A/N: (Extended summary!) The reign of Hojo Ryuu came to be known as the Seicho era or the era of growth. Tei Keiko was the youngest heir to the tei clan of the ninjuku. When these two finally meet, what does fate have in store for them? How will the land of the Phoenix change? This is the story of Emperor Hojo Ryuu's rule, and of his intertwined fate with Tei Keiko.
DISCLAIMER: I thought this ought to be mentioned in the beginning! :P This story does not conform to original historical events and it is NOT set in Japan as such. The author has only borrowed Japanese names for the characters and a few details here and there so that the setting is authentic. Please do not hold me against it if I do not completely stick to the book about historical norms and procedure! Thank you! :D
Born of different mothers, the rivalry between the brothers of the royal family had been growing since the time the elder brother had been named the heir to the throne. It was an inevitable occurrence; however, the official crowning ceremony had been the seal to their fates and the trigger to their feud. After the death of their father, Hojo Masanori took his rightful place as the emperor of Suzaku no koku, marking the beginning of the Saisei era and true to his name, he was a model of righteousness and justice.
Hojo Masanori's reign brought a lot of changes in the regime and freed the people from the dictatorship rule of the previous emperor. He successfully united the country and brought the rebellious Kishi province under the control of the government. History tells us that while doing so, he fell in love with Kishi-no-hime - "Princess of Kishi" – and married her, giving Suzaku no koku the first and only Empress of the Saisei era. The marriage also helped him gain a political stronghold in the province.
Empress Hojo Yuuka was a strong and clever woman with a clear set of ideals. She supported her husband in building a stable country and in bringing effective reforms to the regime. Her good sense of judgment and perception aided her husband much in making effective decisions.
A year after Hojo Yuuka entered the palace, she gave birth to Hojo Ryuu, the first prince of Suzaku no koku. Four years later, Ayame hime or, Princess Hojo Ayame was born.
All this while, Hojo Masayoshi, brother of the Emperor, had been lying in wait for the perfect time to bring the downfall of his elder brother. He had been gathering supporters (mainly those against Masanori's reforms) in secret and awaited the perfect opportunity. Whence the opportunity showed itself on one dark new moon night a year later, he had his personal army sneak into the castle and mercilessly massacre his step-mother, elder brother and his wife. He did not hesitate to kill his own mother, a weak and helpless woman, when she stood in his way to save him from his own sins. However, the prince and the princess were nowhere to be found in the castle and were thus, saved from the same fate as their parents.
Her majesty Hojo Yuuka had always been wary of her brother-in-law. His intentions had been clear to her from the beginning as was the reason behind his recent change in mood, which her husband had perceived to be for the better. Lady Yuuka knew that something was about to happen though the emperor still did not doubt his younger brother's integrity at all – he sincerely believed that his brother had made peace with the past. With the help of the emperor's two trusted advisors – Advisor Ro Hiyoshi and Advisor Shi Kenji – who shared similar sentiments, she convinced her husband to send their children to Kishi province for the time being.
The empress had also been in consultation with military advisor Hiyoshi and had secretly sent an envoy to the Tei clan of the Ninjuku; the clan that had been indebted to the royal family since the previous emperor's regime. Alas, by the time the ninja got to the capital city of Shinka, the emperor and his wife had already been slain. But the ninja wasted no time in getting rid of Masayoshi's army; Masayoshi having fled the scene.
Though his troupe of infiltrators had almost been wiped out, Masayoshi still had quite a large personal army and some able samurai left, and they launched a surprise attack on the Tei clan's territory in order to eliminate them, so as to wipe out all evidence of his crimes against the emperor. The war that followed lasted for over three months, during which the Tei clan was almost completely wiped out. At the end of three months, both sides had dwindling numbers left. At this point, Tei Takeshi, clan leader at the time, ordered his son Yuuta to flee with his sister Keiko. His decision was supported by the entire clan whose only concern was for the safety of their heirs. The surviving members of the clan fought until the very end in order to redeem themselves and it is said that upon receiving a fatal blow, Tei Takashi used a human bomb to kill Hojo Masayoshi, thereby putting an end to the battle with no survivors and no victors on either side.
For a few days after word of the Emperor and Empress' murder got out, Suzaku no koku was in an uproar and there was chaos everywhere. 7-year-old Tei Yuuta and 3-year-old Tei Keiko used this opportunity to blend in with the common people and settled down discreetly in Riku prefecture on the outskirts of Shinka city.
His Highness Prince Hojo Ryuu and Ayame hime were brought to Shinka from Kishi province urgently by their grandfather. With the help of Advisor Ro and Advisor Shi, and with the strong support of the Kishi clan, the crowning ceremony took place in Shinka and order was quickly established in the kingdom with the arrival of a new political head.
And thus, Emperor Hojo Ryuu took the throne, at the age of five, marking the beginning of the Seicho era in the country of Suzaku.
A/N:That's it for chapter one! Hope you liked it! :) It was only a brief introduction and update of events till where our story begins! I will go into further details in later chapters if necessary.
I will post the second chapter after seeing the response for the first! :) So if you are interested in reading more then PLEASE READ & REVIEW! Thank you! :) cheers! :D