Khanjar Kuro History

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History of Khanjar Kuro

The Age of Spirits – 2000 P.O.D. – 1085 P.O.D.

As soon as The Negerai Prime arrived with his nine human prisoners, he began to change the face of the continents by using enslaved demons for building keeps and prisons to house his minions and their charges, and he created specialized facilities to conduct his vile experiments. The demons he imported to work the prisons began to spread across the continent by gating in other demons who would in turn do the same. This disturbed the original spirit inhabitants of Avlis, who though they had a long history of their own sagas and adventures, generally behaved benignly and were at peace. For the most part the spirits had little defense against the countless hoards of demons now entering their domain.

By the time the battle between The Negerai Prime and The Nine ended, nearly all of the nature spirits in the world were dead. The majority of those who fought perished. Only a meager few were able to flee with their lives. In the northern lands of Tyedu, intervention by the god Mikon allowed many spirit survivors in that area to hide and so they would be able to make themselves known sometime later as humans started settling the land. A second larger enclave of spirits in the extreme southern part of the continent of Negaria were also able to survive with Mikon’s aid, and with a great sense of foresight, Mikon’s servants (called mikonators) thought it best to help those survivors flee the continent to some refuge that they would create and maintain in isolation from whatever the future held. Thus, the spirits of the southern lands were quickly gathered and placed on a voyage off of the southern coast. Some of these fleeing spirits were unscathed, yet others bore deep wounds from their encounters with specially ensorcelled demons that would spread evil wherever they fought. Most of the wounded spirits damaged by these minions never healed, and some of those wounds festered and became infected, thereby tainting their unfortunate bearers. As members of the rapidly coalescing spirit community, these wounded were cared for and protected on the journey to the new land.

Refuge – 1086 P.O.D. – 175 P.O.D.

As the hastily constructed vessels carrying the spirit refugees neared the end of their trip, a beautiful green island shone before them like the color of emeralds. Tall forests blanketed the land which was outlined by beautiful white sand beaches. To the east and west, the shores stretched as far as the eye could see, and it appeared as if their new home could be endless. The island continent to which these spirits fled eventually became known as Khanjar Kuro, meaning Black Dagger. At the time, there were not many other native spirits living there and the refugees quickly spread. Some accompanying mikonator servants sent along with them on the journey taught them how to defend themselves and create fortifications. Once they were safe, their first task was to begin eradicating stray demons left over from the crisis.

It was around this time that certain wounded spirits from the previous battles began to turn delirious and strike out against their former kin. The newly arisen “tainted” spirits would stir new conflicts and had to be driven out from fortified areas to roam the countryside. This solution would eventually prove problematic, because the taint acquired from their previous battles with the demons was contagious among the spirits and soon most efforts by the spirit communities focused on containing the malady. Over time this struggle was controlled, but tainted spirits were never eliminated and their presence helped evolve the endless dance of power ever parading around the continent.

Landfall – 90 P.O.D.

In these early years, there was no order among the spirits. As the land became safe enough, they emerged from their fortified hideouts and started attaching themselves to groves, rivers, and mountains to reinforce their long-neglected connection with nature. As this healing process was progressing, a cargo convoy from M’Chek set off on a fateful voyage. The majority of the mariners were humans, but there were a few dwarves among them from Deglos, as well as some goblin slave laborers from Brekon. The crew was in the business of transporting stone from the gnomish nation of Deglos to M’Chek for the construction of a new capitol called Mikona. The humans in the group were among the founders of Mikona, named for their god, Mikon. The dwarves were a more outlandish lot who mostly followed Fegall, the gnomish hero, although some of them kept to their older god, Gorethar.

The voyagers made landfall out of a great storm, which legend has it was started as a by-product of magic being unleashed by the terrible conflict being fought by the fairies. The storm was devastating. Many of the ships in the convoy were decimated along with their crew, but a few hearty human and dwarven souls made it to shore to tell the tale.

