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 Post subject: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:58 am 
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In the morning, Tsugiko tapped gently at the door of her former cabin, checking if Haruka was up already. She had not slept during the night anyway.



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:03 am 
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Haruka had indeed been up already. For whatever reason, she didn't retain the services of a servant overnight and answered her door herself.

"Oh. Good morning to you, Lady Tsugiko. Please, come in."



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:45 am 
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"It is a joy to see you, Haruku-san." Tsugiko smiled after the bow, covering some deep anxiety behind that otherwise very proper smile. "Have you had your rice today, or not yer?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:11 am 
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"Oh, uh, not quite yet, Tsugiko-sama. May I ask what brings you here at this hour?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 2:18 am 
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"We were supposed to talk, were we not? And it is the opposite of the time I came last time." She smiled nicely. "Besides, it would be an honour to break fast with you, Haruka-san."



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:47 am 
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Haruka looked embarrassed. "My memory must be failing me; it feels as if many days have passed since we last spoke."

Recovering, she gestured towards the nicest of the seating cushions she had in her cabin for Tsugiko to use.

"Please, come in and make yourself comfortable, Tsugiko-sama, and let us talk. I will go and have food brought for us."



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:02 pm 
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"Oh, I have already taken care of it. I assumed you might agree." Tsugiko smiled slightly sheepishly. She was definitely out of her depth that morning.



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:43 am 
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"Oh, uh, of course." Now it was Haruka's turn to be caught off-step. It was, after all, her job to be the one seeing to Tsugiko's needs.

But it seemed this was to be a very different morning.

"What would you like to speak about this morning, my lady?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:07 am 
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"I was just... pondering a very abstract issue, far removed from whatever it can be related to know."

Tsugiko nodded in conviction directed at self.

"I wonder if you may know why and how... Hantei Retsuhime-heika ended up with a Lion consort, not a Crane one?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:20 am 
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That was certainly a topic that took her by surprise.

"Well, I don't personally know why." Haruka carefully broached her response. "I would assume a matchmaker arranged for it, yes?"

It was, in a pretty and tasteful way, Haruka answering 'politics'. It was, of course, her opinion that the Crane were simply, somehow, outmaneuvered in that case but you couldn't just come out and say something like that.

But it also got her curiosity going. What would make Tsugiko ask this question, at this moment.

"That is, after all, how things are normally settled with relations among proper samurai of breeding. It was why Miya-sama paired us all off prior to the journey."



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:23 am 
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"But... Hantei Retsuhime-heika was known for asserting herself over certain... past customs and practices." Tsugiko reached for her fan to fidget on it ever so slightly. "I wonder how much of it was personal and how much contingent on the political situation of the day. Was it that the Daughter of Heavens was displeased with the Crane and favouring the Lion because of our poor choices during the reigns of Hantei Fujiwa-heika and Hantei Kusada-heika, or rather the other way around, she saw it as a way to bring the Lion into the fold away from their... chancy and bellicose behaviour while the Crane were not shown favour because the Empress thought they were behaving well and didn't need further incentives?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:19 am 
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Haruka had to think about this for a while. Something in the back of her mind told her that Tsugiko wasn't visiting just for a comparative conversation on the reasons for some Empress' governance, but it wouldn't do to simply pry answers out of Tsugiko. That would be rude.

"It may well be the case that poor decisions during the reigns of Fujiwa and Kuada-heika returned upon our clan. The justice of Heaven is absolute in the way that it answers for virtuous acts and acts of baseness. Even the most well behaved vassal needs a token to express one's approval of their behavior, for even the slightest nod of recognition is the sustenance that assures that efforts are being recognized and reaffirms that all is within the gaze of Heaven and its children. So I would not believe that the Empress felt we were in good behavior and needed no further incentive, the decision had to be made in the spirit of admonishment."

Tsugiko would know Haruka's heart. The magistrate was no fan of the Lion, but her strictly legalistic view of the world kept a tight rein on her prejudices. Still, Haruka felt the persecution and unsettlement left in the wake of the throne's decisions as of late towards the Crane.



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:32 am 
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Something died in Tsugiko's eyes as Haruka spoke. She stared into the cup of tea that had been brought in the meantime.

"So displeasure it is. I am deeply worried that Hantei Jama-no-kimi, if he ascends to the Throne, may mete out the same admonishment upon us. The difference between his brother and him in this regard is stark. He has long forestalled our engagement, refusing to repair relations between him and our Champion by this single act. I know the Imperial Matchmaker has discussed it with him many times before. I had some value to him in Rokugan, but here... here..."

She stopped talking in order not to lose On, maintained with the greatest difficulty.



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:00 pm 
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There came a time when indirectness was no longer the best way forward.

"What troubles you so, Tsugiko-sama? I can feel your uncertainty, your pain. I would know, so that I might be able to help you." Haruka asked gently, caringly. It was her duty to aid. She would be a poor handmaiden otherwise.



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:49 pm 
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"Hantei-no-kimi... I don't think I am... in his confidence any more." Tsugiko pressed her lips together to keep smiling. "He may no longer consider my... friendship... of value to him."



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:19 pm 
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That was concerning. Haruka did her best to maintain her composure, but certainly she felt Tsugiko's pain.

"Why would you think that, Tsugiko-sama? Any could see that you are still the same here as you were back home; every bit as valuable as a friend."

Haruka was clearly missing, or choosing to ignore, the implications there.

"Who could know the heart of a prince? Perhaps he waits until his position is more certain before making such a weighty announcement. Putting forward an engagement to you now would introduce new considerations in many political dealings."

Haruka did her best to assuage Tsugiko's anxieties, only now becoming aware of just how little she knew about what was actually going on.



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:31 pm 
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"Who could know the heart of a prince?" Tsugiko repeated on a wistful note. Well, more than wistful. "Yajinden perhaps. Certainly not I. Hantei-no-kimi left somewhere last night in secret and returned just this morning. I couldn't sleep all night I was so worried, and yet he didn't spare me a single word on return." She looked down, clenching the cup in trembling fingers. "It's probably something I did. It must be my fault."



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Haruka put on the mental blinders again, not questioning how or why Tsugiko would know Jama's late night comings and goings. She was his assistant. Of course it would make sense in that chaste context for her to know.

"Why would it be your fault? You trouble yourself needlessly, Tsugiko-sama. You burden your heart and put undue stress on your health."

Thinking on it some more, Haruka brightened. "Perhaps we can look to history on this. You recall when our Lady Doji presented the first bride to the first Hantei? We could arrange for a similar event; something to draw his eye to you once more, neh?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:49 pm 
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"If I recall the story correctly, Haruka-san, Lady Doji presented many maidens to choose from to the First Hantei but he wanted none of those. Instead, he chased a siren's song from the Lost Daughter Inlet and secluded himself from all in the Bay of Green Coral until he discovered the hiding place of Mioko and took her as his bride. I don't fit well in that story..."

Tsugiko raised her eyes at Haruka, suddenly having an idea that felt excellent to her.

"Do you think he would sail to find me if I disappeared on one of those islands among the mist?"



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 Post subject: Re: Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone [EM8, Closed]
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:48 am 
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"I, ah, wouldn't recommend that course of action, Tsugiko-sama." Haruka backpedaled, realizing too late she'd referenced the wrong historical Crane story. "I mean, it is never advisable to place oneself in undue danger for questionable benefit and I would be forever burdened by guilt if some harm came to you."

Haruka thought harder this time. "I was thinking more along the lines of Doji Oborozukiyo. Do you remember the tale of Lady Doji and her son Nio in the garden? That's something better, I think."



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