Kindred of the East: Crimson Empires
The Beast Court of Golden Blades
The keepers of the Dragon’s Nest of the Sheltered Waters. The relationship have formed with The Talon Cleansing Wu is currently tenuous at best, but both have accepted the others’ role in the balance of the middle kingdom.
I. Garou (9)
A. Hakken (Shadow Lords) (2)
B. Boli Zousizhe (Glass Walkers) (1)
C. Xing Kanmengou (Stargazers) (2)
D. Wantong (Bone Gnawers) (1)
E. Yanlanjinshen (Uktena) (2)
F. Dadi Ertong (Children of Gaia) (1)
II. Bastet (2)
A. Khan (1)
B. Bagheera (1)
III. Corax (5)
A. Tengu (5)
IV. Mokole (6)
A. Zhong Lung (5)
B. Makara (1)
A. Same-bito (3)
V. Kitsune (4)
The standard gai’nan positions of the Beast-Court are not employed. Instead, the Councillor acts as the Regent. The Minister of War stands as the General and the Minister of the Fabric as the Seer. As the hengeyokai co-exist with other shen, the Historian position is fulfilled by the Ministry of Lore. The Clan makes sure it has at least one Agent in this Ministry, however.
Indeed, not all of the standard Beast-Court features could be employed in the Hengeyokai Clan of this unusual Court. In this Clan, technically, everyone is a courtier. Everyone is an Agent or Minister of something. However, in addition to Courtly duties, the hengeyokai appoint other minor duties to their members. This may range from picking up litter to guarding the Dragon Nest. Those who subscribe to being a Courtier in the hengeyokai sense of the word will be awarded the more important minor duties and be expected to carry them out at all times, no exceptions. Everyone else will have minor duties but will be expected to form a wave or even mountain sentai at some point. Those who already are in mountain sentai are free from this requirement, as they already have the duties of serving in a mountain sentai. Furthermore, the Ministers and Councillor are exempt from this, as they have their coordination and leadership duties to handle.
All full members of Clan Hengeyokai must subscribe to the Path of Emerald Virtue, and are recognized by the Court in this way. Other Fera, whether they are Sunset People allowed to join the Court or whatever, are considered honorary members of Clan Hengeyokai. Their rank and standing is not promoted by the Clan and though it is recognized, honoraries are as guests. These honorary members may not attend Emerald Assemblies. They have no authority in the Clan itself (though they may hold Courtly authority) and must seek recognition of their deeds from their people outside the Court.
The following are the current “minor” courtier tasks assigned to any member of Clan Hengeyokai who does not hold a leadership position (Minister or Councillor) or serves in a mountain sentai. These tasks are not optional in the usual strict obligatory rule of the hengeyokai. Performing them earns the shapeshifter honor in the Clan and Court’s eyes, but failing to perform them strips the renown just as readily.
•Battle Tutor: The Battle Tutor’s task is to instruct his fellow hengeyokai, particularly any cubs or kits, in the methods of down-and-dirty tooth-n-claw combat that the shapeshifters are better known for than the human fisticuffs and martial arts.
•Caretaker of the Land: The Caretaker’s mission is to insure the constant cleanliness of the Dragon Nest and its surrounding lands. The Caretaker disposes of any litter, tends to the landscape, and observes the local environment.
•Dragon’s Page: The Page’s job is fairly simple. She is to deliver messages and run other minor errands for the Councillor or Elder Mori.
•Eye of the Dragon: This scouting position requires that the hengeyokai act as sentinel in the hengeyokai’s territory. Any trouble or unwanted intruder is immediately reported to the representative gai’nan of the Clan.
•Guardian of the Sheltered Waters: The Guardians’ traditional duty is to diligently watch over the Dragon Nest and protect it and the Clan from enemies.
•Honorary: This is the simple and respectful title given to any Sunset People who member Clan Hengeyokai but do not follow the Path of Emerald Virtue.
•Master of the Hunt: Traditionally given unto Tengu, the Master’s job comes into play only once a month during the Assembly and the Festival Hunt specifically. He must observe his brethren and make sure they do not violate the Festival with ignominous deeds (like pouncing a Courtmate) as well as make sure no humans may stumble across the event and thereby threaten the Veil.
•Reeve of the River: An important extrapolation of the Caretaker, the Reeve’s mission is to care specifically for the neighboring Blue River. It is to be regularly purified via the appropiate rituals. Water Elementals were bound to the stretch of river bordering Yamahasu to keep it that much healthy. Each Reeve must donate Gnosis (one point a week) to the Elementals for sustenance.
•Secretary of the Assembly: The Secretary’s task takes place normally once a month during the Emerald Assembly. She takes notes, minutes, on all that is discussed or transpires during the Worldly Songs. They may also be called upon to act as general loremasters for the Clan. If they don’t know what the Clan needs to know, it’s their job to research and find out.
