Author's note: I wanted to come up with a story that told everything from a secondary character's point of view but I'm failing and I'm getting this... I like it anyway. BTW: any animal in this story from start to finish, unless it is called a 'beast' or a 'lesser' is probably anthropomorphic and if you don't know what it means... then you should met my friend, Webster. He's helpful.

Chapter 1: Madoor, the City of Mana

Teishi loved the city. It was so different from the monastery. Everyone was moving here. His favorite pastime was sitting on the clock tower, looking down at the town, and coming up with reasons why the people were scurrying around.

It wasn't quite midday when he sat at his normal perch, letting his tail and legs hang over the side. He took off his dark blue cassock and revealed his jet-black fur. He looked over the city and then he leapt off the side of the tower, threw his paws forward, one of which was marked with white symbols that wrapped around his wrist, and made a cushion out of the air to soften his landing. 'My master will punish me again for sneaking out like this, no matter for misusing my magic, but it's worth it. The acolytes get so dull sometimes; I need to do something and a city like this always has something for me.'

He looked around for a bit and saw a tailor's shop. He gazed at himself and back at the shop sign. Since he was naked he thought he ought to, for modesty's sake, cover his nudity. Not that Zoans cared much for clothing, in fact, most don't and if anyone asked why they don't wear clothes they would all gave the same answer: "That's what the fur is for." But the monks of the Nexus, in order to better purify their minds, covered themselves. Even if it was only their loins.

Teishi walked in and just then something caught his eye. It was a royal-blue tunic with ornate silver embroidery. He rushed over and snatched it from the display and threw it over himself. It was too long for him, the sleeves covered his paws and draped down a bit when he held his arms out, but otherwise it fit perfectly.

"Do you like it, young sir?" The tailor asked unobtrusively.

"It's very nice," Teishi answered; his voice strategically meek.

"I could make you one like it. I'd need your measurements though. This seems a little long for you." The tailor tried to move in front of him.

"I like it this way." Turned to prevent them from meeting eye to eye and his voice became more powerful.


"Yes. Actually, if I had the money I'd buy this one right now."

"I would try to make an arrangement but I need the money to replace right away. I'll only have just enough time to finish another before my other customer came back for it."

"What if I did you a favor and brought more than what it's worth before sunset?" He finally looked at the bear

"What kind of favor?"

"The kind of favor that someone who lives in the Nexus could give."

"You're a monk?"

"Yes... and no," the panther said vaguely. "I... serve the Archsage, if that tells you anything."

"Hmm... Now that you mention it, I could take you up on your offer if you do a blessing for me."

"I suppose I could. But if I did that I wouldn't be so inclined to pay you at all, no matter anything extra. Should my master find out, which he invariably will, I could get into a lot of trouble."

"Okay. I was selling it for thirty gold but I'll give it to you for twenty-five and the blessing."

"Is my blessing only worth five gold?"

"I really can't afford to bring down the price anymore."

"Fine. Lead me to your tools."

The bear lead him to the back of the store. The room wasn't very large even if it was empty but it was cluttered with cloth. The only semblance of order in the room was a station in the corner that the tailor obviously used to cut and sew his patterns. Teishi hopped over a couple of bolts of cloth and when he reached the table took the tools that he found there and laid them out.

"What I'm going to do is fuse them with magic so that when you guide them, they will guide you. Basically, when you want them to do something they will do it almost by themselves."

"That would be marvelous."

Teishi lifted his hands up over the station and the whole room began to tremble. The tools lifted off the table and glowed with a greyish light as they were filled with mana, and with a brilliant flash everything stopped and the implements clattered back onto the desk.

"I'll be back before sunset with your gold. Until, I return," he took a crystal from around his neck and gave it to the tailor, "hold this. It's priceless. I'd never leave it anywhere if I wasn't sure I'd get it back."

"If it's worth so much then why are you giving it to me? I could easily run off with it and you'd never see me again."

"I can feel where it is. I'd be able to find you if you hid yourself on the moon. And if I thought that you were trying to steal it from me I'd have to kill you." He lit a flame in his palm to accent his threat

The bear swallowed loudly and nodded his head. "Then, I'll see you this evening."

