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/qst/ - Quests

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After the Nine Great Clans united the long-divided lands of Kiyoshu 30 years ago, the realm has entered a golden age of peace and prosperity. However, the will of the samurai lives on! Swordsmen and warriors all around the country still strive for strength and mastery, to compete and reach the very peak of martial skill!

You are Hiroshi Nobuyasu of the Hiroshi Clan, a vassal clan of the Toumi, one of the Nine Great Clans. From a young age, you have been exposed to the way of the sword, trained in the arts of the Toumi School of Swordsmanship. But as fate would have it… You aren’t particularly good at the discipline. In fact, despite your hard work and determination, it would be apt to say that you are rather inept. At best, you are average, no better than some nameless foot soldier. Yet, you are far from discouraged. As one who shows deep passion and appreciation for the blade, your perseverance holds you firm. Never faltering in the face of adversity. Never abandoning the sworn tenets of the samurai.

>My Twitter:

>KismetQM Discord:

>Post Schedule:
I’ll try to post as often as I can, but expect posts to mainly come on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Weekends. If the quest ropes in enough people, I may consider hosting sessions.

There will be light use of dice in this quest. For most rolls, we will use a 3d15, and I’ll take the best out of the first three rolls to determine the outcome/effectiveness of your action. Dice will be rolled AFTER a vote has been locked in.


>Previous Threads:

>Thread V:

Have fun and enjoy playing!
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Map of Kiyoshu. Red dots represent the capital of the respective prefecture.
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Listening to the results of the qualifiers, your knuckles turn white from your tightly clenched fist. You failed to qualify for the Kikotei Tournament. And with all the assistance that the various lords and your peers have provided thus far, you can’t help but feel like you let them down. Is this all you can amount to? Are you fated to forever be mediocre? At a time like this, your head is swarmed with such malignant thoughts. Deep down, you probably already knew it. Competing with the very best in Kiyoshu is far beyond you. And perhaps it forever will be…

But what of it???

Disappointment, anger, frustration - these serve only to temper your resolve, further deepening your drive to hone your swordsmanship. If such a setback could truly defeat you in body and spirit, then you wouldn’t be Hiroshi Nobuyasu. Each time you fall, you simply have to pick yourself up. That is how you became the person you are today, and how you managed to make it this far even with your lack of natural born talent.

Your journey has only just begun and the next time you return, you will not be the same Nobuyasu.

Your warrior soul burns ever brighter!

Ieyasu quietly scoffs by the side, clearly unsurprised at the outcome of qualifiers. You can sense a hint of annoyance in his posture, likely stemming from the fact that he didn’t clinch first place. You yourself prepare for an offhand remark that doesn’t come. For the first time in a while, he isn’t taking every opportunity he can get to put you down. A welcome but odd change, you find. Meanwhile, Yanagi seems to be even more anxious than before…

“W-w-wha-t-t t-t-to d-do….” He places one of his incessantly shaking hands by his temple. “E-e-ev-erry one i-is s-s-so strong t-this y-year.”

“Calm yourself, Yanagi.” Kiritsuji Ryohan places a hand on his shoulder. “A true warrior faces adversity with wit and valour. They have their own strengths and we have our own. Do not forget that.”


“Do not make excuses.”

“Y-y-yes m-m-master…”

You can sympathise with Yanagi. Truly, some monsters have graced this tournament with their presence today. Even if you have not the chance to contend with these geniuses of the blade, there is much to be gleaned from studying the upcoming battles. To be able to witness each of the Nine Great Schools in action is a blessing in and of itself.

In a few moments, the announcer receives a small urn from one of the Peacekeepers on ceremony. “Combatants please come forward and draw your lots!”

Lined up in two orderly lines of eight, small strips of wood with a single number engraved on them are drawn two at a time. For each number, there are exactly two strips, and naturally, combatants who draw the same number are matched against each other. As each warrior reveals their respective numbers, the tension in the air heightens, pushing audience members and unqualified contestants alike to the very edge of their seats. Upon finding out their pairings, some nod with delight, some despair, some look indifferently, and a certain someone looks like he’s going to faint at any moment.

1. Goto Asahiko vs. Minamoto Yorimitsu
2. Imagawa Sadayo vs. Hiroshi Ieyasu
3. Nakatomi Hadetoshi vs. Taira Tadanori
4. Tachibana Munemasu vs. Fujiwara Kazenosuke
5. Ashikaga Ryuuji vs. Toumi Yanagi
6. Taira Masakado vs. Soga Sukenari
7. Maeda Toshioki vs. Nakatomi Tadatoshi
8. Shimazu Narioki vs. Soga Tokimune

What do you pay special attention to while observing the fights?
>Technique. None can dispute that good technique is the basis of all offence and defence. [Roll 3d15 - 0-24, +1 to all future combat rolls. 25-45, +2 to all future combat rolls.][+1 to all future technique related rolls.]

>Strategy. One’s very approach to battle can shift its tides. [Roll 3d15 - 0-24, +1 to all future combat rolls. 25-45, +2 to all future combat rolls.][+1 to all future strategy related rolls.]

>Balanced. Both technique and strategy are vital, none can be afforded more attention than the other. [Roll 3d15 - 0-20, +1 to all future combat rolls. 21-37, +2 to all future combat rolls. 38-45, +3 to all future combat rolls.]
It's a certain +2 to combat rolls at the very least with the possibility of a 3.

Stratergy however, we as a player can supply. Technical execution is solely the realm of the die.
Rolled 8, 10, 10 = 28 (3d15)

>Balanced. Both technique and strategy are vital, none can be afforded more attention than the other. [Roll 3d15 - 0-20, +1 to all future combat rolls. 21-37, +2 to all future combat rolls. 38-45, +3 to all future combat rolls.]
As all things shoud be.
Rolled 1, 3, 11 = 15 (3d15)

>Technique. None can dispute that good technique is the basis of all offence and defence. [Roll 3d15 - 0-24, +1 to all future combat rolls. 25-45, +2 to all future combat rolls.][+1 to all future technique related rolls.]
Strategy builds on technique. Without rock-solid technique, strategies will remain theories.
Gentlemen, we dont roll until the vote is called.
>Balanced. Both technique and strategy are vital, none can be afforded more attention than the other. [Roll 3d15 - 0-20, +1 to all future combat rolls. 21-37, +2 to all future combat rolls. 38-45, +3 to all future combat rolls.]
Welcome back, you magnificent SOB!

>Balanced. Both technique and strategy are vital, none can be afforded more attention than the other. [Roll 3d15 - 0-20, +1 to all future combat rolls. 21-37, +2 to all future combat rolls. 38-45, +3 to all future combat rolls.]


Thanks for the warm welcome as usual, Anons. Three people please roll a 3d15!
Rolled 12, 14, 10 = 36 (3d15)

Rolled 5, 15, 15 = 35 (3d15)

Oh right, why did I roll early?
Rolled 13, 3, 4 = 20 (3d15)

damn, so close.


Darn, almost there. Writing.

“We shall now proceed with the first battle! Lord Goto Asahiko, Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu, please make your way to the arena!”

Amidst the fervent wave of cheering, both contestants enter from opposite ends, meeting at the center of the field. Shortly after exchanging greetings under the observation of the judges, their requested weapons are brought out. For Asahiko, a pair of bamboo blades, one the dimensions of a katana, and the other a wakizashi. For his adversary, he is presented with a large bamboo nodachi. Despite the difference in material, the moment they equip their respective arms, you can tell that each blade has been produced to emulate the real thing as best as possible. Even from your untrained eye, everything from the weight distribution, to the handling looks natural.

“Remember!” The Grand Marshall, Azamatsu Nagara steps forward, raising his voice as if bellowing a command to the legions of Peacekeepers under him. “As honoured warriors of Kiyoshu, we are as brothers in arms! You may not maim your opponent, or inflict any permanent injury upon him.”

“Should we sense any such intent, all three of us judges will intervene.” Yamato no Hinozuchi follows up.

Chuckling for a moment, the Sword Saint also speaks up. “Now, I’m sure everyone here is already familiar with the rules of tournament combat. Are Lord Goto and Lord Minamoto ready?”

“Yes, milords!” Like disciplined soldiery, Asahiko and Yorimitsu reply in tandem with bravado fitting both their character.

“Then let the match begin!” Enmei announces.

In that instant, the judges seem to vanish into a blur, reappearing far away from the contestants in the next moment. You can scant believe what you just saw, whatever that was, it might as well be akin to teleportation!
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At the same time, Asahiko and Yorimitsu quickly move away from each other, though not as fast as the judges, leaving a separation of about ten metres between them. Just like in the qualifiers, Yorimitsu lets the top half of his hakama drape from his waist, unleashing that fearsome indomitable aura from his unflinching stance. Once more, it threatens to overwhelm your very will, a direct attack on your spirit. If you are already struggling this much to compose yourself, you can only imagine how hard it is for Asahiko. Yet…

Goto Asahiko stands firm! Gritting his teeth in defiance of this monstrous force, he forces his entire body into an offensive stance - his katana ready to strike, his wakizashi prepared to counter. As long as he is able to hold out, there will be a chance at victory.

The first to attack is Yorimitsu, who seems slightly shaken that his opponent has not backed down. He rushes towards Asahiko with blistering velocity, clearly intent on a straight downward slash. But as if anticipating this, the latter side steps the attack, preparing for a possible redirection of the nodachi by guarding his waist with his wakizashi.

The air appears to visibly spit as Yorimitsu follows up with a diagonal attack that makes contact with the wakizashi. Asahiko attempts to slide along the blade, perhaps aiming to move in closer to lunge with his katana. However, the sheer weight of the nodachi, coupled with Yorimitsu’s inhuman strength completely prevents this, instead throwing him back a few paces and leaving part of his bamboo wakizashi chipped!

