L5R First Century

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Pre-caldendar: Isawa gathers his tribe

Before the Kami fall to Ningen-do and create the Great Clans, powerful mortals begin gathering followers. Isawa, perhaps the greatest mortal spellcaster, is the most notable of these. He gathers a large tribe and found Gisei Toshi, a city which serves as the family's power base for over a thousand years. The scholars of Gisei Toshi begin recording events in a great calendar, designating the year of the city's founding as Year 1. Coincidentally, this is the same year in which the Kami fall from Tengoku. As this calendar is more stable and less relative than the practice of keeping track of the years by the current Emperor, many sages and scholars choose to adapt this calendar.

Prehistory: Formation of the Empire

After the Kami's fall to earth and the tournament that determined which of them would rule the Empire, the Lady Doji marries the humble warrior Kakita. Together, they build a land full of beautiful castles and shrines. The practices they establish throughout Crane lands quickly spread to the other clans and form the backbone of Rokugan's society, culture, and traditions.

1: Coronation of Hantei I

Following a tournament between the Kami (excluding Togashi, Fu Leng, and of course Ryoshun) the Hantei is determined to be the most worthy ruler of Rokugan. At the end of the tournament, Togashi speaks in words of prophecy: "When the last Akodo falls, so falls the last Hantei."

1: Isawa’s Rejection

Isawa, leader of his tribe, refuses to bow before the Kami when all others do. His tribe agrees, returning north. At first, they ignore the plights that besiege the rest of the nascent Empire, but soon Oni and goblins plague even their lands, and they turn to maho, protected by their Fortunes, to defend their sacred city.

1: Ki-Rin Clan established

After losing to Bayushi in the Kami's contest to see who will rule them, Shinjo begins wandering the Empire, gathering like-minded individuals to her banner. In time, they settle in the wide, open plains on Rokugan's western border and become the Ki-Rin Clan in the tradition of the majestic steeds of Tengoku that Shinjo recalls fondle.

2: Shinjo visits Fu Leng

Dur the early stages of the war with Fu Leng, Shinjo travels deep into the Shadowlands in search of her beloved brother. She discovers that the forces of Jigoku have twisted him deeply. Fu Leng attacks Shinjo, and she realizes he could kill her easily, but he allows her to love. He sends her back to the Empire with a message: "I was not given a chance to participate in your contest to be Emperor." Clearly, Fu Leng plans to conquer the Empire that he was not allowed to aid in building.

2-42: The War Against Fu Leng and Creation of the Shadowlands

Shortly after the fall of the Kami, waves of darkness issue from the Festering Pit, tainting the southern lands of Rokugan. The armies of the Lost Brother, Fu Leng, swarm across Rokugan and destroy all in their path. The servants of the Hantei fight valiantly for decades, but find that they are slowly losing the war.

36: Yogo joins the Scorpion

Cursed by the Fu Leng, the Phoenix Shugenja Yogo, husband of Asako, is doomed to betray those he loves the most. Bayushi approaches Yogo with a strange offer: join the Scorpion Clan. When Yogo protests that he is cursed to betray those he loves, Bayushi responds, "but you do not love me." Yogo joins the Scorpion and founds a family.

37: Creation of Isawa's Last Wish

Isawa creates a wedding gift for his daughter, who is to marry Sagoten, the son of Asako and Yogo. The magical artifact is known as Isawa's Last Wish, a powerful item incorporating all five elements. Many powerful shugenja aid him in his work, but the work would be impossible without Isawa's genius. The Wish is given an innocent and childlike intellect, and learns much from Isawa and those around him.

39: Yogo leaves the Phoenix

Having been cursed by a powerful Maho-tsukai during the war against Fu Leng, the shugenja Yogo leaves the Phoenix to join the Scorpion Clan and follow Bayushi. He is cursed to betray the one he loves, and he cannot bear to harm his family among the Phoenix. Some speculate that Yogo's abandonment was his betrayal, as it leads to his son's death.

