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The Last Stone Played - HERE BE SPOILERS!

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Likeable or unlikeable, at least Sotorii has some more complexity to him than just "being a jerk". Aramoro, on the other hand, is the one I dislike the most. In a setting thats all about desire vs duty and personal conflict, its like hes so unidimensionally programmed to only think about how to rise in kachikos eyes thats its boring

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Posted (edited)

So....bonus cookies for anyone calling out the Commodus option.

Hint for future elderly rulers. When telling your violent, immoral son you're disinheriting them, make sure a decent proportion of your court know what you're planning to do beforehand. And maybe don't do it in private late at night. 

 

Quote

"You’re telling the truth. That’s why the wards didn’t alarm the Hidden Guard"

I'm kind of intrigued by this. Obviously they didn't trigger 'because he was Hantei' but what would they have done? Kunshu had already been cleaned and replaced (and handled by someone else) so it wasn't 'someone else drew the sword'). Apparently Hantei-on-Hantei violence doesn't trigger the alarms, which seems like a poorly thought out design. 

7 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

I think Kachiko has convinced herself that Shoju wants the same things she does. Plus she's so full of herself that in her mind she can't possibly be responsible for Shoju not trusting her.

This. Assuming it's because of Hotaru is her way of rationalising it can't possibly be her fault. For that matter, if she had any self-awareness about whether people found her truly trustworthy (as opposed to useful, alluring, politically astute or whatever) you'd think the thought of why the Imperial Advisor wasn't consulted for Advice before a consitutional precedent-shattering step like that was taken might occur. 

4 hours ago, Manchu said:

I am nauseated by this abomination. Sotorii has forfeit whatever spark of humanity might have been nurtured.

Pretty much. Any amount of anguish is one thing; he's having the birthright he's essentially shaped his self-image around taken off him, effective immediately, and he's in the presence, privately, of one of the only people in the empire he should be able to be completely honest with. 

Expressing that anguish by butchering an old, unarmed, virtually blind man out of nothing but rage is not - cannot be - a forgivable crime. That the 'old man' was the current Emperor and the 'sword' Kunshu itself simply compounds matters beyond redemption.

More importantly, that's twice in six months (even ignoring his Gempukku) that Hantei Sotorii has reacted to the universe not going his way with blind agression at the person demonstrating that fact. Putting someone like that on the throne is unthinkable. 

4 hours ago, Manchu said:

Kachiko reveals herself to be an unmitigated monster.

Pretty much. I can more or less understand a diplomatic response on entering a room to find an obviously unbalanced member of the royal family wielding a bloodstained sword. But that's different to rushing to trying to manouvre the event for political advantage for your own clan.

I could.....almost.....believe that her main motivation is "must prevent scandal" - after all, that will be Miya Satoshi's driving purpose - right up she sends Aramoro after Toturi and starts an internal  "mwhaha....my own pick of emerald champion." 

She and Satoshi are right about one thing; Courtesy and Honour demands they protect the throne from scandal. Which, given the comparitive unimportance of lower-status lives, probably justifies (in the eyes of Bushido) quietly eliminating the servants. However, if they can essentially cover up the murder and make it look like a natural death, then there is no reason save personal political ambition not to proceed as if it was just that. 

If the Emperor has supposedly named Daisetsu his heir, and there's an unimpeachable witness available (even the most antagonistic bits of the lion clan, who think Toturi thinks too much and is spineless and indecisive as a result don't question his basically honourable nature) and/or there's a physical signed Edict out there somewhere, the Sincere, Loyal and Righteous thing to do is to honour the Emperor's wishes.

Kachiko, however, is not doing that.

 

6 hours ago, phillos said:

As always I really want to know what Shoju is going to do.

This. 

The only people who definitely knew about the Regency plan before Hantei Sotorii did were Hantei Jodan, Bayushi Shoju and Akodo Toturi. It's possible Doji Satsume did as well - possible he came up with it the first place given "In the Palace Of The Emerald Champion - but regardless, he's (long) dead too. 

Jodan is now dead, Akodo Toturi will probably try to do something but for the immediate future that something is "try very hard not to be murdered by Bayushi Aramoro". 

Shoju...will act in the best interests of the Empire. But it's an open question what he thinks those 'best interests' are.

