Between Heaven and Earth

The Tale Suzume Hiroshi

The Sparrow bushi Suzume Hiroshi is as true a child of the Sparrow as has ever been seen, but his destiny was larger then the Suzume Hills he was born into.

The nephew of the clan champion, Suzume Yugoki, Hiroshi has been an example of what every Sparrow hopes to be. He passed his gempukku at an early age, and has strong reputation as a paragon of honor among his clan. He has learned the art of farming well, in keeping with the honorable poverty the Sparrow practice. He has become one of the leading young storytellers, able to recall details many of the more practiced tale-spinners often forget. He has also learned the lessons of the blade, even becoming a practiced duelist like some of the heroes of his favorite Crane-inspired tales. Many of the younger Sparrow look up to Hiroshi, but the young samurai’s thoughts dwell in other places.

In truth, Hiroshi loves his clan and the honorable way of life they practice, but he wants the honor of the Sparrow to be known outside the quiet, rocky hills of his homeland. He longed for the ability to learn more tales, new stories of heroic and honorable men and women that fill Rokugan’s history and shout them far and wide. Most of all, he wanted to represent his clan’s way of life, and show that the Sparrow, though not large or mighty, were the brightest example of what the samurai should be.

His uncle, Yugoki, knew this about his nephew. The champion had once felt the same way, before responsibility prevented him from wandering the Empire as he had so wished. He saw in Hiroshi’s eyes the same soul as his, the same burning desire to spread the tales of the Sparrow, and that he was too honorable to request such a duty himself.

Thus, Yugoki called Hiroshi forth at the Winter Feast. He said to his nephew “I wish for you to tell a story.”

Hiroshi bowed, and began to tell a favored exploit of a famous Crab witch-hunter, when the champion interrupted him. “You do not understand, Hiroshi-san. I want you to tell a new story.”

Hiroshi stood and thought for a moment. “I beg your forgiveness uncle, but I have no new stories to tell.”

Yugoki smiles. “Then Hiroshi-san, you will find new stories to tell. As your lord, I command you to leave these hills at the thaw, and travel the Empire. Go where your honor guides you and find new stories of samurai and hemnin alike. Display the honor and courage of the Sparrow to Rokugan in everything you do, and when you have learned the stories of our land, return to us and tell a new tale for us all.”

Hiroshi could barely hide his joy. He bowed deeply to his uncle. “I will honor your command in everything I do.”

“I know you will, Hiroshi-san. That is why you must be the one.”

With the coming of the spring, Hiroshi took what supplies and provisions could be set aside for him and set forth into Rokugan, letting the Fortunes guide him to his destiny.

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