My brother Chen,
It has been far too long since we last spoke. I have been very busy managing our family’s affairs. This would normally be the province of the younger son, of course, but I am all too glad to deal with the unglamorous but necessary duties of patrolling the western mountains of the Unicorn holdings. I am quite certain that my duties are in every way as fulfilling as leading the glorious Junghar into battle.
I have recently received word that you have been seen in court with the young girl who emerged from the Naga’s Golden Pearl, the one Tadaji calls Akasha. It seems that the Shinjo who told me the tale believed that you were consorting with some nonhuman beast. Though I know well that Akasha is human, I saw no means of convincing the silly Shinjo otherwise. I wonder where he is now, and to whom he may have told his story. I suppose that is of no concern to you. After all, she is the Legacy of the Naga. She brings honor to our clan. There can be no question that, were our parents still alive, they would approve wholeheartedly of your relationship with this strange young serpent-woman, and would in no way encourage you to find a more suitable companion in order to quell the vicious whispers spread about our family at court. I commend you, my brother, for once again displaying excellent taste and judgment. No doubt these are the same qualities that led Chagatai to choose you, rather than me, to lead one of the Three Armies.
Enough gossip! More important matters confront us. I have heard tales that the Unicorn mobilize their armies on a scale not seen since the War of Spirits. Lixue fights the Horde with the Crab. Chagatai fights the Crane with Kaneka, and has requested that many outlying patrols — including my own — march to the Yasuki lands to stand beside him. I hear that your own troops stand valiantly in the Seikitsu Pass, ready to fight whatever enemies may appear there. So far, apparently, there are none.
Though our lord has not yet deemed fit to place your troops in combat during this conflict, I am certain that this is not a matter of your lesser experience; obviously, Chagatai intends to hold you in reserve, while drawing more expendable individuals such as myself closer into his confidence. In any case, I am certain that your exploits will bring much attention to our family name.
I wish you good fortune in the conflicts to come.