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T O P I C    R E V I E W
cpthero2 Posted - 06 Dec 2020 : 18:36:47
The Man from Iiso Part 1

Tags: Assur / Durpar / Temple of Lucha.

02 JUN 2017

In Assur’s hot sand
A Tumult growing daily
Today work begins_

A month I’ve spent in the city of Assur with my second Shino for company. This place is in many ways more remarkable than I’d considered in my readings and research. However It is not without negative points. The people and their customs are well fed and boisterous. Each wearing a swirl of colorful fabrics that would be unknown to only the greatest festival days of WA. Their seems to exist an atmosphere of organized chaos in the economics of this place. Their always seems to be just the right amount of supply for the demand which is deeply almost mystical in It’s fascinating nature to me. I regret somewhat being unable to employ a Durpari as an economic retainer during my time spent in Iiso. Though I can smell something growing in the people of this town. My understanding of the native language and my own assumed ignorance of the average Durpari has allowed me to hear whispers of discontent and fear from those traveling along the trade way. The fact that the frequency of these whispers has grown like a gathering kamikaze with each passing day has me perturbed as prices are bound to start going up.

With that in mind my second and I made our way to the temple of Lucha via the recommendation of many including a Hin dock administrator who I will expound upon later. I’d intended to sit and observe the atmosphere of the line and the way that persons were being chosen by members of the temple. In the vein Shino played his flute and I plucked my Samisen on the temple steps while an unwashed urchin offered water to any who thirsted despite looking like he had no water nor any way to hold any. Eventually a few came and inexplicably had their water skins filled by this young man. Shino seemed more focused on the meaning of this than I for he can see the threads of magic where my eyes see only the miraculous nature of It. Our second song was nearing Its crescendo when a remarkably mundane looking temple functionary appeared from the temple and asked us if we were pan handling. It was ridiculous to me for only the briefest of moments but Shino quickly responded and explained our purpose to the man. By his delegation we were both separated and for the first time in so long I was without my second. I was led to a room with a few others some of which have proven quite interesting to me.

I stood in a temple waiting room cooled by the ubiquitous magical air conditioning prevalent to the area. Among me were two twins with the blood of Celestials and sparkling blue eyes. The male well armed with a certain well fed quiet predatory nature that reminded me of my superiors in Shidekima like massive bears good natured but capable of unbridled savagery. The woman had the air of an ascetic about her a devotee of some kind. It was then I saw the symbol on her person and how It matched the symbol of the temple of Lucha. I then that the young man the unwashed water giver had followed us in and was grouped with us. After a few minutes an exceptionally pale man with hair the color of fallen leaves came in. I immediately expressed to him the need for my second and how we would not be separated. He began interviewing us with the aid of magic and I inwardly growled at having to divulge certain aspects of myself that I’d hoped to leave dead in WA. Surprisingly no one seemed too bothered by anything I had said and I felt such a sense of relief even more so to be reunited with my second. After we were all given the third degree by this pale ascetic It was explained how we were to travel south down the trade way and gather information that relates to the current economic troubles in Durpar. After being recommended accommodations at the docks for a pittance and being given marked coins and giving our names and a small stipend to spend on supplies we left. I made a point to offer a prayer to the god of this temple out of politeness.

Little did I know that in a few days time I’d have learned many hard lessons taught by this desert and I’d have been given much to consider in regards to my new business associates.
9   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
cpthero2 Posted - 07 Dec 2020 : 04:00:35
Here Before the End

A message from the past and resignation in the face of oblivion

17 OCT 2020

_In the face of death
oblivion beckons Me
_Hello my wife and son

I’m coming Mitsuko I’m coming Asahi

[A note and death haiku found in the right inner pocket of Danjo’s Kimono]


“A letter mentally composed by Danjo of WA for his firstborn son Asahi”

Dear Little Hero

So much has happened my son… I worry I may have failed in my quest to live up to the potential you saw in me. Much as I failed you as a father in life… I stand among tense comrades in a time before the sun first kissed our island home much as your mother did for you or at least I hope she did. I feel the presence of her absence in my story in odd ways. A pang of pain at the thought of snapdragons, a flower meant to specify a deep loss and a betrayal. The image of those red flowers seemed to swim like so much spilled blood. I figured It might be smart to compose a letter to you to write when I have the time. Somethings going wrong with time or the memories of your father and his friends but I’d never forgive myself if I forgot you.

Then there is the nature of my own transformation my son. I still remember the feeling of that cold stone floor under me and my many many fresh wounds pouring my failure and impotent rage all over the floor as my opponent the dishonorable master swordsman Higamoto stood impatiently waiting to finish me off. Your father did something very foolish then my son he tried to take his ball and go home. I dug the blade in deep and opened myself to death again. only to feel as my vision faded myself calling out to god. “Grant me my potential and I will show you wonders.” It was shortly after that the headaches started. A flash of heat a cold sweat and a throbbing aching stabbing pain in my forehead. My thoughts too surged my dear boy exploring new concepts in the application and theory of magic. I felt some sense of relief from the pressure when pondering those new thoughts.

