Archive for December, 2011

Taka Is Leaving Us

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

I have written before about Taka, the servant woman who works with the clan’s supplies and organization division. By her efforts, the Kokakumanzoku division has been effective, efficient and well-organized.

Also, she is a friendly presence at the castle — true, she is not from Iga Province, but she is from the nearby Kōga region. Having her around makes me feel like there is someone here who understands me.

But all good things come to an end. Taka is now leaving the clan, going to seek her fortune with a school in the capital city, one which teaches the daughters of noble families and rich merchants. I am not the only one saddened by this news; the entire division is sorry to see her go. Lord Mayoku, the noble in charge of the Kokakumanzoku division, issued a proclamation yesterday thanking her for her service, and expressing our deep regrets at her departure.

Tonight, there will be a tearful farewell enkaiA ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.

See more detailed descriptions of enkai.A ceremonial drinking party, generally organized by a company or other organization. Though an enkai is done by and for the members of a given company, it’s not held in the company offices; envision a company-sponsored pub-crawl.. I suspect many of the clan will have headaches tomorrow morning.

In Which I am Indispensable to Two Different Operations

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Clan Noriaibasha continues to move toward including ninja-tōsThe short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. It was roughly the length of a wakizashi.

The ninja-tō was also generally of inferior workmanship compared to the more expensive blades available to samurai. Even if a ninja could acquire a katana, it would be too long and unwieldy to carry on most missions; ninja generally relied on smaller weapons like the shuriken and manrikigusari, and on more deniable weapons like the kama.

“Ninja-ken” is another perfectly acceptable name for this weapon; it’s like the difference between saying “ninja blade” and “ninja sword” in English.The short sword most associated with ninjas. Note that unlike the katana and wakizashi carried by samurai, the ninja-tō was straight rather than curved. Also known as a “ninja-ken”. in its repertoire. It is still unclear if I personally will be doing much actual ninja-tō fighting any time soon… but at the very least, we are setting up a shrine to Bishamonten, so that we may ask his aid and blessing in using the Pagoda Bearer style. And I am assigned to help in this endeavor, because of my experience with the Pagoda Bearer ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts..

The Saitekika campaign is still in progress, of course, and will consume much of my time in the coming year. (That is why my involvement in the Pagoda Bearer project is not as thorough as I might otherwise like: I am too essential to the Saitekika campaign! It is good to be considered so highly.)

Slaying the Furigana Fighters

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Last week, I was in a meeting with Kento, Makishi, and Amon, discussing how we might implement some of Clan Hekoayu’s plans for the ongoing Saitekika campaign. One item is that we must secure a foothold in the town of Kyakuchū. This should be no problem, we all thought… until Kento claimed it would be nearly impossible, for a small cadre of mercenaries who call themselves the Furigana had taken it over.

We were confused. Simply a few mercenaries? Why could we not eradicate them? Kento claimed it had been tried, without success: They knew the area too well, and previous attempts had failed.

Yesterday, I paid a visit to Kyakuchū, to see if these fighters were really so fearsome. Kyakuchū is a small town, with insufficient rooftops for my usual methods, but I was able to blend into the populace in disguise, and observe the warriors who swaggered about in command of their territory.

And, whenever one became separated from his comrades for a few minutes, I found ways to sneak up behind him and slit his throat.

The first two or three were easy prey, unaware that they had anything to worry about. The final pair gave me some trouble, and I had to get a bit creative with my kamaTechnically, a kama is simply a farming tool. It’s like a sickle, or a small, one-handed scythe. Since farmers make up a huge segment of feudal Japan’s population, there’s nothing suspicious about carrying one around. And ninjas like to avoid suspicion.

If you take a chain with a weight or hook on its end and attach that to a kama, you’ve got a kusarigama… much more useful as a weapon, but also obviously a ninja weapon, instead of a farming tool.A farming tool, like a sickle or a small, one-handed scythe. Commonly used by ninjas because they arouse no suspicion — farmers are everywhere, after all. to kill the last one.

But, after that, I contacted Kento and asked him to come and verify that the town was clear. He is quite pleased with my victory; this will make things easier for us in the future.

Observing the Suraida Gang

Monday, December 12th, 2011

I am in Bumonrokaki, lurking in shadows and under porches where I can observe the Suraida gang. Their grasp of tactics is impressive, for a group that is composed of non-professional warriors. Dealing with them will not be easy.

Using rooftops to attack them by surprise form above will not work, either, because the rooftops of Bumonrokaki are not very reliable. Oh, there are a few sections of town where there are a few usable roofs. But by and large, they are either too fragile to hold a full man’s weight, or else they are too steep.

So I am getting some much-needed practice in other stealth techniques — ones I have not used in too long. Very well. It is important to keep one’s skills sharp.

More Enemies I’ll Have to Face Soon

Friday, December 9th, 2011

I wrote my last message in a hurry, and so I forgot to mention a few things.

Aside from the Suraida gang in Tōzayokinkōza, Clan Hekoayu has also described a second enemy who are active throughout the city of Bumonrokaki. This group is called the Makitomaru, and they appear to be a very skilled group of fighters. It’s not enough that I’ll have to stalk and scout the Suraida gang; I will also have to be ready to take on this Makitomaru group.

I can only hope that I do not have to engage both foes at once. As a ninja, I enjoy leading a life of danger and combat, but there are limits!

