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Dawn of the Shinsengumi

Dawn of the Shinsengumi

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"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." And as with all good intentions, there are repercussions.

1,715 readers have visited Dawn of the Shinsengumi since Luciferus created it.

Introduction



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❝People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. It was a scandal that a breed of fearless and sinister people ran around freely, so they attached a nickname and a myth to these people to get even with them, to make up for the many times they had felt afraid.❞ - Hermann Hesse

Theme Song ∞ Superhero ∞ Strike back

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Accredentials ∞ Nemeseia for the use of her page design and for assisting in the character sheet development. All credit goes to her, and if, for any reason, you wish to use any aspects of aforementioned things, please contact her for permission.


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Every end has a beginning; every beginning an end. Where they meet, or where they separate, it is hard to tell. Such is the way of dreams. Neither good nor bad, dreams cause everyone to strive to something better. Perhaps it is the good intentions behind those dreams that begin to change, warped into something different. Perhaps it is the weight, the burden caused by those good dreams to burn away, and be replaced by the broken shadows of their former selves? Or maybe it was the lack of empathy that broke the unbreakable, shattered the unshakable? No one could preordain the rise of such things. What were these but stepping stones, pebbles in the road that one had to stumble across before continuing forward? One such beginning, one such dream, gave birth to the Yakuza. Born from the ashes of those too far down from the hand that life had dealth them, they were given something more.

Hope.

They were given second chances, purpose to life, and it was because of him that they were able to prosper. Fujiwara Yoshirō was a man with a stout heart, who founded the Yakuza on the premise of a promise. He would do right by that promise, and help those who were in need, and were too lost to find their own way. He gave homes to those who wandered without one, rōnin, thieves, vagabonds, anyone who was willing to join his clan. He made a name for himself, and eventually, he established a base in Edo. A once decadant village, now thrives due to his influence. Fate had smiled upon the desolate village, and though it is still young in its growth, still holds plenty of potential. Under the right guidance, it could become a beautiful city, however; there are those who wish to use the city for their own. The one who wants it the most, however, is Kurogane Sakuya, former member of the Yakuza.

Above all things, she craves power.

She has spread lies of the Yakuza, painting their once pristine pictures, red. There are those who know the truth behind the lies, however; there is chaos amongst the ranks of the Yakuza. New and former members abandoned Yoshirō for the promises of something else, and others wish to return to the life they once held. Sakuya has, undoubtedly, planted the seeds of chaos and discord within his family, and patiently awaits for the family to tear itself apart, however; Yoshirō has not given up on them. He desires to rebuild the Yakuza into something more, something better. In order to do that, he must unite his divided family, bring them together to fight against their common enemy. But even his resources are limited. He needs allies, those who would help him regain the title of "Ninkyō Dantai". After all, he made a promise and he intends to keep it.

But was it fate's fickle hand pushing the events together? Was it her will that the events unfold? No one can claim to predict her, or what she's planning, however; perhaps it was her gentle push that guided the lives of total strangers together, to create a new world in where there is peace, and chaos and war but a memory. Or perhaps her plans are more dire than that, and chaos and discord is what she plans on continuing? The birth of the Shinsengumi, after all, is an interesting tale.


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"In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole of creation suffers, in each one a Savior is crucified." - Hermann Hesse

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∞ Basic rules apply: No God-Modding, controlling characters without permission, ect., ect..

∞ Read the Character Creation OOC thread. This rendition of Genesis is completely different and there are a few things you need to know. Also, now that life has slowed down for me, I can return to this! Even after the other attempts to revive this have failed, I hope to make this one last to the end!

∞ Follow all the Site Rules: Fade to black for explicit interactions, or take them to the PM's. All content is to be within the site rules, however; there are some things that might be pushing those boundaries. They will stay as close within the rules as possible, and if they happen to get out of those boundaries, I will have you re-write the post or fix it. Let's not jeopardize the role-play, m'kay?

∞ As with the last role-play, the use of a write-pad will be present. This will help with the flow of the story, and to keep posts from being repeated. I hope some of you are at least familiar with the write-pad's, but I will help if assistance is needed.

∞ Maturity: We're all adults here, right? We can get a long with each other, but our characters do not. Please keep all drama out of the OOC threads and write-pad. I want to be able to write something with everyone who will be as cordial with each other as possible. I mean, it's the best way to make new friends, right? I want to have fun with you all, not have to break up and ban people from the role-play. That'd be just sad :/

∞ Content: This roleplay will have all kinds of content. Some of it will be graphic, some of it will be light and fluffy. If you are not comfortable with graphic content, please do not join. You wouldn't like it. I promise.

∞ Romance: Please, for the love that is all and holy, do not force characters together. Each character is unique and different, and some of them will not respond to love as quickly as the others will. Romance is all fine and what not, but it should not be the focal point of your character's existence. Sure, romance can help with character building, but let's refrain from making it so that it is not the only reason your character lives. Also, auto-ships. I don't care, you can auto-ship characters immediately, however; don't get your hopes up. Your ship might not be someone else's ship, and it might not be the end result. Trust me, I do it too, sometimes. I am just as guilty of auto-shipping characters, but yeah...

