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 Post subject: The Last Year
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:58 am
Posts: 3770
YEAR 499

At the behest of Hantei Jama in his capacity as the Superintendent on Education, his close associate Doji Tsugiko gathers students from all four of Reju Colleges in Dragon's Guard City for a Summer Retreat where they combine leisure and learning. Events of increasing profile are held for them. Kitsu Keiji emerges as the winner of the Imperial Regatta, whereas many others acquire fame and recognition by staging a live reenactment of the Battle of White Stag loosely based on a playscript by a young author Shosuro Furuyari. Hantei Jama attends the closing ceremony of the Retreat, releasing his Divine Father's edict on Exploration, naming him the Admiral of the Imperial Navy and reinstating the Imperial Explorers, a corps last functional during the reign of Hantei Ningi, but this time with a maritime focus. An oceanic expedition called the First Voyage is announced for the next year. Many students are recruited into this new division of the Navy.

Dragon's Guard City also becomes a stage of a conflict between the Imperial Families and the Tortoise Clan. Muhaki Genjiko refuses skilled labour levies from the ranks of her Clan for the sake of creation of the four ocean-going vessels of the Imperial Navy. Social tensions rise in the greater Otosan Uchi area and they mar both the Retreat and the concurrent Benten Festival in the city. When the city governor Seppun Toshikaga retires and his grandson Hassei takes over the rule in Kiken na Roka Toshi, he spearheads a motion supported by Jama to seize Tortoise assets in the city by force. Brief violence erupts and selected parts of the city are destroyed in explosions and fires, but Hassei reasserts full control the next day, holding gaijin in Tortoise service and criminals accountable.

Aged Kakita Koresada, who has served as Kakita daimyo and sensei under three Crane Champions, Kakumei, Kogyoku and now Tanaka, commits seppuku in mysterious circumstances while attending a meeting with his young suzerain in Kyuden Doji. His mortal remains are spited by Tanaka as he is denied burial in a mound near Kyuden Kakita an relegated to an unremarkable spot near Aketsu. His death poem is interpreted as a posthumous critique of the Champion's moral credentials by Koresada's supporters in the family. Many of them are asked to commit seppuku if they disagree with Tanaka's will. That thins staff of the Kakita Academy and creates further unrest. Koresada's direct descendants are bypassed as Tanaka appoints Kakita Wayozu, a recognised authority in all arts, as the next daimyo.

Seizing Tortoise assets under Imperial authority continues across the greater Otosan Uchi area. Thanks to the means and labour so acquired the construction of the four vessels of the Imperial Navy: Amaterasu's Grace, Kunshu Maru, Yamato Maru and Ashitae Maru picks up in the Imperial Shipyards in Golden Sun Bay. The effort is supervised by Asahina Yajinden, the Quartermaster of the Imperial Explorers, though the chief shipwright Miya Edogawa coordinates most of the on-site work. Vessels are slated to be operational within a year.

Imperial Naval College is founded in Dragon's Guard City in the area formerly known as Feitoria. Jama chooses Moshi Noriko, granddaughter of Moshi Setsuko, as its Master Sensei and Headmistress. Hassei transfers control over the premises to her, and Noriko is quick to show her administrative skills in drafting curriculum and organising an impressive assemblage of esteemed sensei. As the new educational institution of the Explorers is being organised, students from other colleges flock in with the hope to become a prominent part of the nascent corps and the planned maritime endeavour. However, Akodo Toru forbids Lion samurai to partake in the formation of the Explorers and recalls those who already have.

The situation in the Kakita family becomes graver. Wayozu is unable to stem its creeping disintegration. Hundreds of samurai leave the Clan, entering the wave or retiring early to the ill-defined Order of the Blackened Branch established in a monastery near Koresada's kofun by the authority of Sozan, shinpu of the Brotherhood of Shinsei.

A humanitarian crisis erupts in the north, adding to the plight of the Phoenix. In an act of stark severance of their ties with the Empire the Isawa have apparently abandoned stewardship of their provinces and stripped their own heimin of their harvest. Tens of thousands of disgruntled farmers move south of Isawa Mori, seeking help in Shiba and Asako provinces. The Phoenix don't have food reserves at their disposal to cope with the emergency but do not petition for help in the courts in fear of a Lion motion to rescind stewardship of the Children of Shiba over the Empire's northeast. Asako Ryohime sends envoys to her sisters with a call for aid.

The Emerald Office releases a statement that one of its officers, Daidoji Tsukuro, is now considered a criminal at large, charged with providing false testimony to the Emerald Champion, membership in a criminal organisation, misappropriation of the funds of the Office and various instances of dishonourable personal misconduct including but not limited to opium abuse. His former actions, the incursion into the Fox territory in 496 included, are to be considered his own responsibility and not in any way actions of the Emerald Champion. Hisa daimyo Daidoji Kamei immediately strips him of the name and promises assistance in his apprehension.

