Note: This is a piece I wrote over a year ago. It's based on a much longer piece that I plan to work on one of these years, as I have many things planned. Since it is a significantly shorter version, some things may seem like they rush by real quick, when in actuality they are to be much much longer. Enjoy! And please review.

It hit like a sharp spike through his chest. Kaiwyn Thirelle knew it was coming soon, but just not so soon. The morbid words spoke from the television from across the room, ripping at his heart with every word that was uttered.

"Just but a few minutes ago, the man who was thought to have brought a new age upon us all has died. Emperor Tallun Garrand of the Sen`Shyaan Empire has been assassinated by an unknown being while at the conference in which the Act of Equality was to be signed.

Currently, there are no concrete suspects in this case, but some go to believe it was a man hidden within the shadows. Others describe it as a being not from this world. There will be more on this story as it develops."

This act was an attack on each and every Shin Pao follower alive. His visions were to unify both sides. For once, the Sen`Shyaa Mystics and people of Shin Pao would have lived in peace, but it seems as though someone wished to simply flick off the switch to the New World.

Tallun Garrand had ruled for nearly eight years now. Everything had looked fine for the past seven. It was only until Garrand envisioned the idea to sign a treaty to give equal rights to both those of Sen`Shyaa and Shin Pao that things started to flare up so quickly. It seems as though someone was against his ideas and resulted in killing him to prevent the people of Shin Pao from getting what they truly deserve. This was certainly an attack against them. It was an act of war.

For so long Garrand was seen to be as just another tyrant upon his golden throne, laying down the laws and condemning those who did not meet his standards. The first mention of an Act of Equality between the peoples of Teirshard was a shock to both sides. Yet, many of Shin Pao failed to believe him.

Kaiwyn's former Militaristic Strategies teacher, Mr. Kenth, was attentive of Sen`Shyaan conspiracy and corruption. With each Emperor who took the throne, he saw reasons to hate him with little reasons to like him.

The day Garrand proposed the Act of Equality, Mr. Kenth completely regarded it as a trick to lure our people to his knees. The Act of Equality was described by him as a sparkling curtain which concealed an agitated beast of hostility.

Kaiwyn was unable to move, his body frozen from the dreadful news. He had never felt so angry in his life even though the Act of Equality would have not even changed how his life was all ready.

Kaiwyn was lucky enough to have a father who was a well-respected scientist, although he was being forced to work with the Empire in some phenomenal projects of technological genius. Since his father was quite well known, he was given a place among the stars in a Sen`Shyaan star base.

His education revolved around military strategies and tactics. The people of Shin Pao were seemingly better at combat and military operation than the Mystics. Because of this, the Council of Military Operations consisted of up to 12 Shin Pao Generals and one Sen`Shyaan representative. This was what Kaiwyn was training to be a part of.

Kaiwyn silently shut off the television that scorned him from across the room and slowly closed his bright blue eyes. He began to meditate and use ancient Shin Pao techniques to quietly calm his spirits, removing the mental plaque that had built up from the newly spoken publications.

He silently fell into a deep state of consciousness where it was nothing but complete peace. It was so quiet and calm that he could easily stay there for hours. At times, training required him to remain in this state for days.

Slowly, he began to hear something. Something that wasn't supposed to be there. Closer and closer it came, sounding much like firm beeping or something similar. Several minutes passed until it became so clamorous and perceptible, Kaiwyn had to break free from his tranquil state of mind.

Once he had regained complete consciousness, he realized that someone was at the entrance to his quarters. Slowly, he got up from his large, blue couch and languidly walked towards the large steel doors.

Kaiwyn gently pressed a few buttons on a wall panel located to the door's right. With a few simple beeps and jitters, valiant colours danced across its board. With a quick whisp followed by a large clunk, the door flung open to reveal an attractive female waiting in the halls.

"Greetings, Kaiwyn." Kaiwyn remembered her from somewhere, but just couldn't pinpoint where she was from. "I see we meet again."

"Again?" Kaiwyn knew he recognized her from somewhere. It was at the tip of his mind but he just couldn't pick it out.

"Yes, again. Don't you remember? Rena. Rena Brudwen. We were in the same Militaristic Strategies class with Mr. Kenth."

"Ah, yes! Now I remember!" He knew it now. Now that she mentioned it, he could remember everything about her, although he remembered her to be a bit less engaging and more of a brainer back then. Now she was adorned with short brown hair, charming green eyes, and a posture many guys would fall head-over-heels for. "You've...changed."

