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

  1. #101
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    I'm enjoying this. I really like your descriptions of battles, and your characters are intriguing.

    I haven't played Shogun 2 (my somewhat elderly laptop can't manage it), and I know very little about Japanese history, so I struggled with working out who was who and where things were to start with. I was interested enough to go and look up a couple of maps from the appropriate era and find out a bit more about some of the historical versions of your characters, though, so you're obviously doing something right.

    Personally, I quite liked the length of Chapter Thirteen. Opinions are bound to vary on that, and you should obviously do what works for you (if you don't, we probably won't get any more chapters at all!) but I wanted to say that I - speaking only for myself - don't think there's anything wrong with this length.

  2. #102
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    I agree with Comrade Caillagh, there is nought wrong with the length. Personally, I really loved that chapter!

    Epic, far-reaching, and now with a wee cliff hanger...perfect...they are all...perfect.

  3. #103

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    I concur with my fellow readers, an excellent chapter. The length wasn't an issue personally, I myself have started leaning towards smaller chapters and I have seen a host of other authors do the same. It was an interesting to see Hideyoshi's mixed loyalties and I take it it was him who shot Nobayusa down. I see this is where the legend of Hideyoshi starts.

    Good luck in the AAROTY and the other Writer's Study Awards, good to see Nobunaga get a look in.

  4. #104
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Thank you for the rep and support my friends!

    Would you rather I do shorter chapters? I normally end up, instead of writing each day, end up writing chapters in one long bout of writing. Normally for an hour or two for the longer chapters. Which can lead to longer chapters, normally I just stop writing when I feel the chapter is done, do some quick revision and make certain it is reasonable. Do you prefer shorter chapters to longer chapters? Or would you rather I try break up the longer chapters with screenshots/pictures?


    Caillagh: First, love your name, I used that name in a story I am writing as a side. I was somewhat surprised to see a user who was named similarly/exactly to a character I sued in a story. (Not posted here, but will be once In the Light of Dusk is done.)

    I apologies for that inconvenience, and hopefully that will be sorted soon when I get the character list up! But, if it interested you enough to try and find out more about them, then that is marvelous! I am happy to have interested you and I am glad you are enjoying the story!


    McScottish: You're certain? The chapter was good? See, normally I have a feeling, a standard of what I will post. I feel like the chapter didn't cut it, like it was dead and dull to me. It is irritating, and I desperately want to rewrite it, even in the private version, haha. But, it is actually acceptable?

    You are too kind my friend! I think that is the first time I've tried to employ a cliffhanger. I was originally going to have Hideyoshi shoot him in the leg, and Nobunaga would cut his arm off, then Nobunaga would have his uncle crucified and stabbed several times on either side. (Thanks Wikipedia, for giving me a grisly Japanese death sentence.) And I didn't even decide not to, I just wrote and Nobuyasu ended up being shot in the throat and Nobunaga ended up losing an arm.

    Almost surprised me actually, I now understand what people mean by 'the characters dictate the story."

    Merchant of Venice: Haha, thank you my friend! I am quite surprised that everyone found the chapter alright! Surprised, but obviously pleased. Indeed, the legend of Hideyoshi begins, and I know how his ends, I know how it all ends. Today has been a good day for In the Light of Dusk.Also, Merchant. You mentioned Ieyasu's love interest, well, that begins in the next chapter, I don't know how I'll work it in that they'll get together, but they will. I think, unless I end up having her drowned. Eh, we'll see.

    Thanks. and I wish you luck as well! Though I doubt you need it!

    This has actually got me thinking a bit, so I pose a question to you all. What makes good writing? Also, what makes good writing great?

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  5. #105
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigellinus View Post
    Caillagh: First, love your name, I used that name in a story I am writing as a side. I was somewhat surprised to see a user who was named similarly/exactly to a character I sued in a story. (Not posted here, but will be once In the Light of Dusk is done.)
    Hey, thanks! I'm honoured you like it. And now I want to know what my namesake is like - I'm looking forward to seeing that story (as well as the rest of In the Light of Dusk, obviously).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigellinus View Post
    I apologies for that inconvenience, and hopefully that will be sorted soon when I get the character list up! But, if it interested you enough to try and find out more about them, then that is marvelous! I am happy to have interested you and I am glad you are enjoying the story!
    You have nothing to apologise for. I knew I didn't have much of the background information for a Shogun 2 AAR when I started reading it; the fact that I started reading anyway is entirely my own responsibility. The fact that I wanted to keep reading - enough to go and look for information to help me - that part is your responsibility. You've educated me - which is always cool - and entertained me. And I really don't think you should be apologising for that.

    On to your questions (such of them as I can answer at all):
    Chapter length: I can really only repeat what I said in my last post - I think the right length is the length you're happy with, since you're the one writing this. I've been writing stuff for a Skyrim AAR, and I've found that I've written the first bit as one longish section - but I think I'm going to post it as more than one part. So if you're happier writing in longer chunks, you can still choose afterwards whether you post it all at once or in smaller bits. (Or some chapters one way and some another, depending on what you think suits the chapter.)

    Was it a good chapter? OK, so I'm not McScottish. (Although I am honoured - I've been honoured twice in one day, I might never recover! - to have been considered a Comrade of his.) But I thought it was good. I really liked how it narrates an important event - Nobuyasu's defeat - and progresses your main plot, while actually being about Hideyoshi.

    I need to think about the good/great writing question before I even dare to contemplate trying to answer it. I suspect different people might have different views about some parts of that, though.

  6. #106

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    I think everyone but Radzeer will need luck!!

