Monday, October 22, 2012

FLASHBACK: Ancestry of the Fate of Three Trees

THE ORIGIN OF the Fate of Three Trees:

Original "TFoTT" started its life as a short story (two pages) for a middle school project; titled Century Duel. The general story was over a tournament that took place in real life among friends and while reality it was just fun the story of Century Duel tried to make it more dramatic and seem more serious than what it really was.

Early in high school I had started several projects outside of work although much of my writing time then was devoted to poetry, now it is writing stories and worlds. One of those projects started was called Fate and it was based on Century Duel, and took characteristics from the people of real life that I equated to characters. Within Fate I tried to create a world specifically for that story taken it further from reality. Though Fate is an incomplete story; I later returned to it to add pieces of it until i stopped due to school, work, another project(which had most of my focus from high school and into college) and illness.

After my one project i finished, i decided not to continue Fate but to work on re-envisioned story and story world. I realized after reading through fate that it rambled, it went on and on over things not essential to the story and contained way too much summary in my idea, This story is not one of my bets works or better ones since it was written during high school but since there is truth from for me at least i do enjoy looking over it from time to time so i hope those that do read it that there is some entertainment from it for you.


                                                By B. T.Smith

Chapter One:  The Dawn Awakening

            I remember waking up before the sun had risen above the fading horizon, everyone else was asleep. They all were resting before the coming days, and their myriad of events. Every few years there was a tournament held in the woods behind our small town enclave. The best gathered before the tournament to practice and watch the new fighters that were entering.
This year there was a total of ten qualifying fighters, three of which were old comers, that is not including me. The new fighters usually ended up coming later in the day, which fitted me just fine since I always practiced early in the mornings and rested during the middle of the day. The old fighters were also the four favorites to win and they were Zelm; a good friend of mine he was a good fighter when it came to two short swords coupled with average power and average speed. Marx; a fighter of average ability but what makes him an ace to win was his abnormal speed and endurance. Skye; my best of friends and also greatest of rivals he was a great and intelligent fighter, deadly with long swords and staffed weapons. And finally Sho (that’s me) I am an average fighter but more comparable to Skye than the other two tops, with great speed and agility I could out maneuver most not to forget my impressive combat knack with most weapons...
The new fighters consisted of Mal, a relatively unknown fighter from a southern woodland village. What was certain in the beginning was that he held great agility and unique knife skills. Hart, he was another unknown, he came from the village Tulla in the North. He seemed to never carry a weapon so it is presumed he would not have been very good with them. The third new fighter was one of only two female fighters to qualify; Mei was her name and the whole village knew she had a crush on me and she only joined in the tournament to be closer to me and try to separate me and Alecs out of jealousy.
I know she had a lot of speed and hidden power but she lacked real experience. The fourth fighter was Bret Kanz, he was not a tenacious fighter but he had a will to be a great one. Not much else was known of him or of where he came from. Reks, was the fifth fighter that was a new qualifier to the tournament. He came from a Southern Fishing village; he held average speed and a slight strategic mind and was good with staffs or spears.
The last of the newest fighters who qualified was my protégée; Alecs, I had been teaching her for a few years and she was ready to try. She proved she was when she became the last person to qualify. I knew her fighting style well since it was I who brought her into her own uniqueness. Alecs liked to use multiple weapons  including a long dagger she carried in her uniform to throw at her opponent to distract them, but her best form was when she used a short sword with a slightly longer sword. This year’s fighters were to prove to make things interesting.
The tournament was unusual in that everyone usually fought everyone, and you often fought multiple times within a day, and even if you were out of the tournament there were exhibition matches and that’s how everyone typically fought another. The exhibitions were sanctioned matches by the village which the wining person or team would often get prizes for their achievements.
                                                                        * * *
            The new day’s dawn would bring the village to life, as everyone woke up to get done their daily chores and other things before getting ready for the beginning of the tournament. The tournament co-in sided with a festival that we hold within the same time period that celebrates the honor of the spirits of the past. This always makes the first day the most festive of the tournament, because there is a large banquet, a large bon-fire, music playing and people dancing. This night is the only one were fighting is forbidden, and everyone must get along.
