*The following article details the history of Rokugan from the beginning of the twelfth (and current) century, Isawa Calendar. This article is intended for all fans of the game who do not have access to the substantial history section included in Rokugan. Along with part two of this article (featured in two weeks) any campaign can be updated to the Gold Edition timeline.
*Hantei XXXVIII takes the throne: year 1103
*At the age of 25, Hantei Jodan is crowned the 38th Emperor of Rokugan. A daring and spirited young man, Hantei XXXVIII finds his vitality slowly crushed over the years by the endless conflicts between the Great Clans.
*Hantei Sotorii is born: year 1107
*After the death of his third wife, Hantei XXXVIII takes up the company of a Crane concubine. As soon as a boy is born and survives (infant mortality an everpresent danger in Rokugan), the Emperor marries his mother, making her the Empress and Sotorii the heir to the throne. Unfortunately, Sotorii’s mother dies to a mysterious fever only three years after his birth.
*The Wasp Clan is founded: year 1109
*Born of a Scorpion father and a Lion mother, the young man named Tsuruchi survives both clans’ treachery, losing both his parents and the castle that is his birthright. With cunning and stealth, he reclaims his home and kills the Lion who took it, his uncle. Tsuruchi presents his dilemma to the Emerald Champion, a Crane who shares his distaste for the Lion and Scorpion, and is given leave to create his own clan. The Wasp Clan is born, and are sworn to serve the cause of the Emerald Champion.
*The Yotsu family name granted: year 1111
*A mountain-dwelling ronin, the warrior Yotsu discovers that the caravan of Empress Hochiahime (Hantei XXXVIII’s fifth wife) has been attacked by a large Bloodspeaker cult. The cultists kill the Empress’ infant children and all the Seppun guardsmen attached to the caravan. The Empress Hochiahime and the young heir Sotorii are taken captive, intended for a sacrifice in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Yotsu creeps into the camp with the blade of a fallen guardsman. Though he knows he cannot possibly defeat the Bloodspeakers alone, he asks the Empress for permission to die in the Empress’ name. The Empress forbids it, instead insisting the ronin rescue the heir Sotorii, passing Yotsu a message for the Hantei to mourn her and the child she would have borne.
With no other options, Yotsu leaves his youngest son in Sotorii’s place and leaves. Weeks later, the young heir is reunited with his father, the Emperor. In recognition of Yotsu’s sacrifice, the Emperor gives him given the name Yotsu Yatoshin (the name of the Emperor’s father) and a small fiefdom in the Mountains of Regret as well as authority over a district in Otosan Uchi. Later explorations by the Imperial Legions find the Bloodspeaker Cult gone, and it is presumed that Empress Hochiahime was sacrificed to their blasphemous rituals.
*Sword of Yotsu otokodate formed: year 1116*
Yotsu Yatoshin begins swearing ronin outside his family to the Yotsu name and training them in the techniques he devised while living deep in the mountains.
*Yoritomo becomes the daimyo of the Mantis Clan: year 1117
*Widely known for his anger over the Mantis’ station as a Minor Clan, many in the Mantis feel that Yoritomo will lead them to greatness, perhaps paving the way for them to play a greater role in Rokugan.
*The Badger Clan daimyo is killed while visiting the Crane lands: year 1118
*Although the Badger are a very minor influence in Rokugan, the dishonor of his assassination while in their lands is a great embarrassment to the Crane. There are whispers in court that the assassination is a result of the increasing tension between the Lion and the Crane, but the killer is never caught.
*Kitsuki Kaagi disappears: year 1120
*Born a member of the Matsu family, Kaagi turned to the magistrates of the Kitsuki after his father died of poisoning. Many years later, Kaagi stumbles into several encounters with the mysterious supernatural force known variously as the Living Shadow, the Living Darkness, or the Lying Darkness. He compiles a journal detailing his experiences and accumulated knowledge and dispatches his eta servant to carry it to the daimyo of the Kitsuki. She is the last person ever to see Kaagi.
*Lion Champion Akodo Arasou is killed: year 1120
*In an attempt to retake Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho, also known as Violence behind Courtliness City and the Castle of the Lion, a large force of Lion samurai attack entrenched Daidoji troops. Despite the valor of Akodo Arasou and his intended bride, Matsu family daimyo Matsu Tsuko, the Lion are unable to retake the city from the Crane Clan. Lion Champion Arasou is killed in the fighting. His younger brother, Akodo Toturi, is recalled from the monastery where he was sent years ago and designated the new Lion Champion. Despite his impressive tactical skills, Toturi is despised by Matsu Tsuko, who compares him to her lost betrothed.
*The Three Man Alliance is formed: year 1121
*Following a series of minor border squabbles in court, the Scorpion Clan dispatches tactician Bayushi Tomaru to deal with the neighboring Sparrow Clan. Supremely confident that his forces can defeat whatever resistance the tiny Minor Clan can offer, Tomaru is caught completely off-guard when the Sparrow are aided in battle by the archers of the Wasp Clan and the shugenja of the Fox Clan, both of which have holdings near the Sparrow. Tomaru has no choice but to retreat. He is publicly rebuked by Bayushi Shoju for his failure against such minor opponents. The daimyo of the three Minor Clans meet after their unexpected victory and agree to form a permanent alliance against the aggression of the Scorpion Clan.
*Opium War rages in Ryoko Owari Toshi: year 1122
*Manipulated by outside forces, the three criminal opium cartels of the City of Lies turn against one another. For weeks, entire rows of warehouses are burned and many deaths occur under mysterious circumstances. The violence continues until the Emerald Magistrates of the city hunt down the responsible parties and bring the opium war to an abrupt halt.
