Please note: This article is about the Phoenix bushi. For other uses of the term, please see Tetsu (disambiguation).
Shiba Tetsu

Shiba Tetsu

Shiba Tetsu was a difficult and unhappy child, but was changed forever when he ran away from his parents and into the Mori Isawa. He emerged from the forest unharmed, but changed. He became happy and studious and began to excel in his training as a bushi. For the remainder of his life, he became a perfect samurai, mastering the sword and the arts.

Childhood Edit

Shiba Tetsu was a spoiled child. His parents were wealthy courtiers who provided anything Tetsu wanted. Because of his pampering, he was withdrawn and apathetic, having no interests of his own, nor any true friends. He followed his companions on whatever exploits they found, but it rarely even relieved his boredom. [1] Bold, brash, foolhardy described the impetuous Shiba Tetsu. He was often referred to by his childhood nickname, “Lion in a Phoenix flame.” [2]

Flight into the Isawa Mori Edit

In an attempt to bring their son out of his apathy, Tetsu's parents decided that they would send him to the Shiba Bushi School for training, rather than having him become a courtier as they were. Tetsu did not appreciate the idea at all, and fled from his parents' home in a fit of rebellion. He ran into the Mori Isawa and quickly became lost. He was found the next morning, but he was still irrevocably changed.

There were fears that Tetsu was dead after his flight, because there was a great storm that evening. Tetsu, however, was completely unharmed during his night in the woods. He told his rescuers of the "snow maiden" that had saved him and protected him from the storm. She was a beautiful woman, with long black hair and silken skin, and had found Tetsu crying beneath a large oak within the forest. She comforted him and explained that becoming a bushi was not a punishment, but a high honor, for his clan was entrusting him with their protection. [1]

Life after the experience Edit

After his experience, Tetsu was a changed child. He became bright, happy, and studious. His new demeanor earned him many friends, and his new attitude allowed him to excel as he began to learn the martial arts. He learned every move and kata with great pride and quickly became one of the top students in his class.

During his summers away from the Shiba school, Tetsu would spend the days hiking through the woodlands near his family's home, searching for the woman who had rescued him years before. Though he never found her, he could sense her presence and feel that she was watching him and his progress with pride. Tetsu never stopped believing that he would one day meet her again. [3]

Clan War Edit

Shiba Tetsu 3

Shiba Tetsu

Renowned Edit

During the Championship of Shiba Ujimitsu, Tetsu was widely regarded as the most able bushi to succeed Ujimitsu as Champion. Ujimitsu politely denied that Tetsu would be his successor, saying that Tetsu's destiny lay elsewhere, but that did nothing to quell the rumors. Tetsu knew that because of them he received preferential treatment, but he did not truly care. He had progressed far from the spoiled child he used to be and cared nothing for power or position. He merely wanted to serve his clan to the best of his abilities. [4]

Winter Court - 1126 Edit

In 1126 during winter court at Kyuden Asako Tetsu told Ujimitsu that Isawa Eizan had been murdered. The magistrate Agasha Hisojo and the Master of Fire Isawa Tsuke investigated the murder. [5]

Skirmish with the Lion Edit

In 1127, during the Clan War, Tetsu was part of the Phoenix force who was intercepted by Matsu Agetoki and his men. The Phoenix won the day after his leader Shiba Tsukune killed in a personal duel the shugenja Kitsu Koji. Tetsu and Isawa Tomo helped her from the field, because Tsukune had been wounded. [6]

Prophecies of Yurito Edit

Tetsu led a small band of warriors who were ordered to retrieve the body and writings of Asako Yurito, an Asako Inquisitor who had died journeying deep into the Shadowlands, during a quest to destroy the Anvil of Despair casting it on Amaterasu's Furnace. [7]

Isawa Hochiu Edit

Tetsu was the yojimbo of the promising shugenja Isawa Hochiu. [8]

Hidden Emperor Edit

Kaede's Prophecy Edit

The Oracle of Void, Isawa Kaede had told Tetsu that he would find Matsu Turi in the Morikage Forest, and that Turi was destined to contain a spirit that was trapped within the Castle, and he would save a Lion's soul. [9]

Morikage Forest Edit

Tetsu found Turi injured by an accident while the Lion was riding in the Morikage Forest and the Phoenix Shugenja healed him. [9] Three spectral bandits attacked them in the forest and when they turned to fight him, their faces slid downwards, losing all consistency, smooth as an egg. They realized he jade would not harm the faceless and the other Phoenix bushi were killed, only Turi, Tetsu and his charge Hochiu could flee and survive. [8]

Visions of walking Spirits Edit

In the middle of the forest the three men saw a vision of the battle at Kyuden Isawa in the Second Day of Thunder, when Hochiu's father, Isawa Tsuke slaughtered his brethren. In the twisted forest the visions could become real and the Phoenix fought Tsuke's vission and commanded Turi to go inside the Morikage Castle. [8]

Emperor Madness Edit

After Toturi was saved and again at Otosan Uchi, Tetsu was shocked by his acts. He believed Toturi's madness must be the curse of the Celestial Heavens, a punishment for his slaughter of the last Hantei Emperor. [10]

War Against the Shadow Edit

Mantis Invasion Edit

In 1132 Tetsu gathered the scattered Phoenix armies to Gisei Toshi during the Mantis Invasion of Yoritomo. [11] At the end of this year when the Yoritomo's Alliance besieged Kyuden Isawa Tetsu decided to change his tactics and entered the Isawa Woodlands with his forces, beginning a guerrilla warfare against the invaders. Shiba Gensui was rushing to bring veteran forces to his side. They both believed that the Alliance's supply lines must run through a single secret port. [12] The fate of Kyuden Isawa was determined upon a personal duel between Yoritomo Denyaku and a Shiba, won by the Phoenix. [13]

Fighting the Shadow Edit

The same year Tetsu joined the Kami Shinjo in the Assault on Otosan Uchi. He saw how the Moon turned to ash and the Sun fled the sky. [14]

A Foretelling Edit

Shiba Tetsu 2

Shiba Tetsu

After the War of Spirits, the Yuki no Onna who saved him sent him a dream, a foretelling that the forest would need him and he decided that this was the time to fulfill his destiny. Once again, he disappeared into the forest and never returned. Some say that he met his destiny by ending some great menace that dwelled within Mori Isawa. Others believed that he somehow stabilized the spirit portal within the woods, preventing a terrible rift between the realms and Ningen-do from developing. [15]

Whatever his fate was, Tetsu began to live in Yomi with his own ancestor, Shiba Kaigen. [15]

See also Edit

External Links Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Way of the Phoenix, p. 83
  2. Clan War: The Clans, p. 43
  3. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 83-84
  4. Way of the Phoenix, p. 84
  5. Winter Court:Kyuden Asako, p. 35
  6. Strength of the Clan (Phoenix Army Expansion), by Ree Soesbee
  7. Clan War: Ravages of War, p. 30
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 3, by Ree Soesbee
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Storming of Morikage Castle, Part 2, by Ree Soesbee
  10. Mountains of the Phoenix (Honor Bound flavor)
  11. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #10 (Imperial Herald v3 #2)
  12. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #11 (Imperial Herald v3 #3)
  13. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #12 (Imperial Herald v3 #4)
  14. Finding the Harmony (Ambition's Debt flavor)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 78

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