Nine Tails of the Cunning Fox
|Location||Skarian Sector (former Rising Sun Nebula)|
|Time Active||64 AF --|
|Faction Type||Interstellar Government|
|Form of Government||Autocracy|
|Economic System||State Capitalism|
|Capitol||Yomotsu Hirasaka, Amaterasu|
|Headquarters||Court of Nine Tails|
|Leaders||Lady Kanade Orihara|
|Military Headquarters||Sairentogaden, Amaterasu|
|Military Leaders|| Commander Kanade Orihara
Grandmaster Chiaki Hirano
|Enemy Factions||Travesti Dominion|
|“||From Nine Tails, One People||”|
–Kitsune League Motto (95 AF)
Famously reclusive and infamously mistrusting, the Kitsune League was officially an interplanetary agreement between nine central Houses to deny and defend against outside belligerence and influence. That said, internally, it was rife with treachery and backroom politics. While the nine ruling Houses of the Kitsune League claimed a mutual agreement to represent each other collectively on the larger galactic stage and to defend each other if necessary, they were rarely if ever not conspiring against each other for territory, honour, resources or political power.
It was with this in mind that the Kitsune League's rebirth would shed much of this - as the ash settled in the aftermath of the defeat of the Nine Houses, the new order which would replace it (yet still borrow its' name) would see a radical change in many regards, most of which spun off from the very things that had failed the League when its' existence was truly threatened. The circle of clans locked in a silent cold war - peace, in their words - was done away with, instead replaced by a single unifying entity - a Court of Nine Tails, and its' leader, a Lord and Lady of it.
Not all of the vessels that would leave Earth as part of the greater expedition for a new homeworld - some would leave with an altogther different purpose, for discovery, for progress, or simply because they involved those that most would prefer remain isolated from the rest of society. Or in the case of the flotilla that would eventually form the Kitsune League, all three. Put simply, its' origins stemmed from a scientific expedition fleet who's goal largely concerned the feasibility of a society that would live solely in the ship they were born on. There was, after all, no guarantee that they would find a planet anything like Earth, nor was there a guarantee they would find in within a single generation. If the main fleet were to fail, it was the data from this single fleet that would serve as the launching point for future policy and environment control. It would, as well, serve a secondary purpose in its' vast suite of survey tools and its' considerable staff of scientists and engineers - search for a livable planet on its' own.
It was a concept proposed by what remained of the Japanese government, developed in parallel to their primary colonization project. And for subjects, they'd turned to their prisons. They'd given them a simple choice - they could defer their sentence to exile aboard one of this expeditionary fleet or remain in their cells as the rest of humanity left them behind. What option that most of these prisoners had gone with goes without question, given Earth's state as the ships began to take off. Marshalled and policed by volunteer soldiers, this fleet of nine would disappear soon after the main fleet, parallel to its' journey yet not its' destination.
It is, of course, evident that neither of these scenarios came to light, and the purpose of this fleet suddenly quite in question - communication with the main fleet and navigation of the expedition fleet were solely the concern of the fleet's onboard networked intelligence, the Kusanagi AI. And somewhere along the long road, the former stopped being a concern for it. And whether or not it was an issue of technical error or perhaps something more sinister still a question mark, with little of the Kusanagi left to analyze.
The fleet continued its' journey aimlessly, with its' inhabitants oblivious to the main fleet's discovery. They would continue floating through space for the next two years, travelling through a nebula known simply as BK201. And it would be here that catastrophe would strike the flotilla - details are sketchy, though it's commonly believed that Kusanagi had simply guided the fleet into an ion storm, wreaking havoc on its' instruments and scattering the nine vessels over the nine planets that would form the Grand Houses. Nine planets which, against all odds, were capable of readily supporting life.
The survivors rallied around the fragments of the ships they'd landed with, salvaging what they could out of what was left of the technology that the shipwreck left behind. Protoclans emerged out of the communities that formed around their shipwrecks, dozens of them rallied largely by what remained of the military garrison in an attempt to establish order in the wake of the crash. Still, not many of these protoclans would survive the first year - contesting with not only the elements, but bands of raiders who's sprung up from many of the more dangerous prisoners, and armed with what remained of the onboard armory.
