Before the Dawn
The Crab lands have fallen, and the Scorpion lands are besieged. The Empire’s war with the Destroyers approaches its final, feverish days. When the dawn finally breaks, and the war is concluded, will the sun rise upon the Emerald Empire, or only upon a suffering ruin once known as Rokugan?
Kyuden Hida – “If one stone remains, if one warrior still lives… the Crab are not defeated.” – Hida Reiha
These are the darkest days the Crab have ever known. Their lands are lost, and the legendary Kyuden Hida has fallen before the overwhelming assault of the Destroyers. Even as the sons of Hida struggle to spare the Scorpion from the same fate, word reaches the Crab Champion that the forces of Shiro Hiruma, long thought lost, have launched an offensive against the Destroyers from the rear, attacking from the ruins of Kyuden Hida. While one Crab yet lives, the Crab fight on.
Shamate Keep – *”They say this foe is impossible to defeat. I say the Matsu shall achieve the impossible.” – Matsu Kenji
*For more than a year, the Lion have fought shoulder to shoulder with the Crab and Unicorn against a foe the likes of which the Empire has never known. Slowly, painfully, the Akodo have mastered techniques and strategies that exploit the weaknesses of the ironclad Destroyers, but even then, their numbers are simply too great. The Lion have been forced to fall back again and again. Now the fight has reached the doorstep of the Matsu family. Now is not the time for calculating battle, but for brutal, unrelenting war.
Temple of Purity – *”Evil must be given no quarter, no foothold, and no mercy.” – Asako Bushiken
*The Phoenix are a peaceful clan, eschewing war whenever possible and embracing the concepts of mediation and peace. None among their ranks are as peaceful as the Asako, and perhaps for this reason so many are shocked at the severity of the Asako Inquisitors. It is to protect the serenity of their family that the Inquisitors are so stark in their duties, ruthlessly eradicating all who stray along the path of the corrupt. With their wrath unleashed upon the Destroyers, the Empire shall once again fear the power of the Phoenix Clan.
Card Flavor Text:
A Champion in Court – “Please, my lord, allow me this honor.”
A Dragon’s Favor – “The power our shugenja now possess is wondrous and terrible, but we must never become reliant upon it. If it were revoked, I would not have my clan flounder in its absence.” -Yoritomo Naizen
A Gentle Word – “In Rokugan, testimony of an honorable man is stronger than a mountain of evidence. A single sentence from a respected samurai can undo months of suspicion.
A Simple Yari – “Sometimes, nothing else is needed.” – Shiba Jouta
Akodo Ashiko – “Let the Destroyers come. I shall die with them at Shamate Pass!”
Akodo Tezuka – The aftermath of the zombie march across the Lion Lands had repercussions for months afer the first threat had been neitralized.
Amazing Feat – “The greatest masters are forgotten. Their legacies are immortalized in their stead.” – Kakita Yasunori
Anger Management – “Finally. Something I can utterly destroy for a change.”
Asahina Nanae – “It is true, my family does not fight. But we feel the suffering of the southern armies, and we will aid you with all of our strength. Nor do we come alone. Lady Doji had sent the armies of the Daidoji with us.”
Asako Heiwa – “The Dark Fire has waned and the people of the Phoenix can rest again. It is my responsibility to soothe our wounds. It is the Shiba’s to rejoin the southern front.”
Asako Izuna – “Yes, I think his absence would be most convenient.”
Ascending the Ranks – “I am grateful for all you have taught me. I am sure you are honored to be the first to discover just how much I have learned.”
Ashigaru Elite – “The samurai believe they are the strength of the Empire. Lucky for them, we are willing to let them believe that. ” – Sachika
Ashigaru Recruits – “If they do not fight, they will die. If they fight, they wil likely die. Better a slim chance than none.” – Akodo Kuma
Bayushi Ebara – “Fighting alongside the Crab and Lion, all shedding blood in defense of my home – I hardly know what to think of it.”
Bayushi Shibata – “I will exploit ever resource, my lady. Every fool, every sinner I have met in my twenty years of service shall pay the price for their actions, all to our benefit.”
Bayushi Suwabe – “Will it be me that kills you? My brother? Cousin? Neighbor? All that matters is that the Scorpion will end you.”
