Disclaimer: The Ronin Warriors (aka Yoroiden: Samurai Troopers) and all affiliated names and concepts do not belong to me. If you recognize the character, he/she is not mine. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.
Cye walked aimlessly along the beach line, eyes scanning the wind-swept ground. The slim youth could always be found here after a storm, scavenging small rocks and interesting driftwood for his grandfather's crafts, and this last storm had been particularly nasty. As he walked, his mind wandered.
Mid-terms were coming up soon, and that project in science was due on Friday. He would finish that when he got home, providing Mother didn't need his help. Maybe Murron could help her. His older sister was often out with her friends, but she could always be depended on when there was work about the house. Besides, the festival was nearly upon, and there was still much pottery to be thrown, bisqued, and glazed. Mother would want him to cart the latest batch over to Mr. Wallace's for firing, which meant that he and Grandfather had to get that one wheel fixed before supper. Supper. Hmm. He and Murron would have to remember to stop by the butcher's shop on the way back from Mr. Wallace's to pick up meat for the week. Cye wondered if Hamish -
Cye caught himself from a twisted ankle as he tripped over something half-buried in the sand. It was a large clam. The boy was surprised to find it still alive, opening and closing its shells slightly in an attempt to breathe. He turned and chucked it into the water, far beyond the thin layer of surf reaching and retreating along the beach. As he did so, he paused, thinking, What – ? He thought something caught his eye, but then the next wave broke and flowed up over the sand, covering it in a good foot of water. Cye dropped his sack, kicked off his sneakers, and splashed into the retreating wave until he was ankle deep, ignoring the now-soaked ends of his worn jeans. Brushing thick chestnut hair from his blue-grey eyes, he scanned the water, peering through its sand-murked depths to the mud below. After a few minutes of searching, Cye spotted a small object. Pulling up the sleeve of his jacket, he plunged one arm into the frigid water, hand closing on a small, wooden box. He clutched the prize in his fist and returned to gather up his shoes and sack. Walking to a rock at the base of the cliff which rose high over the beach, he settled himself on a boulder to inspect his find.
The box was a little smaller than his palm, the wood painted or probably dyed an incredible shade of azure blue, like the clear, pure water of the sea. All sides were intricately carved, highly crafted, so that it took some searching to discover the seam that distinguished lid from body. The hinges were almost invisible. Cye turned the box over and over in his hands, studying all sides with a feeling of wonder and awe, handling it with a care that was almost reverent. He found he could easily lose himself in the mysterious symbols and twisting, flowing designs. He almost fancied he saw the designs shift and dance before his eyes, or was his mind playing tricks on him?
One symbol drew his attention more than any other. The designs of the lid were dominated by what looked like the yin-yang symbol – two teardrop shapes curved around each other to form a circle – but without the dots in the "heads." The yin-yang, he knew, was the Oriental symbol for balance and harmony and the eternal struggle of opposites - Good versus Evil, Light against the Darkness.
Where could this have come from? Cye wondered. Whose is it? What is it? The youth looked out over the ocean. He lived on the east coast of North America, in New York. If he were in California, perhaps, or Oregon, he could guess that this had come from a Japanese ship in the Pacific Ocean - but the Atlantic? Cye shook his head, thinking he would ask his martial arts instructor Monday after school.
Cye stared at the box cupped in his hands until the symbols seemed to swim before his eyes. Were his arms falling asleep somehow, or was the tingling actually coming from the box? Was it the sun, finally beginning to break through the ashen clouds, or was there really a glow to the box in his hands? The sounds of the surf and the crying gulls overhead slid into background noise as the little box completely enthralled Cye's attention. He felt himself drawn deeply into the swirling, dancing designs. "I wonder what's inside?" asked a voice he vaguely recognized as his own. The box was shifted into one hand while the other gingerly pulled open the lid.
Inside, white silk embroidered with cherry petals thickly pillowed a crystal. The sphere was perfect, flawless, the same azure blue as its container, but of a liquid translucence. Though the box had no obvious seal, its contents were completely dry. Cye watched with awestricken detachment as his hand reached in, fingers carefully gripping the crystal and pulling it free of its bed. Turning over, the hand relaxed and the crystal rolled down onto his palm. It was maybe half-again the size of a shooting marble, and it fit into the hollow of his palm as if made for it. The sun, shrouded by a thick blanket of gloomy clouds only moments before, shone through now in ribbons. Its light pierced the sphere where it rested, casting a shadow down over the heel of Cye's hand. In the brightest spot of that shadow, where the sun shone directly through the crystal, a symbol of glowing blue appeared. Being of Scottish descent, Cye was not very familiar with the Japanese culture or its languages, and he had never heard of the writing form known as kanji, but the sight of that symbol touched something deep inside him and he knew instinctively what the strange design meant. "Trust!" he murmured, breathing the word as though compelled by something deep within his being.
A female voice startled Cye out of his reverie.
"Cye, where are you!? Please answer!"
It was Murron, and she sounded worried. How long had she been calling him? Cye looked up at the sun. It was past noon. "Whoa, man! How'd it get so late?" Cye wondered aloud. He had left the house at nine o'clock. Throwing the sack over his shoulder, Cye reached for the box to put away the crystal. It wasn't there. He stood up and looked around. He didn't remember setting down the box, but nevertheless it was not in his hand, nor was it on the rocks or in the crevices or down on the sand. It was as if it had vanished.
That thought stopped Cye cold. He looked again at the crystal he gripped almost protectively in his fist. He was sure now that it wasn't the sun that gave it its faint, tingling glow. He knew there was a deep, powerful magic beyond his comprehension; he could feel it. It seemed to want to flow up his arm and into his very soul. A quiet force had searched him, chosen him, and it was pleased with its choice. That nameless force seemed to settle itself easily into his palm and his being. He slipped the crystal into his pocket, and it was comfortable there, too. As Murron came into view on the trail leading down to the beach, Cye set out to meet her. He definitely would speak with his mentor after school.
Author's Notes: Please be sure to check my bio page for any updates, etc. Thanks! DD