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  #91  
Old Jul 7th, 2021, 03:03 PM
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Trout
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Dark as it is, the blazing shrine lights illuminate enough for Turushno's Investigation Check: 15inspection of the Bakemono. He finds nothing uncanny. The small broken bodies are lean, wiry, strung with corded muscle: the bodies of hunters, or of farmers, well used to being worked to exhaustion. In such lush woods as these, that strikes Turushno as odd... and, indeed, the Bakemono seem upon closer inspection to be thinner than one would expect. The aged itinerant he had shared his fire with all those moons ago had been wiry, too, but solid enough even in his old age; these little raiders are all skin and bone. Ribcages stand out against livid flesh.



Usui sits close to the campfire, mask held circumspect upon her knees. Jun cooks like a ten-year-old, poor kid Dubious airs of fishy charcoal fill the shrine grounds, inescapable. The Mae-Nichi slips back into her mother tongue as she answers Turushno.

"No, I've never seen anything like... like that. We have fought with Nitay-sampe back down south, but we've traded with them too - it depends on the clan, and on the season. They'll steal from the weak if they're hungry enough, but half of us are armed to the teeth..."

She shakes her head, uncomprehending.

"The Tenkajin villagers tell stories, of course. But then they tell stories about us too."

OOC Despite Ikari's best efforts to incinerate the fish (maybe the kabi's playing up?) we'll count this as a Short Rest. Take back your ki points and whatever else, feel free to spend Hit Dice. We may or may not be moving into Long Rest territory, but those benefits only kick in upon successfully completing a good night's sleep so I wouldn't take them for granted if I were you.

On an entirely unrelated note, everyone please make Perception Checks.
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  #92  
Old Jul 9th, 2021, 09:46 PM
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Turushno
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Turushno manages a decent inspection of the bodies before Ikari whisks them away to the purifying fire. He digests his new knowledge slowly - these poor souls are gaunt and desperate-looking. He wonders if they've been enslaved by the oni for some time now.

He thinks on his findings in between sitting with Usui and checking on Jun's (because it is Jun now, in some imperceptable shift of bearing and poise) progress with the fish. It's mostly beyond salvage, but Jun seems to be pleased with his efforts all the same. Turushno accepts the fish when offered and chokes it down gratefully. He often forgets Jun is so young, when it's clear something else shares that body with him. He can't guess at what 'Ikari' is, but at least the boy is still in there, some sliver of him unscathed by this mysterious burden.

When Jun asks him about Usui, Turushno takes his time to answer. "I'll be frank, Jun-san. All Mae-Nichi keep things to themselves. When you become as fractured a people as we have become, nothing stops one from becoming at least a little ... guarded. We pride ourselves on being worldly and generous, and yet the world has burned us many times, while our Tenkan cousins have boxed us into a tiny parcel of our original homeland. Many of us are now more comfortable seeking refuge in the quiet tracks and silent places, and speaking only when we must." He pauses, wondering on Jun's awareness of his own mysteries, and whether that's a more dangerous 'secret' than anything Usui might be harbouring. "Do not ask me to pry. But, I will attempt to see if her matters are at least not dangerous to us."

Usui, for her own part, has been open with her uncertainty with the Bakemono. The two Mae-Nichi share an understanding of the Bakemono nature, scavengers that can be treated with diplomacy and respect nonetheless, and they are both unsettled by this savage, infernally-chained troupe.

When the fish has finally reached a stage where it might be edible, if not wholly nourishing, he sits down with Usui, who glances at the scene of the culinary crime as if personally offended. "He's just a boy, and it goes down like any other food," he reminds her. "It will be nice to have a peaceful moment. In the meantime, perhaps we should hear some of these stories. We need to know anything that might hint at danger still waiting for us, whatever the source." he watches Usui closely, feeling like a wretched spy for allowing another person's suspicion of a Mae-Nichi to guide his intent. He does not truly suspect Usui. But he is also tired of being caught off-guard by hostile monsters and servants to malignant entities.


OOC21 on perception.
22 on reading Usui for deception or withholding crucial information.


 
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  #93  
Old Jul 11th, 2021, 04:40 AM
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Hiding
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The flickering firelight does more, under Ikari's care, than ward off the dark: it positively dismisses it. So it is that Turushno can And also straight through it into her soul, with an Insight Check of 22see Usui's expression clearly, as she meets his gaze.

