The Dream of Rood and Christ as a Hero

Early Anglo-Saxon religion had heavy Norse influences with an emphasis on a warrior culture. When Christianity was first introduced with Jesus Christ depicted as the Savior of mankind- he must have paled in comparison to the native Norse gods such as Thor, the god of thunder or Balder, the Sun god who were beloved and accomplished warriors. The dreamer in “The Dream of the Rood” describes Christ as “The Hero young begirt Himself, Almighty God was He”. (“The Dream”, 38) But how is “hero” defined?

“Definition of Hero:
b : an illustrious warrior ;
c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities;
d : one who shows great courage” (Merriam-Webster)

“…Then saw I mankind’s Lord/Hasten with mickle might, for He would sty upon me” (“The Dream”, 32-33). This quiet resolve is truly a courageous deed and that he did so to redeem mankind is noble. Norse heroes charged into battle with weapons raised high but this Christian hero sacrificed himself.

Sacrifice to a god was quite common in pagan religious practices in order to bring about various good effects, such as a fertile harvest. The most common sacrifices were animals and it was only on rare occasions that a human being was killed.  It was unheard of to hear of Gods willing to sacrifice themselves for mankind.

“…which Almighty God suffered upon/for all mankind’s manifold sins/and for the ancient ill-deeds of Adam./Death he tasted there, yet God rose again/by his great might, a help unto men.” (“The Dream”, 98-102)

The sacrifice of Jesus, presents to us an unspoken spiritual battle against the sins of mankind and mankind’s desire for repentance personified by the reversal of goodness and sin, with Christ’s body as the manifestation of mankind’s sin and the actions of his torturers as repentance.  With the death of Christ (mankind’s sin) and his subsequent rebirth (mankind’s salvation) the battle was won. This sort of battle is typical of Christian symbolism since it is not a physical one but a metaphysical one.

There is more symbolism that was originated in paganism but has been incorporated into Christian mythology. An example of a pagan belief adopted by Christianity was the narration by the tree. This personification was common in paganism in which the trees were thought to be the slumbering spirits of the forest unless their knowledge was sought out. Legend has it that the dogwood tree was once able to grow large and tall like an oak but it was appalled for having been used as the cross that killed Christ and now bears the markings of the crucifixion and no longer allows itself to grow that large again.

Queen Elizabeth and Elizabethan Era Literature

  1. Queen Elizabeth was considered an icon of her era, glorified as the “Virgin Queen” since she ruled in a patriarchal society without a king or prince ruling beside her and without a serious commitment to marriage. In her own writings and speeches, she spoke about the subject of her gender and lack of a partner as a way to inspire her subjects.

    “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.” (Elizabeth I, Speech to the Troops at Tilbury)

    As a queen, she tried her best to be fair and listen to her councilors, even to the point of not marrying a man that she loved against the wishes of her parliament. (Crofton, 148-149) Elizabeth never married and this sort of romantic ideal of refusing to marry if she could not marry the man she loved seems to be echoed in the literature of the era. The best example of this in her own words would be in her poem, “On Monsieur’s Departure”, “Let me or float or sink, be high or low;/Or let me live with some more sweet content,/Or die, and so forget what love e’er meant.” (16-18)

    2. Literature within the Elizabethan era was full of religious allegory intermingled with the mysticism of the old Gods. Edmund Spenser’s “Faerie Queene” was a prime example of the intermingling of religious iconography with the added benefit of making reference to Queen Elizabeth within the epic poem. “And cursed heauen, and spake reprochfull shame/Of highest God, the Lord of life and light;/A bold bad man, that dar’d to call by name/Great Gorgon, Prince of darkness and dead night,/At which Cocytus quakes, and Stya is put to flight.” (Book I, Canto I)

    The transition from the medieval displacement of troubles to devils to the blame upon the people themselves is more evident in Shakepeare’s “King Lear” where the ill luck that falls upon the King are the folly of his own mislaid trust. It is a sharp contrast to the mischief caused by magic and faeries in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

    3. Shakespeare’s humor and love of honesty shines through in Sonnet 130 “I grant I never saw a goddess go;/My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:/ And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare/As any she belied with false compare.” And again in “King Lear” with the lovely Coredlia’s statement of plain love for her father, “I love your Majesty./According to my bond, no more nor less.” Shakespeare writes a create variety of characters in all of his plays but it seems that he favors words of wisdom coming from unexpected places, such as from the Fool in “King Lear”. “I marvel what kin thou and thy daughters are. They’ll have me whipped for speaking true; thou’lt have me whipped for lying; and sometimes I am whipped for holding my peace.” (Act 1 Scene 4, 186-189) To have the foolish speak wisdom and the wise speak foolishly it says to me that Shakespeare feels that the real wisdom comes from whom you least expect. He also seems to make t plain that often times the truth is a plain thing that cannot be concealed in falsehoods.

