Winter of Red Snows 
Khan's Defiance
Toshi Ranbo,
Lion lands
1168 - 1169
Major Forces:
Moto Chagatai,
Matsu Yoshino,
Toturi Kurako,
Council of Five
Battles of Rokugan

The Khan's Defiance was the engineered assault on the Imperial Throne by the Champion (Khan) of the Unicorn Clan Moto Chagatai. When the Emperor Toturi III perished during his quest for enlightenment, the Imperial Throne was left empty, with Toturi III's Empress, Toturi Kurako, ruling in her dead husband's absence, though few in the Empire respected her. When the Khan discovered that his former ally the Shogun would not seize the throne, he launched a military campaign in the dead of winter, and attacked the provinces of the Lion Clan. He raided storehouse after storehouse, depleting the Lion's supplies while they were unable to respond to his attacks because of the winter conditions. When the thaws came, the Lion descended upon the Khol army in the center of their lands while the Khan and the Baraunghar, the smallest and fastest of his armies, used powerful travel magic to move instantly to the Imperial City. [1] It led to the Battle of Toshi Ranbo and the Khan's later defeat in the Fall of Shiro Moto.

The Vacant Throne Edit

The Emperor Toturi III had been secluded since the Imperial Court received the visit of the Daigotsu's ambassador. The Shogun Kaneka moved his army to the Imperial City to protect it during the Emperor's period of seclusion. [2] When the Empire knew Naseru had left the Imperial City and had entered the Shadowlands, the Khan were already preparing his plot. The Baraunghar had been conducting maneuvers with the Khol for weeks. [3]

Supporting the Shogun Edit

In 1168 Moto Chagatai began to explore ways to reach the capital Toshi Ranbo without being discovered. He desired to support Kaneka's advance at Toshi Ranbo, what he believed was a Shogun's attempt to seize control of the Empire by his brother in arms. [4] It led to several skirmishes with the Lion Clan, which involved Ikoma Fujimaro's outriders and the heir of the Lion Clan Champion, Matsu Yoshino. [5] In 1168 a small expeditionary forced to scout a safe path to Toshi Ranbo, and they were discovered and destroyed within Lion lands. [6] Chagatai was angry over the loss of his advance force. [3]

Second Unicorn Incursion Edit

A second Unicorn incursion into the Northern Lion lands prompted the Akodo forces to be relocated from their Dragon positions in the War of Silk and Steel. It eliminated a blockade that separated Nanashi Mura from the Dragon homeland. [7] [6]

Toturi III's Death Edit

After the death of Toturi III at the Battle of the Tomb, Chagatai felt that the Empress Regent Toturi Kurako was unfit to rule. She had no blood-ties to the Imperial Family, and to the Khan Kurako appeared weak and a puppet of those around her. Chagatai decided to replace her with a more worthy candidate. Chagatai had attempted to convince the Shogun Kaneka to take the role, but Kaneka had refused. Seeing no other worthy candidates Chagatai decided he would take the throne himself. [8]

Gifts of Rice Edit

The Unicorn supplied the Dragon with the rice they need to survive the winter, allowing her clan to continue its war against the Lion and Crane. In this way three Great Clans were involved in a war while the Khan was preparing his definitive attack. [8] The same was done with the Scorpion Clan, [9] which were facing starvation after the wrath of Bishamon devastated their crops. [10] The Scorpion would shield Dragon from any Crane movement in courtregarding the matter. [11]

Scorpion supports Chagatai Edit

The Imperial Chancellor Bayushi Kaukatsu became ally of the Khan. Kaukatsu created an incident between Shosuro Higatsuku and Doji Nagori, both serving the Shogun. He also undermined Kanekas's power passing to the Crane Clan a complete listing of all the forces the Shogun had at his command, including those who did not normally appear in the reports of his quartermasters. [12] His Lord Bayushi Paneki did not know the real intentions of Chagatai, but did not oppose him. [13]

Mantis supports Chagatai Edit

The Mantis Clan Champion Yoritomo Naizen shared the secret plans of the Khan Moto Chagatai, the Khan's Defiance. His trade advisor Moshi Eihime confirmed in privacy the supplies traded with the Unicorn, [14] a cargo of dried fish, best suited for military marches, had been delivered by Yoritomo Bunmei. [15]

