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Tetsuhiko

Tomorrow's Prophets - A creative project for the community

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It's a project I had for while. I absolutly love the idea of alternate timeline and I totally endorse the Imperial Edition III project.

 

However, what I wanted is a collective project. One that could be shaped by the community rather than a single individual. I first tried to do it with the Onyx project, but as a clearly Spider-centric idea, it failed to gather the support I hoped it would.

 

I therefore went back to the drawing board and brainstormed until I had something which I think his interesting. Please be warned that this is an alternate reality and some liberties will be taken. Please note that all comments are also welcome.

 

You can find the latest developments here: https://tomorrowsprophets.wordpress.com/

 

Tomorrow's Prophets

 

Those Who Waits is only a pale reflection of what it used to be. Only a few Nezumis are left alive and for three generations now, have failed to increase their number in a significant way. Faced with the potential destruction of their species, the few remaining shamans attempted one last desperate act. Concentrating the strength of their combined named, they stretched into the realm of Dreams and found the soul of Te'tik'kir, the legendary Nameseeker.

 

They managed to drag him back into the realm of mortals and one of them sacrificed his body to hold the legend's soul. However, Te'tik'kir was not pleased. On the contrary, he was horrified. The One tribe sacrificed the vast majority of their number to defeat the entity known as Tomorrow, and their souls now served as an eternal prison for the monster. However, with Te'tik'kir no longer among them, it created a weakness in Tomorrow's prison and it was now only a matter of time before the entity was unleashed.

 

And it wasn't the only problem. Tomorrow doesn't live like other entities. His existence is a journey backward in time, eating reality until nothing remains. The Nezumis, in their current form, are unable to stop it a second time. All wasn't lost, however, as humans had strong Names as well, and could help them. However, time was not on their side. Sooner than later, Tomorrow would combe from the future and destroy everything

Te'tik'kir then assembled all remaining Nezumis and used most of his remianing energy to power an incredible ritual. The souls of all Nezumis ascended into the realm of Dreams and aligned themselves with Tomorrow while he was still in his prison.

 

In this state, they would be able to follow him backward in time and, hopefully, find a way to bolster their strength until Tomorrow could finally be defeated once and for all.

 

To achieve this, they contacted humans in their dreams, trying to extend the ritual to their minds so they could join them before Tomorrow ate them.

 

The Plan

 

With this story idea, I want to go through all the previous Editions of L5R and ''save'' elements from them. These elements would then join the Nezumis and go further back in time, until they are strong enough to defeat Tomorrow's and every single one of these souls would reappear during the Clan War, the future erased by the monster's actions. These ''prophets'', however, would still have memories of what happened in their timeline and could use this knowledge to change the timeline. The best example I can give is a Scorpion warning Bayushi Shoju about the real ''last Hantei'' and how is actions would threatened the very existence of Rokugan and stopping his assassination attempt.

 

Now what

 

How to go from here, I'm not sure. I want to give everyone a voice in what elements to save. Ultimatly, I would like for each clan to ''save'' one personality for each Edition and one special individual or important elements of the storyline. It could be a democratic vote, a contest or even an online card tournaments that determines what is saved.

 

 

 

Ideas for tournaments prize

 

Here's my plan for the other editions.

 

Ivory (One Iweko Child)

 

Emperor (One egged individual)

 

Celestial (One villain : Legulus, Paneki's Disgrace or Dark Daughter of Fire)

 

Samurai (One of the contender for the throne : Toturi Shigekawa, Togashi Satsu, Tsuruchi Etsui, Hida Sozen, Doji Yasuyo, Shiba Ningen, Bayushi Norachai, there must be one for the unicorn, but I couldn't find it)

 

Lotus (One Artefact from the Tomb)

 

Diamond (One Villain : Iuchiban, Shadow Dragon, Daigotsu, Bayushi Atsuki)

 

Gold (One Toturi Child)

 

Jade (One leader from a disbanded faction – Takao, Qamar, Moto Tsume, Toturi or Yoritomo)

 

 

Please Note

 

This is a project to create an alternate reality. Nothing is set is stone and I really want to hear your opinion. And this is just the beginning, because once/if we get through all the editions, we will have to decide how these prophets influence the storyline. uj

Edited by Tetsuhiko

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Hm.

 

Interesting crossroads between the CCG and the rest of the setting, because several Clans were more notable for their absence during several editions than for their memorable characters worth saving-Ivory, for example, was practically a graveyard for clans other than the Crane, the Mantis, and a smidgin of Dragon and Spider.

 

The Mantis were all but nonexistent during Celestial Edition's storyline.

 

And so on.

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Now this is a rather silly question but, I feel and I cant help but ask:

Is this a Chrono Trigger AU? ...because it just seems writing that way to me.

 

I mean there is ungodly powerful monster from both the Distant Past and Far Future.

Clone-making eggs replacing people at certain points in history.

Heroes selected from across Time.

History being rewriting by altering past events.

 

And well...ye know. Just wondering. :D

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I see a problem here: no matter what happens, the Tomorrow wins. Even if the heroes defeat it, they will inevitably change the course of history, erasing the future what is the past from their PoV. So the Tomorrow is going to erase a part of reality (the "past future") either way, unless the heroes focus solely on defeating it and immediately return to their own timeline after their victory.

 

I think there should be a clarification that the ritual created some sort of an alternate-reality in the Realm of Dreams, so changes in the alternate-reality will keep the "past future" intact. 

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Now this is a rather silly question but, I feel and I cant help but ask:

Is this a Chrono Trigger AU? ...because it just seems writing that way to me.

 

I mean there is ungodly powerful monster from both the Distant Past and Far Future.

Clone-making eggs replacing people at certain points in history.

Heroes selected from across Time.

History being rewriting by altering past events.

 

And well...ye know. Just wondering. :D

 

Truth be told, what I had in mind when designing the basics was the Star Trek reboot. However, when it comes down to time-travel stories, Crono Trigger is one of the good ones, so I don't mind the comparison at all.

 

I see a problem here: no matter what happens, the Tomorrow wins. Even if the heroes defeat it, they will inevitably change the course of history, erasing the future what is the past from their PoV. So the Tomorrow is going to erase a part of reality (the "past future") either way, unless the heroes focus solely on defeating it and immediately return to their own timeline after their victory.

 

I think there should be a clarification that the ritual created some sort of an alternate-reality in the Realm of Dreams, so changes in the alternate-reality will keep the "past future" intact. 

 

Right from the start, I stated this was an alternate reality. Part of the reason was I didn't want to put to much energy explaining how this all links to the L5R cosmology. However, since you brought it up, I'll think of something. I'm open to suggestions as well, of course.

 

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A couple of questions:
 
1) In character, who is choosing these particular people to save? Is it the Nezumi, or are they saving themselves somehow? Or some combination of the two, perhaps.
 
 

...every single one of these souls would reappear during the Clan War...
 
