|Step One: 20 Goblin Winter
Author: RogueMoon PM
*complete* A short fiction about the ronin Sorano, who is on a journey to rejoin the Crane clan. But all journeys start with a single step. His first step is the famous 20 Goblin Winter. Sorano is my creation and PC for the HoR campaignRated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,741 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 10-13-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3834320
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Step One: 20 Goblin Winter
A one shot Legend of the Five Rings fiction by RogueMoon.
The young man with long, bleached white hair, walked down the bustling main street of the small town. The hair and wakizashi were all that made him stand out from the peasants around him. Everything else about him, and even those two things to some extent, were entirely forgettable. His clothing was of corse cotten and stained a grey-brown from the dust of a many a road. His face, though soft and unlined, was nothing if not unremarkable. He looked like every other samurai, and even some himein, that came through the town.
Sadly, it was this very thing that had set him on the path he now walked. Southward, towards Crab lands. To the Wall.
He had left the Crane on a warriors pilgrimage shortly after his gempukku almost two years ago. The son of small twig on the Daidoji family tree, not much was expected of him in the way of training and after years of trouble in speaking with the air kami, his daimyo and teachers had agreed to let him seek training on his own. At the time he had been greatful.
He returned to the lands of his Clan a little before harvest time and attempted to gain entry as a member, as he rightfully should have been allowed to. But the gaurds who sent the proper inquaries to verify his papers informed him almost a week later that no records of his past life existed. They were not mean about asking him to leave the Crane lands, but they were not kind either.
Sorano stopped at a small merchants booth that was selling a few peices of clothing. He picked up a straw hat and tossed the pesant 3 zeni, the price the woman was loudly advertising them at, and then continued on his way. He still had over 5 koku left from when he had begun his journey to center himself. His clan had provided well for him then.
The preist sighed and shifted his cloak so it covered his shoulders better. Perhaps if he could prove himself to the Crane, they would allow him back into his family. But to do that, he would have to prove worthy to join all of the other great clans of rokugan. Excellence demanded no less. For if he was not worthy to join the other clans, then how could he be worthy to join the greatest of the eight?
oooSeveral Months Laterooo
Sorano held his breath and hugged his body to the rock wall. The Shadowlands were all he had ever been taught they would be and more. For nearly three months he had been in and out of Shisei's Last Hope, trolling the shadowlands in search of goblins to prove his worth to the Crab. Today, he had followed tracks to an oni's lair, the goblins he had been after already a meal for the creature.
It hurt his pride and his honor to hide in such a manner, and he pitied the samurai who had to deal with such on a regular basis, but he needed to live. Dieing in a one-on-one fight with an oni would serve to do nothing but give the monster another snack.
A rumble reverberated through the ground and the rock, causing his body to shiver some, as the oni began to trundle away. He had acctually learned to tell such differences in the shaking of the ground while he was here. A lesson that he thanked the fortunes most samurai would never have to learn under such circumstances.
As the rumbling grew quieter, Sorano pulled his jade from out from under his kimono and checked it. It was almost all soft and black. Perhaps one more days worth of protection. One more day, and he needed one more head.
Gulping in air and relaxing his body against the relative safetly of the rock, he tucked the stone back inside the clothing, letting it rest against his skin as he went over the trail he had followed earlier that day. Since it had been paralelling the walls of the city for about a mile, and then turned sharply westward, he hadn't felt the need to search it much in the other direction. But if goblins came this way, well... they had to have come from somewhere.
Checking his surroundings carefully as he moved away from the rock, he started back towards the city, searching for the trail he had just followed an hour ago. Hopefully, the kansen of the earth or air hadn't obscured it yet.
Sorano lay against the jagged rocks, carefully positioned so that none would cut his skin. He did not move, or did his best to not move, as he watched the small goblin encampment below. He was no master of stealth, and truely was lucky that the creatures hadn't seen or heard him thus far. Of course it helped that the disgussting things seemed to be intent on beating each other up in an attempt to impress a female. Sorano had seen similar behavior in animals. A mating ritual.
He planned to kill them all before he had to witness such desecration of creating life. But it would not be terribly unprudent of him to allow the beasts to kill each other before he attacked. He only needed one more head, after all.
The battle ended with the smaller of the two fighters killing the larger by smashing the other's head in with a rock. The creature then hobbled over to the female and and began chittering at her.
Sorano stood and called upon the uncorrupted air kami that still lingered in the land, lamenting what had become of it. He focused his mind and did not let their heartbreaking cries overpower him. He could not. Not here.
They answered his prayer with their anger at those foul things that infected the land and swooped down upon the targets he named. The two goblins he saw didn't stand a chance against such fury.
After a minute or so, when the kami quieted, Sorano carefully made his way down to the encampment. He pulled his wakizashi, the only blade he had, and cut the heads off the two he killed.
As he bent over to push them into a budori with a hand covered in cloth, a rock glanced off his back-side.
He turned around sharply and six small goblins, children of the female most likely, all froze for a second. Then five of them scrambled away while one of the stupidly stayed behind to try and fight.
When Sorano returned to Shisei's Last Hope, he brought in three heads of goblins he had legitimately killed.
The Crab there added them to his running tally as he pulled off the fully corrupted stone that was once pure jade and dropped it in a basket waiting for such things. He bowed to the Crab there and took his leave to get cleaned up. After his much needed bath, he was escorted to the office of the Moshibaru representative who was to witness the oaths and welcome the new blood into the clan, complete with travel papers.
He grunted at Sorano and wrote down the ronin's name prior to joining at the top of the papers that would document his acceptance into the Crab, then looked up at the man and spoke in a long rehersed manner, "You have brought back 22 goblin heads, you may swear fealty to the Crab as you have proven yourself worthy in a manner we accept. Once you swear fealty, you may choose a new name, or keep your old one, as you will then be a member of the Moshibaru, vassals of the Hida. At that point, I will fill out the paperwork with your name and you will recieve the proper travel papers so you can go to your new home and then recieve your new duties there. The oath that you are to swear is written on the wall," the man pointed, "If you cannot read, I will read it for you and you will have to repeat it. Is all that understood?"
"Hai, Hida-sama," Sorano replied humbly, with a bow.
The man nodeded and waved, "Well, get to it. I have about ten more of you to go."
Sorano bowed again and replied, "Please forgive this one, Hida-sama, but I cannot yet swear fealty to the Crab clan. Though I have proven myself worthy on paper, I do not feel that I yet have what it takes to be a Crab."
The man stopped and blinked a bit. Then squinted at the ronin, "Are you saying no?"
"Iye, Hida-sama," he shook his head, "I am saying 'not at this time'. If that is unacceptable and will be taken as a no, then I understand and ask for further forgiveness. But again, this experience has made me see that despite what ambitions I may have, I do not yet posess what it takes to be a Crab."
The man blinked again and chewed his lip. Then signed his name to the bottom of the paper in front of him and followed it up with a an official stamp. He rolled the papers up and tied them with a string. He apraised Sorano a final time and held the scroll out to him with an exasperated sigh, "You seem pretty honorable, ronin. And I'm real busy. So I'm gonna give you this. When you feel you have what it takes to be a Crab, as you put it, you sign your name, whatever you want it to be within the clan, to the final line and then get yourself to Kyuden Moshibaru. You proved yourself to us. If you need time to prove yourself to yourself, fine. Either way, it doesn't hurt the Crab."
Sorano bowed and accepted the scroll with thank you, but was waved away as the Hida called out. "NEXT!"
As he left Crab lands that spring, Sorano was quite proud that he had truely taken the first step to re-joining the Crane.