Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: archive 0
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 960 posts
Sun 29 Apr 2012
at 03:24
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
There is sudden silence as the last of Kedo and Toyozo's opponent's falls.  A veritable orgy of death and dismemberment covers the streets of Toshi Ranbo.  Even the warriors on the rooftops have ceased.  One archer slain by Sumi's final arrow and Kenji's opponent downed by his swift sword work.

From the Lion commander's pavilion comes a sharp cry, a low gurgle, and a quiet thump.  Something rolls out from the shadowed opening, a head.  Still wearing a Lion helm.

From one of the side streets, Ichiro--the rather thoughtful Lion that Kedo and Toyozo encountered earlier over a game of sugoroku--bursts onto the scene.

General!  The Western flank is..." and there he stops, staring at the head--presumably of his commander.  His eyes rise, only to meet those of the bushi whom he faced earlier.

"Ah, Kedo-san, Toyozo-san," he bows, "this explains much.  If you will allow me, I will take command and signal the Lion retreat.  If not, then we will not have the pleasure of playing Go in a few short weeks."
Kedo
 player, 455 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sun 29 Apr 2012
at 10:29
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis

 There is a moment of stillness after a moment of intense movemnent, the former drawing the eye where the latter was merely the expected background of battle and Kedo's opponents fall aside, blood streaming from wounds considerably deeper and more lethal than those the supposed Ronin bears. He staggers once, then glances down at his slashed flank and seems to judge the injury insufficiently serious to stop him short of his goal, particularly in the company of those who have fought this far into the lines of the Lion attack, broken and confused as it is by the decision to do war in the city rather than upon the open plain before it.

 That was in many respects the plan all along, although even Kedi had not expected the enemy general to shift his entire command tent inside the walls - at most he'd hoped for a senior officer, a trusted second who would serve as the nexus for command and control for the leader of the foe and whose loss would throw them further into disarray... And of course, he had reckoned without the determination of certain infuriating men.

 The rolling clatter of the head seems to surprise him as much as anyone therefore, and as Ichiro bursts onto the scene the ronin pauses before it, sliding his wiped-clean blades home into their sheathes once more before offering it a regretful bow - regret for what had to happen in this place, no matter how much of it is due to decisions made on the Lions part. When he rises, it's to look towards Toyozo for authority although his suggestion - naturally - is cohesive and persuasive as he proposes "If you would pledge their withdrawal from the campaign as well as the field, I believe that there may be a signal that will advise the Crane forces to permit it. Of course, they know better than to pursue the Lion into the open and lose all they have gained, but departing the city may be... troublesome... else?"

This message was last edited by the player at 21:32, Mon 30 Apr 2012.

Doji Toyozo
 player, 61 posts
Mon 30 Apr 2012
at 19:07
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Toyozo looks to the head and wonders who severed it. "It is as Kedo says. All Lion will leave this city, we will not chase." he says simply as he wipes the blood off his katana.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 968 posts
Tue 1 May 2012
at 04:23
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
IchIro nods in acknowledgement and signals the retreat.  Across Toshi Ranbo calls ring out and Shugenja send signals into the air.  The Lion begin the slw process of disengagement from the deadliest city in the empire.

Ichiro and several officers gather and wait, their daisho sheathed by their sides.

"A guarantee of good behavior," the Lion shrugs, "besides, it will save us another trip back for Winter Court."
Kedo
 player, 458 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 1 May 2012
at 06:09
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis

 As the Lion start to withdraw - and reports come in of the Crane defenders having plans that anticipated such a maneuver and having prepared the means to make them bleed street by street on their way out - Kedo diffidently requests the loan of a signaller and (if granted) instructs them on a short, simple pattern of airborne signs that result in the cities defenders breaking off pursuit in favour of repairing their positions and watching carefully...

 ...which of course there's absolutely no good reason a filthy Ronin of all people should know off, implying rather sharply that there's even more to the story of Toshi Ranbo than has become apparent already. That done, Kedo returns to standing to the side of and slightly behind Doji Toyozo and bows at the other defenders that have won this far approach and (hopefully) made their introductions.
Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 205 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Wed 2 May 2012
at 01:09
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
[Edit: added where we came from.]
It was a trail of bodies, scattered like breadcrumbs, that led Kenshin onward to the front of battle*. Onward and forward they cautiously walked, one Scorpion and two Daidoji, until they found an unusual sight. Lion warriors dead, and many of them at that. A gray-clad Ronin standing among a heap of fallen Lion ... and a Lion asking permission for his troops to withdraw.

