ADA Ninjaz - The Origin (pt. 1)

948 A.D. — Rural Ninava

“MONSTER!”

The young boy, barely twelve years old, looked in the direction of the shout, watching on as flames engulfed another section of the Blacksmith’s workshop. Fire licked the sky, giving shape to the surrounding barren field on one side and forest on the other. His eyes reflected the growing flames as he hid, his grimy hands holding on to the entrance fence of the humble estate, muck caking the underside of his nails.

The sizable, looming figure he had studied so well over the years rushed out, dashing across the waist-high grass, past the fence — which the boy had now completely ducked behind — and towards the tree line at the northern end of the estate. As the young boy peeked over the fence once more, he saw the curved streak, no longer than a palm’s width, shine on the back of the figure’s head surrounded by its short dark hair. The large scar, so familiar to the boy, reflected the ambient light. The figure seemed to be heading in the direction of the Lakontey Mountains, which dominated most of the moon-lit sky in the forms of sinister, almost silhouette-like waves across the darkened heavens.

The figure stopped for a moment, right on the edge of where light was being swallowed by the trees and darkness took over. It turned to look back. The blacksmith’s face was enveloped in the flickering light of the growing fires, contorted into what our youth could only have described as “monstrous” from the perspective of his young mind.

It never made it into the future legend, because the boy wasn’t sure if he had seen it or not, but, between the orange and red reflections on his distorted face and the blood that was splattered across his forehead, a few silver tears streaked down his rugged face and into his beard. What did make it into future legend, however, is what the boy saw he was holding in his arms as he ran.

The first object wasn’t much of a surprise since he was known far and wide for his work. A descriptive detail thought unimportant at the time and only there to paint a better picture for the lore. A katana of the finest craft, glistening silver, gold and crimson, capturing the light created by the destructive forces devouring the workshop and turning it divine. Viscous streaks of dark red liquid dripping down half of the blade, from mid to point, and onto the grass next to the blacksmith. The boy could have sworn that the katana was radiating a light blue sheen from its inside, almost of its own volition. But that never made it into the legend either.

All records of the myth have the same exact version of the second object he was cradling in his arms; her hair black as coal, naturally contrasting her soft, pale face. The young boy couldn’t see more than what was hanging out of the hastily wrapped rags that enveloped her small body. He could see she was not much older than himself. One thing did strike him as strange about this girl. The only other detail he could see hanging out of the rags. Her bare feet. He looked down at his own filth covered feet and back up at the girl’s. Hers were delicate. Clean. Too delicate and clean. Unlike anyone from his village or from anywhere he had ever been.

A crackling roar broke the trance-like state this girl’s visage held over the young boy and he quickly darted his eyes to the section of the blacksmith’s workshop that had just crashed down, blocking out the sky above it with countless points of bright ember in their hideous, swirling dance above the thatched roof. The young boy’s eyes, wide and horrified, moved back to the forest’s edge. The blacksmith, along with the katana and the girl, were nowhere to be seen.

The spectacle was wild. A mix of awe and fear crashing over the boy. Feelings that quickly turned into one single rancid bubble of horror and nausea when he finally saw it. A beautiful, porcelain white hand, in a pool of blood. He ran. He ran as fast as he could. Back to safety. Back to the village. Back to his father.

2033 A.D. — City of Asahi, Ninavian Capital

“Legend says he still comes down from the Lakontey Mountains once a year, during a crescent moon, with his long list of children that deserve punishment, wraps one in his dirty rags and takes them away, never to be seen again. A classic folkloric myth from the north of Ninava that’s comparable to multiple parallel folkloric characters from around the world like Santa Klaus, Krampus… Does anyone have any other examples?”

Silence covered the classroom, only one hand shooting up; a young girl, shuffling in her seat and squeaking at the chance to show her immense knowledge. The teacher ignored and looked past her at a young boy, sitting a bit away from the rest of the class, staring at the wall.

His full attention was absorbed by his daydreams and a map of the world that, by its yellowish hue and cracked edges, the school had obviously acquired long ago. His eyes were affixed on Ninava, softly nestled in the far east of the map, South East of Japan. Its crescent-moon shape sprawling as far north as Sendai and as far south as Manila. The archipelago section of the nation was mostly on the southern part of the landmass, reaching down towards the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border. 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. He also, much later, would wish he had paid more attention in class, as the legend being told was soon to have a new chapter. One in which his choices would be remembered for the ages.

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…

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