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

  1. #61

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter IX 7/7)

    OH MY GOD THIS LAST CHAPTER WAS AWESOME! I feel though you should go back to how you were writing originally, with the smaller font and pictures. OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS GETTING AMAZING!

  2. #62

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter IX 7/7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pason View Post
    OH MY GOD THIS LAST CHAPTER WAS AWESOME! I feel though you should go back to how you were writing originally, with the smaller font and pictures. OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS GETTING AMAZING!
    Thankyou for the nice words and feedback. The reason I increased the font was because of feedback from others and I too felt it was a little small. With the pictures, there are all from Shogun 2 and I couldn't really find any to suit the last chapters. Thankyou again for your support.

  3. #63

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter IX 7/7)

    I've gone walkabout recently. The last chapter was really good - this AAR is really shaping up. Keep up the good work!
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
    Takeda - a Shogun 2 AAR (Completed) Reviewed by Radzeer

    My writing | My art | About me | Sekigahara Campaign - Developer

    ~~Under the proud patronage of Radzeer, Rogue Bodemloze. Patron of Noif de Bodemloze, Heiro de Bodemloze, and Hitai de Bodemloze~~

  4. #64

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter IX 7/7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin de Bodemloze View Post
    I've gone walkabout recently. The last chapter was really good - this AAR is really shaping up. Keep up the good work!
    Thanks for the kind words. For everyone Chapter X should be up today or tomorrow, just editing some of the battle shots

  5. #65

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter IX 7/7)

    Chapter X- The Rebirth of the Otomo

    As I walked through the bustling barracks at Kanoyi castle, I felt a strange wave of nostalgia was over me. There was nothing special about these particular barracks, in fact were they nearly exactly the same as the barracks located in all the other castles. But that was it, those various barracks had been my homes for a couple of years now. I had made friends and enemies, cried and laughed and my experiences there had shaped me. Though the endless drills and exercises were dull and uninspiring, they were something you could count on. They were an anchor in the endless sea of uncertainty, something you could rely on. Men would die and families would lose loved ones as the bloodshed needlessly continued on, yet the drillmasters continued on with their job, their conscience dulled and intoxicated with sake and women. Maybe that was why I relished my time at the monastery. Unlike Suzume, my life needed order, it needed something with even a little bit of certainty.

    At times though, this wave of nostalgia seemed to nauseate me, while the clashing of steel against steel drummed relentlessly in my ears, only making matters worse. As I walked by, I caught glimpses of young men, almost too similar to my past self, as they poured their every last ounce of energy into their training. They were naive, virgins of the battlefield, not yet scarred by the horrors we inflict upon our brothers for the sake of honor and glory. They trained with the usual yaris, yumis and naginatas but a small contingent of men, numbering maybe fifty or so, used a weapon I had only seen once before, at the port of Iyo. I recalled back to that day, when I had witnessed what could only of been called as a gift from the gods. It shot iron from its steel mouth like it was alive and this was as all at the control of a man’s fingertips. I tried to remember what the merchant next to me had called it. I believe he used the term ‘tanegashima’. I remember watching in awe as men, clothed in metal as black as night, laid waste to targets nearly a hundred paces away. Yet here, commoners like me, used these weapons like experienced veterans. I rubbed my eyes in sheer disbelief and wondered about the implication of these weapons. It astonished me how humanity constantly thought of new ways to kill each other and I wondered how long it would take for us to wipe each out. Surely, this was not the gods’ intentions.


    “Yuki, yuki, over here!” Frantically yelled a familiar voice. As I got closer, his face became clearer and my hopes were confirmed. It was none other than Aki, my closest friend, and someone who I hadn’t seen in nearly a year. How I missed him so very much. He was like the older brother I never had, someone who looked out for him, kept me out of trouble. I rushed over to him, eager as ever to talk again with him and share my adventures.


    “Where have you been?” He asked, his hand firmly on his hips.


    “You know, having adventures, having fun. You should try it!” He gave a faint smile in reply but that smile soon disappeared as his eyes swelled up with tears.


    “We, we thought you were dead. I thought you were dead.” He seemed to choke on every word, the pain his voice crystal clear. Poor Aki, the pain he must of endured.


    “I thought I was dead too!” I joked, in a rather sad attempt at lightening up the sombre mood. In a slightly more serious tone, I continued.


    “Do you know what happened? How I disappeared?”


    “Come inside. We will share a drink and I will tell you everything.” With that, he showed me into his quarters, which were the equivalent of a pig sty. Papers were strewn all across the room, and the once clean floorboards were covered in black stains, reminiscent of sake stains. This was not like Aki at all.


    “Mind the mess. I have been quite a wreck recently. No time for cleaning.” There it was again, the pain and uncertainty that he endured, resonating in his voice. As he busily made room for the both of us, I had a small peak at some of his papers, revealing the majority of them to actually be mine. Aki must of taken all of my old stuff before they cleaned it out. It was if he was trying to hold on to me. I stared at him as he shakily poured each of us a cup of sake. When he finally dropped the bottle, he burst into tears.


