The Dominion of Lightning (雷の国, Kaminari no Kuni) is located on a peninsula north and is one of the great nations of the western continent. Its government leader is the Lightning Daimyō. In the centre of the country are vast mountain ranges, whose many thunderstorms are said to give the country its name. From these mountain ranges, many rivers flow to the sea, creating a very crooked coastline that displays an impressive oceanic beauty. There are many hot springs located within the country.
Formation of the Lightning Country
The formation of the Lightning officially started at 390 but it had been a century of work of the Ranzaki dynasty. With marriages with powerful clans and factions present on the northern peninsula, the Ranzaki dynasty managed to secure allies, influence and power. Expanding rapidly around them they would attempt to form the Lightning country in order to put an end to the constant warring of its clans. This didn't go as smooth as the Ranzaki had hoped for, leading that the official formation only occurred at 394.
Once the country had been formed the Ranzaki started to focus on their internal politics. Unlike many other countries, the feudal lord of the country had to deal with not only settled clans and groups but also with nomads. Various times it would slow down the progress of the plans and plots of the Ranzaki to evaluate their nation to one of the most powerful in the known world. Eventually, they managed and even started to have their own Hidden Village, called Kumogakure.
The foundation of Kumogakure saw a rise in the military power of the Lightning country. Starting to form a slightly more organised military the dynasty, however, started to become less efficient rulers. Many at the time who noticed the rise of decadence blamed it on the fact that the daimyo and his relatives were starting to enjoy too much of the luxurious life. As long as wealth flowed into the coffins and nothing seemed to go wrong the ruling daimyo didn't do much to improve the situation of either their country or of their subjects. Clans and nomads started to enjoy more autonomy, just paying tax and offering some resources to the ruling dynasty to be able to mind their own business. Not many were opposed to the freedom but from time to time there were various factions that tried to lobby the ruling dynasty to improve matters. If successful at their attempts, the lobbyists would only gain it temporarily.
Even during The Great War, the Lightning country seemed to be more ruled by its clans and the Raikage than the daimyo. Content with their situation they only briefly intervened with sending their own forces when the war didn't seem to go well for the Lightning.
The Ranzaki Succession Crisis
In 476 a succession crisis arose in the north. Talking about bad timing as various odd and troublesome events happened. In Kumogakure, the Fifth Raikage and the other higher ups were battling against a mysterious organisation that clearly was intending on ending their lives. Yasuhide had been assassinated, his oldest son - Keitaro went with the wind and the sickly youngest remaining being put on the throne. With a regency council formed by Aki and a mysterious monk going by the name Kata. Proclaiming that Keitaro had murdered his father and went into hiding, Aki declared that he should be marked as a traitor and be hunted down.
The civil strife that dawned on the Lightning country was the start of a series of dire battles and events. While the civil war didn't last longer than a few months, it would be enough to leave a trail of blood and destruction behind it. While it was a tragic time for most, some saw an opportunity and greedily jumped to join a particular side.
After several key-battles and sieges, the civil strife was concluded the civil war would ebb away. Chronicled in the annals of history, the nation itself would start to focus on the important campaign in the east. But also to rebuild itself. Underneath the leadership of Keitaro Ranzaki, the nation would start several reforms - in order to maintain its sovereignty and deter powerful rivals from attempting anything.
The military of the Lightning dominion seems to be based on virtues of honour and loyalty. While the dominion lacks a set of true conscription laws, it has no shortcomings of men and women that are willing to fight and bleed for the independence of the North. Many foreigners frown and mock the fact that there is so much freedom for the common soldier to just take his leave whenever he desires but a true Northerner won't flee from a fight. As stalwart as the mountains themselves, the force of the Lightning country has stood through various obstacles. Only to emerge stronger from them.
The Lightning's military differs from many other nations, aside from their recruitment of new troops. Whereas most countries with a kage-daimyo system have the kage to be the head of the military, the Lightning daimyo stands at the head of the northern military. The Raikage is still a prominent office of command within the regime but with the new reforms to the nation, the Lightning daimyo has once more taken the reigns of many matters into their own hands.
As such there are three distinct military forces. The largest is the Banners of the North, which seems to compose most of the nation's forces - underneath the command of the daimyo and its council. Then follow the various military forces of the clans, that are technically underneath the command of the daimyo due to their clan's oath to the crown. Aside from that, there are the Raikage's forces, which has been restructured slightly to dampen the chance of the Raikage forming a direct challenge to the Lightning daimyo. Then the smallest consists out of the elite units that form the Daimyo's Guard.
The largest military force within the Dominion of Lightning. The Banners of the North are considered the line of defence against any serious internal or external threat against the Lightning - most likely because of it being the largest military formation underneath the Daimyo's command.
