“Meat!” Shinjo Altan (Hikkikomori) said triumphantly, arms akimbo as he met the eyes of the fearsome Daimyo of the Lion Clan’s Ikoma family, Ikoma Otemi.
“I beg your pardon?” Ikoma Yasuko, his wife and political adviser raised an eyebrow.
“Gomen, Yasuko-sama,” the blonde shugenja chuckled, “I seem to have gotten carried away. What I meant was that we’ve come here to offer meat, a commodity that has surely become of importance to the Lion Clan.”
They were in the large reception hall of the stately Ikoma Castle, a low castle of traditional architecture that dominated the skyline of the city. Along with Altan were his clansmen, Moto Entreri (Paulo) and Moto Hitoshi (Victor). Also in the hall, aside from Ikoma Otemi and Yasuko was the Lion Clan’s Senior Diplomat, the shrewd Akodo Kenji. Surprisingly, the Mantis Clan’s own diplomat, Yoritomo Yoyonagi was also present.
Kenji observed Altan carefully, the shugenja had a point, after all. While the Lion Clan’s success with transforming the Tsuno back into the Kitsu was the stuff of legends, few historians tend to pay attention to the drastic change that adding a population of sentient carnivores would have upon a largely agricultural society.
“It’s a simple trade.” Altan smiled, “We’re interested in the copper that your clan mines, and we believe that being able to help feed your celestial population is certainly a decent offer for it.”
“You represent a small city, Altan-san.” Otemi said, “As such, you will only be able to provide for a portion of our population.”
“Very true, Otemi-san. However, consider this as the beginning of an extended trade deal between our Clans. Surely twenty years is enough time for us to be able to set aside our differences for a mutually beneficial arrangement? If our arrangement proves to be profitable, I will have very little difficulty convincing my fellow Clansmen to engage in larger scale trade.”
“A compelling offer.” Kenji took the time to speak, “But certainly the Unicorn can offer us something more? After all, it’s not as if our Mantis trade partners can’t source out meat from elsewhere.”
“True.” Altan admitted, “I am prepared to at least offer another advantage to your clan… access to the Golden Wind Caravan through land routes. No longer will you have to rely on the goodwill of the Mantis in order to be able to trade your goods with Gaijin Lands. Your merchants can make the journey through our lands unmolested, as long as they carry the proper papers.”
Yoyonagi’s smile was far less amused now.
“Cutting out the middle man, then?” Kenji bowed, “A gracious offer.”
“I merely wish to enter into this agreement with a demonstration of my goodwill.” Altan replied smoothly.
“Otemi-sama, I should say that I find this trade agreement worth exploring.” Kenji turned to the Daimyo.
“Indeed.” Otemi nodded, “We’ll have the necessary papers drafted at once.”
This concludes the second session of the Legacy of the Ki-Rin campaign. Shun and Mei-Xing weren’t able to get a lot of airtime here, but that will be settled in the following session, where Mei-Xing, Shun and Altan head up into the Dragon Lands to acquire some very important volcanic soil from the Dragon Mountains.