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» L5R Steel & Honour, Chapter 14, The long dark
redeadlink
 Posted: Sep 20 2013, 06:06 PM
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"Moshi-san!"

Akio places his hammer down next to the fallen shugenja, and checks her head for serious damage.

"Moshi-san, are you alright? What happened? What's going on?"
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Sep 21 2013, 11:27 PM
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As Akio grabs Kinyo's shoulders to check her he feels a jolt of raw power and light overwhelm his senses. Another presence invades his mind, one that is dark and vengeful. It feels primal and angry inside his head, like a hot tanto in his eyes.

His thoughts return to a battle long ago where his force was outnumbered and yet he helped lead his men to glorious victory, and now his mind plays back the memory in a distorted way. He tries to call a command or shout a warning, but nothing but dry sand comes from his mouth and men perish... An enemy spearman rushes at his comrade from behind and when he leaps to cut the coward down his legs crumble like brittle clay... His men charge beside him, a unified line to push back their foes, but he can't keep up, his armour and sword feel made of stone, he cannot keep up and the line is broken. These twisted memories wrack him with unearned guilt, and then from deeper down is pulled the memory of his true shame, all true and he is about to despair. A weight pushes down on him from above and he knows he cannot hope to persevere, nor does he deserve to. Utter failure...
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Chronocide
 Posted: Sep 22 2013, 08:21 PM
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"I have many things that I wish to achieve, but I suppoose if I were to put it into words, my goal is to ensure that wherever I tread that realm be better for it."

This post has been edited by Chronocide: Sep 23 2013, 08:17 AM
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Sep 22 2013, 11:09 PM
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Hitasura put a hand up to the hakuko mask and giggles, "I mean no disrespect Kitsune-san, but I take notice especially when you speak. Not just for your accent, but I understand that you choose your words very carefully. You said '...that realm be better for it.' not '... that the realm be better for it.' Do you have such a strong connection to your roots in the Kitsune Mori that you have been to Chikushudo?!"

Hitasura's response seems genuinely enthusiastic, but the giggle sounded definitely feminine.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Sep 23 2013, 04:22 PM
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"I don't believe I have ever left Rokugan, but perhaps I have entertained spirits unaware. Not to mention there is noo knoowing where my travels may take me in the future."
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Itinerant
 Posted: Sep 23 2013, 05:19 PM
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Reijiro curses under his breath. He feels his anxiety sinking in, compounding to the increasing weight on his legs. A sticky situation, it would seem. When strength fails, diction may prove more effective than a no-diachi.

"Most honorable creature, I did not mean to disturb your lair. I am journeying into this cave to seek out the Oni Lord, who has threatened my home land. He has killed companions of mine, and I seek justice. I believed him to be deeper still, but it seems I have intruded upon your resting place. My deepest apologies. As for the no-diachi, you are most clairvoyant, it is not mine. I have borrowed it from a kinsman and believe it to be the only way to defeat the Oni Lord.

Given the nature of your magic, and powerful presence, I can only guess that you must be one of the Naga. My people seldom have the honor of meeting your majestic race. Permit me to leave you, my lord, and if you can give aid to my quest, please do, for this demon threatens your home if he remains here."

Reijiro speaks with slow, concise pronounciation, trying to appear more brave than he feels.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Sep 24 2013, 07:04 PM
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The creature steps toward Reijiro. Even sunk up to his knees in the stone they stand face to face. It dips a small, bird-like bow before speaking. "Ghyooou aarr roooneeen, ghyooou khave nnooo keenssmeen." It cocks its head as if listening to something beyond the human range of hearing. "Ghyeet Ghyooou dooh!? Gyooou ssspeekgh khalmooossst truii onn othter khcoonts. Theesss onne eesss nnooo Nhaaghaa, eesss Zohkoojeen." It turns halfway round looking back at the glowing pool of fine steel on the floor. Then without turning back it walks away from the ronin. "Commme hith. Hee tahk taa Maussstere." It stoops low and scoops up the glowing sword with one hand and walks into the wall triggering that fluid sound Reijiro heard before. As the sword slips inside the stone the light quickly disappears.

