Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions.   Posted by Kaze no Kage.Group: 0
Daidoji Kasumi
 player, 70 posts
 Beautiful and Deadly
 Twin of Daidoji Sakura
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 01:19
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
As the pair wound their way through the crowds, Kasumi heard a rumor that hit her just right. Ah yes ... definitely "right".

"Oneechan ..." she said, nodding towards the minor clan tents. Sakura followed, enquiring what this was all about. Kasumi whispered the answer to her as they walked. Eventually they were in the Minor Clan encampment, and they started chatting with the Minor Clan Samurai. Eventually they made their way to the Dragonfly Clan. They approached and made very little effort at concealing their interest.

"Would your ... head Courtier be available?"
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 1333 posts
Tue 31 Mar 2015
at 06:11
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Bayushi Kenshin:
[OOC: My understanding is that you have to have signed up for all of the tournaments to have a chance at winning the Championship?]


Yes, unless you are a minor clan samurai (they're prevented from entering the test for their Clan)--interestingly, this means that the Mantis can't actually win the tournament.



The Judging Tents were surrounded by a sea of samurai all trying to be heard.  Some were contestants, others were officials try to get assignments or clarifications, and a few were onlookers or those related to one group or the other.

[Judging Tents - contestants line | Otomo Hajime, Bayushi Kenshin, Kitsune Shoji, Kitsune Daichi, Asahina Byako]

There were a lot of contestants--though most were only entering one or two events.  A list of the events was posted in several places throughout the line:

Badger Clan, sumai
Centipede Clan, theology
Dragonfly Clan, divination
Falcon Clan, hunting
Fox Clan, herbalism
Hare Clan, athletics
Mantis Clan, personal combat
Monkey Clan, kenjutsu
Sparrow Clan, iaijutsu
Tortoise Clan, sadane
Wasp Clan, kyujutsu



[Judging Tents | Isawa Shema, Suzume Kirika (NPC)

The Sparrow that Isawa Shima found was a rather attractive woman, who also seemed not to be in quite a hurry.  Probably because, as her lack of katana signified, she was not a bushi, and thus neither a participant or a judge for her Clan's test.

"It is no bother, Isawa-dono," the Sparrow bowed, "I am Suzume Kirika, and I would be happy to answer your questions."

"As for the healing, it would be best to speak with the Kitsune.  They are coordinating first aid for the tournament--particularly for the martial tests."

"Regarding the blessings of the kami, I believe they are prohibited in the tests of the Badger, Monkey, and Sparrow.  Some may be permissible in the test of the Mantis.  All others allow them, as they provide no certainty of success."


[Dragonfly Camp]

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:35, Tue 31 Mar 2015.

Kitsune Shoji
 player, 6 posts
Tue 31 Mar 2015
at 16:50
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
[Judging Tents - contestants line | Otomo Hajime, Bayushi Kenshin, Kitsune Shoji, Kitsune Daichi, Asahina Byako]

"What do you think, brother?" Shoji asked as he looked down the list.  There were no surprises on the events, but there were still a few that Shoji and Daichi hadn't decided on, instead waiting to see the competition before settling which of them would compete.  Some were obvious - Daichi was a better fit for sumai, Shoji for sadane.  Others, like hunting and iajitsu were more complicated.  Hunting: they were both proficient.  Iajitsu: neither was.

Shoji eyed Daichi for a moment, looking for an indication.  Finding none - or at least not a preference - he stepped over toward one of the other competitors.

