Posts Tagged ‘clanmates’

Running Late

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

After two days of observing his castle and watching the comings and goings of his guards, I think I have spotted a weakness in Lord Eizō’s defenses. If I can slip inside, I may or may not be able to kill Lord Eizō himself, but I can certainly sow enough discord and confusion amongst his troops to ensure that they cause us no trouble until it is far too late.

But there is that inconveniently-timed meeting with Clan Hekoayu this afternoon — every Wednesday afternoon, for four full hours. (Truthfully, there is never a “convenient” time for a meeting that long.)

If I were on time, instead of “on Ginsaku time”, I might be able to make a useful incursion into Eizō’s castle. I must get better about that.

Breaking My Silence

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I must once again apologize for my long silence. The Saitekika campaign is a long and complicated one, and fighting it leaves me with little time to chronicle the happenings of each day.

There have been many, interminable meetings with Amon, Kento, Sakito, Makishi, and some of the representatives from Clan Hekoayu. Makishi and I, at the very least, continue to be unimpressed with Hekoayu’s plans. Last night, Sakito and I were at an inn with one of the clan’s Nichiren priestesses, and both of them also had criticisms of Hekoayu — and also of the overall planning of the entire campaign.

Clan Hekoayu has a reputation for being sage advisors and skilled artists. I have no idea how they have maintained this.

In between meetings, I have managed to perform some missions in the field. I have discovered that the Naihō Cadre is not an independent group. It is actually an offshoot of a large army called the Keiten Mokuba. Soon I will have to find ways to eliminate the Keiten Mokuba; with them gone, the Naihō will be demoralized, easy prey.

In the meantime, I have been battling a group called the Kakunenbo, and have cut them down to a shadow of their former might. Kento is pleased with my performance.

Tonight, there is a 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. to commemorate the departure of Tamae, one of the Nichiren priestesses who is friendly and outgoing, and hence quite well loved here. She is going to join one of the larger clans of medics and healers in Kawachi, and she says she already has some ideas for how to help guide them in the paths of Righteousness. Later on, I understand Mitsubachi is sponsoring a nijikaiEnkais don’t always stay put. Sometimes they have a second, third, or even fourth phase. Something like an afterparty. A "nijikai" is the second phase of an enkai.Enkais don’t always stay put. Sometimes they have a second, third, or even fourth phase. Something like an afterparty. A "nijikai" is the second phase of an enkai. at an inn where everyone is expected to singkaraoke barkaraoke bar; the experience should be quite entertaining.

Why I Am So Busy Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

I arrived at the castle yesterday morning, collected my weapons, and went out to Zaiseikyōiku to see how things were progressing. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that Sakito had killed the wrong targets. I gave him very precise instructions, but he apparently did not understand them.

Luckily, the people he killed will not be missed… or at least, their deaths will not be traceable back to Clan Noriaibasha. He has at least that much competence at his ninja skills.

But the people we do need killed are still very much alive. Snarling curses upon Sakito and his ancestors, I set about finding and slaying them…

…only to be visited by Makishi, who asked me to return to the castle for a meeting with Sakito, Kento and him, to discuss our progress in Ogaribamen and Zaiseikyōiku.

I was very good. I did not state, “Sakito is incapable of following simple instructions.” Instead, I simply reported that we still have people to kill, and I am taking care of that today, and I had been doing so before I was pulled back to the castle. After the meeting was done, I spent the rest of the day in Zaiseikyōiku, frantically hunting down and killing enemies.

I have more to kill today. Then tomorrow there is another of those strategy-planning meetings which will occupy the entire afternoon. Before it starts, I have sworn I will have all our opposition in Zaiseikyōiku cleared away.

That is why I am very busy.

Ginsaku Is Leaving Soon

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

A week after I arrived at Clan Noriaibasha’s headquarters, my fellow ninja Ginsaku arrived. Since then, we have been comrades in battle, fighting for the clan’s interests. But unlike me, Ginsaku was never formally inducted into Clan Noriaibasha.

As a result, there is only so long he can stay here. His time with the clan is now growing short. Soon, if there is time, I hope he and I can go out to an inn and chathave some after-work drinks togetherhave some after-work drinks together for a while before he leaves us.

I understand he has secured a temporary position with the armies of Clan Toyotomi, which is quite prestigious. I am glad for his success and continued good fortune, but I will miss him.

