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 (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire

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PostSubject: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:31 am

This post is waiting on Kuni Akira and Ashidaka Koutetsu to get together and start.

As GM, I will only pop in on this when necessary for me to do so to respond to character interactions.

- GM

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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:43 pm

Ashidaka Koutetsu no Kakita, Regent of the Ashidaka, Vassal of the Kakita, invited Kuni Akira to his estate in the Murabai District. The Crab may have heard rumors that the Crane swordsmith's late sensei once owned the sprawling grounds nestled in the Lion governed district. After over twenty years of work in the Imperial City, the lands were given to the young Ashidaka and he continued a legacy of swordsmithing in the forge behind the lovely Crane home. The house itself was large and well appointed, a comfortable residence for a high ranking Crane. The most interesting feature, however, was the forge behind the structure. Not one but two furnaces had been built, suggesting the ability for a swordsmith to run two projects at once if he so wished. Unfortunately, Koutetsu had little time to take advantage of both of the furnaces and so one was quiet and cold.

A servant would greet Akira when he arrived and would be escorted back behind the estate to the forge. The swordsmith's forge was alive with activity, radiating an otherworldly heat. Within the heart of the inferno, beneath a tiled roof, Koutetsu labored over an anvil. The door was ajar to allow the sound of pounding steel to escape. Clang! Clang! Clang! With tongs in one hand and a hammer in the other, the Kakita held a piece of bright, glowing steel and struck it again and again. Sparks flew as he molded the steel as he knelt over a anvil on the ground. After he pounded the folded steel enough to his precise measures, he turned to quench the steel in a trough of water. The heated steel sizzled loudly.

The Crane lordling was dressed in the traditional attire of a swordsmith; from head to heel he wore white, stained with soot and sweat. A kosode was tied up with a tsuki cord, revealing well toned arms dark from the forged and kissed just the same so small scars climbed up each arm. His hakama protected his waist and legs as he worked. His hair was all tied up beneath a cloth head wrap that kept the sweat from his eyes and kept his hair from catching fire from the intense furnace that burned nearby - its coals were bright and when he turned to work the bellow, they grew brighter yet.
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:40 pm

Kuni Akira had not been a resident of Otosan Uchi long but he doubted he would ever feel at home here.  The beauty (and often, times, opulence) with which these Rokugani surrounded themselves made him uneasy.  And the political machinations?  What a waste!  How many of his brothers in arms had perished in just the last week to ensure that these sycophants could subtly insult each other over a cup of tea or sway a patron's affection from one subject to another?

He shook off these thoughts as he presented himself at the Ashidaka estate.  His mother had often schooled him on the importance of the other clans, reminding Akira that each clan had their duty to the Empire and no one duty was more or less significant than the other.  Akira knew that and he believed it, but even so, living a life along the Kaiu Wall made it a difficult reality to accept at times.

As the servant escorted the shugenja to the rear of the estate, Akira couldn't help but wonder how his appearance was truly received amongst the denizens of this city.  He knew the combination of the shaved head and curious face-paint was off-putting to most, but he wasn't willing to change that.  Let these city-dwellers sit uneasy.  Saturo's sacrifice is worth a lifetime of uncomfortable glances.  And his clothes?  Were it not for the wakizashi at his side or jade-carved emblem of the Emerald Magistrate, Akira would be dismissed as a peasant in a heartbeat.  And yet this was another facet of his being that he was unwilling to change.  The rough and unadorned clothing kept him grounded and served as a constant reminder that he is a servant, albeit in a different position within the Celestial Order than most Rokugani.

Akira and his escort rounded a corner of the residence's exterior and what he saw forced the Kuni to smile.  Koutestu was dressed for manual labor and was vigorously at work within his forge.  Does he know the way in which he is pleasing the kami with every crash of his hammer?  The Crab's condescending musings on those who surround themselves with material wealth faded quickly as he saw a man who truly poured his heart and soul into the task of creation.

The servant bowed low to Akira and departed, leaving the two samurai to their business.  Akira stood patiently just outside the forge.  Though he was no smith himself, he understood the fundamentals of the craft and felt that pleasantries should wait until an opportunity presented itself.  Whether this man was an ally or enemy, it would be an affront to the earth kami to interrupt an Ashidaka working at a forge.  Koutestu gave Akira a look that seemed to suggest "Just another moment" and reached for the bellows.  As the fresh air rushed over the coals and excited the fire, the shugenja felt a surge of warmth fill him from within.  He knew that was but a taste of what this forge was capable of.

