Chapter 6 - Loose Threads.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: archive 0
Kedo
 player, 277 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sat 1 Aug 2009
at 19:08
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 There are many things that might happen when an undisciplined soul violates the personal space of a skilled Bushi - the gesture is offensive enough to Rokugani culture to justify a range of responses from a challenge to the simple gripping of the wrist and twisting it just so in order to drive the interloper to his or her knees in eye-watering agony...

 ...fortunately for the Asahina (and if it should come to that, for Kedo himself who is feeling rather less impressive than he apparently looks) the ronin in question is rather self-effacing for one of his ilk, and beyond swaying gently to prevent Makuro-sama from demeaning himself through personal contact with a blood-stained warrior, he follows meekly enough after a smooth and respectful bow.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 560 posts
Mon 10 Aug 2009
at 01:56
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"There now," Asahina Makuro smiles with satisfaction, as Kedo's wounds heal and dried blood dissapates on the wind, "go on then," he says to the now uninjured ronin, turning his attention to some other bit of minutia in the bath house.
Kedo
 player, 278 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 10 Aug 2009
at 12:36
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 All of which presumably means that the Shugenja in question not only finds his scroll, but turns and offers its power to the Ronin stood nearby with a quizical expression on his face and the ability to make it really quite a bit easier or harder to successfully influence the Kami to affect him.

 But presuming it does, Kedo walks out of the curious meeting with a rather puzzled expression and promptly heads for the water where - not more than a few hours before - he was lounging in tattooed luxury, enjoying the first good soak he'd had in some weeks only to be interrupted by a sudden and unexpected attack of Ninjas.

 Well, people dressed a bit like Ninjas, which is a very different things.

 Almost immediately he sets to getting truly, deeply clean once again, washing away both blood and the psychosomatic itch that the blood left in its wake, scrubbing off sweat and oil and grime... letting himself truly and delightfully purge the affairs of the day in hot water and scented soap, barely even seeming to be aware of the others present or the exotic figure he cuts in his nearly all-covering webwork of intricate lessons from the Tao.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 563 posts
Tue 11 Aug 2009
at 01:45
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"You must be Kedo-san," a voice says, interrupting the ronin's deep contemplation, as a young man eases himself into the steaming water, "Kakita Tsutomu-sensei speaks well of you.  You also met my sister, I believe, Daidoji Tomoe?"
Kedo
 player, 279 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 11 Aug 2009
at 09:19
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 He wasn't dozing, no sir. Those eyelids were half-closed because he was... trying to get a better judge of the colour patterns on the partition wall, yes indeed (though he has a perfect right to be, what with having fought two lethal battles and manipulated several instances of city politics on around three hours sleep - which itself was brought about by his spending most of last night hunkered down with Daidoji tacticians helping to plan the defence of the city).

 Jerking upright smoothly, the tattooed ronin (though just at the moment, devoid of his simple clothing, he could readily be mistaken for a member of a certain great clan) straightens and offers a polite nod of the head to the newcomer, "Tsutomu-san grants me more honour than I deserve - it was a great privilage to be permitted to debate with him." he replies automatically, though with nothing less than complete sincerity before actually looking at the young man in question and smiling slightly, "I had that pleasure, yes - she plays a most intriguing Game." he murmurs in subtle, but not untruthful flattery.

 "Had I realised that the great-grandchildren of the man who wrote 'On the techniques of Craftsmen' were in the city however, it would not have taken chance to bring me to your door - I have long stood impressed by your families insight into the way of Steel."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 567 posts
Wed 12 Aug 2009
at 03:25
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"I had heard that you were interested in way of steel," the wiry Daidoji bushi smiles, "but you would be a worthy heir to our father.  I fear that my sister and I were somewhat of a disappointment to him," he says without rancor, "we simply did not have enough...focus to endure on his path.

