The Quincunx is the ruling body of the Kuei-Jin Courts of China. The most influential great Court of the Kuei-jin, numerous traditions and offices of the Quincunx have found incorporation in other Kuei-jin Courts.
The Quincunx see themselves as the successor regime of the Five August Courts that once encompassed the whole Middle Kingdom. At the end of the Fourth Age, the Five August Courts came apart. The Black Tortoise Court, ostensibly infested with akuma, revolted against the four other Courts by following their Mongol tribesmen southward. Kuei-jin who refused to accept chinese supremacy, like those in Japan or Thailand, ceded from the structures, the old mortal institutions that had sheltered the Ancestors were turned upside down by the Yuan dynasty under the Mongols. In the midst of these struggles, various supernatural creatures that the Kuei-jin had not seen before, arrived in various places within the Middle Kingdom.
To combat these various threats and to survive the turning of the Wheel, the Ancestor of the Yellow Emperor Court called for a meeting of all influential Ancestors, which would be referred to as the Council of Dragons. In 1304, the congregation met at the Shaolin monastery near Changan. During the Council, it was declared that the foreigners, particular those strange beings calling themselves Cainites, were to blame for the fall of the August Courts. In response, the Treaty of the Quincunx established a new order, again comprised out of several courts in all directions.
The Quincunx ruled unperturbed by the events in mortal society, confident that the ways of Heaven would never change and that the Middle Kingdom would always be the one true cradle of civilization. Conflicts with akuma, the other Courts and heretics existed, of course, but were dealt with in Shadow Wars that followed rigid protocols. This sinocentric point of view would soon be challenged. During the Qing dynasty, China suffered horrendous defeats against the British, as well as unrest within their own country through the events of the Taiping rebellion. The Treaty of Nanjing transferred the control over Hong Kong to the British, driving the Flame Court away. As a result, the Blood Court and the Flame Court asserted that all foreigners had to be expulsed, while the Flesh Court held more liberal views and both the Bone Court and the Jade Court remained neutral. Following the Sino-Japanese Wars and the conquest of the Flesh Court, the Quincunx was left on the brink of total defeat, with several Ancestors searching desperately for an answer to what could have caused this disaster. The answer was, again, foreigners, with the "kin-jin" in particular.
As of 1997, the Ancestor of the Blood Court decided that the situation had to be dealt with, to stave off the Sixth Age which would herald the arrival of the Demon Emperor. He first commissioned the Ash Plan, which saw the support of several Kuei-jin that took the Second Breath during the late 20th century, who were eager to blame western vampires for the state of the world. The "Righteous Foreigner-Vanquishing Crusade" was mainly comprised of Resplendent Cranes and Devil Tigers, who supported aggressive means. They were opposed by the "Harmonious Menders of Broken Fences", who argued that the Middle Kingdom had enough problems with akuma as it was, without the need of opening new fronts. In order to mediate between both factions, the Bestowed Ancestor commissioned the Extraordinary Commission for the Rectification of Borders, incorporating members from both camps into it. A compromise between both faction was reached: The Crusaders would travel to Los Angeles and try to secure it, while the Menders would try to take Hong Kong and Shanghai from their Gaki and Cainite occupators. Called the Great Leap Outward, the conflict proved to be atritive at best: While Shanghai was taken back quickly, Hong Kong became a battleground between the Fence Menders and the Righteous Devils of Kowloon. War efforts in California came to a grinding halt after the Sixth Maelstrom destroyed the support troops from the Yin World and made passage through that realm near impossible and the native Anarchs proved to be far more efficient and battle-hardened than it was initially believed. In response, the Blood Ancestor chose to favour the plan of the Fence Menders, with the Mandarin, Hao Wei-Liang, that had supported the expedition to Los Angeles committing ritual suicide.
To make matters worse, fraternization with the enemy was discovered, as numerous young Kuei-jin learned that the Cainites were not the soulless devils that their ancestors had described, but shared much of the same plights with them, including oppressive Elders that adhered to outdated ideas. In order to save face, Mandarin Jiejie Li had to conquer Los Angeles and show some successes for the Commission. Borrowing some western tactics, she approached Anarch leader Salvador Garcia, promising him aid against his enemies in return for his allegiance. Garcia, weary of the Free State he had helped to found, accepted and directed a war-wu against a Sabbat pack that had been a long-time enemy of his. Other Anarchs leaders, like Louis Fortier, were also promised rewards and positions of leadership within the New Promise Mandarinate that they sought to found.
The Quincunx searched for additional allies and found them in the necromantic della Passaglia family. Their ambassador told them that his family could bring down the Shroud around California, allowing the Second Breath to take place outside the Middle Kingdom, allowing the Kuei-jin to "recruit" directly from the population. Back home, most Quincunx Kuei-jin saw the Great Leap Outward as a political play of the Blood Court to gain more influence than it already had. While the newly installed Ancestor of Shanghai and the Flame Court are both sympathetic to the Blood Courts war, they have not a single wu to spare. The Jade Court does not participate in the conflict. A bodhisattva of the Jade Court has prophesied that the chi of the Blood Court will run thin and pale on foreign shores, but no one listens to them. The Bone Court only sends token support to appease the Blood Court delegates, with the hopes that discoveries during the Great Leap will aid the recolonisation of Tibet. The Clans of the Sun and the Green Courts have also seen the efforts the Quincunx has made in foreign lands and move their own agents to outmaneuver them.
Some Kuei-jin believe that the Blood Court has doomed the Quincunx to a war that cannot be won and whose motivation is wounded pride at best and outright racism at worst. As Jiejie's influence stretches to San Francisco, the Quincunx Ancestors demand even more results, against her original plans and wishes.
Five August Courts of the QuincunxEdit
- Blood Court of Beijing
- Flesh Court of Shanghai
- Flame Court of Hong Kong
- Bone Court of Chongqing
- Jade Court of Changan
At the top of the Quincunx sits the Bestowed Ancestor, whose main duty is to represent the Quincunx and its members to the Celestial Bureaucracy. He is chosen by a group of five August Ancestors that are supervisors and representatives of the five august Courts. In most cases, the wu of the Bestowed Ancestor also has great prestige. It is also within the authority of the Bestowed Ancestor to elevate any Kuei-jin to the position of Bestowed Advisor in order to adress a particular problem.
The next institution are the five Hidden Ministries, whose main duty is that the Quincunx remains a safe place for all Kuei-jin under its auspice. The Hidden Ministers of Jade, Rites, Shen, War, and the Garden advise the August Ancestors, who appoint for themselves five Ministers, whose wu is then elevated and renamed into the Hidden Ministry.
The next level of organization is the individual Court, headed by an Ancestor. Quincunx Ancestors are usually advised by ambassadors of the Yin and Yang World, who make sure that the demands of the spirit worlds are met. In addition, each Ancestor usually appoints his own Ministries, who mirror the greater Hidden Ministries and (unofficially) answer to them rather than the August Ancestor. An additional position is the First Oni, who fulfills a similar role to the Sheriff in most Camarilla domains. Sometimes, the First Oni is identical with the Infant Devil Civilizer, who hunts and prepares chih-mei for their dharmic education.
The base of the Quincunx are the various wu that have gathered under a Court. In most cases, only wu that have all five Directions incorporated are accepted as an equal part of the Court. Below them, the various servants of the Hungry Dead (Dhampyrs, bakemono etc.) and those Kuei-jin that are not advanced enough (Hin, chih-mei) are placed. Some Courts even put heimin within this rank.