Otosan Uchi, 3rd of Togashi
While the Emperor Hantei Fujiwa is attending Winter Court at Kyuden Bayushi, enjoying the best hospitality and entertainment Bayushi Atsuki can offer, Doji Raigu holds his own event, in an attempt to heal pretty recent wounds: Rokugan is still trying to understand why would the Emperor order the summary sepukku of so many honorable samurai for “crimes against the fundamental dogmas of Bushido” and many start to see this sad event and the ongoing Clan War as evidence of the weakening of Hantei power. In order to prevent rebellion against the Emperor and/or the Gozoku, Doji Raigu is providing Winter Court for hostages of all the Great Clans, trying both to keep their families in check and indoctrinate them into proper lord-vassal relationships.
Albeit they themselves are not hostages of the Triple Alliance, a group of young samurai find themselves besieged by Destiny; finding themselves at the Bright Wind geisha house on this fateful day due to different circumstances. Shosuro Miki and Kakita Naomi accompanied their lords to the geisha house, in order to protect them and spy on their doings; Shosuro Rio, the decadently handsome second son of the Shosuro Daimyo and would-be-actor arranged a meeting with the thrice-cursed Kakita Kotsuki, whose only virtue worth of praise would be her nice personality (because grazing cows never hurt anyone). The scholar Asako Manabu attached himself to the couple, hoping to catch Rio with his guard low and persuade him to use his leverage so that the Shosuro daimyo would offer Manabu important law treaties that could help Doji Raigu in a secret project that is very sensible to Imperial law. Ill fated Matsu Susumara is at this fine geisha house against her will, following her lecherous old lord Matsu E-yama and ensuring no incidents happen due to his saké abuse. Doji Mikan is also visiting the Bright Wind, but with a lower profile: her family lost their village to Crab attackers and succor is nowhere to be found; the young courtier and her father called for Doji Raigu’s intervention, but Mikan’s father upset Doji Raigu so much that he joined the ranks of his “guests”, leaving the fate of her family on Mikan’s shoulders. When a mysterious Otomo named Ideko asks to meet Mikan in secret at the geisha house, Mikan follows, believing an opportunity is to be found. Sadly, no Imperial woman appears to meet her. At last, Asako Inu is just there on a rare moment of pleasure, following strange advice from his cousin – “You will want to be there”.
The private business of these samurai was interrupted by Otomo Kyabetsu, a magistrate of Otosan Uchi, accompanied by his yoriki Otomo Ideko and a squad of Seppun Legionnaires. He states that there might be associates of the samurai present that are involved in a traitorous plot against the Empire; as honorable law-abiding samurai he expects them to come with him to the magistrate station and help him with his investigations. His lofty arrogant behavior makes this “request” pretty forceful, instead of following the proper channels of sending a letter requesting a private meeting. While Asako Manabu uses his knowledge of lore and fine etiquette to get himself excused due to more urgent duties, the rest decides not to openly antagonize a powerful Otomo.
At the magistrate station a private meeting was arranged, Kyabetsu explaining that there is a plot to murder Doji Raigu in an event that will transpire next week. He isn’t aware who is planning such heinous crime, but it has to be someone inside Doji Raigu’s estate. He also points out that while the young samurai’s lord’s status as hostages might make their warnings about this plot of dubious honesty, these young samurai are almost invisible and don’t have their freedom restricted. After warning the young samurai not to do anything on their own or try to stop any conspirator, Kyabetsu asks for them to keep open eyes and ears, looking out for anything suspicious.
After releasing the young samurai from their duties to the law, they had their first meeting with Doji Raigu’s militia: the Shinsen-Gumi. Albeit polite, they were there to escort the samurai for breaking curfew. Back at Doji Raigu’s estate, the samurai were pretty unsure what to make of such unorthodox events.
A massive event is officially announced for next week, validating Kyabetsu’s words. Rumors abound about what will transpire there. Out of loyalty to the clan, Asako Inu updates Asako Manabu on what happened at Kyabetu’s station, not betraying his word to the powerful magistrate. Shosuro Miki finds Rio’s behavior suspicious and strings the young Shosuro, learning that he is involved in a new play about the Yasuki treason of the Crane clan and his problems dealing with a multi-playwright script full of sudden changes and with the urgent need to expand his cast – with actors recommended by Otomo Kyabetsu. Doji Mikan arranges a private meeting with Kakita Naomi and Matsu Susumara; under the guise of futile conversation of feminine persuasion, they discuss the rudeness of Kyabetsu, his odd request and what to do about it. Mikan has her own ideas, but both the Kakita and the Matsu young women refrain from showing more than neutral acknowledgment.
And the week before the event goes on…