Rokugan: Shadow Creeping
The most dreaded Bloodspeaker.
The Scorpion Clan historical archives contain three different versions of the sorcerer Iuchiban’s deadly legacy; any or none of them may be correct. Acting in secret, unknown even from his own followers, Iuchiban had Yajinden forge a quartet of swords, their blades were christened in blood and alloyed with the souls of Rokugan’s greatest samurai. Through hellish sacrifices, they were hammered into existence the blades with blood and fire, upon an anvil comprised of an oni’s skull covered in flesh, fire, and the molten steel of the Moon’s own hatred. This foul stone became known as the Anvil of Despair, and the cries of the souls it has devoured can still be heard on the darkest nights in the Twilight Mountains; its hunger has never been sated.
Using this dread artifact, Iuchiban bound the spirits of four great champions into his blades, twisting their souls to match his designs. He not only imbued them with an unquenchable thirst for blood, he also embedded their martial prowess within the steel of the blades, allowing whoever wielded them to channel the champion’s power. Finally, he took the vaunted code of Bushido, which the champions had practiced and embodied all their lives and warped it into a darker reflection of them. Their souls were bound now by the bleakest aspects of their personalities, rather than the brightest.
Iuchiban named these weapons Passion, Revenge, Judgement, and Ambition and delivered them through his spies as gifts from the imperial court… to the daimyos of the Crane, Lion, Crab, and Scorpion Clans.
Once in the hands of their intended “owners,” the Four Bloodswords twisted powers struck with devastating effectiveness. The Crane daimyo, given Passion, flung himself into the sea after publically confessing his love for a geisha less than half his age. The leader of the Lion Clan, possessed of Revenge, launched an ill-conceived assault on the Dragon fortresses for some imagined slight; she died before the gates of Mirumoto Castle. Judgement, the most feared of the four blades, drove the Crab daimyo to seppuku after convincing him to murder his own children in their beds.
Only Ambition, the sword given to Bayushi Rikoji of the Scorpion Clan, did not drive its recipient to death. Therein lay the beginning of Iuchiban’s undoing… but that is another tale.
The Tomb of Iuchiban was the resting place of the vile sorceror Iuchiban, designed to keep him trapped forever. After the Iuchiban’s defeat following the Battle of Stolen Graves in 510, the Emperor commanded the Kaiu family to build the tomb to contain Iuchiban. Despite the most advanced construction and magic being used in the containment of Iuchiban, the bloodspeaker escaped in 750. The purpose of the tomb was to keep Iuchiban inside, as he was a powerful and immortal sorcerer, and to keep his adepts outside. A total of four tombs were built, three were false.
The Kaiu spent three months on the tomb, creating traps and pitfalls, using powerful Phoenix and Scorpion magic to seal the tomb. The chief architect, Kaiu Gineza, remained behind in the tomb to set the last traps so that no one could get in or out. Secretly he had instead been abducted and assassinated by the Scorpion Clan, so that the secrets of the tomb remained safe.
After the first escape of Iuchiban in 750, the evil sorceror was undone when he attempted to forcefully posses the body of an Ise Zumi. Iuchiban was defeated again and captured, held prisoner with chains of jade until such time as the tomb was altered by Phoenix, Crab and Scorpion shugenja, who were imprisoned with him, to bind Iuchibán’s spirit to the walls themselves.