Emperor: The 22nd year of the reign of Hantei XXXVIII
Emerald Champion: Doji Satsume
Clan Champions: Hida Kisada (Crab), Doji Hoturi (Crane), Togashi Yokuni (Dragon), Akodo Toturi (Lion), Shiba Ujimitsu (Phoenix), Bayushi Shoju (Scorpion), Shinjo Yokatsu (Unicorn)
Each year during the last days of autumn, hundreds of Shugenja gather at the Shrine of the Ki-Rin to take part in a grand tournament. The prize is a chest containing one scroll from each of the shugenja schools of the empire – a prize anyone would be proud to have. Mirumoto Takishi and Shinjo Smith were given the duty to protect the chest by Shinjo Gidayu, a Unicorn Daimyo. A band of ronin, lead by a man named Niban, stole the chest and managed to broker a deal with the magistrates to allow Koan, a ronin shugenja, to enter the tournament.
This year, the Emperor had announced that his niece, Otomo Yoroshiku, was eligible for marriage. As the second in line for the Emerald Throne, anyone who married her would hold considerable power. Over the course of the Winter Court, many suitors attempted to win her hand, including Shinjo Smith and Mirumoto Ryuden (Takishi’s Daimyo). During the court, Shiba Himitsu loudly made accusations about Yoroshiku’s lineage. Ryuden challenged Himitsu to a duel which Himitsu accepted for the following day. However, during the night, Himitsu is murdered and testimony from several guests puts Ryuden at the murder scene.
The Magistrates investigation discovers that one of Yoroshiku’s handmaidens has become corrupted in some way, turning into a shape-shifting monster. With the help of Shosuro Tage, they track the creature to the basement and kill it. Before its body crumbles to dust, its features dissolved leaving a blank face. Realising that if they we’re to reveal to the court that this creature was associated with Yoroshiku, it would bring great shame on her, and, by extension, the Emperor himself. Ryuden decides that the honourable thing to do is to accept the blame and commit seppuku, avoiding any shame on the Emperor.
Himitsu had come into possession of information regarding Yoroshiku’s true lineage. 16 years previously, Shinjo Gidayu had an affair and Yoroshiku was the result. Gidayu had committed a grave crime in stealing an heir from the Emperor. Gidayu’s karo, who had helped deliver the child, was commanded by his Daimyo to commit seppuku to prevent anyone knowing of the crime. The karo refused and fled Unicorn lands, eventually taking the name Niban. It was Niban who provided the information to Shiba Himitsu.
At the end of the Winter Courts this year, it is announced that Otomo Yoroshiku and Mirumoto Hanzu will be married in the spring. The marriage promises to bring considerable political power to the Dragon Clan.
With his clan at war with the Lion, Doji Satsume realises that he cannot continue to be Crane champion and Emerald Champion. This winter he relinquishes control of he Crane clan to his son, Doji Hoturi. Many see this as a shred move, as Hoturi was childhood friends with Akodo Toturi. It is hoped that their friendship may help end this war
Following on from last years meetings between Yogo Junzo and Kuni Yori, this year Junzo travels to Crab lands. Word around the courts is that Junzo travelled with a larger than normal group of samurai and that his group were carrying some sort of artefact for Yori’s attention.