(Clan Mantis)


Our lord does not sleep tonight.

I have been in his chambers, seen the troubled look upon his scarred face. I have seen the faceless heads that his own adopted son, Aramasu, brought before him.

They were people he trusted-people we all trusted.

The battle was fierce, as was the wound that nearly felled Yoritomo. But it did not come from his enemies. The Phoenix did not drive the spear into his side, and they did not laugh as his blood stained their hands. It was his own guard, commanded by the dark enemy, that nearly slew him.

Without thought Aramasu charged, and the creature fell under a flurry of blows such as I have never seen before. When Yoritomo’s kama sliced the man’s traitorous head from his shoulders, the face faded and was lost. He was a shadow. My spells saved Yoritomo’s life . . . but for how long? As we stood on the battlefield surrounded by steel pikes and his personal guard, we saw a thousand of them among us. They flitted through the ranks unseen, turning their empty faces toward us as if to show they had no fear.

They were laughing.

I do not know how many remain, but Yoritomo has purged his guard of all that cannot stand the touch of crystal. Always Aramasu is at his side, watching for the Shadow to attempt to murder our lord, so that he can destroy it. He does not eat, does not sleep, does not stop to rest from his duties.

I believe he would die for the Mantis and for Yoritomo.

Take this warning, brother, for I know I can trust you.

Purge your house with crystal, for a darker Shadow fills us. Trust no one-even those you have known from the start. Our forces are weak, beaten back by the Shiba, and if the Shadow falls upon us now, none will carry our banner back to the Mantis isles.

Be strong; your sword is needed.

Yoritomo Komori