A Brief History of Amahara

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The following is the historic narrative of Amahara from the prehistoric Age of Myth through thousands of years up to the modern and futuristic times of the Lunarian Invasion. Each game disregards "canon" history the moment it starts. Sengoku Amahara will disregard any history beyond the downfall of the Azuma shogunate for example, so history can be averted or changed by the players. Games in the past can affect the future, though likely not in a way that drastically affects theme or contradicts things already done in-game.

Mythic Era

Long ago, at the beginning of time, the three creator goddesses summoned life, the universe, and everything into being in a fit of yuri. During this Mythic Era, gods and celestials toyed with the world freely and divine beasts struck terror in hearts of humans. Common people hid behind fire during the night and could scarcely carry on with their lives during the day. Tiring of this, the greatest of all humans, Tatehaya, slew the monsters of the realm and upended the barbaric and self-destructive rule of the shaman kings. He gained the love of the moon princess Kaguya by accomplishing her Five Impossible Requests, and conquered the world. His final, most hubristic campaign was a war against the homeland of his wife, a war by the humans of the Earth against the celestials who dwelt on the Moon. The war saw him killed, the celestials extinguished, and the world shattered. A Great Flood washed away all trace of civilisation, leaving humanity a long age of rebuilding. In the end, the mythic continent of Yamato was submerged beneath the seas, leaving only the lands closest to Heaven - the Nine Islands of Amahara. Even into the industrial era, this creation and foundation myth was believed by Amaharans to explain why their nation is superior to the rest of the world. Various places in Lotus Asia, Orchis Oceania, Anemone Polynesia and parts of the Middle Kingdom were claimed to have been the outermost parts of Yamato that escaped the Great Flood.

The legend of Amahara's founding pair has also informed Amaharan religion and societal structure throughout history. Samurai consider Tatehaya to be the first samurai and the first shogun and thus the patron deity of warriors. His rule over the legendary realm of Yamato during the Mythic Era lent precedence to the preeminent political and military position of the shogun and male-dominated samurai class despite the superior holiness of the apostle and her priestesses. His final fate is interpreted in various ways by different sects of Shinto or Buddhism from having been consigned to the Netherworld for his hubris to being posthumously elevated as a god or buddha with dominion over heroes, wars and kings. The moon princess Kaguya is considered the foundational teacher or Prometheus figure who brought many knowledges and building blocks of civilisation to the world. Many prehistoric inventions such as agriculture, the wheel and the Shinto religion are credited to her, along with many fantastical things subsequently "lost" such as infinite fire and the means of flight. She is thought of as the first priestess, the first doctor and even the first ninja, though the latter is only the view within the Izayoi ninja clan. Princess Kaguya is considered to be enshrined within the Apostle's person. Unlike Tatehaya, whose name is now very rare, Kaguya is a reasonably common name, being comparable in spirit to western names like Joshua or Mary.

Heroic Era

The Heroic Era of Amahara occurs after the Great Flood and begins with a "Divine Light" proclaiming Princess Miko as the descendent of Kaguyahime and appointing her the first Apostle, supposedly in 660 BC. In this era, the miko guided the people of Amahara and kept them safe by vanquishing monsters and demons, pacifying restless deluge spirits and sealing away dangerous relics and doors to strange places within the first shrines. Along the way, they suppressed the old ways of shamanism to unify the realm under correct practice: the rites of Shinto as revealed by Kaguya. Where the old beliefs held gods and demons as awesome and ineffable natural phenomena that mortals could only hope to appease, Shinto came to both honour and understand them – petitioning them for aid but also binding them with law.

Mikohime was followed by a succession of Apostles, a matriarchal line of holy priestesses who claim descent from Kaguya and personally enshrine her as a kami. Though rarely holding actual power herself, the Apostle remains the ultimate religious leader of the realm even in the modern era. Her authority on theological matters is final and even during the height of samurai power, her word could not be publicly opposed.

Classical Era

The art of writing is thought to have been lost until its reintroduction from the Middle Kingdom during the early 5th century AD which heralded the literate Classical Era. The first firmly dated Amaharan written document in the historical record is from 495 AD. Gradual importation of Yu dynasty culture continued throughout the period. Although Shinto remained an illiterate religion, the civil philosophies of Confucianism and the alternative religion of Buddhism both spread among the intermediate fighting class. In later years, these samurai grew in importance as demon hunts and mystical crises grew less frequent and wars with rival cultures such as the Kitsuyu and Ainyuu escalated. As land ownership outside the capital reorganised to support soldiers, the theoretically middle rung warrior class eventually replaced the shrine maidens in most facets of rule.

Early Shogunate Era

Watatsuki Shogunate (1033 – 1121)

A series of five shogunates ruled Amahara from 1033 to 1863, interspersed with long periods of violence. The first of these was founded by the Watatsuki dynasty from 1031 to 1033. Despite occurring in historic times, many of the events surrounding Amahara's transition to samurai rule are shrouded in mystery due to a program of censorship, revisionism and book burnings. Yonaga, the supposed homeland of the clan, has never been located.

