Lore & Arcs of the Warring States Era

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Warring States Era | The History

In the Era of Warring States there existed innumerable clans and nations across the known world, each with its own history, culture and peoples. This was before the advent of ninja villages, in a time where loyalty to one’s clan and family was paramount. Countless men and women lived and died knowing only the company of their own and undulating conflict with outsiders. There were as many different clans as there are stars in the night sky, but all jealously guarded their secrets from the outsiders they had been taught to mistrust, and whom they taught their own young to fear and hate in turn. It was a world of conflict, a world where the spilled blood of the generation that was drove their successors to make war with one another in an endless cycle of violence.

It wasn't until the Freehold arose that everything changed...

The Calendar:
No one remembers the time before ninjutsu, before the Sage of the Six Paths bestowed upon man the secrets of chakra. Precious few records from that era have withstood the test of time and so its history is generally considered lost to the world. Thus, nearly all of the inhabitants of the known world have adopted the time of the introduction of ninjutsu as their Year 1 to reflect the fundamental shift of history that occurred as a result of this gift. Though the many different peoples of the world disagree about almost every other thing, about this they do concur.
The Freehold of Hanguri:
Originally little more than a loose association of merchants and shinobi based in the independent city state of Chungsu, the Freehold of Hanguri arose from the depths of obscurity to become a near global power in the otherwise fractured and turbulent political reality that defined the Era of Warring States. Beginning with the election of their leader, Sai Nobunaga, to the executive office of Daijō-daijin, or Chancellor of the Realm, the group quickly came to dominate the politics of the traditionally patrician-led oligarchy that was Chungsu.
During his 26-year tenure Nobunaga reformed and expanded the long-neglected armed force into a professional, standing army that integrated shinobi and samurai into well-equipped ‘normal’ units. To fund these reforms the army was exposed to partial private management in a system reminiscent of a joint-stock company where shares, in conjunction with political support from the legislative branch, allowed for influence in the deployment and administration of the army. The stocks were sold in a proto-stock exchange and shareholders were promised dividends equal to a portion of the generated return. The landed nobility took little notice of Nobunaga’s reforms, nor of the initial public offering of his army’s stock, which allowed members of the Freehold and other merchant guilds to acquire them and, in close collaboration with Nobunaga himself, launch the city’s first expeditionary force to the neighbouring Tea Peninsula in what became known as the First Degarashi Campaign.
Nobunaga’s reformed army enjoyed astounding success, nearly doubling the city state’s territory during the first half-year of its deployment, then doubling it again during the second. Most of the local daimyō were wont to hire local shinobi clans to defend themselves, but these fared poorly against a larger and more organized force and were subsequently defeated, or paid a modest sum to stand down. The campaign was enormously profitable for Chungsu, but especially so for its merchant class, many of whom enjoyed triple, even quadruple annual returns on their investments, becoming more wealthy than most nobles almost overnight, which fundamentally shifted the balance of power in the city.
To enjoy suffrage and the right to run for public office in the city a resident was required to own property of a certain value or, alternatively, pay an annual fee that amounted to what was, at the time, an average yearly wage. This system divided the seats of the legislative body of the city between a number of nobles and candidates funded by them in a complex system of patronage, one that only the landholders could afford to participate in. With the success of the Degarashi Campaign, however, the nobles found themselves wanting to acquire shares from a social class that, in turn, sought titles and seats in the legislative branch from them. The result was the Hanguri system of government that survived, with few fundamental changes, until the collapse of the Freehold.

The Freehold of Hanguri was neither neither an autocratic nor republican entity. Throughout its existence it remained an oligarchical state governed by wealthy families of noble merchants, or patricians, who jealously guarded their political rights. Authority in Hanguri required a stake in the nation’s army and seats on its legislature and was therefore not inheritable in the strictest sense, but in practice the old families persisted through a combination of inherited wealth, internal competition between family members and the ample use of adoption.
Through its mode of partial private management the Freehold of Hanguri turned its army into an efficient fighting force and, in doing so, created a most lucrative investment opportunity for the wealthy of the region. Due to its resounding successes the army was campaigning almost permanently, reinforced periodically by the growing private armies of the patrician families, government contracted mercenaries and conscripted soldiers from conquered territories. In the first years of its existence the army of Hanguri suffered not a single strategic defeat.
The state of Hanguri employed shinobi in all layers of its administration and they enjoyed many privileges, like being exempt from most taxes, but their mandate was intrinsically bound to and controlled by the state apparatus, thus the shinobi enjoyed very little operational freedom. They were not free to choose their missions or offer their services to foreigners.

