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*****
      Two people stood together, one a man and the other a boy just shy of fourteen. "See how they move Ryo, never forget how beautiful they are. In a way theyíre better than us. They donít have so much to worry about. There are many different perceptions of freedom, but the freedom of a wild animal is the purest of all." The man walked off a short distance and knelt to the ground to get a better view of grazing animals. Then the boy saw something out the corner of his eye.
      Something approached. "Dad! Behind you!" The man turned around too late only to see a black shape descend upon him. The boy stood by frozen in terror and sheer horror at the creature that had a body of a lion but all the wrong colors. The beast slashed at his fatherís throat, his back, his stomach, throwing the lifeless body to the side. Then the monster turned to the boy. He raised a hand to ward off the creature as it approached.       Then a white form with black stripes jumped infront of the boy. It turned to face the demon beast and roared. The tiger was more powerful, and the lion slunk away. Then the tiger looked at the boy. He nodded to his back, and when the boy would not come, he gently grabbed his wrist with his mouth and led him away. The boy soon understood the tigerís intentions, and the tiger carried him back all the way to his home. He got off of the tigerís back and reluctantly approached the door to his house. The tiger was gone when the boy looked over his shoulder, but suddenly the boyís mother opened the door and came outside.
      "Ryo, where is your father?"
      ".........Momma........He was killed.......Iím so sorry Momma!! I was so scared, I couldnít save him, I couldnít do anything! Iím sorry! Iím sorry......" The boy trailed off as he hugged his mother while sobbing heavily. The woman slowly placed her arms around her son. Her little girl was gone, lost in flame. Her husband was dead, dead, but not forgotten for she knew that something inside of her still remained.
     "Ryo, listen to me, you cannot blame yourself for what happened. If you carry the guilt of others youíll only be hurting those closest to you and yourself. I want you to promise me that youíll continue to grow up and live a happy life. Give me that promise, and keep it to your heart all the days of your life."
     "I promise mother." The boy became sad and sullen. Those who were once his friends now were wary of him. In a short time he had suffered two griefs. Now he was about to suffer a third. He came home from school one day. "Mom? Mom? Iím home. Mom?"       Nothing, not a sound. All her things were there, the car, all but a little bit of food and clothes that were missing. The boy sat in the house and waited. He waited for so long but she never returned. Suddenly an uncontrollable feeling seized him and he rushed outside. "MOMMA! MOOOMMAAAA!!!" he wailed. Then he began crying. He dropped to his knees and sat back on his heels. A flow of tears ran down his cheeks. He was all alone.       Then he felt something warm, moist, but rough rub up against his cheek. The boy looked to the side and saw the white tiger staring at him. He stared at it for a while, then began crying again and wrapped his arms around the tigerís neck. "You wonít leave me! Youíll always be my friend, wonít you? Wonít you!" The boy sobbed. The tiger set a paw on his back.
      I will always be with you.
      The boy leaned back to look the tiger in the eyes. "I wish I knew what to call you." Then he noticed the tigerís fur, and a thought entered his mind. Whiteblaze.........The boy placed a hand on the tigerís head. "Your name is Whiteblaze."
      The tiger became a companion, not a pet. It was wild with an untamed spirit. It was his friend, and soon the boy became like the tiger. The tigerís wild heart became the boyís wild spirit. His piercing blue eyes became powerful for they glittered with emotion. He shunned other people and stopped going to school. He roamed the land alone like an animal, and inside his heart roared with rage, loneliness, agony.
      Then the fire, the armor. The boy was frightened at first as he watched the smooth white metal clamp over his body, then the red plates that covered his feet, shins, arms, chest, and back. It was then he learned his destiny. The tiger stayed with him and kept him company, but the boy still yearned to love.
      She lives in the woods underground waiting for her children to come. Hair all gray because she missed them so. She waits for her children, and she will watch over the son of her eldest.
*****
      Renee Sanada was stirring a boiling pot of soup when she sensed something. She looked up and glanced over her shoulder. Kayli stirred and yawned. She sat up and yawned again while stretching her arms. "What is is Mama?"
      Renee stared in disbelief at the two forms that stood in the "doorway". The spoon slipped from her grasp onto the packed dirt floor and she put a hand to her chest slowly. "You came......you came......." She smiled and held out her arms to hug her children.
*****
      Whiteblaze was sleeping down by the foot of the stairs when he heard voices talking. He looked up and cocked his ears forward to listen.
     "Heís so beautiful. Iím so proud of you."
     "Heís something special. Gave Mia a royal pain but he came out looking just fine. And his hair, just feel it!"
      "Well at least he has hair, not like you had any when you were born."
      "Mom," a voice protested. Whiteblaze hummed in pleasure and lay back down to sleep.

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Character Profile: Ryu Sanada (Ree-yoo)

      Ryu is not like any normal baby for the fact that he was born totally aware of his own destiny. (Some power of Wildfire?) As he grows up he displays more of his innate fighting skill, especially in HOW5 where he is able to thwart a plot for infant ritual sacrifice by himself at the age of 2. Naturally Mia becomes concerned about him fighting early on, but she has to accept that he is no normal child. The Dynasty fears him coming of age most for he will lead what tends to be referred to as the "Third Generation Ronin", comprised of unique members, such as a Geod, a genetically engineered superhuman female, a shamaness, the Third Lady Ronin, and a technological genius. Ryu is also said to bear the power to transcend dimensions, which is first displayed when he makes a solo escape from the dreaded Traghdoashin Nexxus hole after a battle with Myr Chedryn.
      Born August 29,1993, Ryu is the first of Ronin ĎBirth Heirsí, those directly related to the present Ronin chosen to be Armor Heirs. He makes several unique friends such as Darius, Zero, Persephone, and Thinctipin. Also, as Mia grudgingly admits, becomes the only child fluent in two languages at age 2.
      Infant, Ryu has a typical round face and fluffy red hair and green eyes. Grown, his facial features are much the same as Ryo but his hair is longer, almost to his elbows and a bit shaggier.