by Shawn Carman
Otomo Suikihime, Imperial Governor of the Colonies, swept into her personal audience chamber with a flourish, her exquisitely crafted attire glinting in the sunlight. The chamber, which could easily accommodate dozens, was empty save for a lone figure awaiting her. “Good morning, Kikugoro,” she said with a smile. “How does the day find you?”
Asako Kikugoro gave what Suikihime might call a pained smile, accompanied by a proper bow. “I am well, my lady,” he said, his voice soft and velvety as ever. It was the principle reason she had selected him for the duty as one of her personal scholars. “I have the information you requested, Governor.”
“I did not doubt it for a moment,” she said, still smiling. She doubted very much the Phoenix enjoyed her company, but his discomfit at her presence only entertained her. “I am very interested to know a bit more about this Fudoism that has become such a sensation throughout the Colonies. When it was something that was merely discussed on the frontier, I considered it unimportant, but I find it mentioned with increasing frequency here in the Second City.”
“It is somewhat unusual that it has taken such root here,” Kikugoro acknowledged. “It would seem that the symbols and texts discovered in certain rural regions are taken directly from the Fudoist texts. There has been some speculation about whether or not Fudo or his adherents might have traveled to the Ivory Kingdoms after their exile from the Brotherhood.”
“Interesting,” Suikihime said, observing a servant enter with a tea tray. She nodded as it was poured and the servant withdrew. “For what reason was Fudo exiled in the first place?”
“The Brotherhood texts are somewhat vague in that regard,” Kikugoro said. “The period of history when Fudo and his teachings first arose was particularly… conservative, theologically speaking. What we know of Fudo is that he taught that individual paths could vary wildly, and stray far from what was considered appropriate and acceptable at that time. His teachings were considered heretical by the most stringent of the Brotherhood sects, and even the more open-minded philosophical groups found them uncomfortable.”
Seeds of Decay is the third expansion for the Legend of the Five Rings CCG’s Emperor Edition story arc, and as the expansion begins, things in the Empire of Rokugan and its Colonies are beginning to show definite signs of strain. Conflicts that were introduced in Embers of War and in The Shadow’s Embrace have continued to exacerbate until now, some clans are embroiled in open military conflict, and others are waging an even more dangerous war: political war in the courts of the Empire and the Colonies.
Initially a mercantile dispute, the conflict between the Mantis and the Crane has continued to escalate from limited skirmishes between individuals and small groups, and now has erupted into open military conflict between the two clans. The tempestuous nature of Mantis Clan Champion Yoritomo Hiromi has compelled him to order his people to tolerate no offense from the Crane, and to devote themselves utterly to victory. Even as the conflict continues to grow, the potential for Hiromi to become the first Clan Champion to claim residence within the Colonies grows with each passing skirmish between the two clans.
The ever-wary Scorpion Clan looks upon the spread of Fudo-ism throughout the Colonies and see something more sinister at work, although precisely what is a mystery. The sons of Bayushi do not endure mysteries well, and the agents of the Scorpion begin scouring the jungles and recesses of the Colonies in search of an entity that can answer their questions, a being of absolute deceit and manipulation who, if not responsible for the deception, then can tell them who is. If the Shadow Dragon is to blame for what is amiss within the Colonies, then the Scorpion shall find a way to kill it. But if it is not, then the danger of such a powerful, unknown foe is one that demands any necessary steps be taken to find its name, even if that means that the Scorpion must parlay with perhaps the most dangerous enemy one can make.
As the self-styled stewards of the Colonies, the Dragon find themselves stretched to the absolute breaking point in an attempt to keep order in the land that they believe they are to oversee in the name of their Empress. The increasing bureaucratic demands of the Imperial Governor, who has assigned numerous tasks to the Kitsuki family, means that the clan must depend more and more upon the Togashi order to oversee their interests in the Colonies beyond the Second City. In this case, however, the eccentric mannerisms and tendencies of the Togashi may prove a liability for the clan as a whole…
Check back next Tuesday for another article of this series: the set’s art!