I was stood freezing atop a glacier in the freezing cold when the headaches decided to stop. You’d have been so embarrassed by your father Asahi how I clutched at my head and screamed. Such ungodly pressure until something seemed to shift and something burst from the side of my head. A small flesh colored crooked upward pointed horn. I was so worried in that moment son I was not exactly subtle. Pointing and hopping and shrieking for attention like a frightened child. Much like one I was tolerated before having things clearly and calmly explained to me as the bored eyes of Edaphus the most knowledgeable angel I know flicked across my new horn and stated with rye amusement that I’d manifested some magic in my blood that I’d become..a demon..a yokai an…oni.

I can’t be sure what I am anymore son but I do know I’m your father and that I’m sorry and that everything I’ve been doing and will continue to do is for you and your mother and your brother and the hope that I can and will see you again. Though even if I cannot then to live up to your vision of me and to embody that hero for even a moment might be enough.

So many things I wish I’d told you my boy so many conversations I wish we’d have been able to have. Oh what I would give for things to have go differently for our family. I’ve met gods son and really all I can say for certain is they arent all they are cracked up to be. Though some of them arent half bad looking I must say. oh listen to me ramble on, isn’t that just like your old man? I may have to finish this letter later son There’s a purple crystal shard smoking malevolence before my eyes and your brother has that mischievous look again.

Apparently this shard could end all of existence… I may be seeing you sooner than I thought son. Then again with a sword in my hand you are always with me.

With love and apologies here before the end


cpthero2 Posted - 07 Dec 2020 : 02:41:14
A Conversation: A Long Time Coming

01 MAY 2020

Time Passed Heroes Died
The old man Persists lying
To himself and gods

A moment of true disgust before the shock of words burns like a struck match. “I’m going to go **** what’s left of your wife.” A truly sublime moment of pure shock passes over those in earshot, a slight heave then a rush of air as the old man begins falling. He shuts his eyes and focusing on his breath trying to relax and let the weight of a life lived on the edge of a blade and the tolerance of ones wit slough off like so much dead skin. The sound of rushing air focuses down to a ringing point as the ground grows larger, more present, until It’s all he can see. A smile then blessed peaceful dark if but for a moment.

“Aoda wake up, You’re disrespecting my hospitality and you wouldn’t want that would you? It’s been so long since we really talked and that’s a tragedy don’t you think?” A voice familiar but strange, sweet like honey but tinged in a tang of sharpness of venom. The old man opened his eyes to see a younger man his face arrogant with youth and virility marked by some scars but untested by the true battles of life. The smirk on his face was a picture of the same one the old man wore with casual ease. A sort of gurgle issued from the old mans throat as his lips parted to speak to his counterpart but no words were forthcoming his mouth had gone dry as his eyes beheld the full picture of his situation. He sat in a room his knees set below a low wooden table and he could swear he could hear the thrum of cicadas outside and feel the cool breeze through rice paper walls. He wanted to let his heart soak in this setting but not for the man sat his opposite.

His eyes parted and he ran his tongue over his lips and breathed the dim light of the room left him alone with the younger man all the rest sat in shadow. There was a silence that could have gone on for a lifetime until a smile creased the old mans lips as he saw what lay before him on the table. Sitting there like a faithful pet, almost looking up was a small and well worn tea set, His tea set. The old mans hands found movement and he began a ritual he’d mastered at the end of his boyhood said mastery being a promise he’d made to his own father as a sort of parting memento. The old man made tea, and in mimicry the younger man popped the cork on a tall dark glass bottle pouring a cloudy fluid into a square wooden box marked with hastily inked words in various hands, “Victory, Glory, Peace, Death, Spider” The Wanese characters for each marked a face of the wooden box the final sporting an artists drawing of a spiders web hid on the drinking boxes bottom. Only insulting the older mans eyes when the younger make a mock toast and flashed the spider as he took his sip. “Danjo” The old man said business like but not without a drop of shame. " I had hoped to have grown past you to have become wiser, kinder, more righteous more…." The old man trailed off as he felt the creeping of a cold sweat wash over his skin yet his face didn’t change and neither did his hands still mixing in the powder of pure green Tea. “True?” Questioned the younger man as the elder finally stopped mixing allowing his tea to steep. " That’s the problem with you old man you think you can run from me and you simply can’t you can try to be the Triads golden glistening champion but that’ not who you are".
Aoda Gumo smiled admiring his reflection in a perfectly brewed cup of tea feeling that same serenity he did each time he did so letting the words of his younger crash against him like waves upon a calm beach. He took a moment to toast drawing the cup to his lips “To us” the old man said almost a chuckle in his tone, the younger man adjusted his silken robes and rolled his eyes. The old man drank deeply and he felt himself sinking…

Sweat, Heavy Breathing, The din and noise and wonderful music of battle. The feeling of blood running down flesh that pure focused adrenaline pumping the way he needed It to. Demons, a blasphemies worth horrific jellyfish that puppeted the dead as temporary weapons. Cruel six limbed archers picking and choosing their targets like ripe berries. A massive bloated centipede with the face of a man that burrowed into the minds of those unsuspecting. Yet worst of all their leader or task master a horrific blood red goatish bull faced behemoth with hells viper for a tail. In It’s twisted hyper muscled arms It wielded an evil wicked black ax that seemed to scream or sort of snicker snap? as It cut through air. He was on the ground bleeding, badly he felt the soft touch of iron strong fingers on his shoulder and a surge of life flooded into him. The old mans wounds closed and his heart beat pumping blood and battle vigor into his every cell. The old man swung his head back jumping to his feat. Only to hear that same strange “Snicker Snap” of ax through blood flecked air. A sting of pain a gasp and the old mans sight fell back tumbling…

