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|A Hero's Death, Chapter Four|
|Written By:||Rich Wulf|
Annotated Story Edit
Previously: A Hero's Death, Chapter Three.
Somewhere on the Cliffs near Kyuden Doji, Utaku Yu-Pan, Moshi Kakau and Toritaka Akemi are investigating the murder scene. They have been searching for hours and have found nothing. Akemi asks Yu-Pan what she is holding, and Yu-Pan explains that it is a spyglass. Akemi wonders what it does and if it is magical. Yu-Pan replies that it allows her to see things that are far away, and it isn't magical. Akemi is disappointed, and Kakau suggests Yu-Pan should not have spoiled it for her. Yu-Pan replies that Akemi is strange enough already and does not need more encouragement. Yu-Pan tells Kakau to go report to Miya Shoin what they have found, even though they haven't found anything. Kakau leaves and Yu-Pan calls for her horse. As she is about to leave she notices that Akemi has not left yet either. Akemi asks Yu-Pan why she said those things about her, and Yu-Pan reveals that she has met with Toritaka before. Yu-Pan met with the Yotogi of the Falcon and other Toritaka, and finds their studies with spirits often leaves them somewhat erratic. Akemi asks why Yu-Pan met with the Yotogi, but Yu-Pan does not want to say. Akemi asks if it was because of Bayushi Tozasu, and Yu-Pan asks what Akemi could know about Tozasu. Akemi reveals that her expertise is about returned spirits, and that Tozasu was a vengeful spirit who rampaged through Unicorn lands during the War of Spirits. Many Utaku swore vengeance upon him, but he died from fever while in the Shinomen Forest. Yu-Pan says that did not stop her hatred of him, so she sought out the Toritaka to she could find his spirit but they would not help her. Yu-Pan thinks Akemi is trying to talk her out of it, but Akemi says she will not bother. Akemi asks how Yu-Pan became a Battle Maiden if she hates all spirits, considering their leader is Utaku Shiko. Yu-Pan replies that Utaku Xieng Chi is the Utaku Daimyo, but Akemi continues none-the-less. Yu-Pan thinks Akemi is trying to provoke her, but Akemi is merely trying to determine Yu-Pan's motivations for this mission. Yu-Pan then chooses to ask Akemi a question, regarding the Heroes of Rokugan. Four have been killed and how are they connected? Akemi begins by explaining the different realms. Jigoku is the Realm of Evil, and it was a common misconception that the spirits had returned from there. Many of the spirits would be insulted by the notion. Yu-Pan is impatient, but Akemi continues as they continue towards Kyuden Doji. Those who returned to follow Toturi came from two other Spirit Realms. Some such as Miya Dosonu and Rezan, came from Yomi, the realm of Blessed Ancestors. Others such as Bayushi Tozasu and Hantei XVI came from Toshigoku, the Realm of Slaughter. Many of the spirits from Toshigoku were bent on vengeance or even domination. Yu-Pan wonders why the spirits from Toshigoku were not dealt with, and Akemi points out that it was not easy to tell the difference and their way back through Oblivion's Gate was destroyed. Yu-Pan suggests they could just be asked to die willingly, but Akemi points out that some of the Toshigoku spirits genuinely repented their past lives. Many committed seppuku to return, but Akemi is thankful that some remained. Yu-Pan does not understand why she should be thankful, and Akemi explains that without the advice of returned spirits it would have been unlikely that Toturi would have been victorious over Hantei XVI. After the war many went to the Leaping Place while others underwent the Isawa ritual and began travelling the Empire to understand their new existance. Akemi reveals she does not know who everyone who remained is, but hopes Rezan will be able to help them. Yu-Pan thinks Rezan's memory will be too dulled by drink, but Akemi tells her to have faith in the man. She should see them as allies, but Yu-Pan does not want to listen. Yu-Pan rides off towards Kyuden Doji, leaving Akemi to walk back alone.
Somewhere in Kyuden Doji, night time, Kakau is wandering the halls admiring the beautiful palace. Kakau contemplates the group and how most seem to ignore his presence. The Unicorn seems to openly loathe him, and the one exception is Kijuro who genuinely seems to like Kakau but is not someone Kakau would normally associate with. Shoin seems to be to busy with the investigation and the loneliness is quite depressing for a man such as Kakau who came from a large family and spent most of his life with close-knit crews. As Kakau returns to the guest wing he hears the distant sound of singing, and believing it to be Agasha Chieh he makes his way towards her quarters. When he knocks on her door Rezan answeres, his hair and kimono ruffled. Kakau says he thought Chieh was here, but Rezan says he must be imagining it. Rezan enters the hallway and walks away from the room motioning for Kakau to follow. Kakau says he thought Rezan had a room closer to the gardens, but Rezan counters that he was merely exploring the castle as Kakau had been doing. Kakau drops the matter but Rezan can tell that the Mantis has other things on his mind. Rezan suggests Kakau should not grieve alone, but Kakau does not think a geisha will help. Rezan says that Kakau reminds him of Gusai, and that he hopes Gusai found what he was looking for. Kakau wonders what he means by that, and Rezan explains that none of the returned spirits did so by accident. Everyone had their reasons. Kakau asks why Rezan returned and he replies that he returned for a woman. Rezan explains that in his first life he spent three years married to the daughter of the Emperor before he was killed in a duel. His wife died shortly after from the grief. Rezan reveals that those three years were not as pleasant as Kakau would think, and his wife not so beautiful as Rezan's poem's made out. As such he had to spend the next two centuries in Yomi with the woman. Kakau is shocked that Rezan went through Oblivion's Gate to get away from his wife. Rezan says that was not the reason. After some time his wife had realized that he did not love her and chose to be reincarnated. Not long after Rezan realised that he missed her and has spent the past thirty years searching for her. Kakau asks how he can be such a womanizer while looking for his wife, and Rezan replies that he sees some of her beauty in all of the women he is with. Maybe he will find her that way. Rezan asks if Kakau will tell him how he came to meet Gusai and Kakau agrees. Rezan however, suggests they talk about it another time as it is getting too late and they are leaving for Shiro Morito ask Kijuro convinced Shoin to do so. Rezan leaves to find some sleep and Kakau stays awake wandering the halls and thinking about the days to come.
Next there is a glossary of characters and terms including some interesting information. Isawa Hochiu was the person who sealed Oblivion's Gate, and the Yotogi of the Toritaka family is the spiritual leader of the family and not always the same person as the Toritaka Daimyo.
To Be Continued in: A Hero's Death, Chapter Five.
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
- Miya Shoin
- Bayushi Tozasu
- Utaku Shiko
- Utaku Xieng Chi
- The four killed members of the Heroes of Rokugan: Gusai, Isawa Ijime, Mirumoto Tokeru and Kakita Rensei.
- Miya Dosonu
- Hantei XVI
- Agasha Chieh
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