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Everything posted by Noir

  1. CLUB verwöhnen Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Berlin It was a fairly typical Friday night in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The variety of clubs were all open with lines of people outside waiting while barely muffled music thumped out of the various clubs. There was a slight drizzle that night, and though not enough to keep the crowds of club-goers home, it did manage to get everything just a bit wet, letting the lights and neon reflect off the streets and sidewalks. CLUB verwöhnen was busy, the bottom floors where occupied by DJs, dancers and diners. The sound of EBM and Techno music filled the air, turning the people on the dance floor into a single, sweaty, writing mass of flesh and color. Despite the number of kine, these two floors were generally avoided by the kindred. The noise, and general chaos, not to mention the music, made it an environment that was unpleasant to most kindred. What kindred there actually were in club congregated on the private club on the third floor, taking advantage of the more intimate setting, lower volume and private lounges. Only member could gain entry to the third floor, or those who wished to pay the 100 Euro free for a one night membership. As a courtesy, Annalisa extended membership to all of the kindred of the city, providing they could conduct themselves properly, thus it tended to be the gathering place for kindred withing the club. Tonight there was a live performance, an artist all the way from America. She was a young black woman, her hair short and in loose, grey curls. She had a laptop and a couple of other pieces of electronics set up, as well as an acoustic guitar on a stand. Her music was mellow and gave the floor a very relaxed atmosphere. The live artist and the song she is currently performing (click here). It was a much more intimate setting on this floor, only several dozen kine and maybe a half dozen or so kindred. The smell of food and drinks mingle with perfumes and colognes, and to the kindred, the smell of vitae as well. Some sat at tables and listened, a few danced slowly to the music, with others relaxed in the private lounges that went around the perimeter of the floor. Lily, Erzsébet, Artus were no strangers to the club. Lilly had performed a time or two at CLUB verwöhnen after arriving in Berlin, while Erzsébet had discovered the place after being brought there by one of her ghouls. With his own place, The Club Berghain, just down the street in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, it was not uncommon for Artus to be seen at CLUB verwöhnen. In a private lounge at the back of the room, opposite the stage, sat a woman dressed in a suit with flared cuffs and collar. She was impeccably dressed and groomed, almost statuesque as she watched the young woman perform. She was smoking, but the cigarette seemed more of an affectation, generally just slowly burning down between her fingers sending a thin strand smoke wafting up to the ceiling. The woman had a unmistakable allure to any who looked upon her, like some unseen gravity that simply drew people to her. As such, there tended to be a disproportionate number of kine congregating near her private lounge, seemingly just wanting to be near her, even if they lacked the courage to actually approach and speak with her. Though the other kindred in the club that night did not particularly know her, the could recognize Rose, one of the Daughters of Cacophony, sitting at a table near the stage, but off to the side, her eyes closed as she slowly swayed in her seat, lost in the music. Artus and Erzsébet both sat together while Erzsébet's retainer, Lilian, enjoyed the dancing and music. The pair had found a certain familiarity, both feeling out of their time as it were, and Artus' manners were much more in like with what Erzsébet was used to. And the club, though not an outright Rack, did make for an excellent hunting ground for those where more sociable and discrete. Annalisa fluttered about the room from time to time, making sure all of her guests are taken care of, talking with patrons here and there. She was certainly in her element, the social skills common to so many of Clan Toreador on display and serving her well. She had just stepped away from a table when she noticed Lily step into the private club.
  2. This thread is for you you to post your PC profiles and character sheets. You all know each other, so some background and images of each other will help.
  3. Weeks ago... -Shiro Kitsuki, “Last Step Castle”- The old man looked down at the letter and spoke to Toshi without even looking at him, “So what brings a Scorpion to the door of my dojo wishing to study the ways of the Kitsuki?” “I have learned the value of evidence, Kitsuki-sama. Had it not been for a single bead and some disturbed dust, I might have not been able to properly carry out my duties given to me by the Son of Heaven himself the murder of a daimyo may have gone unsolved and a noble family of the Lion would have been lost..” Toshi replied. “Evidence does not lie, Little Scorpion. Men do. One would think that the Scorpion would find testimony more… agreeable… to their methods.” suggested the old man. “Perhaps, Kitsuki-sama, but that does not mean we do not desire to know the truth as well. As you said, men lie. But men can lie to anybody. Evidence, on the other hand, simply tells it’s tale to any who are willing to listen. It has no reason to lie." Toshi countered. “Hmm..." the old sensei said as he contemplated the kneeling Scorpion courtier for a moment before speaking once more, "Come inside then, Shusuro-kun. There may be hope for you yet, Little Scorpion.” “Domo arigato gozaimasu, Kitsuki-sensei.” Toshi said with a deep bow before stepping through the doors of the Dojo of the First Glance... Toshi found the Kitsuki sharp senses and a keen intellect. Under their tutelage he learned to focus his perceptions not only on his surroundings, but also those around him. He learned that the smallest bits of evidence could speak volumes and the most subtle and insignificant of reactions and gestures could reveal even more. He began to understand the Kitsuki and came to see why they posed such difficulties to even the best plans and manipulations of the Scorpion. The Kitsuki were masters at detecting deception and discerning motivations and as said in the beginning, evidence does not lie to those willing to listen. The Kitsuki were indeed worthy opponents for the Scorpion and certainly worthy of their respect. In a few weeks time he completed his lesson and learned the fundamentals of the Kitsuki school, completing the first stage of his training and then departing for Tsuma once more. -Iron Mountain Doji, less than a mile from Shiro Mirumoto, “Last Glance Castle”- "It is not often we are visited by the Kakita, much less a prized pupil of Kakita Toshimoko and the Topaz Champion, aside from those wishing to be taught a less, of course." the Dragon sensei said. "I have accompanied my friend, Rin-san, here to her dojo so that she may further train and had hoped that I might be able to improve my own skill and 'no mind' technique while I was here. The mountains are quite beautiful in their austerity, and the Dragon are well known for their wisdom and meditation " Zoyu explained. "Here? With the rivalry of our Family schools, one might think this would be the last place a Kakita might seek to learn." the Dragon suggested. "A rivalry, yes. But it is not a rivalry born from ill will. Merely a difference in philosophy. A good rivalry causes both sides to improve, which only benefits the Empire as a whole, and a rivalry does not mean there is a lack of respect for your rival. And Rin-san certainly did your dojo proud. I only narrowly defeated her in the iaijutsu tournament and the Topaz Championship itself." the Crane replied. The sensei bowed with a small smile and turned