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» L5R Steel & Honour, Chapter 13, Path of Fate
Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Oct 9 2012, 07:26 AM
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The company begins to move at an angle away from the swarm and toward higher ground on the south side of the narrow valley. The mass of flies is a black blob over the ground. A couple Tsuruchi release arrows into the mass without any visible effect, Buntaro curses.

A low thrum reaches the samurai's ears as the swarm gets closer. Tsuruchi Akinori stops in his tracks and pulls out another arrow, this time a humming bulb. He aims carefully and fires. The arrow hits its mark and the swarm explodes in all directions. Some Mantis cheer, but a few seconds later it is apparent that the flies are only momentarily effected, they are coalescing once more.

The two samurai bearing Daidoji Ebizu's stretcher stumble on the rocky slope. Moshi Kinyo is loosing ground and falling behind. And Shika wriggles free from Kaede's arms and runs back in the opposite direction away from the group. The peasant girl begins crying hysterically.

The flies buzz louder and angrier and continue to close on the party.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Oct 9 2012, 07:58 PM
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Not sure about correct etiquette here but, here goes.

Akio slings his hammer onto his back, makes his way to Moshi Kinyo, and takes her hand.


"Forgive me, Moshi-sama, but you are too important to lose."

He picks her up and runs with the group.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Oct 12 2012, 08:26 AM
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Reijiro notices Moshi Kinyo loosing ground and falls back to give her a hand, when Akio lifts her off her feet and carries the Shugenja unceremoniously onward. The ronin scowls and mutters a curse. Just because she's a woman and tired doesn't mean she is not a Shugenja and a warrior in full.

He stumbles over his feet as well, and notices the increasingly loud swarm of flies and picks up his pace to rejoin Akio and the group.




Why not? In dire circumstances, many socially awkward things are acceptable. But we need more character tension, so I'm going to have Rejiro start to dislike you at this point, and become increasingly jealous. (but it's all for the sake of conflict/character progression)
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Chronocide
 Posted: Oct 14 2012, 08:28 AM
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Kiyoshi marches onward, weapon at the ready. He scans the landscape continually, his eyes returning to check on the flies more frequently than their portion deserves. He notices the plight of some of the others, the peasant girl, Ebizu's bearers, Kaede and Kinyo, but all seem to have others who can aid them. The best way to help right now will be to keep a constant vigil.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Oct 15 2012, 07:21 AM
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Another bowman launches a screeching arrow into the midst of the swarm of flies and again they are put into disarray. But this time they group together much quicker and their pace is increased. Their buzzing wings sound angry.

Two more shots disperse the dark cloud but each time the flies come together again quicker than before. They swarm over the trailing samurai when they reach him. He swings his kama around him defiantly but ineffectively. Then he screams. He reaches up to his face to cover his eyes, and suddenly his scream is cut short as hundreds of bulbous winged bodies rush down his throat.

The rest of the swarm continues the pursuit, leaving the Mantis to thrash and choke to death on the dusty slope. I kindly arrow streaks from somewhere and puts the blinded man out of his misery.

The horror of the scene and the quickness with which it played out spurs the remaining samurai to greater speed.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Oct 15 2012, 09:01 PM
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ugh. was just reminded of the scene in Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where the KGB guy gets swarmed by red ants. Thanks, jimbo, I needed that image. /sarcasm

Akio continues to run with Moshi Kinyo.

"Damn these flies. If this oni had honor - not that I'm saying oni have honor to begin with - he would attack us personally."

He continues running for a bit, then asks Moshi Kinyo,


"Moshi-sama, is there anything you can do to ward off the flies? I apologize if it is too much to ask, but we may be in need of your skills as a shugenja if we hope to survive this."

He ponders for a moment as he runs.

"Wait! Torches! Perhaps flames will keep them back!"

This post has been edited by redeadlink: Oct 22 2012, 07:53 PM
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Oct 24 2012, 07:26 AM
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The dead Mantis samurai finally flops forward from his knees to his face. Flies swarm up from his body and then race to join the main group which is ever gaining on the party.

Moshi Kinyo puts her arms around Akio's neck so that she isn't so much of a burden,
"Matsu-san, thank you for coming to my rescue. Now, if you don't mind trying to run with less jostling I might be able to concentrate enough to return the favour." She says it without a hint of sarcasm, and without sounding superior.

The Mantis immediately around the great Lion get a look of hope in their eyes at his words. They fumble their useless weapons back into their belts and pull dry branches of nearby bushes. Working together while running they begin to fall behind, but once they have a trio of torches made they rush back up to the main group.

Elsewhere the idea has caught on, and both Kagura and Hio pull ready made torches from their packs. They also pull a pair of clay jars out, unstopper them, and clinkc them together with a grim chuckle. Hida Kagura shouts out,
"We need a light, I don't think we have the luxury of striking flint!"

The flies are getting very close, those running in the back begin to feel the occasional sting of a scout. Back on the ground way behind them the flesh of the corpse of the fallen Mantis bubbles and writhes, black blood dripping out of thousands of small holes in the skin.

Akio notices Kinyo begin to murmur in a low voice. Her eyes are closed and her expression looks pleading. After about thirty seconds she opens her eyes at the same moment that green fire erupts at the ends of the half dozen torches.

There is a cheer from the group and the flies close in on the rearguard.
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redeadlink
 Posted: Oct 24 2012, 07:24 PM
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"Buntaro-sama! Have the men with the torches move to the rear! Let us see how well the fire holds these creatures back!"

