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  #16  
Old Oct 4th, 2022, 12:24 PM
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Kamiya - Discussion
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The priestess moved about the camp with economical grace. She did her best to nudge the others in the group before saying, "Wake there is a stranger in our midst. Wake and hear what he has to say for himself. If he is peaceful we should have peace between us."

She did this while listening and without taking her eyes off the stranger. For, while she may be a priestess of peace, she knew very well how easily others were to break that peace. If that was the case she would not abide his presence. In any case it was clear there was discussion to be had, "I bring peace unto you stranger. I only rouse my companions so that they too may assess your intentions towards us though I do request that they will honor the peace I have granted unto you." Basically she was asking the others not to attack unless the stranger did first.

She considers a moment and says, "My sincere regret that I do not have morning tea prepared to offer you and that I do not know your master. However, that said, I will take the invitation and discuss this matter with my companions. If you like you may wait while we confer." She moved to take the scroll and then would return to the others to read it aloud and see what it was they wished to do asking, "What say you to this invitation? The man seems peaceful and I am inclined to agree."


 


 

Last edited by Ysolde; Oct 4th, 2022 at 12:24 PM.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 06:00 AM
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Yasuraka Toreeru -- waking up
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Kitsune Constellation

Crackling of fire... Being watched... A fox running...

Pushing aside the last remnants of dream, his sight leaned against heavy eyelids. They opened sluggishly, and - past the sleepiness's blurry wash - gave to the darkness outside: thin yet laddening, soft but piercing...

His eyes rose, instinctively, against the night sky's spread of sharp points. And in his flesh a ripple of pain answered, as his senses were coming into their own... The Mists?! crossed his mind - but ...no, the feeling was familiar.

Cold, having seeped into his body, now held him fast with a rope of stiffness. It hurt to move... Slowly, Torēru reached for his nape to rub it.

Others had stirred, he noticed. As soon as his head could turn, he looked around trying to guess danger... There seemed to be none...

But they were going somewhere - at least some of them... That voice - he heard it again. And - although weakened by distance - it found an image in his memory, faintly: Kamiya's. Calm... it seemed, and joined by no signs of struggle. He could take his time, then...

Turning inwards, the Monk began focusing on his body. For several slow breaths he stood like that, trying to feel all of it at once - and one with it all. Warmth arose, awakening his muscles, and he began to carefully work them - gradually shaking the bad spell off.

After also loosening and retying a few strings, he felt ready to stand, and - clutching the quarterstaff - pushed himself up. Once sure of his feet, then, he bent his mind towards the sounds about. Perception check 19 (Fates page 1, post 8, 1st roll)He listened intently - trying to get a bearing of everyone...

Yasuraka Toreeru -- walking towards the hill
right-aligned image
labyrinth impression

In the hole, the fire barely puffed anymore. Of wonder, that they happened over even that much healthy wood... he thought, while trying to figure out who was still sleeping. But a machine would be noiseless... and there was no snoring...

Temptation, disguised, suddenly passed the notion that cranes, at least, would be endowed by nature with more grace than crows... Not blinking, he discarded that and gently drove his mind towards the moment's seriousness:

So nothing near drew his attention, but... Could he be sure? Could he make sure without disturbing others, needlessly... It might have fallen onto him to stand guard... or everyone had already gathered there, on the hill, where the only sounds seemed to come from...

He had to choose... although he could not be at ease with it. Thus, with short steps, Torēru started in the direction of the noise, his ears - now and then - reaching backwards for changes in silence.

His quarterstaffbo forward, he tapped the ground like a blind man, trying to sense it with his feet well before moving his weight from leg to leg.

That Shinobi... Rinka - she said she set up a trap of sorts around them... But how close he was getting to it memory recall check 9 (Fates page 1, post 8, 2nd roll)he had little means of telling... He was rather sleepy when she described the "web", and... there was something about her, flame-like, that he must have been too slow to follow then...

One step and tap after another, Torēru reached the trees. Perception check 9 (Fates page 1, post 8, 3nd roll)And fortune had it that he was not welcomed by one - but ran his quarterstaffbo straight into that rope and bones necklace: "WWWwrrrFRRHHhh!" it rattled. The Monk froze.

Silence. Then he heard voices sounding like he wasn't taken for threat, continuing their dialogue. They were more than whispers to his ear now, but he did not pay attention to them. That web - he had to guess his way past it.

Reaching forth, he found the rope, then followed it with his fingers until he'd meet an end, a tree. Then another tree - walking around the perimeter up to the first gap he'd encounter. Then forward. Fortunately, there were gaps, which meant it was something like a labyrinth... So he wouldn't have to trouble everyone by passing straight through the webbing. But... She couldn't have had the time to conjure up dead ends, did she?

Concentrating, Torēru sent his mind into the hands, and soon managed to adapt to his task. He navigated the rope crossing Perception checks 18 and 22 (Fates page 1, post 8, last two rolls)without raising more noise, and - passing it - he went on towards the lights of eyes. Eyes gleaming playfully, or politely, or peaceful, like little stars that would prick no more.

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Last edited by writelite; Oct 10th, 2022 at 09:36 AM. Reason: had written Bo instead of bo... hm
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 01:58 PM
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Vix Lockhardt
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Vix pads through the undergrowth behind their unknown visitor, keeping him upwind of her so she could smell him and he couldn't smell her. From his scent she could tell that he was a kitsune, young, and had probably been out here for some time. His scent was earthy and wild. Presently she could see him. A sleek blue coat with black paws and a handsome silver tail. He was certainly easy on the eyes.

