Chapter 1: The Boy In Blue
“Why don't you play with the others, Kyugen?” a motherly voice said to the little boy.
“I don't like being with them,” the boy responded to his mother. Her attire was casual, a red ribbon tying back her jet black hair, and her face showed genuine curiosity towards her son.
“And why is that?” she questioned.
“I feel awkward and I don't know what to say. I'd much rather be by myself, thinking. There's always so much to think about.”
“What would a boy your age be thinking about?” his mother asked.
“I'd like to know where the Rage Elementals come from, or why we have these magical abilities. Where does it all come from?”
“Now, now, that's not what a little boy should be concerning himself with. You'll have plenty of time to learn more about magic when you’re older, but while you're young, you ought to enjoy it! You're only going to be seven once, you know!”
“I don't want to be seven. I want to be old enough to help Dad, learn more magic, and become stronger. What can I even do being seven years old?”
“You can have fun. Kyugen, your father and I fought really hard to have the peace that we have now. Our clan wasn't always this way. You're very smart for your age and I have no doubt you'll live to become a magnificent mage someday. But for now, go out there and say hey to those kids. I know they will like you. You just have to give them a chance!”
Kyugen began kicking his left foot across the dirt, as if there were something more to it, and muttered, “But Akasa is over there, Mom.”
“Akasa, you say? Don't tell me you're afraid of a girl! Are you worried she'll give you cooties?” his mother teased.
“I'm not afraid of cooties or girls!” the boy retorted, seemingly embarrassed.
“Listen, Kyugen, you're a handful—yet you're not only shaping up to be smarter than I am, but I can tell you have your father in you as well. All the ladies want him, and before I got him, there were many women who tried fighting for him. But after a few memory wipes, he was all mine.” His mom smiled from ear to ear, appearing to be joking... mostly.
“But you told me never to use mental magic on people! You said it's dangerous and illegal!”
“You're very right, Kyugen. I was only joking, but you're completely right. Mental magic is dangerous and is now illegal. Do you want to know why?”
“It's because it can't be blocked and could cause serious damage, right?”
“Yes, Kyugen, that's right. Mental magic is the most powerful form of magic. ”
Kyugen's mother began thinking to a time three years ago...
A thunderous crash of crackling wall could be heard from the living room, and Kyugen's mother immediately ran to see what had happened. Standing among the rubble was a tan man with shriveled skin, and a dark purple cloak masking his face and body. The odd stranger spoke, “It seems it's just you here, so I'm sure you won't mind if I take advantage of this opportunity, now would you? I mean, I really just wanted some extra money, but now that I see what a beauty lives here, I'm thinking I can get an even sweeter reward!” The man grinned and drew closer to Kyugen's mother, cornering her.
“Please don't!” she exclaimed, trying her best to keep her distance. The creepy bandit sneered.
“Don't you worry, pretty woman. I'll wipe your memory after we're done. You won't remember a thing. It'll be as if it never happened. At least for you, that is.”
Kyugen, awoken from his nap by the commotion, came walking into the living room, rubbing his eyes. “What's the matter Mom—and who is that man?”
“Kyugen, run! Go!” his mother cried.
“Oh, there's a little brat here, too. At least there's no mages around. I put up an illusion spell, making sure no one will see us, hear us, or know what's happening. It means I can do exactly what I want and no one can stop me!”
The bandit moved in uncomfortably close to the mother. She began to tear up and repeated, “Kyugen, please go back to your room. Mommy can handle this.”
The boy spoke, confused, “Mom, why are you crying?” His mother couldn’t bring herself to answer. Kyugen did not understand the situation at hand, but he knew something was definitely wrong.
“Leave my mom alone!” the boy cried, refusing to go back to his room.
The bandit didn't listen and pursued with his tainted endeavors.
The second the bandit’s hand made the slightest contact with his mother's arm, Kyugen's eyes began to glow bright blue—and so did the bandit’s. His joints tightened and his control over his body was lost. His arms bent back, snapping both of them. His legs twisted as he grovelled in pain. No one on the outside could hear his screams, or else someone would have definitely shown up.
He became crippled and suspended above the ground by about six inches.
“I told you to leave my mom alone!” Kyugen bellowed. The bandit writhed in intense pain, his head cocked backwards and mouth agape, only to yell, “Please! Please, I'll leave! I'll leave!”