If she suspects an ulterior motive behind his question, she does not show it. Or perhaps it does not offend her? You are, after all, strangers. She answers calmly enough, with no hint of duplicity: "Can't say as I'm much in the mood for stories, cuz. Seems like only the dark sort'd be much use to us, out here..."

Usui gazes out into the night gathering beyond the firelight.

"I guess I shouldn't be so shocked. Seein' some of those stories comin' true, I mean. Seems like it's the same all over... some of the stuff happenin' back down south, it's... well..."

She runs a hand through her hair, then shivers. Visibly attempting to pull herself together, she looks down at the Uda village specialty (?) gracing her plate.

"...you're quite sure this is edible?"



The campfire and the shrine lanterns blaze, throwing back the darkness. But it is there, nonetheless, and the flickering of the brightly-burning flames casts long, madly dancing shadows about the edges of the shrine grounds.

At the head of the little waterfall that feeds the stream bubbling past below, figures are watching you. They're keeping low, trying to keep hidden, but they're there. More bakemono.

OOC Anyone who beat a 15 sees the bakemono lurking, and both Tsuyui Kokoro and Turushno rolled so high that they can be fairly sure there's 6 or 7 of them. They don't seem in a hurry to approach.

For that Insight check, in case it wasn't clear: Usui's not actively concealing anything, but there's definitely something she isn't telling you


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  #94  
Old Jul 11th, 2021, 12:45 PM
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Ishiguro Meiji
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Meiji is there, somewhat, on the periphery of the flame, able to enjoy the food on offer but not partake in the conversation should it be deemed unfit.

"A fisherman who controls flame, yet cannot help but to burn his catch," the samurai mused, trying to be polite whilst ribbing Ikari. "I am starting to question your humanity now, boy."

The fish was suffered down either way, and Meiji was thankful for any bit of respite on offer, but it felt as though the kami were punishing him for his transgression by bestowing him with such a poor-quality meal. It was for this reason alone that the Lord-Ronin did not bark or growl as he was so oft want to do.

So far as the lurking Bakemono were concerned, Meiji either knew not of their presence at all or was wholly unconcerned; after all, they had been dispatched once (twice, technically) so it seemed no great feat to do so again — however many times was necessary.

To Usui, directly: "And, pray tell, what has you ranging so far from your kindred? Turushno has his own excuse, so what is yours?"



OOCMeiji doesn't see nothing.


 

Last edited by Chylopan; Jul 11th, 2021 at 12:46 PM.
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  #95  
Old Jul 11th, 2021, 10:27 PM
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Tsuyui Kokoro
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The discussions centered around whether or not Usui could be trusted or was being forthright were far over the gladiator's head and he wouldn't have cared much either way if he had been in on the discussion. Someone was either friend or foe...or were they? At six or seven pairs of eyes danced about at the edge of the shrine, just beyond the firelight. It was odd. If they had wanted to outright kill the travelers, they would have attacked all at once. The small group that had come at them was surely under matched against the band of warriors. Therefore, they had been sent to see just how deadly the strangers were. Six or seven wouldn't make a difference as far as Tsuyui Kokoro was concerned but their continued presence was a mystery to him. It roused memories of his past.

Gladiators were a commodity in the arena and while they risked their lives while they fought, their deaths were rarely wished for by their owners. However, if a fighter had proven themselves to be wholly unpopular with the masses or unable to battle due to injury or old age, they were useless. One such fighter had suffered such an injury and had been left in a cell to slowly die. It hadn't been long before the rats had sniffed out the certain scent of death that clung to the man. They had swarmed into the cell and were growing bolder by the hour. One of the older Goliath did not approve of this method of death and so ordered the other gladiators to pool what little food they had to hold the rats at bay. Morsels of bread were tossed into the cell, the presence of the food causing the oversized rodents to forget their prey for a time. Tsuyui Kokoro stayed up all night with the others keeping the rats occupied until the morning guards came round to wake the fighters. The elder Goliath plead with the guards to end the injured fighter's life with a blade to save him the horror of being eaten alive.

Grabbing half a charred fish from the fire, Tsuyui Kokoro strode toward the pin pricks of light gleaming off the bakemono eyes. He said to Ikari, "I doubt they'll be discerning diners," and chucked the hunk of food into the darkness. "Maybe they will leave us be...or decide against further violence."