 

  1. The Edict and Daisetsu's ascension is the correct thing to happen - regardless of your view of the two princes - because it's what Hantei Jodan ordered. But the Regenct is only possible with Akodo Toturi's support to 'prove' that the Scorpion didn't just make this up. Kachiko is right about that. The viability of that option depends on the speed of Toturi's sword. 
  2. Supporting Sotorii - will depend on Shoju's view of Sotorii. Since he was going along with the plan and knows Jodan's view, that can't be good. If he knuckles down and accepts Sotorii's rule I'd be very disappointed in him. 
  3. There is a third option - which is not a nice one. Without Toturi's testimony, the only way to put Daisetsu on the throne is for Shoju to remove both Sotorii and himself from the board, and try to ensure Daisetsu ends up on the throne with an honourable regent who's not a scorpion.

 

31 minutes ago, RafaelNN said:

Likeable or unlikeable, at least Sotorii has some more complexity to him than just "being a jerk". Aramoro, on the other hand, is the one I dislike the most. In a setting thats all about desire vs duty and personal conflict, its like hes so unidimensionally programmed to only think about how to rise in kachikos eyes thats its boring

Indeed. This came up in the RPG forums - all the different clans subscribe to bushido, but whilst they all care about honour (small 'h', the pursuit of bushido) they value the different tenets differently. Scorpions largely discard Honour (big 'H', the specific bushido tenet) in favour of Duty - "whatever it takes" is pretty much their motto. 

Some scorpions seem to have gotten lost between not caring about Honour and not caring about honor. Aramoro is probably the posterboy for them. Though Kachiko isn't much better. 

 

The other big question is what Sotorii is going to do.

Remember, in his head, Hantei Daisetsu and Akodo Toturi have conspired to try and cheat him of his rightful throne. What do you think he's been doing in the hour since he left? (where the story border changes colour)

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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35 minutes ago, RafaelNN said:

Likeable or unlikeable, at least Sotorii has some more complexity to him than just "being a jerk". Aramoro, on the other hand, is the one I dislike the most. In a setting thats all about desire vs duty and personal conflict, its like hes so unidimensionally programmed to only think about how to rise in kachikos eyes thats its boring

I think the “Sotorii murdered his father because he is a violent emotional trainwreck” plot is more interesting than “Sotorii is a sociopath who wants to be Steel Chrysanthemum II”.

Plus, even if the peeks at his thoughts aren’t enough to make him exactly likeable, now future stories can make use of that characterisation without it feeling like “surprise, he is only mostly a monster”.

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Togashi has gifted me with visions of a possible future (I'm totally speculating as to what comes next):

Amaretto fails in his assassination attempt of Toturi, through outside interference. Possibly from Kaede, maybe from Ishikawa, potentially even from Shoju himself.

Due to Kachiko's scheming, Toturi is declared a traitor and hunted, and must flee. He finds unexpected safe haven with an army of Dragon Samurai who his own clan allowed to pass unhindered as far as they have, and together they flee to safety, pursued by imperial and scorpion forces.

Shoju is extremely displeased, but is also a true descendant of Bayushi, and so, will be Hantei's villain once more. He ensures that Daisetsu is secreted away with Toturi, Hitomi and Mitsu. Drama arises from his forced parting with Shahai, whose improving disposition suddenly takes a turn for the worse having been robbed of her prince and solace.

Lots of people will die.

Civil war, between the followers of the "rightful" heir Sotorii and the "usurper" Daisetsu is what comes next, which divides the clans sharply, and exacerbates the conflicts already occurring.

 

...or:

 

Kachiko's plan works. The scorpion gain power under a puppet emperor and no one is the wiser aside from Shoju, who lets the whole thing slide because it *just might work*

 

I know which one I will enjoy reading more ;)

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

This. 

The only people who definitely knew about the Regency plan before Hantei Sotorii did were Hantei Jodan, Bayushi Shoju and Akodo Toturi. It's possible Doji Satsume did as well - possible he came up with it the first place given "In the Palace Of The Emerald Champion - but regardless, he's (long) dead too. 

Jodan is now dead, Akodo Toturi will probably try to do something but for the immediate future that something is "try very hard not to be murdered by Bayushi Aramoro". 

Shoju...will act in the best interests of the Empire. But it's an open question what he thinks those 'best interests' are.

 

  1. The Edict and Daisetsu's ascension is the correct thing to happen - regardless of your view of the two princes - because it's what Hantei Jodan ordered. But the Regenct is only possible with Akodo Toturi's support to 'prove' that the Scorpion didn't just make this up. Kachiko is right about that. The viability of that option depends on the speed of Toturi's sword. 
  2. Supporting Sotorii - will depend on Shoju's view of Sotorii. Since he was going along with the plan and knows Jodan's view, that can't be good. If he knuckles down and accepts Sotorii's rule I'd be very disappointed in him. 
  3. There is a third option - which is not a nice one. Without Toturi's testimony, the only way to put Daisetsu on the throne is for Shoju to remove both Sotorii and himself from the board, and try to ensure Daisetsu ends up on the throne with an honourable regent who's not a scorpion.

