Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 7:10 am
Latest Fiction : Broken Tiger
((First, a few notes about this fiction. You might note if you read the story prize information about Broken Tiger that the results do not precisely match the promised story prize. However, shortly after this tournament, the Story Team was asked if we planned to resolve Kaelung's ongoing sub-plot with this Dragon story prize win, and the opportunity was just too good to pass up. While we generally adhere firmly to the prize that was offered, in this case the benefit to the ongoing story was too good (and too appropriate) to pass up. I hope you enjoy it.))
By Shawn Carman & Rich Wulf
The castle had known many names during its thousand year existence. Kyuden Togashi. The High House of Light. Kyuden Hitomi. In all of its incarnations, the castle was home to the mysterious tattooed orders of the Dragon Clan, the most enigmatic of all the Emperor’s servants. Though the Hitomi and Hoshi orders had been founded only within the last century, the Togashi had dwelt here since the first days of Rokugan. It was thus ironic that while the Hitomi were known as brutal warriors and the Hoshi were recognized as enlightened teachers, the Togashi remained the least understood of the Three Orders. Their master was Togashi Satsu, the Champion of the Dragon, and quite appropriately he was the most mysterious of them all. This was his home.
The castle’s interior was a dark maze of seemingly random, interlocking chambers. Some were shrines, some meditation rooms, and many served no immediately obvious purpose. It was in one such chamber, empty of any features save a simple woven mat bearing a tea set and a series of candles, that the Dragon Champion and his lady sat facing one another, lost in meditation. The elderly monk, Hoshi Wayan, knelt nearby. Somewhere in the shadows, a door opened, allowing light to fill the chamber. There was a pause, then a gruff apology from the hulking figure that filled the doorway.
“Welcome, Kaelung,” Togashi Satsu said without opening his eyes. “Please, join us.”
There was another tense moment of silence. Finally, the door closed and Kaelung sat before them in the lotus position, his breath coming quickly at first but soon adjusting to the slow, steady, familiar pattern of meditative breathing. He bowed before Satsu, feeling somewhat foolish for doing so while the Dragon lord’s eyes were still closed.
“It is a pleasure to have you among us once again,” Satsu said, returning the bow. “This is my wife, Misuko. You know Wayan already”
Kaelung studied her thoughtfully. The Dragon Champion’s bride was small and petite, with lustrous black hair and delicate features turned up in a smile. She looked like the sort of beauty that would be more at home among the courts of the Crane or Scorpion, but she was perfectly serene and at ease here in the palace of the Dragon.
“Welcome back, Kaelung,” Wayan said, looking at Kaelung with an unreadable expression.
“Greetings, Wayan,” Kaelung said stiffly. “I thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Satsu-sama.” He looked at Wayan and Misuko thoughtfully. “Though to be truthful I had hoped that I might meet with you in private.”
“What you have to say concerns Misuko and Wayan as well,” Satsu said simply. “My wife was once of the Order of Hoshi, the order you abandoned. They have a right to hear the tale you would tell.”
Kaelung frowned but did not argue. “As you wish, my lord.” He drew a deep breath.
“You have come here because of Hitomi Kobai,” Satsu said. “You have come here seeking forgiveness for the Mirumoto you killed.”
Kaelung’s brow furrowed. “I am surprised Kenzo told you all of that,” he said.
Satsu’s eyes opened. The shone a brilliant, lustrous gold. “Kenzo told me nothing,” he replied. “He left the High House of Light directly for Otosan Uchi under my command as soon as the Shamesword he found was in trustworthy hands. I know why you are here because I see what is obvious. But there is always more, is there not?”
“Hai, my lord,” Kaelung replied. “I do not expect forgiveness. I fear that for what I have done, there is no forgiveness. When the Dragon Clan failed to bring Kokujin to justice years ago, I left and sought out those whom I believed could help me, an order founded with the goal of rebuilding the entire the Celestial Order.”
“The Kolat,” Satsu said. “I know of them.”
Kaelung looked at Satsu in mild surprise. “Most believe the Kolat destroyed, if they believe they ever existed at all.”
“Secrets do not die so easily,” Satsu replied. “My grandfather listed the Kolat among the Empire’s deadliest enemies as well as its strongest allies.”
“Strange that Yokuni would think of them as allies,” Kaelung answered. “His destruction would have been among their goals.”
“Let mortals plot against the gods,” Wayan said. “They forget that the gods have plans for them as well.”
