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Thread: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eighteen Updated 25/06/2016

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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Ten Updated 25/11/2014

    In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven 29/11/2014
    Chapter Eleven



    Nobunaga

    The gates to Komoro opened up, along the walls it was woman, old men and children that stood guard. There is not a soldier in sight. The infantry marched through the city first, making way to the palace, after them I followed, defended by a near a thousand cavalry men. The men that had followed me from Owari went before me, having the rear guard of the infantry.


    I looked to the houses, to the people that watched as I went, mothers clung to children, old men looked to their daughters, husbandless. Not a single Kiso soldier survived. It sent a small shiver down me. How can I show remorse for soldiers? Yet be set upon the murdering of innocents? I looked towards Nobuyuki, he rode proud atop his horse now, the effects of the battle seemingly gone. Seemingly, that does not mean he is healed. I gripped my reins tightly. I looked to the children, some were Nobuyuki’s age, some older and some younger. Most of them now fatherless. Looking to the crowd it was lucky if there was one young man in forty woman. I felt a tightness in my stomach. I must make a decision, as to what fate befalls this city, and that fate decrees my own.


    The Kiso Tenshu was not as impressive as Kai’s, nor was it as beautiful as Owari’s. Yet still it towered over the other buildings, and looked formidable. I wonder, if they had made me face them here, and fought within that, would the battle have turned out differently? Would it be me that lay dead? The stone structure did not answer my thoughts. I rode towards the centre of the town square. Oda soldiers surrounded me, and a few units of Takeda men surrounded them. Behind them were hundreds of people, awaiting the fate of their city. And what shall that be? Upon the morning Himichiro had asked of my opinions, and I had been silent on the matter. I do not know myself, my friend. I turned to the left of me, and saw Ieyasu looking forward, his eyes were a dark cast of grey this morning, and they had a look of apprehension and fear. I sighed inwardly. Then the screams bombarded me, not the screams of the Kiso, nor their people, but the people at Owari. The images of the flames tearing at houses, of the women being raped, of mother’s smotheirng their children so that they escaped Imagawa blades, and I remembered the closed gate, how I let my people burn. Their screams stuck with me as I rode towards the town centre, their pleas to be let into the castle, into safety. I let them die, it is my fault, my burden. I stopped for a few seconds, Ieyasu turned to me, head cocked in question. “I know what the fate of the city will be.” I spoke coldly, and sorrow fuelled my words. Ieyasu thought that to mean that Komoro would burn, as his face set into a grave frown of disapproval and anger.


    I turned to face the crowd of people, Ieyasu and Himichiro on either side of me, as eager and frightened as the people. “How can you justify killing innocents when you feel remorse for the death of Kiso men?” Ieyasu whispered, acid dripping from his tone. I smiled sadly, and my eyes turned to him.


    “I’ve never said I can justify it, Ieyasu-san.” I spoke coolly to him now. I know what I will do. “People of the Kiso clan!” I roared at them. “Your armies have been defeated in the field, many of your people lie dead within the fields. Many of you will lament me for your defeat, many of you will wish to resist to my demands. But let me tell you this.” I stopped, taking a deep breath. “Kiso Yoshiyasu was a coward and a dishonourable Daimyo.” The crowd growled at that, a few of the older men, cursed and walked off. “Within the White Tent, where we were to discuss peace, and end of warfare! And an end of hostilities and to spare bloodshed. He attacked me and my brother! he drew his swords upon my men and cut them down like animals!” I growled at them, snarling like an animal as I said the words. Brother, I will protect you from the cruelties of this world. The crowd looked at him, mouths agape, a few of the women bellowed shouts of protest. “Liar! Bastard! Coward!” they called to me. Degenerate fools, you do not deserve mercy. “Yet, despite this, all of you, all those here.” I motioned with a hand to the women, the children and the men. “You were not a part of his treachery, you did not butcher my men, nor did you break the sacred laws of hospitality. I am not without mercy.” Nor am I without vengeance. “The city of Komoro, its inhabitants, and your belongings will be spared, no harm will come to you.” Ieyasu looked at me, a smile playing upon his lips. “My name is Nobunaga, I am of the Oda clan! I will retake my homeland of Owari. The people of Kiso, I swear to you, serve Takeda Shingen faithfully, and you will not be harmed. No looting will occur. A small detachment of Takeda men will stay here, to keep the peace. Live well, proud members of the Kiso clan.” A clan of ashes and bones. Yoshiyasu, you deserved no mercy, but your people are not you.


    The crowd looked shocked, they did not cheer, but the curses had stopped, and a few of the old men had returned. I looked to them all, and smiled. “Be free.” I spoke softly, a hush of the wind, before turning towards the castle and riding towards it. “Himichiro.” My friend looked to me, a smile upon his face, his teeth were white and shined. “Give strict orders to the soldiers, no looting, no rape, will occur, and under no circumstances will I allow them to oppose the Kiso people, they will be treated as equals.” Himichiro nodded, and rode ahead, galloping. Ieyasu whispered to me. “What changed you mind, Nobunaga-san?” My smile waned as I remembered Owari, remembered its warm springs, its harsh winters, the laughter of the people, and the play of the children. “Memories.” I said and galloped towards the Tenshu.


    The inside of the Tenshu was impressive, decorated with blades and bows and spears. Yoshiyasu liked weapons. I thought, remembering the decor of the White Tent. Already patrols had been set up, and Oda and Takeda men alike prowled the halls. An Oda retainer approached me, Himichiro requests your presence, tono.” I nodded, and motioned for the man to lead on. But I turned back to Nobuyuki. He looked at me, caution within his gaze. “Go to Ieyasu, and ask him if he will begin to train you in the art of fighting with a yari.” he nodded eagerly, pleased to be asked to do something. That should keep his mind off the events that happened. I hoped. I turned again, and began to follow the retainer.


    I entered a brightly lit chamber, where Himichiro was now standing over records and maps, he peered at a letter on the table, smiling. “Nobunaga-sama! The scouts have reported back from Mino.” I nodded towards him, a smile of my own forming. “I’ll assume its good news, considering that smile of yours.” Himichiro laughed and nodded again. “Mino is defended by less than two hundred men, weak and easy for the taking. The Imagawa do not seem to care much for the safety of the Saito people, they are being taxed heavily, and riots break out weekly within the streets. Both the soldiers, and the townspeople are exhausted from the infighting. “


    An idea struck me. “The Takeda and Imagawa, they are still allied, I assume?” Himichiro frowned for a second, thinking. “I believe so, yes. Even if not, they are in no state of warfare.” I nodded. Then Mino will fall easily, and with very little losses. The thought made me smile.


    “Is there any word of whom commands the garrison?” I must know my foe. But Himichiro shook his head. “Not much, some petty Samurai whom got Yoshimoto’s favour named Torihisa.” I grimaced at that. But nodded. “Very well then, we will rest for three days, and then we march for Mino, we will take back Owari soon enough!” Himichiro’s laugh was bountiful and merry.


    “To home!” he said, and I smiled. To home to Owari.

    ***

    Nobuyuki

    “I’m just not good at it!” he moaned, near to tears. “I can’t fight! Nobunaga is good at fighting, and battle. I am good at reading, father always said I should have been a monk.” he sighed, looking sad. His yari was on the ground. Ieyasu was armed with simply a stick. “I could never be as good as you, Ieyasu-sama!”


    “Perhaps not, some men are gifted in warfare,, either as strategists or soldiers. Some are gifted in scholarly activities.” Nobuyuki sighed at that. I’ll never be as good as aniki at anything! “There is no shame in what you are good at, your gift for reading and your love of heroes will someday prove useful. But, for now . . .” Ieyasu stopped for a second, Nobuyuki looked up at him, the man was considering, his eyes cast over him. “Nobuyuki-san. Do you love your brother?”