Seppun Hiraga tries to form a musketeer guntai under the authority of the Imperial Explorers but lack of support of the Lion Clan and difficulty in access to gunpowder resources because of the estrangement of the Tortoise significantly stall the process.

The Winter Court is belatedly announced to take place in Kyuden Otomo, in short distance from the capital. Many credit the choice to the poor health of the Veiled Emperor. The Imperial Chancellor, Otomo Oborozukiyo, mobilises for the endeavour.

The Miya acquire the deserted Lion estates in Dragon's Guard City. Miya Odorihime, the Imperial Matchmaker, chooses the House of the Orange Blossom as her regional abode. From there, she coordinates betrothal negotiations for Seppun Hassei and Moshi Noriko. Her both children, Edogawa and Suihime, engage in the process alongside other Explorers who have a stake in shaping the future political landscape of the city.

Emerald Magistrate Doji Yoshi is sent by Doji Shioden to Boar lands to reevaluate due taxes of the Minor Clans, in a precedential effort to extend the base for tax levies from agricultural output to mining and manufacturing, so far considered exempted from uniform taxation by the Imperial Law.

Kakita Ichinose, shireikan in charge of the defences of the Takuetsu province, commits kanshi before Wayozu. Daidoji troops are ordered by Tanaka to reinforce the Matsu-Kakita border.

Massive bombing occurs in chief Crab trade hub of Sunda Mizu Mura on the Earthquake Fish Bay. The port and much of the commercial quarter are destroyed in fire. As the chaos rages and troop movements are stalled, Yasuki assets on Kenkai Hanto are assaulted. Friendly Traveller Village rice stockpiles are affected. Hida Tenburo names the Daidoji to be the secret assailants and vows bloody retribution. However, significant damage and troubling reports from the Far South delay war preparation.

Phoenix refugees are concentrated in the ruins of Toshi no Omoidoso for wintering, where they erect gruesome slums that are supposed to help them survive the winter. Crane, Dragon and Mantis assistance helps avert famine for the time being, but the Miya prepare a motion for the Winter Court that would allow an early distribution of the Emperor's Blessing next year. Many Miya try to engage in the humanitarian action from their estates in Dragon's Guard City, though early snow in the north closes the Treacherous Pass and prevents it from being meaningful.

Betrothal of Moshi Noriko and Miya Ietada, the youngest son of Miya daimyo, is announced. The ceremony is due to happen next year.

During one of the last regular sessions of the Imperial Court in the Forbidden City Crane Champion Doji Tanaka is in attendance. Ignoring questions about the condition of the Kakita, he pledges his full support to the ascendence of Hantei Hohiro to the Emerald Throne. Ikoma Karaku, son and heir of the Ikoma daimyo, acting as Lion ambassador to the Imperial Court, who has been widely expected to do the same, resigns from addressing the Imperial Chancellor and abruptly returns home. As the session continues, Tanaka speaks in favour of betrothing one Doji Chouko to Seppun Hassei. Crane courtiers follow suit in lobbying for the union about to strengthen the ties between the Seppun and the Doji, putting pressure on the Imperial Matchmaker.

Concurrently in Kyuden Seppun, however, Seppun Kentoshi, Hassei's daimyo, legitimises Kakita Kaiya, the bastard daughter of his deceased vassal, and introduces her into the family. She is one of the founding members of the Imperial Explorers. Hantei Jama, who has earlier publically declared Kaiya to have his favour, endorses the motion. Kaiya is rumoured to be a personal irritant to Tanaka. Her mother was one of the first to be purged at the onset of Kakita dissent. She is to remain in Kentoshi's court for winter.

Kuni Tokaji, the Jade Champion, abruptly cancels the annual conference of his family in Kyuden Hida and travels south, toward Shiro Hiruma. Hida Tenburo calls off retaliatory action against the Crane until next year as winter is about to set in. There is speculation of a rise of a new threat in the Far South.

Imperial Winter Court convenes in Kyuden Otomo. The Veiled Emperor is present, though he is rarely in attendance for court sessions, presided by the host and the Imperial Chancellor. His heir Hohiro is in attendance, but his second son Jama has excused his initial absence on the grounds of duty to the Imperial Navy. The Crab delegation is headed by Rokuro Saigo, ambassador to the Imperial Court. The Crane delegation is headed by the Champion himself, though his uncle the Emerald Champion is also present. The Dragon delegation is led by Mirumoto Chorude, daimyo of his family. The Lion delegation is surprisingly very high-profile, led by Matsu Dainoku, daimyo of his family, Akodo Meikuko, the Lion Champion's younger daughter, and Ikoma Karaku. The Phoenix are represented by Asako Itsuo, brother to the Asako daimyo. Shosuro Kaneie represents the Scorpion. Miya Yukitada stands in triple role of the Imperial Herald, Miya daimyo and the chosen voice of the Fox Clan. Many Minor Clan daimyo or their close family members have arrived, including Heichi Batsuda, Fureheshu Kikujiro, Suzume Rokuro, Moshi Zenshiro, Gusai Ryoshida, and lastly, after some controversy and on personal decision of Oborozukiyo, Muhaki Genjiko. Overall, despite short notice, the court is slated to be very meaningful with this profile of attendees, as many estimate that the next one will be with a new Emperor on the Emerald Throne. However, to Lion outrage, all political discussions are stalled deeper into the winter by host fiat, supported by the Three Matrons, who are also in attendance. The Imperial Chancellor through control of the agenda declares that until winter sets in only cultural events will be held.


