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 Muskrat » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:30 pm

Ryoko is still in an abstracted mood and isn't really paying attention to Shonogen, certainly not enough to notice his awkwardness or body language. She was still caught up in the music. She continues to stare into space while finishing her tea. When she has finished, she refocuses on the situation and rises, saying, "My apologies--my mind wandered off. Shall we go to the garden?"

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:15 pm

The stork park, or garden as Ryoko called it, was the next chapter in this sappy pillow book. The next act in this poorly written play. Shonogen can only nod in resignation.

"Hai. Let us go to the garden."

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Muskrat » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:14 pm

Ryoko rises and says to the inn keeper, "Put the cost of tea on my Master's bill. He will pay for it later." She notices Shonogen seems unenthusiastic about the trip to the stork garden, so she says, "Hiruma-san, you seem tired. If you would like to remain here and rest, I can go the garden alone."

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:22 pm

Shonogen gives a weak smile as he answers.

"It is true that I am weary from my travels today, but there is too much day left to think about rest. Besides, my grandfather is somewhere in the garden and I should check on him."

Shonogen is about to add some flirtatious banter to continue his theme from earlier, but he thinks better of it and remains silent. His predicament was much too dangerous for humor, especially humor of that nature..

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Muskrat » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:09 pm

Ryoko nods and says, "Well, then, let us see if we can find your grandfather," and sets out for the stork garden. She seems all business now, the wistfulness she showed when singing gone.

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:26 pm

The pair speak, the Crab's thoughts would be humorous if he wasn't so depressed about them, but he doesn't let on too much about his concerns. The two leave the Inn, as they stand a servant rushes over and clears the tables and cleans up even before they have exited the building.

The town is simple, yet well designed, and the Crab and Crane slowly make their way through the village. The two clans could not be any more different, the Crab are known as brutes, warriors that face the taint of the Shadowlands daily and have no worry for courtly life. The Crane are the preeminent courtiers of the empire and are known as artists and concerned with high fashion. You know what they say, opposites attract.

Shonogen and Ryoko pace down the road looking for the gardens set on the east side of the village. Along the way they pass many small home, and even spot a small shrine to the south, it seems almost out of place where it is, disrupting the perfect lay out of the village's otherwise symmetrical design. To the east the white stork garden lies, along with another large building, the estate of the village magistrate and governor. As the two pass near to the estate they spy two figures heading into the estate. Its not difficult to make out that they bear Imperial Mons, one of the Otomo and another of the Seppun. Two Imperials present in this little town seems notable.

The star crossed lovers, well, whatever Shonogen worries they may be come, reach the edge of Eien no Yuki no Niwa and stand enjoying the sites. There are white cranes about, water lilies, dogwood trees, wisteria, and other white flowering plants. You can see at once why they call this place the Garden of Eternal Snow.
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"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 Muskrat » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:32 pm

Ryoko looks around and says in a surprised voice, "I wasn't really sure what to expect. Gardens are often quite disappointing compared to the raw beauty of the wilderness, but this is quite lovely."

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Orvost » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:12 am

Shonogen nods in agreement. "I can see how a place like this can make someone feel sentimental."

He has noticed Ryoko has a take-charge kind of attitude and waits to see what her intentions are. In the mean time, he continues the small talk.

"I see the Imperial family has come to see the birds too."

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Prelude: Shonogen & Ryoko

Post by Vardaen » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:25 pm

The Crab and Crane stand on the edge of the garden looking over the sprawling place. It is beautiful, and Ryoko nods to Shonogen. "Yes, to both accounts. I did see the Otomo and his Yojimbo I presume. She remains silent on the matter, Is this why Doji Kirino has brought us here?

The pair start into the garden and spot a man tending to one of the pear trees. He plucks a fruit from one of the trees and tosses it up into the air. In a single swift strike he draws his katana from his obi and slices the fruit in half. He reaches out and grabs one half, the other half looks like it will fall to the ground. But from behind a bush a little child lunges out and catches it. With a huge smile on his face the child chomps down into the succulent meat of the fruit and shouts out, "It is good Papa!"
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"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 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:16 pm

Shonogen considers the actions of this Crane samurai. His display showed skill with the blade, particularly the iai fast draw that Crane were known for. However, to use an ancestral weapon for a mundane task like cutting fruit seemed careless. Drawing and swinging the sword in close proximity to a child seemed supremely confident or foolhardy as well.

First impressions aside, Shonogen turns to Ryoko.
"Is this gardening swordsman known to you? Perhaps you can introduce us?"

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