"This was his pride and his shame,"
he continues, raising a fist sized block of metal out of the water, "this steel will not rust or tarnish regardless of water or weather.  Blades shaped from this steel do not keep their edge as well as with typical steel, but my father felt that the exchange was worth benefits."
Kedo
 player, 280 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 12 Aug 2009
at 16:32
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 The use of the word 'were' brings a sorrowful expression to Kedo's features, the whipcord-lean onetime Dragon promptly lowering his head for a moment, "I offer my condolences for your families loss." he states with genuine feeling, holding the position for several heartbeasts before raising his gaze once more and allowing his eyes to widen in surprise, "I do not consider myself worthy to touch the sleeve of Kaiu Kuromori, let alone to be an heir to his work." he protests sincerely, but his eyes grow if anything even wider when the Kuromori steel is raised from the water.

 Looking upon it, his first reaction is to express dismay that the Daidoji would bring it into the water, but his words quickly allay those fears and a moment later Kedo is contemplating the possibilities... "Pride indeed, though I do not understand where shame would fall in the blending of such a thing, unless he strove to find a way to harden it and failed?"
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 570 posts
Mon 17 Aug 2009
at 04:24
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"Condolences...?" the Daidoji youth says, confusedly, "ah.  My apologies for the misunderstanding.  Our father has not joined our ancestors," he grins, "he has simply seen some value in the pampered children of the Crane.

"No, he strove to craft a steel that would withstand the warping effects of the Shadowlands,"
he says, his voice turning grim, "he failed.  And fifty Crab lost their lives because their weapons were inadequate."
Kedo
 player, 281 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 17 Aug 2009
at 19:13
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 Kedo's relief when the good health of the youth's father is confirmed is visible, and though it's also plain that he desires to speak to the man, he's visibly loathe to presume so upon such a new relationship, "Any error was mine, I assure you." he murmurs before addressing the new information with visible sobriety.

 "The taint permeates all things in the Shadowlands, or so I am told - filtering into even the purest of materials through their link to the elements." - as he speaks, the little wheels in the back of his mind are steadily turning over what little he knows of the taint - "There are those amongst the Dragon who have done more than any other to study the nature of materials, metals amongst them. And those amongst the Kuni who know more of the taint than any not lost. Perhaps the the knowledge that will see his dream fulfilled exists, and need only be brought together?"

 There's a touch of hope in the youthful Ronin's tones, an optimism that given sufficient time and insight, all things may truly become possible.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:13, Mon 17 Aug 2009.

Kaze no Kage
 GM, 571 posts
Tue 18 Aug 2009
at 02:42
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"And perhaps there is a wandering wave man who could bring these two schools of thought together without shame to either party," he smiles, "my name, by the way, is Daidoji Yukito, and I believe that my father would very much like to meet you, Kedo-san, even if he does not yet know it.  If you have nothing pressing, perhaps tomorrow morning at Tsutomu-sensei's?"
Kedo
 player, 283 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 18 Aug 2009
at 03:16
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 "Perhaps Daidoji Yukito-san, certainly I have some small hope that those who have inherited the legacy of those who first gave birth to steel as we know it will extend me some small courtesy." - in other words, he can probably get at least someone amongst the Dragon to talk to him - "And though tapping the lore of the Kuni will be harder, it occurs that the merest hope that your fathers dream might be realised should be enough to secure some insight."