    Work Cited:
    Crofton, Ian. The Kings and Queens of England. New York: Metro Books, 2006. Print.

    Shakespeare, William. King Lear. New York: Signet Classic, 1998. Print.

    Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. The Norton Anthology. Ed. Steven Greenblatt. Norton & Company, 2006. Print.

    Queen Elizabeth I. “On Monsieur’s Departure.” The Northon Anthology. Ed. Steven Greenblatt. Norton & Company, 2006. Print.

    Queen Elizabeth I. “Speech to the Troops at Tilbury.” The Norton Anthology. Ed. Steven Greenblatt. Norton & Company, 2006. Print

Paradise Lost as an epic

John Milton’s Paradise Lost is an epic according to the Webster’s New Dictionary definition of epic as “a long narrative poem in a dignified style about the deeds of a hero or heroes” (p. 219).  To classify Paradise Lost as an epic forces the reader to take into consideration the subject matters of the fall of Lucifer from Heaven; the fall of mankind from the Garden of Eden; and, if a reader can classify the actions of Adam, Eve or even Lucifer during these events as “heroic”.   Taking into consideration that a hero is defined as “any person, esp. a man, admired for courage, nobility” (Webster’s New Dictionary, p. 303), I can think about what actions I might personally consider noble or courageous.  Some of the things that I consider courageous are accepting responsibility for one’s one actions; speaking out for the greater good when it is unfavorable; or fighting against overwhelming odds to accomplish a goal.

In Milton’s poem, both Adam and Lucifer acted in ways that I consider courageous, albeit a little foolish but courageous nevertheless the fact that they faced death or banishment for their actions.  Surprisingly, the actions of Lucifer are the ones that stand out as the more heroic despite the notion that he is generally perceived as the source of evil and hatred in the world.  Lucifer’s plans to pervert all that is “good” to “evil” becomes heroic when the reasoning for his evil actions becomes what appears to be the desire to be free from life of servitude rather than jealousy.  “…but rather seek / Our own good from ourselves, though in this vast recess, / Free, and to none accountable, preferring/ Hard Liberty before the easy yoke / Of servile Pomp.” (Milton, 252-257)  It becomes harder to consider Lucifer a villain when he is the main focus of many of the twelve books of Paradise Lost.  The reader does follow Adam as well but Adam’s actions when compared to Lucifer’s appear more consequential.  Adam only accepts responsibility for disobeying God after initially denying all blame and then tries to repent for his actions.

Works Cited

“Epic.” Webster’s Fourth New World Dictionary. 2003. Print.

“Hero.” Webster’s Fourth New World Dictionary. 2003. Print.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost.  New York: Signet Classics, 2010. Print

Lucifer the antihero

My favorite character in John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” happens to be Lucifer.  I preferred Milton’s depiction of Lucifer as an antihero against the typical notion of a hero because I find it easier to relate to a character that has their flaws but makes up for their shortcomings with commitment to action despite overwhelming odds.  I found many of Lucifer’s speeches in Book I inspiring as he tells his followers to not give up hope but to make the best of their situation.

“…Here at least

We shall be free; th’ Almighty hath not built

Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:

Here we may reign secure, and in my choice

To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heav’n.” (Milton, Book I, line 259-263)

Lucifer’s portrayal as a leader of the fallen angels seeking their freedom of the oppressive forces of heaven in the poem is an intriguing juxtaposition to the archetypical portrayal of him as an angry defiler who seeks to destroy things for the sake of destruction.  One such villainous depiction of Lucifer in the King James Version of the Bible is in the First Book of Peter, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (5:8)

It is hard to hate a person for desiring to live free, though I found Lucifer’s resolve in the later Cantos of “Paradise Lost” to seek vengeance instead of victory on his battle for freedom disheartening.  “Which if not Victory is yet revenge.” (Milton, Book II, line 105). I think it was the transition from the desire to live free to cause harm that transforms Lucifer from the realm of antihero to tragic hero because despite all of his inspiring words and noble ambitions he becomes corrupted by hate and despair and abandons his dreams.  I truly enjoyed reading about Lucifer and his schemes throughout Milton’s work even though I knew how the story would end because I wanted to see how this interpretation of Lucifer would handle things differently than the devil I learned about in Sunday school.

Works Cited

Milton, John. Paradise Lost, Book 1. The Northon Anthology. Ed. Steven Greenblatt. Norton & Company, 2006. 1831-1850. Print.

The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society: 1999;, 2000.

