Kanshigumi: The Ivory Lotus

Hostages
The Second Kanshigumi Story

14 Goat 1169

 Karma has a funny way of balancing its books.  Sometimes it takes lifetimes for the great wheel to come around, sometimes it takes a day.  These past two days were the Fortunes' opportunity to drag me from one end of the Karmic wheel to the other.  Strangely enough (or maybe not so strange, all things considered) I hit my low within my own clan, my high among peasants.

By a strict interpretation of the understanding reached between the Great Clans and the Seppun, the members of the Kanshigumi are supposed to be serving "the Greater Good of the Empire", whatever the hell that means.  In reality, it's a lot like the Emerald Magistrates – serve the Empire, but make your clan look good or you're Bakemono food.  So I returned to the Mantis district of the city to give an update on our progress to Yoritomo Satoshi, the district governor. 

Satoshi-sama is not a bad man but not an overly bright one either.  I think he won this post for being "least offensive."  It's not like any Mantis in the city have any sort of pull without Ryutato-sama's say-so, but I'm so far down that particular ladder, I must look up to see the floor.  Today, he informed me that I will have a new person to report to in the future.  When I was a district magistrate, I rarely had to appear in person – All of our activities were recorded for posterity (and in order to know whom to blame).  Today, I met my new superior.  It's Yoritomo Haruko

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Fighting Fire
The first Kanshigumi story

6 Goat 1169

My armor is uncomfortably warm today.  Of course, everything becomes uncomfortable in the Kanshigumi – I think it is part of their allure.  We are nothing but uncomfortable combinations of ideal and reality: Law-enforcers with no authority, Samurai trying to put the Empire first with our clan colors still blazing proudly, authority figures who are outranked by almost everyone around us – it would be funny if there weren't so many people deadly serious about it…and if I were not a member.

This is our first patrol with our new squad leader, Isawa Yamizu-sama.  Just what we needed: a pacifistic priest of the Kami in a group that will, in all likelihood, end up in not a small number of fights.  Well, what's one more contradiction among the others?  My father liked to say, "The market's never wrong, even if you don't understand it."  I don't know what particular need we had for such a milksop as this one in his flaming finery, but he's the -sama for now.

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