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by: Rika Lefcourt
#9298
(This is retcon because I'm not very happy with how the original turned out. It doesn't quite have the flow that I wanted it to have, and it's ultimately a big monkey wrench that I threw into the development of the Japanese plot myself. It was way too decisive and clear when it should have been a lot more dubious. Thus it must be rectified.)

Wednesday
February 8, 2012
8:05 a.m. (which is 2 hours after the attack in London began)
Hokkaido


It had been a slow and quiet night on Hokkaido. The past days and weeks had been dominated by more work on the mansion and people had enjoyed the quiet nights that followed every day. She had overslept herself, which was unusual for her. Minami never overslept. Well, maybe not ever, but certainly not often.

As she stepped out of the bedroom she could hear the fortress, as everybody called it, awaken around her. Most likely many of the people, and that was using that term very loosely, had already been awake hours ago. Guards were out on patrol, watching the perimeter. Maids and cooks had to get up early to prepare the breakfast for everyone.

Maids, cooks, guards. The thought made her feel uneasy at times. Minami was born into post-war muggle Japan. She knew very little about having people working for a household and what she knew came primarily from muggle TV shows and movies. Muggle. That was another thing she was still trying to get used to. It was discriminating, of course, but at least the Nikaidô seemed to have accepted her non-wizard heritage. Her fiancé had explained to her how some clans tried to keep the bloodline pure, whatever that meant, while others freely bred with muggles.

She had been part of this world for several months now, but there were still many things she wasn't used to just yet. Luckily the Nikaidô were as muggle friendly as they were, so there was some measure of normality to it.

Normality, like the TV set in the living room. It had given her some comfort in times of utter confusion. Though, right now she wasn't looking for comfort, but was rather looking forward to another fifteen minute chapter of the national broadcaster's asadora, literally morning drama, a 150-odd episode series that lasted around half a year and had been an institution on the channel before Minami had been born.

After finding the remote on the small table, Minami pushed the button and the screen came to life. However, what she saw there was not a scene from 'Carnation', but rather a newscaster. For a second she wondered if she had started up the wrong channel, but after flipping through several of them Minami realized that these news were everywhere.

As she watched she began to realize that something wasn't right. “Honey,” she called, “you need to see this!”

She heard the outer door opening and then closing. A cold breeze rushed in, through the bedroom and into the living room, but it was gone as quickly as it had appeared. Nikaidô Takeshi appeared in the door that connected both rooms to each other. He had gotten up earlier than her, he always would. Somewhere in the back of her mind she registered that he was bare chested and his muscles were glistening with sweat. He would always spend one or two hours in the morning working out and training his casting technique, as he called it. Normally, Minami would forget his other qualities at such a point and listen more to her carnal desires, but not today.

Today everything was different.

Image



“What is it?” Takeshi said and Minami pointed at the screen. That was all she had to do. He was about to say more, but what he could read and hear prevented more words to form in his mouth.

“...have been attacked by what witnesses described as 'werewolves'. Dozens of videos have appeared on the internet and social media has gone viral with videos, photos and first hand accounts. Whether this is a hoax, an aggressive marketing campaign or actually authentic has yet to be seen.”

The insert changed and stated that these attacks had began almost two hours ago.

“That's terrible,” Minami said. “I'm worried about Rika and Mayu, are they safe?”
After a few seconds Takeshi grunted an agreement. It took a few more seconds before he realized Minami's question. “They're further up north, in Hogwarts. They should be safe there.”

While the woman on TV continued with updates and information, Takeshi let the facts settle in. The image painted by this data wasn't pretty. It was absolutely horrifying. “This is bad,” he said suddenly.
“I know,” Minami replied. “Those poor people.”
“What?” he said. Then he realized that she had been talking about the people who were under attack by those creatures. “Oh, yes. But this is much worse.”
“How so?”

“I told you about the ministry here in Japan. How they operate units of wizards with only one duty: to contain such outbreaks. They make the muggles forget they had ever seen a wizard casting a spell. This,” he pointed at the TV, “they can't contain.”

