The Crane Game
The following is something of a journal for Suo, though not something left lying around where someone could find it. These are letters that Suo writes, then immediately burns in offering to his great grandfather, Daidoji Kouhei. I wanted to go ahead and post them, since we have a Kitsu Shugenja in town that may very well be talking to his ancestor, and to add some game flavor. All of this is OOC info unless somehow brought up direclty in conversation during game. What Suo shares with Kouhei are mainly things he never speaks aloud, so it doesn’t typically come up in casual conversation during the long downtime travelling or during camp.
The 15th of Hare, 1165
Father was a faithful student of your teachings and I trust you are proud of him. His treasured scrolls of your writings were lost in the fires that consumed most of Otosan Uchi, but he managed to reconstruct much of them from memory. I have always paid you proper respect, along with our other honored ancestors, but you may be confused as to why I write to you now.
Several years ago, I made a promise to him, though I believe he thinks I have forgotten it. He asked that, if he and I still did not see eye to eye and not speak of things deeper than formality, that I would at least write to you once I had become an adult. Yesterday, I successfully passed my gempukku ceremony. Father and I still no only speak in the polite formality of familial duty and honor.
I know where the schism started, great-grandfather, and the blame is largely mine. We have been apart since he agreed to allow me to pursue my duty to the empire not as a courtier as was meant for our family, but as a bushi as Uncle did. I believe he secretly hoped I would be swayed back to the court, when he first offered to help me down that path. I do not think I know all that he did to make it possible, but I am grateful for it, and will repay whatever debt is owed. I do my best to honor him in my way.
Now, father believes I have held on to my anger too long. All I can say is I have not tried to keep this anger—it just remains. When I try to explain it to him, the arguments from my mouth still sound the same as those of the nine-year-old child that started them. I felt frustrated and helpless when all we could do is stand and watch our home burn in the distance. It turned into anger when the Kakitan courtier delivered Uncle’s bloodied blade to father, along with his eloquent condolences on Uncle’s noble sacrifice to secure their escape. His words could not help.
I know now, unlike that child I was, that our loss was no greater than any other. I know we are fortunate to have lived through that day at all. However,great-grandfather, words could not help us defend the empire that day. All the mightiest wordsmiths of the empire were there, and words were not enough to stop the army of the Shadowlands. The reason why Father and I lived… why those courtiers were able to live… was because of swords, not words. Swords like Uncle’s.
I know, great-grandfather, if I were to become the student of words like you and father were, that perhaps I could find a way to explain that to you both in a way that did not sound petulant, or perhaps even disrespectful. If you take my words as disrespect, than I apologize deeply, for that is not what I intended.
All I know is that words failed us, great-grandfather. That is something I do not wish to do. I only hope someday that will be enough for him and you.