Legend of the Five Rings: New Journeys
Although the titles affiliated with many Great Clans can be and are disputed by others, such as the Lion’s status as the preeminent military power in the Empire, the status of the Phoenix Clan as the greatest shugenja in the Empire has never been questioned, or at least not publically. For reasons owing both to heredity as well as the teachings of the clan’s founders, there are none in the Empire who can rival the sheer power and number of shugenja that the Phoenix can field. Truly, their priests are beloved by the kami, who answer their prayers with great vigor and relish.
The history of the Phoenix Clan is unusual, compared to most. It was created when Shiba, a child of the Sun and Moon, knelt before the mortal Isawa and pledged to protect his line for all time. Isawa and his tribe were known in the early Empire to be the most powerful sorcerers, and Shiba knew that they were needed to create a stable domain for his brother’s new nation. Thus thePhoenixwere created, and despite a turbulent past with frequent incidents of members falling to darkness in pursuit of knowledge, the clan has remained the preeminent mystical force in an entire Empire. In the modern age, four families stand united in this purpose:
- The noble Shiba take up steel in defense of the clan and the other families.
- The powerful Isawa rule the clan and delve into the mysteries of the elements.
- The monastic Asako enforce the purity of the clan in the face of great temptation.
- The versatile Agasha, once vassals of the Dragon, explore new methods of magic.
The Phoenix have long been the advocates of peace among the Great Clans, at least as much as any samurai can truly advocate for peace. The difficulties in the Colonies, with the mad dragon P’an Ku and the heretical philosophy of Fudoism, weigh heavily upon the Phoenix, who view themselves as the stewards of Rokugan’s spiritual well-being. In the wake of these tragedies, the Phoenix have devoted themselves to discovering what makes the mortal soul vulnerable to the corruption of a supernatural nature. By discovering the truth, they hope to aid all of Rokugan in becoming pure forever.
The Blind Phoenix, Shiba Tsukimi, has held the position of Phoenix Clan Champion for decades. She has struck a balance between her position and the Council of Elemental Masters that has rarely existed throughout the history of the Phoenix, but which her wisdom, patience, and humility has dispelled with the lingering hostility and arrogance that has long prevented such things. Years ago, she was poisoned by a Scorpion’s blade, and in saving her life, the Master of the Void merged Tsukimi’s soul with the Void in an as yet unknown manner. Of late, Tsukimi has grown increasingly withdrawn from the mortal world, growing more and more concerned over oddities in the tapestry of the Void that she has seen coming in the near future.
The Daimyo of the Phoenix in 1199
Shiba Tsukimi, the Blind Phoenix, has lived through much as the Champion of her clan. Tsukimi has been involved in defense of the Hidden Gisei Toshi, the hunt of Mantis pirates, has been a taisa in the Shiba army during the War of Fire and Thunder, was Rikugunshokan of the Shiba when Isawa Ochiai unleashed the Egg of the Void, and served as Champion during the War of Dark Fire and the Destroyer War. Years later, during of the Twins, Tsukimi lost her eyesight in a duel against a young Nitoshi. Tsukimi’s soul has much to offer to the next Champion when it joins with the Soul of Shiba and the Phoenix Champion longs for the day when the burden passes to another.
Asako Tsunefusa, Inquisitor and Magistrate, has been the daimyo of her family for some years. Unlike the leaders before her, Tsunefusa has chosen to take the direction of her family in a militant direction. As an earth shugenja and Inquisitor, Tsunefusa’s possesses a powerful will, and commands her family with a sternness envied by battlefield commanders. She has reached out to the Yogo Kuroiban and the Kuni Witch-Hunters as well as the Jade Champion seeking to build a coalition to delve deeper into the many questions of the Spider and the New Taint.
Agasha Kurou is the daimyo of the Agasha, a remarkable alchemist, and shugenja of both earth and void. He is the child of Agasha Chieh and is known to be gracious, knowledgeable, and rival to the Doji in his ability to make alliances. Recently, Kurou made a name for himself in the defeat of P’an Ku’s Madness in the Colonies when he devised a way to remove the thralls of that insane dragon from their thralldom. Kurou has chosen to strengthen Phoenix ties with the Crane and married a young Kakita artisan named Suena.
The Council of Five
Asako Chukage, a Henshin monk and recently the Elemental Master of Water, is now the Voice of the Elemental Council. Chukage served under the previous Master of Water, Bairei, and spent significant time in the Colonies. Chukage helped in the discovery of the Madness of P’an Ku, but was unfortunately touched in the mind by that Dragon. Chukage felt the terrible insanity of the Celestial Being and chose to retire his position as the Master of Water after the ordeal was resolved. The Council asked him to stay on and speak as their Voice, but each of the Elemental Masters constantly monitors Chukage in their own way.
Isawa Tsumaro, a tejina shugenja and the new Elemental Master of Air. Tsumaro is perhaps one of the most ambiguous and confusing individuals to hold the position of Master. Few know the true appearance and even gender of the Master of Air. Tsumaro changes appearance daily. One day a male with long black hair, the next day a woman of striking appearance with fierce golden eyes. Tsumaro has shown up in morning court with vibrant blonde hair turned pink over the course of the afternoon. If asked, Tsumaro merely states an appeasement of the little kami of air and certainly, to any who can sense such beings, Tsumaro has a powerful entourage of the spirits around her at all times.
Isawa Norimichi is the new Elemental Master of Earth and the calm bedrock of the Elemental Council. Norimichi possesses the infinite patience of stone and is slow to anger or to give even the appearance. Many perceive him as too calm, perhaps even slow of mind, but those who know him understand that Norimichi is always thinking. Always thinking, but rarely speaking unless it is needed. To those few who have managed to rile the Master of Earth, there is a different side of Norimichi, a rumbling bass of power thrumming beneath the hard surface. Woe unto the foe that provokes him.
Isawa Koiso is the Elemental Master of Fire. Koiso is a sultry,aggressive individual who favors forward thinking and an active approach to politics. She is dangerously smart and knows it. Koiso is often compared as the counterpart to Norimichi, his polar opposite. The Master of Fire has a keen eye for people and a tendency to test their boundaries. She uses their discomfort to her advantage and is a master manipulator. Koiso is probably the most powerful member on the Elemental Council and has the largest body of acolytes of any Master. When asked, she simply states that her vast knowledge and trained mind must be shared with the next generation. To do otherwise would be to fail the Phoenix.
Asako Miyabi was appointed the successor to Chukage only recently. She is quiet and reflective, but possesses an easy cheer and perceptive eye. Miyabi’s friendly demeanor is chiefly the product of her ability to witnesses without judgment or preconception. She lacks ambition, content entirely to serve. However, she does put every effort into her position and is one of the most active Elemental Masters. Miyabi has begun to see strange occurrences, perhaps portents of the future. Others would consider her considerations mere chance, but Miyabi does not believe in chaos. To her, it is simply order not yet understood.
Isawa Shunryu, newest member of the Elemental Council, is the Master of Void. Despite being only a moderately skilled student, Shunryu was chosen because of his old soul. He is the reincarnation of the former Elemental Master of Void, Isawa Sogaku, a man of considerable worth. Shunryu struggles with his feelings of unworthiness and is by far the weakest member of the Council. Some of the other Masters see him as weak and untried, but others in the Council and the Phoenix leadership see the young Master as a breath of fresh air and a chance to reinvigorate the Council. For his part, Shunryu simply does not want to fail.