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Thread: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XXXXII 30/9)

  1. #101

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    GREAT NEWS GUYS SHOGUN 2 IS FINALLY WORKING AGAIN BUT I DONT KNOW WHY IM USING ALL CAPS. So I'll stop. Anyways as I said Shogun 2 is working and all my saves are intact (go steam cloud) and so I'll play the upcoming battle today and you should expect an update later this week . If there is anyone who is still following this story thanks a lot for your patience and sticking by me.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend,

    Merchant of Venice

  2. #102

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    Ok, so its past that week hope your still updating

  3. #103

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    Quote Originally Posted by jones_33 View Post
    Ok, so its past that week hope your still updating
    Yes I am its just taken a bit longer than I expected but don't worry the chapter is 2/3 done

  4. #104
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    Merchant of Venice, give me back my updates!

  5. #105

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    Don't worry my favourite Scotsman, I will give you the next chapter very soon. I'm making it quite a long chapter so that's why it's talking so long but it will be here soon. I promise. And thank you for the rep

  6. #106
    Lugotorix's Avatar non flectis non mutant
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-Updated Chapter VI 19 19/4

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Yes I very much do love the villages on the maps on Shogun 2, some of them are even quite big. I think it was quite nice the developers added them to the maps. It makes it more immersive.

    Im glad you like the cliffhanger. And if you don't mind answering a question. Should I add a some borders to my pictures? I've been toying around with the idea but my limited photoshop skills can't seem to make an authentic japanese border.



    Thank you very much for you kind words. I'm happy you're liking my choices and the characters. And if you want to know what happened between chapter IV and V then you just have to read on! Good work your own AAR you really seem to have a good one going.
    Although it's a general typography rule not to distort text, Papyrus distorted or even set in InDesign might be a similar type face you're looking for.

    There are a lot you can add to your library for free online. Escaciar is using nice borders for his pictures at the moment. Really what you want to do is use a beige ken or screen color with black or grey transparency lines, and then create a brush of a lighter parchment tone in Illustrator of a smattering of flecks to give the screen look a more aged or textile look. Once you have the basic texture you want to use, you can duplicate the layers for your purposes. Illustrator is really the tool you should use for creating mons and other ornate designs if that's what you're looking for. EDIT- Ah, I see the Chosokabe wood texture you have right now is pretty sweet
    Last edited by Lugotorix; August 16, 2014 at 02:26 AM.
    AUTHOR OF TROY OF THE WESTERN SEA: LOVE AND CARNAGE UNDER THE RULE OF THE VANDAL KING, GENSERIC
    THE BLACK-HEARTED LORDS OF THRACE: ODRYSIAN KINGDOM AAR
    VANDALARIUS: A DARK AGES GOTHIC EMPIRE ATTILA AAR


  7. #107

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    Thanks for commenting. I do like Esaciar's borders quite a lot though I think I might keep the borders I have currently. In fact, I got them from Shogun 2 themselves and I like that they add a Japanese feel to the pictures.

  8. #108

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XIV 17/1)

    Chapter XV: Keyhole

    1559- Spring


    Chaos.
    Nothing but sheer chaos reigned. Men busily rushed around, colliding into each other, desperately searching for friends, armour or their weapons. Commanders barked orders, yet their words were hardly heard above the stampede of men and in the end, no one really had a clue what was going on. Sorin desperately tried to take a grasp of the situation, yet here too had no control. Amidst all of this, knelt Takakage, grinning as he looked up at his father marshall his troops at the top of the hill. The Mori banners rustled gently in the cool sea breeze. At last Sorin turned to me. I stood next Takakage, silent, my eyes scanning our encampment taking in every sight and sound, every movement and order.

    “From now on, you are Ashigaru no ippantekina*.” He said, with no significance at all to what should have befitted the title.


    “Are you talking to me, tono?” I asked, wondering whether he might have meant for Dōsetsu-san or Chikakata-san, men who befit the rank much more than I did.


    “I said your are Ashigaru no ippantekina! Now hurry up and order your men before I change my mind.” Sorin shouted, frustrated at the day’s turn of events. “And I want to win this battle, if you could even call it that. Win me this Yuki, and you will never want for anything.” With that he went back to his other commanders. I continued to scan our army, observing their strengths and weaknesses. We had plenty of ashigaru; yari, yumi and teppo alike but little heavy infantry and cavalry. Different formations circled in my head like vultures. I was brought back to the real world by a certain Chikakata-san, who crashed into me rather ungainly.


    “Chikakata-san, I want you take command of the yaris. Get them into order and begin to arrange them in groups.” He looked at me strangely, tilting his head as he stared at me blankly.


    “I do not take orders from you, Yuki-kun.” He replied, blunt as ever.


    “You do now. Sorin has appointed me Ashigaru no ippantekina, and placed you in charge of our infantry.” I said, though he still looked unconvinced. “You can hunt Sorin-sama down if you wish but in his mood, I doubt he would welcome you. Alternatively, you can do what I say so that we win this battle and you keep your head.” He still looked wholly unconvinced and for a moment, I feared his pride would have him ignore me and walk away but instead he stayed there, albeit still noticeably annoyed at being placed below me in the chain of command.


    “What do you wish me to do?” Still a little bit surprised at his acceptance of my command and unsure of even what I was going to do, let alone where to and how to deploy the troops, I didn’t reply, but rather stood there, blank-faced. I had never commanded troops on such a large scale and if I got it wrong, I doubt I would live to command troops again. The few men brave enough to scout the Mori army detailed that they lacked missile troops and more specifically, completely lacked teppo troops. That, combined with the arrogance that accompanies outnumbering your opponent, meant that the Mori would try and attack us sooner rather than later, in order to avoid a skirmish, which would quickly tip into our favour. But how do I exploit this? I needed a formation, which would favour our teppo and yumi troops as well as one which could soak up the brunt of the enemy’s attacks and I needed one soon.


    “What do you suggest?” I asked Chikakata-san, in a stalling effort to give me more time.


    “It needs to defensive and allow time and space for our teppo units to fire.” Yes, of course! Truth be told I wasn’t paying any attention to Chikakata’s words, but either way I think I had my solution. I had read book after book, flipped page after page reading about defensive military tactics. The Koyaku wouldn’t do it and neither would the Hoshi. But the Saku**……Yes, the Saku would do nicely. It allowed the yaris to soak up the brunt of the enemy’s attacks and allowed the cavalry to deliver hammer and anvil blows, effectively trapping the enemy.


    “Order the yaris into a V-shaped formation and ensure they are in the tightest, most well packed spear wall they can manage. I don’t want one enemy to get through it, understood?”


    “Yes, Yuki-sama.” The honorific accompanied by more than a hint of annoyance and disgust but I let it slide, infighting was for after the battle was won……or lost.

    I had a formation yet I did not have order and without order and discipline, we would be defeated before the first arrow had even been fired. Chikakata-san was well recognised enough to warrant an audience with his regiment commanders but I, on the other hand was young, inexperienced and unknown.

    “Yuki-sama?”


    “Yes? And whom am I speaking to?” I replied, scanning the middle-aged man standing in front of me. He seemed to have no sort of fear at the current situation, or at least he hid it well behind his long face and black, emotionless eyes.


    Tanegashima Katashi,” he answered, succinctly and without much pride, “commander of the teppo.” He added, with even less pride. It was known that despite its sheer deadliness, the teppo was not for samurai but for ‘lewd and sordid’ persons and even to common a teppo unit would be a slight on one’s honour. What’s honour though in the face of death?

    “As in you’re from Tanegashima Island?” Tanegashima Island was one first producers of matchlocks and were skilled shooters, so to have one commanding our matchlocks is just what we needed.


    “Yes, I am indeed from that bloody island.” He snarked back. “Third son of Lord Osamu of Tanegashima. If we survive this bloody battle I’ll give you my whole life story if you want.” I decided not to push for anymore answers, perhaps he was awoken too early from his afternoon nap by the Mori war horns.


    “Katashi-san, where are your sub commanders?”


    “Busy rallying their men. They will honour any command I give them, though.” He answered, with undoubtable assuredness, something needed if we were to win this battle.


    Order your meant to deploy in front of the infantry. As soon as within range, fire. Do not delay a second longer, understood?” Timing was key and one extra teppo volley could kill just enough men to turn the battle. Everything was in a precarious balance. Too precarious……

    Just as I dismissed Katashi-san, a messenger rode up beside me, reigning in his horse just in front of me., He spoke in a soft, timid voice, not something you would want in a messenger delivering important instructions mid-battle, when all the notes of war were at play.


