|The Finest Poet|
|Released:||May 2000 ()|
|Story Year:||Tenth century|
The Finest Poet
The Cherry Blossom Festival is the celebration of beauty and elegance, and all of the finest ladies of the Empire come to the Emperor's garden to see the many li of cherry trees that shed their white blossoms like snow. One year, the samurai fell to arguing in good spirits about the beauty of the maidens who walked among the sweet blossoms, attempting to determine which of the unknown maidens was truly the most fair.
At the end, a Doji and a ronin fell to arguing, and the ronin demanded a duel to determine the outcome of the affair. The Doji claimed that a lady of his line was surely the most beautiful, while the ronin argued for an unknown maiden who hid her hair beneath a scarlet veil. The contest drew the attention of the entire court, for the ronin, a man named Rezan, was known to be the greatest warrior in the land. The Doji tricked Rezan into agreeing that the duel would be of words - settled by poetry rather than a swift sword.
Shortly before the contest was to begin, the assembled nobles of the imperial court discovered that the unknown girl was the daughter of the Emperor, his favorite child and most beloved. If the ronin were to fail in the contest, then the Emperor's own daughter would be shamed.
Without speaking a word to the court, the Kakita knew what must be done to save the Emperor's honor. At the conclusion of the contest, the Crane conceded that the ronin's poetry was by far the greatest in land. The Doji who had stood against Rezan took his own life in shame, and the ronin was rewarded by the Emperor with the hand of his daughter. Rezan joined the line of the Miya, and his poetry ever after was considered the finest in Rokugan.
Not only was the ronin the greatest warrior in the land, but because he was also married to the Emperor's most beloved daughter, he was therefore under the Emperor's direct protection. Under such esteemed auspices, Rezan's humble poetry became the subject of whispers throughout the court, and Rezan's name became renowned through history as that of the greatest ronin poet who ever lived. Even today, many samurai hide their poems behind Rezan's name, saying that they found the poetry in some lost notebook of the great Rezan, and many of the greatest works of the Empire are attributed to his composition.
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