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Kowatta "The Ink Collector"

"In these trying times we must trust in the wisdom of our great Emperor."

0 · 378 views · located in Japan

a character in “Boryokudan”, as played by blackrider

Description



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"Perhaps you'd humor an old man with a friendly game of Shogi?"

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Face Claim§ Varied ||  N/A


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N  I C K N A M E
The Ink Collector  This was a name actually created by Yakuza to describe an unknown man that had killed countless of their men across the nation-a crime that normally wouldn't stand out and would just be chalked up to Yakuza violence, that was if each and every member that had a tattoo had either been skinned or straight up had an arm or leg missing. Rumors of this murder spree had spread like wildfire and before long “The Ink Collector” was a well known name among Yakuza, often spoken of as some sort of demon.


Uekiya  The very very (very) few people to be on friendly terms with Kowatta often refer to him as Uekiya-literally meaning “Gardener”. It's more of an inside joke on his love of growing plants, and honestly he doesn't mind the name. He actually prefers it to The Ink Collector, liking to think of himself as the Emperors “royal gardener”.  


A G E
60|Sixty


G E N D E R
Male


S P E C I E S
Human


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H  A I R
His long shoulder length hair has grown rather wispy with age, his once sleek black hair now white with a few gray strands. In his younger years he constantly kept his hair pulled back into a tight ponytail but the older he got the more he liked to just let it loose, oftentimes appearing scraggly and uncombed-he is not the type that worries about his appearance.  


His facial hair, which has also turned white due to the decay of time, is kept in a simple and somewhat common style for older gentlemen. That is his cheeks remain completely shaven while the entirety of his beard trails from his chin and connecting mustache.   


E Y E S
They say that looking into the dark brown eyes of Kowatta Moshimoto is like staring into the deepest hole imaginable-they have no reflection or depth.  It's an odd trait that no one really notices unless staring face to face with him.
H E I G H T
5'10"|Five Feet & Ten Inches


W E I G H T
170lbs
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P  H Y S I C A LxA P P E A  R A N C E
Kowatta can fit in at a peasants tea house as easily as he can go unnoticed at a royal celebration. This is due mainly to the fact that he has always been a simple man; both his style of clothing and general hygiene easily mistaken for a well to do commoner.


From his plain brownish beige kimono to the old beat up wooden Geta he wears on his feet nothing (aside from the twin swords at his side) would outright make you think he was an infamous member of the Roshigumi. To a trained eye however several things can be picked up about Kowatta that outright screams “killer”, such as;  


His rigid yet flexible posture: The way he walks, sits, and even drinks his tea are all clear signs that his body is always on guard, ready for some random attacker to come screaming at him from out of nowhere.  


His eyes: They constantly scan the room; sizing up individuals and potential threats while simultaneously predicting the best escape routes and attack plans. People that know him like to joke that his eyes never remain on one person.


His Left Hand: When not in combat his left hand seems as if it is permanently attached to the sheath of his sword, constantly at the ready for God knows what.


Scars: Although often not seen do to his ever present Kimono his body is riddled with all sorts of battle scars.


All of his “warrior body language” aside Kowatta really just looks like your atypical senior citizen. Sure he's much more fit then most his age, his old muscles still strong if a bit stiff, but he is a far cry from what any would consider “good looking” or “cute”. From his wrinkled face and wispy white hair to the yellowed and missing teeth that line his mouth he is definitely not the romanticized notion of Samurai. In all honesty he'd look more at place changing out chamber pots then guarding the most important man in the nation.


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Q U I R K S
Obsessive:
Whether its collecting tattoos off of dead Yakuza, tending to the royal garden, or simple sword practice-Kowatta will fully throw his entire efforts and attention to the task at hand, and will do things over and over until he reaches what in his mind were the “desired outcomes”. Failure is not an option.


Tattoos:
This ties in with his obsessive quirk but overtime has evolved into an actual morbid hobby. What started as an attempt to simply put fear into/discourage Yakuza activity over time turned into something much darker: an obsession that involves killing and skinning Yakuza members for their tattoos in an effort to grow his “collection.” The walls of his home are covered in dried preserved works of art. Needless to say guests and servants are slightly put off by his decorating choices.


Fertilizer: Everyone knows what makes the best fertilizer right? Well needless to say Kowatta was shocked that the dead members of the yakuza and other anti emperor groups were not being used to their full potential, a practice he immediately changed when he ran the servants out of the royal garden claiming he'd “take better care of his Masters plants.”


