Monster Hunter Legends: The Guardian
Date Started: 27 April 2011
Date Finished: Unfinished
The Guardian – Chapter 1
The year 208, modern times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans.
“So Tenma, you say you want to know about my past? Well, I guess it will help you if you are to learn the ways of the Guardians. Very well, but where to begin…?” The Guardian pondered, as Tenma sat on the other side of the campfire.
“How about you start with here?” Tenma motioned to the looming presence of the Tower behind them.
“Ok. But first, I will tell you of the Guardians of old…”
At least seventy years ago, it may be more, as my memory is hazy, but back then the Guardians were in abundance. Each hunting ground had one – from the Snowy Mountains to the Kokoto Desert, they protected Minegarde with valor and wisdom. Each were attributed certain armour to deal best with the monsters in their area, and Minegarde seemed to be truly at peace.
But for some reason that I now believe the Order of the Black Dragon may have been behind, the Guardians began to disappear.
It started with the Guardian of the Volcano. An influential woman with a fearsome temper, who was seen always clad in menacing armour. She was said to have journeyed into the Volcano one day to find a hunting party that had gone missing. She never returned.
This was incredibly unusual – the Guardians always won their battles, and especially one so powerful disappearing gave rise to unease amongst the other Guardians.
This followed a pattern, with three more going missing in weeks. Some Guardians, from fear of the same fate, deserted their posts completely. They stopped training new Guardians, and eventually some just died from old age or disease. That was when the last remaining Guardians, the Guardians of the Tower, Desert, Forest and Hills and the Kokoto Swamp met to sort out the future of our traditions.
It was decided that they would only associate themselves with the Guild in times of crisis, to avoid being in the public eye. They also agreed on training only one apprentice at a time, so that the traditions were passed on generation to generation.
It is by this process I came to be known as the Guardian of the Tower, and later, the only Guardian left.
I was ten when my parents decided I would become the Apprentice of the Guardian. I lived in the village closest to the tower, so it was easy enough to make the journey back and forth each day. My lessons with the Guardian encompassed a wide range of lore.
He taught me things such as forging, gathering, combining, a bit of alchemy, history, and most importantly, how to hunt. He was a kind man, as I knew him, but he did not like to talk of his personal history. But there is one lesson that I will never forget, and I will begin with that.
I had just turned fifteen, and a storm had passed the night before…
Waking to the sounds of dripping, I stumbled from my bunk I kept in the Tower. Last night I had needed to stay there because of the storm as it blocked off passage home.
“You awake lad?” The deep voice of my master echoed through the hard, stone passages of the tower. It astounded me how he could somehow sense my presence.
“Yes. There’s a bit of a leak in here…” I replied, swiveling out of bed. A small puddle had formed in the corner, but the moss was beginning to absorb it. I frowned, and wondered about changing the room where I slept.
“Haha!” His hearty laughter bounced harshly into my room. “You’re lucky with the storm we had last night! But, it gave me a chance to discuss the finer points of environmental phenomena. Today though, I have something to discuss with you that is far more interesting.”
Wondering what something more ‘interesting’ could be, I attached my practice armour and strolled through the winding halls. When I reached my master, my eyes widened in surprise.
All his supplies and equipment was strapped to the nearest wall with an incredible amount of ropes. The large chests seemed to be mostly dry, and I spotted the tarp my master had used to shield them from the rain.
He was sat in the middle of the room, staring out of the large hole that took up most of where the wall should have been.
“Did you get any sleep, Guardian?” I asked, sitting next to him.
“Hmm? No. But don’t worry about me I’ve been through worse.” He said, chuckling at an old memory.
“What could be worse than that?” I gaped, always in awe of my master’s stories.
“Well, there was this one time when an old friend of mine asked me to help her out. The Guild had tasked the Daora Warrior with infiltrating the major nest of all Kushala Daora… a place known as Hurricane Cove, even further north than Castle Schrade. It took us a while to get there, and after we arrived I was hoping for a rest… But, seeing as the Cove is home to at least twenty Daora, we spent the next three days battling through a maelstrom just to make it up a hill and see what the dragons where up to. And you know what?”
“What?” I asked, eager to know.
“They did sweet f-a, nothing at all. Most of them sat around either nursing young or eating. Anyway, back to what I wanted to discuss with you.”
