Posts Tagged ‘campaign: Kanezukai’

A Foul Ending to My Week

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

On Thursday afternoon, I was busy in Ichimen when I received an urgent message from one of the Nichiren priests. He and Haruna and some of the others had come across a problem in the ongoing Kanezukai campaign. I had fought in the early stages of that campaign, back in the fall. They needed my help with an enemy lurking in ancient, cramped Fujiwara-kyō. The time I had to spend on that was time I couldn’t spend in Ichimen on the Teitōken campaign.

That may be part of why I got to the castle on Friday morning to find a message from Seijun, asking: “There are still a great many Ayamari in the city walls of Ichimen. Are you having trouble? Do you require aid?”

This is not the first time he or Kento has asked me if I needed assistance with this phase of the campaign. But this time, I found that even more of them had flooded into the city since I left on Thursday night. I finally gave in and said yes, please send another ninja to help.

After a while, Kento showed up with Satonori, and instructed me to give Satonori a quick orientation in the streets and alleys of Ichimen. The rooftops are somewhat more complex terrain, so he will be handling the 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. work on the ground while I deal with the remaining chain-wielding enemies. If the situation is still dire on Monday, Kento will see if Haruna can assist us, too.

Did that resolve matters? It turns out — no, it did not.

As I was battling on the rooftops of Ichimen, a message came from Hoshiakari: The shrine of Amaterasu was under attack, yet again, by the usual oniA supernatural creature. Usually translated into English simply as “demon”, but oni combine aspects of demons and ogres. Like Western demons, they have horns on their head and colored skin (generally red or blue). They also have sharp teeth, which may be fangs or tusks. Like ogres, they live in mountains and wilderness places, and are generally depicted as being larger than human scale (generally about 8-12 feet tall). They usually carry long clubs with studded iron on the striking end, and are sometimes dressed in animal-skin loincloths.Often translated as “demon”, but also similar to an ogre: Humanoid, generally 8-12 feet tall, with red or blue skin, horns on its head, fangs or tusks, and a large, iron-shod club. Usually lives in mountains and wilderness.. Yes, in broad daylight. The creature is becoming bolder!

There was nothing I could do while busy fighting on Clan Noriaibasha’s behalf. The news simply weighed on my mind until sundown, when I left to go home. Akane and I went to the shrine in the dead of the night, surprising the monster with the suddenness and fury of our attack in the rainstorm that was going on.

As usual, the oni escaped at the last moment. I must find a way to purify the shrine once and for all!

In the meantime, this week has been long and difficult, and I am a very tired ninja.

The Kanezukai Campaign Ends in Triumph

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The Kanezukai campaign’s final battle has been fought and won. I arrived in the village we aimed to capture and found Risako, and the other Nichiren priests overseeing the campaign, already waiting. The major in charge of our troops said that most opposition was already quite disorganized, thanks to my work in assassinating key personnel beforehand.

After the first engagement, we spotted a few of the enemy’s scouts who needed to be taken out. I made short work of them, leaving them to bleed to death in the village’s alleys, and gaining more admiration from Risako and the major.

By noon, it became clear that our victory was assured. I went back to Castle Noriaibasha to prepare for my next tasks, and to relax in the knowledge of a job well done.

The only dark spot in today has been discovering that my boot-knife has lost its temperMy smartphone’s got some kind of battery problem, and won’t hold a charge any more. I need to get it repaired or replaced.My smartphone’s got some kind of battery problem, and won’t hold a charge any more. I need to get it repaired or replaced. and will no longer hold an edge. Also, it would be enjoyable to relax at a bar on my way home today, and sip some well-earned celebratory drink… but dark storm-clouds are rolling in, and I’ll probably just have to run home before the rain drenches me.

Kanezukai Campaign Nearly Done

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The Kanezukai campaign is coming to a close. I have made Risako very happy by slaying a great many enemies in Nara, the ancient city, and also throughout Izumi Province. Today, she is coordinating messages with our major in the field, who will be dealing with the peasants of the captured territories tomorrow.

There is still a nest of opposition in tight-walled, small-streeted Fujiwara-kyō. I will probably not have the time to eradicate them before our final push tomorrow. Today is too busy with interviewing a rōninA masterless samurai, effectively an independent sword-for-hire. A samurai could become a rōnin if his lord died, or if his lord became displeased with him and effectively fired him. During the Sengoku Jidai, things were very loose, and some samurai voluntarily left their lords and went in search of other opportunities, becoming rōnin temporarily until they could find new lords. Some peasants even declared themselves to be samurai, and then went in search of lords to take them in — for them, being a rōnin was a step in their personal advancement plans.

The word rōnin literally means “wave-man”: the image is of a man who wanders endlessly, without direction, like a wave on the ocean. At the end of Pulp Fiction, when Jules Winnfield says his plan is to “walk the earth… like Caine from Kung Fu”, he’s effectively saying he’s going to become a modern rōnin after leaving Marsellus Wallace’s service.A masterless samurai; a wandering warrior whose sword was for hire. who the Shomei-gumi“group”Japanese for “group”; can refer to anything from a “five-person group” (a common work-unit in Japanese corporations) up to an entire branch of the Yakuza such as the Yamaguchi-gumi. thinks would be a good fit for placement with Clan Noriaibasha, and with a meeting with Jōji, the priest in charge of the Kirin-dō project.

We will have to hope that the opponents in Fujiwara-kyō cannot stop our assault. I have worries, but they are minor.

I Thought I Would Be “Just a Cog”, But…

Friday, October 1st, 2010

I have just come from a meeting with Risako, a priestess of the Shoshū sect, who will be guiding the first stages of the upcoming Kanezukai campaign. She is very pleasant to talk to, and her ideas on Harmony align well with my own. I suspect we may well become friends, at least within the castle walls.

And a very ironic thing happened: In small upstart clans, we ninjas are often told, “With so few people, each one of you will have the chance to make a real difference in the clan’s actions.” But at Clan Nettobuku and Clan Tenya, my advice on tactics was ignored. By the time I was ready to leave the world of small clans behind, the idea of not having any say in my clan’s actions was no drawback; I already had no say, so I would be losing nothing.

How amazing, then, to see what happened in my meeting with Risako: Her plan for the first stage of the campaign involved using the Bright Square technique for certain city and village operations. I mentioned that I don’t like Bright Square much, as it tends to place great hardships on the peasants in the occupied area. The Floating Square technique serves our army’s purpose just as well, without hurting the peasants so much.

And Risako agreed, and said she would change the attack plan.

Then Akinori, whose weapons locker is near Risako’s altar, overheard. He is working on the plans that will guide many of the clan’s strategies for the next few years, and noted that there has been some question of which technique to use. He says that his recommendation is also for the Floating Square, and he has some standard kataA sequence of moves in martial arts, performed as a practice exercise to train the fighter’s muscle memory and reflexes in preparation for real combat. May be anywhere from a brief, 15-second movement to a full sequence that takes five minutes or more to complete. Usually solitary, but there are some two-person kata.

You may wish to see some videos of standard karate katas.A sequence of fighting moves used as a practice technique in martial arts. for use in that tactic. All three of us are agreed: Akinori’s Floating Square kata will be part of the Kanezukai campaign.

And Akinori would like me to see if I can improve his kata.

So, in the course of a single meeting, I have just had a real, distinctive effect on the tactics the clan will be using in an upcoming campaign — and soon, I may have an effect on the kata we use in all our operations! The kind of influence that I had given up all hope of wielding has just been placed in my hands.