Chapter 1: A new beginning in a town of ends
We all know the story of the 4 girls Ruby, Weiss, Yang, and Blake. But here we will be spinning a different tale, about a boy by the name of Lan and his travels through the world with his grandfather.
Our story begins 15 years before the events of RWBY in a place far far away from any of the four kingdoms.
It was a perfect day, the sky was clear and the ocean breeze was refreshing. Byakko Muteki walked down the beach with the ocean at his left and a forest at his right, enjoying the nice day after a successful hunt. He had caught a large deer; a truck sized-boar; and a man-sized tuna. All of them were slung over his back as he walked. Byakko was a tall, very muscular, wild looking old man with long spiky white hair with black streaks in it and an equally long and spiky chin curtain beard. He was wearing casual martial arts clothing with the sleeves ripped off, baggy black pants, and no shoes. His body was covered in many scars from the many battles he had fought in the past, the most noticeable being one that ran from his right eye to his chin. His most striking features however were a pair of white and black tiger ears and a long tail trailing out from a whole in his pants, marking him as a white tiger Faunus. He was also very hairy, with white fluff poking out of his clothes wherever it could. He was daydreaming, drooling as he thought of the food the people back at the village could make with the animals he was bringing. As he walked along he also was singing a song about an old man named Harold who had hemorrhoids.
“Oh whenever he sat on chair! His friends were in for a scare! As he’d leap right off the stool! And go take a dump in the-“
He stopped suddenly, craning his ears. He heard shallow breathing nearby; he didn’t sense any bloodlust so it couldn’t be a Grimm. Gazing around the beach he spotted a young boy wrapped in a brown cloth. Looking around, he didn’t see anything that could hint that the child’s family was nearby. He then walked over to the child and picked him up with one hand.
“Hey kid” he barked out “you still alive?”
The child stirred, slowly opening his eyes and stared at the man in front of him. Examining the boy Byakko noted that he had messy black hair with azure highlights around the edge, and black eyes.
“Well kid you gonna say anything”, he barked out.
Both silently stared at each other, a serious look on both their faces.
Then all of a sudden “Frrrrrrppp”, both the young boy and the old man let loose a simultaneous flatulation. After which the young boys face instantly relaxed.
A moment of silence passed, and then Byakko burst into a fit of laughter, his body shuddering with the force of it.
“Bahahahahaha, kid that was perfect harmony right there!” he said with a big grin on his face, “It must have been fate that we met here today! How else could we have achieved such perfect synchronization?” he said exuberance “I’ve decided. Be you abandoned by your parents or left alive while they were killed, I will raise you as my grandson. What do you say?”
Byakko pulled the boy close until their faces were only a few inches apart. The boy looked up at the Byakko’s exuberant face and gigged slightly.
“Okay mister, but… do you mind telling me who I am?” said the boy in a calm voice.
“Oh, amnesia huh?” Byakko said with a chuckle, “I have no idea who you are, except that you’re my grandson now, but I guess you’ll need a new name now. I’ll call you…” Byakko paused, thinking, opening his mouth then closing it again.
“You know what? I’ll wait till I take you back to the village; I’m sure someone there can pop out a good name.” With that Byakko slung the boy over his other shoulder and marched away toward the village. All the while talking about what was there and what would be the boy’s new life.
“You’re going to love it there” Byakko said for the twentieth time “we’ve got great food, lots of stuff to do, and plenty of places for us to train”.
Byakko, obviously a combat specialist, wanted to train the boy to be a warrior just like him, and had already begun planning a grueling training regime.
“What am I going to train to fight mister?” the boy said curiously.
“Why the Grimm of course!”, Byakko boomed “along with any other scum we meet, and stop calling me mister! From now on you’re supposed to call me grandpa!”
“Okay grandpa” the boy said giggling “When are we going to get to the town?”
They had been walking (Lan still slung over Byakko’s back) for around 15 minutes along the beach and had not yet reached the town.
“It’s just over that hill over there” Byakko, said pointing at a sharp incline around a mile away, “just a little bit longer”. As they neared the hill, they began to hear crashing and roaring, along with the crackle of energy.
“Grimm” Byakko said his smile widening “and a whole bunch of them too. You’re in for a treat little buddy”, he said cracking his knuckles “time for your grandpa to show his stuff.”
