A Role play by CharlotteCarrendar and IceTe3a
Part one – Dusty Trails.
IceTe3a: The morning’s crisp air blew gracefully over the wide open plains in the nearby small town of Osaka, the place buzzed with life from the start of dawn famers rising earlier than the birds preparing for a hard day’s labor, kids slowly waking with energy for the days play. It was a simple place where one had to work to earn ones keep. A few miles outside of the town under a tree laid Miyamoto commonly known as Ronin, He had spent last night sleeping under the stars, in meditation and conditioning his body. The mornings dew was fresh and cold as a small droplet rolled down the green leaves of the tree to fall down hitting Ronin on the forehead, making its way gracefully through his facial features until it met hit lips, his tongue’s tip slipped out of his slightly dry cracked lips to greet the drop of water, licking it off his lips he awoke with a slight yawn and stretch. Glancing around his view still adjusting to the mornings light, with a spring in his step he stood up continuing to stretch his body from side to side. Knowing all too well he had to make his way towards the castle town of Nagoya as his presence was requested there for a job. Slipping his hand into his elegantly designed kimono to retrieve the letter of request, taking a slight glance over it as the details of the job would once again jog his memory. “tsk, another protection duty” rolled off his tongue in a low and soft tone, knowing any job that was offered to him he must take, as he needed the experience and money that came with the job to complete his life’s goals.
CharlotteCarrendar: – The roads to the town of Nagoya were not paved, but dust bowls that was often kicked up the merchant’s mule or passing procession of monks on way to worship. This day, as the sun’s rays were peeking through the canopy, another trader – a wine merchant in a small cart, was riding through the peaceful glen on his way to the nearest town to ply his wine for a few bags of coin. Wearing a torn woollen cloak, with the hood pulled down far over his face, the identity of the trader was a mystery, but by the state of the cart and the sorely malnourished mule, it was apparent that he was not a man of great means. Many that travelled these roads did so out of necessity, to feed the families that they had left behind on farms and in small outlying villages. The steady clip clop of the mule’s hooves would alert the Ronin of the cart that was coming. Would he view it as a threat and go on the defensive, or hitch a ride to the nearby township? <3>
IceTe3a: – : Glancing around at the terrain a slight smirk cracked upon his face, as he collected his equipment from the grassy floor beside the tree were he laid last eve. Placing each of his three katanas in their specific location as was per his preference, he gave one last stretch before turning on the ball of his heel, knowing which direction he needed to take to reach Nagoya, though there were two routes to be had, through the forest which proved less contact with others and less trouble, or the route of the main road which could prove troublesome as word of highway men have been rumored around. Not one to allow fear control his judgment he decided to take the main road, although it was commonly known as the main road in which people travelled from town to town, as well as merchants it really was just a beaten dusty path that had been well traveled. Commencing his journey as he continued to walk down the main road, his training and conditioning allowed his steps to be soft and silent as to not disturb the dust that laid on the road, the smell of freshly cooked ramen flowed through the air seducing Ronin’s nose into taking in the sent more. His stomach grumbles in agreement with his nose, as it was telling him he should grab a bite. The ramen merchant must be nearby he thought to himself, he knew his nose would not lie to him sure enough there he was the ramen merchant set up on the side of the road, unfair really who could say no to such a smell, Ronin had used this chef before many times on his journey they had a silent understanding the merchant was an old man who had nothing but his cooking left in his life although he did not mind as he loved his cooking and loved watching others enjoy it. As Ronin approached the merchants shack, he noticed him waving him over; finally reaching him Ronin gave a bow of appreciation and respect as did his merchant friend to him, slipping his right hand into his left sleeve Ronin pulled out his private food bowl and chopsticks. Old Ramen Merchant : “Good to see you again old friend, the usual I take it?” Ronin and the old man had a special bond that being Ronin knew him for that long he felt comfortable talking small talk with the old man. “Indeed old man, I smelt your fine skills half way back from Osaka, your dirty tactics got the best of me yet again” once again he talked in his low tone as he handed the old man his bowl. The old man seemed happy to hear Ronin talk that way about his food as a slight chuckle came out of his belly, giving Ronin back his bowl with a huge helping of freshly cooked pork ramen he smiled and gave a grateful bow, Ronin offered a small bag of coin more than what was due as a tip but the old man would refuse as always. Old Ramen Merchant: “How can I take your money after you saved me from those highway men a few years back” he demanded almost insulted. Ronin smiled and tossed the coin purse gently in front of the old man “ They needed a lesson in respect, none the less cooking skills like yours should not go unrewarded.” At this point of time ronins ears twitched with the sounds of hooves clicking across the dirt road, perhaps a merchant or perhaps not, as the noise came closer Ronin was half way through his ramen the old chef watching in delight as Ronin was downing his second helping, Noodles bulging out of his mouth as the rest hung down slapping his chin, it was not a pleasant sight but Ronin was never a gracious eater, noticing it was indeed a merchant with a mule and cart, he hoped to wave it down. Mouth still full of noodles “ Mm.. You going *slurp* to Nagoya by chance? I would have ride with coins to fall in your hands” he said as he slurped down the rest of his noodles at this point the old merchant man refilled Ronin’s bowl up one last time and started to cook a fresh batch, It was easy to see Ronin was a strong silent type unless he had food in front of him or in his mouth, he seemed more open and happy, perhaps it was the relevance of his youth, the last of it anyway.