The best example I can give is a Scorpion warning Bayushi Shoju about the real ''last Hantei'' and how is actions would threatened the very existence of Rokugan and stopping his assassination attempt.

 
2) Are these people going to the Clan War, or Pre-Scorpion Clan Coup? Because that example is pre-SCC, and in fact would prevent the Clan War from happening at all.
 
It's a neat idea, though. It certainly has promise. I'd just like to resolve these unclear points before it really gets going.
 

I see a problem here: no matter what happens, the Tomorrow wins. Even if the heroes defeat it, they will inevitably change the course of history, erasing the future what is the past from their PoV. So the Tomorrow is going to erase a part of reality (the "past future") either way, unless the heroes focus solely on defeating it and immediately return to their own timeline after their victory.


I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Tomorrow will presumably be stopped at the Clan War (or pre-SCC), so it won't win everything it wants. And it's good to let the villains have partial victories sometimes, or they run the risk of seeming toothless.

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I really like this.  This would be a great way to reset the timeline to pre-Clan Wars for FFG to start the LCG at.  

 

I also would like there to be an inordinate number of Spider that are also dragged back through time.  That way, the Spider Clan can be established as a faction in the time reset.  Which could be very exciting for the players and the Story to figure out how these strange Samurai fit in.  Would they support Fu Leng?  Seek to rehabilitate him?  Fight with the rest of Rokugan during the Second Day of Thunder?  And how would they interact with the Shadowlands? (Can we have Shadowlands and Spider as separate factions, please?)

 

 

So what I would pick....

 

The Three Legged Fox (Mantis  :D WCIV)

Iweko Shibatsu (as the Spider Clan Champion, Susumu Shibatsu)

Yoritomo Saigo

Legulus or Paneki's Disgrace

Toturi Shigekawa (I'm not fond of the Kolat.  Sorry Etsui)

Jade Mirror

Bayushi Atsuki (mainly, because I am sick of unkillable Shadowlands jerks)

Toturi Tsudao

Yoritomo!

Edited by Coyote Walks

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A couple of questions:

 

1) In character, who is choosing these particular people to save? Is it the Nezumi, or are they saving themselves somehow? Or some combination of the two, perhaps

2) Are these people going to the Clan War, or Pre-Scorpion Clan Coup? Because that example is pre-SCC, and in fact would prevent the Clan War from happening at all.

 

It's a neat idea, though. It certainly has promise. I'd just like to resolve these unclear points before it really gets going.

 

 

1) My original idea is dependent on the very core of the Nezumi's magic. They believe the greater the Name (Glory) of someone or something, the greater his magical power. Therefore, their ritual would target those with the greater glory. However, no matter how powerful his name, what really matters is the ability to step up when required. Therefore, the Nezumis would reach out for basically anyone with a minimum of Glory, but only a few with really strong resolve would understand the meanings of the dreams and answer the call. So it's a little bit of both. In addition, just like I stated in my example, at least at first, the Nezumis would only be able to contact a small number of people. However, these people, through their own actions (writing an inpiring haiku book, for example) could pull other souls into the ritual through the power of their names.

2) Pre Scorpion Clan coup. It would have a much greater effect on the storyline. That's what I wanted to say. For some reason, I was under the impression the Clan War started before the emperor's assassination, but after rechecking the wiki, that assumption was wrong, sorry.

 

I really like this.  This would be a great way to reset the timeline to pre-Clan Wars for FFG to start the LCG at.  

 

I also would like there to be an inordinate number of Spider that are also dragged back through time.  That way, the Spider Clan can be established as a faction in the time reset.  Which could be very exciting for the players and the Story to figure out how these strange Samurai fit in.  Would they support Fu Leng?  Seek to rehabilitate him?  Fight with the rest of Rokugan during the Second Day of Thunder?  And how would they interact with the Shadowlands? (Can we have Shadowlands and Spider as separate factions, please?)

I'm pretty sure FFG has their own ideas about what to do with the IP, but I agree with you.

About the saved personality, the idea is choosing one personnality per edition per major playable faction (I will not bother with Fudo monks, for example). So Spider personalities will be selected for a few editions, same thing for Shadowlands, Naga and Nezumis, but not all.

And just like everything else, those named characters would not be the only souls saved by the ritual. Maybe twice or thrice as much unamed samurais could be saved, for example to incorporate future plot ideas and integrating rpg players from any timelines who would want to continue their adventure in this alternate reality.

Edited by Tetsuhiko

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This project isn't dead, far from it. I received my first tournament reports last week and wrote the first of (hopefully) Tomorrow's Prophets story.

 

You can find the latest news about the project on my newly created blog (I'm still understanding how everything works, sorry if info is hard to find. The Megagame tag should have most of the pages you are looking for, though)

 

https://tomorrowsprophets.wordpress.com/

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Sorry, Double Post

 

EDIT:

 

Here's Tomorrow's Prohpets, part 1

 

The exercise is probably futile, and I’m both frightened and hopeful about this possibility. Should we succeed at our endeavour, it is more than likely my notes will have very few uses outside of the interest of very dedicated historians. Should we fail, my current understanding of our situation means all of reality will be undone, making my recorded thoughts worthless.

 

There is,however, the possibility I am wrong and our failure does not mean the definitive end of existence. In that case, should survivors stumble upon these notes, they will have a starting point and a headstart in the fight against Tomorrow. The probablities of this turn of events are unfortunatly very slim.

 

It is very hard for me to explain our predicament in a logical, linear fashion. Our enemy and the battleground in which we are fighting it don’t obey to the same rules as those found in Ningen-do. I will therefore try to untangle the mysteries of our struggle using my own perceptions, in the order in which I experienced them.

 

It all started with nightmares. As a magistrate and advisor to the Emerald Champion, I witnessed my fair share of disturbing incidents. I found one of the key to keep madness and corruption at bay, is a sound mind and frequent mediations. As such, while nightmares were always a substantial part of my dreaming experience, I managed to keep them under control. However, gradually over a period of many months, those nightmares became more and more  »authentic », lacking for a better word to describe them. They sere so close to reality they were indistinguishable from it. It was clear in my mind my methods were no longer suitable, and studied many scrolls in search of more efficient meditation techniques.

 

During my search and subsequent attempts at serenity, I noticed a presence. This entity appeared to be lurking just at the edge of reality itself, and I felt drawn to it. Through no discernable mean, it called to me and begged for help. I still do not fully understand how this was possible and how I managed to answer his call, but I did. I woke up after a deep slumber which seemed, at least from my perspective, to have last days if not weeks, and I was no longer in Ningen-do. I was no longer wearing my nightgown, but rather an outfit similar to the one I use during my most dangerous investigation. I even had my scroll case.

