The Orphan Wolf Cub

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The Orphan Wolf Cub

Post by Cross on Thu May 09, 2013 1:20 am

White snow littered the forest that the three men walked through, kimonos bundled around them and swords hanging at their sides, each of their hair tied back in some fashion. The wind was blowing harshly, and the area surrounding the village known as Azalea was silent except for its howling. The three men didn't talk as they patrolled. It wasn't until one saw a slight movement in the snow did he stop and put his hand on his sword, glancing to his partners before approaching the particularly large clump of snow that had shifted. Kneeling down in front of it, the black haired samurai carefully dusted the snow off, his eyes widening when he saw a small child whose skin was pale and turning blue from the cold. "Jeez, it's a kid!" he called back to the other two, who quickly scrambled over at hearing it. Each of them mumbled a couple words of surprise, and the black haired samurai picked the body up and unwrapped the outer layer of his kimono to wrap it around the kid. "I'm taking him back to the dojo," he told the other two, one of which put a hand on his shoulder and shook his head.

"We're not allowed to bring outsiders."

"Come on, it's just a kid, he'll die if we don't," he protested, glaring at the two who didn't seem to care that it was a kid he was holding in his arms. "Tch, I'm taking him," said adamantly, starting back to the village at a run with the child in his arms. As he crashed through the gates, he brought the kid into a room and quickly gathered blankets, lighting a few candles around the room before starting a fire in the hearth in the middle of the room that was used both for cooking and for warmth. It was at that moment that a tall male dressed in a more regal kimono came into the room, black hair falling around his shoulders. His blue eyes scanned the room before landing on the young samurai and the small figure wrapped in blankets. "What happened?" he asked calmly.

The moment the young samurai heard the tall male enter the room, he turned and bowed low to the ground, considering he had already been on his knees. "Master, I found this boy in the forest while I was on patrol with Juugo and Genrey," he spoke quickly. "He was buried under the snow."

The tall male frowned lightly and looked to the bundle of blankets. "We don't bring outsiders to the dojo, Lain," he spoke, looking back to the young samurai.

The samurai known as Lain looked genuinely shocked at his master's words. "I-I, h-he would've died out there," he defended, swallowing lightly.

The tall man made a small noise before turning away. "Alert me when he wakes up." And then he walked out.


It wasn't until the next morning that Lain went to go get the man, for the boy had woken up. When the tall man came into the room, the boy he saw sitting upright and staring into the fire hole had black hair and green eyes, and didn't look to be any older than eight years old. One of the older students there, a samurai with red hair pulled back into a short ponytail and brown eyes, was trying to talk to the kid.

"Come on, say something kid. What's your name? Where are you from? Where's your parents?" He then looked to the black haired man. "He hasn't said a word since he got up. I think he's mute," he said with a frown.

"Please fetch a tea pot Lain," he said, then looked to the red haired samurai, shooing him away. "I'll speak with him now." It was only a moment later that Lain came back with a large square bamboo plate with a tea pot in it as well as several cups and tea powder. "Thank you. Go finish your training for the day," he said, and then slid the door closed once the black haired samurai obliged. He set the tray on the ground before sitting down. He went about silently hanging the tea pot over the fire hole. Once he did that, he looked to the boy, who hadn't moved, his eyes still on the fire. He was clenching the blanket around himself and shivering even though it was fairly warm in the room. "What's your name child?" When, for a few long moments, there came no answer, the man nodded. "I am Yukari Onihana. Do you know where you are?" Again no answer. "You are in the Onihana dojo. We're a family of samurai that watch over this village. The village's name is Azalea. Like the flower, and just as beautiful. Would you like some tea? The water should be hot in a few moments." He took the silence as an affirmation to continue cordially talking. "I'm not sure what we're going to do with you. Only Onihana's are allowed to stay in this dojo, but the village doesn't like outsiders. It's very selective in who it welcomes. You're a strong child to have survived out in the snow. Your parents must be in an area where it is cold often."

While he spoke, he occasionally checked the tea pot until he felt the water was hot enough to use for tea. He turned over one of the small clay cups and started crushing a small bits of powder into it and mixing the water in a little at a time in practiced motions. Once the cup was just full enough, he handed it to the boy, who finally looked up, hesitantly taking it. Yukari's hand didn't waver as he held the cup out, but once or twice, the boy pulled his hand back before he finally grasped the cup. The black haired man thought he might've had his grip a bit too tight on the cup, as if it were something slippery that would slide from his hands unless he held it tightly. Yukari made himself a cup as well, and went about drinking it silently. He would occasionally look at the boy to see if he had drunk anything, but he did not stare. Once he caught the boy taking a sip, and it made him smile. He wondered if the boy would eat anything.

