the Setaki Shadow ClanChild of mischief knelt on the bank of a small pond. A large cherry blossom tree burst out proudly from the ground behind him. Petals floated on the water and danced in the wind. The child stared into the water’s surface, gazing at his own reflection. He smiled as he narrowed his eyes and bobbed his head up and down flailing his hair. He stopped then felt the curse mark under his left eye.
The curse mark was etched into all Setaki youth’s skin at birth. It was a tradition that was thought to be ancient. The elder’s brother, Echikas, always spoke of it being held at high esteem; the source of the Setaki Clans’ power.
The actual power itself within the Setaki was a rare talent of 80 percent control over their brain. This enabled the Setaki warrior to be more efficient; more lethal. It prolonged there endurance and sharpened their senses.
The initial plight of this power was one to be held with pride; however the elder, Tsumakasa, would constantly hold private talks with the mischievous youth. With every discussion the boy seemed to believe that his elder, and greatest mentor, saw this power as a grave burden; and he began to feel this way too.
“Brother, Tsumakasa-san wishes to speak with you.” Came a male voice. The boy of mischief turned to see none other than his older brother Rain. He was two years younger than his brother.
When youth’s of the Setaki clan turned eight they were sent on a quest to prove their valor and establish a true foothold within the warlike society. During the quest the child was forced to use all of the skills learned to function in a single act that would either turn the child into a warrior or destroy the child.
“It’s about time you went on your quest and made something of yourself.” Rain said to his younger brother as he crossed his arms and looked down at him. The boy of mischief stuck out his tongue at his brother. Rain grabbed his little brother’s head and dragged him back towards the mansion.
Rain tossed his brother on the ground in the middle of the mansion. All of the family members alined the walkways around the center area. They looked on with judging faces. Tsumakasa and his brother Echikas moved towards the boy. The child of mischief slowly stood to face his elder. Echikas crossed his arms and let out a low, “Humph!” The boy looked up at Echikas; he never really liked the guy all that much.
Tsumakasa looked at him then placed his hand on the small boy’s forehead. “Today I shall send you on a quest. Once you have completed this test you shall no longer be known as ‘The child of mischief’, but as whatever name I see fit to bestow upon you after evaluating your actions during the quest and the outcome of the quest.” Tsumakasa stated as he motioned his arm towards the crowd. “If you would please arm this boy with the weapons you see fit.” Tsumakasa called out.
A tall young woman with long black hair and blue-gray eyes moved towards the child. She knelt down towards her younger cousin as she strapped a leather belt around the boy’s waist and placed a leather shoulder strap over his right shoulder. She tightened the strap then connected it to the waist belt.
“Dawn.” The boy said in an uncertain voice. Dawn looked at her little cousin, she saw the fear within his eyes; his big brown, watery eyes. She hugged him placing his head close to her chest as she said, “be brave I’m sure you’ll come back with the name of a great warrior.”
“One greater than Rain?” The boy asked.
Dawn laughed as she nodded then said, “Yes, one greater than Rain.” She then held out a weapon unused by a Setaki warrior in decades due to the immense amount of skill necessary to properly wield the weapon; the chain and sickle. The boy took it with shaking hands and fumbled to place it in its loop on the side of his shoulder strap. Dawn placed her hands over her younger cousins’ as she guided the weapon in place. She then kissed the boy on his forehead as she stood up.
Dawn then stepped back so that she was beside the elder. “He’s going to use that!” someone from the crowd shouted; in an instant the corridor was filled with laughter as the young boys own family members looked down upon him with hateful eyes. The boy closed one of his eyes as he frowned; Rain folded his arms and slouched his stance, his light blue eyes gazed upon his younger brother. Don’t die; he said in his mind. Show these bastards what we’re made of; he thought as his brother looked over at him. Rain nodded his approval to him.
The boy of mischief’s eyes narrowed as he turned towards the three family members before him. Dawn smiled as she noticed the change in her cousin’s confidence. Echikas let out another, “humph!” as he too caught wind of the boy’s confidence. Tsumakasa raised his hand up at a ninety degree angle. Everyone grew silent.
“Out of the valley, past the mountains, and deep within the forest there lurks a group of monsters.” Tsumakasa said; everyone listened in interest. “They have not yet attacked anyone but are dangerous to be left alone; dispose of them.” Tsumakasa commanded. The boy nodded as he turned towards the double doors leading out of the family mansion. Two Setaki shock troopers pushed the gates open as the boy walked off towards the future. Good luck my disciple; Tsumakasa thought. Good luck sweetheart; Dawn thought at the same time as her elder. Good luck brother! Rain thought as his eyes followed his younger brother’s figure which vanished into the sun that sat ominously on the horizon.
The boy’s eyes scanned the area before him. It was the dead of night and only a slight light from the moon was present. He sat atop a branch in a tree in the middle of a vast forest. Below him was the dark forest floor. His heart began to race as he saw what looked like a large dog walk out into the open. Soon eight more dogs followed suit; however each one looked like a different breed. They’ve been injected with rabies. The boy thought as he drew a kunai from his jacket. He sent the knife flying into the side of one of the dogs as he hunkered down into the tree. The dog wailed and whimpered as it attempted to chew out the blade. The other dogs looked around quickly. Finally after about twenty minutes the dogs continued their journey leaving the injured k-9 limping behind them.
The boy cautiously followed a trail of blood. After about a minute he felt butterflies in his stomach. In an instant the pack of dogs converged on the boy. Three went at him immediately. The boy back flipped as he sent knives and shuriken into the three aggressors. He knelt low as he widened his legs apart. His eyes shot around as he clenched his teeth; the pack of dogs surrounded him. All of them seemed to bark in unison as some paced around back and forth. The boy kept his eyes on each dog as he fumbled with the chain and sickle. He held the sickle in his left arm as he brought the knife end into his right. He reached out with his arm spreading the chain.
He lowered his stance some more; as he did so he looked more like a wolf than a human; a wolf who was surrounded by inferior beings, a wolf who was ready to kill. In an instant the boy loosened the chain as he spun it around and out. He flipped and spinned as he transferred motion from his body to the weapon; tearing dogs apart as he did so. In the distance the whimpers and howls of dogs could be heard.
The boy limped through the forest. He dragged his weapon in his left hand and held his right arm across his stomach. Blood trickled down his head, his arm, his chest, and his leg. He looked up at the morning sky as he fell down backwards.
Awww, crap; he thought as he lost consciousness…