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

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5 minutes ago, Manchu said:

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.

Sure, but, with Satoshi involved, Kachiko's plan was dead on the water from the start and Yoshi is not treating the newsbearer as an asset.

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It all depends on whether Yoshi’s agent learned the news from spying on Satoshi’s people or spying on Kachiko’s people. Either way, Yoshi learns about this quickly.

 

If Satoshi is a Kolat master, however, he may have his own agents working in both Yoshi and Kachiko’s circles — explaining how he just happened to come long at the right moment — and perhaps he wanted Yoshi to know quickly, given the Kolat role in the death of Satsume and the unfolding drama between Kuwanan and Hotaru.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Manchu said:

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

An emotionally distraught man, deeply suspicious of his sister's motives, comes to you for advice.

You have minimal respect for said sister, and see a chance to use this guy's already-extant intentions and doubts to your advantage.

That is literally all Yoshi pulled off here. At best, a gentle nudge off of an already-precarious precipice. Child's play. Whatever Yoshi said, Kuwanan's doubts wouldn't have gone away- especially since it's not as if Hotaru's bad vibes toward her dad are exactly a mystery among the upper echelons of the Clan I Never Particularly Want To Read About Again.

So actually, it's LESS tricky than shooting fish in a barrel. They might actually move out of the way within the confines of their prison, whereas Kuwanan practically jumped into Yoshi's arms.

 

Now, credit where it's due, as Tonbo Karasu notes, he DID evidently have someone in place to tell him the Emperor was dead... but since as has also been noted, Kachiko is covering up the murder, not the death, that's no great shakes. Moreover... if that is the sole proof of his competence in his position thus far? Uhm, that kind of proves my point that we need to see this guy be GOOD at something, because otherwise, he's actually quite pathetic. Being able to hire unobtrusive people? That's a function of his position, not his skill or judgment. Being able to tip a guy down a channel he was already favoring? No biggie. Claiming credit for the adroit work of someone who basically rescued herself? Laughable.

 

 

Satoshi USED to be comparable in his malice and seeming incompetence, but since we now know he's a Kolat, that opens up some questions.

 

Edited by Shiba Gunichi

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Posted (edited)

Tangential question: let's assume that Kuwanan loses this Crane Civil War - the losers would most likely be expected to commit seppuku, right? But can Kakita Yoshi do that? The curse he was born under forbids him from touching a blade, so how does he commit seppuku?

Edited by Mangod

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1 hour ago, Mangod said:

Tangential question: let's assume that Kuwanan loses this Crane Civil War - the losers would most likely be expected to commit seppuku, right? But can Kakita Yoshi do that? The cuse he was born under forbids him from touching a blade, so how does he commit seppuku?

Well, assuming anything actually sticks to Yoshi with respect to whatever a potential "Crane Civil War" might end up being, AND it's something that would warrant seppuku, then it makes for an interesting question. His lord, regarding his seppuku, would be the Crane Clan Champion (the Emperor would probably be quite content to hand a matter of seppuku over such a clan-specific issue to the Champion, despite Yoshi being his Chancellor). Accordingly, if the Crane Champion was inclined to grant Yoshi the opportunity to commit seppuku, then she (since it would presumably be Hotaru) could also grant him an alternative way of doing so. It would unorthodox, but if she chose to accept, say, him running himself through with a sharpened wooden stake as a surrogate for the customary three-cuts, who is going to say otherwise? He could still have a second to decapitate him, and the whole affair could simply be treated as seppuku.

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Posted (edited)

Historically at least the entire deed could be done by his second as a decapitation if he couldn’t use a blade himself.  He would just need to do something symbolic to signal the second to swing.  Not sure what would happen in  rokugan. Though as DGL points out he could always just use something else to do himself in if it came to that.

Edited by phillos

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1 minute ago, phillos said:

Historically at least the entire deed could be done by his second as a decapitation if he couldn’t use a blade himself.  He would just need to do something symbolic to signal the second to swing.  Not sure what would happen in rokugan.