    How could you ask such a thing? Of course! “Nobunaga is a hero to me! He promised to take me home, and so he will! I trust him to fulfil his promise, and get revenge for mother and father. “ he was near to tears. “Nobunaga will always protect me.” He spoke truthfully, he knew that Nobunaga would have sacrificed himself for him. The memories of the tent came back to him. he remembered Nobunaga standing between him and the Kiso soldiers. “I will die before I allow you to harm my brother!” he had roared at them, and then the world was fuzzy and blurry. tears filled his eyes. A hand gripped his shoulder, it was a soft hand, friendly. He looked up to Ieyasu. The man smiled at him. “It is your duty to protect Nobunaga-san. You two are brothers, of the same blood. You must defend him from his foes, as he would you. That is your duty, Nobuyuki-san. You must be his staunchest ally, his closest friend. Protect him as he would you. To do that you need to know how to fight.”


    Ieyasu demonstrated, he stepped back, flipped his stick into the air, it whirled swiftly, and he battered the training dummies of the courtyard, he seemed to dance between them, catching one in the throat, another had the straw head fling off when the shaft of the headless yari smacked into its temple. Ieyasu spun around and his headless yari thrust out, Nobuyuki gasped to find the headless yari at his throat. Ieyasu pulled it away, and looked to him. “Pick up the yari, Nobuyuki-san.” He did so, the black shaft was long and heavy. Ieyasu pulled away, and noded towards him. “I want you to try and stab me with it, and I want you to watch what I do.”


    Nobuyuki had seen soldiers fight in the yard with yari, he decided to take up that stance as best he could. He charged forward, thrusting the yari out trying to stab at Ieyasu. Ieyasu stepped to the side, and his headless yari flashed outwards, Nobuyuki felt his yari lift upwards and out of his grip, and then suddenly Ieyasu was standing before him. He felt something hard hit his back, and he was flung forwards onto the ground, the yari dropping from his grip. He growled. “How did you do that? You’re undefeatable!” He spat. Ieyasu just eyed him carefully. “You need to be unpredictable, Samurai know how to counter the art of fighting with a yari. Besides, in a wall, that art is masterful, but alone? Samurai armed with yari are at a disadvantage. You must learn how to fight differently, in a way that your opponent doesn’t know.”


    Nobuyuki lashed out, kicking with his feet, propelling himself upwards, he turned around, and swung the yari with all his might. Ieyasu stepped back, but Nobuyuki had expected that, and he stabbed, instead of swinging fully. Ieyasu danced back again, and the yari met, for a moment it was a clash between the two. But then Ieyasu’s headless yari cracked across his knuckles, and his feet struck at his ribs, hefting him high into the air. Nobuyuki screamed in fright as Ieyasu danced his stick around, but just before Nobuyuki came crashing into the ground and dropped the yari and caught him.


    Ieyasu laughed, it was hearty and filled with a merriment. “That was indeed unexpected.” he smiled at him. “You are quick, but not agile.” He frowned. “No matter, you will learn. “ Ieyasu turned as two men entered the yard. “Nobunaga!” Nobuyuki called rushing to his brother. Nobunaga smiled, nodding towards Ieyasu and embracing his brother. “Ieyasu is teaching me how to fight! So that someday I can be good enough to protect you!” A laugh erupted from Nobunaga.


    “Careful that you don’t fill Himichiro-sensei with envy, Nobuyuki-san.” He smiled, and Nobuyuki laughed, turning towards Himichiro. “Himichiro! Can you teach me the blade? Please? I need to learn how to fight!” Himichiro nodded, a smile of his own on his lips.


    “Before you learn the blade, Nobuyuki, I am anxious to gage whom is the better fighter, Ieyasu or Himichiro.” Himichiro looked uncertain at Nobunaga for a second, but then nodded. Nobunaga called to Ieyasu. “My friend, thank you for teaching my brother. Do you think you’re up for facing Himichiro-sensei?” Ieyasu shook his head, and he humbly replied.


    “A practice duel would end in my defeat, and a real duel would end in my death, to be certain.” He nodded towards Himichiro. “I rather like the way your brother thinks I’m undefeatable, so we’ll keep it at that.” Ieyasu smiled, and Nobunaga laughed.


    “As you wish, Ieyasu-san. We leave for Mino in two days.” Ieyasu nodded, and then went back to striking at practice dummies. Nobuyuki walked alongside Nobunaga. “Aniki, can I join the battle?” Nobunaga stopped so abruptly that Nobuyuki leapt back, falling into Himichiro, who held him, stopping him from falling. “Nobuyuki.” He could see the fear in Nobunaga’s eyes. Why is he afraid? “You will watch the battle, but you will not join it. I will not risk . . . I will not risking losing my little brother.” Nobunaga strode off, anger in his steps. Nobuyuki went limp in Himichiro’s arms.


    “What have I done, Himichiro-sensei? Why is he mad at me? How can I protect Nobunaga, if I only watch? How can I do my duty to my brother if I let him fight every battle?” Himichiro turned him around and knelt so that he was on the same eye level as Nobuyuki.


    “He is not angry at you, Nobuyuki-san.” Smiling broadly. “But he berates himself for his actions within the White Tent. He took you into the world of politics and warfare, and it nearly got both you and him killed. Do you know why Nobunaga fights?’ The question took Nobuyuki by surprise, and he felt his mouth jerk oddly, as he considered. Finally he shook his head.


    Himichiro answered him. “He fights for you, for Ieyasu.” An Oda patrol passed them by, bowing and saluting as they went. “He battles for those men there, he battles for your father, and for your mother.” Nobuyuki nearly replied that they were dead, but Himichiro continued. “He fights to take you all home, and he fights to avenge those that he failed at Owari. Your brother is a good man, remember that. Do not think ill of him for his faults.” Himichiro nodded towards him, still smiling. he rose and strode after Nobunaga.


    How could I ever think ill of my brother? He will never betray me. It is my duty to protect Nobunaga. I must remember that.



    ***
    Ieyasu

    A contingent of cavalry neared the gates of Mino, it was made up of the greatest horsemen the Takeda had to offer, and the remaining of the Oda samurai. All in all it equalled near two hundred men. What does Nobunaga intend? The Oda men had been adorned in Takeda arms, something they had been adamantly furious about. But Nobunaga promised them that soon they will be back home, and that this was simply a stepping stone. Nobuyuki had been placed in the trees, defended by the rest of the Takeda forces and the remnants of his and Nobunaga’s retainers.


    The gates to Mino were open, and guarded by three Samurai. The captain of which went forward, demanding their halt. Ieyasu moved to Nobunaga’s left, hand resting upon his yari. “Halt! In the name of Imagawa Yoshimoto, Daimyo of the Imagawa clan! What business do you have here?” His tone implied authority, but his eyes gave way to fear.


    In answer Nobunaga replied. “I bear a message in the name of Takeda Shingen, Ruler of Kai Province, Daimyo of the Takeda clan and your own faithful ally.” Ieyasu could almost see the smile in Nobunaga’s voice. He enjoys this, the deceit, and the pleasure that this idea was all his. Though what is this idea of his? The samurai visibly relaxed, slouching a little. “Indeed.” he flashed a smile. “What do our friends of Takeda wish of us? Come! Come! Speak with our commander.” Ieyasu saw Nobunaga hesitate for a moment, then shake his head.


    “No need, you may bear my message well enough. Besides me and my party must be heading off soon.” The man didn’t bother intruding as to ask where, and simply shrugged his shoulders.


    “Then, may I ask, what this message of yours is? Who is this message from?” Nobunaga nodded and his hand reached down, to what looked as if he was getting a roll of parchment, Ieyasu saw his hand placed upon his katana, and his own grip on his yari stiffened, “The message comes from Oda Nobunaga, rightful Ruler of Owari and Daimyo of the Oda.” The man’s eyes widened, and his mouth quivered for a moment as he tried to make sense of it. “But, the Oda are dead, and enemies of -”


    “I am going home, captain.” Nobunaga’s blade came from his sheathe swiftly, and he swung it down upon the captain, half the man;’s face remained when he fell to the ground. Ieyasu roared, his yari in hand, going for the soldier on the left. He knew Himichiro would be striking the man on the right. “Ieyasu, Himichiro.” Nobunaga spoke keenly. “Take the gatehouse and keep the alarm from being raised, after that, make way to the barracks and kill the defenders. Meet me inside the Tenshu when the battle is concluded.” Before the battle he had been assigned sixty men. He dismounted and went to the left side of the gatehouse, Himichiro by his side. Nobunaga and his men continued to ride through, riding to the centre, to the Tenshu.


