Ballad of the Samurai II: Requiem
It was said throughout the eons that Elementals have existed and that The Reaper was the first; the first of their kind who had mastered their abilities and gone beyond imaginable bounds. The Reaper had become an absolute power; a power so terrifying legend said he feared it himself. Although legends aren't always true, they are based on some grain of truth.
There was another who feared the Reaper. It was because of him that the Reaper came to be. For everything in nature there is a balance and so it was with this great evil.
It was called Abyss. Its name given to it by its greatest opposing force, The All.
Just as Ying has Yang, just as a coin has two sides, Abyss was the counterpart to The All. The All was a force that existed in every portion of the Universes. To help control Abyss and minimize its impact on the worlds of man and beasts, The All divided all the planes of existence into Four Quadrants. Every Quadrant was assigned a Keeper, who deemed someone worthy to stand the tide against Abyss. The Keeper was also responsible for choosing its Avatars, to help in The Keepers mission. Every Quadrant was different and encompassed innumerable planes of existence.
One Keeper created its Avatars, The Six Guardians of the Quadrant, to help it with its mission to find the one to stand before Abyss. The six Guardians were beings who could move from one dimensional plane to another, watching over all its in habitants, by taking the form which suited each plane's people best.
And so, with the Keeper's consent, the six avatars searched their Quadrant for candidates worthy of being called The Reaper.
Meanwhile Abyss was free to roam and expand to whatever its black and sinister will desired.
Four of the brothers stumbled upon two races that fit into their designs.
One was a race that called themselves Dragons; they were fierce beings. They were massive, powerful, frightful, wise, and versatile.
The other race was much different. They stood on two limbs, and they were no less deadly than the Dragons; in fact, they were much more dangerous. They called themselves Amni-Ra and were neighbors to the massive Dragons.
Dragons had a natural talent for fire, while the Amni-Ra had no predisposition. They did, however, have an uncanny ability with lighting.
The brothers observed both for a period of time, during which the Amni-Ra and Dragons clashed on multiple occasions. What surprised the brothers the most was the evenness of the battles. It would seem like the Dragon would slaughter the Amni-Ra; however that was a major underestimation of the Amni-Ra.
The skill with which the Amni-Ra adapted and overcame the Dragons was incredible. The Dragons would manage to kill one or two Amni-Ra, and lose a little less than fifty of their force.
The Brothers watched and wondered which was more suited for their needs.
Not long after they sent for their missing siblings. Upon being reunited all six siblings debated the issue of which race to favor.
It was a heated debate, for each brother had their preferences, but also admitted that each race had an advantage over the other. So they decided that they would favor both races.
The Amni-Ra were blunt, straight forward and uncaring about making good impressions or good manners.
Dragon's were blunt, forward and very concerned with manners.
A reason why the Dragon's could not get along with the Amni-Ra was that the Amni-Ra were a cruel and very cold-hearted people. There was one particular Amni-Ra who stood out, however, because she was not those things. What was worse, she was her people's leader.
She was named Liami, and she was the leader because she was better than all the other male Amni-Ra. She could beat them to within an inch of their lives and they knew it, so they respected her, or at least they respected her abilities.
The Dragon's were led by a black scaled dragon known as Thaeden. Where his charges could not stand the Amni-Ra, Thaeden was infatuated with Liami. She encompassed things that the dragon's themselves prized: power, skill and the wisdom to use that power appropriately.
The six beings approached both leaders separately, and each after much consideration agreed to meet with their respective people.
It was an outrage.
The Dragon's got a firsthand view of how Liami maintained order among her people. She beat it into them, and they either got it or they died.
The beings explained that Abyss was coming and the danger it posed if it continued to expand and consume universes.
The Dragons agreed that it must be stopped or contained, but also stressed the point that they were not strong enough to do such a thing on their own.
The brothers explained that they themselves could not interfere directly. They could however, grant them power to aid them, until such a time that a Reaper arose.
The Dragon's agreed and were granted the power of the six elements. Thus they became known as Elementals.
The Amni-Ra agreed to help them, but declined the powers. The brothers explained that, in their current state, they were inferior to Abyss or any possible minions he could bring to bear upon them as they.
"Amni-Ra are not afraid, we fight, we win, or we die; no more no less," she stated quite forcefully.
The brothers were quite taken aback; they had not expected the Amni-Ra to be so ... fearless. Even the enormous Dragons accepted their aid, why wouldn't they? If only the there was a race with the traits of both these, it would be the perfect solution.
Alas that wasn't to be.
And so the newly deemed Elementals began training in their new powers and abilities, while the Amni-Ra continued to hone their own skills. Two of the six guardians left to report to the Keeper, while the other four remained. It was those four that became known as 'The Sacred Four.'
During this time, Liami and Thaeden had become quite close and, in secret from their respective people, loved each other quite intensely.
But theirs was a forbidden love. After all, no dragon could mate with an Amni-Ra. Thaeden wanted nothing more than to love and share with the person he considered his mate.
Then one fine day, it happened.
