Shattered Empire: In the Shadows of the Dragon Mountains

1151 to 1154: The Summers of Endless Blood

Year 1151

  • With their alliance secure, the Scorpion leave their Dragon allies to focus on laying the foundation of their plan to have the Scorpion Clan reinstated in three years time at Otomo Banu’s seventh “Imperial Court.”
  • With the coming of spring, Kitsu Motso vengefully attacks the Crane in retaliation for their support of Otomo Banu’s interference. The Crane armies have recovered enough to fight the Lion to a standstill, but the cost is high, and substantial border territories are ravaged or lost.
  • The Crane do their best to politically exploit the Lion abrogation of their peace treaty. Their efforts meet with only mixed success at best: the Phoenix and the Mantis cut off relations with the Lion, but the Unicorn do not yet seek a renewed war with the Lion Clan, and the Crab remain hostile to the Crane. Otomo Banu condemns the Lion aggression, but the only result of his words is for Kitsu Motso to publicly proclaim that Banu is not the Emperor.
  • Sensing opportunity in the continued weakness of the Crane Clan, the Crab overrun all of the remaining southern Crane lands, seizing the coastal ports and inland agricultural areas all the way to the Spine of the World Mountains.
  • Skirmishing resumes on the Lion-Unicorn border, with several Unicorn cavalry forces launching deep raids into Lion lands.
  • Several of the larger Yobanjin tribes band together to cross the Great Wall of the North and raid the Phoenix and Unicorn territories. The Badger Clan, the last of the minor clans, is isolated and is effectively wiped out trying to resist these raids, and the Unicorn are weakened by the need to guard their northern borders.
  • Hoshi Kaelung attempts to enlist the aid of Togashi Mitsu in the hunt for Kokujin, but Mitsu refuses.

Year 1152

  • Tonbo Sezume is announced as the Dragonfly Champion, and begins work within the capital to gather the resources to rebuild her people’s lands.
  • A new leader of the Legion of the Wolf rises, Kaneka a ronin who has served with almost all Clans for a period.
  • The Crane launch a counter-offensive into their southern territories, catching the Crab armies over-extended. They re-take Mura Sabishii Toshi and several other settlements, but as the Crab fall back their defensive skills come to the fore, and the Crane drive comes up far short of their goal of reclaiming the ruins of Shinden Asahina.
  • The Fox Clan takes advantage of the opportunity and rebels against the Crab. The spirits of the forest support the small Fox army, driving out the Crab garrison.
  • Hoshi Kaelung and forty sohei attack Kokujin on the Plains Above Evil. Kaelung is the only survivor thanks to Hida Kuroda, eldest son of Hida O-Ushi, and his scouting force.

Year 1153

  • After three years, the Lion resume full-scale war with the Unicorn by advancing troops from their bases in the Scorpion lands. They hope to move past the southern edge of the Spine of the World Mountains and outflank the main Unicorn defenses. The advance is heavily set back by sabotage, but nonetheless reaches the edge of Ide territory by mid-summer; the Unicorn forces in Ryoko Owari are cut off and forced into a deadly retreat across the Plains of Thunder.
  • Hida Kuon, the aggressive younger son of Hida O-Ushi, opportunistically invades and seizes the Scorpion lands, cutting off the main supply line for the Lion. Kuon hopes to overrun the fertile Scorpion farmlands and use them as a base for retaking the Fox lands. Expectations of a quick victory are curtailed, however, when the Lion commander – a brilliant tactician named Ikoma Ken’no – manages to secure a secondary supply route through the formerly impassible Seikitsu Pass. Vicious warfare ensues all across the northern Scorpion lands and southern Unicorn lands, with major battles at Ryoko Owari and Toshi Aitate. The Miya lands are caught in the middle of the campaign, overrun, and largely destroyed, with Kuon razing the modest Kyuden Miya itself when daimyo Miya Yumi refuses to supply him with food.
  • With the Lion Clan’s flanking move having come to nothing, the focus of the Lion-Unicorn war shifts back to the main front on the Sleeping River and near White Shore Lake. Bloody fighting continues throughout the summer, exhausting both sides.
  • By autumn, logistic shortfalls force the Crab to pull back to the southern Scorpion territories near Shimomura. With the Lion and Unicorn likewise pulling back, the main Scorpion territory is left effectively unoccupied, and Scorpion samurai once again begin to quietly assert control of their homes.
  • The Phoenix, appalled by the ongoing wars announce they will no longer accept apprentices to the Isawa School from outside their own clan.
  • Otomo Banu holds his sixth “Imperial Winter Court” in Kyuden Doji. The Crane make an all-out effort to support Banu, hoping against hope that a recognized Emperor may grant them the strength they lack. However, the only other clans to send representatives to the court are the Mantis, the Phoenix, and a small delegation of Dragon. The Mantis are there mainly to demand more support for their claim to Great Clan status, while the Phoenix are there to urge for peace initially but become mired in trying to dismantle the Mantis’s political clout. The Mantis and Phoenix delegates quarrel bitterly throughout the winter. Near the end of the season, an increasingly frustrated Banu finally breaks down and loses face, launching a tirade against the ‘traitors’ who make up the rest of Rokugan. The Crane, furious at the political damage from their association with this unstable figure, unceremoniously end the Winter Court and expel Banu from their lands.

