[BOTH] The battle of the Awakening - Freak Wars 2018

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ajmendoza
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[BOTH] The battle of the Awakening - Freak Wars 2018

Post by ajmendoza » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:15 am

*texto en español en la primera respuesta.

Hello!!

As many of you know, last weekend a great battle was performed during the Freak Wars 2018 event. It involved 6 armies and 9 players (2800 army points on the table) and it gave us the starting point for the continuation of the kensei's background. Next images show the context of the battle.


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Let me tell you a brief review of what happened there. Thanks to David, Pablo, Santi, Aitor, Albert, Rubén, Alex, Xisco y Luís for paint and play and make that awesome ship (thanks alex), and all the laugh that happened during that messy battle.


THE BATTLE OF THE AWAKENING


Eventually, after every clan move their troops to the area after own reasons, four armies gather in a cross path. A Kuge army (yellow and blue), a Buke army (Red and Blue) and two Sohei armies. No one could pass, no one wanted retreat. During the battles, the generals (players) must face some questions asked by the game director (Joan) in order to know how the battle would continue. Many of the background of the participants can be read in the fanfiction section.

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First question: Would your army fight or use the diplomacy?

A parley was set and three emissaries gather to make clear their intentions (the players were acting very well!). Kuge wanted to continue their way to Ido, Buke was determinate to stop them and make kuge fall back, Sohei, only wanted to move forward and get the temple near Ido, but they could not move between two armies, exposing their flanks.

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But the parley stopped suddenly. No one saw it came. A great explosion in the gathering spot almost killed the Buke leader and all the emissaries run to their armies and prepare for battle. Buke and Kuge troops blame each other and Yari men move on, sohei monks prepared their naginatas when they realized what had really happened.

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An enormous ship had arrived to the cost and a huge Otokodate army landed to join the party and defend their many rice fields in the area. The ship, was a Namban machine. Would they have a deal? The truth is the explosion came from one of the cannons of the machine. The parley was over, the battle started. Players decided fight!

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Kuge and Buke received worst of the ship shots and many men died due the cannon balls. The Buke had the worst part and as long as they were completely surrounded by thre armies and Kuge, Sohei and Otokodate pushed them very strongly.

Teppo Kuge was trying to decimate the Buke front meanwhile the sohei accelerate their march to face the hideous Otokodate in the center of the battle. One of the sohei cults marched front meanwhile a second one protected their rearguard.

The Otokodate marched against the Kuge flank and charge against the Buke flank meanwhile their cannon spat fire. There was a carnage and everyone seemed overpasses by the situation.



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Eventually, a unnatural mist cover the field and a frighten laugh froze the soldiers' blood. An specter rise from the fog in the center of the battle and with him an army of horrible undead creatures wear in samurai armor rise everywhere in the battle field as well as the just killed soldiers, who started to awake from the eternal death and take the legs of their former brothers. Panic makes presence and the undead charge for good!

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No one know it yet, but the general of the creatures was Sato.

Second question: Would they living fight against this new menace or they would stand fighting against the living?

They had no chance to answer. The undead decided for them and there was a battle everyone. Kuge vs Kuge, Buke vs Buke and Otokodate, the army which had suffered less casualties, saw how their rearguard was charged by the elite of the undead so they formed in a impassable wall. The players decided to fight against the undead

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One of the sohei Onmyouji invoked a Shinigami, a force of the nature, and the whole sohei army vowed for war and was cheering because with this yokai at their side could kneel any enemy. But, it cheering stop too soon, when the sohei in the front (red one) saw how the Shinigami did not fight the enemy but charged against their rearguard. What was happening? Were they betray by their own brothers? (that sohei player background tell their sohei are fellow of the darkness).

The truth is, the other cult did not advance or fight, just saw the scene with impassive face expressions.

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Few people notice that in the Kuge army another betrayal was about to happen. Taking advantage of the chaos, one of the samurai leaders tried to kill his own general. But the general, badly wound was able to stop the attack and cut the head of the traitor. Fell at the ground and was quickly carried on by some loyal men out of the battle. Was the traitor a lone wolf? was paid by someone? No one know. (this is part of the Kuge player background).

