The Time Of Blades and Magic
The Phoenix Clan is known throughout Rokugan for their skilled shugenja and mastery of elemental magic. The Phoenix are also noted pacifists, preferring diplomacy to war if at all possible. The Phoenix’s presence in the courts of the land is not great, and their courtiers are relatively few in number, although they are not isolationists like the Dragon Clan. The Phoenix Clan was founded by the Kami Shiba, although the family of his vassal, Isawa, generally runs the affairs of the clan.
Shiba kneels to Isawa
The most important event in the history of the Phoenix Clan was when Shiba knelt before the mortal Isawa, casting away his pride and arrogance promising to protect his people in exchange for Isawa’s help in ending the War Against Fu Leng by becoming the Phoenix Clan Thunder. Until this point, the tribe of Isawa had been a part of the Phoenix only because geographically their land was in the area given to Shiba by Hantei. Isawa refused to acknowledge the rule of the Kami, but he also refused to leave his lands. Shiba protected him from the Emperor’s wrath by claiming that the Isawa were part of his clan, even though Isawa would have claimed otherwise.
Isawa had believed that the War would not affect his people because it was contained to southern Rokugan, and if he remained neutral the Dark Kami would leave his people alone. When the forces of the Shadowlands began attacking the Isawa lands in the far north of the empire, Isawa began to realize that he could not remain neutral in the War, and if he tried, his people would be destroyed.
Isawa offered to help Shiba in defeating his corrupted brother, but only if Shiba would kneel before him as he offered his services. Isawa would not have his people believing that he had sold them into bondage to the Kami. Shiba, realizing the opportunity laid before him, did not hesitate to kneel before Isawa and offer to protect his family once he was gone.
Shiba and the Phoenix
When the Phoenix Clan was young, there was great tension between the family of Shiba and of Isawa. Isawa resented the Kami being above him because of an accident of birth, and the followers of Shiba resented Isawa for his failure to properly respect the Kami. Shiba could tell that tensions within his clan were reaching a breaking point, though he did not know how to solve the problem.
The answer finally came to him one night in a dream. Shiba had a vision that he was visited by a magnificent fiery bird. The bird explained that it was composed of all five elements, and was the whole universe. It also told Shiba that it and he were the same, saying “You are not separate, but one and the same. I am the reflection of your soul just as you are the manifestation of mine. We are death reborn, immortality through a thousand lifetimes. We are the cycle of the cosmos, spinning in patterns as old as time. We will die in flames, only to rise again and again until the sky itself collapses. We are the Phoenix — the Eye of Eternity.”
Shiba awoke and ran to the city square of Gisei Toshi, where he rang the summoning bell. The people of the city assembled, and he told them that the time for bickering and division was past, and that henceforth they would be the Phoenix Clan.