his attention to Rin, taking a moment to size her up and look her over. “Rin-kun,” Mirumoto-sensei said as he rested a hand on her shoulder, “I am not even sure why you return. It seems that each time I try to provide you with instruction, you are already lessons ahead.” “You are my sensei. I have never meant to be disrespectful to you or the dojo. Without your instruction I would not be where I am today.” Rin said. “You are the finest student I have ever had. Niten comes naturally to you as if you developed the style yourself. I can only imagine where your talent will lead you, but I suspect that one day you may be the sensei and I may be the student...” Rin's training was relatively short, as was common for her, but as her sensei reviewed the fundamentals of Niten the sensei stopped and questioned her. "What is it, Sensei?" Rin asked curiously with just a hint of fear that she made have made some fundamental mistake. "Your guard. It is subtly different. I do not think most would even see it. Why did you change it?" "You always said that holding your swords should be natural, like holding a teacup. Since graduation I have made sure to practice each day and sparred with others. This guard just felt natural to me." Rin explained. "It is not just natural, Rin-san, it is better." the Sensei pointed out, using the -san honorific for the first time when speaking to her. "The difference is small, but noticeable. I had seen you doing so since I began your training. Like you said, I thought it was just what felt natural to you or that you might grow out of it in time, but I can see now that as your skill and understanding has improved, so has that guard. And I suspect it will only continue to improve." he said. "Sensei.. I do not know what to say." Rin said, caught off guard. "What to say? That is simple. You will explain that guard to me. How and why it feels natural to you and how you use it so that I my record it for the Dojo and future students and sensei." he said before calling in a young students and sending him to fetch a writing kit and table. "It seems I may be prophetic, as here I am learning from you, Rin-san." he said with a faint smile peeking through his calm demeanor. Rin spent the next several days in seclusion with the sensei, demonstrating her guard. He recorded it on a scroll once he understood it fully and would practice it himself before returning to her training. In her study of the blade and though meditation she came to see and understand more of the elements around her. The rudimentary lessons in Spellcraft she had received in Tsuma had somewhat opened her eyes to elemental energies, at least on a basic level. She could see how they interacted fundamentally and how a shugenja managed to focus and direct those energies, even beyond what she had learned in her Spellcraft lessons. She came to understand that, with focus, she could aid or disrupt those energies around herself as well, a feat which astounded her Sensei. "I do not know why I am surprised by you any more, RIn-san. You already fight with no mind, and from that comes speed, for thinking is slow. You already understand this lesson before I have even began teaching it to you. So I review it with you and do my best to clean up any imperfections and here you are already intuitively understanding lessons that those who graduated years before you are only just now learning with the aid of the Agasha." the sensei said with a faint smile as he shook his head. "I do not know how much longer I will even be able to teach you anything, Rin-san." he mused. While Rin trained Zoyu was a guest of the Mirumoto. The austere and ascetic lands, homes, dojo and lifestyle of the Dragon was in stark contrast to the lush and opulent lands of the Crane, but it had a minimalist beauty and seemed to give the Dragon focus. In general they had a serenity about them and almost seemed to be more like warrior monks than your typical bushi. They fought with no mind, which gave them speed, but also fought with a casual confidence and placed no particular consideration on footwork or a 'special stepping technique' such as those employed by so many styles. Even beyond the use of both swords, the difference in the Mirumoto style, stance, philosophy and even teaching style was strikingly different from the Kakita. It seemed to work for them though, as Zoyu could attest to from facing Rin in both sparring matches and the iaijutsu tournament itself. "Do not look for the perfect moment strike your opponent. Searching for that moment is still thinking, and thought is slow to react. Instead just relax and let him come to you. Your body, your mind, your arm and your sword will simply know the right moment and you will find your cut without a thought." the Sensei explained to Zoyu when she asked about the Mirumoto approach to fighting with no mind. After a short time Rin completed her training and the pair traveled back to Tsuma and the Kakita Dueling Academy. -Kyuden Isawa- "So good to see you again, Akari-kun. We have all heard of your brave actions and personal appointment by the Emperor." the sensei greeted. "I only seek to bring honor to my family and dojo, Sensei." Akari offered. "And I see you have brought a friend with you." "Yes. This is Kuni Taka, a fellow Jade Magistrate. His knowledge was instrumental to our successful protection of the Lord Prince. He has come to see the Library and make use of it while I study so that we may better carry out the duties appointed to us by the Son of Heaven." "Ah. I see..." she said. "Welcome, Kuni-san." she said to the Crab in greeting with a smile that did not appear to be forced (though it was). "Our Library is, of course, at the disposal of the Jade Magistrates. May the knowledge contained within help Jade Magistrates." Taka bowed politely. "Then let us see to your studies so that you may be on your way and back to the business of the Jade Magistrates. I am sure two shugenja are sorely missed..." Akari's lessons continued under her sensei and with that new found ability came the chance to select several new spells, expanding her magical repertoire. Her greater skill and new spells would serve the Jade Magistrates well, while Taka took advantage of the magical knowledge stored within the Isawa Library to begin research on a new spell which he had been contemplating for some time. "As a jade Magistrate you are working with other shugenja, Akari-kun. So do not forget the benefit of working together with ritual magic. We Isawa are the most skilled shugenja in the Empire, but never underestimate the benefit of sharing strength and burden." her Sensei reminded. Soon enough though they found themselves on the road back to Tsuma as well to meet up with their fellow Magistrates. -Kakita Dueling Academy, across the Tengu River from Tsuma- "I have returned to continue my lessons, Sensei." Zoyu said with a bow. "You have returned already? It seems you just graduated and here you stand mere months later ready to continue. You are possibly the finest student I have every taught, Zoyu-chan. You make an old sensei proud." Toshimoko said with a smile and nod. "You flatter me, Sensei. I simply seek to be a worthy vessel to receive what you have to teach." Zoyu said with a shy smile. "And your fellow Magistrate?" he asked "She is a Jade Magistrates, yes, but also my friends and a student of the sword as I am sure you had seen during the Topaz Championship. I had traveled with her to the Iron Mountain Dojo for her to continue her training and studied more of the 'no mind' while I was there. When the next level of her instruction was complete, she journeyed with me here." Zoyu explained. "Really? Occasionally Zoyu-chan, you...hmmm... I am not sure if the right word is... 