Loyalty Honored but Betrayal Repaid: Betrayal and Loyalty in “King Lear”

Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear” has the main theme of betrayal but also about loyalty.  “King Lear” is a play about King Lear who is so blinded by vanity and madness that he casts out the people who are most genuine and loyal to him to elevate flatterers who ultimately betray him.  The play opens with King Lear asking his daughters to tell him how much they love him and it is from that point it is presented to the audience that the truth is sometimes an ugly, plain thing and that a man would rather succumb to the beautiful allure of a falsehood than to allow himself to hear what might be a bitter ugly truth.  It also seems that the most unexpected betrayals come from those who are closest to us and if we are patient, those who would betray us will receive justice in one way or another.

Betrayal comes in many forms in within “King Lear” from simple lies; to usurpation of power; to infidelity; to murder.  The first betrayal of the play was the most blatant and surprising because it was the condemnation of King Lear’s youngest daughter, Cordelia, for refusing to lie about how much she loved her father. “Why have my sisters husbands if they say/ They love you all? Haply, when I wed,/ That lord whose hand must take my plight, shall carry half my love with him, half my care and duty./ Suce I shall never marry like my sisters,/ To love my father all,” (Shakespeare, Act 1 Scene 1, 101-106). King Lear was upset by the fact that his favorite daughter told him the truth of her feelings, that she could never love a husband if she loved only her father and he betrays her by disowning her.  But it is from this first betrayal that the seeds of rebellion are planted in the minds of King Lear’s other daughters, Regan and Goneril, and he soon finds himself stripped of his power and authority.  If King Lear cannot be trusted nor can he trust his family, it brings to mind the question of who is actually loyal.

There are a few acts of loyalty within “King Lear”.  One of the most notable and visible was Kent with his unwavering desire to serve his king despite being banished by that same king for telling him he was wrong to disown Cordelia.  Then there was Edgar of Gloucester who also remained loyal to his father despite being hunted for unwarranted accusations of treachery and guided his blinded father out of Gloucester to safety. And lastly there was Cordelia who remained loyal to her father despite being betrayed and took an army to war against her sisters over the mistreatment of King Lear.  But how was this loyalty repaid?

“Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides,/ Who covered faults, at last shame them derides (…)” (Shakespeare, Act 1 Scene 1, 282-283).  Sadly, loyalty does not get to reap its fullest rewards within the play but there is some measure of justice for those who suffered from betrayal.  Each betrayer is punished in some way, the daughters die after betraying their father; the Duke of Gloucester and each other; Edmund dies after instigating the mutilation of his father and the banishment of his brother; and King Lear dies of heartbreak after realizing that he betrayed Cordelia and that his actions led to her death.  The true moral of “King Lear” is that if you betray those around you and surround yourself with flatterers that you yourself will end up betrayed.


Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. King Lear. New York: Signet Classic, 1998. Print.

King Arthur and Christianity

King Arthur has been honored through the ages as being a noble, fair and chivalrous king as well as being a brilliant soldier.  He is the epitome of British nobility and chivalry and for centuries, kings of England have claimed to have ties to his noble linage.  Arthur’s story begins in magic and miracles but ends in the gritty reality of blood and tragedy. The death of King Arthur is symbolic as it ushers in the end of two eras, of Camelot and of magic, where the old Pagan religion has been swept away and replaced by Christianity.

King Arthur’s true beginning is in a magical deception of the Duke of Cornwall’s wife, Igraine by King Uther Pendragon.  Merlin cast a spell called a “glamour” upon Pendragon that gave him the physical appearance of the absent Duke that enabled Pendragon and Igraine to conceive Arthur without the duchess knowing the truth of Pendragon’s identity. (Malory, 3)  Magical transformations are a reoccurring theme in Pagan mythology as a method for the gods to woo and bed beautiful mortal women that are resistant to their regular charms.  The children born from these god/mortal unions grew up to be great heroes and in this way, Arthur was predestined by the magical nature of his birth to become a hero as well. The overwriting destiny that Arthur came into was the kingship of England by means of the Christian ordained miracle of the sword in the stone on Christmas.

“(…) that Jesus, that was born on that night, that he would of his great mercy show some miracle, as he was come to be king of mankind, for to show some miracle who should be rightwise king of this realm,” (Malory, 7).  The act of pulling the sword from the stone was considered a miracle by the people but the nobles were resistant to the idea of a squire becoming their king until Merlin informed them of Arthur’s royal linage.  The notion of God ordaining a man to be king over another man was not a new concept introduced by the Arthurian legend but a concept used by monarchial lines for ages; for example, in Egypt kings were almost considered on the same level as Gods themselves for their right to rule was granted by the Gods.  Once Arthur had been established as king he went about the earthly duties of being king and waged wars to win many territories in the surrounding are to include Ireland and some of Wales.  It was on the battlefield he confirmed his strength and through these victories he was able to prove his prowess as a warrior and as all kings do, he finally took a wife.

