Ruler: Emperor Koji Datsuzoku
Flag: A black flag hosting the nations Kamon centered in gold.
The Jigoku prefecture is a nation built near the heart of the Midlands, claiming the no man's land between a few standing countries and the corresponding lake to its west. As such the city has been equipped with not only a nice port that ferries to any point across the lake, but also that can sail the channel that leads all the way north to the ocean. The location for the city and its design make for a lot of business and attraction. Designed after the architecture of an old civilization of another world and composed of the goods of worlds between as well as this one, Jigoku is a breathtaking sight both to live in and to visit.
The Imperial City sets approximately 30 miles east from Great Lake, 60 miles east/northeast of Mezathaluen, and 85 miles north of Union City. The wild-lands between these cities and spanning through the blood stone marshes north of Great Lake is dotted with outposts courtesy of the nation’s Imperial Military, reinforced by the re-purposed Union City and its resources.
Jigoku no Toshi | The Inferno City - The composition of most of the city is built in tandem with what are be traditional on another world apart from this one, boasting a combination of red oak structures topped with black clay tiles. In a world of magic, the city overall is mundane and simple. Rice paper sliding doors, polished hard wood floors, red banners and red paper lanterns littering the entirety of the nation. To those that have been exposed to an environment such as this before, they would surely feel welcome and at home upon visiting. The more imposing structures of import such as the Emperor’s pagodas in the town square are built in a similar fashion to the structures of the entire nation, yet instead fashioned from shadewood, topped with metallic roof tiles fashioned from a rare substance known as Hihi-irogane. The mysterious metal is dark, black in color; It is rumored to be tougher than diamonds several times over, and hot to the touch. Though it isn’t aflame, the metal does give off the ominous appearance than the tiles are in fact on fire.
The Merchant district seems to give way to that of the residential district. In fact, along the border, it is often seen that a vendor stall might be a home all in one, or perhaps a shop and a home are conjoined. Perhaps a vendor or merchant simply doesn't live far from their stall/store. It is common in this young flourishing city to see about 75% percent of businesses close for the day, at which point the night life of the city begins. Every night seems to look like a festival of some sort. Humans, Yokai, and Undead are mostly common in these parts. They live in harmony and understanding of the Kodo delivered by their Emperor and Empress themselves. The remaining businesses that are open fuel and support this night life, complete with inns and small taverns.
Semiarid or Semi-Arid means "somewhat dry". The semiarid climate is found around the edges of Arid climate and serves as a transition from Arid to another climate. This is a dry climate that has fluctuating amounts of precipitation, which can often result in drought. Occasional drought can be a very dangerous place for human settlement. The semiarid climate supports more trees and scrub bushes and grasses than Arid and therefore more animals.
Flora and Fauna
Ketsueki Sakura no Hana (Blood Cherry Blossom Trees): In addition to the appearance of the Jubokko, a new rare breed of tree case appeared in the lands of Jigoku. These unique trees are exclusive to the newly established Imperial City feature wood so dark the bark nearly looks black. As opposed to the usual softer tones of pink or even white, the petals of the blooming cherry blossoms were naturally stained a crimson hue instead. The first bloom of these trees in the springs, and the wilting of them in the fall seasons are said to be two of the most beautiful occasions the nation has to offer.
Tsukiyomi no Ran (Orchid of the Moon Goddess): This rare beauty it a unique species of flower than only blooms once a month during the night of the full moon. The bulb cracks at sunset and progresses into a full bloom peaking with the apex of the full moon in the night sky. It is also said that the petals of this flower can be ground into a stun spore, capable of disorienting and incapacitating effects.
Kokuren and Shiroi-hasu (Black Lotus and White Lotus): In the spring and summer months, it is said to bring one luck to happen upon the bloom of the Black Lotus from local ponds and even the lake into the west side of Jigoku. Rumor has it that the Black Lotus can be turned into an extract that will bring one ingesting it blistering fevers, delusions, dehydration, seizures, and in many cases death. In the fall and winter months, the White Lotus blooms in the very same locations of the Black counterpart. The extract of this Lotus is said to be the only cure to the toxicity of the Black Lotus.
