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Return of the Ki-Rin

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Doji's Fan

Shinjo's fan, used as proof of the Ki-Rin's identity

The Return of the Ki-Rin was the period in the years 815 and 816 from the time the Ki-Rin Clan returned through the Shadowlands to Rokugan until they were accepted into the empire by Emperor Hantei XXII. The group then called themselves the Unicorn Clan and bore little resemblance to the honorable Ki-Rin that left the empire so many centuries prior.

Return to Rokugan Edit

Many years prior to their return, The Unicorn Clan received a message from the long-missing Shinjo, through the Iuchi Mirror, directing them to return to Rokugan through the Shadowlands. For eighty years, the Unicorn traveled to the edges of those blighted lands, all the while stockpiling jade and otherwise preparing for their journey. [1]

The travel through those lands was long and trying, and time lost some of its meaning. The Unicorn noticed that their jade did not dull as they were expecting, and it did little to protect them from the land's horrors. Armies of faceless creatures of the Living Darkness would harry them daily for weeks, and then disappear completely for months at a time. More disturbing, however, was that occasionally one of their own kinsmen would suddenly go mad, eyes turning black and gaining the strength of ten men, until he could be put down. [2] [3]

After what seemed lifetimes of battle against the Darkness, someone finally noticed that the jade the Unicorn forces were carrying was beginning to lose its luster. Their leaders knew something was changing in the lands they traveled, and they knew that the lands were becoming more like what they expected from the beginning. When the Unicorn scouts first encountered a squad of goblins roaming the lands, a cry of joy was raised from the Clan's armies. A day later, the mighty army was sighted by a scout of the Crab Clan, surveying deep within the Shadowlands. The scout immediately returned the Kaiu Wall to report of the great force in purple armor approaching from the south. [4]

Arrival in Rokugan Edit

Confronting the Crab Clan Edit

When the Unicorn finally reached the Kaiu Wall, they were a tired, hungry, ramshackle mess. Their jade had been long since depleted. Fully a fifth of their number had been killed in the fighting or by their kinsmen after succumbing to the madness of either the Lying Darkness or the Taint. They arrived from the south, where no friendly force had ever been seen. And they arrived to face a mobilized Crab Clan army atop the largest defensive structure ever created, ready to repel the invasion of an army of gaijin barbarians. [4]

Before their leaders could attempt to parley, the Unicorn found themselves on the receiving end of an incredible barrage of conventional and magical arms. Faced with the hail of arrows and magical fire, the Unicorn had no choice but to retreat. The great army pulled back into the Shadowlands, out of range of even the Kuni family's great siege engines, and turned westward, looking for the inevitable edge of the massive wall. There, thousands of Crab warriors waited with every tool of warfare imaginable, except one. [4]

At that time, the Crab had never seen effective cavalry. The common Rokugani pony was entirely unsuited for true warfare, and was usually only used in battle by generals surveying their troops. Additionally, Rokugani at that time only rode bareback; the saddle was unknown to Rokugan. [5] The warriors of the Crab were completely unprepared when the Unicorn army charged. Faced with speeds their troops had never seen and mounted opponents with a combined mass ten times that of an infantryman, the Crab infantry was quickly crushed, and the Unicorn continued their charge out of the Crab archers' range and into the heart of Rokugan. [4]

In the Scorpion Clan lands Edit

The Unicorn crashed through the lands of the Crab Clan, with their armies in pursuit, and passed into the lands of the Scorpion Clan. Bayushi Ogoe, Scorpion Clan Champion at the time, [6] was informed merely that a skirmish was taking place in his southern territories, and assumed that some Shadowlands force had passed the Crab's defenses. Not wanting to risk his own vassals against such a force, Tanjaro called on the aid of the Lion Clan, because he would not dream of stealing their glory, and the Phoenix Clan, because he would not assume his shugenja were better than theirs. [4]

In the Phoenix Clan lands Edit

The Unicorn, however, still moved with a speed completely unknown to any force in Rokugan at the time [4] and when first seen by Phoenix scouts in the Shrine of the Ki-Rin, [7] they were faced with the Lion/Phoenix army. The Unicorn once again charged their ranks and continued charging until they were long past the threat. [4]

Final resolution Edit

The armies of the Unicorn continued in their northward run until a Phoenix shugenja finally caught up with them under a banner of truce. He peacefully parleyed with Shinjo Nishijin and learned the army's story and their heritage. Convinced of their cause, the shugenja conducted Nishijin to Otosan Uchi. After being introduced to the Emperor's court, Nishijin approached the Champion of the Crane Clan, Doji Ryobu and presented him with a small jade box, explaining that his family's legends said that upon their return, the box should be presented to the Crane Clan Champion. Ryobu opened the box to find a sandalwood fan bearing the personal mon of Doji herself. Recognizing Doji's Fan, Ryobu was convinced that the Unicorn were indeed the children of Shinjo. [8]

In Otosan Uchi, the Phoenix and Crane Clans declared their belief that the Unicorn were the children of Shinjo, returned. The Lion and Scorpion Clans, however, claimed that there was no way the barbarians could be Shinjo's family. The Crab, finally satisfied that the Unicorn were not an invading Shadowlands army, merely returned to the Wall. [4] The Fox Clan had recognized the Unicorn as their lost kin, and advised their allies the Miya, who carried the message and through their influence they manouvered to allow audience to the foreign barbarians into the Imperial Court. [9]

For a week following, the Lion and Scorpion fought the Unicorn. Though their speed and gaijin tactics gave them a distinct advantage early, the lack of knowledge of the land and the lack of available reinforcements quickly took their toll on the Unicorn forces, and they began losing ground. At that time, a diplomat named Ide Suari journeyed to Otosan Uchi, met personally with Hantei XXII, and presented him with a breeding pair of the great Otaku steeds. The Lion and Scorpion were ordered that day to cease all hostilities against the Unicorn. [4]

One year later, the Unicorn Clan was officially recognized as the heirs of Shinjo, daughter of Amaterasu and sister of Hantei. [4]

During this period in history, the following are the known leaders within Rokugan:
Emperor Hantei XXII
Crab Clan Unknown
Crane Clan Doji Ryobu
Dragon Clan Unknown
Lion Clan Unknown; Ikoma Daimyo: Ikoma Shabiko
Phoenix Clan Unknown; Asako Daimyo: Asako Matoya
Scorpion Clan Bayushi Tanjaro
Unicorn Clan Shinjo Nishijin; Ide Daimyo: Unknown; Iuchi Daimyo: Iuchi Moriho; Moto Daimyo: Moto Tsume; Otaku Daimyo: Otaku Kuriko

Aftermath Edit

After the initial shock had subsided, the Crab took stock of the Unicorn who had fought against the darkest evil of the Shadowlands in their struggle to reach home. The two Clans maintained a firm alliance ever since. [10]

References Edit

  1. Way of the Unicorn, p. 37
  2. Way of the Unicorn, pp. 37-38
  3. Way of Shadow, pp. 123-124
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Way of the Unicorn, p. 38
  5. Way of the Unicorn, p. 98
  6. Way of the Scorpion, p. 38
  7. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 238
  8. Way of the Unicorn, pp. 38-39
  9. Winter Court: Kyuden Seppun, p. 41
  10. Way of the Crab, p. 34

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