Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

The Emerald Empire of Rokugan. It is a land upheld by honor, guided by fate, ruled by destiny. The Great Clans each support the Emperor, but inter-clan conflict is inevitable—both in the Emperor’s courts and on the battlefield. In the midst of danger and turmoil, honor must be your sword and your armor.

It is an era of sudden change and upheaval in the Emerald Empire. Mortal schemes, elemental imbalances, and celestial turmoil have disrupted the political, military, and spiritual equilibrium of Rokugan. Long-simmering rivalries and fresh betrayals ripple through the courts and on the battlefield. The Chrysanthemum Throne is beset by threats from without and within, and the honor of the seven Great Clans shall be put to the test.
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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:28 pm

Ryoko shakes her head, "This is my first visit here Crab-san. I do not know all the Crane in the Crane Clan, just like you do not know every Crab in Crab lands." She looks the man over, forming her own opinions on him, and keeping them to herself for now.
Muskrat is out for a bit, so trying to keep Ryoko sort of opinion agnostic till he's back.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:00 am

Shonogen becomes grave as he speaks of his family.

"Aside from the many jizamurai who borrow the name, I can name most members of the Hiruma family and know the rest of them by site. Our family has no land to sustain us and our fortunes and numbers dwindle. I suppose the Kakita family is doing well enough for you to lose track of each other."

Shonogen tilts his head toward the man and boy and begins walking toward them.

"If you are unable to introduce me to this long-lost cousin of yours, perhaps I can introduce you to him"

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:21 pm

Just to be clear, there are about 1-2 million samurai in Rokugan, so knowing all of a family is pretty rare. The Hiruma are considerably smaller, so knowing more of them makes sense to me, but not all of them.

One of the books says, "While there are relatively few samurai with blood ties to the original Matsu, thousands of buke bear the Matsu name." This doesn't include vassal families which they talk about later on or the ji-samurai.

"There are thousands of samurai that bear the Kakita name Shonogen-san, I will hardly ever meet a fraction of them. It is a sad tale if the Hiruma are so few in number that you can name them all, even discount vassals or ji-samurai." She inhales the sweet smell of the garden. "I suppose we should introduce ourselves, such a skilled swordsman is worth a few minutes of our time."
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:19 am

Vardaen wrote:The Hiruma are considerably smaller, so knowing more of them makes sense to me, but not all of them.
Perhaps Shonogen is exaggerating a little, but he is selective about who he considers 'true Hiruma'. He is from a recent branch of the main family line, so anyone more remotely related doesn't count. He already discounted jizamurai, subservient families, 20 goblin winter winners, etc.
Shonogen approaches the man and child and calls out a greeting before he reaches a proper conversing distance. It may be questionable etiquette to do so, but as a yojimbo he usually puts caution before manners. The man has a drawn weapon and a cavalier attitude. Shonogen would like to gauge his temperament and make sure the man is aware of their approach before coming into striking distance.
Last edited by Orvost on Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Prelude: Hiruma Shonogen

Post by Muskrat » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:09 pm

Do samurai typically where their family mon on their clothes, so they are easy to identify by family? If so, Ryoko will be reluctant to approach another Kakita, given she is a black sheep.
Ryoko does not add that most of the Kakita would most likely prefer not to meet her, at least if her reputation has proceeded her. There is no need to share her shame with this new acquaintance if she need not do so. She worries she may have just put herself in an awkward position if the fruit-cutting bushi should prove one of the Kakita--though if he is using his katana to cut fruit, he may care as little for propriety in his own way as Ryoko. She lets Shonogen take the lead in making introductions.

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:52 pm

Shonogen steps forward, not too close, but well within polite distance to draw the man's attention. Ryoko is hesitant, for her own reasons, but let's the Crab go forward. The swordsman is happily eating the half of the pear that's his, as he smiles at the little child. None of the adults seem to take the first step at conversation, but the little boy does.

He points, "Look more samurai papa!"

The Crane turns, and you can see proudly emblazoned on his kimono the mon of the Kakita Family. "Yes, so it is Ichirō. Visitors to the garden, shall we welcome them? Perhaps they would care for a pear?"

The little boy smiles, "More fruit! Yes yes papa!"

The Kakita, who's blade is put away by this point, bows politely to the new arrivals, "Welcome to the Garden visitors. I am Kakita Ringo, and this here is my son Ichirō. Would you care for a pear, they are particularly juice this time of year?"
Ichirō is the traditional name to all first born sons.

Ichirō is perhaps 4 or 5 years old at the most.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:04 pm

The presence of a child in polite and formal situations puts some samurai on edge, because children often act or speak out of turn and put a polite samurai in a no-win situation where they offend by ignoring the child or offend by engaging the child. True masters of etiquette are able to speak with children in a way that communicates to listening adults and are able to say things indirectly that would be difficult to say directly. Shonogen has seen the technique in use and wishes to master it.

To Ringo he says: "A very beautiful garden. My name is Hiruma Shonogen." Turning to his companion, and oblivious of her situation, Shonogen continues: "and this is Kakita Ryoko. I would enjoy a pear, thank you. But an uncut one, if you please."

Turning to the boy, Shonogen says: "Ichiro, do you know how to choose the best fruit? Can you choose a pear for me to eat? As a host, you often want to give the best to your guests, but sometimes, if you don't like the guest so much, you give them something less than the best. If you go get me a pear, I will know how much you like me based on how sweet and juicy it is."

Shonogen looks up at the father and smiles, seeing if Ringo is alright with this game.

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Muskrat » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:13 pm

Ryoko stands stiffly, bowing ever so properly when Shonogen introduces, but otherwise waiting to see if Ringo recognizes her name and how he responds to her presence before doing more.

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:24 pm

Ringo bows politely to Ryoko, if he knows her or of her he makes no show of it. His attention is on Shonogen and his little pear game with his son.

The little Ichirō scratches at his ear, "I don't know you. I don't know if I like you." He rubs his face, wiping away pear juice with his sleeve. Then he looks to his father and points for him to pluck two pears from the tree. No no not those two, but those two. His face smiles wide, hardly not smiling since you've met him. "My son you are very wise, like your grandfather."

The boy claps his hands and then takes the two pears and holds each one out to the Crab, "You may have either one. You pick!"

In his left hand is a small one, with some blemishes, a a bit unripe.

In his right hand is a large juice one perfectly ripe.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:21 pm

Shonogen laughs at how the child has turned the game onto him. He speaks for the benefit of all listeners.

"A reactive aproach rather than decisive. Given what you know about me, it is probably the most prudent and diplomatic way to handle things. Now you have the chance to measure me based on my choice."

Shonogen looks at the pears and strokes his mustache, as if deep in thought.

"If I choose the pear in your left hand, I will show humility, but based on the terms I started with, such a choice may suggest I am a guest unworthy of your friendship. If I choose the pear in your right hand, I will show arrogance and entitlement, but I will show my worthiness as a friend. There really is no choice, is there?"

Shonogen takes the perfect pear in Ichiro's right hand and takes a careful bite so he avoids getting juice on his chin or clothes.

"Delicious. Probably the best I've ever tasted. But sweeter than the fruit is knowing Ichiro found me worthy of such a hospitable treat."

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