It was even more unusual than a Scorpion Bushi guarding two Daidoji.

Bayushin Kenshin observed the chaos of now ended battle silently, approaching the small group only when his charges chose to do so. His mask, the Mask of Honor glittered in the sun, his eyes taking in the situation. He had given the crystal wakizashi back to it's rightful bearer, so now his mask was the only thing that glittered. Eventually, he realized that this was not going to be a duel and so spoke.

"We are here, Daidoji-Sama."

Who he was talking to was something of a question as there were two Daidoji women with him.

[* The description is stolen from the GM]

This message was last edited by the player at 23:28, Thu 03 May 2012.

Daidoji Sakura
 player, 555 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Wed 2 May 2012
at 01:13
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Looking none the worse for wear, Daidoji Sakura stepped up behind Kenshin. She watched carefully, trying to discern what was going on. Finally, whether out of observation or frustration, she said something.

"How may we assist, Doji Sama?"
Shosuro Kasumi
 player, 4 posts
 Beautiful and Deadly
 Twin of Daidoji Sakura
Wed 2 May 2012
at 01:28
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
The young "Daidoji" appeared every bit the part. She wore the same Kimono as Sakura and bore the same Wakizashi. Same exquisite figure. Same alluring walk. Same Daidoji tattoo peeking out from under her kimono sleeve when she touched her face. In fact, if it were not for the basket hat that concealed her face, one could swear that there were in fact two Daidoji Sakura approaching the group of Samurai.

She looked around, her eyes piercing her surroundings beneath her basket hat. Her eyes finally landed on Kedo.

"Kedo-Kun!"

She sounded exactly like Sakura. The lilt of her song like voice, the timbre and vocal inflection. The humorous style -- all the way down to the humorous false concern for Kedo that showed through in her voice. (Kedo was, after all, Kedo. Unless he were required to fight one of the Celestial Dragons or He Who Must Not Be Named, Kedo would be just fine.)

"How are you going to keep up your aura of invulnerability if you allow yourself to be wounded?"

[Private to Bayushi Kenji: Touching face is Scorpion code -- "Top Secret. Will explain later".]
Doji Toyozo
 player, 62 posts
Wed 2 May 2012
at 21:59
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
In reply to Daidoji Sakura (msg #25):

Toyozo looks to the Daidoji, "See to the units you were assigned to, Daidoji-san. And make certain are foes are not harassed beyond verbal taunts."
Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 207 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Thu 3 May 2012
at 23:32
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Kenshin simply stood there. He was not yet sure what was going on with these Lion. Were they to be hostages? Clearly they were not to be killed, though why not was as of yet not certain.

When the Doji responded, Kenshin was glad for his mask. He was clearly with his assigned "unit" ... but then, the Doji was addressing his charges, not him.

Internally Kenshin sighed. This courtier stuff was going to be more difficult than he thought.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 556 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 3 May 2012
at 23:51
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Sakura raised an eyebrow at Toyozo's reply. They were not assigned to any units, so seeing to them would be problematic at best. But this was not the time to remind a Doji of Daidoji military tactics -- such as their use of traps to prepare the battlefield. Explaining the true position of a wandering Daidoji Shugenja -- in front of a Lion no less -- would never do.

"No straying arrows" she finally replied, "very well."

She glanced at Kedo, staying silent for a moment before addressing her former yojimbo.

"Shall I see to your wounds, Kedo-Kun?"

This was, no doubt, a worthy riddle for the wandering Samurai -- one that she would not be too keen to answer. How was it that there were two of her? No, she would not be answering that any too quickly.
Doji Toyozo
 player, 63 posts
Fri 4 May 2012
at 03:34
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Toyozo turns and looks at the group assembled around him.  He was unsure why everyone was deferring to him. Well he knew why Kedo was, despite the fact that the entire defense was predicated on the ronin's plans.  The others though. He was too new in this city to suddenly be the leader of the conquering army. "Thank you all for your effort today." he said perhaps a bit awkwardly. "You have brought honor and glory to yourselves and to the Crane clan.  For honor and victory are to be found in defeating such a honorable foe." he said in a nod to the Lion.

