The Truest Test, Part 3
Written By: Story Team
Edited By: Story Team
Released: May 2007
Link: [1]
Story Year: 1169

The Truest Test, Part 3 is a fiction written as a collaboration by the entire Story Team. It was first released on the Samurai Edition Website on the 18th of May 2007 as the third and concluding part of a three part story. [2]

Annotated Story Edit

Previously: The Truest Test, Part 1 and Part 2.

Moto Chagatai 5

Moto Chagatai

It opens upon Isawa Sezaru, flying through the air above Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho. He summons raw elemental power and hurls fire down upon the city, killing samurai and peasants.

Down in the city, the Khan Moto Chagatai is on the ground. His blade, Enginoshi is on the ground nearby, and his leg is wounded from where Kaneka had cut him. Kaneka is standing infront of the Khan, staring up at his brother in the sky. Chagatai grabs his blade and strikes at Kaneka, who steps backwards, but his armor was still hit by the blade. Chagatai's wounded leg gives out and he falls to the ground again. Kaneka steps forward to kill the Khan, but is struck in the shoulder by a pair of arrows. Kaneka steps backwards from the assault, and two White Guards grab Chagatai and begin to pull him to his feet. The two guards face Kaneka, who approaches them slowly. One of the guards moves to stand between Kaneka and Chagatai, while the other moves to intercept Kaneka's approach. The Guard charges Kaneka, but Kaneka kills him without breaking his stride. Kaneka charges the second White Guard, cutting her throat open. With her dying breath she impales herself on Kaneka's blade, buying the Khan enough time to slam into Kaneka driving his scimitar into the Shogun's chest. The two fall to the ground, and lying there look at each other. Kaneka's dying words are "Brother".

Isawa Sezaru

Isawa Sezaru

Back in the air above the city, Sezaru continues to draw upon the elements in his destruction of the city and its inhabitants. Suddenly he senses something in the void, and just as he is about to strike at them with fire he has a sense of familiarity. A woman rises up through the air, calling out his name. The Wolf, Sezaru's split personality, asks the woman if he knows her. She identifies herself as Sezaru's wife, Isawa Angai. The Wolf is in full control of Sezaru's body, wishing punishment upon all those who desecrated the city below and failed his brother Naseru. Angai attempts to reach Sezaru, and gets through to him when she removes his mask from his face. The two kiss, and then Angai asks for his forgiveness as she stabs him in the abdomen with a dagger made from Isawa's Last Wish. The Wolf returns just as the dagger explodes, killing the two in a bright display of fire. Everything directly beneath the two erupts into flame, creating a massive crater. Nearby building shake from the force of the explosion. Some of the samurai below reach cover just moments before they are incinerated. Others die before they can even do that. Within seconds of the explosion, the fighting commences once more. Only the massive crater in the merchant's quarters is any indication that Sezaru had even interrupted the battle.

In his residence, Bayushi Kaukatsu is surveying the battle from his balcony, marveling at the power display that just occurred in the sky. Nearby, his yojimbo Bayushi Kwanchai begs Kaukatsu to leave. Kaukatsu says he does not fear the battle, and that the Khan is his ally. As Kaukatsu watches the battle he thinks about what could have been, had the Empress not sent away the bulk of the Shogun's troops. Behind he hears gasps from the other courtiers gathered in his appartments. Kaukatsu tells the people not to worry, but turns to see several gaki appear in the room. The balcony he is standing on is not protected from evil spirits as the palace is. One of the ambassadors, a Crab, casts a green spell, and hurls it at the nearest gaki killing it. Before the Kuni can cast another he is killed by three more gaki. The Crab's dying act was to throw a ribbon into the air, which is immediately grabbed Bayushi Kwanchai who affixes it to his katana. The blessing from the ribbon allows the blade to cut through the gaki, and he begins to kill the nearest ones. Kwanchai yells for Kaukatsu to flee, but his path to the door is barred. As the gaki move towards Kaukatsu, all he can say is "How... unexpected."