    “Only when your are ready Aki.” He wiped his tears and sat back up in one fluid motion.


    “It was supposed to be a simple, escort mission. We were to guard train of supplies until it reached the port of Shibushi. Only three hundred men were tasked with the assignment. Three yari contingents, a yumi ashigaru and a yumi samurai, the group you were assigned to. “ I could recognise a faint bitterness in his voice, almost on the point of jealousy. He had made no indication of being upset at my promotion to samurai. It was not like Aki at all. But then, did I really know him after so long.?He continued.


    “It was all going to plan until we reached a small village, I believe it was called soo. We stayed the night, restocking our supplies and rekindling the group’s morale. Before we knew it, it was pitch black and a thick fog smothered the ground. Yet lanterns could be seen in the far off distance, lots of lanterns. Scouts rushed back, detailing sightings of a large enemy force, numbering nearly a thousand men. We were trapped between the river and the oncoming army, while the village we were stationed at, had become increasingly hostile. Panic spread throughout the camp but our commander, a rather stocky man by the name of Irezumi Itsii, was having none of it. He began to construct a plan with the limited number of men we had and ordered us into a defensive triangular formation. Our flanks were secure from the hordes of cavalry that made up the enemy lines and the two yumi contingents were safely inside.


    But within the confounds of the triangle, the two yumi contingents could not fire effectively due to a lack of ample shooting room. And so, the enemy archers were free to rain down fire upon us. The men, many of whom were fresh recruits and had not seen a battle yet, began to panic and fear spread like wildfire. Unknown to us, the cavalry had begun to envelop us and was now positioned in the woods near our left flank. While the enemy archers fired upon us, the cavalry began to inch ever closer and, seeing how thin our lines were on one of how flanks, charged headlong into a wall of spears. But they were successful and as they plunged into our ranks they sent men flying. It was a massacre. No other word for it.

    On the opposite side, their katana troops began to charge us, but our men, who were simply a rabble of cowards, began to run before even laying a finger on the enemy. Even the samurai fled the battlefield, their bushido code clearly not as precious to them in the heat of battle. But as confusion and fear reigned supreme, you stood your ground, fighting off enemy after enemy. Yet not even you friend could defeat a whole army and, after taking blow after blow, you collapsed, your body no longer able to continue.”







    “And somehow I drifted down river and was found by somebody.” It all made sense now, as memories of the ambush came flooding back to me, yet one distinct fact remained glued in my head. I remembered that my brother had been on that mission.


    “Aki, do you know what happened to my brother?” A sorry look appeared on his face as he held my hand tight, thus confirming my worst fears. Secretly, I always knew that my brother would die on the field of battlefield. Yet, it was still shocking and as disbelief spread around me, I could not stop the tears swelling up in my ears. I cried not just for my brother, but for my parents, who would have to find out sometime. But my grieving was interrupted by a loud knocking on the door.


    “Come on, all men to be ready in two hours, We leave for Fin’nai tonight.” But I payed little attention to the soldier’s words as grief overwhelmed me.

    **********

    Plumes of smoke erupted from the tenshu of Fin’nai. Its walls stood burning, the result of a relentless Shoni siege, a siege, which had left the castle in ruins and lightly garrisoned. It was a siege, which had come at the perfect time for us and had given us a golden opportunity to strike. We had been surprised at first when we discovered the castle had been taken by forces loyal to the Sagara clan but that was soon replaced by delight. The Shoni and the Sagara had nearly annihilated each other in a bloody siege, which left us to merely pick up the pieces. It seemed the god’s smiled kindly upon us.

    It was strange feeling to be upon a horse, a completely different feeling to being on the ground. While you were only a few feet taller than everyone else, you felt more powerful, more in control. But just as you felt the most powerful, the horse below you would kindly remind you that it is indeed he that is in control. I suddenly had a new sense of respect for cavalrymen, it must of taken years to properly master horse-riding. If being on a horse was a strange feeling, then riding next to our daimyo was on a whole different level. I had been permitted to ride with him and Sorin, two people who were a lot more powerful than I would ever be. Two men who, with a simple movement of head, could condemn thousands to their deaths. Two men who were accustomed to war a lot more then me and who seemed more at home on the battlefield than anywhere else.
    As, Fin’nai castle came into view, a clear smile burst onto both of the men’s faces. They smiled like little children when presented with a present.

    “It seems the rats have killed each other before we could even get to them!” Laughed Kunichika as he smiled at Sorin. “It seems you will get your fief after all, Sorin.”


    “It would seem so, Tono.”


    “Prepare the men for battle.” He ordered, to no one in particular. “We have a castle to take.”