*The Darkfever plague strikes the Phoenix lands: year 1123
*A solar eclipse releases Oni no Kuzushi from its prison in the spirit realm after two centuries of confinement. While bound to a forgotten estate deep within the Isawa woodlands, the oni uses its foul powers to unleash a lethal plague that is spread by the use of magic. In the lands of the Phoenix, this proves a deadly curse and many lives are lost before clever magistrates locate and destroy the oni.
*Pirates plague the Crane-Mantis trade routes: years 1123-1125
*Many important shipments between these two clans are lost at sea to pirates, causing both to question the other’s honesty and intentions. Although the losses are light at first, they
continue to escalate for two years until magistrates of the Emperor determine that a treacherous Lion, Matsu Shindoku, is the culprit. Shindoku had been attempting to worsen relations between the Crane and the Mantis. This revelation
further damages the relationship between the Crane and Lion clans.
*The Oracle of Fire prepares to depart the mortal realm: year 1123
*After several centuries as Oracle, the man who is known as the Oracle of Fire prepares himself for ascension into the Celestial Heavens. His choice of a successor, however, is discovered by a shocked and outraged Scorpion Clan: the Oracle has chosen an eta girl to replace him. The Scorpion attempt to manipulate the Oracle into declaring one of their own the new Oracle of Fire, but the plan fails and the enraged Oracle destroys a large piece of the
Scorpion Clan’s countryside. He is eventually appeased by a group of industrious samurai, however, and balance is restored.
*The Hare Clan is destroyed: year 1123
*After the Scorpion discover that their agent Soshi Yukio was discovered and slain by Hare Clan samurai Usagi Ozaki, a Scorpion army under the command of Bayushi Tomaru arrives at Shiro Usagi. The castle is destroyed and the daimyo, Usagi Oda, is killed. Tomaru takes Oda’s daughter Usagi Tomoe captive while Oda’s son Ozaki disappears with the Hare ancestral blade. After the castle’s destruction, the Emperor disbands the clan upon hearing sworn testimony from four sources of the Hare practicing maho.
*The Scorpion Clan Coup: year 1123
*The Scorpion Champion Bayushi Shoju discovers an ancient prophecy that indicates that the Hantei Emperor will become possessed by the dark god Fu Leng. Eager to save the Empire and under the thrall of the Bloodsword Ambition, Shoju launches a devious plan to prevent the prophecy by ending the Hantei line. He secretly places his army throughout Otosan Uchi, the massive capital city. Using his friendship with the Emperor to draw close to him, Shoju cuts Hantei XXXVIII down in cold blood, sending his troops throughout the city to suddenly and brutally seize control. Believing both the Emperor and his heir dead, Shoju declares himself Emperor. Shoju desperately stalls the armies of the clans until the Crab arrive, as he hopes Hida Kisada will ally with the Scorpion. The Crab do not, however, and the Scorpion army is crushed by the combined armies of the clans. Shoju himself is slain in a duel with Akodo Toturi, the Champion of the Lion. Believing the Hantei line to have been exterminated, Toturi declares himself the Emperor of Rokugan to prevent war among the clans.
*Hantei Sotorii becomes Hantei XXXIX: year 1123
*Having been rescued from the Coup by the Phoenix Clan, the heir to the throne returns to Otosan Uchi after a rushed gempukku ceremony. His first edict upon taking the throne is the dissolution of the Scorpion Clan following their treachery, and the disgrace of Bayushi Shoju by discarding his remains on a communal pyre. Akodo Toturi protests this treatment of an honorable foe, angering the new Emperor. As punishment for his insolence, the Hantei declares Toturi to be ronin and removes the Akodo family name from the Lion Clan. The new Lion Champion Matsu Tsuko quickly decrees that anyone bearing the Akodo name must either swear fealty to the Matsu, Ikoma, or Kitsu, join the Deathseekers, live as ronin, or die (either by seppuku or by her own hand). The revered sensei Akodo Kage is the single exception to this edict. As an afterthought, Hantei XXXIX takes Bayushi Kachiko, Shoju’s beautiful young widow, as his bride to end the traitorous Bayushi line forever.
*Yogo Junzo opens the first Black Scroll: year 1123
*In anguish over the death of Bayushi Shoju and enraged at the audacity of the Emperor to so dishonor such a man of vision by destroying his family and clan, Yogo Junzo violates his clan’s ancient duty and opens the first of the twelve Black Scrolls (see the Day of Thunder, year 42). The scroll creates a deadly Wasting Disease that begins to spread across Rokugan, bringing misery and death to all who contract it. The spell also transforms Junzo, corrupting him into one of Fu Leng’s undead servants. A short time later, Junzo opens a second Black Scroll to craft his base of operations, an Iron Citadel in the heart of the Shadowlands.
*The Naga awaken: year 1124
*Although scouts have been awakening and active for nearly two centuries, it is not until now that the Naga begin to awaken in significant numbers. It is still a slow process, and one that will require months to complete, but at last the serpent folk begin to stir from their sleep of ages and move through the world again.
*The Lion-Crane conflict erupts into war: year 1124
*The constantly worsening conflicts between the Lion and Crane along their shared border explode after a pair of massive battles. The ancient rivalry between the clans is manipulated by Bayushi Sozui and the traitor Kitsu Goden, who instigate the Battle on the Plains of Gaiju Shindai and the Battle of the Forgotten Tide. Both battles are worsened by Goden unleashing the vengeful spirits of Toshigoku to possess the bodies of mortal warriors. Fortunately, a small band of samurai discover, expose, and defeat the two before their foul plan can corrupt all of Rokugan. The Lion and the Crane stand down from their battles for a few short months before eventually escalating once again.
*The Hare Clan is reborn: year 1125
*Following the heroic efforts of Usagi Ozaki and his companions to clear the Hare clan’s soiled reputation, the Emperor reinstates the tiny clan’s holdings and family name. Though their castle lies in ruins and many yet look upon the Hare with suspicion, they are a clan once more. The Hare begin the long, painful process of rebuilding.
