L5R Timeline

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Sometimes information conflicts. Sometimes there is an obvious solution - the Unicorn Clan would obviously not be present during a battle when they hadn't yet returned to Rokugan. Other times, information is directly contradictory. Obviously, since we're going over 'classic' Rokugan, information gleaned post-Clan War is considered to be more suspect. In addition, I consider Bearers of Jade to be one of the finest RPG supplements ever written, so information in that book will especially supersede information from other sources.

The following is a bit of an amalgam from the original first edition book and Kyuden Seppun. Rokugan knows little and believes less about the Nezumi's claim to their empire, but the strange monuments of the Naga have been found across Rokugan, making it clear that man did not come first.

The Beginning of the World

The beginning of this world, as it has been for every world, and will be for every world to come, is with nothing. Nothing was along in the void, and so it was for countless ages. Then, without warning, Nothing realized that it was alone, and it was afraid. This created one third of the world. Then, Nothing realized it desired a companion. This created another third. Lastly, Nothing realized that its weakness had created the world, and if felt regret, wishing to undo what it had done. Nothing's regret completed the world and made it whole.

Then, from the nothing, came the time of the Three Gods Whose Names Cannot Be Spoken. A woman and a man were born from the thoughts of the Nothing's servants, who desired to give it form, and they walked upon the world in peace. While they were yet young, they did not wish children, and so they chose to remain apart from the beasts of the world - the snakes, the rats, and the animals. As they walked the world, they decided to give it shape, and so, began naming it. As they begun, their names too were whispered. The woman, Amaterasu, who would become the Sun. The man, Onnotangu, who would become the Moon.

Thus began the Age of the Ancients, the time of the legendary Naga, the first of the builders. This was the face of the beginning - said in myth to be the time when the Sun and Moon named all things upon the world and caused them to grow. Man was not yet alive, the children of the Sun and Moon had yet to be born, and the Celestial Heavens were one with the mortal world. The Naga worshiped, built, and made war much as we do, but, in time, the Sleep overcame them, and their age passed away.

In time, Lady Sun bore Lord Moon nine children, and some say a tenth. As the nine Kami - Hida, Doji, Togashi, Akodo, the twins Shiba and Bayushi, Shinjo, Fu Leng, and Hantei - came forth from their mother, Father Moon looked upon their faces. He thought to himself that he did not wish to share Lady Sun's love with any others, and thus, he sought to destroy his children by eating them. All of the children were swallowed by the Moon God, save for the youngest, Hantei. Hidden in a cave and fed by the animals of the Earth, Hantei grew to manhood and faced his father in combat to free his mother's love. As he cut open his father's belly, the other children fell from the sky, landing upon the mortal earth among Lord Moon's blood and Lady Sun's tears. From this immortal blood and divine tears, mankind was born.

One note overlooked for many centuries was the death of Ryoshun, the Tenth Kami. Ryoshun never fell as his siblings did, but died within his father’s stomach. Ryoshun's spirit passed on to the rift, an area of existence between all the Spirit Realms. He remained there to guard the spirits of the dead for all eternity.

The Rise of Man

The fall of the Kami marks the beginning of time, or at least, human time, and the separation of the Celestial Heavens from the world of Hantei and his siblings.

The early tribes of Rokugan formed before this date which may seem apocryphal: mortal men were formed from the blood of Lord Moon's wounds and the tears of Lady Sun shed in the wake of the fall of their children. However, the ways of divinity are unknowable, and none can truly say how long it took the Kami to fall.

The primitive tribes of humans scattered throughout what will one day become Rokugan discover the presence of powerful nature spirits. These spirits, denizens of Tengoku, hold powerful sway over events in the mortal world. They come to be known as fortunes and are worshiped in countless shrines and temples across the land.

Gisei Toshi, the ancient Phoenix Clan city is established. This city, now thought destroyed by all but the Isawa and those who dwell there behind the walls of illusion and misdirection, remains the earliest sign of 'cultured' human habitation after the beginning of time. Officially, it was established in the first year, just after Hantei crowned himself Emperor, and called Isawa’s City, renamed to the City of Sacrifice when Shiba kneels before Isawa.

Isawa’s younger brother discovers magic, and Isawa himself masters it.

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