Letter 3

(Clan Crane)


There is no time for pleasantries. The armies of Matsu Tsuko have destroyed Doji Palace and are now on the march southward toward the sacred halls of the Asahina family. The shugenja have made no preparations for war. We never expected the Lion to turn their backs on their duty to protect the Empire. Our only hope lies with a tiny army on the west side of the great river that divides the Empire. A young Dragon samurai has sent word to us that he leads an army of Naga, and he will arrive as soon as he can. He assures me the Naga have a way to cross the river. I do not doubt him, but I fear that he may still arrive too late. We have received word of the Unicorns betrayal of Toturi when they turned him away from Beiden Pass, and we are appalled. What could have convinced them to not only turn their backs on Toturi, but on us as well? Certainly a poisoned tongue has been whispering into the ear of Shinjo Yasamura. And speaking of poisoned tongues...

Doji Palace fell, not because of the battle tactics of Matsu Tsuko, but because of the black sorceries of the Scorpion Clan. The doppelganger of our Champion arrived at the moment of Lady Tsuko's retreat with his army of gibbering Shadowlands madmen and massacred the shugenja of the Phoenix. Only three survived along with their general Shiba Tsukune. Daidoji Uji was helpless before the onslaught of the Shadowlands and he too was forced to retreat. At the moment of the attack, our scouts told us that the Lion armies made an initial advance against the dark forces, but then suddenly halted. My most trusted scout told me it was after a man wearing the sigil of the Emperor himself ordered Matsu to stand her ground. He also told me he saw the Lady of Lions watching the battle, and that her face was a mask of pain and helplessness. Perhaps now she realizes her error. Perhaps not. Whatever the truth may be, it is now too late. If Daini arrives with his Naga, will they be enough force to stop the advance of the Shadowlands army? I cannot say. All I know is that our Champion lies recovering in the south, the venom in his veins still too much to allow him any action. He awaits the arrival of Daini, and we hope that perhaps they have the cure to the Scorpion poisons that keep our Champion from leading us in battle against the False One with burning eyes who burns our villages to the ground and salts the ashes that he leaves behind.

Kakita Yuri