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Thread: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

  1. #1

    Default [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    "You handle the sword well, but you will never be great if you don't do it with honour."




    Welcome to my second AAR. Some of you may be familiar with my other AAR, The Legacy of Megas Alexandros. You will find that The Prodigal Son is going to use some different approaches. It will have a smaller scope than The Legacy, it will focus on a first-person narrator and I'm - finally - going to (try to) be more generous with battle screenshots.

    At this point I'd like to formally apologize to the readers of The Legacy for starting this nuisance, but I hope you will like it too.

    If you are not yet familiar with The Legacy, but you happen to like what this is becoming, please have a look at it (link above or in my sig, if you don't find it yourself).


    "We deserved more. Father never really understood that."


    I'd also like to leave a word on historical accuracy. History will serve as an inspiration and as a non-committal suggestion. I will also not necessarily try to portrait historical characters according to their historical personalities, but that doesn't mean I won't from time to time.

    Concerning the technical aspects, I have installed Yarkis' movement reduction and realm divide mods. I intend to take screenshots using Fraps and to crop them using GIMP2.


    "And so I set out to forge my own destiny. And I was well aware that the steel needs to be folded to make one formidable blade."


    Prologue


    Our eyes met and I felt exposed. It seemed like the Yamabushi's gaze went all the way into my soul, weighing the rights and wrongs of my live. It was a disturbing thought and I had to try hard not to be caught by his silent glare. A mute curse went through my head. How can you even beat a man if you do not dare to look in his face? I took a few deep breaths to calm myself while I continued to circle around him. He stood on one leg, the other lifted up from the ground and somehow managed to follow my movement around him.
    I lunged forward, circling my Katana from its high position down toward his left chin, but the Yamabushi effortlessly blocked the blade with his Naginata and I retreated back to my former distance. Mokuyo, the migrant monk, watched me and waited.
    My discomfort increased, when I felt my father's presence. Had he come to gloat about my failure, again? Anger arose in my chest and I attacked again, with quick, short strikes I tried to push him back, but the Yamabushi continued to dismiss my advances with ease. I noticed he didn't even move his legs and his left hand was still on his hip, while he wielded his sword-lance with just the right hand, when suddenly I felt a pain on the back of my head. I was struck with surprise and wood at the same time, as the butt end of Mokuyo's Naginata hit me in his first offensive move. He whirled around in a pirouette and I watched the sword-lance's shaft made a wide circle before it hit my knee. The power of the impact made me stumble and I had no time to counter the next blow that hit my chest, pressing the air out of my lungs and knocking me over.

    I found myself with the back in the courtyard's sand and standing over me was the Yamabushi, his head slightly tilted to the side and a mild smile on his lips.
    I was breathing with effort and my chest hurt from Mokuyo's strike, but I blushed when I thought of the humiliation I just inflicted on myself, when I saw father appear at the Yamabushi's side. Father's face wore the mask of disfavour he always put on when he had to watch his misguided son do something worthy of disapproving, which in our relation was pretty much always.

    "You handle the sword well, but you will never be great if you don't do it with honour," he said and I felt a surge of pain, as if his voice hit me like a Tanto's cold blade thrusted mercilessly through the gaps of my ribcage's protective cover, deep into my most vulnerable inner self.
    Father looked down on me, both literally and figuratively, slightly shook his head in disdain and turned away.

    Until his appearance disturbed my concentration I held my ground against the best fencer in Aki province – at least I tried to convince myself – but as always he succeeded to make me feel like a playing child, who broke the porcelain in his reckless games.

    Still lying on the ground I closed my eyes one more time and let out a deep, frustrated sigh.

    * * *

    Table of contents:

    Chapter 1: Unseemly
    Chapter 2: Shady
    Chapter 3: Deadly
    Chapter 4: Downfall
    Chapter 5: Exile
    Chapter 6: In Search of a Purpose
    Chapter 7: A New Home
    Chapter 8: No Quarter
    Chapter 9: A Year in Hyuga
    Chapter 10: Two Blades Combined
    Chapter 11: Cleanup
    Chapter 12: Considerations



    Last edited by Lysimachos; January 12, 2012 at 02:55 AM.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  2. #2

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Awesome start, can't wait for this one! Subscribed.

