Season for War
Akodo's _Leadership_, and the Ten Orders
Leadership, Akodo’s legacy and the book still studied in every Lion dojo, is actually a collaborative work. The first half is Akodo’s own words, his thoughts and musings on military leadership, civilized warfare, the Code of Bushido, and military conflict in general. Most of it was written in the final years of the Kami’s life, drawing on his experiences in the First War. However, the second half of the book was left deliberately unwritten. Akodo believed his successors would be able to adapt what was already written to many new situations, and wanted them to add their own experiences to the book’s wisdom. In this way Leadership has grown with time as successive Clan Champions and great teachers of the War College add their insights. In many respects the modern Leadership is a history of the philosophy and prevailing attitudes of the Lion Clan’s leaders. Its wisdom is studied intensely by every Lion samurai, as well as by many other samurai who seek insight into military conflict. Aside from its discussion of Bushido, Leadership’s principle theme is military command and the path to victory. Some of the more well-known sections have become aphorisms in modern Rokugan.
War is inevitable, like a spring fog. It creeps in from the sea and slowly covers the country in a cold, white shroud. It dissipates in time, but once it is gone, the land is never the same.
Shinsei says, “Nature does not recognize good and evil.” But I tell you now that men do recognize the difference, and to ignore the fact that they do is to ignore the way of the world and hope it is a better place than it is.
Duty is the samurai’s soul, your reason to life. Neglect your duty and scar your soul. Duty is the perfect gem with a hundred thousand facets. Each facet is a way you live, a way you act, a way you serve. Fulfilling Duty is all or nothing, black or white. There are no grays. Live for each facet, for if you dismiss even one, your gem loses all worth. This is what it is to be samurai.
The way of the samurai is death. Do not mistake this. Your life is not your own. It belongs to your lord, and you live and die in service to your lord, just as they live and die in the service of the Emperor and through him all of the Empire. When the time comes that your life is called for, do not hesitate for fear of death or waste undue time in making sure that yours is a ‘good death.’ Serve, live, and die without hesitation, and give every moment to your lord. A heart without hesitation is one that will never fail.
When your enemy is stronger than you, nurture him. It is well known in nature that anything that is too strong will certainly break.Then, when he falters, you may attack at your leisure.
Lead with perception and intelligence. With these two virtues, you need not be a master of tactics or strategy. Nor must you be a master of command or ordinance. Nor will you need to understand supply or terrain. With perception, you shall find those who do understand such things, and direct them to their proper duty. With intelligence, you will know not to get in their way.
To charge your army into battle without foreknowledge of your opponent’s capabilities and weaknesses brings you no glory and brands you a coward. Your concern is to the safety of the Emperor and that of your clan. Blind death is swift death. Instead, when facing the enemy, let him see what you want him to see. Show him your right hand, strike with your left. Hide all he does not need to see, for the sting of your slap will ease the pain of a sudden blade in his side.
When your enemy is entrenched and secure, lure him from his nest. Attack that which is dear to him to draw him from his ground. Take him from his sanctuary and take him on your time.
_Make examples of your enemy’s errors, but do not make examples of your officers’ errors. A man knows his own mistakes all too well. Showing them the errors of others teaches them confidence in themselves. Showing them their own errors teaches them doubt.
If I am greater than my enemy, I surround him. If I am twice the size of my enemy, I divide my forces and flank him. If I am equal to my enemy, I find his weaknesses and exploit them. If I am lesser than my enemy, I outmaneuver him and strike him as a bee strikes the samurai.
The Ten Orders
No part of Akodo’s Leadership is studied more assiduously by the Lion than the section known as the Ten Orders, a set of directives and principles for all samurai soldiers to follow and uphold.
1. Always carry a text with you. When you have nothing else to do, read. The mind must be exercised as well as the body.
2. When your lord calls to you, run to him, fall at his feet and speak his name loudly and proudly. Proclaim your loyalty to him with a shout that is painful to the throat. Be convinced in your loyalty, for if you are not, your lord will not be convinced either.
3. Keep your sword close and ready and clean. Failing your sword is failing your lord.
4. Keep servants if you must, but only if you must. If there are repairs to be done on the house, make them. If there are rooms to be cleaned, clean them. Idleness is an enemy, and it is always best for a samurai to understand a thing before he asks another to do it for him.
5. Lady Sun and Lord Moon made us with a left hand and a right hand. In the left hand goes the text, and in the right hand goes the sword. Remember this.
6. When you come before a superior, drop your hands at your sides and bow lower than they. Dropping your hands away from your sword shows your trust. Bowing your head does this as well. These two actions say: “My life is yours to take if you wish.”
7. Rise in the morning before your servants and have half their duties done before they have even bathed. Men follow the example of those they admire.
8. Assassins creep in the late hours, so go to bed early. Then, when they creep in at midnight, you will be fresh and rested and ready.
9. Wash. A dirty man must itch and scratch. An itching and scratching man is slow.
10. Be ready to die.