Uninvited Guest

Doji Kisuhan’s brow furrowed as he stared out the window into the bleak landscape. The dust from the fires which raged throughout his lands, fell like snow. He remembered the cool breezes that passed through the blossum trees and in through his window long ago. Now all that was left was a blackened remains, the branches like knarled and sickly claws. For a moment he wished the tree would reach out through the squared opening, punch through his chest and remove his slowly beating heart.

His hand made its way to where he imagined the wound would be, but it was whole. He grlasped his chest and felt the trinket through his robe, the leather strap he had fashion to keep it close to him, still attached. He reached down, still lost in his vision, and pulled out the jade snippet, carved into the shape of a flame.

“Was this where it started?” he thought, “Or was it with them? Did they bring about this chain of events”.

A wrap on the door jolted him from his thoughts. A young woman, dressed in what was once a white robe, but now clearly stained in soot and dirt, stood at the entrance, waiting for a command.

“My lord. You should not have the window open. Its dangerous. You’ll get another infection”, the young woman insisted.

“Perhaps”, Kisuhan objected.

He motioned to the window, and the young woman shuffled quickly across the room to release the claps on the blinds. They clattered to the floor and the room fell dark. Shadows danced about the room as he noticed the woman had not turned to face him. Suddenly he realised he did not recognise her.

“Have I had the pleasure of your company before child?” Kisuhan queried

“No”, she whispered, “but you have met many of those who came before me.”

“Oh?”

Kisuhan stuggled to get to his feet, a raspy wheeze followed his exhale as he stood upright. The woman turned, now brandishing a red bladed knife, carved from a stone Kisuhan had seen several times during his long adverturous life.

“Well it’s about time. So I’m guessing you are one of them?” Kisuhan asked – although it was rhetorical. “My former master had met several of you. Never quite this young though. But there were so many secrets. It was only a matter of time before you showed up here I suppose.”

“Your time, old man, is over. I know I should just leave you to choke on the ashes that my Queen has bestowed upon us, but that would be too easy. Instead, I’m going to kill you now and there isn’t anything or anyone that can stop me”.

“Perhaps. Perhaps not. You are young, and no doubt quicker than I, but you lack clarity child. A skill learned only over time.”

Kisuhan watched as the rage built within the woman’s heart. This is what he wanted. Anger would lead to error, and her error would be an opportunity, perhaps his only one. Her knuckles had turned white as she grasped the blade’s handle.

Kisuhan breathed out as the girl lunged across the room. Today was perhaps his last day in this world, but he knew that if it was, his final moments would be fighting against those who sought to destroy Rokugan…

Legend of the Five Rings - Like Blood in Rain