Kuro Seji (Black Sage): Black Sage grows in the eastern plains and northeastern hills of Jigoku. This sage is not safe for consumption by humanoids as it is fatally toxic. However, with the proper prevention methods to avoid self-harm, this plant is ideal for those that are into energy work surrounding spirits and souls. When dried, this sage turns an ashy-grey color. When burned, its ashes are pure white, and the smoke produced is black. This smoke is said to thin the veil between this world and the Otherworld within the user’s vicinity, thus attracting more paranormal activity to said area than usual. Careful though, those that trifled with forces beyond their control often received catastrophic adverse results.
Minokemoyodatsu Yona Chaba (Lurid Tea Leaves): Leaves of what is called the Lurid Tea Plant can be used to brew a naturally bitter sweet tea that looks as dark as coffee. Adding just dollop of milk into the tea will barely lighten the tone, though it will remove the bitter taste and maximize the sweet taste naturally available in the leaves. These leaves are also a hot commodity in the baking community. Perfect for making cakes and pastries!
Taima (Cannibis): This plant grows and processes in a manner like tobacco. However, the plant is what would be referred to by most as a natural remedy or alternative medicine. Despite the plethora of medical benefits, the regulated use of this herb could offer, most seem to enjoy the use of these various plants in recreation. It is said that the high of good Taima can leave one in euphoric bliss for up to three hours. It is also said that the herb is a natural aphrodisiac.
Ahen (Opium): This plant grows poppy seed that can be produced into a crushed, smokable power. A single hit of this potent opium that’s rumored to have smoke of indigo is said to intoxicate the user for 90 minutes, in which they experience involuntary muscle spasm, reduced heart rate, warped perception, and actual moderate to severe hallucinations. Overdosing can range from the contraction of drug induced schizophrenia and/or death.
Akuma no Yona Kinoko (Demonic Mushrooms): If one knew where these mushrooms came from, they probably would not even touch them, let alone eat them. These mushrooms are harvested from explicit directions that lead up to the removal of them from beneath fresher patties of Yokai droppings. When devoured by humanoids, many describe feeling the sensation of walking under water. These effects along with varying severity of hallucinations last in a user for six to eight hours.
Yama-inu - The Yama-inu or okuri-inu closely follows people who are walking along mountain paths at nighttime. If by chance the person falls over they will be immediately eaten up, but if they pretend to be having a short rest they will not be attacked. It is important not to look too tired, though. These features are common to every region, but the dog's behavior does sometimes vary - for instance in some places it is said that the okuri-inu will charge into you, and if you fall a pack of dogs will quickly appear and attack you. There are also regions that have stories about what happens once you safely make it to the end of the mountain path. For example, one tells that if you reach the end of the trail, saying something like 'goodbye' or 'thank you for escorting me' will cause the okuri-inu to stop following you. Another one claims that upon returning home you should first wash your feet, give thanks for a safe journey home, then offer the okuri-inu gift. After this, it will supposedly leave.
Jorogumo - Jorōgumo (Japanese Kanji: 絡新婦, Hiragana: じょろうぐも) is a type of Yōkai, a creature, ghost or goblin of Japanese folklore. It can shapeshift into a beautiful woman, so the kanji for its actual meaning is 女郎蜘蛛 or "woman-spider", and to write it instead as 絡新婦 ("entangling newlywed woman") is a jukujikun pronunciation of the kanji.
