• I was born in a small village far north, called "Zagion Village". My master took me in when I was only young after my parents had been attacked by a band of rogue ninjas. He had made me his apprentice. As the years went by he became very ill. He trained me and I was eternally loyal to him.

    I swore an oath of silence until I found a cure for him and then ventured out into the unknown. I set up a camp near a river bank with only a kunai to defend myself with. Night approaching fast, I had to sleep with one eye open.

    I broke camp and left and the crack of dawn. Still wary of my surroundings, I walked by a sign post pointing in many directions. The letters were worn and only a part pointing southwest was decipherable. It read "Barton Town". For days I searched of this "Barton Town" keeping my eye out for any sign of life.

    As I was nearing another signpost, I saw smoke in the distance. Perhaps it was Barton Town? I followed an old trail towards the black smoke. Through a clearing in the forest I saw the place. Rusted iron walls surrounded the massive city. I saw a giant metal arm reaching up into the heavens and a white building billowing dark smoke.

    I followed the path south and came upon a tower. Guards were watching me approach. A large guard dressed in black and white came towards me "What business do you have here traveler?" He asked me with slight distaste in his voice.
    Because of my oath of silence, I simply handed him a slip of paper describing my master's illness,

    "Sounds like leaf fever. Head over to the hospital, can't miss it..." He said as he glanced over to the smoke-spewing building. "They may have something for it."

    He looked uncertainly at my mask. "They might not take too kindly to you if you're wearing that get-up. Here take these, and here's a guide to the city in case you get lost." He handed me some cheap-looking clothes and a worn-out book. I accepted them, and I found an alley to change in.

    I followed the guide's map of the city. I passed the giant arm, which according to the map was a "crane".
    I found the hospital and went inside. I handed the slip of paper to the receptionist and she nodded. "Leaf fever is easy to cure, but it comes with a price."

    She looked through a medical cabinet and took out a rather large vial containing a nasty-looking substance. "1000 gold for this surefire cure of all your fever-based ailments." I looked at her in total shock. All the village had given me was 100 gold, which was very much to us. I shook my head and left. I would be back again very soon...

    In the dead of night I prepared myself. I was going to steal the vial. I cared for my master too much to give up hope now. I removed the street clothes and changed into my ninja uniform. I also slipped on a pair of goggles that enhanced my vision. I swiftly made my way to the hospital.

    I reached the tall white building. The full moon's light penetrated through the black smog rising from tall pipes on the hospital's roof. I tried the front door. Locked; of course I knew that, which is why I had brought my kunai.

    I expertly cut a hole in the glass then carefully removed it. I slipped through the opening in the glass and looked around, a task which would be impossible if not for my goggles.

    I looked behind the counter and saw the cabinet. I approached it and smashed it open, not the normal ninja way but it works. An alarm sounded. I heard people shouting. Quickly I grabbed the unlabeled vial and made my escape.

    The thing that would save my master tucked under my belt, I was running down the road but guards were on the lookout everywhere. The city was in upheaval, people running around in panic, guards running around wildly.

    I ducked into an alley before a squad of guards passed by. A straggling guard ran by and I grabbed him and pulled him into the alley. I squeezed a nerve and he passed out, limp against the brick wall of the alleyway. I searched him for anything, keys, ID, whatever could help me later on.

    Nothing. I looked out to see if anyone was coming and then ran back out into the street. I ran to guard tower, the only exit. There was but one guard there at the tower.
    I ran through the gate as fast as I could muster. The guard didn't even take much notice.

    I was running top speed down the path then I looked back. There was a blazing fire on the northern side of town. Guards were scrambling to put it out, not catch me. They had not known that the vial was missing.

    I rested for the rest of the night outside of the town and awoke just after dawn. I looked back one final time to the filthy metal city and ventured down old path once again.

    I reached Zagion village and immediately headed for my master's home. The village seemed to be deserted. The marketplace was closed, no children played in the street. I started to pick up the pace as I went for my master.

    A crowd of people with candles stood outside of my master's home. I pushed past them, opened the sliding door of the house and stepped inside. My master lay there groaning, sweating beading on his brow. I bowed and then knelt beside him.

    Since I had found the cure, I was able to speak once more. "Master I have come bringing this." I showed him the vial. "Please, drink this, it will heal you."

    "Hoingaz, my child you have done well, but..." He coughed loudly into his hands then continued. "It is too late. I have taught you everything I know, and you have become better than even me."

    Tears began to well up in my eyes as I took his hand. "No, please master don't say that! You can't go, please just try!" He looked at me with great pride in his eyes. "You have always had a great fighting spirit. For that I am... very proud."

    His hand went limp and his eyes were blank. Tears pouring from my eyes, I knew that even the cure wouldn't help even if I had been here sooner.

    The entire village had mourned the loss of a great hero. After the funeral, I found a letter in my master's study addressed to me. Inside was a letter that read:

    Hoingaz, if you are reading this, then I am gone. I must tell you that I am your true father. Your mother would have been very proud of you. I go to see her now, in the afterlife. I know you are ready to learn the true ways of the shadow warrior. Inside this envelope is a key to my chest I keep under my desk. There you will find the secrets to greatness passed down from generation to generation. I only ask that you treat them well and never abuse that power. Goodbye, my son.

    After I finished, my entire world had been turned upside-down. The longing of having a real father always ate at me, when truly I had been with him all along.

    At first I was angry but then I understood. He had many enemies and had to protect me. By not revealing his true identity as my father, I was never endangered.

    I took the small key from the envelope and pulled the dusty chest out from under his desk. I opened the chest and found many great things. Armor of a great shadow warrior and old books of ancient techniques. I put on the sacred armor stepped outside and began to truly begin my training. For my master. For my father. For my people.