Isawa Taeruko 
Isawa Taeruko 
Born: (c. 1110
Died: 1165, Month of the Dog [1] 
Spouse: Isawa Hikaru 
Children: Isawa Yaruko 
Titles: Master of Earth

Isawa Taeruko, cousin of Isawa Tadaka, and Isawa Tomo, [2] was appointed Master of Earth by Naka Kuro almost immediately after the Second Day of Thunder.

Demeanor Edit

Most of the time Taeruko was a wise and moderating force, calm, serene, and unopposable. She was also quite stubborn and never forgot a grudge, when she exposed her fearsome temper. [3]

Clan WarEdit

In 1126 after Matsu Gohei recovered Toshi Ranbo from the Crane, he ordered to march toward Nikesake, a small Phoenix city near the Lion border under the command of Shiba Katsuda. Shiba Tsukune sent a young Taeruko alongside twenty four more shugenja to reinforce the defenders. The Phoenix held at bay the attackers, sending a message to Gohei: If Lion would bring war to the Phoenix, they must be prepared to face the consequences. [4]

Master of Earth Edit

In 1128 Taeruko was appointed by the Grand Master of the Elements Naka Kuro. [5] Taeruko at that time was idealistic and kept her fiery temper closely guarded, taking decisions guided by compassion. [6]

Agasha Defection Edit

The Agasha told Taeruko about Hitomi's madness, and the Phoenix promised shelter under his banner if they wished. [7] In 1131 the Agasha left the Dragon Clan. [8]

War against Shadow Edit

Isawa Taeruko 2

Isawa Taeruko

Hidden Heart of Iuchiban Edit

In 1132 Taeruko helped Naka Kuro in defeating the bloodspeaker Asako Kaushen and retrieving the heart of Iuchiban, which ultimately would prove to be his downfall. [9]

Mantis Invasion of the Phoenix Lands Edit

The same year Yoritomo invaded the Phoenix lands and Taeruko gathered Phoenix forces in Gisei Toshi led by Shiba Tetsu. In the [[Imperial Court] the Imperial Advisor Kakita Yoshi had listened the Mantis Claim from Yoritomo Hogosha, and the Phoenix were isolated. [7]

The Shadows Edit

Shortly after the Scorpion Clan was returned to Rokugan the Phoenix Clan Champion, Shiba Tsukune, suffered an assassination attempt. Taeruko killed the intruder an as the corpse's face was fading, they realized he was a Goju Ninja, and believed the Scorpion were connected with the event. [10]

Death of Onnotangu and Amaterasu Edit

Taeruko felt as though Amaterasu had abandoned them and that Rokugan had been forsaken by the Tao, allowing the Shadow to grow darker across the Empire. She believed it was the time to set aside destiny and choose the future. [11]

Shiba Tsukune Edit

Ryoshun had given to Shiba Tsukune the bloodsword Ambition. She became compelled by it to raise her voice against the Elemental Masters, in the end cleaving their meeting table in half demanding a sixth place at the table. The masters calmed her down and the wakizashi was taken from her and placed in Gisei Toshi. [12] [13]

Race to Volturnum Edit

Taeruko fought in the War Against Shadow [14] and was part of the Phoenix army that marched toward Volturnum in 1133. An army of oni led by Akuma no Oni blocked their way and Unicorn, Lion and Phoenix forces fought together. Taeruko shattered the earth, casting down the oni and allowing the Empire armies passage over corpses crushed by solid rock. [15]

The Incomplete Council Edit

During the fighting the incomplete Council of Five planned to magically transport entire legions of armies directly to Volturnum, without having to first fight through the ranks of Goju and oni that stood in their way. The spell had been lost to Isawa Tsuke's destruction, but Hochiu had wrested the lost knowledge from the mad spirit's mind at Morikage's battle with his father. The ritual required five Masters, but the council had no one to stand for Water. They decided to attempt the ritual anyway, but it did not work as planned. It was saved only by the intervention of the returned spirit of Isawa Tomo, who completed the ritual as he added the necessary Water to the balance. [16]

The Fight Edit

Through the course of the ritual in the Shi-Khan Wastes, Shiba Tsukune, Shiba Raigen and eight other bushi guarded the Masters. The raging battle quickly overtook them once the Masters began the ritual, the demons of the Shadowlands and the Shadow sensing the magic. The ten bushi were quickly joined by three cavalry from the Lion Clan armies, led by Matsu Mori. While the shugenja created their ritual, the bushi fended off waves of mujina, Oni no Ugulu spawn, and Goju Shadowmancers. [16]

Destruction and Salvation Edit

Tsukune and her fellows were badly injured or dead as the Goju exploded into ash. She managed to call to the Soul of Shiba forming a protective shield around the remaining samurai on the field, saving them from death. The shield came just in time for the ritual to spin out of control and then be saved by Tomo. The Masters stepped through the portal that formed into Volturnum. [16]

Oblivion's Gate Edit

Battle of Oblivion's Gate Edit

The gates of the city were broken, and the Empire armies rushed into the city. But the Council of Five kept the inner city gates closed, avoiding the shadows from within it to join the battle in the streets. A legion of oni and beasts of the Taint slaughtered the armies outside the city; if the armies within the inner city were released, there would be no hope for the samurai of the Empire. [17]

