Matsu Benika 
Matsu Benika 
Born: Unknown 
Died: Unknown 
Children: Matsu Ataruko

Matsu Benika was a beastmaster in service to the Lion Clan and the current bearer of the Hand of the Jade Dragon.

Early Years Edit

Matsu Benika 1

Matsu Benika

Benika was a young girl whose poor health prevented her from interacting with those of her age, becoming a shy child incapable of social interaction. Her health improved, and Benika showed a natural affinity for the prides of lions under her family's care. Her sensei requested she be trained as a Beastmaster. [1]

Beastmaster Edit

Benika bore the fingerprint of Chikushudo, [2] and she used to fight in the battlefield with her pride of lions, [3] called Benika's Pride. [4]

The Wanderer Edit

In 1168 the Kitsu Daimyo and Lion representative at the Court, Kitsu Katsuko, sent words to the Lion Clan Champion Ikoma Otemi that the Emperor Toturi III was not in seclusion as they had been lead to believe. He had spent the past few months traveling the Empire as a disguised wanderer in search of enlightenment and lately entered the Shadowlands. The Emerald Champion Yasuki Hachi had requested all clans send a small force of warriors at Crab lands to join him in finding and protecting the Emperor. Otemi sent the young and untested Benika at the command of their fleetest unit, the Lion Wardens. The experienced Matsu Takuya would hold command until the border to the Shadowlands was crossed. After that point, Benika would make decisions regarding battle and tactics, best suited to an adaptable commander not bound by the conventions of traditional tactics as Benika. [5]

To Defend the Emperor Edit

Matsu Benika 3

Beastmaster Benika

When they reached the Tomb guided by nezumi scouts an army of oni raced across the plain toward it, and another army, of the Lost, passed away the Rokugani and headed toward the beasts of Jigoku. Hachi ordered to join them against the demons in the Battle of the Tomb. After the armies engaged the officers decided to enter into the Tomb. Takuya remained in the surface with the beloved Lions of Benika, the Benika's Pride, which aided the Rokugani in the battle. [3]

Tomb of the Seven Thunders Edit

Moto Chen, the Jade Champion Asahina Sekawa, Hachi, and Benika found the Emperor in a chamber filled with strange, ancient artifacts. There was no time to escape and Naseru believed the items would be instrumental to Rokugan's very survival. The Emperor decided to sacrifice himself to buy the time needed for the rest to take these items back to the Empire. [3]

Matsu's Ashes Edit

Matsu Benika 2

Matsu Benika

When the items from the tomb were retrieved, Benika selected a nondescript urn containing the ashes of the original Matsu. To honor her return with the ashes of the Lion Thunder, she had been given Chukandomo to wield. [6]

Winter of Red Snows Edit

Benika breaking the enemy lines

Benika breaking the enemy lines

During the Winter of Red Snows Benika used her pride to broke the lines of Baraunghar forces. [7]

Audience with Matsu Edit

In 1170, Benika was summoned by Kitsu Daimyo Kitsu Katsuko. Coming as bid to the Hall of Ancestors and finding Matsu Daimyo Matsu Kenji also present, she learned that her presence had been demanded by the spirit of Matsu herself. Channelled through Katsuko, Matsu offered mild praise to her for her actions following the wishes of the Emperor and returning her ashes to the Lion, though warned her against complacency. She then warned them of the coming upheaval in the heavens and the soon to be dooms of Lord Sun and Lady Moon. [8]

Naoharu's Yojimbo Edit

The Crane courtier Naoharu requested his Clan ally, the Lion, to lend him a yojimbo during the end of negotiations with the Scorpion. Matsu Benika was appointed and they reached the village of Ginasutra to meet Yogo Ichiba. When they returned from the susccessful negotiation, and Emerald Magistrate, Bayushi Takao, appeared and requested Naoharu's belongings to be inspected. Benika despised the Crane, as she saw Naoharu as an honorless man, but used her Matsu training to threaten the magistrate, who quickly dismissed them both. [2]