Though the state of Hanguri in its infancy relied almost exclusively on its military to achieve geopolitical and strategic goals, and successfully did so, the Freehold reached its territorial zenith – the borders of which would remain nearly unchanged until the country’s collapse in 804 – relatively early in its development. That is not to say, however, that it never expanded beyond the Gulf of Hanguri to which it owed its name, but the strength and stability of Hanguri was derived from its ability to generate revenue through its armed forces and these required foreign lands to operate in to do so. Through a combination of saber-rattling and decisive military victories the Freehold imposed a complex system of tribute and taxation on local daimyō and clans as far away as the Iron Peninsula in the North and the Water Archipelago in the East. Hanguri would inflame tensions between conflicting groups, levy taxes on manufacturing and skilled labor outside the Freehold’s borders and collect tributes from nearby countries to guarantee their independence. This approach to foreign policy endured until the razing of Chungsu in 804, though the state’s exact sphere of varied significantly over the years. Hanguri and its citizens grew wealthy from this system and people flocked to settle within the Freehold’s borders to be a party to its rising levels of prosperity and standards of living.

The Era of Reforms
From it final territorial acquisition in 350 to the election of Shin Toyotomi to the office of Daijō-daijin in 446 the government of Hanguri invested heavily in the development of its infrastructure and industry, founding ports along the Gulf, building roads to connect the various provinces of the Freehold and erecting several defensive fortifications along strategic points on its borders. Known as the Era of Reforms this age saw the cementation of Hanguri as being a cultural identity, though one mainly adopted by the fabulously wealthy patricians and the upper middle-class of merchants and landowners. Still, the comparatively safe and meritocratic standards guaranteed by the government and the influx of skilled labor led to a booming industry blossoming in Hanguri, one that was helped along by the state’s continuous efforts to employ ninjutsu to benefit all sectors of production. Though rather utilitarian in its execution this set the Freehold on the path to a Golden Age, one that began when Toyotomi proclaimed the first Hanguri cultural festival mere months after his election to office, signalling a definitive shift in government policy away from military jingoism towards soft power and cultural hegemonism.

The Golden Age
The Golden Age of the Freehold lasted approximately from the first cultural festival in 446 to the beginning of the Time of Troubles in 659. It marked the apex of Hanguri dominance in nearly all fields, including innovation, the arts, military doctrine and international politics. Despite being the most prominent era of the Freehold, however, it is also the least documented part of its history. The destruction of the Grand Library of Chungsu during the razing of the capital constitutes one of the single largest losses of knowledge and culture in recorded history; it saw the majority of records of the Golden Age lost. Only a few incomplete accounts survive, guarded jealously by the scattered descendants of patricians and coveted by those who seek to unlock the wonders of the Freehold for their own uses.

The Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was precipitated by three unrelated, but devastating events that together created a snowball effect, one that rocked the Freehold’s foundation and marked the beginning of its slow, but steady decline towards total collapse. The first was the succession crisis caused by the untimely death of Naomitsu Fujiwara, 34th Daijō-daijin of Hanguri, whose passing gridlocked the legislature in a year-long stalemate that led to the formation of a powerful executive to supersede the office of Daijō-daijin, hailed as the Second Junta. The second was an invasion of Kaguya Clan raiders, one that ravaged the countryside and cities of the Tea Peninsula and humiliated the Freehold internationally. The third was an influenza pandemic, known as the Red Fever, which was first detected in Keishi, but quickly spread to the surrounding countryside, including the many army units camped in fortifications along the Freehold’s northern border. The disease killed nearly half of Keishi’s urban population and decimated the Hanguri army; nearly a third of its enlisted men expired from the disease during its 18-month rampage.
Individually the events were devastating and all had far-reaching consequences for the Freehold, but in conjunction they permanently scarred the country’s citizens, administration and armed forces. Though the Hanguri army eventually drove the Kaguya from the peninsula in a series of decisive skirmishes, and replenished their numbers during the following years, the succession crisis politicised the army in a way that left it susceptible to internal division and strife during the Freehold’s twilight years. The weakened external security left the borderland exposed to hostile incursions and raids, and the perceived vulnerability of Hanguri as a whole was a major blow to the extent of its sphere of influence. Finally, the gridlocked legislature forced the division of the country’s territory into three administrative regions, in addition to a capital district, that could bypass the legislative branch and manage the essential functions of the state in national emergencies such as the Time of Troubles. These would later become the foundation of the three major rump states that surfaced asserted themselves in the aftermath of the Freehold’s collapse.

