The Anvil’s Legacy
Hammer & Anvil 2
by Shawn Carman
A wide smile blossomed in the shadows, visible even in the darkness that surrounded it. “The Emperor,” a voice said. “The Emperor is dead.”
“That is the report,” the ronin said. “The survivors left the Crab lands, heading north. The news is spreading in their wake. Toturi Naseru died in the Shadowlands.”
Laughter, at once dark and cheerful, rang out through the dank hideout. “Marvelous,” the man in the shadows said. “Simply marvelous.”
“What would you have us do, master?” the ronin asked.
“Choices,” was the reply. “So many choices, each more wonderful than the last. But ultimately, there is a single choice. Can you see what it is my young friend? Do you know the path we will take?”
“No, master,” the ronin answered.
The man called Kokujin stepped from the shadows. “The Emperor is dead, and all that remains is his Empire. He was called the Anvil, but Rokugan is the true Anvil. It is the forge upon which the souls of men are tempered. Men such as yourself, Akihiro.”
The ronin bandit smiled. “If I am made of sterner stuff than most, master, it is because I have accepted your teachings and found strength.”
“Of course!” Kokujin laughed. “And you will be my hammer, my instrument. I will use you against the Anvil, against the Empire, and we shall see if there are any remaining among them who are worthy, or if they are weak as we believe.”
“They are weak, master. I will prove it to you.”
The Dark Prophet smiled. “Of course you will.”
With the Emperor dead, the Prophet of the Dark Lotus has dramatically increased his agenda of revolution. Even before Naseru fell, the City of Lies was nearly put to the torch by the crazed minions of Kokujin, who fans the flames of discontent to a fever pitch and unleashed his pawns upon the samurai of Rokugan. Now, he has sent forth one of his most brilliant and ruthless pupils, the bandit Akihiro, to test the mettle of the Empire’s heroes. Another ronin, Osami, attempts to keep the balance by offering aid to the Great Clan. With an empty throne distracting the empire, will the ronin be the factor that tips the balance?
Based on your answers, and the answers of other winners around the world, we will decide which clan Osami (the ronin hero) will approach for help against Akihiro (Kokujin’s right hand) and whether that clan will commit aid.
Please answer the following questions to help us determine the result for this global storyline event:
Which clan (or up to two clans, if you won a booster draft event) did you use in winning your victory?
If you used more than one clan, from which of the clans you played will the ronin hero Osami seek aid to combat the madman Akihiro?
Now you decide – will your chosen clan agree to assist the ronin in combating Kokujin’s plans, knowing that consorting with wave men will harm their reputation in the courts, or will they reject the request and risk suffering at the Dark Prophet’s hands?
A Hero’s Tale
Hammer & Anvil 3
by Shawn Carman
The night sky was bright with glowing embers cast up from a dozen burning buildings, and any peace the darkness should have brought was broken by the shouts of the dying, the wounded, and the wrathful.
Osami knelt and checked the status of one of his men. His face was bloodied, but he recognized the piecemeal armor at once. The man had served with him for over six months, but that service was at an end. Osami closed his eyes for the briefest of moments, offering a silent prayer for the man’s soul.
“Osami-sama!” Another man ran toward him. He held a kumade, but the way in which he held it betrayed how recent his training had been. “Osami-sama!”
“Do not call me sama,” the ronin said sharply.
“Oh, yes,” the ashigaru said. “The bandits are fleeing! Their line is broken!”
Osami looked around at the village. It was not in ruins, but it was precariously close. Had the battle lasted even ten minutes more, their position could very well have been completely overrun. “Akihiro did not run,” he said flatly. “His men broke. The ones he can find, he will kill himself.” He shook his head. “His rage will be unquenchable.”
“You’ve said that angry men make mistakes, Osami,” the man said.
Osami nodded. “They do.” He rose, sheathed his blade, then looked up at the night sky. The smoke had obscured the stars, but it was a cold, cloudless night with a full moon. There would be enough light. “Gather the rest and hold your position in the village,” he ordered.
“We have to chase the bandits!”
“No,” Osami said. “Akihiro is the threat. Leave him to me.”
In the events of Hammer and Anvil 2: The Anvil’s Legacy, the madman Kokujin sent his disciple, the ronin bandit-lord Akihiro to Rokugan following the death of Emperor Toturi Naseru. His mission was to wreak havoc, creating confusion and fear in the populace.
Consumed by their own petty squabbles, and the Khan’s race for the throne, the Great Clans were either unaware of this threat, or were reluctant to commit resources to address it. Only the ronin hero Osami and his allies stood against Akihiro’s assault. Against impossible odds, Osami has driven Akihiro back, thwarting his dark master’s sinister plans and proving the strength of the people of Rokugan. Now, with the final battle imminent, the story of Osami must be completed.
Each tournament winner will help shape the events of a new fiction depicting Osami’s story, and should answer the following questions:
1. What faction did you play in this tournament?
a. Is this the clan from which Osami originates, or
b. Is this the clan he considers his enemies?
2. What ally shall Osami call upon to aid him in the final stand against Akihiro?
a. Nagisa, the wandering duelist.
b. Ikuei, the freelance yojimbo.
c. Yamainu, the ruthless assassin.
d. No one. Osami will face Akihiro alone.
3. What shall become of Akihiro?
a. He will be slain in battle.
b. He will live to fight another day.
c. He will be cast out from Kokujin’s pupils to wander the Empire, a broken and hunted man.