Our Zuihitsu posts are supplementary stories to offer a glimpse at deeper character development and insight. They are either purely narrative roleplay handled outside of session time or short stories written by the players or DM.
This Zuihitsu is a short story written by Daiyu’s player, Ely.
Do not falter
Thunder echoed through the city, accompanied by sheets of pouring rain. Standing in front of her sensei’s darkened home, a sense of dread overwhelmed her.
You have been here before
A letter had arrived from her sensei after he had been missing a fortnight, requesting her presence at his home. She’d been here many times before to study, or train, or simply have dinner with him and his family. He was a good man, and his disappearance had come as a surprise to everyone who knew him. An investigation was underway in search for him, but it had revealed no leads as yet. His family had kept a light on outside the home since his disappearance, even with the nightly rains during this season.
There was no light tonight however, and the door was left open.
There is no room for hesitation
Nothing could have prepared her for what she saw inside. A flash of lightning illuminated the gruesome scene for only a moment, but she would remember it in vivid detail for years to come. The sundered and mangled bodies of his servants and family, scattered across the main room like twigs and branches thrown across a forest clearing after a storm. There, kneeling on the floor in the center of the room, her sensei sobbed.
“What has happened?”
The words left Daiyu’s mouth as if they were not her own. She was no longer one with herself; she was merely watching the events play out before her. The sobbing stopped, and her sensei rose on unsteady legs. Blood dripped from his hands. Again it thundered, and another flash of lightning glared off the Tanto in his hand. It, too, was dark with blood. He turned to face her, and even as her eyes adjusted to the dark, she knew what she saw was not right. His face was twisted, pocked, and scarred. Boils rose up from open sores on his skin and inky black ichor oozed from his mouth. He said nothing when his eyes finally came to rest on her. His mouth twisted into a sickening mockery of a smile and he lunged at her.
You are Kuni
It was over fast; too fast for her to process. Her wakizashi was drawn and ready. He—or it— was sluggish, wounded, and broken; spent from the slaughter it had already committed. Whether conscious or subconscious, Daiyu had some idea of what had transpired, and she had been taught from an early age how it should be dealt with. She sidestepped the clumsy thrust and brought her sword down across the back of it’s neck. It crumpled to the floor, a choked gurgle pushed from its throat, then silence. It was not clean; the head did not quite separate. Daiyu wrenched the wakizashi free of his spine and, and then panic set in. Finally she recognized the voice of her mother whispering in her ear.
Daiyu lurched out of sleep, tanto already in her hand, startling away the bird by her window.
The same dream every night.