The Burdens of the Clans GenCon 2000
To the Crab: Stand the Wall. Defend those who are too weak to protect themselves. Your courage serves to keep the darkness out of the Empire; without your resolve, we all fall. Be the strength of the Empire, and show Rokugan that there is more to honor than words.
To the Crane: Give them purpose. The Empire is a place where courageous deeds should never go unnoticed, and where honor should be rewarded with glory and immortality. Show the Empire how to find worth in their actions; ensure that they have a reason to live. Without beauty and culture, the world is an ugly place - your call is to make certain that the fight has purpose, that there is something worth fighting for.
To the Dragon: Your burden is a mystery that has yet to be unraveled, a riddle that cannot be answered. You are purpose, you are that which has not yet been born. Be the heart of all things potential, be the purpose behind the search. Forge new enigmas, new adventures and new secrets - and give the Empire a soul.
To the Phoenix: Of all the clans, you alone understand that magic, wisdom and understanding has a heavy price. You have fallen once, beneath your burden - but you now have strength enough to stand. Teach the Empire how to understand the dangers that is magic, and show them how to speak with dignity to the kami and the spirits of the land. You are part of that world; show the Empire how to join with it in respect.
To the Unicorn: Only the Unicorn have seen the Empire from two views - within and without. Your perspective, the racing of the wind and the running of a horse's swift hooves across fields that we cannot know, these things are your heart. Be the keepers of all that is good and noble, all those things that we in the Empire take for granted. Show us what we do not see.
To the Scorpion: Your burden, you have borne for a thousand years. You do not need another. Your clan has been the most persecuted, the most forgotten and underestimated - and now is your time to repay what has been taken from you. Find the secrets - for they are still there. Listen to the weaknesses of others, and play on them - those who weaken the Empire, who are faithless or have no sense of honor - they must be taught the folly of their ways, lest all of Rokugan fall from their dishonor. Never forget your place. Never forget your lady.
To the Shadowlands: I do not give you a burden; you would not take it. Still, I ask of you a favor - that you continue to remind the Empire of the price of their failures. Give them a reason to fear, and a reason to be their best. Push them to their greatest successes, and do not let them fall or compromise. Destroy the weak, cull the herd.
To the Monk: Gentle guardians of enlightenment, your task is to seek the lost fragments of the Tao; that for which Toshimoko gave up his life and his honor. Teach the Empire their place within the Celestial Heavens, and share its stories. Though you fade, you will never be forgotten.
To the Naga: The Akasha has been shattered, but it can still be reborn. Listen to the Sun and the Moon, and guide them. They are a part of you, as much as you are a part of them. Bring back your Eternal Mind, and seek peace in the solitude of the Shinomen.
To the Fox: Stand alone. Your courage has begun a new age, and despite an evil which still haunts you, you can still prove your true worth. Seek out Kitsune Gohei, and destroy him, so that you can once more be free.
To the Ratlings: Keep Ropp'ch'ch's theatre alive - remember that Kabuki is the greatest of arts, and that you are the true masters of it. Educate the Empire on ways that are not their own - and do not ever let them believe that humans are alone in this world. Chew many sticks. Eat many bugs. (Shakespeare was a rat.)
To the Mantis: Remember, always, what was sacrificed so that you may live with honor. Each of you is more than an individual - as your Lord was his twenty finest men, so each of you is worth more than one man's soul. Keep your clan close to your heart, no matter what comes. Keep his memory alive. Make sure his death was worth it all - for you are the inheritors of his journey, and you are the legend he has become.
To the Great Army: Your path is the hardest, and your troubles have just begun. But know that the Emperor of Rokugan has knelt to your name, and that you have left a mark upon this world unlike any other. From the humblest of beginnings, you have become the saviors of the Empire. You will never truly belong to any other clan, for your hearts are free. But if you choose to aid the beleagured Akodo with their new task, or if you choose to follow the Wolf Legion and seek dignity beneath the Emperor's direct command, know that your strong right arm has held the throne aloft when it would have fallen. Your dedication has paved the way.
To the Ninja: You have failed. And as such, you must be punished. But Goju's burden is its own, and those who follow Goju or Ninube must be given the freedom to silence those who do not understand. So go forth, ruined descendants of darkness and shinobi, and find those who cannot remember what duty is. Teach them a new way, and find a new path. There will always be darkness in Rokugan - and where there is Shadow, you will find your call.
To the Lion: Yours, the hardest burden of all; to take formless, faceless men and turn them into heroes. The Shadow has been named, and with that name it must take on the traits and duties of that name. Akodo, come forth from your hiding, and take back your honor. Take these empty shells and teach them what they have become. Redeem all that has been lost, and stand beside your family in the Ikoma and Kitsu. The Lion know what it is to fall, and they know what it is to fight until the bitter end - and win. You alone have never failed, even in your hour of darkness and pain. I believe that you never will.
And last, to the Monkey: You are the humor in the Empire, the laughter that rings through the halls at night, and the camaraderie that keeps us sane when the shadows walk at night. Keep the Empire's cheer, and help them see past their own blades. And lastly, I ask that you allow a wandering ronin who remembers the stories of the past to walk among you. I seek only a place to stay out of the rain, and a warm cup of sake to ease my voice between the tales. Though I am no more than you, I remember a time when the Empire was in danger, and the strength of samurai stood between it and destruction.
Let me tell you a tale of honor and courage, such as you have never heard before…
Rezan Resai Monkey Clan Wanderer -------------- Ree "'Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu; He'll shape his old course in a country new." - Lear, 1.1.186-7