When I said goodbye to him, I hadn't realized then that I was saying goodbye to my whole world. But, at that time five years ago, I knew it was impossible for us to stay together. All I had said then was "I'll miss you father..." That was before he was killed in the war that now affects our very own village.

Now I am one of the last children training to become a ninja. Of course, there were others, but most were in a high enough rank in school that they could go off and fight. There are only seven children left in our village. These seven include: Violet Jay, Kai Miyuki, Hitomi Konda, Akihiko Soma, Etsu Izumi, Luna Kamihara and myself; Jordan Minami.

My first name is from my mother's side of my family, and my surname is from my father's side. I am a descendant of an elite order of samurai. Although I am being trained in ninjutsu, I also wish to be trained in the ways of my ancestors.

"JORDYYY-SAMA~!" A voice calls just from behind me before it's origin tackles me in a hug.
"Hitomi, get off me." I shove the girl off.
"So...!" She seems excited.
"'So' what?" I glare at her.
"Aren't you excited! You're going to be able to move up in class rank today and-!" She covers her mouth. "I shouldn't have said that. The teacher said it was going to be a surprise to try and make you smile..."
"How will that make me smile? It'll mean that I get to move closer to battle. Both my parents died because of the damned war. You think I'm EXCITED about losing MY life? Tch. If you're so excited how about YOU take the raise in rank." I continue walking.
"Be... Cause... I know I'd never be a good ninja..." She seems to lose the excitement.
I sigh. "Sorry. It's not your fault that my parents died, and it's not your fault that my mother thought I was horrid." I pause and look into her eyes. "Thanks... For the warning about the rank change..."
"Don't mention it." She shrugs and we continue walking.
"WAIT UP YOU TWO BAKAS!" I hear Kai's voice as she runs to catch us.
"Must you yell?" Violet is calm.
"YES!" Kai yells to Violet, who simply plugs her ears.
"Hey everyone!" Etsu runs out the door of her house to meet us.
"Etsu~!" Hitomi hugs her.
"Guys... We're going to be late... We should hurry..." I look across the bridge to the training school.
"Jordan, Sensei loves you, so you've got nothing to worry about." Kai smiles.

We continue walking, making small talk and laughing until we reach both the training school and our formal school. Asai-Sensei is waiting outside with Luna and Akihiko, working hard on training.
"Jay, Miyuki, Konda, and Izumi. Get a sparring partner and begin. Minami, you will spar with me today." Asai-Sensei looks squarely into my eyes.
I freeze, knowing that although Asai-Sensei is ancient, she is also our village's strongest ninja.
"What is the matter? Afraid to fight Xia's only 'old bitty' figure!" She laughs.
"N-no..." I break my gaze, "Just afraid I might hurt her." I grin and get into position.
"No need to worry about me, Minami. I fought your father when he was little. I know what I'm in for." She goes into her own position.
A pang of sadness hits me at the mention of my father and I break my focus for just a moment. At that same moment, Asai-Sensei begins the spar and we are thrown into simple combat.
"Come on, Jordan!" I hear Akihiko yell from across the grass where he is sparring with Etsu.
Just at the right moment, I counter Asai-Sensei's onslaught and she falls to the ground, making me become the rightful victor of our battle.

"Well, you seem ready to move up a rank." Asai-Sensei smiles as I offer to help her up.
"Eh... I don't think-!" I say just before I'm pulled to the ground and land on my back.
"That's your only flaw. You don't think." Asai-Sensei stands over me, "Now, try to stand without using your arms or any leverage. If you're down in battle, you won't be able to survive."
I nod and stand up using only my legs, "So... Is anyone else being moved up?"
"No. They're all still going to be a rank below you in training." Asai-Sensei is matter-of-fact, "Come, children! We've much more training to do!"

The seven of us gather around her, sipping on our cantines and wishing to go into the river. It's a hot day in the summer, so we don't have formal school; just training and watch missions all day and night.
"We've got to coordinate watch missions for tonight, but first..." Asai-Sensei looks at me once again, "You will be moved up in rank, meaning that you will now be allowed to use three weapons of your choice."

I look down at the grass thoughtfully, thinking back to my father's locked store room that I hadn't opened since the day he had left, "Do you mind if... If I go home to get some of my father's old weaponry?"
The whole class, Asai-Sensei included, looks at me in shock. They never would have thought I would use my father's weapons.
He'll be with me now all the time. Even if I die, he'll be there... The thought slingshots itself to the front of my mind.
"Of course not, Minami. We don't mind at all." Asai-Sensei smiles.
"Thanks~!" I jump up, turn around, and run home.

