Legends of Rokugan
(Bayushi) Bondai [Deceased]
"Honor is nothing more than pretty lies told to children that like to play with swords and pretend that they're gods."
Legend of the Five Rings, 4E
Rank 3, Insight 191, Experience Points: 2xp
|Katana||11k4||3k2||+2k0 attack while Hidden or +1k0 attack while enemy has Condition. +1k1 attack & damage while in deep shade or shadow.|
Armor TN Bonus: +5
TN to Be Hit (REF x 5 + Armor + Modifiers): ##
Initiative (Insight Rank = REF/ keep REF): 7k4
Wounds (Earth x 2 per level, Earth x 5 for Healthy)
|Down||+40||51||Must spend Void to act|
|Skill||Trait||Rank||Roll||Emphases/Mastery Abilities||School Skill?|
|Investigation||PER||4||7k3||+1k1 to detect Ambush, Second attempt at Search at original TN, 2 free raises to locate a concealed target||No|
|Athletics||AG||4||9k4||Ignore Moderate Terrain, Difficult Terrain reduces Water by 1, not 2||Yes|
|Kenjutsu||AG||6||11k4||Katana, +1k0 damage, ready as Free Action||Yes|
|Ninjutsu||AG||5||10k4||+1k0 damage, damage explodes on 10’s||Yes|
|Stealth||AG||6||16k6||Sneaking, Simple Move Action Water x10, Two Free Raises||Yes|
|Sleight of Hand||AG||2||6k4||No|
|Glory||1.0||Honor||1.5||Status||0.0||Infamy||0.0||Shadowlands Taint||0.0||Lying Darkness Shadow Ranks||2.1|
|Rank 1||Path of Shadows||No Honor Loss for Scorpion dirty deeds, +2k0 Stealth|
|Rank 2||Strike from Darkness||If Hidden, raises not limited by Void. If Hidden or enemy has Condition, gain +2k0 or +1k0 on attacks.|
|Rank 3||Black Hearts, Red Blades||If you attack an opponent who is unaware of your presences, you may add your Stealth Skill Rank to the total of all attack and damage rolls against that opponent for the duration of the skirmish.|
|Prodigy (Physical)||+1k0 to all School Skill rolls||+12 pts|
|Silent (Physical)||+1k0 to all Stealth rolls||Free from Heritage Table|
|Wary (Mental)||+1k1 to detect Ambush||+3 pts|
|Shadow Brands (2)||+2k2 Stealth, See in darkness, +1k1 combat rolls while in darkness, free raises to spot people||Free|
|Dishonored (Social)||Start at Status 1, may not gain Status while dishonored||-5 pts|
|Yogo Curse (Killed love) (Spiritual)||Betray what you love||-4 pts|
|Lost Love (Ikoma Ilya – Lion Courtier) (Mental)||Increase TN’s by 5 when reminded||-3 pts|
|Social Disadvantage (Social)||Begin at Status 0||-3 pts|
|Sworn Enemy (Agasha Hisojo – Emerald Magistrate) (Social)||Mechanics go here||-4 pts|
“The way is not two things, but one. A man can only be a man, as performing an act does not make a man that thing. Try to be something and you fail. Instead act as one that does things.”
Bondai nodded his head and tried to make his face look contemplative. What the fuck is he talking about? He resisted an urge to scratch under his arm. Stupid useless robes! Why did they send me to play court with this imperial monk?
The old Otomo continued on lecturing about Shintao and the other courtiers, young samurai from the Phoenix, Crane, Dragon and Lion, all sat attentively and listened. One of the Crane courtiers glanced at Bondai sideways and gave him a wink, the faintest of smiles touching the corner of her mouth. Well…it might not be a total waste of time. The Otomo abruptly stopped talking and Bondai say up straighter. “I suppose that’s enough for now.” He said and smiled. “Too much Shintao on an empty stomach always made me think of it as the way of the bao.”
All the courtiers laughed politely at his joke, but Bondai could tell that the Dragon was upset about something. Not very good at hiding your feelings, eh Dragon? “Let’s take a break and gather back here after lunch.” The old Otomo winked at the Lion. “Maybe you’ll have some stories to tell me.” He said and turned to Bondai, “and maybe Bondai-san will pay less attention to the lovely Ikoma and more to the teacher.”
