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Doji Tori

‘Black and White’ story discussion

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The final story of the inheritance cycle has been published.

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2019/9/3/black-and-white/

We finally know Shoju's reaction to this mess. Only he doesn't know about the assassination attempt against Toturi. Or that Daisetsu has the help of a shujenja and a powerful Ise zumi in his escape, and they probably won't be easy to find.

I really want to know what happens at next days court.

Edited by Doji Tori

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I love that the enormity of the moment overtakes even Kachiko, but though she's rattled enough to compare her lover to her husband, she keeps back knowledge of Daisetsu until the walk-away and successfully hides the assassination attempt against Toturi.  Shoju misses the beat there.  As soon as he realized the extent to which Kachiko's gone rogue, his immediate question wasn't 'Where's Aramoro?' He should know better.

Next day of court: Death of the Emperor is announced, Regency edict in Toturi's handwriting is read out. Miya Satoshi insists that the Emperor died of natural causes, implies that the Scorpion are trying to seize the throne.  Calls for the Emerald Champion to be present to confirm the edict, or Daisetsu to be proclaimed Heir.  Embarrassingly, the new Sesshō seems to have mislaid both the only living witness to his authority and the embodiment of Heaven he's supposed to be responsible for.

Ignition.

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1 hour ago, Doji Hyōkin said:

As soon as he realized the extent to which Kachiko's gone rogue, his immediate question wasn't 'Where's Aramoro?' He should know better.

I wholeheartedly agree with this, and I think this is going to be used against him directly as well.  "Oh really?  Toturi wrote out the Emperor's last edict, did he?  The one that names you regent?  And where is he to confirm or deny this - oh, conveniently assassinated by your brother?  I... see."  This still has my Hametsu sense tingling, even though I seem to have been wrong so far. 

 

(Also, keep praying, Dragon Clan, there's still time for us to be implicated in this.)

 

edit: Even though he doesn't think so, this sort of seems like it works in Toturi's favor, as far as his failure/banishment goes.  "Because I was bleeding on the floor after three assassins almost killed me" is a pretty good reason for "why didn't you do X to save the Emperor?"  On top of that, if we're covering up the murder and the Emperor died of natural causes, what duty did he fail in?  Do we think he's going to remain Akodo Toturi this time around?

Edited by MirumotoKatsuro

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So I read that it was the last fiction in the cycle and got sad.  Then I saw it was a Shoju fiction and my mouth hit the floor :)

I admire Shoju for sticking to his guns even though it clearly puts him the an extremely vulnerable position here.  If he can't find Daisetsu he has no plan.  If he can't find Toturi he also probably doesn't have a plan.  Hopefully he isn't relying on Kachiko for either of these things.  I respect that loyalty to his emperor, his friend and his ideals will probably be his undoing here.  That seems very Scorpion.  Either he trusts Kachiko and he's doomed to come out on the bad end of this or he doesn't trust Kachiko and he has some chance of salvaging his original plan.  Though the story is moving quickly away from this like a raging river.  I doubt anyone is gonna find Daisetsu in time for court, and I think that's a pretty safe bet. 

 

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What are the odds Toturi somehow manages to make it into court the next day to offer his seppuku, shows up just in time to break the tension, then Shoju denies him his seppuku and tasks him to instead find Daisetsu and bring him back. 

Meanwhile, Kachiko is furious that Toturi isn't dead as reported, so she gives Aramoro one last chance to fix his huge mistake and finish off Toturi before the (former?) Emerald Champion can find the missing prince/emperor.

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I think toturi will recognize aramoros voice, he will conclude the scorpion are trying to make a coup, and will marshall and army to fight back. No coup will actually happen, but to everyones eyes it will be so. In the end everything will be ruined because of miscommunication. "Tragedy is born in the silence of whats left unspoken"

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It's clear that Shoju has lost a step.   Maybe too much time poking fish?  I mean Yoshi is more aware of what's going on.  At the very least Shoju needs a better spy network.

