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The First Oni

"Shiba trudged onward through the blasted landscape, eyes level with the horizon. He couldn't afford for them to shift, or the dark influence of this place would seize them and never let go. He walked in the same stance he had assumed so many days before, carried his sword in the same defensive position. He could not afford to stop, or sleep, or think. If he did, Fu Leng's realm would destroy him.

"Ahead, within the shelter of two great and jagged spires of rock, Shiba heard the sounds of combat. A blast of fetid air suddenly exploded from among the spires, lighting the sky for miles in every direction. Fighting down the urge to turn back, Shiba forced his way up and into the mouth of the unnatural structure.

"Within, curled into the apex of the stones, was a multi-limbed creature whose skin seemed to have been flayed away, Ieaving only rancid strips of grey membrane strapped over its pulpy underskin. An oni, but just not any demon-spawn. This beast was the first of its kind and the most powerful creature in Fu Leng's realm. Behind it stood two figures, one Shinsei and the other unrecognizable behind a mask of blood. As Shiba strained to see, the creature twisted toward him, observing the new arrival with startling objectivity..."

Shiba's battle with the oni is legend among the people of Rokugan, both for the kami Shiba's valor and for the ferocity with which Fu Leng's first child fought. They battled for a hundred days, it is said, until, at last, Shiba died from the other's attack, bleeding into the ground in the faraway wastes of the Shadowlands.

Legend says that the oni may still live somewhere deep in the wastes of the South, but that its wounds have never healed. It remains with the bodies of those it killed, searching for purpose in the skull of the mighty kami it killed. No other samurai has ever given it a challenge, and it longs for the day when it can again turn its claws to battle against a true child of the Sun and Moon.



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