CharlotteCarrendar: – It was not only the Ronin who had sniffed out the scent of the ramen merchant’s cooking, but also the hooded man, who had brought his cart up to the side of the dusty track. The mule immediately dipped its head and began to hungrily munch at the roadside grasses, while the merchant pulled on the large brake stick and locked it in place. He moved slowly, as though he was of an age whereby speed was no longer within his ability. A loud grunt, that was forced up from his stomach and escaped cracked lips was heard, as he got down off his cart and landed with a dull thud on the dusty track. At this point, his weathered hood fell back, and revealed – surprisingly a dark head of hair. No silver or white as one would imagine from a man of age. Though youthful were his locks, his face was lined and scarred. In fact, if one looked closer they would see that the man had only one eye. The other had either been lost in a terrible hunting accident gone wrong, or an injury sustained on a battlefield. Could this traveller be more than just a merchant? It was hard to judge a man by his cloth, and in this case the mystery surrounding the wine trader only intensified. He reached behind his cart, and pulled out a wine bladder, bringing it over and setting it on the ramen trader’s table. “My wine, for a bowl of your ramen…if you please.” He showed respect by bowing, and noted the strange man with the ramen dangling off his chin. He ate with less grace than his own mule. The Ronin’s words were said with a mouthful of food, and one had to concentrate and say back to themselves what the Ronin was trying to say. “ Mm.. You going *slurp* to Nagoya by chance? I would have ride with coins to fall in your hands” A paying passenger? This made the wine trader think for a moment, as he awaited the ramen trader’s yes or no to the offer to trade wine for a meal. “One road leads to Nagoya. I am on way there with a delivery to the castle. Once I have had a meal, if this kind man accepts my offer of wine, I can take you.” The wine trader then looked back at the ramen merchant. Already the belly of our merchant was growling in protest, having been without food now for two days. <3>
IceTe3a: – Ronin’s eyes glance at the strange man as his hood fell down, noticing the scars, perhaps the scars of a life on the battlefields, although he could never be sure; one thing was certain this man had seen some serious hardship in his lifetime. The old ramen chef’s eyes twinkled with the voice of a new customer; he bows slightly multiple times as he watched the merchant drop a casket of wine near him, a trade of wine for food? The old man had no issue with this as he was slightly an alcoholic, he could not pass up the chance for a good drop of wine. Old man merchant “ Of course, I would not deny one from food” as the old man poured a extra large helping of ramen in a rather large replaceable bowl, offering it to the wine merchant with a pair of brand new chopsticks, the old Ramen merchant was always prepared for any excuse, as he carried spare give away bowls and chopsticks for those who said they had none. Ronin could not help but wonder of the wine merchants past, but it was of no concern to him and placed it in the back of his mind, his eyes noticed the axtra large bowl his old friend was handing to the wine merchant, making Ronins bowl look small, he was jealous he needed to get a larger bowl to fit more food into, this was a fact. Graciously accepting the wine merchants offer to give him a lift to Nagoya Ronin bows to the merchant showing gratitude and respect, his chopsticks glide into his kimono pulling out another small coin bag as he flung it into the wine merchants pocket “ let me know if that is not enough” ronin said in a low and soft tone, he then turns to face his old merchant friend gives a gracious bow for the food and the small talk, you could see a tear of happiness rolling from the old man’s eye he appreciated Ronin more than Ronin could understand, with that Ronin walked to the back of the cart, bending slightly at the knee’s he jumped with the ball of his feet into the air, holding onto his freshly filled bowl of ramen in his left hand, chopsticks in his right he landed softly in the back cart, not spilling a drop of the ramen he so enjoyed, kneeling down. He started to enjoy his ramen once again stuffing more noodles than one should into his mouth at this point the deliciously cooked stew was dripping from his lips down to his wet chin, the flavor sensation was delicate and strong at