Back to Crafty Games Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
September 22, 2014, 09:22:19 PM
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Welcome to the Crafty Games Forums!

Note to New Members: To combat spam, we have instituted new rules: you must post 5 replies to existing threads before you can create new threads.

+  Crafty Games Forum
|-+  Community
| |-+  Play-by-Post
| | |-+  Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Shinobi 1 - A tapestry of lies and violence  (Read 4525 times)
Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« on: September 16, 2012, 10:30:14 AM »

This is the story of a great empire in a time of great crisis. No. Well, yes. But not, strictly speaking, what we're here for.

This is the story of a woman who still struggles with her destiny. Okay, that is true, but not really relevant for this part, either.

This is the story of another woman who has to find the truth.
 
---

San'in is a group of islands, and the southernmost province of the empire - according to the empire. When the empire expanded South 300 years ago, it swallowed San'in, and it's been a bad case of indigestion ever since. It turned out that all the energy that the families of San'in had previously spent fighting each other was easily turned on the (superior) occupiers, creating a period of unrest that lasted for a further 100 years until Emperor Mifune made a very wise and honorable decision. He would leave the island province to its own affairs and withdraw his men in exchange for prompt payment of taxes. The families of San'in reluctantly agreed, if only to get the Emperor's army out of their province, and when the deal was finalized, they went right back to fighting each other.

It should be noted that San'in still pays exactly the same amount of taxes today as it did when the deal was struck. I don't have to tell you what happened to the few tax assessors who were dumb enough to come here and announce themselves.

Nowadays, of course, it's all a little less...energetic. Trade rules the seas around San'in, particularly the trade with the mainlanders to the West and the Hanse foreigners who cross the ocean in perilous journeys to trade. There's hardly any large-scale bloodshed any more in the archipelago. People speak fondly of the old days of glory, but overall, San'in seems to be coming out of its teenager years and settling down a little. Wonder of wonders: referring to Shinju, the Southern Pearl, as Sin'an's "capital" is no longer grounds for a beating. It's not that San'in acknowledges the Imperial designation of its biggest city and port as the provincial capital, it's just that the Shinju families have finally gotten powerful enough that nobody can openly dispute their influence any longer.

So what brings Aiko Inaba here? The young samurai is, ostensibly, a crime fighter, but her self-chosen mission is far more personal: to find the people behind the murder of her Lord, and bring them to justice. A little side gig - just a small favor, really - has paid for her passage and a stipend of 500 silver coins in spending money, leaving Aiko well-equipped to get settled in.

Oh, you want to know what that small, insignificant little favor is? Well, it's probably best if you ask her...
Logged
Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 11:32:59 AM »

Aiko Inaba arrives in San'in in much the same condition as she left the Forge, the heart of the empire's nascent industrial revolution. A week at sea on a trade ship has been hard on her hair and hands, but it has also given her more than enough time to go over the facts of her case again. It was only a few months ago that she was one of Lord Koto Uratamata's faithful retainers, pursuing peace and justice on his holdings, until he was found dead with his throat cut and his chonmage cut off like some sort of sick trophy. Aiko followed whatever meager trail there was, ultimately leading her to believe the feared bandit Blue Oni had killed her lord - and his trail lead to Kargbeck, a former trading post of the "Hanse" foreigners that has grown into a well-fortified city right on the empire's coast. It was there that she met the Blue Oni - and realized that he was not the man who had killed her lord, as the Blue Oni is not a man, but a curse passed from brigand to brigand. But she learned something else, too: that the cruel fate of her lord was bound up in a far-flung conspiracy against the emperor, who remains lost ten years after his mysterious disappearance.

Shinju is a bustling port that pay only bare lip service to its nominal imperial allegiance with some flags; the chatter of traders and seamen is a far more honest appraisal of the city's loyalties, and it is predominantly in San'ben, a mixture of Low Imperial and all sorts of trade languages from other islands and even the mainland nations that the rest of the empire prefers not to trade with. This is also reflected in the architecture: less elaborate wooden carvings and big houses, more simple shacks decorated with vivid colors and natural items. It's pretty and dirty and Aiko's already seen three minor crimes by the time she's stepped onto the pier.

