The sun slowly set in the evening sky over the beautiful mountains in the distance. In the capital of the great empire, the voices of the merchants in the marketplace had grown hoarse over the course of the day, while the fishermen tied their boats in the harbor after a long day searching the river for the best catch.
This city, the jewel of a mighty empire, was enormously impressive despite its young age. For ten years ago this city had been a small hamlet, a sleepy fishing village, while the capital was nestled deep within the very mountains that the final slivers of sunlight flickered over. But for thousands of years prior, a great plague had spread over the land, threatening to engulf the empire in its darkness.
Ten years ago, the mighty emperor, his wife with child, decided that he would not allow his child to enter this world with such a threat already overtaking their land. Honorable to a fault, he rode out with his army to rid the blackness from this land.
What he did not know was that even with the most noble intentions, actions done in hate only bring more sorrow, and so it was, that when the emperor fired the poison-tipped arrow which was supposed to destroy the plague, instead his hatred gave it shape, consciousness, and a name: Aku.
Aku proceeded to enslave the emperor, destroy his capital, and decimate all who fought against him. When all hope was seemingly lost, a white horse appeared to the emperor and took him to the highest mountain, where three deities chose him to destroy Aku. Using the goodness in his heart, they forged a magic sword, and told the emperor the secret to destroy Aku forever…
But unfortunately, the Emperor did not heed their words. He charged into battle against Aku with thoughts of vengeance for his wife, who had most certainly perished in the inferno that engulfed his home. After an epic battle, the emperor managed to imprison Aku in a gnarled tree. Mourning his loss, the emperor was overjoyed to find his wife alive, a miracle, but even more so now that she had given birth to a son.
As they stood overtop of the ruins of the city, though it tore his heart to do so, the emperor knew what he must do. Someday, if evil ever returned, his child might have to take up the sword.
"We must learn from this day, we must be prepared should this evil ever return. We must have a plan."
Ten years ago, as the old capitol lay freshly razed and the survivors of Aku's wrath searched for their fellow refugees, there lay a house, the house of a mighty warrior in the employ of the emperor. A righteous and honorable man who was well thought of by the emperor, he had gone out with his beloved emperor to battle the darkness. However, only the emperor had returned from that battle.
His estate, considered one of the most beautiful, now lay destroyed, a smoldering ruin, the roof having collapsed onto its occupants. Through a sliver of light from the outside, the sounds of workers searching for survivors could be heard.
Through this hall there crawled a small sliver of a black gel. Not even the size of a finger, it crawled like a worm and reflected no light. Cut off from its consciousness, who now lay sealed in a barren tree in the center of the city, it reverted back to its most primitive notion – survival. Exploring the shattered ruins of the estate, it searched for the only living thing left inside.
As the emperor assisted his people with searching for the survivors, he heard a faint noise for a second. He thought it was simply the wind. Then he heard it again. A wail came through the darkness. Turning to its source, he saw one of his warriors approaching him, carrying a bundle in his arms. The warrior handed the bundle to his emperor.
Inside was a crying baby girl, only a few weeks old.
"My emperor, everyone in her household…" He spoke in sad respect.
The emperor nodded his head. No more needed to be said. The emperor handed the girl to his wife. The baby girl continued to cry as the baby prince reached out to try and grasp this strange new creature.
"I will ensure she is given a good home," said the emperor. The warrior bowed and went back to his search.
The emperor and his wife held their child and their new charge. A terrible day this had been, not the day of celebration which it should have been. Was this a sign of things to come? Would they know peace and joy, only to have it immediately cut down?
The emperor noticed that the girl had a cut on her chest, right in the center of her sternum. It was a cut that looked deep, yet didn't bleed. It was small, like a paper cut. But rather than red, it was the deepest color of black he had ever seen.