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» L5R Steel & Honour, Chapter 14, The long dark
redeadlink
 Posted: Jan 8 2014, 06:51 PM
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Akio folds his legs under him and waits.

*Stories are all well and good, but we must fight this oni and I must get my sword back.*

He looks around at the stone room.

*However, it doesn't appear that I am going anywhere for the time being.*

"Moshi-sama, what is this mark on my chest?" he asks, his curiosity finally getting the best of him.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Jan 19 2014, 09:39 PM
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Having time for nothing else Kiyoshi excises the only option available to him. He throws his wakazashi at the creature and prays it hits its mark.

This post has been edited by Chronocide: Jan 19 2014, 09:39 PM
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 2 2014, 06:20 PM
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I'm sorry again for taking so long here. Life is busy.

Toku Kaede releases his arrow and prays to the fortunes that it is accurate. Both arrow and wakizashi fly through the air, but the arrow makes contact first, snipping through the strand and dropping the demon-child forward at an awkward angle. The sudden change in direction causes Kiyoshi's weapon to go high of the mark, cleanly severing the remaining strands with a chorus of metallic *pings*. The girl collapses in a bleeding heap on top of Ebizu and does not move.

Above the group, in the darkened recesses of the cavern ceiling, a shrill hiss betrays the true foe. There are some scrabbling sounds and then silence.

Daidoji Ebizu gently rolls the girl over and inspect her.
"It is like flexible steel wire. How did you see it Kaede-san? And how did you know you could cut through it?"

Kaede, still holding his bow ready and glancing up at the ceiling, scratches his head. "I saw them just after she threw the obsidian daggers, the light was behind me and they glinted a little from that. When she didn't come down right away I figured that there was something else up there controlling her. How is she?"

Ebizu checks the large wound he cut in her side, red blood still flows freely. Her skin is pale and cool. Hitasura puts her hand on his shoulder. "We could not have known Daidoji-san, best just to finish this and move on. The head must be removed."

----

Moshi Kinyo circles the room in silence, then she extends her hand palm downward and a short pillar of stone lifts fluidly from the ground. She takes a seat on it and regards Akio.
"The mark is a symbol of the blessing you have gained from the earth, it will shine out like a beacon to all who are able to see it. It is a high honour. The blessings mortals normally receive from the earth are small things, like bountiful harvests and children who don't easily get sick. How your blessing will manifest is impossible to tell, but it will be powerful."

A Zukojin servant enters the room with refreshments, deep spring water and roots and nuts. Kinyo takes some and munches on them absently. The Zukojin bows and offers them to Akio nervously.

Suddenly an elder bursts into the room and rattles off a question to the servant quickly. He must repeat himself before the girl is capable of giving him and answer. Whatever she says seems to enrage him and he lifts his hand to strike her completely forgetting the guests.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Feb 7 2014, 07:04 PM
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Akio takes a serving of the food when it is offered. When the elder strikes the servant, he gives a disapproving cough.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Feb 22 2014, 12:16 PM
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Reijiro's sulking continues.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 23 2014, 12:39 AM
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Matsu Akio feels a strong urge to leave this place.


Moshi Kinyo stands up and glares at the Elder who appears to remember himself and bows repeatedly while apologizing.


"What was that for esteemed Elder?" She asks.

The Elder continues to bow and begins to back away toward an outer wall.
"Eess nhutinhg yhou ssshould bhe kooncerned weeeth."
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Chronocide
 Posted: Feb 23 2014, 05:02 PM
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Kiyoshi gathers his swords to his belt and draws hit katana.
Then with a remorseful response.

"Come Daidjoi-san, you have enough wounds, allow me bare this one." and with that, Kiyoshi decapitates the lifeless girl. He pauses only a moment and without looking at what has been done continues on.
"We still have more that must be done."
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redeadlink
 Posted: Feb 24 2014, 02:58 PM
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"I thank you for your hospitality, but I must carry on with my mission."

Akio gets up and prepares his things.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Apr 26 2014, 10:19 PM
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A two month hiatus for which I must apologize yet again. Let us attempt to pick up where we left off. With the addition of a new player no less.

Moshi Kinyo raises an eyebrow at the Zukojin elder. He stands there, half bowed with his mouth hanging open waiting for her reaction and slowly backs toward a wall. Kinyo closes her eyes and sighs. When Akio has gathered his things she open them again and says, "Come, the ronin is no longer here and he has your No-dachi."

She approaches the wall opposite where the elder is slowly shuffling and extends her hand. Looking over at the surprised Zukojin she advises Akio, "I never needed their assistance. But do not blame them for this cowardice, they too have been deceived. And their caution was born out of reverence to the spirit for your weapon, not entirely out of greed."

Not waiting for the Lion to grab her hand she starts into the stone.

----

Daidoji Ebizu struggles to his feet, his face an emotionless steel mask.
"Yes we do Kitsune-san, yes we do."

Nik'rr'tck walks past the dead child and sniffs, then he peers into the darkness above and sniffs some more.

Keade says a short prayer to the fortunes for the girls spirit and then rushes across the room to recover his spent arrows. One is broken, but the other seems fine. When he bends over to pick it up another object, glinting in the torchlight catches his eye. He picks it up and examines it briefly before putting it into his pocket.

Hitasura picks the torch up from off the floor and follows after the others down the next low tunnel.

Soon the distant sound of plinking water reaches their ears. They come to a fork in the tunnel and pause to consider their options.
"Smell strong this way, that way. Both fresh. Which we go-go?" Nik'rr'tck asks. His head cocks first right and then left as if thinking or listening or both. The sound of water which has been getting stronger comes from the left path.