∞ Reservations: If you've read the Character Creation thread, you will know that reserves are kind of pointless. Just... if you are interested, state your interest and the FC you want to use so that no one else chooses the same one. You will have until the 15th to complete your character. This way, anyone who wants to join, even if they state a late interest, will be able to submit a character as long as it is done on the 15th. I will give a specific time, that way everyone will know and when to have their characters in. I am in the EST so all characters must be done by 9pm, July 15th. The reason for this time limit is so that the roleplay does not die before it is started. Too much time allows people to get bored and that is something I do not want to happen.

If you have any other questions, just ask me and I will answer them! You can PM me or ask your question in the OOC thread. Doesn't matter!


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Toggle Rules

The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 5 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Fujiwara Asuka Character Portrait: Ashikaga Shigeru Character Portrait: Taiyo Kenzo
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The sun rose on yet another day over the town of Edo. The villagers woke up and got to work on their chores for the day. Some started smithing, others worked the fields, and some simply lay passed out at the bar waiting for the owner to come by and wake them from their undoubtedly lucid nightmares. Above one of those bars, a man stood and strapped on his weapons and gear for the day. He slid a hand through his hair, grimacing a bit. He walked over to a bucket of water, kneeled, and dunked his head in it. Pulling back slowly to avoid splashing everything, he slid his hair back and worked in the curves that he had become so fond of so many years ago. He let the water drip a bit more before standing and making his way to the window and opening the panels to reveal an almost idylic version of a village before him.

Kenzo rested his elbows on the sill, letting the newly risen sun dry his hair for him. Below, people wandered to and fro, including one degenerate person being thrown out the front door by the owner of the establishment that Kenzo had stayed the night in. Kenzo took in the sights, trying to get a read on the place as best he could. Edo was a fairly large town, one that had made him question if he had actually taken a wrong turn and ended up in Kyoto instead. Looking towards the center of the city revealed a large house that was akin to a small castle which was the main building of the Yakuza leadership. the walls were smalll but sturdy with a heavy metal gate that blocked easy passage into the area. Looking in the same direction revealed several members of the Yakuza making their rounds, their blue and white hakama's easily identifying them as members. There were about 4 of them, stopping to help someone set up their fruit cart. Kenzo narrowed his eyes at them, slapping the window sill slightly as he pushed off back into his room.

He walked over to where his overcoat was hanging from a hook, reaching into the inner breasat pocket and pulling out a single parchment. He leaned against the wall, unfolding the paper and giving it yet another read, probably the fifth time he had actually looked at the thing.

Wanted

Members of the Yakuza Clan, based out of Edo.

For the crimes of:

Murder
Theft
Extortion
Kidnapping
Possession and/or use of Illegal Drugs
Arson


The penalty of these crimes is: Death or Capture
Bounty: 200,000 Mon
Bonus: High ranking members of the Yakuza will earn a bonus payout of 400,000 Mon.

A wanted poster from a few towns over, posted by the local militia there on order from their lord. Edo wasn't too far away, and it had the potential to be an easy bounty...or so Kenzo had thought.

He folded the paper up once more and placed it back inside the pocket before donning the jacket himself. He had been in this village for a few days now, and so far had been unable to figure out a way to carry out his job with the least amount of blood and death possible without himself either being captured or dead by the end of it. Sure, he could start running up to these Yakuza bastards, who so far were not exactly standing up to their reputation as thugs and murderers, and start swinging his sword like a mad man, but it wouldn't end well for him. He had already seen a couple of the higher ranking members wandering around and the bonus was more than worth the effort needed to at least attempt capturing them.

If he couldn't figure something out soon, he would have to resort to killing a couple and taking something as proof of the deed. He wouldn't have time to take the entire head, and a simple ear or finger wouldn't do it. Maybe their Hakama? He would have to slice a big enough chunk off to display the Yakuza colors but maybe that could work. Regardless of proof, Kenzo didn't want to resort to killing if he didn't have to. With that mindset, he opened the sliding door of his room and made his way down to the bar below.

He stopped long enough at the bar to fill up his canteen with water, and walked out onto the beaming streets of Edo. Kenzo simply took the time to take a walk, peering into alleys and down streets to get a better feel of the place. He had scouted the entire city when he first showed up, but it was always better to have a fresh mental map in place just in case. Even during his little jaunt through the streets, Yakuza members were thick with their presence. Patrols of 3 or more would pass by him on a regular basis. According to a couple of the locals he had asked, the color of their Hakama indicated their rank. Apparently there weren't many officers, and there were a couple who didn't wear the standard colors of their faction.

Then what was the point? Why have colors if your leaders don't wear them? Seemed kind of redundant to Kenzo but then again he didn't fly any colors save his own. His walk took him past several different places, including the market and even what could be classified as the 'poor' district. Even Kenzo had to admit, Edo's poor district put other village's rich districts to shame. After having spent some time here, Kenzo had to concede that he was having misgivings about this entire bounty. For the most part, he hadn't seen the Yakuza do anything that would consititute a crime, especially to the scale written. Then again, it could be because this is their base of operations and it's the one place they want to be serene and peaceful.

