Shadowed Autumn Leaves
From Shishinza’s Dossier
As Chief Magistrate of Broken Wave City, Tsuruchi Takamasa is charged with maintaining law and order on behalf of the Mantis Clan. It is ironic, then, that murky whispers float around the dour Tsuruchi, suggesting that his own past may have been anything but lawful and orderly. Little is known of Takamasa’s early years. Following his gempukku, however, his reputation quickly grew as a skilled bounty hunter – an efficient and determined enemy of those who would flout the Emperor’s law. But it was after the Rain of Blood – a supernatural attack on Rokugan by the evil sorcerer Iuchiban – that Takamasa gained notoriety. The Rain Tainted and drove mad many of those it touched, leaving Rokugan awash in chaos and blood. The Jade and Emerald Magistrates, supplemented by forces from the clans – including the bounty hunters of the Tsuruchi – sought to root out those corrupted by Iuchiban’s evil storm. Takamasa quickly proved himself as skilled at stalking the Tainted as he was at bringing outlaws to justice. One after another, Takamasa’s relentless arrows found their lethal mark. And then the dark whispers began. Men such as Takamasa accumulate many enemies, so it may have been one of these who started the dark rumors that not all those slain by Takamasa were Tainted. Or it may have been more sinister forces, seeking to perpetuate the effects of the Blood Rain, who began to whisper the word ‘murder.’ Whatever their source, stories soon took hold that Takamasa was using the mantle of bounty hunter to indulge a dark appetite for indiscriminate killing. It was even hinted that Takamasa had been affected by the Blood Rain himself, and that the Taint was driving his ruthless passions. Rumors are not testimony. No one ever stepped forward to confront or accuse Takamasa. Still, a residue of suspicion clings to the Tsuruchi to this day, eliciting wariness and even a little fear among those who cross his path. Years of exposure to sun and wind and rain, and more than a few scars, only heighten the ominous nature of this dour, taciturn man. For his part, Takamasa seems to take no notice of this residue of suspicion. Certainly, it has not prevented him from gaining rank and status among his family and Clan, or from being named Chief Magistrate of Broken Wave City. In fact, there are those who suggest that Takamasa himself cultivates the stories, using them to bolster his reputation. Being suspected as a ruthless and cold-blooded killer has advantages when one must uphold justice to a city full of transient sailors and merchants. Takamasa, and the magistrates and yoriki who work for him, have little mercy for those who break the law. Justice in Broken Wave City tends to be swift and, when necessary, brutal. By no means does this prevent all crime, but those who perpetrate it do so with caution; one never knows when Takamasa himself may be lurking in the shadows, watching.