*Preparation for the Clan War begins: year 1126
*With the mysterious Wasting Disease raging across Rokugan and apparently affecting even the heirless Emperor, the Great Clans of the Empire prepare for inevitable conflict. The Lion mass for war against their ancient enemies, the Crane. The Crab break their vows by forming a dark alliance with the Shadowlands. Crab Champion Hida Kisada believes that he can use the Shadowlands as a tool to seize control of the Empire for himself, afterwards using his power to crush the Shadowlands once and for all. Late in the winter, the Crab army begins its march north.
*The Badger Clan falls: year 1126
*When Emerald Magistrate Kaiu Osuki travels to the northern reaches of Rokugan to deliver an Imperial edict, he discovers that the strongholds of the Badger Clan have been destroyed. A monstrous oni, summoned by unknown parties, has slain virtually every living being within the northern mountains. The great beast is eventually destroyed, but at a great cost: the Badger Clan is all but extinct. Due to the Emperor’s failing health, the name and Minor Clan status of the Badger are never formally removed.
*The Asako Henshin are exposed: year 1126
*Manipulated by the dire Kuni Yori, the families of the Phoenix Clan fight amongst themselves while the Empire begins to fall into war around them. Using the insane Asako Oyo as a pawn, Yori demonstrates the secrets of immortality held by the Asako family to the jealous Isawa, ensuring that the two families will spend the next few months completely occupied with their centuries-old rivalry and not the machinations of the Crab Clan.
*The Elemental Terrors are created: year 1126
*Coming together in an unprecedented meeting, the Dark Oracles of the Shadowlands combine their incredible power to corrupt the very essence of the elements themselves, creating massive elemental creatures of pure Taint: the Elemental Terrors. The Terrors are responsible for the destruction of the territory belonging to the Crippled Bone tribe of Nezumi, sending the creatures north toward the Great Wall where news of the Terrors’ creation reaches the Hiruma scouts.
*The Battle of Beiden Pass: year 1127
*As an enormous force of Crab and their Shadowlands allies moves north through the Empire, it sacks several cities in the Crane and Scorpion lands. Intent on seizing Beiden Pass and crippling the Empire’s trade routes, the Crab are surprised to
discover a massive army awaiting them. Led by the disgraced ronin Toturi — once Lion Champion Akodo Toturi — the army is comprised of Dragon Clan troops, many ronin, Unicorn cavalry, and a small force of recently awakened Naga scouts. The battle is brutal, but in the end Toturi’s superior
tactics win the day against Hida Sukune and Hida Yakamo. The Crab are driven south. Toturi pulls his forces away and departs north, leaving the Unicorn to control the Pass. This battle is widely regarded as the true beginning of the Clan War.
*The Phoenix open the Black Scrolls: year 1127
*After the Master of Earth Isawa Tadaka returns from the Shadowlands with a Black Scroll stolen from Yogo Junzo, the Elemental Masters decide to open all four of the foul artifacts in their possession in hopes of better understanding the threat posed by the Shadowlands. Only Isawa Kaede, the Master of Void, refuses to participate, certain that this course of action could lead only to disaster. With Kaede absent, the remaining Masters open the four Black Scrolls, gaining much knowledge. Unfortunately, the corruption of the spells runs rampant through their bodies and spirits, infecting each of them with the Shadowlands Taint.
*The Second Day of Thunder: year 1128
*After two years of war throughout the Empire, the clans finally unite against their common foe: Fu Leng. Marshaling their combined forces outside Otosan Uchi, the Great Clans join forces with Yoritomo’s Alliance, the Brotherhood of Shinsei, and the Naga to engage the huge armies of Shadowlands creatures surrounding the city. It is an epic battle, larger than any since the dawn of the Empire. Many heroes are lost, but many threats to Rokugan are destroyed forever. Within the city walls, the descendant of Shinsei leads the Seven Thunders to face Fu Leng, who has possessed the body of Hantei XXXIX. The Emperor duels with Dragon Champion Togashi Yokuni, who reveals that he is in fact the Kami Togashi. Fu Leng slays Togashi and then turns to finish off the others who dare face him.
Hida Yakamo, Doji Hoturi, Mirumoto Hitomi, Toturi, Isawa Tadaka, Bayushi Kachiko, and Otaku Kamoko confront Fu Leng. Weakened after his fight with Yokuni, Fu Leng nevertheless mortally wounds Tadaka and Hoturi before he is blinded by a vengeful Bayushi Kachiko. Taking advantage of their foe’s blindness, the dying Hoturi slices deep into the dark one’s chest while Toturi claims Fu Leng’s head with a single strike of his sword. The dark god is at last defeated.
*Coronation of Toturi I: year 1129
*After a bitter winter attempting to rebuild the Empire, Toturi I is crowned Emperor of Rokugan, Master of the Chrysanthemum, and Lord of the Seven Hills. His coronation is blessed by the appearance of Lady Sun hovering above Otosan Uchi for a full day, which all agree is Amaterasu’s support of the new Son of Heaven. The conversations between Toturi and Shinsei’s descendant over the winter are transcribed by Isawa Osugi and compiled as the New Tao. Toturi’s first edicts as Emperor are to rebuild what was lost during the Clan War, and to detail the duty of each of the clans to the Empire. To symbolize the Empire’s defeat of the Dark Lord, a new throne of jade is crafted for Toturi I, and Rokugan becomes known as “The Jade Empire.”
*Banishment of the Togashi: year 1129*
Hitomi, who cast off her Mirumoto family name shortly after the Day of Thunder, appears from the mountains at last. She renames Kyuden Togashi to Kyuden Hitomi, and commands those with the Togashi name to swear fealty to her name. The alternatives are banishment or death. Some Togashi swear fealty to Hitomi, taking her name, but most flee the lands of the Dragon or are executed for treason by their new Champion or her enforcers. Those who escape are given refuge by the Brotherhood of Shinsei, as many of them are already far from Dragon lands working side-by-side with the monks. Among the banished is Togashi Hoshi, son of Togashi. Hoshi uses his long-standing close relations with the Brotherhood to help accommodate the exile of his family, and begins to gather the former Togashi.