Doji Domotai

Doji Domotai

Elsewhere in the city the Crane Clan Champion, Doji Domotai, is taking a moment of respite following the dramatic entrance and death of Sezaru. The commander of her personal bodyguard, Daidoji Kimpira, approaches her, handing her a flask of water. He reports that roughly fifty Unicorn are approaching their position, and that a larger force are heading towards the palace. Domotai's forces are not enough to stop the Khan, but capable of defending the estate. She had sent similar orders to the other Crane estates in the capital, and asked Kimpira what their situations were. Kimpira felt there was no need to loose a defender just to gain information about the other estates, and Domotai agreed. The two move to the estate walls, just as the fifty Unicorn approach. Their leader identifies herself as Utaku Yanmei of the Khol army, and asks the Crane to give their word that they will not resist. Domotai identifies herself and orders the Unicorn to withdraw from the city. Yanmei orders the Unicorn to attack, seeing only Domotai and 8 Crane samurai nearby. As the Unicorn surge forward, arrows fly through the air from archers concealed in the nearby buildings. Some Unicorn fall, but the rest reach the wall. Hidden Daidoji rise from behind the wall and begin to attack the remaining Unicorn. After a few minutes all the Unicorn have been eliminated. Kimpira orders servants to clear the street of the bodies, and a Asahina shugenja is waiting nearby to purify the bodies. A Crane approaches the square, and reports to Domotai that the Daidoji estate has been destroyed. The estate had been next to the attack by Sezaru, caught fire, and then exploded shortly after. There were twelve survivors, eleven of which went to aid in the defense of the Jade Champion's estate.
Togashi Satsu

Togashi Satsu

Just then, a man appears in the square nearby. He is dressed in the colors of the Dragon Clan. Domotai walks out to meet Togashi Satsu, and tells him that today the war between their clans will end. Satsu agrees, saying that is why he has come here. Domotai prepares to duel Satsu, but he wishes only to speak with her. Domotai invites Satsu in, and the two go to the white garden and have some tea. Satsu compliments Domotai on her gardens before Domotai presses the matter at hand. Domotai expresses her belief that the gaijin pepper use is being taken care of, although a building had already been destroyed to it the same day. She asks Satsu what extent Daidoji Kikaze's involvement is in the matter, but Satsu does not wish to rush to judgement. Satsu seems glad that she is taking the issue seriously, and with the Crane beginning to retreat from the border against the Dragon, he will order his troops to stand down also. The two agree that the war is now officially over, but Satsu warns her that he senses another evil within her clan. Domotai demands that Satsu be more forthright with his information, but Satsu does not know any more than he has told her.

Elsewhere in the city, the fighting continues. Lion and Unicorn killed each other while the Mantis thwarted the Lion’s attempts to stop the Unicorn progress at every turn without becoming directly involved. The deathseeker Akodo Osamu fights while his men are dying around him, killing many Unicorn, but in the end succumbing to that which he had been seeking.

Elsewhere the favored scout of Moto Chagatai, Shinjo Saihan, and his troops combed the streets for their prey, sickened by the loss of life. Each time Lion troops came out into his path he cut them down with no pleasure.

Elsewhere, Mantis Clan Champion Yoritomo Naizen stands over the unconscious body of Akodo Daimyo Akodo Shigetoshi. Choosing not to kill the unconscious man, Naizen leaves to tend to more important matters.

