Letter 4

(Clan Crane)


My friends,

On the day of our greatest triumph comes the darkest news this war has yet to bring. First, the news of our victory at Asahina Temple should have reached you by now. We thought it would be our final stand against the army of madmen, but we were wrong. We had prepared the temple against attach, but our commander, Daidoji Uji, knew that we could not stand long. It was then that our Champion returned to us, along with a Dragon samurai and an army of shapeshifting Naga. Together, we stood against the Shadowlands, and on that day, we defeated them utterly.

Before the Shadowlands army's first charge, however, a shugenja from that festering horde called out our commander. Hoturi stepped forward to take the challenge, but the Phoenix samurai-maiden, Tsukune, begged him for the opportunity to face the necromancer. Hoturi permitted her, and the samurai-ko charged down into the open plain and cut down the necromancer with one mighty stroke from her naginata. The Shadowlands army then found themselves under a downpour as the Phoenix shugenja sent a thunderstorm of merciless power over them. The thing that claimed to be Doji Hoturi tried to keep his army together, but he could not. The Naga charged into his ranks, moving faster than any horsemen ever could. Their archers fired arrows into the air, landing only half a moment before the Naga hit the main body of Oni and madmen.

The battle was engaged. Our Lord Hoturi led Daidoji Uji's forces against the personal guard of the False Hoturi. For the first time our Lord faced the thing Kachiko had created and their duel began in the midst of the mighty clash of arms. Hoturi had to fight through three guards before he reached the False One, and their duel was mighty indeed. But in the end, our Lord crushed the false one, removing his head from his body with one single stroke. The army was routed, encircled and burned until it was nothing more than ashes and memories. We were victorious, my friend. We were victorious!

It was then that a lone rider came out from the north, carrying a message for our Lord. I have never seen him before, but I am told that he was the masked ronin who saved Hoturi from the clutched of the Lady Kachiko. Our Lord turned to us and told us the news. The Emperor's soul no longer resides in the Emperor's body. Now, the mortal shell carried the sould of the Dark God that Shinsei and his Seven Thunders banished a thousand years ago: Fu Leng.

Lord Hoturi commanded me to write you as quickly as possible to tell you this news. We need to gather together with all speed and communicate this news to the rest of the Clans. They must know the truth. Open your coffers, my friend and bring to our ranks the ronin of Rokugan. Theirs is a force that has yet to be brought to bear. This is a lesson our Lord has taught us well. Bring ronin to your ranks. We must do more than unite. We must hire any samurai who would join our cause. It is time to use those riches we have built for the last thousand years. Be well, and may the Seven Fortunes be with you.

Doji Kuwanan