Beautiful Host – “A shift of the head, a lift of the chin, and a dismissive lift of the fan. Those are the only weapons she needs to ruin careers.
Beyond the Line – “This may be our only chance,” Todori whispered. “Find out everything you can. Take any risk necessary. We will succeed or die in the attempt.”
Bird of Prey – “They follow in its wake, consuming anything it leaves behind. They are the perfect cleansing fire that follows its slow, swimming apocalypse.” – Moshi Kalani
Brothers in Battle – “Even among former enemies, the bonds forged on the battlefield cannot easily be broken.
Brothers of Goemon – “We stand with the samurai of Rokugan, as our patron would have done.”
Chuda Kiuchi – “Fingers, an eye, some blood and thread, A loving toy made from the dead!”
Consuming Weakness – “Use the dead on the front line, and feast on their energy when they are destroyed. The dead are nothing if not versatile.” – Chuda Mishime
Control the Board – “Go taught much, but only to those who understood it was not merely a game.
Crimson Shadow Armor – “They say that they hate us, that we disgrace them, that they would wipe us out. But in their hearts, they fear us. As they should.” – Bayushi Muhito
Daidoji Masafuni – “Strange days, to be fighting alongside the Crab and Lion to defend the Scorpion! But if we lose here, Toshi Ranbo is imperiled.”
Daigotsu Bukaro – “Do nothing yet. Wait for the whelps that carry the Tao. We act only when they have made their choice.”
Daigotsu Miki – “The Destroyers’ goddess prepares for the final act of this farce. We must be ready to answer her.”
Daigotsu Yajinden – “Hmm. Anguish. Yes, it needs more anguish.”
“Death, Defeated” – “Do you still judge me, samurai?”
Defending Their Home – Once battle was its reward. Now it meant something else – preserving a way of life.
Destructive Priorities – “All my plans and machinations are nothing without you.”
Detained – “Hold, you disgraceful lout! Your weakness endangers us all, and I will not have it!”
Disgraceful Conduct – “Remember your purpose. Make it convincing, or everyone will know of your shame at the Kyuden Bayushi winter court.” – Bayushi Shibata
Dismissing the Cur – “You disgrace the name you bear and the Empire you serve. Get out of my sight before my actions turn ungracious.”
Disrupting Communication – “By sheer weight of numbers, the Destroyers continue onward,” Hiruma Ikuya said, “but our vigilance will keep them back as long as we can.”
Doji Shigeyuki – “Lady Doji is… displeased.”
Drawing on the Mountain – “This castle may fall, my friend Shiba, but it will not fall today!”
Ebisu’s Honesty – “The plague is a perversion of everything he represents. We shall work harder and pray more diligently that his blessing falls upon us.”
Ember’s Final Fire – “The priest clutched his bloody stomach. “It is too late for me,” he rasped. “But I will not enter the next world alone. Run while you can. I will end this.”
En’you – “The first sailors who saw him were accused of being too far in their cups, but after the third report, even the most cynical started keeping an eye out for him.”
Erosion – “The ridge on which they stand will not be a problem in just a moment, my lord.”
Favors – “Praise, rebuke, or observation, it matters not. The truths we share control the courts, and through them, the empire.” – Doji Domotai
Fear Me! – “Do you see?” Inokuchi shouted. “Do you see what you face?”
Firm Censure – “You told a guest your true feelings? You ignorant fool! Control yourself!”
Fledgling Ashigaru – “Remember how you were treated by your samurai lords and learn from it. Take our new brothers under your wing and teach them all that you were not taught.” – Sachika
Forging Destiny – “That wretched Daughter is dead, my love,” Shahai whispered, “What could be gained by seizing her power for your own?”
Fury of a Mob – “Fortunes, that is an ugly way to die,” Bayushi Arashii said. The priest shrugged. “With our lands invaded, such things are inevitable. Lead them to our next target.”
Genji’s Students – “Slowly, the lessons of the Kaiu spread.
Goju Genin – “My death is absolutely meaningless. Your death, however? Your death will be forever.” – Goju Sawaki
Goju Sawaki – “The Destroyers are wholly within the Empire,” he whispered. “The clans have taken their toll upon the ranks.”
Headbutt – “Do you think that you are safe because my steel is gone? Fool of a gaijin! I need no weapon for scum like you!”
