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 (Koutetsu) Playing With Fire

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kpsmith
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PostSubject: (Koutetsu) Playing With Fire   Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:47 am

Agasha Hiroshi was dead. The Order of the Kami's Blessing had not responded to his letter in a timely manner. The Imperial City was a powder keg about to explode. Blood was about to fill the streets. Koutetsu felt like he was against the world - time was a factor he could no longer afford. So, with his best judgment he took matters into his own hands. The late Agasha shugenja had taught him the rites necessary to mantain the link between his forge and O-Ka no Kami. So, he dressed in the clean white garb who wore while swordsmithing and sat within his forge.

The Ashidaka assumed a meditative lotus position and laid his wrists on his knees. He recalled the priest's words in his ears. Harness your inner fire and focus your thoughts, he remembered the Agasha telling him. Open your soul to the Spirit of Creation and temper the link. Forged by fire and tempered by strength, your resolve must be resolute and undaunted.

Ashidaka no Kakita Koutetsu was born with the name Tetsu. Tetsu meant iron; Koutetsu meant steel. He had chosen the name as symbolism of iron yielding steel under fire, pressure and time. The swordsmith would serve as a forging hammer, strengthening the link between his forge and the spirit Agasha Hiroshi had tethered it too. Koutetsu underestimated his own ability. While he knew he was not nearly as strong as Hiroshi, he didn't quite realize how much the weight of his own life impacted his meditations.

While he finally found and rescued his sister, she was in a terrible state. A rogue Scorpion had murdered a new friend and had plagued him with machinations for nearly a year. His family had disowned him as a capable heir to his birthright as daimyo of the Ashidaka. The Imperial City was about to become a warzone and if the Mondai Ketsu whom he sponsored were put to the sword, his own reputation would be sullied. His entire world was in jeopardy and his only source of pride - his swordsmithing - was about to be eclipsed under the weight of countless woes.

So, he struggled to create that link Hiroshi so easily forged.

In the intense heat of his forge, surrounded by the oppressive heat of a fire he stoked, the swordsmith sweat profusely. Koutetsu was no stranger to playing with fire but perhaps this time, he had stepped too far.

Fire/Meditation 26
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PostSubject: Re: (Koutetsu) Playing With Fire   Fri Oct 30, 2015 2:42 am

GM Note: The following connects a response to This Post as well. I am only going to respond here, but this will grant closure to the other.

Two Phoenix strode into the empty Dragon forge as if they possessed every right in the world to be there. The man strode directly towards the forge, eyes wide, mouth open to breath in the hot air. The woman paused at the anvil and lifted a pair of tongues. Her nose wrinkled in disgust at the strange magic practiced here.

"They went ahead against my suggestion. The most recent letter from the Crane informed me of the Dragon's death and I believed it was necessary to deal with the matter personally. However," the woman bowed her head to the man, "I was not certain I could resolve the matter on my own."

The man sneered into the ever-burning forge as if daring it to sear his flesh. "You were right to summon me."

The woman was Isawa Hajioki, second-in-command of the Order of the Blessing of the Eternal Kami, a natural fire shugenja. When she had received Koutetsu's letter she knew she did not have time to respond properly. Instead, she had reached out to the most influential and potent fire shugenja she could trust.

Isawa Tenjaku, Phoenix representative of the Sentaku Tribunal, turned from the forge. "We will seal this passageway to the great spirit and then go and speak with Ashidaka Koutetsu about playing with fire. The O-Ka no Kami is angry, Hajioki-san. We must work fast."

Without another word the woman began to lay out ritual scrolls around the room. The man set up sticks of incense, small trays of prepared wooden sticks, and brought forth an old scroll with the dual heraldry of the Imperial Hantei and the Isawa Elemental Council.  

"My lord! You can't!" Hajioki gasped as she realized what Tenjaku would offer up as sacrifice to appease the spirit. The document signed by the Elemental Masters and approved by the Hantei himself that granted Tenjaku the right to serve on the Sentaku Tribunal.