Year 1154

  • Yoritomo, angry over the Winter Court’s outcome, personally launches a surprise attack on the Phoenix lands. With much of the Phoenix Clan’s strength already spent against the Dragon previously, their fleet is consumed by the Mantis Storms. Mantis soldiers mount a full-scale invasion of the Phoenix coast, capturing the City of Remembrance and Shiro Shiba. * The Moshi family, take vengeance upon the Phoenix, with Moshi Jukio and Yoritomo Wakiza slaying the Elemental Masters of Fire (Isawa Hochiu) and Earth (Isawa Taeruko) in a spectacular magical duel.
  • The Crane, who are forced into action by their strong alliance to the Phoenix, send much of their remaining strength north and join with the surviving members of the Elemental Council to confront Yoritomo’s forces near Kyuden Isawa. What is left of the Council overwhelms the more numerous Mantis shugenja, managing to avenge their fallen numbers by defeating Yoritomo Wakiza. The joint Phoenix/Crane army (which also includes the Legion of the Wolf) devastates the smaller Mantis army; Yoritomo leads a final charge against the Phoenix, and he claims the lives of both of the enemy commanders (Doji Kuwanan and Shiba Tsukune) before he too falls. His adopted son Yoritomo Aramasu takes command of the Mantis forces and retreats to the clan’s bridgehead at the City of Remembrance. There he faces a surprise attack from the Legion of the Wolf; Kaneka defeats the Mantis but then agrees to spare their lives if they will immediately evacuate the Phoenix lands. Aramasu is impressed by Kaneka’s skill and compassion and offers to hire his services if the Phoenix no longer have need of him.
  • Hida O-Ushi, alarmed by scout reports of a powerful new force rising within the Shadowlands, orders her armies pulled back from the Scorpion lands. She seeks a covert peace with the Scorpion.
  • The Crane attempt to take advantage of the Crab withdrawal by occupying the southern Scorpion lands. Their force is ambushed and largely wiped out by an unknown force.
  • The tide of war in the Lion-Unicorn conflict begins to swing slowly but inevitably against the Unicorn as the weight of Lion numbers and tactical acumen gains the edge.
  • Doji Kuwanan’s death places the leadership of the Crane in the hands of his son, Doji Kurohito.
  • Otomo Banu holds his seventh “Imperial Court.”
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Summer of 1148 to 1150: Late Summer
Chapter 5: Moments Between The Fall

Year 1148

  • Renewed warfare erupts on the Dragon-Phoenix border. The Dragon respond by waging a full scale war on the Phoenix to end the conflict once and for all.
  • Unicorn emissaries visit the Dragon, seeking alliance against the Lion, and work to persuade the Crane to abandon their non-aggression pact. The Dragon commit to this war as well, unleashing Mirumoto Kei.
  • The Mantis begin to raid on the Phoenix’s shore lines, an effort to aid the Dragon and spread the Shiba thin.
  • The Elemental Council is challenged by Agasha Shaitung, who miraculously holds them off and in her approaching defeat instead has the earth swallow all of them.
  • The Lion force the Unicorn and Dragon allies from their lands.
  • Shiba Aikune seeks out Isawa’s Last Wish, an ancient and powerful magical artifact that was unable to be completed due to the death of Isawa. The item bonds with Aikune, and the two go out to save the Phoenix and the Empire. Their first action is to annihilate the Moshi, ending the Mantis threat for a time on the Eastern boarder.
  • Hoshi dies saving the Isawa from the awesome power of the Last Wish, which is vastly unstable in Aikune’s hands.
  • Togashi Mitsu leads a number of his and the Hitomi order against the madman Kokujin, and are ambushed. Although most of the two orders escape Kokujin’s ambush, Mitsu remains behind and is thought to have died fighting Kokujin.
  • The Elemental Council and Shaitung emerge from the earth, aided by the Zokujin, they have come to better understand what horrors lay ahead of them if they do not oppose the Lying Darkness as one.
  • The War of the Wise will rage on until the end of the Summer and end with the climatic battle at the Hidden City and Isawa’s Last Wish is completed, curbing its threat upon the Empire. The Dragon and the Phoenix end the war between them, coming to an understanding of threats that lay within the Empire, and only their united intervention may yet save all that they know.
  • Shiba Aikune imposes himself to exile until he can redeem himself for his actions in unleashing the wish, and leaves the Empire.
  • Otomo Banu hosts the first of several self-proclaimed “Imperial Winter Courts,” this one at Kyuden Seppun. The Crane, Phoenix, Mantis, and several Minor Clans attend. The Mantis aggressively lobby Banu to support their claim to Great Clan status, but their efforts are largely stymied by the Phoenix.

