Prelude: Gensai

The Emerald Empire of Rokugan. It is a land upheld by honor, guided by fate, ruled by destiny. The Great Clans each support the Emperor, but inter-clan conflict is inevitable—both in the Emperor’s courts and on the battlefield. In the midst of danger and turmoil, honor must be your sword and your armor.

It is an era of sudden change and upheaval in the Emerald Empire. Mortal schemes, elemental imbalances, and celestial turmoil have disrupted the political, military, and spiritual equilibrium of Rokugan. Long-simmering rivalries and fresh betrayals ripple through the courts and on the battlefield. The Chrysanthemum Throne is beset by threats from without and within, and the honor of the seven Great Clans shall be put to the test.
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:04 pm

The procurement of room and board is a straightforward affair to a seasoned traveler like Gensai, and even though he suspects a better price could be negotiated for certain amenities, he does not pursue them as fervently as a Yasuki might. The only detail of the arrangement that concerns him pertains to sharing a room with others. It's an inconvenience that briefly conjures up a haunting memory regarding a similar dilemma at a ryokan* in Scorpion lands with a decidedly bossy Matsu. It was a concession he had agreed to without complaint at the time, at least until when it came time to retire for the evening that he discovered (to his horror) the haughty samurai-ko's proclivity towards frequently breaking wind in her sleep. Oh Blessed Ancestors, that horrid stench! recalls Gensai with a visible shudder.

After accommodations have been made, the rōnin and the miko are brought over to one of the vacant tables and patiently wait for their modest fare of tea and sushi to arrive. Gensai in the meantime admires the simplistic decor of the inn, idly commenting on the instruments hanging by one of the corners and the different flower arrangements decorating each table. To the casual observer they surely make for a strange pair, with the towering grim rōnin sitting on one side and the small prim crane priestess sitting on the other.

Eventually their meals arrive and the customary “Itadakimasu,” is quietly proclaimed by Gensai before digging into one of the fresh sushi rolls with a pair of chopsticks graciously provided by one of the inn’s servers. Well into their meal, Gensai decides to get to the matter at hand. "So," he starts warily after a sip of his honeyed matcha tea, "have you had enough time to consider what you'd like me to sculpt for you?"
*- A type of traditional Japanese Inn that generally feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths (or an onsen if the water source comes from a nearby hot spring), and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner. Most ryokan can be found by the sides well-traveled roads or in scenic rural locales.
Last edited by Hermit on Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:30 pm

Gensai finds that the Cresting Wave is filled to the brim with occupants that have booked rooms. He will have to share, and the memory of other times he's had to do that is not pleasant. He finds a table with a few empty seats and he sits. Drink and food arrive, simple affairs, the miko never offers to pay, but she only drinks tea, and does not eat.

She does not appear to be particularly comfortable here, it seems clear she rarely visits the place. With so many travelers passing through the room is a noisome collection of voices. The noise almost creates a screen of privacy for the pair.

The old woman sips her tea, "The obvious answer are storks and cranes, perhaps other water birds. Something along the lines of lotus blossoms, or cheery blossoms are also very traditional."
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:51 pm

Gensai replies with a thoughtful hum at Kyo’s suggestions, either completely unfazed by or too contented with the simple joy of a delicious meal to be bothered by the miko’s rude manners. “Hmm, birds are a bit beyond my current skill I think, but a lotus should be simple enough.” Setting his now empty cup down, Gensai promptly resumes polishing off the remainder of the sushi on his plate at a leisurely pace.

“Have you ever been to Toshi Ranbo?” he asks after a period of relatively companionable silence, proceeding to fill her in on his own sojourn to that place. Meanwhile his dark eyes vacillate between the elderly Asahina and her own untouched plate of sushi as a tacit petition. One of the few advantages of his current status is not having to concern himself with proper etiquette at every given moment and besides -- would it not be considered a greater insult to this establishment by letting food so diligently and generously prepared like this to remain uneaten? A lofty sentiment, albeit one admittedly colored by motives both pragmatic and self-serving in essence.
''At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.'' - Lao-Tzu

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:21 pm

Kyo pushes the plate to the center of the table, "I am not feeling particularly hungry Gensai-san. It would be an insult to Hamanari Fortune if this was to go to waste. Please." She motions at it with an open palm as she sips her tea.

She mentions that she has in fact been to Toshi Ranbo, once as a child, "It was a Lion city at that point however. This was many year ago." She finishes her tea, "I wonder Gensai-san, perhaps you would care to sculpt something for someone other than a old miko?" The corner of her mouth curls upwards slightly. "I could gain you an audience, as my guest, with the Village Magistrate Doji Hirawara. He is a great patron to the arts."
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:47 pm

