The First Wave
by Hitomi Toren
It is the fifth year of Emperor Toturi VI's rule. It has been two hundred years since the second day of thunder. During that time the Shadow was released, and then destroyed by the efforts of all the clans. Hitomi, the champion of the Dragon, became the new Moon after she had destroyed Onnotangu when he tried to take over Rokugan. When the Shadow was destroyed the empire was peaceful for two hundred years. Many new clans were created the Owl, Jackal, and Panda being the only major clans. The Scorpion clan left during Toturi II rule for reasons unknown. Now a new evil is emerging from the shadowlands, an evil clan led by a Hamster.
Somewhere deep within the shadowlands, a massive figure stands over the Festering Pit*
"So, Hisayuki, it finally comes to this" the hamster looks at the bodyguard and pulls out his sword. "Some say that Hida himself came to this place, and stared into the bowels of it. Some say he turned and fled, and others that he stayed and fights still in the darkest recesses of it." The image of a man shimmered, and peeled away, revealing a large, grotesque figure. Twisted and mortificated, small clumps of hair seemed to flay out at random intervals. The Hamster clan champion was revealed.
"Chuckles, you do not have to do this! It is madness to venture further!" Hisa said, worry in his eyes. Chuckles looked at him oddly and barked a laugh.
"I would be mad not too." with that he stepped across the threshold of the pit and left the former bodyguard behind. "Return to the Owl, they will have need of you, but should i return, the choice will be yours, to join me or remain, i shall not make you decide. Go. Go to your clan Seikan Hisa." a thin veil of shimmering light surrounded the Isawa, and Hisa walked wearily away from the pit, destined for Owl lands.
Within the pit things writhed and screamed. Things half formed, and things never to be alike twisted in a strange display of exultance and pain at the presence of living flesh. With a halfhearted wave of his hand the Hamster froze them in tombs of jade. Further on, darker things stirred and walked, slithered, or crawled towards him. That which walked was met by flame, that with slithered was met by jade, and that which crawled was met by blade.
Even further down the open attacks changed to subtle attempts, a curve in the path leading to open jaws, a rise to an ambush. A slight depression was his only warning of attacks from below. Yet through it all Chuckles paid only half a mind, his eyes ever intent upon that which lay at the bottom of the pit, a Gem. And The First Oni.
The floor turned to a slick acid, burning away fur and peeling flesh from the bottoms of his feet. Chuckles paid no heed, only a short distance away was that which he coveted. Darkness assailed him, creatures of the shadow moreso then any of the ninja that roamed above. Only these drew his attention from the Gem, for he had to battle to within an inch of his life to kill each of them. And more kept pouring in from around him, seeming to drain the very life from his bones, drain the energy from his soul.
With a burst of bright white light Chuckles brought his sword down like a scythe, churning the obsidian rock as it would soil, slashing cleanly through the shadow as if it were wheat. And when the light dissipated there was naught on the lowest level but the Isawa and the Oni.
"So, for centuries I have waited for one foolish enough to challenge me, and now you have come. I thought it would be one of those powerless humans, but yet again i am amazed by the seeming randomness of the world above! Tell my brother Oni, why is it that you assault my layer, that you slay my minions? That you look upon the Cruxstone with such longing? Do you seek to cast me down! Do you seek to own that which may not be owned! The cruxstone belongs to no one, and has chosen me to guard it. When the time is right your pitiful world shall be erased, and only the pit shall remain, and i shall rule! How does that sound to you brother oni?"
"I am no oni!" Chuckles began to glow a deep red, the blood of the things here was thick in the air, almost thick enough to draw upon....
"HO! HA! So you think you can slay me with your petty magics son of Iuchiban! Well learn this!" A blade of gleaming red flew from the oni's open mouth, skewering Chuckles through the shoulder. Thin tendrils of blackened flesh creeped out, as the taint quickly matured in Chuckles' potent blood.