    “Sorin-sama wishes to know whether you’ve finished deploying your troops.”


    “Tell him to give me five minutes and I’ll win him the battle.” Presumably taken aback with my slightly arrogant reply, the messenger nodded then trotted off, trying to manoeuvre his horse against the river of men, though this river seemed unsure of which way it was flowing. But while my reply may have sounded arrogant, it needed to be. You don’t win wars by sounding unsure. I had seen it as a simple ashigaru, disbelief can spread like wildfire and it belongs least in the men in charge.


    But disbelief I did have. There we were, still chaotically trying to organise ourselves while in contrast, the Mori stood strong in crest of the hill. Their men and even their horses were silent and while we could not see the full extent of their army from where we were, we didn't need to. Its mere presence instilled fear in our troops, lowering the morale of men who had only just finished burying their friends from the last one. He doesn't want us to see his army, I thought to myself, he wants us to let our imaginations eat us from the inside. It sure was working, though.


    “Izanagi’s balls,” I cursed, almost soiling myself as I looked desperately around, “where the hell are the yumi regiments?” How could I, as a former yumi ashigaru, blatantly forget about the yumi regiments? I scanned my surroundings, yet no yumi soldiers seemed to be anywhere, except for one or two stragglers, who were clothing themselves as they hopped around also looking for their regiments. They can’t be that hard to find, I thought to myself. Just look for the men armed with a yumi instead of a spear or sword! Yet still, I could see no yumis. By the grace of Izanagi, where are they? And then, in the distance, I could see one yumi archer. And then another, and then another. The relief of spotting them quickly turned into yet more frustration as I realised how far away they were. With no horse, messenger or flags, there would only be one way to get an order to them and that would be if I gave it to them myself. Izanagi help me.


    And so, I started running. Running as hard as my legs and armour would allow me. First it wasn’t too bad, as I darted between soldiers, some samurai, some ashigaru, only just evading one of the yari soldiers who was running, well more like charging, so ferociously, you would have thought the enemy were already upon us. As I side-stepped right to avoid the tip of his spear, another soldier nearly collided with me, this time carrying a teppo, rather precariously may I add. One slip of his fingers and one or even both his legs would be blown to pieces. How ironic, or rather, how unlucky, would it be to die before the battle had even begun.


    I reached the yumi units panting heavily, completely out of breath. The yumi commander just stared at me as I just stood there, bent over, arms on knees as I tried to regain my breath long enough to talk.


    “Why the…..why the…..why the hell are you over here?” I blurted out between breaths.


    “Obeying orders.” The commander replied, cooly, straight-faced and in stark contrast to my frantic state.


    “Use some bloody initiative!” I yelled back, something about his calm state annoying me.

    “Initiative gets your head chopped off while obeying order doesn’t.” He had a point, soldiers were taught to obey not think.


    “March your men up there,” I said, vaguely waving my hand towards the main body of the army, “ensure you have adequate ammunition, both of normal and fire and wait for the order to fire.”


    “Yes Yuki-sama.” He replied, yet again, calmly, though there was a slight hint of annoyance at being forgotten that seemed to linger in his words.


    “And march your men quickly as well.” I added. As the yumi soldiers started to march, I myself began to make my way back towards where I’d just come from, albeit at a much slower pace than before. Unaware to me, Aki had begun marching alongside of me and only after a couple of glances at him, that I realised it was actually him.


    “Ashigaru no ippantekina, you’ll be needing these.” He handed me a bow and a helmet, smiling as I inspected the two of them. The bow was light yet sturdy and the bow string seemed perfectly tightened. I’d seen and used better bows but it would fulfil its purpose nicely, though I saw little opportunity where I would actually get to use it. It was the helmet which really caught my attention. It had a black hachi, with thin golden stripes running down from the top, almost like lava running down in rivers from a volcano. Miniature chrysanthemums were enamelled into the golden Mabizashi, while the Fukigaeshi were decorated with the mon of the Otomo clan. The Shikoro consisted of dark blue, overlapping lames. But the most amazing part was the Maedate, which took the form of a oni. As I stared at the lacquered demon, with horns longer than my fingers, I was taken aback by the artistry involved in this helmet.


    “Sorry, I would have given you some more suitable armour as well but there was none to be found and I only have this helmet because Sorin-sama demanded you have a helmet to fit your position.” Aki apologised, though what for exactly for I was still unsure.


    “I will wear the armour of an ashigaru, for it is they whom I command and I myself am no samurai. But I will wear this helmet in honour of the generosity of Sorin-sama as well as to make sure such craftsmanship is not wasted. Go take up your position, Aki-san and try not to be killed.” With one last friendly wink, I set off to my destiny- be it on the path of victory or the road to defeat.


    As I walked through the ranks of soldiers, time seemed to slow. I could hear soldiers murmuring in fearful tones, I could see hands shiver in as they grasped the hilt of a katana or yari staff. My own heartbeat accelerated as I approached the head of the army, my footsteps were heavier as if my own legs were dragging me backwards, away from the battle. I passed men with courage and fear in equal measure and some without both. I passed men so eager for battle that their bloodlust burnt brightly in their eyes and their katana was already half drawn. In contrast, there were men who tried to hide their tears behind their jingasa*** and who glanced around desperately for an escape. There would be no escape for any of us though, unless we carved it from the bodies of our enemy. I reached the front of the army without even noticing and I found myself greeted by a thousand or more eyes staring and blinking at me.


    “Men of the Otomo,” I began with, still unsure of what I was going to say or if it was going to be of any use, “today we make our stand. The Mori sit up on their hill too cowardly to come and face us. They don’t come down here because they fear us! Good! They are right to fear us.” I aroused a lot less cheers and shouts of support then expected. Morale was low and with it, our chance of victory would be as well. “I see many fathers, many sons, many brothers. But I don’t just see brothers in blood but brothers in arms! Look at the men next to you- they love like you do, get angry like you do, celebrate like you do, fear like you do. You would be stupid to look up at our enemies and not fear them. But use that fear to fight for everything you love! Many of you, many of us will die today. But we fight and we die for our homes, for our women and for our children. Drive these Mori dogs from our lands and put the danger to your homes to rest. Fight for what you care for, fight for your brothers and men,” I paused, drawing one last deep breath, “and fight well!” An uproar of shouting and cheering rose from the army so loud that it could have driven away the Mori before even a katana was unsheathed. I noticed Aki nodding in approval and in the far distance, Sorin seemed pleased as well. I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins like a torrent of water rushing through a small stream, as I made my place next to one of the the teppo regiments. DOOONG! The sound of the Mori war gong rang throughout the valley. Silence befell both armies for a moment. The clouds blocked out the sun and an eerie darkness consumed the battlefield. Wind violently rustled the leaves of the trees on the top of the hill.


    And then they charged.


    They came down from the hill with a ferocity that scared even me. In one moment, the battlefield had gone from complete silence to the loud and bloodthirsty screams of hundreds of enemy samurai. The worst part was they kept coming. They poured over the hill like ants from a mound, like oni from the gates of hell. As the infantry barrelled down the hill, volleys of arrows blocked out the sun above. I saw men fall around me, clutching at whatever they could, a fellow soldier, their sword, whatever, their bodies slowly writhing until eventually they stopped and were but another body on the battlefield. Deciding it was for the best, I put my own helmet on, lest I wanted to have my life end by an arrow through my head. It was surprisingly lightweight yet it was still heavy enough to notice its presence, though it was a comforting presence, one that you knew was going to probably save your life. I turned to face Katashi-san to give him the order. Under all the noise, I very much doubt he even heard my words, but he was experienced enough to know what order was what by simply the look.


    “Lift your weapons,” I heard him shout, and subsequently a hundred matchlocks were raised, “aim,” he paused for a bit, though whether it was to allow his men to actually adjust their aim or simply for dramatic purposes, I couldn’t quite be certain, “fire!” There was a moment’s delay as the battlefield seems to fall silent before erupting again as bullets flew out from the barrels of the arquebuses and buried themselves into the ranks of the enemy. With each volley, more men toppled down, forcing their comrades to jump over them, fortunately slowing their advance slightly. It was even comical, the sight of men jumping over their comrades as they rolled down the hill like barrels, almost as if the whole thing was merely an obstacle course. It seemed the first of the enemy to reach us at the bottom might already be dead before any sword had tasted blood.




