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Oracle of the Void

Oracle of Void

The Oracles were the direct representatives of the Celestial Dragons, the living embodiments of the various forces that drive the Celestial Order.

Dragons Edit

Rokugani mythology held that before the Fall of the Kami, Tengoku was much closer to Ningen-do, and that the inhabitants of the two realms could easily pass between them. The story told that after the Fall, the Dragons were enthralled with humanity, offering power to those they chose, and even bringing some to live in Tengoku. Rokugan was filled with the kami, servants of the great Elemental Dragons. [1] Amaterasu and Onnotangu were troubled by the Dragons' meddling, believing that their interference would be detrimental to the newly-created Empire, and so they lifted the Celestial Heavens away from Rokugan, forcing the Dragons to decide whether to tear humanity away from Ningen-do or to abandon them to mortality. The Dragons chose to leave humanity, along with parts of themselves, that they might continue contact. These essences of the Dragons were each given to a single individual, who became the Dragon's agent in Ningen-do. Thus, the Oracles were created. [2] [3]

Creation of the Elemental Oracles Edit

The emissary of the Celestial Dragons, Ryoken, came to the mortal realm over the rolling hills that would one day be the Agasha provinces. Five mortals were gathered there and Ryoken told them they had been honored by choosing them to bear a fragment of Elemental Dragon's essence. They would be their eyes in this realm, their immortal Oracles. Their power would be beyond measure, and the Dragons should gain a foothold in this world, [1] the ability to perceive the mortal realm through the eyes of a mortal, which offered them insight they could normally not gain from their divine status. [4]

Life as an Oracle Edit

Isawa Norikazu

Oracle of Fire, Isawa Norikazu

Historically the Oracles had been humans who had given up their humanity to contain a part of the essence of a Dragon and became its avatar in Ningen-do. The Oracles thus became not entirely human creatures of great power. [2] They also possesed an Enlightenment of some sort. They were not able to intervene directly in the affairs of mortals, not without specific interactions with others to allow it. [4] The Oracles also would retain no knowledge whatsoever of their former mortal lives and broke all contact with humanity apart from their new duties. Many instances had been documented where a person recognized an Oracle, but the Oracle had no recollection of that person, despite the two having spent years as close friends or family. [5]

Lifespan Edit

The Oracles generally lived far longer than the normal human lifespan, and did not age during their tenure. Records indicated that the appearance of some Oracles had remained the same for up to 500 years. The Oracle of Fire maintained the same body from the late 9th century until his ascension in 1123. [6] His successor, however, remained in the position for less than ten years, as Isawa Norikazu was the Oracle of Fire during the Battle of Oblivion's Gate in 1133. [7]

Knowledge Edit

Hiruma Osuno

Oracle of Earth, Hiruma Osuno

Though a new Oracle had no memory of his previous, mortal life, he would share the memories of previous Oracles. There was a recorded incident between Shiba Goiko and the Oracle of Air, where Goiko met with the Oracle three separated times over a period of a several days, as Goiko was spending the time meditating on the question she would ask. For the first two meetings, the Oracle had the appearance of an elderly woman in fine red silks. For the third meeting, the Oracle had the appearance of a young man, though the new Oracle vividly remembered Goiko and their conversations. [6]

This led some to think that the Oracles might have some type of shapeshifting ability, though most believed instead that the Oracle changed hosts when the appropriate time came. [6] After the 12th century, when several high-profile people became Oracles, such as Hiruma Osuno, Isawa Norikazu, and Toturi Kaede, this was certainly determined to be true.

