Jade Taiga Renaming Ritual

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The Black Spire, before it burned down, was called the Jade Spire, and belonged to the Empire.

Contents

Blessings for Ando's Office

(This working was pulled off in the finale of Book 10, but we lost the details of who did what blessings for Ando's office)

Pretty sure that everyone on this list spent a karma and wrote down a blessing

  • Cai Wen: "May those who work here be dealt into every game"
  • Shuyan: (There was a haiku that could be taken helpfully or thwartfully)
  • Takanata: Takanata adds Visions of the Past to those they question, to Ando's thing.
  • Master Zhou:
  • Deng: (Something about strategy) "May those within see the strategies of their foes"
  • Wei Han: "May those within be defended against the enemies of the Empire"

Also, Kasumi said she was willing to do it, but Jerry wasn't able to get a moment with Meg during the finale)

The Working from Li Kao

The Immortal Sage commented thusly: It is, perhaps, a little obvious to center the Working on a Spire, but there is a symmetry to it, and a rightness. It will mean that the plan may be more obvious, however. The Chi of this country has been turned inward, away from the Empire as a whole, so it is that bond which must be reforged.

Build a Spire, or buy one with no notable history. Name it something dull and long-winded.

This is happening

Arrange to have three or more separate Imperial offices take residence, or open a "branch office" in the Spire. The Dragon Army, the Imperial Tax Service, the Imperial Spy Service - any number of these services have headquarters outside the Throne, though convincing them to share their address may be difficult.

Plan: Regency Council, Cultural Office, Imperial Spy Service

Arrange to have an edict passed by the Regents, after a majority of the votes have been garnered in the Spire, rather than in the Throne. Having the Taiga Regent in residence and issuing invitations will likely be key here, though he will not count as an Imperial Office unless you somehow manage to convince the majority of the Regency Council to meet in the Spire.

Plan: This will be taken care of as part of holding a Regency Council meeting.

Outwardly decorate the tower with some iconography or statuary of the Dragon, such that the populace 'naturally' begins to call it the Dragon Spire, or the Tower of the Dragon, or something like. I do not say that you cannot help the populace along with this naming, but it is important to have it appear to arise from the people of the Taiga, rather than be imposed by outsiders (even Imperial outsiders), or be an official name.

Plan: Do a stealth propaganda campaign

Finally - and this is the place where you should seek to have a spirit make a change in the World Above if you so wish - ground the Imperial nature of the spire into the Fox-nature of the Taiga, with a great speech given from the steps of the Spire, to mark something of sufficient note." (Charisma plus Chi, using both Oratory and Chi Mastery (and possibly other skills, if relevant.) Aspire to 20 successes.)

Plan: Xiao Fa announces engagement with Min Feng

Assets

The category of things about which one might later ask "Why did you not list that among our assets?"

Friends and allies:

  • Zhao Feiyan, the Pearl of the Taiga. Cai Wen considers her a solid ally. She is fully read-in to the plan and the general situation between us and the Marked, other than pesky things like "Spider is a skinwalking demon", because nobody believes that.
  • Li Kao will be standing right there, probably not helping overtly, but will probably see if the plan is running off the rails.
  • Zi Miro Khan, the Taiga Regent, is read in to the plan (same as Zhao Feiyan) and we are cooperating closely. An interesting line from Cai Wen's recent info-gathering about him: The one place where his own agenda is believed to diverge from the King's is that he dislikes the Savanna more. Interpretation based on discussion with Zhao Feiyan -- Zi takes it personally if you make a deal with him and then cross him; and the recent war with the Savanna triggered that.
  • Cai Wen's molls (not recommended to seek help from both at the same time...)
    • Bao, the Bandit Queen
    • Fen-Si, a servant at the Royal Spire
  • Precious Jade has agreed to provide background assistance in exchange for being kept up to date on the plan
  • Ando will be establishing an office for the Imperial Spy Service in the Spire, as one of the three Imperial Offices. Presumably it will have a front name.

Other things:

Other Players

  • The King. We actually know very little about him. His father was king at the time of the burning of the Jade Spire.
  • The Dukes (Note that the recent emergence of a Black Duke and re-emergence of a Purple Duke has stirred things up)
    • The Water Dukes:
      • Blue: Duke Lan, who the party saved from being buried alive that time, and likes us.
      • Green: Duke Lu
    • The Fire Dukes:
      • Red: Duke Hong, who tried to bury Duke Lan alive that one time, and is not so keen on us for interfering. We also frame him for things from time to time.
      • Yellow: Duke Huang, also generally annoyed with us.
    • The Other Dukes:
      • Purple: Recently reclaimed by Chio Yasha (The Castle of Doctor Wu). Probably still building.
      • Black: Min Feng's half-brother, Song Yuanjun. We have a strange relationship with him. He's ambitious and occasionally creepy, but whenever we see him, we usually randomly help him. So we can probably get him to help us.

