Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: archive 0
Kedo
 player, 197 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sat 15 Nov 2008
at 02:02
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 Kedo nods simply, not having realised at first that he and his companions have managed to outfly both rumour and reliable news... "There was. Some ten black-clad killers armed with short, straight swords burst in upon the bathing chambers. Doji Akibieden and the Daidoji guards defeated them" - it seems somewhat tacky to Kedo to mention his own small part in the affair - "whilst almost simultaneously three trusted bodyguards of Doji Kasarugi assaulted him and were overcome, upon which I believe it was discovered that they were not the people they had seemed to be, though I am uncertain of what led to this certainty, perhaps Daidoji Sakura can explain further."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 370 posts
Sun 23 Nov 2008
at 08:11
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"Of course, Sakura-san," Miya Shiko smiles, "as long as your interests are the interests of the Emperor, I will aid you in what way that I may."
[Private to Daidoji Sakura: Miya Shiko was referring obliquely to the fact that the Otomo's purpose is to sow discord and chaos between the Clans in order to prevent another Gozoku from arising]

***

"We will be most cautious with our charge, Kedo-san," the Seppun guard bows in thanks, "regarding the other matter, Shiko-sama will know what questions to ask.  After all, a heightened sense of self-preservation is one of the requirements of her duty."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 324 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Tue 25 Nov 2008
at 00:14
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Sakura smiled weakly, sipping her tea before replying to the Shisha.

"Would that the Otomo were the only ones to consider" she replied wistfully, if not perhaps a bit too bluntly, "but they would never consider using creatures such as these for their duties."

"The Otomo have their duty, of course, as I have mine. If I must fall on my sword to complete my mission, then so be it -- as long as the Empire is protected."

She then took another long sip of her tea. She had two more places to be, but she could not be rude to the representatives of the Emperor.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 373 posts
Tue 2 Dec 2008
at 05:39
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
As Kedo and the Imperial Guard discuss matters of import, a mildly disreputable looking ronin approaches in the company of the other guard.

"I have ordered some of the material we discussed through some of our faster channels," the guard says, after greetings are made, "Lin Ru-fang, here, has a report to make to Miya-sama."

"Go on ahead," the first guard nods, "you know where to leave your weapons."

***

"I'm sure it won't come to that Sakura-san--besides, if the results are the same, how much do the means matter to the dead?" Miya Shiko shrugs, "but I take your point--" she pauses, glancing up at the open door way, "Ah, Ru-Fang-san, how good of you to come, do you have a requisition for me?"
Kedo
 player, 198 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 2 Dec 2008
at 06:42
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 "It is said that there are two words for duty, and that one of them is Seppun." remarks Kedo as he returns the bow in slightly greater measure than it is offered to him, the mild flattery having the advantage of perfect sincerity since it's coming from a Ronin who is being more than merely honoured above his station by the Guardsmen in question.

 When he's upright again he does spend a few moments studying the newcomer, perhaps assuring himself that he'll recognise him again should the necessity arise, but also because when one walks upon the long road it can be good to have the measure of those who walk it with you.
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 1 post
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Tue 2 Dec 2008
at 07:43
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
The man greeted by the guard is one that many might find a bit unusual for someone reporting to an imperial agent. Tall and thin, he has a shifty and shrewd look to him-- between his two-piece clothing style of green garb covered with gold designed and trimmed with blue and his facial hair style of a triangular goatee and long, thin mustache, he doesn't fit the 'profile' of any particular clan, but he doesn't have the rugged and wild look of a typical ronin either.

He unstraps a wide, curved blade (dao sword) from his back, a sword that one might well question if this weak, delicate-looking man even has much skill in using, and places it upon a weapon rack provided. It is transparant that he does in fact have another weapon in his possession, but wound and wrapped tightly in fabric, it is clearly meant to be presented as a gift-- the man would easily be cut down before having any chance to make use of the weapon.

Although he makes a cursorary glance towards Kedo and the guardsman, affording them a large, friendly smile-- much like a merchant might silently greet a customer in his shop, he turns and heads in to see the Miya and her guests. His manner of greeting is quite over-the-top and exhubriant, not at all refined and proper, "Miya-sama!!" he exclaims with a wide grin, "You make the sun brood with envy of your radiance!" He makes very little note of Sakura, not likely due to overlooking the beautiful shugenja, but perhaps simply because he has found it better to focus on flattering the person in the position of power.

