The Burning Throne, Episode 12: Kuni Magatsu

Continued from: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-burning-throne-episode-11-lighting-the-paper-lanterns/ 

Kuni Magatsu is played by author Paul Genesse, who joined Writer Nerd Game Night a couple months in. Here is a link to his first book:  http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=monshuntnati-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1594146594  I’ll be book bombing the next one when it comes out.

Paul’s character is great. He’s absolutely terrifying, possibly psychotic, and feels that he is prophetic (but only when he is drunk). Paul found this picture and used it as his character sketch.

Have no idea who drew the original pic, but it suits him

 

*

Private Scrolls of Kuni Magatsu, Crab Clan Shugenja

My Sensei, Kuni Kiyoshi warned me not to unnecessarily maim or kill irritating samurai. He said that many of the other clans would not understand me and that I should be patient with them and forgive their insults. I follow his advice and say my prayers to the kami silently to myself rather than crush their skulls or tear them apart with the magic of the kami. Not all of them are useless, but I wonder why so many of them do not understand Bushido or the proper respect they must give to the kami and the gods.

The wrath of the kami and the gods will be severe for those who offend them, and I am an instrument of their fury.

I pray every day that I will remember the lessons of Sensei Kiyoshi. My honored uncle taught me much and as I travel in the north in the service of the Crab Clan I will honor my master and all our ancestors as I carry out my duty. I shall keep the traditions of the Kuni Shugenja who have gone before me. I shall say the prayers to the kami day and night. I shall wear the white and red face paint in the ancient style my sensei taught me so the living and the dead shall know what I am. My enemies will see the face of death when I come for them and they will tremble before I send them screaming to the next world.

Now I must help repel the Yobanjin horde who invade the Emerald Empire from the north. I suspect that some foul power allied with the Shadowlands is aiding the barbarians. I will find out what or who it is and learn more about the Dark Oracle who is said to be leading them.

I now find myself in the service of the famous and honorable Hida Kenzan. He has tasked me to go along with his notoriously unlucky and dishonored half-brother, Hida Makoto, and keep watch over him. I will do all I can to prevent any further dishonor to the Crab Clan by Makoto. His father’s disastrous mistake at the wall is a scar that will never fade, but I now understand that Makoto is doing his best to reclaim his personal honor and for this I shall respect him.

Hida Makoto and the group he is part of, The Paper Lanterns, are representatives from many of the other clans and seek to find one of the Shameswords kept in the House of Light high in the Dragon Clan Mountains. We must prevent it from falling into the hands of the Dark Oracle leading the Yobanjin.

Hida Kenzan has also asked me to help destroy the Shamesword, and this, I will do, though before I attempt to break its blade, I will attempt to understand its connection to the darkness. If I can sever this link, perhaps I will be able to find a way to break the metal.

I will also carry the tetsubo wielded by Hida Makoto back to Hida Kenzan if his half brother should fall in battle. The stories of Makoto’s bravery and prowess in battle are likely true from what I have seen, but his recklessness may prove to be his doom. I will keep him alive as a service to Kenzan-san, though ironically Makoto has been tasked to be my personal Yojimbo.

In our first battle Makoto left my side and charged into the fray and killed a ronin warrior with a blow so hard it would have cracked an ogre’s skull. The battle was foolishly started by a dishonorable but deadly archer, Tsurichi Machio of the Mantis Clan. The battle was a mistake and was rushed into by samurai who must learn more patience. I am angered that the archer, Machio appears to wish for death and picks fights with simple Bushi. His history of getting into duels is known to me and he must be a friend of the infamous monk who murdered an honorable samurai and then fled. One day, Machio’s insults will get him killed, but if his death is honorable I will say the prayers over his corpse and help his spirit pass on. If he dies poorly, I will not say the prayers and will consider binding him to this world so he may observe the error of his ways before passing on so that in his next life he will show the proper amount of respect to the way of the samurai. The Mantis clan are valuable in the battle against the Shadowlands, but those Mantis I have met prove they are not truly one of the great clans by their lack of respect of Bushido.

