Fight For Tomorrow
Part Three

Toturi Sezaru stood in the tallest tower of the castle that had once been the Fortress of the Dragonfly. The locals had taken to calling it Kyuden Sezaru, ever since the mighty shugenja had raised the ruined fortress from rubble in a single night. Some whispered that he had raised the castle as a show of his power, to show his displeasure for the Lion who had massacred the Dragonfly, or to bring peace between the Dragon and the Phoenix. Sezaru cared little what they thought, or what they wished to name his castle. He stood in the spires of Kyuden Sezaru and listened to the mournful songs of the dead. He could hear the ghosts of the Dragonfly Clan. He could not choose to ignore them, any more than he could choose to ignore the voice that sometimes spoke within him.

Sezaru closed his eyes and sadly listened. They shared their pain with him, and he shared his in return. And, somehow, he felt better.

[[Powers greater than emperors live in the in-between places. They twine through all of our relations. All of them]]

"You said that once before," Sezaru whispered. "Now perhaps I think I know what you mean. Every power is subject to another. Even father, even mother."

[[Even a sad young boy with a mind too steeped in the Void, who speaks to himself when he believes no one is listening.]]

Sezaru frowned. "If I am sad because I listen to you, then what are you for listening to me?"

[[Who ever said that I listen?]]

"Mother has returned," Sezaru said, ignoring the taunting voice as he looked to the south. "I can sense her arrival."

[[Go to her, then. Have this not been an object of your quest? To demand why mother refused you the throne as well as avenging father's killer?]]

"It was," Sezaru replied, "but so much has changed. Then, I think, I desired the throne for myself. I would have taken it so that I could gain the power to restore order to the Empire… at any cost."

[[There is no cost too great for justice.]]

"So you say."

[[So ignore me, then. Seek justice at your own price, without me.]]

A sad smile crossed Sezaru's face. "Quite a trick that would be," he replied. "For a man to ignore himself?"

[[So you have found the answer at last.]]

"I think I have always known."

[[Then think upon this. Does not the fact that you can face your own madness give you a measure of control none of the others possess? Naseru cannot admit his bitterness. Kaneka cannot admit his arrogance. Tsudao cannot admit that she, of you all, is most afraid to step from father's shadow. You are your own man, Toturi Sezaru. And so am I. We are one.]]

"I have too much power already."

[[Which gives you the responsibility needed to rule.]]

Sezaru shook his head. "I do not wish for the throne."

[[And thus you deserve it most. You know that your mother calls to you. She sends your sister to summon you. Do you fear that she will name you her successor?]]

Sezaru said nothing.

[[Do you fear Daigotsu? Do you fear he will defeat you again? As he did father?]]

Sezaru scowled.

[[Then what are we waiting for, my friend? There is justice to be done.]]

Sezaru said a brief prayer and stepped from the battlements of the castle, onto the open wind. The air spirits held him aloft, carrying him swiftly across the sky toward Kyuden Seppun.