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Deadly Pearls, History of the Chiyo Clan


Windwright
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Situated on one of the smaller islands in the Neighponese archipeligo, the village colloqually called Kakikara-mura or "Oyster shell village" has a thriving pearl-diving business, and is known for exquisite jewellery and a historically excellent finishing school for geisha worthy of the Shogun, or even foreign courts. And these things are obviously true, as they produce tangible results. Measurable by anyone who wants to. Objectively.

 

In truth, while the fisheries and finishing schools do produce pearls and coutresans, the true purpose of both is and has always been the training of a highly specialised breed of ninja. In addition to the rigorous training all shinobi and kunoichi receive, the Kakikara village trains assassins who master the courtly arts in an effort to get closer to the most difficult targets: nobility.

 

Historically, the Kakikara kunoichi were dispatched to dispatch Long warlords and Viking Jarls with a more militaristic bent. When the nations established more peacable relationships and the ninja arts no longer became necessary the two leading clans, Chiyo and Kaze, convened a council. The Kaze clan was the controlling family in the area, but when they proposed assasinating the then-current Shogun in order to install a Daimyo with a mind toward continuing the aggressions, the Chiyo staged a successful coup that has left them in charge since.

 

The Chiyo clan, now head of all branches of the Kakikara shinobi, immediately put into practice a new code and approached the daimyo one by one to establish a formal relationship with certain rules: The Chiyo could be hired for their original purpose against any target who is not a daimyo (and eventually the shogun once a clearer shogunate emerged), but they would accept no lethal contracts against members of the Neighponese government. The Chiyo could also be hired as bodyguards by anyone who negotiated an appropriate contract. Lastly the Chiyo could be engaged as instructors for whatever the individual shinobi was skilled in, save for the clan secrets.

 

In exchange, the village's true purpose and the clan were to remain secret. The clan was to be a neutral entity with regards to any specific ruler or government, and while they could be employed as spies or assassins, they would not cleave to the shogunate or any daimyo. Security for independance. The Neighponese government was safe from the village clans, and the clans were independent from the government.

 

In the decades following unification, the Chiyo honed their arts even further, developing three signature weapons, and two combat techniques utilising them. Sticking to the shadows, they developed dreamdust, a powdered soporific capable of rendering an adult Kirin or Ryuma unconscious within minutes of exposure to a dose no larger than a breath. Next they developed the tessenjutsu, a set of martial arts utilising iron-bladed folding fans. Finally they developed a technique called mibojin no hoyo, a sharpened ridge of serrated blades hidden along the shoulders and flanks that allowed for a seemingly innocuous leaning gesture to cause severe wounds in the intended target. Some shinobi were further trained with this weapon to make acrobatic leaps and tumbles capable of disabling multiple attackers in short order. They are also inoculated against several common toxins, trained to hold their breath for extended periods, and given lessons in courtly manners and foreign languages above and beyond most shinobi. Accordingly, a Chiyo candidate is not considered ready for deployment until much later than rival clans' agents even starting younger.

 

Currently, the Chiyo's main branch still oversees training and controls the Elder council, though two branch matriarchs maintain seats among the five. The current Elders are Chiyo Hayate, Chiyo Akane, Chiyo Fumiko, Josei Mami, and Kaze Himeko. Currently, only Chiyo Hayate and Akane and Kaze Himeko and Ichiro have foals, though exact numbers for either couple are closely guarded secrets even within the clan.

 

Typically, contracts are handled by any of the Elders, who interview prospective clients and negotiate cost, duration, and other terms, then the Elders collectively nominate and deliberate on assignments. The clan takes contracts very seriously, and for a Chiyo shinobi to breach the contract is considered a grave offense. Rumors abound of shinobi disowned or hunted for breaking a Chiyo contract, though most happen to a friend of a cousin. Notably, the Chiyo prohibition against government officials has only been breached once, and those with the unfortunate confirmed that the officer in question had been the aggressor in the rather brief exchange.

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