The Time Of Blades and Magic
The Crane Clan, Left Hand of the Emperor, is known throughout Rokugan for its skilled duelists and artisans. The Crane are also noted courtiers, wielding great power in the courts of the land. The Crane were founded by the Kami Doji. They pursue excellence in all things, and the traditions established by Lady Doji are now customary in the Emperor’s Court. The formal dueling system, iaijutsu, was established by Doji’s husband, Kakita. Their preferential status with the Imperial line is renowned and throughout history the clan has had fewer taxes and more gifts heaped upon them. They are the masters of the courts and have the status and wealth commensurate with such a position.
Families of the Crane Clan
The Crane consists of four powerful families in complete symbiosis, no two families overlapping in duties. The Doji family are the voice of the clan and control most of the politics within Rokugan. The Kakita family are famed for their iaijutsu duelists as well as their skills as artisans. The Daidoji family are the military might of the Crane as well as handling the things too dishonorable or dangerous for the other families. The Asahina family are the only shugenja in the clan, and spend their time in peaceful meditation and creation of nemuranai. The Asahina were in theory a fifth family, as the Yasuki family were once Crane. Their path however led them away from the Crane to the Crab Clan shortly after the founding of the Asahina.
The lands of the Crane Clan stretch for miles on every side of the previous capital Otosan Uchi. Everything from the foothills of the Mountains of Regret in the north to the Asahina fields of the southern peninsula are claimed by the Crane. Their lands also cover most of the coastline of Rokugan. The province farthest to the south was once owned by the Yasuki family, but it was split between the Crab Clan and the Crane after the Yasuki defected to the Crab. While tensions in this area have been mostly low due to the peaceful Asahina living nearby the Crane still maintain Niwa Shita no Kage Toshi as a defensive fortress guarding the Crane side of Shio Senkyo no Riku. The people of the Crane live a good life. The fields are rich, the taxes are light and the magistrates that patrol the lands pride themselves on their honorable and just nature.
Lands to the North
The northern parts of Crane lands border the Phoenix and Dragon Clans, the lands of the Emerald Champion and what remains of Otosan Uchi. These lands have been mostly peaceful throughout history, with only a couple of exceptions. The area is filled with merchants who run a brisk trade with the Phoenix as well as with numerous shrines maintained by the Brotherhood of Shinsei. The lands of the Emerald Champion are technically owned by the Emerald Champion, but the frequency with which the Champion is a Crane means the lands are usually under Crane control.
The coastal regions of the Crane stretch across ninety percent of all of mainland Rokugan’s coast. This effectively gives the Crane a major hand in all seagoing trade. There are multiple established ports and marketplaces along the entire coast, making the Crane the most effective means of transporting things by sea. Trade roads also run down along the coast, and are heavily patrolled by the Daidoji. The majority of the Crane population live along the coast, and the cities are packed with people from all corners of Rokugan.
The western lands of the Crane Clan are one of the keys to the prosperity of the Clan. The fertile rice fields are cultivated by the heimin of the Crane, and although the lands have often been disputed by the Lion Clan, the Crane maintain they had been given to Lady Doji by the Emperor Hantei when the lands were divided. The Lion frequently made forays into the lands to plunder their riches. Shiro no Yojin, the castle that was once the defense on the western border, was taken during the Night of Falling Stars several centuries ago, and has never been reclaimed. The crops grown in the western lands of the Crane are one of the primary sources of food in Rokugan, and are exported to nearly every corner of the Empire. The richest fields can be found in Osari Plains, named for a farmer who stood against an invading Scorpion force centuries ago. To the south of the area sit the remains of Beiden Pass. For centuries the pass had been heavily contested by the Crane, Scorpion and Lion until its destruction.
The province in the southern Crane lands is Kenkai Hanto, home of the Daidoji family. Several bustling cities can be found in this area, and bandit activity there is virtually unheard of due to the vigilance of Daidoji] patrols. The areas to the far south of Kenkai Hanto have sporadic swampy reaches, where a variety of creatures are rumored to have been spotted including kenku, nezumi and naga. A small grove of stones can be found to the far south of the peninsula. The origin of the stones is unknown, but they shine in the light of a full moon as if a beacon were upon them.
Gardens of the Crane
The fantastic gardens of the Crane are delicate beauties that are spoken of throughout Rokugan. They cover huge tracts of land reaching up to thirty li (miles), having been converted from arable land into pleasurable gardens by past Crane Clan Champions. The Crab would complain and call it a waste of land, but the vast and rich lands of the Crane afford some spare for beauty. The gardens are works of art, containing bonsai trees, flower bushes and trickling streams that create the illusion of careless perfection. They are the result of generations of gardeners who spent their lifetimes perfecting their art. In addition to being art the gardens often symbolize something mythical, spiritual or historical.