Rokugan would probably be much the same. My example of a sharpened wooden stake was just that--an example. It could be any number of things, including Yoshi simply nodding to his second, giving the second a thumbs up and saying, "Good to go, yo," or any number of other things. The really important thing about seppuku is the intent. The actual ritual with the wakizashi is certainly customary, and the custom-bound Rokugani are going to reluctant to allow something else only because of particularly egregious circumstances. A supernatural curse that could cause the fall of a castle and untold suffering by its residents would probably count as "particularly egregious". I mean, the Rokugani are pretty hide-bound and set in their ways, especially when it comes to what's customary, but they're not stupid!

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My memory could be way off, but didn't he jump off a seaside cliff to end his life after his return through Oblivion's Gate after the Spirit Wars in the old continuity? That would be a way to avoid the touch of a blade entirely. 

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59 minutes ago, HirumaShigure said:

My memory could be way off, but didn't he jump off a seaside cliff to end his life after his return through Oblivion's Gate after the Spirit Wars in the old continuity? That would be a way to avoid the touch of a blade entirely. 

Yes, he did.  He led the other spirits back to the realm of the honored ancestors by going first.

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6 hours ago, phillos said:

Historically at least the entire deed could be done by his second as a decapitation if he couldn’t use a blade himself.  He would just need to do something symbolic to signal the second to swing.  Not sure what would happen in  rokugan. Though as DGL points out he could always just use something else to do himself in if it came to that. 

If I remember it right, historically they would substitute a fan for the blade and perform a purely ceremonial 'three cuts'.

19 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

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. 

It's noted in the story that patricide/matricide is one of the greatest sins that a person can commit, it's so against the Celestial order. Kuwanan walked into that room worrying about the link between his sister and the Scorpion and left all but convinced that his sister was at the very least party to their father's murder. When Yoshi suggested that Hotaru could have been party to such an event, that should have been such a grave insult that Kuwanan should have at the very least challenged him.

Yet Yoshi has enough social capital that Kuwanan... doesn't. He agrees. Furthermore, Yoshi drops the bombshell that the Emperor is dead, and uses that to 'link' the 'plots' together in Kuwanan's mind. He has controlled the information and led Kuwanan to an outcome that personally benefits Yoshi (a more pliable Champion who will accept his advice). It's subtle in that Kuwanan feels likes he has no choice but to go on this path, and that he has made this decision himself - he has to actually ask Yoshi if he has Yoshi's support. Was Kuwanan emotionally compromised? Almost certainly. Yet accusing his sister of murdering their father, or at least being party to such an event, should be all kinds of taboo - indeed it should be as unthinkable as killing the Emperor - and I doubt that he would have taken that step without Yoshi. (This also highlights just how badly Sotorii has effed up, which I kinda like, given that he has managed to do both.)

 

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There is nothing subtle about the fact that the Kakita Daimyo who is also the Imperial Chancellor occupies a high social position.

It’s literally the only reason Kuwanan would go to him- because Rokugan doesn’t laugh at appeals to authority like a rational society would.

 

Again, this does nothing to display skill or acumen- it’s purely a function of a position that the character as depicted is actually really ill-suited for.

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I don't think his social position matters - Kuwanan has already shown that his sister, the Crane Champion and leader of the clan, is not someone he will follow blindly. Hotaru wanted him to drop his investigation and yet he continued. I don't think Kuwanan came to his Uncle for the opinion of the Imperial Chancellor. Yoshi didn't leverage his social position (or rather, didn't overtly leverage his position. It's completely possible and likely that it could be in the back of Kuwanan's head) to get Kuwanan to believe him. Clearly Kuwanan trusts him, in a way that he doesn't trust his other sister, Shizue, who would also be around in the Imperial city wnd who would probably have a better understanding of Hotaru's handwriting.

This paints a picture of a man who is well respected and trusted amongst the Crane, with years of service, and the story shows us how he is quick to turn events to his advantage (still claiming that favour when he did nothing, turning Kuwanan's doubts into certainties).

