Akari Island History
Akari was a remote province of the Empire of Sokoku. This empire is one of two powerful nations, the other being Chung Po. These lands are part of a world that its inhabitants call Shou Lung.
Sokoku is a nation that spans many islands of varying sizes. At the head of the empire was the emperor, who was viewed as a deity incarnate. Very little of the actual ruling was conducted by the emperor, him being the spiritual leader of the empire. The actual business of running the empire fell to the Supreme Warlord, and through him a large number of noble families locked in a perpetual power struggle.
Chung Po is a huge land empire spanning many thousands of square miles. It was ruled by an emperor who, unlike in Sokoku, wields complete executive power. He has a government that ruthlessly enforces his will. His ancestors originally conquered the many individual city-states that originally existed and forged them into a massive, if somewhat turbulent, empire.
The Jeung KO Clan, lead by the KO family, have been the rulers of Akari since the original settlers arrived from Sokoku. While the original settlers were true in their loyalty to the emperor back in the capital, each subsequent generation felt their loyalty to the distant empire fading.
Due to its remoteness, Akari became a haven for refugees and political exiles from the two large empires so far away. However it was not just those who sought a better life who made it to Akari, things dark and terrible also came here to escape destruction back in the homelands. It was discovered that the island was not uninhabited when it was discovered. There lived, it is rumoured that it lives still, a source of power which some say is a giant serpent others a demon trapped beneath the earth. This creature was not only sentient and able to communicate, but also possessed fantastic powers, strong enough to rival those of any islander. Legend says that the creature’s purpose was to act as custodian and nurturer of Akari.
Eventually there was no one who saw any benefit from being part of the empire and independence was declared. The Supreme Warlord reacted by sending troops to execute governor KO and his family and bring the island back into the empire. The people of Akari fought for their freedom with a passion that took the invading force by surprise, so much so in fact that they never recovered from it. They were defeated and withdrew back to Sokoku where it is said they were executed for their failure.
No reprisals ever came against Akari, the journey being deemed too long and expensive for a large force of fighting troops. So the island was left to its fate.
Over the years the cultures of the peoples that inhabited it began to blend, with aspects of both Chung Po and Sokoku culture being accepted by all, although many of the ancient traditions and customs from both cultures still survive today. Throughout all this the KO family held power. They remained uncontested until one dark day.
Crops began to fail. Beasts were found mutilated in the fields. People went missing. A vast and foul darkness began to grow from the heart of Akari Island, the area becoming synonymous with terror and death.
One day there came a great storm the likes of which had never been seen, it seemed to the inhabitants that the world was ending. For a time there was not even water lapping at the shores of Akari or stars in the sky…there was nothing at all! Suddenly the land was rent by earthquakes. The sea rushed in to replace what disappeared and the stars returned, but not the same stars as home.
During the crisis that had befallen Akari a dark and powerful entity took this moment to reveal itself. Its name was the Opawang (lit. The Black Spirit King). Four powerful ghostly warriors, known as Ochimo, served the Opawang. It was discovered that there was a powerful fortress at the heart of Akari. It was here that the Opawang made his home there, it became known as Opawanchenchun.
The Ochimo killed whoever they came across, stealing their spirits to take back to feed the Opawang. The Kos tried in vain to combat the Ochimo but they were powerless to affect them. Suddenly a group of barbarians appeared and went around killing almost everything that got in their way. Fortunately one of the people they killed before mysteriously vanishing again was the Opawang. With the passing of the Opawang Akari began to sort itself out after many years of fear and death. A new fortified town was constructed by a group of like-minded people. When it was completed a large number of families moved into it and declared that they wanted nothing further to do with governor KO Lan-shu and his feeble leadership. They declared themselves as the Willow Triad and allowed any who wished to join them in their commune.
The Willow Triad was not alone in its grievances against the governor. A number of court officials and wealthy merchants also turned their back on KO Lan-shu. They set up an organisation that made it is goal to overthrow the governor and his family. Their name is the Red Flower Society. Although they declared that they were freedom fighters, the majority viewed them as subversives and terrorists.
Time passed. KO Lan-shu died and was succeeded by his son Ko Mei-Ko. Mei-Ko was not as short sighted as his father. He knew a great catastrophe had befallen Akari and that they were not part of Shou Lung anymore. He commissioned a small number of explorers to journey beyond Akari’s shores and to learn what was out there. They found a number of islands teaming with barbarians. Ko Mei-Ko prohibited any one from sailing beyond sight of land. After a while the came the order that no one was to set foot off Akari’s shores.
