Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Noir    2

The morning comes and final preparations are made for the trip to Mamoru Kyotei Toshi. Horses are watered and fed, gear is secured, prayers and offerings for safe travel are made. Shun and Etsuko, as Unicorns are wont to do, checks each horse, ensuring they are in good physical shape and making saddles and packs are properly secured.

 

One of the most tangible perks of being a Jade Magistrate is quickly apparent. Not only are travel papers not a requirement, but the benefit of freedom of movement across the lands of the clans is not to be underestimated. Traditionally, to reach Mamoru Kyotei Toshi from Tsuma, one would have to stay on the Imperial Roads and travel east, all the way to Otosan Uchi and then north to Mamoru Kyotei Toshi. And old, disused road connects Shiro no Yojin (Castle of Vigilance) and Shiro sano Kakita, left over from when the Crane clan controlled the castle. Since the Matsu claimed the castle, the road has seen little use. It has not been properly maintained, but is still serviceable, and taking this road is a much more direct route to your destination, saving easily a week of travel.

 

The trip is long and largely uneventful. Most of the daylight hours are spent riding or occasionally walking your horse in order to stretch the legs (especially for those new to riding). Breaks are taken with some frequency and lunch is typically eaten along the side of the road at a suitable spot or in a small, roadside 'diner' (barely more than a tiny kitchen with a counter at which you can sit and eat). Nights are spent in way stations, inns or the occasional estate or castle in the Lion lands as some of the local daimyo or governors hear that the Topaz Champion and the saviors of the Lord Prince (Darling of the Court) is passing through. In general the Lions are less concerned or impressed by the Topaz Champion as they are by the fact that you all protected the Hantei line with such honor.

 

Along the roads through the lands of the Lion, you are met by many Matsu patrols. A few words from Kageko and the display of your jade orbs means that there is little incident. You pass by Shiro no Yojin (Castle of Vigilance), a castle the Matsu captured from the Crane near Tsuma with it's massive, eight story tower. The castle is built beside a river (to the rear) and on a massive earthen mound with a single path leading the the gates between two watchtowers. Set atop the mound, the main tower reaches easily a hundred feet above the plains giving a commanding view of the plains for miles in every direction..

 

Days later you pass Shiro Akodo (Loyality Castle) to the northeast. Keen observers will notice that Akodo castle is not what it once was. The daring and glorious acts of the Matsu family have begun to eclipse the history of the Akodo family. Akodo Toturi, the new Lion Clan Daimyo as well as the Emperor's general and military advisor, commands the Lion armies from the castle. It is fairly common knowledge that Matsu Tsuko, the new Matsu Daimyo sees Toturi are weak and far too cerebral and is constantly pushing for an attack to reclaim Toshi Ranbo and avenge her betrothed, Toturi's own brother. Toturi though, has been unmoved by her relentless urging.

 

From Shiro Akodo the road leads north through the northern most stretch of the Lion's lands toward Mamoru Kyotei Toshi, passing through the new Crane lands, recently acquired from the Lion. As you rest in a way station one night in the lands of the Crane, a rider is dispatched and come the next morning a Crane bushi arrives after breakfast, greeting you all.

 

"Konichiwa. I am Hideji Daizo no Doji. Lord Hideji would like to extend an invitation to the Topaz Champion and all of the Lord Prince's guardians and Jade Magistrates to be his guest at his castle so that you may rest during your long journey and enjoy his hospitality. He currently hosts Lord Daidoji Uji as well as dignitaries from the Lion and Phoenix and would be furthered honored with your presence." the Crane says after a respectful bow.

 

"The castle is not far, only hours from here and I have been instructed to guide you there should you see fit to honor my Lord by accepting his invitation." he further adds.

 

 

Notes. Please Read.
Konichiwa: "Good morning"

 

Hideji Daizo no Doji: Vassal families introduce themselves by adding the name of the family they serve. So in this case, "Hideji Daizo no Doji" means "Hideji Daizo of the Doji" with the vassal family name being Hideji. After the introduction they may be referred to by their vassal family name. (See the "Great Clans" entry of this post for more information).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The seven had been traveling for two weeks, straight from day to night even with the breaks for the benefit of both horses and riders. And it had proven very much both beneficial and problematic for all concerned. The good side, was that it had brought them - with route cuts - within a few days of Honored Treaty City. On the other hand...

 

Most of the youths had at least a passing experience with riding horses. But Shun was, as any Unicorn, far more used to the habit of long-distance, long-term riding in this fashion. Rin, having lived in the mountains, had no past interaction whatsoever, and held firmly that she had her feet, they should be used.

 

She had been extra irritable along the journey consequently. No one was pushing their horses, mind, but really, there was no reason to pass up the benefit of a day or two as guests of the Crane, opulent by habit and vassals very much likely to attempt to impress. And as far as Toshi was concerned, dignitaries from other clans suggested politics afoot.

 

This too was something that should be observed. Rin looked at Zoyu, whom merely smiled brightly.

 

Toshi bowed his head graciously in respect to Hideji Daizo. "Your lord is most generous - by all means, we would accept his kindness with pleasure."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

"You honor my lord." Daizo says with a smile and nod.

 

"I shall await you outside. We can depart at your leisure." Daizo adds before he bows and steps outside.

 

"Hideji... hmmm.." Kageko says to herself, trying to recall some bit of history or lore. She dismisses it, finishes her tea and sets about preparing for the journey.

 

It does not take long for bags to be repacked and the horses to be saddled once more before you are on your way again with a hint of eager anticipation at finally getting some highly desired rest.

 

Daizo leads you down the road a bit and then onto a merchant road for several hours, winding through some foothills until you finally find yourself on the edge of a massive valley. The valley is verdant and fertile, flush with newly planted rice. The fields are fed by a wide, slow moving river that bisects a bustling town and spanned by a single bridge in the middle of town. Staying on the road you currently travel leads you to the town and the castle beyond it.

 

"We are approaching the town of Jinpachi." Hideji Daizo points out.

 

"And just beyond is Shiro Hideo (Hideo Castle), the home of my lord. If you will please excuse me, I must ride ahead to let my lord know you will be arriving presently." Daizo says with a bow from atop his horse. He then turns and snaps the reins, riding away from you at a rapid pace toward the castle.

 

The town of Jinpachi is roughly the size of Tsuma and more or less a grid with eight to ten roads running north-south and east-west. The town is not walled and seems to see a good amount of commerce as it sits on the merchant road and with the river being ideal for moving goods and rice. A town crier walks the streets, spreading news and occasionally shouting slogans for local merchants. Any town with this much commerce is bound to have several ronin seeking work or employed as yojimbo, geisha houses, inns, tea houses and probably a gambling den or two. The marketplace is full as well, making it likely most goods could be found there.

 

Hideo Castle...

Just past the town Hideo Castle sits atop a hill, commanding a strategic position over-looking the merchant road, river and fertile plains. The castle is on the smaller end of moderate size and impressive, built by one of the great old masters. Despite being clad in blue and white, the castle cannot help but look distinctly non-Crane in design and architecture. It consists of four strongholds: the stables and guest quarters, the barracks, the storehouses and workshops, and the inner tower where the daimyo's family, yoriki (aids) and karo (close advisor) live. Each stronghold possess it's own courtyard, protected by a stout gate. A narrow, winding pathway connects the various gates, providing many opportunities to rain arrows, hot oil and stones down upon invaders. The gates are guarded by bushi and barricaded with heavy beams when closed. Hideo castle is a formidable fortress indeed.

 

The road from the merchant road to the castle is flanked with Crane Clan banners dancing in the breeze while large banners hang down on either size of the gates decorated from top to bottom with the Crane, Doji and (apparently) Hideji mons. Several other banners flank the gate as well, denoting the presence of other daimyo and their honor guard, one from the Phoenix, Lion and Crane each.

 

As you reach the outermost gate Daizo meets you and directs you inside. Stable-hands come out to tend to your horses while her leads you to the guest quarters.

 

"Welcome to Shiro Hideo." Daizo greets you as he leads you into your rooms.

 

"Please, take your time to rest and relax. The baths are ready should you need to wash any dust from the road and lunch is on the way. My lord will receive you tonight at the banquet he is having in honor of all of his distinguished guests. Please enjoy our hospitality. The servants will tend to you and feel free to find diversion in town if you like. The banquet will be at sundown. Welcome." Daizo explains and excuses himself with a bow.

 

Your rooms comfortable and clean, each pleasantly decorated with a pine tree and crane scene painted along the walls. Servants enter, one for each of you, to tend to your needs.

 

 

Notes. Please read.
Feel free to post before the banquet if you like. Lunch is on the way, but it is a slightly early lunch. The servants are attentive and fairly knowledgeable about the town as well.

 

Shiro Hideo: Based on the architecture, design and fortifications it is highly unlikely the Crane built Hideo Castle.

 

"Feel free to find diversion in town if you like": This is the polite way of saying "there are geisha houses in town if you want a geisha's company for a bit." as well as anything else you would like to do in town.

 

Daimyo banners: You can make a Intelligence (or Perception) + Heraldry rolls to read the banners fully if you like. The Lion and Phoenix banners are TN 15 and the Crane banner is TN 10. Additionally the TN for the banner from your own clan is 5 lower.

