ADA Ninjaz — The Origin Finale
948 A.D. — Rural Ninava, Lakontey Province
Breathing like an animal and surrounded by his burning workshop, Tsukuyomi looked down at Mizuki. She was as beautiful as the day they had married. Yet after a whole life spent together since childhood, here she was, lifeless on the floor.
The blood around her abdomen drenched her clothes and muddied the dusty floor around her. He clenched his fists and realized the katana was still in his hand, the fresh blood dripping from its midsection, down the glowing blue-veined side and off the sharp tip. His hands were shaking softly. He couldn’t believe this was how it had to end.
A faint gasp made the blacksmith turn and he saw Kamino just outside the entrance to his estate. The boy hadn’t seen him yet but he knew he would eventually, so Tsukuyomi quickly picked up the pale little girl that lay next to Mizuki and scurried off, sword still in hand. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with the katana but as for the girl he still had no clear plan.
Tsukuyomi watched as Kamino ducked behind the fence. He hurried past it and continued in the direction of the treeline at the far end of the estate. Tears streaked down the blacksmith’s face as he looked down at the little girl he held in his arms, as delicate as a new blossom, in stark contrast to the bloody katana.
Tsukuyomi turned back to look at what had been his home his entire existence. Every memory he had ever cherished or learned from had been centered around what was now just a blazing and twisted husk. All the work of generations of his family, snuffed out in a matter of minutes by his folly and intemperance. The fire licked the sky. He knew this was the end, there was no turning back for him now. They would never allow him to live.
He could just make out Kamino through the tears and began breathing in to shout out a last goodbye to the boy that had so eagerly watched him work the last few months. The roof of his workshop collapsed, sending embers spewing into the dark sky. His words were caught in his throat, choked by the horror of it all. He could not bear to watch anymore so he turned and ran as fast as he could, the girl and the katana still in his arms. He disappeared into the darkness before Kamino had time to turn around and see him one last time.
— — — — — — — —
The way up the mountain was treacherous but he had traversed it many times in the past. He knew the steep escarpments and sharply turning paths from a lifetime of trips to the north-western face of the Lakontey’s main body.
The trip took him most of the night as he paused often to take a breath and look back at the soft glow of his burning estate, so far away now it seemed like a simple campfire in the distance. As far and seemingly tiny as it might have seemed, the images of the burning inferno of his childhood home were impossible to shake off.
Nearing his destination, the glow from the estate began to disappear under light of the coming morning that overpowered its luminosity. He arrived just as the sun was starting to peek over the horizon of the mountain ranges.
The cliff on the north-western face of the mountain was a sight to behold. Dropping straight down about one hundred and fifty meters, the cliff overlooked a massive expanse of the sea at the northern end of the Ninavian country. Only a few islands of craggy rocks dotted the close surroundings, most likely formations created by the debri of the millenia of waves hitting and tearing away the side of the ancient Lakontey cliff.
Tsukuyomi neared the edge where a single massive rainbow eucalyptus towered over a set of boulders a few meters from the ledge. He set the pale little girl down onto one of the boulders and the katana on another.
Looking up at the colorful tree, the blacksmith couldn’t help but reminisce about all the moments he held dear that had occurred right under this tree; his first trip out of the farm with his father followed by the first words of wisdom he had ever imparted on the young boy. Trips with Iwaro and the rest of his childhood friends with their first adolescent drinks, mostly spat out in horror as they asked themselves how grown-ups could drink such disgusting liquids, all except Iwaro of course. Trips alone, to find time for himself away from the pains of losing his family and not being able to have one of his own. His first kiss with Mizuki, the only true love of his life…
He turned to the sword and stared at it as the fury boiled up inside of him. He grabbed the handle, lifted it high up in the air and, with something like a war-cry, struck down with all his might towards one of the bare boulders.
— — — — — — — —
“Dad! DADDYYYYYY!”, Kamino was panting and shouting as he reached the door of his home.
His father, Jensu, came out in his town guard uniform, “Where have you been Kamino?! Your mother and I were getting ready to go out and look for you! Were you at Tsukuyomi’s again? I told you only to go when I give you permission, and never so late!”
“At Tsuku’s… yes… but dad… he…”, Kamino choked between gasps of exhaustion as he tried to string words together.