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At the center of the battle, the Otokodate general, a giant Gurosu, look for Sato and ran against the creature. They fought bravely and sound of their weapons smashing each other mixed with the rest of the battle.

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The living could not win this battle, as long as they kill or been killed, new undead creatures rise again and again. It was a chaos and a last decision must be made.

Third question: Would they retreat, letting the undead take control of the whole area but also telling what was happening the imperial court? or would they stand and fight to the end?

Otokodate chose to fight. They created a human wall to stop the undead.
The dark sohei cult retired meanwhile their former brothers Sohei fought against the hell creatures.
Kuge stood and fight, but its general, badly wounded, was carried by some loyal men to a safe place.
Buke also stood and fight with the few men that remains alive but the general alongside two of his personal and elite guard fall back and go to tell to the buke council that the Jigoku had some presence in the mortal reign.

The camera move far from the scene. The battle continue but no one knows (for now) what will happen. This was the Battle of the Awakening, a new era for Hymukai has begun.

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ajmendoza
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Re: [BOTH] The battle of the Awakening - Freak Wars 2018

Post by ajmendoza » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:52 am

Saludos!!

Como mucho de vosotros ya sabéis, el fin de semana pasada una gran batalla se produjo durante el Evento de las Freak Wars 2018. Esta batalla involucró a 6 ejércitos y 9 jugadores y es el punto de partida para el nuevo trasfondo de Kensei que ya está escribiendo. Las imágenes siguientes cuentan el contexto de la batalla (como ya presentamos en su momento).



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Dejadme contaros una breve descripción de lo que ocurrió durante la Batalla. Gracias a David, Pablo, Santi, Aitor, Albert, Rubén, Alex, Xisco y Luís por pintar vuestros ejércitos, por ese fantástico barco namban (gracias Alex!), por jugar y todas las risas.


LA BATALLA DEL DESPERTAR


Tras el movimiento de tropas tras sus propias razones, los ejércitos se encontraron en un cruce. Un ejército Kuge (amarillo y Azul), uno Buke (rojo y azul) y dos ejércitos Sohei. Ninguno podía pasar y ninguna quería retirarse. A lo largo de la batalla, los generales (los jugadores) deberían afrontar varias preguntas que el director de juego (Joan) iba a hacerles para saber como sería el transcurso de la batalla. Muchos de los trasfondos de los jugadores pueden ir leyéndose en la sección Fan-fiction.


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Primera pregunta: ¿Pelearían entre ellos o utilizarían la diplomacia?

Un parlamento se produjo entre tres emisarios, uno por cada bando, para dejar claro sus posiciones e intenciones (los jugadores lo interpretaron super bien). Los Kuge querían continuar su camino a Ido mientras que los Buke no iban a permitirlo. Los Sohei por su parte simplemente pedían un paso seguro para llegar hasta su templo, pero no iban a avanzar exponiendo sus dos flancos a dos ejércitos samurai.

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Pero la reunión terminó bruscamente. Nadie lo vió venir, pero una gran explosión en el punto del parlamento casi mata al héroe Buke y todos corrieron a la protección de sus filas, mientras se culpaban unos a otros de lo que había pasado. Los soldados armados con Yari avanzaron. Mientras los monjes preparaban sus naginatas éstos vieron lo que realmente estaba sucediendo.

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Un enorme barco extranjero habia alcanzado la costa y un ejército Otokodate habia descargado, con la intención de proteger sus campos de arroz de la zona. Este barco era un barco Namban. ¿Tenían un parco con los Otokodate? La verdad es que la explosión vino de una bala de cañon disparada desde el barco. El parlamento estaba muerto, la guerra había empezado! Los jugadores decidieron luchar!

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Kuge y Buke recibieron la peor parte de los disparos desde el barco y muchos hombres muriron bajo las balas. Los buke sufrieron las mayores pédidas durante la batalla ya que se encontraban completamente rodeado por los enemigos.

