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    • Owlbear

               The door to the Colonial Court swung open suddenly and banged loudly against the wall. Many in attendance jumped in surprise, for normally the door was only opened after a latecomer was announced by the Governor’s guardsmen. There were a few gasps, and then a moment of muttering that gave way to absolute silence as a half dozen samurai in heavy armor entered the room in a protective formation. The Governor’s guards stood aside, clearly bewildered, but made no attempt to intervene. Something had stayed their hand, and when the armored detail parted, it was obvious to all what it was.

                “Iweko Seiken, eldest son of the Divine Empress,” Otomo Suikihime said sweetly. If there was any consternation or concern in her mind, neither her tone nor face showed any hint of it. “It is my exquisite pleasure to welcome you to the court of the Second City. I had hoped you might grace us with your presence once you grew acclimated to the Colonies.”

                Seiken’s expression betrayed no emotion whatsoever. “I suspect that acclimation to this… place… will be a long time coming. Never, should I have my way.”

                Suikihime offered a half-smile. “There are many who have shared that sentiment at first. There are many wonders to be found here, however. In time, you may learn to appreciate them.”

                “That remains to be seen.”

                “Perhaps it does.” She gestured to her right. “Will you be staying? My Ivory Champion can see to it that your men receive accommodations, and of course you will be afforded the finest quarters I have available. There is a suite reserved only for members of your family. It has never been used, obviously, but it…”

                “I have no interest in remaining in this den of iniquity,” Seiken said sharply. “I do have need of your Ivory Champion, however.” He turned and looked at Shinjo Tselu. “I find my forces somewhat inadequate to the task before me. You will remand half of your Ivory Legion to my command. Half of the Second City Guardsmen as well, I think.”

                Shinjo Tselu looked at the Imperial heir with barely controlled shock. “I… my lord, I will of course need to speak to the Governor.”

                “Thank you, Tselu-san,” Suikihime said. “If you will forgive me, Seiken-sama, I think that…”

    TheComingStormFocusStory

                “Forgive you?” Seiken interrupted. “I will do nothing of the sort. You have enjoyed far too much forgiveness already. How convenient for you, that the incident with the Mad Dragon allowed you to blame your disgraceful behavior on the actions of an insane divine force. As if that were an excuse for your shameful actions.”

                Not the barest hint of anger made it through the perfect composure of the Imperial Governor. “I am certain you think that is the case,” she said diplomatically. “Of course, you were not here when it happened, were you? It would be difficult for you to speak on such things with any authority despite that which your status normally affords you.”

                It was Seiken’s composure that broke first, as his face twisted into a contemptuous sneer. “Your family has produced many who offer insult to the line of Emperors from the first Hantei forward. Your disgrace eclipses them all.”

                Again, Suikihime offered a very slight smile. “And whose name do you honor with your actions, great Seiken-sama? Your mother? Your father, perhaps?”

                “Mind your tongue, impertinent puppet,” Seiken rebuked. He turned once again to Tselu. “You will have the forces I require prepared for march within the hour, or I shall take all of them, and this city of fools will be left to fend for itself while I conduct the true work of the Empress in this dismal land.” He turned and left, and his men followed.

                Tselu looked to the Governor. “It seems I have little choice, my lady.”

                “So it seems indeed,” Suikihime said, tapping one finger against her chin.

    TheComingStormFocusStory2The Coming Storm is the first expansion for the Ivory Edition of the L5R CCG, and like all edition’s first expansions, it has a lot going on in it story-wise. While Ivory Edition establishes what the present state of affairs is for both the Empire and its Colonies, it isn’t until the aptly named Coming Storm that we get the first real picture of things to come over the next year in the world of Rokugan.

    The major event of the Coming Storm is the arrival of Iweko Seiken, the eldest son of the Divine Empress, in the Colonies. The eldest of Iweko I’s children has a marked and established disdain for the Colonies, having set foot within them only once before, during the conflict of the mad dragon P’an Ku. The state of affairs within that distant land appears to have caused the eldest heir some consternation, for he has returned with an agenda known only to himself and his closest advisors, but he quickly makes it clear that he has no interest whatsoever in observing the status quo established by the Imperial Governor, as seen in the vignette above.

    The question that immediately springs to mind for those who hold power within the Colonies is how Seiken’s presence will upset the balance of power. Who will benefit form his presence, and who will see their fortunes fade as a result? And perhaps most importantly of all, what impact will his presence have on the normally reclusive younger son of the Divine Empress, Iweko Shibatsu, a man whose affiliation with the Spider Clan cause many to look upon him with a mixture of confusion and distrust.

    There is a storm on the horizon, and its intensity will be the thing of legends.

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