The Art of Fireflies is a clever skill that accomplishes several goals in one fell swoop! To be blunt, it’s forgery and false accusation. However, it’s fascinating how just a small piece of paper can bring down a samurai empire (so to speak)!
First, gather as many copies of your enemy’s seals as you can. Then, you need to hone your handwriting mimicry skills or find someone who can imitate other’s handwriting and hire them. Next, forge a letter between, say, an enemy tactician or commander and a lord on your side. Forge the incriminating letter to look like someone on their side is committing treason and working for the enemy.
This letter should contain signals, plot details and plans for a fake invasion.
Sew the letter into a ninja’s collar. If or when he gets caught, the enemy will question him. He should remain silent and act stubborn, then at long last moment break down and tell the enemy:
“If you’ll spare my life, I’ll give you some very important information.”
If the enemy agrees, he makes them sign an oath guaranteeing his freedom. He then tells them the contents of the letter. If they scoff and call him a liar, he reveals the letter sewn into his collar. In most cases, if a good job is done in the forgery, the enemy accepts this and lets him go.
Thus, the ninja walks away free, having planted a seed of distrust that may tear the enemy apart from the inside.
This skill was also a nice fail-safe for infiltrations gone wrong. If a ninja sneaks in somewhere, he should take along an incriminating letter in his collar just in case. Then, if he gets caught, he can play out the scenario above. This not only lets him avoid death, but also harms the enemy, even if the original mission didn’t go as planned.
This method is good for falsely accusing enemy tacticians who are popular and have sway with the vassalage. It can also be used as revenge against someone who’s defected and abandoned you to serve the enemy.
This method should only be performed after you know a lot about the enemy in detail, so your plot and letter sound believable. Think like your target and write what he would write.
Make sure to pay the man who performs this and succeeds really well. This way, you earn his loyalty.
The art of fireflies is one of my favorite things in ninjutsu history because it’s such a shrewd, backhanded and genius way to accomplish two goals at once! This isn’t to say however, that it’s morally right or should be done. But we can look at history and admire the ease at which a ninja could bring his enemies down with just a piece of paper!