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Your name is Bayushi Kimiko and though you were born to serve, you know you are destined for greatness.

You are a samurai of the Bayushi family, and of the Scorpion Clan. One of the seven Great Clans of Rokugan, their purpose is to sacrifice their honour in the name of duty – only through under-handed deeds can the stability of the Emerald Empire be assured. As a warrior of this clan, manipulation and ruthlessness are the weapons that you shall wield against the Emperor's enemies. You currently serve as a deputy to the Chief Magistrate of Beiden, and it is your duty to keep the peace and enforce the Emperor's law in this town.

>Welcome to a quest based off of the Legend of the Five Rings setting, a fantastical world bursting with conflict, intrigue and plenty of samurai drama. Previous experience or knowledge of the L5R setting is not important, as I plan on providing exposition as we go along. The player character is almost as inexperienced in this world as you are.

>In this quest, I use a simplified set of rules based loosely off of the 5th edition of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. I will post the rules when they become relevant, but if you want to read them in advance, this link contains them as well as the character sheet for Bayushi Kimiko. This is not mandatory reading whatsoever:
https://pastebin.com/e081u6Ad
>And though there are only a couple of threads so far, here's the archive:
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Pursuit%20of%20Greatness

>With that, I hope you'll enjoy the quest.
>>
It has been over a year since you passed your gempuku.

A few weeks after the end of your investigation into Yogo Naofumi, the magistrates returned to Beiden. They brought with them all of the taxes that had been collected from the province, cartloads of rice bushels that were to be counted and distributed as the daimyō saw fit. Along with all of the other deputies that serve the Chief Magistrate, you returned to your typical duty of patrolling the city's streets and keeping the peace.

As the days grew shorter and colder, the bustle that had defined Beiden during the summer died down. Those who travelled through the city were no longer interested in peddling their wares, they simply wished to return their homes before winter arrived, to cover all of Rokugan in a blanket of snow and ice. Arguments between merchants grew less frequent, though there were always cases of theft for you to concern yourself with. The only difference was that desperation drove them rather than opportunism, a desire to survive the most harrowing time of year rather than the chance to claim the wealth of others.

It is the last week of the month of Hida. It is only a matter of days before winter is officially underway, but the seasons rarely obey the labels that man forces on them. Snow has already begun to fall, covering the land in a few inches of frosty powder. Earlier this month Yogo Kanzaburo, the governor and daimyō of Beiden, departed with his entourage of courtiers and advisors to attend this year's Winter Court, at the faraway palace of Kyūden Asako. You can only hope that he is able to make it before the worsening weather makes Rokugan's countryside impassable.

Putting these thoughts to the back of your mind, you focus on preparing yourself for the day ahead. You clean yourself as thoroughly as you are able and put just as much effort into polishing your daishō, donning your clothes only once you can see your reflection in the surface of your swords. The loose robe that covers your torso is the same crimson as the flowing, almost skirt-like trousers that they are tucked into, which in turn are tied around your waist by a black sash. A kosode and hakama, typical clothes for a samurai. Finishing the outfit is a thick winter coat that is as dark as your sash, the symbol of the Scorpion Clan emblazoned on its back in bloody red. Binding back your hair in a practical fashion, you don the blackened wood of your mask and rise to your feet. All that is left for you to do is to ensure that your daishō is secure at your side and that your jitte is tucked in your sash – the symbol of your authority as a magistrate's deputy. With your final preparations complete, you depart from your quarters to meet the Chief Magistrate and attend this morning's briefing.
>>
You arrive at the meeting hall of the magistrate's station before most of your fellow deputies, but the Chief Magistrate is already there. Resting on a cushion, Yogo Orinosuke wears his usual suit of lacquered armour, glistening and black like the carapace of a beetle, much like the menpō that covers the lower half of his face. As always, his dark hair tied back in a stringent topknot which combines with his pale skin to give him a regal, albeit severe bearing. This time however, he isn't alone. Sitting at his side is another samurai wrapped in a brilliant crimson kimono, with flowing black hair that descends to his waist and a gleaming red menpō adorning his face. Its nose is almost comically long, reminiscent of the beak of a tengu.

You recognise the man as Yogo Sadayoshi, one of the daimyō's representatives. You thought that someone like him would have accompanied Kanzaburo to the Winter Court, but apparently not. Rather than question his presence however, you take your seat and wait for your colleagues to arrive. One by one, the other deputies filter into the chamber and take their seats. Once all of you are assembled, Orinosuke begins his briefing as he usually does, informing you of any events that occurred during the night and assigning a particular district of the city to each of you. Before long, he dismisses the lot of you so that you might undertake your duty for the day.

“... Except for you, Bayushi Kimiko. There is a matter that I wish to discuss with you.”

When the Chief Magistrate says those words, you earn a few sidelong glares from the other yoriki. By now, they have come to realise that you are Orinosuke's favoured deputy and they despise you for this. More than once, you have heard them murmuring spiteful comments to each other about you. Let them. You are meant for greatness, they are destined to wallow in their own mediocrity. While they depart, you rise to your feet to bow before the Chief Magistrate and his companion.

“Allow me to introduce you to Yogo Sadayoshi,” Orinosuke says. After all, you haven't officially met the man. “He has been elevated to the position of acting seneschal of Yogo Kanzaburo's estate, in the absence of our daimyō's steward.”

“Congratulations, Yogo-sama.” You offer another bow, humble and respectful – without being too subservient. You refuse to surrender your dignity. “I am certain that you will serve our governor well in your new position.”

“While I thank you for the kind words Bayushi-san, I am afraid that I will only occupy this post until the true seneschal returns with our daimyō from this year's Winter Court.” Is that a hint of bitterness that you hear in Sadayoshi's voice? It seems like you aren't the only one with ambitions. “However, we are not here to discuss my temporary assignment. Let us speak of you instead, Bayushi-san.”
>>
“What is there to speak of?”

“We have spoken before about your importance to the clan,” the Chief Magistrate begins. “According to the missive that we received at the end of last year, you have been trained to excel in both courtly and martial matters, and were intended to serve in the halls of Kyūden Bayushi – the Palace of Silk and Shadow, the seat of our clan. Tell me Bayushi-san, do you believe that you would serve the Scorpion best in a court, rather than as a yoriki?”

>Yes. Though you have learned and experienced a great deal throughout the last year, you don't belong on the streets, handling the petty issues of commoners. You should be among the other schemers of the Scorpion, shifting the empire's politics in your clan's favour.
>No. Eventually you rise to become a magistrate, if not the Chief Magistrate of this province. You will have authority over not just the common rabble, but over other samurai. Your destiny is to bring justice to anyone who would defy the Emperor and the Scorpion.
>It doesn't matter what you believe, your duty to the Chief Magistrate will always come first. A horribly sycophantic answer. Will you really debase yourself like this? (By choosing this option, you will increase your strife to 3 / 8 for going against your Delusions of Grandeur, but you will gain a void point.)
>>
>No. Eventually you rise to become a magistrate, if not the Chief Magistrate of this province. You will have authority over not just the common rabble, but over other samurai. Your destiny is to bring justice to anyone who would defy the Emperor and the Scorpion.

With ours skills and points we could go to court but as a cop we can end investigation faster

But

>Yes. Though you have learned and experienced a great deal throughout the last year, you don't belong on the streets, handling the petty issues of commoners. You should be among the other schemers of the Scorpion, shifting the empire's politics in your clan's favour.

Those skills in ours social command and courtesy may help us in the courts , I cool with both but I like being a cop.
>>
>>4112899
>Yes. Though you have learned and experienced a great deal throughout the last year, you don't belong on the streets, handling the petty issues of commoners. You should be among the other schemers of the Scorpion, shifting the empire's politics in your clan's favour.

i am cool with either but i lean towards this one more
>>
>>4112899
>no
I like being a cop its fun
>>
Also i wouldnt want to go to court if we cant bring Atushi
>>
>>4112899
>>Yes. Though you have learned and experienced a great deal throughout the last year, you don't belong on the streets, handling the petty issues of commoners. You should be among the other schemers of the Scorpion, shifting the empire's politics in your clan's favour.
>>
>>4112899
>Yes. Though you have learned and experienced a great deal throughout the last year, you don't belong on the streets, handling the petty issues of commoners. You should be among the other schemers of the Scorpion, shifting the empire's politics in your clan's favour.
As some other anons have said, being a magistrate would be great but don't think Kimiko wants to purely follow in Orinosuke's footsteps her entire career.
>>
>>4112899
>No. Eventually you rise to become a magistrate, if not the Chief Magistrate of this province. You will have authority over not just the common rabble, but over other samurai. Your destiny is to bring justice to anyone who would defy the Emperor and the Scorpion.
>>
>>4112899


>Yes. Though you have learned and experienced a great deal throughout the last year, you don't belong on the streets, handling the petty issues of commoners. You should be among the other schemers of the Scorpion, shifting the empire's politics in your clan's favour.

Orinosuke is a sadistic fuck who can eat shit.
>>
“Yes, Yogo-sama,” you admit. “I am best suited for courtly intrigue, it is what I was raised and trained for. If I am ever offered the opportunity to serve the Scorpion in that capacity, I will gladly take it.” You refrain from mentioning your desire for the prestige and status that comes with a position in a lord's court. It's best if you don't make your ambitions that obvious.

Nonetheless, your words cause Orinosuke's brow to furrow and Sadayoshi to give him a sidelong glance. It almost seems as though the seneschal was amused by your words, perhaps even a little smug – but he doesn't dare voice it. “I suppose that sincerity is a virtue,” your superior mutters. “Very well, Bayushi-san. You'll get the opportunity that you wish for – then we shall see just how well suited for court you really are.” He shoots the steward a sharp look. “Well, what are you waiting for? Get on with it.”

Sadayoshi flinches, bowing his head at the Chief Magistrate's brusque command. “Of course, Yogo-sama. Only a few days ago, a courier from Shiro Matsu arrived. She carried a missive from the daimyō of the Matsu family of the Lion Clan. They will send a delegation to our governor's estate at winter's end with the intention of fostering cooperation between our clans. Of course, this is just a polite way of saying that they wish to negotiate a trade agreement – their thirst for our clan's opium knows no end.”

“Their fields are fertile, are they not? In exchange for the opium that they desire, the Scorpion could demand a sizeable share of the Lion's crops.”

“Of course, Bayushi-san. Unfortunately, it will not be so simple.” Sadayoshi takes in a quivering breath before he elaborates. “First of all, this delegation shall arrive long before our daimyō is able to return from Kyūden Asako. He will not be present for any negotiations, along with his most experienced advisors and courtiers. Second of all, this recent snowfall means that the courier cannot return to Shiro Matsu before winter's end – by now, I have no doubt that Beiden Pass has become impassable. As a result, I cannot reschedule this delegation's visit.”

“I suppose that it would be uncouth of the Scorpion to turn these delegates away without any prior warning,” you remark. The seneschal nods.

“More than uncouth,” he says. “It would be offensive and I have no doubt that the Lion would be glad to take it as an insult, a stain on their honour that would need to be repaid. It takes very little to goad the Lion into warfare but whenever they wage war on our clan, this city always suffers. It serves as the first line of defence and although it has sturdy walls, they cannot stand up to the might of Akodo's clan.”

You can't help but recall the story that Atsushi told you long ago, about the Lion commander who ordered his soldiers to raze a village, just so that a rival clan could not reclaim it. The thought of Beiden suffering that fate makes you uneasy.
>>
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“The third and final issue is that as the acting seneschal, I have authority over Yogo Kanzaburo's estate in his absence.” The steward's eyes shift uncomfortably and he pauses, considering his words carefully before he speaks. “While I am able to negotiate a trade agreement on his behalf, it would be unwise for me to do so. I lack the collective knowledge and expertise of our governor's advisors and if he returns to find that I have agreed to an ill-advised deal... Well, my life might very well be forfeit.”

“I must admit,” Orinosuke says once the seneschal is done, “the Lion can be quite cunning at times. They clearly planned for this, and seek to force Sadayoshi to choose between insulting them and acquiescing to their demands. Tell me, Bayushi-san – what do you know of the Lion Clan?”

“I know that they were founded by Akodo and serve as the Right Hand of the Emperor,” you say, reciting what most samurai know about the Lion. “They act the Emperor's might, the enforcers of his will, should he call upon them. Above all else, they are known for their unyielding devotion to Bushidō, warfare and the spirits of their ancestors.”

“Is that all, Bayushi-san?” Orinosuke scoffs. Your earlier remark seems to have left him in quite a surly mood. “There is no need to speak so politely of them here. They are bloodthirsty, eager to seize glory and honour in battle whenever they can. The Lion wages war almost indiscriminately. They charge at the Unicorn and the Crane at every opportunity and accept any excuse to assault our borderlands as well.”

“And of all the families of the Lion,” Sadayoshi says, “none of them are quite as aggressive as the Matsu. Though they are matriarchal, they are easily the most populous family in Rokugan. They are almost as numerous as our entire clan, and some even say that they go to war for the sake of keeping their population from spiralling out of control. There are many tales that revere the Matsu for their strength, courage and tenacity, but there are just as many whispers about their impatience, savagery and ruthlessness.”

“Perhaps what I should have asked another question instead, Bayushi-san. How do you view the Lion Clan?”

>As you haven't had any dealings with a samurai of the Lion Clan so far, you can't say. You will have an answer for Orinosuke once you've encountered one for yourself.
>They have their place in Rokugan. Their aggression keeps other clans in check and prevents them from acquiring too much of an advantage. They serve a valuable purpose.
>You can't help but admire the ruthlessness and ferocity of the Lion. Perhaps the Scorpion Clan could learn a few things from them when it comes to waging war.
>After everything you've heard about how barbaric and sadistic they are, you have no love for the Lion whatsoever. Rokugan would be better off without their savagery.
>>
>>4113228
>As you haven't had any dealings with a samurai of the Lion Clan so far, you can't say. You will have an answer for Orinosuke once you've encountered one for yourself.
Say we prefer to judge them for ourselves rather than based on hearsay and rumours
>>
>>4113228
>>As you haven't had any dealings with a samurai of the Lion Clan so far, you can't say. You will have an answer for Orinosuke once you've encountered one for yourself.
>I know their reputation and will be mindful of it, but that is all. Whichever Lion engineered this not only did so masterfully, but did so with no prior warning on our part. They will have an agent with them to make sure things go their way, and I doubt it'll be as blunt as the Matsu's reputation says they are.
>>
>>4113228
>You can't help but admire the ruthlessness and ferocity of the Lion. Perhaps the Scorpion Clan could learn a few things from them when it comes to waging war.
>>
>>4113228
>As you haven't had any dealings with a samurai of the Lion Clan so far, you can't say. You will have an answer for Orinosuke once you've encountered one for yourself.
>>
>>4113228
>As you haven't had any dealings with a samurai of the Lion Clan so far, you can't say. You will have an answer for Orinosuke once you've encountered one for yourself.
>After everything you've heard about how barbaric and sadistic they are, you have no love for the Lion whatsoever. Rokugan would be better off without their savagery.

Something in between these two, I think -- expressing that while it is not a final judgement, from what Kimiko has heard (as it would be best not to express, from Atsushi) her opinion is not positive.
>>
>>4113413
This
>>
“I have been made well aware of the Lion's faults and I shall be mindful of them,” you begin. “However, I shall only judge the Lion after I have encountered one of their number for myself. What is most important is the fact that so far, we have been out-played by the Matsu. Whoever engineered this not only did so masterfully, but did so with no prior warning on our part. They will have an agent with them to make sure things go their way, and I doubt it will be as blunt as the Matsu's reputation says they are.”

After your first remark, Orinosuke was about to respond in a scornful fashion. You have no doubt that he was not particularly impressed by your neutrality and caution on the subjective – as always, he favours decisive action rather than thoughtful deliberation. By the time that you are finished however, his reaction seems to have changed. Your words might have even impressed him.

“Well said,” he says at last. “Though I believe that you shall get an opportunity to meet some of the Lion's number for yourself. For you see, the seneschal and I have agreed that you should assist him in handling the Lion delegation. For the duration of their stay, you will be relieved of your usual duties – not that you will have much to do during winter in any case.”

“You must understand that these are exception circumstances,” Sadayoshi says. “Yogo Kanzaburo's entourage has accompanied him on his journey to the Winter Court. This leaves his estate almost empty, with nearly no one skilled in courtly matters left behind. There's the gunsō who manages the estate's garrison, the priest who only has authority over religious affairs and the agent that our governor left behind to oversee my performance as steward, Yogo Yukari.”

Yukari.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 1 / 8.

You considered her your best friend at one point, when you were training at the Seven Stings Dōjō. She admired your drive and your talent. Eventually her ambition transformed into a jealousy so great that she poisoned you. Unfortunately, you survived and were able to point the finger at her, an event which led to her being expelled from the dōjō. That wasn't the end of her meddling however. Now serving the Scorpion Clan as a shinobi under the guise of an actress, Yukari has already tried to accuse you of corruption, to turn the magistrate that you served against you. Her efforts might have failed but ever since, you have been waiting for the wretched traitor to rear her ugly head again.
>>
“I am afraid that Kimiko has previously met Yukari,” Orinosuke says. You're not surprised that he is aware of your history with the she-wolf. “Her experiences with the actress were not positive. Still, I pray that you will be able to put your differences behind you and cooperate for the sake of the clan, Bayushi-san.”

>Cooperate, with the vile creature you tried to poison you out of envy? He must be joking. You refuse the breath the same air as her. If you're going to assist Sadayoshi with these guests from the Lion Clan, then you will not tolerate Yukari's presence. She would try to ruin everything out of spite for you.
>Oh, you have been looking forward to the chance to meet her, face to face, with no false identity for her to hide behind or shadows for her to lurk in. You are going to relish this opportunity to let her know that next to you, she will always be nothing, no matter how harder she tries to drag you down to her level.
>Try to assure the Chief Magistrate and the acting seneschal that your history with Yukari won't interfere with this task. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes, due to your feud with your Sworn Enemy. If you fail, you will gain a void point.)

Strife Rules

>You suffer points of strife whenever you fail a roll, whenever you act in a way that goes against your delusions of grandeur, and whenever you arrive at a dramatic and stressful point in the story. You also regularly gain strife during the heat of combat, unless you adopt the Void stance.
>Should your strife meet or exceed its maximum capacity, which is currently 8, your ability to succeed will be greatly impaired. Only your rolls of 6 will contribute to a roll's success.
>However, you can reduce your strife back down to 0 by surrendering to your emotions, something known as Unmasking. By bursting into tears or giving into your rage, you are able to rid yourself of your strife at the cost of damaging your reputation or escalating a situation.
>You have other methods of reducing your strife as well. You get to subtract a point whenever you engage in your love of Wordplay and whenever you arrive at a positive and uplifting point in the story.
>>
>>4113750
>>Oh, you have been looking forward to the chance to meet her, face to face, with no false identity for her to hide behind or shadows for her to lurk in. You are going to relish this opportunity to let her know that next to you, she will always be nothing, no matter how harder she tries to drag you down to her level.
kimiko's inner voice like I'M COMING FOR YOU BITCH
>>
>>4113750
>Given Yukari believes my destruction is necessary for the good of the clan. I fear that may be difficult. With that concern aired though, I will not start anything that may harm the clan. Duty comes first. (But if she starts it we will finish it)
>>
>>4113750
>Oh, you have been looking forward to the chance to meet her, face to face, with no false identity for her to hide behind or shadows for her to lurk in. You are going to relish this opportunity to let her know that next to you, she will always be nothing, no matter how harder she tries to drag you down to her level.
Buddy Cop NOW!
>>
>>4113750
>>Oh, you have been looking forward to the chance to meet her, face to face, with no false identity for her to hide behind or shadows for her to lurk in. You are going to relish this opportunity to let her know that next to you, she will always be nothing, no matter how harder she tries to drag you down to her level.
>>
>>4113750
>>Oh, you have been looking forward to the chance to meet her, face to face, with no false identity for her to hide behind or shadows for her to lurk in. You are going to relish this opportunity to let her know that next to you, she will always be nothing, no matter how harder she tries to drag you down to her level.
>>
>>4113750
>Try to assure the Chief Magistrate and the acting seneschal that your history with Yukari won't interfere with this task. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes, due to your feud with your Sworn Enemy. If you fail, you will gain a void point.)
>>
“Certainly, Yogo-sama.” You can't resist a small and mirthless smile. “I have eagerly anticipated my next encounter with Yukari for some time. There is much that I wish to discuss with her.” With a small chance that you might talk with your blade rather than your mouth, of course. This lust for retribution is blatant and earns you a shake of Orinosuke's head.

“That is what I feared. Clearly I cannot trust you to work with Yogo Yukari without quarrelling with the woman. Thankfully, I have devised a solution for this.” The Chief Magistrate steeples his fingers. “You will be accompanied by another one of my yoriki – Shosuro Kinnosuke, perhaps. His purpose shall be to observe you and ensure that you behave in a dignified manner. Should you waste any of your energy on your petty rivalry with the actress, I will find out and I will not be pleased.”

“Petty? She poisoned me, Yogo-sama.” You can barely stop yourself from raising your voice and sounding indignant. “She almost killed me and never faced any punishment for her crime. Besides, none of the other deputies have been trained in courtly matters like I have. Surely they would only hinder me.” The way that your superior dismisses how you suffered at Yukari's hands leaves you incensed.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 2 / 8.

“It does not matter what she did. Your duty comes first, no matter what. I would not even care if you had a blood feud with the woman, you will not endanger the Scorpion Clan over your hatred for her.” Orinosuke remains adamant and unyielding, his tone severe. Sadayoshi sits quietly, almost meekly while he listens to the Chief Magistrate. “As for Kinnosuke, he will officially serve as your yōjimbō, your bodyguard. He will not be required to say anything, nor will he answer to you. He will have no purpose other than to keep you obedient and in line.”

“What about the tasks that he normally performs, such as his patrol? You will be losing not just one but two of your yoriki, Yogo-sama.”

“His dōshin shall take care of that, just as Atsushi will take care of your duty in your absence. Winter is not a particularly busy time for a magistrate – I will be able to afford your absence. Do you have any other excuses to make, or do you accept my judgement?”
>>
How frustrating. It seems like you will have tolerate the presence of a yōjimbō, someone who will be officially serve as your bodyguard. Unofficially, they will serve as your overseer, constantly monitoring your behaviour on the behalf of the Chief Magistrate. However, you might be able to convince Orinosuke to assign someone other than Kinnosuke as your yōjimbō instead.

>Very well. You will have to work with Shosuro Kinnosuke. He is an aloof and snide fellow, who uses any opportunity he can get to mock others. You will need to become accustomed to his derision.
>You would rather work with Yogo Tomiichi. This round-faced yoriki has a habit of subjecting others to scathing criticism, even when it might be seen as rude. He's quite a loudmouth.
>Why not Yogo Hosuzu? She's a rather bitter and sulky deputy, known for her habit of quietly seething in the background. You can't think of a single person that she doesn't resent for one reason or another.
>There's always Bayushi Nariakira instead. This yoriki is a reputed lecher, known for enjoying the company of courtesans. Hopefully the presence of other women in the court will distract him from leering at you.
>Atsushi. The rōnin is known for his honourable tendencies, he will be able to keep you in line. Of course, he's not really suited for court, but that's something that you might be able to fix... You just need to convince Orinosuke that it's a good idea. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4114210
>>Very well. You will have to work with Shosuro Kinnosuke. He is an aloof and snide fellow, who uses any opportunity he can get to mock others. You will need to become accustomed to his derision.
>>
>>4114210
>>Very well. You will have to work with Shosuro Kinnosuke. He is an aloof and snide fellow, who uses any opportunity he can get to mock others. You will need to become accustomed to his derision.
>>
>>4114210
>Very well. You will have to work with Shosuro Kinnosuke. He is an aloof and snide fellow, who uses any opportunity he can get to mock others. You will need to become accustomed to his derision.
>>
>>4114210
>Very well. You will have to work with Shosuro Kinnosuke. He is an aloof and snide fellow, who uses any opportunity he can get to mock others. You will need to become accustomed to his derision.
>>
>>4114210
>Atsushi, comin guys lets not leave him behind
>>
>>4114209
>Very well. You will have to work with Shosuro Kinnosuke. He is an aloof and snide fellow, who uses any opportunity he can get to mock others. You will need to become accustomed to his derision
>>
>>4114210
>Why not Yogo Hosuzu? She's a rather bitter and sulky deputy, known for her habit of quietly seething in the background. You can't think of a single person that she doesn't resent for one reason or another.
>>
>>4114210
>>Atsushi. The rōnin is known for his honourable tendencies, he will be able to keep you in line. Of course, he's not really suited for court, but that's something that you might be able to fix... You just need to convince Orinosuke that it's a good idea. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
“Very well. I accept your judgement, Yogo-sama. If you wish for Shosuro Kinnosuke to accompany me as a yōjimbō, then I shall do what I can to educate him regarding courtly matters. At the very least, I must prevent him from causing an upset.”

“I am certain that the two of you will be able to moderate each other,” the Chief Magistrate remarks. “In any case, it is the end of autumn and these guests of yours are due to arrive at the end of spring. You have more than enough time to mould Kinnosuke into an adequate courtier.”

“Though you shall need to prepare yourself as well,” Sadayoshi remarks, finally speaking up after a lengthy period of silence. “Though your mask is elegant in its simplicity and I have no doubt that it is practical for your work, you might wish to acquire another, something more impressive. There is also the matter of clothing – do you possess any clothes worthy of a daimyō's court?”

“I do have something, a gift that I was given by a samurai of the Unicorn Clan when I was much younger. A furisode, for me to wear when I came of age.”

“A furisode? Oh my, how dated.” The seneschal knits his brow, tutting his displeasure. A furisode is a very formal style of kimono and when you wore it for your gempuku, it was rather restrictive and difficult to move about in. Its long sleeves were especially obstructive. “Still, I suppose that it might appeal to the traditionalism of the Lion delegates. You will need more than just one kimono however. Wearing the same clothes day after day would be a horrible blunder, and would no doubt lead to whispered remarks about your lacklustre wardrobe and lack of wealth.”

“It might serve me well to acquire a new mask and a variety of clothes suitable for court, but what strikes me as more important is acquainting myself with the estate and the courtiers that I will have to work with,” you reply. “Yogo-sama, would you be able to arrange an opportunity for me to become accustomed to our daimyō's court?”

“Certainly,” Sadayoshi says, nodding his head. The absurd nose of his tengu menpō bobs up and down with the motion. “Though I must warn you that there are other guests, who permanently reside there and act as liaisons. A representative of Journey's End City,” better known as the City of Lies, the only place in the Emerald Empire where opium poppies are allowed to grow, “and a diplomat from the Crane Clan. Such is the way of the Crane – they insist on having a presence in almost every court in the empire.”

“I have no doubt that there will be tension between this diplomat and the Matsu delegation,” Orinosuke remarks. “No two clans loathe each other quite as much as the Lion and the Crane. This will serve as another test of your prowess in court, Bayushi-san. But even if you visit our daimyō's court before the Lion arrives, you will be accompanied by Shosuro Kinnosuke. You will not enter or leave that estate without him at your side.”
>>
“Of course, Yogo-sama.” You bow your head before the Chief Magistrate.

This situation is more complex than you first thought, and there is much that you must achieve.

You must make an adequate courtier out of Shosuro Kinnosuke, an unpleasant man who is hardly fond of you.
You must expand your wardrobe in order to avoid being seen as impoverished and inelegant by the other courtiers that you encounter.
You must make a positive first impression when you meet the other samurai present at the daimyō's court.
You must keep the Crane diplomat and the Lion delegation from each other's throats, in order to avoid any sort of scandal.
You must convince the Matsu delegates to remain until Yogo Kanzaburo returns from the Winter Court and is able to handle them himself.
Finally, if the opportunity presents itself, you must put that vile bitch Yogo Yukari in her rightful place – beneath you, or beneath the ground. Either will work.

You have your work cut out for you.

>Is there anything else you wish to discuss with Yogo Orinosuke and Yogo Sadayoshi before you depart to perform your daily patrol, and reflect on the task that lies ahead of you with Atsushi?
>>
>>4114601
Time for us to head out.
Gota buy more clothes and stuff.
>>
>>4114601
Skip forward
>>
>>4114601
skip
>>
>>4114601
I think this will be about good -- skip.
(Also, man, Kinnosuke really is by far the least terrible of these other idiots, huh)
>>
>>4114776
Dunno they all seem equally apathetic to me. Also QM for buying clothes we should be able to claim it as expenses right? After all it is for official clan duties...
>>
>>4114780
They're all apathetic, but Kinnosuke seems the least likely to start a commotion at an inopportune time, or to get into a potentially dangerous feud.
>>
>>4114780
Alternatively, it could be argued that these clothes aren't entirely necessary to perform this duty, and that the stipend that you are given is supposed to cover the cost of any extraneous items like courtly clothes.

But I will give you the opportunity to finagle these clothes for free, if you're willing to risk a roll.