Hand of the Jade Dragon Edit

Hand of the Jade Dragon

Benika with the Hand

Benika left Naoharu and was traveling in the Plains of Thunder, near a pride of lions. She saw a traveler too close to the beasts and protected him without knowing who was. The stranger, Omen, announced he was the Voice of the Jade Sun. He was traveling to Toshi Ranbo seeking those who were proud of his blessings. He had found Benika a virtuous woman, and gifted her with the Hand of the Jade Dragon in honor of her consistent adherence to bushido. [2]

Chasing the Spider Clan Edit

The Shogun Moto Jin-sahn had been tasked by the Empress Iweko I to drive out the called Spider Clan from their bases in the Shinomen Mori. Benika was leading a patrol in the Seven Day Battle Plain, checking no Spider slipped from the planned attack. Her gunso Akodo Hiroshi saw a strange group of several ashigaru. They confronted the Spider, and when they saw the fight would be lost, the leaders, Tetsuo and Daigotsu Yuhmi, fled moving faster than any human could move. [9]

Arrival of Aid Edit

Omen visited Benika again, and she told her concern that she alone could carry out the duty as living example for an entire Empire. The Voice told there would be others, [9] several of those who be granted with the Gifts of Ryoshun.

Plague War Edit

Benika fighting Plague Zombies

Benika fighting Plague Zombies

In 1172 Ikoma Otemi commanding the Ikoma Wardens and Akodo Hiroshi were talking about the next actions to be taken. Hiroshi had the Hiroshi's Legion exhausted, but Otemi pressed to intercept a number of plague-infected, both refugees and a number of undead following in their wake, who were fleeing toward Scorpion lands. The heated discussion ended with the arrival of Benika. She spoke to both officers about the duty they shared, and that they must all stand together against this implacable threat. The troops and steeds were somehow invigorated, inspired, and the march began. [10]

Uprisings Edit

The leader of the Lioness Legion met Matsu Benika. News arrived about an uprising in a village within the clan's easternmost provinces. It was claimed the threat originated from within the Legion of Two Thousand, which could not be proved. The two led the vanguard and put the village to the torch. [11]

God Beast Edit

The combined Empire forces had been gathered near Ryoko Owari Toshi to face the God Beast of Kali-Ma, a gigantic creature. She encouraged Ikoma Noda who regain his faith in the victory this day. [12] She later met the dying Togashi Kaelung, to save him. Before the ise zumi joined her, Kakita Kensho-in, the bearer of the Hand of the Obsidian Dragon, appeared and competed with Benika for Kaelung's favors. [13] After the battle she visited Utaku Yu-Pan, with her arm severed below the elbow. Benika offered her blessings to to alleviate the loss. Yu-Pan refused due to the costs that came with them. [14]

Akodo Shigetoshi Edit

The Lion Clan Champion Akodo Shigetoshi was concerned with the future of the war. The ranks of the Destroyers looked endless, and the toll in the Rokugani armies was heavy. He was visited by Benika who told there was a blade that had not yet been drawn. When it would be, the tide could turn, if only the courage could be had to wield it. Shigetoshi did not understood what was behind her words. [15]

Kyuden Ashinagabachi Edit

In 1173 Benika was one of the defenders in the Battle of Kyuden Ashinagabachi. [16]

Moto Kang's Sword Edit

Benika seized the Moto Kang's Sword, [17] a cursed nemuranai, from its wielder Moto Kang, and put it under the care of Horiuchi Nobane who would sacrifice a great deal to keep it safe for her. In 1198 she came to see again Nobane. Benika retrieved the nemuranai, because it was time for Nobane to rest. The last living member of the Horiuchi family died shortly after in the presence of his niece Utaku Tsukiko. [18]

Legacy Edit

Matsu Benika 4

Benika Sensei

Benika passed her knowledge to the next generations, [19] and she eventually bore a daughter, Matsu Ataruko. [20] A vast field of crystal outcroppings discovered in the Colonies by the Crab was named Benika's Tears. [21]

See also Edit

External Links Edit


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