It was on the matter of love that Arthur was weakest, he so loved his wife, Guinevere and his knight, Lancelot that he refused to believe the stories of their affair from his son, Mordred.  But the infidelity was foreseen by Merlin and he tried to subtly warn Arthur that Guinevere would be loved by and fall in love with Lancelot if she became queen.  (Malory, 79-80)  Since Arthur’s weakness was his love of Guinevere, it was this that Mordred exploited to divide the loyalty of the knights of the table but it wasn’t by any sort of magical means- it was done by regular gossip and entrapment.  Like Judas, Mordred was trusted by his fellows so the treachery was unexpected and this led to Arthur’s and Mordred’s mutual deaths at each other’s hands.

In Arthur’s dying moments, he had one of his surviving knights return his magical sword, Excalibur to the mystic Lady of the Lake by casting the blade into the waters of the Lake.  It was only after the sword was returned that Arthur himself died.  As a consequence for all the bloodshed caused by the affair, both Guinevere and Lancelot turned to God for penance and respectively became a nun and a priest. (Malory, 922-931) These actions are very telling of the additions of Christian values into the Arthurian mythos but still keeping with the original story.  The inclusion of both magic and repentance are elements that were important to help ease the populace into the notion of Christianity.  It is with Arthur’s death that the reality that the age of magic and Camelot are gone- almost all of the Knights of the Round Table are dead and Excalibur has been returned to the Lady of the Lake. In the end, the pagan beliefs were lost to Christianity.

Works Cited
Hamiliton, Edith. Mythology. New York: Hachette Book Group, 2011. Print.

Malory, Sir Thomas. Le Morte D’Arthur. New York: The Modern Library, 1994. Print.

Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale

Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” contains a series of short stories collected from a group of pilgrims holding a storytelling contest as they stop at an inn on their way to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. I consider many of the stories from the pilgrims to be parables and “The Miller’s Tale” is no different, telling the dangers of getting too clever in mischief, coveting another man’s wife and believing in false prophecy. There is a great lightheartedness in the tale of the Miller, Robin, and despite the baseness of Robin’s humor, I feel that this humor is effective in relaying the moral of the story without being too heavy handed in its delivery.

Overall, Chaucer uses satire within “The Miller’s Tale” in the traditional Middle Age’s manner of vulgarity. Some of the irony seems to best absorbed by the nature of how the story is related- it is collected from people on a Holy Pilgrimage and Robin, the storyteller in this particular tale is anything but what we would perceive as a pious man on his way to find religious enlightenment. He is described as “…very drunk and rather pale, / was straddled on his horse half-on half-off/ And in no mood for manners or to doff.” (14-16)

Robin shares his bawdy tale following the Knight’s tale which was described as “…a noble story/ Worthy to be remembered for its glory,” (3-4) and is such a definitive contrast in the manner of speech that Chaucer felt the need to apologize before fully retelling the story and implores the reader to “Just turn the page and choose another sort” (69) promising “…Many historical, that will profess/ Morality, good breeding, saintliness,” (71-72). But as we all know, human beings are curious creatures that like to hear about the things they are told that they should avoid.

There are many great examples of Robin’s humor but I felt the morale of this tawdry tale of adultery and comeuppance best sums up the nature of the whole tale, “And so the carpenter’s wife was truly poked,/ As if his jealousy to justify,/ And Absalon has kissed her nether eye/ And Nicholas is branded on the bum.” (742-745) The wife though originally faithful lives up to her husband’s jealous nature by having an affair with the student, Nicholas; the foolish suitor and parish clerk, Absalon is humiliated by the lovers; and Nicholas the instigator of the whole affair, will forever bear the scars of his indecency with Alison. The carpenter in the whole scheme of things is punished for his jealously and believing Nicholas’s “prophecy” about a flood by losing his credibility and his wife’s affections.

Works Cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Trans. Neville Coghill. New York: Penguin Classis, 2003. Print.


HEY! I helped make a thing!

Many years ago, I met this guy, Michael Prokop through the Lounge webcomic forums and I got involved with his project, Starship Moonhawk.  We later started a forum roleplay based off the Starship Moonhawk setting and my Mercadian Marine, Karma got pulled into Starship Moonhawk canon. FAST forward to today, Karma is in the webcomic and I was asked to voice her in the motion comic. =) Check it out, give it a like, donate to the Starship Moonhawk Patreon if you want to see more!

Plug for my friend’s book

My friend just released her first book today!

He Was Broken So She Confessed To Him

Authored by Amiyah Deziire

Midnight Confessions is a book filled with thoughts on of love, romance, and heartbreak. It’s a book you can share with your love or even use as a conversation starter. Read a quote a day, read a quote a week or read it all at once.