 By this point the whole purpose of his coming to the bath-house has been forgotten in favour of the incredible vistas of steel opening up before him, "If I live, and have not been summoned to account for my actions of the day which..." - his expression turns rather rueful - "Have tended to be those of the last grain of rice that tips the scales, I would be priviledged to meet with your father, if Tsutomi-san is willing."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 576 posts
Tue 25 Aug 2009
at 02:53
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"I have no doubt that the scales will tip in your favor, Kedo-san," Yukito smiles, "if things were to head in an unfortunate direction they would have done so already, and Tsutomu-sensei would be willing to do anything for you...one day I shall have to find out why."
Kedo
 player, 284 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 25 Aug 2009
at 13:19
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 Gently Kedo laughs, not in a mocking fashion but rather in the wholehearted innocent joy of a man who has come to terms with the many wonderful and terrible things that the world sends his way, "If you do not consider my being involved in two deadly battles in one morning 'unfortunate' Daidoji Yukito-san, I fear to know what I might need to have endured to impress your honoured father." he jokes gently before returning to a slightly more serious demeanour (for a sensi at least, is a topic worthy of respect where his own achievements deserve an entirely more humble perspective), "The tale is not mine to tell, but Tsutomu-san's support is a pearl without price. He has travelled further and seen more than many a clan-born swordmaster of any great family, and which is more he has thought about what he has seen."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 586 posts
Sun 27 Sep 2009
at 20:45
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"My father considers two deadly battles before breakfast barely enough to whet his appetite," Daidoji Yukito laughs, "you and Tsutomu-san both are a mystery wrapped in an enigma concealed in a riddle, but I know better than to pry too deeply before it is my time to know.  Tell me instead, how you are enjoying our city...the parts that aren't trying to kill you, that is."
Kedo
 player, 288 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sun 27 Sep 2009
at 23:15
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 A warm laugh follows Yukito's reply, the Ronin wanderer appreciating the humour that is a pleasant relief from a day of blood and danger, even if the young Crane's question brings a wry and rueful smile in its wake, "I have seen something of the city walls and something of its market - I have been privilaged to enter the high chambers of the fortress and speak with some few officers of note. Beyond that, I have seen almost nothing of a city spoken of in story and celebrated in song." he admits.

 Rolling to one side and then smoothly to his feet in the water he reaches for the nearest soap and starts to vigorously scrub, obviously intending to finish with the hot pool and head for the cold before seeing whether or not the laundry-boy has finished with his alarmingly battered and bloodstained clothing.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 589 posts
Tue 29 Sep 2009
at 02:52
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"Given the less than hospitable welcome our fair city has given you," Daidoji Yukito says, once the two of you have finished cleaning up and retrieved your clothing, "perhaps I could show you a more pleasant side of our culture.  There is a wonderful bunraku production of Kirihara's Fudoki Monogatari playing tonight."
Kedo
 player, 289 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 29 Sep 2009
at 15:55
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 "I would enjoy the performance, but I am afraid that I would be in poor condition to appreciate it." the graceful Ronin replies as he draws on his clothing once more, obviously grateful past words for the chance to feel clean cloth against fresh-scrubed skin, though now that he's properly washed it becomes possible to appreciate the deep shadows under his eyes that are the direct result of having spent half the night sitting up with Daidoji officers planning the defence of the city.

 Which, it is probably safe to say, he's not mentioning out loud.

 To anyone.

 But then again... it's a bunraku performance (the thought can almost be seen to be chasing itself across the surface of the tired Ronin's mind) and it's one being held in a Crane city, which means that the performers will be of the very best...

 Temptation is something that the Dragon are no more immune to than anyone else, it's just that they are prey to different impulses than most, and so after a few moments Kedo relents and shakes his head wryly, "But it has been too long since I have been able to enjoy such a performance. Very well, submission to such a temptation may not win the approval of those who taught me, but I suspect it would win their smiles."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 591 posts
Sun 4 Oct 2009
at 03:44
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"Excellent," Daidoji Yukito replies, "I arranged to have the evening meal at the performance, but there's always so much food that we invariably let much of it go to waste."

Yukito leads you to a small but crowded theatre in the courtier's district.  There you join his sister, Daidoji Tomoe, and a few other Crane--though no others from the Daidoji family.  One or two look askance at the inclusion of a ronin--albeit one whose reputation is growing within the city and who is significantly less...scruffy than the common ronin's reputation would imply.
Kedo
 player, 290 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 5 Oct 2009
at 01:05
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 Armed once more, and as a result walking with the smooth and balanced gait that's once more that of a person no longer moving around with the equivalent of a missing limb Kedo contentedly accompanies his Daidoji companion through the city, takin the opportunity along the route to converse quietly - if perhaps a touch inelegently by Crane standards (since for all his undoubted accomplishment he is no courtier) on a range of topics as they arise, from past Bunraku performances he's seen (none with the expected level of skill here behind the puppets of course) to philosophy when the parallels between puppets and men inevitably arise.

