The Legend Begins
A Ronins Origin Story
Author's Note: This is part of a 17 chapter fan fic plus a prologue, an epilogue, and author's notes. It is COMPLETED. To best view this story, please visit my Ronin Warrior Wing on my web site -- http://www.geocities.com/libraryoflegends/
Prologue – The Coming Storm
He stood atop a cliff on an old windswept mountain. His old robes fluttered around him in a flurry of white as the brisk breeze blew across the valley. A triangular straw hat adorned his head and protected his eyes from the strong gusts. He held his staff lightly in his right hand, its crystal top glowing brightly with the rays of the setting sun. Grass sandals padded silently toward the edge of the gray stone cliff. Beside him lay a large white tiger who raised his head with the sudden movement of its master. Brown eyes regarded the man silently as he heard the drawn out sigh. In the distance, black billowing clouds had begun to gather on the horizon, marring the beauty of the sunset. Already, half of the sky had been covered, overwhelming the golden rays. Lightning flickered briefly, dancing among the darkened clouds. The man shook his head in sorrow and turned and looked to his left. Majestic Mt Fuji began to rumble as if in response to the coming storm, a flare of red visible on its summit; one that had nothing to do with the setting sun. An avalanche of rocks suddenly dislodged and fell to the valley below, opening up a deep fissure on the mountain's side. Far to the right, the waves of a sapphire sea had grown choppy. The water lapped hungrily against the distant sandy coast. The wind had picked up and the man's robes whipped around him in a frenzy. Then abruptly it abated, as if it was waiting for something . . .
The man raised his gaze to the sky. "The time comes." The tiger stirred again, as if sensing the import of the man's words.
The man raised his staff high. "Torch of spirit, sought through five."
The air shimmered around him and five kanjis suddenly appeared before him. The man looked at each and traced the glittering strokes with his finger. Virtue. Wisdom. Trust. Justice. Life. The five begin to flare and, as the man's fingers traced each, a sphere formed around each one, encasing the kanji in a crystal of glowing energy. Red. Green. Light Blue. Orange. Dark Blue. Each pulsed with its own life and color. The orbs swirled and formed a pentagon hovering in the now still air.
The man stared at the shape hovering a few feet above him and let loose a deep sigh. "They are young still." With that brief admission came the memory of four hundred years before, when he had performed this same task. It had been a moment of desperation. He had been unable to save the four seasons then and the chosen ones had been too young and inexperienced. The man closed his eyes to the pain of that memory. Yet he still saw them, so young, so innocent, and so brutally slaughtered by forces they could not yet comprehend. Five lives taken in the prime of their youth.
"No. They are ready. These chosen ones are strong. I have seen it." The man remembered to . . . was it really nine years ago? Time had ceased to have any meaning to one such as he and the years since that terrible day four hundred years past had swept by, both too slow and yet too fast. He saw them again, five young boys of six years, too innocent to know of their complicated destinies. To impart the responsibility on ones so young was a cruel twist of fate yet he knew that it had to be done. They had to be ready; he had learned his lesson.
"Yes they are ready." The man whispered to himself. Their strength had been budding since the day he had met each of the young chosens individually, though they might not yet know it. They could face the coming storm; they would have to.
"But I delay, this must be done."
The man raised the staff again, pointing it toward the glowing dark blue. "Inochi – Life. Floating among the eyes of ages, unmarred in the sea of the sky," he chanted. The orb glowed brighter and suddenly rose and streaked off into the distance.
The man turned his staff to the others and chanted to each of them in turn. "Gi – Justice. Burning within a throne of rock." "Shin – Trust. Churning beneath a swirl of salt." "Chi – Wisdom. Darkest prison sheds the light." The three orbs glowed and streaked off into the distance in three different directions. The man then turned his gaze to the last orb; it pulsated a bright fiery red.
"To you is the greatest task. Have faith in your friends for they will guide you." The man raised his staff again, the soft chiming of bells now echoing off the mountaintops. "Jin – Virtue. Drinking strength from immortal fire." With the last words, the orb streaked upward into the atmosphere and disappeared into the vast distance. The man watched it fade with eyes haunted by sadness. The tiger had been completely roused now and stood beside the man, growling softly after the glowing red orb.
"You have decided Byakuen?" the man asked quietly, gazing at the tiger.
The tiger bobbed his head in admission to the statement.
"Then go," the man said with a wave of his free hand.
The man watched as the tiger bounded away in the direction the red orb had taken. He loosed a sigh of keen sadness before turning toward the billowing storm clouds.
"The storm is coming. Be strong my Ronin Warriors. The future depends on it."