Khanjar Kuro was a wonder to behold for the new castaways. They saw before them a vast land full of trees and caves and brimming with untapped resources. However, instead of considering the worth of these resources overseas, the castaways were charmed by the landmass. They fell in love with it and decided to stay. Whether this was the action of the local spirits in an attempt to keep their home secret, or whether the travelers were honestly presented with a better opportunity by staying is not known. But every one of them stayed, and eventually they came to know and revere the spirits who lived there. Mikon, Fegall, and the other gods were forgotten.

The Age of Awakening– 91 P.O.D. – 515 A.O.D

The new relationship between the castaways and the spirits triggered the evolution of changes in the way of life for both parties. As the humans multiplied, they took on the practice of worshiping certain spirits. As these spirits got more worshipers, they found that their powers increased, and that not only could they affect more aspects of nature, they could give birth to offspring almost as powerful as they were. These offspring were strangely independent and had no need of large numbers of worshipers to acquire power. Instead, they simply seemed to inherit it from their more powerful parent. Some of these offspring even had mortal blood as a result of interbreeding, yet they were in some cases equal in might to demigods.

During the Age of Awakening, these powerful newly bred spirits went on to spawn whole new races, as well as to take on the care and guardianship of some of the Negarian’s descendants, the dwarves, humans, and goblinoid races that landed on the shores of Khanjar Kuro centuries before. These older races had already begun the process of slowly forgetting their continental deities and began to seek comfort in the local powers. Both the new and old races acquired identities, lands, and cultures shaped by forces completely independent from elsewhere on Avlis.

Lack of Negarian influence over time made the spirit and mortal immigrants change in subtle ways. For example, the Dwarven societies of Negaria and their crafting methods from Deglos were largely forgotten by their descendants on the island due to the fact that most of the original settlers were masons with little skill in other areas. However, their Dwarven eye for perfection was still intact, and they settled in areas of great beauty and set about constructing farms and small villages above ground. Through the centuries, this changed their physical appearance slightly. They became less stocky, with light eyes, and they had little use in their new culture for upkeep of beards and hair, and thus their beards became scraggly and their hair wild or cut short. Over time their relations with the humans decayed somewhat, but they never ceased their love for the spirits. The island was their home and they knew no other, and they called themselves the Korobokuru. For humans and the goblinoid races, the changes were mostly cultural though all races were affected to some extent by occasional breeding with spirits. To some extent over the centuries every individual had at least one spirit ancestor and in most cases it did not change appearance or ability. By contrast, the individuals with a noticeable amount of spirit ancestry to the point where it would change their appearance or functional characteristics became collectively known as “spirit folk”. Enough superstition surrounding these crossbreeds pushed them over time to congregate and form their own small societies and descendants, thereby giving rise to the spirit folk as an identifiable race separate from their forebearers.

Though humans, dwarfs, goblinoids, and spirit folk formed the majority of the natural inhabitants of Khanjar Kuro, there were significant numbers of “minor” races that led successful bids for survival on the island. The shapeshifting Hengeyokai, the rat-like Nezumi, and the curious monkey-faced Vanara were the beloved creations of the second-generation spirits of the land that were born on the island and strove to make it their own. An older race that dates back to the Age of Spirits called the Onishin also makes its home there. They were the offspring of unholy unions between the leftover demons and newly arrived spirits. Though the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of all these creatures differ on societal and individual scales, they all see themselves as the children or beloved companions of the spirits who also continued to evolve their own separate society and would ultimately come to rule.

The Celestial Council– 516 A.O.D. – 805 A.O.D

These new races and cultures sparked a renaissance of ideas that formed the foundational societies of Khanjar Kuro. Powerful spirit folk concerted their efforts to maintain Nature on the continent in addition to becoming directly involved in the affairs of the mortal races. This close relationship between the divine and the mundane gave rise to many conflicts and epic quests that intertwined the histories of the races together like a tapestry.