The Dragons face flushed red in humiliation but quickly turned into a jeering grin as passed Bondai and sneered at him. Ikoma Ilya simply bowed to the Otomo and said “If my beauty is a distraction from your lesson Otomo-sama, I will join our Scorpion in wearing a mask so that you may continued uninterrupted.”
The Otomo smiled and gave her a slight bow in return. “Well spoken, Ikoma-san, for I would never wish to hide the gifts of the Crane.”
Bondai stood silent, thankful that his mask covered his face. Not to hide any blushing or embarrassment, but to conceal his anger at the Dragon. Think you can insult me like that and walk away? I’ll kill you in your sleep and they’ll thank me for it you arrogant bastard. Bondai bowed deeply to the Otomo and left the small garden, not looking for food but someplace to get away from the others.
“Leaving so soon, Bondai-san? I hope you are not trying to escape my company.” Ikoma Ilya said, a hint of laughter in her voice. Bondai waited for her to catch up and then leaned close and said, “No, but I don’t think Otomo-sama would approve of our…practice sessions right in the garden.” Bondai smiled, “Then again, it might be just what the old man needs.”
Ilya tried to hide her shock, but failed and chose to laugh out loud to cover her reaction. “Ah, Bondai-san you are much better practice than our esteemed host is.” She said quietly after her laughter.
“And I look better naked too.” He whispered and immediately she snapped her fan open and got her face behind it, her eyes showing a mix of embarrassment and mirth.
She slowly lowered the fan and her face was composed, a mask of insight and control. “Yes, that too.” She said.
After lunch the Otomo had gathered his young samurai at the shrine of Ebisu and had directed them to play each other at various games of skill. “The winner will receive a special honor this evening.” He said as they sat down to their boards. The Phoenix was playing Ikoma Ilya at Go, the two twin Cranes faced each other over another Go board and Bondai sat across from Kitsuki Reun, a shogi set between them. The Dragon looked puzzled. “But Otomo-sama, we are playing different games, how can you decide the winner?”
Bondai smirked beneath his mask while the Otomo smiled. “Are those the only games you see here, Reun-san?” The Otomo said. Kitsuki Reun frowned and nodded to the sensei and turned to face Bondai. “Bondai-san, I feel sorry for you.” He said, the sneer returning to his face. “The Dragon are praised for their excellence at shogi, and my uncle Agasha Hisojo-sama is a renowned shogi master.”
“Are you asking me to admit defeat and surrender, Reun-san?” Bondai asked while looking at the pieces on the board. How’s that one move again? Two up and three over…no, one up and two across…I think. The Dragon laughed and nodded. “It would be a wise opening move, Bondai-san, unless you think that a Scorpion can beat a Dragon at anticipating an opponents next move.”
“Ah, I have heard that the Dragon do have a reputation for something about warfare.” Bondai said, picking up his first piece and moving it at random. “Though I confess that I don’t remember what for, exactly. Perhaps something about needing two swords to defend their lord while other samurai’s only need one? Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to what the Dragon do. Much easier to simply wait for them to go back to their mountain. Oh, your move.”
Kitsuki Reun sat there with a shocked look on his face for a moment and then pursed his lips into a thin line. In one swift motion he drew his katana and leveled it a few inches from Bondais throat, knocking the board and pieces to the ground. “Apologize for your insults, Scorpion.” The Dragon said between clenched teeth. “Or I will have your head.”
Bondai smiled behind his mask and glanced down at the broken shogi board on the ground and then back at the katana. “An interesting first move, Kitsuki-san. Is it Dragon custom to forfeit the game and threaten to kill your opponent for expressing ignorance about your clan?” Bondai said while the rest of the courtiers looked on. The Otomo took a few steps towards them and calmly looked at the Dragon. “Kitsuki-san, why have you knocked over the board and why are you holding your katana, ready to kill Bondai-san?”
The Dragon’s intensity wavered for a minute but he turned to face the Otomo without moving his blade from Bondai’s throat. “He claimed false ignorance of my clan as an attempt to insult my ancestors, Otomo-sama!”