Walking a little further brought Kenzo to the front gate of the Yakuza headquarters, for lack of a better word. A large building a simple step down from an actual castle, and while he couldn't see inside the building he could see around to their yard through the gate, where there sat a single tree, maybe orchard or something akin to that. It seemed like a couple people were standing around it. Without a doubt they had to be some of the higher ranking members of the Yakuza, or at least directly related to them.

Kenzo took a few moments to peer at the gate and surrounding structure. He could try to climb his way over but everyone would see him the moment he tried. The gate was locked so walking right in wouldn't happen without some kind of extenuating circumstance. He could try to lure them out...set fire to a building perhaps? Mix some sake with a burning rag and you have yourself a fire in a bottle. It would draw attention, but would it get those high priced people out from behind their safe walls? Kenzo scoffed to himself and walked away from the building. A fire that would draw their attention would have to be huge and have a massive risk of hurting innocent people. He wasn't willing to do that just yet.

It was only a few steps later that Kenzo's stomach protested it's own gripes, having forgotten to eat anything for breakfast and immediately regretting that decision. A short walk later and Kenzo was sitting at a table with a bowl of hot vegetables in front of him at some restaurant. It wasn't much, and he would have preferred some kind of meat, but it would do him well enough. He was only halfway done his meal when people started yelling outside. At first he thought it was because someone had drawn a sword and was about to do something stupid, instead he glanced out the window to see several Yakuza members running past.

He placed his money on the table and left for the door, exiting and nearly getting trampled by yet another patrol of Yakuza running past him with their hands on their blades. Several civilians were running the opposite direction, and Kenzo managed to grab one of them on the way past. "What's going on?" Kenzo asked quite bluntly.

"We're under attack! Soldiers with naginatas and katanas stormed in and started killing everyone!" The man shouted before shoving Kenzo and running further away from wherever the fighting was happening. Kenzo stared towards the danger for a moment, and saw his opening. The leaders, if they were worth any of the praise he had heard some of these towns people claim, would rush out to help with the situation. In that confusion, he could slip inside and find anyone who didn't go out with the party, subdue them and get them out of Edo. With that in mind, he made like the frightened villagers and ran towards the center of town.

A few moments later and he was at the gate of the main Yakuza building. Almost on cue, the gate swung open and several heavily armed Yakuza members charged out of the building. Before the gate could close, Kenzo whipped through it and drew his Katana expecting to fight some guards left behind. Instead he was greeted with nothing as the gate slammed shut. Not even a single blue and white hakama there to greet him. Were they all gone? Or were they so assured of their safety that they didn't bother with some form of security? Regardless, now would probably be his only chance to scope the place out if nothing else.

He ran forward, katana in hand and burst into the main lobby of the building. The moment he did, he was greeted by the sight of a white haired woman who stared him down as he nearly froze in place. She was armed, her capability not quite evident by her stance or apparel but her eyes spoke volumes. She would cut him down if he made the wrong move, or at least she would try to. Wait...white hair and armed? Makoto's bodyguard? Asuka, if he remembered correctly. Skilled according to the stories, well past the point of being able to subdue her easily. He didn't have time for a prolonged fight if he could help it, there had to be someone else here worth grabbing.

"Fujiwara-san." Kenzo bowed. "I bring word from the fight, more mercenaries have joined the attackers. Makoto-sama and Yoshiro-dono are under heavy attack and require your assistance." He had no idea if this would work, but his blade was already out if it didn't.

The alarm had come quickly inside of the shared home, and it did not take long for most of the Yakuza members to make for the battlefield. They needed to protect their villagers, and it was her father and brother who led the company this time. The both of them had left, leaving Asuka behind to watch over the rest of the village. She would be needed just in case some of the warriors made it passed the yakuza. She believed, however, that would not be the case. She sighed softly before a man came into her sights. She furrowed her brows slightly as he spoke. Makoto and Yoshiro were in trouble?

"Find Shigeru and tell him to keep an eye on the villagers. Tell him to make sure no one gets inside," were the only words she left him with. If she left the place unattended to... she didn't want to think of the consequences. She left him seconds later.

Kenzo watched Asuka leave, staring at the door as it closed for a moment before sniffing and wiping his nose slightly. "That worked." Kenzo whispered to himself as he turned towards the rest of the building. There was at least one more person in here. Shigeru, a lieutenant of the Yakuza if memory served and potentially an easier target than the bodyguard to the Dono's son. Without any more hesitation, he jogged through the building searching every room as he came to them when suddenly he heard the sound of some sort of stringed instrument. Kenzo made his way to the back, exiting the building to reveal a single tree with a man sitting below it and plucking away at a koto. Seeing as there seemed to be no one else in the entire building, this had to be Shigeru.