    What makes good writing great? Even if it's a cliche, I think it depends on the ability for the story to grip you and for the world to be believable, for the characters to be real and for it all to come together. I don't necessarily think the quality of the prose needs to be great, we've seen with many great books, the prose itself isn't that outstanding and sometimes books with technically brilliant prose and descriptive writing get bogged down in synonyms and adjectives and adverbs.

    If we look at the historical fiction (AARs) or historical fiction, I think it comes down heavily to the world. I think even historical fiction needs a sort of fantasy constructed world, you, as the writer, have to treat a different era like it is a different world. But sometimes a great world is failed by its characters or by its prose. Characters have to feel real and I think third person is the best way to achieve this personally. Sometimes I feel first person to be restrictive and not just restrictive but it feels childish, saying "I did this and I did that". Finally, the plot has to be exciting, believable and have an air of unpredictability. You don't have to kill every character but you did have to create a sense that these people are just people in a world and that it is no different if they die than if the guy next to them dies.

    I think aSoIaF does this all wonderfully. I admit, I have become a fanboy after the past year of reading all the books and nothing else. And when I finished A Dance with Dragons I put the book down and took a deep breath. It has a truly epic feel to it and I think that is brilliant writing. I had a similar effect after seeing Gone Girl which i thought was great, though I haven't read the book. The whole plot made you just breathe at the end. Same with the Great Gatsby (book), the Hobbit (book).

    How to write great writing will be something that will be debated for many years, decades, centuries to come. As long as we have fiction we will have this debate. And as the years go on, different people will have different examples to bring up. I think that is what is so wonderful about writing and the arts in general, it is forever changing, just like humanity.

  7. #107
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Thank you for your comments and help, my good friends!

    Enjoy the chapter, and tell me your opinions on it!

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Chapter Fourteen
    Slumber of Hopes and Sorrows

    Nobunaga

    Are you resigned to death? A voice whispered to me, it was faint, but certainly there. I opened my eyes, to see myself standing within the clouds. It was a queer sight, as below me there was a vast city. It was beautiful, towering houses, stone and wood gleaming, polished and brazen. Yet looking upon the outskirts the city was surrounded, surrounded by an army of men dressed in a deep blue and gold.


    Are you resigned to death? The voice asked again, startling me. “Where are you?” I asked curiously. “Where am I?” The voice did not answer me, and instead a wind roared around me. ARE YOU RESIGNED TO DEATH? It roared at me, like thunder it raged. I stepped back, upon my ledge within the clouds.


    “No.” I answered, “there is much left I have to do. Death . . . death must wait for now.” My voice shook as I spoke the words. Why? What is it that you must achieve?


    “Everything. I have to build the Oda again, I have to make them stronger, so that we can defeat the Imagawa, that bastard Yoshimoto.” I waved my hands in the air, both hands. For a moment I stared at my right hand, it seemed odd that it was there, though I could not say why.


    The Imagawa? Do you not see below? That is the fate of the Oda, should you fight the Imagawa. Should you resist then you will die. I lunged at nothing, at the air. “No! Not after everything! We will not fall. I will not fall.” The voice laughed, scorn and malice within its voice. You do not choose whether you fall or rise. You have risen further than you should have, perhaps it is time for you to topple? The voice boomed with laughter. Good bye, Nobunaga of the Oda clan.


    The ledge I was standing upon gave way, and I tumbled towards the ground. I could see the city below rushing up to meet me, the crowded streets, the bustling markets, riders racing through the streets, drunk on sake and amusement. I could see the Tenshu, proud and large, and bristling with defenders, each amn looking staunch and determined. I could see those men in gold and blue, how they laxed against their yari, sang around the camp fires, practiced their combat abilities against each other. The dull thuds of metal hitting wood and the clash of steel ringing against steel filled my ears as I fell.



    No! I cannot die. I cursed inside my mind, finding myself at a loss for my voice. But the ground was getting closer, the paved streets. “STOP!” I bellowed.


    And it did. I hung there in the air. Suspended over houses, over a city and over a besieging army. I watched onwards. But then the scene changed, changed drastically. It was no longer a city, but a building. No,a room. I am in . . . my chambers? The room did not look like my old chambers. The paintings were wrong, the book shelves were bare, but maps were spread across the table, there was a man standing there. Black hair a unkempt mop around his head it was . . .


    Me. What is this madness? I looked upon myself, tapping at maps, hand curled into a fist. “It won’t work.” A woman said softly, I turned to watch a girl walk forward, she looked a little older than I did now, and there was nothing particular about her beauty, but something did draw the eye. I watched as the woman stalked towards the second me, still pondering over the maps. She gripped the second’s me arm, leaning in close. “I am sorry, husband. But it won’t work. This dream of yours . . . if it succeeded it would be grand. But what will it cost you? The clan? It cannot work, too many factors stand in the way.” She strode away from the copy, and walked towards the window. “I know . . . I know the battle has shaken you greatly, I know that nearly losing Nobuyuki has torn you. But, nothing is worth the cost of what you will do, nothing Nobunaga.”


    The copy of me turned his gaze from the maps, stepping away. Looking towards myself noting seemed too different. I looked older, though, at least five or six years had passed. I looked towards the arm, and saw that the copy of me was missing its right arm. “I know, ake.” The copy said softly. Do I always sound cold? So without any emotion at all? The voice gave me a shiver. “But, to create a better world one must shatter the old. It will . . . be violent. I will do dire things. In the end I will give my life for Nobuyuki’s dream, your dream, my dream. But, until that moment, until I have drawn my last breath.” He stopped talking, and he turned away, left hand curled into a fist. “I nearly lost him, Kae. They nearly killed him! My brother! I could do nothing! “ The copy of me was shaking, trembling. “”If he dies, Kae, then there is nothing left for me but his memory, and his dream. I will defend Nobuyuki, and I will see he live to see his dream come to fruition. Whether I have to betray my closest friends, kill my family members, tarnish my honour. I will never lose.