    As we got closer and closer to the castle walls, we could see the scale of destruction the previous siege had inflicted upon the castle. The once mighty castle of Fin’nai, now stood a wreck, like a wounded monster, its walls crumbling to their foundations. The gates lay wide open, not by choice, but rather forced open by the previous attackers. Men rushed hurriedly around the castle, constructing make-shift defenses and tending to the wounded. Anger appeared to boil up inside of Sorin as he surveyed the true scale of damage. They had destroyed everything he had worked so long to build up but most importantly, they had destroyed his home. The Sagara defenders did not see us as a threat, in fact, they thought we were coming to relieve them of the Shoni attackers, and so, the element of surprise was on our side.


    “You are too late, Kunichika-sama.” Shouted the captain and leader of the Sagara forces. “The Shoni are broken, they flee back to the sewers where they came from.” Both the captain and our daimyo chuckled but for different reasons.


    “We are not here to relieve you. We are here to relieve this castle of you.” The captain’s delight soon turned to shock and despair, the victory against the Shoni now no longer a victory. It was all for nothing and that revelation was ever clear on his face. An awkward silence followed, only broken by murmurs from the Sagara defenders. Impatient as usual, our daimyo ordered the yumi contingents to fire, and merely seconds after his orders, a volley of arrows, nearly large enough to block out the sun, rained down upon the defenders. Our men began to climb the walls, as fear and confusion spread like wildfire throughout the enemy ranks. Our daimyo and Sorin looked on in delight as our men cut through the enemy ranks with ease. What was most pleasing I suspect, was the ever present sounds of gunfire, as men were mowed down with ease by these new weapons. It was a quick fight and the losses were minimal. It was less of a battle, rather a training exercise, the chance for our daimyo to try out his new toys at the expense of the enemy. I pitied the defenders, for they were sadly unaware of our intentions. I pitied them because after a long and well deserved victory, they had nothing to show for it. What a fickle and cruel business war was, where even victory can change to defeat in the blink of an eye.













    **********

    I knelt before my daimyo, a concerned look on my face. Reasons why he had called me here circled around in my head like a hurricane of thoughts. An uncomfortable silence filled the cold, crisp air. Our daimyo sat astutely on his wooden stool, his eyes firmly fixed on me, as if I was a puzzle and he was attempting to solve me. When he finally broke the silence, his voice was like thunder as it boomed across the small room.


    “It seems the gods’ have intentions for you Yuki-sama. You seem to always grab my attention.” He had a rather puzzled look on his face, a look I did not expect from a man like himself.


    “I do not understand you, Tono.”


    “You save my life and then you bring me none other than Otomo Sorin. Do you understand me now?” I recalled back to that day, when, amidst the thick fog and relentless snow, I had severed Shizurako’s left arm off, saving my daimyo in the process. It had seemed unreal at the time and it still did, yet I did not feel I had done anything special at all. I was but in the right place at the right time. But then, so was I when Suzume and I chanced upon a bedraggled Sorin, who, unknown to us at the time, had been one of the most powerful men on Kyushu. His discover had created a powerful ally as well as an excuse for our daimyo to continue is warmongering ways, In doing these two actions, I had both saved his life and helped him on his future conquests.


    “In reward for your actions, I would be please if you would accept the role of Chief Ambassador to the Otomo clan and Chief Consultant for affairs on Kyushu. Never before have we had a more powerful vassal and power needs to be checked. Do you accept?”


    “I do not know what say, Tono.” I was baffled, surprised at his offer. This was an offer to be one of the chief advisors to our daimyo, a position never offered to commoners like me.


    “Do not say anything. A simple yes or know. May I remind you that offers like this are rarely given out and never offered, unless circumstances permit, to men of the lower class.” In my head, a thousand possible futures lay in front of me, each tantalizing me with a different life. A life where I did not accept the offer and lay slain on the battlefield or maybe a life where I did except and I was more wealthy and powerful than I could ever imagine. The most interesting though, was a life where I was not just the daimyo but Shogun. A preposterous thought and one I quickly pushed out of my mind. He was not just offering me a position but a life, a life where I was part of the upper classes. A life where I did not worry for money nor for my safety. I life where I could bring up a family with Suzume by my side. The decision was clear, the answer though, stayed on the tip of my tongue. I was hesitant, but for what? It was one word but it was one word that could change my life forever, one word, which may decide in ten years time if I am still in this world. One simple word.


    “Yes.”

    **********

    My old village seemed an alien place. Its buildings and its people all familiar to my past self yet not to my present. I stood under the towering Sandō, used to ward off evil kami, suited out in my best armour, in a vain attempt to impress not just my parents but myself as well. As fathers toiled away with their sons, I remembered back to the good old days when we were still a family. I had not written to my parents in over a year now and I had not seen them for nearly five. Nervousness rushed through my body, my hands shivering despite the warm weather. I couldn’t just walk in there and tell them, the shock would probably kill them! But they had the right to know. Maybe it was selfish to be scared, to be frightened of the repercussions. But I had to do this. So, I finally took one step forward.


    And then, another one.


    And another. My legs were as heavy as lead as they refused to heed the orders coming from my brain. But I kept moving forward, each step harder than the one before it, until I reached my old house. It stood in front of me as if it was trying to intimidate me, trying to overwhelm with past memories of happiness. The door creaked open, letting not just me but a river of sunlight as well. Silence filled the house as I passed from room to room, the walls overflowing with memories both good and bad.


