The Era of the Mountain Prince

Dragon Civil War: Prologue

Gathering Clouds

A voice called Kakita Kaze from the edge of the woods where he had been training with his Kenku masters for the past ten days. It belonged to Isawa Umiko, who had a message for him to carry to Toku Hidayoshi in Kyuden Shosuro. He nodded and agreed, hurrying off.

On his arrival, Kaze learned that ten years had passed, and the message came from the Oracle of Water, warning “A Danger is Rising in the North.” Hidayoshi is now the assistant to Kakita Taro, the Emerald Champion, and Kaze’s grandfather according to Imperial Histories. Tamori Kurisu, a longtime friend of the Bear Clan Champion, arrived with a gift to the Winter Court Hosts, from the minor clans. Hidayoshi had Kurisu verify that the message was from the Oracle of Water. When this was confirmed, he sent Akodo Kensai to report to his mother, the Shogun.

Akodo Ai hurried to meet with Hidayoshi. She revealed the Dragon Clan Champion had requested an audience with her as soon as he arrived in Kyuden Shosuro, and it was likely the same event. She started to marshal her forces, including Hiruma Sagai in preparation.

The gift from the minor clans was missing. Kurisu spoke with the kami, and learned that “the scared one stole the secret”. Sagai, and experienced scout, tracked the thief to a burnt out Scorpion school, used to train shinobi centuries ago. Akodo Kensai crept through the narrow tunnel and found Hida Hana.

She had ripped the painting by accident, and her brother HIda Gasuton convinced her that Toku-Sama would duel her to the death over it, so she chose to hide. Hidayoshi lectured both of them and quietly assumed he was owed a favour by Hida Hamko.

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