Regarding the importance of the Celestial Order, let's look at the past 25 years. One emperor was assassinated by a mortal. A different mortal became the new emperor. THAT emperor gets kidnapped and becomes tainted, killing himself. He returns, along with ANOTHER emperor, this one the direct descendant of Hantei, both claiming the throne. The emperor orders them to sever their ties or kill themselves, and pretty much ALL OF THEM say no...to the emperor. As if that act of defiance isn't enough, outright rebellion is declared, and most of Rokugan sides with the mortal not of Kami descent. The non-descendant's forces win, and NO ONE is executed for defying the emperor or raising arms against him.
Does this sound like a land where place in the Celestial Order trumps everything? People adapt. No matter how weird something is, we are talking about something that was formally sanctioned over three hundred years ago. It wasn't even (according to the writing) that big a deal when it was new.
That... makes a lot of sense. In my defense, I'm used to the pre-coup era, and my impression is that the rate of upheaval increased at a damn-near exponential rate from there. Bear with me, please, I'm readjusting my perspective on the fly- and as a person who forms strong opinions this is not a simple process. If you're familiar with confirmation bias, you probably get that.
Muse wanted a Water shugenja, but I don't really have a preference.
As I mentioned, I'm not crazy about the thought of any clan sending someone off to train with another clan and then sending that person away. It's a complete waste of an investment. Also, was she part of the Kuroiban? Nothing about it was mentioned. How long was she back in Scorpion lands before being betrothed? You mentioned a few years in an earlier post. Also, I'd like to know more about her as a person...beliefs, ambitions, political stances, etc.
This is really what intrigued me. Not a seventeen year-old girl who trained with another clan and then was betrothed to an antagonistic clan, then petitioned the family daimyo to be moved closer to said clan afterward...to me that sounds like someone spoiled and of fickle loyalty. Incidentally, if you do want to play up that angle, I am ALL for it, but I don't think that's what you were going for.
I get that samurai stories are generally over the top, but that's because they are normally about the well-connected. Try to imagine your char as one of the 1.4 million nobodies, living in a land where only about 15% get to attend one of the noteworthy schools.
As mentioned, the previous post was the short version. Let me try to take these things in order, and let's see if we can cooperate to build a better story.
1) Was she a member of the Kuroiban? Oh Heavens no. She probably doesn't even know it exists (again though, that comes from my perspective where the Scorpion KEEP their secret societies secret, but I don't know the official lore there, or your stance), and it's a Shugenja rank 4 entry requirement anyway. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got exposure to some bad juju (bad maho?), which means now the Kuroiban have a dossier on her- just in case. Whether it's just in case she needs to be recruited or just in case she needs to be eliminated after being corrupted by that exposure is up to you, the GM, and circumstances that transpire.
2) She was betrothed as part of a political maneuver to try to get Scorpion ties to the Kuni as part of an effort to improve the clan's ability to conduct spiritual warfare. As a political betrothal, it was probably made almost simultaneously to her gempukku, with political overtures made in that direction while she was still with the Mantis. The Crab, being Crab, would actually appreciate that she was taught in Mantis lands, because they kind of like the Mantis, which makes her a useful pawn in that move. Sending her there was not about fickle loyalty- it was about her doing her duty to the Scorpion and following orders. This betrothal, and the manner of it being broken through the Kuni's death, was only really heartbreaking as a failure of duty- it wasn't a Blissful Betrothal and I'm not taking Lost Love or anything. That said, a Scorpion (who prize Loyalty) trained by Mantis (who prize Loyalty) losing value to the clan hurts, and a broken betrothal means that any new betrothal will have less political pull- because the new party will know that they were the second
choice, not the first choice.
3) She's 19, not 17.
4) She didn't petition her Daimyo to be moved closer to the Crab, she saw the creation of a new minor Clan as an opportunity for the Scorpion to use her to get their hooks in early, for the same sort of purpose that the Scorpion had originally intended to use her vis-a-vis the Kuni. This is an attempt to recover her (real or perceived) lost value to the Scorpion as a political tool.