    Ieyasu entered the gate house, and two guards stared at him and his men for a moment, one of them cried out, about to draw his blade. But he leapt forward,and his yari found the man’s stomach, and the shaft found the second’s man throat. he gurgled, his pupils widening in shock, before one of the Takeda men stuck a katana through his belly, and he fell to the ground.
    Himichiro looked to him, and went up the steps, his own men at his heels. Ieyasu followed, eager to see the man’s prowess at battle once more.


    They reached the parapets of Mino’s walls, and ran into a patrol of thirty Imagawa men. he head Himichiro curse and charge forward, the Takeda men behind him. Their usual roars and battle cries absent from this battle. Nobunaga had given all stern orders for silence. He rushed forward as well, engaging one man. The Imagawa soldier looked shocked, but raised his sword in effort to attack. Ieyasu danced backwards, and his yari sweeped, catching the man in the thigh, it clashed off his armour, but the sound and contact had caught the man off balance, and he stepped to the side, losing his balance and nearly falling. Ieyasu lashed out once more and the this time the head of his yari went through his throat. he leapt back as the blood splayed from the man’s neck, and he turned, yari swirling as he blocked another samurai’s blow, he turned the blow aside and resumed his own onslaught. His yari striking at the man’s armour, leaving deep gashes and cuts on the man’s arms and torso, before finally he turned his yari again and swept it wide, catching the man full in the temple, the strength of his attack took half the man's skull off, his eyes rolled back into his head, and he slumped to the ground, lifeless body falling from the wall.


    Ieyasu looked to Himichiro, the man had three corpses before him, and he was battling two more men, but a third was creeping around his flank, trying to take out the demon like swordsman. Ieyasu stepped gingerly forward , yari thrusting forwards, it took the man in the eye, the man screamed, Himichiro jerked around, blade raised, his eyes locked with the scene and immediately he understood. He smiled towards Ieyasu, who gave his own acknowledging nod in return. he pulled his yari from the man’s eyes and shoved it into his chest. He moved onwards, leaping over the corpse. The other Takeda men had fought fiercely, and their superior numbers had felled the Imagawa soldiers quickly. “Come!” Himichiro encouraged. “We must reach the barracks.” He took a torch from the wall and flung it into the sky. The signal for the rest of the soldiers to move into the city.


    The men rushed towards the barracks, bloodied blades and steeled armour. The night sky was moonless, unless a man looked up close they would not be able to tell whether they were friend or foe. A smart man would assume they were foes, however, there seems a lack of such men within the Imagawa ranks. Ieyasu smiled, and as he neared the barracks they heard drinking and laughter.


    Six men sat at a table, drinking sake and playing dice. Ieyasu saw one of them turn, the others shouted, but they were not quick enough. His soldiers washed over them like a sea of black and red. Their screams were abruptly cut off. Himichiro entered the main sleeping quarters, where the garrison would be resting. A few had woken by the shouts outside. But none were dressed for battle.


    It was a slaughter. Himichiro practically leapt upon the first man, decapitating his head with his first strike. A few other Imagawa soldiers cursed and shouted, but were swiftly cut down. A few men tried to get out of their bed, but were stabbed to death through their sheets. Blood and screams filled the air, and the light illuminated the walls, now painted in blood and gore. The Imagawa soldiers died like animals, like cattle for the slaughter. Nobunaga would be pleased to see this. He thought, absentmindedly. The final Imagawa soldier died, he did not wear armour, and bore no steel. But instead was adorned in sleeping rags, and had held a cup to fend off his foes. He lay against the wall, blood dripping down his chin and neck, and washing over his rags. He had soiled himself in death, and Ieyasu wrinkled his nose. The man’s eyes were boundless pools of nothing, simply staring ahead of him, the cup he had held beside him, having rolled from his hand. It had still been filled with sake when he had died, as the soft red of the wine mixed with the dark crimson of the man’s blood.


    Himichiro gave the soldiers some small respite, a few of them went to getting drinking caskets from the soldier’s longue, and got themselves a cup of sake to wash away the fatigue of battle. Ieyasu was offered a glass, but he refused, shaking his head. He could not understand soldiers and their obsessive nature towards sake and battle. One’s head must be clear should they wish to fight well, and not die a drunken fool.


    Himichiro called out to them. “Form up! We march to the Tenshu to rendezvous with Nobunaga and his soldiers!” a few of the Takeda men grinned, and lumbered towards the door. Himichiro looked at him, and nodded. “Come, Ieyasu, after this there is but one more hurdle, and then you may go home!” Ieyasu nodded, a smile creeping upon his face.


    Mikawa.


    ***


    Torihisa

    “Send a bloody bird then if you're too damn cowardly to go yourself!” he had been woken from a peaceful sleep to news that he was being attacked by the Takeda. Bloody Takeda, good for nothing sons of whores! When Yoshimoto hears of this .. . He growled aimlessly. When Yoshimoto hears of this I will be to blame. That thought did not please him, he lashed out at the old man, kicking him to the ground. “Send a bird you coward!” He roared, striking at the man again. The old man looked up at him with fear in his eyes, “ I was a healer!” The man murmured angrily but he rushed towards the ravens, placing a hastily written message on its legs and releasing it.


    Torihisa sighed, bringing his hands up his face, cradling his head. “Send one to Owari as well, Nobuyasu will be damned if he is to escape this slaughter also. He should be prepared, I guess.” He sighed, speaking in a softer tone. Damn those Takeda bastards! The old man rushed to do as he was told, he shivered and bowed as he did so, trembling in fear. Torihisa smiled, he had always liked being obeyed. I need to flee this thrice damned slaughterhouse before I end up following my butchered soldiers. Useless fools! He strode from the study, calling for his servants. “Ready my horse!” He bellowed, turning towards his retainers. “Follow me!” He had six retainers, not a glorious guard, but he assumed it would suit.


    He rushed down the hallway, unarmoured and armed with only a tanto. He saw a few Imagawa guards running backwards, they saw him, and turned back to face their attackers, not wishing to look like cowards. For a moment Torihisa was pleased, yet his pleasure lasted only a moment before his men died, screaming and choking on their own blood as Takeda swords fell around them. Torihisa gulped down another curse, he stood rooted to the spot as Takeda soldiers turned towards him, a few of them went forward swords raised. But a voice called to them.


    “Wait, I wish to speak to him.” From among the men came a man, or at least what he thought looked like a man, the man wore yellow and black armour, he had a cloak that hung limply from his shoulders, and a cowl that covered half his face. He threw it back, and tore the cloak off with an elegant flourish. What Torihisa saw made him laugh, laugh until he cried. A child! We’re being overrun by a child! The child looked to him, his eyes bright and piercing, yet Torihisa could see that there was sorrow in them, sorrow and rage. A smile curled up the boy’s lips. “Do you know who I am, Torihisa-san?” That took him aback, and his hands went to the tanto at his side, but the retainers moved swiftly, and a blade was at his throat. The child clicked his fingers, and the blade retracted swiftly. “By the look of you you’re one of the Oda cowards! Oh, wait, I almost forgot. The Oda are dead! Your city burned to the ground!” He lied to the child, he did not fear a boy who thought he had power. Owari did burn, mostly, but now Oda Nobuyasu rules Owari, and is a faithful vassal of Yoshimoto Imagawa. But he didn’t wish to give the boy hope, hope that he could return to anything but ashes and rubble. He looked into the eyes of that child, and he went still. There was darkness there, coldness beyond imagining. You could die looking at those eyes, simply because he wills it. The boy held such power within his gaze, such sorrow and anguish and rage, he held authority.