Unfortunately, he'd seen her too, which prompted him to take human form. Or perhaps he did so simply because his scroll could not be handed over as a fox. As a human, he was less interesting. Sure, his clothes were neat and fresh, but only because he hadn't been wearing them while he was a fox. Vix remembers to give her promised yip for Kamiya, then turns into a human herself. "I see word of our mission travels faster than we ourselves. Konbanwa, friend. I have felt your eyes upon us, even as I never glimpsed so much as a hair of your whiskers. My name is Vix." She pauses to see if he will tell her his name.

Assuming humanoid form, she takes the scroll gingerly and makes no effort to unroll it. She looks up at their visitor with sparkling eyes and twirls a lock of red hair in her fingers. "You a riddle that this alone will not solve. I cannot read this..." she pauses before thinking to clarify "here in the dark." That hadn't come out very smooth at all. Great. Now he probably thought she was entirely illiterate. She felt so awkward here.

To her relief, Kamiya arrives, takes the scroll, and the man's attention. As Kamiya apologizes for not offering the man tea it suddenly dawns on Vix that as hosts go, she could do much better than she has. "Wh- Where are my manners?" she giggles nervously. "You must be tired after a long day. Come, we have a fire and food, and you can tell us where will we find... your master." what was his name? The scroll probably revealed all this information, but she didn't want to wait until morning to discuss it.
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Last edited by anamiac; Oct 6th, 2022 at 02:01 PM.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 04:14 PM
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Enter the Kitsune
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The dark haired stranger in blue looked over curiously to the campsite. It was a very very strange sight indeed, right next to a tree there were a clump of leaves, and pointing out the leaves…was it a foot? Now it should be said that this particular kitsune’s sight was very sharp indeed. Where others might have missed that particular detail when doing a look over the camp, the foot stuck out to this particular kitsune like a proverbial sore thumb.

“Ummm,” the dark haired stranger began somewhat hesitantly, gesturing over to the clump of leaves as he spoke to Vix, who at this point was still in her fox form, “I’m not sure if your friend realises, but I can see her. She might as well come out,” he finished with an almost embarrassed shrug.

Overhead, the night remained, an almost impenetrable curtain of black that was pierced only by the twinkling white light of the stars glittering in the sky and the silvery radiance of the full moon as it watched over the world below, and perhaps the events unfolding by the campsite with a sense of mild amusement.

The otherwise peaceful silence of the night was shattered both momentarily and temporarily by the sound of wind chimes clattering together and making a small, yet noticeable and musical noise. The stranger glanced backwards to the approaching Torēru, alerted to his presence by the noise but otherwise imperturbed by the presence of the monk. His eyes flickered back to Vix as she assumed her human form even as the corners of his lips turned upwards in slight amusement at the events happening around him. His dark eyes glimmered as they met twin orbs of sparkling emerald.

She was beautiful.

“I apologise for my rudeness,” the dark haired stranger bowed his head, perhaps to try to hide the sudden flush that darkened his cheeks. ”I am Kanjuro, and I work for the Bengoshi Yon-jū Banme. It is my pleasure to meet you Vix.”

He raised his hand to hold hers in greeting even as he tried his hardest to keep his eyes from meeting hers.

“In truth, your mission was not unknown to us. The Imperial Prefecture sent word to us that they were planning on sending a delegation to help us, and so I have waited by the borders. It was easy to determine who you were, given that there are very few who would willingly cross into our lands these days,” Kanjuro gestured with his hands outwards, to the grasslands and the nearby trees.

“The lands of the kitsune, our lands, are dying,” he said slowly, now meeting Vix’s gaze as he handed over the scroll to her.

And the two stood awkwardly for a few seconds as Vix realised she could not read the scroll in the faint light before Kamiya arrived, having wakened the rest of the camp, to take the scroll off her. Swallowing, Kanjuro turned his gaze to Kamiya as he bowed before her, perhaps even slightly relieved to shift his attention from Vix.

“I bring peace unto you too,” Kanjuro smiled warmly, “As I show you the same honour you have shown me.”

He followed Kamiya and Vix back into the camp where the others had been awakened and were stirring.

“Thank you for your hospitality,” Kanjuro bowed to both Kamiya and Vix as he followed them, sitting to one side as they conferred with the rest of the group, unfurling the scroll to read in whatever light they had to read it with.

Greetings. Word of your arrival has arrived to me from Emperor Hitoshi, and so it is that I must request we meet to discuss matters of some considerable importance. I must insist that upon meeting my associate that you arrive at Hanashischū Grove, east of Kyusokuna between dawn and sunset forthwith. My associate Kanjuro will guide you to the correct location. Punctuality is essential - I look forward to meeting each of you!

Nature-Wielder
Yon-jū Banme


 

Last edited by Ballingray; Oct 8th, 2022 at 04:16 PM.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 11:04 AM
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Yasuraka Toreeru
Skittering stars, small stars with tail, foretelling... that, having just arrived, he'll have to start back, cross that web again...

The air where the Kitsune met was warm still, and a bit tense... And up there, the light points seemed abuzz with a desire to swarm...

Awkward? Bothered... Torēru felt the spirit's light hand wipe his brow off. "Yes..." came a better thought - In all that, he could sense no fear. No warning of Mists in the stranger's soul-print. Only young daring and... some other things, to which now just a moment's shadow of a smile, weightless, would pass over the Monk's face.