Aoda set down his tea cup sucking in a fast breath cooling his burned mouth. “too hot?” questioned the younger man sipping his Sake. “simply punishment for my own impatience” Intoned the elder. "Aoda the younger spoke a look of pain and sympathy plain on his face. “I know you’re trying so hard to be that ideal. That same perfect pure idea you drempt of…Hell” The younger slapped his drinking box upon the low table and the dim light seemed to swirl around him " WE! thought of as a child, and was so perfectly personified in Asah-" “Don’t you DARE speak his name you evil poisoner reprobate you scheming spider!” the elder man speaking with sudden deep volcanic fire to his younger. Instead of rising to the older mans challenge the younger slumped sank into the shadows even his voice shrinking as he simply signed and took a long..long..deep…draining…drink before pouring himself a second. “We killed him Aoda..” The younger mans eyes were heavy now empty his face sunken “We killed him..and we weren’t punished we weren’t struck down right then and there. We kept our castle and our fortune and our life…and we killed him” and in that moment the old man felt .s..o..cold.

Ice had formed on his skin on his eyelashes..on his eyes. He couldn’t feel his body for a moment and his sight was not but a swirl of colors. His ears heard nothing then somewhere in the distance a sort of ringing..words? a prayer and the colors solidified forming a face. Dark hair framing a pale face calm smiling lips mouthing something? The ringing fell into peaceful practiced chants as the old man felt his body again sucking in air and blinking as he thawed to life.

Shayzala looked at Danjo as the Dwarven domain quaked and trembled around them. Magenta her companion a serpentine yet winged Kami she called a Couatl curled around her. “We must regroup It’s not safe here!” She shouted over the din of clashing rock and sundering masonry. “agreed” he spoke before a thick chunk of rock slammed into the back of his head.

“And Aoda as long as we’re placing blame for our misdeeds lets talk about your other son.” " The elder man raised a hand to protest before being softly silenced by his younger “lets talk about Shino”. “Wasn’t It you who let him run amok burning down the countryside so much so that the Kami came to you not once, but twice until he was cursed for his insolence. A better father would have seen to that.” The younger man sipped his sake eyeing he who sat before him a sick yet solemn purpose fueled him as he spoke on. " Wasn’t It you who gave him that book? the same book that even made you uneasy without even reading a word? without even opening It? " I felt the magic in It and knew It was safest with him!" spoke Aoda Gumo. " The book was evil we couldn’t have known that but even after It changed him you let It continue!" the younger pointed as though winning the argument.

The elder man looked down into his teacup. The tea which should have been green..was green? has turned black the same deep smokey black Halruaan blend he’d drank for months in the depths of the caves under the Curna Mountains. The same that so many of his fallen comrades had drank. Setibyr that bold brash young celestial drank his tea piping hot like some sort of unspoken endurance test. His sister Enalda ever the more cautious preferred to sip hers well after It had cooled. Malakai drank his tea carefully so as not to spill or burn himself his eyes even when focused trying to see more. Makota drank his tea like he had something to prove attempting to be as formal and rigid as those he so hated yet secretly wished to be like. Rakor drank his tea as any other man would, naturally. Even in his strange states he would always accept a cup of tea..a true friend. Weshtek drank his tea in a practiced fashion as someone who had enjoyed many a still steaming cup in the company of a good book. Tuck Arbuckle took his tea and sipped It in between jokes and verbal barbs that hid his traitors tongue. Ayda drank her tea the same way she seemed to do everything manically like someone grasping for breath and acceptance. Sahil drank his tea graciously taking each cup as a gift like It was his first taste of kindness every single time.

“This cannot go on Aoda, you cannot fulfill your duties divided. Your trying to be what you think you must be. What the triad expects you to be but that’s not you. We are you and we arent you without me. The younger man looked imploringly at his elder and in Aoda’s wizened faced something clicked. " You’re right Danjo, but in your rightness I am left unsure of what to do what to try what to…hold on to." The younger man thought for a moment stroking his chin "In all honestly Aoda I don’t know what to do either. However I am happy we can finally consider the possibilities together.

Danjo found himself stood in a hallway his concussion only minutes ago having been remedied. His face was wet and his eyes still stung with fresh tears. The still almost dreamy voice of his newly resurrected friend Tjordiir quietly parted the still air as the dwarf tipped himself up to whisper " I saw him, Danjo" Tjordiir smiled as a tear ran down the grooves of his face “I was able to see Alim again.” A slight tremble in his voice Danjo whispered " That’s wonderful master dwarf but how?"

cpthero2 Posted - 07 Dec 2020 : 00:07:30
Familiar shadows

A memory (doomed to repeat?)

25 JAN 2019

The province of Iso in the Isle of WA was the center of internal commerce including the traditional trade of rice in bulk throughout the entire empire of WA. The province itself could be seen as unassuming to the nonlocal as a mere collection of merchants haggling over the price of rice however Iso held the acclaim of crafting the finest Sake in the empire for merchants in WA it’s been said prefer the stuff to water. Iso also holds a history of actors in the traditional Wanese style so great was the provinces love for traditional theater that one of It’s Daimyo forsook his obligations to become an actor and the man being a direct relation to the Wanese Shogun was afforded this life choice and appointed his most loyal and accomplished retainer the Samurai known as Aoda Gumo.

