Akaishi Lore

Relics of the Akaishi


When the Primordial War ended, the gods sealed their accord through the marriage between Senkō, the Shining Lord of Steel, and Kagayaki, the Radiant Lady of the Sun. Though each of the gods bore arms and armour as befit their divine birthrights, to celebrate his wedding, the Lord of Steel forged eight blades for his fellow gods.

However, though all were pleased by the gifts, the Clear-Eyed Lord of the Mountain made prophecy when he beheld them: that none of the gods would wield the blades that Senkō had forged for them, for their fate lay elsewhere.

Sure enough, though the swords were indeed fine, the gods did not wield them, preferring instead the divine weapons that they had always carried, each tied to its bearer’s domain and power. Instead, as followers began to flock to the gods’ banners, each sword was in turn given to the closest among the god's companions, as an affirmation of their bond. Swords were given to Yagarō, Fujizuru, Hakato, Shinjugawa, Itsumaru, and Tōyama.

Fujizuru bore the blade that Natsurai granted him his entire life, coming to rely on it when all other weapons failed him. When the Empire had expanded to its natural borders and the Akaishi settled in its southern reaches, on the border of the great swamp what would come to be called the Bloodmire, Fujizuru become one of the primary guardians of that border, commanding his followers to root out the monsters that would emerge from the swamp, and leading countless expeditions into the Bloodmire itself to seek out and destroy the worst fiends imaginable.

Wood warps in the Bloodmire, and steel corrodes. On long expeditions, it was not uncommon for Fujizuru's bowstring to snap, or for his arrows to twist into uselessness, for rust to assail his armour, or for his garments to fray and become threadbare. But the sword that Senkō had forged never tarnished, nor grew dull.

In the year of Fujizuru's death, a great and titanic demon assaulted the Kuroyama, more fearsome than any seen before. Though attacked on all sides by Akaishi samurai, wounding it only made it more lethal, for its thick, black blood sizzled with malignant heat and ate through steel wherever it splashed to sear the flesh beneath. Fujizuru met it carrying his divine blade, and struck down the monster even as it dealt him a mortal wound.

When the battle was over, Fujizuru was discovered atop the Wall, the sword still in his grip, buried to the hilt in the demon's skull. It took two men to withdraw the blade, and it emerged from the still-smoking blood of the demon stained like an oil-slick, but uncorroded and intact, unlike the warped, half-melted weapons that lay all around.

At his father's funeral, Fujizuru's son, Nagashisen took up the sword, and gave it the name Taherukurasa, for its steadfast service in his father's hands. It has been the inheritance of the Fujizuru daimyo ever since.

Thunderbolt Blades

The sacred weapons of the Akaishi are forged by the Zaikufuu in the great forges of Thunder Hammer Foundry. Iron is mined from the Akaishi's mountains and carefully selected, and then brought into the forge itself. The fires of Thunder Hammer Foundry were first ignited by a lightning strike at the foundry's construction, and have never been allowed to die completely since. In the forge there, the smith heats the iron in the ancient flames, fed on dense, hot-burning wood, working the metal into steel of incredible strength.

When the metal is ready, the smith begins to shape it, before quenching the blade in a bath of molten salt, fusing the sacred minerals into the blade while hardening the metal to its final state. Once cooled, the blade is sharpened to a razor edge and etched with a stormcloud pattern along the spine. The saya is cut from teak and given a dark lacquer, while the handle is teak wrapped in wire, and the tsuba and fittings are cast from iron.

The result is a katana slightly longer and straighter than usual, and whose nearly white blade flashes with an almost crystalline glitter. The sword is so sharp it pierces most armor, and the pure properties of the salt fused into the metal cause burning wounds on those subject to the Leech's Kiss.

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