Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: archive 0
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 388 posts
Fri 23 Jan 2009
at 18:04
Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
The holding cells for Toshi Ranbo are a procedural nightmare.  First, there is some confusion as to who is being brought to be detained:

"All right, what's the ronin's name and what charges are you bringing against him?"
"What?  This ronin was in collusion with this Unicorn to smuggle cups into our city?"
"The Lion are sending in ronin spies to open our gates?"
"This ronin was one of the attackers in the bathhouse?"


Then there are some difficulties with getting the prisoners released into your custody:

"You're who?  With what rank?  Here to do what?"
"Didn't some Daidoji already come to interrogate these people?"
"The Lion are attacking now and you need all hands on the walls?  But who's going to guard the prisoners?"
"You want which prisoners again?"


Finally, after much wrangling, you manage to get access to the prisoners:

"They're in cell twelve, if you want to take them out to interrogate them individually, room sixteen is open."

OOC:  make an awareness/etiquette check, the bureaucracy emphasis applies, to see if you got any information out of the bureaucratic wrangling ^_^
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 337 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Fri 23 Jan 2009
at 23:04
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
[How many of the "assassains" were captured? I thought that there was only one?

Probably made it. 18:02, Today: Daidoji Sakura rolled 30 using 6d10, dropping the 2 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 3,5,(10+5)15,3,2,7. Awareness/Etiquette.
1]

Kaze no Kage
 GM, 389 posts
Sat 24 Jan 2009
at 22:44
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
OOC:  there was only one assassin captured, but they don't keep their prisoners isolated from each other.  All the guards know is that you want someone in cell twelve--these guys aren't samurai, they're barely competent enough to be ashigaru.
[Private to Daidoji Sakura: the guards are extremely nervous--even more than would be expected given an immanent seige; a high ranking samurai--probably a Daidoji--was here at some point and then left, with orders not to mention their presence]
Kedo
 player, 206 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sun 25 Jan 2009
at 00:46
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 Kedo accompanies Sakura at a discrete distance, maintaining his accustomed watchfulness over her until such time as the recent change in their relationship can be formalised by his handing her over to competent Daidoji guards - even into the dungeon depths where few of the guards are used to even seeing a Ronin unbruised, let alone one carrying a daisho and walking with the quiet, unspoken confidence of a battle-tested Bushi.

 But he still avoids having too much to do with the negotiation process - not only is Sakura far better at it than he is, she's a whole lot less likely to end up having to choose between a roomful of dead guardsmen or a space in a cell if she puts a foot wrong.
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 7 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Sun 25 Jan 2009
at 01:21
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
As a general rule, the "ronin" Lin Ru-Fang did his best to stay about as far away from the prisons as possible. He regularly activities in Rokugan were one that an high, honorable samurai would have been locked up for long ago. It was only by being a person that people expected to act lowly coupled with the rational need for such a person so that good samurai could get their business done without shaming their families that he'd managed to remain safe and free.

The number of ronin locked up here only confirmed that he was indeed not at all alone in such endeavors. It seemed as though 'ronin' and 'criminal' were fairly equitable terms in this land. Nonetheless, following the beautiful Daidoji seemed to promise a profit and so he made no complaint following her here as well. He kept, what must seem at this point, uncharacteristically quiet around the guards. Although he was willing to chat up with an apparent openness and forwardness quite uncharacteristic of Rokuganians every person from an Imperial family member to a lowly hennin, he allowed Sakura to take the lead and deal with these soldiers.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 338 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Sun 25 Jan 2009
at 03:51
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Daidoji Sakura walked into the room that had been indicated and looked around. She wanted to find the "assassin", of course, but she also wanted to look for other clues.

Too many webs were being woven.

Still, she had a purpose here. It was quite fortunate that the others had gotten away ... she hoped.

[If she finds him, she will order him to come with her.]
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 391 posts
Sun 25 Jan 2009
at 22:44
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
The prison cells of Toshi Ranbo are not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but neither are they draconian torture chambers either.  The walls are stone with manacled chains, but the mats are tatami and the chains are long enough for the prisoners to sit, lay down, or even pace a short distance.  Unfortunately, the chains are also long enough to strangle the prisoners, and it comes as little surprise to Daidoji Sakura, at least, that all of the prisoners in the cell--three in all, including the captured assassin and two petty thieves-- have been slain with their own chains.