What followed the Time of Troubles was a long century of gradual decline for Hanguri in all aspects of society and state. A series of incompetent public administrators, opportunistic military commanders and self-serving factions within the Freehold gradually weakened the internal cohesion and state apparatus of the nation. Several external factors also contributed to Hanguri’s decline; the rise of Arekusandā-tennō and his empire, originating from the Badlands of Earth, – and his efficient legions composed mainly of non-shinobi using advanced light artillery such as the cheiroballistra and wielding weapons like Blue Fire Powder imported from the Howling Wolf Mountains – presented the patrician-led government with a challenge it could not simply overwhelm as it had done to most military threats for centuries. Many patricians advocated for the Freehold to enter into a diplomatic accord with Aléxandros and, to the bewilderment and frustration of much of its officers’ corps, it did so after he led his forces to burn down one of the Five Forts. The resulting Treaty of Keishi effectively put an end to Hanguri’s sphere of influence north of its border, as it agreed to a state of uti possidetis, wherein Arekusandā-tennō acquiesced to respect the Freehold’s territorial integrity so long as they maintained a policy of noninterference north of the Five Forts. This victory made Aléxandros a legendary figure among many; rumors buzzed that he was secretly the jinchūriki of the Five-Tails and a descendant of the Sage of the Six Paths himself, all despite his being a non-shinobi. In 709, only six years after signing the treaty, Aléxandros violated its terms and marched on Chungsu, defeating every force sent to stop his advance, though he succumbed to dysentery during the campaign and died in camp. Despite the abrupt end to his campaign and empire Aléxandros’ victories against the Freehold proved its fragile state to some and put a very permanent end to its status as a great power in many foreign eyes. Though the Hanguri central government attempted to reform its sphere of influence south- and eastwards these efforts were largely unsuccessful.
It was not until after the fall of Arekusandā-tennō that many of the Freehold’s citizens truly realized its, by then, rapid decline. Instability, mismanagement and corruption came to characterize its institutions and state apparatus, which did nothing to curb growing civil discontent and, eventually, unrest. Political horse trading became common occurrence, to the great detriment of the state of its army, finances and public administration, which culminated in the Freehold’s eventual default on its sovereign debt and subsequent national bankruptcy.

On the evening of January 1st, mere months after the government’s declaration of bankruptcy, the Kyūbi no Yōko appeared mysteriously within the capital city of Chungsu, beginning a night of terror that saw much of the city obliterated and its entire population displaced. The city and its metropolitan area was home to a significant number of units from the Hanguri army and the Black Ones, but nothing could stop the Tailed Beast once its rampage through the city began. Chungsu had traditionally been the seat of almost every major institution, agency and organization based in the Freehold and its abrupt doom spelled the effective end of Hanguri, a fact that became increasingly clear as both internal and external powers scrambled to fill the power vacuum left behind during the following months and years.