    “Were you present when my home burned?” The boy spoke softly, his voice barely audible in the darkened hallway. I was there, hell I led the attack. Yoshimoto had given him command of the vanguard, due to his brother requesting it. My brother will avenge me, you Oda dog! He is the protector of our lord Yoshimoto! He can best any man with a sword! He remembered it all, remembered as his men surrounded the city in the cover of darkness, unseen on that moonless night by the lookouts. The archers had gone forward, and choosing precise targets they killed the guards and watchmen, his men had scaled the walls, a few had died, but most reached the top. He was about to order the gates to be opened when he was met with a man and a dozen retainers. The man had worn Oda colours, but he had offered to join them, declaring that his idiot nephew had doomed his clan, and he wished to save it. He swore allegiance then and there to Yoshimoto of the Imagawa clan, and then he opened the gates for the main force to stream in. Torihisa had given the order to sack the city, to burn it and destroy it, to abolish any remnants of the Oda from history. Oh, he remembered the fires, he remembered the screams of the people, he remembered as women were raped, as their husbands were butchered beside them, he remembered the people that had clawed at the gates of the Tenshu, but they had been firmly locked. Cruel bastard, that nephew of Nobuyasu’s, leaving his people to die. “Answer me!” The boy barked at him, and he leapt backwards, frightened by the fury in the voice. What was Nobuyasu’s nephew called? Nobuyuki? Nobuhide? He cursed himself for not being able to remember. “I was not there, no! I was at Totomi at the time, and was brought up into Yoshimoto-sama’s army after the fall of Owari.” he spoke meekly, trying to save his hide. If the boy thinks I was there then he’ll kill me for certain, and I will not be killed by a worthless child!


    He thought he had said the wrong thing, for a second, as the child’s gaze stiffened ever so slightly, and it was as if he was staring at the depths of winter, for all the emotion that showed within those eyes. “I see, Torihisa-san.” The boy whispered, and his eyes lowered. “Let him go.” He said, raising his head once more. The men around him hesitated, but they lowered their swords. Torihisa stared meekly for a moment, but sighing in relief he went forward,. The stupid brat brought the lie! He smiled to himself, and strode forward between the men and near to the child, he bobbed his head in acknowledgement, and the boy gave him a kind smile.


    “Oh, wait, I almost forgot.” The boy’s voice was full of mocking. “ Kill him” He felt steel enter his stomach and he cried out, he heard his men being cut down, their muffled screams reaching his ears. “I despise liars.” The boy said softly, and a devilish smile appeared on his lips. “Don’t worry, you won’t dine in hell alone. I’ll be sending my uncle to join you soon.” The boy swished the blade across his throat, he gurgled, arms clutching at his throat, trying to stem the blood. He felt warm, yet strikingly cold. What an odd combination he thought to himself, still clawing at his throat.


    “My name is Nobunaga, Daimyo of the Oda clan, and rightful ruler of Owari. I have come for vengeance.” And with those words Torihisa reached out towards the boy, still gurgling, His eyes closed feebly, and his arm fell against his chest. The warm seemed to drain away, and he embraced the darkness and cold . . .



    I have come for vengeance.



    ***Hideyoshi

    The yumi was light in his arms, magical. He nocked an arrow, and drew it back, his eyes placed on the target. He closed his eyes, and spun around, he stopped for a second,and released. The twang of the yumi rang in his ears. Beside him friends cheered and laughed. “Hideyoshi! That was a fantastic shot, you have to teach me how to do that one day!” Katashi spoke swiftly, eagerly and cheerfully. There was an excited gleam in his eyes. Hideyoshi turned his eyes toward the target, and smiled, the arrow had hit the centre of the target.


    “Perhaps someday I will, Katashi-san.” He said softly, and walked away. He looked to the right of him and saw Samurai drilling. Live steel in their grips, they fought fiercely, swinging steel at each other, rolling and dodging the other’s blows, while trying to attack with a flurry of their own. Fools, a good arrow would put you on your knees. His eyes glanced to the arrows in his quiver, just for a moment. No, that would get me killed quicker than if I was actually dueling them. Hideyoshi had been born a farmer;s son, an Oda man to the bone. Each time he saw an Imagawa soldier his fists clenched. How can we kneel to these bastards? He had aided his father on the farm, until the Imagawa took Owari, they had seen the fires from their house, and the next morning he set out, to go to Owari and find out what had happened. When he had reached the gates men in Imagawa armour had been placed as sentries, and before the walls a gigantic camp was sprawled across the fields. He had entered the city, been spotted by a man in Oda armour, and conscripted. He’d had no choice, the man called to him and demanded he enlisted for the garrison of the Owari, the man had shuffled and pulled him towards the recruitment board, told him to give his name, and that was that, he was enlisted. He had been brought to the training grounds and they gave him a yari. He wasn’t very good with that, then they gave him a yumi, and his muscles had moved as if on their own accord. He had not scored hits on the centre then, but he had not missed the target once out of three shots.


    He smiled then, remembering the stunned gaze of the Samurai trainer. The man had looked at him and then started to laugh. “You’ll be an archer, Hideyoshi!” And he had walked away. Later that day he asked the man if he’d ever be able to ride, saying he had ridden a lot on the farm, and that he had loved it. The samurai had scoffed and asked him why he would need a horse if he was simply an archer.


    Hideyoshi sighed at the memory. Samurai are arrogant, and yet they do not realise it is the common man kill men before they even reach a battle, so they do not need to work as hard! Hideyoshi looked to the sky. Someday I will be great! Someday I will lead armies, and men will tremble at my name, someday . .. .


    Frightened voices called out before him. “It is said that Mino has fallen to a Takeda force, a gigantic fore, fifteen thousand strong! It is said they rode with demons into battle! Those merciless bastards will turn their gaze to us next!” The voices continued in their gossip. “Doesn’t that mean the Takeda and the Imagawa are at war? The Takeda cannot hope to defeat Yoshimoto-sama in the field! No man can!” One man spoke, Hideyoshi felt like clawing the man’s throat out. Men are made of flesh, flesh can be cut, tone, stabbed, stripped away, burned, boiled. Any man can die, no matter how powerful or might. Even so the Takeda attacking the former Saito town of Mino was dire news. We don’t have the men here to repel any attack! Let alone a force nearly as mighty as Yoshimoto’s of the Imagawa clan.


    He looked to his yumi in hand. I wonder how many Takeda men I’ll kill with this thing? He thought solemnly. The Oda will rise again!


    ***Nobunaga

    The Imagawa had left Mino’s coffers bursting with koku. Torihisa may have been a lying scum of a man, yet he was capable in administration. The populace of Mino had waited fearfully for my sentence of the city. What I had said to them had taken them by surprise, and the answers I received had pleased me greatly. “My name is Nobunaga of the Oda clan, at least what remains of it. Help me take back my home, and I swear to you, The Saito will rise again! Not as vassals to the Imagawa, nor as servants to the Oda, but as free and strong people!” The Saito had applauded and beamed, happy at the prospect of their freedom once more. Near four hundred men had joined me that day, armed with yari and yumi, they had joined the march of soldiers that went around the city, declaring my message to each and all, gathering new men everywhere. The Saito will rise as a free and strong people. But can the Oda do the same?


    I tapped the table softly, one of my retainers entered, bowing his head softly. “Tono, an aged man wishes audience with you.” I nodded towards the man, and flicked my hand, giving the old man entry. Himichiro stood at my side, as always. I still have not apologized. I thought sourely, irritated at my foolishness. I rose from my seat when the man entered. “Healer.” I spoke solemnly. The man whom saved my life. The man looked much older than he had before, his skin was haggard and wrinkled, and it hung from his bones shallowly.


    “Nobunaga of the Oda clan, yes.” the man smiled. “You have given the Saito a kinder fate than Yoshimoto had, and even your own father would not have treated us so kindly.” I shook my head, a smile upon my face.


    “I need allies, healer, the last thing I need is more enemies.” I reached down to the chest of koku and grabbed a fistful of them, placing them upon the desk I nodded towards the man. “I swore you would receive payment for healing me, and I keep my word.” When it suits me. The man smiled, and laughed. “I suppose I should have expected as such, from a child such as you.” The healer’s smile held warmth to it. I leaned forward. “Tell me, what is your name, healer?”