42: The Tao of Shinsei transcribed

A strange little man arrives in the court of the Hantei, promising that he can give the Kami victory over the armies of Fu Leng. First, however, he gains audience with the Kami themselves, and speaks to Hantei at length. Shiba copies down the little man's wisdom dutifully; this text later becomes the Tao of Shinsei, the foremost religious text in Rokugan.
When the little teacher known as Shinsei speaks with Hantei, the Emperor's brother Shiba is present and records the volumes of wisdom imparted that fateful night. This collection of lore comes to be known as the Tao of Shinsei. The Phoenix champion the Tao, encouraging the other clans to accept Shinsei's teachings. They transcribe the third of the Tao's three books, the Book of the Soul, that rectifies the many discrepancies between Shinseism and kami worship and allows the two religions to exist simultaneously without conflict.

42: Shinsei and the Thunders

The prophet Shinsei comes to the Crane lands during his search for the mortals who can banish Fu Leng. He initially chooses Doji and Kakita's son, Doji Yasurugi, but Yasurugi is killed by an oni on the day of his son's birth. All is feared lost until Shinsei discovers that Yasurugi's twin sister Konishiko shares his soul. With Konishiko accompanying them, Shinsei and the Thunders travel deep into the Shadowlands and never return.

42: The Day of Thunder

When the war looks bleakest, Shinsei gathers one mortal from each of the Seven Great Clans. Hida Atarasai, Doji Konishiko, Mirumoto, Matsu, Isawa, Shosuro, and Otaku join Shinsei on a journey to the Shadowlands to defeat the fallen god Fu Leng. All of the Thunders die there, save one.

42: Mirumoto and Shinsei

Just before the final confrontation with Fu Leng, Shinsei takes the Dragon Thunder aside and makes a single command - "No escape." Understanding, Mirumoto stands apart from the other Thunders even as they fall one by one to the Dark Lord. Even with only Hida Atarasi, Isawa, and the Dragon swordsman left on their feet, Fu Leng begins to doubt his chances for victory and attempts to flee from the scene - only to have Mirumoto step right before him, burying his daisho with a lightning strike into the Dark Kami's chest. Atarasi assaults Fu Leng while he is distracted by the Dragon's blades, giving Isawa just enough time to sacrifice himself to trap the soul of a dark god in twelve scrolls of power. With his final act, Fu Leng unleashes his fury at the vassal of his meddlesome brother, and cleaves the Dragon's head from his shoulders.

42: Death of Shiba

After the defeat of Fu Leng, Shiba journeys into the Shadowlands in search of Shinsei and the Thunders. Shiba is mortally wounded battling the First Oni, but ensures that Shosuro returns to the Empire alive. Shiba's spirit is guided by the wisdom of Shinsei and enters the body of his successor, using the Ancestral Sword of the Phoenix, Ofushikai, as his anchor to the mortal realm. This begins the tradition wherein the Soul of Shiba manifests in each Phoenix Clan Champion over the centuries.

42: Shosuro's Return

The final Thunder, Shosuro, returns from the Shadowlands with the Black Scrolls. Shosuro survives her journey only to by making a pact with the Lying Darkness, and immediately thereafter casts off the persona of Shosuro to become Soshi, founder of the Scorpion Shugenja family.

42: Revelation of the Path of Man

When Shiba's spirit returns to the new Phoenix Champion, Shiba Tsuzaki, he visits his follower Asako and reveals to her great secrets of the universe known as the Riddle of Man. Asako and her followers perceive a level of enlightenment that could, if mastered, lead to their ascension to a higher plane of existence. The Asako who study these riddles come to be known as the henshin. The Isawa are consumed by jealousy at being denied this gift, and the rift between the families leads Isawa's daughter, Akiko, to cancel her betrothal with Asako Sagoten.

44: The first Great Convocation is held

Two years after Shinsei’s disappearance, those who have taken up the study of his words come together in Shinsei no Sumai Mura, a village devoted to the Little Prophet in the Dragon lands. At this council, the various groups of monks who have come to embrace Shinsei’s wisdom agree to compile and codify tales of his travels and combine them with Shiba’s own transcriptions. This event marks the birth of the Tao of Shinsei, Shiba’s transcriptions being referred to as the True Tao. It is agreed that a convocation will be held in the village every ten years, growing the Tao as deemed necessary.

