Hokiba Lore

Heroes of the Hōkiba

Naibuki Nimen

The Second Champion of the Naibuki, who, under Imperial pressure, halted the violent expansion into the unconquered lands in all directions. She oversaw the growth of the armies, and divided it from one colossal force into five distinct armies, each a different blend suited to the challenges of the frontiers. Nimen's armies had a flawless record on the field in defending against uncivilized armies, and even without invading was able to annex territory.

Naibuki Rokube

The Sixth Champion of the Naibuki, who completed the Hōkiba's first great work in expanding the empire to its natural borders. It was under his and the Kakusei daimyo's guidance that the clans took the seats they hold to this day.

Naibuki Nanahasu

The Seventh Champion of Naibuki who believed the divine sword Ashisakuha belonged with him - citing it was on Naibuki's condition of marriage the gift was given - thus turning the clan's warring nature inwardly. The civil war was a polite fued of strictly defined force sizes and battlefields. According to all involved, these restrictions were upheld by all sides. Nanahasu eventually lost the conflict, and the Naibuki's line forever renounced their claim to the blade.

Naibuki Yatsubu

The Eighth Champion of the Naibuki, who brought stability to the Hōkiba. Defending a challenge against the Yagarō's Ninth Champion, Naibuki Yatsubu defeated his counterpart in large-scale warfare. The lessons learned from this and the previous intra-clan wars caused Yatsubu to pen his great work Weakness, in which he acknowledges the limited nature of humanity, even among those bearing strong divinity in their blood. Though Yatsubu does not even raise the topic of religion in his work (indeed, his intention was to put into words by which the nature of the Hōkiba's divide came into being and by what philosophy it was quelled - mutual gain in cooperation and a shared passion for Honor and Duty, evoking the idea that all humans are equal in one facet - that they are bound by destiny to fulfill their role), in later centuries peasant revolts have been sparked due to his writings, as it gives the impression the gap between noble and commoner is small, if extant. Eventually, the book was banned at the beginning of the Second Era.

Yagarō Juuji

Not a hero per say, but a notable figure. The "Shogun of the West" who opposed the Hōkiba's territorial expansion of the Empire. She was able to rally the people of the west and levy great ground forces to match against the Third Yagarō army. Eventually, however, she was defeated on the field, and rewarded by a prestigious marriage opportunity to bring her into the fold. This marriage spawned a powerful bloodline, one that stands today.

Yagarō Kojimei

The Ninth Champion of the Yagarō. A mere five years after the failed claim of Naibuki Nanahasu on the blade Ashisakuha, Yagarō Kojime declared it was the Yagarō's right to lead the Hōkiba, citing their superior might on the battlefield. The resulting war was much larger in scope, but not less sanctioned. While the Yagarō proved superior in small scale skirmishes, the Eighth Naibuki Champion won the war. Therefor, the Yagarō forever renounced their claim to leadership.

Relics of the Hōkiba


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.

When Naibuki offered Yagarō the sword Senkō had forged, he also asked that she become his bride. She accepted the gift, but refused his proposal, saying that the day she could no longer lift the blade would be the day she consented to become any man's bride. The Lord of the Plain relented, and Yagarō never once failed to wield the sword in battle for her clan, rending the foes of the Hōkiba limb from limb with the furious strikes of her wild and ferocious style. In her hands the blade came to be called Ashisakuha, for the seeming eagerness with which it cleaved through its foes.

Eventually Yagarō found a man who could agree to her vision of marriage, and she bore a daughter, Unarikoji. When she fell in battle, Ashisakuha still in her grip, Unarikoji inherited the blade, and it has been the inheritance of the Yagarō daimyo ever since.

Virtuous Blades

Alone among the sacred weapons of the Major Clans, the forging of the Virtuous Blades of the Hōkiba is not a solitary task. The smithing of these swords is passed down in family lines, and three generations of artisans labour to craft each blade. The process begins with the iron, which the senior smith carefully selects from among hundreds of ingots. When the iron is chosen, the senior smith carries it into the forge, where the junior smith, the senior's child, waits to stoke the forge. With him waits the apprentice smith, child of the junior smith. When all three smiths are gathered, the senior lights the fire while the junior stokes it, and the apprentice begins to recite the family lineage and light incense in the shrine above the anvil.

When the fire is ready and the apprentice has finished the litany of the family's ancestors, the senior smith begins to work the iron into steel, commanding the junior and apprentice as they take it in turns with him to hammer the metal. All the while, they recite passages from Naibuki's To Command, pray for the oversight of their ancestors, and call upon the Fortunes of Battle and Steel to bless their work. At seven intervals in the steel-making process, paper strips written with the tenets of Bushidō are laid across the hot metal, where they burn away to nothing, leaving their ash to be folded into the metal, strengthening the steel alongside the charcoal.

When the steel is ready, the senior smith begins to shape it with the assistance of the junior and apprentice smiths, demonstrating the secret techniques of hammer and tongs which are their family's birthright, and they observe closely in order to be ready for the time when the senior smith returns to the Wheel, passing the forge on to them. At the end of the forging process, the sword is quenched in pure spring water. The saya and hilt are carved from hardwood and lacquered a rich brown, and the brass tsuba and fittings are attached with extensive prayers and ceremony. When the sageo is woven, its core includes a single string wound from three strands of fiber, taken from the ritual garment of each smith and braided together.

The result is a sturdy and flexible blade that shines in the light, and which bestows on its bearer an aura of authority and virtue. Such swords seem almost reluctant in the hands of the dishonorable, but will spring to action in the service of an honorable samurai.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License