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  1. Can't wait for this game. Wish we knew more about when it's due to arrive!
  2. Another post from me, in the hopes of encouraging more people to share! I'm happy to also provide my character's backstory and stats, if anyone's interested. ====================================================================================================== Within the Residence, and in the company of her fellow samurai, Akodo Sayuri waited. There was a subtle, patient tension in the air, one that was scarcely betrayed on the faces of each Emerald Magistrate as they settled into the expected routine of civil discussion and polite inquiries. About them, the city continued to thrive with its ambient noise and persistent, enticing rhythm; and at night, lights mounted the skyline to the north, radiating from the Licensed Quarter, giving the star-strewn canvas above an almost bloody-hue that stirred the anxiety in Sayuri's heart. The arrival of the Crane Magistrate, Doji Taizo, only served to emphasise for Sayuri the danger of her current predicament. Though the two samurai greeted one another courteously, and with the same familiarity borne from their time training together at Shiro Yogasha, neither one could forget the current tensions felt between their Clans. That they refrained from sharing such outward friction, or from mentioning the current state of affairs back home, was commendable, and likely a welcome relief to the servants who moved silently about the Residence. It could not have been easy for them, Sayuri once mused, being forced into close proximity with samurai of standing - men and women in a stressful appointment who, certainly, could ****** their lives away on an emotion-induced whim. 'Or perhaps they would welcome evidence of aggression between such newly-appointed Magistrates,' Sayuri later mused, as she lay her head down upon her futon at the day's end. Perhaps some would see the benefit in accommodating those whose passions can be so easily stirred. Sayuri closed her eyes, breathed in deeply, and then released. She allowed herself one final thought before letting the comforting embrace of sleep claim her: 'I must not be so predictable, so easily swayed.' To the surprise of the household servants, Sayuri was about the Residence before half their number had properly stirred, and before any one of them had begun on the first of their chores. More confusing to them was that plenty of their own tasks for the morning had been completed, and with the young Magistrate ready and attired suitably for the morning ahead. They apologised, begged her to leave such menial work to them in the future, but Sayuri waved them away. Within the depths of her own mind, she heard the voice of Shigeru clearly, and it quoted for her the wisdom of Akodo's Leadership: "Rise in the morning before your servants and have half their duties done before they have even bathed. Men follow the example of those they admire." His voice, imagined though it was, stirred her heart and she allowed herself the smallest of smiles. When she was worried, or felt out of her depth, Sayuri often thought of her father. At this particular time, she remembered him sat before the garden at Ken-ryu, his gaze to the east, and his hands rough from a morning of labouring in the depths of the house. His servants had professed their wishes that he allow them to perform such inferior works themselves just as the servants of the Residence had begged Sayuri, but Shigeru had offered the same response. When his daughter had asked him then why he burdened himself with a such chores, he had offered a short, humoured chuckle, and said, "Sayuri, remember this: keep servants if you must, but only if you must. If there are repairs to be done on the house, make them. If there are rooms to be cleaned, clean them. Idleness is an enemy, and it is always best for a samurai to understand a thing before he asks another to do it for him." The young girl had bowed to his wisdom then, and promised to remember. Before long, the last of their number, Agasha Kahoru, arrived at the Residence, escorted by the Thunder Guard and given a farewell of great respect. The Shugenja offered warm greetings to the Lion, Crane, and Scorpion upon entering the building, her mismatched eyes journeying from face to face as she shared bows and smiles. The servants, for their part, kept their gazes downcast, as much to hide their discomfort at the samurai's evident affliction as to show respect. Sayuri noticed, but said nothing: she knew the suspicious hearts of the heimin intimately, and could not fault them for falling victim to their fears now. Once, long, long ago, Sayuri had found a five-legged hare in the thicket, and showed her friends; their revulsion had been a surprise