Glossary of Characters and Terms

Agehanasu - "Head Cutter."  The axe used by Hida Yusen in his duel against Kakita Kenshuko.  Honoring the Crab's request, the ono was thrown into the sea by the Crane after his death.

Akodo Isaido - A young Lion Clan prodigy at the Akodo Ryu, Isaido is the only son of Akodo Yaisho, a lord in one of the Lion's northern provinces.

Ankoku-butoh - "The Dance of Utter Darkness."  A powerful technique of the tainted duelist Shimekiri, which yields a dramatic upswing in strength and speed.

Bayushi Akijin - Master of the Bayushi style, Akijin has been a warrior and duelist in the Scorpion Clan for more than sixty years.  Despite his age, the sensei is still a deadly opponent, and wears a frightful porcelain mask at all times.

Bayushi Anukeiko - The first discipline of Bayushi Akijin, Anukeiko is a master in use of both the katana and the sodegarami.  After her sensei was killed, Anukeiko accepted the position as sensei of the Bayushi Ryu and enlisted Koshin's aid in stopping Akijin's murderer.

Chi - The life force or essence that is possessed by all living things.  Martial artists and swordsmen believe that they can harness and control their chi, using it to produce many powerful techniques and effects.

Daidoji Gisei - A respected member of the Crane Clan armies, Gisei served with distinction in the Battle of Oblivion's Gate, and in several battles against the Crab Clan.

Daidoji Ujirou - The adopted son of Daidoji Gisei, Koshin agreed to train the young warrior in the art of the sword.  Upon his gempukku, Ujirou took the name Daidoji Koshindou.

Futai - "Determination."  The name Nikkan used to hide Koshin's identity from Kenshuko during his time serving as her yojimbo in the Yasuki War.

Goju - A family of ninja descended from the Scorpion, long ago lost to the power of The Lying Darkness.  After the naming of the Darkness during the Battle of Oblivion's Gate, the weakened Goju took names of their own and escaped into the shadows, vowing to use their powers of shadows to exact their revenge.

Goju Hitokan - A masterful swordsman and master of all the arts of the shinobi, Hitokan has claimed the lives of many great heroes, adding their knowledge and power to his own.  He claims some connection to Koshin, though even the ninja does not fully understand the bond.

Goju Kentetsu - A ninja warrior and shapeshifter trained in the shadow arts by Goju Hitokan, Kentetsu's true name was abandoned when he began learning the hidden arts of his master.

Hakaitsya - The cursed sword of Shimekiri.

Hida Yusen - A Crab Clan magistrate assigned to guard the village of Gaijori Mura.

Hiruma Satsukiru - The cousin of Hida Yusen, Satsukiru was a legendary berserker, who served many years of service on the Kaiu Wall.  At the Battle of Torishii Fields, Satsukiru was said to have claimed the lives of more than three hundred Crane before losing his own in a one on one duel.

Hitomi - The Moon Goddess, Hitomi was once the Lady of the Dragon Clan.  Her gift to Kakita Koshin was the tattoo of a White Crane, given to him as a reward for his sacrifices in protecting the new Champion's only son.  The magical effects have preserved the swordsman from age.

Iaijutsu - The art of drawing the sword and striking in one motion.  Designed by the swordmaster Kakita, it is the method used by samurai of the Empire in formal duels.

(Ikoma) Makuto - The yojimbo of Akodo Isaido, Makuto became ronin after his lord retired as a result of his wounds.  Makuto killed his lord and used money from their coffers to hire Tsuruchi Inokichi and his men to help him kill Koshin in vengeance.

Kakita Kaori - A member of the Kenshinzen, Kaori helped Koshin to fight the influence of the Lying Darkness years ago.  Now a lord of Kakita lands, the venerable samurai-ko has helped the swordsman to train himself on many occasions, as well as acting as an aide and friend to Mirumoto Nikkan's many missions.

Kakita Kenshuko - The daughter of Kakita Koshin and Taehime, Kenshuko is a Crane samurai-ko.  After her mother's death, Kenshuko became steward of her family's small lands, despite the slander of certain clan members.