One such epic began when His Most Splendid Majesty, the Platinum Dragon visited the island in avatar form and struck up a friendship with the local spirits. A beautiful mountain nymph named Lyelia caught his eye and the two fell in love. During their courtship and eventual marriage, the lovers built a kingdom of loyal spirit folk, humans, and korrobokuro. The capitol city of Kazani’e was a mighty fortress atop a volcano at the center of the island with major roads spreading out in five directions. Though there were few enemies aside from the evil goblinoids and the tainted folk, the inhabitants enjoyed the safety and security provided by the loving and benevolent rulers. Their joy was multiplied when Lyelia gave birth to quintuplets. Shulin was strong and flexible, with brown eyes like her mother’s. Kasai was quick to anger and always on the move, with red hair and eyes that burned like the sun. D’chyo was a headstrong and steady woman, having the darkest complexion and a thick build. Kinzoku was fast but calculating, with silver skin and golden eyes, and finally Shay was easy going but powerful when aroused, with a pale blue complexion and hair as white as mist. The five siblings learned the ways of the spirit folk under the watchful eye of their father who became known at that time by the name “Taiso”, meaning Great Ancestor. Taiso filled them with stories of his otherworldly ancestors and taught them the skills they would need to survive both on Avlis and in the planes beyond.

As their childhood quickly passed, their mother Lyelia ascended to demigod status through the adoration of her followers and was escorted to be with her beloved on his home plane. The eternal lovers were happy but longed for a realm to call their own once more where they could eventually bring their children and descendants to live in peace and harmony as they deliberate on the affairs of Khanjar Kuro. To achieve this, Taiso decided that his children must perform a quest as part of their coming of age to earn their place among the ancestors and help their father create his new realm. However, creating a new pocket plane was a monumental task often reserved for the most knowledgeable and hearty magic users. Doing it through any other means would require items of exceptional strength and magic. Taiso ordered each of his offspring to leave Kazani’e and build their own bases of operations from which they would begin their searches for the necessary ingredients, and so the children departed the home of their youth and built fortresses around the island which were destined to one day evolve into the great capitols of the clans.

Soon after they became settled and construction was underway, the children were given new tasks by their father. Taiso ordered his daughter D’chyo to bring him a shard from the first Lifestone ever created, the fabled Father Lifestone. Although neither D’chyo nor Taiso knew the location of the stone, they had collected information from older spirits who remembered it and believed that it was located somewhere on the island, but that it had gone dormant. The shard was necessary for the creation of extraplanar land which could be shaped to Taiso’s liking during the creation process. Sustaining the magical structure of the pocket plane would require another artifact, and this task was given to Taiso’s daughter Shulin. She was charged with finding the mythical All Tree, which grows on the spot where the first spirit arose from the ground after Avlis came into being. Local legends said the tree grows somewhere on the island where all the pathways of life converge, but that since the Age of Spirits it has become sick. Shulin was to revive the tree and create clippings from it. From those new saplings she was to create magical timbers to act as the structural support of the new realm. Kinzoku’s task was to provide a tool that could be used to shape the realm. Through his father’s tales, Kinzoku knew that a Hammer of Creation would do the trick, and that there were once many of these devices in existence but that they had become rare since the Age of Spirits. Although he did not know where to find one, he was sure that certain spirits who still told stories of the ancient arts might know, so he set out to begin his search. The temperamental son Kasai was given the task of providing the raw power to fuel the planar creation and drive the tools that would shape it. Such power could be found in the soul of the volcano located at Khanjar Kuro’s geographical center. However, taking the entire soul would surely destroy the island, so Kasai needed to find a way to extract just enough to do what was needed and no more. Unfortunately for him, he had little patience for research and did not look forward to this undertaking. The lovely and demure Shay was instructed to provide the harmony and balance to stabilize all the other elements of creation. Her quest led her far away through a portal located in the depths of Lake Minokuchi, where she sought a rare form of magical fluid called the Water of Life, which was thought to act as a facilitator of energy transfer among the planes.

