Chapter 6 - much ado about something...   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: archive 0
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 511 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2009
at 03:57
Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
Following instinct and common sense, Kedo begins his search for the Daidoji commander in the Daidoji complex.  The guards at the doors watch the ronin suspiciously, but allow his entrance wordlessly.  A heimin guides him through the passages of the complex and as each door closes behind him, Kedo feels his sense of foreboding increase.

Kedo finds Daidoji Ryu alone in his offices in the Daidoji complex, looking over a map of the city -- Lion units in yellow arrayed outside and Crane units in blue arrayed inside.

"What brings you here, Kedo-san," Ryu asks, raising one eyebrow, "without your charge?"
Kedo
 player, 262 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 24 Jun 2009
at 09:36
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 Instinct is a guide that Kedo has come to rely upon in recent months, finding it to have certain qualities that pure reason lacks, despite his respect for the latter - the way it tends to cut out the tedious intervening steps between event and response and provide viewpoints that a cold, rational viewpoint often dismiss cannot be ignored.

 Of course, there are occasions when it puts a man in quite spectacular amounts of danger.

 "Circumstances have caused Daidoji Sakura-san and myself to part ways. I have returned her to the protection of her family who may, hopefully, serve her better than had become possible for me." replies Kedo simply, though not without a respectful bow that's offered in full measure to the military commander of so many of the cities resources, "Though I now carry no status beyond that of a simple Ronin within these walls, I had hoped that I might petition you to spare a moment to discuss recent matters with me?"

 He seems almost hopeful - and despite the fact that he's bloodstained and battered from two separate brutal life and death battles in one day, neither of which he's been able to bathe after... There's no real sense of threat from him either. Whatever he came here for, it doesn't seem to be a suicidal act of murder.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 518 posts
Wed 24 Jun 2009
at 22:39
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
"Really now, that makes your presence here doubly curious," Daidoji Ryu replies, looking closely at Kedo, his hands flexing absently, "an amicable parting, I hope?  Nothing that would put you at odds with her Clan or Family?"

Kedo senses that he is treading dangerous ground here...well more dangerous ground anyway.  Daidoji Ryu seems to be probing for answers, but the questions aren't entirely clear.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:50, Thu 25 June 2009.

Kedo
 player, 263 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 24 Jun 2009
at 23:26
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 That's rather the point of course - dangerous ground is the natural habitat of the currently blood-spattered Ronin, and if Daidoji Ryu is the man behind the various attack teams that have been trying to kill Sakura all day then he'll have the kind of reports regarding Kedo that would have had him filled with arrows the moment he stepped into sight.

 Unless of course, there was some reason the good Crane did not wish to act preciptously.

 "There was no disrespect or dishonour in our parting - Daidoji Sakura-san merely felt that I was no longer suited for the role of protecting her in these troubled times." the Ronin remarks simply, never giving the impression of an 'agenda' as such, but rather doing his best to seem as open, guilless and utterly, breathtakingly inscrutable as the truly honest man tends to be.

 Making a small motion of regret with both hands Kedo lets them fall into his seated lap once more, safely away from the sword sitting in a peacable position by his side - where it would be difficult for a right-handed Bushi to take up and wield, though that means nothing to a Dragon-trained swordsman of course.

 And it's the Dragon that's looking back out of the simple Ronins eyes as he smiles politely and calmly back at Daidoji Ryu and moves on through the maze, "I had hoped however that our earlier conversation, upon the matter of the Lion would permit me to presume upon your time for a short span. It occured to me that in a situation bound about with matters where the balance of honour and duty dance along a blades edge such as the one currently enveloping this city, there could be a need for those who... do not look at what others have seen and think what they have thought."

 It's a tentative offer - and of what is still somewhat unclear, but it grows increasingly apparent that Kedo isn't here to accuse or unveil... If anything, he almost seems to be prepared to help in some way.

 Though what a man who 'thinks like a Scorpion Courtier', plans battles 'Like a Daidoji' and considers philosophy to be the perfect counterpoint to swordsmanship would think of as 'help' is still open to interpretation.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 519 posts
Thu 25 Jun 2009
at 04:02
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
"You are an interesting man, Kedo-san," Daidoji Ryu says, turning back to his battle plans, "before you crossed the gates of this city, I had never heard your name, but you fight like one of the finest Mirumoto duelists--equal to Kakita Tsutomu, whom even my best would be hard pressed to match--your strategic acumen would be the envy of Sun Tao himself, and you spout philosophy like a monk born to the robes.  If you're a simple ronin, I'll become a monk.  You, Kedo-san are an enigma," he says, placing a few more yellow units on the map, "I am a simple man.  I hate enigmas."

