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 Ookami no Oni

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Posts : 107
Join date : 2010-05-30
Age : 43
Location : Wintermist

PostSubject: Ookami no Oni   Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:53 pm

He was born in the mountains north of Kyoto which were said to be the home of demons of all sorts. It is where his family took up their most honorable name, Oniyama, which translates into "Demon Mountain". It is unknown what his name before his Gempukku was since the name of the child is discarded once he completes the ceremony into manhood. For his Gempukku he was sent out alone into the mountains to prove his worth and honor as well as demonstrate he had learned the art of his bushi school. For three days the village waited for the return of the fourteen year old boy and hope began to wax thin that he would ever return. However on the fourth day a large wolf entered the village, a demon, which had come for the promise of blood and meat to fill its hungry appetite. Samurai rushed to face the threat but the beast was already upon a group of children backed up against a fence. It was then that the young boy, thought lost, appeared, stepping in front of the children and staring down the demon wolf. The creature growled low and menacing and bared its gleaming white fangs, but the boy simply gazed into its eyes and moved closer. As he reached out a hand the wolf snapped at the boys arm, sinking his teeth into the boy’s flesh. He winced at the pain but held the wolf’s gaze as his blood began to wet the beast’s jaws. After a moment the wolf released him and with one last look bounded off into the forested mountains. The villagers looked on in awe, whispering to each other about the boy who had calmed the wolf spirit. His sensei approached and both sank to their knees and bowed respectfully to each other. He told the boy he had shown great honor and sacrifice, presenting to him a katana and wakizashi, which signified his status as samurai and the completion of his Gempukku. From that day forth he was known as Oniyama Ookami, the “Wolf of Demon Mountain”.
The night was calm and peaceful, the pale moon casting a ghostly light on the cherry blossoms. Ookami paced through the village drinking in the early morning chill and aromas. He had felt uneasy in his room and the outside air helped ease the worry from his mind. He had not dreamt about his Gempukku before and it had stirred him awake, shaking in a cold sweat. It had seemed so vivid, and the feelings so…familiar. It was the feelings he meditated upon now as he let the night sounds surround him. Crickets chirped, the wind rustled through the rice fields, and the soft gurgling sound of the nearby stream reached out to his senses. The feeling in his dream had been familiar somehow, in some way that he felt he should be able to recognize. His eyes snapped open and he cast about warily. He had served as one of his Daimyo’s yojimbo for nearly four years now and it had taught him to be alert at all times searching for all things that seemed out of place. A sound, he thought he had heard a sound that was not in harmony with the surrounding night. He listened hard in utter silence for a long moment, however nothing revealed itself. He returned to his meditation on the dream, though it was fading from his mind. He fought to keep it in focus but it felt like clutching at smoke. It was the feeling, the feeling that had the most importance. If he could only remember the feeling…the feeling…the feeling he’d had at his Gempukku… He opened his eyes again and they blazed with intensity at the memory, not the FEELING…the WARNING… He had felt a sense of warning that day he had tracked the wolf through the forest back to his village. A sense of something to come, as if all the ancestors were poised to watch what event would unfold before their eyes. He jerked his head around at a sound, so soft as to be almost imperceptible, but definitely alien. A shadow had detached itself from the wall and moved away from the house. He paled at the realization. The Daimyo’s house. He shouted the alarm and rushed after the shadow as it bolted for the woods, he could hear the sounds of women screaming and battle from behind him but he rushed on into the trees hoping to cut off the assassin. He was just in time to bar the way as a black clad figure burst through onto the trail. Swords drawn the two attacked each other ferociously but it seemed the assassin was more skilled in stealth than in swordplay. Ookami cut across his enemy’s chest, parting the fabric and opening a grievous red hole that gleamed wetly in the fading moonlight. The assassin fell to his knees and Ookami moved in to complete the task when a powder was thrown into his eyes blinding him. He reached out and grasped at the foe clutching onto the fabric of his torn clothing. With a horrible tearing sound and a shout from the assassin it ripped free and Ookami was left alone, rubbing at his stinging eyes. When he could see again the intruder was gone. He looked down at the cloth in his hand through a tear streaked haze and caught his breath. On it was the family mon of a rival house, one who stood to take control of these lands should his current Daimyo fall. “Treacherous coward!” he shouted, rage boiling inside him as he made his way back to the village. As suspected, his Daimyo, was dead…