the same time, a masters art form the cooking of ramen to be able to have so many flavors entwine within each other, each complementing the last flavor whilst extending its own this was indeed the food of the gods in which he was grateful for being able to enjoy. His eyes shift to his old friend who could not help but notice how much Ronin enjoyed his food, he was kneeling on the ground his hands laying in front of him, the ultimate show of respect, as he watched Ronin with joyful eyes. Ronin quickly finished up the last of the noodles; placing his chopsticks within his kimono he raised the bowl to his mouth *Sluuuuurrrpppp* guzzling down the perfectly made broth he let out a sigh of enjoyment, raising his bowl upside down in the air to show it was now empty he smiled “ You should cook for the gods my friend” the old man took to one knee as he burst out in tears of happiness. A truly pleasant old man Ronin thought to himself, he was finally off towards Nagoya, without having to spend to much energy walking, he was glad as he placed his bowl back inside his kimono he retrieved his job detail sheet, *reading under breath* “ requests your blah blah to protect me yada yada, I am an important man insert boasting here, payment when the job is done.” He sighs slightly knowing this would be another boring job where a rich boastful man needs to flash his coin around to show his worth, no one was truly after him. Although there were no details on why he needed protection, he assumed the client needed the protection to cart something valuble from one place or another, or perhaps he is into politics and fears assassination, he would have to find out the full details once he came into Nagoya and met up with this… *his eyes scroll to find the clients name* “Rikken Seiyukai” he said under his breath as he waited for the wine merchant to finish with his food and continue moving forward.
CharlotteCarrendar: – It is a time honoured custom that when poor folks offer up items for trade, that it is usually accepted with grace and understanding. That was the case this day, when the wine merchant had offered a good sized bladder of wine in exchange for a bowl of ramen. With a replaceable bowl and new chopsticks to boot, the ramen trader kindly handed over a good sized meal, the smell of which was simply divine. The wine trader showed his thanks by bowing at least six times – a little overboard but the delight could not be wiped from his face, as he tucked in with gusto to the delicious meal. In between mouthfuls, the wine trader said that his wine was some of the best in the land, and that it was often bought by the likes of nobility and high elders, also used by the monks of Nagoya. The new travelling companion had tossed the wine merchant a bag of coin to hitch a ride in his cart, and this was gracefully accepted. Pocketed in his cloak in a special pouch that was tied around his middle. All too often thieves and vagabonds try to steal the handsome purses of the rich that travel these roads, but the wine trader knew many a skill and art of the staff in which to protect himself. And besides, more would rather cart off his wine, than feel him up for a few measly coins. Finishing his ramen, he kindly handed back the empty bowl and chopsticks to the generous ramen merchant. “I thank you…my belly thanks you.” He said with something of a crooked smile, patting his now swollen belly. This meal should keep him going for at least another two days, or until he is able to offload his shipment at Nagoya, which ever comes first. Making his way back over to his cart, he could see the traveller had already made himself comfortable in the back, and was reading a scrolled parchment. Interesting – the wine merchant thought to himself. What would a ronin be doing in these woods? It was obvious from his many katana and kimono that he was a sell sword. Probably on his way to see the Royals, but when he heard the name uttered; “Rikken Seiyukai” the wine merchant suddenly found reason to laugh. “Ahahahahaha…. “Rikken Seiyukai?…Ahahaha. yellow bellied snake in the grass. Can’t keep himself out of trouble let alone look after himself. Oh…if you are on your way to meet him and work for him, a word of warning. He is not a man that easily pays his debts.” The Wine merchant tapped his nose twice, before getting up onto the driver’s seat of the cart, and then unhooking the brake stick. The cart lurched slightly as the merchant took up the reigns. <3>
