|A Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan, Part 3|
The Gaijin's Guide to Rokugan
Part III: The Fall of the Scorpion
All of these events occur approximately two years before the "beginning" of the game.
Bayushi Shoju was a man living in fear. All his life he had waited for the moment when the first signs of the prophecy would come to pass, and when he learned that his most trusted shugenja - Yogo Junzo - had opened the first Black Scroll, he knew there was nothing he could do. But he did not allow despair to devour his resolve. While the prophecy was very vague, it was quite specific on one matter: the Last Hantei would prove to be the doom of the Empire. Shoju put it in his mind to prevent the doom of the Empire by killing the last Hantei.
For months he prepared. His spies in the Lion and Crane fed the fires of discontent. For generations the two clans had feuded over the patch of land called Kumari, and with a little Scorpion help, the calm and rational argument quickly turned to heated insults. Shoju's wife, Lady Kachiko, placed her best ninja (under the guise of a geisha) in the Akodo house to charm and beguile the Lion Champion, Akodo Toturi. Six months passed.
All was ready. The Scorpion struck without warning. As the Lion and Crane armies were engaged in a stand-off far to the west of the Imperial Palace, Kachiko's geisha poisoned the Lion Champion. But the poison she used was not the poison Kachiko had given her. Just as she had been ordered to charm the Lion Champion, so had she been charmed by his courage, strength and loyalty.
Instead of killing Toturi, she paralyzed him and fled into the night. Shoju stormed the Imperial Palace with his army, killing the Emperor's guards as he went. He reached the enfeebled Hantei XXXVIII and killed the old man without reflection, but he could not locate the Emperor's young son, Hantei Sotorii, who apparently escaped the Scorpion Lord's wrath by a heartbeat. Days passed as the other Clans tried to make sense of the Scorpion's actions. Both Shoju and Akodo Toturi (having recovered from the geisha's poison and now leading the army of the collective clans) sent word to the distant Crab and Unicorn Clans, in hopes of gaining his support. As both generals waited, Toturi's forces assaulted the Palace day and night, but Shoju, having prepared for months, was too well-fortified.
The forces of the Unicorn Clan arrived first. Neither general knew which army the Unicorn would join. Tense hours passed as the scouts watched carefully to gain advance knowledge of the placement of the mighty Unicorn cavalry. But when the moment arrived, it was the army of Toturi that gained that advantage. Now the only hope for Shoju lay in the decision of Hida Kisada, the Great Bear of the Crab Clan.
At last, the army of the Crab Clan arrived. Both generals waited to see whose side he would join. When the Crab arrived flying the emerald and gold colors of the Hantei family, Shoju knew his death was certain. With no hope for retreat, he led his army onto the battlefield and faced his death as a samurai should: with unflinching courage.
The morning after the battle, Bayushi Shoju was brought before the new Emperor. The young Hantei had not even reached the age of adulthood. His Emerald Champion killed Shoju and the Emperor commanded that his body lay unsanctified on the battlefield. Then, as a final blow to the Scorpion Clan, he married Shoju's bride, the Lady Kachiko, thus ending the Bayushi line.
Then the new Emperor turned to the Great Lord of the Lion Clan (the text mysteriously ends here ... perhaps a Scorpion deception?)
- Yogo Junzo did not open the first Black Scroll until after the failure of the Scorpion Coup and death of Bayushi Shoju.
- The geisha Hatsuko was never a ninja. Merely a pawn used by Bayushi Kachiko.
- Shoju was not captured alive. He was killed by Toturi on the final day of the failed Scorpion Coup.
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