*Falcon Clan absorbed by the Crab: year 1125
*After an unknown maho-tsukai ritual opens a rift to the spirit world, many members of the Falcon Clan are possessed by shuten doji. Although the ritual is reversed, many Falcon and peasants are killed, leaving the clan’s lands in disarray. Acting on authorization from an Imperial shikken (one of the Emperor’s peacekeepers), the Crab Clan formally absorbs the minor clan with the blessing of the Falcon daimyo. In time, the Falcon become the Toritaka family of the Crab.
*Naga at the Wall: year 1129
*In the wake of Fu Leng’s defeat, the Crab and Naga move to end the threat of the Shadowlands forever. While Kaiu engineers spend most of the year rebuilding the Kaiu Wall (which was severely damaged during the Clan War), the Naga work with Crab generals and sensei to combat the Shadowlands. The Naga leader, the Qamar, pledges that every Naga that is able will strike out against the Shadowlands with their new Crab allies when all are ready. As the Crab had been forced to spend their resources on rebuilding, plans are laid for an assault in the spring of 1130.
*Creation of the Monkey Clan and founding of the Fuzake: year 1129
*When Toturi offers the position of Captain of the Imperial Guard to his loyal follower Toku, Toku respectfully declines and confesses that he is not a true samurai. He is, in fact, a peasant wielding a katana taken from a dead bandit years ago. The bravery and honor Toku displayed during the Clan War leads Toturi not only to pardon Toku for his crimes and offer the position of Captain of the Imperial Guard a second time, but to bestow Minor Clan status upon the young samurai and his followers.
Shortly thereafter, a remarkable Yasuki named Garou (who had become a loyal follower of Toku during the Clan War) is also granted the Fuzake family name. This is mostly due to the sponsorship of the Doji, who found his tireless efforts to tend the wounded and bring humor to the Empire during the war inspiring. Fuzake Garou swears fealty to Toku and joins the fledgling Monkey Clan.
*Opening of the Phoenix Gates: year 1130
*After suffering the highest loss of life during the Clan War, the Phoenix clan (led by Clan Champion Shiba Tsukune) struggles throughout the first year of rebuilding due to lack of manpower. The Grand Master of the Elements, Naka Kuro, pledges his aid in helping the clan rebuild, swearing fealty to Lady Tsukune. With Kuro’s help, and Tsukune’s offer of fealty to any shugenja that proves himself or herself worthy, the Phoenix slowly begin to reclaim their place in the Empire.
*Death of Hida Kisada: year 1130
*His health failing since being wounded by Fu Leng in the Clan War, Crab Daimyo Hida Kisada finally loses his struggle against death near the end of the winter. Though some see him as a traitor against the Empire for attacking Otosan Uchi during the Clan War, others (including Emperor Toturi) have come to understand his actions. In a funeral led by his son Yakamo, Kisada is given the funeral pyre of an honorable samurai. In thanks for his invaluable aid in planning the assault on Fu Leng’s forces on the Second Day of Thunder, Kisada is granted minor Fortune status by Toturi I, and is now and forever the Fortune of Persistence.
*Crab assault the Shadowlands: year 1130
*Preparations complete, the Crab and Naga combined forces march beyond the Wall into Fu Leng’s Realm. Initial combat brings remarkably light casualties for the Crab and Naga, and the beasts of the Shadowlands seem unprepared for such a large invasion party. With the assault underway, the Naga and Crab army forges its way to lost Hiruma Castle to reclaim the ancestral home lost centuries ago.
*Disappearance of Toturi I: year 1130
*The new peace of the Empire is shattered when the Emperor’s chambers are found ruined, with blood staining Toturi’s bedclothes. A thorough search of the entire city of Otosan Uchi turns up clues implicating the Scorpion.
In the absence of Emperor Toturi, his lieutenant Takuan assumes the position of chancellor of Rokugan. Bound by the tenets of Imperial Law, he commands Toshimoko to convict the Scorpion. The Emerald Champion shows mercy, and orders their exile to the Burning Sands instead of their deaths. To ensure that none of the Scorpion’s famed ninja will retaliate against the Empire, Toshimoko orders all children of the Scorpion clan under the age of 12 to become the foster children of Crane houses. The Scorpion children become insurance against their clan’s disobedience. Shortly after pronouncing his judgment, Kakita Toshimoko pens his final haiku standing upon a cliff near the sea. The Emerald Champion’s armor and swords are found on that cliff the next dawn, along with a petition to the Fortunes to forgive him for his failure to his lord. In the absence of both the Emperor and the Emerald
Champion, Shinjo Shirasu leads the Emerald Magistrates and attempts to uphold the law of the land.
Having thus faked his death, Toshimoko disguises himself as a ronin and wears a mask at all times as he begins a search for the truth. Toturi’s lieutenants Ginawa and Matsu Hiroru also set out in search of their lost master.
*The Kazaq visits Kyuden Hitomi: year 1130
*Led by a dream, the son of the Qamar leaves the Shinomen and climbs Kyuden Hitomi. The dark lady of the Dragon Clan greets the Naga with open arms, as if he were an expected guest. The Kazaq soon emerges from Kyuden Hitomi with mystic tattoos, severed from the Akasha forever.
*Naga abandon the Crab: year 1130
*The retaking of Hiruma Castle complete, the banners of the Crab once again fly upon the parapets of Shiro Hiruma. As the Crab forces move to restore order to the ruined castle, a sudden shift in the Naga’s attitude is apparent. Some Naga comment that their Akasha has commanded them, and the Naga quickly and silently withdraw from the land. The Crab, unsure exactly what has occurred, can only watch helplessly as their allies abandon them to stand alone, deep in the territory of the Shadowlands. Scouts are quickly dispatched to the Kaiu Wall urgently requesting more soldiers and supplies, but none of the messengers make it to their destination.
