Hell and Heaven are in the Hearts of Men
Mantis Clan * Bushi * Governor's Son
Earth – 3
Air – 2
Fire – 3
Water – 2
Jiujitsu (Imp Weap) 2
Chain Weapons (Kusarigama) 3
Sworn Enemy (Shiba Yojimbo) -3
Bad Fortune (Evil Eye) -3
Social Position +6
Ojikin is the third son of Akio, a wealthy Governor in the mantis isles. His family estate and the province over which his father governs is on one of the many northern islands off the larger island that holds Kyuden Gotei. It is the largest of the many islands and there is some agriculture grown, but it is mostly used to support the island’s food stores, and is only traded when the crops yield a surplus. The island also hosts a small cavern with naturally occurring quartz crystals. This is mined from time to time under the direction of the leaders in Kyuden Gotei, although Akio will occasionally call for its use when the island’s coffers are in need of shoring, but takes the minerals from a section of the mine that is partially submerged. He always explains that such is expected of him.
The major resource of the island is the barrier reef that keeps the island well protected from weather and enemy vessels. The reef nearly surrounds the island, creating a safe haven for fish to breed in and the locals to harvest the stock; as such fish is the island’s primary export. The reef does also provide a bit of wealth for the community, as well. Occasionally, pieces will break off of the reef and wash to land. These coral pieces are collected and traded with the Phoenix, for use in their magics, and to the Crane who’s artisans carve them into beautiful works of art. Some are kept and given to the local temple to honor the sea and the island they call home.
Ojikin’s eldest brother, Kenichi, acts as Akio’s second hand man and the magistrate on the island. He occasionally takes up mercenary work with his former dojo mates, but primarily keeps to the island. The middle son, Osamu, has taken up residence at the island’s dojo and works as the sensei’s apprentice. He is still close with the family, but aspires to take over his master’s work when he retires. Ojikin’s mother, Emiko, travels between the island, Kyuden Gotei, and the Rokugani mainland often, spreading the interests of the Mantis Clan. Ojikin has done a fair amount of travelling with his mother as part of her envoy, but for the past year or so, worked as an assistant to his father, screening visitors and tracking the island finances. It wasn’t glorious work, but it was necessary and Ojikin did well in the position.
Around the time Ojikin took up the functionary position for his father, trade with the Pheonix over the coral went sour. Judging from the record books and visitors, Ojikin was able to determine that it is likely due to a tax increase levied on trade from the Minor Clans by the Emperor. Akio, of course, duly increased the price of all exports, passing the brunt of the tax onto the coral as it was the smaller export. It is likely what started the disagreement, but negotiations became heated and Akio decided to break off coral trade with the Phoenix, opting to pass the extra coral on to the Crane, who were more than happy to accept larger shipments and the increased cost.
Six months ago, a small fleet of three Phoenix ships arrived beyond the barrier reef to the North of the island. Small boats were sent out from the larger ships who then began harvesting the coral directly from the reef. Akio was furious and sent Emiko, with a small detachment, to Kyuden Gotei to explain the situation and then took his own detail to confront the Phoenix. The Phoenix maintained that since the coral was, in fact, not on the shore of the isles claimed by the Mantis, that it could be mined by anyone in Rokugan. Akio disagreed and proceeded to commandeer the vessel from the Pheonix, maintaining that this was a direct assault on the defenses of their home. Taking the vessel and the occupants hostage, Akio ordered the Phoenix workers to fall back to their ships. The Phoenix had planned for such and began an assault on the coral reef, using their magics to remove large chunks of it while asking the wind and air kami to keep Akio’s boat in stasis.
Once the reef had been broken, the other two Phoenix ships moved onto the land assault, but were met with the forces of Kenichi and Osamu. Fighting started to break over the island while Ojikin was still at the family estate. The hurricane bells started ringing and the next thing he knew, he was gathering the common folk up to aid in the defenses. It wasn’t necessarily the most effective charge, but it broke the lines of the skirmish and aided his brothers in pushing the enemy back to their boats. During the battle, Ojikin was struck by a magic bolt from one of the shugenja. It struck him directly in the face and sent him reeling back in agony. The shugenja had moved on to other matters by the time Ojikin recovered, and was no longer paying attention to the man he had just killed. Ojikin was able to dodge the assault from the shugenja’s yojimbo and drove his kama into the neck of the shugenja, shoving the shugenja into his yojimbo and knocking them both off of the boat.
It was shortly after this that Akio was able to gain control of his own boat, through his men’s sailing prowess and his ability to coerce the hostage shugenja to lend their prayers in dispersing the Kami. Akio sailed the boat to shore and the Phoenix retreated, taking the coral they had harvested with them. The wounded were tended to; the dead prayed over and burned. Among the deceased was Kenichi. The blast from the shugenja had not caused any permanent damage, save for the discoloration of Ojikin’s left eye. The healers are unsure if the damage will ever go away.
Later that night Emiko returned with a portion of the Mantis’ might, but it was determined that it would not be in the Mantis’ best interest to pursue the Phoenix. It was surmised that they had taken enough coral to meet their needs for a time, and while their actions against the small island would be ignored, they would certainly not be forgotten.
The three months since the attack had been hard on the island. Fishing began to be more difficult since the reef now allowed for other predators to take the fish that were once only the Mantis’. Harsh weather was also more of a concern and the lower lying areas became flooded often and erratically. The quartz mine had all become submerged. The only saving grace, was that the attack left a surplus of coral lying on the shore that Akio was able to keep trading with the Crane.
Centipede Clan shugenjas were brought in and asked on how to repair the damage. The cost was prohibitive, especially since the island was now in constant repair from the weather and floods. Some money has been put down and work has begun, but the project is far from over and funded.
About three months ago, Ojikin started training to take over the deceased Kenichi’s duties. This was about the time when the letter came to Ojikin, asking for him to attend the most prestigious gempukku ceremony that Rokugan had to offer…certainly there must be a way his island can profit from this.