We awoke in a darkened dungeon to find ourselves chained to the walls. I noticed Okabe among us chained prisoners. Nakano tried to teleport himself outside of his bonds but his ability did not seem to work as it shoud have. We then noticed spear wounds in all of our sides. I tried to disappear but could only become hazy and quiet rather than invisible and silent. Kyosado tried to melt his bonds but could not muster the heat or power to manage.
A door opens at the far end of the dungeon and a sillouhette stood in the frame. Imagawa strolled into the dungeon and walked past all of us. I spat at him as he passed but he cared not. Imagawa walked to Okabe and awoke him. Imagawa spoke to Okabe and offered him an audience and presumably a chance to join the ranks of the Red Daimyo. Of course, Okabe would have nothing to do with his traitorous lord. I knew Okabe was an honorable man.
This displeased Imagawa. Our former employer stepped back and opened a large portal in the room and Oni began pouring in. One after another, the oni filled the room and began arguing over who gets to kill whom. Erik perked his head up and whistled to Imagawa commenting that Imagawa’s armor was very nice. Imagawa grinned viciously and opened a second, larger portal by Erik to let in a massive tall oni. Imagawa said that if we would like to challenge him to come find him. He’d be at the top of the tower. And believe me, I wanted a piece of Imagawa right then.
Erik taunted the large oni over to him and egged it on to hit him. The oni raised its massive club and swung down as Erik moved his chains in the way. The oni broke the chains and sent Erik sprawling. The beast picked Erik up and held him at its eye level as Erik summoned his axe and swung inneffectively at the oni. Kyosado took the hint and blasted one of Kodai Nakano’s chains as I realized I could reach and draw my blade. I corroded my ankle chains and moved as far from the wall as I could per Kyo’s order. Okabe flipped and turned himself against the wall and broke his ankle bonds.
The large oni was angered by its inability to clobber Erik and swung heavily at Erik and Nakano by proximity. The blow broke Nakano free but stunned him and Erik. The large oni then began to take a heavy swing at me but Kyosado shouted at it over the din and the oni turned its attention and swung down on Kyo instead. That was unexpected. Last I thought, Ishikura wasn’t happy with me.
I freed myself from my bonds and shouted to Okabe asking if he needed help. He bade me free the samurai chained to the walls and I took off. Imagawa left me with my blade and my cloak so I took to the air and flew down the wall severing dozens of chains freeing the captive samurai to take up arms against the oni.
The large oni found Erik and picked him up easily. Erik was thrown far, far across the room.
Kyosado kept us enhanced throughout the fighting. He did his best. It was more than I had exected out of him. I was actually thankful he was around and grateful for his help.
I had a regrettably ingenious idea to fly above Uesugi and remove my cloak so that I could drop unseen on top of him and impale him onto my blade. Well, it worked. I slammed into him with force enough to cut deeply into his chest and then rode his body into the ground. My blade allowed me to survive the impact into the ground but left me blacking out and Uesugi dying next me. I believe I heard Erik approaching as I fell asleep.
Surprisingly, I woke up and found myself laying next to a now headless and armorless Uesugi and saw my cloak gently floating over the crowd of soldiers. I had to retrieve it. I took off running as fast I could and caught my cloak and tied it back on in one motion. As soon as I had my wings back, I felt a strong force holding my throat. A brilliant glow burst forth before me and Imagawa stood holding me in place.
As I flew around the keep, Erik and Kyo began the ritual. Their chanting became ethereal and stopped sounding like them. Some release of energy drew all four of us to the ritual cirlce as the light swelled. We found ourselves standing in a planeless expanse of clouds and light. I froze. There was no way we could have transported ourselves to the realm of the gods and yet it was there that we found ourselves. I was awestruck and terrified all at once. Out of the distant mist walked a bright burning figure that struck me to be Raiden. I fell to one knee and bowed faster than I thought possible as Nakano followed suit. Kyosado stood blissfully ignorant and smiled around and Erik, the fool, gallantly strode up to Raiden and offered to shake his hand. I froze more and prepared for the worst.
Raiden spoke to Erik freely. They discussed how we ended up here. Raiden told us that the ritual made him take notice and that we were brought here in part by Raiden. The other part that brought us here was a strange looking yellow haired man in armor with a short warhammer. Erik discussed much with the man. I take it that large man was a god-like figure from Erik’s cursed home.
