Resplendent Air 14, RY 767
Village of Elia, Pahua Basin, Blessed Isle
Oh man. So, I was at a beach party with this amazing wine, and Ledaal Arishi brought a Gateway board that played itself. Only it didn't, because inside the attached table was a midget servant of his that moved the pieces with a bunch of cleverly-hidden levers and switches. It was pretty great to see the Dynasty's own fooled by a trick that's been running the Nexus circuit for decades…
The rest of the letter describes the adventures of the not-magic gateway-playing board-and-table. The members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following…
So! State policy. Yes. As one-eighth of a secret Solar-led conspiracy to place a Solar-friendly Empress on the throne of the Dragon Astride the World, I feel pretty strongly that we should be honest with ourselves about what we are, and aren't, going to get out of this little arrangement.
The factions fomenting this civil war are two yeddim circling each other for the world's mightiest headbutt. We could try and get in the middle, and for our trouble we'd get smashed to paste. Since Aisa is the closest of any of us to Little Red, let me ask her. Right now, Little Red is the most powerful woman in the Realm; is she preparing for peace, or is she preparing to make everyone who ever slighted her eat their hair? What would it take to get her to bend the knee to someone else? Would she do it for anybody besides Big Red? Would she even do it for Big Red, now that she's tasted freedom and real independence?
I will say I spoke to an awful lot of people on my latest journey, and basically no one who uses scrip actually wants this war. You're doing the right thing for your people, Aisa, but unless you've got one hell of a plan, I don't think peace is even on the table.
I'll leave the financial shenanigans in Ryo's hands (although a timetable for “does the Imperial Treasury run out” would actually be really helpful for our long-term planning), but we're looking at a pretty total collapse of central authority. As an illustration of this, I present my latest adventure.
Imperial Magistrate Geno Husumori is a child of Danaa'd and an old friend of my mother's who took the Coin. I don't know exactly the circumstances of his becoming one of the Empress' hands but I'm pretty sure he killed the shit out of some dynastic scumbag for some dispute of honor or justice back in the day, and apparently impressed Big Red. I have decided to not mention the whole “blood sacrifices” thing to him, since you all seem to be interested in using the carrot instead of the stick where V'Neef Bijar is concerned.
I was at a pretty nice little soiree in the foothills when I first heard about him. The name interested me immediately, but there was also this fatality, like everyone was talking around someone's inevitable demise. As a determined believer in the evitable, I hired on some mercenaries for protection against the hill bandits (by the way, hill bandits? Those are a thing around here) and saddled up to go say hello.
Naturally, I find him right in the thick of it with a band called… weird, I don't quite remember. The only thing that comes to mind is Pen's Ants? Anyway! Much more significant is that they weren't a band of simple robbers. I don't know if any of you have fought a Jade Lion, but they're probably the most nails demons you can find without actually having their own name. These chucklefucks had three. They also had some wussier demons, sorcerously-imbued gear, and their leader had a fancy magical collar that I have since relieved him of and determined to be a Collar of Dawn's Cleansing Light. If I didn't know better I'd say they were somebody's trial run at a private army.
Anyway, if I hadn't descended upon the enemy like an angry elemental dragon, Husumori would have been pretty thoroughly dead (although admittedly, he did a lot of the work). As it was, it was a nice and exciting, pulse-pounding experience. Aisa's elemental was particularly helpful – not as a bodyguard, but to finish off the demons that got shoved into the other side. No bad guys reporting back about this any time soon.
Kind of telling, though: Husumori isn't even mad. A band of robbers with demonic and magical support designed specifically to make sure he never comes back from his battle is a just a really bad Marsday for him. And, to hear him tell it, it's not just confined to him. Some sorcerer (probably a good one; the more powerful the demon the harder to bind, right? Jade Lions are tough) is scrubbing the Empress' Hands in a way that they wouldn't have dared if they thought she was coming back. Or even if there was a real chance of reprisal. The Imperial City might be fine, but out here the Regent's grasp is one bad Marsday away from disappearing entirely.
I'm tagging along with Husumori and his Archons right now, we cut a pretty imposing figure. He's a Found Egg Turned Lawman with a burning love of justice! She's a Contarini mercenary with blazing fists of passion! Together, they fight crime! Now, I seem to remember someone having contacts with the Magistracy, and someone else staying at the Heptagram, and someone else else having some kind of super-spy on retainer, so I figure a sorcerer busily knocking off magistrates would be something our little collaboration could possibly provide support on.