In the spring of the 26th Year of Hantei the 38th, a young girl from the Ide family was sent to the Bayushi school, to spend a summer there learning the ways of the Scorpion court. She wandered into the thick woods south of Shiro no Dajan, and vanished.
In the deep pools of Shadow that lie beneath the Summer House, the Darkness waits. It waylaid Emishiko and offered her more power and skill than the Bayushi or Ide could concieve of. Heedless of the danger, Emishiko accepted. In the lightless caverns, she became a vessel of shadow, a shinobi trained in the arts of killing and stealth, made to find the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of the mortals and bring them into the Unity of Nothing.
In the 31st Year of the Hantei, Ide Emishiko arrived to present herself for gempukku at the tournament of the Topaz Champion. Her beauty was remarkable, but so were her skills. The young courtier proved superior at all physical contests until the iaujitsu duels. Her Shadow-granted strength won her great reknown.
As the years went by, she remained largely aloof from the intrigues and politics of the city, seemingly content to act merely as her uncle Kanjin's emissary. In secret, she was the ninja's chief agent in the city. When the former Ninja Weaponsmaster was slain by his brother, Tsuyite, Emishiko became heir to the Weapons of Shosuro. She was arranged to be married to a Crane, Daidoji Omasu, but the Crane chancellor Henshu became suspicious of Emishiko, and delayed the wedding. She finally forced the marriage by volunteering to go on the dangerous quest to retrieve a stolen Stone of Sin from the Shadowlands (the taint held no fear for a ninja).
At the Island on the Edge of the World, Emishiko began by walking the Eta's Road, but turned back and took the Warrior's Road to the far side. When Yajinden slew the Oracle of Water, the Oracle's spirit leapt from the corpse - into Emishiko. With the spirit of the Oracle warring with the soulness Shadow within her, Emishiko returned to her new husband.
Omasu had been sent to the southern fortress of the Daidoji. Angered with being denied the throne, Emishiko abandoned her identity as Omasu's wife, and travelled the land, stealing face after face and leaving bloodied corpses behind her. She established a new Shadow Stronghold in a secret location. The Oracle's power allowed her to maintain her own identity, but the Darkness was beginning to take her true self away.
When the Scorpion called on Shosuro's Bargain, Emishiko led the shinobi-ryu, the Shadow Blade Legion, into the Imperial City. Fighting atop the wall, she was caught in the ancient magical defences of Otosan Uchi. The Oracle awoke within her. The Water Dragon roared in Heaven, and the clouds opened in the greatest rainstorm in centuries. In a sudden flash of lightning, two figures stood atop the wall - Emishiko, and her Shadow.
Cleansed of the Shadow, and with the burden of the Oracle on her soul, Emishiko hid in the Imperial City, and managed to rescue the Imperial Heir. The memories of the last ten years are but a fleeting Shadow to her. She is, once again, the innocent Unicorn girl who rode forth one spring day.
She casts no shadow.
Appearance: A beautiful and strangely ageless woman, dressed in suitable clothing for the situation at all times, from Unicorn riding gear to fine Crane silk robes - to the black armour and reflective mempo of the ninja. Her fingernails were obsidian thanks to the Weapons of Shosuro, but they have now returned to normal. Emishiko is rarely seen without her beloved horse.
Commentary of the GM: The books tell you not to allow Ninja player characters. They're right.
Emishiko was one of the hardest characters to run. She was amoral, deadly, and could change her appearance at will. She obeyed only an inhuman, alien force that was the foe of all the other characters. She was...challenging to GM. It did keep me on edge though. The whole Oracle thing was a shock, but I think it turned out well - and will continue to develop in a very interesting way.
'Cos hellish as Emishiko was a player character, she's going to be a lot nastier to the players as an NPC...
Using Emishiko in your game: As a villian, Emishiko could be quite challenging for any characters. Presented the right way, she could appear to be nothing more than a courtier - or a young woman with spiritual abilities. Players will fall for stereotypes easily. The willfully, beautiful young sorceress, hiding her powers from her conservative and disapproving family... most players aren't going to suspect her of being the killer. If you're lucky, that is.
If you've got the PCs daimyo as a major campaign element (and you should), then you could have Emishiko as a possible bride for him. Proving that your daimyo's wife-to-be is a demon or ninja before the wedding would make an interesting race-against-time scenario.
Emishiko's Character Sheet
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