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 The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)

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TheDiddler
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PostSubject: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:24 pm

OOC: Scene with Usagi Kinotu and Asako Iberu of the Order of the Blessing of the Eternal Kami.

Asako Iberu Image at the bottom of this link

TheHauntedVision

It had taken weeks to arrange the date. Each time Kinotu attempted to meet with the Asako one or the other of them was forced to cancel from other duties. In the end, Asako Iberu asked simply to meet with Kinotu in his off hours, in private.

And now the Hare and the Phoenix walked beneath the Imperial City, below the Father's Home.

"These tunnels are known only to the Order of the Blessing of the Eternal Kami. Time has worn them through earthquakes and natural erosion, cut them off from nearly any other avenues. There are a few secret passages," the old man smiled knowingly back to the Usagi, then gestured forward with his staff. From the end of the old hickory cane hung a paper lantern brighter than it had any right to be.

"My Order knows many such secrets, many such valuable places, but then that's why you came to me, is it not?" Kinotu listened to the old man speak in his raspy voice. The Asako did have valuable knowledge. He did have vital secrets that could be useful a thousand times over. And for some reason he seemed to want to give them all up.

But only if he could drone on and on and on until Kinotu's ears bled.

The blowhard can tell you more than you could ever imagine. Get him talking. Ask the right questions.

"I wanted to show you these tunnels because I know you have an interest," Iberu turned fully, the insufferable grin plastered on his features. "Oh yes, I know. I know you have been down here, down below the beautiful city. I have my ways." Iberu's hands felt the stone. His eyes closed and he smiled wide. Kinotu saw the man's teeth gritty and stained from some awful tea or herb.  It gave him a slightly mad outlook.

"Are we here to speak of tunnels, though? You came to me about your problem. About the city's problem. About the murders." Iberu's eyes snapped open and he leaned forward on the cane. The light jarred and cast strange shadows about the tunnel. "Come. There is a private place no one else in the Order knows about where we can talk."

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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:23 pm

"By all means lead on," Kinotu bows politely as he follows the Asako into the private room. As he enters the room, his base instincts tell him to analyze the entire room exits and hidden traps. After he is satisfied, he leans against one of the walls and addresses the Asako. "It would seem you are as just as perceptive as the Isawa. Shall we cut to the chase then? Yes, I do have questions about the murders. I know that they are part of some dark ritual that has been trying to get completed for many years now with no success. They appear to have no centralized leadership and act with autonomy. While this makes them harder to pin down, it also causes them to disrupt the sensitive sequence that the ritual requires by murdering too many people or out of order. You are correct that I have interest in learning the tunnels beneath the city because I believe that is how they are moving about without being detected. I do have more information on the subject but I would like to ask you some questions first. Do you know what the goal of the ritual is or why they are trying to complete it? Can you show me more of the tunnel system? Lastly, can you tell me what this kanji means? " Kinotu draws a rough representation of the symbol. "Is there anything else you would like to know? "
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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:24 am

Asako Iberu chuckled at Kinotu's questions. "Living up to your name, racing ahead, leaping about with all these questions and unfounded leaps of logic."

Iberu paced the room. His light gave off weird shadows that made the hidden chamber appear larger than it was. The tunnel was far below the city and away from any real connections to the outside world.

It would be easy to hide a body here.

The voice came unbidden and was so loud in Kinotu's head he thought for sure the Asako heard it as well. But no, the only thing the Asako heard was the sound of his own voice.

"These tunnels do not connect any longer to the the others in the city. You'll find that most are like that. Earthquakes and natural erosion cuts off the branches from each other and only someone trained to hear the slow conversations of earth could ever figure out how to connect them again." Iberu's lips peeled back in a rictus grin. "But knowing each set of tunnels could be useful, too. Knowing how to find them. Knowing who uses them. Oh, I know all kinds of fun things."

Iberu turned his head as if to listen to the rocks.

"Yes, yes, I hear the secrets and I know who to talk to, who to tell. I spoke to my Order about some of the Asako secrets. I will speak to you about others."

The old man is a walking library of dangerous knowledge. We need it. You need it. What if he knows about me?

Iberu resumed his circular path looking to the walls as he spoke as if he were unwilling to look Kinotu in the eyes.

"No central leader, you say? Oh oh, but I think you just haven't found him yet." Iberu hawked back snot and spit deliberately on the rocks. "There is always a leader in this type of thing. Out of sequence, you say?" Iberu turned suddenly to look directly at the Hare.

