The rain has been consistent, my darling. I have a thousand horse and ten thousand infantry, so the wet ground slows us. The first flowers now come up in the meadows, and the grass grows tall enough to brush the ankle. In our wake, though, there is only mud and trampled ground. We close in on the enemy's fortress now. There has been some fighting. The enemy tests our resolve, but we are strong enough of spirit, our warriors' blades sharp with the honor of their ancestors.
Hiroshi is healthy and in good spirits, but we talk rarely. His command of 1000 infantry keeps him occupied. I wish I could say that I would be back in your arms by the time the cherry blossoms fall, but I fear that the enemy's fortress will be well defended. Many men will lose their lives, much blood will be needlessly spilled. The oaths I've sworn to lord and land cannot be undone, so I must see through these endless marches, these trials of body and spirit. Know this, my love—when I see the petals of the lotus flower unmarred upon the still pool, I think of you.
May we leave this hill
innocent of our muddy
trail, unversed in war