Sadly this is coming too late. Kachiko has clearly outmanuvered him in this exchange, and he's likely going to pay the ultimate price......unless Toturi shows up the next day and Kachiko gets a nice trip to the grove (please be this)

Good news is that Junzo has Shoju's back.  I'm so ready for a proper undead Shoju this time.

I just hope FFG doesn't twist themselves into pretzels trying to make Kachiko a Thunder because she is pretty much the worst.  Her and Aramoro deserve each other.

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I'm actually sympathetic to Kachiko. If you remove the edict from the scenario, then her actions made a lot of sense: it would have massively destabilized the Empire to know that the Crown Prince, now Emperor presumptive, committed both patricide and regicide. Covering up the murder so that it appears 38 died of natural causes was the right move; this is not a society that would reward telling the truth in that situation. And since without the edict there's no grounds for bypassing Sotorii in the succession, you either ~take steps~ to make sure he doesn't wind up on the throne . . . or you make sure you have leverage over the homicidal teenager (who, let's not forget, could order your death if you don't make him feel grateful to you for your help, because he knows you know what he did).

Up until the edict appears, Kachiko made all the right decisions. The problem is that those decisions committed her irrevocably to a course of action that runs directly counter to the edict, and she didn't know that until it was too late. (Plus, it would still massively destabilize the Empire to know a Hantei son killed the Emperor, even if that son doesn't then become Emperor herself.) But now she isn't protecting the next Emperor; she's protecting a disinherited murderer. At that point there aren't any good choices: letting the edict go ahead risks exposing the truth, because the odds that Sotorii will go along with it quietly are about nil. Not to mention that an edict putting the Scorpion in charge of the younger, manipulable son right after the Emperor ~conveniently~ keels over of natural causes/gets stabbinated makes them look really, really bad. And, as Kachiko says in this story, the Empire is in a bad state right now: lifetime leverage over an Emperor you know you can manipulate is probably more effective than a year or two of regency for an Emperor who's either a lesser known quantity or disenchanted with the whole society, depending on how familiar Kachiko is with Daisetsu's attitude. But to make that work, you've got to remove Toturi from the equation, so . . .

I mean, no, her decisions are not having good effects, nor are they remotely honorable. But her reasoning is sound, and as much about preserving the Empire as it is about helping the Scorpion get ahead. And honestly, the whole thing would have played out very differently if Shoju had just shared that information with her. It was going to be public soon anyway, and it would have delighted her -- more power for the Scorpion, yay! -- so while I understand him holding it back, this is the cluster**** that results.

Which is why I'm really enjoying this setup. It's all about the unforeseen consequences of decisions that look much better in isolation than in the full context of the situation. And for everybody saying Kachiko deserves to go to the Traitors' Grove . . . she hasn't betrayed the Scorpion, and that's the main reason people get sent there. If she'd destroyed the edict, then as Shoju says, yeah, she'd be toast -- that would be the point at which she'd be showing disloyalty. But the Traitors' Grove isn't for people who make mistakes. It's for those who put themselves or someone else ahead of their clan. Which Kachiko has not done.

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No, she hasn't betrayed the Scorpion yet.  Though Shoju was pretty clear about his orders in this fiction.  We'll see what Kachiko does from here.  My guess is not overtly work against Shoju, but it's not like she told him the whole truth here either.  She left things out.  So to me that signals that she's not exactly going to help Shoju either.  She clearly believes she has the right of this situation regardless.  Maybe she does from a pragmatic sense, but it requires they ignore the dead emperor's edict.  One written while he was still alive.  At the heart of it there is a question of where ultimately the Scorpion's loyalties should align.  I think that's a great struggle for their clan.

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1 hour ago, phillos said:

No, she hasn't betrayed the Scorpion yet.  Though Shoju was pretty clear about his orders in this fiction.  We'll see what Kachiko does from here.  My guess is not overtly work against Shoju, but it's not like she told him the whole truth here either.  She left things out.  So to me that signals that she's not exactly going to help Shoju either.  She clearly believes she has the right of this situation regardless.  Maybe she does from a pragmatic sense, but it requires they ignore the dead emperor's edict.  One written while he was still alive.  At the heart of it there is a question of where ultimately the Scorpion's loyalties should align.  I think that's a great struggle for their clan.