His mind at ease, he gave a look in the direction the fox-folk disappeared in. If there still was a trail for his senses, he wondered - could he follow it all the way to the camp? Or rather... would he eventually still run into some rope noose, where the Hengeyokai simply jumped through...

But that way too, as the direction he came from, would be useless with no reference, he reasoned. And as much as Torēru felt pressed to hurry back and witness their dialogue - this time, he could do nothing until they started talking again...

"Then, maybe, the Steametic's blue will also appear through the trees..." Thinking these, he resigned himself to standing there, waiting. Dark, silent, seconds of the hill's sleep flew by... Soon, though, noise awoke somewhere below, and the Monk began striding towards it.

"Rope... Let it clatter," he thought - He'll just run into it this time. "After that..." A mind image of his blades suddenly offered itself as an option... less wise. No... He might try and look for holes his size, though. And bone chimes reached, he started feeling for crossings...

His hand Perception check 19 (Fates page 1, post 10, 1st roll of first set)did not have to search long. An area of loose straw and few, if any bits of animal remains drew itself at his fingertips. He touched around a little - to make sure he can pass, then let his quarterstaffbo fall on the other side and stooped... Luckily, his clothes Dexterity check 20 (Fates page 1, post 10, 1st roll of second set)did not get caught and - in one step and a little push - he went past that first barrier.

Then Dexterity check 14 paired with Perception check 18 (Fates page 1, post 10, 2nd rolls)one more loop successfully traversed, in dull chime accompaniment, and then... well - The group sounding quite near, the Monk braved an entanglement Perception check 11 (Fates page 1, post 10, 3rd roll of first set)he did not measure properly...
right-aligned image
L-R: Rinka, Vix, Kamiya, Yue, Mascarade, Toreeru


Embarrassed? Not Torēru - He had no pride to defend. But Dexterity check 9 (Fates page 1, post 10, 3rd roll of second set)getting stuck in those "threads" and dancing like a string-puppet, struggling to get out, was a thing as dangerous as it was uncomfortable...

Was he to wait there for the "spider" to decide his fate? (Which, of course - in this case, would have meant his freedom.) No - He would not allow himself to bother the others, if possible. And, anyway, he would rather be on his feet, a weapon at hand when facing that tricky Shinobi...

So, loose went rope and harness, under his daggertanto's edge. And he had to reach the ground with hand and knee, and pull himself out - a Dexterity check of 9 seemed enough to avoid that...almost tearing his robe, outer garmentkoromo in the process...

From then on, that last Perception check - he wasn't really tryinghe just followed the path between gaps, convinced his luck had only held as far as the trap. "It would not do to abuse his good guidance" - he thought, and bowed within to the circumstances.

When finally making it out of the alarm meshes, Torēru checked his step - so he wouldn't seem like barging in. Nodding to the stranger, he approached them quietly. The group was... reading a scrollmakimono - a letter that man brought. He waited his turn, and then cast his eyes on the letter-words.

The writing was both elegant and strong - he noticed, while marking the information in mind. The mentioning of the Emperor, in connection, also prompted one to thing of a person majestic, one whom self-control raised from all whirls of low, turbid feeling and thought. "How inspiring - to be standing in his presence, soon!" felt Torēru - and, as before a natural wonder, he just admired the notion, thinking no further.

That an Inja, or Yamabushi of great skill could impart power - or help one's progress with even a simple word, or a gesture - found no way into his aware will.

Done reading, the Monk passed on the scroll and waited to see what the others decide. It said "between dawn and sunset" and they were still to learn how far the meeting place was, from their camp. Someone would have to ask that Kanjuro fellow - Vix or Kamiya maybe. But he looked in no one's eyes, letting the matter take its natural course.

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Last edited by writelite; Oct 12th, 2022 at 04:19 PM. Reason: format and drawing corrections
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 12:56 PM
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RinkaConfident in her well-thought out disguise, Rinka remained hidden beneath the leaves even after Kamiya informed them of the stranger’s approach. Kitsune may be wary of most, but they are ever-quick to trust a fellow kitsune. She couldn’t think of a more dastardly way to lure them into a false sense of security than by sending a strapping boy fox to lower their guard. Even now, his pungent musky pheromones were at work on Vix, as she couldn’t help but notice how shyly the pair acted in proximity of each other.

This Kanjuro has the skills of a trained assassin. Surely there's no mistake, as only a fellow shinobi would have been able to pinpoint her whereabouts with ease. Bowing a scowl at being discovered, the leaf pile shook as the rogue gathered her legs to her chest and popped straight up to her feet. Offering the fellow a mischievous grin, her eyes gleamed rather sharply in the torchlight.

“Ha, you found me! You pass the seeing-eye test.”Flapping her cloak of debris, ruthlessly flicking leaves away with her fingers, after straightening her hat, Rinka gingerly stepped from the pile of dead leaves to position herself protectively beside Kamiya. Vix was on her own, clearly too far gone, but Kamiya might be spared yet from this devil’s charms. Arms crossed, the smallish girl lifted a thumb and thumped it with gusto against her chest. “Call me Rinka!”

Before she could threaten the pretty boy fox into subservience, Rinka heard a great clatter from the camp’s parameter. Immediately snatching the hilt of her blade, Rinka darkened, deathly calm as her eyes peered into the night, searching for movement…raising a brow, a pang of rancor knocked, finding it was only Toreru muddling about in her newly constructed web.