Sakito and Satonori will remain, as will Kento of course. But we will need to find more ninjas to take care of all the urban fighting that needs to be done. (Yes, this means you may look forward to some tales of how we test our applicants, and whether any of them can complete a Three-and-Five Strike.)

Another Day, Another Target

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I am back in Zaiseikyōiku, alternating between scouting and actual stalking. There are many enemies here, and Sakito and I must each be diligent in hunting them down. We have made a division: He is taking everyone west of Shiiteki Street, and I will handle the east side of town. It was not easy to decide on Shiiteki Street as the boundary line, but we surveyed the various gangs and 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. and other foes in all parts of the town, and decided that the ones on each side of that border should prove roughly the same amount of difficulty.

The eastern side of town being closest to the docks, it is also where the highest buildings are, and where there is the most chance of rooftop action. I will be meeting with Makishi on Thursday to see if there’s any chance of any rooftop fighting in my future.

In the meantime, there was a rōnin from Heian-kyō who started off in Sakito’s territory. But he just crossed into the east side of town, and now he’s mine. I’m closing in behind him, and 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. is nice and sharp.

The Sure-Footed Style Comes to Our Army

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Every Friday, the Kokakumanzoku division has a meeting. This morning, Jōji spoke about a project that he and Anna, one of the fighters on Kento’s team, had recently completed.

Anna is a sweet-faced little woman from the southeastern islands. To look at her, you would never guess that she is an expert with grappling hook, 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 I think maybe even wakizashiThe shorter of the two gracefully curved swords that a samurai carries. Much like the longer katana in shape and style, except short enough to be a one-handed, secondary blade. The wakizashi is effectively the katana’s “baby brother”.

Note that the ninja-tō, the sword most often carried by ninjas, is not a wakizashi. It’s about the same length, but straight rather than curved — and generally of inferior workmanship, as ninjas couldn’t afford the materials or smiths that samurai had access to.The shorter sword of the two that a samurai carries; the “baby brother” of the longer katana., nor that she knows the streets and roofs of Kusatsu like the back of her hand.

So their project — not an entire campaign, but a small-scale project called “Many Houses” — involved testing out the Sure-Footed school of combat, including the Hearty Brawl tactic. Although many smaller clans and upstart types have been using the Sure-Footed school for some time, Clan Noriaibasha has not tried it yet.

Jōji and Anna were pleased to report that the new techniques allowed them to engage some fearsome foes with minimal casualties, and to take territories much more quickly than we might otherwise expect. Many of the priests and nobles expressed interest.

I congratulate my clan-mates on their successful sorties!

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.

Three Villages, No Rooftop Fighting

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I should tell of the progress of the Shiemesu Raisei campaign. Kento has ordered my clan-mate Sakito and me to assist Makishi and his team in taking over a small territory using the Chiri-dō ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts.. This place is called Sanigata. It is of little importance to anyone now, but as the Saitekika campaign advances into its prime, this place will eventually become important. At that point, we will already hold it in our grasp. (Indeed, the Saitekika and Shiemesu Raisei campaigns are tightly intertwined, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two.)

Naturally, the samurai will be handling the forests of Sanigata. There are also three towns there: Seihin, Bumon, and Kaiketsusaku. Over the past week, Sakito and I have scouted out Bumon quite well, and dispatched a few people there who would be liable to oppose our incursions. Now we are focusing on Kaiketsusaku.

Sakito is another of Clan Noriaibasha’s city fighters. He’s not really a ninja, but he is quite skilled with 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..

These towns are all too small to make rooftop work much of an option. They do have some alleyways and hidden areas, at least, but there is very little to do with a manrikigusariA chain weapon with weights at both ends, which can be used for striking or entangling.A ninja weapon consisting of a length of chain with stuff at one or both ends. Generally has weights at both ends, but occasionally one weight will be replaced by a hook. The weapon can be used for entangling (by wrapping a weight around an enemy’s limb) or for a direct strike with one of the weights. It can also be used to entangle an enemy’s weapon with one end, then strike the enemy’s body with the weight on the other end. They hate that.

When the chain has one end attached to a kama, it’s known as a kusari-gama. (Kusari means “chain”; when it’s the second item in a compound word, it becomes -gusari. Similarly, kama becomes -gama in compounds.)
, so Sakito’s kama skills are proving useful. And my own kama is getting more work than it usually does.