OOC:  make a perception/investigation (notice) check
Kedo
 player, 264 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Thu 25 Jun 2009
at 04:48
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 Once more Kedo offers a distinct bow, deep enough to convey appropriate respect and once more demonstrate his essentially harmless intentions - using his very guillessness and willingness to set aside his lethality as a tool to pry open a crack in the other mans curiosity.

 Or whatever might lie behind the man.

 "You give me too much credit Daidoji-Ryu-san... I have been fortunate in those I have met, favoured with the opportunity to see what others have cleared the way for me to see..." - and with a faint smile ever hanging about his lips, he raises his eyes a touch to meet those of the Daidoji - "And perhaps, if they are willing, to provide others with the chance to change their stars."

 And there is the first slight deception Kedo has indulged in for some time - though in truth it's a small one at best, for as the students of the Tao would have it, every man has the power to change his stars...

 A slight apologetic parting of his hands follows Ryu's assessment, "It is perhaps true that... where I came from... we have perhaps an over-fondness for puzzles." he allows gently, perfectly prepared to draw honestly on the reputation of a group that no-one in Rokugan has ever really claimed to understand - while glancing at the map, gleaning no particular insight on this occasion, "But despite the events of the day - events that I regret, but could not change - are you truly certain that there is nothing to be learned from them?"


 ---

05:36, Today: Kedo rolled 42 using 6d10, dropping the 3 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 7,4,1,(10+9)19,(10+6)16,6. Perception & notice.

05:44, Today: Kedo rolled 26 using 9d10, dropping the 5 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 6,2,6,3,7,1,1,1,7. While I'm at it, Battle & Intelligence.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 520 posts
Thu 25 Jun 2009
at 05:51
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
"'A chance to change their stars' is it," Daidoji Ryu muses, Kedo's answers clearly guiding him to a conclusion, or perhaps a resolution, "perhaps the time for such a chance has come.

"I'll not deny the value of riddles, Kedo-san,"
he says, once again focusing on the Ronin, "but let me pose you one of my own--as you are a ronin with far more intimate knowledge of the conflicts of honor and duty than one might suppose, and one who was recently a talented yojimbo--what would you do, then, if the daimyo of your charge bound you by your loyalty that you use less than your full skill to defend her, not allow her to be slain, oh no, but to defend her without the use of your wakizashi?  Could you cripple yourself in such a way?  Knowing that doing so could very well mean her demise?"

OOC:  Daidoji Ryu was fingering a weapon concealed within his kimono, but he seems to have stopped
Kedo
 player, 265 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Thu 25 Jun 2009
at 11:09
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 Kedo draws no attention to the touch upon the concealed weapon - it is simply a thing that is noted and allowed to flow by, though it's unlikely that Daidoji Ryu would fail to realise that he notices its presence. Instead the 'simple Ronin' bows his head a little and settles back to consider the thorny problem, turning it over in his mind.

 "It is a question that lies at the heart of Bushido." the Dragon admits, saying something that would be no surprise to anyone, but that nonetheless sets up the answers and questions to come. "And the answer that I might put forward would be true only for me - no man can ever truly stand in the place of another, but let us consider it from the light of 'my' Daimyo."

  "I possess a dutiful servant - one of skill and honour who I know will devote themselves to the performance of their duty, and yet I choose to command that that servant lend less than their full strength to a task. I must have reason for this - whether a whim of fate or an understanding of events beyond those of my servants knowledge."

 The words do not come fast, but they come steadily, as Kedo looks at the problem from different angles, "Were I the best of Samurai, I would of course do as I am bidden." he states in seeming resolution, before admitting with a faint, rueful smile "But I am nost the best of Samurai, no do I think that such a paragon would be a comfortable person to have as a retainer... and so acknowledging my flaws, my first action would be to prepare to do what need to be done - whilst trying to understand my Daimyo's will in the matter at hand."

