In the distant past, the Clan of the Ki-Rin left the Emerald Empire under the leadership of the Kami Shinjo. The remaining samurai of the clan were gathered under Imperial guidance to form the Fox Clan. The Ki-Rin Clan never returned to Rokugan. The lands of the Ki-Rin Clan eventually came under the administration of the Lion Clan, however the vast steppes in the west of the Empire remain almost entirely uninhabited.
1115 – Battle of Toshi Ranbo.
Akodo Arasou, Champion of the Lion, leads the Lion clan armies in an effort to retake the City of Toshi Ranbo, which was occupied by the Crane. However the Crane army lead by Daidoji Daimyo, Daidoji Yamato was not caught unaware. Ambush, deception and no quarter given would make this one of the most bloody conflicts seen in over 400 years. The Lion attack was defeated and though the Champion of the Lion was captured he was not spared. Daidoji Yamato sent the head of Arasou back to the Akodo Family estate in a box inscribed with the kanji for ‘Never Again’.
The new young Lion Champion, Akodo Toturi, seeking to change his family’s fortunes, requests to be schooled with the Crane Clan. His hope is to engender peace and understanding between the Lion and the Crane. The Emerald Champion, Doji Satsume, accepts Toturi’s decision and allows him to train with his son, Doji Hoturi. The Lion Clan is left in the hands of the Matsu family until he returns from his schooling.
Bayushi Kachiko, long thought of as the Emperor’s concubine and mistress, achieves a permanent position of power within the Empire. The aging Emperor declares the reinstating of the Imperial Advisor and appoints Bayushi Kachiko to the position. Although the Crane seek to undermine the position, the power of the Scorpion in the courts achieves great heights at this time.
Following a series of minor squabbles in court, an ambitious Scorpion general, Shosuro Tomaru, takes a small army to push through the Sparrow lands to the coast, in the process punishing the perceived ‘insolence’ of the minor clan. When the two forces meet, the Sparrow forces are unexpectedly bolstered by support from the Wasp Clan archers and the Fox Clan Shugenja. Tomaru and his forces are caught off guard and forced to retreat. At the conclusion of the battle, the three leaders of the minor clans meet and form an alliance against any further attacks from the great clans. This will become known as the ‘Three Man Alliance’.
In a strange turn of events, the Dragon Clan Champion, Togashi Yokuni, withdraws into his palace monastery of the High House of Light. Further more to this, the entirety of his own family, the Togashi order of Monks, follow their leader’s example, withdrawing from the Empire. No monks have been seen outside of their monastery since that time.
1118 – Winter
The Crab clan declares a Twenty Goblin Winter, an event that allows ronin to go into the Shadowlands and fight for the right to become a Crab clan samurai. The courts are upset by this decision as courtiers of the Crane and the Scorpion see this as a blatant attempt by Hida Kisada, the Crab clan champion, to gain more recruits for a military action.
During the Winter Court, the Phoenix Master of Fire, Isawa Tsuke, calls out the Lion during a session in front of the Emperor. He boldly proclaims ‘The Phoenix are the greater clan for our devotion to peace, for what was true in Isawa’s day is just as true as today. No army in Rokugan can defeat the great magic’s at our disposal. It would be laughable if any clan were to try.’ In the wake of this outburst, The Lion delegation leaves the court and departs for Shiro Matsu, to make plans for the following summer.