He turned to face me, a serious look on his face. I wondered what he could have to discuss with me, as he never wore a look close to serious with any of my other teachings.
“Your coming of age is a great thing. Adults will now accept you more as a man than a boy, but more importantly, you can now officially begin hunting. But that is not what I need to tell you. Your hunting license can be done any time. As a Guardian, your coming of age means you must now take a name.”
I thought about this for a moment, but thought I’d continue listening before replying.
“This name must define you, and it will define your pathway as an apprentice and as a person. When you become Guardian, this name should reflect what people think of you.”
“What was your name sir?” I asked tentatively.
“Hahaha, I was known as Thunder, for my loud personality and ability to rumble into a room.” He grinned, and I could see why he chose that name.
“Hmm… I’m not sure.” And I really wasn’t – at that time; my studies had focused on nothing of this nature.
“Well, you’ve got the whole day dedicated to choosing your name. But I expect you to have by nightfall.” My master stood up and retrieved a heavy book from one of his chests, and handed it to me. “This book holds many names of things, and their meanings. Use it wisely.”
I spent the following day into night reading through the book and attempting to choose a suitable name. I finally found one, and I alerted my master.
“So, you think you’ve got it?” He said, crossing his arms in anticipation.
“Yes. I have chosen Meteor.” I felt a little silly saying it, but it was the kind of Guardian I wanted to become - powerful, mysterious and known to all.
“Hmm… very good. Well then, Meteor, let’s get ready to hunt.” He smiled, and shouldered a pack and attached his great sword.
“What, right now?” I stammered, a little surprised by the unexpected response.
“Yes, right now, otherwise how are we going to hunt at night?” He raised an eyebrow and then set off, as I hurriedly grabbed my things and followed him.
“So Tenma, that marks the official beginning of my journey to become who I am now. It was the start of many things, and don’t worry, I wasn’t the apprentice ‘Meteor’ for long. I would go on to fight incredible monsters, journey across foreign lands, discover lost artifacts, fall in love, experience great tragedy and watch over Minegarde.” The Guardian said, observing Tenma’s expression over the fire.
“That’s it?” He whined, giving the Guardian a sour look.
“No, idiot!” The Guardian lobbed a rock at Tenma, who dodged giggling. “I’m nowhere near done, so just keep listening and stop complaining!”
The Guardian – Chapter 2
“I’m going to tell this chronologically, so I’m not jumping straight to my travels with Alex in Moga. I was in my thirties when I did that… so the next thing I’ll tell you about is approximately two years on.”
Tenma listened intently, allowing the Guardian to continue.
“I had been hunting throughout Minegarde for a while, learning more than I’d ever thought possible with my Master. But once, we were called to a meeting of the Guardians for urgent news…”
The sun was hot in the desert, even if it was going down. It cast an orange glow onto the dunes, and highlighted the beauty of the large town we came to. Its name was Blosdune, situated close to the core of the desert and named aptly after the two Blos wyverns.
“Good thing it’s outside of the Guilds jurisdiction,” I muttered, but unfortunately my Master heard me.
“Just because the Guild may have had a few mishaps in the past doesn’t mean that every single Guild member is bad.” He said, giving me an unimpressed look.
“I know, I should show compassion towards everyone and everything in Minegarde. I’m still learning that one.” I smiled, and decided not to mention the Guild again for a while.
The armour I wore at this particular time was forged of Teostra materials, but was not designed by the Guild’s blacksmiths. It was simpler, made more to fit me and protect against most attacks.
We hopped off the carriage we had taken, and walked over to a hunter stood at the base of the town’s welcoming arch. “Are you the Guardian of the Tower, and is this your apprentice?” The man held up a hand, not threatening, but cautious.
“Yes. Do you need me to provide a password?” My Master replied, his tone strong but friendly.
“It has been requested by the Guardian of the Desert, yes.” He dropped his hand, and glanced my way.
“You may pass.” He motioned through the gates, and his shoulders dropped noticeably as he relaxed.
Moving onward, I spotted the hall we would use to meet in, and possibly the Guardian of the Desert’s main headquarters. It was a simple clay structure, with a domed roof and terraces on the second floor. The colour blended in perfectly with the desert.
As reached the front door, the lanterns in the windows were lit, as the sun was nearly gone. Not bothering to knock, my Master pushed inside and surveyed the room in front of him.