There was no question that a clan's success could be measured by how much of their host ship's technology they'd managed to collect. True enough, the 'winning' protoclans of the resultant chaos would be those who'd claimed the most significant technologies of the ship and marshalled most of the remaining scientists. Of particular note are the progenitors of the House Orihara and Kimigata, whom claimed the only surviving cores of the Kusanagi AI - and with it, far more knowledge and power than hundreds of other clans like them combined. Indeed, they would be among the first to discover that the galaxy had left them behind.
Many of these protoclans would subsume each other, forming larger and larger communities. The military survivors comfortably settling into a role of wardenship and authority among many of the living prisoners, They would provide security and direction, with the issue of manpower largely resting on the shoulders of the former inmates. It would be this relationship that would form the backbone of the noble/commoner dynamic that the Houses would soon be built on.
Where hundreds - perhaps thousands of these protoclans had once formed, only a few dozen would outlast its' competitors in the ensuing chaos; bands of soldiers and self-made nobles identifying under a single name - their lord, as it were. And all of them vying for greater and greater influence. That so much friction would soon develop between these clans, all who laid claim to poorly defined borders and nearly all sharing a singular ambition of dominance - some in the ostensible pursuit of unification and others simply for its' own sake, seemed inevitable. Salvaging what remained of the hiveships they'd come from, and pooling together their collective engineering experience, many of these protoclans would develop their own spaceships, almost immediately discovering the other survivors of the conflict spread out over a number of worlds. Coming into contact with each other for the first time, there was only one immediate reaction: conflict.
Locked in a sudden free-for-all between land and space, the Great War for Ascendence begun, claiming so many more protoclans in its' wake. It was in this war that so many generals would hone their art, every clan grinding each other away until merely nine remained - the Houses Orihara, Kimigata, Shirogane, Ryugamine, Heiwajima, Sonohara, Nakujima, Takeba, and Satonaka. Larger than they'd ever once been, claiming so many other clans and dragging them kicking and screaming into their respective folds. At the Great War's end, a new status quo would develop, in many ways entirely different from the former paradigm, but in many more nearly identical - in the stead of the dozens of protoclans scattered across a nebula would be the Grand Houses of the Rising Sun, and dominated (albeit unofficially) by the House Orihara - the de facto 'winner' of a war with no clearly defined verdict, as they'd managed a series of conquests to reclaim much of their lost territory, and much more with it.
As reputation would suggest, there were none among the nine satisfied with the status quo as it was. The Grand Houses would spend two decades locked in a series of episodes of conflict with time between filled by a state of overt cold war, culminating in the near-defeat and humiliation of the once dominant House Orihara at the hands of their rivals - the Kimigata. Nearly all of their territory was wrested away from them in the ensuing series of skirmishes, and forced to pay the Kimigata recompense for every soldier killed in the struggle. As a result, the clan falls quickly and very nearly into the realm of irrelevance. Few would expect any meaningful return to promenence given the totality of their defeat - not even the clan itself, resigning itself to a slow extinction at the hands of the Kimigata. As far as the other Houses were concerned, the nine Grand Houses just became eight.
Once well respected, the first Lord Orihara would end his own life, unable to cope with the shame of his marred legacy, leaving the affairs of the House to his only son, Hideki Orihara. A man every bit the ambitious chessmaster that his rivals were, and in many ways, much more than that. If there was one thing that the House Orihara had managed to keep close to its' chest, it was what it had recovered from the network core of the Kusanagi AI. The knowledge it had afforded had given the House an unmatched advantage over every other House in how much it had allowed them to advance their weapons and aeronautic research, though what many had long forgotten was among its' many other features - communication with the world outside their own corner of the galaxy.
It was through this conduit that Hideki had managed to discover the existence of HMVs - and more interestingly, the vast potential for devastation they held. Reaching out to the Empire at large (or at least, Erachin Industries), he invested most of his wealth and his credibility into commissioning and designing his own models. The initial mass production models would come in the form of modified Keller Frames. All the while plotting his return to the grander stage of the conflict that had dominated the nine Houses. Within a few years, he'd assembled and trained his own legion of HMVs and pilots, intending them to serve as the spearhead for what he called the Grand Reprise.
