Where Anyone is Possible
It was the end of an Era. The small island country of Kota had long since stood as a beacon of Independence and self reliance in the eastern world. It's relationship to the Zao empire and its tribute states was believed to be a pleasant. The two enjoyed a healthy trade. Kota supplying Zao with ships and food to transport and feed its ever growing population. They had believed that they were safe. Though, after years of this, the great dragon finally turned its greedy eyes towards its neighbor and plunged the area into war.
The war was great and long. The Zao outnumbered the Kota resistance one hundred to one but the Kota were skilled. Their warriors born into their rank and trained with centuries of experience. Above all, however, stood the 8 Dragons of the Emperor. Eight samurai warriors who were said to embody the 8 celestial dragons of legend. With their power combined, they pushed the Zao out of their country in what came to be known as the Battle of Yotaka. The eight dragons stood against the invading Zao armies and banished them from the shores, dealing a heavy blow to their enemies moral and causing discernment in their ranks.
It was not but five years later, that the Zao attempted once more to invade the island of kota. Though this time, they decided against a direct strike and instead focused their efforts in a much more devious way. Their agents sent out, they poisoned the minds of 3 dragons with promises of power, status, and wealth. They promised them that if they aided the Zao that the Great Dragon Emperor would grant them the title of lords and land. Ensuring that their line would survive and be remembered as heroes in the history that they would write. It did not take long before the three fell to such promises.
Kota fell within the week. In the final battle, the Dragons of Kota turned against one another in a slaughter that ended them. As their capitol burned, only Saito the red remained. There wasnt much time. Soon, Zao forces would descend upon the wounded samurai, overpowering him with their sheer numbers. Distraught at his failures, he wandered into exile. He now works as a ronin, a traveling sell sword and mercenary. With his honor stained, what possible path could he take now?
The Eight Dragons were masters of warfare, both physical and spiritual. So complete was their understanding of themselves that they were able to tap into the mystic arts of the soul in order to bolster themselves and bend the elements to their will. As western magic was more focused on channeling outside forces, Kota mysticism focused much more on focusing on ones inner self to achieve the desired outcome.
The Akuma No Ha: Roughly translated as, "Devil's Blade" it is a sword style that focuses on physical attacks as well as spiritual. As his body attacks, so does his soul, by passing armor and other defenses to strike the very life force of the individual. Severing the connection and rendering the body of victim effectively brain dead toll the tethers that bind the body and soul together can be repaired. Against stronger individual's such a severing could manifest in the form of blindness if the eyes are struck or the paralyzation of limbs as if they had been severed.
Along with this, the Akuma No Ha also allows the user to cut through spells cast at the user or redirect them in defense. This effect extends towards most energy based attacks as well. Through this, they are able to effect soulless beings and other magical constructs such as golems, walking armor, and the undead.