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Horiuchi Daimyo

Please may I have an Idiots' Guide to l5r lore

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4 hours ago, Manchu said:

Here again we must put matters into perspective. The Unicorn have been back for two hundred years. But their long absence created some territorial ambiguities. It is up to the diplomats to sort things out. After long negoatiation, the Ide and Ikoma emissaries worked out a deal to settle things between the Unicorn and Lion. The resulting alliance would have shored up the position of both Clans, at the very least by eliminating any disputes as to their common border. Outwardly, Shinjo Altansarnai accepted the hard work of her retainers. She made a treaty with the Lion Clan; she pledged her word on the honor of her name, the honor of her Clan, and her honor as the Unicorn Champion. This is the fundamental basis of diplomacy in Rokugan. As we know from Leadership, samurai are meant to keep their word. All that much more must this apply to Clan Champions managing the relations of the Great Clans.

But inwardly, her heart was unsettled. She wavered because of selfishness and pride. By reneging, she not only insulted the Lion Clan but also struck a blow at the basic constitution of Rokugan society. And so by her own irresponsibility she proved correct all those who look down on the Unicorn as wild, barbaric, and untrustworthy. This is the pain and scandal of Shinjo Shono, who is a true samurai. He is humiliated by the gaijin antics of his reckless mother. He understands that a real leader does not throw away the lives of uncounted retainers in a war to preserve one’s own personal desires. He was probably correct in surmising the Lion sent his own heart’s love against the Unicorn out of contempt. By living up to the tenants of Bushido, Shinjo Shono showed the Lion a striking counterexample to his mother’s lack of resolve. It would have been so much more preferable to have this excellent young man as a close ally but, since it cannot be the case, at least Lion samurai will have the honor of facing a virtuous and worthy opponent in the son if not in the mother.

Shinjo Shono’s example shows us that this is not some cultural difference between Lion and Unicorn. He expected better from his mother and is bitterly disappointed. The problem is therefore Shinjo Altansarnai. This is supported by the inference that the Ide diplomats, who must have known the whole situation as to the treaty if they are indeed capable of doing their jobs properly, did not explain to their Champion that the Ikoma daimyo was already married. This demonstrates that the Ide lack complete confidence in Altansarnai and Altansarnai’s actions in light of the revelation prove their skepticism is well grounded. I suspect that her lack of moral clarity, along with her audacious, schizoid decision to force the war her own previous policy sought to avoid, will prove a great temptation for an ambitious man like, say, Moto Chagatai.

All right I've been biting my tongue since I know many get annoyed by the back and forth that Manchu and I have on this topic and the habit it has of derailing threads but I can't let this once stand.

Since Manchu brought up Akodo's Leadership and the importance it put on Honor lets look at another quote from it.

“Samurai have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. A samurai is courteous even to his enemies. Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals. A samurai is not only respected for his strength in battle, but also by his dealings with other men. The true inner strength of a samurai becomes apparent during difficult times.”

Now lets look at the Lion/Unicorn deal in depth.  The Lion are giving up an alliance with the Phoenix by having Ikoma Anakazu set aside his wife to marry Altansarnai, except they aren't since they had the arrangement that they just followed through on to have Toturi marry Keade.  They are also offering not to attack the Unicorn over "disputed" lands.  In exchange the Unicorn are having their Champion step down and accept the demotion from one of the 7 most powerful individuals in the Empire, that aren't part of the Imperial Family, to the wife of a Family Daimyo.  They also ceded territory to the Lion as Hisu Mori Toride and the village that supports it and they "gifted" the Lion with a herd of Unicorn steeds.  Lastly they agreed that the new Unicorn Champion would take  a Matsu as his bride and thus his children and future heirs would be more closely tied to the Lion. 

In every way I look at this deal it is great for the Lion as they are giving up nothing of value and gaining everything from it.  Now the Unicorn on the other hand look to have taken a bad case of derp syndrome in the whole negotiation of this deal and that does make the whole Ide are great negotiators idea questionable (unless you accept the its a conspiracy to destabilize the Empire theory in which case it may have been negotiated like this just so that it would be so unpalatable that they Unicorn would have to renege on it and force this tipping point).  But since its a "pre-story" point and the idea that the failure of the negotiations is necessary to set up our narrative going forward, similar to the whole Yoshi can't seem to diplomat his way out a wet bag  (#kakitayoshiisafool), we have to accept that something went wrong. 

