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Isshin Ashina The Tengu of Ashina Isshin Ashina (Shura) Isshin, the Sword Saint
When young, Isshin fought desperately time and time again, polishing his technique in the blood of his enemies.
He consolidated his learnings under the "Ashina Style" name for the sake of his clan's dominance.
He would stop at nothing in his lust for power, and this single-minded search for strength ended in him taking Ashina for his own.

Description

Isshin Ashina (葦名一心) is a legendary warrior, attaining the title of "Sword Saint" (剣聖), and the founder of the Ashina Clan.


After many years of oppression, Isshin led a rebellion against the invading forces alongside many famous warriors, like the Owl, Lady Butterfly, Gyoubu the Demon and the Sculptor when he was still known as the shinobi Orangutan. The Ashina were at last victorious, once Isshin defeated General Tamura in battle. The most loyal samurai, pivotal in Isshin's coup, were rewarded with a lance and named the "Seven Ashina Spears" (葦名七本槍).

He became Genichiro Ashina's grandfather when the young boy was adopted after the death of his mother.

When the Sculptor succumbed to his bloodlust, Isshin stepped in to prevent him from becoming a "Shura" by cutting off his left arm.

Since Isshin rejects Genichiro's plan to use the rejuvenating waters and Kuro's blood to protect Ashina, he entrusted Emma with helping Wolf in his quest to save the young lord.

Despite his old age and the grave illness that burdens on him, he still fights to keep the invaders at bay.

Should Wolf risks to become a Shura too, Isshin won't hesitate to fight back the demon like he did before.

Ultimately, Isshin will perish because of his disease and his death will prompt the Central Forces to launch the final attack on Ashina.

Location

Progression #1

Ashina Outskirts (Ashina Castle Gate Fortress)

Defeat Gyobu Oniwa and enter the building previously blocked off by the fog gate: inside the Tengu of Ashina will offer Wolf to join him in his rat hunting. Choosing to help him or not is a necessary step to have Isshin appear in Ashina Castle.

Ashina Castle (Upper Tower - Ashina Dojo)

Grapple to the top of Ashina Castle to face Genichiro for the second time.

Ashina Castle (Upper Tower - Kuro's Room)

Exhaust Kuro's dialogue, until he reveals Isshin's whereabouts. Traverse the rooftops following the trail of pink smoke signals to reach his room.

Upon talking with Isshin for the first time, he'll reward Sekiro with Unrefined Sake, his favorite, to thank him for defeating Genichiro. It'll be then possible to question him about the Mortal Blade and its location.

(Optional) Coming back to Isshin with the Mortal Blade will unlock new dialogues.

If Wolf hasn't learnt the final Combat Art of any Skill Tree before the first invasion of Ashina Castle by the Central Forces, the Mushin Esoteric Text can still be obtained by talking to Isshin in his room.

Ashina Castle (Castle Tower Lookout)

Should Wolf choose to obey the Iron Code at his father's request and kill Emma, he would have then to face Isshin Ashina in the Shura Ending.

Ashina Castle (Upper Tower - Kuro's Room)

If Wolf chose to disobey his father's order, after defeating the Divine Dragon, Isshin will be found dead with Emma by his side, who'll tell Wolf he succumbed to his illness and give the shinobi the Secret Passage Key to reach Kuro.

Progression #2

If given different drinks, he will reminisce about what each drink reminds him of:

  • Ashina Sake reminds him of how the Ashina people drank when they won their battles, and to tell Sekiro a bit about the rebellion.
  • Dragonspring Sake leads him to tell how fools would come to him whenever he had the drink and the antics that would ensue.
  • Monkey Booze, which he also calls Shura's Wine, leads him to tell a tale of how he once killed a Shura and explain what they are.
  • Unrefined Sake causes him to ask Sekiro about the latter's encounter with Genichiro, and in turn explain the Way of Tomoe.


First Encounter Wolf: About the Divine Heir's life...

Isshin: Yes?
Wolf: There is something I wish to ask.
Isshin: Before that... Sake!
Wolf: What...?
Isshin: You earned it. Take it! (Gives Unrefined Sake) My grandson Genichiro was bewitched by the Rejuvenating Waters. You did well to put a stop to that for me. You have my thanks.
Wolf: I merely followed the code my father taught me.
Isshin: Ah, the Iron Code of the Shinobi...? I see... So you're the son of Owl. That boy he found during the rebellion.
Wolf: ... Yes.
Isshin: And your travels brought you here... The bonds that tie us are so deeply amusing! Don't you think... Sekiro?
Wolf: ... You're...
Isshin: ... So, what do you wish to know?

Asking About Immortal Severance Wolf: The Divine Heir's desire is to sever the ties of immortality. I want to know how it can be done.

Isshin: ... The Mortal Blade. If you had such a weapon... It may be the key to what you're after.
Wolf: The Mortal Blade...
Isshin: With it, you could kill one who cannot die through normal means.
Wolf: One who cannot die..?
Isshin: The infested...I believe they're called. I've not seen one before... But it's said you could stab them through the heart, or remove their head, and they wouldn't die. If the stories are true, they'd surely be quite fearsome... To kill a monster such as that... You'd need the Mortal Blade.