 

Honor Guard: The general rule of thumb is that a daimyo (and occasional governor or general) may have a number of Honor Guard equal to their Glory x2. The number is large enough to provide protection, but small enough to be able to actually sleep and feed them without much difficulty. Some the daimyo of Great Clans have been known to travel with an entire Kaisha (company) of 150-200 troops of Honor Guard on occasion.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toshi had the time to rest, and simply politely told the servants he would like a bath drawn. Of course given the stations it was far more of an order than a request, but Toshi considered himself a reasonably genial person by nature and saw no reason to be bullying towards heimin without cause. As he sank into the warm water they prepared, Toshi let out a sign of pleased relief.

 

His mind wandered over to the banners he had seen. Lord Daidoiji Uji's was obvious enough. The daimyo of the entire Daidoiji family, well-respected, but also the subject of comment for his interests in gaijin weaponry, tactics and pepper. In other words, a potentially very intellectually stimulating conversation partner.

 

The Lion and Phoenix he most certainly recognized from their banners, but merely out of memorization. Ikoma Kazuma and Shiba Ryotsu, minor daimyo each, but he knew nothing else. Undoubtedly, given the recent shift in masters, this land would probably be the center of negotiations.

 

No, wait. A memory under the relentless drilling of Bayushi-sensei emerged. Both were neighbors of the Hideji within the same valley. Ikoma's castle was to the south, Shiba's to the east. All were consequently on the border rim and intersection of the Crane, Phoenix and Lions.

 

How much of this was a perennial social affair, as neighbors may be wont to, and how much might be Lord Hideji's invitation including calculation to score points with his fellow daimyos?

 

Toshi made a note to sound them out, then let business and plots drift away for now, to luxuriate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rin had been increasingly irritable as the journey had progressed, in truth she wasn't sure why. Usually she simply went along with things accepting her karma and doing what she thought was the right thing, but now since the tournament she found her self conflicted. When Santorii (when had she started thinking of him by his name) had first told her that she was a prodigy she had thought nothing of it. Yes she was good with the sword and she easily had mastered the basic techniques of her school and even some of those that were advanced, but she had never consciously considered her self special. But her one desire her goal, her reason, was to master the Way. it had been all that she wanted and all she had needed. Now though after the tournament and the events she found her self thinking and worrying for the safety of Santorii,...The Prince. And she also now had an even greater desire to master the way to become the sword saint Santorii thinks she could be, to found her own school and stand beside her ancestor in heaven.

 

That is what she wanted, but instead she had been given this honor of being one of the first Jade Magistrates, an honor she would have refused if it had not been her duty to accept. and now she had been sent half way across the country away from where she wanted to be, her self training disrupted, having to ride a stupid horse which made her backside hurt, and having to leave Santorii, her Prince, alone to face dangers she felt many were to blind to see. She was worried about him being alone, this made her irritable. And then the fact that this made her irritable made her even more irritable. She had not been good company.

 

 

But at least now they were at Hideo Castle, from listening to the other they would perhaps be here for a few days. Time enough to rest her backside and resume her training. and she had seen that Artisan sign for  a Tattooist in the town she would visit there and take her designs maybe learn something just for her own pleasure. But first she needed to practice, she turned to the servant, "I will not join the others for lunch if you would fetch me a rice ball that is all i need, and tell me where I can find the dojo for the local school. I would speak with the master there."

 

While the Servent left to retrieve the asked for food, Rin, forgoing the offered bath stripped off her armor and soiled clothing cleaned herself and dressed in her green Kimono and Hakama. The servant soon returned with the rice and directions to the dojo "Domo, please see that these are cleaned for me." She give the servant a nod of approval takes up her Bokkan set and her swords and departs.

 

Following the directions she has been given she see more of the castle. Though it is much more compact and completely different in style than the Mirumoto castle, just being in a castle make her a bit homesick. in no time she finds herself at the entrance to the dojo. She can hear the sounds of men practicing which brings a smile to her lips, it is a sound which speaks of many  things to her but mostly to her desire to master the way with confidence she stands tall.  At the door before her are two Bushi, one her age and the other younger they are armed with Yari. She stops an adequate distance away, she is wearing her daisho and her bokkan are over her shoulder held by a thong, and bows.

 

"I am Mirumoto Rin, I have been traveling for several weeks and an am now a guest of your Lord. If your Sensei is available I would speak with him to ask a favor, if he is not I would ask you to deliver my request for an audience to him."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kakita Zoyu    3

Zoyu's striking face glowed with joy and excitement as they traveled to Mamoru Kyotei Toshi. Though she affected a worldly and experienced air, Zoyu had never been much more than a day's travel from home or the Kakita Dueling Academy. To see more of the Empire was a wondrous affair, to be able to travel when and where she willed without papers as a Jade Magistrate was more wondrous still.

 

Though Zoyu felt the Lion could have been more impressed with the Topaz Champion traveling through their lands. Coolly polite, if rigid, Zoyu believed she was due more, especially in light of the Daimyo of the Matsu had been named Topaz Champion several years before, but she decided not to make an issue of it. The rode forth as Jade Magistrates and it wasn't worth the delay to teach some Lion cubs a lesson in etiquette.

 

Despite that, travel through the precisely organized lands of the Lion was refreshing, the steps of her Unicorn-trained horse smooth and graceful on the road, Zoyu light and graceful in the saddle, though without the exceptional skill of the Unicorn. Zoyu rarely joined Rin in her abbreviated morning regimen. Instead, she preferred to stretch out her muscles from the days travel with dancing in the dusk, the evening breeze caressing her pale skin and lifting the shining white length of her hair, sometimes accompanied by the soft strains of Kageko's shakuhachi.

 

Under the stillness of moonlight, Zoyu practiced iaijutsu and the lessons she had learned from Toshimoko-sensei, her fine blade especially bright under the fall of night. The Kakita mastery of the Art of the Duel was undisputed, but Zoyu sought to show that the Art could transcend the ceremonial confines of the duel, to succeed in the heat of battle, or even in the lofty heights of the courts.

 

Entering Crane lands, the invitation to visit Lord Hideji at Shiro Hideo was warmly received after their time in Lion lands. Zoyu graciously inclined her head at Hideji Daizo in acceptance, a bright smile on her full lips, though she let Toshi speak for her, or rather, them.

 

Though the colours, details, and embellishments of the proclaimed it belonging to the Crane, the strict and straight lines of Jinpachi and Hideo Castle suggested they hadn't been built by the same clan, though she couldn't doubt Shiro Hideo's formidable defenses. Glancing at the banners hanging by the gates of the castle, Zoyu didn't recognize the mon belonging to the Lion and only the name of the one belonging to the Phoenix, Lord Shiba Ryotsu. The other though was effortlessly identified by her mismatched eyes: the personal mon of the Daimyo of the Defenders of the Doji, Daidoji Uji.

 

Zoyu was surprised and intrigued to find Daidoji-sama here. The only Crane family daimyo who hadn't been in attendance at the Topaz Championship and famously - or infamously - uninterested in courtly life, his dedication to defending the Crane Clan from any and all threats was well known, well respected, and well feared from those who had faced it. On the other hand, these lands were relatively recently acquired by the Crane and were some distance from the rest of Clan lands. Perhaps it makes perfect sense Daidoji-sama is here...

 

Zoyu returns Daizo's welcome to Shiro Hideo with etiquette and grace, then takes full advantage of the offered bath to scrub away the dust and dirt of travel. White hair shining once more and styled in an elegant foxtail, the streak of sable hanging loose to frame the side of her face, Zoyu ate the offered lunch, chatting amiably with the others and the servants, learning what she could of Lord Hideji's other guests - and making sure they didn't miss the rich blue haori of the Topaz Champion draping over her full, womanly curves.

 

Following that, she decided to seek out the diversions in town that were mentioned by Daizo. Now officially an adult and a woman, Zoyu chose to visit one of the finer geisha houses in the town openly, instead of discreetly, like she had done a year before with Bayushi Tsukiko. Almost as interested in the Art of Dance as she was in the Art of Iaijutsu, Zoyu wished to see what the dances were like here, in lands surrounded by the territories of the Lion, Phoenix, and Dragon, to learn the steps new and unfamiliar to her, and if she could do so in the company of beautiful and graceful - and gracious - woman, so much the better.

 

Dressed in her favourite kimono, that emphasized her flowing movements, Zoyu entered town, having invited any of her fellow Jade Magistrates she had seen in passing to accompany her, who weren't otherwise engaged in activities of their own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

"I am Mirumoto Rin, I have been traveling for several weeks and an am now a guest of your Lord. If your Sensei is available I would speak with him to ask a favor, if he is not I would ask you to deliver my request for an audience to him."

 

One of the bushi bows and steps into the dojo, returning a couple of minutes later with an older man, obviously a sensei. The older man bows and speaks,

 

"I am Hideji Mitsurugi, head sensei of this dojo. How may I assist you?"

 

Rin bows deeply  "I am Mirumoto Rin. I have been traveling from Tsuma and will be a guest at here at the castle for a few days. I would like to ask if I can practice in your Dojo while here. Also I would be willing to offer myself to spar with any whom you feel could use practice against an unknown opponent. I to have recently taken up the Yari and would like to spar with partners of skill so as to improve. This favor I ask of you, Hideji-sensei."

 

Hideji-sensei.listens and nods to Rin.

 

"Any guest of my lord is welcome within our dojo." he says with a bow and bids her entry with a gesture of his arm.

 

The dojo is small, with space being at a premium within the castle walls, but the class sizes seem quite small due to the size of the vassal family. The dojo has a high ceiling with racks of practice yari and bokken along the walls, as well as a smattering of other weapons.

 

"If you wish to test your skill, then necessity is an excellent motivator." the sensei says as the handful of students all seem to understand an unspoken command. They line up as he directs Rin to the center of the dojo floor and offers her a practice yari.

