Character Name: Raidon of Europa
Authors note: I am part of The Kotodama Clan (KTD) which is a role-playing guild in Europa and part of CoRE.
From the time I created him the Rokugan part of his heritage was an integral part of his character. Rokugan all the clans in Rokugan, the Mirumoto Bushi School all are taken from the Oriental Adventure role-playing campaign created by Dungeons and Dragons and thereby Wizards of the Coasts have the copyrights to it.
Raidon is a Japanese Samurai. There are Japanese words in this story. I do not deem it necessary to translate them. My style of writing is similar to the stream of consciousness.
People are not born on the day they come into a world. Birth occurs after pain and patience. Nine days, months or years matter little. But when it happens it is highly rewarding. In introspection one can only say that things become clear only when viewed from another point of view.
Raidon opened his eyes and began to reflect on all that had happened. He sat on the bridge at Zento and gazed intently at the lotus. A crane that was wading there looked distracted. He closed his eyes taking deep breaths. Something was not right. Theoretically the Ninja did not exist. They were just stories told to children to make sure they hit their futons on time or make sure they had their sushi and rice. However in every myth there is always a hint of reality. Recently he along with the Daimyo and Akira had their share of this. He felt his mind clear. He may not have learnt to fight from his sensei Fuji but his meditation lessons were invaluable. His no-dachi lay in front of him. It was made of verite and crafted by Mieko Morri the best gendai of the Kotodama. He had won it for coming second in the tournament of Zento in which people from all over the land came. He patiently waited. In one fluid motion he drew his sword and the head of his would be assassin was in the lake. He signalled to an ashigaru to retrieve the head and to burn it. He bore the symbol of the scorpion clan but the body had all the characteristics of one belonging to the clan of the lion. It made sense. The Phoenix clan had the means of creating rifts through worlds but not capable of completing effective assassinations but the lions did. The politics in Rokugan had spilled over to Tokuna. One of the disadvantages of being a famous warrior and the second in command of the army of the Kotodama clan. Things had not always been like this but it all started with the day when he discovered who he was. No one who saw him now would ever imagine that he once was a pot bellied drunken gambler. He sat and reflected on all that happened.
He was good in farming. However he was not satisfied with what he did. His soul longed for something greater. One day he heard of a clan of Samurai that lived in Yew. He left in that night and found the clan three days later. His first battle involved the undead. They had taken control of a strategic outpost on the border of their village. As they stood ready he made a bet with one of the Samurai in training that he would hit the undead in his first shot itself and he won it. Of course he got injured in the battle but that did not matter. The Kotodama had prevailed and that was what mattered. The bushi Akarai Chan did not pay up with a bottle of sake. This was the starting of a bitter rivalry. It ended when they both started gaining honour in the eyes of the clan and began to respect each other.
Rai limped towards the cave. It was far away from their village that was located in Yew. After the Hadoken match someone had tripped him causing his leg to fracture. He was sure that someone had kicked his leg instead of the ball on purpose. Barely a week from then he found himself being led by a familiar voice to a strange place. He should have been in the Futon Dojo resting not plodding around following an ethereal sound. He could not remember hearing it but memory is limited by what you want to remember and what you are forced to remember.
The tonal variations of the voice seemed so natural. The spirit started speaking. "Do you know who you are?" "Hai! My name is Rai. From the family of Raikatuji. The youngest of a family of five. We were farmers. But I left and came across the Kotodama clan. I have started proving myself in battles and now I am one of the Daimyo's Dokkoro." He felt the spirit say "What is true will continue to be true until such a time comes when the truth is unnecessary. What you once held as true is true no more. Look around and listen. What do you hear? Who are you? What are you becoming? He closed his eyes and meditated. He realized that the creatures of night were not moving or creating any sound because of him. It was not because of a human voyeuristically invading their privacy. It was as if they feared something greater. Something ancient. He opened his eyes slowly. His eyes slowly got accustomed to the darkness. He was shocked by what he saw. There before him was the holiest of all symbols. It was the spirit of an ancient dragon. He could do nothing but bow to the ground. You are one of us so prostrate not in front of us. He looked around. Were there more? The dragon laughed. What you see is the spirit of your ancestors. You were taken from us and now it is time you return. You are no longer a nameless warrior. You are no longer a young one. You are the proud descendant of a long line of warriors. You are one of the Dragon clan. We now live with you and in you. Respect us and do our name proud. Honour us and respect the code of Bushido. He suddenly felt a burning sensation in his chest and his arm. He felt as if his heart was about to shatter into a million pieces and his chest was going to explode. He fell unconscious.
