Winter Court: Kyuden Mirumoto The winter court that followed these 17 years of madness was unlike any ever seen in Rokugan. It brought together representatives of the Onyx Spider, the Emerald Spider, the Exiled Scorpion, the Onyx Scorpion, the Mantis, and the Colonists under the leadership of Arashi, as well as members of all the clans. Here the clans would decide when...how...and if to fight Kanpeki's unrelenting power. After many surprises and much action, the following results ensued:
The Spider offered peace in exchange for the full throne of the Empire. And he would accept nothing less. His promise and threat was carried by a Susumu representative named Susumu Ketsueki, sworn and bound into his service. The Empire refused.
The Isawa Elemental Masters had ordered the Phoenix representatives to blame the Crane for the way Tengoku had turned away from Ningen-do and push blame elsewhere. The Phoenix representatives, led by Isawa Koyo and his wife Isawa Akiko, refused. They turned on the council of Elemental Masters, revealing to the Empire that the heavens had turned away and that the Phoenix had committed sacrilege and bound and subsequently caused to be killed, the Fire Dragon. The Emperor ordered the Elemental Masters involved be executed, save the Master of the Void who had left long before these activities started. He ordered any Isawa involved in any way to turn themselves over for justice, and ordered any others who had even the most tangental knowledge to give up their positions and join with the Brotherhood of Shinsei to pray for redemption and forgiveness for the sins of mortals.
The Colonies, led by the Mantis, declared that the were of the kingdom Zogeku, and wished to be independent of the Empire and the Emperor, to follow their own leader, Arashi, who refused to swear fealty to Iweko II. They felt the Empire had abandoned them, and so they had every right to be free of the bonds to the Empire. However, Zogeku wished to support the Emperor in the fight against the Onyx. These new terms were very confusing to the Rokugani, for what is a samurai who does not serve? And what was a foreigner but not a gaijin? It was later learned by a select few that the leader, Arashi, was actually Yoritomo, the Fortune who had been dragged to Ningen-do by Yoritomo Ichido. Eventually, the Emperor agreed to allow them to become 'Rinjin', or 'Neighbors'...an affiliated daughter state, lesser than but not fully beholden to, the Emperor, with significant bonds of obligation and service. The remaining samurai would have to pick new family names and break their wakizashi, but could take up new blades. The Zogeku Yoritomo became the Arashi family. The Zogeku Kitsune became the Morishita. The Zogeku Moshi family became the Tenmei. The Zogeku Tsuruchi family became the Nobumoto. And the Zogeku Otomo family became the Ota. No other clan families had members that would renounce their loyalty to the Empire. The colonies were also obligated to pay the Empire in goods for 20 years of back taxes that had not been paid. The Crane stepped up and financed that debt, allowing the Zogeku to be free.
Arashi refused to allow Yoritiomo Ichido to continue as he had, and challenged him to leadership of the Mantis. Ichido won that challenge, but once he learned the truth about Arashi's nature, he turned over that leadership to Moshi Janisha, a representative from the Colonies who had sought to unify the two warring groups of Mantis.
Shibatsu presented Haihime, daughter of Kanpeki, to the court, a grown woman. She swore to stand against her father, using the blood of the Hantei against him.
The Lion succeeded in formally having Akodo Kano made the Shogun with the support of most clans, seeing the need for an experienced and skilled military leader, with forces forged from the remaining armies of all clans.
The Unicorn succeeded in authorizing the continuation of the Last Legion as a new second Imperial Army, directly reporting to the Shogun. Their leader, the heimin-born Hikahime, refused a position as samurai, but would serve as a leader in the force none the less.
The Exiled Scorpion asked for support for their return to the Empire to fight the Onyx in exchange for recognition.
Inspired by their exiled Cousins, the Onyx Scorpion gave intelligence to the Clans about the forces of Kanpeki, including the mystic bond between Kanpeki and the oni, Yuhmi, formed of the name of Hantei. At the end of the court, they attacked and killed the Onyx delegation, save Susumu Ketsueki who had turned traitor on Kanpeki to follow the remaining Hantei, Haihime. They then pleaded with their daimyo, Nitoshi, that now was the time to act against Kanpeki in his long awaited betrayal.
The shugenja through prayer and sacrifice and confession, appealed to the Fortunes to find out how to mend the bonds between Tengoku and Ningen-do. The Fire Dragon reached out to Kitsu Zetsubou from the depths of Meido to tell them all that Heaven had forgiven Ningen-do, but that the worlds must change to end the Onyx and allow Ningen-do to forge its own destiny. The Fire Dragon shared the method by which the Seals of Jigoku must be closed, and said that the Touch of Tengoku must fade as Jigoku fades.
The Emperor was revealed to have been under the influence of Pan Ku, though he fought it valiantly. As Tengoku became resolved, the Dragon of Void summoned Pan Ku, freeing the Emperor from its influence, though confused and worn.
The Obsidian Dragon revealed itself, making clear that Ningen-Do was to be left in the care of the Jade and Obsidian Dragons, though only the Obsidian had returned for Ningen-do still had yet to suffer the full consequences of the wrath it had earned for its many betrayals of the heavens. It summoned Shiba Michio, an Phoenix delegate whose bethrothed had been killed by the bound Fire Dragon, as its Oracle, and granted to him the Obsidian Hand, giving him the task of taking vengeance on the sinners among man who must die to bring balance.
New Bonds were forged between clans. Ide Kousuda married Kakita Kyoumi and Yasuki Nakura married Utaku Yamada.
When Yasuki Nakura revealed in court that he had stolen from the Scorpion Clan, they arranged a duel and he was killed.
The Crane, at great risk, requested permission from the Empire to openly employ gaijin pepper against the Enemies of the Empire at the direction of the Shogun. This was granted with the caveat that if the technology falls into the hands of others, the Daidoji would be no more.
The Crane developed a new method of cultivating the azuki bean in a fashion that could keep it taint-free and allow it to be grown in record time through 3 to 4 harvests in a year. It was a start: a means to fend off starvation for the masses. They shared their results with the Empire. Doji Arami was granted the title of Imperial Agriculturalist, and successor to the Treasurer, for his efforts.
The Voice of the Emperor, Hida Kozen, accepted Kakita Kyoumi as an aide and special confident.
The Unicorn put forward Kakita Karasu as temporary Emerald Champion until a new tournament could be held.
Shiba Michio invited Utaku Yamada to join him, to temper his madness and get her revenge on the ones who had wronged her. She agreed.
The Emperor agrees to go to Otosan Uchi as the Dragon lower their wall and engage the forces of the Onyx in battle.
Many more things happened, but these would be the events of greatest consequence, and after that Winter Court, nothing would be the same.