Legend of the Five Rings: Rise of the Four Winds
Empress of Toruri the First, Oracle of the Void
Isawa Kaede stood little over five feet in height. Her eyes and hair were black as jet, and her skin was a darker complexion than was normal for her family. Her dark appearance led her half-brothers to call her “little shadow” as a child until their father made them stop.
Isawa Kaede was born the daughter of Isawa Ujina and Doji Ninube. During her life in Rokugan, Kaede became Master of Void, Oracle of Void, and Empress Toturi Kaede.
Doji Ninube, Kaede’s mother, died during the birth of Kaede in 1100. Ujina was forced to kill Ninube shortly after Kaede’s birth, upon realizing that his bride was not Ninuhe, but a manifestation of the Lying Darkness. Ujina imposed a name on Kaede, severing her from the Darkness and rendering her a normal mortal child. Fortunately for Kaede, the death of her mother served to bring her and her father closer instead of driving them apart. From an early age, Kaede possessed a remarkable connection to the Realm of Void, and her father trained her well in its ways.
One of the most powerful lessons in young Kaede’s life was the death of her pet rabbit, Ubi. As a small child, Kaede cared for the rabbit as a close friend. Unfortunately, one day she decided to help Ubi cool off by letting him “feel the brook water.” Kaede opened the rabbit’s mind to the Void, overwhelming the small animal and killing it instantly. Isawa Ujina consoled his daughter, telling her that the knowledge of the Void is not for others to share, and that she must learn to be strong, as her gifts would force her to be alone for most of her life.
Despite her understanding of the isolation she would need to endure, Kaede always shared a special bond with her younger brother, Isawa Tadaka. Kaede was always considered a prodigy as they grew up; she had obvious skill, and she was managing to master the extraordinarily difficult intricacies of the Void. Despite her well earned celebrity, Tadaka loved her just as much as any of his clansmen, and possibly more. Though Kaede was older, the two were close enough in age that they shared many interests and studies and they had many common friends. The two remained close until Tadaka chose to spend a year studying in the lands of the Crab Clan, and even then, couriers would regularly carry letters between the two.
Kaede’s training was finished not by instruction from her father, but by a chance encounter with a bear in the Mori Isawa. Kaede had withdrawn from the Void while walking, and the bear completely surprised her when it began to attack her. Kaede immediately reached out to the Void to soothe the bear but found within the creature only rage and frenzy. In a final attempt to save her own life, Kaede opened the bear to the Void, just as she had Ubi years before. The result was the same, and the bear fell to the ground, dead. Kaede continued to train with her father, but she learned more that day than most will learn in a lifetime of study.
Adept of Void
After her gempukku, Kaede became an Adept of Void, her father’s personal apprentice and heir apparent. No one had any doubt that the young woman would one day become Mistress of Void.
The Adept of Void Kaede spent three months with the Dragon Clan studying, afterwhich she still felt she understood them less than she did before she had gone. During her time there she also spent time with Agasha Tamori who told her stories of Togashi’s encounters with Shinsei. She suffered a startling experience with a tattooed Dragon who had talked in riddles with her shortly before he leapt out into the air and fell from a mountain top. All the while that he fell, the Dragon remained laughing. Tamori had been seeking to gain knowledge of the Void element since many years, spending winter time with Kaede’s father. Looking to Kaede’s eyes he knew the secrets of the Void were out of his reach.
Acolyte of Void
Kaede, an Acolyte of Void, was engaged to Akodo Toturi, then Lion Clan Champion. It was an arranged marriage, when both were infants, and Kaede had only met the man briefly.
Oracle of Air
Kaede had been two times in the Oracle of Air’s home, and each time in a different palace. Both were tremendous structures with glowing globes of starlight, suspended among the winds many li above the ground, moving with the clouds. She wrote a treatise on the nature of the Oracles.
In 1121 Ujina had taken the post of resident master shugenja in the Phoenix Embassy at Otosan Uchi. He had sensed a hole in the Void in the west side of the Enchanted Wall beside the Karada district. After several months Ujina guessed it was created by the presence of the Living Shadow within the Crab district. Kaede was also there to aid him, and she was visited many times by her betrothed Akodo Toturi, and by her rival and kinsman Isawa Tsuke.
Winter Court – 1123
In 1123 Kaede attended winter court at Kyuden Seppun as the ambassador to the Isawa. The Isawa Woodlands had been invaded by Mujina, and the Phoenix were not able to get rid off them. Even two of the wretched beasts had followed Kaede to the Imperial Court. She sought the aid of the Crab, demanding experienced units who could stop mujina’s constant pranks. Isawa Tsuke, the Master of Fire and leader of the Council was also there. Their rivalry had grown over the years, as Kaede took more relevance as the sickness of her father had increased his seclusion.
Kaede was present in the capital Otosan Uchi on the night of the Scorpion Coup in 1123. Shortly before Bayushi Shoju beheaded the Emperor Hantei XXXVIII, his son Hantei Sotorii had retired, and Kaede with him as one of his retainers. Kaede and the Captain of the Imperial Guard Seppun Ishikawa, spirited away the young Hantei Sotorii to Phoenix Clan lands so that he could receive a hasty gempukku and claim the Emerald Throne, as ordered by her father, who provided the distractions needed for their escape. She sent a letter to her brother Isawa Tadaka, warning him of the events and to prepare for her arrival with the boy.