    The faint sound of hooves was blocked out by the roar of thousands of enemy infantry as well as the cheers and taunts from our men and the unmistakeable and deafening sound of matchlocks firing. However, it was loud enough to intrigue me and after looking around, I could spot the first melee engagement of the battle, happening on our far right wing. From what I could see, it seemed to be turning in our favour, but the blob of horse and men made it near indistinguishable. But it was not our cavalry on our right flank which I had heard, but rather the enemy cavalry on the left and by the time, I fully noticed them, it was too late. It was only when I heard the screams and wails of our own men that I had realised what had happened. A contingent of light cavalry had gotten around our left flank and charged into the gap between our foot samurai and ashigaru, straight into some of our yumi ashigaru. The rear charge had been devastating and while I had sent orders for the some yaris to deal with the cavalry, it had been too late and the cavalry disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. But I had more pressing concerns then a group of young, inexperienced light cavalry. As the Mori continued to charge down the hill, doubts began to arise in my mind about whether our own infantry could hold the line against such an onslaught. And if they couldn’t, then there would be little hope.




    Luckily for us, our yumi and matchlocks had began to seriously thin the enemy ranks, volleys of fire arrows whistling above my head, killing the enemies the bullets missed. But they would reach us eventually and they would reach us soon. Turning again to Katashi-san, I gave him the next signal and cries of “Retreat” echoed between the various teppo commanders. The teppo units were almost useless in melee and the enemy were getting awfully close to our lines. And so, the teppo units jogged back to behind the lines of infantry. Now, however, I would have to find a way to take advantage of them later in the battle. Having them fire from behind our own ranks would be catastrophic for our own men and do much more harm than good. I gave the signal for the matchlocks to redeploy on the flanks, and two flags were raised for both of the teppo commanders, who accordingly began marching to their new positions, most probably to the disappointment of the men, who had thought their job done. Unfortunately, it seemed, a soldier’s job is never over.


    The charging enemy infantry seemed to disappear for a moment behind the clouds of smoke, which drifted in front of our lines. It was a scary thing, to hear the war cries of your enemy yet not be able to see them and it must have been an indescribable amount worse for the men who bravely held the spear wall. However, for these men, it was about to get a whole lot worse. The first enemies charged out from the smoke, katanas raised high, bloodlust in their eyes and seemingly no fear to be found. Many of these brave, one could say stupid men, were impaled on the spears of our infantry but there were only so many the spear wall could hold at bay. For every one man who was killed, two took his place and soon leaks started to appear. But the beauty of the saku, was that it forced the enemy to charge into the centre of the ‘V’, boxing them in and allowed you to attack them from all sides. But the sheer number of enemies was going to be a real test for my formation and if the flanks of the yaris weren't guarded then our whole centre would collapse.




    On the right flank, our cavalry had successfully routed the enemy light cavalry and were now moving quickly to the centre of the battlefield. Aware of the danger our cavalry presented to his rear, Mori Motonari sent his reserve light troops to harass and follow our cavalry but, while successful at first, as the men got tired, the cavalry simply rode around them and continued their course towards the enemy’s rear. But as they galloped behind the enemy ranks, they made a sharp turn and charged straight at Motonari, crashing into his bodyguard. From where I could see, hundreds of metres away, it didn't seem like a hard fight and if the cheers from our cavalry were anything to go by, Motonari had either fled or been killed, but either way, we were one step closer to a still improbable victory.


    “Yuki-sama” Asked a meekly voice. I turned to see a scrawny, young boy, dismounting, though it looked more like falling off, his horse. He straightened his helmet and armour and after taking a deep breath, proceeded to talk to me, stumbling on nearly every word.


    “Are you my messenger?” I asked, tired of his jumbled sentences and timid voice.


    “Errr, yes, Yuki-errr-sama, I, errr, am-”


    “I don’t care who you are, just ensure these messages get through.” He nodded, though I was unsure if he was taken aback by my brashness, though he was probably used to it. I suddenly began to feel pity for this young man, clearly unsuited to war. “Tell Chikakata-san to commit his reserves on the right and order them into spear wall. Tell Katashi-san to march his matchlocks further out on each flank, into a position where they can fire into the enemy’s flanks. And deliver these messages quickly.” He ran back to his horse and trie to jump back onto it but only ended with one of his legs half on the horse, in a rather painful-looking position. He was more successful the second time but it took him a third attempt to successful mount the horse and gallop off, though he liked like he was hanging on for dear life the whole time.


    The blob of men in the middle of the battlefield was getting no closer to any sort of conclusion. From my position, I couldn’t tell either if our own morale was low or high and many of my thoughts concerned whether our men would be able to hold the line. The right flank was slowly pushing back against the onslaught of Mori soldiers yet the left was in a more precarious position. The matchlocks positioned there were being chased off by the surviving cavalry, which had already done so much harm already and who were becoming a serious thorn in our side. Without support from the matchlocks, it seemed the infantry on the flank would crumble soon. And disastrous circumstances awaited us if they did.


    It had come from nowhere and before I knew it, I was in tremendous agony. The arrow had landed luckily in one of the more protected areas of my body but nonetheless, it sent shockwaves of pain throughout my body. I snapped it off at a point whee it was out of the way but there was still enough of the shaft to be able to pull it out. But unsure of how far it had gone in, I thought it best to leave it in, lest I do more harm than good. I turned to the yumi commander standing next to me, who was coincidentally the same annoyingly calm man from before and told him to have his men start firing at the enemy archers, who were still stationed on the crest of the hill. But just as they drew their bows, their targets were no more than corpses. Our cavalry was running riot behind the enemy lines, decimating the enemy light infantry and skirmishes. But if they lingered on the skirmishes too long and didn't charge the rear of the enemy’s centre soon, then the opportunity to rout the centre, the best opportunity we would have to win the battle in one quick stroke, would be lost.


    “March forwards and start firing at the reserves harassing our cavalry.” I ordered succinctly, there was no need mid-battle for any sort of beating around the bush.


    “Yes, Yuki-sama.” He replied rather instinctively and I presume without much thought, for sheep rarely think and this man, perhaps like some would say the perfect soldier should be, was a sheep.


    As I marched forward with the yumi troops, it became evident that cracks were starting to appear in our centre and enemy men began filtering through, slowly encircling the spear wall. But one enemy, perhaps recognising me from my helmet as someone important began charging towards me, katana raised high with a quick kill in mind. I eagerly dispatched him with an arrow to the throat and he stumbled then collapsed, staring at me, his killer, one last time before he died. However, using the first soldier almost as a shield, another soldier charged at me, faster and with more ferocity that the first, katana sheathed but ready to be drawn in the blink of an eye. I dropped my yumi, knowing it was already rendered useless by his proximity to me and grabbed an abandoned yari, its former owner nowhere in sight. I desperately tried to back to my naginata training, hoping it could be simply applied to the yari. I knelt down on one knee and grabbed the yari in two hands, thrusting it above my head just as my opponent’s katana came arching down towards my head. I could hear the wood splinter as the katana cut deeper into the staff but before he could slice it in two, I ducked my head, swung the spear around, pulling the katana out of my opponents’ hands in the process and sliced his neck open with the tip of the spear point. He clutched his throat in some vain attempt to stop the bleeding and in the time afforded to me, I jumped up and, pulling the spear back, thrust it into his chest. Letting go of the spear, I gave him a gentle kick and he collapsed, the spear still sticking out of him like a skewer. I gave a sigh of both relief and annoyance. I was glad I had survived the duel but annoyed that my entire upper body had been sprayed with blood. Perhaps next time I should find a less messy way to kill…..


    Only minutes after, good news finally arrived, though in an unexpected, manner. A gajin, with a thick and rough accent and awful grammar appeared asking to see who commands the teppos. After failing to find Katashi, apparently he had been told to see me. The arrival of these foreigners couldn’t have come at a better time. The left flank was on the edge of collapse and a gap had appeared between our left and our centre, which was being filled by enemy after enemy.


    “What is your name?” The gajin commander asked, though he was barely understandable. He looked young, with neatly trimmed, curly moustache and a very tanned complexion. His eyes were a dark brown, like oak and the little bits of hair sticking out his helmet appeared to be jet black. He seem to have this very excited look on his face the whole time were talking and it seemed that he saw this battle as an adventure. Clearly, this man had seen little of war, of real war.


