Heyo, guys and gals!
Here I go with another Naruto/Fire Emblem idea. This one will center around the second game of the Tellius series (Radiant Dawn) and will have our favorite knucklehead paired with a certain Empress.
Just so you guys know, this Naruto will be noticeably different than canon. My friend Dylan Millwood and I decided to highlight a moment in his ninja career that gets him to change.
We hope you like what we came up with.
Disclaimer: All rights reserved for Naruto and the Fire Emblem series. This FanFiction is a nonprofit creation made simply for entertainment purposes.
A Maelstrom's Radiance
Chapter One: The Tides of Change
Leaning against the rails of a fishing boat, blue eyes stared blankly at the sea below. The gaze was unfocused as the owner of said eyes was stuck in thought about the past; specifically, the C-Ranked Mission he and his team had finished a little over a week ago.
Naruto looked back to the small number of memories he had of a young woman a little older than him that had given up her life in the name of her ideals and aspirations. And while those goals were meant to serve another, she still traded her life without a moment's hesitation; nor did she seem to regret it.
Haku was like him in many ways. She was hated and feared for something beyond her control, she lived a portion of her life alone and ignored, and she latched onto the first person to give her hope. And while the source of their pain was different, they both knew what pain was.
Seeing her bravery and sacrifice made him look back on his past choices and actions; his ideals he had made with a childish mindset. He fought a wince at how a botched C-Rank forced him to open his eyes and see that the world wasn't what he imagined; it was cruel, unfair, and unforgiving. And yet, despite all of that, people still lived on with a personal goal; something to live for.
'But…what do I live for?' he thought somberly. Certainly not his family, for he was an orphan who never knew the identities of his parents.
Was it the village that he lived for? The place that feared and hated him for something forced upon him the night of his birth?
Was it the Hokage? The man who lied to his face about the beast inside until he couldn't keep up the deceit?
Was it his team? The two fellow graduates that looked down on him and the teacher who barely taught them anything?
Or was it his so-called friends? The people who he got in trouble with during his Academy years, yet never took the time to get to know him better?
'No… None of those things,' he thought bitterly, sadly accepting that his intense desire for acceptance had blinded him from the truth.
The village would sooner celebrate him disappearing than accept him.
The Hokage obviously didn't trust him and held things about his past close to the chest.
His team saw him as a fool whose best skill was making cheap copies of himself.
And his "friends" would rather live their own lives than spend time with him.
He felt so…empty when he realized those very truths. His "purpose" of becoming the Hokage being built upon self-fabricated lies that were weaved by the mind of an emotionally hurt child. If he was honest with himself, there were probably only a small handful of people who looked upon him with sincere acceptance.
The Ichiraku Family was obvious. Ever since the old chef, Teuchi, and his daughter, Ayame, had first welcomed him to the stand when he was a child, he knew that there could be people who didn't care about the burden he carried. Deep down, he also knew that his obsession with ramen wasn't because of its flavor or affordability; though, that did help. It was because it was the first meal given to him through the sincere kindness of another. It was the first time he felt hopeful.
The next person was Iruka; though that was still very recent compared to the Ichiraku. At the start, Iruka didn't like Naruto; the man admitting this on the night he stole the Sacred Scroll. But, he later saw himself in the blonde Uzumaki and genuinely changed his opinion for the better; his strictness being his way of trying to stop Naruto from making the same mistakes he made. It wasn't until Iruka boldly declared to Mizuki that Naruto was a ninja of the village that the teen finally saw that Iruka did care.
And lastly, there was a woman who scared him at times; but he knew she only did it to get a reaction. Like with Haku, he could tell that she knew what it was like to feel that painful loneliness for something out of her control. She never told him why – and he never asked out of respect for her privacy – but he could tell that it still affected her to this day. She was odd, but so was he, and he wouldn't have Anko any other way.
Four people… That was all he could come up with for a list of people who genuinely accepted him. Haku could've joined that list; but she had given up her life before the two could become friends. It was only further proof of how cruel life could be; placing two people who could understand one another on opposing sides.
'You just love seeing people like us suffer, don't you?' he thought angrily, finally looking away from the sea so that he could glare at the gray clouds above. 'What gives you the right to decide who lives a good life and who lives a shitty one? And why do those less fortunate have to struggle against each other while the well-off get to breeze through life?'
