Posts Tagged ‘stabbity death – yay!’

Making Progress With Living Stone

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Yesterday was a highly productive day for me… which means, I left a half-dozen fresh corpses in Sanigata.

Kento and Sakito have been busy dealing 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.-wielding thugs of the area, and Kento has asked me to concentrate on the more advanced chain fighters of the Keiten Mokuba army. This operation requires me to do some Living Stone style techniques with 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.)
. Since the manrikigusari chain is so flexible, unlike other weapons, that means that the standard Living Stone techniques make very little sense. They must all be adaptedMost object-oriented languages use what’s known as “classical inheritance”, but JavaScript uses “prototypal inheritance”. It requires a different way of thinking.Most object-oriented languages use what’s known as “classical inheritance”, but JavaScript uses “prototypal inheritance”. It requires a different way of thinking. to work differently with the chain.

But I figured out how to do that, and then started my surveillance of the Keiten Mokuba. From time to time, I’d spot one of their scouts in one of the cities of Sanigata — and when I engaged them in combat with my new Living Stone techniques, I found them quite easy to slay.

After a day full of spilling my enemies’ blood, I went to the capital for dinner with Akane at a fine restaurant, and all was well.

Today, much as I might want to continue eradicating the Mokuba army, there is a four-hour meeting with Clan Hekoayu this afternoon. And there was a major meeting in the morning. I have little time for field operations or combat today.

But tomorrow, I expect I can make up for it!

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.

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.

My Chain Is Still Mighty

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I have spent the past few weeks mostly scouting, lurking in alleyways and reconnoitering territories in Sanigata. On the rare occasions when I’ve found enemies who must be removed, it has been a simple task to slay them 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..

Aside from those few, occasional instances of combat, I have spent much time in meetings with Clan Hekoayu.

Yesterday, I spent hours doing kama practice, learning the hikichigaido maneuver, trying to understand it — or at least make it work correctly. Having reached the point where I can follow it by rote, I went back to Yokuaru Shitsumon this morning. There is a warrior there who I needed to kill, for the good of my clan.

After much waiting and lurking, I finally spotted him. Quickly, in my mind, I recalled the motions of the hikichigaido attack. As he drew close to me, I sprang from my concealment and attacked with my kama.

He blocked the first strike, but the hikichigaido is a two-part attack. With my left hand brushing across his eyes, I whirled and completed the maneuver… leaving him dead at my feet!

I was slightly surprised that it had worked. I was even more surprised to see two of his allies coming toward me — and one of them pulling a kusarigamaA common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a hook or weight on the end of it.A common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a grappling hook or a weight attached to the end.

The scythe/sickle part alone is a kama, and is a common farming tool. With the chain attached, it’s pretty obviously a weapon, and would be treated as such by any authorities one might encounter.
from his belt!

It has been too long since I got to use my chain skills. I am afraid I may have gone a bit overboard… both of my attackers were on the ground in moments. I made a quick getaway, knowing that Yokuaru Shitsumon is now safe for our forces.

The only way that could have been better is if I’d had an excuse to use the rooftops. Sadly, Yokuaru Shitsumon is one of the small towns of Sanigata; there’s just no point.

The Campaign Draws Near to Its End

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Only a week ago, it seemed this campaign would never end. But we seem to have run out of Ayamari. The group that seemed such an unstoppable tide before have now been exterminated. Haruna and Satonori have been detached from the Teitōken unit and sent to other fronts in the war.

Over the past few days, I have whittled down the Mōjin fighters, and they now seem to be gone, too. A pair of Sōtō Zen monks and the scout, Jun-ichirō, will verify that tomorrow morning. Even the bandit from Yoshino is gone. The Nichiren and Tendai priests are ready to proclaim this realm pacified and integrate it into our territories and power structure.

All that remains is to kill the 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. from Mikawa. My last battle with him was inconclusive. He escaped into Ichimen, and is lurking… somewhere.

I have until Friday to find him. That will be my last day on the Teitōken Campaign; starting on Monday, I will be assigned to a new campaign called Shiemesu Raisei. I know very little of what this campaign will entail, as yet. I know that it will be another long one, like Teitōken has been (and unlike, say, Kanezukai was). It seems it will involve widely-spread operations ranging throughout Yamato Province, and maybe also in Ōmi and perhaps Settsu. Beyond that? The campaign’s specifics are still somewhat mysterious to me.

I understand that the first week will involve hours and hours of training in one of the halls of Castle Noriaibasha. I have my suspicions that the training will be tedious, and by the end of it, I will be itching to get outside, clamber across a roof, and kill a half-dozen people.

Unexpected Victory at the Shrine

Monday, June 20th, 2011

I promised Kento I would go to Ichimen on Saturday and battle the Ayamari more. But as I prepared to leave Hoshiakari, a villager came running: “The 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. is in the shrine! Again!”

Again? After only one day? And in broad daylight, for once? This was not its usual style. Cursing and moaning, I went to the shrine. Sure enough, there it was, as large as life and as ugly as ever. Its iron-sheathed club flashed toward me, and the battle was joined!