Hida Defenders – “With their lands occupied, all must do their duty, no matter what their training.”
Hida Fujita – “I grew up an orphan, never knowing my parents. I will kill these demons with my hands and teeth if it will spare one child that misery.”
Hida Yamadera – “Kill me! My life means nothing and I cannot even throw it away because you are too pathetic to take it!”
Hiruma Akio – “Perhaps these samurai were not directly responsible for my brother’s death. That does not mean I shall spare their lives.”
Horse Archers – “I have ridden with them and against them. Let the Destroyers taste their arrows this day.” – Akodo Masao
Hunger – “Ahh, Togashi Nyoko. A woman after my own heart, truly.” – Daigotsu Yajinden
Ikoma Ayumu – “If nothing else, this war has proven the Lion were not ready to face this strange, corrupted enemy. We must be more diligent and learn new tactics.”
Ikoma Shinohara – “I am an old man, Lord Shigetoshi. I have lived a long life. Would that it had reached its conclusion without seeing such a war.”
Indomitable Home – “What a pitiful name. We will put it to the test.” – Legulus
Iron Will – “The warrior chuckled. “Did you think to kill me, Scorpion? Perhaps to purge a weakness from the ranks? That will stil happen, but you were confused about which of us would die.”
Isawa Kaname – “There are some threats that no blade can slay and no armor can ward. The kami and I stand against them.”
Isawa Sakonoko – With the threat of the Army of Dark Fire ended the Phoenix began the long process of healing their wounds.
Iuchi Kota – “I relish the chance to work with the Crab again.”
Iuchi Yupadi – “She was born an Utaku, but her training with the Iuchi proved her of such exceptional ability that she was wed into the daimyo’s extended family and took their name.” – Moto Chen
Kaiu Iemasa – “Destruction is only the first step.”
Kaiu Nakano – “I would prefer that the Empire had not suffered so, but think of the opportunities! Think of the chances to improve, redesign, and rebuild! It is a thrilling time to be alive.”
Kakita Munemori – “I am a wicked man, Noritoshi-sama, but I am your man all the same. You are safe here as long as you desire, and I will find the information you need.”
Kakita Nara – “Let them prattle, I am Kakita Noritoshi’s vasal, and I will serve him until death.”
Kakita Yasunori – “The proper task of an artisan is to create beauty. But while this war rages, all of our strength goes to defending the Empire.”
Kitsuki Fujimura – “If the Emerald Champion is corrupt, there is neither evidence nor testimony to prove it. Should we turn a blind eye to his evil, then? I say no.”
Komori Taruko – “We were brought along to the Kingdoms to facilitate communication, but the Phoenix have made that purpose redundant. We must find new purpose in this land to cement our alliances.” – Komori
Kunji – “It came to fight the Dark Fire. Will it stay wth its purifying light, or will it leave now that the threat has passed?” – Shiba Tsukimi
Kyuden Hida – “Do you think destruction would stop us?” – Hiruma Todori
Kyuden Hida Survivor – “They ignored us and left us to wallow in the death throes of our home. I swear I will make them regret that decision for the rest of their short and suffering existence.
Matsu Kaido – “The time for subtlty and brilliance is over. We need brutality and raw power. Now it is my time.”
Measure of Devotion – “As their numbers dwindled, the Deathseekers have become event more intent on wreaking destruction. I have never feared my kin before, but I begin to see them differently …” – Ikoma Ayumu
Mirumoto Houken – “That the Phoenix ended a threat we should have eliminated long ago is a stain that we will not soon forget. To blame them for such a thing, however, would be petty and shameful.”
Mirumoto Inokuchi – “I am disturbed by the emergence of this Fusami Technique. We are allies today, but the Crane must prepare for tomorrow.” – Kakita Korihime
Mirumoto Yozo – “I save your life today only so that I may take it tomorrow, Lion.”
Moshi Umiko – “Many of the Mantis are away but the Destroyers should not think that we cannot defend ourselves.”
Moto Hailung – “Never have I felt such exhaustion, friend Hiruma. But if you, whose home is lost, will fight on, then I will fight beside you.”
Necessary Evil – “We must ensure that the Phoenix know neither too much, not too little. Determine which is the case and we will deal with it.” – Shosuro Toson
Never Enough Soldiers – “Reiha-sama, a unit of men have appeared, and they bear the Spider mon.” “Do they have oni or goblins with them? If not, put them on the left flank. The line is getting thin.”