IceTe3a: – His ears twitch as the wine merchant bursts out in a laugh “Ahahahahaha…. “Rikken Seiyukai?…Ahahaha. yellow bellied snake in the grass. Can’t keep himself out of trouble let alone look after himself. Oh…if you are on your way to meet him and work for him, a word of warning. He is not a man that easily pays his debts.” Ronin took this into account whilst thinking of the job and nodded, “He would quickly find the tip of my blades” he simply said stating that if this client robbed him of his payment. By the sounds of it the client was indeed a boastful oath who causes trouble for others in turn endangering his life, either way a job was a job. It was not Ronin’s duty to judge his client whilst under agreement with them, he simply needed to move ever forward with his search and that was all he cared about, that and becoming the world’s greatest swordsman. Finally underway the cart started to move forward as the mule pulls the weight of the cart and all inside it, such a strong and well conditioned beast to take on a task such like that, he noticed his old friend slowly disappearing in the distance as the old chef waved one last goodbye to Ronin. Closing his eyes he let out a soft sigh as his memory tortured him of his past, with images and memories of his family and village where he grew up, he pulled out the only picture he had of himself and his little sister now lost, “Ayame…” her name whispered softly into the winds, placing the picture back into his kimono resting on his heart, where she will always be held, he never lost hope that she was still alive and well somewhere in this vast world, he would find her, and reunite them both this he swore as it was one of his life goals. Coming back to reality and his senses he glanced around the terrain seeing the vast plains and forests rolling over mountains in the distance. Every now and then they would pass other travelers as they gave a passing wave, no trouble was to be had as of yet.
CharlotteCarrendar: – The wine merchant nodded along with what the Ronin said about not judging one that they are employed by, it is merely paid work under contract, that if not paid in full, would find the employer in the wrong end of the Ronin’s swords. Something’s never change, so it seemed. Was the true knights of the blade all now selling their skills to the highest bidder and gaining no honor? It was a question that the wine merchant had been asking himself now for years. Every so often, the merchant passed stalls and other carts along the dusty track, and always he showed respect. A nod here and there or a slight wave of his hand, before keeping his eye on the road. To pass the time, the wine merchant started to sing a song that was sung by many a traveller, but little did the ronin know that this story was in fact true.. It was the tale of a beautiful woman that had bewitched a handsome knight and then led him on a dangerous path to save her lover from execution. But the knight fell in love with the woman, and failed to reach the designated place in time. The woman whose love was lost, threw herself into the sea on word the knight failed in his quest. A sad tale indeed. You cannot love someone that loves another, and have a happy ending. That was the moral. At the end of the song, the merchant fell silent, and tapped the reigns to get the mule to pick up his feet. How long the mule would last on this trip remained to be seen, for it was in dire need of rest. Only the wind through the trees and the heavy clop of hooves on dirt was to be heard. Would the ronin ask about the song, or about the identity of the merchant? Surely he was curious. <3>
IceTe3a: – Roinin closed his eyes as but kept his other senses open, hearing the merchant sing as time passed on, he listened to the words carefully, songs had morals and meanings to be learned, a wise man once told him, this was true each song had a moral of wise words. He glanced over the shoulder towards the merchant, “ The song, what is the true meaning?” he wondered if the old merchant would pass on his wisdom, his hair slowly dancing in the wind that rolled down from the high valley before them, the mule must be getting tired by now, surely the beast could not go on forever, Although he forgot himself, with the right training and conditioning anything was possible a lesson he learned all too well. Trying to learn his location they must be almost near the city by now, or at least he hoped so, Ronin had traveled many lands but this new city was all but a mystery towards him. How would the people fair, who governs the lands, these questions he would find out soon enough.