C A P A B I L I T Y
Sword Skills: Born at the end of the Sengoku era to a father who had recently lost his Daimyo Kowatta was quick to learn the value of swordsmanship-it was after all the only skill his father could use as a ronin to support the family. Because of his strange upbringing Kowattas education in combat was anything but formal; where most followed the teachings of one or two Masters devoutly Kowatta would take pointers from any of the countless ronin that made up the slums his family lived in. This hodge podge of styles and skill would pay off down the road however, Kowatta now being the soul master of a completely unique fighting style.


Agility: Kowatta hasn't survived this long by being the largest, strongest, or toughest man on the battlefield-No, the one thing that has kept him alive this long aside from skill is just pure unbridled speed. Afterall in his opinion a good nine times out of ten you'll have a whole lot better luck dodging/outmaneuvering an attack and striking then you would parrying/trying to withstand an attack like some fool.


Green Thumb: Coming from a less than wealthy samurai family his mother and father would do anything they could to keep food in their bellies. His father mostly did this by selling his sword for protection to caravans or as a merchants bodyguard, his mother on the other hand actually got her hands dirty. It didn't take his mother long to teach him that there was, in fact, nothing wrong with “peasant work”, a realization that brought with it his continuing love of gardening. Not only does he get satisfaction from the simple beauty of a well tended garden but it often makes him feel close to his passed away mother.


N A T U R A LxA P T I T U D E
Muscle Memory:  Every Samurai worth his salt has some form of muscle memory; aferall when some deranged peasant is coming at you with a rice paddy scythe it helps to have your blade drawn and ready without even having to think about it. Kowatta however takes this skill to some scarily supernatural levels, but in actuality it is just the results of a man who obsessed over his swordsmanship to the point of near madness. It is not uncommon for Kowatta to literally cut a man down without thinking, especially if startled.


Nothing To Lose:  No family, no friends, no loved ones at all. Kowatta is one of those rare and dangerous samurai who truly, in every sense, have no other reason to live than to serve their Master


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"Believe me, becoming fertilizer is often the greatest achievement and honor many boryokudan come to experience."
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ImageC O L D D  I S P O S I T I O N
For the most part Kowatta is not a people person at all-he is a recluse, much happier tending the Emperors Gardens alone than anytime spent with a man or woman. This reclusive nature has made him cold and distant, a fact made worse by his strict belief in the new Caste system-he honestly believes himself to be above any sort of peasant or merchant. He has absolutely no qualms when it comes to taking life or torture, especially when dealing with the lower class.  


Despite the fact that he dislikes people in general there are a few key exceptions, mainly other samurai that have earned his respect and his Master; The One True Emperor. Speaking of the Emperor-Kowatta is extremely loyal to him, in fact to Kowatta this is the single most important man in the entire world. The honor and pride he feels from serving the emperor is completely genuine and he truly believes he was put here on earth to not only defend his master but to also carry out whatever bidding or task that is asked of him.  


Personality: As stated above Kowatta is extremely anti-social, which isn't to say that he can't be talkative-its more of a [i]I only really talk to a few people[/] sort of problem. He is however very respectable and proper with those he views as worthy of respect or of a higher station, but on the same hand those that are below him he rarely gives even a rice sized grain of respect. In his eyes peasants, merchants, and pretty much anyone else below the Samurai class and Emperor are practicaly subhuman-in his mind its best to treat them like animals less they become wild. He also greatly believes in the caste system, thinking it and the infinite wisdom of the Emperor are the only things maintaining order in Japan. All these beliefs of order and structure are greatly seen in his personality; he is a routine schedule keeper, ardent journalist, and a lover of any sort of strategy game.  


Speaking of games, Kowatta absolutely loves them-his two favorite by far are GO and Shogi. Playing games, especially with a worthy opponent, brings out a highly competitive side in him that is rarely seen. His favorite games can last for days before a winner is decieded-one particularly heated game of Shogi between him and Konoe even famously lasting for three weeks (Which, to his horror, resulted in a stalemate.)  On the rare occasions he is known to lose he gets rather grumpy, pulling out all sorts of excuses from who knows where before finally storming off to his Garden-already obsessing over a rematch.  


To sum it all up Kowatta is very introvert, preferring to spend time alone writing or gardening-most real human interaction taking place over games and combat. To those he deems friends, the number of which can be counted on one hand, he is very loyal-but no matter what his service to the Emperor and the Emperors orders come first.


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ImageR  E M I N I S C E N C E
The tale of Kowatta Shimimoto is filled with enough twists and interesting turns that it is indeed worthy of any kabuki theater. It all started in the year 1567 in Nanao castle towards the tale end of the Sengoku period. By far one of the bloodiest periods in Japans history the Sengoku period saw the rise and fall of several families as constant mini wars raged across the country. One such Daimyo, Hatakeyama Yoshitaka, ruled over the Hatakeyama clan-a clan that shared the same dream of their allies, Clan Oda, of a completely unified Japan.