Thrown off, Asahiko falls back on instinct to orient himself, but when he regains his senses, you can imagine his view is wholly consumed by a green blur.

Yorimitsu stops his blade a hair’s breadth before it makes contact with Asahiko’s forehead.

Hinozuchi holds his hand out in the former’s direction. “The winner is Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu!”

Though short, this battle leaves you with much to ponder about. Against any other opponent, Asahiko’s approach was sound, but overwhelming strength can still overcome orthodox strategies.
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Next is Ieyasu’s fight, if you can even call it a fight… Before Imagawa Sadayo could even reach him, your brother had already landed two blows on his sword arm, before ending the fight with the same secret technique he used in the qualifiers, Voided Plains… A truly remarkable technique where the practitioner’s blade seems to extend beyond its reach, striking an opponent beyond one’s attack range.

Even with much focus placed on its execution, you are unable to fathom it’s execution, but you can’t shake the feeling of the blade slipping from your brother’s hands during the technique.

Suffice to say, it’s a total victory for Ieyasu.

Kiritsuji nods upon Ieyasu’s return. “Well fought.”

“Of course.”

Hadetoshi’s battle with Tadanori, in contrast to those before, is much more drawn out, with both swordsmen being roughly a match in skill. Nakatomi versus Taira, a battle between ferocity and grace, between warriors of Southern Kiyoshu, but ultimately, on part of a misjudgement on Hadetoshi’s end, Tadanori is able to clinch a solid victory.
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Finally, it’s Fujiwara Kazenosuke’s turn to return to the field… His piercing gaze, exuding an undeniable confidence and assurance of victory, not faltering one bit when directed at Tachibana Munemasu, who in comparison, seems a tad nervous. Unlike the previous fighters, both requested an accompanying scabbard in addition to their bamboo katanas. Their functions, however, greatly differ. One is meant for iaijutsu, the other to accommodate the defensive style of the Tachibana who fight with blade and sheath.

Munemasu assumes a stance wholly unfamiliar to you, blade held in front of him parallel to the ground, scabbard positioned perpendicularly behind it, forming a cross of bamboo. Kazenosuke on the other hand, lowers his body, gripping his sheathed blade while supporting the scabbard with his free hand.

With a deep breath, you divert all your attention to Kazenosuke’s blade, his every movement escaping naught your eye. There must be some kind of secret to his lightning fast iaijutsu.

“Pay close attention to the hand on his scabbard.” Kiritsuji suddenly says, as a wave of bloodlust envelopes the entire arena once more.

The three of you heed Kiritsuji’s advice, and you notice, at the point where the blade begins to move, the sheath begins to move forward before being pulled back at ludicrous speeds. The air shrills with a high pitched shriek and at this point you can only perceive the movement of a silver flash darting across the distance separating the two fighters.

Needless to say, Munemasu’s defences are rendered completely ineffective by the sheer speed and accuracy of Kazenosuke’s iaijutsu. In defeat, he walks away, each step emanating a deep frustration - one that you are too familiar with.

“Lord Ashikaga Ryuuji, Lord Toumi Yanagi, please proceed to the arena!”
What do you do?
>Continue watching the battles, Munemasu should be able to sort himself out.

>Approach Munemasu. Perhaps he needs someone to talk to right now.

>Approach Munemasu. Perhaps he needs someone to talk to right now.
>Approach Munemasu. Perhaps he needs someone to talk to right now.
>Approach Munemasu
He needs some help
>Approach Munemasu. Perhaps he needs someone to talk to right now.
>blade slipping from your brother's hands
>that pic
Nagare Boshi? Then we must invent the Mumyo Sakanagare.

>Approach Munemasu

Sorry guys, a little busy tonight, so I probably won't be able to write. Next update will either come tomorrow or the day after.
Looks like the search function on suptg is broken. Thankfully, all the threads are still there, so I have compiled a pastebin of links for previous KMQ threads.

>KMQ Archive

Well-practiced, drilled to the bone, rehearsed over hundreds no- thousands of hours, yet anything but perfect, far from it. That is what Munemasu’s swordsmanship speaks to you. In the corner of your eye, you spot him with his Tachibana clansmen before leaving the arena. Maybe seeing his struggles struck a chord with you, but you feel it right to talk to him at this moment. Wishing Yanagi good luck for his upcoming battle, you take to the nearest exit.

Outside, the feverish cheers of the arena is but a muffled stream of noise. You move in the general direction of Munemasu, eventually catching up to him at the large maple tree where you first met Kazenosuke. Under the blaring yellow rays of the sun, the shade from its leaves provide a much welcomed respite from the heat.

Munemasu eyes you down with furrowed brows, no doubt suspicious as to your intent. “Have you too come to mock me?”

“I would not mock a fellow warrior.” You reply in a dignified tone.

“Then quickly state your business. I must-” He cuts himself off, clearing his throat before looking away. “I have business to attend to.”

“Then please allow me to say a few words, Lord Tachibana.”

“Go on.”

“Your performance at the qualifiers, though not perfect, was still an excellent show of swordsmanship. And in the face of Lord Fujiwara, I believe you fought valiantly.” You bow. “That is what I wholeheartedly believe.”

From his expression, you can tell he’s slightly taken aback.

“And what reason do you have to tell me this?” He questions.

“I’m not sure myself. Perhaps I simply see myself in your bladework.” You say. “So please do not lose heart, milord. There will always be a next year.”

“Drop the formalities. Of course there will always be a next year. But that is not the problem.” Munemasu clicks his tongue. “You’re Hiroshi Nobuyasu, are you not?”

You nod.

“Then I’m sure you understand what it’s like to forever be in the shadow of your sibling.” His knuckles whiten from his clenched fist.

“That… I do.”

Suddenly, the cheers from the arena break out with even greater fervor, catching the attention of both of you. Yanagi’s match with Ryuuji must have concluded.

You return your gaze towards Munemasu. “But what does it matter? We are not our siblings. We are our own swordsmen. We walk our own path.”

“If only it was that simple, heh.”

Sensing his mood lighten slightly, you yourself feel a bit of relief.

“Right, I best get going. These hands don’t train themselves.” He chuckles. “If you’re in Tachibana province and need something, feel free to approach me.”

“May we meet again.” You say, heading back to the arena.

Upon returning, you hear of Yanagi’s hard fought and unexpected victory against Ryuuji. When he gets his nerves under control, he’s a frighteningly skilled warrior. Now, it’s time for Masakado’s match against Soga Sukenari.

No words exchanged as both young lords begin their furious assault. Masakado matches his tempo to that of Sukenari, culminating in a fast-paced spectacle of technical skill and finesse. Initially, both fighters seem evenly matched, but as it drags on, it’s clear that Masakado is slowly being fatigued by his opponent’s ferocity. It’s one thing to copy one’s speed, but another thing to continuously match one’s pace. It appears that soon, he’ll be rendered a lone dancer in the midst of a blizzard, desperately moving to ward off the biting chill. However, Masakado, being fully aware of this, suddenly slows himself down. Where Sukenari expects another flurry of attacks, Msakado simply swerves around, slicing upwards with his bamboo katana.

Yet, being one of the Soga brothers, who have bested a bandit outpost alone, and won many tournaments amongst their other feats, Sukenari is not a foe so easily felled. Training to fight with such ferocity, such speed, one naturally hones their reaction times to a similarly swift level. Driven by pure survival instinct, Sukenari’s blade moves to deflect Masakado’s strike in the span of milliseconds, throwing both fighters off-balance.

The first words between them are spoken. “That won’t work twice.” Sukenari states indifferently.

Masakado grins, rushing in with his blade in response. Uncertainty begins to take hold in the outcome of the fight as he begins to vary the tempo of battle. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes in between - a lethal guessing game. In the brief moment that Sukenari takes to anticipate the following strike, Masakado takes two steps forward, first striking left, then right, up, down… A total of eight strikes! All performed according to some syncopated rhythm. Each strike forces Sukenari back a step. But as Masakado dives in for the coup de grace after the eighth attack…

A terrifying aura bursts from the Soga lord, aspected with an undeniable element of cold indifference, as if to say, “Whatever you do. Mine victory is assured!” In that short moment, Sukenari is the one to take a step forward, lunging at Masakado’s wrist. In the middle of his finisher, the latter is unable to move away in time.

“Stop! The winner is Lord Soga Sukenari!” Hinozuchi announces as Masakado’s blade drops to the ground.

With the spectators shocked by what just transpired, a short calm ensues, not unlike a winter wasteland. Even you can’t believe that final, round-ending strike. Truly, the Soga lord deserves his reputation.

Down to the last two fights of the first round, all that remains is Tadatoshi’s battle against Maeda Toshioki, and Soga Tokimune’s battle against Shimazu Narioki, both being matches between one of the Nine Great Clans and a vassal clan.

Entering the field, Tadatoshi seems to yawn, clearly uninterested in whatever’s happening right now. You bet if he could, he’d lose on purpose so that he could get out of Yamato faster and head to Fujiwara province. Much like their Tachibana lords, the Maeda clan fights with blade and sheath, allowing for a match-up between two dual-wielding fighters! Glaring at Tadatoshi, Maeda is visibly irritated by his nonchalant attitude.

Tadatoshi sighs. “Let’s hurry and finish this up.”

This finally ticks Toshioki off as he charges towards him with a defiant roar. Bamboo sheath leading the charge, all strikes are clearly aimed towards the head, but an impulsive attack borne of anger is no trouble for Tadatoshi and his visual prowess to dodge.

Easily ducking under, Tadatoshi trails to Toshioki’s side, sending him to the ground with his bamboo katana-wakizashi pair.

Pulling himself up, Toshiki throws Tadatoshi an even sharper glare. “I won’t forget this…”

Of course, Tadatoshi being Tadatoshi, he pays it no mind and returns to Master Yasashiku, only to be lectured it seems.

