1999-12 – Letters from Leonardo


Happy Holidays! Tis the season once again!

We’ve been blessed with warmer than usual weather so far this year, which has its good points and bad points. With the above-average temps it’s much easier to live in the sewers, but it also makes conditions better for criminals to do what they do best… commit crimes. I’m not a huge fan of snow and sub-zero temps, but I must say that I do look forward to the downtime that the winter blizzards provide us. When the ice is flying and the wind is ripping, I finally feel like I can relax, confident in the knowledge that most all of the crooks are hidden in their holes and won’t be venturing forth for a few hours. I get my most productive meditations done when the weather is horrible.

So with the warm weather we’ve had to deal with our fair share of trouble these past few months. Shredder has got his minions reorganized and back in the same shape as they were all those years ago. The Foot have been responsible for numerous robberies, muggings and worse. They’re apparently getting involved in areas of crime that they hadn’t been involved with before. Master Splinter thinks that the Japanese Foot Clan may have severed their ties with Shredder or at least may have cut-off much of his funding, so Chrome-Dome is busy planning crimes that he hadn’t bothered with in the past. From the news reports we keep hearing, the City is in an uproar over the new crime wave. This is surprising, as Shredder had been fairly careful in the past to mask his actions… he seems to be inviting people to discover him. To what end I have no idea… but I’m sure he has some scheme up his spiked sleeve. Once the snow flies I’ll have some time to consider what he’s up to.

Raph and I have been running most of the patrols. Venus, Mikey and Don come out when they can. Venus has been the most active and helpful, as her Shinobi training always gives us a major advantage over the Foot. We’ve done what we can to quell Shredder’s assaults, but the Foot are growing in number once again, and we can’t be everywhere. The new recruits are what we’re focusing on, trying to teach them a hard lesson about being a criminal before they become too involved. Raph has had a couple of encounters with his new arch-nemesis Akira as well as Shredder himself. I’ve got to hand it to Raph, he’s really been training exceptionally hard lately, and it shows on the streets. I can’t pretend to know what happened between him and Akira, but I know that it has fueled Raph’s determination to become a better ninja… and he has certainly become a far more effective warrior. His emotions used to betray his actions, but lately he is all business. I was once confident that if we ever came to blows, I’d be able to subdue Raph due to his irrational tactics… but lately I’m not at all sure I’d be able to do this. Raph has easily become the formidable of us all. He’s always been the most fierce, but now he seems to be the most capable as well. A deadly combo for those he calls enemy. I’m sure Raph is focusing on taking Shredder down, and in the past we’ve always had to use teamwork to do so… but I think Raph wants to do it on his own this time, as a matter of honor. When the time comes, I will stand down and let Raph and Saki settle this between themselves. Raph deserves the opportunity to tame his demons.

On the lighter side, we’ve been seeing more of Casey and Shadow lately. Casey got a really good job at a fancy club downtown and is making much better money. He works late, so Shadow spends a few nights a week here with us, to give April time to work on her book. Venus is very good with Shadow, the two spend hours talking and laughing. Venus is teaching Shadow some of her Shinobi tricks. It’s good to see the two together, as Shadow is helping to fill the void in Venus’ life from when her Master was slain by the Dragon Lord. Shadow is an exceptional child, and she’s going to be quite formidable in her own right when she’s grown.

Casey has started running patrols with Raph before he goes to work, to loosen up. I guess Case is still some kind of bodyguard/bouncer… he’s just found a better place to work. Raph says that Casey is getting back in shape, but things were hairy for a few weeks while Casey got his chops back. He keeps complaining about his “brittle old bones”, but he looked sharp the last time I was out with him. Case told me that he hopes to buy an apartment in a few years… the job he has actually pays him well enough that he’s able to save some money now. I haven’t ever seen Casey as happy as he’s been lately, which is a wonderful Holiday gift in and of itself. In fact, all of us seem to be doing much better lately, both in body and spirit (except for poor Master Splinter, who’s having a hard time shaking a cold that he’s had). There seems to be a huge surge of energy surrounding us. I like to think that it’s the positive forces culminating in the dawning of a new century and millenium… we’re only 12 months away from the next 1000 year cycle, and I think this is all a good omen that the next millenium will be the best ever.

That sums it up from here. Have a great Holiday! Talk to you in Y2K!

Be well!

Master Splinter

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