 

As an aside, appeals to authority are all over the place in a modern, rational society - it's why someone might obey a police officer or workplace manager. A scientist stills plays on an appeal to authority when they publish their work as their readers are required to take what they say they did as fact - most people have neither the time nor the material to replicate their experiments.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/17/2019 at 9:05 AM, Manchu said:

If Satoshi is a Kolat master, however, he may have his own agents working in both Yoshi and Kachiko’s circles — explaining how he just happened to come long at the right moment — and perhaps he wanted Yoshi to know quickly, given the Kolat role in the death of Satsume and the unfolding drama between Kuwanan and Hotaru.



Not impossible. One thing made clear is that a personal goal is to cause as much chaos as possible within and between the great clans. If so, this one's a doozy.

2 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

Clearly Kuwanan trusts him, in a way that he doesn't trust his other sister, Shizue, who would also be around in the Imperial city wnd who would probably have a better understanding of Hotaru's handwriting.

I was wondering about Shizue. Does she live in the Guest House, or the palace itself? As in, has Kunawan been searching what are basically now 'her' rooms behind her back?

2 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

Kuwanan has already shown that his sister, the Crane Champion and leader of the clan, is not someone he will follow blindly. Hotaru wanted him to drop his investigation and yet he continued.

To be fair, Kunawan is very much in the mindset of "I know something is wrong, therefore anyone who stops me finding it is also wrong". It's a classic first stage of a conspiracy theorist mindset, and whether poked from outside or not it's a very short step to "anyone trying to stop me is clearly working with 'them' and my enemy" and you don't always need to be explicitely manipulated to make that jump.

On 8/17/2019 at 7:31 AM, Manchu said:

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. 

Indeed. Whether Yoshi or Kunawan would be better clan champions is kind of beside the point; she is unarguably emotionally compromised about one of the clan's primary political rivals.

I'm not entirely convinced Yoshi is correct simply because replacing her requires confidence a potential replacement is any better (Kunawan's resume including having refused to accept the results of the Emerald Magistrate's investigation which the celestial order says is legal 'fact', openly disobeyed a clear and direct order from his clan champion, abandoning the clan in the middle of a 'war' - okay, 'border dispute' - and losing the one battle we know he's been involved in - against a bunch of manky ronin, not even other clan samurai..), but at best that leaves the clan in a "none of you really deserve to be the champion" situation, it doesn't leave her in the clear.

If the specifics in the letter are really true - as in "I want to leave everything behind and run away with you" then yes, she should be abdicating the championate. Bushido doesn't actually require you not to feel anything, just that you don't let those feelings impact your duty; and one perfectly valid option to do that is to admit to the fact that you can't fulfill a duty and ask to be relieved of it (in fact "resign a position or title you can no longer honourably fulfil" is specifically called out in the RPG as something you gain honour for).

Equally, Courage - the bushido virtue - is normally considered in terms of "Not running away from the twenty-foot-tall oni with the inappropriately questing tentacles" but it's also about having the courage to stand up for your own beliefs, desires and understanding of honour, even if other people will say it's dishonourable, scandalous, or humiliating. Openly saying to Doji Satsume "stop trying to turn me into someone I neither want to be nor have the capability to be" is arguably more honourable than silently and sullenly resenting him.

 

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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4 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I was wondering about Shizue. Does she live in the Guest House, or the palace itself? As in, has Kunawan been searching what are basically now 'her' rooms behind her back?

IIRC she lives in the Crane Embassy in the city. 

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9 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

I don't think his social position matters - Kuwanan has already shown that his sister, the Crane Champion and leader of the clan, is not someone he will follow blindly.

So he went to the next highest-ranking Crane he could think of. Again- Yoshi did nothing to make this happen- it's not a function of any acumen he has,, it's a function of his position by birth.

 

As for not trusting Hotaru- given their parentage and recent events, that, too, reflects nothing but the mistakes of others.

9 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

This paints a picture of a man who is well respected and trusted amongst the Crane, with years of service, and the story shows us how he is quick to turn events to his advantage (still claiming that favour when he did nothing, turning Kuwanan's doubts into certainties).