    “Mother? Father?” My voice echoed throughout the house, bouncing from wall to wall. I called out again.


    “Mother? Father?” No reply. I called out again. No reply. Just as I was about to call out again, I felt a familiar cane, tapping at the back of my legs. I turned around to see a wrinkled, old man, a fossil of my father. He looked so different, so estranged from me. From the shadows behind him, emerged my mother, her once perfect skin and long, flowing hair no more.

    “You, you came back!” Exclaimed my mother, delight resonating throughout her voice. I gave no reply but a faint smile, my vocal chords uncooperative.


    “Mother, father-” I burst into tears as my emotions overwhelmed me. “Brother, Sachiko, he’s dead.” My parents gave no reply except for a simply nod of recognition, as if they too knew this day would sadly come.

    “He was so young, only 22!” I shouted unfairly, almost like I was screaming at the gods.

    “They usually are.” My father replied, his voice croaky like a frog. “It is the cost of war. The cost the nobles pass on to us.”


    “But you are still alive! The savior of our daimyo, a samurai!” My mother’s voice was full of pride, the sort of pride, which made you proud in yourself as well.


    “You do not care about my brother?” I asked, confused at why they were not sadder.


    “We do, Yuki, it is just we do not show it. We are too sad to cry and.... and we knew this day was coming.” My father intervened quickly, changing the subject from my brother back to me.


    “Do us proud, son. It is your destiny.” I laughed it away, talk of destiny! What nonsense.


    “Now, leave son.”


    “What, but-” I was shocked at my father’s orders.


    “No. Leave now. That is all.” Ordered my father, his mind clearly not to be swayed. So I duly left in silence, still grief stricken, even if my parents weren’t. And so, as I looked back at my old house, I felt a sense of emptiness in my heart, a sense of loss. I had changed dramatically since I left five years ago and I wondered whether that was the right decision or not. I was a different person now, both inside and out. I was shocked at myself, at how easy I had discarded the ones I loved most. How rash and foolish I had been. And so, as the sun waved goodbye, I too prepared to bid farewell to the past. I had to look forward now, to the future and whatever it may hold for me.


  6. #66

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter IX 7/7)

    Well, thats volume 1 finished. I hope everyone is enjoying it. Any feedback would be much appreciated as always. I have updated the OP to be a bit more visually appealing and i will update the previous chapters with the new borders over the next couple of days.

    Merchant of Venice

  7. #67

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Really good chapter again. The bit at the end was quite a surprise - but I suppose the reaction of the parents actually makes it very Japanese. Very nice.
    The Wings of Destiny - A FotS AAR (Chapter 12 - Updated Apr 24)
    Takeda - a Shogun 2 AAR (Completed) Reviewed by Radzeer

    My writing | My art | About me | Sekigahara Campaign - Developer

    ~~Under the proud patronage of Radzeer, Rogue Bodemloze. Patron of Noif de Bodemloze, Heiro de Bodemloze, and Hitai de Bodemloze~~

  8. #68

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin de Bodemloze View Post
    Really good chapter again. The bit at the end was quite a surprise - but I suppose the reaction of the parents actually makes it very Japanese. Very nice.
    Thankyou a lot. I try to make it as immersive. Possible but only the readers can tell how immersive it really is

  9. #69

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Sorry guys for the lack of activity of the past two weeks. School has started back up but if that was bad enough then Windows has decided to be a really pain the behind. Im probably going to have to wipe everything and re-install Windows. The good news; a smart thing called Steam Cloud has all my AAR saves on it so no one has any reason to worry, though it might be 1-2 weeks until i can upload another chapter. Really sorry about the inconvenience.

  10. #70

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Sorry for the delay. I should be able to start back on my campaign this week and so a chapter should come the following week. If any of you who are reading this and may want to be a writer but are afraid of writing an AAR the 200th edition of the Tale of the Week (TOTW) is here. The theme is Rome and being the 200th edition, some major prizes can be won for the best stories. Also, for any current AAR writers with two updates in the months of June and July, the MAARC needs one more submission to start voting. The submission thread can be found here. Again, apologies for the delay just please stick with me.

  11. #71

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Good news!My computer has decided to work! Expect another chapter in the next few days. Sorry for the delay.

  12. #72

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Well I finally have caught up! Great work, I admire the depth you give your story. I hope you can update this soon.

  13. #73

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steward Denethor II View Post
    Well I finally have caught up! Great work, I admire the depth you give your story. I hope you can update this soon.
    Sorry I couldn't reply earlier, TWC was just too laggy! Thanks for the nice words, i should be able to update this week. I have got most of the pictures as well as having a large majority of the chapter done. And thank you to everyone who voted for me, despite the overall lack of voters and competitors. The MAARC is currently going through a bit of a decline in competitors and so, i beg for anyone who has an AAR to enter it. Don't worry if your are a first time writer, the worst thing that can happen is that people click on the link and you get some more viewers. It really is a win/win. Thankyou for everyone's patience.