Check it out at:

Chiharu Sidestory Pt.3: Kenbu (Conclusion)

Chiharu Sidestory Pt.3: Kenbu (Conclusion)
Originally Posted: 6Aug03 – 0107 EST
Final Edit and posting: 18Aug03 – 1349 EST

Act 1: The Note

Jon kept an eye on the Chi-clone as he sat with a cat-calling Kevin as the Elysian girl started toying with her top. The woman was intriguing to Jon, there was something off about her but the simple fact that she bore the same face as Chi.. His thoughts drifted and he started tuning out Kevin entirely, focusing on the woman behind him. He almost didn’t notice when a little civilian Neko waitress meandered over to him in a red tube top and a little leather miniskirt.

“Excuse me sir, but the lady would like to talk to you in private.” Her voice was soft as she handed Ishida a folded up slip of paper, indicating the Chi look-alike for a moment and wandering off again.

Jon nodded to the neko and watched her saunter off for a moment before he opened up the slip of paper and read the message. It was hand scribed, the handwriting was surprizingly similar to Chiharu’s but it lacked the control and fluidity of Chi’s hand. “Meet me in the back private dance room, D. – Shoki.” He looked back and found the the woman, Shoki, had disappeared already, probably to the meeting place. He looked to Kevin, the man was too busy oogling the dancer to notice what was going on around him.

“Hey Jones, I just got myself a private dance. Don’t wait up for me, if you leave before I get done, thanks for being my guide.” Jon couldn’t help but smile at the man’s behavior, it was like he hadn’t seen a naked woman before but then again.. this dancer was an Elysian, she almost represented their enemy. So it was almost understandable that seeing this woman naked would drive this solider batty, the coming battle was so close that everyone could taste it.

Jones cast Jon a passing glance, “Have fun man! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” He slapped Ishida on his back and winked at him as the man walked away towards the private dance area.

Act 2: Meeting Shoki

The door to the D room was painted a dull red color that held an almost metallic shimmer to it, like blood that had long sullied the silvery blade of an old sword. The door had no visible means to open it save a small black panel on the right wall beside it that glowed with an eerie crimson light. Ishida hesitated for a moment and looked around the back hallway, with the scattered slivers of white light pouring down through paper lanterns of red and green that hung about the ceiling to hide unsightly and light fixtures that almost the length of the ceiling. But there were no other guests or employees present in this back area, he could faintly hear voices and soft moans from behind the other doors but from this door that he stood dumbfounded before.. there was only the very faint whir of the door mechanizism as it creaked open to reveal the dimly lit room within.

“Please come in sir. I won’t bite.” The woman’s voice was soft and distant, like a breeze rustling across the top of a grassy field. Ishida couldn’t see her but he knew that she was to his left and that.. she was alone. He silently walked into the room as the door creaked shut behind him again.

“Now what would you like to discuss with me, Miss.. Shoki?” Jon approached the woman and stopped dead in his tracks as his jaw dropped.

The woman smiled brightly as her eyes sparkled in the dim light at the man’s reaction. Shoki stood up, not caring to adjust the see-through black negliee that she was wearing now, she folded her arms across her chest. “You act like you’ve never seen a woman in her lingerie before.” She offered Jon a seat across a small, but sturdy little table from hers.

“This was not what I was expecting Miss.” Jon gulped as he sat down, rather collapsed into the chair, still staring in awe at this strange woman standing there in black lingerie.

“Oh. I don’t dare ask what you were expecting then, but my name is Shoki. This may see like an odd way to make an introduction to a man such as you but, I’ve found that it makes quite an impression.” Shoki smiled that gorgeous smile of hers as she leaned over to touch Jon’s face with her hand. Jon gulped again.. she was so close…

For a moment, there was a pregnant pause and their eyes met. The woman’s eyes were penentrating and he wondered if she was a succubus trying to steal his soul with a kiss. Jon shook his head and woke himself from the spell.

Act 3: The Proposal

“Ok. What exactly are you after Miss Shoki?” Jon was perplexed by this woman who wore Chiharu’s face. He tried to keep his focus on her face because.. it was too ackward otherwise.

“My, you are a shy one. I thought right- you are an innocent man, a rarity in this world.” Shoki smiled again and slipped on a black robe to make Jon more comfortable to talk to her as the man continued to blush a dark, almost unnatural shade of red. “But, I guess I should get to the point. I saw you in the last club and you kinda blew me off, so I decided to follow you and your friend to this one to make my introduction and to offer you a proposal.”

Jon sighed with relief once Shoki covered herself and ran his right hand over his crew cut for a moment. “A proposal, and what that might be? I do have a bit of a time constraint on this planet so hopefully if I decide to take your offer, I’ll be able to return to my ship before they decide to leave me behind.”

Shoki smile never seemed to fade as she sat down in the chair across from Jon. “Well, first things first, what is your name Mr.Soldier?”

“Jon Ishida.” Jon decided to keep his answer short, there was no need for a long drawn out introduction to this person.

