L5R - Ha az utolsó Hantei elbukik
Just southeast of Bayushi castle (about two days’ ride), was a small city on the border of the Three Man Alliance and Scorpion territory. The city was called Sekkai Yun-i (“The City of Limes and Lilies”). It was a pit of corruption and filth, a blemish on the face of the Scorpion Clan. The small town was populated by miners and gamblers, neither with any degree of conscience. There were constant squabbles between the two groups, aggravated by a corrupt headman and magistrate. The peasants feared the retribution of the gamblers and miners, and never complained to outside officials.
The main source of revenue was a silver mine located on the outskirts of the town limits. Sekkai Yurri was built on an incline and the mine was built on the lower end of that incline. The circumstance was merciful. About five years ago, miners hit an underground river and ten thousand tons of water rushed out, burying half the town. A local shugenja tried to appeal to the spirits, but his pleas were in vain within five hours, the west end of the town was nearly covered by a newborn lake.
Shoju was content to let the town die, but one of his lieutenants suggested a better idea. The man’s name was Bayushi Zenasaru, and he changed the face of the city forever.
First, he mobilized a small army of bushi and eta. The bushi cleared out the riff-raff and the eta cleaned up the mess. Zenasaru tore down the old street signs and put up new ones. He killed the previous magistrate and headman and put his own yoriki in their places.
When his work was done, Zenasaru announced the city would no longer be called Sekkai Yurri, but Toshi Aitate, "City of the Open Handy’ He re-opened the city’s gambling and tea houses and put his own men in charge. For the first time in Rokugan’s history, legitimate gambling was available to the public.
The houses were run by Scorpion Clan magistrates, each approved by the Emerald Champion. One-tenth of all the profits of the town went directly into the Emerald Champion’s personal fund (in other words, Doji Satsume’s pocket).
The city is closed during the day, but as soon as the moon creeps up into the sky, its doors open and all are welcomed inside. Visitors are also offered masks to wear, to keep their identities hidden if they so wish.
Every vice is available to the masked visitors: gambling and geisha and drinking and every other debauchery Rokugani can imagine, all under the close attention of the Emerald Magistrates. Complete safety is assured, as well as anonymity; the punishment for removing another’s mask is unsavoury, if not fatal.
Aitate has proven to be a highly profitable venture for the Scorpion Clan, and Zenasaru has received many promotions since lifting it’s face. He is the man behind the scenes in the City of the Open Hand and its true master, despite what the Emerald Champion’s magistrates may think.
Toshi Aitate ,was once Sekkai Yuri, a small mining community in the southern Scorpion lands, but today it is one of the most unique cities in Rokugan. After a natural disaster flooded the mine and a good portion of the city, the settlement appeared to be on the brink of extinction. In fact, the Scorpion Clan Champion at the time, Bayushi Shoju, was willing to allow this to occur in order to resettle the region. However, one of his trusted lieutenants, Bayushi Zenasaru, had another idea. The town contained many entertainment business, especially gambling dens, that catered to the hard-working miners, Zenasaru proposed that instead of allowing these to perish, they be turned into the focus of the town, a source of dishonorable entertainment for samurai and wealthy commoners from across the land. By creating a city totally devoted to the entertainment of visitors, the proposed to accomplish two goals for the Scorpion Clan. The first, and most obvious, was a source of income to bring koku into Scorpion coffers. The second was to create a base within their own lands to gather information on the Empire’s less honorable samurai. Further, this permissive atmosphere would be supported by arranging for one-tenth of each business’ profits to go to the office of the Emerald Champion, thereby ensuring that the rest of the Empire would not interfere in the town’s activities. Shoju was so impressed with this idea that he gave control of the region to Zenasaru, whose family rules it to this very day.
Like many Scorpion holdings, Toshi Aitate suffered during the disbanding of the Clan, and was razed nearly to the ground by the vengeful Imperial Legions. However, also like many Scorpion holdings, it was quickly rebuilt once the Scorpion regained control of their lands.
It was simply too profitable to do otherwise.
Today Toshi Aitate is a City almost without comparison. The only other settlement resembling it in any way is Zakyo Toshi, the corrupt den of vice which lies on unaligned lands to the south – but unlike that place, Toshi Aitate is carefully regulated and policed by the Scorpion, and pays proper taxes to the Emperor and the Emerald Champion. Samurai who sample the city’s pleasures depart with no injjuy save the lightening of their purses.
The gates of Toshi Aitate do not open until the Sun leaves the sky, and all visitors are immediately met by merchants who offer to sell masks to the guests, asking in return for nothing but a chop for their tax records. Masks are customarily worn by all within Toshi Aitate, both locals and guests, and it is considered impolite to question other samurai about their identity within the city. One should simply accept any name given, for to
do any less would call into question the honor of the speaker. In this way the Scorpion essentially create a new face for all of their visitors, one that only has significance
within the city walls. For offering this privilege and the assurance that a guest’s questionable actions will never be reported to their superiors, the Clan of Secrets is handsomely revarded – tax shipments from Toshi Aitate must often be guarded by no less than a legion of Bayushi soldiers in order to protect the vast sums from bandits.
The city rests on a hill slope, with the Governor’s modest estate Sitting at the zenith. Just below the estate is the most prominent building in the entire city. The Temple of Daikoku in Toshi Aitate is one of the largest in the Empire, exceeded only by those in Ryoko Owari, the imperial capital Toshi Ranbo, and Kyuden Gotei in Mantis lands. The reason for its bulk becomes apparent once one enters the structure. The sounds of dice being rolled and tiles being clacked together blend into the voices of worshippers praying for the Fortune of Wealth’s blessing on their next roll. The monks here are noted as being particularly jovial, but still perform their duties with the same devotion as monks throughout the Empire. The money they collect is sent to the Order of the Thousand Fortunes to support less prosperous temples and shrines around Rokugan.
The Road of the Fortune’s Smile leads from the city’s main gates to the Temple of Daikoku. Along this road lie all the city’s most prominent gambling dens, sake and tea houses, and geisha houses. Inns for those who cannot leave the city when the Sun rises are found on
smaller side streets, along with smaller and cheaper business establishments which cannot afford the premium space on the city’s main road. Although many of these businesses, great and small, arc run by local criminal groups, all of them operate under the watch~
ful eye of the governor, who uses these gangs as spare enforcers and informants in exchange for permitting their existence. Scorpion magistrates watch over the city carefully, making sure all profits are honestly recorded and all taxes are properly collected. Although
a few ronin who refuse to pay their debts sometimes wind up dead in back alleys, Clan samurai who visit the City of the Open Hand can be assured a safe and pleasant stay.
Toshi Aitate does have a small court, presided over by the current governor, Bayushi Zenji. The court mostly deals with local and regional matters, including relations with the Daidoji Trading Council, whose headquarters at Mum Sabishii Toshi lies to the south past the lands of the Fox Clan. Yasuki merchants also visit Toshi Aitate to make deals with the Scorpion, and both Yasuki linn-Kuen and the mysterious ronin merchant known as Naoharu have been rumored to visit the city on a regular basis. Indeed, the city’s policy of
anonymity is appealing for any courtiers who wish to deal with the Scorpion without making themselves publicly known.