The man's back was turned, the music was muffling any sound Kenzo could make, and there was no one else around to see him. He pressed forward carefully as he flipped his katana around so that the handlle was facing towards his target. He wanted him alive, then he could haul him out of here while whatever was happening elsewhere in the village was wrapping up. He could steal a horse and be long gone before anyone realized they were missing. Kenzo got within a few feet of Shigeru, who seemed to be blissfully unaware of his presence as he plucked away, and Kenzo readied his strike.

Suddenly something pounced from the tree like a cat, tackling Kenzo to the ground who rolled with the surprise hit and managed to throw whatever it was off of him and get back to his feet. Shigeru turned immediately at the sound to see Kenzo in a battle stance and his blade back at the forefront in his standard style. Kenzo looked over to see someone else, standing from being knocked over. There was a slight smile on the man's lips as he realized he had stopped Kenzo from attacking Shigeru. Kenzo simply swore to himself, he didn't have time for a prolonged fight because there was no telling when the other Yakuza members would be back. He didn't have a choice though, he either left with Shigeru in tow, or he left with nothing to show his efforts. He would be hunted if he stayed here, so with that in mind he charged at his intended target blade at the ready.

He was going to get paid no matter what.



Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Fujiwara Makoto Character Portrait: Fujiwara Asuka Character Portrait: Ashikaga Shigeru Character Portrait: Taiyo Kenzo
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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Shigeru was sitting at his favorite spot, in the backyard of the Yakuza's Headquarters, where there was a big cherry blossom tree. It was such a nice morning, but apparently things hadn't been very peaceful as of lately. Someone had caused a ruckus in Edo and the heads of the family, Lord Yoshiro and his son Makoto, had gone to take care of it, along with most of the men. Shigeru, however, was tasked to stay behind with Asuka to watch over the villagers and make sure that no one traced their step here. Not like anyone would have the nerve to do that in times like this, anyway, if they valued their lives.

Morning didn't sound like a very suitable time to play koto, but he had to find something to do if he was stuck here waiting for everyone to return, didn't he? At least Shigeru wasn't totally alone right now, as his self-proclaimed kitsune servant was also sitting behind him, apparently enjoying the melody even more than he was. Of course, he had no intention of making anyone his follower nor his servant in the first place, but since Shugo kept insisting, he figured to just let him do whatever he wanted. That wasn't entirely a bad thing, since he was quite adorable. In a way, Shugo always reminded him of the trustworthy friend whom Shigeru had lost so long ago.

At first look, it almost seemed as if Shigeru was totally putting his guard down, completely unaware of what was happening around him. That's what he wanted others to believe. Every single being exuded their own distinguished auras, and as a master of ki, he could easily detect them if they didn't learn to conceal theirs. In a certain range, knowing who was walking in and out and who was suspicious, was childplay to him. It always proves to be useful whenever he's on guard like this.

And soon enough, he felt a rather strange presence, which differed itself from any of the Yakuza he knew. It was either a newbie, or a complete stranger somehow managed to get inside the headquarters. Whoever they were, it was certain that they were trying to approach Shigeru, for what intentions were yet to be seen.

"Shuu-chan, take cover," he said to Shugo, while still playing the koto. The kitsune nodded as he jumped onto a branch of the tree, keeping himself hidden behind the petals, keeping a watchful eye on his master. Shigeru remained calm and pretended to be blissfully ignorant as he continued to trace his fingers against the strings of the zither, making melody echoes as the man slowly approached him, ready to strike him down. Shugo wouldn't let that happen in a million years.

In a flash, he dashed from the branch he was hiding and knocked the man back, and jumped back in front of Shigeru, as the man entered his battle stance. "My deepest apology, but if you wanted to get to my master, you have to get through me first," he said with a slight smirk as he unsheathed his sword.

It was then that Shigeru stood up and smiled calmly to Shugo, "Just stay aside, Shuu-chan. I will deal with this guy."

"Are you sure, Shige-sama? Someone like him isn't worth for you to raise your proud sword," Shugo protested, but Shigeru just smiled assuredly, so he just sighed and stepped aside. However, he was still ready to back up his master if the situation called for it, though he doubted if he would actually have to if Shigeru decided to take care of it by himself.

Shigeru stepped up as he directly faced his challenger. "Come then, I don't see you as a worthy enough of an opponent for me to unsheath my sword. But I don't think I will let you take me down without a good fight," he stood still as the man charged at him.

An iron war fan fell from his sleeve into his hand as he blocked the attack with it, "Let's see if my tessenjutsu got rusty."

This Yakuza lieutenant wasn't even going to fight him with a blade? Was he going to use...a war fan? Kenzo took a couple steps back and stared at Shigeru for a moment. Was the man that confident that he could beat him with a simple war fan? Or was he that stupid that he thought he could beat him with a war fan. Regardless of the man's motivations or lack there of, he made a mistake in not allowing his friend...with cat ears...

Demon.