Eventually war came knocking on Clan Hatakeyamas door in the form of the infamous Uesugi clan-but the Hatakeyama were no stranger to wars, and for years they had sat safe behind their city walls. This seemed to be proving to be the case yet again, as the entrenched Uesugi clan laid siege to the City walls for ten years unable to break through. By the year 1577 a rather bad plague had swept through the City, killing men, women, and children alike in what they had thought was the safest place to be. Realizing how dire the situation had become and sick with plague himself Lord Hatakeyama snuck a messenger through the siege lines, the lone courier carrying a message that could very well decide the fate of the city.


Finally catching a lucky break their messenger made it through the enemy lines unscathed and in record time had made his way to where the armies of Clan Oda resided. Filling Clan Oda in on the dire news Nobunaga, leader of Clan Oda, mobilized his army at once in the direction of Nanoa castle. Unfortunately by the time they crossed the river separating the provinces Castle Nanoa had already fallen, almost the entirety of Clan Hatakeyama having been wiped out. Later Nobunagas troops would find out that Castle Nanoa had fallen from the actions of a single man who had opened the gates for the invading forces; a traitor that had sold out an entire City for safe passage for himself and his family.


Fast forward ten years to the slums of Kyoto and the Shimimoto family, a family that had served under the Hatakeyamas for generations until the fall of the city and death of their Daimyo in 1577. Unexlplainebly his father, Shimimoto Ichiro, was the soul surviving samurai of the slaughter at Castle Nanoa. A few peasants and merchants had also survived the massacre but as for the samurai class only one family walked away unscathed.   


Masterless for the last ten years Ichiro did what most Ronin who had no other choice did; resorted to crime and banditry. Growing up Kowatta was oblivious to this truth, believing his father was in fact a common sell sword protecting merchants and caravans alike-when in reality his father was robbing and killing these very men. But, Kowatta would come to realise in his older years, criminal scum like his father would do anything for ryo. 


By the time Kowatta turned sixteen he could outspar most of the old ronin he had the fortune of growing up around (his family having been confined to a less desirable part of the city specifically for ronin.) Convinced he was finally ready to help his father on one of his many “jobs”, something his father had continuously told him he was to young for. So being youthfull and knowing better then any adult Kowatta snuck out that night, following his father as he met up with a fellow group of ronin. Before long this small group of masterless swordsman began roaming the streets, accosting and robbing anyone unfortunate enough to cross paths with them and occasionally scurrying off into the night when the City Watch got to close. Basically his entire concept of the bushido code and his father were shattered overnight.  


Returning a few hours before sunrise his father crept back into the house, his pockets full of ill gotten coin. Kowatta waited outside the house for an hour, tending his mothers little garden as the sun began to creep over the horizon. Knowing his father should be asleep by now he went inside, took his fathers blades, and killed both his mother and father-his mother he cut down first, still sleeping. His father wasn't so lucky,  having been found a few days later completely butchered into an unrecognizable mess.


So at sixteen years old Kowatta set out with nothing but the clothes on his back and the twin pair of swords at his side. To this day he carries the same blade used to kill his family. For the next four years Kowatta roamed the countryside, selling his sword to merchants and caravans for protection-the exact work he had grown up believing his father did everyday. Living day to day on whatever coin he happened to earn he eventually grew tired of this lifestyle. He longed for a permanent home, one where he could devote himself to his swordsmanship and gardening-by the time he was twenty he was seriously considering doing just that, more and more he thought about simply becoming a hermit.  


Luckily fate intervened as it often does at the pivitol point in many of our lives. A war had been raging on and off overseas against Korea, reffered to as the Imjin war in the recent years interest and troop commitment had been waning-but for whatever reason that all changed in the year of 1597, Japan determined to crush their overseas enemies began recruiting and hiring anyone able to hold a blade. They escpecialy did their best to hire up as many ronin as they could, well aware their skill and sometimes lack of an honor code would be well worth all the coin in the coming battles. Kowatta, like many ronin, was quick to sign up-simply for the fact that the pay was to irresistible.  


To say Kowatta distinguished himself at what would come to be known as the Siege of Namwon would be a complete understatement. Not only did he cut a swathe through the enemy lines during the day to day skirmishes, but when the walls of Namwon fell the Japanese army and Kowatta in particular charged head first into the city, killing and looting everything in their path. Unfortunately due to naval battles, something a samurai like Kowatta could have no control over, Japan would wind up losing the war and having to retreat back overseas. Nonetheless none of the samurai who served and fought with Kowatta ever forgot the deadly proficiency of the strange ronin-a fact he would find out years later was behind his being tracked down and recruited into the Roshigumi. Needless to say Kowatta absolutely jumped at the chance to serve-having the Emperor as a master just seemed to click with him, like he was finally where he needed to be.