The norm in any Rokugani marriage is that the lower ranked party would take the name of the higher ranked individual, so Clan Champion should trump family Daimyo, and we should assume that would be the default that the Ide were working from in this arrangement.  However the Ikoma seem to have an "obscure tradition" which says that no Ikoma male ever takes the name of his wife regardless of the difference in their ranks (funny though how they didn't care about the Matsu tradition which is that Matsu brides don't give up their family name or position when they offered Mitsuko as a bride).  The fact that Anakazu was already married is also an open question mark as yes it is likely something that should have been generally known to the Unicorn.

Now if the Lion were living up to the tenet of Courtesy and the idea that one should avoid unnecessary cruelty you would think they would have mentioned this obscure tradition that they planned to enforce in their negotiations instead of letting it be a surprise rider after everything was agreed, but all evidence we have from the fiction is that it was not mentioned at anytime until after the negotiations were concluded and they apparently said right so when are you abdicating and moving in with Anakazu.

We should note that Altansarnai was willing to swallow her pride and accept that insult that the Lion were forcing on her in this negotiation, she was going to sacrifice the happiness that she had with Iuchi Daiyu for the good of her family despite the urging of many of her advisers (including Kamoko who as a Battle Maiden is one of the Unicorn who has come to most closely accept the tenants of Bushido we are told) and it is only when she is confronted with the collateral cruelty to those outside of her immediate circle (Anazaku's wife who saw no choice but to commit ritual suicide to protest the wedding) that she finally decided she could not follow through with the marriage.  Her response was to do as all good Samurai should and send a messenger to the Emperor to notify him of her intent and accept what ever punishment he may deem appropriate for her breaking the treaty.

The Lion response on learning this was to attack Unicorn holdings and seize them (without Imperial Permission) and when the Unicorn retaliated to claim it as proof of their aggression against them to force the Emperor to authorize them to march to war against the Unicorn.  Again its funny how when the Crane seized Toshi Ranbo (a Lion holding) and the Lion counter attacked to reclaim their city they were the ones in the right as they were just "defending" their territory from the aggression of another clan.  

Claiming that Shono is a paragon of virtue and that he is "disgusted" by his mothers actions is taking things a little to far as what we've actually seen in fiction is that he disagrees with his mother not because he sees her as having dishonored herself and her clan but rather that he doesn't want to antagonize his neighbors and while he is torn as to his love for Mitsuko versus his duty to protect his clan when his mother gives and order he is quick to follow as is the duty of any true Samurai.  Saying that Unicorn are "forcing" this war when the Lion at each step appear to have been manipulating matters and are frankly acting in the role of antagonist is some pretty blatant victim blaming.

Edited by Schmoozies
typo

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It should also be pointed out that I don't think the Lion understand the hornets nest they just kicked as it will likely be a shock to them when the Unicorn start calling on their holdings that are outside of the Empire and a whole mess of Moto show up on the Lion's doorstep for a quick conversation about how the Lion have been behaving towards the Khan.

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Amusingly, I had a full discussion about this with my partner last night, as she is finally reading the fictions and just hit "Curved Blades".

Which is honestly the worst written L5R story so far in the new canon, so I am taking anything in it with a heavy amount of salt. But the salient details are this:

  • Lion offered the Unicorn a deal so bad that it might as well be insulting, and then pulled a "Gotcha!" to make their Champion stand down, hiding it behind the excuse of "You barbarians don't know our traditions!"
  • The Unicorn were still willing to go forward with this, despite Utaku Kamoko basically going "We will win this war!", because Altarsarnai did not want to look like a warmonger.
  • This fell through when she found the wife of the man she was about to be married, going to commit suicide in her garden (?!?!), because suicide is a better option, you know, than divorce? Apparently?
  • Altarsarnai basically went "Yeah, no, this is stupid," and just decided that war was better. Shono is sad because this meant he was going to have to go to war against his betrothed, who he actually liked, and having happy families is something that the Unicorn can't have.