Types of Oracles Edit

Oracles of Light Edit

Every Elemental Dragon appointed an Oracle to serve as his agent in Ningen-do. These Oracles received no small share of the Dragon's power, and became far more than human. [2] The Elemental Dragons had chosen to impart a fraction of their power to a particularly enlightened shugenja, a secretive group who possessed each a power that transcended that of mortals, linking them with the Celestial Heavens themselves. The Dragons wished to know more of mankind, and by merging their power with a human, they could more fully understand the mind of a mortal. [8]

Oracles of Darkness Edit

Tonbo Toryu 4

Dark Oracle of Void, Tonbo Toryu

During the 11th century a new group of entities appeared known as the Dark Oracles. [9] For each of the basic four elemental Oracles, there existed a corresponding Dark Oracle, to maintain balance in Ningen-do. [2] The nameless entities of Jigoku writhed in hatred of their ancient foes, the Dragons, so they sought their own pawns among mankind. These corrupted shugenja eventually made their way to the Shadowlands to became the Dark Oracles. [10] They balanced the scales between the Heavens and Jigoku gaining similar powers. The Dark Oracles could not interfere in mortal affairs, except if the Oracle was attacked or unless they were invited to by a person in authority. [11] When a mortal men became Dark Oracle, his earthly physicality was replaced by elemental energies replicating his mortal shells, and a direct conduit to the elemental essence of Jigoku replaced their spirit. [12]

CovenantsEdit

For Each Dark Oracle, there was a covenant, a powerful Tainted nemuranai that protected its bearer from the Oracle's power. Whosoever held the covenant could demand one favor from the Oracle, a favor the Oracle must fulfill. However, to demand this favor was to abandon the Covenant's protection. Those who dared make demands of the Dark Oracles did so at their peril, and few survived. [11]

Oracles of Void Edit

Of all the Oracles, the Oracle of Void was the most reclusive. It was believed that this Oracle did not even reside within Ningen-do, but rather on the borders of that realm, passing into the other Spirit Realms. The Oracle managed to go over 300 years without contact with Rokugan, leading some to believe that he might have passed away without choosing a successor, leaving Rokugan missing one Oracle. [13] These fears were proved unfounded upon the ascension of Isawa Kaede to that position.

Historically, there was no Dark Oracle of Void, as the Oracle of Void did not choose sides in any affair. This changed in the 12th century when Oracle of Void Toturi Kaede took the throne of Rokugan upon the death of Toturi I. When its Oracle took the side of the Empire, the Dragon of Void was forced to create the Dark Oracle of Void, a position which was filled by the former Oracle of Thunder Tonbo Toryu. [14]

Other Oracles Edit

Only rarely did other Oracles make themselves known, such as the Oracle of Thunder, representative of the Dragon of Thunder, whose interference with the affairs of mortals usually remained unnoticed.[citation needed]

The Oracle of Jade was very new, since the corresponding Dragon of Jade came into being relatively recently, merely a few years before Fu Leng's incursion into the spiritual realms. [15]

Another recent addition was the Oracle of Obsidian, which was chosen by the new Obsidian Dragon, to balance the earlier creation of the Jade Dragon and its oracle. The first Oracle of Obsidian was Shosuro Maru. [16]

Omen

Oracle of Jade, Omen

Since the ascension of the Jade Dragon and Obsidian Dragon to Sun and Moon respectively, they no longer had Oracles. Instead, their Oracles Omen and Shosuro Maru had become the Voice of the Jade Sun and the Voice of the Obsidian Moon. [17]

The Oracle of Blood was a creation of Iuchiban, and not a true Oracle. [18]

Origin Edit

Rokugani mythology held that before the Fall of the Kami, Tengoku was much closer to Ningen-do, and that the inhabitants of the two realms could much more easily pass between the two. The story said that after the Fall, the Dragons were enthralled by humanity, offering power to those they chose, and even bringing some to live with them in Tengoku. Amaterasu and Onnotangu were troubled by the Dragons' meddling, believing that their interference would be detrimental to the newly-created Empire, and so they lifted the Celestial Heavens away from Rokugan, forcing the Dragons to decide whether to tear humanity away from Ningen-do or to abandon them to mortality. The Dragons chose to leave humanity, along with parts of themselves that they might continue contact. These essences of the Dragons were each given to a single individual, who then became the Dragon's agent in Ningen-do. Thus, the Oracles were created. [2]