  14. #74

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Not only is the MAARC in decline, the AAR sections in general are almost dead, not having close to the amount of activity that I remember when writing my last AAR. Good work carrying the torch in this subforum.
    Last edited by Steward Denethor II; September 25, 2013 at 01:32 AM.

  15. #75

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steward Denethor II View Post
    Not only is the MAARC in decline, the AAR sections in general are almost dead, not having close to the amount of activity that I remember when writing my last AAR. Good work carrying the torch in this subforum.
    I have to sadly agree with you. The whole AAR forum has become like the Shogun 2 AARs, nearly non-existent. I hope it is down to the sites laggyness or maybe people were going to start an AAR in Rome 2. Thank you as well for commenting, AARs are not just kept alive by the writers but also down to people commenting.

  16. #76

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Okay guys I think some more apologies on my part are due. My gaming computer seems to hate me. Currently it is continually crashing and then not rebooting. I had most of chapter 11 written up in my pages document but i still needed pictures as well as needing to replay a battle in order to refresh my memory. Currently, I cant access the game at all unless i spend hours trying to get the repair disk working, hours i currently dont have due to the yearly exams being right around the corner. I am hoping i might be able to build my own rig at Christmas but until then i will definitely try to at least get chapter 11 out. If i get a new computer, updating this will be the first thing i do.

    On other news, the writer study competitions seem to be in a bit of a down period. Any current writers with an AAR please enter the MAARC, likewise for the MCWC. If you dont currently have an eligible story or you dont have a story at all, hop over to the TOTW for a nice small challenge. The links are all in my signature. Anyway thats all i have to say so have fun doing whatever you are doing.

    Apologies given,
    Merchant of Venice

  17. #77

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Finally, the next chapter should be up soon within the next few hours. Thankyou everyone for their patience.

  18. #78

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter X 15/7)

    Chapter XI:Where Next?

    1556-Spring

    “What do you want Yuki-kun?” Snapped Kunichika impatiently, an annoyed look on his face accompanying his tone of voice.


    “I would like to bring up the matter of some of my staff.” I replied, delicately choosing my words, all too aware that my daimyo must of already sat through a whole day’s worth of this and most probably did not want to listen to my trivial request.


    “Yes, as usual they will be from some young families. Youngest son or someone who is too young for a higher position.” His tone had changed from annoyed to tired and he slouched even further into his chair, showing little care for the rules of politeness. This was a man who wished to plan battles and discuss strategies rather than be tasked with solving family feuds and trivial request from people such as myself.


    “I would like to bring forward my own candidate, a good friend of mine.”


    “And who would that be?” Enquired Kunichika, curiosity in his eyes.


    “Aki-sama. He is currently a yuki-ko-gashira.”


    “And what skills does he have? What experience does he have in politics?” Further questioned Kunichika, unhappy just to accept my request.”


    “None.” I replied, rather embarrassingly. I had not expected to have to plead my case this much. “But he does have my trust.” I added, evoking a small chuckle from Kunichika.


    “Pffff, trust!” You want me to turn down nobles for someone from the lower class just because you trust him. Give me a better reason and I will consider him.” I desperately tried to think of a reason or else I would fail the one person who had not let me down. And then it came to me. What makes the world spin? Money.


    “He will accept a lower salary, much lower.” I let out a small grin as I marveled at my quick thinking.



    “I will consider him. But let me make this clear. Do not try this on me again. You have risen quickly Yuki-kun, yet you are still subject to me and my orders. Do not let your relative power get to your head. The mouse does not poke a tiger.” With that, he dismissed me and, after bowing, I made my exit quickly and quietly. It was true, I had played a very dangerous game, not like my usual self at all. I had become too risky, perhaps a by-product of spending so much time with Suzume.

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




    “I have something for you.” Sorin delicately handed to me a rolled up parchment. I stroked the paper, the smooth surface almost like the silk it was tied with. The mon of the Chosokabe had been crudely marked on it, probably by the messenger, and the knot only loosely held the scroll together. It took but a small tug of the silk knot, to unravel the scroll. The ink used was still fresh and was partly smudged on either side of the parchment, most probably when it had been first rolled. I skimmed over the contents of the letter. The first part of it notified me, in a rather elaborate and unnecessary manner, of my position as battle archivist, a position I felt, neither proud nor ashamed to have. In fact, it seemed to be nothing but extra work.


    “Ambassador than archivist. You seem to have become his personal lap dog.” Jeered Sorin, amused at the extra workload I had. I merely gave a mock laugh and returned to the letter. The rest of the letter was a recount of a recent battle, though portrayed by the scribe as an enormous battle, a victory of epic proportions, it was nothing more than a bog-standard skirmish. Just more propaganda, I noted. It seemed history was most definitely written by the victors. I put down the letter, deciding that I would read into it later, for I had rather important news I had to share with Yuki.


