Rokugan - Part Two

  • So many newbies lately! Here is a very important PSA about one of our most vital content policies! Read it even if you are an ancient member!

Boss Frost

Original poster
After a great long battle, the last bandit fell to the blade of the heroes. Their pincer attack failing, those who had appeared in the beginning end their attack, abandoning their siege weaponry, though taking their thunderwands as they escape into the darkness of the coming night.

The town of Renga Murai is in disrepair, stones and bricks strewn across the street. Bodies lay where they had fallen, and the fires had spread unchecked... though the light of the fire allowed a glint of light to reflect off of a small scroll that had fallen from the armor of the bandit's horseback leader.

Bound with an obsidian seal - obsidian known to be the corrupt, bloody form of the more holy material, jade - carved in the image of a spider. The note was written in a language that few could understand - a language that hurt the eyes of those who looked upon it.

However, the signature was clear as day, a name that - even if unknown to those in the group - sent a chill down each spine. A name that many dare not say, for fear of attracting his attention.

The signature was of "Fu Leng"... known better as the Fallen Kami.

In fact, this spider symbol is clear as tattoos or as designs on the armor of the fallen 'bandits'. What this means to those is unknown, but one thing is certain: No good will come of it.

Twelve hours has passed since the fall of the last bandit. Those warriors who fought against the 'bandits' have camped for the night with the survivors of Renga Murai... and now, must decide what to do.
Tokito stared at the Samurai who bore the Colours of the Crane clan. Today had gone from boring, to alarmingly interesting, to frightfully interesting, and now he found himself curious once again. He had changed out of the mud soaked Unicorn kimono and now wore the attire of a monk from the crane clan. Sliding from the bench where he sat he ducked and weaved through the crowd to come to a stop behind Komura there was no doubt. He knew this man.

"Honorable samurai." He said bowing his hands clasped. "If I may be so bold I would like to offer you what small hospitality I may." he continued frozen in the half bow eyes on the ground. "I believe I know you."

Kiyoshi say, legs tucked underneath him in the noise of the camp. He sat on the ground so that he could work, his mind calm and oblivious to the din. In one hand was held a brush, the other helping to keep it steady. Before him lay a blank piece of paper and a small bowl of ink. Slowly he began to paint, the small letters painted as if each were a complete work, but only portraying a small portion of the total message of the document. It was like an army in Kiyoshi's mind. Each unit complete in itself but also part of a whole. The text itself was an extract from Alodo's greatest book, Tactics. It was written word for word from memory without a single stroke out of place.
[BG=#000099]The name didn't mean anything to Japik, although he'd seen how everyone else shuddered. It was the crest that had him worried - an obsidian spider had shown up more than once in Northern cults, and it never meant good things. He had done his best to put it out of his mind and leave the scroll to those who could read the language.

Now he sat in front of a camp fire next to a salvaged bedroll, sharpening his sword with a whetstone taken from an enemy soldier. His tunic was spread out to dry on top of his armor and shield, which sat beside him. He was oddly comfortable, shirtless in the warm night with all his scars visible for the world to see. And there were plenty, from the wide gash across his collarbone from the stone block that had nearly crushed him as a youth to the small, jagged circle just under his shoulder blade from a barbed arrow.

It was strange, he thought, to provision himself off spoils of war. And stranger still to share a war camp with people I've known for less than a day. Then his thoughts turned to Eagle's Reach and his uncertain future.

After a few hours of silence, he finally spoke. "They call us Stone Eagles," he told Roppu without looking away from the whetstone as he slowly scraped it along the edge of his blade. His heavily accented Rokugani came broken and halting as he continued, "My family, I mean. Partly because of our emblem, and partly because of our....castle? No, not castle. Fortress. My great-grandfather and his father built it. Earned nobility with their own sweat and blood. We still keep it the same way. We're as much people of the stone as the....<Dwarves>..." he used the Common word, "that we share the mountains with. I was the youngest son, though. I went to the army. Led brave men. Fought with them. And now I'm here, alone and with no purpose." He was talking to himself as much as to Roppu by now. "Except that maybe I do. I have seen that spider before, and it never means good."

He fell silent and continued to drag the whetstone along the already-sharp edge of his sword. And then he suddenly stopped, turning his head to look Roppu in the eye.