2 seems unlikely to me for a variety of reasons.  I believe from past fictions Shoju both agreed with Jodan about Sotorii and wanted to support Jodan as a friend.  If Shoju and Jodan were truly friends then I doubt he would actually betray that trust.  I certainly hope that's true, because I think that 1 and 3 will give us the more interesting story paths.  Toturi and Shoju as unlikely allies working together to fulfill the dead emperor's last edict feels right to me.  If it means the Scorpion fall from grace in the empire in the process then that is what Shoju wanted anyway.  They've sort of been setting up Kachiko and Shoju being at odds for a long time.  So feels like we were already on that path.

Edited by phillos

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3 hours ago, Doji Tori said:

I think the “Sotorii murdered his father because he is a violent emotional trainwreck” plot is more interesting...

...if he sends more stuff to the wall than well-written “sorry,  go **** yourself” letters, he’s a better emperor than his father.  Let the Crane and Scorpion deal with keeping things at the palace from getting out of hand...they love that political stuff.  We have a wall to watch.

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Toturi will get setup to take the fall for the "lie" that Jodan was going to abdicate to Daisetsu.

I don't think he'll kill or be killed by Aromoro, so I wonder what their confrontation will turn out to be like. 

Even though he just got done killing his father, Kachiko's sex-fu was working on Sotorii so he know he'll be her good little puppet and do what ever she tells him to do.

Maybe this is too AEG but it would be cool if Shoju ordered the captain of his guard to "kill him" and then he goes master of secrets, jumping out the window, wearing black pajamas, the way Yojiro did in the old continuity leaving Sunetra in charge while he wages a secret war within his own clan. 

I want to meet "Nightingale".

A lot to take in, I guess it's just wait and see, but agreeing with everybody else that seeing what Shoju does will be the most interesting. 

I don't see the death of Jodan being significant enough to cause a full blown Clan Wars civil war. 

Another thought too: makes me feel even more that Dairu's actions with Sotorii was a setup. Just keep pushing him over the edge, till he takes the plunge. This may be a stretch, but maaayyybe Shoju is getting exactly what he wants... 

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1 hour ago, HirumaShigure said:

Maybe this is too AEG but it would be cool if Shoju ordered the captain of his guard to "kill him" and then he goes master of secrets, jumping out the window, wearing black pajamas, the way Yojiro did in the old continuity leaving Sunetra in charge while he wages a secret war within his own clan. 

The problem is that that doesn't get rid of Sotorii.

Either he's supporting Sotorii (in which case he's also backing his wife and there's no conflict in the clan required aside from a rather chill conversation come bed-time), or he's backing Daisetsu, in which case sorting out any internal conflict in the Scorpion Clan has to come second to making sure the correct heir is on the throne.

Another AEG-esque story would be trying to cover things up as a 'coup' - assassinations of Jodan and Sotorii, and "attempted assassination" of Daisetsu, and a botched coup attempt - basically throwing the bulk of the scorpion clan under the bus to spare the imperial families the scandal of the truth, take Sotorii out of the picture, and - hopefully - having a natural and honourable protector come forward for Daisetsu he could trust to act as regent in his stead.

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@Magnus Grendel As usual, your response is well thought out. I would just clarify that the abominable magnitude of the transgression is not a matter of Sotorii’s motives or the particular vulnerability of the Emperor but rather the relationship between the two, of parent and child. Foremost, there is the material or literal sense. But of course it enhanced further in that the Emperor is also the father of the metaphorical family of society. There is no possibility of a more heinous act.

Kachiko’s cool detachment and immediate plotting in the face of this monstrous crime, this ultimate atrocity against humanity and the sacred, is utterly staggering.

Imagine if Shoju had actually witnessed this travesty.

It is hard to see how he can be reconciled to Kachiko at this point. If she had even a shred of decency, she would commit seppuku without delay.

Toturi will take care of Aramoro.

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Two other issues come to mind:

A Dragon army is on the way.

Within the palace, the Emperor had eyes and ears unknown even to the Master of Secrets — information traveled to him even faster than to the Scorpion.

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8 hours ago, Doji Tori said:

I think the “Sotorii murdered his father because he is a violent emotional trainwreck” plot is more interesting than “Sotorii is a sociopath who wants to be Steel Chrysanthemum II”.

