Rays of Hope for the Enemies of the Dark Empire

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Rays of Hope for the Enemies of the Dark Empire




The official timeline of the Thousand Years of Darkness extends only to the year 1155, and the future of humanity after that point remains grim. However, there are several groups who still struggle to reverse their dark fortunes, fighting to deny the prophecy of the Day of Thunder and forge their own destiny even amid the triumph of Fu Leng.

The Samurai of Rokugan

Some remnants of each Great Clan still exist, fighting against the oppressive power of Fu Leng’s monstrous armies. By 1155 most of the survivors have joined forces under the banner of the Shogun, strengthening each other and covering their weaknesses. The Shogun’s Army hides along the edges of the Shinomen Forest and the Spine of the World Mountains, trying to avoid detection by Fu Leng’s forces. They are not yet strong enough to engage the Dark Emperor’s Legions in direct fights, but they watch for the opportunity to do so with success.

Two Great Clans managed to avoid the mass slaughter that afflicted the rest of Rokugan’s samurai. The Mantis Clan escapes across the sea to the Ivory Kingdoms, taking many survivors from Toturi’s old army with them, but keeps close tabs on the status of Rokugan thanks to spells crafted by Kuni Osaku. The Unicorn Clan spends a generation hiding in the Burning Sands before returning en masse, infusing the Shogun’s Army with thousands of willing warriors. With the Mantis returning as well, the samurai of Rokugan can still hope to field an army of real
strength, united under one name and one will.

The Kolat

Fu Leng’s ascension brought the Kolat’s worst fears into existence. They abhor the influence of the Kami on the mortal realm and have turned the full brunt of their conspiratorial machinations against the Dark Emperor. Many of their manipulative tactics no longer work, however, for the people they seek to influence or convert have already  fallen to the Shadowlands Taint. The Kolat have been forced to adopt many creative new methods to continue their fight. On the other hand, the conspiracy’s infrastructure remains unharmed for the most part and the Hidden Temple is still secure. The Kolat continue to bring more into their ranks, working toward the day when they can destroy Fu Leng’s rule.

Daigotsu

The former Dark Master of the Void left the Emperor’s service when Isawa Tsuke murdered his lover Shahai. Since then Daigotsu has devoted his entire life to the overthrow of his one-time adopted father. He singlehandedly resurrected the power of the Bloodspeakers and uses them as his personal army, protecting villages from the Obsidian Legions and inducting the peasants into his organization. A potent maho-tsukai, he performs the most despicable actions, things the Shogun’s Armies would dare not dream of sullying themselves with. Unlike the canonical timeline, in this era Daigotsu is not yet Lost and retains complete free will. He is probably the most powerful single individual in the resistance (with the possible exception of Sezaru) but he does not contact the other groups. He knows they would fear his nature and his Taint, and would never approve of his methods. But in his own way he is as dedicated as they are, and only death will stop him.

The Twelfth Black Scroll

If the final Black Scroll is ever opened, Fu Leng will come fully into the mortal realm, lose his immortality, and become forever bound to his mortal host body. This would allow the resistance to kill him and put an end to his reign. It is the one action that could completely unravel Fu Leng’s victory and end the Thousand Years of Darkness instantly. Unfortunately, Fu Leng is fully aware of the possibility and has taken many precautions to prevent its occurrence.

Because of the Black Scroll’s raw power, the Dark God cannot send the item into another Spirit Realm. He is too paranoid to hide it within the Imperial Palace itself, so he has planted the Black Scroll in a remote section of the Empire. He has personally expended a great deal of effort and magical energy on traps, wards, and spiritual guards to defend the Scroll’s secret cache. Furthermore, he has hidden many duplicates across the land, usually in places that seem likely hiding places for important artifacts. Those who seek the Black Scroll have thus usually earned very painful deaths, assuming they do not simply give up in despair.