 

Everything around me felt false, yet I had the conviction everything around me was real, a feeling I never had even in my most realistic nightmares. I was lying on the street of what appeared at first glance like a generic rokugani city. The buildings and the heimins walking on it had a physical shape, but lacked any sort of distinguishing features and appeared slightly blurry, as if perceived through a mist. The sky and ground were made of pure white, and there was no horizon, as they both joined into on another seemlessly. I could also sense something, just outside the perimeter of the city. My senses couldn’t detect it, but a predator lived on the other side of the city gates. In fact, it felt like everything not in the city was a single, aggressive entity.

 

I tried to talk to the passerbys at first, of course, but they simply ignored me. I did managed to create some reaction after a few tries, however I clearly realized those  »heimins » had no free will of their own. They could only interact in a certain way under a specific set of circumstances. For example, I found a tea house and a waiter escorted me to a table, took my order and served me. The tea itself was completly tasteless, and any attempt at small talk with the other patron failed, but I had the proof my existence was acknowledged by them.

 

I continued my exploration for a while, and I soon realized I couldn’t trust my own perception of time. I couldn’t tell if I was in this featureless city for an hour, a minute or for days. Before I could think of an explanation, I heard a commotion in a nearby street. I hurried and found three people, real people, struggling.

 

An unicorn samurai with a weird eye was fighting a heavily tattooed monk while a wounded lion warrior was crawling towards his discarded katana a few armlengths away. I hesitated for a second, unsure if I should interrupt them, but the Unicorn managed to immobilize the monk and shouted to both his opponent to stop.

 

I then revealed my presence and managed to calm everyone’s spirit, at least enough for a talk. To my surprises, all three samurais claimed to be historical figures. The Lion called himself Matsu Gohei, a notorious bushi who earned the nickname  »Butcher » for his ruthlessness against the Crane during the Clan War. The Unicorn was supposedly Shinjo Shono, the master of wind and the Shinjo family daimyo during the Four Winds era. And the monk, to my shock and surprise, claimed to be Kokujin, the mad monk, a man who killed, destroyed and tortured countless people, as well as performing dark and corrupt rites, all in the name of personal power. I almost attacked him on the spot, but his presence, along with the presence of the other two samurais, was obviously not a coincidence and I had to at least understand the reason behind it before confronting him.

 

None had much of an answer, although I believe they all felt relieved they weren’t alone in this weird city. We all shared a similar experience with nightmare prior to our arrival in this since, but we soon realized nothing more of interest could be achieved by fighting each others or by talking We then agreed to explore the city. I proposed to do so in team of two, but none of the others had enough trust left. We all went our seperate way, but under the promise that if we ever found anything of interest, we would come back here and wait for the others. Asking for a specific time seemed completly futile, as we all had realize we couldn’t trust our perception of time.

 

I wasn’t completly confortable with the plan, but lacking a better one, I accepted and wandered in the city for a time. while navigating the streets wasn’t impossible, the lack of landmarks made it very harsh. I could pretend I managed to found something interesting, but the opposite actually occured. Something interesting found me.

 

Close to the city walls, on a deserted alley, two creatures ambushed me. They were ratlings, giant bipedal rats who almost went instinct a few decades before my time. They raised their puny sword and stick against me, but I could sense their fear as well as their curiosity. They were here against their will, just as I was. I opened my arms and asked for dialogue. They spoke with a crude language, but after a while, we managed to come to an understanding. I laid down my scrolls and they sheated their weapons before we shared our stories.

 

The one calling himself Rus’tik’tik explained that his tribe, Those Who Wait, tried for years to bring back the spirits of their heroes who sacrificed their lives in a battle against an enemy know as Tomorrow. They collected items and nemuranais from all around Rokugan and beyond in the hope that one day, their magic, or Name, as they called it, would be strong enough. They then went on about a ritual attempt they made, one who succeeded and failed spectacularly at the same time. According to the, they managed to bring back the soul of Te’tik’kir, the legendary shaman of The One Tribe and bounded it to the body a volonteer, but doing so unleashed deadly spirits that killed almost all of their numbers. Finally, once the dust settled and Te’tik’kir opened his eyes, hisfirst words were : »Fools’. Their recollection of events then started to get confusing. Rus’tik’tik only remembered a light so bright they couldn’t see, an overwhelming presence and the death of all the remaining Nezumis.

 

I explained my own situation and they agreed to follow me. On the way back, while the red-furred one only spoke when directly adressed, the one called Rus’tik’tik wouldn’t stop talking. As I understood it, he was a storyteller in his tribe, as well as an historian, and tales was an important part of his existence. This quirk was annoying, as I couldn’t think straight, but proved to be invaluable. Many of his stories didn’t make sense at first. Although they were supposed to be an accurate recollection of past events, they were simply impossible, unless they occured in the future.

 

And the truth struck me. The two ratlings came from a time in the near future, a decade at most. This simple realization made me remember about the writings of Shiba Ningen, the Master of Void during my parents and grandparents’ time. One of his scrolls told about the Battle of Tomorrow and how time itself behave differently during it. I recalled as wellthe role of the ratlings, or Nezumis as they called themselves and how they were forever trapped in the realm of Dreams as sole reward for their heroic actions. Little by litte, the pieces of the puzzle felt into place one after the other. My mind was so focused on this new information that even the rambling of Rus’tik’tik were nothing than than background noises.

 

It all made sense, even if the truth ended up so convoluted. I opened a scroll and delved into the mysteries of the void for a brief moment, in order to confirm my suspicions, and I found no fault to my theory. There were still some unexplained elements, but the core was strong enough that I had no more doubts. I stared at the presence just outside the city one last time and hurried to the rendezvous point, quickly followed by the ratlings, confused about my sudden change of behavior.

 

The others were already there, accompanied each with a handful of  »real » individuals. I recognized some of them with ease. The legendary Toku, hero of many wars and Fortune of Virtue and Yasuki Jinn-Kuen, a man with too many titles to summarize. Among the group also stood a naga, several heads taller than any others. I studied them enough to understand he was a Vedic, but I would only discover later he was named Qolsa and was quite reknowed among his kind.

 

I didn’t waste time. I quickly explained my recent findings and went on to propose a course of action.

 

In the far future, a creature called Tomorrow will be born. Its exact origins are unknown and irrelevant for the moment. This monster had only one goal, the destruction of reality. It was extremely efficient at doing so, and it was almost impossible to stop, as it moved through time backward, eating reality itself from the future to the past. In the year 1169, all of the Nezumi tribes were united under the leadership of a single chieftain and, using one artifact found at the Tomb of the Seven Thunders, managed to defeat Tomorrow in the Realm of Dreams. Only a few Nezumis survived, the souls of the others trapped in Yume-do.

 

Around the year 1110, a goup of Nezumi called Those Who Wait couldn’t wait any longer. Using artifacts discovered and stolen all around Rokugan, they enacted a dangerous ritual to save the souls of their ancestors, trapped in the Realm of Dreams. unbeknownst to them, the souls were in fact not prisoners, but wardens. The Nezumis never killed Tomorrow, only trapped it and forced it to experience time forward, unable to act. The ritual did saved the soul of a powerful shaman called Te’tik’kir, but also weakened Tomorrow’s prison which managed to break free not long after, resuming his destructive trek backwards through time.