"Guides! Transport! Lodging!" goes the refrain from a young man standing on top of a small box on the pier, greeting the newest arrivals. 25-ish, sunburnt skin, loose-fit clothes - he looks like someone who makes enough to scrape by, won't amount to much more than he's doing right now and is perfectly fine with that.
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 12:26:44 AM »

Aiko descends the gangplank with something approaching relief. It's not that she's averse to travelling by ship -- and in the weeks and months since her Lord's death following the web of clues, hunches and lies across the length and width of the Imperial heartland it's felt like she has travelled in more ships than she has years. No, it's the confinement she dislikes; like a wild beast that has been caged, she yearns to be on the move, to tread her domain underfoot, to root out those that impinge upon it, that challenge her.

She never used to feel like that. She'd always been content to follow at the heel of the man who had been more than her father, to lead the hunt for the enemies of the Law inside -- and outside -- its boundries. But with his death, with the obfuscations and impediments and whispered insinuations... something changed. Grief and anger and duty and love: they've all burned away, leaving something cold and sharp in their wake.

"Ho, boy!" she calls out to the spruiker, though in truth they are likely the same age. "You have made a sale."

He pauses when he catches sight of her blue eyes -- legacy of her long lost gaijin father -- but , holding up one of the more agreeable hanse coins salvaged from the incident in Kargbeck seems to reassure him about what he's seen reflected in them.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:23:10 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2012, 09:50:08 AM »

"Right this way, right this way!" the boy calls out, eagerly grabbing the Hanse coin from Aiko. His voice washes over her like the warm rays of the afternoon sun as he leads her down the pier. "You've been on that trade ship for what, a week? You're going to need a place to sleep, and don't even try to argue with me that you have business, because that needs to wait until you're rested. You need something quiet, not one of those tourist traps. My uncle runs a guesthouse, he's a great cook, too! My name is Tuku, by the way. What's yours?"
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 10:53:31 AM »

Aiko falls in step behind her new found guide, taking stock of the bustle and hustle around her. Something about his good natured cheer brings a small smile to her lips, a reminder of simpler and more straightforward times. Sadly, those times are long departed. So when he inquires as to her identity, she keeps the answer simple and straight forward.

"You can call me Shimura."

« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:23:22 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2012, 11:12:02 AM »

"Shimura, that's a nice name, very regal, you Northerners all have nice names," Tuku says. "Is it okay if I just call you Shimura? We like it simple here. No kun that, no sama this, it honestly annoys the shit out of me." He puts on a bad impression of a noble High Imperial accent. "My heart and my arse are yours to command, Lord Shikiritavumatekozen-heika-denka-sama!" He rolls his eyes. "So the drama! I mean, like, relax yourself for a moment, people. I woke up today and the weather was nice and I just knew I would have a good day. It's not that complicated."
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 01:07:25 PM »

"An admirable attitude, my young friend," Aiko agrees with an air of sagacity. "Shimura is the name I gave, so it would seem churlish to insist on being addressed in a manner otherwise."

Privately, she nudges the shape and feel and taste of that name with her thoughts. Until the moment she spoke it, the idea of passing incognito with a name other than her own hadn't even occured to her, much less what name she should give in lieu of it.

Shimura. Tuku is correct; it is a nice name. It's not one she's aware of having ever heard or encountered before, but it feels... suited to her. Like a scabbard and a sword.

