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Crab's Claws [L5R]
Crab's Claws [L5R]
Yakumo was the first to find his father.
Hida Kisada knelt on the battlements of Kyuden Hida, staring south. Clad in full armor even the movement of his chest was masked and for a moment, Yakumo's thought was that some idiot had placed a statue of the Crab Champion somewhere that would obstruct the troops on the battlement. A moment later, Kisada's eye flicked towards his eldest son and he realised the truth.
"Father," Yakumo said respectfully and bowed as much as he felt prudent when standing on a fortification. Granted, if there was so much as a goblin within a days march of Kyuden Hida it would have been dogpiled by Hida Berserkers desperate for a break in the boredom, but the Crab had never had much time for formality on a battleground and the instincts of a lifetime were built for a reason, as the Kaiu said.
"Yakumo," Kisada replied quietly. He returned his gaze to the horizon. "He returns."
The younger Crab frowned. Who was 'he'? His own gaze went to the south. The Shadowlands. "Fu Leng?"
His father nodded.
Sukune was the first to find his father and brother.
Kisada and Yakumo knelt on the battlements of Kyuden Hida, staring south.
Three weeks later, the news arrived from Otosan Uchi.
"Bayushi killed the Hantei!?" Yakumo exclaimed. "Is he insane!?"
"Possibly," Kisada growled. He looked at the Crane messenger. "Who leads Rokugan, Daidoji?"
The Crane met the gaze of the towering Crab Champion with no apparent sign of trepidation. "Bayushi Shoju has declared himself Emperor. Akodo Toturi has summoned armies to punish him."
"Punish him?" Kisada snarled incredulously and shook his head. "Lions!" Then he took a deep breath. "Very well. Tell your master what I now order." He turned to the samurai present, many of the highest commanders and officers of the Crab.
"Yakumo. In my absence, you command the Crab." Disappointment creased his son's face, but in the face of his father even his legendary short temper held.
"O-Ushi. The Army of the East will march with me for Beiden Pass and then to Otosan Uchi. Assemble them at Kuda Mura." The Champion's daughter was on her feet and out of the room almost before her father finished speaking.
"Sukune. Tsuru is to bring the Reserve Army to full strength. Take twelve legions and act as his vanguard. The two of you are to secure the Scorpion lands and deny Bayushi support from them. You are not to ravage the lands or people. Let it be known that I am declaring a Twenty Goblin Winter. This will reduce the number of ronin Bayushi can recruit and give any Scorpion who renounce him an alternative to him." Sukune nodded, already considering approaches to the task.
With his children unleashed, Kisada frowned in thought. "Send word to Kaiu Utsu," he ordered one of his aides. "I want every seige engineer he can pry out of Shiro Kaiu reinforcing O-Ushi. We'll need them at the walls of Otosan Uchi." Turning to a second aide, he added. "And make sure she doesn't strip our navy of samurai. They're to head for Otosan Uchi immediately to cut the city off from its sea trade."
"Lord Hida," the aged Scorpion courtier enquired, any sign of nervousness well masked. "May I enquire as to your intentions within the lands of the Scorpion?"
Kisada snorted and then glanced over each shoulder at the rank after rank of infantry behind him. "I'm on my way to Otosan Uchi," he replied. "Where I'm going to have to kill a man I trusted to guard my back. My son is going to be here with an army shortly. He's going to be protecting these lands - and the future of the Scorpion Clan - until tempers cool. Or would you rather that the Matsu be turned loose to avenge the Hantei?"
Of all the Great Clans, it had taken the longest for the Crab's soldiers to arrive. Ships bearing the Clan's mon were in the waters off the city as Kisada turned aside from the column to look at the men who had followed him on the long march. They seemed in good spirits. He had not doubted them, even mustered for the unthinkable task of breaking the defenses of the imperial city.
Defenses that seemed to still be holding out against the forces of five entire armies. Either Shoju was an even better general than Kisada had thought or Akodo Toturi was considerably less capable than his reputation suggested. Given the dreams that had been plaguing him for the last month, Kisada hoped that it was the former. The Lion Clan's champion seemed important to the future, somehow.
And speaking of important people, the body of horsemen riding to meet his army were carrying the banners of Shinjo Yokatsu.
"Hida Kisada!" the Unicorn Champion called as he reined up, yojimbo spreading out in an unsubtle preparation to defend their lord from the Crab. "I expected you to be here days ago. What happened?"
"If we hadn't marched around the Crane lands I'd still be enduring a tea ceremony somewhere south of the mountains," Kisada snorted. "Besides, I thought you'd have the gates open by now."
Yokatsu shrugged. "I believe that it was Crab engineers who built the city's defenses," he pointed out. "Take it as a compliment to their workmanship."
Bayushi Shoju looked weary as he stood between the two leaves of Otosan Uchi's gates watching Kisada approach.
It hadn't taken long to persuade Toturi to pull back for the day so that his troops could be rested the next day and support the Crab in breaking open the defenses. And Kisada had no doubt at all that with Kaiu Utsu strategising that by evening of that day the defenses would be opened. The outer ones at any rate.
What had taken quite a while to cram down the throats of the assorted imbeciles around the various commanders was Kisada's intention to parley with the usurper.
"I gather from the ships blockading the harbour that I can't turn to you for support," Bayushi declared, setting aside the courtly circumspection that he had employed in previous meetings with Kisada in favour of bluntness that he hoped that the Crab would appreciate. "So why do you want to talk?"
"Why?" Kisada asked, gesturing towards the palace. "I know Scorpions better than to believe that you betray by instinct."
Bayushi's eyes narrowed at the question. "Are you familiar with the Serene Prophet Isawa Uikku?" At the narrowing of Kisada's eyes he shrugged. "I rather suspected not. A thousand years ago the Phoenix discovered a boy with uncanny knowledge and understanding of the Tao. When the Asako studied his words they discovered that he spoke not only of the mysteries of the Tao but also of the future."
