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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Writing · #2168629
A martial artist travels the world sharing his skills and encouraging his students to sin

YAWARA (Disciple)

When Steffen Crow came to the Sugarlands no-one had any inkling of the black agenda he brought with him. No-one could have known that within twelve months of his arrival the dead would number in the dozens, or that Crow, a martial arts master - an aged prodigy - would infect the youths of the region so acutely that almost all of his disciples would end up either in prison or among the dead. Crow was a phenomenon the like of which is rarely seen, a sociopath and a master manipulator with the snake-like ability to adapt to his students straits and then coerce them to kill, cult-style. True, he was an old man - visible by his almost time-beaten visage, he supposed - but Crow was still as capable, he told himself, still as in control of his and others' fates as he had been forty-odd years ago, when he'd first started these plague-bearing jaunts.

Presently Crow was aboard Qantas Flight 782, one-way trip to Sydney, Australia, from Hong Kong. He was a giant of a man, and his bulk heaved as he sighed, though he was not tired or upset. What he felt was the kind of feeling one got before an important engagement, perhaps with relatives, that one has been anticipating for some time. It had been a long flight, but it was only forty minutes before the plane he'd boarded eighteen hours ago touched down in Sydney Airport, forty minutes before he began anew his life's grim - and grimly gratifying - "work".

But right now he needed to pee. He unbuckled his seat-belt, rose, nodded at the hostess in front of him (brunette.blue eyes, striking) who nodded back, strode up the short walk to the toilet and peed. Once finished, Crow returned to his seat and pondered his forbidding thoughts. He'd played this game so many times now that it had become routine: settle into a quiet town, open his school to all comers and then select a few malleable students - no more than ten, no less than six - for specialist training and fill their heads with notions of honour and pride. He'd teach them all to fight, sure, but among his chosen few he'd stir some trouble and wait for the carefully-watered seeds of murder to sprout. His life's work held a sack full of skulls, hundreds of lives had been lost to his manipulations over the years and dozens more would be added to the sack within the year - if his plans went accordingly.

His methods were tried and tested and, apart from location, which was the most important factor of all, required only three other things: a rotten apple (or two), one or more disciples that were at least partially psychotic; the illusion of permanence - the impression that he had come to his new residence to retire; and a desire to attain a black-belt by any means possible, including the use of drugs. The rotten apple was the most crucial component of his three-point attack, one or two such individuals often could and would goad the others to violence, but if any of these three criterion were not carried out to Crow's strict satisfaction the master would simply pack his bags and try his tricks elsewhere. His legacy was as long and black as the tunnel one traverses before death.

His success in these ventures - which he deemed "blood-jaunts" - was enough to strain the point of credibility. However this trio of requisites - Crow's three-point-attack - was both cushioned and vastly enabled by the once lengthy and laborious planning that went into location. Settling into the right place was essential and much easier than it had been forty years ago, when he'd first begun his career. Back then he'd relied on places like discriminatory India, with it's system of castes and it's unfortunately-named "Untouchables", small-town America's racial divisiveness during the spring-loaded '60s and Japan and it's many convoluted forms of honour to set his disciples into blood-frenzied killings. There'd been a couple of other places, too, but the research and planning involved had been painstaking in the extreme. Then came the onset of the internet - a treasure-trove of information in many forms, it had served Crow most in researching places where he could effectively target an outcast population, a small populace where disappearances were practically ignored. He'd found two such places in Australia, which he'd deigned to visit next if he could: in the city of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, a clandestine group of white and black homeless people called "Long-grassers" had caught his attention, but the entire state - territory - was a little too bizarre and far too hot for his liking, so he'd browsed a bit more, found the Sugarlands. Bingo! The conditions echoed the Northern Territory's (although here the fringe-dwellers were known as Munji) but the place was more populated, a little cooler, and ultimately more enticing to his eye. These Munji were about to be bitten by the serpent-like Steffen Crow: he would see to it that his disciples both practiced and perfected their technique "the proper way" on the ill-favoured derelicts.

