1
The Three Return

In Rupta Abbey, sheltered by the great forest, a highly anticipated birth was taking place.

Far away, much deeper into the Rupta Forest, there was occuring another eagerly-awaited birth.

Both mothers went into labor at the same moment, right at the strike of the third hour. Both babes were carried from their mothers' wombs at the same moment, in the middle of the fourth hour.

The healthy birth of the child in the abbey was heralded by jubilation and celebration. As the newborn howled with her first breath of air, they turned her over and found her markings. It was she, the one, the Redeemer Reborn. They named her Kaoru, as she had always been named each time she returned, and the abbey celebrated wildly for weeks.

The birth of the other child was also a healthy one. The tribe of Amazons was one of the largest and strongest, and they were waiting for one of their finest warriors to have her daughter. Many of the warrior women stood outside their chief's tent, impatient for news. The chief bore her child, assisted only by her mother, and was bitterly disappointed to find the child was male.

The newborn Kaoru would be showered with gifts from her people, and plans would be made for her future education and training, preparing her for her destiny.

As soon as she was strong enough to travel, the unwanted son of the Amazons was carried from the deep circles of the forest by his mother. The long journey would prove that it wasn't that she bore no thought for her boy, it was simply that there was no place for him in a society of women. She would carry him to the abbey at the center of the forest, and place him in the arms of a worthy woman. Then she would return to her people and think of him no moreā€¦

Very far away, on the other side of Kurisutaru, the Dark Seed sensed its old enemies' newborn cries, and it seethed in hatred. Its new roots digging strongly into the poisoned soil, it began to make the long journey through the earth, toward the surface and the sun.