My Lord Kurohito,
It is my most fervent wish that this message reaches you in time to avert a possible disaster for our clan. The negotiations with the Crab and Akodo Kaneka have ended in bloodshed. The effrontery of such a man! The gall! My blood boils with rage even at the memory of the incident. He claims to act only in the role of peacekeeper that the Lion affect, but I ask him, where was he when the Dragon attacked the Phoenix? No, as you suspected, he wants nothing more than to secure his dead mother’s claim upon the Yasuki lands. That a man would pursue the “inheritance” of a geisha to gain power over the entire Empire is clearly a sign of his dishonor and disgrace.
As per your orders, the Crane forces attempted to withdraw until we could better assess the situation. Kaneka’s forces cut us off, refusing to allow a Crane retreat. My honorable sensei Kakita Kaiten was as incensed at Kaneka’s arrogance. He challenged Kaneka to a duel. Inwardly, I rejoiced, certain that Kaiten-sama would put the arrogant usurper in his rightful place.
My horror and surprise were without equal when Kaneka slew my beloved sensei.
I still feel his loss with every breath I draw.
The Lion, the Unicorn, and the traitorous Mantis stand beside the Bastard. Though, ironically, some Crab seem sympathetic to our plight, they have withdrawn to deal with their own troubles. The Scorpion watch our travails and laugh. We are surrounded, my lord. I believe that Akiko-sama is correct. If we are to find allies, it must be to the north.
I remain your humble servant.