*Siege of Hiruma Castle: year 1130
*The forces of the Shadowlands surround the Crab now deeply entrenched in the ruins of Hiruma Castle. The oni, goblins, and trolls toy with the samurai, knowing that help from the Empire will be a long time in coming. Only the brave Third Whisker Nezumi, who bring food, water, and jade through the tunnels beneath the castle, give the Crab the slightest hope for survival.
*Mantis, Scorpion and Crane relations: year 1131
*Citing their charter from Emperor Toturi, the Mantis claim the right to tax and rule as regent over “unaligned lands,” including the now-empty provinces of the Scorpion. Very few in the Empire know that the Scorpion have bargained with the Mantis Champion, Yoritomo, to protect the Scorpion lands until such time they can reclaim them from their exile. In order to seal the bargain, Bayushi Aramoro, the most respected member of the Scorpion next to Bayushi Kachiko, fosters his only son to the daimyo of the Mantis. Bayushi Aramasu, Aramoro’s son, arrives in Mantis lands holding Yoritomo’s “payment” for the alliance — Scorpion maps of Rokugan, and other secrets the Mantis Champion demanded to further his power in the Empire.
The Mantis are escorted through Crane lands by Crane Champion Doji Kuwanan and his armies. As Yoritomo reaches the Scorpion lands at the head of his army, he turns to thank the Crane for their assistance, but finds Kuwanan has laid his own plans for the Scorpion provinces. Thinking to use the Scorpion children as a way to claim the lands for his own, Kuwanan ambushes Yoritomo’s forces once their arrangement (for Kuwanan to guide Yoritomo to the Scorpion lands) has been fulfilled. Yoritomo, caught completely unprepared, is forced to withdraw.
Though he does not realize it at the time, many of Doji Kuwanan’s actions are due to poor advice from impersonators dispatched by the Lying Darkness to cause strife and chaos in the Empire. This battle thus marks the start of the “War Against the Shadow.”
*Naga and Monks attack the Dragon: year 1131
*The purpose of the Naga disappearance becomes clear when a massive Naga army lays siege to the lower Dragon provinces. Three minor strongholds are destroyed before the Naga are halted by a sudden emergence of representatives of the Brotherhood of Shinsei. These monks, comprised mostly of former Togashi ise zumi, parley with the Naga in what is thought will be a swift end to the Naga’s sudden and confusing attack. However, only days later Togashi Hoshi himself comes to stand beside the Qamar and continue the attack on Dragon lands. It is notable that Mirumoto Daini, Hitomi’s own brother, chooses to side with the Naga instead of defending his sister. The war continues, with the Dragon responding slowly due to the lack of organization within the leadership of the clan. It becomes quite clear within weeks of the fighting, however, that like Hitomi, Hoshi has mastered the art of creating ise zumi, bestowing tattoos of power among their followers. Like Hitomi’s followers, Hoshi’s monk acolytes take his name.
*Test of the Jade Champion: year 1131
*In an effort to hold together the crumbling peace of the Empire, the Seppun and Otomo call the first Test of the Jade Champion in centuries. The post of the Jade Champion has long since been defunct, as its mandate to regulate spellcraft and hunt maho throughout Rokugan was seen as an affront to the Phoenix clan’s power. Each Great Clan sends shugenja to claim the prize. The Championship ends with the defeat of the Unicorn’s Iuchi Karasu, called “The Doomseeker,” by the Lion Clan’s Kitsu Okura. Rumors persist that Okura’s power is owed to a dark ally, though the Lion shugenja is awarded the post.
*Lion march to the Wall: year 1131
*Without explanation, Lion Champion Ikoma Tsanuri gathers a legion of her most loyal soldiers and sets off to the southwest of Lion lands, directly toward the heart of Crab territory. The move surprises those Tsanuri leaves behind, including the newly initiated Jade Champion and Matsu family daimyo Matsu Ketsui. The Unicorn, in an attempt to prevent what appears to be an attack on the weakened Crab, demand an explanation that the remaining Lion cannot give. Combined with the growing reports of maho and other foul activities in Lion lands, ranking Emerald Magistrate Shinjo Shirasu attempts to investigate deep into Lion lands, only to be intercepted and forcibly escorted back to the Lion border.
*Defection of the Agasha: year 1131
*Outraged by the actions of their Champion, Hitomi, the Agasha argue among themselves until a clear majority emerges: they wish to leave before they are exterminated like the Togashi. Daimyo Agasha Tamori refuses to allow the Agasha to leave the clan. However, Tamori’s student Gennai offers to take any who wish to follow him to the Phoenix lands to kneel before the sword of Shiba Tsukune. Within the week, fewer than a dozen Agasha stand with the Dragon clan. Agasha Gennai is rewarded by Naka Kuro with a position on the Elemental Council as Master of Air.
*Shinjo Morito leaves Unicorn territory: year 1131
*With the objective of carving out a destiny of his own, the ambitious Unicorn Shinjo Morito gathers a group of like-minded bushi and stakes a claim to lands once occupied by the Phoenix. As the Phoenix no longer occupy those lands, Morito holds, they no longer can protect them in the Emperor’s name. Thus, by right of his superior ability to maintain and control them, they are his. The Phoenix disagree, but the strong defenses Morito has already constructed lead them to abandon the matter for the moment.
*Rescue of Emperor Toturi: year 1132*
Toturi I is found shackled and beaten in the ruins of Mori Kage Castle by Unicorn scouts. The forest and the castle are filled with apparitions of ghosts and shadows, which the Naga call The Foul. The truth later becomes apparent: Toturi I was held captive by the Lying Darkness to encourage the Empire to fall into chaos. The Unicorn, led by Otaku Kamoko, bring the weak and sickened Emperor to Otosan Uchi, igniting a small flame of hope in a darkened Empire.