Again after a while the governor’s troops began to displace peasants from their villages by the sea, the whole population were moved inland. Travel was forbidden to the public, they all must remain in their villages their whole lives. Their only contact with the outside world came from the governor’s officials who came to bring orders or trade items for the villages.
Out of the interior came a new group called the Hoard. The hoard was led by an Ogre-Mage called Dai-Oni. He rallied all the non-human inhabitants of Akari to his flag. You could still serve the governor and be a member of the hoard; there was little conflict of interest, Dai-Oni being concerned for the safety and well being of his kith and kin. The Cheung Chau Clan began to make obvious sounds of dissatisfaction with the Jeung KO Clans lack of solid leadership. It was rumoured at the time that the Cheung Chau were funding the Red Flower Society, although nothing could be proved.
During this time the most important events of Akari came to pass, the Gods of Heaven and Hell came to walk the island. These were the Elemental Kings Shui Shu-zha, Li Shu-zha, Hsin Shu-zha, Feng Shu-zha, and Wu Shu-zha. The Elemental Prices Wei Shu-lun and Ch’ou Shu-lun accompanied them. Also there were the two Primal Lords of Heaven and the Underworld, Ma Yuan and Chai Shu-lun.
Also at this time the governor moved his seat of power to the fortress of Opawanchenchun, deep inside Akari. An island could be seen in the distance; remarkably it seemed to be drifting towards Akari. Eventually the two collided. It was seen that this island was covered in thick forest. Pale-faced barbarians inhabited it. Troops were dispatched and a border was established between the new land and Akari.
The Gods of Heaven and Hell were residing in the main temple of Akari. The governor used their appearance as a mandate from heaven that he was the true ruler of Akari and began plans to name himself emperor, in effect make him spiritual leader of the island, and therefore put himself beyond the reach of his enemies.
Raids began to take place along Akari eastern lands. It was soon learned that barbarian raiders came from across the sea in their long dragon ships. They would kill and pillage then swiftly retreat again. A great many people lost their lives during this period. Mysteriously a large number of the governor’s soldiers declared that they could no longer perform the heinous deeds set for them by the master, so they deserted. They formed themselves into a resistance movement known as the Heron Blades, dedicated to bringing down the Jeung KO Clan.
A new power group emerged during this time, the Sons of Heaven. They were a group of sorcerers and priests who served the Elemental Kings without question. If the governor declared himself emperor he would have the Sons of Heaven on his side as well as his armies.
It was into this tumultuous period that the unimaginable happened. Crops began to whither and die. Beasts were found mutilated in the fields. People went missing during the night. Rumours spread like wildfire, the population became a feared that the Opawang and the Ochimo had returned. All fingers pointed at Ko Mei-Ko in his seat of power at Opawanchenchun. Rumours abounded, the governor was possessed, the governor had summoned the Opawang from his grave, and the governor was the Opawang.
Suddenly one day during the festival of Tin Hau the main temple exploded with unimaginable force. The Elemental Kings were leaving. Curiously enough they were leaving with what appeared to be a group of barbarians. The Gods of Heaven and Hell went their own separate ways, Li, Shui and Ch’ou going in one direction, Wu, Hsin, Wei, Chai, and Ma Yuan going another, whilst Feng went off on his own. The Sons of Heaven went with the gods wherever they went. This was a powerful blow against the governor.
Shortly after, a group of barbarians arrived in Akari from what they called another world. They promised to deliver the people of Akari from the yoke of the governor. They traveled across Akari making alliance and friends. One day they went to have an audience with Shui Shu-Zha, Elemental King of Air. These newcomers and Shui parlayed briefly before an almighty battle broke out. For many hours the battle raged until eventually the newcomers stood victorious over the broken body of Shui Shu-zha. This was incentive enough for them to continue. They went around battling and killing the other Elemental Kings and Princes until they were all destroyed.
Then Chau Kun-man, a wealthy merchant of the Cheung Chau Clan and rumoured leader of the Red Flower Society made a declaration. He revealed that the Elemental Kings were in fact puppets created by the Opawang before his death many years ago. The governor had discovered these puppets and used them to further his own ends. This was enough. All the factions came together as one in order to bring down governor Ko Mei-Ko. After a week of bloody battles the freedom fighters came within sight of Opawanchenchun. Before they could capture him Ko Mei-Ko took his own life. Chau Fan, head of the Cheung Chau Clan was sworn in as governor.
Governor Chau immediately overthrew Ko Mei-Ko’s isolation policies. People were allowed to travel where they wished once more.
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