He woke up in a clean room with a priest watching over him. "You have been touched. Now it is time for your training to begin. Welcome to the Mirumoto Bushi School." He went to take a hot bath. It was then he saw the Tattoo. A powerful dragon with a lightning descending from the heavens. He was the amalgamation of the fiery dragon and the powerful lightning. He was blessed by the Thunder god himself. "You obviously have a lot of questions san and that is a good thing." There is a land far away called Rokugan. You were born there. On the night you were born the volcano mountain Kami erupted. This was sudden. Even the monks of the clan did not expect this. The loss of life was gargantuan. Man, woman and child. Samurai, monk and servant perished. There was only one birth and that was you. You managed to absorb part of their forces. Further you are of royal blood. You have dragon blood flowing through you. All this put together made you a powerful person. A great hope for the dragon clan and bane for our enemies. To date we do not know who kidnapped you. It is possible that our enemies took you away from Rokugan but it is equally possible that we and our allies did it to keep you safe." The priest handed him a kimono. Get ready for the sensei of the Mirumoto Bushi School awaits you.
He returned back to Yew a changed man. His boyish nature started maturing. He lost the small pot belly that he had developed from drinking too much sake. The shape of a sleek smart warrior started appearing from the silhouette. He continued his training and his honour among the clans started to grow. The wars with the undead and orcs were reducing. They were not the demonic power that they once were. However the threat from the militia of Yew started to grow. Their leader Klion was a man who did not know what the word honour was. He and his men would come and attack even the villagers and not spare them. He was in denial too. If he lost a battle then he would get even more people from the local peasants give them a sword in their hand and push them into battle. Then the signs started coming. First it was in form of rumours. Then the winds started blowing heavily. On one of the days Eiji Shinjo the fabled monk of the clan managed to open a gate. A man came from the other side. He had been injured badly by the creatures of Tokuna. A short time after that the gateway to the city of Zento had stabilized. The entire clan left Nihon. A fresh start that was signalled by the fresh cherry blossom that floated from the trees above.
Night and day each and every member of the clan worked as one unit in order to complete the new residence of the Daimyo. Finally it was done. It was a beautiful house that would put any other building to shame. It was better than anything made in that god forsaken place called Yew. The entire land had been polluted by the swamp and dangerous gases floated around. Monsters and thieves roamed freely in the woods nearby and one had to always be on guard. Those that dared trespass the village would swiftly meet their death. However due to this stark reality relaxation seemed like a dream that might be achieved in another lifetime. Zento on the other hand was calm and peaceful. The air was fresh and a cool breeze always prevailed. Over here one could develop completely into a Samurai. Excelling with the blade was a small part of a Samurai. The approach of Bushido and that of a Samurai was holistic in nature. Painting, poetry and performing the tea ceremony was an integral part of the life of a Samurai. Now they had the opportunity to practice the finer details of being a Samurai.
The tournament was over and he had succeeded. He just finished polishing and sharpening his blade. His head still hurt from the spells cast on him by the monk so he decided to meditate. In time he will become one of them but there was much to be done and ages before that would happen. It was time to return to the school. He did not know where it was but he would be taken there. He was taught a very simple thing but one which had a deeply philosophical impact. All that is needed to stop a charging bull is a step to the side. Let your enemy pass and then attack. But never attack from the back for that would be dishonourable.
Seiji brought two precious rocks of immaculate quality. Akira picked up the stones and examined them. The fire of the Brazier caused it to shine in a utopian manner. Rai observed the other stone and that too was equally good if not better. Seiji informed them that these stones lay in plain sight and nobody bothered to even pick them up. He was not sure whether this was because nobody ventured into the forest or because it was a common thing. They studied the map of Serpents hold carefully. The town was in the eastern side. However the bank and the forest were on the western side. Rai suggested that a direct battle was not wise. However capturing the bank would cut them from their finances. Akira and Seiji agreed to this. Seiji added that there was one main entrance that separated the west and the east. Blocking that will ensure that the main town will be cut from the resources. Wood, food and leather. But the first step would be to take control of the bank. They then went their separate ways to start the preparation for the battle.
