Author's Comments: Whew, I'm back! Been MIA since November due to a move out of our old apartment into our new one. Sorry I haven't been updated the Psyen Chronicles in SO long, but the truth is, my disk with the story on it went missing during the move. I had 3 chapters done, and when I lost the disk, I grew very saddened since I had lost all that hard work. But enough about that, I'm back with a new story, and to those who've read the Psyen Chronicles and wanted me to continue, that could be possibility.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy my work. I plan on posting the second chapter with or without feedback, but, eh, who knows. I know it's probably too early to get flames or what not, flames of both variety: inteligent and otherwise, are accepted.

Disclaimer: Chapter is PG-rated if only for the part towards the end. Also, since this is an original creation, I do own the characters in my story, so please ask for my permission before using them. Anyways, enjoy!

"quotes" denote speech

italics denote inside thoughts

Chapter 1: More Than Just

The sun hung high that afternoon as it mercilessly beat down on those unable to find the appropriate shade needed to combat the rising temperature. Spring had come and gone, and summer was now rearing its ugly head. The summer harvest was still months away with much toiling till then, but the village of Kishu has had its share of far worse troubles than hot days.

Rumors and gossip were almost a part of the daily life of Kishu's inhabitants, and such stories about Kishu's misfortunes were always told to travelers to see if any could aid them, and told by travelers as a warning to stay far away from the place. Some credit the misfortunes to a curse brought upon by a wrongfully slain priestess, others credit it to a prophecy to which a person of a royal lineage will break, and others claim it to just plain, old, bad luck. Whichever the case, Kishu was your average village with your not-so-average problems.

Unfortunately, luck was, as usual, absent from the lives of the Kishu villagers as a local bandit and his gang had set his eyes upon the misforturned village.

Hearing of the stories and tales of the village, the bandit leader saw it as an easy place to resupply and have his fill of women. Never backing down from an easy victory over commoners, the bandit leader prepared to strike in the afternoon when all the villagers were toiling their fields.

Unfortunately for him, his luck had run out as well. Not far from the village, a weary traveler made his way to the village to try and garner himself a place to sleep and a dinner to fill his empty stomach.

How long had it been since he left home? A week? Two, perhaps? He didn't care at this point of the day. It was nearly noon, and he was still quite a ways from the village of Kishu. His head hung low as he thought about the stories of the place he was planning on stopping by. A place rumored to have been so filled with misfortune that it would have stirred even the most elated person away. Such places were better left alone, but he was desperate for a room and food that he didn't care anymore.

A room to sleep in and food aside from what he could scavenge. At this point in his life, this was all he desired. Most would desire for more than just a room and some food, but he was not most. Forced to sleep in trees and eat nothing but what he could find was not something he expected to do when he decided to leave. But that, like now as walked towards Kishu, was all his choice.

Yes, his choice. He could have just as easily returned home as he placed down his foot, but his pride would not let him. He had made such a fuss over the matter with his parents that going back now would not only shame himself, but his father who had eventually sided with him. His father saw the spark of adventure in his son, and after much debating, saw that this was what his son needed. A journey into new territory, a journey outside of the house.

Yet his mother saw differently. He was, of course, the heir to their land. If he traveled the land openly as he planned on doing, it would most assuredly attract unwanted and dangerous attention from their enemies. She knew her son was quite capable of defending himself if the need arose, but still. She was a mother after all, and what mother doesn't worry about their child? She only agreed to him going if he hid his identity, and even then it was going to be difficult in doing so.

And this is where he now was. Trudging slowly along with a village of misfortunes in front of him and a pampering home behind him. He sighed as he looked up at the unforgiving sun and wondered how long days like this would continue. He admitted that sunshine from time to time was pleasant, especially since he came from the northern mountains where it always seemed to snow, but this was unbearable.

He went to remove the hood of his cloak, but remembered that his identity would need to be kept a secret. Removing it in broad daylight would surely open himself to any type of attack to any would-be assassins hiding in the nearby forest. He sighed again, this one heavier than the last. Unable to enjoy the simplest comforts such as removing his hood from his all ready sweaty head really saddened him. But as he reprimanded himself many a time over the weeks since he left home, this was all his choice and he could easily go back home if it weren't for his pride and the shame he would face.

