The flames of war have swept across Japan. The year is 1545, the Portuguese landed upon our shores some two years ago and altered warfare as we have come to know it with the introduction of firearms. With these events and endless conflicts between lords and provinces, the Ryokō Yōhei was born.
Formed of those displaced by the war or simply those looking to find station and wealth, these traveling warriors were mercenaries for hire. Lead by the fourth son of the Hattori clan, Hattori Saizō.
Having been born a bastard to a mistress, Saizō, was not in direct line to succeed the clan. To compound the issue his mother was filled with jealousy and sadness to the point she lost herself to a hannya. This would lead to Saizō being called a demon child. Adopting this moniker and to honor his late mother, Hattori Saizō, would come to be known as Oni no Hannya (The demon Hannya). Wearing a somen in the likeness of the hannya to instill fear in others, he eventually began to attract followers.
These other soliders of fortune and those with nowhere else to turn soon began to be known as the Ryokō Yōhei (Traveling Soldiers). The warring states were ripe with lords securing their services as well as villages or temples who sought protection or to deal with other matters.
It is one such matter that lead Hattori Saizō to this point. Being approached by a sect of the Ikko Ikki, the Ryokō Yōhei were tasked to investigate strange happenings at a local dragon shrine. Upon arriving one could hear a whisper, a calling, within the mist that seemed to hang about the doorway of the shrine.
Not one to needlessly risk the lives of his men, Hattori Saizō, chose only his close retainer and a miko shrine maiden to accompany him into the mist. As a shinobi no mono, he was accustomed to forward reconascents. And so through the mists he went...