 "But let us suppose that I have come to understand that will, and do not accept its conclusion - that I place my judgement above that of my Daimyo, in a matter directly relating to my service. Here I must then decide whether my service is to my family in the person of my Daimyo, my family as a greater whole or even my family as the place which I dwell and defend."

 "I must choose between Meiyo & Chu or Gi & Yu. I would suggest that the more popularly 'right' course is the choice of duty and honour, but one cannot forget that courageous rightful action is also laudable for its own sake." - again looking directly into Ryu's eyes, Kedo tilts his head slightly as though looking for something within their depths, not in judgement or seeking an advantage, but rather acting on the behalf of another, less well admired virtue of the Samurai, "Your riddle has only easy answers as it stands - and like most easy answers, they are like to be wrong. But as a Ronin whose word would not be heard and body would not be missed... but whose opinion I hope you respect. May I humbly ask if you wish to talk, Daidoji Ryu-san?"

 It's difficult to be the man at the point of the wedge - you channel the strength of those behind you, but you are the one upon whom the first blow falls.
 Perhaps, just perhaps Kedo has come here to spread the load enough for clear thought to happen once more.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 524 posts
Fri 26 Jun 2009
at 06:37
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
"A hard answer, Kedo-san," Daidoji Ryu replies, ignoring Kedo's polite inquiry, "a hard answer for a hard question."  Here he pauses, as if searching for the correct words, "I have need of men who can provide such answers.  The Crane has need of such men.  If the Crane were to offer you the Daidoji name, the opportunity to become Daidoji Kedo rather than a rootless wave man, would you take it?"

The question is asked in earnest, though you feel that there was, perhaps somewhat else that the Daidoji commander wished to discuss.
Kedo
 player, 266 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Fri 26 Jun 2009
at 10:44
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 "Life, I have noted, rarely provides one with easy answers that are worth the giving." the simple Ronin notes with a sense of wry resignation to the travails of the world, a slight smile passing across his face as he thinks upon some of those travails and for a brief moment is leagues away in a flower-scented garden...

 His return to the here-and-now is an abrupt one however, and accomplished with slightly widened eyes, as though Ryu's offer has surprised and even shocked him - which is indeed the case... "There are those who say that the Kakita are the honour of the Crane, or perhaps the Doji. They are what is seen and what is known. These are the same ones who dismiss the Crab and their countless generations of service, shielding the Empire from horrors out of mind." he answers, shaping his refusal - for a refusal it is - in the most flattering of ways, though unlike the flattery of a courtier it needs no sincerity beyond that which simple honest truth gives it.

 "I know better however. Were I free to take on a name, there are few I could hope to carry with more pride and honour than that of Daidoji - but the mountain calls me, and in time I must return to it... carrying with me whatever I have earned of the world into the silence that has always surrounded it." - a somewhat mystical answer perhaps, but what do you expect of a Dragon whose very body is a tattooed map of the Tao, no matter the colours he wears?
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 527 posts
Mon 29 Jun 2009
at 02:36
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
Ryu nods absently, as if he had not expected anything less from the far too talented ronin.

"A great loss to the Crane," he bows, "and a great gain to those to whom you will return.  I regret that I will never see you at the zenith of your skill, but you are correct that it would be too simple a solution to the conundrum that has become my life."

Once again the Daidoji commander falls silent for a time, clearly considering a number of options--none of which are to his liking.  When his decision is made, death is written on his face.

"Please wait outside for a moment, Kedo-san," Daidoji Ryu orders bleakly, "I have a letter to write which I would ask you to deliver."
Kedo
 player, 267 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 29 Jun 2009
at 03:35
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 Kedo bows deeply, returning the gesture of the other man with the respect it is due before rising up out of it once more and knowing precisely what has been unspoken... For a moment he pauses, and then a moment more - only to speak up, softly, daring to disobey for a long moment, though out of respect rather than insubordination or a failure to obey the will of heaven as lain out in the relative status of men.

 "Your city prepares to do war against the armies of the Lion... and it is always wise to learn what your enemy has to teach you." he begins gently as though addressing some utterly different matter altogether, a sense that becomes perhaps stronger for the first few moments that follow, "Some time ago, not far from Beiden pass a Matsu force lay under siege by a Scorpion host. As is the nature of the Scorpion they struck at the weakness of the fortress - not its walls, but its commander, Hayameru Shibai. Hayameru's concern for his children led him to deal with the Scorpion - to exchange the fortress not for safety for himself, but for the safety of his children. Hayameru's personal guard discovered this plot and alerted the fortress."

