Susanoo - Chapter 1: Blake Ghear
The noonday sun bathed Mysaro with its warm glow, provoking the villagers outside to enjoy the warm day, in contrast to the many days when the sky is obscured by cloud and the air by fog. When a village is set in a state of downcast weather for what seems like ten months of the year, people will take advantage of any warm day which comes their way, and this day was no exception. However, one young student who did not break tradition, even for such a rare day as this, could still be found on the outskirts of Mysaro, training his body beyond what the other villagers considered "utmost perfection". Sixteen-year-old Blake Ghear was setting up, and then leveling obstacle courses for himself, as he did every day, even when the thermometer hit minus thirty-five.
"Don't you think you'd rather be doing something else on a day like this?" an old man watching Blake's training asked after he destroyed his third hand-made course designed to hone his skills.
"I can't do anything else, master; I must become stronger. I must free Mysaro of Rodren!"
"Mister Ghear, on a day such as this, you are only hurting yourself... The conditions are too ideal for a body such as yours; trained to be fighting ready under the harshest circumstances. Muscles tear and repair themselves to grow stronger, but if your body is accustomed to much harsher conditions, working out on perfect days like this will only exhaust you; you will gain nothing!"
"Master Kong, you must understand. Even if my body gains no strength, my mental agility and reflexes must remain sharp, and in order to keep them sharp, I must never relent in my training."
Master Kong was silent as Blake collected wooden boards and other parts from his previous obstacle course in order to set up a fourth for the day. "I told you to stop calling me 'master' Blake. You've surpassed me a long time ago; you've surpassed everyone in Mysaro."
"I haven't surpassed Rodren."
"And you're not going to here!!" Standing up from the log on which he had been sitting, master Kong glared intently at the youth's face; the face of a young warrior-in-the-making.
"Then you suggest that I go out into the real world? Fight people of my own caliber to grow stronger?"
"Of course not; you'll die the moment you step into the outside world! Mysaro still exists solely because of the protection provided us by others!"
Closing his eyes, Blake rubbed his temples, the veins in his forehead bulging, as they did when he was concentrating.
"So what you're saying is, I can't get any stronger if I stay here, and I can't survive if I leave."
"THEN WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO!?" Blake's eyes had snapped open, rage fully evident all the way down to his core. He had taken a step forward as he yelled at his master, cracking the earth under his foot. "I REFUSE TO LET MY BODY SIMPLY GROW OLD AND DIE! I HAVEN'T BEEN TRAINING SO LONG FOR NOTHING!!"
The air then grew silent. Even in the heart of Mysaro, all voices were quieted, even if just for a moment, after Blake's intense moment. Dust particles, suspended from the ground as it cracked under Blake's footstep, seemed to fall quickly, suddenly, and synchronized as Blake began to calm down once more.
"I'm sorry, Blake... But people from Mysaro never become strong."
After a moment of silence, Blake looked up at his old master through spiky, black hair which had fallen across his face randomly after his enragement.
"This one does," he said, hitting his chest with his thumb. "Now fight me."
"Blake, you know I can't defeat you."
"Fine," Blake put his hands behind his back and grabbed onto his forearms. "I won't use my hands, how about that? Think you could beat me if I didn't use my hands?"
"I don't think I could beat you if your head were detached from your body, Blake!" Kong replied, laughing as he did so. Then Kong's face became serious again as he sat down on the log, gesturing for Blake to sit next to him. As always, instead of sitting, Blake simply stood before his master, nodding his head indication that Kong could speak, even though Blake refused to sit.
"Blake Ghear," Kong began, addressing his former student by his entire name. "Why do you wish to defeat Rodren?"
"To free Mysaro," Blake answered simply.
"Why do you think Mysaro needs to be freed?"
"What kind of question is that?" Blake asked sharply. "He knows nothing about us; he treats us like his personal servants! Demanding of us our grain, livestock, our earnings from trading; the taxes on all of these things are absurd! If someone pleases his eye, either he becomes Rodren's soldier, or she becomes his wife to be added to the collection! I can't tolerate any longer the way he treats the citizens of Mysaro!!"
