The Jô'oo Clan

The time for words has passed. Now there will be fire.
— Hestia Bygate before the march on Estverde, 108 AA1
The Age of Awakening, 5700 ARe - 5900 ARe.
(age 872
The average age for humans on Aqualon living in moderate conditions with access to health care is aroung 170 years thanks to the Great Clockwork's "Gift of Long Life"
)

Founder

Hestia
Character | Aug 21, 2019

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."
— Jô'oo Kyôma 門近凶真, 390 GE3
The Age of Gears and Elements, 6220 ARe (After the Reshaping) - Today.
 

Diverging Perspectives of History

viewsonbygatehistory.jpg

A Modern Reexamination of the Jô'oo Clan

  Judging 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 Age of Heroes, 5900 ARe - 6220 ARe, also known as "The Great War".
).   These varied accounts paint a much richer tapestry than the demonized image held in the mind of classical western historians. Indeed, the shadow cast by the Mad Magus Hestia on the Jô'oo Clan is often viewed more as a halo of light by the Yamato People, who generally see the destroyer of Estverde as admirable rather than despicable, citing her many achievements for the Kingdom.  
- Eric Jargon in "The Clans of Yamato", 1642 GE

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The Founding of the Jô'oo Clan

  When 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.
hestiajô'oodecree.jpg
She accomplished this by marrying a captain of her own Ryûga Order, Yayoi Kennosuke, who belonged to a wealthy but politically insignificant house. She absorbed the Yayoi family under her new banner, the banner of Bygate, and arranged for a number of political marriages to consolidate a total of five families of minor to near-significant political standing, amassing an impressive household and various assets throughout the Kingdom, on the back of which she established an impressive clan, backed by the support of the powerful Taira Clan.   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.  
- From "A History of the Ages - Vol. 4, The Age of Awakening"

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Jô'oo the Ruthless

  The 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.  
- Taira Kenmu 平研武, 634 GE

 

Clan Structure and Assets

The 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".
 
Jô'oo Family
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.
  
Hinamoto Kaigen
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.
Denkuro Zaigen
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.
Yamanori Kawa'ake
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.
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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"

Founding Date
Year 72 of the Age of Awakening
Type
Geopolitical, Clan
Alternative Names
House Bygate, 門近氏族 (Jô'oo Shinzoku)
Demonym
門近の方 (Jô'oo no Kata)
Parent Organization
The Yamato Kingdom
Notable Members

Yamato and her Clans

The Yamato Kingdom
Organization | Jan 25, 2019

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

Protectorate

Much like the Taira Clan is more powerful but well-wishing towards the Jô'oo Clan, the Jô'oo in turn make good use of the Yoshitsune Clan, which has split up its power-base between Yamaseki and Aquaris, leading to a significant weakening of the home front of the clan during the Age of Gears and Elements.   The Jô'oo have cleverly used this circumstance to politically and economically colonize the ancient house, and they have found it most pliable to their lofty ambitions.

Informal Alliance

The Taira are one of the oldest clans of the Yamato Kingdom. They are wealthy and powerful, and during the Age of Awakening, when the Jô'oo Clan was founded by Hestia, the ruling emperor was a member of the Taira Clan. His support garnered Hestia with the assets and political power necessary to create her own clan despite being a foreigner. This debt still weighs heavily on the Jô'oo clan, many centuries later.   Though the relations between the two houses are rather amicable and they regularly share assets for joint political and economic purposes, the Jô'oo clan is quite proud and weary of living under the Taira's thumb.  
"Sometimes scorched earth is preferable to a level playing field."   Note
Scorched 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".
— Jô'oo Tôko 門近灯子, 1411 GE

A Silent Nod

Both great houses have been known for their savage prowess in battle since ages past. This above all has garnered begrudging favor between them over the centuries, to which end the Jô'oo have an unusually positive relationship, as far as this is possible, with the war-hungry Kumamoto.   Whenever there is a war to be fought, beyond Yamato's borders or domestic alike, the Kumamoto have always been the first to jump into the fray. For this reason their relations with all clans but the Jô'oo who boast fearsome mages and cunning tacticians are rather tense at best.

