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By the Stroke of a Brush - New L5R Fiction Story Discussion

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I onced said Yoshi was more like a 7th sea villain. 

A selfish, manipulative, aristocratic sycophant, yet a key player in the world's chessboard. 

A foolish indeed man, using Shinobi and trying to play his little part in the game, but he's a bad player.

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I would argue that Yoshi's presence makes Hantei Sotorii not a one-of. Sotorii isn't even capable of the basic appearance of being samurai, and it was only his being Heir that allowed him to keep skating on. Kakita Yoshi doesn't have the duelist skills of his brother, nor the political acumen of his rivals in the court.  What he does have is status, and the position to leverage it for his own benefit.  Also, helps explain how the Crane have lost control of the political battlefield. Yoshi's bad at his job, but can't be criticized or replaced, except by Hotaru, who doesn't have the cachet inside her own clan to smack down a family daimyo and likely doesn't know the scope of his foolishness.

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1 hour ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Almost certainly not, as far as his portrayal goes.

 

See, the problem there, as far as it pertains to Yoshi the Fool? (Because I agree, we're not at the part of the story where wise leaders make good decisions)

Kachiko, Tsuko, the Elemental Council (and a special different-subset-of-mistakes nod to Tadaka), Altansarnai, Yori, Taka, Hotaru, and so on have all made bad decisions for a variety of reasons and have made things worse- but they've also gotten little snippets of competence to make them look a wee bit better than ol' Yoshi does.

For the ur-example: Kachiko's mistakes and villainies are very, very real- she has definitely done more damage to the empire as a whole than Yoshi on his worst day- but she's also shown as generally good at what she does. In fact, she's been shown as on top of things several times prior to her massive, Empire-wrecking, Shoju's-gonna-be-so-mad misstep- and thus, when she made that mistake, it made sense. Her hubris has something to underpin it.

Also Kachiko was also able to realize, pretty quickly, after she screwed up that she had made an Empire-wrecking misstep.

Kachiko's plan also makes sense if you did not know that Shoju was going to be made regent.

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I kind of love how evil Yoshi was in this fic. Starting a civil war just for the chance to have a puppet as Champion. Though I think his desire to become captain of a sinking ship may be an indicator of serious tunnel vision.

Also, I'm not sure if that was actually Kagi or a shadowspawn impostor.

1 hour ago, Ishi Tonu said:

So Yoshi is Trump?

Uh, no, Trump is a Crab.

We Are the Wall by shineyorkboy

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8 hours ago, Ishi Tonu said:

want me some desperate Cranes....the kind that will turn to the Shadowlands for aid.

Been a while since my last post...so together...again... "Hail Fu Leng! We await thy return!"

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 4:52 AM, Manchu said:

It’s bad enough that Hotaru allowed herself to be seduced by Kachiko. To slander her own father in writing and send the evidence to the Crane’s most dangerous rival in court?

Assuming the letter is genuine, of course.

There is a distinction between "it's genuine" and "I can't tell if it's a forgery" and Kakita Yoshi saying one when he was thinking the other, especially given the context, is dangerous and foolish in the extreme.

Regardless though, of whether the letter is genuine or not, the sentiments in it are, so far as we know, true. Whether she actually wrote them down is a different matter but we know she did feel that way.

How Kunawan would take the actual truth behind Satsume's death is a different matter entirely.

 

One interesting question is who would be responsible:

  • It could be a genuine letter that Satsume intercepted. But that does raise the question of 'how' he got a copy of it. Hotaru may be acting like a lovestruck teenager, but writing that letter and letting it be found by someone else would be really, really stupid.
  • It could be Kachiko planting it. But so far as we know, her feelings for Hotaru are about as genuine as her affections get. So planting that is almost certain to hurt someone she cares about, whether the letter itself is genuine or not, seems off. I guess wanting Hotaru disinherited so she'd run away to her is possible, but feels off because I can't see Kachiko wanting to run away with her.
  • It could be someone else, wanting to hurt Hotaru or wanting to hurt Kachiko by proxy. Shosuro Hametsu, for example, knows about Hotaru and Kachiko and does not approve, and has already been spotted (in the Palace of the Emerald Champion) trying to cast dirt on the pair.

 

13 hours ago, Doji Hyōkin said:

Kakita Yoshi doesn't have the duelist skills of his brother, nor the political acumen of his rivals in the court.  What he does have is status, and the position to leverage it for his own benefit.  Also, helps explain how the Crane have lost control of the political battlefield. Yoshi's bad at his job, but can't be criticized or replaced, except by Hotaru, who doesn't have the cachet inside her own clan to smack down a family daimyo and likely doesn't know the scope of his foolishness.