"Oni, if the cruxstone remains whole your rulership over all is concrete, but if I should destroy it, then I may preserve some little chance for the rest of the world. THAT is why I come oni, I am here to shatter the cruxstone and leave you dead!"
"Fool! Only I can destroy the cruxstone, for I am the only physical link it has upon this plane! You cannot destroy me as long as the cruxstone remains, and you cannot destroy it as long as I remain alive! You will lose Shugenja, and I shall feast upon your soul!"
Chuckles smiled, the taint was now covering over half his body. "Oni!" His voice crackled and twisted seemed to lurch through his taint ridden throat, "You have given me the means to win." and with that chuckles ran to the beast and embraced it, screaming to the Kami, blending the souls of the two, closer, closer, until the Oni's and the Isawa's were one.
"Now..." The body of the first oni turned towards the gem and grabbed it, chuckles voice rasped out of the oni's mouth "I win" Chuckles crushed the crystal within his hands, demolishing the power of rulership, and causing a glaring blue light to sear the pit.
As the light faded the body of Isawa Chuckles lay upon the floor. "Free...." a dark voice rattled in its throat, "free to leave this place" the body shifted, "FREE TO RULE!" the voice of the first oni boomed from chuckles mouth and out of the pit.
From somewhere deep inside the oni's mind a small gibbering laughter hung in
the back-most corner of its mind. "Free to rule, and free to be caged, the
hamster has given the chance, may humanity use it well."
'Smack!' the sword hit the wall behind Seikan Toren. 'What is this thing?' he
thought. It was three days since the invasion began on Otasan Uchi. Evil
creatures were swarming out of the Shadowlands and into Rokugan. The Palace was
safe for now, Emperor Toturi's protectors the Owl Clan was still standing
ground. The creature was huge, at least eight feet tall and well over five
hundred pounds. It carried a five-foot long sword and was nothing that was heard
from stories of the past.
"Toren, lead it over here!" shouted Tralan Suwachi, the Tralan family Daimyo. Toren ducked under the creature's next swing and ran over to where the shugenja waited. The creature was right behind him moving much faster than expected. Suwachi was already in the process of casting the spell, Toren jumped to the side and a huge ball of flame crashed into it. It flew back ten feet and landed with a crunch against a wall.
"Whew." Breathed Toren wiping his brow. "What are these things?" he asked Suwachi. "I really cant tell, but this one is intact we should take it to my lab for an analysis. Hameysu-san summon my lab workers to get this creature." Suwachi said to his apprentice. "Yes Suwachi-sama, right away." He bowed and went off to the palace.
"Hmmm, well it definitely is from the Shadowlands," said Tralan
Suwachi while dissecting the creature. "Won't he catch the Taint now?"
Toren thought to himself. Then he realized that before when the shugenja were
waving their hands around they must have been casting some sort of anti-taint
spell or something. The doors flung open and in came one of Asai-sama, the owl
clan daimyo's, messengers. "Toren-san, Asai-sama wishes to speak with you
"Thank you, I'll be there right away." They bow to each other and the messenger heads back to the palace. "Domo arigato Toren-san, I will see you after we are finished analyzing the creature." Toren walks out of Suwachi's laboratory and heads for the Palace.
