Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath
The Sparrow Clan occupies the Suzume hills, a desolate area located just west of the fertile Golden Sun Plain. It is the Sparrow’s duty to oversee these lush fields, teeming with life but sacrosanct to the Emperror, while scratching a livin out of the merciless hills. It is a sour duty indeed, but the Sparrow offer no complaint. They are a clan well accustomed to poverty and hardship. They prefer things that way.
Early in the Empire’s history, the First Yasuki War turned the Crab and Crane against one another. During the peace discussions that followed, a Crane named Doji Suzume made a flippant but fateful comment: “Maybe the world would be a better place if samurai just gave their wealth to the peasants and allowed them to rule?”
Sadly, Suzume did not realize the politics of the situation, and that his fathr, Onegano, was a fierce opponent of the Crane Champion’s economic politics. The Crane Champion assumed it was some form of sublte attack, meant to undermine his authority in the presence of the Crab, and suspended all negotiations.
A flurry of moves and countermoves followed as each side sought to turn events to their own advantage, and it seemed for a time as if the war would recommence. It was the Emperor who finally intervened. He demanded both Crab and Crane surrender territories as punishment for the war, and granted Doji Onegano a position as Minor Clan daimyo, ruling these lands. Ostensibly this was to reward Onegano for his wisdom and honor; in reality it was to remove Onegano and his foolish son from the delicate political climate altogether. The Emperor realized the Crab and Crane would set aside only the poorest and most uninhabitable portions of their land for Onegano to rule, and thus he would no longer be a concern.
Onegano retired to a monastery in disgust, leaving his idiot son in command of the new clan. Fortunately, Suzume’s aunt, Masako, joined him. Masako believed there was true wisdom in Suzume’s concept of honorable poverty, and saw the Sparrow Clan as an opportunity to make it work. Other samurai, disgusted with the civil war that had resulted from greed and ambition, flocked to Suzume’s banner. Thus the Sparrow Clan was born.
Life is difficult for the Sparrow, but they see this difficulty as the truest test of a samurai. They survive in a continual contest with the elements for their very survival, struggling to wrest a living out of their barren territories. All the while the Golden Sun Plain lies in clear view, a constant temptation, but the Sparrow have never forsaken their honor and violated the sacred ground. They are a proud family, the holders of a strong storytelling tradition. Their histories are all communicated orally, and master Sparrow storytellers have countless stories to tell.
Of course to a Great Clan samurai, stories of farming or guarding rocks are hardly interesting fare. It has become something of a running joke among the courts that the Sparrow storytellers are a courtier’s most powerful weapon. If one can be unleashed upon an enemy, he will be bound for hours, listening to the Sparrow’s interminable tales, unable to find an honorable way to escape them. The Sparrow are aware of this reputation and do resent it slightly, but see it as merely another test of their honor in a hostile and difficult world.
Sparrow samurai resemble their Crane ancestors, though their beautiful features are often weathered by the elements and a Sparrow with soft hands is unheard of. As fits their reputation, many Sparrow do tend to tell lengthy tales with regularity, often unaware that the listener might not necessarily care to hear what they have to say.