The Scorpion's Sting

Journey to Kyuden Suzume

From the pages of Kirari's journal

First Day

Today we depart from Tsuma. We have spent the last week preparing for the journey and fashioning the gifts to be presented at the court. I have spent most of my time perfecting the mantras for a unique version of the Legacy of Kami no Kaze. After four days of spell research and one day of calligraphy it is complete. When read with pure intention, the kami of air fashion the breeze into a sparrow to fly a short message from one individual to another. I know that the Sparrow are not known for their shugenja, but I hope they see it as a gesture of friendship and trust on the part of the Phoenix.

Yesterday I tricked Kakita Itsuma into taking me to the kimono-maker where he purchased his extravagant robe at the beginning of his travels. I purchased a fine kimono of my own, as well as makeup and a courtier’s fan to match.

I have been considering our mission and the whispers of my own heart. With Shiba Yuki gone into the mountains, I am more alone than I have ever felt in my entire life. Since my gempukku I have longed to be rid of a yojimbo, to journey freely on my own, but now that it has come to fruition I admit that I feel lost.

I see the bond between Kakita Tensen and his wife Kasumi and wonder if perhaps there is someone out there for me. Someone in whom I can confide my troubles and with whom I can share my victories. Someone who will support and encourage me rather than protect and restrict me. Perhaps even love me.

The Minor Clan Court will be the first time I have met so many new faces in one place, and I cannot shake the feeling that I may meet someone there. And if a match can seal an alliance between the minor clans and the Crane and Phoenix… would I be able to marry for duty and not love?

I must meditate on this.


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