 

"Ten minutes, with your opponent being replaced every minute." the sensei explains as he steps back and nods to the first student in line...

 

For ten grueling minutes Rin spars with the sensei signalling the next opponent to step forth and replace the previous one, ensuring they are fresh while Rin has to contend with fatigue. In this time several things become quite clear to Rin...

 

Even the students here are quite skilled with the yari, easily exceeding her own skill before even graduating. They are very adept at using the reach of the yari to keep opponents at bay and contend with mounted foes. In addition, they seem rather adept at being defensive with the yari to the point that it is almost impossible to attack them when they are on the defensive without being at least marginally cut or impaled by their yari. One would think they would have little difficulty combating cavalry or waves of Matsu bushi who hurl themselves at their enemy with little regard for their own safety.

 

After the drill is over, there a break to drink some water and rest before the sensei calls forth one of his students to take Rin into the small side room for more casual sparring and some simple instruction to clean up her fundamentals.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

Following that, she decided to seek out the diversions in town that were mentioned by Daizo. Now officially an adult and a woman, Zoyu chose to visit one of the finer geisha houses in the town openly, instead of discreetly, like she had done a year before with Bayushi Tsukiko. Almost as interested in the Art of Dance as she was in the Art of Iaijutsu, Zoyu wished to see what the dances were like here, in lands surrounded by the territories of the Lion, Phoenix, and Dragon, to learn the steps new and unfamiliar to her, and if she could do so in the company of beautiful and graceful - and gracious - woman, so much the better.

 

Dressed in her favourite kimono, that emphasized her flowing movements, Zoyu entered town, having invited any of her fellow Jade Magistrates she had seen in passing to accompany her, who weren't otherwise engaged in activities of their own.

 

"I... think I will go with you." Kageko said, having bathed and redressed already.

 

The walk south from the castle to town is a short one, though Kageko took the opportunity to converse a bit.

 

"There are ghosts in that castle. More than any I have ever seen, and now I remember why." Kageko commented.

 

"Oh? And why is that, Kageko-san?" Zoyu asked.

 

"I am sure you already know some of this, but some of it is not so well known. Please humor me." she said as she glanced over her shoulder, back at the castle.

 

"Hideo Castle once belonged to the Lion Clan. It was the ancestral home of a the Okimoto, a vassal family of the Matsu. Lord Hideji was granted a small fortress in the valley by Lord Doji, some distance from where we are now. The wealth and prestige that came to the Okimoto by controlling this castle and town was obvious to all. So ten or so years ago, Lord Hideji marshaled his forces and marched on Hideo Castle. Lord Okimoto rode out with his forces to meet him, the two clashing like waves. When the battle was over, Lord Okimoto was slain and Lord Hideji stood victorious." she recounted.

 

"Battle is battle. Lives are lost and castles change hands. But what lord Hideji did next was..." she said as she shook her head.

 

"This you may not know. Often times details like this are not as desirable to recount as those of glorious battle and victory... but with the battle won and the castle secured, Lord Hideji then ordered the execution of the entire Okimoto family, and shamed the Okimoto samurai to commit seppuku. He took no captives. Allowed for no ransoms, even of Lord Okimoto's own family. Women... and even children... were cut down. They did not die in battle or even as an unfortunate casualty of a fire caused by it or the like. No. They were executed." she said, with a hint of anger, hurt and disgust not quite concealed within her voice.

 

"I guess it was to make a point or discourage reprisals, but that day an entire family was ended. I know our clans have had conflicts, but though it all, both sides have conducted themselves with honor. I know you to be a noble bushi, Zoyu-san. One of honor and duty, a fine example of your clan. But that man... There is no honor in what he did that day." she said, shaking her head.

 

"For whatever reason, Lord Akodo has not seen fit to launch a campaign to reclaim these lands, but the spirits of many Okimoto haunt that castle still..." Kageko added.

 

Kageko sighs and closes her eyes for a few steps, centering herself.

 

"I apologize for talking of such things at a time like this, but I thought it best you understand my unease, on many levels, being in that castle. And a bit of diversion would suit me well. Please, allow me to pay for our entertainment. It is the least I can do after such talk." she said with a polite bow as they neared town..

 

 

Jinpachi...

The town of Jinpachi clearly enjoys prosperity from the merchant road and trade along the river that cuts through the middle of town, as well as the protection of Hideo Castle. The farmland surrounding it produces a bountiful harvest of rice every year, and the local artisans manufacture a variety of goods, making Jinpachi a wealthy little hamlet and a prize to whatever daimyo controls it. The occasional pair of doshin can be seen wandering the streets, armed with jitte and stout bo staves. Judging by their sightings, one could guess there were a dozen or so doshin in the town, most likely overseen by a single yoriki. With that in mind, and the general size of the town, the population must be somewhere between five hundred and one thousand residents. The buildings are largely one and two story wooden structures with stone foundations: homes, shops and warehouses.The ramshackle huts of the eta village to the north.

 

North of the river and just into town, along the merchant road sits the main marketplace on west side of the road with a large inn, The House of the Golden Peony, on the east side of the road. Beyond the inn sits theaters, sake houses and other such establishments. On the south side of the river to the west of the merchant road is a small area, no more than two streets, with nice, nondescript buildings, the most likely home of any geisha houses. to the east of the merchant road sits the majority of the artisans of the town with a series of large warehouses along the water's edge.

 

 

Notes. Please Read.
Others can come along the excursion to town as Zoyu invited everybody who wished to come. It will not change what Kageko says particularly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The day is glorious. As the students came at her one by one the weariness of the road dropped from her shoulders, replaced by the will of the warrior she wished to be. She marveled at the skill of students younger even than she and she wore her new bruises with pride, each one a new lesson taught and learned. The one on one sparring after their break was slower and more detailed. Rin easily fell into the roll of student for it is a role she has never abandoned. She was very attentive and asked many questions and had her partner show several time things she did not comprehend. She did not embarrass herself by asking for more than was offered and later she took several of the advanced students closer to her age and spared and practiced Kenjustsu with them. She offered what insight she had and  demonstrated the Niten Way for them. Not wishing to overstay her welcome on the first day she made her farewells to the students.

 

"You have all honored me today with the demonstration of your schools way and by allowing me to learn form you, for this I thank you." She bows to the students. Then approaching Hideji-sensei she gives him a deep respectful bow. "Domo Hideji-sensei, with your permission i will return tomorrow and practice again. There are several of your Students who show promise with the sword as well as the Yari, if i am not being too presumptuous I offer to give any you would like instruction while I am here."

 

Hideji-sensei nods "Of course you are welcome to return for as long as you are here, MIrumoto-san. I shall think upon your offer and we shall speak of it tomorrow" Rin again bows and departs the Dojo.

 

After returning to the quarters provided she finds that many of her companions have gone into town. She asks a servant when the banquet is expected to occur finding she still has several hours until then she decides to visit the town as well so she collects her drawings and her tattoo kit and makes her way into the town to visit the tattoo artist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kuni Taka    0

Taka fell into old habits during the trip. Awaking before dawn to pray during sunrise then training for a while before a quick meal and setting off on the days ride. Although not greatly practised Taka is a moderately skilled rider and so found that aspect of the trip a generally pleasant experience, certainly more so than those who had only just learnt to ride. 

 

They had made good time so far, so the diversion to the Hideji Castle would make little difference. The difference in the style of castle from the other Crane castles they had passed was noticeable to even Taka's untrained eye so after bathing and changing he sought out the temple of either the Castle or the neighbouring town in order to here a little more of the history of the place, and perhaps to hear rumours of the reason for the gathering of daimyos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

They had made good time so far, so the diversion to the Hideji Castle would make little difference. The difference in the style of castle from the other Crane castles they had passed was noticeable to even Taka's untrained eye so after bathing and changing he sought out the temple of either the Castle or the neighbouring town in order to here a little more of the history of the place, and perhaps to hear rumours of the reason for the gathering of daimyos.

 

After asking about Taka discovered the castle had little more than an ancestral shrine, but is told that a small temple can be found in town as well a shrine to Inari, just west of town on the south side of the river.

 

With a short walk Taka found himself at the temple in the town. It was three stories, and though one of the largest structures in town, it was nowhere near the size of the temple in Tsuma. Seven Torii (prayer arches) lined the walkway to the doors of the temple, around which beggars sit seeking charity. Several monks served at the temple along with a handful of temple maidens who maintain the structure, sweep, assist with rituals and the like. As Taka walked in he was greeted by a monk with a kind smile.

The temple interior was not as resplendent as that of Tsuma, but it was well cared for.

 

After completing his prayers, Taka approached one of the monks and bowed politely.

 

"Excuse me, but I have been on a long journey with my comrades and have seen many new places and temples. I was hoping that you may be able to enlighten me as to the history of the area." Taka asked politely.

 

The monk smiled and nodded.

 

"When the mind opens, in floods knowledge." he replies and motions for Taka to walk with him.

 

"The settlement of this valley dates back to nearly the birth of the Empire. The fertile fields provided much rice to the burgeoning Empire. When Hantei granted lands to each of his brothers' and sisters' clans, he granted this valley to the Lion, so that it may help grow the imperial armies. The Lion built many of the castles and protected the entire valley for centuries, though to be sure others eyed the it as a great prize, but none dared challenge the might of the Lion for it. The Okimoto, a vassal family of the Matsu, built Hideo Castle and even helped fund the construction of this temple. The Okimoto were steadfast protectors and fine examples of the Lion's honor nobility. And thus the valley saw peace for centuries, allowing the towns and villages to grow and prosper."

