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Revelations of the Ninjetti

Trazedor, the ancient Morphin Master returned from the place where they had ascended to deliver his teachings on the nature of the Morphin Grid. Through him, it was possible for the new Morphin Masters, their Rangers, and even those destined to become Power Rangers to unlock the secrets needed to fight their war against evil. And when Trazedor finally departed, he promised that should there be more to share he alone would return to offer his guidance.

The new Morphin Masters accepted his words. They accepted the Morphin Grid and the limitations Trazedor had placed upon them, without understanding that they had been shackled by their own beliefs. In the time that passed, the avatars of the Morphin Grid fought their war against evil, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. As they found that Trazedor's teachings were true, they stopped reaching for knowledge beyond their understanding. They recorded what had been taught, formalised it and created rules based upon it. They did not stop others from seeking their paths or interfere with some of the alternative views that had proven popular but maintained an attitude of pitying dismissal of what they deemed foolishness.

The new Morphin Masters were seen by most as beings of great wisdom, their absolute when it came to the nature of the Power. However, some claimed that their view of the Grid was limited. They held the Fifty Sacred Beasts as the absolute limits of the Morphin Grid; they believed that those attached to the Lion could only be a Black Ranger. The Ninjetti of Phaedos was living proof that their belief was not entirely correct.

Ninjetti practitioners held beliefs similar to the teachings of the Morphin Masters. It held many of the same values but refused to accept the limitations imposed by the Morphin Grid. In their teachings, the Ninjetti taught that each individual had a spirit animal waiting for them within the Morphin Grid and that the colour of their connection was based upon their personality, but did not dictate which beast they could commune with.

Ninjetti also rejected the need for crystals and coins to call upon the Power. Practitioners of the art spent years, and decades of training after unlocking their connection to the Morphin Grid, training and strengthening their connection. On the forested planet Phaedos, students were trained to master their powers and to become closer to the style of their beasts. Ninjetti were lower in number than the Rangers and were looked down on by the Morphin Masters. However, a fully trained Master Warrior of Phaedos could perform feats that the Morphin Masters could not.

For each student in the path of Ninjetti, the teaching started the same. All were taught the basics of martial techniques and given guidance in seeking their spirit animal. Once a connection was found they were individually guided to strengthen that connection, gaining the strengths of their chosen animal and integrating it into their fighting styles. Sometimes communes would arise of similarly empowered students, such as those with a connection to different birds or the famous multi-coloured students of the Lion.

And for those who excelled to the level where they were ready to step forth into the galaxy with their to guide them, they could take the final trial. Success opened the student full to the power of the Ninjetti, allowing them to transform into fighting robes which offered protection and offensive capabilities. Some could even advance further to become a master of their style, leading the temples where new students would seek training.

It was within the largest temple that the Great Power of Phaedos was held. And it was the greatest honour a Ninjetti could receive to become the Grand Master, the protector of the Great Power. It was the Grand Master who listened to the pleas of supplicants seeking the Great Power, before deciding whether or not to permit their quest. If the Grand Master believed a candidate was worthy and the quest proved successful in their journey, a Ninjetti could claim access to the Great Power, which offered the means to fulfil a single desire.

Once Phaedos had been a world filled with temples and young warriors training in the ways of the Ninjetti. The path of the Ninjetti did not have aspects or levels. The colour of the robes that students wore after mastering the basics of their powers was personal to each student, even though they commonly reflected the same ten colours of the Morphin Grid. In the end, the only division was the type of animal that agreed to act as a guide for an individual student. As those who mastered their abilities joined with similar practitioners, students and masters developed techniques unique to their animals.

The Master Warriors of Phaedos were a force to be feared in the galaxy. When they encountered evil, they fought with all the ferocity of their spirit animals, calling forth all of their skills. For the Ninjetti possessed an ability that the Power Rangers could not duplicate: a Ninjetti could call forth a physical manifestation of their spirit animal drawing charged with the power of their life force. It was a powerful attack that had taken down many foes, but dangerous as overuse could leave a Ninjetti on the brink of death.

It was perhaps due to their strength in battle that the greatest foe the Ninjetti faced often came from within their ranks. Those that practiced the ways of the Ninjetti were mortal and they had the same weaknesses as most mortals. Being able to conquer those darker parts of their nature helped them to access and commune with the spirits of the Ninjetti, but it was always possible for a student, warrior or even a master to stray. And unlike with the powers granted by the Morphin Grid, it was nigh impossible to break the connection between a Ninjetti and his power once they had passed their test.

Over the long history of the Ninjetti, there had been a number of their kind that had risen and tried to steal the Great Power of Phaedos for themselves. To strengthen themselves, they corrupted their link with their spirit animal, forcing it to become a dark creature that lusted for power. In doing so they gained access to powers far greater than those they held as a simple Ninjetti, but at the cost of their humanity; those that committed such sacrilege took on the features of their spirit animal. When such threats arose, the Ninjetti united to restore order. And in the rare case that such a dark warrior gathered an army of like-minded students to their side, Phaedos became a war zone.

