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++ Chapter 2: The Changing Wind

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8:36 pm
November 27, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

21
  His full width of breath returning to him, Zakuro felt himself calming, sure that only one attacker lay out in the mori. Looking back across the gap he watched Riku work his magic and then, with quite the swift foot of his own, depart the back and head through the cover of trees and bushes towards the source of the arrow.
  ” Ingenious. ” muttered to himself in wonder as he took a quick peek from the saftey of the cover of the trunk, sensing he would have a moment to do so thanks to Riku's movements. His eyes focused quick and he guessed it to be fifty meters away where he saw the scar Riku's magic had left on a fallen tree that would be about chest high, perfect cover for an archer.

Gathering himself Zakuro and without hesitation Zakuro peeled off the massive trunk, exiting cover on the far side of the bank and moving quickly in an arc around a grove of decent sized trees. He heard the sound of an arrow embedding itself into something nearby and knew now it would be up to Riku to subdue the man, as he had decided to favor Zakuro with his arrows.
 


11:26 am
November 30, 2020

griff
Member

posts 61

22

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


As Riku caught his breath from behind the tree, he waited to hear the sound of an arrow pierce the tree he hid behind. When he heard it come from far away, he knew that the archer had continued to focus on Zakuro. Without delay, Riku spun off the tree and ran towards where he had hit the tree with his wind, thinking the archer wouldn't have much time to move and get a shot off at Zakuro with all the tree around as obstacles. Riku grinned as he noticed the glint of metal coming from the tip of an arrow ready to be let loose by the archer. With a swift prayer, Riku conjured three wind dart in a line several feet apart from each other. The darts spun with the two on the outer edges breaking wide before converging with the center dart all aimed at the archer. Riku followed fast behind, his earlier pain drowned out by the paste and adrenaline.





 
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10:12 am
December 3, 2020

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

23
  The heavy sound of Zakuro's feet during his fully gaited sprint bellowed in his own ears as he arced around the dense bamboo grove. The wind around him had shifted and he knew that Riku was on the offensive now, he would have to circle around quickly in case the archer proved adept in hand to hand combat as well. Ahead of him, the shadows parted as the towering bamboo shoots began to lesson, he knew the archer would be on the other side. Bursting past the edge of the grove Zakuro drew his blade with lightning speed as he entered a small clearing that spread out in the wake of the fallen oak which the archer was using for cover. He watched as Riku's magic struck the lone man, tumbling him backwards to the ground, his bow falling from his hands and the remaining arrows in his small quiver scattering as he fell.
  ” Don't move you cur! ” Zakuro shouted as his blade caught the sunlight with a dazzling gleam from it's wavy hamon. Zakuro let his eyes jump up to Riku, making sure he was sound before darting quickly back to the fallen man who laid prone, his hands out ahead of him defensively.
  ” Please don't, I'm sorry, please! ” The man begged as he kicked dirt trying to push himself back.  I… just thought you were a deer. I sw..swear! ” He was stuttering, his voice fearful as he looked up at both Zakuro on Riku.
 


9:32 am
February 7, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

24

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku continued rushing towards the archer, getting there right behind Zakuro who was keeping the man down with the threat of his sword. Riku posed his shakkou above the man's chest and at his excuse jabbed down with force,
“Lot of deers around here running on two legs with weapons?” Riku raised his shakkou back just above the archer's chest, “Now let's try again. Who sent you?” 




 
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3:58 pm
February 9, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

25
  The archer was quivering and kicking at the leaf strewn ground as he attempted to back away from the tip of Zakuro's blade. He shouted in pain as the pole of Riku's weapon was jabbed into his torso and grasped at the sore spot as he rolled to his side, still defensive and aware that he couldn't talk himself out of the situation.
  ” It was Sato Adachi who sent me into the woods to ambush travelers, I'm with his group, we've been living in the woods and nearby mountains for the past several months, I meant only to scare you away, I swear! ” The man was now downright begging for his life, unaware that the name he just spoke was one both Riku and himself knew.
  ” Adachi, did you say Adachi?! ” Zakuro's blade dropped and was instinctively returned with perfect motion back into it's sheath. Sato Adachi had been exiled from their clan three years prior, but had always been a close friend to Zakuro in their days spent together serving Otomo. If he really had been surviving out in the woods and mountains in the years since maybe it was the exact kind of help they were looking for.
 


