ninja_coder: (Default)
( May. 11th, 2012 03:14 pm)

The past two weeks have been full of short missions to scout and kill enemy kama fighters, separated by long, long meetings to plan our strategies in the Saitekika campaign. At least one of these missions took me into Nagoya, the city of woe. But it turned out that I have learned much about Nagoya’s alleyways, and evading its security. Since my mission didn’t require me to sneak across the rooftops, it was easier than I expected.

I’m sure my next visit to that accursed city will be twice as troublesome, just to make up for it.

In the meantime, we are trying to find new ninjas to replace Ginsaku. There were two applicants who were barely competent. Then came one who was quite skilled, and who was a joy to spar with when we tested him. Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow him to join our clan. Kento and I are both disappointed that he will not be able to fight alongside us.

Finally, yesterday, I tested a new fighter. At least, he claimed to be a fighter. When I asked him to describe the benefits and drawbacks of various fighting styles, he gave me only vague platitudes, like someone who has read about fighting but never entered real combat. When I asked him to demonstrate some simple kama kata, his motions were awkward and clumsy. I could not imagine how he might fare in a real fight — he would be at least as dangerous to his comrades as to any enemies.

I told him there was no point in continuing any further. We will have to keep searching for warriors who are actually useful in combat.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

I arrived in Nagoya earlier today, went through the city gates disguised as a simple farmer, and then headed for the areas Furashi is known to frequent. Slipping my manrikigusari from its hiding place under my tunic, I quickly hoisted myself up to the rooftops and started scanning the streets for him.

After about a half-hour of surveillance, I spotted him leaving a tavern. I moved to intercept him, and was able to rendezvous with him easily. He appreciated receiving the message from Raitsu, and had only a brief verbal report for me to carry back, with no hurry needed.

Then, on my way out of the city, I heard the sound of a fray. And a familiar kiai… I darted through an alley, leaped over a wall, and found Ginsaku in fierce combat with another warrior. On his sleeve, I saw the emblem of the historic city of Fujiwara-kyō — not a place known for producing dangerous fighters, but this one was giving Ginsaku serious trouble.

So I stepped in, coordinated with Ginsaku, and we both finished him off.

Astoundingly, I went to Nagoya today, and nothing bad happened! I even got a chance to engage in some combat, when I had thought I’d be simply a courier! Truly, this is a historic day.

I have since returned to the castle, and had a meeting with Riki, one of the Nichiren priests overseeing the Saitekika campaign. But perhaps I can tell about that tomorrow.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

Yesterday, on my way to my meeting with Sakito, I noticed something important in my weapons-locker: A message from Raitsu to Furashi. Oh, no! How could I have forgotten?

Of course: I have been dealing with the many meetings with Clan Hekoayu, and now more meetings to plan our strategies for the Saitekika campaign, and Kento never made this message sound like a particularly high priority, and… well, I was very forgetful, and this must be corrected.

Of course, I could not do anything about it at the time. But now, I have a few hours to spare. Off to Nagoya I go!

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

This morning, I talked to Kento and told him that I have been idle. He found an assignment for me: “You already know our operative in Hikone, Raitsu. He commands one of our advance scouts, a man named Furashi. Go to Hikone and find Raitsu, and take whatever scrolls or orders he has for Furashi to wherever Furashi is.”

These sorts of open-ended tasks can sometimes take quite a while, so I packed up my traveling gear and sped off to Hikone. It’s been a little while since I’ve had to contact Raitsu, so I spent some time on the rooftops, scouting around for him. Not in the Merchants’ Quarter. Not in the town square. Not by the river bank. Finally, I had to use my fallback contact method: At the Inn of the Green Cricket, I ordered three cups of genmaicha. When they arrived, I drank one, and mentioned to the innkeeper: “You know, I was born in the Year of the Rat.” He nodded, but said nothing, as I finished the first cup and walked away, leaving the other two untouched.

Two minutes later, he met me by the woodpile behind the inn, where I whispered to him the address where I’d be waiting for Raitsu. He whispered back, “Three-thirty”, the earliest time Raitsu would possibly be there. I do not know how the message then traveled from the innkeeper to Raitsu — Raitsu has his own network in Hikone, and all I know of it is that the innkeeper is a member of it.

But at three-thirty, I was atop the roof I had specified. Nearly an hour later, Raitsu arrived. “Sorry I took so long,” he said. “There is much I had to say to Furashi, and it took some time to write it all out.”

“These things happen,” I admitted.

“Furashi is currently under deep cover in Nagoya,” Raitsu told me. I let no sign of my inward groan show on my face, for a ninja must cultivate calm — and an indomitable spirit that shrinks from nothing. “Here are the orders for him,” he handed me a sealed envelope. “And here are some instructions for you on how you might find him,” he added, giving me a simple sheet of hastily-scribbled notes.

I nodded and thanked him, and am now on the outskirts of Nagoya. I will find Furashi and deliver his orders. My own orders are to also see if he needs any further messages delivered back to Raitsu or Kento.

Later Addition: Now that I am within the city walls, I see from Raitsu’s instructions on how to find Furashi that it will take at least an hour or two of searching, both in alleyways and on rooftops. This will have to wait for tomorrow. I shall slip back out and go home to Iga now…

…but tomorrow, I shall surely find Furashi and deliver his message.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

Yesterday, Kento and I met with Rajan, Seijun, and another of the forest samurai. Rajan has a scroll written by some warrior-sage high in the clan, describing some battle tactics which are supposed to ensure the safety of our warriors.

