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|Written By:||Shawn Carman|
|Story Year:||1132, 1133, 1151, 1164|
Annotated Story Edit
Somewhere in Phoenix lands, 1132, Daidoji Rekai is out in a blizzard. No-one else would dare traverse such weather, but Rekai has been tasked with finding the son of her commander in Nikesake. She calls out for Kakita Sutebu, but she knows he is most likely dead. Sutebu was a painter who liked seclusion in wilderness for inspiration. It would be unlikely his body would be found until spring if at all. She hears footsteps and her hopes rise until she sees that it is a monk. She greets him and he greets her by name. She is immediately weary, and her hand drifts to her weapon as she asks him who he is and if they've ever met. The monk replies that they have never met before but he needs her help. Rekai replies she cannot help due to her duty, but the monk replies that Kakita Sutebu is already dead. Rekai asks him how he knows this, and the monk explains that Sutebu never even made it this far into the wilderness. He was murdered in the last village Rekai was at, where he was hiding under a false name. Sutebu was killed in addition to a ronin who bore half the message the monk is bearing for Rekai. The monk tries to pass the package he is carrying to Rekai, but she does not want it. He reveals to her that it is the Tao of Shinsei, and urges her to take it and leave immediately because someone is after it. She asks who and he replies that they have no name, and he names himself Ikudaiu. Rekai gets on her horse and begins riding away. She looks back and for a moment the monk appears to be swallowed by darkness. A snowflake blows into her eye and after she blinks she can no longer see the monk.
A year later, at the Battle of Oblivion's Gate, Rekai screams as her husband Daidoji Kyobu is cut down. She carves her way to his fallen body and carefully pulls the weapon stuck in his back out of his body. Kyobu cannot see and calls out to her. Rekai tries to comfort him, but when he laughs he coughs up blood. Kyobu is happy to die in battle, but she does not want him to leave her. He tells her he loved her from the moment they were betrothed, and tried to be as strong as Daidoji Uji so she would love him back. The other Daidoji Iron Warriors nearby form a circle around the two, allowing them a moment in the battle. Kyobu asks Rekai to help their son understand, and then he is gone. Something invisible speaks to Rekai, attempting to lure her into corruption. Rekai and the other Daidoji call out in rage and the battle continues.
Shiro Daidoji, 1151, and the recently appointed Daidoji Daimyo Rekai is in her private chambers. She has held the position three months, and only now could she admit to herself that Daidoji Uji was gone. She has had much correspondace from Crane, Crab and Unicorn lords congratulating her on her appointment. She is worried that she may make mistakes. In her hand she holds a letter from her son Kikaze, and she has read it a dozen times. Kikaze says that he is happy for her on her appointment as daimyo, and that he cannot accept her summons to join her at Shiro Daidoji. He has sworn an oath to protect the temple at Shiro Giji. Rekai knows about the Daidoji Harriers, and the dishonor they would bring upon the Clan were they to be discovered. Kikaze cannot be around her for fear of that information coming out. Rekai sits in her chambers and reads the letter again.
Shiro Hiruma, 1164, and Rekai contemplates the only other time she has been in this castle. It was at the head of a Daidoji army, riding to aid the besieged Crab. No issues of Clan were brought up when the Shadowlands was concerned. The Daidoji would ride to their assistance. She has been feeling her age recently, and for the past six months she has been dreaming of her husbands death. Shiro Hiruma is as close to where he died as she could come, but she does not know why she came here. A whisper says that she came because it called her. Rekai recognizes the voice as that from the Battle of Oblivion's Gate. The voice says it is not the same, but close. Rekai threatens to attack it, but suddenly the room falls away and Rekai finds herself in a vast expanse of Shadow. The voice tells her that the creatures who killed her husband were not under its control. Rekai does not wish to listen to the voice, but the voice emphasizes it's sincerity and honesty in coming to her like this. Rekai is not impressed but the voice continues, asking her if she knows why she is here. She asks if it is here to fight her, but it only wishes to help her find a meaning again. Since the death of her husband she has been reaching out to others who have always turned away because of circumstance. Rekai threatens to kill it, but the voice continues saying her son would not cope if she were to die. Rekai does not wish to talk about her son, so the voice talks about her and that she is dying. Rekai is angry, but after a time in silence she gives up and asks how her son will suffer from her death. The voice tells of a dark time coming, and her son will loose his ability to prove himself should she die. She asks what alternative there is, and the voice replies that if she were to enter the Shadowlands she would give her son a purpose. Rekai does not wish to be corrupted like the False Hoturi or Fu Leng. The voice says there will be a war amongst the Lost and the winning leader will be weakened. He will need assistance to rebuild the Shadowlands. Rekai does not intend to be a pawn in Shadowlands politics. The Shadow Dragon says that by corrupting herself she will grant her son the strength to overcome the Rain of Blood. Rekai does not believe him, but cannot find the right arguments. The Dragon persists, and says that if she does not fall she will die and her son will fall to the rain. After a long pause she asks the Dragon to show her the way into shadow.
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
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