Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath
Kuni Witch Hunter and Family Daimyo
Kuni Utagu was a Kuni Witch Hunter during the 12th century who rose to prominence after becoming not only the Kuni Daimyo but also the Jade Champion.
Unlike most who choose to become Kuni Witch Hunters, Kuni Utagu did not have a particularly traumatic childhood. There was no horrific event that drove him to seek revenge on the creatures of the blighted lands, there was simply his own drive and determination. Utagu was introduced firsthand to the Shadowlands by Kuni Atsutane who explained to him that the Witch Hunter’s duty was to face alone the horrors within. Although the Kuni cannot afford to waste time training those who may become unwilling to carry out the Witch Hunter’s duties, Utagu was allowed to begin training when he told Atsutane, “I cannot leave now. If I leave, the darkness will have won.”
On his gempukku as witch hunter, Utagu ventured into the Shadowlands with a unit of young Crab bushi. They returned with the heads of a brood of oni none had seen before. Once Utagu within the Wall, he collapsed, near death from his wounds, but he had showed no sign of pain until he reached the Wall. “I will not let them see me fall. Damn them to Jigoku, I will not let them see me fall.”
Joining Kuni Shugenja School
Utagu was allowed to join the Kuni Shugenja school, which was unusual until this time. Since then, more Witch Hunters entered training as shugenja.
Utagu was appointed to the Razor of the Dawn Castle, as shugenja to scouting parties deep within the Shadowlands. Once he chased a Bog Hag who had been impersonating a nun, and had kidnapped several children. Utagu found the children, and placed to an asylum for the Tainted.
A young Utagu spent several months studying with the Crooked Tail Tribe, a xenophobic group of nezumi, haunted by bitter experience with the power of the Lying Darkness. The tribe lived near a large crystal outcropping, and Utagu was able to learn a few of their secrets. He was able to adapt a few of the nezumi practices to the traditional Rokugani form of magic, creating the Crystal Master school.
Leader of the Witch Hunters
Utagu was chosen as the new leader of the Witch Hunters after his sensei Atsutane was murdered investigating a cell of Bloodspeakers. He quickly found and executed Atsutane’s murderer, which lasted seven days.
During his long career, Utagu became known as The Wall, because the people around him felt as safe as if they were behind the Kaiu Kabe. Utagu made many advances to the practices of the Witch Hunters, including the successful combination of martial arts and Kuni magic. Despite his successes, he never seemed to be driven by a hatred of the Shadowlands, merely a need to destroy everything about those dark lands. 2 He used extreme methods when required.
In 1138, Hantei XXXIX summoned the Test of the Emerald Champion, which was won by Utagu. After his victory the Emperor created the Jade Magistrates, and appointed them under the command of the new Jade Champion. He oversaw any trace of corruption, including from traditional magic ways as the Iuchi meishodo, the Kitsu Sodan Senzo way to invoke ancestors, or the Asahina fetishes, which earned him powerful enemies among those clans.
During a winter he met Kuni Tansho, an aged Witch Hunter. Utagu and Tansho stumbled onto a cell of Bloodspeakers led by the legendary maho-tsukai Mohai who had killed a Kuni Shugenja and replaced him with one of their own. They destroyed the cell and killed all of the cultists save Mohai himself. A month later, they were married.
Utagu was a great Kuni Witch Hunter, and only two Maho-tsukai escaped with his life after faced him, being one of them Mohai. Utagu chased Mohai into the Shadowlands, but during the Battle of Drowned Honor the Black Finger River rose up to meet the Crab, and many Hiruma were drowned and their corpses dragged deep beneath the black waters of the Forbidden Lake. The second was supposed to be Shahai.
Utagu and his Son
Kuni Kiyoshi was a disappointment to his father and could not match the Utagu’s protege, Kuni Shigeaki. Kiyoshi tried to prove he was worthy to his father, and after by chance he had stumbled upon a theft of a magical golden box by the bloodspeaker Mohai in Shinden Asahina, Kiyoshi hunted him into the Shadowlands. Kiyoshi saw the City of the Lost, but when back at home Utagu did not believe him because he had no other witnesses. Utagu’s son went away and after several weeks never was able to remind him.