Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: archive 0
Kakita Ichiro
 player, 7 posts
 Thats most interesting,
 do you play Shogi?
Sat 31 Jan 2009
at 04:47
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Ichiro's eyes flit quickly over Lin Ru-Fang's clothing in an attempt to place his family or clan or at least his station in the Celestial Order.  Finding no clues the boy simply gives a small smile and short bow of acquiescence but doesn't say a word instead choosing to keep pace with Moto Gyatso always staying within a pace or two of the man even when he hangs back from the guards.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 344 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Sat 31 Jan 2009
at 14:19
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"Who else has seen the prisoner? Where are the Samurai that were ordered to guard the prisoner?"
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 396 posts
Wed 4 Feb 2009
at 02:41
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"D-daidoji Ryu-sama came w-with D-daidoji T-tokagero-sama," the guard stutters, "Ryu-sama ordered the guards to come with him for their assignments, w-while Tokagero-sama went to question s-some p-p-prisoners i-i-in cell s-sevent-teen..."
Kedo
 player, 210 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 4 Feb 2009
at 03:19
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 Kedo glances sidelong for a moment at Sakura, as though measuring the effect of these little revelations upon her assessment of the situation, trying to place the names 'Daidoji Ryu' and 'Daidoji Tokagero' in his growing mental map of who should and should not be held in suspicion - or rather who should and who should definitely given some of the paranoia roaming around the city just now.
Moto Gyatso
 player, 59 posts
Wed 4 Feb 2009
at 09:49
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"Have the guards returned since then?" Gyatso gave no signs of annoyance with the guard although he was finding the man's nervousness somewhat grating. Just how harshly did the Crane deal with errors like this?
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 345 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 5 Feb 2009
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Sakura waited for the guards to answer Gyatso's question before her own reply.

"I see" she said, obviously somewhat placated. A bit too obvious, perhaps, for those that knew her. "Well that does change matters, then, doesn't it."

"I shall return shortly. Meanwhile, please send for the Eta. The prisoners are dead."

[Sakura will return to the cell to perform the Rokugani equivalent of "Last Rites". She'll also check (double-check?) for signs of Shadow involvement.]
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 397 posts
Sat 7 Feb 2009
at 19:33
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"N-no Sama," the guard answers Moto Gyatso, "you are the first visitors since Daidoji Ryu left.

"Yes, Sama,"
he says, relieved to do something normal on this abnormal day, "immediately."

Daidoji Sakura returns to the cell and does her spiritual duty.

[Private to Daidoji Sakura: though the trace of Nothing taint is far too weak for Shadow magic to have been used, someone or something tainted by the Lying Darkness was present recently]
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 346 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Sun 8 Feb 2009
at 01:23
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
After she was finished, Sakura returned to the area that the others were.

"Gyatso-San" she said politely, "I will wait for you outside."

She then turned and left the area, to a spot close to the prison's exit. The sunlight beat down on her softly, reassuring in these troubled times.

'Mother*' she prayed, 'we have a problem ...'

[This refers to Lady Sun]
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 12 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Sun 8 Feb 2009
at 11:36
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Well before Sakura was able to return from doing her spiritual duties, Ru-Fang, having been brushed off by the young, brash, fresh samurai, had already made his way out of the prison and put some good distance between himself and the dead. What little respect he seemed to hold for the typical celestial order of Rokugani society, it seemed that such a void was filled by an equally superstitious fear of ghosts. But then, perhaps it wasn't all superstition-- those who died violent deaths, particularly at their own hands, did seem to tend to end up as horrors that existed only to spread their discontentment. Hopefully the shugenja's duty had put to a quick end any chance of that happening with the prisoners in the cell.

So as Sakura exited the prison out into the warm, bright sunlight, the strange traveling merchant was waiting there smoking... well, it would probably be best not to know exactly what... from a pipe to calm himself. He turned his head to look over towards the shugenja and took in a deep drawl before pulling the pipe from his mouth and letting out the smoke slowly. Only then did he choose to speak up to alert her to his presence, "You seem troubled, Lady Daidoji. I'd reckon your carrying too big of a load on your shoulders."

