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Tonbo Karasu

Violence Behind Courtliness - New Fiction

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4 hours ago, Diogo Salazar said:

  So, if it's been longer than they realized (let's put it together with the whole Dragon Lands low fertility rate) which would put it for at least a century becoming worse and noticeable now, how exactly is that the Unicorn's fault? I mean, the Lion and Scorpion also share a border with the Unicorn and they had no such problem.

1. The Council is at a  loss. they have no idea. So they're flailing about for anything anyone has been doing that might throw the kami out of whack. And that meishodo stuff is blasphemous! WE SWEAR!

2. AHA! A djinn! A THING FROM THE BURNING SANDS! I KNEW the Unicorn were behind it! (Said Djinn  being behind the thing where... I'm starting to think it was Kosori who figured it out... that things had been going ona  while. And ona  path the Unicorn often traveled to visit the Shrine of the Ki-Rin.

3. Yes, even if the Phoenix are right on some level about some meishodo, they're clearly not right about it being the Unicorn as a whole. Hence the prior two points.

 

Bonus points: Kaede noted the the imbalance was spreading. What you wanna bet that Phoenix blessing of the plains doesn't go as planned?

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5 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Bonus points: Kaede noted the the imbalance was spreading. What you wanna bet that Phoenix blessing of the plains doesn't go as planned?

So first a tsunami, and now a drought or field fire?

Can the Phoenix please stop trying to help? ;)

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13 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Ehhhhhhhhh.... silent hubris is still hubris.

I can't see any kind of hubris in the current Isawa lineup. Even Tadaka has more of a brooding "I have a problem but I won't talk about it" attitude instead of thinking he is the hottest sh-t in town. 

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11 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

I can't see any kind of hubris in the current Isawa lineup. Even Tadaka has more of a brooding "I have a problem but I won't talk about it" attitude instead of thinking he is the hottest sh-t in town. 

"Only we can be trusted with this" is very much the mindset in play, and look where it got the Crane... the Phoenix tried to solve their problems without telling anyone or consulting anyone, ravaged the coastline and economy of their closest ally, and cannot even begin to come clean about it for reasons that should be abundantly clear.

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10 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

"Only we can be trusted with this" is very much the mindset in play

I'm not even getting this, either. The Phoenix does not talk about the imbalance because they admittedly(!) have no idea what's going on, so there is nothing to talk about.  

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

I'm not even getting this, either. The Phoenix does not talk about the imbalance because they admittedly(!) have no idea what's going on, so there is nothing to talk about.  

Except that it's not "admittedly"- they're pointing fingers at the Unicorn over meishodo as a Bad Thing, without copping to the imbalance in those accusations (because doing so would reveal both their present material weakness and a huge loss of face for the Rokugan's spiritual experts).

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25 minutes ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Except that it's not "admittedly"- they're pointing fingers at the Unicorn over meishodo as a Bad Thing, without copping to the imbalance in those accusations

Don't they admit it in their very first story after the spirits burn down one of their temples? Then they try to figure out what's happening, get a scent with Meishodo after (apparently) Unicorn magick shenanigans mess up Hoseki Pond Shrine. The problem seems to be not the Isawa thinking too much about themselves - as before - but them deciding to not talk about anything (for understandable reasons, no less).

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13 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Don't they admit it in their very first story after the spirits burn down one of their temples? Then they try to figure out what's happening, get a scent with Meishodo after (apparently) Unicorn magick shenanigans mess up Hoseki Pond Shrine. The problem seems to be not the Isawa thinking too much about themselves - as before - but them deciding to not talk about anything (for understandable reasons, no less).

Let's look over the ways in which the Phoenix have approached the issue, shall we?

Because they were pointing at the Unicorn long before the Djinn popped up to confirm those suspicions...

In the first account,t hey don't fess up to not knowing. Granted, it a conversation we overhear via Tadaka...

Quote

The Fire Master’s frown deepened. “It is a shame that I must dismiss him. He showed great promise.”
“It cannot be helped,” Rujo replied. “We must preserve face and prevent a panic. He is noble to have done what is necessary.”

“Even so,” murmured the Master of Fire.
“It has gotten...worse,” breathed the decrepit Master of Air. He leaned on a jade-studded cane and struggled over a few breaths while the others waited. “We cannot…keep waiting for the imbalance…to correct itself. We must…
become directly...involved.”
The Master of Water nodded. Her face was hidden behind twin waterfalls of black hair cascading from her cone-shaped hat. “Even a pebble will cause ripples. The other clans will soon have questions. Better that the Phoenix provide the answers.”

