Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Tonbo Karasu

Crab Novella - Trail of Shadows

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I got it and read it through rather rapidly.  So, the main character is obviously Hida Sukune, but you also get a fair amount of O-Ushi as well.  Besides the siblings, known faces are Amoro and Yori through the story and Kisada at beginning and end.

Given what is said by the Kuni daimyo, I would place this as taking place in one of the long gaps in Gaze into Darkness, so a short flashback rather than current times.

Sukune comes across as one of the most erudite characters to date - I feel he'd get on better with, say, Asako Tsuki than his big brother.

WARNING - Plot spoiler contained within - WARNING

 

Are those the masks for the Tomb of Iuchiban?  Just after you'd given yourself a better impression, too!

Edited by Tonbo Karasu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

I realise that it might be considered impolite to reply to one's own post, but I'm really quite wanting to discuss a couple of things from this.  So, has anyone else got and read this?

Sadly still waiting on my copy.  Covid delays have most releases about one to two weeks behind locally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did a late pre-order through FFG, got the email that it was being processed last week Tuesday...still no update that it's shipped yet. I'm in the same boat with Celestial Realms, except that wasn't even a late pre-order. I'd like to believe I'll have them both by the end of the week, but it's looking doubtful. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So as luck would have it, my order arrived today. Just finished reading the novella and the fluff in the back. 

HERE BEGINNETH SPOILERS (fluff section only for this post, but for real story spoilers to follow in later posts):

 

 

So I guess Osano-Wo isn't the big hotshot son of a dragon anymore, huh? There's a section in the back that states his mother is now only a priest of the Thunder Dragon. On the plus side, instead of her just showing up to "console" Hida over the loss of his first wife, Hida meets her during a time of despair over the prolonged war with Fu Leng, and she offers him wisdom and counsel (obviously some "consoling" still happened because she shows up with baby Osano-Wo a year later). Also this time around, Hida's wife is still around, and she helps raise Osano-Wo. It's all very...interesting. At least the Mantis can still lay claim to fame from him being a fortune! 😅

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay now for super serious story spoilers and a reply to @Tonbo Karasu:

 

If we look to old lore, Yori did "inherit" a Mask of Iuchiban from his father...in fact he busted his father attempting a ritual with the mask, which is how his father died and how Yori came into possession of it. I have to wonder how one of the masks became incorporated into armor made long before Iuchiban was even born, though. Perhaps these are new/different masks, giving a nod back to old lore like so many other things we've seen from FFG so far (the recent Sotorii story with Yotsu having saved him was a nice touch, for example). Maybe these even tie back to Fu Leng, which if recovered from the First War/Day of Thunder aftermath would explain how Osano-Wo could have had it at the time the armor was made. Otherwise, was it added to the mempo years later as part of the efforts to hide Iuchiban's masks? Is this mempo actually a fake, and the original one is still lost or destroyed? There's a lot of unanswered questions that I suspect we'll be waiting on answers for, the fact the masks and the oni spawn are given screen time again gives me some encouragement that there's more planned to that story. 

I do kind of hate (in a "love to hate the bad guy" way, not a "hate how this was written" way) that it seems Yori planned to steal the mempo all along, which is why he insisted on accompanying the expedition personally. I suspect it also means he orchestrated Kana becoming tainted during the ritual, taking advantage of the opportunity to use her as a distraction later so he could slip into the cave and steal the mempo. As a side note, part of me is really hoping that since the Path of Courage was chosen, Kuni Yori really does sacrifice himself in the Shadowlands and doesn't come back to have an opportunity to continue his little mask collection...also the irony of that decision after reading the novella is thick and delicious. I'm getting a bad feeling thought that things aren't going to happen like that, because as reasonable and honorable as Yori might appear, he's definitely proving to be quite calculating and manipulative in his "mission". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Kaito Kikaze said:

If we look to old lore, Yori did "inherit" a Mask of Iuchiban from his father...in fact he busted his father attempting a ritual with the mask, which is how his father died and how Yori came into possession of it. I have to wonder how one of the masks became incorporated into armor made long before Iuchiban was even born, though. Perhaps these are new/different masks, giving a nod back to old lore like so many other things we've seen from FFG so far (the recent Sotorii story with Yotsu having saved him was a nice touch, for example). Maybe these even tie back to Fu Leng, which if recovered from the First War/Day of Thunder aftermath would explain how Osano-Wo could have had it at the time the armor was made. Otherwise, was it added to the mempo years later as part of the efforts to hide Iuchiban's masks? Is this mempo actually a fake, and the original one is still lost or destroyed? There's a lot of unanswered questions that I suspect we'll be waiting on answers for, the fact the masks and the oni spawn are given screen time again gives me some encouragement that there's more planned to that story. 

That's my theory - the whole expedition was an attempt to hide the mask.  Being willing to sacrifice a general and army to prevent another return of Iuchiban really fits the Crab mindset.  I can't think of any other reason for this army, apparently raised to attack the Shadowlands, would end up in the Shinomen.  It's even tempting to say that the undead monster was created by a Kuni back in the day (the battle was between Crab willing to obey orders and those who thought it was going too far??) and the Shadow Swamp was corrupted as a result of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I think my biggest complaint with the novella is the premise that this famous army, raised by a commander important enough to wear Kikyo, intended to assault the Shadowlands, managed to march all the way across Crab lands in the opposite direction without anyone knowing about it. I could understand it maybe if he had some wild scheme to march through the Shinomen Forest, and come down around through the Plains Above Evil into the Shadowlands, but from O-Ushi's reaction it sounds like he wasn't supposed to have gone anywhere near the forest. 

As far as hiding the mask, I'd have thought secretly incorporating it into revered armor that was never going to be worn, but kept under the watchful eye of the Crab, should have been sufficient for that. Also to consider, Hida Chuku's march was less than two hundred years ago from the novella's present time, which would have been at least a few hundred years after the masks' creation. It seems a pretty drastic step to take so long after the fact, Iuchiban's first escape would have still been a couple hundred years before that. 

My current speculation, without more details about these mysterious masks and their provenance, is that Hida Chuku was influenced by the mask that he was unknowingly wearing as a mempo. Perhaps it's possible  he did lead his army into the Shadowlands...but they were overcome by Taint, or the Shadowlands Hordes, or the mask's influence, or some combination of those. And so it was an undead/Lost Crab army that marched from the Shadowlands up into the Shinomen Forest, managing to survive the trek through the Plains Above Evil, only to succumb to the ancient forest itself. Whatever the case may be, I really do hope we get some sort of later reveal explaining it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/26/2020 at 7:24 AM, Doji Hyōkin said:

Waiting for the ePub release. If I’d stuck with print media my wife & I would’ve been featured on an episode of Hoarders by now. 

Me too.

Anyone know how much time it will take?

Also this time I see no Kindle version, sigh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Kaito Kikaze said:

Drivethrufiction.com is usually a safe bet to check, all the other novellas are on there...just not Crab novella. :(

Does it give a date of release there?  It might be possible to work out when Trail of Shadows is due, based on the others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

Does it give a date of release there?  It might be possible to work out when Trail of Shadows is due, based on the others.

Amazon has a December 25, 2019 release date for the Kindle Edition, which is just under 2 months from the hardcover release. So assuming same timing for Trail of Shadows, we're probably looking at mid-October release for the digital versions. 

EDIT: Also good call on checking for a digital release date, I forget that they actually list those separately from the print release. 

Edited by Kaito Kikaze

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...