Enigmatic Phoenix Shugenja
Advantages: Ishiken-Do, Sage, Enlightened
Disadvantages: Soft-hearted, Evil Eye, Ascetic
Calligraphy (Cipher) : 1
Lore – Theology : 1
Lore – Omens : 1
Perform – Shamisen: 1
Perform – Flute: 1
Perform – Drums: 1
Perform – Biwa: 1
Spells: Drawing the Void, Sense Void*, Touch the Void, Reversal of Fortune, Path to Inner Peace, Earth’s Stagnation, Fires of Purity
I’ve consulted the stars every night for over a month now, and the readings appear to be largely unchanged: The Sign of the Great Tree is reaching toward Tenkoku with its branches while its roots reach down to Ningen-do. Of course, the actual meaning of this omen could be any number of things – that is the way of the crossroads between our two worlds and the Void itself. Observing the stars is the closest way to look at the Void without risking looking into it.
I observe the feeling in my hands as I set down my charts, remaining fully mindful of every sensation.
What is at the roots, I ask myself.
My mismatched eyes close.
I feel my awareness float away from my body.
I draw back on the tether of my soul and instead move inward.
Perhaps this is a message for me; the roots of the bridging tree are my roots.
I am only moments born of my mother. I open my eyes to evaluate the world I have entered now that I have left the Realm of Water; changed as I pass through the Ningen-dorii. I am not afraid and I do not cry. My mother is beautiful, though fatigued and water runs down her face. It is difficult for the body to serve as a conduit to the Realm of Water.
A man I will soon know as my father enters the room. He looks first to my mother. He holds her hand and calls my name. I hear it and know it is my name. It was also my grandfather’s name.
The matron has a worried look and sets me in my mother’s arms. Her smile falls when she looks into my eyes. She begins to cry.
“Akeno, our child is blind and he does not cry! The kami have placed a curse on our son – or else some other spirit has taken him.”
My father squeezed her hand tightly.
For years my parents worried over me. I was a quiet child and did not often cry. And their fears were not allayed when they knew I was not blind. Rather, my mother’s worries only grew. She knew I was not to become the strong warrior she had meant to carry, and my habits were strange. She became nervous around me and was visibly comforted when my brother was born. Kintaro became her new pride. He was not the boy would would quietly look to a door several heartbeats before a visitor arrived.
When Master Isawa Nobuhiro came to my parents and took me to the Ishiken Dojo, I believe that we were all relieved for the opportunity. My mother would no longer have to fear me, and I would no longer have to be a burden to her.
I open my eyes. I am aware that now only one of my eyes sees into the Void. If my own past is at the root of this omen, I do not know what I might find by climbing into the canopy.