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» L5R Steel & Honour, Chapter 14, The long dark
Chronocide
 Posted: Oct 2 2013, 07:06 PM
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Kiyoshi gives a short nod and readies his katana moving into a complimentary stance with Ebizu.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Oct 28 2013, 11:42 AM
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Reijiro is bewildered at the new turn of events. He has not heard of this creature before, and has little choice other than to follow it's command and venture with it to meet it's master. He attempts to walk to where he last saw the glowing light of the sword.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Nov 17 2013, 10:05 PM
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The Ronin finds that he can move his feet once again. He steps up on to the floor level with ease and shuffles a few steps through the dark to where the wall admitted the strange creature. He touches it cautiously and it moves like thick water, then he pushes his hand through and his wrist is caught by a scaled hand and he is pulled through forcibly. Inside the stone he loses all sense of direction and sound, just a rushing of liquid fills his ears. But the grip on his wrist remains constant and soon he is tugged out of the stone into the open of a quiet cavern.

The glow of the melted blade illuminates his guide who lets go of his wrist and beckons for the samurai to follow. They walk for some time in silence until the Zukojin stops and chitters something in a queer tongue and two more of its kind, bearing finely wrought steel polearms, materialize from a flat wall in front of them. A few words are exchanged in the creatures' own tongue and the two guards bow slightly to the Reijiro and stand aside. Again his guide pulls him through the wall by his wrist, but this time the journey is shorter. They end up in an organized living space with more Zukojin wandering the low stone halls. One comes forward, garbed in iridescent robes, and bows to Reijiro.
"Thisss one weel take yhou to the Masster. Fhollow."

The guide nods for him to follow the other Zukojin but makes no move to accompany.

----


"You were not fighting long, though it may have seemed like a lifetime to you." Moshi Kinyo replies, "As for what transpired between the kami and myself, it has been going on for some time now, and it is a personal matter that I will not discuss." She takes a seat across from the Lion and crosses her own legs. After a while she speaks. "They are coming. Do not be surprised at their appearance, for they are friends of the earth and may offer you some help."

True to her word within a minute there is a strange liquid sound and a wall of the cavern shimmers in the magical light and two figures emerge from it. One is wears an iridescent robe and a strange hat, the other appears to be garbed as a guard. But are not human in the least. Kinyo immediately stands and bows low to the robed Zukojin, a gesture it returns with practiced solemnity.

----

Daidoji Ebizu nods back and both samurai rush down the corridor. Behind them follow Kaede, Nik'rr'tck, and Hitasura, weapons ready and torch held high and flickering furiously. All that stands in the cavern is a small child, a girl by the length of her hair which falls down from her bowed head to cover her face. She is barefoot and dirty, and a pitiful whimper escapes her lips.
"Do not hesitate!" Reminds Ebizu-san through gritted teeth.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Nov 18 2013, 06:34 PM
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"Curse the fiend" Kiyoshi winces, he had been expecting the oni to do something like this. It's a double edged sword; either the girl is just a shell ready to ambush or she is still human and the oni plans to demoralize us by having us slay her. Either way a feint is the best option.
"Do not lose focus" Reminds Kiyoshi
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redeadlink
 Posted: Nov 19 2013, 03:23 AM
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Akio follows Moshi Kinyo's lead and bows deeply to the creatures. He is wary of them though, having never seen anything like them before.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Dec 2 2013, 08:11 AM
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Reijiro warily follows the summons, eyes darting around, seeing no other option than to venture forward.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Dec 5 2013, 01:36 AM
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Zukojin step aside as Reijiro is led through the low halls, they nod deferentially as the robed guide passes and watch quietly as the ronin follows. After a few turns and another journey through solid stone they arrive in a larger circular chamber. Seated around a table shaped like a ring are half a dozen robed Zukojin. His guide takes an empty seat and motions for the human to take the next available seat.

