Old Wounds.   Posted by Little Teacher.Group: 0
Little Teacher
 GM, 6202 posts
Wed 31 May 2017
at 02:41
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Iuchi Lixue (msg # 16):

He leans forward a fraction but seems to think better of it and then bows.  He touches your hand and then leaves quickly.

Alright.  Back to business

You spend a little composing your letter to your mother when you are interrupted by a knock on the door.

Please forgive Lady Lixue, says your temporary maid.  A Lady calling herself Kasuga Yuna has arrived and is asking if you have time for an audience.
Little Teacher
 GM, 6205 posts
Wed 31 May 2017
at 03:07
Doji Arata
Your tea is cold.  Shall I brew a fresh pot?

Your eyes water when you look away from the parchment and at your erstwhile man servant.  The sudden change from reading calligraphy to seeing the real world makes your head spin a moment.  Too much time reading too many scrolls by candlelight.

It is a day after the visit from the Tanuki.  Hawasi secured you quarters in a small but acceptable inn not far from the city's eastern gate.  He then sent two of his men to report to the acting commander.  They returned with a surprise of sorts:  apparently the former general had been intercepting communiques.  She stockpiled them and the Acting Commander had ones meant for you forwarded.  You have spent the last day catching up on your reading.

Most of the communiques are unimportant or, at this point anyway, superfluous.  The situations they address no longer exist with the transfer of power between Generals and the movement of the Crane army.  You have to provide an updated report for immediate dispatch to your direct superior.  And you manage a more detailed report of your dealings with the Phoenix for both the Acting General and the Powers at Home.

Of more interest is the news abroad.  It seems the turmoil in the North has begun to boil.  The Phoenix are now in open dissolution.  Reports have come in that sects have formed within the Isawa family and are openly feuding.  Oddly, the Shiba Clan seems to have withdrawn from the situation.  There are reports that Shiba have left their posts from the Isawa compounds and returned to Clan Strongholds.

The Dragon seem to be on the move as well.  They have concluded an alliance with the Mantis, the details of which seem to be quite secret.  It is only known that the two seem to be expecting aggression from the Phoenix at some point in the near future.

The Empress has dispatched several envoys to the Phoenix lands, but to little success.  The Isawa seem to be pointedly ignoring her.  The Shiba offer the envoys hospitality but refuse meetings and offer no explanations.  Rumors are that the Empress is considering armed intervention, but who she will turn to handle the matter remains to be seen.

There seems to be very little news from within the province.  There is mention that the current ambassador to the Acting Governor in Naishou City has been replaced, but oddly the missive does not name the replacement.  You check the cipher several times but it does not seem to have been tampered with.  The name of the replacement is just not provided.

Lastly, there is an invitation among the letters.  This one seems to have arrived this morning.  It is addressed to He Who Whistles In The Thicket

Good Sir.

I trust this missive finds you in the best of cheers.  I seek entertainment in the game of steps and thought you may wish to seek such similar entertainments.  In the morning after the one that has just occurred I will be at the bottom of the stairs ascending Paper Maker's Lane after the last tolling of the bell second to the one after sunrise.

I hope for your company.  Kindest Regards.

Lady Xibo, The Cuckoo's Sister

Iuchi Lixue
 player, 1289 posts
Wed 31 May 2017
at 03:17
Iuchi Lixue
Lixue looks at her maid curiously, wondering if she comes from a place where people normally claim to be people they are not. "Well, hopefully it's actually Lady Kasuga." She says mildly, as she cleans her writing utensils. "Well, show her into the parlor and then ready tea, and some of the little seed cakes."

Lixue waits for the maid to follow orders before she puts her letter away in the secret drawer.   After a brief check for decorum--as she has ben prone to impromptu smiling since Ochube-san's visit--she goes to greet Lady Yuna.
Akodo Jubei
 player, 494 posts
 Daimyo's son
 Future General
Wed 31 May 2017
at 06:23
Iuchi Lixue
(OOC:Standing by?)
Little Teacher
 GM, 6206 posts
Thu 1 Jun 2017
at 05:17
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Akodo Jubei (msg # 20):

Sorry Jubei.  I thought this posted last night.  Apparently it didn't.

