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IC L5R 4e Distant Thunder II

Angwa

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Validated User
Kumiko

"If you wish me too then I will." He answered as he pulled his copy of Shosuro Furyari's The Mask from inside his sleeve. "Hayase had me train with the Yoriki, with the man catchers and jitte, and I know for a time afterwards Okada-sama was... resentful of me for it. It placed me above my station when I did well against him."

He flipped the pillow book open to a marked page. "I'll train with your wolves." You almost hear a little amusement in his voice as he calls the Ronin wolves, especially since you know that he's kind of adopted the term wolf for himself. He looked back over at the Ronin and then back to Kumiko. "Kumiko-San there's a quote from Bayushi Tangen, he said The best way to defeat an opponent is to convince him he has already won. Do you truly trust these Ronin?"
Kumiko considers Sparrow's questions and laughs out loud. They were most certainly not the easiest of queries! She digs into her pack and takes out her final bottle of sake.

"Ah, yes, I surely hope you do not mind me appropriating the moniker 'wolves'. I felt it is... fitting, for which my thanks. As for your questions, the short answers are these: yes, I wish you too, Okada-sama is wrong and Tangen-sama lied, but not wholy, and finally, not yet, but soon."

The former princess fills everyone's cups with sake.

"Allow me to elaborate, though it may be somewhat rambling."

Her cup is raised.

"Kanpai! Now, as to the importance of station..." Kumiko snorts dismissively. "Well, this spring I was still Kuge, and I was walking in the Imperial gardens alongside the Emperor, and none could doubt my nobility. About a month ago a heimin village headman looked at me as if I was no better than the dirt sticking to the underside of his geta. I am the same person, and I am still carrying a daisho, but right now none will doubt my lack of nobility. So, really, it can not be that intrinsic a virtue, can it now?

Bayushi Tangen also had the following to say: 'Peasants do not understand what it means to be a soldier. They do not understand bushido. To them, our ways are foreign ways. They are a simple people and will never understand us'. We have both traveled with magistrates and seen many samurai of dubious morality and worth being brought to justice, as well as a few who did not deserve such. Therefore, it seems to me that being born to inherit the two blades is hardly a guarantee of the aforementioned understanding.

Also, and I am sure this will make her blush, for which I offer my apologies, Bayushi Tangen-sama clearly has not met Miko-san. She has risked her life on many occasions, without hesitation or complaint. She, much more than any of us, is here by our side of her own free will." She looks at the other woman and smiles warmly. "Yes, as the former handmaiden to a princess, capable of organizing the logistics of a Clan's Winter Court, you could have led a life of comfort. Do not deny it! And let us be honest, she is not just strong in Courage and Loyalty! No, she has the soul of a samurai, I do not doubt it!

Once I might have cared, and overly much so, I must admit, about station and the respect it ought to command, because it was what I believed to be the totality of my worth. Hiriko-san, Miko-san, Agetoki-sama, Jun'Ai-sama, Doijin-sama, Sukune-sama and many others have disabused me of that notion and now that I have lost my station, and society proclaims that I am worthless, I know that I am not, and I no longer judge others by whether they carry a daisho and how pure their bloodline is. What I care about nowadays is what is in your heart. Bushido is not so difficult if one does not overthink it!"

She slides her cup forward to be filled.

"As for the question of trust, well, we all know each other only for a couple of days, but yes, I am confident I will before long."

She taps her heart, where she used to display the mon of the Akodo.

"Losing this, well, it is devastating. We no longer have a purpose, a Lord to be loyal to, a Clan to serve and define us. To address Tangen's words you quoted: these are not my opponents. The events of the Coup left all of us among the defeated. At this point there is no longer anything to win or lose. Most everyone may not see it that way, but Shoju-ue struck a mortal blow. The Empire is dying.

Now, the magistrates are my friends, dear friends even, but they have families and Clans, and when all is said and done they will go home and we can not follow them there. None of us here can ever go home. Unless we create one for ourselves, that is. We need this banner of the Wolf, and it is in that particular desire I trust. I know according to Togashi-ue us ronin are supposed to save the Empire, but that is simply too large to even contemplate. However, I can save and care for the people under our banner, and together with them I have a home to fight for, and by extension, all the rest that matters.