Then we see Atsuko have her Void-vision and passes it along to Kaede... whose thoughts indicate the train of Phoenix speculation on the issue.

Quote

Atsuko’s creaking voice faded from her mind, but even when the touch of the Void left Kaede, the chill in her heart did not.
It shouldn’t have surprised her—the shugenja of the Phoenix Clan had suspected for a long time that the Unicorn’s foreign sorcery was dangerous. The Emperor should never have accepted it into his Empire.


And now, it had caused ripples in reality itself, ripples that had been felt by all those with the gift to perceive the Void. Fortune must have smiled upon Atsuko, or the Ishiken might not have had the chance to pull apart the tangled knots of the future and catch a glimpse of the source of the waves.

[...]

All official Imperial business was suspended for the length of the Chrysanthemum Festival, but Kaede’s warning could not wait.
Not when the Ishiken had enacted powerful rituals to contact her across hundreds of miles in an instant.
And not when there was a chance the Unicorn would flaunt their foreign magics before the Emperor, endangering him and the innocents who had come to celebrate the day.

[...]

Kaede took a deep breath. “I received word from Starry Heaven Sanctuary today.” Ishikawa would recognize the name of the school for Void shugenja, and that whatever the message was, it could not wait. “I come bearing dire portents. Our Ishiken believe the Emperor is in danger. “A darkness threatens from the far west, across the Spine of the World. All of us have felt it, but one of our own caught a glimpse of its provenance. We believe it originates with the Unicorn and their talismanic sorcery, their so-called ‘name magic,’ meishōdō.”

[...]

“If the Unicorn use their accursed talismans today, and something happens, will the Emperor’s guards be prepared?”
Ishikawa’s eyes went wide and he immediately checked the gatehouse behind them, ensuring the safety of the Imperial family.
“The members of the Honor Guard are prepared to sacrifice everything to safeguard the Emperor’s life, and the Hidden Guard shugenja have sworn to protect the Emperor’s very soul.”

She pressed further—her words bordered on impropriety, but they had known each other for years. They could be honest with each other. If she had tried to offer her advice to the Seppun
shugenja, they would have dismissed her out of hand. She took a deep breath and asked, “Can they defend against forces they do not understand?”

[...]

“Yet, if they brought back witchcraft from the Burning Sands, then surely it is the Emperor who has the wisdom to determine whether such arts continue to serve his Empire.”

[...]

“The Phoenix will assist however they are needed, make any sacrifice,” Kaede quickly put in. The office of the Jade Champion had not been needed in centuries, and the Empire did not need them now. The Elemental Masters were the supreme authority on spiritual matters, and they would see to the law’s implementation themselves. They would ensure that there would be no cause for the Imperial ministry dedicated to rooting out heretical shugenja to be reinstated.

And later, part of Tadaka's drive to go do his thing down with the Kuni?

Quote

Tadaka moved to one knee. “You’re wrong. The Fortunes made us the wardens of the Empire’s spirit. We cannot ignore the signs. The elemental imbalance, the increased Shadowlands attacks, the shifting of the night stars…something is coming. It will come from the south. From the Pit. And whatever it is, you know the Phoenix are not prepared!”

Quote

Tadaka stood, slowly, one straightened vertebra at a time. Pain shot through his shaking leg, but he ignored it. “Soil that is too pure bares no fruit. Water that is too pure has no fish. Willing ignorance of what threatens us is not virtuous, Rujo-sama. It is the job of the Earth Master, of the entire council, to know the nature of the shadows so that they might be combated.” He was at his full height and looking down at his former teacher. His heart and mind were in perfect accord. “When you turned away, it was not virtue, but cowardice. You avoided the shadows because you feared you would succumb to the call. It was because you were afraid.” He held his arms to his sides, like unfurled wings. “I trust in the Fortunes. I trust in the kami. I have nothing to fear. And I will not fail.”

 

Quiet hubris is still hubris.

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I find it interesting how the Elemental Council are convinced it's the Unicorn who are the source of the problem, and Tadaka insists that it's Shadowlands-related - did the other Councilors not fill him in on their theories, and if they did, why is Tadaka so convinced it's 'Leng and the Gang who're at fault instead?

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8 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Quiet hubris is still hubris.

Again, I'm not seeing any hubris there. Everyone in your quotes have a fair point, even Tadaka, and they do admit that they are not at the height of the situation. But they are trying their best, this seems to be the Phoenix's thing now. 

