Shadow War

Considered the Draconis Combine's closest brush with civil war, the so-called Shadow War was an internal conflict between elements of the Combine Internal Security Force loyal to Coordinator Miyogi Kurita and those loyal to his sister Roweena.[1][2][3][4][5]


The seeds of the conflict were sown in the wake of the maelstrom of the First Succession War when Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita founded the People's Reconstruction Effort to assist the rebuilding of the battered Combine, overseeing and coordinating the Combine government's military, scientific, economic and political recovery. As Jinjiro focused on military matters, he selected his half-brother Zabu to head the PRE, a task ideally suited to the talents of his intellectual brother. So much responsibility made the position of PRE Coordinator second only the head of the Combine himself, but as Zabu was totally loyal to his brother this caused no concern for Jinjiro, though it resulted in considerable resistance from the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery and Internal Security Force that would only intensify when Zabu became Coordinator.[6][2][7][8]

Problems began following the death of Zabu in 2838 and the rise of his son Yoguchi to the position of Coordinator. While the warrior Yoguchi was more palatable than Zabu, he also caused dismay when he moved to directly attach the Internal Security Force to the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery. With as much reason to fear the Combine's secret police as anyone else, the Combine military dared not exert its supposed authority over the ISF, while the ISF had long considered itself the personal servant of the Coordinator and interpreted Yoguchi's placing them under an "inferior organization" as a deep insult that questioned the value of their service.[9][1][2][3][4][8]

Initially oblivious to this unease, Yoguchi focused on military concerns such as a major Federated Suns counterattack and appointed his sister Roweena Kurita as head of the PRE in 2841. While Zabu was totally loyal to his brother and dedicated to the PRE's role of rebuilding the Combine, the intelligent and ambitious Roweena made use of the organization's mammoth bureaucracy to increase her power. Despite the pioneering role of Siriwan McAllister-Kurita centuries earlier, the strongly patriarchal Combine imposed a glass ceiling under which Roweena had long chafed. Recognizing the wound to the pride of the ISF caused by her brother, she made a point of currying the favor of the organization and its head, Malcolm Katsuyori, even before her appointment to the position of PRE Coordinator. At first she used the powers of her post to aid the ISF, initially asking little in return. This changed in 2842, when she began to request their assistance in accumulating wealth and luxury items rather than securing power, offering them access to the far-reaching network of the PRE's massive bureaucracy and effective access to all portions of Combine society.[10][11][1][2][7][3][4][8]

When her brother made his ill-fated decision to personally lead the defense of Tishomingo in 2849, in which he was presumed killed, Roweena became Regent and de facto leader of the Combine by virtue of her position as head of the PRE. Any chance for Roweena to use this or Yoguchi's later assassination by the Lyran Commonwealth agent Snow Fire to become Coordinator was blocked by the Combine court, which selected her younger brother Miyogi. Roweena focused on expanding the all-pervasive reach and effectiveness of the PRE with the assistance of the ISF under Malcolm Katsuyori. Through the remainder of the Second Succession War, as Miyogi focused on military matters such as his Marathon Offensive, Roweena ran the PRE with breathtaking efficiency as she became almost a motherly figure to the average citizen of the Combine and a far more public presence than her brother. Increasingly uneasy with her greater public stature, Miyogi ordered an investigation of his sister for "un-Combine activities", but many in the ISF remembered their debt to her and increasingly saw her as the Kurita to whom their loyalty was owed rather than the Coordinator, and the investigation made little progress.[10][11][1][2][3][4][8]

As the Second Succession War ended, so did the uneasy détente between the pro-Miyogi and pro-Roweena factions that had allowed a focus on external threats above all else. With these threats now less pressing, Miyogi's concerns about the extent of his sister's power prompted him to form an unquestioningly loyal ISF team, led by the fanatically pro-Miyogi Rajiv Sulevani, to investigate Roweena's "anti-Combine activities", neither realizing just how deeply she had suborned the ISF. Having earned his post after he'd dueled and killed a follow Metsuke who had dared to openly say the ISF no longer owed its loyalty to the Coordinator, Sulevani's response was a secret assassination campaign against its most anti-Coordinator members and quickly resulted in those loyal to Roweena responding in kind once they realized the cause. The extent of this conflict soon became public knowledge in the Combine as the citizenry grew to fear this Shadow War, with an official, and likely grossly underestimated, total of over 1,500 Metsuke killed by 2865, as the merest evidence of disloyalty resulted in an extreme response.[11][1][2][3][4][5][8]

Even as the conflict began to heat up, the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery steadfastly attempted to stay neutral in this massive political struggle, but as news of the Shadow War began to leak beyond the Combine's borders and Roweena attempted to expand the PRE's powers by absorbing a vital section of the DCMS Procurement Department and leave them beholden to her, the DCMS was finally forced to act. The generals of the DCMS were divided over which Kurita to back, delaying their decision for a week to avoiding splitting the realm. This was when Miyogi and Roweena's nephew Taragi Kurita, a midlevel officer and aide to Tai-sho Carson Santander, took advantage of the situation to increase his power and prestige. In separate audiences with his uncle and aunt, Taragi attempted to peddle his supposed influence with the neutral generals of the High Command to support their respective faction in the Shadow War. Despite his insistence, both knew he was not even allowed to speak at High Command meetings; Roweena laughed in his face and Miyogi, with nothing to lose, half-heartedly agreed to promote him to high office if he succeeded. Neither realized how wily Taragi was, and while they were dismissive of his lack of influence, being Yoguchi's youngest son carried unexpected weight.[11][1][2][3][4][5][8]