"You will not tell me what I can or cannot do." Tenjaku's words were spoken calmly, but with a firmness that would not be denied. "My position is secure. The document is important and holds great memory for me, but we need something to reach out and contain the great spirit."

The fires in the forge flared up as Tenjaku cast the scroll inside.

"Come forth, O-Ka no Kami and speak with your cousins in this world! We are Isawa, Masters of the Elements, and we beseech you to hear us!"

The forge flared to life in an instant. Heat rolled out in waves. Hajioki fell back involuntarily, eyes closed by the scorching heat of the flames. Tenjaku continued to chant until, finally, the spirit made itself known.

I WILL NOT BE CONTAINED.

Simple words, but spoken with a fury to rival a volcano. A simple response, but Tenjaku felt it deep within his soul.

The forge roared to life. The two Isawa were drenched in their own sweat. Hajioki cried out and fled the forge, but Tenjaku could not for he was held perfectly still by the power of the kami.

I TAKE YOUR SACRIFICE, MORTAL. I GIVE IN TO YOUR DEMAND. THIS FORGE SHALL GLOW NO MORE. IT SHALL PROVIDE NO FURTHER CREATION TO THIS WORLD. ITS COALS SHALL GO DARK. BUT THE OTHER...

Tenjaku shuddered and fell to his knees. The sacred document turned to ash before his eyes, but that was not enough. Such a simple sacrifice could not appease the furious Spirit of Creation. Tenjaku felt the spirit reach inside his mind and demand more.

The Isawa realized he had no choice. To refuse would insult the spirit and grant it free reign in this world. The fires would spread out from this forge and consume the whole district.

Tenjaku bowed his head and whispered. "Take it."

And just like that he felt the memory burn away. The day he stood before the Emperor and was granted his position turned to ash within his mind. The pride he felt, the swell of assured arrogance, all gone. For a man of his pride the memory meant more to him than the position itself.

And now it was gone.

THE OTHER FORGE SHALL REMAIN UNTIL MY WRATH HAS BEEN APPEASED!

Isawa Tenjaku stumbled out of the forge of the dead Agasha Hiroshi, body and kimono smoking. Hajioki stood on shaking knees, her own face covered in soot. "It worked?" she whispered.

Tenjaku nodded.

"Then we shall go to the Murabai now and finish it."

"No." Tenjaku said in a whisper. "We will do no such thing. The Crane has cursed us. O-Ka no Kami demands his forge remain until such a time...until he decides it no longer is needed. We can do nothing, now, except observe the fallout of his actions."




Ashidaka Koutetsu knelt in a furious storm of heat and raw elemental power. The world, his world, had gone up in flames.

He had begun innocently enough hoping to appease the Spirit of Creation despite the loss of his Agasha partner. He had followed the simple methods of meditation and beseeched the great spirit to listen.

But it was a spirit of fire and fire must consume.

Koutetsu screamed. His world, his flesh, his soul was on fire and he could feel it burning him straight through to the bone. The forge roared with the words of the spirit.

I WILL NOT BE REFUSED. SHE MUST BE FOUND OR IN THE DAYS TO COME YOU SHALL FEEL THE WRATH OF THE SPIRIT OF CREATION AS IT REMAKES THIS CITY ANEW.

Koutetsu collapsed on the floor, tears streaming. He reached up to a bucket of water kept handy to quench newly forged metal, but when his fingers tipped it down only steam poured forth.

Still, the fire wanted more. It would always want more.

He had been foolish to try this. Foolish to agree to the Agasha in the first place. Foolish not to realize that once given reach into the mortal world the Spirit of Creation would never cede control.