"Kisada, he prophesied that the Emperor would be the one to betray Rokugan to Fu Leng. I had to kill him."
There was a long silence.
"There are two flaws in your arguement," Kisada said at last. "Firstly, there is no suggestion there that you require a coup to do this. I find it hard to believe Scorpion clan is at a loss for assassins. Killing him openly and declaring yourself Emperor is so unlike a Scorpion that I find it hard to believe your sincerity."
"Where did this newfound respect for my clan come from?" the Bayushi demanded sarcastically.
"I have always known that the Scorpion Clan guards the Empire from within, just as the Crab Clan guards the Empire from without," Kisada told him coolly. "Since you choose to encourage distrust, I respected your wish and assumed that you knew what you were doing."
Shoju blinked. What sort of Crab would come up with that sort of convoluted logic?
"Secondly," Kisada sighed, certain of his dreams making rather more sense in light of what Bayushi had revealed, "You killed the wrong Emperor."
"The prophecy said that the Hantei would betray Rokugan to Fu Leng, did it not? How do you know that it was the old man and not one of his successors?"
Kisada watched, expressionless, as Hantei XXXIX took his place on the throne of Rokugan.
Surprising many of those present, he did not obviously react to the decision of the Emperor to marry Shoju's widow. Nor did his expression change when the Scorpion Clan were dissolved or when the Akodo were likewise dissolved in punishment for the presumption of Akodo Toturi in claiming the throne prior to the discovery that a Hantei had survived the coup. Not that it mattered, for standing next to him Hida O-Ushi was hardpressed not to voice her evident contempt at the announcement.
Even when, in rebuke for the 'tardiness' of the Crab in responding to the Coup, he was ordered to return to the lands of the Crab, not a muscle stirred on Kisada's face as he bowed to the throne and left the room, followed by every Crab in attendence.
"I can't believe that snot-nosed little -" O-Ushi exploded, the moment the doors were closed.
"Enough." Her father's eyes were flinty. "Go to Togashi Yokuni. Invite him to meet with me before we leave. When you're done with that, take the same invitation to Shiba Ujimitsu."
"The Dragon and the Phoenix?" she exclaimed and then paled as he stared at her and just for a moment she saw the fury that was raging inside her father. "Yes father."
Kisada nodded and turned away, spotting another man preparing to leave. Without hesitation he walked towards Toturi.
"I have declared a Twenty Goblin Winter," he told the newly-made ronin. "It occurs to me that not all those who were once of your family will wish to swear fealty to the daimyo of the Lion families. The First Crab would never have abandoned his one-eyed brother."
Toturi blinked, obviously surprised at the veiled offer, and then bowed. "You do me too much honour, Lord Hida," he said after a moment. "I have decided to enter a monastery in the north. However, I am sure that many of those who were once my family would be honored to fight alongside the Hida."
The heir of the Kami Hida scowled. "I do not believe you remain in your monastery forever," he warned. "Find someone to watch your back."
"Isawa Uikki?" Ujimitsu asked in surprise. "I... well, yes, of course. I will have a copy of his writings sent to you immediately. May I enquire as to the cause of your sudden interest in the Tao?"
Kisada's face was set like iron. "Bayushi Shoju justified his crimes as an attempt to avert the return of Fu Leng, based upon the prophecies that Uikki made. I do not know of prophecy, Shiba, but I know the Shadowlands. Fu Leng is stirring."
He turned to the Dragon Clan Champion who had said nothing since entering the chamber. "Togashi said, 'When the last Akodo falls, so too will the Hantei'. Now there is only one Akodo, exempted from the purge by whim of our new Emperor. And no man lives forever."
The Togashi paused, but when Kisada had almost given up on him replying, he spoke one word. "Yes."
"Fu Leng will return," Kisada challenged him. "And the Seven Thunders have been reborn to face him once more."
Again, the Dragon reluctantly confirmed his speculations. "Yes."
"What!" exclaimed Ujimitsu. "You can't mean... this is unthinkable!"
"Start thinking about it," Kisada ordered him, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were equals. "We have at least a little time to prepare."
"How do you know this?" the Phoenix asked. "Bayushi was ambitious, yes, but..."
"Say rather," Kisada interrupted him, "that he was possessed by that." He pointed at a sword rack, the only decoration of the chamber, and the single katana that rested upon it. "By Ambition, the third of the Iuchiban blades. Five centuries ago, its three siblings each led a clan champion to their deaths." Unspoken, that one of those unfortunate champions had been that of the Crab. "Now it has equalled them. The Scorpion Clan guarded Ambition well... but not, in the end, well enough from themselves. What else do they guard?"
Ujimitsu hesitated. "I don't know," he admitted.
The Dragon rose, bowed to Kisada and then left.
"What do they guard?" the Phoenix asked again.
"The Black Scrolls," Kisada revealed and even he shuddered alongside Ujimitsu, himself in no sense a nervous man, at the very mention of the scrolls.
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
Re: Crab's Claws [L5R]
Nice. My knowledge of L5R is limited but it always seemed like a interesting setting.__________________
This has been another, Useless Fact.
"I've always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific." - George Carlin
Re: Crab's Claws [L5R]
I love L5R (Go Scorpion!) and I believe it always lacked proper fanfiction. Probably the last proper one was Rokugan 2000.
And pretty nice - a very pointed divergence point since it seems someone was actually smart and had Shoju tell someone about the prophecy. Though I think Shoju had the successor thing handled by sending an assassin after snotnose - an attempt that was foiled by the Dragon Clan.
Anyway, I like this one.
There's bits and pieces of L5R fic here and there, but no real community, sadly.