“As for your forgiveness…” Satsu smiled slightly. “What is forgiveness? An illusion. Some insist that one must be worthy of forgiveness, but if one is worthy, what need is there to forgive? Are you worthy, Kaelung?”
“No,” he answered at once. “No, I am not.”
“A worthy answer,” Misuko replied. She laughed lightly but there was no mockery in the sound. Kaelung had the peculiar feeling that Satsu’s wife laughed at the world itself.
“Tell us of the path that brought you here, Kaelung,” Satsu said at last. “That is the only way to know where the future must lead.”
Kaelung drew a deep breath, and began.
The Dragon Heart Plain, eight years ago
Kaelung stopped and knelt to examine the path. The marks were there, although not fresh. His quarry had come through here perhaps two days ago, no doubt headed toward the next village. Kaelung rose and stared at the path as it wound across the plain and disappeared toward the south. There was no traffic here to speak of, so finding the path at all had been something of a surprise. It was most likely worn down by grazing animals as they moved along the plain. He absently withdrew a flask from his robes and took a long drink of water. He had been on the trail since dawn, and would likely continue well into the night. Under different circumstances, the effort might tire him. When on the hunt, however, fatigue could wait until his prey was defeated.
The most remote portions of Dragon Heart Plain were home to a ruined castle that had once been called Shiro Chuda. Once, a thriving village had surrounded it, but now there were only the castle’s cold, stone remnants to mark where the Snake Clan had once lived. The Snake had long since been destroyed by the Phoenix Clan for their sinister practices. The place was cursed, most believed, and generally avoided. That was not to say, however, that nothing ever came here.
Weeks ago, a foolish trio of Phoenix had braved the recent war to seek lost knowledge in the Chuda ruins. The fools had awakened a special breed of oni sleeping beneath the ruins. Kaelung found the trio dead on the plains, their smoldering corpses easily dismissed as a by-product of an unseemly war. The three creatures that they had awakened now roamed free, one for each soul they had taken. They plagued the local villages for weeks. Kaelung had been hunting them, one by one, until now only one remained.
Alone, this far from the hidden sanctums of the Jade Sect, Kaelung had been forced to do what he must to survive. At first, he hunted and foraged. Now, fortunately, that was no longer necessary. Marking the oni’s trail in his mind, he made his way toward the main road. The local farmers used this path to deliver rice to the magistrate farther north. Just as he reached the road, he saw the usual group of peasants trudging over the hill. The monk’s face split into a wide grin and he held up one hand in greeting.
The old man walking in the lead looked up from his bundle and stopped in his tracks for the briefest of moments, then raised his hand and waved back.
“Konnichiwa, Kyobei!” the sohei called out. “How are you, friend?”
“Kaelung!” the peasant replied. “I am well! Inari has blessed us this season, Fortunes be praised.”
The monk bowed as the peasants reached him, smiling and greeting each by name before turning his attention back to their leader. “How is your daughter, Kyobei?” he asked in a more serious voice. “Has she recovered?”
“Oh yes,” the man said with a relieved look. “She is not yet back in the fields, but she is helping with the household chores again. The herb poultices you left us helped her recover from the worst of the wounds. We…” the man’s voice grew soft, subdued. “We can never thank you enough, Kaelung-sama.”
“Nonsense.” Kaelung waved the comment away. “You and your friends have been a great help to me in return.” He pulled a smaller, empty sack from his travel pack. “May I?”
“Yes, of course.” The peasants sat their bushels down and Kaelung moved to each one, taking a handful or two that would not be missed. Once he had taken from each bushel, his bag was full once more. As he tied off his bag, he noticed that the farmers were staring at him openly. He recognized the fear and shame behind their eyes.
He turned to Kyobei with a snarl. “Why?” he demanded.
“I am sorry, Kaelung,” the farmer whispered. “We had no choice.”
Kaelung dropped the sack of rice and turned, hefting his axe, just as hoofbeats resounded from around the bend in the road. Three samurai galloped toward him, Mirumoto by their mon and colors. The farmers scattered and dove into the ditch beside the road in terror, leaving their wagons behind. Only Kyobei remained, though he fell prostrate before the samurai.
“Hoshi Kaelung!” the leader shouted. “By the authority of the Emerald Champion, you are under arrest! Will you come peacefully?”
Kaelung sneered as the men dismounted and moved to surround him. “I am not a Hoshi,” he said. “And what crimes have I committed?”
“Robbing the Emperor’s tax coffers, for one,” the lead samurai said, gesturing toward the bushels.
