The world has changed. "Loyalty, honor, bravery...they mean nothing anymore." A lone swordsman in the center of a large crowd was muttering to himself. The age of the Samurai was waning, and the proof was right in front of him. With the production and demonstration of the new weapon, the gun, the world was taking a turn for the worse. "There is no honor in killing an opponent from afar...there is no test in strength, and no show of bravery and spirit. This is an outrage..." The dawning of a new age With said creation of guns, an announcement was made across the continent: Samurai were obsolete, unneeded. They were asked to lay down their sword and join the new army under one united government. Many joined simply because they admitted defeat, others decided to fight the new Government. They were gunned down without a chance. This was known as the Godslayer War...a massacre and overtaking of the Emperor's throne. The smart samurai faded into the new world, hiding their abilities and settling down. Others became ronin, shaming themselves and their former masters (thus becoming outlawed.) They used their swordsmanship to brutalize and torture towns to submission, thus gaining an income. Very few remained true to their cause: the survival of Bushido. Although the feudal system was now out of practice, the samurai continued to follow the old ways of honor and loyalty, but no longer to lords. They remained for the protection of the people. The remnants of the true samurai, although few, saw the Government as it truly was: corrupt. Between the greed of the higher political powers, and the so called 'protection' from the lower powers, the Government was breeding a holding ground of deceit and betrayal. The samurai questioned how the Government came into power, where they got the means to create devastating weapons, and how they would remain in power after the people saw what they had become. Only one answer came to mind... The Oni, the demons that roamed the land, and the ninja, the hired assassins. The Oni were creatures of old magic, and had the ability to create powerful weapons and artifacts. But as a whole, the demons were destructive and power hungry. The old samurai order had waged war against the Oni, and won. Very few Oni remained, but those that were still in power were both great and powerful...and wise. Making a deal with the Oni would cost dearly, but the results were unimaginable. The ninja, on the other hand, could assassinate all those who opposed the new Government order. As a whole, the ninja have no morals. They simply work for the highest bidder. Using their skills, they could easily wipe out anyone who dared to strike against the new powers. This new era...is hell. The remaining samurai turned away from the demonstration of the gun. "This is blasphemy." He looked up to see two guards pointing their rifles at him. "Drop your sword! You have been ordered to by the Sovereign," the first one spoke, his voice unwavering. There was no fear in his eyes. He was confident, and rightly so. No one would question the new order. "No." History: The Godslayer War - This was the war only five years before this new hostile takeover. The war itself was caused by the Shogun, who overstepped his boundaries. Alliances were formed and broken, and allies one day were enemies the next. Overall, the war was complete hell. There were three great warriors of the time, all of which died near the end of the war. Kuroda Kazunari, the general for the Shogun. He was the most powerful of the three, and used this power to blindly follow his lord. He never once questioned his orders. It was said that he could defeat armies on his own, though this may have been an exaggeration. He was a great tactician, and his men loved him, but they thought him too cruel of a man to trust. Heikichi Takumi, a strange man who sold his soul to the demons. As a result, he carries with him a sword soaked in the blood of his enemies, and an armor that deflects arrows and bullets. He was on the opposing side to the Shogun, and his reasoning behind selling his soul was pure. He wanted to free the world of the evil desires, so he took upon himself the wins of the world. Fujiwara Ritsu, a man of honor and a warrior that could match Kazunari. He led his entire life in the belief that human life was above all, more important than his sworn fealty to a lord. As a result, he was marked a ronin and cast aside more times than he could count. But at last, his skills were out to use. He sided against the Shogun, and fought against Kazunari. The final battle was between Takumi, Ritsu and Kazunari. Takumi was fighting for justice, Ritsu was ovecome by his demonic powers and was fighting for the demons...and Kazunari was fighting for his master, following the code he had believed in. The battle was said to last for five minutes. No one knows what happened, but in the end...all three were dead. After that...the Shogun mysteriously vanished, as if erased from existence. _________________________________________________________________ In the black of night under a waxing moon, the sounds of hushed conversations could be heard on the holy grounds of the temple. Rumors of a deadly new weapon coming to the fair city of Kyoto. Rumors of a deadly assassin coming to end the new regime. Rumors of demons lurking in the streets. Rumors of- "Now, now..." said a voice aloud. "We are not here to spread such nonsense. Please, get back to your work. The deities will not allow such actions upon the holy grounds." The head priest had spoken, and so silence once again permeated the air. The four other monks went back to their work. There was an important ceremony the next day...the resealing of a powerful demon from the Godslayer War. A pact was made, and the demon had killed as he was commanded. In the end, however, the warrior who had made his vow broke the contract, and sealed away the demon. That warrior, now the head priest, had long since watched the seal carefully. The silence seemed to carry on for an eternity. It was eerie. Not even the sounds of the other four monks could be heard. "Are you all slacking again?" Nothing. Not a sound. "Asa? Kyo?" Still nothing. Suddenly the silence was oppressive. Fear struck the elderly priest, and he felt his heart begin to race. Even then, he knew it was too late. A crimson blade leaped from the shadows, and in a single slash, the man's head rolled. "And now, my dear friend..." a rugged voice said. "I offer you the soul of the Priest who trapped you, in return for the reforging of my blade. What say you...?" A tempting offer... rang out a demonic presence from the main altar. But why should I...? The man from the shadows smiled, holding out his hand, and letting the edge of his blade slice across his hand, revealing droplets of blood. "I'll show you..." -------------------------------------------------------------------------- The next day, there was a gathering. People could not figure out how such a prestigious temple had been burned down so quickly, all of the monks dead. It was odd, though, the authorities had mentioned...the head priest's head was missing. What irony was that?