Future Imperfect

   Upcoming events leading to the Thousand Years of Darkness

                                                                          -according to The Rise of Fu Leng

 

   Thanks to the groups recent visit to (approximately) year 70 of the Thousand Years of Darkness, and their research there, they have a rough outline of the events that led to Fu Leng taking over the Emerald Empire – at least according to the Imperial Librarians and the Historians who wrote the books.

  • -2 Years, 9 Months: A small group of newly-appointed Jade Magistrates and the Imperial Master of Kites vanish from the midst of the Imperial Court while being presented to the Emperor himself. They are never seen again. While the individuals involved are of little importance personally, the event is viewed as a bad omen and few additional Jade Magistrates are appointed despite the rise in Maho throughout the empire. This has already changed by your successful return – and by your announcement, an supporting evidence, that the gods had charged you with a mission.

  • -2 Years, 6 Months: The Scorpion refuse to accept the choice of an Eta girl as the next Oracle of Fire, and manage to eliminate her. The current oracle inflicts massive damage on the Scorpion lands in his fury and is forced choose a less-qualified successor – who soon falls to the Taint.

  • -2 Years, 2 Months: The Darkfever Plague strikes the Phoenix Lands. It is later revealed to be the creation of an extremely powerful Oni. So soon after the Demon Winter, it leaves the Phoenix in a desperate situation. Coupled with the revelation that the Gaijin also wield void magic, it leaves the Council of Elemental Masters in utter turmoil.

  • -1 Year, 11 Months: The Phoenix Elemental Masters open the four Black Scrolls in their possession and are corrupted. Over the following two years, they will lead much of the clan into corruption and eventual disaster. Currently, the Phoenix apparently have only two black scrolls in their possession; two have been stolen by by Shiba Togo, Yojimbo to the Elemental Master of Water, and carried through the Yasumi Shrine into Gaijin lands.

  • -1 Year, 9 Months: Having learned that the Phoenix have opened foru Black Scrolls, the Scorpion Clan Champion (most unwisely) demands the Black Scroll of Dark Divination from the Yogo. Needing a massive blood sacrifice to use it, he accuses the Hare Clan of Maho use and massacres them, gaining a prophecy that Fu Leng is destined to possess the Emperor.

  • -1 Year, 6 Months: The Scorpion, acting to forestall the possession of the Emperor and the rise of Fu Leng attempt to take over the empire with a surprise attack. The Phoenix rescue the Imperial Heir, the armies of the clans march against the Scorpion (who, unsurprisingly, fall before the massed armies of the other six clans), and there is much destruction. During the confusion someone apparently uses the last Black Scroll in the possession of the Yogo Council.

  • -1 Year, 1 Month: The Scorpion clan is disbanded and banished. Hantei Sotorii becomes Hantei XXXIX.

  • -11 Months: The sleeping Naga are attacked by near-endless swarms of Oni, summoned by someone wielding a Black Scroll. Many are eliminated before they can awaken to defend themselves. The remaining Naga are hard-pressed to defend their cities and play little role in further events.

  • -10 Months: The Badger Clan is virtually destroyed, apparently by a powerful Oni. Several other groups involved in scouting around the edges of the Empire, including the Miya Heralds, Firefly, Bear, Horse, and Panther, are attacked as well, although most are simply scattered or suffer casualties among those who happen to be in the wrong place.

  • -8 Months: The Yodatai, who have been probing the borders undercover for some time, begin launching serious probing attacks against the Dragon and Unicorn Lands. The war escalates rapidly, creating a constant drain on the forces of the Unicorn and Dragon which will continue for decades to come.

  • -6 Months: The Lion-Crane war is instigated by the Scorpion and gravely weakens both clans. A Lion officer uses a recently-discovered Black Scroll in a ritual of Ancestral Magic to call on the assistance of the Lion Ancestors. The resulting Avatars are loyal to Fu Leng, rather than to the Lion.

  • -4 Months: The Elemental Terrors are unleashed. Most of the remaining Jade Magistrates fall to them, as does the Jade Champion, many of the graduates of the Seppun Shugenja school, and several senior priests. The massed Shugenja of the Fox eventually manage to contain or banish several of them when they move against their Shugenja schools.

  • -3 Months: The elderly Fox Clan Champion falls to the siren call of the Black Scroll that the Fox have concealed for centuries and attempts to use it to gain immortality. It may have been the last unopened scroll remaining. Fu Leng fully possesses the Emperor.

