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TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Some Guy Called 'Gekido' - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

A fiercely disapproving face pinches about a wide mouth before words as impolite as the features that spit them out are issued.

“Hmph. I think it best you understand what you have done, if we are to have a proper understanding of one another. You,” The fiercely faced man in gold with a distinctly protruding gut intones with a gutteral focus while eyeing Naomi, “Can think of yourself as… military contraband. A piece of material so rare and flagrantly illegal in the eyes of those that care as to be nigh-suicide to even touch. And you,” He continues while turning back to Noboru, “Come here late, having not bothered to confer with your family until quite a bit of time has passed. Oh,” He half grunts at his own phrasing, “Surely you think that you’re timely in facing this meeting, that no fault has been made. You ignore the truth of things, that something impossible was found… and not reported to those it should have been, until precious time had passed. I ask you: would you have let so much time pass, no matter what happened, if you’d happened upon stinger missiles? Do you think that Ishinimori’s masterpiece documentary would bother to do a story about someone that can’t remember who they go to when stricken with problems beyond their ability?”

Of course not!” The man half shouts, before with a glance towards the head priest he suppresses his voluble speech.
“Regardless of what views you came to this meeting with, understand this truth: you have been walking in a world that regards certain abilities on metrics far more exacting than those any firearm has been measured against, no matter how aware of it you were. The ‘abilities’ manifest in your associates, Noboru: they are every bit as dangerous by sheer implication of possession as they are useful by ability.”

A heavily knuckled hand rubs at a mildly weighty jaw at that, the speaking priest twisting his lips as if fiercely soured.

“I wonder if you can demonstrate sufficient awareness of this truth,” He says, though it’s unclear just who he’s speaking to… before turning to Taka Jo, “And I wonder if you can focus on what matters, not avoiding being the one to blame.”

TheBeardiestBob fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2014 around 06:01

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PythagoreanCup
Jul 31, 2013

Widely regarded as a bad move.


Noboru Soga

Noboru lets slip a small grimace as Taka Jō speaks, this was not the time or place for such an outburst. Before Taka Jō can even draw another breath the large man introduced as Gekido is upon them all, uttering condemnation upon condemnation as Noboru gives him his full attention and an impassive mask. A troublesome start to all this. He makes an attempt to salvage it.

Noboru gathers a small breath, stoking the fire within himself once more. "Last night those gathered here witnessed what Miss Aoshima was capable of. I recall remarking very much the same, how dangerous it was she be here, how risky it was we harbored her, and what her existence means for us all. That very same night my Elder Brother called Boss Soga to arrange this meeting. This morning he died-a sudden, unexpected heart attack in a man too young and too vital for such a thing to even be a consideration. Before the body-his body-was even cold I reached out to Boss Soga so that we could meet here tonight, for this." he exhales ever so briefly. "So I apologize for my predecessor and for my guest." he inclines his gaze towards the tattoo artist. "However, if what we in the Soga suspect has happened has happened then we are to be working closely together in the coming weeks and this is a rather poor foot to enter first." Noboru says none this with malice, every word, every syllable chosen carefully. He has never had to be quite so assertive before, with Katashi at the helm he was free to be the charmer. There was no respect he needed to safeguard-how times change.

Noboru gives a bow, towards Gekido and Daki. The bow he gives Gekido is standard, he allows the man a superior position, if only out of respect for the man's unknown position and company. To Daki he gives a deeper, apologetic bow.

"I am Noboru Soga, though it appears you are well aware of that. These are my guests Taka Jō and Melissa Mayfield you course are aware of Miss Aoshima and Mister Minobe. I have questions, but I would hope to discuss those in private."

Ekkerates
Sep 26, 2013


Ichiro Tanaka
Ichiro follows Noboru's lead and bows to the priest, but keeps quiet.
He wears chinos and a white shirt and has left his gun in the car, out of respect for the holy place, but has a knife strapped to his ankle.

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Miss Mimasuya's fish sandwich--not like the ones she'd have found back home, heavy and full of presence, like anything she'd have found in a Tamakikyo market was a dream that hadn't boiled away with the dawn--felt like a brick of lead in the pit of her stomach as she entered the shrine. It was like stepping into history, this strange tangent history that combined cousins of modernity with unspeakable antiquity. Japan, her Japan, had been Christian for centuries, and the shrine's rituals seemed like nothing more than ancient superstition that someone had nailed to the wall.

Still, propriety was propriety. She removed her shoes and tried not to goggle at the rituals. When Taka motioned toward her, she couldn't help but feel like she'd stood next to an open furnace. The big man, though, calling her "contraband..." as if she couldn't have reduced him to a paste, given the opportunity.