In the first days of the new month of the winter season Oborozukiyo finally opened the floor of the Imperial Winter Court for political motions. Ikoma Karaku took it first.

Ikoma Karaku wrote:
"Over the passing year the Right Hand of the Emperor has witnessed how the Crane Clan descends into disgrace and dishonour. We have been witnessing the unravelling of the Kakita family and its failure in stewardship over the Emperor's lands their predecessor unjustly tore off from the domain of Lady Matsu. We are glad to see our long-standing claims of the unworthiness of the Kakita to be the stewards of these lands vindicated. To remind them that their dishonour, petty squabbles and disregard of duty have consequences as well as to right the historic wrong we petition the Emperor that the stewardship of all land south of the One Leg Road currently held by the Kakita unto the mouth of the Osari Plains and the crossings on the Tangu River be bestowed on Matsu Dainoku, the direct descendant of Lady Matsu and the iron fist of the Right Hand, ever ready to protect what belongs to the Son of Heaven. We give the Crane a chance to concede and vacate the lands in question. If they do not, until the Son of Heaven himself speaks on the matter we shall be exposing their weakness to the Throne by any means necessary. If this winter brings no resolution, come spring we shall wage a just and honourable war against the Crane."

Right when the Imperial Chancellor was ready to allow discussion the petition, Hantei Hohiro stepped in and asked her to be given control of further proceedings as the heir of the Emperor, to what Oborozukiyo consented, hiding her displeasure. He claimed that no action which would violate the harmony in the Empire in challenging times will be seen favourably by the Throne and all disputes should be resolved through the Sacred Art. After a whisper from Togashi Moho, his personal adviser, he gave the floor first to Tanaka, who claimed that the Crane abide by the Imperial Heir's call for harmony but both he and Kakita Wayozu are ready to face in a duel anyone who slights the honour of the Crane, daring Dainoku to step out. Before a challenge could be made by either side, however, Mirumoto Chorude stepped in and offered Matsu Dainoku, his adversary since the conclusion of the Yobanjin Wars, a gift, a small two-bladed gaijin-looking instrument he called forceps, ending his final offer with words:

Mirumoto Chorude wrote:
"A lion roars loudest when it has a thorn in his paw."

Many courtiers in attendance could not hold back their smirks and chuckles. Dainoku accepted, claiming however in cold fury that the gift would be the death of Chorude. At that, Shosuro Kaneie intervened, claiming that levity Chorude had initiated has no place in these salient proceedings and petitioned Hohiro to suspend the session to let all compose themselves and rethink their positions, which was granted before anyone else could speak. Dainoku was not willing to let go and started approaching Chorude as the Mirumoto daimyo fell back to his place, at which point Hohiro ordered him escorted out to take in some cool winter air and when Matsu daimyo didn't seem to listen and tossed off two Seppun he asked if being ordered once was insufficient. That made so far silent Akodo Meikuko step in.

Akodo Meikuko wrote:
"The only two people to command the Matsu daimyo is the Son of Heaven himself and the Lion Champion. You are neither of them, Hantei-no-kimi."

That angered Hohiro.

Hantei Hohiro wrote:
"I'll be the Emperor soon enough, insolent girl."

To that, she bowed deeply, grasping Dainoku's arm and pulling him down with her, replying with precision.

Akodo Meikuko wrote:
"There is only one Emperor at any time, Hantei-no-kimi. Just two years ago when your life was on the line we prayed to Jurojin and Bishamon for your recovery. Now we pray again, for the Son of Heaven's recovery, and we will wait for it, and for his divine judgement. Besides, the Ritual of Abdication has yet to happen."

Then, the Lion left the courtroom, leaving grave silence among those who remained. Hohiro banned them from further proceedings until they show contrition. The apologies never came, and the rest of the court was conducted without Lion participation. Meikuko and Dainoku left the court by the end of the month, leaving Karaku in Kyuden Otomo. During behind-the-scenes negotiations the Crab pledged their support to the Lion petition, and the Phoenix and the Scorpion were conducting informal talks with the Lion, allegedly with the purpose to find a way out of the crisis.

Hantei Jama sends a missive to Kyuden Otomo claiming that he is stranded by heavy snowfall north of the capital and will grace the court in Kyuden Seppun this year instead. The one attended by Ikoma daimyo Meiran no less.

