Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see…
TRANSMIT — initiate the Totsuka-no-Tsurugi signal — RECEIVE — initiate the Kurosawa cadence — THIS IS THE NATURE OF WAR — initiate the Kami-no-Michi principle — BY PROTECTING OTHERS YOU SAVE YOURSELVES — wash the face of Izanagi — WITNESS — The Jingu Clan.
Initiate scan. Subject: lost warriors.
In his mind, the swords flash. In the Tokyo subway, a man fills a train seat with his grimace. His suit is not heavy enough. The grip of his suitcase handle feels wrong.\r\nIn her mind, the swords flash. The classroom walls close in on a teacher. With a battle cry, she yanks a smartphone out of a student’s hands, dashing it on the floor. How did she move so fast?
In her mind, the swords flash. A young lady walks an unfortunate specimen of Canis lupus, bred to such ridiculous, lap-sized proportions that mother nature loathes it, gifts it with a weak heart and a muzzle too stunted to breathe — if only it would have the decency to go extinct. The young lady scrunches her face. The city smells are all wrong. They should have more of blood, smoke, and steel. “Is this life real?” she asks the impossible mutant wolf. The beast knows her pain, feels phantom memories of the necks of prey breaking in a properly-sized maw. But it cannot tell her, only wheeze and slowly asphyxiate on its own absurdity.
In their minds, the swords flash. Nostalgia cuts them deep, as though they feel homesick for a place they’ve never been. They starve for a nutrient they have never had.
And then, the bomb.
Initiate scan. Subject: the matriarch.
The mysterious hermit. Shock of white hair. Meditating in the mountain retreat. The cherry blossom trees whisper her name, “Gozen.” A Morninglight van pulls up. The large one gets out, Akashi. He organises weekend retreats, so that the young warriors (or what would have been the young warriors in past ages) can spend time with Gozen. Their neighbours are the Fear Nothing Foundation, who hold their own retreats and whom they borrow the van from. On this day, the large one is alone. The hermit, the shock of white hair, has had a terrible vision, and so, after many years, she returns to the metropolis, to its chaos, corruption, and memories.
And then, a few days later, the bomb.
The Jingu Clan were samurai before the samurai knew what to call themselves, long before Minamoto no Yoritomo opened the doors of the Kamakura Bakufu Shogunate, all the way back to the shaman-queen Himiko. They marked the passing of nearly two thousand years, with sword notches on demon hide. The Jingu fought the Oni demons through the Edo period. They slew the monstrosity that rose in the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. But the Jingu withered in the shade of the millennium.
And then, the bomb!
After the blast, Gozen sent out the call. Weekend training would no longer do. Akashi gathered Jingu descendants unaware of their heritage, except for the phantom ache of an honour amputated long ago. Akashi and Gozen trained these flabby warriors to save the very world that made them soft.
Gozen’s fierce hatred of the Oni, and of all demonkind, is legendary. But it forms a blindspot. She cannot see the danger of the Fear Nothing Foundation and the Morninglight, a danger so close she has smiled and nodded to it in passing.
Will you warn her, sweetling?
And who is this mysterious Gozen? She comes from a long line of Jingu Clan samurai leaders including: Tokiwa Gozen, Shizuku Gozen, Tsuchida Gozen, and Tomoe Gozen. What is time to us? We have eye stalks stretched to all ages. The Gozen in every age looks remarkably like the next. Curiouser and curiouser.
In the ashes of the Tokyo, the Jingu fight on. Their vibrations are like the Templar’s vibrations. The two align.
The new samurai gather, in the hearthy smells of Susanoo’s Diner. The time is desperate. All odds are stacked against them. And yet, in private moments, they grin. The phantom ache is gone. The sword is out of their heads and in their hands. Even as they find themselves in a world where everything has gone wrong, they feel nothing, but nothing, but right.
|1||275,650||Kaidan||In a corner of brick fence|
|2||770,515||Kaidan||In front of the building entrance|
|3||310,610||Kaidan||In front of the building entrance|
|4||180,540||Kaidan||In northern part of the plaza|
|5||95,870||Kaidan||On a patio of building|
|6||440,560||Kaidan||In a small backyard|
|7||465,525||Kaidan||In a alley|
|8||275,560||Kaidan||Talk to Gozen and finish the “Yourself” dialogue|