Here we have a special excerpt from Ninsei’s Secret Diaries – complicated by the fact that now there are not only the Lunar and Solar-oriented versions of Ninsei, but also a set of dream-duplicates with differing elemental orientations and Solar Ninsei has recombined with what was left of a badly damaged version of Lunar Ninsei from an alternate timeline and didn’t exactly win the battle of identities. Ergo, we have multiple entries…
Arasai (Air Ninsei)
There are days when I am convinced that I must be the smart one. The “original” continually runs around from one problem to the next with only the vaguest outline of a plan at times. And now he has managed to get himself caught in a situation where he cannot escape without further repercussions beyond what we already face. Good thing I have a plan to get his rear out of the oven.
A little thought, divination, and weaving can reveal a great deal about what you can expect to face. Using such information effectively and applying the minimal force in the right place can accomplish far more than the biggest fireball spell. Like today, I was able to stake out an important beachhead within the capitol without resorting to overwhelming firepower. All it took was some bait, some smokepowder, and pretending to be a firemage to make powerful opponents step back and negotiate. Now granted there was a great deal of luck involved but I can’t say I have had much time.
So we still have Gems of the Designer, the Yodatai, the Yobanjin, Asuras, weird eldritch abominations from beyond, Shin and Fu Leng to worry about. Never mind the fact that we still have the possibility of one of us going rogue. We were barely able to stop it the last time, and even then, our side lost the battle of wills. We need to make plans, stash away resources, make contingencies and prepare for the worst should it happen.
Sigh, it is going to be difficult to keep track of all of this. I am really going to need to work on the ability to process information better. Those people from the universe Ninsei and Kochige created had learned something of this, as had the people of the “Central Worlds” universe where that lunatic embedded in a crystal came from. It may well be worth studying all that material we have brought back from all these realms on advanced magic and such. There may be insights into how to better handle more information and multiple tasks going on at once. Worst case, I could visit our friends from the dying universe in the realm of dreams and ask for advice or instruction.
Speaking of the Realm of Dreams, I must really find out how the Nightmares were constructed and by who. Not only could whoever it is still pose a threat – the Nightmare of the Mantis is new after all – but that knowledge could also lead to greater insight into how to better anchor my own existence. The tangled webs of fate and knowledge gleaned from the Void say this might be important.
Lanwei (Water Ninsei):
Yet again, more people I/we/he care about are getting hurt or nearly killed. Of course, when your answer to everything is fireballs or sunbeams, I guess that’s to be expected. Unless I figure out a better way to respond to this sort of situation, someone is going to get killed. Tying Ninsei to a chair, while amusing, is going to be impractical. Ergo, best option is to find a way to protect them from the damage Ninsei is so bent on exposing them to.
Okari seems to be really good at this sort of thing, but as best as I can tell, his method relies on some quality unique to himself that no one else can duplicate. That’s probably not surprising in this group… On the other hand, it does suggest a line of approach.
I can tie threads to people just as well as the others can. These people can then be monitored over these threads. Spells can also be cast over these threads. Is it possible to sense through the threads when someone is in danger and ward them with a protective spell? To be honest, I haven’t the faintest. On the other hand, it may be worth experimenting. If I can even develop the sense to know who is in danger and get to them sooner, it would be beneficial (and less hassle).
I wonder if I can package a healing spell in such a way so as to be reflexive or nearly instantaneous? Also worth experimenting on. If the pyromaniac can chain cast six sunbeams, then surely I can get a heal spell off quickly. Of course it may be better to try and prevent the damage in the first place with some kind of warding spell.
Hmm, now there is an interesting question: what measure of power can be inherited? If some of these future family members can be given some modicum of power, then the need to intervene on every little thing can be reduced. Too bad I don’t have supernatural mice to try ideas with. Although it does occur to me that the Unicorn priests had something working for them. Something about coupling power sources together.
Nevertheless, I am going to have to do something about making these people more durable.
Yindae (Earth Ninsei)
My detailed review of the plans for the Power Grid has definitely been a learning experience. While it is certainly a marvel of design and something to be proud of, a few shortcomings do make themselves apparent.
First off, the system’s greatest strength is also the greatest weakness. The ability to control power flow from a central location makes the system a great tool for social manipulation. On the other hand, should something happen to the controls, then the entire system goes down. Lunar Ninsei combated this issue by burying the control system in a location difficult to find without either knowing what you were looking for or by knowing a great deal about our family. It was then manned only by people he could trust to the utmost.
Is this the best solution? I am not sure, although I will have to give it more thought. Although I shall have to look into the idea of multiple Control Cores or distributing the control functions.
