Shosuro Higatsuku 
Shosuro Higatsuku 
Born: Unknown 
Died: 1169

Shosuro Higatsuku was a courtier of the Scorpion Clan. He served under the banner of Akodo Kaneka during the Four Winds conflict. Upon the rebuilding of the Imperial Court, Higatsuku was released from Kaneka's service. He was later been reassigned back into service with Shogun Kaneka.

Murdering through Manipulation Edit

Higatsuku was a bright and gifted child, but as the son of an unimportant Scorpion functionary. His potential would go to waste, but Higatsuku had other plans. He mastered the art of manipulation, learning what could make them do something they would usually never do. Higatsuku took a surprisingly direct approach, insults, gaining a reputation as a despicable antagonist who took joy in the misery and fury of others. Others fell in disgrace when they lose their temper in fron of him, when the timing or audience was more significant than his victim had imagined. Three time he was challenged and every time some unexpected party stepped forward to champion the Scorpion. [1]

Yojiro's Agent Edit

The manipulative, inventive, and ruthless reputation was noticed by Bayushi Paneki, who passed it along to the Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Yojiro. Higatsuku was invited to Otosan Uchi, and trusted him as the key player in the assassination of Yoritomo Aramasu, the Mantis Clan Champion. Higatsuku was assigned a partner in this mission, the lovely Shosuro Yasuko. Higatsuku began to have romantic feelings towards her. She devastated in her intellect, and as ruthless as Higatsuku wished to be. He could not push her out of his mind, try as he might. [2]

Death of Aramasu Edit

Higatsuku ordered the death of Yoritomo Aramasu, a son of Bayushi Aramoro who had been fostered to the Mantis Clan. Aramasu felt poorly treated and betrayed the Scorpion, revealing some of their secrets to Yoritomo. He became Yoritomo's foster son, and eventually Mantis Clan Champion. Bayushi Kamnan was chosen by Higatsuku to carry out the assassination; and his success plunged the Mantis into civil war. [3]

Becoming a Follower of Kaneka Edit

After the death of Toturi I, his four children sought the throne. The Scorpion Champion Bayushi Yojiro sent one of his best men to follow each of the Four Winds. Bayushi Paneki was sent to Toturi Tsudao, and became one of her best officers, Soshi Angai became Toturi Sezaru's assistant. Bayushi Sunetra was assigned to Hantei Naseru and Shosuro Higatsuku went to Akodo Kaneka's side. [citation needed]

Higatsuku was the one of the four that had the most difficulties being accepted. Kaneka reacted with brutality to Higatsuku's provocations, showing him what would happen if he was against the Bastard. Kaneka knew about Higatsuku's implications in the Scorpion vengeance against Aramasu, and he told the Scorpion about his Mantis supporters. He recognized Higatsuku's talents and he told him that he wanted him as his assistant, and he had two options: becoming Kaneka's secret advisor or lose his life. The consequence of Kaneka's actions was Higatsuku's oath of fealty to the Bastard. What Kaneka didn't know was that what happened was the way the Scorpion Clan wanted to make Higatsuku become Kaneka's advisor. [3]

Loyalty to the Shogun Edit

In 1159 [4] Miya Ippei, the man who provided the documents showing that Kaneka's mother had Yasuki blood, and that he was the true Yasuki heir, was found dead. The investigations of the Dragon magistrate Kitsuki Remata about some irregularities in the documentation of Kaneka's bloodline determined that Ippei owed a considerable gambling debt to the Golden Fish casino in Ryoko Owari, whose owner was Shosuro Higatsuku. The Scorpion courtier was then accused of blackmailing and killing Miya Ippei and plotting against Kaneka. His answer to this accusations was that he knew what happens to people that are exposed to Kaneka's wrath even before becoming follower, and he added that he was not the only man that was blackmailing Ippei. He continued saying that Kaneka knew that he had been always loyal and that Kaneka knew why.