Year 1149

  • The Mantis declare a Blood Feud with the Phoenix over the death of the Moshi and their continued blocking of their political advances, and renewed war begins between the two.
  • The Dragon’s Wind returns to the Dragon Lands after their long campaign.
  • The Shrine to Ashahina begins within the Phoenix lands, with the Dragon providing much, given the the burden the Phoenix clan faces in the East. A shrine dedicated to Hoshi’s sacrifice is planned to be added into the construction.
  • The Hitomi begin to seek out Kokujin, and find they are only chasing shadows.
  • The Lion launch a full-scale invasion of the Unicorn. The Dragon forces under General Kei, join the fight on the Unicorn side. The Lion overrun the City of the Rich Frog and push on into Unicorn lands, but then bog down in an extended siege of Toshi no Aida ni Kawa (the City Between the Rivers). Unicorn cavalry raiders harass the Lion supply lines and make further advances impossible. With winter approaching the Lion finally take the city and castle by storm, and the war settles into a reluctant pause with both sides immobilized by the weather.

Year 1150

  • Renewed fighting in the western Unicorn territories is bloody but inconclusive, with the front shifting back and forth several times. As summer’s end approaches, Otomo Banu attempts to mediate the war, bringing all of the Imperial Families’ remaining political and economic strength to bear. The Crane assist Banu, hoping that strengthening him will bring a restoration of their traditional political power, and their covert threat of a trade embargo persuades the two clans to listen. While neither the Lion nor the Unicorn acknowledge Banu’s claim to the throne, they ultimately agree to a three-year truce.
  • The reconstruction of the Victory of the Living Blade Dojo is completed.
  • Late summer arrives in Toi Koku…
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The War of the Wise and the Last Wish
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of ???.
  • Year 1145, Summer

The Dragon Samurai of Toi Koku, range out of their lands, skirmishing and through their southern lands, capturing key vessels to preform a navel invasion upon the northern fronts. There, with peace in their minds they were able to preserve the two great shrines and gain some allies in the Phoenix. Upon arriving at the front, they were able to link up with the armies and show their prowess, in the Battle of Snow and Fire.

The battle ended with a duel of legend, and the Elemental Council sank into the earth with the Agasha Dyamio, and what could had been a peaceful end was spoiled by General Mirumoto Junnosuke. A portion of the Dragon and the Phoenix scrambled to end the war, while another portion worked feverishly to continue it, both guided by artifacts of great -power and potential. In the end the Phoenix unleashed the power of the Last Wish, and Shiba Aikune used it to wipe out the Moshi family to buy the Phoenix the time they needed to destroy the Dragon. Junnosuke was using the blade Furry, made by Hitomi Kokujin, as he moved to attack the hidden city of the Isawa.

The battle ended with Agasha Nozomi using the gift of the Void Dragon to raise the child like Last Wish, allowing it to be complete and understand the way of the Smaurai. Agasha Maemi was able to gain the blade Furry from her commander, and end its threat to the Empire for now. Togashi Hikaru slew the rerisen form of Junnosuke, and saved the Temple of Bishmon. Hoshi Shen erected a temple dedicated to now both Asahina and Hoshi once the war came to an end. Hitomi Hanzo, the Iron Dragon, helped to focus his order into properly seeking out the mad man Kokujin. Agasha Nyokazu partially broke the curse of the blade Hunger, giving rise to the thought that perhaps all items that are cursed can be redeemed. Mirumoto Munemori’s successful campaign granted him the position of General of the Southern Plains of the Dragon Lands. Mirumoto Kinji met his end in the final battle of the War of the Wise, slaying 19 Shiba before he fell, his name and style will go on into the stuff of legends.

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The War Council
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of ???.
  • Year 1145 Between Spring and Summer

The Samurai of Toi Koku host the War Council of The Mara. The Council focus’s on the two wars they are in, and that the Dragon will focus on breaking the Phoenix’s spirit so that they can negotiate a peace between them.

  • Hitomi Hanzo tries to manipulate the court to changing the destination of the Toi Koku forces towards interfering with the Unicorn and Lion War.
  • Mirumoto Munemori becomes the commander of the 42nd Legion of the Dragon, and seeks to reforge The Dragon’s Wind, a Legion that has not been seen since the final battle against the Blood Speaker Iuchiban many generations ago.
  • Mirumoto Kinji takes the Mara’s son, Mirumoto Kuo, under his wing to teach him the way of the Mirumoto.
  • Bayushi Tadashiru arrives in the city along with Goshiu Paneki and Goshiu Sunetra, heavy with pregnancy of the Scorpion heir, and quickly doges her reason for being present and not with her husband. They talk of assassins in the midst of the Lion and the fact that The Ancestral Blades of the Akodo were stolen by Hitomi Kokujin. Agasha Maemi theorizes that with the Anvil of Despair that Kokujin may be trying to forge blades of darkness. She begins to study with Hitomi Hanzo.
  • Hoshi Shen‘s aid arrives, and catches his lord and her aid’s off guard, but his aid is immediately used to better the Clan. He then gets letter’s from home, telling him to gain allies in the Mantis to have them raid the coast while the Dragon attack their western flanks.
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The Heir of the Phoenix
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of ???.
  • Year 1145 Late Spring

The rulers of Toi Koku are challenged by Shiba Aikune when he crosses the River of the Drowned Merchant and raids their lands. The samurai unite and defeat the young brash would be warlord, however he escaped with his advisory staff.