“The war must be going poorly for you if it takes three men to defend a few handfuls of rice,” Kaelung said.
The samurai took no notice of Kaelung’s barb. “You are also under arrest for the murder of Mirumoto Masazumi.”
“I know no such person,” Kaelung growled.
“Your lies will not save you, killer,” the lead samurai said as he drew his blades. “Enough talk. Submit to us, or we will take your resistance as admission of guilt and deliver your head to Lord Uso.”
Kaelung thought of the beast he hunted, trudging ever southward. “I have no time for this insanity,” he snapped. His centipede tattoo moved in a twisting coil around his neck. He felt a rush of speed surge through his limbs. He would be gone before the samurai struck the first blow.
“No, my lord, please!” Kyobei shouted, stepping between Kaelung and the Mirumoto. “Kaelung is an honorable man! He saved us from demons! He taught us to fight them!”
The Mirumoto sneered at the peasant and lifted his swords, and Kaelung saw the peasant’s death in his eyes. Kaelung’s fist crashed into the samurai’s face, shattering his mempo in an explosion of blood and sending him sprawling into the mud, dead. The other two Mirumoto drew their blades hurriedly and charged as Kyobei hurried away. The first made a deft strike with his wakizashi, forcing Kaelung to catch him by the wrist. His katana followed, slicing the air with lethal force. Kaelung fell backward, kicking the man’s elbow with all his momentum. A snap of bone and scream of pain followed as his swords tumbled from his hands. Kaelung twisted as he fell, hurling the pain-wracked samurai into his charging companion.
The last Mirumoto stumbled, drawing back just in time to keep from impaling his friend. Then Kaelung was upon him, striking with his axe. A single, savage blow and the man fell limp on the path. Kaelung stood in the center of the road, blood streaming from his axe, his breath coming in heavy gasps. The surviving samurai knelt in the ditch, cradling his shattered arm, scowling up at Kaelung in rage.
“You peasants would betray your lord to defend a murderer?” the samurai hissed. “You will all share in his punishment for this!”
Kaelung looked down at the man with a mixture of anger and sadness. Whatever had happened in Nanashi Mura, there was only one way to keep Kyobei and his village from sharing his punishment now. His axe fell a final time, and the last Mirumoto dropped dead beside the others.
“Kaelung-sama, what have you done?” Kyobei asked in a terrified voice. “Is it true what they have said?”
Kaelung looked down at the farmer with a frown. “If you mean to ask me if I am a killer,” he replied, “Then the answer is yes, for now I have killed three men. When more samurai come, and they ask you what happened, tell them that you fled during the battle. Tell them that there was no way to stop me.”
The old farmer looked up at Kaelung in doubt, but then understanding reflected in his withered features. “Yes, Kaelung-sama,” he said sadly. “I understand.”
“Give my regards to your daughter,” the sohei replied. “You will not see me again.” Then Kaelung vanished from the path as he fell into pursuit of his prey once more.
The High House of Light, the Present
“You acted rashly, Kaelung,” Satsu said, though there was no heat in his voice. It was a mere statement of fact. “The first two men were killed in the rush of battle, to defend an innocent. But the third…”
“I believed greater harm would come to Kyobei’s village if the other samurai was allowed to escape,” Kaelung said.
“And that has always been your weakness, Kaelung,” Wayan added. “You have so little faith in others. For that village to be punished, Mirumoto Tesai would have to report to his superiors. Who is to say that his superior would not recognize the foolishness of punishing peasants for the action of a renegade monk? Who is to say that Tesai would not have come to his senses once his pain and anger had passed?”
“The Dragon do not indulge in violence for the sake of violence, Kaelung,” Satsu said. “Revenge is not our way. Someone would have seen the truth, and acted to defend those people. You should have had faith in that.”
“With all due respect, Satsu-sama,” Kaelung said, “that has not been my experience. Relying on others to do what is right leads only to disappointment and failure.”
“Your own story proves that a lie, Kaelung,” Misuko answered. “Look at the simple farmer, Kyobei. Did he not risk himself to defend you? A peasant stood against three armed samurai in the name of justice, in the name of his friend. Do you truly believe no one else among the Dragon would do the same?”
Kaelung bowed his head and closed his eyes. “Your words shame me, my lady. You are right. I have murdered a man and I am undeserving of redemption. Judge me if you will, but this is not the purpose of telling you what happened on that day. This is mere prologue for my true purpose here.”
“Oh?” Satsu said with sudden interest. “Then tell us the rest.”
“The rest begins,” Kaelung replied, “With a man who I call the Broken Tiger.”