Thaeden was upset because he could not do the one thing he longed for. He was flying over some terrain with little plant life, mostly made up of small jagged rock peaks and small hills of dirt and rocks. He saw this as an opportunity to vent some of his anger. He flew straight down at the rock formations and slammed into them sending debris and dust flying everywhere. He let his anger loose and he trashed, roared and destroyed everything within the vicinity.
Thaeden was having what could be called an 'out of body' experience. He could see himself wreaking havoc on the land surrounding him. He tried to regain control over his body and his emotions and found that there was a slight resistance to him retaking control. He fought with this force pitting against his will, his desire to stop the destruction he was doing to the land.
Suddenly the force he was fighting with for control seemed to ebb away and as it did, it left something behind. Something unknown and for no reason he could later explain to himself, he grabbed whatever it was that was left and opened his mind to it.
He wasn't ready for the amount of pain he experienced at that moment.
He roared as pain ripped every fiber of his being and his body shifted its inner workings and granted him what he desired; what would make him a complete Elemental. His body began to shape shift and become like that of an Amni-Ra.
He lost consciousness at one point so he was unsure how long he had been laying on his side, but when he woke he felt decidedly different. Looking down and finding hands like Liami's would have startled him If not for the fact that this, whatever it was, was everything he wanted. He was a new form, something previously unheard of. He had ascended.
Without so much as a thought he rushed towards Liami.
The Amni-Ra were hesitant at Thaeden's first approach of their home. Liami quickly made her way to the front of the commotion only to find someone like her but at the same time entirely different. Agreeing to meet with the being in private, Liami led him to her quarters and was surprised when the being's eyes changed and turned into miniature versions of Thaeden's golden eyes.
"Liami, young one, it is I," Thaeden spoke.
Liami froze; only Thaeden used those words with her and only when they were alone. She looked closer at his eyes, eyes that had never lied or deceived her and she knew this being before her was Thaeden.
They left the Amni-Ra home as covertly as possible and made their way to their meeting place, Gorah's Mountain.
Gorah's Mountain was not romantic in any way. shape, or form. It was named after Gorah, the coward, a Dragon who had been an unwelcomed sight with his brethren because of his gentle ways, which were frowned upon by Dragon's.
The mountain was the smallest of all mountains and looked in danger of collapsing at any moment. It was for that reason that no Dragon came here, and for that reason it made the perfect meeting place between the forbidden lovers.
They were nearing their location when a light ripped from the heavens and fell upon the rocks in front of them. Words in a flowing scripture were etched into the rocky surface which had been smoothed by the light.
The Reaper shall come of Two.
The One of Two shall be tested by death itself.
He shall stand before the dark one, in defiance.
Beware for the Dark One will not allow a weakness.
It shall move to eliminate that which threatens its existence most.
Fear not the end of the One, for it shall be the beginning of another.
The Elements shall be his guide, but they shall not be enough.
Servant and Master shall end together what they have started.
For the One of Two must reconcile the Triquetra within,
If he wishes to become The Reaper.
So have I, We, The All, Spoken.
They read the words and mumbled to themselves for a few moments without speaking to each other.
"Amni-Ra do not believe in prophecies, but it is hard not to believe when one falls from the heavens directly into our path."
"I am not sure what to make of this. I know it means fighting, it just isn't clear why or who will win; just that it will happen," Thaeden responded.
"Memorize it and we will destroy the original. I don't think either of our people will respond well to this news," Thaeden said.
Liami understood what Thaeden was saying; her people would ignore it and forget it, which would be a fool's mistake, and his people would obsess over it.
Still the question remained of what to do.
Whatever they decided, both knew the future of their peoples rested on their decisions, and thus, those decisions could not be made in haste.
Abyss watched as the guardians scurried to find a means to stop him, contain him, or be rid of him entirely.
Entering this plane had not been easy and staying was proving to be most difficult. He had already violated many commandments against this very action, but no one knew and no one cared as long as the ultimate requirement was fulfilled. Nothing else mattered.
Abyss had learned a trick or two in the eons he had been devouring dimensions. There were ways to bend or break the rules, and bend them he did.
He sent one of his conquered people, if they could be called people, ahead of him into the plane. They were the last remnants of an entire race from a distant dimension, gifted with truly amazing abilities. For those abilities Abyss chose the remaining few to do his bidding.
And so he sent them to Nariel to walk in the shadows, never once striking without being assured that no one knew of their presence. He cloaked their base, a ship orbiting Nariel and with one last final set of instructions left his minions to their task. After all, to be in this dimension, he had to break a rule and that took a major amount of energy. Thus, he had to leave or else risk being made a prisoner of this dimension and losing all his power.
It was the beginning of a lifelong mission for a young Kurei, one named Yurei, a mission that would encompass eons.
"I believe that is enough for the moment," the monk said.
"But Eti!" the children yelled.
"It is time for bed; we begin a new day tomorrow, filled with promise."
"But we want to hear more about the Legend of The Reaper!" one child called out.
"That will have to wait for another day. Once things settle, I shall tell you all more about the Reaper," Eti said.
The children grudgingly agreed to head to bed. Eti watched them leave.
"Children, if you only knew that the Reaper shall finally walk among us, Fulfilling the destiny denied to him eons ago."
Eti looked up at the source of power that fed all of Atlantis and gave the city its only source of light.