When the Crab felt he would not be interrupting, he bowed.  "Ashidaka-sama, I am grateful for the invitation to your home and for the gift of watching a master swordsmith at work.  You honor me."  As he rose from the bow, he could still feel the warmth of the forge radiating in his chest. Oh my.
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:29 pm

The swordsmith removed the quenched blade from the trough - a length of unfinished steel he was folding again and again - and let out a sigh of relief. The arrival of the Crab was a welcome reprieve from his task and a pleasant excuse to get outside of the heat of the forge. Since Agasha Hiroshi had harnessed O-Ka no Kami to his forge he had to acclimate to the intensity of the heat. The forge radiated the fire of a god, making his work easier but taxing him physically. He needed to drink far more water while working.

"You honor me, Kuni-san. I am but a modest swordsmith. You've afforded me much by joining me today. Othersseemto find visiting me to be a great burden."

In the middle of winter it was a comical sight to see a manwiping sweat from his brow. Koutetsu wiped his hands and opened tbw forge door wide. With a flourish he indicated to his forge.

"I am working with a Dragon and he has been able to connect our forges to the spirit O-Ka no Kami," the swordsmith explained.

"I'd be interested to see you try to speak with the spirit. I do not know why but the spirit is angered. I suspect this anger may be connected to the prolonged summer. I was hoping you might be able to yield more information on the matter. I have a feeling the longer the spirit is unsatisfied, the higher risk there is to Agasha-san and I. The flames burn hotter, day by day, in my forge. The Eternal Kami warned me to stop... But this connection has provided me an opportunity to work with steel unlike before. I cannot stop until we finish the Hanabi Blade."

He gave the Crab a grave nod and craned his neck, popping it with a turn to the left and right. Afterwards he stepped into the forge intent for Akira to follow.
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:20 pm

Walking into Koutestu's forge reminded Akira a bit of his first time taking a peek south from the Kaiu Wall. The imagination of a young boy can conjure up all manner of scenes, but they will never quite match up to reality.  Just so, Akira had prepared himself to be uncomfortably warm when he entered the forge, but he wasn't ready for this forge.

His breath escaped him as the oppressive heat encompassed his body and his soul. His right palm reflexively covered his heart in a protective gesture as though something in the room had wounded him.  The shugenja had to close his eyes for a moment to center himself.  This is a rather inopportune time to be experiencing the kami on more than one level, he thought. He nodded absently to himself, opened his eyes, and continued forward to stand beside Koutestu.

"Koutestu-san, I beg your forgiveness. When you told me you had O-Ka no Kami bound to your forge, I did not wholly believe you. I trusted you believed your own words, but I could not fathom how it would have come to pass." Akira blinked several times as he spoke and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He was sweating so much his face paint was separating from his skin.

"Now," he paused for a moment to catch his breath, "I have no doubts."

The Kuni adjusted himself so that he was directly in front of the fire.  It was good that Koutestu had already been at work in here, feeding the fire and giving it an outlet.  I should hate to have to wake such a kami.  Akira gave the Crane a nod and motioned to the bellows.

The Crab stared intently at the red-orange glow of the coals, confident but apprehensive.  I am the son of an Isawa.  It would shame her to learn I met my fate communing with a spirit of fire.  As the smith pumped air over the coals, the shugenja spoke.

"O-Ka no Kami, I know that you are angry.  I suspect something has happened to Fuyu no Okaasan, and her absence has fueled your rage.  As a servant of the kami, I ask you, help me find her.  Is she still within Otosan Uchi?  Is she in pain?"

The mixture of sweat and paint was again running down his face, stinging his eyes and forcing them shut.  The heat his soul felt was becoming more unbearable than the physical discomfort of the forge.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate.  Is your skin on fire, Akira-kun? He imagined Kuni Yori chastising him.  Have your bones blacked?  No?  Hrmph.  I had no idea my apprentice cared so much for comfort.  Shall I get you a some water?  A fan?  Perhaps a pillow so that you might rest a while?

Akira kept his breathing shallow to minimize how much of the scorching air entered his lungs at any one time, and he dared not wipe his face again.  He silenced the imagined insults of his sensei.  You've always done your Duty, Akira, he told himself, reflecting briefly on his last excursion into the Shadowlands.  This discomfort is nothing to what you've been through.

He pressed on.  "Let earth and fire work in harmony, O-Ka no Kami, just as they do in the depths of the mountains, across our blessed fields, and even here in this very forge. Guide me and I will restore the Mother of Winter to her rightful place so she might quench your fury."
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:01 am

GM Commentary:

- Cast Commune (Fire) and state how many Raises you will make.
- As a shugenja, you know that fire requires a sacrifice. Detail what you are going to sacrifice to speak with such a powerful spirit.