Aoda Castle Province of Iso WA: in the wake of Asahi Gumo’s death.

Fire in the shadow
Warms the heart ambition burns
Pain rules for now but,

A shadow was cast over the castle seen only by Its residence a where the very light of the imperial sun seemed to wash out the once vibrant colors leaving the place muted. The courtyard was silent but for the stifled footsteps of servants and retainers going about their daily routine. The lord of the castle knew all of their names, but none now would meet his gaze, so each uniform may as well have held the same faceless person to him now. The back garden with its lovingly tended cherry blossom tree and ponds where so much music and laughter had been heard now also lay untouched pristine as if from a dream still the cicadas in the evening droned on loud enough to ring one’s ears. The lord of Iso was secluding himself in his private chambers deep within the castle. Gifts sat unopened from wealthy merchants and other Daimyo a formality for the death of one’s child and a subtle means to curry favor, as much congratulations at his son’s death with honor as a silent acknowledgment of the loss. Only one was permitted to come and go from the lord’s chambers since the shadow fell over Iso and the young boy hurried through the narrow hallways slipping between passing servants and samurai alike until the door greeted him It’s illustration shone in the wavering firelight that Shino clasped in his hands. Shino Knocked but once before saying in a forced calm having almost lost his breath making his way to the door “Master the lady of the house requests you for dinner” silence was his answer the boy sighed as he slid the door open his meager flame unable to penetrate the darkness. Shino set his stance and focused his breathing into a steady rhythm and the flame seemed to breath in his hands pouring light into the room and casting shadows across It. Shino took a step in and saw the still form of the lord of Iso sat lent forward in his chair his eyes glassy unseeing and his mouth moving as if speaking quietly but as hard as Shino could listen he heard nothing. “Master?” Shino took another step forward but the figure in the room did not change “My lord.. the lady is calling for you It’s dinner time”. The sitting man did not react, and the boy stepped in front of him fear creeping into his voice “Mr. Aoda please are you ok?”. The lord of Iso nearly fell out of his chair and the sound he made was a strangled mix of yells fear, anger, surprise, and grief but then recovered the silence was so complete that the pair of them could hear the startled armored footsteps of the lord’s guards coming to his aid. “Shino what is It? Why have you disturbed me?” his voice was not angry only confused the boy spoke as the Lord rose and began making his way toward the doorway “The lady of the house has summoned you for dinner master” Aoda frowned as the passage of time hit him again and he wondered how long he’d be alone in his chambers for.
The three sat at dinner though the atmosphere wasn’t cordial or relaxed at least for Shino mistress Hana Gumo the lady of Iso had never taken to him since his arrival into the care of her and her husband. Though before Asahi’s death she was content to ignore Shino and no doubt saw him as at best a pawn for his husband’s political plans or at worst a pet servant. Though after the death of Asahi Gumo she could barely hide her contempt for the boy and his place as the only one the Lord would allow to run messages or fetch things for him no doubt compounded contempt to a quiet loathing. Aoda, however, looked better almost he thanked his wife for her cooking and the kami as he always had, and the first bite was almost to his lips before Hana spoke. “It’s gone cold It needs to be remade” Shino felt a knot twist in his stomach as the food was at most lukewarm.” The lord of Iso noisily ate a few bites of his dinner his continence relaxed and he smiled “No It is delicious as always my love you honor me with It I promise you.” The displeasure shone on his wife’s face as she took her own dish off of the table “No It has gone cold I will remake It if you had not taken so long It wouldn’t be necessary but I will remake It” she sighed heavily” It was then that Shino had an idea a way to diffuse this whole situation he tried to speak but the words tumbled and died leaving only a small chirp, Lord Aoda regarded him “Yes Shino?” the boy straightened and coughed using the time to get his words in painfully perfect order “ I can heat dinner for us Lord and that would save Lady Hana the trouble.” Lady Hana set her eyes on Shino and he shrank under her gaze he had miscalculated damn It all he’d only made It worse. “ Silence, If not for your oafishness my husband your lord would have his dinner hot as intended and your little attempt to redeem yourself only sours our stomachs” Aoda’s face shifted and the air seemed to leave the room as he spoke his voice soft but his words carried the weight of thunder “If you are intent on being unpleasant I have no desire to have dinner with you” Hana Gumo resumed her seat in silence the color slowly draining from her face as Aoda took her plate and handed It to Shino “Now please Shino if you can warm our food that would be splendid”

Shining south Curina mountains present day

Danjo’s voice bounded off the cavern walls as he waited the charging footsteps of his comrades grew louder and louder until finally, they appeared before him bathed in magical light the young Sahil spoke first looking around for some fiend or foe “Danjo what is It!” Danjo opened his eyes and looked over the group his face resolute “It is a lot of wasted time gentlemen lets get going my son is dying and I will not wait around helpless” Danjo thought to himself “not this time at least Illmaters mercy and by Torms justice please not this time”

cpthero2 Posted - 07 Dec 2020 : 00:03:21
The Death of Asahi Gumo and his father Aoda

Part 2 of 2

28 JUL 2018

Loss breeds itself true
Heroes villains perspective
one and the other

The child his ringed sunken eyes were all that Danjo could see. A loud clack clack CLACK of foot falls as the old samurai now feeling much older staggered back through the hallway his form shaking and shuddering. The scent of old blood the stagnant feeling of the air as though It had dissipated and left only a single long horrible tableau. In that moment Danjo spiraled into something he had done everything to forget. Another long horrible moment another child, the scent of blood and more suffering and evil It all came crashing back to him and un-spooled like a horrific tapestry.

