Mirumoto Christopher’s Observations on the Horiuchi Family (Clan Unicorn)

 

 

Deep in the skies, thunder rumbled… a portent of coming storms. The winds tugged at the long grasses in the vast plain, as if playing with a children’s toy. Neither samurai nor samurai-ko paid any heed to the coming storm. But both were keenly aware of it, if for vastly different reasons. Finally, one spoke. She raised her voice no higher than necessary to carry over the growing wind.

 

“I see a village ahead, Nikkan-san. Perhaps we should wait out the storm?” ventured the mounted samurai-ko.

 

“Hai,” replied the young samurai with a half smile, “We should find somewhere to stay dry, and perhaps eat as real people.”

 

Even after days of traveling together, the samurai-ko looked puzzled at times. Whether this was do to his words or his intent remained unclear. Still, the small band rode into a tiny town as the storm broke behind them. Even in these trying times, the hemin were startled to see a mounted Unicorn traveling amicably with a striding, if slightly limping, Dragon, wearing the mon of the Mirumoto. They traveled through the village until they came upon the inn, stopping outside long enough to tie the horse. The Mirumoto paused as the Unicorn tended to her steed.

 

Inside, the Dragon waited patiently as the Unicorn settled with the innkeeper. Both of them made their way back to a tatami matted booth near the rear of the establishment. Both sat staring at the other for a long time, neither making the first move. The Dragon removed his large hat at set in beside him.

 

“Ahem, honorable samurai, samurai-ko?” said a bowing innkeeper, “May I have the privilege of taking your orders? We have little, but it is all available for you.”

 

The Unicorn was the first to respond, “Sake, and a bowl of rice.”

 

“Hot water… and leave the kettle.” The Dragon said, still looking at the Unicorn. He set a koku on the table.

 

The innkeeper flushed crimson and bowed even lower, “I cannot break that, honorable sir.”

 

“I did not intend for you to, good man. And I would never make an esteemed member of the Hourichi house pay while I am here.”

 

The young samurai-ko’s head shot up. Her eyes were blazing, but her questions remained unasked. She said nothing, and so the innkeeper left with a muttering of praise and thanks.

 

“Gomen nasai, but it was obvious. While I wear the mon of the Mirumoto, my training and my soul belong to the Kitsuki,” the Mirumoto broke into a thin smile, “And I must say, you have your sister’s eyes, Meimei-san.”

 

The Horiuchi could keep her own counsel no longer. The fire in her eyes burned with the desire of her questions.

 

“You know of my sister, Shoan-sama? You must tell me where she is, Dragon.” she spoke with no malice or cruelty. She spoke only with conviction and purpose in her words. “I must find her…”

 

The Dragon let his smile slip, replacing it with a look of helpless pity. He thought back to the stories of the Horiuchi daimyo that he had studied in the Kitsuki School. Her bravery in the face of death earned respect, if grudging, from even hardened Lion warriors. To now have to face dangers unknown in the underworld of Rokugan… it seemed that her destiny was a fickle one.

 

The delicate features of the Unicorn knotted in frustration. She leaned over the table, her steely eyes meeting the unfathomable eyes of the Dragon.

 

“I have been searching for over a year, with few good leads… none of them recent. Then you show, and claim to know something of Shoan-sama. You must tell me what it is that you know.”

 

Nikkan could see her determination as she meet and kept his gaze, few could look into his eyes for long. But still, the look of deep sadness remained.

 

“I took an oath before leaving the Sleeping Mountain. I swore to Mitsu-sama that I would only observe Rokugan. I would not get involved with the Clans. I swore this on my honor.”

 

The Mirumoto stood up and glanced down at the seated Meimei. The fierce determination melted as a look of bitter resignation replaced it. It was obvious even to someone not trained as a Kitsuki that Meimei-san’s face had borne that expression far too often.

 

“I am sorry.”

 

The Dragon headed for the door, but at the last moment turned and faced the young Meimei. The slanted smile returned from under the brim of the hat.

 

“However, I hear the Doji Plains are beautiful now. Sayonara, Meimei-san.”

 

The Unicorn could only return the smile to his back. After months of searching and finding only disappointment, perhaps now her long trial would be at an end…

 

 

From the Tomes of Mirumoto Christopher, on the family of the Horiuchi, Clan Unicorn

 

The Horiuchi are a family in crisis. Unfortunately, it is in their nature to be at odds with the Fortunes.

 

Their family was forged by turmoil. Iuchi Shoan earned her place in history by placing her life in peril to save the children of her daimyo. Her inventive and protective method earned the Hori prefix and her own family. In a Clan most defined by its battle tactics and legions, she gained glory through pacifism.

 

With her lack of interest in finding a husband, it looked to the rest of Rokugan that the line would begin and end with Shoan. Then, mysteriously, two new Horiuchis appear. Horiuchi Meimei and Horiuchi Testsuro’s origins are a mystery to those outside of the Unicorn Clan. However, their futures would be no easier that of the woman they followed.

 

Both Meimei and Tetsuro refused to turn a blind eye to the corruption of their Clan by the infamous Kolat, and even turned their attention to a far older, and more deadly, opponent: the Shadow. After many harrowing, and near lethal, encounters, the enemy struck back. The daimyo of the Horiuchi family were kidnapped, but those of that line had made many enemies. Even after extensive searching by the Unicorn magistrates, it was unclear as to who had spirited off Horiuchi Shoan.

 

It is known to many people in Rokugan at large that Horiuchi Shoan was kidnapped. However, nobody knew about what was to become of the family after it. The Dragon remained sequestered in the Mountains, the Crane sought to rebuild after the terrible war, and the Imperial line was in chaos after the disappearance of their own leader. Still, the two remaining members of her family search for her, never knowing if she was truly alive.

 

Young Horiuchi Meimei’s body bears many scars from her tireless quest to retrieve her sister from those who would seek the end her line. Her fiancé, Tetsuro, bears many more for her defense. The stories behind each scar are known only to the remaining Horiuchis… and they soon may tell no more tales save in Jigoku.