'surprise' or 'worry' me." Toshimoko said with a warm smile. "Then it is only fitting that we show the same courtesy to one of their finest students." "Welcome, Mirumoto Rin." he said to the Dragon with a polite bow. "Your swordsmanship during the tests of the Topaz Championship was impressive. You bested one my personal students in the Weapons test and showed quite well in the Iaijutsu tournament, only falling to a prized pupil of mine in the final duel. You brought much honor and glory to your dojo." the aging sensei explained. "Anybody of such skill and devotion to the blade at such an early age certainly has my respect." he added with a deep, respectful bow. "Thank you, Toshimoko-sama. You flatter me. I only seek to serve the Empire to the best of my ability." Rin replied. "I must see to my pupil's instruction, but afterwards perhaps we call all learn from one another. A student of the blade is never done learning, after all. And then afterwards I'll introduce you both to the okasan in town. Even the most diligent student needs a break now and then." Toshimoko said flashing a easy, roguish smile. Zoyu continued her studies under the tutelage of her sensei, Kakita Toshimoko. With his training she perfected the "Sudden Strike" of the Kakita, expanding her already considerable understanding of the iaijutsu duel. It was during one of these training sessions that Toshimoko spoke to Zoyu about her progression. "I can see some of myself in you, Zoyu-chan." Toshimoko said as he sat on a rock and looked out at the river they had been training beside. "I was full of confidence and swagger. I knew I was skilled and I used that skill to bully and intimidate. I was young and brash and thought I could not fail." he said thoughtfully. "It took several hard lessons for me to grow up and understand some things... things I wish to share with you." the old man explained as he pulled his arm out of the sleeve of his kimono and rested it inside, against his chest. "You have great skill and potential, but you must understand that with this skill and ability comes a responsibility, not just to your lord and the clan, but to the the Empire and honor itself. At times it can be as much of a burden as it is a boon. The taking of a life is never something to be done lightly, and should be done with dignity and respect. I have taken lives of those I respected and even loved, because honor demanded it. I did not wish their death. I would have given my life in order to have not taken their's, but we are samurai, and our lives are not our's to give, they belong to our Lord. So I dueled them, as honor required, knowing full well what the outcome would be, and I took those lives, That was when I truly understood regret and asked for permission to commit seppuku. My request was denied, so I vowed to live the rest of my life without regret, living each day to the fullest." "You are still so very young, Zoyu-chan. I know these are just words of an old man, but please try to learn from my mistakes while you are still young. I would not wish you to waste so much of your life as I did." "And as word of your skill spreads, people will wish to duel you just to test their skill and prove themselves your better. Don't let them. Overestimating one's skill is already dangerous enough and you do not want to be the one with their death on your hands just so they could learn that lesson. You have nothing to prove to anybody, especially not anymore. You graduated at the top of your class, your won the Topaz Championship and proved your Iaijutsu in front of the Emperor and daimyo. Duel if you must, and I sure there will be times that you must, but only when you must, because you do not want too much blood on those pretty hands..." In the meantime Rin gained a new insight into the Kakita and their style with the instruction from and sparring with Toshimoko. Whereas the Mirumoto let their opponent come to them, the Kakita would seek the perfect moment to strike. They placed a greater emphasis on the duel, in which they were unparalleled, but their philosophy translated into all forms of their swordplay, even in a kenjutsu skirmish the Kakita treated each strike like an iaijutsu duel, allowing them to strike with great speed and precision only to often return their katana to its saya where it awaited the next draw and strike. Despite his position and age, or maybe because of it, Toshimoko was a jovial and relaxed man. He was at least a couple of decades past retirement age, but continued to serve the Crane. He was a very fit and even good looking man, looking younger than his actual age in general, but he also had a relaxed demeanor about him (a stark contrast to his brother in-law, Lord Doji Satsume). He was not a stuffy or rigid man in the slightest and when not teaching at the dojo would often be found in the arms of a geisha or carousing at a sake house. It was a side of him that all the Empire knew about and many found distasteful, but it seemed he was too set in his ways and far too valuable as a sensei for anybody to try and do anything about it. Strangest of all to Rin is that she seemed to have a odd familiarity with the aging sensei. She had seen him before during the Topaz Championship, but had never really spoken with him though. Maybe it was simply his easy going nature and friendly demeanor, but Rin could not help but feel as if she knew him already...
  4. On the Imperial Barge... "I..." the Prince said and then paused, considering his words as he had been taught. "There are places that I disagree with my father though." he said, almost as if still trying to prove himself to the young Dragon. "He believes the Hantei should be somebody to be obeyed and revered, rule from Otosan Uchi, like a mythic figure. I feel differently. I believe that the Emperor should walk among the people, be seen by them, and most of all, he should not just rule, but lead. Maybe it is due to the lessons from Toshimoko-sensei beyond swordplay, I am not sure." Prince Satorii said with a faint smile for a moment, thinking back to his sensei. "But even though I am not yet Emperor, I still try to do so. I should not ask a samurai, no matter how honorable and devoted they are, to do anything that I would not do myself. So I have faced an oni with you, and led my miharu into combat at the temple, despite their protests and warnings. I wish to protect my people, not just rule them." He paused as a thought crossed his mind, his eyes opening wider at the realization of how what he just said could have been taken by Rin. "It is not that I did not have trust in you or the other Magistrates. Please to not think that." he clarified somewhat quickly. "I just had to ask myself what kind of an Emperor would I be if I just sent others to risk their lives in my name while I fled the city? I know it was the safe thing to do, and that almost anybody in the Empire would even beg to to leave and put distance between me the danger. Nobody in the Empire would think any less of me if I had left, but it was what I would think of myself, and..." Prince Satorii paused again, as if struggling with some decision. "...and what you would think of me, if I did." The Prince looked down his exquisite kamishimo and then at his hands, lost in thought for a moment. He then rose, stepped down off of the raised dais on which he was seated and knelt once again, this time directly in front of Rin. "You see, Rin-san, I have been surrounded by the Seppun, Otomo and Miya, guards, courtiers and tutors, all of my life. Always preparing me to be Emperor, and treating me with a reverence that seems ingrained into them. When we met in Tsuma though, it felt like the first time somebody, besides Toshimoko-sensei perhaps, looked past my name and title and saw me. "You words were not, and never have been, simple platitudes that so many say reflexively to me. You..." The Prince explained and then sighed, shaking his head with a small frown. "You speak to me with an honesty that others do not. And I... My words fail me.... I do not know how to say what I mean, other than I only hope to be the man you believe me to be. To be worthy of all that you give me." the young man admitted as he closed his eyes with a sigh.
