Quelques éclats de jade
The position of Emperor, the highest authority in the Empire of Rokugan, was created by the Kami Hantei, the victor of the Tournament of the Kami. He has absolute administrative, judicial, religious and military control of the empire, although many of these roles are delegated to trusted subordinates. Two dynasties have held the title of Emperor: the Hantei family, under whom the title was established and held for over a thousand years, and the Toturi family, since 1129. Naseru, also known as the Anvil, third son of Toturi, became Emperor Toturi III in 1160.
The Imperial Families have sworn fealty directly to the Imperial line, and every action they take is to guarantee a functioning Empire. The Miya travel across the land ensuring the Emperor’s decrees are heard by every person in the land. The Seppun are the shields of the Empire, serving as bodyguards and as warriors in the Imperial Legions. The Otomo are the political masterminds of the courts, fiendishly manipulating the Great Clans to serve the higher good.
The Jeweled Champions are powerful servants of the Emperor. Each Champion has a specific task to fulfill in the Empire, and is often appointed through a tournament designed to produce a winner who is the most skilled practicioner of a certain art vital to the Empire’s administration.
- The Emerald Champion: By far the most influencial of the Jeweled Champions, the Emerald Champion is the leader of the Emerald Magistrates and the yojimbo of the Emperor. As the personal champion of the Emperor, he is responsible for defending his honor should the unthinkable occur and a samurai offer a slight to the throne. Prior to the Toturi Dynasty, the Imperial Legions generally answered only to the Emerald Champion, giving him considerable military clout. Since the emergence of the Shogun, individual legion commanders can now choose to take their orders from either the Emerald Champion or the Shogun, thus limiting the military power of either position. The primary focus of the position however is as the enforcer of Imperial law, including the assessment and collection of Imperial taxes. Yasuki Hachi, daimyo of the Yasuki family for both the Crab and the Crane, has achieved the position of Emerald Champion in 1158.
- The Jade Champion: The Jade Champion is charged with overseeing the use of all magic in the Empire. To that effect, he is assisted by several Jade Magistrates and a small military force, the Jade Legionnaires. The Jade Champion is in some respects a more specialized version of the Emerald Champion, one specifically tasked with enforcing all Imperial laws pertaining to the use of magic in any form. There is obvious overlap between the two positions—no self-respecting Emerald Magistrate will overlook an offense as blasphemous as the practice of blood sorcery, for example. When possible, however, the members of the Emerald organization will defer to the Jade for such things. Asahina Sekawa, daimyo of the Asahina family as achieved the position of Jade Champion in 1158.
- The Ruby Champion: The Ruby Champion is the Sensei of the Emerald Magistrates and Imperial Legions. On numerous occasions throughout history, the position has simply been appointed by the Emerald Champion. The relationship between the two positions is an exceedingly close one, and the Ruby Champion theoretically answers only to the Emerald Champion, with no one else involved in the execution of his duties. The current Ruby Champion is the Unicorn bushi Utaku Takai.
- The Topaz Champion: The Topaz Champion is far and away the least influential of the Jeweled Champions. While most of the other positions are in many cases lifetime appointments, the Topaz Championship has always been an annual event. The Topaz Armor is the most immediate badge of authority associated with the position, but it is typical for a Topaz Champion to be offered a number of different prestigious positions as part of the victory, the most frequent being as an Emerald Magistrate.
The Emperor’s Chosen are those men and women who serve the Imperial Throne as advisers and administrators and, with the exception of the Imperial Herald, are generally appointed by the Emperor directly.
- The Imperial Chancellor: The duty of the Imperial Chancellor is to arrange and oversee the events of the Emperor’s Imperial Court, establishing the agenda for the day when the Emperor is in attendance or, when the Emperor is absent, overseeing the court’s events in his place. When the Imperial Court is conducted in the Emperor’s absence, the power of the Chancellor increases significantly, since there is in essence no accountability. Thus, the holder of this prestigious and important office is probably, with the obvious exception of the Emperor, the most powerful political figure in the Empire. Due to the nature of the position and its duties, the Chancellor is one of the few people in the whole Empire with essentially unrestricted access to the Emperor’s person. In 1159, following the death of Emperor Toturi I the Otomo nominated Bayushi Kaukatsu as Imperial Chancellor.
- The Imperial Advisor: The Imperial Advisor is the head of the Emperor’s advisory council and is responsible for making appointments to the court. The purpose of the position is to offer personal political advice to the Emperor regarding the goings-on in the Imperial Court and the various other courts, especially those of the Clan Champions. The Advisor must remain fully informed and up to date on all major events transpiring throughout the Empire’s political environment. To accomplish this, every Advisor quickly and efficiently establishes a network of allies throughout the various clan holdings, and compiles regular reports on everything of interest. Because he controls the access of the Clans to the Emperor, the Imperial Advisor holds a great deal of political power. Ide Tadaji became Imperial Advisor in 1150, during the reign of the first Toturi.
- The Voice of the Emperor: The Voice of the Emperor is a position among the Chosen that elevates a single individual to the privilege of personally speaking for the Emperor in matters of grave importance to the Empire. This position’s main purpose is to maintain a friendly relationship between the Emperor and the people, and insure that the Great Clans do not fall into civil war. It is the Voice of the Emperor’s duty to bring a peaceable solution, rapidly and efficiently, when laws or force of arms fail. Sezaru, brother to the Emperor, also known as The Wolf and Son of the Void, holds the position of Voice of the Emperor.
- The Shogun: A recently created position, the Shogun is unique among the Emperor’s Chosen in that he has virtually no ties to the Imperial Court whatsoever. He serves as a commanding general and military leader. The principle power of the Shogun’s authority takes the form of an autonomous military organization called the Shogunate. The Shogun has complete discretion in the composition and organization of this force, and can handselect officers from any other clan or force, including from the Imperial Legions. In addition to the Shogunate, the Shogun has significant influence over the Imperial Legions. The Emperor’s half-brother Kaneka, also known as the Bastard and the Wind of War, achieved the position in 1160.
- The Left Hand of the Emperor: A formal title given to a Great Clan, with the official duty of protecting Rokugan and the Emperor from any and all unseen threats. The Left Hand serves as the Emperor’s political aides. They draft laws in his name, issue edicts on his behalf, and exert part of his political influence upon others. If the Emperor would choose to meet with dignitaries of foreign lands, they would act as his representatives. Traditionally, this has been the role of the Crane Clan, with reinforcement from the Emerald Magistrates.
- The Right Hand of the Emperor: A formal title of a Great Clan, with the official duty of serving as the Emperor’s army and enforcers. In times of strife, it is the Right Hand, along with the Imperial Legions and the Seppun Imperial Guard, that are tasked with bringing peace through force of arms. In times of invasion by foreign powers, the Right Hand must defend Rokugan’s borders. While traditionally this has been the role of the Lion Clan, this changed in 1132, when Toturi issued an edict stepping down the Lion as Right Hand and nominating the Unicorn in their stead.