to her then, and her mother's fury and lethal response to the animal had shocked her into tears. To this day, she still couldn't muster the passion needed to hate the unusual - not even one whose mere presence could invite evil spirits. With the Shugenja in attendance, tea was prepared and the Magistrates retired to a comfortable chamber, where they could engage in conversation. Doji Taizo, in particular, seemed perfectly at ease, speaking with each of his peers in turn - sharing witty and intelligent discourse with Shosuro Hitomaro, and theological discussions with Agasha Kahoru. Once or twice, parchment was called for and the two would trade origami with one another: an exchange which both Sayuri and Hitomaro watched with interest. The young Lion had not often tried to sculpt animals from paper, her sensei having not been fond of the practise, but she admired the dexterity of the folding, and the beauty of the final products. She smiled once or twice. Sayuri and Taizo shared a fondness for the written word, and each offered wisdom from their ancestral scrolls when asked. Neither tried to outshine the other, and the exchange of insight was a pleasant one; for her part, Sayuri admired a samurai who not only knew their Clan's ancestral texts, but recognised and understood the wisdom behind them - something which the Crane courtier was clearly capable of doing. The next morning, after Sayuri had woken and attended her chores, a runner arrived at the Residence, bringing word that an honour guard would arrive at the Hour of the Dragon to escort them to their first meeting with Governor Shosuro Hyobu. Immediately the servants became more animate and excited, moving about the building with a silent speed that astounded Sayuri. At the polite insistence of an older servant, Sayuri undressed and donned instead her finest clothing; the silken fabric felt heavy against her porcelain skin, damp from its recent cleansing. The Lion's hair, which reached down past her waist, was bound up into a maiden's foxtail, allowing full view of her jade green eyes and youthful features. Once or twice, the heimin attending her was caught glancing at her face; she apologised each time, admitting that the Magistrate's beauty was difficult to ignore. Caught between surprise and mild annoyance, Sayuri offered no response. Once prepared, the samurai-ko joined her fellow Magistrates, and partook of the prepared rice, fish, and vegetable dishes. Sayuri forced herself to eat, despite her lack of appetite, and took great care to hide her growing discomfort from her peers - and from the servants who waited on them. She spoke little about the impending meeting, preferring instead to listen to Doji Taizo, whose composure seemed unstressed and enviable. He smiled often. When the Hour of the Hare ended and the Hour of the Dragon began, a loud, singular knock echoed from the front door of the Residence. Gathered together, the Emerald Magistrates stepped outside, and were greeted by the sight of the same Scorpion honour guard that had escorted each of them previously. The group's leader, removing himself from the body of his men, approached and dropped to his knees before them, his forehead mating with the ground. "Honorable Emerald Magistrate-samas, it is our great honour to escort you to meet with Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama. We shall depart at your leisure, Honorable Emerald Magistrate-samas." Offering a bow that conveyed both greeting and appropriate respect, Sayuri considered the guard briefly before braving the heart of their diamond formation escort array. They were trained and capable, she noticed, though that was hardly a surprise. She wondered, though, whether such a display of prowess was being made to assure them of their respectable positions - or to remind them what the Governor could muster at a moment's notice. Sayuri surmised it to be the latter; she sheathed her arms into the depths of her long, reaching sleeves in order to keep them as far away from the comforting grip of her katana as she could. As they began to walk onwards towards the distant Palace, the samurai-ko's thoughts turned to the simple, yet elegant, box that she had stowed neatly within her obi; she wondered, not for the first time, how such a simple gift might be received by the Governor, particularly when compared to those readied by the other Magistrates. Gift-giving was not a custom she was intimately familiar with, at least not beyond the basic essentials - among the Lion, the ability to provide a thoughtful token was not as highly praised as discipline and skill with the sword. Absently, Sayuri glanced towards Hitomaro, and envied his advantage. In the near distance, the Shosuro Palace loomed. Built atop a small hill, its already impressive size cast a much