Tension rises between the good people of Cantha and the Tengu. While Emperor Hanjaiâ€™s ambassador is able to avoid open war with the Angchu, the Sensali declare them traitors and foolishly continue their acts of aggression.
The Luxons and Kurzicks cease regular diplomatic contact, communicating with each other only through liaisons of the Celestial Ministry when absolutely necessary. To this day, they remain more focused on their petty squabbles than on the problems that continue to destroy their lands from within.
Shiro the Betrayer returns to Cantha, bringing with him the plague of the Afflicted. Though the Betrayer is stopped, the plague persists in Cantha. Countless lives are lost, from the families of good people forced to live in the streets to prominent families like the Yuudachi, head of the Sai Ling Order. Ashu Yuudachi survives the slaughter under miraculous conditions, and comes into the care of his aunt, Reiko Murakami.
Reiko, then a member of the Ministry of Flame, makes her first strides toward rallying the people of Cantha to fight back against the Afflicted. With Ashu at her side as a symbol of hope, her message resonates with the people. Little by little, Canthans begin to take their fate into their own hands.