Several Weeks Ago, the Northern Mountains
The door of the small teahouse burst open with a crash. Kaelung charged through, axe held high. To his surprise he found only a little old man seated at the small table, sipping from a porcelain cup. The rest of the room was caked with dust and debris. This way station was one of many on the lonely roads of the Dragon, lonelier now since the Rain of the Blood. The area had been largely abandoned. Now only ghosts lived here. Ghosts, and this man.
“You are Mirumoto Koshiro,” Kaelung said with a growl. He let his axe fall heavily, the blade splitting the low table and upending the teapot.
Koshiro looked at the blade with a small frown. “I hope you will not offer me violence just yet, Kaelung,” he said. “We have a great deal to discuss.”
“Then you had best speak quickly for what I already know has made me angry,” Kaelung answered. “Eight years ago I was accused of the murder of Mirumoto Masazumi, the magistrate of Nanashi Mura. Days ago, I received this.”
Kaelung tossed a folded scrap of parchment on the shattered table. It was yellowed with age but the writing was still legible. The script was a complex cipher but easily legible to those trained by the Kolat. It was an order for Mirumoto Masazumi’s assassination, signed with Koshiro’s own symbol. As the old samurai reached for the document, Kaelung glimpsed the symbol of a tiger tattooed on the back of his hand. He studied the document for nearly a minute, sipping his tea quietly.
“I will not deny it,” Koshiro said in a tired voice. “I am an agent of the Tiger Sect. It is my duty, my purpose to insure that Kolat remain secret, and our agents remain loyal. Masazumi had made some disturbing discoveries. It was necessary that he be silenced.”
“And that I be blamed?” Kaelung demanded.
Koshiro chuckled. “Of course,” he said. “The Jade Sect, of which you are a part, is used to operating independently. Such independence sometimes breeds disturbing habits. It is necessary that such agents recognize the Kolat as their only true ally. Master Tiger thought that you might regret having left the Dragon Clan. He wanted to insure that continued loyalty to the Kolat was your only option.”
“This is how the Kolat repay my loyalty?” Kaelung growled. “By forcing me to kill Dragon samurai?”
“Repay?” Koshiro asked with a laugh. “Master Jade saved your life. The Jade Sect gave you purpose. The Kolat owe you nothing.”
Kaelung loomed over Koshiro, one hand resting on the haft of his axe.
“I am an old man, Kaelung,” Koshiro answered. “If you wish to kill me, do so, but spare me your intimidation. I have no patience for it. How do you think you came into possession of this document?” He looked up at the sohei calmly.
“I do not know where it came from,” Kaelung admitted. “One of the local farmers offered it to me fearfully, saying it had appeared in his home. It was addressed to me and bore the symbol of the Tiger. The peasants still know to fear such symbols, so they gave it to me swiftly.”
“I sent you this document, Kaelung,” Koshiro said. “I wished you to know the truth.”
“Why?” Kaelung demanded. “What game is this?”
“Do you believe there was a time when there were no Kolat agents among the Dragon Clan?” Koshiro asked. “When Togashi ruled in his many guises, he could infallibly spot our infiltration. Any Kolat agents were either slain by him or turned to his own purpose. Eventually the Masters learned to stop trying. After Togashi died, things changed. Where Yokuni was a god, Satsu is just a man. The Hidden Temple soon seeded its agents among the Dragon, and soon even the High House of Light was no mystery to us. Or so we thought.” Koshiro suddenly looked even older than he was, and very tired.
Kaelung sat down across from Koshiro, though he kept his hand on his axe. “What do you mean?” he asked.
“Togashi Satsu has grown in power in recent years,” Koshiro said. “With each passing day he grows more like his grandfather. His wisdom and foresight increase. When Master Tiger received your report of the events in the Twilight Mountains and learned how Satsu had taken the form of a true dragon, he was concerned. For years he has waited, but now the time has finally come. Rather than risk facing a new Togashi, Master Tiger plans to kill Satsu.”
Kaelung’s face twisted into a deep scowl. “If you believe I will aid the Kolat in such a venture,” he said, “you are badly mistaken.”
Koshiro’s expression brightened, if only briefly. “Good,” he said. “Good. I have served Satsu loyally for years, watched him grow from a boy into a man. Though I have served the Kolat all my life… Satsu is my lord. I find I cannot betray him, Kaelung. Such guile is not within me.” The old Dragon smiled bitterly. “Perhaps Master Tiger is right. Perhaps Satsu truly has gained the power to subvert loyal agents as his grandfather once did… and I am the first.”