Growing ever more suspicious of the priest, Rinka thumbed the hilt of her blade, softly contemplating murder. Was it all merely coincidence that he ran into the alarm? Bip had a tendency to sleep-eat. Maybe Toreru was a sleep-trap-triggerer? However, it’s also plausible that the mild-mannered priest is wearing a façade—just like she is. It would be far easier just to kill him and have one less person to worry about, but the Boss told her be a—what’s the term? Team player? Yes, she must suffer him for the sake of the mission…

“Toreru, you are lucky the web wasn’t death trap. You’d go BOOM!” Rinka called, widely throwing up her hands with emphasis. “Come meet our stinky guest.”

Seeing as they might need a death-bot in the event this Kanjuro betrayed them and revealed his true identity, Rinka primly walked over to the steametic’s hole and gently rapped on his metallic head. Bing! Bing! Bing! “Masqeraaade! Turn back on, we need ya! Time to cook yummy food!” Hopefully he wouldn’t mistake Kanjuro as the food needing cooking. Presently, they had no campfire, and surely Kamiya wanted to provide this new pretty-face with sustenance. Perhaps Yue would join in too, having heard somewhere that monks are pretty resourceful cooks.

Once they got the
Dice Survival:
1d20+1 (11)+1 Total = 12
campfire going, Rinka skewered some fresh ginger roots with a stick and proceeded to roasted them over the flames. It was a light, healthy snack that the blue fox-boy might like. Her own stomach noisomely gurgled, inciting drool as the smell drifted through the camp. Of course, she listened as Kanjuro read the message aloud.

Dice History:
1d20 17
Yon-jū Banme. Oddly enough, the name sounded familiar. Where had she heard of it before?


ActionsAction: 12 Survival for building a not-too visable campire and cooking edible food + 17 History vs who is Yon-jū Banme.
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Last edited by DaniLore; Oct 10th, 2022 at 01:22 PM.
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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 12:14 PM
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Kamiya - Discussion
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She focuses her power and allows a blue fire with a radiance out a few feet to sprout from her hands. The blue flame does not burn the paper and she is able to read it aloud so that the rest of her companions may hear it as well. As she finishes reading she looks around to her companions. Each has their own distinctive personality and may have opinions on this matter but she knows that the best option right now is to agree. "Well, with such an invitation it would be dishonorable were I to refuse. I accept guest rights and will meet your master Yon-jū Banme. Allow us a brief moment to pack up camp."

She begins packing up her things and checks with the others, "As I said I have not heard of this man but guest right should keep us safe. If any of you have some insight please share it as we finish packing and are on our way. Peace can only be assured with vigilance."



 


 

Last edited by Ysolde; Oct 11th, 2022 at 12:14 PM.
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 01:07 PM
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Vix Lockhardt
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Vix brings Kanjuro into the campsite and helps with the fire. She pretends to ignore her companions. Rinka sure was an odd one. So was Yasuraka. So paranoid. All this stuff with traps and trying to be clever and junk. If Kanjuro really were some sort of demon, then they would kill him of course. But if he'd been a demon, he wouldn't have smelled authentic. And nice. He smelled nice.

Vix was happy to let Yasuraka and Kamiya do the reading, and let Rinka do the cooking. Let each do what they were good at. Besides, it gave her opportunity to ask Kanjuro questions, and she had as many as the stars in the sky. It seemed he would be traveling with them, which was... good. Very good. She'd been worried that he would deliver the message and then leave, after they'd only just met.


Kamiya seemed to be in a hurry to get to Yon-jū Banme. It seemed a bit early to head out, but it wasn't like Vix was going to get any more sleep anyway, as she was on watch and honestly she hadn't felt tired at all after Kanjuro had arrived. It didn't take her long to pack up her things in preparation of an early exodus.

As the others finalize their preparations, Vix returns to the fire ring and sits down next to Kanjuro, her hand brushing his. She begins to ask him questions, and if unhindered then the questions will continue as the party begins walking towards Hanashischū Grove. She seems to be one very curious pup - especially in all things related to Kanjuro.

 

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Last edited by anamiac; Oct 13th, 2022 at 01:25 PM.
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Old Oct 14th, 2022, 05:59 AM
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RinkaRinka chomped on the steaming hot ginger, calmly watching as Kamiya hastily packed her things. The new addition of this pesky fox-boy had certainly brought lots of busy-busy. Where were they going at this hour? The night is rife with shadows, surely it would be less Death-Wishy to travel during the day?

“Yon-ju Banme is a Lady.” Rinka muttered. Offering the fox-boy Kanjuro a ginger-stick, her eye glittered playful and mean, daring him to take it. “Big important Lady. Big beauty. Big job to do here in Sukochi. Hitoshi wants her to kill the sickness. Save the Land. One of those.”

How could she forget about Yon-ju Banme? For a season, the minx was all Tetsuo could think about. He fancied her, occasionally crossing paths with the Druidess at Court. During the day, he toiled alongside the rest of the Onmyouji, trying to learn more about the Mists of Akuma. At night, he was the vengeful Boss of the deadly Sei. Stretched thin across a double life, Rinka resented Yon-Ju for distracting Boss from his glorious destiny—even if it was for a split second.

Turning her attention to Vix, the Kitsune seemed to be bristling with questions. Rinka had one of her own.

Was it you peeping at me, Foxy? Strange question, oh yes. Rinka loved vague questions. Kanjuro’s
Dice Insight:
1d20+3 (11)+3 Total = 14
reaction might reveal something juicy. Narrowly missing a kunai to the face should certainly be the highlight of his day.