The issue of whether the Scorpion's duty is to the Emperor or the Empire as a whole is often a struggle for the clan. 

The issue is also compounded with the complexities of the Bushido tenant of Duty and Loyalty. 

In a clan which values Duty and Loyalty above all else, what do you do when your personal Loyalties come into conflict with your Duty?

Unfortunately for the Scorpion, I think the answer is both simple and incredibly hard to execute on without grave personal sacrifice.

The answer lies in the founding statement of the Scorpion Clan: "I will be your villain, Hantei"

The statement implies loyalty to the Emperor above all else.

Regardless of the consequences, the Scorpion clan's purpose is the serve Hantei by doing the necessary dishonourable things that he cannot do. 

Ultimately, Shoju is doing what must be done even if his life is forfeit in the process.

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38 minutes ago, Vulcan646 said:

In a clan which values Duty and Loyalty above all else, what do you do when your personal Loyalties come into conflict with your Duty?

That's called "people abusing your Loyalty to them". Here note that recognizing this is a matter of Righteousness, that in turn is the Scorpion's weakness. The irony...

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3 hours ago, phillos said:

No, she hasn't betrayed the Scorpion yet...….

I'd have to say she has.  She made her ambitions very clear in the first fiction with her and Shoju.  And Shoju made it very clear that she needs to pump the brakes.  Since Shoju is the one in charge of the clan, to purposely act against him is betraying the clan. 

Kachiko, as portrayed so far, is actively looking to increase the Scorpion's power, and not for the good of the Emperor, but, for her own self-interests.  Her knowledge of the edict, and Shoju's plan is irrelevant.  She was looking for an opportunity and one fell into her lap.  She could and should have sequestered Sotoii, then consulted with Soju before proceeding with her plan, but, instead she let her ambitions take priority over the clan.

The only thing for me that humanizes her a little bit in this story is that it would appear her relationship with Hotaru is genuine, but, who really knows with Kachiko. 

I'm really hoping Shoju has some last trick up his sleeve, but, things do not look good for him.

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She does state that she would never have done what she did had she known what Shoju was planning.  Shoju can't really accuse her of being disloyal in the story because of that.  She merely acted on the information she had.  That said she's clearly pushing the line inside that wiggle room.  Also she hasn't really been secretive with Shoju on her ambition for their clan.

I don't think it's realistic for every decision to go directly through Shoju and at the time Kachiko didn't really have the luxury to wait around if she's executing a cover up at a murder scene.  How much time has passed between when she finishes cleaning the murder scene and when she talks to Shoju?  I didn't think it was that long.  she probably would have gone sooner if she didn't first have to prepare herself because of the whole edict issue. 

I believe her relationship with Hotaru is genuine.  I think we've only been shown that so far.  She doesn't appear to be taking advantage of their relationship in anyway and really the relationship only complicates both their lives so I think that says something. 

 

Edited by phillos

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So it looks like Aramoro is at least smart enough to not go around assassinating people with a giant Scorpion mon on his clothes or in Scorpion red or with a Scorpion mask on.

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3 minutes ago, phillos said:

She does state that she would never have done what she did had she known what Shoju was planning.  Shoju can't really accuse her of being disloyal in the story because of that.  She merely acted on the information she had.  That said she's clearly pushing the line inside that wiggle room, but also she hasn't really been secretive with Shoju on her ambition for their clan. 

I don't think it's realistic for every decision to go directly through Shoju and at the time Kachiko didn't really have the luxury to wait around if she's executing a cover up at a murder scene.  How much time has passed between when she finishes cleaning the murder scene and when she talks to Shoju?  I didn't think it was that long.  she probably would have gone sooner if she didn't first have to prepare herself because of the whole edict issue. 