 He's of course quite glad to see Daidoji Tomoe once more and offers the youn lady a suitably respectful bow before accompanying the two into the theatre, fielding the askance looks with near-perfect humility that lacks nothing of undramatic abasement before the higher station of those through whom he moves.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 596 posts
Tue 13 Oct 2009
at 04:53
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
The theatre darkens as shades are pulled over the candles and the shadows of the puppets loom large.  While the shadows dance on on the stage, servers pace the tables offering various forms of finger food.  Once the first group of servers pass, Daidoji Yukito leans foreward to speak quietly.

"Some of us were wondering," he says, "if you would be participating in the coming battle with the Lion?"
Kedo
 player, 294 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 13 Oct 2009
at 12:39
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 "I was asked whether I would be available for... employment by both Daidoji Ryu-san and Doji Kasarugi." Kedo answers in a soft voice, his tone characteristically apologetic, as though to underline the fact that he s simply answering a question rather than trying to play the Name Game, "In each case I was compelled to decline, but I have found hospitality in this city. My feet have been cleansed of the dust of the road and my needs met."

 "In the mountains, a guest is expected to stand beside his host should a foe approach." he goes on slightly, his expression unreadable in the darkness and his eyes upon the performance, "And one who has walked in them carries them always at his back. Should the Lion come to the gates of Toshi Ranbo, I have some small hope that some few of them will remember my name before they are permitted to depart."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 597 posts
Sat 17 Oct 2009
at 06:37
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"That is most welcome news," Daidoji Tomoe smiles serenely, "as Tsutomu-sensei is rather occupied with his new duties as a yojimbo, some of us," she says, looking briefly at Doji Suou and Kakita Rokutunda--the two rudest of her companions, "were wondering if you would consent to join us in our training--and, perhaps join us in giving the Lion a...warm welcome."
Kedo
 player, 295 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sat 17 Oct 2009
at 12:56
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 "I had wondered at Tsutomu-sensei's new duties and who was taking them up in his absence." admits Kedo softly, and hoping perhaps that the natural realisation that he could only have been aware of those new duties had he been in the presence of the lord of the city will not occur to anyone, before turning his head slightly so that even in the shadowed theatre his expression can be seen by his companions... untroubled by rudeness to a mere Ronin and indeed, intrigued by the possibilities of allies at his side in battle.

 "I have... reason to believe that the defence of the city may call for small, mobile groups of Bushi working together." he admits in a voice that barely carries past his immediate neighbours and most definitely not going further in a place where he does not know every ear that listens, "I would be honoured to be a small part of one such group."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 602 posts
Tue 27 Oct 2009
at 03:26
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads
"Tsutomu-sensei mentioned that your approach to dealing with the enemy would be...unconventional," Daidoji Tomoe replies with approval.

"Bah!" Kakita Rokutunda grumbles, "strategy and tactics are all well and good, but no plan survives contact with the enemy.  I'll believe in you when I see you on the field of battle."
Kedo
 player, 296 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 27 Oct 2009
at 03:46
Re: Chapter 6 - Loose Threads

 "There is much truth in this." Kedo agrees as Rokutunda expresses the old saw that generations of strategists and tacticians have come up against like a brick wall, "And so it seems to me that the secret - if there is such a thing - is to have not one plan graven in stone to encompass all possiblities, but rather to determine the principles upon which a battle will be fought and to ensure that those principles are well understood by the men and women who will carry them out."

 "As for belief..." the simple Ronin replies, parting his hands once again, a gesture of humility that he's grown particularly used to making since his arrival in the city, "If the Fortunes grant, that will not be necessary - by the time an attack occurs, I shall have had the honour of training with you, and we shall know something of one anothers technique. Come the foe, our blades shall strike as one."