 

"Then came the Lion-Phoenix War. The war raged for years with the magical might of the Phoenix shugenja holding the martial prowess of the Lion in a stalemate. The valley saw its fair share of battle at the time, bring on the edge of the Lion lands. Many lives were lost on both sides during the was and with little to show for it. So finally, both Clans sought peace. And thus Honored Treaty City was formed. To this day the treaty between the Lion and Phoenix is housed there as a reminder. As part of the negotiations, the Lion conceded the easternmost part of the valley to the Phoenix, leaving behind several castles in a gesture to show their desire for peace."

 

"Once again the valley saw peace for many years, and then over a decade ago, the Crane secured Toshi Ranbo and its surroundings. It is said that the Lion daimyo at Toshi Ranbo left his castle, surrendering it to the Crane without a single drop of blood being shed. The Crane moved into the area and into the valley, securing land to the borders you see today and Lord Hideji , daimyo of a vassal family of the Doji, was granted a fortress to the west for his service and the service of his spearmen during the battles."

 

"The valley saw peace for a few years, but Lord Hideji always seemed to eye the wealth and and power that came from Hideo Castle and the town of Jinpachi. Dispite the peace that had been in place for several years after the fall of Toshi Ranbo, Lord Hideji finally marched on Hideo Castle. The two Lord met on the battlefield. When the battle was over, Lord Hideji and his spears took the day against the relentless Okimoto, and Lord Okimoto himself was slain in the battle."

 

"That was perhaps the darkest day the valley had ever seen. Not for the death of Lord Okimoto or their defeat, but for what Lord Hideji did next. With victory secured, the castle in hand and the defeat of the Okimoto ensured, he then ordered the execution of the entire Okimoto family. The Lord's wife and daughter were cutdown. Their samurai, dishonored by the loss of their lord and unable to do anything to protect his family were shamed into seppuku. On that day, the light of the Okimoto was extinguished. The gosts of the dishonored dead haunt that castle still. I am unsure of how the Hideji can even live within its walls."

 

"Now, instead of the honorable Lord Okimoto, the castle is ruled by Lord Hideji. A covetous and brutal man. He is utterly lacking in charity or compassion. He seeks only to gain glory for himself and his family, regardless of the dishonor it may bring. He has not cared for Jinpachi one bit. The people have gone to him, telling him of a coven of Uba (witches) and he does nothing. Just look at all the charms that hang from these homes trying to ward off the foul magic. All he is concerned with is his taxes, even in the rare times of poor harvests or disasters. He will not even assist with the maintenance of the temple. it is only through the charity of the townspeople, even Shosuro Ino, that this temple is maintained. This town is successful despite him, not because of him. And now, it is said, that his eye has drifted further east toward the holdings of Lord Shiba Ryotsu..."

 

"The shining hope here is that of Lord Hideji's son, Nobikazu. He is not a warrior, like his father. He is a man of the arts, who appreciates peace and beauty..."

 

The monk leans close and says, "..possibly a little too much at The House Of The Pines." with a smile and wink.

 

"I believe that many here are simply counting the days until Lord Hideji either steps down for his son, which seems unlikely, or meets his end on the battlefield, having finally pushed too far. With Lord Daidoji Uji at the castle, hopes are high that he is being removed."

 

"But please, enjoy Lord Hideji's hospitality..." the monk says before leaning close once more, "...and do let me know of anything you hear. Being able to tell the temple patrons that their prayers have been answered and Lord Hideji is being removed would be a wonderful thing." he whispers with a smile.

 

 

 

 

After returning to the quarters provided she finds that many of her companions have gone into town. She asks a servant when the banquet is expected to occur finding she still has several hours until then she decides to visit the town as well so she collects her drawings and her tattoo kit and makes her way into the town to visit the tattoo artist.

 

 

The walk down to the merchant road and into Jinpachi is a short one. The merchant road is easily the widest road in town, acting with the river to divide the town more or less into four districts. Following the road through town and across the arched bridge over the river (all bridges in Rokugan are arched) she reached the spot where she noted the tattoo artist's shop and approached it.

 

The shop was small, but well maintained. The interior was well decorated with drawing and paintings hanging on the walls. An elderly man, easily sixty years of age, sat smoking a pipe as he looked over a handful of drawings in his hand. He looked up with a small bit of surprise and smiled, shuffling the drawings and setting them down along with his pipe before he rose and bowed deeply.

 

"Welcome, Dragon-sama." he said, greeting Rin.

 

"It is not often my shop is honored with the presence of a Dragon, as your clan has such skilled artisans and wonderful tattoos. How may I serve you this fine day?" he asked, bowing again.

 

 

Notes. Please Read.
Inari: The Fortune of Rice and Good Grain.

 

Uba: Witches, though not necessarily maho-tsukai. Malevolent magic consists of more than just maho. And with the monk's point it out, Taka does notice a lot of charms to ward off evil hanging around the town.

 

Arched Bridges: All bridges in Rokugan are arched due to the belief that restless spirits cannot cross an arch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The walk down to the merchant road and into Jinpachi is a short one. The merchant road is easily the widest road in town, acting with the river to divide the town more or less into four districts. Following the road through town and across the arched bridge over the river (all bridges in Rokugan are arched) she reached the spot where she noted the tattoo artist's shop and approached it.

 

The shop was small, but well maintained. The interior was well decorated with drawing and paintings hanging on the walls. An elderly man, easily sixty years of age, sat smoking a pipe as he looked over a handful of drawings in his hand. He looked up with a small bit of surprise and smiled, shuffling the drawings and setting them down along with his pipe before he rose and bowed deeply.

 

"Welcome, Dragon-sama." he said, greeting Rin.

 

"It is not often my shop is honored with the presence of a Dragon, as your clan has such skilled artisans and wonderful tattoos. How may I serve you this fine day?" he asked, bowing again.

 

 

Rin dips her head to acknowledge the artists bow as she silently surveys the walls gauging the artwork. What she sees is far superior to what she has brought, she sees sure strokes filled with perfect meaning, complexity hidden in simplicity. For several moments she is lost as she imagines the images she sees on a living form moving enhancing, she turns back to the artist and gives him another nod.

 

“I have traveled from Tsuma City and saw your shop, I share your art and was surprised to find an artist here.†She steps close to a drawing which catches her eye, a hummingbird drinking from the petals of sakura or cherry blossoms. “This is exquisite.†She looks back at the quite old man. “I did not expect to find such skill when I came in here.â€

 

She produces her folded drawings and her own kit and places them on the small table where the old man had been seated.

 

“Two things call to my spirit The Sword and this Art. I am only taking the first steps down this path you have walked for many years, It was my thought, since I am far from Dragon lands and the Artists of my home that I would share my work and ask honest opinion, so that I may learn to make art such as this, “ she sweeps her hand encompassing the displayed art, “myself.â€

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

The old man smiles and bows deeply to Rin.

 

"You flatter me, Dragon-sama." he says and then look around his shop for a moment.

 

"The men of my family had been tattooing the Okimoto for generations. They had a fondness for tattoos, I think because of the proximity to your clan. Generally scenes of lions or bushi they would ask for." he said as he walked over to the stack of drawing he was looking at and fished one out. He turned and handed it to Rin.

 

gallery_185_75_23665.jpg

 

 

"But each Okimoto would have their family mon tattooed at the completion of their gempukku. They would all receive the tattoo on the chest, to always keep their family close to their heart, and the bushi, which was most of them, would also get on on the back of their sword hand, so that their enemies would always know it was an Okimoto that they were were facing when they reached for their sword." he explained.

 

"My ancestor even helped the first Lord Okimoto design that mon. It honors the noble Matsu with the lion's paw, but also reflects their ferocity with the paws clawing. A keen eye can even see a lion's face in the scratch marks." he proudly pointed out.

 

"The Okimoto are gone now, though." he said and let out a sigh.

 

"My son had taken over the shop and was teaching his son, but since the Hideji came, business is not what it used to be, so he had to find work elsewhere. I decided to keep the shop open though. I am an old man with nothing better to do." he said with a grin.

 

"Now my customers tend to be ronin or merchant yojimbo trying to look tough, or the occasional geisha, usually to hide some blemish." he explains as he walks back over to his pipe and takes a seat, offering a seat to Rin with a gesture of his hand. He picks up his pipe and slowly puffs on it as he looks over her drawings with a careful eye.

 

"These show promise, Dragon-sama. You have a passion for it and still have many years ahead of you to develop your hand and eye. Like any art, it requires practice to improve, which can be difficult for our art form. I know that money is not a concern for a samurai, so you may offer your talent to any friends or even young bushi who may like it. The Crab are fond of tattoos, and not too picky, so they may be a good source of candidates to practice on as well." he said with another puff on his pipe.

 

"I have even heard the Unicorn have tattooed pigs! They claim that tattooing a pig is very much like tattooing a person's flesh. I think I would have liked to have seen that one day. A herd of tattooed pics. I guess it adds an extra layer of beauty to a meal too!" he jokes.

 

"You are on your way though, Dragon-sama. Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." he says as he hands her drawings back.

 

"If you will be here for long, I would be honored to offer my services to you. I may be old, but my hand it still steady."

