Aurora Award Finalist
When the Shogun’s soldiers burn his village and kill his parents, young Asai is rescued by a strange red hawk and led to a fabled temple.
Here, he trains under Ikada, the Warrior of the Red Bird and seeker of the Hidden Light. Asai will be the last Warrior, and unless he can succeed where all other Warriors have failed—to discover the Hidden Light—then his people will suffer a thousand years of misery.
But when Sawako, a beautiful young woman, challenges him, Asai must choose between his heart, his people, and his destiny.
Fantasy, sword & sorcery, love story (short story)
"I loved this tale. ... It has the feel of a myth or legend about a boy who finds that his destiny is closely entwined with the destiny of a people. But rather than repeat a tale we’ve all read before, the author has written something subtly new. … Honestly, I could have read it forever. The ending was that perfect combination of sadness and hope." —SF Crowsnest Reviews
"A spellbinding piece of writing set in a Japan-that-never-was that is both well-plotted and elegantly paced" —Strange Horizons
"A superbly told, involving, and brilliantly paced short story, complete with an ending made more tragic by its inevitability... Worth the price of the issue." —Tangent Online
"A mini-epic about a young boy named Asai and the phoenix that saves him from death while his village is being raided... If you love Japanese and Samurai stories, this one will give you goose bumps." —Tangent Online
"Powerful, moving and not quite predictable (A+)" —Fantasy Book Critic
"A wonderfully recounted story, with an excellent pace and a perfect ending." —Bibliopolis