    The woman named Kae, my wife. My wife? What? The thought left me stunned for a moment. Marriage had never really mattered to me, I had always assumed that my father would set me a match with someone to improve the clan’s strength. Kae stepped forward, anger on her face. “And what if you die, Nobunaga?” She snarled at me. “What if you fall in your foolish ambition to create a new world? Where will that leave Nobuyuki? Where will that leave me? The Oda?” Her hands had curled into fists. She has a fury. I noted with slight apprehension. “Are you truly so selfish as to throw your life away for a wish?”


    The copy of me turned on her so suddenly, he took two steps and had his hand around her throat. “Be silent, woman.” he growled at her. “Everything I do, I do for Nobuyuki, for you, and for the Oda. I will not be swayed from this path. Now be silent.” No! I roared in my head. I would never harm a woman, would I? My wife? I shivered,


    Lady Kae left, striding from the room, she looked exhausted, tired. I saw her look back on my copy, tears in her eyes. “He will never return, he has forsaken me, and I cannot do anything but love him for who he was.” She turned away, striding away. I had a deep feeling of guilt and pain in my stomach then. Turning to look at myself. He stood straight, looking out the window. “I’ve seen this all, haven’t I? That vision I had, after I lost my hand in the duel against my uncle.” The voice was soft.


    Heavens! What is this? He turned, and his eyes bore into my own. “You must stop this from happening. You must not break, you must bend. You will shatter otherwise, listen to those words, always. Trust in Ieyasu, defend Nobuyuki, and . . .” he seemed to trail off. But then he strode forward,and he raised his hand to my face. “Love Kae, she deserves it. Do not harm her, no matter how much rage you feel. Do not . . . do not ever wrong her.” His face seemed to sag for a moment, and I saw sorrow in my eyes. They are not mine! Not mine!


    “See the dream through, to the end. No matter the cost.” Nobunaga of the Oda clan, Wolf of Owari, my own self, whispered to me.


    The vision blackened, and then more assailed me. A ring of Uesugi around the Oda, Date warriors aiding them in a ferocious battle. Arrows flew and fire burned, men screamed and horses died. The snow was fouled by blood, gore and brains, blood and screams filled the snow and air. Amidst it all I stood. Watching as another copy of me bellowed orders, keeping the soldiers from breaking. They are winning. I saw, the Date were cutting through the Oda lines, and the Uesugi were butchering Oda men with their monks.


    Then it drained away, all the death of that battlefield. Everything. It drained away, and I was left in a small room. With only a fire to ornament. “What was that? Everything I just saw, Kae? the battlefield?” Nothing answered by shadows. The fire blazed strongly however, and I stared down at it, allowing it to warm my bones. Gods I feel so tired, so . .. so worn.


    “You are an odd one, Oda Nobunaga.” A voice spoke from the shadows, but it was all around me, never staying still. I could not pinpoint where it was coming from. The love you have for your people is admirable, but . . . the atrocities you commit in the future. You will kill the world, and you will not even know it is dead. You will walk a wasteland of corpses and blood and bones, and you will see gold and beautiful rivers, and smiling children. You will see life where there is only death.”


    “What was it I saw?” I interjected, cutting through the shadow’s words. “What were the visions? Above the city? Lady Kae? What was that battlefield?” My voice shook, trembled, the flames of the fire danced.


    “They are the future, or at least a possibility of the future.” The shadow answered. “Heaven decrees, and so its orders are done. However, how that will is achieved is one thing. The Heavens have selected their instrument, and you will be played to whatever tune they so wish.”


    Then the voice vanished. You will be played to whatever tune they so wish.


    Then light erupted around me.


    Ieyasu

    The wind ruffled through his armour, cold and chilled. It bit at his limbs, sucking away the warmth from him. He stood beneath the towering Tenshu of Owari. The Oda had opened the gates after Nobuyasu’s death, he had gurgled on blood, and had died before Ieyasu and Himichiro had reached Nobunaga. Himichiro had tears striking his eyes when he had looked upon his young Daimyo. Nobuyuki had shoved past both of them, though, and had cradled his brother and sobbed. It had seemed as if they stood there for an hour, out there in the falling snow, in the cold and the wind.


    But then a man had come from the ranks, Nobunaga’s personal healer. he had told them to move him to the Tenshu, and there he would do what he could for the Daimyo. And that was where he was left now, Nobunaga had been unconscious for around three hours now. He will die. Ieyasu knew, he had seen it on Nobunaga’s face, in his closed eyes. The blood that surrounded his body, the blood that ran from his body. You do not survive that.


    “Where does that leave me?” He spoke to the wind, and it held no answer for him. “If Nobunaga dies, then what am I to do?” The song of a bird answered him then, but only its tune answered his words.


    Sighing Ieyasu turned to look towards the Tenshu, the doors were barred and guarded by Oda men. they stood staunch, Yari’s crossed, guarding the door as if it was Nobunaga himself. But he turned away from them, and instead looked upon the soldiers in black and red. And what shall they do? Their command is Nobunaga, but if Nobunaga dies what is stopping them from taking Owari for themselves? For granting it to the Takeda?


