A tale of Kamigawa

The situation in Kamigawa grew even more bleak. The Minamo School was sacked by Hidetsugu and his oni. The soratami started even deeper plotting, hoping to take some advantage from the chaos. Even Eiganjo Castle has fallen. Worst of all, O-Kagachi, mightiest of the kami, has come to the material world. But his arrival has deeper consequences than mere death and destruction, though it has certainly wrought that. So powerful is his essence that his travel between the kakuriyo (spirit world) and the utushiyo (material world) has weakened the barrier between the two.

Now, kami have a much easier time traveling from their home to Kamigawa proper, and when they do, they are much more powerful. Many new types of kami have taken advantage of this new path between worlds to join their fellows in the war against mortals. The kirin are among the most powerful. Part horse, part sea creature, the kirin are generally thought of as benevolent spirits, signs of good fortune and plenty. However, even the most benevolent and life-giving of kami joined the war against the mortal world, but only with heavy and sorrowful hearts.

But no matter what their personal feelings, the kami must avenge O-Kagachi's loss, and that they do, with a vengeance. Their special brand of spiritcraft has not been seen on Kamigawa in ages, and they will use it against the humans, and anyone else who stands in the way. Similarly, the spirits of great figures from Kamigawa's past have also emerged. Their infinite wisdom is being brought to bear in the Kami War.

The onna, spirits that take the vague form of human women, were once rare, with few sightings among the wild places they called home. This was fortunate, since their beauty and power could bring any mortal to his knees. But with the coming of O-Kagachi they have manifested, and their treachery has been the doom of many a mortal warrior. Shinen, spirits composed of a kind ectoplasmic energy, also wander Kamigawa in droves, along with lantern-carrying kami. These spirits, powerful on their own, can give up their own lives to add their essences, and their abilities, to their allies. Thus, mortals are in danger from kami both living and deceased.

In the middle of all of this, That Which Was Taken has been... well, taken again. This time, Toshi is the one who possesses the powerful artifact. He has made a deal with the Myojin of Night's Reach for both power and protection, though it's safe to assume that neither values the alliance very highly. He'll need all the help he can get, though, because many of his past actions, most of which include some sort of betrayal and double-dealing, are starting to catch up to him at the worst possible time. With his theft of the young kami, he has a very large bullseye painted on his head, and a very hot potato in his hands. While he tries to figure out what to do with his new prize, and how to use it to save Kamigawa and his own skin, Princess Michiko is also on the move. With her kitsune allies, she struggles with recent revelations about her role in the Kami War. She'll have to overcome many forces, including her own guilt, to succeed. In fact, with both O-Kagachi and her father searching for That Which Was Taken, it'll be a sticky web to negotiate indeed.

Mochi has been running around behind the scenes this entire time. We've watched him plot, scheme, and assist Toshi when it suits his purposes. He's probably the most mysterious figure in this whole conflict: a kami whose loyalties and schemes aren't clear. How will he reveal himself? What ties does he have to the Kami War as a whole? We'll find out, but only when he feels it safe to do so. By then, will it be too late?

Of course, as the last set in a block, with this sort of trouble brewing, there will be plenty of casualties, many of whom will be very familiar to storyline fanatics and casual fans alike. Action will come from unexpected sources. Matters will be resolved, but probably not in the way you may think. One thing is for certain, though: whatever happens, Toshi will be there, ready and willing to turn it to his advantage.