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» L5R: Steel & Honour, Chapter 8
Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Mar 13 2011, 02:52 AM
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Ryoko freezes, unnerved by the stare of the stranger, as if they can see to her very soul. Suddenly ashamed she turns and bolts from the battle, cursing silently under her breath.

The Tsuruchi manages to free the lid from one of the crates and digs through the straw packing. He pulls out what was meant as a gift for the Hiruma family and turns back to the battle.

Nik'rr'tck crouches weaponless behind the Oni, ears back and eyes wide, watching Reijiro and Kaede approach, sensing the danger.


"Die." Hisses Oni no Hamato at Kiyoshi. Its misshapen ear twitches slightly as Reijiro approaches and Kiyoshi sees its mouth curl into a grin. The ronin charges and the beast is ready for him, it's tail darts out in a black blur tripping the samurai up and sending him tumbling into the ground.

The ratling finds two of the mysterious strangers thrown weapons nearby, a pair of thin, razor sharp knives. He grips them tightly and jumps over the tumbling Reijiro. The Oni's tail catches him a glancing blow, but he is able to keep his momentum enough to bury one of the blades in the back of the demons calf. It has no effect.

Oni no Hamato keeps his eyes locked on Kiyoshi, expecting him to cry out in pain from its vile gaze, but the resolute samurai does not. Enraged, it opens its mouth wider than should be possible, intent on consuming the defiant Fox in two quick snaps. Its claws flex as it lunges, tail now straight out for balance.

Kiyoshi realizes that perhaps he made a grave mistake as the Oni moves much faster than anticipated, his sword seems sluggish in comparison to the incoming maw.

A blur of green flies overhead as Kiyoshi brings his katana up. The jade-tipped arrow catches the airborne demon in the mouth, disappearing into its stinking gullet. The closest thing possible to a shocked expression crosses the demons twisted features as its motor functions are scrambled for a brief second.

Kiyoshi finally gets his blade into position as the creature falls upon him, slicing up through the lower jaw and deep into the ridged palate. The Oni's head twists to the side, wrenching the handle out of his grip. The thing yowls in pain, thrashing its head about and spewing black ichor all over the nearby trees. It spins around on all fours, two of its clawed hands trying desperately to dislodge the annoyance trapped in its throat. It continues to thrash, smashing into the tree the stranger is in, nearly toppling it.

The black and white clad figure jumps quickly to another branch and pulls forth a large bladed disc, hurling it at the demon before jumping on to another tree.

Kaede shakes off his fear, resolving himself to ending his enemy. But he cannot find an opening in the beasts wild thrashing.

Reijiro finds himself in a similar situation, still in possession of his katana after his fall he cannot risk an attack while the Oni rampages, and the beast shows no sign of slowing.

Kiyoshi watches the demon trying frantically to remove his weapon, clawing at it's own face. It strikes another tree and splinters the trunk but doesn't even notice the impact.

Buntaro stops and watches the spectacle with wide eyes, only turning to look away at the familiar sound of creaking wood and stretching ropes that signifies the arrival of the Unknown Path. The Tsuruchi begins digging through the crate again.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Mar 13 2011, 11:44 AM
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Reijiro clutches his side, the air sounded knocked out of him by the tail of the great demon. "Dammit, we can't even get close to him now," he mutters. The Oni thrashes wildly at such speeds that it's apparent no sane human should attack the beast at close range.
"We just need to distract it from the archer." he says over the beast's roar to his companions. Reijiro withdraws his Wakizashi, and runs to the side of the beast, just out of melee range. In a strange attempt to distract the creature, he throws the Wakizashi at the beast's thrashing head.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Mar 14 2011, 08:31 PM
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Kiyoshi breathes a sigh of relief, a moment to get some distance between himself and the Oni. "Thank Inari." Kiyoshi retreats a few dozen feet and crouches next to a tree leaning against it with one hand. He holds his right hand in front of his face and watches it shake. "Know that thing needs to hurry up and die so I can retrieve my Katana." Kiyoshi speaks under his breath
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Greg
 Posted: Mar 14 2011, 09:24 PM
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While the Oni is thrashing about wildly, Kaede does his best to stay close enough to strike, while keeping his guard up in the meantime.
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Mar 18 2011, 12:17 AM
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Ryoko runs through the low brush back towards the road, tears sting her eyes and she angrily brushes them away. She clears the wood and finds herself on the road a little ahead of where they left Goro on his sledge, tied behind a now nervous pony. The sounds of the enraged demon are muted here, but still audible. Enough to drive anyone away in a hurry.