There is a slight outcropping on one side of the clearing you are in.  You can stand on it and see a bit further down the hill.  From this point, you watch the man you dispatched towards town take flight.  If you have luck, he will run into a friendly patrol on this side of the river and should be back within two hours.  If not, he'll have to take the ferry and secure troops from the gate.  Four hours.

Behind you, there are some angry voices.  One of your men drags the prisoner forward and tosses him to his knees at the bottom of the outcrop.

The man is one of Iku's staff.  You saw him a few times in Iku's command center.  A clerk of some kind.  Not a senior officer.  His name escapes you which means you probably were never told what it was.

The man is staring at the ground.  He is not playing the part of the howling villain.  But he is not groveling either.  You see his shoulders tense up and the man takes a deep breath.  He mutters This one is Matsu Odigai.  I served Lord Iku-sama.  In a secretarial role.  I fulfilled his orders.  I will not ask for mercy.  What could I possibly tell you Lord Akodo? I was a subordinate.  Lord Iku-sama said go and I went.  He said do this and I did it.  I know very little

This message was last updated by the GM at 05:18, Thu 01 June 2017.

Little Teacher
 GM, 6207 posts
Thu 1 Jun 2017
at 05:25
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Iuchi Lixue (msg # 19):

She may not be familiar with the minor clans.  Just saying

Yuna is dressed in a rather simple robe of browns and grays.  She bows as you enter, her face a bit of a polished mask of courtesy.  Good afternoon Lady Iuchi-san.  I trust your homecoming has been significantly less stressful than your vacation.  I must beg your pardon, but...  She suddenly bows deeply, in the position of one asking a favor.  Please accept the regret of the Kasuga Clan and that of the Three Man Alliance.  We are deeply ashamed of the actions of certain of our retainers and regret you were forced to intercede in the matter. For the trouble you were caused, we are deeply sorry.

Ah.  She has come to make apologies for you having to deal with Mino and the others.
Iuchi Lixue
 player, 1290 posts
Fri 2 Jun 2017
at 02:36
Iuchi Lixue
Right! Forgot about that.

Lixue winces at the embarrassment the situation must have caused. Darn that murderer for striking her and calling attention to the situation!   If only the blackguard was more complacent, then no one would have known about this besides herself and Kasuga-san.

"Please Kasuga-san, I only hope that you are safer now than you were. If that is achieved, then it is worth quite a lot of trouble.  Lixue insists sincerely, without the least hint of ill-will.

Hopefully she is safer without a murderer in her entourage.  That's not too optimistic, right?

"Will you have some tea?"  Lixue invites her to a cushion, "I am having a little vacation today, although I suspect by tomorrow I will be wielding the fan again."
Akodo Jubei
 player, 495 posts
 Daimyo's son
 Future General
Fri 2 Jun 2017
at 05:32
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Little Teacher (msg # 21):

"A secretary knows where his correspondence was going. I need to know where all those letters he was sending were going. And how often."

That might help identify conspirators.
Doji Arata
 player, 1229 posts
Sun 4 Jun 2017
at 03:12
Doji Arata
"Thank you," Arata says to Meichou,
"But I let the tea go cold, and so I shall have to enjoy it cold. Call it a lesson in personal responsibility."

He folds the letter in two and wafts it under his nose as if trying to catch a subtle scent of the sender.

