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» L5R: Steel & Honour, Chapter 8
Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 8 2011, 09:10 AM
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The man in black turns toward Kitsune Kiyoshi, his face half covered and his eyes dark, nearly inhuman. He glances at the scrabbling Mantis slowly edging away with his pilfered katana, and then turns his full attention on the Fox. "What business is this of yours foolish Fox?" He asks with a voice like surging water, swinging his massive tetsubo casually back and forth in front of him. "I am simply discussing a business arrangement with this delightful, but smelly, Mantis merchant here. And you come at me with naked steel, that does not exemplify the Courtesy you samurai claim to hold in high esteem."

Behind him the Mantis bushi gets to his feet. He wipes the sweat from his eyes with the back of his hand and stands straight. A line of blood runs down the skin of his tanned chest where the spiked club must have gotten just too close and split open his green vest. "You worthless cur! I, Yoritomo Buntaro, will see you dead and your head on a pole for the treachery you have brought to us."

The man in black turns his head quickly and snarls like a savage bear at the Mantis.

The other Mantis bushi, the Tsuruchi bowman, finishes wrenching his kama from the back of a dying ronin with a sickening splunch and looks up. He has blood on his hands, but not his own, and anger in his eyes, but he says nothing. He moves protectively in front of the crates by the riverbank.

Back in the woods, about twenty feet from the small clearing at the rivers edge, the skirmish continues. Toku Kaede, Reijiro, and Ryoko close the gap between themselves and the newly arrived combatants. Kaede deftly parries an inexperienced yari thrust and then draws a line of blood on an exposed thigh. Reijiro cuts through both bow and arm preventing one archer from loosing any more arrows. And Ryoko slips behind a tree and quickly up into it's branches, fooling the swordsman who lodges his sword in the bark on the side of the tree where he expected her to appear, leaving himself open.

The fourth ronin charges past to join the man in black, holding his nagamaki to the side. Not even noticing the furred shape of Nik'rr'tck darting toward him between the trees.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Feb 12 2011, 02:20 AM
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Kiyoshi takes advantage of the man in blacks momentary distraction. "And I would expect of you the courtesy of facing yoor ooppoonent!" The short distance is closed in an instant and Kiyoshi thusts the katana at his oponent.
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Greg
 Posted: Feb 12 2011, 09:15 AM
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Toku Kaede presses his advantage, takes a more aggressive stance, advancing past the ideal range of his opponent's spear, and thrusting his katana into the ronin's gut.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 13 2011, 02:46 AM
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The ronin's eyes widen in shock as the razor sharp blade protrudes from his back. He looks almost sad as he chokes up a mouthful of blood, his eyes seem to declare that it wasn't fair, his lot in life. By the time his spear falls from his grasp to the ground Kaede's katana is already gone, readying for another foe. More blood gushes from his lips as he falls to his knees, joining the pool pouring from his stomach.

Ryoko leaps from the branch of the tree at the stuck swordsman. He reacts quickly, letting go of his trapped sword and stepping back to pull free a pair of jitte. He just barely deflects her powerful downward strike with a loud clash of steel. She rolls out of her dive and comes up thrusting at his midsection and he stumbles backwards out of her reach, toward the clearing by the riverbank.

The man in black looks surprised for a moment, and a little upset. Kiyoshi's sword cuts through his kimono, barely missing his side as he twists away with serpentine grace. The Mantis takes the advantage and charges as well, shouting out as he chops downward with both hands. But even though the large man is turning about he still manages to bring his tetsubo up to block, easily in fact. He continues his twist until he is a few feet away from both the Fox and the Mantis.
"You should have stayed out of it you cursed Fox!" He yells. "No deathbed favour will save your life now." He lunges forward quickly, two hands gripping his club in a wide swing intended to dispatch both his opponents at once.

The Tsuruchi notices the other ronin fighting among the trees and tucks his kama back into his belt. He reaches down for his great bow and nocks an arrow, looking for an opening.