"Konichiwa Toren-san, Asai-sama has been waiting for you, please enter," the guards bowed and let Toren pass into Asai's office. Asai looked up from his paperwork and Toren could see from the expression on his face that something was wrong. "Toren, Hisayuki still has not returned from his mission, and Toturi-sama says we need a new champion…" his voice trailed off. Toren was happy to be selected but he had a question for Asai, "Where exactly did Hisayuki-sama go?" he asked. Asai sighs, "I knew you were gonna ask that. Three months ago the Hamster Clan champion, Isawa Chuckles, asked Hisayuki to accompany him to the Shadowlands. He said yes and went with him he took the Owl ancestral sword and armor as well. I want you to take a squad out there and find out if they are still alive, and if the rumors are true that evil is once again spawning out there." There was crashing noise and the doors flung open. In walked Seikan Hisayuki, bloody and bruised. He collapsed to the ground but was still conscious. "Get a shugenja now!" Asai yelled to his guards. A few minutes later one of Suwachi's apprentices came in and healed Hisayuki. "Asai-sama, evil creatures are once again walking the Shadowlands. They are attacking Otasan Uchi even as we speak," he said. "Yes Hisayuki we have been fighting them off for three days now. Where is Isawa Chuckles?" asked Asai. "I-I am not sure, we came upon a pit in the lands, and he told me to turn around and come back. He went in and I have not seen him since," he answered. "Well we need to stop this attack on our empire, Hisayuki gather the troops and prepare for an attack on the undead army. Toren, take this message to Kyuden Matsu and deliver it to Matsu Yuri. Ask Suwachi to use a spell to bring you there as quickly as possible," Asai ordered. "Yes Asai-sama," Toren bows and heads back to Suwachi's laboratory.
Hisayuki went to the barracks and prepared the troops. Even Asai-sama was going to partake in the battle. Hisayuki handed Juhkara, the ancestral sword, over to Asai and went into a room in the farthest depths of the palace. "It is now time to once again wield you," he said aloud. On a rack in the room a wakizashi began to glow a bluish color. He placed the saya at his side and unsheathed the sword. It was long, curved and dark. On the hilt of the sword was one word, Ambition….
"Suwachi-sama I need to get to Kyuden Matsu as fast as possible."
"Hmmm, I can do that but you have to take Hameysu-san with you so I can bring you back," replied Suwachi. "Thank you," Toren says bowing. Suwachi draws a circle around Toren and Hameysu with some sort of powder, and then he begins to chant in some arcane language. A blue portal opens in the wall next to them and Suwachi motions for them to go through it. Toren goes through with Hameysu just behind him. The portal is a huge tunnel; it looks like it will never end.
After a few hours of walking the tunnel ends and the two are smack in the middle of a field. About a mile away is Kyuden Matsu. Hameysu walks over to a tree and marks it with some paint. "Why did you do that?" Toren asks. "We must return to this spot to get back to Suwachi-sama's lab," he replies matter of factly. 'This kid is a bit stuck up' Toren thinks to himself.
As they enter Kyuden Matsu they are greeted by the smell of death and corruption. "What is this?!" Toren yells. "It seems they were attacked by the shadowlands army already," Hameysu says with a hint of fear in his voice. A man comes around the corner drawing his katana, charging the two. "Die foul creatures!" he is yelling. "Wait we are from Otasan Uchi stop!" Hameysu screams jumping to the side. The lion stops and stands there, studying the two. "You are from the Owl Clan, thank the fortunes you are here, I am Matsu Turi," he says bowing. Toren and Hameysu return his bow. "Unfortunately we are not here to help, but to ask for your help. The Shadowlands are attacking Otasan Uchi and we need more troops or we will fall to them," Toren says. Turi's face goes pale and he says, "Then you are in trouble, we have already been beaten by them, many of our men have joined them rising as if they died in the lands, tainted and corrupt. There are but a few hundred of us left here, we don't know what happened to our other garrisons." "What of Yuri-sama?" asks Hameysu. "She has fallen in battle, but we were able to cremate her body before it joined the foul. We are now broken and champion less," he answers gravely. "We need whoever can fight to come with us now, get them in full battle gear and follow us"