 Drawing a breath, letting the tale spin out, Kedo goes on - if he is permitted, "Hayamaru's family samurai begged to be permitted seppuku - but the enemy were at the gates, and every sword was needed so the Matsy Daimyo instead commanded that they would be permitted to give their lives for honour only upon the sword only on the field of battle."

 "In the morning, rested and with prayer they led their forces onto the field. No one of them survived, but their ferocity and disregard for their lives turned the tide, and though some men speak poorly of the Deathseekers who followed them, none but the most churlish or base has condemned the manner of their deaths. I have always found much to admire in the tale of those men, caught between duty and honour. I would like to think that in circumstances like theirs, I might be permitted the same chance to serve as I have always desired to serve, when my duty called me."

 It's always stories with Dragons, isn't it?

 But there's probably a reason for that.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:37, Mon 29 June 2009.

Kaze no Kage
 GM, 531 posts
Tue 30 Jun 2009
at 05:33
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
"You see both too clearly and not clearly enough, Kedo-san," Ryu replies wryly, "I am Daidoji, I would not waste my life on a Matsu's useless dramatics.  Now, please step outside so that I may compose my letter--an action, which I am sure you will agree, requires no second."
Kedo
 player, 268 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 30 Jun 2009
at 09:55
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 "I have never claimed perfect vision Daidoji-Ryu-san." replies Kedo with what can only be described as a certain sense of approval, the Ronin rising with his expected grace, recovering the blades of his Daisho and sliding them through his belt before backing away and stepping outside, apparently extending the other man the same absolute trust that led him to the office, despite the very real possibility that it was Ryu behind perhaps half the murder attempts of the day.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 533 posts
Wed 1 Jul 2009
at 00:33
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
Perhaps a quarter of an hour later, the shoji of Daidoji Ryu's room slides open and his voice calls out for Kedo to return.

Within, Ryu has outfitted himself for combat:  a suit of black lacquered ashigaru armor, a spear, and a number of long knives--but nothing to indicate that he is a Crane.

"Give these to the governor, Kedo-san," Daidoji Ryu says, without preamble, handing the ronin a sheaf of paper, "it has been my honor to know you, Kedo-san, and I hope we will meet in the next life."

So saying he stands, bows, and departs, shouting orders as he goes.

OOC:  make a perception/investigation (notice) check and add your ranks in battle to your roll
Kedo
 player, 269 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 1 Jul 2009
at 01:12
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 Kedo waits outside with the patience that might well be expected of the philosopher-swordsman, doing his best to ignore the steady itch that's working its way across his skin - as much a product of the psychological impact of the dried blood caked on his clothing as it is any actual grime.

 When Ryu returns the Ronin flows to his feet smoothly, extending a hand to accept the paper without examining it, answering instead with a smooth and graceful bow before simply observing that "You will be remembered on the mountain, Daidoji Ryu-san." with distinct respect in his tones.

 It is difficult to respect one who makes easy choices - but one who has walked almost to the edge of darkness and then turned around... That is another matter.

 ---

02:00, Today: Kedo rolled 25 using 6d10+5, dropping the 3 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 6,5,9,3,4,2. Awareness/Investigation plus Battle.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 536 posts
Sat 4 Jul 2009
at 19:27
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...
As Kedo leaves to deliver Ryu's letter he notices five Daidoji units on the map placed outside of the walls of Toshi Ranbo.
Kedo
 player, 270 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sat 4 Jul 2009
at 19:37
Re: Chapter 6 - much ado about something...

 Off-handedly, in their earlier meeting Kedo had happened to mention that since the orders of the Daidoji prevented them from leaving 'The Walls of Toshi Ranbo', then a suffciently fine hair-splitting of honour might well allow a Daidoji carrying a stone from those selfsame walls to roam really rather far without actually leaving them...

 Of course, he mentioned the idea almost dismissively at the time, in favour of rather more cunning strategems - but it would seem from the way his eyes linger over the map of the defences of the city and his lips quirk on his way out that he's not forgotten the idea.

 In any case, he says nothing but rather steps out of the building in a respectful fashion, probably much to the surprise of the Daidoji security forces, carrying the letter in one hand as he heads back towards the Governors offices, making no particular effort to do so in a hurry.