"So, Tuku, tell me about your uncle and his guest house?"
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:23:32 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 01:20:45 PM »

"Oh, yeah, Uncle Po," Tuku says. "He's a mainlander, actually, well he's from the mainland but he's been living here since before I was born so I don't know if that makes him like a honorary native or whatever. A city like this, you get a lot of people who weren't born here, so it doesn't really matter to me. Some people are cool, some people are assholes, that's true no matter where they come from." Tuku shrugs. "So Uncle Po can't see too well anymore, that's why he had to give up sailing, but he's a great cook and all he does all day is tidying up the guest house so I'm sure you'll find that to your liking. It's so easy to get a room in this city where you'll catch lice or get bit by bedbugs, but not at my Uncle's house! He won't even joke about it. That man is very serious about everything he does. Not like me, I'm more of an easygoing kind of guy, you know?"

Their wandering down the pier takes them into the harbor proper, where colorful shops sell all manners of wares - lots of fresh fish right next to street vendors with hot cauldrons of oil frying up today's catch for the seaman on the go. "Oh, you gotta try the fried squid later!" he says. "It's so delicious, but you shouldn't eat before going to sleep, it'll really keep you up, you know what I'm saying?"

It is then that a girl with a flower in her hair takes swift steps towards Tuku; his smile briefly falters before coming back brighter than before.

"Mina, baby!" Tuku says. "I'd love to hang out -"
"- Tuku, today is the tenth -"
"- and chat, but I have a customer -"
"- Tuku, the tenth, the rent -"
"- you see my customer, that's Shimura, she's from the North -"
"Tuku! The rent!"
"- so I really gotta be off! Love you, baby!"
"Tuku!" Mina calls after him, but he's already hustling forward and away from her, his constant swill of words only minutely interrupted.

"So, like I was saying, don't eat the fried squid before sleeping, it's really good but it's also really heavy in your stomach," Tuku says. "But the upside is you don't have to feel it squirming! I know a lot of people here who say live squid is the way to go, that the fresh taste is worth it, but I prefer my food dead, you know?"
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 01:26:59 PM »

"Wife or landlady?" Aiko asks as she looks in Mina's direction, fixing the young woman's features in her mind for later investigation. "And how much of that rent are you looking to your new friend Shimura to contribute?"
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:23:44 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 01:30:18 PM »

"Girlfriend," Tuku says. "And don't you worry about her or me trying to bilk you out of money, I charge everyone the same - I really should get like a price board or something, do you think that would help? Anyway, you can ask anyone in town, Tuku doesn't overcharge anyone, especially not a pretty lady like you - I just couldn't live with that hanging over me, you know? So don't worry about me. Just forget Mina said anything. I mean, I love her to death, but the drama on that girl! So unrelaxed!"
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 02:12:08 PM »

The inquisitor reaches out and clasps her hand lightly on her guide's shoulder.

"Tuku, it does you great honour that you are seeking to provide for others than yourself." Her voice carries the weight of personal experience of such generousity.

"And it is no less honourable to accept assistance in reaching that goal."
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:23:56 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2012, 01:46:36 PM »

"Okay, look, Shimura, you're like super-nice for offering," Tuku says, "but I don't do deals with handshakes these days. You want to give me a business loan - that would be nice - or even gift me some money - that would be mega-sweet - we'll do it in writing and get a witness."

Tuku's cheerful facade seems to falter here for a moment.

"And you have to rest first!" Tuku says, his smile returning. "Come on, we're almost there."

---

Uncle Po's Guest House is easy to recognize because it bears a large sign saying exactly that on the front. A smaller sign underneath proclaims the prices - 12 silver per night and person, inquire about our exchange ratios and group rebates inside! Tuku leads Aiko inside - the setup resembles a tavern, albeit with cleaner decoration and sheets on the tables. A man who looks to be about 65 is sweeping the floor, though he stops when he hears the door open.

"Welcome to Uncle Po's Guest House!" he says with surprising enthusiasm. "How can I help you?"
"It's me, Uncle Po! I brought you a customer!" Tuku says.
"Ah, good, good!" Po says. "Get our guest a drink, I will be right with you."

And with that, he continues sweeping. Tuku grins at Aiko, then jogs behind the counter, fetches a ceramic jug and drafts a frothy pale beverage from a casket.

"I'm afraid we can't offer water, so, here, have some of this!" Tuku offers. "The foreigners make it - it's like sake, but it doesn't go to your head so much and it keeps better, too."