Five hundred lion, the only remaining troops from Kyuden Matsu journeyed through the portal back to Otasan Uchi. Suwachi's laboratory was a mess when they exited. Blood was everywhere; three Imperial Guardsmen were dead, torn apart by some fearsome beast. "What is this!" Hameysu shouted. A look of horror swept across his face. "Master where are you?" he asked aloud. "He is still alive now come on, we must fight off the creature army," Toren said walking out of the lab. The streets were the same, blood and bodies were everywhere, human and creature alike. Fighting could be heard in the distance, and Toren led the troops closer to it. In front of the palace were Asai, Juhkara in hand, and five other owls fighting off a huge oni. Toren drew his katana and charged the flank of the beast. Two quick motions and one arm was off. The oni turned towards the new attacker and spit at Toren. It burned, and Toren leaned over in pain. Asai yelled and jumped on its head, driving Juhkara down. The oni toppled over, dead, black blood quickly forming a puddle. "Toren-san are you ok?" Asai asked, helping him back to his feet. "Asai-sama, Kyuden Matsu was defeated Yuri-sama was killed, only five hundred lion remain," he motioned behind him showing Asai the last remaining troops from Kyuden Matsu. "Yes, they overran our defense quickly, the attack began in here as well. The creature in Suwachi's lab came alive somehow and killed everyone who was there, save Suwachi who has disappeared. Hisayuki is missing as well, the creatures took out his legion first. We must get Toturi-sama to safety as fast as possible. I will go gather the rest of our forces and make another attack, you take these lion and get Toturi-sama to Kyuden Seikan, I will meet you there." "Yes Asai-sama," Toren bows, " Hameysu, Turi come with me, the rest of you stay here and don't let any creatures get past," Toren ordered. The three went into the Palace and hurried to the throne room.
The door to the throne room was open ajar, and there was blood on the walls around it. "The emperor……," muttered Turi. Toren kicked open the doors and the three walked inside. It was dark, the torches were all out. A noise could be heard near the Jade throne, and Toren walked towards it. Hameysu muttered a few words, and a hovering ball of flame lighted up the room. Toturi's body was lying in a pool of blood next to the throne. The three let out a gasp and Turi rushed to the emperor's side. "I…help me," Toturi muttered. "Turi there is someone over there!" Hameysu shouted. Out of the shadows stepped Seikan Hisayuki, holding a glowing wakizashi in his hand. "A blade of Iuchiban!" gasped Hameysu. Toren slid across the floor, whipping out his katana and meeting Hisayuki's swing, before it hit Turi. "Hisayuki-sama why?" Toren asked. Turi pulled the emperor to his feet and left the room with Hameysu casting a healing spell as quickly as he could. "Toren-san I am sorry, you have seen this for now you must die," Hisayuki said, with no emotion. A giant figure emerged from behind Hisa. It was over six feet tall, and covered in hair. It looked like an oni, but resembled a human in some way. Hisayuki lunged at Toren, but his reflexes kicked in. Jumping to the side he tripped his champion. Ambition went flying across the room. Hisayuki let out a scream and rushed to find his blade. "Spawn of evil what are you?" Toren shouted at the oni. "I am the first, and I am the last. I was what there was and what there never will be. I am Chuckles!" the beast's voice boomed through the room. Toren gasped, "You are Master Chuckles? What has happened?" He let out a laugh and dark energies began to pour out of him. A bolt of the energy hit Toren and he flew back, smashing through the wooden window, falling to the ground below.
Turi and Hameysu exited the palace, carrying the body of Toturi. Asai was back with his command staff, as well as Tralan Suwachi. "Asai-sama Toturi is dead." Hameysu said. The troops started muttering amongst themselves. "What, how?" Asai asked. "Hisayuki seems to have obtained a Iuchiban blade, and it has corrupted him. He killed Toturi-sama," answered the shugenja. "Where is Toren, my apprentice?" Suwachi asked Hameysu. Turi spoke up, "He stayed back to fight Hisayuki. He should be back here by now." Thunder roared from above. A storm was brewing, and it didn't look normal. "We must leave now, Otasan Uchi is gone, it cannot be saved we must retreat to Kyuden Seikan, and hope the Fortunes will help us," Asai said. "But what about Toren-san?" asked Turi. "He knows his duties, he will return to Kyuden Seikan. Now lets move out!" ordered Asai.
