Leaving the Humbled Isle

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Leaving the Humbled Isle

Postby Luke » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:22 pm

2 months ago...

Ten Tigers made his way through the lively walkways and practice yards of the Imperial Palace. The surrounding city had been ravaged by demonic hordes in recent years but beneath the heavens the holy site had been restored. It was an irony, Ten Tigers thought, that the common people would rise together and give up their tainted essence only to devote themselves to restoring the lavish and most grandeur building in all of Serke Kemi. They even called their sacrifice ‘The Humbling’. Still, Ten Tigers was one of them and no-one loved the Untouched Grace more than he – or so he believed.

The palace was a flurry of flesh, steel and paper as the young samurai knights trained in the courtyard and scribes rushed along the corridors carrying matters of state stamped on bamboo and paper. He saw his Arbatal, Thirty Dragons, training some of the new recruits and smiled as he screamed at them in the same way he had Ten Tigers two years before. He could smell the kitchens and the powerful scents of fish matched with the sweat and heat of battle.

He could have watched all day, and what better way to leave Serke Kemi than where he started? A small cough from behind him ended his thoughts of the journey to come and he turned to see Fifty Scrolls standing behind him with his entourage. Ten Tigers bowed low as a sign of respect at the blue-silk clad scribe but received only a slight nod in return. An insult.

“I’m surprised you haven’t packed already Arbatal. You wouldn’t want to be missing your ship. Heathens don’t like to wait – or so I’ve heard.”

“Yes. I am leaving soon.” Ten Tigers replied shyly. His similar age to the Empress was his only weapon, and his journey was surely to earn her favour – a commodity more valuable than gold or blood in the palace. His selection had made Fifty Scrolls very angry. He looked over the chief scribes shoulder to see the terror that stood behind him. The assassin was tall, built, and silent. They called him A Thousand Knives and nobody had to guess why.

“You know, I heard something interesting today Arbatal… did you know The Sword is going to be at your destination?” Fifty Scrolls sneered in a way that made Tigers wonder what a katana would look like if it slashed across his face.

“The Sword of Lung Wang is no threat. Her Untouched Grace embodies all of the heavens. He cannot harm her protectors.” It was a weak retort and said with no confidence.

“The Sword is tainted. It did not Humble itself with the rest of Serke Kemi. It is known as a fickle and violent thing. Best be careful on your travels Ten Tigers Arbatal. I know Her Untouched Grace would be so very upset if you were be slain by such a powerful artefact. The blade slain by the sword – I mean to think of the shame…” Fifty Scrolls glided away followed by his men, leaving a sick feeling in Ten Tigers stomach.

Just you see. He thought. I’ll return with all the knowledge of the mainland. I’ll make the Empress see my worth and then I’ll have risen far above your papers.

But after a moment the defiance left him. He was leaving Serke Kemi for a land of heathens and heretics who worshipped the wrong gods. But worse, he was heading towards the Sword of Lung Wang. Who knew what madness had consumed it while essence raged through its body? He would have to be very careful.

Across the yard a recruit lost his temper and attacked his partner from behind. Thirty Dragons marched across the yard and cut him down without blinking. The Empress would be safe with him here, Ten Tigers thought. Her turned and left the yard heading towards the sea.
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