In Kyuden Otomo, the court approves of Yukitada's motion of the Emperor's Blessing to be received by the Phoenix in spring without much controversy. Asako Itsuo is approached by both Genjiko and Ryoshida with offers to partake in the reconstruction of the once-important northern port. Both are accepted, but Ryoshida receives from his maternal cousin exponentially greater concession.

The Emperor does not attend sessions. Without the Lion, the court turns temporarily less eventful, with all Crab petitions to hold the Crane accountable for the attack on Sunda Mizu Mura being turned down. Doji Shioden claims that there is not enough conclusive testimony, and both the Mantis and the Scorpion give Rokuro only a token support.

After leaving the court Akodo Meikuko and Matsu Dainoku make a short pilgrimage to the beaches of the White Stag to pay homage to the ancestral spirits of Akodo Kurojin and Matsu Mochihime at their shrines on the beach of battle. The resurgence of snowfall strands them in the capitol area.

The court in Kyuden Otomo ends in the atmosphere of scandal. Rokuro Saigo blames Tanaka for seducing and violating his wife, a charge that ends in a shi duel in which the Crab is slain. His wife commits a remorseful jigai. Karaku tries to use momentum to sway other Clans away from the Crane. He even discusses vacating Mamoru Kyotei Toshi and aid in supplies to Itsuo, but the talks stall out. Most of the guests make the quickest arrangements possible to move out of Kyuden Otomo at earliest convenience, using the preparation for celebrating the New Year as an excuse.

On earliest thaw Meikuko departs for Lion lands, but Meiran organises a meeting between Dainoku and Jama in the West Hub. Mutual understandings, if any, are not revealed to the public.

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 Post subject: Re: The Last Year
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:58 am
Posts: 3770
YEAR 500

Rokugan celebrates the new year, and the festivities in Otosan Uchi are particularly splendorous. The Dragon provide the most magnificent hanabi. There is no end to birthday parties, and commerce in capitol area spikes toward record profits. The Veiled Emperor and both Imperial scions attend ceremonies at the Temple of Amaterasu, sending a message of unity to the Empire.

However, a tragedy strikes right after. Mirumoto Chorude is found dead in a back alley in Harada district of Otosan Uchi. Soon after Heichi Batsuda claims before the reconvened Imperial Court that his adolescent son Shizugai saw Matsu Dainoku slaying Chorude dishonourably, with a knife, in an unsanctioned duel. Dainoku is called before the Imperial Court but refuses to address the issue, denying the young Boar heir any right to provide the testimony. Doji Shioden adjudicates that the matter will be resolved by a shi duel between Dainoku and Batsuda, and the Matsu daimyo beheads the Boar Champion. Shizugai swears vengeance and flees the capital. Dainoku, cleared of charges, returns to Shiro Matsu to join the preparations for the spring offensive against the Crane. Relations between the Lion and the Boar collapse, fighting erupts in the West Hub and whole Tsi family is evacuated to their former homes in the East Hub. Peace is restored only after Shioden deploys the closest non-Lion Imperial Legion to pacify the West Hub, but local relations remain tense. The Dragon have yet to react to Chorude's death.

Coordinated from Dragon's Guard, the Emperor's Blessing is being delivered to the downtrodden in Toshi no Omoidoso. Both the Tortoise and the Mantis move their assets into the reconstructing city, renewing their rivalry over shares in Rokugani coastal trade.

The Mantis efforts to forge closer ties with the new governor of the Dragon's Guard fail. After a meeting with the Crane Champion, Miya Odorihime confirms matching Seppun Hassei and Doji Chouko. The betrothal ceremony is held in the city in the presence of Doji Tanaka.

The restrictions for the Lion to join the Imperial Explorers are lifted. Some samurai are even chosen by their superiors to claim leading positions within the forming force.

The Lion invade the Crane. Brittle Flower City is taken in two days, though pacification takes a week more as guerilla warfare is being waged against the Matsu forces under Dainoku, stalling their advance eastward, into the Tangu Valley. The advance south of the One Leg Road is led by Akodo Toru himself. There, hell breaks loose. The Daidoji use the forested area to impose heavy casualties on the Lion, the traps killing as many attackers as the Crane troops do themselves, who are nevertheless pushed back. Into the second week of the campaign, unthinkable happens - the Kitsu Tombs are rocked by a series of poluvora explosions. Many Kitsu die in the rummage, including Kitsu Fusenko's husband, Kiyoshi. The attack is attributed to Daidoji Hira as wreaking havoc behind the front in Lion supply lines follows. Toru is neither willing to fall back nor to weaken border garrisons at Shiro no Yojin, Shiro Akodo or Toshi Ranbo, especially with Shioden's Legion standing just opposite to them in the West Hub. Instead, he makes the decision to push with the offensive but to pull out must of the forces from occupied Mamoru Kyotei Toshi. His son Ikuo takes command over the task to deal with Hira's marauders in Heigen no Otaku. By month's end Matsu troops secure the crossings on the Tangu River while the vanguard of Toru's force reaches Shiro Iwasaki, storms it and razes it to the ground, leaving no-one alive. All that remains of the Iwasaki family is their okiya patrons across the Empire.