  5. On the Imperial Barge... Prince Satorii listened to Rin intently, noting the true sincerity in her voice and body language. As she finished he let out a small sigh a bit of a frown. "There are..." the Prince said and stopped, reorganizing his thoughts. It was clear that an internal debate was raging as the Prince decide what to say. There was so much he wished to say, but was unsure of what effect it might have on the Dragon woman he had formed a bond with, back in Tsuma. She was just a girl than, and he a boy, but now they were adults and samurai with duties to uphold. Duties that weighed heavily on the both of them. He parted his lips to speak once more, but paused again. "All of my life I have been groomed to become the next Emperor. My father has taught me many lessons to prepare me. Lessons about ruling the Empire, how to protect it and what it means to sacrifice for it. And just when I think he may have taught me his final lesson, I am once again his pupil. I can only hope to carry forth a measure of his wisdom." he finally said, breaking the awkward silence. "That you have come here today, speaking to me of what you suspect only shows that my father's wisdom in appointing you all is irrefutable. It never ceases to surprise me, much like you do, Rin-san." he said in a moment of sincerity. "I am impressed that you have managed to gather these suspicions, but I guess I should not be, given what you have accomplished in so short a time. It did not take long for me to form what I am sure are the same suspicions, but my father was well ahead of me." "There are... complexities... of rulership, and the Empire." he sighed. "Back in Tsuma, we both spoke of duty." he said, reminiscing. "As you know, a samurai has a duty to their lord and through them to the Emperor himself. A noble samurai, such as yourself, would make any sacrifice in the service of their lord. The Emperor has a duty to the Empire and its people. And sometimes the Emperor must make a sacrifice in service to the Empire, for the good of the Empire. "I will share with you some things that I trust you to handle with proper care." "Centuries ago the Emperor at the time was convinced by the Phoenix Clan that the Empire did not need a Jade Champion. They were masters of magic and in service to the Emperor, and then created the Asako Inquisitors to fill something of the void left by the lack of a Jade Champion. My father, and any Hantei before him for that matter, could have appointed a new Jade Champion at any time, but doing so would carry consequences. It would certainly upset, if not actually infuriate the Phoenix, but just as important as that, if not more so, it would mean reversing a decision made by a previous Emperor, and that would... You see, the perception of the Hantei is just as important. Ensuring the people have faith in the wisdom and divinity of the Hantei line is part of sitting on the throne. It gives the people peace, and security. To reverse the decision of a previous Emperor tarnishes that, or it can, rather, without good reason that the people can rally behind. And that is what Lord Kuni and the Scorpions provided, unintentionally. I am sure he that he thought he was 'encouraging' my father to make the 'right' decision, in his eyes, but in truth is gave my father a valid reason to appoint a Jade Champion once again. A reason that nobody could dare question and people would indeed rally behind. He knew nothing of Lord Kuni's plan. His anger at may endangerment, no matter how controlled it may have been, was the most enraged I have ever seen him. And I certainly did not enjoy being used in such a matter either. But he was able to set his emotions aside and capitalize on the opportunity Lord Kuni presented for the betterment of the Empire. So my father could see what had happened and had a choice... He could have Lord Kuni, and likely the Lord and Lady Bayushi executed, and thereby killing one of the greatest enemies of the Shadowlands, and possibly further punish their clans as well, and deal with the repercussions from their clans, with especially with Lord Hida already contemptuous of him. Or he could allow them to think their plan had succeeded, appoint a new Jade Champion and harness Lord Kuni's drive and hatred of the shadowlands, repair the relationship with the Crab, put a check on the Phoenix' and Emerald Champion's power and strengthen the Empire for generations. So he chose to make a sacrifice, of his own honor, for the good of the Empire. I too, have made this same sacrifice, and it is a burden I knowingly carry for the rest of my life as part of my duty to the Empire. As I said, you have your duty and I have mine." he sighed. "At the same time though, my father also made sure to put checks on Lord Kuni. "Never give them exactly what they want" is something he taught me about how to deal with people such as him. So he appointed all of you, nearly two dozen, as Jade Magistrates. You all proved you honor and dedication protecting me the zombie 'ambush' that we all believed was real. And indeed, you are among the finest group of competitors ever at the Topaz Championship, some of the greatest talents in generations. He knew you are noble and honorable and would keep an eye on Lord Kuni and take action if needed, and if not, then you would all do good things as Jade Magistrates. At the same time, the Lord Bayushi is his advisor, as is tradition, and he made Lady Kachiko his personal aide. Why? So he could keep them close and keep an eye on both of them.There is actually far less then can do from within court than that can outside it. My father is far more wise and perceptive than even they realize. So the Emperor knows full well what happened, but letting them believe that he is none the wiser means they will continue to underestimate him if they try any further manipulations in the future. In time, Lord Kuni will be replaced, as will all of his appointees, and everybody with the knowledge of what actually happened in Tsuma will pass on, leaving a stronger Empire, free from the burden of this lie. I am sorry to have burdened with this, Rin-san, but I did not want you to..." his voice trailed off. "I do not know how to put it..." he sighed.
  6. On the Imperial Barge... Prince Satorii noted the way Rin looked at the guards again and considered for a moment as he listened to her speak. "Offense?" he asked in a small bit of surprise. "Of course not, Rin-san." he answered, soothing her fears.. "Leave us." she commanded the Seppun, causing one to step forward and address him, "My Lord Prince, I do not..." was all the guardsman managed to say before Prince Satorii cut him off. "You are forever concerned for my safety. I know. And your dedication is commendable. But if I am not safe in her presence, then I would have great fears for the Empire I will inherit." he said to the miharu with a smile. "Yes, My Lord Prince." the guardsman replied as he bowed. A few moments later Rin and Prince Satorii were alone in the small room on the barge. "Be at ease, Rin-san." he said to her reassuringly.
