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Shi-Tien Yen-Wang

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Shi-Tien Yen-Wang

Shi-Tien Yen-Wang

The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang were the original gods of the Ujik-hai tribes. Gods of death, they granted their worshippers power, and demanded reverence. When the bulk of the Ujik-hai joined the Unicorn Clan as the Moto family, the ten Shi-tien Yen-Wang were left powerless, and dying. To get revenge on their wayward followers, they planned to resurrect the evil Moto Tsume, to plague the Unicorn Clan anew. However, due to the sharp mind and diplomatic skills of Moto Chagatai, the Death Gods relented, with an agreement; Moto Chagatai would arrange for them to be worshipped again. They became Minor Fortunes in the Rokugani Celestial Order.

DescriptionEdit

There were ten. Each had the power to manifest with any appearance they chose at any time, but they appeared "naturally" as emaciated, almost skeletal humans with fine robes, lavish jewelry, and a crown encrusted with gems. The Lords of Death had no names, but claimed the truly wise could tell them apart. They were accompanied by an honor guard of Ujik-hai and Moto who had fallen willingly in battle serving them. These honored dead wore white armor and rode white horses. [1]

OriginsEdit

Lords of Death

The Lords of Death

The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang claimed to have always existed, more or less disinterested in humanity at the dawn of time, but eventually the mortal realm garnered their attention. They grew disgusted with other gods, whom they saw as corrupt, as well as their decadent followers. Deciding these gods must be punished and their followers annihilated, they chose the most noble of human tribes, the Ujik-hai, to champion them, becoming their gods. They passed down a system of complicated laws and exacting, sometimes bizarre punishments unto the Ujik-hai, which they called the Iron Book. The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang were gods of justice, but were not gods of mercy. They believed that every crime deserved a punishment, and that punishment must be swift, sure, and severe. [2]

CorruptionEdit

The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang led the Ujik-hai on a 3000-year long reign of terror in which they annihilated everything in their path. During that time, the Lords' definition of "corrupt" and "unworthy" became so broad that it essentially included "everyone else." Ironically, over time, the Lords of Death had become themselves corrupt, delighting in the terror and devastation their followers were causing. [3]

ShinjoEdit

Events came to a head when they came upon the Ki-Rin Clan passed through the Burning Sands during their exodus, and the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang predictably ordered the Ujik-hai to slaughter them. In the messy and ultimately one-sided battle that followed, Shinjo reportedly beheaded the Ujik-hai chieftain, then cut his head in half before it could hit the ground. [citation needed] On top of being repelled time and again, the Ujik-hai also came to the realization that the so-called heathens they were fighting were not only worthy foes, they were also honorable, even more so than their own death gods, whose corruption was becoming evident. The vast majority of the Ujik-hai, remembering what true honor was, [3] swore fealty to Shinjo, led to this by a Ujik-hai named Moto. This group of Ujik-hai then became the Moto family of the Unicorn Clan. [4]

Moto Curse Edit

The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang captured the soul of Moto upon his death. Although they could not find their wayward followers, the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang used Moto's soul to maintain a kharmic connection with the Moto family, resulting in the so-called "Moto Curse" that afflicted the family after their return to Rokugan. [4]

Dead of their Last Worshipppers Edit

After the Return of the Ki-Rin some members of the Moto contacted their cousins in the Burning Sands, the Ujik-hai. Some barbarians returned to the edge of Unicorn lands with the Moto explorers, on the Utaku Steppes, where the Ujik-hai turned on their cousins and attempted to take the lands for their own. A band of patrolling Shiotome save the day for their kinsmen, slaughtering the last few true worshippers of the Lords of Death. The resulting anguish of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang opened a passage to Toshigoku, the Realm of Slaughter, trapping the souls who died there. [5]

ForgottenEdit

With most of the Ujik-hai slain and the rest scattered to the Burning Sands, no one was left to worship the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang. Without worshippers they began to die. Wandering between the realms of Slaughter and Dreams (Toshigoku and Yume-do respectively), they tormented the Moto with nightmares, attempting to drive them insane. As a result, before their ascension to ruling family of the Unicorn Clan, the Moto were the clan's most nomadic family as they attempted to escape the vengeance of their former gods. [3]

