A Summary Of The Clans

Akaishi - The Clan of Fortresses

The Akaishi are the first of the celestial clans, charged with the sacred duty of protecting the Empire from a very specific existential threat: The Unwanted One, The Ravenous God. Along the border of the bog, the Clan of Fortresses have built just that, a wall containing seven and seven more watchtowers, upon which they do battle against the unending hordes of creatures, beasts, and demons corrupted by the Father of Madness's divine blood. The unfortunate reality is the Akaishi are not always successful, corruption has inevitably spread to the Empire at large, and it is also their duty to hunt down and kill those who bear the Leech's Kiss, the soul-rot which can worm its way into entire bloodlines, where it will fester and spread for generations. Unfortunately, all who bear this curse must be purged, and the Akaishi have gone to war more than once to claim their right to such a purge. It is a cruel and unthinkable duty to be forced to expunge a bloodline, but such is the gravity of the Unwanted's influence. There is, however, hope. The Twisted Worm lays bleeding in its bog, should the Akaishi deprive it of sustenance for long enough, it will eventually die. Thus they remain vigilant, for the Empire.

Hōkiba - The Clan of War

The Clan of War's duty is the most straightforward, yet the most complex. At the dawn of the Imperial Age, it was the Houkiba that was tasked with putting all threats to the blade. Their military might was unrivaled, and for over 100 years they pushed the Empire's borders to their natural limit, where they've stayed ever since. Since these times, each Clan has carved out their own territory within the Empire, but the Clan of War has no lands left to conquer. Thus they have reinterpreted their sacred duty as maintaining a standing army should any threats rear their head. The Houkiba, with their standing armies doing nothing else in particular, is prone to waging wars for glory, or simply to test their skill as they would play a game, rather than any material reason. The Clan of War fights most frequently with those clans it shares a border with, naturally, and obviously must be able to produce enough resources to feed its near-perpetual war machine.

Musankumo - The Clan of Truth

The Musankumo's duty is a noble one, to seek out the corrupt elements among the clans. The Clan of Truth took it quite literally, ignoring any implication that they should do so for the purpose of exposing any such corrupt officials. Frequently digging for blackmail, the Clan of Truth excels at wielding the weaknesses of their targets as a weapon against them. Blackmail, of course, is an ignoble act, one that betrays Righteousness by keeping crimes a secret. It is a regretful fact that the Clan of Truth has embraced this dishonorable path. To this end, this clan is also the most likely to utilize Shinobi to accomplish its goals. While the majority of the clan are of course Samurai of average honor (as what clan could survive long without such a face?), they are not innocent of the dark deeds the heads of the clan put into motion. Duty is placed higher than any other virtue, and as such, Samurai of this clan typically follow orders unquestioningly. This disposition allows the dishonorable Daimyo to manipulate their subordinates by carefully placing them in the right place, at the right time, with a seemingly innocent set of orders. In this way, there is always doubt if a member of this clan is genuine, or if they serve a dark scheme even they are unaware of.

Negurakori - The Clan of Ritual

The Negurakori are a clan of scholars, their duty is to preserve historical records, calendars, religious texts, omens, and any such knowledge that was entrusted to future generations. It is said that none of this clan are truly members until they have transcribed a work for their great libraries. Though their duties are scholarly, the Clan of Ritual is not without military or courtly might. However, their greatest tradition is that of their onmyōji. Such well kept records have allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of the supernatural than any other clan, and this is the fact the entire clan is built around. Rather being ruled by the bushi tradition of the Wamori family, it is ruled by a council of elemental masters who receive divine guidance from the elemental kami. The Negurakori dislike war, though they are not pacifists, their deep connection with knowledge that has been transcribed by hand over generations has instilled upon them a profound understanding of the interconnection of the Empire. The flames of war do not roar exclusively on the battlefield.

Shuhōken - The Clan of Paths

The Shuhouken are an anomaly in many ways. The duty given to this clan was merely to find the true path and spread it across the Empire. Surely an undertaking, immense as it is, must be possible over generations and hundreds of years. If there is a truest path, the Clan of Paths have not found it. To more quickly find such a truest path, the Shuhouken have promoted certain individualistic ideologies. While the Samurai of the Clan of Paths are in no ways free of Bushido and the typical chain of command, they are given leeway to pursue their own paths in life that make members of other clans jealous or unsettled. The Bushi of the Clan of Paths tend to specialize in unorthodox styles or unconventional weapons entirely, some eschewing typical Samurai weaponry all together. The Miyabito of this clan have founded a tradition rooted in logic and reason, allowing them to make impossible deductions based on two seemingly unrelated pieces of testimony, much to the bafflement of the rest of the Empire. Their onmyōji have founded their techniques on manipulating the kami within themselves, perhaps in an attempt to better understand their primal influence. Finally, the strangest aspect of the Clan of Paths is their Monks, who, by nature of belonging to the Shuhouken, are indeed Samurai. Any of the Shuhouken are free to join these monks at any time, should they believe their path leads only to a dead end, so they might pursue the clan's duty with an unburdened soul.

Sumihane - The Clan of Artistry

The Sumihane's argubably has the most esoteric duty of the seven greater clans: to spread culture within the empire. In the early Imperial Age, they operated much as the Houkiba did, moving to territory recently conquered and enlightening the peoples there to the superior culture of the divines. The Miyabito of the Clan of Artistry are widely regarded as the best among the clans (not by the other clans of course, their own Miyabito are the ideal tradition of Miyabito, but the Sumihane always seem to rank second among their rivals), and for good reason. While the other clans are focused on their own duties and goals, the duty of the Sumihane aligns well with the skills one should expect from a Miyabito. A mastery of words and wit, a deep understanding of art, culture, and tradition. The Sumihane also have a strong emphasis on virtue, rivaling even the Houkiba, affording them a reputation as the courtly counterparts to the Clan of War. The Sumihane often turn aside the ways of war, and while they certainly don't shun their bushi traditions, they place emphasis on honorable single combat and defensive, attrition tactics on the fields of battle, preferring instead to win their victories with words, appeals, gifts, and favors.

Yorukuusai - The Clan of Maps

The Yorukuusai were granted the duty of exploring and cataloging lands outside the empire. While this process existed harmoniously with the Empire during the early Imperial age, after the Empire grew to its natural borders (caged in by impenetrable mountains, a sparsely vegetated steppe, the corrupted bogs of the Unwanted, and the mighty sea), the Clan of Maps had difficulty fulfilling their duties. They tried first to chart the seas, and while they did discover and map an entire nearby archipelago, they never made it very far out to sea. The Yorukuusai turned their sights next to the harsh steppes, where they had much more success, successfully swaying a foreign clan and their god to join their ranks. This is the moment that truly defines the modern outlook of the Yorukuusai. While the gifts of culture and steel the gods brought with them as they settled the Empire have served the clans well, there are gifts and powers the gods did not bring, things yet to be discovered. It is these things unknown to the Empire at large that the Yorukuusai exploit. Horses from the plains have grown larger than their imperial counterparts, there are forms of magic that a typical onmyōji can not preform, and there are materials and substances with useful qualities that in hundreds of years have not been discovered within the Empire. This small technological edge is what allows the Yorukuusai to continue their explorations abroad while projecting a military and political presence at home.

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