Kenzo gritted his teeth, his desire to shove his sword into the Yokai's chest almost overcoming his inclination to finish the job he was already undertaking. He shoved his hatred deep inside him for potential later use. For the moment, he had to try and take out Shigeru as fast as he could then make his escape. He knew that the Yokai had a connection to his target though and would most likely step in to stop Kenzo from finishing him. Either way, he had to try.

Kenzo stepped forward, slashing upwards as he did so and felt his blade be redirected by the war fan. Without hesitation, his hand grip changed and brought the blade back down with another straight forward slash that was oncce again redirected. It was done with a fluidity that Kenzo didn't even feel the reverberations such a move would normally make along the blade. Shigeru was caressing the blade into another direction rather than forcing it, which spoke volumes about the man's skill. Kenzo slashed a couple more times to the same effect, and then he took two steps back outside the man's limited war fan range.

The testing was over, the real battle would now begin.

Kenzo's dashed forward, his feet sliding over the dirt as he came to a stop and kicking up dust at his heels as his sword slashed upwards, downwards, and sideways. Each time it was redirected or dodged by Shigeru, but it was evident that this was not what he was expecting from the Ronin. Kenzo switched to zatoichi, flipping his katana so the blade was running parrallel to his forearm and stepped inside Shigeru's guard. Slashing with precision, every time Shigeru tried to gain some distance from the now close quarters style, Kenzo stayed with him. In this situation, the Yakuza samurai couldn't help but suffer some cuts as the blade came extremely close to slicing open his stomach.

After a few moments of this, Shigeru slid back before spinning around and delivering a kick to Kenzo, who managed to get his arm up in time to block it, but wasn't quick enough to follow up the second kick which landed squarely on his face, sending him stumbling backwards slightly. Shigeru used this unbalance to his advantage, pressing forward and delivering three vertical slashes to Kenzo in quick succession. Kenzo had to practically fall backwards in order to avoid having his eyes cut out, and was left with a series of with a series of bleeding cuts on his face for the trouble. When Shigeru pressed his position one more, Kenzo managed to grasp the outreached arm, slide around and toss Shigeru over his shoulder. The Samurai fell to the ground hard but landed in a roll that allowed him to get to his feet quickly. They stood there for a moment before circling each other. Kenzo didn't have much time left, he couldn't afford to stay here for much longer.

Shigeru exhaled a short breath, but a smile managed to make it on his face. Ever since his fight with the black yokai, there hadn't been many battles that could truly get his adrenaline going like this. Apparently his challenger was not someone to be taken lightly, but there was no reason for him to go all out right now. It was quite clear to Shigeru that the man didn't have much time, that's why he was seemingly trying to take him out quickly.

And it looked like he was just getting serious. Shigeru could feel his aura change as he saw him unsheath another wakizashi sword and enter a stance as he wielded both swords simultaneously. Shigeru raised his eyebrow in slight surprise. He had heard a lot of about sword techniques like this where the wielders would attack with ridiculous speed, but never really got a chance to see it in practice. He could see that the atmosphere was quickly changing. One wrong move and his head would roll.

Yet, his lips still curved into a smirk. It seemed that he too had to get a little serious now.

Shigeru moved his hand over his chest and closed his eyes for a few seconds while exhaling another breath. A quarter of his ki was channeled throughout his body, enhancing every muscle. As he entered his stance, both of them stared at each other for a short moment before dashing toward their opponents.

Every swing and slash coming from both the wakizaki and katana was incredibly fast, with masterful precision. If Shigeru hesitated for just a second, it would mean his untimely end. There were not many swordsmen out there who could manage to be this fast, even with a hundred years of practice. But, it would be such a shame for Shigeru to fall now, wouldn't it?

Even with his enhanced dexterity, Shigeru found himself on the defensive as strike after strike came towards him with more and more speed. The mercenary was fast...faster than he thought someone should be as his blades found purchase on several parts of his body, just barely escaping a fatal blow more than once. On his own, Shigeru couldn't hope to match the speed of his opponent, but he did have something that he didn't. He had to buy his time, wait for a moment, strike with precision. As his Ki managed to keep him half a step ahead of the Ronin, he could feel himself coming dangerously close to his preferred limit. He had to strike soon.

After a couple more moments of dodging and redirecting strikes , Shigeru finally managed to make out a weak spot. He dashed forward as he blocked one sword with his iron fan, while purposefully letting the other cut his hip slightly. Centering most of the ki he was using at the moment into his free arm, Shigeru managed to punch the man in his abdomen with such force that it made him fly backwards several meters.

The man, though not having fallen because of the attack as he slid on the ground, was wincing slightly because Shigeru had almost hit a critical point. And now it seemed that he couldn't afford to stay and mingle any longer. He sheathed both of his swords before quickly turning his back and fleeing the scene. Seeing that the intruder was escaping, Shugo stepped up, intending to chase him down, but Shigeru raised his arm and stopped him. "There's no need to, yet."

