In the wake of the death of Emperor Toturi I, the Splendid Emperor, the four children of the former Akodo Toturi began a struggle to assume control of the Empire in a war of influence known as the Four Winds Era.
The Emperor’s three legitimate children, Toturi Tsudao, Toturi Sezaru, and Hantei Naseru, had many supporters and quickly divided the Empire in their struggle, but it was Toturi’s illegitimate son, Akodo Kaneka, whose presence was the most divisive. For a period of almost two years, the Empire debated, argue, and occasionally warred over who would be able to ascend to the throne. Ultimately, however, it was the threat of the Dark Lord of the Shadowlands that united the Four Winds, and they marched to the Shadowlands with the protection of their mother, the Oracle of the Void, to end the threat of Daigotsu. The battle was great, and the army of clay soldiers provided to the Winds by the Phoenix Clan wrought terrible destruction in the blasphemous City of the Lost. Ultimately, it was during the confrontation with Daigotsu that Toturi Tsudao sacrificed herself, gaining not only the survival of her brothers but also the death of the Dark Lord in the process.
In an Empire divided by politics, it was the woman known as the Sword who taught the Great Clans the meaning of honor.
The Art (By Jason Engle)
The Sacrifice of Tsudao is perhaps the most tragic of the Defining Moments illustrations. Three brothers watch as their sister sacrifices herself to kill their greatest enemy.
It was a noble death and the goal was to show each of the five characters involved reacting to the split second attack Tsudao made. Daigotsu knowing full well this was it still moves to and fails to protect himself. Tsudaos one swing and step forward is strongly defined and her face is one of resolve in her last second of life. Kaneka is half a second behind her moving to attack, Naseru being rather practical shields himself and backs away from the oncoming blast. Sezaru however provides a magical barrier of protection that Tsudao steps out of to stop the larger threat at hand.
Jason was selected for the illustration for his strong compositions and detail work, as these were five very defined characters who had dozens of illustrations of each of them and we needed Jason to capture and build upon those defined looks. The sketches went through a handful of revisions trying to get the scale of the location and positioning where we wanted it.
Jason managed to work on this and get married at the same time so he’s to be congratulated on both accounts.
The whole of Gold Edition saw the four children of Toturi competing to gather enough support to take the throne. It was only when the Dark Lord Daigotsu made himself known that the Four Winds were able to step under one roof and band together for the first time since the death of Toturi. They marched into the Shadowlands together – but as was written going into that GenCon -
Akodo Kaneka, Hantei Naseru, Toturi Tsudao, Toturi Sezaru
One Wind will become the Emperor.
One Wind will become the Voice of the Emperor.
One Wind will join the Winning Clan.
One Wind will Die.
That year, there were several votes that the players were allowed to make. Everyone in attendance was allowed to cast one vote for one Wind, and the Wind with the most votes would join the Clan that became the Voice of the Emperor. Then, there was a vote given to Top in Clan, and the Top 8 of the Main Event, of which the Winner’s vote would count twice. Of all those votes, the Wind chosen the most would become Emperor. And finally, the top ranking Great Clans player could select one of the four positions – Right Hand, Left Hand, Voice, and Underhand of the Emperor, for his Clan to assume the position of for the next arc. The player also could choose one of the two Winds not already selected for the first two votes – Voice, and Emperor – to join his Clan. If Voice was chosen, then two of the Four Winds would join that players Clan. And finally – with three of the Winds safe and secure – the fourth remaining Wind would be killed by Daigotsu.
Current Lead Designer Bryan Reese was the winner of GenCon that year with corrupt Phoenix. The attendance vote made Toturi Sezaru the Voice of the Emperor, and amongst the Top 8 of the Main Event as well as the Top in Clan – Hantei Naseru was selected the most, becoming the new Emperor of Rokugan. This left Reese with a choice – with Kaneka and Tsudao remaining, he could pick one of the four positions for the Emperor for the Phoenix to take over. He selected Voice, and then selected Akodo Kaneka to join the Phoenix Clan – giving them two of the four Winds, as well as having a heavy influence on Naseru becoming Emperor. Because of this, Tsudao was the Wind that would be killed by Daigotsu – but her sacrifice allowed the other Winds to live and defeat the Dark Lord, as is depicted in this 10K Card Artwork. This tournament saw an unprecedented amount of influence given to the players to determine the outcome of the Gold Edition story arc, and Reese himself – as Tournament Champion, as well as Top Phoenix, had more influence than anyone on determining the final results of the tournament.
Get Your Copy
Before the end of the year, volunteers who have assisted us in 2012 will receive a copy of this card as thank you for their selfless work throughout the year to promote L5R.
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 October 10th. One lucky winner among the “likes” will be contacted and will receive a copy of the card for free after its initial release!