Disclaimer to the staff and those who might report this to them: I humbly submit that, while this is not a work of fiction in and of itself, I am offering it for readers of my crossover series who may not be familiar with one or more of the involved titles, so that hopefully they may still enjoy my fan fictions rather than skip them over. If there is a serious problem with this or you have a suggestion for how better to handle this, please let me know! I am a very open-minded person and eager to work things out when/if there is conflict. Thank you. DD
Ronin Warriors - a.k.a. Yoroiden: Samurai Troopers - "Yoroiden" translates as "legend of mystical/magical armor." A thousand years ago, a being of pure evil called Arago attacked the Human Realm, looking to conquer it. No matter how many samurais and other warriors threw themselves at him, no one could stand in his way. Then, someone appeared who could. He was a warrior monk by the name of Kaosu ("the Ancient") and was accompanied by a large white tiger of apparently supernatural origin by the name of Byakuen. Kaosu challenged Arago with his warrior fighting prowess and powerful mystical ability and successfully defeated him, banishing him back to the realm from which he came, called the Youjakai. That translates as "youja realm" just like Ningenkai and Reikai (Human Realm, Spirit Realm) of "Yu Yu Hakusho". A youja, to the best of my understanding, is a type of so-called "demon soldier." I'm positive they are akin to the "youkai" of YYH. They appear as something like empty, animated armors fashioned loosely after the samurai armor style. They are the cannon-fodder of Arago's armies. Anyway, while the realm is referred to as the Youjakai in the original Japanese, in the dub it was renamed "the Netherworld." This will come up in my series.
Arago was banished in spirit from the Human Realm but his physical being - an armor of evil and terrible supernatural material - was left behind. Kaosu knew that as long as it remained, Arago had a means of returning. The vile armor could not be truly destroyed but it could be broken up and reshaped. Through a very powerful, secret ritual, Kaosu separated the armor into nine parts, creating new armors from the whole. The new armors were linked to the four seasons and five elements (fire, water, air, earth, and light/spirit). Into the Seasonal Armors, he imbued the four virtues of the Bushido Code, the code of the samurais - endurance, filial piety (dutiful regard or respect for family and other elders), loyalty, and obedience. The Elemental Armors received the virtues taught by Confucius - righteousness, wisdom, grace/courtesy, trust/faith, and justice. By the instilling of these virtues, the capacity for Good was introduced into these new armors (at least, that's what I figure the reasoning was - it's never really stated. It is stated clearly in the course of the series, though, that the Armors have the equal capacity for both . . . but also that their origin as a part of Arago was purely evil, so . . .) These Armors Kaosu took and hid away until such time as Arago made a move again on the Human Realm, at which time he planned them to be the primary weapons against him.
The details of what happened next are fuzzy to me. What I go by, I don't know how much is canon and how much fanfic myth. What is definite is that at some point, I think about 400 years ago, the Seasonal Armors surfaced and their owners were seduced by Arago to serve him in return for power and immortality. The Seasonal Armors fell back into evil, their bearers coming to be known as Arago's Four Demon Generals. They had no idea of the history or true abilities of their Armors. They knew nothing about them being Seasonal in nature and the governing virtues were suppressed. When they joined Arago, he gave them each new names, completely locking away any thoughts of anything outside of himself. Their new names are Shuten (bearer of Spring-loyalty), Rajura (Summer-endurance), Naaza (Autumn-obedience), and Anubisu (Winter-filial piety). Also, sometime during this period of history, there was a raid on a clan of warrior mystics, annihilating every last member but one small girl and the clan's leader - Kaosu the Ancient who, by the way, had somehow survived from a thousand years ago to present time, along with his tiger companion. The little girl, Kayura, was made into another powerful servant of Arago and a leader of his armies, her memories completely suppressed and her abilities controlled by a pendent around her neck.
Fast forward to a little over a year before the start of my saga - Arago did once again return, having achieved enough energy and power to create a weakness between the worlds, appearing in/over Shinjuku which is a district of Tokyo (apparently well-known for supernatural activity even in real life). By this point, the Elemental Armors had come into the possession of chosen bearers - Ryo (Fire-righteousness), Touma (Air-wisdom), Shu (Earth-justice), Seiji (Light/Spirit-grace/courtesy), and Shin (Water-trust/truth).