"I certainly have. As have you." A slight pause between the two made it slightly unnerving for the both of them, so Rena decided to continue, "I'm sure you've been notified of the recent assassination of our leader, correct?"

Kaiwyn nodded in vain, cowering under the pressures of the tragic news as it had weakened him in so many ways.

"Well, we will be having a meeting momentarily. There is much to be discussed."

"A meeting?" Kaiwyn questioned.

"Yes, but it will probably focus more on the recent assassination. A sad event, it is. However, we plan to be speaking about what we will be doing now as we will be receiving a new emperor anytime now. Could be within the next few hours or it may even take days. Hell, they could already have one ready to take the throne this very minute."

"Right..." It made sense to Kaiwyn that such a meeting would take place. It would most likely take place with the Military Operations Council as well as the top graduating students of 724. Ten out of the twelve Military Generals were appointed by Garrand, himself. It wasn't a wonder why they would be calling such an assembly.

"The meeting will be at 0900 hours," Rena continued, "and it is required that you be there."

"0900 hours? That's in just under a half hour!"

"Yeah, so get ready quick and head over now! I have to go and alert a few more of the top graduates. I'll see you there!"

"All right, see ya!" Kaiwyn waved farewell to Rena as she scampered off down the long steel corridors of the star base, "Time to suit up..."

* * * * * * * * * *

Kaiwyn entered the chambers that would be holding the assembly within the next few minutes. He was embellished with a nice fitting, dark blue uniform with a small golden name tag displaying Corporal Kaiwyn Thirelle across it. He failed to display many medals as he had never been in any actual military operations, but he saved the spot with pride, as he knew his time would come.

Scanning the large hall, it looked like a room fit for a king. Thirteen large chairs were situated at the back of the hall where the Council would be sitting. Behind them were vast curtains and golden arches, decorated with the portraits of past emperors. Above that was a profile, much larger than the rest, of the former emperor, recently assassinated.

Hundreds of other seats, much smaller than those of the Council, surrounded the room in an arch-like shape around the center. Most of those invited were already here, situating themselves randomly around the room. The noise of hundreds of voices bouncing around the assembly room was rather boisterous, making it difficult to hear someone even just a few feet away.

"Kaiwyn!" Kaiwyn heard his voice being called, but from what direction? Looking around the room he saw Rena just a few rows to his right, waving him over and pointing to an empty seat beside her.

Kaiwyn made his way over and sat down beside her.

"Hey! Nice to see you again!" Rena greeted. She displayed a nice dark green uniform, baring a few more medals than what Kaiwyn had.

"Hey, you're a pilot, eh?" Kaiwyn noted, seeing the aviation patch on her arm, "You a cadet?"

"Captain, actually." Rena turned to show him her name tag, appropriately displaying Captain Rena Brudwen.

"How'd you pull that off?" Kaiwyn voiced astonishingly.

"Well, from the looks of it, I seem to be the best pilot this military's got. Seems as though it comes second nature to me. Flying, that is."

"Not bad," Kaiwyn replied, "I'm the guy who's in reserve if one of these guys croak or resign. And by the looks of it, it may be soon." He pointed out a few of the Council members who looked as though they were slowly melting away due to age, their wrinkled faces literally falling off their bones. A small chuckle emitted from Rena.

"I'd like you to meet someone," She turned to a smaller man who was seated to her right, "This is Fritz. He's a good friend of mine."

"Nice to meet you, Fritz." Kaiwyn extended his arm to the funny looking man, only to have him stare at it like a foreign object.

"He's big on hygiene," Rena whispered, "so he's not a big fan of shaking hands."

"Oh..." Kaiwyn slowly retracted his arm, a confused look on his face.

"B-by the way, my full name be Fritz Mo-de-deen." The small man finally said a word. He wore a gray uniform, displaying the fact that he was part of the Military Intelligence Division. That explained the reason why he had a small hunch, most likely permanent. Those guys were often seen huddled over computers for days on end. His small round eyes and thick large glasses also added to his odd appearance.

Once the group got acquainted, a man from the council stood up and hit a small bell that sat before them on the well-decorated table. It's appearance was small, yet its cry filled the room with a loud and hollow cheer, catching the attention of all the students and personnel who had attended.

He stood before everyone, raising his hand to notify that he was about to speak. He wore a well-designed robe of blue, red, and gold. With what he was wearing, the old man looked as though he belonged to royalty.

Before any further discussion could be continued, the old man began to speak. "We are all aware of what happened just over a half of an hour ago. The assassination of our Lord has struck us all with deep grief we cannot escape. However, let it be known that Tallun Garrand's dream of peace shall still become what we know as reality. We shall not let his death be the end of it.