After these words, Kaneka told him that loyalty was easier to say than to really prove. Then, Higatsuku placed himself in the center of the chamber and drew his wakizashi from his obi. Everyone was surprised when he did not commit seppuku to prove his sincerity, but instead broke his own wakizashi on the floor. He said to the surprised people that there was a legend saying that after the Kami fell from the sky, a great tournament ensued to determine who would become the first Emperor. After Hantei's win, he demanded proof of loyalty from his mighty brothers and sisters. Each one of them broke their original wakizashi. A legendary swordsman forged them into a single katana, a blade that Hantei carried always at his side. Higatsuku said that he was offering Kaneka a fragment of his broken blade, so that he could use it to forge the sword that will bring unity to the Empire.

He added that Kaneka's actions in the Second Yasuki War were done to end the conflict, and Kaneka had acted as an Emperor. Kaneka said that he was not an Emperor, and Moto Chagatai told him that there was a title created by Sun Tao but never taken by anybody: The Shogun, the military head of the Empire. Kaneka decided to become Shogun, and other notable samurai as Akodo Ijiasu, Moto Chagatai, Hida Hitoshi, Kitsuki Remata and Yoritomo Kumiko made the same symbolic action as Higatsuku. The crab also told Kaneka that a Kaiu forge should be disposable to realize this new blade. [5]

Shogun's Assassination Attempt Edit

The Shogun was attacked in his chambers by three assassins, two died upon Kaneka's blade and the leader fled. The Lion guards of the Shogun had been killed with poisoned darts. Kaneka dismissed Akodo Ijiasu as his chief protector and appointed Higatsuku's Scorpion troops instead. Doji Midoru confirmed the leader's sword was crafted from Crane steel, with an insignia near the base of the blade, a snarling wolf with fangs bared for the strike. It was a sword of a ronin assassin, known as one of the best, and quite mad, but nobody knew his identity. One of the corpses had opium in his lining, a track that led to Ryoko Owari and his half-brother Hantei Naseru. [6]

Initially the attempt had been plotted by Kaneka himself, who ordered Higatsuku to hire the assassins. The Shogun wanted to purge his ranks of the non true loyal followers, and he had to show a good reason to the others. But Higatsuku did not complete the arrangement, and he believed the assassins came from who genuinely wishes his dead. In Kaneka's opinion three fools were not a real threat to him, and it was only a message, instead. They were send by Naseru, who had anticipated his attempt to cleanse the forces of outside influence. [6]

New Recruits Edit

In one of his travels to Sunda Mizu Mura Higatsuku was met by Mirumoto Settan. Settan was a former Dragon who was at the orders of Mirumoto Junnosuke and followed him after the general was outcasted from his Clan. After the dead of Junnosuke Settan had no charge, and wanted to join the Shogun's army. When Kaneka was informed he was very pleased to accept them. [6]

Ryoko Owari Besieged Edit

In 1160 Kaneka advanced toward Ryoko Owari, the center of power of his half brother Naseru. Kaneka blamed Higatsuku that the Scorpion Clan refused to surrender the city to him. [7]

Kaede's Return Edit

Higatsuku was in the siege of Ryoko Owari and was present when a Miya Herald sent by Toturi Tsudao arrived the camp, and informed that the Empress and Oracle of Void, Toturi Kaede, had been summoned Kaneka to Kyuden Seppun. Kaneka told he had first to deal with his brother Naseru and dismished the messenger. [8]

The Imperial Court Edit

During the rebuilding of the Imperial Court, Shosuro Higatsuku was released from the Shogun's service to represent the Scorpion Clan in the courts. In 1160 Higatsuku was part of the newly built Imperial Court at Kyuden Miya, sponsored by Miya Shoin and Ide Tadaji. [9] The other known members of the new Imperial Court were Doji Nagori, [10] Toritaka Tatsune, Kitsuki Tadashi, Hitomi Vedau, Kitsu Juri, and Moto Chen. [11]

New Capital Edit

The new capital of the Empire was decided in the Court, when Doji Kurohito stepped in and informed the Crane had already begun its construction, as a form of penance, to cause the distraction in the Crab from his duty due to the Yasuki issue. The city decided was the disputed Toshi Ranbo, under Lion at that time. Matsu Nimuro joined the Court and confirmed the location and their united effort with the Crane in improving the city. Nobody among the Court said a word against. [11]

Reign of Toturi IIIEdit

Kaneka's Connection Severed Edit

When in 1160 the Shogun's power base was dissolved by the new Emperor Toturi III, Higatsuku found himself back in ihe Scorpion's service once again. Since that day life was boring, and Higatsuku craved the excitement, even the danger, that he once tasted while serving the Shogun. [12]

