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Unread 13th of September, 2011, 22:25
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[One] Hours Lost (Masahiro, Kizuato)


He stirred, and yet had no memory of it. The futon beneath him might have been as hard as stone or as soft as Benten's embrace and yet he would never have known the difference. He toiled alone, ignorant of the world around him, tossing this way and that, his body never knowing peace.

To all the world his thrashing might have been startling and terrifying, but those gathered at his side professed excitement and joy. The oldest among them edged forwards on her knees, and placed wisened hands upon his brow; she frowned, and then turned her gaze upon those that flanked her, wide-eyed and eager. "Go. Tell Chiyoko-dono that her son wakes. Go!" Startled out of her reverie by the sharpness of the order, the youngest witness bowed and stole from the room, her footsteps made clumsy by her enthusiasm.

The old woman returned her focus to the man at her fore, her palm still pressed dutifully to his damp temple. "Come back to us, child," she whispered soothingly. "Come on back..."



Despite the circumstances of his visit, Mirumoto Masahiro could not help but be taken with curiosity as was guided through the lands of the Mantis Clan. He had never set foot upon the Islands of Silk and Spice before, and his warden -- a middle-aged Mantis whose face was rounded and laugh was loud -- took obvious enjoyment from the look of wonder upon the visiting samurai's face.

"A finer scene is near-impossible to find," the older warrior boasted, "even at the heart of the mainland." A biased request to be sure, but it was not without some measure of truth: the numerous bays and peninsulas that occupied the perfect, pure white shorelines, and which were used with cunning by the Great Clan, were impossible to dismiss; and beyond the shore lay vast, verdant mountains, whose peaks rose high out of the hearts of expansive, dark green tropical rain forests. The weather was hot and humid, even upon this, the 25th Day of the Month of the Dog, but the Island's occupants seemed not to care. A few children could be seen brandishing sticks, testing one another's finesse or else partaking of the succulent juices of the Island's coconuts ("You won't find them anywhere but here," said his guide).

It had not escaped Masahiro's notice that the Mantis samurai's behaviour towards him possessed less of a formal tone than it otherwise should have; but he was ronin, at least for now, and such a lack of proper respect was to be expected and accepted. To that end he bore his guide's eager boasting in stride, and followed him away from the swaying ships and into the small town's heart.

The journey to the house of the late Tsuruchi Ichouro was a short one, but it nevertheless afforded Masahiro ample opportunity to observe and admire. Peasants bowed low to his guide as the couple wandered by, and he smiled with open, good humour to some, whilst nodding to others. After a time he directed the Dragon towards the Tsuruchi household, where they announced themselves to the gateman, who bowed low and then hurried off to relay their business to his mistress, Tsuruchi Chiyoko.

Their wait was a short one, and before long Masahiro was being led into the house by a servant girl, who looked to be barely older than twelve. The guide remained outside, taking his leave with a loud farewell and hearty laugh. The servant did not speak, but instead led the bushi through delicate, but deliberate, hand gestures. At their destination, the girl dropped to her knees, bowed, and became still.

Tsuruchi Chiyoko waited within, a formidable woman with an equally powerful bearing. She was pretty, or might once have been, and her clothes were elegant without being daring. Her hair, cut short at the shoulder, betrayed her mourning heart; but her eyes were sparkling with some inner mirth, and her lips twitched very slightly, hinting that she was of good humour. She acknowledged his bow with one of her own, and then sent away the silent maid, telling her to return with cha. This she did with silent obedience, leaving the two warriors alone.

"They tell me that you are on a musha shugyo, that you are of the Dragon Clan?" Masahiro answered in the affirmative, and the Mantis samurai stated further, "They also tell me that you and my son are friends, of a sort, and that you came here seeking news of his condition. I thank you for your concern, and am pleased to announce that he has woken finally."

Chiyoko smiled slightly, a warm and maternal expression, but it faded quickly. "His scars will not fade, but he is alive. For this I am grateful." The woman paused then, accepting the cha that was carried into the room by the silent servant girl. A cup was offered to Masahiro, and time was given for him to finish it in peace; then Chiyoko spoke again. "He is resting now, but you are welcome to remain here as my guest until he is ready to receive you."


