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Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




Oh good, that's all settled with. If these Crane were to press this, Misuko would probably start singing. Just stand on her own chair and belt a tune about how wrong they were. And it would probably work too! Probably.

"Right, so." She smiles. "How about the appetizer?"

I got nothing else.

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Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime takes a moment to send a comm message to the rest of the group. [Found the other Crane and Yasuhiro plotting against Hononori. Going to crash the meeting.]

Then the Crow bushi turns and shrugs at Tsugumi before walking into the room. "Kakita-san, Kato-san, what a pleasure to see you here. Tsugumi-sama and I just happened by." I smile pleasantly at them.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Another bow, and the Carp rises, waving to the engineer. "Oh, that's fine, you don't mind staying here in the garden, right, Honohori?" Kozue's question is rhetorical, but it's not impossible that he won't get it. She starts to walk away, though, working with the assumption that he will. As she gets the question on her pocket scribe, she picks it up, quickly dashing a response back to the Crow.

if u need help

we can get lost

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Risuta was relieved that the ridiculous little man was released, and that the situation had been defused. Hopefully the fool has enough wits about him to be able to get the ideas that were being plainly foisted upon him. Maintaining a face of cordial obeisance (something Risuta has done in roles where he was in a more... supplicative position) towards the Tsi daimyo, Risuta felt the slight buzz created by his communications device upon his person.

With that he bowed appropriately before rising too and moving about almost in pace with Kozue, in order to maintain the appearance of unity, at the least meaning that he wouldn't be stuck alone with a temperamental shugenja. Checking his device he waited for Kaihime's response to Kozue's question for he too wanted to find out what this meeting was about.

Treachery could be afoot after all, but he didn't want to jeopardize the gathering of information by storming off and making a scene, not that he was incapable of stealth but it might be difficult to re-manoeuvre in an appropriate time based on myriad factors.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Will try to handle Gorbash quickly!

The Wrong Hall [Kaihime]

Yasuhiro jumps up. He's clearly better with numbers than surprises.

"What the h—oh, my apologies." The man bows. "Tako-sama, Marumaru-san. What brings you here? Are you lost?"

Tsugumi smiles. "A monk I knew called it wu wei. Action without action. I think I'm doing it wrong."

Nō has is already standing. "Ah, more honored guests. What brings you here? Ah, but is this business I should concern myself with?"

The Kakita is going to get the gently caress out of Dodge if you let her.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime bows to the Kakita as she leaves, figuring that its for everyone's benefit that she pretend Nō wasn't involved.

Once the Crane is gone, she turns towards Yasuhiro. She's not smiling any longer. "You're going to stop now, or tomorrow there will actually be a duel, between you and me. Hononori-san may shame himself by his lack of courtesy, but that does not excuse your actions. You risk dishonor on yourself and your clan, and harm to the Alliance. I'll forget it if you stop now, and put it down to a misplaced sense of duty."

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




The Wrong Hall [Kaihime]

Yasuhiro opens and closes his mouth a few times, then bites his tongue.

"... Fine. As you wish."

Tsugumi smiles as the Firefly sulks out of the room. "I think that went well, don't you?"

. . .

Alright, seems like a good time to move on!

The Meeting [Everyone]

Everyone trickles back to the meeting after that. It goes well enough—the Crane and Firefly chat, Tachiko mostly chats with you, Tako Tsugumi chats with you and occasionally interrupts the others to say something vague about the future, Tsi Ping enters late and almost immediately gets into a blistering argument with Dengaku that both sides seem to find cathartic. After a while the others start to leave the two to their argument and sneak out of the room.

You meet up with Tamagoo and Tachiko on a balcony in a nearby corridor. Tamagoo exhales happily.

"Well, it looks like it all worked out."

Tachiko smiles and leans back on the balcony. "For now. I suppose I should be thanking your new friends here for saving my marriage."

She doesn't seem totally serious, thank the gods.

. . .

We're close to wrapping this planet's adventure, so if there's any business you'd like to conclude before you leave the Hotarugari let me know! This is also your last chance to talk to Tachiko, Komatsu, the Void Drifters, etc. They're all probably nearby!

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




"I still don't really understand what happened... but it was no trouble at all!", Kozue says with a bow to Tachiko, and she seems... well, as serious as she ever is. "I'm just sorry we can't stick around for the wedding, haha, I love those!", she adds, rubbing the back of her neck self-consciously.

She looks over to Kaihime, raising a hand to wave broadly. "Everything went well?"

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




"Reasonably so, Kozue-san. I don't think we'll be having any more trouble like this," Kaihime says with a grin. "I'll tell you the details on the trip back."

Kaihime takes a moment to talk to Tsugumi. "I think we'll both be at Winter Court, so if you need a guide while you're there, Tsugumi-sama, I would be happy to put myself at your disposal."


She also exchanges contact information with the Void Drifters and thanks them for their help. "If you're available, we might have work for you at some point..."

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




"I'm just glad that's done with." Misuko nods. "I hope the Crane aren't so upset that they skip out on my concert."

She turns and bows toward the Crab courtier.

"Tachiko-san, if the excitement of matrimony gets too overwhelming, do consider a visit to the World of Dreams." A wink that hopefully no one else notices. "I did enjoy our very leisurely walk."

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Risuta felt a sense of resolution, at least, having witnessed the life of a blabbermouth being saved twice (if only to maintain better peace amongst the Alliance), and trusting in the honourable Crow to deal with the realm of... corruption where it appears. Not all corruption is supernatural in nature, luckily, or Risuta would have greater cause for alarm.

"This was quite the visit. This place is peaceful yet energetic, I hope it stays clean of... problems in the future." pronounced Ujina Risuta, slightly ominously. But such were his ways.

Secretly he wished to be back on the World of Dreams post-haste, the food here although nice as ever was nothing compared to the cosmopolitan delights that are found on the world that the alliance headquarters are based upon.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Kaihime

Inseki smiles and nods. "We're always available. Actually, we're free to go anywhere we want. Not a lot of folk understand this though." Inseki taps whatever the hell the cyborg junk on his head is. "Or the Void, I suppose. But mostly this."

Misuko

Tachiko smiles and nods. "Oh, and let me know if you have any, you know, AI problems."

. . .

We'll be moving on soon! Just a heads up, there's a post in the OOC thread about some stuff I want to sort out first.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




Kei gives an impish smile and doesn't mention all the blackmail she's managed to gather.

"This has been...'fun.' But, I think, it's time! To go! And Kei-chan is always right."

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Alright! Let's talk rewards. First up: +30 XP, another +0.5 Honor for defending the interests of the Minor Clan Alliance, and +0.2 Glory for fulfilling a mission for Toku Bakami. You also have two new contacts: the Void Drifters, who look weird but solve tech problems, Kaiu Tachiko, Crab courtier and AI philosopher. You can also call in a favor from the Firefly Clan at the Winter Court, if you like. Speaking of, you have invitations to the Winter Court.

Also, Tako Tsugumi is probably going to call you for assistance later, and you're free to assume that you spend some pre-Winter Court time helping the Minor Clan Champion deal with her sense of direction. For now, you have the seer's ear.

Now then...


. . .


