Character Information

Shades of Nemesis: A Kia Asamiya/Studio TRON Site

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Previous: Plots Main Dark Angel Vol. 1 Next: Dark Angel Vol. 2
Volume Summary:
Dark, a young man of great exuberance and greater innocence, inherits one of the four sub-kingdoms of Oukoku and must journey across the land to the palace of the High King Rai-Hahn. His companion is Kyou, a winged sprite with far more wisdom than her headstrong charge. The pair find themselves accidentally in the hostile neighboring sub-kingdom of Toi, where they are greeted harshly by the young ruler of Toi, Leen, and her subordinates. Ignoring the restrictions on border warfare, Dark faces off against Leen and her posse.

Poem of Invocation

	The four countries surrounding Oukoku
	are ruled by the Phantom Saints.

	In that World, there are indeed many Wanderers.
	There are indeed many Lives and many Deaths.
	There are many different Forms of Existence.
	But ultimately, Man lives and dies by the Sword.

	However, there is One. And what of his Appearance?
	On Wings dyed as if with Vermillion,
	The Winds carry him through the Skies.
	With black Blood beating in his Heart, he rises from the Earth.
	With Eyes blue as the Sky, he surveys the Lands around him.

	This Body...
	Is Savage and Untamed.
	One Face is that of the Protector.
	But as in every Other World,
	The Other Face is that of...

	Dark Angel

Chapter 1

A swarthy young man in flowing robes meditates upon a cliff ledge. His master, Sou-sama, pounces on him, sword raised. Stunned by the unusual viciousness of the day's training, Dark is caught off guard once or twice before applying himself seriously. Once he does fight with his full potential however, his master purposely relaxes his guard and is dealt a fatal blow. Heartsick and shocked, Dark protests his master's suicide-by-student, even though Sou-sama insists that this was the right path. With his dying breath, Sou passes over his katana (6-feet-long and it has a sigil on the scabbard) and proclaims his student to be the next Phantom Saint of the Red Phoenix (Suzaku).

Tradition requires Dark to journey immediately from his home in the Southern kingdom of Nanban to the palace of the overlord Rai-Hahn in the central capital city. After grieving briefly over his mentor, Dark is joined by Kyou, a winged sprite (about 8 inches tall, with a wingspan double that) who witnessed the entire sad affair. As per her role as advisor and guide to the Phantom Saint of Suzaku, Kyou must accompany Dark on his journey to Oukoku. So off they go, hopping across the large floating boulders that are Nanban's trademark.

Chapter 2

In the Eastern kingdom of Toi, Leen, the new Phantom Saint of the Blue Dragon (Seiryuu), has just recently returned from her own fealty ceremony in Oukoku. One of her warriors, Tou, is racing around the palace seeking his mistress, but her functionary Chao is reluctant to intrude on her mistress' rest. The unsettling news that someone has illegally entered the kingdom from Nanban outpaces the messenger though, and Leen arrives announcing an expedition to check out these bold intruders. Unfortunately, the "bold intruders" are really Dark and Kyou, lost beyond hope, and only just realizing that they've entered the heart of a hostile neighboring country.

Kyou takes out a moment to school the readers on the geography of the Land of the Four Winds (see note below) and berates Dark sternly for being a Gensei with a lousy sense of direction. [I suppose he could blame the god Suzaku...] They make a desperate attempt to reach the border, only to find themselves confronted by a statue of Seiryuu carved into a cliff. Their admirable impersonation of a married couple lost on the road is interrupted by a lightning strike from the cloudless desert sky. Leen, Lord of Toi, has arrived to give them a geography lesson of her own.

[Note: The four kingdoms that make up Oukoku are Nanban, the Southern land, Toi, the Eastern land, Hokuteki, the Northern land, and Seijuu, the Western land. All four lands are protected by a Phantom Saint, the divine avatar of the land's cardinal god. Overseeing all of the lands is Rai-Hahn, to whom the Phantom Saints must swear fealty. Despite the constant threat of invasion from outside, the people of Oukoku always hover on the brink of civil war, so Phantom Saints and warriors alike must observe all the necessary proprieties when travelling beyond their territories.]