ActionAction: Insight vs Peeping Tom question


 
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Last edited by DaniLore; Oct 15th, 2022 at 06:23 AM.
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Old Oct 15th, 2022, 09:10 AM
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The Journey Begins
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Truth be told, Kanjuro did not know what to make of this very eclectic group. His eyebrow raised slightly askance at the monk who was seeming to spend more time than was healthy stuck inside the thin web that surrounded most of the perimeter of the camp. For his part, he was content to let the other guide him through the seemingly more-dangerous-than-it-looked contraption. If there were dangerous predators around then they would surely have already been alerted to the presence of the campsite and the group through the sounds that were coming from it.

Indeed, the pair of glittering eyes watching the group from the shadows gleamed with interest at the events unfolding.

No more was said from the silent monk though, and as he came into the main campsite area, his attention was drawn to the human-shaped pile of leaves with a foot sticking out from them who had revealed themselves to be a young lady of petite size. She couldn't have been any older than him, but there was a certain....unstableness that radiated outwards from her and that was not caused solely by the eyepatch she had over one eye. The way she spoke confirmed her undoubted oddness as she introduced herself with the mannerism of one who was more used to chopping people up into tiny pieces than speaking to them.

Kanjuro did not really have the time to comment on the other oddness that was in the camp, an inert automaton of the sort that he had never really seen before that was standing there motionless, before a survival role is fine @DaniLorecampfire was up and crackling as a result of the tiny, savage woman's efforts.

“Was it you peeping at me, Foxy?” she asked, and Kanjuro almost visibly jumped at the question.

"Me? No. I wasn't watching you or the camp outside of following your trail," he you believe he is telling the truthresponded in earnest

It was about that same time, the same time that a strange, pale fellow with white hair proclaimed that he was going to go out scouting and left without a word, that Kanjuro realised how obnoxiously chill it was that night. It wasn't something that he tended to notice when he traversed the wildlands of the Sukochi Prefecture as a fox. Being a fox was just so much more superior in so many ways. He could travel unnoticed for a lot of the time, able to conceal his presence and walk silently as he chose. Yet, more practical still, his fox's fur protected him from the coolness in the air in a way that his human form could not. Rubbing his arms slightly from the cold, he moved over and sat next to the campfire, holding his hands out to take in the warmth from the fire. He only looked up slightly as Kamiya conjured up a small flickering blue fire from her hands to read the parchment he had given the group. That was a trick he had seen Yon-jū do as well on the odd occasion, and although he longed to have such mastery of the magical arts, that in itself was something that he lacked the ability to do.

Before long, someone (Kanjuro did not notice who), deposited a plate of steaming ginger in front of him. The smell was delightful, and Kanjuro reached out to take one of them. Taking in the delightful aroma, he munched on one of them almost absent-mindedly, lost in his thoughts somewhat.

It was only when he became aware of another presence near to him, and the sensation of a hand briefly brushing against his own that Kanjuro looked up to see Vix sitting next to him. Almost reflexively, he averted his eyes briefly before they flickered back to meet her own. Night was clearing now, and the morning began to permeate the sky above, banishing the pall of the night back to the abyss from whence it came. He smiled at her wordlessly, my but the other kitsune was a curious one. Turning his gaze away for a second, Kanjuro's eyes took in the sights around him.

The grasslands rolling into the distance as far as the eye could see, punctuated only by the trees of the forest on one side. It was strange really. On the surface, Sukochi was a very beautiful prefecture, with seemingly unspoiled countryside giving it a pastoral, rural feeling of peace and tranquility.

It was only when one looked beyond the surface that they would come to see the rot and decay that lay at the heart of the emerald illusion of beauty that manifested itself here.

With a small sigh, Kanjuro finished off the gingers and rose, holding out his hand to help Vix stand as he spoke.

"If it wasn't for Yon-jū, our lands would already be dead," he began, gesturing around him. "She was worked tirelessly to do what she can to stem the disease that spreads around us. Between you and me," Kanjuro leaned in almost conspiratorially as he whispered to Vix, "She can be a bit of a grump on occasion, and she's not the most patient person in the world, but I like working for her."

His lips brushed her ear as he whispered before leaning back out. "If nothing else, then I'm doing what I can to help. I perform errands as and when she needs them. I...." and he hesitated slightly here before he continued. "....help her fight the creatures that sometimes come spilling out from the forest."

Swallowing slightly, he glanced over to the shadowy woodlands not so far removed from where they were.

Soon the group, with Yue scouting ahead, were away. Their belongings gathered and packed, the campfire was extinguished. Kanjuro led the way, moving away from the forest and over the rolling grasslands.

"Soon we will need to cross the Kōsatsu Bridge," he said, looking back to the others as he walked. "Some find the rope bridge over the gorge dangerous, especially in high winds. But I feel we will be alright, the weather is mild enough to make the crossing safely,"

The weather had worsened since the day before, even with the sun shining in the sky. The temperature had dropped quite considerably, and Kanjuro found himself shivering slightly from the chill hanging in the air before he fell back to walk alongside Vix.

He swallowed, almost as if remembering particularly painful memories.

"The War of Kaiyo was a terrible time for us all. It cost me....us, everything we had. I only have one tail, as you will have seen."

Closing his eyes, Kanjuro hesitated before continuing, the seconds drifting upwards to disappear forever into the ether.

"When the War began, Lord Huang beseeched the nature spirits for aid. They responded by compelling kitsune across the land of Soburin to come to Sukochi's aid. I was one of those kitsune. I come originally from the lands of the Kirai, but I have not seen them for a long time now. I do not know what became of my parents, I guess that in the end I put my duty and debt to the land in front of everything that I knew and my familial ties, but I'd like to go back one day. I can only assume that both you and Kamiya were both lucky enough to avoid the compulsion," his eyes flickered over to Vix's companion.