Palace of the Small Forest, City of the Smiling Tortoise, World of Dreams
1st Day of the Dog, 3122


Life on the World of Dreams has been surprisingly smooth for the last week or so. The Winter Court announcement may have been a surprise, but it almost seems like the Alliance have been planning for years. With their help (and yours) Bakami has deftly avoided major problems and hidden the three million minor ones well enough that you can hardly tell.

She also set you up with Winter Court invitations! Officially, you were chosen because you're magistrates and a fine example of how the Minor Clans can work together; you're probably also going to be asked to represent your Clan at some point if you're any good at political maneuvering. Hopefully not for a while. It's the morning of the first day, and Court hasn't even started yet.

Bakami asked you to swing by her office before the event starts. When you show up, the Toku is standing in the middle of a small tornado of tailors and other servants trying to get things just right. She doesn't look ready yet; her cybernetic arm is missing, and instead she's wearing her kimono off the shoulder with a cloth draped over it. The rest looks great though.

"Ah! There you are," she says. "Good morning! Sorry about the mess, we're making some last-minute changes. The adviser here asked to see you."

Bakami waves her arm at a tall woman with a scouter who has been waiting inconspicuously by the window, outside the fashion tornado's blast radius. She nods and steps forward.


Marumaru Kokoro, Minor Clan Alliance Diplomat

"Good morning. My name is Marumaru Kokoro. I am here to advise and assist the samurai of the Minor Clans through the Winter Court."

Bakami grins. "The Alliance sent her. Don't worry, she's nice. Doji-trained, you know."

Kokoro ignores that. "Please let me know if you need anything. I am knowledgeable in courtly matters, and I can acquire items from the Alliance if there is anything you need. For example, I can supply new electronics if you wish to avoid taking your personal devices into the Court, or if you suspect they have been hacked."

"Thank you, Marumaru-san," the Monkey says, "but really, it's the first day. Let them enjoy themselves!"

Kokoro is unfazed. "A little care goes a long way, Toku-sama. I am merely here to help. Speaking of, would you like me to see if your arm is ready yet?"

"Sure, I could use a hand."

"Toku-sama," Kokoro says.

Bakami's cheeks inflate.

"Toku-sama, please," Kokoro says.

Bakami can't hold it in any more and bursts into laughter.

Kokoro politely turns away from the Monkey and towards you. "Is there anything you wish to know? I have several other delegations to attend to."

. . .

Alright! Feel free to update your sheets, ask questions, or just post about what you've been doing this last week. Additionally, Kaihime may establish a pre-existing relationship with Kokoro if she likes.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




"Yes!", pipes up Kozue, holding up a hand to Kokoro, and then bows swiftly. She then tugs at her kimono, its silk white with orange carp, and with an orange obi with a bow that looks reminiscent of a goldfish's tail. "How does this look?", she says, before taking a turnaround. "Oh, I have others for court, I'd like to get your opinions, and also, do you know what sort of food they'll be serving yet? Oh, decorations, I wouldn't want my kimono to clash with the decorations, and... and...", she says, looking like she's about ready to hop up and down.

But she is a samurai, and as is proper for her caste, she does not hop up and down.

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



"Hmm." mused Risuta, his expression as unreadable as always (or most of the time, at least), "It would be most helpful if you could assist me in any information regarding security at the Winter Court, that I am permitted to know, of course. I will admit I am more concerned about more... clandestine issues that could arise, although I am sure the Seppun and attending organisations have all bases more than covered, I would still wish to assist in any more Hare-related security concerns. We are after all among the hosts for such an event and it would be unseemly to force our guests to do all the security work." inquired the Hare samurai, and although he outwardly made it apparent that he was concerned specifically about the things that he spoke of, he was ultimately a little curious about the menu and if there was an open bar.

As he spoke gravenly as he did, he adjusted his well-made Hare kimono, although even in the more ostentatious times Hare outfits were relatively utilitarian, however where jewellry would be present there was an abundance if jade. That's a tip the more court-facing Crab will teach you. Underneath his nice clothes he had the subtle 'Tatami Class' power field generator of course, but undoubtedly the actual guards at the court would have similar (or better) hidden 'armour', and thus it would likely go unnoticed on his part.

Idly, are we allowed to spend the XP we just gained, now?

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




Misuko lets the others carry on the conversation for a bit. A pair of AR screens flood her peripheral vision; one of them playing a BuTube video of her gig back in the Hotarugari, while another has the same video with a bunch of comments scrolling over it. The combined visual effect is surreal.

The concert turned out very well, by the way (Thank you very much for asking!)! Misuko decided to play with a lot of visual effects this time, inspired by Choumaru's ghost stories in Yama-no-Kami's Remembrance, as well as debut with a song inspired by that close encounter with the Nibui no Oni. The spooky effects must have resonated with a lot of people, since her video is still getting views and likes a week or so from now. It's been good times! Even Yukari-san hasn't been complaining half as much lately.

Now, if she can only replicate that success to the Winter Court. No pressure, right? It's only been the first time since... forever that the Minor Clans have had any clout over this. No pressure at all.

"My manager should have already informed you earlier this week about my desired arrangements for Court." Misuko says, nodding at Kokoro. " I'm here to check up on it." She's still hoping to pull off a song right before the Emperor himself. She'll be just fine if her face is simply plastered over every digital screen for the entirely of the event.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime is wearing a nice new kimono in her clan colors, courtesy of her winnings. She also treated everyone to a nice dinner when they reached the World of Dreams. She hasn't managed to lose the rest - yet - in part because she gave a chunk of it to Kei for safe keeping.

She lets the others pester Kokoro for a bit, then steps forward, with a grin and a bow. "Didn't I tell you we'd end up working together again, Ko-chan? Just like old times. I do the heavy lifting, and you smooth it over."

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




Kei, who is standing right next to Kokoro, gives a somber nod and the gruffest face she can (it's not very gruff), while waving her arms and pointing at nothing dramatically.

"Yes. Tell me everything about the security detail! The Seppun will do their job but I must do mine too! There is never a moment for relaxation and enjoyment! Duty calls, forever!"

The little Tortoise can't keep her already strained face much longer and busts up laughing.

"Ujina-san, so serious! Lighten up! It's court time!"

She gives a twirl to show off her kimono - it is, naturally, tastelessly gauche in how expensive it looks - before giving the new Crow the biggest eyes she can.

"Ne ne, New Marumaru-san. Does Kei-chan look cute~? Also could I get a full guest list with particular details paid to which Tortoise will be attending and what areas of the court they're expected to visit with cross references to their planets of origin and past courts they've attended with up to date links on their current clan status with (naturally) a full registry gifts the more important guests are believed to bring and the prices thereof - natural worth price, not Yasuki Price - and any important details that might make the gifts stand out, and I shouldn't even have to tell you that it's increasingly important to know all of this information in connection to which Tortoise attendees are expected to be in their general vicinity (if you don't know the answer to that then just look it up or ask the Tortoise, they'll tell you if you tell them Kei sent you), with all lists in triplicate - one in the order I just told you, one in alphabetical order, the other in order of importance as you can derive from the requests?"

Inhale.

"Or tell me my kimono looks cuter then their kimonos. One of the two."

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Kokoro takes all this in, then takes a breath and gets to work. She has a very precise memory, it seems.

"Your kimono is very nice, Kohaku-san. It will be fine. Today's food will be old-fashioned traditional Rokugan fare, but there will be a feast tonight that showcases some new foods from the frontier worlds. Oh, and the Crab have brought a lot of sake for some reason, so if that is your "thing" I would try striking a conversation with them."

