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|Dark Oracle of Fire, Part I|
|Written By:||Shawn Carman|
|Story Year:||1147, 1151, 1157, 1159|
Annotated Story Edit
Somewhere in Phoenix lands, 1147, Isawa Nakamuro signals his instructor Isawa Noriko that he has a question. She notices his signal and rubs her temple before letting him speak. Nakamuro asks about a Oracle of Fire that manifested in Shosuro lands. Noriko explains that there is little known about the Oracle, but that it was likely it was an Isawa. Nakamuro wonders why there is so little information on the Oracles, and shouldn't the Phoenix strive to learn more about theses powerful and dangerous beings. Nokiro wonders what he means by dangerous. Nakamuro starts talking about the Oracle of Fire going on a rampage in 744, but Noriko cuts him short. She says there was no evidence that those events were caused by an Oracle let alone a tainted one at that. Nakamuro attempts to counter, but Noriko looses her temper and tells him to go see Isawa Ariken if he wishes to know more. Nakamuro is chastised, but resolves to learn more about the Oracles none-the-less.
Somewhere in Kyuden Isawa, 1151, Nakamuro is sitting motionless. He cannot concentrate, because everytime he does he starts to see the events that led to the death of Isawa Yaruko. He can picture Hida Tsuneo's crushing blow and the screams of Shiba Aikune. It has only been six months since she was killed, but sometimes he can suppress the memories for a while. Sometimes not. He was only fourteen, only a year after his gempukku, when the girl he loved had been killed. Even his best friend Aikune hated him now, and he attempts to push away the memories by studying about Oracles.
In 1157, in the Chamber of the Elemental Masters, Master of Earth Isawa Taeruko is yelling at Nakamuro for having lost some important documents. Master of Air Agasha Gennai wishes to hear Nakamuro's side of the story, and Nakamuro claims the recipient of the documents, Kuni Misashi, attacked him with maho. Master of Void Shiba Ningen laments the loss of such a shugenja and the Kuni family's sometimes too close connection with the taint. Master of Fire Isawa Hochiu however supports their willingness to stand close to the darkness to defeat it. Master of Water Isawa Riake wishes to know what became of Misashi, and Nakamuro admits he was forced to kill him. Taeruko berates Nakamuro again, and suggests Nakamuro is unfit to serve the masters. Gennai can no longer keep silent, berating Taeruko for taking out the loss of her daughter Yaruko on Nakamuro. He tells her to blame the Hantei or Tamori for what happened, and announces that Nakamuro is now the new Master of Air. A silence spreads over the chambers until Gennai stands and announces he has retired before leaving the room. Taeruko tells Nakamuro to leave the chamber, but Hochiu tells her she cannot speak to the new Master of Air in that manner. Taeruko is not pleased but agrees, and Nakamuro is asked to take his seat.
Somewhere in the Tamori provinces, six months from the present, Tamori Daimyo Tamori Shaitung is arguing with Nakamuro about her father. Nakamuro attempts to make her listen to reason but she will not. Nakamuro's words anger an older shugenja in the room, Tamori Chosai, and Chosai seems to be about to attack before Shaitung stops him. Shaitung agrees to listen more to what Nakamuro has to say, and he procedes to speak about his knowledge about the Oracles. He says no individual could hope to beat such a powerful being, and Shaitung counters that no-one should be able to beat the Elemental Masters but she managed it just the same. Nakamuro counters that circumstances were in her favor, but she did have an excellent plan, and that is what they need now if they are to face the Dark Oracle of Fire. Shaitung agrees, and asks Nakamuro what he knows of her father. A Dark Oracle must be invited to attack or attacked first before it can act. As such, since the erupting volcano in Dragon lands was caused by Tamori some Dragon must have attacked him or given him leave to attack the Dragon. Chosai suggests a Phoenix could have been responsible, but Shaitung disagrees as Nakamuro had ample opportunity to betray her previously. Chosai is not convinced but Nakamuro continues, suggesting it was someone from both the Phoenix and the Dragon. Shaitung confesses that Mirumoto Tsuge, the commander of the Dragon armies, had approached her and confessed to inviting the Dark Oracle into the war. Nakamuro does not believe that Tsuge is the original traitor. Chosai erupts again, but Shaitung chastises him again and asks Nakamuro what they should do. Nakamuro has a plan.
