With the Crab having larger than usual Oni attacks, they are pressed to their limit. This is not helped by the fact that Hida Kisada has been found murdered before he could answer accusations of siding with the Shadowlands. To top it all off the Crane have used these accusations to start attacks upon the Crab, looking to “punish them for their crimes” as they claim.
In response the Empress orders them to stand down, an order that is ignored. She then sends an army of the Imperial Legion to attack the home of the Doji in an effort to bring them to heel. While this is going on she orders Tsuya to take another, larger, batch of the Imperial Legion and reinforce the Crab, decisively siding with them.
Taking the army Tsuya, as well as Shosuro Jimen, along with her to enforce the Empress’ will she arrives just in time to see Hida Kuon struck down by Kakita Noritoshi. In a rage she attacks Noritoshi but is almost killed herself, both by the Kakita and his troops who are trying to help. With the aid of Jimen’s secretly poisoned blade the warrior is brought down and subdued although he is acting beyond crazed.
As he is subdued he is struck down a small woman, Doji Domotai. As he dies it appears that a spirit of some sort tears itself out of his body, disappearing into nothingness shortly thereafter. She claims that the Crane Clan has been taken over by someone claiming to be her father, Doji Kurohito. Tsuya takes her legions towards the Crane lands to aid the Imperial Legion there and confront this prospective imposter.
With several of the Elemental Masters having proven themselves to be corrupt, defying the Empress and holing up in their lands, the Empress orders the only clan not embroiled in conflict, that being the Mantis, to lay siege to the Phoenix lands and subdue to the council with as minimum a loss of life as possible. Knowing that their troops are no match for a land battle due to how entrenched the Phoenix already are they opt for an attack by sea. Their fears are proven true when they realize the Isawa have placed magical wards up that guard their entire lands from any form of attack.
During the war the Mantis bombard the harbors of the Phoenix, reducing their seafaring abilities to nothing, while sending troops to torch farms. Their hopes are to end the battle as quickly and smoothly as they can by forcing the starving armies to surrender. While the Asako and Agasha openly rebel against the Isawa, demanding that they stop these attacks, while the Shiba are torn between their sacred duty to the Isawa and their duties as Samurai to both the people and the Empress.
In desperation the Isawa summon up an avatar of the Dragon of Fire and send it against the fleet. As it destroys ships Tamiyo sees the only way to stop it from slaughtering her friends and allies, calling upon the blood of Togashi within her. Changing into a water dragon she assaults the avatar, the very surprised avatar. With the assistance of some Shugenja amongst the fleet she destroys it, destroying the artifact used to summon it. This, along with some outside assistance, causes the barrier to fall and the Mantis assault the Isawa.
When all is said and done only the Elemental Master of Earth and Void survived. The others were killed by Tamiyo and her allies. In addition a Bloodspeaker was revealed to be behind the corruption, having sunk “her” claws into the council. Torn to shreds by Tamiyo, the hope is that now the Shugenja of the Phoenix can help the Dragon with the attacking Yobanjin and the Unicorn with the mysterious beasts attacking their lands.
Yoritomo Leela left her home in the Mantis Lands, accompanied by her sister, on a trade expedition to the Ivory Kingdoms. After an exchange of goods they expect to return home. As they’re going the captain of the ship she’s on begins to court her, expressing his interest quite clearly.
Arjuna is on another ship in the trade fleet, enjoying the chance to go home again even if just for a short time.
Little did they expect to be greeted by servants of the Cult of Ruhmal, coming out of the shadows to start stranding the Mantis on their island outpost. They attempt to sink the ships, kidnap the captains and ritually sacrifice them to Kali-Ma. The kidnappings work but Arjuna, Hachi, Leela and her sister attempt to infiltrate the base. The narrow, dangerous waterway is guarded by a powerful water creature, reminiscent of a Jinn, that forces a deal out of Leela – give up her memories of her relationship with the captain in exchange for allowing her to pass. She agrees to this and he allows them to pass. The group slaughters a half dozen cultists outside of the small island home and manage to rescue two out of the three captains.
Having exchanged the memories of her relationship with the captain Leela works to try and remind him of their friendship while also trying to figure out what she wishes to do with herself in the future.