Even all the competitors sit at the same table during the opening ceremonies and the dinner.  While everyone was doing their chores, and others were preparing for the days special events I was training in a secluded spot by the town’s lake. On the eastern edge of the lake is a water fall but behind the falls is a cavern, very few people besides my-self know of it and the entrance to it. It was a place of lore for our town because it was said to be the training place of our town’s greatest swordsmen.
Apparently he trained for eleven years while inside the cavern, and the village presumed he was killed in a raid prior to his disappearance, he was an orphan so not many missed him but unbeknownst to the people he watched from the shadows and trained until he had mastered the way of the sword, to be able to protect the villagers from the raiders and pillagers of the time.
On the fourth day of his eleven years of training he left everything he had in the cavern taking only his best pair of clothing and his best katana and he returned to the village. As he returned to the village no one recognized him so no one greeted him, and most likely just thought he was a wanderer. Of course anyone would have, his face was covered in scars as where his arms and legs and it was said he had a large formation of one on his back from a close encounter with death brought on by a wild beast.
On that day he returned he returned to a group of bandits controlling the town; demanding absurd things, taking women and hurting other villagers even killing the men who would try to defend their daughters and wives. To which the nameless Swordsman immediately spoke out against. It is said he appeared in front of a large group of those bandits and told them to leave at once or else. Infuriated by his remarks the group of men begun to spit out vile words at him, to which his only replay was the removal of his straw hat dropping it to the ground and his hand clutching the hilt of his katana.
Now enraged they told the man to leave before he was killed. Only silence came from the great warrior as the bandits went to surround him, and once they were all about to cut him down they all froze in a blitz of flashing light. The Swordsman had unsheathed his katana now dripping with blood as he went to wipe it off and re-sheath it; all the men fell down once the clink of his katana rang once sheathed.
The remaining bandits yelled for their brothers as they ran at the warrior before them and they too fell to the Swordsman skilled katana, but in time the numerous amounts of bandits begun to wear out the warrior. He began to take hits as he killed the bandits, becoming too tired to dodge blows that were not fatal. He continued to fight alone for the sake of a village that never knew him, or treated him well.
Most of the bandits were mediocre fighters at best and no match for the Swordsman and only in numbers did they wound him; however their leader the Criminal Hiaoshi was no slouch and quickly took advantage in the final fight. The Swordsman fought with all he had blocking and striking back at Hiaoshi, their fight was watched by many of the villagers who remarked it almost looked like a dance they were so skilled.
The defining moment was when the Swordsman finally struck Hiaoshi’s heart with his katana; however he took a hit to his stomach. Hiaoshi was a relentless and tricky fighter so much so his weapons had two types of poisons on them the first would numb the wounded slowing him/her down enough for Hiaoshi to kill. And if he failed to do so the second poison would infect the wound and kill that person.
The swordsman knew he would die not long after the fight from exerting so much energy in trying to kill the bandits and because of the poisons Hiaoshi used which would take advantage of the wounded and weakened warrior. With the Bandits and it’s leader killed the village once again became peaceful, the village celebrated the Warrior but two days after the victory he fell dead. It was quickly discovered what had happen and who he really was. One of the village elders recognized him by his birth mark on his chest, and to this day we all refer to him as the Great Swordsman in appreciation and in dedication of his humble and selflessness.

* * *

            So one day when I was younger about the age of eleven I found the great Swordsman’s cavern by swimming underneath the falls, where I found the tunnel that went to the inside of the cavern, the swim wasn’t long only a few feet but no one had ever thought of looking there. Every year on the day he saved the village I burn special incense in the cave in honor of him. Fortunately now there aren’t many raiders or bandit groups but there are always trouble makers and so the village started the tournament as a away of getting people to train in the martial arts to defend the village should the need arise.
Today I follow in the great Swordsman’s footsteps and I train every morning in the cavern for several hours and then re-emerge before anyone else is awake. Not every morning is the training physical there are many days in the week when the training consists of stress training where a person wears down one aspect of their body to the breaking point, only of course to crawl away to return stronger.
Or have days of long meditation or mental training, meditation is simply rhythmic breathing and control of ones ki and energies to relax one self, where as mental training can be anything from strategy games, or mind breaking where you fight against yourself or some other opponent in your mind while sitting like you do when meditating. Because of my extreme training I am always late for classes or important things and often am I regarded as the lazy punk in the village, I can’t help it if I like to take it easy when I’m done training or there is no threat around…