Chapter 3

Quite unaware of the gravity of the situation, Dark tries to talk his way out of a potentially deadly international incident. He explains calmly that he is the new Phantom Saint of Suzaku, on his way to Oukoku, and that he got lost along the way. Before they have a chance to laugh at such an absurd notion, Chao goes ballistic when she hears that the old Gensei, Sou-sama, has died at the hands of the boy before her. Leen insists that such an ignorant kid could never be a true Gensei, and her warrior Tou goes forward to disprove the boy's claim through combat.

Dark stands pondering why his wholly honest explanation isn't going over well, and Kyou is shaking her head vigorously, so neither of them is paying attention when Tou whips out his two bladeless sword-guards. They get a quick wake-up call however, when Tou's sword blade of enchanted water comes at them, slicing through whatever rocks get in the way. Kyou flits out of the way, but Dark cannot respond to the martial challenge because the blade of the Suzaku-ken will not come free! Dodging nimbly, Dark manages to not get killed, but his robes don't fare quite so well. Cursing his hapless situation, Dark is submerged beneath a torrent of water while Tou laughs grimly.

The warriors of Seiryuu are grimly pleased with their handiwork, when Dark pulls himself, soaking wet, from the surging flood of Tou's attack. By swimming with the flow of water, Dark was able to evade Tou's cutting blades. Leen is impressed by this maneuver, and begins to consider that their opponent may be telling the truth. Unwilling to accept defeat, Tou tries an even greater attack, a 600 ton water sphere that falls from on high to crush Dark utterly.

Chapter 4

Enveloped by Tou's water sphere, Dark retreats within his mind and recalls the voice of his master. Unifying body, mind, and sword is the only way to release the power of his blade and to defend himself against the stubborn Seiryuu warrior's onslaught. Prepared for battle at last, Dark wields the blade of Suzaku and slices through the devastating water sphere. Calm and in charge, Leen orders Tou to step aside and make way for his eager comrade, Chao. Angry beyond reason, Chao pronounces a judgement of death for Dark, not because she believes his claims to be false, but because he killed her onetime lover, Sou, the former Phantom Saint of Suzaku.

While apologizing to Leen for her deception, Chao insists that her secret love affair with Sou of the Red Phoenix, if known, would have dishonored her family and lost her her place among the warriors of Seiryuu. In flashback, Chao recalls when she first met the charming and gallant Phantom Saint, when a tornado spell broke out of her control and injured her. Sou literally swept the girl off her feet and whisked her back to the palace of Toi, but oddly kept her failure a secret from her future lord, Mei of the Blue Dragon.

Even as a young girl, Chao was determined to become a great warrior and protect her country, and to that end, she asked Sou to train her. Despite the great risks to both if their near-traitorous activities were discovered, Sou trained Chao in the secret magic techniques of Suzaku. Living and working closely together for over a month, love was perhaps inevitable, but could not be permitted to last. Sou returned to Nanban, and Chao claimed her traditional place of honor.

Presented with the news that the only man she'd ever loved was dead, and faced with his murderer, Chao's desire for revenge is understandable. Dark is especially sympathetic, as his own grief and guilt for slaying his master, however necessary, still weighs heavily on his heart. Refusing to counter Chao's blazing wind attacks, Dark stands ready to die for his crime. Kyou is not ready to lose another master though. When reasoning with Dark fails to change his mind, she draws Chao's lightning attack onto herself. Not realizing the true outcome of her actions, Chao gains some satisfaction, knowing that she killed Sou's murderer with an attack they had created together.

Chapter 5

After blocking Chao's lightning attack, Kyou struggles to rise although battered and dying. She explains weakly to a bewildered Dark that her sworn duty is to see him safely settled on the throne of Phantom Saint, no matter what the cost. Stunned into action by his friend's sacrificial act, Dark stands to face Chao once more, and once more she strikes at him with her furious wind attacks. Meanwhile, Leen considers Dark's earlier claim in light of his current resilience. If a new Phantom Saint properly inherits the position, either through the promotion or death of the previous lord, then that person inherits the skills and spirit of all the Phantom Saints who have come before. If Dark were truly a usurper, then how to explain his apparent invulnerability?