Timeline of Events:
Year 1 – The Sage of the Six Paths introduces ninjutsu to the world.
Year 290 – The 12th Daijō-daijin, Sai Nobunaga, proclaims the Freehold of Hanguri from the city state of Chungsu, which he declares the capital.
Year 295 – The Freehold launches the First Degarashi Campaign, conquering large swathes of the Tea Peninsula.
Year 316 – Sai Nobunaga passes away; his adoptive son, Toyotomi Nobunaga, succeeds him as the 13th Daijō-daijin.
Year 318 – Through the efforts of covert shinobi operatives of the Hanguri army a daimyō in the southern Land of Fire is persuaded to swear fealty to the growing Freehold. The decision sparks outrage among nearby shinobi clans and a revolt follows. The Hanguri legislature votes to intervene in the conflict soon after, beginning the Campaign of Fire.
Year 323 – Toyotomi Nobunaga intervenes in escalating tensions between Hanguri armed forces and shinobi of the Aburame Clan, negotiating a non-aggression pact that frees up troops to reinforce key positions. This is considered the turning point of the campaign.
Year 327 – The Battle of Keishi sees Hanguri establish suzerainty over the southern half of the Land of Fire, beginning the process of first annexing and then integrating the territory into the Freehold.
Year 330 – Toyotomi Nobunaga passes away; his nephew, Ieyasu Nobunaga, succeeds him as the 14th Daijō-daijin.
Year 333 – Senju and Uchiha shinobi clash near Tanzaku Gai on behalf of opposing daimyō. The city is nearly destroyed in the brutal fighting.
Year 335 – Ieyasu Nobunaga begins his campaign into the Riverland and the coastland beyond, completing the Freehold’s ambition to control the Hanguri Gulf area in its entirety by the end of his second term.
Year 350 – Ieyasu Nobunaga opts not to stand for a third term; his nephew, Sasuke Nobunaga, succeeds him as the 15th Daijō-daijin.
Year 353 – The executive taxes imposed upon the patricians by Sasuke Nobunaga alienate and anger the patricians, resulting in a political deadlock as his support base declines.
Year 360 – Sasuke Nobunaga stands for a second term, but is defeated by his brother, Hideyoshi Nobunaga, who succeeds him as the 16th Daijō-daijin.
Year 362 – Advised closely by his uncle, Ieyasu, Hideyoshi Nobunaga enters into diplomatic negotiations with the the Uzumaki Clan, negotiating a treaty that would integrate the clan into the Freehold.
Year 363 – Ieyasu Nobunaga passes away; his funeral procession is the largest ever witnessed in the Freehold. Negotiations between Hanguri and the Uzumaki Clan break down soon after and Hideyoshi Nobunaga retreats into isolation as a result.
Year 370 – Hideyoshi Nobunaga opts not to stand for a second term; Kagetoki Tokugawa succeeds him as the 17th Daijō-daijin. Known as the ‘Lawmaker’ his term sees the beginning of the Era of Reforms.
Year 382 – The Great Nobunaga Roads connecting Hanguri’s cities are completed, signalling a new era of interconnectivity within the Freehold.
Year 390 – The Samurai of Iron repel an incursion from Hōzuki Clan shinobi hired by Hanguri to assess the country’s defenses.
Year 397 – The Five Forts, grand defensive structures built along Hanguri’s northern border, are completed.
Year 408 – Senju and Uchiha forces clash near the northern border of Hanguri on behalf of opposing daimyō, but are summarily routed by the Hanguri army. The two clans launch several independent raids into the Freehold’s territory over the following months as reprisal.
Year 417 – Representatives of Hanguri travel to the Land of Earth seeking allies to curb hostile shinobi clan activity in their northern borderland, but their heads are returned in crates halting all the Freehold’s efforts to that effect.
Year 429 – The Bridge of the Unifiers, connecting the island of Wave to the mainland, is completed.
Year 446 – Shintaro Fujiwara passes away; Shin Toyotomi succeeds him as the 23rd Daijō-daijin, proclaiming the first Hanguri cultural festival mere months after his election. This is heralded as the beginning of Hanguri’s Golden Age and the cultural festival remained an annual tradition until the collapse of the Freehold.
Year 461 – The Grand Library of Chungsu, built to house the collective knowledge of the Freehold in its entirety, is completed.
Year 469 – Shinobi of the powerful Kamizuru Clan, handsomely paid by the Freehold, fight alongside the Hanguri army against forces of the Akimichi-Nara-Yamanaka alliance, eventually forcing them further northward.
Year 480 – The Eight-Tails goes on a rampage in the Lightning Mountains and leaves much destruction in its wake until it eventually disappears without a trace.
Year 488 – The Witchwood Arena, a giant amphitheater dedicated to combat, is constructed on the faraway Eastern Continent. The lure of riches and glory draws many contestants, and people come from far and wide to witness the spectacles there.
Year 500 – The Blood Prison is founded on the island of Jiro, at the periphery of the Freehold’s territory.
Year 504 – The invention of Chakra Armor by Hanguri developers, forged from Hangurian Ore, allows for the creation of several elite units, known as Black Ones, who carry out the will of the Freehold equipped with the armor and their distinctive somen masks.
Year 519 – The great hurricane ‘Saomai’ ravages the Ancrath Archipelago, killing many there.
Year 525 – A contingent of Black Ones recover a mysterious, but powerful meteorite from the heavily forested region near the northwestern edge of the Known World, one that supposedly radiates chakra.
Year 536 – A branch of the Chinoike Clan residing in the Valley of Hell is massacred by Uchiha Clan members. In retaliation, one Chinoike shinobi blinds the entire detachment of attackers using his clan’s Keikkei Genkai. The incident sparks outrage amongst supporters of both clans and soon erupts into a destructive war, one that ends with the near extinction of the Chinoike Clan.
Year 544 – The Hyūga Civil War erupts after a young branch house member expires from continuous activation of the cursed seal on his forehead by a high-ranking main house member. Some branch house members flee south of the Five Forts to escape the brutality and ruthlessness that later come to define the conflict, but most remain to fight.
Year 552 – Sai Inuzuka, the 29th Daijō-daijin, receives envoys from a faraway continent that has no concept of chakra. They depart Chungsu laden with gifts and escorted by shinobi tasked with mapping the mysterious land; none are ever heard from again.
Year 554 – The Hyūga Civil War finally ends with the reunification of the clan and the abolition of the internal houses. The cursed seal is thenceforth only branded onto willing members who are at high risk of having their Kekkei Genkai stolen.
Year 559 – The field of Medical Ninjutsu is first perfected by shinobi researchers in Chungsu. Though held as a closely-guarded secret of the Freehold, it is not long before knowledge of it spreads.
Year 568 – The Year of Trials is proclaimed when Genbu the Island Turtle unexpectedly enters the Gulf of Hanguri. Shinobi and samurai from all edges of the Freehold attempt to best its giant squid guardian and prove their worth by bringing back trophies from the turtle’s back.
Year 581 – The Hagoromo Clan, longtime allies of the Uchiha, is wiped out to a man by the Senju Clan. This sparks yet another wave of bloody skirmishes between the two rivaling clans.