Minami swallowed audibly.

“How did it spread? With the internet?” When she nodded he continued. “A lot of wizards, if not most of them, don't even know the internet exists. They have no understanding of muggle culture or technology. Some schools teach subjects like muggle studies, feeble attempts of understanding those who lack the gift. They focus on things like cars or rubber ducks, but have no clue about the true potential of the muggles.” Takeshi shook his head. “The muggles overtook us in technology many years ago. It's a miracle that we haven't been found sooner.”

“But there has to be a way.”

Once more he shook his head. “Soon videos will appear of how humans with sticks in their hands were fighting the werewolves with what can only be described as magic. And then the cat will be out of the bag and nobody will be able to put it back in. What do you think will happen then?”

Minami hesitated. “If there are wizards in Britain, then people in other countries will think there are wizards in theirs too.”
“Exactly,” he agreed. “One muggle can be told about it. One muggle is a rational being. A horde of scared muggles is a superstitious, violent mob. There will be murder in the streets, lynch mobs going after anyone who seems to carry a wand.”

“We have to do something.”

But what? There was only one thing to do. Two things really. Takeshi stood up and opened the door to the corridor. “Guard!” he bellowed and one of them, who had been patrolling the interior, rushed quickly towards the voice.
“My lord.”
“Sound the alarm. Assemble everyone. There will be a briefing about recent events and our course of action.”
“Yes, my lord!”


As the man rushed to perform his duty, Takeshi looked at his fiancee. “And the clans must meet. Gods, if they're not completely dumb and deaf they should already be flocking to Osaka.”
Last edited by Rika Lefcourt on Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
by: Rika Lefcourt
#9299
Wednesday
February 8, 2012
10:13 a.m.
Osaka



It felt like in a dream. Roughly two hours ago he had briefed them. All of them. The entire staff of the mansion and all the retainers had gathered. He had seen their faces. From the lowest scullery maid, who was cutting vegetables in the kitchens, to the highest ranking retainer in his silk robes. Fear had been a common theme. Confusion another.

How was this possible?

Their world lay in shambles all around them. It had been shattered by wanton violence on the other side of the globe.

By rights it should not have happened like this. It should have been different. Should have.

Yeah, that was irrelevant now. The die had been cast in Britain, it was now for them to react to the result and solidify their survival.

He had not been the first. The Lady Chiyo of the Mori family had that questionable honor. For all he knew, she had probably known before all of the others, including the Nikaidô. The others trickled in, slowly at first, then faster. The Lady Okiku of the Uesugi strolled in casually, as if nothing could make her care. Lord Nakamikado was focused, stone faced. A bit after the full hour they had all been assembled.

Several seconds of silence followed. There they were, the great leaders of the great clans who essentially ran Japan's wizarding world and all of them were confused, some even frightened. Lord Tokugawa looked as if someone had taken his favorite pastry. Lady Okiku still didn't show even the slightest air of caring. Nakamikado's lips formed a thin line in his face. Lady Mori was watching them, as usual.

Lord Fujiwara and Lady Hojo had arrived last, and, most importantly, together. They had probably been plotting together again when the news had hit.

The silence was getting on his nerves.

Nikaidô Takeshi stood up, looking just as bedraggled as the others. There had been no time for long preparation. After briefing his staff and retainers he had left the Nikaidô mansion in the hands of his fiancee and the captain of the guard and had apparated quickly to Osaka. The others had obviously done the same.

The question was now: could they seize the initiative?

The leaders of the other clans looked up as he stood there. Even Nakamikado, his old enemy, was merely watching. Takeshi could imagine all the plots and ploys that were now running through the other man's head, but it was likely that none of them had ever planned for an event such as this. Gods, he certainly hadn't.

At a loss of words for a second or two Takeshi said the first best thing that came to his mind.