>Take the risk and try to convince the Chief Magistrate that the station should cover the cost of your new clothes. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>Accept that the acquisition of any new clothes is your responsibility and that you will have to use your own finances, rather than requisition any aid from Yogo Orinosuke.
>>
>>4114839
>Accept that the acquisition of any new clothes is your responsibility and that you will have to use your own finances, rather than requisition any aid from Yogo Orinosuke.
Nah it's alright. I think we really pissed Orinosuke off when Kimiko decided to be truthful lol.
>>
>>4114839
>Accept that the acquisition of any new clothes is your responsibility and that you will have to use your own finances, rather than requisition any aid from Yogo Orinosuke.
We has alot of moneys.
>>
>>4114839
>>Accept that the acquisition of any new clothes is your responsibility and that you will have to use your own finances, rather than requisition any aid from Yogo Orinosuke.
>>
>>4114839
>>Accept that the acquisition of any new clothes is your responsibility and that you will have to use your own finances, rather than requisition any aid from Yogo Orinosuke.

The best part of any quest, clothes shopping!
>>
Though the thought of requisition these new clothes crosses your mind, you decide against that. You already riled up the Chief Magistrate by voicing your preference for courtly duties – he must have expected you to show more loyalty, to put more value in the importance of law and order. Perhaps Orinosuke doesn't know you as well as he thinks. Good.

“Thank you for your time, Yogo-sama.” Rising to your feet, you bow before the Chief Magistrate and then the acting seneschal, offering each of them the respect that they deserve. “By your leave, I shall depart to begin my patrol for the day. Over the coming months, I will see to it that both Kinnosuke and I are prepared for the delegation's arrival.”

“So you shall,” Orinosuke says, rising to his feet as well. The lacquered armour makes such movement very difficult for your superior, but he manages. At his side, the red-clad Sadayoshi rises as well, to offer you a more modest bow. “When you return for tonight's debriefing, I will see to it that you have the opportunity to explain the situation to Shosuro Kinnosuke. While I cannot promise an exact date for your debut in our daimyō's court just yet, the steward shall see about organising it. As we have nothing else to discuss, you may take your leave, Bayushi-san.”

So you depart from the magistrate's station, meeting with your trusted dōshin by the entrance of the structure. The rōnin Atsushi has served you well over the past year. Though he has made his share of his mistakes and his love for liquor has hindered him more than once, for the most part he is reliable. As you begin your patrol through the serene streets of the Buke District, you explain the situation to your partner and assistant. The rugged wave man frowns as he listens to your explanation, apparently displeased by what he hears. By the time that you have finished, Atsushi's face is fixed in a scowl.

“So I'm just going to be left to patrol the streets of Beiden on my own, while you're in the daimyō's court?” The frustration in his voice is palpable.

“I never thought that you were the envious sort, Atsushi-san.”

“I'm not jealous, Bayushi-sama. I'm worried. I know how little Kinnosuke thinks of you, and even if he was fond of you, he's not the sort of man that I would trust with your life. Besides, a court can be as dangerous as a battlefield. One mistake and you'll end up with a blade in your gut – the only difference is that you're the person who'll be slicing your belly open. I should be there with you, by your side.”

“Really, Atsushi-san? How much use do you believe that you might be in court? You lack the manners, the demeanour, the sophistication required to excel in matters of politics. You carry yourself with authority when you speak with heimin, that much is true, but that would not serve you well when negotiating with other samurai.”
>>
“There must be something that I can do,” he mutters. This isn't the first time that Atsushi has shown this protective side of himself and really, you sympathise with him. He must feel helpless, being unable to assist in any capacity when it comes to this assignment.

>Too bad. He's needed on the streets of Beiden, keeping order out here while you assist Yogo Sadayoshi with the delegation from the Lion Clan. He needs to accept that he can't always be there for you. This is no different from when you have to resort to stealth and infiltration.
>You'll need to see if you can have two yōjimbō. It will certainly be difficult to teach both Atsushi and Kinnosuke how to behave in court at the same time and you doubt that the two of them will get along, but it's the only way that the rōnin will be able to join you in court.
>There's no reason for you to remain out of touch. Every day, Atsushi can deliver a report to you via the estate's servants and you can inform him of any courtly affairs that has occurred as well. Through this, you will be able to maintain contact with the outside world.
>Atsushi might not be fond of deception, but it's one way of sneaking him into the estate. He will have to pose as a heimin attendant of yours rather than a servant. It will be a humiliating and trying experience for the rōnin, but it's the only way that he'll be able to join you.
>>
>>4115134
>Too bad. He's needed on the streets of Beiden, keeping order out here while you assist Yogo Sadayoshi with the delegation from the Lion Clan. He needs to accept that he can't always be there for you. This is no different from when you have to resort to stealth and infiltration.
>>
>>4115134
You will need to see if you ca have two yojimbo.

If thats denied
>there is no reason for you to stay out of touch.
>>
>>4115134
>You'll need to see if you can have two yōjimbō. It will certainly be difficult to teach both Atsushi and Kinnosuke how to behave in court at the same time and you doubt that the two of them will get along, but it's the only way that the rōnin will be able to join you in court.
You guys fucked up by not asking for Atsushi to be our yojimbo, but I guess we can try this. If it's denied,
>There's no reason for you to remain out of touch. Every day, Atsushi can deliver a report to you via the estate's servants and you can inform him of any courtly affairs that has occurred as well. Through this, you will be able to maintain contact with the outside world.
>>
>>4115134
>>There's no reason for you to remain out of touch. Every day, Atsushi can deliver a report to you via the estate's servants and you can inform him of any courtly affairs that has occurred as well. Through this, you will be able to maintain contact with the outside world.
I love Atsushi and all, but he really would be a liability in a court context as of yet simply because his presence might make us look worse. It's not the end of the world if we vote to bring him, but it would ultimately just be a difficulty.
>>
>>4115134
>>There's no reason for you to remain out of touch. Every day, Atsushi can deliver a report to you via the estate's servants and you can inform him of any courtly affairs that has occurred as well. Through this, you will be able to maintain contact with the outside world.
>thank you my friend, and I mean that word, I appreciate all you do.
>>
I tried.

>>4115254
Atsushi can get his shit together if required. Im sure he would do fine given some instruction.
>>
>>4115134
>Too bad. He's needed on the streets of Beiden, keeping order out here while you assist Yogo Sadayoshi with the delegation from the Lion Clan. He needs to accept that he can't always be there for you. This is no different from when you have to resort to stealth and infiltration.
>>
>>4115134
>There's no reason for you to remain out of touch. Every day, Atsushi can deliver a report to you via the estate's servants and you can inform him of any courtly affairs that has occurred as well. Through this, you will be able to maintain contact with the outside world.
>>
>>4115254
His role would involve standing still and not saying anything, just like the other guy Orinosuke is forcing upon us. He would be fine with some instruction.
Truly though, Atsushi is great. I would husbando him, but alas, he is a ronin.
>>
“While I attend court in Yogo Kanzaburo's estate, I will be out of touch with the outside world. My focus will be devoted entirely to negotiating with these visitors from the Lion Clan. I need you out here to serve as my eyes and ears, Atsushi-san. Every day, I leave a letter for you that will explain everything that has happened that day. In exchange, I want you to leave me a message every night, after you have completed the day's patrol. I want to know of anything out of place that has occurred outside of the estate. Will you be able to do that for me?”

“... Yes, Bayushi-sama.” The rōnin remains frustrated but at least that scowl has settled back down into a frown. At least he has some level of responsibility and involvement now, and at least he will know that you are safe. It isn't everything that he wanted, but it is a start. “This isn't like the Lion Clan though. I've never had dealings with them personally, but this doesn't fit the stories that I was told.”

“From how you spoke of your father, you made it sound like he was a bushi – a soldier. It is unlikely that he knew much about courtly affairs. This is the sort of scheme that any courtier would wish to concoct, no matter what clan that they serve.”

“Yes, and every clan has its politicians, I know. My father told me about the courtiers of the Lion, the Ikoma Bards... Their focus lies in emotion. It is said that with just a few words, they can stir the hearts of their allies and whip them into a frenzy, or they can agitate their foes into abandoning their senses. This sort of manipulation isn't what they're known for, Bayush-sama. It's much too crafty. Much too like the Scorpion, if I may be so bold.”

“Perhaps the clans are trying to learn from one another these days. The Scorpion seek to undermine the Crane's mastery of the courts and steal it from them, so I suppose that I am not shocked by the idea of the Lion seeking to imitate the Scorpion's guile.” Your mind also goes back to one of the forbidden books that you read during the summer – Of Lies and Leadership. According to that text, the Lion and the Scorpion have more in common that either clan realises. Akodo, the founder and Kami of the Lion Clan, even wrote 'In battle, all things are honourable.' If the Lion choose to view a lord's court as a battlefield, then perhaps they can be as ruthless and cunning as your clan.
>>
“Whatever their reason for this plot, I remain uneasy. How do you feel about the steward's plan, Bayushi-sama? Do you really believe that you'll be able to convince them to stay until the daimyō returns?”

>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion.
>You've got a riskier approach in mind. Together with Sadayoshi, you might be able to successfully negotiate a deal yourselves. The seneschal did say that he has the authority to do so, in the absence of the daimyō. If you are successful, Yogo Kanzaburo will no doubt reward you both. If you are not... Sadayoshi will be to blame.
>Each day that the Matsu stay in the daimyō's estate increases the likelihood of a diplomatic incident that might threaten the Scorpion's relationship with the Lion. You're more interested in sending the delegation on its way as quickly and politely as possible, without any drama or turmoil. It's the safest approach.
>The presence of a Crane diplomat at the estate will provide an opportunity for you to turn these two clans against each other. With their attention and their vitriol focused on the representative of the Crane Clan, these Lion delegates will be distracted from the matter at hand and the Scorpion Clan will be spared from their wrath.
>>
>>4115494
>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion
>>
>>4115494
>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion.
>>
>>4115494
>>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion.
>>
>>4115494
>>The presence of a Crane diplomat at the estate will provide an opportunity for you to turn these two clans against each other. With their attention and their vitriol focused on the representative of the Crane Clan, these Lion delegates will be distracted from the matter at hand and the Scorpion Clan will be spared from their wrath.
>>
>>4115494
>You've got a riskier approach in mind. Together with Sadayoshi, you might be able to successfully negotiate a deal yourselves. The seneschal did say that he has the authority to do so, in the absence of the daimyō. If you are successful, Yogo Kanzaburo will no doubt reward you both. If you are not... Sadayoshi will be to blame.
>>
>>4115494
>>You've got a riskier approach in mind. Together with Sadayoshi, you might be able to successfully negotiate a deal yourselves. The seneschal did say that he has the authority to do so, in the absence of the daimyō. If you are successful, Yogo Kanzaburo will no doubt reward you both. If you are not... Sadayoshi will be to blame.
Let's let Kimiko take a bit more of an ambitious course of action, yeah? Let her desire for greatness show itself. Of course, I don't exactly blame anyone for not choosing this option either, hahah.
>>
>>4115494
>>You've got a riskier approach in mind. Together with Sadayoshi, you might be able to successfully negotiate a deal yourselves. The seneschal did say that he has the authority to do so, in the absence of the daimyō. If you are successful, Yogo Kanzaburo will no doubt reward you both. If you are not... Sadayoshi will be to blame.
>>
>>4115494
>>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion.
>>
>>4115494
>You've got a riskier approach in mind. Together with Sadayoshi, you might be able to successfully negotiate a deal yourselves. The seneschal did say that he has the authority to do so, in the absence of the daimyō. If you are successful, Yogo Kanzaburo will no doubt reward you both. If you are not... Sadayoshi will be to blame
>>
I'll give it another hour for the tie to be broken between these two options:
>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion.
>You've got a riskier approach in mind. Together with Sadayoshi, you might be able to successfully negotiate a deal yourselves. The seneschal did say that he has the authority to do so, in the absence of the daimyō. If you are successful, Yogo Kanzaburo will no doubt reward you both. If you are not... Sadayoshi will be to blame.
If it isn't, then I'll roll a die to decide it.
>>
>>4115494
>If that is what Yogo Sadayoshi wants, that is what you will try to do. It is an ambitious plan and playing host to the Matsu delegation for so long will be a gruelling endeavour, but the daimyō will be pleased if he is able to seize control of the negotiation upon his return and negotiate a deal that is favourable for the Scorpion.
>>
The desire to take a risk is there. This is an opportunity for you to prove yourself and shine. Yet... There are better times for that. Keeping a contingent of Lion samurai occupied for a dozen days or more, that is already ambitious and more than enough a challenge. You will have other opportunities to excel further down the road. Greatness will come to you one way or another, it is in your destiny – there is no need for you to take unnecessary chances.

“That is the plan that Yogo Sadayoshi has in mind and as he is the acting steward of our daimyō's estate, it would be wise for me to heed his wishes. I am sure that together, we will be able to devise a method of occupying our guests until Yogo Kanzaburo is able to return.”

Atsushi makes a doubtful sound, that frown still etched into his face. “Like I said, I haven't had dealings with the Lion Clan but if anything that I learned from my father about them is true, I doubt it'll be so simple. They crave conflict and competition of any kind, they'll seize any chance that they get to prove their superiority. They're too proud and aggressive to just sit and wait for the governor to return from the Winter Court.”

“Then I suppose we shall simply have to use those traits to our advantage, Atsushi-san.”

You continueyour patrol, striding through the snow-dusted streets of the Buke District. More than once you pass the walls of Yogo Kanzaburo's estate, though its tall and elegant walls hide most of the grounds from your sight. The most visible part of it is the looming mansion at the heart of the holding, almost large enough to be considered a castle. The painted tiles of its roof gleam like gold in the daylight, while its walls are constructed out of a contrasting combination of alabaster stone and beams of blackened wood. Your experience with architecture might be limited, but you certainly consider it an impressive structure. Hopefully the visitors from the Lion Clan will view it in the same light.

You go over every detail that you are aware of with Atsushi, from the complications that could arise from the Crane's presence, to the threat posed by Yogo Yukari. Discussing the matter with the rōnin helps you consider all of the possible avenues you could take, all of the potential pitfalls and opportunities. When night arrives, you return to the magistrate's station to report to the Chief Magistrate and be debriefed, while Atsushi departs for the communal barracks of the dōshin. Like you, the other yoriki have returned from their patrols to present themselves to Yogo Orinosuke – and Shosuro Kinnosuke is among them. Though he is a tall man, his lean physique gives him an almost lanky appearance. His oily black hair is tied back in a messy topknot and his face is covered by a peculiar porcelain mask that comes across as unfinished due to its featureless, unpainted surface. Thanks to your recent experiences, you can't even look at it without thinking of mahō.
>>
“Shosuro Kinnosuke,” the Chief Magistrate says as the debriefing draws to a close. It is rare for anyone other than you to be singled out like this – when he hears his name, the samurai is startled. He steps forward and bows sharply before Orinosuke, awaiting his superior's next words. “I have a particular assignment for you. You shall remain here, and Bayushi Kimiko will brief you on its nature. The rest of you, you are dismissed.” Not only do the other deputies depart, but the Chief Magistrate does so himself, leaving the gathering hall empty except for you and Kinnosuke.

“Why, I scarcely believe my luck,” the other yoriki remarks once he is certain that the two of you are alone. “I have the opportunity to work with you, Kimiko-san? The Chief Magistrate's favourite? Surely the Fortunes must smile upon me.” As always, his tone is derisive and his words are oozing with sarcasm. The fact that he insists on referring to you using your personal name is endlessly frustrating as well – does the man have no sense of decorum?

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 3 / 8.

“This is a serious matter, Shosuro-san. I would appreciate it if you could control your wit, if only for a few minutes.”

“Of course, Kimiko-san. After all, everything concerning you is always serious and of the utmost importance. I should be thankful that I even have the opportunity to speak with you. Now go on, speak to me of this assignment. Tell me how grateful I should be that you deigned to spare me even a moment of your time.” The fool is trying to goad you, to coax some sort of reaction out of you. Will you give him what he wants?

>No. As always, you remain calm and you will focus on the task at hand. Yogo Orinosuke ordered you to brief him about your mission at the estate and you will do exactly that. Let this jester taunt you as much as he likes, you will simply ignore his efforts. You refuse to lower yourself to his level, no matter what.
>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>Invoke the blood. It is about time that he understood that you are in charge – you might both be yoriki, but you carry the divinity of Hantei in your veins and that tips the scale. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep two successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
>Try to negotiate with him. He might be more compelled to work with you and take this seriously if he knows that he'll get something out of it – whether it's a gift, coin or something else. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4116194
>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4116194
>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4116194
>Invoke the blood. It is about time that he understood that you are in charge – you might both be yoriki, but you carry the divinity of Hantei in your veins and that tips the scale. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep two successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
>>
>>4116194
>>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4116194
>>No. As always, you remain calm and you will focus on the task at hand. Yogo Orinosuke ordered you to brief him about your mission at the estate and you will do exactly that. Let this jester taunt you as much as he likes, you will simply ignore his efforts. You refuse to lower yourself to his level, no matter what.
>>
>>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4116194
>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4116194
>>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4116194
Do we have a void point? If not
>No. As always, you remain calm and you will focus on the task at hand. Yogo Orinosuke ordered you to brief him about your mission at the estate and you will do exactly that. Let this jester taunt you as much as he likes, you will simply ignore his efforts. You refuse to lower yourself to his level, no matter what.
If we do
>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
Though it looks like it's already decided.
>>
Rolling Dice

>Whenever I ask for a roll, you roll a number of dice equal to the appropriate ring for the roll – Earth, Fire, Air, Water or Void – and you roll twice the number of dice equal to the appropriate skill.
>However, only a number of these dice equal to the ring you're using can be kept, and contribute to whether you succeed or not. The rest must be discarded.
>Every 4, 5 or 6 that you keep counts as a “success,” and contributes to your roll succeeding. For every 6 that you keep, you may keep an additional die that you rolled.
>I will always announce what ring and skill a roll will use, and the number of successes that you will need to succeed, so that you will know how difficult the roll will be.
>If enough successes are kept, the roll is successful. And if you keep more successes than you need in order to succeed, these bonus successes will grant you additional benefits.

In this instance, going with:
>Does he think he is being funny? You will show him what true wit looks like. Devise an insult that will leave the sorry samurai speechless. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
I require a roll of 7d6 using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 6, 3, 1, 3, 4, 2, 2 = 21 (7d6)

>>4116374
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 3, 2, 3, 3, 2 = 23 (7d6)

>>4116374
>>
Rolled 1, 1, 4, 4, 2, 3, 3 = 18 (7d6)

>>4116374
>>
Void Points

>Void points are a resource you can spend to change fate's course.
>You have a maximum number of void points equal to your Void ring, which is currently 2. Each session, you start with 1.
>Right now, the only use of void points is to turn a marginal failure into a success. By spending a void point after you have failed at a roll, you may add an additional kept success to the roll.
>If you fail at a roll, I will ask whether you want to spend a void point or not. You may wish to not spend it – sometimes it's better to fail on an insignificant roll and save the void point for a more important roll.
>You gain void points when you suffer strife for going against your Delusions of Grandeur and when you fail at reasoning with your Sworn Enemy.
>You also gain void points when you choose an option where I hide the number of successes required to succeed, and during dramatic points in the story.
>I will introduce other uses of void points as the story progresses.

You needed to keep four successes to succeed, but none of your rolls achieved more than two successes. Spending a void point would give you an additional kept success, giving you three successes - still not enough to succeed.

So, this is a roll that you failed at outright.
>>
>Going with >>4116391, two successes.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 4 / 8.

“You should be grateful,” you snap at the sneering samurai, “that I choose to tolerate the words that come out of a mouth as vile as yours.” Your retort isn't as eloquent as you had hoped it would be. It is little more than a petty insult, one that earns an amused laugh from Kinnosuke. Your cheeks burn with embarrassment as you realise that you've given him exactly what he was looking for – you took the bait.

“Ah! Finally you shed the courtesy and dignity that you wield like a shield, to reveal your true self. It is a pleasure to see that you are just like the rest of us, Kimiko-san – that you are no better than us.” Your hands tighten into fists and you are far too tempted to throw a punch at the smug cretin. Taking a breath, you manage to calm yourself before you do anything foolish. You are the greatest of the Chief Magistrate's deputies and you will prove it to Kinnosuke. Just... not right now.

“If you are finished, then we should focus on the assignment that Orinosuke spoke of.” Keeping your frustration out of your voice is an arduous task, and it seems that Kinnosuke has a hard time hiding the mirth in his own as he replies.

“Of course, Kimiko-san. I am not a greedy man, I know when I should not push my luck. You have given me this victory and I shall savour it. Please, do continue.” Even after goading you into slinging a childish insult at him, Kinnosuke insists on having the last word. Struggling to conceal your frustration, you proceed to explain the situation as best as you are able. You speak of the Lion's envoys, of Sadayoshi's plan and of the various obstacles that you will face in the pursuit of your duty. Your colleague's reaction is hidden behind his unpainted mask. All you can see are those dark, gleaming eyes of his.

“So I am to serve as your bodyguard in name and your overseer in function? That sounds simple enough. Why tell me of this now, and not closer to the date?” He doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation.

“You will still have to fulfil the duty of a yōjimbō,” you reply. “Even if you been assigned to this position to watch over me and make sure that I behave, you are still charged with keeping me alive and well. Also, you cannot behave like this while court is in session. Surely you realise that if you make a snide remark towards a samurai of the Lion Clan, they will not take it as lightly as I.”

“I assure you that I am able to behave when I wish, Kimiko-san. You do not need to lecture me about how I should act in court. In fact, I would say that you are not in any position to do so, considering how flustered I make you. Are you certain that we should not exchange roles? Perhaps it would be better for the clan if I negotiated on its behalf while you served as the silent, brooding yōjimbō. You would excel at that role, I am sure.”
>>
The egotistical peacock has let his earlier triumph over you go to his head. You never considered that wrangling Kinnosuke would be such a challenge.

>Fine. If he is going to be so stubborn about it and if he is so cocksure, then you won't waste any effort trying to mould him into a polite and dignified samurai. If he ends up causing an incident at the daimyō's estate, you refuse to accept any responsibility for his actions.
>If he's going to put up such a fight, then you're not going to ask anything more from him than the bare minimum. All he needs to do is keep his mouth shut, stand by your side and protect you if any sort of fight does happen to break out. Surely that shouldn't be too difficult for him.
>He can insult you as much as he likes, you're going to make an adequate courtier out of him, no matter how hard he struggles. Until the day that the delegation arrives, you are going to meet him regularly and try to beat some sense of courtesy into Kinnosuke.
>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
>As he is, this deputy is a walking scandal. Letting someone like Kinnosuke into a court would cause a disaster. You'll need to speak with Orinosuke, to see if you can convince him to rethink this. Surely you don't need a minder, especially not one as wilful and scathing as this brat.
>>
>>4116613
>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
>>
>>4116613
>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
>>
>>4116613
>You're going to make him adequate.
>>
>>4116613
>>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
>>
>>4116613
>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
>>
>>4116613
>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
>>
>>4116613
>Kinnosuke requires more than just etiquette lessons. You'll need to see about getting him clothes fit for a court. This samurai will need to completely change how he looks and how he acts if he wants to be taken seriously and avoid causing an upset.
Damn what were those rolls
>>
“As a matter of fact, I will be doing everything that I can to prepare myself for the arrival of this delegation, Shosuro-san. If you are going to be joining me as our superior commands, then I will expect you to do the same. I refuse to be accompanied by a dullard who wears nothing but the uniform of a yoriki.” You gesture to the outfit that he wears, identical to your own. “If you wish to perform your duty, you will need new clothes and new manners. You claim that you are able to behave when you wish – now is the time to prove it.”

Kinnosuke scoffs. It's his turn to sound frustrated and indignant. “What makes you think that I have to prove anything to you at all, Kimiko-san? I have been assigned this task for the purpose of watching you, nothing more. I will pretend to be a good little yōjimbō to maintain my cover, but that is all. You are the one being judged. If there is an incident, the blame will rest on your shoulders for being unable to prevent it, not mine.”

“You act as though Orinosuke will overlook your failure,” you retort. “You have been ordered to watch me so that you might ensure my success. You are going to have to accept this responsibility Shosuro-san, whether you like it or not. No matter what it takes, I will see to it that you are able to look and act of a courtly samurai. Neither of us can afford you causing a scandal with your childish mockery or damaging the Scorpion's reputation by wearing these rags.” Kinnosuke has had enough. Turning away from you, he makes his way towards the doorway, to leave the gathering hall.

“If you wish to lecture me, you will have to do so another time,” your colleague says over his shoulder. “I grow tired of being scolded by a woman who refuses to accept that she is my equal.” With that, he departs from the hall and leaves you staring after him incredulously. Yogo Orinosuke really expects you to be able to work with someone like this? Clearly the Chief Magistrate mustn't have been lying when he told you that his other deputies are all came from the dregs of the clan.

The last few days of autumn are spent pondering your options – how you should go about educating someone as reluctant as Kinnosuke, what sort of clothes you should have made for the Matsu's visit and so on. As clothing is a much more manageable and appealing topic than your scathing colleague, you decide to focus your thoughts on that.

In the courts of Rokugan, clothes are one of many methods of making a statement without speaking. What you wear and how you wear it can often communicate to someone how you feel about them and what your intentions are, although sometimes fashion can just be fashion rather than a collection of hidden messages.
>>
When requesting such finery from an artisan, there are two important things that you need to decide – a theme and a design. The theme is something that is conveyed by the colours of the fabric and the patterns woven into it, while the design is dependent on how the fabric is meant to be layered and worn by its owner. Once you have come to a decision regarding these details, you will be able to speak with one of Beiden's tailors and see if the garment that you thought of can be made a reality. Though of course, you'll need to pay the outfitter for the time, talent and resources spent in the creation of that robe.

As you decide upon the details of the first kimono that you will request, you're left wondering something else... Exactly how many will you need for this event? How much variety is necessary?

>Just this one will do. Combined with the furisode that you already own, that will make two robes for you to choose between. The less coin you have to spend, the better. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>After this one is made, you'll order a second. That will give you a range of three to wear, granting your wardrobe some versatility. (By choosing this option, you will lose 2.0 koku.)
>You'll order three. You doubt that any tailor would be able to create more than that before the delegation's arrival, not without sacrificing quality. (By choosing this option, you will lose 3.0 koku.)
>>
>>4117400
>>You'll order three. You doubt that any tailor would be able to create more than that before the delegation's arrival, not without sacrificing quality. (By choosing this option, you will lose 3.0 koku.)
Let's not scrimp on such an important event
>>
>>4117400
>You'll order three. You doubt that any tailor would be able to create more than that before the delegation's arrival, not without sacrificing quality. (By choosing this option, you will lose 3.0 koku.)

We've got enough to spare, why the heck not.
>>
>>4117400
>You'll order three. You doubt that any tailor would be able to create more than that before the delegation's arrival, not without sacrificing quality. (By choosing this option, you will lose 3.0 koku.)
Kek at Kimiko getting owned in the marketplace of ideas by some schmuck. About time we had a bad roll.
We're also going to get a fancier mask, right? How much do those cost?
>>
>>4117400
You'll order three. You doubt that any tailor would be able to create more than that before the delegation's arrival, not without sacrificing quality. (By choosing this option, you will lose 3.0 koku.)
>>
>>4117400
>>You'll order three. You doubt that any tailor would be able to create more than that before the delegation's arrival, not without sacrificing quality. (By choosing this option, you will lose 3.0 koku.)
>>
>You lose 3.0 koku. You currently have 8.76 koku.

To ensure that you will have a diverse wardrobe and that no one will be able to turn their nose up at you for being dowdy and frugal, you will buy three robes. Not only will these garments be of use to you when the Lion contingent arrive, but in the future as well. Unless they become woefully unfashionable, you will be able to wear them to any other courtly event that you attend in the future.

You find the opportunity to speak with a reputable artisan, towards the end of your next patrol through the Buke District. Though Bayushi Kahoru is a samurai, she is known for weaving the most wondrous raiments and many notable figures patronise her, including Yogo Kanzaburo himself. You are honoured to become her latest sponsor and as thanks for your patronage, Kahoru offers to manufacture a collection of striking vestments for you. Each of them will take close to a month for her to produce – excellence cannot be rushed.

What do you wish for the first of these robes to look like?

