Shadowed Autumn Leaves
The City of Salt and Storms, Unabridged
Part I: A Brief History
Timeline of Recent Events
For ease of comprehension, I have assembled a brief timeline outlying the birth and growth of Kaigen’s Island and the gleaming pearl of a city which has emerged here.
- 1170, Month of the Horse –
The Battle of the Broken Wave occurs. In its aftermath, the island raised from the ocean by Isawa Sachi and used by Yoritomo Kaigen to destroy the Dark Wave fleet is claimed by the Mantis as a “spoil of war” and named Kaigen’s Island (although the Phoenix tend to refer to it as Sachi’s Anvil instead). Construction immediately begins on port facilities in the sheltered harbor named the Bay of Thunder. These docks, intended to support the construction of a new castle to be called Kyuden Kumiko, to support further Mantis naval operations if the War of Fire and Thunder does not conclude.
- 1170, Month of the Rooster –
Construction of Kyuden Kumiko begins.
- 1170, Month of the Dog-
The War of Fire and Thunder finally ends, though the peace is uneasy and is rushed to as a result of Imperial pressure. Construction continues.
- 1171, Month of the Dragon –
Kaigen’s Island is shaken by a major earthquake. Considerable damage is done to the new construction. The tremor also triggers ongoing volcanic eruptions at the island’s eastern end, and a tsunami that strikes the Phoenix coast. The Mantis provide aid and assistance to several Phoenix villages struck by the tsunami, an act of charity that helps mend Mantis-Phoenix relations following the War of Fire and Thunder.
- 1171, Month of the Rat -
What is now known as the Old Quarter is completed and the city begins to grow along the shore of the Bay of Thunder, giving rise to what will eventually become the Commerce and Fisherman’s Quarters. The city is officially recognized by the Imperial Cartographers at this time.
- 1172, Month of the Serpent –
The construction of Kyuden Kumiko is slowed as the War of Dark Fire and the Destroyer War begin. Mantis manpower and funds are reallocated to the war effort.
- 1172, Month of the Goat -
Construction of Kyuden Kumiko begins again in earnest after the Mantis discover the power of the Yobanjin Wyrm Riders. Fearing their half completed castle could be used against them, the Mantis fast-track the construction efforts, but leave nearly all of the interior of Kyuden Kumiko bare. Foundations are laid for the most important holy places in Broken Wave City, including the Temples to the Sun and to Suitengu, Fortune of the Sea.
- 1173, Month of the Monkey -
The Great Keep of Kyuden Kumiko’s interior is completed, along with the most essential of the surrounding defensive works.
- 1174, Month of the Rooster –
Yours truly, Yasuki Shishinza becomes the first esteemed Emerald Magistrate of Broken Wave City, the first of many I hope.
- 1175, Month of the Dragon –
Ground is broken for the Temples of Kenro-ji-jin and Kyofoki. The Order of Osano-Wo takes over the construction of the abandoned defensive tower on the highest point on the Orochi’s Spine.
- 1175, Month of the Horse -
The Mulberry Tree begins to grow.
- 1176, Month of the Serpent –
A terrible spring storm sweeps in from the eastern ocean, damaging much of the work underway in Broken Wave City. A wall collapses into the court chamber at Kyuden Kumiko, killing or injuring many within, including the City Governor, Yoritomo Okai. In the confused aftermath, a young courtier, Yoritomo Ninsei, rallies the remaining city leadership and organizes recovery and reconstruction efforts. Impressed with the young man’s abilities, Yoritomo Naizen names
him as the interim Governor of Broken Wave City.
- 1177, Month of the Rooster -
Construction of the Temple of Isora begins. Moshi Hyoko and Agasha Ryunobu begin work on the Harmony Rising Library.
- 1179, Month of the Ox -
Patient takes over the badly failing Haruhiko’s Bounty Fishmarket, renaming it Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty, and transforming it into one of the most active markets in Rokugan.
- 1180, Month of the Goat -
Akodo Shigetoshi names Broken Wave City as the place where he wishes to duel Yoritomo Naizen over Naizen’s supposed betrayal during the Khan’s Defiance. For whatever reason the duel never occurs.
- 1184, Month of the Hare -
Ground is broken on the fabulous Palace of the Emerald Magistrates.
A Brief History of Broken Wave City
Broken Wave City holds the distinction of being one of the newest holdings in Rokugan; certainly, it is the newest large city. The land upon which it sits did not even exist before the year 1170. Kaigen’s Island, as it came to be known, was raised from the sea at the climactic battle of the War of Fire and Thunder, fought between the Phoenix and Mantis Clans.
The Mantis launched what was intended to be a decisive attack on the Phoenix, resulting in an engagement that came to be called the Battle of Broken Waves. In the midst of the clash, a corrupted Mantis fleet known as the Dark Wave emerged from hiding, attacking Mantis and Phoenix alike. Putting aside their conflict to face this new threat, the Phoenix Elemental Master of Earth, Isawa Sachi, raised an island from the bottom of the sea while Yoritomo Kaigen, the Mantis’ Master Sensei of Tempest Island, summoned an enormous ocean wave. Caught between the hammer of the wave and the anvil of the new island, the Dark Wave was annihilated.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Phoenix surrendered rather than see more conflict and death result from what was clearly a sinister manipulation of the two Clans, though the ceasefire did not grow into a full peace for a few more months. As compensation, the Mantis claimed the new lands created by Sachi, as well as the sea-trade routes nearby. Yoritomo Naizen, the new Mantis Clan Champion, immediately ordered the construction of a castle on the largest of the islands. The isle was named after Kaigen, who, along with Sachi, perished with the Dark Wave. The castle itself would be called Kyuden Kumiko, in honor of Naizen’s predecessor Yoritomo Kumiko, who had fallen in mortal combat with the commander of the Dark Wave fleet, Yoritomo Kitao.
Kaigen’s Island offered a number of prospective locations for the castle, but the best was high ground overlooking a deep natural harbour on the southwest shore, facing the Phoenix coastline. The island immediately posed a succession of serious challenges. Since it was actually a portion of the ocean floor abruptly lifted above sea-level by magic, the marine life raised along with it quickly died off, leaving nothing but a barren expanse of volcanic rock and coral, layered with mud. No trees meant no timber for construction. The only building material immediately available was stone, but since even stone structures require some lumber in their make-up, the Mantis were forced to import timber, as well as rope, lamp oil, paper, and all the myriad other construction materials needed from the mainland. But this was only the beginning of the problems for the island’s new owners. Ocean storms thundered across the barren land, damaging and delaying the construction efforts. Rain and ocean spray saturated the ocean silt blanketing much of the island, making it slump in dangerous mudslides. And the island itself proved unstable, suffering from periodic earthquakes as the rock adjusted itself to its new and unnatural existence above water. One particularly violent tremor triggered a cascade of volcanic eruptions at the island’s western end that continues to this day. Fortunately, this volcanic field, known as the Fire Fountains, is far enough from Kyuden Kumiko and the city growing in its shadow that it presents no immediate danger. An intriguing side-effect of this volcanic activity is that the island is actually growing, as lava spills into the sea and hardens into new rock. If the eruptions continue, scholars estimate Kaigen’s Island will almost double in size in as little as twenty years.
Perhaps the greatest difficulty faced by the Mantis, however, was the general lack of even the most basic resources on the island. Cities in Rokugan face many problems, but few suffer difficulty finding sufficient wood for fuel, arable land for the cultivation of crops, or fresh water for the use of their residents. Unfortunately, none of these basic things occur naturally on Kaigen’s Island. With nothing available but bare rock, briny mud, and salt water, virtually everything else must be brought in by ship. For some commodities, this was feasible, but for fuel, soil, and water, the effort and expense involved meant shipping would not, on its own, be enough. Faced with such a dilemma, another Clan might simply have surrendered to what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles and left the desolate island to the wind and waves. Not so the Mantis. Kaigen’s Island had been too hard-won and its significance figured too prominently in Rokugan’s politics for the proud Clan to abandon it. Cisterns were constructed around the island, as well as the mizuto, to catch fresh rain-water for drinking and bathing. Seaweed, dried and bundled, provided a source of fuel, as well as a valuable nutritional supplement to the abundant fish caught in the surrounding waters. And when mundane means fell short of what was needed, the Mantis turned to their shugenja. The Moshi, masters of fire and water, called upon the kami to purify sea-water for drinking, and to provide fire, when needed, to supplement the fuel resources offered by marine plants and fish and whale oils. Even the newly-joined Kitsune family, attuned to the earth, worked to pacify the worst of the island’s tremors and mitigate the greatest threats from rock-falls and mudslides. Their basic needs addressed, the Mantis threw themselves into the task of developing Kaigen’s Island.
The great castle of Kyuden Kumiko was to be the centerpiece of a new settlement, a city named after the great battle that had seen the island born – the City of the Broken Wave. Only a few months after the seawater had sluiced off the newly risen island, the foundations of Kyuden Kumiko were set in the rock and the first of its mighty walls raised. At the same time, the first traces of the city appeared at the foot of the castle’s gate. Stone quays were laid into the harbor, providing docks for the merchant ships bringing building materials and other goods from the mainland and the Islands of Silk & Spice; with these came warships, first as escorts and immediate protection of the new settlement, but ultimately, to stay. The Third Storm, one of the three great Mantis fleets, has now come to be based at Broken Wave City, giving the Clan a powerful military presence only a few miles from the Rokugani mainland. Today, although Kyuden Kumiko itself is essentially complete, Broken Wave City remains very much a work in progress. Certainly, much the same could be said about any city; no inhabited settlement is ever really “finished.” But in the case of Broken Wave City, this is especially true. Every structure is new, built since the island rose. Many are only partially complete. Even in the “older” sections of the city, there is much new construction. As a result, the city feels vibrant, like a living, growing thing, full of energy and possibilities. The harbor bustles constantly, with fishing boats and merchant kobune jockeying about among the majestic warships of the Third Storm. Much of the population is transient – crews of ships staying at dock only long enough to turn around cargo – so trouble is common enough to ensure the city magistrates, and an esteemed Emerald Magistrate, are rarely short of work.
Those who call Broken Wave City their permanent home tolerate these troublesome visitors because of their ultimate importance to the city’s well-being. But those who have put down roots here know they are the true heart of Kaigen’s Island. They are proud of what they have accomplished in their short time on the barren island, and look forward to a day when they are no longer dependent on imports for basic necessities.Such a day may come sooner than many expected. Already, several small rice paddies have been coaxed into life near the city. Even more unexpectedly, grasses, flowers and even small shrubs have begun to sprout from what was once submarine mud, their seeds carried to the island by birds or seaward winds from the mainland. If a reliable source of fresh water can be secured, many feel Broken Wave City could be completely free of its overseas dependencies within a generation or two. Many challenges remain, however, and the island has proven time and again that it cannot be taken for granted.
While most of its surface – particularly close to the city – has been explored, some sections, especially along the northern shore, are covered with virtually impenetrable masses of thick, crumbling coral. Elsewhere on the island, many caves and strange, circular tunnels have been located. These “Tunnels of Ningyo,” as they’ve been called, have proven extremely dangerous to explorers; deep pitfalls, collapsing roofs, toxic air and scalding jets of steam; and the like. A dark reputation has built up about the Tunnels; they are called mystical places, concealing wicked aquatic beasts, and the Taint of the Dark Wave, or even the remnants of the Dark Wave, still living, or unliving as it were, and plotting the fall of the island back into the sea. These rumors are rubbish and heresay and should be ignored, though it is true that the Tunnels are dangerous and caution is necessary. Kaigen’s Island still holds many secrets.
Part II: Ways of the City
The Colorful Language of Broken Wave City
Throughout all the Empire no place is like Broken Wave City: the City of Salt and Storms, the City Atop the Sea, the City Without a Past, Koware Nami Toshi. Risen from the bottom of the ocean’s depths, cultivated and molded into a city possessing only a present, and a future. In just fifteen years a barren rock has become the most modern city in Rokugan. It’s unique nature has given rise to a few pieces of interesting slang which an esteemed Emerald Magistrate should familiarize himself with. I have presented here several of these turns of phrase for your reference, though I must warn you, few are used among polite company.
- “Bathing with the Fortunes” – To be very poor, destitute, or unenviable. Comes from those who must bathe themselves in the reflecting pools at the Seven Fortune’s Reflection.
- “Chit” – A note or letter, also may refer to a debt owed.
- “Copperhead” – A member of the Watchmen.
- “Dead Horse” – Advanced payment for services rendered. May also refer to a bribe.
- “Displaying Honor” – To be armed.
- “Dragon’s Ash” – Smokable Opium.
- “Drowning” – Suffering from the effects of an overindulgence in sake.
- “Dwelling on the Past” – One who is either an outsider or a newcomer.
- “Flesh Wound” – A guilty conscience.
- “Friend of Phoenix” – Someone who is either not trustworthy or soft-hearted, a patsy.
- “Going Dry” – A sailor who is out at sea with one of the Squalls who is about to return to the city.
- “Have you Eaten Seaweed Today?” – An impolite greeting, and a crude parody of the age old salutation of “have you eaten rice today?”
- “Landlocked” – A location which is secure or well-guarded.
- “Lion Pennant” – A loose end or a matter which is still unsettled.
- “Native” – Something which does not exist or has disappeared long ago.
- “Ningyo” – A mischievous child.
- “Orochi’s Piss” – Hard liquor, such as shochu.
- “Pearl-eyed” – Naive, innocent, or otherwise foolish.
- “Piety” – Considerable wealth.
- “Returning to the Womb” – A ship which is being repaired, also, a euphemism for someone who has been beaten badly and requires bed-rest.
- “Saltwater” – Purified opium suspended in alcohol. A very potent form of the drug.
- “Shakuhachi Player” – A snitch or informant who gives information to magistrates.
- “Stranger” – Someone who frequents the House of the Laughing World.
- “Swept out to Sea” – Someone who has been murdered and left to the ocean’s waves.
- “Taiko Drummer” – A lookout during a criminal act.
- “Turned to Smoke” – Someone who has been killed by the yakuza, kajinin, or other lowlifes and disposed of. Comes from the eta tradition to deposit common dead in the Fire Fountains.
- “Vagabond” – Someone who lives or spends most of their time at the Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty.
- “Weasel” – A local magistrate who is good at his job.
- “Well-Travelled” – Being familiar with the Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty.
- “Wet Fig” – A whore or prostitute.
Local Customs and Holidays
Though Broken Wave City is still in its infancy, due to its singularly distinctive nature it has, by necessity, a wide variety of local customs and holidays which are either wholly unique to the city or heavily altered from the standard practices which are commonplace on the mainland. Others are simply regular holidays and festivals, with the added flair of the City Atop the Sea. One can only wonder as to the customs and festivals which may develop as Broken Wave City matures, though, I for one, am excited by the possibilities.
- Garden Parties
Among the nobility of the City of Salt & Storms no part of a home is as honored or cherished as the garden. Every garden on the island is a triumph of beauty over barren rock. Due in large part to the difficulty and expense of creating a proper garden, they are valued, not only for the rare peace they offer, but as a symbol of a family’s financial and social health. Lavish and glorious gardens are often exhibited at exclusive garden parties for the societal elite. This practice, of course, trickled down to the lesser samurai, and even wealthy merchants, though, of course, no true samurai would ever be seen at such a heimin’s event. Most garden parties occur during the late spring, summer, and early fall, though I have seen more than a few so-called “rock garden parties,” during the colder months. Garden parties are the height of social vogue, and as such, it is likely the esteemed Emerald Magistrate will have many invitations to attend such engagements. It is important to arrive and follow proper protocol if one wishes to save on among his social peers. Above and beyond standard etiquette, which I would hope an esteemed Emerald Magistrate would already be familiar with, there are several further observances which apply specifically to garden parties. If it is a particular garden’s first showing, it is expected that guests will arrive with a single seed, stone, or other particular to add to the gardens. It is considered a high honor to be invited to a garden’s first exhibit, and the more clever or artful your contribution, the higher esteem you will be held in. Gifts are nearly always exchanged during a garden party, and those who arrive giftless are likely to lose on, as well as appear to be a social buffoon; an unenviable position for anyone, let alone an esteemed Emerald Magistrate. All the norms of gift-giving are observed, of course, though, often the best gifts are added to the garden in some way. After gifts are exchanged, there is walking of the grounds, during which the host generally shows his guests through the gardens, making sure to point out interesting (or expensive) elements to his hopefully awe-struck guests. Even if a garden is dreadful, it is considered uncouth to criticize the garden until after the walking has concluded. Certainly one would not dismiss a novel by its prologue; the same, it is expected, goes for gardens. After the walking of the grounds, there is a formal Tea Ceremony at the garden’s focal point for the host and his chosen guests. Other guests often hold their own Tea Ceremonies throughout the gardens, though, some meditate or sit quietly. After the Tea Ceremony, there is generally a light meal, and courtly activities. Kemari, sadane, games of go or shogi, storytelling, and gossip are all common, though that is not an exhaustive list, to be certain. Garden parties are likely to become a common part of your social calendar, so it is paramount that an esteemed Emerald Magistrate impresses at his first occasion, so as to keep the honored position strong in a social sense.
- Inryosui no Michi, Streets of Drinking Water
Inryosui no Michi, or Streets of Drinking Water, is a ceremony performed by the various monastic sects within the city. Seven years ago, the Monks of Daikoku, backed by the other sects, constructed the Great Basin, an artificial reservoir, a mizuto, the size of a modest mansion. In essence the Great Basin is simply a very large barrel which holds and stores vast amounts of rain and storm water, which the monks built so that in the case of an emergency, a severe drought, or the destruction of the port, the city would not die of thirst waiting for the catastrophe to pass. When the Basin is filled to capacity, the monks sell off much of the water, which is also purified and fortified against evil spirits, at fair below market value, to the citizens of Broken Wave City. In this way, no water is wasted when the next rainfall comes. Each individual is only sold a single ken-o of water, and only a certain amount is sold. The monks do not seem to care for personal clout or wealth, and generally sell to whomever arrives first. The unruly, or those who break their rules, are turned away. Due to its religious organizers, the Inryosui no Michi is enigmatic and begins and ends seemingly without rhyme or reason. The monks who manage the ceremony do not care about the riotous masses who often rush towards the Great Basin, and have little pity for the magistrates who must clean up those who attempt to scam the system, or steal water from the small-folk. They simply sell their water, and their prayer beads, and their purity seals and allow the law to sort out the trouble which may come of it.
- Festival of the New Year’s Day
On the First Day of the Month of the Hare, all Rokugani celebrate the beginning of a new year, the Fall of the Kami from the Heavens, and the civilization they brought to the people. The festival is very much the same on Kaigen’s Island as it is in other corners of the empire. The ports are generally full, and the city floods with sailors hoping to ring in the new year, often with bellies full of sake and arms full of comely women. The festival culminates in a display of fireworks which set the night sky alight in a wash of blue, green, and yellow fire. Occasionally, Kaigen’s Island will respond, spitting it’s own light from the Fire Fountains. The monks of Osano-Wo offer their partially constructed temple as the launching platform for the wondrous display, so the fireworks are easily visible across the island.