"As for security... samurai from many Minor Clans are participating, but I believe most of our guards are from the Bear—"

"Bee," Bakami says. Some servants have brought her a long wooden box to inspect.

"—the Bee, Dog, Hare, and Monkey. The Dog are commanding. The other Clans and the Emperor have their own private guards, of course."

"And Misuko-san, I am afraid that is still being worked on. We haven't heard a solid answer from the Chancellor. I'm optimistic, but if you would like to speed it up, I advise speaking to them."

Kokoro gives Kaihime a bow. "Hello again, Kaihime-chan. I look forward to working with you."

"And some would say your dress is very cute, Kei-san."

There's a quiet sound as Bakami's new arm starts up. This one is a sleek affair with a smooth white casing; it still has a jade core set in the back of her hand, but this arm is definitely designed for the courts instead of making Bakami look like she can punch a hole in a wall.

"Okay, that's enough! We're all ready and the opening ceremony is soon. Thank you for the assistance. Now let's go!"

Bakami bows and starts escorting you out of her office.




It's time for Winter Court! Everything specifically tagged Winter Court in my posts will be official Court business. Most Winter Court posts will describe events happening over a longer period of time and then ask you to post reactions, make rolls, or add details. We can zoom in and roleplay out anything you deem appropriate! Emerald Stars will be used for events happening outside court hours, or for things that happen during court but aren't official business.

This post is going to be larger than most, since it is the opening ceremony. Take your time!


THE OPENING CEREMONY


Alliance Concourse

Delegations from the various Clans have been arriving over the last week, and even the fashionably late have arrived. (If you were watching the skies, you'd know that the arrival of the Firefly and Kakita's delegations both prompted approving nods from the samurai who were watching.) By now, everyone's settled in. A little impatient, even. There's already a crowd forming when you gather in the Concourse.

This is the Palace's main hall and the primary public entry to the Winter Court. It's lined with commemorations to the Empire's history, particularly the accomplishments of the Minor Clans. You've seen a few before (like the statue remembering the dead Moth Clan, or the model of the ship that got Utaku Kato his own Minor Clan), but the Alliance has brought many more in and even Bakami is stopping to coo over some of them. At least you'll have something to look at while you wait.

The crowd is mostly Great Clan samurai, as expected, but the Minor Clan Alliance is filling up a lot more space than usual. Some of them have fielded very small delegations or asked others to represent them in their stead—particularly the Dragonfly and Tortoise Clans, who usually represent them at Court anyway—but even then they're almost a third the size of the Great Clans. Several Minor Clan Champions have appeared in person to witness this event. There are even more ronin than usual, judging from some of the whispers you hear from uncomfortable Great Clan samurai. Who invited them is a mystery, at least for now.

Finally, a chime sounds. The Seppun guards blocking the entrance to the main court step aside, and the massive doors swing open to let you in.

. . .

Main Court Chamber

You're ushered onto the ground floor of the chambers. This space is massive, with a sweeping expanse of polished black and white floor and a balcony ringing the walls. High above, the window set into the ceiling has been tinted and a simple hologrammatic star map of the Empire (with Rokugan in the center, of course) looks down at you. The balconies are lined with Clan banners. Tables can be found along the edges of the room, and each has a small art piece from a different Minor Clan set into in the middle. Bonsai trees and ikebana arrangements worked into the shape of Clan animals have been placed as decoration. Musicians placed in discreet locations provide relaxing music. It's an amazing effort, but you'll fully appreciate it later—right now, the Dais is looming.

The Dais, where the Emperor sits, rises like a stepped pyramid in front of the Imperial Banner. Each step on this intricately-wrought monument of wood and metal serves a purpose, from the lowest tier for scribes and functionaries to the highest tier where the Emperor watches from his throne. Right now they're all full of functionaries arranging pillows and chairs, but they're already melting away into the background as you step in. Behind the Dais, another set of massive doors are guarded by a line of Seppun guardsman. The experienced courtiers keep their eye on it, as the Emperor could arrive any minute.

It takes twenty minutes for anyone to show up. Until then, you're free to mingle. Some samurai converse with their friends and plan with their Clans, while others take a gamble and make introductions early. Guests who aren't comfortable with diplomacy lurk at the edges. You sometimes see figures on the balconies above, but they're closed off to you for now.

Then ceremonial bells sound throughout the Court. Conversation ceases. A group of Seppun priests enter with smoldering incense. As they approach the altar at the base of the Dais, the doors behind it open. The Emperor's Chosen enter, led by the Voice of the Emperor. After they ascend the Dais and take their seats, the Emperor follows.


Iweko Sumeragi, Emperor Iweko CXII

The Emperor (looking pretty good for someone who's been on the throne for eighty-four years, surely a sign of his divinity!) takes his place. Once he's comfortable, he nods to the Voice of the Emperor.


Ikoma Yasuji, Voice of the Emperor

Yasuji starts with prayers to the Fortunes, to bless the opening ceremony. When he's done, he faces the crowd and addresses you all in calm, clear tones.

"Most loyal and honorable subjects, be welcomed to the Imperial Court. For this winter season, Kyuden Kobayashi is your home. It is our home, as is the Empire our home. May the Fortunes, the kami, and our revered ancestors all bless the months ahead. As sons and daughters of the Emerald Empire, it is our honor to host the Son of Heaven, and our duty to work together to bring an era of peace and prosperity to the Empire, our Clans, our families, and our fellows."

That was pretty short by Yasuji standards. When he speaks again, you can guess why.

"The Emperor recognises that we have not called upon the Minor Clan Alliance to host such an event in living memory, and the Empire thanks you for attending. In light of the heightened attendance at this Winter Court, it is the Emperor's wish that each Clan and family be properly introduced, so that brothers and sisters who have not met in many years may become properly reacquainted."

Short version: They're going to call roll so everyone can get a handle on exactly how many Minor Clans are attending. Nice.

"We shall start, of course, with the Imperial Families. They will naturally be followed by the Great Clans, beginning with the Emperor's Right Hand—" the Lion, what a coincidence "—and proceeding from there. Next, our gracious hosts the Minor Clans will be introduced, followed by the remaining guests, our fellow servants of the Emperor." Yasuji looks down to the third tier. "I now cede the floor to the Imperial Herald."


Miya Suisei, Imperial Herald

The Herald's gestures are wide and her words are short. "The court welcomes the Imperial families: the Seppun family, represented by Seppun Ryuuko. The Hantei family..."

This goes on for a while, through the Imperial families and the Great Clans. The Herald declines to name everyone, instead sticking to whoever was sent in place of their Clan Champion. Seppun Ryuuko decides to bow to the audience without moving, so everyone else follows suit. There's not a lot of ceremony here—they're just listing everyone with more status than the Minor Clans so they don't get mad.

"... The Minor Clan Alliance, represented by Alliance Governor Suzume Xian. Xian-san, as you are the host clan, may we trouble you to introduce your fellow Minor Clans?"


Suzume Xian, Governor of the Minor Clan Alliance

The crowd parts to let Xian through. The Governor has a sort of earnest charm that has won over her fellows, and the other way she's survived is extreme politeness. She makes a show of bowing before ascending to the third step.

