Doji and Yasuki cozying up together? I did not see that
coming. Interesting... it could augur well as we head into Onyx, with the Crab and Crane being the two Clans making the most decisively anti-Spider path choices. Or, given who we're dealing with... perhaps not. Tono already betrayed his agreements with the Unicorn and Lion without the slightest trace of shame. He waved the Otomo flag for a full winter, for as long as he hoped they might do something for him, and now he throws them under the bus too. What are the odds that he'll break the pattern in dealing with the Crane
, of all people?
On which note, this made me laugh:
Doji Natsuyo wrote:You are not and have never been our enemy.
I think there's a fair number of dead Daidoji who'd beg to differ there, Natsuyo.
Nonetheless, it was a good bit of writing, and I enjoyed it. I prefer my political stories a bit less blunt than that, but there's only so much you can do in three pages.
Other thoughts... Umi-Ushi chewing away with his mouth open during the negotiations amused me. And then dropping it to mark the bombshell. Ah, Crab... never change. I was also interested to see Natsuyo talking in search openly mercantile terms - "flooding the market"? That can't be a common Doji turn of phrase, when proper samurai are supposed to disdain money and all things related to it. A deliberate choice, to match the idiom of her audience?
As for the rest of the stories - I loved
the rendition of the Unicorn tattoo save. One of the more bizarre choices of the Kotei season, rendered in terms that make perfect sense. I also enjoyed seeing Demiyah vividly demonstrate the entitlement and blind hypocrisy of the Otomo, and Seiken demonstrate some political sense, and a rationale for his intention to gut the Imperial Bureaucracy beyond a desire to return to an imaginary past. I thought the imagery of the Clan banners at the end was a bit overdone, though. Too convenient, too obvious. (Unless the Child of Heaven possesses magical flagpoles with actual powers of divination. In that case... awesome.) I think the symbolism would have worked better if it had been more spread out through the fiction, a piece at a time, rather than all dumped into a single paragraph.