"In but a few moments our new Emperor shall be named. His decisions shall be the final decisions. Let it be known that he may take alternate courses of that which Garrand first sought. Yet, it is still our wishes of our Lord and we shall follow."

A man next to the speaker, who had been looking over the scrolling text on a communication console, leaned over and whispered something into his ear. Nodding, he turned back to the guests of the house.

"It has come to my attention that our new Emperor is being named this very minute. We shall watch and see who shall lead us to a new future."

The man turned to the large portrait of Tallun Garrand to see it rise up, revealing a screen which turned on. Whizzing across the screen, the interference finally cleared to show the conference room of the Grand Palace, the Heart of the Empire.

A man stood at the podium speaking of the new Emperor about to be unveiled to the public. There was still some interference so the sound was scarred and unable to be heard by anyone in the assembly hall. After a few short moments, it had cleared and people were able to determine what he was saying.

"...ease welcome, our new emperor, Emperor Kha`shar!" Loud cheers could be heard in the background as they applauded the arrival of the new man who would lead them. The Council chambers also became filled with applause for the new emperor. Although Kaiwyn wasn't as enthusiastic about it, he clapped dubiously. There was something about this new emperor that just didn't sit right with him.

The assembly continued as planned, speaking about some of the changes that would be made with the new emperor and some other operations that would differ from before. A couple of hours passed before everyone had dispersed back to their quarters.

Kaiwyn opened the door to his chambers and stepped in slowly, throwing his dark blue jacket across the room. He went to turn on the television to view the new emperor's speech and tossed himself onto the couch, analyzing their new leader.

Kha`shar's way of speech was very enthusiastic, charismatic, and persuasive - just what an emperor needed. His grayed hair showed age and wisdom, instantly leading to believe that there was a simple kindness with this man. Yet, his brows were thick and his eyes were dim, giving the sense that there was something else to this man. Something that just was not right. A final touch emphasized his facial features, a small goatee on his chin, carefully fashioned in a way that gave it a sharp, darkening style.

Kaiwyn was unsure of what this man was capable of. Whatever it was, if there would ever be any controversial events in the near future, he was sure there would be at least one man he would suspect through the whole ordeal.

* * * * * * * * * *

It was quiet back at the assembly room. The twelve military generals of Shin Pao origin remained seated, discussing their thoughts on the new emperor. Shortly before, the Sen`Shyaan representative had left, allowing them to speak freely and to hint about Sen`Shyaan corruption.

Their voices were calm as they spoke, as if they did not want to be heard. Some even resorted to the finest whisper to get their point across. It was a secret meeting that would have them hung, should the emperor discover what they were speaking about.

Their meeting went about calmly until the doors to the hall swung open, and a tall man entered, beginning his descent down the marble stairway leading to the generals. His hands were tucked behind his back, his head down, shading his face from view. A shadowed sense befell the generals as they saw this man of mystery. Their superior senses went to believe that this man's soul was darkened throughout his past. He was one that was not to be trusted.

The man's face remained shadowed as he left his head down low, concealing his identity to those who wished to know. The heartbeats of the generals grew louder and louder as they remained unaware of how to approach this man. Eventually, one brave man stepped forward to approach the stranger once he had reached the bottom.

"Excuse me sir, I do no believe you shou-" The general's introduction was interrupted and followed by a gurgling noise as his body fell cold to the marble floors. The arm of this mystic being had transformed into a large, metallic weapon which had just felled its first victim.

The man looked up to the remaining eleven and smiled an evil grin. His eyes emitted a red glow with darkened desire and his short, dark blond hair swayed in a silent wind.

"Wha-What the hell are you?!" A general hiding behind his chair muttered toward the beast.

"Your worst nightmare." His reply was calm, but his intentions were not. He rose his bladed arm up beside him, stretching several feet long. Before anyone could react, the man had summoned the rest of his hidden energies, covering his whole body in a dark, baneful steel that could be manipulated at his will.

The men knew it was the end for them as they saw the beast slowly approach them with the enormous blade at his side.

* * * * * * * * * *

A firm, boisterous noise flooded Kaiwyn's quarters, literally throwing some of the lighter objects across the room. The deafening clamor jolted Kaiwyn awake from his afternoon slumber, cold sweat dripping off his face.

After a few moments, once Kaiwyn regained his awareness, he realized someone was banging on the door of his quarters. It must have been extremely urgent as well, the walls shaking violently by a determined thump and a muffled voice calling out Kaiwyn's name through the thick steel.