"You have a good heart, Blake... But you haven't thought about this very well, have you?"
"What do you mean, master Kong?"
Chuckling at the fact that Blake insisted on calling him 'master', Kong continued. "Why do you think Mysaro is under Rodren's control?"
"Because he came to Mysaro, either killed off or converted all of our strongest fighters, and deemed this land 'his'!"
"That's not quite the whole story, my child. Mysaro has never had many strong fighters, mister Ghear; we've always been a trading village. However, despite out lack of physical strength, we were very good at what we did, which made us a target. Every other day Mysaro was invaded, plundered, and people were kidnapped or killed. Rodren came and offered us protection; under his sword, we are safe. Which is why we allow master Rodren to do as he pleases; if he becomes upset with us, he may no longer wish to hold Mysaro under his guard, and once again we become an easy and profitable target to all barbarians."
Throughout Kong's entire explanation, Blake listened intently, his face expressionless, veins bulging as he processed everything that Kong had to say. Everything made complete sense in his head, but when Blake began to think about Rodren being a 'good guy', all he could feel was rage towards this man whom he had considered a tyrant for his entire life.
"No," Was finally his response.
"No? What do you mean by that?"
"It means I don't accept your explanation; Rodren isn't our savior, and I'm going to kill him." Blake's voice was so plain, so expressionless, void of emotion, and yet authoritative, that Kong himself almost believed his words.
"I'm sorry, Blake, but it's the truth. If you asked any of the villagers-"
"I don't care if it's the truth; I know it's the truth. But I've decided to reject the truth until I can create a more convenient one."
"Blake, it doesn't work like-"
"Silence!" The force of Blake's word nearly made Kong fall off of his log, closing his eyes as he forced his body to stay on. "A great man once told me that reality is simply how you perceive everything, and in my reality, Rodren is evil!"
"I told you that, Ghear, and when I did you acted just like you're acting now; pretending what I said was nothing more than a collection of random sounds with no meaning!"
"In my reality, things go my way..." Running off into the center of Mysaro, seemingly completely oblivious to Kong's words, Blake continued to mutter to himself, switching to running on his feet to running on his hands in order to work his upper body on the way to town. Back at Blake's training field, Kong sighed.
"He'll never survive with such a mentality..." Then Kong stood and began to make his way back to the village; not to talk Blake out of fighting Rodren, no, that ship had sailed LONG ago! But wasting a day such as this one sitting alone was not high on the old man's priority list.
"Where is he!?" came a voice, distinct within the crowd of people creating a dull roar down the main street of Mysaro. Some people were forcefully shoved out of the way, while others moved willingly to avoid the raging Blake Ghear rampaging down the road.
Despite Kong's warnings, once Blake had made up his mind, there was no changing it. He was determined, no matter how risky or stupid it seemed, to fight Rodren, and the sooner the better.
"Whoa, kid," a shop-keeper said, grabbing Blake's shoulders to stop him. "Where's who?"
Pulling his shoulder away from the man, Blake looked him straight in the eyes. "Rodren. I must find him now!"
"Mysaro's Hero, one of the Holy Knights, Rodren? What makes you worthy of meeting such a man, child?"
Hearing this man praise someone such as Rodren, and as much as he did, enraged Blake. 'Mysaro's Hero'? And who cared if he was a Holy Knight!? As he raged built, Blake's hands slowly formed fists. Those who knew who Blake was, for there were few who didn't know Mysaro's mighty warrior, backed up a few steps as Blake suddenly punched the small stand the man was running, sending it into an explosion of wooden splinters, dust, and fragments of merchandise. Blowing on the knuckles of his right hand, Blake stared at the man across from him, who simply stared; Blake's movements were too fast for him to follow, and as such, the stand could have blown up on its own for all he knew.