Shogun's Representative Edit

In 1166 Kaneka appointed him as the Shogun representative at court. [13]

Topaz Championship - 1167 Edit

In 1167 Higatsuku was witnessing the Topaz Championship. During the event the Crane Clan Champion's wife, Doji Akiko was accused of treason and Gozoku membership and killed by her husband, Doji Kurohito. [14]

The Wanderer Edit

Toturi III had been secluded since the Imperial Court received the visit of Daigotsu's ambassador. In 1168 Kaneka moved his army to the Imperial City to protect it during the Emperor's period of seclusion. [15] Shortly after Kaneka departed alone to an unknown task, and his lieutenant Shiba Danjuro had to conceal his absence in the capital. [16] When it was known the Emperor was not in seclusion but into the Shadowlands the Shogun's coffers were used to fund any and all expeditions to protect Naseru. Higatsuku at that time was again part of Kaneka's staff. [17]

Gift of the Shogun Edit

This year Kaneka had been wandering in the Empire disguised of a nondescript warrior known simply as "the Ronin". From Horiuchi Shoan's orphanage he sent word to Rikako that he wished to extend an offer to each of the Great Clans: to endorse his occupation of Toshi Ranbo only so long as the Emperor remained indisposed, as the Empire believed. In return the Clans would be served by one of the greatest of the Shogun's Advisors. Danjuro was tasked with announcing the Gift of the Shogun to the Imperial Court. Rikako gathered the advisors, informed them of the task set before them and then met with Danjuro. She showed him the letter, which asked Rikako to make the announcement to the Empire. [18] It piqued the interest of many clans. Kaneka returned to the Capital after an absence of two months. [19]

Kaukatsu's Actions Edit

In 1168, after the Emperor's death, the Imperial Chancellor Bayushi Kaukatsu told Higatsuku that he wanted Doji Nagori embarrassed in public. He tried to provoke Nagori making references to his new acquired blade, which had been used in the past by Kakita. Nagori reacted well to Higatsuku's provocations, and the only courtier embarrassed in public was the Scorpion. However, Kaukatsu was satisfied with what happened, because his true intentions were to create an incident between the two men, who were both serving the Shogun. [20]

Winter Court - 1168 Edit

A misunderstanding between Higatsuku and Yasuki Miliko led to the Scoprion being banished from Winter Court at Kyuden Otomo. The crab were at odds with the Scorpion due to the attempts on Kisada's life which had led in the beginnings of the Crab-Scorpion War. [21] Higatsuku mistakenly slandered the late Yasuki Hachi in court, while attacking Yasuki Miliko. Tsuruchi Kaya caught this mis-step and used it to in court to force Higatsuku's exile from court. [22]

Plotting from outside Edit

The angry Shosuro spent the rest of Winter Court lurking outside of the castle, engaging in various sinister plots. He also left a message in the form of a cage in Kaya’s office which contained a live scorpion and a dead praying mantis. [22] Higatsuku made extensive efforts to seek out rice on the black market. [23] Higatsuku also was involved in an attempt to frame Doji Jorihime alongisde Shosuro Eiriasu, a Shosuro Actor impersonting Kakita Bikan. Higatsuku sent a forged letter from Doji Domotai accusing Jorihime of being a Gozoku. This gambit ultimately failed, when Ikoma Kyoro proved the letter false. [24]

Death Edit

Shosuro Higatsuku died in 1169. Following the return of Kisada, Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Paneki ordered several attempts on the life of the returned Fortune. None of these attempts met with success, and Kisada waged a damaging war on the Scorpion. With Paneki's knowledge and approval, Higatsuku satisfied the anger of the Great Bear by presenting himself to Kisada as the mastermind behind the attacks. Kisada believed the letter presented to him - a letter bearing Paneki's personal chop - and killed Higatsuku. Higatsuku's death ended Kisada's assault on Scorpion lands. [25]

Feeling a distraction was needed in order to prevent Kisada from suspecting duplicity, Higatsuku also had given him a scroll with information on the Yasuki family's line of succession. [25] This led to the Third Yasuki War, the last work of Higatsuku to help his Clan.

See also Edit

External Links Edit


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