The Myst of Avsolom is a medieval high fantasy role play forum set in an original world. It is 3/3/3 on the RPG scale and 18+
The role play is freeform which means there are no stat systems, but there are Rules and Guidelines for members to follow.
Spooky
ss

Ask Way of the Spear

Three Blade Samurai

Date Kohaku

Character
Warring Islands Citizen
Rank
Daimyo
Gender
Female
Age
22
Marital Status
Single
Character Profile
Link
OOC
Ruza
Messages
31
Reactions
3
She did not wait long, for it felt as if she had only just taken her seat that the opposite screen opened and Tamura Tsubaki entered. Her movements were slower than they had been before the duel, but came with the practiced fluidity of someone determined to show as minimal difficulty as possible. In fact, were it not for the neatly folded and empty sleeve pinned in place or the clean white bandages covering the poultices on the wounds on her face, Kohaku would never have noticed any differences.

The swelling on Tsubaki's face had receded greatly, though Kohaku could still spot the telltale hints of heavy bruising at the edges of the bandages that covered her eye and the left side of her face. Her visible eye shone brightly as she took a seat and her graying hair was neatly and carefully pinned behind her head. Kohaku wondered briefly if Tsubaki did it herself or had a servant do her hair before giving a short bow of greeting.

"Thank you for receiving me on short notice, Lady Tamura," she stated politely. "I am glad to see you well after such a valiant duel."

"Lady Date," Tsubaki stated, equally politely, though her voice had an edge of coarseness. Whether from her injuries or irritation, Kohaku was certain she'd find out shortly. "Let's do away with the niceties of formality, shall we? You won our duel so I shall hear your terms, but I will remind you nothing was said of accepting any treaties and that my army stands ready should you refuse to return to your province once our meeting is adjourned."

The younger woman managed to hide the tug of a smile at her mouth by removing the short sword at her waist and placing it, edge inward, on her right side. Whether the other Daimyo noticed the gesture or not was unclear, but Kohaku was unfazed.

"My terms are simple, Lady Tamura. I offer you a place as my vassal. I ask only that you support me as I shall support you."

The older woman paused as her brow knitted to a frown. Her expression spoke of disbelief or even controlled outrage, but Kohaku say her unbandaged eye still shone.

"And why, pray tell, would I do that? What reason could I have to even consider such a thing? The Tamura have always stood strong and held their borders. We have protected our people and guarded the mountain passes from armies for generations. What need have we for vassalage, much less to the Date?"

"I think you would find my offer a safer option than hoping your borders hold up to the Arima. In addition, with your help against the Nishikawa I can promise more fertile farmland. I have no use for it as it lies too far from my own borders, but as it borders your own I feel you would enjoy the benefits of ownership."
 
Three Blade Samurai

Date Kohaku

Character
Warring Islands Citizen
Rank
Daimyo
Gender
Female
Age
22
Marital Status
Single
Character Profile
Link
OOC
Ruza
Messages
31
Reactions
3
"You mean to bribe me with lands you do not own," Tsubaki pointed out as a servant wordlessly entered, leaving sake and cups behind before just as silently vanishing.

"It is no bribe, simply a promise of reward for service and loyalty. The first of many, I would sincerely hope."

"More land and the crops they bring would do much to bolster my clan, but if we truly needed fields and pastures we would simply take them ourselves, not be given them like a master does an obedient dog."

"Unfortunately, you cannot take them on your own. Even if you were to take the Nishikawa lands for yourself, their allies, the Arima, would march across your borders before any victory celebrations could even be planned. You need that land, not to keep your people fed, but to keep your coffers from draining. Your own fields cannot provide for your people each year. I know of the caravans bringing rice and supplies from your neighbors, bought not with gold and silver, but with bartered iron."

Tsubaki poured sake into the cups and placed one in front of Kohaku before downing the liquor in a single swallow. As Kohaku took the cup and sipped, the Tamura daimyo poured herself another measure of the warm liquid.