“Why would you tell me of this?” Kaelung demanded
“Because Satsu is not the only one marked for death, Kaelung,” Koshiro said, looking at Kaelung meaningfully.
“Me?” Kaelung asked, and felt an uncomfortable ripple of fear. Few could escape the assassins of the Lotus Sect for long. “Why me? Why would Master Jade allow such a thing?”
“I do not know,” Koshiro said. “I can only guess that in the end Master Jade’s war against the Shadowlands is more valuable than his soldiers. Perhaps rather than risk losing Tiger’s support he is prepared to abandon you to your fate. Such is the way of the Kolat, Kaelung. All of us are pawns in the eyes of the Masters. Some of us merely survive longer in the game than others.” Koshiro sipped his tea again before setting the empty cup among the remains of the table. “You are not the first, Kaelung. I have lived a long life in the Kolat’s service. I have sent many good men to their deaths, noble men who believed in the righteousness of our cause. I have a great deal of blood on my hands…” He looked up at Kaelung directly, and now there was steel in his gaze. “Yet there comes a time for all of us when we can endure no more dishonor. No more heroes will die in the name of a greater good. I will not let you do die, Kaelung. I will not let Satsu die.”
“What must I do?” Kaelung asked, his voice now quiet and sober.
“Take this,” Koshiro said, picking up a silk-bound scroll from the floor beside him and offering it to the sohei. “It contains Tiger’s plan against Satsu, as well as many other secrets. Master Tiger will soon know I have given you this. Share it with lord Satsu, quickly. For as long as you possess this knowledge the Tiger will fear to face you. He will fear the damage you would do to the Ten Orders.”
“I could destroy the Kolat?” Kaelung asked.
“Unlikely,” Koshiro replied. “They would kill you, but you could do them a great deal of damage. The knowledge within this book would set them back decades if exposed. The Masters are patient. So long as you do nothing, they will be willing to compromise. So long as you know what this ledger contains, they will be content to avoid you. They will wait for you to die of natural causes then proceed with their plans accordingly. As for Satsu, I suspect not all of the Masters know of Tiger’s plan, and not all would agree with it. Once he fails to kill the Dragon Lord once, no doubt Master Steel will move to prevent him from acting in such a dangerous manner again. Satsu will be safe, at least for a time.”
“I will be safe, Satsu will be safe,” Kaelung said. “What about you, Koshiro?”
“What about me?” the old man asked. “I have given you enough knowledge to be a threat, Kaelung, but I still know much more that I have not revealed. The Kolat will endure many things, but they will not endure what they call a Broken Tiger. They will come for me, and I suspect not even Lord Satsu can stop them.” He smiled sadly. “It is better to wait here for them, and be content in the knowledge that in the end I stood beside my true lord, a lord who does not treat his servants as pawns.”
“You will just wait here to die alone?” Kaelung asked, a hint of disgust in his voice.
“No,” Koshiro said. “I will not be alone. A Mirumoto always has friends at his side.” He rested his right hand on the two swords that lay on the floor beside him and looked at Kaelung with a deadly grin. “Now go, my friend. Hurry.”
Kaelung quickly tucked the ledger into his obi, picked up his axe, and rose. He stopped at the door, bowing at the old samurai a final time, and hurried off down the road.
The High House of Light, the present
Kaelung placed the ledger on the floor between himself and Satsu, looking at its silk-wrapped cover with severe expression. “This book’s secrets are yours now, Lord Satsu,” Kaelung said. “There is a great deal within the pages that I found disturbing, and I do not relish the discomfort it will bring you to learn the truth about so many of Rokugan’s loyal samurai, but I hope that its secrets will protect you and your family.”
“You have our thanks, Kaelung-san,” Misuko said, taking up the journal.
“That is all I truly have to offer,” Kaelung said. “I spoke to Kenzo of forgiveness but I expect none. Punish me for my crimes as you deem just. I have done my part.”
“What of the threat to our lord’s life?” Wayan asked sharply. “You have mentioned no details of how the Kolat plan to kill him.”
“Kaelung does not speak of it because there is no need,” Satsu said. “The danger has already passed.”
Wayan looked from Satsu to Kaelung in confusion. Kaelung’s eyes were wide with surprise. “Explain, please,” Wayan begged.