In less than a year, these HMVs manage to tear through enemy territory, reclaiming old lands and catching every other House off guard. By the end of the blitz, the House Orihara was larger than it ever was, and while the other Houses would quickly attempt to engineer their own HMVs, Orihara would once again solidy its' place as dominant force in the Rising Sun Cluster, and redefine warfare within the nebula.
The formation of the Empire would prompt the usually quite hostile Houses to convene for a summit on how to deal with it. There were few things that any two House would agree on, but the question of foreign influence in the nebula could count itself as one of them. They owed the galaxy at large nothing, as far as they were concerned, the Empire was brutish and ignorant - they'd forgotten about them while they prospered on war and circuses. More importantly, outside influence could spell disaster for their ironclad grip on society at large within the systems. They'd grown past resentment and fear, now they merely saw themselves beyond it.
There would be little gain to allowing the Empire, or indeed, any other factions purchase in the Rising Sun Cluster. The solution was simple - and as the summit closed, the Grand Houses signed a mutual representation pact, its' express purpose to reject foreign influence. This pact would call itself the Kitsune League, an ostensible show of solidarity against the many other nations which had claimed their place in the stars, largely serving as a thin veneer for a status quo that hadn't changed at all. A pretense vaguely paid lip service to in interstellar summits, yet nowhere else.
Life in the newly christened League would, however, continue unabated. And by that, the environment of constant deception and paranoia had changed little. All nine Houses would be locked in a holding pattern for many more years, with periods of back and forth warfare serving as the flashy foreground for a shadow war constantly being waged between the clans. And as dark as those shadows were, the Kitsune League was in fact much quieter than it had ever been since their crash landing, a period of uneasy 'peace' settling over the nebula.
This would be shattered, of course, a little more than twenty years later, with the disappearance of soon-to-be heiress of the House Orihara, Princess Kanade Orihara. In the midst of a crucial merger with once-rival House Kimigata, she'd disappeared without a word, and in fury, the House Orihara - under the assumption that the peace offer was nothing but so much chaff - blamed it on the Kimigata, launching a merciless reprisal against the House Kimigata, slaughtering any and everyone related to them in some way they could. In the aftermath of the war, merely a handful of survivors remained, and the House Kimigata effectively defunct. A microcosm of the hair trigger that the clans acted on, and with no more Kimigata representative, the inklings of overt war began stirring once again.
This disunity would soon prove to be their undoing; for all the rhetoric over the Kitsune League's ostensible objective (that was, to resist outside influence); with the suddenness and overwhelming force of the Reclaimer invasion, the Houses fell to chaos, and any semblence of mutual protection disintegrating as alien forces descended on the systems. Divided - and some even infighting - alongside the House's near-collective inability to adapt to the Reclaimer strategy led to their swift defeat. In the end, they'd fallen one after the other, the House Orihara fighting vainly yet stubbornly till the end met them. In the aftermath, there was little left of the Grand Houses of the Rising Sun but hot dust and cooked corpses.
Soon after the Reclaimers had dissolved, the Travesti Dominion retreated back to the Kitsune Systems. Despite the, stragglers still lingered between the cracks; most notably, the illusive Ushinawa . As those left on the cutting room floor, they'd survived and even prospered in the ruins of the Grand Houses. In the void that the once powerful League left behind, they'd emerged as consumnate survivors. Indeed, it was commonly whispered in the League's defeat, that only one true refuge for its' commoners still existed - the Sairentogaden was believed to be the single true safe haven. This was, of course, only half true - and the few who would reach it would be disappointed to discover that fact for themselves. Still, they'd managed and in some ways, prospered without the League - townships and villages would tithe them food and raw material in exchange for security and some semblence of authority. More still would flock to their ranks, though fewer would see admission.
A year later, Kanade Orihara would return to the League - reestablishing some level of order with the aid of the Ushinawa, seeking to reunify the scattered remnants of civilization and reforge the League. Joining the ronin themselves, a lengthy campaign began to eject the Travesti that lingered on the planet of Amaterasu; and at its' end, she would establish the Court of Nine Tails, and with it, resurrect the Kitsune League.