“Do NOT ‘but dad’ me… Get in the house right now!”
“Tsuku… please papa… you have to go.”
“Go where? It’s getting late and your mother’s already cooked for us. Whatever it is it can wait for tomorr…”
“Mrs. Mizuki is hurt!”, Kamino gasped for more air, “and the houses are on fire! He ran away!”
— — — — — — — —
The town guards flung the gates open with such force that they crashed against the stone fences and broke off the hinges. They flooded into the estate with carts filled with buckets of sand and water. Half the town seemed to be rushing in behind them carrying their own buckets.
The workshop was already pretty much a charcoaled husk of what it used to be. The main house, however, was still engulfed in flames. Most of the guards and townsfolk scattered around the building basically surrounding it, trying to put out the fire with the little water they had, as the rest went around creating a circle of sand around the burning edifice, getting rid of anything flammable that might be close by and tearing up plants and foliage that might aid the spread of the fire into the fields and forest in the vicinity.
As the main body of the crowd took care of the building, Jensu, followed by a couple of his fellow town guards, rushed into the remains of the workshop, covering their faces from the heat of the fires that still flew at them. They all gasped, almost in unison.
Mizuki lay completely still in a muddied pool of her own blood, her delicate porcelain white hands were still clutching the wound in her lower abdomen, small lines of blood falling down her pale skin from between her fingers. Miraculously untouched by the fire, she was as glorious a sight to behold as she was an unholy horror. No-one deserved such an anguishing end, especially not someone in her state, on the verge of bringing life into the world. The sight was only made more ghastly by the fine veil of powder that was beginning to cover her corpse from the burnt dust that was just now floating down and settling.
There was a second pool of blood, but the guards brushed it off, thinkgin she had dragged herself from one spot to another until her strength had waned and she finally collapsed at her final resting place. At least that’s what the guards wrote in their future report. No-one thought to question the report.
As the guards approached the body, the sound of the roaring fire was overwhelmed by an ear-splitting and much more horrendous sound. A truly monstrous roar. Not a single one of the townsfolk had ever heard something so monstrous in their lives, and as they turned to face the direction the sound bellowed from, they saw it; from the north-western side of the mountain, shooting straight up into the endless sky with no physical end in sight, a huge tower of blue lightning shook violently. The sheer size of it dropped most of the townsfolk to their knees as they watched, mouths open wide in a god-fearing daze, staring at the light like moths hypnotized by fire. The roar not only didn’t die down, it actually grew in intensity and fury, a slowly rising pitch that continued far beyond the capacity of any human or animal lungs.
Their hearts devoured by fear, most villagers were frozen in place, unable to do more than stare and tremble. It was only after the first few shrieks from the townsfolk were heard that the most dumbfounded regrouped their sanity and began to run. The whole of the town ran and screamed as if a choir in unison.
As suddenly as it appeared, it faded. Both roar and lightning evaporated into silence and darkness, but the screams of fear and panic still reverberated into the slowly brightening morning.
Back on the north-western side of the Lakontey mountain, three blue glowing pieces of what was once a katana of the most masterful craftsmanship flew over the edge of the steep cliff, dancing through the air reflecting the first rays of the morning sun. The magnificent view of the warm early rays that bounced off the waves and into the horizon easily betrayed the true horrors that had transpired that night… and would transpire in the future.
The water boiled fiercely where the pieces of the katana splashed into the sea. The waves folded on top of each other in a tumultuous war as they struggled to reach up to touch the sky. Below the surface, the hidden currents separated the three pieces of the master sword; first by a few meters, then by a few dozen, then by the vast distance of time, darkness and unwritten history.
— — — — — — — —
2033 A.D. — City of Asahi, Ninavian Capital
How he wished he could see it all. Devour the world with his eyes. If there was only a word that could encompass all its wonders.
A humongous book slammed on his desk, jolting him out of his daydreams and his chair. The teacher was standing over him, arms crossed. She called out his name…
“ADAN! Do my words boooore you!? Does nothing I or anyone say have any meeeeaning for you? Do you not vaaaaalue the cultural importance of our Ninavian folklore and mythology? The monster blacksmith should be a tale for all of you to learn from,” she picked up her book from his desk and looked down at the boy that still lay on the floor, “Oh Adan, we all used to have such high hopes for you… such a bright future… such a bright mind… waaaaasting away,” she walked slowly back to the front of the class, “with all those gaaaaaames and silly cartoon stooooories.”
