Wan City: Zhou Estate

Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 02 Mar 2017, 18:02

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Nestled within the noble's district of Wan sits the estate of the Zhou clan. With a rich and established lineage, the family manages to maintain an impressive household near the waterway that flows through the upper-class district of the city. Though neither opulent or luxuriously decorated, the architecture of the estate is clearly of the utmost quality of construction with beautiful designs and graceful formation of the materials used. It is clean, well-managed, and spacious - a vision of functionality over impressiveness.

A long stone walkway leads to the entrance of the estate, wherein guests can be led straight into the great hall - an open room meant for entertaining guests and holding discussions with visitors. The estate also houses a large study full of texts and manuals, a kitchen, a small larder for storage, a small armory (now mostly bereft of equipment), an extensive master's quarters for the occupying family head, four private quarters for the other occupants and guests, and a small shrine for paying respects to ancestors.

Outside, there is a small stable for the household's horses and a walled training yard Zhou Liang had built years prior to allow him to train in the martial arts with relative privacy. A modest garden is housed in the center of the horseshoe-shaped estate, granting a peaceful place of respite in the open air. Various types of flora are housed, but the most prominent are the peach trees, chrysanthemums, and osmanthus. Indeed, the Zhou clan is respected by local nobility as welcoming hosts for their use of their own osmanthus flowers and peaches in tea offered to guests.

Though untouched by the chaos within the city's administration, a small retinue of private guards maintain peace and protect the estate, almost a necessity after the departure of the previous magistrate. While order and organization has recently returned to Wan, it is still important for those with the means to guard their homes and holdings from theft or vandalism.

Those who seek to visit either member of the Zhou household may do so at their estate in this thread, whether to discuss administrative or topical matters with Zhou Liang; or to discuss social or political items with his father, Zhou Shen.

[This is the home of the Zhou clan in Wan. Visitors can post here for open RP, or this may be used as a meeting location for familiar members of the kingdom to be hosted in relative safety. Anyone who wants to RP with either of the Zhou men is free to pop in at their leisure.]
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Suicide Fox » 07 Mar 2017, 12:48

“Here it is,” Jian Bian’s escort handed him the letter written by Zhou Liang and pointed to his estate. “Is there anything else?”

He took the letter and placed it in the inside lining of his red shirt.

“I had an estate like this once. Seems like a lifetime ago…”

The escort remained quiet, patiently awaiting if his task was complete. Jian Bian nodded and waved him off. He steadied his breath. Zhou Liang was the man he’d supported for the position of Magistrate, but since that day he’d had little words with the man and even less contact.

Although he could not read, his escort made the tone of the younger Zhou’s message painfully clear.

He strode the long walkway with a subconscious swagger. When he came to a point where he saw a member of the Zhou house, Bian stopped and introduced himself.

“Hello, my name is Jian Bian. I’m here to see Zhou Liang… I’ve uh, been invited. Is he available?”
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 07 Mar 2017, 20:39

One of the guards at the entry scanned the two, but refrained from searching or disarming them. Such a thing was seen as an insult to guests, and as they were invited by Zhou Liang, neither one really felt like being lectured.

"Welcome to the Zhou estate, sir," the lead guard welcomed, opening the front gate for him. Not much further in, the door to the actual home stood, where two more guards opened the way for Jian Bian to enter.

From the interior, Zhou Liang emerged. He was garbed in fine black robes, his hair tied up neatly. With a tight-lipped smile, the young man approached Jian Bian and gave a respectful bow of greeting.

"Jian Bian, welcome. I'm glad you've come," the young noble offered in greeting, "I have tea being prepared. Would you like to join me in the garden for a cup while we converse?"

With that, he motioned for the household attendants to fetch the tea and extended an arm toward the interior of the home to welcome Jian Bian in.
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Suicide Fox » 07 Mar 2017, 21:21

This place is like a small fortress, Jian Bian noted to himself as he walked.

He greeted Zhou Liang warmly once he emerged.

