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Thread: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 12 - Apr 24)

  1. #1

    Icon1 The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 12 - Apr 24)

    The Wings of Destiny – a FotS AAR

    Beppu Shinichi is but a man, trapped in the turmoil of his times. The hills of Kagoshima, the shimmer of the bay, the laughter of children. All seems tranquil now, but whispers of change could already be heard in the shadows. To survive, Shinichi must make sure he and his clan remains at the forefront of a bloody struggle, and remain victorious.

    Growing up Shinichi had trained daily to become a samurai, but in these times of uneasy peace, what did it mean to be a man of the sword? What was the destiny of such a man in an age where bean counters and foreign guns ruled the day? Triumph will ensure his legacy, perhaps, but at what price?

    I. The Seeds of Sorrow

    1. Snow
    2. Decision
    3. Yuko-chan
    4. A deal struck
    5. Shimonoseki
    6. Rebellion
    7. For honour
    8. Training
    9. Koguma
    10. Gatling

    II. When Boys Became Men

    11. Do or die
    12. Homeward
    Last edited by Robin de Bodemloze; April 24, 2016 at 07:47 AM.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
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  2. #2

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny

    1. Snow

    December 1865, Kagoshima

    The stars hung frozen, in the night sky. The few wisps of clouds that drifted sideways lazily shone a frigid white, reflecting the light of the full moon. Kagoshima was visible in the distance, but only as a mess of scattered lamps. Snow had fallen the previous week, and the ground shone brilliantly where there was light. The world outside was silent – nary a soul stirred. Even the ravens that frequented these lands seemed to take their leave in this most dead of winter nights.

    Sheltered from the weather, I sat motionless, hunched over the remnants of my late meal. The occasional crackle of the fire pot served only to distract me from jumbled thoughts. This was the season of rest, or so the elders used to say when I was younger, but nothing could put my mind to peace now. My cup of sake…the seventh…or was it more…had long grown cold, the fluid forming a faultless reflection of my chin. The ryokan hostess had…Akiko…or something or other…had done her best to lift my spirits, and her sultry form would have made for desirable company on another evening, but tonight there were far more significant issues to consider than the pleasures of a silky songstress. The peace of this sleepy domain would soon be shattered, that much was certain. The winds of change were blowing ever stronger on the mainland. The visit of the black ship was over a decade ago now, but it had changed our world in a thousand ways. The arranged marriage of Kazu-no-miya to the shogun had only delayed what was surely now inevitable, I felt. In Choshu-han to the north, disquiet had grown into something of a public secret, with all but the shogunate still in the dark. Hisamitsu-sama had insisted on a policy of neutrality, insisting that the mainlanders had more to lose but also more to gain from insurrection, but his decision that we continue dialogue with the Mori gave me hope. The satchel before me held but a single sheet of paper, on it just six points of proposal, but the implications of an agreement, if one could be reached, would reach beyond our provinces, I felt…

    …samurai – growing up this word was repeated to me ad nauseam, but in truth it held little meaning to me. I practiced kendo daily. We were samurai, so it was my duty to train as one, the elders would say. But the meaning of the word was blurred in my mind. What did it meant to be samurai? What had we samurai become? The Tokugawa had ruled over two centuries of peace, and the clans of old are now but bean counters – businessmen more concerned with fattening their coffers than any notion of honesty. Is this really what the old men taught me all my life not to forget? Who are samurai? What did it mean to be samurai? What did…

    I shook my head as my thoughts returned to me, trying unsuccessfully to clear the alcohol between my ears. Gathering my belongings, I rose and turned towards my lodgings. Passing the hostess in the hallway I paused slightly as her scent lingered momentarily…what was her name again… I mumbled thanks as I heard her remove my utensils, and redoubled progress towards my quarters. Tomorrow would be an important meeting, making now an especially bad time to be distracted by womenfolk, I decided. I would rise early tomorrow, and rehearse the delivery of my findings.
    Last edited by Robin de Bodemloze; August 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
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  3. #3
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny

    Aaaai-yaaaaaa, Jackiiiiiieeee!

    Beat me to a FoTS AAR...so be it.

    Anyway, a start that I would expect as much from the venerable RDB, let us hope and pray to the Kami that it continues as such. +Rep.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny

    So there it is. I left because of a lack of time, and in truth the same problem remains, but I find myself returning to a story I'd thought of about a week after Takeda ended. This AAR will be shorter, and almost (entirely?) devoid of pictures, but will hopefully tell the story as I wish of it. Readers of my last work may recognise elements of my writing that I have inherited in this story…for better or worse. The plan is not to go on for 18 months again, but hopefully it will be an enjoyable read.

