Isawa Hinata stood patiently alongside many of her kinsmen, as well as a large contingent from several other clans. There were among them a number of Lion, and she could sense their angry glances, but she afforded them not a second thought. Why should she? They were unworthy of her attention, particularly when such an important personage was arriving within the Second City.
The city’s northern gate was used almost exclusively for arrivals and departures between the Colonies and the Emerald Empire. Departures were often cause for sorrow, but occasionally quiet celebration. Likewise arrivals were most often cause for celebration, but occasionally quiet concern. Today there was more of the latter than usual, owing primarily to the importance of those where were said to be arriving. Positions would be threatened. The balance of power would shift, politically speaking, and perhaps in arenas other than politics as well. Hinata cared nothing for such trivialities. For her, this was a grand day, and one that would see her ambitious realized by day’s end, or so she hoped. She would see soon enough.
The ceremonial palanquins arrived shortly, and there were far more of them than usual. The number of arrivals following on foot was appropriately larger as well, and Hinata noted inwardly that perhaps she had underestimated the enormity of the day. Ultimately, however, it was Phoenix business and only Phoenix business with which she should concern herself, and in that regard she was well prepared indeed. She approached the palanquin that bore familiar colors and bowed deeply as the lone occupant emerged. “Good day and welcome to the Second City, noble Kurou-sama.”
The Shadow’s Embrace is the second expansion for the Emperor Edition of the Legend of the Five Rings collectible card game. As the story of the expansion begins, the conflicts simmering after the events of Embers of War begin to build into a raging bonfire that threatens to destroy any semblance of stability within the Colonies, and even stretches back into the Empire itself.
The hostility between the Crane and the Mantis has been building for months. Initially about competing mercantile interests, the situation has continued to degenerate due to the wildly different nature of the two clans, and the enmity has begun to spill over into other areas. Finally, the Crane lords of Twin Forks City, the major river point between the Second City and the southern coastline decide to send a message to the Mantis, and dramatically increase the tariffs charged on all Mantis cargo between Kalani’s Landing and the Second City. It is not an insult the Mantis bear well, and it seems to many that military conflict is inevitable.
For many years, the Crab have expressed little interest in the Colonies. The clan’s endeavors in the Empire have simply been too important to pay much attention to such distant concerns. The Governor’s decree allowing for exploration and the claiming of territory, however, presented the clan with too great an opportunity to pass up. With large tracts of land now in possession of the Crab, the Clan Champion has dispatched a trusted lieutenant to ensure that the resources of the Colonies are properly harvested for the good of the clan. Toward that end, Kuni Renyu, the Champion’s younger brother and the lord of the Kuni family, has been dispatched to the Colonies, and his rule there shall be iron-fisted indeed.
Unlike the Crab, the Phoenix have expressed tremendous interest in the Colonies, and the many secrets hidden there. As the years have progressed, the clan has steadily increased its contingent within both the Second City and the Colonies. With the recent revelation that the clan intends to create a temple as a stronghold for the Asako Inquisitors, the Council of Elemental Masters has chosen to deploy one of the clan’s leaders to ensure that all is proceeding as it should. Although there has been vigorous debate, none of the Council are willing to abandon their efforts in the Empire. As a stopgap measure, and to avoid allowing the Asako family too much unrestricted control over the clan’s endeavors in the Colonies, the Agasha family daimyo has been dispatched to ensure that the interests of the Elemental Council are not imperiled.
As these interests grow more complicated, the other clans are likewise drawn into their own squabbles. Diplomacy between the Lion and Unicorn remains strained due to the question of how to handle the unknown attackers in the Western Wastes. Likewise the relations between the Unicorn and Dragon continue to struggle in the wake of the prolonged and increasingly political engagement between their two Champions. The Scorpion and the Spider come into conflict over the dark secrets hidden in the shadows of the dead Ivory Kingdoms, and the Brotherhood of Shinsei grows increasingly concerned over the influence of Fudoism in the Colonies.