So begins...

Kowatta "The Ink Collector"'s Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikio Yuzukawa Character Portrait: Hime Yuki Character Portrait: Kowatta "The Ink Collector" Character Portrait: Chiyoko Matsumura Character Portrait: Susumu Konoe
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#, as written by Alligot

Prologue: The Rebels of Shimabara
December 21st, 1637
Midnight






Takehiko's critical gaze swept over the city laid out before him, shingled rooftops glinting in the moonlight, lanterns and torches scuttling through the minuscule nooks and crannies like torchbugs. Even at night, the rebels were hard at work, for they knew their insolence would not go unpunished for long. Spare wood was cut and chopped from tables and carts, made into sharp, jagged barricades that would shred the Tokugawa's cavalry. The gates were reinforced with spare steel and iron, archery nests littered the tops of old sake dens and inns. The tops of the strong stone walls surrounding Shimabara were greased and disfigured, so as to make it difficult for anyone to climb up with rope or ladder. Farming tools were forged into blades, spears, and arrows. Hands that once nurtured the earth prepared for war. All forty-thousand of them.

Takehito found it amazing that a young boy orchestrated all this. Outraged by increasing taxes and suppression in the midst of famine and poverty, Shiro Amakusa and his countrymen had banded together, pillaging and raiding the tax collectors and minor nobility. Their numbers rose from dozens, to hundreds, to several thousands. It had only happened in a few months, and Takehito could hardly name any movement that had gained so much power as quickly.

And now, it would soon end here. The Daimyo was unseated from power - Takehito now stood atop Hara castle, where the greedy noble once ruled. He had likely fled to the Emperor, and now the Tokugawa's wrath would not be far in it's arrival. He already heard tell of the Tokugawa army quickly approaching, their numbers easily over a hundred thousand.

It would be hard to beat, but not impossible. The Tokugawa clan expected untrained, unorganized peasants. Unfortunately for them, the Yakuza had previously arrived en masse - nearly two hundred members with varying skills and specializations. SMost of them were Takehito's own, the others belonged to a trio of Kyodai, Yuu, Yuzukawa, and Kimura. And for now, they all played their part. Craftsmen taught the rebels how to properly forge, fletch, barricade, and construct. Aging veterans and sage ronin passed their tactics and theory, while masters and practitioners of many kinds of martial styles and weapons did their best to instruct the most promising warriors among the rebels, in hopes that they would in turn pass on what they've learned.

They only had a few short days left before the siege would begin. He had no intention for the Yakuza to participate, so by that time, they would be long gone, deep into their shadows once more... just how he preferred it.

Of course, the most ambitious projects rarely go according to plan.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikio Yuzukawa Character Portrait: Hime Yuki Character Portrait: Kowatta "The Ink Collector" Character Portrait: Chiyoko Matsumura Character Portrait: Susumu Konoe
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Image"Tennō Heika..." Obsidian blue eyes were not spared even when its owner had been called. "Tokugawa-sama has already sent the army for Shimabara." The speaker took the silence as a mean to continue. It seemed that the Emperor was taken by the intricate flower-emblazoned fan. There was a period of silence and the servant decided that his presence was no longer needed. "I would now excuse my prese---" Those words were abruptly cut as the voice of the Emperor finally resonated.

"The one who gave me this gift." The said servant raised his head to gaze at the fan which the Emperor was referring to. "Yes, Tennō Heika?" The Emperor's words were faint, but it was enough to relay the heavy impressions and expectations. "Have they also gone?" The servant knew exactly to whom the Emperor refers to. "Konoe-sama and his force are already there." The Emperor gave a curt nod at that. "I see, then I should expect red flowers to bloom soon."

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Golden brown eyes narrowed both in disdain and in disappointment. Those eyes reflected the town of Shimabara. At this moment, it was the scene of peace, but everyone knew underneath the pristine glow of the moon, an inevitable collision would scatter this place into flames, just because of an incapable daimyō. The seeds were allowed to take root and this was the result, a bloodbath. But then again, it is for that reason why they are here is it not? "Shibata Fukuchō, the path is clear." His attention drifted to the one who spoke. "Good. Have the Kumichō be prepared for the assault. Inform the Sōchō and the Kyokuchō that everything is right on track. We must clean the rats before the Shogun arrives." The soldier listened intently as the Vice-Commander Shibata was not the kind to repeat himself and truly dislikes mindless mistakes especially with such an important mission handed to them.