----

Reijiro holds on tightly to the scaled hand of the Zukojin servant girl, his other clasped tightly around the grip of the reformed No-Dachi. When he found it again he was quite surprised at how perfectly it was put back together and how well they had cleaned it and polished it. If he could see it through the stone he would marvel some more, however the servant had promised to take him to the oni's lair and it would only be a matter of time before his skills as a samurai were put to the test.

The odds would be terrible enough when fighting an oni lord in a group, but alone, even with a nemuranai... Things could be worse.

The ronin is snapped out of his thoughts as the servant begins to slow. She squeezes his hand and he feels her other hand guide him forward. He brings the sword up in front of him as he emerges from the stone with a quiet fluid sound. Before his eyes can adjust he notices that the blade is glowing very brightly. He tucks it behind his leg as much as possible lest its light give him away.

Looking around he sees that he is very high up on a very narrow ledge, so narrow that his toes peek over the edge. There is a lot of noise coming from 30 feet below him, a lot of movement, black furred bodies pacing to and fro. But his attention is distracted by the sudden appearance of a human face in front of him wearing a hideous grin.
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Greg
 Posted: Apr 28 2014, 11:29 AM
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Kaede momentarily grimaces in frustration. Another fork, another point to either divide our forces our forces again, or to take a chance and risk losing the quarry altogether. After a few further seconds of thought, Kaede's face lights up, having come up with an idea. Thinking back, Kaede recalls a childhood fascination in watching the peasants carve paths through the soil that water would always follow, as an animal would follow a trail of food.

"Water always flows from high places to low places. The oni may be able to follow it either up or downstream to a way out of this Maze." Kaede then gives a slight shrug, suggesting a lack of confidence in his own suggestion. "Either way, it would be dangerous to split ourselves further than we already are. I suggest we take a chance on the direction that seems most likely to be the way that the demon went."

<hey everyone. In honor of our new player, I've decided to rejoin the campaign. While we still seem to be pursuing an oni through the caves, it feels like there is enough new stuff happening to renew my inteurest.>

This post has been edited by Greg: Apr 28 2014, 11:46 AM
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redeadlink
 Posted: Apr 28 2014, 07:12 PM
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*Once more unto the breach...* Akio gives the zukojin a disapproving glance before following the shugenja into the wall.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Apr 29 2014, 06:06 PM
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"Toku-san's reasoning has merit, we head towards the sound of water."
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: May 7 2014, 12:01 AM
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With a soundless fluidity the pair move quickly through the stone. Akio is again aware of the massive spirit beside him, watching over Moshi Kinyo. They slide out into a cavern and the kami emerges almost fully from the stone. It says something to the Mantis shugenja in a voice that is like the sound of a distant avalanche but is still unmistakably a language. She nods her head and looks at the Lion. "We are quite near. I have been called away, but I may help to turn the tide in your favour just once." She pulls out a roll of parchment from her kimono and a brush and vial of ink from her obi. Kneeling on the stone floor she begins to write. Expecting the strange words of a spell to be unintelligible to him Akio only glances at it casually, but then realizes that she is writing a letter to her commander Yoritomo Buntaro. "I need you to deliver this for me, only to Buntaro-sama or Foushou-sama." She hands him the rolled up letter and then pulls a silken cord from around her neck with a delicate silver butterfly hanging from it. she looks at it sadly and then hands it too to Akio. "Keep that safe and give it to Akinori-san. If he asks tell him where I have gone."


----

A short ways down the left hand path the tunnel opens up into a small cavern. Water droplets plink from three long stalactites high up on the ceiling into a small, deep pool in the cavern floor. From there the water slowly, drop by drop spills its bounds and trickles down a fissure in the floor. A slightly sulfuric smell wafts up from the fissure, but it is too narrow for any save perhaps the ratling to attempt to explore, and Nik'rr'tck does his best to stay as far from the crack as possible.

The fissure does head in the same general direction as the path, however, and as the group continues they find they must cross it back and forth multiple times. This is easy at first, just a simple hop, but eventually the gap in the floor gets wider and wider and the crossings more and more frequent. The noxious smell pools in the low spots of the tunnel and the torches sputter in the murky air.


"I do not like this, but I cannot argue that what makes me uncomfortable would likely make an oni comfortable" Daidoji Ebizu says as they stop for a short rest. Their water is running low and the atmosphere has begun to oppress them.

Nik'rr'tck plays with his bone blade, holding it by the tip and balancing it on his claw. Suddenly his hackles stand up and his ears go flat against his head. He crouches down and his lips curl back in a silent snarl.

Hitasura likewise moves into a defensive stance without warning. She peers down the tunnel ahead and motions everyone to move against the side of the walls. Suddenly the walls and floor start to vibrate and shake, a buzz and then a rumble. There is suddenly a crash and then a high pitch shriek of terror and the rumbling stops. The scream hangs on the thick air a moment or two after it ends, and then a deafening roar shakes their world again.
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redeadlink
 Posted: May 7 2014, 06:17 PM
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Akio solemnly accepts both the letter and the cord. He bows deeply to the shugenja and then hardens himself for battle.
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Greg
 Posted: May 8 2014, 10:18 PM
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Kaede steadies himself, with one hand and gripping his katana in the other. "If I didn't know any better, I'd almost think we were descending into the festering pit of Fu Leng!" Feeling a faint tickle of fear winding in his chest, Kaede is made aware by the body language of the others that they may be fighting their own fears as well. Gathering his Wits, Kaede regains his Composure and attempts to rally his allies. "While I didn't expect us to find ourselves in a place like this, we must still be on the Oni's trail. Keep courage, friends. Even if this place is a portal to jikogu itself, it will only make it easier for us to send the abomination back into it!"

This post has been edited by Greg: May 8 2014, 10:55 PM
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