So far nothing had gone to plan. He had dodged a skilled fighter to run into yet another skilled fighter. Obviously the raised bounty on the leadership of the Yakuza was a very reasonable thing to do, if they were all of the skill level of Shigeru back there. Still, he had given him a run for his money. Kenzo wondered, if the man hadn't been able to draw on his Ki, if he would still be standing. Maybe if he pulled his sword instead of some fan...but even then he managed to dodge Kenzo more than enough to warrant running away like some kind of coward. Kenzo swore to himself as he sprinted towards the gate of the complex. This was a stupid plan...a stupid stupid stupid...

Kenzo burst through the gate, and came to a skidding halt as several Yakuza members stood there in stunned silence at this new comer appearing from their headquarters. Kenzo peered around for a second, wondering if he could talk his way out of this one when Asuka appeared from the crowd and angrily stepped up to him. "Oh fuck off." Kenzo managed to utter before her fist connected with his face and sent him sprawling back towards the gate. Blood almost immediately started to pour from his nose and the taste of copper flooded his mouth. What did she hit him with, a rock in the shape of a fist? Kenzo tried to get to his feet but immediately felt a couple of knees dig themselves into his back and he grunted in pain as he could feel rope being tied around his hands.

He tried to fight back, managing to elbow one of the arresting Yakuza in the face, but was quickly silenced by a few more strikes to his head and stomach. They yanked him to his feet, and he glanced backwards to see Shigeru calmly staring at him with his pet demon by his side. Kenzo glared back at the man, but quickly returned his attention to the people in front of him, briefly licking the blood flowing freely from his most likely broken nose.

In front of him stood several lower ranking Yakuza members, but among them were Makoto and his bodyguard Asuka, who Kenzo tried to avoid visibly flinching from everytime her hand twitched. She hit like a brick shithouse, and the Samurai behind him was fast and a damn wizard with Ki...was everyone in the Yakuza some kind of super freak?

Makoto stared at the man after he was restrained, glancing towards Asuka and gave her a questioning glance. "Asuka-chan, what is the meaning of this?" he questioned, earning a slight narrowing of eyes. She merely released a frustrated sigh, and walked over towards the captured man. She resisted the urge to punch the man in the stomach this time around, and glanced back towards her charge.

"He is the one responsible of why I left my station. He said Fujiwara-dono and Makoto-sama were in need of assistance; that there was a suprise attack on the both of you," she replied, narrowing her eyes at the captured man. Makoto merely furrowed his brows and turned his attention to the prisoner. With a soft sigh, he waved his hand towards the group.

"Unbind him, but take him to Daizo-san. He will see to the care of this man," was the only thing he said. They didn't have a proper dungeon to detain criminals of the sort, but if the man was a spy for Sakuya, then Daizo would find out. For now, they didn't need to act so needlessly violent towards the man. "I expected better of you, though, Asuka," he spoke, causing her to look away. She could see the disappointment behind his eyes, and it stung.

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Character Portrait: Sutoku Tōka
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It wasn’t something that could be called a battle; even β€œskirmish” seemed like too respectable a concept to be applied to what occurred this morning in the town of Edo. Certainly there were two opposing forces armed with military weapons attempting to kill each other, but they seemed more like gangs fighting a random, uncoordinated brawl than anything else. Several armed warriors had managed to actually raid the town. Peaceful villages that aren’t engaged in a feud with another group are more wary of their surroundings and capable of raising alarm than Edo was. That, or maybe the disjointed look of the raid wasn’t so uncoordinated and the attackers were actually rather competent in their approach and breaching of the town. Either way, the violence was over for the moment, as figures retreated away from Edo as fast as they arrived and escaped any attempt at pursuit.

All of this could be seen from one of the nearby hills, an appropriate place for a highborn bird to watch violence unfold between exiles and glorified bandits. Satisfied with the scenes she had witnessed, Tōka rose from where she had been seated, breaking the image of proper posture that she had created. As she did so, three others had their posture broken as well, only they did not rise to their feet with grace, but fell over from the strain in their muscles and the relief of their freedom of movement. They gasped and wheezed as their control over their own bodies returned to them, and their sweat-drenched hands gripped the earth as they stabilized themselves. They were seemingly meant to be a part of what had unfolded before them, and though it was assuredly painful to watch one’s comrades fight while being unable to rush to their side to help them, they had not presented any alternative to the Tengu. Tōka, not following the main road (or any road, really) that one would expect a traveler to take, gave the warriors quite a surprise when she appeared behind them as they readied themselves for a fight. Not knowing who she was or what she was there for, and not being in the state of mind to calmly ask for explanations, they aimed to seize her. So she seized them.

With their forced seiza broken and the feeling of their limbs returned, they didn’t seem as enthusiastic to engage with the woman who appeared before them. They seemed to contemplate it for a moment, but the fighting was already over and a glance from the Tengu did not signal an unwillingness to extend their imprisonment. So they left, cautiously taking steps backwards down the hill with their eyes darting between themselves, behind them, and always back to Tōka until she was comfortably out of view. As her companions retreated away to the woman who had sent them here, Tōka eyed the path she would take. It was a walk through the grass straight into the town, and her sandals traced the line she had drawn. Soft blades cushioned most of her steps, though the occasional bit of rocky soil broke up the monotony with a sharper sound.

