Omikami no Isan
|Omikami no Isan|
|Dates run:||February 9-11, 2009|
|Read the logs:||Omikami no Isan|
The photo smoldered under his fingertips, and Shiro dropped that, too, before it all turned to ash. "I suppose that part of the question is now answered," he rasped. "But why is The Hand killing mutants?"
The X-Men travel to Japan to investigate brutal murders of mutants, and end up embroiled in a race to secure mystical artifacts before The Hand can.
Part 1 of the Kemono Arc.
During his travels through the Pacific with his father, Garrison heard of Japanese mutants of minor ability disappearing, few returning alive and horribly injured but most dead. He relayed this news to the X-Men, who decided to investigate, concerned for mutant welfare. When Shiro and Clarice recognize marks on the victims' bodies as those of The Hand, they went to Keniuchio Harada to find out what he knows and if he's at all involved. While waiting, they encountered Harada's bodyguard's teenage son, Hiro Takachiho and were attacked by a Hand ninja. Though Shiro and Clarice incapacitated him and learned of The Hand's plot to summon their god Kemono with the Imperial Regalia of Japan, the ninja poisoned himself before he could answer more questions.
Harada's half-sister Mariko was a historian and genealogist, and amassed the most complete record of Japan's history before her murder. Harada granted the X-Men access to her records, and they discovered that the regalia aren't actually tangible, extant items. One thousand years ago in order to protect the regalia from enemies, the emperor ordered the head priests of Atsuta shrine in Nagoya, Ise shrine in Ise, and Kamo shrine in Kyoto to hide the sword, mirror, and jewel respectively. The priests performed a complex ritual to personally consume the regalia and make them part of themselves. Upon death, the relic would be passed on to their next of kin. The regalia imbue their hosts with minor magical powers on par with some x-gene mutations, but they cannot otherwise be accessed. Only a reversal of the ritual could call forth the regalia from their hosts, but the process would likely kill them. Only the emperor, a handful of Shinto priests, and the hosts themselves know this secret. The ritual to use the regalia to summon Kemono also must be completed before National Foundation Day, otherwise the already weakening connection between this world and that of the gods would be severed and the artifacts useless.
Mariko's library also contained the genealogies of the three original hosts, so the X-Men set out to find them. The descendant of the Kamo priest is Hiro Takachiho, so he possesses the jewel. Ise's descendant, the mirror bearer, is a tour guide at the Iga Ninja Museum in Iga, Mie, named Megumi Okui, and is a witch of some power. The holder of the sword is a yokozuna from Aichi Prefecture, Katsuhiro Nanahara.
Harada secured a safehouse to keep the bearers of the regalia until after the holiday, but despite their best efforts, The Hand found and kidnapped the three. Between Harada's intelligence and Xavier's searching of Hiro via Cerebro, they located The Hand's base in Iga and attacked. Though they disrupted the ritual, it was not before they released Kusanagi, killing Nanahara. Shiro secured the sword during the ensuing battle and used it to fight back Matsu'o Tsurayaba while the rest of the team distracted the ninja and freed the other two. Tsurayaba and most of his ninja ultimately escaped when they realized that they can't win, and the X-Men returned Hiro and Megumi to their homes. Shiro stayed behind in Japan until the 13th to return Kusanagi to Atsuta so that the priests may hide it again.
Trivia and Meta
Shiro believes he touched the gods when he wielded Kusanagi, an event that both inspired and disturbed him, as he later related to Jean-Paul Beaubier.
Both Nanahara and Shiro (once it was released) referred to the sword as Kusanagi-sama.
Omikami no Isan is Japanese for "the great god's legacy," referring to Amaterasu's gifts to the emperor.
Jen gratefully socked Megumi Okui.