Shadowed Autumn Leaves
Oni no Ayatsurishibai
“Welcome to the stage I’ve been saving. Now, tell me the best story that was ever told! Tell it to me with no regard for your lives!”
The Banraku Show Begins
Agasha Ryuden; one of the first members of the Bloodspeaker cult, a mighty shugenja of the Dragon and one of the most powerful maho-tsukai who has ever lived. He sought the blood of the First Oni, and with a dreadful ritual, used it to craft the infamous Anvil of Despair. But forging that dark artifact also required great sacrifice, and the Minor Clan of the Boar were his chosen victims. Yet for all his magical might, even Ryuden could not slay the Boar by himself. So, using his fell powers he called out to Jigoku and conjured forth an oni that could make his dream a reality. What Jigoku spat forth was a true horror the likes of which has not been seen before or since. Had Ryuden truly known what he would have called forth, he may never have summoned this oni, for fear of losing control of it.
Oni no Ayatsurishibai, the Demon of the Puppet Show, is likely a unique entity, a fact for which all of Rokugan should be grateful. The demon has a unique talent for murder and manipulation, and a penchant for theatrics which would turn the stomach of the most hardened Crab. The demon is not physically imposing. It is rail thin, with narrow arms that end in impossibly long and nimble hands. Its face is a smiling Noh mask, which adorns a head that is otherwise completely featureless, a wooden sphere like a mannequin. It dances and prances, supernaturally graceful, and it speaks with the voice of practiced, if somewhat manic, actor. The true terror of the Oni no Ayatsurishibai, however, is the show that it puts on for itself and for whatever hellish being it thinks might be watching.
When the Oni slays a human victim, their body is rapidly and magically converted into a wooden mannequin that perfectly resembles the slain human. The Oni then controls its new “puppet” from strings that can seem to reach through unknown folds in space back to its nimble hands. These puppets, in turn, can create new puppets to be controlled by the Oni. Left unchecked or unnoticed ( a fact that can be all too easy, given the demon’s sinister talent for controlling its puppets) the Oni can easily wipe out entire populations. Luckily for many, its need for theatrics will often cause it to reveal itself to ts victims so that they can truly appreciate the “art” of its puppet show, before the demon adds them to the collection.
Defeated during the Fall of the Boar Clan, the Oni no Ayatsurishibai has not since been seen in Rokugan. Although the events of that night are largely a mystery, it seems likely that the dreaded demon was slain by the few heroes of that tragic night.
“Death poems, are mere delusions, death is death.”