|Kachiko's Tale: Imperial Edition|
Kachiko's Tale: Imperial Edition
Kachiko watched as the Emperor slid deeper into the sickness that had befallen him. The scents of incense were thick in the room from the holy men that prayed to the Gods of Fortune, but she knew it would take more than prayer to save the dying Lord. Wise men from across the Empire -- the shugenja -- pored over their ancient scrolls of wisdom, but so far, none of their spells could break the Great Lord's fever. Already news was arriving from every Province, telling of the six Clans moving against each other. It was only days ago that the Emperor's Emerald Champion had fallen and until a new Champion could be chosen, the Clans would be free from enforcement of the Laws of the Land. While some Clans would cling to the Provinces they already controlled, others would be acting quickly to snatch up the Provinces that were vulnerable to attack.
The thunder of samurai riding into battle was commonplace. Fields were aflame with the ravages of war, and word of the ninja moving among the shadows was in the air. It was a time of distant thunder, and distant thunder always warns of present danger.
The Emperor's coughing resumed in earnest and Kachiko leaned in close to whisper in his ear and touch his trembling hand. It would not be very much longer that the plague would claim his life. So often the wise men marveled at the Lady's courage, being so close to the Emperor at the hour of his greatest weakness.
Kachiko looked at the wise men and smiled so delicately. "They believe you are dying of the plague, but we know differently, don't we my Lord?" The Emperor could do nothing but tremble under her tender touch, knowing that dark forces were moving against the six Clans and he was helpless to hinder it.
Many races thrive within Rokugan, including the mysterious Naga of the deep forests, the Ogres of the mountains and many small goblinoid races who inhabit the edges of the Empire, the Shadowlands. Beyond the Imperial borders there are lands still unexplored, filled with barbaric races with strange and incomprehensible lifestyles.
Rokugan has a strong culture, based on the philosophy of the Five Rings, a belief that the forces of the five Elements -- Earth, Air, Fire, Water and the Void -- are the basis for all life, thought and action. Many scholars spend their entire lives trying to understand the complex interactions between the Elements.
Now, rumors fly from the capitol bearing terrible news. A plague has decimated the Imperial Family. Bodies litter the streets. The greatest healers of the Empire have failed to save the lives of those who have been infected, thought they have finally stopped the spread of the illness. Many of their number fill the burial pits as well.
The Emperor lingers at the edge of the Void, struggling to survive long enough to name his successor. He seeks one who will unify the Empire through martial power, through general acclaim, or through enlightenment of the spirit.
The populace fears civil war and the chaos which will follow. Each Clan works behind the scenes to see one of their own named to the Emerald Throne, but internal factions have proven to be an insurmountable distraction. The ancient rivalries between the forces of light and darkness divide brother from sister, Clan from Clan.
It is a time for strong leaders. It is a time for elemental magic, biting steel and deeds of honor. It is a time for Legends!
- It is claimed that the Empire has been led by the Hantei for five millennia. In truth it was actually over eleven millenia.
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