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|Written By:||Nancy Sauer|
|Edited By:||Fred Wan|
Annotated Story Edit
Doji Nagori is surveying his room, making sure it does not give off the wrong impression. A painting of a sparrow on a branch hangs on one wall. It was done by Emperor Hantei XXIII as a present for his wife, the sister of the Crane Clan Champion at the time. On a nearby table, a katana rests on a daisho rack. There is a noise at the door, announcing the arrival of Otomo Daimyo Otomo Hoketuhime. They are served tea by a servant when Hoketuhime notices the painting, identifying it's artist correctly. They both lament the loss of quite a few artworks at the fall of Otosan Uchi. Hoketuhime compliments both the Phoenix and the Crane on their recent intervention at the capital. Nagori thinks about the recent deaths of Naseru's Wife and [Isawa Sezaru|two]] brothers, and how it leaves the Imperial Families in a delicate position. The mutual co-operation between the Otomo family and the Crane Clan would be important, but precarious. Nagori moves Hoketuhime's attention to the sword on the rack, Kakita's Sword. Hoketuhime remarks that it appears to be a normal blade, and Nagori confirms that it is quite ordinary. It was Kakita's spirit that helped him win the Emerald Championship, not the blade. Nagori thinks about Doji Seishiro, who had informed him the blade was quite ordinary, and his recent death. Hoketuhime compliments the Crane on all they have done to rebuild the capital. Nagori claims it was merely their duty, but Hoketuhime reveals that she had convinced Miya Daimyo Miya Shoin to use this years Emperor's Blessing to rebuild the damaged Crane Estates in Toshi Ranbo, specifically the Estates of the Daidoji Daimyo which were utterly destroyed. Nagori attempts once more to politely refuse the offer, but Hoketuhime insists. Nagori finally accepts, but requests a dojo be built in it's stead.
Elsewhere, Daidoji Daimyo Daidoji Kikaze is surveying the entrance to a run-down temple patiently waiting. When the time came, Kikaze move towards the temple. It was the one thing he had learned immediately from dueling. When the moment came for acting, focus all your purpose into doing it correctly. It had quite amazed Kakita Matabei to learn that Kikaze had picked up on that aspect of dueling so quickly. Kikaze slipped into the temple, and pause listening. Finally he spoke, telling his prey he knew he was here. A light is lit and Kikaze can see an image of the First Daidoji on one of the walls. Near the lightsource he can see his former hatamoto, Daidoji Shihei. Shihei remarks that he would not have seen Kikaze enter had he not been staring intently at the entrance. Kikaze says Shihei had betrayed him, countering his orders to stop the production and use of gaijin pepper. Shihei claims he did what he knew Kikaze wanted, even if it was not what he said. Even if the orders came from the Crane Clan Champion, Domotai. Shihei inquires about the men that were captured at Shiro Giji by Fumisato. Shihei claimed Domotai's father, Kurohito, had made a mistake sending her to train with the Lion Clan. Shihei wants to restart the Harriers behind Domotai's back, but Kikaze refuses. Shihei believes that Kikaze will have him executed, but Kikaze offers him the three cuts. Shihei thanks Kikaze, but as he rises from his crouched position he hurls a small knife at Kikaze. Kikaze barely has time to react, deflecting the dagger. Kikaze ducks for cover, barely managing to not decapitate himself on razor wire. Kikaze realizes Shihei may be plotting to kill Domotai, and moves out into the open fighting his urges to keep to cover. Shihei ran out and attacked Kikaze, and withdrew. Shihei attacked again, counting on the many traps he had set to aid him in killing Kikaze. The next strike hit Kikaze's daisho, sending the knife skittering across the floor. Kikaze buried his own knife in Shihei's belly, then threw him to the floor and cut his throat. Kikaze poured oil over Shihei's body and then lit it on fire. He watched the body burn, then left.
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
- Naseru's Wife
- Naseru's Brother
- Naseru's Brother
- Doji Seishiro
- Miya Shoin
- Kakita Matabei
- The First Daidoji
- Doji Domotai
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