"What makes me worthy? The strength that destroyed your stand is what makes me worthy. And I'll leave this man in worse shape than that!"
"Blake!" one of the on-lookers called. "You may be angry, but you can't compete with him!"
Turning his head slowly towards the source of the voice and glaring at the man, Blake took his time to answer. "Watch me!"
Blake then took off at a full sprint, leaving only an after-image and a blur of himself to everyone as he continued to search for the man he hated with such a burning passion.
Eventually, his search reached fruition. Knowing that the Holy Knight Rodren visited the village every week, always entering from the main gate, in order to collect his taxes, Blake prepared himself. He stood at the entrance to the village, with many of the other youths of Mysaro, his friends, colleagues, and enemies alike, watching from the walls. If the man was surprised to see a kid standing in his way, he did not show it; he simply stopped a fair distance from Blake, staring into his eyes from under a white hood. Rodren's features were obscured by his pure white cloak, which was still white, despite the small desert he would have had to transverse in order to reach Mysaro. Not a speck of filth could be found on the man as he stared intently into Blake's soul, though Blake considered the entire man filth. They stared at each other for some time before either one spoke. Rodren was first.
"Please move aside, young one. It is rude to stand in the way of your elders."
Without moving his feet, Blake simply crossed his arms and spat towards Rodren, knowing that it would not cover the whole distance between them, but simply as a gesture that he did not care how rude he may seem. Though he could not see the Holy Knight's face, Blake could tell that though not impressed, the man displayed no emotion to his action.
"What do you want, child?" Rodren asked in a very expressionless, monotonous voice.
"Release my village from your command."
"And why would you ask that of me, child?" Though the voice from under the hood lacked emotion, it contained wisdom; it was the voice of someone who knew your answers before you did. "I protect this small village from the superpowers of the real world, and in exchange I collect money and supplies. I leave enough for the people of this village to survive, and everyone wins, correct?"
"You ask too much of us."
"It is a hard job to protect such a remote, yet prosperous village consistently, my child... I only ask so much because of the difficulty of the task which I took on myself." Now emotion began to seep into Rodren's voice; irritation clearly heard in the last few words of his sentence, as he described the conditions under which he decided to protect Mysaro.
"I can protect the village," Blake responded. "And I'll ask for nothing. You are no longer needed; so leave."
Now a different emotion; one of joyfulness and peace. The man beneath the white hood began to laugh an honest laugh, considered Blake's statement an actual joke.
"I'm sorry, but in a world such as ours, a village can't be protected by a child such as yourself, especially if so many people are interested in taking the prosperity of this place away. Because of this, I refuse to relinquish Mysaro into your hands."
Rodren then began to walk towards the village, intending to simply step around Blake on his way through the gate. But Blake had a different idea. Instead, he pushed himself off of the stone surface, cracking the ground as he flew at blinding speeds towards the man. With a punch thrown behind his massive momentum, Blake attempted to throw the cloaked man out of his field of vision with one shot. However, this time it was Rodren with the different idea.
With what appeared to be minimal effort, the man's had sprung from a long, baggy sleeve and caught Blake's punch, stronger than when it destroyed a merchant's stand, without budging so much as an inch from the impact. The two warriors stood, locked, glaring at each other. Though Rodren's face was still dark under his hood, Blake was sure he could sense where his eyes were, even if they weren't visible, and glared at them. Then he tried to leap away, out of the Holy Knight's grip, but as he feet left the ground, the hooded man refused to let go, making Blake fall onto the hard, stone ground. If only Rodren had been several feet back, he would have had some soft sand to land on.
"I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to leave you right now. Perhaps when I'm done in town, you can try again."
As Rodren stepped over the fallen form of Blake, something grabbed his ankle. Rodren knew that it was going to happen, and could have easily stopped it, but he allowed the kid to try and stop him.
"No. You're not going into town." Blake forced himself to his feet, and stared at the back of Rodren's head. "You're staying here and fighting me!"