    Report on the battle of Hyodo Pass




    At first, they had caught us unaware. We were not expecting an attack, yet alone an ambush. Through what could be described as nothing but blind luck on their part, they had managed to isolate a portion of our army while it had been conducting a raid on a nearby village. Unfortunately for them, they had attacked the force led by none other than our daimyo himself. Using the thick fog and lack of light to his advantage, our daimyo deployed his men into three separate forces. The main force consisted of nearly six hundred yari ashigaru, veterans from the early Shikoku campaigns. They were complemented by a further five hundred or so yumi ashigaru. On his right flank, a separate force consisting of hundred or so samurai armed with either a yari or katana, protected a unit of matchlocks. The separate force was further ahead of the main force and was hidden by thick growth, our daimyo hoping to be able to spring an ambus. On the left flank, five hundred or so ashigaru lay hidden by the undergrowth and the fog.


    Initial scout reports suggested an enemy force of nearly one and a half thousand men, though final estimates were closer to twelve hundred. Many of the enemy were survivors from the siege of Fin’nai, so while passion and vengeance may have indeed coursed through their blood, they could of definitely been in better physical shape.

    It was not long after deployment that the enemy attacked us, clearly eager to carry forward any element of surprise they still had. Predictably, much of the enemy charged straight towards the main force of our army except for roughly a hundred samurai who, perceiving them as an easy target, headed towards the matchlocks stationed on a hill on the right flank of our main force. In the dark of night, this perception is believable, especially if they were taken out quickly. But it did not take long for their opinion to change as man after man collapsed, bullets lodged in various parts of the body. Their ranks thinned, the enemy samurai were easy picking for our own samurai, the melee over with the span of a couple of minutes.




    Meanwhile, on the other side of the battlefield, our scouts had spotted a contingent of cavalrymen numbering nearly a hundred heading towards the woods on the right flank. A unit of ashigaru were quickly rushed over to deal with them, the cries of the cavalrymen as their horses collapsed from spear wounds audible from the other side of the battlefield. After fifteen minutes, the yari ashigaru had routed the enemy and had begun to march back towards the centre where matters were not going exactly to plan.

    An error in communication had caused the mistime of the charge from the force hidden in the woods, leaving them dangerously exposed. Seeing this, the enemy general managed to divert attacks from the centre of our force to that of the left flank. The enemy samurai made quick work of the inexperienced ashigaru and had managed to position themselves behind the majority of our troops.





    To make matter worse, the enemy general and his remaining light cavalrymen had manoeuvred themselves around our left flank and were now tearing into our yumi contingents. Making a quick evaluation of the situation our daimyo bravely charged into the fray, routing the enemy general, who in fact was an important Sagara retainer, and killing many of his men. Meanwhile, the main force had arrived and were busy routing the enemy. Estimates put the casualties for the enemy at about one thousand men. Allied casualties were put at two hundred and fifty. As of the time of writing, the march to Kumamoto has begun.


    Sagao Yushikari,Court Scribe.



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

    The port of Bungo was a bustling hub of human activities, the epicentre of culture in this part of Japan. The Nanban had brought not just their guns and wealth, but also their religion and way of life. What resulted was a clash of cultures, a battle of religions. Women wore traditional kimonos, yet there faces were masked with foreign make up. Traditional shrines neighboured newly erected chapels, while traders sold both home-grown produce as well as spices and metals from the west. But while each culture fought for supremacy over the other, this battle was disguised with the lure of money and wealth. And so, the Nanban poured into our country, disguising the work of their Jesuits, with coin.

    Suzume stood next to me, bartering with one of the traders. She had set her eyes upon a piece of jewelry and would now stop at nothing to get it. She was now in a rather heated argument over the price of it with the trader, as I stood bored, every now and then whispering into her ear that it was time to go, only to be swatted away like a fly. It was a good fifteen or so minutes before they had agreed on a price. I dared not look at the cost, rather let it surprise me at some other date. With Suzume content we moved on, for I was eager to share the good news about Aki’s appointment with Aki himself, who was still stationed at Bungo, waiting eagerly to join the main army when the daimyo gave the order. We had only moved here half a season ago and already Suzume seemed happy and at ease. We had been lucky enough to be gifted our own house, a rather good perk of the position. We were only a short walk away from the palace, a good thing too. Most of my time was spent in my study, dealing with trivial matters or at the palace, discussing various strategies for present and future conquest. Both Sorin and I knew that the war with the Sagara clan would soon be finished and soon we would have to find a new war to start. But against whom?


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


    The dry steam of the bath house was nearly unbearable. I seriously questioned how someone in their right mind would enjoy this. Endless drops of sweat travelled down my already dry face, taking every last bit of moisture out of my body in the process. Aki sat next to me, a comfortable smile on his face as he watched me battle with the steam.


    “Finding it not to your liking?” Asked Aki, rhetorically, the smile firmly planted on his face.I replied with a simple look, my facial expression conveying all that needed to be conveyed.