*Imperial Edicts: year 1132
*Captain of the Imperial Guard Toku is commanded to take the Monkey Clan and end the fighting in the Dragon mountains by attacking the Naga. Toturi then commands the Unicorn magistrates to force the Lion to answer for their crimes in his absence — the rumors of maho have proven correct, and the Jade Champion himself had taken a hand in corrupting the heart of Lion lands. Lastly, Toturi breaks with tradition by naming the Emerald Champion without a tournament. Seppun Toshiken, a prodigy with the blade and illegitimate son of Kakita Toshimoko, is given the swords and armor of the Emerald Champion.
Shortly after his return, Toturi begins a cleansing of the Imperial City, summarily executing anyone he deems to be a “Kolat” on even the loosest evidence. Among the slain is Isawa Osugi, author of the New Tao. The former chancellor, Takuan, is horrified by his lord’s actions and commits seppuku in protest.
*Storms over Matsu Castle: year 1132
*By the command of Toturi I, the Unicorn engage the Lion near Shiro Matsu. The Lion’s corruption becomes clear as oni take the field beside Tainted bushi and shugenja under the command of Kitsu Okura, Matsu Ketsui, and Kitsu Motso. The battle is fierce, and the oni that bears Okura’s name slaughters a hundred Battle Maidens single-handedly.
The Unicorn are defeated, but the Lion’s power is severely crippled.
*Mantis Siege of Phoenix Lands: year 1132
*Once again seeking to expand his power, Yoritomo lays claim to the lands of the Phoenix, claiming they are far too weak to maintain their provinces. The Mantis hope to quickly take the Phoenix under their mercy, but Shiba Tsukune views Yoritomo’s movements as an act of war and responds accordingly. Still, the Phoenix are nowhere near as combat-ready as the Mantis, and Yoritomo’s forces slowly force their way deeper into Phoenix territory. It is later concluded that Yoritomo’s brash actions are the result of advice from shape-shifting
minions of the Lying Darkness posing as trusted advisors.
*Gift of the Emperor: year 1132*
Toturi I holds a contest to win a boon from the Jade Throne. All clans are invited to attend, and the winner of a single-combat tournament will be awarded a favor from the Emperor. The clans, who receive one entry apiece, attempt to use the Emperor’s gift as a way to gain an advantage as the whole Empire is engulfed in war. In the end, the winner is revealed to be Bayushi Aramoro in disguise as a ronin, who was able to enter and win through assistance from the Dragon Clan. Aramoro requests that his clan be permitted to retake
its lands, and the Scorpion are restored to their place in the Empire.
*Crane Civil War: year 1132
*Driven by the voice of his ancestor, Daidoji family daimyo Daidoji Uji leads troops away from Clan Champion Doji Kuwanan’s command and toward Shiro no Yogin to reclaim it in the name of the Crane. This creates a division in the Crane which turns into outright war as the bushi of the clan are split between their loyalty to the two lords. The fighting continues, and the resultant dishonor and shame eventually causes the Great Sea Spider to wake from its slumber near Golden Sun Bay. Once again, shape-shifters are later blamed for miscommunication between the two Crane leaders.
*Death and rebirth of Hida Yakamo: year 1132
*After escaping Hiruma Castle in search of reinforcements, Crab Thunder Hida Yakamo is captured and slain by the Shadowlands. Ikoma Tsanuri’s Lion forces assist in launching a second assault towards Hiruma Castle, and the combined might of the two clans delivers a quick and easy victory. Hida Yakamo’s body is recovered, but is seized by the Naga as they appear from the forests near Crab provinces. The Naga use an ancient artifact to restore life to Hida Yakamo and merge his soul with the Akasha — the Naga oversoul — in order to atone for the damage they caused to the Crab by leaving Hiruma Castle. Though many Crab still consider the Naga unreliable traitors, Yakamo assures his people that only by working alongside the Naga can the Lying Darkness and the Shadowlands be defeated.
*War in the Heavens: year 1132
*The main force of the Scorpion reaches the Empire on the heels of Bayushi Aramoro’s victory in the Emperor’s tournament. Leading the Scorpion is the Kami Shinjo herself, freed from imprisonment in the Burning Sands. Shinjo’s arrival brings further chaos into the Empire as she personally executes hundreds in her own Unicorn Clan, revealing them as agents of the Kolat. With the aid of the Scorpion, Shinjo also learns of the presence of the Lying Darkness in Rokugan, and its control over Emperor Toturi. Shinjo assembles combined forces from all the clans to assault Otosan Uchi, which has grown bleak and shadowed since the return of Toturi.
At the same time, the Naga reach the base of the mountains where Hitomi’s last fortress stands. During the attack, the dark influence of Onnotangu from within the Obsidian Hand leads Hitomi to inadvertently release Shosuro from her crystal prison beneath the castle. Laughing triumphantly as he sees his dark mistress succumb to temptation, the Tainted Dragon Kokujin steals Togashi’s daisho. Shosuro also vanishes, leaving Hitomi alone with her failure.
By the time Hitomi realizes what has happened, it is too late. Her mind is now clear of dark influences, and with this clarity comes a realization of how to undo the damage she has wrought. She sees the entire existence of the Lying Darkness laid out before her. She witnesses the day when Onnotangu, Lord Moon, hid the Shadow’s existence from his spouse the Sun. She sees the Shadow’s subtle influence in the death or downfall of each of the Kami. She sees the slow growth of its power throughout the history of the Empire. She knows that only an enemy of equal power will have the strength to defeat it. She determines to challenge Lord Moon himself, for in doing so she will not only call him to task for his alliance with the Darkness but, if she succeeds, gain the power she needs to defeat the Shadow itself.
