Kourin's Tale: Chapter 2

As time past for Seiji and his mother, it soon came time for good byes once again. As his mother called him to her bed one morning he noticed that she was calm and peaceful as always, but something was shining in her eyes differently as she spoke in weakened tones to her son.

"My son. Now has come the time for goodbyes again. I am old and weak and I feel that I have served in my life most valiantly. You have stayed since the day you returned, and though it hurt you to see your old friends grown with families of their own. I know that it hurt you more that these once friends now see you as something dangerous and possibly possessed."

"I know that my boy has been changed. But it is a good change; he is strong and wiser than when he left on his journey to follow that vision that he had one day. You are kind and loving, courteous and wiser than your apparent years would suggest. Donít ever loose your way Seiji-chan for one day it will be your saving grace."

With those last whispered words, Seijiís mother slipped from life as regally as she lived it, and it was all that Seiji could do to hold back the tears that stung painfully in his eyes. Over the next few days he prepared for the burial in the family shrine and attended it. It was a painful time for most of the town for the Dates were a fiercely proud line that stretched back several dynasties. Now there was the family in remote parts of Japan but for Seiji. There was nothing left for him here in the village he once called home.

As he sold off some of the family possessions, he kept the title and deed to the house and lands that his parents had ceded to him when they passed on. He closed up the house and took only one thing with him. The family sword. With out it he was no one and nothing. This was his proof that he was a Date. Descendant of the One-eyed Dragon Masamune Date, and that his word was worth his honor on the battlefield or in peace.

He traveled about Japan and as he wandered through the years he changed his name several times to hide his secret. And each time, he kept his sword to prove the lineage. He came to desire a family and a place that he could call his own in the world again and so set about in a proposal and wedding to one of the girls on the farm that he was staying on for the month during the harvest and as he was asked where he would go to settle down with his intended he produced the still legible documents that he was the owner of the Date lands and property back in his home village. This was found to be acceptable and the marriage was blessed.

After they returned to his home and he gained her trust and she gained his. Seiji now known as Tananka spoke to her of his secret. Who he was and the whole story of his first 500 years. At first she was scared of him and fearful that she would be labeled as a witch because of her husbandís longevity, but was soon reassured that nothing would happen to her after he swore to her on his family sword that if she were in any danger because of him then he would defend her and then leave her. She agreed to this even though she loved him dearly and he loved her with all of his heart.

Later on they had a son and named him Kai. He was quiet and a generous child, but had the same problems as his father did when he was that age. A fever broke out amongst the people and try as they might they could not keep young Kai from the illness. He was ill and the fever weakened him to such a state that was painful to see.

Two weeks after the fever broke out in young Kai, Tananka had seen enough. None of the healing herbs that he knew about were working and the Wife that he loved as much as his son was worrying herself into the illness. As he eased his wife into rest with their favorite song and watched her sleeping next to Kai, he stepped out into the small grove behind the house.

Sitting in the meditation pose his body responded quickly to the years of discipline he had worked on and soon quieted so that his thought were the only part of him that were active. As he reached the level of calm that he knew would work he reached out tentatively to the spirit in his mind. ~Korin. I need your help.~

~I know, but are you willing to deal with the consequences of you helping your wife and son?~

~I donít care about the consequences. The town is starting to heal from the fever and still my only son is ill with the fever and will not last much longer. You and I both know that I will do anything for them.~ His thoughts trailed off as the first tear he shed in recent memory traced its way down his cheek.

~You are in earnest about this thought and the strength of your love for your family adds further proof of your vow to your wife. I will help you to heal your family, in return you must accept all of the consequences of the use of the abilities that you are about to use, for it will forever mark your branch of the Clan apart from the rest and this branch will one day be called to make the ultimate sacrifice.~

Tananka nodded in acceptance of the prophecy and focused on the kanji crystal that now sat before him and took it up in his hand. Focusing tightly around the orb he unlocked the crystalís energy and felt it flow about him turning into the armor that he had only used twice before in his life. Once he knew that he was fully armed, he walked back to the house.