 

I’m not exactly sure of what followed. Maybe the remaining of the Nezumi’s souls changed tactics, or the energy deployed by Tomorrow’s to break free sent waves through time, but what is sure is the city was created not long after the monster’s escape. The city calls itself Yogen-sha Toshi, the city of Prophets, and is responsible for our presence here. It has a conscience, albeit a very faint one, comparable to one of a nemuranai, and lives for a single objective, collecting heroes within its walls. The presence we fell outside its wall is Tomorrow itself, and both entities are connected. I believe that is why we all come from different moments in recent history. Yogen-sha Toshi’s connection with Tomorrow makes it move through time differently as well. When it called for us, in the form of vivid nightmares, it managed to reach us during our prime, regardless of exactly when that was. I’m confident the ultimate goal of the city is to capture Tomorrow again or to even defeat it for good. Nezumi’s magic works with the power of Names, and the more glorious and legendary something is, the more powerful its magic.

 

And now, I could only assume our collective glory was simply not enough to defeat Tomorrow, but the monster might be our best ally for its own downfall. At that very moment, it was eating reality and slowly digesting it. If we would venture outside the city and inside the  »presence » outside, it was logical to think we could find pockets of reality fading away. By saving souls from these pockets and bringing them back into Yogen-Sha Toshi, its magic would be strengthened.

 

After that, as was stated by the monk Kokujin, it was simply a matter of finding how to make it bleed.

Asako Kaitoko, Prophet

Edited by Tetsuhiko

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Quick update. I'm currently writing a new piece of fiction and might have managed to recruit interesting people to help for a story or two as well.

 

And since I didn't want to waste a perfectly good double post above, I copy-pasted the first story there, in case you want to read it. Keep the comments coming please. I really want them.

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A new fiction is available on the blog. For this one, I wanted to give a little something to people who gave a lot to the community. Clan Forum or other sites of interests admin, as well as contributors to the forums in general. I contacted those I knew, and received only a fraction of answers, but nonetheless, this story is my thanks to all of those who contributed to making the community its incredible reputation.

 

https://tomorrowsprophets.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/the-keepers/

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And for those who don't want to click:

 

 

The Keepers

 

Tension was high among the assembled samurai. Qolsa managed to prevent any violent actions, but suspicions were still overwhelming.

 

-You explained the why we are here, Naga, but we still have no reasons about the how, said Matsu Tsuko, a hand still hoevering above her katana's hilt

 

The Vedic took a few seconds to gather his thoughts. Although he spent a reasonable time among the sons of the Moon and Sun, he still had difficulties grasping the finer points of their way of thinking. He was not the Dashmar and the last thing he needed right now was a diplomatic incident.

 

-Truth be told, I am unsure about the how myself.

 

-Yet you told us you brought us here, said Susumu Takuan from the other side of the table.

 

The spider courtier was not a fool. Although the giant snakeman was also a potential target, he was perfectly aware the Lion could cut him in half if she decided to strike instead of listening to the Naga's explanation. He had weird clothes and an unknown family Mon, at least from Tsuko's point of view, having lived long before the existence of the Spider Clan.

 

-I did called you here, answered Qolsa. I meditated and communed with the spirit of this place, Yogen-Sha Toshi, asking her to bring you here to bolster our forces against the beast known as Tomorrow.

 

The Lion samurai turned to one of her kin, Ikoma Akiyama. She didn't have to ask her question, the librarian already understood its meaning.

 

-The Naga's explanation of our current situation, even though it is previously never heard of, does not contradict our understanding of the Spiritual Realms. As a scholar, I cannot confirm the veracity of his theory, but I cannot flatly deny it either.

 

Tsuko's stance relaxed a little. She was no longer inches away from drawing her blade, but anybody with a minimum of combat training could tell she was still ready to fight at a moment's notice.

 

-I still don't understand why a gaijin and a weird-looking courtier are among us. If Rokugan is threatened like you said, let the true servants of the Emperor fulfill their duty.

 

-Maybe I can offer an explanation, then, said the gaijin in impressively good Rokugani. My name is Rama Sing and while I originally come from the Ivory Kingdom, I spent a lot of time among your people as a guest and ambassador. I fear that a monster like Tomorrow is a threat to not only Rokugan, but the whole world as well. I'm grateful for the Lion's eargerness to destroy this abomination, but if the Qolsa is to be believed, we will need our combined strength to achieve more than a pyrrhic victory.

 

Tsuko grinned at the gaijin, obviously taking his offer of cooperation as an insult, but before she could transform the discussion into a skirmish, Qolsa intervened.

 

-I know close to nothing about each and every one of you. However, I asked Yogen-Sha Toshi to bring you here. She selected you because you each had talents needed for this war. Although the possibility of a direct confrontation is not out of the question, we know very little about Tomorrow. A few courageous souls have ventured outside this city, but beyond the gates, we cannot trust our own perceptions. They have managed through different means to save a few individuals from destruction, but every victory at the moment is achieved through trials and errors.

 

-You are taxing my patience, snake-man, said the Matsu.

 

-In short, continued the Naga, this endeavour will be substantial. It is not a fight we can win through a single strike. You have the training and experience to manage the daily realities of life. The city of Prophets has a population of heimin and eta, but no leadership, and while they are almost lifeless right now, I can feel the change. The more people are saved, the more ''real'' this city becomes. The blurry walls gain a much more tangible substance, the facial structure of the inhabitants are getting more and more defined and their actions are getting less predictable, just like a real population.

 

Qolsa stopped and watched the reaction of the samurai he gathered. Most clearly understood his reasoning, but Matsu Tsuko was still angered by the situation.

 

-So you need us to be in charge of the guards, the bureaucrats, the merchants and other servants, said the Spider courtier.

 

-Precisely.

 

-You speak well and flaunt your understanding in front of our eyes, yet you haven't introduced yourself, accused Matsu Tsuko.

 

Takuan was afraid it would come down to this. Although his clan has Celestial backing during his time, its mere existence would be considered blasphemous by Tsuko. Nonetheless, he was a pretty good judge of character, and had one last trick up his sleeve. One samurai was still silent after all this time, and Takuan was fairly certain of his intention. It wasn't a complete certainty, however. Just as the bushi on the battlefield, sometimes it is important for a courtier to put his life on the line. Lying now would only aggravate his situation.

 

-My name is Susumu Takuan. I'm a courtier of the Spider Clan which will become a Great Clan a few decades after your time. We are the devoted followers of the kai Fu Leng.

 

Takuan had more in store, but couldn't finish. Matsu Tsuko drew her blade and struck in his direction. At the very same moment, Kakita Toshimoko drew his and blocked the Lion's attack. Both blade shattered on impact and the remnant of the Crane's katana sliced the Lion's arm deeply. Noody dared talk or move for a moment that seemed to last an eternity.