And if you ever find yourself in need of a home, you are welcome to find one here, Sparrow-san."
 
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Waiwode

(n)Ever Vigilant Eye
Validated User
Hiruma Jun’Ai
“We’re Emerald Magistrates.” She spoke up as she leaned back exposing her Jitte, along with Togashi’s Fang, to the Gunso. “I’m Hiruma Jun’Ai.” She allowed the others to interrupt themselves. “We have the authority to move through the region freely.”
Kakita Hayase
Hayase looks down from Taidama's back at the gunso. "My fellow Magistrate speaks correctly, Shinjo-gunso," she says. She reaches into her kimono and pulls the jade badge of office free so that it hangs down against her chest. "We have permission and authority to travel here. How are the roads between here and Kyuden Bayushi?"
Kakita Doijin
Dojiin merely nods, as he keeps vigilant. If there were any former Scorpions, they could be watching from the bush and counting on the residual loyalty of the peasants to keep their presence hidden.
Senjuro bows in the saddle. "My apologies, honoured Magistrates."

"After the Battle of the Gold Bridge four days ago, where the rebel army was trapped against the river, the largest rebel bands are on the far side of the River of Gold. But these woods and hills seem to spit out rebels like one hundred wasp nests spit out wasps. Travel between here and Kyuden Bayushi should be safe though, honoured Magistrates."

"There are two Unicorn Imperial Magistrates trying to govern the entire territory. Without the host of the Unicorn this would be an impossible task. Please check in with Magistrate Shinjo Kozawa in Kyuden Bayushi. He can arrange an escort if your travels take you away from any heavily patrolled routes."
 

ClassDunce

A Proper Villain.
Validated User
Sparrow

What I care about nowadays is what is in your heart. Bushido is not so difficult if one does not overthink it!"
Sparrow refilled Kumiko's cup. Having barely drank half of his own. "Akodo said, The majesty of bushido is that it can manifest itself even in the least of souls. Courage can rise from humbleness and honor any lord with its service." He took a sip from his sake and decided to leave a few unsaid things unsaid. He was after all a peasant and she was not.

...However, I can save and care for the people under our banner, and together with them I have a home to fight for, and by extension, all the rest that matters.

And if you ever find yourself in need of a home, you are welcome to find one here, Sparrow-san."
He nodded at her offer. "Thank you Kumiko-San. Hopefully I won't have to take you up on that. I think we may be putting the cart before the horse though... We have to make sure this group survives first. Your wolves need to be fattened up and their spirits lifted." He looked over at Kumiko with a smile. "If I could make a suggestion, a suggestion that would infuriate Jun'Ai-san." He replaced the book in his sleeve before he tightened his kimono around him and rolled backwards and kipped up with just his arms so that he was standing on his hands and his feet were in the air. The Children's eyes were all on him as hopped around just on his hands. "Kumiko-San, I believe we need to get your wolves one more good meal and then..." With a hop he was back on his feet with a grin on his face. "We need to take them boar hunting. They need a win to fill their hearts and a good sized boar to fill their bellies."
 

Ebony

Just Here for the Food...
Validated User
Kakita Hayase

Senjuro bows in the saddle. "My apologies, honoured Magistrates."

"After the Battle of the Gold Bridge four days ago, where the rebel army was trapped against the river, the largest rebel bands are on the far side of the River of Gold. But these woods and hills seem to spit out rebels like one hundred wasp nests spit out wasps. Travel between here and Kyuden Bayushi should be safe though, honoured Magistrates."

"There are two Unicorn Imperial Magistrates trying to govern the entire territory. Without the host of the Unicorn this would be an impossible task. Please check in with Magistrate Shinjo Kozawa in Kyuden Bayushi. He can arrange an escort if your travels take you away from any heavily patrolled routes."
Hayase smiles, and nods. "Thank you for the information, Shinjo-gunso," she says. "We will speak with Magistrate Kozawa when we arrive." She looks over her shoulder at the road behind him. "The roads are clear behind us, and your clansmen seem to have the way to Kyuden Yogo well in hand. We saw no rebels on our travels." She glances to Jun'Ai briefly, pauses, then adds, "However, there is a ronin in the province named Tomaru. He has not broken any law that we have seen, but he may have some influence among the others in these lands, and he has acquired a substantial amount of money recently." She looks back at the Unicorn. "I cannot say for certain that he is headed this way, but he was last seen in Yogo lands. He bears watching, as much or more than many of his fellow ronin."
 

