10.2: The Last March of the Crab

While the heavier Crab troops created a diversion by attacking the outer camps, the Kill-Stealers managed to sneak through to some old buildings where the captives and ritual were likely being held. They found guards in the form of two megada no oni, Daigotsu (formerly Hida) Shura, and Daigotsu Skaar (formerly Tsi Aokiji), who been enticed by knowledge of his true heritage and the better anvils they had in the Shadowlands. The enemies were cut down, and Botan and Wa’ako were released. Wa’ako immediately put on a mask to take the persona of Bayushi Hannya and went to direct some ninja who were fighting the Lost nearby.

An apparently alive Tik’ki’titem arrived from the center tower, threatening to kill Kengetsu. The heroes were still too busy fighting to respond, so the ratling left Kengetsu’s body on the ground and advanced, supported by the nascent Ranneko no Oni. While maneuvering around that side of the fight, Mako was attacked by the very much alive Kengetsu, who revealed he had been the blood mage all along, and had manipulated Ohaitsu’s life since her childhood (likely resulting in the death of her parents in an outburst of power) so that she would be a red herring concealing him. As the heroes fought the summoners, Tik’ki’titem warned that he could not be killed, or Ranneko no Oni would permanently gain control of its name. The Kill-Stealers reluctantly knocked the shaman unconscious, but the oni lord finished him off with a blast of proto-matter (revealing that it was actually a tsuno who had been using Tik’ki’titem’s and Otaku Ranneko’s names), then began using its new-found power to create spawn. After an epic battle, Chan’ju, Botan, and Kengetsu lay dead, but the oni was banished to hell . . . for now.

The Crab won the field, and the heroes returned to see the ritual performed by Te’tik’kir to deal with Utaku Randachi. He took the undead samurai’s name and returned it to its original owner, who had been the nameless Lost woman who had made the deal to bring her back. The traitor was a subordinate who had committed atrocities in the Fox lands and betrayed her captain in hopes of usurping her glory, but now ended up a nameless monster. It was reported that the strikes against the Shadowlands had broken the faith between Daigotsu and Fu Leng, allowing the agents of the Celestial Order to return them to hell. The Kill-Stealers were given a much-needed leave. Wa’ako/Hannya led Mako, Kageneko, and the real Randachi to Lion lands, where they might find therapy for those whose identities had been damaged among the Akodo.



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