“Such a nice calm name.. ok, Mr. Ishida, I would like your assistance. You see, I have a bit of an issue that needs to be handled tonight and I don’t feel safe enough to go on my own. I have a delivery to make and.. the neighborhood isn’t the best of places for anyone to be wandering around without an escort. So could you please.. consider… escorting me there?” Shoki’s voice became softer and her eyes pleaded with him to say yes.

Jon stared at this woman, knowing that this indeed was TROUBLE but.. could he let someone with Chiharu’s face get killed knowing that he could’ve saved her? Perhaps, this is what the dream had meant? This was the destiny he was to make for himself, this is what he was to create with his own hands? But for whatever reason an old saying from his research came to mind, ~One good turn deserves another.~ He shook his head knowing that this might be the death of him, but he could not let this woman die. He could feel that there was something special about her that he could not put his finger on. “I’ll help you. I’ll wait outside the room while you get dressed… can’t have you walking around town in only that little number.” He stood up and started towards the door when Shoki stopped him.

“Thank you Jon. But please.. let me pay you back now before don’t ever get the chance again.” Shoki held onto his arm as she pulled him into a deep kiss. Jon’s eyes almost popped out of his head, this just.. felt.. wierd. But he pulled away before she could progress further than just a kiss, grabbing her by the shoulders and holding her away from him.

“Miss Shoki.. please, don’t do this. Let’s just get you to where you need to be. I swear that I won’t let anything happen to you… you do not need to pay me back.” Jon caught his breathe again, the kiss almost gave him a proverbal heart attack.

Shoki looked disappointed that he turned her down but, she smiled softly, slipping out of his grasp and hugging him. “Thank you…”

Act 4: Kenbu (Finale)

Jon and Shoki left the Foxhole through a back exit and walked arm and arm down narrow alleyway after narrow alleyway towards the delivery point. Jon watched Shoki’s movements, the gentle rise and fall of her chest beneath the thin fabric of her tunic with each breathe she took; the way she gracefully carried herself with all the dignity of a queen despite the heavily soled dress boots she wore; and the way she lightly tilted her head to one side, causing a single lock of hair to fall across her face as she looked from side to side. He smiled inwardly to himself as he shyly watched Shoki as he watched the alleyways for any unsuspected surprises. Jon was quite relieved that Shoki had changed into a pair of black dress slacks and a long Deep blue Chinese style long sleeved-tunic that fell to her thighs- before they had left the club, she was less conspicuous this way.

Jon was really unsure of what it was exactly that Shoki had to deliver, but he felt it was best that he didn’t know until he needed to know. As far as he could tell, Shoki carried no extra weight on her person and there were no buldges or malformities beneath her clothing. This only led him to believe that Shoki had to deliver either herself or something that she carried within her body that he could not sense. He prayed that he could keep his promise to keep her safe.

“Jon.. we’re here.” Shoki spoke for the first time since they had left the Foxhole when they reached a grim looking building in a horrendous looking part of town. Every building, every street, everything seemed stained with a sorrowful presense to Jon.. it was like the community was crying out in anguish about what evils had been committed here and left unavenged. Shoki seemed to shutter for a moment as she pressed against Jon’s arm, leaning into him for a moment.

“Are you sure you want to be in here Shoki?” Jon almost whispered back for fear of disturbing the souls crying for rememberence in this still night air. He protectively wrapped his arms around her, holding her close and shielding her from the world if only for a moment.

“Yes.. I have to. Come on.. let’s go in..” Shoki whispered back as she tool a deep breathe and gathered her courage and resolve to end this like she told herself she would. She looked at Jon’s worried face as he reluctantly let her go and smiled again because this man, this stranger cared about her even though he did not know who she was nor did he seem to care.

Jon walked beside Shoki, taking her hand into his own as they walked towards the door that led into the building. The door didn’t seem to fit in with the building was attached to.. it seemed like it was brand new and unstained by what has gone on in this neighborhood.

The door seemed to sense their approach and opened without a sound. Light slipped out of the doorway, slicing the remaining darkness into slender tendrils that snaked their way back towards them, becokening them forward. Jon looked down at Shoki for a moment, feeling her body tense as she slowly made her way forward. He did not like this at all but he walked with her into the light and into the hallway beyond it.

The door slowly creaked shut behind them, Jon could see the mechanisim that operated the door now that he was inside the building and he could feel the various power currents flowing through the air of the building around him and he could hear the high pitched squeal of the electricity as well as the dull chatter of men in some part of the building. Shoki said nothing as she led, walked Jon down the winding hallways towards a back room. The door to this room was closed as well but he could see the glimmer of a camera lens above the doorway. He watched it zoom in on him and then pan out again.

“Please enter, we’ve been expecting you Miss Shoki.” An intercom crackled and Shoki turned the doorknob, letting go of Jon’s hand as she pushed the door open. Jon followed and was almost blinded by the surplus of light in this room. It ws like he had been in total darkness before and now he stood in this cold, uncaring blinding light.