He paused to set his pipe aside before continuing in an amused tone, "We just met, but, you know... I find sometimes it is easier to tell a stranger one's troubles than it is to telling someone much closer. That was you don't have to worry about affecting your current relationships, about people's view of you shifting. Take a random hemin or someone like me... our opinion and word doesn't much matter in this world. So you'd be free to say whatever's on your mind and unburden yourself and it won't ever go any further than that."
Moto Gyatso
 player, 60 posts
Sun 8 Feb 2009
at 18:29
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"Right. So the guards are still missing . Where is Daidoki Ryu's home then? We will need to ask him some questions. And almost certainly Tokagero also." Evidently in no temperment to discuss much more Gyatso wanted to get this matter dealt with. He refrained from actually snapping at the man but his tone was growing notably more annoyed.
Kedo
 player, 211 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 9 Feb 2009
at 02:47
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 Since he has yet to formally turn Sakura over to her family for protection, Kedo moves to follow the magistrate as she steps into the sun, first offering both Moto Gyatso and his youthful Crane protector a respectful bow apiece and then drifting out into the sun, where almost without thinking about he he takes up a position delicately judged to render him able to be at her side in a heartbeat or so without actually being so close as to interfere with any conversations she might wish to have.

 Lin Ru-Fang on the other hand appears to be attempting to start one of those conversations, which is to Kedo's mind rather disgracefully forward of the nondescript little 'merchant' and prompts a cool, dissuading glare to settle upon him until and unless such time as Sakura should decide what she wants done about the fellow.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 347 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Mon 9 Feb 2009
at 03:07
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Sakura chuckled at the Ronin's offer.

"That would be quite ... impossible" she finally replied, How much do you know of the Daidoji and their duties?"
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 13 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Tue 10 Feb 2009
at 09:07
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
The merchant raised his hand and stroked his beard slowly as he hummed softly, "The Daidoji?..." he questions of himself before offering up what information he has, which, of course, is what would be useful to someone looking at the family from an economic perspective, "As I recall, your family's duty is to protect your clan, the richest of all the clans, even though it is sandwhiched between two of the three great military powers in the land... traditionally this has not been a difficult role for all you needed to do was delay until the Emperor stepped in and dealt with the matter. With the dynasty shift, that duty has become overwhelmingly difficult as your family has neither the men nor weapons to be able to resist a full-out assualt by your neighbors... who have very little reason not to do just that."

He pauses for a moment as though considering something in his own experience, something quite close to his own past, "Well, that is unless your clan can make itself invaluably useful by providing something for those other clans that they could not provide nearly as well for themselves... and as long as they have other rivals who would be certain to take advantage of their raiding your clan to take more from them than they could possibly gain." It seems he does have a bit of a tactical mind to him, at least a merchant's tactic... create a need in your customer for yourself and they'll never turn on you. Of course, although such things could work between individuals and even families, it was a bit more difficult when one considered how self-sustaining and contained the clans tended to be.

Yet, while the merchant could understand what would be troubling a Daidoji in the larger picture of the Empire as a whole, he did find some trouble fitting that upon the current situation, "But, that aside-- am I to believe that ronin prisoners committing suicide had anything to do with the grand scale war plans Tiger and Beetle clans?" One would suppose by 'Tiger' he means 'Lion' which by process of elmination suggests he must mean either the Crab or the Scorpion by 'Beetle'.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 348 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 12 Feb 2009
at 03:42
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Sakura paused for a long moment before finally answering the question.

"The did not commit suicide" she finally answered, "they were murdered. The main prisoner -- the one I came to see -- because of what he knows, the other two because they saw who killed the first."

"But, yes, it is the Daidoji's duty to see to it that the Honor of the Crane does not blind them to the dishonor of others. Thus the Daidoji typically knows many things that they are not at liberty to share, regardless of how well meaning the recipient may  be."

"In any event, I find myself at a crossroads. I have an honorable warrior as my Yojimbo, something that seemed to be prudent at the time. But he is unwilling to bend from his own concepts of honor, and now I am faced with a true dilemma."

"In any event, I suspect that you will be of quite some usefulness. Shiko-Chama is quite perceptive, I am certain that she arranged our introduction for a reason."

She paused for another moment.

"Tell me, Lin Ru-Fang-San, where do you hail from?"
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 14 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Thu 12 Feb 2009
at 20:15
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Ru-Fang stroked his beard slowly again as he hummed softly, "Is that so?... Well, my family has never been very good with criminal investigation. Best to leave that to a Zhou... or Kuni... or Kitsu...ki?... ne?" he didn't seem too certain of that last one. He hadn't had enough dealings with either the Kitsu, Kitsuki or Kitsune families to manage to keep those three straight. They all seemed to like to wear gold anyway, how was anyone supposed to remember?

Of course, none of them were here now and so he supposed one was as good as another as far as this situation was concerned. He lifted his shoulders with a careless shrug before making note, "If someone killed them, then someone working inside the prison must be in on it... or was killed and replaced by the person who is, right?"

Giving a knowing grin he shakes his head slowly as he sighs slowly, almost gleefully though, "Can certainly see how one who blinds himself to half the world's nature may well make this investigation difficult to undertake."