I had only a small jō staffA shorter version of the bō staff, only about 4 feet long. Often used as a walking stick by travellers in the wilderness or mountains, but can be a surprisingly effective weapon in the hands of a skilled warrior.A shorter version of the bō staff, only about 4 feet long. Often used as a walking stick by travellers in the wilderness or mountains, but can be a surprisingly effective weapon in the hands of a skilled warrior., but I was fueled by my rage and frustration. I struck hard and fast, dodging the monster’s blows. One swing left it off-balance, and I dealt it a mighty blow on the side of its head. It fell down dead at my feet, and then its shape blurred and shrank down to the visage of…

…a wizard of the Hakka clan! Those who invade others’ territories by guile and duplicitythis one seems to have gotten in using a password that was part of the enormous Gawker password leak last Decemberthis one seems to have gotten in using a password that was part of the enormous Gawker password leak last December, only to deface and destroy! This is an enemy I was very glad to have killed.

But has the oni always been the Hakka, wearing a mystical disguise? Or is it truly the case the Hakka simply heard about Hoshiakari’s oni problem and decided to exploit it for his own ends?

Regardless, the shrine must be re-purified and reconsecrated. I have plans for that operation, but they will take some time to put into effect. The Teitōken campaign is still absorbing too much of my time and energy.

A Grueling Week

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

It has been a long, hard week of battling Ayamari in Ichimen. For the first part of the week, it seemed that every time I killed one, I would receive a message from one of the Sōtō Zen monks informing me of two more. But by Thursday, the number of newly-discovered foes leveled off. Throughout Friday, I slew the remaining Ayamari, until none were left in Ichimen.

There are still some of them out there in the forests, bedeviling poor Seijun and his team I wish there were something I could do to help him, but the forest problems are a job for katana-wielding samurai.

Instead, I have to worry about a few other enemies that are still within the city. Though ask the Ayamari are slain, there is 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 comes from Mikawa Province. There are also a few undercover agitators from Clan Shimasu, who even the Sōtō Zen monks have not yet noticed. If I can kill them quickly, it will help to ensure that our plans succeed more smoothly.

But first, on Monday morning, I must continue demonstrating my 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 the other warriors’ approval. I am far less nervous this time around.

Death From Above!

Monday, March 21st, 2011

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of lying in wait for someone. Especially when you think you’ve got their moves figured out, and you think you can take them… but you’re not quite sure.

I’m at the gate between Ichibanyōshi and Keishutsu. I came in across the rooftops, having seen the Hikone mercenary step away to a nearby noodle restaurant for his lunch. My kusarigamaA common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a hook or weight on the end of it.A common ninja weapon: a one-handed scythe/sickle with a length of chain attached to the handle. The chain has either a grappling hook or a weight attached to the end.

The scythe/sickle part alone is a kama, and is a common farming tool. With the chain attached, it’s pretty obviously a weapon, and would be treated as such by any authorities one might encounter.
is ready; my Jeikyū hook is sharp.

I’m lurking in the upper curve of the gate when he gets back. My vantage point is beautiful. I can watch as he prepares to shake down another traveler for gold…

Then I drop on him.

The chain goes around his neck; the hook entangles his already-drawn sword, and I yank, hard. Follow up with a roundhouse kick, to be sure. The mercenary’s would-be victim is stunned, motionless. I put one finger to my lips, just in front of my mask, and softly say, “Shhh.”

I quickly untangle my chain from the mercenary’s body. With my tantoA dagger or utility knife, made in the same style and gracefully curved shape as the samurai’s katana and wakizashi pair.A gracefully curved dagger or hand-knife, in the same style as the samurai’s katana and wakizashi., I cut off his insignia patch, then also cut his purse away from his belt and take it with me. Hooking my chain back into the top of the gate, I start climbing out of sight. Just before vanishing, I tell the terrified onlooker: “You can scream for the city guard now.”

While they’re distracted, I’ll be heading for Shiryō-no-Hako to take out the Mitsugao gang. Soon, they’ll wonder just how many ninjas they’re dealing with.

Early Victory Atop the Roofs

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

This Monday, Nayumi told me that there had been an incursion of mercenaries into Ichibanyōshi. They apparently hail from Hikone, and are adept at rooftop fighting techniques. She needed me to clear them out, so she and her samurai team could be secure in their operations there.

Of course, there is little time for me to battle mercenaries when I am required in meetings to plan our campaign strategies. But I told her I could neutralize these mercenaries by lunchtime on Wednesday.

That’s today. And an hour before lunch, I finally vanquished the last of the Hikone mercenaries, and sent word to Nayumi that the Ichibanyōshi district is safe for samurai again.

Now it’s time for me to go find some yakisobastir-fried noodles with meat and veggies; a tasty mealstir-fried noodles with meat and veggies; a tasty meal. (And, thankfully, this afternoon is clear of meetings too, so I can tackle our enemies in Kurabero-no-Hako. They are numerous, and I have to slay them all by the end of the week.)

Rescuing a Fellow Warrior

Friday, October 29th, 2010

I received word from Kento: Another of Noriaibasha’s warriors, named Makishi, is having some trouble in the important city of Heian-kyō. I was dispatched to aid him.

I found him beset by a trio of enemies. He was making a good account of himself against two of them, but three-on-one seemed too much for him. So I sneaked up behind the one in the green kimono and slit his throat 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..

A kick in the small of another one’s back sent him off-balance, onto the tip of Makishi’s blade. Then Makishi was able to make short work of the remaining one on his own.

Domo arigatōJapanese for "Thank you very much"Japanese for "Thank you very much",” he said, bowing, and I told him, “Think nothing of it. Always happy to help,” before heading back to the castle.

Makishi has more to do in the field, but my day is nearly done. Soon, I get to leave and meet Akane for dinner — always a fun treat!