendant (jewelry is usually not allowed in Japanese schools). Hitomi explains that it's an omamori (charm of protection) that her grandmother gave her. It's interesting, because, if you give it a shake, it'll swing in perfect, one second arcs. Amano gives it a try.

"Kanzaki." Amano interrupts their counting. "The truth is..." he turns and leans on her bed, "I..." Yukari walks in with Hitomi's bag, unintentionally interrupting them.

On the walk home, Yukari lists off some favorite desserts, the ones she expects Hitomi to get for her in order to placate her and keep her from interfering. Later, she asks if Hitomi has ever told Amano's fortune. Hitomi hasn't; why? "If you like him..." she turns to Hitomi. "I overheard the upperclassmen talking. They think Amano is leaving the country. They think he'll have to quit the track team. Knowing how you felt, I had to tell you."

At home, Hitomi's tarot cards tell her it's true. Ahead of her is the Tower card, meaning a great distance will separate them. However, the end result is the Ace of Serpents, the card of courage.

Over scenes of the school at sunset, we hear Amano bid farewell to the guys in the track team.

Before he leaves, Hitomi catches up to him at the track. "I have a favor to ask," she announces. "If I can run 100 meters within 13 swings of my pendant, in under 13 seconds..." she bows with sincerity and embarrassment, "please, give me my first kiss!" How could he say no? He takes the offered pendant.

"No regrets," he says with a smile.

"Thank you very much!!" she bows again.

By the time Hitomi's ready, the sun has set. Yukari announces her arrival by turning on the track lights. "I must muster my courage," says Hitomi, psyching herself up. The pendant drops out of Amano's hand and she's off! Her race is paralleled by shots of the boy in armor. As Hitomi races down the track, the boy appears in a beam of light. She cannot help but run into him, and she is knocked down.

"Who are you!?" demands the boy, sword drawn. "Where is this?"

Yukari arrives. "That boy," says Hitomi, "I saw him in a dream." Amano confronts the intruder.

"Gen kaul e ziarbo?" snaps the boy.

"No!" responds Hitomi, "we're not demon worshipers! Who are you!?"

"Van of Fanelia," he looks past her.

"You understand what he's saying?" asks Yukari.

"He's coming, too," says Van, cryptically, as the air begins to tremble. "Girl, you'd better get out of here; an earth dragon is coming."

"Earth dragon?"

"Hurry and go! Do you want to be eaten!?"

The tension in the air mounts, and an electrical storm erupts at the far end of the track. Hitomi is suddenly overcome with nausea. The curtain of light parts, opening a dimensional path through which the dragon steps. It pauses to consider its new prey. Van regains its attention and it belches out fire for his effort. Van responds with a pink crystal crossbow bolt, taking out the dragon's left eye. "Is it over?" wonders Van, as the dragon collapses. No, it's not. Van is tossed aside like a rag doll and comes up spitting blood.

The dragon reconsiders the others, paralyzed with shock. "Girl, runaway!" Van yells, snapping them out of it. Van distracts the dragon only briefly; it soon goes after Hitomi and the others.

As they run, Yukari stumbles with Hitomi's bag and twists her ankle. Hitomi takes the bag and Amano carries Yukari as they flee up the steps of a nearby shrine.

The dragon flies to catch up, but Van won't let it get away from him. Once it lands, Van catches its interest, again, allowing the others to escape further up the hill. Van doesn't fare well, however. He worries that his already badly abused sword may soon break.

Looking down from the top of the stairs, Hitomi sees a vision of Van being skewered by the dragon's tail. "He's going to die," she says and runs down to warn him. Thanks to her warning, Van dodges in the nick of time, losing only his armor. The blow momentarily traps the dragon's tail in the ground. Van uses this opening to slay the monster. Gory with green blood, Van grimly cuts open the dragon's heart an removes the glowing crystal within. As a result, all traces of the dragon disappear as the glow fades.

"Um, are you all right?" asks Hitomi timidly.

"Don't worry about me," he gruffly responds. "You want a reward, right. If you do, go to the castle; but don't be too cocky about it. I didn't need your help to defeat the dragon."

Hitomi slaps him. "How can you be so arrogant!? I thought you were going to die! I thought you were going to die. I was scared. Really, really scared! You could at least say ‘thank you'. Maybe I shouldn't have helped you. Maybe I should've just let the dragon eat you!" Overwhelmed, she begins to cry, As if in response, the crystal in Van's hand glows.

"The energist..." says Van.

Hitomi looks up. A glow is surrounding them. Amano and Yukari watch as the glow becomes the pillar of light which brought Van. Hitomi and Van begin to float away. Amano rushes to help, but Hitomi only manages to grasp her pendant from his outstretched hand. The beam of light disappears into the night sky, leaving a stunned Amano and Yukari behind.

The beam deposits Van and Hitomi in a moonlit field. "I'm saved," says Van, recognizing the place. Hitomi looks up to see both the Earth and moon in the sky.

"Why can I see the Earth?"

"We're close to the town of Arzas," says Van.

"Arzas?" she repeats vacantly. She suddenly notices that they're surrounded by dark, menacing figures.

Now I understand the real meaning
of the separating distance and the Ace of Serpents.
This mysterious world,
where both the Earth and Moon float in the sky,
is called Gaia.

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