These quests took many years, and as the children toiled, their followers continued to build their cities and farm their lands. Each quintuplet soon took on spouses and concubines who bore them children that grew to eventually assist in their parents’ quests. It was discovered over several trials that certain pairs of children had to work together at times to achieve their goals, and that not all of the artifacts were independently acquired, researched, or utilized. Sometimes this created tension when services were not rendered to the satisfaction of one sibling or another, each now the head of a major clan quickly spreading around the island. Frequently, these tensions boiled over into open conflict between clans and just as frequently the other siblings and their followers would step in to mediate the conflict, or to become embroiled in it.

Almost three centuries after Taiso first set foot on the island, his children had finally completed their quests and assembled the artifacts according to his instructions. The pocket plane of The Celestial Dragonlands was born and set within its facet located on the Astral Plane. Lyelia and Taiso quickly made their move to their new home and shaped the realm according to their needs. Shortly after the new creation, the quintuplets also ascended and were taken up to their new home to be with their parents, leaving the ruling of their lands to the next generation. The divine family declared that the inhabitants of this new realm would henceforth be known as the Celestial Council, the single true and rightful ruling body of Khanjar Kuro’s mortal subjects. The members of the Celestial Council became known by their subjects as the Celestial Spirits.

The Five Clans– 806 A.O.D. – 1265 A.O.D

The vacancy left by the family at Kazani’e was immediately apparent to the five clans that had sprung up from each of the quintuplets. Though each clan was almost entirely autonomous in its day to day activities, and trade between the clans steadily advanced as their societies developed, the culture of the island was highly hierarchical, and the absence of a monarch of the five clans was seen as a major societal and political problem. The burning question was which clan ruler would be the most eligible to lead as “Tenshin” or Emperor. As the firstborn, Shulin’s line was the presumptive heir to Lyelia and Taiso, and soon after the ascension of the quintuplets, Shulin’s son, a half human spirit named Maseki marched his army into Kazani’e and took the throne for himself to become the first Tenshin of Khanjar Kuro. However, there were some seemingly insurmountable political problems with this situation according to the other clans. Maseki was the son of Shulin’s consort, a human named Akelo. Since the son of Shulin was not technically a legitimate child, the Kasai Clan claimed that Kasuro, their ruler and legitimate son of Kasai had the true claim to Kazini’e and a war began as the Kasai Clan laid siege to the city of ancestors.

The Kasai Clan was victorious, but the victory for Tenshin Kasuro was short-lived. Over the next four centuries, the throne would be contested on at least one occasion by each of the five clans. These disagreements arose whenever the legitimacy of an heir was put to question. In many cases, a consort’s children would claim the throne only to be supplanted or usurped by a more legitimate claim by a direct descendant with wedded parents. In other wars during this period, the sole surviving heir in a line would be too young to inherit and the opportunity to seize the throne would prove too tempting for another clan to attempt. Conflicts of this sort were often held behind the scenes, because openly challenging the legitimacy of a true monarch was seen as a grave dishonor.

This period also saw the expansion of the number of noble families. Since the early generations of rulers were often polygamous or unfaithful in their marriages, legitimate children were common and treated with some degree of status up to an including the role of Tenshin, as demonstrated by Tenshin Maseki. Many children of consorts and concubines went on to found lesser noble families, which would ally themselves with one of the five major clans. In return for their loyalty and ability to manage affairs for the clan ruler, the lesser noble would be granted lands. Citizens living within those lands were expected to be loyal to the local noble. When wars between the major clans erupted, lesser noble families were called on to rally their subjects to fight. Larger nobles were also called on often to mediate disagreements between lesser noble families as well to prevent outbreak of smaller wars. Over time, the number of layers of status for the noble families increased, mostly by the same mechanisms of procreation and inheritance that gave rise to the first noble families connected to the five clans.

This hierarchical structure of noble families was the unifying characteristic that underpinned this period of time. During these centuries, the families existing higher up in the rankings, i.e. closer in blood relations to the five original clans, were more powerful. They could field more soldiers, grow more food, and produce more crafts. Trade equalized the resources among the clans, but some lands were better off than others in their natural availability, and this also affected their power and influence. All in all, this period was stable and looked at as a golden epoch where society most closely followed the ideals set forth by Taiso and Lyelia.