Although I have striven to stay as close to the original Japanese canon for all three of these series', I have decided to keep the name "Ronin Warriors" for the guys over calling them the "Samurai Troopers." I don't know but that has just never sounded right to me. A "trooper" to me sounds like someone in the Army or about to jump out of a perfectly functional airplane (a la paratrooper), whereas the previous martial arts experiences and training of the group had ranged from highly-skilled to didn't-know-the-business-end-of-a-sword-from-its-hilt before donning the Armors. Also, one who was referred to as a samurai, historically, had a master of some kind, someone he answered to directly (if I'm not mistaken – I know that I easily could be). A samurai who lost having a master by whatever means became a ronin. The guys in the series answer to no one but each other in the sense of being teammates. They would be considered ronins. Also . . . well, heck, it just sounds better/cooler to me. ((grin))
Sanada Ryo (Ryo of the Wildfire) is the passionate and driven leader of the Elemental Ronins. Sometimes hot-tempered and impulsive, he is nonetheless the one to whom the others turn for guidance and unity. He is an intense individual, fiercely loyal and deeply empathetic. He lives by himself except when Dad is home from his wildlife photography excursions, walking nine miles to school each day from his home in the secluded wilds outside of town.
Hashiba Touma (Touma of the Heavens) is the strategist, the tactician of the group. His risks are calculated and never hastily decided upon. He knows what he gets himself into and how to pull himself out (usually). Of course, such an intellect can be isolating as well, and I think we all know or remember how cruel our fellow classmates could be when they decided they had a grudge against you. As the only child of divorced parents, Touma also had no sense of family before uniting with his fellow Ronins. Consequently, he will allow no harm to come to any one of them without a fight.
Mouri Shin (Shin of the Torrent) is the calm peacekeeper of the company – quiet, slow to judge and slower to anger, though heaven help the one who rouses the stormy anger of the sea. Usually easygoing, Shin is the team member who reminds the rest how to relax and put things in perspective. He'll also the first to act, however, if action is necessary. Still, the responsibilities of being a Ronin Warrior probably wear most keenly on him, as he has never been one to fight unless absolutely necessary. He would like nothing better than to never be called to don his Armor again.
Almost as his diametrical opposite, rowdy, fun loving, outgoing Shu Rei Fuan (Shu of HardRock) more than makes up for Shin's reluctance to have to fight. He practically lives for it. He's not the kind to go around picking fights as a bully might, but he won't back down if one happens to present itself, either. Of course, he's got a temper to rival Ryo's sometimes, so those fights present themselves sometimes rather frequently, but he also has a heart of gold. On a bit of a side note, Shu's ethnicity is actually Chinese by canon, not Japanese, though he was born and raised in Japan. It's debatable if his family name is the "Shu" end of that or the "Fuan" end but everyone calls him "Shu," friends, schoolmates and strangers alike, if only because "it sounds more Japanese".
Rounding out the Ronin Elemental Warriors is Date Seiji (Seiji of the Halo). Cool, collected, and genteel, Seiji was raised in the old ways of the honor-bound samurai. His family owns a kendo dojo, of which he is one of the primary instructors after his grandfather and parents. Even at his relatively young age, he is a master kendo champion, the discipline of which permeates every aspect of his life. He is also the group's most psychically active – the most sensitive and the one who understands psionic ways the best.
Two more who deserve mention are two who, unfortunately, often get the short end of the stick in many fanfics as they are very often not taken seriously. For you who know, of course I'm referring to Nasutei and Jun. Nasutei Yagyu (personal/family name) is a young woman a few years older than the guys. She tends to give her name "Western-style" as she was born and raised in France. She had just recently moved to Japan and was living and working with her grandfather as a research assistant at the university when Arago made his appearance. Her grandfather, in turn, was an expert in Japanese mythology, and his research files prove invaluable throughout the series as the guys are forced to learn on the fly about these mysterious armors which they only just acquired before having to put them to use. She is a noncombatant, but she has a courageous heart and will stand firm by her friends' side. Heh, she and Anzu (YGO) have a lot in common that way. On the other hand, Yamano Jun seems like just another rugrat at first glance, zipping around on his ever-present skateboard, but as with everyone in this series, there is more to him than meets the eye. Jun is just as courageous and steadfast as any of the Ronins, despite his age (he was only 8 when the TV series took place). He became embroiled in the war against Arago when his parents disappeared in the first attack and he vowed to rescue them. His antics were often a source of both amusement and exasperation for the Ronins, but his utter belief in them as individuals and as a team quite often was the only thing that kept them focused and believing in themselves when all odds were against them. Many of the discoveries they made regarding the capabilities and full powers of their Armors were because Jun and Nasutei were in danger. If not for the noncombatants and the threats to them, the actual combatants truly would never have gotten where they did.