Again- this says nothing about any skill or wisdom on Yoshi's part, and everything about how birth is respected in Rokugan, even while doing an absolutely godawful job of protecting the interests of his Clan and Empire.

 

We have never seen Yoshi take the initiative successfully- he is always, always reacting to and back-footed by the machinations of others and his own emotional foibles which he won't even admit to himself.
Which, again, brings me back to my central complaint at this point- it was all fun and games calling him a fool when he stepped right in Kachiko's Crabcake with Yasuki Taka, but at this stage, he desperately needs to be shown doing something even remotely competent, because... right now? His grasp of the politics of Rokugan, which has has theoretically been swimming in since his birth, is about as good as the Unicorn Clan's ability to read a bloody marriage contract :P

 

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On 8/16/2019 at 8:11 AM, phillos said:

My guess was going to be Shosuro Hametsu based on info they gave us on the character in that adventure.

This was my thought as well.  The hints I've seen about Hametsu make me think a couple things: 1. This is "that scroll" that's been mentioned a couple times.  2. The letter is legitimate, but intercepted/stolen by Hametsu's men, not by Doji Satsume.  3. This is about Hametsu's personal beef with Kachiko not about politics, and is intended to cause her downfall as much as Hotaru's.  Honestly, Hotaru might only be a part of it at all because he thinks it will hurt Kachiko as well.  4. I wouldn't be surprised if he's hoping to bring down Aramoro and maybe even Shoju as well - people with the power and inclination to retaliate when someone makes such a move against Kachiko.  I've had a lurking suspicion for a while now that this time around, it's going to be made to look like there was a Scorpion Clan Coup when in fact no such was intended by Shoju.

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1 hour ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

So he went to the next highest-ranking Crane he could think of. Again- Yoshi did nothing to make this happen- it's not a function of any acumen he has,, it's a function of his position by birth. 

 

In those terms, Kuwanan didn't go to the next highest-ranking Crane he could think of. His Lord is (as far as I am aware) Doji Hotaru, to whom all of the other Crane Daimyo swear fealty. Going to the Daimyo of the Kakita family is similar to going to the Daimyo of the Shiba in that respect - Kuwanan is one of Hotaru's personal vassals and, beyond the propriety he must show to Yoshi, he is not bound to follow his commands outside of Yoshi's demesne. If he truly feels that Hotaru's actions are reprehensible then the honourable thing is to commit seppuku rather than to continue serving, not to pick the brains of one of Hotaru's other vassals. The Wedding at Castle Kyotei RPG adventure highlights this, noting that the vassals of the castle's lord were bound to follow him should he betray the Crane.

Actually, where exactly does Kuwanan fall on the rungs of Rokugani Hierarchy? Who is he supposed to answer to?

Again, the path Yoshi sets Kuwanan on is a dishonourable one, that Yoshi has suggested is the only honourable path forwards for the good of the clan (which is not something that is, ultimately, their decision to make given the bonds of duty they are both supposed to follow). It's that framing of the conversation that I especially consider skillful

1 hour ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

We have never seen Yoshi take the initiative successfully - he is always, always reacting to and back-footed by the machinations of others and his own emotional foibles which he won't even admit to himself.

That is incredibly true - I would argue that he has a genuine ability in reacting to machinations, however you are correct as at no point is he actively directing events up till now (and the only time he arguably seems to have done so, here, it's to pretty much split the Crane in half). It doesn't speak well of his ability to direct things in detail, but he can manipulate events to his own advantage. I would argue that all of the fluff demonstrates that, under normal circumstances, he is fully capable of performing his role and performing it adequately.

It's an interesting exploration of the character - does Yoshi tunnel-vision on specific problems? Does he think in terms of what is 'legitimately' allowable and ignore others, both allowing him to be blind-sided by other factors? How can he counter-act the Scorpion's personal and intimate access to the Emperor, when his position as Imperial Chancellor places him as the head of the Imperial Bureaucracy and presumably a direct vassal?

