Kyoshiro Hiryu (a.k.a. Zavan ) : Street Samurai - Destiny

      The storm had finally past, but the dark ominous clouds remained. My thoughts strayed from the safety of the village, and drifted back to the woman I was to spend the rest of my life with. I was worried about her, for she was very sick. Once again it was rival clan that, for centuries was trying to destroy our clan. They attempted to kill Master Hiroshi with poisoned dart, but my sweetheart, Kari, who was helping him at time walked into the path of the dart.

      My heart ached, for I knew that even with the best Shamans and Shinobi helping her, she was going to die soon. The poisons used by the rival clan are deadly, and sadistically so, as they take time to work. She has suffered under the spell of their poisons for over a week. Although she had recently recovered from a fever, her outlook was not good. She knew she was going to die, and she was afraid of death. If there were something I could have done, some way to change the past I wouldn’t hesitate, even if it meant my own death.

      I met Kari the first day I was in the village. Instantly I fell in love with her. Her hair was the so soft and shiny, I could almost feel my reflection in it. She had eyes like a princess, and skin that was pale and flawless. She was everything I dreamed of in a woman. When I first spoke to her, I found that she was also a very kind and giving person. She treated me like royalty even though I expected nothing from her. I just wanted to love her.

      Now my entire life was about to fall apart. She was dying, and there was nothing I could do about it. When Strider placed me in this village I never thought that I would want to spend the rest of my days here. She made me stay. Holding her against me, all thoughts of the outside world seemed to go away. My cares for the world disappeared, my constant fuming for revenge faded, and my heart was still. She made me feel secure, as a child does when she holds a stuffed bear. It was a feeling I never wanted to give up, but was about to lose forever.

      I began to walk towards the cluster of huts that was the village I was “assigned” to. My katana in its sheath, held in my right hand. All my senses were primed as my memories began to surface….

      ...I remember watching the children playing by the edge of the rice field, the cool breeze brushing through me. I remember hearing the rustle of the rice stalks, and seeing the shape emerge doing a flat out run. I saw the patch on his left arm, a symbol upon it of the Hirotomi Clan. I gave chase, but he was faster than I was. I saw the tube come up, and I screamed out for the master to duck and then my heart sank when I saw Kari walk in front of the window. My lungs felt like they were going to be torn from my chest when I yelled out for her to duck, but I never got to finish my words before the dart was fired. She turned to see and the dart hit her in the side of the neck. I screamed out and saw the shurikens flying. The bastard that hit my love was dead, but he had already killed me...

      He struck me in the heart, figuratively of course, but in the heart none-the-less. My life will never be complete again. I though it was over for me, and yet, it was just the beginning. I entered Master Hiroshi’s hut with my head bowed. His hut was already set up with candles and draperies that spoke of the funeral rite. He nodded at me when I entered. I knew from the look in his eyes that he did not expect her to live through the night. I walked over to the place she lay, and kneeled down placing my sword on my right side as I leaned over her.

      Her face was very pale, and her eyes were only slightly opened. But she managed the strength to smile at me. I reached out and stroked the side of her face with the back of my hand.

      “Are you comfortable?” I whispered.

      “Aye…” she returned, even more softly. She shifted a little bit as if she sensed her coming doom. “Kyoshiro… I never told you how much… how much I loved you…”

     I gently placed my left hand over her heart, feeling the gentle beat as her slowing draining life flowed though her. “You never had to,” I replied softly. “I always knew how you felt. We are each other’s life.”

     Slowly she shook her head. “You… Kyoshiro… you must not commit hara-kiri… you must live on… Please… Kyo… The world needs good people like you… don’t deprive the world of that because of me.”

     A tear began to roll from my left eye. “I can’t live without you Kari.”

     “Yes… you can… You will, in your father’s name…” She was right I realized. Killing myself now would dishonor me more than it would honor her. I nodded to her. She smiled as a tear rolled down her face. “I am not afraid anymore… Kyo,” she whispered. “I will wait for you… on the other side…” Her hand reached up to the side of my face. I leaned over her and kissed her one last time. When we parted, her hand slipped and her body went cold, as she no longer drew breath. My head fell upon her chest and for the first time since my father died… I wept…

     Night fell within a few hours of this. The entire village including myself made a trek to the river after sunset. All of us wore black kimonos, and each of us held a hand made wood and paper lamp. I stepped down to the bank ahead of all, and lit the first candle.

     “Kari was my life, my love. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her; nothing else would have done for me. Now she is gone, her ashes spread to the four winds. A clan rivalry took her from me, from us… I shall honor her the best way I know how. Goodbye my love.” And with that I placed the first lamp into the river. All of the lamps were designed to float on the surface of the water. One by one the villagers placed their lamps onto the river, and before long the river was alive with a red orange glow. As the lamps began to drift down stream, as legend says, they guide the departed soul to the heavens. I hoped they would light her path, as she has lit mine.

     Three days had past since that time, I had just turned 19 now. My birthday was spent in mourning; no joy came from that day. It was then that I was approached by one of the Striders.

     “I am sorry about your loss,” he said to me.

     I nodded. “What is it this time?”

     “We need to move you again,” he said.

     “Oh? Have the Yaks finally caught up to me?”

     “No,” he replied. “It’s time to finish your training and become a Strider like your father before you.”

     I looked at him. My entire life was spent in training for this day. The Striders guided my training and referred me to master after master in village after village. I thought it would never end, But now…

     “I am honored to have made it this far,” I said with a bow.

     “And I am honored to escort the son of Hiryu to The Blue Dragon. What name shall you pick for yourself?”

     I thought about it for a moment. “Zavan,” I said at length. “I will be known as Zavan.”

     “The ‘Deadly Edge’? A worthy name for you,” he complimented. “We leave as soon as you’re ready.”

     He walked awayfrom me at that point, and left me with my thoughts for now. This was a major turning point in my life. I realized that Kari was right all along. The world does need me, and no matter how much I want to be with her on the other side...I belonged here so long as the Yaks still lived.