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Joe From Cincinnati

The Rising Wave (Dragon Fiction)

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I see Yokuni still thrives on being pointlessly cryptic.

At least we get to see Dragon samurai annoyed about the same thing- this fiction gives me hope that we'll see more of the Mirumoto and their grounded worldview, less of "every Dragon acts like some variation of a Togashi monk."

 

A **** solid entry for one my two second-favorite clans- and I (of course) like the Phoenix shout-out coupled with a fairly succinct explanation of the key differences between them and the Dragon.

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Just now, ricefrisbeetreats said:

It's crazy the different interpretations people have of stories.  When I read the interaction of Masashige and the child, I took it as he was solely concerned for her safety as she is someone who could potentially bear children.

"Masashige would have sacrificed a dozen horses to save this child’s life. Whatever issue
plagued the Dragon, whatever offense they had given to the Fortune of Fertility, it only affected people, not the animals of their lands. Horses and wolves and bears thrived, while humans dwindled with every passing year. The problem had crept up on them for a century or more, before the sharp minds of the Kitsuki family noticed it; by now, it was undeniable. The Dragon were not having enough children."

I think his concern was for the child itself, not her ability to bring about more children.  They are precious and therefore need to be kept safe, so that the clan does die.

Actually the part of: "Hey, lets just choose the BEST peasant children and raise them as samurai" is quite interesting as well.

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1 minute ago, Mirith said:

I think his concern was for the child itself, not her ability to bring about more children.  They are precious and therefore need to be kept safe, so that the clan does die.

Actually the part of: "Hey, lets just choose the BEST peasant children and raise them as samurai" is quite interesting as well.

Agreed.  The idea they're only grabbing the best "stock" was what made me go back and reread the earlier part.  I think he has genuine concern for the safety of the child, but in a different situation (one where they weren't struggling with fertility rates) he'd have trampled her like the insignificant bug she is compared to a daimyo.

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6 minutes ago, Coyote Walks said:

 

So Rokugan needs Freedom from Religion?  :D

That is also heresy, and a different story line.  There is one religion, and at least in the old L5R fiction, it wasn't really faith as much as fact.  There was direct evidence of the Celestial Cycle.  Also of Jigoku, and the various other spirit realms.  It is kind of silly to fight against such things, since if the Kami really cared, they could just come back and directly interfere.

This is also what gets me when discussing religions in fantasy series.  Some of the fantasy series have direct evidence of divinity, so it is no longer "I have faith" as much as "I have evidence", in which case most arguments sort of get dumped out the window, since you can't really argue around the ambiguity of a god coming down and smiting your enemy (or friend).  

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I liked it a lot. Great introduction to the Clan and it's struggles. I'm even growing to enjoy Togashi as a cipher rather than a full on character.

Going forward though, I'd like to see Dragon develop characters I could really rally behind. Masashige was fine, but so far he hasn't really felt like a protagonist any more than Nerishma did. There's always Hitomi, but I don't care much for her as of now. Based on this fiction only, my interest is on spending more time with Mitsu and with this intriguing Kazue..

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8 minutes ago, Mirith said:

That is also heresy, and a different story line.  There is one religion, and at least in the old L5R fiction, it wasn't really faith as much as fact.  There was direct evidence of the Celestial Cycle.  Also of Jigoku, and the various other spirit realms.  It is kind of silly to fight against such things, since if the Kami really cared, they could just come back and directly interfere.

This is also what gets me when discussing religions in fantasy series.  Some of the fantasy series have direct evidence of divinity, so it is no longer "I have faith" as much as "I have evidence", in which case most arguments sort of get dumped out the window, since you can't really argue around the ambiguity of a god coming down and smiting your enemy (or friend).  

Yes and no...  While some "faith" in fantasy is given evidence, there is also evidence of other powers which challenge that.  The Phoenix know this well as they challenge the Kami's rule over them and to this day (as we know it) the champion of the Phoenix clan always follows the order of the elemental masters.  The elements of nature, from the phoenix clan perspective, were more powerful than the kami.

Also there is the element of faith still in self-perfection, regardless of other factors.  I will be the best samurai, even though there are spirits and kami and shadowlands around me.