Asking About Mortal Blade Wolf: Where is this Mortal Blade?

Isshin: I've heard it's held in Senpou Temple. However... They say the Mortal Blade cannot be drawn.
Wolf: What do you mean?
Isshin: I'm not certain of the meaning. It's just hearsay. The gates to that temple are closed now, though. Who knows what those degenerates are doing shut away up there in the mountains... There aren't any decent roads leading there.

Leaving Isshin: You're leaving, Sekiro? Severing immortality... That will be quite the battle. And in battle... The plans and desires of those involved churn endlessly. If you hesitate you'll be swept away... and lose the battle. That's right. Best you keep it in mind. Sekiro. Hesitate, and you lose.

Isshin: Don't forget, Sekiro. Hesitate, and you lose... That is the way of war.


Isshin: You're leaving, Sekiro? Another time, then.

With Emma Wolf: You...

Isshin: (Laughs) Is that a look of concern on your face? Emma's always telling this old bastard to stay here. So, that's why I'm here.

Given Dragonspring Sake Wolf: Here.

Isshin: Well Well! If it isn't Dragonspring! You've really done it this time, Sekiro! Buhaah! That hit the spot! Whenever I used to get my hands on Dragonspring... Bunch of fools would start coming to me, demanding drinks.
Wolf: Fools...?
Isshin: Fools who wouldn't let go of their cross-spears while they drank... Fools who would steal sake using illusion techniques... Fools tinkering with half-finished prosthetics, sake cup in hand. And even... The cunning owl, who despite his size would turn bright red after the first drop!
Wolf: That's...
Isshin: Yes, your father was a fool too. To the fools... Yes...

Given Ashina Sake Wolf: Here.

Isshin: Ahh, don't mind if I do! Smart thinking, my boy! Let me see... That's some good sake! This is how we drank when we won our battles. The people of Ashina, together as one.
Wolf: Could you... tell me about the rebellion?
Isshin: Oh, the rebellion... We just took back what was stolen from us.
Wolf: That's...
Isshin: Before, this land was... It was a place where we, the Ashina people lived. Where the waters flowed, straight from the source. We were a people who loved our country dearly. And we made good sake to boot! ... But we were heretics, and we were weak. Naturally, we were overrun. Trampled into submission. For many long, excruciating years... We couldn't even pray at the water from the springs... The way we were then... Even good sake couldn't get us truly drunk. ... But then, the world fell into chaos. Yes... Amidst the chaos that was Japan... The endless casualties. The flames of war... We found the perfect opportunity to take back our land. But now... It's a place of death... It's a bitter thing, indeed.

Given Monkey Booze Wolf: I have something for you.

Isshin: Ah, Sekiro! You know me well. Why, if this isn't monkey booze! Hahh! So this is what it's like to breathe fire! Do you know what other name this sake goes by? Wolf: I don't.
Isshin: You don't? They call it Shura's Wine. Shura's Wine. That's right! You know your stuff. Don't tell me you've been treating someone else to this. I killed one once, long ago... Shura... Or something very much like it.
Wolf: What is Shura, exactly?
Isshin: Those who go on killing will eventually become Shura. They don't even remember why... Simply enraptured... They kill solely for the joy it brings them. I saw it in your eyes, too. The shadow of Shura.
Wolf: .........
Isshin: Or at least, I thought I did.
Wolf: .........
Isshin: However, it appears I was mistaken. If Shura were to appear, I would have cut it down myself. (laughs)

Given Monkey Booze After Breaking Iron Code Wolf: I have something for you.

Isshin: Ah, Sekiro! You know me well. Why, if this isn't monkey booze! Hahh! So this is what it's like to breathe fire! Do you know what other name this sake goes by? Wolf: I don't.
Isshin: You don't? They call it Shura's Wine. Shura's Wine. That's right! You know your stuff. Don't tell me you've been treating someone else to this. I killed one once, long ago... Shura... Or something very much like it.
Wolf: What is Shura, exactly?
Isshin: Those who go on killing will eventually become Shura. They don't even remember why... Simply enraptured... They kill solely for the joy it brings them. I saw it in your eyes, too. The shadow of Shura.
Wolf: .........
Isshin: Or at least, I thought I did.
Wolf: .........
Isshin: However, it appears I was mistaken. If Shura were to appear, I would have cut it down myself. (laughs)

Given Unrefined Sake Isshin: Are you... Offering me the sake I gave you? Delightful, I'll take it! Ahhh... That's the stuff! By the way...How was Genichiro?

Wolf: What do you mean...?
Isshin: You two crossed blades, did you not?
Wolf: ... To put it simply, he was strong. And he had... unusual techniques.
Isshin: I see.
Wolf: What exactly is the Lightning of Tomoe...?
Isshin: That? It's a technique belonging to Genichiro's mentor. I'll wager it was quite the sight.
Wolf: His mentor...?
Isshin: Tomoe... There aren't many masters of the sword like her. To see her fight, it's like she is dancing. When you look into her eyes... You feel as if you're being drawn into the depths of the ocean. I was completely taken by her and it almost killed me... I've lived a long life, but that was the closest I've come to death.

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