 

-You speak of duty, said Toshimoko, finally breaking the silence. Yet you disregard yours by attacking another samurai when a greater threat is upon us. I do not care about the identity of this courtier, I do not care about your identity, I do not care about anyone's in fact. I care about saving Rokugan, and if you still claim to do the same, you will leave any quarrel you have with any of us behind. If you are still alive afterwards, you will be able to do as you please, but not a moment before we kill that monstrous beast.

 

The Lion was clinching her arm with all her might, trying to stop the bleeding, and found nothing to add. The real injury was to her pride, and arguing would only aggravate it.

 

-You say you can ask the city to save people from Tomorrow? asked Toshimoko to the Naga.

 

-Yes, although the process is extremely taxing for me and for Yogen-Sha Toshi. I'm afraid we will not be able to try again for some time.

 

-Well, when you will be ready, I have a few things I will need. I think we will all do. Can you bring back objects as well as individuals?

 

-I can certainly try.

 

-Very well then. No more time to waste, we have a city to keep in order.

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The team is expanding. We welcome a new member to the writing team, Coyote Walks, who wrote the next piece of fiction for Tomorrow's Prophets.

 

Like always, you can find the story on the blog, or below. This time, it covers the story prizes of the recent Seattle Draft fan tournament. Enjoy!

 

 

EDIT: If you are interested in participating in the project, either as a TO, a member of the writing team or any other role you think of, just send me a PM.

Edited by Tetsuhiko

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Gathering of Forces

 

Two hooded figures approached the small estate in the early morning fog. The City of Prophets was already a place that lacked definition, like looking through the wrong end of a merchant’s reading glass. Things native to this place seemed to lack a solid line the eye could keep hold of. It couldn’t be determined whether it was ones perception or the thing itself drifting through the landscape. The mist that pervaded the late hour of the tiger did nothing to alleviate this lack of focus. The normally pale colors of Yogen-Sha Toshi were faded even more. Beyond twenty paces, an invading army or an okiya filled with geisha could lie in wait. It was impossible to tell. All that the two could see was the wall of the estate for twenty paces on each side of them before it stretched off in the misty nothingness and the doors before them. Even the wood of each of the doors was faded in this place, its sickly pall like that of driftwood left out in the sun for too many seasons.

A feminine voice asked, “Why are we here?”

A right hand reached up and wiped away a bit of grey dirt that blend in with the drab color of the wood. Wiping it away was like ripping off a veil upon the whole of the entryway. A gold seal lay beneath the fine silt so easily removed. It glowed in the gathering morning light and lent color to the doors it was embedded. With the cataract of obfuscation removed, the details of the doorway became more defined. The remaining dirt fell away from the golden chrysanthemum mon, as if to assert that it was as real as the two standing before it.

The other figure responded, “This was not here yesterday. And it may lead us to the Iweko.”

With that, he pushed the door open and entered the grounds.

The inside of the structure was as non-descript as most of the outside. The darkened hallways were hazy and did not benefit from the certainty that the entryway had achieved. The only sounds in the house came from the light footfalls of the intruders.

The one who opened the door into this shadowy estate sighed as he looked at the empty rooms as they passed them. “The master of this house is not here,” he decided. “This building is still too hazy and undefined. There aren’t even shadows of servants wandering about. There must be a link to the royal line here somewhere, but it’s not this house. Ideas?”

“I smell an evergreen,” she said. He followed her, as she followed the smell. The hallways she navigated led them to an open garden in what seemed to be the center of the structure. “Here,” she stated simply.

The garden was large enough to hold several peasant homes within it and was surrounded on all sides by the mansion. Like the entryway with its Imperial mon, the garden held a Fixed Point at its center. A small sapling of an evergreen tree stood there, no higher than a person’s waist. And as if its clarity wasn’t enough at odds with the obscured details of the garden around it, a shaft of sunlight shone down to nurture the tree.

“This is your link? This child is the only thing we’ve encountered that belongs in the Wakened world,” she said to him after they walked to center of the opened area. She raised her hand, palm up into the beam of light. “This blessing comes from mid-day, not morning.”

“This explains how I could find this place,” her companion answered. “The last time I saw this tree it was during my last trip to the capital. Planted in the garden of the palace, it represents a connection between my family and the house of Iweko.”

“The Thousand Year Tree?” she asked.

He nodded. “Grab my arm. I do not know where or when we will end up.” He then reached out with his right hand and gently touched the green branches of the sapling.

 

************************

 

The first thing the ogre heard was the laughter. It came from random directions. His fire cackled, the deer carcass giggled, the rock walls chortled, and even the pouring rain tittered. The ogre waited while gripping his naginata. He would not waste energy attacking things that were not there. He had fought the mad humans that only listened to their own words. This laughter was much like theirs, crazed and hysterical.

The large humanoid stood up when the noises stopped. He could hear the slight creaking and groaning of his armor and the scraping of his horns on the stone ceiling of the overhang. All other sounds ceased even though movement did not. The fire still flickered and the rain still fell as if nothing unusual was happening.

“You have patience for an ogre. Perhaps that is why you are here.” Coinciding with these words was a dark figure that emerged in the rain. Small. Human. Covered in colors on the skin. Skin that was not getting wet in the rain.

“I am Masajiro. Here to eat and stay dry,” the ogre stated, as he lowered the blade of his polearm. Instead of pointing up, it now pointed to the dry human in the rain. His words were simple but his posture spoke volumes.

“I am Kokujin, Masajiro-san. And you are no longer in Ningen-do. We have been eaten by something and now float, trapped, inside of it. I am in need of warriors to fight this monster,” the small, stained human said to him.

“Serve Spider? No. That father, not me."

The painted man called Kokujin cocked his head to the side. “What is this Spider?” he asked.

The ogre gave him an answer while still trying to decide if he should impale the madman. “Spider are a Clan, humans like you. Tainted. They serve the master of Shadowlands.”

Both of the monsters moved at the same time. Masajiro’s instincts warned him of the danger this human represented. Kokujin decided that the ogre was more than just a martial asset. The naginata plunged straight for the uncovered, colored chest of the human. The monk pushed the blade of the polearm away with a touch of his fingers and felt the air above his shoulder tear as the weapon thrust through the space that should have been his heart. Kokujin slipped further into the beast’s defenses and slammed his palm onto the exposed skin of his victim’s shoulder.

As power passed from the smaller human to the ogre, they both smelled the sizzling flesh of the giant. That was a detail that Masajiro would remember later, for now all he understood was the pain that danced over his skin and fire that coursed through his veins. He wouldn’t remember falling onto the fire and smothering it with his back or the back of his head cracking the stone underneath it when it met the ground. Oblivion took the mind of the ogre and he passed out as the monk finished his work.

