The following letter mysteriously found its way to my mailbox this week – little did I know that the reach of the United States Postal Service extended even into Rokugan …
Identity is a strange thing. You have written to me about the events in the Colonies, and I find myself somewhat troubled, but relieved that you have managed to make it through such dark times. Whenever I think on moments like these, I’m reminded of my sensei’s words to me at the end of each day – look forward to your next test.
I am fortunate in that I was able to learn the deepest traditions and secrets of the Mirumoto sword technique, but when my gempukku was complete, my sensei said the same thing that he had always said – look forward to your next test. I was confused, believing that there would be no further tests. After all, I had graduated from my training, and now it was time to deal with the realities of the world, rather than the expectations of the classroom.
That, of course, was my next test. To understand that the trials, the learning, the forging of one’s identity and ideals never end. We are not molded by birth alone, nor are we shaped only by our experiences in our youth. We are ever-changing, but without some concept of identity – traditions, goals, training, duty – we have little to cling to when these tests come. And, eventually, we have little to let go of when the time comes for such things.
The Colonies are not any different from the rest of the world, though they are much different in some ways. These tests and trials come quicker and are more brutal than they might be elsewhere, but they are the same as if they were elsewhere. They are there to help us see what is important and what is to be discarded about ourselves.
It is unfortunate that the Crab have pressed their vendetta against the Spider to include us. It is tragic that, in their haste to punish the Spider, the Lion Clan has given no heed to the lives of Dragon advisors appointed by the Empress to oversee the Spider. While we cannot allow the shallow political concerns of the day to entangle us, we also cannot allow the Lion and Crab to threaten the future of the Colonies by drowning it in war. Nor can we simply ignore the deaths of our faithful samurai.
The Empire looks to us as keepers of wisdom and understanding. While it would be absurd to say that our knowledge is without end or flaw, it is true that in this, we must find a way to correct the Lion and Crab. Be wary, though, for the Spider are for from innocent in this, and hold close to your heart our primary duty in the Colonies – to mind Daigotsu Kanpeki’s followers for signs of treachery or treason.
When this is done, I will look forward to our next test.
Dragon Clan Champion