>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.
>Show that you favor the Crane over the Lion by wearing either blue or white, as well as patterns that might appeal to their sensibilities and offend their warlike adversaries.
>The will of the Emperor comes before anything else, and you shall demonstrate this by wearing the jade green that is associated with magistrates throughout Rokugan.
>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>Why not something elegant? You wish for a hikizuri, a particularly long kimono with a trailing skirt. You'll need to carry yourself with grace, if you want avoid tripping over the flowing fabric.
>A furisode. While you already own one, this long-sleeved kimono is seen as very formal and might appeal to more traditional samurai. You know from experience that its sleeves can be obstructive.
>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>>
>>4117694
>>The will of the Emperor comes before anything else, and you shall demonstrate this by wearing the jade green that is associated with magistrates throughout Rokugan.
>>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
Don't think either the Lion or Crane would dare mock Imperial colours
>>
>>4117694
>>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
let's go big for our first one, really hammer in that first impression
>>
>>4117694
>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>>
>>4117694
>>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>>
>>4117694
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
>>4117694
>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)

>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)

The chrysanthemum option makes me somewhat nervous... I have to wonder if it couldn't potentially land us in hot water to take on that sort of pretention. Still though, I suppose that it is something Kimiko might do, and it can be fairly rare for us to actually lean into her arrogance so, fuck it, sure, let's go lol
>>
>>4117694
>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>>
>>4117694
>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
Fuck it
>>
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>You lose 2.0 koku. You currently have 6.76 koku.

When you describe what you desire to Bayushi Kahoru, her eyes widen with shock and she takes it upon herself to inform you of just how costly such clothes will be. You refuse to spare any expense. Twelve layers of silk garments, dyed various shades of Imperial green. The outermost layers will be the most extravagant and decorative – beautiful jade brocade with woven chrysanthemums in gold thread. Kahoru mentions how such a design might lead others to mistakenly associate you with the Imperial families. As you have no desire to be accused of posing as a samurai of Rokugan's most prestigious bloodlines, you suggest that the seamstress should make a few stylistic choices, to differentiate these flowers from official Imperial heraldry. Regardless, the final product will be resplendent, lustrous and a testament to your heritage.

You leave Bayushi Kahoru with the unenviable task of making your wishes a reality. Having spent almost half of your wealth on fashion, you decide to wait for the month to end and for winter to officially begin, so that you might obtain your latest stipend. It will help alleviate the feeling that you might have been thriftless with your spending.

>You gain 0.6 koku. You currently have 7.36 koku.

Your next course of action is to see about a new mask, like Yogo Sadayoshi suggested. You ask around in an effort to discover who the finest artisans might be when it comes to the creation of masks. There are quite a few, who all work with different materials – although sadly, the province's pre-eminent specialist in porcelain masks has recently passed away. Yogo Koume died with her husband when her rural estate was engulfed in a great conflagration. The flames left nothing behind except for the charred outer walls of the compound. Officially the blame rests on the clumsiness of the servants that Koume employed, but you have a suspicion that you know who the true culprits are.
>>
Nonetheless, you must decide what kind of mask you wish to acquire. Much like the different styles of kimono, each sort of mask sends a different message. You will need to choose yours carefully.

>A wooden mask that covers the entirety of your face, likely sculpted and painted to resemble a spirit or a beast. Cumbersome and uncomfortable, but when made by a master of the craft, they can be awesome or terrifying to behold.
>A wooden theatre mask. These noh masks display different emotions depending on the viewer's perspective. Your sensei wore one like this and used it to great effect. Like the other type of wooden mask, they can be cumbersome.
>A domino mask, much like the one you currently wear. These can be made out of all sorts of different materials and cover the upper half of a samurai's face, giving emphasis to the wearer's mouth while taking it away from their eyes.
>A menpō, a metal mask that covers the lower half of its wearer's face and is typically incorporated into helmets, even outside of your clan. Scorpions who wear these battle masks do so in order to indicate their martial inclination.
>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
>Something that can't be called a mask at all. Some of the Scorpion cheat and wear things that barely obscure their features at all – from eyeglasses to high collars to decorative pieces of lacquered wood adhered to their faces.
>A porcelain – no. You will not wear anything made out of porcelain, not after your encounter with mahō and witnessing those unfinished masks resting on the faces of the dead. Your skin crawls at the memory of it.
>Though Yogo Sadayoshi said that you should acquire a new mask, you don't really see a reason to. Your current one is versatile enough and you have grown quite fond of it over the past year. Surely it's good enough for court.
>>
>>4118007
>>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
>>
>>4118007
>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
>>
>>4118007
>>A domino mask, much like the one you currently wear. These can be made out of all sorts of different materials and cover the upper half of a samurai's face, giving emphasis to the wearer's mouth while taking it away from their eyes.
>>
>A menpō, a metal mask that covers the lower half of its wearer's face and is typically incorporated into helmets, even outside of your clan. Scorpions who wear these battle masks do so in order to indicate their martial inclination.

Cause lion clan.
>>
>>4118007
>>A wooden mask that covers the entirety of your face, likely sculpted and painted to resemble a spirit or a beast. Cumbersome and uncomfortable, but when made by a master of the craft, they can be awesome or terrifying to behold.
>>
>>4118007
>A menpō, a metal mask that covers the lower half of its wearer's face and is typically incorporated into helmets, even outside of your clan. Scorpions who wear these battle masks do so in order to indicate their martial inclination.

Should help with thr lions and im sure we going ti see battle at aome point.
>>
>>4118007
>A menpō, a metal mask that covers the lower half of its wearer's face and is typically incorporated into helmets, even outside of your clan. Scorpions who wear these battle masks do so in order to indicate their martial inclination.
>>
>>4118007
>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
>>
I'll give it another hour for the tie to be broken between these two options:
>A menpō, a metal mask that covers the lower half of its wearer's face and is typically incorporated into helmets, even outside of your clan. Scorpions who wear these battle masks do so in order to indicate their martial inclination.
>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
If it isn't, then I'll roll a die to decide it.
>>
>>4118319
>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
>>
>>4118319
>>A veil of fabric that might be sheer or opaque, that might cover the lower half of your face, the upper half of it or the entirety of it. These are easily the least unwieldy of all of the masks that you might wear.
>>
Sad metal mask didn't win but hey not like we can't masks later in the quest
>>
>>4118006
>although sadly, the province's pre-eminent specialist in porcelain masks has recently passed away. Yogo Koume died with her husband when her rural estate was engulfed in a great conflagration. The flames left nothing behind except for the charred outer walls of the compound.
Such a sudden and unforeseeable tragedy
>>
>>4118410
(Also, I love the fakeout on the porcelain mask choice)
>>
You can't imagine what it's like to wear a more cumbersome mask like a menpō or a theatre mask. The domino mask that you wear is already rather light, but you can still feel its weight against your face at all times, you're never able to forget that it's there. So you decide to go for something even lighter, a veil that will obscure your face without causing you any discomfort.

The only question that remains is what sort of veil you wish to have made. Once you have come to a decision, you will commission this mask and turn your attention to more important matters – such as wrangling Kinnosuke into cooperating with you.

>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.
>The veil will cover the upper half of your face, obscuring everything above the point of your nose. The fabric will need to be sheer if you don't wish for your vision to be obscured. Like the domino mask, it emphasises the wearer's mouth.
>The veil will cover the entirety of your face. Like the previous option, the fabric will need to be sheer if you want to be able to see properly. You have no doubt that this choice will give you an air of mystery.

>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
>While the veil will be opaque, you will augment it with gold thread embroidery. As a result, the mask will be rather opulent, perhaps even ostentatious. Is that such a problem, considering the jūnihitoe that you've commissioned? (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.6 koku.)
>It should be sheer, allowing you to see through with ease if it covers your eyes and doing little to obscure your face. Out all of the masks worn by the Scorpion, this variety is one of the least off-putting to outsiders. (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
>You'll combine translucent fabric with gold thread embroidery for a rather decadent and distracting mask. If the veil covers your face, the embroidery might hinder your vision somewhat, but that is a sacrifice you are willing to make. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.6 koku.)
>A veil doesn't need to be made out a fabric. When the Unicorn returned to Rokugan, they brought the tassel veil with them – a curtain of glittering chains made of gold or silver that obscure the face. It is an exotic and expensive choice. (By choosing this option, you will lose 2.4 koku.)
>>
>>4118486
>>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.
>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
>>
>>4118486
>>The veil will cover the entirety of your face. Like the previous option, the fabric will need to be sheer if you want to be able to see properly. You have no doubt that this choice will give you an air of mystery.
>You'll combine translucent fabric with gold thread embroidery for a rather decadent and distracting mask. If the veil covers your face, the embroidery might hinder your vision somewhat, but that is a sacrifice you are willing to make. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.6 koku.)
>>
>>4118486
>>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.
>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
I wonder if, perhaps, a sheer veil would make us look bad to other Scorpion... I'm torn on whether or not Kimiko herself would care outside of that consideration (which is probably a good idea to heed in and of itself), since on one hand she doesn't care about the Sincerity that the masks are an odd sort of symbolism of, but I think she also doesn't want to portray herself as "barely a Scorpion"... and also she might enjoy the mystique. As for the gold thread, ah, probably not a good idea currently. It's expensive when we still have other clothing to buy, and also if this becomes a general use mask, then we're probably going to catch shit from people who would be rather unimpressed by such an ostentatious general-use choice, including potentially Orinosuke.
>>
>>4118590
I've already deducted the cost of the other clothes, just as a heads-up. It makes for easier book-keeping on my end.
>>
>>4118597
Ah, thanks. Well, I guess we're not in an awful spot monetarily then, all told.
>>
>>4118486
>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes

>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.

>A veil doesn't need to be made out a fabric. When the Unicorn returned to Rokugan, they brought the tassel veil with them – a curtain of glittering chains made of gold or silver that obscure the face. It is an exotic and expensive choice. (By choosing this option, you will lose 2.4 koku.

Spand bug or go home since we dont realy spand our money on anything.
Also how many more iteams will we be buying?
>>
>>4118486
>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.
>While the veil will be opaque, you will augment it with gold thread embroidery. As a result, the mask will be rather opulent, perhaps even ostentatious. Is that such a problem, considering the jūnihitoe that you've commissioned? (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.6 koku.)
>>
>>4118486
>>The veil will cover the upper half of your face, obscuring everything above the point of your nose. The fabric will need to be sheer if you don't wish for your vision to be obscured. Like the domino mask, it emphasises the wearer's mouth.
>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
>>
>>4118486
>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.
>While the veil will be opaque, you will augment it with gold thread embroidery. As a result, the mask will be rather opulent, perhaps even ostentatious. Is that such a problem, considering the jūnihitoe that you've commissioned? (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.6 koku.
>>
>>4118486
>>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.
>>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
>>
>>4118486
>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes
>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
Archive description:
>Kimiko goes shopping, blows all her money on expensive clothes like an American teenage girl
What other robes are we getting?
>>
>>4118006
>The veil will cover the lower half of your face, obscuring everything below the bridge of your nose. This is the most typical style worn by the Scorpion and is designed to draw attention to the wearer's eyes.

>You want it to be opaque or close to it, hiding everything that it covers from sight. This choice will grant you a certain mystique and make you come across as rather secretive, but aren't the Scorpion always seen in that light? (By choosing this option, you will lose 0.4 koku.)
>>
>You lose 0.4 koku. You currently have 6.96 koku.

In the end, you decide to visit a heimin clothier and acquire a length of dark silk, without any unnecessary embellishment. When the Kami Bayushi was taught the lesson of the Scorpion and the Frog by Shinsei, this was the style of mask that he wore. Since then, the other clans have said that 'a Scorpion wears a mask to let you know that they cannot be trusted,' but you know the truth. You have the fabric tailored to wrap around and hang from your face, to obscure all of your features below the bridge of your nose.

Unlike the robes that you commissioned, this mask is simple enough that it does not take a long time to manufacture. Less than an hour after you first spoke to the clothier, you leave his workshop holding the silk in your hand. It has the same elegant simplicity as your domino mask but serves a different function. While the lacquered wood that you wear on your face now comes across as revealing and approachable, this veil is more secretive and obfuscating – it puts whoever you are speaking to on the back foot. Although this new mask might not be quite as impressive as Yogo Sadayoshi hoped for, this leaves you with a choice when it comes to the impression you want to give your guests.

The days that follow are quite different from the rest of the year. If the month of tax collection is the most arduous time of year for the Chief Magistrate's deputies, then winter might be the most effortless. As the gates of Beiden no longer need to be guarded as travel becomes impossible, the magistrates that once oversaw them perform your duties in your stead, with the aid of their yoriki. This leaves you and Orinosuke's other deputies spending most of your time in the magistrate's station, assisting your superior with administrative duties and overseeing the interrogation of various criminals. Compared to how your last winter was spent, getting to spend most of your day in the warmth of the station handling paperwork is the height of luxury.

This also gives you the opportunity to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke quite frequently, as unpleasant as your conversations might be. One issue that keeps on cropping up whenever you speak with him is the matter of new clothes. You insist that he must make himself presentable if he is going to attend court. He disagrees.

“You must understand Kimiko-san, I have no desire to frivol away my stipend simply for the purpose of making you look good. I am a deputy of a magistrate, the Chief Magistrate and I shall dress as such. Pretend as much as you wish that you are something more than that, but I will not do the same.”

“There is more that is at stake here than my appearance. Surely you must understand that, Shosuro-san. You answer to Yogo-sama as much as I do and if I fail at our daimyō's estate, that reflects as poorly as you as it does on me. It shows that you were incapable of ensuring my success. Why can you not see that?”
>>
Every time you try to speak with the gangly fool, this is how the conversation tends to go. It's infuriating.

“Why would the Chief Magistrate will not blame me for your failings?” Though Kinnosuke tries to come off as dismissive, you can hear the frustration in his voice. He's just as tired of these arguments as you are. “My task is simple. I am there to watch you and to make sure that you do not embarrass yourself by squabbling with this... what was her name, Yogo Yukari? What is the source of your feud with her, Kimiko-san? Did she make you feel inadequate somehow, is that it?”

>There is no choice but to continue trying to reason with Shosuro Kinnosuke. Eventually he'll come to his senses and realise how foolish he is being – at least, that is what you hope. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>You can't keep fighting like this. If you have to make the first concession, so be it. Tell him the truth about Yukari and try to show Kinnosuke that you're opening up to him, that you want to cooperate with him. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>If coin is the issue, then perhaps he will be more open to acquiring new clothes if you offer to pay for them. This will cause your finances to continue to dwindle, but at least it'll deprive him of that excuse. It's disgraceful – samurai are supposed to be above such material concerns. (By choosing this option, you will lose 2.0 koku.)
>That's it. You have had enough of this smug, combative fool. If you can't get him to comply with words, you will force him to by martial means. You will need to ask Yogo Orinosuke for a sparring bout to be arranged, so that you might beat some sense into Kinnosuke. One way or another, you will make him respect you.

>>4118607
>>4119391
In order to keep the quest flowing and to keep the thread from being stuck in shopping purgatory for a few days, I'm spacing out the purchasing decisions. But all that's left is for you to decide what the other two robes look like further down the line. If there are any other purchases that you wish to make, feel free to bring it up.
>>
>>4119571
>You can't keep fighting like this. If you have to make the first concession, so be it. Tell him the truth about Yukari and try to show Kinnosuke that you're opening up to him, that you want to cooperate with him. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4119571
>That's it. You have had enough of this smug, combative fool. If you can't get him to comply with words, you will force him to by martial means. You will need to ask Yogo Orinosuke for a sparring bout to be arranged, so that you might beat some sense into Kinnosuke. One way or another, you will make him respect you.
>>
>>4119571
>>You can't keep fighting like this. If you have to make the first concession, so be it. Tell him the truth about Yukari and try to show Kinnosuke that you're opening up to him, that you want to cooperate with him. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)

we might gain a future ally
>>
>>4119571
>You can't keep fighting like this. If you have to make the first concession, so be it. Tell him the truth about Yukari and try to show Kinnosuke that you're opening up to him, that you want to cooperate with him. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4119571
>>That's it. You have had enough of this smug, combative fool. If you can't get him to comply with words, you will force him to by martial means. You will need to ask Yogo Orinosuke for a sparring bout to be arranged, so that you might beat some sense into Kinnosuke. One way or another, you will make him respect you.
>>
Going with:
>You can't keep fighting like this. If you have to make the first concession, so be it. Tell him the truth about Yukari and try to show Kinnosuke that you're opening up to him, that you want to cooperate with him. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
I require a roll of 6d6 using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 4, 2, 3, 4, 2, 1 = 16 (6d6)

>>4119653
>>
Rolled 2, 3, 1, 4, 3, 5 = 18 (6d6)

>>4119653
>>
Rolled 6, 5, 1, 5, 1, 2 = 20 (6d6)

>>4119653
>>
>>4119656
based third roller
>>
>Going with >>4119656, three successes.

“She poisoned me.”

“Eh?” Shosuro Kinnosuke is thrown off balance by your remark. He's so shocked that for once, he hasn't produced some sort of quip. You take advantage of his silence and use it to explain in greater detail.

“We attended the same dōjō, at Seven Stings Keep to the East. For a time, she was my best friend but as we grew older, she grew bitter towards me. She tried to disparage me and compete with me at every opportunity. One day, I suppose she wished to simply be rid of me as I was overcome by a horrific ailment. I shall spare you the details but the healer later told me that I had ingested something toxic. She said that I was on the edge of death, that the only thing that kept me alive was a Fortune's blessing.”

“You are certain that she did it?” There is none of the usual vitriol in Kinnosuke's voice. He is still bewildered, both by what you have told him and the fact that you are telling him it.

“Who else? The servants fed us the same food day after day and there was no one else at the dōjō that had any interest in taking my life. I am certain that it was her and everyone else agreed with me. As soon as I was well enough to point the finger at her, Yukari was expelled from the dōjō. She should have suffered a far worse fate but apparently, the Shosuro School of Acting saw potential in her. She now serves in Yogo Kanzaburo's estate as a 'performer.'” As Kinnosuke comes from the Shosuro family himself, he knows all too well what that means – it's the cover for Yukari's actual profession. In truth, she is a shinobi, a spy and an assassin.

“It is likely that my family saw potential in her, if she was able to get away with poisoning your food without being noticed.” After that, Kinnosuke descends into thoughtful silence, considering your words before he eventually speaks again. “So that is why I have been made your yōjimbō then, to keep you from trying to get back at the woman who poisoned you? If that is the case, then I have a proposal.”

“Speak and I shall listen.” You are already intrigued. This is the first time that Kinnosuke has ever been anything other than aloof or derisive.

“You are going to stop pestering me about etiquette and how to act in court. I am not a child, Kimiko-san – I know how to behave myself when it is necessary. If I did not, our superior would have killed me himself by now. In exchange... I might just happen to look the other way when you run into Yukari. How does that sound?”
>>
It's an interesting proposition. On one hand, you'll need to put your faith in Kinnosuke and trust that he will be able to resist acting like a churl when court is in session at the daimyō's estate. On the other, you'll get the opportunity to give Yogo Yukari a piece of your mind without worrying about the Chief Magistrate finding out.

… Unless Kinnosuke is lying and seeks to use this as an opportunity to sabotage you. It's impossible for you to determine how sincere he is, with that porcelain mask covering everything except for his eyes.

>Very well. You're going to take him at his word. You're going to stop pestering him about matters of courtesy and in exchange, he's going to ignore your encounters with the shinobi, Yogo Yukari.
>Just one more condition. Kinnosuke is going to buy some suitable clothes to wear for your visit to the daimyō's estate. If he can do that, then you're going to accept this deal.
>No. You can't afford your colleague causing a diplomatic incident by saying something out of turn to the Lion delegation. You're going to have to teach him, whether he likes it or not.
>Does he think that you're an idiot? Make it clear to him that you aren't going to fall for a trick like that so easily. He just wants to get you out of the way so he can become Orinosuke's favourite instead.
>>
>>4119716
>Very well. You're going to take him at his word. You're going to stop pestering him about matters of courtesy and in exchange, he's going to ignore your encounters with the shinobi, Yogo Yukari.
>>
>>4119716
>Very well. You're going to take him at his word. You're going to stop pestering him about matters of courtesy and in exchange, he's going to ignore your encounters with the shinobi, Yogo Yukari.
>>
>>4119716
>I will TAke you at your word then, as long as you have a court acceptable garb, it need not be as expensive or as resplendent as mine, but if the Lions see fit to mock you for it... well the Lion mocking the Scorpion is note natural way of things.
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>>4119716
>Very well. You're going to take him at his word. You're going to stop pestering him about matters of courtesy and in exchange, he's going to ignore your encounters with the shinobi, Yogo Yukari.
I'm not sure I actually want to start shit with Yukari though.
>>
>>4119716
>Very well. You're going to take him at his word. You're going to stop pestering him about matters of courtesy and in exchange, he's going to ignore your encounters with the shinobi, Yogo Yukari.
We can maybe try taking another crack at the clothing question at the end of the second month when we’ve got two sets of clothing to show off — we can phrase it as planning to use our clothing choice to set the Lion on the back foot and convey messages to the court, in which case his cooperation with at least something fairly formal when we pull out the junihitoe could be useful in making the Lion think we’re big deals, which might go over well than just chiding him.
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>>4119716
>Just one more condition. Kinnosuke is going to buy some suitable clothes to wear for your visit to the daimyō's estate. If he can do that, then you're going to accept this deal.
>>
>>4119817
I think it will pretty much be inevitable that we start shit with Yukari. Remember, not only do we IC hate this bitch with absolutely every fucking fiber of our beings to the point that hearing her name pretty much causes the world to slow down for a moment for us, but OOC we have the Disadvantage of it being mechanically *extremely* difficult to cooperate with her, and probably a pretty stressful experience, too. We’ll probably crack and then get casually fucked over by Yukari if we don’t try to tear into her every so often.
>>
By the way, Fudo, what does our normal garb look like?
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>>4119999
It's in the last paragraph of >>4112895. Simple red robe tucked into red pleated ankle-length skirt with a black sash and a black winter jacket carrying the clan heraldry. Simple, practical and sturdy.
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>>4120019
Oh, right! I’m thinking that we should grab a black and crimson “I’m a very loyal scorpion” kimono, then, as one of our other two pieces of clothing. I think that’s something we want to be able to convey, especially as a contrast to the “I’ve got an imperial ancestor” clothing, and I don’t think that the magistrate’s clothing is going to cut it in that context.
>>
Now isn't the time for accusations and complaints. If Kinnosuke is willing to make a concession, then you're going to give him one in return. “I accept your proposal, Shosuro-san. I am going to trust that you will behave yourself when the day finally arrives.”

Once again, your fellow deputy is taken aback by your words. After a few seconds of puzzled silence, he takes the opportunity to speak again. “... You know, perhaps I have held the wrong impression of you for the past nine months. I always thought that you were so sure of your superiority and thought yourself above the rest of us.” Well he was right, you did and you still do. “I never thought that you would ever cooperate or come out of that icy shell of yours. Perhaps we got off on the wrong foot, Kimi... Bayushi-san.”

“I never gave you a chance until now, Shosuro-san.” Nor did he ever give you one, but now is not the time to say that. “You have shown that you are willing to do something for me, so I gladly offer to do something for you in return. We are not going to get anywhere if we refuse to cooperate with one another. Just remember your part of the bargain – you will turn a blind eye to any encounter that I have with Yogo Yukari.”

“Of course, of course. What, do you think that I am the sort of man who would go back on his way?” That aloof and dismissive attitude makes a triumphant return as Kinnosuke centers himself once more. “Now, as you have agreed to cease pestering me about etiquette lessons, I shall be on my way.” You are left shaking your head in disbelief as your colleague departs, without another word to you. All you can do is hope that he is capable of behaving when he's in the right company. You can't afford him making snide remarks about the Matsu representatives.

With each day that passes, the snow grows heavier. What started off as inches becomes over a foot of the white powder blanketing Beiden and its surrounding lands. Heimin are hard at work every day, shovelling the snow off of the paths and sprinkling salt of the bare ground left behind, mumbling prayers as they do. They pray for a swift end to winter and for reprieve from the season's foul weather. Thankfully, your duties mean that you do not have to go outside much, leaving you in the warmth and relative comfort of the station.

Half-way through the month of Togashi, something extraordinary happens. A visitor from another clan arrives, a Unicorn courier who was brave (or foolish) enough to try and brave the foul weather. He was hammering at the Artist's Gate for hours before he was finally heard and granted access to the city. The messages that he brought with him are quickly distributed among the samurai that they are meant for – including you. Another missive from your childhood friend, the battle maiden Utaku Khulan.
>>
Bayushi Kimiko,

Forgive me for taking so long to send a respond, but I believe that I warned you that my duties might interfere with our correspondence. I appreciate your curiosity regarding where my duty has taken me, but I am afraid that this last month of summer has been far more interesting than I had hoped it would be. Of all the places that I thought I might visit with a diplomat, I did not expect that I would be led right into the jaws of the enemy – the Lion.

The accusation came after a great battle that took place during the evening, from what I understand. With the sun at their back, my Shiotome sisters were able to muster a charge that scattered the bulk of the Lion's army and forced them to withdraw. By the time the battle has ended, twilight had fallen and my clan chose to withdraw to their camp. The dead could be handled in the morning. When dawn came however, many of those who died in battle were missing from the field. The Lion were quick to accuse the Unicorn of stealing their dead. They even suggested that we might have defiled them with 'gaijin sorcery.'

The diplomat that I protect with my life was given the unenviable duty of mollifying the Lion, who threatened to continue the warfare of summer throughout autumn as well. I fear that he was unable to quench the fury of the Lion, as he was accused of being a part of the cabal responsible for the missing cadavers. A warrior of the Ikoma family even challenged him to a duel, in an effort to avenge a relative of hers who had died in that battle and who was among the missing dead. As his yōjimbō, I had no choice but to defend his honour and duel on his behalf. Though the samurai that I faced was able to strike first, the blow was glancing and I was able to strike her down with my retort. After that bout, we were no longer welcome in the court of the Lion and I can only pray that they do not continue this senseless warfare.

We live in interesting times, Kimiko-chan. I simply wish that was a good thing. What of you? I pray that your investigations have been successful and that those foolish enough to break the Emperor's law under your watch have been punished. I am eager to hear any tales that you have to share – I would appreciate the distraction. As always, I pray for your success.

Utaku Khulan.

>Wait, she has had to deal with incidents involving stolen corpses as well? A peculiar coincidence. Focus your response on your investigation into the affairs of Yogo Naofumi.
>It really is best if you don't go into too much detail. Just write to her regarding the basics of each of your investigation. No need for Khulan to know all of the dirty minutia.
>Why not focus on the upcoming visit from the Lion Clan? It is an opportunity for you to prove that you are meant to be more than just a magistrate's deputy.
>You have more important things to focus on than a letter from a woman you met while you were a student. Ignore it.
>>
>>4120180
>It's odd she's had to deal with missing corpses too, Tell her you had to handle a similar incident before passing it up the chain to those who deal with such matters. She might be served well to keep an eye out as there are too many coincidences for your liking. From there turn to your excitement about how it's your first real chance at court upcoming soon to also mollify the Lion, who have somehow come up with social subtlety. Wish her well and pray that her next encounter is less stressful and more pleasant.
>>
>>4120193
Supporting this
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>>4120193
Also supporting
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>>4120193
Il back this.
Seems like somebody is gearing up for a zombie hoard and the lion keeps giving them fresh bodies from there pointless wars.
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>>4120193
I’ll support this, though I’d hope we’re being very vague about what “passing it up the chain” entails, haha
>>
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In your response, you mention that you had experienced a similar incident, though you do not go into detail. You simply mentioned that the matter was passed on to individuals with more authority regarding such matters – you certainly don't go into any specifics regarding the black-clad priests. Nonetheless you advise Khulan to keep an eye out, as this is far too coincidental for your liking. After that, you change topic, shifting the focus of your letter to the impending visit from the Lion. You even make a coy remark about the primitive cunning that the Matsu have shown so far – hopefully Khulan will appreciate that, as one of the Lion's many foes. Before you run out of space on the letter, you wish her well and offer her your prayers. Hopefully, her future exploits will be pleasant rather than trying.

No long after you have finished writing your response, you are summoned by Yogo Orinosuke. Once more the Chief Magistrate wishes to speak with you, though he is not alone – once again, he has summoned Yogo Sadayoshi. Together they sit in the mustering hall, which is otherwise empty in the middle of the day. Once again Orinosuke wears his gleaming carapace of black metal, while the steward wears that absurd of mask of his and a flowing red kimono.

You bow humbly before them both, seating yourself only once your superior gestures for you to do so. “Yogo-sama, it is an honour. Might I ask why I was summoned?”

“The arrival of the Unicorn courier complicates matters, Bayushi-san,” Orinosuke says. “The seneschal shall elaborate.” His gaze shifts towards Sadayoshi, who clears his throat and takes in a breath to prepare himself. In that moment, you realise that these are the two most powerful men in the city right now, perhaps in this entire province. As the Chief Magistrate's favoured deputy and his intended successor, are you perhaps the third most influential samurai in Beiden right now? An interesting thought.

“Whenever a courier of the Buke caste delivers messages to a daimyō's domain, it is customary for that daimyō to allow the courier to rest in their castle or estate until they are able to move on. To do so is considered discourteous not only to the courier, but to the lord that they serve. Unfortunately the Unicorn's messenger, Ide Belgunutei, has come to us in the middle of winter.” You're shocked that he was able to say that unpleasant name without tripping up over his tongue. “This means that we must offer him our hospitality until spring arrives and weather improves.”