As if it was given to him as a gift from god, a tree slowly came into view in the horizon. Not caring even if it was still a few miles, he broke into a sprint towards his salvation, the one thing that could protect him from the unmerciful sun. Even if it wasn't a room or a feast, shade was always welcome during the hot summer seasons.

As he neared the tree, he saw that the tree was not a mirage, and he increased his pace. Of course, as if the bad luck had finally found him, he was paying to much attention to his goal instead of the large branch that found its way onto the road. Not even noticing the fallen branch, his feet got tangled in the mess as he went face-first to the ground. After quickly placing his hood back on his head, he was about to break the branch into a million pieces when he noticed the shade of the tree was only a few feet away.

Completely forgetting about the branch, he began crawling towards the shade. As he entered the dark sanctuary, a breeze began to pick up as if to tease him to remove his hood. He rested his back against the tree as he took in the spectacular view that lay before him. With the exception of the village of misfortunes, the plains he had found himself in were almost breath-taking.

Rolling hills dotted the landscape, each one ending where the next begins. As the wind hit the long grass that sat upon the hills, it really did give the impression that the hills were indeed rolling, a sight the he had never seen. In the background stood the mountains from which he came, mighty and proud as they seemed to watch and protect those below. And where the plains and the mountains meet, a forest had seemed to grow in the protection of the mountains. He had paid that forest a visit many a night when he needed a place to sleep. Few people ever paid attention to the beauty of the landscape, but to those who did, some would have considered it paradise if it wasn't for the nearby village.

Reaching into one of his belt pouches, he pulled out a few berries that he was able to find earlier in the day. He began tossing them one by one into the air and catching them as they fell with his mouth. He placed the remaining berries back in their respective pouch as he began to stretch his legs far in front of him as he rested back on the trunk.

He was up earlier than usual that morning and he decided that he needed a nap. The thought of going into the forest seemed absurd with a perfectly acceptable tree right here, and it was not every day he could sleep on soft ground since the forest floor was usually covered in twigs, leaves, and bugs. Also, it was a blessing not having to sleep in a tree with the risk of falling and breaking one's neck or other body part.

He was content with napping on the ground, but he decided on one more berry before he let himself fade away into a blissful slumber. As he reached into his pouch for a berry, his senses had failed to notice the little boy watching him from the other side of the tree.

The child was out playing with his mother when he noticed a stranger with the looks of a traveler had taken up shelter under the tree. Curious as to whom the traveler was, the child had crept quietly up to the tree and began watching the traveler. Amazed at how the traveler could catch food with his mouth, the child was about to ask him how he did that when the traveler placed the berries away. He was about to leave when he noticed the traveler reach for one more berry. The child grew elated as he prepared to ask his question.

"Wow! How did you do that?" the child cried in excitement as the berry fell towards the traveler's mouth.

The child's question had broken the traveler's concentration as he looked at the child in alarm. What he again failed to notice was the berry falling towards his still opened mouth. As if the curse of the village struck again, the berry became lodged in the traveler's throat as he began to furiously beat his chest hoping to get the berry out.

Great, he thought to himself, I'm worried about assassins and what not, and a child and a berry are to be my downfall!

After many agonizing seconds, the traveler was finally able to dislodge the renegade berry from his throat. After sucking in a deep breath of air, he turned a scornful gaze at the child. The child was fearful for what the traveler would do to him, and, thus, began cringing behind the tree, using it as a shield. Seeing as how he was scaring the child and how it was obviously an accident, the traveler dropped his scornful gaze and brought up a smile.

He suddenly remembered the little boy's question as he pulled out two berries. "You want to know how I did that? Come here and I'll show you," the traveler said as he offered the second berry to the boy.

The child was a little shy at first, but a smile crept its way across his face as he came out from behind the tree. He took the berry in his hand as he carefully watched the traveler.

"Like this," the traveler said as he tossed the berry into the air and catching it with his mouth. The child followed suit, but the berry bounced off his nose. "One more," the traveler suggested as he reached in his pouch for the last berry and handed it to the child. The child executed the motion flawlessly the second time and happily chewed on the berry. "Nice job," the traveler said as he ruffled the little boy's hair.