"I could use help."
Having seen the smoke and fires from a distance, Keiichiro had decided to continue his journey for Renga Murai. He had been traveling the road for some weeks now, fresh from his training deep within Daidoji lands. Having passed the final tests, he had been given an assignment: journey for Renga Murai.

And that was all he was told.

At first he had been perplexed. Why head for a town that had been enveloped by both Crane and Lion borders at one time or another? It wasn't a highly prestigious town, but one that had been fought over time and again. Perhaps there was someone he was to meet, gather information from, and head back to Shiro Daidoji with? Or maybe he was to simply observe and report back immediately? Perhaps a war was going to start soon and he was to become a forward scout?!

No matter. It was useless to ponder on what he had to do. All he could do was... do. Get to where he was commanded to be, allow the Kami to do what they do, and to serve the Crane as best as he could. He had the skill and knowledge, all that was left was for action.

So here he was, on the road with darkness ready to swallow him, not 100 yards from a camp of many fires and peoples. It looked as if a battle had just been waged here. Almost immediately his assumption had been proved correct, a stack of corpses ablaze at the edge of his vision. He allowed his hand to casually rest atop his daitou, his right thumb looped into his obi. He slouched in his step and held a swagger of sorts, letting his eyes slack somewhat, giving him a tired vagabond look.

His kimono was dark in colour, a deep blue that looked black in the darkness. He wore charcoal coloured hakama over it, and simple tabi boots. A thick banded bundle, his furoshiki, was pulled tightly to his back and tied over his chest, and an unstrung short yumi could be seen sticking out parallel to it. A simple quiver of arrows was hidden amidst the furoshiki and bow.

Suddenly smiling nervously, the young samurai began to clumsily stumble through the camp. As he did he started taking note of who was around: a number of tired-looking survivors, obviously citizens of the town. Then there were others; unique-looking individuals who wore battle-weariness to varying degrees. As a special note, he noticed a man who was surprisingly foreign-looking, different from anyone he had ever seen, who was conversing with a nezumi, of all creatures.


Keiichiro paused for a moment, and suddenly wondered: Who should I be talking to?
Ryoko finished up taking care of the horse, making sure it had something to eat and some water to drink. She even took the gear off to make a thorough examination before the sun had completely set. When she was satisfied, she bade it goodnight and decided to do a bit of roaming, see what the others were doing.

The first one she came to was Kiyoshi. His back was to her and he was intent on whatever it was he was doing. Upon further inspection, she found him doing something with a brush. She quietly approached and then leaned forward, until her mouth was close to his ear.

"I hope you can wield that brush better than you can a sword," she said.


Yue was walking around, making sure everyone was alive and well. If there was someone wounded, she made them as comfortable as possible and healed when she could. She was glancing around when she looked up and spotted someone approaching. By the stagger in his step, it might not be too far of a guess for him to be wounded or injured in some way. She had to see if she could help him.

The tall, fair shaman approached Keiichiro, then bowed, knees bent before him. "Greetings, honored one. Are you also a survivor of the attack on Renga Murai? Please, come by the fire and make yourself welcome."
Keiichiro was taken aback by the sudden and nigh-abrupt appearance of the statuesque white-woman now addressing him. She looked... 'almost normal,' but her skin... she was too pale, and her eyes glistened the mirror-colour of the fires around. She must be a... a 'Spirit Folk,' he thought to himself. Though educated on their existence, he had never seen one before.

Maybe this was why he was sent on the road? To explore the outside world and to see things he would never have been able to see back home?

Not forgetting courtesy, he quickly bowed in return. He kept his relaxed stance, hand barely draped over the hilt of his sword, but otherwise, his bow was firm and polite. "Greetings. I am glad to make myself welcome by your fire, but I am newly-arrived to town. I have been traveling for a fortnight, without any civilized rest. That must be why I look so... Survivor-like?" He cracked a smile.

"Please, show me where I might take rest for the evening. Perhaps tell me what has happened in the last few hours? What attack has occurred?"
Yue nodded. "As you wish, honored one. This one is named Yue. She was in Renga Murai when it was attacked. Bandits moved through and used their thunder wands ... They slaughtered everyone they could. The only indication of who masterminded such an attack ... was a black spider." Her voice grew soft and sad at the end, as if still in disbelief.