Anzu had accompanied him, the two were rarely separated.  The other pets had been left in camp.  As Shoji stepped in line next to the Asahina, his red fox settled in obediently at his feet.  Eyebrow arched curiously, Shoji inquired, "Asahina-san, are you planning on competing?  Or are you just observing?"
Kitsune Daichi
 player, 2 posts
Tue 31 Mar 2015
at 16:59
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Kitsune Daichi lacked the skittishness of his clan's namesake.  He watched quietly as his brother and charge stepped into lined next to the Asahina.  Rather than make a move of his own, he continued to passively observe the rest of the contestants.  It wasn't difficult, as the bushi stood a head taller than most of the rest.
Isawa Shema
 player, 6 posts
 Phoenix Clan Tensai
 Elemental Guard
Tue 31 Mar 2015
at 17:40
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Shema nods his understanding, and looks for a monkey shugenja to call over, and failing that requests another monkey official, and speaks quietly to the two of them.
Asahina Byako
 player, 51 posts
 Crane diplomat
Wed 1 Apr 2015
at 19:15
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
"Kitsune-san, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am Asahina Byako." Byako bows as if to an equal, despite their relative minor clan/major clan status. She then leans down, and, assuming the fox isn't trained to recoil from strangers, pats the fox on its head and scratches it in just the right spot behind its ear. "I was considering entering the contests of the Falcon. I do very much wish I had a greater knowledge of herbalism, so I could enter your clan's contest as well, but I'm afraid I would dishonor myself and my opponents, if I were to attempt that. At least with hunting I can make some sort of modest showing. Do you, or your honorable yojimbo, plan on entering any of the contests?"
Kitsune Shoji
 player, 7 posts
Wed 1 Apr 2015
at 22:00
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
To a casual observer, Anzu might have appeared to supplicate to the Asahina as she petted the fox, stretching her fore legs out in front in a stretch as she accepted the scratch behind the ears.

"If you're not careful, you'll spoil Anzu,"
Shoji replied, kidding the Asahina.  The name was quite literal in describing her apricot coloring.

"We'd be honored to have you compete," referring to his clan and family.  "If you change your mind and decide you want to compete in the our challenge, let me know.  I'd be happy to instruct you.  A little practice making poultices goes a long way."  He shrugged.  "If not, I understand."

Though Shoji understood her reasons, he didn't agree with them.  "Between the two of us, I think we're planning on competing in all of them.  Except our own, of course.  Some I think we could do well in," he cast a look over his shoulder at his yojimbo, who was clearly ready to go now, "and there are others... well, I think there is honor simply in competing.  I don't see any dishonor in being bested by a superior opponent."

"I'm Kitsune Shoji.  That's my brother - and yojimbo - Daichi."
Asahina Byako
 player, 52 posts
 Crane diplomat
Wed 1 Apr 2015
at 23:17
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Byako smiles at Anzu's reaction and comments quietly "You're very pretty. You must tell me sometime how you manage to keep your outer coat so shiny."

In response to the offer of instruction Byako smiles once again, and, with that smile directed directly at you, there is something eerily, animalistically, attractive about her. "Perhaps you are right, Kitsune Shoji-san. While I do not have a sibling, versed in the ways of arms, I could at least learn the most fundamental truths about the various other disciplines to at least make an honorable showing.

Do you have the time to show me the fundamentals of herbalism? I would be honored to take tutelage in the art from someone so wise in its ways."

Kitsune Shoji
 player, 8 posts
Thu 2 Apr 2015
at 23:17
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Byako's charm isn't lost on Kitsune Shoji.  Rather than focusing on her smile, though, his focus is on the almost amber hue of her eyes.

"I have time," he assured the Asahina.  "Outside of the competitions, I have no plans.  We could start this evening, if you'd like.  We could take a walk, and I could show you how identify the plants."  There were worse ways to spend ones evenings than a walk on the Golden Plain.
Asahina Byako
 player, 53 posts
 Crane diplomat
Fri 3 Apr 2015
at 15:20
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
"It is settled, then; this evening. Until then I shall consider the ins and outs of the thousand fortunes and how they give signs of what is to come, as well as making wry observations. Perhaps I can even make some wry observations about what the fortunes have in store for us!" Byako covers her mouth as she giggles a bit at her joke. "I will see you this evening Kitsune Shoji-san. And, likely, you as well, faithful protector Kitsune Daichi-san." Byako bows and takes her leave, heading to the Tournament stage, where she can practice the other disciplines.
Kitsune Shoji
 player, 9 posts
Fri 3 Apr 2015
at 21:48
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
[Judging Tents - contestants line | Otomo Hajime, Bayushi Kenshin, Kitsune Shoji, Kitsune Daichi]

The date being scheduled, the Asahina departed to take care of business.

That didn't help Shoji and Diachi with their dilemma: Iaijutsu.  Neither was skilled, but if they wanted to compete in all the events, at least one would need to participate.  Without any training, Shoji was left simply with common knowledge about the sport.  Rumor said it favored the balanced, and though he was the most skilled with a katana, 'balanced' was a nuance that could never be ascribed to the giant.