 

 

Note. Please Read.
"Dragon-sama": If you do not know the family name or status of a samurai, then you err on the side of caution and etiquette and address them by their clan with the -sama honorific. As the tattoo artists does not know Rin's family or status, he keeps calling her "Dragon-sama" which is perfectly polite and acceptable.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A tattooed pig that is interesting. I have practiced on my self And when I was still in traing I gave some of my fellow students tattoos. Your art is excellent. It would Honor me to wear one, but i must decline I will not be in Jinpachi for long enough and i would never rush a tru artist.

 

She has been looking at the Lion tattoo trying to see the secret of making the semi hidden Lion face.

 

"You say the Okimoto are gone. I thought you meant gone from the valley at first. but your voice says otherwise."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

The old tattoo artists raises a eyebrow slightly at Rin as she examines the mon.

 

"The lion can be difficult to see. It was something the Okimoto wanted as their own. Please allow me show you." he says, pointing out several lines and areas as eyes, nose mouth, and jawline.

 

sml_gallery_185_75_22572.jpg

 

 

The old man then shakes his head at  Rin's comment about the Okimoto and exhales a small puff of smoke.

 

"No, they are gone. Lord Hideji marched on Hideo Castle unprovoked. Lord Okimoto rode out with his forces and met him. When the battle was over, Lord Hideji had won and Lord Okimoto was dead. Then Lord Hideji ordered the execution of the entire Okimoto family. Even his wife and child. What Okimoto samurai that were left were shamed into seppuku to remove the stain of dishonor rather than be rendered ronin. There are no more Okimoto now, and that is a shame. The town misses them." he explains.

 

"Now, that is not to say they were overly generous or friendly. But they were a noble family with bushido in their hearts. They protected the town, saw to it's safety and maintenance, helped build and maintain the temple even. In times of hardship, they were lenient and in times of bounty they were, at least somewhat, generous. Nobody would call them harsh, cruel or even unfair. Many would not say the same about Lord Hideji though. Many would say he does not care about the town or its people. Many would say he only cares about the koku it produces, and Lord Hideji always gets his koku, no matter the harvest." the old man clarified.

 

"And with the way Lord Hideji seems to look eastward toward the lands of the Phoenix in the valley, it would seem he has in eye on a new prize. With Lord Daidoji Uji at the castle, many might hope that the Lord Hideji will be relocated or forced into retirement. One can only hope..." he mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rin frowns at this story, honorable Crane indeed she thinks sarcastically.

 

“Humph†she grunts showing her opinion without speaking. She turns back to the design of the Hummingbird and points it out.

 

“How long to do this in outline, Taro?†She twists and rubs her hand along her back in the area of her left kidney. “Here I think unless you believe it would look better elsewhere. I would have the beginning out lines done while I am here, and return at later intervals for you to complete the art and color it as time and duty permit.†She turns again. “This is a good shop and I would like for it to be here for many many seasons to come. And your son should be able to continue his chosen vocation, I am sure you have much more to teach him.â€

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

Taro bowed deeply to Rin.

 

"You flatter me, Dragon-sama." he said sincerely.

 

He then thought for a moment, looking at the design and considered the placement.

 

"The outline would take two days for two to three hours a day. It could be done in one long day, but that is very hard on the body and something best left for a hardy, or drunk, Crab." he explains with a smile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Good I shall Make myself available to you tomorrow in the afternoon, I must train at the dojo during the morning." She rises and collects her drawings and kit, "until tomorrow Taro"

She steps to the door and pauses. "There is a Geisha house here, The House of the Golden Peony, is there not?"

"Hai, but it is an inn. What you seek are the House of the Pines or the House of the Cherry Blossom. The House of the Pines does not open till dusk, so if you seek to go now, that House of the Cherry Blossom is the only one open at this time. They both require a formal introduction though. I have dome some work for Akikio, the okasan at the House of the Cherry Blossom, so I am sure she would allow me to vouch for you, though, I would need to know your name, Dragon-sama."

Rin had recalled the conversation at the castle when she retrieved her kit. The servant had mentioned, at Rin's inquiry, that her companions had gone into town to have entertainment another servant was overheard mentioning The House of the Golden Peony. It turned out to be an inn, but with the House of the Cherry Blossom being the only one of the two geisha houses open, this is where Rin decided to start her search for her companions. She wished to have a conversation especially with The Topaz Champion.

Taro stepped outside and led Rin a short walk to the other side of the merchant road, finally stopping in front of a well maintained, but otherwise nondescript building with latticed windows. A single lantern hung by the door with the name of the establishment 'written upon it. The House of the Cheery Blossom' . He rang a small bell and the door opened a few moments later. A woman, easily sixty, but very well dressed with salt and pepper hair opened the door. After a brief exchange of pleasantries Taro motioned Rin over and introduced her to Akiko, the okasan of the House of the Cherry Blossom. The woman bowed and opened the door farther, stepping aside to allow Rin to enter as Taro bowed and bid Rin farewell.

 

 

Note
This post was edited with further input by Noir

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kakita Zoyu    3

Zoyu blinked her large, mismatched eyes at Kageko. When she had politely encouraged the pretty Sodan Senzo to tell her the tale of the ghosts of Shiro Hideo, Zoyu had not expected to hear of Lord Hideji's ruthless actions. She did not delude herself into believing all in her clan had compassion and were of the utmost honour, but it hurt to listen to others speak of the dark deeds committed by any in the Crane, and Kageko did not seem one to lie.

 

Zoyu schooled her face to neutrality and bowed back at Kageko. "No apologies are necessary when you enlighten one with the truth of the past. In even the most exquisite garden, its distant corners can spawn noxious weeds," she murmured dulcetly. Zoyu glanced over her shoulder at the banner bearing Daidoji Uji's mon hanging from the castle walls and pursed her lips. "Perhaps the gardener has come around to tend to them. In any case, pleasant diversion will suit us all." Zoyu smiled warmly and waved a magnanimous hand. "Please, do not be concerned with such trivialities as who shall pay for what."

 

The three young, attractive, female Jade Magistrates, Zoyu in the lead wondered idly through town, garnering their fair share of covert - and not so covert - glances. Pausing for a moment at the Golden Peony Inn to ask about diversions that could be found in Jinpatchi, the proprietress gave then a cool look, then told them where they could find the House of the Cherry Blossom and the House of Pines, both run by Okasan originally from Otosan Uchi, though the latter only opened at dusk.

 

Thanking her, Zoyu led the group to the east of the Merchant Road, perusing the displays and shops of the local artisans and merchants. Without a formal introduction, a gift for the Okasan would be expected, even if Zoyu believed the patronage of the Topaz Champion should be gift enough. Zoyu, Kageko, and Akiri debated on the items on display in relaxed fashion before settling on a black lacquered inro patterned with chrysanthemums over rocks. There was a soft and polite argument about who would pay, until they agreed Kageko would pay for the gift, Zoyu would cover the cost of the hired diversions, and Akiri would handle the food and drink.

 

Gift

NYBG_Gallery_2008-10_inro-5.jpg

 

A gift settled, the three of them headed towards the House of the Cherry Blossom, since with the fall of evening, they were scheduled to attend a banquet with what Zoyu was beginning to believe would be an odious Lord Hediji. Besides, Zoyu found the name more fortuitous than the House of Pines - she liked the scent and colour of sakura blossoms.

 

Zoyu rang the bell by the door of the plain building with the latticed windows. The woman who answered was tall, old, but vigorous and dressed very fashionably, with dark, sharp eyes, her sable hair liberally threaded with dignified grey. She looked down at the three girls, a faint frown of disapproval on her immaculately made-up face.

 

"You are not known to me," the okasan said with cool politeness, "and my establishment is reserved for exclusive clientele alone. Come back with a formal introduction, Crane-sama. If you would."

 

Zoyu had intended to present their gift with vivacious humbleness, but at the okasan's words, she raised her chin to a haughty angle, her mismatched eyes flashing, contrasting with the forced modesty of her tone. "I see... Then perhaps if the House of the Cherry Blossom is so exclusive, The House of Pines would be more suitable to entertain... the Topaz Champion." Zoyu's delectable lips curved in a tight smirk as she tugged at her rich blue haori, then tapped the hilt of the jitte in her obi. "And two other Jade Magistrates."

 

The okasan blinked, her mouth parting open for a moment catching herself, putting a welcoming smile on her face and bowing low. "Forgive me, Crane-sama, Kakita-sama, for not recognizing you. The news of your grace and beauty do not do you credit. Nor recognizing when I am in the presence of the Jade Magistrates. I am, Akiko, okasan of the House of the Cherry Blossom." Akiko didn't sound obsequious, but rather truly apologetic, if still proud. "You will find no better welcome, nor service, in Jinpachi, than in the House of the Cherry Blossom."

 

"I'm sure," Zoyu said softly, mollified, as she dipped her head graciously at Akiko.

 

"And we have a gift for the Okasan of the House of the Cherry Blossom, in thanks for welcome and service to be provided," Kageko added, presenting Akiko with the inro they had acquired earlier.

 

After two polite refusals, Akiko accepted. "A fine gift, though the gift of your patronage is greater still." She opened the door further and stepped aside, bidding them enter. "Please, come in, and be welcome in the House of the Cherry Blossom."

 

Akiko herself led them to a fine table in the common room. Zoyu affected a worldly nonchalance despite this only being the second or third time in a Geisha House, her eyes alighting on the graceful and feminine woman occupying the place.

 

"Do any of the girls catch your fancy? Will any of your be requiring the use of a private room?" Akiko asked solicitously.

 

"This is acceptable for the moment," Zoyu affirmed, sitting down with liquid grace as she glanced around. "Which girl is the finest dancer?"