    “I am Yuki” I replied awkwardly, still wiping the last drops of blood off my face.


    “Yuki-san we are-”


    “Sama.”


    “What?” The gajin replied in a confused manner.


    “It is Yuki-sama.” I said, perhaps rather pointlessly.


    “Yuki-sama, we have been employed by your lord, Sorin-sama, as mercenaries. We are most sorry we are late, but we were unaware of the battle, and if we had, we would have fought from the start.” You can never trust mercenaries, or gajin. So to trust a gajin mercenary would be folly but in such a desperate situation as we were in, it would be equal folly to not use them. The gajin commander was looking at me awkwardly, as if awaiting a reply but too confused by this new country, with its weird customs and culture, to talk. “I am Cristóvão de Ponte, of the Order of Avis. I am the commander of these companies of Tercios and I am at your command.” He bowed and then stood back up, straighter than ever, as if in some attempt to impress me.


    “Hurriedly march one of your companies to a position in between the left flank and centre and open fire on any enemy which tries to encircle our centre. March your other company, with as much haste as you can muster, to the left flank and open fire.”


    “Yes, Yuki-sama.” He replied. After this battle, I would be sick of hearing those words. The results of the Tercios were nearly instant. As smoke drifted across the battlefield once more, Mori soldiers either fell or ran in the sight and sound of the more effective and deadly arquebuses that the Tercios wielded. Th tables quickly turned on our left flank and exhausted men were offered a relief ass they let the Tercios fire at will on the Mori cavalry and infantry fighting there. With such ruthlessness, the Tercio gunners cut down dozens of men at a time and what seemed like a distant victory got all so closer.



    As the Mori who were being tormented by the Tercios turned tail and ran, a chain reaction spread throughout the Mori army like a wave of disbelief, a wildfire of a lack confidence and morale, a torrent of fear. The Mori right crumbled under the strain of gunfire and a resurgence in fighting from our own infantry. Just as it looked like our own line was about to crumble, the Mori dropped their weapons en masse and ran, thousands of soldier trying to get past one another, thousands running from what they thought would be a certain death. The enemy left was the last to go, putting up a brave fight in the end but they too ran and the sight of the whole Mori army fleeing brought immense joy to me. Sorin was in deep discussion with one of his other commanders but he too looked relieved at how everything had turned out. The sombre and fearful atmosphere of before had given way to a much brighter mood, as soldiers could finally pause for breath. Around me, thousands lay dead, the corpses forming piles in some places. Soldiers looted the dead of the enemy and of our own alike. We had won this battle but whether we would win the war would be an entirely different matter.

    Footnotes

    *Ashigaru no ippantekina is General of the Ashigaru
    **Saku is Japanese for keyhole and is a traditional Japanese army formation
    Here is a glossary of all the different parts of the helmet and here is the helmet I modelled Yuki's off.

  9. #109

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter V 17/8)

    Ok guys sorry for the extra long wait and cliffhanger but its finally here and I hope you enjoy it. If you do read it, please comment with feedback and constructive criticism as I know I need to get better and so, some help from you guys would go a long way in taking this AAR to new places.

    Thanks for reading,

    Merchant of Venice

  10. #110
    Scottish King's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter V 17/8)

    Its been so long that I need to go back and read to refresh my memory With that said, this update was amazing! I really like how you presented the pre-battle chaos. Its not as tidy as the games make it seem and you did an excellent job of portraying that. Also it seems that all Shogun 2 AARists have a knack for framing their screenshots which is great too. Have some rep.
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  11. #111

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter V 17/8)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottish King View Post
    Its been so long that I need to go back and read to refresh my memory With that said, this update was amazing! I really like how you presented the pre-battle chaos. Its not as tidy as the games make it seem and you did an excellent job of portraying that. Also it seems that all Shogun 2 AARists have a knack for framing their screenshots which is great too. Have some rep.
    Thank you for the kind words. Yes, I kind of left everyone on a cliffhanger and then threw them in the deep end 7 months later. And I'm glad you like the borders I got them from in game, though they aren't as nice as Robins or esaciar.

    And I did try really hard to show the confusion that can happen before a battle and I WS even going to post that part as a separate but I thought I should you guys a real substantial chapter.

    Thanks a lot for reading,

    Merchant of Venice

  12. #112

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter V 17/8)




    Chapter XVI: Celebration and Grief


    1559-Spring


    Jubilation and joy was what I had expected. Yet, I was confronted with the complete opposite. The surviving soldiers knelt amongst the dead or dying and one could wonder who was in the most pain, as men saw their friends, their brothers, even their fathers, succumb to the wounds of war. The sound of grown men reduced to whimpering echoed throughout the battlefield, accompanied by sobs from the ones who were lucky enough to survive. But were they really lucky or were they the unluckiest of them all. I had only witnessed a few battles, yet none as terrible as this. A victory it might be called but it was the hollowest of victories. I walked through the fields of bodies, grimacing at the horrible pain man inflicted on himself. Bodies lay without their heads, a festering wound inhabited by flies and other insects the only thing left at the end of their neck. Bodies of the enemy and of our own lay mangled, entwined together, a snapshot of the two men’s last moments. The honourable, poetic description of war and death was nowhere to be found.

    The occasional few could be seen celebrating. But their celebrations were more centred around the relief of the battle actually being over, rather than any sense of joy or accomplishment in defeating the enemy. Some of the mourning sought solace in groups, hugging one another in an attempt to deal with the pain. Others found peace alone at the base of a tree, curled up in a ball, crying their pain away. Some would stay there for hours and some would be there all night. Some of the ones who had lost the most might never get up.

    I had never lost like these men had. My father had been called up when I was young. I remember wondering around the house, trying to find my father. My mother had told me he was helping the gods hold back the gates of hell, but that had just made me more afraid. I had nightmares for days about my dad dying as an oni ripped through him. After the those nightmares, I sat at our doorstep, clutching my special blanket, waiting for my father to return. I would wait for hours, simply staring down the path leading from our house, hoping for my father to return. Come night time, my mother would bring me a bowl of steaming rice, a nice respite from the chill of the winter wind, though as a stubborn six year old, I hardly let a little breeze deter me. However, every night I would fall asleep on the doorstep and I would awake in my own bed, wondering how I got there. My little brother would sometimes wait with me, though only being three, he had little patience and would often get up and run away only minutes after sitting down. However, the clearest memory I have is the sheer joy that ran through me, when I saw my father as he walked down that little path, carrying a small bag of coins. It was a minuscule amount to what I have seen Sorin handle but it brought much relief my mother, though that in turn was minuscule in comparison to the relief of him finally returning home.

    A solitary tear rolled down my cheek as I recounted that memory, one of my fondest from childhood that already seems so far away. But that tear was not for me. It was for the little children who were waiting on their doorstep, be it in Bungo, Tosa or even in Aki, who would wait in vain. Whose father would never walk down that little path and whose mother wouldn’t smile as her love embraced her once more. It was never the men who war hurt the most but the children, always the children. It was they who bore the pain and who would bear the pain for the rest of their life. But clan leaders barely concerned themselves with the thought of peasant children.

    After walking through the aftermath of the battle for a good hour or so, I finally began to make my to camp, a much more fitting place for the Ashigaru no ippantekina than among the corpses and soon to be corpses. However, I found it wrong to abandon the men who had won us our victory, no matter how poor or insignificant they may be deemed.
    Nonetheless, soon the sombre atmosphere became almost suffocating and fearful that the pain and sorry might prove contagious, I began the long walk to the magnificent tent where Sorin busily celebrated our victory. The loud sounds of joyous celebration were in stark contrast to the weeping that filled the air on the edge of camp. It displayed the difference between the generals and samurai and the men they commanded, between the rich and the poor, between the significant and the insignificant. As I journeyed further and further into the camp, the celebrations became ever louder, repressing the depressing atmosphere of the battlefield with a much lighter and happier mood. Young samurai, who had yet to make a name for themselves, danced and drunk around brightly burning fires. The surviving horses were being fed and watered, though some collapsed from their many wounds, so close to the peace the poor animals deserved. The majority of men enjoyed their victory through a cup of sake and it was often difficult to tell whether the men laying prostrate on the floor were drunk or injured- though it was more often than not a combination of both.