grander illusion, and the erratic design was made visible to many passing denizens of the city. Sayuri considered it for a long moment as their honour guard led them closer, though she was careful to keep her expression neutral, impassive, like one who was accustomed to such sights, and who had seen plenty more formidable structures in her lifetime, short though it was. Her jade eyes retained a respectful keening, however, and she made a point of matching the pacing of the Thunder Guard, rather than trying to guide their procession herself. Beyond the walls and singular entrance to the Palace, the Magistrates' honour guard diminished in size: nineteen of their number splintered off, leaving behind their senior member. He led them onwards, through a myriad of chambers forged in confusing, almost alien, designs. Alone among them, Shosuro Hitomaro seemed comfortable, his eyes betraying a familiarity with the Palace's styling that reminded Sayuri just how little alike they truly were. His mask hid much of his face from her; she wondered whether he'd give anything away even without it. After what seemed like an unnaturally long time, the five entered a larger room, one furnished by a miniature throne and numerous, cushioned pillows, all arrayed before it. Immediately to their left, and just before the entrance, wooden racks were dotted in neat lines, empty and wanton. Doji Taizo removed his wakizashi, and seemed about to urge the others to follow his lead, but Sayuri had already lifted her daisho from her obi, and placed both carefully and dutifully upon an empty perch. When the others were similarly relieved of their weapons, the Magistrates stepped into the room proper, all whilst under the analytical gaze of the small woman seated upon the throne. Adorned in crimson and black, and masked by a black veil and open fan, Shosuro Hyobu was a woman of formidable countenance, primarily because so little about her could be discerned with confidence. She continued to watch them as they halted their approach, waiting on the arrival of Shosuro Jocho, who had moved to meet them at the chamber's threshold. He bowed to them after their Thunder Guard guide had departed, and Sayuri returned the gesture respectfully. She noted, however, that his bow was not deeper than their own, as etiquette demanded, though she made no mention of it. "You honour us with your presence, Emerald Magistrate-samas. It is my pleasure to guide you on the final steps to meet our beloved Governor-sama. On a more personal note, it is refreshing to see all of you together at last. I look forward to working with you to make Ryoko Owari Toshi the shining gem of the Empire." "It is Governor Shosuro-sama who honours us," Sayuri returned politely, her jade eyes gleaming. "Ryoko Owari Toshi is an exceptional city." The compliment offered by Akodo Sayuri was echoed by Doji Taizo, whose air of calm purpose continued to permeate his every word and action. The young Lion samurai-ko considered him politely as he conversed with Jocho - who, she noticed, offered clear pride at the compliments given - and did her level best to refrain from impolitely appraising the formidable older woman at the chamber's end. It was Agasha Kahoru's silence, however, that helped to reign Sayuri back into herself: the Phoenix had portrayed herself to be affable and communicative; the sudden withdrawal was unexpected. Still, Jocho gave no indication that her lack of compliment was taken poorly, and instead he offered instruction on their approach of the Governor. Moving slowly forwards as a unified body, the Magistrates and their escort approached. Sayuri kept her eyes level and away from the Governor, as was proper, and her attentions upon the various screens about the room. There were no visible guards - and their absence suggested much about the woman they were to meet. Perhaps, Sayuri considered quickly, it was a subtle statement that she did not fear them or their authority? The samurai-ko doubted immediately that the Governor was attempting to show trust: a woman of her stature wouldn't require such, nor would she attempt to seduce it from them so immediately. Very likely, then, she was a woman accustomed to keeping her might and resources disguised, masked, hidden. So subtle a gesture seemed to declare, "Here was a woman who could not be predicted." To her considerable surprise, Sayuri found herself inspired, though her expression remained politely impassive. When Jocho halted his approach, he stepped forwards and began speaking; Sayuri did not dare to meet the eyes of the woman at her fore, but already she could feel the intensity of her stare, moving from face to face, mon to mon, stance to stance. "Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama, it is my honor to introduce to you the Emerald