BattleTech Fanon Wiki
Clover Spear - Chapter Cover Art

Chapter 28[]

Clover Spear - The Story of the '56 War[]

Prologue, Book 2, The Hammer Falls

Tale of the Temple[]

Byodo-in Temple
New Avalon
Federated Commonwealth
December 31st, 3056
Year of the Yang Fire Dragon

A pair of hover limos slowly climbed up the low wooded hill along a road marked off by Avalon City Police for the New Year's Celebration to where the Buddhist temple overlooked the river running through Avalon City. Inside the lead one, marked with the flags of the Davion Heavy Guards and an AFFS license plate, Omiko Kurita sat like a marble statue.

While she had been invited to the traditional New Year's Party at the Davion Palace by Katherine, she had politely requested to arrive after midnight. As much as she wished to stand with Katherine as she gave the traditional address to the Federated Suns from the Great Hall or celebrate with Victor as he recovered from his injuries, she felt that the time was not yet right for her to do so. While the Western tradition was purely a celebration; in the Japanese tradition, Ōmisoka was a period of reflection and preparation in part.

Omi felt that she had much to reflect on as this year turned to its close.

To keep her mind occupied, she looked over at the other woman in the back of the limousine. "Tell me of this temple, please, Parvati-san."

The dark-complexioned woman with her face showing the fine features of her ancestors from distant India shifted slightly. Her AFFC dress uniform was now adorned with a Kommandant's thick white stripe on the dark yellow epaulets showing her posting in Administration. "An useful fiction for DMI." she had explained to Omi during one of their conversations on the trip from Exeter to New Avalon.

"Omiko-san, I mist confess that I only visited Byodo-in three times. Twice when I was a cadet at Albion as part of a class on religious studies and then Combine culture, and then the third time for a friend's wedding in '53. I'm Panpouran, which means mainly Hindu with Theravada Buddhism synthesis. Byodo-in is one of the Mahayana East Asian branches of Buddhism such as you would have found in China or Japan. As I recall..." Parvati drummed her fingers on the car door briefly, then spoke again, "it is shared by the Jōdo Pure Land and Tendai Schools."

Omi's face lit up in a smile. "That is fortunate! I follow the Sōtō Zen school, which was developed from Jōdo during the Kamakura Shogunate era in Japan." At Parvati's inquisitive look the Kurita elaborated. "Religion is one of the key duties of the Keeper of House Honor, and I found that it suited me well. While I was no nun such as Aunt Constance, it did...does grant me solace." The smile faded at the mention of yet another of her relatives who had vanished in the chaos enveloping the Combine.

Parvati reached over and gently squeezed Omi's hand, who gave her a grateful smile in return before deliberately changing the subject away from too-fresh worries. "You mentioned that this temple is famous for its beauty, no?"

Parvati smiled. "Yes, it was founded in 2373. These are not the original wooden buildings, of course, although they are constructed to the original plans with some cosmetic modifications." Omi frowned minutely at the odd tone of Parvati's voice. She was familiar with the Sengu tradition in Shinto that had a shrine be rebuilt every twenty years both to honor the impermanence of nature and transience of beauty, as well as insure traditional building techniques were taught to the next generation. However, this seemed to be something different, with an undertone of hidden..pain?

Curious now, Omi probed further with her next question. She schooled her voice to project innocent curiosity as she gave the DMI officer a shy smile. "Parvati-san, did something happen that caused a modification to the plans?"

Parvati's smile soured, and she looked like she had just bitten into a lemon. "You could say that, Omiko-san. You must understand that it was a different, darker time back then." The Indian woman visibly collected her thoughts before proceeding. "There has sometimes been a current of antipathy toward Asian culture in the Suns. Many people see it as alien to their culture, and worse see it as the subtle creeping influence of the Liaos and Kuritas." Parvati then hastily added, "No, insult intended, Omiko-san!"

Omi gave a reassuring smile, "It is understandable. I am well aware that my family's relations with the Suns have been rather strained at best."

