Letter 11

(Clan Crane)


My lords,

Danger threatens from all sides, and our division only weakens our ability to withstand the war. I send this letter to all of the daimyos of the Crane, and I leave the destiny of our clan in your hands. For too long we have fought; for too long we dared to call ourselves better than our path.

Our way is bushido. It is no other.

My sword stands for the Crane: all Crane, all samurai beneath Lady Doji's banner. We are the only clan who can claim a united blood. Save only the Asahina, we are descended from one kami: the lady, and the Lord Kakita who stood by her side. Would he be proud of our fall?

My Lord Uji, Champion Kuwanan-sama, I have met with samurai of all the families of our clan. Of them, the Crane who inhabit a small island to the northwest of Shiro no Doji speak the loudest, and their words the most reason: "There is no greater enemy to be destroyed, no greater threat, than our own pride." I ask that the armies of the Crane step past that pride and see our future. The courtiers are assembled to bring peace. It is our way.

We will meet on the fields we have bloodied, the four families of the Crane, and we will discuss the future. And when that is done, we will bury our feet in the earth, set aside the wrongs of the past, and unite to destroy the shadow. We will forge a new wakizashi from the shards of the past, a weapon that will rise by our Champion's sword and bear the weight of honor of the Crane.

It will stand in the grand hall of the Kakita Academy, and it will remind us of the price of honor.

Two men, both ronin, passed through Kakita Palace on their way to the Shadowlands. They spoke of Jigoku, and of darkness that destroys the very souls of the dead. Our ancestors, Uji, have been slaughtered by the hundreds.

That is why your grandfather no longer guides you.

I demand the right to lead an army of our own, unified with purpose and the wisdom of bushido, and fight the shadow that has gathered at the ancient Troll city. Our ancestors scream, destroyed by the nameless shadow. Our past is being erased; our honored dead remain in this world, unable to cross the river to peace. If we do not step forward and defend them, then the darkness that has captured Jigoku will spread and our Empire will be destroyed. I beg you both:

Fight by my side.

Kakita Kaiten