This scroll is very confusing, and at least one of the manrikigusari techniques that it calls for makes no sense at all. It’s a needless flourish which won’t make us any safer or assist us to strike the enemy harder.

Over and over again, the scroll says things which are completely unclear. Many times during the meeting, all five of us were scratching our heads and asking each other, “Do you know what that means? No? I don’t, either.”

Since these techniques were presented to us as “guidelines”, not orders, Kento made me very happy by saying, “I can tell you now: My ninjas will not be following these guidelines.” Rajan thinks the sage must know something we don’t, but even he must admit that he isn’t sure what it could be.

He is trying to set up another meeting, where the sage himself can explain to us why and how these techniques can help. We shall see how that goes.

In the meantime… today may involve another trip to Nagoya. It’s supposed to be a simple pick-up: just meet with our operative at a restaurant, where he’ll pass me a message that I must bring back here to the castle. But things have a way of going wrong in Nagoya. Wish me luck!

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.

We have decided not to engage the Mōjin in Keishutsu. They will have to be dealt with later.

Having dropped that chore from our schedule, this means: I must have Ichibanyōshi cleared out and ready for Seijun and Rajan by the end of this week. Doing so will obviously require me to finish off our enemies there with my kama. What isn’t obvious to the nobles and Nichiren priests is that I’ll also have to do some serious manrikigusari fighting in Kakunin Shiken.

It’s going to be a hard week. And then next week, I need to have Keishutsu cleared of all enemies but the Mōjin. I also need to write a scroll describing our battle tactics for Seijun, so he and Rajan can coordinate their efforts with mine.

Finally, if there’s ever time, Kento and I must pay a visit to the armory and get me some new, sharp weapons. There never seems to be time… but, for this, we must make time.

Edit, an hour later: Of course, I just found out that the Ichibanyōshi gangs have contacts in Nagoya, who are supplying them with arms. I’m going to have to go to Nagoya to stop their next shipments. I hate dealing with Nagoya.

This was originally published at The Tales of the Ninja Coder. You may comment here, if you wish, but Ichirō invites you to comment at his humble blog.
Over the past few days, I have been doing some infiltration and kama work in Ōtsu. Ōtsu is, of course, one of my favorite places to work, since the rooftops are so inviting and there are so many places for a ninja to hide and creep.

However, part of a ninja's work is spycraft, and I have recently uncovered a lead which makes clear that our clients, Clan Kurudan, have a cell of enemies working in Nagoya.

My favorite place.

I will be in Nagoya today, and probably cursing my fate as well as the ancestry of everyone responsible for building that unpleasant city. But I have some hope that some of the Jōgesen techniques I've learned recently might help me.

And I have eaten a nice, early breakfast, so at least I will be well fortified against the rigors of the day.
We had thought that our enemies, the Reki clan, were defeated. Now we discover that a pocket of them still exists, and is building up their strength in Nagoya, the steep-roofed city. I must go to Nagoya today, and slay them.

This is no job for the kama alone; I will need my manrikigusari and the special grappling hooks for dealing with Nagoya's roofs.

And while I'm there, I also need to deal with the petty Ayamari that escaped me yesterday. It will be a long, hard day, full of annoyance. But Akane and I are going to a big party in Iga Province tonight, so I'll be able to relax after all this roof-work.
I have written before about the steep and slippery rooftops of Nagoya, the city of woe. Today, my duties take me back to Nagoya, but I will not need to deal with the rooftops. Instead, I must do some work in the streets.

Of course, nothing in Nagoya is easy. The streets are small and cramped, and there is often no room to swing a chain or use a staff. Today, I am trying to get past the guards by carrying no weapons at all — only a kama, the scythe carried by so many peasants as part of their farming duties. It has very short range.

Daigo is having a bad day, too. He had hoped to turn the clan's yamabushi duties over to Ishin, the new addition to our numbers. However, Ishin has been quite ill of late, and so he had to leave us. Daigo is now going back to clearing the mountain trails, so that the Nichiren priestesses can meet with some merchants of Sakai to help continue to fund our operations.
ninja_coder: (ninja coder writing)
( Oct. 30th, 2008 05:12 pm)
I hate Nagoya. It is filled with uncouth people. Its streets are crooked, squalid and ill-kept. The roofs of its buildings are steep, slippery, and uneven. The city guard are everywhere, and there is never a moment to rest.

After a full day in Nagoya, and after many battles with city guards and Oda's troops and random Ayamari, I am still no closer to slaying my target. I have many leads, most of which were only acquired by laboriously beating the information out of a few members of Nagoya's underworld. But the merchant himself remains beyond my grasp.

It is nearly nightfall. I will try once more, to see if I can find victory before I return to Iga for the weekend. (I am taking tomorrow as a special holiday.)

I hate Nagoya.
I have been doing acceptable, if not inspired, work with my kusari-gama lately. But now comes a painful challenge: I have been assigned to assassinate three individuals of the Bāgu clan (one of our arch-enemies). These three targets are all in Nagoya, the stronghold of Oda.

General Oda Nobunaga rules Nagoya and the surrounding province with an iron fist. The populace there are downtrodden and terrified, and guards patrol everywhere. It is an unfortunate place for a ninja to have to go.

But I will go anyway, and do my best. I knew when I became a ninja that working in Nagoya would be necessary sometimes.

Edited to Add: Immediately upon entering Nagoya, I was set upon by the city guard. I have already had to do some truly impressive work using both the manrikigusari and the Jōgesen three-sectional staff techniques... and I haven't even gotten a line on any of my targets yet! Truly, Nagoya is a difficult city for a ninja.


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