  • -1 Month: The Siege of the Capital. The Crane, Crab, Unicorn Cavalry, some of the Lion, and a few of the Dragon besiege the Capital. Most of the Scorpion, the Phoenix, the Seppun and Imperial Families, the Imperial Legions, and many creatures later revealed to be of the Shadowlands defend it. The Mantis are unable to reach the city in time to participate significantly.

  • The Fallen Thunders and the Thousand Years of Darkness: Several groups of heroes attempt to infiltrate the capital and destroy Fu Leng. Fu Leng – not being an idiot and having lost to mortals once before – has his guards well-deployed and fighting to protect all known routes past the walls (although apparently no one knew about the Cat Clan tunnels). Heroes lose. The sun stands still in total eclipse from this point onwards and Fu Leng reorganizes the empire to suit himself. Oddly enough, things don’t change all that much for the peasantry. The Mantis withdraw to their islands and gain the support of Merenae and the Ivory Kingdoms, becoming the core of an ongoing resistance movement. Senpet moves the Edge of the World to stand between themselves and Fu Leng. The Yodatai take up the role’ of the Shadowlands, perpetually assaulting the dragon and unicorn borders attempting to take over the empire. The final extermination of the Naga begins. The Nezumi adapt as always.

  • 5 Years: The re-organization of the empire is virtually complete. The small pockets of resistance which remain within it outside of the Mantis lands are of little importance. Maho virtually replaces Elemental Magic, although much or most of the land remains essentially untainted: the energies of Jigoku are not to be squandered so. Youth potions, distilled from the essences of infant slaves, become widely available, keeping the population essentially stable despite the vast decrease in casualties from monstrous sources.

  • 70 Years: Fu Leng is bored. Knowing this, his servants are hospitable to some sudden magical arrivals: they seem harmless enough, their powers are obviously no threat to Fu Leng, and they may relieve his boredom. They are treated well, although they will not be permitted to leave before Fu Leng returns from his summer palace to determine their fates.

 

The Tell of the Black Scrolls:

   Information derived from current events and the histories found in the possible-future Imperial Library of the Thousand Years of Darkness.

 

   While quiescent for nearly a thousand years, the Black Scrolls became channels for Fu Leng, as well as the seals on his prison, as the appointed time of his release approached – reaching out to influence those around them with a terrible and subtle power.

  • Six were in the hands of the Yogo Council. Of those, one was opened – and its power then turned back against Fu Leng and the scroll destroyed – by Yogo Junzo, one was carried to the Kazangan Shrine in the Mantis lands and destroyed there by Shigure, one is currently being carried to the forests of the Naga, one was acquired by the Phoenix through dubious means, and two presumably remain in the custody of the Yogo Council, who have taken many new precautions against their effects.

  • Of those two, one will apparently be opened and used by the Scorpion Clan Champion to obtain the prophecy that Fu Leng will possess the emperor, and one will apparently be used sometime during the Coup or in its aftermath.

  • Three, apparently stolen from the Yogo centuries ago, were held by the Phoenix Council of the Five Elemental Masters for a considerable period. A fourth was acquired, as noted above, from the Yogo Council shortly after the scrolls began to manipulate those about them. According to The Coming of Fu Leng, the Elemental Council eventually opened all four of the scrolls that it possessed, and were corrupted thereby. Recently in real time the council has been considering opening them, in an attempt to learn what’s going on – and to counter the threat of Gaijin Void Magic. While the council was discussing the question, two of the scrolls were stolen by Shiba Togo, Yojimbo to the Elemental Master of Water, and carried through the Yasumi Shrine into Gaijin lands. Two currently remain in the hands of the Elemental Council, although they are desperately attempting to recover the two that were stolen.

  • One was stolen by a Goju Demon-Ninja centuries ago, its magical jade insulating case wrapped in shadow-silk to shield it against all detection and corruption, and hidden somewhere in the wilderness of the Lion lands. According the histories of the Thousand Years of Darkness it will be found by a Lion scout during the Lion-Crane War and used to raise several heroes of the Lion to aid their descendants. Those unnatural “heroes” will be instrumental in ensuring the loyalty of the Imperial Legions to the Possessed Emperor.

  • One is in the hands – or at least hidden in the lands – of the Dragon, but its exact location and fate was not recorded in the histories of the Thousand Years of Darkness.

  • One is in the custody of the Fox, and apparently has been for nearly 1000 years. According to the histories of the Thousand Years of Darkness it is going to be opened by Kitsune Gohei, the Fox Champion, who will claim a high place in the Empire of Fu Leng and will protect a sizable portion of the Fox Clan – allowing them to continue as priests throughout the Empire and as palace servants in the capital.

 

   No, this doesn’t exactly match the Canon storyline. Too bad; it suits my storyline better.

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