It was a cold damp wind that blew across the Kyodai na Kabe sano Kita. The warrior stared head longed into the Mountains that formed the Great Wall of the North, the moisture freezing instantly on his splendid Emerald and Gold colored armor. The Oracle had spoken.
Like a moth to the Flame the warrior knew where he must go and that the flame could burn him if he was not careful. He paused again to reflect on he heard, for the Oracle had spoken.
“Shu’ Jin, we must return to Shiro Mirumoto, the Waha’ tatsu must be told of the words of the Oracle” the monk’s clear, sharp voice contrasting with the dull moans and groans of the sharp and bitter winds.
“Waha’ tatsu” the warrior paused “already knows what the Oracle said.” The warrior’s armor heaved as he made a slight turn to look at the monk. “I do not doubt that our Laughing Dragon, the waha’ tatsu, the Champion of the Dragon Clan, Mirumoto Shikei knew what the Oracle would say long before we were sent here.” He turned back to the wind.
“Shu’ Jin” the monk waited to see if the warrior would react. The pause was awkwardly long before he continued. “If Mirumoto Shikei knows then it is our most important duty to inform our Lord that the words have been spoken. It is not the knowledge of the words that bring forth the power but the sound of the words that bring forth the truth.”
“Spoken like a true Ise Zumi, guidance and answers in the form of riddles.” The Warrior turned; a frozen tear stung his cheek. “The Oracle has spoken and Dragon will answer her call.” A glare of hatred was frozen on his face. “The Dragon will move on the fallen tower and conflict with Right Hand of the Emperor will follow.” He paused without looking at the monk. “How many mothers will lose their sons? How many sons will lose their fathers? How many wives will lose their husbands? How many children will the Dragon lose?”
The monk did not reply.
The warrior began to walk, his armor creaked as the ice broke free. “I go to inform the Laughing Dragon that the path laid before us cannot be altered, we march head long into confrontation.” The face of the monk changed as if he had already realized what the Warrior was about to say. “The Oracle has said there will be war; she did not say that the Dragon would win the war.”
“Togashi Noboro, you know as well as I once the power of the word has been spoken we must do what we must do. We cannot alter our paths as simply as a moth cannot alter it fatal attraction to the flame.”
“I truly wish I could say you spoke wisely.” The remaining part of the sentence was left unsaid.
Akodo Dairuko sat quietly on her chair. The flickering candle light made it difficult to concentrate on a single item in the room. Silence hung across the room as even the breathing of the dozen or so individuals in the room barely registered. As the third child in her family she was used to waiting, as the Daimyo of the Lion Clan it was not in her nature to be patient. She glanced once at her Hatomoto to make sure they were hearing the words spoken by the scout, one single glance, a single connection of the eyes let her know understanding was mutual.
The Daimyo of the Lion Clan quickly returned her focus to the scout. Like most Matsu the scout spoke only of what she was sure of, regardless of what the individual’s intuition and gut instinct said, what she said was simply fact. It was the responsibility of the Daimyo to question the fact, to question that fact until she knew the truth.
Her voice was clear, collected and deliberate when the Daimyo finally spoke. “The banners of the Togashi have been seen in Kyuden Tonbo. The war camps have been spotted in the valley north of the City.” Akodo Dairuko looked again at her Hatomoto for nearly a fraction of a second and back to the scout. “The houses of the Dragon have long been allies of the children of the Fallen Tower, why does a few banners among many change anything.”
The scout did not answer at first. She looked first at her Daimyo, then at each of the Hatomoto in turn, she focused on young Matsu lord. He made a simple gesture with a hand and the air in the room was released. “I have not seen the banner with my own eyes.” The scout paused. “The Banner of the Laughing Dragon comes to Kyden Tonbo.”
No one breathed. The sound of their own heart beats filled everyone’s ears. The hatomoto dared not even move. Slowly as if a trance was lifted Akodo Dairuko spoke “The Laugh Dragon has left the heights and contemplation and acts.” She turned to the Hatomoto and continued. “War has come are we prepared?”
A voice of another filled the room, “Surely the Emperor must be told.” And then another responded “The Laugh Dragon does not come quietly the Emperor must already know.” A third voice was heard “The first sacrifice in war is honor." to which a fourth voice intoned "Honor has already been sacrificed.”
To be Continued ...
As a note my friend Jim and I have pulled out our figures and are some what planning on a series of games in the continuation of the Dragon and Lion Clan conflict. Our first battle scheduled later this month should have 4,000 koku a side. Pictures and Story to follow.