“The Matsu contingent are due to arrive at the end of winter, are they not? They must hope that the weather improves before the start of spring.” You make a thoughtful sound. It's a reasonable assumption to make. “Surely if it does, this messenger will leave as soon as he is able. It would be impolite for him to remain for longer than is necessary, especially after staying here for so long.”
>>
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“But is it worth the risk?” This time, it is Orinosuke who speaks. “Imagine if he stays long enough for the Lion to arrive. What if he chooses to attend court while the delegates are present? That the Crane are here is bad enough, I have no desire to keep the Lion from lashing out at two of their favourite foes instead of just the one. A traveller's lodge would be a more appropriate place to put him, to ensure that he causes no trouble.”

“Surely you understand the offence that could cause?” Orinosuke's suggestion seems to have put off Sadayoshi. “You suggest putting one of our daimyō's guests in lodgings fit only for a heimin. There is a great chance that this could offend the courier's masters.”

“Beiden does not share a border with the Unicorn,” Orinosuke replies, sharply enough that Sadayoshi flinches. “Beiden shares a border with the Lion. If the Matsu come to us, only to find that we are already providing our hospitality to both of their greatest enemies, they will not be pleased and it is their retribution that concerns me, not the Unicorn's.”

>Even if it puts the negotiation at risk, it's only right for the Scorpion to offer Ide Belgunutei the hospitality that he deserves. He should be welcome to remain for as long as he wishes, in the comfort of the daimyō's estate. (You will gain honour if you choose this option.)
>As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.
>Your superior is correct. The right thing to do is to put the messengers in lodgings where he will be out of the way and incapable of causing any disruption at the magistrate's estate. This situation is bad enough as it is, you don't need some uncouth Unicorn making it worse.
>If Ide Belgunutei was able to travel through the snow to reach Beiden, he should be able to travel through it to reach his next destination. He should only be given a day or two to rest before he is shoved out into the snow. (You will lose honour if you choose this option.)
>You are talking with the two most powerful men in Beiden. You have no right to provide any input – you should just keep your mouth shut. (By choosing this option, you will increase your strife to 7 / 8 for going against your Delusions of Grandeur, but you will gain a void point.)
>>
>>4120449
>Even if it puts the negotiation at risk, it's only right for the Scorpion to offer Ide Belgunutei the hospitality that he deserves. He should be welcome to remain for as long as he wishes, in the comfort of the daimyō's estate. (You will gain honour if you choose this option.)
I wonder if we should really be trying to prevent the Lion from lashing out at the Crane and the Unicorn... we could use it as a tool in order to keep them off balance and delay them, couldn't we? After all, if the Matsu make children of themselves, throwing a war so long as we don't directly give them a good excuse would be dishonorable in the extreme, and something that might even see intervention from higher up, whether from the Lion Clan or elsewhere.
>>
>>4120449

>>4120478

Yeah that seems like the best plan of attack support
>>
>>4120449
>>Even if it puts the negotiation at risk, it's only right for the Scorpion to offer Ide Belgunutei the hospitality that he deserves. He should be welcome to remain for as long as he wishes, in the comfort of the daimyō's estate. (You will gain honour if you choose this option.)

Anon above me makes a devious point
>>
>>4120449
>>As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.

but what if the anon above is wrong and we accidentally provoke the lion to attack us
>>
>>4120449
>As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.
>>
>>4120541
DEFINITELY possible hahahaha
I could either be proposing that we manage a skillful balance that keeps us in control in the same way they probably hope to do to us... or I could be proposing a hell of a Kimiko Moment
>>
>>4120449
As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.
>>
>>4120449
>As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.
>>
>>4120449
>As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.
>>
>>4120449
>As soon as the snow stops falling and the roads of Rokugan can be traversed once more, Ide Belgunutei should be sent on his way. If he insists on waiting for the weather to improve, then perhaps he can be relocated to a traveller's lodge instead. He mustn't get in the way.
>>
“Regarding Ide Bel-... Ide Bei-kuni-tei,” you say, struggling to say the gaijin name, “it might be wise to let him stay in the daimyō's estate until the weather shows signs of improving. As soon as it seems like the land is starting to thaw, it would be wise of us to send him on his way, or at least ask him to enjoy the hospitality of a lodge instead. Surely he understands how presumptuous it is, to arrive at a foreign court without warning at the start of winter, and demand its hospitality for the entire season.”

“What if he returns to his lord with the news that we thrust him out into the snow as soon as it was convenient for us to do so? It is likely to leave a negative impression.” Sadayoshi seems somewhat reluctant about your idea. Orinosuke is left unsatisfied by it as well.

“More importantly, there is the opportunity that he might protest and demand to remain at the estate, for long enough that he might encounter the Lion delegation. Removing him forcefully would result in a diplomatic incident that we should seek to avoid, as would allowing him to remain. Though he might have objections, it would be simpler if we placed him the lodgings of a heimin traveller from the very start.” Neither of them seem particularly happy with your suggestion. Neither of them wish to compromise. Perhaps this is an excuse for a power struggle, for each of them trying to assert their authority over Beiden in the daimyō's absence?

“In the absence of Yogo Kanzaburo, I have authority over his estate,” the steward says at last. “I am the only one with the authority to make a decision regarding this matter, so Ide Belgunutei shall remain until I deem it appropriate to ask him to depart.” The Chief Magistrate glares sharply at the acting seneschal from over the top of his menpō but for once, Sadayoshi refuses to wilt. Your words seem to have granted him the courage that he needed to stand up for himself. A tense silence follows before at last Orinosuke bows his head, conceding the matter to the courtier.

What follows that is a discussion about the finer points of the estate and how the guests of the Lion Clan should be catered to. You have little to say on the matter and before too long, you are excused to continue with your administrative duties. It becomes clear that you were summoned as a method of resolving the conflict between the two men, to shift the balance of power one way or the other. Inadvertently, it seems as though you tipped it in favour of Yogo Sadayoshi. You make a mental note to avoid Yogo Orinosuke whenever possible for the next few days, as the Chief Magistrate is unlikely to be very pleased with you at all.
>>
The days flow by and the snow continues to fall. As the month of Togashi draws to an end and the dreaded month of Fu Leng draws ever closer, you receive a missive from Bayushi Kahoru, who has completed the jūnihitoe that you asked for. When you go to meet her, she claims that she had to devote the entirety of the last thirty days to making your request a reality, and that she had no time for any other project.

Together, all of the garments that make up the jūnihitoe take up more space than all of your pre-existing wardrobe combined. There is no space for all of this in your chambers at the magistrates' station – you'll need to have servants take it to a guest room at Kanzaburo's estate, where this outfit can be stored until you are ready to wear it. First of all though, you'll need to make your next commission.

What do you wish for the second set of robes to look like?

>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.
>Show that you favor the Crane over the Lion by wearing either blue or white, as well as patterns that might appeal to their sensibilities and offend their warlike adversaries.
>Why not incorporate some of the plum purple of the Unicorn? It's a way of expressing your solidarity with this exotic clan, though it will no doubt rile up the Lion.
>The will of the Emperor comes before anything else, and you shall demonstrate this by wearing the jade green that is associated with magistrates throughout Rokugan.
>Invoke your heritage by combining the jade green of Imperial institutions with a great deal of golden embroidery and chrysanthemum motifs. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>Why not something elegant? You wish for a hikizuri, a particularly long kimono with a trailing skirt. You'll need to carry yourself with grace, if you want avoid tripping over the flowing fabric.
>A furisode. While you already own one, this long-sleeved kimono is seen as very formal and might appeal to more traditional samurai. You know from experience that its sleeves can be obstructive.
>The jūnihitoe is an extremely complicated court dress, comprised of twelve different garments that are carefully layered. It commands respect. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>>
>>4121149
>>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>>
>>4121149
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
>>4121149
>>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>>
>>4121149
>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
Lewd
>>
>>4121149
>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.

>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>>
>>4121149
>>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>>
>>4121149
>>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>>
>>4121149
>>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
I may be in the minority with this second choice, haha, but I feel like a fairly practical design does help communicate us as loyal servants of the Scorpion, which is what I do want us to have something to send the message of. Maybe we alternate between the more grandiose and self-aggrandizing junihitoe, make them think they can butter us up, then communicate the exact opposite with a black and red tomesode.
>>
>>4121149
>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
>>4121149
>>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
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This is a more typical assignment for Bayushi Kahoru. She seems somewhat glad when you describe what you wish for, clearly relieved that you didn't demand another outfit as ostentatious as the jūnihitoe. What you request is a yukata of the Scorpion's colours, some combination of black, red and gold, intended to highlight your loyalty to your clan.

Traditionally, these robes are supposed to be layered rather conservatively and secured tightly around the samurai's waist by an obi. However, the Scorpion have recently invented an obscene method of wearing the yukata. If it is layered incorrectly and worn far too loosely, even the slightest 'error' can lead to a wardrobe malfunction. The lower part of the robe might part to expose the full length of a courtier's leg when she kneels, or the upper section might slip from her shoulders and slide down her figure when she leans forward.

Your clan uses this to devastating effect. Some samurai are beguiled by the sight of such fashion and can't bring themselves to look away, while others are shocked by such an atrocious display and react with outrage. What matters is that the Scorpion who wears the yukata in this manner inevitably becomes the centre of attention, allowing her colleagues to perform all sorts of trickery without being noticed, while the eyes of the court rest on her.

The next few days after that commission are uneventful. The month of Togashi comes to an end and the month of Fu Leng begins. The weather grows even worse, covering the city with another foot of snow. The struggling heimin do their best to keep the streets clear and traversible, but it is hard to say who is winning this war between man and nature.

>You gain 0.6 koku. You currently have 7.56 koku.

Though nothing of note occurs, you are unable to ignore the fact that Shosuro Kinnosuke's attitude towards you remains the same – at least when the two of you are in public. While you are in the company of the other deputies and whenever the Chief Magistrate isn't around to overhear his words, the lean samurai always make his usual disparaging remarks about you. It has always been frustrating but now that you are supposed to work together, it has become even more difficult to bear.

>Ignore him. Whenever you must interact with him, do so with the courtesy that he denies you. Except for that one occasion, you have always managed to endure his taunts with ease. You should continue to do so.
>If he wants to verbally spar with you, so be it. This time, your insults won't be so blunt and boring. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 1 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>What does he think he's up to? You need to have another talk with him. As soon as you get the opportunity, speak with him behind closed doors about his behaviour. You thought he agreed to cooperate with you.
>>
>>4121660
>If he wants to verbally spar with you, so be it. This time, your insults won't be so blunt and boring. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 1 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4121660
>If he wants to verbally spar with you, so be it. This time, your insults won't be so blunt and boring. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 1 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4121660
>>If he wants to verbally spar with you, so be it. This time, your insults won't be so blunt and boring. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 1 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4121660
>Ignore him. Whenever you must interact with him, do so with the courtesy that he denies you. Except for that one occasion, you have always managed to endure his taunts with ease. You should continue to do so.
>>
>>4121660
>>If he wants to verbally spar with you, so be it. This time, your insults won't be so blunt and boring. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 1 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
Going with:
>If he wants to verbally spar with you, so be it. This time, your insults won't be so blunt and boring. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 1 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
I require a roll of 7d6 using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 6, 1, 1, 2, 4, 5, 3 = 22 (7d6)

>>4121821
>>
Rolled 2, 1, 1, 2, 6, 3, 2 = 17 (7d6)

>>4121821
>>
Rolled 6, 4, 6, 3, 5, 2, 3 = 29 (7d6)

>>4121821
>>
>>4121844
based third roller
>>
>>4121844
Boy, these third roll saves really are something.
>>
>>4121869
3rd times the charm.
>>
>Going with >>4121844, four successes.

“Look at her,” Kinnosuke remarks to the round-faced Yogo Tomiichi as you pass him in a corridor one evening. He speaks loud enough for you to overhear – he wants you to know what he is saying. “High and mighty as ever, not even deigning to look in our direction. How could we lowly peons ever be deserving of her gaze, Tomiichi-san?”

For once, you come to a halt. Your head swivels to face your colleague as you voice a retort. “Why, I had no idea that you had such interest in earning my attention, Shosuro-san. Should I consider myself flattered?”

Kinnosuke is taken aback for the briefest moment. It's rare that you ever respond to his mockery, especially after your last attempt to do so failed so miserably. After a few short seconds however, he has already recovered. “Flattered? Certainly not. Why, we are the ones that should feel honoured that you choose to speak with us Kimiko-san, considering how unworthy of your words we are.”

“Oh, you think so little of yourself, Shosuro-san – and so little of our colleague as well.” Your head turns and your eyes fall upon Tomiichi instead. “How do you feel, Yogo-san, knowing that your fellow deputy considers you 'unworthy?'”

Kinnosuke flinches when he realises that his words have been twisted and used against him, to offend the veiled yoriki. Tomiichi lets out a huff of frustration, the fabric hanging before his mouth billowing with his breath. “I do not understand why our superior selects such braggarts and blusterers to assist him,” he mutters, only loud enough for the two of you to hear before he storms off down the corridor, away from the two of you.

Shortly after the plump-faced samurai has departed, you look back towards Kinnosuke and meet his eyes. Though neither of you speak, you can't keep a wry smile from curving your lips and he can't keep himself from offering a bow of his head, conceding defeat. After that the two of you depart, going your separate ways.

You'll need to do this again sometime.

>You lose three points of strife. Your strife is currently at 1 / 8.

Throughout the next week, you have similar encounters with Kinnosuke, engaging in verbal bouts whenever you meet – though you are careful not to do so when the Chief Magistrate is within earshot. Whenever you have the opportunity though, you like to leave the station and give your trusty steed Haru a little exercise, riding her through the streets of Beiden. Though it is unnecessary for you to do so, you like to take Atsushi with you on these excursions. It gives you the chance to speak with him as well – as your administrative duties do not require his assistance, your encounters with the rōnin have been few and far between during the past month.
>>
“Something about this doesn't seem right, Bayushi-san,” he remarks as he rides by your side, trotting along on the back of his own pony, Momo. You were surprised when he chose to keep the pony that he rode to Yogo Naofumi's compound and back, but he seems to get along with the beast and enjoy its company. Besides, it gives him something to spend his coin on aside from sake.

“What do you mean?”

“Just seems odd for the Lion Clan to come out of the blue like this. This craftiness, it isn't like them, I said it before and I stand by my words.” The wave man frowns, his mouth framed by an unruly beard that he has chosen to grow out since the beginning of winter. If only he put some effort into taming it and did something about those stray grey bristles, it might suit him.

“Well, I suppose that they have a great deal to gain. They need opium to ease the suffering of their wounded samurai and like anyone sensible, they would rather exchange as little as possible for it. It only makes sense that they would try to take advantage of us during a moment of weakness like this.”

“That isn't the Lion's way, Bayushi-san. They meet their foes on the battlefield on equal terms, so that they can prove that they're unquestionably supreme when they win. If they possessed any sort of unfair advantage when they won, then the victory wasn't worth it. Honour and pride, that's what matters to that clan the most. It's what my father taught me and it's what my gut is telling me now.”

>Atsushi is just being paranoid and besides, he's never actually dealt with the Lion before. All he knows is anecdotes from his vagrant father. This is just what politics is like and he needs to understand that.
>This sort of behaviour is rather unusual for the Lion and doesn't fit their reputation, it's true. You'll need to keep a close eye on the delegation to figure out who the mastermind behind this is. One way or another, you'll need to deal with them.
>The question is, how did they learn about Yogo Kanzaburo's absence in the first place? Was it a fluke or an educated guess? Perhaps someone within the Scorpion might be working with the Lion and against their own clan.
>There's more to this than just typical clan politics – this is a part of something bigger. There's nothing that you can put a finger on, but just like Atsushi, you made uneasy by this whole affair. Maybe you're just being paranoid though.
>>
>>4122172
>This sort of behaviour is rather unusual for the Lion and doesn't fit their reputation, it's true. You'll need to keep a close eye on the delegation to figure out who the mastermind behind this is. One way or another, you'll need to deal with them.
>>
>>4122172
>There's more to this than just typical clan politics – this is a part of something bigger. There's nothing that you can put a finger on, but just like Atsushi, you made uneasy by this whole affair. Maybe you're just being paranoid though.
>>
>>4122172
>This sort of behaviour is rather unusual for the Lion and doesn't fit their reputation, it's true. You'll need to keep a close eye on the delegation to figure out who the mastermind behind this is. One way or another, you'll need to deal with them.
>>
>>4122172
>>This sort of behaviour is rather unusual for the Lion and doesn't fit their reputation, it's true. You'll need to keep a close eye on the delegation to figure out who the mastermind behind this is. One way or another, you'll need to deal with them.

We already know that Kanzaburo heads off to Winter Courts fairly regularly, so it doesn't take a genius to guess that he'll head off again... and as for the other two options questioning the whole thing, while it *could* be the Lion Clan getting mixed up in the various conspiracies going on, I don't really see enough reason to suspect this delegation as being driven by one. Still, though, we may be dealing with a second clan secretly backing them to try to maybe goad a war and knock the Scorpion down a peg, or some other manner of abnormal political operation.
>>
>>4122172
>>This sort of behaviour is rather unusual for the Lion and doesn't fit their reputation, it's true. You'll need to keep a close eye on the delegation to figure out who the mastermind behind this is. One way or another, you'll need to deal with them.
>>
“There is a good chance that someone within the Lion is responsible for masterminding this visit, and I have no doubt that they will be a part of the envoy. Besides, it has been decades since your father was a part of the Lion – who knows how they might have changed since then? They might have become more pragmatic since he became rōnin.” Though you don't mention it, it seems as though Atsushi has a particular view of the Lion. He seems to view them as honourable devotees of Bushidō, while others that you have spoken with see them as ruthless warmongers. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between – or both could be true? If there are multiple sects within the Lion Clan, you might be able to use that to your advantage.

“I suppose,” Atsushi grumbles. You have no doubt that he will remain ill at ease until this business with the Matsu is concluded. You try to focus on more trivial matters as you continue with your ride through the streets of Beiden, but it's difficult to take the wave man's mind off of the matter. You eventually split up – you return to the station while Atsushi makes his way to the nearest sake den instead, to drink away his doubts.

Still, one thing that you learnt from the rōnin is that even the dōshin don't have much to do during winter. All they have to do is stand guard at various posts throughout town, a duty that leaves many of them bored and distracted. On occasion, they are even drilled by magistrates in an effort to maintain their discipline throughout the season.

So over the next few days, you decide to research the situation, questioning your colleagues and some of the dōshin about the state of Beiden during winter – why withdraw everyone to the city, if it leaves Beiden with far more enforcers than is necessary? From what you are able to gather, the answer to the question is rather simple. After the collection of taxes, most of the villages in the province lack the resources necessary to house more than a single yoriki and their dōshin. Only the city has enough food and shelter to harbour the samurai and their assistants during winter.

Last year, the magistrate that you served sent you to watch over the village of Kagoki on your own, for three bitter and unpleasant months. Soshi Tetsunori told you that your colleague, Yogo Yasotaro, was needed in Beiden to 'keep order in this town.' That was nothing more than a filthy lie. He just wanted to conserve Kagoki's resources, that was all.

>Find Tetsunori. Though he is of higher status than you within the Scorpion, he is no longer your superior. You should really give him a piece of your mind, now that you realise he deceived you.
>Speak with Yogo Orinosuke about the subject. Surely there has to be a better way of handling winter than crowding almost all of the province's magistrates, deputies and dōshin into the city.
>You suppose that this is just the way things are and that it can't be helped. There's no need for any hard feelings or frustration.
>>
>>4122292
>>You suppose that this is just the way things are and that it can't be helped. There's no need for any hard feelings or frustration.
We probably would have done the same in his situation, frankly.
>>
>>4122292
>>You suppose that this is just the way things are and that it can't be helped. There's no need for any hard feelings or frustration.
we gain nothing doing the first and if the second was not the best way he'd have changed it.
>>
>>4122292
>You suppose that this is just the way things are and that it can't be helped. There's no need for any hard feelings or frustration.
>>
This isn't anything worth pestering either of the magistrates about. Soshi Tetsunori had his reasons and you won't hold that against him. As for Yogo Orinosuke, you will trust his judgement – if there was a better way of handling this, surely he would have gone about it by now. You push this matter to the back of your mind and continue with your usual duties over the following weeks.

With the passage of time, the weather reaches its very worst. The middle of the month is punctuated by a great blizzard that engulfs Beiden for several days, burying the city under a thick blanket of snow. After that blizzard has passed, it is found some of the more fragile structures in the Heimin Ward have collapsed under the weight of the snowfall. As always, it is the downtrodden who suffer the most during this bleak season. You're simply thankful that the responsibility of handling this tragic affair lies in the hands of another. You have no wish to relive the crisis management of overseeing Kagoki, after all.

Day by day, the month of Fu Leng passes you by. By immersing yourself in your bureaucratic responsibilities, you are able to distract yourself from the bitter cold outside and from worrying too much about the visitors from Shiro Matsu. Still, there are a few matters that you should settle before the month comes to an end. There's one more outfit to commission from Bayushi Kahoru once the yukata you have requested is done, and then there are other potential accessories that you might wish to acquire. While they are not entirely necessary, it all depends on the sort of impression you want to make.

So on a day when the weather is rather clear, you take the opportunity to go to the Craftsman's District once more and investigate the wares of various artisans, from jewellers to clothiers to other specialists.

>For a more regal bearing, you might wish to acquire kanzashi. These are elaborate hair ornaments used by sophisticated courtiers and geisha. They should be worn sparingly, however. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>It is possible to appear sophisticated without needing rely on these accoutrements. There is elegance wearing your long and you already possess the means to tie your hair in a variety of styles, if necessary. There's no need for kanzashi.

>Advanced cosmetics are necessary. Waxy oils, blotting papers, facial scrubs and so on. When worn appropriately, this sort of make-up bolsters a samurai's elegance. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste.
>>
>>4122292
>You suppose that this is just the way things are and that it can't be helped. There's no need for any hard feelings or frustration.
Add him to the list of vermin to exterminate
>>
>>4122535
>>It is possible to appear sophisticated without needing rely on these accoutrements. There is elegance wearing your long and you already possess the means to tie your hair in a variety of styles, if necessary. There's no need for kanzashi.
>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste.
>>
>>4122535
>>For a more regal bearing, you might wish to acquire kanzashi. These are elaborate hair ornaments used by sophisticated courtiers and geisha. They should be worn sparingly, however. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste.

This would go well with the junihitoe.
>>
>>4122535
>>For a more regal bearing, you might wish to acquire kanzashi. These are elaborate hair ornaments used by sophisticated courtiers and geisha. They should be worn sparingly, however. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku.)
>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste.
>>
>>4122561
+1
>>
>>4122535
>For a more regal bearing, you might wish to acquire kanzashi. These are elaborate hair ornaments used by sophisticated courtiers and geisha. They should be worn sparingly, however. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku

>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste since our mask is going to be covering alot of our face anyways.
>>
By the way, here's my suggestion for outfit #3: a mostly black-and-gold tomesode. While the junihitoe is our full-grandiose outfit, with which we lord our Imperial ancestry over people, and while the Scorpion-colors yukata is something we can use to play up the role of the confounding, distracting Scorpion (while actually confounding and distracting, lol), with a Lion-friendly tomesode we could go for rapprochement, playing up our role as a magistrate of Beiden who merely, honorably, wants to keep things peaceable between the clans, for the sake of the city she loyally serves.
>>
>>4122535
>>For a more regal bearing, you might wish to acquire kanzashi. These are elaborate hair ornaments used by sophisticated courtiers and geisha. They should be worn sparingly, however. (By choosing this option, you will lose 1.0 koku
>>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste since our mask is going to be covering alot of our face anyways.
>>
>>4122535
>It is possible to appear sophisticated without needing rely on these accoutrements. There is elegance wearing your long and you already possess the means to tie your hair in a variety of styles, if necessary. There's no need for kanzashi.
>You already own a little rice flour and kohl, you even have some lip paints. Do you really need more than that? Besides, sometimes a woman is at her most appealing when her face isn't hidden behind layers of powder and paste.
>>
>You lose 1.0 koku. You currently have 6.56 koku.

The kanzashi will serve a valuable purpose, while the more elaborate cosmetics would not – especially considering that much of your face will be hidden beneath some sort of mask. For this reason, you do not waste any coin on pastes and oils. Instead, you sponsor a jeweller who rewards your patronage with a collection of ornamental hair pins, combs and fabric flowers. While they are all beautiful on your own, these accessories are designed to coordinate with one another, to turn any woman's hair into a magnificent sight as long as they are arranged with the necessary finesse.

In the following days, you acquire the yukata that you requested from Bayushi Kahoru. It doesn't appear particularly skimpy or revealing at first glance, the only difference between it and an ordinary kimono is that it is looser in certain areas than you would expect. You have never considered yourself much of a temptress, but that is the view that the other clans have of Scorpion women – why not play into that a little and use that reputation to your advantage?

Still, you have one final robe to commission. What will you ask for from the samurai seamstress?

>It will proudly carry the colours and the symbolism of the Scorpion. The black, gold and crimson will convey that your loyalties lie with your clan, and that you will always put it first.
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.
>Show that you favor the Crane over the Lion by wearing either blue or white, as well as patterns that might appeal to their sensibilities and offend their warlike adversaries.
>Why not incorporate some of the plum purple of the Unicorn? It's a way of expressing your solidarity with this exotic clan of cavalrymen, though it will no doubt rile up the Lion.
>The will of the Emperor comes before anything else, and you shall demonstrate this by wearing the jade green that is associated with magistrates throughout Rokugan.

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>You wish to incite and distract. For this reason you will wear a common Scorpion design, a yukata made to be worn in a loose fashion that shows off a scandalous amount of bare skin.
>Why not something elegant? You wish for a hikizuri, a particularly long kimono with a trailing skirt. You'll need to carry yourself with grace, if you want avoid tripping over the flowing fabric.
>A furisode. While you already own one, this long-sleeved kimono is seen as very formal and might appeal to more traditional samurai. You know from experience that its sleeves can be obstructive.
>>
>>4123371
>>The will of the Emperor comes before anything else, and you shall demonstrate this by wearing the jade green that is associated with magistrates throughout Rokugan.
>>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
>>4123371
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
>>4123371
>>The will of the Emperor comes before anything else, and you shall demonstrate this by wearing the jade green that is associated with magistrates throughout Rokugan.
>>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
>>4123371
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.
We already have a jade green kimono. Let's not get too stale.

>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
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Scorpions are cute!
>>
>>4123553
Backing this.
>>
>>4123371
>>4123372
This
>>
>>4123371


>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.


>Why not something elegant? You wish for a hikizuri, a particularly long kimono with a trailing skirt. You'll need to carry yourself with grace, if you want avoid tripping over the flowing fabric.

Variety
>>
>>4123371
>Focus on the common ground that you share with the Lion by wearing black and gold, as well as a few motifs that the Matsu might respect. Make it clear that you seek to cooperate with them.
>There is no need for this robe to be elaborate. You choose a tomesode, a practical and short-sleeved kimono. Its simplicity will put more emphasis on the theme that you choose.
>>
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You consider the outfits fit for court that you already possess; a formal furisode, a grandoise jūnihitoe and a scandalous yukata. Perhaps it is time for something that is a little simpler. For that purpose, you commission a tomesode. It borders on being too plain for court but on the other hand, it has a basic elegance that no other kimono can match. As for the theme, you decide on black and gold – the two colours that the Lion and the Scorpion have in common, as a show of solidarity with your Northern neighbours.

>You gain 0.6 koku. You currently have 7.16 koku.

Just a few days into the month of the Tenth Kami, you are asked to remain after the morning briefing. Once more, Yogo Sadayoshi has joined the Chief Magistrate and sits beside him. As soon as the other deputies have departed to begin their administrative duties, Orinosuke takes the opportunity to explain the situation.

“With the Lion due to arrive at the end of this month, it would be for the best if you acquainted yourself with Yogo Kanzaburo's estate and its occupants.” The Chief Magistrate speaks in a rather disinterested fashion. You get the feeling that he would prefer this affair to be over as soon as possible. “We have arranged for you to attend court there tomorrow. Try to make a good impression – though the Matsu should be your main concern, I would rather have you upset the representatives of other families and clans.”

“What will I be expected to do while I am there, Yogo-sama?” Once you have asked that question, the seneschal takes it upon himself to answer it before Orinosuke is able to respond. The Chief Magistrate's brow furrows as he does, and you are left with the feeling that the power struggle between the two samurai is still alive and well.

“I do not expect there will be any significant issues that shall require my attention – there rarely are at this time of year. Once I have concluded the day's business, you will have the opportunity to mingle with the other courtiers and introduce yourself to them. Consider it a chance for you to familiarise yourself with them, and to see if you can earn their cooperation for the days to come. You should not focus solely on forging alliances either, Bayushi-san. Sometimes a rivalry with the right person can be just as useful.”
>>
“Though you should not take this as a chance to pursue your pre-existing rivalry with Yogo Yukari,” Orinosuke remarks sharply. “Shosuro Kinnosuke shall accompany you to ensure that you do not.”