Los Teppo Kuge estaban intentando diezmar a los Buke mientras los Sohei aceleraban su paso para acercarse a los indesables (para ellos) Otokodate. Uno de los cultos sohei marchó de avanzadilla mientras el otro cubría la retaguardia.

Los Otokodate marcharon contra los kuge y cargaron contra los buke, mientras sus cañones escupían fuero. Fue una carnicería y todos parecían superados por la situación de chaos absoluto.



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De repente, una niebla antinatural cubrió el campo de batalla y una riza amenazadora heló la sangre de los soldados. Un especto apareció en el centro de la batalla y con él un horrible ejército de criaturas no muertas que vestían armaduras samurais se levantaba en todos los puntos de la batalla además de los muertos recién caidos por el combate. Estos agarraban y arañaban las piernas de sus hermanos aun vivos y empezaron a luchar contra ellos. El panico se hizo presente y los no muertos cargaron desde todos los flancos!


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Nadie lo sabe aun, pero ese general era Sato.

Segunda pregunta: Los vivos ¿seguirían luchando los unos contra los otros o se enfrentarían a esta nueva amenaza no-muerta?

No tuvieron poder de decisión. Los muertos decidieron por ellos y hubo batalla por todos lados. Kuge vs Kuge, Buke vs Buke y Otokodate, el ejército que había sufrido menos bajas, vió como su retaguardia fue cargada por la élite de los no muertos, por lo que formaron un muro impasable. Los jugadores decidieron luchar contra los no-muertos.

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Uno de los Onmyouji Sohei invocó un Shinigame, una fuerza de la naturaleza, y todo el ejército sohei gritó con sed de sangre sabiendo que con ese aliado pondrían de rodillas a cualquier enemigo, natural o sobrenatural. Pero la alegría duró poco, ya que los sohei en el frente (de rojo) vieron como el Shinigami cargaba no contra el enemigo si no contra su propia retaguardia. ¿Qué estaba pasando? ¿Habían sido traicionados por sus propios compañeros? (El jugador sohei cuenta en su trasfondo que su culto es un culto seguidor de la oscuridad)

La realidad es que el otro culto no avanzó ni luchó, simplemente vió la escena con expresiones muertas en sus rostros.

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Pocos notaron que en el lado Kuge otra traición estaba a punto de suceder. Aprovechando el caos de la batalla, uno de los lideres samurái intentó matar a su propio general, pero el general, mortalmente herido, fue capaz de parar el ataque y cortar la cabeza del traidor. El general se desplomó en el suelo y rápidamente fue tomando por algunos guardias leales. ¿El traidor trabajaba solo? ¿Fue contratado por alguien? Nadie lo sabe. (Esto es parte del trasfondo del jugador Kuge).

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En el centro de la batalla, el general Otokodate, un gigante Gurosu, buscó a sato y corrió contra la criatura. Lucharon con fiereza y el sonido de sus armas chocando la una contra la otra se mezcló con el resto de la batalla.

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Los vivos no podían ganar esta batalla. Cada uno que moría volvía en forma de no muerto, cada criatura que mataban, se volvía a levantar. La batalla era un caos y una nueva decisión debía ser tomada.

Tercera pregunta: ¿Se retirarían los vivos dejando a los muertos tomar el control de la zona y avisando a la corte imperial de lo que había pasado? ¿o aguantarían luchando hasta el final?

Otokodate eligió luchar y crearon un muro humano contra las criaturas.
El culto de los sohei oscuros se retiraron mientras sus antiguos hermanos Sohei lucharon contra las criaturas del infierno.
Kuge aguantó y luchó, pero su general, mortalmente herido, fue llevado por sus hombres a un lugar seguro.
Buke también se quedó para luchar, pero su general, acompañado por dos jinetes de su guardia personal, se retiró del campo de batalla para contar al concilio Buke lo que había pasado y la presencia del JIgoku en el reino de los mortales.

La camara se aleja. La batalla continúa pero nadie sabe (por ahora) que pasará. Esta fue La Batalla del Despertar, una nueva era para Hymukai ha comenzado.