Kakita Koshin - The main character of Swordmaster, born to Kakita Tsanu and Mirumoto Miyu.  Koshin was trained by both Dragon and Crane swordsmen, and possesses a karmic tie to both the original Kakita and Mirumoto.  The swordsman was sealed in a crystal chamber beneath Shiro Mirumoto to erase the taint of the Living Darkness, gained while defending Togashi Hoshi's son.  Koshin now wanders the Empire, challenging worthy warriors to recover his lost skills.

Kakita Toshiki - The brother of Kakita Kaori, and Master Painter of the Crane Clan.  Toshiki knew Koshin from his fight against the Shadow, and also related the history of the Kakita Blade, Ukigumo.

Keiteki - "Wisdom."  The name of the katana given to Mirumoto Miyu, Koshin's mother, during her days as a Mirumoto Swordmaster.  This sword was carried by Koshin during the war against the Living Darkness, as well as the Shadowlands.

Kenjutsu - The art of fighting with a sword, usually a katana.

Kodachi - A short-bladed sword, similar to a samurai's wakizashi in size.  Though weak offensively, it is considered an excellent defensive weapon.

Kouryo no Ken - The name Koshin invented for his method of fighting, meaning "The Traveling Sword."

Kutsu of Tasagura - A monk trained by the sohei of Osano-Wo and other temples, Kutsu believes in the power of destruction as true strength.  The master of many deadly techniques, the martial artist continues to seek a match with Koshin, hoping that the challenge will awaken a new level of skill and insight.

Lord Horii - A retainer in service to a lord in Otosan Uchi, Horii was a master of the Iron Fan School.  He was involved with a feud with the Nitanki house over a duel where their leader was killed, and earned an enemy in the family heir, Tanoshi.

The Lying Darkness - Also known as the Living Darkness and the Shadow, this force of namelessness fought to destroy the Empire, acting as the hidden force behind the ninja.  It had the power to corrupt the heart and form, removing the identity of an individual and transforming their body into a twisted shapeshifter.  The Lying Darkness was destroyed by the Moon Goddess, Hitomi, by giving it an identity and a name.

Masanko - Sister to Nitanki Tanoshi, Masanko was trained in the Doji Courts as a diplomat, and was chosen to be married to the Otomo Family as a political alliance.

Matsu Yoshinoko - A Lion samurai-ko and member of the elite Lion's Pride, Yoshinoko is a humble warrior who serves her clan in manner ways, never asking for acknowledgement within her family or clan.  Yoshinoko was once a sensei at the Matsu Ryu, but stepped down to better aid the people of the Empire.

Mirumoto Nikkan - In his youth, a swordsman, Nikkan was wounded by a Shosuro and joined the Kitsuki magistrates to become a skilled courtier and poet.  He has been a friend of Kakita Koshin, and is now an aged monk, working as a sensei to the Dragon.  Nikkan married Koshin's sister, Kakita Miyu, and has tutored Kakita Kenshuko in the Tao during the long years alone.

Mirumoto Tenryuu - A master swordsman of the Dragon Clan, Tenryuu fought a match with Koshin many years ago, in the Valley of the Two Generals.  Considered to be one of the strongest warriors in the Empire, he has now retired from the front lines of his family to contemplate the path of inner wisdom.

Moto Tetsukiko - Trained as a warrior by her Assassin mother, Tetsukiko is a master of knife fighting.  She serves the Unicorn Clan as a magistrate and occasional bodyguard, protecting their guests and interests. 

Musha Shugyo - A warrior's pilgrimage, usually taken by a member of a clan to seek out other masters and teachers as a ronin, to improve his or her own skills.

Ni-Ken no Tsuru - "Two Sword Crane."  A nickname given to Koshin by Shimekiri during their training together, considered by many to be the swordsman's "professional name" in kenjutsu circles.