Quickly, Kaiwyn ran over and opened the door to see Commander Shazden with sweat running down his face as he struggled to catch his breath. It was evident that he made it a tremendous effort to get to Kaiwyn's in as short an amount of time as possible. Kaiwyn began to salute the commander until he was interrupted.

"No time for that! Kaiwyn," Shazden panted. "Big news. Terrible news. The Generals. They're all dead!"

"What?!" Kaiwyn cried out.

"Yeah, they were all found dead in the assembly room where that big meeting was held. Seems like it was done shortly after everyone had left. It's a huge mess, as well. Nothing human could have possibly done so much damage."

"But what of the Sen`Shyaan representative?" Kaiwyn pondered, a curious expression flashed across his face. "Was he not with them as well?"

"No idea. It's hard to tell at this point. I can surely say that many of the people who know about this have some hypothesizes, though." Shazden took a deep breath then continued. "Some believe that he left shortly after with everyone else. Others believe that he was responsible for the murders. There's little to no evidence so it's impossible to come to a conclusion at this point."

Kaiwyn punched his palm in a fit of rage. "Damnit! So what now? We obviously need to replace the council."

"Yes, we do."

"Has the council been chosen yet? Aren't you suppose to be up for a position, Commander?"

"Yes, well." The man replied, lowering his head. "Everyone's been chosen. Except, there's a small problem. You see, I was suppose to be the final member of the new council, but I don't qualify."

"Don't qualify? How is that possible?"

"In such a situation as this, they are looking to appoint those who have mastered the combative arts of Shin Pao. Of course, I have studied it, but I've not mastered the techniques. But, you have."

"What are you talking about?" Kaiwyn stepped back at the preposterous statements. "I haven't mastered anything yet. Sure, I am quite proficient with it and I may be one of the top 10 or even 20 best combative members here, but that doesn't mean I'm qualified for such a position. I'm only a Corporal!"

"I was afraid you'd respond in such a manner. Many of those who have qualified have turned their backs, afraid of what could happen to them. They're afraid that what happened today could happen again. A bunch of cowards, they are." Shazden reached into his pocket to reveal a shining golden tag, "That's why you must take a stand, Kaiwyn. Lead them. Don't be a coward like them. Take this and find out what the hell is going on."

Kaiwyn looked down at the metallic relic in Shazden's hand. It was a finely crafted name tag properly displaying General Kaiwyn Thirelle across its plate. Yet, for some reason Kaiwyn hesitated at the opportunity to make a change. A change that could very well shift the course of history as they knew it.

"Go for it." Shazden urged.

Without processing a further thought, Kaiwyn grabbed the tag and threw on his jacket haphazardly. His feet carried him fast and far as he fled from his chambers, making his way down the steel corridors.

Shazden turned in the general direction of where Kaiwyn was headed and saluted, "Good luck, my friend. You will need it. We all will."

Kaiwyn found himself dashing toward the assembly hall where the generals were found dead.

He approached the entrance to the hall where the corridors became thinner and thinner as a massive crowd huddled around, hoping to get a view inside. Kaiwyn struggled to make his way through, letting everyone know that he was suppose to be there to take care of things.

After finally breaking through what seemed to be an impregnable barrier of people, he made his way to the door where others waited in uniforms much like his own.

"Glad you could make it, Kaiwyn." One man nodded, doing his best to prevent the ravaging crowd from tearing him to shreds, "I think we-"

"We need to hold an emergency meeting." Kaiwyn interrupted, "We need to tell these people what is going on."

"What is going on, sir?" The man questioned, his brow raised in confusion.

"It's a big conspiracy gone mad. Come, we must lead them to the secondary assembly room. Get together the newly appointed Generals as well, and check each and every person. Make sure there is no one from Sen`Shyaa attending this meeting." Kaiwyn made his way through the crowd of people once again, waving them all to come with him, "This way everyone!"

"Conspiracy? Future generals? Sen`Shyaa? Hey Kai! Wait up!"

* * * * * * * * * *

Kaiwyn stood tall at the foot of the podium, looking over the confused bunch that sat before him. There must have been hundreds that had attended, not knowing what was about to be spoken.

The lights were dimmed, giving an almost serene aura to the room. This was a meeting that would forever change the way the soldiers of Shin Pao viewed those of Sen`Shyaa. At least, Kaiwyn hoped so.