    The man’s gaze met my own, there was a kindness in them. “My name is Satashi, Nobunaga-sama.” I strode towards the man, gripping his shoulders I spoke. “Then Satashi, I name you of my own household, and appoint you as my personal healer and physician. You will be provided with every utensil you need, and wealth enough to satisfy you. I can also arrange for you to treat other men and women and children should you wish to continue with your work.” The man smiled, nodding and bowing his head.


    “You honour me, Nobunaga-sama. Thank you, thank you my lord!” He shuffled out of the room, I turned back to Himichiro.


    “I . . . I was disrespectful to you at Hima. I spoke out against good and wise counsel, and I should not have raised a hand against you, Himichiro-sensei. I am truly sorry.” Himichiro’s gaze locked with mine, but his gaze did not soften.


    “Win me back my home, Nobunaga-sama, and then you shall be forgiven.” I nodded towards him. The Takeda soldiers had been paid for their victories, and they were well feasted after a night of drinking and whoring.


    “Ready the men, Himichiro-sensei. Its time for us to retake our home.”













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  2. #82

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Brilliant chapter and who is this new guy, Hideyoshi. Isn't he a historical figure or something? I'm probably making up things

  3. #83
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Brilliant chapter and who is this new guy, Hideyoshi. Isn't he a historical figure or something? I'm probably making up things
    He is indeed a historical character! He was an Ashigaru who rose high in the Oda ranks, becoming one of Nobunaga's greatest, most loyal and most effective generals. He ruled as Shogun after Nobunaga, and prior to Ieyasu. He also avenged Nobunaga's death by defeating his killer, Aketchi (I forget the rest of the man's name.) in the field of battle eleven days after Nobunaga was killed.

    I hatched an idea from Shingen's 'Twenty Four Generals.' How that idea will turn out, I do not know as of yet!

    Thank you for both the rep and support. Honestly, this is taking longer than I first thought. I had intended for the battle of Owari to be concluded at the end of this chapter. But then I found out that Chapter Eleven was nearly seven thousand words, so decided it would be best to leave it until next chapter.

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




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  4. #84
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    I believe the Merch might have been being sarcastic, not sure though...

    Anyroad, I'm liking this a lot! Great writing, updates kept...up-to-date, and a fine AAR all around. +Rep from me, fo sho.

  5. #85

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by McScottish View Post
    I believe the Merch might have been being sarcastic, not sure though...
    Yes I was, I do know who Hideyoshi is. I don't think you could set an AAR in Japan without knowing who Hideyoshi is

  6. #86
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Yes I was, I do know who Hideyoshi is. I don't think you could set an AAR in Japan without knowing who Hideyoshi is
    "Cries of embarrassment." Hahaha, I did you an injustice my friend, I apologize!

    Thanks both for teh support and rep!

    Tigellinus




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  7. #87

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigellinus View Post
    "Cries of embarrassment." Hahaha, I did you an injustice my friend, I apologize!

    Thanks both for teh support and rep!

    Tigellinus
    There's nothing to apologize for friend. I should be the one apologizing for my poor sense of humour

  8. #88
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    That was more my fault than yours, my friend!

    Chapter Twelve and thirteen should be out in the next few days! Chapter Twelve will hopefully be out tonight, thank you for your patience!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




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  9. #89
    Lugotorix's Avatar non flectis non mutant
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Wow. Glad to see this is still going. Full of conflict and emotion. I think I've missed out since chapter 5 when you were on hiatus. I will be following this!
    AUTHOR OF TROY OF THE WESTERN SEA: LOVE AND CARNAGE UNDER THE RULE OF THE VANDAL KING, GENSERIC
    THE BLACK-HEARTED LORDS OF THRACE: ODRYSIAN KINGDOM AAR
    VANDALARIUS: A DARK AGES GOTHIC EMPIRE ATTILA AAR


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    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Lugotorix View Post
    Wow. Glad to see this is still going. Full of conflict and emotion. I think I've missed out since chapter 5 when you were on hiatus. I will be following this!
    Awesome! Thank you for your kind words, Lugotorix! Your support is most appreciated!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




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  11. #91

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigellinus View Post
    That was more my fault than yours, my friend!

    Chapter Twelve and thirteen should be out in the next few days! Chapter Twelve will hopefully be out tonight, thank you for your patience!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus
    Ahhh the benefits of already being on holiday........

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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Ahhh the benefits of already being on holiday........
    The benefits that didn't really end up benefiting the story, merely my laziness

    I will try and get an update done soon, I swear!




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  13. #93
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Chapter Twelve
    Chapter Twelve


    Teshima

    A man came before him, he wore grey robes, clothed feet and was old and frail looking. “I bear a letter for Yoshimoto-sama.” The man had his head bent forward towards him. “It has arrived from the province of Mino, and brings dire news.” he held the letter out for Teshima to take, he nodded and stepped forward, taking the letter carefully. “See that he gets back to his chambers.” He spoke to one of the retainers guarding Yoshimoto’s chambers.



    He knocked on the door softly, and tired voice called out to him. “Enter.” He turned the door knob, and saw the sight he had expected. His Daimyo was looking over maps and letters, his candle wicker had burned low, but was not yet extinguished. Beside him stood a goblet, Teshima knew it would be untouched. Yoshimoto seldom drank.



    He turned towards him. “My friend, what news do you bring?” Yoshimoto took the cup and offered it to him. Smiling teshima went forward, taking the cup carefully. Nodding his thanks he passed the letter to Yoshimoto. he took a sip from the glass, the sake was cool, refreshing. Yoshimoto sighed, and passed the letter back. “Have you read this?” Teshima shook his head, and Yoshimoto motioned for him to do so.



    Mino is being overrun by Takeda soldiers, thousands of them. They struck at us in the middle of the night, while the garrison slept.



    The message was short, and yet its meaning was clear. “My brother.” he began softly, but Yoshimoto waved a hand. “Is most likely dead, Teshima-san.” He nodded, and then continued. “No mention of the enemy commander, nor has there been any declaration of war from Takeda Shingen. Odd.” He mused, moving a map out before him, he tapped it with a finger. “Kai is not far from Suruga, what if the attacks on Mino are simply a diversion, to draw my forces away from Suruga so that he can sack it?” Yoshimoto frowned. “No, this isn’t Shingen.” He stepped away from the table. “Shingen, for all his faults and flaws, is arrogant. He lusts for glory and recognition, he would have formally declared war so that he could gain all the glory for his victories.” He turned back to the maps. “Owari province would be the next target. There was an Oda child that escaped my attack on Owari. As his uncle stated that the boy had escaped. What was his name?” Teshima knew that his Daimyo would remember in a moment.
    He has a swift mind, and I must guard him with my life. “Nobunaga.” He spoke the name softly. “The boy was reported to be around fourteen years old. But . . . a child, he should be harmless. But, perhaps one of the Takeda generals are aiding him, conducting the battles on his behalf. That would explain his victories.”


    “Shall I send word to Shiraishi in Mikawa? He has five thousand men readily available. He could reinforce Nobuyasu at Owari, and defeat the Takeda armies.” yet Yoshimoto was lost in thought, finally he turned back and spoke.



    “No, do not send word at all. I have twenty five thousand men at my disposal. Should this child become a threat I’ll deal with him personally.” Yoshimoto hinted at a smile. “I wish to learn more of our adversary. Send word to Owari, and inform Nobuyasu that I want information, tell him that I want to know who leads that host against him. Nobuyasu will wish aid, so send word to Mikawa and tell Shiraishi to withhold his troops until my direct command. Tell him it is imperative.” his fingers tapped upon the table. “I have a new foe, it appears the Oda wish to rise from the ashes.” A laugh emerged from his Daimyo’s lips. “I feel almost regret for the Oda child I will kill, almost.” He whispered the sentiment, and then turned away. “See the orders done, Teshima-san.” Yoshimoto nodded towards him. And his hand raised. “Before you leave, I give you leave to inform your family, and I grant you a week to rest and do what you will. Sleep well my friend.” Teshima bowed, and strode from the room.
    Yoshimoto-sama is a good man, a great man. One could not ask for a better Daimyo.