"Could you please remind me later to make sure that my white robes are clean and ready by tomorrow morning? They should be acceptable for entertaining who I assume must amount to a princess, or something much like that. Formal definitions generally seem to be a bit vague in Naishou."
Little Teacher
 GM, 6209 posts
Thu 8 Jun 2017
at 04:42
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Iuchi Lixue (msg # 23):

Yuna nods and smiles, though it seems a bit strained.  Clearly she is embarassed.  I appreciate the offer.  That would be lovely.  She hesitates and then says Your injury is not too severe I hope?
Little Teacher
 GM, 6210 posts
Thu 8 Jun 2017
at 04:43
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Akodo Jubei (msg # 24):

The man shuts his lips determinedly.  He bows and then says, I was ordered by Lord Iku to keep such matters in my hear.
Little Teacher
 GM, 6211 posts
Thu 8 Jun 2017
at 04:46
Doji Arata
In reply to Doji Arata (msg # 25):

There is a scent.  A subtle floral scent.  Hydrangea?

Meichou shakes his head.  There are too many worlds here.  It blurs the lines.  I can see to your robe if you like. 
Akodo Jubei
 player, 496 posts
 Daimyo's son
 Future General
Thu 8 Jun 2017
at 04:51
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Little Teacher (msg # 27):

Jubei says this only once.

"You can tell me, or you can tell the Eta. The choice is yours."

That is, he's going to get handed over to very unfriendly people.
Iuchi Lixue
 player, 1291 posts
Fri 9 Jun 2017
at 02:32
Iuchi Lixue
Lixue nods to her maid to procure some tea.

Lixue assures Kasuga-san cheerfully, "I've had worse mischief and bruises trying to ride wild sheep as a child.  Besides, it's good to let the Lion rescue a maiden every now and then.  It cheers them up."

She gives Kasuga-san a mischievous grin, "I'm sure that dreadful Phoenix girl will be envious of the handsome Bushi who simply *must* be solicitous of my health.  I thank you for making her foolishness more amusing."
Little Teacher
 GM, 6212 posts
Sun 11 Jun 2017
at 05:12
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Akodo Jubei (msg # 29):

He says nothing.  One of your men looks towards you to see if you have anything else to say before dragging the man off.

It is a little before sunset before your scout returns.  He is leading a small phalanx of men, ready to escort you back to the City.  One of the gate officers salutes and bows.  General Fizu-sama asked you go to see him and issue a report as soon as you return to the City
Little Teacher
 GM, 6213 posts
Sun 11 Jun 2017
at 05:14
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Iuchi Lixue (msg # 30):

Yuna smiles at first but her smile freezes when you mention the 'Phoenix' girl.  Ah.  I fear you may not have heard.  She went to see the Governor almost immediately upon our return.  It seems she came very  close to making outright accusations.  I believe things are quite tense in the Governor's Palace right now.
Akodo Jubei
 player, 497 posts
 Daimyo's son
 Future General
Sun 11 Jun 2017
at 06:21
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Little Teacher (msg # 31):

All Jubei says to the man is, "Your choice is made. I hope you do not regret it."

Once they came with their phalanx, he returns to the city, makes sure the captured secretary is sent to the Eta exactly as he said he'd be, and heads straight for Fizu from there.
Iuchi Lixue
 player, 1292 posts
Mon 12 Jun 2017
at 14:42
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Little Teacher (msg # 32):

OOC:  I'm not sure who the phoenix is complaining too? Does she mean the Miya interim governor?  (aka the Princess' dad?)  Or does she mean the phoenix ex-governor.

Well, that was an ignorant and petty thing to do.   But there is no use saying so.

Lixue pauses,"Well, for a moment I felt that I was being uncharitable towards the girl.  But I think I am past that now."  She sips some tea, "I had heard things were tense, but not how far they had gone.  Who is she almost-accusing?"   Lixue asks thoughtfully.
Little Teacher
 GM, 6214 posts
Wed 14 Jun 2017
at 23:24
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Akodo Jubei (msg # 33):

You arrive after the sunsets.  The city is lit by lanterns and the glow from cooking fires lit behind the rice paper walls of huts you pass by.

Home Base seems to be on high alert.  Fizu must have heard something of what happened then.  You march up the hallway and enter his chamber.