This. He really doesn't have any 'success' you can point to that we know of. He may have worked tirelessly to overcome Kachiko but he keeps losing.

Even the suspicion "maybe it was Kachiko's idea to sell off Kakita artworks" ignores the fact that no, they're selling it because the clan needs money to hire ronin and it needs money because (a) the tsunami half-bankrupted them and (b) some doofus in the court hasn't managed to get the Emperor's Blessing repeatedly diverted to the Crane to rebuild in the subsequent years. 

On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 1:23 AM, phillos said:

Also I love Kitsuki Kagi returning here.  I'm still suspicious of that guy. 

So was Agasha Sumiko, as I recall. The kolat assassin who actually kills Satsume is one of the chief yoriki's assistants and a kitsuki himself (though actually Kitsuki rather than merely by marriage).  The fact that he sees 'Kolat Everywhere!' and doesn't see the actual Kolat assassin right under his nose is rather a black mark, although whether of incompetence or treachery we don't actually know.

I'd actually forgotten that he was born Matsu. It does actually say that in In The Palace of the Emerald Champion, but it's interesting to be remind of it, since we don't actually know anything about his spouse other than that (since he married 'out', they are presumably at least of 'clan magistrate' status or equivalent).

 

 

On a side note:

Quote

I must not lose, Yoshi-san, because I cannot let him win.

Do we know who Doji Satsume's rival was in the Emerald Tournament? Because that feels like the thread ends of something significant.

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2 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

One interesting question is who would be responsible:

  • It could be a genuine letter that Satsume intercepted. But that does raise the question of 'how' he got a copy of it. Hotaru may be acting like a lovestruck teenager, but writing that letter and letting it be found by someone else would be really, really stupid.
  • It could be Kachiko planting it. But so far as we know, her feelings for Hotaru are about as genuine as her affections get. So planting that is almost certain to hurt someone she cares about, whether the letter itself is genuine or not, seems off. I guess wanting Hotaru disinherited so she'd run away to her is possible, but feels off because I can't see Kachiko wanting to run away with her.
  • It could be someone else, wanting to hurt Hotaru or wanting to hurt Kachiko by proxy. Shosuro Hametsu, for example, knows about Hotaru and Kachiko and does not approve, and has already been spotted (in the Palace of the Emerald Champion) trying to cast dirt on the pair.

It's pretty much been confirmed who's responsible already.

In the insert fiction for The Ebb and Flow, Shosuro Sadako infiltrates the Crane Guesthouses, to plant a scroll there at the behest of Shosuro Hametsu.

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Posted (edited)

My guess was going to be Shosuro Hametsu based on info they gave us on the character in that adventure.  Maybe the letter was genuine but it somehow was guided to Satsume's hands.  I have to go back and read The Ebb and Flow.  Does that timeline work out for this letter to be the one planted by Shosuro Sadako?

I love that the official adventures they are releasing for the RPG feel like that are meaningful to the story and the card game.  I hope we see more of that.

Edited by phillos

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, phillos said:

My guess was going to be Shosuro Hametsu based on info they gave us on the character in that adventure.  Maybe the letter was genuine but it somehow was guided to Satsume's hands.  I have to go back and read The Ebb and Flow.  Does that timeline work out for this letter to be the one planted by Shosuro Sadako? 

I love that the official adventures they are releasing for the RPG feel like that are meaningful to the story and the card game.  I hope we see more of that.

Yes.

"See to it that this scroll finds its way to a particular place in the Crane Guesthouse, Lord Hametsu had said.  If you accomplish nothing else, you must accomplish this"  and we know from Ujina's monologue later in the story that this is some time after Kaede marries Toturi, which itself occurs just before Toturi becomes Emerald Champion, so this is around the same time that Kuwanan turns up still alive and in active investigation mode in A Crane Takes Flight.

So, if the letter is genuine, it may be how Hametsu confirmed his own suspicions about Kachiko, and he sat on it until he found a way to use it hurt the Crane more than the blowback would harm the Scorpion. If the letter is a forgery, its one that was created using his knowledge of the relationship.

Edited by Doji Hyōkin

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Whether the letter is a forgery is irrelevant as to Kakita Yoshi’s correct conclusion that Doji Hotaru has compromised the Crane Clan.

