Draft One: (I got Mari's approval to use this school.)
Clan: Ronin (Of Lion Descent)
School: Kenku Kensei
*Kenjutsu 3 Katana
Lore: Kenku Culture 1
*Lore: Spirit Realms 1
*Tea Ceremony 1
(4) Blood of Osano’wo
(7) Paragon of Compassion
(2) Strength of the Earth
(3) Compulsion (DC 20) Visit every major temple I pass.
(4) Cursed by the Realm: Gaki’do
(4) Cursed by the Realm: Sakaku
(1) Fascination: The old races.
(4) Failure of Bushido: Sincerity
(3) Social Disadvantage: Ronin
RANK 1: WING OF THUNDER
The kenku bushi has learned to harness the speed of the wind itself, and can draw that element into himself. You may add the total of your Refl exes and School Rank to your Armor TN against any enemy with lower Initiative.
RANK 2: HEAVEN’S CLAW
The bushi has tapped the power of the thunderbolt, striking hard at his enemy’s weaknesses. Any time you inflict more than 10 points of damage with a single attack, your opponent loses one Void Point. Against opponents with no Void Points remaining (or no Void), you may instead re-roll a single damage die and take the better of the two results.
Nineteen years ago, a cabal of majo users in the crane lands began raiding lion provinces and falling back across the border to avoid repercussions.
A small band of young samurai, including Moto Hikari, quietly crossed the border without political sanction to dispatch them. As Hikari’s grandfather had warned her, the undead minions of the majo clan saught her out above all other targets. The covert war was long, and the samurai often driven into hiding for weeks at a time. Hikari swelled with a child her husband had planted in her before they left. She had two companions left when a country midwife delivered their son. She named him Katsu, but deliberately did not pronounce upon him a family name, in hopes that the family curse would not fall upon him and the undead would not seek him out.
In the next few months, more and more undead descended upon the Lionesses. The remaining majo users were desperate, and using the curse on Hikari to help track them.
Before the babe was weened, Hikari was the last of them. In Katsu’s fourth month of life, his mother took a bite that infected and she knew that—without magical medicine—she would soon die.
She found a small shrine, kept by an aging bachelor named Ko. She dared to stay one night with Ko, then hardened her heart and told the old man, “I found this child alone in a village burned out by bandits. I can take him no further. I pray you, find him a good home.”
Then she left. Though it is only recorded in the most confused of songs, Hikari fought her way through the undead and slew the leader of the majo cult before wound fever took her, and she was buried with honors by the farmers she liberated.
Now Ko was a wise man, and an admirer of the feminine form. He could tell before Hikari left that she was both sick and the mother of the child, but a samurai would not like without very good reason, so he honored her words as if they were the truth. With the help of a village woman for a wet nurse, he raised Katsu as his own grandson.
Nine years later, running an errand in town, Katsu encountered five older boys casting stones and insults at a feeble old beggar. Without thought, he threw himself between them and demanded that they leave him alone.
The biggest boy punched Katsu in the stomach harder and faster than he could block, and he doubled over in pain. “How you going to make us, Katsu? Just because the old fool named you Victory doesn’t mean you can take us.”
Katsu gasped and straightened up, “Leave him alone. Can’t you see you’re killing him?”
“What, he’s just a beggar. What are you going to do, stop us? Shave your head, Katsu, and punch the ground to start an earthquake.”
Katsu swallowed and straightened up. He did, in fact, know some jiujutsu from his grandfather, but knew he couldn’t take five!
He glanced back at the bloody old man, then shouted, “Fine, let’s go!” And kicked one boy’s feet out from under him, then hammered a fist into another boy’s solar plexus…
And was promptly grabbed and made a punching bag of for the next fifteen minutes.
He wasn’t really conscious when the bullies screamed and fled.
When he woke up again, he was home—with the tofu he’d never been able to pick up—and a monk of the brotherhood of Osano’wo was tending his wounds. The monk smiled when he asked if the beggars wounds had also been tended, he nodded vaguely and replied, “That was very brave what you did. Your mother would be proud. Sleep now.”
When he woke again, he felt much better, and the monk offered to teach him Jiyujutsu.
They studied Jiyujutsu for two years before the monk first offered him a shinai and showed him how all he’d learned about how to move and how to think and how to breathe could make him a great swordsman.
On his fourteenth birthday, the monk presented him with his mother’s daisho. Katsu asked who his mother had been, and he simply replied, “A hero.” Then he diverted the topic by assuming his true form and saying, “now we must begin your training in earnest. Come at me with these, and do not hold back…”