Greetings and good fortune to you in this dark time. We have so much to
tell and with the Empire in flames, there is no time to speak of it.
Firstly, we must tell you of our army in the Crane lands. Shiba Tsukune
has done well. Her training with Akodo Kage in the arts of warfare and Kakita
Toshimoko in the art of kenjutsu have proven to be invaluable. With the shugenja
we provided her, her samurai have been able to stifle the attacks of Matsu Tsuko
in the Crane territories. She cannot hold out forever, but she can hold out long
enough for us to ask the Unicorn for assistance. The messengers we sent to the
Unicorn Clan have not returned, and we are beginning to worry. Perhaps they have
been intercepted by the Shadowlands army we hear is marching upon them. We have
sent Isawa Uona, the Master of Air, to investigate.
The Master of Fire was at the tournament held by the Emperor's bride to
determine the new Emerald Champion. At the beginning of the tournament, it
seemed as if the Dragon samurai-maiden Mirumoto Hitomi would win the contest.
That was when Isawa Tsuke noticed that Lady Hitomi was wearing the Obsidian Hand
of the Scorpion Clan, and Lady Kachiko's plan became clear to him. He knew no
samurai present could defeat a Dragon with the Obsidian Hand. But before he
could take any action, another samurai appeared at the tournament, an uninvited
samurai who none could deny entrance: Kakita Toshimoko, the Crane Iaijutsu
Master. He was able to defeat Mirumoto Hitomi and only the magic of the Obsidian
Hand saved her life. Now a Crane wears the Emerald Armor of the Emperor's
Champion, and he guards the life of the Emperor against all harm.
We must now speak of the Black Scrolls. No doubt you have heard of them,
and it is true the first of them has been opened by the Scorpion shugenja Yogo
Junzo. It was the Scorpions' duty to guard the Scrolls, and it seems they have
failed in that duty. Our Master of Earth has recently returned from the
Shadowlands with three of the Scrolls and he has been diligent in deciphering
their power. Unfortunately, we fear that he may also have acquired the
Shadowlands sickness as well. Every day, his face becomes more drawn. His skin
has become ashen and his eyes dark. We have forbid him from touching the Scrolls
further, but he has gained such knowledge of the Shadowlands creatures and he
insists that he must learn more. We fear for him and the rest of our Shugenja.
Be warned, my friend. Dark power has a darker price.