As he comes closer he kneels down, his voice becoming quieter and his demeanor becoming only marginally more proper as he gets a gleefully devious look in his eyes as he explains quietly while twirling the end of his mustache, "You are going to love this, Miya-sama!... I've got 1000 sets of standard military gear in route for the imperial legions, all at the price it would have cost to produce 300 sets."

He then lifts up the wrapped katana and places it down upon the ground before Shiko before adding pleasantly enough, "As a special bonus, to show my overwhelming gratitude that in your great wisdom and insight you chose to allow me to help you in this matter, I have come with this item of interest discovered amongst the gear. According to the markings, I believe it belonged to the Ikoma family-- however, I have it on good authority that this blade may have belonged to one of 2000 personal retainers of our illustrious Emporer from the time before he took the throne." Of course, there really isn't any effective way to verify this claim, "I felt that an item of such historic importance needed particularly special care."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 325 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 4 Dec 2008
at 04:53
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Sakura did nothing -- nothing obvious at any rate. She simply stayed out of the way and remained silent -- observing the transaction for clues.

'1000 sets of military gear for the Imperial Legions?' she thought to herself, 'That is enough to equip an entire Legion, with some to spare. Are the Imperial Legions now taking an interest in this investigation? Are they going to intervene in the upcoming battle? Perhaps this has nothing to do with any of what I know ... but I doubt it.'

Sakura sipped her tea quietly, silencing her mind so that she could observe any clues that might come her way.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 376 posts
Sat 6 Dec 2008
at 08:09
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"That is excellent news, Ru-Fang-san," Miya Shiko smiles, "the Imperial Legions will see that you are compensated generously for your troubles.  I have another, more pressing commission for you, if you are interested though, these are Doji Akibieden, Moto Gyatso, and Daidoji Sakura, and they have a need for...obscure goods and information."

"This is Lin Ru-Fang,"
she says, introducing the ronin, "he specializes in the gathering of difficult to procure goods, and comes highly recommended by members of the Yasuki, Yoritomo, Daidoji, and Kasuga.  Perhaps he may be able to aid you in your investigations or preparations for the coming conflict?"
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 2 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Sun 7 Dec 2008
at 09:44
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Ru-Fang turns towards those that the Miya indicates, looking them over appraisingly with a wide smile. It is not often he sees a Moto, although he has been compared to one on multiple occassions. He ponders only briefly what one might be doing in the company of a couple of the powder blue clan... swan clan was it?...

However, after taking in the most outlandish of the three companions, he turned his attention towards the one he gleaned was the leader-- or at least the one holding the strings of the money purse-- of the group, Daidoji Sakura.

"Ah, it is a pleasure to make your aquintance," he declared in a booming, friendly voice, "Any friend of Miss Shiko is certainly a friend of mine-- and a Daidoji too?... I've always known your family to be quite discerning and insightful, I trust even their lovely daughters are no different?..."

He gave a brief chuckle as though he had told some strange joke before assuring her with a lecherous grin, "Trust me, my dear, there is little that resides in this empire or beyond that I cannot find for you-- for a nominal finder's fee."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 327 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Fri 12 Dec 2008
at 05:19
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Sakura returned the Ronin's bow -- politely but not too politely -- before addressing him.

"Doji Akibieden-San would be the one to check with for acquisitions, unless you have a source of high-quality pure crystal weapons which we definitely need."

"As far as information goes, I have definite needs ... but we can discuss that later. I would not wish to waste Miya-Sama's time ..."

... or impinge upon her honor ...

["Swan Clan"? LOL!]
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 379 posts
Sun 14 Dec 2008
at 08:11
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"Do not worry about me, Daidoji-san," Miya Shiko smiles, "though it is true that I have other duties to attend to.  Feel free to take your leave with my thanks for the information."

"You as well, Lin-san, compensation will be arranged through the normal channels."


***

"Your complement is too great, Kedo-san," the Seppun bows, "there is little risk to Miya-sama's life here and thus little to my own.  I have no doubt that the threat that you mentioned is real, though I have a feeling that you will be in far more danger from it than either Miya-sama or myself."
Kedo
 player, 199 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sun 14 Dec 2008
at 11:09
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 And naturally that sets Kedo off again, the grey-clad wanderer returning the gesture in slightly greater measure with mechanical timing that would, to an onlooker not used to punctuating conversations with bowing, probably be more than a little bit ridiculous.

