Lord Otori Takeo and his consort Kaede have ruled for over sixteen years. The Three Countries are rich, peaceful and prosperous. The sacred birds, the Houou, nest at Terayama and a fabled creature, the Kirin, has appeared on their shores. Heaven seems to smile on them.
Yet their very success has drawn them to the attention of the distant Emperor and his general, the warlord Saga Hideki, who covet the wealth of the Three Countries, especially Takeo's heir, his eldest daughter Shigeko, now of marriageable age. At the same time, the renegade Tribe family, the Kikuta, seek revenge on Takeo for the murder of their leader. Everything Takeo and Kaede have achieved is threatened.