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 The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka

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IKonicPanda
Hohei
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PostSubject: The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka   Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:14 pm

This is the journal kept Hida Ao throughout the topaz tournament.
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IKonicPanda
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PostSubject: Re: The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka   Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:15 pm

Out of Character (OOC):

This is a reflection of Hida Ao’s view on how things played out during the games.


*****

The Roku-Baden Campaign
Rokugan in Wiesbaden, Germany
A fictionalized account of medieval Japan played in Germany by Americans

The Characters that Hida Ao knows.
 Togashi Kaku (Mike) (Avid music lover, cat scratching post)
 Shosuro Ria (Leia) (Masked lady…Possibly a gambler?)
 Ide Kasumi (Lindsey) (Large Unicorn lady, gave me a run for my money in physical skill, I have much to learn from her in being social… also tea time)
 Shinjo Konishi (Josh) (My gosh why won’t he leave me alone… he thinks I just love fighting… I do, but that isn’t the point. He seems to be a strong competitor… maybe)
 Isawa Kanzen (Tim) (Very polite, loves a good puzzle, I love a good puzzle… perhaps we should go into a puzzling business.)
 GM (Chris) (Why has god forsaken us :p)

OOC
 Hida Ao’s current view on the tournament… “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

IC: Pre Test of the Topaz Champion

This will be a most interesting entry into the pages of history.

I have traveled many long days and nights now with a very silent, very battle worn and limbless sensei. I have much respect for him and all that he has seen with his one remaining eye, but the journey could have been more enjoyable with a conversation. I do not mind the trekking, and I understand that Hida Tsudo needs a horse due to the missing appendages, but a horse for myself would have been nice. But I guess I am kept more aware of my surroundings if I am to pay attention to where I walk and not the horse. Which led me to behold the niceties of Crane lands, and how lucky these other clans have it. I am not jealous of what they have, just a bit perturbed by their lack of gratefulness for what they have. My attention shifted as we finally crested a hill and my sensei said his third and fourth sentence of the trip. “Hmmm what do you think of that.” To which I replied something to the effect of “I think this is very nice… but this is not like us Crab…” I wanted to say more and say “but maybe this could be Crab”, but Crab culture gripped that little bit in the back of my throat and dragged that back down and I stared at the beautiful city with my sensei. He then replied after 4 long seconds “Hida Ao, it will do you well to remember one thing… Everyone here is your enemy.”

I just remember staring then at how the crab view the world, and how I would like to see if I can change things.
We started moving on after a long while, as we got closer we noticed music, then we noticed a musician, then we noticed an admirer of the musician. Sensei sent me over to investigate. I proceeded to ask the admirer what the deal was with the old man playing the flute dressed in white. To which he replied “Shhhhhh we are listening right now.” I looked around but only saw these two. I didn’t think too much on it, but I did notice a dragon emblem on the admirer, and then asked if he was a contestant. I managed to get an actual answer in the strange fasion “Shh but yes we are.” I guess I should expect as much from a Dragon.

I told my Sensei that I found he was a contestant and I couldn’t find out anything else about the old man. We then noticed the Dragon Monk going down the ravine to what looks to be a tiny Puma. Sensei looked at me as if I were supposed to do something. I then realized that I probably should keep this contestant from killing himself. If not for the Crab duty, then to ensure we are not blamed for his foolish death at the claws of a baby puma. I gather my Tetsubo and some rope and head to assist the Dragon.

This is where things got interesting. As I was helping this Dragon, the puma started to grow… and a baby Puma it was no longer, but a monstrous lion. I heard horse beats to our rear as I tried hoisting Dragon up the embankment. I saw that the lion was swiping wildly at the Dragon, so I jumped and tried to shield him, but he ended up catching the lion’s claw across his chest, and weirdly the Dragon’s tattoos started writhing in pain. So I then thought I need to eliminate threats now. I whipped my tetsubo around my torso and brought the weight crushing in on the right of the lions arm, mangling the limb. I then heard a weird sound which sounded to reverberate into the lion. I raised my tetsubo for a second swing, but as soon as my arms were up, an arrow shot underneath my arm piercing the lion’s eye. Then I heard a most horrifying sound as if there were endless souls screaming in despair and torment and anguish… then I saw it, in the gaping maw of the lion I saw a swirling red vortex of souls and blood. I could only picture the closest thing being “Toshigoku”.

