Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath
Few families have histories and traditions as proud and complex as that of the Isawa family. As scholars and masters of the arcane, they are well aware of the difference between perception and reality. Some point to Isawa’s actions as the hallmark of a selfish and honorless man, but the Isawa understand that their founder’s motivations were nothing of the sort. To Isawa, what Shiba wanted was his aid in defeating a problem that the Kami brought upon themselves and now threatened all of creation, and this same man wanted Isawa’s allegiance as well. Since their founding, the Isawa have guided the Phoenix along their duties to the Empire, but none so carefully as in their role of custodian to the world’s magic. So great is their wisdom and skill that the word of an Isawa shugenja is often considered the end of the matter when it comes to magic. Experienced Isawa shugenja are often invited to investigate when a supernatural disturbance is uncovered, and though they have no official authority (such would be the role of a Jade Magistrate), most feel an Isawa’s presence ensures the matter will be handled properly.
From their own point of view, the Isawa realize they are not necessarily the most powerful shugenja in Rokugan, but believe themselves easily the most responsible. The family’s history is not unstained by corruption or abuse of power, but nearly every incident is handled quickly and internally. They understand that power draws those who would seek to misuse it, and prepare themselves in advance. The Isawa also contend that preparation involves study, and a great many cursed or corrupted artifacts are brought to the family for investigation. The most dangerous such items are secreted away in Gisei Toshi, the City of Sacrifice, a place few realize even exists still. In many ways, the Isawa see themselves as guardians of the Empire much in the way the Crab guard Rokugan from the Shadowlands, but the threats the Phoenix face are far more subtle and pervasive.
The Isawa generally garb themselves in flowing robes with dramatic, fiery designs. Their hair is dark in color almost without exception, and it is not uncommon for Isawa to be thin and pale as a result of excessive devotion to their work at the expense of their physical bodies.