|Unfinished Business, Part II|
|Written By:||Rich Wulf|
|Story Year:||1150, 1159|
Annotated Story Edit
Previously: Unfinished Business
In Traitor's Grove, ten years ago, Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Yojiro is praying. Nearby stands Bayushi Kawamura, the Ghost of Traitor's Grove, who tends the trees in the grove. She asks him if he is still waiting for Him, and Yojiro replies that he has good news for him. Yojiro explains that the Crane Champion had bargained leniency for those spirits who had shown loyalty during the War. That they would be allowed to go through the ritual devised by the Isawa and become mortal, but Kawamura points out that Baku is not like other spirits. Yojiro concedes the point, but says that Baku played the largest part in sealing the victory over the spirit army of the Steel Chrysanthemum by leading the army into the trap at Beiden Pass. Kawamura asks if Yojiro thinks Baku did what he did for the Empire, and Yojiro wonders if she thinks his intentions were not honorable. She points out that little is known about Baku other than his memory was destroyed by the Lying Darkness. Yojiro says Baku's secrets are his own, and asks if he should not trust Baku. Kawamura acknowledges that the bonds of loyalty within the Bayushi family go beyond death, and the same holds true for Baku. Yojiro says that surely that should be enough for Baku to deserve to return to life, should he wish it. Kawamura says he would not accept, and will not serve anyone but the best interests of the Bayushi family. Yojiro points out that the Bayushi serve the Empire, but Kawamura stresses her point. Baku was a vengeful spirit during the Clan War killing any Imperial Legionnaires who were hunting Scorpion, until he encountered Yojiro leading some of them. Yojiro points out that he was commanded to serve the legions at Kachiko's command because Itsuwari had to be protected, and he would lead the legions away from any Scorpion any chance he got. Kawamyra says that the sword is gone now, and Yojiro asks if she is suggesting he failed his duty. Kawamuro replies that she is merely pointing out that Yojiro understands what Baku cannot, loyalty in shades of grey. Yojiro still thinks Baku deserves the ritual as much as any and will offer it to him when they meet again. Kawamura does not think they will meet until Baku is needed once more.
Traitor's Grove, present day, Kawamura is walking the grove. Fewer and fewer visit now, even Yojiro, but a tall figure in soft glowing armor steps into the grove and Kawamura is not surprised. She politely greets Baku, who reveals that he is needed. Kawamura asks how she can help, but Baku asks her to merely remain as she is. Kawamura asks who he has come to fight, and Baky looks towards Kyuden Bayushi and replies that he does not know but will soon find out.
In Kyuden Bayushi, around the same time, Bayushi Yojiro is contemplating the Shadowed Tower. An organization of traitors hidden within the Scorpion Clan, who use dark magic to gain power over the weak because the Scorpion Clan Champion is not willing to. Yojiro has had trouble fighting the Tower and even the Dragon had almost been made aware of this internal struggle, which would not do well for their alliance. Yojiro had eventually discovered that the Tower had been founded by one of his advisors, the returned spirit of Shosuro Furuyari. Furuyari, it seemed, had been a member of the Gozoku and was planning his conquest of the Empire. As an advisor he knew Yojiro's tactics, and as such Yojiro could not counter the Tower. Unknown to everyone but Shosuro Daimyo Shosuro Yudoka and Yogo Daimyo Yogo Koji, Yojiro had passed leadership to another. Now he was free to continue his work against the Tower, and the ruse had already yielded success in the form of three Tower facilities within a days ride of Kyuden Bayushi destroyed. Now Yojiro was standing in the audience chamber of the Scorpion Champion, wearing the roves and plain wooden mask of a monk. He has taken great measures to be unrecognizable, even to those who knew him well.
Yojiro is moving around the chamber, cleaning and blessing shrines, while a courtier named Soshi Aki is reporting on civic unrest in the west and Ryoko Owari Toshi. The Scorpion Champion, whose voice is that of Yojiro thanks to Koji's magic, asks why this report is from Furuyari, a playwright. Aki replies that Furuyari is a concerned citizen of Ryoko Owari, and as an old ally he felt it would be best if it came from him. Yojiro recognizes that Furuyari is attempting to make Yudoka look incompetant, and they could not merely "remove" Furuyari from the picture. "Yojiro" replies that the Emerald Magistrates are too busy with the aftermath of Otosan Uchi. Aki asks if the heir, Hantei Naseru, who lives in Ryoko Owari would not be better protected with Emerald Magistrates there. "Yojiro" points out that the Emerald Champion cares little for Naseru's safety, and that the Yojiro's personal guard shall be sent instead. Yojiro is impressed with his replacement, who subtly points out Yasuki Hachi's dislike for Naseru while countering Aki's attempts to get Emerald Magistrates to the city. The Dragon representative who is present, Mirumoto Rosanjin, volunteers his own troops to help protect Naseru. Yogo Koji asks if the Dragon's support was not with Sezaru, Naseru's brother. Rosanjin points out that they do not wish harm to come to Naseru simply because they support Sezaru. "Yojiro" accepts Rosanjin's offer and asks Aki if there is anything else. Aki has nothing more, and "Yojiro" tells him to leave. Rosanjin is asked to join "Yojiro" for a private meeting. Yojiro eyes Aki as the courtier leaves, wondering if he is an agent of the Tower or merely loyal to the public image of Furuyari. Yojiro checks that no-one is left in the audience chamber before stepping into a secret passage to meet with his successor.
