Toll Road


Hanpa, Ieyasu

Date: January 30, 2015


Ieyasu becomes an official member of Hanpa, the Mark and all. Then he and Hanpa go on a small patrol, upon which Bandits try to seize the day.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Toll Road"

Land of Rivers

Ieyasu isn't too happy with living in a cave, especially with how bare and creepy and with people he really doesn't know too well who are all older and more experienced and stronger than him and look down on him like he's some sort of amusing child. It burns in his pure samurai heart, this need to be acknowledged, to be accepted, to be looked up to as a leader of men. Perhaps that has a lot to do with him being a bastard, but maybe it's just that he truly believes all the lies his mother told him about him being 'destined', 'the uncrowned prince', etc.
Regardless, he's starting to regret more and more his decision to join this rag-tag group of thieves, bandits, criminals and wanderers of all shapes and sizes. The fact that he's sleeping in a cave that drips water on him (even though he HIMSELF chose it) all is a factor. As the days pass, he can be heard muttering under his breath, "Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Honesty, Honour, Loyalty." over and over like a mantra. He can also be seen practicing his kenjutsu, both with his katana and wakizashi together in a style he's trying to develop called "The Two Heavens" as well as with his bokken in a big unused cave near the back that has space set up for such practising.

One such practice would be witnessed by the proprieter of this particular "cave". Hanpa had been busy and thus unable to truly meet most of the people that had decided to come with him on this journey, and he was well aware of how such tentative bonds could easily break if not reinforced and strengthened with time and effort. Thus, Hanpa would observe, in his own way, Ieyasu's pursuits and pay attention to his mannerisms and his few spoken words. Of course, sometimes it was better to jump in than to wade on the cautious side of things. "Tell me, Ieyasu… when do you plan to actually take action to claim what is suppossedly yours?" Hanpa would ask quite boldly as he stepped in to the training area that Ieyasu was occupying.

Ieyasu was just about to execute a perfect "Autumn Leaf" strike when Hanpa steps into view. It throws the boy off and he stumbles, nearly tripping in his attempt to try and keep from overextending. He glares a bit at the masked leader of this… band? group? chantry? village? Whatever the word that may be used he gets righted and slides his swords home into their scabbards almost angrily. The question takes the boy off-guard a bit and he frowns and says, "When the time is right, I will present myself to my father and force him to acknowledge me as his true heir…" Well it sounds good, at least to him, even though he really has no clue how to accomplish that feat.
He looks to the wall as he says, "I assumed that it would be easy… either kill several of my half-siblings in duels until I am the only one left standing or else force a coup that would depose my father. Unfortunately I have neither the strength or political capital to achieve either. Why else am I here?" He waves a hand to the cave arrogantly, "Me, a true samurai that follows the code of bushido, a member of a group that at best could be described as 'rag-tag' and at worst, a cult."

Hanpa would merely chuckle at the words of the boy before saying, "Well, I suppose it is embarrassing that a rag-tag cult posses more infrastructure and standing than an heir. So I can understand your frustration. However… waiting for a time to occur and preparing for it are two different things. You desire to gain strength but also fame. You cannot do that form in here alone. This is a place to rest, regroup, and organize… but it is not a place of action. So… let me see if you are prepared to leave this place and make a name for yourself. Demonstrate to me your talents so that I may better be able to assess what you are capable of on the outside." Hanpa would say as if he had authority over the boy, but while he may not truly claim such, at the point in time, he was the only measure that Ieyasu was going to get for preparedness.

It piques at Ieyasu's pride a little, having to treat 'Hanpa' as an equal if not superior to him, and goes against everything he was taught, but he quickly grabs hold of himself (the only sign of his displeasure is a flash of anger in his eyes) before he says, "Very well, what did you have in mind?" The boy may be arrogant, prideful and all, but he's far from stupid and he can see that Hanpa has something specific in mind for him.

"It seems to me that you have a somewhat traditional style of kenjutsu that you are working on, though you seem to be attempting to master short and longer sword simultaneously as oppossed to seperately. Perhaps you are aiming for something new. Due to your demeanor, I doubt you have laced your weapons in any way to give you an advantage, meaning you aim to rely on skill and swiftness to defeat opponents. However… I am certain you are aware that in this world of Shinobi… desire and hard work is not enough to even stand a chance." Hanpa would analyze and explain to the boy. "So tell me… what do you plan to do when you face a shinobi? Will you allow yourself to learn the options available to you, or will you stand firm and seek to win with the purity of the Bushi arts alone?""

