Shadowed Autumn Leaves
Yurei no Sanada
Background and Organization
Not long ago the Serpents of Sanada terrorized the waters of Rokugan, assaulting Mantis shipping where ever it could be found, which covers most of Rokugan’s waterways. On more than a few daring occasions the Serpents raided Mantis holdings on the Isles of Silk and Spice, long thought impenetrable, even by the Great Clans, let alone by mere pirates. After Kaigen’s Island rose from the sea and the Mantis began construction on Kyuden Kumiko, the Serpents arrived. Led by a council of eight captains, the Broken Wave City chapter began raiding Mantis assets nearly immediately. Each captain generally made two raids a year, carefully selecting and stalking their prey, unguarded merchant vessels or small military kobune, before committing themselves to an all out assault. Though they were not nearly as successful as some of the other chapters of Serpents, they also avoided the fate of their comrades. The Mantis Clan redoubled its efforts against the infamous kaizokuban, which, alongside the efforts of a mysterious and vengeful Spider named Hotako, decimated the Serpents of Sanada. Some of those who escaped this great purge came to Broken Wave City, and the Serpents there prospered. In memory of their former greatness, and their new found power, they were rechristened the Yurei no Sanada. More recently, two of the eight captains which made up the leadership of the Ghosts of Sanada left the organization to create their own kaizokuban, the Mujihina Hagane. The two groups remain bitter enemies.
It is unknown how the Ghosts of Sanada began utilizing the dark art of maho or why they turned to the Dark Lord’s power. Some believe it was for protection from the virtuous Spider which hunted them. Others claimed they were always maho-tsukai, otherwise, how could they have had so much success against the Mantis Clan? Ultimately the reasons are unimportant. Many merchants who are attacked by the Serpents simply submit to them at the threat of blood magic alone, putting up no more fight than an infant in its crib. Fear is the weapon of choice for the Ghosts of Sanada. What they can not cow into submission they hide from. While such tactics are unthinkable to a samurai they are very effective for a kaizokuban. Though they are maho-tsukai, the Yurei no Sanada seem completely uninterested in spreading the Shadowlands Taint or serving Jigoku. They are content to raid and pillage as they have for years, using their dark magics to serve those simple ends.
The Master of Pain
Through the diligent efforts of the Emerald Magistrates and their yoriki the source of the Yurei no Sanada’s maho became apparent. A dangerous enemy of the Empire calling himself Motaro, the Master of Pain had revealed himself to the pirate gang. He first showed himself to Zakumo, Yoritomo Udako, and Severence. He offered them the power their organization had once possessed and more. Soon he had convinced nearly all the taisa. Those who would not allow the blood sorcery were killed, though a handful escaped to found the rival kaizokuban, the Remorseless Steel. Motaro trained the remaining taisa personally, showing them the strength of his uniquely cruel magics. The taisa passed down their lessons to those under their command and the dangerous kaizokuban fell to the darkness.
In a combined effort between Susumu Hotako and the Emerald Magistrates of Koware Nami Toshi, the Ghosts of Sanada were killed to the man at the Battle of the Black Dawn. Using intelligence extracted from Jutaki, the coalition forces were alble to attack by surprise, quickly seizing the high ground. Despite the early gains, the battle was a long and fierce one, with the Emerald Magistrates forces outnumbered nearly three to one. The combat finally came to a close after Yoritomo Ryurai killing the de-facto kaizokuban commander, Masarugi, in single combat. After their commanders death, the maho-tsukai pirates turned to flee, but the geography of their hideout which had concealed them now trapped them. True to her word, Susumu Hotako saw to it that all were slaughtered.
- Jutaki, the Silver Tongued, Captain of the Serpent’s Hiss
- Haka, the Repenter, Captain of the Bleeding Wind
- Zakumo, the Unseen, Captain of the Fleeting Whisper
- Yoritomo Udako, the Kama-Wielding Madwoman, Captain of the Weeping Knife
- Masarugi, the Fallen Lion, Captain of the Victory
- Severance, the Peasant Blood Sorceress, Captain of the Long Night