Magistrate-samas assigned to protect Ryoko Owari Toshi. They are here to assume their duties and are reporting in. If I may, Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama?" Slowly, purposefully, Shosuro Hyobu nodded, prompting Jocho to continue. "From the Crane clan, may I present to you Doji Taizo-sama, Emerald Magistrate and Courtier; from the Lion clan, Akodo Sayuri-sama, Emerald Magistrate and Bushi; from the Scorpion clan, Shosuro Hitomaro, Emerald Magistrate and Bushi; and from the Phoenix, Agasha Kahoru, Emerald Magistrate and Shugenja." Introduced first, Doji Taizo stepped forwards and deliberately dropped into a deep, respectful bow; to Sayuri's further surprise, the bow that Hyobu returned betrayed a formality that the samurai-ko was not expecting. When Taizo ascended to his feet, he lifted a small, palm-sized box from his hakama, and began speaking clearly and pleasantly. "Most honourable Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama, it is my deepest honour to finally meet you. When I was told that I would stationed here and before I left my home, I went to the gardens of my family. We have a series of sakura, cherry blossoms, that grow along a specific path leading to the shrine of my family. More than a century ago, Bayushi Kodano honoured my ancestor with a seedling from his own gardens, and those trees are the result of this gift. It would honour me greatly if you would accept this seedling, given by a former Governor of this very city, as a reminder of past honours and a desire to remain united in the protection and prosperity of this great city." In her peripheral, Sayuri noted the stillness of the Governor. When she spoke after a moment, her voice was deeper than expected, but pleasant. "Emerald Magistrate Doji Taizo-san, I fear I must decline, as such a gift would put the lovely sakura already within the city to shame, hailing from the Doji gardens, some of the most beautiful I have ever witnessed." Like practised serpents, the two courtiers glided about one another with their elegant and fluid speech. Sayuri felt her stomach tighten as she listened to their easy discourse: she was never a child of the courts, and there was a time not so many years ago when even basic levels of etiquette evaded her understanding. Practise, and patience, had done wonders with her temperament, but despite that she had never felt less ready in all of her young life. "I would consider it an insult if you did not visit once it reaches full bloom so that we may all have some tea and enjoy the beauty of your gift together, Doji Taizo-san," the Governor finished, offering a smooth-textured hand out for the Crane to deposit his gift. This he did fluidly and, after bowing deeply, he fell back into line alongside Sayuri and his peers. It was her turn. Steeling herself with a simple, imperceptible inhale, Sayuri moved forwards with her usual gentle, feminine grace; once halted, she descended to her knees and calmly pressed her forehead to the floor. Unhurried, the bushi sat upright, then returned to her feet. A small, pale hand slipped into her obi and took from its silken sheath a simple, ornate box. She offered it outwards, and finally lifted her gaze to the Governor, who she found to be studying her with masked interest. "Governor Shosuro-dono, it is my great honour to meet you, and to be welcomed into Ryoko Owari Toshi." Very slightly, Sayuri lifted the box higher between her cupped hands, bringing it to the level of her eye. "When I was a child, my honoured father would often read to me passages from a book he prized like almost no other. This book, he once told me, had helped to guide him with a subtle, yet irrefutable wisdom that served him greatly during his lifetime." With a single, fluid rotation of her left hand, Sayuri opened the box to Hyobu: it was a very small volume, though thick in depth, and titled simply: Cunning. "Written by the wise Shosuro Himeko within this very city, it has taught me a great deal, and I would see it returned with my deepest thanks to the place of its birth. I would be honoured if you would accept it." The Governor gave little away, even as she listened intently, her gaze never leaving Sayuri. Finally, she spoke, her voice again pleasant, in order to refuse the gift, as etiquette demanded. Back and forth went their insistence until the third offering, at which point the older woman held aloft her smooth hand; Sayuri stepped forwards after closing the box, and placed it delicately upon her palm. Retreating unhurriedly, she bowed deeply, and then returned to her place in line.
  3. I very rarely play a combative character. Sayuri was my first attempt at one, and even she is more of a strategist than a melee combatant (though she was still formidable, particularly given her meagre age).