ImageBut, he must bear a bit of a news that the vice-commander would surely be annoyed with. "At once, Fukuchō." The soldier answered while offering a salute. It was then that Shibata turned his back at the soldier and was off to make his own preparations, but he was not that far when the soldier called his attention again. "Fukuchō." He looked over his shoulder with those eyes of his indicating a sharpness that would not excuse anything. The soldier couldn't help but feel nervous. He could feel something getting stuck in his throat, but it must be said. "It's the Kyokuchō." Shibata could feel the feeling of apprehension and the distinct sensation of anger bubbling into the surface. "What about him?"

This is it... the make or break situation whether he was slaughtered on the spot, be demoted, or miraculously be spared from any dire consequences. "...He's... gone..." If it was possible for Shibata to explode into the fountain of magma, he would have. His face further scrunched into anger that the soldier couldn't help but tremble. "Find him at once!"

His voice echoed throughout the camp. Everyone knew for a fact what the cause of that. There was only one thing that could make their Shibata Fukuchō yell in such an amount of rage. It was because of the information of their commander who was as free-flowing as the wind, never bounded which was an irony in a sense. It is because their Kyokuchō, the one who stands at the top pedestal of their force was truly a contradiction of various enigmas, is after all a samurai under the servitude of the Emperor. Not only that, there was no doubt in his skill of the sword, but even with such a magnificent talent, the commander could not help but be a source of constant annoyance to his ever-stern Fukuchō. "I'll gut him and hang his corpse to dry when I get my hands on him!"

That man always does as he pleases without much thought. "Have everyone be ready for deployment now! We go at once." So much for plans and order, Shibata could not believe why he chose to follow the Kyokuchō, but he was not going to back down because of a mishap. This is a mission which will define them and he would make it a success.

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On the other hand, the Kyokuchō in question was currently enjoying a stroll through the streets of Shimabara. It was such a lovely night. It would be his regret if he did not take the chance to appreciate such thing. The cold winds coming from the north reminded him of winter and the few pink petals carried by it depicting of a late bloom were a beautiful inspiration for a painting. How relaxing, it was. This would be a perfect time to have a good taste of sake and lazily sit down under the blooming cherry blossoms, perhaps, he would do that. There was still time, yes there was always time as he would say.

That is why without a sense of falsehood or wariness, he presented himself without a hint of a disguise. even though, it is well-known to him what was going on beneath the seemingly desolate peaceful town. Why wouldn't he? It is the very reason he had come to this place. In any case, there was no denying that his appearance was noted by the sporadic people still up and about in such ungodly hours as some would say. Well, it was hard not to. He was garbed in such a fancy and eloquent set of clothes that one could not help but assume him as a noble, adding to that, his features fitted for such a category. His beautiful and elegant traits much like that of a lotus fitted for the chrysanthemum throne.

No wonder that suspicions were plenty about him for a person of such status to roam the town given the circumstances. There was also the very notable sword around his waist which relates that he was not a simpleton of an aristocrat. But as he is, it was all but a passing thing for him. He continued with his walk with such a carefree demeanor and an expression which related his enjoyment of the evening. It was then something took his attention. His walk impeded by a wooden dog toy upon the ground. He picked it up with a refinement inherent of him. This was seen by one of the roaming rebels as an opportunity to approach him to confirm the truth whether this man was a threat or a fool.

"Oi!" The man called out which was soon followed by a flutter of steps indicating a numbers greater than his. Those heterochromatic eyes of his gazed at the men now surrounding him. Those who gazed upon could not help but be in awe and be startled by his rather inhumane physicality, his eyes. "Hmm? May I help you?" He asked with an uncanny politeness undisturbed by the sight of them, armed and poised to end his life in needed. "Who are you!? What are you doing here in Shimabara? In Hara Castle!?" The question had made him blink his eyes in comprehension. He then looked around him and did notice he was in front of the castle. What a coincidence, it is. He truly did not have any directive in his walk, he was fine with wandering about. "Is that where am I? How fortunate..." The men looked at him in confusion. "Probably..." He continued on as he kept the wooden toy he had obtained.

Image"Konbanwa." His smile present on his lips as he also gave a slight bow of his head. One of the men was impatient to opt by grabbing his clothes, but he aptly dodged it by doing a simple sidestep. "The hell!" The man was now face down on the ground as the others looked at him with contempt. "Apologies, I don't intend to disgrace any of you... probably." He ended it with a slight shrug of his shoulders. He then unsheathed his sword and his expression now reflected the solemn light of the moon above. "I am a humble servant of his Tennō Heika who promised that red flowers would cover Shimabara."