A woman's voice could be heard in the air as if she calling out to someone. The little boy looked in the direction of the voice and noticed it was his mother. The child waved good-bye to the traveler as he began making his way back to his mother. After a few steps, the child paused for a moment before returning back to the traveler.

The traveler was about to fall asleep when he felt a tug at his cloak. Looking from under the hood of his cloak, he noticed it was the child that had just left seconds ago. Realizing that he had gotten the traveler's attention, the boy moved from tugging at his cloak to tugging at his arm.

"Is there you something you want?" the traveler asked.

"You must come with me and meet my mother!" the little boy said with a smile.

"That's quite alright, I'm fine under this tree," the traveler protested as he proceeded to pull his hood further over his face.

"Down the road a little is a village, I'm sure my mother would be able to have a word with the innkeeper if you come with me!" the child said, still tugging at the traveler's arm.

"An inn, you say?" came the traveler's voice from under the hood, as he stood up. "Let's go have a word you mother then!"

The child giggled in delight as he ran ahead of the traveler towards his mother. The child ran into an open hug from his mother. After her son broke free from her hug, she noticed the hooded traveler walking towards them.

"He's my friend!" the little boy said with a smile, "He showed me to catch berries with my mouth!"

"My, that was nice of him! You'll have to show me some time," the mother said as she smiled at her son.

"Good afternoon, ma'am," the traveler greeted with a bow.

"And a good afternoon to you too, kind sir," the woman replied as she bowed her head to the young man. "What's a traveler like yourself doing near the outskirts of Kishu?"

"I grew tired of branches and berries and hoped I could resupply and find a room at one of Kishu's inns," the traveler explained.

"We always have room for a kind stranger such as yourself, but you must have heard the stories regarding our quiet village. Why do you still choose to come?" the woman asked as she began the walk back towards Kishu.

"Ma'am, I've never been on the road before so when an opportunity to stay in a comfortable room and the choice of having a nice, cooked meal arises, you can say, I'll always be there!" the traveler replied with a laugh.

"That is good to know," the woman said as she shared his laugh. She motioned her son to go ahead as she talked with the traveler, "But one so young to be on the road! You looked like just reached adulthood!"

"Ma'am, don't let my looks deceive you!" he said with a laugh, "I am older than I appear, and I am quite capable of taking care of myself!"

"I'm sure!" the woman laughed, but cut her laughter when she realized how rude she had been!

"Please, forgive me! I haven't properly introduced myself! My name is Kiyoshi, and my child is named Kohan," she said with a bow.

"Well, it is nice to meet you and your son, Kiyoshi," he returned with a nod, "Though I would love to share my name, I cannot, and I must apologize for now I'm the one being rude. Though you may call me Kitao, it's the nickname my mother gave to me when I was a child."

"Ah, so you are from the north?" Kiyoshi asked as they resumed their walk towards Kishu.

"Yes, just on the other side of that mountain range," Kitao replied as he pointed towards the northern mountain range.

"We rarely hear news from the north. Rumors say demons have been showing up quite a bit recently and have begun terrorizing the countryside. It's a miracle that Kishu's curse hasn't invited doom from across the mountains!" Kiyoshi said with a sigh.

Kitao couldn't believe his ears! Demons were running rampant in his homeland and his parents had yet to do something about the situation. Kitao decided that he would return tomorrow to see if he could aid his parents.

"Ah, we are almost there! There's the guardian tree that is supposed to watch over our village," Kiyoshi said her voice trailing as she mentioned the curse yet again.

Kitao noticed that every time Kiyoshi spoke of the bad luck surrounding her home, she would always slump into a depression. "Is living here really that bad?" Kitao asked, curiously, "You always seem to feel saddened every time you mention your village's 'curse'."

"Sometimes it is tolerable, but most of the time it's mostly annoying rather than horrible," Kiyoshi explained as they neared the guardian tree.

"Momma! Look! Black smoke!" Kohan shouted as he pointed in the direction of the village.

"They must be burning some leaves, dear. Let's continue our way home," Kiyoshi suggested as she took her son's hand.

"Kiyoshi, wait," Kitao said as his senses picked up what could possibly be a battle. He thought he could hear the distinct sound of metal clanging against each other, and he began to smell something strange. He had only smelled it a few times in his life, but once he actually began to concentrate on the smell, he realized what it was. Blood. "I smell blood! I think you're village may be under attack!"

