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++ Chapter 2: The Changing Wind

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6:12 pm
October 25, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

1

Post edited 1:15 am – October 26, 2020 by dystopia


 
Oh, tranquility!
Penetrating the very rock,
A cicada’s voice.
Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
The morning chirps of the Uzura stirred Zakuro from his deep slumber. The man opened his eyes, the rays of dawn's sunshine cutting through the dusty air of the fisherman's cabin. Zakuro moved cautiously, feeling the ache in his muscles from the encounter the night before. Lifting himself from the tatami mat with the aide of his odachi the Samurai brushed the hair from his eyes and stepped past Riku towards the cabin's door. Opening it slowly, though it creaked with rare movement. The cool morning air blew in from the lake which steamed away it's stored heat from the day before.
   ” Riku, how are your injuries? I could likely find some herbs in the forest and by the shore to make tinctures if you are in need? ” Zakuro asked as he looked longingly from the cabin's door out over the rippling water, knowing that everything had changed in one day. They would need to get their bodies in order and move from this place soon, but where could they go? Who could they trust and seek help from?
 


2:35 pm
October 26, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

2

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  

Riku opened his eyes slowly as he felt the warmth of the sun's light hitting his closed eyelids. He winced as he attempted to take a deep breath on his own. His chest still hurt from the battles the night before and while he had been able to recover greatly due to his meditative sleep, it would still be a little till he was better. Riku grabbed his shakkou and used it to help me raise up into a seated posture. “They have begun to heal though a tincture would be appreciated. I don't think we have time to wait till it is fully healed.” Riku closed his eyes as he remained sitting up. His breathes measured as deeply as he could without wincing as he scanned his body to see how much it was still injured.



 
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2:27 pm
October 27, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

3
  Turning back from the open door Zakuro watched as Riku labored to get himself in an upright sitting position, seeing it to be as he had feared—their ability to travel would be slowed by the otherworldly encounter from the night before. The elder man stroked at his short beard and turned back to the open door as he began to affix his odachi to his back.
   ” I'll have a look around the area for something that can aide us, perhaps you can muster enough strength to put on some tea? There is wood and a kettle by the fireplace and I have tea in my bag. ” Zakuro responded as he motioned towards the leather sack that he carried with him most everywhere before stepping out onto the creaking porch and down the steps onto the path back into the mori.
The morning air was cool but it would get hot soon enough, Zakuro thought as he started down the overgrown path his eyes searching through the trees for anything that could help. It was damp, and he found himself wet with dew as he noticed a large patch of dense green off to the left of the trail. Cutting though the forest he was glad to find it to be what he had thought, a overgrowth of knotweed, bamboo like in height but with it's wide flat leaves. Zakuro quickly dropped to his knees and began to pull away the debris and dirt from the base of one of the larger growths until he had found one of it's many roots. Tugging he managed to free a large tuber of the knotweed root and after a quick inspection turned back towards the fisher's hut.
 

8:01 am
October 31, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

4

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku nodded towards Zakuro as he left and began to move to his feet. His movements were slow and deliberate as he made sure to not aggrivate his healing injury. It had been some time since Riku had found himself in such bad shape and could only think it was due to the many surprises that came with last night. Emotional pain racked his injured body as he remembered the death of his Daimyo. The feel of cool leather on his hand brought him back to the present as he grabbed some tea and a flint. Riku made his way to the fireplace, setup the wood, and started a small fire. 

With the kettle in hand, Riku made his way to the nearby river to fill it with water for their tea. The feel of the cool steam passing by by his hand brought a sense of being purified from the nightmare of last night. Riku shook himself out of his thoughts and made his way back to the hut, setting the kettle above the fire and waited for Zakuro to return.



 
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8:55 am
November 1, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

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Post edited 4:27 pm – November 1, 2020 by dystopia


  The sunlight was growing more bright and warm as Zakuro came out of the forest back to the shore of the lake on which the cabin was built. He wondered how long he had been searching for the knotweed, it didn't seem like long but his mind was in disorder and he couldn't be sure if an hour or more had passed. Quickly he took the large tuber and washed it in the clear lake water, removing any remaining dirt before turning back towards the cabin. As he climbed the creaking wooden steps and entered the cabin he could feel the warmth inside and smell the smoke of the small fire.
   ” I found some knotweed in the mori, I'll grind it into a paste and apply it to your bruises, it should help the soreness. ” Zakuro said as began doing just that, finding a stone bowl and pestle among the cabins cookware.
   ” We're going to have to move from here at some point today, we could move early but we risk being seen as we cross the lake, or we could wait until nightfall but again we risk running into more unholy creatures in the forest. ” Zakuro was thinking out loud as he readied the knotweed.
 

