The young elf Elam had become a wanderer of the plains in recent weeks, his destiny seeming to ever push him onward. Coming to the top of a grassy rise, he noticed a man running very quickly.  There was a bulk upon his shoulders and wild dogs feverishly persued the unfortunate runner.  With the hounds rapidly closing,  Elam knew the man was doomed to be dog dung.  Just then, the man stopped and turned around to face the dogs.  That was when Elam noticed that the bulk upon his shoulders was a log, and that the man's arms were tied to the log - a common method of banishment among the Shou.

     Elam figured that an enemy of the Shou, could be a friend of his.  So, Elam decided to help this poor soul.  Just as one of the dogs lunged at the stranger, a war shout pierced the air.  As Elam charged with his swords waving madly in the air, the dogs froze in confusion.  You see, Elam knew of these dogs.  He knew they were cowardly at heart and only attacked things that are weak or wounded. So, as Elam got closer, the dogs retreated and disappeared over the hill side. 

     The man, on the other hand, was laying on the ground bleeding.  Elam ran over to him seeing that he was bleeding from his neck.  The young elf quickly cut the bonds.  The man looked very weakened from hunger and thirst.  Elam thought this man would surely die.  Then Elam remembered his past, and placed his hands upon the stranger’s wounds, praying to the Goddess of the Kwa-Shea.

     Just then, Elam felt a presence within him he hadn’t felt since childhood.  The presence of mystical energies and the surge were great. Elam’s hands glowed with the power of the Wu-Jen and the stranger’s wound was healed. But, Elam did not see the wounds heal, for he collapsed to the ground and lay unconscious. 

     But, the man was conscious, although still very weakened.  He picked up one of Elam’s swords and lay in wait for the dogs, but they did not return.  The man sat patiently for Elam to wake.  It did not take long for Elam to awaken as well to see the man sitting with the elf's sword.  The man then returned the weapon and said his name was Kiyohara Heirazumi and that he was eternally grateful for the saving of his life.  He also said that whatever he could do for Elam need only be asked.  Elam told him he required nothing, and that the man’s friendship would be enough. 

     So, Elam and Kiyohara became friends and traveled together.  It wasn’t long until Elam discovered that Kiyohara was, in fact, an incredible swordsman.  Kiyohara was a warrior from a kingdom East of the Shou Empire. He explained to Elam the way of the warriors in his land.  Kiyohara explained how he was a leader of a great army and that while at war with the Shou his men were killed and he was captured.   If he went home, he would have to commit a form of ritual suicide among his people.

     Soon, Kiyohara began to teach Elam what he could of his culture and also taught him the way of the sword. Elam was introduced to many different weapons.  The Great Sword, was one of his favorites.  Kiyohara also trained Elam in the art of blacksmithing, which the elf also began to love.  Fifteen summers passed while Elam was under Kiyohara’s tutelage, and the two of them grew very close, until like brothers they were. Then one day, a warrior appeared carrying a message for Kiyohara.  The message told him that his lord knew that he was not dead and unless he ended his own life, his family would be executed. So, Kiyohara chose Elam as his second, and the elf knew that this was what must be done.  Although he was hesitant, he knew this was his friend's way.  So, as Kiyohara plunged his blade into his stomach and fell over, Elam beheaded his best friend and teacher.   So ended that chapter of his life...

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