Year 590 – The Shirogane Clan, situated near the borderland of the Great Wind Desert, lead an incursion into the Riverland using their mastery of puppetry ninjutsu to gain a tactical advantage, but they are easily repelled by the Hanguri army and several units of Black Ones.
Year 597 – The Freehold receives tribute from a number of daimyō in the mostly desolate Badlands of Earth, marking one of the pinnacles of the Hanguri sphere of influence.
Year 609 – The First Junta, a small body of powerful patricians, bureaucrats and generals briefly manage the executive branch of the state after Matsu Minagawa, the 31nd Daijō-daijin, is rendered comatose due to illness, though she later recovers.
Year 621 – The King of Moon Isle launches an invasion of O’uzu Island using an army equipped with hand-cranked kunai-launchers to gain a strategic advantage, necessitated by their lack of shinobi combatants. The campaign is successful, but the kingdom is unable to hold the island.
Year 633 – The modest holdings of the Taketori Clan are destroyed in an instant by one of the few shinobi from the Tsuchigumo Clan by way of their secret technique. The international outcry that follows forces the clan to declare it a Kinjutsu.
Year 646 – Kaguya Clan raiders strike the eastern coastlands of the Lightning Mountains like a storm, pillaging much of the land owned by the Yotsuki Clan there. Desperate for help, the clan seeks the aid of Hanguri, but the legislature denies the motion.
Year 659 – The Time of Trouble begins, precipitated by the untimely death of the 34th Daijō-daijin, Naomitsu Fujiwara, an aggressive influenza outbreak in the north and a Kaguya Clan invasion: scouts of the Kaguya Clan are first documented by Hanguri ninja on the north end of the Tea Peninsula. Within weeks most of the coastland is ablaze as the savage clan pillages, loots and burns everything it encounters.
Year 660 – The influenza pandemic, colloquially known as Red Fever, runs its course in just 18 months, but leaves countless dead in its wake, among them many from the Hanguri army.
Year 662 – The Second Junta assumes control of most of the Hanguri state administration in a bloodless coup, though their subsequent campaign of internal political repression and purges is anything but.
Year 665 – The last Kaguya Clan raider is expunged from the Tea Peninsula by the Hanguri army, leaving the Freehold to begin rebuilding efforts in the scarred region.
Year 671 – Qunari insurrectionists rise at Degarashi Port on the Tea Peninsula, slaughtering the local garrison and occupying the city for nearly a month until the Hanguri army restores order. This hampers rebuilding efforts on the southern part of the peninsula.
Year 684 – A prominent daimyō from the Badlands of Earth by the name of Aléxandros Mégas is proclaimed Arekusandā-tennō, emperor, after he successfully conquer nearly half the region.
Year 689 – Following a series of diplomatic overtures Aléxandros successfully negotiates the vassalization of a collective of danshaku on the Arctic Plains of Snow and its surrounding islands, despite Hanguri interference to the contrary.
Year 694 – After a brief conflict the Taishō of the Iron Peninsula’s samurai personally surrenders to Aléxandros, further expanding the territory of his empire.
Year 699 – Senju and Uchiha forces are defeated in separate battles by Aléxandros’ legions, both times led by the emperor himself, de-facto extending his territory to the northern border of the Freehold. Banners displaying the Argead Star, the imperial standard of Arekusandā-tennō, can soon be seen from each of the Five Forts.
Year 703 – Aléxandros leads his legions to burn down the westernmost fortification of the Five Forts using copious amounts of Blue Fire Powder, an act that pressures Hanguri to the negotiating table and results in the Treaty of Keishi.
Year 709 – In violation of his peace treaty with the Freehold Aléxandros marches his legions south towards Chungsu, defeating every army Hanguri sends to stop him. His legions are naught but a day from the capital when he succumbs to dysentery. Not even a month later his empire has disintegrated completely.
Year 716 – After several unsuccessful attempts to reform the northern sphere of influence, their endeavours encountering almost rabid resistance from the native shinobi clans and daimyō, the Freehold accept their state of their now modest network of tributary clans and countries, committing instead, unsuccessfully, to expanding their influence south- and eastwards.
Year 725 – A great fire ravages the Noodle Panhandle and the costs of rebuilding further strains Hanguri’s public finances, already depleted by war and diminishing tax levies, to the breaking point.
Year 732 – A military uprising installs a military officer, Ebisu Sarutobi, as the 35th Daijō-daijin, deposing the Second Junta after nearly 60 years of de-facto rule. Sarutobi is first presented as an interim official, but he soon decides to serve a full ten-year term.
Year 740 – Several units of Black Ones are deployed to, and successfully, repel a number of incursions from the Akimichi-Nara-Yamanaka alliance, these being funded by the Samurai of Iron in order to assess the state of the Freehold’s defenses.
Year 748 – Due to the perceived declining civil legitimacy of the Hanguri central government the three administrative regions of the Freehold begin a gradual process towards more autonomous agency and organization.
Year 762 – The newly-elected 37th Daijō-daijin, Morosuke Nobunaga, a capable statesman and distant descendant of the legendary figure Toyotomi Nobunaga, is beaten to death by rabid supporters of another candidate; Gatō Toranpu, an anti-establishment figure who narrowly wins the subsequent election, becoming one of the few non-patricians to hold the office.
Year 766 – Gatō Toranpu is beaten to death by former supporters of his campaign during a speech in connection with a massive protest calling for lower prices on foodstuff.
Year 779 – Due to a series of diplomatic faux pas and a determined smear campaign by the Yotsuki Clan the ability of the Hanguri government to diplomatically influence events outside of the Freehold’s borders essentially dissolves.
Year 784 – Motoi Toyotomi, the 39th Daijō-daijin, proclaims a period of national isolation, or sakoku, in response to Hanguri’s declining international clout. This policy spells financial ruin for many patricians who are heavily dependent on regional trade and is thwarted at every turn by the legislature, judiciary and officials of the three administrative regions.
Year 797 – A peaceful demonstration protesting government incompetence and corruption is violently broken up by the Hanguri army and its organizers later assassinated by Black Ones. This provokes a wave of civil unrest throughout the Freehold.
Year 803 – Unable to pay even the interest on its sovereign debt Hanguri defaults on its payments and is soon declared insolvent by the department of finance. Bureaucrats and soldiers alike cease to receive wages and chaos ensues as the central state apparatus essentially collapses.
Year 804 – The Razing of Chungsu occurs as the Kyūbi mysteriously appears in the center of the capital, causing untold destruction as it reduces the city to rubbles and ruins. Without its central government the Freehold of Hanguri as a nation state essentially dissolves almost overnight.