- Festival of the Falling Plum Blossoms
The Twenty First Day of the Month of the Dragon is celebrated throughout Rokugan as the beginning of the Cherry Blossom Festival. It is, of course, three days set aside to value the transcendent beauty of nature through the perfection of the flowers of the cherry tree. On Kaigen’s Island, however, there was no festival. There were no cherry blossoms to marvel upon, and so the island’s people grew dark and grim. They longed for the gentle falling of the cherry blossom in the wind. In 1174, Yoritomo Obaami, the wife of the now deceased Governor, Yoritomo Okai, went to great expense to decorate Kyuden Kumiko in the traditional colored paper lanterns found elsewhere in Rokugan during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Just before the Hour of the Tortoise, when the wind was blowing just right, she instructed her servants to cast baskets filled with plum blossoms, purchased from the mainland, off the walls of Kyuden Kumiko. The plum blossoms gently drifted on the currents of Kaze-no-Kami’s breath and fell among the Old Quarter, which was at that time nearly the entirety of the city. Yoritomo Okai, who was away attending to business on the mainland, was furious at the needless expenditure of the city’s treasury. The next year, though Obaami begged and pleaded with her husband, she was forbidden from organizing a similar display. To his shock and surprise, the wealthy samurai of the city hung paper lanterns and released all manner of flower petals to the wind upon the Hour of the Tortoise, just as twilight fell into night. Not wishing to be upstaged, and shamed, again, Yoritomo Okai gave his wife her celebration. And so the Festival of the Falling Plum Blossoms was born from Obaami’s love for Broken Wave City, and her desire to lift the spirits of its populace. Today, the festival has grown in size, scope, and importance. Those who put on the most extravagant displays are awarded social favor, and, Kaigen’s Island being a Mantis holding, such displays are seldom judged on their subtlety. Brightly colored paper lanterns decorated with kanji of good fortune are strung throughout the city or affixed to silk strands and left to waft in the wind. Flower blossoms of all types and colors are released en masse near the Hour of the Tortoise, while the people watch in reverence, eat bountiful meals, or meditate as the first petals fall. Those petals are made into laurels and worn on the head and shoulders and are traded for gifts of alcohol, song, dance, or otherwise. The festival continues for three days of revelry and at the Hour of the Tortoise on that third day all the laurels are cast into the sea to float about the island. Despite the debauchery that exists among the lower caste, and the heavy consumption of sake, the festivities are rarely marred by serious violence. Nearly all samurai are prohibited from being armed during the festival. Only the esteemed Emerald Magistrate and his yoriki, the local magistrates, the elite squadrons of the Watchmen, and those who are given a special permit from the Governor are permitted on the streets while carrying weapons. At first, some abhorred the weapons ban, but such issues were forgotten after its merits became clear. Most brawls which occur are long forgotten by the festival’s end, and those which aren’t are taken care of by the local magistrates. As such, I recommend that the esteemed Emerald Magistrate take in the Festival of the Falling Plum Blossoms in its totality, as it, like so much of Broken Wave City, is entirely unique and found nowhere else in Rokugan.
- Rising Day and Burning Night
Fifteen years ago, Isawa Sachi rose an island from the seafloor and Yoritomo Kaigen smashed a Tainted enemy against its shores. And on that island grew a Mantis stronghold unlike any other. It is said that Broken Wave City is the City Without a Past, but that is not entirely true. Without the War of Fire and Thunder, and the Dark Wave Fleet, and all which led to them, there would be no City Atop the Sea. On the Tenth Day of the Month of the Monkey, the anniversary of the Battle of the Broken Wave, the people of Kaigen’s Island, Mantis and Phoenix, congregate to solemnly remember that desperate day, and the honor of the samurai who thought only of their lords and fought to defeat what seemed to be an unassailable and sinister enemy. The markets close, and the temples open their arms and embrace the city. All dress in the white clothes of mourning and meditate upon following a correct path, and never again succumbing to the manipulations of a tenebrous foe. Upon nightfall, the city shifts from reflection to celebration. The markets reopen, and the people gift one another new clothes, not white and sombre, but bright and colorful. There is music and dancing in the streets. Upon the Hour of the Rat the people retrieve their kuroi-fune, black ships, the Dark Wave Fleet in effigy. Some use derelict vessels no longer fit to sail, others build theirs from driftwood and detritus. No matter the construction method, all are brought to a point on the island’s shores, and pitched into an immense pile and set to burn, just as the Dark Wave burned all those years ago. The people celebrate their honored victory by burning their accursed enemies each year on the day of their defeat. Around the bonfire there is much music and sake, but there is also tea and mochi, freshly brewed or pounded at the fire’s edge. Nearly every year the various kajinin petition the Governor to make the burnings illegal, and each year, Okai and Ninsei after him, have mouthed their support for the notion, citing the myriad dangers of the bonfire, and the loss of productivity in the harbor, but ultimately, they still attend the burnings, and relive the Mantis victory again and again.
- Setsuban Festival
The Setsuban Festival, the celebration of the turning of the year, from the time of war to the time of peace is celebrated across the empire on the Eighth Day of the Month of the Crane, which is often considered an especially lucky day. As in other parts of Rokugan, during the Setsuban no man might shed blood. It is, of course, an especially bad omen if the Setsuban is marred by violence in Mantis lands as much so as other parts of Rokugan. With no brightly colored leaves to look among, many homes and buildings display large banners of bright autumn hues, reds, yellows, and oranges. Many of Broken Wave City’s shugenja gather to bless the island and engage in friendly displays of magic, mostly to wow crowds of peasants.
- Kao-no-nai Narisumasu, The Faceless Masquerade
The Twentieth Day of the Month of the Crane is the day of an outlandish holiday known as the Kao-no-Nai Narisumasu, the Faceless Masquerade. As I previously mentioned, there are few commodities in short supply on Kaigen’s Island, one of which is privacy. The Masquerade is one day where even the poorest ji-samurai has the privilege of anonymity. Virtually everyone in the city dresses in uniform dull gray kimonos, with a simple kagoboshi, a basket hat which completely obscures one’s face. Those who eschew anonymity are looked down upon; it is a major social faux pas, unless of course one’s duty demands it. Despite the lack of identity, most samurai are careful not to lose too much on or embarrass themselves as it is a simple matter to uncover the head of a particularly disgraceful individual. The streets become a stage for numerous plays, both noh and the baser kabuki, where the audience attempt to guess at the identities of the concealed actors. Some such productions are planned, while others begin without warning, with participants choosing roles from kagoboshi filled by clay tiles with the names of characters on them. These productions are especially valued, as even the actors are unaware of the identities of their fellow thespians. Two enemies in court may very well play out a forbidden romance on the stage with neither the wiser! There are many gala events and gatherings, nearly all of which occur publicly in the streets, open to any who wish to attend. Discussion which is usually devoted to fashion and presentation are given to other pursuits because, of course, discussing who wears a gray kimono and an ugly hat best is a pass-time which only the most chic and vogue-obsessed Crane would bother with. Magistrates and Watchmen, of course, are expected to keep order, though, any trained eye can see that there are considerably less Watchmen on duty during the Kao-no-Nai Narisumasu. The origins of the Masquerade are as strange as the festival itself. It began within the Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty six years ago. As the people came to the Bounty, they found all the merchants, the vagabonds, and the well-travelled dressed with the grey kimono and kagoboshi which are now synonymous with the holiday. The samurai and heimin who frequent the Bounty soon followed suit. Not wishing to look as though they were confused or unsure of what was happening the upper crust of Broken Wave City dressed as anonymously as their servants and house guards. In the early years of the celebration, there was no confirmed date, and the Masquerade occurred at the whim of the Bounty, for days on end sometimes. Tsuruchi Takamasa complained to the Governor that the observance was a frustration to social order, and asked him to do something about it. Yoritomo Ninsei, ever the pragmatist, realized that the Masquerade was now a well-enjoyed holiday which would be sorely missed by his samurai and underlings. Rather than displease the people of the City of Salt and Storms he took control of the festival, regulating it, and ultimately lessening its effect on public order. Still, this holiday can be frustrating to an esteemed Emerald Magistrate, though, I find that an infinitesimally small portion of the populace have committed the Charter of the Emerald Magistrates to memory, and of those who have very few possess a perfect recall of it. As such, it can be easy to sway suspect individuals to divest themselves of their concealing basket hats with little trouble.
- Shark Season
The warm shoals of the southern Phoenix coast have always been home to aquatic monsters. These sea-borne beasts, the same, have only grown larger and more fierce after the rise of Kaigen’s Island. In the early summer, the creatures swim in from the south. They grow powerful and fierce in the teeming reefs and skerries which surround the City Atop the Sea. As autumn turns to winter the waters begin to chill and the sharks, now at their largest begin to travel south to warmer waters to breed and do who knows what else. While usually placid and disinterested in the ship traffic above them, occasionally, while at their greatest size, the beasts become aggressive, and their power can be frightening. From the Twenty Second Day of the Month of the Dog to the Seventh Day of the Month of the Boar, when the sharks are at their largest and most ferocious, is known as Shark Season. While originally a warning, the Shark Season has become more of a contest, where whomever catches, kills, and displays the largest shark is showered in gifts, praise and respect, as well as given a magari-no-same, a specialized fishing spear with three points, not dissimilar to the maga-yari made famous by many Matsu heroes, crafted with the teeth of the beast itself. The Shark Season has become such a phenomenon that in general the killing of the same outside of this time is taboo, as it wastes a potential prize catch. As such, before the Season begins, it is not uncommon to see the beasts throughout the coastal waters putting on fearsome predatory displays; some even vault themselves out of the sea higher than a man’s reach to catch birds in mid-flight! Despite this, a great many grizzled fishers and glory-minded bushi take up the challenge, putting out to sea to find the greatest monsters of the deep, and fish them out for the approval of the Governor. More than a few have not returned after undertaking the folly, but, many more wait in the wings for their chance to catch the Okimono, the Big One, the winning shark for the Season. As the Season continues, the Fisherman’s Docks which lie within the shadow of Sachi’s Tower are transformed into a stage to display the finest catches. The beasts are hung by their tails, mouths agape, for the curious to marvel. The sharks are judged on size, weight, teeth, scarification, and other factors which remain unknown to me. The Season’s champion, the captain of the vessel which brought in the Okimono, is selected, and the other fish-monsters are butchered and sold for foodstuffs. While normally the Shark Season is of little interest to the esteemed Emerald Magistrate, unless of course he is of an over-adventurous disposition and wishes to partake in the hunt, there are disputes and irregularities which may require the oversight of an esteemed Emerald Magistrate. Once in my recall, two rival samurai wished to duel, one claimed the other had trailed him to his “secret and well-researched hunting shoals” while the other took great offense at the accusation. I simply reminded the two of the lose of on and other penalties which accompany an illegal duel, and the lengthy processes of applying for the Governor’s permission, and the two determined that they had merely had a “minor disagreement.” On another occasion, a group of kaizokuban, ruthless pirates, came upon a peasant vessel, and stole their catch, a large white shark, which could have easily been in the runnings. The brigands killed the heimin crew, and scuppered their ship, a crime against their samurai patrons. Of course, the bandits were discovered and dealt with, though only because of the vigilance of the local magistrates. Also, one must remember that during the Shark Season the transient population of Broken Wave City, already one of the largest such populations in Rokugan, increases. This in and of itself can disrupt social order, as some visitors may be unfamiliar with the displeasure which brawls, thefts, and the like cause among the local magistrates and their yoriki.
- Bon Festival
On the Thirtieth Day of the Month of the Boar Rokugan celebrates the Bon. During the festival a family’s ancestors, as well as any malevolent spirits never put to rest, return to the homes of their descendants. Extended families come together all across Rokugan to prepare honored alters for the spirits who may return. As such, many of the samurai of the City Without a Past are gone, given leave from their duties to return to the homes of their ancestors. In the weeks leading up to the Bon, it is likely that the esteemed Emerald Magistrate will need to write many traveling papers for samurai traveling to the ancestral lands of their clans. Of course, not everyone leaves, and those who stay do what most Rokugani do during the Bon. The streets are filled with white-faced “ghosts” and “spirits of the past” who parade through the city, with music, dance, and twisting streamers trailing behind them. It is considered a local taboo to approach the “Tunnels of Ningyo” during the Bon, though, in truth, there is little reason to fear them. Only the most accursed and dishonorable would transgress the Bon, and as such, the esteemed Emerald Magistrate has little to do besides placate his ancestors properly.
- Fuyu-Obon Flying Lantern Festival
Since the youngest days of the Mantis Clan, the traditional Paper Lantern Festival was rarely observed as it was in the lands of the other clans. Though the samurai of the mainland may be content to guide their ancestors with paper boats down winding rivers, the Mantis knew the wintry open ocean was no place to guide their honored ancestors. So on the First Day of the Month of the Rat, usually called the Paper Lantern Festival, is the Fuyo-Obon, the end of the Bon. Like the samurai of the mainland, the Mantis do guide their ancestors on the first day of winter, though it is through elegant flying paper lanterns, which rise to the sky and float out over the ocean with the clouds. The beautiful flying lanterns, not too dissimilar to a young boy’s kite, take to the sky, buoyed by the air kami, and guide the Mantis ancestors as the paper boat lanterns of the other clans. Though the non-Mantis may feel initially feel odd about such flying paper lanterns, these feelings of discomfort pass as soon as one’s eyes watch the dim fires take to the air. One can almost feel the contentedness of one’s ancestors as they float away among the Heavens. The Phoenix of the nearby coastline have begun performing their Paper Lantern Festivals in the Mantis style, a fact which, if it affects the Mantis, they show no sign of.
- Festival of Floating Lanterns
Broken Wave City was formally recognized by the Imperial Cartographers on the Thirteenth Day of the Month of the Ox in 1171. On that day the grimy construction pit which was Broken Wave City rejoiced. In celebration, those early samurai and heimin who had taken Kaigen’s Island as their home created one thousand paper lantern boats, each with kanji of good fortune or hopes for the future or other less savory messages. In a large ceremony presided over by the various religious sects, the candles were lit, placed within their boats and set out into the Bay of Thunder to be washed out towards the Phoenix coast. There was a deep fog which had rolled over the island on that day, and the Phoenix peasants along the coast watched one thousand lights emerge from the haze. Unsure of what they had seen and cowed by fear, they reported that they had seen a Mantis flotilla. When the Shiba sent their kobune to investigate, they discovered, of course, that while the Mantis fleet was vast, it posed no threat to their security. They had a good laugh as they watched the Mantis papercraft navy come ashore. And so a tradition was made of it, each year the people of Broken Wave City mobilize their great paper lantern fleet and the Phoenix on the coast receive them with one of their own. It is a wonderful sight; countless lights among the sea like stars among the heavens. Some families craft their paper boats complete with their full heraldry and little battle standards, others inscribe their ships with poems or paintings, while others are masterpieces of origami. Others are simply crude paper boats. No matter how carefully constructed, ultimately they all end up setting sail out the Bay of Thunder to do battle with similar ships put out by the nearby Phoenix.
- Winter’s End Festival
Usually celebrated during the Month of the Tiger, the Winter’s End Festival occurs during the night of the final full moon of the winter season. It is told that Yoritomo Kumiko told her closest advisors and generals on the eve of the day of her death that she had already mourned her final cherry blossom, but now, that her death was upon her, she mourned her last winter’s end. Confused, her retinue asked why one would mourn the winter’s end, and Kumiko responded that spring’s beauty was meaningless without the long winter. In reverence of these words, the people of Broken Wave City, who live in the shadow of the castle which bears her name gather to give thanks for not only the beauty of spring, but the peace of winter. Otsukumi, moon-viewing, is widespread, as well as peaceful meditation, and the writing of poems. The Winter’s End Festival is a quiet and peaceful affair, a calm holiday among a host of wild local traditions.
The political situation in Koware Nami Toshi is complex. This city is the new home of a large portion of the Mantis Clan’s naval power, and its rising center of diplomacy, which with the Mantis can mean anything from an exquisite gift to a thinly veiled threat. Broken Wave City is both; it is a gift and a threat. The other maritime powers quickly scrambled to establish themselves within the city, so they could better accept the gift, rather than suffer the threat. Maritime power and maritime commerce are the lifeblood of the city and many organizations hunger for a taste of those black ichors which pump through Broken Wave City’s heart.
- The Interim Governor
To say that Yoritomo Ninsei is an ambitious man is an understatement. He rose from a junior functionary to the governorship within the span of a single night on his own recognizance. His bold power play succeeded… mostly. Though he is the administrator to one of the most important cities within the Mantis lands, his hold on the assignment is tenuous. In many major cities and important trade hubs, a governor need only answer to his daimyo. His interim status holds him back from the unassailable political position that many governors enjoy. He must answer to Yoritomo Jera, the Third Storm commander, and must routinely report to the Islands of Silk & Spice. Ninsei has had to capitulate or compromise with Jera on numerous occasions, most notably when it came to naming the head of the Watchmen. Jera put forth his obviously illegitimate daughter, who was only twenty at the time, and Ninsei, despite his title and status, was forced to surrender to Jera’s demand. With each passing year, Ninsei’s hand is forced a little further, and respect for his position steadily deteriorates. Soon he will have to find some way to elevate himself fully into the position, or surely be left behind. Despite this hindrance, Ninsei is a fantastic Governor who knows the workings of his city inside and out. Although he can not always act as he might like in response to social, political, or commercial developments, one can be sure that he is aware of what is transpiring. He has forged strong alliances with easy enemies, and has won over as many opponents as he has created, which is not a small number. Under his adaptable, pragmatic, and insightful leadership – his steady guiding hand, Broken Wave City has grown more powerful, more important, and more profitable in less time than any could have guessed. Certainly, Ninsei has done better than his boorish predecessor would have. Ninsei is capable of walking the finest line, he can intimidate and ingratiate with a few well placed words. Ninsei is also capable of bold action, throwing caution to the wind, committing himself fully to a pursuit and succeeding despite the odds. The Yoritomo has done just that with Broken Wave City, its fortunes are his, its folly is his; its rise or fall is as much his own rise or fall as it is the city he governs. Whether his gambit succeeds or fails, soon the balance of power will shift. Someone will be permanently invested in the governorship, and either way the delicate social, political, and financial equilibrium will bend and contort, and perhaps, if there is misfortune, break completely. Should he fail, Ninsei will return to his former position, but with all the allies, favors, and connections he has curried, and likely he will remain a contentious force in the city for whomever replaces him. Whether it be Yoritomo Jera, Yoritomo Obaami, an outsider, or, Fortune’s forbid, Yoritomo Azula, or Ninsei himself, the transition from an interim governor to a permanent one will change the face of the city forever.
