Letter 8

(Clan Crab)

My daughter,

You must hold the wall. Your brothers and I march to the Palace of the Emperor. There is nothing to be gained by delay. The war has begun.

Shoju's own cleverness has betrayed him. He stands behind the walls of the palace, offering an empty hand and a face of lies. Shoju offers us nothing, yet he would ask us to lose everything. He says that we need his strength, that we need to understand his actions. The Scorpion have always believed that polite words and cunning can force any outcome, and justify any action. No more.

We will not be manipulated. Our constant battle with the Shadowlands has given us the ability to control its darkest forces and turn them to our will, Nothing can bend our determinations, not Shoju’s lies, not the threat of war between the clans, not all the foulness of the Shadowlands itself. Courage, and the secrets we have stolen from the Deep South, are our weapons.

The Scorpion are alone. They are unveiled. If their strength was as great as Shoju promises, they would not ask for our aid. They would not beg us to be their mask.

When the war is over, our time will be near. We do not need his strength.

He needs ours.

Hida Kisada