There were four people situated in the centre of the room, sat on cushions surrounding a table with foods fit for a king laid out before them. My mouth watered at the thought.
“Guardian of the Desert, Guardian of the Old Swamp. What news is so great that you have called us here?” My Master crossed his arms, and I stood beside him to get a closer look at the people.
Two of them were clad in armour I’d never seen before – one of them, the Guardian of the Desert I guessed, was wearing a brown variation of Blangonga armour. He motioned for us to sit, so we did reluctantly.
The other, a woman with long silver hair, was dressed in purple-green armour that reminded me of Gypceros. She had not said anything since we came in, and was quietly sipping from a glass.
“I know you keep careful watch over Minegarde, as do us all, but there are some things that can evade your gaze from the Tower. I have already told our fellow Guardian of the news, and I doubt that the news will be heard outside of this room.” The Guardian of the Desert spoke, his voice low and deep and his tone full of remorse.
At this point the silver haired lady sobbed, her whole body shaking as she buried her face in her hands. At this point I fully noticed her apprentice, a man not much older than me. He rubbed her back as she continued her fit of sadness. “Corin is dead, I take it?” My Master whispered to the Guardian of the Desert, who nodded solemnly.
“You know that they were lovers, so tread lightly, old Thunder.” The Guardian of the Desert replied, keeping the whisper. His apprentice shuffled next to him, and I focused on her for now as the two Guardians talked.
I could not see her face, as she had covered it with cloth, much like a desert nomad. The rest of her body was clad in Daimyo Hermitaur armour, and the way she sat made it hang loosely on her, hiding much of her figure.
I was intrigued though, and had to make an effort to wrench my eyes away and focus on the task at hand.
“Ahem,” My Master began, the Guardian of the Old Swamp’s tears pausing for a moment, “We need to discuss this matter now. We have travelled long to come here, and it is up to us to decide what happens now. There are three of us left. The former Guardian of the Forest and Hills apprentice, Lizard, has disappeared, so there is no-one to take over the post.”
A depressing silence hung in the air before my Master continued.
“We have known for some time that the Guardians of Minegarde are dying out because of an unknown force. We have discovered no motive, not even evidence. If anyone so chooses, they may back out now, that includes apprentices.” My Master finished, his face turning grim as he turned to each of his friends.
“Never.” The silver haired lady had spoken. Facing her, I saw that her eyes were red as tears still dripped down them. I also noticed that even though she had silver hair, she was still quite young.
“Aye, me neither. We’ll keep fighting, and make it our top priority to investigate matters as thoroughly as possible.” The Guardian of the Desert added, placing his glass down with force.
“Then it is decided. Meteor, if you would wait outside, I must confer with the Guardians only.” He nodded to me, and I stood up to leave.
“Lily, you as well.”
“And you, Toxin.”
The other two apprentices left the room with me, and the conversation inside was blocked off to all of us.
The cold night air bit into my skin as I waited with the other apprentices. I had talked a little with Toxin, the Guardian of the Old Swamp’s apprentice, and now I was trying to think of something to start a conversation with Lily.
She was leant against the wall, her bandana still covering her face. I had just figured out something to say when she spoke. I will never forget her voice.
Even though it was tinted with pain and sadness, her voice was as smooth as a river and soft as Popo’s fur.
“You’ve known your Master longer than both of us, what do you think he’ll be talking to them about?”
I was stunned a little bit at first, and glanced quickly to Toxin to check if he was as entranced as I. Luckily, he was staring at the moon.
“Hmm… he’ll probably be taking a direct approach. I know he keeps records of the Guardians, tales he has heard, people he has met… Facts first, then some kind of plan that will involve him being allowed to muscle people around.” This earned a sweet giggle from Lily, and as she looked up at me I was amazed by her brilliant green eyes.
I blushed slightly, but before either of us could go on, Toxin interrupted.
“It’s not as simple as that. My Master will want to gather support first, and then take on the investigation… Either way, we’ll probably come to a dead end like last time.”
“Last time?” I took a serious tone with Toxin, unsure what he meant.
