Kitsuki Kagemusha was the last child of a mild-mannered but gifted male Kitsuki magistrate and a deadly female Miromuto samurai. His mother’s mother (i.e. his maternal grandmother) was a famous warrior and tactician, renowned throughout the Dragon clan for her bravery.
Like his older sister and brother, Kagemusha longed to follow in his grandmother’s footsteps and be a great warrior. Unfortunately, unlike them, he had none of his mother’s talents. Try as he might, Kagemusha was always unsure of his footing, clumsy in his gait and stance, and awkward when wielding a blade.
However, fate did smile on Kagemusha. He may not have inherited any of his mother’s grace or ability with a sword but he did inherit his grandmother’s tactical sense. That, along with the hereditary dogged persistence and keen eye of his father, made him excel as a magistrate.
Hitosashi’s birth into a minor branch of the Yoritomo family caused little stir in the Mantis clan. It was not until his tenth year, when a powerful Moshi shugenja guested at his father’s house that his family, and his clan, came to understand the true nature of the child born unto them. The mystic fell into a trance upon meeting the boy, and for the next forty-eight hours he was lost in the spirit world. When the shugenja came back to himself, he summoned all the members of Hitosashi’s household and told them of the dark fate that shadowed the boy. The greatest clan ancestors had revealed to the shugenja that the boy would one day spell out the doom of the Mantis. Through Hitosashi’s actions all of the gains the Mantis clan had made in recent years would be undone, their honor turned to dust, and the remnants of the clan hunted and despised by all honorable men. The ancestors revealed nothing of how Hitosashi would bring about such total destruction, but they were very clear on when. On the thirty-first anniversary of his birth, Hitosashi would doom his clan. The only ways to prevent the destruction of the clan would be to commit seppuku, the ancient right of ritualistic suicide, to fall in battle, or to otherwise be killed before the appointed day.