    As I approached Sorin’s tent, the two yari guards kindly opened the flaps of the tent for me, perhaps noticing the helmet I continued to carry under my arm. When I stepped into the tent, I stepped into another world. It was as if the tent was untouched by the harsh realities of war. Laughter, singing and poetry (often quite bad) filed the air and instead of being suffocated by the gloomy atmosphere of outside, you were suffocated by the copies amounts of incense which was burning and which quite literally filled the air.

    Yet it was not the sounds and smells, which overwhelmed me but the hideous sights that I was met with. Sorin sat calmly, flanked by his generals, as he surveyed the decapitated heads of our enemies. While horrible, the variety of expressions, eyes full of fear in some, others smiling in joy, some seeming to have admitted that their life was over and others looked simply shocked, that was amazing. While I had heard men recount the head ceremony, often turning the most gruesome parts into something beautiful, which I could see now were clearly not, I had never seen the ceremony with my own eyes. It disgusted and intrigued me at the same time, however, for most of the men seemed to thoroughly enjoy the sight of decapitated heads, though how they could was beyond me. With each head, Sorin would comment on the expression on the face, then ask whoever had cut it off to present himself and then he would congratulate and offer them a prize, though they were duty-bound to decline. This process was repeated with every head but after the first couple, I took little notice about the whole affair, escaping into my one thoughts.

    While none of the heads looked particularly familiar, nor did I take much notice of any of them, I did recognise one of them. Sorin too had taken a keen interest in the head and chuckled considerable to himself while his entourage laughed on cue and composed simply shocking poetry to accompany their daimyo’s comments. However, as I stared at the grin on the man’s face ever long, I became increasingly sure I knew the former owner of the head. While being made subject to listen to the poorly composed poetry, it really was awful, some of the words sparked memories. And while one of the drunken nobles rambled on about kneeling for seppuku, it came to me. It had seemed poor, arrogant Takakage had met his end and by the sound of it, by Sorin’s sword. But it was clear that Sorin had done the deed before the battle, perhaps as soon as he had sent me away and my pleasure at Takakage’s death turned to a slight annoyance. It was dishonourable to do such a deed moments before the battle, something I was sure Sorin would have been aware of at the time. And while it might have been done in a fit of anger, rather than being a carefully planned thing, this sort of temper would surely get us in danger one day.

    As the night slowly went on, the guests became increasingly drunker and the stench of sake even subdued the incense. Men dropped to the floor one by one and by midnight the tent looked like its own battlefield. I stood in the back corner of the tent, arms crossed and engrossed i my own thoughts, occasionally slipping back into the real world to exchange a few words with whoever bothered to come up and talk to me. Yet these conversations barely lasted a few minutes before the other person was called upon by another or an awkward silence befell the two of us and they left anyway. I was perfectly fine with this arrangement, however, and despite knowing that sleep was really what I needed, and what my body wanted, I wished to speak with Sorin as soon as possible. Yet on the night after the battle, with a victory to celebrate and all, that would require a fair bit of waiting.

    Finally, after waiting for the rest of the guests to leave or collapse, Sorin took notice of me. He too was quite drunk, his speech a tad slurred and his movement clumsy and slow.

    “There’s my man of the hour!” He yelled, though there was no danger of waking anyone, as they were all completely under the spell of sake. I blushed as he embraced me, nearly falling onto me as he went in to hug.

    “You order me to win the battle and so, I did. Nothing more, nothing less.” I replied modestly, realising it was a mistake to talk to Sorin in his current state and that I could have been sleeping soundly by then.

    “It was a lot more than that! The saku! Where in the world did you get that from?” He shouted, though I presume his noise level was due to him being drunk than anything else.

    “I was reading a book and-”

    “And how the Mori soldiers rolled down the hill, absolutely comical. You should have seen how Motonoari fled.” He let out a big, resounding laugh and I smiled in return, now fully regretting this meeting.

    “The Tercio reinforcements helped immensely, tono.”

    “Ah, those bloody gajin! Turning up late, the nerve!” He slammed his fist into the table, recoiling almost immediately.

    “We won the battle anyway and I must thank you tono, for-”

    “Do not thank me, Yuki-san.” He said in a quieter tone as he tended to his fist. “That is enough talk of battles. It is late and we are both tired and weary.” I yawned in agreement. “I have something you might like.” He lumbered off out of the tent and I quickly followed him. “These were presents from Chikakta-san.” I heard him muttering, though I think it was actually aimed at me. It was not long before we arrive at Sorin’s personal tent, a small, yet extravagant thing, and quite out of place amongst the blander tents which housed the rest of the army. The camp was almost completely quiet bar the occasional whisper or snore. As he lifted up the tent, Sorin revealed quite a surprise. Two woman, I must admit quite attractive women lay on the bed, completely naked. I realised only later how stupid I must have looked, eyes bulging as the women ran their fingers up and down their bodies, enticing us in.

    “Chikakata-san said they were Akane and Shinju.” He said frankly as he pointed to the two women respectively. The one who I think was Shinu (or was it Akane?) winked at me, and I felt a flurry of excitement rush through my body.

    “I really must be getting to sleep.” I declared meekly, slowly walking backwards, inching my out of the tent.

    “Nonsense, there is no better way to sleep then with a woman lying next to you.” Sorin replied as he inspected one of the girls, running his own fingers down her, giggling as he did. This was a completely different Sorin than I had ever seen before. Drunk, he was like an animal and in stark contrast to the wise, old man I had found in the wilderness. I was so very thankful I too was not drunk or I am afraid I would have done something I would have certainly regretted.

    “I’ll take your advice another time.” I could feel the flap of the tent behind me. I was so close to escaping.

    “It’s an order!” He replied, his tone much more angry now.

    “Then I must disobey it.” I answered. I was not going not going to betray Suzume. I was not that type of person.

    “How dare you!” He bellowed, his face going red. “Hahahaha,” he laughed going back to normal in the blink of an eye, “I’m only joking. Run along, if you must, Suzume must be a real gem once she takes off that flaming red kimono of hers.” He joked, just before he lumbered on top of one of the girls, as the other undressed him.

    “Goodnight, tono.” I blurted out quickly, as I left Sorin to his girls. As I walked off into the night, I could hear squeals and giggles coming out from Sorin’s tent. I just hoped I would have the normal Sorin back in the morning.

    **********************


    I found sleep to not be much of an escape the little relief it provided soon disappeared the instant I woke up. The pain in my left shoulder, which had been numbed by adrenaline during and just after the battle, was throbbing uncontrollably, making getting out of a bed a much harder task. The rest of the morning was no different to the past couple of weeks, except a burden had seemed to have been lifted from everyone’s shoulders and the men roamed around relieved that the enemy had been vanquished, though for how long they would be gone no one could tell. As usual, I ate with the other retainers and high ranking soldiers, only a few knowing my involvement in the battle, even less caring. Yet, I wished to keep it that way, for parading around boasting about your achievements wasn’t going to get me very far. The other men spent much of breakfast not eating but regaling their various killings and competing for who had chopped off the most heads. I took no part in this, partly because I cared little for it and partly because I had only killed one man. But I knew what role I had to play. Those men can keep their stories of epic duels and bloodthirsty killings. Without my tactics and leadership, those men would simply be characters in the stories of Mori soldiers, consigned to a footnote in another man’s battle tales. It could have been arrogant of me but I knew how important my actions had been, even if no one else did.

    The breakfast that morning was much better than normal, perhaps it was the cooks working especially hard for the triumphant soldiers or maybe it was the significantly less amount of mouths to feed but either way, it did much to lift not just my mood, but the whole army’s. The men here were use to good food but the ashigaru would have been much more excited to see that more than just rice and some steamed vegetables were on offer. They too would have taken much less pleasure in killing because for a simply rice farmer, what is honour? And so here I was, eating with the men who enjoyed the killing of their fellow men, yet sharing the complete opposite opinion. As they drank and whored their way through last night as they celebrated the victory, weeping as so many of the ashigaru had done, appealed to me much more. Perhaps I was not meant for this world of honour and glory and wealth but rather a much simpler life. But could I go back now?

    Breakfast went quickly in a haze of drinking and shouting and it was not long before many of the men lumbered drunkenly back to their quarters, despite it being many hours more until noon. I stayed though, seeing little reason to leave and so, was still there when only a few others still remained.

    “It seems you have found your place, Yuki-kun.” Chikakata said, I’m not so much drunk on sake but rather on his supposed ‘major’ role in the battle

    “I have indeed, Chikakata-san.” I replied politely, knowing that little good would come from sinking to his level. There was no need for further battles.