His emotional rise came with the familiar feeling of power that he experienced on the bridge Tazuna was making; the power of the Bijuu within him. Taking deep breaths, he forced himself to calm down so that he wouldn't accidentally go on another rampage. He was barely able to stop himself during his fight with Haku, and he wouldn't let himself lose control.
Unknown to him, Kakashi had been watching his abnormally reserved student for a while now. Ever since they had returned from their mission to Wave Country, the Jonin noticed something off about the blonde Uzumaki. Where there was once an excitable and curious boy was now a quiet one who seemed to continuously be lost in his own thoughts.
'No… Not a boy anymore,' he corrected himself.
Out of all his students, Kakashi noticed that Naruto had grown up the most after the events of their first C-Rank together. Sasuke had unlocked his Sharingan, and with it the arrogance that most Uchiha displayed before they were killed. Sakura hadn't grown much at all, still depending on her teammates to pull her out of trouble; obviously hoping that it'd be the Uchiha that did so most times.
Naruto was the only one who seemed to really look back on things and take the time to gather his thoughts on them. But still, to do so for over a week was starting to concern him. Part of him wanted to go over there and talk with Naruto, but a larger part believed that he still needed his space.
So, he turned away and decided to speak with the ship's captain, who had requested the D-Ranked Mission they were undertaking. Apparently, the man used to do business with Wave before Gatou came and took over. Now that the small country had been liberated, he hoped to resume business and restore their economy.
Back with Naruto, he had decided that he'd looked out to the sea long enough and was about to look for his sensei. However, the wind began to pick up without warning, and the gray clouds started to darken considerably in the span of a couple minutes. Soon, drops of rain fell, sweeping sideways against the ship with the wind as the vessel began to rock back and forth.
The wind stirred the waters below as well, producing rolling waves that further unbalanced the ship and sent the crew scrambling to get her steady again. As they got to work, thunder was heard in the distance and the sky lit up with flashes of lightning that danced across the dark clouds.
Blue eyes were wide at the storm that had come out of nowhere, slowly turning around to where he had once been facing to see a bolt of lightning crash into the sea and send forth a massive wave that was heading straight for the ship. He barely heard the captain yell, "Brace for impact!" over the roaring thunder before the wave was upon the ship, slamming into everyone on board.
With a cry of surprise and pain, Naruto was knocked overboard and started treading water as the turbulent waves sent him further and further from the ship's location. "Hey! Help!" he yelled, but his voice was drowned out by the storm. "Kakashi-sensei! Sasuke! Sakura! Anybody! HELP!"
But again, his cries were unheard, and he saw a shadow looming over him. Turning to look over his shoulder, his breath and hope left him as he saw another massive wave seconds away from swallowing him within its wake. Images flashed across his mind just before the wave hit; images of the four people who had truly accepted him and the young ice woman who was so much like him.
With a somber smile, he closed his eyes in acceptance as the rolling water crashed down upon him.
It took a while for the storm to finally calm, and Kakashi worked with the crew throughout it all. With his vast library of jutsu – thanks to his gifted Sharingan – he knew some useful Water and Wind Style jutsu that aided the ship and kept her afloat. She suffered some damage from the storm, but nothing that a day's work couldn't fix, and certainly not enough to be concerned for the trip back to shore.
"Maybe I should've listened to that old coot back at the docks," the captain mumbled aloud, catching the attention of Team 7.
"What'd he say?" Sakura asked curiously.
"Just warning about sailing out too far and going on and on about some Demonic Storm Gate. I thought he was just getting up there." He took a moment to look over the ship from behind the steering wheel, frowning deeply. "Based on what happened, it's obvious that he knew more than I ever did."
Sasuke grunted his response, not really caring about anything other than the fact that they had survived the storm. However, he noticed that something was off. "Hey," he began, getting the attention of everyone, "where's the idiot?"
Kakashi fought a sigh at the degrading title for his blonde student and instead focused on trying to find him. "Yeah," he heard Sakura agree as she too looked around. "We could've really used his clones back there…"
She made a solid point, and now he was worried. Naruto may have been more reserved lately, but the Jonin doubted that it would've stayed his hand about helping others. He was too good-natured to turn a blind eye to such thing; especially if he was caught in the same problem.
