Unseen, Luthien perched in a tree and watched as Matsuro went through his daily training sessions. He certainly was a very strong and skilled warrior. The Elf remembered him as a child and how he had changed recently. His life certainly hadn’t been pleasant, she mused. His attitude was understandable. At the most inopportune time his siblings had abandoned him. His mother had never wanted him in the first place, then had ignored him, thrown him to the mercy of her husband and then been thrown off a cliff for her indiscretions. This man, for all intents and purposes his father, had hated what he represented and treated him appallingly. He had built up walls to protect himself and truly saw himself as the victim.

Luthien had been watching Matsuro for some time now. Each day as he honed his skills since he had joined the caravan, but even before that when he was a child in the Kaijitsu compound. Her training had been very specific to her set of skills but he was born into a duty. Even an illegitimate son of the Kaijitsu household would need to be a good warrior. As they travelled further into the northern wilds on their journey to the east, Luthien had watched him battle against real opponents for the first time. The brash youth was starting to make way for a mature warrior.

The last few encounters had shown Luthien that they were going to need far more than strong warriors if they were going to survive. Even in Kalsgard they had come across stealthy warriors who had struck at them from the shadows. As they got closer to Minkai, the home of the Ninja Assassins, Matsuro’s approach, more than anyone else’s, would not stand up against these shadowy fighters. If the scions and their companions were to protect Ameiko against the Storm Generals and their Ninjas, Matsuro would need to adapt his style.

The young Minkai warrior had never been subtle about how he felt about the non humans who lived in Sandpoint, and who now accompanied his half sister to their Ancestral home. Matsuro had always treated Luthien and the others with contempt and disdain. Even during their battles on the trail so far, Matsuro had been contemptuous of any help the companions could offer in battle. Luthien wanted to help but was worried that the young warrior would see her advances as patronising. She watched him for several days in silence worried about his reaction, but then the attack on Ameiko by the assassin in the Kalsgard Fire Quarter forced her hand. If she did not act immediately, she would risk failing in her duty to safeguard Ameiko.

After the attack on Ameiko, Luthien again watched Matsuro train. When she saw an opportunity, she used her well honed abilities to approach Matsuro and counter his attack on the training dummy. To the untrained person it looked as if she melted out of invisibility. Matsuro looked at her in fury, believing that the companions had turned on him. Luthien realised her mistake quickly. She loosed a scarf from her outfit and used it to disarm him. It was easier than normal as he was furious. She drew him close with a flick of the scarf and whispered in his ear to calm. She spoke quickly and decisively and let him know that she wanted to help him learn to fight the assassins they would soon encounter. He spat angry words at her, pushed her down to the ground and stalked off, leaving his weapons behind. After a while, Luthien realised she had gone about this the wrong way. She picked herself up, retrieved Matsuro’s weapons and headed back to camp.

During that day she cleaned and sharpened Matsuro’s weapons and placed them back with his belongings. That evening when he left the company of the others, she followed him into the forest. Knowing he would never speak to her willingly, she decided to use her skills to approach him from behind and startle him, giving her a few seconds to state her case before he shot her down again. At an opportune moment she appeared from the shadows in front of him. As if sensing the attack, he lunged at her catching her off guard. He held her with an arm across her chest on the forest floor. However this allowed her to state her case. She offered to spar with him and teach him to fight against the ninjas. In return he would help her fight against the powerful samurai.

Matsuro, looked at her in surprise. Why would the elf offer to train with him? He knew the elf’s sister held him in contempt, the gnome saw him as little more than a boorish oaf and Ameiko saw him as a prig. Was she trying to trick him and expose him to more jokes at his expense? He looked at her expression and saw nothing more than an honest offer. It did seem intriguing. He had watched her fight and admired her skills, even if she and her friends did think they were better than him. He stood up and offered her his hand to help her stand.
“I will agree to your proposal, but I still do not trust your motives. We will train in secret. No one must know” he stated.
“Agreed” she said, “ I must ensure all people can defend the caravan against the Minkai Ninja. Tomorrow?”
Matsuro nodded at her, and just as silently as she arrived, she had disappeared into the forest.
“Damn elves” Matsuro muttered to himself, but his voice had lost some of the venom it once held when describing the elf woman.


Adelaide Jade Regent Wildhunt78 My_Shinies