Summary: Rokugan is nearing a revolution, and not for the better. The Crane have risen up and slowly the Great Clans are breaking apart and diminishing in size. Minor Clans are stirring up trouble. Technology has hit a revolutionary point with steam. A young Shugenja finally takes his place in the order.
Warning: This story is a complete Alternate Universe to the Legend of the 5 Rings saga. Most of what is mentioned makes no sense with the time line (mainly because I'm not 100% familiar) and it is an extreme work of fiction. There will be violence, gore, cussing, adult situations, death, and other subjects that aren't suitable for younger readers.
I, KradsLover, do not own L5R. I only own 1/3 of this plot/story. (see artist comments below)
They say the calm before the storm was the most dangerous silence one could ever face.
Whoever said that had never faced the moment of silence before a war.
"This is it!" Came the strong voice of a Scorpion general. He and his army stood at the front of the lines, their eyes burning with fury behind the shadows of their masks. Behind them all the Great Clans were poised and ready for combat, staring at the enemy that stood just in front of the valley.
It was not an Oni or any other creatures of the Shadowlands, but the Crane clan. Tired of being only the left hand of the emperor, they decided to sever themselves from the body and form a new one. They were close to taking the throne, to taking over Rokugan. The Crane turned from a clan of artists to a clan of cruel dictators.
The only thing that was in their way was everyone else in the land of Rokugan.
Tension rolled over the armies and the slight shifting of metal armor and weapons soon died down to an unearthly silence. It was a moment of silence for those who were going to die, for the honor that would be lost, for the change that would inevitably come.
The silence only lasted for less than a minute, but it felt like hours had passed. One by one, Bushi, Shugenja, and Courtier alike tightened their grip on their weapons, focused their minds on their spells, and prepared themselves for anything and everything. Both men and women who were trained enough were ready for combat, this was a battle to end it all.
"Now!" that single word screamed by a Crab was all it took to unleash hell upon the land.
A battle cry came from each warriors lips as they rushed forward to their opponents. Soon the human screaming was drowned out by the sound of metal meeting metal.
The once green grass was trampled and stained with blood within minutes. Bodies fell as swords pierced through armor and hit vital organs.
Far behind the armies gathered a small group of the seven clans most powerful Shugenja. They were selected for their skills and were preparing themselves for a final spell. There was a chance that this spell would kill themselves as well as their targets, but they were well aware of that risk. It was a risk worth taking if it meant protecting future generations. Cloaks of all colors rustled in the light breeze as they stood high upon a ledge.
A Scorpion woman raised her hand as she looked at the group in front of her.
"It's now or never!" she yelled, yellow eyes burning above the elaborate cloth that covered the majority of her face. "The Crane were once revered for their art and etiquette, now they are nothing but traitors to the empire! Forget what ties your clans once had to them, attack with all your might! Summon every Kami you know, pray to your ancestors, use your most powerful spells! We cannot afford to lose!"
Her voice echoed above the chaos as she yelled commands. It was rare for a Scorpion to work with other clans, to give orders to the clans, to be so passionate, but this occasion called for all of that.
Every Shugenja then closed their eyes and began to chant the same incantation over and over, building power, building strength.
All except one.
A young Scorpion male of the Yogo family was staring at the scene before him in horror. He wasn't able to do this, the curse that plagued his family was bound to ruin everything. He didn't want to risk everything.
He looked between the Scorpion and the Phoenix, the clans that were basically running through his veins. Hatred of both suddenly filled him and the urge to run away became great.
"Yogo!" the Soshi female who had been shouting orders ran up to him. "You won't betray us," she said sternly, staring down at him, seeing through every mask he wore. What she said wasn't a statement, it was an order.
"But I-" Yogo began to argue but he was cut off.
"You can't betray me, you don't love the Scorpion," she said, holding his hand. "You don't love the Phoenix. Help your brothers and sisters, in both clans! Let the anger you hold against us for how we betrayed you take over! Summon the fire Kami that follows your family, let the hatred consume you! Do not fail me! As your superior I order you not to fail!" she screamed.
Yogo stood there for a few moments as she walked back to the front. He watched as she raised her hands above her head, her fingers out stretched to the dark sky.