Lastly, running alongside the Ronin Elementals is an enormous white tiger who is far more than he seems at first glance. Byakuen ("white flame/blaze") is the same tiger we saw standing by Kaosu's side 1,000 years ago when the warrior monk defeated Arago the first time. He is of human intelligence although he does not possess the power of speech. As ancient as he is, however, he still retains the ability to play and quite gamely has been seen performing the position of loyal steed to Jun's fanciful knight-in-shining-armor (Ronin Armor, of course) antics. He plays primarily a support-protect role, keeping Nasutei and Jun out of trouble the best he can and pulling a fallen Ronin out of the thick of combat more than once.
OK, you're being warned now – SPOILERS!! Heh, of course, since my story picks up after the TV series and the OVA "Gaiden", you're gonna get "spoiled" anyway. Still, can't say you weren't warned. I'm going to go on with the rest of the cast.
By the end of the war with Arago, his four Demon Generals realized their errors and the true origins and purpose of their Armors and they, the Ronin Seasonal Warriors, defected to join their Elemental brothers.
The first was Shuten and he actually came around far sooner than his comrades-in-arms (about halfway through the first of the two seasons). Of course, that's fitting since his is the Armor of Spring. By the way, by canon the Armors are never identified by name, so I have named them: Shuten of Verdance, Rajura of AridSand, Naaza of the Harvest, and Anubisu of the Glacier.
Anyway, Shuten of Verdance is the first to renew, to realize that the answers Arago provided him were not the ones he wanted or needed. When Kaosu fell to Arago, sacrificing himself so that his vast energies could directly benefit his fledgling warriors, the Elementals, Shuten took his place as guide for the warriors, though understandably they did not accept him right away. However, he proved himself to them and has gained their complete trust. Of the four, Shuten now is the most soft-spoken and diplomatic, having once been a learned scholar as well as a military general in his time. Please see below for a note concerning Shuten's freeing of Lady Kayura's mind and spirit and his consequences.
As summer follows spring, Rajura of AridSand was the second to question his loyalty to Arago, though he did not make nearly the complete turnaround as quickly as Shuten did. Devious and cunning, Rajura is Touma's equal in patience and strategy as well as a master of illusions through the power of his Armor, like a mirage in the desert. Also, he is the Seasonal's equivalent psion to the Elemental's Seiji.
Naaza of the Harvest is arguably the most inhuman of the group, though no longer because of his ruthlessness as a Demon General. Naaza is said to have the blood of an animal spirit, a snake deity, in his veins – and his green hair, green-tinged skin and inhuman eyes certainly would seem to attest to this. (Japanese mythology includes tales of animal spirits who would take human forms to interact with and seduce human mates.) Naaza is a capable leader in his own right, although all the Seasonals defer to Shuten as the leader among the four just as the Elementals follow Ryo.
Anubisu of the Glacier probably gets along best with Shu these days. An impatient, in-your-face kind of fighter, he is most in his element when he is in action, preferably in pitch darkness even now that he's on the side of Good, as that is where his Armor works best. I kinda get the impression about him that he is actually a little awkward and lost when he doesn't have a specific task to accomplish. Canon? Dunno.
Lady Kayura is nothing if not an accomplished swordswoman and capable warrior who routinely took on any two or more of the Elementals by herself and held her own at worst. Like the Ronin Seasonals, Arago's control over her was broken before his demise and she recalled her true origins as descendent of Kaosu the Ancient. Please see below for a note concerning Shuten's freeing of Lady Kayura's mind and spirit and his consequences.