- The Watchmen
The Watchmen is the organization which has the duty of policing the city and keeping public order. They are also the personal army of the Governor of Broken Wave City. The number of Watchmen is always in flux, due to that as many as half at any given time are actually Third Storm bushi temporarily assigned to the unit in order to bolster its numbers while their ships are in port. The true Watchmen recruits are a considerably different breed to the Third Storm conscripts. There are about two hundred and twenty keisatsukan, the lowest rank and file of the unit. These rank and file Watchmen wear light armor and are generally armed with naginata. Their armor is very distinctive, being a bright and untarnished green, with a dull yellow kabuto and snake-like mempo. The armor has given rise to the nickname “copperhead,” which is often used to describe the keisatsukan foot warriors. As well as their weapons training, the copperheads are competent sailors, and have three kobune which they utilize to patrol the port, and to board suspect ships while entering or leaving the Bay of Thunder. Mantis and Phoenix ji-samurai make up the bulk of the foot warriors, though Crane, Crab, and minor clansmen are not unheard of. There are another sixty who are Umi-tora, Sea Tigers; the fast response and naval interdiction unit of the Watch. Generally armed with light armor, tinted orange and black, and wielding kami or yumi, these bushi are effective at any range, whether boarding a hostile vessel, or engaging in ship-to-ship combat. The Sea Tigers utilize and maintain three fairly large and very fast kobune for their exclusive use and can easily mobilize to anywhere on or near the coast within a half hour. Most of this unit are uniformly Yoritomo or Tsuruchi bushi who are experienced with maritime operations. The final twenty which make up the true Watchmen belong to the Rakuraiban, the Lightning’s Strike Squad. This is the elite squadron of the Watch, and the only criteria for entry is merit. No single combat style, school, or family dominates the unit, though all are proficient with the kusari-gama, so that non-lethal force can be applied when called for. The Lightning’s Strike Squad all wear uniform white mempo fashioned after an orochi, and a distinctive white badge emblazoned with a blood red lightning bolt. Yoritomo Jerako, the commander of the Watchmen, trains and drills them constantly, and they are always maintained in a state of readiness. Ultimately all Watchmen take their orders and assignments from Jerako except for the two to three hundred Third Storm samurai, who still take orders from within the naval hierarchy, but get their assignments from the Watch. This often confusing overlap of authority can cause frustrations, so usually the entire contingency of Third Storm Watchmen are assigned to the urban defensive works, or in and around the Third Storm Haven. The contingent of Third Storm tend to utilize whatever their standard equipment is while on duty within the fleet, and wear a special badge to signify that they are acting as Watchmen.
- The Third Storm
The Third Storm is, in the simplest terms, nearly one third of the Mantis fleet, which is further subdivided into three Squalls. Though most of the new Fourth Storm was composed of ships taken from it during the so-called Fleet Divide in 1173, the Third Storm remains a maritime power which has been appraised to be about equal with any of the other clans entire navies. When the Mantis seized Kaigen’s Island, they did so with the intent of rebasing the Third Storm here. Kyuden Kumiko and all of Broken Wave City exists due to the Mantis desire to have a tactical presence along the mainland coast. Its rikugunshokan, Yoritomo Jera, resides within and operates the fleet from the city, and offers few apologies for his rank and duties. He is quick to point out that Broken Wave City exists to serve the Third Storm, and, although certainly no longer true, exists to do little else. At any one time, two thirds of the Third Storm, some four thousand samurai, and just as many budoka sailors, boson, and oarsmen, are active in the city. Those who are within the city are usually on duty, guarding the Third Storm Haven, the Great Pier, or the Dry Mouth Shipyards, or assigned to the defensive works. Some, about two thousand men, however, are on leave. These men reside within the vast barracks complex within the Haven. The final third is out to sea, patrolling the coastlines, rooting out pirates and kaizokuban, or guarding sea-lanes. The kobune which are in port are generally undergoing refit and repair, being cleaned, maintained, or supplied. The entirety of the Storm can surge to sea in a single day’s time, if such a show of force is required, though such a surge has been unnecessary since the Destroyer War. The most pressing issue for an esteemed Emerald Magistrate is that while on leave, the Third Storm sailors have the usual appetites of other seagoing men. Attempts to prosecute or punish unruly Third Storm sailors can be unduly frustrating, with other Third Storm samurai always being more than willing to testify on the behalf of their fellows, even the budoka; not to mention the support they receive from their commander. Jera is certainly protective of the men under his command. Another note is that even while serving with the Watchmen, the Third Storm bushi are still commanded by Jera, which, as it stands now is almost never a problem, given that the commander of the Watchmen is Jera’s daughter, Yoritomo Jerako, though, in the absence of this familial relationship a conflict of orders could delay efforts to restore public order, or worse, a direct confrontation could be a threat to public order in and of itself.
- The Nobility
Unsurprisingly, the Mantis are the most dominant clan, and the Yoritomo the most active family, though in no way are the interests of the entire Mantis Clan, or even of the Yoritomo, always unified. The Yoritomo family’s mercantile and political interests are handled by two very different individual samurai-ko, Yoritomo Obaami and Yoritomo Azula, and it is no secret that the two often disagree on the proper, or most efficient, ways to operate their family’s assets. Among the other Mantis families, it is the Moshi and Kitsune, who often act in concert, who have the most clout, though it is still unimpressive next to the commissary and bureaucratic power of the Yoritomo or Shiba. Among the other Great Clans it is the Phoenix, and particularly the Shiba family, which command the most influence. Shiba Sayoko, also the ambassador, is the head of the Phoenix interests and aggressively seeks to expand Phoenix power within the city. The trade disputes between the Mantis and Phoenix simmer constantly, though never boil over. The two clans still find common ground often enough to keep things civil. The Crane, though few in number, command a significant amount of clout due to their impartiality, often swaying split decisions in the court, and keeping disputes from boiling over. I find it unlikely that the Crane do this out of the kindness of their hearts, as they enjoy a fair amount of power due to their position. The Crab, lacking the Crane’s finesse in court, seldom act as tie-breakers or intermediaries. They do however, enjoy a great amount of mercantile power through the guidance of their leader, Yasuki Kuroite, who, for his part, seems content to allow the Crane their position in court so long as they do not try to muscle into the Crab’s merchant interests. The other Great Clans and the Minor Clan Alliance have limited influence, and appear to have little desire to expand, except of course in the case of the Minor Clans, who, despite their best efforts, can not truly challenge the Phoenix, Crane, or Crab in any arena of power.
Due to the already astronomical cost of establishing Broken Wave City, Yoritomo Okai, the city’s first Governor, opted not to establish city-wide fire fighting department. Instead, individual neighborhoods hired their own fire fighting crews, and the Broken Wave City kajinin were born. The kajinin, firemen, straddle the line between strong-arm neighborhood watchmen and lawless gangsters. While the Old Quarter’s fire fighting duties are handled by the Watchmen, the other city districts rely on the kajinin. The firemen gangs are paid a small stipend by the Governor, and the rest of their fee comes directly from the individual neighborhoods which they serve. Originally there were seven firemen gangs, though, three merged together a year or two past. There are now five different firemen groups, each with separate territories and dispositions. In the Holy Quarter there are the Reflection’s Edge Firemen. The Reflection’s Edge are generally respectful, and have been known to ask for regular prayers as part of their payment from their clients. This gang has the full cooperation of the monks, and watch over the entire Holy Quarter. The Commerce Quarter has the Daikoku’s Shadow Firemen, the Little Death Firemen, and the Servants of Natsu-Togumara Firemen. The Daikoku’s Shadow cover the Commerce Quarter on the top of the Cliff of Piety. The wealthy merchants who call that area home must pay the firemen quite well, as they have never been known to do anything besides fight blazes. The Little Death Firemen cover the northwestern section of the lower Commerce Quarter and are known to be paid in time at the House of the Laughing World. Often the Little Death firemen work as bouncers and public watchmen, enforcing a mob justice against criminals and other ne’er-do-wells. Though occasionally unruly, this kajinin gang is rarely problematic. The southeastern section of the lower Commerce Quarter is the territory of the Servants of Natsu-Togumara. These firemen are functionally in the employ of the Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty, and have never threatened public order. The Fisherman’s Quarter was once home to the Stone Finger Firemen, the Hammer & Anvil Firemen, and the Haruhiko’s Mercy Firemen. When these three kajinin gangs merged they began calling themselves the Fire Watchers. The Hammer & Anvil Firemen and the Stone Finger Firemen had a storied history of street brawls, general lawlessness, and power struggles. At some point whatever differences divided the two groups were rectified, and the all of the Fisherman’s Quarter firemen merged. Likely the reconciliation was brokered by the Haruhiko’s Mercy, though, the details of it are beneath my notice. The Fire Watchers are certainly the most ruthless of the firemen gangs, beating their opponents, shaking down those who refuse to pay for their services, and worse to thieves who attempt to steal from them. The Fire Watchers keep vigilance over the Fisherman’s Quarter and the Temple of Suitengu.
Is there any filth less pleasant than the peasant criminal who denies his place in the Celestial Order? Try as we might, criminal scum continues to return to our cities throughout Rokugan. The yakuza are fairly weak within Broken Wave City, more intelligent and adaptable lower class groups have stolen most of their usual rackets, and done so legally, or at least with their minds to the correct Celestial Order. Three yakuza groups have attempted to muscle various law abiding organizations out of business, such as Rodent, the House of the Laughing World, sword-for-hire ronin, the Bounty, and even the Ferrymen, among others. Each yakuza, the Drowning Lions, the Squid-Eaters, and the Yellow Turbans, were soundly run from the city by very successful joint operations performed by the Watchmen, the local magistrates, and my own offices. Though I would like little more than to believe this filth has been permanently wiped from Kaigen’s Island, it is possible some small enclaves of these groups remain and operate a few dens of ill-repute. They are hidden in the shadows, however, rightly fearing what will occur should they show their faces to the light.
- The Ferrymen
In Broken Wave City there are two modes of transport; there are the cartmen, and the ferrymen. The cartmen are heimin who run palanquins around the city, they know the roads and shortcuts better than most, and for a few zeni, will gladly carry one around the crowded city streets. They are similar to the heimin who perform such duties in every major city in Rokugan. The ferrymen, also called Mizunin, however, are cut of a separate cloth here on Kaigen’s Island. There are hundreds of ferries, some can hold a single family, others a squadron of Watchmen, and each ferryman, rather than operating his ferry singularly and in competition with the countless other ferrymen, operates within a dogyo kumiai, a trade association. The association provides several benefits to the ferrymen who work within them, chief among these benefits are price control. Rather than sit at the shoreline completing with the other ferrymen for business and slashing prices, the ferries all operate within a certain price range, which means more profit is earned per boat. Though prices do vary from boat to boat, or dock to dock, prices remain over all higher, and operating costs lower, than other ferries in Rokugan. What appears like chaos to the unknowing eye is actually a complex system of favors and mercantile deals brokered at the association gatherings. There are two dogyo kumiai within the city, and they each own and operate different docks and ships. There is the Earthquake Street Ferrymen, and the Hand-Fed Koi Ferrymen, both are patroned by the Yoritomo family, though, that fact should not be mistaken. The Ferrymen associations do attempt to discredit and outperform each other. Most of the members, however, are content to simply do their business and leave the inter-union politics to the politically minded among them. Most ferries will have the kanji of their association somewhere on them, though some are more open about it than others.
The marketplaces of the City Atop the Sea contain everything koku can buy, and somethings that it can’t. Nowhere else in Rokugan is there a market for soil. Nowhere else is as uniquely tied to the world beyond its reach. Nowhere in Rokugan is there a city so ill-suited to self-sufficiency as to render it an impossibility. Commerce, within this city, flourishes. Here I will discuss the three most important commodities which may threaten public order, though there are countless others, nearly anything you could think of.
- A Note on the Opium Situation
Opium is a simple plant, of gaijin origin, brought to Rokugan by the Unicorn upon their return. It is a potent medicine, useful in the treatment of dozens upon dozens of ailments, illnesses, and hurts. It is also a powerful and addictive drug capable of transforming the mundane world into a so-called “Floating World” of pleasure, beauty, and unknowable desire. It is said by some the opium is harmless, that it encourages no barbarity, violence, or public shame, as sake does. Nor does it harm the breath, and thus the overall readiness of a bushi, in the way tobacco does. When one is abusing opium, one ceases to live in the mundane world, and inhabits the floating one. It is night and day. The problem with this argument, of course, is that opium breeds desire and regret, fatal sins indeed. There is no question, illegal opium exists in Broken Wave City. It is a key part of the vice trade which is irrefutably alive and well on the island. The question becomes, of course, what can be done about it? Several ships have been seized with abusable opium filling their holds, though these ships were always independent and undocumented. Many gambling dens and gaming parlors have been shut down, with smokable or liquid opium hidden within. Unfortunately, this was just the fleecing of the most obtuse and the least competent of the opium peddlers. The true trade goes on unperturbed and undamaged by my efforts or the efforts of the local magistrates. Of all of my accomplishments in this office, it is my shame that I have been completely unable to slow the illegal opium trade. Perhaps, the next esteemed Emerald Magistrate may have better luck, though, one should be mindful of the slew of potential enemies which may arise to halt or hinder one’s efforts.
- A Note on the Water Situation
Drought is not unknown in Rokugan, but nowhere else is there a constant need for imported drinking water. Broken Wave City is home to nearly forty thousand souls; samurai, heimin, and even eta, all require fresh drinking water. The ever ingenious Mantis have developed several techniques to help alleviate the water situation. The first was magical in nature. The Moshi, spearheaded by Moshi Hyoko and Agasha Ryunobu’s prodigious spell research, developed an incantation which entreated the water kami to separate the salt and brine away from ocean water, leaving pure drinking water. Though the salt is returned to the Fortune of the Sea in an elaborate ceremony, the magics are taxing, and only so much can be taken from Suitengu’s realm without upsetting the tempestuous Fortune. The second method is the construction of mizuto. A mizuto is essentially a large barrel with four legs and a cone like top which allows any rainwater which falls onto it to run down into a thin channel and into the container. The height of the device allows the water to flow to any location below it. A spigot with an attached pipe allows for easy collection of the rainwater. The mizuto are ubiquitous, having been constructed on nearly every rooftop in the city, due to the free water they provide. The largest mizuto in the city, the Great Basin, is operated by the monks of the city as an emergency reservoir. Even with much of the rain and storm water being collected, the city still requires imported water. Large subterranean cisterns have also been cut from the rock to hold addition rainwater for later consumption. Water is heavy and difficult to transport, which makes its importation expensive. The Mantis have developed specially designed trade vessels uniquely suited to water transport. A small fleet of these mizufune have been constructed specifically to serve Kaigen’s Island. Should the price of water outpace the people’s ability to afford it, or should water importation suddenly halt, the effect on the city would be devastating. The water market is split fairly evenly between Mantis, Phoenix, and Crane interests, with some small but reasonable variations in price from source to source and from month to month, and so is stable for now, but major disruptions to the flow of water will be detrimental to public order.
- A Word About Rice
Rice is the food of Rokugan. From genmai to mochi-gomi, rice, from its heartiest to its sweetest, has feed the Rokugani people since the Fall of the Kami. Rice is, unfortunately, rarer in Broken Wave City than in other major cities. Kaigen’s Island has no vast rice paddies, and nearly all the rice which is consumed here is imported. True, Kaigen’s Island, through sweat and determination, provides a few koku worth of rice per harvest, but, a few hundred bushels of basmati and genmai from the First Rice Paddies is not enough to feed a farming village, let alone a major trade city. Even given the cost of importing rice, the demand is high. Though few heimin eat more than a few meals of rice in a year, making up the difference with fish, seafood, “sea vegetable,” and far cheaper millet, proper samurai still expect to eat at least some rice every day. The rice market in Broken Wave City is controlled and supplied chiefly by the Crane Clan, with the Mantis importing most of the other foodstuffs, millet, fruits and vegetables, and the like. Particularly, Broken Wave City has an appetite for the sweet hakumai rice, which makes up nearly fifty percent of the imported rice crop. Fish and seafood are consumed heavily among the samurai caste, especially so as time goes by, and word of the excellence of Broken Wave City’s seafood cuisine circulates the empire, and its appeal becomes in vogue. While rice is in no way as important of an import as water, its disruption could lead to discontent among the samurai class.
Part III: Places of Interest
The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is only “old” in a relative sense, since no part of the city can truly be called “old.” What would eventually become the Old Quarter was the island’s original settlement, housing construction crews and those supporting them while the castle of Kyuden Kumiko was under construction. The humble homes of the smallfolk gave way to samurai elegance. Buildings in the Quarter are generally tall, large, and well-appointed, and are separated by high walls and well-tended gardens; the latter particularly demonstrate the wealth of those who live here, since the plants and the soil must all be imported. All the sheltered docks on the Bay of Thunder within the Old Quarter are used solely for the Third Storm, so if you wish to catch a ferry be certain to head to the western docks.
- Kyuden Kumiko
The great castle of Kyuden Kumiko looms over the Old Quarter and the Bay of Thunder, dominating Broken Wave City. It is named in memory of Yoritomo Kumiko, the Mantis Clan Champion who died fighting the Dark Wave fleet at the Battle of Broken Waves. Her successor, Yoritomo Naizen, proclaimed the construction of the castle as the first order of business for the Mantis on their newly-claimed island. It can be said, therefore, that Broken Wave City really came into existence to serve and support Kyuden Kumiko. This makes the relationship between the castle and the city different than many other places in Rokugan, where castles are often built as defensive and governance structures for existing towns and cities. While not the largest of Rokugani castles, Kyuden Kumiko is certainly among the more impressive in terms of fortress engineering. Given the barren nature of Kaigen’s Island, the Mantis were forced to rely mostly on the island’s dark, volcanic stone for the castle’s construction. As a result, the looming towers and walls of Kyuden Kumiko present a somber, brooding face to the world, more reminiscent of the utilitarian works of the Crab than the usual flamboyance of the Mantis. Within, however, it is a very different place. The Mantis have spared no expense to furnish Kyuden Kumiko with the most ostentatious displays of wealth. Where wood is exposed, it is rare types like bloodwood, mahogany, and tropical walnut. Spectacular artwork – some clearly of gaijin origin, I might add – is interspersed among exotic plants, colorful chattering birds, and glittering displays of crystals, gems and ceramics. The combined effect is somewhat jarring and off-putting to the more refined tastes of most Rokugani. This is no accident; because of its proximity to the mainland, Kyuden Kumiko is rapidly becoming the main interface between the Mantis and the rest of Rokugan not only for trade, but also for political and diplomatic relations. If the juxtaposition of the castle’s dour exterior and its conspicuous displays of wealth within cause other clan delegations to be made uneasy, so much the better. I, for one, found it a small matter to acclimatize myself to Kyuden Kumiko and it’s strange and marvelous nature.
- The Great Pier
The Great Pier is the largest single dock in Rokugan, designed to accommodate any vessel afloat, or imaginable, I figure. It is here that ships carrying important visitors or delegations to the city arrive. Ships of the Imperial families customarily dock at the Great Pier, as do those ships carrying embassies from the Great Clans. Should the Emperor ever deign to visit the City, it is here the divine feet will first touch land. Incidentally, it is this same pier that will likely hold the feet of the esteemed Emerald Magistrate as you enter Broken Wave City and step into my shoes. A broad road leads from the base of the Great Pier to the gate of Kyuden Kumiko looming on the hills above. Over time, little samurai dwellings grew up along the ever-narrowing road. Though these homes have little room for sprawling gardens, their intrepid owners built taller to assure the same amenities as the samurai living comfortably in their shadow.