Once Jon’s eyes managed to adjust to the light he saw the room was rather open and there were about 10 men scattered about the room, sitting in chairs, couches, watching monitors and some were playing some sort of halographic card game. The men all seemed to be dressed rather normally, and were in their early twenties. One man in particular with bright red hair in a short spiked cut caught Jon’s attention. The man was watching him like a hawk and seemed to be carrying some sort of weapon on his person.

“Shoki! What took you so long? You were supposed to be here hours ago!” The red headed man walked up to Shoki and hugged her affectionately. This caught Jon completely by surprise, there was an expected tenderness in the man’s voice and eyes.

Shoki returned the hug and smiled brightly. “I got a little bit distracted. But I have what you asked me to bring.. I know that you’ve been looking for it for a while now.” Jon got that sinking feeling he was not going to like what it was that Shoki had to say and prepared to make for the door if things turned sour.

“That’s good. Does HE know what’s going on at all?” The man indicated Jon, starting to stare now. Shoki simply shook her head.

“He agreed to escort me here to make the delivery. He didn’t ask me what I was delivering, so it’d be safe to let him leave now.” Shoki looked to Jon as well, trying to give him a comforting smile before she looked back towards the other man.

“Nah.. he’s here, might as well let him know what all this fuss is about. I’m Ben, mister. If you would, please follow the lovely Shoki to the other room and you’ll see what’s going on here.” Ben grinned a bit, nodding towards the other room. Shoki sighed softly as she took Jon’s hand again, leading him towards the other room now.

The other room was sparsely furnished and reminded Jon of a dojo with the decor.

“What exactly is going on here?” Jon finally spoke, looking around at the room and the men now gathering about.

Shoki left Jon and walked into the center of the room, looking towards him with a sad smile on her face. Ben simply grinned at Jon as he joined Shoki. “Well you see.. what did she say your name was? Oh yes, Jon. Anyways, you see Jon, my darling little Shoki isn’t really human. You see, she’s just an empty shell made of flesh and blood. She’s meant for a purpose bigger than you and me or anything on this planet for that matter.” Ben spoke with a flourish as he grabbed Shoki’s arm and pulled her towards him.

“What do you mean she isn’t human?” Jon felt helpless as he stood there, just confused by all of this.

“There is an old myth talking about a woman who was given a box by the Gods and told not to open it. But the Gods had also given this woman an abnormal sense of curiousity. When she was told not top open the box, the Gods knew that she was bound to open it.. and when the box was opened all the evil that now exists in this world escaped and filled the world with death, faminine, disease, etc. And when she managed to close the box, something was trapped inside… Shoki can be written several ways in the Japanese symbol language, Kanji. The way that this Shoki is written means Hope. And hope is what is believed to have been trapped in that box. NOW, knowing this, what do you think this means?” Ben simply held Shoki for a moment, looking to Jon for an answer.

“You are trying to tell me that Shoki is the embodiment of the spiritual hope of all mankind?” Jon remembered the myth well but he didn’t quite understand what it had to do with anything really.

“Very good guess! But no, not really.” Ben chuckled for a moment before he continued. “It is believed that the box was really a powerful weapon that nearly destroyed the world. And.. ” Ben’s grip tightened on Shoki’s arms, he muttered something softly in Shoki’s ears and a light appeared from within Shoki and enveloped them both.

When the light faded, only Ben remained holding a giantic sword and a pile of clothing lay crumpled on the floor. “You see, this is Shoki’s true form.”

Jon just stared at Ben and the sword in amazement for a moment before he found his voice. “You want to know something? You are fucking nuts if you believe that Shoki, that sword is the Pandora’s box. I don’t get it, why did I have to bring her?”

“That’s simple, it’s because once every 10 years or so the weapon finds itself a new wielder and a new victim. You see, the blade is like a phoenix, it kills itself and is reborn from the ashes.. when it is reborn, it has to taste blood of a chosen. Sorry to break the news to you, but you are not the wielder..” Ben grinned as he pointed the sword’s tip towards Jon.

“Shit. So now you try to kill me?” Jon winced a bit. “tell you what, give me a weapon and I’ll fight you. If I win, I get to leave here alive. If I lose, I surrender my life to you.”

Ben laughed a bit, “Sounds fair enough to me, you won’t make it out of here alive though.” He whistled shrilly and one of the other men in the room tossed Jon a sword. “Let’s dance then!”

Act 5: The Road Home (Epilogue)

Ishida walked down the back alleyways, grumbling to himself at the mess he had gotten himself into this time. He didn’t look back as he heard the patter of feet behind him.

“Mr. Ishida! Wait for me!” A woman’s voice called and a chill went down Jon’s spine. He did not to hear that voice again so soon after what had just went down.

