Call to Arms

Way of the Jade Mantis, part 4

Schism

Doru is the smallest of the Jade Mantis acolytes and is just 15 years old. Chen Tao binds her hands and takes her to a nearby barn he hopes will be safe from another Jade Mantis attack. He and Anselmo’s friends light many torches in the barn to drive off shadows.

Doru prostrates herself at Chen Tao’s feet. “Revered Teacher,” she begs, “when you kill me, let me die on my feet facing the foe as a Caetari should.” Chen Tao replies “I’ll consider it,” but he has no intention of killing his prisoner.

They set watch, Sova going first. She is patrolling closely around the barn when a bird-call gets her attention. Crouching in a nearby tree is Geshho, now in civilian clothes. The Jade Mantis gestures for Sova to follow and bounds off, running along the top of a fence. Sova follows step for step, atop the fence, over a shed, finally meeting Gessho in a gazebo a few dozen yards from the barn.

Gessho tells her, “with your speed, your skills and your resolve you should have been one of us. We would have trained you and given you a name.” Sova introduces herself and tells Gessho a bit about her training in Felleg’Avin. Then she asks what this is all about. Doru’s capture is Gessho’s responsibility, and Gassho wants to take Doru’s place as the abbot’s prisoner. Sova is impressed by the Jade Mantis’ honor and honesty.

Waking Kendal, Sova explains the situation. Kendal can’t think of one reason they wouldn’t make the trade, so they do. Doru, relieved but ashamed, runs off to join her sisters while Gessho is bound. Sova stay up most of the night talking to Gessho.

Meanwhile up near Planos, Anselmo questions Jikan. She tells him all about the Jade Mantis and the events leading to the holy war. Anselmo dislikes the lack of honesty shown by Mumyo, but thinks if the Jade Mantis re-dedicate themselves to the 9 virtues there is hope of reconciliation. Jikan asks Anselmo to take her side before the abbot and insist the Way of Shadow is a true way to follow Caetar. Anselmo sleeps on it.

Come morning Chen Tao is less pleased at the exchange. Gessho tells him she knows he’s going to Jikan’s house: she assures the abbot they will find it empty when they arrive. Gessho offers to lead them to Jikan and Anselmo. The abbot disagrees. Instead he summons four of his monks, then sends one of them (Anzan) to give Jikan a message: the abbot will meet them on his terms or no deal.

The next day Jikan and Anselmo follow Anzan to an isolated sheep pasture where they meet Chen Tao and Anselmo’s friends just after noon. Gessho is released and the two groups each relate their version of events from the last few days.

Anselmo calls Jikan and Chen Tao together. He feels he cannot speak for the church, but gets Jikan to agree to submit herself to the Archbishop’s decision once they can contact him. She tells Anselmo there may be a way to contact Felleg’Avin if they can just retake the monastery …

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greymorn

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