The Owl and Lion troops retreated from the capitol. Toturi had no heirs, no other remaining bloodline. The Toturi dynasty has fallen.
Toren awoke, cold and wet. It had been raining for a few hours now. He tried to stand up but couldn't, his leg was broken. His katana lay by his side, broken in half as well. There were no noises in the city except for the crashing of thunder. "What am I going to do? I can't get up, no one is here, and my sword is broken. What can I do?" he asked himself. He tried standing up again, but a pain shot through his leg and he fell to the ground again. The rain continued to fall and the lightning became more frequent. Toren ripped off the armor around his leg, feeling for the broken bone. A sharp pain ran up his leg when he found the spot. It couldn't be helped, he had no way to splint it right now and there wasn't anyone remaining in Otasan Uchi to help. Or was there? Toren heard the scraping of a boot on the stone road. He looked around but didn't see anything. The suddenly Hisayuki was in front of him. Toren grabbed for his sword but couldn't reach it. "Traitor!" he yelled. A look of pain and anguish went through his eyes then it was gone. "There is no need to yell Toren-san, take this potion and get out of here quickly. I warn you though, do not get in our way again for you will not be as fortunate again." He whispered, handing Toren a small flask of liquid. Toren drank the healing potion and Hisayuki disappeared just as quickly as he had appeared. He stood up, his leg as good as new. His sword was still broken though, there was no way to fix it. He bent over removing his boot taking the small tanto out. "Well if I get attacked this will have to do," he muttered. The capitol must be crawling with monsters so he took to the shadows and carefully headed for the gates.
There were three of the big monsters guarding the gate, the only way out of
Otosan Uchi. "This isn't going to be easy," he said. The three
creatures turned and ran to the left as if something was wrong. "Well well,
how lucky I am," he said and ran to the gates. As he ran by he heard the
sound of a katana being drawn from its sheath. He turned to the left and saw a
samurai fighting off the three monsters. He wouldn't last long fighting them by
himself, but Toren couldn't do much with the tanto. He shouted a war cry and ran
at one of the beasts. They turned around but were too late, Toren had the tanto
deep in one of the monsters backs. It swung its left arm around but Toren ducked
under it. The lion swung his katana taking off its head. Toren took his tanto
out of its back and sliced another one in the arm. It howled from the pain and
turned to Toren. That was its mistake the lion took its head off too. The last
one ran away into the city probably going to get backup. "Thank you
Owl," said the lion taking off his helmet. He turned out to be a she,
"My name is Ikoma Horiuchi and I came here looking for help, but it seems
they got here too. Come we have to get out of here now," she said sheathing
her katana. She looked Toren over, "What are you some kind of violent
shugenja or did you lose your katana?" she asked laughing slightly. He
wasn't amused, "I fell from there and my katana shattered," Toren said
pointing at the top floor of the Imperial Palace. "What were you doing up
there? How did you survive that?" she asked. Toren walked to the gates
explaining to her the threat from the new Hamster clan, and now they headed for
Asai couldn't stop pacing and worrying. First Hisayuki goes to the shadowlands then he kills the emperor and is now fighting by the side of some terrible monster. Now Toren is missing, he should have gotten to Kyuden Seikan by now. Messages from all the great and minor clans continuously came in. The Crystal Throne was empty and now they were going to fight over who has the right to the throne. If only Toturi had any children to officially continue his bloodline he thought to himself. There was a knock at the door, Asai cleared his throat and said, "Come in." It was Seikan Hojo he bowed and said "Asai-sama, there is still no word from Toren-san. The messengers have returned with word from all the other clans, they all say the same thing. Attack the capitol get rid of the threat and then decide on the new emperor." Asai sat down behind his desk. "All of them?" he asked. Hojo fidgeted looking for the words, "Umm well all except one," he said getting a little nervous. "What did they say?" Asai asked. "Gulp, well the messenger to the crab lands didn't return and…and we got a message from them saying that they were going to take the throne right away and kill anyone who stood in there paths." Hojo said with a sigh when he finished. Asai stood up, "We have to stop them! They'll surely be killed without the help of the other clans!" Asai yelled. Hojo cringed from his sudden burst of anger. Asai dismissed Hojo and sat back down. "What do you have up your sleeve Gengoro?" he muttered. The crab daimyo wouldn't declare war on every clan unless he went mad or had something that would ensure his clans victory. Asai stood up suddenly and shouted, "Kisada!" He hurried out of his office and ran directly to Suwachi's library.