"It would be my honor, Miya-sama." Xian produces a scroll and turns to the audience. "The Monkey Clan, represented by Champion Toku Kozaru..."

It goes unsaid, but you can work out pretty quick that she's presenting the Minor Clans in a rough order based on size estimates. She starts with the ones everyone knows, like the Monkey and Tortoise; the names after that are Minor Clans that you all know but some Great Clans might have considered beneath their notice, like the Bear Bee and the Octopus. Then it gets weird.

"The Shark Clan, represented by..."

Names like Salamander and Moth start to drift through the air. The most learned and traveled samurai (along with the one samurai who actually looked at everything in the Concourse) nod along. The Great Clans are split between confusion, disgust, curiosity, and excitement. Who are the Ayu Clan? Is there really a Gorilla Clan? Is she making these up?

"...And the Cicada Clan, represented by Champion Ikari Takeo. That is all. Thank you."

Suzume bows and descends the Dais. The audience goes silent, trying to take it all in. Suisei rises again to get on with the business of snubbing the ronin.

"Thank you, Suzume-san. Ahem. The court also welcomes our fellow sons and daughters of the Empire, and wishes them well. This concludes the introductions. Thank you."

The Herald takes her seat. On the steps above her, the Imperial Chancellor slides into place a touch impatiently.


Doji Higurashi, Imperial Chancellor

"My friends, it is my pleasant duty to announce that the Imperial Court... is now in session. May your efforts here be both honorable and fruitful."

That seems to be it from the Dais for now. The Winter Court has begun.

. . .

Well then!

That's a lot to take in. Sorry about that! Now, I need some things from you. You may also optionally describe what the Alliance put in the Concourse to commemorate your Clan.

First, tell me your personal goal at Winter Court, or what your family/clan wants you to accomplish. You can leave the details vague (e.g. "annoy a Crane samurai") and we can figure it out later.

Second, tell me your Clan's broader goal in this court. Do they need supplies? Marriages? New alliances??

Also, tell me your reactions (public or private) to all this, and what you're doing right now. You can find someone to talk to, take your time and observe, duck out early to explore the areas around the main court chambers, or just talk amongst yourselves.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




Misuko has been never actually been to a Winter Court before and not for lack of trying! It's only once every few years that the Ibis even gets to send a representative, usually the Champion, her market-minded cohorts, and whoever ranks highest in the charts that season. To the clan, Courts are just extended business opportunities; arrange gigs in Great Clan territory, sell broadcasting rights to their super-popular shows, and purchase land to build new concert halls and embassies on. A lot of bargaining and posturing, just to sell Toki performers to the big markets.

No doubt, a lot of people in the clan do better at the business side than she would (This is why Misuko has a manager, after all.). Still, if the Court is going to come home, she'll happily oblige it. She's not so afraid to handle her own business, either.

Which is probably why she's managed to finagle her way to the Dais, two glasses of sake on hand. Just as the Chancellor is about to step off for a drink herself.

"Doji-sama, hello! Chancellor!" Misuko flanks one of the most important figures of the Empire with the predatory intent of a Shark bushi. "Toki Misuko, Ibis Clan. I will be performing for the Court, if you remember? Would you like to have a drink?"

Courtier to look cute and get the Chancellor's attention: Trix, (12 8 7 6, 6 6 6 3 2 1) = 33.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime stopped to check out the Crow exhibit, which is attracting a fair bit of attention. A number of samurai have come by the admire it, and to argue over its significance. It was hard for her not to laugh at them. And at her own Clan.

Honestly, this is exactly why no one particularly likes them. Any other clan that decided to display a single sword at the Winter Court would have chosen one with an important history, or the work of a master swordsmith. And they'd have put up a label explaining it.

Her Clan? They'd held a two hour meeting trying to pick which rare treatise or battle trophy to pull from the archives, before a Clan elder had stood up and chastised everyone for wasting time, at which point the Clan Champion had asked the door guard for her sword. And that's what they'd put on display. An average blade from a bushi of no particular account. The Clan leaders claimed it would be a reminder of what should be important to a samurai.

Kaihime sometimes wondered if she'd gone to the wrong gempukku, since everyone else in the Clan seemed to have had their senses of humor removed at theirs.

In any case, after she'd taken a look at the exhibits, she'd gone back and found Tsugumi. She'd delivered the Octopus Champion her to the correct seat, then stuck close to Bakami during the opening ceremonies, in case something came up. She did have to suppress a giggle when they got to the Wombat Clan, especially since it was followed immediately by the Clam Clan.

As things wind down, she leans over to speak quietly to the Monkey. "I haven't heard of half these Clans. And how small is the Cicada, if they were on the roll after the Gaur? There's only about thirty of them!" She glances sidelong at the trio of very large sumo wrestlers wearing that mon. "Though if they were rating by mass rather than members..."

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Ujina Risuta kept a watchful eye over the entire proceedings, maintaining contact with the other Hare agents about the chamber, the Hare clan display including a somewhat dour reminder of the origins of the Usagi and Ujina families, and why security and moreover vigilance were paramount to a future untainted by troubles and dangers. Given the nature of discussion as to what in particular the Hare at various junctures had been forced to deal with however it does couch such displays with poetry, metaphor, and simile. It'd seem rather untoward to mention such undesirable things here and now, especially in the presence of the emperor himself. Also it has a large statue of a hare (well, large for a hare) made of jade. Such a waste, but then again it can later be discretely ground down and used for other purposes. Regardless Risuta made a special attempt to note down all mentioned guests as noted by the various speakers, especially the myriad minor clans, partly as a topic of discussion but also because he might later attempt to do some research on the minor clans that he is less confident in knowledge of, because it always helps to be sure of who your friends are, and moreover who are your enemies.

With that in mind Risuta would try to make contact with the the Kuni if possible, using his dedication to dealing with such... unsavoury elements in act as a mutual topic of assurance. The Ujina confidently made his way (taking the time to sample the sake as he did so, and make the minimal chit-chat as required in such circumstances) towards the most prominent Kuni in the room (within reason), and try to make contact. Risuta hopes that he can use this to improve relations amongst the Kuni, moreover he hopes that he might be able to begin negotiations to provide Kuni training amongst the Hare, whether this is for more explicit witch hunting or for shugenja-training for the appropriately puissant would vary.

However Risuta would otherwise keep in mind amongst his actions at court that the clan in general have begun to propose an interesting project that would be suitably advanced by the acceptance and discussion by the greater clans. Namely the use of Hare clan samurai as delocalised anti-taint (and anti-shadow) agents threaded amongst the other clans, allowing them a greater presence of surveillance and security amongst the empire in general. Of course such a project would be relatively grandiose but the nature of the proposal hinges on the Hare's minor clan status, which would hopefully make this be seen as an move more in the realm of beneficence and enlightened interest towards the security of the empire at large rather than a move to grab power as might be seen if the Crab were to try something like this.

However making that proposal public can wait until the guests are more suitably ensconced in the events of the Winter Court.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




The Carp have a saying: “No map will show you the path.” It means to focus on the opportunities you have available, not necessarily the ones you're seeking. As such, Carp samurai are often given more freedom to find their own way, given they don’t overtly shame the clan in some sense. After all, Kohaku was guided as more by whim and fortune than any plan. And the heavily fortunist nature of the clan gives them a tendency to put faith in the whims of their spiritual patrons.

