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Doom of the Empire in Eleven Parts: Kotei 2005
written by Rich Wulf

If you are the original contributor of a 'doom' to the L5R boards and you don't see your name listed where it belongs, contact me.


Doom of an Empire Part One Kotei story beginning 4/2

Rosoku stepped though the threshold of the ancient shrine, pushing aside his hood and letting his hair spill over his shoulders. His robes were soaked from the storm. The rain fell behind him in a steady curtain, and the sky cried out with the sound of thunder. The last descendant of Shinsei made his way through the abandoned temple at a hurried pace. His dreams had been troubled of late, and for one of his bloodline troubled dreams were rarely a matter that could be safely ignored.

It hade been a promise that bound his family for generations to remain apart from the Empire. The promise had never set well with him. How could an heir of Shinsei rightly call himself a guardian if he hid away from the world? He had stepped forward from hiding in hopes of bringing enlightenment, but how foolish he had been to think that he could offer peace as well. He had forgotten a fundamental truth. There could no be enlightenment without hardship.

The sohei guardians, warrior priests who had guarded this temple in obscurity for generations, made no move to stop him. Rosuku entered a small chamber, where a book lay in wait on a single shelf. The mark of the five rings was emblazoned upon its cover, the book that would be the prize for whatever hero met the challenges he had presented to the Emperor.

As he turned fretfully through the pages, Rosuku's thoughts moved back to his nightmare. He had stood at a crossroads in a forest and saw two paths that lay ahead, two possible futures. The rain fell about him heavily, just as it did tonight. As he studied these paths a voice echoed through the woods. The words were old and familiar yet somehow altogether new when he awoke he remembered only bits and pieces, but he knew where to seek the rest. This book, filled with the wisdom of his forebears, would contain what he sought. Turning quickly through the thick scroll he finally found the words, passages from the tongue of a long-dead madman.

It spoke of the Doom of an Empire.


Doom of an Empire part Two Kotei story beginning 4/9
(Contributed by TheRick)

In the dim light of the temple, Rosoku read the prophesies recorded by his ancestors. The words scrawled across the paper in an unsteady hand, as though the portents they carried struck uncertainty in the heart of even Shinsei's steadfast followers. These prophesies were recorded from the ravings of the mad prophet Uikku. They spoke of the end of the Empire, and most who knew of them assumed that they referred to the Second Day of Thunder.

But as Rosoku read the words again, his heart began to beat faster.

They Read:

The First Doom
"Of the Crab, it will be the return of an ancient hero that marks their doom. He will destroy the Crab Clan and everything for which they have fought."

Could it be? Perhaps it was nothing more than coincidence, yet it had been only months since Kisada, Champion of the Crab from generations past, had returned to the mortal realm. But no... this doom spoke of his son, Yakamo, the Crab Clan Thunder. Didn't it?

Yet... Yakamo never returned' during the Clan Wars, for he had never truly left,' and he was just a boy in those days, not ancient' in the least. Kisada seemed to fit Uikku's description far more neatly than his son.

With trembling hands, Rosoku read on.


The Doom of the Empire Part Three Kotei story beginning 4/16
(Contributed by Shinjo Arada)

Outside, the sounds of the storm intensified. The temple was warm enough, but the descendant of Shinsei could not restrain a shiver.The words of Uikku rang startingly true, even with only the First Doom. He prayed it was only a coincidence, but read on just to be certain...

The Second Doom
"Of the Crane, a fallen foe will prove to be their undoing. They will be led astray by a deceiver and the true hero will arise too late to save them"

How many heroes had fallen from the Crane Clan? Megumi. Rekai. Hohiro. The Crane hid their true fates from outsiders, but such truths could not be long hidden from one with Shinsei's blood. As for deceivers - Rosoku suspected that there were many among the Crane who did not serve the Emperor as loyally as they claimed, but had their own interests in mind.

He then realizd the truth that his dreams had hoped to reveal - the Prophecies of Uikku did indeed foretell of the Empire's downfall. But that time had not yet come.


Doom of an Empire part four Kotei story beginning 4/23
(Contributed by Tsuruchi Nakata)

The descendant of Shinsei continued to pore through the mad ramblings of the prophet, Uikku. For A time he had turned away from the Dooms, reading other passages in an attempt to calm his mind. It was said that the prophet's other predictions were little more than madness. He had hoped to convince himself there was no merit in Uikku's words, but as Rosoku read them his concern only grew.

"A wolf shall sit upon the throne, and embrace the void." Had this not come to pass? Had not the Black Wolf married the Oracle of the Void and begun the Toturi Dynasty?

"Insects of the sea, forest, and flame shall rule the open sea." This seemed to speak of the Mantis Clan's rise from the Mantis, Wasp, and Centripede Clans.

"Those who shed the blood of gods will rise to glory and madness." Even this seemed to speak of Hitomi and Yakamo, the unpredictable new masters of the Celestial Heavens.

He turned back to the Dooms once more. Perhaps if the time of Uikku's prophecy was indeed approaching, he might yet find a way to avert it.

The Third Doom
"The Lion Clan shall find that blind faith in the Throne leaves you blind to the need of the Empire."