CharlotteCarrendar: – “The song? Ah yes. Guess you could say it is a lesson that when we hire out our services, that we be careful to keep it professional. Not let our emotions get the better of us. It….can cost more than the purse of some royal.” Easier said than done to a young Knight when faced with a beautiful woman in need. The old man shrugged his sagging shoulders, his body worn and tired like that of his mule. What an odd couple they made. Up ahead finally the gates of the township of Nagoya. A sprawling town, with many villagers, merchants, and soldiers. One could do well there, if they had the right goods or services to provide. Every man a price and there was always someone that was willing to pay. “And…after days I see the gates of Nagoya. Not a moment too soon either, for I fear my mule will collapse soon if we do not make it there by sunset.’ He spoke the truth, and urged the mule on, passing rows of guards and soldiers, who seemed to take no interest in that of a wine merchant and his cart. They would be interested only if in an inn and on the receiving end of the barrel. <3>
IceTe3a: – He nods as the merchant told him of the moral “Wise words indeed” he said plainly as he meditated on the moral of the story, cautious words for all who call themselves traders he heard the old man talk about Nagoya as he glanced over, there it was the city gates, finally reaching his destination, a sigh of relief as he agreed the mule would upturn soon if rest was not to follow short. “ I thank you for your wise words and help in travels” he said knowing they would part ways as soon as the cart stopped inside the town, he readied himself collecting his gear, taking note of the gates and locations of the town, as he would need to familiarize himself with this town soon. The town was busy and full with life and smells of all sorts, he would need to find the inn amongst other locations whilst going to see his client. Hoping he would not be as boastful and greedy as his reputation lead him to be.
CharlotteCarrendar: – Sure enough the trader had found the inn to which he had arranged to make the delivery and trade of his wine. There was a stable to the right, and he pulled up the cart, and locked on the brake. Stepping down, he moved around to his tired mule, who was now frothing at the mouth, and wheezing badly. This was to be it’s final trip, and the merchant knew it. He unfastened the holsters and the bridle, before leading the tired creature into the stable, where there was food, water and of course a stall in which to take it’s much needed rest. A young boy who was employed by the innkeeper helped open the stall door and made it his job to see to it the mule was taken care of. Not long after it had a good drink of water, it sat itself down on the straw covered floor and finally closed its eyes. Content the mule was in good hands, the merchant wandered back out to the cart, where the inn keeper was already waiting. There were at least ten barrels of wine, along with some bladders as samples, and the innkeeper rubbed his hands together gleefully, before bowing before the merchant. “Just in time, we have a celebration in the city this eve. I trust you had a good trip.” The Innkeeper asked, as the wine merchant started to loosen the ropes that secured the barrels in place. “My mule may not see the morning sun, but your shipment is here, and I am in need of a good night’s sleep. Let us talk more after offloading the wine to the inn.” <3>
IceTe3a: – He jumps off the cart, dusting himself off he gives a big stretch giving a gracious bow to the wine merchant, he parts ways with him, as he goes around town taking note of where things are, guard rotations, defenses, escape routes among other things, having a guard point out to him the exact location of Rikken Seiyukai’s he was told “look for the most boastful house” which would prove right to rikken’s reputation. Finally the cart and all was taken care of, as Ronin walked up to the old wine merchant and inn keeper, happy he had learned to location of his client he would go see him tomorrow. But for now, his nose led him a promise of food, and after perhaps meditation “Celebration? For what exactly” he overheard the two talking, now that he was on job he needed to know the goings of the town and what exactly to expect, Perhaps today was a special day for the townsfolk, or some high royal was here to visit, either way this celebration could cause distraction for those wanting to have at his client.
CharlotteCarrendar: – The Innkeeper bowed as he saw the Ronin approach, unaware he had ridden into town with the wine merchant. “Big celebration. Parade of the Dragon. Daughter of the wealthy Rikken Seiyukai is to be married, and this means the son of Riyuki Teke. The grand Dragon is to come to the city and carry out the ritual. Very special night. Fireworks and dancing. This is why we needed the wine.” The Innkeeper replied, with a broad smile. He was going to make a killing on this wedding feast, as was many other merchants and wedding planners. This might be why Rikken hired Ronin, for there was word that another sought the hand of the fair Tashika Seiyukai. Her father had arranged the marriage with the Son of the Dragon…against her will. It was the stuff of legends. The wine merchant grumbled as he heard what his wine was to be for. “Bah.” Was all he would say on the matter, his dislike of Rikken more than apparent. <3>
IceTe3a: – With the news of a big party, feast and a wedding this news was not exactly what Ronin wanted to hear as he sighed “great” he said in a low tone, he disliked weddings any social event really, that meant there would be children, oh how he hated the children. Of all things it had to be his client that was directly involved with this wedding and party, he really drew the short chopstick on this job, perhaps it was not as life threatening as he once thought it would be, although he hopes it has nothing to do with babysitting anyone “When exactly is all of this taking place?” If it were to take place tonight he would have to go find the boastful toad soon, rather than leaving the job for tomorrow. Either way this was turning into a bad day. Resting his hand on his hip he glanced up towards the upper town where the richer were located he knew it would be extremely busy there, too many people.. so easy to get in and out, this would be harder than it seemed.
