Okay, basic disclaimer: the Samurai Troopers, Warlords, Kayura, Nasté, Jun, White Blaze, and Kaos do not belong to me; they belong to some Japanese company that makes a lot of money off of me. Anything that ain't from the show or credited to something else that appears in my stories belongs to me, that's all.
As to the story, I do hope you enjoy it. Just don't expect any answers as to what exactly is going on, until around chapter six. At the earliest. You'll notice in the story that I use (POV Shift) and (Time Skip) to signal such things. This is due to this site not allowing me to make use of the publishing industry standard of a line with three asterisks to signal a change in POV and a skipped line to signal a time skip. I put those things in, and it takes them out. So, I had to resort to the above, instead of following standard practice within the publishing industry. I apologize for that. Thanks for taking the time to read my story, by the way.
Mind, Soul, and Body:
Book One: Shadows of the Past
Chapter One: Premonitions
By Corlock Striker
March 24, 2001 Tokyo, Japan -
Black faded, twisted, and morphed into brilliant color. Arago was there. He was pale and ghostly, then he suddenly swirled away, becoming Viking Boats. The boats multiplied and the scene pulled out, until there was a glimpse of the whole world. The boats covered it and coalesced into a man like shape. The boat creature held the planet in its wooden plank palm. It's dragon head tipped fingers dug into the fertile earth causing all the green things to die. The image faded, fifteen figures emerged out of the darkness of his mind. This took place before the vast death; somehow our observer knew. He recognized nine of the figures. There were the five Samurai Troopers, and the four Mashou.
Then there were six more indistinct figures in groups of two, one male and one female in each group. He knew this, despite the lack of distinguishing features. All he could see was that two had demon wings, while two others had angel wings. The final two figures, though blurry, appeared to be a normal man and woman. The male demon winged figure filled his vision for a moment. Then he saw all fifteen figures again, in a circle. They morphed together. Out of the mess of colors rose a green dragon. There was the Viking Boat Creature again. The dragon leaped forward to attack it. The images cut out. Suddenly the Staff of the Ancients filled his vision.
Next thing he knew Ryo bolted upright in his bed shivering, panting, and covered in a cold sweat. White Blaze looked up when Ryo awoke. Seeing no danger the tiger went right back to sleep. Ryo sat in his bed thinking. What the hell did that dream mean? Did it mean anything at all? Was it just a strange nightmare conjured by his subconscious for no real reason what so ever? That was probably too much to hope for.
He threw the covers of his bed aside. After taking a shower and dressing in some junky clothes, he looked over to his phone. He'd have to call the other Troopers. If this was just another false alarm they'd kill him. His gut told him this was too important to wait, delaying might cost a lot of lives. He'd call Toma first, he'd been the most receptive Ryo's dreams in the past. If Toma felt it wasn't a false alarm, he'd call Seiji, Shin, and finally Shu. He picked up the phone and dialed the familiar number for the Trooper of Wisdom.
March 24, 2001 Arago's Former Castle -
Kayura shot up in her bed, panting and quaking. Her eyes darted around the dark room until she calmed down enough to begin making semi-rational thoughts. What a strange dream. What did it all have to do with Arago? Why had she seen the Staff of the Ancients at the end of her dream? Had Arago stolen it?
She leapt to her feet and ran into the room adjacent to her bedroom in Arago's former castle. The room was a shrine to her ancestors, protected by her own magics. It was the safest place in all the Human and Nether Realms to keep the Staff. She quickly glanced around the shrine. There atop the altar, right where she had left it was the Staff of the Ancients. She closed her eyes and reached out to the Staff with her soul. It responded instantly. It was not an imitation.
Everything was as it should be, but her dream and the cold shiver running up her spine insisted that such was not the case. However, if the Staff of the Ancients was safe, then what could possibly be wrong? She left the Shrine of her Ancestors and calmly stepped back into her bedroom. She gathered up a folded towel and a silk kimono. She needed to take a bath. Then she would talk to the other Mashou.
January 1, 2001 Rye, New York -
Her father handed her small wooden box. "Dad, do I have to take this stupid heirloom?" The girl whined. "I mean, come on Dad, I bet you that family legend is a bunch of bullshit. After all, how much faith can you really put in Irish folklore? Need I bring up Leprechauns? Are you going to try and tell me, you honestly believe that two dusty mismatched colored glass spheres, small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of my hand, have the potential to save the world? Please tell me you're not that gullible," she was pleading with him now. Those glass spheres gave her the creeps and she didn't want to have a damn thing to do with them.