Interspersed throughout this is the repeated direct statements that "UNICORN WAYS ARE DIFFERENT!" and "WE HAVE CURVED SWORDS! THAT ARE SCIMITARS!" Seriously, it reads worse than some Tumblr fictions out there, and makes me wonder seriously just what transpired between Ree Soesbee and Fantasy Flight Games that this actually went to print.

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1 hour ago, sndwurks said:

"Curved Blades".

Which is honestly the worst written L5R story so far in the new canon, so I am taking anything in it with a heavy amount of salt.

Trufax.

 

I... have serious issues with that story, not least because a bad debut can be damaging in the long run (see the fiery birdie mon? See how much happier I am with the handling of the Phoenix this time around?)

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What I find somewhat ridiculous is that the rest of the empire thumbs their nose at the Unicorn and calls them uncivilized barbarians because they haven't been able to reintegrate into Rokugani scociety after 200 years........yet nobody even bothered to try and learn anything about the Unicorn since they for back.

I mean here we are, 2 centuries later and the Miya are just getting around to learning Meshido.  You mean to tell me that after the Unicorn came back, crushing the Crab and the Lion in the process, the rest of the clans decided they are the returned Ki Rin without every asking what they did for the 800 years they were gone or what they brought back with them?  

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30 minutes ago, Ishi Tonu said:

What I find somewhat ridiculous is that the rest of the empire thumbs their nose at the Unicorn and calls them uncivilized barbarians because they haven't been able to reintegrate into Rokugani scociety after 200 years........yet nobody even bothered to try and learn anything about the Unicorn since they for back.

I mean here we are, 2 centuries later and the Miya are just getting around to learning Meshido.  You mean to tell me that after the Unicorn came back, crushing the Crab and the Lion in the process, the rest of the clans decided they are the returned Ki Rin without every asking what they did for the 800 years they were gone or what they brought back with them?  

Its not so much that no one made the effort to learn Meshido as the Unicorn made it a habit to protect their knowledge of it as it came as an advantage to them (similar to how the Scorpion horde knowledge about Shadowbrands and the Lion seem to be the only ones who have full on Ancestor Magic).

It was likely something that stayed under the radar and was seen by most as one of those quaint traditions that the Unicorn picked up like Cavalry Sabers and Stirrups until the Phoenix started making a big deal about it in the wake of the Tsunami and the elemental imbalance.

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I think it may resume to a maybe poorly handled "reason to set early in motion old5r Unicorn/Lion antagonism" by the story team. 

Which is sad, because the rest of the fictions are great, well balanced, and generally respectful of clans themes and identity and main characters (except for Yoshi, who was made to be a total ****** in Taka's story, and Lion in general) 

The scheming of the Evil Ikoma against the oh-so compassionate Unicorn seems almost manichean, despite trying to sell us this as a deeply crafted political machination (which it is not) but just end up making both clans looking as politically inept fools, even much more than Yoshi was portrayed.

Guess we need bad guys, Scorpion are the political ones, Lion are the military ones. 

Honestly, except for the mega spotlight on Toturi, feels sometimes a real lack of love for Lion (screwed in cards and mechanics, screwed in fictions) 

Unicorn has it better, their Champion is seen as virtuous and compassionate, the Heir is a great samurai, they found the Naga as allies. Now seems the Moto are on their way to make them even stronger, their top courtier doesn't care about Shogi, yet is a master easily defeating an Imperial family scion (depicted as an inept ****** again. To be fair, Satoshi was the vilain of time of void adventure, but still...) and they even took back Hisu Mori Toride like nothing (well, at a cost for poor Shinjo). Oh, and one of them is the focus of a cutey (so far ...) story of real love with the "good" imperial heir.

Bet they will have Lion side with Bad Sotorii, just because. 

Edited by Nitenman

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Lion families are some of the most conservative, and they value the tenet of Compassion least (in the RPG they phrase this as the Lion Clan reserves compassion for those they respect, which is sometimes few) this makes it easy for them to come across as bullies who wield Bushido like a club, especially with the Matsu and Ikoma reputations.