>Honestly, this seems like a waste of your time. See if you can convince the seneschal and the magistrate that this is entirely unnecessary. You should devote your focus to the Lion, everyone else in the court is irrelevant.
>At the very least, you should try and persuade Yogo Orinosuke to allow you to go alone. Your fellow deputy will likely just make a mockery of you and ruin any chance that you have to make acquaintances.
>You aren't about to object to this opportunity. Accept the assignment and ready yourself for a day at Yogo Kanzaburo's court tomorrow. There are preparations to be made.
>>
>>4123867
>>You aren't about to object to this opportunity. Accept the assignment and ready yourself for a day at Yogo Kanzaburo's court tomorrow. There are preparations to be made.
>>
>>4123867
>You aren't about to object to this opportunity. Accept the assignment and ready yourself for a day at Yogo Kanzaburo's court tomorrow. There are preparations to be made.

He's already salty, let's not bother him.
>>
>>4123867
>>You aren't about to object to this opportunity. Accept the assignment and ready yourself for a day at Yogo Kanzaburo's court tomorrow. There are preparations to be made.
>>
>>4123867
>You aren't about to object to this opportunity. Accept the assignment and ready yourself for a day at Yogo Kanzaburo's court tomorrow. There are preparations to be made.
>>
>>4123867
>You aren't about to object to this opportunity. Accept the assignment and ready yourself for a day at Yogo Kanzaburo's court tomorrow. There are preparations to be made.
Methinks we’re plenty prepared for this.
>>
“Of course, Yogo-san.” You are not about to disagree. Yogo Sadayoshi was right, this is a perfect opportunity for you and you're not about to let it pass. You're especially not about to argue with your superior, not while he is butting heads with the steward. “I shall make the necessary preparations and when tomorrow morning comes, I shall be there.”

There isn't much need for you to say anything else. After you have bowed before the two men and turned to depart, you can hear them murmuring to each other. Though the words are too indistinct for you to hear, neither of them sound too pleased for the other. Rather than linger to find out what they are discussing, you depart to begin your administrative work for the day. Only once your duties have concluded do you have the time to think about what you will wear tomorrow.

According to what the seneschal said, it isn't likely to be a very important day – there will not be much to discuss before the session comes to an end and you will have the opportunity to speak with the other courtiers in a more casual fashion.

>You should just wear your work clothes. The black hakama, red kosode and black hanten are the unsophisticated uniform of a yoriki, designed for comfort and for travel rather than to be worn in courtly settings.
>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
>If you want to be seen as a samurai of the Scorpion first and foremost, there is no choice that is better than that loose yukata, a black and crimson garment emblazoned with the eponymous animal of your clan.
>The jade and gold jūnihitoe is guaranteed to shock whoever beholds it and leave them full of awe. However, it is also a complicated ensemble and donning it properly requires finesse, as well as the assistance of servants.

>You want to be seen as approachable – well, for a Scorpion at least. For that reason, you choose to wear the dark, lacquered wood of the domino mask that you were given at the end of your gempuku.
>Let everyone think of your as secretive and distant. That mystique of the opaque veil that you recently purchased should serve you well, and obscure the lower half of your face from sight. No one will know what you feel.

>Perhaps you will wear your hair loose. Maybe you'll tie it back in a rather simple fashion. Whatever you choose, there's no need for any extravagant hair ornaments. You can appear elegant without them.
>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.
>>
>>4124121
>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
>You want to be seen as approachable – well, for a Scorpion at least. For that reason, you choose to wear the dark, lacquered wood of the domino mask that you were given at the end of your gempuku.
>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.
>>
>>4124121
>>The jade and gold jūnihitoe is guaranteed to shock whoever beholds it and leave them full of awe. However, it is also a complicated ensemble and donning it properly requires finesse, as well as the assistance of servants.
>Let everyone think of your as secretive and distant. That mystique of the opaque veil that you recently purchased should serve you well, and obscure the lower half of your face from sight. No one will know what you feel.
>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.

Let's go full ostentation
>>
>>4124121
>>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
>You want to be seen as approachable – well, for a Scorpion at least. For that reason, you choose to wear the dark, lacquered wood of the domino mask that you were given at the end of your gempuku.
>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.

lets not flex on them yet
>>
>>4124121
>>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
>>You want to be seen as approachable – well, for a Scorpion at least. For that reason, you choose to wear the dark, lacquered wood of the domino mask that you were given at the end of your gempuku.
>>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.
Save the really formal stuff for the actual negotiations
>>
>>4124121
>If you want to be seen as a samurai of the Scorpion first and foremost, there is no choice that is better than that loose yukata, a black and crimson garment emblazoned with the eponymous animal of your clan.
>You want to be seen as approachable – well, for a Scorpion at least. For that reason, you choose to wear the dark, lacquered wood of the domino mask that you were given at the end of your gempuku.
>Perhaps you will wear your hair loose. Maybe you'll tie it back in a rather simple fashion. Whatever you choose, there's no need for any extravagant hair ornaments. You can appear elegant without them.
Let's present ourself as nonthreatening
>>
>>4124121
>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
Got try out the gift at least one time.

>Let everyone think of your as secretive and distant. That mystique of the opaque veil that you recently purchased should serve you well, and obscure the lower half of your face from sight. No one will know what you feel.

The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.
>>
>>4124121
>>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
>Let everyone think of your as secretive and distant. That mystique of the opaque veil that you recently purchased should serve you well, and obscure the lower half of your face from sight. No one will know what you feel.
>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.
>>
>>4124121
>Perhaps this is a chance to wear the red furisode, which carries a pattern reminiscent of ears of wheat woven in gold thread. This outfit given to you by Utaku Khulan doesn't seem to make any particular statement.
>You want to be seen as approachable – well, for a Scorpion at least. For that reason, you choose to wear the dark, lacquered wood of the domino mask that you were given at the end of your gempuku
>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.

Neutral and relatively casual — we’re going to need help from the other Scorpion at various points during court, quite probably, so we should be fairly friendly and open-ish at this point, so that we can make some initial connections BEFORE starting on the whirling set of multiple messages we’ll be throwing at the Lion and risking throwing the entire scorpion part of the court out of the loop too.
>>
>>4124121

>The jade and gold jūnihitoe is guaranteed to shock whoever beholds it and leave them full of awe. However, it is also a complicated ensemble and donning it properly requires finesse, as well as the assistance of servants.

Get impressed peasants
>>
>>4124121
fuck I dropped the other two in >>4124381
>Let everyone think of your as secretive and distant. That mystique of the opaque veil that you recently purchased should serve you well, and obscure the lower half of your face from sight. No one will know what you feel.


>The ornamental kanzashi will give you an air of sophistication and help you make a positive first impression. It will take some time and finesse to style it properly, but it will most certainly be worth it.
>>
Shortly after Amaterasu has risen in the East, you depart from the magistrates' station and make your way through the streets of Beiden. The furisode is as pretty as you remember, yet it is also quite restrictive. The swinging sleeves of the kimono are especially unwieldy, considering that they are over a metre in length. You are forced to hold your arms in a very particular fashion to avoid the crimson silk scrapping across the earth. Similarly, the sensation of the kanzashi resting in your hair is rather off-putting. You can feel some of the hanging ornaments sway whenever there is a breeze, while other pins, prongs and combs press tug at your hair in so many different ways. It certainly isn't comfortable.

Yet it performs its function admirably. When Shosuro Kinnosuke met you outside of your quarters to escort you to the estate, he actually spent a few moments admiring you before he averted his eyes and made one of his usual quips. Even the heimin gawk at the sight of a samurai dressed in such finery, though they bow their heads as soon as they are caught staring. If this kimono makes such a good impressive, you can't help but wonder what sort of reaction you'll get when you don the jūnihitoe.

Unfortunately, Kinnosuke wears his usual drab affair, the uniform that is granted to all of the yoriki at the station. Though you are frustrated by his lack of effort, you decide that it is best not to voice such things – not right away, at least. Instead, you allow him to accompany you to the gate to Yogo Kanzaburo's estate. You are pleasantly surprised to find that it is guarded by samurai, a pair of bushi clad in gleaming red armour and matching menpō. You need only mention your name and the warriors bow before you and open the gate, to grant you entrance into that prestigious, walled-off compound.

Though the pathway that snake through the courtyard have been cleared, the grass that surrounds them remain covered with over a foot of snow. All around that central mansion, outlying buildings can be seen – a squat, simplistic yet still elegant structure that no doubt houses the estate's servants, for example. A relatively small pagoda can be spotted as well, though it is extravagantly decorated. You have no doubt that it is a shrine of some sort, devoted to the Fortunes or perhaps to the daimyō's ancestors. There are other buildings as well and they all seem to share the same design and materials as Kanzaburo's manor – gold-painted tiles, blackened wood and pristine white stone. Such brightness is unusual for Scorpion architecture. At the very least, you expected more red.
>>
And as soon as you step inside of the looming manor, your expectations are met. The brilliance of the alabaster stone reflecting the sunlight is suddenly replaced by the sinister illumination of red silk lanterns. All of the interior's woodwork is covered in dark lacquer, leaving it difficult to make out any details. Wooden sculptures line the entrance hall, while the walls are covered with various paintings. All of this artwork shares the same motif of magnificent, fiery birds. However, these impressive beasts are not depicted as triumphant or proud. Instead, their beaks are twisted into dismal expressions of horror and despair. Some of the paintings even depict these beautiful creatures dying, falling to their death from the heavens and plunging towards the earth.

You suppose that it is meant to reflect the origins of the Yogo family. Their founder was not one of Bayushi's original followers. Instead he was a devotee of Shiba, the Kami of the mystical Phoenix Clan. Yogo wielded his magic to devastating effect against the horrors of Jigoku during the War Against Fu Leng. In fact, he earned the ire of Fu Leng himself, who placed a foul curse upon the shugenja. From that moment onward, Yogo was destined to betray the one he loved most. Horrified by this black mark that tainted his soul, he was about to commit seppuku when Bayushi appeared before him and asked him to join his clan. After all, Yogo had no love for Bayushi, so his curse would not compel him to betray the Scorpion. Swayed by the Kami's words, the shugenja turned his back on the Phoenix to serve his new master and ever since that fateful day, those who bear the Yogo name have inherited his curse.

Perhaps that's why the samurai of that family are so ornery and grim all of the time.

Shortly after your arrival, a heimin servant takes note of your arrival and leads you deeper. Thankfully, the corridors of Yogo Kanzaburo's mansion aren't anywhere near as winding and confusing as those of Seven Stings Keep. Before too long the passage opens up into a larger chamber where the atmosphere brightens significantly. Red silk lamps are replaced with gold, filling the hall with a pleasant warmth.

Yogo Sadayoshi doesn't appear to be present yet. There are multiple samurai either standing around or seated on cushions arranged at the edges of the hall, while a handful of heimin kneel on the bare floor near the entrance, keeping their heads bowed and almost grovelling. They are likely petitioners, here to have their troubles heard by the seneschal. In one corner of the room, a tall and slender woman is dressed in a flowing kimono of red and white, her entire face concealed by a kitsune mask of the same colours. In her hands, she clutches a shamisen with which she plays a poignant melody. Elsewhere, a scandalously clad Scorpion wearing a mask of silver filigree speaks with a fellow who looks utterly out of place in his outfit of leather, fur and plum purple wool.
>>
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Then there is the woman who approaches you. She is quite short, with such a delicate and pale face as well as shockingly blue eyes. The exquisite kimono that she wears is the exact samurai colour, embroidered near the bottom with white in such a fashion that it looks as though the ocean's waves are rolling across the fabric. She has left her snowy mane loose and flowing freely, though you have no doubt that it is dyed – she is far too young for her hair to be that colour naturally. The young courtier wears a pleasant smile on her lips, just faint and demure enough that it cannot be taken as anything but an expression of interest.

Before she speaks, she dips her head in a respectful and formal greeting, showing you the appreciation that you deserve as a stranger. “Good morning,” she chirps. Her voice is airy and only just audible. “I do not believe that I have seen you attend court before today. I make a note to remember the more fashionable samurai that enter Yogo-dono's domain, you see.” Her tone is playful, in a genuine and friendly way.

“Please, know me as Bayushi Kimiko,” you reply, bowing in return before the representative of the Crane. Behind her you can see her protector, a severe-looking man clad in a rather plain blue and grey kimono with a daishō resting by his side. Though he is seated, he seems to be watching the encounter closely, with a hawk-like stare. “Might I ask for the pleasure of knowing your name?”

“You may call me Kakita Akirako,” she says, though her eyes lit up the moment that she heard your name. “I am glad to finally make your acquaintance, Bayushi-san. You see, my cousin told me of his encounter with you – I wonder, do you remember Kakita Yoshikazu, from Seven Stings Keep?”

“Of course Kakita-san,” you reply, recalling that pleasant conversation that you had with a representative of the Crane Clan, on the day when you were given your duty. He was delightful company, and his cousin seems like she will be no different. “How could I ever forget a wit as sharp as his?”

“I must say, he was certainly impressed with yours, Bayushi-san! In fact, he was somewhat sad that he did not see you again after that. That was certainly the impression that he left me with.”

You're actually a little touched by that. You weren't aware that you had such an impact on the courtier. “Sadly, my duty has prevented me from returning to Seven Stings Keep. Though that castle is only a day's march away from here, I am afraid that the Chief Magistrate would frown on me abandoning my responsibilities in Beiden.”
>>
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“I must admit, you do not have the manners that I would expect of a yoriki, though I can see that your companion carries their uniform.” Akirako turns to offer a smile towards Shosuro Kinnosuke, who has managed to keep his mouth shut so far. He offers a stiff bow of his head in return. “Though that makes wonder, what sort of business brings you to Yogo Kanzaburo's court? I must confess, I am quite curious.”

>You are here regarding the impending visit from the Lion Clan, to assist the acting seneschal with the negotiations. She must have noticed that the estate has been rather under-manned since the daimyō left for this year's Winter Court at Kyūden Asako.
>Try to skirt around the subject without drawing Akirako's attention to the fact that you are trying to avoid answering her question. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Be blunt. She has no right to stick her nose in your business and you would prefer it if she didn't pester you again. With that, you will excuse yourself and wait for Yogo Sadayoshi to arrive – creating a rivalry with the Crane representative might serve you well.
>>
>>4124444
>Try to skirt around the subject without drawing Akirako's attention to the fact that you are trying to avoid answering her question. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)

i would rather not the crane interfering
>>
>>4124444
>Try to skirt around the subject without drawing Akirako's attention to the fact that you are trying to avoid answering her question. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4124444

>Try to skirt around the subject without drawing Akirako's attention to the fact that you are trying to avoid answering her question. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)

3 successes, 7 dice? ez
>>
>>4124486
you just fucking jinxed us
>>
>>4124496
my dick is too big to roll low
>>
>>4124520
let us decide that if you roll low on this next roll your dick is small
>>
>>4124444
>Try to skirt around the subject without drawing Akirako's attention to the fact that you are trying to avoid answering her question. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
You really went all out on this one, Fudo, color me impressed.
>>
>>4124444
>You are here regarding the impending visit from the Lion Clan, to assist the acting seneschal with the negotiations. She must have noticed that the estate has been rather under-manned since the daimyō left for this year's Winter Court at Kyūden Asako.
>>
Going with:
>Try to skirt around the subject without drawing Akirako's attention to the fact that you are trying to avoid answering her question. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
I require a roll of 7d6 using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 1, 1, 5, 3, 4 = 24 (7d6)

>>4124772
cmon dice
my dick size depends on this
>>
Rolled 2, 1, 2, 4, 5, 4, 3 = 21 (7d6)

>>4124772
>>
Rolled 3, 3, 5, 2, 5, 5, 4 = 27 (7d6)

>>4124772

>>4124786
Congrats your dick size adequate
>>
>Going with >>4124929, three successes.

The best way to avoid telling the truth is by saying something else that is true. Misdirection can be a valuable tool. “Yogo Sadayoshi believes that I have promise when it comes to politics and that I am more suited to the court than the streets of Beiden. He has invited me here today as a demonstration of my capabilities in court and I must say, I am honoured that he is willing to grant me this opportunity.”

“Congratulations, Bayushi-san!” A brilliant smile sweeps across Akirako's face. A subtle curve of the lips might be acceptable, but a grin like that isn't appropriate for a samurai – yet she genuinely seems overjoyed for you. Realising her impropriety, Akirako lets out a little gasp and reaches up to cover her mouth with a hand. “Oh, forgive my lack of grace. I am just so pleased to hear that you have the opportunity to rise from your current station. Samurai with the sophistication that you possess should not be given a task as... artless as herding the common rabble.”

“It is an honour to serve Yogo Orinosuke,” you state, even though you agree with her. You are not going to fall into the trap of whining about your superior, especially while Shosuro Kinnosuke is present. All he agreed to do was turn a blind eye when you speak to Yogo Yukari. Otherwise, you are fair game. “I have nothing ill to say about the work I perform on the Chief Magistrate's behalf. But what of your own duty, Kakita-san? How do you feel about the hospitality of Yogo-dono's estate, and the duty that you have been assigned by your own clan?”

“I adore it, Bayushi-san,” Her smile has cooled to something more socially acceptable, though it is still warm. “It is a pleasure to enjoy the company of the fine samurai that the Scorpion has to offer. You have such keen minds, and such a fascinating interpretation of fashion. There are few places in Rokugan where I would rather be than here, though I admit, this estate has a tendency to feel a little empty whenever Yogo Kanzaburo departs on his Winter Court escapades.”

>There's nothing wrong with continuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)
>Once again, you have the opportunity to impress a samurai of the Crane Clan with your incredible wit. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>Take this chance to observe Akirako a bit. Learn how she behaves, try to understand any weaknesses that she might possess. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Sentiment skill of 1. You will need to keep three successes.)
>You have nothing else to say to her. Excuse yourself and wait for today's session to begin.
>>
>>4124933
>>Once again, you have the opportunity to impress a samurai of the Crane Clan with your incredible wit. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
The more careful side of me says that four successes on a three ring is going to need either luck or a void point... but the roleplayer side of me says that fuck it, this is definitely what Kimiko would go for.
>>
>>4124933
>>Once again, you have the opportunity to impress a samurai of the Crane Clan with your incredible wit. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4124933
>Once again, you have the opportunity to impress a samurai of the Crane Clan with your incredible wit. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 0 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4124933
>>Take this chance to observe Akirako a bit. Learn how she behaves, try to understand any weaknesses that she might possess. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Sentiment skill of 1. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4124933
>There's nothing wrong with continuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)
You goddamn schemers
>>
>>4124933
There's nothing wrong with continuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)
>>
>>4124933
>There's nothing wrong with continuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)
>>
>>4124955
7 dice have an average success rate if 3.5 (i.e. 3-4). With best of three we have a pretty good chance of succeeding. I just won't be able to take the second hand cringe or failing at this.
>>
>>4125061
Same, lmfao, but I also feel like Kimiko would be the type to shove herself into the blender facefirst by overestimating her own skill. After all, she DOES have a love for wordplay, and she DOES have an overestimation of herself, hahaha
>>
>>4125061
>>4125190
We do have the void point at least. Though that roll for Kinnosuke was just really RNG messing with us
>>
>>4124933
>There's nothing wrong with continuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)

I think our strife's at a pretty acceptable level right now, establishing good connections is a better opportunity.
>>
>>4124933
>There's nothing wrong with continuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)
>>
Going with:
>There's nothing wrong with c+ontinuing with the small talk. It's a chance for you to befriend Kakita Akirako and make an ally out of her. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.)
I require a roll of 6d6 using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep two successes.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 2, 4, 2, 2, 4, 4 = 18 (6d6)

>>4125355
You cowards!
>>
Rolled 3, 6, 3, 3, 6, 1 = 22 (6d6)

>>4125355
>>
Rolled 5, 5, 6, 2, 6, 6 = 30 (6d6)

>>4125355
>>
>>4125388
Maybe Kimiko has Crane blood in her or something, she seems to get along with them very well.
>>
>>4125388
holy shit
>>
>>4125388
3rs roller is the high roller.
>>
>>4125355
might be a good time to learn about the other samurai in court
>>
>Going with >>4125388, five successes.

“I admit, I am bewildered by the fact that your clan didn't choose to send you to this year's Winter Court, Kakita-san. You carry yourself with such grace and dignity, and your sense of fashion is exquisite. You must tell me who wove that stunning kimono of yours.” It's your turn to smile, although it isn't your usual smug smirk. Instead you use that expression to convey your curiosity and fascination, as you work to make Akirako the subject of the conversation.

“Oh, that would be another cousin of mine!” Another? How closely related are the samurai of the Crane Clan, exactly? “You see, the Kakita family follows in the footsteps of our founder. Each of us seeks to excel at an area of artistry, to achieve perfection and be without equal. From storytelling to swordsmanship, from singing to sewing! In particular, the samurai that I acquired this robe from is a devoted clothier who can do some truly wonderful things with silk. Yet I have not thanked you for all of your kind words, Bayushi-san! It is always a joy to meet someone who has appreciation for the finer things.”

“No, no, the honour is mine,” you assure her. “Though since you have spoken of the specialisation that your family engages in, you have left me curious – what field is it that you seek to excel at?” Your question causes Akirako's smile to falter somewhat, but she seems to understand that you meant no harm with your question. After pausing for a moment's thought, she answers you.

“My passion is ikebana, or flower arrangement. I believe that everything has its intended place in this world and that through the way of flowers, I am able to shape a little bit of Ningen-dō and bring out its predetermined beauty. Unfortunately, I am not as adept at this school of art as a scion of Kakita should be, so it remains a pastime rather than my sole purpose. Instead, I gladly perform the duty of representing the Crane Clan in the glorious province of Beiden! It is a much more constructive use of my talents.”

There is a trace of sadness, perhaps even a little frustration in Akirako's smile. Whether she means to or not, she expresses her desires quite clearly. The snowy-haired courtier would rather be in a garden in the Crane lands, tending to beautiful blossoms. She has no desire to be stuck here for the rest of her life, surrounded by masks and intrigue.

“I am certain that you must be able to do wonderful things with flowers,” you remark, seeking to bolster her wavering mood. “Really, you must show me what you are capable of some time. I would adore the opportunity to witness the artistry of a Kakita for myself!” That immediately causes the Crane to brighten, her expression lighting up once more. The conversation continues like this for some time, with the two of you happily discussing all sorts of topics and delighting in one another's company.
>>
Kakita Akirako is so engrossed in the conversation that she almost fails to notice the seneschal's arrival. You quietly point out Sadayoshi as he enters the hall and the Crane falls quiet, reluctantly putting an end to your conversation. She's even pouting a little – she really did enjoy speaking with you, perhaps even more than you did with her. Did you just beat a courtier of the Crane Clan at her own game?

You take your place in the court and like everyone else, you bow your head when the acting steward passes you. Once Sadayoshi arrives at his zabuton at the head of the chamber and seats himself, the rest of you do the same, silently lowering yourselves to rest on your respective cushions. Even the musician in the corner has put a stop to her song, to bear witness to the courtly proceedings.

First of all, the daimyō's spiritual advisor is called forward. Yogo Mushanokoji is a rather fragile old man, with much of his bald and withered head hidden behind an opaque veil of black silk. He begins by listing the various portents that he had observed late in the night and early in the morning, omens that might shed light on what is to come. According to his observations, the Fortunes Tamon, Agashiko and Jizo are in need of appeasement – the Lucky Gods of the North Wind, Reflection and Mercy respectively. Additionally, the elemental balance of the province is imperfect. Earth has become weak while air has grown strong, and the people of Beiden must ground themselves to avoid surrendering to whimsy and distraction.

You really aren't sure if there's any truth in this soothsaying.

Regardless, Sadayoshi thanks Mushanokoji for his observations and asks him to see to the mollification of the Fortunes. Once the shugenja is dismissed, the gunsō of the estate garrison is called forward. While Bayushi Shunmyo is not particularly tall, he is certainly broad, almost built like a barrel. His gleaming red menpō possesses a horsehair moustache and matches the lacquered armour that he wears. His report is straightforward and brief, listing all of the incidents (or lack thereof) that occurred during the previous day and where each of the samurai in the estate's garrison will be stationed today.

Once the court priest and the estate gunsō have provided their statements, the steward turns his attention to the petitioners. Today, it seems as though there are no samurai among them, only lowly heimin who have come to plead for the daimyō's support. Pleas for shelter after the recent blizzard left their homes uninhabitable, petitions for patronage after their previous sponsors withdrew their support and so on. One by one, Yogo Sadayoshi settles each case and at the end of each decision, he consults the samurai of the court, asking them to voice their objections if they have any. Unsurprisingly, there are none. It takes an hour but eventually, the last of the suppliants is dealt with.
>>
Sadayoshi told you that it was likely to be a rather uneventful session and he didn't lie. Once the matters of the heimin have been resolved, they are dismissed from the chamber and the hearing comes to an end. Once again, the samurai in attendance are free to mingle and speak with another as they desire, giving you the opportunity to introduce yourself to one of the courtiers. Who will you approach first, though?

>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
>Yogo Mushanokoji. The daimyō's spiritual advisor and the court priest, an elderly shugenja. He seems rather preoccupied with spiritual matters but he has been around long enough that he might have some wisdom to offer you.
> Bayushi Shunmyo. The red-clad gunsō oversees the garrison of the estate. It's his duty to know what goes on around here and it should be rather easy to get information on him, thanks to how forthright he is.
>Kakita Akirako. You'd like to go back to talking with her, especially since you've already made such a positive impression. There's more that she might be able to tell you. Her yōjimbō remains rather steely and grim however.
>Shosuro Kinnosuke. He has excused himself to go and speak with a servant, but you're curious about what he is up to. It's best if you keep an eye on your yōjimbō, and perhaps remind him that he shouldn't wander off like that.
>The fellow clad in leather, fur and plum purple wool. This must be Ide Belguntei, the courier of the Unicorn Clan who arrived during the start of winter. You might as well have a chat with him while he's still here – he appears quite bored.
>The Scorpion woman wearing the domino mask made of silver filigree and the scandalous black yukata. It has to be even more revealing than yours. You would like to find out who she is, and what her purpose here is.
>The musician clad in red and white, with the kitsune mask. She has returned to her performance, filling the court's air with rather pleasant music. Even though her mask obscures all of her face, you have a sinking feeling that you know exactly who she is.
>>
>>4126040
>The Scorpion woman wearing the domino mask made of silver filigree and the scandalous black yukata. It has to be even more revealing than yours. You would like to find out who she is, and what her purpose here is.
>>
>>4126040
>>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present
>>
>>4126040
>>The Scorpion woman wearing the domino mask made of silver filigree and the scandalous black yukata. It has to be even more revealing than yours. You would like to find out who she is, and what her purpose here is.
>>
>>4126040
>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
At some point we should probably yell Kinnosuke that the musician is Yukari. Maybe after we leave
>>4125388
I can not recall a five (kept) success roll at any other time in this quest. And not even on one of out 7d6 skills.
>>
>>4126040
>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
>>
>>4126095
*tell Kinnosuke. Big difference there.
>>
>>4126095
There was the special seven-successes-on-7d6 roll back in Session 2.
>>
>>4126040

>The Scorpion woman wearing the domino mask made of silver filigree and the scandalous black yukata. It has to be even more revealing than yours. You would like to find out who she is, and what her purpose here is.
>>
>>4126095
Yeah probably our 2nd best roll in the entire quest so far
>>
I'll give it another hour for the tie to be broken between these two options:
>The Scorpion woman wearing the domino mask made of silver filigree and the scandalous black yukata. It has to be even more revealing than yours. You would like to find out who she is, and what her purpose here is.
>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
If it isn't, then I'll roll a die to decide it.
>>
>>4126280
>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
>>
>>4126280
Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
>>
>Yogo Sadayoshi. Now that his business is concluded, now is the time to have a talk with him about your role in the coming negotiations. It's also a chance to speak with him without Yogo Orinosuke being present.
>>
You decide to approach the acting seneschal himself, now that today's session has come to an end. Once you arrive in front of Yogo Sadayoshi, you grant him a humble bow, bending at the waist to grant him the respect that he deserves. In return the man lowers his head before you, the absurd nose of his mask dipping with the gesture.

“Bayushi-san,” he begins, “forgive me if this was a rather dull occasion. The court is much livelier during autumn or spring, or on any occasion when the daimyō is present. During the dead of winter and with Yogo Kanzaburo absent, there is little to manage other than the petty issues of heimin. So I can assure you, the duty of acting seneschal is not as exciting and respectable as it may have first seemed.”

“Regardless of how interesting it was, I have already has the opportunity to introduce myself to a rather interesting guest,” you reply. “Kakita Akirako is a rather pleasant person to speak with, much like her cousin in Seven Stings Castle.”