What Reijiro assumes is a female Zukojin, due to her more slender figure and generally more feminine garb, approaches him with a platter of roots and nuts, a cup, and a pitcher of water.


"Ples be etting. Yhou muussst be veery hoongry efter yhour djourney." The Zukojin at the opposite side of the table says with a slight flourish of his hand.

The nuts are familiar, as ronin don't fare well with peasant charity, but most of the roots are unfamiliar to him. The water is cool and crisp, and with each sip he feels like he has never had better. He begins to feel a little at ease.

While he is eating the Zukojin talk and debate amongst themselves. Reijiro can understand none of it, not even anything that might sound rokugani stands out with their heavy accents and plentiful hissing sounds. Finally they turn and appraise him before the apparent leader poses to him a single question.
"Yhou do noht rightly posssesss theess weepon, yhou deed noht awahken thee sspireet insside eet, eet ess ovf thee earth end whe shoulhd klame eet, but eet lussts aftehr black bloud wheech ess eetss desstinee; why do yhou kary eet?"

----

The Robed Zukojin returns Akio's bow as well and then turns back to Moshi Kinyo.
"Bleesssed ovf thee earth, weelkom! Whe arr heere to sserve yhou."

Kinyo takes the statement in stride, "We seek the stolen blade of his grandfather. We must get it back to defeat the oni lord that is ravaging the lands above with its vile offspring. I have promised Matsu Akio-san to see him that far at least. Your help would be appreciated in this matter."

"Whe knoow thees meetal, eet kame to us forh a purpouss. Whe knoow thees oni, eet doess noht kuncern us."

----

As Kiyoshi's sword rushes toward his target his eyes meet hers. There is no recognition, but there is something still human about her, or is there? He really has no idea what the oni lord is capable of at this point. Regardless, just as he is halting his strike for the feint the girl reacts and dodges fluidly away. Daidoji Ebizu is there too, however, and though she jerks quickly back the other way his strike is true and he cuts open her side. Red blood bursts forth but her face shows no sign of pain.

She recovers and stands still a little ways back and then folds almost in half to dodge a trio of flying daggers let loose by Hitasura. She quickly snaps back upright and twists so her arms flail out and with only a seconds notice and a slight glint from the torchlight Kiyoshi feels something sting his leg. He hears Ebizu grunt in pain beside him, and the sound of glass shattering on rock behind him.


"That was close!" Exclaims Kaede. "Watch out for her knives, I think they're glass or something."

"Obsidian." Hitasura corrects.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Dec 5 2013, 08:32 PM
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Akio almost falls over at the Zukojin's claim.

"With all due respect, how does it not concern you? This oni has tainted even the earth around its lair. With time, it may well taint your own home, leeching the life from these very stones. Will it concern you then?"

*Though they seem to know of my blade, it bodes ill that they have "a purpose" for it. I may not get it back from them, and that would bode ill for my family.*
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Chronocide
 Posted: Dec 10 2013, 07:26 PM
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"tch" Kiyoshi clicks his tongue. He knows there is nothing for it now but to take of its head. He charges forward to do just that.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Dec 19 2013, 08:46 AM
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Reijiro looks around at his hosts, feeling more and more like a captive. He glares into the eyes of the one who addresses and says, "The reasons for taking the sword are my own. You have bigger problems to worry about. The Oni Lord will soon corrupt this whole place and your home with it. Let me have the Sword that I may defeat the Oni Lord. Lead me to him, and I promise you shall be spared of his wrath."
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Dec 22 2013, 12:41 AM
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The Zukojin seem to take no offense at Reijiro's disrespectful tone, likely lost in translation, and nod when he finishes. They begin to talk to one another in their own tongue yet again and the ronin can only assume that not all of the gathered leaders understand the surface language.

The apparent head of the council addresses him once more.
"Eef thess oni ess an kuncern tu uss, et ess as yhou sey. Yhou, though, aer noht the ssoul-keen of the blade, whe weel noht geev eet tu yhou. Eef whe guide yhou tu thess oni, yhou weel die!"