7:55 am
November 5, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

6

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku smiled as Zakuro spoke about bringing the herb to help with his pains,
“Thank you.” Riku moved towards Zakuro's leather bag and produced two cups and the tea leaves and went about making two cups with the now hot water, placing one beside Zakuro. The warmth of the tea spread throughout Riku body as he took a sip. He found the warmth brought clarity to his mind as he thought over Zakuro's presented options, “It may be tough, but we must move. Even if we stayed here, there's no guarantee they won't find it; they did follow up for a while. I'd rather have a place before night fell…” Riku shuddered as he remember the presence that came for them the previous night.



 
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10:32 am
November 6, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

7
  Looking down into the stone bowl Zakuro was happy with the paste that now occupied it, having smashed the knotweed tuber about as much as he could with the tools he had. It was still fibrous but would do the job it was meant for, and sensing that time would be of the essence if they were to start moving soon Riku would need to get it applied.
   ” Cover your bruises with this paste and wrap them the best you can, it will help with the pain and swelling but you'll likely still be sore. ” Zakuro said as he handed Riku the stone bowl before picking up the small bowl of tea and taking a sip which seemed to at once help calm him. ” I think you're right about leaving as soon as we can. I noticed a fishing skiff tied up to the dock when I went down to wash off the knotweed, we can use it to cross the lake. ” Zakuro continued, thinking about where the could possibly seek shelter once they had reached the other side. ” News of what has happened probably hasn't spread to everyone in Odate yet, perhaps we can reach some of our allies there before the news does. ” Zakuro finished, wondering if Riku possibly had any other ideas about what course of action they should now take.
 


9:40 am
November 7, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

8

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku graciously took the paste from Zakuro with a nod and began spreading it along his chest and shoulders. A cool soothing affect came upon his wounds and he felt the pain begin to alleviate. Whether that be from the paste or the act of tending to it he did not know. Riku just appreciated it was working.
“I'll be fine now.” Riku looked around the cabin as if seeing something Zakuro did not, “The air here is much better now.” Riku drank his tea quickly and rose to his feet with the help of his shakkou, “That sounds wise. The assassination and unholy beast could not be a coincidence and we will need allies to fight this force.” Riku dried his cup with a spare cloth and placed it back into Zakuro's pack, “Work will travel fast, we must travel faster.”




 
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12:56 pm
November 7, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

9
  The sounds of nature around them was permeating the fisher's cabin, the forest sounded alive and well, a far cry from how it had seemed the night before. With Riku's wounds tended to for the moment and a conclusion made that they should move as quickly as possible to beat word of mouth Zakuro took to his feet and gathered his things back into the leather bag he carried before helping Riku to his feet.
   ” Let us make haste then, the boat is just down the dock that connects to this cabin's walkway. ” Zakuro was speaking as he moved out the door into the now brighter warm sunlight. The humidity was rising and before long he knew it would be downright hot, hopefully they would be across the lake by that point. The boards creaked and groaned under each step as Zakuro made his way along the walkway to the dock, carefully taking each step now as much of the dock here was in a state of disrepair. The small skiff rocked on the calm waters just ahead, it looked a little worse for wear but it seemed sound enough to get them across the narrow Hachirogata lake, it was only a few miles to the other shore after all.
 


1:06 pm
November 8, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

10

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


The clean fresh air now filled Riku's lungs easier as the paste did it's job to relax his body and the pain. Riku felt himself leaning less on his shakkou and being able to walk with new found strength as the pain left. With new clarity, came an anger over Riku's mind. The murder of their daimyo followed by the contamination of this beautiful area caused his mind to begin to race until a reassuring wind passed by him. His mind calmed as he remembered the area was purified and they were still alive. Anger wouldn't solve this problem.

Riku followed behind Zakuro towards the boat was rested on the dock. He took a seat towards the front of the boat giving room for Zakuro to take the oars. His wounds were feeling better, but he understood that his body was still hurting and any unneccessary exercise would make him weaker later. Riku would not let Zakuro do anything of his own. He gripped his shakkou and began to pray in a low voice. A cool area came over that lake causing a mist to cover the lake and a mist formed over the lake with a thinner layer beginning to leak out into the surrounded forest,
“This will give us some cover and I can guide our way.” Despite the mist that obscured view the further anyone look, Riku could see a faint green aura in the air guiding him through the water.