5) Slightly out of order here, but on the nature of Maseko-as-an-investment- An investment is only worth what you can get out of it. In this case, Maseko was used as a pawn in a minor political move for improving certain ties to the Mantis (check), an opportunity to learn about the Yoritomo Shugenja tradition and see what value it might have to Scorpion operations (check), and insight into Mantis raiding practices (that last one? A little bit wobbley, because it takes more than a few years at sea to really learn what the Mantis know about that sort of thing. However, that's not her fault and knowing that is still useful data. Also, got some intelligence back on certain trade routes, more than likely). Now, once she comes back from Mantis lands... what do you do with her? She's not useful to the Shosuro network except as a way of ensuring favourable weather conditions or possibly
advising on smuggling techniques, she's not a social-fu political weapon the way a Kakita-trained duelist would have been (which is part of why I didn't go the duelist route- a Kakita bushi would have been too valuable to willingly let go), so either you leave her to tend a shrine somewhere (which might have been a waste of such an investment) or you find political value in this oddball you've got.
That was the point about her mentality being odd and unpredictable- it's odd and unpredictable in a way that is not immediately, obviously useful to the Scorpion.
So, who likes that blunt, Mantis perspective? Well, the Crab and the Unicorn. Who has something the Soshi want? Well, the Soshi might like to be on better terms with the Kuni, but the Kuni won't trust most Soshi. Well, we have this one here- she's almost a Mantis! She can't lie for shit, and she can ensure favourable weather for your farmlands OR call down the thunder as required!
The long game here is getting her exposure to the world so that she gains insight rank so that she might train more Scorpion in the Yoritomo Shugenja school- IF that's what the Scorpion decides they need. Just another tool in the toolbox. If the Owl can be made to be friendly to the Scorpion, that's fantastic too- who doesn't like having a Taint-hunting minor clan in their pocket, right?
It's important to recognize that most of the reasons why Maseko has been used as she has been are not clear to her- she just follows orders like a good Scorpion, or a good Mantis for that matter. Petitioning to be a part of the tithe to the Owl? That's the big departure for her.
Now, this was all put together pretty slap-dash and I've been fleshing out the concept a very little bit, but I think
it hangs together. Also, it will be weird for me playing a Shugenja because I've never done that before, but I like the idea of trying it out. A Kuni shugenja would be more powerful for the whole tainthunting schtick, but I bring healing, weather control, and lightning bolts, so I think I'll manage. Also, considering being trained in Kyujutsu. Specifically NOT Kenjutsu, because not bushi- but Kyujutsu is a perfectly respectable Samurai art and not even a Lion could look askance upon me for practicing it.
Edit: Hm. It occurs to me that I haven't really looked at it through the lens of being one of the 85% (we are the 85%? Nah, doesn't have the same ring to it). I'm not sure whether that really affects my background all that much or not. Free-thought brain-to-text follows, so forgive any disjointedness please.
Hailing from a minor vassal family (I even made the name up), I figure most of the political shenanigans they've been up to have been emphasized on supporting the Soshi- and indirectly, possibly the Shosuro. But they need to have a specific purpose, because that seems to be the common thread in vassal families. If they were making overtures toward the Kuni then either they focus on hunting tainted people and things already OR they perform a function similar to the Dragonfly for the Dragon- they are a public face providing diplomatic support.
Now, in either case, why would they be involved with the Mantis? Why would they care? If their role is primarily diplomatic in nature, then trading hostages makes sense, in which case there may have been several Scorpion children that went along- she may have just been the one who happened to be gifted as a Shugenja, and the rest went either to "support," administrative study or went to the Yoritomo Bushi or Courtier schools. In any event, those students would be more useful to the Scorpion in the long run, because it would give them a corps they could draw upon for smuggling work or supporting coastal Shosuro operations. If this is the case, then there might be an actual Bayushi or Shosuro (or whatever) who got the Mantis training and did particularly well aboard ship. To the Scorpion, he would be the golden boy of this information gathering campaign, while Maseko would just be a side-note.
On the other hand, if their role is primarily oriented towards hunting the taint, it could be that the initial overture towards the Mantis was the start of an effort to hunt down Garen's fleet hanging out in the Sea of Shadows- the lore I've seen seems to suggest that while he has not been excessively active these past seven-hundred years, nor has he been making any real effort to lay low. Again, in this case there may have been several Koseru, and again there may be some who finished the Yoritomo Bushi school who have been prized as the successes of that program.
In either way, Maseko's primary purpose in being sent to Mantis lands would have been fulfilled and/or overshadowed upon her gempukku, and hence political marriages. I think that all still tracks.
2nd Edit: It's also possible, or even more likely, that Maseko didn't petition to be tithed to the Owl, but the Scorpion leadership decided that this would be a good use of her politically- which could mean that Maseko herself might be loyally going along with it, while at the same time harbouring some negative feelings about being shoved all over the freaking empire instead of being allowed to help with Scorpion things!