With that Byakko, bent his knees and dashed towards the hill. In a split second they were atop the it, coming to a halt with a loud slamming noise. Lan looked back and saw a huge column of sand rising into the air where they had just been. Before them was a settlement surrounded by a large dust-field, and at one side were a large group of Grimm, attacking the field and trying to break in. They consisted of 10 beowolves, 6 ursa, 8 boarbatusks, 3 king taijitu, and a large deathstalker. Upon seeing them Byakko’s smile fell.
“That’s it?” he said with a huff “This won’t even be a warm up.” Sighing, he dropped the animals he had hunted and the boy onto the ground. “Sorry kid, it’s not going to be much of a show.”
Suddenly a squeaking sound split the air from an intercom and an old man’s voice, with an Irish accent, came on.
“Byakko you lazy old cat, get rid of those Grimm already!”
“Alright, alright!” Byakko yelled back, shaking his fist “Geez, be a little patient will ya?”
Bringing his fingers to his lips Byakko whistled. The sound was has as louder and as high pitched as the intercom and forced the boy to cover his ears. The Grimm near the barrier paused then turned to look at him.
“Come on” Byakko said, beckoning them with his hand “get over here already so I can kick your asses.”
The creature roared and charged at their new quarry, the beowolves taking the lead. Byakko calmly stood there, cleaning his ears and looking slightly bored as the creatures neared him. The first beowolf quickly got within striking distance and leapt at Byakko, its claws pointed at his throat. With a movement faster than lightning, Byakko launched his fist and stuck the Beowolf square in the stomach. The force of the impact pulverized the beast’s abdomen, leaving a gaping hole in its wake, but it didn’t stop there. The force of the punch shot forward, the area of the blow widening, and crashed into the group of Grimm, smashing right through them with tremendous force. The Grimm at the center of the formation disappeared as the punch blasted through the formation and flew into the forest. Those that remained after taking the blow were missing limbs or dazed; in fact all that was left of many of them were just a few limbs. Far off in the forest an explosion erupted where the force of the punch finally stopped its advance, sending up a dust cloud a few miles high. All the boarbatsuks were now gone, the 3 remaining Ursa were fine, each of the 2 remaining beowolves had a limb missing, the remaining king taijitu had a head missing, and the deathstalker was missing a pincer. The entire group of Grimm had been dazed by the attack the boy gaped at the destruction his new grandfather had wrought with a single blow.
“How did he get so strong?” the boy wondered, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.
“Come on!” Byakko said clapping his hands together “You guys can do better than that.”
In a split second he vanished from the place he was standing with a crunching sound and reappeared right behind the king taijitu. Grabbing its tail, he lifted it up and began spinning it around like a flail. Then, flicking his wrist down in a nonchalant manner, threw it at one of the ursa. Still dazed from Byakko’s previous attack, it never knew what hit it. The Taijitu slammed into the ursa face first, crushing both the ursa and the Taijitu’s skull.
Once again moving at mind boggling speeds, Byakko appeared behind the last 2 ursa, who were staring at their dead companion, and dropped his hand across their backs.
“Aw, do the little teddy bears need a hug?” he said with a mischievous grin.
Byakko stood at about the same height as the Ursa, the scene looking like 3 long-time friends. The Ursa looked back at him and then quickly turned, trying to catch him with their claws. Tightening his grip, Byakko slammed the two ursa together as soon as they faced each other, crushing them like eggs.
“In that case you two can hug each other as much as you want” he boomed.
He then turned and looked at the remaining Grimm. The two beowolves had recovered at this point and were charging at him. The deathstalker was also now scuttling in his direction. Laughing, Byakko dove forward and caught both the beowolves in a double lariat, then holding them both in a headlock, turned to look and the deathstalker.
“Time for a little target practice” he said eyeing the deathstalker’s stinger.
Carefully taking aim, Byakko passed one of the beowolves from his armpit to his hand, the beast’s struggling completely ineffectual, and then threw the beast at the deathstalker. The Beowolf flew through the air like an arrow until it finally was impaled on the Deathstalker’s stinger. The other Beowolf soon followed suit and found its place on top of its brethren.
“I win” Byakko exclaimed “where’s my prize?”
The deathstalker hissed and charged at Byakko, trying to catch him in its one good pincer.
“Shake” Byakko yelled, shooting out his hand and grabbing the pincer. The deathstalker struggled to pull it free, but wasn’t able to budge it an inch.
“Good boy” Byakko said with a grin.
The death stalker’s stinger shot down and struck Byakko in the chest. The attack didn’t even bring out a response from the old man who just stood there smiling. He then grabbed the stinger with his other hand.
