Yakohama - The Sunrise Mountain Realm (TBZ)
In the land of Tou-shu on the central continent of Yashima lies a once prosperous realm now bitterly divided in two – Yokohama, the Sunrise Mountain Realm. Before the apocalyptic Fall of Jinrai, when a falling star annihilated entire kingdoms and shattered the continent forever, Yokohama was a peaceful and happy place barely touched by the wars that rage across Tenra. The daimyos of the ruling Kanegawa family were shrewd diplomats and skilled generals who kept their lands free from the taint of invaders for hundreds of years. The bountiful fields, prosperous trade roads and deep mines of the realm made Yokohama the jewel of Tou-shu.
Things are now looking dark for the Sunrise Mountain Realm, however. The cataclysmic earthquakes and storms caused by the Fall of Jinrai, and the chaos and anarchy left in its wake, claimed the lives of almost the entire Kanegawa dynasty. Only a few members of a lowly branch survived by sheer miracle. Rising sea levels swallowed the realm’s capital port city, a cyclone reduced the Kanegawa dynasty’s ancestral fortress to ruins and closed many key mountain passes and the ruined weather patterns and flooding rendered hundreds of miles of farmland into an unusable salty quagmire. The only reason the realm was not torn to pieces by its neighbours was that they fared little better.
It is now fifty years after the Fall of Jinrai. The wise daimyo Kanegawa Yokohama-no-Tsukasa Shimeki who has slowly guided the realm out of chaos and back towards glory is approaching his seventieth year. Yokohama struggles on, the salt marshes and its outlying forests still a lawless wasteland, many of its people still in terrible hardship. The court has moved to the new capital of Roppongi which, while still a pale shade of the former capital, is one of the safer and more pleasant places in Tou-shu.
The problems which plague the realm are many and varied:
• The daimyo is caught trapped in between the two warring Shinto Priesthoods. One of his trusted senior advisors is a member of the Northern Court, who gave food and aid to his realm in its time of need and shared their technological secrets with his realm. There is still a representative of the secretive Southern Court at his table, however, and he is unable to reject them completely for fear they will rally the surrounding realms against him.
• Unbeknownst to him, his ninja clans are undergoing a similar crisis. Clan Jade Wolf and Clan Silent Scorpion both serve the daimyo loyally and once worked together as allies. Now, although their loyalty to their daimyo does not waver, they are locked in a deadly rivalry which threatens to destroy both clans, their silent war taking place without their master ever knowing.
• Yakohama’s neighbours have also been recovering from the devastation caused by the Fall of Jinrai. In the past, Yakohama and the neighbouring realms of Kagari and Togo would war over matters of honour and glory – they were rivals who respected one another, and would unite to repel outsiders – now, should it come to war, it will be for survival and such things as honour and respect are so easily forgotten in times like these. There is precious little arable land in Tou-shu, and commodities like soulgems and scarlet steel are needed now more than ever in this war-torn land. Daimyo Kanegawa Shimeki has wisely guided the realms through a period of relative peace, with little more than border skirmishes. Now the Southern Court pushes Kagari to war against Yakohama, and the daimyo of Togo has died and been succeeded by his warlike son who sees little choice but to claim the soulgem and scarlet steel mines along the mountain border of Yakohama.
• Even the Buddhists are divided in Yokohama. In recent years the hegemony of the powerful Phoenix Sect has been waning in the face of the upstart Bright Lotus Sect, who enjoy incredible popularity amongst the common people. While, of course, Buddhist monks are not petty enough to war with one another, tensions are still incredibly high and the intrigues of the Sects are starting to interfere with court business. This is not helped by the fact that both Sects are offended by the fact that one of the daimyo’s closest advisors is a wandering Ebon Mountain Sect monk by the name of Kage. Truly this is a time of conflict when even Buddhists cannot act as one.
• The ordered lands around the capital are in stark contrast to the bandit-controlled outskirts of the realm. With the myriad threats to the realm during his reign, the daimyo has been unable to undertake any serious efforts to retake these territories. This insufficiency is coming back to haunt the realm, however, as rumours are spreading that a fearsome bandit by the name of Two-Mirror Otani has been uniting the bandit clans into an army. Additionally, while the daimyo has for a long time secretly supported the Mako Yakuza group in a bid to keep corruption and disorder in Roppongi vaguely under his control, they are under attack from a new and much more lawless group. The time when the daimyo wields influence over the underworld may be coming to an end.
• Even the court onmyoji are divided. The Kanegawa dynasty have traditionally supported the tuition of new onmyoji and the development of the onmyojutsu art at a school in the mountains. Many of the daimyo’s vassal lords have turned their backs on the school and its traditional onmyoji, turning to the new art of shiki-slinging and encouraging kimenkyo-mirror using crafters to their domains in a bid to have as many shiki and kimen armours in their retinues as they can. This is driving tensions between the new and old style onmyoji, and making the school unhappy that the daimyo is not adequately protecting their superiority.
• With the daimyo’s advancing age, his children and heirs are divided as well. Of the eldest two children, the eldest son Kanegawa Satoshi is seen more as a scholar than a leader. He is quiet and withdrawn, but exceedingly intelligent and well-read under the tuition of the daimyo’s advisors. While he has many intelligent and cunning ideas about how the realm should be guided, he lacks confidence and leadership ability. The people and the vassal lords do not respect him, but the Shinto Priesthood, the Onmyoji and the Buddhist Sects do. The eldest daughter Kanegawa Ritsuko, on the other hand, is brash, impulsive, fearless and warlike. The people and the vassal lords respect her as a war hero who keeps the lands safe. She is an excellent leader… on the battlefield. Her tuition is incomplete, she lacks patience, diplomacy and knowledge of higher things. She lusts for battle and conflict and spends much of her time training as a kimen armour pilot. Indeed, she bitterly regrets that her worldly karma prevents her from piloting the family’s meikyo armour that has passed to her younger sibling, and resents them for it. The monks of the court mutter that she has so much karma that she is at risk of becoming lost to her passions forever… an asura.