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42. Doji Ren

Winter court in full effect

Played on November 10th, 2019

The Archery Dmeonstration

I secretly ask Kyo if he would need any help with his Game of Letters, but he replies that he'll manage. And as we'll learn later today he did
We all gather outside the castle on the cliff facing the harbor and the sea. There three ships, with gigantic banners hanging from their mast, are moored at different distances, acting as targets for the Asahina archers, who are preparing the demonstration. Otomo Koryusai is present, but seems somewhat distratced. A Susano-o Mantis stands out in the audience as he's constantly commenting on the demonstration how imprefect it is what they are presenting this afternoon.
Takuya striked up a conversation with the Mantis, who's name turns out to be Izen, and I listen in on it. They discuss the demonstration and that it could've been somewhat better. The Crane courtiers overhearing this conversation only barely manage to hide their doscontent with his behaviour. Takuya goes on to talk about why the Mantis are present at the Winter Court in the first place. The Mantis explains they were quite surprised and honored with the invitation, which they received from captain Kuzo as he was transporting a famous Kabuki actor Ikuma Rumiko. Yumako concludes his conversation with the Mantis explaining that he can call upon the help of us as Magistrates if the need ever arises.
By then the demo is done and Izen approaches the Archers stating they did pretty well and goes on to boast that Mantis are also capable of performing such a feat. He takes the spot of the Archers who stand aside.
"Look at how I will hit the banners!"
One of the archers welcomes Izen to this 'stage' and offers the paint-arrows. Izen takes them and does indeed demonstrate his archery skills by hitting all the banners in turn. He gloats as he receives some carefull applause.
To defuse this weird situation, the Asahina archers now also invite other to partake in the demonstration. Takuya now steps up to the plate. He also receives a set of paint arrows and takes his position. The the paint spot from his first arrow fully covers the spot created by Izen, who responds with loud laughter. After the second arrow also manages the cover his second spot he his laugh changes to a phony one. I'm glad Takuya misses Izen's paint spot on the third shot. He does manage to hit the banner though, resulting in very loud applause and an enthusiastic compliment by Izen. Izen nods at Izen in friendly approval.
By now we learn that Kyo has responded to the Game of Letters with the following poem:

Many plays are done
An audience you will be
You might learn a thing
Violent storm you may be
But some ships might not come through

The Snow Lantern Celebration

The next morning, Takuya also receives a letter:

Suddenly we find
This world cast in ghostly white
Cold like the graveyard
As night falls, the lanterns glow
Alighting the way forward
It sounds like an obvious reference to the event which is planned tonight, after the heavy snowfall which occured last night, the Snow Lantern Celebration. All day servants have been creating snow sculptures in the Fantastical Gardens and a pathway along all the sculptures has been set up.
Kyo receives his response today stating he's in the right direction and that tonights celebration will be a nice opportunity to discuss these kinds of matters.
As I pay a visit to the event I notice Miya Satoshi along with Otomo Koryusai and strike up a conversation about the poetry competition and what I should do to participate in it. Otomo explains I should get in contact with Asahina Takako. I continue alongside them, talking some more about poetry in the end trying to learn something about the invitation the Mantis have received. Hopefully Otomo will help me out somewhat there, our good standing with the family might be of some use here. As we talk, I notice Otomo seems not too happy to be here nor does he seem to like to work for Miya. It might be caused by his already longlasting sadness due to his engagement which got called off.