Daidoji Kamei awards Scorpion merchants free access to the waterways leading to the Samui Kaze Toshi. The bulk of trade from Ryoko Owari is diverted from going south to Sunda Mizu Mura, rendered largely dysfunctional for trade by last year's attacks, and is now directed toward the Crane port. While the Scorpion have the perfect excuse, the Crab take it for a betrayal and the Yasuki extend their economic retaliatory measures to the merchants under Scorpion patronage. Friction quickly enter the opium market and make the cartels clash. A trade war is looming, and many wonder if there is anything left of the Crab-Scorpion alliance.

The Matsu forces overrun the Osari Plains, blocking any relief from Daidoji troops to the beleaguered Kakita holdings, while Akodo Toru launches an attack on Tsuma. This time Crane forces meet the Lion in the open field, commanded by Doji Tanaka himself. They have been reinforced by the garrison of Kyuden Kakita as Shioden's Legion has moved from the West Hub and has extended cordon sanitaire around the family capital on the grounds that some artwork belonging to the Emperor is being stored there and thus the holding should be unaffected by belligerence. The Battle of the Weeping Skies is waged in heavy rainfall and for a time is close because of sloughy terrain favouring the defenders, but by the evening the Lion start carrying the day. However, before Lady Amaterasu sets, Tanaka finds Toru on the field of battle. In the duel of Champions, Tanaka prevails, cutting his older opponent viciously and humiliatingly, across the back, leaving him alive but a cripple. The rush to reclaim the Champion breaks Lion lines, and the Crane forces take the opportunity to push back. Akodo Meikuko assumes command and manages to rally the Lion troops to regroup them. The battle ends in a stalemate, with heavy losses on both sides. Meikuko sets a fortified camp for the night as the healers try to save Toru, waiting for Dainoku's reinforcements to join her in order to deal a decisive blow and potentially end the war. The camp is harried during the night, with some tents, supplies and siege machines set on fire.

However, the news come from the north of the Dragon forces crossing the Drowned Merchant and launching a surprise attack on Lion-held Mamoru Kyotei Toshi. They are commanded by Mirumoto Gyoten, Chorude's uncle who withdrew from the monastery to act as family caretaker until Chorude's only daughter comes of age. The city has been taken, and the Lion forces in the Phoenix Northeast are cut off. The Dragon, in their largest offensive since the fall of Gozoku, pour through a bateau bridge into Phoenix provinces, fighting many small battles with Lion forces and restoring Phoenix administration as they push north. However, their main army marches toward Toshi Ranbo, laying siege to the city. Akodo Ikuo turns back from hunting Daidoji ghosts and tries to prevent the siege from being closed without having the numbers before reinforcements called from western provinces would arrive. However, he's soundly repelled from the city by a massive volleys of what looks like hanabi carts, hurling hundreds of fiery, explosive arrows. The Dragon send their terms of withdrawal, and they are simple: Matsu Dainoku's seppuku.

Hida Tenburo considers the circumstances favourable for his own retribution against the Crane and orders an assault on Jukami Toshi. Daidoji Kamei deems the city indefensible and Hira is not around to convince him otherwise. The Daidoji evacuate it both north and south. The Crab expeditionary force enters a largely empty city, which they sack and set on fire. While coming monsoon rainfall quickly douses conflagration, most of the port area is heavily affected. This includes many Mantis assets in the city. Encouraged by an easy success, Tenburo proclaims 'eye for an eye' approach and decides to avenge both Sunda Mizu Mura and the Friendly Traveller Village, declaring an attack on Samui Kaze. The Crab push straight north, along the Uebi Marshes, on the assumption that most Crane troops are spread thin and most of their southern forces are now locked on Kenkai Hanto. However, they meet stiff resistance at the long-prepared Daidoji frontlines, and eventually fall back to the other bank of Kawa no Kin, not changing the target, but changing the route. The plan is to march toward the Scorpion provinces and demand the right of passage from the nominal ally as the last-chance test of commitment. In a good though expected sign of allied goodwill the Sparrow let the Crab through the Suzume Hills.

Asahina Kamatari, the prophetic daimyo, is reported to have succumbed to catatonic ravings. He repeats:
Asahina Kamatari wrote:
"Stop it! Stop the hate! It's stirring it! Hungry dreams awake!"

Toru, in severely disabled state, is transported by his son's decision to Yaruki Jukko, the Temple of Courageous Reflection, for his inkyo. Such becomes the end of the first shogun in the history of Rokugan. Selection of a Shintao order baffles many in the Lion Clan, but being in a war on two fronts is the least fortunate moment to question leadership. As Ikuo assumes Championship, Dainoku and Meikuko join forces and assault Tsuma. By then, however, Tanaka pulls the forces to Kyuden Kakita, the last defensible holding in the region claimed by the Lion. Tsuma is captured with minimal oppression, limited to removal of Crane authorities. The local dojos, however, are closed, and remaining sensei asked to commit seppuku.

