L5R - Great Stone Bridge
The Last Breath Castle in the Yama province was the ancestral home of the Matsu family.
The castle was built where the Lion Thunder Matsu met the first Akodo. She established there her family. It was also where the largest contingent of Lion samurai were stationed, carefully guarding the supply lines on which the Lion armies depended. The army stationed here consisted of members of all the Lion families, Kitsu, Akodo, Matsu and Ikoma alike.
Shiro Matsu was located just above Beiden Pass, in the midland territories of the Lion. The Valley of Storms surrounded it. Since the devastation of the Beiden Pass in 1150 the castle lose its strategic role against the Scorpion, but it remained as the single largest concentration of military might in the Empire. A city, Shiro Matsu Toshi, sprung near the castle.
Ancestral Home of the Lion
The castle was immense, over a hundred feet tall at the summit, with sprawling courtyards, tortified entries, practice grounds, dojo, and smithies. Its walls were built by Crab engineers, and a cliffside forced all who approached to travel through a tiny pass, known as the Lion’s Teeth. The purpose of Matsu Palace was originally to defend the Lion trade routes, keeping the roads clear for the movement of food and supplies. The castle was proven when it was besieged by Crane or Scorpion enemies, but had never fallen in battle. It was the headquarters of the Second Matsu Army.
Shiro Matsu could be described as stark, and most would consider a position as guest there to be a terrible punishment. They could expect only the most basic accommodations, and expect to be awakened well before each dawn by the cacophonous noise of thousands of samurai training in the vast courtyards.
Shiro Matsu was the location of the Shiro Matsu Dojo. The second Lion Kensai dojo was built in the castle’s outskirts there when the Akodo were disbanded.
After the destruction of the Beiden Pass the castle lacked its military purpose as defender of a possible invasion from the Scorpion lands. Since then, the Lion Clan’s greatest fortress was located many days march away from even the most marginal threat.