45 minutes ago, Mangod said:

I find it interesting how the Elemental Council are convinced it's the Unicorn who are the source of the problem, and Tadaka insists that it's Shadowlands-related - did the other Councilors not fill him in on their theories, and if they did, why is Tadaka so convinced it's 'Leng and the Gang who're at fault instead?

Yeah, in my opinion, this is what's happening in the Isawa: nobody is taking about the problems, they just try to figure it out on their own. And it does not show only in their handling of the spiritual imbalance, but with mundane things too like the Kaede/Toturi relationship hurdles. 

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13 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Again, I'm not seeing any hubris there.

 
Quote

 

hu·bris
/ˈ(h)yo͞obrəs/
noun
noun: hubris
  1. excessive pride or self-confidence.

 

You don't see any of that in there? Seriously?
 

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3 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:
You don't see any of that in there? Seriously?

No? What was excessive? The Elemental Council is fairly reasonable, the whole deal with Meishodo appears to be well-founded, and Tadaka's attitude is the result of this "we ain't talking about this" problem. In fact, if certain other parties had showed just half the restrain the Isawa did then most of the conflict in the story would have been non-existent. 

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29 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

No? What was excessive? The Elemental Council is fairly reasonable, the whole deal with Meishodo appears to be well-founded, and Tadaka's attitude is the result of this "we ain't talking about this" problem. In fact, if certain other parties had showed just half the restrain the Isawa did then most of the conflict in the story would have been non-existent. 

Jigoku, if by parties, you mean Sotorii and that he had showed 1% of the Phoenix restraint then THE ONLY conflicts would be the Lion-Crane war (that was already ongoing) and the Crab-Shadowlands war (that has been happening for centuries).

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Diogo Salazar said:

the Lion-Crane war

Only if Arasou and/or Tsuko had more restraint...

4 hours ago, Diogo Salazar said:

the Crab-Shadowlands war

Only if Fu Leng had more restraint...

:D

Edited by AtoMaki

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6 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

No?

...

6 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

What was excessive?

All right, assuming this makes sense in the land of black tigers with orange stripes:

1. The Council, in seeking to avoid a panic, is keeping a lid on things. They also indicate that they've been sitting around with their fingers in their ears going "la la la la la" and hoping it would somehow fix itself (because, as we later learn in the novella, the former Master of Water tried to solve the problem unilaterally and tsunamied the Crane. Whoops.)

2. About that... embarking upon whatever ritual was attempted by the former Master of Water does not seem to have been a desperation move, as the Council still talks about these things dispassionately- despite the fact that their allies suffered the carnage for unilateral Phoenix action. Therefore, it was attempted in the confidence that it would work.

3. Look at the absolute certainty Kaede uses in expressing her views on Meishodo. Bear in mind, Kaede is intended to be a sympathetic character- and she is not merely disgusted by Meishodo, her thought bubbles actually contain:

19 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

It shouldn’t have surprised her—the shugenja of the Phoenix Clan had suspected for a long time that the Unicorn’s foreign sorcery was dangerous. The Emperor should never have accepted it into his Empire.

"We knew better than the Emperor and the advisers he ultimately listened to at the time, even though centuries have passed without the ponies opening a new Festering Pit."

4.

19 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

The office of the Jade Champion had not been needed in centuries, and the Empire did not need them now. The Elemental Masters were the supreme authority on spiritual matters, and they would see to the law’s implementation themselves. They would ensure that there would be no cause for the Imperial ministry dedicated to rooting out heretical shugenja to be reinstated.

The other clans never object to the existence of the office of Emerald Champion- they just try to make sure they control it. The Phoenix response to the office of Jade Champion?

"We don't need Imperial oversight in this, nor a sign that the Throne considers these matters important enough to have a high-ranking Imperial office dedicated to it, we've got it, and no other clan should even begin to have a crack at assisting with these issues."

5.

20 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

“I trust in the Fortunes. I trust in the kami. I have nothing to fear. And I will not fail.”

"I have nothing to fear," says the guy who, by his own admission, needs more data to understand the nature of the threat he sees coming.

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On 5/2/2020 at 12:21 AM, AtoMaki said:

I'm not even getting this, either. The Phoenix does not talk about the imbalance because they admittedly(!) have no idea what's going on, so there is nothing to talk about.  

 

This is not exactly good reasoning. "We know there's a problem, and we can't figure it out, but there's no point in telling anybody else about it until we've figured it out" = either "we are afraid to show weakness" or "if we haven't solved it, then clearly nobody else will be able to." Probably both at once. And the latter is, uh, textbook arrogance.