 "I merely repeat what is truly said." he remarks simply, before admitting with a slightly rueful expression the truth of the guards other observation, "Such is the long road." he observes, not with a modest amount of understatement regarding his likely future peril before settling in to wait for his ward - it being rather unconscionable to distract the Seppun from their duty any longer.
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 3 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Wed 17 Dec 2008
at 01:45
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Ru-Fang had to consider carefully the proposition that was prevented. "Crystal... weapons...?" he questioned carefully. He could not imagine why one would ever want weapons made of crystal. Sure, they might be pretty and sparkly, they might even be sharper than blades if cut correctly-- but they'd be extremely fragile and would almost surely break upon first use.

"Well," he begins thoughtfully while weighing over in his mind where he might be able to procure such a thing, "I could get ahold of crystal for you," in itself no easy task. Rokugan was almost devoid of the substance and so the best places to get crystal were from the Shadowlands or from traders from the Ivory Kingdoms or other foreign lands.

Still, that's where his advantage came in. He was not expected to have honor, stick to the traditions or obey the superstitions. He was an outsider and as an outsider he had no problem sociopathically violating everything it meant to be a samurai, "Long as you don't ask where it came from. If you want to make weapons from that crystal, that I'll need to leave in your hands."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 328 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Wed 17 Dec 2008
at 05:45
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"In that case" Sakura replied to Lin Ru-Fang with a sad smile, "we shall have to stick with the information. The city is sealed, and we have already procured all that we know of that is within."

She took another sip of her tea, thinking about what to say to the Imperial. Finally, she leaned forward and spoke in a very low tone.

"Shiko-Chama ..."

This alone would say volumes -- it was something she had not called the herald since their harrowing journey to the city, a time that seemed ages ago -- and was probably inappropriate here. Yet she did it anyway.

"it is my job to worry about you."

She did not allow much time for response. She simply stood and bowed to the Miharu.

[Assuming that she is dismissed, quite likely from what I see, she'll head directly out front for a brief conversation with Kedo & co. Then she'll head directly to the prison where the "assassin" is being held.]
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 382 posts
Wed 17 Dec 2008
at 05:51
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Outside Miya Shiko's office...

OOC:  just a room change to facilitate transition from conversation with Shisha to eachother ^_^
PCs in attendance:  Daidoji Sakura, Kedo, Moto Gyatso, Lin Ru-Fang, and Doji Akibeiden

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:52, Wed 17 Dec 2008.

Daidoji Sakura
 player, 329 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Wed 17 Dec 2008
at 06:02
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"Kedo-Kun" Sakura's lilt came. It had been long enough that Kedo had probably learned that this particular lit was intended to cover the request for a serious conversation. "A word with you please."

"If you'll pardon us, it shall only take a minute."

[Once alone ...]

Sakura's intense gaze drilled into her Yojimbo.

"A wise man once told me that the Truth of the Mountain is not the same as the Truth of the Valley."

Apparently she had heard.

"Now I must know if you are willing to learn the truth of the Valley."

"I do not have time to argue honor anymore. I must do some things that will not sit well with your traditions of honor -- such is the job of the Daidoji. Are you willing to travel with me into the shadows? If not, then I must reassign you where you will do the most good."

It would undoubtedly prove to be a critical decision ...
Kedo
 player, 200 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 17 Dec 2008
at 12:28
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 Making appropriate apologies to the guardsmen - couched in a fashion which make them more about having disturbed their vigil in the first place than the departure of a mere Ronin, thus neatly divesting them of any responsibility for the slumming they've been indulged in for the past few minutes, Kedo once more glides comfortably along at Sakura's side, willfully incurious about what transpired between her and the Imperial Representative...

 And when she indicates the need to speak privately with him he bows slightly to the others and moves on again, until she signals the stop and once more indulges in the cryptic commentary that is her delight - though at least she's finally starting to bring to mind the simplest rudiments of the Tao in the process.

 First things first...

 "There is a misapprehension to address Sakura-san. I agreed to ward you from such perils as your tasks presented, but when I pass you once more into the care of your family then once more will the waves carry me." he explains gently, carefully laying out the very least of what Sakura got herself into when picking out a Dragon for a bodyguard, and perhaps in the process underlining her 'fortune' at his being available to take up his post once more after her earlier dismissal - though life would probably have been a great deal less complicated had she not.