            Hours after my training I was awoken by Mei, she often woke me up when I was suppose to be doing something or be at class but I almost always walked out of them. I don’t know why she ever tries to make me go or why she cares and likes me so much. I liked her and I didn’t like her, she nagged on me too much and always fought with me to try and prove that she was right. I always blew her off like everything else except my training.
Despite all the things she put me through or forced me to do, she was still the nicest person I knew and one of the sexist as well. Apparently she was orphaned here by a family from a distant village. Where from I do not know but she clearly isn’t from our village. Her eyes weren’t of the typical brown or grays of the village but greenish gray. They are so beautiful… and her hair is different compared to the local girls… it falls to her shoulders and it is kind of a dirty brow with red mixed in… I still liked it very much, she also has nice legs and good arms, I should know I was smacked often because of my remarks of her nice ass or the size of her chest.
To think or say such things about her is perverted but to deny any thoughts of them or feelings of her in that regard is like saying the sky is not blue. Once again she would let me be sleep deprived so she could make me help with the festivities before everything began. I loved how she always welcomed herself into my house to do such things, but I went along with her to her surprise I didn’t argue. I followed her like the undead follows a potential brain meal, that is to say I was barely awake and moved rather sluggish following her to our destination which happened to be a clearing in the woods.
As I yawned that’s when she pounced, catching me off guard she turned around and threw a punch which I blocked as if I had seen it coming a mile away. A great surprise and that helping for the festival was a great ruse, I had opened my eyes completely and started to kick at her as she dodged them with her speed, we ran down the length of the clearing and started fighting amongst the edge of the woods. Kicking and dodging until I had to roll back into the clearing to avoid a kick to the stomach, She came right after me throwing another punch to the face which I caught and slung her to a tree to which she grabbed my arm and pulled me with her so that her back was to the tree and I was directly in front of her.
I held her hand in mind and she pulled me closer and then she did something I wasn’t ready for, she snuck in a long yet soft kiss. It made us seem frozen in time yet everything kept speeding on around us. It lasted for awhile then her eyes opened and she had blushed as if to say she did not know her body was going to do that, we quickly separated and she thanked me for the sparring match and disappeared.  I stood there as if I had been talking to a spirit, dazed. That’s when I heard a voice I recognized as Zelm’s, saying something rather heartily about the fact I was still thinking about Mei, I quickly denied it and he laughed and then got serious all of a sudden and told me if I didn’t forget about it I was surely going to lose in the up coming tournament.
            In a way I guess he was right. I was tired after all that had happened and needed sleep since I had so “unfortunately” been deprived of it. I asked Zelm to shoot off some fireworks on the edge of the forest that would be my wake up call. He laughed at me but agreed. He often coordinated the fireworks alongside me for festivals such as this one. He would tell the team that the few he is going to shoot off is a quality check. We did it often enough so I know there would be no problem. I left the woods and headed over to the lake. On the way I thought of Mei and Alecs. I’m not sure why I thought of them both because I only felt attracted to Mei.
Alecs is very pale, smaller in every way to Mei except in body weight and height. Although she is pretty I think of her really only as a student. Though I know she sometimes tries to be more than a student, much to the annoyance of Mei. I know they both have feelings for me but sometimes I really think it’s over exaggerated to bother the other one. I continued to think of them as I got to the lake. I jumped into the lake and then swam to the falls. Then made sure no one saw me and dove to get into the cave.  Once inside I changed my clothes to one of the training sets I had stowed inside the cave. I started a fire and laid the wet clothes onto boulders by the fire. I went to the small cot I made and went to sleep…

                                                            * * *


            I was awoken by loud booms and crackles, I knew Zelm had shot the fire works and that was my cue. The festival would start in a few hours and it was custom for me to be there, and various other places before hand. All of the top fighters in the Village, not just me, had importance and assisted with the festival, In fact we all helped with a little of everything. Although Zelm and I were always in charge of the fireworks and other entertainment details regarding the festival and the tournament, Skye was always in charge of the food and beverages and any of the small stores or shops that opened for the festival. Marx had the distinct honor of setting up the tournament areas and where the festival could or couldn’t be held.
Together we all helped out with security during the days before the festival, so that the fighter who had lost in the preliminaries could rest and take over for us during the tournament. This was always an important event in which people from several villages would come to watch or try and participate in. We welcomed all the new people and it brought our village money and items for trade and luxury.
For now I was fully awake and had left the cave, went home and changed. I went to see to my obligations and checked in with Zelm. When I got to the Base of the woods Zelm was cleaning up and smirked as he saw me. “So how did it go?” I asked him.
Zelm responded; “ It went as expected, it will be even better than last years…”