Hopefully the upcoming story focus on the Lion in the Imperial Legions will give them some room room to grow in a more neutral sense, as opposed to "picking on" the Compassionate Unicorn and their outsider complex, which makes them tend to feel very sympathetic to the reader. 

EDIT: Also considering how the Fox Clan came to be, I think there's no need to "spice up" the issue with the Lion/Unicorn being in conflict.

Edited by UnitOmega

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2 hours ago, Ishi Tonu said:

What I find somewhat ridiculous is that the rest of the empire thumbs their nose at the Unicorn and calls them uncivilized barbarians because they haven't been able to reintegrate into Rokugani scociety after 200 years........yet nobody even bothered to try and learn anything about the Unicorn since they for back.

I mean here we are, 2 centuries later and the Miya are just getting around to learning Meshido.  You mean to tell me that after the Unicorn came back, crushing the Crab and the Lion in the process, the rest of the clans decided they are the returned Ki Rin without every asking what they did for the 800 years they were gone or what they brought back with them?  

That’s Rokugan 101. Things have worked well for a thousand years (or at least that’s what historians tell us) without changing a single thing (again, what historians tell us), and now you come trying to change US instead of changing YOURSELVES??!! Sorry, but no. Take your horse crap (literally) and put it away, Unicorn. Rokugani way is the best (and only) way. 

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Four claims are being recycled again to smear the Lion Clan. The interesting part is they also smear the Unicorn Clan.

(1) Bad Ikoma tricked Dumb Ide!

There is no possible way the Ikoma could have prevented any Ide diplomat doing even cursory due diligence from learning about Ikoma marriage customs and learning that Ikoma Anakazu was already married. The “Ikoma deception” argument is therefore just throwing an entire Unicorn family under the bus, implying that the Ide cannot even manage to perform their specialization with basic competence. Interesting way to sympathize with Unicorn ... The sub-claim here is that Unicorn got nothing worthwhile out of the deal, which is willful ignorance and again just another implicit insult to the Ide family that negotiated the treaty. The point of the treaty from the Unicorn POV was to settle the Unicorn back into respectability within Rokugan society and a close, lasting alliance with the Lion Clan would have achieved that.

(2) Altansarnai much compassion, such courtesy!

Altansarnai is apparently being so compassionate to poor, poor Akari. How convenient her compassion in this case aligns so perfectly with what Altansarnai wants more selfishly. Now, is she being compassionate by forcing a war that her administartion had already successfully avoided? It doesn’t seem compassionate at all to me to throw away the lives of one’s retainers when a treaty has already obviated the need for warfare. Or we can ask whether Altansarnai’s alleged compassion extends to her own son? He will as a result of Altansarnai’s “compassion,”  not only NOT get to marry his lover but also must kill her in battle. And here again, the Ide receive the backhand from supposed Unicorn sympathizers — if Altansarnai was so kind to “allow” Akari stay married then it was the Ide who callously dishonored her in their negotiations. 

(3) Shono’s just mad cuz he can’t marry Mitsuko!

It’s hard to say which one of these four arguments is truly the dumbest but this one is certainly a front runner. Dismissing Shono’s opinion that his mother acted recklessly and dishonorably as hurt feelings about Mitsuko is the absolute peak of hypocrisy considering that argument is only being deployed in the first place to justify Altansarnai’s infamous treaty-breaking so she could stay married to Iuichi Daiyu and otherwise keep her preferred way of life. In terms of storytelling, this is pretty obviously the whole point of the storyline, contrasting the wild foriegn spirit of some Unicorn with the more traditional spirit of others. This particularirony is absolutely the intentional work of competent fiction writers generating compelling conflicts. Speaking of which ...

(4) Anyway Curved Blades is just a bad story!

Insulting the author’s work is of course the last bastion of an untenable position. The story is actually very good. It sets up a system of tensions between political and personal and moral considerations, which is bullseye for L5R.

Edited by Manchu

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"Of course I did nothing wrong, I am a Lion" - Lion-san

Next you'll tell me an Akodo has never been defeated.

EDIT: Or the Lion did not steal all the Ki-Rin clan's land from the Kitsune family so hard the Emperor had to make them a Minor Clan and make it illegal for Major Clans to bully them.