Putting her plan into action, Hitomi assembles several powerful artifacts born of the power of the Moon. Calling Onnotangu from the Heavens, she challenges him to personal combat. Eager to crush the upstart Hitomi (and to reclaim the Obsidian Hand from her) the Moon answers Hitomi’s challenge. With the powerful artifacts of Onnotangu and the wisdom of Togashi on her side, Hitomi is triumphant, and slays the Moon.
Meanwhile Takao, Acolyte of Fire, faces a champion of the Moon in single combat in Otosan Uchi. Though the duel seems hopeless, Takao reaches enlightenment during the battle, defeats the Champion, and breaks the Shadow’s control over the city. Takao thereafter bears the title “Master of Five.”
Shortly after this event, Toturi is spirited away to Phoenix lands by Isawa Kaede, now Oracle of the Void.
*Twenty-Seven Days of Darkness: year 1132
*With the death of Lord Moon, Amaterasu flees from the Celestial Heavens. Angered that the mortal descendants of her children have betrayed her by killing Onnotangu, she takes the Ancestral Swords of the Clans and scatters them to the heavens. Rokugan is shrouded in total shadow, increasing the power of the Lying Darkness tenfold. It soon becomes clear that even Onnotangu himself was only a pawn, and even this was part of the Darkness’ plan.
Hitomi begins a great quest, crossing the entirety of Rokugan in 27 days. At the end of the quest, she arrives at the Shrine of the Three Sisters, who help her discover her true destiny. Hitomi ascends into the Celestial Heavens to fill the void left by Onnotangu, and becomes Lady Moon.
At the same time, Amaterasu commits jigai (the seppuku of noble women). Hida Yakamo appears, led to her pain by his link to the Akasha, and becomes her second. He ascends into the heavens as Lord Sun.
*Loss of the True Tao: year 1132
*The Tao of Shinsei is stolen by the Kolat in an attempt to protect it from the Shadow. Some within the Kolat plan to revise the Tao, but others heartily disagree. Half of the True Tao is given to Daidoji Rekai by a traitor among the Kolat, but the other half is intercepted by the Lying Darkness and presumed lost.
*Loss of the Ikoma Histories: 1132
*A sudden attack by the Lying Darkness leaves the great histories of the Ikoma family lying in ruin. With the Empire’s past lost, the Lion historians can do little but attempt to pick up the pieces.
*Reunification of the Dragon Clan: year 1132*
Togashi Hoshi claims leadership of the Dragon, restores the Togashi to their rightful place, and brings those who swore fealty to his name into the Dragon Clan. Learning from Hitomi’s mistakes, Hoshi begins preparing the Dragon for the coming conflict with the Lying Darkness.
*Oblivion’s Gate Opens: year 1132
*Several reports of the physical incarnation of ancestral spirits arise, pointing to the crumbling of the barrier between Ningen-do (the mortal world) and various other Spirit Realms. In Volturnum, where Oblivion’s Gate opens to the Rift between Jigoku and Yomi, Ginawa and Matsu Hiroru find the Tenth Kami, Ryoshun. If his strength should fail, it would allow the Lying Darkness to begin to assault Yomi itself — the Realm of the Blessed Ancestors — bleeding the past into Nothing. Despite the hopeless battle, Ryoshun stands alone against the Darkness and its assault upon the Spirit Realms.
*Mantis repelled from Phoenix Lands: year 1133
*The Mantis, after holding the Phoenix provinces for half a year, are finally broken by the guerrilla attacks of small Phoenix bushi and the magic of their Elemental Guards. Yoritomo is offered the Jade Throne by Shinjo, but the Mantis Champion refuses, claiming that he will never be the pawn of the Kami.
*Death of Toturi I: year 1133
*In a lucid moment, Toturi breaks free of the control of the Lying Darkness. He realizes that if Darkness were to take the soul of an Emperor, the soul of the Empire itself would be forfeit. In a hasty ceremony, Toturi marries Isawa Kaede. He then commits seppuku — denying the Lying Darkness his soul and leaving as the leader of Rokugan the one person it cannot touch: the Oracle of the Void.
*The Battle of Oblivion’s Gate: year 1133
*Their enemy now plain for all to see, the forces of the Empire marshal under the guidance of Toturi’s general, Saigorei. As the Lying Darkness attempts to undo all of creation by turning the land of the dead into a lost memory, the forces of Rokugan assault the armies of the Lying Darkness and the Shadowlands in the ruins of the troll city Volturnum. The battle is fierce, and the boundaries between the Spirit Realms crumble. Spirits from Yomi and Toshigoku emerge in great numbers, and more than one hero from Rokugan’s past crosses Oblivion’s Gate to battle the enemy. One such man is the Emperor
himself, Toturi I — free of the Shadow’s grip on his soul. Many die, and the Air Dragon allows itself to be consumed by corruption so that the Master of Fire, Isawa Hochiu, may reach Goju Adorai, the master of the Darkness. With the aid of a Shosuro actor, Hochiu strikes the killing blow and destroys Adorai.
With the loss of Adorai, the Lying Darkness becomes weak enough that it can be named. Lady Moon gives the Darkness the name “Akodo,” which not only destroys the Darkness but releases a large number of lost Akodo ronin previously consumed by it (and now amnesiac). The shattered Goju and Ninube minions of the Darkness flee to plan their vengeance.
*Moto War: year 1133
*While the Clans fight the Living Darkness at Oblivion’s Gate, the Moto family of the Unicorn engages in its own war. Shinjo’s return brings the nomadic Moto from the Burning Sands, who ride beside their cousins of Rokugan as they meet the Dark Moto of the Shadowlands in combat. The Dark Moto are led by none other than Otaku Kamoko, who has sacrificed her own honor to lead the corrupted Unicorn to destruction. The fierce tactics of Khan Moto Gaheris crush the undead Moto, unifying the line of the Moto once and for all.