Then still there is a sort of "rejection religion" such as the PLS in this story where they say the path to salvation doesn't require kami, or even self perfection, it only requires a few uttered words "with a pure devotion."  Such religion defies even evidence of other god-like beings with god-like powers.

iirc - the Tao of Shinsei was a lot about faith in spite of Kami and influence - not like PLS is, but like my second example.  The Tao of Shinsei was always a religious alternative to believing in the god-like beings before us as if they were infallible gods.

I've always liked the religious complexities of Rokugan.  I likely project some of it from my own joy of different religious belief systems and practices... but I do like that they represent the concept of "kami" and other spirit beings such as mountain and river spirits, as well as the concept of "elements" that make up everything, and then also have the "self-perfecting" Tao.  There is the belief in rebirth, and nirvana - but also ancestors and jigoku.

It's great because Japan (and much of Asia) had many competing religions like this who lived side by side, and sometimes people combined the beliefs they liked, or they would use the philosophy that fit that situation, but they wouldn't necessarily hold 100% to any 1 philosophy in all circumstances as opposed to the monotheistic religions we're more accustomed to in the west.

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Religion in Japan and China is a really complicated topic which was misunderstood for the longest time. Best example of this would be western world insistence of calling Confucianism a religion, which only recently started to dim due to China's new agenda of promoting its culture and creating a positive image of themselves.

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A thing I missed during my initial note-taking:
It's very easy to miss, but one of the Masashige's thought invoked pretty powerful reaction and realization in me. Which one?
The one where he notes that he never ever saw an ocean, not once in his life.

When it hit me, wow.

 

This made me feel Dragon's mountain seclusion more than anything else before it in the L5R universe did, I think.

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On 2017-6-21 at 7:11 PM, WHW said:

 

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the goal of the Rokugan's cycle of reicnarnation is not to "stop existing" or even "escape the cycle". Even after ascending, you keep working and serving your duty, as an Ancestor and guard of Heavens...

Yeah, I can see why Phoenix get mad about it.

Also, it could explain the other mystery; why not enough children are born. If the Perfect Lands tenets are right, and the faithful get out of the Karmic Wheel, that would explain it: not enough souls to replenish ningendo.

Edited by Mon no Oni

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Just now, AtoMaki said:

It is also strange because Otosan Uchi is by the sea, so Masashige hasn't been in the Sprawling Giant either. 

Yep. When even the daimyo of the Dragon Clan don't get out and into the Imperial court? Some severe shut-ins there.

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Gotta admit, I'm glad a read this story. As a die hard Dragon fan I geeked out that so many Dragon Clan All Stars made an appearance :)

I'm glad Hitomi was portrayed as a something other than a psychotic ice queen. I'm excited that Mitsu was promoted to "Once and Future Champion". And I'm grateful that the story didn't spoil Yokuni's true nature, I just hope he's not really a kami-damned body snatcher, ugh.

Bravo to the author, well done!

 

Oh, and after learning that Hotaru is the darling of the previous two stories, I'm glad I didn't read those :P

Edited by El_Ganso

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Togashi Yokuni has no tattoos I just noticed in the art, so he isn't a tattooed monk. Also they state that they accept all walks in the dragon so maybe Yokuni was previously a Scorpion, but left to become a Togashi.

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I hope that’s a good omen. Even a family daimyō often had to wait to speak with his clan champion. <-- fun note: when a guest is being told to wait, the host often is actually available asap. Not meeting ASAP is both a way to pimp up hosts status (I'm someone so important that people will wait for me, ho ho!), but it also gives the guest a way to entertain themselves...by taking a bath. This way, you can give someone a hint without touching the topic directly, so no one is slighted and everyone are fulfilling the needs of courtesy.

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1 hour ago, ricefrisbeetreats said:

Agreed.  The idea they're only grabbing the best "stock" was what made me go back and reread the earlier part.  I think he has genuine concern for the safety of the child, but in a different situation (one where they weren't struggling with fertility rates) he'd have trampled her like the insignificant bug she is compared to a daimyo.

I don't think that is true, throughout this we see that the Daimyo guy (M-whatever, I am bad with names) is constantly concerned with the well being of his people. I agree that he wants to care for every person as the population dwindles, but I don't think that he seems like a guy who would trample a little girl. He would probably do the same thing in good time. Dragon cares about individuals and doesn't always fit in to the I am better than you style.

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