The Dark Avatar– 1266 A.O.D. – 1379 A.O.D

Throughout the time period of clan formation, war, and organization a great evil quietly slept and recuperated in a dark place somewhere on the island. As the only avatar of the Negerai Prime on Avlis, this creature was tasked with the important experiment that would ultimately shatter the unified Vortex of Magic into its four components. Its success led to the ability to use the Transitive River as it flowed through the Plane of Shadow to create a taint that would spread among the demons and be transmitted to all who fought them. It was the Negerai Prime’s intention to completely negate resistance through infection and recruitment, ultimately tainting the new gods themselves. Unfortunately for the evil Negerai Prime, his plans fell short. Though his shadow taint was released and began to infect the population of spirits, he was killed and his only avatar was jolted into unconsciousness. The avatar that was now cut off from its true self was no longer a god and relied on the taint it took upon itself just to stay alive in that deep sleep. Its physiology came to rely on taint for sustenance, and whenever a tainted creature wandered near the resting place of the avatar, it would be consumed and its taint absorbed. After more than 2,000 years and thousands of small tainted creatures consumed, the Dark Avatar finally rose again.

The world in which the Dark Avatar awoke was quite different from when he was put to sleep. He noticed that taint was still spreading through the spirit and mortal population of the island where he now found himself, but that it was proceeding slowly and not in a particularly virulent fashion. Fortunately for him, the creature knew exactly how to increase that virulence and complete what his old self started. Spreading the taint required access to the Plane of Shadow, at which he was extremely adept. However, to make things more efficient, he would need to teach others his craft and recruit them as carriers and agents of the disease. Quickly, he put his plans to work as only a being who dreamed of that moment for two millennia could.

Gifted with much of his old knowledge of human and spirit psychology and personal motivation, the Dark Avatar made his way quickly in disguise to the upper echelons of Khanjar Kuro society. He used his position as friend to some of the major noble families to recruit them to his art, which he called Pathomancy. Certain factions of the noble families saw great promise in this power to use against their enemies, and as they learned to tap into the Transitive River in the Plane of Shadow to achieve their ends, they unknowingly fell under the power of the Dark Avatar and spread his evil taint.

The Pathomancers were able to produce spell effects from this energy they tapped. However, as they did so, they opened themselves up to infection with taint by the Dark Avatar at a much higher rate than the normal way, which was to exchange blood or body fluids with a tainted creature. This exchange of shadow energies was highly potent, and the more tainted a creature became, the more its worldview began to match the Dark Avatar’s. After only half a century, the infection was so prevalent that nobles began to purposely infect and convert their entire houses to the service of the Dark Avatar.

The Dark Clans quickly rose up and destroyed the stability that had existed for the last 500 years. In the first years where they were nearly unopposed against the untainted legions of original noble families, the casualties were great. The Dark Avatar War nearly destroyed the Empire over many battles taking place within the next century. The reigning Tenshin of the era decided that something had to be done, but he did not know what could possibly effective against this onslaught. It seemed the end was near.

Clans of Light and Darkness– 1380 A.O.D. – 1813 A.O.D

The most powerful weapons against the Dark Avatar were not destined to be found in the halls of power. Instead, an unlikely hero would stumble upon the key. Kodhi Kama was an Onishin of the contemplative sort, who longed to be away from the village and city life. He did not care for the company of others, nor did he desire to farm the land. Kodhi was a philosopher who spent his time thinking about the mysteries of the spirits and The Celestial Council, as well as his own race’s demonic and spirit origins. On one of his meditative outings in the forest, Kodhi happened upon a clearing where a disciple of the Dark Avatar was instructing a student on how to tap into the Transitive River on the Plane of Shadow, and it occurred to Kodhi that his spirit kin did much the same thing as part of their normal existence: some tapped into the Plane of Shadow, and some tapped into the Ethereal Plane. The difference was the Transitive River. Spirits and their ilk tapped into these planes and used the planar energy itself to exist. The need for a flowing river was an alien concept to them because they lived off the wider energies of the ethereal and shadow realms. Kodhi wondered if this same river could exist on the Ethereal Plane and if that would be useful in some way.