Ieyasu drums his fingers on the hilt of his katana and says, "I will do what I must, but it will be through bushi or not at all. If I should fall, then so be it, at least I will die with honour and my spirit will be pure. I am attempting to develop a new kenjutsu style based upon the bushi arts that can handle this world of Shinobi. It is not yet complete, but when it is, I will be the greatest swordsman to have ever lived."

Hanpa would nod then as he'd begin to remove his mask., pulling back his hood. "Good. Nothing less would suffice. Remember that when ever you have doubts or feel you have reached your limits." After his hair spilled free, his mask was removed as well, displaying that he was blinded by the wardrobe he wore as it went over his eyes and ears and under his chin, though the rest of his face was now displayed. "My job then, is to show you what you are up against." Hanpa would state as he'd place his mask to the side gently with a kneel. "The three categories of abilities that make up all shinobi skills: Taijutsu, Ninjutsu, Genjutsu. These are the ways that we do what we are capable of. Some of us are even very capable at Kenjutsu… thus your journey shall be an extremely hard one. Especially if you desire to fight honorably. But I will not call it impossible, for this world is full of unexpected wonders."
Stepping a bit closer, Hanpa shifted his weight a bit, allowing his cloak to flutter from his left shoulder, displaying the katana at his hip. He would take a light Iaido stance before explaining, "In Shinobi combat, there is no such thing as honor. Even if all I use is this sword, I will strike your weaknesses. I will manipulate you. I will use feitns and distractions. Because we do no duel for honor. We kill, for profit and for protection. Often times even simply for a vendetta. We are not fighters, we are killers. Always remember that." Hanpa would instruct Ieyasu.

As Hanpa removes the mask covering him and starts to instruct him, Ieyasu's respect for the man increases exponentially. He straightens then when told about the shinobi skills and nods, "I am familiar with Taijutsu at the very least, at least, familiar enough to use it and defend myself against it. I have not seen Ninjutsu or Genjutsu in action though." When Hanpa talks about his journey being a hard one, his eyes harden and he says, "I am not afraid, I knew when I left my mother on my journey that it would be hard, this does not surprise me."
When Hanpa displays his own katana and mirrors a stance he knows very well, the boy blinks, and when he explains how he fights, Ieyasu nods and says, "I have killed before… bandits and the like along the way… though I do not revel in it, it was necessary."

RP: Hanpa joins the roleplay.
COMBAT: It is now Hanpa's turn.

"Very well. Let us expidite your education." Hanpa stated cooly before making a single seal of the snake. "In most cases, a Shinobi will have to go through multiple seals to mold their chakra. Keep this in mind, but do not worry about memorizing them as there are so many combinations that it will not matter, and some are done so fast you will never see it any how." would be stated before using the seal he created to cause Ieyasu to kneel on the ground before Hanpa. "Genjutsu is a style of combat used to confuse or fabricate sensory input, and even at times manipulate the mind in to performing simple actions, such as what you are experiencing now. I have siezed your mind and made you take a knee. There are some things that you cannot simply block or dodge. However… the key to escaping such tricks is to either cause another sensory sensation such as pain, or to have an ally help you."
Hanpa would walk over towards Ieyasu, placing a firm grip on his shoulder to allow him to be released from the artificial hold. He would then step back a few feet and face away from him. "Ninjutsu is a broad category… where the vast majority of techniques will occur." Using only one hand, Hanpa would make a seal and allow lightning to charge from his finger tips, swirling from his elbow up to the tip of the two extended fingers before allowing it to dissipate. He would then change seals, exhaling a gust of wind that would seem like a stiff breeze just blasted through the chamber suddenly. Lastly, he would form a final seal and exhale a gout of fire about three feet from his lips for a few seconds before it would be gone.
"Elemental ninjutsu. And there is also chakra based ninjutsu, seal and scroll calligraphy… and various varieties there in." Leaping up high into the air, he would flip over and "land" on the cieling, clinging to it with just the soles of his boots. Then, holding his hands apart by about six inches, Hanpa would manipulate the chakra between them to form what appeared to be a ball of chakra that would appear to be a swirling ebony before extinguishing it by placing his hands together. "This is the world that you will be challenging… though not quite yet. Are you still so eager?" the man would ask as he looked down upon Ieyasu, having given him a somewhat thorough primer of what to expect.

COMBAT: Hanpa attacks target 1 with KUPPUKU with a roll of: 31
RP: Hanpa uses TREE-WALKING.