Rising Tensions

The Jô'oo have not been all too pleased with the rise to power of the rather recently founded Tenshin Clan, a former branch family of the Taira Clan turned too powerful.   Whereas the Taira Clan vehemently claims to have been against the establishment of the Tenshin as the new ruling house of Yamato, the Jô'oo have accused them of using the Tenshin as a puppet clan to maintain Taira supremancy, essentially passing over the far more established Jô'oo Clan.   While the Tenshin aim to maintain positive relations with all major clans of the Kingdom, the opinion the Jô'oo have formed of them is not likely to improve any time soon.

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
The Keepers of the Elements are the most powerful (pseudo-)mages of Aqualon. Their souls are directly linked with the ur-soul of their element and the ancestral weapon that completes this connection, giving them absolute dominion over their element.
. With the element of fire tied to his soul, his birth set the small town of Tôjiki 東直 ablaze. It quickly became clear to his peers that he had the incredible gift of a Keeper soul and they safeguarded him with extreme prejudice.   At the age of 5, he was brought back to the halls of the core family in the Tenjôken of Yamaseki, where his training with the Ryûga Order began at a very young age. His mastery of the element of fire was beyond talent and often described as a 'relationship' by his peers.   He rose through the ranks and became the general of the magus order within a mere ten years, becoming the youngest leader of the order in all of Yamato's history. He then led many campaigns against the relentlessly invading Nordmen and Old Gods, for the Age of Heroes was the age of the Great War.   The pride the clan held for Meiji was and still is immeasurable. With Hestia as their founding mother, the element of fire and fire magic have been a fable and object of worship within the families of the Clan and within the core family above all others since its earliest days. To them, in a way, Meiji was the second coming of Hestia, though many clockwork theologists have argued that the Keeper's powers are not a mantle that can be attached to different souls but souls in their own right, making such a thing impossible.   This, of course, will generally fall on deaf ears with the Jô'oo.   In 66 AH at the still young age of 31, Meiji fought his final battle, joining forces with the Middlish Margrave of the North-East and the Margrave of the North-West to fight off a mighty army of ten-thousand Kaltani and an elite unit of Valkyries led by Odin and his son Thor themselves.   The invading Nordmen forces could be repelled by the forces of the Jô'oo, the Taira, the Ryûga Order, the Middlish armies, and a last-minute cross-assault by the Ryoku'u moth riders. But the victory came at great cost, and Meiji perished, struck down by the mighty hammer of Thor.

Hinamoto Kanna 日南本神名

HinamotoKanna.jpg
Hinamoto Kanna was born in the Tokuhara Prefecture in 42 GE and died in 112 GE near the Anvil Islands.   Kanna was most famous for being chosen as one of the Guardians of Fire by the Lord of Fire of her time, Pavlov Muhan of Vechnaya Bramma in 68 GE.   To accomplish this incredible feat, she had to win the Grand Magus Tournament of Yamaseki in the same year. Kanna had been taken in by the core family, the Jô'oo, at the young age of 12 as a ward and had been trained rigorously in the art of murasaki moth grooming, ikebana6
The art of arranging flowers.
, mahôgi 7
A one-on-one board-game involving wooden or ceramic playing pieces representing various types of military units that is popular in the Yamato Kingdom.
, and of course fire magic.   Kanna decided against joining the prestigious Ryûga Order and initially tried to utilize her skills with fire magic as a performer, until she developed a taste for competition and participated in the Grand Magus Tournament on three occasions, winning first place in her third run, an act that brought much honor to her clan as the GMT is a highly prestigious event in the kingdom. When the bidding for contracting the winners ensued, Pavlov Muhan, Lord of Fire, offered her a position as a Guardian of Fire at his side, which she accepted without hesitation.   She performed her duties with great skill and diligence until she perished near the Anvil Islands on the Corsic Ocean in 68 GE while aiding the Commonwealth of Corsia in the pursuit of a dangerous animancer, at the time believed to be the Seacat.

