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MadCast: VoShay

Duel: A Chance Meeting at the Hokora

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His worn, tired eyes traveled down the road. The sky was dark. Then again, the sky had been dark for a century, maybe longer, and it would not be light again. The lanterns flickered on the wooden poles. Maybe one in every four gave off continual light. The foggy darkness of early morning would not yield to such a weak attempt to throw off the night. The morning mist was fine, and cold, and reminded him he was alive. Well, he was corporeal, at least. The poor languishing dead between this world and the spirit realm were alive, too, but not like this. Not like him. The air was calm around him, and he suppressed a shudder at the chill. The daisho on his hips rattled anyway, for the shudder could not be contained. Not many carried both anymore- what ceremony required the wakizashi in this broken world? Honor had left, taken its absence with the sun. His eyes wandered back to the Hokora and he knelt. 

Some felt it foolish to give prayers to those who had taken the sun. He did not brook with those. Did the kami of the mountain take the sun? Did the ancestors rise up to pollute the sky, to make crops fail in the earth? The fools who blamed all spirits were those doomed to be haunted, fail, and join them. A meaningless half-life between Nihon-that-was and the spiritual realm- forever purged and comingled such that all that remains is the honorless misery of one and the desperate hopelessness of the other. He did not intend to join those ranks today, or tomorrow. He offered his prayer to the Kami of the road shrine because to do otherwise was foolish. The Dragons, The Princes, The Oni were to blame; a proper daisho the only real weapon against such. He tapped the edge of his wide-brimmed hat to shake the mist from it, and found his feet again. His eyes traveled down the road again and he felt his breath catch in his throat. Those colors...

He could not know the man from this distance, but he knew the shape- an unkempt warrior with the same eyes as his, staring his direction. Certainly, the unkempt vermin had recognized the colors worn on his opposite as well. He dropped his hands to the daisho and gripped them as if to draw both, an unorthodox style even in Edo. He cracked his mouth with some effort and called out neutrally. "Early, my friend, to be on this road. Lost, perhaps?"

Edited by MadCast: VoShay

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The looming shape turned slowly.  Tired eyes peered from beneath unkempt hair.  The man's posture tensed, and he slowly inclined his head.  

"Late, as well, to be heading home."

An odd blade hung at the man's waist, more a stockyard's jointing ax than a sword, his strong, calloused fingers lovingly rested on the well-worn handle.  The man turned as he spoke, facing the stranger across the rocky path.

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Tension: 2

Calm Wind, Rocky Ground, Road

Action: Stare

Roll: 4 - Reveal information and increase Tension.

 

Mitsurugi Takeno grit his teeth. It was late. His arms were tired from the last three duels. He did not wish to kill this man today, but he could not walk away from one of the Touten- the Order of the Eastern Sky. This was not his hunting grounds, and he knew better. The blades were drawn and held easily. "A shame we met on this road, friend. Perhaps a different path would've seen us in a different light."

Tension: 3

Calm Wind, Rocky Ground, Road

Edited by MadCast: VoShay

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Tension: 4
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Calm
Action: Stare
Roll: 6 - Reveal information and increase tension.

A grimy index finger pointed, the lone light of a sparklantern overhead casting a jagged shadow.

"Taneko.  You roughed up some of my dustboys down Butcher's Way."

The wicked blade, the edge raw and oft sharpened, found it's way into a comfortable grasp.

"I would accept the loss as payment for the pleasure of carving my name across your carcass."

Mansu was resolved to not brook the impudence of respectful dialogue on his own territory.
 

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Tension: 4
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Calm
Action: Improve
Roll: 10 - Choose two improvements, the opponent chooses one setback.

Takeno narrowed his eyes further. The wind picked up behind him and their clothes softly twisted in the Breezy wind. The tension continued to rise as Takeno started pacing to his right in a wide circle around Mansu. "Ah, is that you, Mansu? I couldn't tell under your poorly shaven beard. Or is that the results of the first duel you lost this morning? You intend to lose a second against one who is clearly your better?' Takeno planted his feet and shifted the grip on his wakizashi. "You will lose more than lice-filled fur, vermin."

Tension: 5
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Calm
Mansu chooses a Setback.

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Tension: 5
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Breezy
Setback: Deal one Future Wound
Action: Stare
Roll: 5

Mansu barely flinched as the Hokuten began the slow circling.

"Ware the rocky ground, oh pampered one.  Here in the grottoes, we are used to broken paths" 

Revealed: +1 Proficiency on Rocky Terrain.
Tension: 6

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Tension: 6
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Breezy
Action: Improve
Roll: 10 - Choose two improvements, opponent chooses one setback

"You reveal too much, Mansu. I suppose it was too much to expect from a thug like yourself." Takeno raised his swords to the heavens as if in prayer. After a moment, a gale seemed to respond to his outstretched arms, whipping Mansu's hair around wildly. "I do not know what you think will happen; I only know what won't." His eyes took a sheen as he noticed an opening on his opponent.

Tension: 6
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Gusty

Future Wounds: Takeno - 1, Mansu - 1

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Tension: 6
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Breezy
Setback: Raise Tension
Action: Prepare
Roll: 10 -  Your opponent reveals something about themselves. You may Strike! or Forfeit as your next move. 

Mansu slowly eased his blade of his shoulder, letting its point dip to the ground.  Languidly he stretched, the wind whipping his tangled hair.  

"I've kept my feet a hundred miles offshore, fop.  I've been on the blackest waters and survived the colorless storms.  You are as transparent to me as glass."

Tension: 7
Opponent must reveal.

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Tension: 7
Conditions: Road, Rocky, Breezy
Setback: Raise Tension
Action: Improve
Roll:  11 - Choose two improvements, opponent chooses one setback

Takeno chuckled. "You think the men from Echigo are so easily read, brute?" He stepped forward briskly and slipped down the embankment to Flat land. "I am not so easily bested. Give me your best strike, if you can find it." Takeno continued to track the man he wished to bring down today. 

Future Wounds: Takeno - 1, Mansu - 2

Tension: 7

Edited by MadCast: VoShay

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Tension: 7
Conditions: Road, Flat, Breezy
Action: Strike
Roll: 11 - You deal 3 +(1 Future Wound) damage.  The duel ends. 

Mansu snarled.  His free hand reached for a stout earthen jug on his belt with a thick stopper.  A foul, sulfurous order tainted the area as Mansu gulped greedily at the mixture.  

"GRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!"

Wordless fury echoed as he flew threw the air, gnarled blade knocking both swords aside, the razor edge finding soft flesh.  A band of blood, black in the dirty light, dashed itself on the worn cobbles.  Staggering, Mansu walked several circles around the wounded man, his barbarous braying relenting with each revolution.  Chest heaving, he dropped to one knee before the wounded but alive Taneko, bloodshot eyes slowly returned to their tired calm.

"Wh-... Wh-... When I see you -huff- see you -huff- again, I'll -mmfh- kill you.  I'll leave your corpse for the rats and lungfish to fight over, or sell you to a bodymonger so your wretched existence will have some worth."

Mansu levered himself up, looked derisively at the wounded form, and continued his way on in the gloom of the sparklights.

MUNSA WINS
 

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Takeno found his feet unsteadily, his eyes resting on the blood lightly coating his wakizashi. It had not found the right mark. The tension ran out of his limbs and he felt the unbearable exhaustion of the end of his fourth duel. 

 

"I know you better today than yesterday, Mansu." He whispered to the Kami around him. "Do not forget that fact should we meet again."

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