Returned Spirits Edit

Agasha Gennai saw a glow shining within the inner city, an army of Returned Spirits. Volturnum inner city was filled with Fu Leng's diseased power, and the Taint was as strong as the Shadows. Gennai ordered Taeruko to raise a path from the city down to those on the field and kept it clear of oni. At the same time Isawa Hochiu suppressed the Shadows within the gate. Shiba Ningen opened the gate of inner Volturnum and the ancestors from Yomi and Toshigoku began to emerge from it, led by the Emperor Toturi I himself. Ningen closed again the gates to remain the Goju could not enter the outer city. The armies charged past the city gate, launching themselves from the hopeless battle in the city down toward the great plain where Shadow and Shadowlands alike fought to destroy the armies of the Empire. [17]

Adorai's Death Edit

Taeruko kept the gates closed. If the gate would fall the Shadow would trap the Empire armies below. The Dragon of Air appeared to allow Hochiu to reach city's heart, with Shiba Seiko as yojimbo. Ningen opened one more time the inner gates and the Dragon of Air transported them thorugh the corrupted inner city, allowing itself to become corrupted so that the Hochiu and his yojimbo could reach the Master of Darkness, Goju Adorai. Seiko used his training as Shosuro Actress to deceive Adorai, allowing Hochiu to reach the sorcerer for a mortal blow. It led in the destruction of the Lying Darkness [17] and the end of the War Against Shadow.

Married Edit

Shortly after the Battle of Oblivion's Gate she married [3] Isawa Hikaru. [5] She had a single child, who born the same day as Toturi Tsudao in 1136, Isawa Yaruko. [3] Her husband was slained by Yobanjin raiders in 1145 and Taeruko never remarried. [5]

Death of her Daughter Edit

During the War of Spirits, the armies of Hantei XVI took the children of the Phoenix Clan to force the Phoenix Clan Champion Shiba Tsukune to side with the Hantei. In order to convince the Phoenix, the Hantei ordered to kill one of the children, who ended to be Isawa Yaruko, daughter of Taeruko and wife-to-be of Tsukune's son, Shiba Aikune. [18] [19]

This episode made Taeruko bear a grudge against Aikune during her whole life, as well as with Isawa Nakamuro, friend of Aikune who tried to save Yaruko too, for he was secretly in love with her. [3] However, in her own soul Taeruko recognized the fact that she could never forgive Aikune and Nakamuro not because they failed to protect her daughter, but because as a Master of Earth one of her duties was to be an example of unyielding character and permanence for her people. [citation needed]

Tamori hatred Edit

Shaitung and Taeruko

Taeruko's hatred for Tamori Shaitung

Taeruko hunted Tamori personally for years, but he eluded her and disappeared at the the of the War of Spirits. [3] Taeruko was enraged with the deeds of the Dark Oracle of Fire, Agasha Tamori, against Phoenix. She blamed on Tamori's daughter, Tamori Shaitung, as well. [20] After the two exchanged heated words at a Winter Court, the dislike turned Into mutual hatred. [21]

War of Fire and Snow Edit

Ide Tadaji believed that, while Taeruko's hatred for Tamori Shaitung had not started the Dragon-Phoenix War, it certainly helped fuel it. [22]

Shaitung Faced the Masters Edit

In 1159 Shaitung duelled the Elemental Masters, defeating them in an all-or-nothing attack. The six shugenja were swallowed up by the earth where, under the crust of the earth, they encountered Shaitung's father, Tamori. Now the Dark Oracle of Fire, it was revealed that he had caused the volcanic eruptions that instigated the Dragon-Phoenix War. [23]

Imprisoned Edit

Taeruko and Isawa Hochiu attacked the Dark Oracle, and Shaitung supported them, but Tamori unleashed a wave of lava to crush the Masters. Isawa Riake sacrificed herself to make a protective ice shield that saved Shiba Ningen, Isawa Hochiu and an unconscious Taeruko, while Shaitung and Isawa Nakamuro escaped the tunnels intact. The remaining three masters were sealed in a stone prison by the Oracle, where Ningen merged their spirits with the Void, placing them into a deep slumber. They would exist in stasis until they were awakened. [24] Eventually Hochiu and Taeruko were able to cut their way to the surface [25] in the month of the Rooster. [26]

Oracles Edit

Taeruko researched the Oracles of Light and Dark seeking their weakness, with the aid of an expert on them, Nakamuro. Taeruko made peace with the Master of Air and admitted that Shaitung might be an ally against Tamori. [3]

The Broken Council Edit

The Elemental Council was broken, with one Master a Dragon hostage and the Master of Water vacant, while Shiba Aikune used the Wish to lay a strong claim for Phoenix rulership. The Masters held a meeting to elect the new Master of Water when Aikune magically entered the forbidden room, and claimed to their equal, as his mother had done before him. [27]