The speaker stands up at the head of the table and the others follow suit. "Whe must deecide thess efter whe kunsult the earth. Bhe oure guest here." Again he flourishes his hand and with a small bow backs out of the room into the stone walls. Before Reijiro can even jump up the rest of the Zukojin have done the same. Now he really feels like their prisoner.

---

Moshi Kinyo nods her head in time with what Akio is saying,
"We must be allowed to convince your elders of the importance of this one's task. He is right when he speaks of the corruption spreading deeply into the earth. If you doubt it commune with this earth kami here!" She gestures over her shoulder and the massive kami emerges partially from the stone wall, its face impassive.

The Zukojin gasps and backs up a step before prostrating himself before them.
"Forgeev me Bleesssed ovf thee earth. I weel take yhou before the kounceel right eway."

The creature stads and steps to the wall and disappears halfway inside. Then he extends his arm to Kinyo who takes it and follows him in extending her arm to Akio.

---

Daidoji Ebisu shakes off the pain of his old injuries and new and charges in right alongside Kiyoshi. The samurai feel wind pass their ears as Kaede fires an arrow at the girl between them. She collapses to the ground in a heap and the arrow flies harmlessly above her. Just as the two samurai reach her, swords raised for killing blows she straightens up and jumps clear over their heads, high into the shadowy recesses of the caverns ceiling. Their blades bite stone and sparks fly. Something glints in the flickering torchlight as their eyes follow her leap, more projectiles from the peak of her ascent coming straight at Kiyoshi.
"Look out!" Shouts an always helpful Kaede.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Dec 22 2013, 10:34 AM
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Akio grasps Moshi Kinyo's arm without hesitation.

*Walking through stone? This is new. But as long as we complete our task, I'll do whatever is needed.*
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Chronocide
 Posted: Dec 27 2013, 07:54 PM
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Kiyoshi's feet press down hard against the stone floor as he reverses his momentum. He ducks as the sensation of wind passes over his head and shattering can be heard as the obsidian kunai strike the cave floor where he would have been had he not so quickly changed course.
Kiyoshi continues full speed towards where the dark the figure will land his sword at the ready to meet it where it will fall.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Dec 28 2013, 09:17 AM
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Reijiro sulks.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Jan 7 2014, 01:11 AM
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While Reijiro broods the female Zukojin that served him approaches once again. In his mood he hadn't even noticed that she was there, or perhaps she had left and was now returning... She ducks her head in a bobbing sort of bow and stares at the ronin with her large slit-pupil eyes. She looks quite alien to him, but not frightening. She turns to leave and then as if some internal struggle compels her she faces the human again. "Pleaasse, yhou moost kanvince the eeldars tu lhet yhou . .. .. dho bettle on ohni!"

----

Kiyoshi times it perfectly to intercept the falling demon-child, but she does not come down. He hears scuffling above as if she walks a ledge in the dark. More glints of obsidian and he ducks and rolls out of the way once more.

When he looks up again the girl is approaching fast, head first with her arms at her sides, straight at Daidoji Ebizu on the other side of the cavern. The twice injured Iron Crane is just coming out of his evasive roll and will not be able to bring his weapon to bear.

----

Where before when he touched her Kinyo's skin was warm to the touch, she now feels as cold and unyielding as stone. Her grip is strong though as her hand finds his and the Lion takes comfort in the fact that she seems to know what she's doing. There is a rumbling to their left as the earth kami travels with them.

After some time they emerge in a cavern guarded by more Zukojin, and like Reijiro they are led further into the subterranean complex. An elder greets them with a bow as they enter the central corridor.
"Ahh, weelkum ghests. Pleaassse tahke sssom rhest and be et eassse. Whe weesh tu sshare sstoories weeth yhou at yhour pleaassure."
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