45: Shinjo's Exodus

With the war against Fu Leng now effectively at an end, the Kami Shinjo determines that she must leave the Empire and explore the world to better prepare the Empire for its dangers. Three families of the Ki-Rin Clan - The Otaku, Iuchi, and Ide - choose to follow her. Before leaving, Hantei granted Shinjo one pair of magical mirrors created by Shiba and Isawa. The mirrors would allow Shinjo to communicate with Hantei even in distant lands. Lady Doji gives her sister a precious sandalwood fan.
Some of Shinjo's followers remain behind to tend her lands, but the majority march down Exile's Road toward a mysterious destiny. The followers of Shinjo come to call their time away from the Empire the Ki-Rin's Exodus.

45: Death of Hantei

Crippled by a lingering injury during the war against Fu Leng, Hantei spends the last months of life bedridden. Unable to carry the news of victory to the Empire, Hantei charges a boy named Miya with the responsibility of bringing the joyous tidings to all. Shortly afterward, the Son of Heaven closes his eyes and dies content with what he and his brothers and sisters have done. Many believe, however, that Hantei simply tired of a mortal existence, rejoined his mother in the Celestial Heavens.

45: Encounter with the Ujik-hai

After months of murderous travel through the Burning Sands, Shinjo and her followers reach the steppes dominated by the nomadic Ujik-hai tribes. The Ujik-hai attack the newcomers fiercely, and the Unicorn defend themselves. In time, the Ujik-Hai are defeated not by force of arms, but by the awe with which they come to regard Shinjo. Rumors of her divinity spread throughout the tribes, and many pledge themselves to her in order to receive her guidance and protection. The Ujik-Hai who swear fealty to the Unicorn come to be known as the Moto family. The Ki-Rin remain among the Ujik-hai for over a century.

46: Crowning of Hantei Genji

Due to a period of mourning, the Emerald Throne stands empty for a short time while the Empire recovers from the war and the loss of the Son of Heaven. Hantei Genji, the first son of Hantei, is crowned Hantei II five months after the death of his father. Genji, also called the Shining Prince, is responsible for the majority of the social traditions of the modern Empire. Genji's reign lasts over two hundred years, the blood of the Kami Hantei strong in his veins. Hantei Genji marries a Doji woman, cementing the tradition of the Hantei Emperor taking a Crane bride and the concept of primogeniture (inheritance by the first-born).

46: Formation of the Daidoji

Doji's son Hayaku returns from the Shadowlands after three years of searching for his sister, Konishiko. His form is larger, with strength built by adversity, and his face is scarred with his voice having been stolen from him by a terrible throat injury. Hayaku returns Konishiko's sword to Doji, who recognizes that her daughter's soul is within it. The Crane rejoice at the return of their Thunder, and Hayaku is awarded the name Daidoji, or "Defender of the Doji" for his valor.

46: The Concealment of the Wish

The Isawa and Asako families' bickering over the fate of Isawa's Last Wish and the henshin's secret finally results in the Hantei's intervention. Hantei Genji, second Emperor of Rokugan, orders the Wish sealed away forever. As only shugenja can utilize the Wish, only the Shiba can be trusted to guard its tomb. His decree is that such power is too great for any family to wield, and the Phoenix accede to his wishes.

48: Birth of Hida Osano-Wo

Osane-Wo, second son of the Kami Hida and offspring of the Thunder Dragon was born in this year.

48: Shinseism and Fortune Worship combined

Two years after taking the throne, the shining Prince Hantei Genji officially unites Shinseism and the worship of the Fortunes, declaring both to be equally important and official religions of the Empire. There is initial resistance from fundamentalists of both beliefs, but Rokugan soon adjusts to the idea that these two sets of beliefs are not mutually exclusive.

53: Denouncement of ancestral testimony

While the Empire is in its infancy, many Kitsu are called upon to use their gifts to have spirits of the dead give legal testimony. This practice comes to an abrupt halt when the Scorpion reveal that one of the "spirits" testifying in a particular trial is supposedly the soul of a Matsu general who is in fact still alive. The Lion accuse the Scorpion of twisting their gifts, while the Scorpion simply counter that the magic is unreliable. Unwilling to let the matter get out of hand, Hantei Genji declares all magic invalid in legal proceedings.

