Letter 8

(Clan Mantis/Yoritomo's Alliance)


My dear old friend,

It has been long since I heard from you, and your words stir memories in my soul that I had thought were long lost. It is good that I remember them. The time of the Clan Wars has passed, and there are those that say that the histories of our time will be written by the victor - written to cover the past. It is only the memories of people such as you and I who will know the truth. I pray that those times do not die with us - that our struggle will not have been in vain.

Perhaps the tales which were told of Shoju's reasons were not entirely to be trusted. In the wake of the return of Fu Leng, the prophecy which the Scorpions claim to have been thier motivation rings all too true, 'And the Last of the Hantei line shall be the Doom of Rokugan.'

After the Scorpion assaulted the Palace of Otosan Uchi, the battle appeared hopeless. The Lion were lost without thier Champion, the Crane wounded and too prideful to fight by the side of thier ancient enemy. The Phoenix had been all but crushed in the initial battles, the Unicorn too far to be of use, and the Dragon were locked in thier isolated mountains, alone and unwarned. Of the other clans, only the Crab had the strength to defeat the Usurper Shoju, and no man could know what truths lay in Kisada's heart - or to whom his true loyalties belonged. This has been recorded.

What has been lost to time is the true nature of the battle - the struggle of wills that tore the Scorpion from thier exalted position and left a broken throne, a broken sword and a broken man. I have collected the correspondences of the clans from the days before the final battle, and kept them safe in a secret place. Now it is time to open them again - to remind the Great Clans of the truth about the Clan Wars and the beginning of the Time of the Second Thunders.

You hold in your hands the last letter of your people as was written so many years ago. Use it well. Show those who will understand, and teach those who wish to learn the truth about the past. It is in our hands to make certain the future will never repeat the harsh lessons learned in the Clan Wars. It is our souls who will pay the penalty if we fail.

Ikoma Kaoku



Greetings old friend!

Tokei, how long has it been since I last heard from you? I was pleased to see your letter - pleased to hear that your apprenticeship goes well. I, too, have heard about the struggle on the fields of war, and the coup that has plagued the line of Hantei. Let the Greater Clans struggle, it is not our affair. No matter which house controls the Empire, we will suffer under the badge of Ronin, as we always have.

I have remained in the lands of the Mantis, teaching their warriors with the bow and the sword, and instructing their soldiers in the nature of tactics. They do not have much, for they are a minor clan, but their leader - a man known as Yoritomo - says that the Greater Clans will one day fall, and we will all take our places among the leadership of Rokugan. An idle dream, perhaps, but one which has captured the hearts of many, and his men fight with the courage to equal even a Lion.

The pay is fair, in koku and horses, and the Crane have great need of wavemen to supply them in thier battle against the Lion, so I am content. Perhaps when thier money runs slim, I will travel to the lands of the Emperor - whatever the outcome, I have a feeling that more war will be coming as a result of this coup, and more war means more money for a mercenary. Perhaps we will meet there and fight side by side.