The Jô'oo Clan
The time for words has passed. Now there will be fire.
Some people change the world for the better; but sometimes the way they do it is unsavory to say the least. (5556 Words)
"The Westerners hate the honored Lady Hestia, certainly, but not for her deeds at the Battle of Estverde, no. It is their own propaganda from those old days they have swallowed like hapless koi, mouths hungry for any scraps they can swallow. Did not the honored Lady Hestia bring the gift of flame to Yamato? Did she not draw maps of intricate detail and write poetry of subtle beauty? Did she not rule the Jô'oo province with diligence and great skill? Jô'oo Hestia is one of the Kingdom's greatest heroes, and the blemish put on her great name by the political phlegm spat by lesser men disgusts me."
Diverging Perspectives of History
A Modern Reexamination of the Jô'oo ClanJudging by classic historians' views, one may be inclined to think: "The Jô'oo Clan; surely they are a house of ruthless warriors and mages." After all, what else might one expect from the Yamato clan founded by that most infamous military leader and mass murderer, Hestia Bygate? Well, to understand the Jô'oo, one must look to the entirety of Hestia's life. Before fleeing to the Yamato Kingdom, the former shrine maiden to the Bonfire Shrine had been a scholar, a teacher, even a member of the esteemed Firewatch, protecting the Middle Lands. Only when she brought the fire magic of the Tarkaal Region to the Yamato Emperor did her career as a military leader and instructor of fire mages begin. She founded her house with the blessing and support of the Emperor, and to her successors she passed on a strong tradition of discipline, high education, spirituality, and powerful magic. The Jô'oo are often described as "fierce and clever" in the journals of Taira Takezô (ca. 185 AA) and "enlightened scholars" in the personal notes of Yoshitsune Hibiki (ca. 198 AA). Kumamoto Takeshi was cited by his peers to have called the Jô'oo "great warriors with the left hand of a mighty bear and the right hand of a clever fox" (ca. 22 AH4
The Founding of the Jô'oo ClanWhen Hestia Bygate was declared Daikan (Governor) of the Easternmost Provinces by emperor Taira Asshoumaru 平圧勝丸, she was permitted to found her own clan by imperial decree. Within a mere two decades, Hestia had created a powerful Yamato clan out of nothing but prestige and ingenuity, hand-crafting a significant power in the ancient kingdom.
Jô'oo the RuthlessThe meteoric rise to power of the infamous Jô'oo Clan of the Yamato Kingdom during the Age of Awakening has baffled historians for centuries, considering the traditionally xenophobic nature of the Kingdom and the foreign founder of the clan. But if one examines the practices of Hestia and her successors more closely, a picture begins to form. Through ruthless political campaigns, hostile takeovers, defamation campaigns, and character assassinations, Hestia elbowed her way into a delicate balance between venerable houses of an ancient kingdom. Using political tensions between these clans against them, she and her direct successors divided and conquered the political landscape of Yamato with ruthless efficiency. Today they are growing ever closer to leveraging their way out of the Taira's control, and with their iron-fast grip on the now divided Yoshitsune Clan, their position in the modern power structure of the Yamato Kingdom grows ever more solidified and significant. With the destructive and immoral tendencies of their founding mother ingrained in their creeds and their traditions, they pose a significant threat to the stability of the Kingdom and may yet lead to its downfall.
Clan Structure and AssetsThe Jô'oo Clan is comprised of a total of seven families, one core family, the Jô'oo family, and six branch families, which are the Hinamoto, Kaigen, Yamanori, Kawa'ake, Denkuro, and Zaigen. The branch families swear absolute fealty to the core family and in turn enjoy the protection and auspices of the powerful Jô'oo Clan name. Though working closely together to secure the political standing of the clan, the different families have different iemoto (house arts and secrets), and specialize in various fields, garnering the clan with a versatile portfolio.
Note: From top to bottom, the Family Symbols read "Gate", "Mountain", "Sea", "East", "South", "Rice Field", "River".
|The core family is situated in the Tenjôken5
The upper layer of the Yamato capital Yamaseki, where the wealthiest, noblest, and the imperial palace reside.where they are mostly involved in the day-to-day dealings of the Yamato Court, taking care of the political dimensions of the clan domestically. They also produce some of the finest fire mages of the Kingdom.
|The Hinamoto family used to be highly influential during the Age of the Iron Divide, going into decline in the latter decades of the period when the capital was moved from Tokuhara to Yamaseki. Today they are the Jô'oo's mouthpiece to the old nobility still remaining in Tokuhara.||The Kaigen family is a family of old shipwrights and merchants, who were involved in the construction of the Rusty Shore port of Nankô and the Hagane no Michi, the Road of Steel, which connects the harbor and the main land across the vast Iron Belt. Today, their good relations with the West Yamato Trading Company are invaluable to the finances of the Jô'oo clan and their relations with the nations of the Corsic Ocean.|
|The Denkuro used to be farmers, who were turned into noble landowners during the early centuries of the Age of the Iron Divide. They possess vast tracts of land in the fertile Yamato Valley and control many villages and small towns there, which also garners them with a significant pool of potential conscripts in times of war, be it civil or other.||The Zaigen family manages the remnants of the old Easternmost Provinces, which used to be overseen by Hestia directly during the Age of Awakening. Though reduced in size since the signing of the Null Concord in 156 AA, the provinces are still quite vast and mostly utilized for rice farming. As such, much like the Denkuro, the Zaigen have access to a significant amount of manpower and food-stuffs.|
|The Yamanori live in the eastern mountains of the great Yamato Mountain Range, where they control several lucrative mining operations, extracting precious gold and gems. The incredible influx of wealth from the Yamanori has long secured the Jô'oo's position of power among the Clans of Yamato.
||The Kawa'ake family was among the thirteen families, which first constructed the postal stations along the Daihakusen, the Great White River, which runs from Mt. Tenbashira all the way to the Rusty Shore. These stations would traditionally house a small number of runners. When people needed mail delivered quickly, runners would do a baton pass along the stations with the mailed envelope or package, until they arrived at the target destination. While no longer in use that way, the postal stations and land surrounding them still belong, at least in part, to the Kawa'ake, and they have made magnificent resorts and inns out of them, leveraging them into the lucrative tourism sector. And as excellent getaways and places of relaxation, they have also served a purpose as diplomatic incentives for foreign diplomats, enticing them with lavish vacations and more.|
西の炎は大光明 - "The Flame of the West is a Great Bright Beacon"
Yamato and her Clans
The Yamato Kingdom
The Yamato Kingdom is one of the oldest kingdoms of Aqualon and located in the great Yamato Mountain Range, the largest mountain range of the planet. ~ 2576 Words
"Sometimes scorched earth is preferable to a level playing field." NoteScorched earth is a business strategy where one destroys assets to devalue a company or property and make it cheaper to buy up. This quote is a clever and caustic play on words, because the scorching also refers to the family crest and motto of the Jô'oo, while the family name of the Taira Clan can mean "level" or "even". Another popular translation for "leveling the playing field" in this quote is also "evening the odds".
A Silent Nod
Notable Clansmen of the Jô'oo
Jô'oo Meiji 門近明治Jô'oo Meiji was born in the Eastern Prefectures in 35 AH and spent his youth there as a ward of the Zaigen Family. He died at the young age of 31 in 66 AH. Meiji is to date one of the most famous members of the Jô'oo Clan, due to him being born a Keeper5
Hinamoto Kanna 日南本神名
Jô'oo Tôko 門近灯子