The Samurai of Toi Koku then have a choice to enter into the fray of the Lion and the Unicorn, or tend to the war with the Phoenix which has raged for the last few years. Togashi Hikaru chooses for Mirumoto Munemori to lead her forces against the Phoenix and understand the riddle of five and one and the flame without end, much to the distaste of Hitomi Hanzo.

Meanwhile in the capital, Hoshi Shen makes allies of the Crane, but the Crane shall not accept his friendship without him standing next to their choice of Emperor. For the sake of his Clan, knowing what friendship can give his Clan in the form of aid, he accepts the Throned Emperor, Otomo Banu.

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Prelude to the New Regime
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of ???.
  • Year 1145 early Spring

With the great changes over the Shinjitsu Province a new set of leaders arrives within Toi Koku.

All join the remaining leaders of the community:

The two groups learn to work together, as the Governor turns the city upside down following a rumor of a riddle, Hanzo and Munemori design the city to their ideals, Maemi battles with the criminal element and walks away with a bloody nose, Shen visits and then departs for the capital to finish his training.

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Year 1143 (late summer) to Year 1145
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold

Year 1143

  • The Dragon and Pheonix skirmish over the death of Naka Kuro. The Phoenix, still struggling to recover from their gruesome losses in the Clan Wars, are caught off-guard and their outlying mountain territories – including the Shrine of the Ki-Rin and the Shrine of Jurojin – are overrun and taken by Mirumoto Junnosuke. Asako Toshi the new Asako Diamyo is slain during the taking of the Shrine of the Ki-Rin.
  • The Naga remaining awake sense the destruction of the Kazaq, travel across the Empire (leading to a number of incidental clashes with local Rokugani forces) and assail the Dragon lands. Along the way, Togashi Mitsu and many of the Togashi and Hoshi order unite with the Naga. Their assault on the Dragon forces Hitomi to re-allocate many of her troops from the Phoenix lands to defend her southern border. The Naga attack cuts off the Dragon from the Dragonfly Clan and closes the main passes into the Dragon Mountains, threatening the Dragon lands with starvation. This allows the Phoenix to rally and even to retake some of their lost territory.
  • Lion Champion Ikoma Tsanuri proclaims the time has come for the Lion to resolve their longstanding grudge against the Dragonfly Clan. Despite protests from the Miya and the Crane, the Lion armies invade the Dragonfly territory in full strength, completely overrunning them and razing their settlements to the ground. Most of the Dragonfly are killed, with only a few score managing to escape and scatter across the Empire.
  • Matsu Agetoki takes a portion of his forces to assault the Phoenix, but becomes lost in the Dragon Mountains. His forces instead find and assault a band of anarchists called the Kolat, and destroy their hidden dojo. Through out the Empire, a number of samurai are found dead with the moniker of kolat left near their remains.
  • After several years of planning, Shinjo Yokatsu, the lord of the Unicorn Clan, decides the time has The Unicorn suffered the least damage of any of the Great Clans during the Clan Wars, their armies are nearly at full strength. The Unicorn armies march on Otosan Uchi, advancing up the south bank of the Drowned Merchant River into Lion territories, and Yokatsu officially proclaims his intention to become Emperor. The Crab and Mantis offer Yokatsu political and economic support, as do the covert Scorpion (in return for a promise to drive the Lion out of their lands and return Ryoko Owari to Scorpion rule).
  • The Legion of the Wolf, based out of Nanashi Mura, is forced to flee to Phoenix lands when Lion troops, lead by Matsu Ferishi, arrive and burn the village to the ground.
  • Ikoma Tsanuri, determined not to let a “barbarian” take the Throne, marches the Lion armies to confront the Unicorn. The two clans wage a lengthy campaign with several large battles. The Lion receive modest non-military support from the Crane and Phoenix. For a time it appears the Unicorn will win through, but the Lion finally pin down their main force at the Battle of Three Hills. The battle inflicts grievous casualties on both sides, and Tsanuri is killed, but afterward the Unicorn are too weak to advance further and have no choice but to withdraw.
  • The Togashi and Hoshi families break away from the Naga, so unnerved at the sight of their former family dying so readily. Shortly after Lady Hitomi disappears form the High House of Light.