Crab will support the Winner Edit

The crab assumed that the Scorpion were manipulating the Empress somehow. Kuon could not believe that the Emperor thought her worthy of the Imperial Throne. If a worthy man with the strength to hold the Empire together were to sit on the Steel Throne, Kuon would pledge his legions to follow him. [16] The Crane unsuccessfully attempted to turn the Crab against the Khan. [17]

The Attack Began Edit

Khan's Shining Horde

The Khan's Shining Horde

Ide Tang had stockpiled supplies throughout the Lion lands working with non Unicorn merchants. There was no obvious connection to the Unicorn and they would sack and burn the warehouses Tang had filled while the army advanced. Iuchi Lixue and the Baraunghar would allow the supply trains to meet them wherever they chose in the first stage of the campaign. The final speech was said by the Khan in the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang Temple in the White Shore Plain, asking the blessings of the Lords of the Death. [18] The Winter of Red Snow began. [19]

Baraunghar Edit

The Baraunghar would move out in the first steps of the campaign, executing several raids along Lion lands, to draw focus away from the movements of the Khan's army. [20] They drove the storms, pushing the snow before them to clear their path. The snow was whipped into a wave that destroyed everything in its path, including the border Lion outposts. [21]

Khol Edit

The Khan himself led the army that took the Village of the Pious Monk, in his way to Toshi Ranbo. The Lion were still converging on his previous location, with the weather obscuring the Unicorn trail. [22]

Junghar Edit

While the Unicorn was still harassing the Lion, the One Tribe retributed for the previous attacks and insults [23] made by the Unicorn over the Tattered Ear Tribe at the Shinomen Forest, and the Winter War began. [24] The Junghar led by Shinjo Shono defended the southern Unicorn lands in a two-war front, [25] until the nezumi made a halt to fight the Tomorrow. [26]

Winter Court Edit

Kaukatsu had allied with the Unicorn Clan Moto Chagatai in secret, and he already knew the Unicorn plans. During the Winter Court at Kyuden Otomo the news of the Khan's invasion of Lion lands reached the Court the Unicorn representative, Ide Jiao, who made a mistake. He nearly exposed the plans of the Unicorn when he aggressively sought allies. Jiao told the truth to the Mantis delegation, and instead of gaining them as such, he terrified Moshi Amika with the Khan's plans. Kaukatsu replaced Jiao with a Shosuro Actor who committed seppuku in his place. [27] Jiao returned to Unicorn lands in secret. [28]

Protector of Toshi Ranbo Edit

Bayushi Norachai was chosen as the Protector of the Imperial City by the Empress Toturi Kurako. [27] He requested troops to defend the capital but few Clans answered. [29] Norachai could not publicly accuse Chagatai, but he knew the Unicorn intention was to take the Throne by force. Due to this, his orders could not answer why he requested so, and many Clans refused. [25]

Defenders of the City Edit

Norachai stationed the recently arrived Akodo led by Akodo Shigetoshi in the north, west, and south city walls. Most of the city's defenses were centered on the western border. The Mantis forces led by Yoritomo Utemaro were shifted from the west to the east side. The Mantis was the first Clan to answer Norachai's call to arms providing the number he requested to defend the capital. Norachai expected the attack from the west, and if the Lion failed to hold, that the Mantis must step in and fight in the streets. Kaneka had less than five hundred men within the city, following the orders of the Empress. He had been ordered to leave completely the city defence. The Jade Legion led by Doji Ichita were under Norachai's command, as well as the Seppun Miharu. [30]

Lion Arrangement Edit

Chagatai could have reached the city weeks ago. Instead he had moved from target to target, seemingly at random. With the snow thawed, the Lion armies were in place to hold the Unicorn. Ikoma Korin's forces descended upon him from the north, the Lion Clan Champion was pressing from the east, and Matsu Takenao's forces rose from the south. Chagatai made as if to retreat. [30]

Assault on Toshi Ranbo Edit

Assault on Toshi Ranbo

Assault on Toshi Ranbo

The Unicorn moved onward from Kyuden Ikoma, towards the Imperial City itself. They stopped, with the Lion only an hour from their position, so that the Baraunghar under Iuchi Lixue could start to perform an enormous ritual. The Khol held against attack while the shugenja worked their magics. To Toshi Ranbo's sentries' shock and dismay, Moto Chagatai's armies were teleported just outside Toshi Ranbo. [30]