Shoji, on the other hand, didn't carry his katana.

He had questions, and his eyes searched the room, hoping to find someone with answers.

There were others in the room, a large number of contestants.  One, however, caught Shoji's eye.  It was first drawn to the man's mask and his family mon: Bayushi.  The surprise came when his eye settled on his school mon: Kakita.  This is a man who would know.

It felt like something he should know, so Shoji was a bit hesitant to ask.  The Fox and the Scorpion had decent relations, so if he was to embarrass himself in front of anyone, it might as well be this Bayushi.

Shoji approached Bayushi Kenshin, and bowed in greeting.  "Bayushi-san, the Sparrow trial.  Iaijutsu.  Would it be looked down upon to compete with another's katana?"

OOC: If we're going to tag team events, do we need to sign up the actual participant now?  Or can Shoji just sign up for each and appoint Daichi at the time of the event?  Just trying to figure out if I need to make the call now or can wait.
Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 321 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Sat 4 Apr 2015
at 00:41
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
It was in a place like this that one of the secrets of the Jun Shin's mask was revealed (though, truth be told, it was a rather minor secret that most artists already knew): the mask that was sometimes subtle, and other times obvious (of not a bit obnoxious) was indeed the same mask.

The difference was shadow*.

The gold outline of character for Honor that adorned the mask took advantage of the nature of ever present shadow to make the character look almost surreal, especially in candle light, sometimes standing out as if it were a spirit of its own. Here under the tent it was not quite so intriguing, but it was nonetheless elegant.

"Ah, good day to you Kitsune-San" Kenshin replied with a small, polite bow. "That would depend on whose Katana you were competing with. A sibling's or your Lord's, for instance, would show tremendous trust and honor; but if you were to borrow, say, mine, that would have completely different ... rumors floating around."

"Do you" he continued in a low voice, so as not to embarrass the Fox, "find yourself without one? For reasons other than dishonor?"

[OOC: * I have Tanazuki's In Praise of Shadow to thank for this. ]
Daidoji Kasumi
 player, 72 posts
 Beautiful and Deadly
 Twin of Daidoji Sakura
Sat 4 Apr 2015
at 00:46
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
"Oh, I just need to check on the validity of a rumor" Kasumi replied nonchalantly, "that the Dragonfly are interested in a sponsor? If so, we may be able to help ..."

May, being the operative word.
Kaze no Kage
 GM, 1336 posts
Sat 4 Apr 2015
at 05:43
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
[Judging Tents | Isawa Shema, Suzume Kirika (NPC), Toku Yumimura (NPC)


[Dragonfly Camp]
Otomo Hajime
 player, 108 posts
 Seppun Miharu/Magistrate
 Emerald Magistrate
Sun 5 Apr 2015
at 08:07
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
[Judging Tents - contestants line | Otomo Hajime, Bayushi Kenshin, Kitsune Shoji, Kitsune Daichi, Asahina Byako]

Otomo Hajime was pondering which events to enter and therefore he was a bit slow to recognize his distant cousin Bayushi Shinobu and a masked male Scorpion whom Hajime presumed was her husband.  But before he could speak to them, a pair of Kitsune approached and made an inquiry as to Iaijutsu etiquette.

Sensing that the discussion might be intended as a private one (well as "private" a conversation as one can have in the middle of a tent filled with samurai from various Clans), Hajime turned back to the sign up stations for each of the events.  Hajime decided to sign up to compete in the Badger Clan Sumai Event, the Falcon Clan Hunting Event, the Hare Clan Athletics Event, the Mantis Clan Personal Combat Event, the Monkey Clan Kenjutsu Event, the Sparrow Clan Iaijutsu Event, and the Wasp Clan Kyujutsu Event.  Aside from perhaps the Monkey's Kenjutsu and/or the Sparrow's Iaijutsu Events, Hajime readily accepted the fact that he was unlikely to be favored to win.  While Hajime was tempted to attempt to compete in all the events, he felt that he should only compete in those events for which he possessed at least some basic skill.

Besides, Hajime was not here to win (it could even be said that he was not here to "compete") but rather he was here at the Tournament to observe and insure that all went as the Emperor would wish it.

Once he was finished signing up for his events, Hajime turned back to see if the Kitsune were finished speaking with the Bayushi.
Kitsune Shoji
 player, 10 posts
Mon 6 Apr 2015
at 04:17
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
"Do you find yourself without one?  For reasons other than dishonor?"

