As has been known since time immemorial, the reikon—the soul—departs the body upon death. If disturbed, or if it was a violent and unsettled death, the reikon may become a yūrei—a ghost—doomed to wander and haunt until the cause of its woes is addressed.

There are myriad categories of yūrei, from the noble goryō to the motherly ubume, but none is more dangerous or more misunderstood than the tsuihō, the banished. They are living reikon stripped from their bodies without death, for the purpose of filling the soulless bodies with demons to form a supernaturally efficient fighting force and binding the souls to power dark constructs.

It is typically a fate worse than death. The soulless bodies are consumed in battle or eaten from within by corrupting demonic influence, while the expelled souls are consumed as fuel in the bellies of mechanical horrors. If they escape that fate, the enraged and confused reikon turn on whatever is nearest, ripping it apart in an orgy of destruction. Only the truly mad or the truly desperate sorcerer or daimyō has ever attempted to create tsuihō, and they have been feared and reviled throughout the home islands as a result.

One can easily recognize a tsuihō; unlike most yūrei, they are not white but black, a deep and impenetrable black that absorbs all light and all warmth. No features save the outline of a humanoid body may be discerned, and due to their untimely separation from their mortal shells, they have full use of their arms and legs.

Towering above all other tsuihō in legend is the Wandering Daimyō of Kyūshū. Once daimyō of a small clan, he and every man, woman, and child in his realm became tsuihō as the result of a rival’s machinations. With the soulless army thus created, this evil man sought to wipe out one of his enemies and create a force that could march on Kyoto and install himself as shōgun. Instead, he was torn to pieces by the forces that he hoped to marshall, his wailing reikon carried off to parts unknown by infernal powers.

The tsuihō thus released ravaged the countryside for a year and a day before gradually dissipating…save one. The Wandering Daimyō alone among his family, courtiers, and clansmen was able to retain his will. Fashioning a suit of armor in the likeness of his former face, with plates reflecting the visages of those he had known and loved, he took to the wilds of Kyūshū.

His mercurial rage became well-known among the farmers and peasants there. If the mood strikes him, the Wandering Daimyō will aid passersby. If it does not, he will slay them without mercy and consume their soul to extend his time in this world. It is said that if he approaches with his mask down, revealing the likeness of his former self, he will deliver aid; if he approaches with his mask up, revealing the indecipherable depths of darkness that truly make up his form, he will deliver destruction.

One man met the Wandering Daimyō when his mask was half-raised, revealing only the barest glimpse of the horror below. This is his story.

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