    As always, comments, criticism are most welcome - and appreciated in equal measure. Here we go again…
    Last edited by Robin de Bodemloze; December 22, 2013 at 01:47 PM.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
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  5. #5

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny

    OH MY GOD Do my eyes deceive me?

    I see they do not. Great opening chapter, it seems after your hiatus you have not lost any of that magic touch. Cant wait to see where this goes but I know it will be great

  6. #6
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny

    I am sorry, but who comes back after being away for ages, posts inconspicuously in the chat thread, and then launches a brand new AAR out of the blue?

    (oh wait... )

    Still I refuse to read it, yours is too good and it just isn't fair.



    Looking forward to more mate, a great start.
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  7. #7
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny

    About time.

    I'm really glad to see you back here. This will be a treat for all of us.

  8. #8
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR

    You're doing ANOTHER one? I had only just begun to read your Takeda AAR again D:

    No matter! I shall be busy during teh holidays reading both Takeda and Wings of Destiny

    Your writing is brilliant! You have an exceptional eye for detail!

    +rep

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




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  9. #9

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR

    Great start!

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by McScottish View Post
    Aaaai-yaaaaaa, Jackiiiiiieeee!

    Beat me to a FoTS AAR...so be it.

    Anyway, a start that I would expect as much from the venerable RDB, let us hope and pray to the Kami that it continues as such. +Rep.
    Continue it shall. Thanks for the comment and rep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    OH MY GOD Do my eyes deceive me?

    I see they do not. Great opening chapter, it seems after your hiatus you have not lost any of that magic touch. Cant wait to see where this goes but I know it will be great
    Your eyes do not, but read on, and the plot lines I've drawn up might.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    I am sorry, but who comes back after being away for ages, posts inconspicuously in the chat thread, and then launches a brand new AAR out of the blue?

    (oh wait... )

    Still I refuse to read it, yours is too good and it just isn't fair.



    Looking forward to more mate, a great start.
    Oh look at you...so much protest, so much indignation. You know you love it really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radzeer View Post
    About time.

    I'm really glad to see you back here. This will be a treat for all of us.
    Yes it feels good to be back. I shall endeavour to live up to your high expectations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigellinus View Post
    You're doing ANOTHER one? I had only just begun to read your Takeda AAR again D:

    No matter! I shall be busy during teh holidays reading both Takeda and Wings of Destiny

    Your writing is brilliant! You have an exceptional eye for detail!

    +rep

    Thanks

    Tigellinus
    You need to hurry up then. Happy reading!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadoken View Post
    Great start!
    Thank you!

    ...

    The next chapter will be up in the next week or so. Writing this from a Paris hotel room - will be back in the writing saddle soon.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
    Takeda - a Shogun 2 AAR (Completed) Reviewed by Radzeer

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  11. #11

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR

    2. Decision

    December 1865, Kagoshima

    “Do you think the Mori are to be trusted? For centuries our ancestors battled each other, and even under the shogunate relations are complicated at best. What would we gain from strengthening a rival?”

    “The Mori took it upon themselves to shelter the Sonno Joi rebels – what profit would come of involving ourselves in their schemes?”

    “Among the men caught for the pathetic attempt on my life were individuals from Choshu. Do you expect me to make easy friends with such men?”

    ”Remember that not long ago our men marched upon Nagasaki itself at the shogun’s behest, and Choshu men died at our swords? Do you expect their memories to be as short as your own?”

    “What of the other domains? Would such a venture gain us more friends or enemies? What think the Hosokawa of Kumamoto? The Yamauchi of Shikoku?”

    “…”

    I had considered my monologue reasonably well delivered. Under the barrage of questions from Hisamitsu-sama, however, I found myself ill at ease. The merits of an alliance were clear in my mind. The shogunate had grown weak, and the calls for the emperor to assume power was surely but a political ruse, but two centuries of peace had done little to dilute Ieyasu‘s treachery in the minds of the old clans. That much was certain. The Tokugawa were still strong, but the Kinmon uprising, despite its failure, surely demonstrated what was to come. Nonetheless it was difficult to rebut such personal misgivings offered by the regent. Perhaps the personal distrust of the Mori could be overcome, I pondered, or perhaps he merely sought more certainty over the chances of victory. I did my best to emphasise the dangers of allowing Choshu to fall – allowing the shogunate to regain its confidence – but as the questions from my lord continued, I found myself increasingly unable to deliver satisfactory responses. Perhaps it was my rank – low – within the clan hierarchy.

    “Hisamitsu-sama, if I may, the boy’s words are not without merit.”