The blow came suddenly, heavy and yet swift, catching him about the temple and dropping him to the damp, sand-strewn ground. His vision blurred from the impact, but he could hear his assailant clearly, breathing heavily over the roar of the wind and the splatter of light rain.

He rolled to one side, and tried to return to his feet. But as his hands snatched for the yumi straddling his side, his aggressor charged him, catching him about the waist with such force that they were both carried over the edge of the mound. They rolled to the bottom, limbs entwined, their yells muffled by sand and clothing and fists.

As the world stopped spinning, the Mantis samurai tried to gather his wits, but his assailant remained the faster of the two. Dressed in simple robes, his features hidden behind a plain mempo, the attacker drove his fists down upon the Mantis' face, breaking his nose and fracturing his jaw. The Mantis' cry escalated as his foe brought to bear a knife, which he slashed down across his victim's features, marring them mere moments before he pressed down with something hot, something burning.

The Mantis scout screamed in pain and fury, and threw his hips skywards, catapulting his attacker away from him. Fueled by pain and anger, the Mantis snatched an arrow from his quiver and drove it upwards into his attacker's chin, spearing his jaw closed and dropping him in an clustered heap to the sandy beach of the mainland.

Pain robbed the Mantis of any sense of victory, and his blurred and bloody vision, mixed with the swaying of his shaking legs, made it hard for him to focus upon anything but the light from the ships that littered the docks far ahead.

A shaking hand touched itself to his obi, and to the scroll that lay hidden within. He couldn't, wouldn't, fail. He staggered towards the light, focusing exclusively upon it as the world around him became dark and silent; a cry from far made clear the fact that his approach had been noticed, and that the crew were coming his way.

He felt their hands upon him, heard their urgent questions and concerns, but it was already too late. Unconsciousness came for him then, and though he fought it, he found himself unable to resist.



Tsuruchi Kizuato opened his eyes, and tried to breathe easy, his mind still racing with images of the attack, and with the knowledge of all that he had been told since waking: his sister was dead, the child in her womb never drawing air or birthing it's first cry; his nephew had been killed in a dual, the cause of which he had yet to be told; his face was marred and ruined, evidence of a mysterious attempt on his life that he, even now, shivered to recall.

The wind touched his face, and he turned eagerly towards its cooling touch. Auntie had moved him to the chamber overlooking the beach and the sweeping waves, and he found the sight relaxing. He could see the various Clan ships moored in the bay, their crews wandering here and there, and knew instantly their mood: the storm, of which he had been briefed, had driven a small number of their ships back home, a shameful precaution that many of the men were still angry about. Still, at least they were alive, and were soon to be setting sail for the vast oceans once more.

"Be sure you don't catch a chill there," warned Auntie, sweeping into the room like a force of nature. Kizuato glanced back at her, watching her movements carefully. She wasn't really his aunt, nor was she related to him: she was, in fact, a servant of the family, but having cared for not only Kizuato as a child but also his father, she was accorded no small degree of respect and warmth, and the name was given as a term of endearment. She was old but ruthless, caring but strict.

"You have a visitor -- one Mirumoto Masahiro, welcomed here by your mother. If you're well enough to receive him, I'll fetch him now." Kizuato blinked, momentary taken aback, but gave his consent to the meeting. Auntie left, returning moments later with the Mirumoto bushi, to whom she bowed deeply before vanishing, leaving the two samurai alone to talk.



Okay, I've paused here in order to give you both a chance to introduce your characters, and establish their relationship and personalities. Haraphen, you've also the chance to go into detail about the attack on your character's life and the mission that caused it; Cheveyo, you should feel free to add some detail about your journeys thus far, and about how you came to hear of Kizuato's condition.

Some basic notes:
Kizuato was brought back to the Islands of Silk and Spice just under a month ago. He has, since then, remained unconscious.

As of your meeting together, the date of the game is the 26th Day of the Month of the Dog. You and the other players are now on the same timeline, even if you are not in the same location.

I left the exact location of your current meeting deliberately vague, since I am uncertain as to where Kizuato and his family would have been located. I shall leave such details up to you both for now.
If there are any questions, go ahead and ask them in the Player's Forum (OOC) thread. Otherwise, take this opportunity to engage in some role-play.

