For this segment, here are some of the local figures who may play a role around Toshi Ranbo at the moment.
The Lion have assigned a new commander – Matsu Noro – and staff to the border and reinforced the army. He’s one of their better commanders, and seems to have techniques drawing on the command schools, void mastery, and politics. His staff seems to be quite competent as well.
His army consists of nearly 8000 men, although only about half that number are actually Samurai. He’s been rapidly reorganizing them and getting them trained to match his favorite strategies and tactics. Since he reports directly to the clan champion and daimyo, there’s not much of a chain of command. They’re currently based at Oiku. A considerably smaller force is located at Ninkatochi, but that group does seem to include several Shugenja and pay a good deal more attention to events along the Phoenix border than they do to events in Toshi Ranbo.
There are five local lion vassal families:
The Nishidoin: Notable for throwing up the occasional shugenja, apparently due to the active interest of a couple of ancestral spirits. Most of their holdings are in the floodplanes along the river, and few have been taken: there appears to be some sort of defensive pact with the river spirits.
The Minase: Noted as talented poets, otherwise unremarkable.
The Tanji: Byblows of the Akodo, this family is notable for their oddly skillful political maneuvering; they are rumored to provide some of the best Lion Spymasters.
The Zakoji: Holding Rama Musai, this family is notable for defensive techniques and architectural skills. They often have a few Crab architects visiting, and have had a regular program of exchanging students for several centuries.
The Kohone: Operating out of Rugashi, many members of this family sponsor merchants, become involved with the bustling commerce of that city, and maintain local standards of trade.
The Lion Ambassador, Kitsu Soko, is a relatively subtle woman (for the Lion clan). While not a shugenja, she is relatively well acquainted with their powers and abilities.
Shiba Uchinaro, The Phoenix Governor of Mamoru Kyotei Toshi, apparently censors the fact that his city is infested with magical demon-ninja-cats from his consciousness as much as possible, perhaps because their origin is linked to an ancient phoenix shame. Since the rescue of his youngest daughter, however, he has been fairly friendly. As suits the Phoenix clan, the garrison here is surprisingly small for such a large border city.
Kitsuki Umon, Governor of Toi Koku, tends to be something of a mystery: he rarely negotiates or makes personal appearances, most commonly communicating by simply sending notes and by “inviting” people to drop by his office and see him. He does employ an uncommonly large number of Ronin, and has been known to take quite outre’ individuals into service. Nevertheless, his tactics have been successful in keeping a fair degree of order among the many traders who visit Toi Koku, all of whom dread the quiet note which calls them in for an interview at which they somehow wind up answering many questions that the governor was far too polite to actually ask.