Jubokko - According to folklore, it appears in former battlefields where many people have died, and its appearance does not differ that much from ordinary trees. Since it becomes a yōkai tree by sucking up large quantities of blood from the dead, it lives on human blood. When a human being happens to pass by, it supposedly captures the victim and, changing its branches into the shape of a tube, sucks the blood out of the victim. A Jubokko that sucks life out of human beings in such a way is said to always maintain a fresh appearance. When a Jubokko is cut, blood trickles out. It is said that a Jubokko branch could heal and decontaminate an injured person.
Goakarasu (Gore-crow): Any breed or species of bird cane become a gore crow, corrupted by chaos, these mutated crows acquire a blackened color to their feathers and their eyes grow completely red. While these crows are aggressive and carnivorous, especially to humans, they are typically easy to dispatch despite their sharp minds. A swarm of them however can take out the smallest of large cities within days if left unchecked. In the Midlands there are two varieties of these crows; Those spawn of the Whispernight Scourge whom flock to the Trees of Evil still standing throughout the land, and those created specifically by the Heika himself.
Tatsuo (Dragon-man): a specific brand of Ogre/Oni/Orcish brand of creature. They come in various shapes and sizes, their faces usually grotesque and terrifying. On average they stand between 5’3” and 6’8” tall, weighing between 175 to 325 pounds. They boasted broad shoulders with thick muscular limbs and big hands. Their complexions ranging between firebrick red, black, and a few other colors of rare condition. Thanks to the mixture of Draconic bloods sampled and collected from the Velhatien Desert, Emperor Koji along with the help of his Imperial Adviser and his very capable Harem had managed to develop a system into which they could use to transform common folk such a Hume or Man into one of the mutated Tatsuo brands. So far, the method only works on humanoid creatures, though the responsible parties behind such a terrible creation worked feverishly to discover a method that would work on other animals. More specifically the predator variety considering the perks of increasing the risk an already capable hunter and killer of the animal kingdom naturally possessed.
While most tend to get many more throughout their lives and careers during for instance times of great change, each fresh Tatsuo receives their first official brand. Traditionally the brand is the Dynasty’s Kamon. It should be noted that these man-made monsters rarely retained memories of their past life. They retained simple motor functions and basic knowledge, leaving them to grow and flourish together as a fresh society. They are incredibly intelligent, brave, and cunning. They hold their own unique culture that develops with each passing day. Though namely they currently uphold their own sort of honor system or code. This, however, did not circumvent or prioritize over the Emperor’s absolute Kodo. In fact, it modified it in a complimentary fashion.
Dishonor of a Tatsuo was often punishable by carving their Dynasty brand from their body, filling or removing one’s fangs, or their preferred ultimate method of beatings to the death from multiple volunteers. Likewise, the Tatsuo were often found gambling and bargaining with one another in leisure time. Sometimes they would pass the time by wrestling for both fun and competition. On rare occasion, a lesser ranked Tatsuo could be found trying to challenge one of its superiors, in which the death of his opponent decided the winner. While most adopted names and cultural aspects in similar nature to the Dynasty, it was usually a bit of culture shock seen when one viewed the Tatsuo closely in their own communities. The current Tatsuo population among the Imperial City is approximately 7000 strong, a number that will surely grow faster than the rate it would diminish.
Tatsuo possesses speeds that are not the greatest, though they are much quicker than they appear thanks to their large muscle mass and immense strength. While not being sensitive or vulnerable to light conditions, it should be noted that these creatures see best in low and no light conditions. The average strength of a Tatsuo is roughly three to five times the strength of the average “Man”. Their hides are thick and leathery, granting them a high resistance to piercing damage as well as blunt force trauma and some magic types of damage such as burning or freezing. Thanks to their modified physiology, their diet usually consists of whatever they can get their hands on. Though they perform their best when full and are most full when they devour meat. It is common to see a Tatsuo eating a defeated enemy, though never a fallen brother without specific spiritual significance.