In the distance you hear the footsteps of an approaching person, a young Kakita bushi by the looks of him--just past gemppuku.

[Private to Kakita Ichiro: Your own entrance into the prison complex is relatively unchallenged--no need to sign out or locate any prisoners, no paperwork generated for the guards, no problems entering.  Finding the motley collection of samurai is simple enough as they seem clustered around a single cell.]

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:20, Mon 26 Jan 2009.

Daidoji Sakura
 player, 339 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Mon 26 Jan 2009
at 00:29
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Sakura approached the assassin's body and, stooping down begun to examine it carefully. She did her best, of course, to avoid touching it -- she had no time for the cleansing procedures that would have been required afterwards -- but she got as close as she could otherwise. She looked for signs of struggle -- or of seppuku.

"What happened here?" she asked the other prisoners, still examining the body.

[She's probably gonna need a couple rolls for this, ne?]
[Private to Kaze no Kage: I suppose it's too late to spend those 5 XP I have saved up on Investigation?  *grins*]
Kedo
 player, 207 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 26 Jan 2009
at 01:59
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 Having gone to some moderate lengths to take the assassin in question alive - and more, to have recommended at the time of his capture that considerable efforts be taken to ensure that he live long enough to answer questions, Kedo might well be expected to show some slight irritation at the failure of the Crane to keep him alive.

 But instead there is simply a slight raising of one brow and a soft sigh of acknowledgement, as though what has happened here was no more than he might have expected.

 Leaving Sakura to study the killer he instead looks for a moment at the two thieves, trying to determine whether the trio were simply poisoned by a cunning hand, or whether a less subtle killer had managed to penetrate the depths of the fortress.

 ---

01:57, Today: Kedo rolled 25 using 6d10, dropping the 3 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 9,2,9,5,7,1. Looking curiously at the cell.
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 10 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Mon 26 Jan 2009
at 05:28
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Coming upon such a grisely sight was one to make most men's stomach churn. Ru-Fang was no exception and his face paled a bit at the three prisoners who seem to have been killed using their own chains. He knew that few made it out Rokugani prisons and believed he understood the political nature behind such-- but he still wasn't expecting this.

And yet, he felt he had to say... well... something. Something to break the heaviness, the tension, the tragedy. To laugh at the darkness of the world before it crept into one's heart and began to eat them alive from within. The best thing Ru-Fang could come up with, however, was to lean in towards Kedo and ask him in a hushed voice, "Is the Peacock clan always so good at interrogating prisoners?"
Kakita Ichiro
 player, 2 posts
Mon 26 Jan 2009
at 08:02
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"Usually we're even better, I hear some criminal's die even before they reach the cells at all." The new arrival says with a well timed and appropriate bow to the assembled group as a whole, "I apologize for the rudness of my arrival, I was sent to guard the safety of an important emissary of the Unicorn Clan and was told he would be here..." Looking up from his bow Ichiro catches sight of the corpse hanging from its own bindings.  Shock and disgust play over his face but only briefly before he picks the Moto he'd been sent to guard out of the crowd, "Moto Gyatso-sama?  I am Kakita Ichiro of the Kakita Bushi School, I've been assigned as your Yojimbo."

[Private to Kaze no Kage: do you need me to make any kind of etiquette roll to not become sickened at the sight of the dead like that or anything?]
Moto Gyatso
 player, 55 posts
Mon 26 Jan 2009
at 19:03
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Mostly silent in the prison, whether due to discomfort with the setup or just a general lack of anything to say, Gyatso reacted much as the others did at the sight of the body in the cell, surprise and a sign of shock on his face. More than that though he seemed annoyed. With a muttered sigh he glanced to the others still around.
"Fine. Another lead run down. Looks like we'll need to take even more caution from here on inwards."
Seeing the Kakita approaching them Gyatso stepped to one side to make room should he be there to join them. When the man actually proclaimed his purpose for being there the Unicorn could not suppress an slight snort, not quite of laughter but clearly he was surprised. Composing himself Gyatso adopted a more serious expression and shook his head firmly.
"A yojimbo? I believe there's some error there. I've no need or wish for a bodyguard. I'm sure you are a pleasent and capable individual but I'm not interested in having someone feel responsible for me and my actions."
Kakita Ichiro
 player, 4 posts
Mon 26 Jan 2009
at 22:02
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
At Gyatso's rebuff Ichiro bowed lower and held it longer talking this time without looking up from the ground, "I understand your feelings Moto-sama but never the less I have been assigned to guard your person in these most dangerous times.  To refuse to take me as your yojimbo would shame not only myself but my sensei, my family and my lord for putting their trust in me."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 393 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2009
at 04:12
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
OOC:  okay, just to avoid confusion, all three prisoners in the cell have clearly been strangled by their own chains.  Feel free to edit your posts or not as you see fit ^_^

