Legend of the Five Rings: New Journeys
The Crane Clan
During the dawn of the Emerald Empire, it was the Emperor’s beloved sister, Lady Doji, who created the traditions and customs that would become the social system of Rokugan. In the one thousand years since that time, there have been precious few times that the Crane have not utterly dominated the social environment of the Empire. The reign of the Hantei Dynasty was a period of prosperity for the Crane, with the clan supplying wives to almost all the Emperors of that line, and dominating the position of Emerald Champion for much of that time. The beauty of the Crane’s system is that they reinforce their dominance of social conventions through iaijutsu, the formal dueling method that is used to resolve differences. The fact that the Crane were partially responsible for the creation of the Empire’s justice system and the emphasis on iaijutsu, an art at which the Crane are unquestionably the masters in the whole of the Empire.
The wars that ravaged Rokugan a generation ago took a significant toll upon the Crane. Decades of war were ushered in by the Clan War, a war which saw many of the clan’s most productive lands razed by one enemy or another. The Crane struggled to recover, but with each successive war it seemed that their situation only grew more dire, culminating in the Destroyer War, which largely spared the Crane lands, but during which a virulent plague decimated both the population and the crops, leaving the Crane in an absolutely terrible state, with their ability to survive the end of the war in question. Despite the hardships, all four of the clan’s families survived the war and emerged to serve the clan during a new era.
- The Doji are the lords of the clan, the masters of court.
- The Kakita serve their lords as yojimbo and peerless duelists.
- The Daidoji fill the ranks of the clan’s armies and scout the lands of enemies.
- The Asahina maintain the clan’s spirituality and its vast network of temples.
The tumult in the Colonies in recent years has not been to the liking of the Crane, who are never more successful than during times of peace. The Crane excel at politicking and diplomacy, and conflict only complicates such things. Since the withdrawal of P’an Ku from the mortal realm, the Crane have seized the opportunity and, in the wake of their recent war with the Mantis Clan, are trying to achieve dominance on the Colonial courts as they have in the courts of the Empire. Their efforts are no unopposed, however; the Mantis continue to bear them significant ill will, and the Scorpion enjoy foiling the Crane for sport, ensuring that their task will not be a simple one.
The Crane Clan Champion, a darling of the court beloved by all, is Doji Makoto, a man sometimes called the Smiling Blade. Though Makoto has numerous enemies, there are few if any who can truly say that they do not like the man, at least on a personal level, and it is this simple fact that makes him dangerous. With the gifts at his command, Makoto could rule the courts with an iron fist, but he prefers to be given that which he requires, rather than taking it by force. Under his command, the Crane have retaken their rightful place as the lords of the court.
The Daimyo of the Crane in 1199
Doji Makoto, the Smiling Blade, Champion of the Crane and Lord of the Doji, is a man of easy laughter and warm demeanor. Though he is the child of the steely Doji Domotai and a Lion, Makoto portrays himself as the very pinnacle of courtesy. He is one of the most gifted duelists in this generation, but uses his skills only when necessary to dispatch the rude or the enemies of his clan. In recent times, Makoto has managed to turn the fledgling war with the Mantis into a suitable trade relation, linking once again the prosperity of the Crane to the House of Yoritomo. Further, he has made political arrangements with the Scorpion Lord Nitoshi to weaken the political power of the Otomo.
Kakita Ikura is the son of Kakita Noritoshi and Kakita Mai and the current daimyo of his family and his has thus far been a somewhat tragic existence. Ikura was born in 1160 when the gates of Kyuden Kakita were shut. He therefore bears the curse of his family not to draw steel lest he ruinhis own house. As a child, he was caught in the tragic conflict between his father and the Emerald Champion, Shosuro Jimen. At one point, he even witnessed Bayushi Sunetra assassinate his mother. The Scorpion then offered him the knife to take vengeance, knowing that to do so would doom the Kakita. Now, Ikura wears a chain of decorative iron around his wakizashi and has become a master of the biwa, a skill learned from his father. Ikura is recently married to a Shiba with a child on the way.
Daidoji Akeha, daughter of Kikaze and a trained scout, is the daimyo of the Daidoji. Akeha is a remarkable woman, her beauty rivaled only by her natural skill at deceptive warfare. She precariously balances her own honor against the needs of the clan and has thus far come out on top. Not yet married, the Crane Champion ever seeks a suitable companion for Akeha hoping to continue the line of loyal servants to the Doji.
Asahina Akikusa is the daimyo of the Asahina. Her natural talent with the air kami and a charismatic nature allow her great success in this position. Some considered her rapid acclimation to her duties remarkable. Others know that Akikusa visits the inner domains of Shinden Asahina regularly to speak with a retired monk few know to be the former Asahina Beniha. Akikusa has begun to feel a driving need to visit the coastal lands of the Crane as if the very stars themselves were directing her to a portentous future.