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16 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

They also indicate that they've been sitting around with their fingers in their ears going "la la la la la" and hoping it would somehow fix itself

Well, yes, I think this is pretty much what's happening in the Isawa now, but for me it looks like they do this because they are unironically shot about what's happening, and they don't want to blow the joint when they are just starting to dig into the problem. And they actually start working on it, for better or worse. 

4 hours ago, Kinzen said:

This is not exactly good reasoning. "We know there's a problem, and we can't figure it out, but there's no point in telling anybody else about it until we've figured it out" = either "we are afraid to show weakness" or "if we haven't solved it, then clearly nobody else will be able to." Probably both at once. And the latter is, uh, textbook arrogance.

OR it can be the Toturi Thinking aka "Telling this to anybody would only make the situation worse - we gotta keep this in the house until we have an idea of what's going on." 

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5 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

OR it can be the Toturi Thinking aka "Telling this to anybody would only make the situation worse - we gotta keep this in the house until we have an idea of what's going on." 

 

That's not the reasoning you cited before, though, which is what I was responding to initially -- your first suggestion was essentially "there is nothing to talk about until we have a solution, because an unsolved problem is not worth talking about." As for this suggestion, what grounds do they have for thinking that telling people about this specific problem will make it worse? I think that's valid logic in some situations, but I don't see a lot of support for it here.

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2 minutes ago, Kinzen said:

 

That's not the reasoning you cited before, though, which is what I was responding to initially -- your first suggestion was essentially "there is nothing to talk about until we have a solution, because an unsolved problem is not worth talking about." 

I was thinking more along the line of "there is nothing to talk about that helps." Like, what can the other clans contribute if the information is revealed? The Asahina is maybe the only non-specialized shugenja family, everyone else is invested in some gimmicky stuff and thus they are of limited usefulness. I think it is reasonable that the Isawa don't want to blow the bomb just so that maybe someone can figure out something. 

Like, there was this guy who did decide to go loud, build a pile of corpses, and make the Crane pay for it. We all know how that one ended, so the Isawa deciding to not fall for a (maybe false maybe not) glimmer of chance is admirable I think. 

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47 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

I was thinking more along the line of "there is nothing to talk about that helps." Like, what can the other clans contribute if the information is revealed? The Asahina is maybe the only non-specialized shugenja family, everyone else is invested in some gimmicky stuff and thus they are of limited usefulness. I think it is reasonable that the Isawa don't want to blow the bomb just so that maybe someone can figure out something. 

Like, there was this guy who did decide to go loud, build a pile of corpses, and make the Crane pay for it. We all know how that one ended, so the Isawa deciding to not fall for a (maybe false maybe not) glimmer of chance is admirable I think. 

Everyone else isn't the Isawa, thus they'd be of limited help with a problem that the Isawa don't understand? How is that not the pinnacle of arrogance?

"Well, I don't understand how this works, so obviously you couldn't be of any help, because you're not a Phoenix."

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16 hours ago, Mangod said:

Everyone else isn't the Isawa, thus they'd be of limited help with a problem that the Isawa don't understand? How is that not the pinnacle of arrogance?

That's pretty much the standard line of thinking in Rokugan. The Crab does not ask for Lion troops, the Crane does not ask for Scorpion clout, the Scorpion does not ask for Dragon insight (well, they did once, but it did not work out too well), everyone is trying to do their own thing on their own, because, to quote a classic, that's how the world is ought to work. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

That's pretty much the standard line of thinking in Rokugan. The Crab does not ask for Lion troops, the Crane does not ask for Scorpion clout, the Scorpion does not ask for Dragon insight (well, they did once, but it did not work out too well), everyone is trying to do their own thing on their own, because, to quote a classic, that's how the world is ought to work. 

Um....the Crane are fine with asking for help, it looks like.  Especially with Existential crises for the entirety of Rokugan. If the elemental imbalance only impacted the Phoenix, I could totally understand.  Pride is certainly a thing, and revealing a weakness you are experiencing internally can make you a target of other clans.  But this problem doesn't.  The Crane, at the very least, have a right to know what is happening.  Even if the Phoenix want to lie and say that the Elemental Imbalance alone caused the Tsunami, the Crane have a right to know that much. Given the culture, it is very likely that the Crane are still wondering what they did to piss off the Fortune of the Sea so.  It may be part of the reason for their loss of clout in the courts...they believe, on some level, that they have done something wrong to bring the wrath of the kami down upon them so.

 

Edited by KakitaKaori

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