Aside from that, there is one more problem looming in my future. Near the territory of Sanigata, where Bumonrokaki and various other towns lie, there is one large city called Uchimae. In the meeting on Wednesday, Clan Hekoayu showed is their plans for capturing that city. Their strategy is a very ambitious one, and it makes all of us — Kento, Amon, Makishi, and I — rather nervous. We are not sure that it is really possible.

But it would probably involve a fair bit of rooftop fighting for me.

That part is the good news. The bad news is that it might — or might not — involve taking on the powerful crime-lord known as InjūtonoA Japanese honorific meaning “lord”; in essence, he’s calling himself “Lord Injū”. (No, this does *not* mean he’s really a daimyō!)A Japanese honorific meaning "lord"; in essence, he’s calling himself "Lord Injū".. Injū has many warriors at his disposal, and a well-fortified compound where he dwells. He also has many ruffians and informers on the street, serving as his eyes, ears, and if necessary, fists.

Stalking a Dangerous, New Gang

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

In our meeting with Clan Hekoayu yesterday, they alerted us to the presence of a gang operating within the Tōzayokinkōza district in Bumonrokaki. They are called the Suraida, and it seems they are quite crafty and dangerous. Before we can complete the Saitekika campaign, we will have to remove them.

Clan Hekoayu says their warriors can do this, easily.

Of course, it falls to me to actually make it happen on Noriaibasha’s behalf. Whatever Hekoayu claims is possible, I must provide — but not necessarily today. I have not yet been given the order to eradicate them; for now, I simply have to ensure that I could do so, if the order were given.

As soon as I have time, I must go to Bumonrokaki and do some scouting. I must observe this gang and their ways, and learn their weaknesses, and be sure that I can slay them when the time comes. But this afternoon is full of more meetings…

A Meeting Before the Meeting

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Today is quite full of meetings. In the afternoon, there is a large meeting with Clan Hekoayu to lay out our plans for the Saitekika campaign. We have found tat the priests’ and nobles’ concerns are different from the ones we warriors have, so we now — finally — have a weekly meeting that is just the warriors of Clan Noriaibasha talking with the tacticians of Hekoayu. They even bring along one of their front-line fighters, just to be sure they have someone on their side who understands what combat is like.

In the morning, Kento and I meet with Amon to discuss what we need to say to Hekoayu in the afternoon, and what we need to be sure to get from them. In essence, we are having a meeting to plan what we will do in the following planning meeting.

But it is necessary that we are sure of our strategy in dealing with Hekoayu, for otherwise, they will be at too great an advantage in our dealings.

And this is the plan for every Wednesday for the next few weeks.

Scouting in Bumonrokaki

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I have been doing more scouting in Bumonrokaki. This town will be quite complex for us to take control of. Some of the priests are trying to come up with ways to do it without involving any rooftop fighting. Though I am somewhat displeased by this idea, I am holding my tongue. It is simple: I know we will need to have me get up on the rooftops before this is over.

Bumonrokaki has a few internal districts. It is certain that we will encounter opposition in Tōzayokinkōza and in Urikakekanjō. There may be other places that will provide resistance… but I do not think so.

Not yet, anyway.

And all of this activity in Bumonrokaki is really just a dry run. These territories will serve as beachheads for the samurai troops, when they come to occupy the surrounding forests and plains as part of the Shiemesu Raisei campaign.

So… back to the city I go, with my trusty kamaTechnically, a kama is simply a farming tool. It’s like a sickle, or a small, one-handed scythe. Since farmers make up a huge segment of feudal Japan’s population, there’s nothing suspicious about carrying one around. And ninjas like to avoid suspicion.

If you take a chain with a weight or hook on its end and attach that to a kama, you’ve got a kusarigama… much more useful as a weapon, but also obviously a ninja weapon, instead of a farming tool.A farming tool, like a sickle or a small, one-handed scythe. Commonly used by ninjas because they arouse no suspicion – farmers are everywhere, after all. by my side. There are ruffians there who need to be removed.

A New Campaign and a New Style

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The Saitekika campaign is acquiring something of a “sister campaign”, called the Anshinanzen campaign. And the architects of this campaign wish to use some interesting, new city-fighting techniques.

All across Kansai, urban warriors are talking about a new fighting style called the Changing Water ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts.. It takes its name from the way water changes its form, adapting to a narrow creek as easily as a wide river, or even a lake or a bay. Like the adaptability of water, this style allows a single warrior to fight in anything from a tiny, crowded alleyway all the way to a sprawling boulevard — with nothing but a kamaTechnically, a kama is simply a farming tool. It’s like a sickle, or a small, one-handed scythe. Since farmers make up a huge segment of feudal Japan’s population, there’s nothing suspicious about carrying one around. And ninjas like to avoid suspicion.

If you take a chain with a weight or hook on its end and attach that to a kama, you’ve got a kusarigama… much more useful as a weapon, but also obviously a ninja weapon, instead of a farming tool.A farming tool, like a sickle or a small, one-handed scythe. Commonly used by ninjas because they arouse no suspicion – farmers are everywhere, after all. and bare hands! Everyone who specializes in city combat wants to learn this new style.

And the people in charge of the Anshinanzen campaign have decided that it will make great use of the Changing Water ryū. And I am to assist them with this plan!

This means that they have a high opinion of my city-fighting abilities. This is good. However, it also means that I will have to learn this style in quite a hurry! (But then… I will be an even mightier warrior.)