Jô'oo Tôko 門近灯子

jô'oo tôko.jpg
Jô'oo Tôko was born in the Tokuhara Prefecture in 1363 GE and died in 1554 GE under suspicious circumstances surrounding a smelting accident in one of the factories of the Fulgrath Aluminum Guild while she was visiting the Yamato Embassy in Fulgrath.   Though significantly removed from the main inheriting line of the core family, Tôko was a shrewd negotiator, always on the lookout for new opportunities, allies, and weaknesses in enemies.   Her contributions were key in securing the unofficial retainership of the Yoshitsune Clan.

Jô'oo Kyôma 門近凶真

Jô'oo Kyôma was born in the Yamaseki Prefecture in 335 GE and died in 482 GE in the Tenjôken of Yamaseki.   Born into the core family of the Jô'oo Clan, he was the second son of the sôke, the head of house, Jô'oo Tatsuzaemon. A strict believer in classical ur-soulism and Yilik's teachings of Ri, Tatsuzaemon raised his sons to honor the traditions of the elemental shrines and to always be dutiful to their clan's needs.   While as a second son Kyôma was less likely to inherit the title of sôke after his father's passing, he nevertheless practiced his duties with great diligence and used his significant charisma to leverage his way through the entire upper stratum of the Yamato Court, acting as a sort of spy or "ear" for the family.   Kyôma exposed a plot by the Kumamoto Clan to incite civil war in the Tokuhara Prefecture. Using the resources of the Denkuro branch family, the rebellion could be quelled before it even started, earning Kyôma a high commendation from empress Taira Asahi in 362 GE.


Comments

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29 Jan, 2019 23:42

A fiery (literally!) and somewhat ruthless clan that has well-thought out relationships with others and several notable members. I like how people seem to view them as villains, but you showed that its a little (well, a lot) more complicated then that, and that different cultures have different views. Question, though: Is this taking place in the past or the present day (I'm asking because of the "modern reexamination" bit)? What can they exactly do with the fire? Is there a limit to how hot it can burn, how far it can spread, etc.? Also, where did you find the photos?

30 Jan, 2019 00:01

Thanks for your comment, Alex!   "Taking place" is a bit of an odd phrase here, since this is not an event but a lore article on the clan. The Clan started out in 108 AA, around 2100 years before the present day and still exists today. That is why there are various historical papers on it, including newer ones that put classical views of the clan into new perspectives.   The fire magic they employ is standard elemental magic. Using their own soul power and opening their inner gates to draw on magic from the Great Clockwork, they can manipulate existing flames, heat up things, and potentially combust things. The amount of heat, their range, and the area of their magic all depend on their personal soul power. If they exceed that capacity, they begin to contract spellblight.   You can learn more about magic in my growing collection of articles on the subject:

Magic
Physical / Metaphysical Law | Oct 14, 2019

The magic of Aqualon comes in several forms, but all of them share the same nature. ~ 1450

  As for the pictures: Those are, for the most part, public domain images I collect and edit using Photoshop.

30 Jan, 2019 02:31

This is very well-written. I enjoy how comprehensive this article feels. Your use of documentary elements really creates a feeling of immersion for the reader.   I'm wondering what the collective purpose of Jô'oo clan is in the contemporary period. It seems the clan was founded to gratify the ambitions of Hestia Bygate. But what about years after the fact? You mention the desire to vindicate Hestia's legacy, but what other purpose do the Jô'oo serve?

30 Jan, 2019 03:36

Well enough to like? ^-^   And as for the contemporary period: Well, the Yamato Kingdom has been a bit set in its ways over the past centuries and is only catching up slowly with the magical industrial revolution of the Middle Lands.   The Jô'oo are still one of the five most powerful clans of the Kindom, this means they have their hands in the military, politics, economy, and public relations. As a clan, their main directives are, I suppose: to keep the family lines alive and prosperous, to increase their wealth, influence, and prestige, and ideally to become the ruling clan.   The Taira want to see a Taira emperor, the Yoshitsune want to see a Yoshitsune emperor, the Kumamoto want to see a Kumamoto emperor, and the Jô'oo want to see a Jô'oo emperor.   But, for the moment, the Tenshin rule the Yamato Kingdom. This has not always been so, and the ruling clan has changed over the course of the 17 centuries of the Age of Gears and Elements.

