Letter 4

(Clan Phoenix)

 

We have a solution after long months of study and the sacrifice of far more than any would ask of us. We have found a way to defeat the Shadowlands. But that news must wait.

By now you know of the great victory of the Crane forces against the Shadowlands army at the Asahina Temples. Doji Hoturi met his doppelgänger on the field of battle and took his head, while a combination of Crane samurai and Naga troops shattered the power of his slavering madmen. Shiba Tsukune acquitted herself well in the battle, defeating an unholy necromancer in single combat while all looked on.

This victory, however, has been overshadowed by an even greater threat. A second Shadowlands army has emerged from the west, this one even larger and more terrifying than the first. They destroy without mercy, crushing everything in their path, and their troops do not bear even the semblance of humanity. To make matters worse, we have lost all contact with the Imperial City, just as an army of Crab troops arrived to lay claim to the throne. Rumors about that the Great Bear, Hida Kisada, has been killed and that the Emperor himself has been claimed by an evil spirit whose power is scarcely imaginable. This self-same darkness continues to extend its grip over our shugenja, taking one after the other as if toying with us. The Master of Fire, Isawa Tsuke, has now fallen prey to the siren call of the Black Scrolls, embracing their evil in order to better understand it. He has conjured the flames of hate and anger from his soul to create terrifying torrents of flame, and now roams far and wide across Rokugan to destroy the forces of the Shadowlands wherever he may find them. I do not know how long he can last before his power overwhelms him.

But as I said earlier, there is hope. Last night, Isawa Tadaka came to me with a proposal. In the blackest hours before the dawn, we gathered at the highest tower of the Temple and committed an unspeakable rite. I dare not describe the particulars of it to you, but suffice to say we were able to wrest a powerful oni from its den within the Shadowlands and bind it to our will. Tadaka gave the creature his own name, sacrificing all he has and is to enslave the creature thoroughly. Our shugenja can now draw upon its strength to assist us in our struggles, and tadaka assures me that the beast can tell us what has happened in the Imperial City, and who or what now sits on the throne.

We have seen the darkness rise to engulf our fair land. We have sacrificed our lives and souls and understand its mysteries. But I believe we have gained the power to stem the tide. We have paid the price for our questions, and it is time to see if the answers are enough to save us. Pray for the salvation of Rokugan, my friend. And pray that the Phoenix can rise from the ashes of this long night to the dawning of a new day.


Asako Yasu