Powers Edit

Oracle of Water 2

Oracle of Water

The Oracles were possibly the most powerful forces in all of Ningen-do. They were protected from all harm by tremendous physical and magical forces as well as by their Dragon patrons. [6] Their powers were nearly, if not absolutely, limitless. At one point in the ninth century the Oracle of Water met with Isawa Gojundo and a Unicorn Clan samurai, shortly after the Return of the Ki-Rin. The Unicorn, accustomed to gaijin tales of dragons as mindless beasts to be hunted, drew the ire of the Oracle and was unmade. His eradication was so complete that his parents did not remember that they had a son. [19] Any mortal who met an Oracle could ask a single question and recieve give a true answer. [citation needed]

Nature Edit

Th main limitation of Oracles was their complete disinterest in the affairs of Rokugan. They would trade their knowledge of the future for stories of intrigue and heroism but they were genuinely disinterested in the governance of the Empire. Because of this, and because of their secluded and elusive nature, it was common for generations to pass with no contact from any of the Oracles. When the Oracles did choose to act, their influence could be felt across the land. Though they were not creatures of wrath or compassion, their actions generally attested to a single-minded purpose. [6]

Homes Edit

Tamori (oracle)

Dark Oracle of Fire, Tamori

The homes of the Oracles were splendid and magnificent creations, each reflecting the nature of the specific Oracle. The Oracle of Air had been known to reside in a magnificent palace flying high above the ground. The Oracle of Fire, at least prior to his ascension in 1123, lived in the fiery pits of Sleeping Thunder Mountain; some time after his ascension, Tamori, Dark Oracle of Fire, took up residence within that mountain. The Oracle of Water resided in a sunken Naga city. The Oracle of Earth had a tower within the Twilight Mountains created from tightly woven vines, the Tower of Vines. [13]

The Chosen Edit

Although the Oracles were magical beings with the power of the elements at their command, they were once human, and they never truly forgot. Because of this, an Oracle would occasionally take special interest in a human child and choose to guide that person throughout his life. Though this did not mean that the person in question would be the next Oracle (or even that the position would become vacant within his lifetime), it did mean that the Oracle would occasionally step into the person's life to guide or correct if he or she was not following the path the Oracle thought best. And because the Oracles were so far removed from humanity, knowing what they thought best was often a difficult task. [20]

History Edit

Flight of the Dragons Edit

In 1127 during the Clan War, several Black Scrolls were opened, disturbing the Celestial Order. The Elemental Dragons withdrew from Rokugan and their Oracles went into hiding. The Oracles of Darkness twisted the power of a different element releasing the Elemental Terrors, whose spawn appeared elsewhere. [21]

Elemental Nemuranai Edit

In 1127 the Oracles of Light decided to counteract their corrupted counterparts, bringing together Asako Shingon and Iuchi Yogosha to create a set of Elemental Nemuranai. The Oracles rested knowing the balance had been achieved. [22]

The Dark Oracles sent the Terrors across Rokugan to seize the blessed nemuranai, but in every attempt they were defeated. [23]

Retired from Ningen-do Edit

In 1160 the Oracles of Light decided to retreat from the Mortal Realm for a time, to watch the people of Rokugan from the Celestial Heavens. Only the Oracle of Jade would remain among the people. Before they left each Oracle gifted an enchanted item that beared the power of an Elemental Dragon. [24]

The Dark Oracles also had departed the Mortal Realm for their business was done, but the Dark Oracle of Water, Matsu Turi had one bargain yet unfulfilled, so he returned in 1165 to make good on it. [25]

Returned Oracle of Thunder Edit

Togashi Mitsu, the Oracle of Thunder appeared in 1167 in the Imperial Palace at Toshi Ranbo. [26] He meditated in the Temple to Thunder in the Crane lands. It was also known that the Oracle of Air resided atop a nigh-inaccessible cliff on the Crane shores, [4] the Flowing Tower. [27]