It was at that point the men began to attack him, but it was useless, as the men all fell down to the ground harboring wounds, letting them bleed, but not enough to kill. "Probably..." the Kyokuchō of the newly established force known as the... "Konoe, Susumu of the Rōshigumi. you asked of my name. I would like an audience with Amakusa-dono." He stated to the one who asked him earlier with his carefree smile. "Just to talk, probably."

Susumu then walked towards the gates without much of caution. And so, the peaceful night had been pierced through as the first steps to a new destination of Japan had been taken.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kowatta "The Ink Collector" Character Portrait: Chiyoko Matsumura Character Portrait: Susumu Konoe
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#, as written by Alligot
Image
Takehito Sato


Dialogue color = #5d8736
Thought color = #99e057



"Just what is this - this Roshigumi? Are you sure you've never heard of them before?" Amakusa's voice was sharp, almost accusing, as if Takehito himself were personally responsible for this incident.

Their footsteps were quick and hurried, echoing through the hall. Behind them followed four of the yakuza, of varying size and skill. Some were scattered about, helping to finish final preparations, or running some errand or another. Most rested in Hara castle, taking the bunks and rooms once dedicated to the palace guard.

He had roused the four behind them from their sleep, in addition to two others that he had sent ahead. Of course, Takehito had warned the child against meeting this odd samurai. It would be all too easy to have an archer or other such method prepared to end the boy's life.

"The only information I have consists of vague rumors and hearsay. I don't spend all of my time spying on the Tokugawa clan - as, if you haven't noticed, I'd prefer for my people to remain under their notice." Takehito responded, his patience waning. No matter his deeds, Amakusa was still young. He had no grounds to be making demands or orders of the Oyabun, not after everything the Yakuza's done - and will do - in order to ensure the rebellion's success.

The small group stepped out into the courtyard, with Amakusa flinching in response to the cold winds, for there were many atop of Hara castle, due both to it's elevation and it's construction. They passed through the freezing yard, through the castle's primary gates.

They would need proper sentries from now on, armed with bows and arrows. While they had a sparse few on the outer walls, Hara castle had been wide open. They'd need to increase the guard for both, especially with the Imperial army drawing near.

In the street and just within arrow-shot, stood a lone figure. His fine blue garb seemed to glow in the somber light, and he carried himself in an odd way. Fearless wasn't quite the right word for it, but it was close - and it didn't help him shake the feeling that this might be a trap, rather than a message.

Wary, Takehito stood no less than a pace away from Amakusa as they approached. First, a few dozen yards. Then, no more then a dozen. Then, even closer, just barely out of blade's length. The boy did not seem cowed, though his fearlessness was of a different caliber. It was a youthful invincibility, as if he dared the world to try and strike him down. He regarded the lone samurai ahead of him.

After a significant pause, "You jaunt into my city, maim and insult my brothers. And from what I hear, you claim to serve that foreign-bedding Emperor. Yet, despite this, you're either suicidal or brave enough to dare ask for an audience." Amakusa stated, "You don't have long. Convince me that you shouldn't be killed here. Convince me with this audience you asked for."

Power seems to be going to his head. Takehito thought, as he sized up the samurai ahead of him. With his long reach and weapon both, he felt confident enough that he could intercept this strange warrior, if they decided to try anything. And, with four of his own behind him, he knew he would come out on top. Beating three surprised peasants with a sword was no difficult feat, after all.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikio Yuzukawa Character Portrait: Hime Yuki Character Portrait: Kowatta "The Ink Collector" Character Portrait: Chiyoko Matsumura Character Portrait: Susumu Konoe
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"Hmm...?" Susumu has his ever pristine composure present as always. His face did not echo any resentment or any malicious intent for that matter. He was also not intimidated by the one who is called Amakusa Shirō's behavior before him. It was a natural reaction, is it not? For someone who believed himself to be the second-coming of the Christian's Jesus, this was to be expected. "I apologize if you see my actions as disconcerting. I assure you my intent was never meant to be." He politely stated with such an eloquence befitting of many assumptions as him hailing from a noble family. In regards to the commentary about the Emperor, he was not initiated into anything and remained his rather nonchalant manner. Why would he lose his bearing for a trivial matter? It was not something he should be concerned about. Other people's opinion about his Lord is not something he cared for in the beginning.

All that mattered are orders and perchance where the wind takes him.

