|Scorpion Clan Coup Rulebook Text|
Scorpion Clan Coup
With darkness all about him, Bayushi Shoju slid the sword in his hands into its saya and put it aside. Moments later, a figure moved in the shadows and took it from the room. "Guard it well," Shoju whispered. The shadow did not respond as it disappeared.
Then, with a quiet deliberate motion, he took a different katana and slid it into the folds of his obi. It fit well in the silk belt, as if it had found its final resting place. Shoju nearly smiled at the thought. "You, spawn of darkness and blood, will be my companion on this mad quest." Shoju thought he felt the sword tremble on his hip. He was no superstitous peasant, but he knew better than to discard the thoughts that went racing through his head.
"What news do you bring me?" Shoju asked.
"All is ready. We are prepared. Your armies are hidden by the shugenja's magics. The shadows are in place."
Shoju nodded. "Very good. We will leave within the hour." The guard bowed again and ran from the room, leaving Shoju alone again with the darkness.
Many miles away, another lord of another Clan sat in the darkness . . . but not alone. The sake that he sipped was hot and the night air was cool. He smiled as the door slid aside and the vision of beauty slipped inside. "Hatsuko," he whispered.
"Toturi-sama," she replied.
She knelt on the other side of the feast she had prepared, her eyes shining in the darkness. He put down his empty cup and she poured him more. "Why do you not come closer," the samurai asked.
Toturi saw her blush in the dim light. "You must be patient, Toturi-sama."
His laugh was louder than it should have been; the sake had already begun to work on his will. "You sound like my sensei," he said.
She nodded and said nothing, but watched him drink.
Suddenly, his eyes flashed.
His fingers dropped the sake cup.
He tried to stand, to draw his katana, but his body moved like a broken puppet.
"You -" he managed to stammer through cold, numb lips.
She nodded and said nothing, but watched him fall.
"It is done," the shadows whispered to him. Shoju turned and looked into the shifting light and darkness.
"You are certain?" he asked.
"The Emperor's general has fallen. He is no longer a factor."
Shoju nodded and looked back at the map of the Empire.
"Then everything is ready," he said, going over his calculations one last time.
"Our greatest concern was the Lion. Their Champion is dead and the Matsu samurai-ko is too concerned with proving her honor against the Crane. When they learn of our actions, it will be too late. We will be within the capital and they will have to storm Otosan Uchi's enchanted walls. Tsuko will never accept Hoturi's aid, and when the Crane learns of his father's death, he will go whimpering back to his mother."
Shoju turned his eyes northward.
"The Phoenix are of no concern. The walls will keep them at bay. And that is if they even decide to attack. The pacifistic fools will sit behind their own walls and pray to the Fortunes for deliverance."
Shoju then put his finger on the Dragon keeps.
"Our arrangements for the Dragon are complete?" he asked.
"Yes, my lord," the darkness replied. "There is only one road to Mirumoto castle, and our assassins await any messengers the Clans may send."
"Good," he nodded and turned to the northwest. "It will take the Unicorn three days to ride to Otosan Uchi, and when they arrive, we will have already fortified and they will be exhausted."
"What of the Crab?" the shadow asked.
Shoju took a deep breath, "Kisada," he said. "Even if he does send an army, he will be far too distracted by the Shadowlands to send anything of worth. Besides, a show of strength is all he is concerned with. He knows the Hantei are weak. As long I do not interfere with his duty to the Empire, he will not care who sits on the Emerald Throne."
"And who will sit on the the throne when all this is done?" the shadow asked.
Shoju stood silent, still staring at the map, his mind filled with the final words of the prophecy: The last Hantei will be the doom of Rokugan.
Quietly, he shook his head. "I do not know, my brother. I do not know."
A step back through history brings us here: to the Scorpion Clan Coup. Why did Bayushi Shoju revolt against the Emperor? Why did he think he could stand against the combined might of the other six Great Clans? You will learn the answers to these questions - and discover a few surprises - as we tell the story of the Scorpion Clan Coup.
The story will be in three parts. The first part tells of his attempt to gain control of the capital and of his strategies to keep the other six Clans at bay. The second part tells of the battles for control over Otosan Uchi, and the third part tells of the fall of the Scorpion Clan and of the Lion Champion, Akodo Toturi.
For those of you who are familiar with the world of Rokugan, don't assume you already know all the answers. History is written by the victor, after all, and the Scorpions took more than a few secrets with them to the grave.
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