KNOWLEDGE, FLESH, MEMORY, OR TOTAL ANNIHILATION. GIVE ME SUCCOR AND YOU SHALL BE GIVEN TIME. GIVE IT NOT AND YOU SHALL BE BUT THE FIRST OF MANY TO FEEL THE WRATH OF THE SPIRITS OF THE FATHER'S HOME.

A decision. A sacrifice. He had failed and the cost was his to decide. He could barely think amid the pain. What could he offer? What would he give up to contain this unbridled fury?

OOC:
The Agasha's forge is shut down.
Yours will remain open unless something unusual is done. The O-Ka no Kami is making of you a similar demand that the Rumbling Lord made of Akira. If you appease it by offering it a sacrifice, it will give you time. If you refuse, you will suffer tremendous damage and possibly die.

Choose:
  • Knowledge - You will lose Rank 3 in Lore: Swords.
  • Flesh - A sacrifice of your own body. This will leave you disfigured. You will gain Bad Fortune: Disfigurement in the form of hideous burn scars visible on your face and body.
  • Memory - A vital memory. The O-Ka no Kami wants the memory of Chi-Yomi's final hour.
  • Destruction - Choose nothing and accept the pain that comes. It will be tremendous damage to both yourself and the forge possibly releasing it into the city.

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PostSubject: Re: (Koutetsu) Playing With Fire   Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:39 am

The fires of creation burned hotter than any forge Koutetsu had ever labored over. Chi-Yomi's forge became an avatar for the fiery kami, unrelenting and unbridled in its fury. The swordsmith could not quench the ferocious flames and in the end they consumed him. The flames of O-Ka no Kami seethed and filled him until his very soul burned with the force of otherworldly anger. The world raged around him and in the flicker of its flames he was lost.

Koutetsu stood at the doorstep of death.

"I... Am not... Ready to die," he cried.

His eyes clenched shut, blinded by the spirit's white hot flames. He could not commit to yielding to an early. Ambition burned inside of him to retake his birthright, hatred fueled those inner flames for the man who orchestrated his fall and justice propelled him forward to right every wrong laid against his house. His life was far too young to waste when he had accomplished so little. Yet the price set before him was too high.

He could neither afford to give the Spirit of Creation his deep knowledge of his craft, his untarnished flesh nor a memory he held so sacred. The demands of O-Ka no Kami were unjust... But they were powerful conduits to appease the great spirit. Koutetsu rested with the demand as one might struggled with his inner demons. As a samurai he knew death was the ultimate price he was willing to give but this was not a path he could give to any other but his lord.

Knowledge. Flesh. Memory.

The world as he knew it was eclipsed by the pain of a thousand fires. He could not think nor reason. It was all too precious to him. He wanted to live, he wanted to see all his woes burned by the very same fires that threatened to consume him. He wanted justice. He wanted redemption. He wanted peace.

His heart beat like a taiko drum in his ears.

THUMP. THUMP.

THUMP. THUMP.

THUMP. THUMP.

"TAKE IT!" He cried out as the overbearing intensity of the forge felt ready to turn him to ash. "TAKE MY FLESH! TAKE IT NOW AND GIVE ME DELIVERANCE FROM YOUR WRATH! I GIVE IT TO YOU MIGHT I SATE YOUR FURY!

"SPARE THIS CITY, SPARE MY LIFE AND LET ME USE YOUR STRENGTH TO FINISH WHAT WE STARTED! ANYTHING TO SEE THE DAY THAT I MIGHT SEE EVERY CRIME BROUGHT TO JUSTICE! ANYTHING TO SEE MY LEGACY FULLY REALIZED!"

His greatest creation needed to be realized.

He was not ready to die.
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PostSubject: Re: (Koutetsu) Playing With Fire   Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 am

The pain ended and it was like quenching a heated blade in the purest crystal waters. Cold washed over Koutetsu’s body and left him numb.
 
He could feel the Spirit of Creation recede.
 
YOU HAVE YOUR TIME. WHEN THE RUMBLING LORD SPEAKS, SO TOO SHALL I.
 