"Students and Soldiers of Shin Pao," He began, his arm outstretched to give a firm prologue, "I come to speak of you about the recent events that have occurred, and what they could all mean. Just a few days ago, our former emperor, Lord Tallun Garrand, was assassinated. Evidence claims that it was a beast of some sort. A man of mystery who dove into the shadows. At first it can be claimed as a random event. Possibly someone who just didn't like his point of view. It was tragic, nonetheless.

"However, to kill an emperor is a big deal and there must be something more behind the act. The Act of Equality could have been a motive to stop him and his decisions.

"Then, we come to today's incident; the killing of our twelve finest military generals. Once again, a man of the shadows was at fault. I do not think this was a simple mistake. I do not think that it was just some random act. Someone is out to get us.

"I watched our new emperor speak. I analyzed his speech and his features. This is not a man of peace, nor is he a man of reason. He has a duty and a belief that rivals our own. You want to know what I believe? I believe he is behind these murders!"

Startled conversations broke out throughout the chambers. Some people were appalled by Kaiwyn's offensive words towards their new emperor. Kaiwyn's nerves failed to winch at those who ridiculed him and his views, so he continued.

"Many of you don't believe me. Think about this then. Tallun Garrand was about to sign a treaty that would give us, the people of Shin Pao, equal rights and a higher place within society. Emperor Kha`shar disliked this idea so he had him murdered, knowing that he was to be the next in line for the position. He went about this assassination through a man of the shadows.

"Next, a mass murder within our own meeting halls, resulting in the death of twelve of our finest generals. They were killed by, once again, a man of the shadows. Why would he kill these men? Well, because they are dead eleven others and myself are put into those positions. We are not experienced in the ways of war, thus putting inexperienced fighters into their positions. Why do this? So we are weak at retaliation, should they decide to pursue violent acts towards our people.

"Many of you may be thinking that I have very little to base these facts on. However, while I was young I trained hard in the ways of Shin Pao. I have a keen sense to perceive what things do not fit within the balance of life. This is such the case."

Everyone sat silent; unaware of how they should react. Should they believe him or turn away from it, risking their own life, should he be right.

"He's right, you know!" A man broke the silence, escaping from the shadows which darkened the back of the room. He wore the robe of a Sen`Shyaan representative who was supposed to be forbidden to listen in on this meeting.

"A Sen`Shyaan?" Kaiwyn bellowed out, "I said not to let any of them in on this!"

"It is all right," The man countered, holding up his hand in discernment, "I agree with everything you have just said. Why? Because I know of Kha`shar's plans. First, allow me to introduce myself. I am Prenlin Garrand, your former emperor's cousin.

"I am a representative upon these Shin Pao led star bases for those of Sen`Shyaa. I make sure things like this do not occur. However, this time, I feel it is necessary to ignore such facts. Everything you speak of is true. This very moment, Kha`shar has plans to begin a genocide upon your people within the next few months.

"I suggest you get your troops together and train them. You must not fall at the knees of the empire. Fight them and begin a revolution for a new empire. The Shin Pao Empire. You must retaliate against these actions, or perish trying."

An expression of joy washed over Kaiwyn's face, knowing that his instincts were correct. He dismissed the crowd and ordered them all to go out and train their very best, for a war was on the brink of initiation and there was no time to lose.

"Rena! Come here!" He waved the pilot over to the front of the hall. "I need you to recruit members of the population from throughout the ghettos. This is a war involving all of us."

"Yes, sir!" Rena saluted and made her way to the hanger bay where her ship was located.

"As for me, I'm going to need some training from the best of the best."

* * * * * * * * * *

Kaiwyn's ship crashed through the atmosphere, enveloping the steel rocket with a vibrant flame. It flew toward one of the most wondrous towers on the planet. Its design was aged and deteriorating, yet it was the symbol of Shin Pao itself.

The ship squealed and hissed as it came to a halting stop at the foot of the tower. Its hatch spewed steam and air as it flung open, allowing Kaiwyn to jump out onto the crusted earth. Battle had raged on for centuries beforehand as former emperors engaged in campaigns to destroy the tower in hopes of eliminating Shin Pao forever. Unfortunately for them, every crusade initiated would be obliterated into failure.

Kaiwyn gazed over its unique shape. Its round base stretched upward into several other towers, eventually ending in sharp points several thousand feet in the air. He knew what was held behind these ancient walls; a man of great importance to the people of Shin Pao. A man whose history was rich with tales and whose future held even more.

"The Tower of the Guardian." Kaiwyn whispered to himself, amazed that he was actually here.