----

Hitasura nods appreciatively,
"I believe you are right Kitsune-san. We should quickly destroy this oni so that we can find out what the future holds. I hope that..." Suddenly she holds up one finger and whips her head around peering ahead down the passage. Daidoji Ebizu's back can be seen, and beyond him is Kaede and then the ratling who is out of sight.

At the front of the line Nik'rr'tck pauses to sniff the air. His ears strain for a faint sound he thought he heard, the scuffle of a small, bare foot. He gestures back to Kaede to halt and remain quiet while he listens further. A few more seconds go by before he hears it again, whatever it is it is small and there is only one of it, with the air heavy with taint he cannot determine anything from scent. He creeps back to the others and whispers to them what he has sensed.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Sep 25 2013, 06:21 PM
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"Honour... and... duty! this is the strength of the Lion! If my armour and sword prevent me from my duty, I discard them! Guilty I may be, but that will not drain my will to do that which is expected of me!"

Akio sheds his armour and sword and wills his feet forward against that which is holding him back.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Sep 25 2013, 10:34 PM
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+1
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Chronocide
 Posted: Sep 28 2013, 07:29 AM
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"It seems we may have our chance." Kiyoshi pats Hitasura on the shoulder and moves to catch up with the others.

This post has been edited by Chronocide: Sep 30 2013, 08:58 PM
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Sep 30 2013, 07:30 AM
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Nik'rrtck explains what he sensed as best he can.

"Small footsteps doesn't indicate the Oni Lord, but perhaps someone it has captured has escaped?" Puts forth Kaede.

Ebizu shakes his head with a grim look on his face.
"If that were the case I would think it a trap Kaede-san. The longer we hold off on facing the beast the longer he has to heal and prepare. We should not falter at every little noise or we will be too late. If it is a spawn we must deal with it sometime, better now than later with its master."

"Not all of us can see as well in the dark as our Nezumi friend here, we will need the torch, and regardless that will give advance notice of our arrival. Speed may be the best option." Hitasura reminds everyone, the shadows from the flame making her mask seem to open and close its mouth.

----

Akio feels resistance at first, but then a shrieking howl penetrates his mind and the presence is gone. He is on his knees and dripping with sweat. Moshi Kinyo stands above him and to her right stands some sort of being that the Lion has only heard stories about.
"That was a kansen that you faced Matsu-san, a very powerful one led here by the Oni Lord. I am sorry it attacked you, but it sensed that I had a protector." She gestures slightly to the form on her right. "I wasn't sure that you would survive."

A voice like gravel and crashing rocks echos in his head, "You have my blessing fiery Lion." The earth kami beside Kinyo reaches out and touches Akio's chest leaving a raised rocky patch of skin, "Call on us when you have need."

"I have been chosen, Akio-san, I can guide you to the next step of your journey, but I cannot see you complete it. Please tell Buntaro-sama that I will return to the Mantis Isles when I can. We should go, the Zukojin are ahead."
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redeadlink
 Posted: Sep 30 2013, 09:20 AM
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Akio begins to protest, but cuts himself off. He bows,

"As you wish, Moshi-san."

He is a little confused as to why the shugenja cannot continue with them, but does not deign to question the earth kami.

This post has been edited by redeadlink: Sep 30 2013, 09:21 AM
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Chronocide
 Posted: Sep 30 2013, 09:08 PM
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"I agree with Hitasura-san would should not waste time. 'If you do not enter the tiger's cave, you will not catch its cub.'"
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Oct 2 2013, 07:22 AM
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Daidoji Ebizu nods his assent. "The tunnel will only admit two of us at a time, you and I should take the charge on this one. Kaede, guard our rear. You there, Hitasura-san, throw your blades as you are able."

Hitasura nods her head without saying anything.

----

The small flame that guided there way continues on and both Matsu Akio and Moshi Kinyo follow after. The Earth kami rumbles along beside them for a while, partially seen, partially heard, and partially felt. When the pair arrive at the end of the tunnel in a small chamber it is gone.
"They will be here soon."
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redeadlink
 Posted: Oct 2 2013, 05:53 PM
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Akio sits cross-legged on the floor of the chamber. After waiting in silence for a bit, he speaks.

"Moshi-san, how long was I struggling with the kansen, and what happened with you and the kami as I was doing so?"
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