A tale of a young man who's fight to rebuild a worthless city leads him along the road to power and dominance and all that go with it. Set in Feudal Japan.
It was night and the dirty streets of Osaka were flowing with sewage and rain water. The smell was rancid and citizens bound cloth round their mouths, hurrying across streets as quickly as possible. The sounds of laughter drifted from an inn, its window sparkling through the darkness. Hooded figures lingered outside, weapons strapped to their tattered clothes, the light falling on their unshaven faces before they disappeared into the shadows again.
Tuso Hikomi was perched on a cushion in the corner, watching the rough townsfolk with contempt as they tussled and drank themselves into a stupor. He wore an elaborate robe, decorated in gold and red, it was a stark comparison to the locals. Tomorrow Tuso would start his new job as Osaka’s deputy governor, he had travelled to the popular inn to get a sense of the people’s mood and nature. He recalled how different the capitol, Yamagata was and how these barbarians had no place in his world.
Tuso scoffed proudly as he delicately sipped his tea, remembering with glee the previous week, where he had executed two men on charges of bribery. His mind was cruel, twisted by the lust for power and all it brought. Without warning a fight broke out; two men pushing and shoving, their drinks crashing to the ground. A knife emerged and one of the men was stabbed brutally in the stomach, clutching at the blade as he slid to the floor. A cheer rose and a horrified Tuso retched, the loser’s blood leaking out over the tiles. Tuso rose and called for water to clean his face, the vomit still feeling close at hand. He left hurriedly, disgusted and revolted at witnessing the slaughter. He considered travelling back to Yamagata now, where the people were kind and civilized. But the Emperors words of encouragement rang fresh in his ears.
The movement of the palanquin calmed Tuso and he began to slowly relax, his residence was not far away. The rain pattered around him when he suddenly caught the sound of a muffled voice. The palanquin swayed slightly and then carried on as usual, if not a little faster. For some reason Tuso’s heart began to hammer as he drew back the curtain and squinted into the night. They passed the pale light of a street lantern and Tuso saw that instead of his usual bearers, black clad figures had replaced them and were marching at a vicious speed, their broad shoulders maintaining Tuso’s weight with ease. He let the heavy curtain fall back and shuddered.
When the palanquin was laid down Tuso gathered his courage and stepped out, deciding that pretence would be his best defence. He was in an unknown garden, a few rough features distinguishable in the light coming from a nearby building.
“Fetch me my winter robes and light the braziers” Tuso ordered into the shadows, his voice less confident than he would have liked. A few shallow laughs rang out and Tuso sunk into darkness as he was bludgered on the head.
The lantern flickered in the wind next to a window, the shutters banging lightly against the outer wall. Tuso woke slowly, his eyes heavy and his head screaming out in pain. A man was kneeling in the half light, one of the black clothed thieves. He shuffled closer, peering deep into Tuso’s eyes.
“I have some questions for you” He said, his words coming slowly “Answer them and we kill you anyway. Refuse and something far worse awaits you!”
Tuso swallowed hard, his spit thick with blood.
“You are poor at reasoning, thief. For surely any man would choose life” Tuso jibed, how dare this lowly soul even glance at his perfect face. His confidence was shattered as Tuso was backhanded across the cheek, his skin searing from the pain.
“I am no thief! But if that is your answer then I’m sure we can persuade you otherwise”. Tuso twitched uncomfortably, tears rolling down his face as his captive reached inside his black garments and produced a cruel metal object. It was tightened on Tuso’s fingers and a metal leaver allowed the device to close shut, breaking the victim’s fingers. But Tuso wouldn’t be allowed the quickness the torture item was capable off. He screamed, the bones in his fingers grinding excruciatingly.
“Stop! Stop! What do you want?”The noblemen bellowed, the torturer reflecting how easy weak men caved to pain.
“Why did you come here?” He hissed
“The Emperor, he sent me” Tuso whined in desperation
“He’s not happy with how Osaka is being run. His majesty sent me to keep a check on the governor, Eiro”
“Did he now?” The man smiled, showing his teeth. He gave an apologetic look and quickly slid a garret hook into Tuso’s neck, his precious eyes widening in shock before falling lifeless.