L5R Fifth Century
400: End of the Crab-Crane war and Sparrow Clan founded
- The war resulted in an Imperial Edict banning large-scale open warfare among the Seven Clans of the Empire. Since that time, only small battles have been permitted, and only with the Emperor's consent. The entire massed armies of the Great Clans would not be turned against each other ever again.
- During an earlier negotiation for peace, Crane official Doji Onegaro was ousted from the Crane Clan. The Emperor grants Onegaro lands stripped from the Crab and Crane for his own use. The lands are harsh, unforgiving, and largely worthless. Onegaro retires to a monastery but his son, Suzume, stays behind to found the Sparrow Clan.
400: Found of the Ikoma Spymaster academy
- The Lion learn far too late about the quiet problems between the Crab and Crane, and realize that the sudden defection of the Yasuki to the Clan of the Crab is not as abrupt as it appeared. The Lion Clan daimyo and the Ikoma family daimyo devise a practical solution, and secretly found the Spymaster school to strengthen the information-gathering resources of the Lion.
402: Snake Clan corrupted
- Chuda Tamihei, great-grandson of Isawa Chuda, succumbs to the temptation of a spirit and voices a deadly prayer to dark forces, unleashing a dreaded Shuten Doji in the lands of the Snake Clan. The spirit begins extending its influence throughout the tiny Snake Clan, spreading to all who hear the cries of another under its thrall, completely assuming control in a matter of days.
402: The Five Nights of Shame
- Alerted to the presence of the Shuten Doji, the Council of Elemental Masters devote considerable resources to the Snake Clan's destruction. Three thousand Shiba bushi and numbers of shugenja are brought outside the Snake capital in just three days. Huge numbers of Shiba bushi are lost in the battle before the Masters discover the proper means to combat the spirit. In the end, however, the Snake Clan is completely destroyed. No trace remains of the Shuten Doji, or of the Phoenix magistrate sent to discover its ultimate fate.
412: Hida Tadaka & Matsu Itagi in Shadowlands
- Exuding pride and overconfidence, Lion daimyo, Matsu Itagi contends that he can seal the Festering Pit alone. He visits the Crab lands and proclaims that if the Lion inhabited the Crab lands, the Shadowlands would have been defeated generations ago. Itagi boldly strides into the Shadowlands, only to be rescued weeks later by the selfless sacrifice of Crab daimyo Hida Tadaka. This gesture forestalls hostilities between the two clans for centuries. Both Champions thereafter died from the wounds they sustained fighting the Shadowlands together.
428: Hantei Kasuda sponsors the Brotherhood of Shinsei
- The eighth Hantei Emperor, Hantei Kusada, becomes a pawn of the Gozoku alliance. This cabal of Crane, Scorpion, and Phoenix leaders train Kusada to be a loyal pawn after kidnapping him to gain control of his father, Hantei Fujiwa.
- Kusada had several sons and daughters, but his heir would be his first-born, a son that was also controlled by the Gozoku. The Gozoku ensured that the Scorpion, Phoenix, and Crane, enabling the Alliance to retain their hold on the Emerald Throne, fostered all of Kusada’s sons. Kusada's daughters were wed or fostered off to other clans for political alliances, helping the Gozoku gain increased control of the politics of the Empire.
- Kusada's only accomplishment of note is his sponsorship of religion, and he is responsible for building over two dozen magnificent temples in Otasan Uchi in places that Shinsei visited or performed a holy act. Kusada eventually takes advantage of the fact that the Brotherhood is completely beyond the Gozoku's control, and orders them to serve as his spies while he seeks an escape from their domination.
428: Hantei Kusada's spies uncovered by the Gozoku
- The Brotherhood had no choice but to obey (as the Emperor is the ultimate head of the Shintao religion), and he believed no one would suspect such behavior. However, the "spies" were caught, and the Gozoku decided to make an example of the Brotherhood, executing four of them for treason in the Emperor's name. This is seen as the Gozoku's first mistake, as it turned more attention to the darker side of their control of the Empire. The Brotherhood begins resisting openly, and the Gozoku strike back, arresting Gaman, Master of the Four Temples, and burning three sohei monasteries. The peasantry see the emperor's servants attacking the peaceful monks and rebel, forcing the Gozoku to stop their persecution, but the damage has already been done.
432: Hantei Yugozohime fostered by the Lion
- The Lion fostered Yugozohime, a daughter of Hantei Kusada’s. Rather than marrying her to a courtier and teaching her to be a quiet, respectful woman as the Gozoku intend, the Matsu and Ikoma train her in the tenets of bushido and the wisdom of the Heavens --the Lion teach Hantei Yugozohime how to be an Empress. When she learns the true glory of the Hantei Emperors, the young Empress plans to one day defeat the Gozoku.
435: Coronation of Hantei Yugozohime
- When Hantei Kusada dies of old age, his heir is brought from Phoenix lands to take the throne (and maintain the Gozoku stranglehold on the power of the Empire). However, Yugozohime challenges her brother to a duel for the throne, and defeats him. With the support of the Lion and Dragon behind a confident and powerful Hantei Empress, the strength of the Gozoku's three clans is swiftly and suddenly shattered.