The Codex:
The Three Great Unifiers:
Sai Nobunaga: The legendary founder of the Freehold whose reforms and military campaigns laid the foundation for a new era of Hanguri dominance. Sai was the second son of a merchant father and a highborn mother of a poor noble family, and thus not expected to inherit, but grew into a cunning and charismatic leader of the then loose association of merchants and shinobi that was the Freehold of Hanguri. The group nearly bankrupted itself in trying to get him elected to the executive office of Daijō-daijin, but finally succeeded in 290 as part of a larger push for influence in the city state’s political matters. One of Sai’s first acts was to proclaim the Freehold of Hanguri, irrevocably merging the identity of the group with that of the new nation state. His policies, though not outright partisan, continued to disproportionately benefit his former associates throughout his three terms of office until his peaceful death in 316.

Toyotomi Nobunaga: The adoptive son of Sai Nobunaga, little is known about Toyotomi’s life before he was formally inducted into the Nobunaga family in 296. Though not as capable a statesman as his predecessor Toyotomi enjoyed a level of martial prowess that earned him a fearsome reputation, particularly seen in the context of the interventionist foreign policy he spearheaded and maintained throughout his time in office. Toyotomi rose to prominence during the First Degarashi Campaign and became commonly regarded as the Nobunaga family’s heir presumptive after none of Sai Nobunaga’s children survived infancy. Unexpectedly, Toyotomi was elected to the office of Daijō-daijin after the passing of his adoptive father, a responsibility assumed with great enthusiasm. Through a combination of heavy-handed tactics and strategic foresight Toyotomi continued the work of his forebear, most famously launching the Campaign of Fire that saw the Freehold conquer great swathes of territory in the southern Land of Fire. He died of typhus in 330.