WA some years ago Aoda castle.

Asahi Gumo sat across from his father slightly flustered and dressed not in his armor but the simple cloth kimono of a warrior. The room was warmly lit and the food was simple, the kind he and his father preferred even though the elder Gumo was a chameleon with his likes and dislikes always adjusting them to his audience, except at times like these. His mother resplendent the ever present Kami of the house It seemed to breath with her presence sat across from him her face creased with anticipation waiting for him to eat. “My son you continue to be the best of me”. Leading your first battle and you manage to take the instigators head yourself for the honor of Iso. Aoda Gumo thanked his wife Misami and the kami for his great fortune before diving into his dinner. Caving to his mothers subtle pressure Asahi sighed and ate his dinner. Dinner was never the finale to an evening when he was at home, the night could only end after tea with his father.

Danjo felt his body heave as the slender form of his second brushed passed him. Shino’s face was resolute as he slipped past and Danjos nose flared as he smelled the familiar scent of burning air that accompanied Shinos magic like a faithful wind.

Aoda busied himself with the same sort of musical fervor he always did making tea for his son his colorful robes a blur of jade green and black feathers. Swishing the verdant powder in an old clay tea pot steam whisping from weaknesses in the structure. Asahi sat in practiced comfortable contentment as his father practically danced around the room getting everything just so. He smiled wryly at the elder mans display his crumbling tea set and colorful robes with the feathers. His father with his old war stories and tea though there was something different about the way he seemed to change on a dime around members of the imperial court or other daimyo. Asahi thought for a moment and realized he’d never fought alongside his father on the battlefield the young samurai could barely stifle his laughter at imagining It.


Danjo felt the cold brush of air as he looked down the dark hallway. Some sort of crashing sound the blubbery noises of some creature some monster some something. He looked around and It felt like time was staggered as if seen through the bottom of a dark well. He gripped his sword and took the first step down the hallway. He was alone, where had his allies gone? Where was Sahil with his bright youthful innocence? Where was Weshtek with his scholarly mind and deft sword hand? The Chultan is an astounding curiosity. Where was Rakor the sage with an unbreakable will? Where was Mr. Arbuckle with his mastery of stealth his jokes and pranks? Where most of all was shino his second the sharp firebrand who reminded Danjo so much of himself at that age?

Dear Daimyo Aoda Gumo lord of Iso, It is with disdain that I must inform you that your son the murderer Asahi Gumo has been charged with the crime of ignoble slaughter of a member of the Shoguns own family. As you are well aware that the cost of this transgression is death. However if the criminal will submit himself to the Justice of the Wanese Shogunate he can be granted his honor even in death. Asahi will be granted the option of appointing a second for the ceremony or he may give the honor to the victims next of kin. Regardless of your decision the ceremony is scheduled for the first of the coming month on the steps of the imperial castle at the capitol.


Danjo felt his legs surging forward toward the halls end bursting out into the red hue of the dank dungeons light

The day was cloudy but the sky was blue and the ceremony was filled to bursting will the representatives from each of the Wanese provinces and the entirety of the Shoguns family. The atmosphere was something like a show of strength and a funeral. Asahi knelt down his white kimono almost looked freshly made just for the occasion. His mother stood her face like a porciline doll devoid of all It’s usual cunning and emotion and care. He’d composed his final poem the last of his words that would live on clear as crystal immutable as his honor. His father stood over him his body stood firm and the pair shared a moment together just before. That long moment was Asahi Gumos last, as the sword stroke fell so did two tears from Aoda Gumo those too would be his last. As the child died his body slumping forward Aoda Gumo shut his eyes… and Danjo Opened them.


a thunderous clack clack CLACK down the dungeon hall

“May tyr’s justice be enough to preserve you monster, May Torm deliver you unto your sins, and may Illmater have mercy.. FOR I HAVE NONE!

cpthero2 Posted - 06 Dec 2020 : 23:58:54
The Life of Asahi Gumo and his father Aoda.

Part 1 of 2

21 MAY 2018

_Birth and death mark time
Life’s interlude spins tales dreams.
Seal time in amber

Danjo busied himself making tea as he did whenever he awoke from his rest signifying the end of the watch. He felt the ghost of stiffness invade his joints but with a sigh he shrugged It off. He’d rested far too long through the kindness of his companions. Rakor who had pulled his tendon back into place and who had spent the last week or so tending to It getting him back to a full range of motion. Danjo stared into the steeping water of his tea pot and the steam from the warm water clouded his vision and he remembered something…

Aoda castle, Province of Iso, Wa, many years before.
‘It is time you learned how to handle a blade’, said an older man handing a carved wooden stick to the young boy. Asahi Gumo looked at his father quizzically. ‘Father this is no blade this is a stick’. The boy only about eight summers old took the stick and held It gingerly. ‘Yes my boy though this training stave is how you will learn the form to handle and wield a blade, I learned just the same from my master when I was a boy,’ the elder man smiled as his sons expression momentarily awe struck hardened with determination. This would be the first day of young Asahi Gumo’s martial training in the way of Samurai under his father’s instruction. Though it would end with Asahi in his enthusiasm knocking his father off his feet and tackling him to the ground amid his father’s laughter. The two would sit at days end under the lone cherry blossom tree in the castles back garden and Asahi would pour tea for his father. The boys innate fire his boiling spirit showed in his eagerness to please his father. To anyone else this would seem like inelegance though Asahi knew that his father saw something else. Despite the rather clumsy tea preparation and presentation his father smiled and drank all the same ‘You’re improving my son do not let stumbles keep you from walking’
…Present Day