 But that is practically a side-issue compared to the matter of truth... and it's time to draw out an extended metaphor for the purposes of education. "Honour is not tradition. It is the metal that remains when all else is burned from a man. For some it is inflexible like iron, strong but easily shattered and given to rust when not tested and care for. For others it is gold - soft and malleable, shining prettily but with no use other than to shine. Only rarely is it tested in the fires, hammered and drawn into steel."

 "What I consider honour is different from a Scorpion or a Lion, a Crab or a Crane. The world does not exist in pure, stark shades to guide us - I distrust secrets, abhor lies, despise deception and yet I wear gray armour, advocated diplomacy over the sword and would blind whole armies to the truth of their state rather than seem them drawn into battle." - as ever he's impassive and calm of course, but someone as skilled as Sakura can see the sincerity in the young swordsman, all but feel the conviction burning behind his eyes - "But each situation must be judged with an open mind and honest heart. If I were to walk the shadows with you, I could make no promise about where I would feel it necessary to carry a light."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 330 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Wed 17 Dec 2008
at 21:49
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"Those who walk in shadows must carry their own light" she replied softly, "none-the-less the world that I will now be forced to walk in is filled with Lies, Deceptions, and and Secrets."

"You have no experience in such a world, just as I have little experience in a world such as yours ..."

"... as I told you before, I do not hire Ronin to be discarded at my whims. When I brought you on as my Yojimbo, I took responsibility for you -- for better or worse."

"Better" and "worse" were, of course subjective.

"None-the-less, if you cannot keep your light hidden when I deem it necessary, I cannot have you as my Yojimbo. However, neither will I cast you to the waves once again."

"You are now my Karo. You will assist me with the Lord of this city and his Bushi."

There was no "if" to that statement ...
Kedo
 player, 201 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Thu 18 Dec 2008
at 07:15
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 Now there is an interesting turn of events.

 The development that he can no longer serve as an effective Yojimbo is of course completely appropriate - Kedo is, quite simply unwilling to subjugate his own sense of what is honourable to that of Sakura given that he knows full well that she would not have asked the questions she has unless she knew, full well, that she would ask him at some point to approve of or perform an act he would find, if not distasteful, outright repellant.

 But to be offered the position of advisor to a magistrate (a Karo tends to serve someone a tad more exalted, but Sakura would not have chosen the word lightly and there is no doubt hidden meaning to be teased from it)...

 "Then from the moment I return you to your family I will be your yojimbo no more, and will give much thought to your offer." - it's not the most delicate way to remind the Daidoji of the limits of her authority (she could readily have Kedo killed of course, but it's a little more difficult to force someone to provide wisdom on tap), but it does have the benefit of revealing to her courtier-trained perceptions that he's not refusing - "It seems to me that I have yet to learn what the waves carried me here to discover."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 331 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 18 Dec 2008
at 07:41
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"We have gone well past that point, Kedo-Kun" Sakura replied firmly. "The Daidoji -- or at least someone well placed within that family -- are the problem."

Sakura had not told her Yojimbo everything she knew, that much was clear.

"And what happens when a family like the Daidoji goes rogue? Or even just someone 'well placed' within that family? What if the problem is larger -- much larger?"

"As we just saw, even the Son of Heaven can be overcome. I will not take that chance. It won't happen again."

"Not on my watch."

"I cannot let you go ... yet I cannot have you as my Yojimbo for some of what lies ahead. And I cannot have my own family guard me."

Partially true -- she could not have the Daidoji guard her. The Shosuro was a different matter ...

"This is more important than both of us. I must have someone that I can trust -- and someone with your skills -- backing me up."

She paused for only a moment longer.

"My soft heart ends where my duty begins -- this is no 'honor' or 'great gift' that I offer you. Your life will be just as forfeit as mine ..."

'There is no failure -- only success or death.'

This message was last edited by the player at 07:43, Thu 18 Dec 2008.

Kedo
 player, 203 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sat 3 Jan 2009
at 03:15
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 "There is one Daidoji that is not under question." replies Kedo sinmply, his eyes unexcited and his manner calm as though a scholar delivering a lesson, though there is something in the stress of his words that suggests more than one level of meaning being conveyed here, "And where there is one there may well be more."

 Shrugging very slightly to convey a measure of disinterest in the fine details of this thought however, he goes on "But that is not relevent to my obligations. I am your Yojimbo until I return you to the safety of the Daidoji. If others do not do all that they might - are not all that they should be, there is even greater reason to hold tightly to the truth that lies behind honour, lest we join them unknowingly."

