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  1. Forget shugenja; this is where I think Rokugan is clearly a fantasy land. There have been plenty of times in history where the ruler's own son and heir is EXACTLY who he needs to be protected from. 😛
  2. (Also me just musing) I'm not as sanguine as you are. Yeah, taken off-guard by an unexpected and extreme situation -- but when your duty is that important, failure kind of becomes unacceptable. If an Elemental Dragon comes down to kill the Emperor, you can rightfully say a higher power was at work, but in this case it was a teenaged boy. Right now nobody will call for the seppuku of the Emperor's guards because he tragically died of natural causes, but once the fact of the assassination becomes known? Yeah, I'd expect it.
  3. It takes place before the main timeline begins (i.e. before "The Rising Wave").
  4. The natural home of a Kitsuki investigator is in a Scorpion's business.
  5. "Like Seeds on the Wind" takes place roughly five years before the main timeline.
  6. I suspect that's at least partly because battles eat up a lot of words for not a lot of plot or character development. The skirmish in "Between the Lines" accounts for about 20% of the story, and that was with me trying to keep it as short as possible so I'd have room for other things. We only get about 3,000 words to work with on most stories; given that a short story is defined (for award purposes) as anything up to 7,500 words, 3K keeps us on a very tight leash. Given a choice between showing a battle and mentioning that one happened while showing its consequences, the latter is often the more efficient choice.
  7. Yes, and to address the point about Mitsu above: the whole reason he had to do a verbal tap-dance to get the Dragon out of that situation with Tsanuri was because he knew the Lion would stomp them into the mud if it came to actual violence. (Hitomi may have been willing to go for it, but, well . . . Hitomi.) It's not the Lion being Worfed if somebody deliberately chooses a non-military solution to a problem because they know the Lion would win in a military confrontation.
  8. It's a worldbuilding issue, among other things. It cheapens the idea that the Son of Heaven is a hugely important and revered figure in Rokugan if a single person -- even the Imperial Adviser -- can claim that oh yeah, he decided he was going to wander off on his own (somehow getting past all the guards on the palace without them noticing), and no, he didn't take any guards or make any arrangements for how things should run in his absence . . . and people just swallow that without question. It cheapens the Seppun and all the imperial guards, treating their duty as completely irrelevant and discarded at the drop of a hat. It also makes everybody who accepts that story without a shred of supporting evidence look phenomenally gullible, because this isn't about questioning the Emperor, it's about questioning somebody who claims to be speaking for the Emperor, while saying things that fly in the face of all logic and tradition. Even the most upstanding Lion would have trouble getting that to fly; coming from Kachiko, it would stink to high heaven. This may be a fictional world, but if it undercuts its own principles like that, it won't be telling a very good story.
  9. This x1000. The Emperor cannot simply up and vanish -- not for a few months, not for a few days; not even for a few hours -- without setting off a spectacular panic in the Imperial Palace. Anything other than immediately moving forward with proper rites etc. would be infinitely more suspicious than "oh, what a shame; I guess his bad health overcame him at last."
  10. I'm not sure why you're so energetically pursuing this, but: for this scenario to make sense, Toturi -- the Emerald Champion -- needs to go for a day or two without hearing that the Emperor is dead, long live the Emperor, and then when he finds out at last, he needs to believe Jodan's passing happened recently rather than days ago, and therefore is completely unrelated to his own near-death experience. This is profoundly implausible. It's implausible because it means funerary preparations need to be postponed, secretly, for days. It's implausible because it means the Empire has no ruler, secretly, for days. It's implausible because the crowd of people involved in caring for the Emperor -- bringing him his meals, bathing him, clothing him, etc -- all need to somehow not notice the guy they serve is missing, or notice but stay quiet about it. Kachiko can't kill them all, especially if she wants it to look like there's nothing suspicious to see here, nope, just an old man passing and his eldest son inheriting as expected. Will Toturi know something's happened before Aramoro catches up with him? Very likely not. But the plausible scenario is this: Aramoro tries to kill Toturi and fails, and then shortly thereafter Toturi finds out the Emperor is dead. At that point either the edict becomes public and people might accept that Jodan died naturally but Daisetsu takes the throne with Shoju as regent, or the edict is ~mysteriously missing~ and also the Emperor died and coincidentally on that same night somebody tried to murder Toturi, the man who wrote the edict on Jodan's behalf. Toturi might not know why all of that happened. But he's not likely to write it off as total coincidence, regardless of his personal history with Aramoro. And, as before: whether he figures out precisely why Aramoro was trying to murder him or not, he's still highly likely to oppose Sotorii, because he knows about the edict. He may not instantly go ronin -- in fact, that would be a pretty useless first move, the Emerald Champion rage-quitting and instantly making himself a person nobody needs to listen to -- but he will take action, with or without Aramoro's assassination attempt to give him extra reason.
  11. But the duel was six months ago. And I seem to recall something about an incident at Sotorii's gempuku, though I have no idea where that got mentioned. (You can tell which corner of the story I'm not responsible for writing . . .)
  12. Hasn't Sotorii passed his gempuku? If so, he is a legal adult, and doesn't need a regent.
  13. Yes, if Aramoro chooses to honorably confront Toturi then it wouldn't be unusual within Rokugani society. But that's pretty much the only scenario where the confrontation isn't "something big." Even if it's an indirect strike, e.g. poison, Toturi is unlikely to shrug and say "welp, I survived, so I guess it doesn't matter who was behind this." An indirect strike probably just means you get an investigation plotline before the whole thing blows up. And let's not forget, this entire branch of the discussion started with you saying Toturi never stands up for himself and therefore probably won't go against Sotorii unless "something big" happens with Aramoro. Given that Toturi knows about the Emperor's edict, the notion that it will require a blatant assassination attempt before Toturi does anything to oppose Sotorii seems weak at best. Even if he doesn't stand up for himself, standing up for the Empire is an entirely different matter. That's literally why Kachiko's sending Aramoro after him in the first place.
  14. I dunno; it might be that more often than you think. 🙂 But regardless, Aramoro trying to murder Toturi would not be the kind of thing Toturi is likely to shrug off as normal Rokugani behavior and nothing to get worked up about.
  15. In honorable duels or on the battlefield, sure. Assassination attempts, especially against the Emerald Champion, are a different matter.
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