In the final installment of our special series of Journals, Jacinth examines the history of a character integral to both the early and modern days of AC: Ben Ten.
Of the early Isparian arrivals to Dereth, one of the most mysterious was, and to some extent remains, Ben Ten. A swordswoman of the utmost skill and grace, Ben Ten was said to be one of the first, if not THE first, Sho to come to this world and was an important figure in those early days. Nearly everyone had a story to tell about an encounter with the mysterious warrior or knew someone who had had a firsthand meeting with her. Despite the number of individuals who claimed to meet Ben Ten, details about her background and appearance remained scarce, and no one even knew whether she was male or female. However, all accounts of her appearance held two things in common: The dark hood which shrouded Ben Ten’s head and the fine Tachi that hung at her side.
Perhaps the greatest tale of Ben Ten’s one dark evening long ago. As the citizens of Yanshi settled in for a long night’s rest, a troop of Tumeroks, as well as their Drudge and Banderling slaves, attacked the town. Unprepared for such an onslaught, the townsfolk barred the entrances to their homes and attempted to fend off the invaders with arrows while a runner fled to Hebian-To to request aid. The townsfolk were able to fell the Drudges and Banderlings, but they were unable to match the heavily armed Tumeroks. Soon, they found themselves backed against the boulder that was the very cornerstone of their small town, their crude weapons the only thing standing between them and their fearsome adversaries.
It was then that Ben Ten appeared. With trademark grace and proficiency, she slew many of the Tumerok attackers, then, in a sight that would become the stuff of legend, battled the Tumerok captain atop the very rock of Yanshi. By the time reinforcements from Hebian-To arrived, the captain, as well as most of his raiding party, were dead. Many citizens of Yanshi had died during the struggle, a terrible loss in those days before the Lifestones, but many more would have been slain had Ben Ten not arrived in time to save them.
As in most of her tales, Ben Ten disappeared once she was no longer needed. However, even into the years of the Hopeslayer, Ancient Olthoi Queen, and the like, she would again appear. From the swamps of Sawato to the foothills of Mayoi, Ben Ten was said to appear in times when the lands of the Sho were most in need of a hero and protector. Even today, she is rumored to still be in action, attempting to divine the source of corruption within the Tanada Clan. In the story of the warrior Ben Ten, one lesson is clear: In times of great need, whether they are found, made by their own hand, or simply appear from the dark, a hero will always rise to meet the challenges at hand.
For more on Ben Ten’s early doings, check out the Story of Ben Ten and Yanshi text.