The Last Blade

Disclaimer: This story is an amateur work of fanfiction. The author does not own "The Last Blade" or any characters depicted within. All rights to the Last Blade and all characters are owned by SNK-Playmore. The content of this story is the creation of the author, although based on material owned by SNK-Playmore. Any similarities to other author's works are coincidental.

Prologue.

Creation and Unmaking. Darkness and Light. Life and Death. All of these things were one, in the before. However, once things began, and the before became the past, and the past steadily became the present, extending into the future, divisions were made.

Creation and unmaking – antitheses of each other, creation won out with the very transition from the before to the past. As time began, things also began, and the unmaking simply ceased – although it is not gone, and will awaken again, when once again all things become one. Light and shadow – these things separated easily. One was merely the absence of the other. With the creation of the world, the sun and moon and stars became the purveyors of light, and Day and Night formed. Simple.

But finally, there was Life and Death. Not so simple, for without Life, there can be no Death, and without Death, Life ceases to be significant. Death is the removal of Life from the once living, not merely the absence of Life. Life is far more than not being dead, as any exorcist knows. Ultimately intertwined yet repelling, these were not so easily separated. But, at first, this was not known.

With the creation of the world, there came the creation of Life. Plants, Animals, Humans – all came into being. And with Life, there inevitably came death. Most things moved on to the next world when they died – that inscrutable area of beyond, neither in the before, the past, the present, nor the future. However, some things were not willing to let go of this world so easily. By force of will or simply power of desire, they stayed behind, disturbing the natural balance of things. Neither alive nor truly dead, the undead wreaked havoc on the world for a time, and it looked as if Creation's victory over Unmaking would be short lived indeed.

However, the world was not without its defenders. Summoned by humanity's deep, fundamental need to believe in gods, and by the very outcry of the world itself, four guardian gods came into being. Byakko, the tiger. Genbu, the turtle. Seiryuu, the dragon. Suzaku, the phoenix. Together, drawing on each other's power, the four gods created the netherworld – a place where the past, present, and future met, not quite in this world, but not yet in the next. The gods banished the unwilling dead to this new netherworld, and sealed the underworld away from the living world behind Hell's Gate, a mystical portal located at the peak of Mt. Fuji, one of the most powerful nexuses of mystical power in the world. The dead could pass into the underworld through it, or forced through, but could not pass back out without aid from the world of the living.

For a while, this worked. However, foolish and unscrupulous humans seeking knowledge and power learned about Hell's Gate, and sought to use the dead for their own selfish desires. Making promises they did not understand, they summoned forth hungry, angry spirits from the netherworld by the dozens, and for a time they did gain immense power and wealth. However, inevitably, the undead claimed their due, destroying those who had called them forth, and then continuing to disturb the balance of things. Again, the world was imperiled, and for a time it seemed as if the return of Unmaking would come soon. The gods conferred. Much of their power was being used merely to maintain the underworld and Hell's Gate. Additionally, it seemed likely that direct intervention would only lead to a temporary solution that would only lead to more problems in the future. Finally, they arrived at a solution.

Each god looked over the world, and selected a worthy human – one pure at heart and noble, yet skilled martially. Once a champion was chosen, each god granted a small portion of their power to their champion, giving them abilities beyond those of normal men, and giving them a dual purpose in life – to find and train their successor, and to defend the world from Hell's Gate.

The first few generations of guardians lived difficult lives, banishing undead back to the underworld and destroying necromancers and other fools who assaulted Hell's Gate. The champions of the gods were honored throughout the world, and they were men of power and influence. To be chosen as the next champion was an honor beyond compare, and hundreds of young men and women sought out the current champions, trying to prove themselves in the hopes of being chosen. In time, however, the balance was restored, and the influence of the undead faded from the land. Books of magic and knowledge of Hell's Gate were systematically destroyed, and the surging masses of humanity once again moved through the present, toward the future, no longer fearing the ghosts of the past.

With the lessened threat, so came lessened need for the champions. Over the centuries, as more and more of the world was cleansed, ultimately all four guardians came to reside in Japan, to be close to Hell's Gate itself. Their influence waned, and they became legends, rather than heroes, and then even the legends were forgotten.

Author's Notes:

The Last Blade 2 is pretty much my favorite fighting game of all time. The Last Blade is obviously its prequel. There's actually very little detail available about the plot or history of the game aside from character bios and game endings, so it's a suitably creative project. Plus, cause it's a fighting game, obviously there will be plenty of fight scenes, which is probably I'm the best at writing anyway.

Any comments & criticism are welcome, but keep in mind this is unedited, not beta read, and written at a decently fast pace by someone who hasn't done that much creative writing. If I'm happy with the overall product I might go over it when it's all over and polish it up a bit, but knowing me, I'll probably be too lazy. Anyway, here it is.