In reality, the political game truly begins. The Imperial Chancellor calls on the Lion ambassador, Ikoma Karaku, to disclose further intentions of the Lion. He claims that the Lion have no intention of assaulting Kyuden Kakita for Shioden's intervention has confirmed that the Throne has lost confidence that the Kakita can protect the Emperor's lands under their stewardship by themselves and has restored it to direct Imperial rule. The Lion are satisfied with the lands they have secured and wait for their extended mandate to be confirmed. The Crane, and many others, denounce Lion position, but Karaku is willing to bide his time. Oborozukiyo finally claims that the Imperial Heirs should bring their authority to find peace resolution. Hohiro steps in to handle Lion-Crane negotiations, while Jama accepts to be involved in resolving the Lion-Phoenix-Dragon conundrum in the north.

Bayushi Hajioki declares that he considers Crab redress against the Crane undertaken without Imperial sanction, on flimsy testimony, something the Scorpion would not condone, and denies the troops the right of passage. Hida Tenburo announces in return that he considers the alliance broken, but does not challenge the Scorpion by forcing his way onto the bank under their control. Instead, after some hesitation with regard to marching orders the troops are commanded to cross the river through Kitsune Mori. A Fox delegation meets them and pleads not to enter the quarantined forest. The Crab don't listen and enter it by force. They never reemerge on the other side. A whole legion vanishes without a trace, though it wouldn't come to be fully realised until next month.

Among the Crab dark magicks are suspected for the disappearance of their legion in Kitsune Mori. Kuni Tokaji refuses to abandon his post in the south, however, and sends some of his subordinates in the Jade Office to investigate. They find every reason to approach the matter amiably as they try to learn from the Kitsune what could have occurred. Many see it as a desperate way to save face after a major blunder of what was conceived as a minor, victorious war to boost Clan morale, frayed by betrayals, defeats and lack of sake supplies, ahead of of the looming challenge from the South. Tenburo cuts his losses considering retribution complete as his eyes turn toward the Shadowlands. A significant minority among the Crab would like Tenburo to step down and let his eldest daughter Tezuko lead the Clan, but they know it is unlikely to happen. The majority still believes that the man who became a hero during the last incursion in the 480s can once again transcend his limitations in times of trial. However, the Yasuki are encouraged to engage in cutthroat economic tactics, to find short-term gains over long-term arrangements.

Muhaki Genjiko's ship, 'The Sea Horseman', is lost at sea on the way to Toshi no Omoidoso. There are no known survivors. Soon after Someisa Sadahako is also found dead in Shiro Kasuga, allegedly because of takotsubo upon hearing about Genjiko's death, and old age. Zazu emerges from some pleasure house in the East Hub to claim interim Championship. While many among the Tortoise would like to challenge the notion, there are no good alternatives as Saionji hasn't been seen in Rokugan for more than a year. One of the first political moves by Zazu is to cancel or confrontational policies with the Imperial Families. He donates to the Emperor's Blessing, pledges skilled labour to the construction of the Imperial Navy and makes good with any high-ranking Imperial willing to entertain him. He also helps the Yasuki to find ways around the new Crane-Scorpion economic stranglehold.

The Lion-Crane peace negotiations are conducted in the Forbidden City. Ikuo chooses not to attend personally, but gives Meikuko and Karaku full capacity to negotiate in his stead. Dainoku remains behind, commanding the occupation. Hohiro presents a solution in which the Lion keep the Brittle Flower City, are provided with Crane indemnities to restore Kitsu Tombs and are awarded the right to patrol the entirety of One Leg Road and maintain a garrison in the West Hub, but otherwise vacate their other acquisitions. This is rejected by the Lion as a 'Crane peace' as they reassert the full extent of claims, to Hohiro's anger. The talks stall, and Hohiro sends Imperial peacemakers to Mamoru Kyotei Toshi, where Hantei Jama, Akodo Ikuo, Mirumoto Gyoten and Asako Itsuo congregate for negotiations, to bring the decision directly to the Lion Champion. The offer includes marrying Kakita daimyo's daughter to ensure lasting Lion-Crane peace.

Moshi Aizu leaves the Valley of the Centipede and travels to Shiro Shiba to meet the Phoenix Champion.

Seppun Hassei and Doji Chouko are married in a splendid ceremony held in Dragon's Guard City. The opulence of celebrations is something to remember for months to come.


