So, not the story I had originally planned, but I'd like to think this one is better. Simpler. More elegant and based in the lore (even if it's newer lore) of the MTG world. So I hope you all enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, nor do I own Magic: The Gathering.
The city of Ghirapur. One of the largest cities in the entire plane of Kaladesh. A glorious beacon of Order and Progress, brought about by the consuls and their creations. The numerous citizens bustling about the corridors and walkways barely noticed as the city reconfigured around them, changing and adapting to the whims of the various gearcrafters and clockforgers. The artisans that crafted items of beauty and function, that served the needs of the people. Walls shifting into pathways, bridges over waterways forming themselves to serve the people. It was as though the city was a being unto itself, created to serve those that lived within its walls.
The thoroughfare was full of people today, a wall of bodies that most people would need hours just to navigate through. Nobody paid any mind to the shadow drifting above them, moving with swift precision from one rooftop to another. Nor did they notice the person casting the shadow leaping to heights and lengths no normal human could, at least not unaided. Running along the roof at a breakneck pace, the young boy neared the side of the adjacent building, built so close they may have been one in the same. With a mighty jump, he propelled himself upward, gripping the side of the building, guiding him through a flip to land gracefully on his feet. This was the best way to travel. Soldiers rarely patrolled the rooftops outside of military installations and city-wide sweeps. And that only left...
The unmistakable sound of spinning rotors filling the air, a series of five thopters - dubbed 'whirlers' by the inhabitants of Kaladesh - descended from above, sweeping the area for smugglers and rebels. People like the boy. What kind of way to live was this, the boy thought. Constant surveillance, forcing the people to rely on the ones in power by making them feel weak and helpless. They made his blood boil. The flying pieces of engineered art made their sweeps and began to move on, though one lingered for a moment. It moved closer and closer to the wall, its lone eye doing a sweep. For a moment, it saw a flicker of something, but filed it as just glare from the sun glinting on the metal wall. Turning, the whirler began to float after the rest.
For a moment, all was still, until a sigh was heard. Dropping the large sheet, which was designed to look like the wall behind him, the boy smiled. "Works every time," he muttered, puling his scarf down, revealing three whisker-like markings gracing his cheeks. Adjusting the object on his back, a single silver canister, he made sure the contents hadn't been disturbed, before springing off the roof once more. He took the rooftops for another very important reason...he could never remember his way around the city from ground level. He was a relative newcomer, only having been in Ghirapur for a few months. He'd like to say he was making a name for himself. However, in his line of work, secrecy and discretion was key. Of course, being a ninja, he could pull that off...for a little while, any way.
His destination right over on the next building, the blonde smirked and leapt high, twisting and contorting in mid-air. Anyone looking at him would wonder how any human could bend in those ways. Before he could crash into the metal roof of his target building, it began to open, seemingly of its own accord. His customer's skylight, allowing him in and closing behind him, looking as though it had swallowed him up. Just in time too, as another thopter patrol came sweeping through the open air, missing him by mere moments.
The blonde stood, the room pitch black, and stared into the darkness. "Does the Will of Fire burn in you?" a voice called. The voice of his client. This was the password. The boy removed the canister from his back, placing it on the floor with a soft, metallic 'clang.'
"It burns within us all," the boy replied, giving the all-clear signal, letting his shrouded client know that he was neither spotted or followed. The lights in the room came on, temporarily blinding the blonde as the client stepped forth from the shadows, taking the canister and its contents.
"Punctual as ever, Naruto. You do us all a great service."
"My...employers, do the service," Naruto replied. He understood that this place was as safe as could be, but in a place ruled by the consuls and under the surveillance of the whirlers, he knew better than to openly use the names of his friends so openly. They were in the middle of an illegal trade, after all. The man smiled down at the blonde ninja, ruffling his hair.