Adan picked himself up and dusted himself off as the other students watched and giggled.
The teacher continued, “mark my words, you’ll end up being a no-one if you don’t start studying and getting better grades,” she turned around to face the class and raised her right index finger as if holding the truth of the world on its tip, “like the great 10th century Ninavian philosopher and poet Iwaro once said…”
The deafening sound of crashing metal shook the class. The commotion outside quickly grew to frantic screams. The clashing of metal upon metal piqued everyone’s curiosity, the whole class swarmed to the window. Adan was left behind, trying to get a better view of what was happening as he hopped behind the crowd.
Suddenly all the children ducked in unison. Something small and shiny was flying straight towards Adan’s forehead. He watched, feeling everything slow down as he curiously glared at the glistening piece of metal that was heading his way, not really knowing what it was. The shuriken hit with a loud thud as it impaled… a book…
The teacher, her motherly reflexes having snapped into action at the last moment, held out the book with the shuriken still impaled on it. Her face was frozen in a grotesquely twisted and shocked expression as her whole body shook in shock.
“Thank you…” whispered Adan. The teacher fainted and fell backwards onto the floor.
As the classroom peered back out the window, Adan placed his school bag under the teacher’s head, then made his way to the front of the crowded children and looked out the window.
Just beyond the school courtyard and outside the main gates he saw the back of a motorcycle completely embedded into the front of a car. It seemed the car had slammed into it at full speed, swallowing the back of the bike half-way into its hood and motor. ‘The bike seems miraculously intact for such an accident’ thought Adan, though he quickly found that what he was witnessing was no accident at all.
Next to the bike were two men moving erratically. Adan thought it strange at first, not quite sure what the strange movements were. Not until he saw the flashes of light and slight blue glow of their katanas flying through the air.
“That’s an Aramar Guardian! Who’s she fighting?!” one girl shouted.
“That has to be an Atsuko, look at the panther on his jacket!”
The two men didn’t surrender an inch of ground as they swung and parried deathly blow upon deathly blow. The fight seemed perfectly matched until the Atsuko warrior feigned a strike and doubled back, swinging his leg and forcing the Aramar Guardian to change his pivoting point. The katana flew true towards the neck of the Guardian, but stopped in mid-air. A ghostly blue apparition held the blade in its hand, its animal-like snout snarling as it neared the Atsuko warrior’s face.
The warrior slipped below the Spirit Guardian’s ghostly blue swing of its arm just in time, and from the same void that it had appeared, a second Spirit Guardian fell upon the first and began to tear at its torso with its claws.
The children didn’t know whether to cheer or scream as they watched the skirmish . Every detail of the fight, every moment and swing, pivot and roll, was absorbed into Adan’s memory forever. He watched on in awe. He didn’t want to get good grades, he wanted to do THAT.
As the two katanas clashed one last time, a shower of blue sparks and a wave of blue light emanated from their edge, blinding everyone around them for a moment. As the light dissipated, the Atsuko was nowhere to be found. Sirens blasted into the streets as three more Aramar Guardians jumped out of their cars to aid their clansman, looking around, searching for their foe.
“Everyone come with me, right now!” the principal had burst into the classroom and was waving his hands for the children to leave the room, “COME ALONG CHILDREN!”
The class scurried out the door, squeezing their way into the packed hall as all the other classrooms were being evacuated.
Adan stayed behind. He watched the Aramar with their Spirit Guardians floating around them. He had never seen them so up-close and personal before and stared until he saw some dust fall to his right, just outside the window. He peeked his head out and turned to look up, and there he was, the Atsuko clansman, climbing the last ledge and disappearing over the top of the building.
Adan had read so much about the Ninavian clans, he knew every little detail of their history and their lore. His excitement was visible as his smile stretched from ear to ear. It didn’t last too long though as he realized, in a moment of horrific realization, that he had never heard of the clans clashing in broad daylight. Especially not in Asahi, the most protected city in the world… Could it be? Could the rumours have been true? After so many years of peace?…
Were the Clan Wars really about to begin?…