A Black Scroll Recovered Edit

In 1159 Kitsune Ryosei recovered the tenth Black Scroll from the City of the Lost, after she hunted her father, Kitsune Gohei. She then journeyed to Gisei Toshi and gave the scroll to Isawa Maasaki. Taeruko was informed immediately. [28] [27]

New Master of Water Edit

To seal a treaty between the Phoenix and Crane Clans, Doji Akiko became Master of Water in 1159 [29] nominated by Taeruko. [30]

Aikune's Retreat Edit

In 1160 while the Council, included its new member Akiko but without Isawa Hochiu who died facing the Dark Oracle of Fire, where dealing a trade treaty with Yasuki Naosuke, Aikune rushed again in the chamber. He told the Elemental Masters his decision to use the power of the Wish against Fu Leng and left. The next thing Taeruko knew of Aikune was that an explosion devastated the Temple of the Last Wish, and Aikune with the Wish were disappeared. Aikune was alive, but shamed. He had commanded the Wish to magically march to Tengoku, being rebufed by the Wish who became uncontrolled, and caused the explosion. The Wish was afraid of the Kami who killed his father Isawa. Aikune had came with the Wish into exile. [29]

Aged Taeruko Edit

Taeruko drew upon the spirits of earth to maintain youthful vigor even into her old age. [31]

Rain of Blood Edit

In 1165 Taeruko and the rest of the council were warned of the Rain of Blood and decided to only advise the Emperor and the Crane Clan. The Phoenix Shugenja coordinated a ritual that protected the Phoenix lands of the Rain. [32]

Hidden City Edit

The four Isawa Masters were summoned in the Grove of the Five Masters. What they would discuss was not for Ningen's ears. Shiba Ningen was the only Elemental Master who was not Isawa, and there was only one secret the other Masters kept from him, Gisei Toshi, the Hidden City. Agasha Hamanari, the Phoenix prophet, had had another vision regarding blood, hammer, and the hidden city. The Masters understood that Yajinden, the bloodspeaker smither, had contacted with Ambition, the Bloodsword he had crafted centuries ago, which was kept at Gisei Toshi. There were many powerful nemuranai in the city, and even two Black Scrolls. Nakamuro was outvoted, he lobbied for asking aid and sharing the knowledge of the city, while the rest voted to maintain the secrecy and defend the city in the Siege of Gisei Toshi, or destroy the city if it was not possible. [33]

Taeruko's Sacrifice Edit

Taeruko died in the Grove of the Five Masters at Kyuden Isawa, sacrificing herself to complete a ritual made by the rest of the Maters and Naka Tokei. The spell stopped the immense oni Kusatte Iru, unleashed by Iuchiban as distraction while the Bloodspeaker carried out his true plans at Gisei Toshi. [34]

See also Edit

External Links Edit


  1. Four Winds, p. 107
  2. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 52
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 53
  4. Player's Guide: 2nd Ed, pp. 40-41
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Masters of Earth, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  6. Hidden Emperor, p. 46
  7. 7.0 7.1 Clan Letter to the Phoenix #10 (Imperial Herald v3 #2)
  8. Hidden Emperor, p. 14
  9. Legions, Part IV, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  10. Within Your Soul (Honor Bound flavor)
  11. The Sun in Shadow (Ambition's Debt flavor)
  12. The Broken Blade (Eternal Halls of Shiba, story-back - Soul of the Empire)
  13. Final Words (Fire and Shadow flavor)
  14. Secrets of the Phoenix, p. 52
  15. The Race to Volturnum: Phoenix
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Race to Volturnum, by Ree Soesbee
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Voices: The Final Days of Oblivion's Gate, by Ree Soesbee
  18. The Dark Oracle of Fire, Part I, by Shawn Carman
  19. Clay Soldiers (Spirit Wars flavor)
  20. Nemesis (Gold flavor)
  21. Art of the Duel, p. 53
  22. Flee the Darkness (Gold flavor)
  23. Way of the Samurai, p. 96
  24. Imprisoned
  25. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #18 (Imperial Herald v2 #3)
  26. Imperial Histories 2, p. 204
  27. 27.0 27.1 Visions of Flame (Season of the Phoenix)
  28. Clan Letter to the Phoenix #20 (Imperial Herald v2 #5)
  29. 29.0 29.1 Broken Wishes, by Rich Wulf
  30. Arrow of Purity (Fall of Otosan Uchi flavor)
  31. The Last Rememberer, Part Two, by Rich Wulf
  32. Blood Dawn, Part VII: Soul of the Phoenix, by Rich Wulf
  33. Fires of the Hidden City, part 1, by Rich Wulf
  34. Fires of the Hidden City, Part 5, by Rich Wulf

Sources Conflict
The sources relating to this article are in conflict with each other.
Secrets of the Phoenix page 53 claims that Taeruko's husband died shortly after his daughter was born, 1136. But the fiction Masters of Earth put that date in 1145, which a consider more accuracy.

Preceded by:
Isawa Tadaka
Master of Earth
1128 - 1165
Succeeded by:
Isawa Sachi

Phoenix This Phoenix Clan related article is a stub. That means that it has been started, but is incomplete. You can help by adding to the information here.