"Of course," he replied, chuckling. "I forget, you're just a simple courier." He took his delivery, releasing the cap ever so slightly, to make sure he was getting quality shipment. Naruto watched as the contents began to release, hissing out like steam from a tea-kettle from the high pressure. Æther. The power source for all the many devices and artifacts that the city's inhabitants created and shared with the rest of the populace. Ensuring that his product was indeed secure, the client nodded, before pulling out the payment. Naruto shared the opinion of his bosses, that Æther should not be charged for. It was the life-blood of everything in Kaladesh. But of course, procuring it was dangerous, as was transporting it. The consuls kept the substance strictly regulated. More power to them, after all, by controlling the most precious resource.
As Naruto turned to leave, he was halted once more by the voice of his client. "One more thing. This time just for you." Turning, Naruto saw the man reach into the satchel on his hip, before pulling out an ancient-looking scroll. "If anyone knew I had this, I could get in serious trouble."
"What is it?" Naruto asked, somewhat intrigued, now. It almost looked like one of the scrolls from the library back ho-. The blonde shook his head. Now was not the time to be thinking of that place.
"It's a scroll detailing simple spells. Magic." Now Naruto's interest was peaked even further. He knew next to nothing about magic, outside of the fact he was capable of using it. Hell, it's what had brought him to Kaladesh in the first place. "I have no use for it. There are almost no mages in Kaladesh, let alone Ghirapur, and as I said, it's more trouble for me to keep than to give it to you. You'll have far more use for it than I." Naruto was stunned. Something so valuable, being just given to him on a whim. He wasn't used to gifts, after all, and this was an extraordinary one.
Bowing slightly, Naruto took the scroll, handling the old document with care and reverence. But for now, he slipped it into his own satchel, carefully. He could look at it when he got back home...well, the place he was calling home for the moment. Checking the time, he waited until the next thopter patrol had come and gone, before he leapt up into the air once more, the sky-light reopening to allow his exit.
Arriving back safely, Naruto slipped in through an upper window. Before he could take even a single step, he was tackled by a blur. A blur with fiery red hair. "How did it go!" he would-be ambusher gushed excitedly. Did you run into any soldiers? Get spotted by the whirlers? Please tell me something exciting happened. I'm living vicariously through you, here."
"If something exciting happens, it means something went wrong, Chandra. Please don't wish for that." The girl flinched, blushing at her father's kind, yet stern reprimand. "Now, if you could kindly remove yourself from our courier. It seems he's about to suffocate." Blinking owlishly, Chandra looked down, noting in embarrassment that she was quite literally leaning on Naruto's throat. She laughed nervously as she removed the hand, allowing Naruto to gasp for breath. Naruto looked to Chandra's father, his employer and friend, and nodded his thanks as his face began to return to its normal color.
"Thanks, Kiran," Naruto said, rubbing his throat, as the man held out his hand to the young boy. Gripping it without hesitation, he felt how rough and coarse they were, likely from all the tinkering and metalwork. Kiran Nalaar was a tall man, with a shaggy head of reddish-brown hair, matched by a scraggly goatee. He often wore a protective tunic, as he was more often than not doing metalwork and welding, and he was rarely - if ever - seen without his welding goggles. "That's another thing I owe you for." The man just laughed heartily, patting the boy on the shoulder.
"You have already paid back our kindness ten-fold. We've been able to distribute more Æther since you've taken up the cause than in years of working the underground. You're helping so many more people than just us." Naruto smiled slightly, Kiran's encouraging words easing his guilt for putting the family out for the last few months. He was enveloped with warmth as Chandra - gently this time - pulled him into a hug, leaning on his shoulder. Kiran was about to crack a joke, but he was pulled into a hug of his own, his wife Pia mirroring her daughter's position perfectly.
"How cute," she announced with a smile. "First love is so sweet." Naruto began to sputter, and Chandra, in her horror, pushed Naruto back to the floor, before she stomped her foot, glaring at Pia, who just smiled an innocent smile at her daughter.
"Mother!" Chandra half-yelled in disgust. The artisan let out an airy, mirth-filled laugh as she crouched to once more help Naruto up. Pia was a beautiful woman, with hair of a slightly more reddish-hue than her husband. Her choice in clothing varied, but she always wore a red scarf.