This passage, sadly, was less clear than the rest. How could the Lion hope to resist such a fate? If they were to set aside their faith in the Throne, would they not destroy everything they were?

Rosoku sighed and rubbed his tired eyes with two fingers. He must continue reading...


The Doom of an Empire Part Five Kotei story beginning 4/30

Rokugan was a land of strict traditions. Samurai followed the pattern set by their ancestors - was it any wonder that history and destiny sometimes followed similar patterns? Rosoku, the descendant of Shinsei, had realised a startling truth. The Prophecies of Uikku had not yet come to pass. As he read each Doom, he saw them now not as visions of the future, but as almost living things. How long had the Dooms crept at the edge of consciousness, waiting to inflict themselves upon as unsuspecting Empire? Perhaps when they had not come to pass during the Clan War they merely retreated, waiting to spring forth once more.

He read on...

The Fourth Doom
"The Tao of Shinsei is no guard against darkness. It is their pride that will blind the Phoenix to their downfall"

Much like the Lion's Doom, this one also seemed like the sort that would be impossible to predict or to realise until it had come to pass. The Phoenix were a fircely proud people, and often stumbled due to their arrogance. Could he even protect them, considering that the Doom itself said that Shinsei's wisdom would be powerless to save them?

But what if this Doom meant something more? Two of the Emperor's own brothers now stood among the Phoenix Clan. Kaneka and Sezaru were both proud men. Perhaps now safeguarding their destinies this Doom, at least, might be averted? And with these brave souls as examples, how could any Phoenix fail? It was a dim sense of hope, but better than nothing. Rosoku read on.


The Doom of an Empire, Part Six Kotei story beginning 5/7

The sixth Doom stared up at Rosoku from the ancient parchment. Rosoku read the words, and then read them again. He wondered if perhaps he had been mistaken in believing Uikku's Dooms had not yet happened.

The Fifth Doom
"At the moment of their victory, that is when the Scorpion Clan shall learn the cost of dark alliances."

But the Scorpion had already faced many evils within their clan. The Shadowed Tower, the Lying Darkness, the corruption of Yogo Junzo and Bayushi Shoju. They had conquered all these things and became stronger for it. Could their doom already have been occurred?

No. Uikku's dooms were ordered for a purpose, the mad prophet was clear in that regard. Each one must occur in sequence, or the ravings meant nothing. Did the Scorpion possess some unrevealed dark alliance? Were they set to engage an enemy and arise victorious?

To know that, Rosoku realized, he would have to know all the secrets of the Scorpion Clan. Unlikely, even for one with all of Shinsei's wisdom. With a heavy sigh, he kept reading.


The Doom of an Empire, Part Seven Kotei story beginning 5/14

The truth was clear now. The Prophecies of Uikku, ravings that foretold the Doom of an Empire, had not yet come to pass. As he read the ancient prophecies, one struck Rosoku as stranger than most.

The Sixth Doom
"The Unicorn may be the masters of the Four Winds, but when the great wind comes, it shall be the saplings that fall before the great trees with deep roots."

Shinjo once called herself the Master of the Four Winds. Though in Uikku's time the Ki-Rin Clan had long since departed Rokugan, that title was remembered still. Yet in these modern times it had greater meaning. Toturi's children the Emperor, the Shogun, the Voice, and the now departed Toturi Tsudao also called themselves the Four Winds.

Yet who among the Unicorn Clan could rightly call himself a master of Toturi's children? And how could even the maddest prophet compare the stolid Moto warlords and fierce Utaku Shiotome to saplings? Perhaps there was deeper meaning, but that meaning was not clear.

He moved on.


The Doom of an Empire, Part Eight Kotei story beginning 5/21

As Rosoku turned the page to read the next doom, his expression became troubled. Of all the Prophecies of Uikku, this was the most mysterious of all. Beneath the heading where the Seventh Doom should be, there was only a blank page.

This should have been the Doom of the Dragon if the pattern held true. How ironic that the most prophetic of the clans should have no prophecy at all. A footnote at the side of the page mentioned that this Doom had been claimed by the Dragon Clan Champion and erased from all copies of Uikku's journals. At that time, the Dragon Clan Champion would have been Togashi in human guise a god among men.

But why would a god seek to hide such a truth? Rosoku pondered this. Perhaps Togashi realized, as Rosoku now did, that the Dooms did not truly refer to the Second Day of Thunder. The other Dooms were well known by the people of Rokugan. There may be others who also realized that the Dooms were on the horizon but sought to accelerate them rather than prevent them.

By hiding this Doom, perhaps Togashi had given his people their single greatest weapon to save the Empire. Or perhaps, by concealing the truth, he had doomed them all. Togashi had always been a hero of the Empire and an ally of his ancestors, but who can say why a god truly does anything?

All that truly remained, Rosoku realized, was faith.


The Doom of an Empire, Part Nine Kotei story beginning 5/28
(Contributed by Shiba Jabieru)

The storm outside had not abated. Thunder shook the ancient shrine, but Rosoku did not notice. He remained intent upon the ancient book that lay open before him. With trepidation, he read the last of Uikku's Dooms.