Last edited by Copper; 13th of September, 2011 at 23:07.
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  #2  
Unread 15th of September, 2011, 05:05
Haraphen
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Kizuato sat outside his room on the wooden floor one leg tucked underneath him and the other hanging of the edge of the balcony as he watch ships in the distance. He had only been conscious a few weeks now, mobile a few days and even then his mother had insisted he not exert himself too much. His leg swayed slightly in the salty breeze and he allowed himself to indulge in a euphoric smile as he brushed unconscious fingers across his jawline and over his lips. Then stopped, his reverie broken by unnatural ridges and patches of skin that were too smooth. His family all had had a month to grow accustom to his new appearance. For Kizuato it felt as tender as if he flesh was only just parted. He shook of the lethargy and reached into his kimono for his pipe he had stashed inside and began to turn it in his hands. But distraction from his scars meant free time to think of his sister smile he would not see and the unborn child he’d never get to hold. He gave a thought to his nephew too who died honourably but was gone none the less.

He was awoken from his thoughts by foot prints on the wooden floor. Kizuato let out a mocking chuckle “Funny I was expecting a ronin.” He eased himself up and turned to Masahiro
“But i hear the walk of a dragon” He bowed and when he returned up right he smiled tho his ruined face did little to portray it. “How are you brother?”
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Unread 20th of September, 2011, 20:38
Cheveyo
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Masahiro returned Auntie's bow, then turned and bowed to Kizuato, coming up smiling.

"Nothing gets past you, eh, brother?" Brother had always looked a lot like sister, Masahiro thought. Not so much now. His eyes studied Kizuato's face for a second, and then he smiled again. "I think it's an improvement. Apparently women love battle scars. They'll love it more than your old face, anyway."

He looked out over the balcony, across the town and the ships in the harbour. He knew it would drive a sword through his heart to do so, but he needed to broach the subject. Better the plough straight ahead. The way of the samurai is one of immediacy. He didn't turn back to face his brother-in-law. "Chiyo is dead." The pain hit him in a wave, though he did not show it, except for perhaps a slight tightening of his expression. Part of his mind was flooded with thoughts of her and of his loss, and it took a considerable portion of his focus to try and stop them from breaking through and sweeping away the rest of his thoughts entirely.

((All Masahiro's TNs +5 until a Void Point is spent due to Lost Love))
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Unread 20th of September, 2011, 21:33
Haraphen
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He said it. Kizuato had laughed at first at his brother-in-laws jibe but then he’d brought up Chiyo. Someone had too. Some part of Kizuato had hoped it was all just a bad dream but of of coarse it wasn't. Life is suffering. “Part of me had hoped...had wished her death was you’re fault. So i had someone to blame. Some target for vengeance...but there isn't she’s just..gone.” Kizuato raised his pipe to his mouth and chewed on the end or a few silent seconds. Then seemingly shrugging of the melancholy spoke up in a more upbeat tone. “And how are my nieces? I haven't seen them in a long time.”
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Unread 20th of September, 2011, 21:52
Cheveyo
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Masahiro grunted at Kizuato's words.

"I had searched for a way for it to be my fault, also. But those with such knowledge tell me there is nothing that could have been done. It is little comfort." He walked onto the balcony, took out his pipe, and lit it, offering to light his brother-in-law's. "The girls are well, they are staying with their uncle Ichiro." He blew out a stream of smoke and looked sidelong at Kizuato. "I wish I could say that Chiyo was resting peacefully, but it would be a falsehood. She visits me sometimes. Her ghost." In fact, she had not visited in a little while. She was overdue, as far as such things went. Though part of his thoughts lingered on his wife, Masahiro recognised that it would not be wise to let the conversation dwell on her entirely. He looked at Kizuato fully and nodded at his injuries. "What trouble have you got yourself into this time?"
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Unread 22nd of September, 2011, 05:03
Haraphen
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Kizuato accepted the light and took a deep pull from his pipe. He let the smoke dance from his mouth like a snake as his chest warmed and a relaxing wave fell over him. “I hear spirits can be confused. To those that don’t embrace death i mean. I’m sure she just misses you as you do her. I wish i was so lucky to see her one more time.”