Nijugun – “The Hiruma and their allies struck the Destroyer’s rear flank, engaging them on a second front.
Oathsworn Deathseeker – “A war of this magnitude will create countless souls who blame themselves for failures beyond their control. Only among the Lion will their guilt lead them to a violent death.” – Bayushi Miyako
Of One Instant – “A duelist learns the limits of his mind and body, so that he may bypass them for one perfect moment.”
Omigawa – “Do you see your brothers in my face, samurai? When the Destroyers fall, you are next!”
One Action, Two Strikes – “Arishia, take Gidayu and scout along the coast. We are going to clean every last cultist from this wreck of a kingdom. And then we are to find a way to turn a profit in this land.” – Moshi Kalani
Pride of the Hand – “They seem to have gained a taste for Destroyer flesh, such as it is.” – Matsu Benika
Raido no Oni – “I have seen them fighting the Destroyers, and fighting alongside the Destroyers. I prefer to let them kill themselves, honestly.” – Hida Fujita
Readied Steel – “With each loss, the Dragon fought harder. They did not fight for the lost homes or castles, but for the land itself.
Reckless Rush – The Crane and the Lion fought shoulder to shoulder and back to back.
Record of Failure – “Not all those who have fallen in this war have fallen with their honor intact. It is painful, but we must remember their shame as well.” – Miya Shoin
Revenge – “The Spider fought alongside the rest of Rokugan, but some remembered past days.
Rocky Terrain – Choosing battle sites was one of the few advantages the Empire’s defenders had.
Rumormonger – “I heard from a courtier very close to their delegation that a certain samurai may not be as she seems …”
Saibankan’s Justice – “The Scorpion laid the foundations for the legal system still in place today. He was an honest, upright, and honorable man. Pity few of his ilk can be found among his clan today.” – Akodo Kobi
Scars of War – “Our lands have suffered greatly, but we will find advantage from this and emerge stronger for it.” – Bayushi Miyako
Seaside Bazaar – “The Mantis and Crane continue in their trade, undisturbed by the foreign threats facing them.
Seek the Stain – “I feel them! So… so befouled!”
Shadow Tactics – “Some Scorpion become so lost in their trade, so consumed by their duty, that they become something almost inhuman. They, too, have their uses.” – Shosuro Toson
Shamate Keep – “Sometimes an enemy cannot be tactically overcome. They can only be crushed.” -Matsu Kenji
Shiba Jouta – “He charges into the heart of battle against the the Destroyers with no fear. His example inspires greatness.” – Shiba Danjuro
Shiba Ryuba – “Send me against the Destroyers! The creatures of the Dark Oracle posed no threat. Maybe these shall.”
Shinjo Byung – “If we are to give our lives to give Katamari and Benjiro time to defeat the enemy, then we will visit the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang with pride.”
Shinjo Dak-ho – “I have studied Akodo’s Leadership, but the Lion commanders have found new ways to wage war.”
Shosuro Toson – “At times, a Shosuro lord must bloody his blade.
Shosuro Tsuji – “The Destroyers are iron, but their leaders, their officers, are living creatures. And the living can be killed. Do this, and teach them what it means to cross the Scorpion.” – Bayushi Miyako.
Show of Restraint – “You are an amazing idiot. I should kill you, but your empire needs even idiots right now.” – Tetsuo
Sly Deciever – “No one will ever notice.”
Soshi Komiko – “We have reason to believe Noritoshi has abandoned all pretense, my lord. He is on his way here, to the Imperial City.”
Spirit of the Blade – “Bamboo or Bloodsword, your spirit must be stronger than your blade if you are to prevail. Forget this for a moment and you will be consumed.” – Isawa Mitsuko
Spirit of the Shadows – “You can hide in a dark corner, or you can hide in the complacency of men’s minds. Use whatever works.” – Yogo Reiko
Spirit of the Truth – “Our task is to defend Rokugan from within. The southern line will not hold for a day if the Empire crumbles behind it.” -Doji Shigeyuki
Spirit of the Warrior – “At the heart of the battle, warriors must bear the weight of command or crack under the pressure. Those that succeed often prove to be the best warriors of all.
