Letter #3: Ikoma Ujiaki
The time for rejoicing is near, my comrade.
Our ancient enemy, the Crane,are finished. They have retreated from Doji Castle and are fleeing south for the temples of the Asahina family. Their shugenja will give them no more protection than their samurai have. The battle was a complete rout, thanks to our beloved Matsu Tsuko's courage and strategy. We have occupied Doji Castle, but have found the tell-tale signs of corruption there and have abandoned it. Obviously, the Crane have thrown in with the undead legions of the Shadowlands. They have followed their Champion's example out of desperation. They have no honor left. Even the Emperor's bride has turned her back on them, calling them eta, outcasts. The Emperor's Champion, however, refuses to believe our claims. Toshimoko claims that a scout from the Phoenix armies that helped protect Doji Castle tells him that a Shadowlands army assisted our beloved Champion in destroying Doji Palace. But our own Akodo Kage was there and assures me that such is not the case. Indeed, news of the attack comes from one of the Isawa family, who we all know have been falling under the influence of the Shadowlands. As for the impetuous Phoenix samurai-maiden who slew our shugenja and routed our army many months ago, word has it that she escaped the doom that our beloved Champion prepared for her. Obviously, she must have used black magic to do so. Another sign that neither the Phoenix or the Crane can be trusted.
The Shadowlands have become a significant force in the Empire, and we must turn our blame to the Crab. It was their duty to guard the Empire against the dark power of that land, and they have failed in that duty. Where is Hida Kisada? Why does he not rise up to destroy the ghouls that wander our countryside? I shall tell you where he is. He has fled to the south with a significant army. Even now he waits on the southern beaches, but what is he waiting for? We cannot say. Yet. However, the Emperor's spies have reported to us that he has sent many members of the Kaiu family to the southern islands of the Mantis Clan. We have not gathered information on what Kaiu Suman and his family are doing there, but I assure you, as soon as we discover the truth, you shall be the first to know.
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