Entrance to the City Edit

During the Battle of Toshi Ranbo the gates of the Imperial City fell unexpectedly quickly, thanks to assistance from the Mantis Clan. The Unicorn swarmed the city streets, encountering stiff resistance from the Lion and Crane Clan. Chagatai and Kaneka locked in personal combat. Kaneka gained the upper hand over Chagatai, injuring the Khan's leg and was about to finish his task when the Shogun's brother, Isawa Sezaru arrived in a very dramatic fashion. [31]

Defeat and Shame Edit

The Khan was saved a finishing blow by the arrival of some of the Moto White Guard, which Kaneka easily finished off but bought Chagatai the time he needed to kill the Shogun. The rest of the Unicorn's war effort did not go so smoothly, and they were held at a standstill by the forces of the Lion and Crane, despite being aided (albeit somewhat indirectly) by the Mantis. All hostilities ceased with the arrival of the Phoenix armies. The magic of the Phoenix armies sought out combatants throughout the capital, holding them at bay and preventing them from engaging eachother. Above the city, in almost the same place where Sezaru had been only moments earlier, Isawa Ochiai used the Egg of the Void to summon the Fire Dragon in a show of support for the Phoenix Clan's desire. The Khan and his ally Mantis Clan Champion Yoritomo Naizen were brought before the present heads of the Great Clans, though perhaps suprisingly was spared execution on his grounds that he was simply trying to ensure the Empire had a strong leader thanks to Naizen's words. It was decided that the knowledge that Chagatai had been defeated and would now be forced to go home in shame, along with the reputation of being an ambitious failure of a barbarian was punishment enough. Matsu Yoshino swore before the court that the Khan would die, however - in a year's time, in honorable combat, when the Lion claimed Shiro Moto for themselves. [32]

Empress' Death Edit

Kurako had committed seppuku in her chambers within the Imperial Palace to prevent the Khan from capturing her. Her body was discovered by Bayushi Norachai. [32]

Aftermath Edit

Denounced on Stage

Playwright vilifying the Khan

This war fired the end of the War of Silk and Steel between the Crane and Dragon Clan. The Mantis were not punished for their betrayal. The Throne remained vacant with no clear way how to fill it, without any Clan claiming it, and being the two brothers of Toturi III dead. The Phoenix guarded the Imperial City, but without a real purpose after the fight was over. The Unicorn army returned home with the threat of a Lion attack within one year, [32] which would lead in the Fall of Shiro Moto.

Known Casualties Edit


  1. A Special Assigment, by Shawn Carman
  2. Brothers, by Shawn Carman
  3. 3.0 3.1 To Defend the Emperor, Part 3, by Shawn Carman
  4. Vacant Throne, p. 35
  5. Rulebook Story (Drums of War)
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Father's Legacy, by Brian Yoon
  7. Vacant Throne, p. 43
  8. 8.0 8.1 Khan's Defiance Storyline Preview (Imperial Herald v2#20), by Shawn Carman and Rusty Priske
  9. Dark Knowledge, by Brian Yoon
  10. Worldly Matters, by Shawn Carman
  11. Old Alliances (Khan's Defiance flavor)
  12. Battle Lines, by Nancy Sauer
  13. Knowledge First (Imperial Herald v2#21), by Rusty Priske
  14. Plotting the Course (Imperial Herald v2#21), by Shawn Carman
  15. Souls of Steel, Part 1, by Shawn Carman
  16. Armed and Ready (Imperial Herald v2#21), by Rusty Priske and Fred Wan
  17. Peaceful Discourse (Khan's Defiance flavor)
  18. Winter Thunder, by Nancy Sauer
  19. Winter Warfare (Samurai flavor)
  20. Swift as the Wind (Imperial Herald v2#21), by Brian Yoon and Shawn Carman
  21. The Khan's Arrival (Imperial Herald v2#21), by Fred Wan and Shawn Carman
  22. Men of Power, by Shawn Carman
  23. Vacant Throne, p. 56
  24. Test of Enlightenment
  25. 25.0 25.1 Vacant Throne, p. 57
  26. Vacant Throne, p. 59
  27. 27.0 27.1 Winter Nights: Sowing the Wind, by Nancy Sauer
  28. Vacant Throne, p. 58
  29. Command from the Throne, by Rusty Priske
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 The Truest Test, Part I, by Shawn Carman
  31. The Truest Test, Part II, by the Legend of the Five Rings Story Team
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 The Truest Test, Part III, by the Legend of the Five Rings Story Team

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