 

"I will send Ami to entertain you," Akiko said without hesitancy. After getting their drink and food orders, the okasan bowed again and left to fulfill their requests.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

A couple of minutes pass and in walks a beautiful, young geisha, maybe twenty years old, carrying a small tray with the drinks. She smiles softly and kneels with a practiced grace.

 

"Welcome to the House of the Cherry Blossom. I am Ami." she said in a slow, soft voice as she began to pour the drinks. Every gesture she made seemed like some well-choreographed dance, every movement intentional and beautiful. At this range one could inspect her elaborate hairdo, constrained by beautiful pins without a single hair our of place. Her makeup was exquisite as well, her face and neck stark white, contrasting with her rich, red lips and hair of the darkest black.

 

"It is not often I have the pleasure of meeting new people. And so today is a most enjoyable day indeed." she says with a soft, shy smile.

 

From there the conversation continues about happy and enjoyable things. Every word she speaks is chosen carefully, but in and instant, every inflection, every smile, all to make the most pleasant conversation possible. She asks about the Topaz Championship, enjoying each of your stories about the competition and she congratulates Zoyu on her victory. She makes smalltalk about the weather, fashion, iaijutsu, bushido and virtually anything a samurai might be interested in.

 

It is clear that this woman has practiced speaking, walking, and even pouring drinks with as much dedication as the most determined bushi studies the katana. She offers to dance with frequency, rising to perform with and without her beautiful fans. Around the geisha one can relax and not worry about so many of society's taboos. She happily dances with Zoyu, even reaching out with soft, silken fingers to help correct her stance and guide her movements. She speaks with the shugenja and the rest about the Tao, proving to be well-versed. Everything about her is pleasant and relaxing... her soft smile, her warm demeanor... and within her company time seems almost imperceptible, letting the stress of the outside world melt away, certainly a welcomed break from the weeks of tedious travel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rin thanked the okasan for her hospitality but informed her that entertainment was not he desire. "My traveling companions are possibly here seeking your services. A Cran with a dark, streak in her hair, and a Lion who dresses in a heavy robe."

 

"Ah, Dragon -sama, you must mean the Topaz Champion and the other Jade majistrates," Akiko's eyes stray to Rin's obi noticing the lack of a jitte, "Allow me to show you to your companions, they are being attened by our finest dancer."

 

She leads Rin into the common room where the sounds of music could be hered and Rin Sees Zoyu dancing with an attractive geisha she watches them for several breaths before the okasan leads her to the table where Kegako and Akari sit.

Rin joins Akari and Kageko at the table sitting stiffly, refusing politley anything but water. Kegeko leans overand says softly "Rin-san i'm surprised to see you here I thought you had gone to the dojo for practice."

 

"Heh I did and it was a good workout I learned much in just a short time I will return tomorrow, I came to town to visit the Tattooist. He is good. I heard a very disturbing story while there and wish to speak with the Topaz Champion about it's truth. I thought it best to talk away from the castle."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kuni Taka    0

Taka briefly bows his head to the monk, "Thank you for sharing the history of the area, and I will add my prayers to yours for a more caring leadership in the future."

"However professionally I am more interested in the presence of witches in the town. What have they been blamed with causing and do you have any suspicions as to who they may be?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

Taka briefly bows his head to the monk, "Thank you for sharing the history of the area, and I will add my prayers to yours for a more caring leadership in the future."

"However professionally I am more interested in the presence of witches in the town. What have they been blamed with causing and do you have any suspicions as to who they may be?"

 

The monk shakes his head.

 

"I have heard of them bedeviling farmers, but I am not sure how specifically or what else they may have done. The farmers have continued going to Lord Hideji though. Maybe he will finally do something. Of one thing I am sure... If these uba interfere with the harvest and his precious koku, he will most certainly investigate." the monk explains.

 

"As far who they may be, I am not sure. This is a town of over seven hundred and there can always be hermits living in the foothills too." the monk says with a nod.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rorx    3

"From what you have said I fear the farmers will be blamed more than their stories of witches. If you could describe how to find some of these farms I will try to investigate their troubles tomorrow."

 

After receiving what directions the monk is able to provide Taka takes a brief walk through the town, taking a mental note of any folk charms to ward against evil or curses that might be seen. If they are prevalent then perhaps it would be more informing what establishments do not feel the need for such protection.

 

Knowing of Zoyu's love of geisha houses from their time in Tsuma Taka will ask a passing doshin for directions to the towns most exclusive geisha house confident that Zoyu would use her status of being the Topaz Champion to gain entry for herself and any others to have joined her. Staying in the castle was definitely not her style when more refined entertainments could be found in town.

 

Arriving at the geisha house Taka asked for a member of the Topaz Champion's group to come to speak to him, refusing offers to pass a message on to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After Zoyu rejoins her companions and greeting are exchanged, Rin motions for her companions to listen. "I have just come from the Tattoo shop of Taro a skilled practioner whom I will have do some work for me. While i talked with him I learned a disturbing tale, at least distrubing to me. I wish to discuss this before returning to the castle." Rin rises.

 

"Do not disturb your pleasures I will await out side," she pats her tattooing kit, "I can amuse myself."

 

With a bow to her companions she exits the Common room and heads towards the exit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The daimyos and their retainers were still ensconced for the preparations of their own prior to the banquet. So this meant Toshi would have to find someone else to speak to in the palace. The others were in town, and he could pump them for their findings out the outside area later. He, however, would get a view from the inside.

 

Cutting through the gardens, Toshi paused to observe the flowers. Ikebana really did not appeal to him as an art form, but the display was pretty enough to get a look from him.

 

Finally, he caught sight of his target. Brightly, he smiled and bowed. "Daizo-san! Are you occupied with your duties?"

 

"The final preparations are being made for the banquet, but that is business for the yoriki and karo. For the time being, I do not have any duties to attend to though. Is there something I can help you with, Shosuro-san?" Daizo asked.

 

"I simply wonder if you might be willing to indulge me in some Go matches and conversation." Toshi politely asked.

 

"Certainly. Right this way." Daizo said with a bow and then turned leading Toshi back toward the guest quarters and a small side room.

 

From within a chest he withdrew a go board and two bowls of stones. He took a seat on a tatami mat at a table and set up the board and stones, gesturing for Toshi to sit as well.

 

Toshi sat down gracefully, and placed a white stone down at the center of the board. "So tell me. These lands are recent to the Crane's control. Has Lord Hideji held it since the beginning, or was he awarded it more recently?"

 

Daizo looked up from the board for a moment at Toshi's question.

 

"My family maintains a small fortress to the east that was awarded to my family after the fall of Toshi Ranbo. The town and this castle we secured from the Lion just before I entered school. I was one of the first to pass through our dojo here. Since then the town and castle have served us well, increasing the prestige and honor of our small family." Daizo explains as he places another stone on the board.

 

Yes, definitely looking to impress with their neighbors and Lord Daidoiji visiting. "So Jinpachi is a productive fief." Toshi observed genially.  "I am sure Lord Daidoiji will be pleased with your family's accomplishments." He let the topic go there and the game go forth.

 

"I certainly hope so. We may be vassals of the Doji, but we have a long standing arrangement with the Diadoji as well, allowing our students to continue their training at their School once they are completed here." Dazo explained as he perused the board.

 

"In just a few years we have brought more wealth to the clan and secured a strategic castle, such as this. We hope Lord Doji has been pleased. We seek only to serve." Toshi nodded, letting chains of moves and counter-moves spring forward between the Crane bushi and the Scorpion courtier.

 

"So tell me, Shosuro-san, what brings such a mix of clans together and this far north? The guards at the way station told us of the Topaz Champion's arrival, but I cannot fathom what would bring her, or such a mix of clans with her, this far north." Daizo finally asked.

 

"Ah, quite simple." Toshi explained. "We have been summoned to begin our duties as Jade Magistrates. The route that has brought us into your lands has saved us a great deal of time. Therefore, we will rest and enjoy Lord Hideji's hospitality before setting out for the remainder of our trip."

 

Daizo nods thoughtfully as Toshi answered and places another stone.

 

"Ah. Very good then. The time you saved was most fortuitous as well. The daimyo had just arrived when we received word of you being at the way station. It is not often we got to host so many guests of station and renown. I hope you find your time here relaxing and a welcomed detour, Shosuro-san." he replied.

 

"Many thanks."

 

And conversation ceased to let the game play out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RaySS3    8

When the group finally gets on the road to travel to where they are to report, it becomes evident that Shinjo Shun felt more at home on the road riding his horse and seemed happier. Throughout their travels he would practice his swordsmanship, lancing, horsemanship, and would participate in games of Go with anyone that was interested. As they went along he would pay close attention to the landscape, its alignment, and where potential paths could be that are hidden along with places that could be used for rest and defense. 

 

When Hideji Daizo approach his group, along with the others, he would give a polite bow and accept the invitation from his Lord. Once the group arrived at their host's castle he would search around for potential training areas in which he would have space to train with his horse and be able to include practicing his archery skill. He then asks a servant or potentially another Bushi if there are designated training grounds one could train with his horse and with a bow. Upon gaining the answer he will give a polite bow and in the morning will see if he is able to gain permission to train at the local Dojo and work on his swordmanship and spearmanship skills. He would then head inside and take the offered bath and meal once he gained the information he sought. Once his bath was done and had a small meal he would then head out to catch up with Zoyu and those that went with her. After participating some in the Geisha house, he then joins Rin outside preferring to have the wind and sun. 

 

When Shun joins Rin he says, "I would like to hear of this tale you learned about."

