We are outside in a non-descript field at night. It appears to be night, although Shade has a spotlight coming from somewhere that seems to follow him around. The audience is viewing through an 8mm camera. Shade stands in a long hooded robe, tending to his Red Kite, which sits on his raised arm. In his other arm he holds a long wooden staff. After a few seconds, he releases the bird, which squawks as it flies up into the sky. Shade looks at the camera.

Fear.

It is the warrior’s greatest friend, or so our good Saiko-san would have us believe.


Jump cut to Shade’s face up close.

What do you fear, Saiko-san?


Jump cut back to the original shot.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let me tell you about fear. (Shade starts walking slowly towards the camera as he narrates) Let me tell you about a cold, dark night, and a man sitting in a cell, staring at his hands. He wonders, are they his hands any longer? Are they driven by an unseen force, a madness within the very walls of this cell, that calls to him through the bars over the thing these jailers call a window? He looks at himself in their feeble window.

Shade stops just short of the camera.

No glass. Just bars. No reflection. A dead man, a vampire, waiting for rebirth.

Shade drops his staff, kneels, takes out a knife, and carves a circle around himself in the ground, which becomes illuminated as he carves it.

Do you know what a magic circle is, Hiro? It is a vessel. A vessel of energy, channelled through those dancing inside it, all focussing on a point of transcendence…a squared circle, full of vicious men engaged in their violent dance, all focussed on becoming number one contender to the High Voltage championship. The winner? The one who knows how to control that energy, to feed off the pain, and the violence, and the shadow, to refresh, to be reborn, to survive…

See, Psycho Samurai, you think cowards survive. Survival is for cowards, victory is for warriors, isn’t that right?

Shade pulls out a Samurai sword from his robes.

No, it isn’t right.

Shade sticks the sword in the ground by its point. It stands vertically in the middle of the magic circle.

On that squalid night at that cold window, that dark, vampire man stared insanity and death square in the face…and Shade survived. Shade was born of the pain and fear itself, so what can you do to me Hiro, that I can possibly fear? Survival is not subordinate to victory, survival IS victory! The ultimate victory over fear, and the ability to take these…trifles like pain, and use them as sustenance!

But you do fear, Psycho-san. You fear defeat and dishonour. That’s what this means to you
(Shade picks up his knife and twirls it). Defeat, dishonour, and death. In your world of honour, this is the end of everything. In my world of magic, this is a symbol. A symbol of the primordial fire, the cleansing destruction, the end and beginning of an endless cycle of death and rebirth. In the squared circle, Hiro, you are in my world, and my world has no honour but the sanctity of survival.

The picture cuts to a scene of Shade using the samurai sword to chop his staff into pieces. He adds them to a pile of chopped wood in a pail. He carries the pail to the Samurai sword in the ground and throws the wood around the sword like a pyre. Meanwhile, the narration continues.

Which means you have a choice to make, Hiro. Dishonour, or defeat. Because I can promise you this; in my circle, at Retribution, when my cleansing destruction comes down on you, you might well “win” – but you will not survive. I have no fear, you cannot hurt me, and every time you try I become stronger. Every piece you hack me in to, just gives me more fuel –

Shade lights a match, and the camera cuts to a close-up of his eyes.

To send you down in flames.

The camera cuts again as Shade drops the lit match into the pyre. Flames spring up around the Samurai sword as Shade turns and walks away, his Kite flying behind him.