  7. At the Inn of the Apple Blossom... "I really do not know how he is. I have not seen him, or any other Jade Magistrates since I departed Tsuma, aside from Daisuke-san of course. I wrote to Hiju, requesting his aid and have yet to hear back. He is a skilled hunter though, with his family serving as hunting guides to the Hantei and other Imperials, so I hope that he may be able to help me track down Fade. I know that many have tried and fail for many months now with the bounty Governor Hyobu has placed on his head, but none have been successful, not even the Wasp bounty hunters. Fade has proven to be most elusive indeed." Ujimitsu replied "After I left Tsuma the Lord & Lady Bayushi saw to my admission to the Bayushi school. Shortly after completing my training there I heard of Fade and rumors of maho, so I have been searching for him ever since. I am hoping that as Jade Magistrates, we may have better luck though. Perhaps the blessing of the Emperor may bring favor from the Fortunes. He has been a thorn in the side of this city and its trade for some time now and must be brought to justice. If is, or employs, maho-tsukai, then doubly so." he explained On the Imperial Barge... The Lord prince listened and nodded from time to time as Rin spoke, but was somewhat taken aback by Rin's admission. Though he was trained in the ways of the court, and etiquette, he was clearly not as practiced at it as his father was. He sat there for a moment, composing himself before he spoke. "I.. I do not know what to say, Rin-san. I am flattered by your faith in me, though I am not sure what I have done to earn such trust." he said with a hint of surprise lingering in his voice. "Indeed, it seems every time we have met you were either besting me in a contest or protecting me." he said more lightheartedly thinking back to the Topaz Championship and even the events of the prior night.
  8. "I think it would be best to approach alone and see how receptive they are first. If things go well, I will arrange an introduction." Ujimitsu suggested. Though he came from the Crane and went to school at the prestigious main dojo of the Kakita Dueling Academy, Ujimitsu seemed to have fully accepted and embraced his life as a Bayushi and a Scorpion. His gratitude to the Lord & Lady Bayushi was obvious, something that could likely never be repaid, and thus it made him all that more devoted to them and the Clan. The knowledge that his parents and family were taken care of lifted that tremendous weight from the young man's shoulders and finally allowed him to blossom with that single-minded purpose removed. As long as the twins had known him, Ujimitsu seemed to be a very forthright man, cultured and skilled in etiquette due to his Crane upbringing, And it was his dedication to his family, a dedication so strong that he did everything he could win the Topaz Championship (and also caused his breakdown when he unexpectedly lost). But now that dedication was harnessed for the Scorpion and few who met the new Scorpion had any doubts about his fealty. "If they agree, then you will be in good company. I am sure you have heard of their exploits thus far. From averting, or at least delaying, a war between the Lion and Crane by discovering the daughter of Lord Okimoto, long thought dead, had fulfilled a blood feud by killing Lord Hideji, to their actions just last night, they bring honor to their families, Clans, the Jade Magistrates and the Emperor."
  9. The pre-dawn battle against the zombies was fierce and totally un-expected. They were utterly unrelenting and though they were not swift creatures, the zombies possessed an unholy strength and resilience... and there were dozens of them, in the heart of Ryoko Owari, mixed in among the parade and spectators. As the zombies began to grab, choke and even tear limbs off of people, the celebrants swiftly came to the chilling realization that they were not festival attendees in a zombie costume, but actual zombies. That caused a panic in the crowd, causing many to scream and flee in fear for their lives turning the parade unto utter chaos. With so many running in different directions many were knocked down and some were trampled beneath the crowd. There were samurai in the crowd of mostly peasant celebrants, dressed in costume as well, and some were even armed. The samurai drew there blades, mostly wakizashi, though few had knives and other small weapons, having left larger weapons behind for the festival. Unfortunately, in the panic and with the various costumes, some celebrants fell to the blades of samurai who were unable to discern them from the actual foul creatures. Against the zombies though, their steel seemed ineffectual. The skin of the zombies' was difficult to cut, turning blades away easily. Even when a samurai managed to hack an arm or leg off of the zombie, the severed limbs continued to wriggle and crawl on the ground, continuing to attack the celebrants any way they could along side the unrelenting zombie. Creatures such as zombies were unfamiliar to most of Rokugan, aside from the Crab Clan, and it showed, but Shosuro Kamiko deduced quickly that the zombies could not have formed 'naturally' this far from the Shadowlands, and those summoned by maho rarely had masks. These zombies were all masked, and seemed to be pristine, the corpses of the freshly dead given life by an item she and her brother had encountered before, the cursed zombie masks. Each mask contained a kansen, an evil spirit that would inhabit a dead body when the mask was placed on it, rendering it under the will of the person who placed the mask. These zombies seemed slightly better, if you could use that word for a zombie, than others she had learned about. They seemed to be slightly more intelligent than others, actually attempting to avoid armed samurai and even working together, if one could say that. "Shatter the masks!" she had called out, a command that was swiftly reiterated by her twin brother Miren. It was a command that was tested tentatively at first, but as the first few zombie masks where shattered, sending the corpse falling to the ground like a marionette with its strings cut, the sound of shattering porcelain had began to ring through the air. It was valuable information that came just in the nick of time, allowing the tide to be turned as the ground trembled underfoot. Up ahead, at the opened gates to the Temple of Amaterasu, the twins caught glimpses of fully armored samurai, in green and gold and bearing yari charging into the fray. Leading them was a young man, in his mid to late teens at best, wearing a gold and green kamishimo and wielding a blade that glinted like gold when the light hit it right. With a keen eye Miren picked out the mons on the young man and his guard. It was the Lord Prince, Hantei Satorii, unarmored and leading his Seppun mirharu, his guardsmen, into battle against the zombies! Beyond him and through the gates an even more pitched battle raged. Doji Yuzo, a Crane Magistrate in the city, stood before the pillar of the Dragon Globe, defending the High Priestess as she prayed while near him stood a small, hooded, Lion shugenja, her eyes glowing blue with magical energy. Before her had raged a lion, the enormous beast seemed to made of living flame as it tore into the zombies while a ghost of a woman stood next to another young Crane male, speaking to him. The light of the flaming lion even illuminated the form a kenku! One of the mythical, winged crow people, legendary for their swordsmanship had even joined the battle, fighting alongside the Topaz Champion! The twin Scorpions pushed closer to the temple, hoping to lend aid and helping those along the way as she spotted a young Dragon woman, close her eyes and make a blind, nearly impossible throw of her wakizashi into one of the dragon puppets, revealing the moon cultists summoning the earthquake and directing the zombies. The Dragon woman and the Topaz champion did not allow anything to stand in their way as the fought their way to the moon cultists, swiftly dispatching them as finally, the young Crane male threw a small, sun, carved from jade, over twenty meters into the air, a feat that could only have been the will of the Fortunes. At the small, jade sun soared up into the air it began to glow with the light of Amaterasu herself, igniting the Dragon Globe in glittering gold, reflecting the rays of Amaterasu herself, burning zombies as they fell to the ground, their master dispatched. When all was said and done, the twins were exhausted. They, like most of the city, had been up since dawn the previous day, and now let the rays of Amaterasu wash over them as she broke over the horizon, a new day falling on the city. In the streets dozens of zombies lay rotting, dissolving into a tarry, black goo with supernatural