And what an education! The fact that he's completely out of his depth hits Ieyasu full force as the demonstration takes shape. The boy had no defense against being forced to kneel before Hanpa and it churns in his guts that ANYONE could do this to him, and probably just as easily too! To anyone of a weak will and heart, this heavy-handed demonstration of skills that most shinobi can do (to one extent or the other) would be enough to make them turn tail and run. But to the boy who would be Daimyo, it just makes the warrior spirit within him burn that much brighter. How much more respect would he earn if he could manage to overcome all of that, and still follow the code of bushido?
Ieyasu wets his throat and then looks up grimly and determined as he stands up once more to Hanpa, "It will not be easy, but I WILL overcome it, or die in the attempt." And with that, in his heart, true courage takes hold. True courage isn't the absence of fear, rather, it's being able to persevere in the face of that great fear. And let it not be said that the boy isn't afraid, he's smart enough to know that what Hanpa has shown is only a bare fraction of what is out there and what others can do.

"Excellent." Hanpa stated as he retrieved his mask. "So now… for your seal." He would announce as he'd lead Ieyasu back in to the main room of the Master Seal. "Do not worry, the seal will not alter you or harm you. It will merely connect you with myself and the rest… and allow you access to his area without my escort." Hanpa would promise as he'd gesture at the raised podium. "Place your hand upon the surface and clear your mind. I will synchronize with you and the Master Seal, and your Individual Mark will appear on you, a representation of who you are and a unique registration to the seal itself." Hanpa would explain as his hood and mask were fastened."

Ieyasu blinks, but then shrugs, the old expression 'in for a penny, in for a pound' applies here. The boy walks with Hanpa back to the main room and the Master Seal and he looks at it for a long moment. He then takes a deep breath, exhales and then slowly and carefully places his hand on the seal, expecting something not too fun to occur.

RP: Hanpa uses SEAL-MASTERY.

Hanpa placed his own gauntleted hand upon the surface of the Master Seal interface, and a bright stream of chakra symbols would seem to encircle his hand for a moment before connecting to and circling around Ieyasu's as well. After a few moments, the glowing would stop, and Hanpa would remove his hand. "That is it." Hanpa stated. Of course, upon Ieyasu's form would now be a Mark that represented his inner self, though where was always interesting, and sometimes it moved if necessary. "Now… would you like to go on a bit of a patrol with me and help clear the area of onlookers?" Hanpa would ask, inviting the young man outside now that he's had a crash course on Shinobi.

Ieyasu removes his hand and looks at it for a moment, not realizing that his seal isn't visible to him at the moment. Since it didn't hurt, Ieyasu just chalks it up to Shinobi-logic, and then as Hanpa asks him if he would like to go on patrol, the boy nods eagerly, "Yes, please, I would enjoy a chance to try my skills.

Hanpa would nod, noting most were resting or already gone on some business or another. "We shall take the back exit then, and then take to the roads from there." Hanpa stated, already leading the way. "This country… due to its lack of any true lasting government and its frequent merchant traffic… is full of pirates and raiders and thieves. There was a time when that was not the case… at least not as blatantly so. But it was short lived." Hanpa gave a brief history lesson. "Now it is an undeveloped land that has never been cultivated or settled because it is too close to the the borders of most of the great Shinobi nations. It is almost a buffer zone more than its own country." Hanpa would have led him down the long tunnel until the reach stairs that led upwards, an opening in the cieling revealing itself as they ascended.

Ieyasu is impressed by all this, and listens to Hanpa describe the country and then says, "So this country is in need of someone who can tame it and bring it law and order?" He smiles, "Sounds like a job I could do… if nothing else, to help remove some of the riff-raff so that honest citizens who are being preyed upon can sleep soundly at night." He blinks as the ceiling opens and peers out as the two of them step into the light.

Emerging in to the light of day, Hanpa would shake his head. "I am afraid not, young lord." He would spread his hands lightly, almost like a shrug, but more gesturing at the whole of things. "This, is mine." It did not seem to be a question in his mind, not even for a moment. It wasn't even a challenge to Ieyasu, feigned or other wise. From his tone and demeanor, there was no doubt in Hanpa's mind that this land was truly his own land. Utterly undisputed. "Soon enough, they will remember that." Hanpa moved forward, leading Ieyasu to the roads that were too far out from the forested area. While this country was large, there were obvious locations to ambush merchantile trade and Hanpa was more than familiar with them.

Ieyasu raises an eyebrow then, but then shrugs, it isn't important anyways. If Hanpa believes that this land is his, then the boy isn't going to gainsay him, he never really heard much about this place in what few travels he's made so it could very well be the truth. The boy follows along with Hanpa and glances around, remarking on what landmarks there are so that if he needs to, he can find his own way back here without needing someone to guide him.

