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Usagi Juro's Story

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Apr. 22nd, 2004 | 05:19 pm
mood: bouncy
music: Welcome to the Jungle - Guns and Roses
posted by: snaketao in l5r_fanfiction

This is my very first attempt at an L5R story. I've written fanfiction before, but L5R is a very hard genre for me to write for several reasons. The story's short, but hopefully my writing will get better.

Title: Usagi Juro's Story
Author: Joshua K. Julian (Snaketao)
Rating: PG to PG-13 (Violence)
Summary: Set during the Diamond Era, this is the first in my Shadows of the Snake story series. It stars three original characters: Asako Xiahou, a promising young Inquisitor, Kuni Moraku, an eccentric Witch-Hunter with an annoying personality, and Usagi Juro, a bitter samurai trying to escape the pain of the past.

The following story is the background story for Usagi Juro.


Usagi Juro’s Story
By Joshua K. Julian

Kudo, a village in the Hare lands, two months ago

It was a rare event that Usagi Juro had the opportunity to return to the lands of the Hare. The Jade Champion kept him pretty busy fulfilling his clan’s destiny of hunting down and destroying Bloodspeakers.

The Hare bushi looked out upon the vast farmland, watching the natural rhythm of the peasants’ labor and taking in the sound of picks hitting dirt. Kudo was the only place in the empire that Juro felt at peace, and coming back home every now and then kept his resolve strong.

And yet, he had been in Kudo only a week, and already wanted to return to Toshi Ranbo for duty. The peace was wonderful, and here, Iuchiban and his Bloodspeakers seemed only a memory. A remnant of stories told long ago.

A very dangerous memory that could not be forgotten. And while Juro was at home, enjoying the peace, his friends were risking their lives to bring an end to the deadly maho users.

“Brother! It is time!” The voice of Usagi Ryunosuke rang into the air, reminding Juro why he had returned in the first place.

The birth of a child into the world is a joyous occasion throughout the empire, and the Hare was no exception. The Hare had once been destroyed, and now that the Usagi name had been reinstated, the clan was in a constant state of rebuilding. Unlike the Great Clans, the Hare did not have the luxury of expendable men. Though the Hare still had their duty, that of exterminating Bloodspeakers, they didn’t have the samurai to spare in risky maneuvers.

And yet, risky maneuvers were all the Hare knew. As such, every life was important.

“I’m coming!” Juro called to his brother. “It looks as though it’s about to rain anyway.”



Later that evening…

The entire village of Kudo was alive with activity. A celebration had commenced, welcoming the newest member of the clan to the empire. Never did a moment pass without some sort of athletic contest occurring, in celebration of being alive. Not even the dark clouds covering the sky were able to dampen the sprits of the Hare.

“Come, brother! I challenge you!” Ryunosuke called from the high-jump area.

“So, when are you going to get married and starting having kids?” Ryunosuke asked his brother as he came to the high-jump area.

“I can’t. I have duty.”

“Well, we can’t all be Jade Magistrates,” The elder brother chuckled. “Are you saying that by getting married and having little Jikan that I am somehow neglecting my duty?”

“No, of course I don’t mean that.”

“Then what, brother?”

“Just that I don’t have room in it for my life right now.”

“Not while Iuchiban still walks the empire, is that it?”

“Yes.”

“Why must you take the burden of defeating Iuchiban’s armies alone?”

“I’m not alone, I have my brothers with me.” Thunder rumbled in the distance as Juro recited one of the creeds of the Hare.

“And it is your duty, as a Hare, not only to hunt Bloodspeakers, but to ensure the future of the clan, is it not? Certainly there must be one woman in all of the empire with the patience to put up with a man such as you…”

Juro laughed. “If there is, I have yet to meet her.”

“Surely you must meet women throughout the empire? You know, being a Jade Magistrate and all,” Ryunosuke replied with a chuckle.

“Do you have some sort of problem with me being a magistrate?”

“None at all. I’m sure you enjoy playing yojimbo to a bunch of shugenja that will never fully appreciate your unique abilities.”

“You have no need to fear, brother, my talents as a Hare samurai are not going to waste.”

Juro ran for the bamboo high jump hurdle and cleared it with at least a foot to spare.

“I can see that now, little brother.” Both men laughed.