- The death of the last Gozoku-controlled Hantei heir signals a terrible blow to the organization, but the leaders of the alliance are still confident in their ability to recover. Seeing only the Lion Clan in fulls upport of the would be Empress, the Scorpion, Crane, and Phoenix Clans prepare to crush the threat to their rule as quickly as it began. However, when the ambassadors of the Dragon make it plain that legions of Mirumoto soldiers, unchecked for the entirety of the Gozoku's rule, are in place to cut the Imperial Lands off from any sort of military action from any Clan save the Lion, the Gozoku's end is all but confirmed.
- Many members of the Gozoku's three clans either quickly retired to monasteries or die in duels within the year. Shiba Haijushiko assists Yugozohime in dismantling the Gozoku's power base in return for his own pardon. No formal charges were brought against any Gozoku members, though Yugozohime (Hantei VII) hands many functions of the Imperial Court that the Gozoku used to their advantage over to the Otomo family, effectively preventing an such attempts to make a pawn of the Throne in such a manner again.
438: Gusai family name awarded
- Centuries after the Mantis were informally established, Gusai, current leader of the Mantis, is invited to Otosan Uchi. During a contest of wits with the Empress, Gusai shows Yugozohime the strength of steel over words by drawing a blade to the Hantei's throat. Gusai wins his argument with the Empress, as well as Minor Clan status and the Gusai family name. The Daughter of Heaven has the last word, however, and proves the strength of his words by ordering Gusai's execution.
440: Gaijin Ambassadors Arrive at Imperial Court
- At the behest of the Mantis, a small group of gaijin explorers are allowed admission to the Imperial Court, largely because they possess an ancient banner from the Ki-Rin Clan, while their fleet docks in Golden Sun Bay. The Emperor opens limited trade and exchange of ideas with the foreign visitors. The gaijin are allowed two years to prove their honor and their respect for the Empire.
442: Battle of White Stag/Raging Seas
- The gaijin are commanded to leave Otosan Uchi, and retaliate with violence. In the ensuing battle, Hantei Yugozohime is tragically slain. The united clans band together to slaughter the gaijin, driving the shattered remnants of their fleet to sea, where many of their number are consumed in a mysterious storm.
- Yugozohime's uncle, Hantei Muhaki assumes the throne. Shortly thereafter, the Emperor bestows Minor Clan status upon Agasha Kasuga and his followers, despite the fact that they have apparently helped gaijin attackers flee to safety. Only Kasuga and the Emperor himself know the true reasons behind Muhaki’s decision. The Tortoise Clan is born.
442: Shinjo and the Lying Darkness
- Finally reaching Shinjo's group, the other Ki-Rin families discover their brethren trapped in a foul swamp nearly identical to the Shadowlands. The Moto and Otaku battle their way to free the trapped Shinjo while the Iuchi hold the darkness at bay and the Ide tend to the wounded. Once her family is safe, Shinjo orders the Ki-Rin to flee and never look back. They grudgingly agree, and watch helplessly as the Lying Darkness swallows Lady Shinjo. In the aftermath, Shinjo's descendant Yonaru declares that they are no longer the Ki Rin, but the Unicorn Clan. Battered and weary, they continue westward, determined to fulfill Shinjo's vow to fully explore the lands beyond.
447: Boar Clan founded
- The descendants of a group of Crab explorers thought lost in the Twilight Mountains since the year 383 arrive in Otosan Uchi with three tons of jade and iron. Their leader, Heichi, presents these as a payment of back taxes to the Emperor. Heichi's followers refuse to return to their former clan. Amazed by Heichi's story and intrigued by his profound knowledge of bushido and law, the Emperor bestows Minor Clan status upon them.
472: The Emperor's Blessing written
- The Emperor's Blessing, Miya Mai's most critically acclaimed work, tells the tale of the end of the War Against Fu Leng and describes the founding of the Miya household. Mai considered the work "too tame" and only completed it so that the commission promised by her patron would provide enough for her to survive. The play is widely regarded to be Mai's best, and spawns a host of imitations.
487: Coronation of Hantei X
- The first Hantei to have his lineage traced from the Otomo when the previous empress died without an heir, Hantei X was also the first Hantei to give up his personal name to simply be referred to as "The Hantei." His true name has been lost for all time, and in many texts he is referred to as "He who sacrificed his name for the Empire."
- Hantei X had a distaste for shugenja, and sponsored monks extensively as an alternative to the ritualistic practices of the shugenja. This created a rift between the two holy orders, causing each to pursue their own agendas more frequently than cooperating with each other.
499: Kuni Nakanu's journals discovered
- Otomo Jama, younger brother of the Imperial Heir, finds his destiny taking a sudden turn when he happens upon the resting place of Kuni Nakanu's maho texts. With the help of a Dragon and Crane shugenja, Jama translates the texts and discovers the secrets of power. A small cult forms with Jama at the helm.
- As leader of this secret society, Otomo Jama takes a new name - Iuchiban. Jama's name is stricken from all records, but evidence is uncovered in the late second decade of the twelfth century - though it is heavily suppressed.
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