Someone ping me when you're done.

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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:51 pm

With his eyes fixed shut, Akira moved his hands to his waist. He unsheathed his wakizashi and in one fluid motion tossed the sword into the coals. He imagined the look of disbelief on the Crane's face but Akira didn't have time to explain what he was doing. The shugenja felt that something important was owed to O-Ka no Kami and the physical representation of Akira's place in the Celestial Order seemed appropriate and, more importantly, available.

The offering made, Akira completed the ritual to commune with the fire kami.

Casting "Commune (Fire)" TN 25 (TN 10 + 3 Called Raises)
- Spell Casting: 47 (9k4, 1 Void Point)

OOC: I think I should be good to post links after that 7-day waiting period. In the meantime, I'll kick them over to your FB.
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:09 pm

(Koutetsu/Akira) The Forge of Fire

The words uttered, the questions asked, the fire flared to life and consumed the pure steel of the Kuni’s Honor.

The world came to life.

For an instant in time, a flicker of the candle flame, Kuni Akira felt what it meant to be the great fires of the forge. Unbridled fury rolled through him and his eyes exploded with images from every candle and lantern, each forge and fire. All aspects of fire within the Imperial City belonged to the O-Ka no Kami and Akira witnessed them all. He could see a flicker in time out from each and every spirit of fire within the city…

…it was too much. And yet, it was not enough. From none of the flickering fires did Akira see an image of the Spirit of Winter. From none did the O-Ka no Kami know where she resided.

Koutetsu witnessed the Kuni scream, or try to scream, as his mouth opened in agony, but no sound came out. When he reached out to help, Koutetsu yanked back his hand for the Kuni was hotter than the heart of the forge. His hair singed at the edges, his fingernails blackened, his kabuki makeup melted and ran down his face in streams.

FIND HER. I AM BLINDED BY SOME FORCE WHICH SEEKS HER DESTRUCTION, HER CONTROL. YOU HAVE GIVEN ME YOUR HONOR AND WILL KEEP IT. I WILL KEEP IT UNTIL YOU DO WHAT WE CANNOT.

And just as suddenly as it came, the vision was gone. Akria could remember none of it, for who could understand such knowledge all at once.

But he felt the connection to the O-Ka no Kami deep within his belly, his own personal forge stoking the fires of his desire, his need, his drive to find the Spirit of Winter.

He realized he was soaked through with sweat.

OOC:
- In regards to your Commune, you are able to remember the following flickering images and thoughts from the O-Ka no Kami’s touch:
o He can feel the Fuyu no Okaasan still within the city, but has no idea where she is bound.
o She is in constant agony, being bled dry by the New Heavenly Message and their Prophet.
o O-Ka no Kami is the weakest of the four spirits for it does not have ready access to a natural phenomenon that occurs within the city. However, it fuels the rage and anger of the rest. The O-Ka no Kami is driving the spirits of Earth and Water towards a dangerous outcome.
o The key to finding the Spirit of Winter lies with the New Heavenly Message.
- Other
o You are going to feel the fury and wrath of the Fire spirit. It doesn't just want, it needs with every fiber of its being, to find the Winter Spirit. You now share that need. You will gain Driven (Find Winter Spirit) for no points as a disadvantage driven by the force of O-Ka no kami's personality. It will hold your Wakizashi, in perpetuity, and depending on how well you succeed, if you do at all, it may grant a boon to a recreated version of your Wakizashi.
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Sun Oct 18, 2015 11:20 pm

The swordsmith had worked the bellows as Akira communed with the great fire spirit O-Ka no Kami within his forge. The forge was designed to run two furnaces at once but Koutetsu lacked the time to run two furnaces at once on a daily basis. His duties did not allow him to commit to working as endlessly as he wished on his craftsmanship. So, Koutetsu labored over one furnace in the forge. As euch the lone furnace he did use burned hotter for its solidarity. He sweat heavily as he stoked the flames, pumping air over the coals to feed them into a brighter light. They burned white hot and as the Kuni drew the spirit out of the coals, the room exploded into a heat he struggled to withstand.

An inferno enveloped the shugenja and alarmed Koutetsu. He had been wwrned of the danger of working with O-Ka no Kami but had continued for the sake of mastering his craft. Some risks, Koutetsu reasoned, were worth taking for the sake of progress. He panted and felt his clothes grow heavy as the heat forced the mositure from his flesh. He grit his teeth as he hammered the bellows, his arms tourquing them as he fed the ritual. It was as he feared the man's life he burnt his hand on Akira and knew the man was possessed by the spirit itself. Spiraling into a state of disaster, the swordsmith finally feared for the man's life and the city block within the Mjrabai district.

