The Fall of the Sapphire Throne

Part Final

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The Lost have existed almost as long as the Empire itself. When Fu Leng launched the First War and brought the Taint surging into the Empire, countless men and women, commoner and samurai alike, were consumed by its sinister power. Most of them became madmen, raving beasts who turned on their fellow Rokugani with all the fury that Jigoku could grant. The tales of the First War are full of stories about these cackling lunatics, who fought without the slightest hint of self-preservation and whose behavior was more bestial than the goblins and ogres who joined them on the field of battle. But even in those earliest days, there were a few fallen mortals who became… something more.

Tales spread in the ranks of the Empire’s armies, tales of samurai who had vanished in battle only to reappear fighting for the other side. Tales of wives killed and devoured by husbands who seemingly had returned home safely from battle. Tales of warriors who followed Fu Leng more loyally than they had ever served the eight Kami. At first, the Rokugani blamed such horrors on Fu Leng’s terrible magical powers. None of them, not even the Kami themselves, truly understood the nature of the Shadowlands Taint or the profound and terrible corruption it wrought on those it consumed. Indeed, Fu Leng’s own transformation into a being of evil baffled many of his siblings, especially Shinjo, who made futile efforts to reach out to the brother she remembered.

Only gradually as the First War progressed did the Rokugani come to understand that some manner of evil power was spreading with Fu Leng’s army, causing dead men to rise again and living men to turn to madness. By the time the Seven Thunders rode forth to confront Fu Leng, they knew to protect themselves with jade and to behead their fallen to prevent the corpses from rising once again. After the battle with the Dark Kami was finished, the Crab Thunder Hida Atarasi took the heads of his fallen comrades, then stayed to fight the creatures of the Shadowlands while Shosuro fled back to the Empire with the twelve Black Scrolls that held Fu Leng’s soul.

Atarasi never returned to Rokugan. Some accounts claim he fought a long battle that lasted for weeks or months, while others suggest he fell quickly, within minutes of Shosuro’s departure. What is certain is that Hida Atarasi, the greatest hero of the Crab Clan, finally succumbed to the Taint and became Lost, the first hero of the Empire to meet such a fate. He stalked through the Shadowlands, slaughtering all those who fell into his path, raising their bodies to serve him as undead. With time, rumors of his fate reached the Empire, and almost two centuries later his father Hida finally entered the Shadowlands in search of his fallen son. The two met in epic battle. Supposedly Hida finally slew his son, outliving the battle long enough to entomb Atarasi’s remains along with the bones of the other Thunders before finally perishing and ascending to Tengoku.

After the end of the First War, the Shadowlands remained weak and divided for many years. Most of those mortals who fell to the Taint continued to become short-lived ravening madmen. Atarasi’s dark fate was known to few outside of his own family, and none in the Empire as a whole. The stories of those samurai who had joined the enemy and fought at Fu Leng’s side became blurred by time and forgetfulness.

As a result, most Rokugani had little idea that the Lost even existed. With time the Shadowlands threat would begin to rise once again. During the fourth century, a fearsome attack on the Crab would force Emperor Hantei Fujiwa to march forth with the Imperial Legions and join with the Crab to turn back the invasion. In the eighth century the terrible invasion by the army of the Oni Lord known simply as the Maw would likewise draw the Empire’s attention. But in these cases the invading forces consisted chiefly of oni, goblins and other beasts, and undead. The Lost played little to no role in these incursions, for their numbers were still sparse. Thus, Rokugan as a whole remained ignorant of the Lost and their capabilities.

At the climax of the past century era known as the War Against the Darkness, the Empire sent a huge army into the Shadowlands to confront the Lying Darkness in the ruins of the ancient troll city of Volturnum. Although the army ultimately triumphed against the forces of the Darkness, hundreds and then thousands of samurai succumbed to the Shadowlands Taint. Perhaps Jigoku sensed an opportunity here, for an unusually high proportion of these fallen samurai became Lost rather than simply degenerating into crazed madmen. Abandoned within the Shadowlands by their un-Tainted brethren, this large new group of Lost would become the seedbed of a dangerous new threat to the Empire.

Many of the Lost had already made a practice of aping the ways of samurai within the Shadowlands – building “samurai houses” of bone and tanned skin, enlisting zombies to labor as peasants, and similar madness. When their numbers swelled after Oblivion’s Gate, they continued to ape the rituals and conventions of their former samurai life, forming scattered communities within the Shadowlands. All they lacked was a leader – and that was supplied to them a few years later, in the form of the Dark Lord Daigotsu.