  4. What follows is a snippet from a play-by-post I was involved with until recently; I love the character I played - a fourteen year old Akodo of "questionable" lineage (her father was a samurai and her mother a heimin) who was adopted and raised by her honourable and beloved uncle-turned-father, Akodo Shigeru, only to elevated to the position of Emerald Magistrate during the events leading up to the Clan War - and can't wait to remake her using FFG's 5th Edition rules. (For those interested, I often listened to the song "Aishuu" from Genji Monogatari Sennenki whilst I wrote for Sayuri - it's her theme song, after all! Link: Aishuu) In the following post, Sayuri has just finished her education on how to become an Emerald Magistrate. Her first appointment is to the City of Lies, where she and some other young Magistrates are tasked with replacing their murdered predecessor. Forgive the length, and feel free to add your own for me to read! =========================================================================================== The deer that weds The autumn bush clover They say Sires a single fawn And this fawn of mine This lone girl Sets off on a journey Grass for her pillow With a gentleness that bordered on melancholy, the nightingale began its song. Those gathered allowed their chatter to cease respectfully, their attentions stolen by the bird's music, and the bitter, and sudden, wind that it arrived upon. Roused from her reverie by the enthralling tune, Akodo Sayuri turned her jade-coloured eyes eastwards. It was not often that she was witness to such sounds, though she remembered a time when her mother, Yoki, had described them to her in detail. Such memories surfaced less and less now, but remained potent in their ability to twist her heart. About the room, people stirred, roused by the cold. A ji-samurai, his discomfort more openly worn, rose to his feet and approached the irori; he nursed it eagerly, his lips quaking ever-so-slightly as the chill infiltrated his clothing, seeking flesh. He was a young man, if his soft features were anything to go by, but several years older, at least, than Sayuri, who considered him with quiet interest. 'His inexperience is as clear as light on water,' mused the Akodo inwardly. And it was true: any member of the Lion clan with more than a few months of service behind them learned quickly to tolerate, or even utilise, unfavourable conditions, environmental or otherwise. Sayuri's sensei, Akodo Ichiro, had been a particularly firm believer in the philosophy that samurai had to embrace the adverse in order to realise their full potential, and had been more than willing to enforce that philosophy in his teachings; were Akodo Ichiro-sensei there now, she could only imagine what he would have to say to the young and shivering ji-samurai. The thought brought a pleasant, yet unexpected, smile to Sayuri's lips. Memories of the old sensei reminded the samurai-ko of her home in the northern edge of the Key-ryu province, with its wood and paper walls and sloped, tile roof. She thought of the garden, resplendent and tranquil, and her favourite maple tree beneath which she sometimes sat. And, inevitably, she thought of Shigeru, of his dark hair and soft eyes. She thought of the way in which he watched her, proud and loving, despite the wildness that she had displayed before her enrolment in Akodo Ichiro's school. Thoughts of her father were always bittersweet; she forced them aside, lest they compromise her On. Seeking distraction, Sayuri looked to the other occupants of the waystation's lounge. Most were ji-samurai who had been stationed there, to defend in the event of bandit attacks, but only a few bore that responsibility well: whilst they did not complain about it openly, their discomfort was ill-hidden upon their faces, and the manner in which some fidgeted was uncouth enough to earn scornful looks from even their own peers. Had it been common knowledge that Sayuri was an Emerald Magistrate rather than a simple Akodo samurai-ko, they might have comported themselves better; as it was, she was purposefully absent her badges of office, and she saw little value in correcting their misconceptions about her status. Unsurprisingly, talk within the lounge turned towards the current state of affairs between the Lion and Crane clans. Sayuri listened, but did not contribute, instead turning her jade eyes from face to face as each participant offered his or her opinion or thoughts. Personally, Sayuri knew only as much about the current tensions as she had heard from others: her training at Shiro Yogasha, followed by her eager return to Ken-ryu, had left her little time to consider the facts of such intrigues; then came the thawing of the snows, and when the roads were clear enough to travel she was forced to begin her