"You seem to think you know a great deal about my affairs, Date-sama. What makes you think this information is true?"

"Because," Kohaku stated politely, pausing briefly to sip at her sake. "You buy from the Nishikawa who buy what they sell you from their neighbors, the Taniguchi. I have been watching both clans for many months now. Last years harvests were hard on all of us, even without the constant fighting throughout Konzu, but for the Tamura? Torrential rains and mud slides ruined much of the crop and your stores of rice were already low from the year prior. The Kato, too, had a hard year when the Taniguchi raided and burned many villages, but they have always had the good fortune to possess more fishing villages than farming towns. When I defeated the Kato forces, they retreated with most of their supplies, but enough was taken that I realized not all the food they brought was for themselves. They marched to aid you, but also escorted supplies to restock any depleted stores for your men."

Tsubaki's eyes narrowed and she sipped at her sake. Her eyes still glinted in the light, but her face did not match just yet. Kohaku knew it would take more than simple intelligence gathering and inferences to sway the older Daimyo.

"So you're informed and outfoxed the Kato, I'll give you that, but I still see no need to ally, much less become a vassal even if my treasury is low. The Arima and Nishikawa keep their distance and the last time the Arima ventured into Tamura lands we crushed them. Travelers still say one can find Arima bones in the forests if you but move the underbrush around a moment."

"True, but the Arima and the Nishikawa aren't the only ones looking to your lands. The Shogun in the east and the Emperor in the west seek an edge and all our clans lay in the middle. Daimyos Nishikawa Haru and Arima Akimitsu have begun to court the Emperor where before they remained neutral. Miyashita Etsuko-sama desires to remain independent, but my information tells me that the Shogun has begun to put immense pressure on her province. I will take the Kato lands, either as my own or as a vassal. While the Miyashita decide on their fate, the Nishikawa and the Arima will be my next targets. Once they are taken, one way or the other, I can face the Miyashita, but to do this I must secure my border with the Tamura by conquest or treaty. My strength already grows daily, you know this else there would be no talks, no duel. You would have assaulted my forces and charged down the mountain to try and drive me out. Yet, here we are."
 
Three Blade Samurai

Date Kohaku

Character
Warring Islands Citizen
Rank
Daimyo
Gender
Female
Age
22
Marital Status
Single
Character Profile
Link
OOC
Ruza
Messages
31
Reactions
3
The other Daimyo sipped at her sake and quietly eyed Kohaku. She said nothing as she refilled her cup with liquor, he eyes shining but differently now, Kohaku noted. It seemed almost as if Tsubaki was looking past the Kohaku, or perhaps through her, to somewhere else.

"You are a lot like your father," Tsubaki said eventually, her tone blunt though not entirely irreverent. Kohaku simply gave a nod of a bow in return, acknowledging the comment. "Say I don't agree. Say I refuse to become a vassal or an ally. What's your plan then?"

"Nothing," Kohaku said after a pause. "Though the chances of defeat become far greater. The borders with your clan would require troops to guard which, in turn, means fewer troops to fight the Shogun should he invade."

"You side with the Emperor then."

"I side with no one, Tamura-sama. If the Imperials invade, I will fight them, too."

"Then what's your long term plan? Why invade? Why not just align yourself one way or the other?"

"For the same reason you yourself have dismissed countless Imperial and Shogunate emissaries: independence."

"You crush Kato, invade my province, and plan to march on more for independence?"

"Today, it is survival, Lady Tamura. Tomorrow brings a new day and we all stand a greater chance of survival together than alone. If the only way to bring us all together is through the way of the spear, then I shall do so and the heavens will decide my fate."
 
Three Blade Samurai

Date Kohaku

Character
Warring Islands Citizen
Rank
Daimyo
Gender
Female
Age
22
Marital Status
Single
Character Profile
Link
OOC
Ruza
Messages
31
Reactions
3
"You've forgotten something," Tsubaki stated, refilling Kohaku's sake.

"I've forgotten nothing," she replied, sipping the liquor.

