Rokugan: Shadow Creeping
Travelogue of Doji Isoroku
Have I done something to offend? My ancestors watch me, my clan gives me up to politics in a dance with the most removed of all clans, I travel nowhere without scaled nursemaids anymore, and now I am honor bound to protect that which I detest most in all of the lands of dragon.
Do not misunderstand, there are places I would be satisfied much less than the lands of the Dragon. The Crab for instance would be a test of both my patience as well as a test of my bathing skills. I feel that were it not forced upon me by honor I would enjoy this time of contemplation, as would my wife. This becomes the crux oft he matter, for the separation seems aimed at making me personally besieged on all accounts. I wonder if it is the want of the pleasure derived from my misery or the jealousy over the happiness I might have had in my own land.
However conjecture is irrelevant at this point. My wife works tirelessly to bring me home. A man could not ask for more than what she gives to me. I will protect Kitsuki Tushiro as his yojimbo because that is what I must do for honor’s sake. I will complete this quest of Matsu Chokoku and continue to bring honor to my clan and my family.
In the Heat of Battle
Those sounds…… I have heard them before. Air wheezing out of lungs pushed past exhaustion, metal screeching against metal. These are sounds I am intimately familiar with. This stench however is new………. As I round the bend with my companions an Ogre is not what I had thought to find.
This one is big, bigger than the reports have read. For a moment my mind doesn’t want to admit how revolting it is, how much it affronts me in mind, body, and soul. Then I am too busy moving to think. My body seems to be moving in water, everything is slower. This is what all bushi experience, this is where I thrive.
Looking ahead a decision is made even as my blade moves, I only arrive in time to watch the Hare samurai fall beneath the fury of Fu Leng. While glorious death may be his if it is fated, my task is to have the dark one follow suite. There is no room for half measures. It will fall with this attack or I will. My resolve and spirit sharpen my blade as I strike, there is no protection. I have left myself exposed, if he is to rise I may yet fall this day.As the wave of battle crashes around me, I feel my foe’s spirit depart. One less blemish on the face of the empire. Our shugenja and Ise Zumi rush to the fallen samurai’s side, if he can be saved they will be the ones to do so. my work is completed and as always I feel a little empty and wish for the return to the storm of battle.
I feel adrift. Our Lion insists to roar at every opportunity even though we were told to be on the hunt, to be below notice. I do not like to deceive, if my enemy is in front of me a challenge will suffice, however we were given a request and by the Thunder’s I will see this done. The wall looms before us, we will arrive within the day.
I have seen it so many times on a map but I will never forget the feel of it up close. The Crab are crass and do not know how to be refined, but since the cresting wave has fallen they do understand duty. I do not like them, but I do believe in their resolve.
I begin to see the stones before us, though individuals they all serve a purpose, though some my rub and crack asunder, others will hold their place. Like those stones so too the souls of samurai. Not all are necessary but in the end all serve the purpose.
The site of pain, of death, and for us the object of our mission. I do not know what waits for us there but eve if glorious death waits for me my blade shall cut Fu Leng before I fall. Hiruma scouts or not I do not like our chances. Fortunately with the wisdom of the dragon and the fire of the phoenix we may yet win the day.
The Lion and their foolishness. I was not for being placed on this mission but I have attended to my duty as honor has demanded. I have not shirked my duty nor have I run from conflict. It frustrates me no end that although we’re put on this course by a Lion, and were given a Lion to lead us, that we now lack a Lion at all. My mission will be completed but honor will demand explanation………or satisfaction!
The shadow’s stretch. They reach for me, I will not turn, I will not hide, and I will NOT pretend ignorance. There is more to this path than one dragon hatchling’s anger and scorn. I will face the darkness I find. Whether in my soul or in that of the lands of perpetual shadow. My eyes are watchful, my sword is swift, and my mind is clear.
In the lands of shadow, the smallest light shines more brightly than I would have thought possible. I had beard of the Nezumi, even some legends as silly as an empire of their own in the distant past. I never thought that I would see one before my eyes, let alone fight beside ten of them. They act so different from what I would have expected. Almost like looking like us and not like us at the same time. It fascinates me, perhaps my sister can tell me more as the Nezumi have taken a shine to her.
My mind sits off balance. The deception my wife and I have done, it offends me even as I am a part of it. I understand why I have an expectation but there can be little doubt in my mind of where my interests lie. This may save my marriage from my father-in-law, but I will not bend my honor more, no matter how slippery the slope.
The Lion and I will have a reckoning. My honor has not been this affronted since I was sent to the lands of Dragon. I have reflected, I have thought, but the pressures of the situation does not excuse him. I will ask why, but there will be blood, the amount will depend on his answer.
My sword and I are one, I feel the hilt tight in my hands and my nerves extend through the blade. As I swing I realize that I have never forgotten this feeling, it is like a memory of a perfect moment fleetingly moves through time so as not to cause a ripple but still be felt. Part of me is saddened by the feelings of loss as I feel my blade bite as well as my opponents bite into me, and part of me is thankful that this moment will be lost to memory. All other experiences would pale by comparison.
Our choices do not look good. The Lion and I have finished our issue and now our choices are many. We have had updates that the Lion and Crane forces have begun pitch battles and that my wife has been killed. For this reason above all others I will find that…..thing that calls himself a samurai and I will destroy him. I do not care if there was more to it that this, I will deal with that when the time comes, but Kitsuki Tushiro will die by my hands.
This plague worries me. I do not care that the scroll that we were sent for in such secrecy has been discovered and given to scorpions, but a plague of undeath inside the emerald empire is not something to be taken lightly. Most assuredly upon the border of the Crane. I worry that there is a deeper action here that must be taken and that more and more a shadow hangs over my home.
Our road curves back upon itself. I have not always served those I honor, but Shiba Zejoku seems the best I have worked beside in a long time. We will see end of this road together and nothing will stop our or our companions feet.
Toshiro will pay. Suki was more to me than a marriage. No hole will hide him, no house will hold him, in the end I will find him, and I will make him make a full recompase for Suki. Every moment of pain will be revisited upon him a thousand-fold.
Ancestors push me out, and ancestors welcome me. I will fight Fu Lang with all I am. I will use Toshiro as necessary so that not only will Suki be sated but she will be at peace. These oni in broad daylight worry me, there will be a reckoning of that I am sure.
Return to story main page.