  3. #3

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximinus Thrax View Post
    Awesome start, can't wait for this one! Subscribed.
    Thank you. You just motivated me to put the finishing touches on chapter 1. Originally I had planned to make it a large update, but it's probably better for everyone if the chunks to swallow are not too big.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  4. #4

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Chapter 1: Unseemly

    My name is Takamoto and I am the firstborn son of Motonari, head of the clan Mori. My father was a respected and wealthy Daimyo and ruled over five provinces in the region of Chugoku in southern Honshu. But we were the Mori, in our veins runs the blood of Heizei-Tenno and of the great Oe no Hiromoto. We deserved more. My father never really understood that.



    The Mori clan had friends in the Ouchi, our neighbours at the southwestern end of Honshu and the Chosokabe from Shikoku. But there also was a bitter rival, the Amako clan, whose domain reached from Izumo, which lay east of our own province Iwami, all the way to Kawachi in central Honshu.



    The Amako were lead by their Daimyo Akihisa. He was a strong ruler and a dangerous opponent. Despite all our efforts we were never able to overcome him and I vividly remember one incident where he almost managed to annihilate all of our army. In fact, all our problems with the Amako were manifest in Akihisa himself.

    I knew, we had to move against his person, if we wanted to prevail over the Amako. Like many things, father would not have understood that. He was so obsessed with his little rules and taboos and there was nothing that could excite him more than catching me in breaking them, so I did both of us a favour and didn't tell him about my plans.

    Admittedly, I've never been a good son to him. I had good reasons not to be, though. Despite how hard I had tried to be what he may have wanted me to be, he never acknowledged anything I did, so someday I just had no motivation left to keep on trying.

    There was one man I confided in. His name was Saburo and he came from a family of Fudai, high ranking retainers who had served the Daimyos for generations. I was awaiting him in my chambers, when I counted the sizeable number of coins I had gathered, again and again, just to be sure.

    Although I was a grown and even married man, I owned nothing for myself that wasn't given to me. Kinu, my wife, and I remained part of father's household and what other expenses we wished to make were supposed to be payed from a meagre allowance we received from him.

    Luckily, I had a certain pasttime my father would have strongly disagreed with, had he known about it, which was successfully gambling his retainers out of their subsistence.

    We Japanese usually didn't mint coins of our own, so we used chinese ones. These coins had the advantage of a hole in the middle, so they could be strung on threads.

    "Master Takamoto," said Saburo upon entering and catching me in the process of counting money I shouldn't have and planned on spending on services no one and especially not the oldest son of the most honourable Mori Motonari should ever spend money on.

    Saburo didn't seem impressive or extraordinary in any way, but he had a quality, which the circumstances of my life under father's keen eyes made me appreciate: he kept his mouth shut whenever I wanted him to. Sometimes it also came in handy that he thought further than he was told to.

    "What is that bag for?" I asked, when I noticed Saburo hadn't come unencumbered.

    "In locations like that which you plan on visiting, it is not advisable to be... flashy. It may be wise to wear plain clothing to avoid attention and recognition," Saburo explained patiently.

    I protested: "But I don't have any plain clothes!" - "I expected as much," he answered and opened his bag for me.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  5. #5
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Nice start I was wondering when the first Shogun 2 AAR's would pop up and to see one written by the great Lysimachos is reason enough to subscribe. I eagerly await chapter 2 +rep

    We Japanese usually didn't mint coins of our own, so we used chinese ones. These coins had the advantage of a hole in the middle, so they could be strung on threads.
    Really? Interesting fact

  6. #6

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    good start, looking forward to the rest =)

  7. #7

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Quote Originally Posted by Boustrophedon View Post
    Nice start I was wondering when the first Shogun 2 AAR's would pop up and to see one written by the great Lysimachos is reason enough to subscribe. I eagerly await chapter 2 +rep
    Quote Originally Posted by Muha View Post
    good start, looking forward to the rest =)
    That is too kind of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boustrophedon View Post
    Really? Interesting fact
    Really (at least in our timeframe).

