In the year 1170, the avatars of the Celestial Heavens, the Voice of the Jade Sun and the Voice of the Obsidian Moon, appeared in the Imperial City and proclaimed that a divine dynasty would be restored to the Emerald Empire.
A second Celestial Tournament was to be held at Seppun Hill, the site of the first tournament of the Kami, more than one thousand years previously. Each of the Great Clans sent delegations to participate, some in hopes of achieving a position in the new dynasty, with others merely wishing to witness such majesty. The competition was fierce, and a great many men and women of honor took the field. Despite that the final winner of the tournament was a Unicorn warrior, the Voices ultimately decided that it was the Dragon Clan whose purity had won the day. The Voices asked the Dragon Champion, Togashi Satsu, to choose one among his servants worthy of receiving the blessings of Heaven, but Satsu instead asked the Voices to choose, as they were the only ones who could.
The Voices chose the daimyo of the Kitsuki family, a virtuous and honorable woman named Kitsuki Iweko. Iweko accepted the blessings of the Celestial Heaven and experienced a moment of omniscience, becoming the Divine Empress Iweko I, the Child of the Heavens.
The Art (by Mario Wibisono)
Artistically this was a no brainer for the Samurai Arc moment. It was huge, it was defined in fiction, and it was a powerful visual with a blessing being conferred by Oracles.
Composition wise we knew early on what we wanted to see out of this piece. Iweko standing as she received the blessings of the Celestial Heavens, with the Jade and Obsidian Oracles kneeling in front of her holding her hands granting said blessings. The sky illuminated and the heavens literally opened up The fiction was clear who was involved and who the active parties were which really left just some minor interpretation to the description. Originally the sketches were a bit more conservative with Iweko’s headpiece on she was not holding the Oracles hands, but we asked Mario to revisit that and have her hair rising with the power as though the heavens were trying to pull her up to them, as well as having her taking their hands with a visual of power transference to her. There were also some adjustments to Omen, as this was Mario’s first male character in L5R (albeit from the side) we wanted to make sure Omen was defined better as a male figure.
It was critical that she look divine and perfect. Mario’s skills with photorealism, light, and costume design ensured that every part would be outstanding. We had plenty of source art of Iweko, Omen and Maru for Mario to reference so our primary concern was to capture the majesty and elegance of the moment. There is only one 10k card that contains more individuals in the shot than this and none this close up, so Mario was an easy choice when all those factors were considered. Mario did follow up research as well in addition to the resources we provided him with, asking the story ramifications and the metaphysical methods of the moment. He really got into it which is always great to see from an artist.
It is an amazing piece and we hope you love it as much as we do, it is one of the crowning jewels of the 10k project.
As we discussed on our introduction article on the 10K Card, we decided to pick artwork representing player involvement in the game and the storyline progression. This version of the art for the Deciding Moment is definitely one of such as it represents the end result of the event known as the Race for the Throne, which occurred throughout the Samurai Edition Arc.
For 2 years, players around the world participated in tournaments but also in community and artsy projects for the benefit of their Clan with the greater goal of being able to select who the next Emperor would be and from which Clan he/she would hail from. All along the duration of the event, milestones were placed to allow players to reap specific rewards and spice the Race up. These “legs” allowed in the end Clans that were not able to compete on all fronts to dedicate themselves to one facet of the game and try to excel at it, earning specific rewards along the way. Such rewards included discovering Aramasu’s Legacy (for the Mantis) or recovering the Oni’s Eye from the hands of the Kolat conspiracy (for the Scorpion).
In the end, the Dragon Clan emerged victorious by a tiny margin over the Scorpion, granting Kitsuki Iweko the blessings of the Heavens and creating the still-ruling Iweko Dynasty.
Get your copy!
To get your copy of this version of the 10K card, all you need to do is to attend one of the 4 Summer Conventions:
- North American Championships: GenCon Indy (10K Card Event, Saturday Aug 18)
- World Championships: Barcelona, Spain (Oct 12-14)
- South American Championships: Sao Paulo, Brazil (Nov 3)
- Pacific Rim Championships: Melbourne, Australia (Nov 24)
You can also get a chance to win a copy of this card through Facebook! Like the article on the official L5R Facebook page and share it before July 9th. One lucky winner among the “likes” will be contacted and will receive a copy of the card for free after its initial release (after GenCon in this case)!
Check back next month for another article on another Deciding Moment!