Was Kakita Ryouko the previous Advisor? Was that part of his prior (though hinted at) success? It's suggested that part of the Crane's domination of the courts is in part due to their wealth and the gifts they can bestow, does that inhibit his ability to act (or rather, has he become used to having these tools at his disposal)?

8 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I'm not entirely convinced Yoshi is correct simply because replacing her requires confidence a potential replacement is any better (Kunawan's resume including having refused to accept the results of the Emerald Magistrate's investigation which the celestial order says is legal 'fact', openly disobeyed a clear and direct order from his clan champion, abandoning the clan in the middle of a 'war' - okay, 'border dispute' - and losing the one battle we know he's been involved in - against a bunch of manky ronin, not even other clan samurai..), but at best that leaves the clan in a "none of you really deserve to be the champion" situation, it doesn't leave her in the clear. 

I think it's more that Kuwanan will (probably) listen to his advice, because that's clearly where Hotaru is going wrong. It's interesting that all the Clans are all chosing now to be the time to have their existential crises (Shoju/Kachiko, Toturi/Tsuko, Tsukune/elemental council, etc.).

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

It's interesting that all the Clans are all chosing now to be the time to have their existential crises (Shoju/Kachiko, Toturi/Tsuko, Tsukune/elemental council, etc.).

I guess:

  1. The Elemental Imbalance represents disturbance in the natural balance of things, so it's only logical it should show up as disharmony in the celestial order.
  2. Having most clans have an obvious two factions means you're not pigeonholed into a given 'side' of any empire-wide dispute (like the presumed upcoming succession crisis) by your choice of clan.
  3. It makes for a more interesting plot.
8 hours ago, Hydraxus said:

I think it's more that Kuwanan will (probably) listen to his advice, because that's clearly where Hotaru is going wrong.

What is it he's been advising Hotaru to do that she's not done, though? Other than presumably a discrete "seriously, stop making longing glances at someone else's wife". I don't think they've actually had a scene together yet.

On ‎8‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 9:05 AM, Manchu said:

It all depends on whether Yoshi’s agent learned the news from spying on Satoshi’s people or spying on Kachiko’s people. Either way, Yoshi learns about this quickly.

Rereading and comparing the stories, I'd like to underline this. The Hour of the Rat is when Yoshi is meeting Kunawan (and his informant) and simultaneously it's the timeline of the 'scorpion' half of The Last Stone Played and Satoshi's meeting with Kachiko. We don't know when in the hour the two events happen but it's not impossible Yoshi learns about the Emperor's death before the Imperial Herald and even if he doesn't it's probably minutes after. So he's definitely gotten one past the cover-up.

 

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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6 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

What is it he's been advising Hotaru to do that she's not done, though? Other than presumably a discrete "seriously, stop making longing glances at someone else's wife". I don't think they've actually had a scene together yet.

She is not reverential enough about too-good-for-this-sinful-earth Satsume.

As far as we've been shown that's it.

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1 hour ago, Daigotsu Arashi said:

Sorry for the half offtopic:

Is there any reason than Doji Hotaru is represented always fighting with a naginata and not even having a daisho?

It was more common for females to wield a Naginata as the added length of the handle aided in application of leverage to add additional weight to their blows and to compensate for the reach disadvantage they had being traditionally smaller then men.  During war time many male samurai would also wield any number of other weapons over the Katana.

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16 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

I would guess it's a callback to the original Crane Clan Champion -

 

Yeah I know the stile of newkugan, but even the false hoturi had a katana/wakizashi.

 

10 minutes ago, Schmoozies said:

It was more common for females to wield a Naginata as the added length of the handle aided in application of leverage to add additional weight to their blows and to compensate for the reach disadvantage they had being traditionally smaller then men.  During war time many male samurai would also wield any number of other weapons over the Katana.

And its the weapon of choice of many yojimbo. During war... On the battlefield, every action is honorable. Look at the swiss army crabs 😂

But the picture of the cards are showing the scion of the Doji in a duel, one doing iajutsu and the other with a pointy stick.

Probably the torii in the valley of the 2 generals is shaking hard

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