Her father turned a stern gaze her way, his blue eyes becoming cold and plainly stating she had just offended him. His gaze burned into her own jade green eyes. Obviously she had said exactly the wrong thing. "In my lifetime, Patricia Meagan O'Connor," he used her full name, never a good sign, "I have learned never to treat Irish folklore lightly. Especially Irish folklore that is passed down in only one family for fifteen generations. I suggest you learn to accept the role that your ancestors set aside for you. According to their predictions you will know who to give these spheres to. Allowing them to fulfill their role in continuing the existence of the human race on this planet. You will give them to whomever it is you're supposed to give them to. You have no choice in the matter, Patricia. That is final."
Trish winced. He was still using Patricia, which meant he was still ticked off. She still thought this was completely unfair, how the hell was she supposed to find this person? Trish looked up at her father out of the corner of her eye. He was smirking. Obviously he thought he had cowed her. Time to show him otherwise. "And just how am I supposed to find this person? The only clue our illustrious ancestors left me was to 'look for the broken boy, with unquenchable fire still burning in his eyes. A fool and a wise man will he be. Two persons in one body, putting others first, to a fault.' What does that even mean? It's not helpful at all," Trish verbally thrust at her father.
Her father's head dropped in disappointment as it shook from side to side. "Don't know about the first part, but the second is easy. This person is wise, but you likely won't think it because he often acts the fool. Two persons in one body, I'm not sure about." He shrugged, "It could mean a split personality, or it could mean that based on context, the person can seem like two different people. As for the last bit. Well, it means this person puts other people's needs before his own, to the point where it is a character flaw, and possibly self-destructive." He was lecturing now, "There is some sort of dual nature to this person. That much is blatantly obvious." Her father turned and left the room, leaving the cherry box with the two spheres in it open, allowing it to stare at her in contempt with its mismatched eyes, one black and one maroon.
Trish slammed the box shut to make that disconcerting stare vanish into darkness. She flopped backwards onto her bed. What kind of person could be two people in one body? What kind of person would put other people first to such an extent that it was self-destructive? Who would be both a fool and a wise man? She hated riddles.
March 24, 2001 Tokyo, Japan -
Ryo hung up the phone after speaking with Shu. His hand was shaking and his face was ashen. All five of them had the same exact dream last night. That likely did not mean safety and security for the world in the coming months. Ryo walked to his bathroom and splashed his face with cold water, it was going to start again soon. He was twenty-five now, the last thing he needed was another villain who wanted the world in his or her power. Ryo had a life now, a job, real responsibilities; he was getting too old for this. It was unfair of the world to ask him to save it again, but he knew there was only one choice he could make in good conscience. He would save it. He rubbed his face dry with a washcloth, the vigorous action putting some color back into his skin. Then, rather abruptly, there was a knock at his door.
Who in the fuck could that be? It's 8:30 am on a Saturday morning. He'd still be asleep himself, if it hadn't been for that blasted dream. Ryo's eyes narrowed as thoughts of the dream flitted through the neural pathways of his brain. Perhaps this new battle had already started. Perhaps they didn't have any time to prepare for it. There was a knock at the door again.
Ryo yelled, "Be right there." He stopped at his desk and pulled out a hunting knife from one of the drawers, naked steel glittered in the early morning light. There wasn't time to summon his armor right now. In addition, his apartment building would be a bad place for a fight with that kind of power, considering he would like it to remain standing afterwords. After all, he did want a home to return to. Thus, the knife it was. There was that knock again, it was growing impatient. Ryo yelled once more, annoyance settling into his voice, "I'm comin', I'm comin'."
Ryo thought it odd that a potential attacker would keep knocking, instead of simply breaking down the door. Maybe it was an attempt to get him to lower his guard. Ryo crept over to the door and looked through the peep hole. Kayura was standing outside his apartment in fairly modern clothing. High heels, a black miniskirt, a deep blue sleeveless top, things made in the last five years. She was uneasily shifting her weight from one foot to the other, nervously glancing up and down his hallway. She raised her arm to knock again.
Ryo quickly opened the door, grabbed her wrist, scanned the hallway for potential threats, and seeing none yanked Kayura unceremoniously into his apartment, practically slamming the door into her as he immediately slammed it. "What the hell are you doing here?" Ryo snapped.
