The sun was just rising by the time Moto Qataghu finished his prayers and morning exercises. Qataghu was a Shugenja, a Jade Magistrate, but most importantly he was also a Priest for the Shi-Tien Yen Wang. He wore the robes that went with his station and took his duties seriously. He never took the time to relax; he was always on duty and was considered a serious if not harsh man. It has been a long time since Qataghu had even cracked a smile.
Wiping the sweat from his shaved bald head, he grunts as he thinks to himself that even holy men are sometimes in need of defending themselves. Lately it seems he has needed to do that more and more. It had been a rough night for Qataghu, having first been drugged, and then attacked while trying to defend two weary Scorpion travelers. If only the violence had stopped there. But as it is with men who commit these senseless acts, they always have to be thorough if not completely vicious. An entire family was slaughtered.
The funeral for the peasant family was attended by local peasants who knew them; the Father had walked out into the rain and the darkness of night. Qataghu tried to console him and ease his pain but had failed to be any comfort to the man, obviously in severe shock. The Inn would be well kept for until the man returned; Qataghu had given a gift of 13 Koku to the local headman to make sure it was to stay running and to keep him updated on its progress and well being. Qataghu would do what he could to save this inn from being taken from the man but there had been no sign of him since he walked away the night before.
Qataghu's prayers for the family felt like hot coals as they left his mouth. This is the second time he has somehow crossed paths with this gang of thugs whose only identifiable marks are a spider tattooed on their neck. And in both cases people have been murdered for no reason. There is no love or pity for their souls within him as he prays to the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang for their punishment in death that these men deserve. If they think the pain they will feel in life is hard, they are in for a very, VERY harsh lesson.
Recently, events have occurred that made Qataghu start to doubt his beliefs, first the news that his sister Chinua had died in the Shadowlands. This was bad enough, but then rumors began getting back to him that she may not in fact be dead but may have been raised up to be the bride of an undead warrior. This news made Qataghu Question those he served. "How could the Lords of Death allow this to occur? Where were they when his sister needed protection?" His only salvation was his other sister, Erishkagal. She was also a priestess in service to the Shi-Tien Yen Wang. She would not let her brother fall by the wayside. She would kneel with him and pray by his side to help him become the priest and brother she knew and loved. He would soon find out, her protection and guidance would not be there as a crutch for him to lean on forever.
It was 2 months later when the news arrived. Erishkagal was dead! "What? How could this be? She is the last of my family, I am all alone!" He felt the strength that she had given him slipping away, his anger and sorrow overwhelming him! He believed the Lords of Death had done this to him. If even the servants are punished, then who is innocent? NO ONE! No One deserves to live; everyone deserves to be punished for their crimes. He began to lash out at others around him; he stopped his prayers and began to make preparations to avenge her death. Whoever had done this to her would pay!
He asked to be allowed to go to Sparrow lands. For that was the location of her death. He made preparations for the journey while awaiting the response from his Daimyo. Then one day before he could leave on his path of revenge, a messenger arrived. It was a letter from the Khan himself, inside he commended Qataghu on the dedication and service he and his sisters have performed for him and ultimately for the Emperor. It said: "Your sister did not die in vain, she died honorably. She committed seppuku to save the soul of a lost Samurai" Qataghu's anger slipped away from him like sand slips through someone's fingers. This news was a relief; she had not been slaughtered by bandits or killed by a terrible Shadowlands creature. She had chosen her own path and did so without regret or sorrow. Qataghu was ashamed of his behavior and had decided to pray at the temples of his Lords of Death to seek forgiveness.
That was 3 months ago and Qataghu still had not found the time away from his duties to make the pilgrimage to Unicorn lands to pray at a Shi-Tien Yen Wang temple. He tries to make up for this by praying at each temple he finds.
A Month later, Qataghu finally found his way to unicorn lands and spent a month praying to the Lords of Death. Praying for forgiveness, praying for guidance, and mostly praying for his growing list of men and women who have committed crimes and would need judgment served as they wait to see Emma-O. His prayers for forgiveness and guidance seemed to fall on deaf ears, but when Qataghu prayed for judgment for the criminals, villains, and monsters that Qataghu has met or even been forced to kill, he felt the unmistakable power and presence of the lords of death. He finally understood! They did not care about guidance or forgiveness, or peace of mind. They were the Lords of Judgment. That is what they are and that is what they want from their followers. Qataghu also came to the realization that he too would someday be judged for his actions and that was a thought that made a shiver run down his spine. He accepted the inevitable but decided that he did not wish to continue on his path of hatred and cruelty for his judgment would be equal to his crimes. He decided to live his life as an example to others.
As he left the temple one day after prayers, he received a letter addressed to him from the headman in the village where the inn was. It said that there was sad news, the father of the family had been found dead in the forest. The headman did not know how he died. There was no sign of violence, and it did not appear that he took his own life. The letter goes on to say he believes the man died of a broken heart. He may have starved but more likely he just willed himself to stop living. The innkeeper had no family or relatives. The headman had sent messengers to search for any relatives that may have lived in neighboring towns but there has been no luck. The headman says that the Koku Qataghu had given him was not only holding up but adds that with the popularity of this location, business is booming and the inn is making a profit, but if he wished to keep the inn running he would need advice as well as a sponsor. Qataghu frowned; this is not what he had expected. He wrote a reply to the headman: "I will take on this duty, you may contact me at any time for advice or if you need more supplies. I have enclosed another 13 Koku for expenses and supplies. I trust you to hire and run an honorable establishment. If I receive word that illegal activity has taken place in that inn I will hold you ultimately responsible. On the other hand, if you have any trouble with any criminal element, contact me immediately, and I will take the necessary action. There are also two more conditions: First, there must be a shrine to the Shi-Tien Yen Wang built in a garden beside the inn. And Second, I wish the name of the inn to be changed to the Inn of the Two Suns.
That night as Qataghu sat in his room and meditated to ease his mind and to achieve balance, he suddenly felt as if he was not alone and strangely at peace.
"Hello Qatachan" The voice of his Sister, Erishkagal whispered in his head. "Did
you miss me?"
Moto Qataghu smiled.