- Third Storm Haven
The Third Storm represents almost one-third of the massive Mantis fleet; alone, it commands almost as much maritime military power as the combined fleets of all the other Clans. The decision to base the Third Storm at Broken Wave City was controversial, but ultimately unavoidable. The Storm numbers around twelve thousand personnel, with nearly half being samurai, on some two hundred ships. Simply accommodating and supporting so many kobune and people posed a massive logistical problem for the fledgling city. This has been partly solved by grouping the Storm into three smaller formations called Squalls. At any given time, one Squall is at sea, patrolling the coastal waters of Rokugan and the sea-lanes to the Islands of Silk and Spice. The two remaining Squalls are in port, one just returned from sea-duty and undergoing repairs, refit, and general reconstitution, the other preparing to go to sea and relieve the currently on-station Squall. In this way, the Third Storm is maintained in a constant state of readiness, without unduly taxing crews or ships, while also reducing the number of vessels in port and associated ship movements through the harbor. Even so, it is possible to “surge” the full fighting power of the Storm to sea within one day, should the need ever arise. However, this leads to the other main point of contention about basing the Third Storm at Broken Wave City. Previously, the Mantis Fleet was a known but rather remote power, generally not of immediate concern to the other sea-going Great Clans. Now, though, a full third of that power is based only a few miles away from the Rokugani mainland coast. The sudden proximity of this powerful and strategically mobile force has provoked frowns of concern throughout the Empire – particularly from the Phoenix, Crane, and Crab Clans. The Mantis, for their part, do their best to not be too smug about this significant shift in the balance of Rokugani power. The barracks and other administrative and logistical facilities for the Third Storm sprawl throughout what used to be the city’s original warehouse district. This has the benefit of placing most of the available combat power in the city in close proximity to the Old Quarter and Kyuden Kumiko, should the need to fight ashore ever arise. Unfortunately, much of the most valuable land within the Old Quarter is swallowed up by the Haven.
- Crane Embassy
The Crane Clan Embassy, while often overlooked due to the elegance and grace of the Phoenix Embassy, is still a gorgeous example of classical Rokugani architecture. Hidden beyond its walls is the most well maintained garden within the city. I myself have counted myself lucky enough to have attended several of the Crane Clan’s famed garden parties. A warning for the wise, however; do not make the mistake of thinking the Crane are here only to cultivate wonderful gardens.
- Crab Embassy
Through some fluke of fate, the stoic Crab Embassy lies directly across the street from the Crane. Among the homes of wealthy Mantis the Crab Clan’s humble embassy stands out for being perfectly bland. Lacking the green thumb, the Crab quickly gave up on coaxing any plants to grow and opted for a very Dragon inspired rock garden. A pity the island’s own rock formations are ultimately so much more interesting to look at. Despite it’s lack of grace, or perhaps because of it, the Crab Embassy is one of the most defensible homes in the Old Quarter.
- Ocean’s Anvil Tea House
Nestled among the western docks is a small but elegant Tea House operated by the local Phoenix. Though they carry a wonderful assortment of teas, I doubt the establishment makes much in the way of profit. The Mantis seldom frequent the Ocean’s Anvil, and it is no wonder. The name, which references the Phoenix name for Kaigen’s Island, Sachi’s Anvil, is considered insulting by many Mantis. Many of the non-Mantis samurai who call Broken Wave City home attend the house’s traditional Tea Ceremonies, which are rarely practiced in the Mantis establishments.
- Palace of the Emerald Magistrate
As I said above, homes in the Old Quarter with the largest gardens house persons of higher status. As the Emerald Magistrate of Broken Wave City, you will require a place of splendid elegance to display your status and entertain your many guests. I have endeavored to provide you with just such an environment. The estate is defensible, with high walls. Within those walls lie all that a dutiful Emerald Magistrate may require; stables, yoriki barracks, peasant quarters, armory, vault, offices, and the all important garden. The garden is the envy of most within the Old Quarter, and its water feature is unrivaled within the city. Some from the more dour clans may look down on what they deem “opulence.” I assure you, this is not opulence, but insurance that all will respect the office of the Emerald Magistrate, and thus, all will respect the law of the Emperor on Kaigen’s Island. Even the most humble Dragon or the most somber Lion will thank me for the lovely estate I have crafted for them, and for all future Emerald Magistrates within this city.
- Phoenix Embassy
This normally reserved Clan has erected a large embassy of white marble, imported at great expense, that literally shines amid the otherwise somber volcanic stone comprising most of the city. It’s lavish-appointments are the envy of many. Depending on whom you ask it is either hovering on the very edge of being pretentious, or fallen from the edge long ago. This display is mainly the doing of the current Phoenix Ambassador, Shiba Sayoko, who harbors a decidedly unsubtle resentment towards the Mantis over the outcome of the War of Fire and Thunder. For their part, the Mantis have carefully avoided making any comment, apparently preferring to let the Phoenix do as they will and simply pretending not to care. I, for one, think they silently hope the Phoenix will bankrupt themselves in their desperate attempts to one up the unrivaled masters of conspicuous wealth.
- Civic Hall
The Civic Hall, which houses the local courts, prison, and the private home of the Chief Magistrate, Tsuruchi Takamasa, lies on the borders of the Old Quarter and the Holy Quarter. It is built from the local volcanic stone, and as such, is somewhat bleak in appearance. In true Mantis form, however, Takamasa’s son, Tsuruchi Masamoto, a patron of the arts, often holds contests for sculpture, gardening, and other arts and then displays the winners within or around the premises. Many a coral Fortune, stone ancestor, or marble yorei stand watch over the Civic Hall in Broken Wave City, though it is Takamasa’s stony glare that frightens most.
- House of the Golden Mist
Behind the high wall encircling this establishment, which is ostensibly a teahouse, Madame Izanami offers a commodity which is very scarce in the cramped confines of Broken Wave City – privacy. Those who so desire may divest themselves of their identity for a time, replacing distinctive clan garb with an unadorned kimono and mask of gray silk. Patrons can then engage in all sorts of behavior that would otherwise be considered unacceptable or even scandalous, without fear of losing on. The House of the Golden Mist is not an inexpensive establishment, however; generally, only the wealthy and well-connected can obtain access to the particular discretion – and the goods and services that go with it – offered here. Fortunately, as the Emerald Magistrate, you will soon be a part of the wealthy and the well-connected, and as such, the wonders of the House of the Golden Mist can be yours. The Yoritomo own and operate the House, though Izanami herself manages the geisha and other talent.
The Holy Quarter
Located on the highland just north of the Old Quarter, many of the Holy Quarter’s taller shrines and temples are visible throughout the city. Although many of the buildings in this part of the city are, indeed, shrines and temples, not all are strictly holy structures. It is here that each of the Mantis families maintains their dojo and related facilities; accordingly, many of the buildings in the Holy Quarter are places of study, practice, and learning, rather than of prayer. This has proven to be quite beneficial, insofar as the priests and monks of the temples can be closely involved in the education of the samurai of the city. While the Old Quarter is host to many beautiful buildings, gardens and works of art, they are generally hidden behind tall private walls. The Holy Quarter, by contrast, does not hide its marvels, instead opting for them to be unobfuscated for all eyes on Kaigen’s Island to see.
- Shrine of Yoritomo
In many Mantis holdings the shrines to Yoritomo are as innovative and ambitious as Yoritomo himself. On Kaigen’s Island, however, the dedicated shrine to Yoritomo is decidedly understated, especially in comparison to the many temples which dot the island. Outside the meager shrine is a coral statue of Yoritomo gesturing outwards to the city beyond, as if to state that the entire island is a shrine to Yoritomo and Mantis ambition more so than any temple or shrine ever could be.
- Seven Fortune’s Reflection
The seven shrines to the Seven Fortunes are located behind seven shallow pools of precious water. On the mainland such a reflecting pool would be a simple matter of aesthetics, here it is as clear a statement as the cool fresh water of the pools themselves.
- Mulberry Garden
When Kyuden Kumiko was still under construction and Broken Wave City was but an ambition all of Kaigen’s Island was barren. The monks of the Order of Kaimetsu-uo claimed a large patch of black volcanic stone as their own. But no temple or shrine was constructed. Instead the peaceful monks planted a simple mulberry tree. Around that tree, the first living plant to take root on this barren earth, grew the Mulberry Garden. The monks imported very little soil, only what they could carry on their backs, and none thought the timid monks could coax life to come to the island. Others had tried, famed gardeners, gifted earth shugenja, and these men who had failed had done so with massive amounts of imported loom and fertilizers and the magic of the kami. None thought the humble monks would succeed. But they did. After the mulberry tree took root the first governor of the city, Yoritomo Okai, proclaimed that the surrounding land would be a lavish garden to give thanks to the Order of Kaimetsu-uo and the Fortunes who had blessed that little tree. Complete with a meandering stream and waterfall, hedge garden, exotic flowers and fruit-bearing bushes, and of course, the eponymous mulberry tree, the Mulberry Garden is more to Broken Wave City than a simple public garden. It is a symbol of hope and of realized ambitions. Deep in the Mulberry Garden is a small well-tended stone dais which was to be the location of the Akodo Shigetoshi’s duel with Yoritomo Naizen. Although that duel never materialized, the dias has become a popular location for other samurai to stage their iaijutsu contests.
- Temple of Kenro-ji-jin and Kyofoki
At the northern edge of the quarter, overlooking a turbulent inlet, lie the twin temples to Kenro-ji-jin, Fortune of Soil, and Kyofoki, Fortune of Earthquakes. Nowhere else in Rokugan do these admittedly minor Fortunes have such massive importance, or vast and elaborate temple complexes. The two temples, built in tandem, tower over the quarter and are easily visible everywhere within the city. The twin temples are symmetrically laid out and mirror each other quite perfectly, save the Fortunes they honor. The steps leading within the temples both have eight pillars, a significant number among the Mantis to be sure, one of which appears to have been installed upside down. The effect is jarring, but symbolizes that while Kaigen’s Island has come a long way, a long journey still lies ahead. The monks here are quick to point out this allegory to all who visit, a little too quick, I think. Either they think themselves exceptionally clever, or try to mask their mistake to please the Fortunes.
- Temple of Isora
Within the heart of the Holy Quarter stands the Temple of Isora, Fortune of the Seashore and wife of Suitengu. Some might find the location of the temple odd, as it is quite far inland, but the story of its founding in that location is odd even more so. Originally when the Mantis had planned to construct Kyuden Kumiko on the northern ridge, the monks dedicated to Isora choose the land directly across the Bay of Thunder from the site of the Temple of Suitengu in order to bless all who entered the port. When Kyuden Kumiko was erected there, however, the monks were forced to move their temple elsewhere. Their second and third locations were again swallowed up by the Mantis, this time for their defensive works. The Friend of Phoenix Watch and the White Spray Watch grew from the lands the monks had coveted. There was quite the scandal as the people of Broken Wave City tried to uncover what hidden vendetta that Yoritomo Okai had against the Fortune of the Seashore. Finally after Okai’s death, three years after the construction of the city began in earnest, the Isora monks were granted a plot of land in the middle of the Holy Quarter, one which was already flattened and soiled and seeded, by Yoritomo Ninsei. Many believe Isora’s fury had called up the storm which killed the former governor, and that Ninsei wished to avoid a similar fate by granting such valuable land to the Fortune’s beleaguered followers.
- Harmony Rising Library
Ostensibly a Phoenix holding, the Harmony Rising Library is chiefly a repository of spell research and magical knowledge. As the unique needs of the city became apparent, two individual shugenja, Moshi Hyoko and Agasha Ryunobu, both survivors of the Battle of the Broken Wave founded the library. Their aim was twofold; promote a lasting peace between their clans, and research new incantations to meet the particular magical necessities of Broken Wave City. In the latter case at least, they made some progress. The library holds the fruits of their research and makes them public for all shugenja on Kaigen’s Island. The spells, I’m told, mainly concern the fertilization of soil, the calming of earthquakes, and the purification of ocean water. If you, or any of your loyal yoriki, happen to be blessed with the voice to traffic with the kami, it is likely this library will be of interest.
The Commerce Quarter
Unlike many cities in Rokugan there are no walls which separate the samurai in the Old Quarter from the commerce of the lesser districts. Originally, all of the city’s commercial activity was conducted through the docks in the city’s Old Quarter. However, with the arrival of the Third Storm, all non-military shipping had to be directed to new facilities. Fortunately, the city’s forward-thinking Harbormaster, Watanabe Al-Zayan, had already foreseen that the wharves of the Old Quarter would be insufficient to support the future growth of the city and had advocated construction of additional docks on the Bay of Thunder. As a result, the city only had to contend with a few months of disruption while the new docks in the Commerce Quarter were completed. Rapid expansion of this quarter of the city followed, to accommodate the new influx of shipping and the myriad goods and services needed to support it. If the Old Quarter is the center of political power in Broken Wave City, and the Holy Quarter its focus of spiritual devotion, then the Commerce Quarter is its beating heart. Broken Wave City relies heavily on imports of most basic goods, so ships dock, unload their cargoes, and depart again as quickly as they can be turned around, with other ships continually waiting for space to anchor. The quarter bustles and thrums with an organized chaos, as goods are unloaded, sorted, stored, and distributed throughout the island. Meanwhile the crews of docked ships wander among the shops, sake houses, noodle stands, and the inevitable establishments of lesser repute, seeking some diversion before putting back to sea. Most of the ships here are still Mantis, but increasingly, vessels of the Phoenix, Crane, and Crab jockey for berth space, while unaligned ships wait their turn to convert cargo to profit.
- House of the Laughing World
Sake, gambling, and less than strictly legal fare can be had at this house of ill-repute. Known for her cryptic greeting, “Laugh and the World laughs with you,” Madame Strange, as she calls herself, runs the House of the Laughing World and knows all its secrets and obfuscations. Located reasonably close to the House of the Golden Mist, this sake house could be seen as the House of the Golden Mist for those who lack the wealth, or clout, or discretion to gain entrance there. More than a few times my yoriki and I were called to this establishment, drunken brawls and the like. Fortunately, Madame Strange was always present with the offenders, already beaten and cuffed, and a gift for our troubles. Despite the geisha’s own loose interpretations of the law, no one who breaks the laws of the House of the Laughing World laughs for very long.
- Commercial Docks and Warehouse District
Warehouses line the shore, opening on the docks at their seaward ends and large freight-yards to landward. Constructed mainly of stone, these open-ended designs allow for efficient throughput of goods from ships to shore, and thence on into the city. Several of the warehouses are especially well-guarded, secured against intrusion so they can be used for the storage of valuable goods. The majority, however, handle less valuable bulk commodities, such as timber and rice, which require less careful oversight.
- Belly of the Orochi
A play on the name of several prominent features on Kaigen’s Island, the Belly is probably among the most popular sake houses in Broken Wave City. The house itself is unremarkable, save for that it is always busy with happy patrons coming and going. Masa, owner of the Belly, is a blunt, straight-forward heimin who offers a decent selection of sake and food at reasonable prices. A particularly popular attraction here is a bunraku puppet theatre offering a sardonic and often bawdy take on well-known stories of the Empire. A comical retelling of the story of the original Gozoku conspiracy is especially popular among the patrons. Though the sake houses in the Old Quarter have a better selection, none rival the atmosphere of the Belly.
- Natsu-Togamaru’s Bounty Fishmarket
Located in the southern end of the Commerce Quarter near the dockyards is the Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty Fishmarket. Originally it was just a simple fishmarket called Haruhito’s Bounty, but under the leadership of the heimin, Patient, it has grown into a vast mercantile emporium. It was Patient who changed the name, thinking the bounty of travel and experience outweighed the bounty of simple fishermen. If it is available in Rokugan, chances are there is a merchant stall which sells it here; Silks, spices, exotic foods, imported wildlife, stones and soils, antiquities, weapons and armors, fish of course, and even, if you know who and how to ask, illegal goods as well. Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty is, for lack of a better term, a black market which exists openly. Each merchant, or merchant patron, is autonomous and must manage their own stalls and accounts. The Bounty provides security and a guaranteed influx of customers for a reasonable, and private, percentage of profit; more than enough to attract many merchants to the Bounty’s winding alleyways. I must warn the esteemed Emerald Magistrate who thinks to shut down the illegal elements of the Bounty that such efforts are wasted. The stalls and yurts seem to change place nearly every week. The avenues are labyrinthine and, purposefully I think, confusing to navigate. Though several illegal stalls have been shut down, due to the way the Bounty is structured Patient can sincerely claim ignorance of any illegal operations within the market. The Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty Fishmarket is well entrenched, and protected by powerful, though undisclosed, merchant patrons; attempts to halt or impede the Bounty are likely a fool’s errand.
- Temple of Daikoku
The Temple to Daikoku, Fortune of Wealth, is located on the Cliff of Piety overlooking the Commerce Quarter. It is said that any transaction conducted in direct view of the large serpentine marble statue of Daikoku at the temple’s entrance will be blessed by the Fortune and none of the participants will lose on the deal. Of course, this does not stop many transactions in the quarter from being conducted well out of sight of any inquisitive eyes, including those of the Fortune – and if possible, those of magistrates and tax collectors.
- Broken Humility Shipyard
Broken Wave City is uniquely suited as a center of naval power. It is also uniquely unsuited as a shipbuilding center. The lack of any natural timbers is chief among a host of problems a shipwright faces on Kaigen’s Island. That being said, there are hundreds of small-craft needed for fishing vessels, ferries, and skiffs that assure the success of the greater whole. These small-craft are produced at some expense at the truly humble Broken Humility Shipyard. As well as producing light-craft, the shipyard also refits and reconstructs many lesser vessels in need of repairs from the rigors of the sea. The small inlet that leads to the shipyard is colloquially known as the Womb.
The Fisherman’s Quarter
A further testament to the insight and planning of Harbormaster Watanabe Al-Zayan, the Fisherman’s Quarter accommodates the myriad small-craft that perform what may be the most vital maritime service for Broken Wave City – feeding its people. With essentially no arable land, and all rice and other staple foodstuffs needing to be imported, the city turned to the sea to feed its growing population. Fortunately, the shallow waters of the Phoenix coast were already rich fishing grounds; the emergence of Kaigen’s Island from the sea seems to have only enhanced their productivity, creating warmer shoals teeming with sea life. Fishing boats endlessly cycle from the Fisherman’s Quarter, out to sea and back, bringing ashore rich harvests of cod, mackerel, and tuna, more exotic species such as swordfish and shark, and even bales of red-brown seaweed, a “vegetable” coming to prominence as a staple in local cuisine.
- Sachi’s Watch
In recognition of the sacrifice of Isawa Sachi, the shugenja who raised Kaigen’s Island from the sea to assist in the defeat of the Dark Wave fleet, this imposing tower is named in his honor. It is the official residence of the Harbormaster. However, for practical reasons, the man keeps his office in the Commerce Quarter and spends much of his time there, dealing with the myriad issues that arise from ships moving in, around, and out of the port.
- Fisherman’s Docks
The wharves here at the Fisherman’s Docks are not just berths for the fishing boats; they are also a raucous, almost continuous fishmarket, where fishermen sell their catch right from their holds. It is little wonder that the seafood dishes of Broken Wave City are developing a reputation as some of the finest and freshest in Rokugan.
- Fingers of Stone Docks
Built upon the Fingers of Stone, the docks, also called the Blood Water Landings, are of note because of the many submarine caves, rumored to lead to the so-called “Tunnels of Ningyo,” which exist beneath the Fingers. The docks here are just as productive as those at the Fisherman’s Docks, though many local fishermen are suspicious and superstitious about these landings. As a result nearly every dock and wharf on the Fingers has it’s own little shrine with statues to various Fortunes and kami for safe passage between the realms of land and sea. A community of heimin carvers and artisans has risen to prominence due to the demand for religious baubles, incense, and related paraphernalia.
- Shrine of Haruhiko
Deep in the intestines of the Fisherman’s Quarter there is an unassuming complex of five shrines each dedicated the Fortune of Fishermen, Haruhiko. The tableaux are as follows; the first depicts his life as a man; the next, his selfless gift to the Emperor; the third, his mortal death; the fourth, his acts as a Fortune; and the last, his death at the hands of the Ninth Kami. Despite the fact that dead Fortunes answer no prayers, the fishermen who built and maintain the shrine foolishly hope that their devotion may still find favor among the thousand.
