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If we remember back to "The Stories We Tell" then Daisetsu and Shoju both have very similar philosophies about the truth.  Also from past fictions we've seen that Daisetsu has become more practiced in being very careful with what he says to people.  Clearly after this fiction if any of the emperor's children should be considered capable of manipulation and deception it would be Daisetsu.  Sotorii is pretty much an open book.  Now put Daisetsu and Shoju on the same team... Sounds like we are in for some fun :)

That said I'm not sure I believe that Daisetsu was setting his brother up here.  I got the feeling he was just legitimately tired of his brother's crap.  Then the events of this story taught him that he really needs to be more careful with what he says since there can be very real unintended consequences to his actions. 

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I am getting more of a "Second coming of Iuchiban" vibe from this story.

Brother who is passed over for the throne (Iuchiban was second son, but for a time when his brother was ill was expected to ascend)

Problems with the Kami & the Big Ruby from the Unicorn march

Voices (kansen?) pushing Sotorii to do whatever he wants, regardless of the cost.

 

Just my 2 cents

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19 minutes ago, phillos said:

That said I'm not sure I believe that Daisetsu was setting his brother up here. 

He obviously wasn't, but we only know this for certain from his internal monologue. 

23 minutes ago, phillos said:

If we remember back to "The Stories We Tell" then Daisetsu and Shoju both have very similar philosophies about the truth.  

Not!Daigotsu's thoughts about the duel also echo Kisada's final thoughts in the opening Crab fic. 

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Regarding Daisetsu and weakness...

It is not the physical weakness, but the emotional weakness that Satsume was probably calling out. A worthy, strong practitioner of Bushido would not have stepped into the ring to restrain his brother, even if it meant the death of his best friend. Daisetsu saved NOBODY any face when he did so, and effectively resulted in escalating the situation into one which could not be resolved in a way which preserved dignity. Sotorii was out of control, and the honorable action would have been to do nothing, EVEN IF it cost Dairu his life. In Satsume's eyes, Daisetsu cared more about the safety of his friend than he did for either decorum or his own personal safety, and that is seriously a bad trait in an Emperor.

Especially in the eyes of Doji "Smiling Crane", "Cold Shouldered My Wife Off A Cliff", "My Daughter Is Never Good Enough", "Personal Ties Are For Weaklings" Satsume.

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18 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

Sotorii was out of control, and the honorable action would have been to do nothing, EVEN IF it cost Dairu his life. 

I dunno but Dairu is not exactly a nobody. But yeah, I can see Satsume thinking that not!Daigotsu is a wee bit too compassionate for his own good and it makes him weak. He might be even right here, in a way. 

Of course, this only stands if Satsume knew what was really going on and did not fall for the very sensible explanation of not!Daigotsu setting the incident up to completely discredit Sotorii. 

Edited by AtoMaki

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Just now, Manchu said:

Daisetsu simply failed to stay in control of a situation he created.

Yes, but Satsume shouldn't know this unless he can read the boy's mind or he has the FFG story documents in his Cranecave. 

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We don’t know what Satsume thought of it one way or another, except he didn’t think either boy was fit.

Satsume may not have had the details of how the thing started but he knows Sotorii has to be managed by everyone around him. The Emerald Champion could easily have worked out that Daisetsu had allowed/forced things to go so far.

Edited by Manchu

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I feel a whole lot of empathy for Sotorii now, and I also find it fascinating that the italicized inner monologue, here speculated (possibly correctly) to be from some other source (a kansen or something) are extremely similar to the real world phenomenon of intrusive thoughts. Of course, even if there is no kansen involved, in medieval times mental disorders were sometimes thought to be the result of possession, and in a world where possession is a very real danger just having intrusive thoughts could lead to a susceptibility for possession - you can't tell when the thoughts are your normal intrusions or when they come from a legitimate spirit.

Sotorii also isn't that far off in his conclusions on Daisetsu's reactions. While he exaggerates their meaning, the base interpretation isn't wrong. Daisetsu already sees Sotorii as an intellectual inferior, and legitimately does not want to spend time with him.

Re: Daisetsu's weakness. A lot of this mess is due to his personal weaknesses, even if it isn't in the way that Doji Satsume thinks. Even in the modern world, the way he spoke to Sotorii was rude and uncalled for. Sotorii's reaction clearly escalated the situation, but Daisetsu was not being as perceptive when it comes to Sotorii's motives as he should have been, and the way he responded didn't help. But then, they're both teenagers in situations that a modern person can't really understand.

None of this is an excuse for Sotorii, but I can empathize with him while condemning his actions.

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31 minutes ago, sndwurks said:

Regarding Daisetsu and weakness...

It is not the physical weakness, but the emotional weakness that Satsume was probably calling out. A worthy, strong practitioner of Bushido would not have stepped into the ring to restrain his brother, even if it meant the death of his best friend. Daisetsu saved NOBODY any face when he did so, and effectively resulted in escalating the situation into one which could not be resolved in a way which preserved dignity. Sotorii was out of control, and the honorable action would have been to do nothing, EVEN IF it cost Dairu his life. In Satsume's eyes, Daisetsu cared more about the safety of his friend than he did for either decorum or his own personal safety, and that is seriously a bad trait in an Emperor.

