Several hours after the Maho Tsukai committed seppuku, Otomo Suikihime-sama calls the Inukai and their companions into her chambers. A letter from the Maho-Tsukai has been found in his chambers, addressed to the Imperial Governor.
Your Illustrious Imperial Governor Otomo Suikihime-sama,
It is with a heart heavy with a dishonored past that I must inform you that my tenure of sensei to your children is at an end.
I was born Akodo Jabuke, the youngest of the five children of the Champion of the Lion Clan, nearly 225 years ago. My road down a near endless trail of dishonor began with an act of Duty to my Champion father.
A local swordmaker named Takeda, as a gift to his Clan Champion, my father, bestowed upon us five finely crafted swords.
I do not know why he ordered me to behead the maker of these fine blades, but as a dutiful son, I obeyed.
After that moment, my nights were filled with whispers, dark voices filling my young mind with promises of a future of glory and might.
I should have gone to my father, or perhaps the Brothers of Shinsei, but I did not. This was my first sin. I listened as the voices filled my heart with hubris.
I later attended the Kitsu Shugenja School, but all the while, the dark voices of what I now knew to be Fu Leng continued their insidious whispers, and I listened.
Our house fell into disarray when my father fell ill and died. There was much in-fighting between my older siblings, and this dissension spread throughout the clan. In the end, all of my siblings were killed, either at the hands of another sibling, or my uncle’s army during their siege of our keep.
I was considered too young, and unsuitable to lead the Lion, so my Uncle, now sozokunin, spared my life. But I was now well down the path of the shadow.
It was not long before I was discovered, now married with two infant children, Sebu and Inako, and my wife was now pregnant with our daughter Ikume, I would later learn.
I gathered my family on the evening I suspected I would be discovered and we fled in the dark of night, heading South, toward Crane Lands.
After nearly a week of running, I awoke one morning to find that my wife had left with my two children.
I am now disgraced to say that at that moment I felt relief, unburdened by those who would slow my rise to greatness. But part of me still wished to watch over them, and I did.
Over the next century, I slowly honed by powers with Maho, my abilities with the sword, which I now named the Dewclaw, the hidden claw of the Lion.
I made my own demesne on an island, Kuro Meiku, far from the prying eyes of my clan, but close enough to keep an eye upon my family, which had changed their name to Inukai, and had been brought into the Crane Clan.
I did meet four of my descendants: Nikoma and Roukai (my great grandsons), Nikoma (my great-great grandson, and Ikume, my great-great granddaughter.
I could have killed them, but something stayed my hand. Perhaps it is that small part of me that remains now. I did not tell them who I was. I now regret that.
Soon after this I fled, and began my search for the remaining four blades, which I now called the Lion’s Claws. But this search was futile, for I had learned that the Scorpion Clan had found the blades and secreted them away.
I waited, for this is what the Kansen told me to do. One day, it whispered, these blades will again be in the hands of powerful samurai, and it was right.
By this point, the thoughts of the Kansen and my own were one, and had been for some time. Through the Lion’s Claws, I could whisper to the bearers of the swords, the Mantis yojimbo, the Crane Champion, the Lion Champion and the Dragon Champion.
As you no doubt have now guessed, the Great War of Dissension came about by my own hand. Once the other clans were embroiled in this war, I would unite the four great clans under my sway and we would march upon the Imperial City and all Rokugan would bow to me.
But this was not to be, for the Shadow does not want to rule Rokugan, it wants to destroy it.
The war continued for many years, and I tried in vain to unite the Four Wielders. But my will, which was now but a shade, helpless watched as the Shadow continued the senseless killing, destruction and misery.
Then an unexpected thing happened. Seido, the Sword of the Precise Strike, was separated from the Crane Champion. It howled in madness in my dreams. I felt the pain as it was melted, but the howling continued.
Then Kashikoi, the Sword of Dispassionate Advice, fell. Then Tsuyo-sa, the Sword of the Shattering Strike, fell.
All three, now melted, but the Kansen intact, were in the Asai Valley, the home of the Inukai.
I was at this point amassing an army of Masked Ones, and once ready, we would march upon Futsuku keep. There was still time.
Then a strange thing happened. A memory I had never before recalled came into my mind. It was from long ago, when my father ordered my siblings and I to accompany him to the small village where Takeda, the sword maker, had lived.
We razed the village, but I saw three samurai running through the village and disappear. Then Reikan, the Sword of the Inspiring Leader, fell.
No. It was unmade, as if it had never existed. I know it had existed, but it had never existed. I determined that this was very powerful magic, and I must act, or be undone myself.
Although my army of Masked Ones was not yet as large as I intended, I descended upon Futsuku Keep, slaughtering every samurai there, even my own blood.
But the Kuni arrived in force. As my army fell around me, I fled to Mura Sabishii Toshi, then to Kuro Meiku, where I killed the crew. I raised a new crew, which would be completely loyal and left for the Second City in the old Ivory Kingdom.
The Kansen screamed that I must do something, but it was now mad with terror and offered no advice.
I had been here once before, and knew of the ziggurats, filled with unburned dead. I made preparations to create more Masked Ones. And I made other plans.
It is here, honored Imperial Governor, that I must admit my greatest sin. I intended to pervert the minds of your children and your own, to recreate the events that caused my downfall -- to once again begin my sad cycle of death, destruction and misery.
I will never ask for forgiveness for this, as no forgiveness for such sins must ever be given.
By now, I knew the Inukai were in the city, as they disrupted my making of more Masked Ones. I had to do something desperate.
I was now connected, through the Kansen, with Fu Leng, but only for a brief moment. It was in this moment that I saw the powerful Maho that would allow me to conceal my corruption and allow my plan to continue
It was a terrible mistake, but also a wonderful, fortuitous mistake.
We (I say ‘we’ now, as we were two separate beings, and the Other has been destroyed) rent ourselves in two. The Shadow, the hubris, the age and the willingness and knowledge to perform Maho became one, while everything else became the second.
This would allow me to go undetected, as the Other took all of the Shadow corruption into itself. It cast Maho upon me to make me its thrall, and sent me to the Ivory City to compete in your honorable tournament.
Whilst under the Maho, I did the Other’s bidding, for with more than two centuries of training, It knew I could not be bested.
Last night, after my victory in the tournament, the spell was broken.
I woke near the mid-night, for the first time feeling the regret of more than two centuries of sins, dishonor and acts for which no moral people have a word.
I do not know if I will live to see the sunrise. I suspect the Inukai’s hand in the end of the Other, and I believe they will now seek me out and put an end to me, as they well should.
I would never seek your forgiveness for what I have done, and what I once planned to do. If I am spared by the Inukai, I will train your children like no other Sensei could, then I will commit seppuku.
Whether you read this letter tomorrow, or many years from now, I am now dead. Perhaps I have performed only one honorable act, perhaps I have performed many. Regardless of the outcome, it will not be enough to pay the penance for what I have done.
I have so much more to say, but for what I have done, I deserve no legacy. Let my name fall upon the ash heap of history, for I am but,