The time for words has passed. Now there will be fire.
— Hestia Bygate before the march on Estverde, 108 AA1
The Age of Awakening, 5700 ARe - 5900 ARe.
The average age for humans on Aqualon living in moderate conditions with access to health care is aroung 170 years thanks to the Great Clockwork's "Gift of Long Life"
"The Westerners hate the honored Lady Hestia, certainly, but not for her deeds at the Battle of Estverde, no.
It is their own propaganda from those old days they have swallowed like hapless koi, mouths hungry for any scraps they can swallow.
Did not the honored Lady Hestia bring the gift of flame to Yamato? Did she not draw maps of intricate detail and write poetry of subtle beauty? Did she not rule the Jô'oo province with diligence and great skill?
Jô'oo Hestia is one of the Kingdom's greatest heroes, and the blemish put on her great name by the political phlegm spat by lesser men disgusts me."
— Jô'oo Kyôma 門近凶真, 390 GE3
The Age of Gears and Elements, 6220 ARe (After the Reshaping) - Today.
Diverging Perspectives of History
A Modern Reexamination of the Jô'oo Clan
Judging by classic historians' views, one may be inclined to think: "The Jô'oo Clan; surely they are a house of ruthless warriors and mages."
After all, what else might one expect from the Yamato clan founded by that most infamous military leader and mass murderer, Hestia Bygate
Well, to understand the Jô'oo, one must look to the entirety of Hestia's life. Before fleeing to the Yamato Kingdom
, the former shrine maiden to the Bonfire Shrine
had been a scholar, a teacher, even a member of the esteemed Firewatch, protecting the Middle Lands
. Only when she brought the fire magic
of the Tarkaal Region to the Yamato Emperor did her career as a military leader and instructor of fire mages begin.
She founded her house with the blessing and support of the Emperor, and to her successors she passed on a strong tradition of discipline, high education, spirituality, and powerful magic. The Jô'oo are often described as "fierce and clever" in the journals of Taira
Takezô (ca. 185 AA) and "enlightened scholars" in the personal notes of Yoshitsune
Hibiki (ca. 198 AA). Kumamoto
Takeshi was cited by his peers to have called the Jô'oo "great warriors with the left hand of a mighty bear and the right hand of a clever fox" (ca. 22 AH4
The Age of Heroes, 5900 ARe - 6220 ARe, also known as "The Great War".
These varied accounts paint a much richer tapestry than the demonized image held in the mind of classical western historians. Indeed, the shadow cast by the Mad Magus Hestia on the Jô'oo Clan is often viewed more as a halo of light by the Yamato People, who generally see the destroyer of Estverde as admirable rather than despicable, citing her many achievements for the Kingdom.
- Eric Jargon in "The Clans of Yamato", 1642 GE
The Founding of the Jô'oo Clan
When Hestia Bygate was declared Daikan (Governor) of the Easternmost Provinces by emperor Taira Asshoumaru 平圧勝丸, she was permitted to found her own clan by imperial decree.
She accomplished this by marrying a captain of her own Ryûga Order, Yayoi Kennosuke, who belonged to a wealthy but politically insignificant house. She absorbed the Yayoi family under her new banner, the banner of Bygate, and arranged for a number of political marriages to consolidate a total of five families of minor to near-significant political standing, amassing an impressive household and various assets throughout the Kingdom, on the back of which she established an impressive clan, backed by the support of the powerful Taira Clan.
Within a mere two decades, Hestia had created a powerful Yamato clan out of nothing but prestige and ingenuity, hand-crafting a significant power in the ancient kingdom.
- From "A History of the Ages - Vol. 4, The Age of Awakening"
Jô'oo the Ruthless
The meteoric rise to power of the infamous Jô'oo Clan of the Yamato Kingdom during the Age of Awakening has baffled historians for centuries, considering the traditionally xenophobic nature of the Kingdom and the foreign founder of the clan. But if one examines the practices of Hestia and her successors more closely, a picture begins to form.
Through ruthless political campaigns, hostile takeovers, defamation campaigns, and character assassinations, Hestia elbowed her way into a delicate balance between venerable houses of an ancient kingdom. Using political tensions between these clans against them, she and her direct successors divided and conquered the political landscape of Yamato with ruthless efficiency.
Today they are growing ever closer to leveraging their way out of the Taira's control, and with their iron-fast grip on the now divided Yoshitsune Clan, their position in the modern power structure of the Yamato Kingdom grows ever more solidified and significant.
With the destructive and immoral tendencies of their founding mother ingrained in their creeds and their traditions, they pose a significant threat to the stability of the Kingdom and may yet lead to its downfall.
- Taira Kenmu 平研武, 634 GE
Clan Structure and Assets
The Jô'oo Clan is comprised of a total of seven families, one core family, the Jô'oo family, and six branch families, which are the Hinamoto, Kaigen, Yamanori, Kawa'ake, Denkuro, and Zaigen.
The branch families swear absolute fealty to the core family and in turn enjoy the protection and auspices of the powerful Jô'oo Clan name. Though working closely together to secure the political standing of the clan, the different families have different iemoto (house arts and secrets), and specialize in various fields, garnering the clan with a versatile portfolio.
The Jô'oo Clan Family Tree