Letter 4

(Clan Crab)

We are fools.

We have been deceived from the beginning. Things are not in hand as we had originally believed. They are far, far worse.

I sailed with my father at the head of his great fleet. I strode by his side as he unleashed his armies on the Imperial city. The Lion army was waiting there for us, but they were as children before an angry wind. We crushed them beneath us, and took the city as our own. Kisada strode into the palace as if he had been born there. The chosen son of heaven ready to claim his right as Emperor. The Imperial Guard was nowhere to be seen; we should have known then that something was wrong, but we were too drunk on our own easy victory to notice it. We entered the Emperor's throne room ready to wrest the crown from him and end this conflict once and for all.

And then, it all fell apart.

The sickened body of Hantei stood there like a puppet, his eye glowing with an unholy green light. Strange magics twisted around his body as he picked up my father up and broke him between his hands like a twig. I stood there dumbfounded as he threw the Great Bear across the room with a strength no mortal man possesses, cackling in a voice like a thousand screams. I felt certain I was next, but before he could turn his attentions to me, he seemed to wilt, and collapsed into his bed-sheets unconscious. I suspect that the Lady Kachiko may have had some hand in this. Whatever the reason, that creature in the Emperor's guise wielded more raw power than I had ever seen before. I had no desire to see what else it could do. Kisada's body had been shattered, but the Great Bear still lived. I gathered him up and fled the palace, ordering out army to retreat and regroup to the south. The Imperial city has been left in the hands of that... thing in the palace.

You may hear rumors that the Great Bear has been killed. Do not believe them for an instant. I have personally seen to it that my father has reached safety and that he will be secure while he recovers. I cannot disclose his location for fear that this message will be intercepted.

Our alliance with the Shadowlands is a sham. They have tried to use us to their own ends and we have paid the price for their treachery. We must now teach them what it truly means to cross the Crab. Purge them from your ranks if you find them, and strike them down wherever they may appear. Do not waste precious resources squabbling with the other Clans, for they can only distract us from the true threat.

And wherever you go, spread the word that the Emperor is not to be trusted. He has been swallowed by something ancient and evil, and if we do not strike back, all of Rokugan will follow him. More than any of the others, we understand the Shadowlands, and are best equipped to destroy their evil. We must act against them now, or there will soon be no Empire left to claim.

Hida Yakamo