"My audience is in regards to this uprising you have brought. The Emperor has already granted Matsukura-dono a punishment of death for misruling which alleviated the poor quality of living present in this quaint town. As it stands, there is no further need for this violent action of yours." He stated as he then casually looked around where he took notice of the guards present to ensure security of their leaders around him. "And thus, we would like a peaceful resolution for this. Amakusa-dono. After all, is it not mercy and peace, the prominent teaching of your doctrine? Probably..." He ended it with a smile which did not speak anything but of politeness and a sense of casual airiness. Then, there was the sudden sound of explosion as the houses which was his backdrop were now all shattered pieces of its former prestige.

As for him, he remained standing there without a care. He looked over his shoulder to see what was that noise about which seemed to awaken this town into a melody of panic and discord. "How rude..." Susumu noted as he was in the middle of a discussion and at the same time, people were rather peacefully sleeping. It was then he had managed to glimpse the wavering flags by the sea as the houses were now leveled to the ground. That was when he remembered what was told to him in passing. "Ah... That must be them, probably." There was no hint of supremacy in that voice of his or a sound of mockery. It was simply said as if he was discussing that the sun has risen or the moon has faded behind the clouds. He released a small sigh and gazed back at Amakusa and his group. "I humbly apologize for the interruptions." He even offered a proper bow of the head as the explosions were actually caused by a bombardment by the ships that was now also reaching that of the castle.

"I believe our conversation has been cut short. It would be lovely to have this talk again, Amakusa-dono." Without another word, Susumu was behind Amakusa. The speed presented was not of inhumane means. He was relatively given such agility partnered with his boundless training and application. It gave rise to such a speed unseen by many. His gait did not change and his features did not relay any intent which would be recognized as darkness or a passion to kill. However, the legs that Amakusa used to create an upright posture had now failed him as the tendons, precisely behind the knees had been severed with speed and deadly accuracy which says a lot of his skills by far. "Probably..." He ended and then looked at the guards and others who were taken aback by the bombardment of foreign ships which now have become a series of destructive rondo with chaos sprouting everywhere.

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There was no need any other pleasantries between him and the one who holds the rank of Sōchō. They were after all equals though, the scope of their responsibilities differ. At the same time, Shibata was already aware that the older male was present before even addressing him. He did not respond immediately upon the words of crushing this uprising. To him, it was inevitable. People will oppose once they are pushed to the brim. This was the result, but of course, such reasons do not justify their rebellion against the Emperor. As for the inquiry about the Kyokuchō, he could not help but feel the veins on his forehead pulsated in annoyance. "Nothing at all. I applaud his skills but, he cannot win against 37,000 rebels on his own." He sighed in defeat knowing that was not really the point of their Kyokuchō's wandering. It was probably completely unrelated. "In any case, we must deploy now. Who knows what our Kyokuchō would do unknowingly..."

As if on cue, the bombardment started as he looked at the town now being ravaged by cannons. The peaceful town was now thrown into chaos without much effort. His eyes trailed towards the sea where the foreign ships of the Dutch could be seen. It must be related to that Gaijin he had been seeing roaming around the Emperor's Palace. He clicked his tongue in displeasure. There was no need for their aid. This matter was among the citizens of this country. It was not a place for foreign entities to intervene. However, he will still have to abide it if this was the Emperor's will. "I believe that is our signal, Shimimoto-san." He then walked towards the awaiting force of the Rōshigumi. "We deploy now! Ride to Shimabara and destroy the rebels!" Everyone raised their voices in union and the raid finally began as they marched to the town ready to spill blood.

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For Susumu, he stood in all of his glory without any hint of blood lust or even intent of dark intentions. He was a complete contrast to the chaotic environment around him. His sword already drawn as it took the light of the moon now becoming the shade of red through the fires now consuming the town and the falling debris as the cannons continued to bombard the castle.

"Oh, the Emperor did want to have red flowers bloom in Shimabara. I would grant his will by being a gardener, though that is Kowatta-san's duty... probably." He stated in a nonchalant manner as a carefree smile was on his face.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mikio Yuzukawa Character Portrait: Hime Yuki Character Portrait: Kowatta "The Ink Collector" Character Portrait: Chiyoko Matsumura Character Portrait: Susumu Konoe
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Takehito Sato


Dialogue color = #5d8736
Thought color = #99e057



Takehito had seen displays of foreign pyrotechnics. But they were small, trifling things. Toys that whirled into the air or sparkled with a bang. The loudest contraption he had seen was a savage-looking weapon that shot rocks at speeds faster than the eye could see. That one left his ears ringing for hours.

