Posts Tagged ‘journeys’

Preparations for the Journey

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I wrote, before, that being selected to represent Clan Noriaibasha at the warriors’ gathering in Hiroshima is a great honor. And so it is — but it also means that I must spend some time preparing! Akane is busy packing my luggage for the long journey. Since I will be representing the clan, and will probably have to attend various social functions, I must bring at least one formal kimono. I will also need food for the journey, and tabiThe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjasthe split-toed boots commonly worn by ninjas that slip off easily for occasions when the Emperor’s guards inspect the carriage at checkpoints… It is quite a lot to prepare, and I have not much time.

Aside from that, I must have all our opposition in Ogaribamen cleared away before I go. Otherwise, Makishi and his team will not be able to do their work in my absence.

Since Amon and the people of Clan Hekoayu are still identifying exactly who our opponents are, this makes my life quite difficult. I have been given very little time to find and kill these people. It seems every day, I receive new orders: “The twin 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.s? They are still targets, but now you must kill them separately, not together!” — “Don’t worry about the enemy ninja who wears the signs of Ten and One; he can wait for later.” — “The two merchants, the fat one in the green kimono and his skinny partner in blue. They must both die as soon as possible!” “Will Friday suffice?” “Can you make sure it’s done tomorrow? Preferably in the morning.”

Amid all this chaos, I persevere.

I Am Honored to Go to a Warriors’ Gathering

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

In every town and city in Nippon, in these days of eternal strife, one can find the Mōjin fightersaccessibility issues and outright accessibility bugsaccessibility issues and outright accessibility BUGS. They are always ready to attack an unwary warrior. Like ninjas, they like to operate in stealth; they will never attack a target who has his wits about him. It is only the unwary who fall prey to their surprises.

But how to be on guard against them? Their tactics are strange, and their ways unknown to most fighters.

There will be a gathering of warriors and strategists soon, to discuss this very question. Many sages, fighting monks, and senseiA Japanese word for “teacher”, though it is also often used in the specific sense of “teacher of martial arts”.A Japanese word for “teacher”, though it is also often used in the specific sense of “teacher of martial arts”.s will be there, ready to teach and explain the techniques they have developed. It is some distance to travel, for the gathering is in Hiroshima, on the shore of the Seto Inland Sea, far west of Kansai.

We cannot send all of the fighters on the Keitai team to this gathering (much though we wish we could!). Kento regrets that he cannot go. But I am one of the warriors who had been honored by being chosen to go and represent Clan Noriaibasha. Along with Satonori, I am instructed to train and learn, and bring back the teachings to Tsukimi’s team.

Along with us two ninjas, the clan is also sending Jun-ichi the scout, who has shown himself to be quite expert at spotting the Mōjin, and his friend Daichi, a monk of the Amidist branch of Buddhism, sworn to serve the needs of the poor and dispossessed.

Thought Jun-ichi and Daichi will be helpful, still Satonori and I are the only warriors attending from Noriaibasha. Being chosen is an honor, and it shows that I am well-regarded.