I get to know the warriors My Lady Somesai Dai has sent to watch over me. Thank the Kami that these are able bodied men, each with a unique weapon at their disposal. I am relieved that at least I will not be forced to nursemaid these men in battle. Working at the forge with Master Tsu is a calming and centering activity. I hold my head high with pride knowing that I am working so near an obvious master of his craft. It is then that one of his assistants calss him Master Fubatsu. Fubatsu! My hand shakes even now thinking about it. My hammer stutters as well as my words. “Master Fubatsu?” I ask incedulous. He turns with a mischivious gleam in his eye, “Yes?” My mind works to put the pieces together. “But your work is known the length of the empire!” I blurt out more like an awestruck child than a properly trained samurai. Again he smiles at me. Knowing that my words would fail me utterly if I continue I bow deeply and return to the weapon I had been repairing. It is later when The rest have left for the day that Master Fubatsu shares a gift with me. A kaiu smithing hammer, and a jade flake whetstone. I do not recall if I refused them properly, but fortunately for me I do no think Master Fubatsu would make an issue of such a slip if I did.
Unfortunately the relative peace I had found here would be disturbed. There are times I wish the Kami would have left me be, and found another champion. This would be one of those times. a feeling of hopelessness settles over our group as we discuss entering and leaving the shadowlands. We will all return tainted. Unless the kami have set aside some way for us to avoid the taint. I have never been overtly religous, but I dearly hope they have. I look to Kazanbai and wonder if I had his gift, would I have made the same choices, would I have become tainted already too? My immediate answer is no. I would like to believe that is an honest answer. Now we willl leave in a few days and I must accept the fact that I may never see my homeland again. I may indded become the mindless beserker the senseis warned us about. I have my duty. I will accept it and perform it as long as I can. The one thing that gives me hope is the thought that I will come across Neichiwei No Oni. Oh, I would enjoy that! I made a promise to Neichiwei that I would avenge him, and I intend to keep it.
I feel saddened by what I had to do next. We had to convince the Crane and Tortoise who were following us that they had to remain behind. It nearly broke my spirit to see such ready devotion and having to deny them. I hope they understand the respect I hold for them, and do not think I have slighted them.
There are days I wish I were a simple blacksmith, but I am not. I am a Matsu, and duty demands my scarifice. It will have it.