The Scorpion's Sting

A Midnight Meeting

From the pages of Kirari's journal

First Day of the Minor Clan Court

True to his word, Shintaro met with me at the apportioned hour in the courtyard. It was not so late as to be considered improper, but late enough that most of the courtiers had abandoned the courtyard for their quarters. With any luck, we won’t be the subject of the gossip tomorrow, but if so, I must determine a way to make that to my benefit.

The eldest son of Lord Suzume Satoru does not approve of the match between his younger sister and Kitsune Toshihiro. I can only imagine petty jealousy is at play, but who am I to blame or judge him?

“You two would make a better match,” or so he claims. I wonder if the Fox feels the same.

If the two of us were to wed, it could be a boon for the Crane and the Phoenix both. But if not done delicately, it could do more to sour relations with the Sparrow. Is it better to have a united front among the Minor Clans, or to keep them squabbling amongst themselves?

Have I become a Scorpion? Of course it is better if they are allied, if only because it would benefit the Great Clans more. And what the Crane need right now is another sword in the sheath to rebuff the Lion’s aggression.

But all of this is idle musing if I cannot bear the man called Toshihiro. What sort of man is he? A shugenja, I might guess at his choice of conversation and admiration of the scroll. But can he hold the fire in his hand, or will it burn him?

I walk a delicate line, but curiosity wins out, as it usually does for me.

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