None of that compared to the noise that assaulted his senses now. Far and near, he could hear massive, earth-shaking booms. The sounds of wood splintering and stone crumbling hardly drowned out the ever-growing ruckus of fear, surprise, and agony, as the once-confident rebels found themselves under attack from an enemy they did not expect, trying to hide from an unstoppable force of destruction they've never seen before.

And so, he had failed. To Takehito's credit, the samurai was like a spectre. He moved with superhuman speed, and before anyone could react, Amakusa had his legs cut from beneath him. His cries of pain steadily mixed with the turmoil about. "Take him to the castle, all of you." He shouted above the din, "And spread the word as you go - get the others to regroup there as well. We leave tonight!"

He flinched as he heard a deafening crash, and saw a roof cave in out of the corner of his eye, and noted with dismay that an arrow - originally meant for the samurai - shattered itself against a wall a few feet to the side. One of his sentries must have been struck by the barrage.

His hands nearly slipped when he drew, a slow, careful movement that took more than a few seconds due to the immense length of Takehito's blade - being almost twice to three times as long as a normal sword. Behind him, Amakusa grew quieter as he was ferreted away.

"Mercy's not a trait I expected to see from one of the Emperor's dogs." Takehito remarked, his eyes locked onto the samurai ahead of him. He could only hope the other warrior couldn't see his apprehension. "But, I wouldn't expect a gardener to know that a habit like that gets one killed."

Then - he struck, his foot kicking from the ground behind him, muscles tensing as he brought his sword about in a wide arc, seeking to cleanly carve this Susumu into two. Above the rooftops on his left, he glimpsed motion - the remaining sentry he had sent forward, likely with an arrow drawn and ready... waiting for an opportunity.

Dealing with this irritant wouldn't take too long. Then he could focus on getting the Yakuza away from this alive.





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Chiyoko Matsumura


Dialogue color = #07273d
Thought color = #505a60



Chiyoko could hear nothing. See nothing. And for a bit, she felt nothing. She began to seriously wonder if she had died, right then and there. What a way to go, struck to death by what almost seemed to be lightning.

It didn't last long. An irritating, painful ringing soon echoed in her ears. Pain shot through her side every time she tried to move, crippling her for another few seconds. And she opened her eyes, watching dancing dust and particles illuminated by the moonlight obscure her vision. She sneezed, sending another jolt of fire through her body and her skull - her injuries complaining of the sudden spasm.

Around her was a dimly-lit room. It would have been beautiful once, with finely-carved furniture and carefully set structure. But now, rubble littered the ground, and the rest of the roof threatened to topple within at any minute. Outside, she could feel the earth quiver and quake with every strike. Her hearing gradually improved - and she wished it hadn't. She'd never been a part of a siege or war before, and the sounds admittedly terrified her. The screams of pain and fear. It sounded like everything she'd worked for - everything they've worked for - was crumbling apart.

Shifting on her side, she lifted her armor up, peering under her robes. She wasn't able to see much in the darkness, but she could still clearly make out a large set of discolored blotches and bruises. And though it hurt terribly, she suspected her armor saved her from any broken ribs.

I'm going to need to get over it, she thought, rolling onto her side with a groan. It was a slow process, first propping herself up, then unsteadily standing. Her senses were still disoriented. It didn't help that the ground seemed to shake every few seconds, tremors caused by the strange weapons. What if the foreigners discovered the secret of harnessing thunder, like we did with fire? The thought terrified her. What was the point of all their effort now, when they faced a threat like this?







The town of Shimabara itself seems to shudder with every strike. What warning there was turned to be too little, too late, as a half dozen impossibly large ships ventured into Shimabara's bay. They were clearly foreign, built differently from any Japanese ship, bearing neither a warlord's banner, or that of the Emperor's. And, if that was not enough, plumes of smoke erupted from their sides as they sent their heavy iron payload into the unprepared rebel garrison. This was a weapon few had heard of, and even fewer had seen.

Towards the front of the city, warning calls went unheeded among the chaos, as the few sentries on guard noticed a small force quickly emerging from the forest, their calls of war failing to pierce of sounds of chaos within the city. Arrows began to to pelt the approaching warriors. Though they're poorly aimed and infrequent, more than one shout of pain is heard as a missile finds it's mark. Kowatta in particular can feel one tug at his sleeve. A narrow, harrowing miss.

Within the city, walls and buildings both crumble with each devastating shot. These strange weapons almost never seem to hit someone directly, but they cause plenty of casualties with the rubble and shrapnel that results. Most run through the streets looking for shelter or hiding from the siege, some can be seen fleeing through the gates in flight, and even fewer still are gathering what little arms and armor they can, unable to tear their dangerous gazes from the ships that lie in the bay - one goal clearly in mind.