Some of the villains that arose from the Ninjetti were simply too powerful to kill. Instead, the Master Warriors arranged for them to be locked away forever. The greatest foe the planet had faced had taken the name Jarrod. Once a proud Ninjetti with the spirit of the mighty Black Lion, his pride and ambition had led to his downfall. When he had been refused permission to quest for the Great Power, despite proving himself the top student of his generation, he had turned on the Grand Master.

Phaedos, Long ago

"Master, may I present our latest graduates," Master Mao said after offering a low bow. This was a man he respected, the man who had taught him to master his animal spirit, led him on the path to becoming a Ninjetti and continued to guide him to deepen his understanding of the power at his command.

The Grand Master regarded the young graduates with a calm smile, sensing the pride in their achievements. They had worked hard and were a credit to Master Mao's teachings. One or two he sensed had had a more difficult journey than others.

"All welcome additions to our brotherhood," he stated.

"And this is Jarrod," Mao continued, his pride obvious as he placed a hand on the shoulder of a dark-haired man, "the leader of his class. He is the most dedicated student I have had the pleasure to teach. He is a strong warrior and a capable leader. I suspect that he might be the one spoken of in the legends."

"You believe that he is the one to claim the Great Power?" the wizened master asked, peering at Jarrod through his thick glasses.

"He has an inner strength I have not seen in a long time," Master Mao explained.

"He is a credit to your training Mao," the Grand Master said after staring at the young graduate for some time. "He will be a great warrior and a powerful Ninjetti. In time I can foresee his rise to the rank of master. A great destiny lies ahead of you Jarrod."

"Then he is the one?" Mao pressed, pleased that after so long their search for the fabled Champion had reached an end.

But the old man shook his head sadly.

"He has many of the qualities, but the Great Power is not for him. As much as I would not wish to disappoint you, I must say no."

"What do you mean, 'no'?" Jarrod demanded.

"Jarrod!" Master Mao snapped. "Remember your place; this is the Grand Master!"

But his prized student was too angry to listen. He had trained most of his life within the harsh environments of Phaedos, forsaking his childhood to push himself harder. He had exceeded many of his fellow students, surpassing most and challenging the most senior in terms of skill. His mastery over his animal spirit was unquestioned, he was among the small group of students capable of forcing their powers to manifest as a physical force. As the youngest it was believed that one day he would surpass them too, taking his place as a Master Warrior of Phaedos.

To emerge from the many trials needed to prove themselves worthy of being called Ninjetti was a great accomplishment, but Jarrod and a few of his fellow students had been so successful they had been allowed to take an additional test to see if they were capable of channelling the Great Power, a raw magical force that could be accessed through the temples of Phaedos.

It was not easy to pass the test. Most failed and some were even injured by their exposure. The Great Power reacted violently to those who tried to bend it to their will. Only Jarrod's incredible determination had allowed him to hold on as the power had tried to force him to break the connection. He had ignored the pain as his skin had blistered, forcing the energy to repair the damage it had caused. For the first time in decades, a student had succeeded in passing the test, making Jarrod a likely candidate to become the Champion of Phaedos, a warrior capable of using the Great Power to lead the Ninjetti and bring peace to the rest of the universe.

Master Mao had been delighted at the success of his star student. The Master Warriors had long awaited the day when the Champion would emerge. He had practically declared Jarrod the Champion before remembering that the decision was not his to make. He had then taken Jarrod to meet with the Grand Master to have him confirmed as the Champion.

Mao had expected the Grand Master to confirm his choice. He had been shocked and disappointed when the ancient man had ruled against him. But Mao respected the Grand Master and accepted his judgement even though he disagreed with it. His refusal to argue for his student only served to fuel Jarrod's anger.

The Grand Master appeared unfazed by the outburst. He had lived a long life and knew that such a rejection could cause even the most experienced man to struggle for control.

"I mean that you have many great strengths, but you are not the Champion. You have a darkness that the Champion cannot possess. Alas, you are unworthy, just as the last candidate to be presented before the Grand Master was also judged unworthy. In truth, the line of Grand Masters is filled with those that passed the test but proved unsuited to the role of Champion."

"Master, you were the last to fail?" Mao asked.

"Indeed. I was disappointed at the time, but I came to realise that my duty was to train those who would train the students that may one day emerge as the Champion. One day Jarrod I believe you will take your place as Grand Master and perhaps be the one that when presented with a likely candidate will declare the candidate worthy."

"Let me try," Jarrod demanded. "Let me make the journey to the Great Monolith."