The ronin girl walks slowly up to the distressed animal, offering her palm out for it to sniff. Then she walks around the side to where her small bag is tied. She glances at the unconscious monk laying in the makeshift stretcher. He appears worse off now than he did in the morning, thin red lines run up the side of his neck and sweat beads on his shaved head.

Back at the battle Oni no Hamato is still howling furiously. It finally stands again from all six feet to just two with its back against a large tree where it fumbles at the hilt of Kiyoshi's katana. The demon pulls the blade free and begins to hork violently. Crunched bones and shreds of clothing come out of its maw in blackish lumps, a sandal as well, all remnants of previous victims. Then a steaming black glob plops out of its mouth landing with a sizzle on the ground. It snaps its jaws twice and looks around, brushing the bladed disc from its shoulder as if it were a fallen leaf, it finds Kiyoshi and holds up his sword.
"I am done threatening you Fox. I will eat you first, then I will deal with that pesky archer, and then your friend in the trees playing dress-up. But before that I will destroy your soul!"

It grasps Kitsune Kiyoshi's katana with two hands and raises it above its head to snap it in two.

The flash of steel is blinding as Reijiro hurls his wakizashi end over end at the vile monstrosity. The creature raises its other two hands to deflect the spinning blade but it is not fast enough. The razor sharp steel slices a gash across the things cheek and tears its ear in half. It drops the Fox's sword to the ground next to the sizzling pile of muck around the jade-tipped arrow.

Kaede notices his chance to act while the beast is distracted. A few quick steps and he is to the left of the oni, rushing past while aiming a powerful blow between two armour plates on its side. Black ichor spews out of the wound and the demon twists about striking out at the Monkey in rage, but he has already danced away.

Facing away from the river Oni no Hamato doesn't notice another jade-tipped arrow streaking toward it, taking it in the lower back. Through it's howls of pain and rage it barely notices the newly arrived kobune coming along the bank, sails visible through the trees. Somewhere in the back of its mind this information triggers something, but it doesn't yet know what.

Yoritomo Buntaro shouts for his crewmen on the Unknown Path to come and join the fray. Enlivened by their arrival he runs to help Kiyoshi up and join in himself.

The mysterious stranger throws another volley of sharpened projectiles, all of which hit their mark, before leaping from branch to branch away from the battle. Best not to attract too much attention after all. And besides, these samurai should have the situation well in hand.

Nik'rr'tck crawls along the ground looking for his weapon when he comes across Kiyoshi's katana and a now clean jade-tipped arrow. He tosses the blade in the direction of its owner
"Here-here K'shi!" And grasps the arrow just below the head. Then he crawls toward where the demon is chasing Kaede.

For informational purposes Oni no Hamato moved around quite a bit while it was enraged, distancing itself from Kitsune Kiyoshi and the Tsuruchi, but followed by Reijro and Toku Kaede. Kiyoshi's katana would have landed about 20 feet from where he was though it was later thrown 8 feet closer by Nik'rr'tck. The river is about 50 feet behind Kiyoshi, and the Tsuruchi is about 15 feet away from the river.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Mar 18 2011, 11:41 AM
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"If you will pardon me for but a moment, there is something rather important I must fetch." Kiyoshi nods to Buntaro and dashes of to fetch his katana. Once he retrieved his sword Kiyoshi keeps running in a wide circle around the Oni waiting for the right moment.
As he runs he looks over his sword for any chips or cracks and frowns at the black stains.
"Well what will it be; rest or revenge?"
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Greg
 Posted: Mar 19 2011, 05:04 PM
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Kaede keeps fighting.
(I can`t really think of anything else to say, as I`m busy working on my Japanese History paper.)
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Mar 20 2011, 01:45 AM
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The Mantis sailors, dressed in loose fitting pants and vests in the green and gold of their clan, leap over the railing of the ship, ropes in hand, and begin securing it from the current. Sails are furled and orders are barked and the ship slowly comes along the deep-cut riverbank. Now more Mantis bushi disembark with gusto, hearing the call of their captain, bows and kama at the ready.

