Yorukuusai Lore

Relics of the Yorukuusai


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.

Though an onmyōji, Tōyama accepted Nishikaze's sword happily and bore it for several years in her service, wielding it in battle despite his priestly duties, and when the Yorukuusai left the Empire to explore the Steppe and beyond, he carried it with him.

In his time outside the Empire, Tōyama began to experiment with new forms of magic inspired by gaijin sorcery, attempting to combine prayers to the kami with the binding of strange and powerful gaijin spirits. One such spirit was a wild and wrathful creature of sand and fire, an ifrit from the desert beyond the Steppe's far edge. Having learned the spirit's true name, Tōyama inscribed sorcerous sigils into his blade and bound the ifrit to the weapon, which he gave the name Atsukōfuu.

Tōyama wielded Atsukōfuu for three years in the desert, using it more as a talisman than as a sword, commanding the power of the bound ifrit. His luck was not unending, however, and the new sorcery to which he was dedicating himself did not interact well with the power of the kami on which he still drew. In the heat of battle against a group of gaijin raiders, he angered the kami, and in the backlash of their displeasure lost control of the ifrit, which burst from his sword and fled, searing and blackening his right hand.

In the aftermath of the battle, Tōyama came to two decisions: to abandon completely the traditional onmyōji magic of the Empire in favor of mastering his new arts, and to pass Atsukōfuu on to Nishikaze's son and heir, Watanomi, for with his burnt hand he could no longer wield the blade. It has since become the inheritance of the Nishikaze daimyo, and the sigils inscribed in it remain slightly hot to the touch, though the ifrit once bound there is long gone.

Vulture's Talons

The sacred weapons of the Yorukuusai are in truth more like the sacred weapons of the Tasir. Each Vulture's Talon is forged over in the height of summer, during which time the smith retreats to a high and secluded plateau. There the smith builds and maintains a fire of wood and horse dung while invoking the blessings of Ezen Yalzarsan, and of the countless smiths to have gone before. The iron is combined from four separate sources, one in each of the four sacred directions, and melted into a single ingot before being worked into steel. During the process of making the steel, the smith cuts his palm and wets the head of his hammer with a palmful of his own blood to please the Vulture Lord. While the hot iron is being hammered, the blood smokes and sizzles, rising to the blue sky, while some portion of it is worked into the steel along with the charcoal, giving the metal a faint ruddy cast.

When the steel is ready, the blade is forged in a large and heavy crescent shape, and then quenched in the snow that lingers on the high, cold plateaus. The handle and saya are carved of hardwood and wrapped in leather, while the fittings are moulded from dark grey steel shaped like crooked wings.

The result is a heavy kyokutō that springs forward hungrily in the hands of its wielder, especially when swung from above like a descending raptor.

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