One Man's Courage
Written By: Unknown
Edited By: Unknown
Released: May 2000 ([1])
Link: [2]
Story Year: 48-97

Hida Osano-Wo

One Man's Courage

The first Hida had two wives, and each gave him a son. The first son, Atarasi, gave his life in battle against the Shadowlands, the ancient enemy of the Empire. The second, born of a kami and a Dragon, was Osano-Wo.

Osano-Wo stood beside his father, young, powerful, and never-aging. When Hida finally left his position to his son, Osano-Wo was ready to lead the clan.

Osano-Wo's first action was to attack the Kingdom of the Trolls, which lay just south of Hiruma Castle. His war against the trolls was so complete and terrible that the entire race - what was left of it - was forced to abandon the cities and live in the dark moors and swamps of the Shadowlands, where Osano-Wo could not find it.

Osano-Wo tore the fire from the heavens when his sword broke, hurling it at his enemies. He built a palace from the stone of a single mountain, carving it with thunder alone. He long refused to believe that his brother, Atarasi, was dead in the Shadowlands, and built a suit of armor for his return, made of steel taken from the mountains that hold aloft the sky itself. That armor has never been worn, but the legends say that one day a hero with Atarasi's eyes will claim it. Until then, it remains within Hida Castle, awaiting Atarasi's return.

Osano-Wo married a wealthy Matsu, a fiery warrior of the Lion Clan, and with her, had a son of his own. During the celebration, however, he also fell in love with a young peasant girl, and she, too, bore him a child. Osano-Wo acknowledged both children as his sons: the peasant child was brought to the castle to be raised alongside his brother. As the boys grew, their father and his Matsu bride encouraged them to compete against each other. One, a samurai, won nearly every contest... but not by much. As the two boys neared their gempukku, the court began to ask the inevitable question: "Which boy will be the next Champion of the Crab?"

Finally, the day of the boys gempukku arrived. Osano-Wo took the ancestral sword of the Crab in his hands and turned to his peasant son. With a proud smile, he offered it to the boy, who bowed and accepted it. As Osano-Wo turned to leave, his bride stepped in front of him, blocking the door.

"Why?" she shouted. "Why do you insult my family in this way?"

"Because your son wins almost every contest he enters. He is a fine warrior. A fine Lion. He knows what it means to win. But he does not know how to lose... and keep trying. In the Shadowlands, there is only one lesson: survive. My brother died in the Shadowlands, and he proved only one thing: Fu Leng cannot be defeated; his servants cannot be destroyed. A Crab must fight battle after battle, war after war... and a Crab must know that the greatest duty is not to win. It is to fight, and to continue fighting until the last drop of blood has fallen from the veins of the last Crab."

Osano-Wo's wife was infuriated. The next morning, she and her servants gathered up all of their belongings and left the Crab territories, never to return.

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