    I turned to face the baritone voice booming across the hall, but there was little doubt over whom had spoken. Chief among the samurai ranks in Satsuma domain, Saigo Takamori was one of but few who could speak so confidently in the regent's presence. His seniority within the clan demanded I pay him the utmost respect, even if he hadn't been a personal sponsor of mine on several occasions. I bowed as respectfully as I could as he nodded in my direction.

    “Our relations with the Mori aren’t excellent, but they are much improved from previous years, and ultimately we – like all tozama clans – share a common foe. The Sonno Joi rabble in Choshu will have plenty to say against us, but we are stronger than the Mori now, and we are one of few who can aid their cause. The other clans in Kyushu are rich but lacking in military experience, and in seriousness only the Tosa navy poses a genuine threat among the southern domains. We have favoured the shogun in the past, but certainly Yoshinobu’s lackeys in Kyoto would not hesitate to weaken us if presented the opportunity. If Choshu were to fall under the shogunate’s control I fear Satsuma would be the next target. I propose that we send a signal of agreement, and arrange some kind of symbolic alignment while refraining from committing too many of our men or too much of our resources.”

    I felt my breathe returning to me as Hisamitsu-sama nodded slowly. Sensing an opportunity I offered to facilitate an introduction between the Mori and the gaijin traders that by now frequented Kagoshima. To a man they were obsessed with trading on the mainland, and allowing the Choshu troops to acquire western armament would strengthen them meaningfully. A stronger Choshu domain would benefit us equally should we ally with them, I explained as Hisamitsu-sama remained silent.

    “Act as you suggest, Shinichi. When the merchants you mention are ready with their wares I will pen a letter for you to take to old Mori Takachika.”

    Relief filled me as the regent gave his approval. My confidence renewed, I bowed deeply to Hisamitsu-sama, and once more to Takamori-sama, and made my leave quickly. Before heading for the gaijin quarter there was something else I had to attend to.
    Last edited by Robin de Bodemloze; August 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
    Takeda - a Shogun 2 AAR (Completed) Reviewed by Radzeer

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  12. #12

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 2 - Jan 5)

    Interesting, love the politics in this even if it was a bit confusing at times but isn't all great literature confusing at first. Haven't played FOTS for a rather long time and I do wonder what clan you are playing as. Do you intend to tell us or will we have to figure it out?

  13. #13
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 2 - Jan 5)

    Knowing robinzx we will of course have to figure it out, any other way would be to easy.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 2 - Jan 5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Interesting, love the politics in this even if it was a bit confusing at times but isn't all great literature confusing at first. Haven't played FOTS for a rather long time and I do wonder what clan you are playing as. Do you intend to tell us or will we have to figure it out?
    I've been cryptic by design but hopefully things will become a bit clearer soon. You're just going to have to keep reading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    Knowing robinzx we will of course have to figure it out, any other way would be to easy.
    Why ruin the fun of it?
    Last edited by Robin de Bodemloze; January 18, 2014 at 11:27 AM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 2 - Jan 5)

    3. Yuko-chan

    December 1865, Kagoshima

    A fine mist drifted slowly across the bay before us. The morning sun hung low in the sky still, and a pale light washed over the frigid landscape as we sat in silence. The rocky outcrop we found ourselves on was on the outskirts of the machi, and there was little chance we would be disturbed, I knew. The occasional sparkle of morning dew would divert my eyes, but otherwise they were locked on a lonely bune crossing the water. Neither of us spoke, but with her often words weren’t necessary. Standing side by side, her presence soothed me, just as it had done so many times in the past. In her presence, the turmoil of our lands became an afterthought.

    My visit to the orphanage was sobering, but uneventful for the most part. The old couple who ran the place were like parents to all of us, and seeing them again was comforting after such a long time away. Their aged look often brought me sadness, and last night was no different. The news that my younger brother had found employment in the household of a prominent samurai was reassuring, even if all Shinsuke was doing was tending after horses.

    Then there was Yuko-chan.

    I don’t actually recall when Yuko was brought to the home. The story the old couple liked to tell was that she was abandoned on the orphanage door as a baby, around the same time Shinsuke and I arrived in similar circumstances. Unlike the rest of us who took the Beppu surname of our old guardians, Yuko’s name was written on a good luck charm from the local taisha. Whoever Yuko's parents were, they’d likely parted with her out of desperate circumstances, leaving the charm as their final blessing for the unfortunate child. Satsuma was typically a fertile land, but the famines during those years claimed the lives of many. The shogun’s refusal to send aid meant many more perished than necessary – a fact not lost on the locals who roundly criticised the Shimazu family’s current alignment with the Tokugawa dogs.

    Yuko Mizutani.

