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War of the Rich Frog

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War of the Rich Frog
Location:
Toshi sano Kanemochi Kaeru,
Sukoshi Zutsu
Date: 1165 - 1166
Major Forces:
Lion Clan,
Unicorn Clan,
Dragon Clan
Generals:
Tamago,
Ikoma Hasaku, Ikoma Otemi,
Shinjo Shono, Moto Chagatai,
Mirumoto Kei
Battles of Rokugan


The War of the Rich Frog was a conflict that lasted from 1165 to 1166 between the Unicorn and Lion Clans centered around Toshi sano Kanemochi Kaeru, a small but productive trade city on the Lion-Unicorn border. The city had become a holding of the Unicorn Clan on their return, though the Lion had long wanted to reclaim the city. They got their chance in 1159, when the family of ronin that administered the city for the Unicorn offered fealty as a vassal family to the Ikoma.

Before the War Edit

The city, having long been administered by the ronin Kaeru family under a series of Unicorn governors, was situated in Unicorn territory, but little attention was paid to it by the Clan's leadership. The Kaeru were allowed a great deal of autonomy, which made Kaeru Toshi a popular place for black market goods as well as legal trading. [1]

Lion Interest Edit

The Kaeru petitioned to Imperial Court for protection, and Hantei Naseru passed their plea to any Clan that could offer them security, claiming that the Seppun and the Imperial Legions were stretched to their limit. Matsu Ketsui accepted, sending Matsu Kenji and the 16th guntai to the city. [2]

Annexation by the Lion Edit

In 1159 the Lion Spymaster Ikoma Sume visited Kaeru Tomaru, the ronin leader of the City of the Rich Frog. Sume convinced Tomaru that Ikoma patronage would serve the interests of both parties. The Kaeru family was made vassals of the Ikoma, and the Lion annexed the city. Sume came to meet the Kitsu Daimyo, Kitsu Juri, and the Akodo Daimyo, Akodo Ginawa, and informed them of the new agreement, wherein the Kaeru would remain as governors of the city and in return they would provide the Lion with funds. [3]

The Unicorn had no reaction at the time. [4]

The Opening Gambit Edit

The Khan's Plan Edit

Unknown to the Lion, Moto Chagatai spent the following year after the Lion coup, assembling and training an army capable of defeating the Lion garrison in Kaeru Toshi. The Khan intended to retake Kaeru Toshi by surprise attack, thus showing the Unicorn's might over the Emperor's "Right Hand". After planning and secretly moving into position, the Khan's handpicked bushi struck. [1]

Legal Maneuvering Edit

The courts of the empire were outraged by the Unicorn's surprise attack. Imperial Edict had forbidden war between clans since the Crane-Crab War. Ide Tang cleverly managed a defense against the protests being leveled against his clan. He carefully pointed out that the decree listed explicitly which clans that could not make war with one another, noting the Unicorn Clan was not included. The edict was made during their long absence, and the clan technically and legally were exempted. [5]

In addition to Tang's political maneuvering, the Unicorn managed to ally with the Scorpion Clan for aid during the war. The Scorpion helped the Unicorn in return for the one thing they wanted most from the Master of the Four Winds: control of Ryoko Owari Toshi. [6] The Scorpion supplied information and supplies to aid the Unicorn's campaign. [7]

War Began Edit

In 1165 the Unicorn unleashed a full-scale assault on the City of the Rich Frog. The young commander of the City, Akodo Ijiasu was one of the first casualties. His senior officer Akodo Tadenori, took command [8] and prevented the city from being completely taken, his tenacious defense gave Lion reinforcements time to arrive. [9] The Lion defenders had been forced out of the westernmost quarter of the city. [10]

Complications Edit

The Rain of Blood Edit

The Unicorn assault would have quickly taken the city, but no force within Rokugan was able to predict the horror that was about to befall the entire empire, the Rain of Blood. The Rain caused massive panic everywhere. Additionally, the Rain caused a great deal of fratricide in both forces, leading to more deaths. The Rain increased hostilities further, as neither side was certain of what or who had caused it. [11] Tadenori became corrupted during the Rain [11] and Ikoma Hasaku was appointed as the new Lion commander. [1]

Intervention Edit

The Emperor and the Shogun Edit

Early on, Shogun Kaneka moved to stop the battle with his Imperial Legion, but he was redirected by Toturi III. The Emperor was afraid the Shogun would use his intervention in the war as an opportunity to ally with his former Lion and Unicorn allies. The Emperor, his power being tested by the Shogun and the Gozoku, could not afford to allow his half-brother to gain that much power. [12]