The shaman shook her head. "Please forgive this one. It has been a long day but please, come. Make yourself comfortable by the fire. To see another living face is a blessing this one shall thank the spirits and ancestors most humbly for." She gestured to an open spot by the fire.
He had nearly stumbled when the woman told him of the black spider. Bandits fighting under the banner of that treacherous symbol?! he thought with a flash of fury behind his thoughts. These are no bandits... This! This is what I was sent here for! But.. was I too late?!

"I am ashamed to now learn that I was late for the battle," he said with a gentle tone of shame behind his voice. "Perhaps lives could have been saved by my being here. I am sorry that I had not made haste." He shook his head, but continued.

"I am Keiichiro," he told her, smiling slightly and nodding his head minutely, bowing once more. There was no need to tell her he was a Daidoji; not yet, anyways. That was one of the first things he learned at the Harrier school: you are not lying by withholding information. He felt a pang of guilt for not telling her his full name, but at the same time... she had not asked. And, at least, he did give her his real chosen name.

"Will you sit with me, at least for a moment?"
"This one would be most honored," Yue said, bowing again. "This one's name is Yue, separated from her traveling companion when the attack occurred." She walked with him to the fire and sat down beside him. "This one is hoping to see him soon and prays he is not among the dead." But then she smiled a bit as if trying to lighten her own mood. "Endo is a very capable individual and a wise wu jen so surely he has sought refuge elsewhere."
Kiyoshi's hand slipped at the distraction. Then as he gazed on the think black line marring his precisely written characters closed into a fist as the brush fell to the paper. His shoulders dropped as his back stiffened his head snapping up sharply as he turned to face Ryoko. His face was impassive though an old shugenja in lion robes who had been watching Kiyoshi gave Ryoko a warning glance. "IT is calming to the mind to write the works of the masters." he said his voice steadily controlled as taught from an early age. "Perhaps you should take some time to read them." He pushed the incomplete and ruined page towards Ryoko.
Kuroma had been eating his allotment of the rice they had saved from the fires when the monk addressed him. He turned to look at the monk, chopsticks still in his mouth. Swallowing, Kuroma greeted the man. "I am Doji Kuroma. And while you may know me, I cannot say I am familiar with you. Of course, I have always been bad with faces." Kuroma let out a friendly chuckle. "I would be honored to partake of your hospitality. Though might I ask what rings you to this village?"
"A wu jen, you say?" Keiichiro asked, eye-brow raised minutely. "Strange traveling companion to have, but a capable one, indeed! I am sure in the assumption that he is fine. This battle was won, it seems, though it must have been quite the furious one. I think you may have seen a gout of flame conjured by him at some point, eh?"

He smiled reassuringly at her as he made himself comfortable, loosening his furoshiki and pulling the katana from his obi, setting it flat to the ground at his left side. He let out a sigh as he settled onto a clean enough setting, not bothering to lay anything down to sit upon. He was just satisfied with getting off of his feet; it was the first time he had all day long.

He pulled his waterskin from the inside of his kimono and gently sipped at it. He offered it to Yue. "You look tired," he commented somewhat brashly. "Are you a healer? I make the assumption from, well, your look of weariness, and the haste in which you made to address my exhaustion." Again, he smiled at her; he was trying to get as much information out of her, but he didn't want to seem very probing. Besides, he actually was beginning to genuinely enjoy her company. It was the first real conversation he had had in weeks.
Tokito raised his gaze looking directly into the Samurai's eyes "Last I saw you was in Musume Muza." he said naming the village where he had last left information for the crane clan family. Then his tone changed from friendly and open to barely a whisper. "I hope you found the Ronin band." his voice immediately regained its casual tone. "We just met briefly and didn't speak. But its still good to see a familiar face."
Kuroma's expression didn't change, though it took all his focus not to look suprised. Realizing that this man was one of his informants/couriers, Kuroma merely looked at the man like he would any other. "Ah, now I remember you. Like I said, I've always been bad with faces. By the way, I didn't happen to catch your name." Kuroma went back to eating his rice, a fairly normal thing for him to do during a conversation. He believed that to completely ignore one's food during a conversation was disrespectful to the spirits and laborers who had grown, harvested, and cooked the meal. Kuroma truely was one of a kind.
"Not I yours." Tokito replied buying time to decide, he of course would not give his real name, nor could he use the name he had been using, he decided to use the same name he had used when he last saw Koruma. "Yakamo." he said with a small bow deciding against using a family name that would obviously be false. This was one crane whose feathers best went ruffled. There were bigger tasks at present. He remained silent as a local peasant came with a bowl of rice to offer to the 'monk' which he took with a bow and thanks.
Yue's cheeks didn't turn red but she did lower her head, as if a bit embarassed at being found out. "This one has had a long day and thanks you most graciously for your concern." And she appreciated him for his words concerning Endo's fate. Kind words and an optimistic spirit were always welcomed.