Especially in the eyes of Doji "Smiling Crane", "Cold Shouldered My Wife Off A Cliff", "My Daughter Is Never Good Enough", "Personal Ties Are For Weaklings" Satsume.

Its  a little more then that though.  Sotorii had lost the duel when Dairu struck him on the first pass, so him turning and continuing to attack was a massive breach of his own honor and in most cases would have led to the transgressor being at minimum disowned by his family and more likely ordered to commit Seppuku.  Now admittedly being the heir he wouldn't be facing that severe a repercussion for his actions, but he should be facing some sort of censure from his father (as we are eventually seeing with him being passed up). 

Technically Daisetsu was actually doing more to preserve the integrity of the throne and prevent a scandal if word got out that the Crown Prince lost a duel and in his anger killed his opponent, who also happened to be the son of one of his fathers chief advisers and the heir to the Scorpion clan.  Now admittedly that was not what was going through his mind at the time, but it is the reality of what occured.

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

Both of these points are untrue as it was Dairu who dragged himself into the conflict, not!Daigotsu wanted to end it the tough way, and, of course, not!Daigotsu intervening was a very nice show of Courage (Rise up above the masses of people who are afraid to act) and even Compassion (They (honorable samurai) help their fellows at every opportunity). If not for knowing that not!Daigotsu arranged these course of events unwittingly, it might look like this was exactly the most honorably way to deal with the situation: Dairu could prove his loyalty, Sotorii could have his duel, and not!Daigotsu would take a hit for both provoking his brother and having Dairu involved while also putting Sotorii to his place as he originally planned. This looks like an ongoing irony with not!Daigotsu: he dislikes Bushido so much he can't fail to uphold its spirit even when he tries. 

In fact, I find strange that someone like Satsume did not think about the scene being set up by not!Daigotsu, especially considering how Dairu put up a real fight. That should have been suspicious. For an onlooker, it can easily come off as Sotorii walked into a huge trap and the whole incident was deliberate from not!Daigotsu's part. Here note that Satsume can't look into not!Daigotsu's head and learn his exact thoughts: all he knows and sees is that not!Daigotsu pissed off Sotorii, had a Scorpion of all things play buffer for him, then said Scorpion caused Sotorii to have a meltdown and thus ashame himself in front of his father while those two walk away unscathed.

I have to disagree with you there. Dairu doesn’t drag himself into the conflict, he steps in to address the situation when Daisetsu hesitates. That’s explicit in the text when Dai tries to talk him down, and Dairu tells him it’s a valid challenge that needs to be answered. Dairu understands the demands of Bushido in that moment, and it’s obvious that Daisetsu didn’t.

 

How else to explain that the second son of the Emperor is surprised when his words to a social superior are provocative and fails to understand the impact their feud will have on his friend & host.

 

Sotorii’s problem is that he expects the deference promised by his position, with none of the self-restraint society expects. Daisetsu’s problem is that he thinks his society is wrong, and his position has insulated him from the consequences of that thinking. 

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39 minutes ago, Doji Hyōkin said:

I have to disagree with you there. Dairu doesn’t drag himself into the conflict, he steps in to address the situation when Daisetsu hesitates.

Dairu actually interrupts not!Daigotsu to accept the duel:

Quote

Daisetsu bit back the laugh and opened his mouth to perfunctorily dismiss Sotorii and return to his amusement with Dairu, but the Scorpion spoke first, standing as he did.

Not!Daigotsu was full ready and willing to turn down Sotorii, but Dairu ruined it by speaking up for himself. I think this was about Dairu getting back at not!Daigotsu for the “Dairu-san says only what he thinks you wish to hear” line that kinda came off as a rebuke.

As not!Daigotsu even mentioned it, Sotorii's challenge was not about honor and him trying to back it up like it was is kinda dishonorable (ironically, calling Bushido over a personal tantrum violates Honor and Sincerity - the tenets Sotorii himself evoked). A honorable samurai should accept this duel because this kind of conduct is unacceptable (this is kinda what Dairu says), not because it is a legit challenge. 

1 hour ago, Doji Hyōkin said:

Daisetsu’s problem is that he thinks his society is wrong, and his position has insulated him from the consequences of that thinking. 

I think not!Daigotsu's problem is his tact. He is just too nice even when he isn't, and in this regard Sotorii was kinda right when he called him out because not!Daigotsu does lack the ferocity to back himself up for real. 

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I just want to put the idea out there that I don't think that Sotorii is having a Kansen (or some other Fu Leng related entity) talk to him in the italicized inner monologue. 

Both part 1 and 2 of this story have used italicized inner monologue to add more characterization to the characters in the stories.

Also, all of the main characters, in both part 1 and 2 of this story, have had italicized inner monologue so far.

The exception to this obviously being Shoju and Satsume.

 

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Well, definitely too-little, too-late on Sotorii for me.

I read this more as "Sotorii is insanely delusional" than "Sotorii is misunderstood."