30 Jan, 2019 03:57

Yeah! I like it!

30 Jan, 2019 04:04

Well, thank you very much for your feedback and interest <3

31 Jan, 2019 18:58

Interesting. It feels like an actual clan/noble house, with subordinates, enemies, and allies. I also like the fact that westerners still have a negative view from when they where at war with them, again, that feels pretty close to life.   I might have missed it if you said here or not (my computer is being laggy and slow), but how does the fire magic they wield work? How long does it take to master it? Does it have any significant weaknesses, like if they use it too much, do they over heat?

31 Jan, 2019 19:08

They certainly have those things ^-^   Amusingly enough, their war atrocities were committed against their eastern neighbors, specifically Hestia burned a city-state down in one magical blow.   This act, btw, is a good example of how your "overheat" idea fits into my magic system: Overuse of magic of any kind can lead to Spellblight, which cripples the afflicted's ability to perform magic and can lead to a shortened life span or death. Additionally, it has visual effects that lead to stigmatization in most parts of the world.   Elemental magic is the most common type, and there are magus academies in the Middle Lands that teach them on a high level these days. But most large nations have their own magical traditions.   Hestia, the founder of the clan brought the secrets of Middlish fire magic from the Bonfire Shrine where she was raised to the Yamato people, one of the reasons she was elevated to her station.   To wield magic, one must succeed on an inward journey (usually) and unlock inner gates connecting to the Great Clockwork.

1 Feb, 2019 21:34

I enjoyed this article, it's very detailed and well thought-out. For someone who is mostly unfamiliar with your world, it's a lot of info to take in, but you did a great job with annotations and links to other articles to explain the related concepts.   The family tree is a neat extra, and so are the quotes. The whole article feels like a documentary movie of sorts, which I have a huge weakness for. A great job altogether, I'll leave you a like. ^^

1 Feb, 2019 22:00

Thank you very much ^-^   I do try to make larger articles work on their own (and also smaller ones if I can) as I don't like it when articles predicate people being familiar with the setting. Every point should be an entry point <3

1 Feb, 2019 22:07

That's a very clever motto! Unfortunately not always possible but it's always a good idea to keep things easy as possible to follow even for casual readers.

17 Jun, 2019 20:13

Hi, love! We Enchanters would love to feature this article! Unfortunately it appears you've neglected to credit your artists. If you could, we'd love to have you credit them so we can show your article off to the lovely users in our community!   For more information about our feature requirements, please see our codex entry:

How to have your article featured
Generic article | Jul 28, 2019

17 Jun, 2019 22:44

Hio Hum,   I wouldn't say no to a feature. Nearly all art used on my WorldAnvil page was either created by me or composed using Public Domain images, which do not require crediting in any way. If, however, you do find any image or image component on Aqualon that has not been credited and that you know is not in the Public Domain, please let me know and leave me a link to the original so I can verify this. There is of course a chance that material I have used has been mislabeled; the internet is the internet.   Best wishes, Koray

17 Jun, 2019 23:10

Unfortunately the recent updates to feature / contest rules concerning artist credits require all art used in an article to be credited- whether the pieces are public domain or personally created.

18 Jun, 2019 01:46

I have added a global disclaimer at the end of my articles stating my ownership of presented image materials where not labeled otherwise. I hope this meets your standards of presentation.

18 Jun, 2019 03:12

Global disclaimers are perfectly rule compliant <3 Thank you, hun! I'll get your case updated in the enchanters logs.

18 Jun, 2019 11:21

Glad we could come to an agreement ^-^ Thanks for the good work you do!

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