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|Written By:||Shawn Carman & Rich Wulf|
|Story Year:||1157, 1165|
Annotated Story Edit
It begins it Kyuden Togashi where Dragon Clan Champion Togashi Satsu is meditating in one of the many chambers contained within the palace. With him is his wife Togashi Misuko, who is also meditating, and the Hoshi Daimyo Hoshi Wayan. A door to the chamber is opened, and the hulking figure of Kaelung waits for permission to enter. Satsu asks him to enter, and introduces Kaelung to Misuko and Wayan whom he already knows. Wayan greets Kaelung and Kaelung does the same back before thanking Satsu for agreeing to meet him. Satsu reveals he knows Kaelung has come regarding Hitomi Kobai and forgiveness for a Mirumoto Kaelung has killed. Kaelung believes Kenzo had told Satsu this, but Satsu reveals that he had sent Kenzo away on a mission before he could tell Satsu any of this. Kaelung begins explaining the details, about how he came to join the Kolat. Satsu reveals that he already knows about the Kolat, even though many believe them to be destroyed. He also reveals that his grandfather knew about them. Satsu continues by saying that one must be worthy of forgiveness, but if one is worthy then what is there to forgive? He asks Kaelung if he thinks himself worthy, but Kaelung says he is not. Misuko says that is a worthy answer and laughs. Satsu asks Kaelung to tell them how he has come to be here now, and Kaelung begins his story.
Eight years ago, on the Dragon Heart Plain, Kaelung is examining some tracks. He has been tracking a breed of special oni that were released by three Phoenix who were investigating the Snake Clan ruins. The three Phoenix were killed by the creatures and the three escaped creatures have been plaquing local villages. Kaelung has killed two of the three creatures, and has spent much time on his own in the wilderness. He has had to forage for food, but he knows of a nearby road that local peasants travel on. He makes his way there to find a group of peasants carrying bushels of rice. He greets them and begins talking to Kyobei, one he has met previously. Kyobei thanks Inari for their blessed season's harvest, and Kaelung inquires how Kyobei's daughter is faring. Kyobei says she is getting better and thanks Kaelung again for the herbal poultice that helped her recover. Kaelung asks if he may take some of their rice and is allowed to do so. Once he is finished he sees them staring at him in fear and he realises they have betrayed him. Around a nearby bend in the road three horsemen bearing the Mirumoto mon approach. The peasants flee, except for Kyobei, and the leader of the riders calls out to Kaelung that he is under arrest by the authority of the Emerald Champion. Kaelung asks what the charges are and the samurai replies that he has stolen the rice as well as the murder of Mirumoto Masazumi. Kaelung denies that he even knows anyone by that name. The lead samurai does not believe him and warns Kaelung that if he resists they will deliver his head to Lord Uso. Kaelung thinks about the creature he is hunting and activates his Centipede tattoo, intent on being far away from here soon. Kyobei however steps in between the samurai an Kaelung, saying Kaelung is a honorable man. The samurai is about to kill Kyobei, but Kaelung punches the samurai in the face killing him. Kaelung catches the arm of the next samurai, breaking it at the elbow with a well places kick. The last samurai is knocked back when his companion with the broken arm is thrown at him. Before he can recover Kaelung is upon him, killing him with his axe. The remaining survivor cradels his arm as he yells at Kyobei that he will suffer the same fate as Kaelung for aiding the monk. Kaelung thinks about it for only a second before killing the last man. Kyobei is horrified, and asks if Kaelung really had murdered someome as the three samurai had claimed. Kaelung avoids the answer, and tells Kyobei to flee and tell any samurai that come that fled when the battle started. Kyobei understands, and Kaelung leaves pursuing his prey once more.
Back at the High House of Light, present day, Satsu thinks Kaelung had acted to rashly. He should have let the third samurai live. Kaelung believed Kyobei's village would have been destroyed, but Satsu suggests he should have had faith that Mirumoto Tesai's lord would have told Tesai that the peasants could not be blamed or that Tesai himself would have come to his senses after the pain of a broken arm subsided. Kaelung does not agree, and says that relying on others often leads to disappointment and failure. Misuko counters that his own story proves Kaelung wrong. Kaelung concedes the point, and is asked to continue telling his story. Kaelung continues to tell them about a man he calls Broken Tiger.