In the private meeting chamber, "Yojiro" is thanking Rosanjin for his assistance with Aki. Rosanjin says he was pleased to help, even if he does not understand why he was asked to do it. "Yojiro" asks him what he means by that, and Rosanjin replies that he suspects Yojiro is trying to get rid of him from the investigation into the Shadowed Tower. "Yojiro" confirms that is why, and Rosanjin is shocked at the blunt truth. "Yojiro" tells Rosanjin that the Shadowed Tower had summoned him there to cause a loss of face. Rosanjin still wishes to help, but "Yojiro" mentions that the Dragon did not ask for help in the Twilight Mountains. Rosanjin is surprised that Yojiro knows about that mission only a few weeks back, and concedes the point that some things are private matters. "Yojiro" thanks Rosanjin for understanding and promises to call upon him if needed, but for now his priority is Naseru. Rosanjin agrees, and suggests that with all this travelling his students back in Dragon lands must be getting fat and lazy. "Yojiro" does not think that will be the case, and Rosanjin thanks him again before bowing and leaving.
"Yojiro" makes his way to the Chamber of Swords, the chamber which is used to determine the identity of the true ruler of the Scorpion. Yudoka steps out of the shadows behind the door and comments on how clever Rosanjin is. "Yojiro" agrees, but asks Yudoka how long he has been following him. Yudoka laughs, but reports instead that his informant is close to learning the location of the Shadower Tower headquarters. "Yojiro" is concerned the informant may have been comprimised, and Yudoka promises to monitor the situation. Suddenly he senses someone, and his hand goes to his weapon. An armored figure materializes in the room and knocks Yudoka to the ground. Before the intruder can finish him, Yudoka retreats into the shadows. The intruder turns to face "Yojiro", who has now drawn the Celestial Sword of the Scorpion. "Yojiro" recognizes the intruder as Baku, and Baku reveals he has come for vengeance. "Yojiro" is confused and asks who the vengeance is against, and Baku says it is because the Scorpion have turned upon themselves. Baku has come to confront Yojiro because he can sense something wrong with him. "Yojiro" suggests he is mistaken, as he has been gone for many years. Baku is angry and lifts his blade as if to strike Yojiro. The champion dodged to one side but Baku changed the direction of the strike. "Yojiro" barely brought Churetsu up in time to block, and the force of the strike connected with Yojiro's steel and porcelain mempo shattering it.
The magical illusion had been shattered by Baku's magic sword, and the pale blue eyes of Bayushi Sunetra look back up at Baku from the floor. Baku is confused and asks her who she is. She names herself and calls herself the Scorpion Clan Champion, and carefully picks up Churetsu among the many other fallen blades. The nightingale floors behind the creek, and Baku turns to see Yojiro. Baku asks Yojiro what has become of him, and who this woman is who bears his name and mask. Yojiro explains that she is his successor, and suggests that Baku notice which room they are in. Baku looks around him and down on Sunetra before he turns to Yojiro and says that she is not Scorpion. He can sense the Crane in her, but Sunetra counters that she can see Jigoku in him, so what does that m. Baku cannot think of a reply. Yojiro explains how Sunetra was fostered from the Daidoji family, and chose to remain with the Scorpion after her gempukku. Baku understands, and offers a hand to help Sunetra to her feet. Suddenly Yudoka appears, placing himself between Baku and Sunetra with a katana of pure crystal. He strikes at Baku, but stops inches away when Sunetra cries out for him to stop. Sunetra explains that Baku understand now, and Yudoka replies that he will fetch Koji to heal her wounds and restore the illusion. As Sunetra's hand touches Baku's his head is filled with memories of her past, her brother, entering into the service of the Anvil and becoming Yojiro in this ruse. Yojiro asks Baku is he sees the truth now, and Baku replies that he does. Sunetra asks him if he will help them. Balu says he must think on the matter, and that they may wish that Yudoka had killed him when they had the chance. Baku leaves, and Sunetra mentions how strange she thinks he is. Yojiro says she should not be so harsh on him, as he serves with blind loyalty but does not know why. It is hard to remain true to oneself if one cannot remember who one is. Sunetra points out that neither of them are who they say they are. Yojiro points out that they still remember who they are, and that is all that will guide them through the shadows. Sunetra quotes "Honor is my guide", and Yojiro thinks Shinsei must have said it. She reveals it was her brother, and Yojiro nods. Sunetra places the Celestial Sword in its place in the Chamber of Swords and closes the door to the chamber behind her.
- Bayushi Yojiro
- Bayushi Kawamura
- Bayushi Baku
- "Bayushi Yojiro"
- Soshi Aki
- Mirumoto Rosanjin
- Yogo Koji
- Shosuro Yudoka
Not Present, But Mentioned Edit
- Shosuro Furuyari - "Gozoku member"
- Crane Champion
- Steel Chrysanthemum
- Hantei Naseru
- Yasuki Hachi
- Sunetra's Brother
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