Born to a vassal family of the House of Dajan, Henshu was a sickly child, with little aptitude for combat or battle. Although
Jealous of Daidoji Dajan's wealth, a rival
daimyo had despatched a pair of assassins. Henshu dreamed of dark figures
attacking his daimyo, and was on his guard. When the assassins struck, Henshu had warned the guards, who dealt with the
attack. As a reward, Henshu was granted a position in the elite Adamant Guard of the Daidoji. There, he became fast
friends with Daidoji Omatao, heir to Dajan's throne and head of the Adamant Guard. With the daimyo's favour and
Omatao's friendship, Henshu rose in the affairs of court.
At his gempukku ceremony, he performed adequately,
and was quickly made Chancellor of the court despite his relative
youth. He took charge of the finances of the family, and aggressively pursued the mercantile interests of the Crane in Ryoko
Owari. He also became Dajan's chief emissary to the other courts of the Province. During the dispute between the Firemen
and the fishermen, Henshu was instrumental in solving the dispute. He also capitalised greatly on the financial disaster that
beset the Yasuki family.
During that dispute, though, Henshu fell afoul
of maho of the worst kind. While he and Kakita Bishamon were exploring
ruined temple beneath Yasuki Takiji's warehouse, Henshu touched a glowing blue stone - and vanished. He awoke in the
chambers of Asahina Tomai, the court shugenja. Tomai claimed that Henshu had fallen into a chi flow and been transported
through the spirit realm. In fact, Henshu had become possessed by the spirit of the Bloodspeaker, Asahina Yajinden!
Over the next few years, Henshu's fortunes
rose and rose. Dajan's death during the Shadowlands Incursion was a tragedy,
but it put Henshu's loyal friend Omatao on the throne. Henshu arranged a marriage between Ide Emishiko and Omatao's
brother, Omasu, which brought the vast wealth of Emishiko's uncle Kanjin under Henshu's influence. By night, unbeknownst
to himself, Henshu's body was being used by Yajinden to commit horrific acts of maho and to build a Bloodspeaker
Henshu discovered Tomai's treachery thanks
to the testimony of Isawa Shinzui, but was unwilling to condemn the court
Shugenja as a bloodspeaker. It was only when Tomai stole the last Stone of Sin that Henshu gave credence to the tales of
Bloodspeakers. He followed the trail to the Island on the Edge of the World, and crossed the Island on the Peasant's Road.
There, Yajinden attempted one final time to steal Henshu's body and take control. Henshu used his own constitutional
weakness - epilepsy - to defeat Yajinden. The light from Fai Suk's sword sent Henshu into a fit, cheating the Bloodspeaker
of a functional body.
Once they returned from the Island, Henshu's
armies destroyed the Bloodspeaker stronghold he had built. He also arranged
for his daimyo, Omatao, to write a will giving the throne to Daidoji Okaido instead of Omatao's brother Omasu. Omasu had
fallen under the spell of his wife, Emishiko. The precaution of the will proved wise, as Omatao was slain by a ninja assassin
within a few days of writing the will. The new daimyo, Okaido, had grown up with Henshu controlling the court, and did not
dream of challenging the chancellor's authority. Henshu's control of the House was absolute.
Years rolled by, years in which Henshu built
upon the fortunes of his House. When Kanjin was severely wounded, Henshu
took charge of the old Unicorn's affairs, and added the fortunes of Kanjin to his own wealth. He bargained with the
Scorpion for access to Scorpion clan ports, and got the financial upper hand in that deal. By the 40th birthday of the
Emperor, Henshu was easily the richest man in the province, and one of the richest in the nation outside of the Royal
families. Henshu also parlayed his wealth into popularity among the people of Ryoko Owari, and was voted King of
Generosity during the festivals.
During the Coup, Henshu lead a Crane army to
stop the Crab forces. His army was defeated, but he was able to warn the
allied forces of a Crab attack. He is now in Otosan Uchi, at the Royal Court of Hantei the 39th.
Appearance: Henshu is not an imposing
man, more used to quiet conversation than the shouts of battle. He has
hunched look, and has a vaguely monk-like demeanour. Some have dismissed him as being nothing more than a bureaucrat
- but he has been trained to a high degree of mastery of the katana, and can be commanding when the need arises. He is the
puppet-artisan whose actions are not seen except in the great shadows they cast.
Commentary of the GM: Henshu is an utter
bastard with higher purpose. He's singlemindedly crushed all
opposition to his House, and has been practically breeding daimyos who'll obey him. He's managed to bury the
incident with the Bloodspeakers, and now sits high in the Imperial Favour. His honour is largely just a veneer,
though, and might crack if tested....
Using Henshu in your game: The
"evil advisor leading a good lord astray" is a classic plot. While Henshu
per se, he is fairly nasty in Rokugani terms. He's ambitious and ruthless in a quiet way. Having Henshu as your PCs'
daimyo's hatamoto could be fun.
Henshu could also serve as a patron, especially if the game involves magistrates or traders of any kind. Henshu's
mercantile activities means he'd be willing to sponsor and fund bandit-hunting expeditions.
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