Walking about the ship, the man searched for his missing student and saw no sign of him anywhere. His worry started slowly changing into panic, a weight slamming down in his gut at the possibility before him. Rushing over to the damaged railings of the deck, Kakashi lifted up his headband and scanned the waters for any sign of Naruto's chakra; or the Kyuubi's within him.
He moved all over the edges of the ship, concerning Sakura and making Sasuke raise a brow. It wasn't until they heard the man softly say, "Not again…" that they realized something was very wrong. The way that the Jonin had uttered those two words was with a tone so horrified that they couldn't help but be wary.
"S-Sensei…?" Sakura tried to ask, stuttering nervously. "Where's Naruto?"
The man slowly bowed his head with clenched eyes, slamming a closed fist atop the railing. "Dammit!" he cursed. "We lost him… Dammit all!"
"Lost?!" Sakura repeated, shocked and terrified.
"What? Did he fall overboard or something?" Sasuke added, his own concern showing through his naturally stoic expression.
Taking a very deep breath, Kakashi rose to his full height before turning to his two remaining students. His eyes were so somber that they almost flinched. "Yes… That's exactly what happened…"
Two pairs of eyes widened at that moment, turning away from the mismatched eyes of their sensei to look out to the sea, as if hoping they would catch a glimpse of orange, yellow, or bright blue.
Instead, they saw nothing but a dark abyss beneath calmed waves.
It went against almost everything the beast had thought over the many centuries it had existed, but the Kyuubi still saw the need to keep its host alive with its chakra so he could weather out the storm. The brat had almost died from that massive wave, and he would have it the Bijuu hadn't surrounded him with its chakra at the last moment.
He had been so ready for death's embrace that he never noticed.
And now here he was, floating on his back atop the calmed waters. Amazingly, he was rather resilient; even with that bloodline being diluted thanks to his father. The beast didn't need to use much of its chakra after that first wave, and it could count with its tails the amount of times it stepped in afterwards.
Behind the bars, it let out a breath of exasperation. Honestly, just how much trouble was this boy going to get into? It was bad enough that the night of his birth was the night the Bijuu had again been controlled by that damnable red eye; but he goes off and nearly dies on multiple occasions on a single mission! And then he nearly dies again on the next one!
"You are going to be the death of me, boy," the Bijuu grumbled in a deep and whispery voice, sounding more akin to a growl than a human voice. Looking down at the representation of the boy floating in the waters of the soulscape, the fox wondered what more trouble the brat would get himself into.
It was the feeling of landing on something solid that finally got the blonde to stir awake. Immediately following that was the lack of air and the sensation of choking. Rolling over on all fours, he coughed and retched before finally puking out the seawater that had been trapped in his lungs and in his stomach.
When he could breathe in again, he took greedy inhales to refill his lungs before a strong smell of fish invaded his nose. Looking up from the deck of the ship he was on, he was greeted to the sight of many fishermen and crewmen; none of them looking like the ones on the ship he was on with his team.
Taking a moment to get a quick read on his surroundings, he also saw that the ship itself wasn't the one he had been on. This meant that he hadn't been brought back and was obviously on someone else's vessel. The question – or rather, the prominent one – that remained was: where was he?
"You okay there, lad?" a voice spoke up from behind, making the Uzumaki turn to see a woman standing before him. She had dark red hair that reached her waist and was tied at the neck and piercing amber eyes. The redhead was dressed similarly to the rest of the crew, save for the thick green coat that she wore over her shoulders; the sleeves unfilled and left free to move in the small breeze. "Some of the fishermen saw you floating a way's off and hauled you onto the deck with our recent catch. So, apologies and all if you reek of fish for a few days; but, better than being dead, yeah?"
He took a moment to go over what she had told him. "You guys…saved me?"
"Sure, we did. Hell, wouldn't have been right to leave a kid to just float all dead-like in the water," the woman – most likely the ship's captain – answered. "Now listen, we've still got a few more hours of fishing to get done before we sail back to the port. Hope you don't mind sticking around until then, because I think that's your only option for the time being."
Shaking his head, Naruto replied, "No! No, I don't mind at all! I should actually thank you guys for getting me back on solid ground; even if that ground is a ship."