Year 1144

  • During the winter, the Broken Shinbone Tribe joins the Dragon in their assault against the Naga, and assault them throughout the bitter snow clogged winter storms.
  • Kitsu Motso becomes the Lion Clan Champion until the child of Matsu Ketsui, the heir to Matsu Koetsu, can come fully of age. Motso declares the Lion will not rest until the Unicorn and all their supporters are punished for Yokatsu’s “treachery.” Ikoma Sume becomes Kitsu Motso’s hatamoto and Ikoma Daimyo.
  • Lady Hitomi seeks out Togashi Mitsu and Togashi Hoshi, seeking to unite the Orders of the Dragon into The Three Orders. After a tense conversation, Hoshi bows to Hitomi, and Mitsu bows hesitantly.
  • The non-stop aggression of the Lion prompts increasing pressure within the Crane Clan to abrogate their treaty with the Lion. Doji Kuwanan resists such urging, arguing the Crane armies have not yet properly recovered from the Clan Wars.
  • The Naga, heavily outnumbered and without allies, are finally defeated and driven away by the Dragon forces. They flee back to the Shinomen Forest, abandoning all remaining contact with the world of mortal men.
  • Togashi Hoshi gives his son to the Three Orders to be raised and cared for.
  • During the winter, Lady Hitomi is wed to Doji Reju, and before the year ends, she is with child.

Year 1145

  • The Brokenshin Bone are recognized for their efforts and given land officially within the Dragon territory, as well as a duty.
  • Summer has come to Tio Koku with a new generation on the rise…
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Chapter 3.5 - An Emperor's Ambition
The Story of the Capital

While the samurai of Tio Koku are dealing with force’s largely greater then themselves, it does not mean that this is the only story worth telling. There are other’s in the Empire that struggle to see the Empire restored to her former glory and to see the Dragon rise to new heights in the name of their Champion. This is one such tale…

Kitsuki Suko leads a band of Dragon across the northern Empire to give aid to the Imperial City after its earthquake. Within his followers are healers, craftsmen, and a number of guardians.

On the band’s way they find the roads are closed off because Otomo Banu is having the roads cleared for his passing. So diverted through the Pheonix lands, where they find Kitsu Motso and Isawa Daizu arguing about Otomo Banu, Motso then leaves the argument promising war within one month’s time.

Jitsuna Jomiico and Jistuna Kyoten discover that Agasha Gennai has sold the recipe of Dragon fireworks works. They inform Agasha Togusa who confronts the thought to be dead Gennai, and a struggle ensues that results in Gennai’s death and the work reclaimed. Shiba Ekei is convinced to purge the city, which he does but it darkens his soul dramatically.

While passing into the Moshi lands, the group is assaulted by goblins, who manage to kill Commander Suko and a healer named Nozomi Masatoo. Murimoto Satomi takes command, and she leads them through the new Mantis territory towards the Seppun lands. There Otomo Suki becomes involved in a plot to turn a meeting of Seppun against Banu. Jomiico however scores a major win and discovers the Seppun Family’s plans for the future.

Meanwhile Togusa comes to realize that Kasuga Manabu seems to have been smuggling the stolen fireworks for years, and goes to the capital intending to set things right.

When the band arrives to the Capital city they do find it is in a half ruined state, never having fully recovered from the Clan Wars, and now the earthquake. However more distressing they find Tamori Shaitung, their ambassador and the one day Agasha leader is turned against them. Forced out of the inner city, they make due and start making waves and allies.

Over the course of the next few weeks, each of them makes a great name for themselves, they restore their relationship with Tamori Shaitung and are all quickly becoming enamored by the courts, however they find that the city is a nest of rumors and that the slightest misstep or comments are leading to war or death.

Kyoten and Jomiico have found themselves in the middle of the Mantis and Scorpion war, which has become bloody and the Lion who are in control allow it to continue. They side with the Scorpion privately, while backing the Mantis publicly. They do back Tsuruchi Hiro and Tsuruchi Nobumoto who wish to form a society of Clan magistrates to act as Emerald Magistrates until an Emperor is named. They also discover the traces of the lying dakrness and try and figure out how Suzume Roshi is being used.

Meanwhile Otomo Suki managed to manipulate Kakita Yoshi and convince him to give his position of Imperial Adviser to her aunt Otomo Hoku.

Agasha Togusa not only had his revenge, but managed to land the Clan a prominent shop along the most prestigious walk in all of the Empire selling fireworks. He also discovered a strange birth of a boy with tattoos who looks to have been born with them, and they are Lady Hitomi’s style of tattoos, and his eyes glow like hers. Hitomi Maya gives the child to Togusa to see to his care naming him Vedau.

Murimoto Satomi meanwhile discovered the hiding place of Togashi Hoshi, and was the first non-Hoshi to be made away of the birth of his son, and meet his wife. She laters convinces the Dragon and the Togashi and Hoshi to come together and celebrate this, healing old wounds between the three groups. She later then assists Asahina Keitaro, Asahina Sekawa, Doji Yasuyo and Isawa Fosuta find and defeat the last of the survivors of the Temple of Blood led by Asako Kinuye. Making her and the others legendary stars in the Capital.