"Thanks for the invite Zhou Liang. To be honest, I was somewhat surprised. I'm not exactly making many friends around here." He admitted while scratching the back of his head. It was unsure of this moment whether Zhou Liang heard of or cared about any of the drama at the rebel council return meeting.

"But I wouldn't mind joining you at all. It feels like awhile since I've had good tea. How have things been with you since the last time we saw each other?"
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 08 Mar 2017, 12:23

"I've been well," the young noble replied, taking a seat and motioning with an open palm that Bian was free to do the same.

As the attendants placed their cups and poured the tea, Liang went on to say, "I feel like some measure of stability and calm is returning to Wan now that we have a real magistrate in place. To be honest, my family wasn't affected as much as most when the magistrate looted what he could and fled. We could just as easily pack up our wealth and belongings and follow the same path, rooting ourselves and our wealth somewhere safer. However, it's not in the Zhou to abandon our people."

Taking a sip of tea, the man paused a moment. Thankfully, the tea was on par. A slight hint of peach, and a little taste of the osmanthus flower. Not too much, but enough to make the tea stand out.

"Which is partly why I wanted to invite you over, to be honest," Liang admitted, "I'm told you expended the last of your own resources in holding that archery contest. Is this true?"

He was blunt, but he often found it was better to get to the point sooner rather than later...
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Suicide Fox » 08 Mar 2017, 15:27

Jian Bian took his seat and sipped the tea, listening as Zhou Liang talked. He enjoyed the hint of peach and the slight taste of osmanthus flower, though he had no idea what kind of flower that was exactly. The serenity of the estate garden made it easy to follow the conversation.

And there it is... hmm

"It's respectable that you stayed," Jian Bian commented. "That kind of loyalty is why you had my backing as Magistrate. What you heard is true, but there's a little more to it than that."

He placed the cup of tea down to consider his next move. Both hands slid to his thighs to rest and he sighed.

"I suppose it will come out sooner or later. The truth of it is, I only came back to my family estate a little over a year ago. I was never in possession of that kind of wealth until recently. I inherited it when I received word that the last in line of succession was ill. By the time I arrived in Wan, it was too late. So you see.. I was never much attached to that money. In fact, I've been a stain on the Jian clan ever since I've been born. Normally, unlike you, I would have taken those resources and left. Can't tell you why the hell I decided to do what I did with it.. sure seems dumb when I think about the situation now."
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 08 Mar 2017, 17:18

Liang laughed at Bian's admission. Not in a mocking way, but in amusement. Not many people he was familiar with would be so honest about themselves.

"Sometimes, we do dumb things for the right reasons. Many people, obviously including the former magistrate, would deem us all fools for staying to defend Wan from the rebels," the young noble admitted, "But in our case, it's the fools standing up to protect the rest of the Empire. It's easy to run and watch the flames wash over the Empire, but what's the point of surviving if you live in hell for the rest of your life?"

At that, he took another sip of tea.

Giving a shrug, he went on to say, "I'm not one to believe in fate or Heaven's will, but maybe there's a reason you're here with the rest of us. At the very least, you affected the council and provided the people with a welcome distraction from their fears. If more people were that willing to step forward and act, we wouldn't be in this predicament to begin with. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to promote and accept cowards and the corrupt rather than those who do the right thing - consciously or not."

Motioning to an attendant with a smile, Liang let her know to bring some sweet cakes. He normally wasn't one for anything sweet, but he felt a sudden craving.

"The Zhou clan stretches back for generations, and we have the blood of ancient kings and heroes. We've won wars, inspired kingdoms, and defended Emperors. Our noble status, with a lot of cultivation and investment, provides us with ample resources. While my father has opted to be more...conservative...in the current climate, I believe that we have a responsibility...as I said...to do the right thing," the Zhou scion explained at length.