While forums for discussion and compromise existed in the former Kitsune League, to assume they were at all utilized as anything but paid lip-service to a superficial pact was laughable. In this way, what emerged after the war was nothing short of a total paradigm shift. In place of the Grand Houses. came the Court of Nine Tails' lead by the current Lord and Lady of the Court and aided by her nine appointed advisors. It's in this Court that representatives from the nine sects of the League, many of them former shades of the very Houses that once ruled the League. may appeal Court decisions or go to them for aid, make requests of the Lord and Lady, or otherwise raise their concerns and voice their suggestions. However, it's important to understand that the Kitsune League is by no means a democracy, despite its' flirtations with it. Decisions lay strictly at the feet of the Lord and Lady, and whether they heed any representative up to her discretion only.
Despite this, there are some decisions that even she won't feel equipped for - thus her nine advisors, each treading different territory. Appointed by Kanade herself, their stated purpose is solely in informing the Lord and Lady of information they may need to consider or recommend a course of action in a field they understand more than herself. To be more specific, the areas that these nine advise are include: Military Affairs, Economy, Intelligence, Domestic Affairs, Law, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, Science, and Education. Of course, regardless of where they specialize, any of her advisors are free to offer their perspective in new laws and Court appeals - their mission after all, is to allow the Lord and Lady of the Court make the most informed decision possible.
Of course, as much as she would like, she can't dictate everything about the League everywhere at once. At some point, the level of micromanagement necessary in keeping up with the hundreds of townships and villages would reach a point of absurdity. To this end, each village has its' Executor, and each province its' Magistrate. The former of which are tasked with managing 'mundane affairs' within the village they've been assigned, and more importantly, are required to send regular reports and census reports to their province's Magistrate, who's job is largely to compile these reports and census data into a single report, flag things of concern for the Lord and Lady to deal with, and contact village Executors over any irregularity in their reports. As with anyone, however, villagers are encouraged to make their way to the Court of Nine Tails (or even write, if need be) should they feel particularly dissatisfied about anything - including poor treatment from their village Executor or provincial Magistrate. Should enough complaint be thrown at any particular Executor or Magistrate, an investigative team are sent to assess the situation personally.
Not even a fifth as affluent as it once was, with most of its' infrastructure comprehensively devastated and more than ninety percent of former League territory and resources occupied by the Travesti Dominion, there's no question that the most positive word that could be said about the Kitsune League's economy following the Reclaimer War is recovering. That's not to say there haven't been significant gains in that recovery, though. Since the formation of the Court, the League has managed to land on its' feet - at least, relative to the situation it found itself in. Most of the nation's economy has been centralized on the planet of Amaterasu, which exists as the only uncontested realm of Kitsune influence in the sector since the Reclaimer War.
Still, despite that recovery, the League has seen minimal gains in its' national GDP and steadily escalating debt as it balances the demands of rebuilding their world and their infrastructure, and prosecuting a limited war against the Dominion in an effort to retake what has been colloquially called the 'Unforgotten Worlds', an expression of a very real and quite nationalistic desire to see the League whole and free from alien domination. That all said, that desire has undeniably hobbled economic recovery as costs of the war and demand for mercenary aid exponentially increase with each passing year, with the few military gains inconsequential at best.
The Kitsune League's primary exports are largely agrarian, namely, rice, and has enjoyed a number of informal, fairly profitable agreements with similarly devastated, but far less fertile nations left in the wake of the collapse of the Empire. And while it's woefully short on raw minerals, copper mined from Amaterasu's moon, Tsukoyomi Himiko, remains one of the nation's chief exports. Although the real secret to its' solvency comes in the form of its' gaining influence in the grey market - with so much the Travesti left behind in the retaking of the Amaterasu, the League has done what they can to get the most out of that cost of that retaking - it's an open secret that the League has been experimenting with Travesti weapons technology since the Court took shape, and regularly trades disassembled salvage and the results of those experiments with other nations, primarily NEDA and the New Ossyrian Republic.