    “So what was it that you wanted to tell me so desperately that you wished to put yourself through this” Inquisitively asked Aki, the smile on his face from my discomfort still there.


    “It is about you in fact. You will be working for me now.” I watched intently as Aki’s face slowly changed from neutral to inquisitive to happy and then back to inquisitive.


    “What do you mean ‘working for you’.”


    “I mean, you will be my chief of staff, second-in-command if you like.” I replied, now unsure whether Aki was taking it the way I had originally intended him to.


    “Will that mean I will finish my army service?”


    “Yes.” Aki gave a long, unsuspected sigh of relief.


    “Good. War has taken its toll on me. Both physically and mentally.”


    “You will not be completely out of it just out of the front line. You will be the rook, the bishop, instead of the pawn. Are we anyway ever completely unaffected by war. The farmers are taxed for bigger armies, the workers are whipped to make castles quicker and the monks pray for divine intervention in return for donation. War and money. They make the world turn.”


    “Are we ever not a pawn either, Yuki. Everyone is a pawn, we are just pawns less likely to be killed. We a pawns to Sorin, who is a pawn to Kunichika, who is a pawn to his own desires and ambitions. But you are right. I think that there maybe generations who know nothing but war.”


    “It is already present in our current daimyo, I fear Aki. He is bored when not on the battlefield, his brain yearning for the adrenaline it must give him. His son, Motochika, is the same yet he is worse, for he has none of the tactical or strategic nous that his father possesses.”


    “Motochika will run us into the ground if he becomes daimyo. And the will be a pawn to a new master.” We both silently nodded our heads in agreement, letting the sweat drip off our face before continuing.


    “Aki, I need your advice”. I asked, continuing from our previous discussion. “I fear we will never get out of this war unless we reign victorious or fall defeated. Yet, the Sagara are all but defeated and soon, Kunichika will have run out of enemies. I fear Sorin will ask for my opinion and I will not have one. I know this stuff, who would be a good target?”


    “Yuki, Yuki, Yuki. You underestimate yourself. You say you have no knowledge of politics then what was that just then? I will not tell you who I think we should target rather I encourage you to find out yourself. Think for yourself like you just did and I am sure you will come to an adequate decision.”


    “But-”


    “No, Yuki. That is all for today. Let us leave this infernal heat. You have wife to attend I presume?”


    “Ahh yes, Suzume.”With that we exited the bathhouse, the cool of the salty sea wind paradise after the heat of the bathhouse.



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


    1556-Winter

    Winter had barely begun when we assaulted Kumamoto castle. Patches of green were scarce, a few lucky spots, which had escaped the night’s blizzard, and, along with a few noncompliant trees, which stood defiant against chill, were the only signs of life. The garrison ahead of us was meagre, no match for Kunichika’s army along with a few contingents of men lead personally by Sorin. As we marched forward, we could slowly get a better picture of what the garrison actually consisted of. It was, in reality, nothing surprising, only a few cavalrymen who had escaped the previous battles at Finn’ai and Hyodo Pass.


    The plan was simple; wittle them down with concentrated volleys of mass arrows, burn down the gates and finally, finish them in a melee fight, which could be described as a slaughter. It would be a pitiful way for the last remnants of the Sagara clan to end, a once strong clan, lost to the winds of history. Rumour had it that their daimyo was but a boy, fifteen at the most. He had seen no fighting and so, this would be his baptism in fire.


    After hours of preparing for the battle, our archers finally moved forward, acting almost as a single entity, firing, reloading and firing again with great precision and absolute breathtaking timing. Remember these were yumi ashigaru, men of the lower classes just like me. And yet, at their worst, they fought like samurai and at their best, identical to the monks at the monastery. My position had removed me nearly entirely from life within the army and I had not visited the barracks at Bungo for months. It was now more than apparent to me, that Kunichika had begun to invest heavily in his army, for he knew he would be key to his goal, unifying Shikoku and Kyushu under his control. In the way this army, fought that goal might not be to unrealistic even if it was a tad bit ambitious. Yet there were many in opposition to this idea, many who would prove difficult in the years to come.



    It was only a short time before the enemy archers were nullified, their arrows leaving little to no impact on our numbers. While our archers held the attention of our enemy, our infantry slowly marched around the castle in an encircling movement. Once in place, our infantry burned down the gates with ease, leaving nothing between them and our already partially destroyed enemies. From all sides our infantry charged in, the last daimyo of the Sagara forced to either fight or flee.





    But the smoke erupting from the castle fortifications proved to be a double-edged sword. Reinforcements from a nearby fort had spotted the smoke and rushed to their allies help, albeit a bit too late. They countercharged our own infantry, who had transformed into a blob of soldiers, devoid of formation, successfully pulling off a flanking maneuver and dealing a sufficient number of kills before a contingent of yari ashigaru routed them.