 

 

OoC: The edit portion is in bold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kakita Zoyu    3

Zoyu was languidly relaxed, enjoying her time at the Geisha house, her blue eye and green eye gleaming, the warmth of good sake spreading through her chest. This time, it didn't hold the same illicit thrill it had when she had attended one in Tsuma with Tsukiko while still not an adult in the eyes of the Empire. But she was able to enter the House of the Cherry Blossom openly, with her companions and that held its own appeal.

 

Ami was a marvelous dancer, almost as skilled as a student of the Art of Dance at the Kakita Artisan Academy. While Zoyu may have reluctantly admitted - to herself at least - that the Geisha knew more styles and variety of dances than she did, under Ami's soft hands and guiding feet, Zoyu easily followed her in the steps with liquid grace. Ami was gracious and charming too, almost as much as Sakura, the Geisha from Tsuma, Zoyu loyally thought, though lacking the insouciant wit and sharp-edged humour that Tsukiko possessed and attracted her so much.

 

Zoyu caught Rin's eye when the Dragon Bushi entered the Geisha House, a pleased smile crossing her lips as she continued her dance with Ami. Zoyu invited Rin join them with an inclination of her head, but Rin refused with a reticent nod and the striking Crane woman sighed. Since the Topaz Championship, Rin had grown more focused, driven, but Zoyu was a bit concerned that she might be growing as tightly wound as Ujimitsu had been. Zoyu finished her dance with Ami then sat down at the table with Rin and the others.

 

"I have just come from the Tattoo shop of Taro a skilled practitioner whom I will have do some work for me. While i talked with him I learned a disturbing tale, at least disturbing to me. I wish to discuss this before returning to the castle." Rin rises.

 

"Do not disturb your pleasures I will await out side," she pats her tattooing kit, "I can amuse myself."

 

 

Zoyu arched a brow at Rin, pursing her full lips. "I see." Zoyu shared a look with Kageko then returned her uncanny, mismatched gaze to the Dragon swordswoman. "I wager I know some of what you are referring to, Rin-san."

 

The beautiful Crane woman was going to suggest they acquire a private room, but noticing how Rin seemed uncomfortable in the Geisha house, she graciously acceded to her request with a dip of her head, the streak of dark hair falling forward to partially obscure her finely featured face. "As you wish. We shall join you in a moment."

 

As Rin rose and left, Shun accompanying her, Zoyu turned back to converse with Ami, talking about latest fashions and their favourite authors of pillow-books. She worked hard and trained hard, Zoyu felt entitled to her pleasures. But a moment later, another attendant approached their table, informing them that Taka-san was outside and wished to speak with them. Zoyu sighed and made her farewells to Ami and the okasan, settled her accounts and promised to return again during her stay in Jinpatchi.

 

"Shall we see what the others have learned in their short time in Jinpachi?" Zoyu asked Kageko and Akiri.

 

Zoyu glided toward the entrance, retrieving her exquisite daisho and sliding them into her obi, and exited the Geisha House. Zoyu felt a vague sense of surprise that Toshi wasn't here as well, since the rest of her companions were. "Shall we walk, perhaps to gaze upon the lands about the town, as each of you share your concerns garnered in Jinpachi?" she suggested, to provide them with a modicum of privacy - none of them seemed to what to air them in public. "We still have some time before we have to return to the Shiro for the banquet."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As she left the common room one of the young girls, not yet a full geisha, stopped her and said that there was a man asking for a member of the Topaz champions party waiting outside. Rin frowned, "Domo, I shall see to it no need to bother the Topaz Champion." The Girl bowed and Rin exited the House.

 

She had been on guard and prepared for anything but upon going outside she saw the the man waiting for for her was none other than her friend Taka-san, The exchanged bows and immediately Taka began to speak.

 

"Ah Mirumoto-san are the rest inside still? I have learned some troubling things about the village."

 

"Humph, as have I Taka-san my friend. The others will be out shortly."  As she says this the door behind her opens and Shun exits shielding his eyes from the bright sun

 


When Shun joins Rin he says, "I would like to hear of this tale you learned about."

 

 

"Taka-san has also herd something, we shall all be together soon, I think we shall wait and reveal all at once."

 

Once the others lave the geisha house and all are gathered, Rin relates her tale of the executions of the Okimoto women and children that she had heard from the Tattooist, when she finished she had a very disapproving look upon her face.

 

"That such a dishonorable act could occur is unthinkable to my ears." she looks at The Crane. "Had I known about this I would have refused to go anywhere near this castle. Did you know of this Kakita-san?"

 



 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kakita Zoyu    3

Zoyu gave Rin a level look, her eyes narrowing in suppressed affront. "Of course not, Mirumoto-san," she said softly. "The Crane had captured Jinpachi and Shiro Hideo from the Lion years ago, and not much more than that. The Lion and Crane have been fighting for centuries, it wasn't an unheard of event. As for Lord Hideji's... excessively brutal actions, I just learned of them from," Zoyu nodded at the Lion Sodan-Senzo, "Kageko-san and the ghosts that linger about the castle."

 

Zoyu closed her eyes and released a long breath, then glanced away, eyes resting on the hills and mountains bordering the valley Jinpachi rested in. A soft breeze stirred her long, white hair, making it ripple like a banner. "It's a disappointment, almost a pain, to learn of the dark deeds of one's Clan. Every clan have their villains and blackguards." Zoyu turned back to the others, meeting their eyes with a direct gaze. "I hope you are fortuitous to not learn of them. Perhaps Daidoji-sama is here to rectify the situation."

 

Zoyu nodded at the Crab Shugenja. "Did you also wish to speak to us about Lord Hideji's avaricious and deplorable actions, Taka-san, or was there something else you have learned here about events in Jinpachi?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kuni Taka    0

"I have other news Zoyu-san. The monk I spoke to at the local temple informed me that some local farmers have been 'bedeviled' by a coven of witches in the area and have appealed to Hedija-sama with no effect. while strolling through town on my way to meet you I have noticed that most if not all have some kind of folk charm to ward off the effects of these witches."

 

Turning as they walked to glance at his companions he continues ,"I did not want to say much inside the geisha house as the monk was unable to narrow down who the suspected witches might be, so all the townsfolk, farmers, casle dwellers and other living nearby are currently all suspects. Given our new jobs we are also targets for these witches once they learn of our presence here so we should be wary and watchful until they have been identified and dealt with."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sunstar    0

Akari had been pretty quiet at the geisha house and  for most of the news.  But now she had decided to speak up when Taka mentioned the situation they find themselves in.

 

"Um...Taka-San, Zoyu-San?   I think we should try to stick together or at least not divide ourselves into too small groups.   That way if we get ambushed we'd have a better chance of defending ourselves."

 

 

The Phoenix Shugenja said looking at her allies.   Her tone soft, but concerned for her new-found friends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RaySS3    8

Shun speaks up and says, "If we do need to split up into groups we should limit it to two groups with a balance in abilities. I prefer we remain as one if we can help it. This might be the true reason why we were invited here."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

Kageko nods under her hood as she listens to everyone speak.

 

"Taka-san, Kageko-san, Akari-san,what do you know of uba? Any bit of information may be of benefit to us." Zoyu asked, looking at each of the shugenja in turn.

 

"They use a malevolent form of folk magic, summoning Kansen, evil spirts, to curse typically. Or they may, in fact, be maho-tsukai." Taka explains

 

"Their curses are said to be anything from bad luck, to spoiling milk, to ruining crops, to deforming an unborn child. Some stories speak of more directly harmful cruses as well." Kageko clarifies as she looks around.

 

"Charms to ward again evil do certainly seem to be ubiquitous in this town." she adds, pointing to the charms hanging from eves and windows.

 

"I suggest we return to the castle to inform Shosuro-san... and prepare for dinner with our host..." Kageko says with the last part laced with dread.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kakita Zoyu    3

Zoyu's exquisite lips curved down in a musing moue. "I am thinking these Uba are too cowardly to dare try their curses on Jade Magistrates," Zoyu said, but tilted her head as she contemplated the plethora of Charms adorning the town. "But there do seem to be brazen, considering the fear evident in town. While I am not thinking it necessary that we all remain in a single group, I do believe it may be prudent we do not linger alone while in town."

 

Zoyu glanced at the sun, now growing close to the horizon, then nodded at Kageko in agreement. "You are right, Kitsu-san, the time grows close to the banquet." Zoyu fixed her face into an expression of cool hauteur at the thought. "We will endure the banquet with Lorde Hediji as we must and learn what there is to learn, so that we may complete our duties with honour and success. Come, Shosuro-san may have learned more as well, in the manner of the Scorpion."

 

With that, Zoyu turned on her heel and began striding back to the castle with icy determination, confident the others would follow her lead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dragon busi troubled by events as usual waits as the rest of hr fellows start up the road to return to the castlebe fore followinf along behind them. As they leave the town Rin pauses and turns to look back on the town surveying all she sees.

 


Jinpachi...

The town of Jinpachi clearly enjoys prosperity from the merchant road and trade along the river that cuts through the middle of town, as well as the protection of Hideo Castle. The farmland surrounding it produces a bountiful harvest of rice every year, and the local artisans manufacture a variety of goods, making Jinpachi a wealthy little hamlet and a prize to whatever daimyo controls it. The occasional pair of doshin can be seen wandering the streets, armed with jitte and stout bo staves. Judging by their sightings, one could guess there were a dozen or so doshin in the town, most likely overseen by a single yoriki. With that in mind, and the general size of the town, the population must be somewhere between five hundred and one thousand residents. The buildings are largely one and two story wooden structures with stone foundations: homes, shops and warehouses.The ramshackle huts of the eta village to the north.

