Named as an homage (or dig at) the City of the Rich Frog, Kaerukage dominates the small island on which it sits, just outside of the influence of Rokugan’s kami. (Note that shugenja may still use their magic as normal outside of Rokugan, though attempts to commune will be less effective.) The city is small by the standards of other metropolises in the world, but that number only represents the people who live on the island permanently. The amount of traffic passing through the area can easily double the population on any given day.
These are the only Skyship Docks in the whole of Rokugan. As a result, the traffic is constant, and ships often must wait for a berth to unload or load their goods; the surrounding sea is typically filled with floating vessels and the smaller ships ferrying people about. Ramps and ready transportation are constantly standing by to assist in these endeavors, and as much of the Empire’s exporting comes from the Mantis islands anyway, the Mantis Clan handles business here with extreme efficiency. The fast pace of trade and constant queue of vessels leaves little room at these docks for any amenities.
Greater by far in size than the Skyship Docks, the Ocean Docks are every bit as busy, between the sea trade coming in and the vessels constantly ferrying people from parked skyships. Unlike the Skyship Docks, on the waterfront sit myriad tea and sake houses tucked between warehouses and the handful of shops selling essentials. Most foreigners get their first (and only) impressions of Rokugani cuisine from here, and though Mantis recipes dominate (and typically employ a variety of spices along with exotic fruits and coconuts), other clans have found representation here as well. Everything from Crane sushi to Crab shochu to the Dragon’s famed ‘mountain tuna’ can be found here, if one knows where to look.
More modest than one might think given the nature of the city, the market deals mostly in essentials and curios than substantial amounts of trade goods. The Mantis Clan has organized larger trades well for decades, and most bulk freight is spoken for before it ever arrives on the island. Enterprising merchants still seek to make a little money from tourists or skyship crews on layover, so the market does enough business to easily justify its presence. Buyer beware, however.
Lucky Carp District
A small district run entirely by the Yasuki, the Lucky Carp District siphons off major trade coming in for the Crab Clan’s needs. The Mantis tolerate their presence since the Yasuki don’t try to impose their own clan’s rules on the island, and simply want direct access to what the Crab need most, typically jade and foodstuffs. For their part, the Crab export mostly liquor, ores, and knowledge; the Kuni family is widely respected throughout the multiverse, and serve as the foremost experts on demonology (or at least the foremost experts who have not been irrevocably tainted). This district is all business, with an inn and several sake houses almost exclusively for Crab Clan samurai.
Permanent inhabitants: Human, 100%
Under Imperial jurisdiction. A Mantis samurai named Kachiko is the city governor.
Other than being a city on a small island, there are few defenses in the city proper. Ample assistance would come from the dozens of vessels docked around the city though, and Mantis samurai are adept at combat in unorthodox environments.
Trade is the entire reason for this city to exist. Serving as a gateway into the Empire has lined the pockets of Kaerukage's citizens.
The streets are broad and well ordered to facilitate trade.
Guilds and Factions
The Mantis Clan is firmly in charge, though there is a large Yasuki presence here as well.
The city began around an accident. A foreign skyship started to founder as it neared Mantis lands, and turned around to land on this island. A nearby Mantis vessel investigated, and found that this small island- previously overlooked for its lack of commodities- permitted skyships. The Mantis built a settlement to explore trade with the people crewing the initial vessel (part of what would become the Holy Empire centuries later), and proceeded to trade, clandestinely at first but more openly once the Unicorn returned.
Buildings here are very much in the Rokugani style.
The island is a large hill, with sheer cliffs on the north side but a natural harbor to the west. The ocean to the east is usually reserved for parked skyships.
Fish and kelp are harvested, but little else.