1119 – Summer
Battle of the Fire Flower: The Lion army marches into the lands of the Phoenix only to be confronted by the Phoenix army entrenched behind barricades of risen earth. As the Lion camped to make preparations for the following day’s slaughter, assassins were sent – with magical assistance – into the commands tents of the Lion daimyos. The daimyo of the Ikoma, the Kitsu and the Matsu were all killed – along with their wives. However, the young Matsu Tsuko – heir to the Matsu but barely past gempukku – managed to kill the assassins in her tent with only her bokken. Valiantly, the young girl addressed the Lion army and in her rage and fury, urged the Lion forward to slaughter the cowardly Phoenix. ‘If the Phoenix think that their cowardly magic can frighten us, then they have yet to understand the true strength of the Lion!’ As the Lion charged the lines of the Phoenix, the Phoenix unleashed the terrible might of their Firestorm Legion. Torrents of rolling fire cascaded through the valley and burned the Lion army to ash. Of the 15,000 Lion soldiers that marched on the Phoenix, only 800 made it to the enemy lines, Matsu Tsuko included. However when the 800 Lion broke through the lines, the Phoenix surrendered and withdrew, their powerful travel magic taking them from the battle quickly. But the damage was done. The Lion had lost every one of their leaders in the single engagement, leaving Matsu Tsuko to return to Shiro Matsu to rally additional forces.
1120 – Summer
With the loss of the army of the Lion and the confusion in the lands of the Dragon, many bandits have used this time to spread their terror throughout the lands. However, the Emerald Champion has issued a bounty on the heads of the bandits, and this sees the rise in the use of the Tsuruchi Bounty hunters throughout the Empire.
The Phoenix, having proved their point over the Lion in the previous summer, begin training many of their shugenja in combat tactics, waiting for the Lion to attack them once more. To their surprise, the attack never comes.
The Emperor dies in his sleep on the first day of autumn. A call in sent out throughout the Empire for young samurai to be allowed to attend the funeral of the Emperor. This command is sent out from the crown prince, Hantei Jordan, but for what purpose is still a mystery.
1121 – Spring
The first Topaz Championship under the new Emperor is won by a Scorpion, Shosuro Kenshin. While the Emperor had declared that the winner of the event would receive the position of Emerald Magistrate, The Emerald Champion, Doji Satsume, judged him unworthy and denied the Emperor his wish. While many courtiers are gossiping about the possible ramifications of this event, the Emperor created an uproar when he instead declared the young Scorpion to be the first of the Topaz Magistrates, a group of magistrates with a mandate to serve the Emperor’s will and answerable only to the Emperor. With this proclamation a second samurai was elevated to the position, Hiruma Kazeko.
The Empress also decided that the young heir to the throne, Hantei Sotori, would be trained by the Lion. Many courtiers had speculated that the Scorpion would have this honour given their close relations with the Empress, however the Lion courtiers present suitably petitioned and impressed the Empress who made her thoughts know to the assembled Samurai.
The event itself was marred by an attack by a Shadowlands beast and a bloodspeaker cult. While the Emperor and his family are unharmed, many are wondering how the Crane could have let such a thing come to pass.
The Dragon Daimyo, Mirumoto Hitomi, never arrived at the Topaz Championship. The rise of banditry is thought to be the issue, however many are whispering on whether or not she found out that the Hida family Daimyo of the Crab and his children were not to be in attendance.
1121 – Summer
The Empress and the heir to the Empire are attacked on their route to the Akodo war college, where the young Hantei Sotorii will begin his tutelage under the watchful eye of the Lion Sensei. This attack was orchestrated by a bandit group. The Emerald Champion is killed, but the Empress and Hantei Sotorii are both rescued by valiant samurai.
In light of the death of the Emerald Champion, the Emperor commanded a full scale purge of the Empire with all the Clans commanded to route the bandits wherever they may be found. Large forces of Phoenix, Lion and Mantis have been mobilised and the response to the Emperor’s command has been harsh and overwhelmingly brutal, with talks of massacres of Ronin everywhere across the Empire. Satsume’s killer was found and killed by the Topaz magistrates and their fellow samurai delegation.
During this time, the Lion and Scorpion Clans accused the Hare Clan of harbouring a bandit group within their lands. Although the Hare denied the claim, a force of 5000 Lion troops lead by the revered sensei Akodo Kage, laid siege and then destroyed Shiro Usagi, the only major castle of the Hare Clan. All Hare samurai are declared criminals.
