Shadowed Autumn Leaves
“You can have your incense and your torii arches. Your prayers and your purity seals. They are worthless. You can never be cleansed of your sins with such things. Only pain truly wipes the slate clean.”
Appearance and Personality
Susumu Mogai, short, thin, and balding does not have an intimidating presence. His crows feet are deep and wide, his hair, long having receded from his head, is sparse, wiry, and speckled with gray. His lips are thin, like a line of paper across his face, and his nose is thin and hooks downward unpleasantly. By all appearances he is a hen-pecked and piteous aging courtier with the glazed over eyes of a man without ambition. But appearances can be misleading. There is one feature which belies his darker nature; his eyes lack irises, turning them into large black voids upon the white field of the sclera. In fact Mogai is a calculating and wicked man capable of a level of cruelty which is unimaginable even among villains. He speaks slowly and deliberately; he is quick to give ground and shows little spine when engaged in conversation. Whether that is the mark of his former life or a well rehearsed ruse is impossible to tell. The man dresses as he looks, like a conservative and timid man well past his prime, wearing muted grays and blacks with simple geometric patterns.
In a different life, Susumu Mogai was Moshi Mogai, who was a man who was very much exactly as he looked. He pined for the attention of famed Mantis poet, Yoritomo Yoyonagi, who would not have noticed him in one thousand lifetimes. He served his cousin, Yoritomo Kumiko, as well as his meager abilities allowed against Yoritomo Kitao during the Mantis Civil War, but was ultimately always in the shadow of better men. It was after Kitao bowed that Mogai’s destiny revealed itself. When told to choose from among Kumiko’s allies someone to keep an eye on her, Kitao choose the pitiful clerk to be her chui on her kobune, the Bitter Flower, thinking he could be easily manipulated or fooled. But when the Bitter Flower was caught out at sea during the Rain of Blood, Moshi Mogai’s fate took an abrupt turn. In many ways the Taint did not change Mogai the way it changed most men; it simply unleashed the feelings he had suppressed for decades. His feelings of inadequacy, the verbal slings and arrows he had weathered his whole life, his self-loathing, jealousy, and his hatred for those who had not appreciated him. Having suffered from such psychological torture for a lifetime had given him an understanding of such matters that few could hope to match. All it took was for the Taint to remove his inhibitions.
The Master of Pain
Seeing the taint as his salvation, having freed him from the crushing mediocrity of his former life, Mogai was a true believer in the righteousness of service to Jigoku; he vowed to spread its liberation to as many Rokugani as he could. Noteworthy for the raw cruelty of his methods, Mogai never forced the Taint on his converts. He broke them, utilizing physical and psychological torture, until they begged for the release of death, and even beyond that, until they willingly turned themselves over to be vessels for Jigoku. This earned him the title ‘Master of Pain’ from the Dark Lord himself.
The Dark Wave
Yoritomo Kitao, having also suffered the Rain of Blood aboard the Bitter Flower saw much in the new Mogai that she failed to see before. In him she confided her ambitions to watch the Mantis Clan burnt to ash. Mogai, envisioning a Mantis Clan free from the restrictions and limitations placed upon them by the edicts of the Empire, saw a different future for their former Clan. With the raw ambition of the Mantis combined with the freedom and cruelty of his methodology, Mogai dreamed of breaking the Mantis about his will and molding them into the most brash and audacious arm of the forces of Jigoku. To that end the Master of Pain and Yoritomo Kitao assembled the Dark Wave, a vast tainted navy capable of challenging the Mantis dominance of the seas. Enslaving the spirits of Sakkaku to hide this great navy, Mogai single-handedly dealt the Mantis the greatest shock of their long history. Out of the thin mist and sea spray of the summer morning air the Dark Wave emerged to fall upon their Mantis and Phoenix foes, already engaging each other in close combat. Only the heroism of two shugenja shifted the tides of battle to defeat. When Isawa Sachi and Yoritomo Kaigen combined their stongest magics they rose the seafloor to the surface and conjured a massive storm which dashed the Dark Wave against it. With Kitao and Kumiko dead, all who knew Moshi Mogai, both before and after the ravages of the Taint, were gone from Ningen-do. The powerful maho-tsukai who had masterminded the incident disappeared, presumed drowned during his defeat.
The Battle of the Black Dawn
“Kill the Emerald Magistrate and his yoriki. Leave no one alive who has seen my art.”
After many years hiding across Rokugan, the Master of Pain reemerged near the very site of his greatest defeat. At the Battle of the Black Dawn the heimin maho-tsukai, Severence, having summoned a powerful Oni to sink Susumu Hotako’s flagship, the Modest Blossom, recognized her Chui, a man called Susumu Mogai, whom the sorceress knew as her sensei, Motaro, the Master of Pain. Mogai swiftly seized control of the oni and commanded both the Spider who remained on the vessel and the Ghosts of Sanada pirates who were present to kill the Emerald Magistrate, Bayushi Shinichiro and his yoriki, Yoritomo Tomino and the ronin Greenhorn, to protect his identity. Executing a daring escape, the samurai scuttled the Modest Blossom, killing Mogai’s minions and forcing his retreat. Susumu Mogai was exiled from the Spider Clan and declared a traitor and an enemy of the Empire.
After Mogai had escaped Shinichiro’s grasp, Susumu Hotako vowed the Spider would see to it that he was found and put to the sword for his crimes. Upon discovering the disappearance of the local Kuni Witchhunter and whisperings of Motaro’s presence on Kaigen’s Island, the Scorpion decided he was not content to wait for Spider justice. Careful investigation uncovered the Master of Pain’s whereabouts, deep within the Gullet of the Orochi. The Emerald Magistrates confronted Mogai with the power of their yoriki, several allies who had fought alongside them at the Battle of the Black Dawn, and the Broken Wave veteran, Agasha Ryunobu. The Magistrates discovered Motaro’s grotesque Coral Garden, a vast array of dead reef beneath the surface upon which the man hung the bodies of his victims as he broke them. In a desperate melee against his many thralls, the Kaomasen no Oni, and the newly born Oni no Daimitsuujianobukatsu, Susumu Mogai was killed by a viscous all-out assault by Bayushi Shinichiro, who forever ended the cruelty of the Master of Pain.