The clans are technically at the command of the Lightning Daimyo due to their oath of fealty. Most clans tend to have a military force of their own, forged because of necessity and kept because of convenience. The Northern Clans indeed tend to be entirely independent of nature, making it a challenging task to get them to work together; however, once they are present on the battlefield, they make up for a terrifying force of arms.
Traditionally, the Raikage was the head of the military - only required to answer to the Daimyo. This has changed drastically after the flaws of the Sixth Raikage, causing the Dominion of Lightning to adapt to a more responsible system swiftly. These days, the Raikage forces tend to be smaller and just focused on internal affairs - needing to answer the new tribune of noble commanders and leaders.
- The Daimyo's Guard
Each of these guard units has different methods of recruitment and objectives. For these men and women, the smallest, most elite and disciplined forces within the North are putting their lives on the line to defend that of the Daimyo and other important people. Yet they are considered the cream the la crop of the Northern's military.
The Dominion of the Lightning is a marvellous place. The nation posses various cities that are the pride and result of engineering advancements as the diligence of its populace. But with a large nomadic populace, it is no surprise that some important sites tend to be more settled into nature than cities itself.
This list is in alphabetical order, not in order of importance!
Located in the far north, within the domain of the Sanosuke clans, the city of Arkanes is a thriving trade centre. From the city, the Sanosuke clan exchange in trade with the likes of the Saemund. But it is also one of the major ports from which the Sanosuke dominates the northern seas.
A port city that has been overshadowed by Okino in size and economical prospect. The city of Daigo used to be the site from which trade used to flow between the Sky country and the Dominion of Lightning. With the growing importance of Okino, Daigo's development has stagnated and reduced in importance.
The capital city of the Sky country. Being the most populated centre within the Sky country's borders, the city is renowned for sky-reaching towers. Whether it is to optical illussion or reality, various buildings seem to touch the clouds themselves.
The city of the Hishima clan, which falls underneath the influence of the Hojo clan. While not a major urban centre, it is a popular site for various noblitity to retreat and find some tranquility as well a luxurious treatment for their worries.
A minor city within one of the Sanosuke jarldoms. The city has gained more attention due to the constant interaction between Sanosuke and Sato in the city. While the nomadic Sato continue to travel as their forefathers did, some have settled in the city - to provide as ambassadors for their people and clan.
Settled within the comfort of its mountainous defences, the fortress-city of Horga is considered one of the strongest bastions in the north. The capital of a Sanosuke jarldom, the defences of Horga are a testimony of Sanosuke skill and endurance.
The rich port-city of Inazaki falls underneath the control of the Maekawa Clan. Various resources flow from the city, that are harvested from the sea as well traded from nearby regions.
- Kosami's Hold
The capital of the Hojo clan. Its considered to be more of a citadel than an actual city. From Kosami's Hold, the Hojo clan holds dominion over its territory and various vassal clans. While it has never been under any severe siege, the Hojo jealously guard their possessions behind stout defences and loyal forces.
Once the centre of the nation's military command, Kumogakure has fallen in grace after the succession crisis in 477. While it still bears the importance of military position within the Dominion, most of its splendour and glory seem to have been stripped away after the Fifth Hokage's demise and the rise of the Dominion.
The blossoming flower of the North, the capital of the country. Ranzaki is one of the largest and most important centres of trade and economy within the Dominion. It's from here where the most important decisions are taken; behind thick doors and stern guards. The city is most famous for its imposing defences as the numerous tea houses; that annually compete in various festivals.
The capital of the Miyara clan; a vassal of the Hojo. The large castle has been considered vital for the protection against barbarians, such as the Siluren and Sanosuke. While having suffered several sieges, the castle hasn't ever fallen to enemy hands. A feat on which the Miyara are immensely proud.
The port city, that is under government of the Fukunaga Clan; a direct vassal of the Hojo. A prosperous centre of trade and commerce, it's also where most of Hojo's military shipwrights are located.
The top of the Dominion of Lightning is governed by the Lightning Daimyo. The Daimyo reigns as a sovereign monarch over the nation, with only a few laws in place to limits his power. But while everyone accepts that the Lightning Daimyo is the true figurehead, the Hojo clan has become the dominant political power in the North. With their grips firm over the Ranzaki dynasty, most are aware that the Hojo clan are the ones that dish out the orders - all through the Ranzaki dynasty.
Following that, are the Great Clans of the Alaricus and Sanosuke. Being still powerful political entities, they enjoy special privileges in return for their military and economical services. They are required to provide both supplies and manpower for the nation's military as participating in securing regional stability and order. Then come the myriad of other clans that form the lower nobility of the nation. These clans tend to differ heavily among each other in what they possess in terms of land, military or economical capabilities. Some of these clans tend to have more renown than the others, usually leading to fierce competition.