    He sighed and nodded to his lord.
    I will avenge you, brother. He knew that a mere boy could not have done what the reports said. Some Takeda dog must be helping him, trying to weaken Yoshimoto-sama so that the Takeda can take advantage.


    He strode away, going to relay the orders that his lord had set.



    Soon enough the Oda will fall, and after that the Takeda, and after them the world will be at the fingertips of the Imagawa!



    ***
    Nobunaga

    An Oda banner flew above my head, it waved in the wind, high upon a pole. I smiled at it, proud to be seeing my own banner, the banner of the Oda, once again. Along the column of horsemen and infantry the Oda banner flew upon the standards, the Takeda men looked disgruntled at not fighting beneath their own banner, in the name of their own clan, but none dared voice a complaint.



    “We’re going home, Himichiro, finally.” I whispered towards him, almost not believing they were true.
    I have come so far, and I have fought so desperately, will it all be snatched away from me?


    “We will battle at Owari, Nobunaga-sama, but will we have victory at Owari? What do you plan to do?” I could hear the curiosity in his voice, though his tone was soft and cautious.
    He still has not completely forgiven me. My mouth curled into a snarl at the thought. We must be unified, if we are to hold Owari, when I have victory we have a month to solidify our hold and recruit our own troops, before the Takeda abandon me. “I intend to be victorious, yet that does not answer your question, my friend. I intend to challenge uncle Nobuyasu to a duel. Should he win, my army will disband, should I be victorious, Owari will be mine.” Himichiro’s horse appeared beside me, his eyes were haunted, and yet they held a great joy in them.


    “Nobunaga-sama . . . by your will, allow me to champion you, to avenge your mother and . . .”



    “No!” I interrupted sharply, slicing my hand across the air. “This is one battle I will fight myself, the failure at Owari is mine to bear, and his treachery must be met with punishment. The Daimyo presides over cases of crime, and I will give him a proper execution, once he is defeated.” Himichiro looked grim, and his mouth was cast into a frown, yet his voice was a soft and courteous whisper.



    “As you wish, Nobunaga-sama.” His head turned forward, and his head was held straight.
    I think a part of him is pleased, pleased that I am personally ending this, reclaiming my homeland. Yet I sighed. My skill with a blade is no better than that of a common Samurai, I have no extraordinary talent with a blade, I am not as fierce a fighter as Ieyasu, nor as skillful as Himichiro.


    “Ieyasu.” I called out to him, I heard the hoofbeats of a horse, and the thunder of a rider.



    “Nobunaga-san.” Ieyasu spoke coolly, his yari was strapped to the side of his horse, and was in reach at all moments. He spoke no more than that greeting, waiting for me to continue.
    He should not defer to me, I am not his lord, I am not his Daimyo.


    “Nobuyuki will wish to watch this battle, I charge you with his safety and . .. “ I stopped, the words catching in my throat.
    Should it look if I will fall, take him from the battlefield, I do not wish for my brother to see me die. Ieyasu looked to me, his eyes held a dark cast to them, but he smiled slightly. “I hear you intend to duel Nobuyasu. Should the duel look against you, do you wish for me to take Nobuyuki from the field? Saving him from viewing your end?” I nodded, my mouth curling into a frown.


    “I don’t intend to lose, however, should the outcome look grim, I entrust him to you.” I let out a breath I hadn’t realised I had been holding. “My brother exceeds my own importance. I would kill a thousand men to keep him from harm, Keep him safe, Ieyasu.”



    The youth nodded, the smile dashed from his lips. “You have my word, Nobunaga-sama, Daimyo of the Oda clan, and Lord of Owari. I shall protect your brother with my life.” WIth his oath I rode forward, trying to conceal the tears that burned my cheeks.
    Nobuyuki must live, gods be damned if I die, but he must! This war I fight, it is for him. My soldiers, marched, adorned in yellow and black armour. It is for them, for Ieyasu and HImichiro! For myself, for the people I must avenge, if I do not raise the blade in resistance, if I do not seek vengeance, who else will?


    “Soldiers of the Oda clan.” I called to them, reigning my horse in, the soldiers turned, whether men of the Oda, or bannermen of the Takeda, their heads turned towards me, looking upon me, some with reverence, others with hope, and some with foreboding. “For the last half year we have fled from our homes, our families, everything that we believed made us who we are.” My eyes washed over them, a few of the men looked sorrowful at that, remembering the families they had left behind, the friends they had rejected at the gates of the castle. “However.” My voice boomed. “Our retreat will not be in vain! We have returned! We will avenge those that died, we will free those that are chained, and we will liberate our souls from the sorrow we bear! My soldiers, my friends! All those that fight, know this, and heed me now. If on the morrow we fight at Owari, and if we are pushed back, should the Heavens be against us, then let not a man be disheartened! For what we fight for, is righteous! Men of Oda! We are returning home! We will free our people with fire and sword. For the Oda clan!”



    The men bellowed with me, soldiers of my clan drawing their blades, a few of the Takeda men joined as well, but some shook their heads and continued marching. My own blade was in my grasp, and thrust into the air, behind me the banners of the Oda clan whirled and whipped in the fierce wind, behind me men called “Oda! Oda! Oda! Liberate Owari!” And before me men roared their agreement.



    Himichiro rode up beside me, and a small smile played upon his lips. “They are your men, Nobunaga-sama. I am your sworn sword, to the the day I meet my end, I shall defend you and yours.” he drew his blade, and thrust it into the air. “In victory or defeat, I am a man of the Oda clan.” His blade went forward. “March! For the Oda! For home!” The soldiers cried out once again,and began their march, swifter and more vigorous than before.



    I kicked the heels into my horse, a smile across my lips “We are going home.” I whispered to myself. “I am going home, father.” I looked to the sky now. “Mother, I am returning.”



    I am returning home.




    The walls of Owari looked broken, in some places the wall had yet to be repaired, and in places where the wall was repaired the job looked half done, as if they had not cared to truly reinforce the walls.
    My uncle cares not for the safety of his people. The thought made fury coil in my stomach. Bastard! First you betray them! Then you oppress them. I let out an exasperated sigh.


    It felt strange, looking on Owari once more, it did not look as it did. It no longer held its pride strong, and its beauty now looked faded and old. Owari looked forlorn, as if a thousand years had passed since I had last seen my city.



    A hollow chuckle escaped my lips.
    Not a thousand years, but six months. How it has changed! Himichiro rode up beside me, his head bowed and a frown upon his face. “It . . . it is not as it was.”


    No, it is a shell of its former self, its beauty and glory, are gone.
    “It is ashes of what was once something grand and beautiful. My home, Himichiro, is nothing more than stone now. The life is gone from my citys soul.”


    I drew my blade. “Its time I bring it back to its beauty, my friend.” I rode forward, what I would say was already in my mind, but looking to the walls. Looking to the men adorned in yellow and black armour, some held yumi’s, others held yari. A few looked upon me with fear, some curiosity, a few joy and others utter contempt.
    I abandoned them to the fires, how can I expect them to welcome me with open arms?


    I drew a breath, and began to speak.





    ***


    Hideyoshi

    The reports had been false, there was not a host of fifteen thousand Takeda men before the walls of Owari. Far from it, there was a host of four thousand soldiers, who marched beneath the banner of the Oda.
    My banner, the banner of my Daimyo. However, the one that stood before the walls to make demands, or to speak, looked as if he was a child. He was young, certainly. But he was dressed in the colours of the Oda, as were some two hundred men behind him. But the other soldiers were further back, further away. Those were dressed in black and red, the colours of the Takeda.