“I see. Kitsuki-san, put away your sword.” The Otomo said. Kitsuki Reun looked like he was about to say something, then nodded and quickly sheathed his sword. “Hai, sama.”
“I declare Bondai-san the winner between you. Congratulations, Bondai-san. Let’s see how the other players are doing.” Bondai bowed low to the Otomo and stood up, brushing a stray shogi piece from his expensive robes. The Dragon sat there, anger and confusion on his face, but he was wise enough to know not to allow himself to speak.
The Otomo walked over to the two Crane twins playing Go and stopped. “An interesting match, I see.” He said. The Go board was empty of all pieces, the black and white stones still sitting in their bowls. “Tell me, why have you not started playing?”
Both of the Crane stood up and bowed to him. “We have finished playing, Otomo-sama. We decided that in the situation of a Crane brother vs his own brother, the only winning move is to not play.”
“Excellent, Doji-san.” The Crane twins bowed deeply to the Otomo. “But since you have not played, neither of you can receive the prize.” He nodded briefly to them and walked over to the last table with the Phoenix and Ikoma Ilya. “And how have the Phoenix and the Crane been behaving?”
“Impeccably, sensei.” Ilya said. The Go board between her and the Phoenix showed an overwhelming victory for the Ikoma. The young Phoenix man sat fidgeting in his robes, his face blushing. “It seems that you have been soundly defeated, Asako-san.” The Otomo said.
“Yes sensei. Ikoma-san is…a skilled opponent.” The Phoenix said, not seeming to entirely trust himself to speak properly.
The Otomo nodded and walked back to the shrine. “Very well then, we have our two winners, Ikoma-san and Bayushi-San.” Bondai and Ilya stood up and walked over to him, the Kakita with a sly smile while Bondai remained unreadable behind his mask. “How will we decide the final winner between the two?”
One of the Crane twins spoke up. “Perhaps a test of wits, sama. A poetry competition.” The Kitsuki shook his head but said nothing, and Otomo Hetsa nodded. “A haiku contest. Please, each of you must compose and recite the most beautiful poem you can within…oh, 30 seconds.”
Ikoma Ilya nodded and tapped her closed fan against her side while her eyes gazed off into the distance, quickly thinking of a suitable haiku. Bondai merely stood there and glanced at the Kitsuki for a moment and then turned to look at the shrine.
After half a minute the Otomo said. “Time. Please, Ikoma-san, recite your poem.”
She cleared her throat and glanced once at Bondai before turning towards the group. “Spring is in winter, the birds rejoice with songs new, cold is gone for now.” The Otomo nodded and the Crane twins smiled, sharing some secret joke between themselves. The Phoenix looked happy, lost in some thought of his own while the Dragon sat still, intensely oberserving the Scorpion. It creeps me out when you look at me like that Dragon…maybe I take your eyes, so you don’t bother anyone, eh?
“Beautiful, Ikoma-san.” The Otomo said, then turned to Bondai. “And your poem, Bayushi-san?”
Bondai spread his arms in front of him. “I have no poem, Otomo-sama, for the most beautiful thing I could think of is standing beside me.” Ikoma Ilya blushed and snapped her fan up to cover her face while the Crane twins nodded in appreciation. “Interesting. But the requirement was to compose a poem, Bayushi-san.”
Bondai bowed to the Otomo and then said, “My poem is standing here, expressed more clearly than words could say. A thing that lives is superior to the words that describe it, is that not what you taught us this morning, Otomo-sama?”
“It is indeed, Bayushi-san. Well done, and congratulations on your victory.” The Otomo glanced down at the shogi board still laying on the ground and then turned back to the group. “For your reward, you may have this invitation to the Laughing Carp.” Otomo said, pulling a small envelope from his robe and handing it to Bondai. “I hear that they are expecting a famous storyteller this evening.”
Bondai bowed low. “Thank you sama.”
“If I recall correctly, the invitation allows you to bring a guest, if you so choose.” Otomo said, smiling. “I will leave that up to your discretion, Bayushi-san.”
(will be continued)