The Shen were a family of human assassins that rose to power and infamy. In ZY1097, the family began murdering high-level members of the rebellious Da’aga and O’olo clans of Orcs. Both clans had been stripped of official clan status by Hunun Gol, and had been in open rebellion against the Empire ever since. Widespread rumors claimed that the Shen assassinations had been ordered by the Emperor himself.
In ZY1099, the Da’aga and O’olo retaliated against the assassinations by increasing pirate activity against the Halfling Merchant Companies, raiding deep into Halfling territory. This measure hurt the Emperor by igniting Halfling hostility. The Halflings responded by threatening war with the Empire. The situation was finally defused with major trade concessions under the Freedom of Trade Proclamation.
For their role in the debacle, the Shen family had to be punished. The patriarch of the Shen was brought before an Imperial court and found guilty. Before his sentence could be pronounced, he leaped from his seat and committed bodhi-yama, or enlightened suicide. This unexpectedly noble act stunned the populace, and the name “Shen” became the stuff of legends.