"Ah yes, observation. I am glad you are taking initiative. In this world, having your hand held is only a sure way of having it lobbed off. I will guide you, but you will walk on your own two feet." Hanpa made sure that was clear enough as they traversed the road. Their particular dress didn't make them seem too appealing, aside from the glint from Hanpa's gauntlets, which he used enticingly to draw in those looking for something shiny to snag. It did not take much to lure the greedy out after all.
A large axe would suddenly slam in to the road before them as two shadows shifted and moved to from the flank to behind the pair. A large man with an upward curled mustache and tattoos of skulls on his exposed, muscled shoulders would walk out from the light forest beside the road. The two behind them, one carried a bow and another a pair of daggers, seemingly giving them a lick as a form of intimidation. "This here is a toll road, pups. I only take two kinds of payment… Ryo and Heads. Which one are you gonna spare me today?" He would grin widely at that as the other two would chuckle. Hanpa would remain still, not saying or doing anything.

RP: Ieyasu joins the roleplay.
COMBAT: Hanpa finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Ieyasu's turn.

Ieyasu was about to reply to Hanpa before an axe slams in the road in front of them. The boy turns to look at the one who threw it and as he listens to the speech, he raises an eyebrow and says, "Toll road? Really now… and by who's authority do you claim to be able to take tolls?" He moves forwards, hands at his sides, his swords clear from their scabbard as he moves one foot forwards almost negligently, taking an Iaido stance but without looking threatening or seeming to. He's just a boy, but he is a samurai and says, "I believe you'll find that today… was not your day, and we… are the not the ones you should have threatened."
With that said, he moves as quick as lightning, running and executing a quick draw and strike, not, as one might expect, to kill the man, but at his weapon and clothes. A dead man tells no tales after all, and a lesson needs to be learned, and how can it be learned when there is only a body lying on the road. This is a land of mercenaries, pirates, thieves, bandits and scum. Fear is all they know, so spreading fear will help pacify the rest.

COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with DRAW-STRIKE with a roll of: 15
COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with DRAW-STRIKE with a roll of: 20
COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with DRAW-STRIKE with a roll of: 27
COMBAT: Ieyasu finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hanpa's turn.

[NPC System]: Gatsu roll(s) Axe Deflect from 15 to 30 and get(s) a 15. - Rolled by: Hanpa
[NPC System]: Gatsu roll(s) Axe Deflect from 15 to 30 and get(s) a 21. - Rolled by: Hanpa
[NPC System]: Gatsu roll(s) Axe Deflect from 15 to 30 and get(s) a 18. - Rolled by: Hanpa

The axemen would reply with a bit of a laugh. "By the authority of Gatsu, brat!" he'd state as he saw the boy moving forward with good speed, whistling as he'd hear the clang and scrape of the sword twice against his great axe. "And it will take more than you t… eh?" Gatsu would say as he noticed that his left leg was trembling a bit and there was blood on the road. "Why you little bastard!" he would roar as the other two would move in on him while Gatsu wound up his counter attack. The archer and the dagger wielder would slip by Hanpa, almost ignoring him entirely as he didn't seem to be a threat right this moment. "Hyuren! Madoiza!" Gatsu would state as they both replied "Right!" in unison. An arrow was loosed from Ieyasu's right flank while the dagger-man would come up from behind with a dual stab just as Gatsu was swinging down with his blade face to face with Ieyasu.

[NPC System]: Hyuren roll(s) Snap Shot from 1 to 20 and get(s) a 20. - Rolled by: Hanpa
[NPC System]: Madoiza roll(s) Double Puncture from 1 to 20 and get(s) a 5. - Rolled by: Hanpa
[NPC System]: Gatsu roll(s) Rock Cleaver from 15 to 30 and get(s) a 18. - Rolled by: Hanpa

COMBAT: Hanpa finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Ieyasu's turn.
RPCOMBAT: Ieyasu defends against with a RAPID-PARRY…13
RPCOMBAT: Ieyasu defends against with a RAPID-PARRY…21
RPCOMBAT: Ieyasu defends against with a RAPID-PARRY…26
RPCOMBAT: Ieyasu took 100 damage.

Ieyasu winces as the arrow sinks into his thigh, his katana a fraction of a second too slow to block or deflect the arrow's path. However, since he uses more than one sword, Madoiza and Gatsu's attack are easily parried with a speed that makes his sword's flash in the sunlight. The boy almost negligently plucks the arrow out of his leg and reverses the grip on his wakizashi and slowly turns around, watching all three bandits. He says in a clear strong voice, "Very well, since you have no intentions of surrendering, you shall die in obscurity." With that, he explodes into action, spinning and side-kicking Madoiza, then feinting and slashing down on Gatsu's hand with his katana before he turns and throws his wakazashi at Hyruen, running at the archer. Having no long-range attack ability makes the archer his more dangerous opponent and therefore to be taken out first.

COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with PHYSICAL with a roll of: 11
COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with SHARP with a roll of: 17
COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with SHARP with a roll of: 14
COMBAT: Ieyasu finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hanpa's turn.

[NPC System]: Madoiza roll(s) Cross Guard from 1 to 20 and get(s) a 17. - Rolled by: Hanpa
[NPC System]: Gatsu roll(s) Axe Deflect from 15 to 30 and get(s) a 29. - Rolled by: Hanpa
[NPC System]: Hyuren roll(s) Dodge from 1 to 20 and get(s) a 2. - Rolled by: Hanpa

Crossing his daggers in front of himself, Madoiza is able to take the kick well, keeping his balance as he'd give chase after Ieyasu immediately. Gatsu would raise his axe, the sheer size of it protecting most of his body, but it also shifted so that only the haft was struck by the sword instead of his hand or fingers. "Heh!" he'd mock Ieyasu for that miss. Hyuren however… "Graagh!" would be let out as the archer was struck in his chest, the blade piercing the lung and emerging just a bit from his back. He'd fall over, his bow dropping to the ground, though he seemed to try to grasp his dagger as he'd bleed out and die while Ieyasu closed the distance. "Hyuren!" Madoiza would yell out as he'd roll forward with a tight leap, diving with a double puncture after Ieyasu.
At this point, Hanpa would step forward towards Gatsu. "It seems odd that you would chose the boy to pay your toll. It seems that you have chosen the life of a coward instead of a proud highwayman." Gatsu would tilt his head and snarl a bit. "Says the man wearing a fee mask!" he'd shout as he'd charge forward with his axe at Hanpa. Hanpa would stop his forward movement and merely wait for the lummox to come forward. He would note the bare sluggishness in his wounded leg and use it against him, leaning slightly that way as the attack with the heavy weapon would come, causing him to put more weight on that leg and thus not being as stable on his feet as Hanpa rolled around and neatly placed a dagger that slipped from his sleeve in to his palm in to the back of the man's neck. The axe clattered to the ground as Gatsu fell to his knees. "While you will walk on your own two feet, you will not be doing so alone any longer, young lord." Hanpa would say after Ieyasu, his head tilting towards his direction to see how he faired."

Ieyasu rolls and yanks out the wakazashi out of Hyuren and as Madoiza tries to stab him with his knives, Ieyasu comes to a knee and leaps to meet the man with a quick draw strike, intending to finish this fight in the air. To Hanpa, he simply says, "Help is always welcomed… but I appreciate you holding back to allow me a chance to prove my worth and skills."

COMBAT: Hanpa finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Ieyasu's turn.
COMBAT: Ieyasu attacks target 1 with DRAW-STRIKE with a roll of: 29
COMBAT: Ieyasu finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hanpa's turn.

As the mid air clash would occur, surely spectacular and symbolic of skill and maturation, a trial having been overcome, the true spirit of the samurai and all of that. Well hanpa likely missed it as he picked over Gatsu's pockets. It seems that he was going to collect taxes instead of merely a toll. However, Hanpa was not unaware of the newly bisected final obstacle. As the symetrical parts of the man would almost flay open from one side to antoher before just landing in a messy lump, Hanpa would nod. "Of course. This would have been pointless if you hadn't been able to flex a little. Soon however, I want you to face a shinobi. I want you to see the difference first hand when you cannot be sure that you will survive. That will tell me who you really are." Hanpa's words were clear, but his tone was a bit strange. He seemed to have some deeper reason for wanting to see a battle such as that. He seemed to anticipate it in an oddly familiar way. But in the end, the point remained, Ieyasu had to face a real opponent of this world before he could truly know what lay in front of him.

Ieyasu lands and carefully cleans the blood from his sword on the grass as the head of Madoiza drops and rolls on the ground as the body crashes in a heap a moment later. He stands up slowly and then sheathes his swords slowly, the sound filling the boy with confidence as he turns to face Hanpa and says, "I follow Bushido and the Way of the Warrior, if my heart and mind and spirit are true, then not even the Five Kages can defeat me." He turns to look at the bandits and says, "You are right… these were not foes worthy of my blade, even a child could have defeated them. I look forwards to facing whatever you consider to be a worthy advesary, Hanpa."

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