Parvati grimaced and continued. "That is one way to describe it, yes. But...during the First Succession War, when we were reeling, as the Dragon thrust to the gates of New Avalon while the Capellans gobbled up turned very ugly. People of Asian ethnicity were hounded as 'enemy agents' and 'traitors', and sometimes attacked by mobs. Then the news came about Kentares..."

Now it was Omi's turn to go pale and make her own sour face. While the subject of the Kentares Massacre ordered by then-Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita was glossed over in the official histories of the Combine by being described as 'Fedrat propaganda and lies', as the Keeper of the House Honor Omi knew the truth. She had read the actual eyewitness accounts of the Massacre in the secret archives of the Order of the Five Pillars, along with the scathing diary entries penned by Keeper Izumi Kurita as Jinjiro Kurita ordered the murder of an innocent planet for vengeance for his father's death on Kentares. "I...see, Parvati-san." she whispered in a tightly controlled voice.

"When the news of Kentares hit New Avalon...a mob formed, and marched on Byodo-in, and put it to the torch, beating and killing the monks who prayed for the souls of their attackers as they were brutalized. It took over an hour for the police to manage to quell the riot and allow firefighters to quench the flames."

Omi shivered, staring at the beautiful carved wooden buildings of the Buddhist shrine. "How terrible."

Parvati whispered, "Yes, it was. First Prince John Davion stepped in to call for an end to the attacks on innocent citizens. He visited the surviving monks, along with the head of the New Avalon Catholic Church and the Chief Rabbi of Avalon City, as well as his son and grandson." Parvati pointed through the window as their car stopped in a cordoned off parking spot for the 'Baroness Murasaki Tanaka of Ozawa'. "He stood there, where you see the torii gate with the fox statues on either side with the still smoldering main hall behind him as his words were broadcast across the Suns, and explained to the citizens that the Combine was the true enemy, not their own fellow citizens. Prince John stated that this madness was a stain on the realm's honor, and his own honor as First Prince. He then asked the chief monk of Byodo-in to stand beside him and lead him, his family, and the other clergy in a prayer for the souls of the victims of the Asian Purge. He even paid out of his own personal funds for the rebuilding of the temple, although he would never see it since he was assassinated later in the year. His grandson Prince Paul was the one to represent the Suns at the reconsecration of the temple five years later."

Omi was shocked to her core. To admit wrongdoing and show himself at fault publicly in such a manner was unthinkable for the Coordinator. She knew how desperate the situation was for the Suns in that hour and how close to victory the Arm of the Dragon had come, only distracted by Jinjiro's madness from storming the capital. The Suns were fighting for their life, with all resources turned toward the battlefield...and yet the First Prince elected to try to stop this madness instead of channeling that toward his own ends and his realm's survival. "I...see. I would have liked to meet, Prince John. Such magnanimity of spirit is rare among rulers."

Parvati nodded as several plainclothes security personnel and Shin Yodama exited the other car to secure the area. "It is. Unfortunately, Prince John's reputation is tarnished by his actions as the Star League fell and then the First Succession War. A string of military defeats does not sit well for Davions in the history books, especially since Prince Paul was one of our most brilliant commanders. To be fair to John, it was a systemic failure, I can assure you. DMI missing the signs of your surprise attack into the Draconis March is a case study in intelligence blunders that we have to study both to see what we did wrong then and as a warning about how important it is to get it right."

Omi nodded. "True, we should learn the lessons that those who went before us can teach. Thank you for escorting me to the Ōmisoka celebration. If it allowed for visitors to assist the monks in ringing the bonshō bell 108 times to cleanse the listener of the 108 human sins and worldly desires such as anger, regret, and sadness, I would like you and Yodama-san to be with me as we swing the timber to strike the bell."

Kommandant Parvati gave a grin and opened the limousine door. "It would be my pleasure, Omiko-san. After all, you are my assignment now, by direct order of Princess Katherine no less. I need to do something to justify the promotion that she requested for me!"

  • Story Section by Yellowhammer

Previous Chapter - Return to Story Index - Next Chapter