    “It is Chikakata-sama to you!” He corrected arrogantly as he skulled down a rather large cup of sake, loudly swishing it around his mouth before even more loudly gulping it down.

    “What do you want?” I asked plainly, quickly growing tired of his arrogance.

    “I want the ten where the retainers and nobles eat to be rid of peasants.” He accompanied his spiteful request with a loud spit, which was of course, entirely unnecessary but not
    entirely unlike Chikakata.

    “If you’re referring to me, I’m most dearly sorry for my inconvenience.” I replied, swinging around to meet his face with a fake apologetic smile.

    “Of course I’m referring to you!” He yelled back, grabbing my throat and pulling me from the wooden bench.

    “Well, as I said, I do apologise, for I am a peasant.” The grin on his face slowing dissipating as he the felt the tip of my tango pressing against his abdomen. “I am a peasant. My
    father was a simple farmer, my mother, the wife of a farmer. My brother and I are sons of a farmer. My wife is the daughter of simple merchant. I have peasant hands, peasant feet, a peasant mouth and a peasant’s heart. But at least I don’t have the the brain of an imbecile.” He released his hold on my throat as I pressed the blade harder and harder into him, only just avoiding piercing the skin. Fearful, he was much less intimidating, his natural height, a fair bit smaller than me, hardly helping me. It was now I who held the cards and I was intent on playing them right. “Next time, it would be smart if you didn't think everything your pathetic brain told you to. Know that I am not embarrassed of my past but when you threaten me believe me, I will not hold back for I am tired of being bullied by pathetic people such as yourself. Also, it may be wise to hold your tongue in future, lest you want Sorin to know of this little incident. If a man can not hold his tongue, how can he ever wish to hold the line in battle. I gradually pulled the tanto from his body, evoking a quiet, but noticeable, sigh of relief from Chikakata. I turned to leave but I stopped just before the exit of the tent, to impart some more wise words onto Chikakata. “And some sleep might do you some good as well. We don’t want a repeat of this do we?” I left Chikakata visibly confused and befuddled by how the morning had turned out and made preparations for another meeting, hopefully more successful than the last, with Sorin.

    **********************


    “Were the girls good?” I asked slyly, grinning as Sorin tried to muster a response.

    “Aarrrgghhh.” He groaned, quietly but deeply.

    “Should I take that as a yes or as a no?” I asked sarcastically, much to the displeasure of Sorin.

    “Aarrrgghhh.” He groaned again.

    “I’ll take that as a yes.” I walked over to pull him up, slowly awaking him from his semi-conscious state. I grabbed a pot of tea, still warm, from one of his kotatsu and after pouring him a cup, lifted it to his mouth, almost like feeding a baby. After a few moments of holding the tea cup to his mouth, Sorin finally clasped it himself.

    “What were you saying about some girls?” He asked confusingly in between big sips of tea.

    “The girls from last night, were they good?” I repeated, realising it was perhaps not as funny the second time.

    “What girls?” He replied, even more confused than before. He looked at me, puzzled, though the memory of the night soon came back to him. “Ohhhh them. Why did you let me?”
    He asked, sounding disappointed in me.

    “I could hardly persuade you to let me go let alone stop yourself.” I rebutted, eager to point out where the fault lay.

    “I probably was rather difficult. All this Catholic stuff and being honourable gets tiring, sometimes you have to let loose.” I pitied poor Sorin, having to keep up this image in order for the survival of his clan. “But I presume you didn't come here to question me on my bedroom antics. What is it Yuki-san?”

    “Where next is the question on not just my lips.” We had won a victory but at a cost, a severe cost and the men yearned for the comfort of their own homes and women.

    “We march to Buzen of course.” He replied as if it was the obvious choice.

    “The men are tired and weakened and wish to return home, not to travel to yet another foreign castle. It might provide shelter and food but we it won’t provide them a home. They are needed in the fields as well, it is spring and crops need to be sown.” I argued, I myself not wishing to spend more months campaigning.

    “Let their women and children sow the crops. We must take Buzen, to not would render this campaign a near failure. What would this victory mean, if we let our enemy regroup?” The problem was, Sorin was thinking as a military commander not a ruler.

    “This victory would mean our lands would be safe for another year at least.”

    “And then in danger the next. Taking Buzen, will cut off the rest of Mori territories in Shikoku from the Mori lands on Honshu. It would mean the loss of thousands of lives would be averted.”

    “I cannot persuade you can I?” I finally asked, conceding defeat.

    “My mind is made up.” Reaffirmed Sorin, as he rose from his zaisu and began to study the small pile of letters collecting on his desk.

    “Whatever decision you will make, it must be in line with Kunichika-sama’s orders.” Sorin turned around immediately at hearing that.

    “What?”

    “Well you command this army for Kunichika-sama and so, must obey his orders.” I declared, well aware of the fine line I was walking.

    “I command my own army, not Kunichika-sama’s.” Bluntly replied Sorin, quickly forgetting about the letters.

    “You command it for Kunichika-sama, it is not yours.” I repeated.

    “Where do your loyalties lie, Yuki-kun.” I paused for a moment, not just because I was taken aback by the insult but in order to carefully word my reply.

    “To the man who gave me what I have.” I answered succinctly.

    “And who is that?” Further questioned Sorin. I didn’t need to speak for him to know. I was not ungrateful for what Sorin had given and done for me but it was Chosokabe Kunichika who had given me this position and my loyalties laid with his clan. “Why is not to the man who taught you about politics, who gave you your first taste of command. And beware, Yuki-kun, that can easily have been your last.” I stared blankly at him, trying to not let his words get to me but it was hard. “Leave now Yuki-kun, you are dismissed.” For a moment I just stood there, hoping it would change his mind. But I knew it wouldn’t and with a ceremonious bow, I left, unsure of where my future lay.
    Last edited by Merchant of Venice; September 01, 2014 at 03:57 AM.

  13. #113
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    Good to see Yuki moving up in the world! Even if things are getting a little rocky with Sorin. I loved the yumi commander aswell - we was great to read. I hope Yuki gets stuck with him again

    But great in general to see this AAR back on its feet - looking forward to more, as always!

  14. #114

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    Quote Originally Posted by f0ma View Post
    Good to see Yuki moving up in the world! Even if things are getting a little rocky with Sorin. I loved the yumi commander aswell - we was great to read. I hope Yuki gets stuck with him again

    But great in general to see this AAR back on its feet - looking forward to more, as always!
    I'm glad you like the chapters. I wasn't planning on bringing back the Yumi commander but now that you mention it.

    The next chapter will be out in two weeks(that's probably now my schedule) but might be a little late as I have a story for school I have to write which might take away some of my creative juices. Also some CQ stuff might hold it back.

    Thanks for reading,

    Merchnat of Venice

  15. #115
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    It was just my kind of humour, with him just being deadpan, whilst Yuki is getting increasingly exasperated with him Nice bit of comic relief on the side.

  16. #116

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    Maybe I'll make him a long-running joke. He'll just pop up in various times and places

  17. #117
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    Firstly, this is truly some of the best writing I've seen on the AAR forums. Any of them. On the other hand...I demand an update! Or, at least, an explanation as to why there are no more recent ones.

    I shall be waiting in the shadows.


  18. #118

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    Im sorry for the delay, my computer died the other week and of course my story was one of the only documents that wasn't saved to iCloud but I have it now as I recovered my hard drive. But I couldn't write really for a week so sorry for the delay but I might have the next chapter out by this weekend. And what about your stories huh?

  19. #119

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVI 1/9)

    Chapter XVII: The apple falls very far from the tree

    1559- Spring
    Chosokabe Kunichika

    Chosokabe Kunichika gleamed as he scanned a newly arrived letter.

    “What is it?” Asked his son, Chosokabe Motochika, forcefully, never the one to miss out on information. He repeated the question again yet his father only read and sipped his tea. He asked the question a third time and only then did his father finally respond.

    “It is a report on the war from our Yuki-kun.” Kunichika could see the name made his son visibly angry, though for what meaningful reason he was still unsure. It had been quite a time since he had tried to understand his son.

    “What does the upstart say now?” Kunichika demanded, not caring if it was his father he was talking to instead of one of his retainers or servants.

    “They won the Battle of Shimonoseki.” Motochika answered succinctly, only annoying his son more, though that perhaps might have been the point.

