The Story of Akodo Okura

Akodo Okura was the soul of a Lion. He followed the tenets of Bushido, honoured his ancestors and pursued the Martial arts. He fought for the Glory of his name and the honour of being a Samurai. Yet though he was proud of the glory and power of the Lion he was scathing of any other Clan, and thought little of their honour or duty. Though he had a position in the Imperial Courts at the time on account of his prowess in battle he never curbed his words on the other Clans, always he spoke his mind and on the subject of the Crane and the Scorpion he attracted many enemies and no friends.

At last he made too many enemies and the Scorpion Clan took their revenge upon him. His sake was drugged so that after the slightest slip he appeared drunk and insulting in the very halls of the Imperial Court, and his sword and armour treated with special compounds by the Geisha so that they appeared rusted and unkempt. With the whispers of a hundred Crane courtiers gald to see his downfall he was the laughing stock of the Imperial Court, so much so that his Daimyo recalled him from Otosan Uchi intending to give him more minor duties far from the courtiers and the Scorpion Clan.

The shame of his humiliation had pierced Akodo Okura-san to the soul however. He felt that he heard the voies of his ancestors, no longer commending him towards great deads but condemming him for his failure and the shame he had brought to his Clan. Instead of accepting his fate the Samurai went to his Daimyo and told him that he could not live with the dishonour that had been brought to the station of a Samurai by his actions. His Daimyo, sorry to lose a fine bushi, nevertheless gave his permission for Okura to comitt seppuku, but instead the Akodo said, "No my Lord, I did not deserve to live like a Samurai because of my faults, nor do I deserve the honour of dying like one." Instead Okura did a thing most odd for a Lion, he shaved his head and joined a monestary.

He journeyed far from the lands of the Lion, for his brethern no longer knew him, and found a distant and isolated temple. There he served the monks, welcoming travellers to their doors and studying the words of the Tao. His sword was wrapped in burlap and forgotten and he thought to forget the ways of Bushido and the ancestors that he had failed. So it went on for many years.

At last there came a time, however, when the roads near to the monestary became plauged with bandits. At first they merely menaced the villagers, then the travellers till the travellers stopped coming, and finally it became clear that they intended to attack the monestary itself and claim its treasures for their own. There were no samurai in that distant province that the monks could turn to for help, so instead they begged Okura to take up his sword and protect them, but he said that he had long ago lost the right to bear a blade and failed the ancestors that once gave him strength. So he stood and watched as some of the younger monks went to try and treat with the bandits, and watched too as their dead bodies were brought back. When the bandits themselves finally came in number to attack the monestary and the flames could be seen in the dawn sky the monks came again to ask him to defend them and this time he said that he could only try and took down his blade.

The moment the sword of his grandfather was unwraped from its burlap he felt at last the voices of his ancestors, and knew that in turning back to the way of Bushido, not for his own glory but because it was his duty to protect he had regained the strength of his ancestors and become worthy, at last, to be a Samurai. None who looked at him could doubt that it was an Akodo who stood before them and no longer a shamed man.

Leading the monks he met the bandits on the field of battle, and when they fell about him he charged by himself into the heart of the bandit force to seek their leader. From the right and left he was attacked, and honourless foes cut at him from in front and behind, but even though he was struck a hundred times he fought on in a frenzy. In the midst of the battle he slew the bandit leader's cheif advisors, his bodyguards and lieutenants, till at last he slew the bandit leader himself and sent the remenants of his force fleeing forever. Only then did Akodo Okura fall to his wounds.

They say that the monks burnt his body and sent him on his way at last to the ranks of the honoured ancestors, there at the spot where he fell. This was at the shrine of the reinstated hero in the year of the 22nd Hantei.

Note. This story was an experiment based on drawing a random set of legend of the five rings cards and then basing a story around them. The cards used for this story were...

 Kitsu Okura  (Akodo Okura the hero)
 Marries a Barbarian  (The dishonourable tricks)
 Confusion at Court  (The resulting shame)
 Piercing the Soul  (The effects on Okura)
 Prayer Shrines & Sanctified Temple  (The monestary, their quotes inspired Okura's duties)
 Spearmen  (The bandit force)
 Strength of my Ancestors  (Okura reclaiming his sword and Samurai heritage)
 Charge  (The battle and the attack on the bandit leader)
 Frenzy  (Okura's performance in battle)