    The Takeda had shown themselves good men, Nobushige was an excellent soldier and a kind man. His brother was reckless and arrogant, but not a poor general. But, neither of the Tiger’s of Kai were there to restrain the soldiers from doing as they please. Already some of the soldiers had got to drinking and laughing, a few had plucked girls from the streets and made off with them. I’ll have to end that. Ieyasu knew. But I have to use the Takeda.We were given a month, a month, then they return. I will need to give them something to do, Nobunaga would not waste any time with ordering the soldiers to help the people of Owari.


    He strode towards their captain, the man was talking to a few of his soldiers, laughing and joking. They see their job as done. Ieyasu saw at once. Perhaps they will not obey my orders. His hand drifted to his yari, just to reassure himself it was still there, and within easy reach if he needed it. The captain’s eyes met his, his bright smile faltered for a second, but only for a second. “Tokugawa!” he called out, raising his cup. “Come join us in drink and song! This is a merry day! The Oda are home!”


    The Oda are home, and perhaps without the Daimyo who brought them home. Ieyasu snarled in his mind, but on the outside he made not even the slightest of movements. “Indeed, they are home. But much is to be done. Your Daimyo, Takeda Shingen, Tiger of Kai. he gave us a month to make use of you and your soldiers, after the province of Owari had been retaken by its rightful rulers.” Soon I shall have Mikawa, soon I shall be home. “Until that month is past you are subject to the commands of the Oda. Captain, I want you to take half of your men, go find a quartermaster, he will know how many materials the Oda have. Once you haven't and once you have the materials I want you to begin on repairing Owari’s defenses. The rest of your men will patrol the streets and keep the peace.” His voice washed over the soldiers, their faces darkening and their grins fading as his list of orders continued.


    “We are subject to the orders of Oda Nobunaga-sama. No you, boy. “ The captain sneered, sloshing his drink around in his cuo s he took a deep drink of it. Calm, anger will not aid me here.


    “You are subject to his rule, yes. Yet the Oda Daimyo layd near death, until such a time that he is well you will follow my orders, and you will obey them. The Oda have returned, but the larger force in their city is that of outsiders, perhaps fights will break out, riots. We need to show the people that this isn’t a Takeda conquering. The best way to do that is to show you protecting and aiding the Oda populace.” Ieyasu allowed his voice to show his anger, his tone brooking no argument. even to his own ears he sounded as dead and absent as the void, as remorseless as the tides.


    The captain stepped back, just a single step. But it was enough. He nodded. “Alright, we’ll help the Oda people, boy.” He sneered again, but then went about ordering his soldiers to do as they bid. Many complained, but they did as ordered.


    Good, the Oda will survive, just a little longer. Perhaps nobody else realised what he had just avoided, but if the Takeda had been left to their own devices they would have grown unruly, bored, and ill-tempered. He had just saved the Oda from a second sacking, this one from friendly troops.


    Ieyasu sighed, and slumped against a wall. Heavens I am tired, how does Nobunaga do this every damn day?


    There was another thought nagging at him, though. One that he didn’t know the answer to, nor how to find it. Who saved Nobunaga? Who was it that shot that arrow? He strode away from the wall and began walking away from the Tenshu. Who was it that killed Nobuyasu?


    “Ieyasu-sama! Tokugawa Ieyasu-sama!” A man came running towards him, he was dressed in the attire of a servant, and he kept his eyes downwards when Ieyasu turned to him. “Yes?” he asked, voice as mild as he could make it with the cold biting into his skin. No need to scare the man, he looks half dead himself.


    “He’s . .” He stopped, taking a deep breath. “Lord Oda Nobunaga-sama, he’s . . .” The man stopped again. Ieyasu went forward, all shred of courtesy washing away. He gripped the man by the shoulders. “What is it? What has happened to Nobunaga? Tell me!”


    The man hesitated for a moment.


    “Tokugawa Ieyasu-sama, Oda Nobunaga, he has awoken!”




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  8. #108
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Excellent chapter, with a chilling opening and great story-telling!

  9. #109

    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Perhaps the best chapter so far, the beginning section was chilling to say the least and it was probably my favourite scene or passage in the whole story. Truly excellent work my friend. What will happen I do not know but it will be thrilling that is what I do know.

  10. #110
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Agreed! Need more...more.

  11. #111
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Well, I agree with everyone else - that was an excellent chapter!






  12. #112
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015



    Slight teaser for next chapter (Its long overdue)




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  13. #113
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Hooray! A new chapter is promised!

    That's a very dramatic picture - I'm looking forward to finding out the story behind it.






  14. #114
    waveman's Avatar Decanus
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Wow, I just caught up with this and its quite impressive. I loved the part about Yoritomo. It seems so natural and is quite well done

  15. #115
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Well, firstly. Thank you both

    Secondly, I apologise for the delay!

    I took a small hiatus from writing and gaming to sort a few issues out with school and such. I didn't quite prepare myself for how taxing exams would be.

    But, I am, more or less, back on track with writing.
    The current chapter is at a point where it could be posted. But, I intend for it to have more in it. So, the question is whether or not you guys wish me to post the chapter as is, or post it when it is fully completed. (At this rate the chapter is looking to be around eight thousand words long . . . )
    But, I'm in the process of writing the rest of it now, so I guess its whether or not someone answers first before I complete it!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




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  16. #116
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    Sorry for the lateness of the reply.

    First, I hope all the issues you needed to deal with have now been firmly and satisfactorily dealt with.

