A Tale of Two Lands

“Gather around, little ones, and let old Adnan tell you a story!”

“No, no, not another story of Judgment and his Ebonite templars. You heard that one only two days ago! No, this is a story you have never heard before, and you may never hear again! Listen well, little ones, for every story has a lesson if you are wise enough to find it. This is a story about a strange land, far away, a distant land filled with warriors and monsters, and all manner of fearsome demons and sorcerers!”

“This land is called the Empire of Rokugan.”

“Here in Medinaat al-Salaam, we are a varied people. You, boy… I can tell from the set of your eyes that one of your parents was of the Senpet Empire. And you, little darling… such beautiful skin can only come from a foreign warrior’s line, probably an Ebonite or at least one from the Ivory Kingdoms, yes? You need not answer. Old Adnan always knows!”

“This land, Rokugan, is not like any lands we know. It is blessed with abundant water, forests, plains, and all manner of things that we lack here in the Burning Sands. Our two lands are linked, although for what reason none can say. I believe that it is because we share the same gods, gods who go by different names but who are the same despite that, and who shower their favored child with good fortune even as they ignore their second child! Tell no one Adnan said this, and I will give you all a shiny coin!”

“For centuries, we here in the Sands have suffered. The sun is a wrathful master, who punishes us for some offense long forgotten, or at least on which no one can agree. Yet in Rokugan, the sun shows favor to its beloved children. When fortunes here are at their worst, as they have been so many times in centuries past, Rokugan prospered.”

“Ah, I know what you wish to ask! Life in the Sands has been good for many years now, has it not? Your young lives have been filled with plenty, and you do not know what it is to want for something you desperately require. You are right, things here in the Jewel of the Desert have been fortunate for many years. Old Adnan is grateful, for these bones are not as sturdy as they once were! Life in the Sands is good, but only in comparison to the unpleasantness we have known throughout history!”

“I said before that the sun, and perhaps the moon as well, perhaps all of the Heavens, favor Rokugan over our own lands, like parents doting over a favored child. There is nothing to be done of this. We cannot change it any more than we can suddenly cause the great rivers of centuries past to run fresh with water once more. We must simply accept this. This is done easily, for we among the Sands are practical, pious people. You know this, little ones, from your own parents!”

“In Rokugan, however, it is not so. They do not appreciate the bountiful blessings of their gods, claiming to revere the Heavens but in truth they teem with ambition. The sun and moon were even cast down, and replaced with mortals! Your teachers will not tell you this, little ones, nor those at the temples. But Adnan knows! The people of Rokugan believe they are greater than the gods themselves!”

“A reckoning is coming, children. Remember to say your prayers and bow at the requisite times each day. Remember your place in the grand scheme of things. Ten years from now, the ruins of Rokugan will still be nothing more than smoldering ash, and it will be a wasteland born in the arrogance of man!”

“Remember, children! Remember your lessons as we wait for the day that we, at long last, will be the favored children of the gods!”

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