Xiao Fa's Notebook
Xiao Fa's notes and such. Mostly in-character. Please suggest corrections on the Discussion page.
Inside the Front Cover
On Being Emperor
- Support of the People
There are a lot of anecdotes about beloved rulers, or respected wise men, or feared-but-treasured warriors.... it seems to boil down to
- A reason for popularity (what do you do for them in general)
- A reason for cheering right now (what did you just do)
From the anecdotes, it sounds like it's possible to fake one or the other with propaganda / persuasion / etc, but that trying to fake both of them will lead to Being Found Out In The End. At least in the stories. :)
- Support of the Army
- Being a blood heir
- Support of the Regency Council
- Support of the Dragon
- Omens of Thrones
- Support of the Bureaucracy
- Support of the Nobility
- Support of the Imperial Consort
On What Is
- "Closing your eyes does not make the room dark." -Master Kwan
On What We Wish There Wasn't
- "There is no fixing change, Xiao Fa." -Master Kwan
- "It is not possible to have the chi of a place completely unconnected from the rest of the world. So it is important to shape the connection, as well." -Master Tranh
It is also notable that the empire seems to have pinched off bits of the terrains of the northern and southern barbarians (Qin Chao and the Strand, respectively), perhaps to anchor the empire's chi to the world surrounding it? Are there therefore other anchors as well?
This one helped to create a new meditation garden for the Green Pagoda. It feels strongly like it is my garden instead of a garden. This is somewhat unsettling. However, it is very comfortable, and I think it is working the way we intended. It seems to be good for reflection and introspection; less so for zen letting go of self. After the plants take root, Monk XX will let me know how he finds it. Perhaps Cai Wen can be convinced to go meditate there and share his thoughts.
Or perhaps even Master Zhou.
First I Ching Reading
On Right Actions
- "Common courtesy should never put one out." -Qin Yanyu
Sapora Oil Recipe
A recipe for distilling Sapora Oil.
Put Snake Oil recipe here, when I know it.
- All better! Next to consider is what else can be done for the region.
Two infrastructure wounds remain
Two resources wounds remain
Widows and Orphans Fund
Currently contains 79 li, 36 zhu. Li Merit gave it all to this one.
On Garnering Help
Currently asking Brother Sochu (and possibly Sister Aiyu) of the Meihua Sannong to come inspect the situation and tell him what they think the next steps are. Brother Sochu and Sister Aiyu think that they cannot spare the time to go look at New Rivers, as they feel Brother Changling will become Abbott if they leave for that long.
A noodle recipe. Hard to make out what several of the ingredients are. There are a couple of scribbles, and crossed out bits.
Late Spring Taiga Noodle Soup: Ingredients (includes 'Mindfulness' in addition to other more predictable ingredients) , but also includes ramps and peppercorn flowers, and Method (includes 'Meditate on the recipe', and 'Mix with Intent'). "It is the Taiga, so celery is predominant, with other Taiga flavors, and a sense of burgeoning summer."
- Resolve with Meditation to focus the mind on the recipe, then empty the mind.
- Chi with Chi Mastery to feel the chi of and ride it into the cooking
- Int with Cooking to make the soup
On Being Master Tenzin's Great Work, and Severings In General
The answer to this depends somewhat on how much you sever. The more gets removed, the harder it is for the chi to grow again quite as fully - and it's something that happens over time, not immediately. But in general, yes, the chi grows anew (not quite "regrows", it's not what was there before, it's chi based on what is there after the severing).
(The metaphor might be if someone lost a beloved spouse - there is a hole immediately, and perhaps they will never be quite as innocently joyful as they were, but with time and growth, they can stop grieving. For a less painful seeming metaphor, perhaps it's like giving up smoking; there may always be that particular thing missing, but that doesn't mean you're Always Lessened.)
You could probably expand the ritual to put new things in the holes (then you'd get something more like Mirris); Master Tenzin doesn't seem to have pursued that. When you prune a limb from a bonsai tree, you do not stuff a different plant in; you prune to the shape you want, and then let it grow anew from there.