Largely motivated by the growth of both its' military and infrastructural demands, the Kitsune League's main imports come in the form of silicon, HMVs, processed titanium, energy reactors, mercenaries, other soldiers of fortune, machinery, equipment, and foodstuffs.
Prior to its' fall, the Kitsune League was infamous among the international community for their isolationist policy and toxic foreign comminucation - the joke among many Empire diplomats was that, out of all the great nations in Mjolnir, it was only the Kitsune who would greet you as they would a brother - that was to say, with a knife in the back. Of course, with the installation of the Court of Nine Tails, this paradigm has changed significantly. Since the fall of the old order, the League has made pains to make overtures towards friendly (at least, relative to their original position) coexistence. Although some would argue this is less a result of a major change in attitudes versus simple necessity - with the fall of the old order, the League is no longer particularly self-sufficient, and as such, can no longer afford its' poisonous relations with many other foreign entities. As such, it's rescinded and reformed many of the former restrictions forced on foreign corporations and immigrants in an effort to make the League more attractive for foreign investment.
Still, old habits die hard. As a member of the international community, the Kitsune League is non-commital and rather infamous for its' absolute refusal to cooperate or sign any manner of security pact or treaty - which it views as a gateway to dependency. It's never committed forces to a peacekeeping initiative and rarely chooses to participate in international sanctions if they do not absolutely fit their agenda.
Finding a common enemy in the Travesti Dominion, the Kitsune League has held out something of an olive branch towards them since its' rebirth. It trades regularly with its' member nations, and a large portion of its' exports and imports come to and from NEDA territories - while it's never signed a treaty formalizing any real trade agreement, it's generally accepted that NEDA counts itself as a preferential trade partner, if nothing else. That all said, the Kitsune League has been careful to keep NEDA at arms length; it refuses to allow the passage or deployment of NEDA military assets or bases into its' territory. It practices something of an 'enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy' philosophy. They may have offered an olive branch, but they made certain to barb it with thorns.
While its' found a plethora of trading partners within NEDA, the UAFM counts itself as an entirely different story. Relations between the two entities are chilled, at best. Even before the conception of the Nine Grand Houses, to call aliens unpopular by most of the Kitsune League would be something of an understatement. Now, the very sight of them provokes toxic reactions by even some of the most politically and socially estranged of the League. The League has never seen a meaningful distinction in the disparate representative species in the Reclaimers, and to be frank, they've never really cared to. As far as most in the League are concerned, they are either implicitly or explicitly at fault for the collapse of the former League and the death of hundreds of millions. The UAFM's domination of the grey market (for obvious reasons), a sector that the Kitsune League has been gaining some degree of influence in, has done little to smooth relations over. Still, flighty and arrogant as she is, the Lady of the Court hasn't advanced domestic sentiment on the international stage - as such, the relationship is not entirely poisonous, but neither side care to open up a meaningful level of discourse between one another.
Perhaps the most defining foreign entanglement in the League is the war against the Travesti. The League refuses to recognize Skarian Sector, and has been in a state of declared war since the invasion began - when the Court of Nine Tails formed, the declaration was not rescinded, it was formalized. While a majority of what counts for the Kitsune League's standing army (that's to say, the Ushinawa) remain on Amaterasu, the Kitsune League has been funding and organizing missions of volunteer units and paying hundreds of thousands of mercenaries in retaliatory strikes on the former Kitsune Systems. While the miserable campaign hasn't seen anything approaching a major gain since the Travesti retreated off of Amaterasu, public approval of the war is incredibly high - just about the only thing much of the former Houses can agree on. It's an ugly war, and a war that the Travesti to date, have seemed to almost completely ignore, but each year, the League puts more and more of itself into it.
Discourse between Lykofos and the Kitsune League are cordial, though distant. The two nations are not so dissimilar in many ways - both isolationist to one degree or the other, and both believing themselves distinct from the human species at large. Though it's perhaps for this reason that neither nation cares much for the other. They maintain few trade connections, aside from acting as a client for Ushinawa ronin or ninja should the whimsies of some noble on the planet demand their talents, and exchange fewer words. Which is probably for the best, all things considered.