Looking at the surrounding area, finding himself content with the Lion's withdrawal he says, "Ichiro-san, you and your fellow officers will come with me to meet our Lord Kasurugi. Where the cessation of Lion hostilities will be formally recognized." He looks to the Daidoji, Shosuro, Bayushi and Tsuruchi "It would be an honor if you who were so instrumental in Toshi Ranbo's defense were to come with us, so that Lord Kasurugi can commend you properly."
Kedo
 player, 460 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Fri 4 May 2012
at 06:33
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis

 Like large, blood-soaked breadcrumbs perhaps, some slain with the crisp precision of Kakita cuts, one or two per body and some bearing the long, lethal gashes of a dancing Miromoto (and some feathered with arrows that leapt from concealment) - it would take little in the way of perception to follow them to the end of the path Doji Toyozo and Kedo have carved into the scattered and confused Lion host this morning.

 "I was not sent here to be invulnerable, Daidoji-San. Quite the contrary." Kedo replies, the lack of obvious cues beyond her Crane kimono and the tattoo upon her wrist compelling him to use that Clan-name even as curiosity flares within him and passes as swiftly as it came (it is said upon the mountain that when one is in perfect balance, there is no longer such a thing as surprise - when one is truly still, all movements and all moments become equally likely. Exhaustion, Kedo is discovering can have similar effects), "Your offer is generous, but the wound bleeds cleanly and others better favoured will need the Kami's blessing more than I. I would consider it a kindness if you would save your prayer for one of them."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 557 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Sat 5 May 2012
at 22:01
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Though she hid it well, the mention of commending her to Lord Kasurugi almost made her chuckle. The Crane Governor knew far more about her than most Samurai, well probably more than he wished to know if the truth were to be told. Far more surprising -- somehow this Doji had no idea who she was.

Well, that explained everything.

"Forgive me" she said, turning to the Lion commander with a smile, "if the hostilities are truly over then I can properly introduce myself. I am Daidoji Sakura, personal attache'* to Doji Kuwanan-Dono."

"My former Yojimbo" she continued, indicating Kedo, "I believe you are already acquainted with. Kedo-Kun was also personally chosen by Lord Kuwanan -- and I believe you now know why."

It was ironic, to her bitterly so, that all those who were sent out had fallen -- all except herself and Kedo -- and that she was now in sole charge of the mission. In truth, Kedo's choice was probably somewhat random, but a good courtier would never let the truth get in the way of what should have been the truth.

Such was the way of the courts.

[* When trying to whittle her role down to one or two words, I came up short. This was the best I could do. LOL!]
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 971 posts
Mon 7 May 2012
at 04:23
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Kedo-Kun was also personally chosen by Lord Kuwanan -- and I believe you now know why.

"He's very good at playing games of chance," Ichiro replied dryly, "also at failing to underestimate his enemies.  Kedo-san and I met on the field of battle where he rather calmly challenged my unit to a game of sugoroku.  It was clear to me at that point that our general had failed to take a great many factors into account.  The presence of your former yojimbo was not among those predictable factors, but the sheer number of Daidoji living in Toshi Ranbo and the ease with which we breached your walls should have been a strong indication that caution was in order.  Caution is not the way of the Matsu," he shrugs, "today, the Crane have bested the Lion on the field of battle, and it will be some time before the Lion attempt so reckless an action again."

"Besides the withdrawal of our troops, what are the terms of the surrender?"

Kedo
 player, 461 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 7 May 2012
at 08:37
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis

 If there's any question about Kedo's abilities as a courtier they're being steadily answered as he slowly flushes, looking increasingly uncomfortable with the roll-call of things he seems to have been caught up in of late... And so at the question of Lion conduct he seeks an excuse to excuse hmself, remarking "I will seek an answer to that very question." and turning to walk over the head of the fallen general and into his no-longer needed tent.