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DavidCE
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Re: [BOTH] The battle of the Awakening - Freak Wars 2018

Post by DavidCE » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:55 am

Tremenda partida!!. Fue muy emocionante, cañonazos, barco gigante, muertos, traiciones... La verdad que nos lo pasamos muy muy bien.

Tengo muchas ganas de ver el trasfondo de la batalla y por dónde va a tirar la cosa. Desde luego nos ha dejado con mucha incertidumbre!

Enhorabuena Antonio y Joan. Os lo currasteis mucho. Y gracias por dejarnos formar parte de la historia del juego

Enviado desde mi Redmi Note 5 mediante Tapatalk

七転び八起き
Nana korobi ya oki
Fall down seven times, stand up eight

KokeKitsune
Posts: 26
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Re: [BOTH] The battle of the Awakening - Freak Wars 2018

Post by KokeKitsune » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:46 pm

Ido's Mist 井戸の霧 The sun was high in the sky over Ito as the Kuge contingent stood waiting at the border. Kohei Sazamake sneezed loudly as the sun shone on him, his snot flying everywhere. He wiped his runny nose with a finger and once again pined for his home in the city. He hated animals, pastures and anything that would irritate his nose; he would never understand why anyone would want to live in such an environment. Apparently he had family out in the sticks somewhere who were of a high-ish status, although Kohei doubted they could compare to even his room in the Imperial city. Status counted for very little if you couldn't go to the market for fine fish every morning.

Another sneeze shook his small, thin frame and he muttered under his breath while surveying the sight before him. Strapping soldiers were everywhere with swords and gleaming armour, obviously enjoying themselves and laughing and joking as they stood posturing. Kohei shuffled away from them and headed back to the group of leaders, hoping to get his transcribing session over so he could get back to his comforts. He had not volunteered for this post and hoped that the rest of his job would be spent inside the court where the worst he would suffer is a sprained wrist.

As Kohei took his place at the Taisho's shoulder, the large man laughed loudly and stepped back knocking into Kohei. "Oh... a scribe?" he said with a gruff voice. "I forgot you were there, you administrators are too quiet."

Kohei remained silent. He hefted his board, paper and brush up into view to indicate he was ready to scribe whenever the briefing began. Chroniclers were not employed to speak, they were employed to write whatever was being said. He'd do this job well enough to get his salary and nothing more. That said, no amount of money was worth being stuck out here with the insects and pollen.

Kohei sneezed again and his ink brush fell from his hand, staining his robes as it fell. This was not his day.

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Hirano felt his horses feet dance across the soft woodland floor, the pine needles damp and supple in the mist. He patted Sayo on her neck and whispered to her, she whickered and stamped a hoof, Hirano rearranged the ornate helmet carried at his side, it had been digging into his side all morning, he was going to have a bruise he was sure. Glancing towards the small camp site his group had thrown together last night he scowled.

"Hurry up!" He growled under the breath. If the other boys weren't quick they would be left behind by the main contingent & then he would never have a chance to prove to Tomaru Taisho that he could be more use than just a messenger. Seeing a pair of sleepy faces poke out of their temporary shelters Hirano gestured emphatically at them. One of them seemed to drag himself out of the shelter but the other one disappeared. He didn't have time for this!

Pressing his heels into Sayo's side the horse lurched forward and he clattered through the tall pines, at a higher speed than he knew he should've, heading towards the agreed meeting point for the day. Hirano Enjoyed the danger present in the ride and had to duck and weave a couple of times to avoid jutting branches. Finally he emerged into a clearing where a gathering was already beginning among the moss and now trampled ferns. Hirano slowed to a trot and headed towards the glinting crest of the commander a grin settling on his face.

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Kohei Sazamaka was hidden inside a shrubbery bush on the now-silent battlefield. He had long abandoned the unit of men that had been assigned to him and had not budged even as he heard their cries for him. He was a scribe, not a warrior! He had no clue as to why the Taisho had given him a group of warriors to oversee. The loud shouts and noise of battle had died away and he pondered whether to emerge from his sanctuary.

