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Bloody Harvest

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And another fiction where Lion get to job for another clan to show how great they are militarily.  I realize they have given Lion some off screen love but I would really enjoy if they would let them win a meaningful fight and actually show them using some frickin' tactics aside from surprise attack MOFO.

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All is not sunshine and lollipops in the Unicorn lands, and the Lion are not always the aggressors.

 

I do agree though, it's time for the Lion to win a fight in one of these stories.  Even the attack on Kyuden Kakita happened mostly off-screen.

 

edit: I wouldn't mind seeing something like "the Crane invade Lion lands in retribution for Kyuden Kakita, with Unicorn aid, but are both crushed and must prepare for a counterattack."  Maybe give Kuwanan the choice between confronting Hotaru and staving off Matsu Tsuko.  The Right Hand of the Emperor needs a chance to show what they do, though.

Edited by MirumotoKatsuro

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13 minutes ago, UnitOmega said:

Well, they're gonna have to win some koteis then it sounds like. 

They'll get on that as soon as FFG stops tying their legs and hands behind their backs and gives them some Scorpion/Crane/Phoenix tier love

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Whelp. Komoko is really channeling her inner Matsu Tsuko here. Rage over dead loved one? Check. Hating a Lion for it? Check. Starting the killing times? Check. Failing to do the killing times themselves? Check. Rage and killing times put on a temporal hold? Check. But Komoko has a cool horse and Tsuko doesn't. But Tsuko is ascending to a whole new level of RAEG so I guess they are on an equal footing :D

So yeah, not a fan of this fic, personally. 

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2 hours ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

It's interesting how when Kamoko winds up in the same position as Agetoki was all those years ago, she makes a different choice.  Strangely, the Lion may have acted with more Compassion than the Unicorn.

I'm not so sure about that?

Kamoko appears to have lead a fairly bitter, hate-filled life, and now has come back many years later and revenged the death of her mother, killing who knows how many during that span of time.

Maybe it's compassion to allow the Lion cub to die young and not have to live that kind of life?  Rokugan kinda sucks, in case you haven't noticed.  lol

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2 hours ago, Schmoozies said:

And another fiction where Lion get to job for another clan to show how great they are militarily.  I realize they have given Lion some off screen love but I would really enjoy if they would let them win a meaningful fight and actually show them using some frickin' tactics aside from surprise attack MOFO.

Well, at least in the flashback, they triumph over the Utaku Clan Champion.  It took 5 Lions, but bagging a family Daimyo was a solid win for them.

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1 hour ago, Ishi Tonu said:

I'm not so sure about that?

Kamoko appears to have lead a fairly bitter, hate-filled life, and now has come back many years later and revenged the death of her mother, killing who knows how many during that span of time.

Maybe it's compassion to allow the Lion cub to die young and not have to live that kind of life?  Rokugan kinda sucks, in case you haven't noticed.  lol

Excellent point.  Confused react because now I'm rethinking my initial read of this story...

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Kamoko  gonna Kamoko.

Although I will add my voice to the "please stop jobbing the Lion out militarily in quite so many stories" pile.


I grasp that this story is one fight over one village, and that elsewhere, a Crane family stronghold has fallen to a Lion assault... but that stronghold is noteworthy for not exactly being a defensive powerhouse- and we didn't see it happen. Any time we see an actual fight as opposed to the Lion cannily (or just out of frustrated rage :P ) striking at a weak point, the Lion have thus far come off looking... less than stellar. The Unicorn have been smacking them around in every depiction of the conflict- not least because it seems to be only Unicorn POV characters involved- Tsuko is down in Crane lands and Toturi is in Otosan Uchi. Regardless of the bigger picture, I am reminded of some of the wars in AEG's tenure, where a conflict was depicted in everything we actually saw as a one-sided smackdown, even though word of god was that it was an even contest.

It is one thing to know that the focus of the Lion's forces is on the Crane at present, and that the Unicorn are beating up on small garrisons along a disputed border- it is another to notice that the clan renowned for its mastery of war apparently doesn't know how to handle an aggressive and mobile force that they have fought against within living memory- especially since Altansarnai's repudiation of her marriage contract put the Lion in the position of deciding which villages they would be taking for the insult.

 

With that quibble addressed, I quite enjoy our window on Kamoko's personality, her history, and the fact that she has biases against the Lion above and beyond being a proud bushi who wants to take them down a peg.

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Well, it was always hardly surprising Utaku Kamoko was advocating war with the Lion to Shinjo Altansarnai even before we saw this glimpse into her past - she's the commander of the Unicorn's military elite, and basically their equivalent of Matsu Tsuko. It's interesting to see just how much baggage between the clans she has bottled up in there, though.

 

 

It's also worth noting that in many ways the lion in the flashback behaved better than Kamoko did; Kamoko as a child, just like the lion heimin, was clearly no threat to a full-grown and armoured samurai.

But one followed the tenet of compassion by putting their opponent in the dirt, explaining to them the facts of reality and basically said "come find me again when you're grown" whilst the other - as far as we can tell - just took their opponent out when they refused to surrender. It's a comparatively very minor thing, though; the death of a heimin is hardly going to weigh that heavily on a samurai's conscience, especially when (a) they were armed - however badly - and attacking with lethal intent, and (b) she did give her three separate chances to surrender.

I would just note that the phrase 'honourable combat' is not entirely applicable (at least not for the stronger party), as the lion in the flashback realised. Much like Tsuko's "if you don't agree with me, then I will face you in honourable combat" when you know for a fact you're the best duellist in the room* actually boils down to "do what I say or I'll kill you".