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  8. #8

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Chapter 2: Shady



    "Shady," I murmured and Saburo, with an unsettled sound in his voice quietly answered: "I believe that is what you came for." I sighed and we took a few moments to gather ourselves, before we stepped in.

    At least, we were barely recognizable. The clothes Saburo brought were so unbefitting our standing, I believe not even our mothers would have known. We were dirty and through some of the holes in the cloth you could even see the skin beneath. We even went as far as each taking only one sword with us, so as not to be instantly identified as Samurai class.
    In short, we were conspicuously inconspicuous.

    The room we entered had a very low ceiling, or at least it seemed that way. Menacing images were cast on the walls by flickering candles. Separated from the main room were niches, where suspicious people, hidden from the public eye by sliding doors, could convene and conspire to their hearts' content.

    Saburo and I, uncertain how to find our contact, tried to explore the den as discreetly as possible. "That must be him," my accomplice whispered, pointing – discreetly – toward an open box. Inside sat a really – well, let's just say it – very fat man. He had a contemplating look on his face and was carefully sucking smoke from a long pipe. "Let's just try it," I replied sceptically and we went closer, where we noticed the smell of chinese Opium. Opium was said to increase the manlyhood and vigor, but I had doubt it wasn't far to late for this smoker.

    "Konnichiwa, young lord," said the very fat man in a very soft voice, when we arrived at his niche, and I winced. "I have expected you sooner, but now you are here. That is all that matters." He continued while nodding encouraginly in my direction. Saburo and I exchanged a glance and drew the sliding door shut behind us.

    The man's voice was soothing, but at the same time seemed disturbingly unnatural. "As you have come to meet me, I see that your mind goes to shady places. So tell me more about what brings you here."

    I was fascinated by how small his eyes were between the round contures of his face and I took a moment to get my head straight again. "I would have preferred if it was only my mind going there," I told him.

    "I have come here because..." I had to think hard to find a word that didn't sound as harsh as it did in my mind. "... I'm looking for a solution to Daimyo Amako." No, that didn't work, but anyway, it was out.

    "That is ambitious business," the fat man said much less soothing. "But... it can be done?" I inquired. He took a puff from his pipe, dragging the pause with pleasure, before he said: "Yes." And after another pause: "But it will be expensive."

    "So, your man, he is good?" I asked.

    "Oh, yes, indeed he is. He is as deadly as I am grave," the fat man enlightened me.

    I grabbed the bag with my money. "And very expensive," he added, carefully watching me. "One half now, the other half after the fact. And if you don't pay up..." he lifted the outstreched thumb of his hand up to his throat and made a slow motion from one side to the other.

    "I get it," I nervously said and put my hand into the bag, grabbing a thread of strung up coins. I put it before him and looked him in the eyes. When he didn't move for a while, I took a second one and watched full of expectation. Oh, come on! I thought, when he still didn't react and after the fourth he was finally satisfied.

    "That will do for now. I will contact you, when it is done."

    "You will contact me?" I turned pale.

    "Don't worry, I can be very discreet," he explained with a smile on his face. Sure you can, I thought, who would take note of you, of all people?

    "Would you care to turn around for a moment?" he asked and Saburo and I, slightly irritated, granted his wish. When there was no sound for while, we carefully turned back.