 

North of the river and just into town, along the merchant road sits the main marketplace on west side of the road with a large inn, The House of the Golden Peony, on the east side of the road. Beyond the inn sits theaters, sake houses and other such establishments. On the south side of the river to the west of the merchant road is a small area, no more than two streets, with nice, nondescript buildings, the most likely home of any geisha houses. to the east of the merchant road sits the majority of the artisans of the town with a series of large warehouses along the water's edge.

 

 

 

 

The rest of the magistrates continued on for a few yards before noticing that Rin had stopped. "Rin-san?" One of her companions called to her softly and she turned back to them, shruged her shoulders and popped her neck, bent to the grass and pulled a long stalk from the ground, [utting it firmly between her teeth she began walking toward the castle again.

 

"I am not sure that what we see, is."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

The walk back to the nearby castle is brief and you all make your way to the guest quarters in the outermost stronghold where Toshi is relaxing. Everybody prepares for the evening ahead, bathing as needed, brushing hair, changing into formal attire and simply freshening up, not to mention having a chance to fill in Toshi with what you have learned, if anybody should so desire...

 

 

Notes. Please Read.
I am just moving things along and getting everybody back to the castle. Ideally, if somebody like, they can fill in Toshi with a post (if they want to while inside the castle or maybe have the time for a brief walk or ride to do so).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rin, upon entering the common area after arriving back at the castle spies The Scorpion relaxing. She calls for a servant to bring fresh tea then goes to Tosh and sits. "An eventful life is like a candle that burns fast. and since we all arrived in Tsuma our lives have been eventful." The tea arrives and Rin motions the servant away and pours for her and Toshi. Tosi has said nothing but smiles as Rin pours the tea with no ceremony. In the time they have known each other The Dragon has very seldom spoken to him and never alone like now.

 

"Where is everyone else Mirumoto-san? I heard them arriving."

 

"Bathing, getting dressed making them selves look pretty for the banquet"

 

"And you?"

 

"I will bathe later. But first I wanted to tell youof our latest events. How much do youknow about ..." Rin tell's him what she has learend herself and also what the others told her about the Ghost and Kageko's more lurid version of the demise of the Okimoto at Hideiji hands then she concludes.

 

" I am unsure and out of my depth. When I was returning to the castle I turned and looked upon the town. I did not see a town being plagued by witches and curses. I saw prosperity and busy markets and streets. Yet  there are charms on every door. Something does not seem rigth to me. I wish to know what is really going on and i thought you best to find that out. I also...  we also have only heard one side of this story, I think we need to learn the Hideiji story as well. And again you are probably best at learning that." She swallows the last of her Tea stands and bows to Toshi

 

"And now I must bathe and make myself look pretty too, I suppose."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It is a necessary part of decorum, especially in our lofty new positions." Toshi observed to the reluctant Dragon. Besides, who would be a guest and show up in such a horrendous state at the host's banquet? Crabs perhaps, which could be excepted if they had been urgently pulled off duty and just arrived. Surely they would at least take advantage of the opportunity to bathe and rest for their own physical sakes?

 

And Taka, he was sure, a Kuni, was taking the proper path too.

 

Eh, no matter. As Rin exited, Toshi was quite sure the Hideji side of the story, at least from the basic roots, looked at things very differently from the people of Jinpachi. And too, that he had a letter to write and couriers to dispatch.

 

 

Seppun Kyuichi

Chief Jade Magistrate

Honored Treaty City

 

Seppun-sama,

 

We have responded with all due urgency with receipt of your instructions, and are but a few days away, currently in the lands of the Hideji no Doiji.

 

Though our original intent was to merely rest for a few days, guests of Lord Hideji - troubling matters have arisen. Reports are circulating through the town of Jinpachi about the presence of a coven of witches, which have gone un-investigated by Lord Hideji. These are not merely heimin rumors, one of my companions received accounts directly from the local monks.

 

I therefore respectfully request your understanding on behalf of myself and my companions as we take the time necessary to investigate and if indeed found, deal with this coven.

 

With great respect,

Shosuro Toshi

Jade Magistrate

Jinpachi

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir    2

As Lady Sun withdraws beyond the horizon, her rays begin to fade and Lord Moon once again claims dominion over the sky, you are summoned for the banquet. A servant leads you deep behind the walls of the castle, down the long, winding path, passing through the gate of each stronghold of this small, yes formidable castle until you reach the inner courtyard.

 

 

The banquet...

For the banquet, the courtyard has been decorated with colorful lanterns hanging from ropes overhead. The banner of the Crane,Clan and flags bearing the Hideji family's mon graces the walls, stirring lightly in the occasional, soft breeze. Long tables have been laid out for the banquet and to one side stands an elaborate puppet stage, with musicians sitting nearby in the wings.

 

The other guests filter in as well, with all of you directed to your seats by servants. Lord Hideji sets at the head of the table with his general Yataro to his right, and his son Nobikazu, to his left. On the right, next to the general is seated Lord Daidoji Uji, while on his left, next to son, sits Lord Shiba Ryotsu with Lord Ikoma Kazuma just past him. Zoyu, the Topaz Champion, is seated beside Lord Daidoji with Rin next to her, followed by Toshi and Kageko. Shun is seated beside Lord Ikoma, with Taka and Akari beyond him.

 

Lord Hideji Fumiya sat at the head of the table, as is only proper for the lord of the castle, dressed in his finest kamishimo.I was an older man, beyond 'retierment' age, and a bushi by accounts. He was just under average height with a slightly heavier build than most Cranes. His hair was white, but tied up in a proper top-knot while a large, white, bushy mustache that became broad 'mutton chops' graced his cheeks, giving him a some what fierce and mildly angry look.

 

To Lord Hideji's right sits General Yataro, a man looking to be roughly Lord Hideji's age, or possibly scant years younger. His face was clean shaven and his white hair tied up in a proper top-knot as well. e was largely unremarkable for a crane, aside from the metal tessen kept tucked into his obi.

 

Beside General Yataro sits Lord Daidoji Uji, the daimyo of the entire Daidoji family. Even in these surroundings, Lord Daidoji seemed to be a grim, solitary and a slightly caustic man with dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes. He never lets his hair grow out of the short topknot, and never dyes it white like so many other Crane. He speaks rarely, and when he does it is often in a near whisper. He looks as if his eyes have never twinkled and he seems to rarely, if ever, smile.

 

By all accounts though, Uji embodies all the Daidoji ideals, resourceful, ruthless, talented and unswerving loyalty to his lord, Doji Satsume. He was known to be ever vigilant, even in peace times, keeping a keen eye on all threats to his clan. He was well known for possessing an interest in all things gaijin though, especially weaponry, and it said to have a particular interest in the gaijin "seburu"... whatever that is. Certainly not your typical Crane, Uji was well know for wearing a chainmail veil, in a similar fashion to that of the Scorpion, when fighting to remind his enemies that he was not to be trusted.

 

Kakita Zoyu, the current Topaz Champion was seated next to Lord Daidoji, with Mirumoto Rin, Shosuro Toshi and Kitsu Kageko seated in order further down the side of the table

 

To Lord Hideji's left sits his son, Nobikazu, a slender young man, easily several inches taller than his father. His hair was dyed white, in typical Crane fashion, and he was clean shaven, with his long hair in a top knot and cascading down the back of his head and neck.His features are much more pleasant than his father's, perhaps a trait he received from his mother's side of the family. He seems to be a pleasant young man, though often quiet. Though a bushi, he seemed to be the type who was more comfortable with a brush in his hand than a katana or yari.

 

Beside Nobikazu sits Lord Shiba Ryotsu and Lord Ikoma Kazuma. Ryotsu looks like the typical Shiba. He would appear to be in his early 30's and is lean and clean shaven with dark hair in a top knot and dressed in a kamishimo of reds, oranges and yellows. Kazuma, on the other hand, is hard to miss. He would seem to be near or past retirement age with a dark, bushy mustache and a massive mane of hair, that when combined with his fierce gaze almost give him the look of a wild man, despite the kamishimo he wears.

 

To Lord Ikoma Kazuma's left sits Shinjo Shun, Kuni Taka and finally Isawa Akari.

 

 

Visual aid
     Nobikazu - Shiba - Ikoma - Shun - Taka - Akari


LH


     Yataro - Daidoji - Zoyu - Rin - Toshi - Kageko

 

Once everybody is seated Lord Hideji speaks,

 

"Welcome all. It is not often that our humble castle is graced with so many guests of such esteem. It is truly an occasion worth celebrating. You are guests of the Hideji, so please enjoy our hospitality." he says as he scanns the table, looking at each of his guests in turn.

 

Immediately the servants approach, offering drinks of water, tea and sake as the first dishes are bought out. During the banquet, servants bring trays of fresh sushi, steaming iron pots of sukiyaki, piping hot tempura, jars of sake and other delicacies. It is clear that Lord Hideji has spared no expense, doing his best to show himself to be a generous host...

 

 

Notes. Please Read.
You are at the banquet have have a chance to finally speak with several daimyo, including Lord Hideji himself. Feel free to post doing so if you like. A daimyo, even a minor one, knowing your name and having a good impression of you can go a long way in the future sometimes.

Just remember, this is a banquet and mean to be relaxing and joyous, so tread carefully around certain topics. The talk of witches and exterminations of entire families is not proper dinner table conversation. Heh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×