Stockpiled Resources – “Perhaps bandits placed these here, or ronin. It does not matter. We will put them to better use than their owner could ever have hoped.”
Stolen Merchandise – Their threat is not yet ended …
Stone-Hewed Shrine – Chosai left little unharmed.
Strength of the Mountain – Their homes are destroyed but the mountains endure.
String of Victories – “Center your spirit. Steel your flesh. Execute your will. There can be no defeat if these are done properly.”
Taishuu – “Shall I tell you what Togashi saw before he left?”
Takayuki – “Why am I here? Where else should I be? Heaven’s newest daughter is battling the Champion of Jigoku. There are no battles to be found like the battles here.”
Tamori Shosei – “His work is absolutely essential to our endeavors. Without him, how much knowledge would already have been lost?” – Seppun Tashime
Temple of the Seven Fortunes – “Rokugan must stand together to survive. How often must we learn this simple lesson?” – Asako Bairei
The Agony of her Gaze – “Finally, the Destroyer and her elite took to the battlefield. Some hearts shattered, unable to bear her presence. Others were kindled to consuming rage.” – Chronicles of the Bitter Spring
The Crimson Mark – “Even the Scorpion dislike them, but they serve their lords well.
The Great Death – “We call ourselves masters of the sea. But we are merely deceiving ourselves” – Yoritomo Sunagawa
The Killing Grounds – “This land shall see death. Theirs or ours.”
The Red Hunger – “The loss of the Ivory Kingdom’s warriors means that many horrors they held in check now wander the world.” – Yoritomo Singh
The Second Feint – If you see one, the other two have already passed your vigil.
The Sound of Thunder – “The Lion laughed, blood staining his lips. “Hear that, Destroyer?” he sputtered. “We held you long enough. The Unicorn come for you now.”
The Spirit of Knowledge – “There is no greater teacher than experience, and both victory and defeat are needed for mastery. I fear I shall lead a generation of true masters.” – Akodo Shigetoshi
The Tapestry Perceived – “The future is never clear, but now … now it is almost completely obscured. I fear its meaning.” – Isawa Kimi
The World Disappears – “It is more important than ever, now, to touch the fundamentals of the world.”
Thoughts of Wind – “You think like the earth. Do not be restricted. Think like the wind, and all is possible.”
Togashi Sakata – “Like you, I revel in the world, including sake. Unlike you, I find a reversal of fortunes to have gratifying effects.”
Too Close to Home – “Toson, I know the commander of that legion and he is inept. Dispose of him so that Shigetoshi can put someone competent in his place.” “Your will, Lady Miyoko.”
Tsi Weapon – “Absolutely magnificent.” – Tsi Zutaka
Tsubute – “Such a simple thing can be so useful in the hands of the properly trained.” – Shosuro Toson
Tsunami Tattoo – “We are wounded but never defenseless.”
Tsuruchi Yashiro – “They have both wronged us, but a brother from a different clan is still a brother.”
Unorthodox Attack – “Following the lead of the Lion, the defenders of Rokugan tried tactics they had never tried before, with surprising success.
Utaku Eun-ju – “None will dare question our loyality again. We stand with Rokugan, now and forever!”
Utaku Tairu – “I have been honored to serve with the Amethyst Champion, but duty first brings me to war. With her blessing I fight in her name.”
Vigilant Riders – “With Rokugan itself threatened, all who could fight answered the call.
Visage of the Orochi – “There are things about this phenomenon of Thunder we do not yet understand, and I recommend strongly against angering the Mantis until we do.” – Asako Bairei
Wrathful Dead – “The destruction of our lands has unleashed the wrath of the spirits. Our dead visit their anger upon the Destroyers, and I celebrate them for it.” – Soshi Yukimi
Xijkt – “Fire gone, yes, but not danger. Foolish humans.”
Yasuki Dokansuto – “Do not worry, Lord Jinn-Kuen. Once the Crab lands are rebuilt, our agents will be present in every court and dojo. It will be child’s play.”
Yoritomo Singh – “Duty bade me leave, and duty brought me back.”
Yoritomo Tarao – “There is a profit to be made here. Enough for the clan, and enough for me as well.”
Yoritomo Zinan – “We are far from Rokugan, yet still we fight Kali-ma. Our cause is just.”