Akio begins to move at a slightly slower place as to not jostle Moshi Kinyo and risk her losing her concentration due to a misstep.

This post has been edited by redeadlink: Oct 24 2012, 07:24 PM
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Chronocide
 Posted: Oct 29 2012, 07:04 PM
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"Tch. Insignificant distractions. They oni is probably trying to weed out the week, given what it went through it could probably do with a new body, and a strong samurai's will be much more useful to it." Kiyoshi lets the others deal with the zako, only the oni is on his mind.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Oct 29 2012, 07:44 PM
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Yoritomo Buntaro looks sideways at the brazen Lion, and with a shrill whistle his men come together into a tight formation. A buzzing arrow disorients the swarm and four Mantis with torches blazing green rush to attack. The jade flames consume the vermin with short hisses, pops, and small wisps of smoke.

Just as the black mass begins to gather its wits another humming bulb arrow is fired. This time Hida Kagura and Hida Hio rush to the forefront, mouths full of potent spirits. They purse their lips and hold their torches a foot from their faces spewing a jet of alcohol at the flies. Massive green and orange fireballs engulf most of the swarm, and the Mantis quickly finish off any few remaining insects.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Oct 31 2012, 06:31 PM
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Reijiro lets out a massive sigh and places his hands on his knees to keep from falling over. After catching his breath he stumbles over to Hida and Kagura.
"That was quick thinking. For a second, I had thought we had two more Shugenja added to the group." He offers a quick smile, and sheepishly adds, "If there's any left in that jar, I think I'll finish it off to calm down my nerves."

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redeadlink
 Posted: Nov 8 2012, 10:21 PM
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Akio stops running.

"I think we are past the worst of it for now."

He gently puts Moshi Kinyo down.


"Forgive my rudeness, but we could not leave you to die."

Akio calls for his servant/arms bearer and girds himself with all his weaponry. He straps his wakizashi and katana to his side, his tanto to the back of his waist, and checks his dai-tsuchi and no-dachi are still slung on his back.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Nov 11 2012, 05:10 PM
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Thank you all for your patience. I was without internets for a while, it is good to be back.

Hida Kagura breaks out in raucous laughter. The Mantis, tense until this moment, look toward the ronin. The Crab tosses the half filled bottle of shochu to Reijiro and he takes a swig. The liquid is a little sweet, but it burns the back of his throat and his eyes begin to water. He stifles a cough and some of the spirits make their way into his nose burning even worse. The group relaxes into laughter, if not as wholeheartedly as Kagura, then enough to bring them back to center.

Moshi Kinyo dusts herself off and offers a slight bow to Akio,
"It was done with the best intentions Matsu-san."

Yoritomo Buntaro steps forward and draws everyone's attention. "Men, look around you. We are far from home and in a desolate place, we have lost many friends, and companions even now lie on the brink. But we have overcome every obstacle and pursued our foe to its very lair!" He gestures over his shoulder to the steeply sloping and barren hillside behind him. A dark opening can be seen high above, a cave or deep crevice perhaps. "We are here to end this scourge, to still its deceptive ways, to protect those we are sworn to protect, to put to rest those who have been wronged! We are here because it is our duty, we are here for honour, and we are here for glory!! Ready your bows, hone your steel, and pray to the fortunes for favour, for we will put an end to this vile beast and his spawn!"

The Mantis raise their weapons in a cheer, crying out the names of fortunes and of their fallen comrades as their pump their fists. Their shouts ring off the stone and bare earth, the rhythm pounding against the sky like a beating heart.

Some of the Mantis pass around small pouches filled with tiny green nuts, they each toss a few into their mouths and pass the bags to the next person. One young Mantis with a thick machete-like blade takes a handful and immediately begins to sweat as he passes them on to Kaede.

The Crab brothers tighten each others armour and fasten on their sturdy helmets. They drop their packs to the dirt and strap on their daisho checking the clearance of their blades. They stand there next to each other, eagerly looking up the slope, Hio with his javelins, and Kagura with his ono.

Daidoi Ebizu stirs from his stretcher and two samurai help him stand. He grits his teeth and reaches his hand out. A nearby Mantis hands him his swords and he tucks them into his obi. His kimono is in tatters, and the bandage wrapped around his midsection is dark with dried blood, but he stands straight and looks past everyone up the slope,
"Well said Yoritomo-sama." Buntaro grins and pulls forth a kama and a sai.

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redeadlink
 Posted: Nov 11 2012, 08:29 PM
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The Lion death-seeker bows to Moshi Kinyo.

"Now to destroy this evil beast, for my family's HONOUR!!!"

This post has been edited by redeadlink: Nov 11 2012, 08:30 PM
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Itinerant
 Posted: Nov 13 2012, 08:19 AM
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Reijiro hands the bottle back to Hida and finishes his coughing in unison with the war cries of the samurai around him. He is about to join in when he's handed the nuts, and absentmindedly stuffs them into his mouth, which sends him into another coughing fit. Embarrassed, he a shifts to the rear of the group and readies his only weapon, his beloved Katana. He takes a moment to bow in prayer.

"Dear fortunes, I know we don't talk much, but if you could help my companions and I to slay this Oni, it would be a great favour to our cause. Also, please help keep this sword by my side, by life or death." He whispers quietly.
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