Soga Tokimune makes quick work out of his Shimazu adversary, but in a most intriguing manner. In contrast to his brother, his style is slow and gentle, which could be said to be directly opposed to the Minamoto style which the Shimazu follow. With the lightest touch, Shimazu Narioki was rendered unconscious… Utterly terrifying…

There is some time before the second round begins, what do you do till then?
>Ask the Taira lords about their battles.

>Approach the Nakatomi.

>Speak to Yanagi about his match with Ryuuji.

>Find Ryuuji to discuss his battle with Yanagi, and meet with your Ashikaga relatives.


Forgot to throw in one more option.

>Talk to your brother.

Please feel free to write in with anything you'd like Nobuyasu to ask/say.
>Pay our respects to our Ashikaga family, compliment their match and let them know that we will be coming to greet them in a few months.
>Talk with the Taria lords, as friends.

I want to tell our brother that his swordsmanship is as refined as his manners are not, but that is not very. . Diplomatic.
That was our brother being a little shit, wasnt it.
>Ask the Taira lords about their battles.
talk to Tadatoshi. When did he become such a badass?

Will try and fit in all of the options since we didn't get too many votes this time.

There will be some time until the second round of matches begin and come to think of it, aside from Ashikaga Ryuuji, you have yet to meet your other relatives from your mother’s side. Rarely does your father let you attend any familial gatherings, but the Ashikaga know all too well the reason. You could say that your existence is quite divisive among them. Half see you for the failure your father thinks you are, while your tenacious and bold spirit has caused the rest to look upon you with respect befitting their own clansmen. As for who are present…

An Ashikaga peacekeeper bows respectfully. “Lord Hiroshi, how may I assist you.”

“I seek an audience with Lord Ashikaga.” You say warmly, confident that he is here.

“Of course, please follow me.”

You nod as the peacekeeper escorts you through an area flanked by Ashikaga banners. Standing against the ropes, beside Ryuuji, is a man in his early fifties. His countenance reflects that of a battle hardened warrior, tempered through countless struggles of life and death. With a generous amount of grey, his long hair is left free to flow down his back. Most striking of all however, is that by his waist only resides a short wakizashi, for this man, who has mastered the Ashikaga style, has no need for any other weapon. Before you even make a sound, this old man turns around, eyes widening at your presence.

“Nobuyasu?” He asks, a smile quickly forming on his face.

“Ye-” You bow, but the man rushes to embrace you before you can even dip your head lower than a few centimetres. “It’s me… Uncle Motouji…”

Indeed, this man is your uncle, Ashikaga Motouji, elder brother to your late mother, Ashikaga Haori.

“I saw everything just now!” He finally releases his hold on you, but still has both hands placed on your shoulder. “I wanted to say something, but before I knew it, Lord Taira and even the Sword Saint stepped in. How the hell’d you pull that off, you rascal?”

You shrug. “It’s been an interesting few months on the road.”

“If only Haori was here to see you… I’m sure she’d be proud. I felt like just yesterday I had you and Ryuuji in my arms.” Motouji sighs. “Time sure flies fast…”

“Alright, alright. You’re gonna embarrass both me and Ryuuji at this rate.” You say, staring at Ryuuji who’s still at the ropes, only giving you a brief glance before staring… at, well, the empty arena.

“Perhaps I should stop, you’re all grown up now!” The Ashikaga lord laughs. “Oh yeah, and don’t mind lil Ryuuji there, he’s still pouting over his loss against Yanagi.” He says a little louder.

“Of pouting, I am not.” Finally, that seems to draw Ryuuji’s attention. “I am merely reexamining my duel with Yanagi.”

“You lost cause you underestimated him, simple as that.”

“Well-” Ryuuji pauses abruptly before his tone becomes more serious. “I’ve genuinely never seen him fight like that before…”

You can scarcely begin to imagine the battle that played out while you were gone.

Crossing his arms, your cousin looks at you questioningly. “Right, Nobuyasu, I still gotta apologise for Kazenosuke’s behaviour that day. You didn’t deserve any of that.”

“There’s no need to apologise. Words are just words.” You respond.

“Oh? Had a little run-in with the Fujiwara kid, eh?” Lord Ashikaga muses. “He’s a bit of a handful alright, but he has his own problems as well.”

So even Fujiwara Kazenosuke struggles? All this time, you have thought of him as someone perfect, but alas he too is human. Yet, without really talking to him or knowing him at all, this is a fact that is hard to internalise.

“I’ve been meaning to ask as well. Where are you headed next on your journey? Have you considered coming to Ashikaga to pay your uncle a long visit?”

“Perhaps.” You chuckle. “I will see after the tournament.”

“Aye, seeing what styles pique your interest, I see.”

“Caught me red-handed.”

“Haha, well, don’t spend all your time talking to me here! I’m sure you have other people you want to meet before the second round starts.”

“If you say so.” You shrug again, smiling. “It was nice meeting you again, uncle, and you too, Ryuuji.”

After Lord Ashikaga goes in for one more embrace, he and Ryuuji say their goodbyes.

“By the way...” Motouji stops you before you step beyond the Ashikaga banners. “Your swordsmanship in the qualifiers… The judges may not have rated it very highly, but I was certainly captivated by it! At least, to me, it was the perfect cut!” He exclaims with a stupidly bright smile.

Next, you plan to meet up with the Taira lords. Along the way though, you bump into an old friend.

“Ah, Tadatoshi. Congratulations on your victory!”

As usual, he simply grunts in response.

“Your next opponent might not be so simple though.” You, of course, are referring to Soga Tokimune.

“I know. I’ll see what I can do.” Tadatoshi murmurs. “I wish to make haste for Fujiwara province. Fast victory. Fast defeat. It’s all the same to me.”

You’d continue the conversation, but he cuts you off and continues walking. When it comes to matters pertaining to his long lost master, you can’t fault the guy for his eagerness.

“Good luck for your next match!”

There isn’t any reply, but you know your words have not fallen on deaf ears.

Continuing on your way to see the Taira, your ears pick up on some disturbing whispers to your right. Turning your head discreetly, you’re surprised to find Kazenosuke standing alone in one of the hallways.

“Not perfect enough…” He keeps repeating, like a Buddhist sutra.

Best not to get involved, you think.

Finally, you manage to meet in the presence of the Taira lords. Despite his defeat, Masakado is refined as ever while Tadanori seems to be receiving some advice from Lord Shigemori for his next battle with Kazenosuke.

“I saw your match just now.”

“Then you saw it too?” Masakado asks. “That blade… For a moment it turned from the vibrant green of bamboo to the coldest of white… It was as if I was truly stuck in a blizzard.”

Recalling his match, you remember feeling that chilling presence.

“If only briefly.”

Suddenly the young Taira lord breaks out into a smile. “Then I guess we both have a lot to work on!”

“That we do.” You say in earnest. “Tell me, though, how was your battle? One can only see so much from the sidelines.”

“It was thrilling!”

Masakado gives you a brief rundown on the fight, going through general strategies employed and responses to the Soga brother’s assault.

“What I couldn’t imagine though, was anyone being able to react that quickly to my final attack- No, it borders on inhuman speed, or perhaps…” Pausing, he ponders a moment, and that’s when it hits you as well.

“Anticipation?!?!” You both call out at the same time.

“Of course! His reflexes are lightning fast, no doubt, but that alone isn’t enough. It is likely he managed to predict where my blade would go based on my movements. But that would mean I was too easy to read!” Slouching for a moment, Masakado quickly recovers. “How careless of me...”

“Still, it is no small feat to predict the Taira style when it prides itself on being the very opposite.”

“Truly.” Masakado nods. “The depths of bladework know no end!”
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The roars of the audience begin to build up again as the three judges emerge back into the arena. Seeing as the matches could start at any moment, Masakado invites you to watch the second round with the Taira. You accept, not wanting to miss out on any of the battles, the first of which being…

“Lord Hiroshi Ieyasu, Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu, please enter the arena!”

From your brother’s dignified expression, you can tell this won’t be any ordinary battle. You’ve never seen him so serious before. It looks like he’s not taking his chances with this. A prolonged fight is sure to end in disaster when facing Yorimitsu.

Instantly, Ieyasu makes his move, closing in on him while also keeping his distance. At this range, Yorimitsu can still barely reach him with his long nodachi, but it’s better than nothing. Darting in and out, your brother dishes out attack after attack, leaving no respite in his vicious flurry. But this is just stalling. Realising this, Yorimitsu fearlessly steps forward, swinging his massive blade in a circular arc.

With little choice, Ieyasu retreats using Returning Wind, preparing for what’s to come and like a boulder rolling down a steep hill, the Minamoto lord rushes forward with a violent charge, blade poised to strike at Ieyasu’s hip.

A myriad of scenes flash through your mind, all of which but one end in your brother on the ground. As expected though, he manages to snake his way out of it, narrowly dodging by pushing against the ground with his blade while in the air to propel himself away with greater speed.

You gulp as Yorimitsu readies his blade in front of him. This next exchange of blows will probably be the final one you feel… Your brother, panting heavily, also enters a stance which causes your jaw to drop slightly. Body lowered, blade held close to the body, pointed to the bright azure sky…

“Just what is that…” Masakado looks on curiously.

Yorimitsu pays it no mind, attempting to overwhelm Ieyasu with sheer fighting spirit.

As if following some intangible signal, both fighters charge at the same instant too fast for your eye to clearly see, but your ears clearly heard one strike being made. With their positions swapped, Ieyasu and Yorimitsu remain motionless for what seems like an eternity before finally, it is Ieyasu who falls to his knees.