"For all our abilities though, we could not stand against the airships of the Ceramians nor the lightning they brought with them. I would have been one of those casualties if not for Yon-jū. She brought me back from the edge of the precipice, and for the last two years I have willingly aided her in her efforts to save the land. The War cost us more than lives though. I felt it, and so did the last few remaining kitsune who survived the Ceramians subjugation. It damaged nature itself, something that we knew when our tails began to fall off. The aftermath is what you are seeing and feeling right now. It manifests itself in the disease and the rot you see spreading and although Yon-jū has hampered its spread, she cannot stop it. Not truly."

Kanjuro shook his head as his words tailed off, remembering horrors that he had tried to push back down in the intervening years since the war's end, seeing unspeakable sights that only war could bring with it.

"There are so few of us remaining now, and those who do like to hide themselves away. And although we of the town of Shibai have avoided the worst of the evil mist that stalks this land, something has changed recently, and that is why I think Yon-jū is looking for aid.
The mists have begun to threaten us and we do not know what to do to combat it."


He sighed sadly before looking across at the pretty kitsune.

"Having a partner, its not something I've ever really thought about before. My duties with Yon-jū don't forbid it as such, but in all honesty I can't say its something I've...." Kanjuro swallowed again and his cheeks reddened as he glanced over to Vix again.

"I think....one day, I'd like that....." swallowing again, whatever Kanjuro was about to say was lost in his throat as he looked ahead wordlessly, lost to his thoughts.

Cresting over a rise, the bridge came into view below, framed on either side by trees in the distance.

The wind suddenly seemed to pick up and a strange feeling settled in the air. An aura, if you will, as the ancient rope bridge came fully into sight where the land split into two almost as if a mighty titan walked through these lands, dragging its axe behind it as it cleaved the earth where it walked. Where the land split, a gorge plummeted downwards an unspeakable distance, ending in a raging river far far below.

The structure swayed from the tumultuous air currents. Looking onwards to the woods on the other side, it seemed as though the shadows of its trees were just a touch darker than they should be.

"The Kōsatsu Bridge," Kanjuro gestured towards the rickety looking rope bridge. "We should cross single file across the bridge, and be careful."

As he went to put his first step on the bridge, he stopped. Glancing backwards in alarm, he suddenly exclaimed.

"Wait, your friend. The pale one. He said he was going to scout ahead. Where is he?"

~~

Meanwhile, back at the remnants of the camp, a dark figure separated itself from the shadows from where it had been watching quietly. Approaching the burned out cinders of the campfire, it reached down with taloned fingers.

Scooping up a handful of dust, it watched impassively as the ash fell through its fingers, drifting away on the breeze.

The corners of its mouth turned upwards in a cruel smile as it turned its head in the direction that the group had left in.

Then, it followed them.


 

Last edited by Ballingray; Oct 20th, 2022 at 06:39 AM.
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 10:46 AM
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Yasuraka Toreeru
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"Ginger!" - She finally struck...

The monk's belly staggered a little, then voiced a muffled groan. ...Who eats ginger on empty?!

He had pushed food and hunger out of his mind - and they found a way to return... hiding behind that nagging question, now. He... must have been still sleepy, Torēru frowned.

Around, darkness had grown weak, hanging about like a cold, moist rag, trembling almost. It seemed it would break apart soon... he thought, and leaned some of his will ‘gainst the feeling.

"But..." he sensed, hold of himself retaken - not too much, here. The spirit's guidance - a moment's shadow cross his awareness, drew to itself the words, the meanings: Goodberries, he realized - to pray for them, he can't be too strong...

From nearby, the sound of popping wood bits called him out of his introspection.

A few of the others stood by the fire, taking their fill of warmth, and Torēru felt the nudge to go there and share in the common blessing. He started walking towards them, but with slow steps, and somewhat awkwardly stopped at some distance from everyone - akin Mascarade, who was likely a stranger to heat's comfort...

Spotting him, Rinka turned and casually passed one of the grilled food on skeweryakitori. It took a few seconds to reach for it... How odd, he thought. The ginger had already hit him, and now the offer seemed just the kind, friendly gesture that fit the camp setting. Briefly, the eye patch looked like it could hide a wink...

"...Dōmo ...thank you for the food invited toItadakimasu" he muttered, bowing a couple times, and took the skewer. Redrawing to his side spot then, he stuck it in his male belt worn over the kimonoshita-obi. He might use some of it later, he figured, to give his brain a spicy boost.

With those thoughts, suddenly, mixed itself also the recollection that she had touched tree sickness that night. Yet he did not let it spoil the moment - blurry as his trust could be. And when the first haze of dawn turned into thin white arch, his face echoed a smile - as if all dangerous things had been left behind, in the darkness.
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By then, the others had finished packing and were readying for the trip ahead. Torēru let his eyes soak in the morning's light and colors for a while, thanking in his heart for their grace. Then, peaceful, he looked in the backpack for his leaves, and picked out a spring of mistletoeyadorigi. Standing up, he pointed it at the sun - as if an inkpot, and slowly began drawing in the air, chanting softly: "(roughly: ) GoodberriesI-i / Ko-no-mi..."