journey south to Ryoko Owari. Thus far, she had covered considerable ground, but even so she felt an uneasiness coil within her: an appointment in the City of Lies, particularly a first appointment, rarely boded well for a foreign samurai. It was, if rumour were to be believed, a domain where a rigid adherence to bushido got one killed, and where guile and subterfuge were commendable traits. Even as Sayuri's thoughts drifted towards her destination and purpose there, talk of the ongoing tensions between the Crane and Lion clans continued around her. Then, quite suddenly, a ji-samurai, made bold by sake, turned to address her directly. His tone was respectful, but his eyes betrayed his eagerness for discourse. "Akodo-sama," he began, "do you think it will come to war? The Crane give us insult-" The room had become silent, stunned by the ji-samurai's breach of etiquette - all save one, another soldier, who turned to the speaker and sharply snapped, "You forget yourself and your place!" Immediately, the more sober ji-samurai turned sharply to Sayuri and bowed deeply, adding sincerely, "I apologise, Akodo-sama, for the rudeness shown you. Sake has made him bold and foolish." Realising his mistake, the offending ji-samurai's eyes went wide and he threw himself upon the ground before Sayuri, his composure vanishing as he began to cry loudly. "Forgive me, Akodo-sama! I am truly sorry for such a dishonourable display. I promise I will show you the proper respect!" All eyes turned to Sayuri, who was watching the two ji-samurai with an impassive mask. Her jade eyes flickered from one man to the other. Inwardly, and at the farthest edge of her mind, there lay a part of her that had entirely overlooked the insult; the rest of her felt only minor irritation at the young man's lack of tact. Had the soldier spoken so brazenly to a samurai with a less forgiving heart than she, his question might have been answered with steel rather than words. Fortunately, the young bushi was not so quick to anger. To the surprise of all present, Sayuri's answer was soft and quiet, yet it carried the length of the room with ease. Neither ji-samurai rose from their deep bows, but both listened intently; the rest remained silent, watching with interest. "'War is inevitable, like a spring fog,'" she began, quoting Akodo's Leadership with clear reverence. "'It creeps in from the sea and slowly covers the country in a cold, white shroud. It dissipates in time, but once it is gone, the land is never the same.' "You are forgiven," added Sayuri. Both ji-samurai rose, their relief clear, but the more intoxicated soldier dropped his gaze in shame when he found the young samurai-ko's jade eyes upon him. "Do not be so eager for war. It will come, as it always does - that is one of the few certainties of life." Offering a slight bow to the room - which was returned deeply and immediately by all present - Sayuri rose to her feet. All eyes followed her with deep interest as she turned from the chamber; she was remembered long after she had gone. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was called the "Road Once Hidden", though the meaning behind the name was lost to Sayuri. Once upon it, she had begun navigating the lands of the Scorpion, leaving her beloved ancestral lands behind in her wake. Whether due to her lack of familiarity with her new environment, or because she simply did not wish to delay any further than was absolutely necessary, the young samurai-ko heightened her pace through these foreign lands, moving as quickly as her pony could handle, and for as long as she could before the sun leapt beyond the nape of the distant skyline. When the morning came that Ryoko Owari crept into view on the horizon, Sayuri was at once stunned, both by its sheer size, and by the feeling of immense unease that pervaded her heart at its mere viewing. Even from beyond the walls she could hear the thriving inner-city life, as heimin and other citizenry enacted their business over the loud and incessant bleating of the city's heart. Sayuri listened to the blurring mesh of voices and calls and instruments as she approached the Gate of Increasing Fortune (a name both ironic and ominous, to her mind), her badges of office adorned and her travel papers held out, ready to be checked and authenticated. The eyes of the men-at-arms widened and then dropped low, avoiding contact with her own, as one Thunder Guard rushed off to find the Commander, Sayuri's travel papers in hand. This he did as his peers began clearing foot-traffic from the front of the Gate of Increasing Fortune; bystanders and travellers, urged onwards or away by the guard, kept their gaze averted as they hurried on, leaving Sayuri and her pony otherwise alone to wait. For near to half-an-hour, the Thunder Guards maintained their