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A section from

‘A Jedi shall not know hatred, nor fear… nor love.’ from Star Wars Episode II

AMAZON (USA)

&

A1BOOKS (INDIA)LINKS

YOUNG MASTER - LARRY HAMA & VAL MAYERIK

 

"The vision fades, iron ebbs from the limbs... but the power never wanes-it just passes on."

 

Isolated from society and unnamed father and his nameless son live a plain life in a mountainous range. In their seclusion they practice the art of assassination, which their over-lord may invoke at his discretion. Their loyalty to their over-lord is absolute, and devotion to refining the ways of killing is severe, training the body and mind throughout the day. The father's brothers visit and impart knowledge on their weaponry speciality; which in addition to empty-hand combat make the young master (as the boy becomes known) an all round professional at his chosen vocation. Meditation and cultural banter about heroes & traditions of old form their conversation, and these interactions create a bond within this isolated community.

 

And as much a killing machine that the young master is, he has a killer's mind. The day comes when he choose between an inglorious and shameful death, or a life alone; and the young master steps up to the task - slaying his uncles and then duelling with his father. In a final lesson that completes his education the young master learns the true burden of his enterprise. With nothing to hold on to the lone assassin burns down all possessions and commences his service to the over-lord.

 

My instructions from the great lord were deceptively simple- I was to seek out a certain priest at the Gate of Rashomon & receive from him the sealed orders foy me first assignment as the great lord's official assassin.

 

Instructions for his first mission lie with master bow-man and monk Do-Shin. In true spirit of a tough taskmaster the archer is suspicious of the young master's abilities, even after the killing of two ninja's at the monastary's gates. Nevertheless, it does buy the young master a meditation session with the monk. Despite his positive first impression the young master is himself impressed and a little intimidated by the aged monk's skill with the arrow.

 

The young master wakes from his meditation to find himself drugged and imprisoned with books and puzzles. Do-Shin's voice from beyond his prison inform his that the iron-bound texts are from the Shaolin Temple's secret library and contain the works of great masters, warriors and philosophers. The puzzles are creations of a lunatic math genius. His daily ration of rice and water depend on his reading speed and thinking abilities. A docile young master accepts his fate and begins the march with a single step.

 

Days marched by, weeks trudged by, months crawled by. At the end of the third year, a revelation came to me... the problem was not the archer... the problem was the arrow!

 

In the beginning of the fourth year the prison doors are opened. The young master dresses and arms himself and finds the monk waiting outside - bow drawn and arrow pointed at his chest. The mission is relayed to the assassin and the monk asks him to choose the weapon that will ensure success. The monk's eyes flicker to the right and then to the left where on the shelves are the options. The young master has three seconds to decide. Then the arrows is released.

 

The arrows strikes the torso but in one stroke the young master decapitates the monk, and chooses the shocked scalp as his weapon of choice. Then he removes and iron-bound book from inside his robe which bore the brunt of the arrow and makes his way to fulfill duty to the Emperor.

 

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