08. The Common Man's Courage
Mount Rokkon
On the right path, cleanse all four stones of protection and defeat Shishio.
Long ago, in a small village in the shadow of Mount Rokkon, there lived a young man. Few were as diligent at harvest time as he─and none so quick to leap into action on the fateful day that screams rang across the fields. Swallowing his fear, he followed the sound to find his neighbors beset by a beast of terrible countenance, its unnatural form proving it the very man-eating monster that had terrorized the people of Shishu for moons. And so, knowing lives would be lost to even a moment's hesitation, the young man lobbed his pitchfork at the creature's exposed belly. It turned tail and ran for the cover of the mountain, howling in pain. Ever since, the village has held a yearly event dedicated to tossing their tools at bundles of straw, in a form of ritual that doubles as useful practice in the event that the kami are slow to respond to future incidents.

Imagine my surprise when, having recovered that fork of legend, I discovered the famed swordsmith Nanakusa's mark upon it. Two histories for the price of one! I suppose all artisans must pay their dues, be it in humble pitchforks or those kettles that Rowena has such a tidy monopoly on, but the contrast between this tool and Nanakusa's more whimsical works is striking. One would never guess that its maker would go on to build Shishu's most expansive smithy, guarded in each cardinal direction by statues of the Four Lords...