4:26 pm
February 10, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

26

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku stared down at the archer, shakkou still poised over the man's chest. Riku registered the name Sato Adachi along with Zakuro though kept his shakkou in place as Zakuro put his sword away,
“So that's where he's been.” Riku moved his eyes back onto the archer and twitched his shakkou up and down slightly, “And how big is your groups?” Riku was not as trusting of someone he hadn't heard from in 3 years as Zakuro seemed to be and placed the bottom of his shakkou onto the man's chest.



 
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5:04 pm
February 17, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

27
  Zakuro looked down at the man as he continued to scoot backwards away now from only Riku's steadied presence, not taking pity on him, but seeing him as weak and likely not fit for many tasks. He wondered if that's how he had found his way out into the lakeside mori, perhaps he was even less use back at camp.
  ” We're only about thirty total, please… ” The man struggled, looking at Riku, fearful.
  ” Quickly, to you feet. You will lead us to your camp, and stay out ahead. ” Zakuro was commanding as he motioned for the man to get up and get moving with a wave of his arm.  You're right to be cautious. ” Zakuro said to Riku, as he waited for the man to get above ten meters ahead of them before he started to follow.  It could be a trap, though it seems unlikely. All the same, I think you should keep the wind and our backs. ” Zakuro continued, hoping that a rain of arrows wouldn't meet them in the near future as he started through the underbrush after the man.
 


6:47 pm
February 21, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

28

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku relaxed his shakkou by his side and waited till the man turned his back before taking in a sharp breath. The adrenaline from the attack was beginning to wear off and the injury from the night before was returning. Riku steadied himself, not wanting to show the archer his weakness, and walked behind the man leaning slightly on his shakkou to make the walk easier.
“I had not heard of Sato since he…left. What do you hope for?” Riku whispered close by Zakuro keeping a close eye on the archer and a focus on the wind to their back.



 
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5:10 pm
February 25, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

29
  Zakuro kept a watchful eye on the man, out ahead of them purposely moving forward like he really did know these woods well. He looked back fearful every so often, as if it make sure that the situation he found himself in was in fact not a dream. Keeping his breath controlled and his senses high Zakuro thought on Riku's questionas he walked, what did he hope for?
  ” To be honest, I'm not sure. We must definitely lay low and find some sort of safe haven if we are to truly plan our next action and figure out what exactly is going on. ” Zakuro replied, knowing that word of what had happened to Daimyo Otomo would spread quick enough and evading capture would get harder with each passing day.  If Adachi is the one out here in these forests, and has been for three years with a band of thirty followers, then perhaps he's our best option to survive this manhunt. However even though we know the man, we must control this encounter… ” Zakuro trailed off, never knowing Adachi as a man who would turn in friends to better his own position, but years in exile could change a man and Zakuro did not wish to take that chance.
Ahead the forest began to thin and Zakuro could hear the faint sound of the same creek which they had first been fired upon by the man leading them now. He could smell smoke and could see a clearing in the distance. The man looked back again as he reached the edge of the clearing ahead, still fearful before stepping out into the small camp and calling for Adachi Sato by name.
 


7:06 pm
February 27, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

30

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku gripped his shakkou tightly as he began to catch the small of smoke. With each breath, he focused his energy towards his chest and keep the pain down. Any signs of weakness could cause a disaster at the camp.
“No doubt about that.” Riku was seemingly more hesitant than Zakuro about asking for this man's help. Like Zakuro though, he understand they had very little options. Their chances against a band of 30 bandits was better than all the men that Onaga could muster against them. Riku waited for Adachi to respond to the archer's call.