When the silence was broke, it thoroughly surprised Yukari, for he was not the one who broke it.

"I-Izo..."

He wondered at first if it had been a trick of his mind, for the sound had been so slight, it was if it had barely existed. "I'm sorry?"

"M-my name..."

Yukari's eyes brightened. "Your name is Izo? That's a strong name. Where are you from, Izo?" When Izo shrunk into the blankets, he wondered if he had maybe sounded too excited.

"I...I..." His eyes started tearing up. "I d-don't...remember..."

Yukari blinked. "Your parents...?" He gave a small sigh when Izo shook his head, to which the boy's gaze shot up in alarm.

"I-I-I'm s-sorry," he quickly apologized. When Yukari only smiled and shook his head, Izo once more shrunk into the blankets, and sipped his tea lightly. His head quickly snapped to look at the door when it opened, revealing a bulky looking man with short brown hair, that Izo found to look extremely scary.

"Yukari, I need to talk to you," the man said, glancing to Izo with a non-too-friendly gaze.

Yukari sighed and looked to his tea. "This can't wait a few moments? I was just asking the boy a few questions."

"It's about the boy." When Yukari took a breath and got up, placing his tea down, the large man stepped to the side and closed the door behind the taller man, their silhouettes visible to Izo from inside the room. "Why haven't you kicked him out yet?"

"He only just woke up."

"That's more than enough time. No outsiders in the dojo, you know the rules same as me."

Yukari shook his head. "The least we could do for the boy is show some hospitality. He doesn't even remember where he'd from."

"That's not our problem."

"His parents could come looking for him. I'd like to keep him here until-"

"Until when? Someone shows up for him? What if they don't? Then what? You just gonna let this kid freeload here for the rest of his life? Let's the villagers handle him."

"The villagers will toss him out. He can work at the dojo while he stays here. He won't live here for nothing."

The burly man snorted. "We have enough help around here, we don't need some runt running around and tripping our samurai out on top of it."

"Then he learns to fight."

There was a long silence. "What? That kid? I can pick him up in the palm of my hand, and you wanna teach him to fight? Snck, you know better than I do, only Onihana's are allowed to train here, and unless you plan on adopting him-"

"I do." Another long silence. "If his parents show up, we let him go home. If not, he is going to be a part of this dojo."

"...Yukari, you can't be serious about this."

"Why can't I be?"

"Juna-"

"Is gone. That doesn't mean I can't take care of a child. That has nothing to do with this. This boy, if he so chooses, will become a samurai, and a member of the Onihanas. Understood?" There was another long silence, and Izo saw the figure of the brown haired man nod, then bow stiffly and without a word before turning to walk off. When the door started sliding open, Izo quickly looked back at his tea and drank some quietly. Yukari took the same spot he'd been sitting in before, and took a sip of his tea, glad to find it hadn't cooled off too much. "Izo." The black haired boy quickly looked up. "I have a question for you, a choice I'd like you to make sooner rather than later. Understand?" Izo quickly nodded. "I will let you stay in this dojo, in the hopes that someone will come looking for you. But until they do, you will train here under myself and other masters as a young samurai. If you do not want to do this, you will have to leave the dojo tonight. There's no guarantee the villagers will let you stay in the village. You will have to go back out into the snow." He paused to take a sip of his tea, and Izo tried to mimic the was Yukari did so, but a bit clumsily, since he was trying to focus on looking at the man with the long black hair. "I want you to decide by tonight whether you want to stay or not. The life of a samurai is extremely difficult, and once you start training, there is no-"

"Y-yes," Izo said quickly.

"...yes?"

"I-I want to stay." He paused. "B-but...um...what's a samurai?"

Yukari seemed a bit confused by the boy's willingness, but it soon cleared up when he realized the child didn't know what a samurai was. "A samurai is a warrior, bound by honor to a cause. Our cause is to protect Azalea. There's plenty of rules to being a samurai, but that is what we are. Warriors."

"And I can...be...a samurai, if I stay here?" When Yukari nodded, he was surprised to see the boy smile. "I-I want to stay here then," he said.
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