speed. A few hundred more people, mostly peasants, lay dead as well, some trampled to death, and though most were victims of the zombies, a few were unfortunate enough to have been mis-identification at the hands of the samurai. The wounded were seen too and the eta called forth to collect the dead as the crowd milled about in a bit of a daze, shocked not only at the attack, but as what they had seen and been told of ghosts, lions and kenku. The Bon Festival in Ryoko Owari was always memorable, but this was one that would likely never be forgotten. The morning after the Bon Festival... Kamiko and Miren sat at the table, enjoying their meal in silence as they each thought over the events of the prior night. Since dawn they had gathered stories, rumors and reports and pieced together what had happened. The attack had been devastating, and quite clever. Creating fresh zombies and sending them into the crowd of celebrants already dressed as ghosts and zombies, allowed them hide in plain sight. How long had they been infiltrated into the crowed before they attacked? The thought was disturbing. But beyond the zombies and their clever insertion was the fact that they were merely a diversion to keep the crowd in a panic and any samurai busy as the moon cultists tried to topple the Dragon Globe with their Earthquake spell before the rays of the new dawn could ignite it again and bring the blessing of Amaterasu on the city. The plan was downright ingenious and would have succeeded too, had the Jade Magistrates in town not caught wind of it and managed to figure it out. According to the twins' sources, the group of Jade Magistrates had battled an oni at the Apple Blossom Inn, defeated bandits at the crematorium, likely in an effort to gather bodies to be turned into zombies and then tacked down and slew the oni on Teardrop Island with the aid of the Lord Prince himself, unfortunately resulting in the destruction of the House of Fluttering Butterflies. From there they were spotted in the Fisherman's Quarter where they are said to have routed out a cell of moon cultists, slaying them and then racing with powerful magics to the Temple of Amaterasu to do battle with the Moon Cultists and zombies. These same Jade Magistrates were said to have been among the Topaz Champions contestants to come to the Lord Princes's defense when he was ambushed in Tsuma, which not only resulting in the reinstatement of the Office of the Jade Champion, but also earned them appointments by the Emperor himself as the first new crop of Jade Magistrates. Truly, the wisdom of the Son of Heaven was beyond doubt. "Good morning, my friends. I am glad to see you are both well after the stories I have heard of last night." came a voice, shaking them from their thoughts. The young man they knew as Bayushi Ujimitsu stood before them, clad in his armor, but with his helm and weapons stored by the door as was practice. They knew him to be a Jade Magistrate as well, one of the crop from Tsuma even. He had been a Crane, a Kakita in fact, but had been cast out from the Clan by Lord Doji Satsume himself on the last day of the Topaz Championship. The Lord & Lady Bayushi swiftly stepped forward though and proudly brought him into their clan and the Bayushi family. Since that day he had become Bayushi Ujimitsu, and was as dedicated a member of the Scorpion Clan as one could hope for. The fact that he had not been in town for the Bon Festival was, unfortunately, not odd. Since he was cast out of the Crane Clan his ancestors would have disowned him, leaving the freshly minted Scorpion no ancestors to pray to during the Bon Festival. It was one of those things that people knew, but nobody talked about. It was a private matter and one he had to deal with himself.
  10. On the Imperial Barge... The Prince motioned to take a tatami mat on the floor for Rin as he took a seat himself, withdrawing his sheathed katana from his obi and placing it by his side so that he may do so. "I had not expected to see you so soon, Rin-san. So what brings you here?" Prince Satorii asked, curious as to what had brought Rin to him this morning.
  11. "That is unlikely, but possible, I suppose. I have been looking into reports of the bandit leader "Fade" and/or his men using maho. Thus far I have found nothing, and his elusiveness is well known." Ujimitsu replied. "I am not sure how well I will be received by them either. When we left Tsuma, things seemed to be ill at ease. I did go to school with Kakita Zoyu, the Topaz Champion though, so that may help things, especially after I give her an apology I owe her. I treated her unjustly in school and will offer my apologies." he explained.
  12. Ujimitsu nodded. "That seems to be so. They hate Amaterasu, and so attacking Her temple and toppling the Dragon Globe would, at best, mean the city would not receive Her blessing for the year. At worst? Who knows?" he said with nearly a shudder. "Had my fellow Jade Magistrates not been in town and caught wind of it when the inn they were dining at was attacked by an oni, the moon cultists likely would have succeeded too. Thank the Fortunes that my fellow Magistrates where there to uncover the plot and stop them. And they is part of the reason I have come to you. I know these magistrates, we were the first new crop of Jade Magistrates, appointed by the Emperor himself, and if they intend to purse the moon cult, I think you both might be of great assistance to them." he suggested with his hand subconsciously raising to lightly touched his veil for a moment as he thought back to the events in Tsuma.
  13. Inn of the Apple Blossom... Ujimitsu nodded. "Excellent. I will send for them after you finish your breakfast." he said. "The moon cult has survived for centuries, despite the attempts to fully root them out and destroy them, but from what I have heard in the months since our appointment, if anybody has ever had a chance of truly doing so, it is you." he complimented the Magistrates at the table. "From what I have heard you have been the most successful of those of us appointed by the Emperor, and last night only further proves that." he said in a toast. "I have my own investigation here, and requested Hiju's aid, but I sought you out today hoping to help in any way I could, such has making introductions. I think you will find the twins' aid most helpful. And if there is anything else I may be of assistance with, or introductions that you seek, it would be my honor to assist." Ujimitsu offered. The riverbank... Rin reached the river and returned to the dock she had found the Prince's barge at last night. The barge was indeed secured there, with banners bearing the imperial chrysanthemum fluttering in the wind flanking the foot of the dock, the entire platform having been appropriated for the time being. Standing beside the banners and blocking entrance to the dock stood two Seppun Miharu, as well as two more on either sides of them, several feet apart as well as several on the dock, half of which faced the water. Just beyond the Seppun, on the dock, sat an extremely well dressed man in a folding chair with a small writing desk before him. A young man stood beside him, holding an umbrella, shading the man as he wrote. A small crowd had formed near the dock, mostly peasants with a samurai here or there, all hoping to get a glimpse of the Lord Prince, the future Emperor, something which few in the Empire ever had a chance to do. The crowd was careful though, staying back a ways from the dock and the Seppun guarding it, though it had led to slowing any traffic passing through the area, which caused most just to avoid it. Rin made her way through the crowd and approached the two Seppun guarding the dock, not even drawing a look from them. She stopped a respectable distance from them, knowing how protective the Seppun are. “I am Mirumoto Rin, a Jade Magistrate, known to the Lord Prince, Hantei Satorii. I come to seeking Audience." she said, causing the man sitting on the dock to look up, set down his brush and rise from the table. "The Lord Prince is not granting audiences today." one of the Seppun said with authority, without even looking at Rin, his eyes still cast forward, just like the others. "Mirumoto Rin, you say?" the man asked from behind the two Seppun, causing the to step aside. "Hai." she replied with a bow. "I am Miya Satoshi, Imperial Herald. Please come with me." the man said, introducing himself with a bow. He led Rin down the dock, onto the barge and inside one of the small structures, where she was offered a seat, under the watchful eye of a miharu standing in each corner, while he fetched the Prince. A few minutes the Lord Prince entered. "Ah, Rin-san. It is good to see you. I hope you are well. May I offered you something the drink? Eat?" he said with a smile.