"Eh, don't mention it. like I was saying," she nodded to her crew to get them back to work, "it wouldn't have been right to leave ya in the water like that." She turned around and jerked her head, gesturing for him to follow her, which he did. "So, does my current guest have a name; or should I just call you Whiskers?"
He gave a dry look at the nickname. "Naruto Uzumaki…"
She chuckled at the face he made. "Touchy about them whiskers, aren't you? At any rate, the name's Oriana. I'm captain and owner of this beautiful hunk of wood and iron."
"Nice to meet you, Captain."
"Well, now that we're all acquainted, I hope you don't mind telling me what a lad your age was doing in your position? Most people I see floating like you were…don't wake up."
He winced at the obvious hint of finding dead bodies at sea. "I was on a small fishing boat that was caught in a storm. I fell overboard not long after it started and was swallowed up by a huge wave. Next thing I know, I'm coming to on your deck."
"This storm come fast and hard, or was it slow?"
"It came almost instantly," he answered. "The wind picked up a bit before everything went to hell."
"Yeah, I've seen a couple of those kinds; survived one of them too. The other I was lucky enough to witness from the docks. But the crew and ship that was caught in it? They weren't so lucky."
"Sorry to hear that…"
"It's what we've come to accept, lad. As sailors and fishermen by trade, we head out onto those waters hoping for hefty bounties; but, we never forget how cruel those seas can become in a blink," Oriana informed, earning an understanding nod from the blonde. "Now, since I've got you here for the next few hours, you wouldn't mind giving the other lads a hand, would you? It'd be better than having you just doing nothing, after all. Unless, of course, you still don't feel alright from treading water as long as you did?"
"No, I feel fine," he assured the captain. "And I'll lend your crew a hand. It's the least I could do."
"None of that, boy," she cut off. "What we did was done out of goodwill; not out of desire for rewards or debt. Understand?" He nodded, making her smirk at him. "Good lad. Now, get out there and lend them a hand."
"Aye, aye, Captain," the Uzumaki saluted with a smile before walking over to one of the crewmen to offer his aid.
Oriana watched him walk off with a smile, saying to herself quietly, "He has a similar energy to you, Ma…" Thinking back to her deceased mother, the captain of the fishing boat found herself reminiscing on the unbelievable stories of her mother's homeland and the people she called shinobi who used the elements so differently than what she had seen.
This boy… He must've been from the same place; one that was unreachable thanks to the storms. People would say that the storms would happen in an instant, preventing anyone from going beyond and sending ships and crews to watery graves. They had taken to calling it the "Demon's Storm Gate" and no one – not a single soul – had been able to sail through that gate.
'But you made it, Ma,' Oriana mused, watching her crew and guest work about. 'You and this boy… What made you two so different from the thousands of people resting beneath those deadly waves?' (1)
It took Team 7 a couple of days to make it back to the Hidden Leaf, and when they had headed towards the Hokage's office with a missing member, people took notice. To Kakashi's anger, a great deal of the villagers looked hopeful when they saw Naruto was missing.
Sasuke noticed their looks as well and frowned in confusion. Sure, the idiot caused people some misery with his pranks; but that shouldn't have been enough for people to look ready to cheer.
Sakura was simply confused at what was happening around her. She didn't like Naruto much; though, she was starting to respect him. And she knew that his pranking habits put him in a negative light. But still, why did everyone look almost pleased that he wasn't with them?
Entering the office of their leader, the three shinobi bowed to the man as he frowned at them. "You're a member short. Did Naruto stop by Ichiraku again?"
The question was asked in jest, but it still made Kakashi flinch; something the elder shinobi noticed. "Sir… Naruto is MIA," the Jonin informed, erasing all feeling of joking or mirth.
"What happened?" Hiruzen demanded.
"A storm, sir. It was one that came quickly, and one that we were ill-prepared for. Naruto was knocked overboard by it while we were trying to assist the crewmen in keeping the ship afloat."
"You're saying that the storm pushed him away from the ship?"
"Yes, sir. My assumption is that he was taken by one of the larger waves that struck us, dragged off the ship by the force."