“Incredible… Toumi Secret Art: Grassland Dragon…”

You and your brother stare in disbelief, and it takes a while before he gets up and leaves the arena. His defeat in no way diminishes what he just tried to pull off, even if it didn’t succeed.

“Lord Fujiwara Kazenosuke, Lord Taira Tadanori, please enter the arena!”

At last it is Tadanori’s turn to battle again, and his match up could not be any worse. Whether that was Kazenosuke you saw just now or just your imagination, you have a bad feeling about this.

Underneath Kazenosuke’s stoic and expressionless face, hides a bottomless rage. Before Yamato no Hinozuchi even begins the fight, you sense a faint but incredibly potent bloodlust emanating from the Fujiwara lord’s blade, amplified all the more when he grips his blade. Gushing out like a geyser, bloodlust consumes the whole arena.

What do you do?
>Tadanori is in trouble, your entire body is screaming at you to do something. [Roll 3d15 +2, 33 to succeed.]

>Calm yourself, suppress your impulses, and trust the judges. It is not your place to intervene.

>Calm yourself, suppress your impulses, and trust the judges. It is not your place to intervene.
>Calm yourself, suppress your impulses, and trust the judges. It is not your place to intervene.
>Calm yourself, suppress your impulses, and trust the judges. It is not your place to intervene.
>Calm yourself, suppress your impulses, and trust the judges. It is not your place to intervene.

Kismet, it would be great if you could give us some kind of dramatis personae in the pastebin, preferably structured by clan affiliation. I for my part have lost track of who's who during this tournament.

>Kismet, it would be great if you could give us some kind of dramatis personae in the pastebin, preferably structured by clan affiliation. I for my part have lost track of who's who during this tournament.

Thank you for bringing this up, will get this done ASAP.
You're not the only one

Presenting the Socials pastebin!


It's still WIP, but I've completed the entries for the Nine Great Clans which should contain most (if not all) of the characters relevant to the current arc. Apologies if (that) the quest so far has been hard to follow due to the number of characters.
>Calm yourself.

We would dishonour him and our clan if we leapt to help.
If he is killed, then we shall simply seek vengence

>Calm yourself, suppress your impulses, and trust the judges. It is not your place to intervene.

Locking in with this. In the meantime... please enjoy this alternate POV I decided to write since it's been a while since we've seen Iga!
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You are Hayashi Iga, sworn ninja of Hiroshi Nobuyasu.

The wind up here is a little chilly, but that matters not when the sun’s rays so vehemently shine down on the worn arena walls. Throughout the day, there hasn’t been anything noteworthy happening. Perhaps in the qualifiers, you saw maybe one or two ruffians who showed some potential, but they were nothing more than unrefined pieces of ore without a furnace of sufficient heat to extract their fullest talent. This is one of the first things they drilled into you back at the Hayashi village - the ability to discern one’s aptitude and skill with a glance, in essence, the ability to assess the danger one poses. Whether intentional or not, overtime, it has also unlocked within you the ability to measure one’s innate talent in the arts of combat and ninjutsu.

You could say that your lord falls into this category. At a first glance, you didn’t think much of him. Probably some sheltered child of nobility, but you couldn’t be more wrong. As you traveled with him and watched him grow, you’ve been less and less able to ascertain his potential, almost like it’s constantly shifting. In terms of absolute skill, there’s still so much left to be desired, but you’re confident that through your travels, all will eventually fall into place.

When initially hearing about Nobuyasu’s intent to compete in the Kikotei Tournament, you had your doubts. You’ve seen the young lords and heard of their various achievements. Some part of you thought it best to advise him otherwise, but you knew that the opposite would happen. Since when has Hiroshi Nobuyasu turned down a challenge? There was no need to hold his hand. That would be doing him a disservice, and despite failing to qualify, this has no doubt been a crucial part of his training. Observing the various styles is almost as important as actual practice.

It must be said though, that his performance in the qualifiers left a deep impression, perhaps illogically so. Behind that cut was pure intent.

As of now, you sense a distinctive shift in the arena grounds. It’s that Kazenosuke kid again, this time facing Taira Tadanori. You can feel it… Something is about to happen, and you can only hope your lord doesn’t do anything rash. Even so, until your debt to him is repaid, you will weather disgrace and honour to him, and serve him to the best of your abilities.
I think you missed the word "brother" when describing the opinion of Yorutoshi and Hadetoshi on Tadatoshi. "Looks down on his Nakatomi Tadatoshi for his passion in archery."

Good catch, fixing now.
thanks for this boss, makes things easier!
Completed the Socials pastebin, will update it regularly from here on out.
Right, sorry this post is taking a while. Will get it out by morning.

Every fiber of your body screams at you to move, to intercept whatever Kazenosuke plans to do. Tadanori is in danger, that much you know. But it’s times like this where acting rashly will do more harm than good. You breathe, calming yourself, trusting that whatever happens, the judges will act steadfast and swift.

Lord Hinozuchi throws his fellow judges a brief look. The Sword Saint, whose expression has been carefree since the start of the tournament morphs into a serious visage, while Grand Marshall Azamatsu Nagara, under his masked helmet, directs his focus at the young Fujiwara lord. Even Shigemori’s countenance darkens visibly.

“Let the battle…”

Your heart starts to race, adrenaline flooding your four limbs.


Masterful iaijutsu bursts forth like a gale tempest, but unlike previous times, you see not a flash, but a smooth blur. Your surroundings slow to a crawl… It’s this sensation again… Kazenosuke’s thumb presses on the guard of his blade, applying an untold amount of force. Simultaneously, he pulls back the sheath, culminating in that breakneck draw speed. However, there is still the distance between him and Tadanori to cover. Like a pouncing tiger, he dashes forth with unrelenting might, causing all the hairs on your body to stand.

Never before have you been so deathly afraid of a bamboo sword. You know. If that blade strikes Tadanori, it’ll do untold damage to his body.

At the same time, all three judges, including Taira Shigemori, swoop in at even greater velocity, appearing to sprint when even your perception of time is slowed. You spare no expense to observe their transcendental movement techniques.
Just as Kazenosuke’s blade reaches Tadanori’s wrist, everything seems to speed up again and four sheathed katanas intercept the falling bamboo katana, taking the brunt of the force.

“Lord Fujiwara Kazenosuke…” Hinozuchi says coldly. “You are hereby disqualified from the Kikotei Tournament.”

Cursing under his breath, Kazenosuke throws the ruined blade to the ground, disappearing into one of the arena hallways without so much as an explanation or an apology. You can at least breathe a sigh of relief that no great harm came to Tadanori but…

“Tadanori, are you alright?” Shigemori asks.

“Thank you, Master, Lord Yamato, Lord Azamatsu, Lord Kusunoki.” He raises his wrist, which looks sto be bruised and a little swollen. “Lord Fujiwara managed to damage my wrist slightly, but it should be-” Tadanori grunts in pain, clutching his hand. “-Fine…”

The Sword Saint shakes his head. “Young Taira, it is best you withdraw from the tournament.”

The other lords nod in agreement.

You and Masakado heave a sigh of relief when Tadanori returns with Shigemori. Somewhere else though…

“What is the meaning of this?”

Kazenosuke keeps his head lowered, kneeled down, not daring to even glance at his expression. “I have no excuses, Master.”

“When we get back, you will answer to your father.”

A shiver streams down the young Fujiwara lord’s spine, and for the first time in a while, he is gripped by fear. “Yes, master...”

This debacle is sure to send waves throughout all of Kiyoshu, but the tournament continues regardless. Now, it is Toumi Yanagi’s turn to face Soga Sukenari. If the former can once more steel himself, then there will be a chance at victory against the Soga lord.

Dust bursts from the ground with each step Sukenari takes as he charges towards Yanagi, going for a flurry of thrusts. It looks as if he wants to end this quickly, but Yanagi stands firm, dodging as many strikes as he can and parrying the rest, all the while generating some distance between the two. Within this empty space, the unfamiliar would think themselves safe, but against a Toumi warrior, it might as well be a field of death. Yanagi slashes horizontally, his bamboo katana stretching across the emptiness like a hare bounding across a creek.

Voided Plains!

You feel a tinge of pride seeing your own style competing toe to toe with the Soga style. A battle against skilled practitioners of differing schools always makes for an interesting spectacle, especially among the Nine Great Schools.

Sukenari ducks, narrowly avoiding that reality-defying technique, before diving in low. Slicing upwards, he quickly links the attack into a thrust, then another slash, and another, and another… quickly picking up in speed with ferocity that could match - no, surpass a Nakatomi warrior.

“At once tranquil. At once turbulent. The snow on Mashiro Mountain meets all with punishment…” Masakado suddenly utters.

“I don’t believe I’ve heard that one before.” You say.

“It’s a local saying in Soga prefecture.” He answers, observing the battle. “Lord Soga’s barrage is not unlike the mountain’s raging blizzards.”

Yanagi slowly loses his composure, evidenced by his increasingly choppy movements. It’s always been like this. Once he faces a seemingly unconquerable situation, he buckles under the pressure, earning the young Toumi lord the epithet “Timid Swordsman.” But if the Timid Swordsman could rise to the occasion just now, who’s to say he cannot embolden himself once more? In training, all are told to see the blade as an extension of the self, an implement of one’s will manifested in steel. The Toumi school proceeds to ask, what is the extension of the blade? Is it not but the space around it? To wield the great void as one’s own weapon?

“I just… Need an opening… Just a bit of distance…”

And as if by some miracle, their blades lock for a brief moment, affording Yanagi an opportunity to push himself away if only slightly. A wisp of panic flashes across Sukenari’s eyes, quickly fading under his stoic demeanour.


Throwing himself even further backwards, Yanagi ducks low, driving his feet into the ground, blade by his side. The next instant, his blade is outstretched, poised to strike at Sukenari’s ankle. Given Yanagi’s control over his striking range, there is no conceivable way for Sukenari to dodge or block, the angle of attack is simply too awkward. So there’s only one way this can play out…

The Soga lord is struck in the ankle.