[Private to Kakita Ichiro: no need to make a roll for that, you're young, but not young enough that death would be a stranger to you--especially not after the carnage of the Clan War]
[Private to Moto Gyatso: random point, though you're probably already aware of it, court shugenja are routinely assigned yojimbo to handle challenges and such as most shugenja are sworn not to take up the arms of a bushi.  Generally the yojimbo are of their own Clan or an allied Clan, but given that you don't have one of your own and the Crane have basically drafted you into their service without even telling your daimyo, they're pretty much obligated to keep you alive any way they can ^_^]
[Private to Kedo: whoever did the deed was obviously very strong and not adverse to executing helpless prisoners.  equally obvious is the fact that no one questioned their being there--likely they were high ranking members of the Crane Clan]
Kedo
 player, 208 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 27 Jan 2009
at 15:36
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 "Someone had this mans final answer." remarks Kedo softly as he uses his hand - never close enough to touch the dead, polluted flesh - to indicate the ligature marks on the throats of both prisoners, then the assassin after them, "They were strangled with their own chains by a man or men of considerable strength." he observes thoughtfully before looking up at the newcomer for the first time, his eyes automatically passing over Ichiro's arms before the Ronin looks up to meet his eyes, "And whomever it was must have been able to pass as Crane - whether one with rank and authority themselves or bearing the authority of such a person."

 Rising he steps back from the corpses, nostrils twitching at the sewage-stench of death in a confined space and wishing - not for the first time this morning - that his bathing had not been interrupted by a whirlwind of blood and steel (for someone as fastidious as Kedo, having flecks of dried blood still in his hair is almost unbearable), "Questions should be put to the guards of this place, and to discover what became of the four men Doji Akibieden ordered place upon this killer at all times."

 Ah yes, details - Kedo's always been very good at details.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 341 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Thu 29 Jan 2009
at 00:07
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"If you'll pardon the intrusion, Moto-San" Sakura said, rising from her position and withdrawing from the bodies, "I believe that there is a need -- but not what you are thinking."

"We have seen that you are more than capable in battle" she continued, looking at the Unicorn, "but with Kakita-San at your side you will not be challenged by our own. Thus you can wander about freely, investigating as needed."

"No Crane would foolishly challenge the honor of one of our Duelists, thus his testimony could both avoid bloodshed and open doors."

"Kakita-San" she said, turning to the Crane, "Moto-San is a very important member of my investigative team. We are searching for an enemy of which he may be the single best expert."

"Yoroshiku-Onegaishimasu*" she added with a polite bow.

[Usually translated as "pleased to meet you" or some similar, the context here is "I'm trusting you with someone important to me".]
Moto Gyatso
 player, 57 posts
Thu 29 Jan 2009
at 13:39
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Sighing in evident aggravation Gyatso dropped the pretense of necessary courtesy and jerked his head in acknowledgement to Ichiro. "Get p please. I've little to no interest in people bowing to me as anything other the polite necessity." The Unicorn was growing noticeably more aggravated now, possibly due to the potential leads dying as much as this latest matter. "I, Moto Gyatso of the Unicorn clan, humbly thank the Crane for their concern about my wellbeing and greatfully accept their gracious offer of Kakita Ichiro expertise in safeguarding myself. There, will that meet everyone's standards for honour and appropriate behaviour?"