He awoke suddenly, a roar of fury and anger escaping his lips like the crack of thunder. He struggled to slow his breathing and reign in his temper. It was a common dream, the night his Daimyo had died, and a common awakening. His fellow samurai had nicknamed him Ookami no Oni, Demon Wolf, because of it. They figured no man but one with a demon inside could have such horrible dreams as to wake with rage and murder in his eyes. Luckily for them the Lord had accommodated him with his own chamber within the castle. He had risen high in the sight of the Shogun after he’d been acquired from the remnants of his Daimyo’s samurai. Others had committed seppuku to wash away the shame of letting their Lord be killed, while others had run away to become ronin. Cowards, he thought. He had embraced his shame and taken service with the one who carried his honor. He knew the only way to reclaim that honor was to take it from the Shogun who held it, the one who had sent assassins to carry out his dishonorable design. He would have his honor back when he cut out the heart of that one and it beat its last beat. Ah and he could feel it coming close, the feeling that had guided him as a boy, warned him as a man, was now singing it’s familiar tune. He went back to sleep.
A week later, after another battle to gain hold over more provinces, Ookami was summoned to the Shogun. He entered and made his appropriate submission before the warlord, kneeling and bowing deeply.
“Ah yes, my faithful wolf is come.” the Shogun remarked. “You have fought with great honor and brought me many victories.”
“You honor me, great Shogun.” Ookami replied dully.
“Yes I do, in fact your nickname seems to be truer every day. The ‘Demon Wolf’ has even begun to inspire fear in my enemies and you should be honored for it. Therefore I have decided to make you my own personal yojimbo, and as such have a gift for you.” He turned to one of his aides who presented him with a long silk bag. The Shogun took it and drew forth a katana of pristine workmanship. The hilt was wrapped in red and black woven lace and the end was finished in an obsidian snarling wolfs head with sparkling ruby eyes. He offered it to Ookami.
“A magnificent gift my Lord, and a most honorable calling. I am most honored to serve you Shogun-sama.” Ookami replied formally, taking the weapon with great care.
Late that night Ookami found himself alone with the Shogun walking through the gardens in the castle courtyard. The Shogun turned to him and asked softly, “Ookami-san, I have a question for you and you may find it difficult to answer but I would hear the truth of it.”
“I am yours to command Shogun, what would you know of me?” He replied.
“You have fought as a demon for me these past few years, helping me to win great land and power. I can’t help but wonder what drives the demon? What caused this great rage that burns inside you?” The Shogun turned to look at him. Ookami couldn’t help but to smile as he felt the ancestors turn their gaze upon them to see what event would play out.
“Would you truly know my Lord?” He asked simply. The Shogun nodded solemnly in response. “Then you must draw your sword, for I would not strike with the dishonor you showed my former master.”
The Shogun sighed heavily. “I had feared as much, yet hoped for less.” He drew forth his sword. “Then my honor shall be tested here.”
His body was found the next morning.
Light pierced his eyes as they fluttered open and he raised his hand to block out the sunlight. He took a deep breath as the dream faded back into memory. He had always felt a great sense of peace when he remembered the night his honor had been restored to him. He sat up and stretched beneath the tree that had offered him shelter the previous night. Checking his sack he found he was out of food and grumbled to himself. No breakfast today he thought to himself while collecting his things. Hopefully he’d find a village or town he could buy some rice in. He looked over the landscape with awe and wonder. These Chinese may be a backward sort but the country was filled with wonders and beauty. Still rice was rice and he needed some if he was to continue his journeying. Perhaps he could find another of those temples he had stumbled upon where the monks studied that Kungd fool. The word was awkward in his memory and more so in his mouth. He shook his head, backward for sure, however their devotion to it reminded him of his own land, where such devotion to perfection was natural. They had allowed him to stay for weeks, asking no coin or trade, only insisting he honor their traditions. It had not been too dissimilar from his own traditions and he had learned a great deal from them. Including the small amount of language he now commanded. The trek from the coast to that point had been very difficult and the language barrier had been an issue in staying supplied. Still he did not regret his decision to come. He was ronin after all, and what could a ronin do but wander. The wall had been magnificent, he could still not believe it wasn’t some trick of the mind. The size of it was just inconceivable.
