Doji Arami returned with his apprentice Doji Mayuri to Shizuka Toshi, the academy of the Doji Diplomat School. Hidden within a ring of elegant sakura, it welcomed back the two Crane eager to make sense of their adventure in Slow Tide Harbor.
Over a month, Arami had to related his tale to his sensei in clear, exacting detail, summarizing what he had learned. He then had to relate the same story, start to finish, but changing one crucial detail that would have made all the difference. What would have happened if he had bolstered his reputation enough that even a maho-tsukai could not tarnish it? If all three crime lords had been present at the party he and Kakita Ochiru arranged? If he hadn’t acted so rashly and prematurely tried to arrest the ronin?
On the other hand, Mayuri was tasked to reflect on the impact of “The Tortoise and the Crane” and how her refining the tale and its being mass produced were both necessary for it to have contributed what it did to their efforts.
Both learned that one never forgets the stench of opium – and how even this stench is not strong enough to overpower the dignity of the Crane. Their efforts to rehabilitate Kakita Amano – purchasing his best painting to remind him of what beauty he had to offer, sharing a proper tea ceremony with him on the Yasuki ship to ease and cleanse his mind – were commended for their Compassion. The reminder that those who shame themselves are sometimes left forgotten was not, of course, said out loud, as there was no need to.
As a capstone project, Arami arranged an ikebana that communicated both generosity and tenacity, a gift presented with such courtesy to the Tortoise governor that he would have been convinced that the strength behind such grace was worth respecting. His sensei, playing the role of the Kasuga, judged both artistries adequate, affirming that Arami had learned what he needed to, and more.
(Increased Aesthetics 1 to 2)
(Increased Courtesy 2 to 3)
(Learned Well of Desire shuji)
Mayuri, for her part, was tasked to create ikebana as well – ten identical arrangements that told the story of “The Tortoise and the Crane”. After having failed as she was meant to, she came to terms with the realization that the printing press allowed one gift to be many, magnifying their worth to the extent that the distasteful arrangements of commerce and logistics become worth considering.
(Learned Tributaries of Trade shuji)
*Shizuka Toshi illustrator: Alayna Lemmer-Danner