The fires of the forge dimmed, but did not go out. They would not go out while O-Ka no Kami blessed them, this Koutetsu knew.
 
He was so cold. All along the left side of his body he felt a shiver, a chill that pierced flesh and bone. The heat was gone, but so too was everything else. He was numb.
 
He raised fingers to his face and in that moment remembered his sacrifice to the great spirit.
 
Trembling fingertips touched upon ruined flesh. Koutetsu felt a tear fall unbidden from his right eye. The left would cry no more.
 
He felt his face, his neck, his shoulder and his side all the way down to his waist. Ruined flesh, burnt flesh, blackened char. The spirit had taken its toll and gone dormant once more.
 
He had bought a small measure of time and for what?

It did not hurt.

 
He just felt numb.

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PostSubject: Re: (Koutetsu) Playing With Fire   Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:05 am

Ashidaka Koutetsu was not a handsome man. Well, by Crane standards that was. He had always been of a darker complexion from laboring in a forge all his life. His hands were large and calloused from wielding a hammer and sword. His frame was not entirely lithe either, but taut with corded muscles. He had a rugged appeal to him throughout, bolstered by a sly smile and dark set of eyes. However, that was no more. In the reflections of a mirror he found the left side of his body seized by the Spirit of Creation. With a touch of vengeance his flesh was scarred from horrific flames, blackened and cracked and blistered. Vanity averted his own gaze and he dropped the mirror, terrified by what he saw.

The servants had gasped at the sight of him. In fact, some were sure he were not himself at all. His hired guards - brought on to protect him and Niko from Akedare - nearly turned on him. A physician was called upon to tend his wounds, clean linen bandages were brought and his tale was scrutinized. However, there was no need for any of it. Koutetsu sat in near darkness sequestered from his household. Rattled from his near death experience and cowed by the price he paid, the swordsmith dared not reveal himself.

Most of all, that which scared him the most, was the overwhelming numbness he felt.

He moved his left hand but he didn't feel it move. He used his right hand to feel the seared flesh of his face, neck and shoulders to find nothing but cold, rough flesh. He thought he should have felt as if he were in agony yet he sensed nothing at all. It was empty like the void and he felt as if somehow he had been robbed of more than his flesh but a part of his soul. He was not whole.

The bandages came first from a servant who seemed too scared to look at him. Koutetsu realized how pointless they were. By all accounts he should have been in seething agony yet the bandages could not alleviate a pain he did not feel. He stared at the basket at his door where the servant had left them. What was the purpose? Yet they held an appeal inspired by his own sense of vanity. His sister was in such a weakened state she might be terrified by his appearance. What would his potential bride say at the sight of his scarred visage? Gossip would flood the courts once they saw his ruined flesh.

So, he covered the otherworldly burns.

He removed his kimono to inspect the breadth of his disfigurement. The bandaging was wrapped around his waist to veil the scars that marked his left torso. He then wrapped up his left arm all the way down to his fingertips. His hand flexed, fingers splayed out as he tested his agility to still manipulate objects despite the bandages. When he was satisfied he moved on. He wrapped the bandages around his shoulder and beneath his arm before he covered his neck. He then brushed his hair aside and crossed the bandage across his face, again and again, until his left eye could peer out yet most of the scarring was hidden.

However, despite all of his efforts the burned flesh was still seen revealed in some places.

This revelation found within the mirror caused him to dash it on the floor. A thousand shards became of the polished glass before he tugged on a fresh kimono and tied his obi. From his sword stand he plucked his daisho, belting the wakizashi and holding the sheathed katana in his bandaged hand. He draped a haori over his shoulders and stopped. His eyes fell down to the shards of glass on the floor and pondered the fractured reflection. His eyes looked upon the face, covered half in white linen bandages and dared to smile.

In a hundred shards of glass a man with a haunting smile looked back at Koutetsu.
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