The samurai of Tio Koku embark on a journey, traveling south with two goals in mind. Firstly, to try and end the war between the Crab and the Crane Clans. The second goal seems to be poised towards hunting the shade Agasha Tsuru.
Along the way, the samurai are drawn into an internal clan strife of the Lion, and uncover an oni worshiping cult led by Kitsu Okura, and the oni they worship is Akuma no Oni who is bound within a castle. Kitsu Motso excuses them from the Lion lands after their aid.
Afterwards the samurai realize that the Lion are matching upon the Mantis who hold the Scorpion lands. The smaurai find that Yoritomo is conflicted towards the minor clans which are being consumed by the Crab. They help him decide to abandon the minor clans to their fate and focus upon the Mantis and the Scorpion.
Finally making it to the coast line of the Crane lands, the smaurai find that Hiruma Yoshi seems all too eager to settle down and deal with the Crane. While all of the lords are being called into the peace talks, the samurai deal with a murder mystery within the Song Bird Cage. Turns out an assassin was posing as the chief adviser, and although his plot was foiled, a few within the group fear the assassin worked not alone or something else took advantage of the situation.
The peace talks ended with the Crane keeping what territory they had left and surrendering the rest to the Crab, this turns out to be exactly what the Crab wanted and the Crane left unable to expel the larger force agreed to these terms. They do get the Crab to agree that when an Emperor sits upon the Throne that their lands will be returned, as the Crab wish their lands to fuel the defense of their Wall. They agree with a careless laugh, and the Crane immediately offer their support and deceleration to Otomo Banu as Emperor.
Following the path of the assassin, the white ninja and the trail of Agasha Tsuru, the group heads towards the Fox Lands, which are under crab siege. They however are delayed by a hurricane and must rest in a recently captured crab village in what used to be the Crane lands. There they are faced with the haunting of a Hida who had gone mad and killed almost all of his unit. With fear of the shadowlands taint upon the investigator’s mind, the smaurai of Tio Koku fear the Lying Darkness. The haunting ends with the Lying Darkness killing the wife of the mad hida and nearly killing two of the samurai. Try as they might to warn the Crab of the threat of the Lying Darkness, the Crab are confident it was Shadowlands Taint.
Within the Fox lands, Tonbo Suzume makes a terrible sacrifice to get access to Agasha Tsuru who is within the Fox libraries (one of the largest and most untouched library outside of the Dragon lands currently), and convinces the Fox to surrender to the Crab. Meanwhile Agasha Tsuru is confronted and slain, but they discover that he had gathered an obscure and dark series of writings written by the scholar Goju, called The Celestial Agonies. They also manage to capture the head librarian who is half tainted by the Lying Darkness and move with the Unicorn to steal him away to Mirumoto Hitomi.
The epic journey to Lady Hitomi is fierce, and dark riders constantly hunt the party at night, and whittle them down each evening. The Unicorn pay for this ride with their blood and loose one of their shugenja is the process. However the captured librarian arrives to Lady Hitomi who has moved the Dragon armies to the south. After an intense interrogation, the librarian is slain but the Dragon at last have the location of the hide out of the Lying Darkness’s Avatar, Goju Adorai. Agasha Meiling is charged with wedging the Dragon through the Lion and the Mantis at the climax of their war.
The samurai manage to press through, deflecting the Lion and the Mantis, and press into the mountains to find the hidden citadel known as Seven Stings Keep. There they confront and slay Goju Adorai, who is amazed to find himself capable of dying. In the spoils of the war Hitomi Kokujin finds and claims the Anvil of Despair and the Dragon with drawl back to the mountains.