The Akkaitou Katana
Be wary those that seek the red blade of the darkened sky. A corrupted force in which lies a subjugated and hidden past. In one hand hordes of oni arise, in another the power to quell an evil soul.
The Akkaitou Katana once held, and may still hold, the spirits of ancient Shikyuo. But when a rage-filled Izaki Mugen took hold of the sword it was twisted black. The katana grew angry and deceitful, building from Mugen's anger and filtering it back into him. Mugen would become a powerful Oni with impenetrable skin, demonic strength, and more. The sword even granted Mugen unbridled health and immortality. Which he holds to this day despite being stripped of many of his powers when he lost possession of Akkaitou. Akkaitou will react to whoever holds its full, true form, as it is a very emotionally driven construct. In the hands of evil like Mugen, the katana will embue the wielder with enormous rageful strength and abilities designed to wreak havoc and vengeful fury. In the case of Mugen, it gave him the ability to turn swathes of people into Oni under his control with a simple swing of his blade. Sadly, Akkaitou has never been wielded by another master and hasn't experienced a truly just person. But, it is possible that in the hands of someone who is pure and good, it could cleanse evil and bring about peace for those with corrupted minds.
Abilities and Powers
The only wielder of the Akkaitou Katana is Izaki Mugen. The King of the Oni, the first and only human to ever become an Oni due to his pure hatred and anger. Mugen was once a noble samurai, serving his home valiantly during his lifetime. And it is thought that the katana was gifted to him by the guardians of ancient Shikyuo to allow him to better guard the realm. But tragedy befell Mugen, and his just heart was fouled and his soul was corrupted. It is unknown what this trade was, and the details have been lost to time. He poured the hatred he felt into the katana, the same one that was supposed to protect his homeland, and turn it into a weapon of hatred. This is the katana that would become known as Akkaitou.
Origin - First and Only Wielder
Akkaitou would magnify this hatred and feed it back to Mugen, creating a grotesque symbiotic feedback loop. Mugen fueled the sword with his anger and malice and the katana consumed it and granted power in return. Mugen was already well on his way to becoming an Oni due to his corrupted soul and unbridled rage, but the Akkaitou Katana amplified his power a thousandfold. Making an Oni Lord unknown to Shikyuo, one with limitless strength, dexterity, and rage. And most terrifying of all was that Mugen was granted the ability to turn uncorrupted into his demon slaves.
After nearly a generation of subjugation and destruction, the people of ancient Shikyuo would gather their strength and mobilize an army to fight Mugen and his Oni horde. The battle was not designed to kill all of Mugen's Oni and win the day via pure might. No, it was only a desperate tactic designed to lure Mugen out with the Akkaitou Katana so that it could be stolen away from him and destroyed. A group of warriors and spellcasters of Shikyuo, Odegai, and foreign origins collectively ambushed Mugen. Temporarily sealing him in place using a powerful artifact called the Eye of Horo-sha Jikan. During the few moments in which Mugen was paralyzed, the katana was pried from his grasp and two mages teleported a small group of warriors and the blade away from the battlefield.
This small group appeared in Pema Village atop the Ginka Mountains, home to the Odegai Clan of Pema. Adjacent to the village is the home of the Silver Dragon of the Ginka Mountains, Gokaido. Gokaido would use all his magical might and breathe an icy blast of his dragon's breath upon the blade while the remaining warriors hammered away at it furiously. The plan was to fully break and destroy the katana but instead, it fell into pieces. Regardless, it had the desired effect, Mugen would slump to the ground drained of his powers and his Oni horde turned to ash.
The pieces of the Katana, after the sword was taken from Mugen and broken into pieces by Gokaido were given to a select few protectors. Each being unaware of who had which piece, and where they were being taken. Over the last several centuries, some pieces have changed hands, while others have never left their original protectors' possession. Some have even found their way back to Mugen and his oni army, who are on the move once again committing his will. But, while some pieces sit once again with their Oni lord, some have fallen into the hands of (somewhat) noble adventurers. Nomo Ji-pooku, a proud samurai who seeks to honour his murdered family, Samanaske Jubei a travelling bard and historian wishing to solve the mystery of Shikyuo’s dark past, and Mizu a foreigner who has adopted the ways of Shikyuo and seeks to do good and atone for a past he does not remember.
Protectors of the Hidden Pieces
Tsuka (Wooden Sleeve)Was initially held by an unnamed Odegai monk of the Tseten Clan. Who died on Kuro Kage Island before being able to bequeath the Tsuka to a new protector. The piece would become tangled in the roots of a large tree on the island and slowly corrupt it into the form of a powerful oni. This corrupted tree would poison the island and corrupt its spirit guardian Shengen into becoming its new protector. Currently in the possession of Nomo Ji-pooku after the party cleansed the spirit guardian Shengen, and defeated the corrupted tree.