 
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3:05 pm
March 2, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

31

Post edited 10:05 pm – March 2, 2021 by dystopia


  The forest cleared ahead of them as Zakuro stepped from the edge of the wooden land into the large meadow that was the clearing, the mountain stream water snaking through it from one tree line to the other. On both sides of the stream were small makeshift buildings, mostly just a-frames and lean-twos but two permanent structures that looked as if they had been there for some time, and were in a state of unkeep. Several of the bandits looked up as Zakuro and Riki entered the clearing, the Samurai could see the hesitation on some of their faces, whether they should quickly go for their weapons or not. Zakuro hoped they would not. Ahead the man that had led them here was running into the largest structure, calling for Adachi.
  ” Okay Riku, be ready if this goes wrong. ” Zakuro said calmly as he stood a few feet inward from the edge of the forest, fully ready to recede back into the cover of the trees if need be.
Zakuro watched as a familiar figure strode confidently out of the main building. Adachi was just as massive as he had always been, at least six feet tall, and wide at the shoulders. His face was now overgrown with a long beard, but it was the same stern face underneith. Zakuro caught Adachi's eyes and there was recognition.
  ” Well look what this dimwit drug in this time, two of Otomo's favorites. ” Adachi's voice was deep and there was a hint of anger when he spoke Otomo's name.
  ” Adachi, it's been awhile. ” Zakuro said as friendly as he could.  You may be surprised to hear this, but we could use some help. ” Zakuro continued, hoping Adachi would take them at face value and not ask too many questions.
  ” Help you say? Riku, you've looked better that's for sure. ” Adachi's eyes left Zakuro and moved to Riku.
 


5:44 pm
March 3, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

32

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku clenched his jaw as he forced a smile towards Adachi,
“Don't go thinking your man here is any part of that reason.” Riku sharpened his awareness on Adachi as the man was able to see right through his attempts to hide it, “Being out here in the woods, I'm sure you must be aware of the darkness that's been growing as of late.” Riku shifted his gaze for a moment from Adachi to those he followed, looking for a response on their faces, before looking back to Adachi.



 
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6:01 pm
March 8, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

33
  Adachi had been aggressive upon seeing the two man that had been brought to his camp, but things quickly changed. His eye's narrowed and he stammered a bit when Riku mentioned the darkness—the taint—that had been growing in the mori over the past few years. There was silence for several moments, before the crowd of followed in the small camp began to talk amongst themselves, things had turned in their favor.
  ” So you do know what Riku speaks of, you all do? ” Zakuro spoke up, stepped further into the camp, away from the wood line, sensing that fleeing would no longer be as important.
  ” I cannot lie, many of us have seen strange things in the forest over the past year, it has become a growing concern… we have even lost a handful of men. ”Adachi seemed relieved that someone else, anyone else was addressing something that had been affecting them personally for so long.
  ” ; Riku and I, we've encountered an Oni, a massive creature which pushed us both to our limits just a night ago. Something is stirring and we seek aide, and answers if there are any you can give. ” Zakuro said, looking to Riku who he knew must be sore, the paste he had made earlier would be wearing off soon and the soreness of his bruises would soon return.  ” Perhaps we can catch up, and bury old things? ” Zakuro asked, looking for Riku to help him sway their old ally just a little bit more.
 


6:53 pm
March 9, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

34

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


As the paste began to wear off, so did the pain begin to creep back. The ache was still dull and required only for Riku to keep his mind on the here and now to keep it from bothering him. Though he knew that it would not be long till the full pain would be back.
“And you will lose more to these creatures unless the source of this change is stopped.” Riku paused and took in a deep breath as he took a moment to think, “Our encounter last night…” Riku looked towards Zakuro for a moment and back to Adachi, “It does not seem to be some kind of coincidence. There is certainly something bigger at play here.”