    The Daimyo has returned.
    Everyone knew of Nobuhude’s death at Mikawa. But after that it was not clear what had happened, it had been whispered that Nobunaga had imprisoned both his mother and uncle, to avoid any debate over his rule. But it had also been said that Nobunaga had been killed by assassins and that it was his brother, Nobuyuki, who had taken over as Daimyo. But Nobuyuki was just eight, and the one before us looks at least fourteen, He growled softly at the thought, those that had survived the sacking of Owari had told stories of horror, madness and butchery. They had spoken of how the gates to the Castle of Owari had been closed off to them, that those in charge had denied them safety, had rejected their sacred duty to protect the common people. Is this the man that ordered them to keep the gates closed? Hideyoshi didn’t know, but he wasn’t a fool. If the boy before them was the one that had rejected to open the gates for his people than Hideyoshi knew that he would rather have Nobuyasu as Daimyo over a treacherous braggart who believed he had a right to the Oda clan after what he did.


    A commotion came from behind him as Nobuyasu and his retinue of thirty Samurai followed behind. Behind them came a contingent of Imagawa soldiers. Hideyoshi’s hands gripped his yumi tightly.
    One Daimyo allowed his people to burn and be cut down by Imagawa men. Another allowed those same people into the city as our betters! The thoughts bombarded him, and for a moment he felt light headed and out of breath. But she shook his head fiercely. No! I must keep steady!


    “Who are you to dare attack me?” Roared Nobuyasu-sama. Hideyoshi could not see him unless he tilted his head, but he could hear the anger that gripped his tones. “Who are you to come before the walls of Owari with an army? Have the Takeda so little honour that they would turn on an ally? Do they have so little strength that they would question the might of the Oda clan?”



    Behind him a Samurai came. “Nock arrows.” the man called. The common men beside Hideyoshi did as bid. But his mind fought with alarm
    Nock arrows? This is a parlay! A discussion between the two opposing generals.


    But he did as he was commanded, taking an arrow from his quiver he placed it on the string. He sighed, closing his eyes. He looked forward, towards the boy adorned in the same colours as himself. The boy had a blade drawn, but now he threw it forward, and it dug into the ground, swaying a little before it steadied.



    He rode towards the walls of the castle, Hideyoshi’s side. Men of the Oda clan! I see that you line the walls today in defense of our city.”
    Our, not his, he said our. He sees the commons as his equals? “You do what I did not, you are defending your home and your people. You are fighting for your families and friends. I . . .” the boy stopped speaking. “My name is Nobunaga, eldest son of Oda Nobuhide, late Daimyo of the Oda Clan and Ruler of Owari Province. I am the boy that abandoned you when you needed me to the utmost. I was weak where I should have been strong.” He stopped talking, and Nobuyasu cackled.


    Nobunaga! You thick headed fool! You have not learned, have you? You are a child, you failed to defend your city, and that is why I am here. Come, I will open the gates and you and your men will be allowed entrance into my city.”
    My city, those are the words he spoke. He believes it is his right.


    The boy’s face was contorted with rage. “You! Bastard deserving of a thousand deaths! You opened the gates! You allowed the Imagawa entrance to Owari! Do not try to manipulate me with promises and hopes. I will win Owari today, for my people! For my father and for my mother, and for all those I failed before! I will
    not bend before your tyranny and your weakness to bow before the Imagawa. This . ..” he stopped again, Nobunaga dismounted from his horse.


    “This is a formal declaration of war on the Imagawa clan.” He strode towards the city gates. “I will avenge my father at Mikawa, my mother’s death here, and I will get vengeance for your betrayal uncle. People of Owari!” Nobunaga bellowed now, before the gates of his home, dismounted, he looked tired, sorrowful, and youthful.
    Nobuyasu is right, he is a child playing at war. “For the last six months me and the soldiers that fled from Owari have been fighting, we fought for the Takeda in two battles, we battled the Kiso in South Shinano, and we fought the Imagawa at Mino. We fought, for you! To return to you. I wish to make amends for my failures, I wish to liberate you from the Imagawa, from my uncle. Men, women and children of the Oda clan. You will never bow again, you will never bend before the Imagawa again! You will be free! Uncle! I challenge you to a duel! Allow the Heavens to decide which of us is the rightful ruler of the Oda clan! Should I fail, the Takeda will withdraw immediately, and those that followed me from Owari will await your judgement, you will be the undisputed ruler of Owari and the Daimyo of the Oda clan.” Nobunaga looked out of breath, he looked exhausted.


    He has fought so many foes, faced many a blade and seen more horrors than many men. Yet this is the deciding moment, this is what it comes down to.



    “Uncle, I want vengeance for my father,for my mother, and for those I failed. Should I be victorious against you in the duel, I will be Daimyo of the Oda clan, ruler of Owari, and
    you will face my judgement. Should I be victorious every Imagawa soldier in Owari will be executed, and all that aided you in betraying the Oda will be imprisoned.” When did Nobuyasu betray the Oda? He surrendered to the Imagawa, but that was all he did, wasn’t it?


    Hideyoshi looked towards Nobunaga, the boy.
    He is a child. Bit he could see it now, that boy had a coldness to him, the way he held himself. The words he spoke, they held a clarity and authority to them that Nobuyasu lacked, he was everything his father had not been. He is the true Daimyo of the Oda. Hideyoshi could see it now, the battles against the Imagawa, the rise of the Oda clan once more. We will be great again.


    But it comes down to Nobuyasu’s answer. At this point of time he could refuse and order us all to rain arrows down upon Nobunaga.
    He shivered at the thought, he could imagine it. The child’s corpse filled with arrows, his hand reaching to the sky, as if in pleading for it not to be real, for it all to be false. Hideyoshi shivered again. Damn you Nobuyasu, I will not descend into dishonour because you are a coward!


    “I accept your challenge!” Nobuyasu spoke gleefully, as if he was all too pleased with the outcome. “We shall duel, and the loser shall be slain, good. Very good.” He heard Nobuyasu descend down the ramparts. “Open the gates!” he bellowed, and the steel screeched as the gates were opened. He walked out onto the field, and Hideyoshi Watched as Nobunaga stalked towards his blade, he gripped it and pulled it from the earth, he turned to face his uncle. When he did so Hideyoshi saw true ferocity in his eyes, it was the epitome of hatred and anger, mixed with sorrow and grief.
    Whatever Nobuyasu did, it has shattered Nobunaga, and Nobunaga wants vengeance. Perhaps Nobuyasu truly did open the gates . . . perhaps he truly did betray us.


    Hideyoshi watched as the true battle for the fate of Owari, and that of the Oda clan, began.



    Hope you enjoyed the update!

    Read this after you've read the update, thanks.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Sorry for the lack of battle in this update, please tell me whether or not it was too dull or not. I couldn't decide whether to add the duel in or not in Chapter Twelve.

    Chapter Thirteen should have a battle, either that or Chapter Fourteen will have two.

    Eventually there will be battle, I promise.


    Thanks

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  14. #94

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Twelve Updated 10/1/2015

    Great stuff, I loved Nobunaga's speech and the bit with Yoshimoto was an intriguing touch. And is this the Hideyoshi? Oh how I relish having Nobunaga, Ieyasu and Hideyoshi in one story. I think it was good you didn't include a battle and ended it where you did. Sometimes it's best to leave out some blood. Makes the effect all the more poignant when people do die.

  15. #95
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Twelve Updated 10/1/2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Great stuff, I loved Nobunaga's speech and the bit with Yoshimoto was an intriguing touch. And is this the Hideyoshi? Oh how I relish having Nobunaga, Ieyasu and Hideyoshi in one story. I think it was good you didn't include a battle and ended it where you did. Sometimes it's best to leave out some blood. Makes the effect all the more poignant when people do die.
    Thank you my friend! I was a bit worried about Nobunaga's speech!

    You'll be seeing a little bit more of Yoshimoto, just a LITTLE bit more. But quite a bit more of Teshima.

    It is indeed the Hideyoshi, glad that you like him, Ieyasu and Nobunaga! Not quite certain where I will take Hideyoshi, I have his beginning and and the start of his middle act planned out. I also know how he will end, but I do not know the specifics with him. So, if you have any ideas I'm open to hear them!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  16. #96
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Twelve Updated 10/1/2015

    You have great characters, culture, drama, political intrigue and descriptive writing - this is a very enjoyable read (+rep).