 
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9:59 am
November 9, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

11
  The small wooden skiff rocked back and forth as Riku and Zakuro moved from the dock into the boat. As they settled into place the movement slowed and everything seemed to reach a level calm. Zakuro, sitting with the oars, felt the wind change to their backs as the foggy mist of the early morning seemed to return, Riku's work which would hopefully make the trip that much easier. Zakuro took the oars in both and and started the rhythmic work of pushing them along. It was not long before the fisher's cabin shrank in the distance and they neared the middle of the lake. Zakuro could not see ahead of them but he knew they would reach the far shore of Hachirogata quickly at this rate.
   ” Do you see anything through the mist on the far shore Riku? ” Zakuro asked, hoping that his friend would say nay, just forest and nothing else. Though he was sure that at some point their pursuers would catch up with them once more.
 


3:07 pm
November 11, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

12

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku stared intently into the mist as the boat crossed the lake. The green hue which colored the mist to his eyes remained guiding him straight across the lake. Most of his view was obscured by the mist like Zakuro and anyone that would come across the lake, but Riku knew his Kami would guide him towards where he needed to be.
“I must save my energy so I can not see through this mist. The mist leads us straight across so that is our safest path.” Riku scanned through the mist that surrounded them looking for any indication of any danger that may be approaching them.



 
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10:06 pm
November 11, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

13
  The burning sensation grew over time in Zakuro's arms as he pulled the oars towards him, displacing the water in the process and propelling them forward across the narrow lake. The samurai did his best to stay alert while rowing but there was something about these kind of tasks that even during his youth when training he would find himself acting on feel and instinct more than that of observation. His sensei had abhorred this quality that Zakuro had possessed and did all he could to break the young man of it, yet the truth of it was he still had the inate ability and regardless of how he came by it he was always more skilled than any of his other peers. Losing sense of time he simply let the pain in his arms fade away and continued a steady movement of force until with what was quite a shock—literally the small skiff running ashore on the far side—he snapped out of it.
   ” Seems we have found the shore. ” Zakuro said rather matter of fact, hoping that he friend would see the humor and not hold his lack of focus against him, even in such a serious time. ” If you are able, we should do our best to hide the boat as well as we can before moving on. ” Zakuro said as he climbed out of the skiff, his geta touching ground, a muddy shore which was only a few meters clear before turning quickly to dense forest.
 

4:03 pm
November 16, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

14

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku watched diligently through the mist looking for any change in colors that may alert him to danger though none came. His concentration was broken as the boat ran into the shore and they abruptly stopped.
“Yea, I think so.” Riku chuckled lightly to himself. As he stood up in the boat, Riku waved his shakkou in his right hand and the wind began to blow back the way the came causing the fog around them to dissipate and head away from them, hoping if anyone saw it would think it was following them. Riku grabbed the side of the boat and waited for Zakuro to grab the other half, “There's some good cover in the bushes there.” Riku pointed up ahead of them just on the shore where a ground of bushes looked big enough to cover the boat.




 
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6:03 pm
November 16, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

15
  Zakuro moved cautiously in the mud and sand, careful of how he placed his geta as he surveyed the area around them. He felt the wind shift and could feel the mist moving around them, concealing them in the open. Nodding to Riku he grasped his side of the skiff and with a great heave began to pull it across the treacherous shore towards the low underbrush and trees that Riku had pointed out. He breathed deeply and felt the sweat start to form on his brow as he gave another heaving tug and with Riku's help moved the boat finally into the bushes.
   ” Okay. Okay. There must be a trail, even if it's a game trail, we can use around here somewhere. ” Zakuro spoke, he was still breathing heavy and now the sun was nearing the mid-point of the sky above them. It was hot, and the humidity around the lake wasn't helping. The Samurai, after a brief rest to catch his breath started to walk along the edge of the tree line, searching for trails that the deer would use.
 

1:48 pm
November 21, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

16

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku strained slightly as he lifted his half of the weight of the boat and moved it into the bushes with Zakuro. The paste had been keeping the majority of his pain away and it was not until he lifted the boat that he realized that it was just being concealed. Riku took a deep breath as he waited for the pain to subside with the extra weight gone from his hold. With the sun high in the sky, the humidity that had helped them with cover was now making their journey harder. Riku followed behind Zakuro finding the shade a relief on this hot day.
“Yes, it would be good to find some fruits for a quick meal on the way as well.” Riku scanned the area around them looking for any signs of a path, “There.” Riku pointed with his shakkou to a path of dirt worn down from animals, judging by the small width, walking on it repeatedly.