Without hesitation, he ran for the entrance to the colossal spire only to be halted by a man of great mass. He literally stood twice as high as Kaiwyn, yet he was not intimidating in the least.

"Halt!" The behemoth commanded, "I cannot allow you to pass. Though these halls are the quarters of a man of great honour and dignity. To allow you to pass would intrude on that which is forbidden."

The man stood tall in his grounds, his arm extended and his hand wide open, suggesting the fact that Kaiwyn was not to enter. His brows were thick and his eyes were dark and striking, yet they were filled with a sense of peace and regret towards war. His face was mostly covered by his long, dark hair and beard, yet behind all of it was a kind and gentle hearted man.

"You may let him pass, Atsura!" A bellowing voice cried, "I know what it is that he wishes. If you do not let him pass, you put all of us in danger of extinction. It is our duty to prevent that."

With a kind snarl, the giant moved out of the way and led Kaiwyn deep within the tower. After what seemed to be an eternity of walking, the two entered the heart of the tower. It was dark for the most part, but several gaps within the ceiling allowed some light to pass in.

Upon a large stone throne sat this man of great importance. It was the Guardian of Shin Pao, Deikon Astalidan. His large metallic wings were tucked behind him as leaned forward to get a glimpse of the man who wished to see him. His face was darkened by the shadows, only his left eye of mystical gold shimmering in the caliginous sky.

He leaned forward a bit more to reveal what he truly was. He was much like that of a normal man with long grayed hair and a lengthy beard, which swayed in the wind.

"You seek training, my child?" He spoke calmly, his voice strong and god-like.

"Yes, sir. To fight the empire which threatens us all."

"It shall be done."

* * * * * * * * * *

Several months passed before Kaiwyn's training was done. Luckily for him and the rest of Shin Pao, the Sen`Shyaan Empire failed to begin their operation of genocide. With great haste, he raced back to the star base in which Rena and Fritz were training the next set of soldiers that would lead them to victory.

"Rena!" Kaiwyn called out as he hopped out of his ship, noticing that his friend was working on upgrading some new aerial fighters that would soon be used in the upcoming war.

"Hey Kaiwyn!" Rena waved to greet her friend who she had not seen in months.

"Were you successful at recruiting anyone from the ghettos?"

"Yes, I did." Rena nodded, "A lot of them were very enthusiastic about the upcoming events. I'd like you to meet someone shortly, as well. He looks like the perfect candidate to help lead the operation to defend the Tower of the Guardian."

"Tower of the Guardian?" A worried face was quick to flash across Kaiwyn's face, "The Empire plans to attack the Tower?"

"Yes, sadly." Rena lowered her head in dismay, "Our good friend, Prenlin, notified us about their plans to attack the Tower. That was before he was assassinated."

"He was assassinated?!"

"Yes, he was. By the same one who killed Tallun Garrand and the twelve generals."

"Damn him!" Kaiwyn pounded his fists together. "Anything else I should know?"

"Yes, actually. This battle may be the most difficult yet. Emperor Kha`shar plans to use some powerful magic to disable Deikon's powers, giving his army enough time to go in and slay him as if he were a mortal. If they succeed at this, it could be the end for us all."

"Hey guys!" A large man walked in on the conversation, his voice was deep and rusty.

"Hey Rolland!" Rena greeted the dark, burly man, "Kaiwyn, I would like you to meet Rolland Conowen. He's from the ghettos. He's one of the best fighters I've ever met."

"Nice to meet you, Rolland." Kaiwyn shook his hand.

"Nice to meet you too, Kaiwyn. Funny thing is, I never thought I'd ever be here. The Empire came to me multiple times, as they were aware of my excellent fighting skills. But I knew what they were up to. I refused to fight for what they believed. Now it's time to wipe em off this planet!"

"All right, I think we're set." Kaiwyn dusted off his uniform. The same one he was wearing from when he trained with Deikon and Atsura. It was a light, sleeveless tunic with some very protective, yet light, pants and boots. "Rena, I'd like you to lead the alpha squadron air force. Your job will be to eliminate any opposing air forces threatening the tower. Also, if you're still hanging in there, you can aid the defending army by taking out some ground troops. Should you be successful in that operation, you may join delta squad in the bombing of the Imperial Palace.

"Rolland, I'd like you to lead the defending army. Do you have any objections to that?"

"No sir! As long as I get to cream some Imperial scum!"

"And 's Fritz?"

"Right here sir!" Fritz poked his head out from behind some cargo boxes, "I'm sorry, I was just playing some games on my portable computer here."