    Meanwhile, the enemy daimyo fought on, a swamp of men engulfing him, yet not completely destroying him. He battled on until the last man, until no other Sagara soldier stood beside him, finally succumbing to the mass of men, which surrounded him, leaving no exit for escape. He may of been but a boy, yet he showed bravery and courage right up until the end, wishing to die before his home would fall. But sadly, with him, the last spirit of the Sagara faded into memory, its name only to live on in the history books.







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


    It had only been a couple hours since the siege had been won and already repairs had begun. The piles of bodies had still not been taken away and lay their rotting in the afternoon sun, a stench of death hanging of the whole castle. As part of Sorin’s retinue, I followed him around endlessly as he held countless talks with infantry captains, a scribe recording their separate accounts of the battle, and made just as many inspection upon the current repairs. When we were finally dismissed, I felt utterly exhausted, the weight of the battle still heavy on my shoulders. My rear end ached from being atop a cursed horse for so long, an experience I was still not fully used to. Yet, my day was unfortunately not over, as a messenger appeared at my quarters, the very moment I had collapsed onto my bed. He informed me of Kunichika’s wish to meet with me immediately, for matters of utter importance needed to be discussed immediately. With a heavy sigh, I left my quarters, unsure and baffled about the sort of topic, which must of commanded my immediate presence.

    When I reached the tenshu, it was apparent that it was not only my presence that had been needed. Men, important men, stood talking to each other, the wide variety of scrolls and paintings, which festooned the wooden walls of the tenshu, little care to them. A large, wooden table occupied the centre of the tenshu. Upon noticing my arrival, Kunichika ushered me in and soon I was surrounded by men clearly of a status well above my own. Only moments after my arrival, Kunichika demanded a silence of the room and soon everyone began to their seats a the table, except for me, who stood there confused, only rescued by Sorin who dragged me to a seat next to him. The various torches, which hung off the walls provided a small amount light yet still many of our faces were covered by shadow. It was Kunichika who brought the silence to an end, his easily recognisable deep voice, echoing of the walls of the tenshu, providing a weird sense that he was everywhere, the poor lighting only amplifying the effect.


    “Many of you do not know why we are all here. It is to discuss something of grave importance- the future of this clan.” Murmurs spread across the group like wildfire but were quickly silenced by Kunichika. “The Sagara are defeated and most of Kyushu lies under our and our vassals’ control. The question, though, is where next?” This time, the whispers were greater, as colleagues furiously discussed the possible options but it was Sorin who first stood up to voice his opinion.


    “I fear we must look to the west, tono, for that is the only place where there are clans ripe for the taking. South is but sea and north is Mori land.”


    “Why not take Mori land?” Asked Motochika, the arrogant son of Kunichika. He was in line to take the clan leadership after his father and had let that power get to his head. He was also a frequent visiter of many of the sake dens and brothels in which ever province we were stationed in. “Yes, they are our allies, but with the recent acquisition of the Sagara lands, we are more than a match for them.”


    “They are masters of the sea, they would destroy our own puny navy and reek havoc on our trade.” Replied Sorin, to a few murmurs of support.


    “Is that all you care about? Your precious trade!”Laughed Motochika and his supporters.


    “Enough!” Shouted Kunichika, annoyed by the petty arguing going on between his son and Sorin. “Attacking the Mori is completely out of the question, they are valuable allies and I will not dishonour the alliance. Any other ideas?” I debated whether I should say something or not. I was completely out of my league, about to suggest an idea, which could change the course of our clan’s future.


    “I agree with Sorin.” I stuttered with nervousness. “What about the Matsuda, though. They are at war with the Mori already and their lands hold a good strategic position. From there, we could launch attacks against the Myoshi, the Mori or the Hatano.” I slouched back into my seat, conscious of the looks I was attracting. I could hear Motochika and his supporters whispering a few words and then give me a disapproving look.


    “Hmmm interesting..... The Matsuda......Yes......They would be indeed good targets......Yes! We will set sail at once.”Kunichika gave me an approving nod and then dismissed everyone. I jumped up from seat, eager to get out of the almost suffocating atmosphere within, but was instead dragged to a corner by none other than Motochika.


    “What is your name?” Snapped Motochika.


    “Yuki.”


    “Well Yuki, you might like to consider keeping a lower profile next time, for we don’t what anything to happen to you.” A sly grin finished his sentence for him. I simply gave a small nod and ran. I was in way over my head.


    Campaign Map(Winter 1556)

    Last edited by Merchant of Venice; December 14, 2013 at 05:31 PM.

  19. #79
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XI 14/11)

    I demand updates, more updates, feed me updates till I burst. Also +rep.

  20. #80

    Default Re: Way of the Bow:A Chosokabe AAR-(Updated Chapter XI 14/11)

    Quote Originally Posted by McScottish View Post
    I demand updates, more updates, feed me updates till I burst. Also +rep.
    Don't worry I am about 3/4 of the way through the next instalment, thanks for the support and rep.

    EDIT:I've uploaded a campaign map to the last chapter as well as the OP with place names in order to help you readers.
    Last edited by Merchant of Venice; November 27, 2013 at 02:05 AM.

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