At the Shrine of the Moon, one month from the present, Nakamuro is meeting with Asako Bairei. Nakamuro is amazed at the progress Bairei has made with the shrine, and Bairei reveals he discovered some Asahina building techniques that came in most handy. Nakamuro is very impressed, and wonders that if it were not for Bairei's assistant Asako Yuya the brilliant man may have starved to death in his libraries. Nakamuro explains why he has come to seek Bairei's assistance, more specifically with regards to the Dark Covenants. Bairei is taken aback, but mentions that they are said to hold power over the Dark Oracles and that only a few scholars in Rokugan even know of their existance. Apparently they appear and disappear on a whim, occasionally popping up in Rokugan. Nakamuro thinks the covenants are drawn to places Oracles have been active. Bairei is very interested in more information on this, but Nakamuro presses on about the Elemental Nemuranai created by the Oracles during the Clan War. It was a henshin named Asako Shingon who was guided by them, and the last sighting of the dark covenant was almost four hundred years ago. Bairei recollects that Shingon had some assistance from Iuchi Yogosha, but Nakamuro does not think that is very helpful. Bairei however recalls a cartographer's report placing a group of Unicorns traveling in the mountains near the Castle of the Faithful Bride during the Clan War. Nakamuro is impressed that Bairei could remember such a report from over thirty years ago. Nakamuro requests the report but Bairei cannot remember where it is. He does however remember its contents, and offers to lead Nakamuro there. Nakamuro says it is too dangerous, but Bairei does not wish to be denied the chance to witness a covenant. Nakamuro agrees, and asks how long the trip will take. Bairei's estimate is a week, possibly more. Nakamuro is in a rush, and the two go deeper into the temple discussing the finer details of the trip. Neither notices a cloaked figure emerges from the shadows and slips away quietly from the shrine.
Somewhere in the Phoenix Mountains, two weeks from the present, Nakamuro and Bairei are climbing. Nakamuro was weary of using magic to get to the top so near a covenant. Bairei requires some assistance, and Nakamuro helps him up to the ledge he is on. Nakamuro can sense the lingering presence of the Oracle of Air, bu something is wrong to the west. Bairei begins to head off in that direction and Nakamuro follows, occasionally stopping to extend his senses. Nakamuro is getting more and more concerned. An hour later the two come out to a depression within a plateau, and Bairei in his excitement begins heading straight for the center of the basin. Nakamuro calls out to him to stop, but it was too late. Three gigantic Jimen, demonic spirits infused in living rock, rise up from the ground. One of them lifts an arm and is about to crush Bairei, but Nakamuro summons a tempest of air to stall the 12 foot tall monstrosity. Bairei knocks the giant over with a wave of water, and Nakamuro shouts for him to flee. Bairei does not wish to leave without the covenant, but none of their magic is doing anything but slowing the creatures. Suddenly a cloaked figure leaps down infront of one of Nakamuro's tempests, using it to propel itself on top of one of the Jimen. The cloak falls off and Nakamuro can see the swirling tattoo of a tsunami before the monk strikes down at the giant figure with her fist. The monk leaps off the giant, landing on a second one. The cracks appearing in the first one are exploited by Nakamuro, who uses a jet of cool rain to cool down the core of the Jimen bursting the creature open. Nearby, Bairei uses his water magic to soften the ground beneath another giant, making it sink into the ground. Nakamuro uses the water created by Bairei to exploit any cracks in the giant, causing it to fall apart in clumps of wet dirt. Nakamuro turns his attention to the final Jimen only to see that the monk has already cracked it's exterior and Bairei has cooled it's center. The sudden silence is broken after a few minutes by Bairei thanking the stranger. Nakamuro only now notices the monk is a young woman, who introduces herself as Hitomi Maya. She sends her regards from Tamori Shaitung, and that she had overheard them at the Shrine of the Moon. Maya inquires if they have found the covenant, but they have not. Nakamuro can sense that it is not here, and Bairei wonders how they will find it now. Maya suggests they ask the earth kami within the mountain. An hour later they are ready to begin the ritual. Bairei summons the earth kami and Nakamuro attempts to commune with them. The kami wish to be left in peace, but Nakamuro presses the issue. The boulder wishes to be alone and will aid Nakamuro if he can cast it into the sea where it can be at peace. Nakamuro promises to do so, and Nakamuro inquires if there were any other humans here of late. The earth kami reveals there were two, a Phoenix and a Dragon, and they removed the covenant. The kami does not know exactly where the covenant is now, but Nakamuro surmises from it's answers that it is in Dragon lands. Maya is eager to continue their adventure.
Somewhere deep beneath Dragon lands, present day, Hitaka wanders through the dangerous caverns with no worries. He approaches Agasha Tamori, the Dark Oracle of Fire, who is meditating submerged waist deep in lava. Hitaka presents Tamori witha large stone box containing scrolls with the genealogical information of every noble Dragon and Phoenix bloodline over the past twenty years. Hitaka had the library they were taken from burned, and Tamori is pleased. Hitaka wonders what Tamori's plans are for the zokujin, but Tamori is not concerned with them. Hitaka wishes to know what his masters plan is, and Tamori wishes to watch the futures of the Dragon and Phoenix burn.
To Be Continued in: Dark Oracle of Fire, Part II.
- Isawa Nakamuro
- Isawa Noriko
- Isawa Taeruko
- Agasha Gennai
- Shiba Ningen
- Isawa Hochiu
- Isawa Riake
- Tamori Shaitung
- Tamori Chosai
- Asako Bairei
- Hitomi Maya
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
- Oracle of Fire
- Isawa Ariken
- Shiba Aikune
- Hida Tsuneo
- Isawa Yaruko
- Dark Oracle of Fire
- Shaitung's Father
- Mirumoto Tsuge
- Asako Yuya
- Asako Shingon
- Iuchi Yogosha
- Oracle of Air
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