Her eyes closed and she began silently whispering an incantation to distract others with. The clouds became darker, flashes of light appearing every few milliseconds. The wind picked up and her long red robes flared up and her dark hair wipped in around her face. As suddenly she opened her eyes, lightning striking down to the earth. Osano-Wo's furry was making itself known, striking the trees and setting them on fire.
The armies stopped the battle when the lightning flashed. Thunder soon followed the magnificent flashes of light.
"Now-" the Soshi was about to call for the final incantation to be cast when suddenly an arrow flew through the air and just barley grazed her cheek. The cloth mask that hid her lies from the world fell off and was carried away by the wind. Blood trickled down the pale skin and her rage was ignited.
She screamed and lifted her arms again in time with the other Shugenja and suddenly the wind picked up and rain pelted down, forcing armies onto their knees under the force. A hurricane of unknown origin was being summoned.
The voices that started out as low chanting soon got louder and louder until they were soon competing in volume with the roaring thunder and screams of pain and fear.
The Shugenja that wore armor and carried the foreign weapons soon recognized the spell that was being chanted and soon their voices joined. Some of them weren't strong enough to do this spell and it quickly drained them of their energy, they knew that this spell was dangerous to everyone, friend or foe, but it was their last shot.
The Kami in the air were going insane. Lightning flashed and rain fell harder and harder as the winds spinned faster. The earth felt like it was shaking and soon there was enough focus to move the spell directly over the Crane armies, all the energy and furry pouring down without restraint.
One by one the clans slowly rose to their feet, weapons poised and ready to finish off the Crane once the spell had taken its course. They only had to wait.
The lead Scorpion Shugenja was still at the front of the group, arms raised as she screamed the spell over and over, hitting a new volume she wasn't aware she was capable of. The lightning became more violent and a few bolts separated fromt he usual thin shapes.
The lightning got closer and closer until suddenly a bolt struck the ground right in front of the Soshi. The lightning looked strangely like a fist as it sent earth flying into the air. The woman screamed as the earth beneath her feet crumbled and she fell down.
The shock of lightning being so close made nearly all the Shugenja lose their focus and suddenly the winds died down. The spell was incomplete.
It was a failure.
Soon the Crane army was back on their feet, a little shaken up, but their weapons were soon ready and they charged forward. Everything that the others had been working so hard for had disappeared as quickly as the lightning that struck.
Metal was clashing against armor and metal again, the thunder's roar was nothing compared to this.
The Soshi woman was on the ground, bruised and battered and coughing as dirt got into her mouth. "Who!" she yelled up at the Shugenja on the ledge above her.
What she wanted to know was who cast Fist of Osano-Wo, and so close to the allies. The Crane Shugenja were no where in sight, they were too valuable and too few to risk on the battle field right now. The spell was dangerous and she was sure soon her, now speeding heart, would slow down for the final time. The rhythm was off and it was skipping too many beats to promise life.
She heard someone jump down to her side from above. She glared as Yogo's face was in her view. He spoke but she couldn't hear him over the sounds of battle, but she could read his lips well enough.
"I'm so sorry," was what Yogo was repeating over and over. "I didn't mean to betray you."
The Yogo did what Bayushi said they would never do, they loved a Scorpion.
The Soshi woman just stared at him, anger filling her body. Her heart pumped erratically, trying to cope with the missing beat and the anger that was suddenly filling it. She knew that soon it would give out. She raised her hand to slap him when suddenly a long wooden pole blocked the path of her arm.
That pole was attached to a metal spearhead, which was embedded in her chest. The Crane army had broken through and were attacking the fleeing Shugenja.
Yogo watched as his so-called love died right in front of him. When he looked up, he saw a sword swinging at him, the engraving of a Crane shining in what was left of the sunlight.
Author's Notes: This is one of three fanfics written around the same general theme/idea/plot. Mine follows the PoV of a Yogo Shugenja of the Scorpion clan, I will notify of when the other two stories get posted, be on the look out. This was just the prologue, and since mine isn't the true story, there are a lot of details of the wars and explanations left out. This is done on purpose. I apologize if this is all very confusing.
Please review if you'd like to see more.