“In the Roman civil war, Julius Caesar knew he had to march on Rome itself, which no legion was permitted to do. Marcus Lucanus left us a chronicle of what happened.” He was surprised that he actually recalled this. ”How swiftly Caesar had surmounted the icy Alps and in his mind conceived immense upheavals, coming war. When he reached the water of the Little Rubicon, clearly to the leader through the murky night appeared a mighty image of his country in distress, grief in her face, her white hair streaming from her tower-crowned head, with tresses torn and shoulders bare she stood before him, and sighing said: 'Where further do you march? Where do you take my standards, warriors? If lawfully you come, if as citizens, this far only is allowed.' Then trembling struck the leader's limbs; his hair grew stiff and weakness checked his progress, holding his feet at the river's edge. At last he speaks:'O Thunderer, surveying great Rome's walls from the Tarpeian Rock -- 'O Phrygian house gods of Iulus, clan and mysteries of Quirinus who was carried off to heaven -- 'O Jupiter of Latium, seated in lofty Alba and hearths of Vesta -- 'O Rome, equal to the highest deity, favor my plans. Not with impious weapons do I pursue you. Here am I, Caesar, conqueror of land and sea, your own soldier, everywhere, now, too, if I am permitted. The man who makes me your enemy -- it is he who be the guilty one.'”

Takeshi looked at them. "Then he broke the barriers of war and through the swollen river swiftly took his standards. And Caesar crossed the flood and reached the opposite bank. From Hesperia's forbidden fields he took his stand and said: 'Here I abandon peace and desecrated law. Fortune, it is you I follow. Farewell to treaties. From now on war is our judge.'"

Then he added. “Hail, Caesar: We who are about to die salute you.”

Silence met him, several of the other leaders mumbled to each other. Nakamikado looked at him. “Is this your plan? Die?”
“No.” Takeshi replied sharply. “My plan is to seize the initiative.”
“Nice speeches won't do that.”
“No.”
For some reason his voice seemed to sound differently. It cut the other leaders like a sharp knife cut through a fruit.

He looked at them, his gaze moving from one to the next. “What I see is that you are all scared. The gods know, I'm scared. All that we seemed to know, all that we took for granted has been shattered. The muggles of Japan will see the moving pictures from overseas.” He had to call them that, some of the lords and ladies didn't know about modern video technology. “They will see them and will start asking questions.”

His gaze hardened. “The question is only, will we just stand there and let it all happen? Or will we be faster than them.”

“I guess,” Lady Okiku said with a bemused and somewhat fierce expression on her face, “it is time to march on Tokyo and take over the country, so that the true master race takes what it deserves and rules!”

Some of them nodded, some of them just halfheartedly, some were not convinced.

“Are you completely stupid, you inbred bitch?” Takeshi heard himself saying and an audible gasp exploded into the hall.

Lady Okiku was on her feet at once. Furious she raised her arm and was about to yell at him.

“Sit down!” Takeshi barked at her and Lady Okiku, not used to people offering her any resistance, fell back onto her butt with a thud. She stared at him, shocked.

“Is that what you want to do? March on Tokyo?”
His eyes stared hard at them. “Take the prime minister captive? The Diet too? The muggle ministries? What do you think will happen? Do you think the muggles will just roll over and let it happen? They will resist. Their police and their military will stand against us.”

“We have the Unit,” Lord Fujiwara suggested tentatively. The Unit was one of the common nicknames used for SWACSOG.
“And the Unit is comprised primarily of what, boy?” Takeshi stared him down before he could protest. “Muggle-born. Do you think the muggle born wizards will turn on their families? Their mothers? Fathers? Sisters and brothers? Do you truly think they will support us while we erect a new feudal system that is bound to oppress them? No. They will turn against us just the same. And we will lose.”

“Ridiculous!” Okiku finally exclaimed. “One of us is worth ten mudbloods!”
“If my mere words can knock you on your ass, why do you think you can take on hundreds of trained and equipped muggle-born wizards and thousands of muggle soldiers?”
“Bastard!” She yelled and got back on her feet. “Letting you Nikaidô back into our midst was the biggest mistake in the history of this council.”