Edited by UnitOmega

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That wasn’t my claim.

Of course the Ikoma diplomats would try to bully the best deal out of the Ide. That’s their job and they do it well. But the Ide diplomats will of course have responded in kind.

Perhaps the confusion here is a result of the Lion wanting something more immediate and tangible from the treaty whereas the Unicorn wanted something more indefnite and abstract.

Edited by Manchu

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Well, from a literary criticism aspect, I don't think you can have your cake and eat it too. You cannot say "you can't just say the story is badly written, that's a weak argument" and also argue a point that hinges on that poor writing - that the Ikoma could not have tricked the Ide because that makes the Ide look dumb. Yes, the story makes the Ide look dumb, it's not a well crafted plot point.

Curved Blades and it's points are fairly problematic in terms of the new story. For one, it seems to imply Rokugan is still using straight swords, when the Katana is also curved, a pretty glaring continuity error. It also in general perpetuates that there's basically zero understanding and integration in like 200 years to play up plot points many people agree don't really make sense (like the Ide, masters of foreign cultures not catching the gotcha of the Ikoma).

Additionally,  you specifically shift all blame onto Altansarnai (Without acknowledging that as Unicorn Clan Champion, betraying compassion by allowing an innocent to die is a huge blow to her personal honor) when I'm pretty sure the Matsu set up Shono to fight his own ex-fiancee as almost a deliberate insult, but Shono displays excellent capacity to serve his Lord and his Clan by swallowing personal emotional feelings (ninjo, as defined by the RPG) to complete his duty while he still tries and remains Compassionate. He does not desire this fight, but will finish it, for the honor of the fallen members of his clan. (Oh and the Lion immediately try and call their dead casus belli, even though they drew first blood). Is Shono being a better samurai than his mom? Probably, he questions her inner turmoil about the refusal. But Altansarnai also has inner turmoil about accepting, there's not a clearly defined "proper" answer here. Bushido is very much presented by FFG as an ideal which is all but impossible to completely fulfil by mortals. Altansarnai is her own boss, her job is to advance the position of the clan, if she feels that stepping down is both not the right move for the clan politically or militarily and would go against her clan's core values, that's her decision.  She sticks to the plan for quite a while despite her advisors being against it, including the Utaku who have one of the biggest honor-boners in setting, next to the Lion. The fact they allow such an insult to pass for so long is also pretty typal of the Unicorn too. 

Edited by UnitOmega

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I am not arguing Curved Blades makes the Ide look dumb.

It’s impossible that the Ide didn’t know about Ikoma Akari and Ikoma marriage custom. For the very reason that they are NOT dumb.

Curved Blades does NOT say the Ide didn’t know. It says Altansarnai did not know. As I mentioned above, I think the point is that the Ide purposely did not tell her because they did not trust her.

Think about it, from the Unicorn perspective, the treaty is all about gaining conventional respect from the other Great Clans and not being perceived as barbaric outsiders. The trouble is, Altansarnai’s personality conflicts with this goal. She is the wrong leader for a clan trying to re-immerse itself into the arch conservative courts of Rokugan.

I also completely agree that the Lion sent Mitsuko as an insult and a test. Altansarnai broke the treaty because of her emotions. Shono understood the contempt the Lion showed him by sending Mitsuko, assuming he would act just as dishonorably as his mother. The fact that he did not, that he acted as honorably as any Lion samurai, that he proved himself worthy of Mitsuko’s love in the tragic Rokugan way, demosntrates that there actually is a right answer - Shono’s action contrasted with his mother’s.

Edited by Manchu

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I am totally with Manchu about it, and I am an Unicorn.

I hope, but probably will never get it, on a story where you find out that Ide wanted Altansarnai out of the clan, and put his son as new Champion, for the good sake of the clan.

I think Altansarnai is the worst champion of them all (even as card effect not so good than other in my opinion. Not too bad, but not so strong)

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7 hours ago, Manchu said:

It’s impossible that the Ide didn’t know about Ikoma Akari and Ikoma marriage custom. For the very reason that they are NOT dumb.

