|This article was created with material from the abandoned Kurotokage sourcebook project. That material is in the public domain since 2003. The unfinished original content is archived.|
April 21, 2001
Sometime between 1000 and 2000 BC, a woman named Ashi (reed) became a shamaness for a tribe of native Japanese living in the Miyazaki, Kyushu region (called Hyuga). She was a skilled Dreamer, and used her skill to help propel her tribe to dominance of the extended region, eliminating/absorbing various other tribes.
When she faced a Mythos threat to her people, she discovered an underground series of caverns (mostly tunnels formed by ancient lava tubes) in and around Mt. Fuji, which had an enormous reserve of natural POW. Much of this POW derived from connections to the Dreamlands. She had visited DL many times through conventional means, but now she had an easier route, and she used it to rapidly improve her mastery of DL-related magic. She captured a piece of Azathoth in a "bottle" successfully. She did it because her normal Dreaming power couldn't handle the situation, so she turned to the very forces she hated. She won, but she was changed by the summoning and POW-boost from the Azathoth fragment. This is what allowed her to Dream Wakeworld, for a limited time, defeating the Mythos threat but also dying in the process.
The POW leakage from bottled Azathoth attracted Byakhee to around Mt. Fuji; they became established in Japanese folklore as tengu, and many of them indeed took on various human traits due to massive infusions of human genetic material over the centuries. By present-day times, essentially all of them are gone, because there is no more POW left from the Azathoth bottle.
She was dead for an unknown period of time, and when she became conscious again, she discovered that she was in her own DL (named "Takama-no-Hara", or 高天原), where she indeed ruled supreme as the center of the universe. She spent an unknown period of time there, recovering, working to recall memories from her former life in Wakeworld (mostly successful), and building up new POW and skills. As she developed, so did Takama-no-Hara.
She discovered that she was capable of exchanging information with, controlling and sometimes taking over the bodies of her descendents. She tried this a number of times, always expanding her kingdom's region and power, and in the process establishing her own origins as sacred, creating the Sun Goddess religion. Her descendents had demonstrated power, and were recognized as, in fact, a sacred bloodline.
Her first successful conquest in Wakeworld was Himiko (卑弥呼; born c. 154). Himiko was of the bloodline of Amaterasu, born into the So family (宗), a hereditary line dedicated to the worship of the gods of Japan (including Amaterasu), and because of her extremely strong dreaming power was recognized as the leading oracle. The name Himiko, in fact, was a corruption of the name Himuka, which Amaterasu had used centuries earlier when the Hyuga tribe was just beginning to expand in present-day Miyazaki. Her kingdom (Yamatai; 邪馬台國) was one of several major kingdoms in the region around present-day Kyoto and Nara, each ruled by a King. The Yamatai were recognized as the religious leaders of a loose confederation, due to the strength of their So oracle group. Amaterasu happened on the scene in about 182, sharing Himiko's mind and body, and shortly thereafter the Yamatai king died (c. 184). He had not designated a successor, and had no sons, so that a civil war seemed likely, but suddenly the heads of the two opposing camps suddenly announced their support to make a neutral third party, namely Himiko, Queen. (It was noted that the hair of one of them had turned pure white the prior night, while the other had apparently suffered a minor stroke, often drooling or bursting into tears. Both died within a week.)
Queen Himiko was generally acclaimed by the people, as she was already well known as the leading oracle. Yamatai immediately began a period of astonishing development and expansion. First, her kingdom suddenly made the transition from the late stone age directly into the iron age, providing quantum leaps in agricultural production and armament. Within a short period Yamatai was recognized as the overlord of 28 protectorates (formerly independent kingdoms) throughout Japan (Kyushu, Shikoku and all of Honshu except the northern tip) and most of the Korean Peninsula. With her power base established, she sent emissaries to the court of the Northern Gi (魏) Emperor of China, and was recognized as an affiliated state nominally under the control of China. This was the first step in her plan to control not only all of Japan, but indeed China, Asia and the world. Along the way, she also the name of her growing empire to Yamato (?).
