The Shadow Above
Nara (40s)– 楢
Nara was a military man for most of his life, well-known as a proficient archer as per the family tradition. He was abroad often and saw his children rarely, but when at home he was a dedicated father, teaching them as much as he could about the family profession, sharing stories and taking them all about the island. He was determined at that at least one of his sons continue to serve as a samurai. One year while abroad, Nara received tragic news that his wife’s poor health had finally bested her. He returned home, but found himself unable to deal with the persistent reminder of wife’s death and shortly went back into service. On his travels he encountered a philosopher of the Phoenix clan. The philosopher made a pointed remark about bringing armed men on a diplomatic mission, and sparked a fierce debate with Nara. After a comment was passed about combat requiring no skill, comparing it to children playing with sticks, Nara in anger wagered his bow that the philosopher could not hit the temple’s bell from their position (100 yards). In a twist of fate, the philosopher effortlessly made shot and hit the temple bell. Nara, shamed, gave his bow to the philosopher and upon returning home was the mockery of his clan. He retired from combat and tried represent his family in the social battleground of the court, but was so humiliated and ridiculed by the other members he gave up and retreated to his estate. Nara considered suicide from the pain of disgracing his family, but found himself unable to leave his children orphaned. He buried his wakizashi with his wife, thinking she would’ve taken it from him to prevent his seppoku had she been alive. Over the years, his health and vigour waned and he wasted into a shadow of his former self.