As all of these successes mount, Seppun Daiori arrives in the capital, gives up his position of daimyo, and challenges Matsu Koetsu the Imperial Regent to a duel to prove himself worth of being Emperor, and he wins the duel. Daiori is very much a traditionalist, and wishes to roll back the Mantis, turn back the tides of the Crab now that the threat of invasion has passed, speaks of limiting the vassal families of Bayushi Goshiu and his children, and seeks to have each Great Clan send someone to challenge him. Many grow to respect and love the would be emperor. Matsu Koetsu sends most of the Lion away, and begin to hand over the capital, much to Ikoma Tsanuri‘s disapproval. However, tragedy strikes when Koetsu’s wife, the Matsu Daimyo and his heir are slain in their attack on the Phoenix at Honor Treaty City, although it is whispered that they were attacked from behind and their throats slit.

When Otomo Banu arrives the court is found split between himself and Daiori. Banu has even found a few allies torn between their allegiances. Banu however doesn’t let any of this bother him, he calls upon Doji Kurohito to be his Champion, a move that makes the Crane who had been siding with Daiori reserve their position. However, Daiori does throw a party, to welcome his distant cousin and to celebrate one more challenger. However, the party turns deadly when the Tsuruchi of the Mantis attack during a toast, slaying Daiori and a number of guests. The tensions within the court explode during this assassination and all of the guests seek out their enemies and have at it. As the court tears itself apart, Jitsuna Jomiico, Jistuna Kyoten and Agasha Togusa find the Lying Darkness is using the confusion to slay Bayushi Goshiu using Suzume Roshi’s likeness and Goshiu’s grandson, Bayushi Ogura, to act as the knives. The three of them manage to stop the Lying Darkness and gain the old Scoprion’s friendship.

Sadly Murimoto Satomi dies dueling Shiba Kai in a challenge of hand to hand combat. A shrine is made by Togashi Hoshi for her.

After the chaos, the Lion are expelled from the Capital for their failure, and Otomo Banu takes control of the Capital. Ceasing many hostages.

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Chapter 3 - The Shadow Within
Dragon Civil War

The samurai of Tio Koku hear of the earthquake that rocked the capital, and send a procession of Dragon to help the city in its time of need, sending Kitsuki Suko as the lead.

The Kazaq visits the city and gains entry and permision to climb the Mountain, wishing to share his vision with Lady Hitomi, worrying that darkness lays ahead for the Dragon.

Otomo Banu arrives in Tio Koku, wishing to gain the Thunder Mirumoto Hitomi‘s blessing for his claiming of the throne. HE brings with him a host of followers from the Crane, the Mantis and the Phoenix. During this time of hosting Kitsuki Yasu’s word arrives about his concern and wishing to depart the Dragon Lands. Kitsuki Ryojiro however objects and asks for more time to climb the mountain and discover the truth. The governor then orders Agasha Nyokazu to bring all the crystal within the city and prepare his followers for the climb.

Under the pretense of visiting Still Water Temple, Hitomi Kobai assist the governor is taking his guests away while the samurai of Tio Koku travel to the Great Climb. Along the way they discover that any and all messengers are being detained by the Mitumoto guarding the pass, under orders of Hitomi Kokujin. The governor then dismisses all of the messengers and leads his followers up the mountain.

The climb is hellacious for the Dragon, who see darker aspects of their mind played out before them. The harrowing climb leaves many of them shaken and in a few cases resolved. However, as the climb ends, with Tonbo Suzume witnessing the death of the naga team and Kokujin tattooing the Kazaq, thus severing him from the communal network of the naga known as the Akasaha, making a vision of Suzume’s come that much clearer to her horror.

The party arrives finding that the darkness of the Lying Darkness is indeed closely knitted at the heart and mind of the Dragon in the High House of Light. The monks within have been altered and changed by Hitomi and the darkness seeks to break her will, although not as clear before, they realize that Kokujin has been assisting the Lying Darkness in this task. His latest action against the Naga, he claimed to have done so to make Hitomi’s visions come true and thus become a god. In a fight of insight given by the samurai of Tio Koku she casts Kokujin out. Seeking to banish the darkness from the great temple the party seeks to preform a ritual to sever the Obsidian Hand from Hitomi and place a hand of crystal upon her. Before she will undergo the ritual she plans on questioning a prisoner of the High House of Light, and wishes the samurais assistance.

They find buried deep within the ancient temple is a crystal prison that holds Shosuro the Thunder from the First Day of Thunder …. yes you heard right. That Shosuro. She apparently survived the First Day of Thunder with the Lying Darkness’s aid, and it extended her life and cursing her in the same breath, she is lost to the Nothing now, and as the samurai find out has been advising Hitomi.

Hitomi wishing to make use of the Obsidian Hand once more to force information out of Shosuro finds that the Nothing had infiltrated enough of her to use the hand to destroy the prison and release the captive, just as Shosuro announces that there are now three avatars of the Lying Darkness, and that Hitomi is the Avatar of Fear. The party is drawn into Hitomi’s nightmares as they relive her greatest fears, and begin a battle of the soul of their Champion and Thunder.