The shaman looked up then and smiled. "This one is indeed a healer, a shaman, actually. And you ... are quite a brave soul to be traveling alone." She accepted the waterskin as if accepting it from the Emperor himself and took a sip, then she handed it back. "This one thanks you for sharing your water with her. Do you require food?" As she turned, Keiichiro could make out her pipa still slung across her back.


Ryoko looked at the paper he gave and grinned. "Would help if I could actually read, yes?" she asked. Then she turned and walked away to find herself a nice spot to sleep.
"Brave? Not really. I am, well, not the best swordsman, but I can take of myself. I am on a journey, of sorts, you see. For my family." True enough. And still an obtuse enough answer that he wasn't giving anything very important away. He took back the waterskin and sealed it tightly before returning it to the folds of his kimono.

"You are very kind, Yue-san," he said, noticing her pipa as she turned from him for a moment. "I would be happy to share some food with you, and even happier if you showed me how skilled you are with that." He smiled as he gestured to the instrument strapped to her back.

"I'm sure it would be more than enough to lift whatever sunken spirits there be this evening."
Kuroma finished his rice before continuing his conversation with 'Yamako'. When he did continue, it was in a low voice, so only the 'monk' would hear. "Well, 'Yamako', as one of my contacts, I would like for you to arrange for a message to be delivered to my father, Lord Doji. Basically, it'll be a simple account of what has transpired here, and my own thoughts on the matter. I'll have it ready for you in the morning." With that, Kuroma stood up and began walking around, listening to snippets fo conversations here and there. As he wandered about, Kuroma thought he saw the flash of a familiar colored kimono. When he looked to see who the wearer was, Kuroma did not recognise the man as one of the defenders of the town, or at least none of the ones who were at this campsite originally. Kuroma wandered a bit closer to the man, who was talking to a woman whom Kuroma heard the man call Yue. Staying off to the side of the two, Kuroma stood and listened, acting as if he was jsut up stretching his legs.
Kiyoshi blinked, the thought of Ryoko, whom he has finally accepted as a fellow Samurai not being able to read was as alien to him as is she had said she could not fight. He sat there looking down at the blotched text and then at Ryoko his lips moving silently along with his thoughts. The Ki-Rin had lost so much? He watched her back as she walked away a thought occurred to him, or was it a memory of something his teacher had said, The unicorn do not follow the teachings of Akodo like we do so be watchful for surprises when facing them in battle. Perhaps this was why?"

Tokito scooped of some of the plain rice with two fingers, there seemed to be a shortage of utensils, and tasted it. It was average plain rice but it would satisfy his hunger so he sat down cross-legged and continued to eat. Perhaps more would be revealed in the morning, for now he knew who to watch out for and who he could count on. From such a position of strength one of his clam could sleep well, though now without one eye open for there may be others about who had aided the raiders.
Yue lowered her head a bit shyly. She did love to play although she was accustomed to playing for a very small group of people, like the families who would take her in. "If you wish, this one cannot refuse such an honor." She disappeared and returned with a bowl of rice. She offered it to Keiichiro with her head bowed before moving to sit back in the same spot she had before.

"Please forgive this one." She slipped the instrument off her back and sat cross-legged. Then she sat it in her lap and placed her fingers on the neck before taking deep breaths. She began to play softly so as not to disturb those who were already asleep.


Ryoko found a nice, quiet place on the edge of the refugee camp to lie down. She placed her halberd down beside her and used her pack for a pillow. Her horse was just a few feet away. She grinned and closed her eyes. What a day this had turned out to be!