Although most of your business will be conducted within the previously discussed districts, there are several places of interest which lie outside of the city’s districts.
- Temple of Suitengu
The Temple of Suitengu, Fortune of the Sea, sits on a point overlooking the entrance to the Bay of Thunder. It is often crowded with sailors seeking the blessing and protection of the Fortune before they put to sea. The shrine is also the site of a ritual unique to Broken Wave City. After seawater is purified into fresh drinking water by those Moshi shugenja assigned to the task throughout the city, the salt that remains behind is brought here. Once per week, this salt is poured back into the sea in an elaborate ceremony by the priests of Suitengu, thanking the Fortune for the water taken from his realm. The tall pagoda of the temple is supported by a single timber from the Isawa Mori. The tower sways in the wind much like a ship at sea, and is hardly disturbed even in the strongest of earthquakes. Despite being very close to the Fisherman’s Quarter, the temple is spoken of as being outside that district so as not to accidentally offend the Fortune.
- Temple of the Sun
This splendid Temple is placed far from the city on the eastern edge of the island to receive the first rays of the rising sun. However, its placid atmosphere belies a debate simmering among its congregants. Traditionalists believe it should be named after the original Sun, Amaterasu. Conversely, reformers insist that the correct name should be Temple of the Jade Sun, to reflect the ascension of the Jade Dragon. For now, however, “Temple of the Sun” remains the official name, as Moshi Kishiko, Mistress of the Temple, seeks to steer a neutral path among the passions of her flock.
- Temple of Osano-Wo
The northern portion of Kaigen’s Island rises into a steep ridge of volcanic rock called The Orochi’s Spine. The peak of the Spine, the highest point on the island, soars almost six hundred feet above the water. Construction of a watchtower was begun here shortly after the Mantis claimed the island, but it quickly became clear that more easily-constructed and accessible watchtowers at lower elevations would provide sufficient surveillance of the surrounding waters. The partially constructed tower on the Spine was later taken over by the Order of Osano-Wo, and is now being incorporated into a new shrine to the tempestuous Fortune of Fire and Thunder. The location is ideal; not only does the peak provide an excellent view of the Fire Fountains, but during storms it is often struck by bolts of lightning and shaken by mighty peals of thunder. Construction, however, is slow, as the monks and those assisting them must contend with the same difficulties as the builders of the original watchtower.
- The First Rice Paddies
No place on Kaigen’s Island is as universally loved as the first rice paddies. The heimin farmers who work them are seen as heroes and pioneers among the lower caste. The shugenja who fertilize the land are revered as masters of earth and life. The samurai who guard them do so with the ferocity of a man defending his own lord. The first rice crop, six years ago, was a full koku’s worth. The yields have improved each year since, with last year’s being nearly forty koku. The island is not even close to supporting itself, but, the first paddies are proof that with time, effort, and enough koku, a Mantis can produce rice from stone.
- Thunder’s Watch Village
Located on Thunder’s Watch Island, this creatively named fishing village is just that; a fishing village. The island itself is of great importance due to the protection it offers the harbors along the Bay of Thunder. The village itself, however, is of little importance. I suppose I should note that despite being called a village, the people of Thunder’s Watch Island are citizens of Broken Wave City and the goings on of the village will be well within your jurisdiction.
- Wind’s Home Stable
The Wind’s Home Stables, operated by a heimin named Wide Eyes, is the only holding of the Unicorn Clan on Kaigen’s Island. Wide Eyes and her staff are the only horse breeders and trainers on the island, so virtually all horses on the island come from the Wind’s Home. Besides horses, the Wind’s Home also raises and trains work oxen and other beasts of burden; which is a considerably more profitable business. Nearby the Wind’s Home are a cluster of new dwellings under construction which will house the daughter of the Utaku daimyo, Utaku Mei, who has recently moved to the city.
- Orochi’s Mouth
Along the southern edge of the Mouth of Fire Ridge there is a huge cavern which it’s said leads deep down into the heart of the island and to the so-called “Tunnels of Ningyo.” While I don’t believe in the supposedly mystical qualities of the tunnels, the cavern which lies beyond the Orochi’s Mouth, often called the Gullet of the Orochi, is spectacular to behold. Every so often the sun’s rays will shine directly down the Mouth and little bits of the volcanic stone will shine like stars in the sky, reflecting the light in stark contrast to the deep black of the rock. A stone with similar properties is found nowhere else on Kaigen’s Island, so a few enterprising heimin not scared by the dark legend of the “Tunnels of Ningyo” have begun harvesting blocks of the stone for use in statuary and architecture. Due to the hard nature of the stone in question, very few blocks have been recovered thus far. Despite the difficulty, the beauty the stone offers is well worth the sweat of a heimin’s brow.
- Sea Wall
Upon sailing into the Bay of Thunder there is a, for lack of a better term, pile of rocks which peaks above the waves by about ten or fifteen feet, depending on tidal conditions. Constructed by the Kitsune Earth shugenja, the Sea Wall is a simple feature which protects the ships and moorings of the city by keeping the fury of the sea at bay. Because of this, it’s value to Broken Wave City is immeasurable.
- Last Landing
This small dock is so-named because it is here the heimin dead are brought by the city’s eta, prior to their cremation in the Fire Fountains. This is, therefore, truly the “last landing” for those brought here. An eta family lives here, maintaining the dock and keeping the path to the Fire Fountains clear, or designating a new one when lava flows overrun the existing trail.
- Eta Village
The Eta Village is located on a barren rock of ugly and crumbling coral surrounded by the White Water Passage, they have separated themselves far from the city, travel to and from their duties by small-craft, and occupy land with no worth. As such, they are the ideal eta; present when they are required, and completely gone when they are not.
For the samurai who unfortunately pass on the island, the Eta Village has a fully functional mortuary and an eta family which are versed in the techniques of that “craft”. The mortuary here is considerably smaller than usual in a city this size due to the eta’s practice of cremating common dead in the Fire Fountains. This does little, I’m afraid, to lessen the unpleasantness of the Eta Village, however.
- Defensive Works
Even as the first surveys of the future foundations of Kyuden Kumiko were begun, it was clear to the Mantis engineers that complex defensive works, such as continuous city walls, would largely be a waste of effort. Kaigen’s Island was its own fortification, with the sea its moat and the Mantis fleet its defensive bulwarks. As a result, only Kyuden Kumiko itself enjoys the protection of traditional walls. The remaining defensive works for the city consist of seven separate watchtowers and a single keep, the main difference being that the latter is a larger, stouter structure, more capable of independent defense, featuring two towers and thicker outer walls. These are strategically located to provide observation both across the island and out to sea. As long as sufficient warning is available, the Mantis are confident that the might of the Third Storm is sufficient to answer any conceivable threat to the city.
- Bay of Thunder
Broken Wave City would not be possible if it were not for the deep and protected Bay of Thunder. The entirety of the city cradles the bay and fills its waters with ships of all sizes.
- Sea Horse Island
Located off the coast of the very tip of the Fisherman’s Quarter, this relatively flat and well located island was recently purchased in its entirety by an undisclosed samurai from the mainland. A few peasant families have moved onto the island and begun the process of soiling and preparing the island for construction, though no one is sure of where the heimin have come from, or what they are preparing to construct on Seahorse Island. All that is known for sure is that the complex will be large, as the beginnings of several large foundations are already apparent throughout the island.
- Greater and Lesser Coral Barrens
The Greater and Lesser Coral Barrens are a series of what used to be submarine coral reefs. When they were lifted out of the sea, the coral and all associated marine life quickly died, leaving an almost impenetrable landscape of desiccated remains twisted into bizarre, unearthly shapes up to twenty feet tall. Few serious attempts have been made to penetrate deeply into the coral, so the Barrens remain almost wholly unexplored. As inhospitable as the Coral Barrens are, however, they have provided Broken Wave City with one of its most valuable exports to date. Coral is highly prized by artisans, and figures prominently in many types of art, such as inlays and sculpture. Although exposure to the elements is causing the coral to fade and crumble, the Barrens will provide a supply of quality coral for many years yet.
- Fire Fountains
Triggered by a powerful earthquake not long after the emergence of Kaigen’s Island, the Fire Fountains are one of the most spectacular, albeit dangerous, sights in the Empire. The term “Fountain” is more than just poetic; powerful eruptions of incandescent lava reach scores and sometimes hundreds of feet into the air. More lava pours from vents and fissures in the rock, forming flows that eventually spill into the sea and quench, steaming, into new rock. As a result, Kaigen’s Island is slowing growing, adding hundreds of square feet of new land to itself every day. While beautiful, the Fire Fountains are also potentially deadly. Only the eta of Broken Wave City regularly approach them closely, using them as a natural crematorium for the city’s common dead. However, more than a few eta have been killed by the Fountains in the process, overcome by heat or fumes, or struck and killed by sudden bursts of rock and lava.
- Orochi’s Spine
The Orochi’s Spine is the highlands of Kaigen’s Island. It is a volcanic ridge with large mountainous deposits of other stone, the “vertebrae”, which runs the length of the island. The highest “vertebrae” is nearly six hundred feet tall and is home to the unfinished Temple of Osano-Wo. Besides that, there is little of interest here.
- Victory Bay
The second, and lesser, bay which defines the southern part of Kaigen’s Island is called Victory Bay. It is not as deep or sheltered as the Bay of Thunder, and so it was passed over by the builders of the city. In time however, as the city expands, it is likely that the Victory Bay will be nearly as busy as the Bay of Thunder. That day is still quite a ways off, however.
- White Water Passage
Somewhat of a misnomer, the White Water Passage is barely navigable by even the smallest of light-craft. Formed beneath the Lesser Coral Barrens, the passage is beautiful to behold. The archways of coral which reach across the choppy water, whipped into a white froth by the tidal forces is quite spectacular. Heimin collect coral along the passage, and many small boats have been wrecked within it, making the passage even more treacherous. Most smallfolk who gather coral within the passage moor their boats nearby and swim up the passage to protect their small-craft. More than a few such heimin have been swept deep into the ocean by an unfortunate wave.
- Thunder’s Watch Island
This island protects and shelters the interior of the Bay of Thunder, and as such, is of geographical importance. It also houses a small fishing village and one of the seven watchtowers, Thunder’s Watch.
- Flames of Honor Island
When Kaigen’s Island first erupted from the ocean floor, and the Dark Wave fleet was dashed upon it, two Mantis kobune, and a third Phoenix one, burnt atop these three islands for three days. When the Mantis first explored the small islands they discovered that the crews of the kobune had been fighting a contingent of Dark Wave survivors and had fought until the last man. In memorial of their honorable sacrifice, the islands were named the Flames of Honor Islands. In recent days, the three islands are seen as a prime location for expansion of the Old Quarter. Plans for soiling, construction, and perhaps even a series of bridges has been discussed, though nothing has come of it yet.
- Pearl’s Gleam Island
While Pearl’s Gleam Island itself is rather unremarkable the waters around it are rich in clam and oyster. Several years past a heimin diver discovered a pearl in an oyster he had harvested. Shortly after the discovery of the first pearl, a second particularly fortunate peasant, one who had no experience diving for clams I might add, discovered three pearls in a single catch. Many commoners rushed to collect clam and oyster in hopes of making a similar discovery, often times without even bothering to bring the pearl-less clams to market. The island was named during this pearl fervor, and unfortunately, a large amount of potential seafood went to squalor upon its shores. The island earned another name during this time, Sea-Bird’s Paradise. Upon further investigation, the local magistrates discovered that the particularly fortunate heimin had, in fact, trained a monkey to steal pearls for him. The heimin was hung and the pearl rush was over, but the island’s names, both of them, stuck.
- Fingers of Stone
The Fingers of Stone are four rocky protrusions which jut out into the Bay of Thunder from the Fisherman’s Quarter. The Fingers loom over several of the fabled “Tunnels of Ningyo,” some of which, rumor has it, connect to the heart of the Tunnels, which lie under the waters of the Bay of Thunder. In any case, the Fingers are generally beneath the concern of the esteemed Emerald Magistrate.
- Cliff of Piety
The Cliff of Piety, also known as the Black Wall, is a shelf of dark rock which cuts the Commerce Quarter in two. The Black Wall was renamed after the Temple of Daikoku was built upon it so that the Fortune of Wealth might watch over the quarter. It is generally known that the wealthiest merchants and heimin live atop the Cliff of Piety, and the less fortunate live in its shadow.
- Mouth of Fire Ridge
The Mouth of Fire Ridge is the last rise before the Orochi’s Spine, and is named so due to the Fire Fountains which erupt from beneath it on the island’s northeastern side. The ridge is also home to the Fire’s Fury Watch, which is considered the most dangerous posting for Mantis samurai on the island.
- Wretched Ridge
Separating the rest of Kaigen’s Island from the Lesser Coral Barrens, and the Eta Village nearby, the Wretched Ridge was named for the nearby eta and is unexceptional otherwise.
- Dry Mouth
A rather awful pun, the Dry Mouth is a deep inlet within the Third Storm Haven which houses the dry docks used to retrofit and repair the Third Storm kobune while they are in port. Somehow the name stuck and sailors on-station dream of “going dry,” a first among sea-going samurai, certainly.
- Tunnels of Ningyo
The Tunnels of Ningyo does not label a single feature. Rather, it is the collective name for numerous caves and tunnels located throughout the island. When they were first discovered, it was thought these oddly-circular openings in the rock must be artificial, created, perhaps, by the aquatic Ningyo or a similar race – hence their name. However, ship’s masters sailing near the Fire Fountains have recently noticed similar structures apparently in the process of forming from lava flows, suggesting that the tunnels may be a natural interaction of the kami of earth, fire, and water. Whatever their origin, many of these tunnels exist on Kaigen’s Island, both above and below water. Most are less than one hundred feet long, terminating at blank rock walls and containing little of interest. About one in ten, however, extends for many hundreds of feet. Their diameter ranges from as little as two feet to as much as ten feet. While they are generally straight and usually slope gradually toward the island’s margins, they do occasionally bend or drop sharply. And while most are empty, they sometimes contain items either dropped overboard or lost in shipwrecks, such as sections of waterlogged planking, corroded weapons and armor, and even skeletal remains. Debate continues as to whether these items have been deliberately placed, or are simply the result of currents and wave action. Many easily frightened, superstitious residents believe that many of the tunnels link together and hide aquatic monsters or remnants of the Dark Wave and their Taint. Personally, I have seen no evidence of any such things in all my years here, though, a sharp eye should still be kept on the Tunnels. Pirates, brigands, and bandits occasionally think they can utilize the myth of the Tunnels to hide from justice. I hope you will prove them as wrong as I have. Even without the threat of dangerous criminals however, the Tunnels can be quite hazardous. Pitfalls, cave-ins, accumulations of toxic gases, and sudden jets of scalding steam are just some of the threats explorers face within these supposedly enigmatic passages.
Part IV: People of Interest
- Yoritomo Ninsei
Yoritomo Ninsei is an excellent example of what happens when an ambitious man happens to find himself in the right place at the right time. Circumstance gave the young Yoritomo the interim Governorship of Broken Wave City. Now, he seeks nothing less than to be fully and permanently invested in the office – even if that means incurring the lasting resentment of others more senior. After earning the resentment of his older siblings, Ninsei was assigned to a myriad of remote and uninspiring dead-end posts across Rokugan. Eventually, he came to serve as a junior functionary at the new court of Kyuden Kumiko. At the time, much of the castle and most of what would become Broken Wave City was little more than a grimy construction site. Ninsei bitterly resolved to endure, telling himself that, eventually, his opportunity would come. And come it did, far sooner than he dared hope. One night, as a ferocious storm pounded the island, a wall collapsed into the court chambers of Kyuden Kumiko. Most of those present were killed or badly injured, including the city’s Governor, Yoritomo Okai, who, ironically, had banished Ninsei from court for three days for arguing with a superior. In the chaos that followed, Ninsei immediately sensed opportunity. The young Yoritomo swung into action, conspicuously organizing rescue and recovery efforts. When the Governor died of his injuries, Ninsei, on his own recognizance, assumed temporary leadership of the city. Impressed by the young courtier’s bold actions – and, perhaps, seeing a bit of his younger self in the brash, ambitious Ninsei – the Clan Champion, Yoritomo Naizen, named Ninsei interim Governor of the city, the post he still holds today, nine years later. Many have questioned Naizen’s wisdom, and that of his son, the Rising Storm, Yoritomo Hiromi. Older and more senior politicians are available, but so far, Hiromi has seen fit to leave Ninsei in the post. Ninsei almost seems to relish the resentment of his elders, but must be keenly aware that his numerous enemies would love nothing more than to see him fail. Accordingly, he is extremely wary, not to say paranoid, carefully measuring everyone who crosses his path as either a potential ally or adversary. With the struggles on the horizon, many believe that Ninsei will soon have to surrender his position to a more military-minded individual at some point in the near future; many suspect the Third Storm’s commander, Yoritomo Jera, may well become his replacement. Personally, I believe that Broken Wave City is much more in need of the delicate needlework of Ninsei, rather than a dai tsuchi of a man such as Jera.
- Yoritomo Jera
It is nearly impossible to speak of Broken Wave City without mentioning Yoritomo Jera. Jera is a stern and uncompromising man, except of course when it benefits the Third Storm. The old Yoritomo was promoted to Commander of the Third Storm nearly two decades ago. Whether or not the fact that he is a distant relative of Yoritomo Kumiko, through her mother, had anything to do with his promotion, I could not say. The long years of service have not been kind to Jera, whom I would describe as a fatalistic and miserable old man. He has a leathery skin and an air of salt and sweat about him that only lifelong sailors have. Despite, or perhaps because of, his demeanor, Jera, called the Old Man of the Sea, commands respect. Jera is not polite, he is not subtle, nor overly cautious. As Shinsei said, “One should make each decision in the space of seven breaths,” and Jera took it to heart, making each decision in the space of two instead of seven. From the streets of Broken Wave City to its court within Kyuden Kumiko, Yoritomo Jera appears to care for three things: the strengthening of the Mantis Clan, the expulsion of its enemies, and the aggrandizement of the Third Storm. The old man acts as though all those who are not bushi of the Third Storm are second class, even his fellow Mantis, and doesn’t seem at all to care what others may think or say of him.
- Yoritomo Osa
Much the opposite of her husband, Yoritomo Jera, Osa is a kind and sociable courtier originally of the Doji family, and maintains close relations with her former clan members. Though fairly advanced in age, she is still rather comely, and has had more than a couple unsubtle suitors cut down by her husband. Osa is bored by Jera’s military life, and their marriage, clearly a socially advantageous one, never sowed children. The only person I have not seen her show kindness too is Jera’s illegitimate daughter, Yoritomo Jerako, who unsurprisingly, Osa has little love for.
- Yoritomo Jerako
Only in the Mantis Clan could the shameful product of open adultery be lifted so highly by her father’s hand. Yoritomo Jerako is Jera’s illegitimate daughter, though the identity of her mother is unknown, Jera has had more than his fair share of open affairs and none were surprised when his wife “bore a child” without a pregnancy. Not more than a few years after her birth, her father was stationed here, and she has grown up with Broken Wave City, growing as it has. Jerako is the Commander of the Watchmen, the samurai who act as its police force and town guard. When she is not drilling the various elite units of the Watch, she is a frequent visitor of the House of the Golden Mist. Rumors and gossip swirl about Jerako, that she is an opium addict, or a lewd womanizer, sadistic and cruel, or this or that. For her part, she seems unfazed by her unsavory reputation, and at times, even amused by it.