Although this cataclysmic battle went in their favor, it left Hitomi nearly destroyed. When they collected themselves, they realized that Kokujin had used the situation as a distraction and he stole the Ancestral Blades of the Dragon in the confusion. The smaurai cut the Obsidian Hand from their Champion and fused a crystal hand to Hitomi, saving her life and she promptly fell into a deep slumber.

While recovering from their traumatic experience, and while they waited for the Lady to revive, they found that roughly 1/3 of the order of the Hitomi seems to have disappeared, and it is believed that they join Kokujin, although some worry they joined The Lying Darkness.

Agasha Nyokazu feels a strange calling and yearning sensation that nearly causes him to climb out of a window from the tenth floor, and he cannot explain it at all. Shortly after they discover that Hitomi has awakened. She thanks her vassals for their aid, begins to make major changes for the Dragon. She knows that Kokujin’s actions have started a war with the Naga, and she tells the Kitsuki and Mirumoto to prepare for war. She tells the order to receive the banished Hoshi and Togashi after the war, and welcome them back into the fold. She needs time to recover and adjust to the brilliant crystal hand, knowing that much of her chi has been drained by the banishment of Lying Darkness’s direct influence form her soul, and explains she knows it is still within her, but the Crystal silences it and allows her to think and see more clearly. As such she gives a horrid and very vital task to Kitsuki Rokuro to purge the tainted Dragon from the land.

Bringing the good news down from the mountain, the samurai find that not all is well within the Dragon. Numbers of Dragon from all of the major families have gone missing, also Kokujin has sent about massive amounts of misinformation to cause the Dragon to be in disarray. Nyokazu lets slip that the Dragon have been shamed with Kokujin stealing the ancestral blades, and the information causes a major morale loss.

Arriving back within the city of Tio Koku, Otomo Banu senses things will not play out as he hopes, and before the Governor can oust his would be guest, news arrives of rising conflict with the Phoenix. Banu then excuses himself and heads back to the capital, wishing the Dragon luck.

With war on the way, Ikoma Kiobito offers aid to the city and arranges for a number of Lion forces to come aid the Dragon. The Dragon recall all of their armies, and array them in preparation for what is to come. While the Dragon of the city see to their tasks for what is to come, Tonbo Suzume instead goes to the Phoenix to discover why they are at war with the Dragon. Meanwhile Agasha Meiling tries to contact The Mara and find a way to end the war before it begins, the Mara is in tears but explains that the Naga are too angry to listen and they have blocked her pleas out. As such, the Mara has chosen to stand with the Dragon.

As the armies gather, political infighting becomes worse, and soon enough the Dragon are fighting with steel against one another, and it seems to be at the behest of the Lying Darkness. The Kitsuki Justicars are dispatched to end the feuds and root out the darkness under Rokuro’s guidance.

Suzume discovers that the Phoenix have accused the Dragon of killing Naka Kuro, and with the Grand Elemental Master’s death, they plan on avenging him, and cannot talk them out of going into war. Along her way home she takes cares to avoid the direct rout and instead goes north to the blossoming conflict with the Phoenix, and finds that Mirumoto Junnosuke is burning Phoenix Temples. Frustrated she turns to finding the Naka’s remains, and through the use of the Obsidian Mirror she discovers that the Naka knew he was being lured into his death, but wished to save his students lives. So he went willingly with what she discovers to be Shosuro and the Naka tries to kill her and preforms an impressive ritual to draw all of the minions of the Lying Darkness to him within the Pheonix and the Dragon (save perhaps for the strongest) and then he called down flame to purify himself and the Nothing and scour them from the world. Impressed and sad Suzume goes to find Mirumoto Daini hopping to end the conflict that way. When she find him on the way to the battle field, she finds he is with Agasha Tamori and she convinces the two of them to end the war with the Phoenix, however Kokujin appears and somehow controlled Tamori into awakening a volcano into awaking and nearly killing everyone in a storm of fire. Suzume was distracted in trying to stop Tamori, and only turned back in surprise to see that Kokujin had slain the Mirumoto lord, and then withdrew. Unable to face the tattooed traitor, she instead used all of her might to contain the flow of magma and saved the rest of the war unit however she falls unconscious. However, with Daini dead and Tamori seeming to have lost control of himself, the war party continues on to do it’s duty, unaware of the fact that they are being manipulated.

Meanwhile, the samurai of Tio Koku brace for the Naga attack, but find that the Naga did not use the bridge and instead swam the river. Prepping to move, they find the Lion led by Matsu Agetoki arrive and that Ikoma Tsanuri has gone to raze the Dragon Fly lands for ages long vengeance. Agetoki doesn’t seek to battle Tio Koku, but instead wishes to use their lands to attack the Phoenix for some slight. The Governor denies him, and the Lion forces split, as he leaves Koritome Toruko who seeks vengeance for Suzume’s betrayal, and not finding her decides to destroy her city. The samurai of Tio Koku then make war against the Lion, and in a display of fierceness both sides manage to only bloody each other’s noses, however Toruko is slain by Mirumoto Kinji, however a number of Lion Elite Spearmen capture Agasha Meiling. This leaves Matsu Ferishi in control, of the armies, and she uses Meiling as hostage to have her armies gain access to the Dragon lands, and allows Agetoki to slip by towards the Phoenix while Ferishi burns No Name City to the ground, destroying the ronin haven.