It is also becoming apparent that one of the limiting factors of the system will be availability of power. The system looks like it did fine under the load it was designed for. On the other hand, Ninsei with his Obsidian Magistrate system is going to be pushing the limits of the system by a good margin. So we are going to need more power to feed the system.
It looks like the future Lunar Ninsei pretty thoroughly tapped all the energy sources in the Empire. So not much improvement to be had there. On the other hand, it looks like we might be able to incorporate the Shadowlands and parts of the new lands between the Empire, the City of Jewels, and the Yodatai Empire. That should add to the reserves.
Another dangerous option would be to look into the Void-Shadow thing the Naga and that Deva use. Seems to be plenty of power there, just a great difficulty in control. Having reviewed the books and other materials from the other realms, I have learned much about concepts like fuses, circuit breakers, switches, and programs. While this electricity thing seems to have no relation to anything in our realm, it does look like magic and gemstones can mimic at least some of the functionality. It may be worthwhile to find a secluded island (or a pocket dimension) and run some very small scale experiments.
And even if that does not work, and the energies are found to be too uncontrollable, it is not a complete failure. It will still be a learning experience on adapting this information on computers to Rokugani magical laws. This knowledge can then to applied to improve the Control Core of the Grid and even in making automata similar to the Designer for use in bolstering the ranks of the Obsidian Order. Hey, while the Designer was a horribly evil monstrosity, it did have some great ideas. Like that one with imprinting a consciousness into obsidian. I am sure something useful can come of that tidbit.
Regardless, I have plenty of books and other materials to shift through for useful ideas. Some of them may prove useful to me and the others, some may not. It is not like I am in any hurry, I will have plenty of time on my hands.
All right, what in the name of the Kami is going on?! First Solar Ninsei is here, then he falls off the face of Rokugan, then he’s back again. That time he came back with three copies of us. Then he disappears again and comes back with copies of all our siblings and the princesses. Is the goofball actually trying to make backups of everyone important to him? And now he sends me a message “Congratulations, you won the battle of wills.” Which last I recall, since I am still here, is friggin impossible. I mean, the only way that could even work would require either alternate dimensions or time travel…. oh god damn it.
I am going to have to send Kochige and Alex a fireball equal in power to the migraine I am now getting. I think I may have to find one of the copies and ask if there even is a plan or if Solar Ninsei is just winging it. I might even get an account of what happened that he ended up fusing.
And if he has managed to fuse with another version of me, then I may have to step things up to keep pace.
It seems like nothing is ever quite as simple as it initially seems. This latest development with Shin illustrates this perfectly. One of the reasons I haven’t tried to escape this escort of mine is simply because I do not know what to do with the boy. Simply running isn’t going to look good in front of someone who takes his oaths as seriously as he does, and it doesn’t help my case that I believe we are the good guys in this dispute.
Did Fu Leng recruit him because he knows Shin can kill otherwise intractable opponents? Or is he simply looking to put Kochige in a bind by forcing him to fight his own son? Or perhaps the Gem of the Designer has had a hand in suggesting this idea? Regardless, this is one of the most troubling developments since learning the Emperor was likely possessed.
The pragmatic side of me says to simply knock out Shin, erase his memory of the summons entirely, and then stuff him somewhere safe until this is all over. I think I could probably get the jump on him enough to pull that off. The idealist in me tells me that Shin has had enough with people messing with him magically and that he needs to face up to this himself. I just do not look forward to the idea of Shin fighting against us.
Of course, thinking about that alternate future timeline, maybe Shin is destined to live a long, unhappy life. That is not a pleasant thought.
I am also pondering the fact that shortly I will be leading an army to attack the Imperial capitol. I am putting a lot of trust into the Lost commander I put in charge of the combined army. Should she perform anywhere near as well as I hope, she will likely serve as one of my generals for a long time. Hopefully with Shigure’s advisement, she can keep casualties to a minimum.
There is also the fact that Fu Leng is trying to drive a wedge in the Empire so that no one has the strength to oppose him. I really need to counter his efforts there while at the same time preparing for the assault on the capitol. Not going to be much point in saving the Empire from Fu Leng if the Empire is already destroyed. Frankly though, whatever political capitol I had was lost when I was declared a traitor to the Empire. And as evidenced from the battle at my parent’s house, trying to declare the Emperor false or possessed will only lead to further strife.
Now only if we had access to someone with Najite’s skills. We could make a serious effort at discrediting Fu Leng’s position on the throne through embarrassment, get annoying people out of the way, and collect the “information” that could be useful in getting everyone to drop their support of Fu Leng. Thereby creating a serious effort to rally around our Emperor. It is too bad that Najite has disappeared and I know of no one that has similar abilities to him.