 
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5:42 pm
March 14, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

35
  Zakuro stepped further into the clearing as Riku talked, feeling that his friend was right about one thing—their encounter the night before, and the fact that it had led them to reunite with someone lost to their clan years before could not be a coincidence, something was indeed at play here and he believed that Adachi would play a part in whatever it was.
  ” So as you see, we have encountered the same things in these forests as you have, and we have seen them play their hand in another way as well. ” Zakuro said as he scanned the faces in the crowd, sensing that both he and Riku were winning them over.
  ” I would hear your tale, if you tell it, perhaps we should head inside. ”Adachi's tension had lessened as Riku and Zakruo made their case, and now he had turned back from the structure he had come from before, leading both Zakuro and Riku inside.
  ” ; We will leave out as much about Otomo as we can, for now. ” Zakuro leaned in and spoke closely to Riku as he followed Adachi into the structure.
 


3:33 pm
March 22, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

36

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku felt himself ease as the tension began to decrease. The relaxation was short lived as the pain began to return. Riku nodded towards Zakuro as they followed behind Adachi, leaning more heavily on his shakkou than he did previously.
“Agreed. Word will get here eventually.” Riku took a deep breath as he walked and focused his attention towards his own body. He felt his body feel lighter as he felt his awareness of the area around him fade away. Riku could feel that the wound was beginning to heal as he walked into the building with Adachi. It was far less than before putting on the paste and with his continued focus would heal completed.


 
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6:00 pm
March 27, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

37
  The interior of the building was that of a traditional small farm home, a large central room with a modest sunken irori hearth in the center which bellowed smoke from the remains of a fire. The walls were full of shelving which held bowls and tools. In the back a paper sliding door led into the sitting room, the tatami mats worn with age. Adachi led them in and motioned for them to relax. Zakuro nodded and taking his odachi from his back settled to the mat, careful placing his sheathed blade at his side.
  ” We had wondered what had become of you Adachi, it seems that fate has brought us all back together again. ” Zakuro said as he watched Adachi lower himself to his knees before leaning to his right, bracing himself with his palm against the matted flooring as he settled into a sitting position.
  ” It seems so, please tell me how you ended up here. ”Adachi was calm now, attentive, his left hand habitually stroking at his dark beard as he waited for the tale to begin.
  ” ; There has been much upheaval in Akita, as you will surely come to hear about in the following days, Something is lurking and has been making plans, which have begun to be acted upon. Riku, tell him of the oni and the sense of doom carried by the wind that led us here. ” Zakuro Looked to his friend to paint a picture of the battle they had fought the night before, and how they seemed to be at the mercy of destiny.
 


6:41 pm
March 31, 2021

griff
Member

posts 61

38

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku followed right behind Zakuro as they entered the building. A sharp jolt of danced around his ribs as he sat beside Zakuro, leaving his shakkou to lay across his lap. Riku took a deep breath as he settled into his seated position.
“The wind last night carried with it a sense of dread and decay which we followed to find the source. There at the center was the oni. Twice the size of either of us, or sure it seemed so.” Riku paused for a moment to take a breath, feigning a wince of pain as he gathered his thoughts, “It's aura felt like it called for us to investigate, taunting us. The battle was hard fought, but we were able to defeat him with the help of my kami.” Riku's finger moved across his shakkou as he thought words of appreciation for the help. “These creatures bring with them destruction that is throwing off the balance of nature and we must find out why it has started to increase.”


 
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3:48 pm
April 8, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 68

39
  Adachi sat quietly listening first to Zakuro, and then to Riku. He nodded his head and unconsciously pulled at his scruffy beard as his mind put the pieces of their tale together with things that he and his people had also encountered. When Riku had finished Adachi took a few moments, still deep in thought before he looked towards the rooms narrow horizontal window that was letting in what were now the last rays of the day.
  ” Yes, we too have encountered things just as you speak of, in fact we have found something up on the mountain that I think you both should see. But not at night, we should eat and find beds for the two of you, if you would have them. ” Adachi was getting up now, calling for Zakuro and Riku to follow him back outside where surely they people of this makeshift community would soon be roasting the bounty of the forest on the large fire they were making when the two had arrived in the clearing.
  ” ; That is most gracious of you, we would be honored. ” Zakuro replied to Adachi as he too lifted himself from his sitting postion to follow, sending Riku a cautious glance before followed Adachi from the sitting room.
 


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