A long, long time ago, in the earth and in the heavens, were two feuding clans: the Aka clan and the Gin clan. They were clans of powerful samurai, who once were friends, and had served together in a Great War between yokai and mankind.
There had been plans to join the two clans together in an auspicious marriage. The Aka clan had a beautiful daughter named Yume, whose eyes were of the deepest black, and whose skin was white as the snow, and whose hair was as blue-black as the deepest night. She was not only beautiful, but wise, and a skilled archer. It was said that she could shoot an arrow into the eye of a crane, perched on a maple tree on Mt. Fuji.
The Gin clan’s eldest son, Senshi, was a swordsman so adept in his skill that he could slice the wings off a fly, and the fly would not even know that its wings were gone. Senshi himself was handsome, and it wasn’t long before the two young people had met that they had fallen deeply in love.
As an engagement gift, Senshi gave Yume a pair of earrings—two small katanas that dangled from her ears, and could be bidden to grow as large or as small as she needed them to.
To Senshi, Yume gave a magical menpō that would not break under even the strongest blade, and inspire terror in the hearts of his enemies as soon as they saw it.
Both clans saw that the young couple were in love, and rejoiced, and prepared all that was needed for a beautiful wedding.
But tragedy would soon strike. One night, during the festivities, a tanuki, up to its usual mischief, snuck into the home of the Aka clan. It stole from a place of honor a silver Oni mask, given to the patriarch of the Aka clan by Kaminari-sama, god of thunder and storms.
It was a mask that, if in the possession of someone, would protect them from lightning and misfortune, even in the strongest storm. The Tanuki put it around his neck, and fled with it into the mountains.
Now, since there were no other guests in the Aka Clan’s home at the time except for the Gin clan, the patriarch of the Aka Clan blamed them. The Gin patriarch was deeply offended, and a great skirmish began, which they have been fighting ever since.
Yume and Senshi were forced to part ways. “We must find the mask,” Yume said. “You search the North and the South, and I, the East and the West.”
“And what if we never find the mask?” Senshi asked.
“We must,” she said. “Or this war between our clans will never end. We must find it. Even if it takes five hundred years.”
Now, the story goes, the clans did wage war for five hundred years. But neither Yume nor Senshi, nor any of their descendants, have been heard from since.
Some say that the couple reunited in a distant land, away from their clans. Still others say that they are still searching somehow, their spirits unable to rest. And yet still more say that the mystery to the fate of Yume and Senshi lie in the Katana Earrings and the magical menpō. Find them, and perhaps you might also find the tanuki’s lair, and the oni mask… waiting for a brave warrior to bring it home, and end a centuries-long conflict.
Will it be you?