Erik referred to the large man as “uncle.” That seemed a bit impossible to me. Meanwhile, Raiden spoke with Nakano and offered him a one time use of Raiju, Raiden’s companion and pet once. Raiden told us to find a large swelling of mystical energy and that could lead us to more information. After some brief farewells, Raiden sent us back to the keep. It’s an odd thing to move from unified senses in the realm of the gods back to flying through the air in the physical realm. I circled around and drove for the castle keep.
I spoke to my companions for a long while about our encounter with divinity. I mistakenly divulged to Raiden that my lord had been slain. The three brought it up and I tried to not discuss the matter. I argued with Ishikura that he and I were not alike only to be angered at every turn in the conversation. I came to bicker with Erik. Erik thinks I dissrespect him and Kyosado. I may. But Erik proposed a deal. If I stop dissrespecting him and Ishikura, then he’ll stop dissrespecting me and we’ll all get along much better.
After our discussion, we began wondering where the mystic energy was located. As soon as we began to get curious, a massive earthquake moved across the land and shook us in the keep. The energy released was so potent we all knew it came from the northeast towards Hitachi. Nakano gathered us together and overexerted himself to transport us to Hitachi. We spotted a massive stone crag that had burst from the earth and rose a good 200 feet into the air with a massive gate 40 feet up from the ground.
Erik borrowed my cloak to fly to the gate and knock as I made Nakano, Kyosado, Kouhei and myself invisible and we ran as fast as the wolf could to the bottom of the tower. We stood with our eyes fixed on the open gate for what seemed like hours. I saw a pair of feet on the edge of the opening as a swell of energy and reality burst behind us. I turned to look and saw an army in full formation facing the tower, and us. The army stood at least 3,000 strong and there were commanding officers that were flying over the troops. I heard a resounding crack of thunder above me and looked up to see an armored samurai flying backwards towards the army on the ground. I looked back up to see Erik standing at the edge of the gate grinning ear to ear. I was sure I had found a new contender for the most interesting day of my life yet.
((Erik knocked at the gate with his axe, Jern. The gate creaked open and Erik was greeted by Yoshishige. Oni-Yoshishige. The same Oni-Yoshishige that decimated Kyosado and Honda during their trek north. They spoke about the Red Daimyo. Yoshishige told Erik that Imagawa is the Red Daimyo. Yoshishige also told Erik he’d love to fight him. They both stepped to the edge as the army teleported in. Erik decided it was time to start things. Erik wound up and swung Jern as hard as he could into Oni-Yoshishige’s back and sent him flying a good 200 feet out of the gate.))
After the remaining two samurai managed their escape, we hurried into the keep and began looking for clues. Something just was not right. We looked all over and found signs that there was an army here. We concluded that an army had marched in and fortified in the castle but we could find nothing that pointed to the army leaving. It appeared as though the army walked in but had never left. But the castle laid empty before us. There were no signs of stuggle or battle within.
Erik wondered if there were someone we could talk to. He had the audacity to suggest talking to one of the gods for advice. I don’t know how things happen where he comes from, but that is entirely out of the question. However, that was his suggestion and Nakano and Kyosado both agreed. They thought to enact a ritual to call the Water Dragon back to our land and ask it for advice. Ask. A GOD. For advice. There is nothing about this plan that is a good idea.
But Nakano informed them how to set up this ritual. I refused to take part and offered to keep watch around the keep for any intrusions. Erik bolstered the ritual with strange script he said was from his homeland. Erik and Kyosado actually retrieved the body of Hotaru for use as a sacrifice for the ritual to which Erik added his own blood.
We’ll see how the gods treat such a flaunting.
After we made it back into Suruga, we decided to meet at the old man’s bar we had disrupted a couple weeks ago. We bickered a bit and ultimately decided to investigate the remenants of Imagawa’s castle.
Imagawa had dismantled the army only days prior to the Uesugi, so we had figured there was ill tidings afoot. As we approached the north gate, a large figure walked out of the darkness. The massive man revealed himself to be a powerful samurai atop a very large warhorse.
