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 02, 2019 6:37 pm

Gensai nods and hums in agreement with the steady stream of dialogue pouring out from the ascetic. Contemplating which of the monk’s questions to answer first, he settles on replying to the colloquial greeting with a humorously literal-minded interpretation for an answer. “Not yet, but I did see an inn at the market square on my way here. The… Cresting Wave I believe it was called.” A gentle smirk makes its way upon his rugged face. “I imagine that I’ll find plenty of rice to eat there.”

Just as quickly the lightheartedness returns to familiar solemnity, dark eyes staring up at the sky in thoughtful remembrance. “I have not had the opportunity to remain in the lands I’ve visited long enough to learn much else other than what my Pilgrimage required of me. What little news I have to share seldom comes from the Courts and more often than not from the villages, roads, monasteries, and wild places…”
Gensai will share with Supai several of his personal experiences as a Shugyosha, some of the rumors and gossip that he's picked up here and there about general affairs of the lands he's visited so far (excluding of course knowledge of things that either haven't happened yet or remain under wraps as of this time). Essentially generic information that one might get from a Ronin who's journeyed a fair bit throughout Rokugan.
''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 Jul 05, 2019 6:36 pm

Supai simply sits and listens, he ask no questions, and make no move during the stories. It is a bit unnerving since Gensai can not see the man's face or features, and for a moment he wonders if he's even still awake let along listening. Then Supai stirs as the ronin reaches the end of his tale, "A fine story. You have come a long way on your travels."

"Supai!" The voice is that of another, "I thought I told you to stop bothering the visitors to the shrine."

Turning around Gensai see a much older Crane woman, she wears a shugenja's satchel on her hip marking her as one of the kuge priests of Rokugan. Her kimono is fine, yet simple, and she wears two mons, one of the Crane and one of the Asahina on her kimono. She is shaking her head at Supai.

For his part the monk doesn't move or reply for a few moments, perhaps he's formulating his reply, then he speaks, "Asahina Kyo-sama, I doubt very much Gensai has found my company to be a bother. Did you know he has traveled a great many li to reach your little shrine here?"

The old woman looks Gensai up and down, "Another Ronin come to seek enlightenment from the Seven Ronin Shrine are you? You won't find it speaking to Supai, has he asked to for anything to eat yet? Be careful or he will take all your rice just to tell you a few quotes from the Tao of Shinsei."
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:13 pm

Vardaen wrote:Supai simply sits and listens, he asks no questions, and make no move during the stories. It is a bit unnerving since Gensai can not see the man's face or features, and for a moment he wonders if he's even still awake, let alone listening. Then Supai stirs as the ronin reaches the end of his tale, "A fine story. You have come a long way on your travels."

"Supai!" The voice is that of another, "I thought I told you to stop bothering the visitors to the shrine."
For the second time that day Gensai finds himself stiffening in apprehension, this time from the shrill caw heralding the sudden appearance of the venerable Asahina in their midst. A distant part of his mind not preoccupied with suppressing the urge to draw his weapons in battle readiness or quell the frantic beating of his heart marvels at the uncanny stealthiness exhibited by these two, even going so far as to wonder if they are in fact mischievous hengeyokai* masquerading as humans.

Vardaen wrote:For his part the monk doesn't move or reply for a few moments, perhaps he's formulating his reply, then he speaks, "Asahina Kyo-sama, I doubt very much Gensai has found my company to be a bother. Did you know he has traveled a great many li to reach your little shrine here?"

The old woman looks Gensai up and down, "Another Ronin come to seek enlightenment from the Seven Ronin Shrine are you? You won't find it speaking to Supai, has he asked you for anything to eat yet? Be careful or he will take all your rice just to tell you a few quotes from the Tao of Shinsei."
Having recovered enough of his wits in the interim, Gensai shifts into the seiza position and offers a respectful bow to the venerable priestess. “It is an honor to meet you, miko-sama. I am Gensai, and if I may be perfectly candid, Supai-san has actually been most gracious in providing a focal point for my prayers. In return he only asked that I keep him company for a brief period and share news of the lands I’ve visited on my Pilgrimage thus far.”

Suddenly feeling rather abashed at his unkempt appearance in the presence of this elderly miko**, Gensai produces from within the folds of his robes a thin leather cord to bind his hair with into a presentable top knot. “Forgive me for my slovenliness.”
*-Shapeshifter spirits (i.e. Kitsune, Bakeneko, Inu, Koumori etc.)
**-Title for a female priestess of a shrine.
Last edited by Hermit on Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:34 pm

Kyo, the priestess of the shrine waves off Gensai's last comment, "This is a shrine that draws Rōnin to it from all over the empire. You are hardly the worst looking one of your caste to come here." She stalks over to Supai, "I don't know how many times I've told you Supai, leave the visitors alone.

The monk lifts his hands in a gesture of apology, "I apologize Crane-san, I didn't know you meant every visitor. I thought you only meant the rich ones who made monetary donations to the shrine." Its impossible to see the monk's face, but you are certain he's goading her on.