"Yes.  Well, no.  Not with me, at least.  I'm fairly certain it is at home, unless someone moved it."  The Kitsune struggled with the question.  His sisters had scolded Shoji for occasionally being more forthcoming than he should be, his time spent among his animals not necessarily being great preparation for being amongst other samurai.

"It is not an uncommon thing for a shugenja not to carry his katana, correct?" Shoji asked the Bayushi.  "And if he did, it would signify that that he was able to defend himself, does it not?  Well, then there would be no need for a yojimbo."  He tossed a look over his shoulder at the hulking Kitsune standing watchfully at the back of the tent.

"My brother." Shoji would say it aloud, but the intonation was clear: he needs me as much as I need him.

His feet shifted uncomfortably.  He didn't know the Bayushi, even his name.  Neither, however, did he know anyone else at the tournament.  He seemed like as good of a person to ask as any.  "Would you be willing to teach me the basics?  Enough, at least, that I could compete?" Again unspoken: without making a fool of myself.
Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 322 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Wed 8 Apr 2015
at 01:39
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Kenshin smiled at Shoji. Yes, that was correct ... more or less.

"Ah, well in that case yes ... yes, it would work that way. I would be happy to teach you some Iaijutsu, but I must mention that I am planning to compete in that tournament myself. I am Bayushi Kenshin, by the way, and this is my wife Shinobu."

Kenshin waited for a moment to allow that to sink in, while his wife gave a polite bow. Anyone who knew anything about Iai would have heard Kenshin's name -- he was one of the few living Legendary Master's* of the art of Iaijutsu.

"As I said, I'd be happy to teach you -- but I would understand if you preferred a more ... neutral instructor."

[OOC: * Skill Rank 10. I'm sure that sort of skill gets mentioned here and there, but I'm not entirely sure what title they would use. The book says "Grandmaster of <skill>", but that sits wrong with me so I'll avoid it unless the GM uses it that way.]
Daidoji Kasumi
 player, 73 posts
 Beautiful and Deadly
 Twin of Daidoji Sakura
Wed 8 Apr 2015
at 01:44
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Kasumi listened carefully, trying to keep track of the implications.

"I'm sure you would have several volunteers. The Crane are always eager to help our brothers and sisters in the minor clans; the Scorpion have just returned and I'm sure would be eager to ... flex their social muscle; and I'm certain that the Mantis, as ... unorthodox as they are, would also be happy to help. I'm also willing to bet that there are Imperial courtiers wanting to ... remind the Samurai who is really in charge."

"What ... type of help would be of most interest to the Tonbo?"
Kitsune Shoji
 player, 11 posts
Wed 8 Apr 2015
at 02:33
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Anyone who knew anything about Iai would have heard Kenshin's name...

...Kitsune Shoji knew nothing about Iai.

"Bayushi Kenshin." "Shinobu."  The shugenja repeated each name as it was given, returning each with a bow.  "I am Kitsune Shoji.  That is my brother Daichi," he added, gesturing over his shoulder.

His nose twitched, sensing that he was missing something.  It probably would have made him feel wonderful if he had just realized that a grandmaster had offered to teach him, but the point was lost.  "I appreciate the offer," he began, a please smile agreeing.  "I'd love to learn.  I'm available at your discretion.  And no, I have no concerns about your sincerity Bayushi-san.  I'm pleased to learn whatever you'd be willing to teach."  Shoji had no false hope placed in winning the tournament.

After all, for the Minor Clans, the Tournament had nothing to do with winning.

"If there's any way I can return the favor, please let me know."
Isawa Shema
 player, 7 posts
 Phoenix Clan Tensai
 Elemental Guard
Fri 10 Apr 2015
at 05:46
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Shema bowed his thanks to the judges, then joined the throng for sign-ups.  He had behaved as the air in his journey here, rather than the water.  He should have been swift but purposeful, and instead he had acted foolishly.  He calmed himself in a moment of silent meditation.  He weighed his options; without access to the Kami, there was no way he could reasonably participate in the kenjutsu or iaijutsu duel, and he had brought neither yojimbo nor katana with him.  After a continuing debate with himself as the line advanced, he resolved himself to signing up for everything, and obtaining Shiba or Ronin yojimbo should opportunity present itself... as a gathering of possibly all the clans, it would surprise him if there were no unattached ronin about.