Angwa

Active member
Validated User
Kumiko

Sparrow refilled Kumiko's cup. Having barely drank half of his own. "Akodo said, The majesty of bushido is that it can manifest itself even in the least of souls. Courage can rise from humbleness and honor any lord with its service." He took a sip from his sake and decided to leave a few unsaid things unsaid. He was after all a peasant and she was not.
"Yes, Akodo no Kami indeed said that. Some say that the difference between hinin, heimin, buke and kuge is a spiritual one, but then again, he also forbade his people from reading the Tao. It seems to him what makes a samurai is what he has written about in Leadership. Judge someone by their actions, all the rest is meaningless dross."

She has seen so many fall short of that ideal. Young Sotorii, Kage, Tsume, O-Hana, and the list goes on and on! People who by their birthright should be better, yet were revealed to be unable to resist their own weaknesses and allowing others to pay the price.

"The coming storm will judge us all and lay bare what is in our hearts. We shall see the truth of Akodo no Kami wisdom sooner rather than later, but personally, I find it impossible to argue against."

He nodded at her offer. "Thank you Kumiko-San. Hopefully I won't have to take you up on that. I think we may be putting the cart before the horse though... We have to make sure this group survives first. Your wolves need to be fattened up and their spirits lifted." He looked over at Kumiko with a smile. "If I could make a suggestion, a suggestion that would infuriate Jun'Ai-san." He replaced the book in his sleeve before he tightened his kimono around him and rolled backwards and kipped up with just his arms so that he was standing on his hands and his feet were in the air. The Children's eyes were all on him as hopped around just on his hands. "Kumiko-San, I believe we need to get your wolves one more good meal and then..." With a hop he was back on his feet with a grin on his face. "We need to take them boar hunting. They need a win to fill their hearts and a good sized boar to fill their bellies."
"Hai, we need a victory..." She smiles and takes a sip of sake. "Your suggestion is welcome, and actually a very wise one. Most of the battles we can pick here will be against former Clan members, so having our first one against an opponent where we can avoid sullying our accomplishment by any remnants of divided loyalty, yes, I believe we shall do exactly that!"
 

ClassDunce

A Proper Villain.
Validated User
Sparrow

"Your suggestion is welcome, and actually a very wise one. Most of the battles we can pick here will be against former Clan members, so having our first one against an opponent where we can avoid sullying our accomplishment by any remnants of divided loyalty, yes, I believe we shall do exactly that!"
"So," Sparrow squatted back down next to Kumiko. "Usually when you hunt Boar, you do it one of two ways. You can do it from horseback with bows, which we have a few horses and some bows so that's a possibility but if Jun'Ai-San is correct and these Boar are... substantial in size then you'll want to do it the second way. With spears on foot, we have no spears. I can make some wooden spears but they wouldn't be as effective as actual boar hunting spears."

An aiguchi appeared in his hand and he started to sketch a box into the ground with one open side. "However we can kind of combine the two techniques. We can build a pen. A simple fenced in box and set up some lead ins, to steer the pigs, that we're chasing on horseback, into. That's as simple as setting up some dirt-work to guide the pigs into the pen. Once they're in the pen have a few people to close it. From there we can use some wooden spears, that I can make, to kill the pigs." With the knife he drew his plan in the dirt for her to see it.

He shrugged. "That would be plan A. Plan B is similar but it would take a little more time to set up, but it may be safer if we are dealing with giant boar like Jun'Ai suspects. Instead of building a pen, instead we dig a pit and cover it with foliage, still herd the animals into it but it would be more secure once they were in it. A giant boar may bust right through a fence. We don't have any shovels though. But it's still doable."

