Samurai Shadows The clouds twirled overhead with a dark thunder, the sky alight with purple as rain fell upon the ruins of Renga Murai, the once-Brick Village. With the many deaths that were tallied, including that of the tea shop owner and the innkeeper, none are felt so hard as the death of the Shugenja, Kitsu Hisake - one of the few with skill in the art of healing. As it were, those who knew even the smallest bit about the art of healing plied their trades, keeping anyone they can alive... the fatal wounds applied by the bandit's thundersticks were far too many for some, however. The tragedy would not go unnoticed by the Lion Clan, who had this happen right under their very noses. Improvised tents house the survivors, the corpses of the bandits nearby acting as a macabre sort of buffer to the morale of the men and women who came out alive. Many prayed for the souls of the departed, asking the spirits to guide them to the place of their ancestors. In particular, a Lion samurai - Akodo Toyoaki - who had fought with the fury and honor of te Lion clan was prayed for, his sacrifice allowing more survivors than any other effort to survive - he had run into the fire of the thundersticks, deflecting them and acting as a distraction until he, too, fell before the cruel onslaught. Many of the survivors were fearful to leave, that many of the bandits were still out there - many had retreated - and several had gone in groups, walking towards the next settlement for shelter and assistance. Four had ridden ahead on horses in each direction, going to warn the other Lion cities of what had happened that day... -------------------------------------- In one tent, an uneasy silence lay thick like a blanket over a few survivors, as the nezumi known as Roppu worked to save the lives of those within the tent. Though dressed as a slave, she held herself with an important demeanor, and was soon yipping orders for assistance, at least one cowed peasant doing as he was told in order to aid the effort. While many were displeased at the ratling's actions - and that a ratling had been living in their city at the time, many kept their mouth shut out of gratitude for her skill... Outside the tent, quite a few blamed the nezumi's presence for the misfortune that had fallen on their village. Many plotted her destruction. However, the ratling continued on, until she arose, "K-k-keep pressure on that," she stuttered, pointing to one of the peasants that was aiding her. "If y-y-you all followed th... the instructions, everyone here sh-should live." She then turned, exiting the tent. She didn't want to die - she had to get away from everything here - they'd surely blame her for the misfortune and attempt to hunt her down, but... she didn't want to die! Stopping by the corpses of the deceased bandits, out of sight of the campfires, she knelt down to change her clothes from the slaves' outfit she wore to the colorful performer's garb she was used to, fixing the order of a few of the items in her pack to better accommodate their weight. That is... until a shimmer caught her eye, thinking it to be another of her items - possibly have fallen out - she reached for it and picked it up. ...It felt different than anything she had. Looking at it, she nearly dropped the thing in shock - a spider! ...Though it was cold, and unmoving. Inspecting it further, it was clearly made out of something else... obsidian, and covered in the shadowlands taint, at that. Not fearing the taint that so corrupted humanity, she picked it up... it was a seal, wrapped around a document that had become wet with the rain. Pulling off the seal and opening the note... she hissed, dropping it and covering her eyes. "HURT!" her mind screamed, until she shook it off... gingerly picking up the note, she squinted, reading it fully... with a gasp at the note's signature, she sprung to her feet. "I... I h-have to run..." Turning as if to run... an idea popped in her head. "...Wait." Her ears flick, and she got an idea. "They'd hunt down my down anyway... though as something else, I might have a chance... those samurai from the tea house..." She smiled, "If I show them this, they'll leave, and I can go with them... then I can make my escape!" Praising herself for her cleverness, she called upon the spirits of trickery... ...With their aid, she became the brown-haired youth - her human form. Slinging the bag on her back, she ran back to the camp... looking around for a bit, she came spot the human samurai, Kiyoshi. Running forward to him, she knelt down, "Hon-honorable samurai..." She rose the note, holding it aloft in her dainty, human hands, "...I've f-found this..." Next to it lay the obsidian spider seal, still glowing with evil taint... the girl holding it shivering, partly from fear, partly from the cold... the rain clinging to her hair, hiding her attractive face from view.