Tsuka-ito (Silk Wrapping - Red)Was initially protected by Jochi of Clan Dolma, a powerful Odegai leader from centuries ago, before the Odegai were killed and wiped from Shikyuo history. Jochi was the protector of the tsuka-ito for many generations, as his clan developed a way to elongate their lives nearly indefinitely through the use of meditation. Currently in possession of Samanaske Jubei after Jochi decided to part with it in order to teach a clan of Odegai descendants the ways of their people. Believing that the piece was better protected in their hands at this point anyways.
Katana BladeHas been in the possession of the Nomo family line for generations, ever since Gokaido granted an ancestor of their family the responsibility of protecting it. The family has done so ever since, even now despite their family line being nearly wiped out. The last remaining survivor, Nomo Ji-pooku, now protects the blade. Ji-pooku was unaware of the blade's origins, as to him it has always just been apart of his family's ancestral katana. The last person to know of the origins of the blade was Nomo Ryujiro, Ji-pooku’s father.
Fuchi (Hilt Collar between Tsuba and Tsuka)The fuchi was given to Khenbish of Clan Pema to protect. Khenbish, quickly decided that he was not fit to protect the piece himself, since he was only a simple philosopher. As such he decided to stay within the ruins of Pema Village within the Ginka Mountains and give Gokaido, the silver dragon that lives near the village the fuchi to protect. While Khenbish kept a watchful eye, he continues his studies and meditations, just in case anything were to happen. Khenbish also knows the secrets of Clan Dolma's life-extending meditation and survives to this day. The piece has recently shifted hands to Mizu after they learned from Khenbish that the piece had been stolen from Gokaido by a treacherous and poisonous snake named Obari. Obari had been slowly poisoning Gokaido from deep below the mountains in a jealous rage. The gigantic snake made his move one day and struck Gokaido with a terrifying blow and stole away the piece. Mizu, Ji-pooku, and Jubei were able to defeat Obari, save Goakido, and retrieve the piece.
Habaki (wedge-shaped metal collar)The original protector of this piece is unknown, but it eventually found its way to a Jinja in the foothills of Himura Mountain a few days walk from Neoshi Village. The monks of the Jinja protected the piece for many generations, hiding it in their main shrine. Sadly, one day a Kotengu seeking power would storm the Jinja and kill everyone. Unfortunately for the Kotengu, the shrine's protections were too strong and it was left wailing and haunting the woods outside the Jinja for countless years. Two underlings of Mugen, twin Oni named Enmu and Ruka, would visit the Himura Mountain Jinja where the piece was hidden. The twins were easily able to smash through the protections placed on the shrine and abscond with the Habaki. The Kotengu, still haunting the forests near the Jinja flew into a rage and set the entire Jinja on fire. Mizu, Jubei, and Ji-pooku who happened to be in the area on an unrelated business engaged and defeated the Kotengu. They were able to view a memory of the Oni twins retrieving the Habaki, it was the first time they had seen anything related to the Akkaitou Katana. And it would change their destinies, unbeknownst to them at the time.
More pieces exist in Shikyuo, each one protected or hoarded by someone else. But details on their whereabouts and owners are unknown currently.
Note for this article; this katana is the MacGuffin of a campaign that I am running for my group of players who are playing in Fyria, specifically in the Sovereign Empire of Shikyuo. As such I have intentionally left certain information out from this article to avoid the party learning certain information before it is time. You better bet that I know where each and every katana piece is, but I can't let my players know that!
A blood-red sword whose original possessor Izaki Mugen plagued Shikyuo with an army of Oni for nearly an entire generation. The katana embued him with demonic strength and immortality, granting him the ability to turn enemies and allies alike into demonic creatures under his control only. The whole of ancient Shikyuo would form an army against him, led by a select few warriors in order to battle him. They were able to temporarily seal Mugen, and take Akkaitou away from him. This group would secretly dismantle the sword, stripping Mugen of many of his powers and weakening him for centuries. The pieces have been spread throughout Shikyuo and have been untouched for centuries. Recent events have started a race to collect the pieces so that Mugen cannot regain his demonic powers.
An uncorrupted Akkaitou without its Tsuba
Mugen was a powerful demon during the Era of the Red Demon and is still powerful to this day, however, the majority of his powers have been sealed with the separation of the Akkaitou Katana. And while he does not have many of his powers currently, he is still immortal and has been plotting for countless generations. Manipulating many, and amassing a more subtle following in order to enact a plan that will allow him to retrieve the Akkaitou pieces and reforge the katana for his own use once more.
Mugen's Current Whearabouts