She narrows her eyes at the basket headed monk, "If you weren't wearing that ridiculous hat I would slap you for that comment. Get out of my sight Supai, now."

The little monk stands up and bows to Gensai, "My apologizes if I was bothering you Gensai-san, if you would care to speak I'll be in town, perhaps at the White Stork Garden where they are more welcoming." He then tucks his flute into his sleeve and pads off down the path on near silent feet.

The Asahina Kyo watches him leave then turns back to you, "He's nothing but a beggar and a nuisance. Don't let his calm composer fool you into thinking he's some sort of wise man. I've watched him fleece a half dozen travelers under the guise of some helpful monk." She walks over to the stone he was sitting on and dusts it off with a wave of a fan as if clearing out any bad karma he might have left behind. "I am Asahina Kyo, keeper of the Shrine, feel free to leave an offering inside for the ancestor spirits." She's curt and to the point with Gensai.
"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 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:18 pm

Vardaen wrote:Kyo, the priestess of the shrine waves off Gensai's last comment, "This is a shrine that draws Rōnin to it from all over the empire. You are hardly the worst looking one of your caste to come here." She stalks over to Supai, "I don't know how many times I've told you Supai, leave the visitors alone.

The monk lifts his hands in a gesture of apology, "I apologize Crane-san, I didn't know you meant every visitor. I thought you only meant the rich ones who made monetary donations to the shrine." It’s impossible to see the monk's face, but you are certain he's goading her on.

She narrows her eyes at the basket headed monk, "If you weren't wearing that ridiculous hat I would slap you for that comment. Get out of my sight Supai, now."
Gensai watches on with owlish puzzlement as the miko and the mendicant engage in what appears to be a recurrent quarrel between the two of them. If I didn’t know any better I’d have mistaken them for an old married couple, muses the rōnin wryly.
Vardaen wrote:The little monk stands up and bows to Gensai, "My apologies if I was bothering you Gensai-san, if you would care to speak I'll be in town, perhaps at the White Stork Garden where they are more welcoming." He then tucks his flute into his sleeve and pads off down the path on near silent feet.
“Not at all, Supai-san. Your company was most welcome and a refreshing breeze to this weary soul,” replies Gensai with a pleasant smile. Seeing Supai off with customary Shinseist blessings and the vague possibility of meeting again in the near future, Gensai turns his drawn gaze fully over to Kyo in quiet scrutiny.
Vardaen wrote:Asahina Kyo watches him leave then turns back to you, "He's nothing but a beggar and a nuisance. Don't let his calm composure fool you into thinking he's some sort of wise man. I've watched him fleece a half dozen travelers under the guise of some helpful monk." She walks over to the stone he was sitting on and dusts it off with a wave of a fan as if clearing out any bad karma he might have left behind. "I am Asahina Kyo, keeper of the Shrine, feel free to leave an offering inside for the ancestor spirits." She's curt and to the point with Gensai.


Gensai frowns inwardly at Kyo's scathing remarks on Supai’s purportedly larcenous nature, having encountered no indication of the sort from his initial interactions with the komusō. Her acerbic remarks briefly remind him of one of the various no-nonsense sensei of his youth, and the bulk of their lessons ending with the punitive sting of a bamboo rod to his back or posterior for his flippant behavior.

Considering himself having matured a great deal since those delinquent years and seeing no reason to disbelieve or antagonize the priestess outright, the rōnin gives an even nod. “Arigatō, I will take your assessment of him under advisement. As for offerings, I’ve already made them. I pray that the Seven within find them to be acceptable gifts.”

Gensai looks up to the sky, then behind him at the torii marking the entrance to the shrine grounds. “I suppose my business here is concluded.” He turns back to face Kyo once again. “Before I depart however, perhaps you could enlighten me with knowledge of this shrine and the spirits of the men and women venerated within it?”

The shugyōsha looks at the ground thoughtfully. “I have crossed paths with many people on my travels who have told me of this place, but I never sought out the story behind it until now. I thought it prudent to reserve such inquiries for the keepers of the shrine themselves, so that I may hear the unsullied truth of this tale, free from embellishments and falsehoods.”
Last edited by Hermit on Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:50 pm

Kyo almost sighs, it doesn't take a trained courtier to realize this woman is less than happy with her appointment at this shrine. She's jaded and burned out from her work here. "Yes of course, Gensai was it?" She steps back closer to the ronin so she doesn't have to speak too loudly. Stretching her back she begins in on a speech that seems well rehearsed and given a hundred times.