"OK, well the fun is over now. You're going to be coming with me. We'll be leading the initial strike on the Imperial Palace. It's just going to be me versus the emperor himself."

With a salute from everyone in the group, they all broke off to begin their designated operations.

Like a swarm of bees leaving their hive, hundred upon hundreds of ships left the station with Kaiwyn in the lead. The skies shimmered with a brilliant orange glow as they all passed through the atmosphere, alerting opposing ground troops of their arrival.

"There! I can see the approaching army heading towards the Tower!" Kaiwyn pointed out, "Good luck, Rolland! And don't worry too much. Deikon and Atsura should give you a hand with that." With an acknowledging wave through the glass of the ships the two were piloting, they broke off and Kaiwyn made his way toward the capital.

The small force that was to attack the palace arrived in heavily armed battleships that were to rejoin the defending army once they dropped off the elite team. Nearly a hundred men, led by Kaiwyn and Fritz, slid down ropes that dangled from the hovering craft.

The second the first man touched the ground, enemy fire from heavy rifles began to light the sky, attempting to hit both the ships and the men dropping out of them. There were few casualties on the descent to the battlegrounds, yet with each man falling to enemy fire, it pushed them further and further from victory.

"Fritz! You're coming with me! We're going into the palace!" Kaiwyn grabbed hold of Fritz and dashed up the stairway that led to the entrance of the large palace. Occasionally, he fired his rifle at nearby troops to ward off any threats that would prevent him from entering.

With a quick leap over a massive line of Imperial defenses, which impressed both Kaiwyn and Fritz, the two quickly scrambled to the large doors, closing them on the way in.

"Where'd you learn to jump like that?" Fritz questioned, trying desperately to catch his breath.

"Several months of extreme training, my friend. Several months of training I will never regret."

Surprisingly, the palace was empty of Imperial troops. The two expected to see the strongest of defenses within the main halls, yet there were none. It seemed odd and unnerving.

"Are you scared, Kaiwyn?" A dark, haunting voice emitted from the shadows. It taunted Kaiwyn from every angle with a piercing laughed doused with evil.

"Kha`shar?!" Kaiwyn shouted.

"Guess again, friend!" A well built man fell from the ceiling, landing in a combat stance in front of Kaiwyn.

"Vyncent Du`Gaar?" Kaiwyn recognized him now. He was the class bully from his Military Strategics class. He often skipped class to saturate his body with illegal narcotics. His body was so packed with drugs; it was an amazement that he was still alive. One day, he just never returned to class. Many believed that he had died from an overdose.

"Surprised to see me?" An evil grin stretched across his face from ear to ear.

"I thought you died! We all did!"

"Almost. That was until Kha`shar took me in. Turns out he wanted me for an experiment. Quite intriguing it was. He wanted to make the ultimate killing machine, and he picked me. Didn't go exactly as planned, though. With my body being so saturated with the drug Seppium, it made the outcome even more extreme. Now, I am the most powerful being in the universe!" An evil laugh echoed through the halls as his arm molded into a large metallic blade.

"You're the one who's been doing all these killings!"

"Correct my friend," His eyes lowered and his grin grew dim, "and you're next!"

With a violent swipe toward Kaiwyn, a fierce melee had begun. Kaiwyn threw Fritz to the side to get him out of danger and staggered into a combat stance, remembering his training from the great Guardian himself.

Vyncent continued his barrage of attacks, not caring for anything around him, not even the palace itself as he tore away the walls.

"Ah, looks like you're been training in the ways of Shin Pao quite well," Vyncent snarled, "Looks like I'll have to bring on the overdrive!" With a simple twitch of his head, his whole body was covered in a dark and haunting steel like armour.

With the few seconds needed for his transformation, Kaiwyn began the offensive, attacking with a barrage of kicks and punches, only to have them deflected off like small metallic pellets. It was a battle that went back and forth as both sides switched between offensive and defensive. The end of the fight could not be seen until Kaiwyn saw the perfect opportunity to finish Vyncent off.

"Fritz!" Kaiwyn struggled to talk as he fended off his opponents attacks with strategic blocks, "I to hack palace when I give the the large metallic my left here."

Fritz nodded and without hesitation he began work on his portable computer.

In a burst of rage, Kaiwyn summoned impressive energy as he pounded Vyncent's chest with punches that resulted in large reverberations, which echoed through the room as if someone was pounding a hammer against the steel plating of a star ship. With a final kick, he sent Vyncent flying to take position under some large remotely controlled doors.