Once inside he moved quietly to his wifeís side and put his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming at the visage before her when she woke up. As she came fully alert he was talking softly to her reassuring her and making sure that she understood that it was him under the faceplate and armor and that he was wearing them for a reason.

After he briefly explained what he was going to do to heal Kai she agreed to the terms that the Korin spirit had laid out for him he pulled out the Korin Ken and laid it on the boy. She caught her breath at the blade but kept her silence as she knew that Tananka would never do any thing to hurt their son. She watched him in awe as the green energy of the armor seemed to flow to the sword and to the boy.

Time passed as the meditation rituals that Tananka had performed with out fail everyday started to make sense to his wife and she started to relax as she could see Kaiís breathing start to ease. She left the room to make tea for all three of them.

As the healing started to take hold and cleanse the boyís system of the danger, Tananka was showing signs of age. The lines started to appear light and then as the healing progressed, they became deeper and more pronounced. With a solid flash of green light and energy the healing finished and the armor disappeared leaving only a green and white sub-armor behind.

Siri shrieked and dropped the tray of tea when she saw a blond haired, gray-violet eyed Kai up and trying to get his now aged father to wake up. His hair, once black, was now silver and the lines that were never so noticeable from his hours in the sun and weather and travels were now pronounced and he looked to be as old as one of the village elders.

Later that evening when Tananka woke up, he was terribly weak and he knew that he did not have much time left. The armor was true to its word. He was immortal until he received a wound that would be mortal. The energy that the healing took had aged him and left him with enough time to teach Siri and Kai about the Yoroi of Korin and its code.

As the oldest son, Kai was chosen to take on the armor by both Korin and Tananka. He trained hard and learned the fine art of meditation for all purposes. He listened to both Korin and his father teach him all he would need to know about the armor and the codes that a samurai upheld. Then he learned to fight with all manner of weapons but true to the family nature he was especially adept with the daitchi and no-daitchi.

When he was almost finished with his training he was called to his fatherís room with his mother. Siri had tears in her eyes but never let them fall as she stood behind her son as they entered. It was evening and the skies were especially clear that night as it was midsummer and the winds were from the north but were not cold as they blew gently through the shutters.

"Siri, I know that you were expecting to go first. But life is seldom what we expect it to be. Take care of Kai and until he is of age, the lands and properties of the Date family are under your guidance. The papers are already signed and are already in Kaiís name."

"Kai, my only son and of whom I am very proud. Come here." As Kai approached his father he could now see the strength that had held him to this point now had slipped almost away.

"Father, What is it that you would have me do?"

"Kai, you were always good and a friend to all. You trained hard and you now know almost everything you need to know to survive in this world. We are in perilous times for ones such as ourselves as we are different. Take care that you do not anger those that can take your life, and if you do be sure to always have more than one exit that they do not know about."

Tananka reached up to his neck and brought out the Korin Yoroi Crystal that glowed in the twilight with its ever-present energy. "This is yours. Take care of it and listen to Korin as you have listened to me for guidance in your moments of need. He will be there for you as he has been there for me. Should the time come for you to pass this crystal on to your own, keep it in the family. A son that will listen to Korin and that Korin will accept. He will not steer you wrong in the training of your children. If youíve no sons. Then the most likely of your daughters, for the time till come when the future may need him and the bearer of the armor."

Tananka handed the crystal over to Kai and as the crystal and chain flashed brightly at the change over, so did Tanankaís last breath so leave him and he was still. This was the first of many passings of the crystal for in the line of the family not every generation bonded with the spirit or the armor. Yet as the crystal was passed at the deathbed of the generation before, it was never chosen wrong and it was eventually passed to a young boy named Sage. And from there in his training the story ends and a new one begins as the beginning of the Ronin Warriors.