Nothing moved in the still October night aside from the tree tops swaying with a sudden ominous breeze that rolled by. The moon rose slowly in the dark night sky as another cold wind swept over the village that lay in a clearing that was surrounded by a soft thicket of forest. On the dirt road that ran through the small town walked a towering shadow, his presence as dark and foreboding as the wind that followed at his heels. The dark figure walked deeper into the town, past the closed food vendors and hotels, towards the only house with its lights on, towards the house that belonged to the head of the village. An ill-omened wind brushed around him as he walked through the empty streets; his feet not making a sound nor leaving a footprint. The figure slowed as he neared the house and stopped in front of the steps. Looking down at the soft robin’s egg blue bundle he had been carrying, the shadow smiled remorsefully. A small infant lay sleeping in his arms.
The shadow grinned lovingly and ran his thumb over the prominent black mark that ran over the child’s right eye. The shadow lifted his head up and the door to the house opened. A tall man stood in the doorway. His mere demeanor gave a aura of power and confidence while his ocean blue eyes shone with a certain softness that contrasted his outward appearance. His jet black hair pulled into a loose ponytail that ran down his back and his face was somewhat worn through with fatigue, like he hadn’t slept in a little while.
“ It’s been awhile, Zane” the shadow said with a curt smile from under the hood that obscured the top half of his face.
“Yes it has. Is that him?” Zane said and nodded his head at the baby.
“Yes. It pains me to do this but it’s the only way to keep him safe.” the shadow said ruefully then he stepped up towards Zane. His hands trembled lightly as he slowly reached his arms out and handed the baby to Zane. “I’ll take good care of him.” Zane said. After a brief silence the shadow turned slowly, almost as if he didn’t want to leave the child, and began to walk away.
“Wait...What do I do if he…” Zane stopped his sentence knowing that the man before him knew what he meant.
“The only that you can do….run.” the shadow said and began to walk away again but stopped. “If he ever questions what’s wrong with him, then never tell him the truth. Make up a lie but never tell him the truth.” and with that said, the shadow disappeared into the night, his dark figure slowly blending into the darkness of the forest. Zane sighed and looked down at the baby in his arms. The child yawned and shifted a little causing Zane to smile a little.
“Cute kid…but if you cause me any trouble then I swear to god…” Zane said and brought the child into the house.
Ten years later
Zane Kazus yawned loudly as he stepped out into the hallway. The bright sun shone lightly through the shoji screens and slightly blinded him as he made his way to the kitchen.
“Dad, Get out of the way!” Zane looked back to see a blur of brown and blue run passed him, followed by another blur of black and green. He stood there confused as the sound of children laughing made its way through the house along with the bitter yet sweet smell of coffee that instantly perked Zane up.
“Now boys, don’t break anything” called out a woman’s voice. Zane rounded the corner of the hallway and stopped. he watched his wife, Mya, cook breakfast for the family. She wore a complacent and easy smile on her flawless face while her brick red hair, that was tousled and astray, suggested that she had gotten late start to the day.
“We won’t mom!” one of the boys called back. Zane smiled and walked into the kitchen and hugged his wife around the waist.
“Good morning” she said and kissed his cheek, “your coffee’s over on the table” she said and pointed to the steaming mug.
“Thank you, what would I ever do without you?” he said, kissing her forehead.
“You would be a very grumpy morning person, I can tell you that” she said with a chuckle. Zane laughed as well as he lifted the mug to his lips. Mya stuck her head out into the hall, looking for the boys.
“Kids, Breakfast is ready!” there was a silence before there was a stampede of footsteps crashing into the kitchen. “Alright, sit at the table and I’ll bring the food to you” Mya said and fetched some plates from the cupboard. Zane smiled and looked at the table. Five children sat there, hungry and waiting for Mya. His oldest son, Phoenix, was his pride and joy; nothing made him more happier than the day that he had been born. The young boy had graduated top of his class from the Training Academy and had been praised as a child prodigy but Phoenix was modest and said it was all thanks to his father that he had any talent what so ever due to his father being the Captain of the Royal Guards.
A sudden noise made Zane snap out of his thoughts and he looked over to his other son, Ari, who had dropped his fork on the ground.
“Ah! I’m sorry” he said as Phoenix gave him a dirty look.
“You always make so much noise; you’ll never make a great soldier if you can’t be quiet.” Phoenix said and Ari looked at the floor.
“I said I’m sorry…” Ari said quietly causing Phoenix to punch his arm.
“Sorry won’t help you when you’re dead.” Phoenix said.
“Now boys, stop fighting” Mya said as she put two plates in front of them. Phoenix began eating right away but Mya noticed that Ari just looked at his food.
“Ari, Phoenix is just trying to look out for you. It may not look like it but he cares about you.”
“If that’s true then he doesn’t have to be so mean about it.” the small boy said with a tiny pout.
“Yes, he could be a little nicer but he just wants you to be a great soldier.”
“I doubt that will ever happen.” Ari said with a pout.
“Well, I believe that you’re gonna be a great warrior like your father.” Mya said with a smile as she ruffled Ari’s hair. Ari grinned and began to eat his food.
Once the two boys were done they hopped off their chairs and began running around the house again.
“I doubt those boys are ever going to settle down” Zane said as he quickly moved out of the way as the boys ran by him.
“I agree” Mya said, grabbing the plates from Zane’s hands, “but I’m worried about Ari…”she said with aworried glance as her youngest son.
“Why is that?” Zane asked and handed her two more plates.
“He seems different. I don’t know how or why, he just seems to be growing more distant”
“I know what you mean” Zane said and looked at Ari who lay, pinned, under Phoenix as the two boys wrestled. It was true. Ever since Ari turned ten he had been acting more detached, like he was trying to close off his family. Yet again, the same thing was happening to Phoenix, who was five years Ari’s senior. Zane shook his head as he walked over to the two boys and hauled Phoenix off of Ari.
“Phoenix, you shouldn’t be so rough on Ari.” he chastised as Ari jumped to his feet.
“I can take it dad” he objected with another slight pout on his lips. Zane smiled lightly before ruffed his hand through Ari’s short hair.
“No can do, sport. I don’t think your mother would want to deal with any bruises and broken bones today” he joked but Ari huffed and walked away, probably to go sulk to Mya. Zane looked at Phoenix.
“You can’t treat Ari like that Phoenix.” Zane said patiently knowing that Phoenix would cause some sort of uproar.
“But he has to learn one day or another” Phoenix protested, confirming Zane’s suspicions about an uproar.
“Yes, but he’s younger and smaller than you are” Zane said, trying to sympathetic, which caused Phoenix to mull over his point. Phoenix sighed in defeat, walked to the sofa and abruptly threw himself on it. Zane grinned internally, happy that he got the boys to settle down for once but it was only the morning, more fights between the two were bound to break out.