That all being said, Kozue is expected to cement her betrothal to Miya Iesada. That means impressing Iesada, the Miya, and the court in general, in rough rank from “easy mode” to “extreme S++ class difficulty”. Of course, with a Winter Court this prestigious, the flip side is that any troublesome incidents are that much more dangerous… and… well… you know Kozue, right? She’s many things, but cautious isn’t one of them. I mean, seriously, the girl drank from a cup she knew could have been poisoned just two planets ago.

This is just a smaller part of the Carp's interest in maintaining or even adding to their their positions in the Imperial Bureaucracy (particularly in the Ministry of Exchange), which is always an uphill battle with the Crane or the Imperial Families traditionally seeking those positions. The Carp are left swimming upstream, one might say. And so they usually end up making an annoyance of themselves to the Crane and wooing the Imperials. And while Carp at the Emperor’s Winter Court isn’t unusual at all, having more than one or two certainly is. To that end, strengthening their ties with the Miya as an ally is key, particularly in trying to gain greater sway over the Court of Religious Affairs and Festivals. There’s also supporting the Otter on the matter of open shrine rights, particularly in regards to the ongoing squabbles over the Lion exclusivity rights to the Shrine of Shadowed Honor (and the associated controversy over Okura veneration) and the Asahina Temples’ controversial ban list of anybody known to have participated in armed conflict. Both the Otter and Miya affairs put the Carp at odds with the Ikoma, and so there’s the delicate balance of finding a way to damage the Ikoma’s position without waking the Lion as a whole. Though the Dragon in theory back the Otter and Carp on this, in reality they function more as advisors than actual backing. There’s also negotiations with the Trout to finance salvage expeditions - treasure hunts, mainly, like the search for the ruins of the Nommo III and its reputed trove of pure, uncut jade. There’s other matters - tariff negotiations with the Unicorn, ongoing trade and social rivalries with the Yasuki, working out massive festival hosting contracts… all things which are much more rote.

On display are the "Little Dragons", supposedly the wooden tiles that Kohaku himself played to defeat the emperor in a game of tiles... but it seems a bit ridiculous that they would survive all these millennia. They're probably reproductions. To the Carp, they're a symbol of their accomplishments and how they earned their way to becoming a clan. To more traditional sorts, they're a symbol of the Carp's disrespect for the Emperor and galling arrogance. Either way, they're not much to look at, but it's said anybody who bears one gains a tremendous advantage in courtly games and contests... but certainly, they wouldn't bring the real ones here, right?

As for the gathering, this is more the time for a family reunion for the Carp, with bows and half-hugs and clasping of hands. Many of the younger members have returned from journeys for this event, and so it's a rare time many members who only know each other online get to meet. It is, perhaps, chummy in a troublingly crass way reminiscent of the Unicorn, what with all the physical contact going on, but there's nothing technically offensive about it. Kozue is busy meeting lots of strange faces with familiar names and spending time trying to show off to her uncle and Champion, at least when she isn't scandalously trying to text a certain Miya even in the midst of the ceremony. See, you hold your sleeves a certain way over your hands, and nobody can see your pocket scribe that you're thumbing on! It's a pro courtier trick.

Finally, as the ceremony comes to a close, boisterous cries of "Banzaiii!" come from the Carp clan, which is once again, crass, but it's hard to technically fault them for using the archaic greeting for the Emperor. But if it's possible to be too enthusiastic about well-wishing the Emperor, this is probably it. Still, it's a bluntly sincere gesture.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




Everyone is busy during the Winter Court of course, but few realize just how much of a frenzy the Tortoise work themselves into - which is especially surprising if you actually SEE them during the Winter Court. By all accounts they're still the same Tortoise clan; the Mantis has them beat for garishness in showing off wealth, but the Tortoise prefer other means, be it large bellies or just barely legal alien knick-knacks and fashion statements. They make no overt shows of diplomacy, have no special entrance, and indeed, outside of the select chosen courtiers who typically go to represent the Minor Clan Alliance on the whole, most Tortoise simply blend into the crowds.

Which is, of course, the point.

As Misuko goes to try and woo the Chancellor, Kaihime sticks to Bakami, Risuta eyes the equally dour guards, and Kozue , Kei's attention is on the nonstop flow of words entering her AR displays. Winter Court was decided important for the Tortoise, because it was a time for information. Favors needed to be traded and paid, rumors collected, forgeries planned. The Scorpion prided themselves kings of blackmail, but the Tortoise had learned that, frankly, you often don't NEED blackmail. One false document could do far more then a hundred illicit affairs. Now was the time to learn what the major clans wanted, and what they absolutely needed to keep to themselves.

Each time a new diplomat entered, information flowed across every Tortoise's eyes. Who they were, who had dealings with them, what they collected, what they were obsessed with, who they owed, what their stable of servants looked like. Every Tortoise tapped their fingers on their legs idly as each one contributed their own information to the pool. This one knew that Crane adored origami, and a second Tortoise pipped in with their skill in such papercraft and how they could help earn a favor. That Crab had an unruly son who wished to marry a Unicorn and their families didn't agree to such manners, but the Unicorn's daughter; a second message mentions the Unicorn's daughter having access to some important maps of Unicorn territory; a third states a willingness and skill to "find" the proper documents needed to signify to a matchmaker that the two would make a fantastic couple; a fourth lists their availability to approach the couple to initiate the trade.

Tortoise are never noticed until they are needed - and they wanted it to STAY that way. Healthy relationships and free flow of information insured that their more illegal activities were never fully examined. That Crane would dismiss the magistrate's complaints about impossible Tortoise ships moving through their space to alien lands beyond. The Unicorn would shrug aside rumors of trade occuring in the darker parts of their sectors - nobody could ever do such a thing, for where would they get the maps needed to find them? The Tortoise would be helpful. The Tortoise would be hidden. The Tortoise would continue their duty. They were janitors, tree keepers, seedy merchants, nobody of importance. It just took a lot of work to STAY that way.

The Tortoise desire what they always desire: enough information to do their job (and perhaps a bit more to their own profit, of course). Kei, naturally, simply wants to do her job (and giggle at any gossip that goes her way). Most likely she'd be given one or maybe more assignments to get some dirt or favors on people, or to help out a few smuggling rings or attempts! After that, the general goal of the Tortoise is to facilitate relations between Major and Minor clans, so greasing the wheels or otherwise bringing the two together would be good!

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Alright! I'm going to post some reactions and put the follow-up stuff that leads into the action in a later post, so you don't have to read as many words at once.



Doji Higurashi is a sly courtier and a bit of an odd one, at least by Crane standards. The Crane tend to stay close to Rokugan proper and hold a limited number of planets, preferring to send representatives to every system in the galaxy rather than actually living far out of the Emperor's shadow. Higurashi spent most of her life system-hopping on Crane ships or navigating the courts of orbital stations. Before becoming Imperial Chancellor she'd barely been on a planet, let alone Rokugan. Winter Court is probably the longest time she's spent on land.

If the Rokugan-like gravity bothers Higurashi she doesn't show it, though. She just smiles and takes the offered sake, clinching Misuko's play for her attention.

