Shadowed Autumn Leaves
From Shishinza’s Dossier
Shiba Sayoko’s story is one of tragedy, bitterness, and revenge. Ironically, the circumstances that led to this have made her the powerful and influential presence she is in Broken Wave City. The Great Clans have all placed skilled ambassadors in this newest and closest of the Mantis courts, but none are as committed or driven as Shiba Sayoko. Sayoko’s tale did not start this way. For many years, she was the devoted and loving wife of a Shiba warrior named Mori. Shiba Mori had originally been assigned to the diminutive Sayoko as a yojimbo, and for the early years of her career as a Phoenix diplomat, their relationship was strictly professional. But over time, love blossomed between the two. Eventually, Sayoko was able to convince her daimyo that a marriage would be beneficial for the clan; Mori stepped down as her yojimbo and became her husband. Children followed, and the couple found that rarest of things among Rokugani nobility – true love. But the War of Fire and Thunder changed everything. Sayoko urged Mori, a man she believed past a warrior’s prime, to leave the war to younger men. Mori, however, could not resist the call of battle. Given command of a legion, he distinguished himself on the battlefield until a Tsuruchi arrow found a gap in his armor at the Battle of the Broken Wave. Sayoko was devastated by the loss of her beloved – all the more so given her Clan’s surrender to the Mantis and their claiming of Kaigen’s Island just off the Phoenix coast, events which only seemed to make Mori’s death more needless and futile. Using the considerable connections and favors of her political service, Sayoko procured the position of ambassador to the Mantis, taking up station in the new court of Kyuden Kumiko. Her most obvious act to unnerve the Mantis was to ensure that the Phoenix Embassy would be the most striking and recognizable structure in Broken Wave City, importing white marble, rich wood, and colorful tile at great expense. Sayoko has years of experience as a courtier and diplomat and holds little love for most Mantis. Sayoko has taken great pains to hide her past so that her husband’s memory can not be used against her. Revealing the Phoenix Ambassador’s secrets would surely earn Sayoko’s unending venom, which, as I can attest, can be fatally poisonous.