I have been silent for too long. I convey my deepest apologies.

For some time, I was busy in Kusatsu. The streets of Kusatsu are narrow and crooked, and the only way to achieve anything there is by using the Mōjo-ryū, as described by Clan Te-no-hira. But that clan's path is not righteous, as many have recently discovered. And, to my great sorrow, I discovered that their ryū is difficult and awkward for me.

So, in disgrace and defeat, I left Kusatsu. I may go back one day and try, once again, to accomplish some missions there. But in the meantime...

...I have had much to do in Hoshiakari. The local shrine of Inari was beset by bandits, and I had to expend too much time driving them off. Even now, I do not know if they might return soon.

But most of all, I have been in negotiations with Clan Tenya. They are yet another of the many upstart new clans of Ōmi Province, with operations both in Ōtsu and in Hikone (a town that has been the scene of much action lately). My knowledge of Hikone would be an asset to them, as would my rooftop and city-fighting skills.

I expect that we will reach an agreement soon. I have worries, but they will fade with time, as I learn the clan's ways. Perhaps.

(Later, I should write more of my worries.)
I and the other ninjas of the Totemo Akarui-gumi have been busy with work for Clan Kurudan. (Their full name is Kuruma-no-Danshaku, but sometimes it is useful to shorten things. "Kurudansha" also works.)

The Totemo Akarui-gumi has signed up another ninja, named Amon. He is apparently well versed in forest and wilderness fighting, especially using the Jōgesen-ryū. I have not met him yet, but we have exchanged messages and irogome, and he has been chasing down the Kurudansha's enemies in the forests of central Kansai even as I slay them inside the cities.

I have been most diligent in Ōtsu, working with kama, manrikigusari, and even with the sansetsukon when possible. But I have also made trips to Heian-kyō and even Naniwa when necessary, to ensure that no lingering enemies remain there.

However, this has all been very ad-hoc, undirected work. And the Kurudan clan has also hired another ninja, a man named Hōsei. He has been doing some other form of secret work for them, and the time has come to coordinate our efforts. So today, I and Amon will meet with Hōsei at an inn in Heian-kyō, and we will discuss more long-range strategy. Jinsei may be there, too.
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.
ninja_coder: (ninja coder writing)
( Feb. 13th, 2009 10:54 am)
It has been a busy week with the Totemo Akarui-gumi. One of our clients is a group of monks, called the Daiyokaru temple. For them, I have removed some obstacles who were in the way of them setting up a new shrine in the mountainous province of Kawachi. To do that, I also had to learn the rudiments of the Shizuku-ryū fighting style. Then there was the clan who needed a mountain trail cleared, using some of my yamabushi skills.

(Due to the recent bandit activity around Henshukoku, my Shugendō has been getting quite a workout. I've even improved a few parts.)

But yesterday and the day before, Jinsei brought me with him to negotiations with Clan Higatsuke. They are a very small clan in Kamishichiken, near where Castle Iwinaga still stands... but they have very aggressive plans, and want to move quickly. They have many enemies to slay, in order to carve out a place for themselves. Lord Jun, who leads the clan, is a very energetic man, full of verve and enthusiasm. He can be slightly tiring to deal with in large doses.

We are awaiting some of the final orders before we start dealing with Higatsuke enemies who seem to have infiltrated their allies, Clan Ningu (an interesting clan of Hikone, which is expanding its own power). Until then, I hone my blades and maintain readiness.
I have had my first meeting with Jinsei, the leader of the Totemo Akarui-gumi — my new boss. My first assignment is to do a job for a Shingon Buddhist temple near Heian-kyō. In this age of perpetual war in Nihon, even priests need fighters.

The enemies of the Shingon temple are many. To begin with, there is a small warlord of western Yamashiro, who must be slain. He is a suspicious man, and his security will not be easy to penetrate. I must spend some time learning his security arrangements, observing the movements of his guards, and learning the layout of his castle. There will only be one chance to strike.
ninja_coder: (ninja coder writing)
( Jan. 28th, 2009 07:38 pm)
Earlier today, I concluded negotiations with Jinsei, the leader of the Totemo Akarui-gumi. We are agreed that on Monday, I will go to the gumi's headquarters in Ōmi Province, to be inducted into the group and become one of their ninjas-for-hire.

No longer am I an unemployed ninja!

The Totemo Akarui-gumi is a small group of warriors that hire out to any army that needs them. We perform nearly any type of fighting that samurai can't: in forests, in mountains, in cities; in addition to Pagoda Bearer techniques and the Jōgesen way, we occasionally use a bit of Shugendō, so my experience with the yamabushi is also handy.