Ieyasu Nobunaga: As the only son of Toyotomi Nobunaga’s only sister, Ieyasu was adopted into the Nobunaga family by decree shortly after Toyotomi’s formal induction into office. Though an adoptee, Ieyasu integrated well into the Nobunaga family and was soon considered second only to Toyotomi Nobunaga himself. Ieyasu was the diplomatic counterbalance to Toyotomi’s jingoism and he became such an integral part of the executive branch that he succeeded his uncle almost without opposition, a rarity in Hanguri history. Ieyasu’s life’s work was the fulfillment of Hanguri ambition to control the Hanguri Gulf area in its entirety; an objective many saw as the manifestation of the nation’s destiny. Unlike his predecessors Ieyasu took a very diplomatic approach to conquest and many danshaku willingly swore oaths of fealty to him personally, though his campaign was not without bloodshed. So effective were they that his methods became an inspiration to coming generations of the diplomatic corps. Having achieved his goal by the end of his second term of office Ieyasu opted not to stand for a third term in 350, becoming instead a close confidant and advisor to one of his successors; Hideyoshi, whom he served until his death in 363.
Ninja Clans of the Freehold
The Freehold of Hanguri enjoyed a complex relationship with the byzantine network of ninja clans that can be found throughout the known world. Hostile clans were captured and used as manual labor, forcibly resettled, or even eradicated entirely. Cooperative clans, however, were welcomed into the Freehold provided that they demilitarized and integrated themselves into society there. As an oligarchical entity driven by money and militarism the Freehold did not discriminate against ninja clan members, and even saw a number of these in the office of Daijō-daijin, but it did not hesitate to heavily tax uncooperative clans, play clans against each other, or continuously war with militarized clans for tribute. Some were concerned about the separate set of loyalties that even non-ninja clan members living in the Freehold would possess, but most of the focus on ninja clans was centered squarely on those within it that had learned the use of ninjutsu. The state apparatus of the Freehold was loathe to accept the presence of powerful military assets inside the country’s borders that were not bound directly to the establishment and sought to systematically suppress and diminish these forces throughout its long existence.
 
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The State of Affairs in the Present Year
The First Story Arc - Year 811
April 23rd - June 23rd

The Freehold of Hanguri has fallen. Considered the region’s premier military power for centuries its slow, but steady decline and eventual collapse led to a lot of conflict between clans and nations alike, all vying to fill the political vacuum left in its wake. While the remnants of that once great nation squabble amongst themselves, clans who have long encroached upon Hanguri’s territory like vultures upon a dying animal now see their chance to pounce. The Hanguri Gulf region will be irreversibly changed by the coming storm.
Although dozens of would-be great powers consider themselves contenders for the legacy of Hanguri only a few serious contestants stand against the tide of chaos and disorder, all sharing the ambition to subjugate and dominate their rivals, however different they might be in all other respects. These are the Clans whose stories will be recorded.

This marks the beginning of the first story arc of the Warring States Era. Familiarize yourself with the rules regarding Story Arcs, as well as clan submission requirements, and be sure to update your bios. Have fun!​
 
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Ashikaga's Gambit
Second Story Arc - Year 811
June 30th - July 30th

The power vacuum opened in the wake of the collapse of the Hangurian Freehold has become contested; a handful of small clans vie for political dominance on the Western Continent. One such clan in particular has risen above all others, the Golden Sabbath. The Golden Sabbath has come to dominate the region that intersects the Badlands, the Great Wind Desert, and the Land of Fire. But their rise has not gone unnoticed. A contingent of surviving Black Ones, led by Takauji Ashikaga, has formed a political powerhouse in the Tea Peninsula. Ashikaga and his small, but efficient military, consider themselves to be the successors the the remnants of the Freehold; they see these clans, especially the Golden Sabbath, as a threat to their position. Using their immense wealth and resources plundered from the collapse of the Chungsu, Ashikaga and his constituents have issued bounties on the members of the Golden Sabbath in an effort to destabilize their position and weaken rival clans.