Danjo blinked as he led the way down the cold stone stairway into the realm of the foul cult of Orcus. The group had moved in relative silence as the Hin Tuck Arbuckle snuck and slinked his way ahead and through the halls like silent wind. With the light of his second, Shino Fumie behind him the group searched the cult complex. Finding only the mutilated bodies of the cult’s members who had after knowable suffering finally expired had dread writings daubed in their own blood in the language of fiends set before their gory scene. Such blood brought a memory bubbling from the void of Danjo’s past and he felt the recollection shudder through him.

Wa, the remains of a battlefield, after the carnage.
The day had begun with that airless vibrating anticipation that precedes battle Asahi had thought. It was his first battle as a leader of men a contingent of some of his Fathers best warriors from Iso and his orders were to route the enemy advance and if possible drive what remained of them into allied forces to be crushed. And as the day wore on the mist was thick and heavy on the field that day. A man could barely see clearly three feet in front of him. The locals said that strange creatures and monsters prowled the mist for wayward travelers on days like these. Asahi was not afraid his spirit had been tempered and he had been taught how to slay monsters. As he moved his forces forward into the blind man’s battlefield they came into contact with the flank of the enemy forces. Just as the first voice cried out Asahi gave the order. The men of Iso under his command coated their blades with an alchemical oil that made them burn and shine as if they were fresh from the forge and as the blades shone through the mist the men charged. The battle that followed was recorded as a victory for the Wa Shogunate against an attempted insurrection assisted by pirates and even some of the local ninja clans. However the battle was noted for leading to the death of the primary instigator an estranged member of the Shoguns own family after he impugned the honor of a lone Samurai. Tradition dictated that he must defend his honor though to win held consequences. As Asahi Gumo stood before the cocky swordsmen in his pristine armor emblazoned with the Symbol of the capitol and dishonor thick on the mans lips he started again, ‘Men from Iso?, I had heard there were no men native to that Province, only Rice mongers and peasants and cheap concubines.’ The man laughed imperiously as Asahi drew his blade and with his known wealth of spirit positioned himself to strike. ‘Men like you will do well to remember the Men of Iso on this day braggart, though you will not live to remember them’ The grub in armors chuckling caught in his throat as fear began to dawn on his face just as Asahi’s sword stroke severed his head from Its shoulders and a final squirt of blood kissed the sky as he fell into a crumpled heap. Asahi would later regale his father with the story of the battle over Sake and the pride on the elder man’s face could have pierced any veil.

Present Day

‘The suffering and evil here bleeds through the walls I can taste It in every breath’ Sahil the young man from Ormpe said even his soft tone somehow twisted by the unhallowed halls. They had finally moved into unknown territory as the walls had turned from worked stone into the natural caverns found deeper in the mountain. Danjo still lead his mind and vision focused on the path ahead. The natural caverns had funneled down into a long single hallway with Danjo in the front leading the way into what would be a theater of carnage and lunacy in only a short time to come. As the hallway opened into a larger room Danjo saw a raised dais ringed by fire and in Its center lay a tiny form of a human child skinned the muscle pinned to the spot by large nails of a dark metal. The swordsman thought the child mercifully dead then in one long horrible moment it lifted Itself through some last burst of strength and It’s sunken hallow pain filled eyes met his “D..Daddy?” Danjo forget himself for a moment and a name escaped his lips that he hadn’t spoken aloud in ages not since he left Wa and his old life behind in billowing smoke “Asahi."

cpthero2 Posted - 06 Dec 2020 : 23:49:47
My first Death

A musing.

23 MAR 2018

Where to start is the first question I’m left to ponder.

I died my backbone cut like a silken strand my body left crawling and weeping blood from deep cuts. I remember the taste of It on my lips and matting in the overgrowth that has become the hair on my face as I gave my second the order that It was time. I’d assumed Shino would have to carry me like a leaking bag of rice and yet I was bore by every member of our little band. I heard my breath heavier in my chest like It was when I was ill with fever as a youth. To remember my mother’s soft face creased with concern as she tended to me was a comfort of home I allowed myself in that moment. The memory was accompanied with a strange warbling a sort of deep resonant tune punctuated with passionate primal shouts yips and grumbles. A strange chorus befitting WA’s strangest living former Daimyo. My remaining time passed as if in a mist of activity. Different prayer in different voice and language. The Chultan Weshtak a mystic savage swordsman lamented me as If he’d known me years. Shino performed his duty perfectly young face like a glass mask perfectly composed but ready to shatter at the merest change in the wind. Mr. Tuck Arbuckle his clowning and wit silenced and I admit that pained me more then I’d expected. “I will have to tell my son I’d actually met a Tanuki” was a thought that crossed my mind like a splash of color in that dreary cavern. The boy Sahil despite the strata for filth that still lives on him never broke from his singing. Makota sat in blessed silence. Some of his paternal respect must still live in him. Rakor the traveling sage and trader set about placing a pattern of gold coins blessing each one asking Waukeen to accept It as payment for my wellness. Judging what happened next I must remember to thank him if not her. I gripped my blade and readied myself. I felt Shino at my side and my death poem parted my lips and hung in the air as if in anticipation like the rest of them. I called out to Torm in that moment asking him that If I were to die then It was acceptable but if my death lead to the deaths of my comrades that It was unacceptable. A bead of silence and I plunged my Wakazashi into my gut. Right then left and right again. As my life blood spilled out of staining the sand and I was sure It would contaminate the last pure oasis in this underground dessert. Just before It could however a figure came to us Alaric a saint of what I now know to be the maimed god Ilmater. He spoke to us and bid us to find his tomb and after he bid us a new mission a burst of magical force rewove my cuts and refilled me even mending my cut chord. The familiar twitch in my right leg never felt more welcome…