 


 
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  #96  
Old Jul 12th, 2021, 02:24 PM
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Ito Jun / Ikari
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Each mouthful of fish Jun chewed, and he had to chew a lot, added to his growing suspicion that perhaps his mother wasn’t the good cook he had always considered her to be. Every time the boy silently asked the carp to forgive him for having failed to properly honor their sacrifice, another instance came to mind that, now that he saw it in a different light, further undermined the legend of his mother being the best cook in Khoro. He remembered for instance that every time his father, a notoriously bad liar, had praised the food his wife had prepared, his cheeks had turned as red as a kinmedai. He also remembered his grandfather often claiming that he had drunk too much sake to be able to hold down any kind of food and the women of the city tasking his mother with looking after the little ones instead of helping with the preparation of the ohaw, the soup that was traditionally eaten during the annual Umi no Hi or „Day of the Sea“ celebration.

Every grimace his companions made as they attempted to gulp down the almost inedible food increased the embarrassment Jun felt, but at the same made the situation seem more and more comical until Meiji’s comment finally made the boy burst out laughing.

"I am so sorry, my friends, I have submitted you all to such a torture. I think that from now on I will do us all a favor and stay away from the cooking pot. If Turushno-san would agree in instructing me in the art of preparing food that can actually be eaten, it would be an honor to cook again for you one day."

The rest of the dinner passed pleasantly enough, at least for Jun, who couldn’t stop smirking every time he brought his chopsticks to his mouth.

Until the Tenryuu growled in warning, alerting him to danger. Among the shadows cast by the shrine‘s lanterns, dragon eyes discerned the shapes of small masked creatures taking advantage of the darkness and never staying at a single place for long. Though uncertain about their actual numbers, their identity was simple enough to determine: Bakemono.

Instantly turning serious, Jun picked up the remains of the fish and a large portion of parched rice and placed them inside his iron pot. Afterwards, he collected the meager possessions of the three unfortunate individuals they had been forced to kill, and left them along with the food next to the first step of the staircase leading to the shrine.

"Your brothers attacked us without provocation, but we hold no grudge against your tribe. We willingly offer our fire, food and the prized possessions of your people. Claim them and remember them in song and tale. I know you are under the control of some dark power, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot regain your freedom. We bested the Oni that held your brothers‘ leash and we will do the same to your own master. If you will let us..."

 
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 09:47 AM
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Turushno
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"Something down south? Usui, I know you said you've seen nothing like the oni before, but you also admitted you've had your own problems with the Nitay-sampe, You know as well as I do that they don't act as marauders without a reason, whether that be desperation or being in the thrall of evil masters. What have you seen?" He sighs in his growing melancholy. "And what has brought you this far north at any rate? Did you find yourself at odds with your family, as I did? Or has something else put you to wandering?"

Turushno also sees the new group of Bakemono assembling at the same time as his cohorts (with the possible exception of Meiji, who either doesn't notice or simply doesn't care). He's proud of their reactions; Tsuyui throws them food out of pity, and Jun makes a pretty speech to accompany an offering. Turushno knows that if these figures in the dark are anything like those he's encountered in peace, they'll appreciate these items that may have been of significance to the fallen.

For his part, he is content to wait. They know their stealth has failed. They'll either attack at a disadvantage, or relent for the night. Turushno feels no need to rush their decision.




 
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 02:59 PM
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Rest Usui - and perhaps this is for the best - does not seem to have noticed the lurking bakemono. Despite her initial reticence she gulps down her portion of crispy fish readily enough, and the food seems to help steady her nerves.

"I mentioned it earlier, didn't I?" she answers Meiji (his bluntness either not causing offense or simply not registering). "I'm goin' to the Great Shrine. I need to see the... the thingy, the... Saishu? Gūji? The head priest, I mean. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude! Just hard to keep all the hierarchies straight sometimes."

Usui seems earnest enough, but she adds in an aside to Turushno:

"It's... well. It's supposed to be a secret. Though I can't imagine it'll stay that way for long. Unless I've sorted everything by then... anyway, I'm not just wandering, my family sent me!" She regards the other Mae-Nichi more curiously, now. "Why? What happened with yours?"



The bakemono... make no move. They must know they have been spotted, now, and they shrink back as Tsuyui Kokoro strides towards them: not in fear, perhaps, but not as a prelude to ambush either. Their attempt at stealth has failed, but they do not attempt to relocate (and the trees encroaching on the shrine grounds would afford them plenty of opportunity.