“The Guardian of the Old Swamp told me of the last time they tried to find a connection between the deaths. The Guild intervened because the Guardians had overstepped their duty, supposedly. That’s just total bullshit; because they did nothing that they weren’t allowed to. They interrogated suspects but never harmed anyone, went within the parameters of the Guild’s areas, still helped hunters when they needed aid… the Guild just wanted them to stop because they were close.” His face was hard as stone as he looked at Lily and then me.
“We won’t allow that to happen this time. We’re smaller than before – we can pass underneath the Guild’s radar and solve this mystery once and for all.” Lily’s voice was passionate, and she truly believed in the strength of the Guardians.
“Hmph, you mean stay underneath the radar and survive? I see why you chose ‘Lily’, as in ‘Desert Lily’, a plant that can survive in harsh conditions for years. Don’t give me that Guardian strength crap.” Toxin glared at Lily, and I noticed that his eyes were slightly red around the rims.
“Hey, watch what you’re saying, Toxin. She was only being positive. And besides, that investigation never ended. You don’t know what I’ve been through just by training with the Guardian of the Tower for seven years. I’ve watched him tear himself apart with frustration as he searched and searched for a link. So how about you think before you speak, alright?” I clenched my fists instinctively in anger, as his expression remained the same.
“Piss off, Meteor. Your Master still hasn’t gotten anywhere in seven years, so what bloody hope do we have by trying again? Besides, with a name like ‘Meteor’, who’s NOT going to know who you are?” His voice rose to a yell as he finished, and before I knew it he had punched me hard in the face.
I fell hard to the ground, which would have hurt more if it had not been sand. Dazed, I watched, as he prepared another punch, not bothering to lift my hands to stop him. But before he could deliver it, he fell over limply, and landed next to me, unconscious.
Managing to push my self into a seated position, I looked up to see Lily holding out her hand to me. Taking it, I gladly stood up and gave her a slightly painful smile.
“What happened?” I asked, rubbing my face.
“Pressure point. I knocked him right out. He was being a complete ass hole towards you.” I looked at Lily again, and that was when I realized she had taken off her bandana and helmet. She had beautiful dark skin, and dusty blond hair that hung loose on her shoulders.
I must have been hit harder than I thought, because I said something that made her smile and blush, but then I fell backwards again and fainted next to Toxin.
I awoke the next morning, my nose stinging a little. I was inside the Guardian of the Desert’s house, and I could see my Master asleep on the cushions we had sat on when we first arrived.
“He was a bit annoyed with you.” I looked up, and saw that Lily was sitting next to me. I blushed a little, trying to remember what had happened last night. When I got it, I averted my eyes a little.
“How is Toxin?” I asked, not seeing him anywhere in the room.
“He’s fine. He was looking pretty guilty after his Master gave him a good shout, and he’s sitting on the roof at the moment.”
“My Master must have been ashamed of me…” I muttered, not looking his way.
“No, like I said, he was just a bit annoyed. I think he realized what had happened after I explained, and the three Guardians were glad for the distraction,” she looked directly in my eyes, then continued, “Do you remember what you said just before you passed out?”
I couldn’t bring myself to break eye contact, so I relaxed and returned the gaze.
“Pity,” she sighed, and began to pick up her bandana before I touched her arm. She turned to me, and I noticed that her face had once again gone red.
“Whatever it was, it was enough to make you go as red as that,” I said, smiling through the pain of my broken nose, “That’s what I remember.”
She quickly brushed my hand off her arm and wrapped part of the bandana around her mouth and cheeks.
“You, uh… hmm, called me… beautiful. Nobody’s told me that before…” She clasped my hand in hers, and a warm feeling flooded through me. Then the pain in my nose spiked and I jerked into a sitting position, making her jump a little.
“Haha, just my nose, don’t worry… But really, no one’s ever called you beautiful before?” I asked while gingerly patting my nose.
“No… I mean, I’ve been out with guys before but none of them were very nice. Anyway, I’m not the kind of girl who just throws herself at any man that gives her a compliment.” She huffed a little, but I could tell she was still happy.
“Well, I’m not the kinda guy who just likes a girl based on looks.” I replied.
She glanced around the room, and I saw that the others were all still fast asleep.
“How about you come and have hunt with me in the desert? Just a relaxed one - you won’t be leaving for about a day, so we have plenty of time to get to know each other…”
I agreed, and that day was one of the happiest days I ever spent.
