Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes
The Songs of Rokugan
In the late 9th century, the Songs were a group of magistrates who specialized in hunting down maho-tsukai and oni hidden within the Empire. Led by the charismatic samurai-ko, Bayushi Ai, they gained great glory and honor during this time.
In addition to Bayushi Ai, there were 6 others in their group. Isawa Kage (Bound), Hiruma Do, Akodo Mitsusho, Kuni Yuno, Moto Khan, and a Kitsune spirit masquerading as a mortal, Utsukushi. Though young, there were already stories and poems circling the courts of their deeds. Many, including the Songs themselves, thought this glory would last decades. Sadly, one of their number fell into darkness…
Isawa Kage, a wise and powerful shugenja, as well as one of the Songs, began dabbling in Maho as a way to understand his enemies. He thought he could use their own powers against them, or even by learning their ways, find them out all the faster. Instead, it corrupted him. His final act was to summon a powerful oni. In the battle of wills for control, Kage lost his name to the demon, though he managed to bind it to his soul with Maho. They became the beast Kage no Oni.
For a time, Kage no Oni stayed with his former companions, using his shapeshifting abilities to keep his human form. However, Utsukushi was able to sense the darkness within him. However, she had promised to keep his secrets when he had first started dabbling with forbidden knowledge, and she was incapable of breaking her vow. If she did, she was be forced to return to Chikushudo. This would crush her, as she had fallen deeply in love with Akodo Mitsusho.
Eventually, after witnessing numerous horrific incidents, she could keep silent no longer. Even as she transformed back into her true form, she used her own magic to reveal Kage’s. The Songs fought their old friend, and as they slew him, Kuni Yuno, witch-hunter, bound his own soul to Kage’s swearing to keep his soul locked in Jigoku forever. When the smoke cleared, the other Song’s lay dead, Mitsusho bleeding of a mortal wound, and Utsukushi slowly fading from Ningen-do.