Interlude - something about steel.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: 0
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 993 posts
Mon 28 May 2012
at 07:21
Interlude - something about steel
It is immediately apparent to any who care to compare that Kakita Soto is a very different kind of smith from Kakita Maru--though that may have something to do with the fact that there is no longer a Lion siege to prepare for.  The Crane forge is not busy, rather the opposite, but it is meticulously clean.  Oh, there are the normal smudges, marks, and other signs of use and wear, but the floors are swept, all the tools are in their proper place, and apprentices each appear to have separate working zones.  It is a forge that demands order, yet the only sounds to be heard are those of hammers and bellows and fire.  And faintly a voice.  Not whispering, but not raised over the din either.  It is a voice that expects to be heard and obeyed.

"Put that bar back" the man who the apprentices refer to as Soto-sensei states, "it is neither hot enough nor smelted enough to shape."
Kedo
 player, 471 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 28 May 2012
at 17:30
Re: Interlude - something about steel

 The unadorned pearl-gray armour that Kedo wore in the battle has been set aside with that of other Ronin and lowly Ashigaru for repair, marked only with a small chit to indicate its owner (and without troubling any of those who might be moved to do something inappropriate if they were to know that he was in need of such a simple service) and freshly bathed, cleanly bandaged and - if not entirely rested - nevertheless feeling better for an hour spent sitting in a garden reaquainting himself with emptiness and dim glimmerings he can perceive of The Way, Kedo comes quietly to the forge of Kakita Soto, pausing by the doorway to kneel in patient fashion so that he can watch what passes until such time as someone has the time and inclination to speak with the simply-dressed, lightly-armed Bushi.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 994 posts
Tue 29 May 2012
at 02:50
Re: Interlude - something about steel
Kedo's polite patience is rewarded by the approach of a young woman, fresh from the forge.

Ronin-san, I am Kakita Akane, journeyman student of Kakita Soto-sensei," she bows, "what brings you to his forge?"
Kedo
 player, 472 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 29 May 2012
at 06:56
Re: Interlude - something about steel

 Kedo does not rise of course, but he does bow respectfully, selecting a degree precisely one and one-half hairs deeper than that of the apprentice sent to inquire why he is scruffing up their porch (for all that he's almost painstakingly clean in mind and body by this point) and repeating what seemed like a perfectly respectable answer when it first left his lips, days (or was it years?) before "When one speaks of steel, the Kakita are often mentioned, and when one speaks of steel in Toshi Ranbo... The name of Kakita Soto is voiced with respect. I have some small hope to one day touch the sleeve of steel as she passes, and would petition to be permitted to witness at his forge and perhaps speak with him for a time, if he would permit such indulgence."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 996 posts
Wed 6 Jun 2012
at 01:46
Re: Interlude - something about steel
"Far be it for a lowly journeywoman to deny an earnest supplicant such an easily granted request," Akane nodded politely, "though Soto-sensei may not have time to speak with you this night.  You are, of course, free to observe all you like."

She turned and gestured for Kedo to follow if he so chose.  Then, just outside of the threshold of the forge, Akane paused. "Soto-sensei teaches that a smith's purpose will influence the quality of the blade.  Technique is not sufficient.  He would advise you, were you his student, to meditate upon your intent.  It is the first lesson."

Then, as if she had not spoken, she continues inside.
Kedo
 player, 473 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 6 Jun 2012
at 06:54
Re: Interlude - something about steel

 "I shall not ask more of Kakita Soto-sama than is timely." Kedo replies with a grateful bow, rising as the apprentice woman motions for him to enter and accompanying her to the trehshold of the forge, where even before she pauses he's doing so in order to kneel for a moment in respect of what dwells within even the humblest resting-place of anvil and fire.

