Shadows of Fate
Watasumi and Mizuchi
Existence is divided into three realms – Tengoku, the realm of the Celestial Dragons, Sekai, the realm of Man, and Yomi, the realm of the dead. In ancient times, all dragons resided in Tengoku, and Watasumi was the king of all. His power extended even to Sekai, where he chose the human Emperor to rule the land of man. Watasumi had a brother, named Mizuchi, who coveted the power, influence, and awe of Watasumi – and Mizuchi was not alone. He rebelled against Watasumi, and was defeated. He and his followers were cast out of Tengoku. They crashed through Sekai in what is now known as the Shadowlands to Yomi, where they became the Terrestrial Dragons. Watasumi realized too late the error he had made. Mizuchi became the King of Yomi just as Watasumi was the King of Tengoku. Mizuchi grew in power, and the hole to Yomi began to spread the influence of the Taint to Sekai. Watasumi saw the destruction the Taint was spreading and wept for man. His tears fell to Sekai in the form of Jade – a green stone with the power to absorb the Taint.
Kami are the spirits of Sekai – the souls of trees, rocks, streams, love, birth, death, oceans, and every other part of nature, life, and emotion. They can be weak or powerful, depending on what they “inhabit” or represent. Nevertheless, all are revered by the people of Sekai. They are prayed to for aid, appeased with ceremony, and protected from corruption when possible. Many of these rituals revolve around purification – especially with the threat of the Taint. Thus, cleanliness is highly respected, and aestheticism is a path to purity in the eyes of the Kami. Kami are normally associated with the Godai – or five elements: Fire, Wind, Water, Earth, and Void. These all represent various aspects of existence – not the actual element itself.
Kansen are Kami who have been corrupted by Taint. They maintain most of their aspects but are twisted and malign.
The Fortunes are those who have ascended to god-like status through incredible actions in life. Among them are past Emperors, Clan Daimyo, war heroes, and so on. There are too many to count, but you may occasionally find a shrine dedicated to one if it had particular influence over an area.
Yin and Yang describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, and male and female) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality of yin and yang. Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The yin yang shows a balance between two opposites with a little bit in each. Philosophies of the Yin and Yang are referred to as the Tao (pronounced dao).
Karma & Reincarnation
People of Sekai believe that most souls are reincarnated after spending a period of time in Yomi, and as such try to improve their karma so that they can be reincarnated into a higher station in life. Most view following the ways of Bushido or monkish aestheticism as ways to do this. Because of this, warriors are willing to lay down their lives for their lords knowing it will improve their karma and they will be reincarnated into a better life.