The few surviving samurai of the Hare Clan have vowed to find and open the Twelfth Black Scroll and continue to actively seek it across the land. Few others even bother to try anymore, convinced the quest can only lead to certain death.

Hantei Kachiko’s Betrayal

Fu Leng intends to possess another body of Hantei blood to continue his reign. There are only two people with Hantei blood in Rokugan: his current host, Hantei the 39th, and the rebel Daigotsu. To counter this weakness, Fu Leng set out to father a child on his captive Empress Kachiko. Unfortunately, the Empress had seen through his plans and cuckolded him with her bodyguard Aramoro. As a result, her daughter Yakusoku has no Hantei blood within her.

Because the Black Scrolls are not fully opened, Fu Leng can only possess those of Hantei blood. If he waits too long before he tries to possess Yakusoku, his current body may be too old to live on and possess a true heir. This would leave him as an incorporeal ghost with significantly diminished strengths, although he might still be able to possess a later Hantei heir (such as a descendent of Daigotsu) and regain his power.

As of the year 1155, Kachiko’s deception has not yet been revealed. She knows that she and her daughter will die as soon as the truth is uncovered, but she is prepared for this, happy to have chipped away one more piece of the Dark Emperor’s armor.

The Naga

The Naga fought the Foul long before humans ever walked the earth. Their Great Sleep was designed to preserve their race for when the world needed them the most, but on the Day of Thunder they could do nothing to prevent the victory of Fu Leng. The Qamar, who led the Naga armies on that fateful day, knew his dwindling race could nothide from this turn of events. The Naga would be hunted down once the humans could no longer stand against Fu Leng. The Qamar pledged his remaining forces entirely to Toturi’s Army. He helped the humans continue the fight, waging hit-and-run raids across the Empire. He taught them of Naga hidden paths and secret holdings amidst many of the forests in the land, places where the rebels
could escape detection even from the Obsidian Legions. He shared the Naga weapons of crystal that could wound the resilient monsters of Fu Leng. He adopted the humans as true brothers.

It was not enough. The Qamar and his armies stood with Toturi when they marched to face the Dark Emperor in his city; the skies turned blood red and the ashura flew down, summoned from Jigoku itself. The Qamar had never seen, never even imagined such foul creatures, and the Naga were unprepared for their strength. Some Naga lived to retreat from that battle, but the Qamar, the Kazaq, the Shahadet, the Radakast, and countless other heroes of their race perished. In the aftermath, though they had sworn to help their human brothers, the Naga returned to their forest homes to recover from their losses.

They had barely done so when Fu Leng unleashed his revenge. The Obsidian Legions and the monsters of Jigoku smashed through the Shinomen Mori and razed the Naga cities to the ground. Thousands of Naga died defending their homes, and uncountable others died while still under the effects of the Great Sleep. Only a few dozen warriors scaped with their lives; the jakla called the Shashakar led them, and they rejoined Toturi’s Army. One Naga city remained intact: Candas, the city under the sea. It held thousands of eggs, as well as many Naga still affected by the Great Sleep. While the Shashakar helped Toturi to fight, he sent messages to Candas, urging the remaining Naga to hide and wait to defend their last bastion. But either because Fu Leng did not know of Candas, or because he no longer considered the Naga to be a threat, the underwater city survived.

By the year 1155 the Naga have little influence on the ongoing history of Rokugan. Some still fight on with the Shogun Kaneka, though the deep silence of the diminished Akasha has turned them into dour and tragic warriors. Perhaps the last beacon of hope for the race is a young half-Naga girl, named Akasha after the race’s collective soul. Born from a mysterious golden pearl that concentrated the essence of the Akasha’s dealings with mankind, she is a perfect balance between Naga and human, and stands strong and unbowed by the tribulations of her ancestral race. Akasha fights alongside the men and women of the Shogun’s army, and she continues to prove her worth with each battle she wins.

_________________


Life is not fair. That doesn't mean you cannot win. 
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