Like just about every other nation in the galaxy, the Kitsune League doesn't really share a particularly close relationship with the New Ossyrian Republic. Much like NEDA, NOR serves as among the biggest of the Kitsune League's clients in their sale of disassembled or otherwise salvaged Travesti technology found pulled from wrecked city blocks or floating in Amaterasu's orbit, though much like NEDA, the Kitsune League has made sure to keep that the extent of their relationship. Far more salient, in regards to their connections to each other, lay not with the government itself, but Hayakawa Technologies - it's an open secret that the Lady of the Court has at least one friend (if one could call anyone she'd know as a 'friend') in the upper echelon of the corporation, and as such, has found itself privy to the general happenings in the corporation's (and by extention, the nation's) R&D department.
If the Lord and Lady of the Court could be considered the mind of the Kitsune, and her advisors the senses, the Ushinawa would be the fangs; the League now as much a part of it as it is a part of the League. In the aftermath of the Reclamation War, it would come to a surprise few individuals that it was the Ushinawa that had thrived, the consummate survivors of a war that had purged what had once cast them aside. That they, the betrayed, the dishonoured, and the exiles of a society that cast them out would come to inherit it. Another grim irony in the ultimate fate of the former League.
It was with this in mind that it was the Ushinawa that Kanade had sought out in her return to the Kitsune Systems. After all, if there was anything that Lady Kanade Orihara had learned in her three years of self-declared exile, it was the value of mercenaries.
At present, they are the de facto military force of the Kitsune League; though the informality of such an arrangement is evident, most Ushinawa are afforded a great deal of autonomy in regards to their actions on the battlefield and their choice in mecha - they’re a military in name only. Of course, that’s not to say that the lack of strict regimentation and loose hierarchy doesn’t have its’ own advantages. The Ushinawa specialize in the unconventional, it was how they survived the League, and it’s how they survived its’ collapse - a trait that served them especially well in surviving the Travesti, wherein the disparity in their might was plainly obvious. Much rather in contrast to the complex rules of engagement that dictated ‘honourable’ war in the former Kitsune League, the Ushinawa hold no such reservations. In battle, the only objective is victory, preferably done with as few heroic sacrifices as possible. War is to be fought on their terms if possible, which means a central focus on unconvential warfare.
Still, they're by no means anything like a real military - at the end of the day, they are what they are, and what they are happen to be mercenaries. They're bound by their contracts, and the arrangement they share with the League simply a very complex one. There's nothing that specifically binds any one ronin to the League, and nothing that keeps them from simply leaving for a better contract. Still, the Lord and Lady makes pains to ensure something close to harmony in how the two sides compliment each other - after all, should she lose the Ushinawa, she would lose most of what allowed her claim to the League. As a result, it's difficult to define the Ushinawa as an army. There are no organized regiments or divisions beyond informally recognized cadres and no real oversight in terms of organization and distribution, absolutely no standardization of equipment, and the closest thing to a uniform is some visible marking, article of clothing, band, accessory, or charm denoting the kokuga - the black flower of the Ushinawa.
Aside from their obvious duties as de facto soldiers in the new League, it must be remembered that the Ushinawa are in equal part a society of spies, as assassins, and saboteurs. As such, they serve an essential, and remarkably unflappable (one must remember most Ushinawa were victims of the very same plots) role in the field of intelligence and espionage. After all, while the League may have been born anew, the attitudes of many of its’ new members would not follow suit. Resentment, envy, and dissatisfaction are all too common among the nobles of the court, and even among many of the peasantry; and as such, a threat of assassination, of blackmail, of dissent constantly hangs over the head of the Lord and Lady; and as such, counter-intelligence quickly becomes necessary in subverting such plots. In that same vein, Lady Orihara rarely travels far without an escort of guards, all hailing from the Ushinawa, and all selected from the very same cabal of ronin chosen to guard the Grand Headmaster.
Aside from this, perhaps their most visible contribution to the League at present center around enforcement. Ushinawa are hardly an uncommon sight wandering the streets of any particular village, and when it comes to chasing down killers, thieves, or anything in-between, there are few better.