Shadowed Autumn Leaves
“Suffer not a single Serpent to survive the coming storm.”
Appearance and Personality
A spider, in both name and deed, Susumu Hotako is a clever, patient, and dangerous enemy of pirates and maho-tsukai across Rokugan. Her hair, black as volcanic stone, is worn in a single long braid which stretches to her lower back. Her sharp features are accentuated by the harsh kabuki-style face paint she applies. Always serious and neutral-faced, Hotako’s demeanor gives no window into her true feelings or motivations.
Before the rise of the Spider Clan, Hotako was a ronin and sailor, plying the waterways of Rokugan trying to make a life for herself. Inspired by the heroism of the rising otokodate, called the Spider, the bushi-ko left the sea behind to dedicate herself to their noble ends. Hotako fought alongside her brothers and sisters at the penultimate battle of the Destroyer War. Having been credited with defeating Akatsutsumi, the Destroyer who lead the terrifying Centuriae, she was a heroine respected even amongst her peers. During the Scorpion Clan’s ferocious and unprovoked assault, Hotako took command of the Spider and saw to their survival against their brutal assailants until the dutiful Lion came to her aid. Due to her actions, she was a prominent figure of the newborn Spider Clan in the uneasy peace which followed. Due to her experience on the sea, Susumu Hotako was named shireikan of the modest Spider Fleet, which she immediately sought to bolster. Claiming an outdated Yoritomo kobune left to rot in mothballs as her flagship, the Modest Blossom, Hotako took to the seas and made a name for herself as a merciless and efficient hunter of pirates and other seaborne brigands.
The Battle of the Black Dawn
After discovering a weak link in the leadership of the vicious Yurei no Sanada, Susumu Hotako reached out to the Emerald Magistrates of Broken Wave City to assist her in destroying them utterly. Both the Third Storm and the Umi-Tora mysteriously turned her away, refusing to cooperated with her. The Spider samurai-ko insisted on killing the kaizokuban to the man despite the meager forces the Emerald Magistrates coalition brought to bear. Fighting bravely and brutally under the command of the yoriki, Matsu Ai, Hotako felled many enemies, including the pirate taisa, Haka. Though successful at eliminating the threat of the maho wielding kaizokuban, that achievement was overshadowed by the death of nearly all the Spider under her command, and the loss of the Modest Blossom by the hand of her chui, the traitor Susumu Mogai. She left Broken Wave City to face the judgement of Susumu Kuroko soon after the conclusion of the battle.
“Kill me then, if you believe yourself strong enough.”
Shortly after the catastrophic fight against the Yurei no Sanada, the Emerald Magistrate, Bayushi Shinichiro, became suspect of the Spider samurai-ko whom he had fought beside at the Black Dawn. Careful investigation by Shinichiro and his yoriki, Yoritomo Tomino, revealed the samurai-ko had once been a Mantis, named Yoritomo Hotako. Assumed dead after the loss of her ship, the Spoils of War, Hotako reemerged with the Spider, forsaking her family loyalties for the otokodate. Other evidence the two discovered lead them to the conclusion that Hotako had not only known of Susumu Mogai’s true nature, but likely colluded with the man in her vendetta against the Serpents of Sanada. Upon finding her within the Master of Pain’s Coral Garden some months later, skewered upon the dead reef, Tomino, embracing his hatred of the woman and the sacrifices made for her vengeance, murdered her in her weakened state. Even in her critical condition, Hotako still nearly killed her assailant and displayed inhuman resilience against the Yoritomo’s blade, strengthening his conviction that ending the woman was the right course. Unbeknownst to Tomino, his killing of Hotako passed her title, that of Obsidian Champion, commander of the armies of Jigoku, to him.