Kindred of the East: the Song of Lanterns


Yoyogi park was clear for the first time in a long time that early Wednesday morning. the deaths that had occurred had scared most of the usual patrons away. It was only me on the green at that point. I had been incapable of returning that night to check on the young woman who I had let die.

Who I had let die.

Her death had been my fault.

My Doing!

For a day and a night after the events I repented. I cleansed myself of my failure. I could not cleanse my soul however. As I performed the rituals over and over again, images of my father and mother from my childhood flashed through my mind. Then my mind followed the path of my damnation to that fateful day when the man and woman who had raised and loved me had been turned away by their own beloved son. I saw in my minds eye their last few days, their own sadness slowly killing them. I saw my father, holding my mother’s had as she slowly closed her eyes once more, whispering my name as pained tears poured down her face. I saw my Father, tying a rope to the rafters of their tiny house. I would have wept had I had the tears to do so. No hell had been as painful as these images. The Hell of Upside-Down Sinners had only been bad because of these very images. Finally the young woman’s face had gone back into my mind. Her joy at seeing her idol, the adoration and pride she felt at being near me and supporting whatever it was I was doing. Then I saw her at her final moments trying to defend me from that beast. I saw the mask bisected as she soared across the park. I felt total helplessness.

Total helplessness.

I had never known her name. It took me another several hours to find it out. I had retained a tiny shred of hope that maybe, just maybe, mortal medicine had been enough to save her. I had been wrong. There were relatively few deaths that night. Three belonged to me. The young woman, and her mother and father. They had jumped off a bridge after finding out about their daughters death. Three of the flock are dead because of the shepherd.

I was quick, luckily what I was looking for had landed in a hedge near the park bridge. No one had yet retrieved it. As I lifted it in my hands, a deep rage built in my dead heart, a cold controlled rage. The Rage of the Just.

That Kahn was a wolf to my flock. The shepherd must kill the wolves to protect those he watches over. I knew this wolf would be too much for me now… but I would have a wolfskin cloak before long. That I was certain of.

For my Mother and Father, for that young woman and her parents. This wolf would die.

I wrapped the two halves of the oni-mask in a silk scarf that I had brought for this purpose and carried it reverently back to the castle.



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