1121 – Autumn
The Phoenix have a 15,000 strong army south of the Spine of the World Mountains that is unable to get home. The Great Bear, Hida Kisada, has called for another Twenty Goblin Winter in a year where many ronin are fleeing for their lives. The Scorpion maintain control of the courts, due largely to their intimate connection with the Empress and the introduction of the Topaz magistrates that has broken many long held traditions. The tensions between the Phoenix and Lion have reached a critical point but neither side seems willing to break their defensive pacts with the Crane.
The Tournament of the Jade Championship is held at Kyuden Seppen. Yogo Junzo is appointed to the position of Jade Champion – but not without controversy. The Elemental Master of Void, Isawa Ujina, is killed during the duelling by his clan mate Isawa Uona, the Elemental Master of Air. Yogo Junzo is nominated champion after Isawa Uona is disqualified from the tournament for this action. Yogo Junzo announces his intention to leave the Scorpion Clan, and join the Phoenix Clan as the new Elemental Master of Void. He invites all Yogo and any other Scorpion samurai to join him in the Phoenix Clan.
The Phoenix Clan comes under attack by forces of the Mantis, and Shiro Shiba and surrounding ports suffer heavy casualties. Akodo Kage announces at the Jade Championship that the Mantis Clan samurai under the leadership of Yoritomo have sworn to serve Akodo Toturi. The Emperor confirms this decision and announces that these samurai may form the family of Yoritomo under the banner of the Lion Clan.
At the behest of Great Clan representatives, the Emperor names the late Doji Satsume, former Emerald Champion, as the Fortune of Courage. The Emperor announces that the Miya’s blessing is to be bestowed on the Crab Clan. The Emperor also requests that all Minor Clans and Great Clans send representatives to the city of Ryoko Owari in Scorpion lands to discuss the recent threats to Minor Clan security.
A second Topaz Championship is held, and a Kakita trained duellist becomes the third Topaz Magistrate appointed to carry out the will of the Emperor.
A conclave of Minor Clan representatives and Great Clan observers is held in Ryoko Owari in Scorpion lands. Although the Minor Clans come to certain agreements, the events are overshadowed by the murder of the representative from the Tortoise Clan, the death of a Miya Herald and the theft of the Miya’s Blessing. A valiant effort by samurai of various clans results in the Miya’s Blessing materials being recovered, however, the Scorpion Clan is deeply embarrassed by the events.
The Empress bears a child to the Emperor at the very end of autumn – a baby boy. The boy’s name is announced as Akito, son of the Autumn.
1122 – Winter
The Empress and Emperor travel to Crane lands, avoiding the turmoil in Scorpion lands. The Scorpion make a formal apology for the loss of the Miya’s Blessing and death of the Miya Herald, one of the Scorpion samurai responsible commits seppuku in atonement for the loss of life. The Emperor imposes a further penalty – the city of Ryoko Owari and its territory is to be granted to the Crab Clan.
In the deep winter, the Great Clans send many samurai to visit the Great Carpenter Wall, in order to experience the life that the Crab samurai face in their defense of the Empire. Reports of a great battle against Shadowlands forces are emerging – along with disturbing rumours about the use of Maho by Crab forces!
1122 – Spring
In the earliest Spring the Lion forces press battle upon Phoenix defenses. In some of the earliest fighting, a unit of Crane banners appeared on the field, between the Lion and Phoenix forces. It is said these several dozen samurai were all Asahina, shugenja priests without bodyguards. There are mixed rumours about exactly what occured, but during the fighting every one of the unarmed Asahina were killed.
Later in spring, Lion attacks pressed heavily against Phoenix defenses. Yoritomo ships blockaded Phoenix ports. Although the Phoenix suffered heavy losses, the battle shugenja have also inflicted much damage on the Lion forces. In a surprising turnaround, a raid on a Phoenix port by Yoritomo himself was a failure, and the Lion family leader was capturerd by the Phoenix. Rumour is he spent the rest of summer a captive and still remains the unwilling guest of Yogo Junzo, the Master of Void.