Erratic Tactics Edit

For unknown reasons, the Lion forces suffered a great deal of miscommunication and counter-intuitive orders. The leadership of the clan's forces were confused by the vague and constantly changing orders issued by their Champion, Matsu Nimuro. The city had changed hands several times during the course of the conflict. [13]

The Dragon Clan Edit

While the courts attempted to broker a peace between the warring clans, many wondered why the Emperor did not simply forbid the two clans from fighting. Unfortunately, because the Empire was in chaos from the Rain of Blood, Toturi III could not afford to make an enemy of either the Unicorn Clan nor the Lion. Instead, the Emperor commanded the Dragon Clan to intervene. The Dragon were ordered to make the battle too costly for either clan to continue. While this was a heavy burden to the Dragon, who were already spread out fighting a new Bloodspeaker threat, [14] Togashi Satsu dispatched Mirumoto Kei with a force of Imperial troops to hinder the warring clans. [15] The Crab stood neutral, being the Lion and the Unicorn both allies of the Crab. [16] The introduction of the Dragon in the conflict was a shock to the Lion, as they captured the northern districts of the city. [17]

Chagatai's Plans Broken Edit

Chagatai's original vision for the assault was for the Unicorn to reach the city, establish a foothold, and use the area as a staging ground for a series of raids and skirmishes along the borders of the Lion holdings. The uncharacteristic lack of response from Matsu Nimuro, both in terms of troops and strategic advice, more than made up for the effects of the Rain upon the offensive push. Once they established a foothold in the city, the Unicorn believed that they could force diplomatic concessions out of the Lion. Dragon's involvement had disrupted Chagatai's plan. With a third party involved, the Unicorn skirmishers could no longer focus their attention exclusively upon the Lion. With the Dragon involved, the war was likely to last longer than he intended. Cahgatai's current main goal was to find a way to end the war under the most favorable terms possible. [18]

Stalemate Edit

The city had changed hands several times during the course of the conflict. The battle had been at a standstill for months and the arrival of the Dragon had only made things more difficult. The Lion Champion ordered Ikoma Otemi to assume command of the forces protecting the city there. The excuse was that the Lion Champion was displeased with the progress being made. Hasaku commited seppuku. [13] It was later revealed that this was due to the loss of Champion Matsu Nimuro to the creature the False Nimuro, but at the time, the Lion commanders of the conflict were slowly becoming unsure of the sanity of their own Champion.[citation needed]

The Final Push Edit

Though the Dragon forces caused a great deal of damage to both the Unicorn and Lion armies, they were unable to stop the fighting. Both sides moved to make their final pushes for the war. The insignificant village of Sukoshi Zutsu was the Unicorn staging ground for the final attack. The Lion received intelligence about this plan and redeployed their forces to meet the Unicorn as they deployed there. The Dragon attacks had actually served to even the numbers of the two warring armies, making the potential for loss of life even higher. [19]

For the final attack, the armies of both clans had been joined by their respective Champions, Moto Chagatai and Matsu Nimuro. Unknown to anyonet, Nimuro had actually been replaced by the creature known as Tamago. [20]

Led by their Champions, the resulting battle was bloody. Losses were high on both sides. During the fight, Chagatai found and engaged what he believed to be Nimuro in personal combat. Their fight was difficult, and both men inflicted a terrible wounds on one another. But in the end, Chagatai prevailed, killing Tamago. Their pseudo-Champion dead, and having taken heavy losses, the Lion withdraw back to Kaeru Toshi under the command of Ikoma Otemi. [20]

Aftermath Edit

Following the final battle, the Lion retained control of Toshi sano Kanemochi Kaeru and the Unicorn held Sukoshi Zutsu. [21] The Emerald Legions arrived, led by the Emerald Champion Yasuki Hachi, and the fighting ceased. [citation needed] While many felt the Unicorn had gained nothing from the war, they had earned a great deal of respect for their military prowess by matching the Lion might. The Lion did not lose the war, keeping the city of the Rich Frog, but they lost honor from being stymied by the Unicorn army. The real winners were the Scorpion Clan, who took back Ryoko Owari, [21] fulfilling the pact made between Sunetra and Chagatai, [22] and the Dragon Clan, who proved themselves worthy of the Emperor's trust.[citation needed]

Known Deaths Edit

References


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