    "How did he do that?" asked Saburo, before I even realized our contact was gone. I firmly hoped my coins were well-invested.
    Last edited by Lysimachos; June 02, 2011 at 02:32 AM.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  9. #9

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Chapter 3: Deadly

    Saburo and I returned to the castle and started waiting. I had mixed feelings about the deal I made. Removing Akihisa from leadership of the Amako clan could be the chance we needed to get the upper hand. But could I trust in getting the return to my money? In hindsight it was a really stupid idea to just pay some guy I didn't know anything about to go and assassinate a Daimyo. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

    I had difficulties concentrating and after my daily kenjutsu training didn't go to my satisfaction I went to the garden, to get my mind off things, when a gardener approached me.

    "My lord," he said, while carefully coming closer. I hadn't noticed him before. Usually the gardeners avoided their lordships. He had his eyes directed at the ground, so his hat concealed a part of his face.

    I suspected foul play, so I had a quick look around and prepared my defencive stance. There didn't seem to be anyone else, so I closely watched the gardener in front of me, my left hand holding the sheath of the Katana by my side. "What is it?" I demanded to know.

    "I have come to collect my payment," he answered in a soft voice.

    "You..." I was caught off guard. "That was you," I observed, recognizing the voice of the fat man from the shady scoundrels' den.

    "I have done my work. Amako Akihisa is dead. I believe, your father will receive official notice within the hour," the mystery-gardener explained.





    "I see." It seemed like it all had worked out well. "Do you have a name, so I know who to look for, if I need your services again?" I curiously asked and I saw a smile below the Shinobi's hat.

    "You may call me Tametomo."
    Last edited by Lysimachos; June 02, 2011 at 02:34 AM.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  10. #10
    Boustrophedon's Avatar Grote Smurf
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    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Really enjoying it so far +rep

  11. #11
    Heartfire's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Loving it so far as well. Inspired me to start working on another one for me too

  12. #12

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Excellent work so far - intriguing story, great characterization and descriptions.

  13. #13

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    I was going to do a 1st person AAR from the perspective of the Daimyo's son, but I can't compete with this. Perhaps I'll do a second or third born... Could be interesting intrigue between the brothers. Either way, +rep
    I thought about writing something clever, but then I remembered I'm not clever enough.

  14. #14

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Boustrophedon, Heartfire, Maximinus Thrax, Aonghus G. Friedhold: Thanks to all of you for the support.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heartfire View Post
    Inspired me to start working on another one for me too
    Those are the things I like to read most

    Quote Originally Posted by Aonghus G. Friedhold View Post
    I was going to do a 1st person AAR from the perspective of the Daimyo's son, but I can't compete with this.
    Those are kind words, but I don't believe that.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  15. #15

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Chapter 4: Downfall

    I fetched Saburo and we went to witness the arrival of the good news. When we came to the courtyard, a courier had just arrived and we snuck in, "accidentaly" coming by at the right time. I saw father with my two younger brothers Motoharu and Takakage welcoming the courier.

    Motoharu was seven years, Takakage nine years younger than me. I always thought the difference in age may have something to do with the fact that father never controlled the boys as severely as he did with me. They never were expected to achieve anything and still they always were on father's good side. Absentmindedly I shook my head and proceeded through the hall.

    "Motonari-Sama, I bring word from the province of Settsu. Daimyo Amako has fallen victim to an assassin's blade. He has now joined his ancestors."

    A grave look appeared on father's face. "You bring tragic news indeed. A great man has left us. I will send word to his heir that today we are joined in mourning."

    Father had always seen my anger as a weakness, a problem to be solved, while I found it a faculty, a reserve I could mobilize to give me an edge. Perhaps that day he was right. When I heard him talk like that I couldn't take it anymore.

    "I can't believe this!" I rushed forward and raged on. "You should be grateful for this, gather the banners and muster the Ashigaru! This is the day the Mori have waited for," I shouted in father's face, that went red from barely suppressed fury.

    "You!" he almost spit in my face. "You are responsible for this, aren't you?" - "Yes, I am! Because obviously I am the only one here willing to do what is necessary."

    Father bared his teeth and hissed: "You are despicable, you dare to invoke the name Mori for this deed? There is no honour in hiring the scum and murder in the shadows!"