“Sit the f*ck down.” That was Nakamikado's voice. “Please.”
It left Okiku gaping at him, but she obeyed.
“What do you suggest,” Nakamikado said, directed at Takeshi.

Lady Nikaidô's steward, because that was all he really was at this point, took a deep breath. “Unity. With the muggles and the muggle government. We will go to Tokyo. We will meet the prime minister, and Diet, the emperor and gods know who else and we will make sure that the muggles of this country know that we are not their enemies, but rather that we stand with them.”

“Which will lead to the reforms I have suggested.” Lady Hojo said.

Of course. Of course. She had to bring up her bloody plan, her little dream castle of pixies and unicorns. “That will be up to the people,” came his reply.
“The people in this council,” Shiori corrected him.
“The people of Japan.”
“The Hojo have no issues with the muggles, as even our opponents will quickly confirm. We have taken many years of ridicule for this stance. But if you suggest that this council should bow to millions of muggles and their flimsy wills and wishes, then I'm tempted to call you a traitor.”
“If trying to find a way for our world to survive is treason, then yes, I am a traitor.” Takeshi faced Shiori. “Let me be clear, Lady Shiori, you and every single one of you, you all have a choice. A choice between our survival and civil war. And a civil war is something we can neither afford nor win.”

Shiori was about to protest, but then she closed her mouth. She didn't say it, but he could see in her eyes that she agreed on that part.

It was amusing. Takeshi hated being in the center of attention. It had been one of the reasons why he had taken a dive away from the clan politics back in the days. “We will send a delegation to the prime minister. And we will bend the knee to him, the Diet, the constitution if that is what we have to do so that we may survive.”

“Vote!” Lord Tokugawa called suddenly, and his cry was echoed by the others.

That was the moment when Lord Nakamikado rose from his place. He took some time with getting up and walking into the center, right towards Takeshi. Silence fell over the hall and the last calls for a vote faded out. It reached a point where one could have heard a pin drop.

“I never thought,” he began, “that I would say this. And I almost hate myself for admitting it. But you are right. I have seen some of the, what do you call it, footage. It will spread across the world. And as much as I would like to see some of the houses here to disappear, the cost for it would be far too high a price to pay. We cannot afford a civil war. We must stand with the muggles.”
User avatar
by: Rika Lefcourt
#9300
Wednesday
February 9, 2012
1:34 p.m.
Tokyo



The beautiful thing about a crisis was that it kept the men and women in charge awake. And this was a crisis, but not just any crisis. It was a large crisis. In fact, if the reader got a moment, it was a twelve-story crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour portage, and an enormous sign on the roof, saying “This Is A Large Crisis”.

A large crisis required a large plan.

Though, to be honest, it was not really a large plan. It was more of an all or nothing gamble. The muggles could just as easily dismiss them as they could hear them out and agree with them. It could backfire. It could work. Anything was possible.

This anything included sitting in this room. Three had come. One of them was Lady Nikaidô's steward. The other two were Nakamikado himself and, somewhat surprising, Lady Shiori of the Hojo. Okiku of the Uesugi had briefly considered joining as well, but had then retreated to her clan's stronghold.

They were not alone. With them was the prime minister himself and the leader of the opposition party. So far Takeshi had been more impressed with the latter. Young, in comparison with the old men who usually occupied the Diet, decisive and curious, unlike the prime minister.

The room they were in was in Tokyo, in Chiyoda to be more precisely. It was located in a building that essentially marked the site of the old Edo castle.

When he entered they all rose and greeted him properly with bows just at the right angle. Takeshi took the time to observe him. He was a small man, who held himself remarkably, given his age. The woman with him was his wife, the first commoner to have ever risen to this position. They had been married for over fifty years and even now this couple was most likely the most hardworking in all of the nation.