As predicted by Leen, a familiar aura appears to surround and protect Dark from the warriors of Toi. The spirit of Sou stands unruffled in Dark's place and simply looks sadly at Chao. Face-to-face with her lover again, Chao's thirst for vengeance turns to despair, and she loses her will to fight in the middle of casting a powerful wind-summoning spell. Unrestrained, the spell rips up the landscape, and scatters the warriors. Leen insists on remaining long enough to help Chao, but it is Dark, in the guise of Sou, who effortlessly retrieves Chao and calms the storm. Returning the grief-stricken young woman to her comrades, Dark laments the loss of his friend Kyou and stands ready to face Leen's seemingly inevitable challenge.

Just as the two Phantom Saints are about to collide, they are interrupted by a hail from above. Pan of Garuda, Captain of the Royal Guard, is outraged to see Dark and Leen flouting the law and endangering the land, after having come to fetch the much-delayed new Phantom Saint of the Red Phoenix. Upon learning of Kyou's death, Pan makes the surprising announcement that the sprite can be returned to life, but the only one with the power to do it is Leen!

Chapter 6

Pan orders Leen to revive Kyou, a decision which makes Dark gush with enthusiasm, but which makes Leen become very formal and sober. She directs Dark to place Kyou's body upon a flat, altar-like rock, and then begins her incantation. The four softly glowing orbs that until now hovered statically around her move to form a square, with Leen in the center.. Forming the spirit energy from her own body into a fifth orb, Leen sends the five now-brightly shining orbs into the sky above. Lightning flashes between the orbs until the center sphere becomes surrounded by a vortex of absolute darkness. Responding to Dark's spluttering wonder, Tou describes the implacable chasm as the source of everything.

Chao and Tou answer Dark's excited questions, and explain that the sacred orbs of the Blue Dragon possess the ability to create life where none exists. Cryptically, Chao adds that Leen did not inherit the complete set of five orbs. Instead, she has only four: earth, air, fire, and water. Abruptly, Leen's chant rises to a climax, and the vortex explodes, seeming to consume Kyou and Leen in a cloud of debris. Only Captain Pan watches coolly as the dust settles to reveal Leen standing solemnly, gently supporting an awakening Kyou in her hands. Dark leaps to retrieve his winged friend just before Leen collapses to the ground.

Rushing to comfort and support their master, Chao and Tou explain the mystery of the missing orb, the orb of gold. Since that orb was lost in times long past, the Phantom Saint must use his or her own life energy in its place. By ordering Leen to perform the ritual, Pan might have condemned her to death. Newly aware of the whole truth, both Dark and Kyou express their gratitude to Leen and offer her their support and friendship.

Turning to Dark, Captain Pan carefully considers what sacrifice should be required. He demands the sword of the Red Phoenix, Dark's only weapon, and the sole proof of his ascension to Phantom Saint. Against Kyou's protests on behalf of her charge, Pan insists that Dark must learn to face and overcome obstacles as a Phantom Saint on his own, without the aid of either violence or his master's legacy. Stoically, Dark accepts his punishment, and relinquishes his master's sword. Captain Pan formally accepts the blade, but perhaps struck by the boy's demeanor, advises a distraught Kyou to guide Dark to meet Kin, a renowned sword-maker. This advice seems to cheer Kyou up quite a bit.

Pan mounts his horse and prepares to leave, but included in his farewells is a warning to Leen that the High Council may meet soon in the capital of Oukoku. Making their goodbyes as well, the warriors of the Blue Dragon respectfully leave, and Chao even nods to Dark in silent acknowledgement. Left alone again at last, Dark and Kyou move to depart the area, only to realize quickly that they are still hopelessly lost. (Should've asked some of those warriors for directions, I guess...)

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