The Toumi lord is slashed in the ribs.

“The battle ends in a tie!” Hinozuchi shouts. “Please allow the judges to-” But before he can complete his sentence, Yanagi, who’s just barely able to support himself upright, collapses.

That’s when your body decidedly moves on his own. Yanagi may be your friend, but he is first your lord, and you his retainer.

“Yanagi!” You cry, Kiritsuji and Ieyasu following behind.

The Sword Saint steps forward, crouching down to examine the fallen swordsman’s condition. “Worry not, Nobuyasu, Lord Kiritsuji, Young Hiroshi. Lord Toumi has simply collapsed from overexertion. All he requires is a bit of rest.”

In the background, you hear the Grand Marshall call for medics, but interlaced within his orders, you pick up on a faint whisper before you.

“Nobu… Yasu…” Yanagi coughs. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine… You and Ieyasu continue… Watching the battles… I know how much… You want to see them… For your training. That’s an… Order…”

What do you do?
>Heed the words of your lord, Kiritsuji will be more than enough to handle Yanagi.

>Follow Yanagi to the infirmary.

>Follow Yanagi to the infirmary.
I dunno... Something seems fishy here.
>Follow Yanagi to the infirmary.
>Follow Yanagi to the infirmary.
If we want to follow him, we can make out like we didn't hear him through his coughs.

But in the interests of obeying our superior
>Heed the words.
>Heed the words of your lord, Kiritsuji will be more than enough to handle Yanagi.
we're a samurai, and we were given an order.
>Heed the words of your lord, Kiritsuji will be more than enough to handle Yanagi.
>Heed the words of your lord, Kiritsuji will be more than enough to handle Yanagi.

We were ordered.

>Heed the words of your lord.


As the medics arrive to take Yanagi to the infirmary, you toss Kiritsuji an uncertain glance to which he nods. “I’ll come and find you once the tournament ends, milord…” You say, before heading back behind the arena ropes with your brother. In the corner of your vision, you see Soga Sukenari walking towards his cohorts with a slight limp. He may not be your lord, but as fellow warriors of Kiyoshu, you too pray for his well being in the following matches.

The next battle is between Tadatoshi and Soga Tokimune. Will the forest of blades overcome the piercing snow? Or will the woodlands be consumed in a deathly pale white? Of this, you are uncertain. But it is also a fact that, since Tadatoshi’s departure from Moriyama, the depths of his swordsmanship have only grown ever deeper.

Until the starting signal is given, both fighters eye each other down indifferently. Between these two, no words need to be exchanged, for both are best versed in the language of steel! With the speed of a swallow in flight, Tadatoshi quickly closes the distance before abruptly stopping midway, immediately raising his guard. Despite not having even readied his blade or moved an inch, a profound danger emanates from Tokimune’s relaxed form, growing ever more frightening as he takes his first step forward. Tadatoshi remains still as a statue, maintaining his defensive posture, as if rooted by the proverbial frost paved in the Soga lord’s wake. However, once within his range, he lunges forward with the Nakatomi style’s signature ferocity, both blades slashing simultaneously in the shape of a cross into… nothing?

For a moment, Tokimune seems to disappear, only reappearing a hair’s breadth away from Tadatoshi’s bamboo wakizashi and without a moment’s delay, he retaliates. Caught by surprise, the Nakatomi lord hurriedly steps to the side to avoid the coming attack, but is unable to avoid receiving a shallow strike to his left forearm.

All looks to be well, until Tadatoshi makes another hasty retreat, clutching his left arm in the process.

How could such a seemingly benign strike do this? You can't help but stop to ask yourself. If that was a real blade, you can only scarcely imagine the damage it’d inflict.

With his sword lowered, Tokimune slowly approaches Tadatoshi, almost like he’s asking to be slashed. Unfazed, or perhaps a little desperate, the latter obliges, charging in again with his wakizashi in reverse grip. His first attack is deflected, but in the short time it takes for the Soga lord to recover, Tadatoshi swiftly lunges with the katana in his other hand, only to be thwarted once more by that mysterious movement technique. This time, Tokimune reappears behind his opponent, landing another decisive attack on Tadatoshi’s back, sending him reeling on the ground in pain.

“The winner is Lord Soga Tokimune!”

Thinking about it a little more, Tadatoshi is probably quite happy to get to leave Yamato sooner with his loss here.

Unfortunately, the following battle between the two Soga brothers is cancelled due to the injury inflicted on Sukenari during his match with Yanagi, so it looks like none will know who is the better of the two this very day. And thus, we reach the final match of this year’s Kikotei Tournament.

“Lord Soga Tokimune, Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu, please enter the arena!”

Unmatched, and unrivaled thus far in the tournament. It’s not hard to imagine the excitement surrounding the upcoming fight.

By now, it’s well into the afternoon, the glow of the sun not ceasing to flood the arena with a golden yellow hue. For what seems like an eternity, both fighters eye each other down fiercely, myriad scenes of battle flashing through their minds. That indomitable battle spirit begins to stream from Yorimitsu’s very being, seeking to consume the entire arena only to be pushed back by an equally formidable aura - one embodying the freezing chill of the northern mountains.

As the wind picks up, Yorimitsu readies his blade in front of him, encapsulating both offence and defence in his stance. Tokimune obliges, casually strolling towards the hulking Minamoto lord, but midway through, his figure suddenly vanishes, like the winter snow being scattered by a strong breeze. Next thing you know, Tokimune reappears beside Yorimitsu, aiming to attack his sword arm. However, the Minamoto lord remains calm, quickly shifting his heavy nodachi to intercept the falling katana.

With blades now locked, the tides of battle shift toward the stronger warrior. Yorimitsu presses down with all his might, threatening to bring the Soga lord to his knees. Yet, Soga Tokimune is not one to be trapped so easily. Pivoting his katana around the point of contact with Yorimitsu’s nodachi, Tokimune skillfully maneuvers out of the hold, managing to land a small blow on the MInamoto lord’s thigh in the process.

Taken aback by this development, Yorimitsu retreats a few steps, before a sudden jolt of pain shoots through his entire leg. Not failing to capitalise on this opportunity, Tokimune closes the distance. And keeping himself nimble around his opponent, he launches a flurry of shallow strikes, each deadlier than they appear on the surface. Yorimitsu blocks and dodges what he can, but it’s clear that he’s slowly being overwhelmed.

Never would you have thought that Minamoto Yorimitsu, a goliath of a warrior, could be rendered so helpless.

The snow accumulating on his back grows ever heavier with each attack that pierces his defences. Coupled with Tokimune’s agility, any openings that Yorimitsu could exploit are diminished even further.

But suddenly, a commanding voice booms from the other side of the arena. “YORIMITSU, IS THIS ENOUGH TO BRING YOU DOWN?” Minamoto Mitsunaka, master of the Minamoto dojo, bellows with deep passion. “FALTER NOT AND REMEMBER WHAT YOU PREPARED FOR.”

Despite the pain, Yorimitsu unleashes another earth shattering slash, forcing Tokimune back a good few steps. You sense a distinct shift in the Minamoto lord’s movements. As if possessed by renewed vigor, he begins to pick up speed. For any warrior wielding heavy weapons, this is a sure fire way to quickly tire oneself out, and losing steam on the battlefield means death. However, in this case, should the battle devolve into a battle of attrition, it’ll certainly be Yorimitsu’s loss.

Strike after strike, slash after slash, the Minamoto lord channels the momentum of each attack into the next, weaving them together into a ferocious tapestry. You rub your eyes, making sure you aren’t seeing things. For a moment, it was as if you saw Soga Sukenari in Yorimitsu’s position, and that’s when it hits you. Yorimitsu is mimicking the second form of the Soga style! Or at least, taking inspiration from it.

Among everyone present, Tokimune is probably the first to pick up on this, immediately changing his approach. Rather than speeding up to match Yorimitsu’s pace, he does the very opposite, slowing down and becoming methodical with each motion, letting not one bit of movement be wasted or unnecessary. In fact, before Yorimitsu even prepares to attack, he’s able to move his blade in position to defend, an indication of just how familiar he is with his brother’s fighting style. But as the Minamoto lord’s nodachi comes crashing down onto Tokimune’s katana, his eyes widen slightly.

It’s the second layer of this trap!

You almost gasp upon this realisation. By fighting in the style of Soga Sukenari, Yorimitsu means to exploit Tokimune’s muscle memory! Though the attack patterns may be similar, the force and velocity at which they are performed definitely differ. It is this nuance that will be the Soga lord’s downfall! Assuming he is unable to adapt quick enough, that is. But it is not an easy thing to quickly change one’s body’s natural response.

Yet, Tokimune is no simple warrior. Within maybe ten or twenty attacks, he’s quickly able to adjust to Yorimitsu’s strikes. And within the next handful of exchanges, Tokimune has all but fully accustomed himself against the Minamoto lord, causing a grin to break out on the latter’s expression.

The final layer shows itself!

Anticipating a slash from the left, Tokimune swiftly positions his blade to parry, but the bamboo on his blade touches naught but air. Instead, Yorinitsu falls back to the Minamoto style, blade swooping in from the right, visibly splitting the air as it rages towards the Soga lord’s stomach, stopping just as it comes into contact with his clothes.
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“The winner of this match and the Kikotei Tournament is Lord Minamoto Yorimitsu!” Hinozuchi announces excitedly.

With the match over, many of the audience members proceed to leave the arena. The judges themselves disappear into the many corridors while you quickly make your way to the infirmary.

Panting, you slide open the door to find Yanagi lying down on a futon. “Nobuyasu?” He asks. “How did the matches go?”