"Ah, it's a little too early for sake, don't you think?" Higurashi says with a wink before downing the cup. "Ah, but I do remember you! I've seen some of your work. I like it!" She taps her chin thoughtfully. "I'm afraid the schedule's a little fluid at the moment, or I'd know exactly when you're performing... I'll let you know in advance, of course."

If Misuko impresses Higurashi over the next week she'll get The Best Spot!




Bakami gives Kaihime a smile and a little shrug.

"To be honest, I'm not sure? The Alliance contacted the Clans and I delegated housing them to an assistant. I've had my hands full stamping down crime in the city to the Alliance's satisfaction..."

Bakami taps her fingers on the table and starts glancing around the crowd. "Hmm. The Gaur are in need of members as it is. If the Cicada are smaller... Do you see a Cicada mon?"




Miya Iesada texts Kozue back to let her know where he is: by the Dais, at a meeting of Miya courtier hosted by Miya Suisei. Suisei is the daughter of the Miya daimyo, who passed the Imperial Herald job to her not long ago. She's barely older than Kozue, and even though she's done well so far the other Miya seem to think she's inexperienced and easy to steer. Iesada in particular is hoping to get her attention and establish a good rapport after the meeting, and to Kozue it looks like half the other courtiers have the same idea. Suisei herself looks a little bored. Iesada is going to need help, or possibly someone to pry him away before he does something silly.




Risuta

Risuta sets out to contact the Kuni. The Crab have staked out a cluster of tables near their banner, and the Kuni are lurking somewhere behind them. A few courtiers have already approached the Crab, so nobody really stops Risuta from approaching their representative.

Kuni Hikari, Kuni Representative

Original source: Shiyu-Kang on deviantart

Hikari is the Kuni daimyo's Karo. The Kuni these days are mostly concerned with studying and cleaning up planets that have been touched by the unpleasant Realms; Hikari's a little different in that she's interested in all alien life, even if only for their military capability. She's chosen a table with a nice Hanajin flower display set into it and is studying it carefully when Risuta introduces himself.

"Hello. So what brings the Hare here? Besides the location, of course."


Kei

Once enough information is pooled, some Tortoise start getting priority messages. These are anonymous, and totally not from Kasuga Haruhi, Tortoise Representative. She has business to attend to with the Alliance and definitely not even here right now. This is some strange anonymous person asking Kei a favour.

quote:

Kei-san. Could you do me a favor? Some of the Palace's servants seem to think that a new crime gang has moved into the city recently, to fill the space Bakami's arrests have made. Strange, ne? Could you find out what you can in the next few weeks? If they're here for the Winter Court, the guests here could be patrons or targets.

—A friend

Probably some dirty ronin, honestly.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




"Iesada-saaan!", Kozue calls out as she nearly jogs up, putting on the brakes as she sees the Imperial Herald. Bowing swiftly and deeply to the pair of Miya, she raises a hand in greeting. "Fortune and kindness!", she offers as a greeting, before introducing herself to the herald as "Kohaku Kozue, an honor to meet." Rubbing the back of her neck self-consciously, adding, "That was amazing how you could remember everybody's name! I'd forget somebody, that's for sure."

She beams, biting her lip momentarily as she tries to remember she can't just hug Iesada in front of the Emperor. Not that the Emperor's probably watching, but that throne is pretty high up. "Hey, Iesada, are you busy after this, we could do karaoke or-" She pauses, looking back over to Suisei, as what seems to be a ingenious or disastrous plan is starting to crystallize in her head.

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




Fluid? What a way to put it. Surely there's a way to bump Misuko's name up the priority list?

"Of course, that's understandable." She drinks her own sake. "My manager, Yukari-san, she's prepared our show well in advance. I left my own schedule wide open myself. We're ready to go anytime, just give us the word."

She leaves her glass to a passing servant carrying a tray of drinks. "So, court must be a busy, well, busier time for you. Lots of things to account for. Lots of problems. I've been in this planet for a while, so if there are any concerns, I can be of assistance."

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime makes a hmm sound and looks around, even going up on her toes for a moment to peer over the crowd. As she does, she comments, "I doubt they'll fit into the Gaur unless they are really into sumo. Don't quite see it with the Cicada moniker. But there are some other pretty small Clans here..."

Investigation/Perception: 6d10o10k3 34

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Ujina Risuta bowed appropriately for meeting someone of this station before he responded. "It is an honour to be in the presence of such an august individual as yourself. Vigilance is an eternal requirement, even in these relatively peaceful times, in fact especially in such peaceful times when enemies from without give way to enemies from within. On that note, I believe it would be mutually beneficial if my clan were to be granted some measure of access to tuition within your most esteemed family's schools. It would provide a more comprehensive education on locating and neutralising such possible threats that might occur, granting greater security and calm to the empire in general - as well as showing the efficacy of your family's most hard-researched techniques and traditions. Perhaps we could make concessions in order to make this more palatable to your most esteemed self? Your family's research into more 'interesting' worlds is quite astounding, perhaps we could assist you in some manner. But I get ahead of myself, first I must ask - what do you think of this proposal, Kuni-sama? " is what Risuta said, his expression even but unwavering, his voice solid yet not intimidating - for it was not necessary.

After his proposal he took a sip of sake, obviously showing that he was confident in this, for a more worried person might well try to stay sober so that they might get a better measure of those that they faced.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Okay, maybe one more post.



Suisei's smile is only a little impish. "Fortune and kindness, Kozue-san. You would be Iesada-san's betrothed, yes? I didn't know he liked karaoke."

The attention of the assembled Miya turns to Iesada. He handles it well enough. It's probably pretty common for Miya anyway. "Well... ...I dabble, Miya-sama. It's good practice for the voice. You know how it is."

Suisei doesn't wink at Kozue, but she sparkles a little. "Good answer."



"Ah, and I believe you and your friends are also magistrates? That could be useful." She tilts her head and looks back to the Dais. "Ah, but I'm needed for the gift ceremony soon. Perhaps we can talk later?"

Higurashi bows and glides back to her seat, making sure Misuko can see that she's got her data scroll on hand. Looks like she can expect a message soon...



It takes a while, but Kaihime eventually spots Ikari at a table in a lonely corner of the room. He's sharing it with Bakami's bud, Bayushi Asaji.

Ikari Takeo, Cicada Clan Champion

Source

You're not sure how Asaji got in here. Even the Scorpion get worried around her. Takeo doesn't seem to care; he's playing with an origami cicada and chatting with her as she tries not to look too curious.

"... I'm sure it's possible," Takeo is saying as you wander over. "Genetic therapy could handle the eye, at least. I'm just saying, it's worth considering."

"Interesting," Asaji fans herself. "Ah, hello! Have you met my friends here? Bakami-san is the local Governor, and Kaihime-san is a Magistrate. Bakami-san, Kaihime-san, this is Takeo-sama. He's Cicada Clan Champion." Asaji is already out of her seat. "Introduce yourselves, please! Let me see if I can find us something to drink..."

Yeah, she's not coming back.

Takeo nods as you pull up a seat. "Hello there. Monkey and Crow, right? I am Ikari Takeo, of the Cicada Clan."

He taps the origami on the table to demonstrate. "I knew a Monkey once. I haven't met any Crow, but I know of you."



Risuta

Hikari raises her eyebrows. A Minor Clan samurai approaching a Great Clan samurai on the first day of Winter Court is a bold move.

