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Monday, 27 September 2010

The red archer

Here's another of the mighty heroes that young Tam was tasked to gather together in the Eye of Heroes videogame design. Personally I'm both dubious of and bored by the modern myth of ninja (black pyjamas, shuriken, attack in silent waves) which was all cooked up in the 1960s. That's why you'll find no mention of ninja in FL Book Six and if somebody in Akatsurai did use the word "ninja" they would be talking about a wizard with a spell to become invisible. But this version of the Fabled Lands was intended for a tactical computer game, where ninja are as de rigueur as zombies.

Appearance: Roku is an athletic oriental clothed in a scarlet kimono. He holds a large bone bow engraved with lightning flashes and thunderclouds, and carries a quiver slung over one shoulder. His features are handsome yet haunted.

History: Roku was the greatest archer in Akatsurai, perhaps even the whole world. Many of the deeds attributed to him are pure fancy. He is said to have fired an arrow across the Unbounded Ocean to kill the traitorous Daimyo of Yarimura, and on the order of the Shogun he even shot down one of the stars.

In truth Roku was indeed divine. He was sent to earth by Nai, God of Earthquakes, and his bow was an earthly replica of Nai’s own bow: the Shatterer of Worlds. As the ground would never tremble beneath his feet, Roku passed from village to village, providing safety to the poor people of Akatsurai whenever the God of Earthquakes was angry.

Roku was once asked by some villagers to slay a terrible dragon that had been eating their livestock. Venturing to the cave of the dragon he discovered that she had been badly injured in a recent battle with a samurai, and took pity on her. He nursed her back to health, and in time, fell in love with her.

For many months Roku and his dragon wandered the land, until at last they met the brother of the samurai who had injured her when they first met. The man announced that he had sworn to slay the dragon and reclaim his family’s honour. In killing him Roku angered the Nine Lakes Clan, and they sent their ninja to assassinate him. They caught up with him in the depths of the Kwaidan forest, where Roku had finally mustered the courage to ask the dragon for a kiss. As their lips met the dragon turned into a beautiful maiden princess. “My lips have been sealed for an age,” she breathed, “but now you have freed them and they are yours.” At that moment the poisoned arrows of the ninja peppered their bodies, and they were sealed in their embrace forever.

Character: Roku is quiet and dignified. He is always alert, and is generally the first to warn Tam of danger.


  1. Hi Dave !

    You must write: "de rigueur" with two "u".


  2. Whoops! I should know better - thanks, Olivier, now corrected.