To be acutely honest here I think both are kinda boring. I want something unexpected, something bizarre but cool, something that makes me say "this is kinda awesauce in a way I couldn't think of before", something meta-defying. Like Daisetsu the Virtual Paragon of Bushido or Kuni Yori's Bizarre Adventures. Sotorii throwing another fit and killing the Emperor this time (but then Kachiko shows up to save him... OR DOES SHE?) just doesn't cut it for me. 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Manchu said:

What need for the Shadowlnds with such demons coiled at the heart of Otosan Uchi.

I second Manchu's motion to have the Shadowlands rid Rokugan of the "demons within"

All in favor....

Looks like the ayes have it (because when I counted raised hands.........and remember I've been telling everyone for a year now that one of the benefits of being an Oni was the extra limbs.....the motion passed with an overwhelming majority)

 

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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Posted (edited)

Here are some things I think are going to play into what Shoju decides.

When someone important dies an untimely death and the Scorpion benefit in some way, no matter how big or small, there will be suspicion cast upon the Scorpion.

Kachiko botching this thing is a big deal.  She has now overstepped on a major issue twice and this one is pretty much as bad as it can go.  Without Kachiko's meddling, the emperor retires, takes Sotorii with him and Shoju is regent with a general acceptance from the other clans.  Anyone that would try to oppose the Scorpion are in a difficult position as this has come by way of Imperial edit.

Instead you now have a mysterious death of the emperor and othrs thing that can/will happen as a result.

A loose end like Toturi is a major issue. If he is killed or disappeared, no matter how you spin it, still raises questions.  We would now have two dead Emerald Champions and a Emperor in less than a year......oh and look Scorpion are in charge.....wonder how that happened?  

Kachiko has really screwed this up and now is not only untrustworthy, she is incompetent.

Shoju now has to let a good man die and let his clan be the villian, while subjecting Rokugan to Sotorii rule, for which they will undoubtedly suffer as a result.  Or Shoju needs to expose his wife and shame his clan, to spare Toturi and have Daisetsu lead without his guidance because if it came to light what Kachiko did the rest of the clans will not trust scorpion or Shoju in keep them in line.

I think Shoju will sell Toturi out, but, help Toturi and Daisetau while also attempting to remove Kachiko from a position of power.  Shoju will pay for this with his life since Kachiko will not want to lose that power. 

So a political coup instead of a military one this time.

And we'll likely have Toturi and Daisetsu in hiding together to preserve the "Last Akodo Last Hantei" prophecy .

Also: what does happen when Lion gets their sword back? I was interested I that story but someone interrupted the Emperor before he could finish.

 

 

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Ishi Tonu said:

Also: what does happen when Lion gets their sword back? I was interested I that story but someone interrupted the Emperor before he could finish.

And the award for "Understatement of the Week" goes to... Ishi Tonu! Come on up and claim your prize, buddy!

I actually find the situation somewhat funny; Yojiro was almost entirely ostracized for his "failure" to sabotage the Emerald Championship, and yet that's nothing compared to how monumentally Kachiko's screwed up here by sending an assassin after Toturi when Toturi is the only man who could back Shoju's legitimacy as regent.

Honestly, Kachiko would probably be consigned to Traitor's Grove for how badly her actions will hurt the Clan.

***

I'm kind of hoping that Aramoro's assassination attempt will be interrupted by the Honest Scorpion stabbing him in the back.

Edited by Mangod

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I've already claimed my prize from the one true Kami.

Now I must set out upon the work my lord has tasked me with...…………..tickle fighting and blowing raspberries at the "demons within" Rokugan.

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1 hour ago, Mangod said:

I'm kind of hoping that Aramoro's assassination attempt will be interrupted by the Honest Scorpion stabbing him in the back.

I'm kind of hoping that Toturi demonstrates that Lion aren't just skilled generals, but can fight like a whole bag of honey badgers...


"This isn't some duel you were going to rig. This is a fight. Now I can cheat too."

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Posted (edited)

For the record we all knew this was coming right? It's not a m matter of what would have happen, but how it would happen.

 

More thought later, but for now lets bask on how deeply Kachiko has ****** up. She did not just screw her own husband, she has screwed with her own son as well. You would think that when she is told by Sotorii that Jodan was going to disinherit him she would take the time to remember that that Dairu had very forcibly, very publicly stood with Daisetsu.

You would think that she would realize that the kind of man that kills his own, elderly, father in a rage, is not the kind of man that is easily controled or lets go of grudges, and that maybe, just maybe she shouldn't immediately go for the self-serving power-move.

 

Brilliant work, Kachiko, just brilliant.

Edited by Suzume Chikahisa
typos

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