This would be Crow's fourteenth blood-jaunt in his forty-first year of business. And business had indeed been good. Along with a string of corpses to attest to his self-worth, Crow was also possessed of the stolid conviction that he was one of the most malevolent and prolific killers in history - not to mention one of the most ingenious - and this conviction filled him with a poisonous sense of pride. He didn't let this pride show in his dealings, though, or even on his features. No. If the sallowness of Crow's soul and the malice of Crow's mind were to yawn open to another's at any time, even now while he sat here in his uncomfortable seat, thirty-six thousand feet in the air and larger than Ted Bundy and Charles Manson put together- Here's a golden oldie - a memory right from the vaults: 'Snap their necks as you would a nigger's!' Crow, shouting this to his disciples after first grooming them for many months and then handing each of them a black rabbit purchased from the pet-store, testing his chosen student's loyalty with a master stroke. And they'd all done it: first one, then another, then the rest.  This had been thirty years ago, in Mississippi, in a place nicknamed the Crossroads. Or here's another: 'To hurt one another is sinful, true. But you may find that these castaways, these rabble, to hurt them it ls good, yes?' This time he'd been lecturing disciples in Thailand, encouraging them to the slaughter of lepers and the lame. 'To take their life is to grant them a mercy, and God looks kindly on the slaying of devils, which is what they are.'

The story was always the same - for years this cycle had been perpetuated, perfected. For years he'd shifted from place to place, focusing his machinations on six or seven or eight youths, always male, teaching them the true skills of the Samurai and then convincing them that their hopes of attaining greatness (black-belt and beyond) lie not only in intense and proper training but also in the correct use of explicit drugs. He would participate in this drug-use in an avuncular fashion - he was no stranger to narcotics - then, once his disciples had gotten addicted to (methamphetamine, crack-cocaine, heroin) whichever drug they'd been flirting with, he would begin to sow the seeds of violence among the lot of them. In certain peculiar little places, such as the Sugarlands, this work was child's play.

Snores arose audibly from the man two seats across from Crow, for a moment breaking his train of thought. Then the old fellow (slick-haired, bespectacled, fat) grunted and shifted in his sleep and Crow snorted with more than a trace of contempt. He was tired of this thumb-twiddling flight, mildly bothered by the slight cramping in his legs from sitting eighteen hours straight with minimal relief, but most of all he was vexed by the presence of the snoring overweight idiot in 18F who might wake any moment to further inquire whether he was sure he wasn't interested in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. How many times had he asked now? How many times had he heard Crow's growingly more agitated response? Four? Five? Hell! A traveling salesman, divorced with two children, he knew little more of the man, only that he had one of those I-know-better-because-I'm-educated nasal-type voices and that he was at least as aged as Crow. The man had probably assessed Crow with what he thought was a shrewd intellect - a salesman's due - but this old fool, this obese sack of offal, had no idea who he was seated next to. If any one of the master's truly macabre memories were ever to escape their private chamber of bone, if old spectacles-and-tie snoozing away next door woke up to who Crow was, what he had done- The man was almost elbow-to-elbow with a cold-blooded killer and he had no notion of it - none whatsoever.

But then, few people ever did.

The first time Steffen Crow - which was not his real name - set his feet upon the long, bloody path that his life was to follow he had been just eleven years old. That was the year he took his first life, an act of brutal but necessary patricide. The year he'd finally had enough of his father's shit. He closed his eyes and set his thoughts adrift.

* * *

The youngest of two children, Steffen Crow was brought into the world by a woman wedded to the bottle and partnered to a brute of a man, who was also a brisant alcoholic. They shifted from crumbling little shit-hole to crumbling little shit-hole during his formative years, and though his mother spent the majority of her pregnancy and post-natal term plastered - all of the young man's life, really - the youngest Crow seemed fortunately, perhaps miraculously, little affected by this. At least physically. Growing up the wolf was always at the door though. It could have been howling. Alcohol and affliction were the definitive factors of the Crow household and by the age of six, Steffen son of Sven had learned two other facts about his and his family's mendicant existence: his Daddy had a fire-demon in his belly, and when he drank the stuff that looked like water but wasn't the fire-demon in his Daddy's belly got into his head, and then bad things happened.

Take the time with the roses, just shy of Steffen's seventh birthday. His father, Sven Crow, was a pitifully paid pig-farmer, a slaughterman sired from a generation of slaughtermen who delighted in sadism and gore. The swine under Sven's care were most often butchered or bludgeoned to death, but when their ends were met with more malevolent means the cruelty defied credence, and while the work was blackly rewarding it was hardly sustaining. To compensate for this meagre income the older Crow was reduced not only to beggary, but also to theft: stealing coin from his employer to supply his alcohol addiction was a common occurrence - there were even times when he attempted to whore out his unwilling wife.But the man's acute desire to be something other than the forgotten man was crystallised in his proud attempts to produce a prize-winning, fortune-bearing rose garden.

