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Official FOLKLORE | Kaigan's Guardian

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RexLobo

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RexLobo
RexLobo
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The Ochiba Forest, which once was a vast forest that covered the whole island, was now but a tourist attraction. From housing two areas for the college population to party to holding the respectable Shinsei-Seinaru Monastery atop one of its mountains. Despite losing much of its land, its history remains the same. From its history books come many stories for passersby to uncover. For them to decipher real from fiction. One such story is that of Masako, a blessed creature falling from grace.

Origin


The story occurs during the tail end of the Heian Period. The whole of Japan was in the midst of war, with two factions trying to take control. The violence made its way to the island of Karakura. A once peaceful ecosystem was brought to ruin from the two sides robbing it of its resources. Beautiful trees turned to charcoal, a once flourishing wildlife exterminated by the Kiyamori family to instill fear and disaster on the island.

It was at this time that the Buddhists from the Akatera monastery made their attempts in restoring the islands. The lead monk, Baika Minamoto, led these efforts. Once a member of the militant Minamoto family, Baika shed his name to take on the Buddhist ways to help heal the world and repay all the death he had caused during his life. The Akatera Monastery had its door open to refuge for those who had lost their livelihoods as collateral damage. Not long after welcoming the citizens of the island, did they begin to house the endangered population of animals.

One such animal was a young fox, orphaned by a Kiyomori hunting party. Baika had found the injured animal and took it in, fostering it back to health. Even after being well enough to fend for itself outside in the wilderness, the nameless fox chose to remain at the monastery, by Baika’s side. The humble monk accepted his new companion, naming him Masako, the elegant child. Baika’s companion followed him during his daily excursions to rebuild the island.

However, the peace was once more disrupted when the Kiyomori family set fire to the Akatera monastery. The structures engulfed in flames led to many deaths or the capture of the monks who stood against the family. Baika, a representative of two parties against Kiyomori, was executed within the monastery grounds. His companion watched from within the burning shrine, trapped behind the raging flames.

Masako, seeing the only way to live was to run further within the structure hidden under one of the Buddhist statues. Once the flames subsided two days after a fierce storm, the young fox could exit the shrine. There, he found the body of his caretaker lying on the ground at the center of the courtyard. The mourning animal remained beside the deceased Baika, until one day, a strange apparition approached the creature. The mountain kami, Chiharu-Yamatsumi, blessed the loyal creature to assist in caring for its home. Once an ordinary fox, Masako had been turned into a fabled Kitsune.



Blessings


The newly blessed creature roamed the Ochiba forest, passing on the kami’s blessing to make the land flourish once again. When the forest returned to its former state, the Minamoto family returned to help rebuild and honor their fallen family member who had chosen to live out the remainder of his life caring for the island. Masako watched over the reconstruction of the monastery, and his figure was seen often gazing over the construction. Thus leading to the name, the Kisune Monastery, as a way to honor the guardian of the new shrine.


It was through this new purpose that Masako grew as a Kitsune, gaining his second tail. Upon gaining its second tail, it was bestowed the power to guide the winds. With this newfound ability, Masako used it to help the ecosystem prosper even more. Spreading the seeds of various plants throughout the forest, leading to a healthier environment. Soon after, he sprouted his third tail, showing that he had mastered his power. Not all was good, however. The sights of foreigners landed on Karakura, and in the mid-1500s, missionaries began to spread the word of Christianity. Masako, being a messenger of the kami, saw this as a threat to the higher being.

Masako began to play tricks on the newcomers, causing them to quickly turn on each other. It did not take long for witch hunts to become a normal occurrence among the new settlers of Karakura. Without knowing, the kitsune had also started a stalemate between the natives and the settlers, with distrust building from both sides. It all came to a head in the late 1500s, when the missionaries chose to burn down the Kisune monastery to send a message to the people of the island. This was when they were expelled from Karakura. With his mission seeming complete, he returned to the mountain to seek praise from the Kami, but upon arriving, he was stripped of his blessings.



The Fall from Grace


Chiharu-Yamatsumi had watched Masako’s tricks, which led to much loss in the last years, including the shrine in which the kami had resided. The mountain kami watching over the island of Karakura believed this was not the purpose of his envoy, to which he had taken the blessings away and cursed Masako to remain a yokai, bound to the forest he had once made flourish.

Without having a home to return to, the yokai roamed the forest. Witnessing the people who once praised him no longer recognize the creature led him to weep for countless nights. From a distance, he watched as the natives of Karakura rebuilt the monastery and renamed it the Shinsei-Seinaru monastery, removing his memory of the place he once called home.


Isolation


After being forgotten, Masako roamed for a place to seek refuge away from the rest of the island. It took many years for the spirit to stop wandering the same ground it did day after day. That was until one night, when the room rose in the horizon, it was vastly different from normal. The appearance of a blood moon drew his attention, leading him to the beach. Heading to the easternmost side, a heavy spiritual presence was felt. The torii gate that stood idle every day opened a path for spirits to roam free. As one last way to honor his past, he sealed the spirit, along with the gate once more. However, doing so exhausted all of the remainder of his energy, leading him to lay beside the gate and fall into a deep slumber. The guardian remains in waiting beside the blood gate, hidden until the day his vitality returns, and he can roam once more.





Written by RexLobo​
 
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