CharlotteCarrendar:- It was apparent that the town was in a festive spirit, and there was much excitement, as this was an event that the entire town would be a part of. Children were everywhere, and the townsfolk were decorating their houses and doors, with brightly coloured banners and flags. The Innkeeper answered the Ronin, saying that the Dragon and his son were expected around six pm. That was when the large procession would wind its way through the town up to Rikken’s house, where he would be waiting outside, with his daughter by his side, ready to be handed over for the ceremony. How would the Ronin cope with this news? <3>
IceTe3a: – He snorts as he was told of the news, great working tonight no doubt, as he glances at both the inn keeper and wine merchant, he gives a light bow of respect “Thank you for all your help, both of you.” He gives his goodbyes as he makes ways off to introduce himself to his client, as he walks the path up towards the upper city, looking for the most boastful house out of them all. He wondered what his client would look like, as his imagination starts running wild, short , fat with a big mustache perhaps? No no.. that’s too outrageous, he’s most likely normal sized, an elder man with to much money. Who knew only time would tell exactly what was going on and what his client looked like, Finally he was there, indeed a boastful home, large walls surrounding his province obviously to keep people out, no doubt a giant garden, guards were standing at the entrence, perhaps more inside. Gold entwined into outrageous statues. Walking upto the gaurds he notices them stiffen up as he glances at them both. “Ronin.. for Rikken Seiyukai” he said as he stood there waiting.. and waiting until one of the guards rush off to find Rikken Seiyukai, leaving the other guard to deal with Ronin. Ronin stood tall staring blankly at the left over guard who seemed to be on edge over the entire situation, perhaps it was because of the big celebration.
CharlotteCarrendar: – Wealth and power corrupts, and it also changes a person not only on the inside, but the outside as well. Rikken Seiyukai was enormous. From the many years of gluttony and self abuse with all manners of food, wine and opium, he was a vile looking man, with stringy hair that was tied back haphazardly, his suit too tight for his rotund figure, the buttons and tassles stretched to the max. “Ronin…ahh…*burps*…you made it. I am honoured you could come and act on my behalf at this most…glorious occasion.” At this one could see a small girl standing behind a pillar. A true and radiant beauty, but with such a sad face. Her fate decided by her pig of a father, to marry the son of the Dragon, for a great amount of money. “May I present, my daughter and the bride at tonight’s feast – Tashika Seiyukai” The young girl stepped out from the shadows and made a small bow, before looking back at her father with a fearful expression. Rikken however was more interested on when the next meal time was. “Ronin, why not join me for a meal, and then we can discuss your fee.” <3>
IceTe3a: – Ronin finally glances over Rikken Seiyukai, finally imagination was laid to rest as his look was to be expected for one so boastful, he bows low to give a deep and respectful greeting towards Rikken, as was needed for someone of his stature, although from Ronin’s standpoint he was not worthy of such a respectful greeting, the slob that stands before him, could hardly be called a gentleman. Listening to Rikken babble on as he boast’s his title more, he notices the small child behind him in the shadows, “ May I present, my daughter and the bride at tonight’s feast – Tashika Seiyukai” Ronin was told, as the small child made a small bow, Ronin did the same, a short but respectful bow towards the young lady, before coming up straight again and glancing back into Rikken’s eyes. “Fee indeed, Perhaps more to the point the point and duties of this job you offer.” He said as he accepted Rikkens offer for food and talk, although he would rather spend as less time as he could with Rikken, the man sickened him and the thought of purposely palming off his daughter, hit a soft nerve in Ronin’s heart, although it was tradition to marry off your children to make stronger title and wealth, it did not sit well with Ronin, as he was reminded of his dear sister, letting out a soft sigh he took a step forward in short showing readiness to follow Rikken inside.