Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath
The Shiba hold an unusual position for a family descended from their Clan’s Kami. When Shiba bent his knee before Isawa, he swore an oath that his family has maintained for the entire history of the Phoenix Clan, one that leaves them as both the servitors and protectors of the Isawa. Because of Shiba’s sacrifice, his family rarely shows any trace of needless pride, but they do maintain the stubbornness common to the Clan. More than once has the Shiba’s roles as protectors clashed with the Shiba’s role as subordinates to the Isawa – after all, the Shiba have no right to tell their lords where they can and cannot go, even for their own safety. This struggle has defined the relationship between the Shiba and Isawa since the Clan’s founding, but it is not a rift the Shiba regard with hostility. Indeed, the family realizes their place and the bushi of the family approach each situation with patience and understanding. Even the Isawa cannot question the earnest intentions of their guardians, as countless Shiba lives have been given over the years for the protection of the Isawa.
Many Shiba emulate their ancestor by applying themselves to peaceful arts and study alongside their martial training. While many bushi embrace warfare and conflict as a way of life, the Shiba only see it as part of their duty to the Isawa. Due to a Shiba’s scholarly mindset, they have a hard time seeing death as glorious and see it only as the end of a life full of experiences and possibilities. It is due to this understanding that the Shiba embrace their role as guardians so thoroughly and are willing to throw away their own lives so that another might live and continue to contribute to the world. Naturally, while the Phoenix are close allies of the Crane, the Shiba are closer to the Crane than any other families. The Crane often arrange to have yojimbo from the Shiba assigned to Doji courtiers or Kakita artisans, and the Phoenix always relishes the chance to study the arts alongside their allies.
The Shiba are the definition of average in terms of modern samurai families. Their build and features are largely unremarkable, and they favor traditional hair and dress. The defining quality that sets many Shiba apart is their armor. Having only one family of bushi means that the Phoenix can take more time in crafting armor, and it is frequently extremely elaborate and individualized.