Not knowing about Ikoma marriage custom is silly - that I've no problem with, because what the bloody heck were you discussing for three years before you got to that point if you were going to kick off about it (in fairness to Shinjo Altansarnai, she wasn't; at the start of Curved Blades she was aware of it and going through with it anyway).

By comparison, I can see not being aware Ikoma Akari is married. He's not necessarily a 'known individual' to the Unicorn, and "is the person you're offering as the groom already happily married' is the sort of question I can see not occurring to a clan which values the Tenet Compassion as a primary virtue.

Note that - since they didn't know much about him (to the point of not knowing he was married) I can't see the Unicorn having requested him as the groom, which means the Lion negotiators were offering him - and they definitely should have known he was not just married, but happily so in an actual love match.

Meaning that ordering them separated for political convenience for the clan is a violation of compassion. And since they knew this was the most valued tenet of Bushido to the Unicorn, either:

  • They thought Akari would be moved out of the picture before the wedding and the subject would never come up (Which is a violation of Sincerity)
  • They didn't learn enough about Unicorn customs and mindset to know how much of a stink this would cause (Which is a violation of Duty)
  • They knew the Unicorn would find it massively offensive and did it anyway (Which is a violation of Courtesy)

 

 

Essentially, both sides are at fault; I don't excuse Shinjo Altansarai, but I see both sides significantly at fault - albeit for different Tenets of Bushido - unsurprisingly in each case the listed "least important tenets" for each respective clan. 

 

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Oh for crying out loud. There is NO conceivable way that competent diplomats would not do a background check on the groom at the center of a major treaty.

And I believe the Ide are competent.

Plus we are talking about the daimyo of a Great Clan family. Successful courtiers need to know with whom such people have marriage alliances in the ordinary course of politics, much less when said daimyo is the lynch pin of a treaty between Great Clans.

What’s more: don’t be so hasty to conclude the Lion unilaterally pushed for Altansarnai to marry Anakazu. If certain pro-conventional samurai in the Unicorn Clan, including the Ide negotaitors, did want to change Unicorn leadership by marrying Altansarnai out then choosing an Ikoma would be their perfect plan because, according to the custom, she would have to join his household rather than vice versa.

I am completely unconvinced by this cafeteria approach to the tenants of Bushido. There’s no point lining up arguments about how, hypothetically, X tenant ot Y tenant might be technically violated compared to a Clan Champion agreeing to a treaty and then tearing it up.

Edited by Manchu

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1 hour ago, Manchu said:

Oh for crying out loud. There is NO conceivable way that competent diplomats would not do a background check on the groom at the center of a major treaty.

Here note that this "You gotta take the name of your Lion spouse" tradition is a big deal... for the Matsu. It has a fairly sensible background strongly tied to Matsu (as: the family founder), so I don't know what it does in the Ikoma family. 

It is also worth noting that the person who blew this up was a Phoenix and she had every reason to sabotage the marriage with some... creative information use. If you know what I mean. 

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I’m of the opinion that until we know more details about the negotiation (which may not happen, ever), all this debate is just beating a dead horse. All our positions are already clear, and we don’t have anything new to support/discredit them. 

And everything can be perfectly explained through a story, if not for the word limit the authors have. 

For example, I think the Ikoma did the old switcheroo with the Ide. Short story, the Ikoma were talking all the time about marrying the Ikoma Daimyo. The Ide knew that Daimyo was Ikoma Thatguy, and based their negotiations around that. They even asked Thatguy about marrying into the Unicorn clan, and he said he had not problem with that. After all the lengthy negotiations, where Ikoma always referenced the Ikoma Daimyo, they reach an agreement, seal the deal, and then it goes like this:

Ide: ”Well, we can’t wait for Altansarnai marrying Thatguy”

Ikoma: ”Oh, Ikoma Thatguy? Yeah, he stepped down as Ikoma daimyo just yesterday. Shame. The new guy is Ikoma Anakazu.”

Ide: “Who? But our agreement..”

Ikoma: “... was about marrying the Ikoma daimyo. Never said he had to be Thatguy. By the way, Anakazu wants Alsant... Altrana... Asltr... your Champion to marry into the Ikoma”

Ide: “But...”

Ikoma: “Tradition! You already signed the deal! We won!”