We came out of the ravine to discover a whole herd of lion samurai looking to try and claim glory and blame us for killing a lion, but the female Unicorn with a way in words convinced them otherwise. I patched the Dragon as best I could, and Words were had from the lion that I cared little for. I proceeded to find my sensei, to which I found him sitting in the same spot smoking his pipe. “I have seen stranger.” Were his words to me after protected the Dragon… to which I would believe of an old crab. We proceeded to walk into the city past the continuing discussion of Dragon, Lion, Unicorn, and now what seemed to be a Scorpion. I heard the Dragon give thanks, but was too enthralled with the city to turn and give a proper farewell as I also knew I would be seeing him soon enough.

I ended that night by playing a game of shogi with Sensei, and this lead to an interesting encounter to say the least if not annoying. I was thinking of my gift I was to give after finding out short notice. I thought long over our game and thought the presentation of the rook would be the best gift as a representation of the crab. Sensei replied with “I believe that gift would be fine as any you would give, but if ask me, you do not belong here Hida Ao. You would be best on the wall, leading troops into the shadowlands and defending the lands.” I agreed, and could see the reasoning behind my grizzled sensei’s words, but I must be here for a reason also plays in my mind. Being aware I notice two things apart from the game, one a bumbling stranger making quite an ordeal, and a man in a white cloak with a wide brimmed straw hat. Something mysterious about that man catches me aside from the money he seems to be raking in. I send him a bottle of sake similar to what my sensei is drinking, and moments later I receive a gift of a bottle of “Friendly Roads Sake” which is noticed by my sensei as an outrageously expensive bottle of sake made by a certain Crab. I bag up the sake and proceed to make my way to the stranger, but fortune have it I am bumped into by the stranger making a commotion. I am knocked down, but make my way quickly back up and see if my belongings are still there, which they were. I then look at the stranger in white who looks at the other stranger, and winks. I notice then that the other stranger is getting into quite the trouble. I hate that others make things this difficult. I proceed to try and escort the stranger out as he seems genuinely not belonging there, but am blocked by two (Crane?) who refuse to let me out. I am only trying to get this guy out, and then the Unicorn from earlier comes in and claims that I am always fighting and starting trouble. I argue with Unicorn and he is so adamant that this stranger and I go out. After a little bit a voice calls out and I look to see a Crane say enough. Unicorn, stranger and I proceed outside to which I try to leave the stranger with the Unicorn, but Unicorn is relentless and decides to push a conversation on me. He explains that he is following his Bushido, and I reluctantly see his point however annoying it is. I send them on their way and I go back in to try and find the stranger in white, but sensei demands that I go off to bed.

I am a steamed crab.

IC: Test of the Topaz Champion, Days 1 and 2

Day 1: Invitations and Gifts

…Hida Ao gifted a rook, the castle piece from the game of shogi, as representation of his clan’s purpose…

IC: I gifted the rook… I thought it went well. I can tell from the crowd that they are surprised I can speak.

I sit through the rest of the presentations trying to gain insight on my competitors or as my sensei would say “enemies.”

The gifts as far as I could tell were all trying to impress the hosts. Nothing to impressive from the competitors. I did notice a little something about one gift in particular however.

I try and find my mysterious friend back at the House of the Jade Monkey and strike up conversation. We talked and come to find he can help me with some things as long as I can provide him some information. Seems fair as knowledge for knowledge is of no great expense. He asks for information on either of the hosts, and in return I may receive some knowledge of what is to come my way. This is also rather easy as I see a connection that someone paying attention to gifts could piece together if they had more information.

OCC: This connection is the OBI and the reaction Toshimoko had to receive the gift and the story that went with it.

*****

Day 2: Tests of the Messenger (morning) and Scholar (afternoon)
IC:
The Test of the Messenger would be a race around the city of Tsuma…

The First Group witnessed the Crab training easily beat out his opponents and the shock to all as Matsu Aeki failed in her test of endurance and could not finish the race.
1. Hida Ao (3pts)
2. Mirumoto Tomoe (2pts)
3. Isawa Kenzan (1pt)
4. Matsu Aeki (0pts)

IC: The race was rather easy, I train with heavy armor on a regular basis, but what was interesting was trap placed along the way. I stubbed my foot on it, and come to find it was a trap door with punji sticks. I pulled the cover off and showed the Phoenix and the other Dragon, and resumed running.

I found my friend, and decided to see what the inflow of money was from and eventually make the connections for him and his knowledge.

OCC: I tell him about the OBI and the lover and how if leverage were needed he could find the owner and possibly utilize that. He seemed to know who the Obi belonged to. And he proceeded to give me information on the next event. I then received a task from him to arrange a meeting with the lord of void.

IC: It would seem there is more going on than meets the eye.