    “So what?” Asked Motochika brashly, the young man never having been in a real battle. He was like most young samurai, brash, ignorant and naive in how it played out. Though perhaps naive wasn’t the best word to describe Motochika, thought his father. Perhaps arrogant.

    “To win one battle is an achievement, to win another one, only a day after the first one and outnumbered is a near impossible feat.” Declared Kunichika, hoping to pass down at least some wisdom to his son. Like that had ever worked, he muttered to himself.

    “Our army was more well trained and we had the teppos.” Motochika said, stuffing more food in his mouth than his father thought was humanly possible. But then again, my son has always wanted more than others, he mused.

    “You underestimate our enemy, son. The Mori are not just farmers and peasants like you think they do. And while I hate to admit it, they are more powerful than us right now.” Kunichika slowly trailed off towards the end, trying to hide the last remark as he took another slow sip of his boiling hot tea. Still too hot. After living for fifty and five years, little things like burning your tongue, now had much more of an impact. Praise the gods, I’ve become an old man.

    “You should be more bold father, the war won’t be won if we sit here complaining about how the Mori are too strong for us.” Berated Motochika in a completely patronising manner, almost as if the roles had been reversed and he was the father.

    “But-”

    “Enough of that, what else does the letter say?” Motochika interrupted, showing little care for his father’s words.

    “It asks for orders on where they should go next but Yuki-kun insists that the army needs for rest and recovery, lest they should be decimated at the hands of a bigger Mori army.” Kunichika agreed with Yuki and knew that pushing too hard would only lead to a bigger defeat. But before his son opened his mouth, he knew his opinion. If only I can change him before I leave all of this to him. If only I could…..

    “Pffftt, rest and recovery. If soldiers rest they become weak and lazy. Tell them to march to Kokura and begin the siege by spring’s end. We need to trap the Mori.” Motochika ordered, again forgetting who was the father and who was the son.

    “No, they shall halt their advance. We have no need for the Buzen province yet. Let the men recover from their wounds and tend to the graves of their brothers. I’d rather a lazy soldier than a half dead one.” Kunichika said firmly, matching his son’s tone.

    “They will march to Kokura.” Motochika responded, not allowing his father to win this one.

    “Excuse me son but I am the Daimyo of this clan, not you. Your time will come but until it does, you will not speak to me as if I am one of your servants. If anything you are one of mine. Is that understood?” Shouted Kunichika, fed up with his son’s petulance.

    “Yes, father.” Conceded Motochika, lowering his head in both shame and annoyance. He is still like a child, thought Kunichika, he needs to learn that not everyone is beneath him.

    “Enough of that, son. There is a more important and pressing concern to deal with.” He won’t like this. “You are my heir and soon, you’ll need your own heir.” Much to Kunichika’s surprise, his son seemed a whole lot more interested in this topic. “That is why you need a wife and I have one.”

    “Is she attractive.” Immediately enquired Motochika, disregarding all other questions as if they didn’t matter.

    “Yes, I have seen her and I would say she is attractive. She is Akara, from the Emura clan, daughter of Emura Toshimasa.” Motochika seemed pleased by his father’s reassurance of her attractiveness and sat there eating with a small grin on his face.

    “When do we get married?” Motochika prayed it wouldn’t be too soon. Once married, he was sure his father would make him swear to not visit any more brothels. And if he did, he still had some girls he wanted to pay one last visit to.

    “In a week’s time.” His father answered, fully knowing how outraged his son would be at the answer.

    “A week’s time!” Shouted Motochika, dropping the small piece of raw fish he had held in his hand into his lap.

    “And then you’re off to Bungo to get your first taste of command.” The second piece of news was a lot more to Motochika’s liking, yet he was still visibly outraged at being told about his marriage so late.

    “Can I take my darling wife with me?” Asked Motochika, trying to sound as innocent as possible. He couldn’t fool his father.

    “Yes, you can. But I would be weary of harming her in anyway. Her father will be there as well, so trying anything might not be a good idea.”

    “But it’s meant to be my command position!” Cried Motochika, like a little child whose toy was being taken from him.

    “It will be.” Reassured Kunichika, trying to calm down his son. “But Emura Toshimasa will be there to advise you.”

    “Spy on me you me.” Spat back Motochika, enraged at having to share his command with one of his father’s spies. Emura Toshimasa wasn’t a nice man either. But before he could argue any more against his father, a loud commotion diverted both of their detentions. A small man burst into the tenshu, shouting and yelling at the men who followed behind who were failing to contain him.

    “Kunichika-sama! Where is Kunichika-sama?” Yelled the man, as he shrugged off the two soldiers who desperately tried to control him.

    “I am here Koboyaka Masatoya-sama.” Kunichika said, who had instantly figured out what the commotion was. His son on the other hand, still look confused and annoyed.

    “Get out of here pathetic. man. Guards!” Bellowed Motochika. The two guards moved forward, yaris inches away from skewering the man.

    “Men, stand down.” Kunichika said firmly, overriding his son’s commands. The two guards lowered the yaris and returned to their position either side of the entrance to the tenshu, slightly disappointed that they couldn’t skewer anyone.

    “Free me, Kunichika-sama!” Angrily demanded the man, now walking with a lot more assuredness in his step.

    “Who are you to demand such things!” Yelled Motochika, never the one to fail to assert his authority over those he deemed inferior to himself. He will never learn, thought his father, as he sat there, calmly sipping his tea as he had been throughout the day’s proceedings. Tea is an awfully wonderful thing, he thought. The only thing to really get me through raising this son of mine. The man continued to demand to be freed, earning continued angry responses from Motochika until Kunichika finally decided to step in.

    “I will free you in time.” Said Kunichika, silencing the man for some time, yet only invoking more angry words from his son.

    “You will not do this, father. This man needs to know his place.” Whispered his son, angry at yet again being discarded to one side, as his father made the decision most completely opposite to what he wanted. In response, Kunichika just glared at his son, the way a father often does to his son. “I do not want to humiliate you, son.” Whispered back Kunichika. “But if you speak against me like that again, I will.” He threatened, in a voice just loud enough to carry across the threat but not too loud as to give Koboyaka Masatoya any hint of what was going on. “You were lord of this land before we conquered?” Kunichika asked of Masatoya.

    “I was and before me, my father. And before him, his father. and before him-” Masatoya declared proudly, almost forgetting the defeat he had suffered merely hours earlier.

    “Yes, I get the picture.” Kunichika injected before Masatoya could rattle on any longer about which father of which father had controlled his lands. “You fought with honour against us and did nothing to betray your own lord, despite how despicable he may be.” Kunichika did have a sliver of respect for Mori Motonari but everything he said was monitored and whispered about. It’s better you are heard to be talking down your opponents then praising them. “Therefore, I will grant you control of this castle and the surrounding lands in return for your loyalty, men and tribute. Can you guarantee those three?”

    “Yes, tono.” Masatoya bowed and then promptly left, swapping disdainful glares with the two guards as he passed them by.

    “I AM THE DAIMYO!” Kunichika bellowed at his son, his shout echoing throughout the room. “You will not take command over me! I am your father, do you have no respect?” Any normal person would have said yes, apologised and then left. Motochika was not going to do any of them. Well perhaps the last one, he thought.

    “No, I do not! I have no respect for a man who cowers behind walls, fearful of his enemy.” Motochika replied, with as much built up anger as his father, if not more. He was an adult, deserving of commanding armies and leading battles, not a child to agree with whatever his father said.

    “Then you will leave.” Kunichika declared, pausing for a second before he said anything else. Am I really going to do this to my own son? He thought. “You will marry tomorrow and then you will leave and you will have the command position you so greedily crave. But I warn you, Toshimasa-san has little tolerance for petulance, especially from his daughter’s husband. You will listen to him or you will be shipped back home and you’ll sit out this war with your mother back in Tosa. Understood?”

    “Yes, Kunichika-otōsan.” Motochika said, meekly and with the arrogance gone from his voice. He knew he had lost the battle. Bowing, he left in a rush, staring down at the floor, avoiding the looks of the two guards, who had been quite amused by the day’s events. Kunichika sighed, exhausted from the war he fought against the Mori and the one he fought against his son.