Gesturing toward Jian Bian, the young man said, "I can't sit idly in abundance while you are left poor for your efforts. I want you to know that if I can invest or assist you in any way, I'm willing to do so. And I hope you won't hesitate to ask, in that situation."
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Suicide Fox » 08 Mar 2017, 19:13

Jian Bian crossed one leg over the other and leaned back in his chair to relax. For now, the story about his family and the wealth in which he squandered would have to do. Something prevented him from lying to the young Zhou, but he also didn't tell him the full truth of how grave his situation was. That could be saved for another time.

"And.. the Empire," His words were careful. "You think it's worth.. protecting?"

He made careful to not give way his thoughts.

"I may have affected the council just by giving voice, but it's in my opinion that there are still many sheep in this city and few shepherds to herd them. I've seen Liu Shentong in action and I don't doubt his ability compared to the former Magistrate, but some of these officers rub me the wrong way. I wonder if they are giving him poor advice, but I'm not in the inner circle."

When Zhou Liang spoke of the Zhou clan's storied history, it just confirmed to him that he indeed did support the right man when it came time to "vote".

"I would be honored to call you an ally, a friend even. However, my reputation... it's cloudy." He admitted.

"I wouldn't want it to muddle your good name. There's certain officers here that I may have offended due to my... outspoken nature. I'm making more enemies than friends even in our own walls, but what some men don't understand is that war is swift and brutal. There are no manners of it. You need men like me to villianize if you are to mobilize an effective army. A good commander should be feared just as much as he is loved, but some are too wet behind the ears to know this -- or maybe they just flat out don't agree."

He brushed the thought aside with a force laugh.

"Forgive me, you see? My thoughts are often radical. I don't baby men, that's a mother's job. It's my job to make sure Liu Shentong will outfit me with a troop of archers so I can make sure they are led to their greatest ability. Would you be able to have any influence in that?"
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 09 Mar 2017, 14:29

Liang took a leisurely moment to drink his tea before responding. It was a dangerous question in most other places, to ask if the Empire was worth protecting. Even in Wan, where public opinion was understandably trending downward in regards to the Empire, few would speak negatively about the Han.

"In a sense," the young noble replied, "But what good is protecting something that's already broken? It is clear to the practical mind that the Court has suffered from extensive corruption, and these recent rebellions - while unacceptable - are a symptom of this corruption."

Taking another sip, Liang then added, "However, when your home has a hole in the roof, you don't simply burn it down. You must stop the damage from spreading and repair it. In this way, we are pushed to the forefront of this conflict and it is up to Wan to be the determining factor in the Empire's revival."

While he didn't flaunt it openly, Liang was descended from Zhou Yafu and Zhou Bo. While Liu Shentong and Cai Bin were the first to make the connection, it could truly be said that the fate of his family was destined to intertwine with that of the Imperial Family and the Han dynasty. It made sense, then, that despite all the failures of the Han in recent years, he would see it as a chance to fix what was broken rather than hope to see it fall.

Waving an arm outward, he remarked, "And to that point, the same is true for Wan itself. We were victims of corruption in the court, made painfully clear when the magistrate and his retinue looted our coffers and fled. The reason I initially accepted my nomination as a candidate for magistrate, and the reason I supported Liu Shentong, is because I want to root out this corruption and give the city back to the people. I can vouch for the fact that Liu Shentong shares our concerns, and I highly doubt he'll give much clemency to those who are found attempting to abuse their authority or rank. While most of the corrupt fled Wan with the magistrate, we must still be vigilant."

The black-robed Zhou tapped a finger lightly against his cup, not really signifying anything, simply making idle movements as he thought. Was this part of why Cai Bin and the new magistrate trusted him, despite not being familiar with one another? Was the first impression Liu Shentong made mirrored by the one Liang made on them? He hoped so. It seemed like it, at the very least.