vigil, forcing away any onlookers who strayed too near, though in truth none dared to approach the young Lion. Whispers circulated through the area of her identity, and all gazes were averted anytime Sayuri glanced in their direction. She could not hear their exact words, but she could surmise the meaning behind their gossip: they were getting a Lion Emerald Magistrate. Having a Scorpion would suggest the Fortunes were smiling upon them; now a Lion was at their gates, and the locals wondered - though they wondered quietly - how this might play out. At last the crowd parted, and Sayuri's jade eyes fell upon an approaching man in red and black, who was himself surrounded by a group of well-armed bushi, each bearing the Bayushi mon. As they drew closer, she could see the token mask the leader wore, one of a skeletal scorpion resting atop his head with ivory appendages reaching down the sides of his face. The mask did nothing to hide his visage, which was young and quite handsome. The Bayushi at his sides parted as he neared the young samurai-ko, allowing the leader - who she assumed to be Shosuro Jocho, Commander of the Thunder Guard, and son of Governor Shosuro Hyobu - to step forth. In his hand, she could see her travel papers. Jocho stopped a few strides from her. He was taller than she was by a hand, his lithe build stronger than it looked being her guess. His brown eyes took her in for just a moment before he bowed slowly at the waist - a gesture Sayuri immediately returned in kind. Like the cogs of a wheel, his men, to a one, bowed, as well, though they dropped to their knees and pressed their faces almost to the ground. All around them, onlookers did the same, dropping in respect to her. Jocho rose a second later, meeting her eyes once again with his own, a friendly smile adorned. The bushi and crowd remained down. "Ohayo gozaimasu, Emerald Magistrate Akodo Sayuri-san. I am Shosuro Jocho, Commander of the Thunder Guard. Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama sends her warmest regards. She has instructed me to guide you through our beautiful city to the Magistrate Residence in the Noble's Quarter. You are the second of your fellow Emerald Magistrates to arrive. We expect the others at any time. It would be an honour to walk with you on this glorious day, and answer any questions you may have about Ryoko Owari Toshi, Akodo Sayuri-san." As Jocho finished, his retinue rose to their feet, as did the locals all around them. The bushi lined up immediately to form a honour guard around the pair while the locals quickly went about their business. All the while, Jocho smiled. When they were ready, he gestured towards the south. "If you would allow me, Akodo Sayuri-san," he said. With a gentle, beautiful smile, Sayuri inclined her head. Her words were - as always, once issued - soft yet clear. "I would be honoured at your company, Shosuro Jocho-san." With her consent, the entourage passed beyond the Gate of Increasing Fortune, which welcomed the samurai-ko with the faintest of wooden creaks. She entered with silent reluctance. Beyond the gate lay the Merchant's Quarter: one of the largest of the city's districts, and an area weeping with music, merchant cries, talk, and the subtle blend of perfume and human sweat. Directly ahead and around her, spotted beyond her honour guard, were a wealth of tradesmen, merchants, heimin and samurai, moving and weaving about in a perpetual state of semi-organised chaos. So dense was the sea of bodies ahead that Sayuri could not have navigated it easily without the formidable shield of bodies that marched alongside her. Keeping a close watch on her surroundings, Sayuri pressed through the tide of people, making westwards along the central road. Heimin were careful to avoid her gaze as she glanced about, and many stopped to bow when forced into close proximity with her escort, but for the most part she was able to navigate without interruption. Before long, she found herself standing at the threshold of Daikoku's Garden: a bisected area split between austere and pristine rock garden, and a vibrant and colourful flower garden cut and filled with poppies. On the side of the former, monks tended to the presentation; on the latter, locals nurtured the flowers with a deep concentration. Sayuri watched both groups with open curiosity, but forced herself onwards after only a brief pause - knowing that Jocho was watching her attentively - this time headed southwards along the Fields of Gold. With the Temple of Daikoku and Temple of the Sun towering over her from the east, Sayuri and the Scorpion samurai continued on towards the Pious Gate, which opened immediately when the Thunder Guard there spied their Commander. They bowed low as the retinue moved past. Beyond them, the group walked in the shadow of the great Shosuro