On my hard drive, there's the first few scenes of a no-long-timely comedy fic spinning off of a glossed over plot point from years ago and no fewer than
three abortive attempts at starting a "the Scorpion win the Scorpion Clan Coup" fic. Oh, and somewhere I've got a listing of character concepts
for a Sailor Moon/L5R fusion (Asahina Usagi; Crane Clan Courtier * Shugenja, anyone?). I've got far too many fic ideas and not anywhere near enough time,

As for this story, it's an interesting start, but I'm concerned that an advantage has been given to the "good guys" without any sign as yet
of a corresponding increase in the danger they're going to have to overcome.

Aaron Nowack
Well, one of the things that the good guys have going against them is that they *know* things. ^_^ L5R universe (and probably every other myth-based setting)
seems to operate on the assumption that the more you know, the more you can screw up - see where what knowing about the prophecy got Shoju. ^_^ They already
have enough going against them anyway - post-SCC Rokugan was a powderkeg waiting to blow - heck Rokugan _is_ always a powderkeg waiting to blow (A good purging
and the destruction of the clan system would have done Rokugan a world of good but that's another story).

Anyway, L5R fanfic always seem to be hampered by the fact that they want to focus on the samurai stuff when half of that is just window dressing to make the
CCG cool. That and the focus on shorts - there's no actual epic story stuff. Plus half of it is watch my RPG char wanking.

Well, enough of that. More!!! ^_^
And it's Hida Yakamo, BTW. And I think you mistakenly exchanged the names in the last paragraphs or two.
re: Crab's Claws
Thank's for the correction on Yakamo's name. I don't think I mixed up the names towards the end, where do you see the error?

I can assure you that this is not going to be the Crab stomping all over everyone due to Kisada's foreknowledge (which is going to be out of date fairly
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
Quote:The Dragon rose, bowed to Kisada and then left.

"What do they guard?" the Phoenix asked again.

"The Black Scrolls," Kisada revealed and even he shuddered alongside Ujimitsu, himself in no sense a nervous man, at the very mention of the scrolls.

I think you interchanged Kisada and Ujimitsu. And Crab can't stomp over everyone - they're kinda always the one that get stomped on first by the Shadowlands. ^_^
Crab's Claws [L5R]
It is entirely intentional that Kisada is telling Ujimitsu that the Scorpions had the Black Scrolls.
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.

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