“Of course she is. She is a diplomat of the Crane Clan, she has been trained to be as lovely and gentle as possible. Her purpose is to become adored and trusted by everyone that she meets, to lure others into standing by her side whenever she is threatened. This is the way of her clan – they have transformed friendship into a weapon that is just as dangerous as the largest army that the Lion can bring to bear. So I invite you to enjoy her company, Bayushi-san. Speak with Akirako as much as you like. Just do not let your fondness for her influence your decisions.”

“I shall not, Yogo-sama.” You bow your head before Sadayoshi. Whenever you speak with Akirako you will need to remember his words. “But what of the Lion Clan? How do you plan on keeping their delegates here? When will they arrive, and when do you expect Yogo Kanzaburo will return with his entourage?”

“The missive that the courier delivered said that the Lion wish to arrive on the twenty-fifth day of this month,” Sadayoshi replies. “As for the daimyō, it was estimated that he should return on the tenth day of the month of Amaterasu.” Your stomach drops. That's almost two weeks, how are you supposed to keep anyone occupied for that long? “I imagine that we will need to entertain hypothetical proposals regarding the exchange of opium and crops. We might even suggest deals that the daimyō might find agreeable, without committing to them. Other than that? We shall have to resort to amusements – games, performances and so on.”

“Yogo-sama, what is my role in all of this?” That is what has you confused. You understand that the estate is lacking the majority of its courtiers, but how does Yogo Sadayoshi believe that you can make up for their absence?
>>
“As the acting seneschal, I must assume the responsibilities of our daimyō in his absence. During slow days such as this, I am able to perform all of these duties adequately. Once the Lion arrive, it will not be so simple. You will need to carry out some of my duties in my stead and attend to our guests, Bayushi-san. Your first task will be to meet them at the Lion's Gate and escort them to this estate. After that, you will be responsible for ensuring that their needs are met and that they are satisfied with our hospitality.”

“I will not disappoint you, Yogo-sama. I shall do whatever my duty requires of me.”

“That is all that I ask of you, Bayushi-san. Though I do have a question unrelated to that... What are your views concerning the Chief Magistrate, Yogo Orinosuke? I would like to know what you think of your superior.”

>The truth is that you view him in a positive light. He is your mentor, he is helping you grow and he is supporting you on the path to greatness. Without him, Beiden would be left in a state of chaos. Only he is able to keep the peace in a city like this.
>It is time for you to admit that you aren't fond of him. He is a sadistic and manipulative master who exploits everyone who serves him. It is clear to you that he cares for nothing other than himself and his legacy. A man like him shouldn't have the position of Chief Magistrate.
>Though you dislike the Chief Magistrate, it wouldn't be wise to admit that to Sadayoshi. Convince him that you are fond of the man. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>Even though you admire and look up to Orinosuke, perhaps you shouldn't admit that. Convince Sadayoshi that you dislike your liege and see how he reacts. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>Avoid speaking about the subject. You don't want to involve yourself in their power struggle. All he needs to know is that Yogo Orinosuke is your direct superior, therefore your duty compels you to serve him, even if it means dying for the Chief Magistrate.
>>
>>4126530
I have mixed opinions on the man. He's very much what a Scorpion should be an adept schemer with an eye for detail and a keen mind with a sharp wit. Yet he's also been needlessly caustic at times and vicious to a point. He said I was a cut above what is usually sent here to keep order, as it's normally the those who pass the bare minimum. I likewise have to say I find his positioning here, especially with some connections I know him to have, odd.

He's someone who's position, authority, and acumen I respect. However I am not personally fond of the man.
>>
>>4126530
Yeah I can back this >>4126541

If forced to pick between admire or dislike I'd pick admire. He's an effective and capable boss. He may not be perfect, but no one is.

If this weren't from Kimiko's point of view it would definitely be admire, but him wanting to hobble her dreams of greatness by making her his successor probably loses him a lot of points in her book.
>>
>>4126541
This. As >>4126566 said, Kimiko would like him more if he didn't directly admit to stifling her ambitions.
>>
>>4126541
>>4126566
I can agree with expressing these sentiments.
>>
>>4126541
Supporting this
>>
“He is everything that a Scorpion is meant to be,” you begin. “His mind is keen and his wit is sharp. The man is skilled at exploiting opportunities and manipulating circumstances to benefit him. However, the ideal Scorpion is not necessarily the ideal superior. He is quite caustic towards those that serve him, perhaps even vicious at times. He has made the remark that I am of a higher calibre than most of the yoriki that he is given and in turn, I find it odd that he occupies the station of Chief Magistrate, especially knowing some of the connections that he has.”

“From what I understand, he shares your humble beginnings, Bayushi-san.” The steward folds his hands in his lap as he explains. “Unlike you, he does not even come from any bloodline of note. He has risen to his current position solely through a combination of guile and good fortune, yet I fear that it is not enough to satisfy him. Yogo-dono has told me before that he has become more arrogant as he has aged, that he seeks power beyond that which his station grants him.”

“Forgive me for mentioning it, but I have noticed that there has been... tension between the two of you, Yogo-sama.” Rather than immediately respond, Sadayoshi watches you closely from over the top of his menpō. You fear that you have might have made a misstep by raising this subject, but eventually the seneschal replies.

“It is an extension of his struggle with Yogo Kanzaburo himself. Orinosuke has entrenched himself in his position and has become too valuable for the daimyō to have him replaced. At this moment, there is no one competent who might serve as his successor. Should he die or retire, the entire province would be in shambles for months, or more likely years. He knows this and seeks to exert influence in situations where he should have none.”

“Yet he has been grooming me to serve as his replacement once he retires,” you remark. In response, Sadayoshi simply chuckles.

“Is that what he has been telling you? I believe that is nothing more than a method of keeping you in line, Bayushi-san. Should any competent candidate for the position emerge, Yogo-dono would gladly see Orinosuke retire and replaced with a more cooperative Chief Magistrate. While I believe that he considers you a valuable subordinate, I have my doubts that Orinosuke is preparing you to succeed him.”

“Then might I ask why I am involved in this affair at all, Yogo-sama?” You feel yourself slowly becoming exasperated. At times, the machinations of your clan are bewildering.
>>
“Both of us wished for your involvement, Bayushi-san. I have no doubt that Orinosuke seeks to have influence over the outcome of the Lion's visit and through you, he will seek to enact his will – whatever that might be. As for me... I know that Yogo Kanzaburo wishes to send you to Kyūden Bayushi, so that you might serve in its court. Not only will this endear him to the leadership of our clan, but it will deny Orinosuke one of his most prized servants. This is an opportunity to prove that you are more suited for politics than law enforcement, and demonstrate that the Chief Magistrate has no valid reason to keep you in his service.”

So that's it. In the eyes of the daimyō and his loyal minion, you are nothing more than a prize that be wrenched out of Orinosuke's grasp. In the eyes of the Chief Magistrate, you are nothing more than a tool, at least if Sadayoshi is telling the truth. You have no wish to be involved in this self-destructive intrigue, you are meant for more than this.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 2 / 8.

“Is there a reason why you are telling me all of this, Yogo-sama?” You do your best to remain polite in the company of the acting seneschal, though your patience is sorely tested.

“When we met at the end of autumn, you told the Chief Magistrate that you would rather serve the Scorpion in court than keep the peace in a city such as Beiden. A bold move – I must admit, I found your courage to be quite inspiring.” Sadayoshi clears his throat shortly after that statement. “Should you perform adequately, you shall be able to leave Orinosuke's service forever – to climb the ladder in a lord's court, as I have. So tell me, do you still wish for a life in politics?”

>Yes. It was what you were raised for, what you were trained for. You were never meant to serve as a magistrate's deputy. If this man is offering you the chance to liberate yourself from the Chief Magistrate's dominion, you will gladly take it.
>No. There is still more that you can learn from Yogo Orinosuke and you are bound to serve him by duty, by the one tenet of Bushidō that the Scorpion Clan values. Though you might wish to engage in politics, now is not the appropriate time for that.
>Admit your distaste for the internal machinations of the Scorpion. Though you wish to engage in politics, you seek to pit your wits against the Lion or the Crane, rather than wrestle with other Scorpion in power struggles within the clan.
>Point out how absurd this is. Sadayoshi just said that Orinosuke is the only man capable of maintaining law and order in Beiden, yet he wishes to weaken him by denying him one of his most prized servants. This plot is self-defeating.
>There is nothing to be gained from sharing your desires with this schemer. It just gives him knowledge about you that he can take advantage of, that he can exploit for his own personal gain. You won't give Sadayoshi the chance.
>>
>>4127444
>>Yes. It was what you were raised for, what you were trained for. You were never meant to serve as a magistrate's deputy. If this man is offering you the chance to liberate yourself from the Chief Magistrate's dominion, you will gladly take it.
To be honest both career path are fine with me, the important part is getting out of Orinosuke's grasp
>>
>>4127444
>Admit your distaste for the internal machinations of the Scorpion. Though you wish to engage in politics, you seek to pit your wits against the Lion or the Crane, rather than wrestle with other Scorpion in power struggles within the clan.
What glory and greatness is there to petty struggles with your cousins? We have imperial blood and we should represent the scorpion in imperial affairs.

At least that's what I feel like Kimiko would think, though I'm unsure if it would be wise to say such things out loud.
>>
>>4127444
>>Yes. It was what you were raised for, what you were trained for. You were never meant to serve as a magistrate's deputy. If this man is offering you the chance to liberate yourself from the Chief Magistrate's dominion, you will gladly take it.
>>
>>4127444
>Admit your distaste for the internal machinations of the Scorpion. Though you wish to engage in politics, you seek to pit your wits against the Lion or the Crane, rather than wrestle with other Scorpion in power struggles within the clan.
>>
>>4127444
>Yes. It was what you were raised for, what you were trained for. You were never meant to serve as a magistrate's deputy. If this man is offering you the chance to liberate yourself from the Chief Magistrate's dominion, you will gladly take it.
If we're not going to replace Orinosuke moving out of Beiden seems to give Kimiko more options career wise
>>
“Of course, Yogo-sama. I would be honoured to serve the Scorpion in the castle of a daimyō, rather than on the streets of a city.” Most importantly, it's a chance for you to escape from the Chief Magistrate's grasp. Orinosuke has no right to dictate your future, especially if he has no intention to make you his successor.

“Excellent, though I must warn you that it is a long and arduous climb. Beneath the daimyō, there is the karō, his seneschal who handles his affairs. There are also the hatamoto, the daimyō's advisors, each of whom is responsible for a separate portfolio. Each hatamoto has bugyō, commissioners that are assigned to specific tasks, and these bugyō have authority over hikan, the lowest courtiers of an estate. You will have to deal with favouritism, deceit and a great deal of competition if you seek to make your way up the ladder, to serve as either an advisor or perhaps even a karō yourself.”

“Yet you are only the acting seneschal Yogo-sama,” you remark. “Once the governor returns with his entourage, you will return to your usual place in this hierarchy. Might I ask what role that is?” Upon hearing your question, Sadayoshi's brow furrows.

“... I serve as a bugyō to Yogo Kanzaburo's political advisor. My specific assignment is to serve as a liaison between this estate and the provincial magistrate. I assure you that it is an important position, especially considering the authority that Yogo Orinosuke wields in Beiden.” He turns his nose up, a gesture that is exaggerated by his comical mask. You suspect that he is trying to convince himself of his 'importance,' just as much as he is trying to convince you. “Ah, Shosuro-san. It is good to see that you have returned to Kimiko's side. A competent yōjimbō never abandons their charge, you know.”

You glance over your shoulder to see that Kinnosuke has returned and is straightening himself out. “I was never far from her Yogo-sama, I can assure you.” Your colleague's voice is rather dry, perhaps a little strained. You can tell that he's trying very hard to not make one of his usual scathing remarks.

“Of course. Bayushi-san and I were simply discussing the impending visit and what we shall need to accomplish while our guests are here. Thankfully, you will not need to do much at all – simply watch over your charge and ensure that she carries out her assignment diligently and dutifully. You will not even need say a word. Is this not a straightforward appointment, Shosuro-san? It should not be a challenge for a samurai of your calibre.”

“Mm,” is all that Kinnosuke says. Though his face is hidden behind the eerie porcelain mask that he wears, you are able to see that your yōjimbō's eyes have narrowed. He doesn't seem to appreciate Sadayoshi's wit, especially not when he has been told not to retaliate.
>>
At that moment, the three of you are approached by a fourth. You recognise this samurai as Bayushi Shunmyo, the gunsō of the estate. Though he does not physically loom over you, his broad physique still grants him a rather imposing presence. Wordlessly he bows before you and Kinnosuke, a gesture that both of you return, before his attention is fixed on Sadayoshi. “Yogo-san,” he grunts, “we must have words regarding your 'guests.'” Though Shunmyo's scarlet menpō covers much of his face, the crease in his brow gives you the impression that his mouth must be stuck in an almost permanent frown.

“Again?” You can hear a note of frustration in Sadayoshi's voice. “And need I remind you to use the correct honorific? I am the acting seneschal, Bayushi-san.”

Acting seneschal. Your authority over this estate is ephemeral. Your position as bugyō is not. Now, do you acknowledge the possibility that your 'visitors' might be coming here to perform reconnaissance?” There is no particular inflection in Shunmyo's tone. His voice is gravelly and uncaring at all times, refusing to express any sort of emotion. After his initial greeting, his attention has been focused solely on Yogo Sadayoshi.

Do you wish to hear what the gunsō has to say, or will you find another conversation to join?

>Kakita Akirako has gone with her yōjimbō to speak with the musician. Though the woman in the kitsune mask continues to perform, it seems as though she is able to speak with the Crane diplomat at the same time. A woman of many talents.
>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.
>You will remain to hear what Bayushi Shunmyo has to say to Yogo Sadayoshi. It's quite likely that the guests they are speaking about are the Lion Clan. It might be worth learning how the gunsō feels about them, and what his take on them is.
>You can't see Yogo Mushanokoji anywhere. It appears as though the court shugenja has left and it might be wise for you to do the same. There is nothing more for you to learn here, there are no alliances that worth forging, so you should take your leave.
>>
>>4127580
>>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.
>>
>>4127580
>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.
>>
>>4127580
>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.
>>
>>4127580
>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.
>>
>>4127580
>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.
>>
>>4127580

>The barely-dressed Scorpion with the silver filigree mask appears to be in the middle of the conversation with the guest from the Unicorn Clan. Judging from the look on his case, he seems to be quite uncomfortable in her company.

yes we can make him even more uncomfortable

maybe he'll be encouraged to leave sooner
>>
“Thank for your time, Yogo-sama.” Offering one last bow to the seneschal, you depart to let him continue his conversation with the gunsō in peace, without any disruption. After you have distanced yourself from the pair, you can hear Kinnosuke mutter a few words.

“I loathe that man. He squirms like a worm whenever he speaks with Orinosuke but whenever he speaks with anyone else, he acts as though he is somehow superior.”

“I would not say that he behaves in such a way around me,” you reply. Ever since you first met him in the magistrates' station, he has been rather reasonable in your company. While he seemed to cower before Orinosuke to begin with, since then he seems to have grown more confident in the Cheif Magistrate's company. Your impression of Sadayoshi is quite different from Kinnosuke's, it seems.

“That must be because he believes he can get something out of you, Bayushi-san. That is what his kind are always like, only using charm and good manners when they need to.” Behind his mask, your yōjimbō scoffs. You decide not to dignify his words with a response.

Instead, you approach a pair of samurai who you haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting. The woman during the majority of the talking is clad in a terribly loose yukata, its black silk decorated a swarm of crickets taking flight, embroidered into the fabric with silver thread. Though her mask is similar to yours, it is far more delicate, an intricate ornament of silver wire that curls around her face in all sorts of ornate patterns. She seems quite engrossed in her conversation with her companion, leaning forward and seemingly not noticing how her kimono has flowed off of her shoulders and hangs loosely about her arms, showing off a great deal of her cleavage to the poor Unicorn. Her skin is shockingly pale, no doubt powdered with rice flour, contrasting with her luscious black mane and painted ruby lips. This courtier embodies almost all of the stereotypes that are whispered about Scorpion women.

As for the Unicorn, it is clear that he has some gaijin blood in his veins. His skin is swarthy and porous and his nose is astonishingly flat, while his eyes are small and slant downwards. Even his ears and mouth stand out; the former are oddly large and protrude out of his wild brown hair while the latter has broad and bulbous lips, surrounded by a rather unruly beard. He doesn't wear anything that could described as a kimono – instead he has a wool shirt that has stained a rich purple, worn underneath a leather jerkin that is lined with some sort of animal fur. His wool trousers are dyed an earthen shade of brown, are secured in place by a belt with some sort of metal buckle and are tucked into a pair of heavy leather boots. Certainly not the sort of clothes that a samurai should wear, and especially not in court – they are far too barbaric and worldly.
>>
“Why must you be so secretive, Ide-san?” The crimson lips of the Scorpion seductress form a pout as she questions the Unicorn. “One might almost mistake you for a samurai of our clan, with how reluctant you are to share the truth...”

“I have told you my reasons several times now, Jojuri. I have passed through the City of Lies on many occasions – I am not unfamiliar with the Scorpion and your ways. I will not let you distract me with honeyed words or... other things.” To the courier's credit, he is able to keep his eyes trained on the woman's face, rather than focus on her chest like less disciplined men might. “In any case, it seems as though we have company,” he says, turning his attention towards you as you approach. “Who might you be?”

How blunt of him. Regardless, you offer a polite bow to the two samurai. “Please forgive me if I am disturbing your conversation,” you say. “I thought that I might introduce myself – I am Bayushi Kimiko and this is my yōjimbō Shosuro Kinnosuke. We are both yoriki, deputies of Yogo Orinosuke, the Chief Magistrate of this province. It is an honour to make your acquaintance.”

“Oh, the pleasure is all mine, I assure you!” The Scorpion offers a far deeper bow, one which reveals far too much thanks to how low her kimono hangs about her shoulders. Though Kinnosuke is content to admire the sight, you clear your throat and hurriedly avert your eyes. Not that this shameless courtier seems to notice, of course. “Please, know me as Shosuro Jojuri. I must say that your furisode suits you, Bayushi-san – you look adorable, an exquisitely virginal debutante. Did you come to his court looking for a husband, I wonder?”

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 3 / 8.

That remark throws you completely off balance – you hardly expected her to be so audacious with her first words to you. “Certainly not,” you reply, trying not to expose how flustered her comment made you. “My superior simply wished for me to introduce myself to the samurai of my daimyō's court. I wonder Shosuro-san, do you happen to serve Yogo Kanzaburo..?”

“Oh no, not at all. No, I represent the interests of Ryokō Owari, Journey's End City, the finest and largest settlement in all of Rokugan... Next to Otosan Uchi, of course.” A coy smirk curves Jojuri's lips. She knows better than to blaspheme against the city that serves as the Imperial capitol. Even if Ryokō Owari is technically larger, it would be heresy to say so. “Though it pains me to hear the handsome Ide Belgunutei refer to it as the City of Lies. Must you use such a crass name for my home, Ide-san?”

“I use the same name for it as everyone else, Jojuri. I acknowledge what it is – a den of criminals and those that are beholden to them.” Belgunutei turns to look towards you. “Have you come to liberate me from the company of this... woman? Though you are also Scorpion, at least you do not seek to lead me astray.”
>>
“Why Ide-san, I have no wish to do anything of the sort!” An expression of mock-horror passes over Jojuri's face, appearing just as quickly as it appears. “I simply delight in your companionship, that is all... Though I would gladly leave in peace if I had the opportunity to speak with your guard, Bayushi-san.” She shifts her attention towards Kinnosuke, appraising him with obvious interest. “It has been so, so long since I have spoken with a kinsman...”

>Try to polite encourage Shosuro Jojuri to move on, without causing any sort of offence. You'd like to speak with Belgunutei without her being such a distraction. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Very well. If she wants to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke, you won't keep them from chattering with each other. It gives you the opportunity to speak with the Ide courier in peace and besides, your yōjimbō might appreciate the chance to leer at the scandalous Jojuri.
>If Ide Belgunutei really feels so uncomfortable, then he should go elsewhere. Why should he remain in the company of women who clearly make him feel so ill at ease? This will give you the chance to speak with Shosuro Jojuri on her own.
>Surely everyone can get along without feeling uncomfortable around each other? Try to pacify the brazen Jojuri and reassure the awkward Belgunutei. (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>>
>>4127688
>>Very well. If she wants to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke, you won't keep them from chattering with each other. It gives you the opportunity to speak with the Ide courier in peace and besides, your yōjimbō might appreciate the chance to leer at the scandalous Jojuri.
>>
>>4127688

>Very well. If she wants to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke, you won't keep them from chattering with each other. It gives you the opportunity to speak with the Ide courier in peace and besides, your yōjimbō might appreciate the chance to leer at the scandalous Jojuri.

Dang. Everyone getting along looks too difficult.
>>
>>4127688
>Very well. If she wants to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke, you won't keep them from chattering with each other. It gives you the opportunity to speak with the Ide courier in peace and besides, your yōjimbō might appreciate the chance to leer at the scandalous Jojuri.
>>
>>4127688
>>Try to polite encourage Shosuro Jojuri to move on, without causing any sort of offence. You'd like to speak with Belgunutei without her being such a distraction. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4127688
>Very well. If she wants to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke, you won't keep them from chattering with each other. It gives you the opportunity to speak with the Ide courier in peace and besides, your yōjimbō might appreciate the chance to leer at the scandalous Jojuri.
>>
>>4127688
>Very well. If she wants to speak with Shosuro Kinnosuke, you won't keep them from chattering with each other. It gives you the opportunity to speak with the Ide courier in peace and besides, your yōjimbō might appreciate the chance to leer at the scandalous Jojuri.
Have fun looking down her yukata, buddy.
>>
“If you wish for an opportunity to speak with my yōjimbō, then you shall have it.” You spare Kinnosuke a glance. “Please accompany your kinswoman, Shosuro-san. I am sure that there are many matters that you wish to discuss with one another.”

With an almost predatory grin on her lips, Jojuri turns to sashay away. The sway of her hips is so exaggerated that it has to be on purpose. For a brief moment, Shosuro Kinnosuke seems to be stunned by his good fortune but eventually, he offers a grateful bow of his head towards you and hurries off after the alluring sight of Jojuri. This leaves you in the company of Ide Belgunutei, who folds his arms across his chest. His thick lips remain in a frown.

“Though I appreciate the part you played in ridding me of Jojuri, I must ask why you did so. What did you have to gain out of it, Kimiko?”

“Must everything that I do be driven by personal gain, Ide-san? It appears that you were not comfortable in her presence, so I sought to liberate you from her unwanted attention.” You pause, before making another remark. “In addition, I would appreciate it if you spoke to me using my family clan and the appropriate honorific. My personal name is reserved for my closest friends and relatives.”

“I am aware of the naming conventions of Rokugan,” Belgunutei grunts. “I disagree with them. What if I speak with you and Shunmyo at the same time? How am I meant to make it clear which samurai of the Bayushi family I am speaking to?”

“Well, if you are looking at me when I speak, then I will understand that you are speaking to me, as would Bayushi Shunmyo. There is also the context of what you are saying, and the inflection in your voice. Our language allows for a great deal of nuance, Ide-san.” These are the sort of questions asked by a child receiving their first etiquette lessons – it is a little bewildering that you need to explain this to another samurai.
>>
“I know this,” he replies. His tone is terse. “It is still unnecessary. Rokugani culture features a great deal of unnecessary complexity and subtlety – it requires simplification. Do you not find that some of this nation's bizarre traditions only serve as a hindrance?”

>He is right. A lot of the customs that you adhere to seem convoluted, backwards and perhaps even a little detrimental. Common sense dictates that society should abandon these strange rituals rather than remain bound to them.
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.
>The past is important. By respecting the traditions invented by your ancestors and adhering to their ways, you show that you honour the lessons that they have to teach you and that you follow the path that they laid out for their descendants to follow.
>Tradition is sacred. A great deal of these rules were made by the Kami themselves – it doesn't matter how esoteric they might seem, they are still holy. To abandon them is to abandon Rokugan, and become little better than gaijin.
>>
>>4127780
>>Tradition is sacred. A great deal of these rules were made by the Kami themselves – it doesn't matter how esoteric they might seem, they are still holy. To abandon them is to abandon Rokugan, and become little better than gaijin.
>>
>>4127780
>Tradition is sacred. A great deal of these rules were made by the Kami themselves – it doesn't matter how esoteric they might seem, they are still holy. To abandon them is to abandon Rokugan, and become little better than gaijin.
>>
>>4127780
>Tradition is sacred. A great deal of these rules were made by the Kami themselves – it doesn't matter how esoteric they might seem, they are still holy. To abandon them is to abandon Rokugan, and become little better than gaijin.
>>
>>4127780
>The past is important. By respecting the traditions invented by your ancestors and adhering to their ways, you show that you honour the lessons that they have to teach you and that you follow the path that they laid out for their descendants to follow.
>>
>>4127780
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.
>>
>>4127780
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.


Honestly this seems more of than muh tradition. Scorpion and Crab clan don’t really give a flying fuck unless they have too.
>>
>>4127780

>He is right. A lot of the customs that you adhere to seem convoluted, backwards and perhaps even a little detrimental. Common sense dictates that society should abandon these strange rituals rather than remain bound to them.

weebs btfo

>>4127777
checked
>>
>>4127780
>Tradition is sacred. A great deal of these rules were made by the Kami themselves – it doesn't matter how esoteric they might seem, they are still holy. To abandon them is to abandon Rokugan, and become little better than gaijin.
>>
>>4127780
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.

Words can cut deeper the swords.
>>
>>4127817
Then vote for the wepons choice as itl be the only way to stop the weebs.
>>
>>4127777
>I am aware of the naming conventions of Rokugan,” Belgunutei grunts. “I disagree with them. What if I speak with you and Shunmyo at the same time? How am I meant to make it clear which samurai of the Bayushi family I am speaking to?”
Based and truthpilled.
>>4127780
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.
I had never thought of Kimiko as someone who really cares about the tradition shit.
>>
>>4127780
>>The past is important. By respecting the traditions invented by your ancestors and adhering to their ways, you show that you honour the lessons that they have to teach you and that you follow the path that they laid out for their descendants to follow.
>>
>>4127840
I mean if you think about it's only a L5R problem since they don't bother differentiating 90% of the time unless it's a specific vassal family.
>>
I'll give it another hour for the tie to be broken between these two options:
>Tradition is sacred. A great deal of these rules were made by the Kami themselves – it doesn't matter how esoteric they might seem, they are still holy. To abandon them is to abandon Rokugan, and become little better than gaijin.
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.
If it isn't, then I'll roll a die to decide it.

Honestly though, it's a pleasure to see such an even split after so many votes.
>>
>>4127876
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.
>>
>Rokugani etiquette is a useful tool. It serves as a method of controlling a court and differentiating well-educated samurai from the ignorant and the unrefined. If the court is a battlefield, then these conventions serve as weapons.

I dislike this option but it is better than the alternative. Insulting Gaijin is not how we make friends with Unicorn.
>>
>>4127780
>The past is important. By respecting the traditions invented by your ancestors and adhering to their ways, you show that you honour the lessons that they have to teach you and that you follow the path that they laid out for their descendants to follow.
Switching to this.
>>
“Have you thought that our customs might have been designed for that purpose from the very beginning, Ide-san? Consider the kimono, for instance. For all of its elegance, it is not the most practical attire. In fact, the most splendid garments can be the least functional. Yet courtly dress is not intended to be sensible and efficient, it is meant to impress and inspire, to separate the dignified and fashionable from the rough and the unsophisticated.” You gesture towards Belgunutei. “For example, my knowledge of tradition allows me to determine that you are an outsider, that you are either unfamiliar with courtly etiquette or that you choose not to adhere to it. Do you not see how such insight might be useful?”

“So you use your rituals and fashion as a barrier,” the courier grunts in return. “A tool used to exclude those who are foreign, those who do not know your ways. Have you ever thought that it might be foolish to shun outlanders? Do you not know of the innovation that my clan brought with them, when they returned from their great journey?”

“I know that you returned two hundred years ago, after spending eight centuries in foreign lands,” you reply. “You brought a great many things with you, including the opium that my clan tends to.”

“We did more than that,” Belgunutei replies. “When we came from the South, we saw the mighty Carpenter Wall of the Crab and do you know what we did? We rode around it. When your clan tried to stop us, thinking we were gaijin invaders, our cavalry charge trampled over your finest warriors as though they were little more than grass. Even today, we are the only clan able to stand against the full might of the Lion, which fields twice our numbers. Do you know how we are able to do it, Kimiko?”

“I suppose that you are about to tell me, Ide-san.” It's your turn to be brusque.

