Scorpion Clan Coup (Scrolls 1-3)
The Emerald Empire of Rokugan had existed in relative peace for a thousand years since the defeat of Fu Leng. But the Scorpion Clan daimyo Bayushi Shoju came to believe that the ancient prophecies of Uikku indicated that the 38th Hantei Emperor would bring forth a consuming evil that would destroy Rokugan. Those days, people saw the imperial line as weak, and this helped Shoju decide how to save the Empire from its doom.
In a daring coup, Shoju killed the Emperor and seized control of the imperial capital Otosan Uchi. For days his forces fended off the massed armies of the other clans. He tried to explain his actions, but the clan emissaries would hear none of his “Scorpion lies.”
Shoju gambled that the Crab daimyo, Hida Kisada, would stand by his side. Kisada had openly scorned the Hantei Emperor, and the Crab respect strength. But in the end, due to a diplomatic error by Shoju, the Crab Clan supported the besieging forces and doomed the coup to failure. In the resulting battle, the Lion Clan daimyo, Akodo Toturi, killed Shoju in the throne room.
After the Scorpion Clan Coup, the son of the dead Emperor became the 39th Emperor of Rokugan. He was a vain and churlish man spared from the coup by the intervention of Phoenix magics and a healthy dash of good luck.
Enraged at the Scorpion for killing his father, he demanded a pogrom against the Scorpion Clan, seeking to destroy them utterly. As part of a series of vengeful actions, Hantei declared that he would take Bayushi Kachiko, the most beautiful woman in Rokugan and widow of the recently deceased Shoju, as his new bride, ending the Bayushi line.
Akodo Toturi, having learned something of Shoju’s motives before Shoju died, believed this course of action unwise, and he protested the Emperor’s actions. Toturi’s failure to protect the 38th Hantei Emperor, combined with Toturi’s public rebuke of the new Son of Heaven, was too much for Hantei the 39th. Hantei ordered Toturi stripped of his family name, and he ordered all other Akodo to abandon their names as well. Further, Hantei refused Toturi the opportunity to commit seppuku and instead condemned him to the life of a ronin – the ultimate disgrace.
In hiding after the coup, the Scorpion shugenja Yogo Junzo received news of the new Emperor’s actions. He betrayed his family’s thousand-year oath to guard and protect the Black Scrolls and opened one of them, hoping to find a way to use its power to strike back at the Empire destroying his clan. When he opened the scroll, its malevolent powers consumed his spirit, and he became a puppet in the service of Fu Leng, who, though defeated, was far from powerless. The opening of the Scroll also unleashed a deadly plague that began to spread through the Empire, killing thousands.
The plague reached Otosan Uchi and infected the young Emperor, who was as yet without an heir. Bayushi Kachiko sent word to all of the clans that the Emperor was dying and that he would name as his successor the clan noble who best exemplified the code of bushido and the command of the Tao of Shinsei.