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The Many Faces of Honor

“Hello, old friend.”

The samurai turned with a start, but knew who stood behind him before he looked up. His eyes narrowed. “You.”

The man smirked. “Not surprised I see?”

The samurai’s voice was flat and even. “You have come back from the dead before. If surprise is your goal, you will need to conjure up some new tricks.”

The man laughed. A warm smile grew on his face that was out of place given the obvious tension in the room. “My old friend. Still tormenting yourself with decisions long made and forgotten?”

The words came out rapidly, as if striking at the thought before it had a chance to manifest in the world. “Never forgotten. Unlike others I might speak of, I live with my honor and my shame.”

The man’s smile did not waver, though his tone was more formal, almost disappointed in response. “Still the same I see. Your words did not provoke me to action then, and they will not do so now, though I know such is what you desire. I see I am not the only one who still is bound by old tricks.”

“I am bound by nothing, least of all to you.”

“Still the same, old friend, and as blind to the truth as ever.” The man shook his head slightly and sadly. “The truth is, I have come to help you.”

The samurai scoffed. “I want nothing of your help. If have learned nothing else from the past, this, for sure, I know.”

“Perception and truth walk such a delicate line. You may not wish my help, but you do in fact need it. Everything you have lived for, in your honor and your shame, depends upon it.”

The samurai’s hand lowered to the hilt of his Katana. “You will not speak of my shame.”

The man gave a shallow bow. “Very well, I will not. Instead, let us speak on the future, for I know what is to come.”

“Your predictions are riddled with lies. Even if you knew the truth, you would not tell it.”

The man met the samurai’s words with sadness and disappointment. “No old friend. Not with lies, but with blood and death. Such is my curse, to know but not to change, for honorable men with means will not act when they know they must.”

The samurai spat out his words with disgust. “What do you know of honor.”

“Less than most. More than some. Though I know some things that no one else does, which fill in the gaps where such honor might be. Such as what I know now. Of a battle to come.”

The samurai’s eyes were wary and angry, but he responded evenly nonetheless. “Speak.”

“It will strike at the heart at what you most hold dear and trivialize all of it’s like that have come before; make you cry out for that one critical moment to turn the tide, that will never come. One that you, your clan, and the empire will not be prepared for.”

The samurai smiled, unconvinced by the man’s words. “These are more of your lies, dressed up in an epic tale. Where there are but hemin, you would conjure images of dragons.”

“No old friend. As I always have, I offer you the truth. Though this time, I offer you something else as well.”

“And what is that?”

“Victory. And the chance to find honor in all of what has come to pass.”

“You made similar promises when last we met.”

“Similar, but not the same. For then the hour was late, and much was decided. Only our honor and shame prevented what we knew we must.”

“And now?”

“Though the storm gathers, it is but an echo on the horizon. Although a threat looms in the distance, there is still hope. And at the center of it, there are those men who will do what they must.”

The samurai stared quietly, watching the eyes of his old friend and enemy, while in an instant, his mind played through the years of memories that he had spent a lifetime forgetting. Slowly, the resistance he had been so devoted to, fled from his eyes. “To their shame.”

“And their honor.”

The samurai nodded, eyes downcast, as if accepting his fate. A moment passed before his eyes flared up to meet the man’s, his resolve returning, though the focus and nature of it had changed. The strength of his words were a reflection of his old self, long lost to the decisions of time. “Show me.”

The man complied, and with his words, so shifted the fate of the Empire.

Welcome to the Campaign

In the Shadow of Glory and Honor

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