Yeah, I know it sounds cheesy, but give enough time and words to one of the L5R authors and I’m sure they can make a good story about it. 

What I mean is that, without knowing the full story behind the negotiations, who’s right and who’s wrong is just wild speculation. 

But we L5R fans live of wild speculation, right?

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2 hours ago, Manchu said:

Oh for crying out loud. There is NO conceivable way that competent diplomats would not do a background check on the groom at the center of a major treaty.

And I believe the Ide are competent.

Plus we are talking about the daimyo of a Great Clan family. Successful courtiers need to know with whom such people have marriage alliances in the ordinary course of politics, much less when said daimyo is the lynch pin of a treaty between Great Clans.

What’s more: don’t be so hasty to conclude the Lion unilaterally pushed for Altansarnai to marry Anakazu. If certain pro-conventional samurai in the Unicorn Clan, including the Ide negotaitors, did want to change Unicorn leadership by marrying Altansarnai out then choosing an Ikoma would be their perfect plan because, according to the custom, she would have to join his household rather than vice versa.

I am completely unconvinced by this cafeteria approach to the tenants of Bushido. There’s no point lining up arguments about how, hypothetically, X tenant ot Y tenant might be technically violated compared to a Clan Champion agreeing to a treaty and then tearing it up.

Well since all indications are that the Ide are competent, and since there is zero indication (aside from your unfounded speculation)  that they are plotting against Altransarnai (hint good storytelling would have indicated that there was this sort of plot afoot either in another story like we had with Ujiaki plotting to "remove" Toturi as the head of the clan, or flavor text) we have to accept one of two facts.  Either they had a momentary derp moment that we are supposed to hand wave off for story, or the Ikoma actively concealed information like the Ikoma marriage "tradition" that likely hasn't been in an issue for the majority of the clans since they either don't marry high ranking females to lower ranking Ikoma unless the intent is for them to join the Lion's household.  Since this tradition may have been an issue centuries ago when it first began the other clans likely grew accustomed to it and it just became one of those default things that you either automatically refuse or as was more likely stopped being enforced during the time the Unicorn were away from the Empire until a smart Ikoma diplomat saw it as a way to thumb their nose at the "barbarian scum" and provoke them into a cultural misstep that would give them a pretense to escalate the "cold war" that the two have been in since the Unicorn returned to the Empire and reclaimed their ancestral territory from its Lion "caretakers".

As for the marriage you're right it was probably generally know that Anazaku was already married, and that he may face a dishonor for setting aside his wife.  However since his first marriage was one based on an alliance, not initially romantic, and he was being directed to set that aside on the orders of his Lord for a new more "important" political marriage the dishonor that would be incurred would be minimal.  What could not be anticipated would be that over the years he and his wife had come to genuinely love each other, so much so that she could not consider the thought of going on without her husband. 

As to Bushido tenant, everything about the game both old and new has been about how no person can truly live up to the tenants of Bushido so each individual and clan tends to focus on those that they deem the most important and prioritize them over the others when they come in conflict.  For Unicorn it has always been the case that they view Compassion as the most important.  The idea that Altansarnai would just happily go along with the marriage once she saw full scope of the collateral damage that would go along with it is actually worse for suspension of disbelief.

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Personally, I still think it would have been a significantly better story had Akari been ordered to commit seppuku in order to make her husband a widower, and thus a valid person for marriage.

That would have succeeded at showing the Unicorn to be compassionate, the Lion as viewing human life as disposable as long as the ends are honorable, and would have framed this entirely as a conflict of values and customs with neither party in the wrong objectively, but both parties in the wrong subjectively.

Unicorn: "How dare you command a woman to kill herself JUST so her husband could get remarried for political gain?"

Lion: "How dare you renege on an honorable contract between two Clans because you are afraid of a little bloodshed? Better one life lost for honor than the dozens lost in war!"

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13 minutes ago, Manchu said:

That’s another version of “the Ide are too dumb for politics.”

No thanks!

It was just an example. What I meant is that until we know all the story behind the negotiations, we will not know for sure if it was incompetence, bad faith, a conspiracy, or all of the above. 

And a good author can write a story making any of those possibilities totally believable. 

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