Masahiro looked at Kizuato fully and nodded at his injuries. "What trouble have you got yourself into this time?"

He brushed the neck of his pipe across his jaw line and smiled. “You should see the other guy. Though I’m sure his corpse has made a fine meal for some animal by now.” He tucked one arm inside his kimono and turned to his brother-in-law. “Are you staying for the bon festival? If you say no ill find a way to make you.”
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Unread 28th of September, 2011, 02:12
Cheveyo
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A low chuckle escaped Masahiro's lips as he listened to Kizuato. He always enjoyed his brother-in-law's company, and he realised that he really ought to have come earlier. Although he still felt it had been necessary, he could also not help but feel that his musha shugyo had been somewhat selfish.

"Knowing you I'm sure you fed him to one yourself." He nodded and let out a sigh at the mention of the bon festival. "Of course. She deserves nothing less. Perhaps it will help both of us find some peace. Ichiro can take care of things at home. Have preparations begun?"
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Unread 28th of September, 2011, 03:13
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Kizuato smiled when he heard his friend laugh it stretched his face into a mangled heap but his eyes warmed with his obvious pleasure. “Preparations started a little exaggerated. My family prepared for both Chiyo and I. But since then they have been a little distracted with my reawakening.” Kizuato removed his arm from his kimono to reveal a bottle he had stashed inside the contents sloshed when he shook it at Masahiro. “Now come, join me in a drink and tell me everything I've missed.”
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Unread 28th of September, 2011, 04:49
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Masahiro laughed again, loudly and openly this time, before reaching into his kimono and withdrawing a matching bottle and a sake cup. He poured them both a drink, raising his cup slightly.

"Then let us drink to a new life for both of us, from this day onwards." He emptied his cup and poured himself another without so much as pausing, then launched into the story of all that had happened in the past months.
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Unread 4th of October, 2011, 05:40
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The two friends spoke at length for the better part of the day's dwindling hours, their words owing flavour to the past and to events both current and future. Sea birds sang and the waves rocked gently against the shore and the broadsides of the moored boats, and samurai and peasant alike traversed the land, moving through the village and beyond with a haste brought on by the twilight hour.

When Auntie returned, she gathered up the utensils and gestured for Masahiro to follow her. The ronin made his farewell and then did as requested. The aging, yet formidable, woman led him further into the house, and directed him inside a small but accommodating room.

"Tsuruchi Chiyoko-sama wishes you a pleasant rest, and asks that you wait on her in the morning." Auntie bowed, not as low as she perhaps should have done, and then turned from the room, leaving the wandering warrior alone with his possessions, the flickering embers of the dying candle, and his own haunting memories.


Kizuato was roused early, and ushered from his room towards the baths. The scolding waters boiled away and lingering grasp that sleep might have had on him, and he emerged minutes later a brighter shade of crimson.

When the young Mantis stepped into the house's heart, he was welcomed by Chiyoko and by Masahiro, who was sitting with a soft smile at her fore. When Kizuato had bowed to his mother, she spoke, saying, "Tsuruchi Ichigo is on his way to speak with you." Kizuato became still, and Masahiro raised a brow: Ichigo was the family daimyo; that he was travelling to their town personally was a surprising honour.

"Auntie is making preparations for his arrival. In the meantime you are to make yourself presentable, and gather your recollections about what happened. I'm certain that he will ask you about your journey."

At that moment, Chiyoko's newest servant, a boy called Daichii, crept forwards on his knees, his movements made awkward by his nervousness, and placed a small, handsome box before his mistress. Chiyoko nodded for Daichii to retreat from the room, and then she gently slid the box towards her son without opening it. "I have kept this safe for you. No doubt our lord will expect you to present it to him personally."

The young Mantis nodded, and lifted the box with strong fingers. He knew what lay inside: it was the very thing that he had nearly lost his life for, the article that had cost him his face's once sharp features.

He exhaled, and glanced towards his friend, who said nothing in return.