    Second, you must surely know I'm going to say "Don't make me wait, Tigellinus!" Although the fact that a new chapter is on its way is obviously good news, whenever it appears (and however long it is), really.






  17. #117
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Thirteen (Part 1) Updated 10/1/2015

    I decided to split the chapter in half! I believe that eight thousand word long chapters would be a bit too long for all you with lives!

    Oh, and I apologise for the underline half way through the chapter. It isn't on word, it shouldn't be here. I don't know why and it won't fix itself
    Chapter Fifteen - Rising from the Ashes
    Chapter Fifteen
    Rising from the Ashes

    Nobunaga
    “He’s awake, but he is still weak.” I heard a man say above me. “At the moment he is lapsing in and out of consciousness, and never for more than a few seconds.” I blinked, and I saw a wooden roof above me, well lit. The light hurt my eyes, covering my eyes with my right hand I tried to sit up.

    A bandaged stump hit my cheek. My eyes opened wider in shock, and I must have made some sort of sound. For in a moment the healer was before me. “Shhh, Nobunaga-sama. You should not be rising. You are still weak.” The man gently pressed down on me, pushing me back down onto the pillows.

    “I’ve lost a hand.” I murmured, still dazed. My eyes could not leave the bandaged stump. How will I fight with this? How will I fight with my left hand? The answer came to me when I saw Himichiro’s stare, his mournful look that he gave my arm. I won’t.

    “Himichiro-sensei. Where . . . where are we?” When the men saw me fall, did they retreat? I didn’t know. The duel was blank in my mind, all I remembered was my scream, and the pain. I lost, my uncle won. Heaven decreed he Daimyo of the Oda.

    “Nobunaga-sama. We are in the Tenshu of Owari, your old chambers are now used as a library, but we found you some better chambers . . . the chambers of your father, the Daimyo of the Oda.” My friend drew his katana and knelt before me. “We are home, Nobunaga-sama. You have won, for now.”

    Absurdly, I felt tears in my eyes. Home! I did it, I brought them home. “We’re home.” I whispered, the words so soft to my ears. “We have come home!” A grin broke out across my face, everything else forgotten. The White Tent, the Battle of Hida, the Massacre of the Uesugi.

    The White Tent, Nobuyuki. “Himichiro, there is much to do. Find Ieyasu, find Nobuyuki.” I slumped back into the bed, sighing. “I betrayed them, Himichiro. My victory does not change that.” I hesitated. “I lost my hand, Himichiro, yet I am here, and my uncle is not. Why?”

    Himichiro went on to tell me that one of the Oda men, one of them in the service of Nobuyasu, had shot him through the neck before he had killed me. “We still don’t know who it was, or where he is hiding. What will we do when we find him?” Himichiro’s voice was cautious, but even so I heard the anger there. He does not like the way the duel ended, me losing my hand. I should have died.

    “I am alive, Himichiro-sensei. Without an arm to battle, yet I still draw breath. If he is found bring him to me immediately, and do not take matters into your own hands. I will deal with the man who killed Nobuyasu personally.” My old friend nodded, his face a grave mask. He turned and left, allowing me to sit back and sigh. “I’m home.” I whispered softly, every other presence in the room forgotten. “I am home.”

    Yet that does not end the danger. I have achieved my first goal, but what of the next? The Imagawa must be defeated if the Oda are to ever be safe. But, with what men? I knew the Takeda would follow me for as long as their Lord ordered it, but as soon as Shingen ordered otherwise they would scatter upon the wind. I have no men to command, Owari is destroyed, and my people despise me for abandoning them to the flames.

    “Would they follow me? To end the Imagawa threat?” Satashi turned to me, stopping his works. He looked at me, slightly startled by my question. His brow furrowed into a line of thought. “They are your people, Nobunaga-sama, why would they not follow you?”

    “Because I abandoned them.” My gaze turned to the man, and he flinched. “Because I let them burn, let their wives be raped and murdered, let their children die by blades and daggers. Because I failed them.” I turned away. What right do I have? What right to ask them to battle for me?

    “A few will, mind you, perhaps even more than a few. But, there will be those that have more than the intelligence of a rock. There will be those who will look past that and see what you did, the good that you did. They will see the battles you fought for them, to return to them.” I smiled, it was a light smile, and without much warmth. But I did. .

    “You forget, no amount of bloodshed can repay what I have done, I let them burn, Satashi-san. That is something they can never forgive, something they should never forgive.” I shook my head, signalling that the conversation was over. “In any case I will have to address them, I will have to plead with them, for them to fight for me.” Laughing I sat up from the bed. “I believe I know exactly what I need to do.”

    The doors opened and a concerned looking Ieyasu strode in, his yari had been placed by the door, but he was still wearing his armour. He nodded towards me, seemingly rooted in place. “Do I look so disfigured, my friend?” The concern vanished from Ieyasu’s eyes, and he stepped forward, nodding slightly once more. I am tired, please make this quick. I stifled a yawn, it would be rude of me to show disinterest. Ieyasu’s eyes seemed fixated on my arm, bandaged from the wrist up.

    “You look better than Nobuyasu.” Ieyasu commented, his voice grave and emotionless. How grand, my dead uncle looks worse for wear than myself. “I would hope so.” Ieyasu didn’t smile. “We have much to do, you and I. I am still weak as a babe, but I must speak to the people of Owari.” My people, and I must hope they forgive me for my failures. Satashi tsked several times.

    “You won’t be doing that today, Nobunaga-sama. You need to recuperate.” I sighed, and turned towards the man. “Which is exactly why I must do it today. If I’m going to give them the option to kill me, I must not be able to resist, see?” Satashi’s eyes widened, and Ieyasu took a step forward, spluttering.