Kokujin stood up to look at his handiwork after he finished. The tattoo he bestowed on this creature would make him stronger while binding him to the monk. “Once you are awake, Masajiro-san, I think we should find one of these Spider you speak of. I would very much like to meet one.”

 

************************

 

When the Outer Wall of the Second Pit exploded, Himura Toshi’s training overrode his instincts. Any Crab worth his name would rush to meet the enemies of the Empire as they poured forth from that unholy place. The young scout’s training told him to look elsewhere. To look where the eye was being drawn away from. He blocked out the sounds of carnage and the lure of honorable death. There. Footsteps in the dirt and sparse grass. Himura Toshi followed.

 

************************

 

“I am not one of your toys!” the man whispered fiercely as he sat up in his bed.

He was already sweating when it took the half a breath for the humidity and heat of the Colonies to hit him. His first thought was to remind himself that it was a dream. His second thought was to replace his sleeping clothes. His yukata was thoroughly soaked and would give him a chill if he were in a saner climate, back home in Rokugan.

As he stood up from his futon the Rokugani noticed that the door to the garden was open. That wasn’t nearly as unusual as the figure sitting in the pale light of the Obsidian Moon facing the doorway. As a son of the Empress and as a Samurai, he was accustomed to having others wait on him. But the posture of this hooded stranger was not that of a subordinate. More like a monk in deep meditation. What that person lacked in deference, they made up for in patience. The shadow in the garden waited for him to make a move, so he decided to get dressed.

After he had got changed into his normal attire, the Samurai choose to speak with the intruder who abided in silence. He stopped a hand span away from the threshold and spoke in a voice that barely carried in the din of insects that infested this foreign land.

“I can only assume you have a message for me. I have left more than a few openings for you to attack and yet you have not. Tell me why you are here,” he said imperiously.

“Greetings to you, Iweko Seiken-sama, first born of Iweko the First. The Kami have led me to you and I must lead you away from here. The Empire needs you,” the stranger said calmly.

“It is Iweko-dono to you, stranger. And why should I listen to such melodramatic ramblings? And who are you that interrupts my sleep without so much as an introduction?” the child of Iweko demanded.

“I am known as Kitsune Hayashi. I was trying to find your Mother, the previous Empress, when I came here. The fates have decreed that you make the journey to Yogen-Sha Toshi. We must leave soon before you are further undone,” the Mantis said with an air of authority. An authority that the Imperial scion found distasteful.

“My Mother is the Empress! Long may her reign bless the Emerald Empire,” Seiken hissed as his On slipped briefly. “Can you give me one good reason I shouldn’t throw you in front of an Asako magistrate for blasphemy? Or give you over to your Champion, Yoritomo Hiromi? I hear he is especially unforgiving of incompetence.”

The Ranger ignored the other man’s breech in composure. “I can give you three, my lord. From when I came from, Yoritomo Hiromi and most of the Yoritomo family are dead. They died saving the Empire from being destroyed by a Shadowlands invasion from the sea. Second, the Asako have retreated to the North and to the Colonies. Their Inquisitors have lost a third of their number trying to keep the lands of the Phoenix free of the Taint. And lastly, we are not in the Colonies, as you believe. I am not even sure we are in Ningen-do anymore.”

Iweko Seiken stood quietly as the Mantis spoke. He was either a superb liar or he believed every insane word he just said. Seiken needed to center himself. His dreams and memories of his encounter with the mad dragon, P’an Ku, were unsettling enough. But to deal with some lunatic Kitsune, who belonged locked up in his forest, he would need fully keep his wits about him.

The first son of Iweko remembered his training with the monks of the Dragon Clan. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He calmed his emotions and felt balance take hold. Seiken focused on the reality of his heartbeat and felt it slow as he asserted control. He would deal with this ill-mannered guest and then have a long talk with his Imperial guard. A samurai should only be disturbed like this if there is a real emergency, not to hear the tale of some lout that has eaten too many wild plants.

“As you can see, there is nothing wrong other than….” Seiken opened his eyes while speaking, but what he saw robbed him of the ability to finish his thought.

His mansion in the Second City, as well as the garden that Mantis was sitting in, were gone. Grey mist replaced the building he had awoken in, distant thunder took the place of the sound of foreign insects. The damnable heat and humidity remained. The irritating Fox remained as well. But another person stood behind him. Despite the gloom, Seiken could clearly see the faces both of the Kitsune and the female who stood with familiarity near him. Her green skin and scales on her cheeks marked her as decidedly non-human.

Iweko Seiken’s next thought required no words. He drew his Katana in less than a heartbeat. The Mantis leapt to his feet as quickly as he could. The armed samurai stalked forwarded towards them.

“Iweko-dono, please!” the man who called himself Hayashi implored. “We are at peace with her people. In the time that we come from, the Dark Naga is defeated and her kin are waking from the Great Sleep to help us fight the Darkness. She is one of the Rangers Iweko the Second held me to be accountable for.”

The Imperial Scion stopped moving, but did not lower his sword. Revulsion tore through him. That a samurai, even a lowly Mantis, would accept the aid of such a creature was unthinkable. And Seiken knew that he needed the aid of this man if he was going to survive.

“There are other, loyal Rokugani in this City of Prophets you spoke of? Samurai of Honor who are willing to fight?” he asked.

Hayashi nodded an affirmative. He then slowly slipped his right arm into his right sleeve. It was an old motion until Seiken noticed that the Kitsune didn’t seem to have a left arm or sleeve to go with it. A moment later, the right hand emerged holding a folded piece of paper.

“This is a map to Yogen-Sha Toshi. I have even marked on here where you mansion is in the city. In the city is a monk name Kokujin who is trying to gather an army,” Hayashi said slowly as he offered the map to Seiken.

The son of Iweko took the offered paper with his free hand, while making no move to sheath his weapon. “Then I shall journey there on my own. You may be willing to travel with a Naga, but I am not.”

 

************************

 

Akodo Raikitsu strode around the war camp enjoying the good mood and high spirits of the soldiers in his unit. They had done well so far in the war against the Scorpion. Killing many of the enemy while only suffering a few casualties. Moral was important to the campaign, now that the Lion forces were in Scorpion territory. But vigilance was just as important.

Which was why Raikitsu made sure that the sentries were alert and aware. The Clan of Secrets did not value honor like the Children of Akodo-no-Kami. He needed his forces fresh and attentive. The Scorpion had already drawn the bulk of the Lion forces far too close to Fukitsu Province for his liking. The accursed Second Pit lay in those damned fields of the Yogo Family. The irony that the family of betrayers should have such a threat to the Empire clutched to their breast was not lost on Raikitsu. Just as he knew that the Scorpion would not hesitate to attack at night while many of his troops slept. They would salt their fields and poison every well to deny victory to their betters. But the Lion will not be denied.

