Letter 9

(Clan Crane)


My brother,

You have told me that Toshimoko is dead. You say that you have seen his armor, and his father's daisho, and that blood has been spilled across the rocky shores below Otosan Uchi. I know that many of our kinsmen traveled to the Imperial City to join in the competition to replace him - and that his successor has been chosen from one of the finest students of the Academy.

I do not believe you.

When I see his body, I will believe. When I light his pyre, only then will I give up hope. The Mantis move through the waters of the southern seas, preparing to march against the Crab, from all reports...or against us. Can we ignore their threat? Kuwanan, our new Champion, told us to never give in to despair and fear. Any hope is worth pursuing. There are those who still search for Toturi, even thought his blood coated the floor of the Imperial Chambers and the Scorpion swore they had seen him dead. In their shadow, can I be any less stalwart?

Tsanuri marches south, you are right, and I know your hatred for her will lead you to war. With the Wasp joining the Mantis clan, you are right to turn your armies to our borders - there will not be peace for long. Tsuruchi's hatred of all Matsu will break the barrier, and cause the death of many. I even hear the Unicorn have taken the city of Ryoko Owari, installing marshal law until their new reign is secure. And the walls of Otosan Uchi still run with the Emperor's blood.

I cannot give up hope. It is all I have.

Daidoji Rekai