The elder sighed and rubbed the creases of his forehead to stave off a building headache. "I must inform the Council about this misfortunate event…"
"Why do they need to know?" Sakura spoke up, but immediately shrunk back when the eyes of her sensei and the Hokage were on her. "I-I mean…Naruto's not from any of the shinobi clans, and he's been an orphan all his life."
"Be careful what you say from this point on, Sakura," Hiruzen warned, making the pinkette shrink further in on herself. "All lives in this village are important; whether they are from a prominent clan or not." He took a breath with closed eyes and continued, "As to your point, Naruto is actually far more important than you realize."
"What makes him so special?" Sasuke cut in, frowning at the old man.
The two superior shinobi shared a look before the Hokage nodded, giving Kakashi his permission. The Jonin turned to his students and explained, "What I'm about to tell you both is a secret punishable by death if you speak of it. If you don't think you can handle that responsibility, then leave, now."
The order made Sakura swallow a lump in her throat while Sasuke stood his ground with his frown in place. Seeing her crush not moving, the pinkette nervously stayed in place.
Kakashi mentally shook his head at Sakura's insecurities, but he ignored them to inform his students about their missing teammate. "Naruto Uzumaki is the last member of the Uzumaki Clan, who were once allied to the Hidden Leaf before their destruction many years ago. His mother, Kushina, was one of two Uzumaki who made this village her home; the other being the wife of the First Hokage, Hashirama Senju."
Their eyes went wide at the reveal, but they could tell Kakashi wasn't done.
"What's more, Naruto is what's known as a Jinchūriki; a living vessel that keeps one of the nine Bijuu locked away. In his case, he houses-"
"The Kyuubi…" Sakura finished in whispered shock. "T-Then that's why…"
"That's why the villagers were acting like that on the way here," Sasuke concluded, "and why he wasn't liked before then."
"Correct," the Hokage spoke up. "The life a Jinchūriki is an unfair one. It's a sad fact, but nonetheless a true one. Unfortunately, the previous Jinchūriki had the Kyuubi forcibly removed from her and only someone with Uzumaki blood can hope to contain the greatest of the Bijuu. Naruto is both a victim of circumstance and should be a seen as a hero of this village for simply living. The seal holding the beast back is tied to his own life force. Should he perish, the seal will break."
The two Genin went silent at that, trying to process everything they never knew about their teammate; the one they both thought was an idiotic goofball with dreams to become the Hokage. To hear that he was both a clan heir and the living prison of a Bijuu was nothing short of shocking; nearly mind-blowing.
"Sir," Kakashi spoke up, "I request to take part in any search and rescue attempts made for Naruto."
"I'll allow you to take part in some of them, but I can't allow you to neglect your remaining students. I'll get search teams gather and let you join the first couple. After that, you'll need to remain with your team."
The Jonin didn't look pleased at that, but he knew that he couldn't abandon Sasuke or Sakura. His personal creed inherited from his deceased teammate wouldn't let him. "I understand… I'll inform those he knew."
"You won't have to tell many, I'm afraid," Hiruzen informed, looking ashamed at the fact. "The Ichiraku Family, Iruka, and Anko are who he spends most of his free time with."
"How do you know that, Lord Hokage?" Sakura asked.
"It is my responsibility to keep tabs on people of importance. Naruto is rather high on that list considering everything you've been told."
She accepted that answer as she and Sasuke were dismissed. Kakashi gave a report of the finished mission before he left to break the bad news to Naruto's closest friends.
It was no surprise that the ramen chefs took the news poorly. Ayame looked terrified for Naruto's well-being while Teuchi comforted her and practically demanded Kakashi to "make sure he's found".
Iruka took it slightly better; but only because shinobi going MIA wasn't that uncommon. However, hearing that it was Naruto who was missing made him walk off in silence, ignoring the Jonin's calls for him to come back.
Anko…was another story.
"What the fuck do you mean he's missing?!" the violet-haired Special Jonin snarled at her superior after slamming him into one of the thick trees of the Forest of Death. "You're his teacher, right?! How could you lose track of him?!"
Anko Mitarashi was a complicated woman; but, that was mainly due to the poor circumstances that she had lived through. She was a gifted kunoichi who had caught the eye of Orochimaru before he had gone rogue. With one of the Sannin taking such an interest in her, Anko had high hopes that her career would flourish under his guidance.