More of a leisurely stroll than a determined march, the Tengu took in more of the surrounding area than she had bothered to acknowledge during the previous conflict. It was nice and serene despite the contestation taking place, with farmlands stretching this way and fields stretching that way, and the sea mere moments away. One could view storm clouds off menacing the water’s surface and any traveler unfortunate enough to be there at the time, but miles existed between them and the coast. Here there was sun and light wisps of white dancing in the sky. While no place deserved the pain and death that conflict brought, the thoughts of such things befalling such a place strengthened Tōka’s resolve. There were many places in the world like this, and they all needed to be protected from greater horrors than this world alone could produce.

When she reached the perimeter of the town, a building stood directly before her blocking her access. It was entirely possible and, for many other people, wholly reasonable to simply walk around the structure and look for a more proper entrance, but Tōka had chosen this approach and would not falter here. Loosening her kimono to provide enough slack to free her shoulders from the silk, she prepared to loosen her restraint as well. For once there was no need to hide what she was for fear of scaring the locals and ensuring decades of fearful glances and attempts to oust her from that particular town or village. Here, the revelation of what she was would be beneficial to her goals, and it would announce the arrival of someone who should not be ignored.

And so, Tōka stopped subduing her own power for the sake of subtlety and ensured that anyone in the surrounding area capable of sensing such things could sense her. Large black wings unfurled behind her until they were fully extended. After a brief moment where every feather seemed to stretch and taste the air it had been deprived for so long, they flicked, slamming the air unfortunate enough to reside under her wings into the ground with an immense force and a loud bang. Scattering dirt and dust all around her, Tōka launched herself into the air before retracting her wings and fixing her clothing. By the time she landed, the only oddity about her was that she had descended from above. There were, naturally, stares but not as many as to be expected–the populace had seemingly become accustomed to odd people behaving in odd ways–and many were much more concerned with making sure that there weren’t any more enemies roaming the streets or another attack looming just out of sight.

Using the mansion, her destination, as a point of reference, Tōka meandered through the streets seeing how well the interior matched the exterior. With the fighting believed to be managed, if not entirely over, merchants began to go back to their business and manage their stock. This one had fresh fish, that one had bolts of cloth, and one even sold jewelry ranging from simple to precious stones. Though her purse weighed heavy with gold and jewels taken from Delhi to Kyoto and everywhere in between, nothing really caught her eye at the moment. Perhaps more browsing would reveal something she’d be willing to spend her money on, but that would have to wait for some future day. She might not have been in some great hurry to arrive at the mansion or have someone approach her on behalf of the Kitsune ruling here, but it was pertinent to at least vaguely move in that direction. Tōka only hoped that, despite the recent raid by an enemy, that whoever they sent would at least be polite and aware of their station in comparison to her.

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Character Portrait: Konoe Susumu Character Portrait: Fuma Yuka
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How ethereally peaceful.

Soft petals falling from its branches, designing the still water like a splash of paint. Raining down with revere and intricacy. The lake was cradled by the fluttering beauty of nature. Everything was like in a bubble of wonder permanency around the being draped in a fragile manner upon the boroughs of the cream pink blossoming tree. Even the thought of being submerged partly on the lake didn't deter such calming scenery. It has that kind of spark that would sooth anyone that chanced upon it.

This individual was notably asleep, covered in fine robes depicting of high status in society. Golden armaments could be seen and worn but not to boast. It was purely for aesthetic and sentimental purposes and yet denoted this person was not a simple peasant. Setting aside clothes, the mien was that of beauty unreal for the world of mortals. It was a given this being was a man which only further that he is not of this world and that was true. He is after all, the Emperor's Symbol, the Black Kirin.

But, as of now, he is but a humble wanderer named Konoe Susumu. And so, he slept his time away which molds him into a being trapped in its clutches, knowingly. Yes, it was the perfect moment in the day to have a rejuvenating nap. However, there was that kind of hush reaching his sanctuary. A troublesome kind of breeze that wraps around him, hoping to be purified in his presence. It was that kind of hush that interrupted the slumbering male whose eyes revealed itself with the delicacy of a new bloom. Something was amiss as the wind hailed from his current destination, Edo.

He had stopped briefly in his travel as he was taken by the flowers littering the skyline while the lake bore the reflection of such wonder. It would be a waste to simply walk on without admiring such natural grace. From that eventually, he was serenaded to sleep as if he was unmoved by the dangers that could possibly befall someone like him. Well, he was living on the philosophy if it happens then it is so. Nothing can stop the wheels and even if one aimed to break it that would only be the death of them. Many had treaded such road and he witnessed them firsthand. Everything was inevitable just like how his presence is supposed to be. How unnerving indeed.

In any case, his path is clear. He only needed to walk on it for now. Just as so, he rose from his sleep and stood. Unbelievably it may be to the humans, he walked upon the lake's surface as if it is a pristine earth. His appearance was untouched by anything. He soon reached land and he gracefully began his steps that would now be acceptable in human standards. But before departing, he reached out his hand, catching a lone petal on his palm. His face expressed a gentle smile reaching his crescent moon eyes. "What a fine woman you are." He delivered the petal to his lips before releasing it to the wind. "Probably." His tone melded with cheerful doubt as his eyes captured tendrils of rose pink bellowing in the wind.

