Posts Tagged ‘dear Kwannon not Nagoya’

Catching Up

Friday, May 11th, 2012

The past two weeks have been full of short missions to scout and kill enemy kama fighters, separated by long, long meetings to plan our strategies in the Saitekika campaign. At least one of these missions took me into Nagoya, the city of woe. But it turned out that I have learned much about Nagoya’s alleyways, and evading its security. Since my mission didn’t require me to sneak across the rooftops, it was easier than I expected.

I’m sure my next visit to that accursed city will be twice as troublesome, just to make up for it.

In the meantime, we are trying to find new ninjas to replace Ginsaku. There were two applicants who were barely competent. Then came one who was quite skilled, and who was a joy to spar with when we tested him. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow him to join our clan. Kento and I are both disappointed that he will not be able to fight alongside us.

Finally, yesterday, I tested a new fighter. At least, he claimed to be a fighter. When I asked him to describe the benefits and drawbacks of various fighting styles, he gave me only vague platitudes, like someone who has read about fighting but never entered real combat. When I asked him to demonstrate some simple kama kata, his motions were awkward and clumsy. I could not imagine how he might fare in a real fight — he would be at least as dangerous to his comrades as to any enemies.

I told him there was no point in continuing any further. We will have to keep searching for warriors who are actually useful in combat.

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.

The Forgotten Message

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Yesterday, on my way to my meeting with Sakito, I noticed something important in my weapons-locker: A message from Raitsu to Furashi. Oh, no! How could I have forgotten?

Of course: I have been dealing with the many meetings with Clan Hekoayu, and now more meetings to plan our strategies for the Saitekika campaign, and Kento never made this message sound like a particularly high priority, and… well, I was very forgetful, and this must be corrected.

Of course, I could not do anything about it at the time. But now, I have a few hours to spare. Off to Nagoya I go!

An Assignment That May Take a While

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

This morning, I talked to Kento and told him that I have been idle. He found an assignment for me: “You already know our operative in Hikone, Raitsu. He commands one of our advance scouts, a man named Furashi. Go to Hikone and find Raitsu, and take whatever scrolls or orders he has for Furashi to wherever Furashi is.”

These sorts of open-ended tasks can sometimes take quite a while, so I packed up my traveling gear and sped off to Hikone. It’s been a little while since I’ve had to contact Raitsu, so I spent some time on the rooftops, scouting around for him. Not in the Merchants’ Quarter. Not in the town square. Not by the river bank. Finally, I had to use my fallback contact method: At the Inn of the Green Cricket, I ordered three cups of genmaichaGreen tea with toasted rice grains added. In truth, this is one of my favorite types of tea — but in this case, I am simply lucky that it is part of the signal.Green tea with toasted rice grains added. In truth, this *is* one of my favorite types of tea – but in this case, I am simply lucky that it is part of the signal.. When they arrived, I drank one, and mentioned to the innkeeper: “You know, I was born in the Year of the RatThe first year of the Chinese zodiac, also used in Japan. Also, this is not true; I was born in the Year of the Monkey.The first year of the Chinese zodiac, also used in Japan. Also, this is not true; I was born in the Year of the Monkey..” He nodded, but said nothing, as I finished the first cup and walked away, leaving the other two untouched.

Two minutes later, he met me by the woodpile behind the inn, where I whispered to him the address where I’d be waiting for Raitsu. He whispered back, “Three-thirty”, the earliest time Raitsu would possibly be there. I do not know how the message then traveled from the innkeeper to Raitsu — Raitsu has his own network in Hikone, and all I know of it is that the innkeeper is a member of it.

But at three-thirty, I was atop the roof I had specified. Nearly an hour later, Raitsu arrived. “Sorry I took so long,” he said. “There is much I had to say to Furashi, and it took some time to write it all out.”

“These things happen,” I admitted.

“Furashi is currently under deep cover in Nagoya,” Raitsu told me. I let no sign of my inward groan show on my face, for a ninja must cultivate calm — and an indomitable spirit that shrinks from nothing. “Here are the orders for him,” he handed me a sealed envelope. “And here are some instructions for you on how you might find him,” he added, giving me a simple sheet of hastily-scribbled notes.

I nodded and thanked him, and am now on the outskirts of Nagoya. I will find Furashi and deliver his orders. My own orders are to also see if he needs any further messages delivered back to Raitsu or Kento.

Later Addition: Now that I am within the city walls, I see from Raitsu’s instructions on how to find Furashi that it will take at least an hour or two of searching, both in alleyways and on rooftops. This will have to wait for tomorrow. I shall slip back out and go home to Iga now…

…but tomorrow, I shall surely find Furashi and deliver his message.

A Scroll of Much Confusion

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Yesterday, Kento and I met with Rajan, Seijun, and another of the forest samurai. Rajan has a scroll written by some warrior-sage high in the clan, describing some battle tactics which are supposed to ensure the safety of our warriors.

This scroll is very confusing, and at least one of the 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.)
techniques that it calls for makes no sense at all. It’s a needless flourish which won’t make us any safer or assist us to strike the enemy harder.

Over and over again, the scroll says things which are completely unclear. Many times during the meeting, all five of us were scratching our heads and asking each other, “Do you know what that means? No? I don’t, either.”

Since these techniques were presented to us as “guidelines”, not orders, Kento made me very happy by saying, “I can tell you now: My ninjas will not be following these guidelines.” Rajan thinks the sage must know something we don’t, but even he must admit that he isn’t sure what it could be.

He is trying to set up another meeting, where the sage himself can explain to us why and how these techniques can help. We shall see how that goes.

In the meantime… today may involve another trip to Nagoya. It’s supposed to be a simple pick-up: just meet with our operative at a restaurant, where he’ll pass me a message that I must bring back here to the castle. But things have a way of going wrong in Nagoya. Wish me luck!

Rescuing Our Plans From the Shambles

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

We have decided not to engage the Mōjin in Keishutsu. They will have to be dealt with later.

Having dropped that chore from our schedule, this means: I must have Ichibanyōshi cleared out and ready for Seijun and Rajan by the end of this week. Doing so will obviously require me to finish off our enemies there 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.. What isn’t obvious to the nobles and Nichiren priests is that I’ll also have to do some serious 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.)
fighting in Kakunin Shiken.

It’s going to be a hard week. And then next week, I need to have Keishutsu cleared of all enemies but the Mōjin. I also need to write a scroll describing our battle tactics for Seijun, so he and Rajan can coordinate their efforts with mine.

Finally, if there’s ever time, Kento and I must pay a visit to the armory and get me some new, sharp weapons. There never seems to be time… but, for this, we must make time.

Edit, an hour later: Of course, I just found out that the Ichibanyōshi gangs have contacts in Nagoya, who are supplying them with arms. I’m going to have to go to Nagoya to stop their next shipments. I hate dealing with Nagoya.