Are they afraid of you? Perturbed by your insouciance, perhaps? Or have they accepted Tsuyui Kokoro's offering? Small shapes gather in the darkness, giving nothing away.

Jun's speech is received in similarly inscrutable silence. The watchers do not reply; they neither flee nor attack. Your guards remain up... but as the night wears on, a pale moon rises, and you can see that the bakemono have gone. Their fellows' possessions remain, alongside Tsuyui Kokoro's offering of food, untouched.

They Persuasion Check: 20, but also just good roleplaying throughout do not return again that night.


Dew-drops -
how better wash away
world's dust?





OOC No more combat tonight - you can continue roleplaying your chat with Usui, the night's watches, and/or breaking camp the next morning, resting assured that you can all get a Long Rest in without further trouble.

Great job resolving that situation without further bloodshed! I'm proud of you all. Everyone take 1 point of Inspiration for heroism in the face of horrible phantasmal goblin attack, and also level up to Level 3! Subclasses for everyone!
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  #99  
Old Jul 15th, 2021, 07:13 AM
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Turushno
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Turushno stares into the fire. He's never found the flames hypnotic or enticing; he's never been lulled into serenity from watching embers flick into the ether or tracking the steady erosion of the burning logs. It's just fire. It only burns.

His family followed the philosophy that they were born to quench fires, and keep the flames from consuming those around him. They could be the balm for an aching world, even if that world did not want them. All of existence flows into itself, over and over, a cycle of life and death only observed with the flow of souls, the cascading force of water, the endless hunger of fire.

Usui has asked him the one question he's never wanted to answer.

He tenderly unsheathes his tonkori from its protective wrapping. The Nitay-sampe already know they're here, so what harm in a little music? He plucks a string, and it trills. The first notes of his family yukar. He does not sing - the notes will be enough.

"I lost my family. In more ways than one." The tonkori sings as he speaks in his native tongue. So many words he hasn't used for so long, but they come out fresh and crisp, words that never left him even as he came close to forgetting how they sounded. "I saw the Black Ships come - I was with my family then. We travelled across Tenka regularly, and you can imagine how those who remained at the end of the Last Road thought of us. They thought of us as foolish vagabonds, fraternising with those who would push us into the sea with half an excuse."

He stopped briefly to focus on his playing. The notes quivered in the air, filling the empty space.

"They were perhaps right. Being too close to the Tenka-ji was bad for us in the end. We swept into Kohro when it fell. All the land was under siege, so we sought to put aside the old differences, and tend to the wounded and the panicked. Some of them turned on us. We were not Tenka-ji. Therefore, we were enemy. Kohro become an den full of trapped animals; no one could think straight. And still the ships came."

This much he has said before. He remembers regaling Kasumi with these details on their walk to her shrine. But he's rarely had the courage to pick deeper into the scab. After all, even then he'd considered that the memories would probably enslave him. But he is with kin now, after so long in the proverbial wilderness. It's time.

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"I had an elder sister. Hotene. She was an expert with herbs and poultices. She sang as well ... she was better at carrying the oral history of our bloodline than I was. I never remembered the words to the tales we keep in song, but I loved her singing." He swallows, keeping the rising tension in the core of his body while his arms and fingers stay limber. "She was not the first of us to be killed in the invasion of the Black Ships. Others were caught in the bombardment. Two of my cousins were knifed by looters. Hotene ... was trapped in a burning tea house when she entered to pull out a Tenka-ji woman left behind in the chaos. I arrived too late. The woman got out, thanks to my sister, but then the roof collapsed. After the place burned down with ... with Hotene still inside ... this Tenka-ji said, and I'll mark these words until the day I die, 'At least it's only a Mae-Nichi in there now.'"

The tonkori sounds less confident now. The notes are correct, but Turushno's fingers are shaking. Power radiates through his pores, and a light mist now trails out from his fingers as he plays. Tears run down Turushno's cheeks, but he does not sob. His teeth are gritted, his expression primal.

"I still need the strength of every kamuy I can name not to hate that woman. Not to let that hatred overtake me. I did try, I did. I wanted to stay, to continue the work we were doing, but by now my clan was divided. Loss has ripped our bonds into pieces, and those who could not overcome their hatred, their indignation at suffering such misfortune despite our good intentions ... they would not be swayed. Some stayed, others left. We all got separated over time. I can presume whom of my family would have journeyed back home, whom may have attempted the same roads I've taken. But I can't be sure of any of their fates."