Agasha Nyokazu wishing to end the plight of Kitsuki Yasu’s son who had become a minion of the lying darkness, he goes to Kitsuki castle to find that the Order of Togashi and Hoshi have aligned with the Naga, and they are all caught in a horrible situation where Nyokazu is found to be tainted by the Lying Darkness. He then is offered a swift death, while the Naga burn and sac the Kitsuki Castle.

When Suzume recovers, she finds the Lion are in the pass with her. When she and the Dragon are discovered the Lion send Ikoma Kiobito to talk with her, and her brother Tonbo Sukari duels him to force the Lion to withdrawal. Due to his honor he cannot refuse, but due to his love for Suzume he will not draw his blade on her brother. Sukari cuts down Kiobito, who looks at Suzume with his loving smile one last time as he dyes and she can do nothing but watch her life gutter before her.

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Year 1134 to Year 1143
Nine Years of Peace

1134

  • Facing an ongoing food shortfall, the Lion Clan moves troops through Beiden Pass and seizes control of much of the central Scorpion lands from the Mantis Clan. The Mantis are forced back into the Southern Scorpion territory and the neighboring lands of the Wasp Clan. The Scorpion, who have been quietly ruling much of their territory without officially revealing themselves, undertake a campaign of sabotage and assassination against the Lion forces, and initiate covert contacts with the Unicorn, the Dragon, and the Crab, seeking alliance against the Lion.
  • Yoritomo’s Alliance fractures and breaks apart.
  • The fallen shugenja Kuni Yori emerges from the Shadowlands at the head of an army of undead. He assails the Kaiu Wall, but thanks to Kisada’s preparations the attack is completely repulsed. Hiruma Kage, aging daimyo of the Hiruma, confronts and kills Yori, but is badly Tainted in the process; he commits seppuku soon after rather than allow the Taint to consume him.
  • Lady Doji appears to Doji Yasuyo in a dream, setting her on a path to ending the curse of Chukandomo. She meets the mujina Fuhao, who leads her to the kenku Kozue. Kozue takes Yasuyo toChikushudo, where they begin her training.
  • As Yoritomo’s piracy begins to take a serious toll on the Empire’s shipping, the Crab and Phoenix form a temporary alliance to further strengthen their navies, and officially proclaims the Moshi and Tsuruchi as members of the greater Mantis Clan, and claims their territories. The few allies the Mantis have left recognize this claim, although their enemies persist in claims are illegitimate.
  • Agasha Nyokazu reads the Celestial Agonies and becomes tainted by the Nothing.

Year 1135

  • Hiruma Nikako becomes Hiruma Daimyo
  • With the Lying Darkness’s Avatar destroyed utterly, the Dragon’s withdrawal from the Empire is almost complete, save for the city of Tio Koku being the sole exception which feeds the Dragon. No pilgrims or visitors are being allowed into the Dragon’s territory.

Year 1136

  • Tonbo Suzume embarks on a long journey to try and discover magic that might wound the Lying Darkness should it ever come about again. Coming along with her is Ikoma Kiobito, wishing to be by her side. This action alienates the Matsu family who see Suzume’s actions as insulting.

Year 1137

  • Asako Toshi becomes the Asako family daimyo.

Year 1138

  • The Castle within Tio Koku is completed, and a grand celebration is held.

Year 1139

  • The growing scale of anti-Lion sabotage in the occupied Scorpion lands leads to a series of vicious reprisals from frustrated local Lion commanders. The Miya family, whose lands are adjacent to the violence-torn Scorpion territories, tries to intervene and mitigate the violence; although the Lion still offer respect to the Miya, they prove increasingly unwilling to defer to their authority.

Year 1140

  • Miya Hatori is granted the post of caretaker of the Imperial Histories.

Year 1141

  • Shinjo Shirasu and all of the Emerald Magistrates assaults a long forgotten temple, discovering it to be a major bastion of a Blood Speaker cult. Shirasu and many of his followers falls during the strike, but the Temple of Blood is destroyed and it cult routed. The few Emerald Magistrates cannot decide upon any leadership, and disband returning to their respective Clans.

Year 1142

  • As the Lying Darkness slowly tightens its grip on the Dragon lands, daimyo Kitsuki Yasu recognizes many signs of the strange evil described in the fabled journal of Kitsuki Kaagi. He dispatches a series of messengers to the High House of Light, asking Lady Hitomi to confront the danger which seems to be slowly consuming the clan. Many of the messengers fail to return; those who do are changed in sinister ways.

Year 1143

  • A terrible earthquake shakes the Imperial City Otosan Uchi.
  • After over a year of agonizing debate, Kitsuki Yasu and his followers conclude they have no choice but to leave the Dragon Clan, lest they be consumed by the Shadow. With a guilt wracked heart Yasu goes to speak privetly with his governors.

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