Giving a sideways glance to Sakura he explains his origin in a sincere, but cryptic manner, "I am from the East. I hail from the same place as the Sun family." It is good to know a famous name one can drop in case of this particular inquiry, even though he is about as far from Sun Tao as a Yoritomo merchant is from a Phoenix tactician.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 349 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 12 Feb 2009
at 21:30
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"That is exactly it" Sakura continued, "from what I have seen and been able to deduce it was either one of the two heads of the Daidoji in this city or someone who was able to make themselves look like it."

"It is possible, but far less likely given the facts of the situation, that one of the assigned Samurai did it. But given the level of strength needed to do such a thing the way it was done, only someone with the strength of a Warrior could have done it."

"And that brings us back to you."

"I cannot trust much of the Daidoji here. We know that several of them were corrupted with the touch of the Lying Darkness ..."

Sakura lowered her voice before she continued.

"... and whoever killed the prisoners was similarly corrupted, though not to the same extent as a Spawn would have been."

"I need more information, and perhaps ... 'uncouth' services, from someone I can trust. I have reason to believe that Shiko-Chama introduced you to me for precisely that reason, and I intend to take advantage of that ... gift."

"Unfortunately, it may make little difference in the long run. I cannot charge those above my station ... only Testimony from their equals or superiors can convict them, shy of a confession."

["Ah, Columbo-San ... glad to see you!" ;p

I'm mostly waiting on Gyatso-San at this point, FWIW ...]

Moto Gyatso
 player, 61 posts
Fri 13 Feb 2009
at 09:20
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
OC - And I'm waiting on a guard type response.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 406 posts
Fri 13 Feb 2009
at 17:38
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
OOC:  whoops, sorry I missed your question, that was entirely my fault; I'm desperately trying to consolidate threads and I must have lost track of yours

"They both reside in the Daidoji complex, Sama," the poor guard bows, "along with most of the Daidoji Irregulars."

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:36, Fri 13 Feb 2009.

Moto Gyatso
 player, 62 posts
Mon 16 Feb 2009
at 20:40
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
OC - No worries.

"Then that is where we will be going. Thank you for your assistance." Nodding his head in a swift motion to the guard Gyatso headed out, glancing only briefly at his shadow as he went. Outside he saw where the others yet lingered and headed for them with a growing frown. Not bothering with any polite greetings he launched straight into conversation, only remaining where he was rather than walking on because he was still uncertain where to go. "It seems that the two latest suspects will be located with the other Daidoji irregulars. I recomend we seek them out quickly and speak with them. Even if our foes were just using their faces rather than replacing them we still need to find out."
Kakita Ichiro
 player, 8 posts
 Thats most interesting,
 do you play Shogi?
Wed 18 Feb 2009
at 03:18
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
As Gyatso questioned the prison guards Ichiro remained his ever present and unobtrusive shadow.  The young Kakita's diminutive form almost entirely hidden behind the Moto even as he walked from the confines of the prison to join the others already outside.

As he finished offering his observations and suggestions Ichiro spoke up from behind his charge, "Perhaps it would be best to report briefly with Doji Kasuragi.  He should be apprised of the deaths in the prison and he should know where we can find the Daidoji Irregulars I would think."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 350 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Wed 18 Feb 2009
at 14:51
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
[I'm supposed to apologize for the delay, but I'm kinda glad I did -- Ichiro's statement is far to useful to be sorry ... :D ]

Sakura waved Kedo over to join the small group. He would need to hear this ... though he probably wouldn't want to.

"Gomen Kudasai ..." she said to Ichiro with a polite bow. What he was about to hear would not be pleasant ... it might even harm his honor. But, it had to be said, and Sakura would want the young duelist to know that what she said she did not speak lightly.

"Kakita-San is correct" she said, "we must inform the Governor first ... but not just because of the deaths."

"Whoever it was that did this was tainted with the Lying Darkness, though not so much as a Shadow spawn. It could have been another like those that tried to murder the Governor, but I don't think so."

Sakura paused. Not so much for drama, but out of respect. This was not a light subject.

"I believe that both of the head Daidoji in this city have been compromised. If that is true, then the Irregulars have also become compromised."

"Now, I could be wrong" she continued, "but I doubt it. We need to verify this one way or another, and quickly. Unfortunately, the way our Legal system is set up there is very little that can be done within the system."

"It has, in essence, become the Governor's problem as he is the only one in the city with enough social standing to do something about."

This was a lie, though a polite one. It was a lie specifically designed to shield the honorable from the awful truth.

It had become Sakura's problem.