[Private to GM:  "You heard, I trust? I believe the best-offered terms would be that the Lion provide some honourable concession at Winter Court, provide some demonstration or amusement that would improve Crane status but provide them an ability to shine... But I am no courtier." he remarks, once safely within the shadows of the tent, and without troubling himself to look around for any signs of the killer.]
Doji Toyozo
 player, 64 posts
Mon 7 May 2012
at 18:15
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
At the question of terms of surrender, Toyozo casts a look to Sakura.  And said nothing, letting the Daidoji field that one unless he was personally asked.
Tsuruchi Sumi
 player, 158 posts
 Butei academy actress
 Meek and very beautiful
Mon 7 May 2012
at 23:01
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Sumi almost felt a little saddened that the Lion were pulling out, except that she wasn't getting shot anymore. Of course, she wasn't getting to shoot anyone either. She could take shot at the retreating forces, but she didn't want to accidentally cause the entire Lion clan to turn around and fight again either. She did shadow the retreating forces though, just in case some decided to do something other than retreat.
Shosuro Kasumi
 player, 6 posts
 Beautiful and Deadly
 Twin of Daidoji Sakura
Tue 8 May 2012
at 00:29
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
The basket-hatted Kasumi had remained silent, staying where she was and observing the scene as if the entire experience was new to her.

"'It is knowledge of one's vulnerability that lead to true invulnerability; it is knowledge of one's foolishness that leads to true wisdom.' So I have heard, from the wind that whispers from the high mountains."

It was ... an unusual statement, but then Kasumi was hardly a typical Samurai. The "unusual Daidoji" carefully walked back to Sakura's side. It was a comfortable place for her, as if she were made to be there.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 558 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Tue 8 May 2012
at 00:48
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Sakura smiled at the Lion's words. His words were true enough; once one had been surprised at the Mountain Ronin long enough, however, surprises came much less frequent.

"The Governor has the honor of those decisions" she replied, allowing her soft, lilting voice to help soothe the situation, "and he has not shared his mind with me. But as you are both practical and honorable Samurai, I'm sure the terms will be acceptable. Undoubtedly assurances that your armies will not march on Toshi Ranbo again this year. It is possible that Doji-San knows such things, but you will hear from the Governors' lips soon enough."

Sakura turned to Toyozo.

"I will observe things from the Daidoji positions to help ensure a proper disengagement. Please tell the governor that we will meet with him as soon as we can. Since Kenshin-san cannot accompany us there, would you mind if he traveled with you?"
Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 209 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Tue 8 May 2012
at 00:51
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Kenshin stood silently, awaiting some instructions. He could not leave his charges alone ... but, did either of them really need guarding? Still, they would be safe enough among the Daidoji.

Kenshin stood by, waiting silently. There would be time enough to speak of Matsu Minako later ...
Doji Toyozo
 player, 65 posts
Tue 8 May 2012
at 02:26
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
"Of course, Daidoji-san.  Be well, I hope to speak with you again soon.

Bayushi-san, Lion-sans, right this way. I am certain Doji-sama will handle the cessation of hostilities with the same honor you have shown today on the field."
Toyozo said.
Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 210 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Thu 10 May 2012
at 00:34
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Kenshin understood well enough what was going on. Yes, Doji-San needed an escort, but more importantly Bayushi Kenshin needed to be kept out of the way.

Such was the lot of a Junshin.

He moved to Toyozo's side, a pace back and to the left. Such was his place, for now at any rate. He was just a Scorpion Samurai, and like all Scorpion he was expendable. And his silence was respectful -- there was, after all, no need for a Samurai to tell others that they were doing their duty.

Still, he was glad to see an end to the fighting. His wife, Shinobu, mentioned needing to speak to him when this was all over. It wasn't all over, but it was almost over.

Unless those ... things attacked again.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 561 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 10 May 2012
at 00:38
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Sakura moved off to join the Daidoji (and, most likely, Kedo). In part, it was to ensure that the Daidoji kept their part of the bargain, and in part it was to properly report to the Lord of the Crane. But mostly, she needed to make sure that this was truly over.

Winter court would be a special time, one where the Son of Heaven would be attending. It needed to be properly prepared, prepared so that the Shadow could not have access to him.

What holes were now open that the Shadow would be able to take advantage of? What holes would she (and a select few others) need to patch. That was her true goal.

Ironically enough, it was one that the Crane Governor would approve of ... if he knew what she was doing, that is.
Shosuro Kasumi
 player, 7 posts
 Beautiful and Deadly
 Twin of Daidoji Sakura
Thu 10 May 2012
at 00:43
Re: Chapter 8 - the Lion Crisis
Kasumi followed Sakura, well aware of her companion. Her eyes scanned the surroundings, not so much for danger but in awe. It was as if this was her first time in the city, or the first time she had ever actually seen it.

"Mortals are so important to the Celestial Order" she whispered, "yet they perceive so little of it."

Day one of Kasumi's new life had just begun.