The Watatsuki clan seems to have been a branch of the matriarchal apostolic line split off by the Apostle's elder brother as a high ranking samurai family. However, he was subsequently joined in turn by the Apostle's youngers sisters who both refused the position after her death in mysterious circumstances. This "rebellion" caused a theological and political crisis resulting in a huge number of duels as well as a number of pitched battles involving thousands of warriors supporting either side. After two years of battle, the Watatsuki gained the support of a powerful sect of warrior monks and defeated the loyalists, resulting in major samurai clans and Buddhist temples seizing effective power throughout the country with their superior military strength. The line of Apostles was broken and subsequently followed a sequential selection by the Grand Shrine of Aki based on astrology instead. This allowed the clerics to more closely control the throne in the face of samurai encroachment and thus retain religious and moral leadership even as warlords took over the country.

The Watatsuki shogunate emphasized military strength, the Buddhist religion, and carried on numerous campaigns into the northeast, primarily against the Kitsuyu whom they eventually exterminated and destructively assimilated. Repeated campaigns cleared land for fiefs to grant to warriors while marginalizing the clergy. The government left most of its constituent daimyo to their own devices, allowing any and all parties to freely skirmish for whatever reason so long as honour was maintained. However, the dynasty lasted less than a century before the main lineage went extinct with incest being cited as a cause.

Takamachi Shogunate (1121 – 1321)

Throughout the Watatsuki period, the Takamachi clan had gained power through obtaining large holdings in the northeast. They owed their expansive holdings to good relations with the shoguns and strong participation in campaigns against the Kitsuyu. When the main lineage of the Watatsuki died out they marched south against the pretenders from the branch families. The resulting civil war lasted several years and was punctuated by much larger battles than during the foundation of the Watatsuki with armies reaching five figures on each side in some cases.

The Takamachi were reputed for their forgiveness and political acumen, befriending many of the clans they defeated. Like the Watatsuki, they minimised their interference in the private affairs of other daimyo, acting as a first among equals. They did, however, strongly insist on peaceful relations between clans. During their reign, they reconciled the samurai and the shrine maidens by affirming their spiritual and ceremonial primacy and established the tradition of samurai families producing shrine maidens for adoption into shrines as hostages. This eventually made shrines more open to accepting outsiders into their ranks and caused the mixing of samurai and religious clans into a pool of general nobility. Religious and military education became two sides of the same coin – a matter of career path amongst landed nobles rather than heredity. By the end of their reign, a few shrines had even begun adopting girls of low birth. The Takamachi themselves developed and continue a tradition of being ostentatiously observant and are one of the few clans to actively shun Buddhism entirely.

Another major step was the establishment of strong, official relations with the Middle Kingdom via an agreement that made the Nanri clan a tributary of the Yang dynasty (until the latter's conquest by the Rouran). This resulted in a period of sustained trade with the mainland resulting in an influx of wealth and prosperity. Buddhism branched into different sects to occupy different social niches and became a major religion alongside Shinto. While some shrines and temples tried to keep their respective faiths pure, others recognized that the two religions primarily addressed different facets of the cosmos and were able to coexist.

Middle Shogunate Era

Rouran Invasions (1313 – 1321)

The three Rouran Invasions of Amahara occurred from 1313 through 1321 during the reign of Kansho. The Takamachi shogunate was then at the height of power but the lengthy peace they enforced had reduced military preparedness. Prior to the invasions, the Rouran Empire had never been defeated and had conquered half the known world. The crown jewel of their empire was the supposedly invincible Middle Kingdom, their conquest of which had shaken the foundations of civilisation itself. Despite this fearsome reputation, the Takamachi shogun elected not to negotiate and mustered all available military forces to repel the invasion.

Rouran armies fought in a vastly different way compared to traditional Amaharan warfare, where individual samurai called out a worthy opponent by name on the battlefield and engaged in a series of single combats. Though heroism retained a place on the battlefield, the Amaharan military paradigm was irrevocably changed by contact with the Rouran hordes, introducing conscripted ashigaru to make up the numbers and the use of signals and tactics in the Rouran fashion. True generalship became vital alongside courage and a sharp sword.

The first invasion, characterised by Rouran records as a forceful reconnaissance expedition, occurred in 1313. As the samurai clans were whittled away, both the Shinto and Buddhist sects and their religious warriors held back the seemingly unstoppable horde until typhoons blew away the Great Khan's fleet. The Rouran returned seven years later with a vastly greater force which very nearly conquered Amahara before mass death befell the invaders. A final invasion that landed and struck at the heart of the dominion in 1321 was narrowly defeated by Amaharan force of arms. Following this, Rouran power collapsed and Amahara was not threatened again.