Tsuruchi Ichigo, the master of that selfsame family, was not greatly known for his patience. He had ridden with great speed to Chiyoko's household and had turned down his host's offers of tea and appeasement. Instead he sent for Kizuato, who was instructed to attend his lord in the house's most resplendent room.

"And send for Mirumoto Masahiro," the Mantis lord said to the surprise of those about him. He gave no reason for his demand, and no-one dared to question it; the Dragon was sent for immediately.

The room in which the family lord waited was considerably larger than any other room in the house. It had once been the room in which Kizuato's father had written and recited his various haikus, having been a great lover of the arts. The chamber had acted as a muse for his surging mind, helping to give his thoughts form and help them find expression.

Now it was largely bare, though it still held an air of elegance that made it deeply attractive and almost serene.

Ichigo waited for the two samurai to enter and bow before he waved for them to sit up. He considered both for a moment, examining the wounds done to the younger Mantis' face carefully before he began speaking. "Do you have it?" he said directly. Kizuato bowed and shuffled forwards, placing the box at his lord's knee. Ichigo touched the wooden surface gently, plied the lid open, and peered inside.

"I am pleased, Tsuruchi Kizuato: you have done well." He closed the lid of the box with a solid 'snap', and then turned his gaze directly upon his Clansman. "Tell me everything that happened, from when you left here to when you returned. Leave out no detail, no matter how minor you think it to be."



Post's up. Sorry for the wait guys.

Player Response Deadline: 10-10-2011
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  #11  
Unread 10th of October, 2011, 22:50
Haraphen
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Kizuato bowed again at his daimyo’s request. “I left as soon as you had asked me to retrieve the item. I was able to get a ship to the mainland that day with a group of bushi, Shun and his companions. They had asked me what my mission was and i told them nothing more then collecting an item. There were calm sea’s which made for a swift journey. We arrived at Lonely Shore City in the late hours of the next day. I spent the night in a tavern with Shun.” A smile etched his face with the memory. “It seems he’s a father now.” His smile faded as his face returned to its calm state. “When the sun rose i bought a horse and rode out of the city. The ride was event less. I met a few traders but shared few words and even a few Mantis who i would camp with if it was late enough. I must be honest i lost track of the days. The weather began to turn as i got closer to the wall and it became harder to tell the difference between night and day. I started to get a bad feeling after this and rode none stop till i reached the fortress.” He resisted a shudder when he remembered the sight of the Fortress of the Forgotten. The bleak castle and the angry yells that came from inside were too close to a children's horror story. “When i arrived i made my presence known but didn't attempt to enter as you requested. In fact when someone finally came out to meet me he made me move further from the castle.” A fact Kizuato wouldn't admit he was keen to do. “I was handed the item by an elderly man he gave no name and made no conversation. I asked if i could rest my hoarse here and he gave me one of there's to ride back.”

Kizuato paused now and took a few controlled breaths. “From here my memories get more...hazy. Be it my injuries or the time i spent unconscious everything i remember of that time seems hazy and more akin to a dream.” ”When i began riding away from the fortress the heavens opened and a heavy rain fell. I felt i could see clear skies ahead but no matter how fast i rode i never caught up to it. The trails were empty but i felt i was being followed no matter where i went. I stayed away from villages and made camp in the wilderness but i did not sleep. The forests felt too quiet and the rain made it impossible to relax. I was a day away from Lonely Shore City when i was attacked. My assailant wore simple robes and a plain mempo and I’m ashamed to say even with my paranoia he caught me by surprise. He struck me from my horse as I tried to retaliate he tackled me. We fell off the raised path. I fought back but he was faster striking me hard then pulling a strange barbed knife, he began to cut me. I tried to gain some purchase to knock him off me. Then he burned me, I don’t know how, there was no light from a fire. I just remember him touching my face and searing pane. I was finally able to throw him off me and i stuck an arrow up threw his head.” Kivuato stopped to center himself once more then continued his story. a mild tone of anger and satisfaction rang threw his voice. He paused again breathed twice and continued. “I left the body made sure the package was safe then walked the rest of the way to Lonely Shore City. I don’t remember any more. I was told i walked all the way to the docks and asked for board home but i don’t remember that. That is all i can recall.” Kizuato gave one last slight bow then remained silent.
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