Ambition and pride aside Sven's efforts to produce the blooms were unbecoming - an exercise in futility. But the son was as ignorant of this failure as the father. Being that he was only six years old, Steffen was oblivious to his father's private obsession and, one day thinking as only a small child could that he would bestow upon his mother a bouquet of flowers, he ventured out to their tiny backyard, jumped over the picket fence that protected the would-be rose-garden, plucked several of the wilting flowers and presented them to her as a gift. His mother's reaction to his efforts had both alarmed and affrighted him, though: he'd expected a smile, perhaps even a reward for his good deed, but the first words out of her mouth were, 'How could you? My son, how could you do that?' And the look on her face was all terror. He hadn't fully understood that at the time, hadn't comprehended the trouble he was in - until Sven came home and found out and beat him black and blue: 'Those roses were our future, boy!' Several shattered teeth and a split lip that gave him a fiend's countenance, as well as three broken ribs that pained him for the rest of his youth taught Steffen to steer clear of his father's rose-garden henceforth.

But such scenes were almost commonplace in his little family's home - and the abuse wasn't always physical. Sven raped his wife whenever he felt the need, seemed to almost require her fear to perform, and once his daughter reached the age of nine he raped her too. That was hard on the young Steffen. Hard on his sister, obviously, but his absolute inability to protect Kara from their father was scathing to his psyche, and compounded not only by the fact that she was his only sibling but as their family were very poor she was also his tutor - the embodiment of his own future.

Sven and his wife could barely afford to send their eldest child to the local school, sometimes they couldn't afford to eat - the daily obtainment of drink was their most urgent priority - and so it became Kara's strictest duty to ascertain that her brother could 'get along in the world a little'. Maybe his progenitors wanted him to get along enough so he wasn't left begging or brawling for booze - who knows? But his sister wanted more for him, that was evident to the young boy. She was his only love in an onerous existence, and she taught him as much as she learned; her assiduousness bordered on fanaticism. The young boy was both a voracious reader and a fast learner, he absorbed secondary-level English, German, History, Mathematics and Science with the precision of a prodigy, and for all she did for him Steffen loved his sister - and also he found her very beautiful.

After several years of Sven's abuse, however, Kara's beauty - and her psychological make-up - were scarred enough that her sharp mind turned to darkness, the decadence in her blood reared it's horrid head, much as Steffen's would later in life, and she began to plot patricide via the promise of sex with her younger sibling.

Even so, Kara was as patient as she could bring herself to be. Steffen was fully ten years old when his sister began grooming him (Sven's molestation of her had been going on for two long years) - the coaxing started subtly: she might say his name differently, lustily, and lick her lips afterward during his classes when neither of their parents were present, or she might grant him the occasional sexy wink. Sometimes when she touched his arm or leg, whether he liked it or not he was filled with a queer, electric charge and sometimes he got an erection. After a while of this sexual reconnaissance she laid it on a little thicker: there was more than one time the shower door was left ajar while she bathed. That had driven him wild as a stud stallion. She wouldn't bed him, though, and though neither of them said much of anything murderous he knew what she wanted him to do. He just couldn't do it.

At least, he'd thought he couldn't.The night just after his sister's sixteenth birthday, though. What an atrocity that night was! Asleep in the tiny two-bedroom house's lounge room (the room's furnishing only two sleeping bags, a battered and dusty old desk in one corner and a host of magazines and books and other clutter strewn across the floor), Steffen was roused awake by the sound of an intoxicated young woman who couldn't quite keep her kit together. Kara hadn't been allowed out to celebrate her birthday; ordered to stay home at Sven's command, she'd gone out anyway. She'd been absent for days now, presumably she was only home because she had nowhere else to go - surely she had to know her return would be calamitous? She came through the front-door, drunk as a sailor and said in her husky voice, 'Hello little brother. I woke you?'