    “What bloody madness are you speaking Nobunaga?” he roared. “You’ve only just returned to Owari and you want to die?” I turned my gaze towards Ieyasu, he lowered his eyes and stepped back. But he did not apologise.

    “I do not wish to die, Ieyasu. But, in all honesty, it would be no more than I deserve. Most Daimyos would have committed seppuku in my situation, after having lost their home and having their people put to the sword. I dishonoured myself and my clan by taking the dishonourable route and not ending my life. So I shall give the people of Owari, those that I have wronged most, the chance to execute me. Should they take it I shall die, should they not then I shall rule.”

    Ieyasu looked at me, his eyes blazing with rage. “You’re a fool, Nobunaga-san.” I nodded, a smile returning to my lips. “Perhaps, nonetheless we must prepare. For both scenarios. Should I die the Takeda will turn on the people of Owari, they will take the province for the Takeda and it will be the Takeda and the Imagawa who do battle, not the Oda and the Imagawa. That is, unless you stop them. Granted, doing so will not be easy. However, if you challenged the commanding Samurai to a duel, with the terms if you win the Takeda soldiers will obey you, that may work. When you win, you need to rush to Mikawa. There will be an Imagawa warlord stationed there, how many soldiers he will have I do not know, though I estimate it will be around three to five thousand.” I paused. “Obviously you cannot take a castle severely outnumbered, so I need you to draw him out.” I stopped again. Now comes the real test of commitment. “To do so you will need to raid and pillage the villages near Mikawa.” Ieyasu flinched then, and his hands curled into a fist. But he did not interrupt. “He’ll send cavalry divisions after you, ambush them and destroy them, it should not be difficult.”

    Ieyasu nodded to this, and sighed. “What then?” he grumbled. Good, so he will obey. I didn’t say anything for the next few moments, contemplating my next words. “He’ll be forced to be drawn out, as it would be dishonourable for him to simply cower before his walls. He will be pressured by his officers and his generals to face you in the field. When he does so you will win.” I spoke firmly. You must win. “What I say next you will not wish to hear, in fact I know you will abhor the idea to the utmost, but it will be the only way to stop Yoshimoto.” Ieyasu nodded, closing his eyes. He already knows, he just does not wish to have to admit it. “Either evacuate Mikawa or do not, evacuating it would take time. Perhaps too much time. Burn Mikawa, nothing but ashes must remain of its defenses, its buildings, and especially its supplies. After that put the entire province to the sword, burn all the crops, every bit of grass, despoil every lake and every drop of water. Then retreat to Owari. By this time the month will be up, and the Takeda will be sent home. I expect Nobushige to be the one to arrive to escort them home. With the impeding threat of the Imagawa you will need to conscript all abled men into the army, in the end the Oda will be able to field a force of possibly four thousand, though I expect around thirty two hundred. Cavalry will be key with this. Yoshimoto will have brought supplies to last him a while, You will have to lead the cavalry yourself, and burn all the supplies you can. By the time Yoshimoto reaches Owari province his men will be exhausted. As soon as his men set foot in Oda land they will begin to die, I want constant raids on them, archers, cavalry raids and ambushes. Yoshimoto’s men need to know fear, they need to hate every moment that they reside within Owari Province. When they come up the main road they must venture through a tight forest, have the main ambush there, with the main target being Yoshimoto. The rainy season will have arrived by this time, so his men will be starving and cold, wet and haggard. Cutting them apart should not prove difficult.” I sighed, letting out a deep breath. “After Yoshimoto is defeated the future of the Oda will reside with you.”

    Ieyasu looked at me, his gaze piercing and cold. "Very well, Nobunaga-san. Should you die I shall carry out this plan." He turned and walked out of the door. "But let us hope you do not die." Let us hope indeed, for the plan assumes that nothing could go wrong.

    Ieyasu strode away, his stance was sunken and defeated. We will always work, my friend. We can never rest. Our lives are eternally bound in service to our clan, and that is a fate we cannot escape.

    It was an hour later when Himichiro returned with Nobuyuki by his side. Himichiro entered first, followed by a grinning Nobuyuki. “Aniki!” He cried as he rushed forward, leaping towards my bedside. Nobuyuki moved to grip my hand, but he flinched when he realised that I no longer had a right hand to hold. His hands went to his sides, and he looked down on me in surprise. His mouth hung open, making an o shape as it did.

    Of course, brother, you look to me as the one that can never lose. “I am sorry to have failed you, Nobuyuki-san.” I smiled to him, and leaned over, raising my left hand to grip his hand. “I am not immortal. I can die, you must accept that my death is an inevitability. No man is immortal, everyone dies. I will die, you will die.” Nobuyuki didn’t flinch, but he raised his eyes to meet mind, his eyes held a light to them, but on the fringes of that light was a darkness that threatened to swallow it all.

    “I don’t want you to die.” He sobbed, biting his lips to stop himself from crying. “If you die, what will I do? I am not like you, I cannot lead.” His hand gripped mine tightly. My brother’s face was pained, and his eyes were furrowed as tears bubbled in his eyes.

    Nobuyuki, you cannot be weak. You cannot cry. “You must be strength, Nobuyuki. Not weakness. Your heroes, Benkei, Minimato and the rest. All of them were strong, all of them had a reason to be strong. You need to find a reason, find something that you will fight for, and that you are willing to die defending. “ For me that is you. You, Himichiro, Ieyasu and the Oda. For all of you I must be strong.