“Here’s your treat!” Byakko yelled, and smashed the stinger right through the deathstalker’s head. He then released his grip and let the dead Grimm’s body fall to the ground.
“Wow grandpa!” the boy said “that was awesome!”
“Not really” Byakko said, his nose pointed high in the air “I could have shown many more amazing things if there were more of the things. In fact I was hoping there would be an army of the things by the time a got back here, so I left a little bait outside and spent an extra-long time hunting.”
“You what?” the same old man’s voice that had come from the intercom boomed from behind them.
They whipped round and saw the man standing at the town’s gate, the force field now down. He was a decrepit old geezer with short white hair and a clean shaven face. He was wearing a red sweater and brown pants, and was carrying a cane in his hands.
“Do you know how much dust we had to use to keep those things out while waited for you” he wheezed, waiving his cane “and why didn’t you just finish them quickly instead of doing all that nonsense?”
“Well where’s the fun in that?” Byakko exclaimed.
“Everybody in here has their own flippin responsibilities, and you’ve got the simplest one.” said the old man, fuming “Go out every once in a while to get fresh meat, and keep the village safe when your back. If you keep shirking your responsibilities then we’re cutting your part of Anna’s cooking!”
“Yeah, Yeah” Byakko said waiving his hand “you’ve said that a million times, Gregory, and you know what? I’ve never had my ration taken because I’m the powerhouse of this village. Where would you all be without these babies keeping the Grimm away?” he said, flexing his arms and posing.
“Why I oughta-“Gregory paused, and then stared at the boy hiding behind one of Byakko’s large legs.
“Say, Byakko, who’s the kid?”
“Oh him” Byakko chuckled “He is my new grandson. I found him on the beach and now I plan on raising him as my grandson!”
“You can’t just make a random kid you found your grandson!” Gregory yelled.
“Well I just did!” Byakko said patting the boy on the head. “Come on kid, let’s go get something to eat” with that he picked the boy up and dashed towards the town.
“Get back hear” they heard Gregory yelling in the distance “I haven’t finished with you yet”.
They passed through the town gate and the boy got his first good look at the town. There were many different small houses with a variety of designs that looked like they came from all over the world, and everywhere he looked there were old people standing around. As they passed under the town’s sign the boy looked up at it and read “Welcome to Longa Cinere, the town where journeys end”.
“So there are only old people in this town” the boy asked through a mouthful of Shepard’s pie.
“Yep” Byakko said finishing his 10th plate of venison. “This town has gathered old ladies and geezers from all over the world who just want to live a quiet life now that their tale is coming to an end. None of them have any family or friends outside of this town and all of them are masters of some kind of skill, Anna for example” he said pointing at an elderly women, working in the kitchen “Is a master chef, with unrivaled skill!”
The town was a small village far from any of the kingdoms of Vytal. It was a small village, surrounded on two sides by sea, one side by the forest, and the last by the beach. The town was built in a way that the buildings spiraled out from the center of the village, where the forced field generator was located, with Byakko’s home close to it. The buildings had a variety of designs due to the diverse population that lived there. It was founded many years ago by a man who wanted to leave the rest of civilization behind, after losing everything that meant anything to him. He had brought along others that felt the same way, and every once in a while someone would leave then come back later with more like-minded individuals in tow. The town wasn’t completely cut off from the rest of the world though, they needed to purchase dust every once in a while to keep the force field generators up and running, update their libraries every once in a while, and stay knowledgeable of the world affairs which still interested some of the villagers. They accomplished this through the use of a caravan that they sent out once in a while.
Everyone in the village contributed something to the town, either with skill, knowledge, or good old physical labor. It was a quiet community where most of the villagers merely awaited their ends, almost like a retirement town.
Byakko and the boy were currently eating in Anna’s home, which was also one of the main restaurants in the village. Anna was a small old woman with gray hair wrapped into a bun. She was wearing a dark green dress and a messy apron; she was also one of the top chefs in village, and at one point in her life she had owned a 5-star restaurant.
When Byakko had first burst into the place he explained Lan’s presence to her and, albeit skeptically, she accepted his decision. She had quickly warmed up to the boy though.
“Hey grandpa” the boy asked “Does that mean you don’t have any friends outside this village?” Byakko burst out laughing, then patted the boy on the head.
“No, I’ve got plenty of friends still alive and kicking in this world, I’m just staying here right now to protect this place. After all I’ve got to do something in return for all the meals I’ve eaten.”
He then motioned to the monumental pile of dishes piled next to him to emphasize his point.