  14. Ujimitsu nodded and took a seat, bowing to each of the twins. Their mixed heritage was obvious, but it was something he would certainly never bring up. They were just as much Scorpions as he was, even more so as they were born to the clan and raised within it. He was brought into the clan only months ago, so he was certainly not one to judge. "Thank you. I have no eaten yet today since I just returned to the city this morning." he explained as he called over the serving girl and placed his order. "I could see the rows of bodies that had been collected beside the crematorium, and even the construction of pyres to deal with the bodies, so I am glad to see you are both well." "I spoke to some of my fellow Magistrates and the informed me of what had happened last night and thought f you. I trust you have at least heard of what happened?" Ujimitsu asked.
  15. Olaf grinned at Lily and let out a small laugh before catching himself. "You are in the presence of kindred..." he said as he nodded his head to around to the various club goers, "..and dozens more kine." he added. Olaf leaned forward, giving Ravenna an very overtly gave her the once over with an appreciative smile as his eyes explored her every curve, mound and valley. "I would expect you to know the value of 'keeping up appearances', Fraulein." he said as he rested an elbow on the table and his chin on his palm. "Because I must say, you do it so well." he grinned. "Bah. Where are my manners. I'm Olaf. And despite this ruggedly good looking exterior, underneath is the Primogen of the Nos and Burgomeister of Pankow." he said with an overly exaggerated flourish of his hand. "If you don't believe me, we can meet in the bathroom and I can show you my real face," he said as he then leaned a little closer and added, "and I wouldn't might showing you my O-face too." with a grin as he raised his eyebrows a few times with a smile. Dropping the joking he sat back in his chair and folded his hands behind his head, stretching his legs out beneath the table. "Sooo... What brings you to Berlin?" Olaf asked. The server nodded and quickly slipped away to deliver the message to Sid. Marlene sighed softly and flicked the sizable length of ash off the end of her cigarette into the awaiting ashtray. "Nothing is going to happen between her and you unless you make it happen, my child. She is calm, at peace or 'chill' I think the current jargon is for it. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen one of her kind so... relaxed. I have been staring at her aura all night it is quite entrancing." she said as she placed her hand atop Annalia's, interlacing her fingers with those of her childe as a brief rush of warmth rushed from her sire's palm. To Annalisa, the colors in the room; skintones, hair, clothing upholstery and so on, seemed to desaturate, not quite to black and white, but nearly so. Then new colors came in, radiating from and around each person there. Among the kine the colors varied wildly, shifting slowly from one color to another. As Analisa's gaze reached the table of kindred, she could see colors radiating from them, but they were dull compared to the kine. Lily chuckled and pointed at an unknown kindred woman with her thumb, which caused Olaf to laugh, making both of their aura flash with vermilion. Then her eyes could not help but be drawn to the lupine girl sitting on stool, playing her acoustic guitar as she sang. Her aura was incredibly bright and vibrant, even when compared to the kine. Tiny starbursts of gray, deep red and dark green exploded against a background of bright, light blue at different parts of the song with waves of vermilion and violet rippling through the light blue from time to time in some sort of psychedelic display. "Normally, lupine auras are purple, red or brown. Or some combination thereof. The color of the small bursts all hint at other feelings she is having, likely drudged up by the song. Gray is depression. The deep red is desire. And the dark green? That is envy. 'Write what you know', they say. And the light blue dominating her aura? That means calm." she explained to Annalisa, soft whispering into her ear as she leaned close, brushing it with the tip of her nose.
  16. Ujimitsu rose and returned to his seat where he bowed in return to Kaze. "It is good to meet you then, Kaze-san. I am Bayushi Ujimitsu, a fellow Jade Magistrate." he said, introducing himself. "I am here for many reasons, actually. I had not seen any of my fellow class of Jade Magistrates in many months. It is always good to seem familiar faces." he said holding his cup up in a small toast before taking a sip of tea. "And yes, the Lord & Lady Bayushi have taken a special interest in us. We were the first of the new Jade Magistrates and they are pleased the position has been reinstated. They are confident that we will prove worthy of the faith that the Son of Heaven has placed in us and feel it is their duty to aid us in any way they can, for aiding us, will only strengthen the Jade Magistrates and the office of the Jade Champion, and thereby the Empire itself." he said as he took another sip of teat and sat his cup down. "Aside from that though, I think I may be able to assist in your investigation with these moon cultists, if that is your next course of action. Since I have been here I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of many people. I have learned a lot about this city and it's people, and am, in fact, investigation this Fade and the rumors of him or his men using maho. But as I was saying, among the people I have met are a brother and sister. He is a skilled courtier and she is a gifted shugenja. I mention this to you, because she has quite a bit of knowledge about the moon cult and maho. They have aided me in the past, and I think they would be of assistance to you as well. They have a special interest in seeing the downfall of the moon cult and both were, in fact, not far from the Temple of Amaterasu last night, battling zombies and risking their lives to protect others. So if you are going to pursue the moon cult, then their skills and knowledge may prove invaluable."
  17. AWS Character update thread

    I still need to pick my attribute specs. Hm.
  18. AWS Character update thread

    Lilly is updated.
