Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath
Shiba’s closest friend was a mortal woman named Asako, who was known for her kind nature and her talents in the healing arts. When Shiba marched into the Shadowlands to discern the fate of the Thunders and Shinsei, Asako wept, having already lost her husband to the conflict with the Dark Kami. When Shiba’s soul returned in the body of one of his followers, Asako was shocked by the discovery her friend brought back to her – Shinsei had whispered the secrets of the universe in Shiba’s ear when his mortal body died. With such knowledge, Shiba would know eternal life, but he also knew Asako would unravel the mystery even further. Like the monks of Shinsei and the tattooed orders of the Dragon, Asako and her followers withdrew themselves from the Empire to contemplate the wisdom Shinsei had left behind for the Phoenix. They discovered that mortal man’s place in the universe was such that ultimate enlightenment awaited every one of them when they were ready to embrace it..but the Asako were overcome by their arrogance and believed this meant they were destined to become Fortunes in their own right some day. This teaching was passed on through the Asako for generations, guiding many on the path to enlightenment but dooming others to a darker destiny. The Asako see themselves as the custodians of mankind’s fate, but do not divulge the secrets of the Path of man to any outside their family. They believe that most mortals are not ready for such knowledge – indeed the Asako were not prepared or it at first even with their innate insight.
The Asako pride themselves on their reputation as scholars and healers, much like Asako was. Few are equal to their skill in natural and supernatural medicine, with even Imperial families requesting their knowledge with great frequency. Their meditative studies also afford them the opportunity to catalog a great deal of the Empire’s knowledge and history. Though they have no formal role as historians like the Ikoma Family, the Asako’s libraries are impressive and thorough. Dealing with the Asako to gain access to such information is another matter entirely, however. Members of the family tend to be either the gregarious and outgoing emissaries they send to the courts or to secretly guide others down the Path of Man, or recluses who would rather deal with parchment than people.
The Asako have a strong ascetic tradition, and their appearance reflects this. Many shave their heads, and ear only the humblest robes. This places them in stark contrast to the Isawa, emphasizing the long-standing division between the families.