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 performed an extremely useful task for Clan Nettobuku, which will make life much easier for all of the clan's ninjas whenever we need to work in Nagoya, the chief city of Oda's lands. After much sneaking and infiltration in the city guard's headquarters and even in the regional lord's castle, I have secured some of the special grappling hooks that can gain a purchase on the city's rooftops. The city guard keeps a very tight grip on these hooks, and the penalty for being caught with them is death by torture.

But with these hooks on our manrikigusari chains, Bunmei, Jimon, Benjirō and I can go anywhere in the city, instead of being restricted to the streets and alleyways — and the city guards' many checkpoints. True, the rooftops themselves are still steep, slippery, and dangerous. But we will persevere.

My reward for bringing these valuable items back to the castle? The Nichiren abbess, Jīya, demanding to know about my plans for wintertime holidays, so she can plan the most auspicious times for company meditations. "I needed to know this yesterday!" she said. Truly, it is good to have one's efforts given the proper importance.

As further improvement of my day, I then attended a meeting in which Jimon taught the rest of the warriors about his new kata, which will be important to our work in the central provinces of Kawachi and Yamato. Of course, Jimon's kata are very pure examples of the Living Stone style. Perhaps I am simply overreacting to a slight overdose of Living Stone (and maybe also to Jimon himself), but his latest kata remind me uncomfortably of the Sturdy Pillar ryū that so annoyed me at Clan Iwinaga.

And, beyond that, Jimon... is not the best instructor. A good instructor can make difficult and complex matters simple and easy to understand. Jimon's presentation is disorganized and cursory, and may actually make simple matters seem more difficult than they truly are. He admits that he will not be writing any instructional scrolls, and that we all will simply have to study the movements on our own.

But no matter. I will study, and I will learn what is good in the Living Stone ryū, and I will not let what is bad in it cause me to reject the entire path.

And tomorrow, I will use the special Nagoya hook to track down and slay a merchant in Nagoya, a man who it turns out is aiding both our Ātosugijei and Reki enemies. I will keep my skills sharp, and when the new year comes, I will find a better clan.
ninja_coder: (Default)
( Oct. 1st, 2008 03:24 pm)
After observing our clan applicant's basic kata and stances (and his difficulty with more difficult techniques), I set out on the road back to Nagoya, the tightly-guarded city. (You may recall that I have three targets there who must be slain.) I was unsurprised to discover that all three were gathered together, in a narrow, cramped section of the city where it's hard to swing a chain effectively.

I managed to take one down with my kama by surprise, but then the others scattered... and called reinforcements, who arrived almost immediately. These were not the usual city guard, but other, more personal allies. I should have known these three would have friends.

Given their numbers and range, I had to do some very clever work with my manrikigusari and grappling hook. In particular, the Mūtou hook was useful in catching and strangling one target, who wore the emblem of the Meisabokkusu mercenaries and was about to escape. (We've had some trouble with the Meisabokkusu before...)

I was able to remove two of them (and a few of their companions), but one still eludes me. Now I must chase him across the hostile rooftops of Nagoya. I hope my chain's links are strong enough...
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.
ninja_coder: (Default)
( Jul. 21st, 2008 02:59 pm)
I am spending all my time running back and forth between Heian-kyō, the ancient capital, and Nara, where some of our contacts dwell. Bearing these messages in and out of the cities is an important job, requiring a ninja's stealth.

Tomo just found me on the road, and let me know that there is unrest in Heian-kyō. "One of our contacts there has been slain," he says. "Strangled, apparently by a chain weapon. We will have to track down the perpetrator."

This will probably involve a whole lot of rooftop work. Normally, I like working on the rooftops... but have I mentioned how the architecture of Heian-kyō involves a lot of really sharply sloped roofs, and some very shiny and highly-polished tile? It's slippery stuff.

This is going to suck.
This morning, most of Clan Nettobuku gathered in the castle courtyard. Many things were discussed, and while Bunmei could not be present, I demonstrated some of the kata he and I have created.

A few days ago, Iyona had been worried about whether any of our kata would be ready. She has been quite pleased by our progress over the past few days. However, we all can see that at this rate, we will not be able to slay enemies as quickly as we would like.

We also discussed whether we can achieve our goals without establishing a foothold in Nagoya, where Oda rules. We know we absolutely need to establish strong presences in Heian-kyō, the capital; Ōtsu, by Lake Biwa; and Naniwa, at the mouth of the Yodo River — those cities are of strategic importance that cannot be denied. But Nagoya is much farther away, and operating there will add more time to everything we do. Bunmei and I, as the two ninjas, would bear the main brunt of this extra labor, because ninjas make good couriers. (The fact that the place is Oda Nobunaga's capital is no enticement, either; he has always been a great enemy of the ninja, and the place will be quite hostile.)

But since we decided we must establish a presence there, I spent the latter part of the day traveling to Nagoya and dealing with some astonishing bureaucratic holdups just trying to enter the city gates. At least, I managed to convince the scribes there to pass me through, but it is obvious that working there in the future will be hard. Their customs are different, and it will not be as easy to blend in with the populace there as it is for me in the cities of Omi, Yamato, and Yamashiro.


ninja_coder: (Default)


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