63: Hida steps down as Champion of the Crab

Though Hida is a powerful Kami, he recognizes many traits in his son Osano Wo that he himself lacks, in particular leadership and charisma. Particularly impressed by his son's great triumphs against the trolls, the Kami Hida steps down from rulership of the Crab to bestow the mantle upon his son. Hida thereafter is often seen leading large groups of specially selected samurai on brutal strikes deep into the Shadowlands (sometimes lasting up to a year). He otherwise leaves the clan in his son's hands.

66: Destruction of Shiro Akiko

An old and bitter man, Asako Sagoten resolves to break the curse on his father and restore Isawa Akiko's love for him. He does this the only way he knows how - he breaks into its vault and steals Isawa's Last Wish. Sadly, Sagoten's selfish desires are his undoing. The Last Wish flares out of control, killing Sagoten, Akiko, and hundreds of others. Akiko's palace, the palace built by her father to honor the marriage that would have been, is reduced to a barren field. To this day, no vegetation will grow there and the Phoenix avoid the area. The Last Wish is returned to its shrine by the cataclysm's sole survivor - a mournful Shiba bushi.

67: Acquisition of the Fox lands

When she led the Ki-Rin Clan exploring outside Rokugan, Shinjo left behind peaceful farmers and ji-samurai to guard her lands. They settle into their territory for less than a generation before the Lion clan takes notice of their fertile farmland. The Lion Clan secures the rights from the Imperial Court to take the lands under their own care - by force if necessary. The remaining Ki-Rin put up a heroic struggle, but are crushed soundly and swiftly. Hantei Genji relocates Shinjo's followers to the southern Spine of the World Mountains, and the Lion lay claim to a much-needed source of food-stuffs for their massive armies. This event leads the Shining Prince to forbid Great Clans to war upon Minor Clans, and recognizes Shinjo's followers as the minor Fox Clan.

72: The Phoenix Clan discovers Uikku, the Serene Prophet

Uikku, the prophet of Shinsei's Tao, is a young child cursed with the gift of prophecy. Found in a remote Phoenix province, his ravings are alternately inspiring and baffling, but many of them involve the future or interpretations of the Tao. The Phoenix take him into their custody, and transcribe all of his pronouncements dutifully, sharing them with the Brotherhood of Shinsei. Although Uikku was young and seemed out of touch with the world, his understanding of the Tao was legendary, and the scrolls containing his prophecies amaze scholars with their accuracy, even today.

80: Mantis Clan founded

Osano-Wo chooses to acknowledge his illegitimate son Kenzan as his heir rather than the legitimate Kaimetsu-uo. Though relations between Kenzan and Kaimetsu-uo are not hostile, his enraged Matsu mother leads Kaimetsu-uo out of Crab lands to find his own destiny. He finds it across the seas of Rokugan, on the islands he names the Isles of Spice and Silk. His followers call themselves the Mantis, though they are not currently acknowledged as a clan. (In, fact the very idea of creating Minor Clans is a precedent that has not yet been established)

82: The Crystal Prison created

The Scorpion Thunder Shosuro, after passing through a dozen different faces and identities, has begun to realize that her mind is no longer her own. Fearing the influence of the darkness within her, she surrenders herself to the Kami Togashi for help. Togashi realizes that he cannot save her, but he creates a crystal prison deep beneath the Kyuden Togashi to contain the danger she represents. Shosuro allows herself to be confined.

82: Togashi and Shosuro

Corrupted by the touch of the Lying Darkness, Shosuro turns away from the Scorpion and seeks her last hope of salvation - the enigmatic Dragon Kami. Unwilling to cause further imbalance in the universe by initiating a confrontation with the Darkness, Togashi traps Shosuro in a prison of pure crystal, the only substance able to keep the power of the Nothering at bay. In an attempt to maintain the purity of the Scorpion Thunder's soul, he frees the uncorrupted spirit of Shosuro back into the Kharmic Cycle, where it awaits its time to be reborn.