He read and reread the scroll. 'During the time of the clan wars, Hida Kisada, then daimyo of the crab clan, made an unspeakable deal with the Shadowlands. In order to take the palace of Otasan Uchi he needed more forces so the other clans wouldn't pose a threat to him, thus forming an alliance with the evils of Rokugan…' the scroll went on and on about the alliance. "Gengoro must have done the same thing." Asai said to Suwachi. Suwachi nodded gravely and said, "But there's not supposed to be any Shadowlands, they said it was empty." "They were probably lying so we wouldn't expect an attack from them," Asai replied folding up the scroll. He stood up and placed the scroll on the rack where he had taken it from. Asai left just as Tralan Hameysu entered. "Suwachi-sama I have an idea, Hida Gengoro allied with Isawa Chuckles and the Hamster Clan, that is how they got past the wall. There is no shadowlands creatures like the crab have been saying only these maho tsukai." Suwachi grinned, "Hameysu you cease to amaze me with your intelligence. I was hoping nobody would have guessed this but I shouldn't have doubted my prize pupil." He lifted his hand off of the table and thrust it through Hameysu's chest. He didn't even have time to scream but Suwachi could see one word in his eyes, "Why?"
Toren and Horiuchi hurried to Kyuden Seikan as fast as possible, picking up more troops on the way. The day they arrived they had about fifty or so samurai along with them that were lost in the battles with the Hamster clan. Toren hurried to Asai's room and pushed his way past the guards into the room. "Toren, your alive! We had almost given up hope." Toren bowed, "Yes Asai-sama I would have been killed if it wasn't for Hisayuki or Horiuchi here" he nodded in here direction. "Hisayuki? But he has joined with Chuckles and his evil clan." Toren nodded, "Yes I know but he gave me a healing potion after I fell from the palace window, I'm not quite sure where his allegiances lie." "We are all glad you live, now we must make plans to retake the capitol. The Crab have declared war against all the clans and have joined with the Hamsters. Gengoro is planning to take the throne for himself, we must not let this happen or the empire will be plunged into an age of darkness under Gengoro and Chuckle's rule. " He paused as Suwachi entered the room and bowed. "Ah Toren-san you have returned." Toren bowed back. Asai continued, "We will march our troops to the Unicorn lands join with them and head to the capitol where the Crane, Dragon, and Jackal clans will meet with us. The remainder of the clans will stay behind in case we fail and then they will attack and hopefully defeat Gengoro and his insanity." Suwachi nodded and spoke up, "Must we send all of our troops? Surely the rest of the clans can survive the attack," he said. "Maybe, but it is better to be cautious then dead," Asai said. "Yes Asai-sama," Suwachi said with a hint of anger in his voice. "Forgive me," he bowed and exited the room. "That man gives me the creeps," Horiuchi muttered. Toren nodded and moved over to the window. "What I want to know is how they got into Otasan Uchi?" he mumbled looking out the window. "We got them out of the city, and I went to Kyuden Matsu with Hameysu, the only creature left in the city was in Suwachi's lab. Asai-sama did they come in the front gate or the back?" Toren asked. "Neither, I was at the front gate and Hisayuki was at the back, suddenly the creatures were everywhere and they attacked his unit." "Hmmm, so they were already inside the city or they were bought in somehow. The only way would be through magic, but Suwachi or Hameysu would have detected it."" Toren mumbled. "You said Hameysu was with you Toren-san," Asai said standing up suddenly. "That means Suwachi let them in!" Toren shouted, he bolted from the window heading directly to the library where Suwachi would surely be. "Toren