He let out a blood curdling scream and fell to the floor, pink goop oozing out from his ears onto the floor. His mother, astonished at what she had just witnessed, let down her guard—her eyes, which had coincidentally also been glowing the same as Kyugen's, returned to normal.
Once the law mages arrived, the bandit was pronounced dead. A simple scan spell showed his brain was turned completely to liquid.
A man walked up to the horrified mother. This man had shaved hair on the sides and longer black hair on top, styled backwards. He was well dressed with a scarf—a trademark of a law mage. He walked into the tragic scene and began analyzing it instantly; after all, that was one of his many specities.
“She's the wife of Genoji, the general that leads the defenses against the Rage Elementals,” he thought. “I know she could have taken this guy easily, but there's something more to it.” He looked over towards the boy and back to the mother. “It must have been the kid.”
“I'm Sheriff Locke.” The law mage whirled his index finger in the air, conjuring a portal through which he reached for his I.D. He continued helping Kyugen's mother through this experience, though he perceptively could tell that it wasn't the bandit that was bothering her. It was more so that her son carried with him the same power that she possessed.
That was a night none of them would ever forget.
Chapter 2: The Rage Elementals
Ten years had passed since that incident. Things were fine for awhile, if you could ignore the eminent threat that lay looming around the corner.
“Father, please let me go with you this time!” Kyugen exclaimed.
“You know we can't let you go, Kyugen. Your powers... you know what they could do,” his father told him.
“You and I are the last masters left of the Nankai clan. Please father, let me help.”
“Don't question my decisions, Kyugen. I won't say it again.”
Kyugen grew angered. “You just expect me to stand back as my clan dies off, all because the grand master had some vision?!”
“Kyugen, you have to understand. I love you, and we fought to keep you with us. The grand master's visions have never been wrong before, so I am compelled to follow his wishes.”
“But the grand master is dead, and our family will be next if we don't do something about this now.”
“I understand that, Kyugen, but do you remember the vision? Do you remember what he said? He said the clan will be met with fire, yet the clan will survive. However, should we let you join the fight, you'll not only be a victim to the fire, but the world will see a war like no other. This is the only way to ensure our safety as a clan, and most importantly, your safety, my son.” The father placed his hand upon his child's shoulder.
“You trust an old man's dying vision over your own son?”
Genoji, wishing he could get through to Kyugen, said “I sometimes wish you were a kid again, Kyugen. You were a lot more respectful back then. I'll see you soon, and I love you.”
Kyugen looked off, holding in his anger. He loved his father, but hated this decision.
Kyugen's father exited through the door and was greeted by a smaller, stouter man wearing a blue mage’s uniform.
“Master Genoji, our suppression forces are dwindling in size. We don't think we can hold them off at the Frost Walls,” the man in uniform said.
“I understand. Then we must go now, Tonzo.”
Genoji lifted his staff and a beam of bright blue light shone from it, opening the clouds in the sky. Another ray of light poured down that teleported them straight to the Frost Walls.
Fire burned all around them, and Nankai mages were not only fighting, but dying. Their awful screams echoed in the air as their flesh was seared from the cinders of the Rage Elementals.
“Where could these Rage Elementals be coming from? We have never seen this many before,” Genoji thought immediately at his first glance.
He and Tonzo took their respective staves and began swirling them around with both grace and power. Bright blue and purple lights flashed from them, launching with intense force at the Rage Elementals.
With each shot that hit, a Rage Elemental was destroyed, but the Frost Walls were melting and the Rage Elementals kept pouring in as if there was no limit to the monstrosities.
“Tonzo, I have a plan, but you're not going to like it.”
“I have to like it better than the current situation,” Tonzo quipped.
“I want you to retreat and escape with my wife and son. I'll stay here and hold them off with Ice Break.”
“But you know that won't last forever, Genoji!”
“I'm well aware, but it'll buy you some time.”
Tonzo hated to accept the circumstances, but did so, reluctantly. “Very well. See you, old friend.” Tonzo opened up a teleportation circle and traveled back to where Kyugen was.
“Now, meet the fury of the frozen, you fiends of fire!” Genoji spun his staff and anchored it into the frozen landscape beneath him. Cracks rushed towards the Rage Elementals—who had now slain everyone else. When the cracks reached them, ice shards erupted and encased the creatures in a thick layer of ice.