Later that day he found himself in a small town. He had just finished buying some rice when he heard a commotion down the road. Hurrying down the road he came upon a crowd of people surrounding two men fighting in the street. One seemed to be a native but the other was so pale he looked like he’d been powdered up like a geisha. The Chinese man looked to be a brigand of some sort but the white man, by the spirits he was pale, must have been a Daimyo of some sort from wherever he had come from because he was clad head to foot in steel. Large plates of it covered the vital areas of his body and he could see what looked like hundreds of little chain links in between. He moved to the front of the crowd to get a better look at the strange man of metal. He fought with two straight double edged swords, similar to the flimsy kind some of these local warriors used but they looked strong and heavy in comparison. Suddenly another brigand from the crowd moved in to attack the stranger in the back, but Ookami’s reflexes were quicker. With a blinding strike from sheath to sky the brigand fell dead to the earth, a deep cut from waist to shoulder watered the ground with his life’s blood. The steel man whirled, having cut down his foe to stare at Ookami and then the man at his feet. His eyes were wide with, with what, amazement or astonishment. Ookami looked around behind him to see what was so startling or surprising to have this Lord gaping like a frightened child. There was nothing there so he looked back and was taken aback. Great ancestor, that’s just how his eyes were naturally, how strange and…disconcerting. He recovered himself then and flicked the blood from his katana before sheathing it and bowed to the great round eyed Lord. Until he was again astonished when the Lord stepped forward and embraced him. He looked around, embarrassed, after he was released, but the crowd was moving back to their business. The steel man pointed to himself and said ‘Galen’. Ookami nodded and tried to pronounce the strange word, then put his hand to his chest and said, ‘Ookami’.
The sharp sting of a leather strap brought Ookami from his dream with rude clarity, and he glanced up to see Galen walking away whistling some foreign tune.
“God but you sleep deeply.” He tossed over his shoulder, “It’s time to go. At this pace we’ll reach England by the time my grandchildren are old.”
“You rucky I not kir ru in my sreep Garen.” Ookami retorted testily. Galen had taught him the language over the past few months they had traveled but he had a difficult time with the accent. There were certain sounds he just could not make. Galen laughed and stuffed some leftover food into his saddlebag. Ookami got wearily to his feet and gathered up his belongings. To be honest he was excited to move on and see this great civilized nation called England. Galen had told him great stories of honor and battle. He talked about a word called ‘Chivalry’ which seemed to be the round eyes version of Bushido, the way of the warrior. He had also told him they were close now, maybe only a week from France and then a short boat ride to England and the Horsemen of Judgment Keep. This was the group Ookami had longed to meet for it struck a harmony in him as Galen told of their exploits and beliefs. He had explained that the Horsemen followed no church or king because they had become corrupted by treachery and lust for power. That they had taken up the bloody cross as their sigil to show this lack of fealty to false gods and kings. Ookami knew well the tyranny of treacherous leaders like the Shogun and hoped that when he met their war leader, a man known as Alexander, he would find him an honorable Lord, worthy of a samurai’s service. But he knew he would be, and that Galen was leading him to a brotherhood of honor, an honor he had been seeking his whole life. He knew, because as he and Galen set off to the west, to find honor and glory in this strange new land, he felt a familiar gaze turn his way, and a silence fall, as the ancestors waited to see how events would unfold.

Warlord Jayde
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