“Lord Minamoto won.” You say, relieved that your lord appears mostly fine.

By the side, Kiritsuji ponders this piece of news. “Most unexpected.”

“Indeed.” You reply as you describe the matches to the two of them in as great of detail as you’re able.

“Impressive!” Kiritsuji exclaims. “A brilliant show of strategy, though one that’ll only work once and only with sufficient information on one’s opponent. Nevertheless, quite ingenious.”

“So. Nobuyasu wh-” Yanagi says, before being cut off by someone knocking on the door.

Kiritsuji raises his guard. “Come in.”

To your surprise, it’s Soga Sukenari, together with an elder you’re not familiar with but you can roughly guess his identity.

“My student wanted to exchange a few words with yours, Lord Kirisuji.”

“I see no problem with that. In fact… I too wish to speak to you, Lord Soga. It’s been a while hasn’t it?”

“Indeed.” The elder says in a warm but monotone voice.

As the two masters leave the room, speaking just by the corridor outside, you bow respectfully in front of the young Soga lord. “Greetings Lord Soga, I am Hiroshi Nobuyasu. One of Lord Toumi’s retainers.”

Likewise, Sukenari returns the courtesy. “An honour to meet you.”

There’s not much you can gather from his dull tone, but you know there at least isn’t a shred of malice or ridicule in his words.

“What did you wish to speak about, Lord Soga?” Yanagi asks, raising himself from the futon to sit down.

“Nothing much.” Sukenari responds. “First, I should say that the rumours don’t do you any justice, Lord Toumi. A timid swordsman, you certainly are not. Though only a fool believes in rumours.” His cold gaze shifts to you. “You as well, Lord Hiroshi.”

“Thank you for the kind words.” You bow once more, to which Sukenari nods.

After a few more words are exchanged between the two lords, Yanagi turns to face you. “So Nobuyasu, where’re you headed after this?”

Where do you decide to go next?

For convenience, here's the pastebin for the Nine Great Schools.


Holy shit we're finally done with this tournament. Trying to write so many fights at once without them all feeling the same was much harder than I thought.
If we plan to visit every province in Kiyoshu, then this is the best place to go. From Minamoto, it's just a matter of circling around Yamato and coming back through Ashikaga.
I want to get the quick draw

I would like those parry moves.

After we've done a bit of training there, we can move to Soga or Fujiwara.
I've not really got any interest in Minamoto, nor can I see any benefit to their style for us.
Letting votes run for another day or so.
The others have convinced me--I'm gonna change >>5098225
This vote to



Locking in with Tachibana. Next update coming soon.

Alright, due to New Years stuff, update will come around the 2nd of January. Happy New Years and hope you guys are doing well!
Happy New Year, man! Wishing you a good start to 2022!

Cheers, mate!
Happy new year
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“Tachibana.” You reply firmly.

“A fine choice.” The Soga lord nods. “Do drop by in Soga prefecture, if you have the chance.”

“Of course, milord.”

Yanagi smiles. “Sounds like a plan.”

You sit quietly by the side as the two lords continue to converse, deliberating on your future plans. In your ponderings, you are reminded of the original reason for your journey - to prepare for the Taiyo tournament in seven months! There’s so much you still have to learn, not to mention the looming threat of barbarians from over the sea. Will your blade be sharp enough to defend your homeland? Or will it break under the weight of brutish might. You sigh as all three of you present catch onto some light commotion just outside the room. Suddenly, the door flies open, revealing a figure that leaves even the two masters outside stunned.

“Yo, Nobuyasu. Have you a moment to spare?” The Sword Saint asks casually.

Recovering from the shock, you struggle to form a coherent response. “O–o-f c-course!”

“Very well then. Follow me!”

Passing by Master Kiritsuji and Lord Soga outside, you bow, while they do the same for Enmei before staring at each other dumbfounded. For what business could the Sword Saint have with a mere retainer?

Down the hallway, out of sight from any prying eyes, Enmei stops. “Phew… Damn that Yamato Hinozuchi. The level of formality he expects out of me is unreasonable! Absurd! Irrational! … ”

“Um, Lord Kusunoki…”

“Huh? Oh right, I told you on our first meeting, ya can just call me Enkun.”

“That won’t do. You’re the Sword Saint in addition to being my elde-”

“Ughhh, not you too. Why are all the lords of Kiyoshu so uptight?”

Before his rant can go on any longer, you cut in. “Enkun… What did you wish to speak about?”

“Don’t get me started on- Oh, my bad. Haha.” The Sword Saint clears his throat. “First I’d like to say that your growth has been quite impressive since we last met.”

“Not enough, though.”

“Referring to your score eh? I’m sure you have some questions about that.”

“That I do.”

Enkun first starts off with some comments about your technique, everything from your posture, footwork, and form, he describes in great detail while not sounding obtuse in the slightest. His general criticisms are within your expectations, but reveal some deeper insight into your swordsmanship that you have never glimpsed before. Still, the question remains…

“Why did you give me the highest score?”

“I don’t know.” He shrugs. “On the battlefield, it’s cuts like those that save your skin. Not strikes of flawless technique. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re looking for in this tournament.”

Despite his carefree tone, you can tell that none of his words are spoken in vain or in jest.

“I see. Many thanks for the advice, Enkun.”

“Don’t mention it.”

You make your way back to the infirmary, retracing the path that the Sword Saint led you through. Midway, you pick up on a sly voice, one filled with enough cunning to make the hairs stand on end.

“How are preparations proceeding on your end?”

It’s Ise Yasuki, one of vassals of the Taira.

“Fine.” A second voice responds which, unexpectedly, belongs to your brother.

“What of that problem you were contending with?”

“It won’t be much of a problem going forth.”

The conversation begins to fade as the two of them walk away, leaving you with only fragments of their conversation in earshot.

“Are we really… with this?” Ieyasu asks.

“... No choice”

What do you do?
>Approach them. This seems a little suspicious.

>Ignore them and head to the infirmary, but have Iga eavesdrop. No telling how fast he’d respond though.

>Continue on your way. It might not be the best to act right now.

>Ignore them and head to the infirmary, but have Iga eavesdrop. No telling how fast he’d respond though.
Snooping on people is his thing, not ours.
>Have Iga do it.

He's our ninja for a reason


“Iga.” You call, making sure you’re unable to be heard by the pair ahead.

Within a few moments, an unassuming man appears from the other end of the corridor, dressed in the uniform of the staff members stationed here. He walks towards you, head lowered and face obscured by his headgear.

“What will you have me do, Nobuyasu?” He asks in a hush tone.

“Those two ahead.” You point down the hallway branching to the left. “Tail them and find out what they’re discussing.”

Iga furrows his brows as he confirms his targets. “At once,” and like a puff of smoke, vanishes from your sight the next moment. Ninjutsu will never fail to amaze you.

By the time you return to the infirmary, the Soga lords take their leave, and you wrap up what business you have left with Yanagi and Kiritsuji. The former looks a bit sad to see you go after your short reunion here in Yamato, but both of them wish you all the best in your upcoming travels.

Now, it would be most prudent to inform the Tachibana of your intentions. Hopefully, Munemasu will be able to assist you in that regard. You exit the arena, heading in the general direction where you last crossed paths with him. Fortunately, a few patrolling Peacekeepers were nice enough to provide you with the location of the Tachibana residence, so it doesn’t take too long before you find yourself outside their gates. Shortly after introducing yourself and stating your intentions, the guard stationed outside lets you inside.

Drenched in sweat, the Tachibana lord lowers his blade and scabbard. It looks like he’s been training since he returned. You explain to him your plans to travel to Tachibana.

“You wish to train with us?”


“Personally, I have no qualms. But, it’s up to the master to decide. At best, I can put in a good word for you.” Munemasu takes a drink from a bamboo water carrier. “It’ll be some time until he returns though, so feel free to make yourself at home. Or come back later. Your choice. I’ll be going back to train.”

“That would be a big help.” You bow. “Much appreciated, Lord Tachibana.”

What do you do?
>Stay and observe Munemasu’s training. It would be rude to reject his hospitality.

>Stay and offer to spar with Munemasu. There is no better training than combat!

>Go elsewhere, you shan’t disturb Munemasu further. (write in)

>Stay and offer to spar.

Lets go!
>Stay and offer to spar with Munemasu. There is no better training than combat!
>Stay and offer to spar with Munemasu. There is no better training than combat!
>Stay and offer to spar with Munemasu. There is no better training than combat!


Anons, we’ve come quite a long way since the start of KMQ in February of 2021. Setting out on our warrior’s pilgrimage only to get kidnapped by bandits. Freeing ourselves and coming across our sworn ninja, Iga. Training with the Nakatomi and meeting Tadatoshi. Training at Mekura-Ji Temple. Travelling to Taira. Training with the Higanbana Troupe and performing with them. Meeting the Taira lords. Travelling to Yamato. Giving it our all in the Kikotei Tournament. Yeah, it’s been quite a journey…

However, it is with a heavy heart that I’ve chosen to ultimately stop working on KMQ. Ever since the end of thread IV, writing just hasn’t felt rewarding, and as it stands, the period between subsequent updates is just going to get longer and longer.

I’ve always had an ending in mind and a general idea of how the story was going to progress. In hindsight, perhaps I underestimated the effort required to bring this whole tale to fruition, and realised how some parts of the story just wouldn’t fit well into a questing medium. But I can at least share with you guys how I envisioned KMQ to continue and ultimately end.

From the grand capital of Shinkyo, you travel to Tachibana prefecture together with the Tachibana lords. They agree to train you in exchange for your assistance with increased bandit activity. Eventually, you discover that the bandits are too well armed to be acting independently. Interrogations reveal that they’re receiving their equipment from an outside source, along with funding to grow and destabilise the region. Further investigation leads you to nowhere at this juncture.