"I have recently been appointed as advisor to the new magistrate, despite my young age. Not because of my lineage, or because I'm a pleasant person to be around, but because I speak openly and with purpose. When a storm besieges our city, a little clarity is a welcome thing," he said, taking one more sip of his tea, "That said, your outspoken nature and reputation are of no consequence to my decision. If I was concerned with my reputation, I'd be better at lying and have a lot more friends. I see things in a more practical light. I see a man for his usefulness, not their personality or choice of friends. If you can help fix Wan's infrastructure, improve our economy, or kill an above-average amount of rebels...that's what I notice."

Pouring himself more tea, the young noble went on to say, "Besides, radical opinions are welcome in this day and age. I welcome new perspectives, whether I agree with them or not. As long as you remain within the law and give no reason to take real issue, there's not much you can do to irk me, I assure you. And if you do happen to irk me, we'll have a conversation about it like rational men and address it appropriately."

The other request was a little beyond his reach, however.

"As his advisor, I can recommend people of merit and discuss things openly with the magistrate, but I can't award ranks. At the moment, we're still discerning how to assign the few posts available to us and our resources are...painfully limited, given the circumstances," Liang admitted bluntly, "Given your dedication to Wan, you seem to be fairly incorrupt in terms of adhering to the greater good. Not too sure about the filial aspect, but to be honest, that's the least of Wan's concerns at the moment. I can't promise you a rank, but I will admit that I believe it would be remiss of me not to put your name into consideration as a potential military officer. While not a rank, per se, that is the most I can promise."

He left it at that, for now. Liang would neither promise Bian what he couldn't deliver, nor overreach in making improper demands of Shentong. The whole basis of his role was in knowing what was right and what was wrong, and either of the two would most certainly fall into the latter category. Moreso, it would be an insult to both men.
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Dong Zhou » 10 Mar 2017, 11:30

Li Jun had the good fortune of a day off soon after the rebel fight but though the swellings had gone done and the pain had gone, she still had some bruises. With one bruise to the side of her face, she was not keen on going to her usual hang outs where people might stop and stare, the guards had stopped staring as they got used to such things in life but she also didn't want to spend her day among the guards right now.

She decided to go see Zhou Liang, he was far enough out of her life to be a good distraction. Dressed in a casual grey robe, perhaps rather poorer quality then the household would be used to, and her sword by her side, she had gone into the rich district, an area she only ever went to on patrol. It felt odd coming here outside of her duty and she found she kept her head down, trying to avoid being noticed for a fear she would be targeted or escorted away. It was a relief when the walkway led to the guards at the entrance.

Li Jun glanced at the guards and tried to straighten up. Guards she could cope with, maybe some day she would be forced into private service like this and she could handle them if she needed to.


"Li Jun here to see Zhou Liang. Is he in?"
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 10 Mar 2017, 18:54

The head of the household guard smiled pleasantly, replying, "The young master is, indeed."

He recognized her as one of the guard captains of Wan, lending to his more casual expression, but said nothing of it. Instead, he motioned for the guards at the door to open the way as an attendant was sent to inform Zhou Liang of a visitor's arrival. Other attendants led the way to the greatroom.

Soon, the young noble made his way in from the garden, dressed in fine Han blue robes. His hair was left relatively loose, but groomed. With a smile, he greeted Li Jun with a respectful bow.

"Captain," he said, addressing her by the only title he recognized her as so far, "Your visit is a welcome surprise. To what do I owe the pleasure? Administrative business, or just a casual visit? I can have tea prepared, if you like..."
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Dong Zhou » 11 Mar 2017, 10:51

Li Jun had glanced around the great room, for someone used to small but comfortable tavern rooms or the rotten, cramped state of the barracks, these houses always felt too large. The quality was always impressive and she could envy that, she suspected even the beds were more comfortable then she was that, but when used to having everything close and crowded, she wondered if people in large homes felt lonely.

When she saw Zhou Liang , she returned the bow with a smile, she was happy that she hadn't been ejected yet and was relaxed.


"Tea would be lovely and casual. I'm afraid it is my day off and I really needed to get out of the barracks with all of the male rutting rituals for our new lord going on. Which can be fun in a tavern but really not what one wants among clothed generals in your work place."