Something shifts inside Turushno, like a fire finally dying out. He realises that he's ripping an oni of his own right out of his chest. He can almost see it leave ... not in embers and smoke, but vapour and mist. His fingers stop, and water runs down the tonkori in trailing drops. The silence is a hammerblow after the steady, if wavering, sound of the strings. He wipes the instrument down, wraps it into its protective bundle, and lays it across his knees. He's emptied himself of words, and needs a moment to fill up again.


OOCWhat started as a way of Turushno gaining a little elemental mastery ... got a little out of hand. But now T is a Monk of the Four Elements, with Elemental Attunement and Water Whip.


 
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  #100  
Old Jul 15th, 2021, 09:11 AM
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Tsuyui Kokoro
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Shurgging when the bakemono deign to not accept his offering, Tsuyui Kokoro returns to the group. At least they weren't attacking them again which was, of course, in their own best interests for they would be cut down just as easily as their fellows who had done so earlier.

Turushno shared his story and did so to the melodic notes of his tonkori. Tsuyui Kokoro took the bongo from his pack and added a soft beat to the tale as well as his own low humming to provide both a beat and bass to the account. He was lost in the moment as the power of music calmed his soul and eased his mind. The magic of the shrine also worked at the Wong Gunung. The tattoos that covered his body, if one was looking closely enough, shimmered and swirled in the dancing shadows of the flame. They were infused with song and magic and were awakened by Turushno's tale, the spilling of blood, the light of fire and the enchantments upon the shrine. As Tsuyui Kokoro was calm and docile, so were his tattoos but if the heat of battle were to arise in the barbarian's blood again, they would come alive to grant him magical boons.

 


 
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Old Jul 15th, 2021, 08:08 PM
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Ishiguro Meiji
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The Lord-Ronin sits idle on the outside of their manufactured firepit, lost to the dance of the flickering light and having had his fill of the charred meat; there is no sign of life to him beyond the idle scan of eyes whose stare cannot even be bat away by the crackle of rogue embers.

Turushno's song was an especially somber one this time around, and it devolved, progressively, into something more akin to a reflection of his inner-turmoil which, coincidentally, was not so unlike Meiji's own. However, despite his recognition of the monk's pain, it was beyond him not to leer or grimace at certain points during the confession. Subtlety was not the samurai's specialty; a shinobi he was not.

Worse yet, something in particular from the elder's tale seemed to have earned his ire — but what didn't these days? After all, Meiji was a hot-blooded young man, desperate to burn out or burn bright, so, naturally, it was just common knowledge by this point that he had more temperamental mood swings than a den of drunk geisha. His father would be proud. Oh, delicious irony!

"Save your tears," he snorted, before bullishly slapping one knee and glaring over at Turushno, disgusted; albeit, for what reason had yet to be revealed. Perhaps another one of his snobby tirades? Were the monk and the samurai to clash yet again? "The dead have no use for them."

And then he stood, tall and proud, as always, fierce eyes still locked on the gray-haired instrumentalist with an awkward anger never more evident than it was now, stewing on that handsome — if not sweaty and battle-weary — visage.

"It was too good for her, still." The arrogant snarl is made more contemptable thanks to the snapping of this wolf's teeth.

But, before fists could fly or blood could be drawn, a question must have lied in the heart of all those who listened in: to whom, exactly, was the youth referring? Again, alas, it was unclear. However, an educated guess, based on all previous interactions with the high-and-mighty Lord, would have very easily led one to believe that, unfortunately, it may have been Turushno's dearly departed sister..

"Besides," Meiji laid a heavy hand on the monk's shoulder. It was... oddly reassuring, from one man to another. "Were I there I would have put her to the sword myself." Oh no, how could he have said such a — "To dishonor such a noble sacrifice — rest assured, that woman was no Tenka-jin."

O-Oh.

Well then, one would suppose that clears things up!

...Crisis averted?




OOCMeiji being Meiji, kinda. Now fully upgraded to Samurai!