The Mamoru Kyotei talks are ongoing in a better atmosphere, in part thanks to Jama's unobtrusive facilitation. The Lion agree to the partial return of Phoenix administration to key western holdings as long as they remain demilitarised and allow for undisturbed passage of troops between Toshi Ranbo to and fro Faithful Bride and Dragon's Guard through Phoenix territory. Ikuo and Gyoten are both pious, contemplative men so their talks are civil though inconclusive as they debate Dainoku's fate. It is after the unexpected, secret meeting with Dragon Champion Togashi Imura who suddenly joins the negotiators when Ikuo changes his opinion and sends a request to Dainoku to commit the three cuts, to the befuddlement of the Matsu. However, he entirely rejects Hohiro's peace proposal. In reaction to the offer of marrying a Crane he names Meikuko his only heir and... shaves his head, pledging to remain chaste and become married solely to the Virtues of Bushido as he continues as Lion Champion. However, he declares unilateral truce with the Crane Upon receiving the answer the Imperial Court is flabbergasted at the unorthodox snub, but the Imperial Advisor, Shozan, reaffirms the piety of Lion Champion's choice, what does not win the Brotherhood allies among the Crane. Dainoku does his Champion's bidding but the entirety of conquered Kakita lands remain under Lion control. In another controversial decision Ikuo breaks with the old custom and allows sensei across Lion dojos to break seals on the long-neglected copies of the Tao. At first, few do. Meikuko allegedly disagrees with Ikuo's choice to accommodate the Dragon or his other spirited choices but abides by her elder brother's dicta. As per the new treaty to be deposited in Mamoru Kyotei, the Dragon withdraw to the other side of the Drowned Merchant. The Phoenix, however, are slow to return to reclaimed lands, already spread thin or perhaps unsure how long they will remain in Phoenix hands. Itsuo actually evacuates the libraries of Michita Yasumi.

All four large vessels of the Imperial Navy are finished. Ashitae Maru is the last of them to take her maiden voyage to Dragon's Guard.


The harvest is bound to be good in almost all corners of Rokugan.

All who have declared to join the Imperial Explorers are called to the Dragon's Guard for final preparation for the First Voyage. They leave before the news of new calamities spread across the Empire.

Crab armies march for Shiro Hiruma with Tenburo leading them. Their advance is slow because of the efficiency of advance parties commanded by the new general of the Shadowlands, Tsukuro. Tenburo caves to the advice of Kaiu Gineza and makes a difficult trade-off: he breaks the siege of Shinsei's Last Hope where Kuni Tokaji, Seppun Matoshi and their Jade Legion are stranded while Tsukuro closes the encirclement of Shiro Hiruma. The Seppun daimyo's brother returns to the Empire to bring news of the new full-scale war in the South.

An earthquake shakes the largely abandoned Phoenix north. It does not cause damage in inhabited areas south of Isawa Mori. However, the regular Lion messengers from the Faithful Bride stop coming. As Akodo Ikuo sends advance parties north, the Mirumoto army under their daimyo Gyoten crosses the River of the Drowned Merchant and proceeds to Shiro Asako, where it makes camp. The Phoenix choose not to respond in force to the sudden intrusion. Instead, Moshi Aizu and Shiba Sawayanagi announce to the Empire that they have petitioned the Emperor to agree to the incorporation of the Centipede Clan into the Phoenix as Moshi family, with all its holdings and assets. Isawa holdings under Phoenix control await consent to be passed to the Moshi. Aizu herself is charged by the Phoenix Champion to found the new Council of Five and ascends to it as the Master of Fire. She encourages the brightest shugenja in Rokugan to (re)join the Phoenix. This message of hope is upended, however, when the Lion bring back news of a massive Yobanjin invasion lead by Isawa Elemental Masters to have turned the Faithful Bride into a pile of rubble and obliterating its defenders, now rapidly progressing through the Naka no Heigen west of Isawa Mori. The Lion bring the message of alleged Phoenix betrayal to Otosan Uchi calling for Ikuo to be awarded the title of Shogun and halting proceedings on the Phoenix-Centipede merger, as they mount the defences at the chokepoint of Michita Yasumi. They make a call of assistance for the nearby Dragon army but Gyoten refuses to respond.

Head GM ✿ Floating Lotus ✿ Gunslinger ✿ Merciful ✿ Experienced 2
 Post subject: Re: The Last Year
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:31 pm 
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Hantei Reikado, the Veiled Emperor, dies, but his last edict deprives his son Hohiro of the immediate right to ascend; the fate of the dynasty is entrusted to the Imperial Chancellor Otomo Oborozukiyo who assumes the position of the Imperial Regent for the time of transition necessary for her to determine which son can expect greater following.

The whole squadron of the Imperial Explorers arrives at Kameyama Jima, though battered by a giant storm and with a number of casualties. The relations with local communities, the Tortoise, the Merenaese and the Unicorn, while initially tense, gradually improve. The hopes and dangers related to the rediscovery of the descendants of the Ki-Rin spark debates among the members of the First Voyage. Hantei Jama mandates caution. On his bidding, the Explorers discover the passages north into the Archipelago of Dreams, what leads them to make unwitting forays into the Spirit Realms. Their purpose is to seek and destroy Thranish presence in the archipelago. The call proves to have grounding in facts when the undead Thranish launch a surprise raid onto the northern part of Kameyama Jima at the beginning of the next month, pushed back under the command of Gusai Susumu.


