"Down the anchor! Make ready the long boats! Unload that cargo you lazy bums! We're going ashore!" The pirate crew of The Laughing Maid scuttled about, executing the orders shouted at them.

The Captain was a confident man, not quite thirty years of age with jet black hair and brown eyes. He wore his white captain's coat sleeveless set off by the royal purple sash at his middle which held his constant companions; A pair of black nunchaku with silver trim.

The boats were loaded up with the cargo, the crew set to rowing speedily into the port. They had done this many times before. They knew their captain would receive a pretty fee for the load and if he was in a good mood, he'd treat them all to a cold drink at the local pub.

The boats were tied to the dock and cargo divided among the men to carry into town. The cabin boy, a scrawny fair-haired kid struggled with two sacks of salt as the line of seamen walked through the main dirt road.

"Look lively boys! As soon as we sell off this shipment, we'll drink the finest this India has to offer us!" A cheer from the parade of pirates walking behind their captain answered to his invitation.

"Even me, Captain Maxi?" Tokikou asked trying to match his cabin boy strides with the Captain's long ones while struggling not to drop the sacks. Maxi took one of the sacks from him and easily carried it with one hand. He looked down at the boy's wind-beaten face.

"Sure Toki. You can have a big tall glass…" he measured the invisible rum mug with his hands, "of milk," he finished The sailors laughed and guffawed as Tokikou's ego shrunk back to it's proper size. Maxi tussled the boy's hair playfully.

"You'll get your rum one day, Tokikou. Enjoy your youth while you have it." Tokikou rolled his eyes. Maxi suddenly collided with another man.

"Hey, watch where you're going!" The man turned to look Maxi straight in the eye. He had a scar slashed across his left cheek, brown hair fell into his eyes. He was wearing a long tattered red coat, a turquoise crystal around his neck and carried a long rod. Maxi swallowed hard. There was a lot of pain and a lot of hate in this man's gaze.

"Pardon me," the man said quietly. Tokikou shuffled behind his Captain, observing the stranger from a safer place. Suddenly the stranger lifted his head and looked to the eastern border of the town. The thick jungle to the east and west of this port town was swiftly being emptied as flocks of birds took to the skies, snakes slithered into the open, even tigers began fleeing, running madly into town.

Fleeing from what?

An inhuman blood cry shook the air. The people were next to begin running, screaming, leaving their homes, their shops, stopping only a moment to help a loved one flee as well. A huge bulk of a man appeared on the city horizon. He was surely not human, he held a gigantic ax the size of a grown man with one hand. An army of monsters was not far behind him.

The brute with the ax laid eyes on the pained stranger and pointed his ax forward, unleashing his forces upon the town. The creatures tore into their victims, scratching, biting, burning, and reducing the bust little port town to rubble as they went. The leader swung his ax with purpose, but without mercy. Men, women, children, elderly; all fell to the swing of his death weapon.

The sailors pulled out their swords. They would not abandon their captain. Maxi's eyes narrowed on the stranger. "You're causing this!" He grabbed the man's collar, shaking him as he yelled, "They come because of you!" Maxi didn't notice he snapped the strand that held the crystal around the man's neck.

Something awakened in the man, his face twisted to evil, his scar glowed sullenly and his eyes became demonic with unbridled hate. He broke free from Maxi's grip, kicking him across the face as he grabbed his rod to join in the destruction.

Maxi turned to his men, taking the pair of nunchaku from his belt. "We must fight this!" The loyal sailors yelled in agreement and ran forward to drive back the creatures. Maxi looked down at Tokikou. The boy had fear written all over him, he had no weapon.

"Here," Maxi handed one of the nunchaku to Tokikou. "But I want it back." Tokikou's courage put some color back into his face.

"Y-yes Captain!" He took a deep breath and leaped into the fray. But Maxi could not take care of the little one, he had some training on the ship at least. Many more without any knowledge of defense were falling to the claws, the ax and now the rod that set upon them.

He set eyes on the leader and climbed to the roof of one building. He sprinted along the rooftops, passing the pell-mell on the streets. With a yell he brought his nunchaku, Soryuju down upon the unearthly giant.

"Who dares attack the Mighty Astaroth?" he bellowed. Maxi demonstrated a few moves with Soryuju, and calmly put a hand through his dark hair.

"Maxi of the Ryukyu kingdom dares!" he bellowed back.

Astaroth just laughed.