"You have," the older woman restated. "You make a case for regional unity, but aside from guarding your borders against me, none of these goings on affect the Tamura and I have no desire to venture beyond my borders. Any wars with the Shogunate or the Imperial Court will burn past us."

"Yes, but you will fall regardless, whether in your lifetime or the next generation's," Kohaku said politely, setting the sake cup on the table. The servant from before returned and replaced the spent bottle with a new one, warm from where it rested by the fire.

"I fail to see how. We have iron, yes, but there's no way to take it from us. Any war they bring here they will lose and lose dearly."

"Do you fear the rain, Lady Tamura?" Kohaku asked suddenly. The older Daimyo paused, mildly confused at the sudden change of subject.

"Of course not. A child fears thunder and lightning, perhaps the peasant fears for his crops during storms, but rain is laughable to fear," Tsubaki frowned at Kohaku, her sake left forgotten on the table for the moment. "What are you getting at? Speak plainly and not in riddles or double meanings."

"Very well," the Date leader set her cup down as well and folded her hands in her lap. "To put it bluntly, if I fail to stop either side, which is not assured but more likely without your allegiance, it is a matter of time before they march on your province. You may never see a Shogunate or Imperial banner march on Tamura in your lifetime, but the moment one side or the other succeeds, whoever rises victorious will then turn inward. The Tamura have iron, a commodity sought after by both sides, and while there are other sources throughout Konzu, a source of iron is a resource that cannot be left alone. Whoever stands at the end will have enough men and materiel to assault the Tamura province and, perhaps the Tamura will withstand them. Perhaps, if your successor is even half your equal in battle, the Tamura will withstand multiple assaults, but they will have what you do not. They can and will rebuild before you can even muster what forces you have. Perhaps you will survive the first dozen attacks, but what about the dozens after? They will continue to invade until they take your lands from you."

"And who's to say I don't strike a treaty? Negotiate my way through the storms?"

"You may try, but it will ultimately fail. You have dismissed emissaries and letters from both sides. Should the winning side approach your borders, you will have almost no bargaining power. Beyond civil war lies nationhood and nations have little thought for lives when internal strife rears its head."
 
Three Blade Samurai

Date Kohaku

Character
Warring Islands Citizen
Rank
Daimyo
Gender
Female
Age
22
Marital Status
Single
Character Profile
Link
OOC
Ruza
Messages
31
Reactions
3
Tsubaki's eyes glinted in the light as she thought and Kohaku could see the woman was understanding, but also testing. She had a thought growing, gnawing at her mind as the older Daimyo sipped at her now remembered sake. Perhaps she was not the only one here playing politics. Perhaps Tsubaki was also gauging, planning, and plotting.

The wayward thought slowly turned into a downhill avalanche as realization after realization hit in slow waves. Everything Daimyo Tamura Tsubaki had done was almost like an act in a kabuki play. There was no way she could have known of Kohaku's victory over the Kato, but she didn't have to. Instead of marching on the besieging Date forces, Lady Tamura had held back at a stronger fortress closer to home. On paper, it made tactical sense for the inherent advantages, but it also meant that Kohaku would be more wary and more apt to negotiate than to immediately attack. The empty fort on their march hadn't been abandoned by scared garrison troops, but rather deliberately abandoned as even the commander of a garrison troop would have at least set alight the supply stores. Lady Tamura had ordered them abandoned, reinforcing her own troops with the garrison soldiers and giving the Date the bloodless gains they had wanted. Even the parlay and duel at the base of the mountain had been, perhaps not planned, but was clearly manipulated by the older woman.