As ever, I’m genuinely perplexed by the “Yoshi Is A Fool” meme. Even ITT, the actual problem is diagnosed: (a) Yoshi is portrayed as haughty and ruthless and (b) the writers have yet to grant him a win. But he’s never actually portrayed as stupid or even, given what he actually knows, reaching illogical or inaccurate conclusions.

Maybe my objection is moral. I would be okay with a “Kachiko Is A Fool” meme. After all, she is no less haughty and an order of magnitude more ruthless than Kakita Yoshi. But the writers give her wins in the stories, unlike Yoshi — so I guess that makes her smart or wise or something? I think we’ve seen recently that this isn’t the case. Kachiko may get wins in the stories but I suspect her victories are all building to her downfall. Yoshi hasn’t been able to outmaneuver her because they aren’t playing the same game. Yoshi’s game has some hard limits, some rules that cannot be broken, even if there are other rules that can be broken. For Kachiko, nothing is sacred.

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Yoshi has apparently got a pretty impressive spy network in place in the capital.  He learned, from his spies, something that Kachiko and the resources of the Scorpion Clan, were trying to conceal.  Which they actually think that they've kept secret, to the point of killing servants and assassinating The Emerald Champion.

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15 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

Yoshi has apparently got a pretty impressive spy network in place in the capital.  He learned, from his spies, something that Kachiko and the resources of the Scorpion Clan, were trying to conceal.  Which they actually think that they've kept secret, to the point of killing servants and assassinating The Emerald Champion.

Kakita Yoshi's great at things that are good for Kakita Yoshi.

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Yeah I don't think Yoshi is a fool.  I just think he's very self involved.  He knows there's a possibility that they are drawing the wrong conclusion from all this but he says what he does to Kuwanan because he knows it's the path that benefits him the most.  There is a nice parallel between Kachiko and Yoshi building here, and I appreciate it.  I wouldn't call either a fool.  I wouldn't call either a paragon of virtue as well.

That's fantastic that the Shosuro plot all fits together.  I wonder if it's Hametsu's scheme or if the plot goes further up to Shoju as well.  As always if we got another story form Shoju's perspective I would probably burst into flames I'd be so excited to read it.

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I don't think Shoju is involved in Hametsu's scheme.  Wouldn't that only serve to weaken Crane and put Scorpion more in the spotlight? Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the last check in with Shoju he wanted the Scorpion to get back under the radar a bit.  At the very least reduce the size of their blip

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14 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

I was challenging the apparently popular opinion that Yoshi is incompetent and can't do anything right.  Here's proof of something that he's done right.

I get ya, and you're absolutely right!  He manages to get ahold of a critical piece of information despite Kachiko's attempts at a communication blackout.  I wouldn't say that Yoshi's incompetent, I'd say that he's decided that what's good for him is good for the Crane.  Between him & Toshimoko, he's the one that got on with their brother-in-law Satsume, so he's particularly entrenched in the previous administration. It's no surprise that as a result of Hotaru's attitude towards her father that she's more inclined towards the uncle she likes. So, he's a family daimyo whose Champion he doesn't get on with, who's best friends with the Champion of their bitterest enemy, and that's before he finds out she's in a relationship with his personal rival and the wife of their main political opposition.  Throw in a healthy dash of more-perfect-than-thou Crane smugness and its not hard to see how he gets to a point where he feels he knows best for the Clan.

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1 minute ago, Ishi Tonu said:

I don't think Shoju is involved in Hametsu's scheme.  Wouldn't that only serve to weaken Crane and put Scorpion more in the spotlight? Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the last check in with Shoju he wanted the Scorpion to get back under the radar a bit.  At the very least reduce the size of their blip

That's true, and he's probably not involved.   Though I guess I was running under the assumption that it would take Kachiko down a peg as well, which might halt the biggest proponent of Scorpion self-promotion.  Thus fulfilling his goal.  Though you are right weakening the Crane will just consolidate Scorpion power in the courts most likely.  Unless he supports this Kuwanan/Yoshi coup somehow to ensure Crane come out stronger because of it ....

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2 minutes ago, Ishi Tonu said:

I don't think Shoju is involved in Hametsu's scheme.  Wouldn't that only serve to weaken Crane and put Scorpion more in the spotlight? Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the last check in with Shoju he wanted the Scorpion to get back under the radar a bit.  At the very least reduce the size of their blip

Yeah, from what we get of Hametsu in the RPG sidebars, this is a personal mad-on for him.  He hates that Kachiko has exposed the Scorpion to weakness in pursuit of happiness.  It's intensely personal for him.  He wouldn't involve Shoju, he'd try to manufacture a situation where Kachiko went down alone.

