Brothers and Sisters!
We have bested the Dark Lord, and a new Emperor sits upon the throne of Rokugan! It was like no other war we have ever seen, here or in the lands or our ancestors. The battle before the palace was fierce and brave. Junzo’s reinforcements, send to make the palace impenetrable, were crushed beneath the speed of our steeds. With flying hooves and swift arrows we circled the battlefield like Shinsei’s crow, picking off units of Goblins and Undead. We watched as the Lion stood together after Toturi’s command, and we charged by their side as the palace gates opened. It was magnificent!
But I could not stay to fight by the side of my Clan. Shinsei called my to battle the Evil One, and I followed. When we walked inside the palace I was not sure if we were ever going to leave. The creature which was our Emperor laughed when it saw us, and its laughter held the ringing sound of madness. As I watched Togashi and his brother collide, the hooded descendant of Shinsei reached out and touched my hand. I looked into his eyes and suddenly, for the first time, I knew we would win. It might not be my sword which killed the beast, but we would win.
When the Thunders finally charged the Emperor, the battle was fierce and desperate. The Phoenix’s shards of jade flew through the air like lightning, and the swords – mine, the Crane, the Lion and the Crab – surrounded Fu Leng like a barrier of steel. I was knocked back early in the fight, my head reeling from the savage blow. That’s when I first noticed. By the door of the room, Mirumoto Hitomi stood, the twelfth scroll clenched in one hand and the dripping heart of her Champion in the other. She was staring across the room, heedless of the battle we fought. It was as if she no longer cared who won. After the fight was over and the Emperor was dead, I turned to find her. She was standing over the body of her Champion, holding his bloody heart in her dead, cold hand and staring down at his face. The look in her eyes as she picked up his daisho was as empty and broken as the body at her feet.
I think – I fear – she has gone mad.
When we returned from the Emperor’s throne room, the field was littered with corpses. Literally hundreds of men, even thousands, from every clan in Rokugan were scattered on the plain before Otosan Uchi. The stories Yokatsu and Yasamura have told me about the oni who tore through their lines are enough to make the fiercest Lion turn pale. Yet they survived. Yasamura even has oni’s teeth strung and tied to his saddle. He says that they will remind him of his destiny, but I think they are to remind him that he is still alive. I have learned that destiny isn’t something that can be forgotten easily.
Toturi was made Emperor shortly after the battle had ended. The sun shone down on the plains, and the blood on the grasses was redder than the flames of the pyre they built for the bodies of the dead. “A new beginning,” Toturi said, “A new age.” An age downing in fire, blood and madness.
An age dawning in destiny