The Eighth Doom
"They believe they have come to the Empire to assist against the Shadowlands, but it shall be this very action that will be their doom."

During the Clan War it was believed that this Doom referred to the sleeping Naga, but now Rosoku wondered. After all, the Naga had never truly come to Rokugan they had always been there, slumbering deep within the Shinomen. And as it was eventually revealed, the Shadowlands was not their only enemy for they had come to battle the Lying Darkness as well.

Who else could the Doom refer to? Some gaijin force? The Nezumi? Some rogue force from within the Shadowlands itself? Such was possible, for not all who walked beyond the Kaiu Wall served the Dark Lord. Or perhaps it did indeed refer to the Naga and they were destined to awaken once more?

It was impossible to say. Rosoku realized that all he could do was wait, and be prepared to recognize any unexpected heroes from beyond the Empire. Their fate would encompass the fate of all of Rokugan. To salvage one thousand years of honor and tradition, these mysterious allies must be saved& from themselves.


The Doom of an Empire, Part Ten Kotei story beginning 6/4
(contributed by Hida Tetsuo Exp)

Rosuku sighed as he closed the heavy book. He had never thought much of prophecy.

If the future was already written, then what purpose did the present serve. If everything done was meant to be, then why did anything we did in this life have worth?

He scowled as the thoughts churned his mind. What would Shinsei say if he knew his descendant had entertained such thought? Had not Shinsei resolved the greatest of all prophecies.

Rosuko looked back through the book written by his descendants, read the tale of the first Shinsei once more. A slow smile crept across Rosuko´s face at what he found there. If there had been no possibility that Shinei could have failed, then why would Shinsei have fought so fiercely? Why, when the crane Thunder fell, did he lose hope even for a moment?

It was because Shinsei knew the truth. A prophecy not an assured outcome; it was more like a plan. All plans could fail. Perhaps, as Rosuko had theorized, the Dooms were like living things, nightmares that twisted the course of events so that their dark destiny could come to fruition but the Dooms had been waiting for a long time. The Empire had changed a great deal since Uikku´s lifetime. Where once there were seven Great Clans, now there were eight.

How would the Mantis Clan figure into the times to come? They seemed quite adept at upsetting the plans of their enemies. Perhaps Rokugan was unprepared for Uikku´s Dooms, but perhaps the Dooms, in turn, were unprepared for Rokugan.

One could only hope.

It was a small reassurance, but better than nothing. Rosuko set the heavy book back upon its shelf. Before he realized it, the descendant of shinsei had drifted to sleep&


The Doom of an Empire, Part Eleven Kotei story beginning 6/11

The rain came down around Rosoku in a persistent wave. The descendent of Shinsei clutched his robes tightly against his body, and prodded his way through the forest, using his staff to guide his path. Ahead, he saw the road split into two paths. At the junction grew a pair of flowers, two lotus blooms. One was pale violet with broad, silken petals. The other was so dark that even the raindrops that fell upon it's petals did not shine.

The path of the bright lotus shone with hope and opportunity, but not without cost. There would be those who would seek to destroy the enlightenment that lay ahead, or twist it to their own devices. On the path of the bright lotus, jealousy and ambition would bring destruction.

The path of the dark lotus was wreathed with uncertainty. None could tell friend from enemy. Those who pursued truth found only madness. On the path of the dark lotus, the only certainty was uncertainty.

On both paths, Rosoku saw noble heros take up arms against one another in the name of Emperor or Shogun. On the path of bright lotus, they fought for duty and honour. Heros charged across the battlefield to die with brilliant glory. On the path of the dark lotus, their motives were not so pure, and heros died unremembered in shallow graves. Rosoku could hear the words of Uikku echo through the forest. The Dooms seemed to be watching, waiting, hoping to twist the course of both paths to some unknown end.

"Do you hear them?" said another voice. "Is it not glorious?"

A dark skinned man stepped from the shadows of the forest. He was tall and muscular, with a shaven head in the style of a monk. He wore no shirt, displaying a muscular body painted in swirling tatoos of ebony and blood red. He smiled at Rosoku, a smile that bore only malice and insanity.

"Kokujin," Rosoku whispered, readying his staff. "What are you doing here?"

"For men of peace, the students of Shinsei are oddly eager for violence," Kokujin said. "I have not come to harm you, Rosoku. It would only be wasted energy in this place. I have come only to view my competitor."

"Competitor?" Rosoku asked.

"I, like you, am a student of prophecy," Kokujin replied. He tilted his head and closed his eyes, listening to the resounding Dooms as if they were sweet music. "We are much alike, Rosoku. Both heirs to a legacy of power and wisdom. Both teachers, seeking to spread that wisdom to others. There are only two differences between us. First, you wonder which of these paths is the right one. I have already accepted the potential that either holds... the potential for the only true enlightenment. Violence."

And what is the second difference?" Rosoku asked through gritted teeth?

Kokujin's smile broadened. "I know what the Doom of the Dragon is," he replied.

The tattooed man stepped away then, and was gone as quickly as he appeared. As the madman departed, Rosoklu could not help but feel some shred of his dwindling hope leave with him.



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Togashi will return!