He nods at your bow and glances back at the Shogi board he has set up.  He seems to be running through a classic problem of the game called General-Lost-His-Fan.  In this game, one player has moved his Generals too far into enemy territory.  And the enemy has launched a counter offensive by flanking the generals.

Fizu studies the board a moment longer.  Your report please.  Leave nothing out.  I want fact and I want your opinion of the situation.
Little Teacher
 GM, 6215 posts
Wed 14 Jun 2017
at 23:28
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Iuchi Lixue (msg # 34):

Miya interim Governor

Yuna sighs deeply.  Mostly the Lion.  There is some venom directed to my clan as well.  And I think Doji-san has also come up in the conversation.  I have little concern her attempt will bear fruit.  Miya-sama is a very clear minded man.  But it is making it's way around the circle of wagging tongues.  Maybe that was her goal?
Akodo Jubei
 player, 498 posts
 Daimyo's son
 Future General
Wed 14 Jun 2017
at 23:38
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Little Teacher (msg # 35):

Jubei makes a full report, and as requested, leaves nothing out, save for private correspondence to his father, which, since it goes to an even higher authority, may be left unsaid. But the rest, he tells verbatim.
Little Teacher
 GM, 6216 posts
Thu 15 Jun 2017
at 23:13
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Akodo Jubei (msg # 37):

Fizu rubs his eyes.  Fool he says softly.  It seems to be directed towards Izu.  Or maybe himself.  I did not think this sword would come from this direction.  I hope he burns in hell.

He straightens up and then looks at you.  We must make sure our ranks are clear of his sympathizers.  And we must do so quietly.  The results of the Princess' hunting trip are just starting to come around.  Can you handle the cull?
Akodo Jubei
 player, 499 posts
 Daimyo's son
 Future General
Fri 16 Jun 2017
at 14:12
Akodo Jubei
"It has already begun. His secretary has been sent to the eta till he reveals where Iku-san's correspondence was going. Once we have such information, finding co conspirators will be made much simpler."

Pause...

"Also, since Iku's staff took over many of the details regarding the occupation, you'll want to have your staff take over everything again."
Iuchi Lixue
 player, 1293 posts
Fri 16 Jun 2017
at 17:46
Iuchi Lixue
In reply to Little Teacher (msg # 36):

Lixue can almost feel Ide Tensen raising an eyebrow over this.  "I think she may be hoping that Miya-sama finds it easier to blame the Lion--even if it is clearly a great strategic risk--rather than his own daughter.  I doubt he will let Isawa-san influence his course by even a sneeze.   And, of course, set tongues wagging."    She says the last part dryly.

She pauses and sends her new maid to arrange some snacks for them. "I also noticed in my..pursuit of various criminals..that the Phoenix did not seem entirely a stranger to the situation.  Your aunt mentioned that she and her family were acquainted with Mirumoto-sama when she was a child.   And then he is murdered without any attempt to draw his sword.  And then Hideo-san mentioned that Goya-san was meeting with both Mirumoto-sama and a 'woman in priest's robes'."  Lixue shrugs, "it is nothing anyone can be accused over--nor ought they be.  But if she has some connection to these events she may be worried that one of your staff may find something that does not reflect well on her.  It doesn't hurt her to try to set up a screen of gossip in advance."

Lixue smiles,  "and of course, you are her rival.  She is behaving like a school girl over it, but it does not seem out of character for her.  Does anyone know what kind of nuns taught her? They don't seem very pious."
Little Teacher
 GM, 6217 posts
Mon 19 Jun 2017
at 02:19
Akodo Jubei
In reply to Akodo Jubei (msg # 39):

Fizu moves a piece on the board, running through the merits of the move in his mind. There are not any. He replaces it with a sigh.

The problem is how far can I trust my staff? Everyone of them came on duty at the same time Iku did. His fingers hover over another piece. The merits of a move with it are hard to tell at a glance. Test rhem. My seniors. We will consider it training. Part of a general's duty is to test his officers, both in skill and in spirit.