wait!" Asai shouted running out the door. "He doesn't have any weapon," Horiuchi said following after the two. Toren got to the library doors, but they were guarded by two of Suwachi's yojimbo. "Is Suwachi in there?" Toren asked. "Yes, but he gave specific orders not to let anyone in," said one of them. Toren moved to get past them but they pushed him back. "Suwachi's orders are to…" he never finished the sentence as Toren punched him in the stomach and shoved him into the other yojimbo. He kicked open the doors and went inside. Suwachi was standing there chanting around a circle, in the middle of the circle was Hameysu's lifeless body, a gaping hole in his chest. "What is this!" Toren shouted reaching to his side for his katana. Suddenly he realized he didn't have one. Suwachi looked up and the doors shut closed and a bookcase moved in front of them. "Well, well if it isn't Asai's little lapdog. You are too late Gengoro and his troops are on the way and will come through this portal any time now, you have lost!" he shouted and began to cackle evilly. "It was you who let the Hamster's into Otasan Uchi, and murdered the emperor!" Toren lunged at Suwachi but was flung towards the wall by some magical energy. He could here pounding on the door, it must be Asai and Horiuchi. "Correct again, I've been trying to get rid of you but you just wont die, now I will just have to do it myself." He walked over to Toren wielding a twisted knife. "Now just die!" he shouted bringing the knife down Toren's head. Toren ducked to the side tripping Suwachi with his foot. He fell forward dropping the knife. He grasped for it but Toren kicked it away under a table. "Fair enough bastard, I will just kill you my way!" he chanted a few words and flung a ball of fire at Toren. Toren dodged to the side again and it flew into the door. The bookshelf blocking the doorway exploded and Toren heard Asai shout from the other side. "You are favored by the Kami my friends but this is it!" Suwachi chanted again and began to glow a sickly green. The candles suddenly blew out but the room was lit by Suwachi's luminescence. Toren looked around for anything to use against him. Suddenly the portal opened up behind Suwachi, Gengoro was on his way. Toren cursed and grabbed a piece of wood off of the ground. He let out a cry and plunged it into Suwachi's shoulder. Suwachi gasped and grabbed for the wood. Toren shoved him backward into the opening portal. He had to somehow stop Gengoro and his troops from coming through. He saw the circle with Hameysu's body in the center. "I hope this works," he said aloud. He walked to the circle and pushed Hameysu out of it. He heard a loud swoosh from behind him and knew the portal had just closed. "Foolish Owl, you are too late!" came a booming voice form behind him. He swirled around and saw Hida Gengoro standing there in the Crab Ancestral Armor. He turned to see the portal had closed. "No! My troops! How could you have done this!" he shouted in his booming voice. He readied his tetsubo and came at Toren. Toren bent over and picked up Hameysu's staff. It would have to do for now. Gengoro swung the tetsubo and Toren blocked it with the staff, the staff shattered from his powerful swing. Gengoro smiled and lifted the tetsubo above his head bringing it down at Toren again, he hit Toren on the top of his head and there was a sickening crunch as his skull was crunched. He swung it again connecting with his side and Toren flew back into the wall. The last thing Toren saw were Asai and Horiuchi breaking through the door and then he fell forward, dead.
Asai defeated Gengoro and the Crab clan fell, with the defeat of the crab
clan Chuckles and his armies left Otasan Uchi and journeyed to lands unknown.
Before leaving Chuckles appeared to Asai and told him he would be back. The
throne remains empty until the clans can gather together and decide what to do.
To be continued…