Ravings of Isawa Norikazu
Her childhood friend, Isawa Norikazu, returned to the Isawa lands. Ujina, already a twisted and foul man in tattered robes, a Nameless One, shouted to Norikazu, reminding the warnings Ujina had given to him. The Master of Void accepted what must to happen, and touched the forehead of Norikazu, who fell to earth, screaming. Since that day he had brief moments of lucidity, his ravings occasionally led to true prophecy. Kaede took a personal interest in keeping Norikazu well, and she realized that his eyes became clearer with each passing day. As the Clan War began, the demands on Norikazu’s faculties increased, to the point that he was almost always accompanied by Kaede.
Mistress of Void
Master of Void Kaede
Kaede eventually assumed the position of Master of the Void when her father fell ill. She sought a means to cure him, but his exposure to the Lying Darkness had corrupted him, transforming him into a Nameless One.
As the Council of Five continued their attempts to understand the Shadowlands and the dark influences spreading across the Empire they sent Isawa Tadaka into the Shadowlands to discover the source of the evil presence. He did not return for months.
Return of Tadaka
In 1126 Tadaka returned, bringing one of the Black Scrolls he had stolen from Yogo Junzo’s stronghold, as a tale of Yogo Junzo was marshaling an army to invade the Empire. The Masters sequestered themselves to study the four Black Scrolls in their possesion, to provide the knowledge to defeat the Shadowlands. Isawa Kaede, the Master of Void, refused to join them.
Unsealing the Scrolls
In 1127 Tadaka convinced the Council of Five to start unsealing the Black Scrolls demanding that their hidden secrets be unmasked. The Masters did fall under the corrupting spells’ influence. They already had three of the scrolls since a traitor Scorpion sold them to the Phoenix in the 5th century.
Tadaka no Oni
After a time in the Crane lands beside Shiba Tsukune, Kaede was advised by Shiba Katsuda that Tadaka had delved deeply into the dark paths of Shadow lore, after a journey to the Ruins of Yanubei. When she arrived her sensei Asako Yasu and Tadaka were involved in a maho ritual of Summon Oni. Yasu was nearly exhausted, overwhelmed by the demon, so Kaede joined the ritual and the creature’s resistance was broken. Tadaka bargained with the oni, which sank its teeth into Tadaka’s right shoulder, drawing away blood, flesh and bone. Tadaka no Oni had been created.
Oracle of Void
Oracle of Void
She remained in the position until 1128, when she abandoned the Council of Five to embrace her position as Oracle of Void and disappeared from Rokugan. The position of Master of the Void remained vacant for five years until Shiba Ningen became the next Master of Void.
Kaede returned to Rokugan as the Oracle of Void to help in the search of the kidnapped Emperor Toturi I. She instructed Ginawa and Matsu Hiroru to find a Dragon, whose face had yet not vanished, Kitsuki Kaagi.
She appeared to Shiba Tetsu and told him that he would find Matsu Turi in the Morikage Forest, and that Turi was destined to contain a spirit that was trapped within the Castle, and the Lion would save another Lion’s soul.
Saving Toturi’s Soul
In 1132, in the moments following Lord Moon’s death at Hitomi’s hands, Ginawa confronted the Emperor. He found he could not bring himself to kill Toturi, but instead smuggled the mad Emperor Toturi I to an outskirt where Hiroru where recovering from the wounds Doji Shizue caused to the ninja. Kaede appeared there, healed Hiroru and transported Toturi to Shiba lands, hidden in a house in the mountains near the Village in the Valley.
Toturi is grievously Wounded
In 1133 Sanzo, a ronin consumed by the death of his family at an ogre’s hands, was driven by the wish of revenge of his blade, Ambition. Sanzo found and attacked the Emperor, wounding him grievously. Sanzo regained his control before he could strike the killing blow and fled. Kaede arrived to find Toturi mortally wounded and Sanzo gone.
Toturi and Kaede’s Wedding
Wounded into death, Toturi was tormented by nightmares. In 1133 in the Month of the Dragon Hiroru and Ryoshun reached Toturi. The Tenth Kami explained Toturi what was necessary to be done. Toturi broke free of the hold the Lying Darkness had over him. In this moment of clarity he realized that if the Darkness took the soul of an Emperor the Empire would be lost also. Kaede had to marry him so that there might be an Empress who was immune to the Shadow’s control, who might rule the Empire justly after Toturi died. With no named heir at the time this would leave Kaede as the Empress, and as the Oracle of Void the Lying Darkness could not touch her. In a hasty ceremony, he married Isawa Kaede to save his soul, and she became Empress Toturi Kaede.
Kaede dispatched Ginawa and Hiroru to seek out the ancient relic known as Oblivion’s Gate, which she sensed would hold the key to the Darkness’ assault on the Spirit Realms.
Following the seppuku of Toturi the same year, Kaede met with the Dragon of Void. The Dragon warned her that allying with the Empire in the War Against Shadow would have consequences. Having heard nothing from Ginawa and Matsu Hiroru, Kaede gathered her Champions unleashing the armies of the Great Clans upon the city of Volturnum deep in the Shadowlands.
During the Battle of Oblivion’s Gate Toturi returned to the Mortal Realm.
Kaede and Toturi had three children, Toturi Tsudao, Toturi Sezaru and Toturi Naseru. 45
In 1140 during the War of Spirits an influential Doji returned spirit betrayed the Steel Chrysanthemum with news of a secret ambush. Kaede’s magical powers would be negated with a gaijin lamp. The ninja assassins believed they could bind the kami from in aream, long enough to murder her and kidnap her infant son, Naseru. One of the guards, Doji Masazumi, saved them destroying with an arrow the lamp, but the commander Doji Haranobu and many of his companions were killed.
In 1155, when Naseru returned from one of his trips to study with Hantei XVI missing his right eye, Kaede demanded to know what had happened. Naseru would not reveal the truth, only explaining that the Steel Chrysanthemum was now dead.