"This is the Shrine of the Seven Ronin, a band of honorable samurai who aided the heimin of this village three hundred years ago. During a particularly turbulent period in the history of this village the pirates that call themselves the Mantis Clan were raiding villages up and down the Crane Coast. At this point the village was little more than a dozen families....and hardly worth the notice of the local magistrate. These Ronin however had come to enjoy simple pleasures of the village. The Pirates raided the village as the locals were gathering their rice for tax collection, and they would have stolen all of it if not for the seven ronin. There was a battle, and many of the ronin were slain but the pirates were driven off into the sea and their spirit broken. The imperial taxes were saved but when the Doji arrived the next day they were misinformed, tricked no doubt by some outside source. They accused the ronin of being in league with the pirates, but the ronin were not, and to prove their loyalty to the village, the heimin, the Crane and the Empire the three of them that remained committee seppuku. And so all of the taxes were recovered, the ronin were praised as paragons of honor and bushido, and this small shrine was erected in their honor. That is the story of the Sebun Ronin of Kōnotori Mura."

She does not embellish, or show emotions or excitement over any of the story, she tells it plainly and as she has for the last dozen years.
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J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:26 pm

Listening in silence, the rōnin’s expression is unreadable until the conclusion of the miko’s narration of the story. Antipathy tugs at the edges of his rugged face in a way that denotes tacit disapproval of something, though what the precise nature of that dissatisfaction might be remains unspoken.

Just as swiftly the hint of resentment vanishes and an empathetic smile takes its place, for the priestess’s sullen restlessness is a feeling that Gensai is intimately familiar with. It occurs to him then and there that there might be more to the reason behind Supai’s repeated visits.

“Do you like sculpture, Asahina-sama?” he inquires innocently, continuing after hearing Kyo’s response. “Time was I didn’t care much for art. Seemed like a hobby best left to those without the talent or gumption for martial pursuits.” Gensai shakes his head with a rueful smile. “Thank Sadahako* and the artisans I’ve met during my Pilgrimage for teaching me the folly of such an insular outlook.” he declares reverently while mindful enough to omit the identity of some of those artisans as members of the Brotherhood to the miko. The last thing the rōnin needs to hear from the jaded woman is another diatribe about the allegedly troublesome komusō.

Gensai begins to stand and wipe away the dirt and blades of grass that have accumulated on his hakama. “I thank you for the story,” he says while he starts gathering his belongings. “Do you have any assistants that tend to this place? I’d very much like to make you a sculpture, though I believe a change of scenery might be required before Sadahako graces me with inspiration. What say you, Asahina-sama?”
*-Fortune of Geisha and Artists
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:46 pm

She folds her hands into her sleeves, "Are you a sculptor Gensai-san?" She lifts an eyebrow now having expected a ronin to claim any artisan ability. "I appreciate all of the arts, like any good Crane." She looks away from Gensai and gazes around the simple shrine, "This place requires no assistant, it hardly requires me to be present most of the time. If you have a skill in such things I would certainly be open to seeing what you can produce. If you seek inspiration, try the Eien no Yuki no Niwa*, on the north east side of town. Beware, that is where that scoundrel Supai claimed he was going."
*Eien no Yuki no Niwa (Garden of Eternal Snow)
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Hermit » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:23 pm

Vardaen wrote:She folds her hands into her sleeves, "Are you a sculptor Gensai-san?"
“Indeed, though my skills are far from that of a master or journeyman,” replies Gensai humbly in an offhand manner, lifting the silk-bound Ono off the ground single-handed to secure upon his back. “But I am always eager to learn or practice whenever and wherever I can,” he adds with an earnest passion underlying his mild inflection.
Vardaen wrote:"I appreciate all of the arts, like any good Crane." She looks away from Gensai and gazes around the simple shrine, "This place requires no assistant, it hardly requires me to be present most of the time. If you have a skill in such things I would certainly be open to seeing what you can produce. If you seek inspiration, try the Eien no Yuki no Niwa*, on the north east side of town. Beware, that is where that scoundrel Supai claimed he was going."
Securing his daisho to his belt and slinging his furoshiki over his left shoulder, the rōnin bends down to pick up his battered straw hat from the ground, dark eyes peering up at the miko as he does so. “Is that so? Then perhaps we should visit the Cresting Wave Inn first before heading to the Garden. Maybe then he will be gone by the time we've finished our meal and discussed what you want me to sculpt.” Gingerly placing the wide brimmed hat upon his head, Gensai turns as if to leave before looking curiously over his shoulder at the priestess. "Shall we?"
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Re: Prelude: Gensai

Post by Vardaen » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:26 pm

The Miko hides her surprise at the invitation well, only the barest hint show, and it also shows that she doesn't care. She takes a moment to think and looks about the shrine, "I suppose that the ancestors are not going any place. They have been appeased enough for today." She walks over to the shrine itself and gentle closes the folding doors and speaks a prayer softly. Then she turns back, "Come, this way, I know a short cut."

A few minutes later the two arrive outside the Cresting Wave Inn. The Cresting Wave is as much a sake house as it is an inn. Every traveler passing through town stops here, its the best place for sake, a meal, and a private room to spend the night in. The place is nearly fully booked at this time of year. Fresh flowers sit on the table, delicately arranged, one of the place's few embellishments within the common room. The others are a few musical instruments hung in one corner of the common room: available for use by any paying customer. A half dozen other travelers are scattered about the room.
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"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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