Ryoko unties her bag from the pony and checks its contents. Satisfied she starts away down the road, then she glances back at the unattended packs of her companions, temptation tickling her skull. A moment later she whistles shrilly and sets off down the road at a quick jog, hoping to put much distance between herself and the Oni.

With more jade embedded in its back Oni no Hamato wails in pain. The wound is far from fatal to a great oni like Hamato, but the purity of the mineral still sears worse than a hot coal. Its mad flailing allows Toku Kaede another opening, this time the other leg presents itself and he brings his katana down in an overhead chop. The blade bites deep, black blood surges from the wound. Then suddenly the momentum of the blow is gone and the sword is stuck in a hard armour plate. Kaede looks up to anticipate the demons reaction, but all he sees is four gnarled, hairy, clawed fists rushing at him. His grip on his blade is inconsequential as he takes the full fury of Oni no Hamato's rage in the chest.

After finding no fault in his blade aside from the blackish stains Kitsune Kiyoshi circles around the side of the Oni just in time to see Kaede sent hurtling through the air once more. With the creature obviously distracted Kiyoshi rushes it from the side, cutting deep into the bicep of its lower arm.

Reijiro also charges in now, katana at the ready, slashing at the nearest available appendage while keeping a wary eye out for the wickedly twitching tail.

The demon swings around, twenty hooked claws bared, ready to tear its attackers to shreds.

Kaede hits the ground two dozen feet away and rolls to a stop against a small tree. He gasps for breath and nearly faints at the burning pain in his chest. Gritting his teeth he manages to stand, though the pain arcs across his body like lightning. He forces himself to breathe shallowly while he searches his body for injury. His chest is tender all over but in one particular spot it seems that his ribs no longer line up properly, and some of them are broken in more than one place.
Flail Chest

Yoritomo Buntaro charges after Kiyoshi as best he can given his injuries, ducking instinctively as the Oni swings at them.
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Greg
 Posted: Mar 20 2011, 10:49 AM
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Kaede sheathes his katana, and uses it to support himself as he tries to hobble/run over to where he had dropped his bow. At this point he wasn't going to be doing much good in melee combat. As he reaches the spot where his bow lays on the ground, he by chance glances down the hill, and notices the small band of mantis warriors charging towards the battle. Assuming that he is hallucinating, kaede mutters "oh." under his breath, as he picks up his bow, and turns around.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Mar 20 2011, 01:02 PM
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Reijiro continues to dance and parry around the creature, wary of the twitching tail. He realizes that Kiyoshi and he might be able to defeat the great demon, but would probably incur grave injuries through the process, it's best to keep the beast occupied until the Mantis Bushi arrive and can act as fodder. He grins, such a disrespectful mind...

"Hold strong, Kiyoshi," he says between panted breaths, "we shall soon enough slay this demon."

He continues to dance, feign and look for opportunities to distract, and possibly wound the Oni.



(Is this orange text readable for you guys? I can change if it's a strain to read)
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Chronocide
 Posted: Mar 20 2011, 02:39 PM
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Kiyoshi lands a backwards leap to evade the Oni's swipe. And cocks a quizzical sideways glance at Reijiro. "You haven't fought to many ooni have you?" Of course neither had Kiyoshi, but he knew enough to know that it wouldn't be that easy. Kiyoshi maintains his distance and keeps his sword in a defensive position. "Still your ooptimism is intriguing. Shall we wager on how loong it will take?"
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Itinerant
 Posted: Mar 22 2011, 09:07 PM
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Reijiro isn't sure if the Oni is aware of the Mantis Bushi's arrival, and thinks it best to not reference them yet. Delaying the Oni is essential and he hopes Kiyoshi plays along. As they battle the great demon, Rejiro talks between breaths, "I'd wager we can fell him faster than Kaede can win a dumpling duel."
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Jimbo Cactaur
 Posted: Mar 23 2011, 12:37 AM
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The demons strike misses just barely, Yoritomo Buntaro is much too far out of reach, Kitsune Kiyoshi acrobatically dodges and comes up prepared for anything, and luck favours Reijiro and his somewhat impish dancing. This infuriates the Oni even more and it presses in on Kiyoshi and Reijiro with measured and testing attacks, the jade arrow now all but forgotten.

