Toshi no Omoidasu, Phoenix Lands
During the Rain of Blood, a hundred Tainted Mantis warriors and shugenja descended upon the City of Remembrance, joining with the Phoenix who had fallen and creating one of the largest assaults of the Rain. The city was nearly razed to the ground, saved only through the efforts of the legendary hero Matsu Hitomi, who made the city her home, and the timely arrival of Phoenix Champion Shiba Mirabu and forces loyal to the Phoenix. The city had been reborn, like the clan that built it, and all was well, despite the burgeoning conflict with the Mantis Clan. It was believed by all that the City of Remembrance would stand as a testament to Phoenix purity.
It was dawn when Isawa Nodotai returned. He walked through the streets unhindered, his features hidden by a basket hat he had taken from a slain traveler. The fallen priest had hidden for over a year, attempting to come to grips with his new power and seeking to find his lost love, a Lion maiden who had fallen to darkness long before. His frustration and anger had grown, watching the Phoenix rebuild while everything he loved had fallen away. He had fallen, and no one had extended a hand to aid him. It had not been by his choice that he had succumbed to the Rain. It had not been his decision to flee. The madness had consumed him. He had done only what he must. And what had the Phoenix done to try to save him? Had they sought to aid the rebirth of him and all those like him? No. They sought only to rebuild their precious city, and to purge the fallen from their ranks, despite that none had chosen their fate.
Now, they would suffer. Now their city would burn.
Nodotai stood in the city’s center, gazing around at those who moved about without noticing the stranger in their midst. He sneered beneath his hat, and began to speak the words of power that would reduce everything within his path to ash.
Something struck him from the left, spinning him around and collapsing him into a heap on the dusty street. Nodotai cursed and rose in an instant, black fire burning in the back of his mind. He looked up for his attacker and found a strange, slightly built young woman sitting cross-legged in the street next to him. “Hello, friend!” she said. “I hope you will forgive me, but that hat was not yours. I could not let you keep it.”
Nodotai threw away the tattered basket hat and summoned a wreath of black flame around his fists. He reached out for the tattooed woman, but she just laughed and spun away, kicking out again. Her sandaled foot struck him squarely in the chin. His concentration was lost and the fires went out. He spat at her and cursed again.
“Foolish Bloodspeaker,” Hitomi Maya laughed. “Can’t you hit me?”
Nodotai ground his teeth in rage and lunged for her, but she danced away. The roaring in his ears was overwhelming, until he realized that there were shouts. He glanced around the city. Those who had been ignoring him were now staring in his direction. Shiba bushi were rushing from an adjacent street, and he could hear the chanting of a shugenja he could not see. He snarled at the ise zumi. “You’ll pay for this, girl.”
“We shall see,” she said.
Nodotai summoned his magic and disappeared in a flash of black energy, leaving the City of Remembrance in the same condition he found it.