- Yoritomo Azula
If I had to use a single word to describe Yoritomo Azula it would be dominant. If I could use two then the second would be dangerous. Azula possesses a beauty which she will wield like a blade. She possesses a powerful ability to traffic with the kami, and a willingness to use that power as a weapon. I’ve also seen the woman, small and lithe as she is, crush the skull of a ronin who insulted her with her bare hands. Azula is in charge of the lion’s share of Yoritomo mercantile interests within the city, and none of her merchants have ever left her patronage. Despite her ruthlessness, Azula is careful to appear to obey all laws at all times, and has been generally beyond legal reproach. I must admit I tried hard to reprimand the shugenja-ko after an incident between her and a former yoriki of mine, but all of my investigations into her business and personal practices turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. Perhaps all her mercilessness and dominance is a smoke-screen, or perhaps she is simply very careful. Azula is feared and in some cases hated because of an incident between her and Shiba Morikatsu.
- Yoritomo Obaami
Yoritomo Obaami is the widow of the former Governor, Yoritomo Okai. After Okai’s death, opponents of Yoritomo Ninsei called for Obaami to become Governess. Soon the entire city was choosing sides and it seemed as though a brutal political confrontation was unavoidable. Then, something unexpected happened. Obaami supported Ninsei for the position and has been one of his staunchest proponents since. Obaami is a proud supporter of many of the various temples around the island and is also the patroness of several of the most important establishments in the city, including the House of the Golden Mist. Obaami is known as the Mother Bear of Broken Wave City. Those who she sees as beneficial to the city are welcomed into her arms, those who are not, well, they are certainly less comfortable here due to her scorn. Obaami’s word holds much sway, despite her not holding any true office.
- Yoritomo Yajuu
The yojimbo of Yoritomo Obaami, Yoritomo Yajuu is often seen drinking and carousing around the city. Though he seems to shirk his duty, his charge seems amused by his antics, and so the rest of Broken Wave City tolerates him. Even at his most soused, Yajuu has never been known to start brawls or other confrontations, though he has been baited into fights by Measure. Yajuu is a wild dervish with his kama, but while under the influence of sake, he is less fearsome.
- Tsuruchi Takamasa
As Chief Magistrate of Broken Wave City, Tsuruchi Takamasa is charged with maintaining law and order on behalf of the Mantis Clan. It is ironic, then, that murky whispers float around the dour Tsuruchi, suggesting that his own past may have been anything but lawful and orderly. Little is known of Takamasa’s early years. Following his gempukku, however, his reputation quickly grew as a skilled bounty hunter – an efficient and determined enemy of those who would flout the Emperor’s law. But it was after the Rain of Blood – a supernatural attack on Rokugan by the evil sorcerer Iuchiban – that Takamasa gained notoriety. The Rain Tainted and drove mad many of those it touched, leaving Rokugan awash in chaos and blood. The Jade and Emerald Magistrates, supplemented by forces from the clans – including the bounty hunters of the Tsuruchi – sought to root out those corrupted by Iuchiban’s evil storm. Takamasa quickly proved himself as skilled at stalking the Tainted as he was at bringing outlaws to justice. One after another, Takamasa’s relentless arrows found their lethal mark. And then the dark whispers began. Men such as Takamasa accumulate many enemies, so it may have been one of these who started the dark rumors that not all those slain by Takamasa were Tainted. Or it may have been more sinister forces, seeking to perpetuate the effects of the Blood Rain, who began to whisper the word ‘murder.’ Whatever their source, stories soon took hold that Takamasa was using the mantle of bounty hunter to indulge a dark appetite for indiscriminate killing. It was even hinted that Takamasa had been affected by the Blood Rain himself, and that the Taint was driving his ruthless passions. Rumors are not testimony. No one ever stepped forward to confront or accuse Takamasa. Still, a residue of suspicion clings to the Tsuruchi to this day, eliciting wariness and even a little fear among those who cross his path. Years of exposure to sun and wind and rain, and more than a few scars, only heighten the ominous nature of this dour, taciturn man. For his part, Takamasa seems to take no notice of this residue of suspicion. Certainly, it has not prevented him from gaining rank and status among his family and Clan, or from being named Chief Magistrate of Broken Wave City. In fact, there are those who suggest that Takamasa himself cultivates the stories, using them to bolster his reputation. Being suspected as a ruthless and cold-blooded killer has advantages when one must uphold justice to a city full of transient sailors and merchants. Takamasa, and the magistrates and yoriki who work for him, have little mercy for those who break the law. Justice in Broken Wave City tends to be swift and, when necessary, brutal. By no means does this prevent all crime, but those who perpetrate it do so with caution; one never knows when Takamasa himself may be lurking in the shadows, watching.
- Tsuruchi Masamoto
Tsuruchi Masamoto is a contradiction. He is a bounty hunter, like his father, Tsuruchi Takamasa, but lacks his imposing and dour nature. He is an artist and a poet, as well as a archer and hunter of men. He is disarming and self-depreciating, and celebrates the pleasures of life. Unlike, his sister, Tsuruchi Meijiko, Masamoto seems to have the love of his father, and is likely to continue to climb the ranks of the local magistrates. Also of interest is Masamoto’s skill in kenjutsu, despite his Tsuruchi heritage. More and more Tsuruchi refuse to see the use in casting aside the way of the sword completely, and their swordsmanship should not automatically be derided.
- Tsuruchi Meijiko
Some people have all the luck, and the confident Tsuruchi Meijiko is one such person, although unfortunately, she has the poor sort. Meijiko is a beautiful shot, and possesses a daring and adventurous oni-may-care attitude. There was one particular incident which comes to mind; six or seven years ago, a particularly stupid band of pirates took Meijiko hostage, the fools had no idea that they had captured the daughter of the Chief Magistrate. A huge search was undertaken, though I must admit, Takamasa seemed more interested in saving face than saving his daughter. Regardless, a massive manhunt was undertaken utilizing the local Magistrates, the Watchmen, and my own yoriki. For weeks we searched all the surrounding islands, the Tunnels, the Spine, and the Barrens, but to no avail. With no word from the kidnappers, we had all but given up hope of finding the girl, when she walked into the Civic Hall completely unharmed. Turns out she had eventually escaped her captors, sunk their vessel and had spent the week floating on debris. She had watched the movement of the stars to navigate and eventually paddled her way back to Kaigen’s Island. She washed up near the Temple of the Sun and took a cart back to the city. Needless to say, we were all shocked, but she seemed proud of her little escapade. Despite her many brushes with misfortune, or perhaps because of them, Meijiko has an unflappable sense that little in this world can hurt her. After her gempukku at the Topaz Championship of 1184, Meijiko enrolled in the Watchmen.
- Moshi Kishiko
Moshi Kishiko is the Head Priestess of the Temple of the Sun, and of the Moshi family in Broken Wave City. Kishiko is a middle-aged shugenja of great piety who is either beloved for her careful cautious nature or mocked for her indecisiveness. She applies the same neutral inoffensive methods she uses to lead the Temple of the Sun to her familial duties as a merchant patroness. She doesn’t make the most money, but she doesn’t make any enemies in the process.
- Moshi Hyoko
Moshi Hyoko is an unfailingly pleasant though somewhat distant shugenja-ko. She earned recognition for her magical talents during the Battle of the Broken Wave, though, it is said she no longer sleeps soundly. Since that fateful battle, she has focused her efforts on repairing the Mantis-Phoenix relationship and has pioneered several magical innovations which have helped Broken Wave City to stabilize. Her partner in this work is Agasha Ryunobu. To further their efforts, the pair opened the Rising Harmony Library, and without the efforts of Hyoko in the court of Kyuden Kumiko and with the somewhat confrontational Phoenix Ambassador, Shiba Sayoko, the library would never have gotten off the ground.
- Kitsune Shinayagami
Art imitates life, except in Kitsune Shinayagami’s case, art is life. Though he was stationed in Broken Wave City to manage Kitsune mercantile interests in the city it is his devotion to his craft which defines his place in the city. Shinayagami does not simply sculpt wood, stone, and coral, he breathes life into them. As one of the pioneers of a new Kitsune Artisan technique, he has turned his mastery over natural substances into a sensation which has swept through the Mantis lands. Sculpture, usually considered a second rate art, takes on new importance when the statue seems about to emerge alive from its marble prison. Shinayagami’s sculptures are desired all across the city, though, he only personally carves three or four in any given year, due mostly to the demands of his duties as the head of the Kitsune of Broken Wave City. As such, his work commands a high price, and those who possess a genuine Shinayagami are sure to be the talk of the town. Of course, for those who lack affluence or influence, Shinayagami’s students are available.
- Watanabe Al-Zayan
In a clan of skilled mariners, few are as capable as Watanabe Al-Zayan. What makes the man even more remarkable is that, in spite of the considerable handicaps of birth to a vassal family and a gaijin name, he has gained the position of Harbormaster, an office that many see to be one of the most powerful positions in Broken Wave City. With his exotic features there is no denying the boy’s gaijin lineage, so he took the name, Al-Zayan, both to recognize his origins and because he assumed it couldn’t possibly make his social standing in Rokugan any worse. The young Al-Zayan’s story might have then passed into obscurity, except for one thing – when it came to matters of ships and sailing, the young Watanabe had incredible ability. Within just a few years of his gempukku, Al-Zayan had already pioneered several innovations in ship design, widening the already vast lead in maritime technology which the Mantis enjoy. Ships whose keels had been laid by Al-Zayan soon became the most sought-after, which brought the young man to the attention of the Mantis Champion, Yoritomo Kumiko. Al-Zayan’s innovations, applied to warship design, so impressed Kumiko that she named the young Watanabe to her personal staff – a high honor, indeed, for one of such humble origins. After Kumiko’s death, Yoritomo Naizen retained Al-Zayan among his retinue. However, with the growing need for talent in Broken Wave City, he sent the young bushi there, with a mandate to establish facilities to repair and retrofit the kobune of the Third Storm. Al-Zayan immediately recognized that the nascent port was ill-designed for shipwright’s work, and set about suggesting improvements to the Governor, Yoritomo Okai. Okai rebuffed the Watanabe, even going so far as to name his estate, Sachi’s Watch, after a Phoenix. Al-Zayan’s fortunes shifted just a few months later, when Yoritomo Ninsei became Interim Governor. Immediately impressed with the man (simply meaning that he recognized Al-Zayan would help make him look good) Ninsei named him Harbormaster and gave him leave to design and manage the port facilities as he saw fit. Al-Zayan threw himself into the job with the measurable devotion with the result that Broken Wave City, in spite of its huge volume of shipping, is one of the most efficient ports in the Empire. Watanabe Al-Zayan is an unassuming man, most recognizable by his exotic features and by a shipboard injury that left him lame. He is more interested in solving practical problems than becoming embroiled in what he has called the cynical and manipulative world of politics. Despite his contributions to the city’s burgeoning development, the fact that he is a vassal family half-breed with a gaijin name has earned him more than a few enemies. Several years past, he and Yoritomo Jera had a rather public spat over the configuration of the Third Storm Haven’s offshore docks, and gossip has it that Jera has not forgotten the disagreement.
- Shiba Sayoko
Shiba Sayoko’s story is one of tragedy, bitterness, and revenge. Ironically, the circumstances that led to this have made her the powerful and influential presence she is in Broken Wave City. The Great Clans have all placed skilled ambassadors in this newest and closest of the Mantis courts, but none are as committed or driven as Shiba Sayoko. Sayoko’s tale did not start this way. For many years, she was the devoted and loving wife of a Shiba warrior named Mori. Shiba Mori had originally been assigned to the diminutive Sayoko as a yojimbo, and for the early years of her career as a Phoenix diplomat, their relationship was strictly professional. But over time, love blossomed between the two. Eventually, Sayoko was able to convince her daimyo that a marriage would be beneficial for the clan; Mori stepped down as her yojimbo and became her husband. Children followed, and the couple found that rarest of things among Rokugani nobility – true love. But the War of Fire and Thunder changed everything. Sayoko urged Mori, a man she believed past a warrior’s prime, to leave the war to younger men. Mori, however, could not resist the call of battle. Given command of a legion, he distinguished himself on the battlefield until a Tsuruchi arrow found a gap in his armor at the Battle of the Broken Wave. Sayoko was devastated by the loss of her beloved – all the more so given her Clan’s surrender to the Mantis and their claiming of Kaigen’s Island just off the Phoenix coast, events which only seemed to make Mori’s death more needless and futile. Using the considerable connections and favors of her political service, Sayoko procured the position of ambassador to the Mantis, taking up station in the new court of Kyuden Kumiko. Her most obvious act to unnerve the Mantis was to ensure that the Phoenix Embassy would be the most striking and recognizable structure in Broken Wave City, importing white marble, rich wood, and colorful tile at great expense. Sayoko has years of experience as a courtier and diplomat and holds little love for most Mantis. Sayoko has taken great pains to hide her past so that her husband’s memory can not be used against her. Revealing the Phoenix Ambassador’s secrets would surely earn Sayoko’s unending venom, which, as I can attest, can be fatally poisonous.
- Shiba Moritada
Shiba Moritada is Sayoko’s eldest son and the inheritor of her estate. Moritada is a duelist par excellence and a pious man. He shows the perfect picture of a Phoenix samurai to the world. His one conspicuous display is the five green and silver ribbons which hang from his saya. When he first came to Broken Wave City he had only one.
- Shiba Morikatsu
Shiba Morikatsu was Shiba Sayoko’s second son. He was a friendly and well liked courtier, even among the Mantis, who respected his wit and candor. There was a rather ugly confrontation between Morikatsu and Yoritomo Azula at the House of the Golden Mist. Apparently, while drunk Morikatsu insulted her in some fashion. Neither were willing to speak of what had caused the issue, and so it remains something of a mystery. Despite his attempts to reconcile the situation, Azula received permission to initiate a blood feud in record time. Morikatsu tried to reason with the woman and get her to agree to a duel but Azula was unresponsive. Before the paperwork could be signed off on by the Governor, Morikatsu committed seppuku to invalidate the shugenja-ko’s blood feud and absolve his family from Azula’s wrath. The entire city mourned for Morikatsu, most famously, Yoritomo Obaami shed tears openly as she read the poem she had written for his death and even attempted to embrace Shiba Sayoko.
- Shiba Moritomi
The third child of Shiba Sayoko is Shiba Moritomi. Moritomi, it seems, lives constantly in his elder brothers’ shadow. Moritomi is a skilled iaijutsu duelist, and a fair swordsman, but does not measure to Moritada. He meditates often and attends temple, but doesn’t seem to be able to grasp the principles of theology or the void as easily as his brother. Likewise he was never as good with words as Morikatsu, and never made friends so easily. Moritomi is not a bad Phoenix, just an underwhelming one.
- Shiba Moriko
The only daughter of Shiba Mori and Shiba Sayoko, Shiba Moriko is a quiet and precious young girl who was often a regular attendee of many Garden Parties. Moriko speaks when spoken to, only interjecting herself into a conversation when she feels she has something to add. When she does speak, however, generally people take note; her words have a certain weight. After her brother, Morikatsu’s death, however, Moriko became a rarer sight at Garden Parties and other social events. The young girl is now something of a hermit and is seldom seen outside of her family’s home, a true loss to the people of Broken Wave City. It is not at all uncommon for samurai of all walks of life to ask after Moriko, only to find that even her family has little idea of how she really is.
- Shiba Kojima
Shiba Kojima is the ever vigilant yojimbo of Shiba Sayoko, and her closest advisor and confidant. It is unusual to see Sayoko without Kojima waiting in the wings. Some say that even when she appears to be alone, Kojima is still watching from the shadows.
- Shiba Tsukato
There are few women as unpleasant as Shiba Tsukato. She is tall, broad, and ugly, seldom without a crass look or a sideways eye. She is Isawa Ieyado’s yojimbo, and it is clear she takes that duty seriously. A strong warrior with both spear and sword, I am certain that although she never enlivens a room at a social event, her charge is glad of her when his life is threatened. While she is not on duty she often drinks to excess and is a frequent client of the House of the Laughing World and the Belly of the Orochi.
- Isawa Ieyado
Isawa Ieyado is Shiba Sayoko’s nephew. He is considerably older than Sayoko’s children, and is almost as old as Sayoko herself. He shares her small frame and has a similar facial structure. Ieyado is a powerful fire shugenja and is often called upon by the kajinin to calm the fire kami. He never misses one of these opportunities to show his mastery over the fire, and although he shows himself as a well-balanced zen master of magic, I find him to be something of a braggart. Ieyado is the patron of the Phoenix mercantile interests on the island and is well-liked by his merchants due to his “patience” and “fair policies.”
- Agasha Ryunobu
Unlike his close friend, Moshi Hyoko, Agasha Ryunobu is a natural introvert. His hair is constantly unkempt, but only slightly, as though he is trying but narrowly failing at looking presentable. It seems that he is truly interested in fostering closer relations between the Mantis and his own Clan, but that he just doesn’t seem to know how to go about it. Occasionally he will arrive at Mantis social functions, but, he fails to make much of an impression unless introduced with, and subsequently propped up by, Hyoko’s social graces. Ryunobu is also a veteran of the Battle of the Broken Wave, and it is said his mastery of jade and fire magics caused many casualties among both the Yoritomo fleet and subsequently the Dark Wave.
- Doji Takako
The Crane Clan Ambassador is in many ways the ideal Crane. She is graceful and welcoming, and is a staple of the court and of social functions. She fights hard for her clan in both arenas but does so while still managing not to offend or create unnecessary tension or conflict, not always an easy task among the sometimes volatile Mantis. The main point of friction between her Clan and the Mantis since the inception of Broken Wave City has been the shift of naval power from the remote Islands of Silk and Spice to the Rokugani Mainland via Broken Wave City. This shift in naval power has had far reaching diplomatic effects which the Crane seek to mitigate or turn to their advantage. Doji Takako is their instrument to that end. Takako is the fourth Crane Ambassador in Broken Wave City, and it seems as though she will have a longer career than her predecessors.
- Doji Shibata
Few men on Kaigen’s Island are as constantly busy as Doji Shibata. Shibata is the brother of Doji Takako and her assistant in court, he is the head of the Crane Clan on Kaigen’s Island, and the manager of the Crane Clan’s merchants within the city. Shibata is a tireless man, always busy with his myriad duties. Shibata always seems overworked, but, as far as I have seen, has never allowed the weight of his duties to dilute his courtesy. The middle-aged Crane is married to the young Doji Fujiaki, and both seem pleased with their arrangement. Shibata is generally a helpful man, though it can be difficult to reach him during the course of an investigation.
- Doji Fujiaki
The young wife of Doji Shibata, Doji Fujiaki is a vision of grace. Fujiaki is a frequent host of social functions, and tends to the household affairs that her husband is too busy to take care of. The fondness between the two is obvious. Although I wouldn’t call them star-crossed lovers, they are clearly happy with their arrangement. Fujiaki is with child, although there are rumors abound that this is actually her third pregnancy, with the others being stillborn. Of course, such talk is baseless gossip. There is little chance that a woman so poised would be cursed by the Fortunes with a barren womb.
