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Shiro Utaku Shojo Dojo

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Shiotome Halls

Shiotome Halls

The Shiro Utaku Shojo Dojo taught the Utaku Battle Maiden school. [1]

Founding Edit

The Shiro Utaku Shojo Dojo was like the other Unicorn Clan dojo in that it was not actually built until after the Return of the Ki-Rin in the 9th century. The fighting styles of the Battle Maidens had been passed down for generations since the time of Otaku, but were not finally written down until the actual construction of the dojo. The dojo had become one of the most fortified structures in Rokugan, representing the legendary strength of the Battle Maidens. Shiro Utaku Shojo itself was relatively small, as the Battle Maidens was an extremely exclusive group. Despite their few numbers the Shiotome were the shock troops of the Unicorn and their battle cry was feared throughout the Empire. [1]

Brink of DestructionEdit

During the War Against Shadow the Battle Baidens were nearly wiped out in an ill-conceived assault on Oni no Okura at Shiro Matsu, and the later return of Shinjo revealing many of the Otaku to be Kolat further diminished their forces. When Otaku Kamoko sacrificed herself to destroy the Dark Moto it seemed as if the days of the Utaku were numbered, with few remaining with an actual bloodline to Otaku. Ten years after the death of Kamoko she was taken to the heavens to dwell there by Lady Shinjo, and a rain of sparkling stars rained upon Shiro Utaku Shojo. To many it was an ill omen, but to the surprise of many the next three years saw an extraordinary increase in births among the Utaku. Some of the Battle Maidens gave birth to twins, and for unknown reasons the mortality rate for mothers and children was at its lowest, and all who were born within this time, with one exception, were girls. Shugenja investigated the strange phenomena and determined it was a blessing from their lost Thunder. [1]

Traditions Edit

The strongest tradition within the Battle Maidens was based on when Otaku swearing fealty to Shinjo. Otaku did not speak a word when she swore fealty, and the Battle Maidens had followed her philosophy of purity through actions, not words. The Battle Maidens did not need to waste words describing their valor or honor, their actions spoke loudly enough. They rarely apologized, as they felt if they had made an error they would just correct it instead. Only Utaku were allowed to ride the powerful Utaku steeds, who were descendants of the mighty horse Vata and his herd. Each Battle Maiden was bounded to their particular steed, whom she treated as a friend, an ally and an extension of herself. The female Utaku were told from birth that they had been chosen by the blood of Otaku, and were intended a greater destiny than common women. This led to many Utaku being brash and confident, but this arrogance was tempered by a strong sense of duty. It was also traditional for all students at the dojo to spend one night within the halls of Otaku Seido, the Shrine to the first Unicorn Thunder. [1]

Training Edit

Training was mostly on horseback, focusing on the naginata and katana. Although some of the Utaku also possessed skill in archery the majority left that up to the Shinjo. The Shiotome prefered to engage their opponents directly where their finely honesed prowess and the superior strength of their steeds crushed their enemies. They were trained to rely upon other Battle Maidens and to adjust quickly when the strength of lesser allies failed. They thrived on the heat of battle and, contrary to logic, managed to survive in the thick of battle. [1]

Visiting Students Edit

Students of other clans were sometimes allowed to visit the dojo, but never to ride the horses, and the secret techniques of the Utaku were not shown either. The only teaching they would be offered was a minimalist version available in any Ronin dojo. Although students were trained by the vastly superior Utaku sensei they still left the dojo feeling like they somehow missed something. [1]

Dojo Benefits Edit

The name of the Utaku Battle Maidens carried a great deal of weight in Rokugan, even after their defeats during the War Against Shadow, and only a fool would take the Shiotome lightly. The Shiotome often distinguished themselves by mounting a single horn upon the head barding of their steed, giving the appearance of a Unicorn. Other Unicorn who did this were frowned upon by the Shiotome. [2]

Sensei Edit

Unlike many other schools in Rokugan the chief sensei of the dojo was always the Daimyo of the Utaku family. Although this might seem as very demanding of the daimyo as she also led the Utaku into battle it seemed to fit very well with the traditions of the Battle Maidens. Though the daimyo was the head sensei, there were usually a group of lesser sisters who performed the actual teaching. The true duties of the master sensei were occasional inspections of the younger students and a group training lesson with the katana or naginata once a week. [1]

Notable Sensei Edit

Notable Students Edit

External Links Edit

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Way of the Samurai, p. 70
  2. Way of the Samurai, p. 71



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