AFTERMATH! - Cities in Dust
Twilight of a Champion
Shinichi Toshido was a tall and athletic Asian man of rather fearsome mien. He almost invariably wore a black karate gi, leather boots, and hardened leather arm guards.
Shinichi was an accomplished martial artist who achieved a 2nd degree black belt in Kyokushin karate before the Ruin. He was also an expert in Okinawan weapon systems, particularly the sai and nunchaku. Shin Toshido was never known to handle firearms. He didn’t need to.
Shinichi immigrated to Australia in the early 1980’s with his young wife, Etsuko. He opened a karate dojo in Sydney and soon developed a strong reputation in the local martial arts community. Shin’s growing success enabled Etsuko and he to start the family they had always wanted.
Sadly, Etsuko’s pregnancy coincided with the Ruin. Their son, Brian, was born during the height of the Sydney Riots, and the lack of medical care and general turmoil further complicated an already difficult childbirth. Etsuko never fully recovered and passed away within the month. Shinichi was left to fend for himself and an infant son in a world consumed by chaos.
Shin wandered the wasteland, selling his martial skill like a ronin of old. He provided for his son as best he could and always placed the boy’s welfare above all other considerations. Still, the mercenary life was full of hardships, and after nearly a decade of drifting Brian had reached an age where Shinichi felt a more stable lifestyle would do him good.
Shin therefore accepted an offer from George Goddard, the Old Duke of Sydney, to serve as combat instructor for his personal guard. Shinichi found he enjoyed the position and took great pride in the development of his new pupils. Brian thrived within the Duchy, making real friends for the first time and developing a passion for motorcycles and automobiles. For the first time since the death of Etsuko, Shinichi found contentment.
One day, the Duke ordered his army to round up a band of urchins who had been robbing some of the outer settlements. Shinichi went to Goddard and suggested that instead of merely incarcerating the children, he should find those with potential and shape them for a better purpose. Perhaps the best and brightest of these youths could grow up to serve in the Duke’s army. Goddard agreed and the training program was implemented. The best of Shinichi’s new students were Michael Nazareth and Lynn the Blade, and he was pleased when they became fast friends with his son and another young member of the Duke’s household, Catalin Donnelly.
Over the years, Shin began to notice the increasingly erratic behavior of his patron but let his loyalty to the Duke override his concerns. When Goddard announced that convicted criminals would be sentenced to fight in gladiatorial contests, Shinichi’s only protest was to never attend the games. He focused on his duties instead.
Then one day, the Duke ordered Shinichi to take a squadron of men and track down some bandits who were plaguing the farthest reaches of the Duchy. Shin had not heard of any such raids occuring, but he assembled a small team and headed out. He spent several months chasing down rumors and supposed sightings, but turned up no trace of bandits.
When Shin returned, he was livid to find that in his absence the Duke had forced his students to battle in the arena. He stormed into the Duke’s chambers to confront Goddard but was refused an audience. It was the final straw. Shinichi renounced his loyalty to the Duke and swore to set things right.
Shin enlisted the aid of the Duke’s personal physician, David MacReady, and Cat’s mentor, Chopper Dave, in freeing the children. Chopper Dave’s role was the most vital as far as Shinichi was concerned, for he was tasked with flying Brian and the other youngsters to freedom. It was up to Shin to provide a distraction for the escape, and he reckoned that the death of the Duke would serve nicely.
Many legends have sprung up about that day. Some say that Shinichi hacked his way through dozens of the Duke’s guards to get to the man himself. Others say that the guardsmen stepped aside for their sensei and allowed him to confront their tyrannical leader unopposed. Almost everyone agrees that both Shin and Goddard perished in the epic showdown between them. However, there are rumors that a victorious Shinichi died not from wounds inflicted by the Duke but from an unknown assassin’s bullet. And a few, a scant few that no one really pays attention to, claim that Shinichi Toshido survived the battle and went back to wandering the post-Ruin wilderness.
Whatever truly happened that fateful day, Shinichi Toshido’s legacy lives on in his son and his students. It is a legacy he can be proud of.