Night slowly fell on the grand duchy of Jeuno. As the streetlights came on one by one, the people retired to their homes. Within hours, only a few remained on the street. All was peaceful and quiet, except on one street of the lower area. A man ran desperately, hoping that someone would find him and help him. He rounded a corner to get to the main road, but stopped dead in his tracks. A man, dressed in a black cloak with a demonic mask covering his face, stood in front of him.
“Who are you!” The man turned to run the other way, but two more stood in that direction. “Why were you following me?” His legs gave out, and the man slowly sank to the dirt. The first man in black strode up to him, and pulled out a sickle blade on a chain.
“With your death, he shall return,” the man whispered, and with one swing, cut the man’s head clean off.
“We must collect his blood before it becomes tainted,” another said. Suddenly, a fourth figure appeared, this time perhaps a woman.
“Fools! This was not our target. He hasn’t even reaches Jeuno yet. Depart to San d’Oria immediately!” she barked.
“Yes ma’am!” the three from before faded into the shadows, as if they were never there.
The start of many things
The streets of San d’Oria were packed full from the massive numbers of traders’ displays. The entire town turned out on this annual day, determined to find something they liked. Only a few paid no attention to the festival.
“Sensei!” A young man in the clothing of an eastern fighter ran through the crowd, desperately trying to reach the gate to the western Ronfaure. “Sensei! Damn him, he just took off with no warning.” The man finally reached the gate, just to find his teacher and guardian mounting a chocobo.
“Sensei, why are you leaving? You haven’t taught me everything yet.”
“Esuka, you have become strong, and there is nothing left to teach. The rest you must learn as you explore life on your own. Here,” Sensei Uryu handed Esuka nine scrolls. “These scrolls contain the knowledge of ultimate abilities fighters are able to unleash in hand-to-hand combat. Use them well, Esuka, and do not stray from the path. May Altana be with you, my son.” And with that, Uryu set off through the gate to the outside world. Esuka watched after him as long as he could, holding the scrolls tight in his hands.
“Now I must shape my destiny alone, eh sensei? Very well then.” Esuka walked back to his home, grabbed his claws, and left to practice on the local wildlife.
Tired, beaten, and lightly stained in the blood of his foes, Esuka sat against a tree, drinking water from his canister.
“Wow, there was more to kill today than I thought there would be. I should probably get back soon. Mog will be worried if I’m out too late. Esuka closed his eyes, and opened his mind to the world around him. The quiet stream, the animals trotting along, the birds in the trees, and someone else’s footsteps reached his ears. Gruff, unorganized footsteps were getting louder, followed by a loud grunt. Esuka opened his eyes in time to see an orc, large and mean with an axe in its hand, ready to cut his head off. Esuka ducked down, planted a hand to the ground, and landed a kick right to the orc’s gut. The orc, enraged and only bruised, swung at his head and missed, but only barely.
“Dammit, this is not a good time to fight something stronger than I am.” Esuka landed as many punches and kicks as was available, but the orc wouldn’t go down. Finally, a lucky slash tore at Esuka’s chest. His blood sprayed across the ground, and his strength was gone.
“So this is it huh? Heh, some student I proved to be.” The orc raised its axe, but stopped dead in its tracks. Blood spurted from a hole in his head where a large spear was embedded. The orc fell over, revealing a man in purple, spiky armor standing behind it. He removed his spear and stood over Esuka.
“Ryu, get over here. We need your abilities.” A small, blue wyvern descended over Esuka and breathed a white light over him. Esuka’s wound closed, and his strength returned.
“Thank you. May I have your name before you go?”
“It’s Synergen, or Syn if you want. You should be more careful out here. The beastmen are rising in number.” Synergen turned and walked away, his wyvern loyally following.
“So the beastmen are gaining power, are they? Hmm.” Esuka decided his day was over, and returned home to contemplate what happened over dinner.
Five figures appeared in front of the San d’Orian gate late at night, after the adventurers had all retired for the night. A lone soldier, taking his shift on the gate watch, stepped toward them.
“Who are you to be traveling this late with no gear or rides?” A kunai flew past him and embedded itself in the wall. Before the guard could realize it, his blood sprayed from his neck like a fountain, and he fell over dead.
“You, take the port district. You two take the northern district. You and I will take the south district. Find him and kill him, but lose the blood and I will take your head myself. Move.” Like shadows, the five cloaked figures departed, searching the quiet town for their prey.
No home left
“Welcome home, kupo!” Mog welcomed Esuka the same way as he had since they had met.
“So what’s for dinner, Mog?”
“Bread, soup, and the last of the ale.”
“What happened to the rest of our food?”
“You haven’t bought any since the summer festival ended.”
“…” Defeated, Esuka sat down and had his simple dinner. In mid spoonful of soup, he paused. “Mog, do you hear that?” He waited a few more seconds, then dives over the table at Mog. “Down!” The two of them hit the floor as the roof and west wall were torn off. 2 men stood there, dressed fully in black, strange weapons in their hands.
“Esuka?” one of them asked.
“Who’s asking?” a wire wrapped around his neck and drew him to the man in black.
“Are you Esuka?” the wire tightened around Esuka’s neck. The man was losing patience, and the next pull would suffocate him. Think fast, Esuka, think fast! Okay how did the scroll go? Focus your chi, release in three solid hits to any part of the body. Esuka’s body began to glow, a blue energy surrounding him.
“This must be him! Kill him now and take his blood!” one of the men yelled. It was too late. Esuka’s aura broke the wire. He dropped to the ground, and readied himself.
“1” He ran at his opponents. “2” Esuka ducked to avoid a blow from the 2nd man’s sword. “3!” Esuka reared up and released his energy. 2 blows landed square in the fist man’s chest. The 3rd, which he focused into a kick, struck the 2nd man across the face. He instantly fell dead; his neck bent over 90 degrees. The first man stood there, gaping at the six stab wounds Esuka’s weapons had left in his chest. Blood poured from the gaping wounds.
“This…. isn’t…. possible…” He fell dead to the ground, his last breaths coming short and painfully. Esuka got up and looked at the dying man.
“You…. think...this…is…. it? More of us…will come…. We will take…. Your blood… and he…. Shall…. Return….” With those words, the man in black died. Esuka, quiet with shock at his actions, turned to Mog, who had watched from the remnants of the house. His face was sprayed in the dead man’s blood.
“I don’t think it’s safe here anymore Mog. We should go.” Mog packed all of Esuka’s things in an instant and flew to his side.
“Where to now, Esuka?”
“I don’t know, but we can’t stay in this city anymore.” Together, they passed through the gates of San d’Oria, unsure of the future that awaited them.
“WHAT?! What do you mean you can’t find him in the house?!” The leader of the once 5 men screamed at her subordinate.
“We looked all over the location that the battle took place, but we found nothing.” The man whimpered in response.
“ARGH!” In fury, the leader swung her scythe cleaving the man’s head from his body. Observing the man’s blood on her weapon, she wiped it clean and hooked it to her back. “No more mistakes. Find him if you have to die doing it. If you come back empty handed, do yourself a favor and kill yourself beforehand. Is this clear?!”
“HAI, TAZUKI-TAICHO!” the 2 remaining men responded as strongly as they could. They quickly departed, fearful of being in their captain’s presence any longer than she would like.
“Where are you, you brat? I’ll find you. I swear it.” With those words, a vortex opened and engulfed Tazuki. In moments, it was as if no one had ever been there. All that remained of the dead man were two piles of dust where he had once lain.