Elder: Jung Mori – Trial By River
Councillor: Fang Yin – Lightning’s Scepter
Ministers: Guang Ren – Rends the Scorpians (War), L’Amour Shining Deer (Fabric), Zoa – Three Scrolls (Lore)
Assistant Ministers: Adri Gan Khon, Silence, Yi-Yin Li
Battle Tutors: Knows-the-Graves
Caretakers of the Land: Kindra Song-of-Warrior, Hoguren Blossom Tender
Dragon’s Page: Kimi Maegou, Lotus-Burns-Black
Eyes of the Dragon: Tarries-Not, Hotaru, Night Light
Guardians of the Sheltered Waters: Hanshamon Blight-Ending-Fangs, Jazuo Dongudu River-Jumper
Honoraries: Ryu Sucker-Bet, Babblemouth Blackfeathers
Masters of the Hunt: Wong Hu Dancing Sai, Kung-pow-talons
Reeves of the River: Blood Moon Over Yellow River, Knows-the-Graves
Secretaries of the Assembly: Carol An Liu, Heaven’s Arrow
The hengeyokai follow both the Mandates of the Emerald Mother and the Celestial Mandates and policies of the Court of Infinite Ages. They are very alike and should cause no real conflict of interest. Furthermore, Court policy simply reinforces that which is largely common sense or standard shen etiquette.
An unofficial policy of “cautious trust” is employed in regards to the other members of the Court, especially the Chi’n Ta and Rinji Clans. General Bete and hengeyokai-in-general secrets as well as local secrets (like the location or even existence of the Heartstone) are not to be shared with the Courtmates. Nor may non-hengeyokai attend hengeyokai proceedings like the Emerald Assembly without expressed permission of the Councillor (an unlikely proposition).
Rank & Renown
All full members of the Court of Golden Blades must subscribe to the Path of Emerald Virtue, and are recognized by the Court in this way. The Rank titles of the Beast-Court system are also employed when formally addressing a member of the Court of Golden Blades. Other Fera, whether they are Sunset People allowed to join the Court or whatever, are considered honorary members of the Court at best. Their rank and standing is not promoted by the Beast-Court and though it may be recognized, honoraries are as guests. These honorary members may not attend Emerald Assemblies. They have no authority in the Court itself (though they may hold influence in the Coalition) and must seek recognition of their deeds from their people outside the Court.
Hengeyokai partake in long and flowery titles. At the very least, a hengeyokai will formally introduce himself including his astrological titles (direction, element, auspice). Shapeshifters in service to the Beast-Courts will traditionally give only their hengeyokai titles when dealing with fellow hengeyokai or outsiders. When dealing solely with their own Changing Breed, they will give their titles associated only to the Breed. When dealing with elements of both, they will give all their titles. Traditionally, the formal introductions includes a list of prominent ancestors and former Courts. In a pinch, their deed name with astrological monikers will suffice. When giving a hengeyokai title, the astrological terms will usually accompany the character’s Sentai position. If he is a courtier outside any Sentai, he will instead give his Beast-Court position. Beast-Court Rank will also be included. A sample title follows.
Knows-the-Graves, Golden Tutor of Warrior Ways & Rushing Phoenix of the Court of Golden Blades
The term “Phoenix” in this case represented her Eastern Direction and “Blazing” indicated her Fire Element. Other commonly recognized terms may include:
Each member has a traditional Auspice within the sentai. They are as follows, with the Garou Auspice to which they most closely correspond listed thereafter. It’s important to remember, however, that warriors do not necessarily dominate hengeyokai society. Thus, whichever member is most qualified for a current dilemma at hand is given leadership of the sentai. During “down-time” and most general occasions, however, the Lantern is the sentai leader.
Each member of an sentai is also given an Element that best suits his role and nature. When referring to their Elemental role, hengeyokai state the Element+Talon. E.g., “Fire-Talon”. Like many other beliefs, the hengeyokai have their own slanted views on elements. Below are the five Elements and the Auspice to which they most commonly correspond. Of course, these are not mandatory references. A sentai’s Fist may better relate to the strength and endurance of the Earth while the Lantern with a fiery charisma may subscribe to the flame.
III. Directions Each member of a sentai is also given a cardinal Direction that best suits his role and nature. When referring to their Directional role, hengeyokai state the Direction+Wind. E.g., “South-Wind”. Below are the five cardinal Directions and the Auspice to which they most commonly correspond. Again, these are not mandatory applications. Directional and Elemental roles are awarded based the most on personality. Since Auspice is also based on the character’s personality as well as abilities, the common correspondences don’t often need to change. The strictly traditional hengeyokai like it that way.