Rokugan: Shadow Creeping
Battle of the Cresting Wave
The Battle of the Cresting Wave was the desperate defense of Rokugan by the Crab Clan in 716 when possibly the most dangerous oni to threaten the Empire launched it’s assault.
In the year 716, the mighty oni calling itself The Maw raised an army of thousands of monstrosities unseen since the days of Fu Leng. The oni and its army marched on the Crab. The army overwhelmed the Crab ramparts and struck deep into Crab territory, taking Kuni and Hiruma lands. The Crab had retreated to Kyuden Hiruma, counting on its defenses, which had worked for the past 600 years, but the oni army had planned for this and spirited a contigent of the most bloodthirsty demons beneath the castle walls. The rampage was bloody and terrible, and although the defenders prevailed, they were too much weakened to defend against the rest of the army. With no other choice, they retreated to Kyuden Hida.
With The Maw’s army within 2 days march from Kyuden Hida the Crab Clan Champion Hida Banuken called a hasty meeting to determine a course of action. Nothing could be decided on that could be done in the short timeframe until the young teacher, Kuni Osaku, stepped forward and offered Banuken the time they needed to construct sufficient defenses. The spell she cast was very effective, using the Seigo River to block the movement of the army, but every sunrise she stood there keeping the army at bay she lost a year of her life, and 73 days later her body could no longer take the stress.
The Maw had been patiently waiting for the moment when the spell ended, and as Osaku died it ordered it’s army to attack. The oni surged forward only to find the Crab ready for them, bolstered with ronin and members of the other clans. As the oni broke on the defenses Hida Banuken launched his counter attack, emerging from a hundred secret tunnels in the riverbed, pinning The Maw between them and the defenses. The oni could not mount a defense in time and were slaughtered, the Hiruma exacting a terrible vengeance for the loss of their homeland. The Maw itself fell to a single unit of tainted Crab, which after the battle would be rewarded with their own unit, the Damned.
The river was renamed Seigo no Kamae in honor of the battle and the skull of The Maw was purified by Kuni shugenja and hung above the gates of Kyuden Hida, a testiment to the strength of the Crab. Kuni Osaku’s name is revered among the greatest heroes of Rokugan.
Having lost the Kuni and Hiruma lands to the Shadowlands the Crab had very little land remaining and demanded some recompense for their sacrifice on behalf of the empire. Some of the Great Clans conceded either out of genuine gratitude or fear of the might of the Crab Clan. Some however did not, the Scorpion in particular refused, causing many battles to be fought, including the Battle of the Thundering Shrine. Squabbling did not end until the Return of the Unicorn. In the following 300 years most of the Kuni lands were recaptured, but the Hiruma lands became a bastion for the Shadowlands.
Numerous surviving ronin were adopted into the Crab to replenish their numbers. It also began a tradition of recruiting ronin for scouting and security details, leaving the Crab bushi for most important duties.