“Now, you’re probably a bit grossed out right now with all the lovey-dovey stuff, but hey, you’re only fifteen, you have yet to feel true love yet…” The Guardian glared at Tenma who was considering whether to speak or not.
“What happened to Toxin?” He asked.
“Well, I went up to the roof to speak with him, and I shook his hand and we moved on. He had been clouded by sadness when he hit me, so I didn’t blame him. Actually, I believe he is still alive, in the Old Swamp… although the last time I met him he was on the verge of insanity. But that is another story. You need to rest now before I continue.” The Guardian stood up and headed towards the Tower as Tenma lay down and let sleep engulf him.
The Guardian - Chapter 3
As Tenma slept blissfully, the Guardian was awake in the pain of old memories. Talking of the old Guardians had sparked the turmoil, but remembering Lily was the worst part for him.
But he could not let Tenma down. He had spared Tenma the details of his love for Lily, and how for the coming years he had grasped every chance to meet with her, and how she always amazed him.
The Guardian always recalled those years vividly, but one event that did not involve Lily came to mind, roughly five years on from their first meeting. As the sun rose above the clouds, the Guardian got up from where he sat at the top of the Tower.
When he reached the bottom, Tenma was groggily rubbing his eyes and disentangling himself from his sleeping bag. “Alright then Tenma, moving on.” The Guardian announced, not waiting for Tenma to completely wake.
“The next event of importance is where things start to spiral downwards, dark secrets emerge and anger is sparked. Do you remember the Guardian of the Forest and Hills, and how he was the most recent to die?” Tenma nodded his agreement, and the Guardian continued.
“So you obviously remember his apprentice, Lizard. Oh, one thing I may have overlooked – a Guardian only reveals their name when they die, or to another Guardian with utmost trust. Anyway, five years on, we had made an incredible breakthrough, that my Master believed could crack the mystery wide open. We had discovered where Lizard was hiding, alive and well…”
The fog thick around us, we kept our eyes narrowed and ears open for any noise or movement. The mud squelched loudly beneath our feet, but our steps were controlled and stealthy.
Emerging from the shadows ahead was a large frond, raised slightly above the bog on a tiny hill of drier land. We made our way up to it, and settled into the leaves of the plant for a rest.
“Tell me again why the Nargacuga Clan have an outpost in the Swamp?” I muttered, keeping my voice low. My Master was less anxious than I, but his nerves still showed.
“They follow the Nargacuga to its habitats… the Swamp just happens to be one of them. They enjoy catching prey in the fog, when their guard is down… Besides, the Tigrex Samurai are no different; they keep an outpost in the Desert. And stop complaining.” My Master’s voice went stern, and I kept quiet for a minute eating my rations.
“Hmm… then I guess my question is, why all the secrecy?”
“I can answer that.”
I sat still as a statue, wondering where the woman’s voice had come from and what was pressed up against my back. My Master tensed, reaching for his weapon, then relaxed and let out a chuckle. The pressure on my back disappeared and a woman stepped out from the shadows, laughing as well.
She was clad in the traditional armour of the Nargacuga, albeit slightly modified to protect against the cold. She had long black hair and purple eyes, which seemed to be studying me.
“Meteor, I’d like you to meet the Nargacuga Warrior, Ching-Lan.” My Master had a warm smile on his face, and I relaxed as she sat down with us to talk.
“So Ching how is your son? Last time we met he’d just been born.” He continued, and I listened as the two chatted like old friends.
“Feng is doing just fine thank you, he turned five recently and has taken really well to our culture. Although, he doesn’t like the swamp so he’s back at the Hidden City with his father.” She smiled, and I realized that she wasn’t so bad after all. Even if she was a ninja, she was still a person and had a family to care for.
“Now enough with the chit-chat. I hope you trained your apprentice well, cos’ we may have to fight our way out… The thieves have fortified their stronghold well, and who knows what’s behind their gate. We haven’t got far to walk, but the next bit will get muddy…” Ching-Lan stood up and walked past us, disappearing into the fog.
“Well then?” My Master said expectantly, and I nodded and followed the Nargacuga Warrior.
Sure enough, it got muddier.
The plants were covered in the stuff, and kept slapping us in the face whenever we’d walk by. So far, we had not seen any sign of life other than the occasional Bitterbug or Frog.
After walking through the mud for another mile or so Ching-Lan stopped and motioned for us to halt too.