“Assassins thrive on those who follow daily routines,” Kaelung answered. “Satsu’s daily activities are anything but routine, so instead they planned to strike at him indirectly. Lady Misuko ascends Togashi Mountain each evening to pray to Lord Hoshi. A band of Lotus assassins had planned to kidnap her, draw out Satsu, and kill him as well. I met them there first, killed them all, and disposed of their bodies in the mountain stream. How could you know that the danger had passed, Satsu?”
“The Kolat believe that Satsu’s power grows to rival his grandfather’s,” Misuko replied. “That fear is well founded. They were fools to believe they could move on Togashi Mountain unseen.”
Satsu said nothing, only stared at Kaelung with his cool, golden gaze.
“You knew?” Kaelung asked. “You knew that your wife was in danger yet you did nothing?”
“There was no need for me to act, Kaelung,” he said. “Destiny cannot be turned from its path, though it may stumble. If I had acted against them, or Misuko had, we would have denied your destiny.” He looked at the bandages on Kaelung’s right arm, the bandages that covered the burns where his Kolat tattoo had once been. “It is one thing to decide to do what is difficult, Kaelung. It is quite another to do it. You are worthier than you realize.”
“So we are done here, then?” Wayan asked. “Kaelung is no longer welcome in the Kolat. Will he continue to wander as a monk?”
“I think not,” Satsu said. “The death of Mirumoto Tesai was unwarranted. Those deeds must still be answered for.”
Kaelung looked levelly at Satsu. “Say what I must do, my lord, and I will do it.”
“You have taken a life from us,” the Dragon lord replied. “You owe us another.”
“You wish me to die, then?” Kaelung asked without fear. “So be it.”
“No,” Satsu answered. “Death is too easy a thing to give, Kaelung. I asked for a life. That is much more difficult.”
Kaelung’s eyes widened as he realized the full import of Satsu’s words. He bowed as deeply as he could, forehead touching the floor. It was for the best, as lowering his face hid the moistness now growing in his eyes. “My life is yours, Lord Satsu, till death and beyond,” he said. “This I swear.”
Satsu stood and beckoned to Kaelung with one hand. “Then rise, Hoshi Kaelung, and join us once more.”
The Hidden Temple
The door to the library flew open with a thunderous report, sending the few occupants within scattering in every direction. A man stormed in, his featureless face obscured by the fleeting shadows that crawled across his skin.
“Tiger!” the man snarled, his voice strangely hollow and distant.
“There’s no need to shout, Jade,” a quiet response came. Master Tiger looked up from writing in his thick book. His face, as ever, was concealed behind a golden mask.
“What have you done?” Master Jade demanded, stalking to Tiger’s desk.
“What I have done,” Master Tiger said patiently, “is relieve you of an unpredictable subordinate.” Even Tiger’s eyes were invisible behind the mask, but his tone was mocking. “Honestly, I would have expected better of you than this petty anger.”
“Kaelung was a valued agent,” Master Jade snarled. “Your failed assassination of the Dragon Champion was foolish and turned him against us.”
“Did it?” Tiger countered. “He still fights the Shadowlands. He still seeks Kokujin. Nothing has changed; he serves us as surely as he ever did. As for my ‘failed’ assassination, I was unaware that I was required to explain my plans and motivations to you, but out of respect for a fellow Master I will tell you this. Satsu’s death was never my objective, and now he has revealed much of the true extent of his powers. He believes we are frightened. He believes what Koshiro revealed to them can harm us. He knows no more than I wish him to know.”
“The mewling rationalizations of a man whose plan has failed,” Jade hissed. “I think your games are too dangerous, Tiger.”
“And I think your obsession with the Shadowlands leads you to trust too easily,” Tiger replied. “It blinds you to our true goals.”
“Then perhaps the time for our goals is past,” Master Jade replied. His featureless face radiated rage and malice. Turning on his heel, he marched out of the library once more.
Master Tiger watched his fellow Master’s explosion with curious silence then, with silent purpose, he continued writing in his book.
Interesting fiction , though it's difficult to say how much this will really affect the Kolat. I suspect Master Tiger will have Master Jade removed sooner or later and a new Master Jade promoted. And it shows the Dragon in a favourable light , making them potentially important in the future if the Kolat become a major threat to the Empire again
Time to press for a Unicorn/Dragon alliance to allow Shono and the Usagi to share such useful information . I'd never have expected a Mirumoto to hold a position of importance within the Kolat ,least of all in the Tiger Sect but Koshiro's portrayal was really spot on I think
Here's hoping Masasue takes a similar stance at some point...
Unicorn Clan Shugenja*Storyteller*Jade Hand Aspirant