FACTIONS: THE KENDAI
Like most kids coming up in the 80s, I cut my teeth on cartoons, and if they taught me anything, they taught me that a magical sword makes you special. No matter how unlikely the hero, the moment they raised their enchanted blades aloft, they became mighty.
Turns out, this was not an original idea.
The pages of fiction are filthy with enchanted weapons, most of them named; not all of them good. Some of these one-off blades could grant farm hands dominion over entire kingdoms. Others whispered their devious temptations into the ears of once incorruptible masters.
In every case, for good or for ill, the power they bestowed demanded tribute.
OATH AND MEASURE
The Hierarch is always in danger. While beloved by the people, the Ten Thrones that serve him scheme and plot with enemies and allies, forgetting the source of the comforts they so enjoy. To remind them, the Hierarch takes the second-born from each of their houses, a heavy toll that forfeits any claim those children might have to land or title. In exchange, they know only the Hierarch’s will, training day and night to take their place among the Kendai.
Their loyalty beyond measure.
Ritually blinded by the age of ten, those would-be sword masters who survive the blinding begin honing their senses to a razor’s edge. Once they can easily navigate the bustling world around them without incident, the Hierarch sends them to study with the blind masters in Niho, the City of Ghosts. For years, they toil in the forges there, preparing for their final test: The Kittani Blade. This broad, curved, cutting edge with a second grip mid-blade for extra leverage is a massive, ungainly thing. To master it, the Kendai must entice a malevolent and greedy fiend into the blade itself. If it accepts, the world becomes bright, as ghostly eyes grant them vision in a 360-degree arc.
The bargain isn’t as one-sided as it sounds. No longer trapped in the ancient city of Niho, the fiend in the blade is now free to wander Achades soaking in its power. As its strength grows, so too does its hunger – a hunger sated only by blood. The more it kills, the more it entwines with the soul of its host.
When Needs Must…