    “He is our son.” Chosokabe Naomi reminded her husband, as she peered out from behind the entrance to the tenshu. Despite her advanced age, her beauty remained intact and the toll the years should have left on her were barely noticeable. Flecks of grey hair were hidden by the river of jet black hair which flowed down until just past her shoulders. Her skin was wrinkled in places yet as smooth as it had been thirty years go in other places. Her eyes were the real betrayer of her age, yet they portrayed not so much her age but rather the wisdom she had accumulated over the years. But here eyes still hid the ambition which burnt inside her nor did it show the iron will she had to further those ambitions. Chosokabe Naomi was a beautiful but dangerous woman, every bit as powerful as her husband, if not more.

    “He is no son of mine.” Kunichika declared as his servants busily cleaned up the mess his son had made. His wife waltzed over to him, more dancing then actual walking, and gave him a light peck on the cheek. Placing her soft hands on his shoulders, she slowly began to dig into his tense neck muscles. As she kneaded him like a baker would need their dough, Kunichika groaned in relief.

    “We were all like that at that age.” Namoi reminded her husband, though she highly doubted he ever was.

    “But he has always been like this and I fear, he always will.” Kunichika argued, though with little pleasure. He had tried for years to temper his son but it had done nothing. He was used to winning his battles, yet this one, perhaps the most important one, he had lost.

    “Then what do you hope to get out of sending him away?” His wife asked. “You will only drive him away.” She added.

    “Perhaps it will knock some sense in to him. Or if we’re lucky, it'll kill him.” He remarked, grinning. Naomi slapped him on the face, not too hard but hard enough to get her point across.

    “He is our son!” She said, turning away from her husband. She didn’t want him to see her cry. “He is our son.” She repeated, trying to hold back the tears. “Our eldest son. Maybe he is like this because of his teacher.” She snapped. Kunichika softly put his hand on her shoulder.

    “Maybe it is my fault. Maybe I could have done things better.” Kunichika conceded, knowing his wife spoke the truth. “And now I have to correct my mistakes and I am doing the best I can. I was only joking, of course I would not wish our son to die.” Well, not yet, he secretly added. His wife turned around, managing a small smile as she wiped away the last of her tears. “And for you, I will try my best to deal with Motochika. War is when we should unite not fight.”

    “Thank you.” Naomi said, kissing her husband one last time before she waltzed off. It may be my fault, Kunichika thought, but it was always Motochika’s choice. And now, he has to pay the consequences.
    **********************
    Chosokabe Motochika

    Motochika always felt the best when he lay with a women. When he could kiss them, run his finger along their skin, he felt a comfort he felt nowhere else. And so, the first place he went after the disastrous afternoon with his father, was his quarters. There on his bed lay a girl, fully naked. The way I like it, he thought. He heard a solid thump as his bodyguard closed the door behind him. The room was dark, a bedside lantern the only light in the room. All the shadows seemed to be bigger and scarier than usual, but Motochika hardly noticed them, fully focused on the girl in front of him. With her long delicate fingers she enticed him closer and he obeyed like a puppy dog. He waddled over to his bed, stripping off his clothing one by one until he finally made it to his bed. Motochika was not a small man by any means, strong and muscular, yet he lacked the scars to make the muscle look authentic.
    Despite what he thought, he still looked like a protected kid, with no scare to show any sort of battle or fight.

    As he lumbered on top of the girl, he felt the worries of the day drain away. For these few moments, he could forget about his father, about his father’s expectations, about his father’s comments. He could just enjoy the moment.

    After he had finished with the girl, he lay motionless on the bed. The girl lay next to him, fast asleep, her arms draped across his body. He slowly lifted her arms off him and got up. He picked up one of his kimonos, and half dressed himself and sat down at his kotatsu. A letter had been placed on his desk, attached with the seal of a house he easily recognised.

    “What do you have for me now, Chikakata-san.” He muttered as he opened the letter. The letter was succinct but contained news that pleased Motochika greatly.

    I write to you, Motochika-sama, with great news. Sorin-sama and Yuki-kun aren’t on the best of terms, so to speak, right now. Without Sorin-sama, Yuki-kun is as good as ours. We should strike now and rid us of this upstart.

    Tawara Chikakata

    A big grin spread itself across Motochika’s face. This Yuki-kun had been a constant upstart and now, he could finally rid himself of him. He quickly snatched a quill and a spare scrap of
    paper and swiftly began writing.

    Take whatever measures you have to, Chikakata-san. I am sailing for Bungo in two days time to deliver a nice present for our friend.

    Chosokabe Motochika

    The letter was rushed and small, but Motochika didn’t need it to be, he trusted Chikakata-san to know what to do. Just he had finished the letter, he felt someone’s soft hands digging into his shoulders. He was about to lash out in retaliation but, after realising it was only the girl, slumped back into his zaisu. This truly is the life, he thought to hi.mself, already forgetting about the argument with his father. Soon I will command my own army, soon the pesky Yuki-kun will be eliminated and soon, I won’t have to pay for a woman again.
    **********************


    As he waved to his parents on the shore, Chosokabe Motochika had little regrets. The farewell had been quick and brief, much, he suspected, to his father’s pleasure. His mother had been warm in her goodbyes yet his father had been cold like winter. But his father’s temperament mattered little to Motochika, who would soon be many miles away from his father. Far away from him and with my own army, he muttered with a grin. So very far away……

    He still remembered a time when his father and him were close and despite his growing resentment for his father, he still remembered those times warmly. He remembered how he had shone like a second sun the day he had been given his first sword by his father. The time when his father first took him hunting, only him and his father, alone and away from the court and its politics. His father was a kinder man there, in the forests outside of Tosa, where the rivers flowed gently and the trees swayed in the calm wind. Those memories he held close to his heart and while he utterly hated to admit it, a big part of him wished those days would come back.

    But they were gone, blown away by the winds of time and change, the same winds, which had driven him and his father apart. A great distance now separated the two, a mutual resentment that no father and son should share for each other. Perhaps if we were just simple folk, chichi and I would still be close, contemplated Motochika, though the thought of being amongst the peasants did not appeal to him at all. He was glad he was born into the noble class, he rather liked fine clothes and sharpened blades. He also enjoyed having enough food.

    His mother was the only thing keeping him and his father together. She would not let them force her to choose and so, she pulled them together, often against their will. But not even his mother could bridge the gap that was to appear once Motochika had sailed away. And yet, despite the dear love he had for his mother, he was unsure she would pick him. She must, I am her own son, how could she not pick me? But he secretly knew why. He wasn’t that dumb to realise that his mother, even if only partially, shared the same thoughts as his father. He had heard them arguing about him once and he tried desperately to halt that thought from every appearing again. But it did. Again and again. But were they arguing or agreeing?

    And so, as the oarsmen pulled him and the boat away from the shore, it also pulled him away from his parents. They pulled him away from the past and into the future, where he would be daimyo of the Chosokabe clan and in time, Shogun of Japan.

    “Anata, come back below deck.” Urged his new wife, her voice sweeter than the most exotic birds. “Relax and let me pleasure you.” She whispered in his ear though he ignored her, stubbornly staring out at his parents and what he was leaving behind. He could feel her biting at his neck, small, wet bites, tempting him to follow her. But he continued to gaze out into the distance. “Follow me.” She whispered again, her voice still sweet but now with a darker side to it.

    The wedding had been a small affair, well as small as a nobel wedding can be. It was held privately in a nearby Shinto shrine and the curious public were denied anywhere near it. He had seen his wife for the first time that day and words could not describe her beauty that day. When his father had told him she was pretty, he was doing her an injustice. Her hair was torrent of black, streaming down from her head. Her eyes a dark but warm shade of brown. Her skin was smooth and unblemished, like the finest porcelain. He had stood there gawking at her beauty, until a small nudge from his father dragged him out of the trance. A younger version of himself would have wept when she slowly undid her kimono but he knew he could not appear weak and so, did the best he could to not appear overwhelmed. When they had slept together he knew he would not bed another woman, for any other woman would not compare to her. And now, she was his, no one else's but his. His until death.

    As the thoughts of the wedding night interrupted his gaze, he let go of whatever was stopping him from following her. He spun around and kissed her, their tongues doing a quick dance before she pulled away. Grabbing one of his arms, she led him downstairs into their quarters. He obliged wholeheartedly, almost running down with her. His parents were not his future. She was his future.
    Last edited by Merchant of Venice; October 02, 2014 at 03:20 AM.

  20. #120
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XVII 24/9)

    I approve heartily of this update! Got a bit of everything- romance, domineering parents and arrogant brats, news from the front...yes, I whole-heartedly look forward to more.

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