"Have you considered the possibility that they simply enjoy murder? Or maybe the insane nature of their crime is meant to convey a pattern, but what if there really is no pattern? I think that might be wrong, but one must consider the options. Yes, one must."

"You ask me the goal of the ritual. I tell you, I know it. Oh yes, I do. Their name The New Heavenly Message is not accidental. They seek to reach out to the heavens and pull them closer to Ningen-Do. They want Heaven and Earth to be one. But their ritual is flawed, you see. Flawed, oh yes."

Iberu moved closer to Kinotu and the Hare could smell the sooty tea stained teeth. "If they complete it, it will pull a spirit realm closer, oh yes. But which one? Certainly NOT Heaven! With all that blood, that precious blood. You must have found something when you chased them. You must have found some secret tunnel or path or scrolls or dark ritual. What did you see? What did you find?" Iberu's voice was strained, eager, almost as if he were searching out something he already knew the answer to.

He knows. He knows about you. About me. You can see it in his eyes. He knows about the maho and the writhing mass of guts you call your insides. He knows!

Iberu's eyes flashed down to the kanji and Kinotu knew. The way the Asako's eyes opened wide, not out of surprise, but recognition.

He did know.

"Oh yes, oh...I know many things, Usagi-san. I know what that means and I think I know where you might look for your "central leader." But, Usagi-san, what do you know that you can tell me? Secrets for secrets. Knowledge for knowledge. You give me something and I will guarantee your secrets are safe. All of them." Iberu winked with a wide grin and Kinotu felt a shiver run up his spine.

HE KNOWS! Usagi Kinotu saw a flash of blood red light paint the room in blood. He saw Asako Iberu up against the wall iron nails hammered into his palms and biceps. He saw a rope around the Asako's neck holding him up to a hook in the ceiling. He saw blood on the floor, blood on his hands, blood in his eyes.

He knows too much. You need his secrets. We need them, but he cannot be allowed to live. Put out his light, Usagi. Take his life and his secrets and carve the bloody mark in his flesh. Leave him for dead in the guise of the cultists. No one will find him here for months.

Kinotu felt his blood pump, pump, pushing through his body. His head ached. Each breath sent a pounding rock against his skull.

All the while Asako smiled that stupid grin.

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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:19 am

What he had feared had finally happened. Someone knew... He calmed his urge to kill him right there and now because if he didn't get the secrets this man had then this whole venture would've been a waste. "Seems fair sama. I did come across some scrolls while pursuing one of the ritual leaders in the tunnels. One in particular detailed what victims were required for the ritual, how they were to be killed, and in what order. The others were some maho scrolls of which I could tell you more about if you give me some information in return. It would also seem as though these rituals are performed with ritual daggers. Of the two that I have seen performed in person, the one in charge used on of these daggers." Kinotu pulls out the two ritual daggers he had in a non-threatening manner. "Now perhaps a slow trade. There are three maho scrolls of which I know of what they do. You answer one of my questions then I will tell you what one of the scrolls do. Sound fair sama? First, I wish to know how I can find the leader that you speak of."
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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:58 pm

"Oh." Iberu said as he looked down at the dagger. Kinotu saw the man's eyes narrow, his lips curl up in a smile, his fingers do a little dance and wiggle against one other.

He knows what it is. He knows what it does. He knows about the maho already because he IS a maho-tsukai.

Kinotu saw flashes of blood, flashes of Asako Iberu hung up on the wall being tortured with the knife by Kinotu himself. The Hare was covered in blood splatters from head to toe, but the Asako wouldn't die. He was an earth shugenja, after all.

Iberu spoke again. "The leader, yes, well. I have been in Otosan Uchi long enough to know where the trail goes. It shifts around through each district. It hides. It covers its track well, but one can find the patterns, oh yes! And I have." Iberu held out a hand for the blade. "May I?"

As he waited for the response, Iberu continued talking. "I can't just tell you, though. I need information for information. Secrets for secrets. That's how I've gotten to be so knowledgeable. Now, tell me where are you in your investigation?"

Was that a flash of wicked grin? An evil look in his eyes? Was his other hand hidden behind his back, near his obi? Near his scrolls? Was the man whispering under his breath the words to some secret spell?

Take him down! Do it NOW! Beat him, bleed him, tie him up and learn what you have to know the easier way. If you give him time you give him knowledge over us. Power. He will reveal me. He will reveal you. He is maho-tsukai and cannot be trusted. What if...what if he is one of the cultists? What if he's just trying to find out how far you are in your investigations? No one knows he's down here with you. This room is sealed away and they won't find the bodies for months. Do it now! Take him!