It's a great series to which I am doing no justice by not going into further detail but all you need to know for my series is that, after many great trials, the Seasonals realize the truth of the origins of their Armors and their deception by Arago, side with the Elementals and, together with a freed Lady Kayura, defeat and destroy Arago once and for all.
In the series, Shuten dies in the freeing of Lady Kayura and the Armor of Spring goes to her. However, I have a fic I am writing which explains why Shuten did not actually perish – "The Curse of Badamon." By the end of that fic, Shuten's captured soul is restored to his static body and the Armor of Verdance returned to him. Kayura, in turn, takes her place as the heir of Kaosu's heritage and powers, who gave up his life at a key point during the war with Arago. Byakuen has chosen Ryo of the Wildfire to be his new companion, having been with him now actually since some time before the point of the TV series' beginning. Kayura and the Seasonals have chosen to remain in the Youjakai / Netherworld, as the Japan of today is no longer their home.
About a year later (plot of "Gaiden"), Seiji went to New York City in America in answer to a request from a university there asking for a Japanese swordmaster's opinion on an ancient katana that had come into the staff's acquisition. It had the Date family crest and, as Seiji's hobby is swords of all kinds, they contacted him to come assist in their study. It turned out to be a trap laid by an inhuman sorcerer (for the purposes of Spellfire Saga, read that "youkai sorcerer") by the name of Shikaisen, in conjunction with a diabolic human scientist of the paranormal. Together, they tried to control the Armor of Halo through Seiji via drugs, mental games, and torture. Only when Ryo happened to catch a news blurb on TV about a mysterious assailant murdering street thugs – complete with a few photos captured by a freelance photographer of an unmistakable green armor – did the rest of the group realize that their teammate had run afoul of trouble. They rushed to New York, then chased their mysterious enemy to Los Angeles before finally recovering their brother-in-arms.
By canon, that was the end of the story but I have to agree with two fanfic authors who wrote one-shot sequels to "Gaiden" which are really amazing, both of them!! One was written as a self-challenge by its author in response to the open end of the first. I won't spoil the stories but the premise for both is that, after all that Seiji was subjected to, he would not have just been all right. He was physically weakened, injured, and had a number of drugs coursing through his system. The premise of the stories is that Seiji collapsed into a coma and was in the hospital hovering near death for days until . . .
Heh, not gonna tell!! Whether you're a previous Ronin Warrior fan or not, you MUST check out these wonderful fics! They can both be found on Amanda Swiftgold's RW fanfic site. The first is call "Angel Dust" by Minuit and the sequel is "Orpheus" by Icewyche. They are beautifully and powerfully written, both of them, and I include them in my personal fanon for Ronin Warriors. If, for whatever reason, you cannot find them, email me and I will be more than happy to send you the links. Again, I haven't figured out how this software for FFnet to post web addresses (if even possible) or I'd put it here myself. ((grin))
Anyway, at the beginning of "Shards," the guys arrived back just days ago from America, where they had gotten way too familiar with the look of the inside of an LA hospital.
And so, with no further ado (and much excitement), let me invite you to proceed to "The Spellfire Saga – Volume One: Shards."
EDIT: Hm, let's see if this works – someone recently suggested posting addresses with spaces to break them up, that they'll actually post this way and you just remove the spaces again when you copy/paste the information into your browser.
www.cakuni. com/ sots/ roninfaq. txt – This is an AWESOME (and warning: LONG) in-depth essay on the series, the characters, the episodes, even the mysticism and folklore behind many of its plot and design elements. Very much worth at least a glance-over if you're at all interested. (EDIT AGAIN: this is a new web address, located after Angel girl89 was good enough to point out that the previous link is no longer a good one.)
www. amandaswiftgold .com/ronins/roninindex. htm – Here's the homepage for Amanda's fanfiction site.
www .amandaswiftgold .com/ronins/fics/minuit/dust .htm - Minuit's "Angel Dust"
www .amandaswiftgold .com/ronins/fics/icewyche/Orpheus .htm – Icewyche's "Orpheus"
Hn . . . well, heck, while we're at it - www .yu-jyo .net/ - the AWESOME Yu-Gi-Oh! episode summery website I mentioned in the last file.