Once done, he bowed, giving thanks again. Then, with faith, but also with humbleness - as the spell-prayer might not have been answered, he opened his other hand. Goodberry cast (Fates page 1, post 12)Nine tiny beads, red and fresh with dew shined in his palm. "How good!" he thought, and turned to look at the others - Whenever meeting eyes, nodding and smiling meekly.

And to inspire confidence in the magic, he forwent politeness and ate first a fruit. It felt... as if, inside, nature awakened to morning a second time.

The remaining berries, he placed in the small container worn at the beltinrō at his belt. Not to hinder others with his offer, he'll let them ask for the promised balm when they choose to.

And with this social distance considered, Torēru also became particularly aware of the cold. It seemed to have grown with the morning, instead of remaining a thing of the past night. As if... it was about to leave in the same direction, with them. 'twas then when Yue announced he'll go ahead, to scout.

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Soon after, the party began moving towards the bridge Kanjuro spoke of. "A rope bridge. That might swing..." His eyes went towards Mascarade while he tried to picture the group crossing, in his mind.

Walking, the Monk remained a few yards behind the main group. It was not so on purpose, although he knew the position allowed him a moment or two to assess a threat in their front, before acting. And he did enjoy his private space. But, mainly, that was the distance where he reached balance between following his own, comfortable rhythm and the care to not lag behind.

And from there he could still hear much of what was discussed.

That the great war had caused the land's plague was an opinion he had found with others, in the past. Yet the fox-man spoke with conviction - and it was reasonable to assume it was the opinion of his master, the venerable Yon-jū. That this Hengeyokai participated in the war, he could not have guessed - and Torēru wondered then for the first time what age Kanjuro might be.

But the piece of news of most interest and, sadly, one he hoped to hear the reverse of, was that these people had no cure, no true cure for the Mists... Still, he thought, we have not been summoned without a reason. And at least we'll do a better job of what fate throws at us if we coordinate our efforts with local support.

Little by little, they reached the point where the sight of the bridge and of the gap it spanned opened before them.
right-aligned image


The place... seemed possessed. Its breath - the wind scorning, malicious, mocking, challenging them. It's eyes, filled with hate - the darkness on the other side. Its jaws, open, hungry for their lives - the empty space below and above the rope...

He pressed both feet firmly into the ground and clutched his quarterstaff, staring forward. The call about their team mate's disappearance then came, sounding like confirmation - The place was evil. An evil they might not be able to fight against...

"Guest right" / "Peace" / "Keep us safe"!

Inside, he started. Kamiya's voice, suddenly, unexpectedly, sounded out of his memory. And he... felt different, safe.

"...Spirit?" he thought - guessing. The answer came - warmth growing on his shoulder, like a hand meant to comfort. And guide - bringing him back to a self-less place, and reminding: He was not alone. He... can trust the others.

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Last edited by writelite; Oct 20th, 2022 at 06:57 AM. Reason: updated bridge drawing
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  #27  
Old Oct 18th, 2022, 01:22 PM
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She had to admit that the new Kitsune was cute, but he wasn't her type. Vix was much closer though it seemed to Kamiya that the vibrant red-haired woman was somewhat more inclined towards the pretty boy. She wasn't entirely sure though as despite the bit of time she'd spent with these companions she still had yet to truly know them all well. She hoped that this journey might bring them to a better bond even as they brought peace to this blighted region.

She took the offered berry from Yasuraka giving him a small bow in return, "My thanks for the repast." She popped the berry into her mouth and enjoyed the delicious flavor before moving onwards with the group. When they reached the bridge, she held up a hand, "Wait please, this bridge feels strange, and I wonder if there may be bad spirits here. Please allow me to determine just how cautious we should be."

She knelt before the bridge and whispered to her spirit even as she pulled three coins from a pouch. I Ching coinsThese coins have symbols on the front and back in four directions. She closes her hands over the coins, whispers another prayer to the spirit of the bridge, then tosses the coins, picks them up and tosses them twice more. When she is done, she tells the group what her augury has foretold.

She stands and bows to the bridge again, "Thank you for your wisdom kami of the bridge." She then looks to her companions "Weal and Woe, best to take care so be prepared with ranged weapons and spells, but with such care we should be okay. May I suggest our melee fighters go first?"


 


 

Last edited by Ysolde; Oct 19th, 2022 at 12:14 PM.
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Old Oct 20th, 2022, 06:32 AM
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RinkaFixing a narrowed eye at the Kitsune, weighing his words...in the end, Rinka could not sense a sliver of deceit within Kanjuro—perhaps he was a masterful liar? The way it came out, a stream of words spilling from his mouth akin to drool from a lobotomized monkey, was a tinge suspect, yes, but her gut garbled otherwise.

Shrugging, Rinka turned away and used the skewer as a toothpick, gnawing on it as she listened to their guest’s idle conversation by the fire.

Seeing as everyone wished to make for the suicidal trek in pitch darkness, Rinka hurriedly stashed what was left of her wild ginger yakitori, as she too wished to live fast and dangerously. Grimacing as a child would faced with the monumental task of having to clean up after herself, without complaint Rinka broke down what she had recently built with the fervency of a furious spider. This time she may have caught the silly priest in her web, but NEXT time…next time she will lay an intricate trap worthy of tangling evil-eye shadows!

However, Rinka soon marveled at the fact that Toreeru could magically summon juicy berries. With such an ability, surely one could feed an army, and then…conquer the world! “Me too! Me too please!” surely the snack was poisonous, as the bright red color of the berries resembled those in the wild laced with cyanide. Rinka was pretty sure she could stomach it without incident. Surely, if she ate from the priest’s hand, he will view her as no threat. Plucking up berries that were offered. One by one, Rinka threw them up into the air as they walked and caught them inside her mouth on their downward spiral. “Yum! Arigato Gozaimasu!”

