Letter 2

(Clan Crab)

My cousin,

I send you these words now to assure you that all is not as it may seem in the Empire. Yes, we have taken significant losses at Kakita Castle and at Beiden Pass, but do not misunderstand our tactics. Our losses have been minimal compared to the other Clans. One only needs to look at the burning husk that was once Kakita Castle to know that the entire western region of the Crane Clan has no western fortifications, leaving them vulnerable to an attack from the Shadowlands, or from an army advancing from our Provinces. You have probably heard of the Test of the Emerald Champion that was held in the Imperial Palace, and you have also probably heard of the Iaijutsu Master, Kakita Toshimoko, winning the tournament. This has little meaning to our plans. The man is old and vulnerable to a chilly wind or perhaps even a poisoned sip of sake. It is of no significance, my cousin.

Our allies in the Imperial Palace shall take care of the Gray Crane. And lastly, let us speak words of the ronin Toturi. He and his army of Dragons have proven to be quite troublesome. Again, this is no worry to us. As we speak, his army is poised just north of our lands, preparing to starve us out of Yasuki Castle. Little does he know of our army that is moving up from the south or our allies who move in from the north under the cover of night. Imagine his surprise when he faces his childhood friend, Doji Hoturi, leading an army of Shadowlands madmen. I only wish I could see the surprise on his face. The Great Bear awaits to the south to catch the Fallen Lion between the two armies, and then, when he tries to retreat back to Beiden Pass, our lovely ally in the Imperial Palace has made certain that he will find his allies the Unicorn less than willing to give him passage. He will be forced to move north into Lion territory, and there, he will find his Clansmen waiting for him.

All is ready. We have dealt with the samurai who provided us with defeats at Kakita Castle and Beiden Pass. Our alliances have provided us with the force we will need to gain the Emerald Throne within the year. My cousin, prepare for victory!

Kuni Yori