    There were other girls at the orphanage, but Yuko-chan was…different. We bonded quickly as kids, and growing up her serene demeanour had a calming influence on those around her. Like a sister to me, Yuko was one year my junior, and one year older than Shinsuke. While most of us at the orphanage left to seek gainful employment, she took it upon herself to tend to the old Beppu couple in their waning years. During our time at the orphanage the others – including Shinsuke – found her cold, distant, or simply terminally introverted. But the time we shared were invariably pleasant.

    “Shinichi…”

    I turned to face the girl. Her face remained calm as water, but something was not right.

    “There is something on your mind. You always used to tell me about your adventures, but today you are holding back. What happened? What is Hagi like? What did you see?”

    “It was…fine…yea …it was fine. Hagi is a pretty town. The machi there is as large as it is impressive, with all sorts of wares on sale…”

    Her sudden bout of curiosity took me by surprise. It was true that I would often impose my stories upon her, but more often than not I felt sure she listened merely to humour me. I opted against offering the details of my meeting with the Mori. The Kyoto politics, the alliance, my pending mission to procure guns for Choshu-han – these things would surely bore the girl. The unabridged version of events would also be enormously tedious to explain, I decided. I was caught off guard when she let out a soft but long sigh.

    “Shinichi…I don’t know what it is you’re involved with, but I do know you are doing something important. I may confine myself to the streets of our town, but the chatter among the townsfolk is becoming louder by the day. I understand if there are secrets you need to keep…”

    “Yuko…it’s…nothing. I am but a lowly mail runner now, even if it is the Shimazu household I serve. I was in Choshu-han to collect some correspondence for the family, nothing more. What I do matters little to anyone…”

    My poorly disguised lie wouldn’t fool her, I knew, but it was better than troubling the girl with all that was going on. My hopes that she would take my words at face value were dashed quickly.

    “Shinichi… but…just…come visit the house when your work isn’t so busy. Your work…it…it matters plenty to me.”

    I remained silent. I closed my eyes, and took comfort in the words of my companion.
    Last edited by Robin de Bodemloze; August 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
    Takeda - a Shogun 2 AAR (Completed) Reviewed by Radzeer

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  16. #16

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 3 - Jan 19)

    Beautifully written stuff. It seems our protagonist is an orphan. Interesting.... Nice backstory to both characters and Im sure I will enjoy observing more of the relationship between Yuko and Shinichi. Well done dialogue as well.

  17. #17
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 3 - Jan 19)

    Oh, nicely written parts! Every time I read your first person narratives, it is as if it had some very light and sophisticated aura around it. Sort of like a daydream. I can't pinpoint the exact elements, but it does work very well!

  18. #18

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 3 - Jan 19)

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Beautifully written stuff. It seems our protagonist is an orphan. Interesting.... Nice backstory to both characters and Im sure I will enjoy observing more of the relationship between Yuko and Shinichi. Well done dialogue as well.
    Thank you for reading, and for commenting. Starting over with a new AAR I'm definitely experiencing all the insecurity that comes with starting something new haha

    Quote Originally Posted by Radzeer View Post
    Oh, nicely written parts! Every time I read your first person narratives, it is as if it had some very light and sophisticated aura around it. Sort of like a daydream. I can't pinpoint the exact elements, but it does work very well!
    Thank you my friend. Your comments are always much appreciated. I find writing first person easier in some ways...so that must mean I'm light and sophisticated

    I kid - I shall do my best to justify your high praise.

    * * *

    Personal note on logistics - from Wednesday I'm headed to Hokkaido for a few days on the slopes. Going to see the Goryokaku amongst other things. I'll hopefully have an update not long after I'm back.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
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  19. #19
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 3 - Jan 19)

    First of all a hearty welcome back!

    Apologies for not reading over this sooner, university has been particularly grueling as of late. Your prose is as intoxicating as ever though. I enjoyed the way you portrayed Shinichi's errant thoughts in the first chapter. Perhaps it was only because he was drunk, but I always love an unreliable narrator. The linguistic devices you've chosen to employ are quite exceptional too; one in particular has me doubting whether it's intentional or a typo

    Pray continue, I look forward to accompanying you on this journey
    Reforged
    A Skyrim AAR

    Otousan

  20. #20

    Default Re: The Wings of Destiny - a FotS AAR (Updated Chapter 3 - Jan 19)

    Oh Robin, you still are good at this after a long long break.

    I really love the way you write in a first person perspective with all those carefully assembled details. It just builds up the entire setting in my mind as if I am somehow inside the story witnessing it first hand. If this was the middle ages, I'd certainly call your talent sorcery! (Hang the witch/warlock!!!) With this kind of writing, pictures wouldnt be necessary unless it is about the current geopolitical situation of the campaign map.

    Just continue pleasing your readers Robin. You Rock!!!
    +Rep
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