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Daigotsu’s origins were obscure, and for many years only a few of his closest allies knew that he was descended from the Hantei bloodline, born to an Empress who had been kidnapped by the Bloodspeaker Cult. Daigotsu spent many years in Jigoku, absorbing its dark power and learning the ways of maho at a level few other mortals would ever match. His exact nature and capabilities remain a mystery to the Rokugani – for example, he seems to show more self-will than almost any other Lost, to the point of exhibiting what appear to be positive human emotions like love. There are even rumors he may have somehow lost or given up his Taint for a time, presumably regaining complete free will and control of his actions, yet remaining loyal to Fu Leng. Perhaps the fact that Daigotsu specifically worshipped the Fallen Kami, rather than serving Jigoku more generally, is part of the explanation for such peculiarities.

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Whatever his nature, when Daigotsu returned to Ningen-do he immediately began to gather and organize the Lost, forming them into a larger society. Building on the twisted pseudo- culture the Lost had already begun to construct, Daigotsu forged them into a dark and perverse reflection of the Empire which they could no longer inhabit. And as their home he created the City of the Lost.

Located deep within the Shadowlands, the City of the Lost was designed, built, and organized to closely resemble a Rokugani city, even to the point of having a palace and court, as well as more basic social conveniences such as tea-houses and inns. A great temple was raised to Fu Leng, the Ninth Kami, and Daigotsu proclaimed the Lost would worship him in the same way as the Rokugani worshipped their own Kami.

Whether the Lost truly comprehended all that Daigotsu demanded of them is unknown, but they certainly proved quite willing to obey his commands and organize their society on the lines he laid down.

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A handful of Rokugani eventually discovered and visited the City of the Lost. They were horrified by this strange and perverted version of the Empire’s society, a place where Lost samurai ate meals with chopsticks of bone and created “art” from the flesh of living human prisoners. Daigotsu even commanded the Lost to marry and raise children, swelling their numbers by natural reproduction to supplement the more conventional method of corrupting the Rokugani.

Also, Daigotsu has allied with the Tsuno, corrupted Kitsu (one of the five founding races)

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Celestial Sword of the Lion (Shinrai)

Created by the Fortune of Steel to replace the Ancestral Sword of the Lion when it was returned to the Heavens, Shinrai, the Celestial Sword of the Lion, has seen a great many wars and far more bloodshed than one of its former owners intended. Matsu Nimuro originally treated it much as the Ancestral Sword of the Lion, presenting it to Toturi I as a symbol of the Lion’s fealty to the Emperor. Toturi returned the blade to Nimuro, saying he could only accept the blade when the Empire was truly at peace. Though the Matsu Champion was never able to return Shimai to the Imperial City, he handled it with great care and only drew it against the forces of the Shadowlands and in the few battles in which he knew he might have to personally face a Clan’s Champion. It was this careful handling of the blade that kept it from being lost when the False Nimuro died in battle against Moto Chagatai during the Battle of the Rich Frog.

Nimuro was known for his prowess in battle and his ferocity, so it is ironic that the blade has been in more battles under the care of Ikoma Otemi and Matsu Yoshino, Nimuro’s son, than with the former Lion Champion.
Yoshino currently holds the blade at all times, hoping to use it to avenge his father’s death. Yoshino promised
Chagatai to defeat him on the grounds of Shiro Moto a year after the Khan’s attack on Toshi Ranbo, and he fervently hopes Shinrai will taste the Unicorn Champion’s blood and avenge his father.

•Treat Shimai as a katana with a DR of 4k4.
•Wielding Shinrai grants a bonus of 2 Ranks in the Kenjutsu skill, and also grants the Katana emphasis if the wielder does not have it already.
•In addition, the swords grants a bonus to the wielder’s Initiative Rolls equal to his Honor x5.
•Against opponents with a lower Honor Rank, the Celestial Sword of the Lion grants an extra attack per round, and this effect stacks with other effects and Techniques that grant extra attacks.
•Wielder cannot use its magic if he has not sworn allegiance to the Lion.
•If used to attack a lion samurai, it deals damage to attacker (unless he is also a Lion samurai)

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