If there were only one or two people who thought Sotorii was a cruel sadist, or these two fictions were the first to deal with Sotorii, I could buy it.

But we've got literally everyone but Sotorii thinking he's a cruel, horrible, awful person within moments of knowing him, and only Sotorii himself saying he isn't.

Disadvantage: Delusions of Grandeur confirmed.

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2 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

Well, definitely too-little, too-late on Sotorii for me.

I read this more as "Sotorii is insanely delusional" than "Sotorii is misunderstood."

If there were only one or two people who thought Sotorii was a cruel sadist, or these two fictions were the first to deal with Sotorii, I could buy it.

But we've got literally everyone but Sotorii thinking he's a cruel, horrible, awful person within moments of knowing him, and only Sotorii himself saying he isn't.

Disadvantage: Delusions of Grandeur confirmed.

The Sotorii thinking ‘woe is me’ and hiding tears in the garden is the same Sotorii whose instinct when losing is to beat the winner to death. Absolutely delusional rather than misunderstood, though I’m glad we get the first part if only to season my contempt with a dash of pity. 

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6 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

Well, definitely too-little, too-late on Sotorii for me.

I read this more as "Sotorii is insanely delusional" than "Sotorii is misunderstood."

If there were only one or two people who thought Sotorii was a cruel sadist, or these two fictions were the first to deal with Sotorii, I could buy it.

But we've got literally everyone but Sotorii thinking he's a cruel, horrible, awful person within moments of knowing him, and only Sotorii himself saying he isn't.

Disadvantage: Delusions of Grandeur confirmed.

Kinda how I saw this entire monologue. (Also video has cursing if that bother someone) 

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I had pretty much guessed by his second story that this sort of thing was going on with Sotorii. It seemed like the POV characters in the other stories were all too quick to judge him rather too rashly and harshly when it seemed like there weren't such terrible motivations behind his actions.

Generally I think there might be a redemption arc there. In order to have a redemption arc, you need to have a character initially be seemingly unreasonably bad. Ideally in a way that they would be ignorant or naive of their bad behavior or their circumstances are causing or feeding it, so either by gaining awareness or changing their circumstances then they can want to become better and then try to become better and then become better. And all of that seems to line up with what has been presented for the character.

Seems like the best possible thing to happen for the character is to lose everything that seems important but is just poisoning him before he can gain the things he needs that will help him balance out.

Or it could be that they are just showing there is more depth to him so that there can be even the mildest sense of loss when they already tipped their hand far too much in marking him out as the "bad guy".

 

Just because the character was infected by Fu Leng in the previous incarnation does not mean this version has the same Sword of Damocles hanging above his head. In fact, if he does, it was a huge mistake to present the character in the way they did. A character falling to supernatural corruption or even just regular corruption is not a very interesting story if the reader is told by all the POV characters to hate them before that even happens. There just is no story arc there, nothing dynamic or interesting-- you may as well have the character openly calling himself Fu Leng from day 1 for all it matters.

If you were going to write a story of a character falling and becoming the puppet of a dark god, then the best thing to do would be have that character come across as likable, charming, relateable and sympathetic from their very first appearance. You'd want the audience to really like the character so that there is some feeling of loss at them being corrupted.

So if someone is going to turn out to be the vessel of Fu Leng, I would suggest it would be the character that all the other characters are telling the reader that they should like, spin all their actions in the most favorable light and are told that they are the best at everything. Especially if when you take a mental step back and examine their words and actions you are presented, they don't exactly match up with this "best and most ethical person in all the land" image that the PoV characters are trying to paint for you.

 

Although I also think it is weird how even when writing from the PoV of the Imperials, the Imperial family members are treated as nothing more than set dressing. Why would the Hantei need to go looking for buddies in the Scorpion or Crane or Unicorn or such when they are surrounded by Seppun, Otomo, and Miya who are explicitly more trustworthy, definitely have interests that align closer to their own and have a status closer to their own?

Seriously-- it is like seeing the Hida heir claim that even though he has all these Yasuki, Hiruma, Kaiu and Kuni around him all the time that are part of his own clan, the only people he could possibly be friends with are the children of the Crane and Lion daimyo and if they don't like him, he can't possibly have any friends and definitely never met anyone who ever liked him in his life.

It is just extraordinarily weird.

And its not just Sotorii, but also Daisetsu and Jodan both show nothing but cruelty, condescension, neglect and contempt towards their own de-facto "clan" while spending time exclusively with daimyo or children of daimyo or wives of daimyo from other clans and insisting they are the only people "in the world" they can confide in-- despite the fact that those are exactly the least trustworthy, most naturally aligned against them, most likely to benefit from their destruction people in the entire empire.

Edited by TheHobgoblyn

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Well, doesn't help that the Imperials have largely been written as gits so far...

 

The Miya Daimyo's a scumbag and we've seen no other Miya worthy of note.

The Otomo apparently have a surplus of incompetent courtiers to throw under the bus.

The Seppun are... well. Dutiful, but (and this is just a general structural issue) so thematically akin to the Shiba (but Imperial!) that finding them their own story can be a chore.

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