When all the bandits are dealt with, you travel to the other prefectures, and learn of similar spikes in bandit activity. Through training and constant engagement in mortal combat, your skill with the blade rises sharply. When you arrive in Ashikaga prefecture, your uncle, Ashikaga Motouji takes you into the Ashikaga dojo without a second thought. You train and exterminate bandits with your cousins until one day, one of your raids stumbles upon a most worrying discovery. The bandits have been consorting with barbarians from the Golden Horde. It is clear now that the planned invasion of Kiyoshu will arrive sooner than expected. Word must be sent to the Shogun.

Thankfully, the date of the Taiyo Festival fast approaches and you head to the grand capital within the next few days with haste. When you arrive, you seek an immediate audience with the Shogun with a letter from the Ashikaga Daimyo itself. Strangely, your requests are denied. Unease festers within you for the next few days, but still you must prepare for the upcoming tournament. Within the week, all the lords of Kiyoshu, including the various Daimyos reach Shinkyo and the tournament begins in earnest.

Since the Kikotei Tournament, all the lords you witnessed there have all improved vastly, you included. Yet, it is nothing when compared to the final contestant - Yamato no Kagashi, son of the Shogun himself. He merely approaches the tatami mat target casually, walking at a leisurely pace. Unsheathing his katana, the target is sliced in twain with but a simple strike, but the most graceful and skilled strike you have ever laid eyes upon. Even with that simple slice, you know that none of the other contestants present can hold a candle to him.

24 warriors qualify with you numbering among them. Finally, you have redeemed yourself for your failure at the Kikotei Tournament. Yet, the pride within you is short lived as the matches are announced.

“The first match will be between Lord Hiroshi Nobuyasu and Lord Yamato no Kagashi!”

Your heart sinks. Is this just some cruel joke made manifest by Heaven’s will? No matter. For a samurai never falters in the face of adversity. Steeling yourself, you enter the ring, only to realise that your opponent is nowhere to be found. Confusion overtakes the entire arena. The lingering unease in your heart intensifies. It’s almost as if you’re standing in death’s jaws.

Suddenly, you hear a crazed voice from the spectator benches, belonging to your cousin, Ashikaga Fukumatsu. But he’s supposed to be in the Great Xu Empire (大盱天朝, Xu is pronounced like ‘she’), you think to yourself.


Next thing you know, the arena is filled with the sounds of what appear to be cannon fire. Only, there are no canons present. A large proportion of the audience members stand up, revealing themselves to be barbarians from the Golden Horde and begin heedlessly slaughtering the people of Kiyoshu.

When you gaze upon the seat of the Shogun, the colour fully drains from your face. The ruler of Kiyoshu is slain! A katana driven through his heart from behind! And by his son, Yamato no Kagashi no less. The Sword Saint is nowhere to be seen.

Iga descends onto the arena grounds to stir you from your dazed state, followed shortly by Tadatoshi, Fukumatsu, a few of the other lords you have befriended on your journeys, and their retainers. Still, not a trace of the Sword Saint. Almost instantly, you’re all surrounded. In the hands of the barbarians are odd cylinders, bolted on to a wooden handle. It’s almost like a crossbow, but not exactly. In broken speech, one of the barbarians implores the lot of you to surrender, explaining that the weapons in their hands are pistols.

Of course, surrendering is not an option. Especially in the face of such an insult. All of you fight tooth and nail, desperately trying to break through their ranks and escape. Despite that, in the face of such overwhelming firepower, your own forces are quickly thinned out. It is at this moment that the Sword Saint finally appears, having been led away before the attack commenced. But, he is without his katana. Nevertheless, he is as carefree and confident as always, albeit with an incredibly bloodthirsty glow in his eyes.

“You believe me powerless without my blade.” He says, laughing. His words carry an authority that forces even the barbarians back a step. “Do not think swordsmanship is so shallow… A true swordsman requires no sword… For Heaven and Earth are my blade!”

Single handedly, the Sword Saint manages to push back the barbarians. Soon, an opportunity presents itself as Tadatoshi manages to open a gap in enemy lines, allowing you to escape. Each enemy that tries to block the path is engaged by each of the other lords. They all beckon for you to escape and live to fight another day, but you refuse, staying to fight alongside them until Fukumatsu convinces you otherwise. You reluctantly accept.

As you’re about to make your way out, one of the barbarians has his sights locked onto you. Fukumatsu attempts to block the shot with his body and, with a loud bang, blood begins to spill onto the floor… But not his blood. Iga takes the shot in his stead. Overwhelmed by emotion, Fukumatsu once more has to urge you to leave.

In his dying breath, Iga whispers, “I finally paid back my debt to you, Nobuyasu…”

From Shinkyo all the way to Yamato, the fighting doesn’t cease, though at least now you have the assistance of Fukumatsu’s forces who docked a few days prior to the attack and secured the port city of Kaimon, capital of Ashikaga prefecture after receiving intelligence from a recently captured barbarian stronghold. Waiting for the more escaped forces, you set sail to the east, to the Great Empire of Xu.

You arrive in Hewei (河尾) city in Yangmen (洋门) prefecture under the jurisdiction of the Zheng clan, currently headed by Fukumatsu’s father. It is one of the few prefectures of Xu still free from barbarian conquest. For the next few weeks, you find yourself in a depressed stupor, reeking of alcohol and sorrow. Why were you the only one that escaped? Why didn’t you die with your brothers? You go so far as to attempt seppuku, only narrowly stopped by Fukumatsu. From then on, you are not to be left alone.

One day, you hear news of more ships returning from Kiyoshu and manage to muster enough strength to toll yourself to the harbour. Among those that have arrived are Nakatomi Tadatoshi, Fujiwara Kazenosuke, Ashikaga Ryuuji, Soga Sukenari, Ueda Akinari, and the Sword Saint. The Taira lords are nowhere to be seen, neither are the Toumi lords. Seeing you in your wretched state, Tadatoshi walks up to you and gives you a good beating. He is relentless with his assault, kicking, punching, elbows, knees. Nothing is off the table.

“Get a fucking hold of yourself!” He shouts uncharacteristically.

That’s when you finally snap out of it.

You learn that the barbarians have had their roots in Kiyoshu a year before the attack on Yamato. Discreetly sending letters to each of the vassal clans, they threatened them to defect or be crushed under their boot. This “kindness” was not extended to those of the Nine Great Clans. The full might of the Golden Horde, enough to bring most of the Great Empire of Xu, many times larger than Kiyoshu, to heel, would be catastrophic. You realise that this is what made your father so distraught on the night he ordered you to undertake your warrior’s pilgrimage. And this warrior’s pilgrimage? Just a clever ruse to have you assassinated before you even left Toumi prefecture, a ruse you manage to foil. Your loyalty to the Toumi would’ve jeopardised your clan’s plans.

The next few days, you all settle on a plan to free Kiyoshu. With the meagre forces you have now, it is nigh impossible. However, you manage to think of a plan. The various lords will each travel around Xu and assist the locals in pushing back against barbarian invasion, effectively winning their gratitude and allegiance. Once enough of a force is gathered, they will return to Hewei and prepare to mount an invasion on Kiyoshu. The lords present are skeptical of your plan, but Fukumatsu assures all of them that the people of Xu will be more than willing to lend a hand if it means getting revenge on barbarian scum.
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It’ll be difficult, given the firearms the Golden Horde possesses and also with the mysterious strength enhancing pills they use, but with that, you set your plans in motion. Hopefully more lords manage to make their way to Xu in the coming years.

Before you head to the neighbouring provinces, the Sword Saint requests to follow you and even offers to train you. When asked why, he simply states…

“Your training isn’t over.”

Over the next five years, you travel around Xu, training in the ways of the Sword Saint, freeing city after city and gathering Xu warriors to add to your forces. Slowly but surely, the warriors of Xu and Kiyoshu in your ranks begin to befriend one another.

In this time, you manage to pick up the language of Xu and overcome your mediocrity. If you are fated to never be able to master the most complex techniques, then you shan’t! Instead, you learn every style you can, slowly filling the holes in your swordsmanship with the fundamentals of each. Be it of Xu or Kiyoshi origin, the Sword Saint is able to teach you all.

You find out that he was also like you, just a mediocre swordsman that travelled around Kiyoshu to hone his skills, after which he did the same in Xu, travelling around the various provinces to further his swordsmanship.

Eventually, he discovered that the ultimate style is to have none at all! The ultimate sword is to have no sword!

As he said five years ago, “Heaven and Earth are my blade!”

Among the Xu warriors you pick up is a brilliant strategist and poet named Shentu Wen (申屠雯) who has been pivotal in many of your victories.

After reclaiming the province of Gulie (谷裂), you return to Hewei city. Coincidentally, it’s around this time that the other lords also return with a similarly great envoy of warriors, all tempered by countless battles and turned from simple babes in the art of warfare into formidable generals.

Within the next month, logistics and strategies are thought out, debated, scrapped, and reformed over and over again. No one gets much sleep in this period, but it’s all worth it for the liberation of Kiyoshu. This Kiyoshu-Xu alliance is aptly named, ‘The Great Eastern Alliance.”

However, before your forces set out for Kiyoshu, the Sword Saint is unexpectedly rendered bedridden. He reveals to you and the other lords that in the attack five years ago, he received a fatal gunshot wound, resulting in his lifespan being significantly shortened. Since then, he has been surviving on whatever treatment doctors could provide, his own sheer grit and determination - a resolve to see his homeland freed - and also his desire to impart all that he knows to you, his disciple.