So much has changed since then and yet we remain despite It all. If only my second death had been as worthwhile as the first but I digress.

cpthero2 Posted - 06 Dec 2020 : 18:47:11
The Man from Iiso Remains

I melt I reform I remain myself

31 JUL 2017

Fiendish Predators
and yet something worse still came
after that but sweet music

I am still coming to grips with recent events even after feeling myself shake off any lingering cobwebs of that foul curse. Though I know I am digressing prematurely I feel getting it out and onto the page will do the world rather than letting it fester in some corner of my mind. We continued on into the foothills Mr. Arbuckle his usual sociable self a Tanuki in the guise of a Hin. The twin celestial the Typhoon and the cleaning rain. Sahil the boy blessed by the Kami and his avian friend Pak-Pak. My second the formidable and well spoken Shino Fumei his eyes still burning with that fire of inner vision I first saw in him so long ago and I a warrior atop his trusted desert mount. We had been well into our rest when those on watch alerted us to a peculiar winged creature making It’s way into our midst. It flew with a predatory calculated grace as It lazily banked around toward us. I blinked and suddenly there were two of them and seemingly just as quickly they had landed. The pair stood nearly seven feet tall on strong legs ending in wickedly sharp black talons any beauty the creatures could have had was tempered by the rapacious looks in their beady red eyes. They spoke a language I could not understand that brought my hackles up as they seemed to seek and their movements took on a mocking dance.

The blast shook all of us and It’s a wonder we weren’t all felled instantly. However with grim grit we set to work to battle them. The twins sallied forth to do battle Setibyr alight with righteous anger and his sister striking true. The Tanuki’s short bow fell short to strike the enemy and Shino blasted them with fire from his mystic staff. I for my part stood shoulder to shoulder with those two forces of nature the twins and found my sword unable to strike true. Lost in a forest of illusions was my blade amid a foul flock of demon birds. I heard the Typhoon roar as he drew from his back a blade and struck his foe across the chest and after a gasped squawk the two were gone whisked away by magic. For their part the twins found themselves entangled by fines that seemed to blood from their very flesh It was all the rest of us could do to try to keep them at bay. Minutes later the vines receded and I saw the reason for the typhoons roar his sister had been raked across the neck and It was only his own gentle ministrations that kept her breathing. Never the less we packed up and continued onward and It was a few days before something I had not considered occurred a waking nightmare from which It took great pains to escape and that nearly consumed us all.

We were walking making our way up into the mountains as we had done ever day since we reached the foothills. A moment forever burned into my memory that of my second and most trusted friend as his form distorted and became like rubber. His scream shook my bones as I saw his posture slump and his limbs congeal like drying blood under the sun. I screamed and I am sure I did not stop as my mount Al-Shamlal screamed and buckled himself suffering the same fate. I reached for my sword to draw It and strike the horror that was rising before me. The color of bile a mass of slime and tentacles and jagged teeth. It’s form constantly shifting eyes and mouths appearing and disappearing in an instant It was too late and I found myself consumed. My sword fell from my hand as I felt my body collapse into Itself. I tried to scream but there was no sound I tried to move but there was no change I tried to see but there was naught but dark I tried to listen but there was only silence..for a moment. I saw myself in a million million fractured disjointed moments a speck of experience like sand on a beach. I heard myself scream only for the voice to dissolve into nothing again I saw as if a living avalanche roiling toward my remaining companions. Time lost It’s meaning and I found myself in my memories reliving past moment. Countless battlefields. Swords striking armor and flesh as the moments flitted past. I saw friends family loved ones and hated enemies reliving each moment before they all came crashing to that same blind silent blackness. I felt myself focus as the wave took me again and miraculously I was able to manifest. My body growing from the bile colored monsters upper side naked as the day I was born. I called out my voice cracking from the volume of my exaltation. SWORD SWORD SWORD SWORD SWORD. My surprise at being whole had meant I was unprepared for proper discourse and before I was able to speak anything clearer the blackness took me again. More flashes my wedding day, Master Matsunaga’s death, my son. Then I burst fully formed from the monster still naked Shino at my side. We sprang up and ran running as far and as fast as we could. Splitting to circle around the monstrous mass It lashed out and struck Shino he fell to the ground still fully formed. I stopped and sprinted back to retrieve him throwing him over my shoulder I kept running. I could see my allies off in the distance and felt some wellspring of vigor move my legs faster than I’d ever run before. I eventually caught up with them sputtering and shrieking for Enalda her throat still ravaged to heal him. She did so and he took to his feet. We all continued to run but the beast showed no signs of stopping I looked back to see Tuck Arbuckle the Tanuki Hin Wielding the seconds staff we had found and blasting the slime with brilliant beams of magical sunlight. We Kept running and more blasts followed and eventually the nightmare was reduced to a stain on the ground.