 

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A Shogun Marches Forth
Third Story Arc - Year 811
August 6th - September 30th

Ashikaga's gambit had largely failed; the lesser clans of the world had not plunged themselves into chaos and weakened each other like he had hoped. While the Golden Sabbath did suffer some losses, two bounties had been claimed and they had been raided, it appeared to the Shogunate that reclaiming the Freehold's lands would require a more direct approach. Once again relying on their efficiency and wealth, the Shogun and his army would open up their political dominion in the Tea Peninsula to the world. There he and his small military rule in tyranny, establishing an autocracy over the fragmented groups that were left behind in the Freehold's destruction. Rather than destroy the clans directly, Ashikaga would offer a chance for the clans to come together and pledge allegiance to the rightful heir of Hanguri. With the Service Insignias issued thus far, and more to come, the Shogun would call on those forth who wished to fight along side him - a chance for glories and power; but most importantly a chance to restore what was reclaim what once was.​
 
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Conqueror's End

Fourth Story Arc - Year 811

October 6th - November 20th

127 years have passed since Aléxandros Mégas was proclaimed Emperor after conquering nearly the entire Badlands of Earth. The conquests thereafter, which lasted until 709, led the emperor to the doorstep of Chungsu, not even a day from the capital. Had disease not mysteriously claimed the unstoppable warlord's life, likely history would have turned out very differently for the Ninja World. For this reason, the world celebrates Conqueror's End - a time of festivities to honor Aléxandros's conquests and fear what could have been. It is one of the few nearly universal cultural events in the Ninja World, a celebration forged in the fires of conquest and fear. During this time, children dress up as figures from the era: Aléxandros, his generals, the Daijō-daijin, Black Ones, or even nameless soldiers. Some even dress as ghosts, zombies, and skeletons to honor the dead and the sacrifices made in the great wars fought. These children go door to door in their villages, looking for candy in exchange for not raiding the villages - an imitation of tributes paid to Aléxandros. Yet not all is right in the 127th celebration since his death; in the heart of the ruins, evil stirs....

 
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A New Age
Fifth Story Arc - Year 811
November 27th - December 27th


Phetra and the Necromancer cult have dispersed into hiding, and Conqueror's End has come to an end across the Ninja World. With their disappearance, Cassander too has dispersed. His Edo Tensei finally expiring and bringing his rampage to an end, his soul returning to the afterlife. Villages and clans throughout the planet return to their daily lives, with their bountiful feasts being stowed away and the costumes put back into storage. But throughout the world landmark decisions have been made: the formation of villages. Four groups have coalesced into new political unions, drastically changing the dynamics of the Ninja World. These villages, Tanigakure, Shimogakure, Tsumigakure, and Taiyogakure, have formed to assert their dominance. In the far winter-gripped North rests Shimogakure, the Village Hidden in Frost. Just west of Shimogakure is Tsumigakure, the Village Hidden in Sin. And to the east, occupying significant lands of what was the Freehold, is Tanigakure, the Village Hidden in the Valley. And finally in the far South is Taiyogakure, the Village Hidden in Sunlight.
 

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Hollow Peace
Sixth Story Arc - Year 812
January 3rd - February 3rd

A hollow peace has gripped the Ninja World. The skirmish between Shimogakure and Taniagakure has ended in the latter's firm victory; the Kage of Shimogakure, captured by Genji of the Hayabusa, was delivered to a mysterious figure on Midnight Island. The bounty that this man has propagated throughout the world, orders to capture shinobi with special skills, has wrapped the world in mystery. Who is this man? Or better yet, what is this man? What are his goals and why is he looking for gifted shinobi to capture others? Perhaps the only way to seek out answers would be to seek him out through his mission. As the mysterious man prepares to make his next move, and the world holds their breath to see the next bounty he posts, the hollow peace that has engulfed the four villages seems to remain stable for the time being.

 

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Season of the Rose
Seventh Story Arc - Year 812
February 10th - April 10th


The Season of the Rose - a time of celebration that honors the horrific Red Fever that plagued the world in the year 660. The disease devastated the mainland and left countless dead in its wake; and so, to honor the dead and appreciate loved ones, the Mainland celebrates the Season of the Rose - a time when couples and partners come together to overcome their trails and tests in life. To honor this tradition, the Witchwood Company hosts its Season of the Rose event at the Arena where teams of two, or doubles, can fight against other teams to compete for prizes! Meanwhile, the cloaked man continues to push forward with his plans as the Ten Champions of the Sunlit Forge continue their quest to uncover the true meaning of the Weapon Core they received not so long ago.
 
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