“It’s not like I’m going to spend my life here though, I’ll leave as soon as they don’t need me anymore, and since I’ve got at least a hundred years left in me” Byakko said, flexing his right arm “I might as well spend a little of my long life helping them out.”
The boy had a feeling his grandpa’s logic was quite unsound, but not having a counterargument, he decided to leave the conversation at that.
“Right after we finish eating, let’s start discussing training” Byakko said through a mouthful of spinach and tuna stir-fry “My grandson isn’t going to be called a weakling, so we’re gonna buckle down hard. I’m going to make sure every inch of you becomes strong, from the tip of your head to the bottom of your foot and even up the shaft of your—!“
With a clanging sound Anna hit Byakko over the head with a frying pan.
“What vulgar language were you about to use in the presence of this young boy?” she said sternly.
“Ow!” Byakko said rubbing the back of his bruised cranium “take it easy old lady. We’re just discussing his training regime, and I really do mean to make sure he gets a big—“
“Clang” the frying pan once again made contact with Byakko’s skull.
“Alright, Alright already” Byakko said holding up his hands to defend against the blows “I’ll drop the subject!”
With that Anna nodded and turned to the young boy.
“How is the food dear?” she said smiling
“It’s really good, thank you grandma” the boy said, still digging in “Do you think you could teach me to make food like this?”
“Why not?” Anna said chuckling, “but, we’ll have to do it when you’re not training with your grandpa here.”
“Yeah” Byakko said as he downed a large flagon of cider “You can learn from her at night after training, but to make up for the extra time” he said with a mischievous grin “I’ll have to make the training a little tougher.”
“Okay” the boy said pumping his fist in the air, not understanding the hidden meaning behind his Grandpa’s voice, “let’s do it.”
Suddenly the front door burst open and many old people streamed into the room.
“There really is a little boy here” someone said through the din, “Aw what a cute little one”.
The boy looked around at all the old people that had streamed in. They were wearing many different types of clothing, most likely from many different cultures, and were all crowding around him asking him questions, many of which he couldn’t answer.
“Say boy”, said an old man in an engineer’s getup “What’s your name, mine’s Rowan!”
The man appeared to be in his early sixties, had short spiky white hair, and was wearing a white t-shirt, baggy pants with many pockets, thick gloves, and had a pair of goggles on his forehead. He also appeared to be smeared all over his body with a variety of oils.
“I don’t know” the boy said with a shrug “Grandpa said he’d think of one when we got back to the village.”
“You haven’t given him a name yet?” an old women from the crowd yelled “What kind of Grandpa are you?”
“Hey” Byakko said, starting his desert “I thought I’d give everyone in the village a hand in picking the boy a name, seeing as we’re all going to be raising him.”
“Why are you pushing responsibility on us?” a man from the crowd cried.
Byakko turned to him with a raised eyebrow
“You really trust me to properly bring up a kid all by myself?”
The old man opened his mouth, closed it then thought for a second.
“You got a point there Byakko” he said submissively “Leave him with you and he’ll probably be eaten within the week.”
This comment was followed by a barrage of laughter from the crowd.
“I’m going to have lots of grandparents?” the boy said with a huge smile “Yahoo!” he cried, jumping up onto the table, but was quickly put back in his seat by Anna.
“Well” said an old man wearing a yukata “We’d better give him a name first, how about…”
He paused and sniffed the air.
“Byakko!” he yelled “When was the last time you took a shower!”
All the other people in the room began sniffing the air, many of them wrinkling their noses in disgust.
“Why the heck are you saying I’m the source of the smell?” Byakko yelled.
“Because you’re the only one in the village who doesn’t bathe every day, get to the bath house and wash yourself off!” the man in the yukata yelled back.
“That’s cause I don’t need to bath too often” Byakko said lifting his arm up and taking a big whiff of his pits “See, lemony fresh, what do you say to that Hiroshi?”
All the towns people in the room were staring at something next to Byakko, Hiroshi had his arms folded and had a look of smug satisfaction on his face. Byakko turned and saw that the plant next to his exposed and sweaty pits, that was strong and healthy just a few seconds ago, had now wilted from the stench.
“Fine” Byakko grumbled, getting up, “I’ll go take the damn bath.”
And with that he stomped out of the house, and headed up the road to one of the bathhouses.
“Alright then” Hiroshi said clapping his hands together “back to business. What were we discussing again?”