Kayura pulled her hand out of Ryo's grasp, rubbing her wrist, and laughed nervously. Finally she responded, "Why do you think! Or do you always greet guests with a bared knife? Any interesting dreams lately?" Then she gave him that infuriating smirk of hers he knew all too well.
Ryo glared at her fear and frustration flashing in his blue eyes. A low growl rumbled over from the far side of the room. White Blaze expressed his displeasure at Kayura's games and at being woken, again. "Oh you mean the one with Arago," Ryo hissed. "The man shaped creature of Viking Ships that held the world in its wooden palm, the five Trooper Armors, the four Mashou armors, the two figures with demon wings, the two figures with angel wings, a blurry man and woman, a great green dragon, and the Staff of the Ancients?"
Kayura nodded in response.
Ryo smiled with sadistic pleasure, "You're going to love this then. Me and the other Troopers all had that dream last night." He thought this would be shocking news to Kayura, and was taking great pleasure in delivering it to her. To return the favor for the shock the Lady Ancient had already given him.
Kayura smiled sweetly at him and nodded in satisfaction. "I thought that would be the case. The Mashou and I all had that dream last night as well. It is now quite obvious that trouble is brewing. Wouldn't you say?"
Ryo stared at Kayura flatly as he sat down in one of the chairs scattered around his apartment. Once again his mood had turned rather sour. Somehow the Lady Ancient managed to suck the enjoyment out of nearly everything one tried to do. He motioned for Kayura to sit in another chair nearby. He was unimpressed, "That's a no brainer. Even Shu figured that one out. Do you at least know what any of it means? Or is what you've told me thus far the extent of your knowledge on the subject?"
Kayura's face went red. She sighed, her answer dragged out of her throat, "The Mashou and I are looking through all the writings we have. In fact, Naaza and Anubis are actually being useful in this endeavor. I believe that dream scared them greatly. I came here to ask you to get in touch with Nasté, Ryo. Her grandfather had access to some texts we do not have at the castle, and I feel it is important we exhaust all our resources in our search for information. I don't know how much time we have until this next battle starts."
Ryo nodded, "I'll have Seiji call her. He's always been the closest to her. At a civilized hour," he amended as he saw Kayura look to the phone expectantly. He continued, "So for now I guess the plan is research and train as much as possible, hmm?"
Kayura shrugged, "It seems those are the only things we can do for now. I'll check back every week to see how things are going."
Ryo nodded, "Right. See you in a week then."
Kayura got up from her seat and walked out the door of the apartment, leaving Ryo and his tiger alone in the dark space of his apartment. He turned to the phone and stared at it for a moment before picking it up again and dialing Seiji's number.
March 23, 2001 Odawara, Japan -
The phone rang over the running water, barely audible. Her afternoon would not be quiet after all. She turned off the faucet, set the plate down, and grabbed a dish cloth. She reached for the phone. Her hand hovered over it for a moment. A cold shiver crawled its way up her spine. She had a feeling that her carefully ordered life was about to go spinning out of control. The ringing of the phone, needy and constant, broke her hesitation. She had to put a stop to that horrible noise.
She picked up the handset and brought it to her ear, "Hello?"
It was Seiji, his voice seemed pained. Was he injured?
"Are you hurt, Seiji?" The words came out before she realized what she was saying. Why was there so much concern in her voice? Well, Seiji was a good friend and she wouldn't want anything bad to happen to him. He and the others had already been through so much, they didn't deserve to have any more pain in their lives.
"I'm fine Nasté, but I need to ask you a favor."
"What is it? Anything you need is fine by me." Why was she so eager to please him? He had saved her life on numerous occasions. That must be it, the fact that she owed him more than she, or any human, could possibly repay.
"It seems that trouble is brewing and we want to be prepared. We were hoping we could look through your grandfather's research. There might be something in there that could help us, a clue or something."
"Of course. You and the others are welcome to come by anytime you like." She could feel her pulse racing.
"It might take a while for us to find anything. Especially since we're not really sure what we're looking for. Who can say how long we'll be in your hair for, or how frequently you'll be seeing us. Are you sure you're okay with this?"
"Of course I am, Seiji. Do you think I don't know my own mind? Take as much time as you need. As you know there are plenty of spare bedrooms at my place, so don't feel embarrassed about spending the night. There's always room for you, and the others here." Ryo, Toma, Seiji, Shin, and Shu were all good friends. Nothing more. It would be nice to see all of them again, but there was no reason for her to be so excited by such a prospect.
"Thanks Nasté. I'll call back to let you know when you can expect us. First, I need to iron out all the details with the guys."