The steward of the Nikaidô decided to hang back a little. Nakamikado was the better diplomat after all and it seemed that the opposition leader was taking the role of chief negotiator away from the prime minister faster than the latter could have said “quidditch”. The generational gap between the two muggle politicians was perfectly obvious. The prime minister was old school, holding on to the traditions. The opposition leader saw the opportunity for big changes in the country. Whether those changes were to be good or bad was something that remained to be seen. Divination was, after all, a very unscientific and subjective way of magic.

The emperor and the empress listened closely, only interrupting the flow every so often with very specific and poignant questions. The news must have been a shock for them, too, but they carried this new burden with a grace only decades of experience could form. It was no wonder that those two were as popular as they were. In a rapidly changing world, for both muggles and magic folk, they were a textbook example of Japanese virtues. Takeshi didn't care much for royalty and notions of “blue blood” -or pure blood for that matter-, but he concluded that he genuinely liked the emperor and the empress.

Ultimately, though, and everybody in the room knew that very well, this meeting had no legal basis. The emperor held no legal power in Japan. He was a figurehead, nothing more. The legal ramifications of the coming hours were something to be dealt with solely in the Diet, the parliament.

However, a public display of unity between representatives of the muggle leadership and the council of clans under the guidance of the emperor himself sent an extremely powerful message to both muggles and wizards not only in Japan, but across the world.

Somewhat unsurprisingly the question about the imperial line came up. Had there been wizards in the imperial family?

“Well, sire”, Nakamikado began, “there used to be wizards, yes. But they became extinct at the battle of Dan no Ura. As far as we know emperor Antoku was the last wizard from the imperial family.”

“Quite tragic,” the emperor said.

Dan no Ura had been the decisive battle of the Genpei War, one of the many conflicts that had torn Japan apart when feudal warlords competed for power.

“We want to prevent such tragic events from repeating themselves,” Nakamikado added.

That's putting it mildly, Takeshi thought.

“However, we must also tread lightly and remain vigilant,” Nakamikado was on a roll. He was clearly hellbent on playing this crisis to his full advantage. From where Takeshi stood, that was fine, as long as it protected their world and the muggles.

Protection had always been the main goal and would also be it. There was no way around it. Even in a culture like the Japanese muggles and wizards didn't mix all too well. In Europe the muggles had killed countless of wizards and witches, and plenty of innocent muggles who had been accused of witchcraft. In many other places in the world it wasn't any different. In some areas the magic folk still had to fear for their lives. In Japan they had moved somewhat openly, more or less, in the past. Wars had been won or lost because of wizards and witches. Some of Japan's greatest historic heroes had, in fact, been of the magic kind. Yoshitsune had been one. Tomoe Gozen another. The Hojo and Tokugawa had both ruled Japan, both families were of the wizarding kind.

But even all that considered, the muggles had never known. The Hojo and Tokugawa had been samurai and samurai ruled the commoners, that's how it had been. As times changed and western influence grew, so did the way the families behaved. They adapted. As Japan modernized the wizards took a step back into the shadows, out of view. Ultimately, the way Takeshi saw it, Japan had developed very much like their western counterparts, except that this evolution had gone a lot faster.

“Of course,” Takeshi heard the emperor say. “We must protect all our people.”
“Indeed,” Nakamikado added. “Your Majesty, the Council has decided to stand with whatever course of action the government decides to take.”

The revelation of the Council had been quite a shock for the prime minister. The poor man had believed that the ministry was all there was, that it actually held power and was able to control Japan's wizarding folk. And then he had learned that there was actually a council, where blood was the important factor, which essentially ruled absolutely over Japan's wizards and witches, and which basically only existed to prevent the old families from killing each other.

How odd, Takeshi thought, how many of the families who would, under different circumstances, slaughter each other without hesitation or mercy, quickly joined forces when their world was in danger. Desperation and opportunity truly made strange bed fellows.

“After all, we are all Japanese,” Nakamikado concluded.


--- END ---
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