 The lesson from Akane he pauses over as he returns to his feet, and where another man might protest his purity or his focus he merely looks momentarily thoughtful before bowing his head in acceptance and following in silence, struck through to his core by the perceptiveness demonstrated by that one simple comment, cutting as it does (cutting, always cutting) to the simple confusion of his ambition - to achieve his hearts desire, he must give himself entirely to another goal. Little wonder then, that always and ever he seeks to cut the tangled clear.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 1002 posts
Wed 13 Jun 2012
at 06:58
Re: Interlude - something about steel
The forge is hot, hotter than Kedo had expected, and ther is both more and less noise than in other places.  There are no words spoken, save the quietest.  The hammers ring on steel like a creative symphony and Soto-sensei weaves through the studens like a conductor, a soft spoken word here, a gentle correction of posture there, and the music of steel all around.
Kedo
 player, 474 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Wed 13 Jun 2012
at 07:09
Re: Interlude - something about steel

 One cannot have steel without the fire - better poets and teachers than Kedo have dwelt upon fire's role in drawing out the pure from the dross of the earth and the fact that even fire itself must be carefully purified for the greatest results - and so despite the little time he has spent amongst the chime of hammers and the roar of furnaces of late, he sets aside the baking embrace of the forge as a merely physical discomfort, one of many he has trained from an early age to ignore.

 Smoothly and carefully, he fits his steps to those of his guide and to the dance of the workers around him, ensuring that he won't represent an obstruction to what passes her as he awaits recognition in the Sensei's own well-chosen time.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 1003 posts
Mon 18 Jun 2012
at 08:23
Re: Interlude - something about steel
Kedo's patience is rewarded, as Soto-sensei approaches, a bucket in each hand.

"It is said that one must begin at the beginning," Soto-sensei said, handing him the buckets--they are full of iron ore, "but I expected no less from one who has descended from the mountain," and her tone says that she expected no more from one who wears the gray, "the smelting will teach you the name of fire.  This will be your second lesson."

Around the forge, work stops and they all stare at the ronin.  Soto-sensei snaps once and much of the work resumes.  One apprentice has the teremnity to question.

"But Soto-sensei..."

The apprentice has no opportunity to voice his objection, however, as Soto-sensei turns.

"Leave, and do not return until you know your place.". Wordlessly, the apprentice departs, and Soto sensei returns to Kedo, "the furnace is in the back"
Kedo
 player, 476 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Mon 18 Jun 2012
at 16:10
Re: Interlude - something about steel

Today of all days, Kedo's patience is a fragile thing, his spirit rent in different directions by the messages he has received and the import borne within them - and by the thought that soon his time must surely come to an end with so much work yet undone. It gnaws at his serenity and undermines his even-tempered ability to look at the world and accept that all things have their time. It turns his thoughts in upon themselves without purpose and it is only his dedication to calm contemplation that lets him turn and bow with anything approaching serenity, reaching out to take the two buckets of fine, dark sand with gratitude.

 "What I can do, I shall." he answers, lacking nothing of humility - only, today of balance.

 When he moves into the simple cleared space behind the forge he moves with balance even as his spirit lurches at the thought of what need to be done, and though his body moves without thought and without haste, preparing a far smaller clay vessel than is traditional for the work to come, designed to try and make better use of the small quantity of material he has been given to work with. Once fabricated he sets to work with fine pine charcoal and the main forge to gather the necessary temperatures with which to work, operating only one of the great forge bellows (since there is only one of him) and thus heating only one side of the great furnace, wherein is set his materials. Time passes, the Ronin working for most of two hours with his arms before switching to his legs, sweat dampening his clothes as both the heat and the exertion lay their claim upon him.

 It's hours before the temperature climbs enough in the forge for him to begin to add yet more fine pine charcoal and handfuls of ironsand ore, carefully measuring out the amounts every two hundred pumps (or so) of the bellows, keeping up the punishing pace into the hours of darkness during which time he pauses only for water. The exertion after the day of battle just past tiring but not yet debillitating for all that the need to feed the ravenous furnace, handful by handful every two hundred pumps denies him rest through the long, blazing night and the day that follows, his eyes darkening with soot to hide the lack of sleep that shows beneath.