"Right. I'll be waiting to hear back from you."
"Okay then, bye."
"Bye, Seiji." There was a click from the other end of the line. Nasté hung up her receiver after hearing it. As she took her hand off the phone a slight giggle escaped her lips. What was wrong with her?
March 24, 2001 Sendai, Japan -
Bare feet shuffled back and forth across the padded floor. Their movements were methodical and repetitious. Each step followed the other in what seemed a set order, like a dance. That was as it should be. While these steps would look entirely out of place on a dance floor, they were part of a dance. A highly ritualized dance meant to prepare the practitioner for the oldest dance of all.
As the bamboo blade cut through the air, he let out a loud yell. His scream of "Ka" cut through the eerie silence of the dojo like the Nodatchi of Light through Anubis's darkness, setting his mind at ease and calming his nerves. Body and blade flowed effortlessly through the steps of the Kata, one designed to for fighting multiple opponents. Just then he heard movement behind him. Like lightning he pivoted on his back foot, raising his sword above his head. He stepped towards his target, bringing his blade down in a vertical slash. He let out a loud "Ka," shattering the darkness of worry encroaching on his heart, at least for the moment.
There was a loud clap and his blade stopped its downward motion. He tried to raise it, to continue the Kata he was practicing, but it wouldn't move. The Kata had put him in a meditative daze, which started to lift as he struggled to raise his sword. He saw the world around him. He comprehended; it was clasped between two withered, liver-spotted hands which seemed too frail to have stopped his attack. However, their presence on the blade said otherwise. The young man hadn't needed a demonstration to know the owner of those hands was capable of such a feat, but he had gotten one anyway.
"I apologize. I should have announced myself before approaching while you were in the middle of a Kata I know better than most how you get. It's just that I have not seen you here in quite a while. It is nice to see you again, Seiji." With that said, his grandfather let go of the bamboo blade and clasped his hands behind his back. Date-sensei, as he insisted he be called to this day, was quite old. His skin was like old parchment, his build skeletal; though he did not resemble a skeleton so much, as his skin seemed to hang loosely from his bones. Everyone in the Date family moved very carefully around him, as they all seemed to think Date-sensei was made of the most delicate porcelain. At moments like this, his grandfather proved just how wrong their impression was.
"It's alright Date-sensei. I should have been paying more attention to my surroundings. I should have recognized your footsteps," was the meek reply Seiji offered his grandfather.
A great guffaw filled the dojo, originating in Date-sensei's belly, "Of course you should have been paying better attention to your surroundings. I've been telling you that since you were six." Date-sensei began to shuffle across the dojo, in the general direction of the equipment room. Once more the old man's voice cut through the silence of the dojo, as he spoke over his shoulder, "Have you been practicing? Other than just now, of course?"
Seiji quickly turned his back on his grandfather. Allowing the man to see your face while lying was a fatal mistake. Date-sensei hated lying and he would catch you in a lie, if he was looking at your face. "Of course I have been, Date-sensei."
A light and knowing chuckle carried across the room to Seiji's ears. "Prove it," his grandfather's voice was suddenly full of strength and challenge, the man sounded like a twenty year old. Seiji spun around to face his grandfather and found the man emerging from the equipment room carrying a practice sword and two sets of Kendo pads.
Seiji's jaw hung open, he snapped it shut, the rest of his body going rigid with the action. Regaining his composure, Seiji responded, "I am not going to fight you, Date-sensei."
Date-sensei shuffled back across the dojo towards Seiji, still carrying all the equipment. He snapped at his grandson, "As I recall, I am still the master of this dojo, I am still your Sensei in Kendo, and I am your grandfather. As far as I am aware that means you are obligated to do as I say. You, young man, do not have the luxury of refusal when I tell you to do something. Is that clear?"
A silent sigh passed Seiji's lips as he bowed his head in acquiescence, saying in a clear voice, "Yes Sensei, it is clear."
Date-sensei nodded his head in approval, "Now get over here and help your 'ailing' grandfather with this equipment. Then get ready to spar." Date-sensei stopped shuffling across the dojo and waited for Seiji to come to him. The old man was waiting in the center of the dojo floor.
Seiji walked over to his grandfather, the canvas of the padded floor rough against his bare feet but providing sure footing. He took one set of Kendo pads and a mask from his grandfather. He donned the equipment, his grandfather an eerie reflection of himself. Finally, he picked up his sword, bowed to his grandfather and slipped into the fighting stance.
