The Birth of Justice
Year 10-Late Summer
The sun was warm. It shown down over much of the Imperial family who had gathered for a special occasion in the courtyard. The wedding of Jiyo Sora to the girl Kinyoubi. Shiba stood in attendance with his consort Yuzuru. A smattering of Yuzuru’s followers stood nearby, one holding a young girl in her arms. The girl seemed to look up towards the flowers blooming on the trees… focused on something not visible to the others.
A short distance away stood Jiyo. At her side were three small children. The four-year-old looked on from her position nuzzled into mother’s leg with an inquisitive look on her face… as if wondering what it was Uncle Sora was doing. The three-year-old stood a half-step away… eyes focused on the couple as they approached the priest. And the two-year-old stood near her older sister… imitating her in a childish manner.
A fourth one was located somewhere nearby but where, no one could really tell… but Jiyo simply made a mental note to address the situation with the child’s minder later. Now was not the time or the place to cause a disturbance. Jiyo watched calmly with the same stern look on her face that seemed to be permanently attached. Her dress had been designed by Yuzuru and Doji… A bright red piece with the pattern of phoenix flames climbing up one side. Jiyo sometimes wondered if Yuzuru and Doji were intentional in their choices of such things… To the woman permanently scarred by fire… this dress did not bring forth good memories. Yuzuru was blind… quite possible he overlooked something like this, but Doji she could not be sure of.
Jiyo barely moved an inch throughout the ceremony. Sora had been one of her most faithful followers to this point… When Shiba requested people travel to save Hisomu, Jiyo had been among the first to go. Her duties as his Emerald Champion, Shiba claimed, restricted her from leaving his side to travel to the deep south. Sora had been the one willing to step forward; the one willing to go and accomplish the will of the Emperor. He had been there most nights in the past five years… caring for the children… offering his form of advice… Always giving of himself freely.
Jiyo was not dense… she knew of his affection for her, but her duties had kept her at the disposal of the Emperor. His children were the future of the Empire. There was no greater duty than providing life for the next generation. Affection must always come after duty… There was no chance for affection to win out for her. She had perhaps may have dreamed that it could have once. But it had failed her then… and had failed her again. This marriage was only greater proof of that.
Her eldest child periodically looked up at her throughout the ceremony, but Jiyo’s eyes never wavered. When the ceremony was complete Jiyo bowed her head slightly to the new couple and turned to leave. She snuck only a singular glance in the direction of the small Yuzuru child… before walking along the path out of the courtyard. Up the tree a few steps away there was a small child… peering down from what normally would be a dangerous height for one so small. Jiyo sent the child a look so stern that it climbed down the tree immediately and took its place in the retinue of Jiyo and her children and their handlers who followed behind.
Year 11-Shortly after the New Year
Jiyo sat in her office, long table stretched out in front of her as she kneeled on the ground. There was a collection of writings splayed out across the table. She read… much as she had done all winter. The philosophies of these followers of their kami. Content created with the purpose of being spread and followed by all across the empire. Differing histories on the same events… Truth mingled with lies… and lies mingled with truth.
She wondered how this had become her life… Reading reports of disagreements between the clans and the tribes. Talking with her advisors on appropriate responses to unusual cases. Acting as arbiter to the most mundane matters imaginable… Many times, had she been shot down when she brought her ideas for improvements to Shiba, and many times there was no further guidance given. She was meant to figure out what this post meant on her own apparently…
Her door slid open and one of her vassals entered the room, “Good evening Jiyo-sama. What is on the docket this evening?”
Jiyo motioned to the scroll in her hands with her head, “Doji’s spouse’s treatise on Honor…”
He nodded and came forward to sit at the other side of the table, “How is it received?”
She paused and looked down at the text again, “He’s not wrong… but something about all of these treatises and histories feels wrong.”
The attendant cocked an eyebrow.
She paused for a moment before adding, “It’s almost as if… By writing this down one loses a measure of what it is to be… honest.”
The attendant looked confused.
She continued, “It’s not just Nanzi. I personally like much of what he has said… But with all of these treatises there is some measure of… self-promotion. A need to be the one to have created something… The one to get the credit for having accomplished some great deed. As if these things provide them a weapon that they can then wield to achieve greater power and position…”
She let out a sigh, “The people I respect are the ones who do what is right… at the expense of themselves. The ones who eschew attention. The ones who merely act as if their name and oath were reason enough to make the right choice. They do what they are asked to do… and do it with all their soul, not seeking reward. Those who don’t fully understand what something is… tend to write what they think it means. By writing it down… it simply becomes a lie… for words could never grasp the whole truth.”
The attendant smirked, “So you won’t be writing down your own treatise?”
She looked up with a scowl, “No… but we should also be cautious with what is allowed to become readily available. Not all lies are equal. Some are far more damaging than others.”
The attendant tilted his head, “What can be done?”
Jiyo paused, “We cannot have an Empire built solely on maxims and philosophical daydreaming… All these things try to tell people what is ‘proper’ … or ‘good’… We need equitable arbitration. We need a universal system which dictates that which is forbidden, not that which is ‘good’. There are too many goods… But there are obvious wrongs.”
She paused, “Justice… we need Justice. It must be made apparent the means by which disputes can be resolved. Legal codes… Not ambiguous allusions to proper conduct… But substantiated laws that must be abided by. If we create those and see to it that they are disseminated and properly adjudicated… then all these requests that come to my desk don’t need to be randomly solved by my whims or the Emperor… The clans themselves can be invested with power to handle their own affairs based on the procedures set forth by the Son of Heaven. We can administer punishments severe enough to resolve arguments over the interpretation of these treatises and prevent them from dividing our Empire. Imperial oversight would be needed in inter-clan conflicts or crimes against the throne. We would simply be needed to coerce compliance to the restrictions that are in place.”
He chuckled, “And you would be remembered forever as the Lawgiver… Self-promotion, no? And who would oversee the overseers? Are you not subject to the same scrutiny?”
She looked at him with stern eyes that penetrated him to his core, “I’d prefer you erase my name from the histories and bury me in an unmarked ditch than credit these things to me… The Heavens will be my judge. They will be the judge for every Emperor… and everyone he sees fit to appoint to this position.”
The man nodded and took down notes as he always did in Jiyo’s presence. Jiyo rolled up the parchment in her hands and began collecting them into neat and organized piles.
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