 But for all that he is out of balance in himself, he does not rest. Not yet. There is still dross to burn away.

 ---

16:37, Today: Kedo rolled 23 using 10d10, dropping the 4 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 1,4,2,1,2,2,5,7,1,3. Intelligence & smithing (w/void).

 Plus a free raise for being good, that gets me 28. I might get some more for the quality of the forge, but ouch. ^_^

17:08, Today: Kedo rolled 23 using 6d10, dropping the 3 lowest rolls, rerolling max with rolls of 5,9,1,6,7,7. Meditation & stamina.

 On the bright side, I don't fall over. Today.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 1034 posts
Tue 7 Aug 2012
at 18:04
Re: Interlude - something about steel
"The spirit is willing, but the flesh cannot excel on will alone," Soto-sensei says, though how long the smith had watched, Kedo does not know, "know your own limitations, for they are the obstacles on the path.  If you are blind to them, they will defeat you, but if you see them, then they may be overcome."

"Go Kedo-san, and rest,"
Soto-sensei bows, "the forge will still be here on the morrow, and you will be welcome whenever you should choose to return."
Kedo
 player, 494 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Tue 18 Dec 2012
at 14:25
Re: Interlude - something about steel

 OOC: Whoops, I totally forgot this thread!

 ---

 Kedo seems somewhat staggered by the return to the world of sweat and flesh from wherever it was that work and focus had drawn him... To a smith such as Soto-sensei it's possible to see the frustration in the young man taking shape, forming out of the substance of his soul like slag upon a puddling furnace, growing as the heat increases and he achieves so much less than he knows in himself he is capable of. To a smith such as Soto-sensei, the effects of the instruction to halt short of his goal can too be seen, the flaw they expose of urgency, of intensity... It shines like tormented metal for but a moment and is swallowed down along with whatever protest Kedo might have uttered, subordinated to the hammer-blow that is wisdom slowly aquired.

 Covered in sweat, soot and ash, exhausted in ways battle cannot match Kedo steps back slowly from the forge to let an apprentice take over the bellows-work, turning then to return the bow deeply and utter simply "I have very much to learn. And yet more to unlearn. Your patience with my slowness is much appreciated Soto-sensei."
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 1067 posts
Mon 24 Dec 2012
at 07:47
Re: Interlude - something about steel
OOC - no worries, it happens ^_^

"Patience is the way of steel, Kedo-san," Soto-sensei replies with an answering bow, "it is a lesson that I failed to learn in my youth.  Too much haste will ruin the temper before you have even begun.  This is true of young men as well as with blades , and I would see the blade that is you achieve the promise that you already display."
Kedo
 player, 545 posts
 Would you stand
 upon the mountain?
Sun 22 Dec 2013
at 12:12
Re: Interlude - something about steel

 There is no small amount of regret in the eyes of the Ronin as he moves back from the forge to depart, but it is regret that rather than turning to anger, naturally becomes introspection as he bows deeply, trusting to the Smith to see to it that an apprentice or two maintains the forge through the night and retreats the half-dozen strides necessary to see him clear of causing an obstruction before he turns to the forge and bows, demonstrating gratitude to that which lives within the flame for its lesson of the day, visibly drawing and centring himself before going in search of a bath and rice and too-little sleep...

 ...his return, in the first hours of the morning after perhaps enough slumber is uncommonly predictable for the Ronin, but since he seems much refreshed and much rested and even in better spirits, having internalised the lessons of his failures it's no doubt time well spent. A deep bow then to the smith and another to the forge as he takes himself through the ritual steps necessary to avoid contamination of the work in progress then approaches, waving away the apprentices working the bellows and taking over the mind-numbing, repetitive work himself.

 Two hundred strokes, a handful of fuel, and so the hours pass.