He got far enough to pull breath in for a friendly declination when a strange, unintelligible and oddly gurgling cry came from somewhere in the darkness toward the front door. Steffen still had sand in his eyes, didn't quite make the connection, but Kara knew what was up. She was backing out the door when she tripped and her father, taking full advantage of her fall lashed out, kicking her in the stomach (with a snarl Steffen could not see, but heard and knew all too well) hard enough to knock the wind out of her. His sister's back slammed into the arch behind her and she screamed. Steffen heard something snap - her arm? was that what that was? - then the old bastard, a mountainous six-feet-four and in the blackest mood either of his children had ever seen him in told her that he'd be back in a minute and to shut her fucking mouth and stay fucking put. She did as he said - lying there gasping for breath with her undamaged arm and both legs pulled up to her chest in the fetal position, she'd had little choice. Then Sven came back sporting his cattle-whip (which usually hung on the bedroom wall, up to this point only a threat), stamped back to where Kara was almost eagerly and said something to his daughter about whoring herself out and slutting around the town - he'd been waiting for the mouse to come back for the cheese, that much was crystal clear. Then he strapped - fucking shredded - her back, one lash for each year of her life. She pealed off, too, Steffen never forgot it, fell to her knees mewling the way an enormous house-cat might if it was dying, possibly from having it's throat cut.

The incident was enough to decide Steffen, coupled with the symbiotic hatred both Sven and Kara had seeded throughout his few short years it was, so that toward the tail end of the lashings (Kara no longer crying out by this point but still breathing in stertorous, hitching sobs) Steffen grabbed a large knife from the kitchen, charged his father from behind and with a wild slash sliced him behind the knee. The old man bellowed like a bull and blood fountained outward from the wound - the blade had cut cleanly through his jeans - then Sven fell, twisted, somehow grabbed Steffen by the back of the neck. He rammed the boy's face into his good knee several times with all of his ebbing strength, but the boy had been here before; he wasn't knocked unconscious, at least not immediately. Instead, one eye closed from his father's attempts to crack his skull, the old man still swinging wildly, Steffen slid from his bloody grip, stood for a moment and considered the half-bled bastard before him - then he rammed the knife deep into his sire's throat. He had a moment to register the tearing, almost crackling sound of cartilage, gristle and bone and to think Die, father! Then he was overwhelmed by an indescribable rush of adrenalin and his legs capitulated, dropped him heavily to the ground. He slipped into the dark for a full twelve hours.

When he awoke, thick with pain and drowsiness, the hurts Sven had inflicted on his son came screeching to the forefront of his consciousness. He'd copped at least four good knees to the side of his head, a few flailing punches, too, and during one or the other of these he'd bitten into his tongue and cheek: his mouth was awash with the coppery taste of blood, his tongue screamed agony and there was an annoying flap of flesh on the inside of his mouth that pained him immensely too. But, most notably, his left and right eyes had both been blackened by the blows he'd taken, causing enough damage to rupture the blood vessels behind them. Though he retained his vision, his ocularies, once a deep brown, were now a permanent, pale shade of grey.

His sister's agreed act of incest was kept, too, only hours after he regained consciousness. The boy cum-man would have gotten what he'd wanted even if she'd refused - had Kara known that? He'd taken her, on her stomach so that she didn't have to lie on her shredded back, and still it had been none too gentle. They'd consummated their desperation on a bed of nails, for sure, with their father's thirteen-hour old corpse in the adjoining room, and when he'd came he'd said: 'I am the Devil.' That's what he'd said to his sister after he'd fucked her - and was not his life's work testament to this?

But there was more to the story of Steffen Crow than incest and patricide, however baneful. Within the next few days the siblings had been found, assessed, separated. Kara went to an orphanage (from which she would then go on to prostitution, drug-addiction, death) and Steffen was snapped up by - as he saw it at the time - a couple of bleeding hearts.

But the people that took him in were good to him: like the balm for his particular hurts, they soothed with their need to help and understand the boy, and for a merciful time he forgot about murder, wickedness, and the shadows cast by his family tree. The young Steffen Crow that the Foster family came to know was quiet, reserved - calculating with a tendency to brood was more accurate; a boy that had seen trauma and needed special attention. Steffen was enrolled into the same schools as the Foster's only other child, Karl, but while the family's newest charge excelled academically he was repeatedly ridiculed for his introverted, precocious nature and freakish, almost alien eyes. He had a seeming ally, however, in the older Foster boy, who'd been studying wing-chun for the last six years and, after hearing what Steffen had gone through before being taken in, felt it his duty to accompany the boy wherever he went: school, the shops, the local matinees that played each Monday afternoon. He thought the boy's eyes were hip.

