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Notes on CaKe Part 2

Big thanks and gratitude to dissolvegirl for being my sounding board/cheerleader/live studio audience for the first half of this one. And for starting this story, which gave me such a lot of ideas.

3/8 Right now, I just have one thing, an idea about how the shooter should go after Cricket. Well, I have a couple things, but they all relate to that, and none of them really touch on the romance angle directly -- kind of a bad thing, for a story which is obviously meant to be a shoujo manga. However, I'm sure I can come up with some way of working that angle. This is sort of similar to what happened with PoTW, where I signed up because I had this killer idea for Oteitani, but nothing else.

The idea is this: the shooter isn't a remorseless killing machine. S/he is heavily invested in not only terminating his/her targets, but doing so in a way which is appropriate and beautiful. S/he wants the target to actually appreciate his or her death, on some level. This sounds a lot creepier and psychotic than I plan on portraying it. The big plot notion is that the shooter will, at some point, actually solicit Cricket's advice on the type of weapon she wants to die by (not being quite so direct about it, though).

The assassin will, of course, run into Kestrel. I figure there will be kind of an abortive fight scene here, but it won't go anywhere because neither one of them can win without killing the other, and Sid-on-Sid killing is bad. I may reference the idea that Kejak sent Sad Ivory off to die because she killed that Gold Faction dude. (The issue here may not be that the outcome of the contest is really in doubt -- Bachelor(ette) Number 2 can easily annihilate Kestrel in combat, but Kestrel is just skilled enough that s/he would probably have to kill him in order to win. And what would Kejak think of that, when he set up SI to die because she killed a member of the GOLD Faction?)This scene will probably end with the shooter heading off to Yu-Shan to inform the higher-ups of Kestrel's waywardness, setting up a continuing source of conflict for him as the story moves along. What workplace retaliation will he suffer as a result of his impetuous action?

Falling cherry blossoms will appear in this chapter, in great volume. I figure the assassination attempt will occur during Sijan's annual currently-unnamed-because-I'm-completely-pulling-this-out-of-my-ass cherry blossom viewing holiday. Remember, kids, the sakura symbolize mortality!

Gate #18 to Yu-Shan is pretty near Sijan, so it won't take long for Kestrel to make it into the city. So things should move pretty fast, unless I can contrive some way for him to get tied up for a week or so.

Things I need to decide about the new character:

  • Name and splat. I'm thinking of going for Serenity, with some kind of name which references transparency or purity. Pellucid, clarity, unsullied, tranquil, crystalline, unclouded, glass, cloudless, purity, gossamer, lucid. Will probably go for a kung-fu Verbing Adjective Noun name instead of an "actual" name, or at least use a kung-fu nickname.
  • Gender. Can't decide if I want this cutter to be a guy or a gal. I have the feeling that the choice I make here could have a fairly major impact on the story's future tenor. Could just be reading too much importance into it, though.
    • Advantages of a woman
      • Could have unrequited love for Kestrel, adding another vertex to love polygon.
      • I dunno, for some reason I just lean toward this one. Not sure if adding another female character is a good idea, though.
    • Advantages of a man:
      • Could be villainous prettyboy.
      • Cricket could have weird self-destructive attraction to him (he is a dangerous, sexy yet tragic bad boy!), again adding vertex to love polygon.
      • Has a Y chromosome. A boy might just fit the genre better.

Things I need:

  • Some action on the Cricket side of things. Kestrel's side is mainly covered, what with the encounter with Bachelor(ette) Number 2 which I'm definitely going to include.
    • I could throw in some stuff with her friend, Sky. Dunno what.
      • Durh, something having to do with the Falling Petal Festival (or whatever it's called).
      • The FPF could have some special importance to Sijanese ghosts. Like a Day of the Dead kind of thing.
    • I don't know if I want this chapter to end with...
      • Wait, no, I definitely do want it to end with C&K getting ready to leave Sijan. Cricket is just about to do something dramatic (such as tell Mom that she's sterile), when Kestrel appears through the blizzard of falling petals! Cue soft-focus and sparklies! Where has our heroine seen this dashing vision of sexy yet nonthreatening masculinity before? The last line is something along the lines of "I need you to come with me. Now." But more, uh, poetic.
  • What is Sauda up to?
    • ...besides boinking Kestrel's best friend?
      • Does the aforementioned hot Siddy sex ("No, baby, I like it when you keep the Lovers Destiny on...") presage Sagacious Breath of the Heavens becoming not Kestrel's best friend?
      • Breath-of-Heaven might end up gunning hardcore for Pale Cricket, just because he doesn't want Kestrel to throw away his career for some nutty infatuation. Sort of like how he's trying to break him and Sauda up?
        • What is Kestrel's job, anyway? What Bureau does he work for? (We know it's not Serenity.)


