Utaku Buthainah kicked up the dust cloud as she left the Plains of the Golden Sun into the lands of the Lion. She does not look at the road back into the Planes, as she rides with her mind thinking of the failure of the ritual. As her horse stops and she hears, "Unicorn-san, could we see your papers please." She looks up and sees two Lion Wardens in the road. Buthainah pulls her papers from her obi and hands them to the Wardens. While they look her papers over the elder speaks, "Utaku Buthan…Utaku-san your papers are not in order, why have you entered the lands of the Lion?" Buthainah sits up straight and looks at the Wardens, "I apologize Akodo-san, however the ritual on the Plains of the Golden Sun with Abbot Kesu was not successful." "It is a tragedy that the ritual was not successful however your papers state that you were to return to your lands through the Dragon lands and not the lands of the Lion." the wardens replied. Buthainah let her hand rest on the urn as she tries to maintain her composure.
"Accompanying the Abbot was a younger monk named Koe; he was enlightened far beyond his age of young years. During the ritual the Abbot was deceived by the Obsidian Dragon, the young Koe being the target of the Dragon. The Dragon trying to possess him for reasons only it knows. To protect his soul, I was forced to kill the young monk." A single tear runs from Buthainah's eye as she chokes back her emotions. "Koe's soul was pure and innocent and did not deserve to die. To honor his memory I am taking his ashes to the Shrine of Shinsei just a days travel from here, on our way to the Plains with the Abbot we had stopped there to rebuild the shrine." "Yes, I know of that shrine," the younger Warden spoke up. "It has been rebuilt and abandoned several times over the years; some say that the Shrine has bad karma." Buthainah's face hardened. "The Lion's knowledge of ancestor worship is legendary. Koe's parents died while he was young and he grew up with the monks, so does not have any family left to honor him. I will remember and honor him by placing his remains in the Shrine by the only artwork that is known to be done by him." "This is a noble request Utaku," the elder Warden spoke. "Perhaps your travel could be allowed." Buthainah breathed deeply. "I do not wish to dishonor my cousins in the Lion lands.
If you wish, I will commission a caravan heading to my lands to carry my battlefield weapons and armor and I shall only make the trip with my daisho and kimono?" The elder warden blinked in surprise at the statement by the Unicorn as he studied her manner and bearing. After a few moments he spoke again, "Utaku Buthanh, to honor one's ancestors is indeed a noble goal, to honor another's is greater, indeed you are a Samurai-ko of honor I can tell. So long as you give your word to travel our lands peacefully in this path, you will honor our clan with your goal and may keep your weapons." The warden dismounts and pulls his calligraphy tools out and adds a few notes to her papers before handing them back to the Unicorn. "I thank you for your wisdom and for granting me travel to your Shrine."
Buthainah turned her head skyward looking at the clouds noting the shape of a crow in one. "Perhaps the bad karma of the Shrine is due to the fact that there is no ancestor guardian dedicated to protect the Shrine." The Lions nodded in agreement, Utaku continued. "Koe right now waits to be judged by Emma-O. If I can gain the blessing to have Koe named the guardian spirit of the Shrine, he would be allowed to travel to Yomi and be with his family. I thank you Akodo-sans for this talk. Now I realize what the path that I must take truly is." Utaku bowed deeply to the Lions as she takes the papers and starts her horse off to the Shrine with her head held high and the wind in her hair, feeling rejuvenated and the sorrow of her actions removed.