|A Forgotten Saga, Part 3|
|Written By:||Shawn Carman|
|Edited By:||Fred Wan|
|Story Year:||1154, 1155|
Annotated Story Edit
Somewhere in Shinomen Mori, 1154, Kaneka has returned to a little hut where he was raised by his mother. The Dragon of Water has just risen up out of a small pond nearby and a voice in Kaneka's mind speaks to him. The Dragon reveals to Kaneka that his father was once a member of the Akodo family. Kaneka asks if his father is alive and if he knows Kaneka exists. The dragon reveals that his his mother concealed herself and the birth of Kaneka from his father, who believes Kaneka's mother to be dead. Kaneka asks why she would do such a thing, and the Dragon replies that Kaneka would have been used by his father's enemies against him. The Dragon tells Kaneka that his father had a destiny to fulfill during the Clan War and Kaneka's existance would have disrupted that. Kaneka does not understand how he could have impacted the Clan War because he was born almost a decade later. The Dragon reveals that Kaneka was born in the early years of the War, but the Dragon removed Kaneka and his mother from the mortal realm. Kaneka remained an infant until the danger had passed and the two could be returned to the mortal realm. Kaneka is in disbelief. The Dragon reveals that it removed Kaneka's mother's memories so that she could not tell Kaneka's father the truth even if she wanter to. Kaneka is angry with the Dragon, but the Dragon explains itself before passing on a blade from the depths of the pool. The Dragon then tells Kaneka the name of his father and Kaneka weeps with joy.
Back in the little hut Kaneka wakes with a start and instinctively grabs for his sword. His hand finds the saya of his new blade and Kaneka can relax again. Kaneka now knows the truth but is worries no-one will believe him. A sound from outside the hut draws his attention. For a moment he doesn't know if he imagined the sounds, but with his blade in his hand he moves to the doorway. It is nearing sunset and Kaneka attempts to distinguish the many sounds coming from outside. He hears the noise again, and rushes out to face whatever it is. The possibilities of what it could be ran through Kaneka's mind, monsters or adventurers like Kazumasa, but nothing could prepare him for what he saw. Kaneka stumbles with the surprise of seeing a large naga, which promptly greets Kaneka. Kaneka is unable to speak and the naga inquires if he can speak. The naga says he sensed something but does not with to disturbe Kaneka. As the naga turns to leave Kaneka asks him to wait a moment. The naga introduces itself as Qelsaurth, a naga Jakla and a student of the Akasha. Kaneka introduces himself and says he did not understand what the naga had just said. Qelsaurth laughs, and Kaneka explains that he knows what naga are but not what a Jakla is. Qelsaurth explains what a Jakla is, before telling Kaneka that the sensation that brought him here had woken him from the Great Sleep. Kaneka tells Qelsaurth about the Dragon of Water, and that it came to meet Kaneka. Qelsaurth is intrigued by this event and wishes to hear Kaneka's tale and help him if he could. Kaneka accepts.
In Ryoko Owari Toshi, a year later in 1155, Kaneka is contemplating his life of hiding in every sake house he can find. He had the occasional happy memory from sake houses, like meeting Etsushi and Uchito, but more often than not they only led to misery and violence. The door opens and two Scorpion enter and sit at a table near the door. Two Scorpion in Ryoko Owari was nothing unusal, but these particular two had been following him for the past two days. Kaneka has been worried that someone will attempt to kill him, and contemplates his options for fight or flight. Suddenly a stranger sits down opposite him and greets him as if he were a long lost friend. Kaneka does not know the man, but the man points out that he is merely attempting to dissuade Kaneka from any rash actions. He introduces himself as Naoharu, a man who makes arrangements for people. Kaneka asks what he means by that, and Naoharu explains. Kaneka offers Naoharu some of his sake, but Naoharu declines saying he never drinks anything he hasn't opened himself and never anything in Ryoko Owari. Kaneka asks what Naoharu knows about the Scorpion following him, and Naoharu believes they are either trying to make him do something foolish or draw out others who may be working with Kaneka. Kaneka insists he is not doing anything, but Naoharu points out that everyone has a secret and the "Clan of Secrets" wishes to know them all. Naoharu inquires what type of secret Kaneka has. Kaneka admits the Scorpion might think his secret was a danger to someone important. Kaneka fears they may just have him killed and asks Naoharu what he suggests he do. Naoharu does not think Kaneka can win a game of intrigue, so he suggests he stop the game altogether. Naoharu suggests Kaneka ask the two Scorpion to take him to meet their commander. When he meets the commander act disgusted and ask to see their real lord, not some puppet. By doing this Kaneka will gain some control, if he is still alive that is. When meeting their lord Kaneka should tell them the secret he believes they already know. In doing so he shows he is not afraid to reveal it, and that robs the Scorpion of their power over him. Kaneka finally introduces himself, and asks if Naoharu is curious about his secret. Naoharu does not believe Kaneka's secret is worth learning, but Kaneka says he might be surprised as he walks over to speak to the two Scorpion.
In Toshi Ranbo, present day, Rikako is walking through the halls of the Imperial barracks which have been converted to the headquarters of the Shogun. Two guards, a Phoenix and a Lion, attempt to bar her entry to the meeting chamber where the Shogun is meeting with his advisors. Rikako doesn't brake her stride but disappears in a puff of flame, reappearing on the other side of the doors. Three men are standing around a table. She recognizes Shiba Danjuro, the Shogun's lieutenant, a Scorpion and an old monk. The Scorpion mentions he had suggested a more secure location for their meeting. The doors open behind Rikako and the Lion guard charges her. His strike is blocked by Danjuro, who compliments him on his vigilance but identifies Rikako as an ally. The guard glares at Rikako but accepts Danjuro's word before leaving. The monk asks who Rikako is, and Danjuro introduces her as the Shogun's advisor during his time in Phoenix lands. The Scorpion, Shosuro Higatsuku is not convinced the ronin shugenja can be trusted. The monk, Heigai, suggests that as a shuegnja she would possess a different opinion which would be of value to a man such as the Shogun. Higatsuku is not entirely convinced. Danjuro asks Rikako why she is here, and she hands him a scroll she recieved from Kaneka two days ago which he reads.
The Scroll is adressed to Rikako, in which he asks her a favor. Kaneka reveals he has gone out into the Empire in search of something. He doesn't know what it is, but the time he has spent so far has reminded him of his time as a ronin. He says that the three advisors in the room as well as Rikako are among the very few people that he trust. He asks Rikako to gather those people they have talked about in the past as his most trusted advisors and take the letter to Danjuro. Ask him to proclaim that any who support Kaneka's protection of the Imperial City shall earn the fealty of one of those advisors. Only the clans who accept the offer of protection of the City shall earn the right to one advisor. Kaneka hopes it will not be too long until the next time they meet, and signes it "Your friend from Shoan-sama's temple".
Danjuro hands the scroll to Heigai who asks Rikako if she is willing to do what Kaneka asks of her. She says she is, and Danjuro presses the point that the moment they swear fealty to any clan they can no longer be fully loyal to the Shogun. Rikako is still adamant she can do it. Danjuro asks if she has already gathered the others. She has, and they are all ready to do as Kaneka asks. Danjuro asks her if she will come with him to make the proclamation. Rikako agrees, and Danjuro hopes the clans will be as happy to accept their gift as Rikako is to offer it.
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
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