- Kakita Asayo
In a clan where talented practitioners of the art of iai are as common as sand along the beaches, those with passion but little innate ability or heritage are often turned aside. Kakita Asayo is such a duelist. Though both his parents were artisans, Asayo longed to perfect the art of the sword. Since his training in iaijutsu began late, he always lagged behind his fellow Kakita. After his gempukku, he was sent to Broken Wave City to defend the myriad Crane who live on the island. It was a dead-end posting, and he knows it. He has spent nearly every moment since coming here training his art so that when he is called back home they will know him as a true duelist. I, for one, wish him luck.
- Daidoji Izumo
Daidoji Izumo is a newcomer to Broken Wave City, though he has still managed to shake up the standing of his fellow Crane in short order. He is a captain of a Crane kobune which often frequents the city, and while ashore he has been in no fewer than eight brawls. While ashore he consumes heavily and this occasionally leads him into trouble. Despite himself, his fellow Crane are always there to smooth things over for him. I wonder what service he provides them which causes them to put their necks out so often for a simple Daidoji sailor?
- Katogama Hideyori
A minor vassal family of the Doji, for whatever reason, has sent one of their precious samurai to Broken Wave City. Katogama Hideyori has spent his time in the city in pursuit of pleasure and vice, a frequent client of houses of pleasure, both discrete and not. Whatever the duty he is not doing, Hideyori does not bother anyone else, and so is of little concern.
- Yasuki Kuroite
The Crab’s public face both in matters both political and mercantile, Yasuki Kuroite is a busy man. He is never without his coy grin, or his overly-friendly yet somehow hovering on the edge of menacing demeanor. Yasuki Kuroite pushes the interests of his clan in the same manner a Ryoko Owari ronin pushes opium. His agenda oozes from him as the liquid from a pustule. Despite being my clansman, and a member of my own family, I found Kuroite to be distasteful.
- Hida Adaichi
Hida Adaichi is a mountain of flesh and muscle and not much else. He is Yasuki Kuroite’s “yojimbo,” strong-arm, and implied threat all in one. I once saw him break a merchant’s spine with his tetsubo as if it were a twig from a cherry tree in a strong summer storm. The merchant died of course, but I’m sure the man’s family reconsidered switching to a different merchant patron.
- Hiruma Ujimoto
Hiruma Ujimoto is a well educated bushi a few years past his prime. His hair is stark white, likely from some incident beyond the Wall, and he occasionally has that long stare that some veterans of the Carpenter Wall assume after years of service. After his time in the south, Ujimoto became a sailor, and spent several years at sea protecting the maritime interests of the Crab. His intelligence, dedication, and ability to act upon instinct gained him promotion after promotion. The aging scout seems to love the city and can often be seen overlooking the busy docks or walking the seashore. Ujimoto’s duties in Broken Wave City are to advise Kuroite on the state of the Crab Clan navy and the Crab’s other maritime concerns, something which Kuroite knows little about, I imagine. It’s likely this posting is also a well-deserved rest for the Hiruma as well, after many years of dangerous and distinguished service.
- Kuni Daimitsuujianobukatsu
Colloquially called the Sore Thumb, or simply that Kuni, Kuni Daimitsuujianobukatsu, a name I will not bother to scribe again, is a rather, to put it politely, eccentric witch-hunter. To put it impolitely he is an erratic, crazed, and deluded individual. He has come to Kaigen’s Island to study the “mystical properties” of the so-called “Tunnels of Ningyo,” and fortunately, that “duty” takes up nearly all of the Sore Thumb’s time.
- Utaku Mei
Utaku Mei, scion of the Utaku family, and daughter of it’s daimyo, Utaku Yu-Pan, is embroiled in quite the scandal on the mainland. I won’t discuss the disgusting rumors in this dossier, however, if the curious Emerald Magistrate wishes to delve into them it would not be too difficult. Suffice it to say, Mei is a rather private individual and is likely here because of Broken Wave City’s remoteness, in the eyes of a Unicorn at least. The Battle Maiden is young and pretty, and possesses a fair amount of social grace which is certainly becoming of a woman of her station. Her hair is kept long and is dyed a deep purple, there is little chance of mistaking Mei in a crowd. She has no duties upon the island to speak of, and only just arrived, though I imagine she will likely become an important force within the city should she stay.
- Moto Zawar
Moto Zawar is a Moto White Guard, that much is obvious. He never speaks. Not to me, nor anyone I’ve spoken with. I assume he is here as Utaku Mei’s yojimbo. Beyond that I know nothing of him.
The Dragon, The Lion, and The Scorpion
- Mirumoto Shiten
Like so many of his clansmen, Mirumoto Shiten is a dabbler in many arts and a master in none. He is a swordsman, a poet, and a theologian; he is a philosopher, an artist, and an archer; he is a diplomat, a courtier, and an adviser; he is a teacher and a student. But mainly he is mysterious and enigmatic. I wonder how much of his mystic routine is simply rote learned from the years within the Dragon mountains? Regardless, he is knowledgeable of the sea and the life which lives within and upon it. He is an accomplished herbalist and his expertise is available at no cost and with no political leanings attached. He is a wonderful tool for an esteemed Emerald Magistrate, even if he may be hard to wield.
- Matsu Hana
Matsu Hana is a typical Matsu woman – loud, brash, deadly, and completely hypocritical. She can often be heard complaining loudly to any who will listen to her rant and rave about moral degeneration or dishonor or this or that. At the same time, Hana will retire behind the privacy of the walls of the House of the Golden Mist to do what exactly? Practice her kata? Study bushido? Doubtful. Hana can occasionally be of use; she is more than happy to give information and testimony to an esteemed Emerald Magistrate, though, often she will nag that not enough is being done while doing nothing herself.
- Rokugo Shunisei
Another vassal family misfit, this one is from the Rokugo, a minor family beneath the Bayushi. Rokugo Shunisei is a prodigal Scorpion: wily, polite even while insulting, and slightly slimy. More than once Shunisei has come to me with pirates and bandits trying to use him to fence their ill-gotten gains. Each time he covers his tracks perfectly, and the fool bandits never find him out. They go to meet with him, and instead find my yoriki and I waiting to arrest them. I don’t claim to know Rokugo Shunisei’s motives, and honestly, I never cared to.
The Minor Clans and the Ronin
- Kasuga Tenshinikage
The Ambassador from the Minor Clan Alliance, Kasuga Tenshinikage is a consummate politician and a constant fixture within the local court. He is an slim man, and when a powerful storm comes to Kaigen’s Island many fear the Tortoise will blow away. Tenshinikage is often treated with contempt, but like all good Tortoise, the insulting words of others seem to roll off his back like rain off a turtle’s shell. I have never had reason to conflict with him, but also have had little reason to interact with him except at social gatherings. He is curt, but not unpleasant, and never minces words.
- Ujina Taire
Ujina Taire is a young and excitable Hare bushi who came to Broken Wave City as the nominal yojimbo of Kasuga Tenshinikage. At her charges behest, she joined the Watchmen and has steadily climbed their ranks. She often excuses herself from the city, sailing and traveling whenever she can find a dutiful reason to do so. Unfortunately her excitable nature can lead her into trouble. She has run astray of the local magistrates more than a few times after being baited into a bar brawl.
Rodent is a ingenious ronin and one of the wealthiest independent men in the city. Just outside of the official border of the Mantis waters, and also outside of the territorial waters of the Phoenix lies a small island just an hour’s boat ride away from Kaigen’s Island. The island is minuscule, only about three hundred feet long, and completely barren. On that island Rodent runs his gambling establishment, the Rat’s Refuge House. Because it is not in either clans territories neither Clan may tax his income. Neither Clan will allow the other to claim the small island due to the tense political climate, and so Rodent offers bigger payouts and makes more profit than gambling houses on the mainland or on Kaigen’s Island. Of course, he still must pay his taxes to the Emperor, and as such he tends to see a good working relationship with the esteemed Emerald Magistrate to be a top priority. To support his gambling house, Rodent owns and operates a small fleet of light-craft to ferry people to and from his little island, and a squad of ronin, brutes, and other strong-men to protect his holdings. Even though Rodent’s gambling house may sound suspect, I can assure you that the Rat’s Refuge is entirely legal, and is a result of a cunning wave-man simply knowing imperial and local law and utilizing it to his advantage.
- Unknown Fire
Every major trade hub in Rokugan has a ronin who knows his sword, and who’s honor is to his contract; a skilled yojimbo for hire with few scruples; with eyes and ears that only see what they need to, but who’s life would be gladly given for a charge. Such a man is valuable. In Broken Wave City that ronin is Unknown Fire. I don’t know much about him besides that he has never backed down from a fight, and seems to be able to use nearly any weapon in Rokugan if a situation calls for it. Unknown Fire wears a stark white kimono, as if he were in mourning, and wears an elaborate basket hat with a large chunk cut out in the front, likely a close call from an earlier battle. The ronin is tight-lipped about his past, which make many believe that he may be a clan ronin. Either way, he may be of use to an esteemed Emerald Magistrate when the time for a big raid comes; in my experience some criminals will just give themselves up when they see Unknown Fire at my back.
There are few people who pose a problem to public order the way Measure does. She is a paradox. I have cuffed Measure three times, and the local magistrates have done so twice, not to mention the countless fines which have been levied against her and Takamasa’s incessant threats, and yet she remains problematic. She is a mercenary but even under torture will never reveal her employers. She has cheated gambling houses, brawled with other samurai, generally Mantis, and has been disruptive to social order. She was even caught with illegal opium once, though, with the testimony of several other samurai, mostly ronin, she successfully claimed that she was “in the process of delivering it to the Emerald Magistrate for proper destruction.” Despite all this, I find myself respecting her. Measure has cheated gambling houses, yes, but she gave her ill-gotten gains to heimin gambling addicts. She quarrels with samurai, however, usually she does so to give some poor peasant being needlessly browbeat the chance to escape. I can’t explain away all of her transgressions, but the ones I can explain away make me think there is more to Measure than meets the eye. I hope she will either shape up, or become more subtle. I would hate to punish her further.
Bright eyed and ready for anything, Greenhorn is a ronin for hire that I have taken advantage of several times. His rates are fairly low, and he is a fair shot with a yumi, if you’ve got a spare you can lend him. Greenhorn’s best traits are his honorable nature, for a ronin, anyways, and his willingness to listen and follow orders and instruction. Greenhorn is also a fairly good sailor and navigator. If you and your yoriki lack such skills and have need to travel by boat, Greenhorn will be more than worth his fee for saving you several days afloat. If the man has one drawback it is that he tends to rush headlong into dangerous situations, and due to his helpful nature, you will likely wish to rush headlong after him to save him. Unlike most who suffer from such overconfidence, Greenhorn does not overvalue himself or step out of line. The source of his temerity is a powerful desire to please and impress his employers, and as such, I found little fault with him. His desire to please me allowed me to easily overlook his audacious combat style.
Blind is a miserable pain. As his name suggests, Blind is a ronin who lost his eyesight in an accident. How he ended up on Kaigen’s Island is a complete mystery to me. He has pestered me for days about the “little shit kids” who steal zeni from his charity bucket and about the “unfairness” of the Fortunes. I have no idea how Blind makes a living, and quite frankly, I don’t care to. He is an irritant, and should be treated as such.
- All Smiles
Once you see All Smiles you will never forget him. He dresses in garish clashing colors, and wears his swords without sayas. He has yellowed teeth and a certain stink which is more befitting an eta than a proper person. The man has a grating and distinctive laugh, and is a compulsive liar. Most shockingly are the scars which ebb and flow across his face, the two deepest of which seem to form a grotesque smile, hence the name. Though the strange ronin is a highly recommended sword-for-hire, I personally never used him for what should now be obvious reasons. In spite of his obviously distasteful nature, he seems to work steadily and stays out of trouble. He often works at the House of the Laughing World as a bouncer, though, I’ve heard that when he works there he often smells better than normal, perhaps Madame Strange turns him away when his stench is more powerful than her allure.
- Abbott Sanuske and Abbott Yosuke
The twin abbotts of the Twin Temples to Kenro-ji-jin and Kyofoki are odd, even for senior monks of minor Fortunes. Sanusuke and Yosuke look exactly alike, the only way to distinguish them are the complex theological symbols they carry. Not only do they look alike, their voices are exactly the same and they have the same manner of speaking. They finish each other’s phrases and sentences as if they shared a single mind. Even stranger, is that both men are elderly, which means, some fifty years ago two identical twins were born, became monks, and happened to specialize in worship of two particular minor Fortunes with seemingly no connection to each other. Then Kaigen’s Island arises and those exact two minor Fortunes become vitally important to its religious make up. The Fortunes are wise indeed.
- The Monk Taro
Taro is a simple and straightforward monk from the Temple of Daikoku who handles the taxes of that temple and also for nearly all of the temples in the city. In all matters he is even and measured, never resorting to the false enigma or riddles of other holy men. I found him pleasant to work with both on annual taxes and when my investigations included matters of a religious nature. The only downside to working with Taro on taxes is that, due to the nature of his duties as fiscal manager for so many different temples he is forced to keep reams of records in order to keep it all straight. This leads to a long consultation, however, I find it is still quicker and easier to simply deal with Taro and his slow pace, rather than try to puzzle through all the various sects and temples in the city.
- The Monk Monomuke
Monomuke is a monk from the Order of Osano-Wo. He is built like a Crab wall and has fists the size of kagoboshi, basket hats. To say the man is physically imposing is unnecessary. Unlike the other monks of his order, Monomuke stays in town and works as a strong-arm to help raise money for the still unfinished Temple of Osano-Wo perched upon the Orochi’s Spine. Monomuke, fortunately, has the good sense to only accept legitimate work, and as such he avoids the pitfalls that so many of his profession fall into.
- Priestess Kioke
The Priestess Kioke is a vibrant young woman no more than eighteen years old. She is the voice of the traditionalists at the Temple of the Sun and as such has a great amount of sway among the traditionally minded worshipers of the Sun. It is fairly well-known that Kioke is a vocal critic of Moshi Kishiko’s neutral stance.
- Priestess Shito
The Priestess Shito is a frail old woman who shakes and bobs with every tortuously slow step. She is the voice of the reformists at the Temple of the Sun and, much like her traditionalist counterpart, Kioke, holds influence among reformers of that temple. Shito has a bitter sting to her words when she means them to hold venom, and has brought many temple-goers to her way of thinking with a few well placed words.
The Lesser Classes
One can not discuss the lower classes within Broken Wave City without discussing Patient. Patient is a cunning and intelligent man who has utilized his gifts to establish one of the largest, most diverse, most profitable marketplaces in Rokugan. I speak, of course, of the Natsu-Togumara’s Bounty Fishmarket. He knows the law better than most magistrates, and is completely safe from any backlash any illegal activity may create within his market. Beyond that, Patient’s patron, or patrons, are also completely shielded because his patronage is kept entirely secret. In other words, Patient is the perfect merchant. Easy to manage, insanely profitable, and safe from possible reprisals. I envy the family who has Patient on retainer. If the Yasuki had a army of Patients we could make a second Kaiu Wall. When the first tax season comes around your eyes will become wide with shock when you see how many koku can be amassed by such a “perfect” merchant, and how many are given to the Emperor as tax. Patient as a man, not as a merchant, is rather underwhelming. As his name suggests, Patient is a listener and shows proper deference to those above his station at all times. He is not conspicuous or flashy with the large sums of money he must have, and he lives a quiet life in a modest home on the Cliff of Piety. I have never once seen Patient upset or angered. He appears to be in control of himself at all times.
- Wide Eyes
Wide Eyes is the heimin who manages the Wind’s Home Stable. She was born on the Utaku Plains and has been a staunch servant of the Unicorn since her first days. Wide Eyes is so named because of her unnaturally round eyes, which are clearly indicative of gaijin heritage. Regardless, she is a fine animal breeder who knows her place.
There is only one word to describe Spittle, and that is fetid. I have arrested four of Spittle’s employees for possession of illegal opium, and each time Spittle spouts platitudes and apologizes and claims that, “surely now my house is clean.” Bah! I would do more to curb him but for the unfailing support of his patroness, Yoritomo Obaami. In private she tells me she knows that Spittle is disgusting, but that his family has served hers for centuries, and that she would hate to lose a perfectly good apple tree because of a single worm. I can’t help but agree with her, but that doesn’t change my personal feelings for the man.
Nose is the chief merchant of Yoritomo Azula and treats those beneath him as Azula treats those beneath her. As can be expected, the merchant’s most striking feature is his large and deformed nose, complete with a hairy mole on its left side. It’s obvious the nose has been broken many many times over the course of the heimin’s life. Nose acts as a brute towards his lessers, but treats samurai with the correct deference, and so, I find him to be unpleasant, but not necessarily offensive.
Never before have a heard of a merchant giving up one of his own employees to a magistrate before an investigation had begun, but that is exactly now Righteous runs his business. Righteous is the chief merchant of Doji Shibata and is known within Broken Wave City for the cleanliness of his house. On several occasions the man discovered his people were involved in illegal activity. Where most merchants would conceal the truth, Righteous reveals it. Many investigations have been ended before they had begun by Righteous’ vigilance. Sure, some of the lesser caste avoid working with Righteous because of his law-abiding tendencies, but most samurai don’t bat an eye at the extra zeni or two his services cost. What’s two zeni compared to supporting the rarest of heimin, an honest merchant?
Mortar is a man built like the stone that is his primary trade. As the most profitable of the Crab merchants, Mortar has become Yasuki Kuroite’s primary interface with the lower classes. Mortar is a carpenter and builder by trade and still works construction even after his promotion to chief merchant of the Crab in the city. Of course, building a city on a barren rock takes quite a lot of koku, and Mortar’s patron was sure to import him and his expert team to Broken Wave City shortly after its birth. Mortar and his team of carpenters and masons produce reliable and artful work which not only commands a high price, but is highly-sought after in the city which is under constant construction.
- Madame Izanami
Among Madames none are more discreet, nor more successful, than Madame Izanami. Izanami herself is quite alluring, with an eye for the minutiae which can make the difference between an establishment of class or crass. A line the House of the Golden Mist straddles expertly, never falling on the wrong side, but always teasing to. She is a consummate singer and performer, and a graceful hostess. Everything at her House is available except for Izanami herself, and that ultimately makes her all the more desirable. To toy within the mind with what is implied but ultimately forever unfulfilled is the ultimate skill of a geisha, and Izanami is its master. Each conversation with Izanami is enrapturing because you are never certain if you are speaking to the real Izanami or one of her thousands of faces, personalities she wears and casts off at the needs of her clientele. She is the queen of matters of fashion, gossip, and social favor on par with the power of Ninsei and Jera in their respective spheres of influence. Even stranger, is Izanami as a madame and manager of her own affairs at such a young age; an age when most geisha are still decades away from such a position.
- Madame Strange
Everything that can be said of Madame Izanami, the opposite could be said of her low-class contemporary, Madame Strange. Strange’s establishment, the House of the Laughing World, is a parody of the House of the Golden Mist. Where Izanami is untouchable and a master of grace, Strange is a harping whore passed around from customer to customer who is more concerned with her own pleasure than the pleasure of her clients. Izanami is the unofficial queen of social favor, Strange is the self-proclaimed Queen of Misrule, lending voice and influence to the misfits which fall below the Golden Mist’s quality standards. Despite her unruly reputation, Madame Strange herself has always been respectful to me and my station, always helpful when a case called for it, and for that I suppose I was fortunate. Broken Wave City is home to many rude and crass so-called misfits whose minds can be easily swayed by their mistress and master.
