I HOPE the sohei dont represent the SAA group, Michio was a bro but SAA never questioned seizing the throne nor opposed Jigoku when necessary... SAA was about the Dark Paragons, NOT the Order of the Spider.
I am fine with the monks being the poster boys for Shourido, they are bad asses and I love their archetype.
They are humans, nothing more. Yet they have the strength and skill to overcome opponents far beyond them. They are untainted, and can therefore wonder the empire freely, yet worship Daigotsu as fervently as any tainted samurai. That must really piss off all the other clans who can do nothing about it and must simply put up with them right on their doorstep. Their view on the taint literally puts them at odds with the Daigotsu but they remain true to their beliefs regardless, and prove that theirway is just as good. The new quote from Tetsuo says it all:
"Accept the taint if you need it, lackey. I do not need His Blessing to complete His work."
I don't see them being against taking the throne, more against how it's happening. They see the Spider taking the throne by being stronger and better than every other contender. If you need the taint to achieve that then you are unworthy. I was about to say I was confused why they have forsaken their loyalty to Kanpeki for accepting the taint, but I guess I may have just answered my own question...
However, I 100% agree that I don't want the Shourido path to be exclusive to the monks, just as I hope Walk the Light encompasses more that just the Susumu and the odd other dudes. My favourite archetype from Emperor was Dark Paragons and would love to have them return, especially after Shourido got so much support.
I agree that Machiko's sacrifice felt rushed. A bit more indecision from Kanpeki would have given him that humanity that the player base is going to need if we're ever going to get them rooting for him. I agree with ItsyBitsy's suggestion about having it torment Kanpeki later on, it will just make him a bit more three dimensional as a villain.
@ Max: you don't have to force this into fiction now, but I would like to later see him suffer from this action in the future. Like someone brings him the fish she would make for him and he almost kills them, or he is protective of his daughter as "she has her mother's eyes" or something that shows the hole it caused in him. If it's the greatest sacrifice he could make I would like to se him haunted by it, quiet moments leading to him reflecting, thinking of her, feeling pain before it is washed away into his rage. It would add a nice layer of complexity to Kanpeki, which he needs..
Other than that, loved everything!