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|The Essence of Loyalty|
|Written By:||Nancy Sauer|
|Edited By:||Fred Wan|
|Story Year:||1160, 1168|
The Essence of Loyalty is a fiction written by Nancy Sauer and edited by Fred Wan. It was first released on the Samurai Edition Website on the 6th of April 2007.  It further details the Scorpion Clan's discovery of the Thirteenth Black Scroll, and what they intend to do with it.
Annotated Story Edit
It begins in a flashback to eight years ago, somewhere in the Yogo provinces. Soshi Natsuo is being held captive in a small room devoid of any light. Yogo Rieko enters and asks Natsuo about Yogo Hiroji. Natsuo explains how Hiroji attacked him in his home in the middle of the night, and Natsuo was forced to kill him in self defence. Natsuo also claims that he was unaware that Hiroji was a member of the Kuroiban, and that he believed it was the Shadowed Tower who had sent Hiroji. Rieko then asks Natsuo more about the Shadowed Tower. Natsuo claims that he did not know they were working against the orders of their champion Bayushi Yojiro, and reminds Rieko that their leader, Shosuro Furuyari, had been one of Yojiro's advisors. Natsuo also claimed that he had discovered the truth nine days prior to Hiroji's attack, and had been sickened when he found he was a traitor. Natsuo went into hiding in a remote location. In a moment of clarity, Natsuo sees that Rieko believes his story, and demands to be given the chance to redeem himself, by some task or at least be allowed to seppuku. Anything but Traitor's Grove.
Current time, somewhere near Shiro no Soshi. Soshi Korenaga awakens abruptly from his recurring nightmares. Korenaga rises and moves over to the table nearby, where the teapot he had made himself before he went to bed still stood. There is nothing left, and he checks his pouch where the jade petals had been. In the cup he discovers a few drops, and uses his finger to draw out the rest of the liquid in the cup. He then sat and waited for the sun to rise.
Meanwhile, in Shiro no Soshi, Natsuo awaits the arrival of another interrogator. When she enters, he mistakenely believes her to be the Soshi Daimyo Soshi Uidori, when she was infact her sister Soshi Yukimi (one of three identical triplets). Yukimi asks is he knows why he has been moved from his confinement, but he does not. Yukimi asks what services he provides the Kuroiban. Yukimi then introduces Natsuo to Korenaga, and reveals the Black Scroll found in the Tomb of the Seven Thunders. Korenaga explains that he had been researching the scroll, and become tainted in the process. Yukimi orders the two to work together on the scroll, but to also wathc eachother and take appropriate measures should either stray from their duties.
Some time later near the Crab border, Korenaga and Natsuo are arguing over the scroll. Natsuo is arguing that there is little else that can be learned unless they open the scroll. Korenaga counters that they have no way of knowing what will happen, and that whatever was contained within will become more powerful and know the scroll's location immediately. Natsuo states that for all they know the effects could be beneficial, and in the worst case they are two men easily disavowed by the Scorpion. Korenaga volunteers to open the scroll, but Natsuo refuses. An hour later, Natsuo is alone in a field and he opens the scroll. There is an explosion of pain and light.
Somewhere else, the Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Paneki is furious with Yukimi and Korenaga. He demands to konw what actions Yukimi herself sanctioned, but Korenaga defends her. Yukimi in turn defends the actions of both Korenaga and Natsuo. Opening the scroll revealed that it was made with elemental magic, and that it was the only one of it's kind. The ravings of Natsuo seem to indicate that the being it was restraining was in some remote corner of the world, far from Rokugan. The scroll seems to ravage the body of the caster as if they were tainted, however no taint is present in their body. Yukimi suggests that the scroll could possibly be used to remove a god from walking the earth, insinuating that it should be used on Kisada. Paneki chastises her, but her reply that they do of course not need to resort to such measures silences him.
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
Relevant Tournament Results Edit
- All the events written here occurred in some fashion during the Winter Court Online Roleplaying Event that AEG ran from December 2006 - March 2007.
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