"NOW!" On Kaiwyn's orders, Fritz pressed a button, which sent the large door to fall on top of Vyncent, crushing him. The movement in his legs stopped shortly after.

The assassin was down, but the war wasn't over. Kaiwyn raced down the halls to the chambers of the Emperor. Swinging the large doors open, he saw the man with his arms in the air. A deep, dark sense fell over him, as he knew this room was filled with a baneful aura.

Emperor Kha`shar was casting a spell that was draining the energies from the Guardian. If Kaiwyn were to wait much longer, all of Deikon's energy would soon be dispersed and the end of Shin Pao would be imminent.

"Kha`shar!" Kaiwyn shouted in anger at his opponent that faced away from him. Recognizing the voice, Kha`shar replied it bitter hatred.

"Ah, Kaiwyn Thirelle. I take it you have come to destroy me? A foolish act I must add. You see, I have all ready drained Deikon of most of his energy. Only a bit longer until it shall be complete and Shin Pao shall be obliterated for good." Kha`shar was dazzled by the sparks and bolts that danced across the ceiling of the palace.

"Why is it that you do this, Kha`shar? There is no reason for this!" Kaiwyn pleaded.

"Oh, but there is! You see, both Shin Pao and the ways of the Sen`Shyaa Mystics are much the same. Centuries ago it seemed as though we were all one people. That was until our religions began to contradict each other. That was a big mistake.

"Our ways of training were also completely separated. Those of Shin Pao studied in the ways of physical combat and the enhancement of mental strength. We Mystics relied on our inner energy to summon great powers such as this power I possess this very moment."

Kaiwyn's anger grew to extents where he couldn't bear it anymore. His fists were clenched so tight that blood began to seep down his fingers.

"You can't do this Kha`shar! You can't resort to genocide! By eliminating the ways and people of Shin Pao, you're only killing yourself! You need us, Kha`shar! You know it!"

"Oh, but do we really?" Kha`shar turned to the young man, a grim expression upon his face, "With you and your kind eliminated, this planet will be pure. Those of Shin Pao are but pests and scum. There is no need for it. Tallun Garrand was a fool to think otherwise. Now enough of this talk, I have work to do."

With a simple gesture, a burst of green flame emitted from Kha`shar's palm and slammed into Kaiwyn's chest. The force of the blast threw him across the room, smashing him into the wall.

Kaiwyn refused to fall in this battle. His defeat would mean the downfall of each and every other follower of Shin Pao. This was no time to give up. Once he had regained his stability, he began to charge towards Kha`shar, enraged with a sense of pride.

Kha`shar was fed up with this game and shot another green blast towards Kaiwyn. A strange power fell upon Kaiwyn as he found a special energy to deflect the attack, sending the flame towards the ceiling. Kha`shar responded with another quick blast at close range, too near for Kaiwyn to deflect it like the previous attack. Once again, Kaiwyn was sent flying across the room.

An evil laugh filled the chambers as Kha`shar enjoyed this little game, "Pathetic fools." "Hey Kha`shar!" The amoral Emperor turned to see the odd looking Fritz holding a rifle in his general direction. His experience with such a weapon was minimal so the weapon wavered back and forth with no sense of proper aim. Fritz closed his eyes and pulled the trigger, missing his target by a long shot.

The slug flew passed Kha`shar with a sufficient amount of distance the both of them, hitting a nearby statue, sending sparks through the air. The force behind the impact startled Kha`shar, sending him to duck slightly. The man's defenses were down for just long enough to get in a simple attack.

Kaiwyn staggered to his feet and without any further hesitation, he pulled a shiruken from his tunic and flung it at the Emperor, catching him off guard.

"You-" Turning to face his opponent, Kha`shar was surprised to see Kaiwyn flying through the air, foot in lead. With a violent crunch, Kaiwyn's foot pushed on the Emperor's chin, aggressively snapping his neck back. The Emperor fell to the ground with a hollow thud. It was all over now. At least Kaiwyn thought it was.

Running out of the palace, he saw the battle has calmed down. Only a few shots could still be heard in the distance, but by the looks of it, they had won.

Rena Brudwen lowered her craft down to pick up Kaiwyn and Fritz, greeting them with a smile of victory across her face.

"We did it." She smiled.

"We sure did," Kaiwyn replied, "and we were small compared to the greatness of this empire. But we still did it. Unfortunately, I feel that this is not the end. There is still much to do for the Shin Pao Empire." A dubious expression tainted his bloodstained face as the victors flew into the night sky, heading back home to ready for their next campaign.