Jigoku is a culture shock at face value. Many people and species of different types and walks of life find some semblance of unity within the nation. The two major types of citizens are those that chose to be here with the growing nation, and those that were forced out of their homes for one reason or another in which they sought refuge in the comfort of Jigoku. The symbiotic relationship the nation sustains itself upon it the driving for between its success and continued steady growth. Men, Yokai, and Vampires are the most common, though it’s no surprise to catch the random others among the crowds. As if those three cultures weren’t diverse enough.
Between the flora and fauna carried here like the plethora of man and manlike creatures, and the local lake, the economy flourishes with natural water source and seafood. The water source helps with the dry and drought seasons by supplying water year round. The primary currency of this nation is gold, silver, and copper coins, brandishes with the Kamon on one side of a coin, the opposing side hosting a serpent-like dragon among clouds. Minted coin of similar make is acceptable from any place at equal value to the national coin's weight. All outside currencies taken in are systematically melted down and minted into one of their national brand.
Major Companies and Institutions
Hinode no Gakko | The School of the Rising Sun – While there are several dojos found within the nation, the most reputable is one founded outside of the orthodox teachings of the various Dragon schools. Spearheaded by the founder and Grand-Master Momoku, Kenshibobu, this school is prized on its roots in tradition, and its branches reaching into a variety of new styles in its ever-evolving Martial way. While strictly traditional styles stale over time, the mixed martial arts nature of the Rising Sun School will continue to present itself as a formidable way of combat for generations to come. Students are even encouraged to train on their own and to self-develop their own personal style.
Parks and Recreation
Landmarks and monuments
Kokuryu no Chashitsu/Izakaya | The Black Dragon Tea House/Tavern - By day, the second largest pagoda style structure in the entire city is known as Kokuryu no Chashitsu, The Black Dragon Tea House. It is easily a local hub that would easily grow into the hearts, minds, and mouths of citizens and tourists alike. There was no menu. If one wasn't certain of a name of specific tea, they could describe what they were looking for, and certainly they could obtain it. For those unappreciative of tea, other beverage accommodations could be made. Rumor has it that they also offer the best Japanese dishes the city had to offer, save for the palace. As a city with direct access to water, it is certainly easiest to assume there are more seafood dishes to offer than that of any other type. This operation lasts from dawn until dusk. However, from dusk until dawn, this very same location is known as Kokuryu no Izakaya, The Black Dragon Tavern. In likeness to the variety of teas, a plethora of alcohol awaits the patrons of this fine, massive bar. On higher levels, there is even a floor dedicated to small time gambling attractions. Rumor has it that upon vacancy and request, there is also a hidden bath house during these hours.
Kanrakugai | The Red-Light District - Behind what would bring you to the inaccessible back side of the palace, there was a quaint little part of town known as Kanrakugai, The Red-Light District. All locations of business in these parts operate 24/7. A wide variety of male and female specimen were available to those interested. One might wish to just have a short visit with some obligations attached within any respective house, or perhaps one wished to have a semi-formal escort for a lengthy bout of a day. Some good company to those that had deep pockets and were lonely. On occasion, one thinking they may have found the one, perhaps they can purchase one of their choice to keep. However, each individual owner of each individual house likely each had a specific individual cost. What was one willing to pay, for happiness? Rumor has it that for those creatures surviving on the life essence of humans, life dolls were also afforded around these parts. It should be noted that dolls are for small feeds, there is a no kill policy on life dolls. Should one break the rules, well, like breaking any other rule, the offense is punishable by death.