On all fours, Kohei braved the dirt and mud with a grimace as he crawled out of his hiding place. Sniffing and sniveling on the ground, Kohei patted the parchment at his breast. The Taisho had entrusted him with an important letter to the Emperor, a brief account of everything that had happened up until this strange mist that had flowed up through the ground. Koehi had never had such an honoured task before and the pressure frightened him. Just thinking about what lay in his inner pocket made him shiver and want to shrink further into the shrubbery bush.

“There you are!” came a loud voice to his right. Kohei winced and cowered away as he heard footsteps running towards him. He had survived all this time only to die?

He looked and saw two men from the unit he had been given, their spears in their grip and the Kuge emblem on their chest plate. They both looked weary and were covered in large patches of mud and blood, though not their own. The sight of them made Kohei wrinkle his nose and once again long for a bath.

“You survived,” the men both said together as they bowed in front of him. “Forgive us for not protecting you!”

Cautiously Kohei nodded up at them. He had run away but they did not need to know that.

“Now that you have been found,” one man continued, “what should we-”

“Yes yes,” interrupted Koheui as he turned and began to crawl away from the mist towards the edge of the battlefield. “Well done for finding me, now it’s time to go,” he muttered as he felt his robes grow heavy with clinging mud. He began to tug at his clothes, not wanting to lose his only set.

“Where are we going? The fighting is that way,” called one of the spearman. He came over and pulled Kohei’s robes out of the mud with an easy yank which sent Kohei rolling about on his back.

“You want to go back?” Kohei asked incredulously as he scrabbled around on the ground. “Over half of your comrades have perished in that mist and you want to go back?!”
“That is the nature of war,” said another man as he inspected his broken spear. With a sigh he tossed it. “Men die, swords were made to do that.”

Kohei found the strength to push himself up from the sodden ground. His damp clothes clung to him and his shoes were completely soaked through, sending chills along his spine and making him remember what he had seen. “Those were not swords back there,” he whispered as he hugged himself. He could see them again, sharp teeth, too long to be of this world… a dark, almost black colour, stained with blood… so much blood…

“What are your orders Kumigashira?”

Kohei jumped in surprise. The spearmen stood looming behind him. “Me?” he asked shakily. Dirt and grass now covered the front of his robes, two brown patches adorned his knees. Condensation dripped down his nose and across his forehead.

“You hold the highest rank here, you give us the orders and we follow.”

Koehi sniffed and darted his eyes about. The men were correct; he did hold the highest rank despite only being a scribe. He now had to give orders! But what? What should they do? The obvious answer was to run and if Kohei was alone he would had done so, but he had two men with him now. What would they expect him to do? Kohei’s mind was a blur, how would he decided?

The two spearmen were watching him impatiently. Kohei stuttered. “I… um… well… I- we could-”

“You! Kuge! To me!” shouted a voice. Kohei cowered away while the two spearmen placed their hands on their short swords. The voice had not come from the mist, but from behind. “Quickly, else the Otokodate befall you!”

Kohei snapped is head up and saw that while he had been trying to think, the mist had crept closer and was almost upon them. With a whimper he turned and ran, his two spearmen falling in behind him. As he ran, Kohei patted the parchment in his pocket. Thankfully he was still there.

Koehi did not look where he was going and ended up running towards the man who had shouted earlier. The warrior sat proudly on his horse, despite the humidity of the air causing his hair to flop over one of his eyes. The horse was flicking its head in frustration; the man jumped off the creature and gave its flank a soothing pat. Behind him were two swordsmen, posed in a fighting stance and ready to attack. Koehi slowed his pace and instantly regretted not looking at where he was going.

“Who are you?” the man- no boy demanded as Kohei came to stop before him.

“Kumigashira careful, this man is Buke! He is our enemy!” shouted a spearman behind Kohei. In a pincer movement, the two spearmen came around either side of Kohei and pointed their spears at the boy.

“I can’t believe you were foolish enough to come to me,” he said smugly, drawing a sword. His two warriors matched his movement. It was stalemate. “Seeing as our swords outnumber yours, you will do as I say,” continued the youth with a grin. The horse nudged the man's shoulder and he patted the creature's neck. "Good girl Sayo," he soothed with a smile before he returned his haughty gaze to Kohei. “First, your name.”