“I think we were going to discuss how to raise him” said a well-groomed man with a long mustache “The boy needs to be educated while he’s living here, can’t have him going out into the world without any knowledge.”
“I could teach him engineering” Rowan yelled,
“And I could teach him musical skills” shouted another old man,
“And there’s also that library” an old women yelled out “he could learn a lot there! After all, we’ve gathered books from all over the world there.”
All of the people in the room had lost the ones close to them a long time ago, and never had the chance to raise a child, and when they began discussing what they would teach the boy, all of them felt a glimmer in their hearts, something they all believed they had lost a long time ago. This discussion continued for over an hour, and at the end they compiled a long list of what they wanted to teach the boy, and at what times.
“Alright, everyone” Anna said smiling “it’s time to discuss a name for the child. How about...”
“Hold it right there” Byakko, burst through the front door and stood there smiling “I knew you were going to start that without me. It’s a good thing my instincts told me to come back here quickly.”
All the people in the room turned to look at Byakko, who stood there dripping water and was wearing nothing but a bath towel wrapped around his waist.
“Oh, put some pants on” a women yelled from the crowd. Ignoring the comment Byakko sat down on a chair
“First of all he has to train everyday with me, right boy?” he said pointing at the boy.
“Yeah!” the boy said with a big smile.
“Hurry up and mark that down then” Byakko said waiving his hands.
The changes were made to the schedule, although many grumbled about giving so much time with the boy to Byakko. Most of them, however, recognized the value of being able to protect yourself in a world full of Grimm though, so they acquiesced to Byakko’s demands.
“Alright then” Byakko said smiling “time to discuss the name”. Byakko opened his mouth, and then paused, staring at the clock. It was around 10’o clock now, far too late for a young child to be staying up.
“Say, why don’t we get the boy to bed? It’s getting pretty late and I don’t think he wants to be part of this crazy debate” he said.
“I’m not tired!” the boy said jumping up “I want to be part of this too!”
Anna smiled then picked the child up in her arms, him struggling and trying to be put back down.
“Now, now young one, it’s not good to sleep too late. Come on I’ll take you to your room and read you a bedtime story.” She said with a smile. The boy stopped struggling.
“What kind of story?” he inquired.
“A wonderful fairy tale full of charm” Anna answered.
She then brought him out of her home and walked up the road towards the where the boy would be staying. It was the safest place in the village, Byakko’s home. As she held him in her arms, she felt warmth spreading in her breast, the same warmth that everyone else in the town was feeling; it was glow of familial love. The warmth that one can only experience from nurturing one so young. Just a few hours ago almost all of them were just living every day in a daze, slowly waiting for the flame of their lives to die, only living on to be helpful to one another. But now they had a new reason to continue living, a hope in the future manifested in the beating heart of this young boy. They would raise him to be a strong, kind, and intelligent young man, one who could accomplish things they had only dreamed of.
They had now arrived at Byakko’s home at the center of the village, it was a worn down, yet cozy place that Byakko had slapped together when he had first arrived at the village. It had been placed near the generator because “you’ll have your two best lines of defense in one place”. It was two stories tall, had a kitchen, a family room, a storage room on the first floor, and 2 bathrooms, and 2 bedrooms on the second floor.
Anna walked inside, and then headed up the stairs to the unoccupied bedroom. Inside there was a simple bed, a nightstand, and a chair. Tucking the boy into the bed, Anna pulled a book from inside her dress and lit a candle. The boy stared at her expectantly, wondering what kind of fable would be spun here tonight. The story was a special one, about a man and his dragon on a mission to save the world. Anna recounted the tale with great vigor, personifying each event with the perfect voice. The boy listened with wide eyes, his mind filling with magic and adventure.
After half an hour, they boy was starting to nod off. Anna closed the book, and then gave the boy a quick peck on the cheek.
“Sweet dreams dear.” She said with a smile. At that moment a booming sound came from downstairs as the door was opened, and within moments Byakko had entered the room.
“We’ve finally decided on the name” he said with a smile “there was a huge argument, and I think someone got hit with shovel, but we got through it ok.”
“Well then, please tell me the name you all decided on.” Anna said her eyes gleaming.
Byakko leaned in close and whispered into her ear. She smiled then turned back to the boy.
“What’s my name?” the boy said sleepily, feeling the last slivers of his consciousness slipping.
“Lan” Anna said warmly “your name is Lan”, and that was the last thing Lan remembered before falling into a deep sleep, his mind whisked away to the depths of dreamland.
The Journeys of Lan was started on november 19, 2013.