  17. #97
    NCR's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Eleven Updated 29/11/2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigellinus View Post

    No, it is a shell of its former self, its beauty and glory, are gone.
    “It is ashes of what was once something grand and beautiful. My home, Himichiro, is nothing more than stone now. The life is gone from my citys soul.”


    This is a just an example of why I think you are one of the best writers in the site. I loved this chapter, especially the return of Nobunaga. A great chapter and I can't wait to see the duel. It will be awesome!

  18. #98
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Twelve Updated 10/1/2015

    *COUGH*Geonwithitsowecanallrepyou!*COUGH*

  19. #99
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Twelve Updated 10/1/2015

    AHHH! I knew I had forgotten something, apparently it was to check this and reply to people!


    Alwyn: Thank you for the compliments, in spite of those, is there anything you believe I can/should improve on? This question extends to all of you, actually!

    NCR: Such praise is seldom directed at me, and I thank you immensely for that compliment and the support! However, you should read Merchant's Way of the Bow and a few of McScottish's AARs, then that opinion will change, and rightly so! I do thank you, however, for the compliment! I hope you enjoy the rest of the story, and I hope the duel is to your liking!

    McScottish: you could rep me anyway! Joking, joking. You have read Chapter Twelve I am assuming? I shall indeed get on with it! I am, sadly, busy once again! I never thought I would ENJOY going back to school, but it has proved interesting these last two days. I will get onto Chapter Thirteen son, I promise!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  20. #100
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Twelve Updated 10/1/2015

    Chapter Thirteen - Dance of Fates
    Chapter Thirteen

    The Dance of Fates


    Hideyoshi

    The wind itself paid homage to the two combatants. The once roaring wind that hissed in his ears was now still and silent. The only sounds to be heard were the heavy footsteps of Nobuyasu, weighed down by the duty he bore, he must kill his nephew for the sake of his clan.


    Hideyoshi gripped his yumi, the arrow was still nocked steadfast into it. All he would have t do was aim and fire, and he could end the duel in a heartbeat. No! This is the battle of fates, the victor of this battle will be victorious by Heaven’s decree! He sighed. Nobunaga said ours, ours. The city is ours, not his. But Nobuyasu said his, he believes it is his right, that we are his property.


    He looked down at the young Daimyo, Nobunaga. The boy stood with his blade touching the grass, he had not taken up a stance yet. Hideyoshi could see the piercing eyes of that Daimyo, that child. I heard of how Nobushige was saved by a child, but him? Was it he who saved the Takeda’s general? Hideyoshi grimaced. I have also heard of the White Tent, and how the Kiso betrayed those within it and cut down the defending soldiers and tried to kill those in parlay. But was it Nobunaga who was attacked? Was it he who was forced to watch as his men were slaughtered at a peace talk? He frowned, trying to envision how the boy must have felt in that situation. I am several years his elder, and he has seen more death and destruction than I ever wish to. He bowed his head solemnly at the thought, but once again turned his attention towards the two, one a man of renown, and another a child.


    The gates opened to reveal Nobuyasu stroll out before his nephew. “There is still time, you can still surrender, Nobunaga. Pay homage to me as Lord of Owari, as Daimyo of the Oda. I won Nobunaga, you lost. Accept defeat.” Nobuyasu’s voice was soothing,soft and kind, as he tried to dissuade his nephew from a dual. To his credit Nobunaga looked as if he would spit fire. He stepped towards his uncle and drew his blade. Hideyoshi watched in anticipation as Nobunaga drew back into an aggressive stance. His mouth was curled into a snarl and his eyes were locked upon his uncle.


    “You wish for me to bow? To bend beneath your rule? After your betrayal? You bastard! You coward! You wretched . .. “ Nobunaga stopped, closing his eyes as he made an effort to calm down. This time his voice was softer now, but it held even more menace in it. “I will never bow before you, uncle. I will avenge my mother, my father, and everyone else I have failed.” Nobuyasu drew his own blade, but only laughter and scorn emerged from his lips in reply.


    “So be it, let the pup die for its insolence.” Nobuyasu launched his attack, it was sudden and brutal, his katana slicing through the air, it was unnaturally swift. Nobunaga in answer, instead of backing away, instead of deflecting the blows and defending, lunged forward> THeir blades clashed and Nobunaga swiped, and slashed, fury driving his moves. Hideyoshi watched as Nobuyasu was driven back, yet guis blade blocked every blow that was driven at him, finally he stepped to the side and slashed his blade. Hideyoshi nearly cried out he watched Nobunaga try to parry and dodge the blow, but he was too late, the blade sliced as his arm and blood welled from it instantly.


    Hideyoshi watched as the young boy cursed and danced away from his uncle, blood covered half of his arm already. Hideyoshi watched as Nobunaga grunted, but he soon resumed his attack. Fool! Nobuyasu has struck at your sword arm, with the pain from the wound you will tire swiftly, and after that . .. after that it will be simple for him to gain victory. Hideyoshi screamed in his mind, but he did not know why, what loyalty did he owe this boy? His father had ruled before him, yes, but his father had died, and he had stepped to rule in his place. His poor judgement had lead to the death of hundreds of Oda. While he rode around the country, fighting battles, earning victories, striking alliances and playing the Daimyo his people laboured away, beneath a man that sold their freedom. He gritted his teeth. Who shall I side with? Who has my loyalty? Hideyoshi knew that whomever he chose, would have his loyalty until he drew his last breath. But who?



    The dance continued, the blood from Nobunaga’s arm was leading a splattered trail behind him as he struck at his uncle, Nobunaga;’s attacks were swift, but his speed and ferocity was waning as the pain overtook him. His energy, driven by his anger and lust for the blood of his uncle, was swiftly draining as his attacks were met with futility as they battled with his uncle’s stalwart defence.


    Hideyoshi watched as the young boy roared, and lunged once again, swiping wildly, and then stabbing out. Nobuyasu dived, but even so the blade cut at his side. Hideyoshi watched as Nobuyasu looked at his nephew in shock, his shock quickly gave way to fury. “You impudent little ! How dare you! I’ll kill you!” He gave a roar and charged, blade a blur of attacks . . .


    Nobunaga

    I drew my blade across me, trying to deflect my uncle’s blows. Desperately trying to block and parry. Himichiro has taught me that to fight it must be innate, it must be drilled into me. Thinking leads to death. My blade was a whir,a blur, and I whirled, catching my uncle’s blade in my own. But it was only brief before his blade started sweeping again, and I was once again driven backwards.


    There was a spurt 0of blood, it was small, but it trailed on the ground beside me. I tried to move my hand to block the flurry of strikes, but my hand wasn’t moving. My katana wasn’t moving. I looked down at confusion, the battle slowing within my mind.


    My katana was upon the ground, still lodged firmly in the grip of my right hand, lying within the snow, the ground red and wet as the crimson mixed with the white.


    I screamed, the pain taking every thought of the duel from my mind, I felt a stab of pain at my leg, but it didn’t matter, not until I found that I was on the ground. My vision was getting black, but I couldn’t6 fade away not now. I cannot die yet, I can’t! I held my arm out in front of me, my hand was severed from the wrist. I heard someone screaming, heard someone shouting my name. “Nobuyuki. I whispered, “brother, I failed.” A laugh crept from my lips as I felt warmth swell within me, I heard its insanity, heard the madness within. I closed my eyes, and opened them again to find my uncle leaning over me, blade raised high for the killing blow.


    I smiled then, soft as winter. Thank you, uncle. End the pain, please. Take . . . take care of our people. Succeed where I failed, please.


    And then he stumbled, an arrow through his neck. Then the world darkened.







    I should make note: This will be the only chapter of this length, I promise. I should also make note that I intend to do a Contents section and a Character list I will get on to all that now! Then I will Writing Chapter Fourteen, or I''ll add it to Chapter Thirteen, haven't decided yet. I am actually considering re-writing the duel, I think it needs a bit more work, do tell me if you agree!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

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