Both intelligent, the young men became fast friends, and later when three senior students at Steffen's new school, older even than Karl (who was two years older than Steffen himself), thought they could steal the young Crow's school-pack, his port, and make fun of him by emptying out the contents, they didn't notice Karl nearby. But Karl saw it all. He got real pissed off, beat up all three of them in less than thirty seconds, and though they swore black and blue they'd get him back, everyone present knew their promises of vengeance were as false as they were feeble. 'Stay away from my brother,' Karl had said, and Steffen had been so proud. He hadn't believed how quickly and absolutely his friend had felled his assailants, and from then on the two really were like brothers - and also, after several months of awed-but-unceasing pesterment Karl became Steffen's instructor. The young Crow's life was slowly being stitched back together, and the garment might not have been all black, but for what happened next.

Karl was only a couple of years older than the boy, fifteen to his thirteen, but because the Fosters were so mild-mannered, downright milquetoast, Karl's agenda - and his physical attraction to the boy - was easily masked by his older-brother/protector stance. He taught the boy, and Steffen was a quick and eager study, but he also taunted the boy, telling him that he knew secrets of the martial arts that only an exclusive few in the world knew. He further exacerbated this mystifying superiority by claiming that he had been taught "the proper way" - that the secrets of samadh, a kind of martial enlightenment, had been passed on to him by a practice that was, supposedly, shared between only the best and most honoured of student and master. 'If you train hard enough, if I think you're good enough- give it a year or two. I'll teach you the proper way.'

Steffen was enraptured by the notion, though the multitude of times he asked his sensei what he meant by being taught the proper way he would only say such things as, 'You fall backwards, brother. Into me. There's a lot of trust involved' or, 'You might get a little freaked out, but trust me, just trust me, okay? I went through the same thing.' Then, one night, almost two years since the Fosters had first taken Steffen in, Karl told him that this was the night he was to be taught the proper way.

His guardians were out for the next three days and Karl was in charge. Steffen thought about what he'd been told all through that day's intense training - by this time his grasp of the technique he'd learned was phenomenal, his passion for the art near-maniacal - and when they finished after a severe six-hour workout that evening he wrestled with the excitement and awe coursing through him. He was going to be initiated the proper way!

Even with all the implications about this initiation that Karl had dropped, it still came as a shock when he called Steffen into their bedroom and the boy entered only to find his brother/sensei completely naked, his erect penis seeming to stare, pink and threatening, at the boy's stunned
'Take off your pants, brother,' he always called Steffen this. 'It'll be as quick as I can make it. And once we're finished you'll be as good as me, maybe better.'
He spoke these words like a command, the tension in the room intimidating the young boy, so that all the young Crow could think to say was, 'Do I have to- to teach you back?' And although Karl's solemnity abated, at least enough that he cracked a smile, and he replied, 'No, brother. You don't have to teach me back,' Steffen was thinking something else, Is this going to happen again? and, I should only have to be taught the proper way once. If he teaches me again it means that- means that- but his mind, sharp as it was, would not venture there.
So he took off his clothes, succumbed to the desires of his brother. When it was over, violated and confused and ashamed, Steffen Crow went to sleep.

In the following months he thought a lot about what Karl had done; the life he'd thought so idyllic had been ripped away from him in a single stroke, and he wanted, needed, to know why. He listened to Karl's occasional questioning about the incident ('How did it feel? Did you like it?') with a growing sense of unease, and he had to ask himself whether Karl's claims that he was better at the art ('You're quicker, stronger. Can you tell?') were merely self-serving fabrications or whether what he'd said about teaching and being taught the proper way was valid. The answer, Steffen decided, would be discovered for certain if and when Karl tried his tricks again.

Karl's sex did indeed call to him again, and he eventually sought to molest the young Crow once more. This time Steffen was prepared for
him, though. Like some birds can sense the coming of severe weather or a storm, when the Fosters announced that they were going half-way across the world for a six-week vacation, the young Crow knew that Karl was going to pull something. Unfortunately for Karl, although he had been told that Steffen had experienced some trauma before being taken in by the Fosters, he hadn't been told the whole story - had, in fact, misinterpreted what he'd heard and believed the young boy to be easy prey for his attentions. Once a victim, always a victim, right? Not quite.

