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Somè sat quietly near the great sea that divided Aslann and Shimragata. The peaceful serenity of nature allowed him a moment of reflection. Though it hardly lasted long. Gen, his shield, appeared before him. An obedient Kari he was, “Has she departed?”

“She has my lord.”

“There is confusion in your tone.”

“Forgive me. It is not my place to question.”

“Yet you stand before me with a tone longing for some satisfying answer,” Somè stated as a certain amount of silence overtook the conversation. Gen was a proper Kari, never forward with question. So, it was not surprising that he did not come out and ask Somè  why it was he allowed the queen to depart. “Do you know what is so special about this paper crane I am making?”

The question must have taken Gen by surprise because at first he did not offer a response. After a moment he stated, “Doesn’t the crane have some connection to the Ishi?”

“That is a curiously bewildered tone you have.”

“Pardon me for being forward. It is just, I have not witnessed you make such an item before and I have heard tales that it is a token of love of sorts given by the Ishi.”

The King of the Gods, Somè allowed a brief amused chuckle to escape his lips. “How time distorts.” With a pause he added, “The crane is nothing. It means nothing.”

“Then why do the Ishi hold it in such high regard?”

“Why indeed. I have always wondered why he allowed such an important detail to fade away.”

“He my lord?”

“The only one among the Ishi old enough to know; Kuro. There was a time when Rin was philandering. Gone away from the homestead, leaving Tearra in the care of his first born. To pass the time, he would recite prose from the works of Kita as he meticulously folded paper.”

“Into cranes?”

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Somè never once glanced at his shield as he answered the young man’s question, “The crane is simply a phoenix without its tail. The symbol of the goddess. At some point, long before his little brother Mikio was old enough to understand, Kuro of the Ishi destroyed the tail of the phoenix.”

“Why?”

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“I wish I knew.” Somè noticeably sighed as he held the small paper crane within his hands. After a moment of contemplating he added, “I would like for you to go to Aslann. The queen will be making her way to the Ishi and I think perhaps it is time you come face-to-face with the first born son of the death god.”

“Do you wish for me to engage him?”

“No. I am certain he will need no reason to attack you. Simply survive.” Somè glanced at the young man before him, “If you are not fast enough to do that, then let him cut you down for I need not one who is incapable of standing against a god among men.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Somè could hear a bit of disappointment as he placed the crane upon the table. Standing, he spoke while turning his back to the young man. “I chose you because you have the skill to stand against him. The speed to rival that monster. However, even a perfect choice can fail to live up to ones expectations. Enjoy the experience whether you live or die. That moment when Kuro of the Ishi strikes out as a true snake.”ts3w-2016-11-17-02-03-57-52Gen’s tone had a subtle change to it as he responded, “I understand, my lord.” Somè did not need to be looking at the young man to know he was smiling and anticipating the experience that was about to come his way, “Is there anything else you wish of me?”

“Give my regards to the Elder of the Saruwatari while you are there,” Somè added as he allowed the peace of Shimragata to overtake him.

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