*****
The Test of the Scholar would take place in the afternoon…

A series of tents have been erected on the tournament grounds that the candidates will soon enter, while the crowd area has been prepared for its own discussions over tea as they'll have nothing to watch today. Once again, Kakita Toshimoko is here to give announcements.

"Before I get into the details of today's test, I need to announce that we've received word that we're expecting a rather powerful storm over the next two days. Therefore, as a precaution, tomorrow's test will be held in the Tears of the Blue Sky Theater." Toshimoko gestures back towards the tents.

"As is written in Akodo’s Leadership, ‘Victory lies within the top three inches’. True samurai must understand more than how to fight, but why we fight. Today's test will the candidate's proficiency in matters of law and bushido. As there will be little to observe from these proceedings, the Crane would like to extend to our guests an invitation to discuss such matters over tea, as the candidates take their tests within the tents."


The Third Group
1. Hida Ao (3pts)
1. White Wolf (3pts)
2. Matsu Aeki (2pts)
3. Mirumoto Tomoe (1pt)

IC: This is very straight forward… not much to say on this topic.

Dance of the Topaz

OOC:
…Hida Ao arranged with the Elemental Master of Void, Isawa Ujina and Ataka…

…Hida Ao and Shinjo Konishi encountered a man mugged in an alleyway. When the Unicorn went to investigate he discovered a pool of blood and a hidden tunnel. Retrieving his erstwhile Crab ally, the duo dove down into the secret tunnels to investigate the world below. They moved silently, if cramped, and hit upon a maho-tsukai (blood sorcerer) in the midst of a dark ritual. A noise revealed them and the Shinjo was thrust out into the open…

IC: This night was strange, I am repaying debts quickly as an interest accrued can turn dangerous very quickly. After I set up the meeting between the master of the void and Ataka, I was approached much to my dismay by the ever pestilent Shinjo. This was a matter that dragged both of us into the depths of the city to have me smash a maho user, but then have him vanish. When we got out, I approximate our antics to have taken place under the house of the laughing carp, where I am staying. Maybe Hida has more answers for me.


*****

Day 3: Tests of the Warrior (Morning) and Politician (Afternoon)

OOC:
… The First Group did not disappoint in their showings and resolved with the highest spread of points. Shinjo Konishi defeated the Crane, Himeko; and Hida Ao defeated the other Unicorn, Kasumi.
1. Shinjo Konishi (3pts)
1. Hida Ao (3pts)
2. Kakita Himeko (2pts)
3. Ide Kasumi (2pts)

IC: This was surprisingly a tough match, the Ide is much more than meets the eye.

OOC: …Hida Ao sought out the Matsu to talk her down from her emotional state. He found her alone, in shame and pain, outside the Lion tents. With no small amount of effort the Crab was able to get the Matsu to reveal the source of her pain. Someone had stolen the ancestral Akodo Blade given unto her to protect. Coupled with her miserable failures, this would be the last straw…

IC:
This was a distasteful topic of where resources should go, to phoenix doing their fruitless offerings or to the crab that desperately need this on the wall. Nothing more needs to be said than what I have said already in this debate. I am grateful to Akata.

The Matsu is looking very down… to have a competitor fail out like this is less than honorable for me to defeat. At least in a match like this. The tactics that are being used to argue are outside of my box, but it seems to be a necessary evil to win your fights in the courts. I will see if I can help her if the challenge that was issued is physical.
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IKonicPanda
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PostSubject: Re: The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka   Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:15 pm

Day 4:
It would seem that a lot of what we see is not the depth of the workings of the machinations of the events going on around us.
I am in a constant state of learning to better prepare myself against my enemies, and this is evident in where I stand currently. Although I am very pleased to see Matsu Aeki competing to her full potential again. I hope this will be close competition to determine who of us is really the best.
The test of the artist although not a crab strength, I was able to perform well in. However this is a big way owed to the Ide. I must find a way to repay her, as she stood up for me in a way I never would expect my adversaries to do.
I must say that I am concerned for my fellow crab placing so poorly in these events, if she is willing to accept help I shall make an effort to do so in the future.
Our night ended up with quite the showdown after our heated debate of the blood magic and all the events coming to a head. The fight club was put to an end by our 7 members who saw to it that the filthy blood user was dealt with. I look forward to working further with the Isawa to root the evil that lurks with us.
Day 5:
Although it is the middle of our current event I must say that I have a bad feeling about placing this event. I know that none of us are hunters, and our primary purpose is to solve this case of blood usage, but I would still like to somehow place in this event.
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PostSubject: Re: The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka   Sun Apr 08, 2018 3:28 pm

