Tsuruchi Shiro

Wasp Clan Bounty Hunter
Tsuruchi School Rank 1
Experience: 26xp (5xp)
Insight: 140

Honour: 3.3
Glory: 4.3
Status: 1.6
Age: 25

Rings

Air 2 (Reflexes 3 / Awareness 2)
Earth 2 (Stamina 2 / Willpower 2)
Fire 2 (Agility 3 / Intelligence 2)
Water 3 (Strength 3 / Perception 3)
Void 3

Skills

Athletics 2
Defence 1
Hunting 2
Investigation 2 (Notice)
Jiujutsu 2
Kenjutsu 2
Kyujutsu 3 (Yumi)
Lore: Shadowlands 1
Meditation 2
Horsemanship 1
Sneak 2 (Ambushing)

Advantages

Absolute Direction
Daredevil
Quick

Disadvantages

Obtuse
Overconfident
Haunted

Origins

Taken Lioness
Unsettling Unicorn
Clever Scorpion


I suppose I could tell you. These are not secrets but tales left untold. But you best find us another bottle because this could take some time. It matters not which kind, I have lost my tastes long ago. Like these stories, which feel ancient in memory, and yet I sit before you a young man of an even younger clan. Tsuruchi’s clan. Our Little Wasp.

He was a bastard, of sorts, a cross between a Scorpion and a Lion. Problem was his Scorpion father was supposed to have married a Unicorn, and seeing as the Lion was already with child, well, you understand. This didn’t sit well with any of the major clans but this Lioness came to live in Shiro no Uragiru and there gave birth to Tsuruchi. There was much that followed in the courts, dishonour and ridicule, the foolish weakness of words from those who had never even met my young master. There were darker things a foot but few knew what those were at the time.

Tsuruchi was like a brother. Older by five years. We often found ourselves paired together for training. Long days of merciless instruction in sword and bow. The Code of Bushido consumed our lives from dawn until dusk and on until midnight if we ever got it wrong. We learned much together in those days. He was a prize to our sensei, “Little Wasp” they called him, for Tsuruchi took to the bow with an uncanny talent of which I’m sure you’re aware. He could hit any mark at a hundred paces and twice again if you asked him to. Those years seem long behind us now.

Tragedy and betrayal struck deep on Tsuruchi’s gempukku. The Scorpion sent murderers in the night and claimed the lives of his parents from the shadows. Shortly after, word arrived that a Lion army marched on Shiro no Uragiru. Orders came for the commander of the guard to finish the job that the Scorpion had left undone by murdering Tsuruchi. The Bayushi thought they could fix their mistake. Not all agreed, few survived in the end, and we who still stood did so with Tsuruchi.

But soon the Lion army was upon us and it became clear that we could not hold the castle with what little remained of the guard. Unwilling to throw our lives away for the sake of honour, Tsuruchi accepted an offer of surrender given by his own uncle who stood in command of the Lion forces. Perhaps Tsuruchi thought his shared family blood could work towards a new beginning with the Lion Clan. A thought borne from the lies of Bushido. But we were again betrayed. When we opened the gates to surrender our arms the Lions charged the courtyard. Blood ran over the tops of our waraji and to this day I do not know how Tsuruchi fought a path through. But we followed him into those caterwauling Lions and punched through! I count myself as one of the seventy who rallied to Tsuruchi’s side and lived to tell, though in truth, I was just a youth when I awoke that morning.


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Deep in Seikitsu
Little Wasp knows the way home
Soon the Lion sleeps


We spent two years in the Seikitsu Mountains. Tsuruchi brooded over his path to vengeance and we followed him wherever that took us. We vanished into that harsh wilderness. Not one night with a proper roof over our heads and not one week without a fight for survival. We trained hard on empty stomachs and ate tales of revenge when there was nothing else. Not one of us questioned the task ahead or the duration of our exile.

Each day, when the sun fell beneath the horizon, Tsuruchi would speak with us in the twighlight. If there was nothing to be said he would ask one question. “Brothers and Sisters, where is home?” In the beginning it was easy. But as time passed soon it was only I who could remember. I would point to Shiro no Origaru, beyond vision, and Tsuruchi would nod and walk away. I showed him nothing he did not already know.

The mountains changed us. Not one of us faltered. We grew stronger with each passing season. Each of us possessed a fire within, a fury to push back the bitter cold. This burning need for revenge kept us alive and no matter the challenge we came out stronger for it in the end. Think what you will, but seventy followed Tsuruchi into those mountains and seventy followed him out.

The day soon came to descend into the foothills and we made straight for the Lion occupied Shiro no Uragiru. We did not skulk back to our home meekly but we did not do so foolishly either. We came in the night. Just as they had done. The Lion may have slept well behind those walls for the intervening years but we had been born there. We knew that castle like any heart knows its true home. Tsuruchi awoke his uncle with a yumi drawn to his throat. We barred and burned every barracks and shot down those defenders who found their way out. Shiro no Uragiru fell to us on two years to the day of the infamous betrayal which claimed Tsuruchi’s parents. His seventy became forty-nine but no other living thing in the castle survived.

Tsuruchi declared himself daimyo and we swore oaths to him upon our shattered swords. On that day we threw off the shackles of bushido and were samurai no more. On that day we took up our bows, that had kept us alive those years in the Seikitsu Mountains, to be our bond of honour. On that day, my gempukku borne of battle like his own, he named me Shiro in memory of our stolen home within those castle walls. There within the smoldering skeleton of Shiro no Uragiru he told me, “The days ahead will be dark, but you have always known the way home, Shiro, you shall be the hearth fire of our Kyuden Ashinagabachi.”


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The Wasp will not bow
Emerald wings protect us
The Emperor nods


Tsuruchi moved quickly. He rode through the night for the lands of the Crane and sought audience with the Emerald Champion and the Crane Daimyo. Surprisingly, they met with him and listened to his words. Perhaps they were impressed by his tale. Perhaps they merely took the opportunity to whip the hides of the Lion and Scorpion once more. Either way, Tsuruchi left the next day with the assurance of the Emerald Champion, Daidoji Setsuke, that he would bring his case to the Emperor. He could have arrested Tsuruchi for murderous rebellion and been done with the matter. The Emperor’s Justice prevailed that day.

We could do little but look to our defences at first. We hired every ronin we came across and packed the walls of Kyuden Ashinagabachi full with motley ronin and wayward ashigaru. There was little coin to sustain this endeavour but fortune struck in our favour. Before Winter Courts had begun Tsuruchi had been recognized by the Emperor as Daimyo of our newly formed Wasp Clan and the Emerald Champion provided us with a unique opportunity. This is how we came to be the bounty hunters of the Empire today. Agents to the Imperial Magistrates, we found new ways of finding coin by seeking out the enemies of the Empire.

The years that followed were full of adventure. Established as we were, no one, neither Scorpion nor Lion, could trouble us much. You mark my words we gave them trouble. It could be argued that it was simply a matter of geography. But we often found ourselves chasing down fugitives in the domains of the proud Lion and the devious Scorpion. Imperial mandate stands over local authority. The Emerald Champion ensured we had good contracts for some time. We grew slowly in numbers but quickly in wealth and soon our Clan had other considerations to keep in mind.