How carefree he is in such a world and era.

Once more, he began his journey. In truth, he was but a few meters away from Edo itself. However, he was a man of whims that are as transient as that of a fickle heart. Just like so, he was neither fearful nor emanating caution as he waltz into its territory. He could sense the electrifying tension in the air, but that was something he did not take attention to. People watched him in earnest and apprehension of a stranger with such clothes fitting of a nobility of the royal courts. After all, a person of such prestige would never come in a town known for the manifestations of crime. Then again, it did not appear to be a hovel of depravity.

The proof was the delicious smell and colorful display of dangos which caught his eye. At the same time, the people eyeing him with suspicion felt at ease in his presence. For now, he satisfied himself with such treats, taking a bite of his bought snack. "Truly a delight to the senses, probably." saying it with a smile.

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Character Portrait: Fujiwara Makoto Character Portrait: Fujiwara Asuka Character Portrait: Ashikaga Shigeru Character Portrait: Taiyo Kenzo Character Portrait: Akumi Tsubaki
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Akumi sat in the middle of her floor, her Tsubaki tree intertwined with the wood of her walls. Considering she was a tree yokai, she had been allowed a few odd accommodations such has having her host tree as a literal part of her room. The gnarled roots covered a portion of her floor and its branches sprawled above her and curled down, heavy with its burden of blossoms. Half of the tree bloomed just outside the walls, getting all the sunlight it needed. The velvety violet blooms could be found in the grass and all over her floor. She was often very careful to walk around the blossoms to avoid crushing them even if they were drying and snapped at anyone who tried to step on them. Thankfully, the branch that extended across the ceiling and draped down generally loosed its burden in one location.

The Tsubaki yokai also had various paintings decorating the walls that she had created herself, little bits of memories from her past. Most often, they were half remembered faces and events. A couple of spots had obviously missing portraits but she didn't mind. Shigeru-kun had mentioned his desire for them and she had happily parted with them to brighten his room and see him give that rather contagious smile. All of her painting supplies were neatly ordered in one corner of the room and a half painted canvas waited for her but she had much more important things to do today. She had warned the clan of an attack on the town and like most of her visions, they came to fruition.The clan had gone out to defend the citizens and she wanted to check her vision again. All the previous times she had sought answers, none of those she was close to had met their demise but she wanted to be sure now that most of the future would be set in stone revolving around this particular event. Perhaps she could offer assistance if things had changed and warn her family of the dangers.

Akumi leaned over to pick up one of the blossoms around her, her long dark hair pooling in her lap. She caressed the delicate petals, her amethyst eyes watching the lines intently. It wasn't long before images began to flash in her mind. As before, she saw the battle and their victory over the would be invaders. Makoto and Asuka were both safe. But oh, the future did change. A stranger entered her vision and lured Asuka away from the safety of the fortress which was troubling but even following this vein, Asuka's life remained a strong thrum. The stranger would target Shigeru then. The battle between the stranger and Shigeru was disconcerting. Shigeru was taking on a bit of damage but ultimately, he was victorious, landing a well-placed ki attack on the stranger at a vital point and killing the stranger instantly. Reassured that her family was safe, Akumi pulled away from her vision. With a smile on her lush lips, she stood with the blossom in hand and straightened the black kimono she wore with cerulean lines threaded through that created an elegant floral pattern.

Akumi rested the blossom delicately on one of the various shelves she used to keep the blossoms she had used for visions as a reminder, the visions still etched into the faded petals. She heard a sword fight not too far away from her then and tilted her head to the side. The fight between Shigeru and the stranger must have just started. She hurried to leave her room so she could catch the fight. She stopped a good distance away and watched as the two fought each other relentlessly. And then Shigeru hit the stranger with the ki move that Akumi knew would kill the stranger, as it had in her vision. Her eyes widened when she saw the man still very much alive and running towards the front gate. "Impossible..." she muttered. Unless Shigeru happened to not hit a vital point this time. There was a chance that something like that could happen and it was one of the few ways that her versions failed, but it was still unnerving. The stranger didn't get far however. As soon as he tried to rush past the gate, the rest of the clan was there waiting and Asuka punched the human hard enough to get him to fall. It wasn't long before the stranger was detained.

Akumi shook her head before she approached Shigeru and looked him up and down. She even reached out to pull his arms up to look at the ripped clothing where blood had already stained the fabric and was quickly drying, making it a nasty brown hue. She moved closer to turn his face and frowned at the bleeding cuts there. "My, that stranger did a number on you, Shigeru-kun," she called to him. "You should get your wounds checked before they get infected." Then she turned to Shugo. "And you? Did you get hurt when you tackled that trespasser?" she asked worried eyes searching him.

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"Nothing will be able to stop the footsteps of the era."

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