The swordsmith fled the forge to return with a pail of water. He poured it on the shugenja, no doubt giving rise to sizzling steam as the fires burned ao fiercely inside of the man. Koutetsu little of the spirits but knew he had invoked O-Ka no Kami in such a way that the man now burned with the unbridled fury of a god. In a way, the Crab and the forge were similiar: they were vessels of the Spirit of Creation. The swordsmith looked on at the drenched priest, panting and sweating himself as he stood within the threshold of the forge.

"Kuni-san...?"
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:53 pm

I'm wet. Akira told his eyes to open and they replied with discomfort. Slowly, he pressed the fingertips of his bladed hands to his eyes and rubbed them to remove whatever was irritating them. It took a few tries and a dozen blinks, but at last he was able to keep his eyes open.

Before him stood a man dressed in all white, with a concerned look on his face and holding an empty bucket. What goes in the bucket? Where did it go? Is that why he looks upset?

The Crab's eyes began to wander and came to settle upon the grass just behind the odd man. That looks comfortable. Akira scrunched up his face in effort and willed his body forward, out of the building and into the sunlight. "Have you eaten rice today?" he casually asked the man with the bucket as he stumbled passed him.

With his feet firmly on the ground and the hot room behind him, Akira dropped to his knees, then in short order, he fell forward with his arms spread wide. The grass felt warm on his face and despite the heat his skin had just endured, the warmth was a comfort. He slowly ran his hands over the grass, tracing patterns without rhyme or reason.

You have to find her! The thought seemed to come from nowhere but somehow he recognized it as coming from himself. They need her. They are nothing without her and they cannot bear her absence. They know she is in pain. You have to find her!

Is that another voice? Is someone else speaking? The man with the bucket?


As his hands made their imaginary drawings in the grass, he noted a few small patches of cool soil underneath the grass. Those patches which had been shaded by the nearby trees and hadn't warmed as much as their neighbors. His soul soaked up the sensation of the cool earth with a welcoming embrace in the same way that Akira himself might accept a warm bowl of soap if he was feeling ill. He felt his familiar self returning rapidly to take the helm of his mind.

Someone else? Koutestu-san!

Akira bolted up from the ground and turned around to face the Crane. He bowed. "Koutestu-sama, I apologize for my behavior just now." He rose slowly to keep from falling down. "The Fire Spirit ... it was more than I had anticipated. I needed a moment to find myself again." As he stood there, his left hand noted the empty scabbard at his hip. The events which had just transpired came back to him in sequence. The heat. The pain. The anger.

"Pardon me just a moment," he requested of his host. Akira cupped his hands in front of him and whispered a quick prayer to the water kami. As his prayer was answered, the Crab lowered his face into his hands and rubbed his skin gently. Standing back up straight, he was now looking at Koutestu with his face wholly devoid of its traditional paint. He had no idea if the Crane understood how rare an experience this would be for Akira or how disarmed it made him feel.

"Koutestu-sama, would you find me uncouth if I asked for a quiet place to talk and a cup of tea? I think there is much for you and I to discuss."
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:34 am

As Koutetsu watched the Kuni shugenja in the aftermath of drenching him beneath a pail of water, he couldn't help but feel the man had gone mad. The Crab had a distinct distant look as he dropped to the earth and played his hands through the grass and soil. The Crane regarded him carefully, perhaps holding the pail as a weapon if it was deemed necessary, as he wondered if inviting the man to his forge had been a good idea. Of all his woes, earning the enmity of the Crab was not on his list of problems he wanted. He was already dealing with the Lion and Scorpion, he didn't need more ancestral enemies. His eyes narrowed and he contemplated - for the slightest moment - of calling for his servant to fetch a physician.

Fortunately, whatever addled the Kuni was whisked away in due time. "The fire spirit," Koutetsu breathed. Yes, that made much more sense. Had the man been possessed? That fire was as real as the earth beneath his feet and the Kuni's body was a testament to the flames that had consumed him. The smell of burnt hair hung heavily in the air. He waited as the man collected himself and sighed in relief for it.

Thank the Fortunes.

He let out a breath, dropped the pail and bowed his head to Akira. "Let's get you inside with a cup of tea and rice," Koutetsu spoke before gesturing to the man.

The swordsmith escorted the man inside of his estate and had a servant prepare a pot of white needle tea. Rice was also thrown on the hearth to boil while he prepared cushions in the common area. He opened the doors overlooking a private garden and the courtyard to create a cross breeze. In short order tea was brought to Koutetsu and his guest where the Crane acted the gracious host and poured for Akira. He pointedly did not remark on if the man had been uncouth or not. After all, Koutetsu had made his fair share of remarks and taken questionable actions.

