The Kingdom of the Moon
When Ameratsu dipped her jeweled spear into the world’s sea it is said that each blessed droplet, falling like pearls from the blade as it was withdrawn, became the lands of man and beast in the dark waters. Among these hallowed pearls, a black pearl formed and fell away into the sea—unseen and obscured. The shadowy isle of Kagejima was thus born into the world shrouded in darkness, moonlight and magic.
The first explorers of this mystical land immediately felt the island’s influence. Hardy and rugged explorers, far from the powers of the Imperial Court and fiercely independent, the people who made Kagejima their home were touched by the island’s magic and the six mystical powers: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Spirit and Void.
Six distinct clans evolved over time, each with their own understanding of the mysterious connection to the land and sea, each possessing their own unique view of the world and their place in it. Their strong beliefs and traditions led to the clans warring for dominion of Kagejima. From this chaos rose a dynasty of rulers that commanded all of the powers of the moon. With the chieftains and wise men of each of the six clans as their advisers and vassals the rulers united Kagejima, creating the first Kingdom of the Moon.
Over the centuries, the Imperial Court attempted to lay claim to the mist-shrouded island, and failing negotiations with the smooth-tongued and wary rulers, tried several ill-fated invasions. Each invasion resulted in tragedy, as if the very gods of oceans and air conspired to send the fleets of the Sun Emperors’ armies to the depths. Those few that did manage to make it to shore were never heard from again.
To halt the bloodshed, the Moon Princess of Kagejima struck a peace accord with the Sun Emperor; offering the service of her finest shinobi from across the kingdom to serve the Emperor in keeping the peace across the lands of the Sun Empire for a time of one year. Each year a new group of shinobi are sent to assist the Emperor. To be chosen to serve is a great honor that benefits the clan whose skilled warriors are selected with the Moon Princess’s favor.
At the apex of summer each year, when the nights are balmy and the moon shines huge in the sky, all the clans send aspiring warriors to participate in the Moonlight Tournament. The tournament lasts the month between the full moons. The shinobi lurk, sneak, and battle in organized games of cunning and skill to outsmart and defeat their rivals, winning honor, and the favor of the Moon Princess. The tournament has the added benefit of providing an outlet for internecine clan conflict, reducing the infighting and assassinations that the squabbling clans can easily fall into.