Palace and its beautiful, irrational design, and on towards the Magistrate Residence, which was, by comparison, somewhat sterile in appearance, though still imposing. A quick, appraising stare convinced Sayuri that it was built to withstand a military siege - and could do so, perhaps, if forced to. It was at the threshold of this building that the Bayushi formation halted and then parted, and Jocho turned to face Sayuri directly. "I will return to escort you and your fellow Magistrates to an audience with Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama when all have arrived," said Jocho, still wearing that handsome and disarming smile. "Until then, Akodo Sayuri-san, I hope you find the Residence affords you a comfortable stay." "I thank you for your company, Shosuro Jocho-san," Sayuri replied. "And I look forward to expressing my gratitude to Governor Shosuro Hyobu-sama personally, at her convenience." She and Jocho exchanged bows then, and the Thunder Guard dropped low in respectful parting; then they were gone, swept away back into the beating heart of the City of Lies, colours among colours. Sayuri looked after them for a long time, her long, silken hair dancing gracefully with the breeze at her waist; then, with fluid purpose, she turned soundlessly into the Residence. If Sayuri had been surprised by anything else in Ryoko Owari, it was eclipsed by what awaited her within her allocated domain: though uniform in its solid, almost barren, outward appearance, the Residence was a cluster of different styles and influences on the inside. Moving from chamber to chamber, she noticed immediately various fixtures or designs that suited different Great Clans, including the Lion, Unicorn, and Crane. It was unusual to her, seeing such stark contrasts so close to one another, though she could not bring herself to call the effect displeasing. Carried on steps as quiet as her own, Shosuro Hitomaro appeared in the entrance chamber just as she returned to it, and immediately the two Magistrates bowed to one another. Their smiles were polite, yet more sincere than those that had been shared by the Governor's son not minutes before. "A pleasure again Akodo Sayuri-san," said the Scorpion, rising. "I hope your travels were fair and the weather favourable." "Thank you, Shosuro Hitomaro-san. My journey was an enjoyable one, as I hope your own was." They considered one another briefly then, before retiring further into the Residence. Hitomaro was not a particularly striking man, particularly when compared to one such as Shosuro Jocho, but Sayuri found his company to be far more comfortable. Well, as comfortable as sharing the company of a Scorpion could be.
  5. And smacks of trolling. I agree: get it locked.
  6. **** it Tramp, even the devs say that you can wield a "two-handed" weapon in one hand. How are you not getting this? Or are you just being willfully ignorant?
  7. Just going to leave this here. And walk away. Later, folks!
  8. And yet they don't burn them. Watch the film. The only thing that burns them is when they get shot by stormtroopers. So, to reiterate my point: play the game how you want, and I'll play it how I want. And in mine, players can use two hands to steady blaster pistols if they want to describe it that way, and they can wield basic lightsabers one-handed or two, just like in the films which all of this **** is based off of anyways.
  9. And yet they do it. Trained Rebels hold "the barrel itself", and even fire upon the boarding stormtroopers using that exact same hand placement... and it works. Their hands don't fall off, or combust, and their shots are released without a hitch. In short, they fire successfully using a two-handed grip on a "one-handed" weapon. So, in short, PCs can handle "one-handed" weapons with two-hands if they want to, unless the rules SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT THEY CANNOT, provided they don't receive some mechanic benefit from doing so. Why? Because it's a game, and people have bought it to play said game however best makes for fun times. And if the movies or movie pictures show weapons being held two-handed, and the players want to emulate that, then NO-ONE outside of that game can tell them to do it otherwise.
  10. We do the same. Makes the game process a lot faster and smoother than just waiting on a response to your OOC post in a thread.
  11. The benefit of basing my game off of a 10-12 hour run of the board game means that the galaxy layout and machinations of the Great Races (or at least some of them) is already determined.
  12. Besides, before the prequels, the how and why of Palpatine corrupting Anakin wasn't as important as the fact that he simply had. Sure you wondered, but no one lost too much sleep over it.
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