Legend of the Five Rings: Shadow Mountain
Right Hand of the Kuni in Kageyama
Kuni Ayako always wanted to be in love. When she wasn’t in love, she thought about people she knew and whether or not they might be in love, and as she got older she very much wanted to be in love. Unfortunately, she was betrothed to a Hida berserker twice her age but half her height. She met him only once, at her gempukku ceremony, and the one thing she knew for certain was that she did not love him.
Luckily, their marriage was postponed. Her fiance and her father agreed that she should be sent to learn the ways of a shugenja before matrimony. The Hida wanted a wife who could stand beside him at the wall. Ayako travelled to meet her sensei, a powerful shugenja who lived beyond the Wall, in the Kuni wastes… When she arrived there, she found her sensei already had a pupil.
And she fell in love.
The dissolution of her engagement to the Crab nearly resulted in two seperate duels. To satisfy her fiance and hide her shame, Ayako and her husband, Kuni Natsukeshi, were banished to Kageyama, and given a few mouldering scrolls with which to start their own shugenja school.
Upon their arrival, Ayako and Natsukeshi began their dojo, and tried to keep their heads down. Unfortunately, it was not long before the long-standing Kuni-Yasuki Feud drew them into its folds. The bamboo they needed to construct their dojo took twice as long as expected to arrive, and cost twice the promised price. At night, the needed bamboo was stolen out from under their noses, and yet by sheer coincidence, the following day, the trader and head of the Yasuki family, Yasuki Hikaru, who had such difficulty acquiring bamboo previously now had just the amount they needed, although the price had gone up again.
Ayako and Natsukeshi paid it, and went to see Kuni Akinori to request his help and protection. He agreed, and the bamboo never disappeared again. In a tragic and unrelated incident, Yasuki Hikaru’s house burned down killing his wife and scarring his child.
The couple had a child, and took on students from the local families, and they scraped out as much family as any might in this transitory world, despite the feud. Then Natsukeshi fell sick with plague and died. Ayako never recovered. She fanned her hurt into hate, blaming the Yasuki for her husband’s death. After all, was it not the Yasuki traders who brought the cursed plague to Kageyama? And she raised her son to hate the Yasuki with all his heart, and take revenge for his father’s death.
She has become the right hand of Kuni Akinori, advising him in council, and taking her place in raids against the Yasuki at night. She is a bitter, angry, fierce woman.