"No Jarrod, you will not be allowed to take the quest. The soil of Phaedos is already tainted with the remains of those who sought the Great Power and were found unworthy. Some of those who tried and failed were my students. I have no wish to lose another. In time and with practice you might become worthy of the Great Power. Or you might find discover as I have that the Great Power cannot compare to the strength within a Ninjetti's heart."

"This is ridiculous," Jarrod protested. "I passed the tests to prove that I am worthy of this. I am the strongest student to claim the title of Ninjetti. I deserve the chance to hold the Great Power. You cannot deny me what is mine by right!"

Instead of answering, the Grand Master turned away.

"You cannot change destiny, Jarrod. You may become a Master Warrior, one day you may ever succeed your master as one of the Grand Masters, but you will never be the Champion of the Great Power."

"How can you be so sure?" Jarrod demanded.

"You are the Lion, fierce and majestic, a true leader. You are destined to be a great leader and warrior. But the legend reveals that the Champion will not be a lion... nor as I was saddened to find out, a tortoise. You are all welcome to remain on Phaedos to refine your skills," he said. "Remember that Ninjetti is a journey that never ends. For the true Ninjetti, there is always a higher level to reach, a greater skill to perfect."

"The legend is wrong," Jarrod growled. "The Great Power is mine and if you won't give it to me, I'll take it. Spirit of the Lion, attack!"

A huge black lion with a golden mane erupted from Jarrod's chest, growling as it pounced forward. With focused control, Jarrod forced the energy back into himself, using the soul of his Ninjetti Beast as a suit of armour. With another growl he attacked, his fists and feet delivering heavy blows to the Grand Master.

Master Mao moved to intervene, but a gesture from the Grand Master stopped him.

For his part, the Tortoise Master appeared unconcerned by the sudden attack. Although each of Jarrod's strikes appeared to connect, the Grand Master did not acknowledge them, using the power of his Ninjetti spirit to shield himself from harm. Despite his age, the Grand Master just like those before him had fully mastered his powers, while Jarrod had only reached a level where he could manifest his spirit animal. The difference in their abilities was obvious.

After a short time, the Grand Master made a dismissive gesture and Jarrod found himself propelled into the walls of the temple. Master Mao positioned himself between the two to stop the disobedient Ninjetti from attacking again.

"I have never been so disappointed in one of my students," Master Mao announced. "You have behaved like a child and disrespected the Grand Master."

"Now Mao, do not be too hard on him," the Grand Master advised. "He is young and he will learn from this. Jarrod, you are one of the most promising students to graduate from the Ninjetti temples, but there is so much more for you to learn." He held out his hand, ready to help the boy back to his feet. He leaned forward as he pulled him up. "You have reached a crossroads, Jarrod. Before you, the path of the Ninjetti has been revealed. But whether you continue to walk that path is a choice only you can make. Know that so long as you keep to the path when the time is right, it will lead you back here."

Jarrod scowled, shaking off the ancient hand. He had tried to prove his strength against the Grand Master and had failed. And it appeared that instead of believing him to be a threat, he had been dismissed. He had not been worthy of the Grand Master's wrath. He promised himself that when he returned to the temple, he would be stronger than any of the Master Warriors and that they would regret allowing him to leave in disgrace.

He pushed his way through the onlookers who had been drawn by the noise, ignoring their complaints. He made his way back to his quarters and left the temple as quickly as possible, vowing that when he returned he would claim the Great Power, one way or another.

Jarrod had indeed returned to claim the Great Power for his own. And when he did so, he convinced others to join his army. Phaedos had been turned into a war zone. The temples had been destroyed, the Ninjetti had fought each other until there were less than a thousand warriors and only a handful of teachers. With the Grand Master slain, the Master Warriors chose to leave the planet behind, leaving only a few volunteers behind to aid those that might seek to join their ranks then first steps on the journey before directing them to the other masters where they could perfect their skills.

The Great Power remained hidden within the planet, but the temple that had once shielded it had been reduced to ruins. And the great altars where the Master Warriors had once bestowed the gift of the Ninjetti upon their students had been reduced to a few monoliths around the planet. The time of Phaedos as a centre of training had passed, but the Ninjetti continued, fitting into the cultures of their new worlds and adapting to their circumstances. On some planets, their ability to fit in had been so successful that they had forgotten their roots.

As for Jarrod... he did not die during his final battle. His life had been spared a second time, but the Master Warriors were unwilling to allow him to walk away and cause more harm. Instead, he was tried for his crimes and sentenced to serve out his life in a prison guarded by those he had betrayed. The Rhino Clan was given the honour of guarding him until he passed away. Then it was decreed his prison would serve as his tomb.

And there he remained, bound and powerless until he felt the release of the Great Power. It was at that moment that Jarrod broke free and the Master Warrior of Phaedos sensed that something evil was about to return.


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