Hunting the Dark Oracles Edit

The Phoenix believed that the Oracles removed themselves in an attempt to lessen the influence of their counterparts in the mortal realm. If the current Dark Oracles were to be defeated or destroyed, it could be new Dark Oracles not come into existence. In 1169 a group was assembled to figure out what would happen if a Dark Oracle died in such situation. Isawa Kimi would find the Dark Oracles, Isawa Mizuhiko would kill them, and the Asako Inquisitors, Isawa Kyoko and Isawa Takesi would aid them in the quest. [4]Wielding the Bloodsword Judgement Mizuhiko was able to kill the Dark Oracle of Earth, Yasuki Nokatsu and the Dark Oracle of Air, Jomyako as well as wound the Dark Oracle of Fire, Chosai. Unexpectedly, the Bloodsword absorbed the conduits linking the Dark Oracles to the Elemental essence of Jigoku, stopping new Dark Oracles from being chosen. Chosai's conduit was also cut off, leaving him unable to replenish his Oracular powers. Each use of his power burned away his remaining physical form. [12]

Return of Light & Dark Edit

After twenty years of peace under the rule of Iweko I, the Celestial Order had been restored and Ningen-do was again neutral. In 1199 the Elemental Dragons prepared the return of the Oracles of Light, as well as the Dark Oracles, permitted leave from the depths of Jigoku by their master, Daigotsu. [28] In the year 1200 during the reign of Iweko II, [29] the Oracles of Light held a new Conclave of Light, an event rare in the extreme, happening once every few centuries. [30] The Dark Oracles also gathered to discuss affairs, in the so-called Conclave of Darkness. [31]

Known Current Oracles Edit

Celestial Oracles of the Elements Edit

Oracle of Air Isawa Koizumi
Oracle of Earth Mirumoto Saori
Oracle of Fire Kakita Ibara
Oracle of Void Isawa Kiyoteru
Oracle of Water Agasha Kyokuta

Other Celestial Oracles Edit

Voice of the Jade Sun Omen
Voice of the Obsidian Moon Shosuro Maru
Oracle of Thunder Togashi Mitsu

Dark Oracles of the Elements Edit

Dark Oracle of Air Soshi Yoshihara
Dark Oracle of Earth The Broken Man
Dark Oracle of Fire Tamori Wotan
Dark Oracle of Void Tonbo Toryu
Dark Oracle of Water Hida Saiyuki

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Finding the Balance, by Shawn Carman
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Way of the Phoenix, p. 106
  3. The Dragon and the Nezumi
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Revelation, by Shawn Carman
  5. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 106-107
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Way of the Phoenix, p. 107
  7. Water Dragon (Soul of the Empire flavour)
  8. Way of the Shadowlands, p. 123
  9. Great Clans, p. 178
  10. Way of the Shadowlands, p. 123
  11. 11.0 11.1 Clan Letter to the Phoenix #21 (Imperial Herald v2 #6)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Judgment, Part 1, by Lucas Twyman
  13. 13.0 13.1 Way of the Phoenix, p. 108
  14. Oracle, Heaven and Earth rulebook story by Rich Wulf
  15. Jade, by Rich Wulf
  16. Shosuro Maru (The Truest Test Boxtext)
  17. The Sun and Moon, Part II, by shawn Carman
  18. Bloodspeakers, p. 9
  19. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 107-108
  20. Way of the Phoenix, p. 51
  21. Time of the Void, p. 33
  22. Time of the Void, p. 34
  23. Time of the Void, pp. 38-42
  24. Gifts of the Oracles
  25. Blood Dawn, Part V: Bonds of Honor, by Rich Wulf
  26. The Test of Enlightenment, Part 1 (GenCon SoCal 2005), by Shawn Carman
  27. The Celestial Pattern (Gold flavor)
  28. 2014 Fall Tournament Series: Return of Light & Dark (Storyline tournament)
  29. Conclaves of Light and Dark, by Maxime Lemaire & C Thomas Hand
  30. The Pacific Rim Championship: The Conclave of Light (Storyline Tournament)
  31. The South American Championship: The Conclave of Darkness (Storyline Tournament)


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