“While Rokugan spent eight hundred years stagnating and languishing in isolation, the Unicorn Clan learned. We learned shrewd tactics from the foreign warriors that we encountered, we discovered fascinating sciences the likes of which were never seen in this land, we innovated and we adapted and we became stronger for it.” There is passion in his voice – this is a subject of great personal importance to the man. “When we brought the knowledge that we had gathered back to Rokugan, the other clans learned some of it. I will admit that, Kimiko. Yet you did not learn enough. You still cling to an archaic way of life and backwards rituals that are of no better to the Emerald Empire. When the Unicorn returned, we brought the future with us, yet you remain content to wallow in the past. I do not use honorifics and I do not wear a kimono because I see no reason to pander to your obsolescence of your culture. I will simply wait until Rokugan realises the error of its ways and embraces progress. I am patient.”
>>
This courier of the Ide family certainly isn't like Utaku Khulan or Shinjo Sidurga, the messenger that you met during your gempuku. You didn't expect him to be this intense, or to harbour views that border on heresy. He is brash, offensive and passionately refuses to fit into Rokugani society. You are shocked that he hasn't caused a diplomatic incident before now, but you suppose that this must be the first time he has been stuck in a court for more than a few days. Despite that thick beard, he seems to be only a few years older than you. Belgunutei is a dangerous combination of arrogant and inexperienced, yet the daishō hanging by his side indicate that he knows how to defend himself – even if he carries a long, broad and crooked sword in the place of a katana.

>Well, you suppose that Belgunutei is welcome to his opinions, even if you do not agree with them. He does not need to agree with you either – you can believe different things and still get along, can't you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Is he willing to back up his words with steel? He is insulting everything that Rokugan stands for – declare that the two of you will duel, unless he is wise enough to apologise. That should put him in his place. (This will require a roll using your Fire ring of 3 and your Command Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>Invoke the blood. By protesting about the customs past down by the Kami, he speaks against your divine heritage, against the first Hantei whose blood flows in your veins. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
>If he is going to do nothing but whine about Rokugani culture, you have no desire to remain in Belgunutei's company for another moment. Leave him to sulk and ruminate about the supposed superiority of the outside world, you won't listen to another word of what this gaijin-loving nomad has to say.
>>
>>4127943
>>Well, you suppose that Belgunutei is welcome to his opinions, even if you do not agree with them. He does not need to agree with you either – you can believe different things and still get along, can't you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4127943
>>Invoke the blood. By protesting about the customs past down by the Kami, he speaks against your divine heritage, against the first Hantei whose blood flows in your veins. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)

backing down would mean to lose and we refuse to lose and to lose would be shameful especially against a heretic
>>
>>4127943
>Invoke the blood. By protesting about the customs past down by the Kami, he speaks against your divine heritage, against the first Hantei whose blood flows in your veins. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
Cutting him down is fine too
>>
>>4127943
>>Invoke the blood. By protesting about the customs past down by the Kami, he speaks against your divine heritage, against the first Hantei whose blood flows in your veins. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
>>
>>4127943
>Invoke the blood. By protesting about the customs past down by the Kami, he speaks against your divine heritage, against the first Hantei whose blood flows in your veins. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
Well this guy isn't your stereotypical Ide I guess.
>>
>>4127943
>Well, you suppose that Belgunutei is welcome to his opinions, even if you do not agree with them. He does not need to agree with you either – you can believe different things and still get along, can't you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
Going with:
>Invoke the blood. By protesting about the customs past down by the Kami, he speaks against your divine heritage, against the first Hantei whose blood flows in your veins. (This will require a roll using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.)
I require a roll of 6d6 using your Void ring of 2 and your Command Skill of 2. You will only need to keep three successes, thanks to your Blessed Lineage.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 2, 2, 6, 2, 1, 2 = 15 (6d6)

>>4128009
>>
Rolled 5, 1, 3, 6, 2, 3 = 20 (6d6)

>>4128009
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 2, 6, 2, 3 = 20 (6d6)

>>4128009
>>
>Going with >>4128015, two successes.

You have failed to convince Ide Belgunutei of your divine heritage and the authority that comes with it. As a consequence of your failure, he is unlikely to take you very seriously at all. You will also suffer a point of strife, as a consequence of failing a roll.

However, you only failed by a narrow margin. You may spend a void point to change the course of fate and nudge this failure into being a success. If you do, you will be able to shock and awe Ide Belgunutei into submission with your blessed lineage.

You currently have 1 void point, out of a maximum of 2. You may wish to save it for a roll you consider more important, or you may choose to spend it to alter the outcome.

>Spend the void point.
>Save the void point.
>>
>>4128020
>Spend
>>
>>4128020
>Spend the void point
>>
>>4128020
>spend
>>
>You now have 0 void points.

“'The obsolescence of your culture?' You would think twice before saying such foolish things, if you knew who you were speaking to.”

Belgunutei wrinkles his nose, a look of confusion spreading across his face. “But I do know. You are Bayushi Kimiko, a deputy of the Chief Magistrate.”

“Kimiko is my personal name. I did not mention my ancestral name, another one of the Rokugani customs that you loathe so much. I am named in honour of Bayushi Hiyumi, who was Otomo Hiyumi before she married into the Scorpion Clan. She was the great-granddaughter of the twenty-second Hantei – she is a direct descendant of the Hantei line, which means that I am as well. I am a scion of Heaven, Ide-san. Do you know what that means?”

Though he does not speak, the Unicorn finally seems to understand the meaning behind your words. His expression transforms from one of confusion into one of astonishment and apprehension, perhaps even fear. You have the advantage, and now it is time for you press it.

“It means that you speak to a distant daughter of Lady Sun and Lord Moon. It means that all of the discontent and blasphemy that you uttered has been heard by a woman of divine lineage, Ide-san. By questioning our society, you question the Celestial Order itself and you damn your very soul.” Though you are tempted to raise your voice, you maintain a level tone instead. You wish only to bend the courier to your will, not cause a scene. “I trust you know enough about our culture to be aware of how reincarnation works, or do you consider that to be an 'error' as well? Do you understand the consequences of your words? Do you realise that you have condemned yourself to be reborn as a commoner, as a beast or perhaps even as a hinin?”

“I... did not know, Kimko. Forgive me, I spoke without thinking.”

“Bayushi-sama,” you correct him sharply, even as the man stoops to kneel before you. What should you do with him? Will you grant him the forgiveness that he desires, or will his absolution be conditional?

>You will forgive him and rescind your promises of damnation. There is no need to be particularly cruel to the man. After this encounter, he will know better than to repeat such foolishness again.
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
>If he wants your forgiveness, he will remain in Beiden and do as you ask until you give him leave to depart from this city. Perhaps you might be able to make some use of this arrogant Unicorn in the coming days.
>He's not going to get anything out of you. You won't forgive him. Instead, you'll let him stew in his regret and mull over his mistakes he has made, and the impact they have left on his karma. It's what he deserves.
>>
>>4128084
>>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.

dove tails nicely with our plans and keeps him saying mum about hospitality.
>>
>>4128084
>You will forgive him and rescind your promises of damnation. There is no need to be particularly cruel to the man. After this encounter, he will know better than to repeat such foolishness again.

This is admittedly a very nice option to be taking, but I don’t feel that Kimiko would be quite so brutal to the Unicorn, considering the bond that she has with Utaku Khulan. Of course, the Utaku are very traditional and all, but I feel like it doesn’t QUITE lend itself to absolutely kiboshing the poor bastard that brutally. Besides, he may be somewhat pliant in the future.
>>
>>4128084
>You will forgive him and rescind your promises of damnation. There is no need to be particularly cruel to the man. After this encounter, he will know better than to repeat such foolishness again
Could offer us some things they have learned .
Though if he pulls this shit again demm him to hell.
>>
>>4128084

>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.

He's gonna make the lion unhappy if they see him. Imagine them overhearing that line about holding them off despite having a mere half the numbers. Big incident.
>>
>>4128227
>>4128275
guys we want him gone before the lions get here. he's not staying, why are you trying to cozy up to a guy who's not in our court and made a huge faux pas that would Have any of the more traditional clans try to kill him for? If he mouthed of like that to a matsu, they'd kill him on the spot.
>>
>>4128084
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
>>
>>4128084
>>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
>>
>>4128328
Because I don’t think Kimiko is going to have this level of hostility towards the Unicorn as a character. She isn’t a Matsu, and she has a connection to said Clan — potentially establishing herself as a personal enemy of his lord and of the clan doesn’t seem right.
>>
>>4128084
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.

Even if Kimiko doesn't have anything against Unicorns, she's definitely xenophobic enough to be seriously offended by his gaijin beliefs.
>>
>>4128084
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
There's a reason why this guy is a courier and not a courtier
>>
>>4128084
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
I feel bad about this but it's in our interest. Also makes us look good, that we solved the problem right away.
>>
>>4128084
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
I'd say Kimiko gets on well the Unicorn as long as they don't overtly act like a bunch of gaijin-boos like this guy
>>
>>4128084
>As soon as the snow has cleared, you want this blasphemous Unicorn out of your city. He will only be forgiven when he no longer defiles Beiden with his arrogance and his foreign ways.
>>
“Etiquette demands that a courier must be allowed to enjoy a daimyō's hospitality when they deliver letters to that lord's domain,” you explain, “yet that hospitality has its limits. You have remained at Yogo Kanzaburo's court for almost two months now, have you not? You should take your leave from Beiden as soon as the land begins to thaw and travel is safe once more – you will have my forgiveness only once you have left the city that I serve, Ide-san.”

“Thank you... Bayushi-sama,” he mutters reluctantly, his head still bowed. This is the advantage of your Imperial blood – whenever you encounter a samurai who would normally be your equal, all you need to do is invoke your heritage and suddenly, they are inferior to you. It is a wonderful tool. “I promise, as soon as the seasons allow it, I will ride from this place and I will not look back.”

“Excellent. Though there is one last Rokugani custom that I wish to share with you, Ide-san.” He lifts his head, to look up towards you as you speak. “It is the practice of being discreet, of choosing your words with care and deliberation. Insults such as the ones that you uttered almost always lead to duels and I would take great care, Ide-san – there are many warriors in Rokugan who are more than capable of cutting you down, and who would be eager to do so, after everything that you have said. If you value your life and the duty you perform on the behalf of your lord, you will learn to be mindful of what you are saying. Do you understand?”

“... Of course, Bayushi-sama.” Belgunutei's cheeks burn with embarrassment beneath that unruly beard of his and he bows his head once more. You would certainly be humiliated if you were in his situation, being talked down to as though you don't know the very basics of etiquette.

“Excellent. You may take your leave.” Without another word, the Unicorn rises to his feet and offers a deep bow, albeit a crude one. Still stunned by the revelation of your heritage and ashamed that he needed to be spoken to in such a fashion, Ide Belgunutei hurries out of the hall. You doubt that he will still be here the next time you are at the daimyō's court, and thank the Fortunes for that. You can only imagine the chaos that he would have caused by spouting such nonsense in front of the Matsu.

Your thoughts are disturbed by the footsteps of Shosuro Kinnosuke. You turn to face your yōjimbō, to watch him closely. His posture seems to lack its usual confidence, as though he has been thrown off balance. “I... might have made a mistake,” he remarks after a period of uncomfortable silence. You suppose you shouldn't have expected any less, after thrusting him into the company of a woman like Jojuri.

“I pray that it was nothing severe, Shosuro-san. I would hear of it.”
>>
“You must understand, Kimiko-san. My mind was elsewhere, I was quite distracted...” Oh, you have a very good idea of what he was distracted by. “I might have spoken a bit too openly about our purpose here. I mentioned the Matsu family and their impending visit and... It seemed as though my kinswoman was not aware of this.” The lanky yōjimbō rubs at the back of his neck with a hand. “Though surely if we were supposed to keep the Lion delegation a secret, Sadayoshi would have told us to do so, eh?”

>Sadayoshi didn't tell you because it should have been obvious from the very beginning. Kinnosuke is an idiot and you are going to lambaste him for his failure. Who knows how Jojuri might take advantage of that information?
>It does not matter if it is supposed to be a secret or not. It seems as though Kinnosuke must learn the same lesson as Belgunutei – he needs to speak more tactfully and think about what he is saying. He deserves to be chided for his errors.
>Ultimately, it does not matter. There isn't much that she can do with that knowledge. After all, Jojuri serves the Scorpion just like you do. It isn't like she would try to sabotage your negotiations with the Lion, right?
>This was your mistake as much as Kinnosuke's. You should have known better than to thrust your yōjimbō into the grasp of a conniving and manipulative woman like Jojuri. You'll need to be more careful around her in the future.

In addition, you need to decide if there is anything else you wish to do here, or if you should depart.

>The musician has put a stop to her song. Instead, the lithe woman in the kitsune mask is speaking with Yogo Sadayoshi. It appears as though her posture is rather rigid. She does not seem to be particularly pleased. Perhaps you should intrude on their conversation?
>Now that she is finished with Kinnosuke, Shosuro Jojuri has made her way over to Kakita Akirako. The two women appear to be having a rather animated and friendly conversation. Should you intervene and speak with Jojuri, before word about the impending Lion visit spreads like wildfire?
>Ide Belgunutei, Bayushi Shunmyo and Yogo Mushanokoji have all left. It might be wise for you to do the same – you have spent enough time socialising and familiarising yourself with the faces in this court. It's about time that you returned to the station, having learned all that you can.
>>
>>4128883
>It does not matter if it is supposed to be a secret or not. It seems as though Kinnosuke must learn the same lesson as Belgunutei – he needs to speak more tactfully and think about what he is saying. He deserves to be chided for his errors.
Now that she is finished with Kinnosuke, Shosuro Jojuri has made her way over to Kakita Akirako. The two women appear to be having a rather animated and friendly conversation. Should you intervene and speak with Jojuri, before word about the impending Lion visit spreads like wildfire?
We should probably see what the City of Lies wants out of this
>>
>>4128883
>It does not matter if it is supposed to be a secret or not. It seems as though Kinnosuke must learn the same lesson as Belgunutei – he needs to speak more tactfully and think about what he is saying. He deserves to be chided for his errors.

If I may suggest we shouldn't like necessarily chide him for this. More like offer him advice in a friendly but not patronising way. There is no need for us to make him bitter. He is aware that what he did was wrong so no need to push it too far.

>Now that she is finished with Kinnosuke, Shosuro Jojuri has made her way over to Kakita Akirako. The two women appear to be having a rather animated and friendly conversation. Should you intervene and speak with Jojuri, before word about the impending Lion visit spreads like wildfire?
>>
>>4128883
>It does not matter if it is supposed to be a secret or not. It seems as though Kinnosuke must learn the same lesson as Belgunutei – he needs to speak more tactfully and think about what he is saying. He deserves to be chided for his errors.

>Now that she is finished with Kinnosuke, Shosuro Jojuri has made her way over to Kakita Akirako. The two women appear to be having a rather animated and friendly conversation. Should you intervene and speak with Jojuri, before word about the impending Lion visit spreads like wildfire?
>>
>>4128883
>>This was your mistake as much as Kinnosuke's. You should have known better than to thrust your yōjimbō into the grasp of a conniving and manipulative woman like Jojuri. You'll need to be more careful around her in the future.
>>Now that she is finished with Kinnosuke, Shosuro Jojuri has made her way over to Kakita Akirako. The two women appear to be having a rather animated and friendly conversation. Should you intervene and speak with Jojuri, before word about the impending Lion visit spreads like wildfire?
>>
>>4128895
>My, Kinnosuke, if I knew that I only needed to dress properly for you to cooperate, I would have begun doing so earlier.
>>
>>4128883

So paranoia speaking; we have no idea what Yukari looks like these days as she left before adulthood. As she's a Shosuro Actor now, is it possible that "Jojuri" is another role for her?
>>
“Shosuro-san – she might belong to the same family as you but she is still a Scorpion. Not only that, but she comes from another province and serves another lord, we have no idea what sort of agenda she might have. You need to be more careful about what you say to Jojuri, no matter how... appealing you might find her.” Though you try to avoid patronising your yōjimbō, you catch a glimpse of him rolling his eyes behind that porcelain mask.

“If only it was that simple,” Kinnosuke groans. “One day, I will purchase the services of a very handsome male courtesan. When I do, I will send him your way wearing next to nothing. Then we shall see how carefully you choose your words, Kimiko-san.”

“You will do not such thing,” you retort quietly. You have no desire to be see squabbling with your own bodyguard. “Now, I must speak with Jojuri before word of the Lion's visit spreads. You will accompany me and this time, please try to focus on something other than the sight of your kinswoman's chest.”

“You make it sound so effortless,” Kinnosuke mutters.

The two of you make your way across the hall to where Akirako and Jojuri chatter with each other. The blue eyes of the Crane peer up from her companion and she looks at you – though she offers you a friendly smile, you can see a trace of hurt in her eyes. “Bayushi-san, it is so lovely to see you again,” she chirps. “Though I am less pleased to hear that delegates from the Matsu family might be coming to this estate. Why did you not tell me earlier? Surely you must be aware that there is no love lost between the Lion and the Crane.”

Internally, you curse. Jojuri moves quickly – not only is she spreading word of the Lion delegation, but she is undermining your friendship with Akirako as well. Already, this liaison from the City of Lies is proving herself to be quite the thorn in your side.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 4 / 8.
>>
“You could learn a great deal from your yōjimbō, Bayushi-san.” The Shosuro harlot smirks, ever so pleased with herself. “The man was like an open book when I spoke with him and sincerity is such an important tenet of Bushidō, is it not?”

>Repairing your blossoming relationship with Akirako is a priority. Apologise and try to insist that you thought that she already knew. You are her friend – you wouldn't hide the truth from her, would you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Forget the Crane, you need to put Jojuri in her place before she causes more trouble than she already has. Reprimand her for trying to sabotage your plans and promise consequences if she tries it again. (This will require a roll using your Fire ring of 3 and your Command Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Try to smooth things over with both of them. Try to brush it off as something that you thought was unimportant, that you would have told them if you thought it was crucial. Now, how about you discuss something else instead? (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>>
>>4128996
>>Repairing your blossoming relationship with Akirako is a priority. Apologise and try to insist that you thought that she already knew. You are her friend – you wouldn't hide the truth from her, would you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)

YURIKOOOOOO
>>
>>4128996
>>Repairing your blossoming relationship with Akirako is a priority. Apologise and try to insist that you thought that she already knew. You are her friend – you wouldn't hide the truth from her, would you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>4128997
We're in the Scorpion, there's going to be hundreds of samurai like this
>>
>>4128996
>Repairing your blossoming relationship with Akirako is a priority. Apologise and try to insist that you thought that she already knew. You are her friend – you wouldn't hide the truth from her, would you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>>
>>4128993
>Kimiko actually thinks Akirako gives a flying fuck about her

>>4128996
>Repairing your blossoming relationship with Akirako is a priority. Apologise and try to insist that you thought that she already knew. You are her friend – you wouldn't hide the truth from her, would you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
News of delegations like this should be common points of conversation in court, right?
>>
Going with:
>Repairing your blossoming relationship with Akirako is a priority. Apologise and try to insist that you thought that she already knew. You are her friend – you wouldn't hide the truth from her, would you? (This will require a roll using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
I require a roll of 6d6 using your Water ring of 2 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 1, 4, 4, 1, 3, 3 = 16 (6d6)

>>4129031
>>
Rolled 5, 6, 1, 6, 6, 2 = 26 (6d6)

>>4129031
>>
Rolled 5, 1, 6, 6, 6, 6 = 30 (6d6)

>>4129031
>>
>>4129036
>>4129039
Get fucked Shoshuro thot Crane are our best friends now
>>
>>4129036
>>4129039

Yay
>>
>>4129039

Are Cranes like lucky charms or something?
>>
>>4128883
>It does not matter if it is supposed to be a secret or not. It seems as though Kinnosuke must learn the same lesson as Belgunutei – he needs to speak more tactfully and think about what he is saying. He deserves to be chided for his errors.

Who knows what plots that woman has going and shit shes going to do with the information.

>Ide Belgunutei, Bayushi Shunmyo and Yogo Mushanokoji have all left. It might be wise for you to do the same – you have spent enough time socialising and familiarising yourself with the faces in this court. It's about time that you returned to the station, having learned all that you can.
>>
>>4128895
Im down with somethibg like that, this isnt liek the nornal town, everyone here is a lier and will use anything to improve there power/plots, if he cant watch gsi mouth then he can say narrthing at all.
>>
>Going with >>4129039, five successes.

“You must forgive me, Kakita-san.” Your face forms an apologetic frown as you try to soothe the Crane's bruised ego. “I thought that you already knew. I was informed of it some time ago and I thought that it would be terribly inappropriate for me to bring up such old news. After all, this is my first day in this court and I am unaware of the common points of conversation. Still, I apologise for my ignorance and the assumptions that I have made, and I hope you understand that I would never knowingly hide the truth from you. Your trust is important to me Kakita-san, and the thought of betraying it is abhorrent. Is there anything that I can do to earn your forgiveness?”

Behind her, Akirako's yōjimbō frowns. He appears to be in his thirties, his dark eyes marked with crow's feet and his black hair flowing freely down his back, marred with the occasional grey hair. His kimono is a drab and rather unfortunate shade of grey, disturbed only by embroidered cranes taking flight, sewn into the fabric with dark blue thread. You haven't heard a word from him since you first walked in.

Fortunately, the diplomat herself reacts in a far more pleasant fashion, a relieved smile spreading across her lips. “Earn my forgiveness? There is no need to utter such nonsense, Bayushi-san. What is there to forgive?”

“Do you not find it somewhat convenient that she never mentioned the Lion at all, despite her insistence that she was not trying to hide their visit from you?” Shosuro Jojuri's smirk has vanished. Clearly, she isn't happy with how easily you have reacquired the Crane's good will. You don't even need to reply for her scepticism, as Akirako is more than happy to do that for you.

“You just spoke of the importance of sincerity, Shosuro-san. Are you really accusing Kimiko of lying? She is my dear friend and I trust her, and if you wish to remain in my company, then I do not want to hear you waste another word slandering her.” Quite a fierce little speech from the Crane, especially considering that she has only just met you. It has an impact, as the liaison from the City of Lies is left scowling. Her good mood has completely evaporated.

“Very well, Kakita-san. If it is her company that you wish for, then I will leave you to enjoy it.” Once more, she offers a deep and humble bow, one that reveals far more than is necessary. This time, Kinnosuke purposefully angles his head away to avoid catching a glimpse of what lies beneath Jujori's yukata. With those parting words, the Scorpion turns to depart and sashays from you, without so much as looking over her shoulder. Even when she is in a bad mood, Jojuri still knows how to make an impression.
>>
“I am sorry for her behaviour,” Akirako says with an apologetic smile, as though she is somehow responsible for Jojuri's lascivious antics. “Shosuro-san is an incredibly intelligent woman, and with such a wicked sense of humour! However, she tends to lose her temper whenever she does not get her way. If you wish to get along with her, you might need to make a few concessions...”

“I will need to keep that in mind, Kakita-san.” However, you aren't sure if you have any desire to acquaint yourself with the Shosuro hussy, especially not after this encounter.

“Yet we should discuss your dealings with the Lion Clan, Bayushi-san. You must understand why I frown upon such a thing – year after year, they invade and occupy the Crane's Northern border. I cannot describe the cruelty that they are capable of and the suffering that they inflict on our heimin. Surely there is no need for you to pander to such ruthless killers?”

>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.
>Your personal feelings do not matter. You have been assigned this duty and you must see it through. You serve your clan and you fulfil the wishes of your superiors, no matter how much you might disagree with them. Surely Akirako understands?
>The Lion Clan has more warriors than any other clan. As such, they require more opium than any other clan when these warriors become wounded. Akirako needs to accept that this isn't personal, this is just business – the Scorpion Clan must prosper.
>Doesn't Akirako understand the nature of politics? The Lion's hostilities towards the Crane creates an opening that the Scorpion can exploit. Your clan profits from all of the suffering caused at the Crane's borderlands. That's the harsh, unpleasant truth.
>>
>>4129223
>>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.
>>
>>4129223
>>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.
>>
>>4129223
>>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.
>>
>>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.

Agree with her sentiment though. Tell her Atsushi's story about his father refusing to join the burning of a Crane village.
>>
>>4129223
>>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.
>>
>>4129249
I won't do that without input from others, but I'm willing to put it to a vote.

>Share Atsushi's story, to give Akirako another perspective of the situation.
>Don't tell her Atsushi's story, if you think that it might not be the right thing to say.
>>
>>4129223

>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.
>>
>>4129292
>Share Atsushi's story, to give Akirako another perspective of the situation.
Sure y not itl enforce our talk about safety of our lands.
>>
>>4129223
>>It has to be done. Much like the Crane, the Scorpion shares a border with the Lion and if your clan does not appease them, you will no doubt be punished with an invasion. Explain to Akirako that you are just doing what is necessary for your clan's safety.

The lion really are just the thugs of the Empire
>>
>>4129292
>>Don't tell her Atsushi's story, if you think that it might not be the right thing to say.
that's a bit too grim for the current context
>>
>>4129292
>Don't tell her Atsushi's story, if you think that it might not be the right thing to say.
>>
>>4129292
>>Don't tell her Atsushi's story, if you think that it might not be the right thing to say.
>>
>>4129292
Yeah putting it to a vote makes sense

>Share Atsushi's story, to give Akirako another perspective of the situation.
>>
>Shosuro tries to turn Akirako against us
>Instead she gets btfo and Akirako is even more tightly wrapped around Kimiko's finger
What an absolute savage
>>
>>4129326
Ngl it's pretty amusing how Kimiko seems to get along with outsiders rather than her own clan. Our closest relationships are with a ronin, Unicorn and now a Crane lmao
>>
>>4129292
>>Don't tell her Atsushi's story, if you think that it might not be the right thing to say.
>>
>>4129343

I really think the best end for Kimiko is as an Emerald Magistrate or some other form of outside influence--she's not a happy Scorpion
>>
>>4129348
Agreed anon, Emerald Magistrate path would be pretty suited for her I feel. Either that or she marries out.
>>
>>4129343
>>4129348
have you both forgotten about her mother?
>>
>>4129364
Her mother is definitely the closest person she has in the clan but we've already established that Kimiko isn't exactly willing to just follow the road her mother wants to pave for her just like Orinosuke.
>>
>>4129343

Yeah being an Emerald Magistrate would be a good mix of being a cop and still being able to have a presence in court.
>>
“Consider the alternative, Kakita-san. If the Scorpion ceases to cooperate and stops providing the Lion with opium, they might see my clan as an obstacle, something that stands between them and supremacy. These lands would become embroiled in needless warfare. I have heard horrific stories about what the Lion does to the villages and towns that it occupies and I assure you, I have no desire to see Beiden suffer that fate.”

You consider sharing the story that Atsushi told you with Akirako, but the annihilation of an entire village is a subject that's a little too gruesome for such polite company.

“Yet that is precisely the reason why we should take a stand against their barbarism, Bayushi-san. Do you believe that the Lion would not subject the Scorpion to their fury, if they manage to conquer the lands of the Unicorn or the Crane?”

“The Emperor would not allow one clan to gain such an advantage over another,” you reply. “Besides, all of the territory that the Lion takes from your clan in the summer is returned in negotiations during the Winter Court. While Akodo's descendants might have a great deal of military strength, everyone knows that the Crane's political clout is second to none. So long as your clan is able to maintain its mastery of the courts, I am certain that it will never fall.”

Your words cause a small smile to curve Akirako's lips. “Your admiration of the Crane is appreciated, Bayushi-san. Though even if you are right and my clan shall never fall to the Lion, does this mean that Rokugan is destined to endure this cycle for the rest of time? Must hundreds of samurai die every year, due to the savagery and aggression of the Lion Clan? Would it not be better if all of the clans fought against them, side by side, and put an end to their warmongering ways? You cannot tell me that the Emerald Empire would not be a better place without their barbarism.”