Teishi bounded out of the room, proud of himself for managing to make someone so nervous. That was his second favorite game: to see how long it would take for him to make someone nervous. Yet, even though it was a game, his threat was real. That small, blue stone was worth a lot to him and, if he so chose, he could kill anyone that didn't live in the Nexus.

He ambled about the city a while, enjoying the company of the townspeople. It was a good day because everyone was remarkably friendly, some even invited them to their homes to eat. It was a wonderful day.

Then, he was suddenly swept from his feet. After he hit the ground, he felt a knee grinding into his back, pinning him in the dirt.

"I have him," said a gruff, gravelly voice from above him.

"Tie him up," a thin voice commanded.

Teishi didn't want to unleash any of his spells. Not here for everyone in the city to see. Besides that, he knew that his magic would backlash in this position, so he just struggled against the weight on top of him.

"How can we be sure that this is the one?" This time it was a female's voice. "There are plenty of panthers in the area. How do we know that this one's the one we're looking for?"

"Are you getting soft, Sonya?" This fourth voice was quiet and beautiful but incredibly powerful. "Do think we should show mercy to this one?"

"Not if he's what we think he is, but I want to know how we can be sure. The tracker has failed us before. We had to burn the whole village down to find a kid and then he wasn't one of 'them' in the end. I don't want another fiasco."

"They've fixed the tracker since then, Sonya," the thin voice declared, "You need to stop worrying about things."

By this time the gritty-voiced had finished tying him up and finally lessened the pressure from his spine, but he still couldn't move and his face was pressed into the ground. "She is right. The tracker has always found children that it mistakes for 'them.'"

"If you're so worried, ask him. Ask him now, Revan." The beautiful voice sounded amused.

A large handpaw gripped the scruff of Teishi's neck and pulled him up a little bit so that he could move his jaw. "Are you one of 'them?'"

"Who are 'they?'" He pushed out

"Don't play dumb, panther!" The thin voice was annoyed. "Are you one of 'them?'"

"I don't know what you mean."

"See," Sonya said, "He's probably just a kid who might become an acolyte in the future. We should let him go."

"She's right," Revan agreed as he released his neck and stood up.

"We aren't going back back without a kill," the thin voice proclaimed, grabbing the bound panther's neck again, "I'd rather take the punishment for a mistaken target than the ridicule of missing one."

"We haven't mistaken our target, Jalkne. He simply doesn't understand. He doesn't know he's one of 'them.' It's better this way."

"How do you know if he doesn't?" Sonya implored.

"I saw something that gave it away." Teishi felt the hand being brushed away and his body being lifted up. Once he was on his feet ,the ropes fell away but an arm wrapped around his shoulders and another hand lifted his sleeve. "This is a magic binding; three of them, actually. Only 'they' do that."

"That is undeniable evidence." Jalkne said proudly as if he was the one that discovered it.

"But," the beautiful voice said, "We should ask Sonya if we can kill him. Sonya?"

"If he is one of 'them' he is our target." She sounded withdrawn and unsure of herself.

"I'm not going to go down without a fight." Teishi announced. "I don't want to do something we'll all regret."

"Good," Revan said, "That'll make it worth killing a kitten."

In one motion, the panther flipped the man that held on to and started to run down the street. The beautiful voice howled out something to the effect of "Kill him!" so Teishi didn't turn back. But beside him was the sound of hooves clipping against the cobblestone. He turned to see a mare running beside him; a mist-colored cloak flowing from her shoulders. She reached across her chest and unsheathed a vicious looking knife with a wavy edge.

"I told you I didn't want to do this!" He threw his arm to his side and, in a dazzling display, a ball of flame leapt out in front of the assassin, stopping her in her tracks.

"I guess Jalkne was right about you, kitten." In front of him was a thick-muscled bear dressed in armor of the same mist-grey of the horse's cloak. He took a sword from one of the scabbards on his hips. The blade had the same undulated pattern on both edges. "Only one of 'them' could use a spell like that so easily at such an early age."

"I'm no kitten," the panther said, defending himself

The bear scoffed and swung the heavy sword at him. Teishi jumped over the attack with ease but then he was caught in the side by the broad side of the other blade. The hit propelled him to the wall of a building and it rattled with the force.

Teishi groaned as he saw the swords coming down on him again but he trusts out his hands, the long sleeves flapping about, and wave of pure strength hit his opponent. It was enough to launch the man and the force even recoiled on himself pressing him hard into the ground calling another groan from him.