Muhaki Saionji is recognised by Hantei Jama as the rightful Champion of the Tortoise, being revealed as the true son of Lord Muhaki and Someisa Sadahako. He names Someisa Ran, to whom Sadahako-no-Kami has manifested herself, the second daimyo of the Someisa and endorses her earlier betrothal to Gusai Wataru. Ran's first accomplishment, with significant assistance of Agasha Utsusemi, is abiding by Hantei Retsuhime's posthumous decree through successful establishment of the Temple of Sadahako, atop Mount Kappa on Kameyama Jima. The Asahina on the island assist in organising the worship of the new Fortune, forming a cordial bond with the Someisa.

The Imperial Navy led by Hantei Jama sails through the portal to the Spirit Realms near Kameyama Jima and confronts undead Garen Hawthorne in a twin assault on land and at sea. First, led by Gusai Susumu, captures Hawthorne's advance base while the second, led by Kitsu Keiji, routs the Thranish corsair's squadron, sinking one of its vessels, the Eternal. In the aftermath Hawthorne's hidden trove is seized. It comprises of two warships, the Retribution and the Royal Bounty, with extensive stockpiles of gunpowder weaponry. The Ide treasures Hawthorne captured six decades ago are found on the Royal Bounty. Jama commits to return them to the Unicorn. The Shakunta, Chameleon Naga sharing soul with tragically deceased Asahina Akusesari, who has guarded the trove, is captured and entrusted to Asahina Tori, who chooses to return her to her own family. However, Hawthorne has escaped and is free to sail the seas of Ningen-do again.

The first ceremony held at the Temple of Sadahako, on the day of the Festival of the River of Stars, is the wedding of Muhaki Saionji to his vassal Berena, or Bellena Rosa de Quijano, heiress to La Cuenca de Rubielos in Merenae. The wedlock has been endorsed by Hantei Jama. Soon after the Festival the Explorers split: Yamato Maru and the Walrus join Saionji in his expedition to intervene in the civil war in Merenae, Ashitae Maru sails to the Tarkhanate, while the rest of the Imperial Navy squadron sails back to Rokugan, expanded by the captured war galleons.

Unbeknownst to all, before departure Gusai Susumu sails north of Kameyama Jima one more time and willingly submits to being possessed by the shozai-gaki who once was Rey de Amarillo, infamous Merenaese buccaneer who sailed in Teodoro Cornejo's fleet to Rokugan but betrayed him during the Battle of the White Stag, then siding with Hawthorne. Frequent crossings to the Spirit Realms the Explorers have made during their stay on Kameyama Jima have torn the Veil between Yume-do and other Realms north of the island, already strained by the Great Sea Spider, who long ago created the blighted no-realm by invading Vikramaditya, the once splendorous undersea city of the ningyo and the Chameleons. Without Amarillo to supplant Hawthorne as the champion of the no-realm, the King of Kumo has earned greater freedom in traversing Spirit Realms.


Ashitae Maru, commanded by Miya Suihime, reaches Aqahba, the sprawling and opulent capital of the Tarkhanate. It carries the custodians of lost Ide treasures, Iuchi Ruqayyah (along with her honour guard commanded by Murad al-Maut) and Shosuro Anzai. They witness the Muhaki's Dream, the grand Unicorn armada of more than a hundred ships, almost ready to set sail. The news of their retrieval and the retribution against Thranish pirates soon spread. As the Grand Mufti Iuchi Kandagauri welcomes his runaway heiress with open arms, the envoys of the Emerald Empire are received with honours by the elderly Tarkhan Moto Hulagu and - much more cordially - by the Grand Vizier Ide Mansuri.

Suihime is given an honour guard and allowed to travel further across the Khaganate, toward Medinaat as-Salaam. Shosuro Anzai remains behind as the liaison for the Imperial Navy, but Mansuri's gratitude reaches well beyond it and both men soon become political allies. Ansay as-Shawsuri is given the rank of Efendi in the bureaucracy of the Tarkhanate and is welcome into the Tarkhan's Court. It becomes immediately important. As the struggle in Merenae is discussed, the new efendi's advocacy for Muhaki Saionji backfires as the Tarkhan applauds the conquest, recognises Sheikh Saaji al-Hattar as the new Emir of al-Marun and is all too eager to send a robust Mamluk expeditionary force to Merenae to 'assist'. It is only through the intervention of the Grand Vizier who voices his full confidence in the new Emir to prove his mettle without it that the Mamluks stay home. Hulagu agrees to just send envoys calling for renewed homage after the conquest of al-Marun is concluded. Anzai's profitable involvement in streamlining Almeria military shipments from Anisrana from Juan the Elder is being kept under wraps. In the following months, shielded by the Grand Vizier's patronage, he is given much freedom in blending in and advancing Shosuro interests in the heart of the Unicorn Empire ahead of the Grand Kurultai.


Head GM ✿ Floating Lotus ✿ Gunslinger ✿ Merciful ✿ Experienced 2
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