According to the Chinese histories, Himiko lived in a heavily fortified palace complex, surrounded by walls and guard towers, and was attended by a thousand maidens. She never married, and apparently never toNashime visited the Chinese coTo assist her in her plans, she had four lieutenants, who used the names of their positions in the older agricultural Yamatai, namely the Lord of Horses (umaka, 馬加), the Lord of Oxen (ushika, 牛加), the Lord of Dogs (inuka, 狗加) and the Lord of Swine (inoka, 猪加), collectively kFrom about 243 rebellions broke out as local protectorates became unable to stand her continuing depredations on their population for unspeakable rites. She was known to practice black magic (kido, 鬼道), as well documented in a number if Chinese histories. The knowledge of iron-working had spread, reducing the edge that her own military had formerly enjoyed, and she requested aid from China in 244 to assist her in defeating her major threat, Kuna (狗奴國). In 245 China dispatched a large group of military advisors under Zhang Zheng (張政), who brought with them a strange yellow battle standard (huang-chuang, 黄幢) that struck fear into the enemy troops. They entrusted the standard to Nashime, who was in Taiho at that time. The northern Korean kingdom of Koguryo (高句麗), at that time revolting against Northern Gi rule, suddenly attacked Taiho as well, killing the governor there, named Gong Sun (弓遵 or 公孫). Nashime took command, and used the standard to destroy Koguryo opposition, later being appointed governor of Taiho. He went on to use it successfully to destroy all remaining opposition to the Yamato Kingdom in Japan as well.
Unfortunately, Empress Himiko's magic and forbidden knowledge did not include medicine, and she died of liver disfunction due to malaria in 248, without an heir. While her personal guidance of the growing Yamato Kingdom had ended for a time, new rulers continued to carry out her plan for the eventual domination of the world. With her death, the nation quieted down as strictly political rulers took the reins of government, and the shoka dropped out of sight for a time. In 255 another woman assumed the Yamato throne, Queen Toyo (台与), but Amaterasu was not involved, and she proved a lackluster if adequate ruler.
Amaterasu's plan, which she has been carefully trying to guide to fruition for centuries, is to infuse the Real World with the essence of the Dreamlands. This would allow her to reenter the RW as a powerful god, and use it's new DLs "plasticity" to defeat Cthulhu and other Mythos powers, kicking them out of the Solar System and staking it out as her territory. She would thus be saving Earth from the Great Old Ones… except she'd be one of them herself, and humans (what's left of them after the God War) would be her servitors.
In order to pull this off, she needs a suitable candidate in the RW: one of her descendants, with a powerful Dreaming ability and incredible will. Due to the inbreeding over the centuries, and the way the people surrounding the Emperor have always done their best to stamp out any signs of willfulness in the young Imperial heirs (to make them easier to manipulate), such candidates are hard to find. She has tried and failed several times (witness WW2). At present, she seems not to be trying with the current Emperor or his eldest son. And this son is having no luck in producing an heir, male or female. But that is no guarantee of safety — it might be that she needs a female vessel (which might be why the Imperial line long ago went from placing females on the throne to placing males there). And there is talk lately of putting a woman on the Chrysanthemum Throne if no male heirs are born. (This sequence needs to be extensively developed.)
Also, the process of infusing the RW with the essence of the DLs will almost certainly destroy the DLs, or at least change them profoundly (as described in Davide Mana's "Dream Reaper"). This could mean the deaths of millions and the destruction of the repository of humanity's collective unconscious.
Note: Other female rulers of Japan
Queen Iitoyo 飯豊
Regent Jingu 神功皇后 reigned 201-269
Empress Suiko 554-628 reigned 592-628
Empress Kogyoku 594-661 reigned 642-645
Empress Saimei (different name for Kogyoku) reigned 645-661
Empress Jito 645-702 reigned 686-697
Empress Genmei 661-721 reigned 707-715
Empress Gensho 680-748 reigned 715-724
Empress Kogen 718-770 reigned 749-758
Empress Shotoku (different name for Kogen) reigned 764-770
Empress Meisho reigned 1629-43
Empress Atosakumachi reigned 1762-70
Excerpt from the Scroll of Himiko
From David Farnell, April 2004
Sit there. Record every word I speak. I will review your work personally…yes, I read your foreign writing, Han scribe. And if there is one error, you will suffer.
These records are for my own reference. I have lived long, I suspect longer than you can imagine. My memory, while still sharp, becomes overfull, bloated. There are things I must not forget.
When I was born, my people were a mere village. We farmed millet, hunted, sometimes fought others. We had our own stories of the Sun and her brother, the Wind, and at my birth I was declared a Child of the Sun. This was no surprise. My grandmother had been one as well.
And so I was dressed in finery, and the men carried me through the village at festival time on a 乗輿 mikoshi, letting me play in the mud of the fields to bring good crops, and the women pressed my infant hand against their bellies to bring healthy babes. I grew up like this, having no reason to doubt that I was holy and a conduit for great powers. It made me different, which I sometimes resented. But I knew it would all end when my body began to enter womanhood; after that I would be like the other girls. I did not know which life I preferred more.
