These are interesting times .
The Lion would say to live in interesting times is a curse. Lions are quite amusing.
The first Toturi Emperor lies dead on the field of battle — on his journey to our lands .How is it that an army of Oni bypassed the “impenetrable ” Kaiu Wall and entered Rokugan through Shinomen forest? Are forces at work here that the rest of the Empire has yet to understand? Is this a Shadowlands invasion a simple accident of history, something bound to happen at some point ? Many believe it is no accident at all.
A more interesting question might be: who stood to gain from Toturi’s death ?
Kaede? Perhaps, but she ultimately did not desire the throne. Who can know the mind of an Oracle.
Toturi’s children? No. None of them are fools; if they wished to gain the throne they would of secured their succesion before doing away with their father.
A conspiracy of Great Clans? Crane, Crab, Lion, and Phoenix have used the Emperor’s death as a chance to launch long desired wars .The Unicorn are equally suspicious in my mind, for Moto Chagatai is an ambitious man with everything to gain from a disharmonious Empire. The Mantis? Surely a clan led by a traitor cannot be trusted, and the Mantis are surely resentful at their recent fall from grace.
The final answer is the simplest: the Shadowlands.What reason do the Shadowlands need to murder an Emperor ? None whatsoever. That they exist is reason enough. That the beast of Jigoku invaded through Shinomen places us all in an unusual position .Until now, we relied upon the Crab for defence. If the Horde can now bypass the Wall, it falls to us to defend the Empire. We must hunt these beasts through the forest before they can hunt us. The Hiruma stand at our side, their clever scouts educating our bushi in the secret techniques used to hunt these creatures. If the Shadowlands problem worsens, we will have to redistribute our forces, turning from our current priorities: the traitor to the east and our opportunities at court.
The traitor continues to rule the Mantis, and we allow it .He aspires to a greatness he’ll never deserve. Aid our agents in any matter they require, and do nothing to help the traitor escape the traps he has set for himself; unless he is truly heir to Yoritomo’s spirit, he will not last long.
Ryoko Owari, our chosen city, is now ours all but in name; even its Unicorn magistrates know they “rule” only because we allow it. The court, meanwhile, has opened its doors to clans other than the Crane. Hantei Naseru plays the game of power with skill and grace .The Crane have let go the flag they posses to try and sieze the banner they desire: they take the field against the Crab, seeking to regain lands they cannot regain through posturing . Our diplomats, courtiers and spy have gradually pulled out of the province, setting themselves up in the Imperial city, learning the rules of the game of power. With Yojiro to lead us and to provide the credible face of honor that the other clans have been loathed to grant us, we can ensure that, when the Crane leave their war and attempt to return to power in Otosan Uchi, they will find a Scorpion lair where once their nest stood.
In the meantime, there remains the question of succesion. Whom will the Scorpion support?
The Anvil? Naseru is a clever man, but he is not an ally. Niether is he an enermy, but a clever enermy is the worst kind. He may be difficult.
The Sword? I stand beside her in the Legions and know the strength of her honor. I also know she has little taste for the political games, but with proper guidance she could do well .
The Wolf? He is perhaps too detached from reality. This could make him an effective tool, but his power could be dangerous if he feels we have manipulated him.
The Bastard? Until we can attach strings to this masterless man, he will be of little use. Still, he is a clever oppponent, and well worth watching.
Bayushi Paneki Defender of the Empire, Shiriekan of the Emerald Legion