  19. Stay in touch

    I can be reached at persephone_bonner@yahoo.com
  20. Ujimitsu gives Rin a polite bow as she rises and offers her seat. "You are too kind, Mirumoto-san, but please, do not leave on my account. I have no wish to impose." he said as Rin rose from the table and explained her departure from it. Ujimitsu nodded. "It is unfortunate that you must leave so soon." he said with a momentary frown on his face. "If I may be of assistance in arranging travel, I would be happy to be of assistance, Mirumoto-san." he offered with another bow as Rin departed. Ujimitsu removed his swords and placed them in the alcove by the door, along with his helm and then returned to the table and took Rin's empty seat. He nodded to Zoyu and placed his cup nearer to the teapot. "Since The Lord and Lady Bayushi saved me from my own shame?" he said openly, and unafraid with a nod. "Quite well, actually. I attended the Topaz Championship with the goal of winning and using that favor to assist my parents. Had I not underestimated Akodo-san, I feel I was likely to have reached the final round. Unfortunately I did underestimate him and I was... unprepared... for the loss, as it was not an possibility I had allowed myself to even consider." he recalled, his face going faintly sad for a moment. "But I have come to understand something since that day. 'Sometimes and blessing is a curse and a curse is a blessing' as the saying goes. And this has, indeed, been a blessing. I desired to assist my parents to much, to be a good a dutiful son, that even though I may have lost that match and took the loss... poorly... I still did not fail them. The Lord and Lady Bayushi could see me dedication, and so after Lord Doji's actions, which were fully warranted given my shame, they took me into their family and then generously made sure that my parents and their family were taken care off. So in the end, by trying to be a dutiful son and achieve my goal, I did, just not in the way I had intended." he explained with a faint smile. "I am a Scorpion, and Bayushi, now, and the clan has welcomed and values me." he said as he lifted a hand and lightly brushed his veil. "There has been a period of adjustment," he said, looking down at the red and black of his armor, "that is to be expected, of course, but knowing that my parents and their family are taken care of has lifted a weight from my shoulders and cleared my mind." "And that brings me to you, Zoyu-san. My parents had risked a great deal to ensure my entry to the Dueling academy and the Tsuma dojo, where I might learn from Toshimoko-sensei himself. He favored you though, and with your victory at the Topaz Championship, anybody can see why. As a boy who was there, hoping to learn from the great Toshimoko-sensei and win the Topaz Championship, I can admit that I resented you for that." he said as he rose and walked around the table to kneel near Zoyu. "It was the stress of a young boy and his misplaced frustration. You did nothing wrong and certainly did not deserve the way I treated you for some many years. Please accept my deepest apologies." he said sincerely as he bowed and pressed his forehead to the floor in the most respectful bow possible. "I hope that one day, we may indeed be friends as we should have been all of those years." he added.
  21. "Greetings, my fellow Magistrates." came a vaguely familiar, male voice from the doorway, though Zoyu recognized it swiftly. The magistrates turned and saw a young man, a roughly their age, wearing armor in Scorpion colors and holding his helm in his hand. He had black hair and wore a delicate veil across his handsome, though somewhat stern face. He was clearly a bushi, judging by the way he carried himself and the katana with a scorpion's tail grip. His face was new to Kaze, but to Rin he looked familiar, Zoyu recognized him right away, even with the dark hair. "I do apologize, for I would have made every effort to be back and welcome you to Ryoko Owari myself, had I known you were planning to attend the festival." he said with a bow. "As it is, I only heard of you when I arrived this morning to stories of zombies, oni, moon cultists, bandits, spirits and kenku. It seems you had an eventful time. Truly, the City of Stories does not disappoint." he said as he stood near the Magistrates table.
  22. "Ahh yes. The Tortoise! I think you may find their craft better suited to your needs." Kobei said with a broad smile, almost one of relief, and a nod. "Of course, Kakita-san. I shall depart at the earliest possible convenience." the bald Mantis man said with a smile and bow. "I shall lead the way." Yuzo said. The walk through the city, in the day, with the usual crowd thinned somewhat and while not racing down streets in a near panic, was rather enjoyable. Yuzo knew the city quite well and pointed out some points of interest and businesses along the way to the Noble Quarter. Doji Fuketsu's estate was not far beyond the gate and when the Magistrates arrived, they found the home abuzz with craftsmen, mostly carpenters, already repairing the damage to the home and cleaning up the mess from the previous night. The guards instantly recognized Yuzo and he led the other Magistrates inside. Once inside, Yuzo requested an audience with Doji Fuketsu and after a brief wait the Magistrates were led to the back yard, the same spot they had spoken with the hatamoto the night before. "Fuketsu-sama, we have come to return the blade that was stolen from your home. In the course of our investigation, we recovered the sword, and with the appearance of the Oni, the blade proved instrumental in dispatching it. We must thank you for its aid. It is truly a gift worthy of your family." Zoyu said, addressing the older man as she held out the sheathed katana toward him with her head bowed. Fuketsu sat and looked at the sword as he thought, the delay causing Zoyu and the other Magistrates to begin to worry until the hatamoto finally spoke. "Thank you for its return, Zoyu-san." he said as she reached out and accepted the sword. He unsheathed it, bearing the first few inches of the blade for him to examine as he thought. His gaze shifted from the sword his father, the apparently semi-senile old man smiling brightly and nodding to him. Fuketsu sighed softly before he continued, "...but I feel it would be a disservice for a blade such as this to simply rest on a stand, even in a place of honor. If it was as instrumental in the defeat of the Oni as you say, then I feel it would best serve the Empire in the hands of those who protect us from such things, and have already proven their courage in doing so." he said as he re-sheathed the sword. "I understand that your comrade, Mirumoto-san used the sword. Since she demonstrated such capability with it, then I feel it is she who should wield it and, pass it on to another Jade Magistrate when appropriate. I trust you to deliver the blade, and the thanks of the Crane clan to her and your fellow Magistrates." Fuketsu stated as he held the sword back out to Zoyu with one hand, gripping the saya beside the guard. "Thank you, Fuketsu-sama. You are more generous, but we were only doing our duty." Zoyu replied. "It was more than that, The wisdom of the Son of Heaven was only been proven again by your actions. In a single night you defeated an oni, rooted out maho-tsukai, slayed the moon cultists, protected the Temple of Amaterasu and the Sun Globe, saved the city twice..." he said as she looked over to his daughters practicing the koto and samisen in the garden a distance away, under the every-watchful eye of their nanny, "...and saved my own daughters. If I can ever be of any help to you fine Jade Magistrates, then you have but to ask." Fuketsu said with a polite bow. As the Magistrates thanked the Crane Hatamoto and prepared to leave, Fuketsu called Yuzo aside and spoke to him for a few minutes, as a Doji Magistrate would be expected to do with his superior. Once finished, they returned to the Apple Blossom Inn where they found Rin and Kaze waiting.
  23. Dual_Fencer3.jpg

    From the album Noir

  24. First story thread should be up shortly. Thanks for your patience.