Vardaen wrote:Kyo pushes the plate to the center of the table, "I am not feeling particularly hungry Gensai-san. It would be an insult to Hamanari Fortune if this was to go to waste. Please." She motions at it with an open palm as she sips her tea.
The miko’s magnanimous gesture is barely made when the recipient of her beneficence drags the plate over to his end with wolfish gusto, as if afraid that she may deign to change her mind mere moments later. Not long after the fervent click-clack of chopsticks can be heard as the rōnin splits his attention between listening to Kyo and finishing the remainder of the sushi on his plate.
Vardaen wrote:She mentions that she has in fact been to Toshi Ranbo, once as a child, "It was a Lion city at that point however. This was many year ago." She finishes her tea, "I wonder Gensai-san, perhaps you would care to sculpt something for someone other than an old miko?" The corner of her mouth curls upwards slightly. "I could gain you an audience, as my guest, with the Village Magistrate Doji Hirawara. He is a great patron to the arts."
There is a telltale pause, however brief, when Gensai’s chopsticks hover tentatively over an untouched roll, his mind suddenly quite heavy with the significance of her brazen offer. “Is that so?” he continues casually as if nothing is amiss, a mildly wry comment considered and dropped in favor of, “Far be it from me to refuse such a fortuitous boon, particularly one that aids in my Pilgrimage.” His eyes lift up from the plate to stare intently at the priestess. “Still-- it can’t be denied how exceedingly rare a thing it is to receive such generosity for one of my stature.”*
*-This is Gensai's attempt at subtly asking: "Why are you helping me and is there something you want from me in exchange for this favor?"
''At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.'' - Lao-Tzu

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:57 pm

"Yes that thought had crossed my mind. What a wonderful opportunity for you, to meet with a Crane Magistrate, in charge of such an illustrious posting here in the Southern Lands. Perhaps the kami have guided me in seeing your great potential? It could be that I see something in you worthy of such a fate?" She sips her tea, and behind her cupped hands and the glass there is a coy smile there, "Perhaps it will give this old Shugenja great joy in introducing you to the busy Magistrate who considers himself such a patron of the arts that he can hardly be expected to keep his mouth such about such thing every single time he comes to the shrine?" She almost winks, ALMOST.
* Its clearly some personal game she's playing with the Magistrate and you could bring her joy in bothering the Magistrate with such matters.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:31 am

Ah, and there it is. The real reason. Surprisingly there is no explicit or extreme reaction to this revelation, no disdainful scowl or furtive smirk to mirror the one currently hiding behind the miko’s raised tea cup. “I see,” says Gensai slowly after finishing the last of the sushi, gingerly setting the chopsticks down together on the plate’s rim to indicate to the inn’s staff of having finished his meal.

The rōnin casts a wandering glance towards one of the windows as though something passing by has caught his eye, then returns his attention to Kyo. Gensai respectfully bows his head and says, “I will accept your kind invitation, though if I may humbly request a few concessions, there are some small errands that I wish to focus on first. In addition, I would prefer to make myself more presentable before arrangements are made to meet with the esteemed Magistrate himself.” His brows furrow pensively before adding with a judicious look, "Also, any further information about Hirawara-sama would be most welcome."
To elaborate further on what I mean by "errands", Gensai wants to visit the local market and restock on some much needed provisions, perhaps even purchase an actual sculpting chisel instead of using a paring knife as he has been up to this point.
''At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.'' - Lao-Tzu

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:22 pm

The Miko glances at the window as well, pretending to wonder what or who might be about there. She sets her tea down, "Yes of course, I do not believe we could meet with the busy magistrate too quickly anyhow. Did you hear there is an Imperial Tax Collector in town, it is that time of year. Our esteemed magistrate is a bit busy, I think this would be a welcome distraction. I shall find out what I can and contact you here, letting you know when we might have the honor of meeting with him." She smirks and then hides it, at her age she's doesn't care too much about minor moments of On any more.

"Now, if you will excuse me, I've already spent far too long in this place. I shall send your word tomorrow with an update." She stands up, barely nods her head to Gensai, and prepares to leave.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:46 pm

Vardaen wrote:"Now, if you will excuse me, I've already spent far too long in this place. I shall send your word tomorrow with an update." She stands up, barely nods her head to Gensai, and prepares to leave.
The rōnin mirrors the miko’s parting gesture, lingering behind long enough to settle any fees incurred from their luncheon. Eventually he stands up and gathers his belongings and armaments at the door before likewise setting out on his own errands. Thanks in part to his wide-brimmed straw hat, it does not take long for Gensai’s eyes to adjust to Lady Sun’s brilliance upon vacating the relative shadiness of the inn’s interior. A confluence of odors both pleasant and foul tickle at the rōnin’s nose as his eyes scan the array of shops, stalls, and kiosks for those that carry what he requires for the successful continuation of his Pilgrimage. Well, mostly for that, he muses inwardly with a smirk.
Echoing what I mentioned in my previous post, Gensai will be shopping primarily for the purpose of restocking on provisions (i.e. rations) or supplies that might help him when it comes to hunting/foraging. He will also be on the lookout for any merchants that sell crafting supplies, specifically a sculpting chisel, and perhaps some chopsticks as well while he's at it.
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:33 pm

Gensai finds the village marketplace simple yet sufficient. The Crane peasants have all manner of things and the village, while small, it is wealthy, being Crane controlled after all. Food stuffs are typical, fish, rice and fruit. Other supplies like cloth or clothing are available, some items for hunting or foraging can be found, but all items are well within the limits of heimin merchants. Being Crane, the village does have a small shop with artisan supplies, mostly there are water colors, paper, brushes, ink and sand. Yet there are a few things or other approved and proper art endeavors. You can find clay and chisels, ikebana sheers, supplies for making kabuki costumes, and more. It seems for a village this size these things would not typically be available, but rumor is the magistrate of the village is a patron of the arts after all.
Yeah, normal stuff. No weapons.
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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