There was a purpose to this frivolry. As she clapped a gesture of thanks to the heavens, Rinka again listened to the idle chat between Kanjuro and Vix. Apparently, they were heading toward the deathtrap known as Kōsatsu Bridge. The culling of the group would soon begin. How ingenious, allowing gravity to do the dirty work. She would have to add that to her book of tactics. Continuing on in silence as Kanjuro then recounted his experience of War and what sounded like a noncommittal confession of love, Rinka scrunched her nose, finding their kitsune bonding ritual to be tedious indeed.

Once they reached Kōsatsu Bridge, Kamiya wasted no time divining their fates with odd coins. Weal or Woe? Neither choice felt particularly right. Why should they risk falling to their deaths for Yon-Jue of all people? A thought popped into the shinobi’s head. A test.

“Fox-boy Kanjuro, this path is known by you, yes?” Rinka pondered, lifting a smirk. Crossing her arms, she followed it up with a suggestion. “You go first. Show us the right steps, lest we go SPLAT on rocks below.”

Who better to learn from, than one who was already familiar with the bridge and its weaknesses?


ActionAction:
Dice Persuasion:
1d20+4 (18)+4 Total = 22
Persuasion vs Kanjuro and
Dice Perception:
1d20+6 (19)+6 Total = 25
Perception vs Surroundings

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Old Oct 20th, 2022, 07:02 AM
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Evil-Eye ShadowsNo sooner had she said this, perception resultssomething caught Rinka's lone eye--sharper than any knife. Snatching Kanjuro by the arm, the girl's carefree demeanor instantly changed to that of intense focus. Rinka relayed the truth on a hissed whisper loud enough for the group to hear "Don't look. Many uglies coming fast. Six in bushes. evil-eyes in trees." She didn't know what they were, appearing as little more than bleary shapes that lurked in the surrounding shadows. When she gazed at Kanjuro, he needed to understand that she meant every word when challenging him just now. It's bad enough they've allowed themselves to be ambushed. Crossing this bridge blindly will be nothing short of a death sentence.
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Old Oct 20th, 2022, 04:38 PM
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Vix Lockhardt
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Vix eats the offered goodberry without thanking Yasuraka because she's inconsiderate like that. Or perhaps it's because she could make her own goodberries if she really needed to and the magic fails to impress her.

Taking the lead, Vix continues to fawn over Kanjura as they walk together. "The war was a indeed terrible time for everyone. How did you loose your tail? Are you saying it just fell off and you weren't injured in battle?" Vix was disappointed. She'd always loved a good battle injury story.

Vix is silent for a while as she thinks about the war. It seemed wrong that the kitsune here had had to be compelled to fight by the spirits. She'd never really considered not fighting, but she would have hated being forced to fight just as much. "I never felt the call of the nature spirits, the compulsion you speak of. When the rebellion began I was living in Nagabuki. All of Ikari was a clamor for freedom and revenge and I have never been one to stand by and let others sacrifice for my future. But they wouldn't let me enlist - the Enjin didn't understand how quickly kitsune age and saw me as a kid because of my low number of years. It didn't help that I was so much shorter and smaller than them. They only allowed me to heal soldiers at first, but near the end of the war I was allowed to serve as a battle runner for The Enjin GeneralGeneral Yoon - running messages and orders between him and his captains. I would have liked to stay in the army, but I had an accident, and then the war got over."

Apparently, Yon-jū expected them to solve the issue with the mists. Suddenly, Vix felt small. How did you fight something intangible? She couldn't bite mist. She couldn't roar or bark at it to scare it away. She was a hammer, and the mist wasn't a nail. How ever would they solve this?

Quote:
"Having a partner, its not something I've ever really thought about before. My duties with Yon-jū don't forbid it as such, but in all honesty I can't say its something I've...." Kanjuro swallowed again and his cheeks reddened as he glanced over to Vix again.
"I think....one day, I'd like that....." swallowing again, whatever Kanjuro was about to say was lost in his throat as he looked ahead wordlessly, lost to his thoughts.
Vix looks at him, her brows furrowed. "One day?" What is that supposed to mean? "Spirits alive man! You've seen a lot of people die. I've seen a lot of people die. Who know how long before our luck runs out too? As General Yoon said before the This would be a more convincing example if only the battle of Kisserne had been a decisive victory.battle of Kisserne: If we postpone our attack until its perfect, we'll still be waiting when we're dead!" Just her luck. After years of famine amongst the apes, she finally finds a nice, handsome boy and he up and declares he intends to be celibate until he's sixty! Monks! Would all the guys at Hanashischū Grove be this tentative?

As they approach the bridge, they discover that Yue had not stopped at the bridge for them. With a sniff of her nose, she can tell that he's already crossed. "Yue is across the bridge already. Why didn't he wait for us?"

But before she can start after him, Rinka announces the imminent arrival of hostiles. "They must be fools!" She acknowledges. If the bastards had merely waited another minute, the party would be in the middle of the bridge, and all they would need to do would be to cut the rope on their side to see the party splattered to death. Or if they'd been really smart they'd Hopefully, there weren't any there too or else Yue could be in trouble.wait on the far side. Instead, there would be a vicious fight for the bridgehead on this side. Perking up, Vix anticipates the battle ahead. Unlike the mists, this was something she could resolve with maw, paw and claw.
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