 

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Old Jul 16th, 2021, 03:52 AM
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Sophie von Baarle
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Sophie had been sitting next to the monk and the woman from the South, both Mae-nichi, and though she didn't understand about half of what they said, or anything the monk said when he was talking over his music, she got the general impression it was sad. The music said as much. But music it was that led her to finish tinkering with her armor, at long last. She had added bits of leather between the joints to muffle the sound, and replaced portions with lighter, but still sturdy, metals. She even added a strange device, with a gem for a lens, that would allow her to fire when her revolver was away. It was almost as if she had used magic to make this armor, for how fast she had done it. And now it could be quick-released and donned equally as quickly, she figured.

When the handsome samurai walked over, she was worried it would be one of his outbursts, for even in the time she had known him, she could tell he was a hotheaded one. It didn't entirely change her opinion of him negatively, she just wished he picked his battles better.

Which he had apparently done. This was not a battle, but a reassurance? He certainly was growing, and growing on Sophie as well. She wanted to add something to the conversation, but wasn't sure it would be welcome, even in the samurai's improved mood.

Instead, she looked to Usui. "I'd like to look at your mask now, before we need it for keeping watch the rest of the night. If you don't mind, of course." She examined the headpiece, with her own goggles on to make sure she could make out every detail in the dark. She was still fascinated by it. "Did you make this yourself? What was your process? Did you apply something to the lenses, or are they made out of natural materials that..." She trailed off, just now realizing that the others had seen something in the distance (unlike herself, because of her distractions). She wasn't sure she wanted their company, but it would be better than a fight, if it came to that. That being said, bakemono would be a welcome addition in a way, since they'd have more protection and even better guides. Alas, it wasn't to be. Oh well.
OOCSurprisingly, Sophie is now an Armorer instead of an Artillerist, like I had planned. Because it had the most firearm-oriented spells, and made her armor more sneaky.
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  #103  
Old Jul 16th, 2021, 07:20 AM
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Ito Jun / Ikari
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Tsuyui Kokoro‘s and Jun‘s own actions failed to lead to any kind of negotiations or understanding between the party of wanderers and the bakemono, and yet they seemed to somehow reach the creatures anyway, perhaps on a deeper, more instinctive level, because they eventually withdrew, vanishing into the night. The dragon, no longer sensing their corruption, settled down and slumbered, leaving the ten-year-old boy alone in the company of his fellow travelers.

After the exertion of the day Jun would have gladly followed the Tenryuu‘s example and retired for the night, but then something magical happened. Turushno started playing his tonkori and he started speaking. Jun did not understand the words, for the Mae-Nichi spoke in his native tongue, but the meaning would have been clear even if he had spoken in growls and grunts. The monk‘s pain was palpable and made his body vibrate just like the strings of his instrument, filling up the air around him with a sadness that left none of those present untouched. Tsuyui Kokoro, no doubt feeling the same urge Jun did, took out his bongo and joined in the song, adding his own memories and experiences to Turushno‘s.

Jun felt his throat constrict and his eyes burn. It must be the smoke from the fire, he reasoned, reflexively coughing and rubbing his eyes. Meiji stood up and spoke as well, straight and proud like a katana, his words as sharp as the blade‘s edge, drawing blood with every sentence he uttered. What exactly was it that the samurai said? What did he actually mean? Jun couldn’t tell, for his ears were buzzing so intensely that he could not make sense of the lord‘s words. A pressure had built up inside himself, a great force that sought to be released like boiling water in a tea kettle. Tears started flowing from his eyes and the boy pressed his hands hard against his temples to keep his head from bursting. To no avail. It was like trying to block the sun by raising his hand.

Afraid that he would shame himself further with such a display of weakness, Jun stood up and hastily left the others, seeking shelter in the woods. The dragon had woken and was dancing inside him, twisting and turning like a snake drunk on sake, speaking in a voice so loud that every word was like a physical blow to the boy‘s head. Even worse was the heat. Jun had the impression that his lungs, his intestines, his whole body were on fire. Sweat came out of every pore of his skin, making the tiny scales covering his body glisten in the light of the shrine‘s lanterns. A curtain of blazing red fell before his eyes, blinding him to everything around him.

Unable to resist any more, Jun fell to his knees, opened his mouth and screamed like he had never screamed before, only no sound escaped his lips. radiant consumptionNo sound, but light, pure, heavenly, scorching light, light coming out of his eyes, his mouth, his ears, a flood of light turning night to day.