However, coordinating with Sakito has taken much time and energy. This is why I have been so remiss in maintaining theses tales. I am sorry for this delay. Mōshiwake arimasenA formal Japanese phrase for “I’m sorry”. (“Gomen nasai” is also frequently used, but is less formal.)A formal Japanese phrase for "I’m sorry". ("Gomen nasai" is also frequently used, but is less formal.). *bows deeply*

A Good Day In Nagoya? How Is This Possible?

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I arrived in Nagoya earlier today, went through the city gates disguised as a simple farmer, and then headed for the areas Furashi is known to frequent. Slipping my manrikigusariA chain weapon with weights at both ends, which can be used for striking or entangling.A ninja weapon consisting of a length of chain with stuff at one or both ends. Generally has weights at both ends, but occasionally one weight will be replaced by a hook. The weapon can be used for entangling (by wrapping a weight around an enemy’s limb) or for a direct strike with one of the weights. It can also be used to entangle an enemy’s weapon with one end, then strike the enemy’s body with the weight on the other end. They hate that.

When the chain has one end attached to a kama, it’s known as a kusari-gama. (Kusari means “chain”; when it’s the second item in a compound word, it becomes -gusari. Similarly, kama becomes -gama in compounds.)
from its hiding place under my tunic, I quickly hoisted myself up to the rooftops and started scanning the streets for him.

After about a half-hour of surveillance, I spotted him leaving a tavern. I moved to intercept him, and was able to rendezvous with him easily. He appreciated receiving the message from Raitsu, and had only a brief verbal report for me to carry back, with no hurry needed.

Then, on my way out of the city, I heard the sound of a fray. And a familiar kiaiA shout or yell in martial arts, delivered at the same time as a strike. It helps the martial artist focus their power.A shout or yell in martial arts, delivered at the same time as a strike. It helps the martial artist focus their power.… I darted through an alley, leaped over a wall, and found Ginsaku in fierce combat with another warrior. On his sleeve, I saw the emblem of the historic city of Fujiwara-kyō — not a place known for producing dangerous fighters, but this one was giving Ginsaku serious trouble.

So I stepped in, coordinated with Ginsaku, and we both finished him off.

Astoundingly, I went to Nagoya today, and nothing bad happened! I even got a chance to engage in some combat, when I had thought I’d be simply a courier! Truly, this is a historic day.

I have since returned to the castle, and had a meeting with Riki, one of the Nichiren priests overseeing the Saitekika campaign. But perhaps I can tell about that tomorrow.

Beginning the Shiemesu Raisei Campaign

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

This campaign is unlike most others. Instead of trying to capture territory and hold it, our true objective is to test out the Chiri-dō ryūA school, tradition, or style in martial arts.A school, tradition, or style in martial arts., and see if we want to adopt it as one of our main strategies. To that end, we will be attempting to capture some towns and small cities in Yamato Province… but exactly which ones and how many is still a mystery, and we might not bother to hold them. It seems we will, at the very least, use a place called Kinyūiku as one of our targets. I have been performing preliminary scouting on it this week.

I seem to be the junior warrior in this operation. I will be reporting to Makishi (who I have mentioned before, a friendly fellow-ninja) until Kento returns from visiting his family, near the end of the month. There are a few samurai working in the plains and the wilderness; I know of Atsuhiko, but I am sure he is not alone. Above us all is Ryōsuke, who I believe is a major.

The Nichiren priest who is trying to coordinate all our actions is named Junsuke. So far, he seems pleasant enough. Assisting him is Amon, a friend of Kento’s. Another warrior named Eiki will also be involved, though I know not in precisely what capacity.

Ryōsuke is the major in charge of the warriors in this operation. He ranks above Kento, who is currently away visiting his family. Kento will not return until nearly the end of the month. Then, I understand, he will have the very interesting experience of being trained the Chiri-dō techniques.

I think Makishi and I will look forward to seeing how he feels at the end of that week.

In the meantime, we have advisors from Clan Eshidieru, the originators of the Chiri-dō style, who are continuing to teach us about its strategies. I keep receiving messages from Makishi as I scout Kinyūiku, asking me to join him and the advisors on the plains of Yamato as we observe how the Eshidieru advisors use Chiri-dō to organize large-scale battle movements. This makes scouting somewhat difficult.