I never had a chance to find out. For as I grew taller and the blood of life began to flow…ho! Do I shock you, foolish man? Do the vaunted heights to which your people climb cause you to have so little regard for your earthly origins? Like so many men in recent generations, do you regard the blood of the womb with horror? I see the answer is yes, though you fear to say so. And well you should regard the mysteries of woman with horror, little man. They are not for your kind.
When I began to grow into a woman, my duties as the Sun's Child ended, but then the dreams began. I had always had intense dreams, but now they became something more. I was able to learn through them things that only the gods could know, things happening far away, or in the future, or the past. I was able to visit other lands, and enter others' dreams, and speak with spirits and demons. Sorcerers in these dream lands taught me secrets, and I was a good student.
Some of my people feared me, saying I was possessed by a fox, but after I became shaman, they depended on me more than ever, and I was regarded highly. Still only a girl, not yet a woman, I was the most powerful person in my village. My powers in the waking world were nothing compared to those of dream, but I could foresee the best time for planting, the coming of the summer inasa storms, the most propitious days for marriage and for hunting. To a tiny village, these are not minor powers.
And so we prospered, and my people loved me. I became their leader in name as well as deed?barely old enough to marry and already I was their chief. Our numbers grew, and then a wondering tribe of fierce warriors asked to join us; I foresaw that they would benefit us, and so our strength increased further.
And then I foresaw disaster.
From the north they were coming. They worshipped an alien god, one that actively walked in this world, thriving in the northernmost lands where the ground was always hidden beneath ice and the wind flensed flesh like iron knives. This god of ice and wind was not the brother of the Sun, but many called him by that name, for they could not say his true name, and they did not want to believe that they followed evil. Their leader was a man from a far-off land of giant deer and white bears; he wore the shaggy coat of an animal long since extinct, and animal larger than a house, a beast he had slain himself. He had seen generations of men pass like leaves on a tree, budding, growing, thriving for a season, then shriveling and dropping to the ground, to be crushed underfoot without a thought. How could he live so long, you may ask? I could say it was because he commanded great magics, but while true, that was not the reason.
This man, this priest of an otherworldly god, was dead.
He had died in the heart of a winter storm, after slaying his own family and devouring them. Yet he walked, he spoke, and he led the living. His act of desecration pleased the demon-god he followed. And now he conquered in the name of his god, and he spread winter over the lands of the north. With sacrifice and ritual, he changed to flow of the rivers of warmth and cold in the sky and ocean. Already in the south, winter came earlier every year, and it was more bitter. I could see that long before the hordes arrived, we would begin to starve. And even unweakened, we could not withstand his army, composed as it was of the pitiful remnants of hundreds of villages, those who agreed to fight so as not to die, who were forced to devour their own, less cooperative kinfolk. Many of them had undergone a change similar to their leader's, and they were also walking dead, with skin was hard as boiled leather, and teeth like obsidian shards.
I saw that we would be destroyed by them. We could band together all the tribes and villages of the south, and we would still lose. Worse, this priest was not the only one—there were others, all over the north, in other lands, marching south, bringing winter, bringing a new age of ice behind them. They would freeze the world if they could.
In my dream wanderings, I had learned of powerful magics that could warp the waking world as easily as the world of dream, but these magics came with a terrible price. I decided that I must pay the price, for my people. And so I approached one who could be called a wizard, or a god, one who wore robes of yellow and a pallid mask, who was served by the things we now call tengu. I learned from him, and I took the Oath, and bound myself to an unclean power.
On my return, my people looked on me in fear. But I paid them no mind, and journeyed north, across the inland sea, ever northwards. I was alone, for I needed no companions, nor did I wish to have any. For I had become a changed being.
You can feel it, can you not? Even now, so many lives later, it clings to my spirit. No matter how many times I am reborn…do you feel the worms crawling into your thoughts yet? The itch in your skull? The sensation of rot in your flesh? Keep writing! Worry not, little scribe?it will fade after you leave my presence. Imagine for a moment what it is like for me, feeling all that, my nose always full of rancid perfumes, my food tasting only of dust, my ears flinching at the endless whispered chittering, glimpses of diseased corpses dancing in the corners of my eyes. All that and a thousand times worse, every moment since I took the Oath, a young girl with no thought but to save her people.
So. I had the ability to do what needed to be done. But I lacked the raw power. So I journeyed north and east, to大倭豊秋津島 Ouyamato Toyoaki Tsushima. And I came upon our sacred mountain, 八神峰 Yahashira no Ookami no Mine, the greatest place of power in these islands. And there I searched, and found, the entrance to an ancient city beneath the mountain, a city designed for calling down power, for the benefit of a race that inhabited these lands long ago. There I found what is now one of the Imperial Treasures, the stone. And I, a Daughter of the Sun, I called upon the power of Amaterasu…no, let me speak truthfully. It is a power beyond hers, at the heart of the sun, the stars, the universe. I called it down through myself and bottled it like a fiery liquor in that stone. And then I waited.
