Chapter 1

All sounded quiet now. The young woman of Japanese descent dared to open her eyes. Slowly, carefully, weakly, and painfully she looked around the grounds of her home in the post-nuclear wasteland to find that they had indeed left. She also found the spot where he, her husband, lay on the ground dying. The young woman knew that if she did not act quickly he would soon be dead. But she would save him.

She let up on the hold over her wound, which unfortunately would continue to bleed out, so that she could crawl over to him as quickly as her failing strength would allow. She knew she was going to die, but she would not let death take her before she saved her husband.

The young woman reached him. His eyes were closed and he was still breathing, but more slowly as he neared death. Next to him lay his ragged shirt which had been torn off. She gripped the ring of artificial monkey teeth that was still planted in the skin just above his left breast and carefully pried it out. Blood began to run from the open wounds. She then tossed the teeth away.

That her vision began to fail and her hands were unsteady told her that death was closing in on her. She begged the higher powers for just a few more minutes with him. As deep a breath as she could take and as much concentration as she could muster, the dying young woman willed energy into her hands. She raised her right hand and quickly thrust it against parts of his torso, striking seven different regions, including around his heart, with a different sequence of fingertips.

It was a healing technique she had learned from their late Sensei. It would not work on her, for she had lost too much blood already. She felt joy when she saw his blood stop escaping and poisonous toxins seep from the teeth wounds. All that remained was for him to awaken. Unfortunately, she would be dead before he did.

The dying wife kissed him. "I know you will find Hana and bring our daughter home. I know you will do all the things Father Sensei has foreseen." Weakly, she repositioned him so that he was embracing her. She then lay to his right side, death only moments away, setting her arm across his stomach and her head upon his shoulder. "I have loved you and always will…"

Yori was no more.

"I have loved you and always will."

The voice of his wife sounded distant, like an echo.

The eyes of the young, Caucasian man opened slowly, his vision blurry. But as his sight righted itself, his awareness did too as he quickly felt pain near his left shoulder. He looked down and saw the unsightly wounds left by the monkey teeth. He remembered how painful the poison that entered his body was before losing consciousness. But now the teeth were no longer there and the wound was closed. His blood had dried over and around each of the sealed punctures. With focus Ron disconnected the sensation of the pain using a mind technique taught to both him and Yori by the man who raised them as his children.

Now that he began to feel a little better physically, with both the pain and the effects of the poison gone, his mind turned to more demanding issues. Where was Yori? At last he realized she was lying with him. Ron remembered her mortal wounding. And so to see if she was alright he called her name, even shook her gently. But she did not respond. The man knew now that she was gone from him, and he prayed with what little faith he now clung to that she was in a much better place than this world that had become Hell.

Ron mourned over her death and his failure.

As his tears ran their course, and with Yori still in his arms, Ron remembered the intrusion which led to his near death, her slow death, and worst of all the abduction of their only child, daughter Hana. Despite the best efforts made between his and Yori's skills, she could not avoid her mortal wounding and he could not fend off the intruders' leader – a man, too, raised by Sensei; a man who was supposed to be like a much older brother; a man passed over for the honor of being named Master of Tai Xing Peq U'ar. The title went to the recently revived young man.

"Why did you save me, Yori?" Ron cried in grief. "You're dead, Hana's gone, and I'm all alone. I couldn't protect either of you! I'm a total failure!"

"You are the successor to Tai Xing Peq U'ar."

Of all the times for Sensei's counsel to haunt him, it had to be now. Yet, suddenly much of the man's past words came to Ron. Once, Sensei taught him that he is the light and that the light must lead the world from dark times. He had foreseen things and told Ron that the children of the light would restore life to the world.

Dismissing his grief Ron made a decision. He would find Hana and avenge his wife. Yori did save him. He would not let her last loving act be for nothing. Plus, people were out there dying. And he would not let his adoptive father's teachings be for nothing. Although it would mean leaving behind his home, a place he may never even see again, Ron decided he would set out in search of his daughter and kill the bastard who took her and left her parents to die. His traitorous brother, now his mortal foe, had a vision of the future, one where he stood as Supreme Ruler. His tyranny will spread without end. There will be misery and people will lose hope. But Ron was determined to put an end to Fisk's dream and in his quest he would protect the weak; defend those who struggle to survive from fiends who pillage and inflict pain and misery. Those who shared the vision of his sworn enemy as well as those with their own dreams of world domination will answer for their crimes.

After recovering from the blood loss and the deadly toxins, Ron buried his wife next to Sensei. Her healing technique left bruises, but these were now beginning to fade. After gathering provisions for his journey he then removed from a hidden compartment three crystals. He bound in twine around his neck the yellow one and tucked away both the blue and red ones. Then he set out.