The Fox parries cautiously, waiting for the moment when the beast will lunge in for the kill. And every time that Reijiro attempts to get close enough to hit his sword is struck away casually by one clawed hand or another.

Buntaro feints his attacks as well, trying to angle around the demon and give one of his allies an opening. At Reijiro's wager he replies,
"I like your style ronin, help me kill this thing and I will speak with Naizen-sama on your behalf. I'll wager you as many dumplings as you can eat that I get the killing blow!"

Oni no Hamato bellows, black blood dripping from the gaping wound in its jaw, "I'll wager that there won't be more than a bloody topknot left of you when I am through here!"

The threat is directed at Buntaro, but suddenly the oni turns toward Reijiro. One claw darts out and swats his katana away, while another swings in from below raking the ronin open from the belly to the chest. The demons tail swishes across and knocks Kiyoshi's forseen attack wide. The hooked claws tangle in the fabric of Reijiro's kimono pulling him up off his feet and into the air. He hangs there a moment, ten feet off the ground before he starts to fall. Another of the beasts many clawed arms swings in from the side, ready to bat him out of the air and into a jagged stump, but a singing in the air preceeds another jade-tipped arrow, this one catching the demon in a blazing red eye. It is followed by more than half a dozen arrows from other archers, all of which sink deeply into exposed demon-flesh. The ronin falls into a heap, bleeding massively from five deep gashes in his abdomen, his vision falters, turning hazy, but he remains conscious of his surroundings.

Kaede staggers over to where his bow is, bending over to retrieve it nearly sends him to his knees in pain. He had forgotten about the gashes in his back until he tried to stretch them out, and they start bleeding again. Thankfully the bowstring is intact and the haft seems undamaged.

"Yeeaaaahhhhh!!" Another four Mantis bushi rush up from the riverbank following the flight of their companions arrows straight toward the Oni. They charge right into the demons pain induced thrashing, bright kama slicing through the air, biting into dark flesh. Two of the samurai meet the unfortunate ends of Hamato's fists, razor sharp claws tearing out ones throat in a fountain of blood, the other getting sent spinning away and into Kiyoshi.

A chill shiver travels through every mortal heart as Oni no Hamato howls in rage and bloodlust.

Ryoko picks up her pace and is joined by a dark shadow from the woods.
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Itinerant
 Posted: Mar 23 2011, 08:48 AM
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Reijiro's head spins, hands clutching his stomach, warm with blood. The roar of battle assaults his ears and he spits out blood onto the earth beneath him. Must move, he wills himself. The excessive pain is the only thing that keeps him conscious as he crawls away from the thrashing demon and fighting samurai. He aims his direction for the nearest tree and crawls behind it, head spinning like a bad opium trip.
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Chronocide
 Posted: Mar 23 2011, 11:44 AM
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Kiyoshi catches the incoming bushi and lays him down on the ground. A moment of sympathy for the Samurai passes through his mind, but is broken when the Oni's roar lodges Kiyoshi's heart in his chest. His attention returns to the Oni, as he feels a grin form on his face. It seems that tainted things were every bit as arrogant as he had heard. "Very well, I accept your wager! Now then; what will you relinquish when you lose? Hamato's soul perhaps?" The thought was a gamble Kiyoshi didn't expect to work, but at the very least it might serve to further antagonize the Oni. Kiyoshi prepared himself for any retribution that might come his way.


Note Itinerant that post gets a +1 from me. Seemed very well written IMHO
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