Rai went through the maps again. He also browsed a few notes on his side. The monk had gone to see the gaijin in Cove. He did not know what transpired between them but when the monk came out he indicated that the Church was separate from the leadership. This was important the gaijin in Yew were highly fanatical and deeply controlled by the church. That made things very difficult. That Klion baka was just a tool of the church a mere pawn. However if these people in Cove were different then they could be useful.
Rai felt the rare stones in his hand and held it towards the rising sun. He looked down at another report which stated that the Covians had suffered big defeats against the Kaldorians. Wealth and revenge can be powerful baits. Trade was Kazuo's problem. Official diplomatic relationships were Jin's. He had to take control of Serpents Hold. If the Daimyo will have an issue with this method then Rai would just have to face the consequences. After all his blade belonged to the Daimyo. If the Daimyo were not satisfied then he could order Rai to commit Seppuku. If not he would be hanged from a tree. There would be no honour in that. There was just one thing that needed to be done and that was to meet the man known as Baron Octivious.
Rai felt a mixture of hope and frustration. His meeting with the Baron went well. The Baron had agreed to form a joint force. However those fools rushed that very evening into battle and they were beaten properly. Most of them lay injured in their barracks. This was good because the Covians would be more desperate for revenge and victory than before. He was nervous though because if they were injured then it may be a delay until they get fit. This was bad news because the Daimyo were not famous for his patience.
Rai was pleased. He was instrumental in capturing serpents hold. Everybody hopefully was happy. Everybody except the Kaldorians that is. The Daimyo hopefully was because the island was now in his control. His mood seemed good because he had announced a promotion ceremony. The Covians was happy because they got a victory that they wanted for a long time. His tactic of putting the Covians behind worked. Further the idea of defending and holding only the bank was good. All the Samurai showed their character by patiently blocking the gates of the bank. Akarai's idea of firing Ya (arrows) from the top was brilliant.
However at the same time he recognized that things would get increasingly more difficult now. After the victory a person of a strange race came and told that the island was rightfully theirs. Little was known about the race. Maybe a few others knew of them. Maybe the monks could find something hidden in their dusty tomes. Tomorrow did not matter. However what happens one year from now will. Fatigue and sleep caught up with him and he knew he could rest for a brief while. He knew he had taken one step closer in the long path to bring honour to his ancestors. The Great Ryu.
The first order he had given was to dismember the body of the ninja and to hang it on the tree outside the Bank in Serpents Hold so that it would serve as a warning to the others. It was a brutal but necessary act. His Jiai had done a good job of it. However the Kaldorians either did not see it or had not heeded the warning. They attacked again. They fought well and held their position but the talents of the Samurai managed to win the day again. Rai was wounded almost immediately. It seemed that the entire force of Kaldor concentrated their effort on him. This was a good thing. For now they started to know fear and part of that fear was because of him. One more piece of the island was in their control. Soon the entire area would fall.
Curse that Commander!!! After the interrogation she called some of their monks to make a passage to Tokuno but that Baka put it to some god forsaken island. He did not know what happened to Akira and Akarai. Hopefully they were safe. Now he should wait. Hopefully the Dokkoro will find him quickly or a ship might come by. Until then he will have to adapt. Hopefully there was edible fish in that area.
If they dare talk about Honour from now he would personally cut their tongues out. They were too scared too fight and prove their honour like warriors without the help of the Gods. His head hurt and he felt the blood on the side of his stomach. That onna called Jess had dulled his senses by some bad form of godly help. She then shot at him with a crossbow at close range. He tried moving but he was not fast enough and it had cut his side. He took some sake and poured it on his wound. He then proceeded to pull the part of the bolt that was lodged inside. He started losing consciousness. However he managed to carry some salt water in his kabuto and pour it on his wound. He tore a piece of his hakama and dipped it in his sake and tied the wound. He staggered, fell and drifted off. The world around disappearing slowly. The Kotodama began a search for him and found him. When he was nursed back to health he had heard about the proposal from the Commander of Kaldor. After much deliberation it was decided the Kotodama would ally with Kaldor. They wanted to conquer Sosoria. This would be shared with the Kotodama. Instead of wasting precious resources fighting against each other they would fight alongside.
Rai was by the bridge in Zento practicing his jutsu when a hawk flew down bearing a message. It was from Akira. The conquest of Sosoria had begun. They along with Kaldor will fight against Cove. Kaldor and Kotodama stood ready. The battle ended even before it began. The Covians were annihilated and minimal injuries were suffered. The birth of the conquest had begun.