Although the Lion captured several villages and good farmland along the southern lines of Phoenix lands, Yogo wards and Phoenix defenses stymied the capture of major cities and ports. In the early summer the Imperial Legions came to the field, and enforced the word of the Emperor – there is to be no more fighting between Great Clan forces. Thus the war has been forced into a truce – whether this is temporary or permanent will be up to the courtiers negotiating under the Emperor’s eye.
1122 – Autumn
A great shrine has been built to the new Fortune of Courage, Satsume. Samurai from across the Empire make the pilgrimage to be there when the Shrine of Satsume is consecrated, and the Emperor himself comes to honour his lost friend.
At a Tournament of the Emerald Champion Kitsuki Yasu was appointed the Emperor’s new bodygaurd and commander of the Imperial Forces. However the event was not without controversy, with the Crab Champion dealing the Scorpion Champion a grave insult.
1122 – Winter
Due to unexpected and portentious signs at the Shrine of Courage, the Emperor broods on his throne. Courtiers flee the capital in fear of their lives after the Emerald Champion challenges and kills a courtier and his champion in a duel over a single comment spoken at court. Winter Courts are held at home by each clan, stymieing political developments over this period.
1123 – Spring
The Crab Clan suddenly declare war upon the Scorpion and invade their lands, citing the detainment by the Soshi leader of the Lady Kaede, sister of the new Crab daimyo Ujina Tomo and Ujina Tadaka.
1123 – Summer
The conflict between the Scorpion and Crab rages on during the summer, with the Scorpion losing much ground. Reports are that Shiro no Soshi is razed by an army marching from the Crab held Ryoko Owari, but the Scorpion capital of Kyuden Bayushi still stands. Rumours stir of the destruction of a city deep in Crab lands, of oni running rampant near the Kaiu stronghold.
The other clans withhold their armies and do not intervene in the conflict across the summer months, instead petitioning the Emperor and Emerald Champion to intervene. But the Emperor remains deaf to all requests and no action is taken during summer.
It comes to be known that Kitsuki Jusai, a well known Emerald Magistrate and heir to the Kitsuki family, was murdered along with his wife and servants while conducting his duties in Crab lands, about the same time as the oni incursion. His body is cremated and returned to the Dragon Clan with due ceremony.
1123 – Autumn
The Miya Herald, leader of the Miya family, passes away while conducting his duties as Historian. His heir Miya Satoshi takes the role of Imperial Herald. Otomo Baka claims the vacant daimyoship of the Otomo family.
The Emerald Champion marches the Imperial Legions south to stop the conflict between Scorpion and Crab. A temporary peace is enforced, but neither side admit an end to the conflict.
The Emerald Champion sends investigators to find the cause of the oni incursion and the murderers of his son, Kitsuki Jusai. The investigation creates strong rumours that Crane samurai dressed as Crabs were responsible for both the blasphemy and the murder of the Dragon heir Kistuki Jusai. The Emerald Champion insists on further investigations, and summons the Daidoji Yamato and Doji Hoturi to defend their clan against the testimony and evidence presented.
The Moshi family suffer a great disaster. Survivors are escorted to Doji lands, where they stay for the winter. Rumour says they plan a long journey to Dragon lands when the weather clears.
1123 – Winter
The Daidoji family leader argues with the Emerald Champion over the accusations against the Crane Clan, but no arrest is made. The Crane Clan Champion refuses the summons of the Emerald Champion, instead insisting on presenting himself to to Emperor directly. More testimony against the Crane Clan is heard by the Emerald Champion, and he issues a summons for the Asahina daimyo.
1124 – Winter
The Lion Clan hosts a New Year’s Festival event in the capitol. Representatives from all clans attend. The Imperial Chancellor Asahina Yumiko invites samurai of all clans to attend a festival in Spring celebrating the peace of the Crane Clan. at the conclusion of the New Year’s feast Hida O-Ushi, daughter of the Crab Clan Champion, declares that if the Crane Clan does not present the persons responsible for the blasphemy committed in Crab lands by spring, the Crab Clan will seek justice in their own way.