"I am aware," she said, "that my existence is uncomfortable."

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

The Yamada man nods at Noboru, and then says to Gekido, "He has taken responsibility. The rest couldn't be helped."

He then addresses the group, "Gekido is a master of the taihojutsu style, and has returned from a period of introspection in the wilds," as though that is enough to explain the man's critical manner. Perhaps it is. The stern martial arts master is almost a cliché, but this guy is the real deal.

Ichiro has met Daiki before, at a funeral for an older soldier from another family. The Yamada group typically didn't have much to do with the Soga family, though perhaps that is changing now that the Soga are looking to expand operations.

Daiki Yamada, apparently assuming that Tanaka is present as a guard, says, "Tanaka, you are looking well. You may step forward and join us properly. This place was chosen for many reasons- others are providing security."

He turns to Noboru and says, "Still, it is commendable to be cautious. After Minobe has been checked by Nemoto, let him perform the same for you. You will then be able to enter the sacred hall; there is something there you should see. Tanaka as well."

He looks at the priest, who has just wrapped up his ritual with Minobe. The priest nods, and says, "This one is normal," and he looks at Noboru and confirms, "You, then Tanaka."

While the priest prepares to repeat his ritual, Daiki says to Naomi, "We have a report from the late Mr. Soga about your ability, but we know little about you. It's not unheard of for someone to be utterly off the radar, and I assume you have your reasons for it."

GTD Aquitaine add the Zeroed advantage to Naomi's sheet

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Some Guy Called 'Gekido' - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

A face as disapproving as a fleeced fishmonger does not soften in the slightest… but the brutal features dip into a perfunctory nod all the same.
“...So long as you grasp the enormity of keeping such cards close to your chest rather than casting them at your bosses’ feet regardless of what personal matters may have arisen…” He says as if the words are teeth being pulled from his skull, “Then your ignorant transgression can be tabled: there are indeed more important matters to discuss.”

Thickly muscled fists that look more like hamhocks than proper hands spread wide.
“So. A first lesson: One never knows when the strange artifact or irregular person they stumble upon is going to be the next vein of gold to be fought over - hence why prudent disclosure is king. So it is in the name of avoiding such outcomes as these, that I say ‘do not hold such cards to your chest’. There are many situations where such… sensitive information can merit utmost silence - but when you are amongst allies is not one of those times. Do away with such concerns, and speak plainly: there is much to be discussed. Tell me what you know, so that cracks may be filled and answers, perhaps, had from questions.”

In case his words didn't make it clear, it seems the man wants to have this out here and now, rather than fuss over finding a special room.

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

"I do," Naomi said to the man in the suit. "I--I'm a long way from home."

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Daiki says, "I won't pry about your reasons for leaving, but I am curious about your motives for picking the Soga family instead of arranging a position with a group more accustomed to night people. There are many, and they are not hard to find if you follow the right leads; I know your homeland is practically lousy with would-be giant slayers and recruiters for the mortal realm."

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

"I--" Naomi started, but caught herself while trying not to let too much of her bewilderment show. Mortal realm? Giant slayers? If anything, home was the realm of death, with pollution choking the cities--the air in Chukyo wasn't breathed so much as it was chewed--and great dead zones appearing in the waters, empty of life. Was this related to the survival of ancient religion in this Japan? She leaned toward the suited man and whispered. "Where, exactly, do you think I'm from?"

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

The yakuza keeps his face impassive as Naomi leans in. He says, "I assumed you were from one of the established giant clans, somewhere beyond the Brob Din Grag. But I see I made a mistake. You were once a normal woman then?"

He seems utterly serious about this.

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Naomi pursed her lips for a moment. Giant clans... Lord God, what kind of world is this?

"Yes," she said with a sigh. "I was normal once."

It was the truth, after all.

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Daiki glances at Gekido, and then asks Naomi, "How long has it been since you were changed? What were you doing before it happened?"

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

"I was living the life of an ordinary person," Naomi said. "I'd rather not talk about it."

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Some Guy Called 'Gekido' - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

A bug-eyed face with puffy cheeks clouding a stern jaw purse in distaste.

“Are you so blind to the gravity of context as that?”

A thick arm waves at the enclosing room, at Baki and the Priest inspecting people and the rest of it.

“Do you think this an idle social gathering, to dally over this or that topic of interest at one’s whim?”

He frowns as he makes a half-aborted gesture towards his face, his nose scrunching up as a hand slides into his jacket, metal clinks issuing forth.