“Kohei Samazaka,” Kohei mumbled.

“Rank?”

“Scribe.”

The boy looked incredulous and almost dropped his sword. “A scribe? How did you survive when most of my men did not?”

“He does not need to answer,” snapped one of the spearman as he clashed against one of the swords. “Now who are you?”

The youth sneered at the spearman. “I am Hirano Sesshoseki the man who will turn the tide and make the Buke clan victorious, crushing the Otokodate!”

Kohei doubted that but said nothing.

“Otokodate?” asked one of his spearmen. “We were at the outskirts of the battle but saw no Otokodate.”

“Hah! Kuge warriors are always quick to hide when true battle begins,” the man Hirano spat. He sheathed his sword and stood pompously with his chest out as he regaled his version of events. “We Buke were parlaying when a huge ship appeared and somehow a multitude of cannons were fired on us. I was fortunate not to die! As I was dragging some wounded away, the Otokodate appeared and attacked us from behind. Then this mist bubbled up from the ground in the middle of the day, choking the sun and blocking all the light. I could barely see but somehow managed to fight my way out like a true Buke warrior!”

Kohei didn’t really care what had happened, he just wanted to get away. He ignored the Sesshoseki youth and darted about looking for another horse or any kind of animal that could run fast. He didn't fancy stealing the angry-looking beast called Sayo that stood huffing behind Hirano, however there was nothing to be seen. No animals or even bugs… everywhere was deathly silent and the air cloying. He wiped droplets of water from his face. How could anyone stand to be in these conditions?

“I was given a unit of men to command!” Hirano Sesshoseki shouted proudly, drawing Kohei back into the discussion.

“This man is our Kumigashira!” one of the spearman snapped in outrage. Kohei wished he hadn’t.

“You? You command these men?” Hirano asked, his voice going high-pitched at the end from anger.

“Kumigashira,” called one of the swordsmen, “do not waste your words with them. They are Kuge scum!”

“Does that matter?” asked Kohei. When Hirano glared at him, he held up his hands in appeasement. Even Sayo the horse turned to glare. “I mean, what do we do now? We appear to be the only ones left alive.”

“We do not know that for sure,” Hirano Sesshoseki interjected. “The Otokodate may still have men hiding in the mist, using it as a cowardly shield.”

“We saw none alive from our flank of the battleground,” added one of his spearman with a grimace. “It was not the Otokodate that killed our brothers, how can you be sure they are the ones winning this fight?”

“Because they appeared just before this mist did!” snapped Hirano with a snort. “Most of my men are gone. This mist must be an Otokodate trick; we cannot fight with this-”

“Something lurks in that mist,” Kohei blurted loudly. All men turned to look at him with a mixture of surprise and concern. A large drop of sweat and condensation dripped from his nose. “Men die when they fall into that mist. There are… creatures… with blades… we should leave, now.”

A loud laugh burst from Hirano Sesshoseki and his head rolled backwards in glee. “Leave? From a battle? Only if we are the last men standing. You are Kuge and I am Buke, that means until one of us dies we must remain.”

The spearman tightened their grip on their weapons. “Kumigashira, what are your orders?”

“I will tell you your orders!” snapped the youth impatiently. Kohei could see frustration clearly on his face. “You will stay put until I have dealt with these Otokodate, then you will die by my hand!”

With a loud metallic sound, Hirano drew his sword up and held it pointing towards the mist that had grown too close as they spoke. Kohei turned and jumped at the sight, backing away from the unnatural mist until he bumped into the chest of a swordsman, who roughly shoved him to the side. Kohei slipped in the mud and went to his knees, ruining his robes all the more.

“I fear nothing! I will prove to you that the Buke will be victorious! Men, with me! Sayo stay!” barked Hisano. With the confidence only a youth could possess, he stomped across the ground and into the mist. His two swordsmen trod carefully behind him with swords held protectively across their chests before they too disappeared. Footsteps grew quiet as Kohei knelt and waited.

