Matsu Murano
Rank 5 Akodo School Bushi

GMs Background:

A stern, shaven headed man of average height, Murano is a senior sensei of the Akodo Bushi School. His chiselled features, uncompromising attitude and gruff demeanor has earned him the nickname 'stone face' among his students. It has been whispered in the training halls that Murano had never learnt to smile, and would probably sprain something should he try.

In his younger days, Murano was quite the brash, hot-headed Matsu samurai who threw himself recklessly into duels and battles. In one particular skirmish against the Crane, Murano was serving under Matsu Shizuko, the Matsu family daimyo, when she came under a surprise attack from from a much larger force of Crane samurai. Commanding another force fighting nearby, Murano led his cavalry unit to rescue his daimyo, despite a deep wound.

Mindful of his injury and fearful that he would fall from his mount and thus disgrace himself, he instructed his ashigaru to rope him securely to the saddle. With the now-famous speech he explained to his men that, "Even death will not take me away from my horse or my duty. Any man who is not willing to swear the same can slit his belly immediately!"

Inspired by his actions, his men made a furious charge, breaking through the Crane battle line to reach their beleagured daimyo. Forming a protective wedge around Shizuko and her remaining hatamoto, Murano escorted her to the safety of their own lines, though not without heavy casualties. Murano himself was wounded many times and his faithful steed collapsed soon after reaching the Lion camp.

Awarded much honour by Shizoku for his heroism, Murano fought in many more battles and earned a great reputation as a fierce and inspiring battle commander. While not a brilliant tactician like Akodo Toturi, he was quite capable of inspiring his men to great deeds through sheer courage and fury. On the battlefield, Murano's banner were feared by enemies of the Lion clan as his reputation preceeded him.

His recklessness caught up with him when he was wounded by a chance yari thrust which impaled his leg to his horse. The blow killed his mount which fell, trapping his leg beneath it. Even then, Murano fought off his attackers, killing several before his men could rescue him. Though he was able to walk again, his injury was serious enough to warrant his retirement from active duty. Matsu Tsuko, the current daimyo of the Matsus, arranged for him to serve the Lions in another capacity: as a sensei of the Akodo bushi school.

Murano has now in his 60s and has been training and teaching at the school for well over 15 years. Invariably clad in simple earthtone robes, Murano walks with a noticable limp, a legacy of the old battle wound that never healed properly. Despite his condition, he has proven many times over that few swordsmen can match him in the training halls.

He speaks in low tones and never raises his voice. Given the awe (and not a little fear) he inspires among students and samurai, he would probably never need to. His praise, which is rarely given, is among the most treasured honours a kenjutsu student can receive. While he is uncompromising on the standards his students have to achieve, his charges see him as a gruff uncle who is looking out for them, rather than a harsh master. Some of the finest swordsmen in the Lion army are reputed to have been his former students.

Roleplaying Murano:

Scowl. Keep your students on their toes always, but defend them when they bend the rules (You know a lot about bending rules from your younger days!). You consider it your mission in life to provide the Lions with the finest fighting samurai possible.


"Excellent, young one.... if the opponent was tied up and near death, you may even have won."



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