The knife was gone before you even realize it. "Do you have a better plan?"
 

lordmcdeath

Registered User
Validated User
Kakita Doijin
Kakita Hayase
Hayase smiles, and nods. "Thank you for the information, Shinjo-gunso," she says. "We will speak with Magistrate Kozawa when we arrive." She looks over her shoulder at the road behind him. "The roads are clear behind us, and your clansmen seem to have the way to Kyuden Yogo well in hand. We saw no rebels on our travels." She glances to Jun'Ai briefly, pauses, then adds, "However, there is a ronin in the province named Tomaru. He has not broken any law that we have seen, but he may have some influence among the others in these lands, and he has acquired a substantial amount of money recently." She looks back at the Unicorn. "I cannot say for certain that he is headed this way, but he was last seen in Yogo lands. He bears watching, as much or more than many of his fellow ronin."
Doijin is forced to restrain his customary smile widening. That was a most clever way of addressing the threat while keeping their word to the other Magistrate. That they don't know this already only underscores how undermanned this entire occupation is. In truth, he'd purpose a ten goblin winter on a grand scale if only to deplete the shear number of of former bushi. He had little problem deferring to Hayase. It was best to speak with one voice in such circumstances, and it was good how much Hayase had come into her own.

He could only hope Kumiko's efforts prove more fruitful than he worried they might be and that the Unicorn wouldn't mistake her own forces for those degenerating into wolves in the form of men. He keeps his own eyes out for people interested in their statements. One never knew when one might find a thread to pull on.
 

Waiwode

(n)Ever Vigilant Eye
Validated User
*** The Woods ***

Amagi may move without sound, and blend seemlessly with shadows. But most of his hunting is done in other forms. Added to the fact the bodyguard is rarely out of view of Hiriko and Kumiko, and Sparrow is left without an immediate partner. Of the other ronin, Rikyo the bowman is the best choice, and understands what is needed.

With several helpers a barricade is constructed, sharpened bamboo forming a 'funnel' of sorts leading to the deadly cul de sac. It takes a day to fashion spears, creat the barricade, and have the limited selection of riders drill in driving game together.

With the morning the party is divided into two groups, the drivers and the hunters who hide, ready to rush forward with long impromptu spears.

OOC: We've avoided making hard rolls for Sparrow. But ClassD can roll 4k2, which is the average hunting, capped by riding.

Angwa, please roll PER + Battle, the skill that best decribes controlling the "hunt group" as they finish any boars that may appear.


*** The City ***

Farm villages grow closer together, and are replaced by market towns, before the Magistrates approach Kyuden Bayushi, the second largest city in the lands that once belonged to the Scorpion. As they approach there are reminders of unrest at every crossroads, and Unicorn soldiers garrison each town.

The city is wide and and surrounded by a low wall. Beyond it is the sprawling monument of Kyuden Bayushi, a red castle on a vast artificial slope, towering above the city below. Imperial banners, and the purple, white and gold of Unicorn banners flutter from the roof-tops and towers of the castle.

At the gate to the city travel documents are being closely inspected. Here the Unicorn seem to be aided by locals acting as doshin. You pass through without incident.

The streets are thick with tradespeople and merchants -- the commerce that once filled the coffers of the Scorpion continues unabated. But the sight of armed Unicorn patrols does not escape you -- there must be hundred of Unicorn in the city.

The Magistrates Hall is large. There are stables and barracks flanking the central courtyard, with the court-house running the width of the courtyard at the far end. It seems more like a Unicorn garrison than a court.

The richly appointed Ide who meets you wears a particular headdress, a rich purple winding cloth interwoven around his head. A ruby the size of a thumbnail is mounted in the centre. Otherwise, his cream-white kimono is flawless and familiar, although his hakama seem excessively baggy.

"Greetings, greetings, I am Ide Matajiro. The honourable Shinjo Kozawa is conducting a trial, please allow me to extend his hospitality and provide you what pleasing diversions I may until he can meet with you."
 

Angwa

Active member
Validated User
Kumiko

"So," Sparrow squatted back down next to Kumiko. "Usually when you hunt Boar, you do it one of two ways. You can do it from horseback with bows, which we have a few horses and some bows so that's a possibility but if Jun'Ai-San is correct and these Boar are... substantial in size then you'll want to do it the second way. With spears on foot, we have no spears. I can make some wooden spears but they wouldn't be as effective as actual boar hunting spears."
"I suggest combining the two techniques, as you say we can make spears. Furthermore, combining all elements we have at our disposal into a working whole would, in my eyes, one of the goals of this exercise. The ones with the best bow skills and horsemanship will be mounted. I have skill in those two area's, but I suspect I also have one the few armors in our possession. We will have to look into that as well, as I currently only have one spare ashigaru armor.