"I see." She taps her fingers on the table and thinks. "Well, it's interesting. We have no reason to deny the Hare out of hand. I'd have to consult with the rest of the Crab delegation. I'm sure we can work something out. Assuming things don't change. Winter Court changes fast. We shall see."

She pauses for a moment, then adds "What part of our research interests you most?"

Kei

Asaji's good at appearances. Kei almost sees her weird eye before the rest of her.

"Hello, Kei-san." Asaji waves her fan at her. "Thank you for delivering the letter! And I see Kawaso Mikuji came, too. That's interesting," Asaji's voice is a little quiet, "I didn't expect her to show up, you see. Was it something you said?"

She uses her fan to hide a smile (and speak to Kei a little more privately). "Not that I mind! Oh, but I hope you weren't planning to talk to the Scorpion for the next few days."

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




An inside view into Kozue's thought processes, paraphrased to remove detours and gushing observations (particularly regarding Iesada): Boy, that looks like a lot of work, having the eye of the Empire on you. I'd be stressed out! I'd want to do something after to relax. Like karaoke! Wait. Wouldn't it be fantastic to hear the Imperial Herald do Karaoke? And that'd get her away from all the people trying to bother her. Are you a genius, Kozue? I bet you are!

"Having to maintain one's dignity and poise, to maintain one's face even with disarray inside... is proper practice for the Winter ahead, right?" It's a bold move to try and compare drunken singing to the trials of court, but it's not nearly as bold as the next step. Bowing deeply again, Kozue adds, "We would be greatly honored to have the voice of the Imperial Herald to accompany us."

Courtier to convince + Benten's Blessing + 1 Void Point = 26. Pffft, we can do better! The Emperor is (not) watching! So Luck for a reroll, and that's a 38. Still below average, but it'll have to do.

And, just for the record, Kozue's daily blessing from The Fortunes' Favor will be Hotei, should it matter (it probably won't).

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




"A pleasure to meet you," Kaihime says, after taking a second to glare at the retreating Scorpion's back. Just like her to ditch them. "I can't say I've met a Cicada before. Did any other members of your Clan decide to attend?"

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



"I prefer to think of this as, grating ample time to consider my proposition - rather than trying to foist it upon you at the last minute in some brazen attempt at resolution." replied Risuta to the observation that this was a rather daring manoeuvre. Still, the Hare considered the question laid down by the prominent Kuni.

Lore:Maho: 5d10o10k3 27

"Most prominently I would say that I find your research on the interaction between K+ and especially K- particles and their nascent emitters, and P-type materials - furthermore the more advanced interactions utilising charged manipulation - electrical or otherwise proves an interesting direction of research." is what Ujina Risuta replied with. Of course to the layman this might not make much sense, but K+ nascent emitters are another term for kami, while K- nascent emitters are another term for kansen, their particles are of course a form of radiation that it was determined that they emit (non-nascent K+/K- emitters can be many other things, including tainted things in the latter case). P-type materials is short for Pure-type materials, chiefly Jade and Crystal and alloys and materials that have been determined to have similar properties (Obsidian falls within a similar classification but isn't an actual P-type material).

After nattering on about these interesting particulars, Risuta of course has another drink, his expression being more serious for once.

Infinite Oregano fucked around with this message at Jun 14, 2016 around 15:56

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!




Kei doesn't nod at the message, but might give a return message of "". It's simply impossible to know.

When she does see Asaji though, her mind races. Didn't she...oh, right. Reading the letter when she wasn't supposed to. Expecting her to not do it was rather mean, really, when you thought about it.

"Asaji! So! The letter, I delievered it. And, given how Kawaso-san acted, I thought, of course! A love letter? I admit, I peeked to! After she got it of course - I am everyone's beloved imouto-san Kei-chan, I only peek at diaries afterwards. And, she looked like, she was nervous. Scared! I thought, no? Asaji, she is so beautiful, and a lovely friend. So! I talked to her! Kawaso-san, that is. And convinced her to come, because, you are so beautiful, and a lovely friend! And I did not want you to be insulted. Did I do a bad thing?"

Sincerity (Lying): 10d10o10k4 43

Kei radiates the very essence of innocence. It is impossible to think she is lying. Maybe some Kitsuki's could realize it. Maybe.

Asaji gets a shy smile!

"Kei-chan is very sorry if she did something wrong~."

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010




Alright! Time to move on from today's Courtly Duties. This will be some reactions, the last Event for the day, then some post-Court plot stuff. I'm going to forgo the unique headers for the reactions because they take up a lot of space when you're split up.

The Imperial Herald (Kozue)

The collected Miya hold their breath for a moment. Suisei just smiles.

After a while, she speaks. "Well, I have business to attend to immediately after Court... but do tell me where you choose to do karaoke, will you, Iesada-san?"

Iesada doesn't really know what to make of this either. "Ah, of course, Miya-sama."

Suisei may be fashionably late but it looks like Kozue might have gotten an audience with the Imperial Herald (and anyone else who joins her).


Ikari Taeko's Table (Kaihime)

Takeo sits back and refills his pipe.

"We'd need an exorcist if they did, I'm afraid. We Cicada ran light at the best of times. For now, I'm the Cicada delegation."

Bakami frowns. "Ikari-san... I hope I misunderstand you. Traditionally a Minor Clan must be at least..."

Takeo smiles. "I am aware. But thank you for the concern, Toku-san. May I ask about your arm?"

"Eh?"

"Sorry if I'm being offensive. I'm just intrigued. It's a very elegant design, but the jade core is unusual for a courtier. I assume it's a personal choice? It would certainly ruin any synthetic masking..."

Bakami is more bewildered than offended. "I... well, yes. The design is a personal choice. I like the balance jade represents. And a synthetic mask would just be silly. Why hide what happened?"

Takeo nods. "That is an extremely Monkey answer. May I ask..."

Bakami smiles and lets Takeo keep diverting the discussion. Kaihime gets a sneaky message, though.

[ I'm going to research the Cicada tonight! ]


Kuni Hikari's Table (Risuta)

Hikari raises an eyebrow.

"Hmm. Someone else who knows what K+ emitters are? That's interesting. I like it. And it will help. I may have a reply soon...

Whatever happens from here, it sounds like Risuta might be buds with the Crab soon!


Bayushi Asaji (Kei)

Asaji is blank-faced for a moment. Either she bought it or she is completely wrong about what Kei is lying about.

"Ah, I see. People don't compliment my appearance often!" She gives Kei a wink (with her terrible cursed eye that makes it ambiguous whether she's telling the truth, way to go Asaji) and continues: "I suppose I wasn't expecting Kawaso-san to show at all... But I can work with this, I suppose. Thank you, Kei."

That's... good??



THE GIFT GIVING CEREMONY

In ages past, this ceremony happened earlier. In the age of stars, it's become customary to do it near the end of the first day—a previous Emperor decided (in much more eloquent words, obviously) that these things take forever now, so everyone might as well get some food in them first. You're able to get a meal and some conversation in before the chime sounds, and Miya Suisei returns to her post to begin the ceremony.

The ceremony itself is simple: One by one, in a vague order decided partly by status and partly by whim, guests approach the Dais and present the Emperor with a gift. The gift can be something expensive and flashy or something simple with personal meaning to you; a good story is just as good as gold here. The actual accepting of the gift is done by the Imperial Herald (who performs the customary two refusals and all that as well), while the Voice of the Emperor thanks them and says anything else Sumeragi wants him to.

