Letter 1

(Clan Crab)

My most trusted ally,

It is good that you have decided to join with us, it shows that you have wisdom that others in the Empire have obviously lost. This is a dark time, and with the Emperor wasting away in his Palace, there is need for strength. We are that strength. We shall lead the Empire from this hour of darkness into a new dawn. When we achieve the Emerald Throne, you shall have great rewards for your loyalty. This is my promise to you. For generations, the Crab Clan has guarded the Great Wall that separates the Shadowlands from Rokugan, and rumors run rampant through the Empire that we have become corrupted from the evil of that land, but rumors have as much consequence as a strong wind. In time, they will pass. As for the battles we wage across the Empire, I can tell you much. The Clans have engaged in the first major battle of the War, and though the untrained eye would say we were not victorious, I assure you, our victory is not easy for the untrained eye to see.

Our samurai were unparalleled on the field. They proved their bravery and honor as the sorcery of the Phoenix Clan swept over them and as the Unicorn Clan rode against them with their mighty steeds.

And though we were not victorious in the battle, much was achieved. Many Phoenix samurai were killed, and by whittling down their puny forces, the secretive shugenja leave themselves vulnerable to future attacks. The Unicorn may have mighty steeds, but with every mount our archers cut down, their cavalry grows weaker and weaker.

It was the Crane Clan that won the day, appealing to the other Clans for support. This may seem as if it were a defeat, but you must look at it as a victory for us. The Crane Clan won the support of the Dragon and Lion Clans, but you and I both know the long rivalry the Lion and Crane have had. That is an alliance that is as short-lived as a Scorpion's promise. And speaking of Scorpions, I have been in contact with a member of the Bayushi family who has made promises to me. I hold no trust for Scorpions, but those eager to restore their honor will sacrifice much to gain little. I will keep you aware of our future alliances with this fallen Clan. Our time is swiftly approaching, my friend. The Shadowlands stir even now, and we are the only Clan who have the knowledge to handle the horrors of that vile place. It has been too long since the Empire has felt the terror that we have grown so accustomed to, and once they see the empty eyes and pallid skin of the walking dead, they will remember, and they will beg us to send it back.

Soon. Very soon, the Empire shall be ours, and we shall restore it to a second golden age.

Hida Kisada