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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:24 pm

Damn! He's a cultist all along! I have to take him down quick before he gets me. I guess now is a good time as any to test out my theory about these ritual daggers. Kinotu slashes his forearm but sees that nothing happens besides wounding himself. Asako Ibera sees the knife, the flash of blood and the self-inflicted wound and his eyes become wide as saucers. "You...you are a tsukai! You are a cultist! Oh no!" Immediately, Kinotu knows two things: Asako Ibera is not a maho-tsukai. All his talk of secrets and knowledge are the gossip and rumormongering of an old man who can't keep his mouth shut. And it's too late to turn back now. The man has seen. He knows. To let him live, to let him escape would mean Kinotu's own death.

(Round 1)
Kinotu pounces on the Pheonix and pincers him with the two daggers. Luckily the shugenja was so shocked at Kinotu cutting his arm and thinking he was a tsukai that he didn't react fast enough to dodge Kinotu's attack (Initiative: Ibera 29, Kinotu 24 with void but uses rank of luck to reroll for a 40). Kinotu grapples the man and stabs him in the back with one of his daggers (Kinotu attack 40, damage 27). Ibera screams in shock and pain with the warm blood running down his back. He then shucks off the grappling Hare slamming him against the unworked stone of the secret room. Then he runs (void to reduce damage, Opposed grapple: Ibera 68, Kinotu 36). Ibera looks back over his shoulder at the Hare while digging out a scroll from his belt satchel. There is fear in his eyes, but Kinotu can already feel the earth kami rumbling within the tunnel coming to the old man's call.

(Round 2)
Kinotu shakes his head to get rid of the stars that clouded his vision. Damn that old man is strong, but I can't let him escape. Kinotu quickly gets back up and races after the shugenja with all the speed inherent in his family fueled by fear and adrenaline. He leaps and digs his dagger deep into the old man's shoulder blade, knocking him to the ground. "Old man this was supposed to be an easy transaction but you had to get greedy and ask the wrong questions!" (Kinotu grapple 38, Knife damage 11, Ibera spends void to reduce damage) Kinotu knew he couldn't escape. Escape would mean death for the Hare and everything he has sacrificed for. I must not LOSE! That same evil voice spoke to him," Your right. WE must not lose." Suddenly overwhelming power and strength flooded the Hare's body. The muscles in his arms bulged and dark blood pumped through his veins. The old shugenja struggeled to get free but between the weight of the Hare on his back and a dagger in his shoulder blade, he couldn't break free (Opposed grapple: Kinotu used void point and taint bonus 40, Ibera 23 & 31). Ibera screams in panic," I know about the Anvil and the Bloodspeaker's Prison! I know about a dark place of evil within the city. I know many secrets, many that are valuable! Let me go and I will give you them all!"

(Round 3)
The voice in Kinotu's head whispers. "Bleed him, stick him, chain him and we will get his every secret with each drop of blood spilled." Kinotu holds the one dagger in place under the old man's shoulder blade while he stabs the man twice in the side. The second pulls a piece of intestine out with it. Blood start to form a small puddle under them. One couldn't tell where the blood on the old man's kimono ended and his family colors started. Kinotu whispers sternly in the man's ear," You willingly say all these secrets. How do i know you won't tell the authorities mine the second you leave?" (knife damage 15 and 13, Ibera uses last void to reduce damage) Ibera vomits up blood from the last couple of stabbings. Ibera spits out the words,"I know what they are trying to capture! Let me go! Let me go!" (Opposed grapple: Kinotu uses void 22, Ibera 15 & 16)

(Round 4)
Kinotu stabs the Asako in the bicep of Ibera's left arm (knife damage 17). Then the dark voice tells him,"Careful now. We need his blood. We need his secrets." Kinotu pauses for a moment and realizes that it speaks true. If he just outright killed the old man now then all of this would have been for nothing. He can kill him later, but for now he needs to just be knocked out. Kinotu pulls the dagger out of the man's back and bashes him upside the back of his head with the hilt (unarmed damage 6). Suddenly, Kinotu hears the walls around him rumbling as the old man calls out to the earth kami and tries to break free. In a very deep and inhuman voice through blood stained teeth he roars out,"LET ME GO!" With the power of the earth kami and the dagger finally out of his back, he reaches behind and grabs Kinotu by the hair. The voice in the Hare's head is screaming,"NO!" The taint infuses Kinotu's body again and it worked for a moment until the full strength of the earth kami overpowered him. Ibera then flings the Hare against the side of the tunnel. (Opposed grapple: Kinotu uses taint 26, Ibera 29, Kinotu uses luck 40, Second opposed: Ibera 47, Kinotu 35) Ibera struggles to his feet while using his good arm to hold the rest of his guts in. He half coughs half laughs in victory and desperation as he fumbles down the hallway. As he does so, his blood smears the musty earth and Kinotu feels the tunnels rumbling. The earth is responding to his pain.

