For three hundred years we have wondered what our place in Rokugan is. Once, we left this land to follow our Kami’s, to explore the lands beyond the borders of the Empire, to blaze paths into lands and live lives that those of the Empire cannot understand. It is our nature to find our own answers rather than accept meekly what has gone before, but, after my many years, I have some answers to share with you.
Use them until you make your own.
In our search, we uncover many truths, truths which remain closely hidden by our people. We do this not for the sake of deception, like a Scorpion; the other clans are simply not prepared to know. They cannot see what we have seen and hope to understand. They have no choice but to count our secrets as proof of our ‘barbarian’ ways.
When we first returned to the Empire, our splendid horses and our methods of warfare were alien to our forgotten cousins. They looked upon our leather saddles with horror, seeing only dead flesh instead of increased maneuverability and flexibility. They saw our stirrups as proof of barbarian perversion. When our charging lancers and skilled horsebowmen crushed the armies of Bayushi Sozasu at White Shore Plain, they began to see their error. Even yet, they mocked us behind their painted fans. Only after all this time have a handful of families begun to appreciate the lessons we have tried to teach them.
We alone have dared to plumb the secrets of the Great Crater, and now we alone understand the secret it holds. This secret I share with you now. There is a city at the bottom of the crater, a lost city from a civilization older than our Empire. The other clans ignore it. Such a ruin cannot possibly exist, and surely has no place in the Celestial Order. No place? It exists, does it not? Is that not proof enough? Were not the cities of the Naga once thought to be blasphemous aberrations as well? We now know that they were not.
It comes to a question of truth. The other clans claim to embrace truth, but their concept truth is rife with lies and half-measures. As if the Ikoma would record the reign of an unjust Emperor, or refrain from editing an unfortunate embarrassment for their clan, or accurately record the location of the Naga’s vanishing and reappearing cities.
We prefer justice to the illusion of righteousness; this is why we serve the Empire as magistrates. We strive to enforce the code of the ideal Emperor, even when the lord of the land may be less than ideal. The heirs of Toturi are men and women of great integrity, but all are flawed in their own manner. Any could become a great Emperor or a foul tyrant. Our unique perspective will guide us well in the times to come, and guide the Empire to its best course in choosing a successor.
There is another truth which our people see, and other do not. Have the other clans forgotten the march to Volturnum, the great victory at Oblivion’s Gate? Have they forgotten the Day of Thunder? More importantly, have they forgotten the squabbling and pointless warfare that preceded each of these terrible struggles? We must remember for them, just as we remembered our lost kin of the Dark Moto and redeemed them through death in the Battle of the Twilight Mountains.
The skies are dark with the dust of marching armies. Dragon against Phoenix and Lion, Crab against Crane. These are not our wars, but it is our Empire, and alliances must be made. If there is ever to be peace, if there is to remain a chance for negotiation and compromise, it will be we who arrange it. Choose your battles wisely, and choose your allies more so. We will bring the Empire back to unity even if it must be done at the end of a horseman’s blade.
We cannot turn from our responsibility against the powers that would slay the Empire. Shahai was one of us, now she is a chief among the dark powers who have evaded our justice. Grant her the peace we have granted the Dark Moto, send the Dark Daughter and her minions on a final ride into the black winds of death. Redeem her family’s honour.
We are the people of the wind, the explorers, the keepers of truth. The time is ripe for us to prove our strength to the Empire.
Champion of the Unicorn