I hope this letter finds you in high spirits as much as I hope your husband has recovered from the traumas of late. The Empire may seem calm upon the surface, but I cannot help but feel that something angry moves beneath the surface; something vengeful and unseen. I would advise you to maintain the utmost caution when travelling outside your home; I am less certain with each passing day that even the roads within Crane lands are safe for travel. This new religious sect has poisoned the very principles Shinsei hoped to instill in the hearts and minds of all Rokugani, and there is no telling what their so called “priests” will do in the name of their new worship.
My journey to Mura Sabishii Toshi was … unusual. My compatriots and I have been as a stone in a still pond; the ripples of our actions will stir in distances long beyond that which we could ever have known. There are times when it feels as though that is the fate of all mortal lives; we are merely casting ripples, hoping to create an impact in a world after we are gone. This new sect would have us believe that we can create our own fate; if there is a philosophy more vain, I do not know of it. We are all instruments of the Fortunes, products of our Ancestors. That is not to say that we cannot make our own choices, but I believe there is more to free-will than the simple act of making a choice.
Please pardon my ramblings. I have spent so much time investigating this Shinsei-do that it has put me in an introspective mood, and I do not wish to bore you with such dry discussions as these. I know there is no merit in this cult or its teachings, but it has gripped the peasantry with an ardent fervor. Even if we stamp out their organization (if there even is an organized center), the damage has already been done. You cannot erase the teachings from the minds of those who have heard it. Still, if our efforts can stop the bleeding here, so much the better. We cannot allow any more souls to be perverted with this vile slander.
I … have a confession to make. I do not feel the conviction I have displayed in this message. Though I am an adamant follower of the Tao, I cannot help but see some promise in the teachings of Shinsei-do. I truly feel that there is merit to their cause, but I cannot condone the violence that they perpetrate in its name. And regardless of my own feelings on the matter, I will do my duty to my lord and clan; for the Emperor’s sake, this cult will be stamped out. I only hope they have a plan for how to dismiss it from the peasantry, for even if we prevent it from spreading any further, it has already gained sizable popularity.
I have also recently come into knowledge of a fashionable stone by the name of dark jade. As I understand it, it has become all the rage in court. I must warn you, Aya-san, it is a dangerous substance. I advise you to keep your distance from it, or anyone who wears it willingly. It may be the catching fancy of the moment, but it bears a darker purpose than merely its exotic nature. I cannot say as to what that is, exactly, but never have I felt so uneasy in the presence of a mere stone. Please, keep away from it, if you can.
Aside from the matters listed above, I am well. My biwa survived its exposure to the sea no worse for the wear, and I am happy to write that it sounds the same as ever. For all the other ailments which seem to plague this city, I confess there is a certain beauty in all the chaos, a wonder born from so many disparate people working together. There is a song here, somewhere in this city, waiting to be heard, and I will be the one to play it.
With every note, I come closer to writing the song I promised you all those years ago, back when we were something more … complicated … then we are, now.
From the shores of Mura Sabishii Toshi, know that my hopes and thoughts are with you.