Sadly, the man had taken advantage of her determination and devotion, placing a prototype Cursed Seal of Heaven on her before his criminal actions had been discovered. What made things worse was how the Hokage had let the man go without much of a fight; something that made the woman have a serious grudge.
It got worse years later, after having dealt with mistrustful looks from her fellow villagers and shinobi. She had caught glimpses of a fellow outcast and saw how he would wear an emotional mask to protect himself from giving up any hope he had left. She would talk to him, spend time with him, and even help him with some of his pranks; unknowingly being responsible for his incredible leaps in stealth training that could get past some ANBU.
She was happy; genuinely so when she spent time with the kid. He gave her some semblance of hope again, and she even made a request to become his legal guardian. Unfortunately, the Elders had denied her request on the grounds of her "lack of responsibility and respect for higher authority"; something that she could instill upon an impressionable child.
Of course, they made no mention of not wanting the village Jinchūriki to have anyone that could sway him from his loyalty to the village. It just wouldn't do when Jinchūriki were living deterrents of war.
Her previous grudge against the Hokage had taken a major leap when he agreed with the decision and reasonings of his Elder Council. She didn't care if he looked guilty about denying her request. The way she saw it, not even outcasts could be there for one another; and it disgusted her.
Despite not being able to become his guardian, Anko never stopped spending time with Naruto and helping him hold onto his hope. She had strayed down some darker paths, and she couldn't see someone as bright as him be tempted by such notions; she wouldn't see it happen.
And now, hearing that someone she genuinely cared for was missing under the eye of the "Copy Ninja" brought out a level of rage she had kept under lock and key for many years.
"I couldn't keep eyes on him and the ship at the same time," he tried to explain, but it did nothing to calm her.
"BULLSHIT!" she roared. "He knows the Shadow Clone technique and I've seen you use it too!"
"Anko! The storm came too fast for us to react accordingly! It was all I could do to keep the ship from sinking or being swallowed in some large wave!"
"And while you saved a hunk of wood, an innocent kid was carried off to sea," she cut in, speaking in a deceptively calm voice. "He didn't deserve that…"
The Jonin sighed defeatedly. "I know that, but there was only so much I could do… If it means anything, the Hokage will be forming some search teams to look for him. I'll be joining the first few and I'll do everything I can to find him. I owe it to too many people not to do anything."
She said nothing, slowly moving away from him before turning around and walking off into the deeper parts of the forest. It was only thanks to years honing his senses as a shinobi that Kakashi heard the faint sob that came from her, along with the nearly muted whisper of, "I loved that kid…"
Guilt tore at him, and no small feeling of shame joined it. "Sensei… Kushina-senpai… I'm so sorry…"
"Nice job, lads!" Oriana praised her crew after getting paid for the haul of fish they sold to many of the tradesmen in the port they docked at. She took time to hand each of her crewmen their pay for their work, letting them get back to their families. After they had left, she stood next to Naruto at the bottom of the boarding plank tied to her ship. "Here ya go, kid," she said, handing him a small handful of coins.
However, Naruto hadn't heard her and was more focused on the large port town that looked nothing close to the one in Wave Country he had left from with his team. "Hey…where are we?" he asked as he turned back to her.
"Port Toha," she answered, giving him a knowing look. "You have no idea where that is do you?" When he shook his head, she pressed, "How about the country we're in; Crimea?"
"No…" he answered softly, looking worried. "My team and I sailed from a port in Wave Country."
"Never heard of that country, and I've sailed all of the waters of Tellius."
"Tellius?" Naruto repeated.
"The continent we live on," Oriana explained, gesturing for him to follow her back onto the ship. Leading him to her private quarters on the ship, she pointed to a map hung on the wall. "That's Tellius in all her glory. We're here," she pointed to the northwestern part of the map, "in Port Toha of Crimea. Anything on here look familiar to you?"
One of the things Naruto studied in detail during his years at the Academy was the map of the Elemental Nations. It was after the Hokage had told him how a leader should keep informed about the rest of the world that he took that lesson to heart.
Looking over the map only took a second before he saw that nothing on it was familiar to him. He saw countries with names he'd never heard of before and symbols that looked nothing like those of the Hidden Villages. He took a step back from the map and shook his head sadly.