"I'm only teasing, Chandra. I know Naruto is only a friend," Despite her words, Kiran knew his wife well enough to know she was hoping for the two to develop into something more. Naruto was the only real friend their daughter had who was roughly her age - twelve compared to her eleven. He entralled Chandra with his stories of far off lands, with his tales of his treks over the roofs of the city. He protected their daughter, who was often bullied by the local children. She was a tomboy, she wasn't good at tinkering, and she was generally a loner. The local children could be cruel. But Naruto often stood up for her, for which Pia and Kiran were grateful. Naruto was so good for her, and they hoped whatever magic he had that brought him to their daughter would never take him away.
"Everything went smoothly then, Naruto?" Pia continued, brushing the dust off of him and straightening his tunic. Honestly, Naruto missed his jumpsuit. But between his last battle, and crossing from the nations to Kaladesh, it was torn to shreds. He looked down at the old, yet still comfortable maroon outfit, which was interlaced with intricate golden trim. He smiled at Pia, who smiled right back. She reminded him of Tsunami, back from Wave country. She was a kind, yet responsible woman, who had, along with her husband, taken him in and treated him like family.
"Went completely unseen, as usual," Naruto bragged. "Soldiers and Thopters are kids stuff compared to Jonin and ANBU."
"Good thing you're a kid, then," Kiran joked, wrapping his arm around his wife's shoulder. Naruto just snorted. He had grown accustomed to Kiran's particular sense of humor by now. "You'll have a few deliveries tomorrow, but for now, you did good, as usual." He patted the boy's shoulder, before he and his wife turned to leave. "And by the way, you two do make a cute couple." The Nalaar parents exited the room just in time to dodge two thrown trinkets. One from each of the child. Both Naruto and Chandra turned to look at each other, a furious blush on each of their faces.
Plopping down and stretching out over the make-shift cot he had been calling his bed for the last several months. Chandra, likewise, sat in a chair next to the writing desk in the room. "What's it like, delivering the canisters?" the girl asked, looking up toward the ceiling as she leaned back in the chair. "Mother and Father said I could start acting as a courier soon, and I just need to know what to expect." Naruto sighed, yet smirked.
"Since when does Chandra Nalaar ever plan things out ahead of time?" he joked, but regretted it when the girl swiftly stomped her foot into his ribs. "Ok, ok, jeez, lighten up." Chandra just laughed as he rubbed the area she had kicked him. "Being a courier is easy, if you know how to hide in plain sight. It's all a matter of agility and street smarts. It also helps to be a ninja, like me."
"You need to teach me how to do all that rooftop hopping and stuff," she half-joked, half-begged, moving over to his cot and plopping down on top of him, smiling at the sound he made when the wind was knocked out of him. "I wanna learn how to stick to walls, and jump twenty feet in the air!" Naruto rolled his eyes.
"Sorry, Chandra. I told you, I use chakra to enhance my strength and speed. We can train you physically, but you need to show potential in using chakra before you can do most of the things I can do." Chandra just waved the blonde off.
"Oh, you and your pesky details," she said, and Naruto just rolled his eyes once again.
Naruto was falling. Not down, but up, somehow. Around him, a field of grays, intermixed with splotches of bright lights, colored blue, and white, and green. He felt pressure on his body as though caught in a great wind, but there was no wind in this place. Crashing into something he couldn't see, he bounced off of it, ricocheting into several more invisible barriers. The pressure was building more and more, and just as he thought himself going crazy, he not only crashed into another barrier, but shatter through it, complete with the sound of broken glass. Now he felt the wind, as he tumbled through the air, little more than a rag doll. Luckily, he managed to crash through several awnings as he descended from the ground. He hit the ground with much less force than he rightly should have.