As Kodhi found a safe spot and set himself to meditate on this subject, he went into a deep trance. For days, part of his subtle being wandered the Ethereal Plane searching for this theoretical equivalent to the power source of the Dark Avatar. Just as he was about to give up his quest, Kodhi saw a vision of a beautiful shimmering veil of energy pervading in two directions as far as he could see. The liquid of the veil was silky and smooth as it reflected all colors. When he reached out to touch the liquid, a part of it entered his finger and flowed up his arm, around his back, and out the same finger on the other hand. Kodhi was astonished. He found what he was looking for in his vision and he named that liquid “ki”.

Immediately upon coming out of his trance, Kodhi began to test out some of his ideas about ki. He applied it to his meditations and his movements and began to understand how even someone like himself, who was not an exceptional combatant could increase his ability to punch and kick. Over the next five years, Kodhi Kama worked on this angle trying to understand how to become more in tune with ki and to use it to fight. He also continued his meditations to learn as much as he could. The time soon came for Kodhi to reveal his findings, now that he was confident that he had something to combat the Dark Avatar.

Kodhi sought out his friend Ajaga, another Onishin and lifelong friend of his. She listened to his stories and watched his demonstrations with great fascination. Being almost as versed as Kodhi was in the ways of meditation, she wondered if more could be done with this Transitive River. Specifically, she wondered if someone could duplicate the spell effects of the Pathomancers by channeling this energy. Kodhi agreed it might be possible, so the two began to dwell together. Kodhi continued to hone his skills in combat, and Ajaga sought to learn how to channel Transitive River energy from the Ethereal Plane.

For Ajaga it was a hard problem. Much of her early research failed and for two years she labored to understand the Ethereal Plane’s energies and failed. The breakthrough came when she and Kodhi began to covertly watch the Pathomancers in operation. They noticed that one of the primary ways they accessed their power was by partially entering the Plane of Shadow. One of their elementary abilities was to grab their shadow off the ground or another surface and pull it over their heads, using it as a partial portal of sorts, from which they would then be able to cast their spells. Ajaga believed there had to be some ethereal equivalent to a shadow, and after several more failed attempts, she sat idly one day in her room staring at a candle wondering what to do when the urge came over her to grab the halo of light around the flame. As she reached out, she forced her mind and emotions to focus on the ethereal nature of things and her hands slowly closed around the globe of light emanating from the candle! Quickly she yanked it up and over herself and her world changed forever. Ajaga had found the key to ethereal-based Pathomancy.

This discovery set her into high gear and she began to train heavily. Soon Ajaga was able to replicate most of the feats she had seen the shadow-based Pathomancers perform, and a few more they had not. As Kodhi and Ajaga’s power grew, they both decided it was time to teach it to others, and they founded a school on one of the smaller mountains near Kazani'e, Mount Funsui.

Kodhi and Ajaga fought many battles and taught many students over the next century. After solidifying their monastery and school atop Mount Funsui, they set about creating a new academy in each of the major clan lands, with each curriculum specially tailored toward the inhabitants of that realm. Though all five schools practiced the same monastic and pathomantic arts, their styles and philosophies differed accordingly to their cultures. It was not long before the number of monks and ethereal pathomancers increased enough to stop the advance of the Dark Avatar’s forces.

The new arts affected the societies in a greater extent than previously intended. The clans themselves split into light and dark, depending on how their monks and pathomancers derived energies from the ethereal or shadow respectively. Noble politics became much more complicated. Whereas before there were the many noble houses that oriented themselves on their lineage and closeness to the five major clans, now there was the added dimension of light and dark clans that were separate from one another even though they may have descended from the same Celestial Spirit. Only the Tenshin in Kazani’e was immune to this split, and both the light and dark clans paid homage and honor to the monarch out of custom.

