The dawn of the new Meiji era of 1869, had brought about sudden and sweeping changes to Japan. The fractured politics, the expansion of foreign trade with the west and the general breakdown of Japanese society that had held for centuries, was now the norm. The rush to push the country in a direction of westernization, and to be viewed as a valid super power in the world, was the focus of the new government.
The end of the Boshin war saw Edo renamed as Tokyo and the city was now the new seat of power for Emperor Meiji. The expulsion of foreigners had shifted instead, to a more welcomed approach, and laws were written forbidding violence against westerners. Emperor Meiji himself, had welcomed a visit from the Duke of Edinburg, who was stated, to the court, as an equal to the Emperor in rank and bloodlines.
The samurai class was abolished, leaving the warriors to choose a path that included the opportunities to work for the new government or to create an entrepreneurial life, though there was dissention among the honored Samurai class, and those that did not agree with the new Imperial rule, had left many of them to suffer in poverty. In 1889, the Meiji Constitution was enacted that laid out the framework for the new era in Japan, a framework that did not include the samurai.
What was left behind in the dawn of this new era, was felt at the commoner’s level with the abolishment of the social classes, something that looked good on paper, but not so much for the actual citizens. The daimyo’s lost their lands and the samurai way of life was left barren of status and possessions, and government corruption was at an all time high. It was with this new life that Nakamura Taizo had agreed to be brought into the blood, due to his fellow samurai having perished in the war, and a deep-seated need for revenge. It had been a heavy loss for both Suzuki and Nakamura; Ogawa and Jin struck down in the streets of Kyoto during a skirmish with the shinsengumi forces.
“I will avenge their deaths, if you will allow me to do so,” he asked Reo, “I will guarantee that their names and the samurai code of honor is upheld throughout my immortality.” Reo brought Nakamura into the blood in the year 1868, adding yet another warrior to his growing ranks, his numbers having swelled to twelve members.
The turn of the century brought major growth, but with that growth came a severe imbalance between wealth and poverty. The poor were scavengers, the rich were abusers, and the immortals were caught in the middle, neither wealthy nor impoverished, though some vampires found a great satisfaction from feeding off a wealthy pompous fool.
While they were not immune to the changes in their surroundings, the immortals had more pressing issues to take care of; the increase of rogue and lost fledgling vampires were making themselves known in all parts of the country. There were weekly battles with the more dangerous rogues, those that were rife with viciousness and violence, most that were captured and brought to Reo, were non-verbal and could not or would not identify their maker.
It was the lone fledglings that worried the clan leaders the most; brought into the blood and abandoned shortly after, some with no idea what had happened to them, repetitions of Akinori’s situation. There were a few who once they were convinced of what had happened to them, sadly committed suicide, these horrific deaths were a crushing blow to the clan leaders, and fueled their hate and anger towards Ryuichi and Yoshiki, convincing them all, that something would need to be done to stop the two sadistic immortals.
There were two fledglings that had wandered into the capital city of Tokyo, after the start of the imperial rule, not being seen by any of Morrie’s clan, but once again, Isshi had sensed their arrival, a male and a female, newly brought into the blood. Isshi left the sanctuary of the Inari shrine, and walked into the woods that laid beyond, to have a look at the couple, and try to gather a sense of who they were.
The male was tall and muscular, broad shouldered with long braided hair, walking with his arm protectively around the smaller female’s shoulder, she was almost childlike in size, reminding Isshi of Ayato. They were entering the small stone hut that formally housed Daisuke and his family, glancing around as they closed the door behind them.
Isshi watched the hut for a few moments, wondering if the couple had already hunted that evening. Satisfied after twenty minutes, that the couple would be in for the day, Isshi returned to the shrine, his mind busy with questions about the new arrivals to the city, wondering how many more would make their way to Tokyo. The year was 1890.