Within twenty-four hours of the Fosters vacating their home and once more leaving Karl in charge of the household, the young Crow was again called into the boys' bedroom come evening. But this time, after a quick assessment of the situation - yes, Karl was waiting naked in their room, just like last time - Crow grabbed a butcher knife almost identical to the one that he'd finished Sven with years earlier and, burning with betrayal and pre-planned intent, he entered his and Karl's room, blade in hand. He knew well the nuances of knife-fighting by this time but he was also aware that Karl had taught him everything he knew on the subject - so he had to be careful, cautious.

Karl spied the knife just before Steffen walked into their bedroom. 'What you got there, brother?' He was confident, almost sneering with contempt - apparently he believed he was fully capable of defending himself, naked or not. That, or he thought Steffen didn't have the balls to use the knife. All the times he called me brother, Steffen thought. Was it all just to satisfy his own lust?
Then he was continuing, 'You think you're gonna cut me? You think you can?'
While Karl's display was one of calm, Steffen thought by the sound of his voice and the fact that he was stark-naked he had to be a little anxious at least. Steffen responded to his victimiser. 'I'm better than you now, Karl.' He was as solemn as the grave. 'I was taught the proper way.' The boy didn't actually believe he'd been taught anything by this time, but he had to know-
Now Karl was sneering. 'Are you fucking simple or something?' he said. 'You'd learn more technique in your sleep than you ever would from our little coupling. It's- you're a fool, brother. That's all there is to it.'

That was enough for the young Crow. Brother! He entered the room, and as he did so he quickly flicked the light-switch just to his left. The room was instantly dark and when Karl called out 'You cock-sucker!' Steffen, knowing exactly how his victimiser would react, took a swift side-step to his right and sliced the air where he'd been standing seconds ago with practiced confidence. Steel met flesh - Karl cried out once more, this time in fury as well as shock - and Steffen, aware that his would-be brother was not only trained and lethal but also cunning as a snake, acted as fast as he could. He snapped out with his right leg and at the same time he plunged downward with the butcher knife, hoping that, despite the dark, one of the strikes would suffice. The kick actually had more effect than the attempted stabbing: the blade scored the back of Karl's arm, little more than a superficial wound, but the snap-kick connected with full force. It shattered the cartilage in Karl's knee with an audible pop, and the young man really screamed this time, but before he could do little more than drop and instinctively clutch his ruined knee to his chest, Steffen was driving the blade into his tormentor's chest, over and over again in the dark.

When the life was bled out of Karl, when the force that held him to this world - what he would have called his ch'i - was severed, Steffen was again overcome with a surge of power that he could only attribute to the fact that he had actually felt Karl's soul vacate his body. He was aflame with the notion, and when he thought of the incident with his father - the corpse at his feet made it fairly easy to do - he vividly recalled that just before he had lost consciousness he'd felt a similar rush. Before he marveled on this train of thought any more, however, he recollected where he was, realised that he had other, more pressing issues at hand. There was a six-times stabbed body at his feet, that was the big one - if he stuck around here much longer he'd be sent up the river for sure. Life on the streets, even after his time in the dull-but-compassionate Foster's care, was preferable to life behind bars. He was a repeat offender, wasn't he? A child could have established a modus operandi in this slaying and the one before that would see him locked away till the end of his life. And if anyone had any inkling of the blackness of Crow's as-yet-unformed intentions-

So he left the Foster's care: packed his bags, grabbed the cash they'd left behind for their charges in case of emergencies, and ran into the night with thoughts of the power of killing thrumming through his mind like a tantalising drum-beat. He was wary, too - on the qui fucking vive - and being both larger and taller than was usual for his age gnawed at his fears like a starving rodent. His eyes were the real problem, though: they were so anomalous as to make him instantly identifiable, and the certainty that the authorities were hunting Crow down haunted his every breath. Ultimately, the uniqueness of his gaze bothered him so much that what he decided to do after two weeks on the run - the streets less of a gamble than he imagined but a biting and paranoiac experience to swallow even with coin - was spend almost all of the remainder of his money on a fool's gambit: a one-way ticket to Osaka, Japan, with fool plans to find a dojo and seek his fortune as a sensei. It was with only three changes of clothing and less than a hundred dollars that Steffen Crow arrived in Japan and set his course on the dark waters that suscitate the destinies of men such as himself.
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