The Burning WordsEdit

Lacking any other choice at the time, they even came to an agreement with Fu Leng, who by their every standard was the kind of corrupt and foolish god they would have sent the Ujik-hai after in ages past. The deal was that the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang would drive the Moto into the Shadowlands on the condition that once Fu Leng was finished tainting their bodies, the Lords would gain control of their souls. This contract was called the Burning Words, and led to the rise of the Dark Moto. The Burning Words were nullified when the Otaku decimated the Dark Moto in the War Against the Shadow. The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang condemned Fu Leng for his incompetence, and have since vowed never to work with the Dark Kami ever again. [2]

Second RiseEdit

Following the incident of the Burning Words, however, the Moto ended up in power of the Unicorn Clan, and as such could no longer run. Upon the completion of Shiro Moto, the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang knew exactly where to find them at all times. They planned to take the soul of the Khan, Moto Gaheris, to preserve their strength, but a strange thing happened. Using Naga magic, Moto Chagatai and Moto Chen followed Moto Gaheris on his way to Meido, and stood against the Lords of Death, and proposed a compromise: the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang would cease terrorizing the Moto, and the Lords of Death would become Minor Fortunes in Rokugan. The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang were impressed with Chagatai, who reminded them of the Ujik-hai's old ways, and accepted his offer. [6] The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang Temple was built. [7]

The Lords and Emma-O Edit

Shi-Tien Yen-Wang 2

The Lords of Death

Though the Lords of Death served with Emma-O, they showed him little respect. Power struggles occurred routinely as the Lords carried on their attempts to subvert him, although since their agreement with Kitsu Hisashi, this rivalry never erupted into violence. Since their ascension, the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang had garnered a small cult following in the Moto Family; the Moto Death Priests. [8]

Sharing the Rule of Meido Edit

The Lords took their place in Meido, but once there, they immediately declared Emma-O inept and foolish for letting Fu Leng escape in 1159, and tried to overthrow him. Nine of the Lords were fighting against Emma-O in his castle, to depose him and ensure the Realm of Meido was ruled by the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang alone. Kitsu Hisashi, a Sodan Senzo who traveled to Meido to know why the Fortunes were dying, came in the middle of the fight, interceded and proposed an arrangement: Emma-O would continue in his duties as the Fortune of Death, but the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang would rule by his side, aiding Emma-O in regaining his honor and defending Meido. Emma-O would continue to govern over the Realm of Waiting and the destinies of the unworthy dead, determining how long a soul must wait until reincarnation, but the Lords of Death would judge whether that soul should be punished during that time and determine their punishments. All parties agreed, and the Lords swore to aid Emma-O to recover his spear. They now share power. [9]

Conscious of their bloody past, the Lords of Death were fairly certain they would never find a place there, but were quite content to rule over Meido. The punishments of the Iron Book awaited criminals and villains who they judged and found wanting, but the Lords remembered the day their power corrupted them, and did not revel in the torment to which they subjected the souls of the unworthy.

New Worshippers Edit

In 1161 the Plains Wind Monastery, a small but prominent monastery within the Unicorn lands devoted to Kuroshin, the Fortune of Agriculture, announced to the Brotherhood of Shinsei their intention to change its predominant focus to worship of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang. Most of the Brotherhood shun Plains Wind Monastery and avoided contact with its monks until the later ascension of Toturi III, who officially recognized the status of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang as minor Fortunes. [10]

The Lords in Rokugan Edit

The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang appeared quite willing to participate in the Rokugani pantheon, rising up against Fu Leng when his forces tried to invade the Celestial Heavens. When Akuma no Oni faced his spawn Okura no Oni, the guardian of the Gates of Heaven, and offered her a place at the head of Fu Leng's armies, Okura was tempted to accept. The Shi-Tien Yen-Wang carried Okura away before she could fall to temptation. They also send their hordes of dead Moto and Ujik-hai against the First Oni, allowing the Dragon of Jade enough time to escape and seek his way out of the heavens, looking for aid. [11]

Shinjo's Journey Edit

One of the Lords of the Death returned a favor they owed to the Unicorn Clan. When Shinjo was killed by Fu Leng with Emma-O's Spear, her soul came to Meido. The Lord and the steward of the souls, Shinjo's brother Ryoshun, met the fallen Kami and showed her a portal. They convinced Shinjo to cross the portal and wait to be reincarnated as a mortal in Ningen-do, her only way to escape from Meido. [12]

Worship Edit

In 1165 there were but three temples devoted to the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang in the Unicorn lands, each with a small contingent of monks and shugenja who served and conmuned with the Lords of Death. [13] The Order of Judgment, a sect of the Brotherhood of Shinsei, was created to pass judgment on the living as the Lords of Death enacted their justice on the dead. [14]