Nofujutsu - The art of fighting with peasants weapons (i.e. kama, chain weapons, etc.) which is considered dishonorable by members of the samurai caste, excluding some in the Mantis Clan, and various Minor Clans.

Omoidasu - A bard of the Lion Clan, usually a member of the Ikoma family.  Omoidasu are unique among the Lion, in that they are permitted to show emotion, and serve in the place of regular samurai in times of mourning or other grief.

Ryu - A word meaning "school."

Saishuuheiki - Literally, "the ultimate weapon."  A sword forged by the infamous swordsmith Kaiu Taikyo, the edge of this legendary weapon is said to be capable to kill merely by the look of the blade.  For some reason, the Crab Clan has never used Saishuuheiki in their eternal war, leaving it in the Ancestral Hall at Koten.

Sakaba - A sword with a reversed blade, used for training without some of the dangers associated with a live edge.

Sayo-no-Unchi - "Invincibility without Drawing the Sword."  A technique of defensive chi that Koshin mastered in battle with Shiba Mori, the Sayo-no-Unchi consists of using the warrior's connection to the Void as a barrier, preventing an opponent from being able to strike.

Shiba Dekai - The assistant and acting master of the Shiba Ryu, Dekai is a soft spoken warrior who serves the Phoenix Clan in the absence of his teacher, Shiba Mori.

Shiba Mori - A warrior who has served the Shiba for decades as their high sensei, Mori entered the mystical Asako school years ago, hoping to expand his fighting skills by gaining a better grasp of the Void through the strength "Riddles" that the monks there apply to the world.

Shimekiri - Once a Kakita bushi, Shimekiri was a bully who tormented Koshin until he vanished during the Clan Wars.  Now a servant of the Shadowlands, Shimekiri maintains his strength through some twisted bushido and the powers of darkness.

Shinjo Abaya - An Emerald Magistrate in service to the Unicorn Clan.

Shinjo Banriki - Lord of the Kurayami Mura training grounds of the Unicorn Clan, Banriki is assigned to draw the finest instructors to train his daimyo's commanders.

Sodegarami - A polearm with sharpened prongs, used for snagging the sleeves and clothing of an opponent in order to throw off their balance in combat.

Taehime - A geisha that Koshin conducted an affair with during the War Against the Shadow.  After his disappearance, she and her daughter Kenshuko managed to gain acceptance into the Crane Clan, where she served as an artisan until her death of a prolonged illness.

Tamasou - Once a peasant bladesmith in service to lord Akodo Hitachi, Tamasou was expelled for creating sakaba swords for Lion soldiers.  After Koshin saved him from bandits, Tamasou became a maker of farm implements, and gave the swordsman a pair of his last blades.

Tanoshi - The heir to the Nitanki vassal family of Otosan Uchi, Tanoshi is a brash young swordsman seems unprepared for his newfound station in the Imperial City.

Togashi Masurao - A strange and enigmatic  ise zumi (tattooed man) of the Dragon Clan, Masurao's hidden past gives him powerful gifts of skill and magical prophecy, which he uses to aid those he meets in his travels and to fight for the betterment of the Empire.

Tsuruchi Inokichi - A respected and venerable member of the Mantis Clan, Inokichi and his students agreed to help Ikoma Makuto kill Kakita Koshin for a price of 400 koku.

Uchi-ne - A small weapon, looking like an iron-shod arrow.  It is small enough to be held in one hand, and can be used to throw or to strike blows.

Ukigumo - The sword known as Floating Cloud.  Originally the blade of Kakita Miura, Ukigumo eventually passed to Kakita Rensei, his descendant.  After the swordmaster's mysterious death, the sword was discovered in the sea by Yoritomo Yorishi's father, who knew nothing of the sword.  Yorishi gave the blade to Kakita Koshin after their duel, and it was later restored to its full glory by the master smiths of the Crane.

Yoritomo Yorishi - Once the sensei of the Yoritomo dojo, Yorishi retired to contemplate life as a monk.  After dueling Koshin in a battle, the nofujutsu master gave him a tarnished blade, the sword Ukigumo.