|Please note: This article is about the fifth century hero of the Phoenix Clan. For other uses of the term, please see Shiba Kaigen (disambiguation).|
Shiba Kaigen was one of the most outstanding samurai in the history of the Phoenix Clan. His knowledge of spellcraft was unmatched among bushi, and it allowed him to hold a pass against a Lion Clan army with a small and vastly outmatched unit.
Kaigen and Strategy Edit
Kaigen was a skillful warrior who gained status and stature within his clan, and he spent studying treatises and scrolls devoted to spellcraft.  Growing among the shugenja of the Phoenix, as all Shiba Bushi do, Kaigen learned much of the way of the shugenja and their worth in combat. More so than many of his contemporaries, however, he took the lessons learned form the shugenja to heart. This led him to be an intriguing leader, as his strategies were unorthodox and he was very apt at combining magical and military force. 
Treacherous Pass Edit
In his final assignment, Kaigen was a Taisa placed in charge of the garrison of men guarding Treacherous Pass,  a remote mountain pass on the southern borders of the Phoenix Clan's lands, just north of Otosan Uchi. During his command there, his men found themselves facing an invading army of Lion Clan samurai. They were vastly outnumbered, but Kaigen knew that they must hold the pass long enough for word to reach the Isawa family, else the Lion could win an easy victory by taking their clansmen completely unaware.
Kaigen used his unorthodox strategies, counterspells, and the power of the kami to bolster their defenses. He and his men fought valiantly and managed to hold the pass, though at the cost of their own lives.  The recovered Phoenix army marched into Treacherous Pass forcing the disorganized Lion army to with draw. Itagi's army was harried all the way back to the Lion-Phoenix border.  In response, the Gozoku Leader Shiba Gaijushiko brought the full power of his alliance to bear on the Lion, forcing the Lion Clan Champion Matsu Itagi to largely halt further aggression within the Empire,  which effectively ended the Second Lion-Phoenix War. 
In the ancestral records of the Phoenix Clan, Kaigen became known as One Man Alone in honor of his achievement and sacrifice. His descendants were proud of his death, and were always ready to do the same, should the need arise. Because of their ancestor's sacrifice, these descendants were allowed to spend a year in the schools of the Isawa Shugenja studying spellcraft from their sensei, allowing them a much greater understanding of the abilities of shugenja, and a greater capacity for using those capabilities in battle, as well as a greater understanding of how to successfully oppose the magical forces of their enemies. 
There was no specific day set aside for a festival to honor Kaigen. Instead, all Phoenix, when crossing the Treacherous Pass, stop at the most narrow point to shout Kaigen's oath: "My breath I give to the Phoenix!" 
See also Edit
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