“What’s up?” My Master queried, his voice quiet.
“We’re at the lake,” Ching-Lan muttered, as she tapped the mud before her. It parted and sloshed, unlike the thick grime we’d been going through before.
“Even though we’re already covered in shit,” the Guardian said, “I’d prefer to take some kind of transport across.”
I nodded in agreement. Our armour wasn’t designed for swimming, especially in a bog.
“There’s a small boat about a half mile down that way,” Ching-Lan pointed, and began walking, “I can take out anyone who’s guarding it.”
As predicted, the boat was being watched by two sly looking men. Both had unconventional weapons at their waists… a mace and a crossbow. Weapons for killing humans, not monsters.
As I mused over this, Ching-Lan was at work. She produced a pipe from her pouch, slotted something in, and blew. The first man hit the ground flat.
The second had little time to react as Ching-Lan loaded another round and promptly knocked him out.
As we snuck over to the boat, I asked “Was that speed just there one of your traits?”
Ching-Lan turned to me with a smile on her face. “Nope. That was simple training,” She continued as my Master untied the boat, “The traits of the Nargacuga Warrior are Night Vision, Leaping and Tracking.”
We hopped into the boat, trying to make as little noise as possible. Rowing off into the mist, I wondered something. “Hang on, how can a whole town be situated structurally on a swamp? It would sink into the mud,” I asked.
“You’ll see when we get there. For now, voices down!” Ching-Lan whispered, putting a finger to her lips for silence. As we crossed the murky waters, faint glimmers appeared on the other bank. We were nearing the city of thieves.
The fog began to thin out, and I scanned the shore for signs of guards, but no-one appeared.
“They only leave guards if they’re notified,” Ching-Lan chimed in, “Oh, and we’ve been watching these criminals for a while if you’re wondering how I know this much.”
I had been. But I didn’t mention it.
“Don’t we need disguises?” I decided instead to say, as we jumped off the boat and splashed onto the muddy land.
“No. With thieves and criminals, all you need is slyness and a tough look.” My Master grinned. He was already tough. Ching-Lan flexed her muscles and positioned the knives on her belt in a threatening matter.
I, wearing my crimson Teostra hand-made armour, put my visor down.
The three of us headed up towards the building before us – a ramshackle house with moss on the walls and vines curling off the roof.
We stepped inside, and were immediately greeted with the strong fumes of beer, smoke and sweat. As I looked around, I spotted people of every background, from every back-alley in Minegarde.
Suffice to say, it made me feel pretty uncomfortable.
A large man, with a shaved head and dressed in desert garb walked up to my Master.
“What’re you doing here? You look like hunters to me.” He growled, waving his fist in front of my Master’s nose. “I might as well cut to the chase. We’re here to see Lizard, is he around?” My Master glanced around, making his request seem very nonchalant.
The room went silent.
“Too bad,” the large man said, and swung a punch.
The punch was so slow my Master had plenty of time to react. He slipped easily into Blango’s Hold, gripping the man’s punching arm and then easily flipping him.
But as he flipped, my Master changed very sneakily into the technique hidden behind Blango’s Hold – Rajang’s Fist. As the man fell, my Master had all the time in the world to launch a stunning punch downwards onto him, who could do nothing but watch. There was a large smack is the Guardian’s hand connected, and another smack when the man hit the floor
. “Any more takers?” My Master exclaimed, raising his hands as if addressing a crowd.
Four equally large men stood up, but these ones wore gauntlets on their hands – ranging from heavy, to coated in spikes. “Might need you in on this one Meteor, but if you fall fowl of those two,” He motioned to the two closer to me, “I’ll take them out.” He smiled, and I nervously joined him in the centre of the room.
“One second,” The Guardian said, reaching down to pick up his cup.
“What! What happened next? It was just starting to get good!” Tenma exclaimed, his eyes going wide.
“What? I needed a drink, jeez.”
Year 1 - Fates Legend
Year 171 - Rathalos Red
Year 173 - Requiem of Fire
Year 183 - Knights of the Tundra
Year 197 - Secrets Shaded Black
Year 198 - The Tigrex Samurai
Year 208 - The Tigrex's Rage
Year 208 - The Guardian
Year 210 - The Grand Trio
Year 210 - Hunters of Valor