And what a problem it was. Sakura was many things, but she was not an assassin. Not a very good one at any rate. She simply did not have the skills to take out a warrior with the level of battle seasoning that those two did. And, shy of an Imperial Mandate, she could not provide testimony against them.

She didn't have the status for it.

There was a way in the back of her mind, but she hoped that she wouldn't have to do it. When properly administered, poison would take out the greatest of warriors. Even the Great Bear of the Crab Clan could be taken down, though that would take quite a bit. But such a thing was dangerous at best, and one thing would get in her way.

Kedo.

The erstwhile ronin was simply too observant. He would know what had happened and inevitably figure out who had done it. But now was not the time for such internal debates.

"Gyatso-San" Sakura continued, "are you familiar enough with the signs of the Lying Darkness to detect it in them, even if they are hiding it? If so then you should most definitely go see them, though I don't expect they will humor you. Only the Daidoji are allowed inside that area -- even Ichiro-San would not normally be allowed in."

"Shy of a direct order from the Governor, that is."

"There are a few things I must take care of immediately, but I can accompany you to the Governor first."

Lord Kuwanan had to know about this. He had to know that the Daidoji in this city may have been corrupted from their true purpose.

Her master also had to know ...

This message was last edited by the player at 14:31, Thu 19 Feb 2009.

Kedo
 player, 212 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Thu 19 Feb 2009
at 04:34
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 'Want' does not enter into Kedo's world - events unfold as they are meant to unfold and it is the duty of a soul who wishes to approach enlightenment to move through their stormy progression without allowing them to drag that soul under.

 He approaches when signalled, moving as ever with the unconscious grace of the competent swordsman to place himself within comfortable conversational range and once there he listens, wincing very slightly at the thought that the Daidoji defenders of the city might have been compromised at the highest levels - since it would make his own preoccupations difficult to say the least.

 "As Fortune would have it." he muses aloud, the capital letter dropping firmly into place even as he looks pointedly at Sakura, "I believe that upon the strength of our earlier conversation, Daidoji Ryu would be willing to extend us a brief meeting." - that would probably be the earlier meeting in which Kedo more or less took over the defence planning for the city of Toshi Ranbo from a pack of veteran Daidoji officers and left them staggering around with slack jaws - "And since I am no longer suited to serve as your Yojimbo it is only appropriate that I seek his advice upon a replacement even as I place your safety in his hands."

 A faint, wry smile passes across the Dra... the ronin's lips, "The distraction of my speaking with him on this matter should allow for the honoured Daidoji to be tested surreptitiously for the touch of this 'Darkness' if it is within your powers." - and here he turns slightly to include Moto Gyatso in his conversational arc - "And from there, decisions can be made. If untainted he can be recruited to provide access to the others whose safety you fear for. If tainted it is likely that he would seize the chance to take your 'safety' in hand rather than act precipitously, allowing us, forewarned, to counter his efforts."

 He's not a trained courtier - and he has a definite 'style' to the way he thinks - but Kedo is quite obviously a man who would have made a formidable opponent at the Winter Courts had he felt the calling.

 What sort of Shugenja he would have made had he the talent is probably best not even considered.
Moto Gyatso
 player, 63 posts
Thu 19 Feb 2009
at 11:52
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Scowling as people continued with the notions of just how bad this infestation could be Gyatso reflected on just how much he hated this aspect of facing them. The paranoia and mistrust. Without knowing who may or may not be an enermy they would be second guessing themselves and who they could trust for most of their time. So preoccupied was he with considering this that he almost missed the question asked him, a noticeable pause occurring between query and answer.
"If needs be and I have chance to observe them I can seek signs of the taint in them. However to do so will require pointed observation and assuredly if they see me they will notice."
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 351 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 19 Feb 2009
at 14:45
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Sakura nodded her understanding to Gyatso's reply.

"Then I shall have to do it" she replied somberly. "I was hoping to send you and Ichiro-San in by yourselves, but I will not risk such an incident right now."

That, of course, was why Sakura was concerned about getting Gyatso in. Herself she was not so worried about -- for a Daidoji to deny entry to another Daidoji into the Daidoji compound was practically unheard of. But Moto, even -- or perhaps especially -- accompanied by a Kakita ... that would not be so easy.

Especially under these circumstances.

"But I'm afraid that will have to be after I take care of some other business."

Sakura took a deep breath and looked around. It was a nice day, but she didn't see that.

"Let's report to the governor then."

She didn't wait for an answer.

[Off to the Governor's Mansion?]
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 413 posts
Thu 19 Feb 2009
at 23:30
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
OOC:  and on that note, please move your conversation to Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

and check the XP thread for XP ^_^