Those who risk a close encounter with a boar ought to be armored, I believe, so one of those will be me."

An aiguchi appeared in his hand and he started to sketch a box into the ground with one open side. "However we can kind of combine the two techniques. We can build a pen. A simple fenced in box and set up some lead ins, to steer the pigs, that we're chasing on horseback, into. That's as simple as setting up some dirt-work to guide the pigs into the pen. Once they're in the pen have a few people to close it. From there we can use some wooden spears, that I can make, to kill the pigs." With the knife he drew his plan in the dirt for her to see it.
Kumiko nods and smiles.

He shrugged. "That would be plan A. Plan B is similar but it would take a little more time to set up, but it may be safer if we are dealing with giant boar like Jun'Ai suspects. Instead of building a pen, instead we dig a pit and cover it with foliage, still herd the animals into it but it would be more secure once they were in it. A giant boar may bust right through a fence. We don't have any shovels though. But it's still doable."

The knife was gone before you even realize it. "Do you have a better plan?"
"I would disregard the pit and suggest adding some sharpened poles to our pen, set at an angle to catch a boar foolish enough to attempt to charge through. Even if that would not kill it outright, it ought to be gravely wounded and that much easier to finish off."

Kumiko looks at Hiriko and inclines her head.

"A final addition would be including Hirichan. Boars are without a doubt the most dangerous of prey, unpredictable and lethal. I have witnessed her using magic to fool the senses which would be a great boon, especially in the most dangerous part of our battleplan when the boar is about to be driven into the pen."

With several helpers a barricade is constructed, sharpened bamboo forming a 'funnel' of sorts leading to the deadly cul de sac. It takes a day to fashion spears, create the barricade, and have the limited selection of riders drill in driving game together.

With the morning the party is divided into two groups, the drivers and the hunters who hide, ready to rush forward with long impromptu spears.
There is a palpable air of excitement among the ronin. The drills turned out well in the end, and they all got to know each other and their respective strengths and weaknesses a great deal better. Still, this is most certainly not a mere game! Boars have killed more than one samurai who let their guard down, and they have nothing more than improvised equipment.

She herself is hiding near the pen, having picked herself to be the one to close the pen. If they were too slow and the boar had time to turn around, well, at least she had some protection...
 

ClassDunce

A Proper Villain.
Validated User
Hiruma Jun’Ai

*** The City ***

Jun’Ai looked up at Kyuden Bayushi, the Red Castle set high on the hill and still whole much to the surprise of her. She thought for sure that the Scorpion would set it to the torch rather than give it up to Unicorn as they fled their holdings. Hell it would’ve been a devil to take, especially for the Unicorn armies. “Kyuden Bayushi is supposedly surrounded by a labyrinth.” She said to her companions. “Designed and built by Kiau. The founder of the Kaiu, apparently he was persuaded to create it by his Bayushi bride. The Kaiu still speak of its wonders and our engineers still study the designs for the traps built within.”

She was wearing a plain, yet stylishly cut, sleeveless blue-grey kimono yet another of the new pieces that Okada had secretly added to her wardrobe. The old Jade disc, her badge of office given to her by the Elder Lion, hung at her neck. Okada had taken almost complete control of dressing and grooming her during the trip and the changes were noticeable. The surprising part of it though was that she seemed to let him.

Jun’Ai looked to the others. “If we’re to stay in the city for long, I would like to see the Labyrinth. If anything it is supposedly one of the greatest creations of my Clan.”

*** The Magistrates Hall ***

"Greetings, greetings, I am Ide Matajiro. The honourable Shinjo Kozawa is conducting a trial, please allow me to extend his hospitality and provide you what pleasing diversions I may until he can meet with you."
Jun’Ai said the appropriate greetings and introductions as the Ide introduced himself. His dress was strange but familiar all the same. She paid special attention to the ruby on his forehead. How did he keep it up there? She liked the look of it. Would it be disrespectful if she did the same with a piece of Jade?
 
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