Day 6:
Still a little rattled from our encounter yesterday. The perspectives of the world always seem to tell me to hit things before coming to a more logical conclusion... maybe the world may be right. I am struggling to find a more subtle solution to every conflict, but I must preserver. Today we are faced with more challenges that I have to try and live up to. One of which I feel I will not do well in. I do believe that my competitor Shinjo San will do remarkably well in. I have great confidence in him and his confidence of his ability to win. I must say though that things seems to be spiraling, and I feel more and more powerless to intervene prior to events happening. Tonight I will have to keep an eye out for my companion the White Wolf. Things seem to be coming to a head, and we will see where this takes us.
Day 7:
This was a disturbing day… I will make my rounds to ensure my friends are safe and sane… I am truly upset and disheartened at the fact that I could not detect or notice the taint that was growing so close to me. I will take precautions for this in the future… I will never let the taint get this close to my circle again. I am however glad we were able to stop the events of today from transpiring without the White Wolf taking the path she asked me to take for her. I will have to find her actual name.
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PostSubject: Re: The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka   Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:33 pm

After returning to Kyuden Hida, I sought to form my own guntai. This guntai will be my tool to seek out and destroy the taint. I have named them “The Will of Shurui Akuma”. Each member was hand chosen by me.
My speaker Ryoko Yasuki, she is as skilled with a sword as she is with her silver tounge. Ryoko has been my friend since I was little. We on our caravan trips looking for supplies for the crab, became close friends as there weren’t many other kids that went on these trips.
My Eyes are the twins from the Hiruma School Ichiru and Zero.
My Ears a former scorpion ronin: Kuroro and a ronin from the crane lands Jin.
The five rings, each partner with two fingers.
Zakaza Nampo, Hinata Natsu, Uno Azami, Sasaki Toshiko, and Wakaki Thoki
The ten fingers of Shurui Akuma:
Nishikawa Hirobumi, Iseri Yoshihisa, Kotobuki Nichiren, Okamoto Kunimatsu, Ebisawa Shunmyo, Sekino Matsu, Date Matsusuke, Toma Yukio, Uehashi Kano, and Matsuyama Toshiharu
They were then instrumental in me rising through the ranks to the rank of Chui. We became a formidable force. We went by the name of the “Demon’s Tempest”
My speaker Ryoko, helped me in many aspects, allowing me to dedicate more and more of my time to researching more into the Shadowlands and finding Shinjo. More often than not I seem to lose track of my time when it comes to researching the shadowlands. While researching I came upon my father’s personal markings which when put together with other information allowed me to locate some storerooms with some things to help us fight the shadowlands. More importantly I found his primary weapon when fighting the huge beasts of the shadowlands. His Jade fiend hunter’s ono.
My mother even though a Kaiu would always seem to be interacting with my team, which seemed a little more odd than usual. She seems a lot busier with interacting with a variety of different courts. She seems to be a in my life, but not in my life in the same time. I can’t help but wonder what she is up to.
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PostSubject: Re: The Journal of Hida Ao/Ashitaka   Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:14 pm

Day 304 after the event
I have been trying to keep in touch with as many of my friends from the tournament as possible. I can’t seem to get in touch with Toku though. Matsu Ao is still seeking her death, but I am glad that she is failing in doing so. Hopefully there will be a time where she doesn’t have to seek it and she restores the honor that was lost. I enjoy keeping in touch as much as I can with the white wolf… or should I say Otomo Kagami. I don’t know what it is about her maybe it is the way her letters smell, or the intrigue of the whole event, but I hope to keep in close contact with her. I have been keeping small tabs on the other contestants, and they have had interesting twists and turns.
Anniversary of Topaz
It has been a full year. I have been invited back to the tournament to spectate the events and get a glimpse of the next generation of samurai. I can’t help but feel like I need to watch my back at every turn, it is a tiring couple days, but I eventually relaxed enough to enjoy the festivities. I haven’t heard any talk of blood magic or shadowlands since my arrival, which is a relatively nice change from my studies back at the wall. I have heard rumor of a possible betrothal to Otomo Kagami, and I am not sure who to. I am rather jealous of her betrothed, but on that same note, I hear rumor that it is a crab that she is betrothed to.
Meeting with the Otomo Chioku
I heard the most wonderful news, it seems the crab that is betrothed to Kagami… is me! Which makes this meeting with Chioku Sama that much more difficult to have any doubt of this man. I must end this entry quickly however. I have friend, and more importantly a betrothed to go have tea with. I hope that she will enjoy my paired claw pipe I made for her.
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