"No… I don't recognize anything on that map…"
"Figured as much," Oriana replied, prompting him to turn and see her digging through her things. Finding what she was looking for, she took it over to him and handed him a worn-out cloth headband with a damaged metal plate bearing a spiral symbol on it; one that matched the red one on the back of his orange jacket. "That was my mother's. She said she was from an island nation called the Hidden Whirlpool and was from the Uzumaki Clan. My father met her almost exactly how I just met you today; except, the ship he was on was a warship, not a fishing boat."
He gingerly looked over the headband, a look of surprise on his face. "Uzumaki…Clan? I had a clan?"
"Looks that way; but, I'd give up on any notion of getting back to where you came from."
That jolted him out of his thoughts. "Wait, what? Why not?"
"The Demon's Storm Gate… A natural wall to the west of Tellius that prevents any ship from going further than a certain point. All ships that attempted the trip were stuck down by the storm and all their crews met watery graves. Because of that, no one is brave enough to even think about making the endeavor."
"But I… I need to get back home… There are people there that are worried about me…"
She gave him a somber look. "I understand that, but it's an impossible task. No one will take that risk for you, lad… I'm sorry."
He felt the strength in his legs leave him, and he fell onto a chair behind him as the full weight of his predicament bore down upon him. "I'm stranded…"
"Not fully," Oriana assured him. "My mother was like you at first, according to my father. She was in denial about everything and tried to find anyone willing to help her. It wasn't until my father sailed her to the very edge of the Demon's Storm Gate that she saw with her own eyes that there was nothing she could do. So, she decided to start over her in Tellius, and she fell in love with my father when he stayed beside her through it all."
He saw her smile sadly as she reminisced.
"I always loved hearing her tell me how she and father fell in love… It was so fantastical that I never doubted that it could've been exaggerated. But," she turned to him, "seeing you here, wearing a headband like my mother and bearing her symbol on your clothes lets me see that it wasn't exaggerated. There's really another part of the world that survived the Flood of the Goddess; even if storms keep us from ever seeing it."
He looked down sadly, lost and confused. "…What should I do?" he whispered.
"My advice? Make the best of what happened to you. Start a new life, but never forget the people you lost. They wouldn't want you to give up, would they?"
Thinking about the four people he cared for, seeing their smiles in his mind, made him reach a decision. With a firm nod, he raised his head to Oriana, letting her see the solitary tear that rolled down his cheek. "No… They wouldn't," he answered.
"Then, what are you gonna do, Naruto Uzumaki?"
Standing up, he handed her back her mother's headband and replied, "I'm going to move forward… I never gave up before, and I won't start now."
She smiled at him, reaching out to pat the blonde locks of her clansman. "Good lad… Now, you can stay here on the ship until you get on your feet. However, while you're here, you do what I say and when I say it. Understand?"
Giving her another salute, he declared, "Aye, aye, Captain."
And thus, the tides of change had carried a maelstrom of the shinobi world into a new life; a life destined for a Radiant Dawn.
1~ Oriana is an OC character. She's not from any of the Fire Emblem games to my knowledge. The Demon's Storm Gate is my plot device that will keep Naruto in Tellius
And that's the end of the opening chapter! I hope that you all liked it and took the time to consider how focusing on a single event can make such a major change.
Naruto didn't dwell on Haku's death too much in canon. Sure, he found his personal nindo after the Wave Mission; but, they never explored the potential character growth further than that.
Like Gaara, Haku is a parallel to Naruto in my eyes. They both have something that makes them feared (Ice Style and the Kyuubi respectably), and they understand what it's like to be alone and hopeless. It was only thanks to certain people that they walked out of their personal darkness and found their "purpose"; even if Haku's was a sad one that ended with her dying.
Dylan and I expanded on that event for this idea, and it will be a driving point for Naruto's character development as the story progresses. We hope that you guys can agree with the decision we made.
Now, the part of timeline for Radiant Dawn that Naruto come into is just after Part 1, which ended with Micaiah helping liberate Daein from Begnion's corrupted leash. Part 2, the Crimean Civil War/Rebellion, is where Naruto finds himself.
Until next time! Please leave a review or a comment!