As the Akodo Tactician came around a tent close to the western watch, he saw two things that caused him to charge forward while drawing his sword. The first was the body of a samurai that lain prone in the dirt. The bloody hole in the back was empty. He didn’t need to see to face to know it was a young Matsu, deployed to his first campaign. Now robbed of any chance at Glory by the second thing that spurred Raikitsu’s charge. A figure clad in Crab blue kneeling over his fallen Clansman staring at that bloody wound. This Scorpion was foolish if he believed that any Lion would stay their hand just because he dressed himself as Crab.

The intruder looked up in time to see the Lion bearing down on him. He rolled out of the way of a fatal blow. His next words made no sense to the Akodo. “I’m not here to kill Lion, Akodo-san! I’m following a saboteur from the Scorpion Wall!”

Raikitsu closed the distance and forced the man bearing the mon of the Himura to parry with the dagger he already had out. “You’re stronger than most of the Scorpion I have killed, I’ll give you that,” Raikitsu said as forced this false Himura back another step.

Raikitsu’s opponent grabbed his armor with his free hand and somehow managed to throw Lion away from him. As the other man stood up, the trespasser dropped his shorter blade and drew his katana from the scabbard on his back. Even at this distance, he could see the accusation in the Lion’s

eyes. “I am Himura Toshi, Akodo-san. My blade has no blood on it. You can have a Kitsuki check, since my word isn’t good enough for you.”

What neither of the combatants noticed while they were focused on each other was the rising form of the fallen Lion sentry. The dead man drew his wakizashi and katana in perfect silence and charged soundlessly. They also failed to notice the fading of the camp around them as it began to dissolve into darkness. Only their peripheral vison saved them from this new attacker.

The samurai broke away from each other to avoid being skewered by the dead man’s blades. The Matsu’s body displayed a degree of skill with swords that Raikitsu knew he did not possess, a skill that forced both him and the one calling himself Himura Toshi to parry. But before he could further ponder the situation, the living Lion watched the abomination wearing the form of an honorable Lion stop as a sword point emerged from his chest.

Quickly, the certainty that this was the Matsu that Raikitsu assigned to the western watch was dispelled. Like stretched mochi resuming its natural shape, the head of their assailant changed into a grey mass. Having no openings like eyes or a mouth, the mask-like visage held a form that merely suggested a face. The rest of the faceless enemy’s body followed suit two heartbeats later. The golden orange of the Lion armor dulled to dark grey and black. The armor itself changed to a lighter version typically used by scouts.

The sword receded back through the same path it carved into the faceless thing. It dropped between the samurai as the sword that killed it no longer held it up. When the two men saw who was holding that katana, they both dropped to their knees.

“I’m glad that there are still honorable Samurai who know who I am,” Iweko Seiken said with a certain amount of satisfaction. “Stand. Both of you. I am in need of an army. The Crab and the Lion shall be the cornerstones of that army.”

 

************************

 

The heat didn’t seem to bother him. And the humidity induced a languid state that lent itself very well to meditation or even sleep. Others of his Clan had no love for it, used as they were to the northerly lands of the Phoenix. Perhaps it had more to do with his age. At fourteen summers, Isawa Shunryu was the youngest of his peers. Rokugani culture among the samurai caste could be quite rigid, especially among certain Clans. The rule seemed to be that the younger a person was, the more easily they could adapt to change. Except for the Mantis, who seemed to have little use for the rules of others and went about this foreign place as if they’ve always been here.

The Master of Void decided to try and meditate on a less complex topic, the Void itself. It had been a few months since his visions led him to journeying in the Second City. But now that he was here, Shunryu wanted to see if there was more he could discover. The future of the Phoenix Clan and that of the Empire may pivot on what knowledge he could glean.

As the young man closed his eyes and found his center, he pushed aside thoughts of the impending disaster his previous visions had warned of. His experience had taught him that if he dwelled on the things he wanted to see, he would not learn anything new. Empty the bowl, so that it may be filled again. Empty the bowl….

Once his mind was calm and thoughtless, the Isawa Master felt a pull in the Void. It wasn’t like a subtle ripple on a calm body of water. It was more like a large displacement. The only thing the young shugenja could readily compare it to was the roiling of the ocean when a whale came close to the kobune Shunryu sailed to the Colonies on. Something massive was moving through the Void and seemed to somehow make the infinite larger.

He needed to see it. To see what was causing these waves. This experience was quickly changing from meditation to a vision. Instead of moving towards the source, Shunryu took care not to have his mind overwhelmed by the Void. He used the ripples to move his perception, and his body in the vision, away from the source.

It was then that he saw it. Or part of it, anyway. The new Master of the Void had wondered privately in the past how the Elemental Masters of the Clan War era had allowed themselves to be broken and tainted by the Black Scrolls. He now understood a little better how that could have happened. The Isawa closed his eyes and his mind as he pushed much of what he saw into a dark corner of his mind. There was a limit to which the mind could be stretched before breaking. Extraordinary individuals could exceed that limit, but by only so much. Shunryu’s connection to the Void and his strenuous training may have been the factors that preserved his sanity.

The shugenja may not have been broken, but he was definitely shaken. He remained unsettled as he realized that the vision had not ended and he was feeling more substantial in this empty place. So unsettled that he almost jumped when he heard a voice behind him.

“Are you in need of aid?”

Shunryu turned to see a monk standing there dressed in a green and gold robe. Glimpses of coils tattooed on his skin confirmed that this was one of the Togashi monks of the Dragon. The Master of Void understood at once that he needed to keep this monk focused on him so that his sanity would not be lost.

“Greeting to you, Togashi-san. I am Isawa Shunryu of the Phoenix. It is strange that we should meet here while I am meditating,” he said with a casualness that he did not feel.

The monk bowed as if he were addressing a Clan Champion. “I am honored to be greeted by you so warmly, Isawa-sama. I am Togashi Taiki. In my role as advisor to Togashi Noboru-sama, I’ve heard your name always spoken with high regard.”

Shunryu gave a polite smile before he responded. “You honor me and your lord,” he praised. The Master of Void could sense that it was moving closer to them. Hopefully, it would pass like a raincloud. “I am curious, Taiki-san. How was it that you found me in this place?”

“I myself was meditating when I felt a disturbance in the Void. I was trying to discern where it came from when I felt your presence in the Void. Like a star racing across the Heavens. Shooting stars are much easier to follow,” the monk explained.

A great wind came and blew the darkness of their meditations away and left a dark grey mist in its place. The two men of the north now found themselves surrounded by uncertainty.

“You have my apologies, Taiki-san. I did not want you to be burdened with what I learned moments before you appeared. What I saw in the Void would shatter an untrained mind and I saw no reason to test your training unduly,” the Phoenix admitted. “I believe we have been taken into the disturbance.”

The Dragon accepted the Master’s apology silently. After a moment he cocked his head in puzzlement. “Do you hear something, Isawa-sama?”

“….that went as well as can be expected,” they heard a voice with a slightly rural accent say. “Considering his sister’s attitude on your people, I can’t say I’m surprised.”