He is fast approaching the end of the mortal coil and three days later, on his deathbed, he requests to share his last words with you privately.
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“Nobuyasu… The path ahead will not be easy. On our journey across Xu, you’ve seen it yourself. The barbarians think themselves unstoppable with their firearms and pills, but our battles have shown that they are not invincible. When we first met in ol’ Ichirai’s temple, I saw something in you… I saw myself in you… And I’m glad that I wasn’t mistaken… You… will… free… our… homeland…”

On this day, the Sword Saint, Kusunoki Enmei, passes on with a smile, clutching the bladeless blade…

Not long after, you set sail.

Onward to Kiyoshu!

Your arrival is not without expectation. The Golden Horde has long since heard of your deeds in Xu and have been duly preparing for the eventual attack on Kiyoshu. Scouts spot a large force of barbarian and Kiyoshu forces stationed on the shoreline. This is within your calculations. Orders are sent out to archers to launch a volley of arrows onto the shoreline, but not to hit anyone. On each arrow is a poignant message penned out by all the lords and the literary genius of Ueda Akinari and Shentu Wen, requesting for those of Kiyoshu birth to defect to your side.

Spurned by hatred for their tyrannical masters, many sail on small rowboats overnight to join your cause. By sunrise, enemy ranks have been thinned by at least a fifth and you mount your first attack in the campaign to reclaim your homeland.

It ends in a decisive victory for The Great Eastern Alliance.

From here on out, forces will be split in half. One half will reclaim the north, while the other will reclaim the south. If all goes well, both forces will rendezvous in the west and reclaim Minamoto prefecture together before mounting a final assault on Yamato. Supply lines to the capital will slowly be cut, weakening the enemy’s main force, before swooping in to cut off the lion's head, a plan proposed by Shentu Wen.

You lead the charge southward, being of Southern Kiyoshu descent. The thought of having to fight your own clan members lingers in the back of your head. Your father and brother may have shunned you, but not everyone in your family treated you the same. And you can’t forget that, before you picked up the blade, even you, your father, and brother resembled somewhat of a loving family. Still, they chose the path of treachery and dishonor, and must pay for it.

Upon entering Toumi prefecture, your armies blitz towards the capital of Minashi, currently occupied by your father, and with the superior wit of Shentu Wen, the siege lasts only a few days before the city falls. Your father is forced to retreat to Hiroshi castle.

As the days pass, more of Toumi prefecture is slowly reclaimed and the day you lay siege to the castle of your upbringing arrives. You feel a deep nostalgia as you approach Hiroshi castle. In the distance, you can even spot the area where you used to train from sunrise to sunset… The memories, needles to say, are painfully bittersweet…
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Outside the castle, you beseech your father to surrender.

“Father! Why do you not yield? We may still yet fight to free our homeland! We may still yet fight to serve Lord Toumi!”

“Foolish boy! You will never understand… Your beloved daimyo is no more! It is a new age. Those who mean to oppose it are doomed to be swept under the tide of the horde!”

“You killed your lord?!?! Then, if that is what you wish… We have no choice.”

The attack commences.

Days later, the gates are open. You give strict orders not to harm any of the castle servants. The barbarians and stubborn Peacekeepers fight on, drunk on their pills of strength, but you have the numbers advantage. As the sun begins to set, the enemy forces are routed. All that’s left is your brother, and your father…

You enter the castle with a small force. Just outside your father’s quarters stands Hiroshi Ieyasu, expression cold and emotionless. You can tell these past five years must have been tough.


“Save your breath, brother. I’ll take you all on.”

One of your companions steps forwards. “Why you!” he says angrily.

“I’ll take him on myself.” You put a hand out to silence him.

“You think too highly of yourself. It’ll be the same as always…”

As expected, your brother has only gotten stronger. Much stronger in fact. There is not a shred of sloppiness in his technique. With each exchange of steel, memories of your time together flash in and out of your mind.

You remember the first words he spoke to you as a toddler.

You remember the time when he fell down and looked to you for comfort.

You remember playing with him and declaring that you’d always be there to protect him.

You remember when you two started your training in the way of your sword.

You remember how he became progressively more conceited and hostile towards you.

At points, you find it difficult to keep up, but press on. You yourself are not the same Nobuyasu from five years ago. Your formless style slowly but surely begins to gain some ground, pushing Ieyasu back until it is clear who the winner is. You stand over your brother, kneeling on the ground barely keeping himself up with his blade.

“So this is the end, huh...” Ieyasu falters.

You approach, quelling the shivering in your hands. Steeling yourself, you drive your katana into his heart. Ieyasu coughs out a mouthful of blood, staining your clothes.

“Brother… Where are you…” He whimpers as his vision begins to fade. “Brother…”

Pulling out your sword, you shove it to the side.

“Your brother’s right here… Ieyasu.” You whisper gently, embracing him for one final time.

Beyond the door ahead is your father’s quarters. Wiping away the tears, you pick up your blade and enter alone. He sits solemnly by his desk, eyeing you with contempt.

“So you have slain your own kin…”

“Is this not what you wanted?”


“Answer me, father! Why did you forsake our homeland?!?!”

“I merely did what I had to do to protect my family.”

“At the expense of our dignity? At the expense of breaking our oaths and condemning those that have shown us kindness and generosity?”

More silence.

Your father steps up from his seat before kneeling down before you, head held up high.

“What are you doing?”

“In my life, I have made many mistakes.” He sighs, unsheathing his wakizashi. “This is all I can do to atone.”

With a daunting roar, the short blade pierces into Hiroshi Takamichi’s abdomen, sliding across his stomach. Blood and viscera soon spill out.


“Nobuyasu-” He coughs. “I’m… sorry… for… everything…”

Unable to stand the sight of him writhing in pain, you take his head in one fell swoop.

That concludes the siege of Hiroshi Castle. You and your men take a day of rest here, cleaning up the premises and planning your next attacks. Shortly after, it is discovered that the daimyo, Toumi Daichi, still lives, locked up in the castle dungeons with his son, Toumi Yanagi. It appears your father was lying, unable to kill his closest friend or his child.

Months go by. The campaign progresses slowly. Resistance has been tougher than anticipated but after many hard fought battles, both forces eventually meet up to capture Minamoto prefecture. When you liberated Taira prefecture, it turned out that Masakado and Tadanori yet lived! Imprisoned by the Ise rather than being executed like their other clan members.

The final siege on Shinkyo is upon the entire Great Eastern Alliance. Everyone is eager to see the end of this bloody conflict, especially the warriors of Xu who, by now, long to return home. A month of fierce fighting later, and you finally breach the main castle, storming the halls with lords from the eight prefectures. Nakatomi Tadatoshi, Ashikaga Ryuuji, Ashikaga Fukumatsu, Soga Sukenari, Soga Tokimune, Fujiwara Kazenosuke, Minamoto Yorimitsu, Tachibana Munemasu, Taira Masakado, Taira Tadanori, Toumi Yanagi, all of you split up to occupy the compound and rid it of foreign control.

It culminates in the final battle in the Shogun’s quarters where you face off against Yamato no Kagashi. As if fighting him alone wasn’t enough trouble, he is flanked by a great general of the Golden Horde, Erden, both possessed with the strength of those pills. This isn’t a battle you can win alone. You split into two parties. One to face the bulky barbarian, the other to face Yamato no Kagashi. It is a hard fought battle, and despite outnumbering them one to six, both are able to keep up barely breaking a sweat.
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Alas, it devolves into a battle of attrition, where you force the enemy to slowly use up their supply of pills. One by one, your companions are incapacitated, but you observe that throughout the course of the fight, both Kagashi and Erden seem to visibly age by multiple years.

When they are cornered into using their last pill, their hairs begin to grey and only you and Fukumatsu are left standing.

“Was it really worth it? Lord Yamato? To exchange your vitality for false strength?” You ask defiantly.

“Hmph.” Kagashi scoffs. “What would a failure of a swordsman like you know of the pinnacle of the blade? I had long reached that summit… This was the only path forward.”

You shake your head. “Utterly foolish… And it is that hubris that will be your downfall!”

The symphony of clashing steel resumes and despite being greatly weakened, both of your adversaries are still frighteningly adept at fighting. But eventually, Yamato no Kagashi trips up, allowing you to slit open his stomach with one deft cut. At the same time, Erden collapses, allowing Fukumatsu to drive his sword into his chest.

At last, the occupation of Kiyoshu is ended. All that’s left is to hunt down the stragglers and purge the land of any remaining traitors.

It will take months, perhaps even years, to rebuild, but your great nation will rise from the ashes once more. The treacherous vassal lords who are not yet killed are rightfully executed. Each of the eight lords return to their irrespective prefectures to restore order. As for you, you wander the land, extending help to corners of the realm where the benevolent reach of the lords fails to reach.

After the dust settles, the lands of Yamato prefecture are split equally among the Eight lords, effectively expanding the lands of each of the eight surrounding prefectures. Shinkyo remains as the grand capital and the land is no longer ruled by a single Shogun under a shogunate, but is now ruled collectively by the eight daimyos.

Fukumatsu leads the warriors of Xu back to their homeland and relations between both countries are strengthened. Shentu Wen gives you one final farewell before setting sail.

Some time after the conflict, you are bestowed the title of Sword Saint by each of the eight lords and tales of your deeds spread across all of Kiyoshu, forever immortalised in the annals of history…


Final comments:

While writing the entire summary above, I managed to feel that surge of inspiration again for one last time. I realised that it’s probably how I decided to pace the quest the past few threads that took away the fun of writing, and now that we’re so deep into it, I don’t really see a way out. So, I will stand by my decision to cease further work on KMQ. Despite the last three months, writing KMQ was a really fun experience and I hope that at least this short summary of the entire story will provide some closure for the regulars that have stuck by this long and tolerated the long wait between updates.

Thank you for reading!
Thanks for writing.
it does provide some closure. Thanks for writing, I enjoyed it a lot and the tale you envisioned was a great sounding one.

until next time, if there is one.
Thanks for running QM!

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