*Shinjo departs: year 1133
*The Kami Shinjo leaves the mortal realm to return to the Celestial Heavens. She places Moto Gaheris in command of the Unicorn Clan, as she does not believe that those who bear her name have disposed of all Kolat influence. Unicorn Thunder Otaku Kamoko is set among the stars by Shinjo. In honor of Kamoko’s sacrifice the Otaku family changes its name to Utaku, as a reaffirmation of their vows to Shinjo and so that Kamoko can be the last Battle Maiden to hold the Otaku name.
*Rebuilding the Empire: year 1134
*After suffering two extended periods of war within ten years, the Empire once again turns to rebuilding as Emperor Toturi reclaims his throne.
*Spirits Walk the Earth: year 1134
*Before Oblivion’s Gate is sealed, countless spirits make their way from the spirit realms into the land of the living. Some are able to adjust to living in an era far beyond their own, but many (particularly those who escaped Toshigoku) attempt to renew old schemes and vendettas.
*Gift of the Naga: year 1135
*Before the Naga enter their slumber once again, they give a great golden pearl to the Unicorn. In exchange, the Unicorn swear to defend the Shinomen Forest during the Naga’s great sleep.
*Birth of Toturi Tsudao: year 1136
*The first of Toturi’s children, Tsudao quickly shows an aptitude for both single combat and large-scale tactics. She memorizes the Book of Sun Tao and Akodo’s Leadership by the age of six.
*Fall of the Alliance: year 1137
*Since the death of Yoritomo during the Battle of Oblivion’s Gate, the Mantis Clan has slowly lost power and influence among the Great Clans. Even with the assimilation of the Wasp and Centipede Clans, the Mantis is not what it once was. With no conflict to unify Yoritomo’s former alliance, the other Minor Clans gradually withdraw their support from the Mantis Clan. By this point in time, the Mantis once more stand alone.
*Birth of Toturi Sezaru: year 1137*
Toturi’s second child is born under signs of great fortune. The boy’s hair becomes white shortly after birth and his aptitude for magic study surpasses even his mother’s at the same age.
*The War of Spirits begins: year 1138
*After years of preparation and monitoring the political climate of Rokugan, the returned spirit of the Steel Chrysanthemum, Hantei XVI, demands that the Jade Throne be ceded to him. Toturi refuses, stating that the Hantei dynasty is dead, and the blessing of the Heavens is upon himself and his line. With the power of most of the reborn spirits and the assistance of the spirit of Hida Tsuneo (who has followed his Emperor even beyond death), Hantei XVI declares war upon the Empire to claim the throne for himself. Thus begins a long, slow war of attrition between the armies of the living and the dead.
*Birth of Toturi Naseru: year 1139*
Toturi’s second son is born shortly after the beginning of
the War of Spirits. Naseru is easily the most intellectual and serious of his children.
*Ox Clan founded: year 1145
*After proving his valor in combat against Lion spirit armies attacking Shiro Iuchi, Emperor Toturi validates Shinjo Morito’s claim to the lands he and his followers have occupied for the last fourteen years. Morito immediately gives several expensive gaijin artifacts to the Phoenix as a gesture of friendship to cushion the loss of their land. Thus the Ox Clan is born.
*Phoenix Children kidnapped: year 1150
*With the War of Spirits turning decidedly in Toturi’s favor, Hantei XVI retreats to Phoenix territory. With the help and advice of the Tainted Dragon Agasha Tamori, Hida Tsuneo kidnaps the children of the Phoenix clan and murders Isawa Taeruko’s daughter, Yaruko, as an example. The Phoenix grudgingly agree to assist Hantei XVI.
*Devastation of Beiden Pass: year 1150
*The end of the War Against the Spirits comes when the majority of the spirit army is led into Beiden Pass. With the assistance of the Phoenix, a cadre of Scorpion shugenja collapses the pass upon the spirits, destroying most of the spirit Hantei’s armies.
*The Treaty with the Spirits: year 1150
*The bulk of his forces gone, Hantei XVI enters into negotiations for peace with Toturi I. Though the Empire could easily crush the remaining spirits, Toturi shows mercy upon them; they may return to Yomi in peace by hurling themselves from what is now called the Leaping Place — a cliff overlooking the sea near Otosan Uchi. As part of Hantei’s treaty, Toturi’s child Naseru takes the Hantei name and is fostered in Hantei XVI’s home in Otosan Uchi. As a further concession, Toturi grants the Tamori name to the descendants of Agasha Tamori, who disappears shortly thereafter.
*Creation of the Great Crater: year 1150
*With no way left through the Spine of the World Mountains, Lord Sun takes pity upon Rokugan and hurls fire from the sky, creating a passage near the Seikitsu pass: the Great Crater. Though most of the crater is rocky and impassable, the Unicorn soon clear a suitable pass through it. They also discover an underground tunnel leading through the Seikitsu, a tunnel filled with ruins and artifacts from an ancient civilization. This fact they keep to themselves.
*The Imperial Bastard is revealed: 1155*
Toturi’s liaison with the geisha Hatsuko before the Clan War resulted in a child; Toturi did not know of his offspring until Kaneka is announced in Ryoko Owari. His claim is supported by several sources, and the Akodo offer the boy fealty. This causes a disturbance within the courts, as Kaneka is now the Emperor’s eldest child. Toturi himself never officially acknowledges Akodo Kaneka as his son.
*Death of Toturi I: 1158
*On a visit to Scorpion lands (possibly to visit and acknowledge Kaneka in Ryoko Owari), Emperor Toturi I is slain in combat with a force of Shadowlands creatures. The oni responsible for the Emperor’s death is of a breed never seen before, and escapes before the Scorpion rout the beasts and recover the Emperor’s body. Empress Toturi Kaede disappears shortly after taking the throne, leaving the Empire with no designated heir.