Jigoku no Kyuden | The Inferno Palace - The heart of the Empire city gives birth to a rather expanse city square. Easily 100,000 people could cram into here and at least have an inch to move. The largest portion of the square was in front of what the locals called Jigoku no Kyuden, The Inferno Palace. A fountain was afforded within the square, a center piece statue within the fountain appeared to be an image of the late Empress, with a black dragon loosely coiling about her. Certainly, the dragon was a reference to the Emperor, or so the three eyed face sorely gave it away for those whom had witnessed their Emperor's greatness. The palace itself is built in the hybrid styling of a pagoda meshed with a pyramid. The first level served as a lobby, complete with a throne for the sovereigns of this nation. Occasionally they can be found here for a wide variety of things, and yet also just to be readily open to the public if they aren't out about town somewhere. The courtyard bordering the palace out of the square was heavily guarded, and each night by midnight the square was cleared by curfew save for special occasions. The second floor through the fourth-floor housed guards in barracks. It was important that they work shifts, thought their odd shifts made it to where it was wise to slumber within the palace itself. The fifth floor through the fourteenth floor would be raised as home space for nine hand selected elites from the city. The fifteenth floor was a place dedicated to being the door to the final sixteenth floor, which was ultimately a shrine. This gate floor was usually lived in by the Emperor himself when he wasn't with his Empress in her shrine. A second, pagoda that was more traditional was stationed beside and slightly behind the place, serving as a guest house boasting five floors for any important visitors that the nation’s Leaders feel a need to cater to. Slightly behind and between these was a seven-floor pagoda of traditional value, each floor dedicated to one of the Emperors concubines. Only the Emperor and Empress can enter this area, though the concubine are free to come and go as they please. Don't get any ideas though, even when they look like they are alone, each one of the Emperors wives were kept under a watchful eye, ensuring their safety as they would join their Empress in mothering the future generations of this clan, this Empire. Unlike the other structure in the city, the walls of these building are constructed with wood from the plane of shadow, it's black is unrivaled in any light or lack there off. If one looked closely, they could see what looked like purple glitter infused with the wood. The roofing tiles of these few structures are constructed of a metal of legend known as hihi'irogane. Its dark reddish color was accented well contrasted with the black building and the appearance of the tile that seemed on fire.
Futilitarian: The citizens and governing body of the Imperial city are Futilitarian, believing human hopes and faith to be in vain, and their strivings unjustified. The false since of order this world clings to is nothing more than a fallacy controlled by fear and greed. Datsuzoku translates as Breaking of the Covenant, the clan and its leaders stand to personify their chosen name. The Empire promotes that it will vanquish the fallacy of Order that is widely spread by mankind, and often abused by the greed of mankind. The Emperor and those beneath his employ pledge to liberate and ultimately untie all people, thus creating a true paradise where all bare true peace, freedom, and happiness. In the same token, Emperor Koji’s brand serves as a vanquisher of its enemies both direct and indirect. None shall stand in the path of the Emperor’s indomitable Will.
The Kokuryu no Kibo (The Black Dragon Scale), is the official Kamon (Crest/Seal/symbol) of not only the Empire city, but also to the Datsuzoku clan itself. Visitors and citizens alike are held to certain standards. Standards that only vary according to one's level in the societal food chain. Of course, there was a rule of thumb that all citizens respect those deemed of higher status than other. Any visitors that are not accepted as a foreign sovereign or explicit personal invitation was subject to whatever sort of treatment that came to them. Regardless, they fall subject to the Emperor’s Kodo.
The Kodo is the way of the Emperor. In this case, while the Emperor has a certain lack of desire for “rules”, it should be noted that failure to adhere to the whim or the Will of his Empress or himself is punishable by death. Offenders will be sentenced to seppuku, and in more severe cases Harakiri (sometimes called Hari Kari).
The Three Supremes
The First of the Three Supremes is absolute Loyalty to the one and only Chijono as well as his beloved. No other source of power shall be feared or respected more than the head of the Dastuzoku Empire.
The Second Supreme is obedience. Subordinates under the banner of this Empire are subject to absolute obedience despite the desire/goal of the Empire at any one time.
The Third and final Supreme is honor. Subordinates should always honor the empire and their duty to it first. Likewise, their views of honor should lie in the likelihood of aligning with the nature of the Empire itself.
