Shattered Empire: In the Shadows of the Dragon Mountains
The Crane Clan
Clan Champion: Doji Kuwanan
The Crane Clan, Left Hand of the Emperor, was known throughout Rokugan for its skilled duelists and artisans. The Crane were also noted courtiers, wielding great power in the courts of the land. The Crane were founded by the Kami Doji. They pursued excellence in all things, and the traditions established by Lady Doji were now customary in the Emperor’s Court. The formal dueling system, iaijutsu, was established by Doji’s husband, Kakita. Their preferential status with the Imperial line was renowned and throughout history the clan had had fewer taxes and more gifts heaped upon them. They were the masters of the courts and had the status and wealth commensurate with such a position.
The Crane Clan was not spared by the Clan Wars. Their lands had been particularly hit hard by the famine and plagues that broke out at the start of the the three years of war. Their armies were never the strongest in the Empire nor the most numerous. The Lion Clan, wishing to seek vengeance for a number of slights, waged war upon the Crane during the thickest parts of the Clan Wars. Normally the Emperor would step in to stem the blood lust of the Lion, but while the Emperor was ill for most of his short reign, the Empress saw to it that the wars were very prolonged.
To make maters worse, the Empress had used an ancient relic upon the Crane Clan Champion, Doji Hoturi, which had made an evil copy of the Crane leader, and then imprisoned the Crane Champion. The False Hoturi was a mad man, and gathered oni, shadowlands beasts, and other corrupted bushi to his side and pillaged and burned the Crane Lands.
When all seemed its bleakest and the Crane were on the verge of collapse, the real Hoturi was freed from his prison and confronted his evil doppelganger, slaying him and routing his vile host. He becomes the Crane Clan Thunder then, the heroic last bastion of his Clan.
As the Second Day of Thunder approached, the Crane bolstered their armies with wavemen and minor Clan samurai, emptying their remaining coffers to build an army with enough strength to oppose the gathering Shadowlands Horde. After the death of Doji Hoturi, fifth to fall, in the Second Day of Thunder his brother Doji Kuwanan took the championship.
Kuwanan is a tactition and well trained bushi, and have gathered what was left of the Crane and works tirelessly to purge the last of the corrupted forces form his lands. He forces are few, stretched thin, his coffers nearly spent, and his castles all nearly burned to the ground, save one. The Crane are in a precarious spot, and it is very obvious that they seek a prolonged peace to recover.
- By 1133 the Crane have been seeding the Empire with alliances, while they work to rebuild their lands and armies. The first they they saw to were their dojos, where Crane and those who have given favors to the Crane could once more resound with their time honored skills. Their artisans have been collecting political clout as well, and their gaining of the Imperial Chancellor position has been a very good feather in their cap. Their allies have been well positioned around them, and a few whisper that the Crane manipulated the Lion into their current action deftly. All of these political actions mask the fact that the Crane armies are still weak from the Clan War, however with Diadoji Uji in control of the armies even this small army is deadly. However, the attack on their shipping lanes has caused a stutter for the clan in recapturing their economic might.
- By 1145, the Crane are still recovering form the intense losses of the Clan War and their conflict with the Crab. However, to show solidarity with the Lion, they sent a force with them to destroy the Tsuruchi for their part in the assassination of the Would Be Emperor. Their forces were led by Doji Yasuyo, who died along with all of her troops in an ambush led by Yoritomo. The Crane have since remained out of physical conflicts, and use all of their considerable political clout to attack their foes, nestling closer to Otomo Banu.