Realm of Thwarted Destiny Edit

In 1166 the Shadow Dragon met the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang in Meido to reveal the existence of a new realm, the Realm of Thwarted Destiny, to tempt them with the desire to rule it. He was swiftly dismissed by the Lords of the Death, casting aside a powerful ally and made a powerful enemy. [15] The Lords of the dead came to the new Realm and met Okura no Oni, who was disoriented in the changing mists of the new realm. They went there to bring Okura a warning and an offer of aid. [16] They aided the Legion of the Dead. [17]

Daigotsu's soul Recovered Edit

The Shadow Dragon had distracted the Lords of the Dead, and also provoked Emma-O to be embroiled with the soul of Doji Satsume, who came to Meido seeking the soul of his wife, Doji Teinko. [18] With no guardians, Daigotsu Hoturi sneaked into the Emma-O's fortress and retrieved the imprisoned piece of Daigotsu's soul, on behalf of the Shadow Dragon. The Dragon would gift it to Daigotsu, fully restoring the Dark Lord's former power. [17]

Souls born again to serve them Edit

Years ago the Gods of Death had purified the soul of Moto Tsume and made it born again. This man, Moto Akikazu, had no memory from his previous life. In 1168 the Gods through nightmares tasked Akikazu to recover another soul that also would serve them. [19] He recovered in the Shadowlands the Ruby of Iuchiban, with a soul inside. [20] Inside was trapped Iuchi Ietsuna, and after Moto Tsusung studied the Ruby Ietsuna was released by Akikazu. [21]

Spreading the Faith Edit

During the Winter Court at Kyuden Otomo in 1168 the Unicorn and Tortoise Clan made a treaty. The Tortoise should spread the worship of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang, constructing shrines along their trade routes and in their ports. Secondly, Tortoise should be granted access to and passage through Unicorn lands, for the purpose of conducting matters of trade. [22] The Dragon would send a Tamori to be trained as a Moto Priest of Death and a shrine within Dragon territory would be built by the Unicorn. [23] and a similar arrangement was made with the Crab. [24] During the Winter Court at Kyuden Asako in 1169 the Unicorn and Phoenix Clan made a treaty to build up a temple within Asako provinces. [25]

Intruder Edit

In 1172 Doji Midoru was inside a temple to the Lords of the Death when without intention trespassed the veil between realms and appeared in Meido, in front of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang. The Lords did not punish him because Emma-O revealed Midoru was his son. The Crane used this connection to beg help to find his adopted father, Kokujin Konetsu. He expected to destroy him ending the shame Konetsu brought to his name. Emma-O accepted, but warned it would lead Midoru into great danger. [26]

Order of Death Edit

The Brotherhood of Shinsei formed an group of monks devoted to the rulers of Meido, and they were known as the Order of Death. [27]

Colonies Edit

In the Age of Conquest a Temple to the Lords of Death was built in the Second City, capital of the Colonies which had a large Unicorn population. [28]

References

  1. Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 86
  2. 2.0 2.1 Secrets of the Unicorn, pp. 84-85
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 84
  4. 4.0 4.1 Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 23
  5. Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 53
  6. The Last Ride, part 1 and part 2, by Rich Wulf
  7. Shi-Tien Yen-Wang Temple (Wrath of the Emperor Title)
  8. Secrets of the Unicorn, p. 85
  9. Lifeless, Part Two, by Rich Wulf
  10. Way of the Open Hand, p. 12
  11. Jade, by Rich Wulf
  12. Lifeless, Part One, by Rich Wulf
  13. Way of the Open Hand, p. 41
  14. Way of the Open Hand, p. 43
  15. Legions, Part III, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  16. Legions, Part X
  17. 17.0 17.1 Legions, Part XI
  18. Legions, Part IX
  19. Soul of Darkness, Part 1, by Shawn Carman
  20. Soul of Darkness, Part 2, by Shawn Carman
  21. Fate of the Ruby, by Shawn Carman
  22. Winter Court Kyuden Otomo 1168, p. 9
  23. Winter Court Kyuden Otomo 1168, p. 11
  24. Winter Court Kyuden Otomo 1168, p. 14
  25. Winter Court: The Month of the Boar, by Nancy Sauer and Fred Wan
  26. Scenes from the Empire 8, by Brian Yoon, Nancy Sauer, and Rusty Priske
  27. The Seven Sohei (Storyline Tournament)
  28. The Shadow’s Embrace, Part 3: The Phoenix, by Nancy Sauer



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