Nik'rr'tck leaps at the running ronin with his broken katana held like a large dagger. They go down in a heap against the trunk of a tree, the ratling taking the worst of the impact. The ronin is bleeding from somewhere but his fist comes up and across, smashing Nik'rr'tck's head into the tree. The green-green-white tribe Nezumi snarls and sinks his sharp teeth into the shoulder of his enemy, trying to hold him down with his weight.
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Greg
 Posted: Feb 13 2011, 06:53 PM
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Hoping to finish the battle quickly, Kaede charges the ronin engaged with Ryoko, giving a determined battle cry. "Gyaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!" He raises his katana, preparing to cleave the ronin with a downward thrust.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Feb 13 2011, 08:29 PM
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Kiyoshi leaps back out of the tetsubo's path. The surprising speed with which the man in black wields his club entitles them to a wide berth. "Ooh, but doon't you knoow? It's bad luck to kill a fox." Kiyoshi enters a defencive stance and speaks to the Mantis (who I am assuming also leaped to safety) "Well then Aniki†, it seems this man has his heart set on vioolence doesn't it?" Kiyoshi sets himself prepared to follow on the Mantis' action.

†Aniki means older brother in this case Kiyoshi is referring to how the Fox clan is kind of like the little brother of the Mantis clan, as well as expressing the feeling of kinship.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 16 2011, 02:09 AM
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"Yes he does, my friend, and without your timely arrival he might have accomplished it," Smirks Yoritomo Buntaro. "As it stands now he is simply blowing hot wind into our sails... Speaking of which..." He takes a quick glance toward the river through the trees, sighs, and raises his katana with a peculiar grasp. "Are you ready to roll the dice?" Buntaro glares at the man in black, his previously jovial face hardened into a mask of concentration.

The big ronin glares right back, his eyes now glimmering embers of hate. He lunges forward with lightning speed, swinging his tetsubo at the Mantis' leading leg with force that would tear the leg clean off.

Buntaro fluidly springs his body over the swing and comes up on his knees on the right side of the man, sword flicking out.

Kaede's swing is quick and precise, but so is the ronin's defense, he taps the blade of the katana with the iron rod of his left jitte, forcing the strike wide. Ryoko pursues him as well, but her blade finds nothing but air as he cautiously dances backward.

Reijiro watches as the bowman he attacked clutches his bleeding stump to his dirty, brown kimono. The man has streams of tears running down his face as he turns to run off, leaving behind him his left hand and a broken bow. Reijiro raises his sword high, considering cutting him down, but a whoosh of air between his upraised arms distracts him. He watches the man collapse about a dozen feet away, a green fletched arrow piercing his back.

Nik'rr'tck struggles to keep on top of the thrashing ronin. He feels warm blood in his mouth, human blood, disgusting stuff. The ronin breaks free, scrambling away toward where his nagamaki fell. He gets no more than five feet before the ratling is on him again, this time slipping his broken blade underneath his ribs and into his kidney. The pain is excruciating, and the man barely has enough life left to suck in one last, sharp breath.
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Greg
 Posted: Feb 18 2011, 01:18 PM
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Kaede, now wary of his opponent's skill and weaponry, attempts to feint another overhead blow with his katana, before suddenly kicking at the ronin's leg, hoping to knock him off balance.

This post has been edited by Greg: Feb 18 2011, 01:19 PM
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Chronocide
 Posted: Feb 18 2011, 08:36 PM
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Another opportunity presents itself. Kiyoshi moves for the left side, and goes for some light strikes on the ronins right bicep and upper arm. Kiyoshi is careful not to over commit to power preferring instead to ensure he is able to avoid a return swing of the Ronins Tetsubo. No words are said at this time; none need to be.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 20 2011, 02:29 AM
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The man in black roars in anger as Buntaro's pilfered katana bites into his thigh. The wound is not deep, but in a battle such as this the effect could be deadly. Instead of reversing the direction of his swing the ronin continues around, turning his body so his back is momentarily to Kiyoshi. His tetsubo races through the air at the Mantis, faster than before. Buntaro throws himself backwards, already on his knees he is now on his back as the spikes pass a hairsbreadth above his face.

Kiyoshi moves within the swing as soon as he has an opening, only getting a scratch in on the ronin's arm. He cautiously attempts another attack but jumps back as the massive club changes direction, just clipping his sword and sending vibrations down his arm. The ting is heard loud and clear through the woods, the fine ring of high quality steel. Any closer and Kiyoshi would not have been able to keep his grip on the sharkskin wrapped handle.