>You agree with her. If you had any authority within the Scorpion, you might try to promote the idea of an alliance against the Lion Clan's aggression. Alas, you are only a magistrate's deputy and you hardly have any influence at all.
>Pander to her and agree with her, even if you disagree. Tell her what you think she wants to hear, without giving away your own beliefs. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes.)
>The might of the Lion serves a useful purpose. While they might clash with other clans during times of peace, they make up the bulk of Imperial forces when the Emerald Empire goes to war. Without the Lion, Rokugan would be without its mightiest warriors and its greatest tacticians.
>All of the Great Clans keep each other in check. The Lion's aggression keeps the Crane's influence from becoming oppressive, and the Crane's clout keeps the Lion's warmongering from becoming catastrophic. One cannot be allowed to dominate the other.
>>
>>4129424
>>All of the Great Clans keep each other in check. The Lion's aggression keeps the Crane's influence from becoming oppressive, and the Crane's clout keeps the Lion's warmongering from becoming catastrophic. One cannot be allowed to dominate the other.
Lol the Crane of all people should know the consequences of full open warfare amongst the Clans given the whole Yasuki War
>>
>>4129424
>You agree with her. If you had any authority within the Scorpion, you might try to promote the idea of an alliance against the Lion Clan's aggression. Alas, you are only a magistrate's deputy and you hardly have any influence at all.
I don't think we would need to annihilate the Lion clan or anything, but putting up a united front and preventing them from killing our clans' people and taking territory (even if only temporarily) seems cool.
>>
>>4129424
>All of the Great Clans keep each other in check. The Lion's aggression keeps the Crane's influence from becoming oppressive, and the Crane's clout keeps the Lion's warmongering from becoming catastrophic. One cannot be allowed to dominate the other.
Option 3 sounds a little too scorpion, which doesn't sound like a good idea for making friends with someone outside the scorpion clan.
>>
>>4129424
>>All of the Great Clans keep each other in check. The Lion's aggression keeps the Crane's influence from becoming oppressive, and the Crane's clout keeps the Lion's warmongering from becoming catastrophic. One cannot be allowed to dominate the other.
>>
>>4129424
>All of the Great Clans keep each other in check. The Lion's aggression keeps the Crane's influence from becoming oppressive, and the Crane's clout keeps the Lion's warmongering from becoming catastrophic. One cannot be allowed to dominate the other.
>>
>>4129424
>>You agree with her. If you had any authority within the Scorpion, you might try to promote the idea of an alliance against the Lion Clan's aggression. Alas, you are only a magistrate's deputy and you hardly have any influence at all.

option 4 would be like to tell them to let their lands get defiled by the lion clan, since remember that story that atsushi said, that was probably not the first time those lion samurai had killed entire villages and defiled the lands of the crane
>>
>>4129424
>>You agree with her. If you had any authority within the Scorpion, you might try to promote the idea of an alliance against the Lion Clan's aggression. Alas, you are only a magistrate's deputy and you hardly have any influence at all.
>>
>>4129519
also our character does not strive for balance she strives for greatness and the lion would inevitably get provoked to attack by that one clan that keeps the balance to stop us from breaking the balance in our bout for greatness
>>
>>4129519
Alliances to contain Lion aggression is one thing, trying to wipe out a Great Clan like Akirako is suggesting is frankly insane and also against an Imperial edict
>>
>>4129537
oh yeah that is true
>>
>>4129537
The former is what I was thinking, but now I'm not sure what Fudo is thinking with that first vote option. I don't want to genocide the Lion, just defend against them.
>>
>>4129537
but its not like that even if the scorpion and the crane allied that they would be able to genocide the lion since the disparity in military strength would still be too big
>>
If you want to agree with her but argue in favor of an alliance against Lion aggression rather than destroying the Lion entirely, I will reflect that in my next post if agreeing with Akirako gets the majority of votes.

At the moment though, the 'keep each other in check' prompt is in the lead.
>>
>>4129424
>>You agree with her. If you had any authority within the Scorpion, you might try to promote the idea of an alliance against the Lion Clan's aggression. Alas, you are only a magistrate's deputy and you hardly have any influence at all.
>>
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>a tie
>>
>>4129564
I'll switch then to
>You agree with her. If you had any authority within the Scorpion, you might try to promote the idea of an alliance against the Lion Clan's aggression. Alas, you are only a magistrate's deputy and you hardly have any influence at all.
Lion are kinda assholes during peacetime but they're still descendants of a Kami and the Right Hand of the Emperor
>>
>>4129585
N3Au2JQF voted twice for some reason, but >>4129586 changing his vote turns the tide, 4-3 in favor of agreeing with her. I'll still wait a while longer for any other votes to come in.

You have no idea how many times I have had to rewrite posts due to people changing their minds or last minute swings in the other direction. But I'd rather do it like this than introduce time limits.
>>
>>4129601
You could announce when you're locking in the vote so that doesn't happen I guess
>>
>>4129610
Nah, it's cool. I like it like this, even if it's less convenient for me. If it allows more people to have input, then I'm all for it.
>>
>>4129601
No way in hell I'd do it like you do kek. Very generous of you
>>
“Kakita-san, you must remember that the annihilation of an entire clan goes against Imperial edict,” you remind her. “Yet I agree with you, the Lion cannot be allowed to run rampant. They should be punished for all of the senseless wars that they wage, summer after summer, and the rest of the Great Clans should keep them in check. Unfortunately, I am nothing more than a deputy of a provincial magistrate and you are nothing more than a diplomat at a provincial court. Neither of us are in a position to sway our clan's policies, no matter what we might believe.”

“We do what little that we can, Bayushi-san,” Akirako remains, pursing her lips thoughtfully. “I will do what I can to oppose any diplomacy between the Lion and the Scorpion, though my say is limited. If you truly believe that these brutes need to be reined in, then you might want to consider playing a part as well. Surely there must be something that you can do to sabotage the Matsu while they are here?”

“If I did such a thing, I would be going against my duty Kakita-san. We are both fortunate that no one is here to hear these schemes of yours.” By this point, the hall has become vacant, populated only by you, Akirako, your yōjimbō and the court guards. Now that she has noticed this as well, the representative of the Crane offers a courteous bow to you, though it is somewhat rushed.

“Oh, forgive me Bayushi-san. I had no idea that so much time had passed! I should return to my quarters, though I cannot describe what a honour it has been to meet you! Might I ask when you shall next visit Yogo Kanzaburo's court? I cannot wait for an opportunity to speak with you again.”

“I am afraid that would be at the end of this month, when the Matsu are due to arrive,” you reply, bowing in turn. “Though I can assure you that the honour is mine and I look forward to our next encounter, even if it might be blemished by the company of the Lion.”

“A shame,” Akirako admits, making a face. “Until next we meet, then.” The Crane turns to flounce away, her yōjimbō diligently striding after her. You must admit, you're quite pleased with how the day has gone. You have learned a great deal from your conversation with Sadayoshi, you have convinced the troublesome courier to move on as soon as he is able and you have made a close friend in the form of Akirako. Of course, Shosuro Jojuri's interference was unpleasant to deal with but you have dealt with her, for now.

All in all, today was a success.

>You may depart, unless there is anything else you want to do at Yogo Kanzaburo's estate.
>>
>>4129656
Skip
>>
>>4129656
deal with our rival now.
>>
>>4129656
Depart
>>
>>4129656
depart
>>
With Shosuro Kinnosuke following your lead, you stride out of the warm light of the court hall and into the sinister illumination of the mansion's corridors. It doesn't take you long before you are back in the entranceway, decorated with those eerie sculptures and paintings that depict great birds in various states of agony. Rather than linger, you pick up the pace, eager to leave the daimyō's estate as fast as-

“You have a great deal of nerve, showing your face here like that.”

Damn it.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 5 / 8.

That voice is familiar in more ways than one. You have heard it before, earlier this year – in Yamanaka Archives, when you were investigated the forbidden texts proliferated by the librarian Kikaku. It belonged to the attendant, the svelte young woman who always kept her head bowed. You now know why. Yet you also recall the manner in which those words are spoken, the inflection – that disrespect, that frustration, that jealousy. You remember it well from years ago, when you trained in the Seven Stings Dōjō.

In those days, she was known as Yogo Yukiko. Since then, she has passed her gempuku and become Yogo Yukari.

You turn to face the direction that the voice came from. Stepping out from the shadows is the musician that you saw earlier, tall and slender, clad in a crimson kimono. At the base of the robe, foxes embroidered into the silk with gold thread appear to be jumping, reaching for birds in flight that are sewn into the garment with white thread. A luxurious mane of black hair flows over her shoulders and down her back, while her face is covered a wooden mask styled after a kitsune, painted in white and red.

“My duty demanded it, Yogo-san. Not that it is any of your concern.” There is so much that you want to say, but you contain yourself, if only just.

“I am the daimyō's eyes and ears, Bayushi-san. Everything that occurs in this estate is of my concern.” She clasps her hand together while she watches you, staring through the slits in her mask. “Take off that ridiculous thing. If we are going to speak to each other at all, we should do so face-to-face.”

>Against your better judgement and in spite of your pride, you will do as she asks. You want to see where this is going. (By choosing this option, you will increase your strife to 8 / 8 for going against your Delusions of Grandeur, but you will gain a void point.)
>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.
>Who does she think she is? This is your first true encounter in years, what makes her think she has the authority to tell you to do anything? You refuse, you will do nothing that she asks of you.
>No. You're not going to hear anything that she has to say to you. Turn away from her and keep on walking, right out of the estate. You're done here – you're not going to waste your breath on this wretch.
>>
>>4129866
>And why should we speak? What could you possibly say to me, personally that matters now? Because I do not unmask around enemies who only seek to cause harm, doubly so ones who ignore their duty to do so out of spiteful hate.
>>
>>4129866
If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.
>>
>>4129866
>>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.
>>
>>4129866
>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.
>>
>>4129866
>>No. You're not going to hear anything that she has to say to you. Turn away from her and keep on walking, right out of the estate. You're done here – you're not going to waste your breath on this wretch.
>>
>>4129880
This we do love wordplay
>>
>>4129866
>No. You're not going to hear anything that she has to say to you. Turn away from her and keep on walking, right out of the estate. You're done here – you're not going to waste your breath on this wretch.
I want to gtfo of here quick to be desu
>>
>>4129866
SHE WAS THE ATTENDANT?
WHAT THE FUCK

>Who does she think she is? This is your first true encounter in years, what makes her think she has the authority to tell you to do anything? You refuse, you will do nothing that she asks of you.

This is the pettiest “fuck you you cunt” option that still gets us a scene
>>
>>4130016
no she was the musician, dude. read.
>>
>>4130020
“That voice is familiar in more ways than one. You have heard it before, earlier this year – in Yamanaka Archives, when you were investigated the forbidden texts proliferated by the librarian Kikaku. It belonged to the attendant, the svelte young woman who always kept her head bowed.”
It was just short of explicit that she was the musician, the WHAT THE FUCK moment is that she was the library lady
>>
>>4129866
>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.
>>4130016
>he didn't put it together himself
We've playing Scorpion Detective, anon. Git gud.
>>
>>4129866
>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to DRINK THE SAME POISON SHE GAVE YOU YEARS AGO. BITCH.
>>
>>4130044
>>he didn't put it together himself
Wait, did you? Jesus anon. Why didn't you warn us? We could've gotten shinobi'd in the library.
>>4130149
I think this would qualify as an unmasking anon
>>
>>4129866
>>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.

I'm honestly not sure that Yukari was the one who poisoned us, the teacher seems just as likely a suspect to me
>>
>>4129866
>>If she wants you to remove your mask, then she is going to rid herself of hers first. You refuse to give Yukari control of the situation.
>>
>>4130467
>Some people did figure it at the time, which is why I was so blasé about the revelation.

Though the masks worn by the Scorpion are surrounded by mystique, like everything else wielded by your clan, they are little more than tools. To remove one's mask in front of outsiders or commoners is taboo, yet it is accepted that they cannot be worn forever, especially the more uncomfortable sorts. Right now, you don't need to worry about any onlookers – except for you, Yukari and your yōjimbō, the entranceway is completely devoid of life. You have a moment of privacy.

“If I am going to unmask, it will only be after you do so,” you retort. “Though I cannot imagine why we should speak at all. What could you possibly say to me that matters now?”

With a derisive scoff, the musician reaches back to untie her own mask. The painted wood gradually becomes loose as she tugs it away from her face. Beneath it, her skin is powdered with rice flour, giving her a regal pallor. Yukari always lacked the traditional allure of the Scorpion. Her cheekbones are a little too sharp, her jaw is a little too angular and her face is a little too long. When you were friends, you comforted her about this and tried to reassure her that she was still pretty. When your relationship transformed into a rivalry, you began to mock Yukari instead of console her and insisted that she looked more like a horse than a samurai.

“There,” she replies, once she has casually rid herself of her mask. “Now, are you going to do the same or are you going to go against your word, like you always do?”

“We are Scorpion, Yogo-san. Our word does not matter, for we have sacrificed our honour.” You utter these words as you reach back to unbind your own mask, casually lowering it from your face. Shosuro Kinnosuke turns away as you do so and ironically, he is true to his word. He strides away, to keep watch over the door that leads to the mansion's interior, to ensure that your meeting is undisturbed and to give you the chance to speak to Yukari with him overhearing anything. “The only thing that matters is our duty.”

“Oh, so you care about your duty now, do you? I find that hard to believe. You value nothing but yourself, Bayushi-san. I lost count of the amount of times I had to listen to you babble about your destiny and your future. All you seek is status and glory, and you do not care about how many lives you have to ruin along the way.”

“Clearly it matters to me more than you,” you reply, your tone just as caustic than hers. “I know that it was you, Yogo-san. You were the librarian's assistant at Yamanaka Archives.” Well, you had your suspicions, you only knew for sure when you heard Yukari's voice just now. “I quite enjoyed that particular persona of yours, you know. You were so subservient, just like you are meant to be. Yet I am astonished that you wasted days posing as Kikaku's attendant, simply for the purpose of stalking me.”
>>
“Stalking you?” A bitter laugh erupts from Yukari's lips. “You remain obsessed with yourself. I was there because the daimyō demanded it, because he wanted an eye kept on Tadataka's closest associates. Thankfully, that merchant is not relevant any longer.” That piques your interest, but before you can question the shinobi, she continues with her tirade. “Do you think that I was 'stalking you' as well, when we crossed paths in Kagoki? I was carrying out my duty then as well, observing the trafficker. Tell me, did you spot me among the human refuse in his wagon?”

… Wait, she was posing as one of the workers that Shungyosai was trafficking? You think back and struggle to recall the people that you saw in that man's cart.

There were seven of them in total and they all looked rather dishevelled and unfortunate. A rather simple-looking fellow who stared into space, a tall and slender young woman who demurely bowed her head when you approached, and more than a couple of foul-smelling men who could only be hinin, judging from the stench of meat that clung to them.

... a tall and slender young woman who demurely bowed her head when you approached...

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 6 / 8.

“Oh my, it seems like you did not,” Yukari remarks mockingly, catching a glimpse of the realisation spreading across your face. “You are not anywhere near as intelligent as you pretend to be, Bayushi-san. You lack wit, you lack grace and your ambitions threaten to undermine our very clan.”

>You have no wish to stand around and listen to Yukari brag about all of the people that she has pretended to be. If she has a point, you will ask her to get to it quickly rather than waste more of your time. Surely you both have better things to do than bicker as though you are still children.
>It seems like Yukari has made a habit out of pretending to be a commoner. A perfect opportunity for mockery. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 3 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>This isn't the time for coy remarks and snide comments. Lay into her. Let her know just how much you loathe her and what a petty, despicable woman she is. There's no need for you to hold back. (This will require a roll using your Fire ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Hasn't this gone on for far too long? Try to reason with Yukari, surely she understands how pointless this is. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes, due to your feud with your Sworn Enemy. If you fail, you will gain a void point.)
>You've had enough of this. Put your mask back on, call for Shosuro Kinnosuke to accompany you and turn to leave. You're not going to tolerate this vile woman's mockery for another second.
>>
>Hasn't this gone on for far too long? Try to reason with Yukari, surely she understands how pointless this is. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes, due to your feud with your Sworn Enemy. If you fail, you will gain a void point.)

We need void point and this'll give us the high ground in front of our superiors should she try to start shit later. We can have tea later to deal with the strife.
>>
>>4130711
>with Yukari, surely she understands how pointless this is. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes, due to your feud with your Sworn Enemy. If you fail, you will gain a void point.
>>
>>4130711

Posting from phone but voting for mocking commoner action
>>
>>4130711
>It seems like Yukari has made a habit out of pretending to be a commoner. A perfect opportunity for mockery. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 3 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)


Because we’re going to have to deal with likely a maxed out strife bar otherwise.
>>
>>4130711
>>It seems like Yukari has made a habit out of pretending to be a commoner. A perfect opportunity for mockery. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 3 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4130711
>It seems like Yukari has made a habit out of pretending to be a commoner. A perfect opportunity for mockery. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 3 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4130016
Ahha i called it befor but non of you listened to me.
>>
>>4130711
>>Hasn't this gone on for far too long? Try to reason with Yukari, surely she understands how pointless this is. (This will require a roll using your Earth ring of 2 and your Courtesy skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes, due to your feud with your Sworn Enemy. If you fail, you will gain a void point.)

We need the void point for if we fuck up in court.
>>
Going with:
>It seems like Yukari has made a habit out of pretending to be a commoner. A perfect opportunity for mockery. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 3 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
I require a roll of 7d6 using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 3 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.

I will accept the best of three.
>>
Rolled 6, 1, 6, 3, 1, 5, 3 = 25 (7d6)

>>4130782
>>
Rolled 5, 3, 5, 3, 3, 5, 1 = 25 (7d6)

>>4130782
>>
Rolled 3, 6, 1, 3, 2, 2, 6 = 23 (7d6)

>>4130782
>>
Rolled 3, 1, 1, 6, 5, 3, 4 = 23 (7d6)

>>4130782
>>
>>4130793
>>4130789
>>4130787

well fuck
>>
Rolled 3, 2, 3, 3, 6, 6, 5 = 28 (7d6)

>>4130782
>>
>>4130727
>>4130741
>>4130747
>>4130750
>>4130752
>>4130774
Lol actually wasn't the vote tied?
>>
>>4130812
You are ignoring >>4130745.
>>
>>4130814
Oh yeah my bad. Guess Wordplay rolls are cursed what with Kinnosuke and now this
>>
>Going with >>4130787, three successes.

“I suppose that I should not be surprised that you dress up like a heimin so frequently,” you retort. “I always knew that you were a common tramp.” A scathing remark, but nowhere near as witty as you had hoped. The fact that Yukari only reacts with a disdainful sneer is more than a little frustrating.

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 7 / 8.

“Listen to yourself, Bayushi-san. You prove my point so succinctly. You are still a child, yet to understand what it means to be a Scorpion. I do not understand why Narikata allowed you to escape from that dōjō, let alone why he chose to grant you a mask. With your words, you confirm that you have no right to step foot in my daimyō's court, that you are not ready to serve any lord.”

“You have no right to judge me,” you snap angrily. “You were the one who poisoned me, for no reason other than to spite me! You tried to kill me, simply because you were jealous!”

“And you tried to kill me!” Your accusations seem to have struck a nerve, as Yukari raises her voice to match yours. “You pointed the finger at me! The only reason why I escaped execution is because someone vouched for me, because someone saw the potential in me! How could I ever be jealous of a woman as pitiful as you, someone who I have always been greater than?! Keep dreaming of being great, you conceited little brat, because you will die as nothing!”

>You suffer a point of strife. Your strife is currently at 8 / 8.

>Your strife is at or above its maximum capacity. Only your rolls of 6 will contribute to a roll's success until your strife is reduced below its maximum capacity.

Your teeth clench and your hand instinctively drops to the hilt of the katana that hangs by your side. Yukari has no right to talk to you like that – none at all. In retaliation, the vile shinobi takes a step away from you and reaches for her wakizashi, which is securely tucked into her sash. You are ready to lash out at a moment's notice, to strike Yukari down for her slander.

Why shouldn't you?

>Surrender to your desire. You aren't going to let Yukari get out of this hallway alive. You don't care what the consequences are, or who will try to stand in your way. She must die. (You will reduce your strife to 0 / 8 by unmasking. This will start a skirmish.)
>Come up with some sort of witty retort. There has to be something that you can say. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 5 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>She wanted to speak with you for a reason. You will remain and you will hear what that reason is. You just pray that she will refrain from insulting you again because if you hear another disrespectful word from her, you might just snap.
>You're not going to remain here for another moment. You're leaving, right now.
>>
>>4130847
>She wanted to speak with you for a reason. You will remain and you will hear what that reason is. You just pray that she will refrain from insulting you again because if you hear another disrespectful word from her, you might just snap.
>>
>>4130847
>>She wanted to speak with you for a reason. You will remain and you will hear what that reason is. You just pray that she will refrain from insulting you again because if you hear another disrespectful word from her, you might just snap.
>>
>>4130847
>She wanted to speak with you for a reason. You will remain and you will hear what that reason is. You just pray that she will refrain from insulting you again because if you hear another disrespectful word from her, you might just snap.
>>
>>4130847
>>Come up with some sort of witty retort. There has to be something that you can say. (This will require a roll using your Air ring of 3 and your Courtesy Skill of 2. You will need to keep four successes. If you succeed, you will lower your strife to 5 / 8 thanks to your love of Wordplay.)
>>
>>4130847
>put your mask back on, “Nothing has changed and I have no reason to stay here.”

>You're not going to remain here for another moment. You're leaving, right now.


She will keep insulting us until we swing at her and she can get us executed.
>>
>>4130875
We need 4 6s to pass cause strife is maxed out dude.
>>
>>4130882
it's the only way to get back at her, whatever she wants offer us, it isn't going to be any good
>>
>>4130887
Then leave. She’s got us beat right now. Sticking around is only going to fuck us more because we walked right into a social ambush.
>>
Do we maxed out our strife and don't even get to walk away with a void pont. Quite a disappointing exchange.
>>
>>4130895
Blame the anons who let our rival steal a march on us for a social ambush. She was always going to be a problem and ignoring her bit us in the ass.
>>
>>4130894
By leaving, we're admitting defeat. We can't do that, especially with her, especially after we made the deal with Kinnosuke to give us this chance
>>
>>4130910
Getting 4 6s is pretty much impossible. I'd rather see if she actually has anything productive to say besides being a hypocrite right now.
Though honestly from the arguments so far it really makes me wonder if Yukari indeed might not have been the poisoner.
>>
“If you wanted to tell me something Yukari, just say it already.” You don't waste your time with honorifics, not even with her family name. All you want to do is slit her throat and watch her blood pour between the floorboards.

It takes a moment for Yukari to reply. Her lips part as she takes in a quivering, audible breath of air, in an effort to recover from her outburst and compose herself once more. At last she seems able to speak without bombarding you with insults, though her eyes are still full of anger and hate.

“I have tried to convince Yogo Sadayoshi that involving you in this affair is unwise,” she says, as calmly as she is able. “Unfortunately, he is set on it. I want to be certain that you are not going to spoil the visit of the Matsu delegation – that you will do exactly as you are told and carry out your duty, as a samurai of the Scorpion Clan should. Are you able to do that, Bayushi-san?”

“That depends. Are you trying to give me orders, Yogo-san?” You utter those words through gritted teeth, and you tighten your grip on your katana's hilt. All you want to do is pull it free from its sheath and cut through the hateful shinobi with it. Seeing how you react, Yukari braces herself – she is ready to leap into action the moment that you draw steel. The tension in the air is palpable.

“No. I am simply warning you, Bayushi-san. You will do everything that Yogo Sadayoshi asks of you, or I will punish you for your failure myself. I will gladly end your life, if you are foolish enough to give me a reason to.”

“You seemed to think that jealousy was a good enough reason the last time you tried,” you retort. “Was that really all that you had to say to me? You stopped me from leaving, just so you could make a lacklustre threat? I have never met a woman as petty as you, Yogo-san.” The shinobi's nostrils flare as she hears your words and you almost expect that she is about to draw her blade and strike at you... You are almost disappointed that she resists the urge.

“Yes, that was all that I had to say,” she replies, her voice low. “Now leave. I do not want to see you here again, not until the seneschal asks for your presence once more.” The two of you remain still, your hands on the hilts of the swords, each waiting for the other to back down first. If there is one thing that you learned from this encounter, it is that your rivalry is far from a thing of a past.

>Unless there is anything else you want to say or do in Yogo Yukari's company, you should probably call for Shosuro Kinnosuke to join you and leave.
>>
>>4130914
Let's go
>>
>>4130914
Leave
>>
>>4130914
let's roll
>>
>>4130913
More likely she was under orders to poison us, but was told it was harmless instead of nigh lethal by our senses who proved he already had people poisoned before. She probably thinks we’re overstating the severity of the affliction.


>>4130914
Phew. Could have gone better, but given this is a Yogo stronghold and she’s had a presence here? I half expected this to be s trap to get us thrown out of court. She insults us until we draw them has people waiting to apprehend us. Similar to our gempukku.
>>
“I leave because I do not wish to endure your company for another second, Yogo-san. Not because you ask me to.” Though Yukari narrows her eyes when she hears your words, she eventually reaches up from her wakizashi to secure her mask against her face and hide her grotesque, horse-like features. Only once her hand has abandoned her weapon do you reach up from your own, tying your mask in place. “Shosuro-san! We are leaving.” Despite your best efforts to remain calm, your voice becomes shrill when you raise it, betraying your foul mood.

Once you turn away from the shinobi, you don't look back at her. You don't look anywhere other than straight ahead as you stalk out the mansion and then out of the estate, not even deigning to nod at the guards as you pass them. Try as you might to appear calm, your expression is locked in a hateful scowl and one hand always rests on the hilt of your blade, as though you are about to lash out at a moment's notice.

“That could have gone better,” Kinnosuke remarks after a few minutes of walking through Beiden's streets in silence.

“It went well,” you snap at him in response. “My conversation with Yogo Sadayoshi was very informative, I was able to convince the Ide courier to leave when the snow melts and I maintained a very positive relationship with Kakita-san. It went well, Shosuro-san.”

“I speak of your encounter with Yogo Yukari,” Kinnosuke replies. “I might have kept my distance but I heard enough. 'Common tramp?' Was that really the best that you could come up with, Bayushi-san? You would do well to stay away from that woman, as she clearly brings out the worst part of you.” Every word that your yōjimbō says worsens your mood. The fury that you previously felt for Yukari is now focused on Kinnosuke. For once, can't he just keep his mouth shut?

>Unleash all of your anger on Shosuro Kinnosuke. You despise his 'witty' quips, you loathe how difficult he is to work with and you hate how he almost ruined everything by being beguiled by Shosuro Jojuri. He is just as worthless as all of the other dregs that serve the Chief Magistrate and by the Fortunes, you will let him know this. (You will reduce your strife to 0 / 8 by unmasking.)
>Kinnosuke is supposed to be your yōjimbō. The least he can do is show you a little respect. Try to assert your authority over him, rather than let him walk all over you. (This will require a roll using your Fire ring of 3 and your Command Skill of 2. You will need to keep three successes.)
>Assure him that you're not planning on speaking with her while the Lion are here – in fact, you'd be quite happy if you never saw Yogo Yukari ever again. Sadly you doubt that will be the case.
>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
>>
>>4130999
>>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
>>
>>4130999
>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
Go find some tea or a secluded place to unmask
>>
>>4130999
>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
Get some tea
>>
>>4130999
>>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.

We can always hire a geisha and unmask in front of her. That's why they're non people
>>
>>4130999
>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
It probably wouldn't be a good idea to use Kinnosuke as a pincushion while imagining he's Yukari.
>>
>>4130999
>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
>>
>>4130996
That is also an option, I did consider the sensei using her but not that he might have told her it was harmless.

>>4130999
>>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later
>>
>>4130999
>Nothing good will come out of trying to speak with Kinnosuke, not while you're in this state of mind. If he keeps talking, you will end up lashing out like this. Allow him to return to the magistrate's station on his own – you will return there later.
Let's go kill some hinin or something
>>
“Just... return to the station,” you mutter through gritted teeth, desperately trying to check your displeasure in check.

“Do you not recall my orders, Bayushi-san? I am supposed to accompany you as your yōjimbō, to ensure that you do not get yourself into any-”

“Yes, I know, you are supposed to watch over me while I am at Yogo Kanzaburo's estate!” Your exasperation is obvious as you bark at Kinnosuke, barely keeping yourself from slinging insults at the man. “Now that we have left, you have no reason to watch over me. So now you will return to the station and inform the Chief Magistrate that everything went well – and do not dare forget your part of the bargain. Orinosuke will not hear a word about my encounter with Yukari, do you hear me? Not a word!”

Taken aback by your outburst, your yōjimbō decides against making a snide remark. Instead, he offers a curt bow of his head and turns to depart, leaving you to wander the streets of Beiden on your own.

The sight of a samurai dressed in such a fine kimono in the middle of winter is a strange one, especially when she is on her own. Some of the heimin that you pass look at you in bewilderment, though they lower their eyes the moment that you turn your head towards them. You hoped that the bitter cold might cool your temper but unfortunately, your rage still burns brightly inside of you. It's almost impossible for you to think clearly like this. You need to find some method of clearing your mind and ridding yourself of this horrid tension that makes your heart tighten, your stomach churn and your head ache.

>It is almost perfectly legal for a samurai to cut down the rabble. You will technically be damaging the daimyō's property, but you are unlikely to be punished severely. (You will reduce your strife to 0 / 8 by unmasking. You will lose honour and glory if you choose this option.)
>It might be for the best if you just retire to your quarters for the day. You should have some tea tucked away somewhere, reserved for a special occasion such as this. (You will reduce your strife to 5 / 8 thanks to your love of Tea if you choose this option.)
>Perhaps a visit to Michie's teahouse is in order. You have always admired the tea ceremonies that she performs and the peace of mind that they bring, though you might need to offer patronage. (You will reduce your strife to 2 / 8 if you choose this option.)
>You have never had to do this before, but you could visit a geisha house. As geisha are not people, samurai do not lose face by baring their souls to them. Much like going to Michie's teahouse, you will need to offer patronage. (You will reduce your strife to 0 / 8 by unmasking.)
>If only there was someone you could trust, someone who you could comfort you when you feel so anxious, like your heart is about to burst. There is only Atsushi, and he is your subordinate. Surely it wouldn't be right for you to share your burden with him. (You will reduce your strife