I chose you as my vessel, child of man, my prison made of flesh. As you grow, I live once more. Know my anger, the light of my being, the divine fire of the Tenryuu. I grant you the power to create, shape and inspire, the power to punish, break and destroy. Use it wisely and with caution. Fire will burn the foolish as readily as it will the unclean.

The light died down, but it wasn’t extinguished, not completely. It came to reside within Ikari’s eyes, giving them a soft glow that wasn’t there before. The young man rose to his feet and looked around him. The trees, the branches, the leaves, the grass, the flowers, everything had been scorched by the dragon’s fiery light. Only then did Ikari notice that his own skin had been seared as well. Not badly enough to cause him pain, but the skin had turned an ugly red. The Tenryuu was right. Fire burns all it touches. But it is worth it.

Returning to his companions, Ikari sat down next to Turushno once more, his expression calm and peaceful.

"Fear not, Turushno-san. We shall make things right."

 
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  #104  
Old Jul 17th, 2021, 09:12 AM
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When Turushno has gathered himself, he takes a moment to acknowledge Tsuyui Kokoro, who accompanied his music with his own drums. "Thank you," he says softly. "We need more moments like this, don't we? Danger and duty almost makes us forget there's other things in life sometimes."

He's silent, however, in the face of Meiji's commentary. The whispering wind seems to choke and fall silent as Meiji apparently keeps putting his foot in it. Turushno tenses momentarily in reflex, then relaxes again. He's already lost his temper at the would-be samurai once today. And in a heartbeat, he's glad he held back, as Meiji clarifies his position. The samurai places a hand on Turushno's shoulder, and the monk lays his own hand atop the armoured fingers. "You are one of a kind in so many ways. I appreciate your ... zeal. But don't underestimate the needs of the dead. The Venerable Ancestors are never far away from us." He smiles then. "And one day, I'll ask you how you came to be such a master in the Mae-Nichi tongue. That can't be a skill you picked up by chance." He straightens, trying for a lighter tone. "But we have other stories! Sophie, I hope I'm not interrupting you over there, but I wanted to ask you about your homeland ..."

He doesn't get to finish his request before a blaze of light erupts like a sun from the nearby woods. Light so hot it burns the trees. Turushno is on his feet in an instant, horrified at the thought the shrine is once again under attack, but ... it's Jun who emerges from the scene of the divine blast, scorched but only superficially.

"Fear not, Turushno-san. We shall make things right."

Turushno does not respond. Never before has a veritable child terrified him so.




 
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 10:08 AM
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Tears run freely down Usui's cheeks as Turushno tells his tale. Surely every Mae-Nichi has a story like this..? But then, Usui must have been little more than a child when the Black Ships came. She is still young. The brash young hunter who confronted you all in the woods that morning looks her age, now, as she weeps.

She looks like she wants to embrace her kinsman, but the gulf between them - in years, in life lived - gives her pause. And then it is Meiji who steps forwards. Among this motley crew - a Wong Gunung, two Mae-Nichi, and a foreigner - only he and Ito Jun can claim to be Tenka-jin as such (and all must be beginning to have some questions about Jun-kun)... and yet, it is into the young samurai that Turushno's tale seems to most deeply sink its fangs.

Usui seems as surprised by this as by anything else she's seen tonight.



The young Mae-Nichi collects herself as Sophie asks to examine her mantle. "Oh... yeah, of course..." she says shakily, handing it over with a tremulous sniff.

"My... my brothers made it. They have a couple. There's all these silver mines in the south - did ya know? - and sometimes they turn up these... bones. Big ol' skeletons, like ogres or... like the Mountain Men, we sometimes say..."

She glances up at Tsuyoi Kokoro, so still in the firelight (her grey skin seeming almost to glow, to shimmer before the dancing flames), and continues cautiously.

"Well, we don't really know what they are, but we found out you could put amber lenses in - we brought some amber down south with us, from way back home - and they'd help ya... see more clearly."

Usui shudders, remembering the pale spirits burning in the darkness.

"...the cloak's just straw. They always go kinda grey and stiff like that. We don't know why."

OOC Details on the mantle can be found here. Sophie figures out these details over the course of the night, but she can help anyone else do so too if she doesn't want to attune to it herself! Although personally I think it'd suit her. I didn't want to rush ahead while everyone was roleplaying so beautifully, will consult with you all OOC about the morning after!
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