Bayushi Norachai

Bayushi Norachai

Outside the Imperial Palace, Bayushi Norachai arrives with his men, having spent an hour fighting their way there through the streets. Several dead Unicorn and Seppun lie by the entrance. Norachai is alerted by the sound of approaching men, who turn out to be Daidoji Gempachi and thirty-seven of his men who were dispatched by Domotai. Gempachi offers Norachai aid, which Norachai accepts. Norachai, his men, Gempachi and five of the Daidoji enter the palace while the rest remain outside to hold the entrance until reinforcements arrive. The sights inside remind Gempachi of a time when he was a boy, and he had mistakenly wandered into a slaughterhouse. Blood and bodies are found all over the place. Only a single samurai is found alive, Kakita Matabei, but charges the approaching men before Norachai's shout brings the Crane to his senses. Matabei informs Norachai that no Unicorn have passed by him into the Empress' chamber. Matabei looks around the room, as if searching for someone, and then moves over to the person when he finds him and reads a scrap of paper in the mans hand. Gempachi comes over and reads the note also, then inquires as to who the man was. Matabei identifies him as Doji Tanitsu. Norachai enters the Empress' room, and no-one else follows him in. Shortly after Gempachi moves to enter the room but Norachai comes back out, stating that the Empress had not wished to be taken as a political prisoner and had taken her own life. Suddenly Gempachi believes he hears something, and begins to move towards the sounds. The others follow, and they reach the entrance to another chamber. The assembled men pry open the doors, and inside they see Bayushi Kwanchai cradeling the dead body of Bayushi Kaukatsu screaming he deserved better than this. Gempachi says he hears fighting and moves to the balcony to look down upon the entrance where Unicorn are assaulting the Crane that were left to guard the entrance. Just as an Akodo legion arrives to aid them the last of the Crane are killed.

Isawa Ochiai

Isawa Ochiai

Elsewhere on the battlefield outside the city, Akodo Natsu is fighting against a Unicorn gunso named Utaku Fujiko. Fujiko is very skilled, and strikes at Natsu who barely deflects the strike. Natsu asks her to surrender, saying her men are already dead. Fujiko insults Natsu, but before Natsu can reply a gust of wind lifts them apart from eachother. Natsu looks around for Unicorn reinforcements, but cannot see any. To the northeast he can see a vast army of the Phoenix. At the head of the Phoenix army are a man wearing a strange mixture of Dragon and Phoenix symbols and the other has long, flowing black hair. The Phoenix call out to the fighters to end the struggle, but Natsu shouts they cannot tell them to do so and that they are defending the capital. The Phoenix counters that that they are merely waging war for wars sake. As Natsu orders his men to attack the Phoenix their weapons are struck by lightning. Natsu claims the Phoenix have come to aid the Khan, but they say they have come to prevent any more death. Natsu says they will not be able to stop all the fighting, but the Phoenix points him to the palace where Isawa Ochiai announces to the assembled forces that the Phoenix will not permit the capital to be desecrated in this manner. She then uses the Egg of the Void to summon the Fire Dragon to cast it's protection over the city.

Throughout the city the Phoenix begin separating the fighting forces. A tense peace followed the wake of the Phoenix, held in check by the magic of the Phoenix and the shadow of the Fire Dragon.

Matsu Yoshino

Matsu Yoshino

Some time later the Elemental Masters emerge from the palace and meet with the Phoenix officers. Shiba Naoya asks if there are any survivors, but Isawa Emori explains about the gaki that were let loose throughout the palace. Another officer, Shiba Tsukimi, asks what will become of the captured Unicorn Clan Champion Moto Chagatai. The Lion Clan Champion Matsu Yoshino had demanded to be allowed access to him, and also claimed that the Mantis Clan Champion Yoritomo Naizen was somewhere in the city. Ochiai asks Tsukimi to bring Chagatai and Naizen before the Masters. The two are brought forward, and Ochiai asks them to explain the reason for causing the death today. Chagatai says he does not answer to the likes of her, and Naizen says the Mantis owed the Unicorn a debt and to prevent the chaos that would ensue because of the throne being empty. Ochiai explains the reason the Phoenix had intervened, but Naizen mocks her. Just then Akodo Daimyo Akodo Shigetoshi elbows his way through the crowd, and demands that Naizen and Chagatai be turned over for execution. Ochiai however says that no more people will die this day. Shigetoshi draws his blade in protest, and the Phoenix get ready to be charged. Ochiai attempts to persuade Shigetoshi to stand down, but he will not. Tension grows until the Lion Champion Matsu Yoshino arrives and orders Shigetoshi to stand down. Yoshino had been transported there by the Kitsu Daimyo Kitsu Katsuko. Yoshino does not attempt to order the Khan's execution, but instead makes a vow that within one year of this day he will stand in Shiro Moto and kill Chagatai himself.

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