Shaking his head he glanced briefly at Sakura and grunted in annoyance. "I do not know about most knowledgeable about this matter. Based off the earlier conversation we had I suspect only two people have enough knowledge to combat this enemy. And one of them has been off on their own for some time now. Any suggestions about what avenue of exploration to follow with this one evidently of no use to us?"
Kakita Ichiro
 player, 6 posts
 Thats most interesting,
 do you play Shogi?
Thu 29 Jan 2009
at 14:20
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Satisfied that he had filled his duty Ichiro stood upright from his bow before returning Sakura's in a manner appropriate to his station, "Thank you Daidoji-sama, I look forward to the chance to fulfill my duty and bring honor to my clan."

Turning back to his charge Ichiro bows slightly again before talking, "I believe the ronin-san's idea to be the most fruitful right now.  We should question the guards to see who besides ourselves has been down here today.  I can't imagine many would find reason to visit so the list shouldn't be that long."
Moto Gyatso
 player, 58 posts
Thu 29 Jan 2009
at 22:12
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"No disputes with that one. Let's see if the guard has those details." Glancing to the others Gyatso waited patiently for them all to be off. No way was he going to ask the guards himself when these folk with actual authority were here.

[Private to GM: OC - And as soon as my new bodyguard ain't watching I'm using Death's Gaze to check him for the taint/Lying Darkness. Shapeshifting beggers that they are.]
Kedo
 player, 209 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Fri 30 Jan 2009
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days

 A faint smile of pleased surprise dances across Kedos features when Kakita Ichiro proves conclusively that someone's been listening and the young Crane swordsman is offered a slight bow of thankful acknowledgement - one that will no doubt become deeper once the group is somewhere better suited to introductions than this hellish pit.

 Once more he falls into the back of the group and, once it starts moving drifts along in the wake of his betters, watching over their safety and - perhaps as importantly - making sure that no stab-happy guardsman or hair-trigger wandering Crane made nervous by the talk of siege and assassins should suddenly come across a Ronin in the corridors and do what comes naturally.
Daidoji Sakura
 player, 342 posts
 Crane Clan Shugenja
 Beautiful and Seductive
Fri 30 Jan 2009
at 04:55
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"Most certainly" Sakura replied, "but ... in the right fashion."

Sakura moved to where the Ashigaru were waiting. This time she was not quite so polite as normal, an important detail for the questioning that was to come. She turned to the lead Ashigaru.

"How long have you been here?" she barked her question.

There should be no doubt that trouble was afoot.
Lin Ru-Fang
 player, 11 posts
 Traveling Merchant
 I'll buy and sell you!
Fri 30 Jan 2009
at 07:26
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
Ru-Fang could not help but feel it was a bit odd to see these samurai doing greetings and debates in the middle of a dungeon while standing above the bodies of those who they were apparently supposed to question. These Rokugani samurai were a strange lot, deathly afraid to even touch dead flesh to the point that they waste perfectly good weapons and equipment and banish those who are involved in the necessary duties of handling dead bodies from the society entirely. And yet, here they were disrespecting the dead, even dead assassins, by holding a casual conversation above their bodies.

Still, he'd learned long ago learned to bite his tongue when it came to questioning such practices directly. Instead he folded his hand together before himself and gave a slight bow to the bodies as he made a silent prayer that their souls would safely find a passage to their proper places in the next life. Whatever acts they may have committed in life, there was no need to hold a grudge against the dead. Besides, he knew from example that begrudging the past only led to a troubled present and future.

He turned back slowly after rising up and looking over the newly arrived Crane clan member. He approached slowly before speaking up in a pleasant enough voice, "I must apologize, Kakita-san, for you have found us as a difficult place and time. Might I suggest that we continue pleasantries at a place less... troubled?" He did his best to come off as polite, hoping that the young samurai, and perhaps the others as well, could understand his being uncomfortable around recently fallen men whose body-bound spirits were not being properly attended to and whose souls were likely still close at hand.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 395 posts
Fri 30 Jan 2009
at 19:41
Re: Chapter 5 - Long Dark Days
"T-t-two days, Sama," the Ashigaru stutters in fear.

[Private to Moto Gyatso: there's no sign of Lying Darkness or other taint in your new Yojimbo]

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:09, Sat 31 Jan 2009.

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 ^_^