83: Disappearance of Bayushi

The First Scorpion is said to have left behind his mask and his sword for his son, with the note "I have lost her forever" before disappearing completely.

87: Agasha Steel

For decades, students of the First Agasha Foundry attempted to use their magic to create the "perfect steel". Eventually, they begin to fold two types of steel into one by heating the metal. As a result, the Agasha are able to craft blades that are not easily broken and keep a sharp edge. Such a dramatic advance in the art of smithing cannot stay long in the hands of only one Clan, however. In less than a decade the Dragon find members of other clans utilizing Agasha techniques to create their own superior blades.

90: Death of Uikku: the Serene Prophet

Uikku succumbs to a fever, and perishes; his last years dominated by visions of the future, culminating in the revelation of the Dooms. These Dooms are largely secrets of the Phoenix and the Brotherhood, prophesizing the destruction of the clans, and of an eighth, unknown power.

90: Fox Clan founded

The Fox are descendants of the Ki-Rin, those who remained behind when Shinjo led her people out of Rokugan. The Lion Clan ousts those who would become the Fox from their ancestral lands. They are granted new land in Mori Kitsune, the family name Kitsune, and Minor Clan of their own. The Emperor forbids the Great Clans from declaring war upon them, establishing a precedent by which Great Clans may not initiate war with Minor Clans.

97: Hida Osano-Wo murdered

An unknown assassin murders the Champion of the Crab. His father, Hida, is missing on a long expedition in the Shadowlands, and with the power of darkness on the rise Osano-wo's son Kenzan is reluctant to abandon his post. Instead, he sends a message of distress to his half-brother, who eagerly leaps upon the chance to avenge their father. Hunting the traitor to Phoenix lands with a fleet of Mantis sailors beside him, Kaimetsu-uo arrives at the doors of Kyuden Isawa itself. When the Phoenix refused to open the gates, Kaimetsu-uo cries to his father for vengeance. The Thunder roars and a stroke of pure lightning opens the gates of the Isawa Palace. The Phoenix quickly back down and agree to assist the samurai who so clearly acts on behalf of the elements themselves. The traitor is released into Kaimetsu-uo's custody and painfully executed.
Shortly thereafter, Phoenix scholars request that Hantei grant the Status of Fortune upon the departed Osano-wo. Osano Wo is hereafter the Fortune of Fire and Thunder.

97: The Siege of Shiro Shiba

The Mantis, a "clan" of island-dwelling sailors not officially recognized by the Emperor, attacking Shiro Shiba, Kaimetsu-up, son of recently murdered Crab Champion Osano-Wo, demands that the Phoenix turn over a guest of the castle, who he claims is responsible for the murder. The Phoenix refuse the brash ronin's request and their shugenja unleash their magic on the invaders. Kaimetsu-uo reaches the gates alone and calls on his father to aid him. Lightning erupts from the sky, splitting the gate open and striking the Phoenix shugenja deaf. The Phoenix, convinced by the obvious supernatural display, surrender the murderer. Osano-Wo is named the Fortune of Fire and Thunder not long thereafter.

99: Death of Akodo

While surveying the construction of the Hall of Ancestors and the Ikoma Libraries, Akodo One-Eye is caught in an unexpected fight with Beasts of the Shadowlands. The monsters make their way through the Shinomen Forest, preparing to attack the fledgling borders of the Empire. Akodo stands against the horde with one hundred of his men, and meets his enemy in what was once the Seikitsu Pass through the Spine of the World Mountains. When the battle seems lost, Akodo calls out to his mother, the Sun Goddess, to witness how brave men died. As the advancing Shadowlands Beasts reach him, Akodo's mighty rear collapses the pass, bringing down a mountain upon him and the enemy.

100: Kuni Nakanu notices taint on corpses

The first signs of the Shadowlands taint, and the Crab Clan studies its effects as early as the first century after the Empire's founding. Their scholarly research has saved many lives, and the information they have been able to discover during the thousand years of peace have been truly remarkable.
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