The Black Duke is generally friendly. The Water Dukes are generally friendly, though they have noticed that we are favoring the Black Duke, so their support is less strong/reliable now.

The Plan

Things that still need arrangement are in bold.

  • Build a spire
    • Architect: Ou Zhang
    • Attributes of the site:
      • good political location
      • growth potential
      • good feng shui
      • appropriately humble yet dignified and caring symbolism
      • haunted
      • hostile neighbors (The obvious one is: The Plains of Honor embassy)
    • There are two entrances (matching the double-dragon aesthetic of the spire), to facilitate covert entry/exit
    • The spire's exterior has two subtly-different colors of stone, which if you look closely would give the impression of two dragons intertwined around the tower, one descending, with claws "pointing" towards the neighbors, either in welcome or caution, one ascending to the sky.
    • The official name of the Spire: “The Spire of Abundant Harmony and Citizenship Across The Empire”
  • Arrange for 3 Imperial Offices to take residence
    • Regency Council
      • This involves convening an official Regency Council meeting in the Spire. The general plan is, do something that makes the Regency Council Chambers in the Dragon's Throne unusable; then Zi Miro Khan will invite some Regents to visit him; once a quorum is assembled, he'll suggest that they go into session and do some business, and then most or all of the other Regents will want to show up.
      • To Do: Arrange for the Regency Council chambers to be unusable. Should be something like "filled with inauspicious odors" rather than "destroyed". Cai Wen plans to do this with Illumineaucracy resources and some assets that Zhuai collected for this purpose. Needs more thought; the combination of resources available has some right-sounding things, but isn't a slam-dunk.
      • Price:
        • Support Zi Miro Khan (broadly) at that meeting
        • Support Zi Miro Khan at a couple of future Regency meetings (2 favor-sized times)
        • To Do: Have on hand enough favors with Regents to make sure we can get quorum (3 to 6)
      • Side Benefit: This covers the "get the Regency Council to pass an edict where a majority of votes were garnered in the Spire"
    • Imperial Cultural Office (The Office that procures cultural artifacts from all of the Kingdoms for the Emperor)
      • So Ren (Functionary for Duke Lan) will be the front man for publicly pushing this
      • Price:
        • Arranged for a set of cultural treasures to be floated as "Obtainable by the Cultural Office, if only there were a branch here", and a mechanic whereby the King will judge the treasures and parcel out some political favor as a result. (We will cash a favor with the King for this).
        • Favors to be owed to So Ren and Ro Wu-Lun to get the Water and Fire Dukes to pitch in treasures, and to get So Ren to be the front man for this.
      • Found the right official for this: Minister Asuhara
    • Imperial Spy Service. (Ando will determine what it's actually called)
      • Price: Cai Wen agreed that we would dump some karma into buffing the Office, a la blessings at the Cup of Five Virtues.
      • Side Benefit: In return Ando will owe us a once-a-book favor, and also will feed us some under-the-table intel.
  • Somewhere in here, the Spire is gifted/transferred to the Jade Taiga
    • Why: The politics are really hard to arrange when all of these shenanigans are occurring in a spire owned by a group of foreigners.
    • Want to arrange this in such a way that the King’s Council will agree to a joint ownership between the Taiga, the Regency Council, and the Emperor’s Holdings. The intent is to have an ownership which is not us, but which is complex enough (with local involvement) that it’s hard for the Marked to just swoop in and grab it or repurpose it.
      • The Council is composed of the King and the Dukes. Maybe there are other occasional members (like Regent Zi when he is present).
        • To Do: Arrange the Duke favors/influence required to make this happen. (One favor obtained from a duke; may be enough)
  • Subtly help the populace figure out that the right name for the Spire is "The Spire of the Dragon"
    • To Do: Our interference in this has to be subtle. This name must appear to arise from the population.
  • Arrange for a spirit to make the name change in the World Above
    • To Do: Arrange this
  • Make a Great Speech (20+ successes) from the steps of the Spire, to mark something of sufficient note. Charisma plus Chi, using both Oratory and Chi Mastery (and possibly other skills, if relevant.)
    • Xiao Fa will announce his engagement to a Lady of the Taiga, Min Feng
      • To Do: Anything that needs to happen before this can be officially announced.