The net effect of this split was a general weakening of the noble families and their supporting soldiery. Power began to concentrate in the monasteries and schools of Pathomancy. The Tenshin’s forces in Kazani’e were always strong but soon they were unable to project much strength elsewhere. They could only hold the city and its surrounding lands. When it came to the regular citizenry, the monks and pathomancers were more concerned with fighting the Dark Avatar than they were about keeping civil order, so banditry and crime rates skyrocketed.

The wars fought between the Dark Avatar’s clans of darkness and the clans of light were many. However, neither was able to gain an advantage. The Dark Avatar was unable to spread taint to the extent needed to overcome the island once the inhabitants had discovered that the Transitive River crossed both the Plane of Shadow and the Ethereal Plane. There were too many in rebellion against him with the means to stop the spread. In 1813 A.O.D an unexpected event occurred that changed the face of the conflict. The adoration of the Dark Avatar by his dark clan constituents caused him to ascend to demigod status. Reluctantly, Taiso and The Celestial Council acknowledged his achievements and asked him to join their ranks, or risk being destroyed. The Dark Avatar eagerly accepted and ascended to the Celestial Dragonlands, leaving behind his constituents and a new twisted priesthood.

Rise of the Samurai– 1814 A.O.D. – 2200 A.O.D

After the ascension and departure of the Dark Avatar, law and order in Khanjar Kuro continued to decline. The monastic orders were a logical protector for local citizenry, and they answered to no clan rulers unless they chose to do so. Their popularity caused their ranks to swell and the number of monasteries to multiply. Soon, instead of a monastic order possessing a single fortress, each of the five major monastic orders, plus the original one on Mount Funsui had dozens of branches and small training dojos around the island. The mixing of styles and philosophies and the sudden proximity of the orders to one another put them into natural conflict. These battles sometimes put the citizenry at risk, and before the first century of this era was finished, the monks and their sohei warrior class were part of the same disorder that plagued the land as soon as the nobility started to weaken.

Betrayed and abandoned by their nobility, the citizens of Khanjar Kuro finally decided that a stand had to be taken against the violence and that it was up to them to create the forces necessary to do so. Initially the citizens of local villages met in secret and trained in weapon and armor use, and they set up watches for their neighborhoods. Gradually, this training became more pronounced and public as these new warriors gained enough proficiency to put down attacks by criminals and over-zealous sohei. After another century of such training and organization, the citizens of local villages had the forces necessary to oppose tax collection by the nobility, and this finally got the attention of the clan rulers and the Tenshin.

Deciding that the best way to amass forces to counter these new warriors was to buy some of them, Tenshin Kamura sent word around the island that she was accepting the loyalty of these warriors and providing rewards in return. Several thousand warriors, now called samurai, pledged their loyalty to her and became the first elite forces of the Empire since Tenshin Maseki’s time. Speedily upon their indoctrination into her service, Tenshin Kamura ordered her samurai to suppress rebellions around the island and help her clans collect their taxes. Seeing the success of this tactic, the other noble families began to collect and train their own samurai for the same purpose.

Gradually, these samurai coalesced into a warrior class that was second only to the nobles, and the crime sprees became a thing of the past. Successful samurai leaders were eventually granted some of their own lands by the nobles and became nobles in their own right. The rulers of the clans and the elevated samurai nobles became known as Daimyo, and the Tenshin decreed that all samurai must be in the service of a Daimyo to be allowed to use their abilities and skills. This was to discourage more civilian rebellions and bandits.

As the Daimyo and their samurai began to reclaim their lands and encroach on each other, wars began to break out once more between the clans. There were still clans of light and darkness and samurai in the service of both. There were also still monasteries and schools of Pathomancy that took issue at times with tax collection and noble encroachment. When these schools and monasteries were nearly as powerful as the nobles on whose land they lived, problems arose. Sometimes the nobles were able to victoriously destroy a monastery or school of Pathomancy, but just as often they could not oppose the rebels that lived there and accepted an uneasy stalemate.