“Go to hell and leave me alone. I don’t want a damn thing to do with ya.” Jon didn’t stop as he made his way back towards the docks.. it was a long walk from that accursed building but it was better than having to explain his shabby condition. He was splattered with blood and his clothes were torn although he carried no wounds.

“But you are the chosen one now. You have no choice but to take me with you!” Shoki caught up to him and hugged him from behind.

Jon stopped and cringed. “God damn it. Why didn’t i listen to myself.. women are nothing but trouble.”

“But, I knew you’d win that fight Jon. Ben was no match for you, you truly were the better man!” Shoki was running around barefoot now but she had put her clothes back on again.

“What part of, ‘Go to hell and leave me alone’ did you now understand? I don’t have time for this. You’re free to do whatever you want now so stop following me. Your damn cult is dead now.” Jon did not to remember the sword dance, nor the blood spilt in that little dojo over this damn sword.

“Don’t be angry Jon! I had to fulfill my destin..” Shoki’s words were cut short with a responding slap from Jon.

“Don’t give me that crap. I’m sorry you have lived your entire live enslaved to some damn destiny or some damn swordsman but I am not the person you are looking for. Go pretend you are not a sword and lead a life like a normal human being. You cannot come where I am going.” Jon glared at Shoki as she gently touched her face where she had been struck.

“I’m sorry.. I just don’t know what to do. This is all I have ever known.” Shoki sighed softly, her appearence had changed once she had regained human form. Her face was her own, as it were, she no longer looked like Chiharu and even had blonde hair and blue eyes.

“Just go off and join the military or something. Get married to some man and have kids, I don’t know. You just can’t stay with me. I am not part of your destiny.” Jon sighed a bit. “I’m sorry I hit you. Look, I just have to get myself home somehow.”

A small beat-up jeep rolled up beside them. It was caked with mud but it was diffently a military vehicle. The driver honked his horn at them and stopped, rolling down his window. “There you are Johnny! I’ve been wondering were you’d had gotten to! And you found yourself yet another sexy girl you lucky dog!” Jones grinned at him and opened the passenger door. “Hop in, I’ll take ya home. Are you taking home a suvenior?” He indicated Shoki with a curious glance.

Jon helped Shoki into the Jeep before climbing in beside her. “No.. not really. She was saying that she wanted to join the GSA. She’s being recruited.”

“Oh really? Shit, have her join my battalion, we could do to have another pretty lady fighting along side us. And with how things go, she’d probably kick more ass than we ever could!” Jones grinned again as Ishida pulled the jeep’s door shut.

Shoki looked at Ishida for a moment, dazzled by the idea and saddened by the fact she was being abandoned. “But.. I want to go with you Mr. Ishida…”

“Sorry Shoki, it can’t happen that way.” Jon sighed a bit, this was getting depressing.

“Why not Johnny boy? The girl obviously has the hots for ya, why not let her join your crew? Isn’t the GSA Spacey always looking for fresh blood?” Kevin glanced at Jon for a moment out of the corner of his eye as he drove the jeep down the road, back towards the docks.

“Because, she is a ground fighter. Her being on ship would be counter-productive and harmful to her abilities. Besides, there would very little chance that she would ever be able to function at her fullest.” Jon slid his hand over his crew cut for a moment before continuing. “Shoki needs a better partner than me to fight alongside. I think you would be better suited for Shoki, Kevin.”

Kevin and Shoki looked at each other oddly for a moment. “What do you mean Johnny?”

“I think she got her paths crossed. Her destiny demands a better man than I could ever be. And I think Kevin is that man. But none is this really matters, I need to get back to the Yui immediately. I’ve been gone for way too long.” Jon looked out the window, figuring they were about 5 minutes away from the Docks now.

“Why are so you anxious man? I thought you were on leave too?” Kevin sounded concerned.

“I’ve had a time constaint on the amount of time I was to be on shore. And it’s run over. And from this sinking feeling, all hell broke loose already. Take Shoki, have her explain everything to you and get her settled into the military. I cannot take her with me.” Jon’s voice was solemn, he knew that everyone was waiting on her but she’d been away for too long. He needed to be back on the ship now.

“I don’t understand….” Shoki sounded like she was about to cry.

Jon shook his head and let himself change back to the way he was supposed to be..

Shoki watched amazed as the man she had met melted away and a neko woman appeared bearing the face that she had just wore.

The jeep shreched to a hault. Kevin stared dumbfounded at the being he knew as Jon Ishida. “Taisho.. Ketsurui?!”

“Kevin please.. you are not in trouble. Just please, hurry back.” Chiharu sighed, this whole thing had gotten out of hand.

Kevin nodded grimly and pressed the gas to the floor and within less than 2 minutes the little jeep skidded to a stop in the docks.

“Good luck you two. Pray for victory so that this war will end soon.” Chiharu hurried off to rejoin her ship, stopping only to wave her thanks to them.

End: Ishida sidestory

Formerly Studio Peregrine.