On Shaping Your Chi
- "I would say to you that if your chi is not as you wish it to be, to shape your actions and your surroundings to be most harmonious to that which you wish to be, and your chi will grow to join that harmony." --Chi Master Ko
Not trivially; places have less of a sense of self, and are less able to participate fully in this sort of change. The Great Work was clearly something that involved a willing and participatory subject, not an unwilling subject. On the other hand, a place is also not likely to resist in the same way as an unwilling subject would.
So it would definitely be an expansion to do it on a place, but it's likely possible, with research and work.
8 altogether (although this number might have been relevant as this one was once a Spider). There are a bunch of roles: one for Yang, one for Yin, and two for Chi (one of the Chi guys is more like the overall ritual master). Then, there's someone to act as the connection to the Material World, and someone to provide the connection to the World Above, and a healer. Oh, and the target. It is possible to combine roles, though it would require much more ability for the combined-role person.
Well, technically, you could do it more than once - keep cutting off bits until there was just the teeniest stub of a person left. Ew. Though, there would be issues with having their active participation, even after the first one, if part of what they lost was the plan; they might have to re-learn it all.
From the reading, though, you don't think Master Tenzin would ever have been likely to *do* that - the philosophy would be to choose the *right* cut to make, not to just randomly chop off bits until it was good. If a second severing was needed, that would mean the first one failed in its ends, so figuring out why would be more important, and then figuring out why a second one would be any more likely to work.
The ritual isn't at all designed for that. The idea is somewhat distasteful, but you imagine it might be possible to graft onto another person. You would probably want to have a second group dealing with that, rather than adding to the functions of the group performing the main ritual. You can't think how it wouldn't end up with something like a mess like Ting Ting, though.
On Teachers and Students
- "It is said that we are who our teachers make us. You more than most, I am sure - you speak now much more like he did. If you do not remember who he was, look inward to see who you have become - his thumbprints are all over your clay." --Yanzi, speaking of Master Tenzin and Xiao Fa
On Too Much of a Good Thing
Do buffs, especially external ones, put the chi of a person out of harmony with themselves? Kind of...
Ting Ting's Wisdom
- "The weight of the mountain is as nothing compared to the sorrow of a burdened heart." -
- "When all one has to carry a flame in is one's hands, there is no question of whether there is harm. The hands may be burnt... or the flame may be extinguished." -
- "It is a wise man who knows when he is the hunter, and when he is the prey." -
She called this one the "Hand of the Dragon."
On Helping Li Kao
I feel badly that we failed to do anything with Li Kao's prayer beads. We had them for so long, but did not know what to do with them. I hope to be able to do something about rescuing or helping him. When visited the Temple of Invisible Wind, chose to listen to the wind for a way to help Li Kao. Saw this vision:
- You look out over the mountain, and the plains beyond and the rivers and hills... it's very hard to see. Something blocks your sight, but there are two men, your men, sitting across from each other at a campfire, waiting for you. They do not share your goal, but you may be able to get them to assist during their attempt at their own.
Revered Takanata thinks Silver Dragons is more likely.
Second I Ching Reading
On Asking Questions
What questions need to be asked? How will this one discern those questions that will guide him?
- Darkest Well-Water. Is this relevant somehow?
Dates of Note
- Date of Severing, according to Sister Aiyu: "Early Tiger in the eighth Year of the Tortoise since the beginning of the Stewardship. So nearly eight springs ago."
- Date of Dragon Aspect: The Day of the Early Spider in the Month of the Butterfly in the first Year of the Spider since the White Pagoda was abandoned. (Last year)
- Even while captured by Mu the Mad, used mighty Chi Mastery to destroy an entire Army of the Undead
- Found the Skeleton Key, which opens all locks
- Wrested the very chi of the empire from the Jade Throne, disrupting for a time the chi of his enemies
- Dove into a volcano and survived