Regardless of the relative merits of various low-alcoholic beverages, Uncle Po seems to have finished sweeping the room; he puts the broom into a corner and then walks to join Tuku. Although his back is hunched from a life of hard-labor, the hump as it were still hovers in the realm of the endearing rather than disturbing.

"My apologies for the delay, honored guest!" Uncle Po says. "Now, may I ask your name and how long you will be staying?"
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2012, 03:57:47 PM »

Sensing that the conversation has reached its conclusion, Aiko simply nods and allows Tuku to lead her the rest of the way in -- relative -- silence. A silence she almost breaks upon reading the sign, because damn that's some overpriced shit going on right there for the run of the mill establishment she finds herself walking in to.

She looks around the interior, to Uncle Po, to the alcohol, to Tuku, then back to the drink. On the one hand, refusing it would be potentially ungracious, while on the other they'll probably want to charge for it which isn't ideal when you want to haggle over the price of lodging.

"They call it bier, don't they?" she asks, playing for time, and fortunately the old man moves over towards her about then, removing the need to consider the brew any further.

"My name is Shimura," she answers his inquiry with a simple and mostly sincere smile. "Your nephew has been extolling the virtues of your establishment, and it does indeed fulfil all his descriptions. Alas, I am altogether unsure of how long my business will keep me here, and I fear my small purse might be more profitbly extended in lesser lodgings."

(click to show/hide)


« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:24:07 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Gatac
Handler
*****
Posts: 916


The power of Stark compels you!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 12:57:54 PM »

(click to show/hide)

Aiko's read of Po is difficult, but rewarding. The good manners don't come naturally to him - he is a sailor and hardened by the trade - but he's been doing this long enough that he can project a convincing aura. Somewhat orthogonal to that is whether he really wants all this, and the answer is Yes. Po might not have picked the business, but damned if he's not going to do the best he can with it.

Aiko's polite-if-slightly-out-of-her-depth Northern tourist shtick seems to get her past Po's defenses easily enough; the old man gives her a genuine kind smile. "Ah, Shimura! What a pretty name!" Po says.
"It's so funny, Uncle, I said the same thing," Tuku adds.
"And I'm sure you flatter my nephew's salesmanship a bit too much," Po says. "You're here for business? Well, I appreciate that the coin in your purse is not yours to spend on frivolities, then. How about this: I have a room by the kitchen. Some guests don't like it because they can hear me work in the mornings, but I assure you, it's as comfortable and clean as any in this house. I will rent it to you for a mere six silver per day -"
"Uncle!" Tuku says.
"- and I would be very happy to host whatever business meetings and negotiations you have in this city. This is a quiet house, you know, a little off the beaten track - many businessmen appreciate that."
"Uncle!" Tuku exclaims, a little too loudly to be a sincere protest. "That is only half of what we charge everyone else! That's not fair!"
"It is fair that the lady has a place to sleep and pays what she is able to," Po says. "If your salesmanship is as good as she claims, then surely we can make up the difference in volume. Now, Shimura, if that is to your liking, I will go prepare your room. You may wait here."
Logged
Mister Andersen
Control
******
Posts: 10716


I'm leaving for a destination I still don't know


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 01:22:21 PM »

Aiko does her best to hide her smile at both Po's generosity and Tuku's reaction to it.

"Yes, that would be most agreeable," she bows her head in gratitude. It used to be so simple; an inquistorial retinue almost always had accomodation provide by the local authorities, and when such lodgings were unavailable, it had been someone else's responsibility to arrange them.

She reaches inside her robe and pulls out her purse. Grimacing a little, she swirls her finger around its contents and picks out what amounts to 30 pieces of silver in a variety of different coins both Imperial and Hanse. "I  believe this should cover the next five days," she says, handing over the coin with a sense of reluctance.


« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 08:24:19 AM by Mister Andersen » Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 9 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.13 | SMF © 2006-2011, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!