We stopped running. I felt numb I felt nothing not even the pain from my bleeding feet from running. Setibyr and Enalda learnt shino and I some spare clothing while we went back to recover our gear and supplies if any remained. Miraculously everything survived apart from Shino’s backpack but It’s contents were unharmed. I re donned my clothes and armor and helped shino to pack his things into my bag. My camel the brave the beautiful Al Shamlal the only casualty to the nightmarish creature. I will weep for his loss in time. I must confess the numbness has not fully left me though as we continued onward I felt bits of myself returning to normal as a land slowly thaws after a harsh winter or more accurately as nature slowly reclaims a land scoured by a volcanic eruption. It first came when the sounds of the forest reminded me of the music of small kami from my childhood. wordlessly my second and I took out our instruments and began to play. The harmonious sound intensified as out of the green came small flying fey creatures intent on playing with us. this continued building until a small green man came to greet us and after a very friendly conversation and a trade of tea for mushrooms he gave our group direction to Asur the city before retreating into the forest again. We continued on and were stopped by a tree who after an even longer and slightly less friendly conversation we made camp and began to discuss our next step forward. I know I am not fully recovered from the ordeal and I can only guess as to how my second is feeling from It but I am hopefully that with time all will be well again for despite It all we remain ourselves.

cpthero2 Posted - 06 Dec 2020 : 18:44:58
The Man from Iiso goes into the mountains.

Tags Beasts of the Air / Elves in the Trees

27 JUL 2017

six fled into sand
two lost camels on the way
treasure gardening

Lastar is behind me and my allies and I’s entrance into the Curna Mountains has been bought with the loss of two of our pack animals each grabbed by two colossal flying beasts. The first was an amalgamation of a dragon a man and another monster called a Manticore. Through use of magic and my own attempts at archery we were nearly able to deter the creature. However It proved the victory even though having noticeable difficulty in carrying the camel away. In a shock of good fortune the camel who had been taken was not carrying any of our supplies as we had just set up our camp. However this may have been merely a respite before yet another loss another of our camels. I must digress for a moment for something truly sublime I had seen one night during my watch with my second Shino Fumei. By the light of the moon and stars a strange truly alien winged beast flew over our camp It’s pale skin taking on a silken quality in the moonlight and Is visage was eyeless this moonlit hunter was blind. I felt my breath catch in my throat before I sat in silence. I saw It turn It’s snout as If to regard me even from It’s perch in the sky before the moment passed and some far off scent or sound drew the creature away. Shino later told me of the creatures fantastical powers over sound meaning this creature could have sounded It’s call and blasted our camp and us all into the next world. Now in regards to the loss of our second camel came in a flash of shrieking of sound and a gust of wind as he was snatched like he most succulent desert peach by some cousin to the thieving Tengu a Wyvern. I permit my choice of words in that this camel was laden with the bulk of our stores and supplies apart from my personal gear which has stayed with me atop my personal mount Al Shamlal. I will make a point to a treatise on him soon.
cpthero2 Posted - 06 Dec 2020 : 18:38:59
The Man from Iiso Supplemental 1

A Treatise on my companions

16 JUN 2017

A fledgling Phoenix
A snapping turtle
A small talking Thrush
Twin Celestials

Much has come to pass in the days since my second and I first agreed to do business for the temple of Lucha in Assur. We have met with a myriad force of people which include two Celestial children who seem to embody the combined fury of a typhoon. Setibyr a well fed slightly bestial boy who reminds me of the local Bushi fighters from my Time in WA. Headstrong and bullish but with a force that could shatter even the best equipped force if underestimated. His sister Enalda is much more the dedicated bulwark. A grace in movement and speech which has not yet been tempered and untested but holds a wealth of potential. I must watch them carefully and invest in their growth to produce the best return on my investment. Shino has taken a professional interest in the magics exhibited by another of our companions a Hin gentleman by the same of Tuck Arbuckle. He is an enthusiastic speaker and quite sly in his dealings from what I’ve seen. Though a capable fighter and somewhat relentless capable of riding down fleeing foes on his mount a mule. Like a speckled snapping turtle or one of the carnivorous rabbits of Shidekima. Mr Arbuckle is unassumingly dangerous and I am thankful to have him as a business associate. Then comes an even more assuming and curious member Sahil an unwashed Urchin from the land of Ormpe. Despite his station I am quite interested in his cultivation. To see the boy work astounds me. I have little grasp on the finer points of what the magically inclined call the Weave or the will of the Kami. Though even I can see that Sahil is blessed his avian companion Pak-Pak and It’s grasp of the common tongue is a testament to that. Finally I must speak of my second Shino Fumei. I firstly cannot and will not discount his importance to many of my political successes and even my continued success that is my own survival. The boy is well schooled and has a voracious mind and an encouraging curiosity. Though his stern will and driven nature and in my opinion his most admirable traits. Though he is not the most powerful of Shugenja I have no doubt should he live he will become powerful. A fledgling phoenix will he burst and fade away or will he live to set the world ablaze. It strikes me I suppose that the same sentiment can be said for the pair of us or even possibly this entire expedition. Are we to burn out bright and fade away or smolder on and grow into a great inferno.

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