"It's too late, Naruto!" Sasuke yelled, grabbing Naruto shirt and flinging him off the side of the cliff. Before he could right himself, Sasuke leapt off as well, grabbing Naruto tightly, preparing to deliver an super pile-driver, smashing the blonde's skull across the rocks. Struggling to break free, Naruto couldn't help but linger on those words. It's too late. Was it? Time seemed to slow for the blonde shinobi as the ground below grew ever closer. While neither Sasuke nor he himself could see Naruto's eyes beginning to glow white, Sasuke did begin having trouble keeping his grip. Naruto was beginning to shake, violently. The wind that had been rushing passed them was now swirling, spinning like a tornado. No, Naruto thought. It wasn't too late. He could still do this. He could still make Sasuke go home. The Uchiha's eyes widened as his opponent was now vibrating so ferociously that he was almost blurring out of existence. His while body began to glow brightly, and as the two slammed into the ground, Naruto seemingly exploded, sending Sasuke flying away and slamming into the rock wall with enough force to collapse a good chunk of it on top of him. It was the last thing Naruto saw.
"Please Naruto, you have to bring him back," wept Sakura. Naruto just sadly nodded, turning away as he and the retrieval team walked out the gate. They had been gathered for one purpose and one purpose only. Assure that Sasuke was unsuccessful in defecting from Konoha. He, Neji, Choji, Shikamaru, and Kiba had all been chosen for the task, and they would succeed, even if Naruto had to drag the Uchiha back, bruised, battered, and hog-tied. What was this idiot thinking? Running away from his home, from his friends?
In the real world, back in Kaladesh, Naruto was asleep in his cot, having a dream he had had many a night since coming to this world. It varied only slightly from night to night, but it was always quite similar. The events leading up to his jump from the nations to Kaledesh, always presented out of order. He wasn't sure why. All he was sure of was that each night, the order of events would be different. Something was different now. Something deep within him had changed. Never before had his dreams been so...non-linear. He twisted and turned in his sleep, his mind desperate to make some sense of things, to give him the answers he so desperately desired. To allow him to hold out hope that things could ever go back to the way things were before.
But his mind soon began to drift to the Nalaars. The family had taken him in. Sheltered him. Given him a purpose, if only a temporary one. It was the closest to a happy family life than Naruto had ever come. Were his promises, his dreams, really worth giving all this up? Worth sacrificing his new life, to go back to his old where he had no family, relatively few friends...his dreams? This conundrum in his subconscious rocked him from his sleep, and he sat up in his make-shift bed. Rubbing his eyes, he noticed his satchel in his peripheral vision, the old scroll peaking out, practically calling to him. "Oh, what the hell," he uttered, getting up and grabbing the thing. He was awake anyway. Might as well check it out.
Carefully unrolling the ancient text, Naruto spread it gently out onto the floor. Igniting a lamp, he began reading. Somehow, while the written symbols were unfamiliar, Naruto found that in his mind's eye, they seemed to morph and shift into the kanji he had been using his entire life. The first time this had happened to him, he had been shocked and a little unnerved, but he then realized this was probably some form of magical offshoot of the power that brought him to this world in the first place. If he was given the power to move from one world to another, why wouldn't he also be gifted with the ability to communicate properly? It made sense to him, at least.
"Simple spells for starting mages," he read to himself, trying to remain quiet. "Contained within lay a few, starting-level spells for the mage who hasn't discovered himself yet. Step one, finding your mana alignment..."
So, this was a vast departure from my original MTG story idea, but with the release of Magic Origins, and thus the retooled back-stories of Gideon, Chandra, Liliana, Nissa, and Jace, it went a long way towards inspiring a new fic, which turned into this. I am very heavily basing at least the first part on Chandra's story 'Fire Logic,' which you can look at online. I actually got a hold of the Magic Origins, Planeswalker Anthology book, which contains the same story.
While I won't reveal straight up Naruto's magical ability, I will drop a spoiler here, in that I've made Naruto a natural user of what I like to think of as Fortunamancy. A Passive form of magic that allows for the distortion of probability and luck. Because lets face it, nobody can be that lucky without magic being involved.
Peace to all my fans
Fan of Fanfics