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3 minutes ago, Doji Hyōkin said:

Yeah, from what we get of Hametsu in the RPG sidebars, this is a personal mad-on for him.  He hates that Kachiko has exposed the Scorpion to weakness in pursuit of happiness.  It's intensely personal for him.  He wouldn't involve Shoju, he'd try to manufacture a situation where Kachiko went down alone.

You are correct.  In the adventure they make it pretty clear his reasons are personal, and it doesn't give any real hints that he is working under orders or with anyone else on his scheme.

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2 hours ago, Doji Hyōkin said:

I get ya, and you're absolutely right!  He manages to get ahold of a critical piece of information despite Kachiko's attempts at a communication blackout.  I wouldn't say that Yoshi's incompetent, I'd say that he's decided that what's good for him is good for the Crane.  Between him & Toshimoko, he's the one that got on with their brother-in-law Satsume, so he's particularly entrenched in the previous administration. It's no surprise that as a result of Hotaru's attitude towards her father that she's more inclined towards the uncle she likes. So, he's a family daimyo whose Champion he doesn't get on with, who's best friends with the Champion of their bitterest enemy, and that's before he finds out she's in a relationship with his personal rival and the wife of their main political opposition.  Throw in a healthy dash of more-perfect-than-thou Crane smugness and its not hard to see how he gets to a point where he feels he knows best for the Clan.

I'd be cautious about using Yoshi's ability to find out the Emperor is dead as any indication of his competence. Kachiko is covering up the Emperor's murder, not his death, and Satoshi already know the Emperor is dead by murder.

 

If anything he is displaying poor tradecraft in his handling of the informant and of Kuwanan.

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Posted (edited)

It's interesting that we say that Kakita Yoshi has no success or skill, given that he controlled the entire conversation with Kuwanan and lead him to an outcome that Yoshi wanted him to think - that his sister has definitely betrayed the Crane - based entirely upon one slightly suspect letter and some vague suggestions. That's some skill right there.

Edited by Hydraxus
wierd wording

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2 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

It's interesting that we say that Kakita Yoshi has no success or skill, given that he controlled the entire conversation with Kuwanan and lead him to an outcome that Yoshi wanted him to think - that his sister has definitely betrayed the Crane - based entirely upon one slightly suspect letter and some vague suggestions. That's some skill right there.

Kuwanan isn’t exactly a hard target, particularly and especially under the circumstances.

 

 I do not find shooting fish in a barrel impressive. Nor do I find manipulating an emotionally compromised person into continuing down the path they were already on even remotely noteworthy.

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Posted (edited)

This is a little more tricky than shooting fish in a barrel.

Kuwanan was already deeply critical of Hotaru’s frankly scandalous lack of filial piety. But I don’t think he came to Kakita Yoshi for permission to do something he already intended. I think he was looking instead for some reason not to proceed against his sister. Kuwanan went looking for a conspiracy against his father that his sister simply did not care to ferret out because of her dislike for Satsume. What he discovered was infinitely more shocking. His own sister seemingly played right into the hands of those Kuwanan most strongly (and wrongly) suspects betrayed and murdered Satsume.

To Kakita Yoshi, unlike Kuwanan, whether Bayushi Kachiko engineered Satsume’s assassination is not the crucial issue. Satsume led the Crane in the past. The real problem for Yoshi is the Crane’s present leader.

Yoshi probably could have outright lied and said the letter definitely was a forgery, throwing some cold water on Kiwanan’s bitter resolve. But what would that accomplish? Yoshi could not conclude the letter was a forgery for any “technical” reasons. And much more importantly, the contents of the letter seemed believable to him.

Which is to say, Yoshi had a very accurate understanding of Hotaru — insight enough to understand that the sentiments memorialized in the letter, whether or not the letter itself was a forgery, are actually true. And we, the readers, know for a fact that they are true. Which means, we the readers also know for a fact that Yoshi is correct.

In fact, Hotaru has created the nightmare scenario for Crane Clan security. She has effectively betrayed the entire Clan, whether intentionally or recklessly — from Yoshi’s (correct) perspective, there is simply no way she can continue as Clan Champion. 

Edited by Manchu

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10 hours ago, Suzume Chikahisa said:

Kachiko is covering up the Emperor's murder, not his death

You are correct, in the long term. But Kachiko did not want news of the Emperor’s death getting out in the short term. Yoshi found out nonetheless.

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