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Susumu Konoe

0 · 228 views · located in Japan

a character in “Boryokudan”, originally authored by Pandora's Melancholy, as played by RolePlayGateway

So begins...

Susumu Konoe'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."

Image

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: Susumu Konoe
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ImageFor most of the day Kowatta had been sealed away within his tent among the gigantic army encampment just outside of Shimabara. But honestly to call where Kowatta, Socho of the Roshigumi and equal to Fukucho Shibata, resided a mere tent was an insult. No, the temporary home was in fact larger then any peasant housing and likewise made of a fine looking material that no doubt cost far more then the average man would ever see.

Inside Kowatta sat in the traditional way most men did with his legs folded into an almost kneeling position; his back extremely straight as he eyed the low sitting table infront of him. Despite the tents luxurious appearance from the outside the inside was rather bare-save for a large tatami mat, a medium sized red lacquered table, and various candles there really wasn't much to see here. However atop the medium sized table Kowatta sat at there were two small potted Bonsai trees, the pair somehow having been trimmed and groomed to an almost identical perfection. It was these two twin creations that seemed to have Kowatta momentarily enthralled; a tiny pair of sheers clutched in his old wrinkled hand that hovered above the plant on the right as his eyes scanned for that perfect spot to trim.

He had literally sat here in this exact pose for four and a half hours at this point, his usually scowling face somehow even grumpier looking all the while. Those that knew him were well aware that anytime, such as this one, that he had to leave “The Royal Gardens” his quick temper became even more volatile. Surprisingly at this point he hadn't cut anyone down from sheer annoyance or aggravation yet, although this was largely due to his handful of personal servants who had done their best to keep Kowatta entertained with games and the two Bonsai trees that had made extremely convenient gifts-they'd have to remember that trick next time Kowatta was sent out to do the emperors bidding.

Finally Kowatta had found the pesky little branch that had been driving him mad-the unseen flaw that he had known was there but just couldn't find. In Kowatta's opinion one of the most noticeable difference between men and plants was the way you cut them; men he could slice through without thought or effort unlike plants, when it came to his gardening every single leaf trim had to be meticulously planned and carefully carried out. His wrinkled forehead actually began to sweat under the effort he was putting forth as he finally went to make his final trim.

Unfortunately Fukucho Shibata started yelling (more like exploded, honestly) from somewhere outside, the sudden outburst had thrown Kowatta's hand off, causing him to lose focus right as he made the final cut to a tiny branch. Horrified he quickly stood up, taking a step back to survey the damage done to the precious plants he'd been cultivating the entirety of this trip. Shibata's seemingly random yelling spree had caused Kowatta to cut the branch he had been working on an eighth of an inch lower then he had intended.

They were ruined!

If this had been caused by anyone other then Shibata Kowatta would have stormed out of his tent demanding blood, unfortunately the loud mouthed Shibata was somehow an equal so Kowatta would have to settle with taking his anger out on what he hoped was some grand form of insubordination; but knowing Shibata the man could be yelling for any number of reasons. Unable to look at his butchered bonsai any longer Kowatta quickly made his way out of the tent and into the camp that was now buzzing with activity; it looked like the order to move out had finally been given, a fact he realized was true moments later as a messenger from Shibata came and told him just that. Before letting the messenger go about whatever other duties he had Kowatta asked for the location of Shibata, after hearing of his whereabouts both Kowatta and the messenger partied ways into the bustling camp.

It didn't take long for Kowatta to find his way to where Shibata presumably was; afterall they had been camped here long enough that he, like most men, knew how to get around rather well. Nearing Shibata's section of the camp actually finding the man proved to be a rather simple task, all Kowatta had to do was follow the direction the loud barking of orders came from.

Finally tracking down his counterpart Kowatta gave a slight bow befitting an equal before righting himself back into his picture perfect posture. Despite the safety of the camp his left hand remained fastened to the sheath of his katana while slightly angling the blade in a way that made drawing it at a moments notice slightly easier. He wasn't expecting trouble on the way to see Shibata but nonetheless years of killing and paranoia had made his body protect itself seemingly without thought.

“So the time has come to finally crush this pathetic little uprising?” He asked in a way that clearly wasn't a question. Quickly he continued on in his usual raspy old voice. “Any word from our wandering Kyukocho?”

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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Image

Image

"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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#, as written by Alligot
Image
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.





Image
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.