I attempted to hide myself amonst the tree line as the mounted man spoke out. He recognized us as the “rogues” everyone has been talking about. Rogues. Hmph. What have we done to merit such an inglorious title? The samurai seemed to know who we were and asked for our names. He knew I was there. He mentioned me and pointed at me. It seems the Nakata secret is not as all encompassing as I was led to believe.
As Erik and Kodai Nakano stood with Kyosado talking with the man, I readied myself for the oncoming melee. When I thought I was ready, a chained sickle flew out of the darkness and rended through my chest. I mused it must have been an odd thing to see a sickle stuck into nothingness and blood dripping out. I kept musing this as the sickle was removed and I saw the source of my newfound chest wound. We had been snuck up upon. This other man did not reveal himself to be a samurai or even honorable. There was no name given. Just a strike from the shadows and a malevolent grin. The irony was not lost on me.
Before morning arose on our trek to Shiga, Kyosado and I were stirred to a disturbance at the front gate of Imagawa’s court. I moved out and among the people who had gathered. They looked like distraught peasants. I asked them what they wanted and Erik and Kohei immediately flew over the courtyard wall and landed scattering the group. After we rounded up the peasants, we learned they are farmers from the northlands of Suruga province. Their lands have been attacked and razed by blurry shadowy figures that move at blinding speeds. General Okabe comes out and talks to the peasants and says he’ll look into the matter. We settle back into to sleep and set out just before dawn.
A few days down the road, we happened upon a trio of travelling buddhist monks. One of the monks offers to show us the ninja encampments. Erik delightfully took him up on his offer. The monk removed his robe and took off running at incredible speeds. After his jog, I was sent down to investigate the supposed camp. What I found however was a bustling small fishing village. Everything seemed too peaceful and too new. I reported back to the rest of my party and we decided to all walk down into the village. As we walked down the hill towards the shore, we saw through the illusion. The village was a mirage. And waiting in the midst of the vanished village was the buddhist monk from before. This monk was actually Hattori of the Koga.
Hattori informed us that Imagawa may be leading us on and has fed us a good deal of misinformation. However, Hattori would not tell us everything without us beating it out of him.
Our trek to Imagawa’s keep from the valley was long and arduous. It rained from the moment we left the valley floor till we were welcomed into courtyards. We were given lavish rooms and fresh changes of clothes before we were ushered to dinner. Imagawa spared no expense on the elegant meal his servants prepared for the court.
Imagawa had the three of us held after dinner and began questioning us about the bar fight in Suruga a week ago. Erik played dumb which shocked me to a degree. I was as forthcoming and I cared to be and Nakano merely recounted the happenings. Imagawa, however was disinterested in our explanations. It truly felt like he was sizing us up from our stories. Imagawa was just interested in our abilities and our telling of the tales.
It was also revealed to us that the Nagao we captured in the valley was in fact a decoy. So the real Nagao is still at large and could be marching on Suruga as we sat idle with Imagawa.
Imagawa asked the three of us to investigate a gathering of ninja at a stronghold not too far from Suruga. After a night of discourse, we all outfitted ourselves and set out to Shiga at morning.
Through the heat of battle, I flew threw endless ranks of archers and let the land drink deeply of the flowing blood. As Honda and Kyosado conversed for an eternity and a half in the heat of battle, I noticed an approaching unit being led by a garishly armored samurai on a well kept horse.
It was my luck day. Nagao was joining the battle himself. I grinned widely and launched at full speed into Nagao’s retinue. The noticed my approach and let fly a flurry of arrows that I gracefully glided through. I righted myself and dove onto Nagao and took firm hold of his shoulders. I lifted him with much effort into the air and flew back towards Kodai Nakano.
En route, Nagao attempted to disable my winged cloak by a strange glowing burst from his body. Thankfully it did not work and I dropped him into a skidding approach where he stopped right at Nakano’s feet.
Nakano placed his boot on Nagao’s neck as Honda approached. Honda used her spear and immediately countered Nagao’s divine favor and nullified his abilities.
Honda rode off after the remnants of the battle resolved. We have Nagao bound and held in our clutches. I also noticed Kyosado rode off to the north during the battle. I’m curious what would possess a, well, possessed man to flee a glorious battle. Time may tell.