“Kumigashira, what should we do?” whispered one of his spearman as watched the swordsman be swallowed by the cloying mist. Sayo began to paw the ground nervously, her breath steaming and her eyes darting, yet she held her ground.

Oppressive silence smothered all of Kohei’s words as he knelt waiting. He scrabbled for some levrage to pull himself up but found none. Sweat and water trickled down his neck and spine. His blood sounded loud in his ears as it pumped through his body and his mind was blank. Part of him was desperate to be proven wrong, to be shown that this was just ordinary mist and that warriors were hiding inside. Warriors with strangely long, sharp blades that snatched and skewered anyone they could.

“Kumigashira?”

The footsteps had been quelled by the distance and the mist remained still. Kohei swallowed his spit and strained his eyes to see anything. He thought he saw the tip of a sword being swung high, although no noise followed the motion. Eerie shapes floated in the corner of his vision, shapes that did not seem physically possible as they darted and danced through the air. Kohei’s breath steamed as his blood turned to ice in his veins.

A spearman gave a harsh grunt as if winded, staggering backwards unbalanced. His body twisted as he stood revealing a sword embedded deeply between his rib cage, it's grip dripping with gore. With a bloody cough, the man fell forward and died before Kohei's eyes.

Panic gripped Kohei's mind and his arms began to flail, causing the sleeves of his robes to become entangled in the thick mud. “Run,” Kohei breathed as he struggled and shifted in the mire. His heart began to beat against his chest as sheer, blind panic set in. “Run,” he repeated louder. “Run, run, run!”

The other spearman looked about feebly trying to pinpoint where he rogue sword had come from. Kohei, with laboured breath, managed to wrench himself free of the ground's clutches and to his feet before Hirano’s voice shattered the silence.

“Fleeeeeeeeeee-”

A thin, pox-marked and emaciated arm with incredibly long, sharp nails slithered from the mist. It clamped down onto the final spearmen’s head and yanked him into the murk. His screams compelled a terrified Kohei into movement, his shaking hands somehow finding purchase on Sayo's reins and his quaking legs managing to locate Sayo's stirrups. He threw his body over Sayo's back and swung his leg as high as it would go, praying that he made it into the saddle. He barely made it as he lay over the animal, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.

Despite his fumbling and ungraceful flounding, Sayo remained stock-still facing the mist that snaked ever closer. Her ears were flat against her head and her eyes rolled in their sockets, yet she held true to her Master's orders, no matter how hard Koehi tred to slap her neck and urge her to move.

"Come on animal," he whined as he scrabbled at the reins, "don't just stand there, move!" he shouted as he managed to grab the reins and yank them hard. Sayo's head moved but her feet remained planted on the ground. "Come on, come on!"

Kohei shrieked and clamped his eyes shut as something firm latched onto his ankle. He tried to kick it away but whatever it was held painfully tight. Fearing the worst, Kohei peeked down.

It was Hirano Sesshoseki. At least, half of him.

“The undead!” he gurgled as blood spewed from his mouth. One hand held Kohei’s ankle in a white-knuckled grip. “Run Sayo, the undead have-”

Suddenly the man was wrenched away and swallowed by the thick mist. A high-pitched scream filled the air and was then abruptly silenced with a loud, sickly crunch. Kohei lost control of his bowels as hot blood sprayed across his face and Sayo's flank as she spun in a painfully slow arc. He heard a wet thud and saw Hirano’s arm land ahead of him, unmoving and drenched in blood that pooled in the palm and soaked the earth below.

"Move Sayo," Kohei breathed as his vision began to blur with tears, "move Sayo, please move, move Sayo-"

High-pitched trilling laughter came from the mist as it caressed Sayo's flank and smothered her fetlocks. A bloodied limb appeared as Kohei rotated his head… a razor sharp blade… no… a claw, that slowly crept towards Kohei’s frozen face. A deathly pale, thin form emerged from the mist. It’s movements painfully slow to Kohei… it smiled at him. It’s mouth full of matching razor sharp pointed teeth…

Sayo shrieked and with a great lurch, fled.

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