Nik'rr'tck rises into his usual crouch, pulling his broken blade out from his opponent's warm corpse, and surveys the scene. He stands roughly in between the two groups fighting, the Fox and Mantis against the man in black, and the two ronin travelers and the Monkey against the other ronin. He spots Shika, the gaijin dog that Toku Kaede keeps as a pet, sitting off to the side, watching her master with a worried expression on her face, and heads in her direction.

Kaede feints an attack and the ronin, still backing away warily, moves one jitte to block it. The other jitte moves to the side, intercepting Ryoko's katana as it swings in at the same moment. A puzzled expression crosses his face as he fails to hear the ring of steel coming from his block of the first attack. Only too late does he notice Keade's kick, the loss of balance and the backward momentum carrying him over a log and onto his back. Ryoko jumps quickly after him, but his weapons clang against hers and force her to the side.

Reijiro looks over his shoulder at the Tsuruchi bowman nocking another arrow. Their eyes meet, steel on steel, and Reijiro notices a hint of disdain even at these distances. The Mantis draws his bow and raises it up to point into the sky. A shrill whistle follows the projectile as it arcs over the river and quickly out of sight, and even though it is daytime a wolf's howl seems to answer it.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Feb 22 2011, 01:39 PM
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Reijiro nods in the direction of the bowman, a gesture of thanks. He looks around to see who he can help, and spots Nik'rr'tck scurrying off towards the dog, Shika. He steps around the broken bow on the ground, and moves off to join Nik'rr'tck and see if he is injured.
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Greg
 Posted: Feb 22 2011, 04:17 PM
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Wrecklessly, Kaede repeatedly strikes at his opponent, hoping to finish him before he can get back onto his feet.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Feb 23 2011, 01:04 AM
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Pressed on both sides by his opponents, the jitte wielding ronin desperately tries to parry the incoming attacks from on his back. Kaede's furious barrage is too much for him, however, and sword bites flesh in a quick flash of red. His shoulder wounded badly the ronin drops his weapons and raises empty palms toward his attackers. "I yield, I yield! Please I yield!" There is resignation in his eyes as he pleads with Kaede and Ryoko.

Shika licks Nik'rr'tck's hand as the Nezumi approaches, whining a bit at the strong smell of blood. The ratling whispers to her in his own language, soothing words, and she visibly relaxes. Reijiro approaches and Nik'rr'tck asks,
"We still fight-fight the dark man Jiro?" He points a thin, clawed finger toward where Kiyoshi and Buntaro are facing the man in black.

Both samurai are hard pressed to defend directly against the large ronin's swings, but Buntaro is prone and makes an easy target. The tetsubo raises high for a killing blow, but Kiyoshi's sword whips out cutting a long line down the upraised arm, giving the Mantis time to roll to the side before the earth shakes from the impact. The ronin reaches out toward the Fox, grabbing at his kimono, careless of the deadly blade still in play, and tries to throw him down. Buntaro gains his feet and charges the man with a shout,
"Yeeaah!"

The club raises to parry, but the Mantis' borrowed blade strikes it just above the grip, partly severing the spiked head from the haft.
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Greg
 Posted: Feb 25 2011, 08:08 PM
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Kaede Sheathes his sword and scoffs slightly. "You must indeed live a dishonorable life, to fear death like a coward." He then looks at Ryoko expectantly. "You were the one who was pierced by his arrow. It makes sense that you be the one who determines his fate."

Then, looking taking a quick look around, Kaede spots Shika, gives a quick whistle, and pats his knee "Come on, Shika-Chan. Let's see if Kiyoshi-San has won the battle."
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Chronocide
 Posted: Feb 25 2011, 10:12 PM
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Kiyoshi spins away from the grasp, his feet follow the pattern so familiar to him from his daily kata while training as a lad. The ronin most be truly desperate to have opened himself up to such a well known attack. Kiyoshi pivots and brings the momentum of his spin to bear as he slashes across the ronin's gut, and follows with a back kick to the ronin's torso.

This post has been edited by Chronocide: Feb 25 2011, 10:12 PM
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