The assassin's name is Five Tears of Happiness. She's a girl. Chosen of Venus.

Pale Cricket is going about her business, when there is a knock on her door. It is a stranger. She needs a dress for the upcoming holiday. Cricket can't do it on such short notice. But look, here's lots of money. Maybe it's not so implausible after all. They have a conversation while she takes the stranger's measurements. As chance would have it, the stranger is also a craftsperson of a sort.


Festival of Blossoms
Snow Day
Day of Spring Snow
Day of Falling Blossoms
Falling Blossom Festival

Traditionally, FBF is a matchmaking holiday (possibly with its origins in Chaya). Women wear traditional cotton robes. Men wear colorful sashes, as do women who are married.

Sash color code:

  • White: widow(er), or dead (i.e., ghost)
  • Purple: married
  • Blue: single (male)
  • Yellow: child (male or female)

Unmarried girls don't wear sashes. If a boy likes her, he gives her his. This is not equivalent to a proposal.

In Sijan, pallor ~ beauty.

  1. C talks to S. They are prepping for holiday. S tells C to live a little.
  2. S leaves. FTH arrives, purportedly as a tourist. She needs an outfit for teh holiday. Discussion of holiday. FTH segues into showing C her selection of custom-made weapons. (Perhaps she is supposedly here dor something related to Sijanese ritual?)
  3. K, leaving YS, it waylaid by BoH. He tries to wiggle free, learns FTH is "on the job."
    • Gate #18 is relatively near Sijan.
  1. C attends holiday. Her mom makes things awkward by producing a suitor.
  2. K arrives in town (segue back & forth) and looks for C. Finds FTH. They have a showdown/abortive fight. (Do the dueling stances thing?)
  3. K accosts C at some dramatic moment.


  1. C talks to S. They're getting ready for the holiday.
  • title
  1. K leaves YS. He runs into BH on the way.
  2. C meets FTH. She is under pretext of travelling craftsperson. Gets C to make her a kmono/dress/whatever, shows her own wares. C explains the holiday. FTH maybe "accidentally" pries into C's love life, makes amends to segue into thingie with weapons.
  3. K arrives in Sijan, can't find C.
  4. C arrives at orchard.
  5. K meets FTH. They chitchat, maybe have a brief kung-fu battle. The idea that Sid-on-Sid violence is bad is brought up.
  6. C is in an uncomfortable situation. Fortunately, K interrupts!


Should Five Tears of Happiness be called Five Tears of Forgiveness instead? Maybe she changed her name. Maybe she changed her name after her husband died. Maybe she cheated on her husband with K. Maybe this actually ended up strengthening their marriage. Maybe she was married to a mortal/someone else with a relatively short lifespan, and when the time came for him to die, arranged it so that it would be beautiful. Maybe she thinks Kejak, the Bronze Faction, and the world in general are completely insane, has resigned herself to the idea that she can't change that, and is just trying to make it a more beautiful madness.

FTH is friendly, but melancholy. She has gray hair. It may have once been some other color.

Still Sky doesn't have much defined character. She's just a "good friend."


"Just because something is real doesn't make it right."



  • several typo fixes
  • changed some infelicitous word choices
  • tightened up some unwieldy passages
  • gave Gate #18 a more flowery title
  • Kestrel now has a much more in-character simile to describe how he feels while sneaking out of Yu-Shan
  • Kestrel now works for the Most Diligent and Scrupulous Exchequer of X, not the Most Honorable and Diligent Exchequer of X (where X is currently undefined)
  • made some alterations to Kestrel's conversation with Five Tears to make it flow better; content was unaltered
  • decreased the height of the mausoleum's roof from 50 feet to 30