Li Jun turned her face so Liang could get a good look at her bruise on the side of her face. It was starting to fade but was but size meant it took took up a fair portion of her cheek.

"Going to my usual haunts with this is either asking for awkward looks and probably a fight. I'm thinking if I came here to see you, your at least unlikely to try to wrestle me to asset yourself. Probably."
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 13 Mar 2017, 14:56

The noble let out a laugh, shrugging slightly.

"Well, I won't judge or mock you, I promise," he replied, giving a motion to his attendant to bring tea, "You are a military captain, after all. Bruises are to be expected."

Adjusting his robes, Liang went on to add with a grin, "As for wrestling with you, I'm not sure if I'm dressed for the occasion. These are my 'fancy noble' robes. Worse, as much as I appreciate my household staff, I know how rumors are practically a currency of their own in Wan. Seeing Zhou Liang wrestling with Li Jun might take a different meaning once the little birds sing their song about it."

Just then, the attendants brought out the tea and placed it before them. Liang took a moment to pour both himself and Jun a cup. It was the signature tea the household made, more of a sweet and mellow flavor.

Bringing a cup to his lips, he joking muttered, "...and I'm not sure how it would look for a military commander to get trounced by a civil official..." and took a sip nonchalantly.
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Dong Zhou » 14 Mar 2017, 11:27

Li Jun was surprised by the taste, she was mostly a wine drinker and what tea she drank would have been in the poorer "if it is warm, that is good enough" variety, this tea felt like an enchantment to a meal. She did like it though and she liked Liang's humour, it was friendly and at least he wasn't staring.

"Your assuming I wouldn't cheat. For the honour of the guard obviously."

It was said with a grin and the thought of the rumours amused her. She imagined there was rumours about her love life from way too many people, some would probably be true but others would be strange. By her usual standards, she imagined Liang would be considered a coup

"I'm sure there would be worse rumurs about my love life. What about you? Wouldn't rumours reassure your family or would I be make the presence worse?"
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Re: Wan City: Zhou Estate

Postby Bradums » 14 Mar 2017, 14:25

"Of course. Entirely understandable," he said in response to her admission that she would probably have to cheat, giving a pleasant smile as he spoke.

He drifted a little at the subject of his love life, staring at his tea in thought for a moment. Not that he wasn't listening, of course, just that it was hard to make eye contact. It was a touchy subject in the Zhou household. His father, in an uncharacteristically bold turn, was adamant that Liang find a woman to marry. For his part, Liang wasn't interested in marriage yet. Marriage was a distraction when there was so much work to do.

Most of his peers had already been paired off with suitable women, or spent a lot of time wooing commoners or sneaking in and out of establishments less spoken of in polite company. To his father's combined dismay and relief, Liang hadn't indulged in casual relationships with women. The last thing he needed was an illegitimate child and a random woman clinging to the family coffers, something he made very clear on numerous occasions as a warning, but he would've relished the evidence that Liang cared at all about women.

"Hard to say," the young noble assessed, "I'll be entirely honest with you, and I hope you don't take offense, but my father would probably be thrilled I was at least entertaining the notion of a pairing, though probably...less ecstatic about your standing."

Liang audibly sighed before taking another small sip of tea and explaining, "I may be a little more lenient about my treatment of social classes, but my father is fairly traditional. He hopes to find a girl of noble birth to pair me with. He's obsessed with strengthening the Zhou name, so...being the only child..."

He trailed off, sighing wistfully as he gave up on finishing the thought and giving a shrug. It was a stupid subject, and he doubted she really needed - or cared - to know the personal details.

"It's not that I don't find women attractive, I just..." he felt a rush of blood in his cheeks, hoping it wasn't visible, "I just find the whole process to be awkward and time-consuming. We face invasion from a rebel horde. I just...feel like there are more important things to worry about, that's all..."
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