At least my Yojimbo, Hida Makoto shows the proper respect. As he watches me, I will keep watch over him and prevent him from dying, unless the opportunity for a truly glorious death presents itself, then I will join him and we shall die together among the piled corpses of our enemies.

The Paper Lanterns, and their retinue now find ourselves in a village under the protection of ronin who call themselves Spirits of the Mountain. They have been allowed to escort us to the House of Light. They are not to be trusted as they have left the Dragon Clan and claim to be protecting the eta who live in the mountains. Why would I trust men who do not follow a Daimyo? Most of them are without much honor, though I agree that the Dragon Clan have proved to be weak as they let the Yobanjin invade their territory without mounting a strong defense. We Crab would have died to the last man to stop such a dishonor as the Dragon have allowed on their watch.

I am not afraid of the ronin, though I will be wary and trust our group leader’s decision to allow them to escort us to the House of Light. He is building an alliance that we will need as we travel in the Dragon Clan lands and fight the Yobanjin, but I will remember what my sensei has taught me: “Be wary of the open hand offered by any man, for it can easily become a closed fist.”

Still, I trust that our leader, Magistrate Ide Todo of the Unicorn Clan. He is an honorable and intelligent man. I do not believe the whispers that he is a coward, and why would I ever believe a member of the Scorpion Clan? Ide Todo is above the death dealing ways of lower men like myself who enjoy seeing blood leaking out of an enemy’s ears and laugh when the dead ghosts wail for the loss of their bodies.

The Unicorn are Crab’s strongest allies and Ide Todo has been a competent leader, though I wonder why he chose a former ronin who now serves the Spider Clan, Zuko Zuko to be our gunso, when Hida Makoto was the most qualified. Politics are the way of things in the clan territories away from the Kaiu Wall. Humility is a lesson beneficial to all samurai and Makoto will be forced to increase his own with Zuko Zuko as our gunso.

However, Zuko Zuko appears to be a competent warrior and his disfigured appearance will bring fear to our enemies. I wonder how he lost his eye and was burned. This I will perhaps ask him someday if the moment is right. Though I do not approve of how Zuko Zuko disappeared when the battle with the ronin started. A gunso should stay with the men and make certain they follow the commander’s orders, but somehow Zuko Zuko got his sword in a position to kill the leader of the ronin at the rear of their lines. It was a great feat, but how did he do it? There is something very strange about him and I can sense he is hiding something. I shall ask the kami about him. Also, how can I trust a man who has allied himself with the Spider Clan? The spirits do not favor the Spider and there are portents that the Spider will fall into darkness.

Despite the travails of the journey into the mountains we are now within sight of the ruins of the House of Light. I have spoken with two kami of the mountains, one of great significance, and I believe one of the Shameswords is within the ruins, as I trust the earth kami above all others. When the sun has risen I shall go with the Paper Lanterns and find the nemuranai within. Before we attempt to destroy the sword, I shall seek to understand the power of the blade and will speak with the awakened kami inside it and find out what its true powers are. I will speak with the soul of the dragon clan samurai who is rumored to be trapped within the blade. Perhaps he will tell me how to destroy it and free his spirit and thereby regain his lost honor.

I have already seen the darkness of the Shadowlands and looked into the Well of Jigoku when I passed the test of Poison Jade. I have survived my trials and will not flinch from what must be done now. If destroying the blade and learning its secrets will cost me my life . . . I will pay. Then once again my soul will return as a Kuni Shugenja.

*

To be continued next week when the Paper Lanterns go looking for an evil magic sword.  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-burning-throne-episode-13-the-mountain-spirits/

3 Responses

  1. For the love of all that is holy, I need more. I also need a compilation and eventual book…

  2. Hey Larry? you realize it looks like that guy swiped your Tsetsubo?

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