Mirumoto Takishi, Kuni Matsuda and Shinjo Smith were invited to take part in the Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured, an annual tournament organised by the minor clans to forge alliances between themselves and the major clans. Each minor clan hosted a single event, highlighting their specialities. The events were:
Mantis: Armed Combat
At the end of the event, the top 8 contenders took part in a final challenge: to enter the Kitsune Mori and search for a hidden shrine. There they would find tokens representing the minor clans. The first person to return with one of these would be declared the tournament’s winner. Shinjo Smith was the first to enter the forest and emerged first, carrying the token of the Mantis Clan.
Shinjo Yokatsu’s armies ride through Lion lands, leading many to believe he has decided to join them against the Crane. However, his target is the Imperial City of Otosan Uchi. He is confronted by Doji Satsume who challenges Yokatsu to a duel. Yokatsu cheats by having his men shoot Satsume with arrows before the duel. The city gates open for the Unicorn and the city’s mystical defences do not trigger. Yokatsu’s men quickly seal off the city, preventing anyone from leaving. Yokatsu enters the Imperial Courts and, in front of the assembled courtiers, kills Hantei the 38th. Yokatsu then provides his soldiers with a list of names with orders to kill everyone on the list.
Iuchi Karasu learns too late of his Clan Champion’s plans and sends word to Kuni Yori of the attack on Otosan Uchi. Yori in turn sends word to Yogo Junzo who is able to send Scorpion messengers to all the other clans. Yori also contacts Kuni Matsuda to warn him that Hantei Sotorii, who was the guest of honour at the Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured, may be in danger. The magistrates manage to save Sotorii from Unicorn assassins and provide protection for the Emperor’s son until he can reach Crab lands.
The armies of the Great Clans converge on the Imperial City. The battle lasts for seven days with many casualties on both sides. The battle ends when Akodo Toturi manages to best Yokatsu in a duel. Their leader defeated, the remaining Unicorn flee to their lands.
The threat of the Unicorn ended, Hantei Sotorii is officially declared Emperor. As his first edict, he banishes the Unicorn from the lands of Rokugan. The Crab will be gifted the Unicorn lands to protect the same way they protect their lands from the Shadowlands. Shinjo Smith and Iuchi Karasu are allowed to join other clans for their services to the Empire.
Hantei the 39th’s second edict is to address Akodo Toturi and Doji Hoturi. The Lion and Crane are supposed to protect the Emperor from harm, yet they allowed the war between their clans to distract them from their duty. Hantei the 39th strips the Akodo and Doji of their family names, and denies Toturi and Hoturi the right to seppuku. Toturi and Hoturi will be ronin, and all other members of their clans must either become ronin or join another family of their clan. Matsu Tsuko and Kakita Yoshi become Clan Champions of their respective clans.
Finally, after Kuni Yori declines the position, Hantei the 39th assigns Yogo Junzo the position of Imperial Advisor.
Before the Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured, Yokuni appeared and spoke to Shinjo Smith. “It begins today – fate has brought you to this time and place and you will need to make a choice. You decision will either save or doom the empire. Choose well!” Smith was offered the chance to join Yokatsu’s troops by killing Sotorii, but Smith refused.
After Sotorii’s coronation, Yokuni appeared again. “The Empire is changed. The Unicorn’s actions have placed a new Emperor on the throne, but not the one they intended. I came to you months ago, and told you that you would lose everything. You family, clan and lands are all gone, yet you still live. Your honour is intact and you still hold the position of Imperial Magistrate.
“Your destiny is still yet to unfold. You will be called upon to protect the Empire from the greatest evil it has ever known. Before then you will have to make one final choice. The teachings of the Empire will tell you to do one thing, but you must do the opposite. Only once this choice has been made, will you be in a position to save the Empire from itself.”
As well as the death of Hantei the 38th, the Unicorn also killed anyone who was related to Hantei by blood. It is unknown why they would wish to do so, but they have attempted to eradicate all traces of the Hantei bloodline. Doji Satsume was killed by Yokatsu’s dishonourable actions, leaving the Empire without an Emerald Champion. Hantei the 39th allows Akodo Kage to keep his family name in recognition of his position as his father’s sensei.