Musankumo Lore

Heroes of the Musankumo

Komoretsu Seiya

Before the advent of the gods, Seiya was the daughter of a tribal lord, adept at politics and a skilled archer. At the Dawn of the Empire, Seiya’s tribe was among those that resisted the rule of the gods. As her father’s heir, she led their retainers against Komoretsu’s forces in a series of daring raids lasting months. Finally, Komoretsu’s personal attention was required, and he was able to lead Seiya’s raiders into an ambush, wiping out many and capturing the rest. From that victory, it was short work to subdue the rest of Seiya’s tribe and fold them into the growing Empire. Seiya became one of Komoretsu’s followers and numbered among his inner circle. Eventually they were married in a public ceremony. But though they were close companions, the marriage was not a love match; rather, Komoretsu chose her for his bride as a display of unity in the burgeoning Empire, demonstrating that even those who had resisted its expansion could attain great heights as Imperial subjects.

As a member of Komoretsu’s inner circle, Seiya was well acquainted with Shinjugawa, and the two were friends. Seiya was well aware of the affair her husband was conducting with her companion, but as the marriage was purely political and the two were careful not allow the possibility of children, Seiya found nothing to disapprove of. Indeed, the relationship between Seiya, Komoretsu, and Shinjugawa is considered the prototypical example of how to manage an affair, and in the modern Empire, Komoretsu’s relationship with Seiya stands with Saiu’s relationship with Hisen as one of the Two Exemplary Marriages.

Relics of the Musankumo

Oborozuki

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.

Shinjugawa accepted the blade granted to her by Komoretsu, but rarely wore it, for, having been forged by the Shining Lord of Steel, it glittered in the sun like a mirror, and Shinjugawa's role in the Lord of the Moon's service was to go unseen and unrecognised. When she did carry the sword, she often covered the blade in soot or pitch, so that it would not shine in the night, and her technique in wielding it was such that it seemed to blur in her hands. In her care, it came to bear the name Oborozuki, for the way it would shift and waver.

When Komoretsu retreated from the Mortal World with the other gods, Shinjugawa vanished too, and no mortal knows where to. After her departure, Komoretsu Michikake, daughter and heir of the Lord of the Moon, discovered Oborozuki in her chambers, and the blade has since been the inheritance of the Komoretsu daimyo, for Michikake acknowledged that it would serve her line better than that of Shinjugawa. The blade retains a dark grey and dull cast, stained by Shinjugawa's ministrations— and perhaps by the sinister acts for which she wielded it.

Eclipse Swords

The sacred weapons of the Musankumo are forged by the Shinjugawa, and are most often wielded by them as well. The forging of an eclipse sword takes exactly a month, from new moon to new moon. The smith begins on the night of a new moon with iron dug from a deep and secret mine, and which has never been touched by the light of the sun, even diffused or reflected. In a sealed forge, the smith stokes a fire with wood from night-blossoming trees, and works the metal into steel night after night. On the night of the full moon, the steel blank is completed when the smith opens a skylight and allows the moon to shine down onto the anvil, seeking Komoretsu's approval. If the sword is to be blessed, the smith will receive a vision of a vast shadow sliding across the face of the moon.

After the full moon, the sword itself is forged, and the smith folds and shapes it with a hammer ground down from a fallen star. On the night of the last new moon, the blade is quenched in water drawn up from an underground spring that has likewise never known the light of day. The sword is then given fittings and a saya of dark, lacquered wood and unassuming iron with a dull patina.

The result is a blade that reflects very little light, and which feels almost insubstantial to the touch. Eclipse swords are among the shortest katana, and in skilled hands vanish as though even smaller, disappearing on their bearer's person, and appearing almost to flicker in combat, striking both unexpectedly and deeply.

The majority of Eclipse Swords remain in the hands of the Shinjugawa Interlopers, but occasionally others will be granted access to one.

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