Also, the lion commander did kinda screw up. If you go to the trouble of laying an ambush, wait until they start searching the village before springing it because the most important thing you can do is wait for them to get off the damned horses.....

 

And yes, this is a good showcase of how messy the lion/unicorn border is. A twelve-year-old heimin is hardly going to be that desperate to die for a cause that's completely alien to them, which suggests that village has been in lion hands at least part of her lifetime. Just shows how nasty and long-running this 'border dispute' is.

 

Finally, aside from the commander, the Unicorn are purely fighting ashigaru here, and poorly trained conscript infantry versus elite shock cavalry goes about as badly as you would expect it to go. Unfortunately it looks like Tsuko pulled off most of the bushi samurai for her little jaunt to Kyuden Kakita.

 

Also, does this mean the results of the previous 'Imperial Gifts' Kotei has been announced?

 

 

* She's a former Topaz Champion amongst other things, and that means she won an iaijutsu tournament against the best samurai of equivalent age in the empire.

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23 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

A twelve-year-old heimin is hardly going to be that desperate to die for a cause that's completely alien to them, which suggests that village has been in lion hands at least part of her lifetime.

If I get it right, she was pissed at the Unicorn because they killed her parents who were most likely conscripted into the ashigaru by the Lion. She had no specific loyalty to the Lion only hatred towards the Unicorn, and I'm fairly sure this is supposed to be a major point in the story. 

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25 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

She had no specific loyalty to the Lion only hatred towards the Unicorn,

I'm not sure. A response of "my family serves the lion" with chest puffed out feels like it wasn't just a case of hating the unicorn. Kamoko implies that at least some of the village had supported the lion taking the place initially: "We lost our hold on this village because of dissenters."

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Given how the Lion tend to treat their peasants.. The fact that one willingly went over to the Lion over the Unicorn shows that they really did not like the Utaku's rule in that case.

 

But yeah, another Lion jobber story.

Edited by ZebioLizard2

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Have to echo the annoyance about the Lion jobbing to everyone of course. That said I was not a fan of this story. We have to wait for a follow up to know if Kamoko murders a 12 year old in cold blood? Not exactly the type of epic cliffhanger we get from other stories.

Edited by Eisenmerc

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11 minutes ago, Eisenmerc said:

Have to echo the annoyance about the Lion jobbing to everyone of course. That said I was not a fan of this story. We have to wait for a follow up to know if Kamoko murders a 12 year old in cold blood? Not exactly the type of epic cliffhanger we get from other stories.

Until I see some confirmation otherwise far as I'm concerned she followed through on it.

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5 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

And yes, this is a good showcase of how messy the lion/unicorn border is. A twelve-year-old heimin is hardly going to be that desperate to die for a cause that's completely alien to them, which suggests that village has been in lion hands at least part of her lifetime. Just shows how nasty and long-running this 'border dispute' is.

She may have been the daughter of Lion samurai or ji-samurai stationed there.  Which would be telling in its own right; the Lion didn't just come to seize the village, they moved their families right in to stay.

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3 hours ago, Schmoozies said:

Until I see some confirmation otherwise far as I'm concerned she followed through on it.

Yeah I feel like the passage right before that last flashback implies it was a forgone conclusion.  They just mercifully cut away from the scene.   Maybe they'll have a part 2 and surprise me but I assumed this was a single piece about Kamoko.

What I liked about the story is it does pose a real question of when presented with the same circumstance who was more compassionate? Was it the Lion samurai in the past or Kamoko in the present? Our knee jerk reaction is to say Kamoko is the less passionate person since she's cutting down a kid, but clearly Kamoko doesn't feel that way.  From her perspective she gave the kid a choice.  The kid could walk away or she could face Kamoko in "honorable combat", which is exactly the choice Kamoko wanted to be given when she was in the same situation. 

Edited by phillos

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1 hour ago, phillos said:

From her perspective she gave the kid a choice.  

Even by Rokugani standards, children are not supposed to be taken that seriously. A child talking crap at you might be a mild annoyance but not something that should make you give them a pep talk with villainous overtones let alone pull a friggin' sword on them. So in this regard, neither the Lion samurai nor Kamoko showed much decency tho Kamoko definitely took it further. 

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It wasn't that the child was talking crap about Kamoko and she cut her down in retaliation.  It was that Kamoko was respecting the child wishes.  She told the child to walk away, but if they wanted to fight her honorably Kamoko wouldn't stop the them.  Then the kid charged Kamoko.

Add:  Should Kamoko have tried to talk the kid down?  Yeah I think we all get behind that coarse of action, but that's not the choice she made.  She instead gave the kid the choice she never had.  I do think we are shown two scenarios where the situation was handled incorrectly, but I wouldn't say Kamoko was being less compassionate than the Lion, which was implied above.  I think it's very Unicorn to figure putting the kid down now saves her the misery Kamoko felt her entire life due to that confrontation with the Lion samurai.  Is it misguided?  Probably but I don't think it's entirely out of character.  Also I don't think it's a choice every Utaku would make in that situation.

Edited by phillos

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I mean, when a child wants to pick a fight with you then you might give it a good laugh and disarm the child before they hurt themselves but then you ought to just walk away or hand the child to some adults. You should treat the child like a puppy not like an actual person. Like, geez, you are running serious samurai drama here and not a kindergarten. 

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