As Date-sensei slipped into the fighting stance, a small sigh escaped his lips, "Ah, that is much more comfortable." Seiji then found himself looking right into his grandfather's violet eyes. They were filled with an undying fire, even at his current age. This would not be an easy fight. "You ready then, Seiji?"
July 14, 2000 Sacramento, California -
He looked across the table at his wife and smiled weakly. She reached across the dark wood of their kitchen table and gently squeezed his hand. Her smile gave him confidence, it always had, and she flashed it at him now. He let out a deep breath, gathering his composure. His company was transferring him to the New York Office, a big promotion. The only problem was going to be telling his daughter they were moving. Such news never went over well with teenagers.
The laughter of a group of kids approaching grew into audible background noise in the kitchen. It seemed to fill his head, plaguing him with unjustified guilt. Claire was happy here. Who was he to tear her away from her friends? Her father, of course, and he was looking to ensure the financial security of his family. He had no reason to feel any guilt at all, too bad that didn't make it go away. He was recalling, all to well at the moment, how he had felt when his parents had told him they were moving in the middle of his High School years. He didn't want to make his daughter feel that way, or hate him and her mother like that, but there was no real choice, it seemed.
There was an elongated creak as the front door was slowly opened. "Alright, see you tomorrow, Claire," a boy's voice carried into the house, accompanied by the happy laughter and jokes of a group of teenagers. It was such a rare sound for a parent to hear, a sound that carried with it a sense of distance and separation.
"Yeah, Danny, I'll see you guys tomorrow," his daughter sang back. As he heard the tone in her voice, he knew it wouldn't last long. She'd see this news as an attempt to destroy and control her life. Claire would not be pleasant company for the next few months.
"Claire, would you come into the kitchen for a moment," he called out to her. "Your mother and I have some news we need to share with you." Need to share, yeah, that was the right phrasing. They didn't want to share it, but they certainly had to.
Claire stepped into the room, flipping red hair over her shoulder to get it out of the way. He smiled, thinking she probably forgot that the boy, whose attention she was trying to get with that action, wasn't around any longer. "What's up?"
"Why don't you sit down." Claire walked cautiously to the table and sat down slowly. As she sat a slight frown flashed across her face. It seemed the walls were going up already. The tone of his voice must have given away more than he thought, "I got promoted at work."
His daughter gave him a cockeyed look. "That's what you wanted to tell me? That's great news dad, congratulations. Sorry if I sound a little odd, it's just that I thought you were going to tell me bad news. Can I go now? Are we done?"
"Not quite," he took a deep breath, the bombshell was about to drop. "See, I also got transferred to the New York Office when I was promoted. That means we're going to be moving."
Claire shot up onto her feet, "WHAT?! No, we...I...NO!"
Katherine reached a hand toward Claire, trying to clasp her daughter's hand, "Claire, it's okay. Just calm down, take a few breaths." Claire flinched away from her mother's hand, but Katherine caught her hand anyway. As Katherine soothed her, Claire closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths, she took her seat once again. "See, that's better, now just take a few moments to gather your thoughts."
Claire extricated her hand from her mother's grasp and opened her eyes after a few moments, if you could call it that. They were barely visible slits, "I don't want to move. At least, not across the country, up the street, maybe. I like it here. My friends are here."
"I know that Claire, but you're going to have to start saying your goodbyes. We have to move. You'll like New York. We're going to move to Larchmont, it's the town I grew up in. You'll make plenty of new friends. There's really nothing to be upset about." He knew those last words were a mistake as soon as he said them.
His daughter's eyes flashed with fire, "I don't want new friends. I want my friends, and I want my school. So don't even try some stupid line about how I'll just love my new school, because I won't. I promise." She spat out that last bit like it was acid. "Now, I think this conversation has run its course. So, if you'll excuse me." With that Claire turned on her heel and stalked out of the room, taking all its warmth with her.
He turned to his wife and smiled weakly, "Well, that went well. Wouldn't you say?"
Katherine's only response was to give his hand a reassuring squeeze. Everything would turn out okay. Eventually.
I'd appreciate any feedback anyone is willing to give. Just contact me by e-mail or through the site. My only request is that you put something in the subject line about your e-mail being in response to my Ronin fanfic. I get a lot of spam, and I tend to delete mail from SNs I do not recognize. If you put something about your e-mail being about my writing, I won't delete it and then I will respond to you; if you don't do that I can't guarantee anything. My e-mail address is in my profile.
Thanks for reading.