The only worry is that the Totemo Akarui-gumi pays its ninjas per kill, rather than per week, so if there isn't enough work, things might get awkward. But they are hiring me because they have too much work, so it seems likely that I can earn a fair amount of gold.

Nihon is gripped by ongoing war. There will always be targets for my gumi's ninjas. I should go buy a few more weapons, and be prepared for Monday.
The leader of the Totemo Akarui gumi has contacted me. He says he would like to meet with me on Monday. This is acceptable to me, and is a good thing: Such gumis often work with a wide variety of clans and armies, and can provide valuable experience.

All things considered, I would rather join up with the Badaijo clan, for their Way seems quite harmonious and righteous. Perhaps my friend Teruaki will be able to clear the way for such a thing, but I suspect it might take time.

It is possible that I will have to work with Totemo Akarui for a few months, and then leave them to join the Badaijo. I would not like to have to do that to the Akarui gumi; I recall when a fighter joined Clan Iwinaga for two months, then suddenly left us with no warning. It is not a very honorable thing.

But ninjas cannot hold too tightly to their honor, especially in the cold of a winter such as this one. And there is no guarantee that the Badaijo will find me worthy, in any case.

In the meantime, I am now dusting off my sansetsukon and setting up a small dōjō for Jōgesen work in the yard behind Akane's and my house. I am dismayed by how rusty I have become already.
ninja_coder: (ninja coder writing)
( Jan. 12th, 2009 02:32 pm)
The pace of things in Yagyū is picking up. This morning, I was able to send no less than four different messages to four different clans, in the hopes of finding one that needs my particular skills.

I then rewarded myself with some time in the village of Nibanseikatsu. I could try to justify this as "goal-oriented", for Nibanseikatsu is the home ground and territory of the Badaijo clan, who I very much wish to join. But I would be lying if I claimed that this particular visit would help me in that regard; I was attending a party at a tavern.

I returned to Henshukoku to find a message from Clan Shinga, inquiring when might be a good time for a meeting. I have also met (by previous appointment) with a man from the Bichiāsu gumi, who says he will soon let me know if there are further negotiations to be had.

If all goes well, I will speak with Clan Shinga's messenger later today. That would be useful, for they are another group from the hanamachi in Heian-kyō, where I already have experience dating back to my days with Clan Iwinaga. It is a pleasant place to work, and clans there are not usually so frantic as those of Izumi or Settsu.
I have not been practicing as hard as I should have. Still, just before o-shōgatsu, I received a message from a group of samurai in Mikawa Province, with an outpost in Ōmihachiman. They need a ninja with city experience, and skill in the Jōgesen style.

I have spoken with the clan's lord, and he says he must confer with his top general. If all goes well, I will receive a message from the general asking for a further conference later this week.

In the meantime, my trip to Yagyū this morning was not fruitful. There is one clan whose castle is too far to reach and who wants fighters with training in Nara. There's another whose castle is just as far away... and who admit that they have no gold to pay with yet, but can only offer the chance of later spoils.

I will continue honing my ninja-to and sansetsukon skills, and prepare kata that I can show to clans. And Akane and I have a day planned together, as we go to visit a teahouse. Edit: Actually, the weather in Iga today is cold and wet; it's an awful day for a teahouse visit. We shall postpone that, for another time.
ninja_coder: (ninja coder writing)
( Nov. 27th, 2008 10:20 am)
Yesterday was a very bad day for ninja coding. Commander Kobushi took me aside for a talk.

It should come as no surprise that I have been having trouble at Clan Nettobuku. I have not been keeping up on my assassinations, and it has taken me much longer to accomplish them than any of the other ninjas here. Clan Nettobuku is dissatisfied with my performance, and I cannot blame them.

The clan needs another Sōtō Zen monk to assist Airi, and so Commander Kobushi says that if I desire, I could don a robe and learn the sutras. Of course, I would not earn as much gold — for each eight gold pieces I am paid now, I would make only five as a monk. But it would be something.

I have spoken with Akane, and we have decided that it is not right for me to try to become a monk. More importantly, it's not right for me to stay there. I have already spent a few afternoons at Castle Nettobuku silently thinking to myself: "I hate it here." If I go back now, it will only be worse — especially as I'll be trying to learn a completely new trade, in a situation where I have already failed. And I wanted to leave Nettobuku anyway, and time spent in their castle is time that I can't spend in Yagyū, meeting with members of other clans.

So, on Monday, I will go back, hand them back my sansetsukon and retrieve my other pair of tabi, and take my leave of Clan Nettobuku. And then I will devote all my time and energy to finding a new clan, as fast as possible.


ninja_coder: (Default)


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