    “I must face my fate. Himichiro-sensei . . . remove Nobuyuki from my chambers. I must speak with you alone.” Nobuyuki’s eyes widened at my command, and when Himichiro put his hand upon his shoulder he stepped forward, thrashing out of the hold. For a moment his face was up in a snarl, and his eyes glinted with an anger I had not seen in him.

    “You tell me to be strong! You tell me to fight and find a reason! Yet you protect me as if I am a child, as if I can do nothing to defend myself. Make a choice, Aniki. If you want me to be strong than let me, tell me what you intend and allow me to learn.” His hands had clenched into fists, but his head was now bowed and he let our a strangled breath. “Please, Nobunaga-sama.” He fell to his knees, head still bowed.

    Himichiro smiled, nodding towards me he stepped away from Nobuyuki. My hand had curled into a fist, I felt my nails stabbing into my palm. The pain was good, it was comforting that I could still feel. Very well, then. I will teach you to be strong, you will see the true face of your brother.

    “Get up, Nobuyuki.” He jerked a my command and raised himself from his knees, his eyes locked with mine and it was as if he could not look away, not move or breath. He just stared at me intently. “You may stay, offer no objection and do not interrupt. During tomorrow you will stay within the confines of your chambers, and you will not venture from them until you are called upon. Now, listen.” I turned to Himichiro. His face was grave, and his eyes looked weary. “Tomorrow this all ends. I have no choice but to abide by the wishes of my people. I must claim retribution for my failures as Daimyo.” I nodded, agreeing with my speech. I must make amends for my previous failures.

    “Himichiro.” I looked towards my friend, my mentor, and the man who had saved my life countless times. The dip of my head was a lifetime of thanks I should have given him. “”Nobuyuki . . . “ My brother’s eyes pleaded, as he knew what I would say next.

    “Today I die.”

    Hideyoshi

    He sat upon a barrel, legs outstretched and laying atop the barrel beside it. He had to admit, he had been surprised when Nobunaga-sama had ventured from the Palace. What remains of it, at least. He had expected retainers to be meters ahead of him, shoving people aside and barking orders. But, instead the man came out unarmoured, unarmed, and his retainers ordered to stay beside the gate.

    Hideyoshi had spied one man, the man looked aged and mournful, his hand was placed upon the hilt of his blade at all times. Hideyoshi noticed he watched everyone like a hawk, stalking backwards and forwards from the gate, as if he wished to rush out and be beside Nobunaga, but was unable to disobey the Daimyo he held so dear. The man’s loyalty has no bounds, he serves, lives, fights and will die for Oda Nobunaga.

    A great crowd surrounded the Daimyo, he had ventured out with nothing except a kimo to cover himself. Now he found himself surrounded by a few hundred men, women and children. A few of the more hot tempered ones had asked for his head at once, but they had quickly been shoved away from the crowd by those who wished to listen to what he had to say.

    “He’s going to die.” Hideyoshi knew, he felt sad about that. I stuck an arrow in one Oda, just to have the other get himself killed. It almost made him laugh, except the clan would then be in the hands of an eight year old child. Times are tremulous enough, and our survival looks near impossible.


    The crowd began to murmur in anticipation. Oda Nobunaga had not spoken a word, and he had been surrounded by the citizens of Owari for a quarter of an hour. They were growing restless. Nobody knows what he will say, what he will do. He is scarcely a boy. But Hideyoshi knew he was more than that. He had seen it in his eyes as Nobunaga fought Nobuyasu. He was cold, merciless and forlorn. Dogged by his failures.

    “People of Owari, Oda.” Nobunaga’s voice was loud and commanding, the murmur of the crowd hushed immediately as heads turned and men looked up. Women drew children close and young boys stood to attention at the commanding nature of his voice. He is meant to lead, not to die.

    “My name is Nobunaga, of the Oda clan. Half a year ago my father died and I was given the mantle to lead. Within a day my mother and uncle had both been imprisoned, as I assumed that I would be overruled and would have power usurped from me by them. From there things drew worse as I was assailed by an assassin, who wounded me gravely.” From his position on the barrels Hideyoshi saw as Nobunaga revealed a ghastly gash across his side and stomach. “While I was recovering from this wound the Saito struck at Owari, and it was only through Himichiro’s skill and the courage of your brethren that the attack failed and the Saito army was repelled or executed.” He stopped, murmurs followed from the crowd as they wondered to what he was getting at. “It was that same night that I woke to find my Owari under attack by a different foe, one that had found its way within her walls. The Imagawa, under the command of Imagawa Yoshimoto assailed and sieged Owari.” Hideyoshi watched as Nobunaga’s face drew grave. “In my fear I ordered the gates stay locked, giving my men and I enough time to flee Owari, so that I may live.” A man grabbed Nobunaga, throwing him to the ground.

    “My daughter died you bastard! My daughter died being cut down by those ers! My wife was raped before my eyes and I could do NOTHING!”” Hideyoshi heard a thump as his fist collided with Nobunaga’s face, one, two, three, four. More people roaring and cursing, telling the man to kill Nobunaga. I can’t let him die. I can’t, he needs to live.

    Hideyoshi found himself moving through the crowd, he shoved past one man, and a woman who was crying into her baby’s shoulder, begging for the violence to stop. The man’s roar and cursing intensified when he was grabbed by men. Hideyoshi shoved to the edge of the crowd to find the man he had seen earlier with his hand gripping the throat of Nobunaga’s assailant. All around them retainers seemed to appear, fully armed and fully armoured.

