Letter 1

(Clan Phoenix)


May the Seven Fortunes be with you this day.

Our trusted ally, much has occurred since last we spoke, and our Clan is in the middle of all of it. The Crab Clan has turned its back on the Shadowlands; this much you already know, but there is more to learn. The Crab armies moved into the lands of the Kakita family, thus threatening the holdings of the Crane Clan. Immediately, we were contacted by Doji Yosai for assistance.

Although our armies are not as strong as the Lion or the Dragon, we sent our force to aid the Crane Clan. An unexpected arrival was that of the Lion Clan. All three armies hesitated, unsure as to which side they would join. In the initial attack, the Lion Clan joined the Crab Clan, but their first assault was unsuccessful. The result: our samurai maiden Shiba Tsukune led a number of our samurai against the attacking Lion force. Apparently, they underestimated our military might because they allowed a shugenja to lead bushi against one of our own samurai. Needless to say, Lady Tsukune was insulted by the action, challenged the shugenja to a duel, and brought his head back to the courts of the Phoenix.

Beware of the Lion, my ally. Our blood is now their chief concern.

It was our armies that kept the others from attacking the Crane provinces, but it was the Dragon that lead the counterattack. It was at that time the Crane and Lion agreed to a truce and both forces struck the Crab army from behind, forcing them to withdraw to neutral lands just south of the provinces of the Unicorn. Unfortunately, this has cut off communication between the Unicorn and the rest of the Clans, and we cannot send or receive messages from the Shinjo family.

As for our own Clan, I must be the bearer of bad news. Isawa Tadaka, the Master of Earth, is missing. We sent him on a secret mission to the Unicorn Clan, and he has not yet returned. We must discover his whereabouts immediately.

There is little other news other than rumor and gossip. It has been said that many of the Clans have turned against the Emperor. Believe nothing until you see it, my friend. Wisdom does not arrive as whispers on the wind. If a man needs whisper what he says, it is nothing you need to listen to.

May the strength and perseverance of the mountains be with you in these dark times,

Shiba Ujimitsu