Suddenly, their laugher was interrupted by a loud clash of thunder, and rain fell from the sky. Rain splattered onto Juro’s skin, and at first it seemed to burn, but then his entire world went dark.

“Give in to the inevitable, Samurai…”

“What?”

“There is but one of you, and Iuchiban commands hundreds, if not thousands?”

“Who are you?”

“You know that you cannot win.”

“So what if I cannot win? I will die trying, for I am samurai…”

The voice fell silent, and Juro could once again see the scene before him. Most of the Kudo villagers managed to find shelter, but there were about twenty still battling the rain, including his brother Ryunosuke.

“The Scorpion must pay for what they did!” Ryunosuke called out to the sky with fury.

“Fight it, brother! What is past is past! The Scorpion are not our enemy now!”

Ryunosuke turned to face his younger brother, and as Juro looked into Ryunosuke’s eyes, he knew his brother had fallen. All he was met with was gray, soulless eyes.

“Your enemies, brother. Not mine. I will see the last Scorpion die!”

“Think of your wife, Ryunosuke! Think of Jikan!”

“I am thinking about them! My thoughts have never been so clear!”

“Fight it, brother!”

“Fight this!” Ryunosuke, with a blinding speed, picked up his wakizashi, leapt at his brother, and buried the wakizashi into Juro’s side.

“No, brother! I will not fight you!”

“Then you will die!”

Fighting back his tears, from the physical pain of the most-likely mortal wound in his left side, and knowing what he was about to do, Juro drew his katana, and ran as best he could toward his brother, who charged forward towards Juro in hopes of retrieving his wakizashi. At the last moment, Juro used the last of his energy to break momentum and sidestep, sending Ryunosuke flying by. Ryunosuke’s head was quickly severed from his body.

Juro stood up, just now realizing that there were over a dozen blood-soaked peasants about to bear down on him. His work was far from over.

“Brother, I swear to you I will not rest until those who are responsible for this are dead.”



A sake house near Toshi Ranbo, Present Day

Asako Xiahou was quite out of place in the sake house, wearing his Phoenix kimono amongst den of Lions. If that weren’t bad enough, he carried himself with all the grace of a Crane, and was just as fair of face. He couldn’t help but want to leave as quickly as possible.

At last, he spotted the man he was looking for at a table in the corner. The man was rather unkempt, his long hair tied back only as a show of indifference, partially covering a face that hadn’t been washed in days.

“Juro! I knew I would find you here!” Asako Xiahou sat down next to his friend.

“I’d much rather be alone right now, if you don’t mind, Xiahou-san.”

“By the fortunes, Juro! We’ve known each other for years! Why is it so hard for you to simply call me Xiahou?”

“So long as I have sworn to protect your life, Xiahou-san, that is how I shall address you.”

Xiahou sighed. “If that is the way it must be.”

“It is.”

“I see you’re drinking to forget again…”

“It is a small comfort.”

“You can’t keep doing this to yourself, Juro. You know that.”

“Well, it seems to be working for now.”

“And what of tomorrow, my friend?”

“What of it?”

“Juro,” Xiahou tried to be compassionate, “You weren’t the only one to lose a loved one in the rain of blood. Many good men I knew shaved their heads and retired after that day.”

“That must be nice.”

“What must be nice?”

“To just be able to retire and enlighten your problems away. To come from a clan that just doesn’t need you, that you can shirk your duty just like that because you can’t handle the pain. That must be very nice, indeed.”

“Do not forget where you are,” Xiahou warned his friend, as he had started to draw a bit of attention from a table of Lion samurai.

“Trust me, I have not forgotten. I’ve come to know this place very well as a matter of fact.”

“Well, my friend, you’re going to have to forget this place again, because I have good news,” Xiahou said, holding up a scroll with the seal of the Jade Champion on it.

“We finally have orders.”

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Comments {2}

Pathos Girl

(no subject)

from: swordlily
date: Apr. 22nd, 2004 07:57 pm (UTC)
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L5R is hard to write for.

Thanks for posting here.

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Joshua Locke

(no subject)

from: snaketao
date: Apr. 22nd, 2004 09:08 pm (UTC)
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No problem. I reckon someone had to be the first to post. ^_^

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