The calling of such power is never a quiet affair. It spilled over the landscape, devastating the forests around the mountain, slaying the animals and not a few people. Because of my connection with the Yellow Sorcerer, the flow of power through me called flocks of tengu to Yahashira no Ookami no Mine, so many they blackened the sky with their obscene, humming bodies. Oh, they are not winged, red-faced men, nor are they manlike crows. Those are stories people in the days since have told to comfort themselves after seeing something that drove them half mad with terror. Yes, I am responsible for bringing those mountain demons to these islands. Most have left by now, but a few remain, these tengu, these bya-gii, for reasons known only to themselves.
As I said, calling such power is not quiet, and my enemy knew of it the moment it happened. He knew that he could never hope to conquer the southwest without defeating me first, so he led his army to Yahashira no Ookami no Mine. He came on swiftly, his weaker warriors falling on the journey, providing fodder for the stronger. He took no time to recruit more along the way, simply letting his warriors devour all in their path.
Still, there were many thousands behind him when he arrived. I remember how he laughed when he saw me descending the slope to meet him. He called me a skinny girl, a mere reed, and I smiled, because that had been my childhood name.
"I am the Daughter of the Sun," I said. "And you, the Son of the Wind. Today, you and I will take on the mantle of our parents?we will be the Sun and the Wind. And as the sun drives the wind at dawn and dusk, so shall I drive you from this world."
He laughed again, but I only smiled, for I knew what the wind does to reeds. And I knew what it does to fire, also.
He called upon his god, and sent freezing winds against me. I fell battered and bloody, but I called on my power and stood again. Like a reed, I bent, but did not break. So he called upon his horde to rip me apart. As they touched me, their icy hearts melted, and I drank their souls to fuel my power. So like a flame fanned by the wind, I blazed brighter.
Enraged, he called upon his god, and his alien god entered him, and the priest became his god. He grew until he towered over me, higher than any tree, the winter winds howling around him, his face a thing of horror. Again, I smiled, even as he snatched me up in his freezing grip. He crushed me, dashed me to the ground, breaking my bones. Then lifting me again, he tossed me into his mouth. He chewed me, grinding me, ripping me in his iron teeth. And he swallowed me.
Yes. He ate me.
But I had known that would happen. He was a cannibal god, after all. And within his frozen, earthly body, the Daughter of the Sun became the Sun Herself.
Oh, how I blazed! I burned through him, destroying him utterly. And I continued to burn, blackening the already-destroyed landscape, cooking the last remnants of his army, and the sacred mountain erupted in sympathy. I rose, burning, into the sky, and around me circled the chittering flocks of bya-gii.
Did I really destroy a god? No, I was not quite that powerful. But I did banish him from this world for many lifetimes. Lately, I have heard tales in the far north…but that is not part of this tale. But by banishing the god, I also banished the power of the other priests, and so they were defeated in their distant lands.
I tell you this tale, and command you to write it, because it is true. The story has changed with time. There are those who say I am Amaterasu, and perhaps they are right. There are those who say my enemy was Susanoo, and perhaps, in a way, they are right. It is difficult to say, after so many lives.
And now I am the Empress Himiko. They say I am mad. They say I am cruel. They say I am a witch. They are right. But everything I did, I did for my people. With time, my people have expanded to cover the whole of the southwest. In the future, I am sure they will cover all these islands. I have come back again and again, never content to rest between lives, because I knew I could lead my people to power—and with power comes safety.
But soon I will leave, not to return for a thousand years or more. The corruption of the Oath grows worse. I tried to flee it by death and rebirth, but it infects my spirit. If I stay, it will consume me completely, and I will be but a slave, a servant of alien gods, like my long-ago enemy. I will not allow that to happen. I go to seek release from this curse…but not relief, not rest. I go also to seek power. And when I have it, I shall return, and my people shall expand over the face of the Earth and beyond, and no alien god will be allowed to remain. This world shall be made pure, and safe.
The stories change, and even my memory grows confused. So I have this record made for my return. One day long hence there shall be another Empress, and I shall be born into her, and I shall need this to remind me of who I am and what I have done and shall do.
And then all will be well.
— From the Shosoin Himiko Makimono (Scroll of Himiko, Shosoin), found in the Shosoin Imperial Repository in Nara and now in the Imperial Household Agency Library. The author is unknown, and is reputed to have been put to death after the scroll was finished and sealed.
Info on Mt. Fuji: