Shogunate Origins

In the early months of the year 122 AL, travelers and adventurers began reporting the manifestation of strange blue crystals at several points on the island of Ektau, where Xian is located. These crystals were of pale and translucent blue, tall as a man and impervious to lasting harm. No sooner was a chip knocked away than the stone regrew like a living thing, and even complete destruction proved futile. The first of the crystals was located in the village of Quan Bai, a small fishing hamlet on the coast southwest of Xian, where the daifu Hana "Radiant Devil" found a cult of fanatical, piscene Tide-worshippers. The arcanist Jin Cai was then dispatched to inspect the remains of the village, and found the first crystal in the hamlet's warehouse, along with a terrible monster fashioned from the warped and living flesh of the remaining villagers.

Not long after this, other adventurers reported finding more of the crystals in remote areas, always surrounded by swarms of misshapen and twisted creatures. Usually they were goblins tainted by the blue monoliths, losing any semblance of intelligence beyond that necessary for wielding a spear and slaughtering outsiders. Even the halfling village of Appleby was overwhelmed by the influence of the crystal, its residents becoming fungal, cannibalistic abominations. Numerous Xianese soldiers died trying to contain the depredations of these monsters.

Early in the spring of 122, the priestess Miyuki was present for a visitation in the neglected Chamber of the Founders at the temple of the Nine Immortals in Xian. The chamber was raised in the early days of settlement, and was notable for the mosaic map of Ektau inlaid upon the floor. As the priestess related it, a great tempest of light and power descended upon the mosaic floor of the Chamber, leaving in its wake nine spheres of translucent green jade placed upon the mosaic. From what was understood, several of the spheres closely approximated the positions of the crystals, and the others gave the general location where more of the blue pillars could be found. It is at this point that common belief diverges.

In Xian, it is said that the Mandarin took this as plain evidence of the will of the gods, and dispatched one of the green spheres towards North Neck, where a blue crystal had been found in a leprosarium just outside the city. The crystal at Quan Bai was encased within a veritable fortress of slimy gray accretion, the crystal at Appleby was on the far side of Xianese territory, and the one in Tien Lung was inaccessible by land, with a vast, twisted army outside the walls to prevent any entrance or escape. Rather than risk a sphere by sea, or trust it for a long journey overland, the benevolent Mandarin ordered the daifu Hana to take the green jade sphere to North Neck and there use it to destroy the blue crystal.

In the Shogunate, they say differently. They say that the Mandarin knew perfectly well what would happen when the crystal was shattered by the sphere, and that he plotted to use the effect to destroy their city. They say that he feared their inclination towards secession and their wish for independence, and thought that the chaos and bloodshed that would come in the wake of the crystal's destruction would finish his work for him.

Whatever the motivation, the result was obvious enough. The crystal was indeed shattered by the touch of the green jade sphere. In its ruin, a terrible burst of green light erupted from the site, expanding to cover almost the entire Great Berm. Within the glow, a tenth of the population of men, women, and children were hideously altered into the Accursed. The sudden flood of power and infernal whisperings drove hundreds into furious transports of violence, lust, and avarice, and many were slaughtered by blindly-raving comrades. It took a week for the city to calm. It took another week for the Kueh daimyos and other lords of the city to decide on secession. They abandoned the Imperial name of their city, North Neck, and chose instead for it to be known in the old Kueh tongue as Kitaminato, the northern harbor.

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