"So, I think we are in agreement O-Ka no Kami is a very real entity. It seems you and the spirit were able to commune," the Crane quietly remarked over tea. "So, I am aware it is angry. What did you learn, Kuni-san?"
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:50 pm

Akira drank deep from the tea placed before him. He savored the taste of the drink on his tongue for a few moments before swallowing. The Crab hadn't appreciated just how thirsty he was until the liquid had touched his lips.

"Koutestu-san, last week I was able to commune with Namazu Daimyojin himself at the Oni Warai. Just as you and your associate have somehow bound O-Ka no Kami to this forge, so too has someone bound Fuyu no Okaasan. She is in pain, Koutestu-san. Her absence is the explanation for why winter has not come to the Father's Home, but more importantly, it is driving the fury of O-Ka no Kami. He, in turn, is fueling Namazu Daimyojin and, I have no doubt, Ogon no Taiyo Gawa, though I have not yet attempted to speak with her." And perhaps I shouldn't.

Akira drained the tea from his cup and continued. "The Rumbling Lord is desperate for her return and if we cannot save the Mother of Winter, all of Otosan Uchi will be destroyed. I pleaded with him to give us more time and he agreed, but I cannot imagine it to be long. I have no doubt that if we haven't found her come Spring - if not before - all will be lost."

The shugenja fiddled with the cup, his body now filling with nervous energy. A lingering effect from the forge? I am exhausted yet feel like I should run down to the harbor and back.

"She is still here, Koutestu-san. She is somewhere within Otosan Uchi and I suspect she is being held somewhere beneath the surface. O-Ka no Kami cannot find her in the flicker of any candle, and Namazu Daimyojin showed me what I believe to be humans carving new tunnels in the bowels of the city. I mean to speak with Usagi-san about his investigations into this New Heavenly Message. I suspect it is all related."

Akira let out a weak smile. "In the meantime, I wager you will have an excellent source of heat for your smithing, Koutestu-san."
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:31 pm

"The forge is indeed a great source of warmth, but I am concerned I will not be able to contain it for long. Hiroshi-san and I know the blessings to maintain our connection to O-Ka no Kami, but he has primarily maintained the rituals. I have been warned if the spirit grows more volatile, there will be an imminient threat to my forge. I'm playing with fire here, Kuni-san, and I know better than others what it means to get burnt. However, I can ill afford losing a city block due to an angry kami... Much less my ability to pick up a hammer."

The swordsmith had a deep sense of concern regarding the nature of his forge and the revelations of the other great spirits within the city. He didn't fully grasp their grandeur but knew they needed to appease them. The unbridled fury of the Spirit of Creation was not something he wished to witness. However, he couldn't just stop working on the Hanabi Blade either. He had an urge to see the project through despite the threat to his person.

Koutetsu casually sipped his tea as he contemplated the future.

"You should know if you ever require my assistance, do not hesitate to ask. My sword is available to you so long as justice is carried out in the name of this winter spirit. This city cannot afford this unnatural state any longer than necessary, Kuni-san."

With a nod the Regent of the Ashidaka set his cup down and offered to refill the Crab's cup. The Crane were if anything fine hosts - even the tempered Ashidaka of the Kakita.
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:38 pm

Akira nodded and listened as the Ashidaka spoke. He had heard tale of the man's skill with the katana and had no doubt that it would be required to deal with this cult and whatever they had done to the Mother of Winter.

"I do not wish to put you in harm's way, Koutestu-san, but I know in my soul that blood must be spilled to see Fuyu no Okaasan restored."

"Regarding O-Ka no Kami," Akira leaned his head in the direction of the forge, "I urge you to learn all you can from Hiroshi-san regarding these rituals of appeasement. Perhaps you can find help by reaching out to the Eternal Kami once again see what the Order can do for you."

"You are a gracious host, Koutestu-san, and I thank you for the opportunity to commune with the Spirit of Creation. I have learned much today. But now, if it pleases you, I must take my leave. I have much to meditate upon this day."

END SCENE FOR AKIRA
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PostSubject: Re: (Akira, Koutetsu) The Forge of Fire    Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:17 am

"I pray the Fortunes carry your steps, Kuni-san," the Crane spoke.

The swordsmith bowed to Akira and offered to see the man off of his estate grounds.

END SCENE FOR KOUTETSU
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Awesome Gamers Group :: Legend of the Five Rings :: The Father's Home (Otosan Uchi Throwback Game) :: Closed RP Posts-
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