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.