 
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9:40 am
November 23, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

17

Post edited 4:40 pm – November 23, 2020 by dystopia


  With the skiff hit and a trail found Zakuro followed Riku into the forest. He was instantly reminded of the night before, but that same sense of dread and the pull of whatever it was that had brought the oni onto their path was not present which was a great relief to the Samurai. However, he knew that the chance of them encountering a search party was high so they would have to remain careful.
   ” We'll hopefully find something on our way, keep your eyes open. ” Zakuro replied, feeling that stopping now would be risky, they were battling time as it was.
The path was well beaten but narrow and led them through groves of dense trees and bamboo before turning and reaching the banks of a small stream. It was where the animals would cross and this Zakuro knew it would be shallow enough for them to walk across without any issue. As the Samurai stepped towards the water the arrow flew past his head and struck a nearby tree with a thud. Zakuro reacted quickly, ducking down low and quickly moving himself towards a bank of dirt on their side of the stream.
   ” Riku! Get down! ” Zakuro was yelling as he attempted to peek over the bank when another arrow flew too close for comfort.
 

10:56 am
November 25, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

18

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku followed the path that countless animals had walked, his eyes open for any vegetation that would give them some energy to keep going. Riku took a deep breath as a small rumble reverberated escaped from his stomach trying to calm himself and keep any extra noise away until he could get some food. With each step that he took, Riku could feel the pain from his injury begin to fade both from his body and mind. His mind calmed and he felt a peace within that forest. 

This calm remained until he felt a change in the air behind him. The change was hostile, abrupt, and parted the air with such speed that Riku was only altered enough to move just a little to see an arrow impale a nearby tree. Riku moved quickly with Zakuro disappointed that he had not been able to use his abilities to keep watch all around them. The monk looked over at Zakuro as they leaned against the bank of the stream,
“We can't let them pin us down.” Riku closed his eyes for a moment as he began to gather his ki, “I can cover you with some wind from the arrow. It won't completely stop one, but it can change the path enough for you to avoid them…Hopefully.”




 
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11:33 am
November 27, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 60

19
  Zakuro took several deep breaths as he pushed his back against the tall earthen bank, however it had happened they had gotten the drop on them and worst of all he hadn't see how many attackers there were, for all the Samurai knew it could be one or ten.
  ” I didn't even see the archer, we need to get eyes on them. ” Zakuro replied to Riku, knowing that the act of just peeking over the bank could be dangerous enough to get him killed.  Cover me the best you can. ” Zakuro continued as he started to let his eyes wander to the far side of the stream, there was no bank there but there was a large oak tree which would provide plenty of cover and give he and Riku a tactical advantage of not being pinned down in the same place. Keeping low, Zakuro moved swiftly towards the stream, splashing across it with ease and with a slide he got behind cover just as an arrow hit the massive trunk. Zakuro took several more deep breaths, trying to keep calm and focused, he had still not seen the attacker, but his gut told him it was only one person. “ I think it's just one archer. ” He shouted back across the stream, hoping Riku would understand that he intended to flank them.
 


12:46 pm
November 27, 2020

griff
Member

posts 53

20

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


After the muttering of a prayer, a small gust of wind began to form over Zakuro as he began running towards his new cover. The wind was not strong though could change the trajectory slightly of an incoming arrow. Riku stared intently waiting to bolster his magic should he get a chance. Riku watched as Zakuro made his way on his safely behind a tree as the arrow his the trunk. Taking advantage of this moment, Riku moved the wind he had placed around Zakuro towards the arrow and sent the wind flying back in a straight line hoping to match the trajectory of the arrow. The wind flow steadfast until it hit a tree, further behind where the actual archer was. The wind his the tree head on causing bark to fall off,
“Where the wind hit.” Riku shouted hoping Zakuro had a chance to look as he was unable to see the impact due to his hiding behind the bank, though he had a general idea of it's direction.

Riku stood quickly not wanting to lose this chance, hopped over the river bank, and headed in the opposite direction of Zakuro to give continue to make space between them. His eyes caught a tree that would cover him and his legs took him straight towards his. His right hand spun as he gathered three air darts and sent them in the general direction of where his wind had tracked the arrow. He did expect to hit the archer, he just wished to buy him some time until he got behind the tree.





 
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