- Three Teeth
Three Teeth is the head of the eta in Broken Wave City. He was the protege of the former eta headman, and controls nearly all the eta of the city. He is a mortician and healer, apparently the eta see no reason for a distinction, and more importantly to an esteemed Emerald Magistrate, he is a practitioner of the skill of “dead reading” made popular among magistrates in Ryoko Owari some two hundred years ago. Three Teeth is not a natural at the art and it often takes him a fair amount of time to complete such a “dead reading.” His results, however, are nearly always worth the wait.
Most eta dread becoming torturers. The eta known as Handsome is not one of them. Handsome is about sixteen years old, and has been training as a torturer since he could walk. This has granted him a fearsome reputation among the eta and apparently lead to him avoiding some of the usual hardships associated with eta life. Except for his clothes, he barely even looks like an eta. His hair and short mustache are always well groomed and he holds his head high, very unlike his fellow eta, when he thinks no samurai or heimin are around. Handsome is a good torturer, but his style is quick and dirty and brutal. He is so young and so energetic that his “clients” have no idea where or with what he may strike next. Few victims of a session with Handsome have gone unbroken though it is not unheard of, Measure being the first individual who comes to mind.
Part V: The Esteemed Emerald Magistrate
“Once a group of ten blind masseuses were travelling together in the mountains, and when they began to pass along the top of the precipice, they all became very cautious, their legs shook, and they were in general struck with terror. Just then the leading man stumbled and fell off the cliff. Those that were left all wailed, “Ahh, ahh! How piteous!” But the masseuse who had fallen yelled up from below, “Do not be afraid. Although I fell, it was nothing. I am now rather at ease. Before falling I kept thinking, ‘What will I do when I fall?’ and there was no end to my anxiety. But now I have settled down. If the rest of you want to be at ease, fall quickly!” – Bayushi Tozasu
The Charter of the Emerald Magistrate
Wherein is delineated: those matters which concern the Emerald Magistrates; those duties which the Emerald Magistrate shall at all times labor to discharge; those restrictions placed upon the Magistrate to ensure honorable justice within his or her jurisdiction; and those rights and privileges given to the Magistrate to aid in the pursuit of justice and social order.
Part I – Jurisdiction
Wherein is delineated those crimes which are specifically the concern of the Emerald Magistrate and which require diligent pursuit.
- Section One: Crimes Against The Emperor – Any attempt to harm, insult, endanger, steal from or otherwise inconvenience the Son of Heaven is a crime deserving of the utmost attention from all Emerald Magistrates. Any similar action taken against a member of the Emperor’s family shall be constituted as a gesture against the Emperor himself and as such merits the attention of the Emerald Magistrate. Similarly, any action against a direct servant of the Emperor or the Imperial Family shall also be a matter of concern for the Emerald Magistrate.
- Section Two: National Crimes – Crimes (including theft, murder, treason, robbery, murder, forgery, armed uprising, tax fraud and other transgression of local law) which are national in scope, either in planning or execution, are a concern for all Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Three: Shadowlands Incursions - Any entry into Rokugan by denizens of the Shadowlands or by those who have been corrupted by the influence of the Shadowlands, or by those who have made pacts with the sinister forces of the Shadowlands, are forbidden by law. The enforcement of this law is the duty of the Emerald Magistrates. Crimes committed within Rokugan by violators of this law also fall within the enforcement charter of the Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Four: Fugitives - The capture of any criminal who has fled across city or clan territorial boundaries is a matter of concern for all Emerald Magistrates, regardless of the scope of the crime or the location of its commission. Similarly, any criminal who flees the location of his or her crime, or attempts to, falls within the operational purview of Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Five: Organized Blasphemy - Any meeting of more than two individuals for the express purpose of participating in blasphemous or obscene rituals is forbidden, and is a matter of concern for the Emerald Magistrates.
- Section Six: Civil Disorder and General Lawlessness - Any crimes or actions with result in widespread civil disorder and/or general disrespect for the law and its enforcers is within the jurisdiction of the Emerald Magistrates.
Part II – Duties
Wherein are delineated those tasks that the Emerald Magistrate is honor-bound to perform in addition to enforcing Imperial Law.
- Section One: Tax and Tariff Collection - It is the duty of the office of the Emerald Magistrate to oversee the collection of the yearly Imperial Tax and to enforce tariffs upon goods being transported across clan boundaries. In the case of larger cities this duty may be delegated to tax officials operating under official charter from the Emerald Champion. In such cases, it is still the duty of the local Emerald Magistrate(s) to audit the collections, ensure their accuracy and protect the tax collectors and the gathered taxes.
- Section Two: Authorizing Travel Papers - It is the duty of the Emerald Magistrate to make him- or herself available at least one day a week to sign Imperial travel documents. Such documents are required only in the following instances: for persons who intend to travel across two different clan boundaries; for persons who require an open pass to all points within the Emerald Empire; for persons whose travel papers are to remain valid for longer than one year but not more than five years; or for residents who are not native to Rokugan.
- Section Three: Protection of Visiting Dignitaries - Dignitaries from outside Clan boundaries may, if they wish, request that the local Emerald Magistrate provide protection against threats mundane, military and supernatural. The Emerald Champion is bound to provide protection appropriate to the threat and to the visitor’s social station.
- Section Four: Briefing the Emerald Champion - Once per month, the Emerald Magistrate shall meet with the Emerald Champion to provide a briefing on his or her current and ongoing activities and investigations. The Emerald Champion shall also be informed about any matters of national concern.
- Section Five: Notification of Non-Jurisdictional Crimes - When any Emerald Magistrate becomes aware of a crime that is outside his or her jurisdiction, that Magistrate is honor bound to give a thorough briefing on the matter to whatever authority has jurisdiction over the crime in question.
- Section Six: Briefing the Governor – The city or regional Governor of the province in which an Emerald Magistrate is stationed may, at any time, demand an accounting of the Magistrate’s current and ongoing investigations. The Emerald Magistrate is to provide a detailed accounting in no less than three days. The Governor may not demand such an accounting more than once per month.
- Section Seven: Notification of Accusations - If a person of samurai class, living or dead, has been accused of or implicated in a crime being investigated by the Emerald Magistrates, it is the duty of said Magistrates to inform the local family and/or clan leader of the accusation.
Part III – Restrictions
Wherein are delineated those tasks, investigations and duties which are excluded from the obligations of the Emerald Magistrate
- Section One: Incidental Law Enforcement - It is not the duty of the Emerald Magistrate to provide street patrols or random policing.
- Section Two: Problems of Limited Scope - It is not the duty of the Emerald Magistrates to investigate crimes which are strictly a local concern.
- Section Three: Authorization of Blood Feuds - Emerald Magistrates have no authority over the matter of blood feuds. They can neither authorize such a feud nor declare one invalid.
- Section Four: Levying of Troops - Emerald Magistrates have no authority to command the service of troops except as noted below in Part IV: Sections Five and Six.
- Section Five: Acceptance of Gifts and Monies - No Emerald Magistrate shall accept gifts, favors, monies, services or special considerations in exchange for any aspect of his or her duties as magistrate.
Part IV – Rights
Wherein are delineated those special privileges, powers and rights which are given to Emerald Magistrates to enable them to better pursue their goals and duties.
- Section One: Right of Questioning - In the case of persons of inferior social class, station or worth, an Emerald Magistrate may arrest and restrain the individual for questioning about criminal matters. The right of arrest, restraint and inquisition also applies to individuals of superior social class, worth or station who are apprehended in a criminal act by an Emerald Magistrate. Persons of higher social rank, station or value may be apprehended, imprisoned and questioned if the Emerald Magistrate has obtained a valid Order of Appearance (cf. Part IV, Section Three).
- Section Two: Right of Sentencing - If a signed confession has been notarized by an Emerald Magistrate, that Magistrate may opt to sentence the confessed criminal. This right of sentencing may be passed on to a different Emerald Magistrate, at the option of the notarizing Magistrate. Transcribed confessions are legitimate only in the case of illiterate criminals. Sentences are to be appropriate for the crime and its circumstances. Possible sentences include, but are not limited to the following: execution by beheading for samurai criminals; execution by hanging from the neck for criminals of lower class; class-appropriate executions for spouses, parents or children of criminals, cuffing for periods not to exceed three months; public beatings with rods, sticks or whips; house arrest; or fines, the sum of which is to be remitted to the office of the Emerald Champion.
- Section Three: Orders of Appearance - An Emerald Magistrate may exercise rights of arrest, imprisonment and inquisition upon persons of higher social worth only upon the presentation of a valid Order of Appearance. An Order of Appearance must describe in detail the crime of which the samurai is accused, it must be dated within one month of its presentation and it must be signed by the presenting Magistrate or Magistrates. In addition to this signature, it must also have the signature of one of the following: the Emerald Champion; the city or province Governor; or the local chief magistrate. The date of an Order of Appearance must be listed as the date on which the last individual signed it.
- Section Four: Right to Prior Information - It is the duty of local Governors and daimyo to inform Emerald Magistrates of large scale military or police actions within that Emerald Magistrate’s jurisdiction at least one day before the action occurs.
- Section Five: Right to Commandeer Troops -Emerald Magistrates have the right to amass groups of troops for necessary operations, provided that they inform the local daimyo or Governor of their intentions. They may commandeer troops from local leaders if they can show demonstrable need and provide reasonable financial compensation for the troops services.
- Section Six: Right of Imperial Levy – Emerald Magistrates may, at any time, petition the Emerald Champion for the command of the Emerald Legions. The assignment of those Legions is entirely at the discretion of the Emerald Champion. Emerald Legions have rights of actions and armament in any and all places within the Emerald Empire.
- Section Seven: Right of Privy Investigation - If there is a conflict of jurisdiction between an Emerald Magistrate and a local magistrate, the jurisdiction of the Emerald Magistrate takes precedence. If the Emerald Magistrate presents the local magistrate with a signed and dated Order of Privy Investigation, that magistrate must immediately cease all new investigations into the matter of contention. An Order of Privy Investigation is valid only if it fulfills the following conditions: it is dated on the day it was completed; it is signed by the Emerald Magistrate; it contains a complete description of the crime in question; and it explains, completely and reasonably, why the two investigations can not proceed in parallel fashion.
- Section Eight: Right of Travel Authorization - In addition to their power to pen Imperial travel documents (defined in Part Two, Section Two), Emerald Magistrates also have the right to provide valid travel documents of more limited scope. These documents cannot be confiscated or contradicted by local magistrates for more than two days.
The Office of Broken Wave City
It is never an easy duty to be an Emerald Magistrate, though usually, one can build on the achievements of the past. The challenges of being the first, the measure by which all future Emerald Magistrates will be judged, was a taxing and difficult duty, but one which I have accepted. Fortunately for you, I have provided you with the document in your hands. The summation of my experience. To put those experiences in proper perspective, I have included a short description of myself, and the two yoriki who have become my most trusted right and left hand. I have had other yoriki, of course, but for one reason or another they were unimpressive, unimportant, or compromised in some way.
- Yasuki Shishinza, Esteemed Emerald Magistrate of Broken Wave City
I will not attempt to chronicle all of my many successes, nor my few failures, here. I do not consider myself such an egotist. I am Yasuki Junsuina-hosekiban no Koware Nami Sunda-Mizuin Ichiro Shishinza. I grew up along the coast of Earthquake Fish Bay and was trained at the Yasuki Courtier School. I served my Clan and Family in the courts of the Crane, the Mantis, and the Phoenix, and handled the distasteful, though among the Crab at least, entirely necessary commercial interests of my Clan. I was taken as a yoriki by a now deceased Emerald Magistrate by the name of Ide Kiyonoshin, who, after five years of service, put my name forth for promotion and reassignment. I served in Zakyo Toshi as a junior Emerald Magistrate, and after two years assisting the beleaguered Emerald Magistrate there, was given my own office in the new city of Koware Nami Toshi, Broken Wave City in 1174. A decade has passed since then. I have spent my time in this city limiting the power and scope of the yakuza, the kaizokuban, and other lawless elements.
Pious is a clan ronin. Once, in a different life, he was Asahina Meiryo. His family demanded pacifism of him, though, he could not reconcile such soft-hearted naivety with the cruel realities of life. I met the shugenja in Zakyo Toshi, and he quickly became an ally and confidant. When I was reassigned to Broken Wave City, Pious came with me. As my yoriki, he handled matters of a magical nature, and is adept at discovering what criminals would rather remain hidden. Though he is willing to take life when it is necessary, he prefers not to, a remnant of his Asahina upbringing. He is competent and clever, and I hope, when you take my place, that he will choose to remain and serve you as he did me.
Kaba, hippopotamus, are great beasts of flesh and muscle who are born on the shore but live in the waters. Though fierce and aggressive, the creatures are herbivorous and seldom bother those who respect their territory. Kaba is a ronin who has well-earned this namesake. He is a hulking practitioner of sumaido and kanabojutsu. He is a quiet and contemplative giant, however, and he spends his free time in meditation and contemplation of his place in the world. He may be a clan ronin, but, his past is not a topic we have broached often. He is my muscle and threat response, and is very helpful for maintaining order during tax season.
Threats to Public Order
Though new threats rise and fall, and vigilance is required on all fronts by the esteemed Emerald Magistrate, some menaces seem to survive despite one’s best efforts. Of these persistent threats to public order, the following are either beyond the scope of the Emerald Magistrate to solve, or have been clever (or numerous) enough to evade capture or complete eradication.
- Hunger and Thirst
My greatest shortcoming has been my inability to not only fail to apprehend the bandits known as Hunger and Thirst, but not even come close to. The pair command a small flotilla of raiders, but, unlike the various kaizokuban gangs, these raiders show an alarming discipline, and have been drilled extensively in small unit tactics. The flotilla, which is often called the Godatsusha no Kisho-sei, Reavers of Scarcity, have, over the past eighteen months, assaulted thirteen trade ships, seven Yoritomo, three of the other Mantis families, and three of the other naval Clans. They have committed no less than five raids on warehouses and private stores on Kaigen’s Island, and another two raids on Mantis holdings on some of the surrounding islands. Hunger and Thirst are highly prolific, much more so than mere pirates. The commodities which are stolen or destroyed are always specific, and have included rice, water, legal opium, stone, wood, and other miscellaneous products. It is clear that Hunger and Thirst are not simply attacking targets of opportunity, and are instead very deliberately affecting the various commodities markets within Broken Wave City. It is obvious from this level of sophistication, both martial and intellectual, that Hunger and Thirst are former samurai. Little is known for sure about the pair, though rumors run wild. I will write here only what I know to be fact. Hunger is the military commander of the Reavers, and is known to wear traditional heavy o-yoroi armor, rare indeed among seafaring warriors. Thirst is a slight woman who often wears an oni mask, and utilizes a yumi. Their hit-and-run style occasionally resemble the cavalry maneuvers utilized in ground war but they are clearly also experienced sailors, well versed in standard naval tactics. The Reavers they command are highly loyal, and prefer seppuku or suicide to capture. Every Reaver who has been captured has ended his own life, taking whatever secrets he held to the grave. Due to the speed and precision of their operations, I have only ever arrived to the scene after the fact. All my attempts to collect information on their safe-houses, or implant shakuhachi players or undercover operatives into their ranks have failed miserably. It is a grave mistake to treat Hunger and Thirst like common kaizokuban. The Umi-Tora have declared Hunger and Thirst to be their top priorities, and despite my full cooperation with the Sea Tigers, the Reavers continue to raid Broken Wave City’s assets with apparent impunity. Their destruction should be a top priority for any proper thinking Emerald Magistrate.
There are innumerable pirates and bandits which hunt the sea lanes for poorly protected trading vessels. Often, a number of these pirate ships will bind together under a single leader for mutual protection and gain. These are the kaizokuban, the pirate gangs. When pirates and kaizokuban ply their “trade” they wind up in possession of legally stamped and accounted for trading goods which become difficult to sell once they are stolen, and subsequently flagged. There is a delay between the theft and the goods being flagged, and sometimes those goods can be sold in that time period, though often, the stolen commodities must be fenced, bought and sold in illegal markets. All major maritime trading hubs have a black market of some type, though some are more open than others. In Broken Wave City, there is the Bounty. Although the Bounty is rumored to offer many less-than strictly legal items, the Bounty does not traffic in pirated goods. Kaigen’s Island, and the surrounding archipelago have become one of the most popular places for fences and commodities launderers. As such, the waters are often filled with various kaizokuban, most selling their black-flagged goods and moving on. Some stay though, and steal from the shipping lanes which encircle Broken Wave City. Of course, piracy is a crime against the Emperor, and any kaizokuban are certainly perpetrators of crimes of national scope, it is not easy to wipe them out. A single pirate captain, or seafaring bandit ship is easy enough to put down and bring to justice. Whole kaizokuban, however, seem to spring back to life so long as even a single ship escapes one’s grasp, so one must be careful to ensnare whole kaizokuban with a single grand operation. Luckily, pirates are a cowardly lot, and it is not difficult to convince the petty heimin to become shakuhachi players. An example should always be made of pirates when one apprehends them. It is important to remember that nearly everything in Broken Wave City must be imported by trading ships. Anything which threatens or limits that trade should be seen as a grave threat to public order.
- Mantis-Phoenix Tensions
Unfortunately, there is little an esteemed Emerald Magistrate can do to calm the rising tensions between two Great Clans. Despite their enmity at the national level, within Broken Wave City, the Mantis and Phoenix are often quite close. They serve together in the Watch, and celebrate festivals together. They have fallen for the charms of Broken Wave City, and, despite what the Mantis might wish, the Phoenix are important for the stability and well-being of the city. The Clan of Shiba possesses the magical knowledge that the Mantis use for water purification, the Phoenix import many ken-o of drinking water, rice, millet, and timber, all of which is ravenously consumed by the city by the ship-full. It is most fortunate that the decree of peace has prevented open warfare, for protracted conflict between the Mantis and Phoenix could be ruinous for Koware Nami Toshi. A keen eye should be on keeping the two Clan’s relations genial, or at least civil, as further confrontation could easily be construed as a frustration of social order.
A Final Word
“Every journey begins with a single step. Step well, and your journey will be filled with fortune. Step poorly and it will be wrought with disaster.” – Shinsei
I have endeavored to give you everything one would require to “step well,” and so I urge you to take the Little Teacher’s words to heart. I do not know what fate and kharma have gifted you thus far, but, now, you are starting anew, and the stakes are very likely higher now for you than they ever have been. I urge you to heed what my experiences have taught me, what this city has taught me, and build upon it. I urge you to be not just an Emerald Magistrate, but an esteemed Emerald Magistrate. There are few things as difficult as putting the well-being of your new home above the lessons which have been implanted within you from your infancy, but you must. Bushido will guide you, yes, but, bushido is but the beginning, the first of many lessons you must learn if you are to excel here. Shinsei said it far better than I ever could, so forgive me for borrowing his wisdom once more; “Only when you are in the grave will you have nothing more to learn.” Listen well to this city, Koware Nami Toshi, the City of Salt & Storms, The City Atop the Sea, the City Without a Past, for it has much to tell you, and it needs you. It needs the strength of Honor, yes, but it also needs the strength of Duty. You must be two samurai; the shining example, the paragon, the firm hand, and also the pragmatist, the diplomat, the compromiser. It is not easy. Being an Emerald Magistrate is being engaged on a constant battlefield, a battlefield which is also your home; being an Emerald Magistrate is an unending war against lawlessness, and the odds are stacked against you. May the Fortunes guide you.
“On the battlefield, all actions are honorable.” – Akodo
“Victory wipes away all dishonor.” – Hida Kisada