 "In the end, I will follow the path that is before me. This city remains under threat from without as well as within. There are Lion armies, Crane posing as bandits, killers posing as Scorpions, Scorpions posing as..." - he smiles wryly, almost boyishly, shaking his head as he lets his words trail away into thoughtful silence that lingers for a moment before he finishes - "When my obligation to you is ended I will not depart the city, but it is no small thing to permit you to take a ronin advisor and I shall need to think deeply upon it."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 334 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Mon 5 Jan 2009
at 03:01
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Sakura thought for a moment. She really couldn't do what she needed to do -- most of it at any rate -- with Kedo around. It simply would not do. And his "slip", most certainly not accidental, did not go unnoticed by her. She would, of course, pretend not to but even so it was something that she could not afford to ignore in total.

Nonetheless there were some things that she could do.

Sakura let the frown, which was meant for Kedo alone, to pass from her lips before she turned around and returned to the main group.

"Lin Ru-Fang-San" she said to the merchant, "would you come with me please?"

She then bowed properly to Akibieden. He would never understand what she needed to do, though he would find out at least one thing. That much must be anticipated.

"Do not be overly concerned with rumors. We must each serve the Clan in the way that we are chosen by the Kami to serve."
Kedo
 player, 204 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 5 Jan 2009
at 07:38
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation

 Slips happen. It's more mannerly to effect not to notice them than to track down each and every flaw in those around you. Bowing slightly, Kedo moves to follow Sakura once more (and will probably continue to do so until they run into some serious Daidoji sorts he can hand off the obligation to), but diplomatically he remains outside ready conversational distance, in order that the ronin and the Crane may speak together freely in hushed voices.

[Private to GM:  Yes, I know Kedo doesn't know what Sakura is and no, I'm not pretending he does either. But it's fun to mess with her a little from time to time and since there's always a scorpion pretending to be something, tailing off a sentence like that is... well, put it this way. If Rokugan were to have modern-day surveillance technology, I imagine Dragons as the sort of people who would, every now and then, say to an empty room 'I know you're listening' just for the tiny percentage of times it would really freak the hell out of eavesdroppers. ^_-]
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 5 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Fri 16 Jan 2009
at 06:29
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
Lin Ru-Fang had learned long ago not to impede too far into other's matters in the world of Rokugan. The samurai culture here liked to keep secrets and tended to kill people with very little warning or reason when they felt their secrets were threatened. He'd made his way in the land primarily by being far more cozy with the common folk than any normal samurai or ronin ever would, or perhaps could, and by those families that tended to accept a far wider variety of behaviors, acts and mannerisms from their members than others would by never questioning or intruding upon them, but happily indulging their whims.

Having been abandoned almost immediately by the Daidoji who seemed doubtful of his ability to meet her demands, he'd already gone off by himself. Yet, he was not difficult to locate for he had not gone far. He was found down the hall, turning his charms and tales of adventures towards a young, fairly average servant woman who seemed delighted, if a bit akward, to be acknowledged rather than being treated as invisible or part of the scenery as she had been for most of her life.

"And I took a trip through the Shinomen forest last week," he explained to her, "I hear there are foxes there that can transform into beautiful women. Don't think I've ever seen one, but..." he then peered at the young woman closely before questioning, "Well, you don't happen turn into a fox at night, do you?"

When he heard his name called, the merchant's ears seemed to perk up a bit and he allowed the servant to escape without a direct answer as he turned towards what sounded like the promise of money to be had, "Ah, Daidoji-san!" he called to her with delight, "Was there something I could help you with afterall?"
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 336 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Fri 23 Jan 2009
at 04:42
Re: Chapter 5 - Imperial Dispensation
"Ah, yes" Sakura replied, slightly confused. She had, after all, only walked a few feet away for a private consultation with Kedo.

"I have ... needs. Please come with me ...."

With that, she turned and began her journey. She would be dead soon enough, there was no point in rushing it along ...

[Sakura wants to go to where the "assassain" is being held for a "brief" conversation. If he is not there, dead, whatever, then she will just "move on" for a two-way conversation with Lin Ru-Fang.

Oh, Sakura is still convinced that she will be dead quite soon ...]
[Private to Kaze no Kage: She will also need a few minutes alone at some point ...]