Almost immediately Kohaku knew why and for what aim. Tamura didn't want more land or power, she wanted longevity for her clan. What Kohaku planned for wasn't widely known, but her military build up and organization was hard to miss which was why the Kato and Tamura had allied against her. Tamura saw the writing on the wall, understood what would likely happen, and when those scenarios began to play out she manipulated them into her court. Tsubaki could not outright agree to vassalization or treaties without loss of face or honor and so she'd coached things along. Losses of two forts with little contest, one of which also lost its entire garrisoned force and commanders made the case for her to personally go to battle. An honor duel to avenger her lost men was lost, not deliberately, but honorably as she had tried to kill Kohaku in the fight. However, her loss while at her age and with her handicap was considered honorable in itself as she fought despite all odds and even struck her opponent before her defeat. Now, negotiating with the honorable foe who marched on her lands, yet aided instead of pillaged, she was able to steer the conversation towards what was coming. Not for Lady Tamura, for she already knew what lay in store for the future, but for wayward listeners. Spies, eavesdroppers, gossips, and political players would listen to every word and, should she not make a passable go at denying the inevitable, unrest would rock the Tamura clan.

Kohaku saw Tsubaki hide the tiniest hint of a grin as she continued to glower, her eyes still shining brightly. She realized the older Daimyo noticed that Kohaku had reached the realizations of what was going on.

"It seems that you mean to say that if we hide away in our mountains, no amount of iron, gold, or blood will preserve us no matter who wins."

"Hai."

"Unless you win."

"Hai."

Tsubaki poured more sake, topping off both of their cups, before raising her own to her lips.

"Then, reluctantly," though Kohaku doubted it was anywhere near such a thing at all. "I will have to accept your terms, at least in the broad sense. I require something more."

"What would that be?"

"The land I will take, but I want the right to my iron. I decided where to sell it and to whom."

"So long as it is not knowingly to our enemies, done."

"And if we ever face the Kanzaki, I will be there at the vanguard. If they are to burn, I will be holding the torch."

"I agree to your terms," Kohaku said solemnly with a small nod.

"Done, and done," Tsubaki said with an equally solemn nod.
 
Three Blade Samurai

Date Kohaku

Character
Warring Islands Citizen
Rank
Daimyo
Gender
Female
Age
22
Marital Status
Single
Character Profile
Link
OOC
Ruza
Messages
31
Reactions
3
The aftermath of negotiations was surprisingly anticlimactic. A handful of picked representatives remained from both sides to determine the final written treaty and all of its finely worded clauses. Meanwhile, both armies broke camp to move. The Tamura would return to their forts and castles, reinforcing their borders with the Arima and Nishikawa to protect more fully against raids and forays by the two allied clans. The Date, however, travelled back the way they came pausing only briefly at the charred ruins of the first fort for Kohaku to make an offering to the garrison she'd wiped out only a week or so before.

They left the Tamura lands, her army in high spirits after a successful campaign, and reentered the Kato province. Kohaku sent riders ahead armed with a message to Kato Nobutoshi written on fine paper and carried in pristine bamboo cases. The letter was elegant, yet blunt in its purpose. Kohaku demanded the Kato pledge allegiance to the Date, recognizing them as their liege clan. If they did not, then their claims to land and title were forfeit and she would take their province by force of arms. Kohaku knew that the Kato were merchant warriors, more apt to buy, barter, and talk their way into and out of situations rather than rely on strength of arms as their primary tool. However, the letter brooked no argument and her demands were final. There would be no negotiations as there had been with the Tamura. The Kato had been given a week and she knew that an army could not be rebuilt in such a short time. Her foe was practically defenseless and they both knew armed conflict was no longer in favor of the Kato, with or without a castle to defend from.

On the second day of marching through Kato lands, a lone rider returned. Both horse and rider were weary after riding hard to return to the army. At first, Kohaku was concerned treachery had occurred for of the dozen men she'd sent, only one returned. As the man practically threw himself from the saddle and knelt, offering up a sealed bamboo case, she understood what had happened. She took the case and removed the letter from inside. A few moments of reading the finely written kanji and the signature with mon that accompanied it, she turned to her retainers and nodded.

The Kato had surrendered, pledging his undying loyalty and the allegiance of his clan to the Date. The first campaign was over and Kohaku was victorious.

Yet, as a cheer went up through the army at the news, she turned her gaze west. The war was only beginning and, for Kohaku, so was her legend.
 

Affliates

Top