    Honour! It was like he bathed in it, drank it in his tea everyday. There was nothing else he could talk about. "That is hypocrisy," I replied. "You hire pirates from Bingo to serve on our ships. Are they no criminal scum?" - "Those men repent for their past misdeeds by serving the good. Unlike others, they have recognized the wrong they have done."

    He turned around and walked towards my brothers, while continuing to speak with raised voice. "This is the last time I suffer you to openly defy me. From this day forth, I have but two sons." He lowered his hands on Motoharu's shoulders. "Hereby, I pronounce you, Motoharu, as the oldest of my remaining sons, the new heir to the Mori clan and domain."

    He whirled around and pointed his finger on me. "And you. Get out of my sight and never, never dare to come back under my roof."

    Mechanically I turned around and just walked out, my head held high, but trembling with anger and I felt the eyes of the retainers, gathered in the hall watching how I sealed my own downfall.
    Last edited by Lysimachos; June 02, 2011 at 02:37 AM.

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  16. #16

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    fantastic Lysimachos!!! +rep

  17. #17
    Heartfire's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Nice update.

  18. #18

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Ooh, the plot thickens. Spicy update.
    I thought about writing something clever, but then I remembered I'm not clever enough.

  19. #19

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Thanks, all of you!

    You know, in my earlier planning, all this up to now was supposed to be in one single chapter. I guess one could call that underestimation. :-)

    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

  20. #20

    Default Re: [TWS2 AAR] The Prodigal Son

    Chapter 5: Exile

    I stood outside, with only Saburo at my side, in uneasy silence, when someone joined us. "Onii-san" – big brother – said Takakage. "I take it, you have come to bid me farewell?" I asked. "I don't see Motoharu around."

    "You know he can't show himself with you. Father would not have his second heir betray him at the same day."



    I snorted. Of course Takakage was right, but I prefered to feel betrayed by Motoharu. Somehow it made me feel better to convince myself that he had taken sides with father over me, in order to eclipse my achievements and to take my place.

    "But you do not fear his wrath?" - "Ah, I have to admit, he actually send me to make sure you are really gone. So, I have little need for fear."

    That made me laugh. "Sounds quite like him." - "You are lucky, you know. Can you imagine, father allows you to ask among the Samurai to join you in exile." My youngest brother couldn't refrain from shaking his head in disbelief.

    I laughed again. "The old man is so sure of himself that it is beyond his comprehension that maybe someone else may share my point of view." It didn't seem all that grim now. "Then let's see who's up for glory. Saburo, can I ask you to fetch my wife?" - "Of course you can."

    * * *

    Takakage followed father's orders and prepared the ships to carry me away from Mori lands, while I inspected the Samurai who had decided to join me, for whatever reason. Some were from the lower end of the caste, who barely could afford the adequate habits of life, appropriate for a Samurai, and hoped for an opportunity to improve their situation; others were just bent on gaining glory for themselves. We were hardly an army, but it was satisfying to see that after all I did not need to leave alone and deserted. And there was a thought that warmed my heart: Father would get very angry hearing about it.

    "Do not worry, Kinu-chan," I told my pregnant wife, "We will make us a new home." I turned around to take a look over the mountains of Aki province one last time before setting foot on the ship, that was to carry me into exile, when I caught a surprising sight.

    "Mokuyo-sensei," I noticed. The Yamabushi came along the Quay. I used the honorific sensei to show respect to the man who had recently beaten me like a student. "Why are you here?"

    "Why wouldn't I?" asked the taciturn monk and who was I to leave behind the most able fighter I've met hitherto?

    And so I set out to forge my own destiny. And I was well aware that the steel needs to be folded to make one formidable blade.


    Read my AARs:
    The Legacy of Megas Alexandros (Europa Barbarorum as Arche Seleukeia)
    The Prodigal Son (Shogun 2 as Mori)
    * * *
    You like a good reading? Then check out the homepage of our fellow TWC-member Theodotos I at www.stephenwrites.com!

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