When the High Command finally met to decide which Kurita to back, Taragi rose and strode to the front of the room, removing from beneath his clothing the Dragon Medallion signifying his status as a legitimate member of the Kurita line. Holding up the medallion as if it was a holy symbol and shocking the murmuring generals into silence, Taragi launched into an impassioned hourlong speech extolling the virtues of Miyogi and characterizing Roweena as a kind of witch, finally returning to his seat. Swayed by Taragi's speech, the High Command voted unanimously in favor of Miyogi and the DCMS swiftly mobilized. Aided by Metsuke teams led by Sulevani, DCMS commandos stormed the key offices of the PRE and pro-Roweena ISF. With his sister defeated in early January 2866, Miyogi claimed victory in the Shadow War and decreed that the PRE be dismantled.[11][1][2][3][4][5][8]


The most immediate act triggered by the Shadow War was Coordinator Miyogi Kurita launching the attacks that would trigger the Third Succession War, seeking to swiftly punish all outsiders who had learned of the Combine's internal difficulties. Unbeknownst to Miyogi, the reason word of the Shadow War had leaked beyond the Combine's borders was ComStar, with Primus of ComStar Raymond Karpov's growing fears that the lull after the Second Succession War would allow the Successor States to recover the bulk of Star League knowledge lost in the previous two wars. Karpov authorized the Blessed Order's intelligence agency ROM to pass information on the Shadow War to agents of the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns and as he had hoped, Miyogi reacted in typical Kurita fashion when he learned that outsiders knew of the Combine's internal troubles and Lyran traders were making embarrassing inroads in the Rasalhague Military District. The simmering tensions along the Combine-Commonwealth border exploded into open warfare again on the Commonwealth's coreward border and soon swept across the entire Inner Sphere, signaling the beginning of the Third Succession War.[12][13][14][4]

As he had promised, Miyogi admitted Taragi into his inner circle, his nephew becoming one of his most trusted advisers. Among Taragi's first pieces of advice was to imprison rather than execute Roweena, for fear it would complicate efforts to root out those ISF agents still loyal to her. It would take almost twenty-five years of multiple purges to successfully complete this, but the Shadow War also created a dangerous precedent, showing that the organization saw a separation between loyalty to the Coordinator and service to the greater Combine. Ultimately it was not until meetings between Coordinator Shinjiro Kurita and ISF Director Clarissa Indrahar in 2921 that spawned the Davarapala Accords that this rift finally started to heal. Despite this, while the whole of the ISF never rose up to directly oppose a Coordinator, reactionary elements made little effort to hide their disdain of Coordinators with which they disagreed, such as Theodore Kurita, resulting in more tradition-minded members aligning with and aiding the Kokuryu-kai.[11][1][3][4][5][8]

Taragi Kurita's role in bringing the Shadow War to its conclusion also positioned him to eventually become Coordinator. While becoming one of his uncle's most trusted advisers, Taragi never ceased his manipulations and efforts to expand his own wealth and power. When Miyogi later stymied such efforts in favor his own son Jon, Taragi visited Roweena Kurita, over a hundred years old and still under house arrest. She eagerly agreed to assist Taragi as a means of striking back at her brother, as Taragi had assumed. Roweena still commanded a small but totally loyal number of Metsukes who'd escaped the various purges since her arrest, who would aid him. With their assistance, Taragi discredited both Jon and Miyogi Kurita, culminating in Miyogi's assassination by Hideyoshi Toyama and Taragi ascent to the throne.[14][15][1][4][5][8]

Despite his role in the defeat of Roweena and support for the Coordinator, Rajiv Sulevani faced increasing rumors of impropriety and abuses of power that dogged him into the 2870s, ultimately prompting him to resign his post and commit seppuku in 2873. While never proven, observers believed Sulevani's demise was due to the efforts of Taragi Kurita.[4][5]

The destruction of the People's Reconstruction Effort during the climax of the Shadow War had a disastrous impact on the study of LosTech in the Draconis Combine, most notably the burning of the massive Grand Library of Kurita located in the PRE University on Ashio. This library contained centuries of knowledge and artifacts, including Star League technical research unduplicated elsewhere. The exact party to this destruction was widely believed to be scorched-earth action by pro-Roweena ISF elements, though some villagers near the university fingered pro-Miyogi agents as starting the blaze.[11][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Intelligence Operations Handbook, pp. 52–53: "Internal Security Force - Brief History - Fall of the Star League - Shadow War and Aftermath"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Inner Sphere, pp. 29–30: "Draconis Combine - Loyalty to House Kurita - The Shadow War and its Legacy"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Handbook: House Kurita, p. 52: "History of the Nation - Shadow Play"
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Second Succession War, pp. 84–87: "Legacy of Destruction - Inevitable Consequences - War Resumed"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Second Succession War, p. 85: "Legacy of Destruction - A Tale of Two Officers: Rajiv Sulevani and Taragi Kurita"
  6. House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 60: "Second Succession War"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Handbook: House Kurita, p. 45: "History of the Nation - The Second Succession War - Peace of Unity Within"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Second Succession War, pp. 88–89: "Personalities of the Second Succession War (2830-2864) - Zabu Kurita - Yoguchi Kurita - Roweena Kurita - Miyogi Kurita"
  9. House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 64: "Second Succession War - Yoguchi Kurita"
  10. 10.0 10.1 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 66–68: "Second Succession War - Roweena Kurita - Divine Retribution - The Sting of Snow Fire"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 72–73: "The Third Succession War - Shadow War"
  12. ComStar, p. 32: "History of ComStar - War Renewed - The Karpov Legacy"
  13. House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 74: "History - The Third Succession War - Is War the Natural State of Man?"
  14. 14.0 14.1 Handbook: House Kurita, p. 54: "History of the Nation - The Third Succession War - The Retribution Strikes
  15. House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 76–77: "The Third Succession War - The Rise of Taragi"