Somewhere in the Northern Mountains, several weeks ago, Kaelung bursts through the doors of a small teahouse only to find a little olf man sitting waiting for him. The house is a waystation on one of the many lonely roads in Dragon lands, even lonlier still since the Rain of Blood. Kaelung identifies the man as Mirumoto Koshiro, destroying the table infront of the man with his axe. Koshiro frowns and asks if Kaelung is here only for violence or if the two can talk for a moment. Kaelung tells Koshiro about how he was accused of murdering Mirumoto Masazumi, a magistrate of Nanashi Mura, and a letter he recieved recently. The letter was an order for the assassination of Masazumi and it was signed by Koshiro. Kaelung catches a glimpse of a tiger tattoo on the back of Koshiro's hand. Koshiro admits he is an agent of the Tiger Sect, and that Masazumi had made some discoveries and had to be silenced. Kaelung asks why he was to be blamed for the death, and Koshiro says that Master Tiger wished to ensure that loyalty to the Kolat was Kaelung's only option. Kaelung is outraged that the Kolat would do that to him, but Koshiro points out that Master Jade and the Jade Sect owe him nothing. Koshiro reveals that it was him who sent the letter to Kaelung because he wished Kaelung to know the truth. Koshiro begins to tell Kaelung about Togashi and how he could root out Kolat agents. Eventually the Kolat stopped trying to gain agents within the Dragon, but after the death of Togashi the Kolat began once more. They believed that Satsu could not discover the Kolat as his grandfather had. Master Tiger had grown concerned, and laid plans to assassinate Satsu. Kaelung says he will not helpt the Kolat with such a plan, and Koshiro reveals neither will he. Koshiro reveals Kaelung is also marked for death by assassins from the Lotus Sect. Kaelung wants to know what he can do to stop these plans. Koshiro hands Kaelung a ledger containing the plans to kill Satsu and tells Kaelung to reveal those plans to Satsu. It also contains alot of information about the Kolat, and perhaps enough to buy Kaelung his life for a while. Kaelung wonders what will becomes of Koshiro. Koshiro knows that the Kolat will not tolerate what he has done, and Koshiro will face them with honor. Koshiro tells Kaelung to leave, and Kaelung bows to the old man once before leaving.
Back at the High House of Light, present day, Kaelung passes the ledger to Satsu. Misuko thanks Kaelung for his service, and Kaelung says he wishes for nothing more. Not even forgiveness. Wayan wishes to know more about the threat to Satsu, but Satsu says that threat has already passed. Kaelung is surprised that Satsu knows, but he reveals that the plan was to kidnap Misuko during one of her daily routines to lure Satsu out to a place where he could be attacked. Kaelung waited for the assassins and killed them all before disposing of their bodies. Kaelung asks why Satsu did nothing when he knew what the plan was. Satsu could not have acted because then Kaelung would not have had a chance to do what he did. Wayan wonders what will become of Kaelung now that he is no longer welcome among the Kolat. Satsu says that the death of Mirumoto Tesai must be answered for, a life for a life. Kaelung asks without fear if he must die. Satsu says he does not require a death but a life, and welcomes Kaelung back into the Hoshi family.
Meanwhile, in the Hidden Temple, Master Tiger is writing in a book. Master Jade storms in and is furious with Tiger. Jade wished to know why Tiger allowed a valuable agent such as Kaelung to be cast away. He is also furious that the Kolat have been exposed by such a poor plot to kill Satsu. Tiger reveals that it was all a plan to discover the extent of Satsu's abilities. Jade still thinks Tiger was playing a dangerous game. Tiger thinks that Jade's focus on the Shadowlands leads him to be too trustful. Jade is still angry and threatens Tiger's position before leaving. Tiger is unfased, and continues to write in his book.
- Togashi Satsu
- Togashi Misuko
- Hoshi Wayan
- Mirumoto Tesai
- Mirumoto Koshiro
- Master Tiger
- Master Jade
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
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