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Empress’ Guard Shogun Concubines
The Lurid Inquisition
The highest rank in the lands is awarded to Emperor and Empress themselves respectively. Directly beneath them are their immediate subordinates and almost equals. Next in line comes the Empress' Guard and the Emperor's harem, akin to the weight of a Shogun within these ranks. Shogun are responsible for reporting and answering directly to their sovereigns as designated. The Daimyo or Feudal Lords are the next step down in the food chain, answering directly to their respective Shogun when necessary. Once one was through the leadership roles, the ranking system of the nation reached what the Emperor has properly titled, The Lurid Inquisition. This rank encompasses many roles both militant combative and not. To serve the Inquisition was to serve the Will of the Emperor directly. Most able-bodied men and woman of certain age and circumstances are usually drafted into these ranks, though others willingly enlist for one reason or another. Virtually at the bottom of the list comes the civilians. Despite not hosting a role in military or combat setting, all residents of this nation are required to learn some form of self-defense. This is to ensure that they suffer as minimal as possible casualties in the case of war times or invasions. Literally at the tail end of the ranks in the nation, there were the slaves and the service roles. Some work, some served the Inquisition, some were simply purchased, and those that couldn't acclimate were slaughtered. Slaves in this nation can gain freedom, though there is always a cost to be paid to compensate for the weight of a life.
The Lurid Inquisition
There are few roles with many differing tasks within the Inquisition. Note that at any given time, these roles are subject to change to accommodate the greater needs of the Empire. Those beneath the Empire's employ are given preference when such can be afforded, other times, a rank, role, or task is given regardless of the recipient's desire.
Sokushitsu: The Emperor's personal concubines. Their work while seemingly trivial is of the utmost importance. Hand selected by Josei Heika herself, the woman tasked with this role are expected to submit in every way imaginable, and then some. At no point are these women to deviate from their given purpose.
Onmitsu: Members of the Onmitsu group are tasked with jobs usually associated with spies such as infiltration and reconnaissance. Often, Onmitsu is a term generally interchangeable with the term Ninja or Shinobi/Kunoichi.
Ansatsu Buntai: The members of this group are general foot soldiers, ranging from what would be your average warrior (Samurai/Saburai) all the way up to the elites. The name means “Death Squad”. Regardless of leading the attack our defending home terrain, their job equates death both in delivery and completion.
Hogo-sha: These are the guardians of the inquisition, charged with protecting the Emperor/Empress as well as anyone else they are commanded to protect. Their devotion must be absolute! There is no cost too great in the need to serve and protect. Even their own lives.
Hojutsu Buntai: The most infantile but rapidly growing form and division within the Dynasty. These members are predominately the Emperor's personal brand of Orcs, trained in the ways gun forms and martial prowess alike.
There is currently no centralized education. Education is primarily home schooling, in which families and clans teach the young their continued trade. Sometimes they convert by studying with a family or clan outside of the one they were born into, or if their parents come from differing clans. Mandatory education in self-defense is deemed important. The able bodied, regardless of intellect, should and will be learned in the martial way. In cases of invasion, all have the right to reassuringly defend themselves and their nation.
Due to the high population and everyday life of this self-sufficient nation, the most popular method of travel is by foot. Some residents host animals in some small variety they ride or use to pull carriages. Others manage the same feats with a wide variety of lesser Yokai. The roads created were few and held the dedicated purpose to travel and trade to this region’s inlet lake, Mezthaluen, Union City, and its respective borders. The road to the northern border most travels the eastern side of the Bloodstone Marsh, bisected by the marsh itself and the Imperial Base erected there near the northern border. A few other outposts exist, one standing on the road respectively to the east, west, and south.
The Imperial Family headed by Emperor Koji who is also the head of the Datsuzoku clan.
Arechi-e (Journey to the East) | To Erect an Empire
Daoda (Arrival) | To Erect an Empire
Ruto o Torimasu (Taking Root) | Laying the Foundation
Sokui no Rei (Enthronement of the Empress) | Coronation