I just nodded my head and told him to come on. He got up, said some things to the team before following me and left behind me. We met up with Skye and joked around for a few minutes until we got down to business. Skye told us that everything was ready from food to setup, Marx apparently had went off on a security detail, the last before the dance of the festival begun.
With that I had left Skye and Zelm and sought out the Old wise leader of our Village. I found him and bowed in respect. He laughed at me chuckling softly and then told me that I and the rest of the “young” had done well this year and that it was an honor to see us growing older. Of course I tried to brush this off and acted cool, I told him the business at hand and that the festival was ready to commence with his official blessings.
He nodded clutching his staff and started to leave and then he paused and turned around. He spoke briefly and then left. I had to think for a minute of what he said; “Your parents would have been proud of you this day… good luck with the tournament.”
I arrived to the ceremony grounds in time and got in place, at the center was a large mound of wood built up and stacked around, with the top holding a casket of wine. The wine was an offering to the Great Swordsmen, a simple gesture of thanks and reverence. After the Leader gave his blessings and finished his speech the final nine fighters and myself grabbed a torch and set the large wooden mass ablaze. The festival had begun.
Villagers started to play instruments, playing traditional music of our village with musical instruments from our own such as drums and flutes and other instruments from the surrounding villages. The fire flickered for hours as everyone had feasted on delicious meats and fishes. Vegetables and breads were brought in from all over. The younger generations danced around the fire as the older ones sat on the edges with friends of old sharing wines and other spirits telling those stories of past ages.
Only three of the younger ones were sat down and drinking slowly; Skye, Zelm and myself. We shared our own stories which we always brought up during these festivals. We were like and unlike compared to the Younger generations or the older ones, we three were just unique. As darkness fell upon us the fire became brighter and the Fire works started to go off. Large blasts of fire filled the sky and fell back down to the Earth as if in rhythm to the music.
The sky filled with hues of reds, yellows and sometimes shades in between, a few of blue and green; rare to be seen; were paraded in the sky to mesmerize all. We three just sat watching and enjoying the fruits of our labors, until. I heard a noise behind me.
“ There you are!” came over us in a loud voice. I cringed at the sound as I knew who it was. Mei was standing behind me arms folded and a foot was tapping the ground. She quickly came over and dragged me off my stool as she tried to tell me that I promised I’d dance with her.
I never recall such a promise but was dragged off anyways, during all this Skye and Zelm just laughed and didn’t try to intervene or else suffer a punch from Mei. Even as I was being dragged off Zelm said “Owned”.
            All I could do was glare at him and crack my knuckles as Mei continued to drag me away until I gave up and just left with her. She took me to the fire and we started to dance our villages traditional dance. It’s not a truly conservative dance by any means, but there is a lot of arm and leg movement and I hate it. Some villagers watched and still others shouted out things, and in the background of the noise you could hear Skye and Zelm causing problems for me by shouting out “Aren’t they cute!”
                        All of the watching and all of the comments made me annoyed and Mei blushing. I didn’t enjoy the dancing at all, but I did enjoy it with Mei. I looked at her for awhile and she stared back and said “what?” ruining her blushing complexion. I told her she was looking very beautiful, that was all… Her blushing returned and was brighter than before.
