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Yu-Shan: Fractured Heaven
Heaven isn't what it used to be.
Long ago, Yu-Shan was a place of perfection. Not just beautiful, its workings were carefully monitored by the Exalted. Corruption was at a minimum, and the world continued to run like clockwork. As the First Age wore on, Solar excesses led to corruption, and eventually they were overthrown.
After the Usurpation, Yu-Shan gradually grew more corrupt. The Sidereals did not govern other gods, too busy with maintaining the status quo, and many gods grew arrogant and complacent, trusting in politics to protect them from many minor violations of the status quo.
Then came the Purges. Suddenly, the Sidereals were everywhere. Anyone who opposed the Shogunate and the Immaculate Philosophy found themselves the subject of audits, fines, and all minor of inconvieniences. The gods began to grow angry. Resentment ran rampant, and some began to suggest that the Celestial Incarnae should step in to manage affairs. Gods forgot their own corruption when faced with the new corruption brought to Yu-Shan, and declaimed in favour of their innocence.
All that came to an end when the Golden Lord was destroyed. The Golden Lord of An-Teng had been one of the Unconquered Sun's great lieutenants. Charged with settling disputes between Solars, he moved to defend An-Teng when the Shogunate rode in. Consulting over the problem, a committee of Sidereals determined that the Golden Lord was no longer necessary to Creation, and mobilized to defeat him. Although he fought bravely, the Golden Lord was outmatched, and he was defeated. Not wanting to lose his power, the Sidereals secretly had him forged into starmetal. The gods of Yu-Shan were shocked. None had expected that the Sidereals would go that far, or that the Incarnae would not step down to berate them. Suddenly, everything had changed, and the Sidereals' rule in Yu-Shan only expanded.
Present Day Events
The simple truth is that the Sidereals cannot actually control Yu-Shan. They are outnumbered over 10,000 to one. However, they have not been idle. Many powerful gods support the Sidereals, and most others are afraid to oppose them. More importantly, the Sidereals have gained untold influence over the Celestial Censors, and use this influence to affect the day-to-day affairs of Heaven.
Certain crimes are still easy to cover, but opposition to the Shogunate is dangerous in most areas of the world. It is not officially illegal to dislike the Dragon-Blooded or support the Lunars, but those who do find that they receive less ambrosia, that their jobs become less pleasant and that their perks are fewer and farther between. Openly opposing the Sidereals is an effective death sentance; Yu Shan has become a police state.
The Sidereals spend most of their time as they did before, but they do so now without fear of retribution from most gods. Audits against the Sidereals for their actions are almost unheard of. Only the opinions of fellow Sidereals matters.
Jade and Steel
The Sidereals of Yu-Shan are, however, not a united force. Over time, they have divided once again. Old divisions of Bronze and Gold faded with time, and with no apparant chance of the Solars returning, the Sidereals threw themselves behind the Shogunate. However, many found themselves uncomfortable with the Purges of the Shogunate, uncomfortably reminded of the Usurpation, and began to fear that the time would come when the gods turned on them as well. Over time, these Sidereals began to plan something new. By bringing an increasing number of gods into the power structure, co-opting the occasional Lunar or even Fair Folk and ghosts, these Sidereals sought to change the Shogunate like tempered steel. Others, more conservative, sought to remove these dangerous elements from places of power, supporting the Immaculate Order and the Terrestrials, the tried-and-true methods of the past. These two factions eventually split into the Jade and Steel factions.
The Jade and the Steel have different opinions and support structures. The Jade factions numbers forty Sidereals, roughly, and supports conservative nations. They particularly support Deheleshen and Pangu, and occasionally Chiaroscuro. The Jade faction seeks to promote conservative ideals and the Immaculate Order, and tries to reinforce the image that the Sidereals are above the gods. They are more likely to be suspicious of using astrology for personal benefits, but less likely to concern themselves with its overuse.
The Steel faction, by comparison, supports adding anyone and everyone to the Shogunate. They don't mind the Autochthonians, and think that Fair Folk and ghosts can be trained as weapons against those more hostile to Creation. The Steel faction tends to support the Balmori Republic and the Western League, as well as being cautiously optimistic towards New Estasia. They try to ingratiate themselves with gods and elementals, rather than bossing them around, and manipulate the world instead of ordering it. They are more willing to overlook minor astrologies being used simply to make one's life easier, but crack down hard on overuse of astrology. The Steel faction is marginally smaller than the Jade, with only 35 or so members at any given time.
However, Yu-Shan is not so controlled a locale as many Sidereals believe. There is a force at work designed to overthrow the Sidereals, repair the rampant corruption of Heaven, and restore the workings of the Celestial Exalted. The Jade and Steel factions are roughly aware of this rebellion, but they have yet to realize just how much danger they are in.
The Gold Faction is made up of Sidereals that do not hold with the purges and destruction being wreacked by the other factions. Numbering only twenty Sidereals, the Gold Faction includes no elders. No Sidereals over three hundred years of age can be found in its membership. They do not live in Yu-Shan, although they do slip through it undetected, and the other factions would be gleeful to discover where they operate from. The Gold Faction seeks to free gods, destroy falsified evidence planted by corrupt censors, and generally undermine the current Sidereal rule. The Jade and Steel are aware that the Gold must have supporters high up in Yu-Shan, and scrutinize many gods, but their greatest opponents remain hidden.
In short, the Gold Faction is directly led by the highest sources. The Unconquered Sun, Luna, and the Five Maidens are not going to sit idly by while the Sidereals ruin Creation. Although they cannot directly assault the Sidereals for a number of reasons, Jupiter has revealed the truth of the Great Curse, and the Incarnae now work to bring their Exalted together once again. Originally, the plan was to simply outlast the Sidereals; with their power, they could not be defeated without ruining Yu-Shan, and possibly the world. The Gold Faction, with uncanny accuracy, catches most of the young Sidereals now, and there was a hope that they could grow until everything sorted itself out.
Now, with the Solar return, the timetable has moved up. The Gold Faction walks a fine line, trying to disrupt Sidereal rule without destroying Creation, sheltering Solars, connecting with Lunars, and preparing for a war that they know is forthcoming. The Celestial Incarnae have no way to remove the Curse, but they hope that their new Gold Faction will find such a way.