Azuma Shogunate (1322 – 1567)

Although ultimately victorious, the Takamachi clan suffered crippling military and economic damage. In the aftermath of the invasions, the shogun's prestige was eclipsed by the era's risen star and one of his own former subordinates, the war hero Azuma Hatsunari. In addition to his own power, Hatsunari could also count on an entire generation of "young" clans founded during the war when large numbers of ashigaru were raised to battle the invaders. Many of these armed commoners were promoted into the samurai class and the bulk of these initially owed loyalty to the Azuma. Within a year, Hatsunari forced the shogun to retire and appropriated Takamachi lands near the capital for veterans.

The early years of the third shogunate were a violent time as Hatsunari, having defeated an unprecedented and apparently overwhelming outside force, felt entitled to greater power than any shogun before him. The Azuma's rivals during the war continually rose up against his authoritarian rule and he spent the rest of his lifetime crushing rebellions. Credit for victory over the Rouran also went to the shrine maidens who brought down divine punishment on the invaders but in time, his tyranny spread over former allies as well. Nevertheless, his clan centralised the shogunate's power and cemented its supremacy to unprecedented levels. The Ainyuu were driven to remote Ezo as Amahara consolidated and further expanded its northern territories.

The Rouran had also brought an acute awareness of the outside world beyond the Middle Kingdom and an awareness of outside gods which Shinto had an obligation to recognise. The religion emerged from the war with a renewed militaristic and expansionist spirit. Over the centuries, shrine maidens would trickle overseas on trading ships, spreading Shinto, establishing shrines in distant lands and sometimes bringing back tales of foreign places. Amahara Shinto evolved from this and future periods of militarism, ultimately leading to the conquest of Ryunan during the fourth shogunate.

Decline

In 1467, the twins Yoshihichi and Yoshikira were born under circumstances that later led to dispute as to who was actually the firstborn. In 1477, the shogun attempted to impartially resolve the issue by splitting the family into two equal branch lineages. This quickly backfired after his death, leaving the clan riven by an intractable rivalry and the shogunal seat vacant despite an agreement that the Azuma clan itself still held it. Within a generation, the two branches were occupying the opposite north and south keeps of Ayanami Castle, famously separated by a nightingale floor. What began as brawls progressed to open street battles within the capital itself between samurai of each respective branch. In 1503, Yoshihichi of the Southern Azuma called on an outlying vassal for additional men and set off a fateful chain of escalations. General violence erupted between rival clans throughout Amahara, heralding the arrival of the Sengoku period.

Incident at Ayanami Castle

On 16 August, 1544, the entire households of both main branches of the Azuma clan were assassinated within Ayanami Castle despite the protection of the nightingale floor. A chaotic battle immediately erupted in the capital, lasting for days and leaving it in flames. This final blow effectively ended the Azuma shogunate or any form of central government until the Kagamine shogunate seized power later in the century.

Kagamine Shogunate

The shortlived Kagamine shogunate reunified Amahara and was responsible for the conquest of Ryunan.

Late Shogunate Era

Yanari Shogunate (1601 – 1863)

The Yanari shogunate became the fifth and last dynasty to rule Amahara, lasting the final two and a half centuries of the shogunate era. Despite efforts of preservation, the last of the divine beasts retreated into the deepest of wildernesses and most gods fell silent in ever longer periods of slumber. Amahara and the rest of Lotus Asia fell behind Rose Europe during this era.

Steam Era

Bakumatsu

In 1853, the New Britannian Pacific Fleet swept into Kaikyo Harbour with invincible warships clad in black iron and coal smoke and demanded the right to trade with the Yanari shogunate in defiance of the policy of isolationism enforced for over two centuries. The government's inability to respond to this threat and subsequent capitulation to the foreigners' demands led to widespread dissatisfaction and economic turmoil as the specie base of the economy collapsed.

The long dormant clans over which the Yanari shogunate had lorded suddenly smelled blood and raised their level of assertiveness through the 1850's as the central government struggled. Violence became common in the countryside as peasant uprisings grew seasonally. The Grand Chamberlain obtained a carefully worded holy edict from the Apostle which triggered open dissent from many of the most powerful clans across Amahara proper. After a brief civil war that revealed overwhelming dispairity in the balance of forces, most of the loyalist factions collectively negotiated peace. The last Yanari shogun "put his prerogatives at the Apostle's disposal" in 1863.

Serene Restoration

The Serene Restoration formally established the theocratic Dominion of Amahara and brought it into the modern world. The Shinto priestesses regained dominance in national leadership after over eight hundred years of samurai rule.

Sixty Years War

From 1918 to 1978, much of the industrialised world was embroiled in an on-and-off series of global industrialised conflicts that would be known as the Sixty Years War. While Rose Europe bore the brunt of misfortune early in the period, Amahara's home islands were invaded in the final years. Narrowly escaping collapse, the Dominion of Amahara eventually emerged victorious and became one of the three major members of the North Ectasian Economic Treaty, one of the sides in a new Cold War equilibrium enforced by the spin bomb, a weapon of mass destruction.

Modern Era

Lunarian Invasion

In 1999, the Lunarian Empire invaded Earth, forcing humanity to retreat to the vast caverns of the Hollow, deep in the planet's crust.


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