I had noticed out of the corner of my eye, Alecs; she was looking very flustered. I had to end the dance quickly or else suffer agony in her hands. It was a lose, lose situation. So I ended the dance simply by pulling Mei in after one last move and dipped her to signal I was done. Then something had happen that I did not intend and just as her body had reacted out of line earlier… so did mine.
  As I was pulling her up from the dip I saw into her eyes and our faces had gotten close and then I kissed her as passionately as she had kissed me before. Mei melted in my hands and then I stood her back up and bowed my self out. I notice Alecs wasn’t where she was being furious instead she seemed to be running and crying.
For a reason I didn’t feel well, I had to go after Alecs, whether it made Mei jealous or not I didn’t like seeing my fried and student hurt. I disappeared and snuck out of the festival and went after Alecs. I had finally caught up with her at the lake. I had called her named out and she stopped. She did nothing else and then I called her name a again as I got closer.
She finally turned around tears streaming down her face and she just shouted “Why!?” she was incoherent from her sobbing, and then she got closer and started to hit my chest, saying why every time. At first I didn’t understand completely and didn’t try and stop her and then I did and asked her, “Why what?”.
            She stopped and looked up teary eyed and told me, “Why are you always with Mei, and never with me, why does Mei get to make you dance and then she gets rewarded…. Why!”
I kept quiet and just watched her. As she continued to vent, even hitting me as she cried. She spoke again asking me, “Why is it always her, and never me? Why can’t I get to dance with you… or get a kiss? Why can’t I ever be more than just a student… IS it that I’m ugly? Do I not please you? Am I even more annoying than her???”
I have never been good with girls so I wasn’t sure what to say other than the truth. “Alecs…” I said her name as I wiped her tears away from her face, then continued on; “You’re my student and that is what I see you as… but you’re not ugly; you’re my beautiful student.”
Alecs had gotten silent and tried to not cry as she looked up as me and listened. She spoke finally after a few moments as her voiced cracked, “You…. You think I’m beautiful? Even though I’m your student?”
I hugged her as if to say “of course” and then I took a hold of her hand and turned around as if to try and lead her back to the festivities. She wouldn’t move so I turned back around to ask why not. All she did was shake her head no. I paused for a minute and then said, “Well I have to return Alecs…”
She nodded slowly and looked down sad. I stood there looking down at her and then I spoke up…”But first would you like to dance?” She looked up and meekly smiled and then said “ Yes…”
I took her other hand and pulled her closer to me, and we slowly started to dance. I danced with her under the moonlight, it refracted off the lake and we could see each other clearly. She smiled a bit more and enjoyed her self. We stopped slowly and she thanked me for the dance but said that I did need to return,
I agreed with her but told her; “Yes I’ll return to the festival but first I needed to see you home…” With that I had her climb onto my back and carried her to her home… She blushed and rested her head on my shoulder. She closed her eyes and talked on the way back about many things, including why she liked me. I gave her one last hug as she got into her home.
The very first thing I did after returning to the festival was that I punched Zelm in the shoulder for being an ass, but it didn’t take too long for us all to be laughing and telling stories. A few hours of fun go by fast as everyone seems to be settling up to leave and rest. I told Skye and Zelm to hold off and stay after for a bit. They grumbled but agreed.
After everyone had finally left I went off to the side for a minute and returned with two objects. The one was about four and a half feet long, covered in dark cloth. The other was a box about two and a half feet long.  I handed the covered object to Skye and the box over to Zelm. I bowed to them both and then left.

