The Story of Yoritomo Kororo

In the time of the 32nd Hantei there was a Mantis Samurai by the name of Yoritomo Kororo. Kororo, like many of his Clan, was a mercenary, looked down upon by the bushi of the Great Clans. Kororo-san studied the legends of famous items lost throughout history, weapons of noble Samurai and the nemurammi of famous Shugenja. One year as summer was at its end and the raisn fo autumn were beggining he learnt the secret of a famous weapon of the Crab Clan, the Jade katana of Hida Sokori.

Taking with him his bushi Kororo travelled across the sea from the isles of Spice and Silk to the lands of the Crab till he came at last to the massive bulk of the Kaiu wall itself. There he prostrated himself in front of the daimyo of the wall, Hida 0-Atari, and offered to tell them the secret of the lost weapon, where and how it could be found. But the Crab had nothing but scorn for Kororo-san, who was but a mercenary. Even when he begged to be allowed to travel into the shadowlands, to find the lost weapon and return it, even then they laughed at his secrets.

Nevertheless Kororo insisted until the Hida said that he could enter the shadowlands if he wished, for he would never return, and they cast open the gates for Kororo and his men, saying that if they returned without the sword they would find the gates closed to them for ever more. At this Kororo's men despaired, for the Crab had not given them either map nor protection against the Shadowlands. But the cunning Kororo had studied his secrets well and had brought with him costly Jade to protect against the taint of the land.

Day after day Kororo and his men moved deeper into the black land, following what he believed was the path that Hida Sokori had taken centuries before when he had perished in the lands of shadow. Though the earth turned to dead mud beneath their feet and the darkness was filled with eyes and dangers still they followed Kororo until at last they came to a ruined castle. Here Kororo expected to find the sword, instead he found a terrible army of goblins, led by a creature like a burning lion or cat, that directed the goblin archers to set upon them with burning arrows.

Fully half of Kororo's men were cut down in the goblin's first attack and the rest driven back from the ruins and into a sallow marsh. Only darkness prevented the goblins from pursuing them and cutting down the rest. Now Kororo began to plan, and set his men to work cutting the reeds of the marsh with their katanas. Even though foul things lurked in the water and claimed more than one of them they worked on. All night they worked, lashing the reeds into bundles and the bundles into shields. Then they launched their attack upon the goblins as the grey dawn came.

Once again the goblins launched their flaming arrows, but they struck the shieldwalls of reeds, which were so soaked in the waters of the black marsh that they would not catch fire. Now the Samurai could reach the heart of the ruin and strike at the goblins, cutting them down as easily as they had the black reeds. At last Yoritomo Kororo faced the burning lion creature himself, and found that his katana could not harm it. Throwing aside his blade instead he grasped it by the throat and by sheer force thrust it down into the wet ground so that its flame was put it out and it was defeated.

In the ruin, surrounded by the bodies of their dead, Kororo found at last the Jade blade. Protected by its magic they found their way out of the Shadowlands and back to the Kaiu wall. They say that the Crab there were so astounded that they thought that it was the spirit of Hida Sokori himself who had returned to the wall and hurried to open the gate. When at last the Mantis samurai were safely in Crab lands again the Hida daimyo appologised for having doubted their bravery and thanked them most humbly for finding the ancient blade. But Kororo would not give them the treasure that they had not even wanted before and took it back to the Mantis islands, where they say it lies still.

Note. This story was an experiment based on drawing a random set of legend of the five rings cards, in this case the contents of a single Pearl Edition booster, and then basing a story around them. The cards used for this story were...

 Yoritomo Tsuyu  (Yoritomo Kororo the hero)
 Secrets on the Wind  (The secrets he knew)
 Bloodsword  (The lost jade katana of Hida Sokori)
 Unscaleable Walls & Hida Tadashiro  (The Crab and the Kaiu wall)
 Jade Bow  (Kororo's hidden Jade)
 Accessible Terrain  (The search and the mud, from the picture)
 Basecamp  (The Yoritomo camp in the shadowlands)
 Crossroads  (The fiery cat is in the picture)
 Archers  (The goblin archers and their attack)
 Shield Wall  (Kororo's cunning plan to defeat the goblins)
 Test of Might  (The final battle with the fiery cat)