(Round 5)
The malevolent spirit inside Kinotu's mind whispers insistently. "Unless you want to die smothered under a ton of earth, take him down NOW!" Kinotu knows that enough is enough. Regardless of whether he obtains the old man's secrets or not, he will not die this day. Kinotu rolls to his feet and races after his wounded prey. He aims and slams his dagger in the middle of the shugenja's spine. (Dagger to hit 36, damage 13) The old man's eyes roll back in his head and collapses. The earth kami fall silent. The evil spirit cackels madly.

(Let the Fun Begin)
Kinotu pulls out his dagger and quickly checks to see if the old man is still breathing. He is alive, barely but alive. He quickly pulls out his medicine kit and wraps up the old man's side to keep his guts from falling out. (more to come later)
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PostSubject: Let the Fun Begin   Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:54 pm

Let The Fun Begin
After the skirmish with the old man, Kinotu goes back to the secret room and pulls his tent out of his backpack and rolls it out on the floor. He then drives the tent stakes into the ground at each corner and attaches some rope. Content that the preparations were in order, Kinotu goes back to the old man and carries him to the unrolled tent and places him on top of it. He then proceeds to tie up the man's arms and leg and gag him. He pulls out his medicine kit and proceeds to stitch up the old man. He has to be at least awake to be able to answer his questions. (Medicine roll 14, used luck to get 20, heals him 9 which is enough to get him to the down wound rank) The old mans groans as he awakens. "Good. You're awake. Now we can continue the conversation," Kinotu says. Kinotu pulls out a small vial and pours its contents onto one of the ritual daggers. He looks at the shugenja with a calm smile," I am going to ask you some questions while I practice some 'calligraphy'. When I am done, the gag will be removed and you will answer them. If you attempt to call out for help from anyone or the kami, I will remove a most prized appendage that should have you singing a much higher note. Now we shall start with what is this Anvil that you speak of? Where and what is the Bloodspeaker's prison? Describe what and where this dark place of evil you speak of is? Lastly, what is this creature that you say the Bloodspeakers are trying to capture?" After each question that Kinotu asks him, he uses the dagger as a makeshift calligraphy brush to carve the dark kanji in his chest. The wound isn't deep as Kinotu wants to keep the old man concious for his questioning. The liquid on the dagger seeps into the wound and can be visibly seen spreading as a dark ink through his bloodstream. The wound itself doesn't cause much pain, but the poison causes the man to shriek out in pain through the gag as the poison makes his body feel like it is on fire. (deals 1 wound, poison gives Ibera a -2k2 penalty on his opposed Ettiquette/Willpower roll versus Interrogation and Torture rolls, Kinotu rolls 31 for Intimidation (Torture)/ Awareness) Just before Kinotu removes the gag,"By the way, I'm not a cultist. I'm hunting them, but I am not above using their methods to accomplish my task."
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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:58 pm

OOC:

We can go over what you are doing with Asako Iberu here as well. You have a private place for now, but it is possible someone else might come down here...eventually.

Mechanically, the following occurs:
-0.4 Honor for Heinous Crime (Kidnapping/Torture)
-0.1 Honor for Use of a Low Skill (Torture)
+Shadowlands Taint. Your total amount should now be 1.3

Your Lore: Maho increases to 4 and you gain the (Iuchiban) Emphasis. You learn the basic history (what is commonly told, not necessarily the full truth) about the Anvil of Despair and the fact that Iuchiban and his lieutenant Yajinden are trapped in the Tomb of Iuchiban, somewhere south of the Shinomen Forest. You know it requires 4 Masks to open, though you have little to no idea where said masks are located.

Finally, regarding the New Heavenly Message, Iberu tells you that he believes that the cult is attempting to capture nothing less powerful than a minor fortune. He is not sure which one or if it might instead be something with the power of a fortune.

If you decide to keep Iberu down here after the above information is gleaned, it will be considered another use of Torture (with subsequent loss of Honor).

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PostSubject: Re: The Darkness Below (Usagi Kinotu)    Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:59 pm

Also, +1xp for the scene. Very Happy

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