I believe her relationship with Hotaru is genuine.  I think we've only been shown that so far.  She doesn't appear to be taking advantage of their relationship in anyway and really the relationship only complicates both their lives so I think that says something. 

 

I think this is one we'll have to agree to disagree on

Sure she states that she never would have done it...……..and we can totally take her at her word :rolleyes:

It doesn't matter if she is secretive about her ambition or not.  Shoju told her to back off and she went against his word.  She doesn't get a free pass because "that's just Kachiko being Kachiko."

No she shouldn't have to run everything by Shoju, but, something like the Emperor, Shoju's best friend, is dead via regicide...………..I think that warrants some consultation with Shoju. 

She could have covered up the murder, kept Sotorii under guard and then consult with Shoju on what to do next.  Instead she jumped right to, the option that gives her the most power and backs Shoju into a corner. 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Ishi Tonu said:

I think this is one we'll have to agree to disagree on

Sure she states that she never would have done it...……..and we can totally take her at her word :rolleyes:

It doesn't matter if she is secretive about her ambition or not.  Shoju told her to back off and she went against his word.  She doesn't get a free pass because "that's just Kachiko being Kachiko."

No she shouldn't have to run everything by Shoju, but, something like the Emperor, Shoju's best friend, is dead via regicide...………..I think that warrants some consultation with Shoju. 

She could have covered up the murder, kept Sotorii under guard and then consult with Shoju on what to do next.  Instead she jumped right to, the option that gives her the most power and backs Shoju into a corner. 

 

 

 

To be fair she sort of did that.  She cleaned up the murder scene, held the princes in their rooms (though that didn't work out so well), and then went to talk to Shoju and ask him what his orders were.  Though at the same time it totally backs Shoju into a corner.  

In my mind though it's the way they handled Toturi that is questionable.  She brings up Toturi to Shoju but doesn't go into detail on that.  I'd think that's where the real disloyalty might be found.  They tried to kill Toturi even after the edict was known, and didn't confer with Shoju first.  Though if she had told him that I'd imagine Shoju's knife hand wouldn't have been to restrained.  Also as far as Aramoro and Kachiko know the assassination was a complete success.  So why bring that up now.  Since Shoju doesn't know any of that he can hardly accuse them of anything right now.

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I'm not separating out each individual decision following the murder to give her any "sorta" wiggle room.  Because she is not sorta in it for herself.  She's all in on what benefits her the most, as demonstrated by her lack of restraint when making decisions that could have a huge impact on the entire clan.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the title of the fiction is "Black and White" and not "Shades of Gray"...…………...for one there would likely be some sort of lawsuit and more importantly, it's getting to the core of these important characters.  Shoju may be a Scorpion, but, when the rubber hits the road, he's doing his duty.  Kachiko is not in it for her clan, unless there is some greater benefit to her.

I'm not going to only look at what Shoju does or doesn't know to determine if she betrayed the clan.  I know it, as the reader and my opinion of her actions is that she has betrayed her clan. 

Heck if we are just going off of what Shoju knows he literally said she likey should have been taken to Traitor's Grove...…..but...….she's got "dat a-$-$" so she gets a pass.

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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5 minutes ago, Ishi Tonu said:

Heck if we are just going off of what Shoju knows he literally said she likey should have been taken to Traitor's Grove...…..but...….she's got "dat a-$-$" so she gets a pass.

Just to be clear--Shoju was NOT bluffing when he said he'd have had her taken to Traitor's Grove if she had destroyed the edict. And she knows that, which shows the stakes of the game she's now playing with Shoju. Suffice to say that she's probably sleeping on the couch tonight...

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2 minutes ago, DGLaderoute said:

Just to be clear--Shoju was NOT bluffing when he said he'd have had her taken to Traitor's Grove if she had destroyed the edict. And she knows that, which shows the stakes of the game she's now playing with Shoju. Suffice to say that she's probably sleeping on the couch tonight...

Oh I get that Shoju was not bluffing.  I just can't help but keep it light-hearted whenever possible.  And I kinda needed a win today, so a triumph over the profanity filter is a huge boost for me.

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