    “It was me, you damnable coward!” The man, who Hideyoshi assumed was Himichiro, snarled at the assailant. “IT WAS ME!” He roared to the crowd. “I ordered the gate to remained closed so that we could flee. Nobunaga’s immediate reaction was to order the gates be opened. He roared and bellowed that he would save as many as he could. But, I overruled him and forced him to flee.” He looked at them all, hands curled into fists. “He is the only hope of the Oda, and everything he has done has been for you.”

    One of the retainers stepped forward. “He made deals with the Takeda, risked his life multiple times to save you. His only goal, his only mission, was to free you from the traitor.” A second retainer stepped forward. “I survived the Battle of Hida, I survived the Massacre of the White Tent when the Kiso bastard betrayed us. I fought beside Oda Nobunaga-sama at Mino also. He saved my life at the White Tent.” The man drew his blade and stepped beside Nobunaga. “”I will not let him be murdered by my own people!” The other retainers followed suit, drawing their blades and putting themselves between Nobunaga and the crowd. Not because they were ordered to do, but because they love him.

    “Stop, all of you, stop.” Nobunaga’s voice was hoarse and when he rose Hideyoshi saw his face was bloodied and blackened on one side. “I failed them.” His voice was a husk, it sounded cold and devoid of emotion, as if he only bore sorrow and malice. “I fled, and I have returned. Everything I have done has been to return and save them. But, a lifetime of repenting cannot change the fact that I left them to burn.” Nobunaga had tears flowing from his cheeks now, unbidden, but unhindered. “I do not deserve mercy. For the failures I have wrought and the deeds I have committed.”

    “Shut up!” Hideyoshi roared at him. “I did not put an arrow through your bloody uncle’s bloody neck so that you could stand there and whimper and whine while an Imagawa army prepares to march on us!” He went forward, but the retainers met him with naked steel. Nobunaga’s face, however, looked relieved.

    “So, it was you? You who saved my life?” Hideyoshi nodded, suddenly fearful of what the Daimyo would say to the man who had murdered his uncle.

    “You have my eternal thanks and gratitude. I apologise that I may not be able to repay you for the debt I owe you.” He turned to Himichiro and his retainers. “Sheathe your blades, all of you.” The sound of steel rasping on leather was grating to the ears. But, the man named Himichiro turned towards Nobunaga. “Nobunaga.” He hissed, his eyes bright with anger. “They’ll kill you.” A smile appeared on Nobunaga’s face as he stepped towards his friend. “I will be met with what fate has decreed for me.”

    “I will not ask forgiveness of you, not yet. All I will say is simply this, I can’t win. The Imagawa are stronger than I, Yoshimoto has more men than I, and more money.” He smiled lightly. “Alone I can do nothing.” He walked ahead of his retainers, out of immediate reach if they wished to snatch him backwards if the crowd grew furious. “However, we can win. Together, you and I, we can defeat the Imagawa and avenge those who have fallen. We can make certain that the death of my father, my mother, our brothers and sisters and children and friends was not in vain! I cannot bring back the dead; but, I can grant you vengeance.”

    There was a low growl from a man in the crowd. “My daughter died, and you’re asking me to fight with the likes of you? I’d rather kiss the arse of Yoshimoto than lick your boots, scum.” Half a dozen of the retainers roared with fury at his words, two started forward, but Nobunaga’s hand sliced through the hand with a swift precision. “No.”

    The two men stood behind him, hands on the hilts of their blades and mouths curled in rage. But they took no more steps towards the man. Nobunaga walked towards the man. “Himichiro, your blade.” Hideyoshi watched as the man grimaced, yet his katan was unsheathed and handed to Nobunaga. He turned back towards the man and held the blade out, dropping it at his feet.

    When the man had picked it up Nobunaga fell to his knees. “I cannot bring her back, nor your wife. I do not have that power, I am sorry.” Nobunaga’s voice was grave. “If you truly wish my death than I grant you your wish, do the deed with your own hands.” He bent his head forward, stretching out his neck for the blow to come.

    The man looked shocked. “You do not fear death?” He sputtered shakily, his hands gripping the blade were white as they curled around the hilt. Nobunaga smiled at his question.

    “I do not fear death, no. What I fear is the darkness that will come. Men live and then they die.” His smile widened as he spoke his words. “So it goes.”
    Last edited by Tigellinus; September 12, 2015 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Fixing a few spelling errors I have seen




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  18. #118
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Fifteen Updated 12/9/2015

    Nobunaga and Hideyoshi are great characters. The way that you use details, for example Ieyasu's reactions to Nobunaga's plan for drawing out the forces of the Imagawa warlord from the castle at Mikawa. The intervention of the retainers, putting themselves between Nobunaga and the angry crowd - and Nobunaga's reaction - is a powerful piece of writing.

    (Good idea about splitting the chapter. I took the liberty of removing the underlining which you did not want, in the sentence beginning "Ieyasu looked at me, his gaze piercing and cold.")
    Last edited by Alwyn; September 12, 2015 at 05:55 AM.

  19. #119
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Fifteen Updated 12/9/2015

    This is a brilliant chapter!

    I particularly liked the way it looked as if Hideyoshi was going to intervene and be responsible for keeping Nobunaga alive - and then he didn't need to. (Of course, he might yet need to intervene, but he didn't when I thought he might.) The ending is a great place to end a chapter, too.






  20. #120
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: In the Light of Dusk - Chapter Fifteen Updated 12/9/2015

    Thank you both! I apologise for my inability to reply to things in good order!

    Thank you both for your constant support!

    Thanks

    Tigellinus




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