"Kitao, how would you know something like that? And I don't see or smell any blood nearby," Kiyoshi stated as she looked curiously at him.

"Trust me, I know! I'm going ahead; you and Kohan should stay here!" Kitao shouted as he sprinted off towards the village.

"Kitao! Wait!" Kiyoshi shouted as she tried to stop Kitao. Then she noticed something strange about him as he ran off. She noticed the angular ears and the silver hair tucked underneath the hood. In his effort to aid the village, his hood had fallen slightly back, revealing his identity. And he had also said he smelled blood, but that could only mean one thing, "He's… he's a demon?!" Kiyoshi said aloud as she looked at the ground.

As she stood there more the moment, she realized that she did not feel her son's hand. "Kohan?" She asked, looking around for her son. In the distance she saw a little boy running off towards the village in pursuit of Kitao. "Kohan, no! Come back!" She shouted as she raced off after her son.

Fire danced atop the village chief's hut as the villagers of Kishu were brought before the bandit leader. The villagers had put up a weak defense and were quickly overwhelmed. Those that had survived the first wave of attack had surrendered. Now man, woman, and child were brought before the bandit leader to decide their fate.

"Hah! Be lucky that we had burned only your village chief's hut! I have decided this town will become our new base of operations. Now one would dare come here for fear of this so called curse," the bandit leader said with a smile.

"We'll never aid bandits such as you!" a young male villager shouted before he struck hard in the back by the hilt of a sword.

"I had a feeling someone would say that," the leader said from atop his horse. He searched the crowd of prisoners when a smile came a across his face. "Bring me that child!" he barked as he pointed to a small girl no older than six.

The crowd gasped in horror as a bandit rudely grabbed the little child by the hair and brought her before his leader. The bandit roughly shoved the little girl to the ground. The bandit leader proceeded to dismount his horse as he drew his sword. The bandit raised his sword over his head as the little girl sobbed loudly at his feet. In a motion that was to fast for any of the villagers to comprehend, the bandit leader viciously swung his sword downwards, an evil smile never leaving his place.

But his sword never hit its mark. In a blur of silver and blue, the child had moved from her predicament into the arms of a traveler. The child had ceased her crying, not sure of what to make of the situation. All she knew was that man was about to hurt her, but this young man had saved her life. The young man had placed her down on the ground where the little girl proceeded to run into the arms of her mother and father.

"Who are you and how dare you trespass in my territory!" the bandit leader growled.

"My name is of no concern, and you say this was your territory!? This place, albeit very unlucky, belongs to the people of Kishu. Not some idiot bandit and his crew," the young man stated, his right hand near the hilt of his sword.

"I have no time for this! You three take him now!" the bandit leader ordered as the three closest guards charged the young man.

In a movement that was so quick, that even the bandit leader had trouble following, the three advancing thugs had been slain and now resided on the ground in front of the stranger, each with a single horizontal cut across their throat and the stranger's sword still in it's sheathe as if it had never been removed.

"You're good, but tell me, stranger. Who are you? You seem more than just a typical traveler with moves like those," the bandit leader laughed.

"Do you really wish to know who I am? Fine, here it is," the stranger said with a smile from under his hood, not really caring anymore about hiding his identity.

In one swift motion, he threw off his cloak allowing his shoulder length silver hair to finally free itself from its woolen prison. He also wore an ice blue haori covered with a white breastplate and a white hakama. At his side was a wakazashi, the sheathe adorned with various wolf characters. His greaves were also the same color as his haori and his bracers matched that of his hakama. When the wind picked up, a long silver hair braid was found dancing in the wind.

"I am the ice wolf prince, Kizoku, heir to the Northern Lands, and today, demon; you will feel the sting of my blade as you recount your life up to this point!"

Dictionary fun: This section goes to words and phrases that I find need meaning or defining.

Kitao – Northerner

Kizoku – Noble

Kohan – Forest

Kishu –A name I decided to give the town

Kiyoshi – A name I just gave to Kohan's mom

Wakazashi – a Japanese short sword

Haori and hakama – if you've seen Inuyasha, they are the 'clothes' that Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru wear

Note: Kitao and Kohan may not be what they mean, but I trust the place I got the names from and their meanings.