A feminine voice replied. “That is disappointing. Did she hate us too?”

Two strange silhouettes began to form in the gloom. The shorter of the two was apparently the first speaker and he was speaking again. “Hate? No. She thought the few Naga she met were fascinating. She also believed that you belonged under the rule of the Throne.”

The taller form made a sound that could only be compared to a human clicking their tongue in disgust.

Then the dark haze lifted briefly to admit the two travelers to the company of the monk and the shugenja. The two strangers stopped when they saw Shunryu and Taiki. The man was Rokugani and missing his left arm. The woman was indeed a Naga, at least ten feet long, but she held herself only half a head higher than her companion. The man pushed the hood back on his cloak to reveal his face and bowed respectfully to the Master of Void. The Naga watched his actions and mimicked them.

“If you have come to find Yogen-Sha Toshi, Isawa Shunryu-sama, we can show you the way. And greetings to you, Togashi Taiki,” the man said with another bow.

Taiki realized who he was speaking with after he returned the bow. “You are the Three Legged Fox, Kitsune Hayashi. Do the Rangers already know what this disturbance is?”

“Many of us,” he motioned with his right hand to the Naga at his side, “are here and doing what we can to learn more. There is a Nezumi in the City of Prophets that calls it Tomorrow. He said his people died fighting it. We really have no idea what we are up against yet. So as Rangers, we split our time between searching out here, finding people, and exploring the city,” Hayashi told them.

“Can you tell us how to get to your Yogen-Sha Toshi on our own, Kitsune-san?” Shunryu asked. “I think that Taiki and I should travel within this Tomorrow some more and see if we can understand it better.”

Taiki nodded in agreement, clearly intending to accompany the Master of Void as he wished. Meanwhile, Hayashi slipped his right hand into that sleeve and produced a folded piece of paper. The Naga looked on with curiosity as he handed the paper to the young human.

“A map? Do such things work in this place?” the Phoenix inquired after unfolding the parchment.

“Among the Rangers who have survived are some Phoenix shugenja. They have informed me that the act of drawing a map here helps stabilize the paths we have already tread,” the Ranger replied.

Shunryu bowed. “Thank you. If the Kami are willing, we shall see each other again soon. Until then, keep my people alive.”

 

************************

 

“Well, this is glorious!” Kokujin declared.

The mad monk and the ogre Masajiro stood on the roof of a temple watching a massacre below them. History would have remembered this event as the Battle of the First Seal, if history wasn’y being unmade. The beginning of the 13th century of Rokugan would have bathed the new era in blood and unholy power. For the brave Rokugani that defend the temple while out number almost fifty to one, this was Jigoku given form.

“So these are the Spider? It really is a shame that this beautiful moment is going to be undone,” the former Dragon cackled. “Help me pick one to experiment on, Masajiro-san.”

The ogre‘s only response was to grunt. He had woken up in a grey nothingness with only the crazed human as company. The human Kokujin had branded him with a tattoo that made it impossible for Masajiro to harm him. He found Spider warriors for the monk, but had no interest in helping the painted man any further.

As it turned out, Kokujin didn’t need any help at all. He watched as a masked Spider cleaved the hand off of a Phoenix in the robes of the Master of Earth. The Spider then cut his entire arm off. The masked samurai stood over his foe in a silent taunt, holding his severed hand. The effect on the surrounding Spider was immediate as they tried to emulate his barbarity.

Kokujin leered and smiled lustfully at the blood of the Elemental Master as it spilled and spoiled on the ground. Oh, what joys he could create from such a gift. He shouted to the ogre as he leapt down from the tiled roof, “I’m going to throw something up here. Don’t spill it!”

Three seconds later, the butchered arm of Isawa Norimichi flew up to the roof of the Temple of the First Seal.

After the mad monk got the arm out of the way, he need to get the hand. The hand that was still in the grip of the wonderful Spider wearing the mask. He quickly ended the lives of two Crab and three Mantis that got in his way. He may have broken the neck of a Phoenix he stepped on, he wasn’t paying attention. But when he saw his prey again, the tattooed lunatic dashed forward.

The Samurai that had bested the Master of Earth sensed him coming and turn to intercept his new opponent. But the monk was faster. Kokujin grasped and held both his neck and sword arm a crushing grip. And still the Spider would not speak. Stern and disciplined. Just the way he preferred his subjects.

“I am Kokujin. Do you know this name?”

The spider nodded.

“That hand still holds power. Doth thou desire the power?”

Daigotsu Yuhmi remained silent.

“Let us begin anyway!” Kokujin cackled with a maniac grin.

 

************************

 

The sun was high in the sky above Yogen-Sha Toshi. A man and a Naga walked together down a street having a conversation. The building seemed to be more permanent since the pair had returned to the city. The phantom peasants in the street gave them a wide berth, just like they would if they were in Rokugan.

“You never told me if you like the name I decided to take,” she said to him.

“My mother taught me to respect a woman’s secrets. And you never told me what this name, Uloochi, means,” he responded.

The Naga smiled. “Your mother is very wise.”

After they walked a few more paces in silence, the man asked, “Should we find another person to bring to the city today?”

Before she could answer, a cracking sound drew their attention. The door of a nearby teahouse flew out into the street, broken. A masked samurai dressed in blue and bearing the mon of the Crane Clan stepped out of the building.

Even in Yogen-Sha Toshi, Kakita Ujirou was not impressed by doors.

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The project is still growing. We welcome Vancouver, Philadelphia and the Phillipines among us. So if you live nearby and want to have a chance at the different story picks, you are welcome to participate.

 

We are still looking for people anywhere on the globe willing to organize tournaments or to help with the project itself. Anyone is welcome.

 

Do not be afraid to comment here or through PMs. We really want to hear your opinions and ideas on the project and the stories.

 

EDIT: And let's not forget the online Sun & Moon Tournaments as well

Edited by Tetsuhiko

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New stuff!

 

First, an in-between tournament story called Those Left Behind (we did incorporate some tournament picks, but this was mostly to move the story forward. 

 

Can be found on the blog here: https://tomorrowsprophets.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/those-left-behind/

And on the forum here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/206451-tp-those-left-behind/

 

We decided to create a new thread for each new story to allow you to comment more easily on each of them. Please tell us what you think, we really want to have your opinions.

 

Second, why leave all the fun to tournament-goers? There's a special story event right here on the forums. Check it here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/206492-tp-forum-event-theories-ideas-and-conspirations/

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The Philadelphia Modern and BigDeck Championships on 04/30/16 are participating in this storyline event with choices contributing from both events. I made a detailed post about it pending moderator approval.

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A new fiction, and this time we went much more outside the box for an hommage to Rokugan 2000 and how it could have unfolded under the reign of Kanpeki instead of Yoritomo...

 

Like always, feel free to comment and/or point out the errors. We are a very small team and lack an army of proof-readers. 

 

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/222583-tp-children-of-the-weeping-mother/

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