Instead of fretting about it, he decided to enjoy the camaraderie that could be had.  He paused for a moment, and addressed the nearby Fox.  "Kitsune-sama, I am sorry to interrupt, but I could not let pass the opportunity to thank you for sharing the fruits of your animal training ability with all of us."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:06, Sun 26 Apr 2015.

Kitsune Shoji
 player, 12 posts
Fri 10 Apr 2015
at 17:22
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
The Isawa's address startled the Kitsune.  The fact that he was recognized at all surprised him.  After a moments consideration, he understood.  Walking a bear though the camps?  Not very subtle, Shoji.

"I'd be dishonest if I said that I wasn't hopeful that one of the clans might have changed their tournament this year.  Something with a focus on the arts or craftsmanship."  He stared at the sign up lines, "True, samurai are warriors and priests, but we're also artisans, builders and engineers as well."

His gaze fixed back on the Isawa, "I apologize.  We only just meet and the first thing out of my mouth is a complaint.  I'm usually not so dour."

As if to prove it, he flashed a toothy smile while giving Isawa Shema an introductory bow.  "I'm Kitsune Shoji.  If you'd like a demonstration of my craft, I believe the Falcon's contest will offer a good venue."

Edit:
OOC: I'm making an assumption that personal combat wouldn't allow the use of animals, is that correct?

This message was last edited by the player at 17:23, Fri 10 Apr 2015.

Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 324 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Sat 11 Apr 2015
at 01:05
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
"This afternoon then" Kenshin replied with a bow. "I believe I see one of my cousins ..." Shinobu interjected quietly.

"If you'll excuse us ..."

Plus there was a certain Omoidasu he needed to talk to.

[OOC: They'll head to Hajime, assuming he's not busy.]
Isawa Shema
 player, 9 posts
 Phoenix Clan Tensai
 Elemental Guard
Sat 11 Apr 2015
at 04:14
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
Shema bows in turn.  "I am Isawa Shema.  If your comment was honest and sincere, I can see no dishonor in it: encouraging each member of our caste to be all that they were meant to be is the job of each of us.  I do think each clan's choice shows expert cunning, though.  Their choices demonstrate a valued skill that each minor clan excels at, and that no Great Clan could criticize without seeming foolish, and so each competitor is reminded that there are minor clan samurai that are likely more skilled than they in at least their weak areas."  Shema paused to consider for a moment before continuing.  "The only possible exception would be the choice of Sadane.  However, to criticize sadane while having invested time to excel at it would likely seem foolish to many... and to criticize sadane without skill would just be begging for someone to teach you about it, which would likely end in the same."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:07, Sun 26 Apr 2015.

Otomo Hajime
 player, 109 posts
 Seppun Miharu/Magistrate
 Emerald Magistrate
Sun 12 Apr 2015
at 07:16
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
In reply to Bayushi Kenshin (msg # 37):

Hajime had been waiting for the Bayushi to conclude the conversation with the Kitsune as he had not wanted to intrude.  Seeing his cousin and the male Bayushi, whom he assumed was her husband, approach, Hajime bowed politely to them and said in a cordial tone, "Good morning Bayushi Shinobu-san, I had not realized that you would be attending the Tournament.

I see that your union has been blessed by the Fortune Hujokuko.  I offer my congratulations and well wishes for your family's future."


Hajime glanced at the male Bayushi and said in a polite tone, "Good morning Bayushi-san, I am Otomo Hajime.

Would I be correct in assuming that you are Shinobu-san's husband?  If so, then I extend my congratulations to you as well.

Are you intending to compete in the Tournament or are you present here strictly as an observer?"

Bayushi Kenshin
 player, 325 posts
 Scorpion Junshin
 Kakita Bushi Academy
Mon 13 Apr 2015
at 18:17
Re: Volume 2, Prologue - Opening Tensions
"Thank you" Shinobu said with a bow and a smile. "Yes, this is my husband, Kenshin."

"Pleased to meet you" Kenshin replied, also with a bow, "I intend to enter them all. I ... understand that the Son of Heaven has need for those such skilled, and this will be valuable experience."

His real goal was the Imperial Legions. Should he accidentally win, well ... that would be fine too.