Once at home, I grab the key to the store room and quickly open the door. It's dusty and dilapidated, but it has only been opened once in the passed seven years. A leather case sits on my father's workbench, concealing his Shuriken. I grab the pouch and walk over to a tall cupboard.
Inside the cupboard are my father's Hanbo, Staff, Bokken, and Swords. Carefully, I choose the Hanbo and close the cupboard.
Knowing that my mother's various Tessen were displayed on the wall in her old bedroom, I go stealthily up the stairs. Once inside the room, I pull the sharp-edged pair of Tessen off the wall and wipe the dust off of them, then begin my journey back to the school.

When I arrive, the yard is empty and silent. There is a slight eerie feeling creeping into my gut as I begin to walk alone to the doors of the dojo.

A giggle escapes Hitomi just before she pounces from the roof to hug me. Instinctively, I draw my newly aquired Tessen and slash, making sure not to harm her. The others come outside of the dojo to see us sprawled on the cobbled path, looking slightly fearful to ask any questions.

"We've decided, Jordan, that you will take the night watch for the next week." Asai-Sensei steps up.
"What!" I'm surprised that no one asked me about it.
"You, night watch for a week... Ring a bell?" Luna says sarcastically.
"Yeah, I know..." I sigh.
"Then don't ask 'What' as if you have no idea what's going on." Violet teases.
"Shush. All of you, Shush!" Asai-Sensei speaks calmly.

There is silence immediately following Asai-Sensei's orders.
"What three weapons did you choose for today, Minami?" Asai-Sensei looks at the obvious Tessen.

"Uhm... The Tessen..." I close the weapon and set it down, "... Shuriken... Aaaaaaaannnnnnnd Hanbo." I smile.
"Good... Very good choices. Am I correct in assuming that only one out of the three is your mother's old weaponry?" Asai-Sensei's dark eyes look into my own knowingly.
"Just the Tessen." I shrug and break her gaze.
She nods, "Class will be dismissed early today in honor of Shiro and Akina Minami, Jordan's parents."

The rest of the day, and through the evenning, the seven of us play in the river and spar. Once the day is finished, I go home and pack riceballs and a cantine for the night watch. Nothing usually happens in our village that would ever cause any alarm, so usually the night watch is quiet and simply strolls through the town all night until they fall asleep.

(Author's Note:
Some weapons may be unknown such as-

Shuriken: was simply a flat piece of metal with sharpened points that were thrown at the enemy.

Hanbo: bo 3 feet in length can be concealed as a cane Can be used like a bokken. May also conceal things inside, like a sword blade or a chain.

Staff: was one of the most important weapons in the ninja's arsenal. It was generally around 6 feet in length, made of hard wood or bamboo and was hollow. The reason for the hollow part was another trick of the ninja trade. By flicking the bow with great speed, the ninja could launch a poison tipped dart or small knife out of the open end of the staff, often catching the opponent off guard. Bokken

Swords: ninja sword (ninja-to) was different than that of the samurai. The long sword that the samurai carried was made of high-carbon steel, and took months to have made. They were hand made specially for each samurai, taking great care to make a very high quality sword. It was so sharp that it could easily cut a man in two, even through their armor. The length of the samurai swords averaged around 26 1/2 to 37 inches. The ninja sword was considerably shorter, only 24 inches, and the quality of the swords was much poorer. The reason for the poorer quality was the way they used the sword as opposed to the way the samurai used theirs. Samurai would swing their sword, severing limbs and slashing at the opponent. Ninja, on the other hand, used the sword more in a stabbing motion. To use the blade of the ninja sword effectively you would have to use a sawing motion when the blade came in contact with the opponents flesh. Another reason for the poor quality of the swords is that since ninja were mostly mountain people and outlaws, they could not afford to hire expert sword smiths like the samurai could. Also their own sword smiths did not have access to the right resources to be able to make curved edge swords with well constructed blades. If a Ninja could overcome a samurai he would take his swords, simply because they are better. Although the ninja sword was smaller and poorer quality, it still had its advantages. The scabbard for instance was made longer than the sword, about 3 to 4 inches longer. At the end of the scabbard there was a hidden compartment that was used to hide small weapons such as spikes, daggers or small amounts of poisons. Another use the sword had was that it could act as a small step by jamming the blade into the ground, the ninja could use the hand-guard as a step to get that extra height needed to scale a wall. Because the blade was not very sharp, the ninja could also use it as a hammer by holding onto the blade (carefully) and hitting with the handle. Also it was common to have the tip of the scabbard come off so it could be used as a snorkel.

Tessen: was a folding fan with an iron frame and, when folded, was used to club an enemy. A few different variations were invented, including one with a sharp edge on the outside of the framework so that, instead of only being able to club a person, the ninja could cut as well.
Sorry for the REALLY long note... Just had to explain... Hope you liked this chapter! ^.^" )