Kumori - Journal Entry 16
Kumori finished his prayers, and looped his rosary back around Satori’s hilt. He rose from his knees, noting as he did the chill that the ground had put into his joints. Looking out to the horizon, he saw grey skies stretching in all directions overhead, and felt the wind blowing down out of the mountains. The chill in the air matched a hollowness he felt in his spirit. The snows are not far off. He remembered for a moment the night they all had spent in the mountain temple, fighting off a deranged spirit, and shook the thought off with an inner shiver. The likelihood of anything of the kind happening again was so remote as to be fantastical.
He strode back to camp, the plates of his kusazuri clattering quietly as he did. The party had camped for the night in a wooded copse off the road, and Kumori had ventured out of the trees to pray under the open sky. As he returned, Dorak was just rising, and Smriti and Otix were busy extinguishing the last of the embers of the previous night’s campfire. Otis nodded to him in greeting, and Kumori returned the gesture. Ian had disappeared into the Impossible Palace the night before in a cloud of ochre smoke. Eulemachos slept, snoring gustily. Kumori walked to where Kaminari stood tethered, and set about saddling him.
Not for the first time, Kumori pondered the whims of the gods and the nature of karma. At times he wondered at the motley group with whom he had fallen in through the random chance of fate, but every time he did, he realized he had no other life to which to compare his own. He had not expected to travel on his quest accompanied by a Kushari monk and a pack of gaijin, but then how arrogant was it to have expectations at all? His karma was what it was.
The thought helped ease the ache in his chest. He had dreamed in the night of Hachiko. His karma was what it was, and he had loved her for the time he had been given with her. That did not make the yearning go away, but it kept the feeling from overwhelming him.
Kaminari nudged him, and whickered softly. The samurai smiled, in the ghostly half-smile of his melancholy, and murmured to the stallion in Kaidanese. “Do not worry, friend. I am only a little haunted, and the ghost is a friendly one, today.”
The horse stamped, impatient to be moving. Kumori vaulted into the saddle and patted his steed on the neck. Off to the east, the rising sun burned the merest hole in the cloud cover, and golden light streamed through the trees. Kumori took his naginata from Smriti’s outstretched hand, nodded to her in thanks. The company mounted, and rode out into the brightening day toward the road.
The sun fell on his shoulders, and Kumori felt its warmth. The Silk Road stretched out before him, and his friends rode alongside. His karma was what it was, and Kumori decided that for now, that was enough.