Hello to you!
The season of lights is upon us once again! Each year I look forward to this time, as it is truly joyful. My family and friends all seem so much happier at this time of year… even the grumpy Raphael can be seen smiling on occasion.
I have spent much time with Casey Jones’ remarkable little girl, Shadow. She too is a joy to behold… so bright and cheerful and insightful and inquisitive. Children are so very wonderful to be with! They give one a sense of awe and hope that is often hard to bring to the surface of our cluttered minds. I’m so grateful that Casey trusts me to look after his little one while he works. He spends many hours at his job and is trying to save enough money to buy a home for Shadow and give her a safe place to grow. Casey is a quiet and dark man, but he is honorable and good. Once again I must thank the Fates that I was able to find this wonderful family a world away from my home. Never have I known so many true friends. I have also spent much time with April, and we have become very close friends. I try to spend at least one evening a week with her, and we talk about many things. She is like a big sister to me, and I love her dearly.
On the darker side of life, we have spent much time in battle with the Clan of Foot Soldiers of late. Leonardo tells me that they have grown in number to rival their old days of power, and I see that this must be true. More often than not we are severely outnumbered, but the new members of the Foot are not well trained, so we are able to defeat them for now… but the day is coming when the ninja will all be experienced warriors, and those will be hard times indeed.
Donatello has been working diligently on security machines, and they have helped us numerous times. Master Splinter fears that we will have to move once again, lest we be discovered. Donatello does not like this idea, so he is spending many days locked away in his laboratory, creating inventions that will help camouflage our home. As it stands now, I think that we are safe from discovery, as Donatello has done many magical things to disguise our entrance and exit points. I know that I could never find my way into our home without the help of Donatello’s maps! But still, I understand Master Splinter’s concerns, as he has suffered through many Foot assaults on their home. And as he says “A ninja is prepared for everything at all times.” So I think that once Master Splinter is feeling well again, I will go with him to scout new areas to at least make as temporary shelters in case the Foot discover this lair.
Raphael has been working very hard to make himself a better warrior, and it shows when we battle the Foot. His rage against them is still terrible, but he now fights with calculation and does not let his emotions betray him. He is truly the most capable fighter I have ever seen. He was always fast and strong, but now he moves with such deadly quick skill that the eyes cannot follow him. He swears vengeance against the Shredder, and I am sure that he will have it. I have seen the Shredder in combat but twice, and while I was duly impressed by his skills, and I am confident that Raphael is now his better. Raphael did not only teach the Foot members while they followed him, he learned as well. He has spent many early mornings conversing with Master Splinter about the Shredder’s weaknesses, and he has listened quite earnestly.
All of the extra training and fighting has quieted Raphael’s fiery mind… when he is home and dines with us, I see a peace in his eyes I have not seen before. I feel that he has searched all of his life for some elusive goal, and he is now coming to grasp with what it might be. It is truly a dawning of a new age for Raphael.
Speaking of which, the Holidays are upon me! I must help Casey and Shadow decorate our tree and make popcorn and then we must decorate the rest of the sewer and hang our own lights. Tngiht is also the night that April and I cook for the boys. This will be a very good night for me, and I hope that it will be equally as pleasurable for you!
Take care of yourself and your loved ones and I will speak with you again when the time permits. Have a joyous season!