He lifted himself up and started to run again. 'I'll be safe if I can make it into the forest.' He stole a backwards glance and there was a rat running after him. His first impulse was to blast the rodent but his chaser leapt into the air and landed a yard or two in front of him.

"You're not getting away from us, panther-kitten." Jalkne said as Teishi stopped himself. "But if you give up right now, you won't feel a thing when you die."

The panther dashed forward and swung a claw at the rat's face. He easily blocked it but, at the same time, Teishi brought up his foot and smashed it into his head sending him reeling against the ground. He ran again.

'Just a little further and I'll be safe,' he thought but, at the very edge of the woods, he felt a strong hand grip around his arm. He whirled around to strike his captor with his free paw but that one was caught as well.

"Now, little one. Don't struggle. It will only make things worse." Said the cowled figure. His hands were the same color as his grey cloak and his golden eyes glowed from the deep shadows of his hood. The way the cloth draped over his broad shoulders and the strength of his grip revealed his power, but there was something more; something palpable and Teishi was frightened by it. "It's amazing; the similarities between us. We are both the last of our kind. The remnants of once great orders. And once you're dead then I will die as well. It's pity that you aren't older. This wouldn't be so easy."

"Unhand him!" Another voice spoke with authority. A thick, human scent wafted to him. Along with it was the smell of fresh blood. "Unhand him or you shall meet the fate of your companions."

The cloak turned and faced the newcomer who was mounted on a strong, brown steed a few yards away and fitted with glistening silver armor; the mask of his helm covered his face.

"I don't think you can kill me as you have the others. I am not what they are."

"Regardless of what you are, I will not let you harm this defenseless child."

"I assure you, he is not defenseless. None of his kind are once they they learn to walk."

Taking advantage of the time that he was ignoring him, Teishi sank his teeth into the cowled creature's arm. He barked in pain and released his grip, tossing the panther a couple of feet to the side.

"You fool!" The beautiful voice yelled at the meddling knight. "You will pay for interfering."

The human simply trotted to him and placed his sword against his shoulder. "I believe I have the advantage. You would be the fool if you attacked me, now."

The cloak addressed the panther. "This is not the last you'll hear from me, dark-breed. The next time you will not be so lucky." He squatted low to the ground and with a great leap, disappeared.

'Dark-breed?' Teishi thought to himself.

"Are you alright, kitten?" The knight, no longer on his mount, had taken off his helm revealing his well-made face and his vibrant red hair and extended his hand.

Teishi got up and clawed the human's face. "I'm no kitten."

"This is how you repay me for saving your life?"

"I didn't ask or need you to. I can help myself. I assume you're here because of some quest and you seek the wisdom of the Archsage. You'll never find him You'll die, lost in the forest, and when I find your body I'll laugh as I bury you." He looked back down the road and saw the Revan's body on the ground and a bag tied around his waist. "I have other matters to attend to."

He trotted back down the road opened the bag which was heavy with gold and silver then retied it around he own waist. Then he ran to the tailor's shop again, throwing the door open unceremoniously. "This is what I owe you. I'd give more praise but I really don't have the time."

"This far too much," the bruin said as Teishi turned to go.

"Keep it. I'll never need it." Then he ran back to the woods.

The trees were so thick that anyone, especially a panther, could run through the branches more easily than you could on the winding paths below. Teishi climbed rapidly into the branches and ran as fast as he could toward the monastery deep in the heart of the forest. On his way, he caught a glimpse of the human from before riding his horse slowly on the path and gingerly cleaning his wound, but Teishi didn't even take a moment to scorn him as he had wanted but kept running. Finally he reached the gates of the massive grey-stoned temple and looked up at he gigantic doors with beautifully eerie, inlaid, golden swirls. They had no handles and had to opened from the inside unless someone strong enough could force it open with magic; something Teishi could do without much trouble.

'I can either wait here for the doors to open and get caught outside or I can open the doors, sneak inside and be inevitably caught opening the gate without a master's permission... I might as well try for three.'

He lifted his paws up again and the door began to slide out revealing the partition of the two huge pieces of wood. But before he could see anything else, the body of the guard, a broad-shouldered hound, standing with his arms crossed.

'Or I can get caught opening the doors from the outside without permission to do either... This isn't going to end well.'