                                                * * *

What I had handed them before I left was a gift of luck from me to them. In the morning I was awoken by two very hyper girls, Mei and Alecs. I got up and quickly got dressed and met them outside of my house. They started to bicker between themselves on who would when my attention. I ignored them as I got serious and acknowledge that Skye and Zelm where standing behind the Girls, staring at me.
They started asking about the weapons I had given them. The gifts of good luck; the one to Skye was a four and a half foot long wooden katana; called a Bokken. But this bokken was master crafted, by me. Pain stakenly carved from a strong rare wood from a somewhat local “White” tree. It was also slightly longer than a normal bokken, as well as it was flame treated turning the white color into more of a silver tone.
As for Zelm’s gift the box contained two, two an a half foot long wooden short swords called a Shoto. But these Shoto’s just like Skyes’ bokken were master crafted by me from a rare dark wood and once flame treated they became as hard as a diamond with the color of cooled lava. With each I gave them papers that were given to me by the judges as proof that they were deemed legal for the tournament.
Skye and Zelm, continued to look at me and then they spoke both asking me when I had made “them”. Alecs and Mei stopped fighting to hear what was going on. I ignored them and they kept asking as we started walking. Even the girls chimed in, they wanted to know. I eventually gave in and told them it was during the three months I was away in the mountains. In fact that was the sole purpose of that trip.
All of their eyes widened when I told them it took a month for each gift to be completed. They were shocked because no one master crafts wooden weapons any more, occasionally I do it but at a price. It is far more common for people to make them in a few hours, or maybe a couple of days at most. They continued to ask questions but then the Tournament Gong was hit. It was the sound that told us the lot drawing was beginning soon.
Again I ignored the questions and started to run off to get to the tournament spot, of course they all followed suit. As we arrived the other fighters were being marshaled to a line, the village elder was speaking as we jumped into line. He frowned at us as we entered but continued on. As his speech ended another village Elder from some other village picked up and continued on with the theme. This continued until one village elder from all of the villages; about seven, gave their own speech and praise to the combatants.
Our village leader, a wise elder himself then stood up and bowed to the village elders, then turned and bowed to us, following that he instructed the gong to be struck again. With that sounding a table was brought out and a box containing stones with numbers chiseled in them.  Marx went up first and he pulled out a rock lot, he showed it to the judges and then but it down on a pedestal.
Everyone in the crowd whispered amongst themselves wanting to see the number.  One of the attendants announced the number: “Marx has drawn the Number 9 Lot!”
            The crowd murmured a bit then quieted. The next person up was Bret Kanz, as he went up like Marx before him he put his hand into the box and pulled out a stone. Moments later the attendant announced his number, “Bret Kanz has drawn the Number 7 Lot!”. The next person up, some how seemed to be Skye, I guess he wanted to know who he would face as soon as possible, I really didn’t care to know.
Skye walked up and grabbed a stone form the box, he glanced at it and smirked, then he threw it behind him. Marx caught it from reflexes and looked at it. Skye walked away as the crowd begun to be restless and the attendant flustered. Marx turned the stone around so the attendant could announce, “…Skye…Has drawn the Number 10 Lot!!!”
Everyone in the crowed gasped and you could hear people talking about the match and if Skye indeed had drawn the number ten stone or not. The noise died down as one of the Elders stood up to quiet everyone. Alecs walked over seductively making all the guys in the line stare over at her, with the exception of me, Zelm and Skye. This made her frustrated as she pulled a stone out of the box and gave it over to the Attendant fast. Alecs had pulled the number two lot… After her came Mal and he got the number five lot, and he was followed by Reks who claimed the number eight lot and Reks was followed by Hart. People in the crowed begun to bite their fingers or lips wanting to see who would be placed with who.
It was the eighth person and Mei was going up but Zelm stopped her and he proceeded in front of her with a determined look. He got in front of the box and closed his eyes and then grabbed a stone from the Box. He tossed it over to the attendant and sighed with relief. The attendant announced as he had before; “Zelm has drawn the Number 4 lot!”
I tilted my head a bit curiously, and then remembered it meant he would face Hart in the first round. Then I asked him as he returned next to me who he was praying not to get? Zelm looked at me and replied “You”. I laughed and asked him “Why”
He quickly came back with something bout how he wanted to save his new technique and look better in front of all the ladies by waiting to use it. I couldn’t help but laugh at him in a friendly manner. Then I saw the look Mei gave him, and told him he should have prayed for not getting her! We both broke out into laughter but we were quickly silenced by one of the Elders.
Mei got up and grabbed for a stone from the box, she pulled it out and looked at it then shouted “Darn! I got the number sixth lot, I wanted the number one….” Everyone gasped as the Attendant took the stone and nodded to another attendant. Then the attendant called out that Mei indeed had the sixth, and since she was second to last the announcer called out that I would be claimed with the number one. Alecs looked a little shaken up from that and just stood straight, she didn’t even try to look at me.
A giant board was produced with the numbers on it, as the Attendant called out everyone’s numbers:
 “As it stands here are the Lots for round one! Sho has number 1, Alecs has number 2, Hart has number 3, Zelm has number 4, Mal has number 5, Mei has number 6, Bret Kanz has number 7, Reks has number 8, Marx has number 9 and Skye has number 10!” The attendant finished and our village elder stood up and spoke. “The lots have been drawn and the fights are down in line, in two hours time the gong will be rung and the first exhibition match will begin, where combat teams from the Kaisei village will face against a team from Tullia. Once that match is over the first fights of round one will begin! Until then fighters go ahead and do whatever, but you are to return here at the first gong! As for you the spectators and guests can stay here or enjoy the other festivities until you wish to return!”
With that the old man shooed us off the plat formed area and talked to the other elders.

No comments:

Post a Comment