The whole thing takes ages, so here are the highlights:

The Crab: The Crab's representative offers a gift on behalf of the entire clan: the skull of a titanic being slain on a distant world, decorated with precious metals by Crab artisans. Presenting a trophy from one of their battles with a vague "you're welcome" attitude is pretty standard for the Crab, but the size is unusual. Someone's out to impress this year!

The Mantis: The Mantis representative offers a masterwork, detailed holo-tapestry depicting the history of the Mantis, thanking Emperors past for seeing their potential while not-very-subtly hinting that the Minor Clans they were formed out of were better off with the Mantis. The Emperor is amused; the Minor Clan Alliance is not.

The Monkey: Hey! It's the gift you delivered! The presentation goes like this:

quote:

There are whispers as Monkey Champion Toku Kamina is the first Minor Clan samurai to step up to the Dais. The Great Clans have just made a big show of wealth in front of the Court, and while many are simply curious others are clearly eager to sneer at the Minor Clan's efforts.

"Hello. As Toku Kamina of the Monkey Clan, on behalf of my Clan and the Minor Clan Alliance, I present this humble gift to Emperor Iweko CXII. May he find some use for it."

Kamina presents a simple box. It is clearly the one the gift came in. Only you, Kamina and Bakami know what the box contains: the most average gift in the Empire, forged by a legendary ronin to be perfectly adequate for any occasion.

The crowd holds it breath as Suisei has someone open the box for her.

The Herald's expression is priceless. A flicker of doubt crosses the young samurai's poker face as she starts to comment on it and finds she's got nothing. It's not bad. It's certainly a well-made sword, and a perfectly fine gift for the Emperor. It's just not clear why he would choose it over any other swords. It's Okay.

"Ah," Suisei declares. "This is... well made, Toku-san."

"That it is," Kamina beams at the speechless crowd. Courtiers who were sneering just a moment ago open and close their mouths idly.

Suisei is finally saved by Ikoma Yasuji, who steps forward with a message from the boss.

"A fine gift," the Voice of the Emperor says. "A symbol of the Empire in its purest form, and a welcome reminder of the foundations our prosperity is built on. Thank you, old friend."

The Emperor is carefully hiding his mouth behind his steepled fingers, but he seems amused. Kamina bows and returns to the bewildered crowd.

"Thank you," Bakami whispers.

The Cicada: Ikari Takeo offers the origami cicada he was fiddling with earlier, with a simple story about how he's been making these since he was a child and to him they represent the Empire and blah blah blah. The Voice steps forward to accept this one too. Nobody on the Dais quizzes Takeo about the Cicada's deal, at least not this time.

Everyone's expected to offer a gift, so you can describe yours if you like! If not, assume your gift was accepted and amused Emperor Sumeragi for a moment.



The Court is closed for the day at the end of the gifts, thank the gods. Once a small ceremony is completed and the Emperor and his Chosen file out the back door, everyone sets off to explore their new home for the next three months.

Almost everyone. Bakami is off to get some Governor work done, and she sends you a message on the way.

quote:

Hello! Sorry to bother you again so soon, but I'm told there may be ruffians about. A few of our Alliance kin from smaller Clans left early and they think they were followed. Ronin too. Could you take a quick look as magistrates? But be discreet, it could just be courtiers or something.

So! Bakami seems to think there are Criminals trying to tarnish her city's good name by looking for low-ranking samurai to jump. It is probably not that simple.

How do you plan to look into this, and would you like to roll anything? Bakami isn't her boss, so doing something else is an option.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
FIVE PACES THICK AND
TWICE AS TALL




Kaihime eyes Taeko. Definitely something going on here, of the sort that could embarrass the Alliance. She glances at Bakami, then gets her message. [ Let me know what you find, will help resolve if needed. ]

------------------------

After disengaging from the Cicada, Kaihime went and found the Octopus champion, who is absolutely lost by now. Once the champion was delivered to where she was supposed to be, Kaihime spent a while figuring out what the best competitions to wager on were. This involved dodging her own clan superiors and making certain connections with ronin, so was a bit time consuming.

But she also wasn't caught up with anything she couldn't leave off when Bakami's later message came through. She does a quick reply all.

[ I'm going to go take a look. Meet at the crimson tea pavilion? ]

Mitama
Feb 28, 2011

Indulging in daytime naps is the highest pleasure mortals can attain!




Misuko spends the rest of the day at the main hall. With her clan already full up on gift-giving representatives, she chooses instead to chat up with the occasional fan of her work, sign a few autographs, and generally make her presence well known. Every so often, she checks her messages for anything new. Nothing. Nothing yet.

It's a long day for her.

When she eventually receives a message though, she scrambles for it. Still not the Chancellor, though. Just as well, though. She needs to take her mind off this, and yelling at someone with the authority of a magistrate tends to help.

[ I'm on my way. ]

Infinite Oregano
Dec 31, 2007

I'm going to make my friends eat infinite oregano and they'll have to do it because the recipe says so!



Ujina Risuta was pleased by the progress he had made, this could definitely be a source of many things, either personal power or status, learning the secrets of the Witch Hunters (and perhaps having the opportunity to create some kind of hybrid fighting style), or at the least power and opportunity for his Clan, as well as providing a firmer foundation for the later proposal that Risuta will make on behalf of his clan more generally, a proposal that Risuta wholeheartedly believes would benefit the Empire in its entirety if it were to be implemented, assuming of course the Hare were to be granted appropriate resources in order to be able to carry it out.

Beyond this Risuta would take the opportunity to relax a little, and with his proposal and attempts to build a rapport with a prominent Kuni well underway, he decided it would be best for himself somewhere else to do his thing. Namely drink sake and see if there's anything spicy in this place. With that in mind Risuta will politely excuse himself from the presence of Kuni Hikari and get more refreshments.

Still not entirely willing to let his guard down, Risuta spends some of the less involved time doing minor research into the lesser known minor clans that he had heard mentioned, and keeping in touch with other Hare agents to see what they've heard or seen and if any of it is pertinent.

- - - -

Risuta generally is quite highly strung when he's anywhere near sober, and the news of something going amiss was too good for him to pass up, he quickly responded on his communication device before finishing his drink and making quick steps to the meeting point.

[ Acknowledged, inbound as of this notice. ]

He was glad to have something more business-related to take his mind off of the possible result of his proposal, and even he didn't want to drink his sorrows away entirely. It was a little bit too early for that. Maybe later on, either as a reward for catching some criminal scum or a commiseration for them getting away.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




The Carp deliver a barrel of sake - well, Inari's Blessing Sake, shipped quickly from Shiro no Kohaku, milled and smooth, flavorful but with little lingering aftertaste. "The Emperor receives many gifts-", the Carp Clan Champion has been known to quip. "- but there's only one gift he really needs, if you know what I mean and I think you do. You're sharp, right? Of course you are-"

Speaking of liquor, Kozue replies:

pre:
meeting with miyasan

maybe ill be followed?

fingers crossed!
Well, that would be lucky. Or would it be more lucky for her not to be followed? Well, it's not something she chooses to think about overmuch.

Kozue's the bait? Or it could be she's going to Crimson Tea House for the karaoke? Well, let's make the latter true in either case.

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