When Genoji planted his staff once more into the ground, the Elementals shattered into dust, carried away into the glittering sky above.
Genoji took a moment to meditate and reflect—but just as he was beginning to find his happiness again, more Rage Elementals poured into the Frost Walls, and his fate encircled him.
Chapter 3: Scars Burned Into Memory
A bright, mystical blue light appeared in Kyugen's home. The teleportation was done accurately, but in a chaotic manner, causing the resonance to destroy part of the surrounding area he teleported into.
“Tonzo?” Kyugen exclaimed. “Where's my father?!”
“Your father is back at the Frost Walls. He's holding them off, but everyone else is gone. We need to leave!”
“Everyone else is what?!” Kyugen was in a rage. His mother tried calming him. “Kyugen, let's leave.” She went to take hold of Kyugen's arm, but he brushed her away.
“Enough of grand master visions and riddles. Everyone wants to hold me back, even though I can do so much more than they ever could! I'm going to take this into my own hands before anyone else dies!”
“Wait! Kyugen!” Tonzo cried out. Kyugen's mother didn't seem too surprised. She had known this would happen and accepted it.
Kyugen spun his staff in a circle and planted it firmly on the ground, creating a rift to walk through. There he was, immediately placed onto the battlefield. Fires were blazing as the agonizing screams of what little remained stirred through the cold.
“There has to be something I'm missing, somewhere they are coming from,” he thought to himself.
Kyugen took the sight of a bird flying overhead, and now able to see over the mountains, Kyugen could spot several rage mages, using their will to cast endless Rage Elementals. “I need to go after them!” he thought. But then he saw his father lying on the battlefield, completely surrounded. Although he didn’t want to let the rage mages continue, Kyugen still had to choose to save his father.
He teleport-dashed closer to him. The beam of energy caught Genoji's eyes.
“Kyugen, what are you doing here?” Genoji yelled across the seared battlefield. He was clearly badly burned.
“Father!” Kyugen cried out. Without a moment to spare, Kyugen quickly began making his way towards his dad. Like water, he began fluidly taking out Rage Elemental after Rage Elemental, but there seemed to be no end. As he got closer to his father, one of the Elementals managed to get right on top of his dad. Kyugen attempted to teleport-dash across, but it wasn't quick enough to prevent the torrent of furious flames cast upon Genoji's body. He screamed out in pain as his body roasted.
Kyugen bellowed out a tortured cry as he touched his staff to his father's killer, completely obliterating it. “Father,” he said, looking down with tears welling in his eyes. His power grew and his eyes glowed blue, just as they did ten years ago, and ascended into the air. The air around him turned cold and ice viciously began descending upon his foes.
He then began teleport-dashing across the battlefield at an incredible speed, the likes of which no one had ever seen before; once he had traveled two miles, he arrived at a group of six rage mages. The mages began conjuring a relentless fireball to attack the incredibly powerful Kyugen.
Without lifting a finger, Kyugen had them under his control. The six mages’ limbs began twisting until they were broken, causing them all to collapse to the ground. The torture was finished off with a snap of their necks. The fireball that was cast at Kyugen was then redirected back at the helpless rage mages, but as they begged for mercy, their screams turned silent. The only noise that could be heard then was the crackling of the fires that burned them.
Upon defeating the rage mages, Kyugen returned to his normal state. His feet touched the surface of the frozen tundra once more, and he fell exhausted onto his hands and knees. Tears streamed down his face.
“I should have just saved my clan when I had the chance. Why didn't I go sooner?! I shouldn't have listened to the grand master. I was a fool!” He pounded his fist into the cold, hard tundra beneath him.
As Kyugen was beating himself up over what had occurred, the ground around him started to heat up. Runic symbols glowed red in a cirlce, and he was caught right in the middle of it. He looked up and saw, through the distant fire, a man with spiked hair and two handguns by his side.
“Who’s that?” he wondered aloud. He went to use his magic to scan the mysterious figure, but was immediately interrupted by a powerful flame that scorched Kyugen's body.
The fire encircled him, the pain immense. Kyugen screamed in agony as his life and recent memories of his father passed by him. He reached out towards the vision of his father and the peaceful life he once had. He kept reaching until his body could take no more and he collapsed.
Kyugen, his vision fading, could now see only the flames and the man with the twin pistols walking away.
To be continued in Spellslingers Origins: Kyugen, Part 2