“If you choose to say nothing, we will have to draw conclusions based on his insights,” He says with another gesture towards the less stern looking man between him and Baki, “And our backgrounds make us both well versed and well used to seeing the treachery and trap in things. All secrets have value. But do you value yours above the risk of your curse having other unknown effects? Because that is what can happen if you insist on being uncooperative. Now once again - how long ago, and what were the circumstances of this 'change'?”

TheBeardiestBob fucked around with this message at Oct 16, 2014 around 05:24

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

It never changed--this Japan was so different, but people were always the same. For a moment, Naomi entertained the notion of showing the man why it might not be wise to piss her off, but it was an entertainment that would end only badly. As long as she was stuck here, as long as these yakuza decided whether her life was pleasant or brutal, it was best to give them what she could.

As much as she could that they would believe, at least.

"It was a sculpture at an exhibition," she said. "At least they told me it was an exhibition. A few months ago, here in Japan. Maybe it was made by one of those 'established giant clans' of yours. I'd recognize it if I saw it but I've never seen anything like it before and I don't imagine I'm likely to again."

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Some Guy Called 'Gekido' - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

This time there's no mistaking it - he of the crinkled in consternation chin strokes at the air before his face as if numbling something invisible.

"Hm. A sculpture... A description of it would be useful, as there's hardly a shortage of magically active artwork. Beyond its general height, color and presumed material, any stand out features or irregularities would be useful. It would... at best be useless, if one mistakenly confirmed the wrong statue and thereafter an equally wrong 'solution'. Precise clarity now will prevent mistakes down the line - and that point is all that should matter here."

He absently reaches for his coat pocket before stopping, a hint of glumness creeping into his eyes as he glares at the other priest.

"Similarly," Gekido lowly barks out while turning back to Naomi, "I will require more specificity about this 'exhibition. That is, where it happened - if you do not know street names then landmarks, parts of the path you know - whatever you can provide."

He rolls his jaw like a man working over a mighty mouthful of dip before continuing.

"Lastly, this 'they' you say told you about it - I assume they brought you there in addition to proffering the idea? What do you know about them? If your current situation came about because of an item at an event and you can provide... a bit more detail, then I see no reason this can't be resolved to both our satisfaction in relatively short order."

"So," Gekido opines after a pause long enough to let you think, "Tell me more about this Exhibition you believe brought about your current abilities."




Does the as of yet vague mention of ‘a strange maybe-not exhibition with a magical statue that induces size-associated change a couple months ago’ ring any bells? Current Affairs (Tokyo)-11

Do I know of any things that immediately jump out at me as likely suspects for what did this to Naomi? Hidden Lore (Demon Lore)-10, Hidden Lore (Spirit Lore)-11, Hidden Lore (Youkai)-12

How much of this is news to Noboru? Perception-11

Did that Taka Jo guy seem to get the message at the beginning, or does he look like that wooshed? Teaching-14

BuBuBear
May 9, 2009


Taka Jō - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Taka's grimace had only deepened over the course of this conversation.
First off, this brutish priest seemed to think he was trying to avoid blame rather than seeking to move things along. He'd been a moment away from pointing this out when Noboru spoke up.

He caught the reprimand for what it was, bowed as the Soga bowed, and remained silent as the exchange continued.
It was childish, but he didn't want to bow to this man, to show him any respect at all.

Instead of speaking his mind and earning more of Noboru's displeasure, Taka simply exhaled and went through the initial steps of preparing his mind for meditation. Slowly, yet surely his anger diminished and ....Giant clans?

From that point on Taka focused all his attention, sharp as it was, at the discussion. He drank in everything they were saying and absorbed the knowledge that there were apparently more like Naomi out there, and they had art exhibitions.

This was difficult to believe, and if he'd not seen Naomi transform with his own eyes and examined her with his own hands, he might not have even considered it at all.
Taka frown deepened even further.


Detect Lies - 17
Empathy to get a feel for Gekido and Baki - IQ 13

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Daiki nods and says, "You look like you are still in good health. If it were a poorly made curse you would have health complaints and possibly would have already died. That you are here, and healthy enough to work, and can control your power, means the power has integrated with you well. Perhaps not without future complication, but well enough to be worrying."

After Gekido has asked his questions, Daiki adds, "Tracking down and securing dangerous items is something we do, in cooperation with other groups who also do not want to see magic items hurt normal people."

As the shinto priest, Nemoto, finishes up with Noboru he quietly asks him, "Mr. Soga, are you an earnest follower of a western religion?"

For Gekido:
Gekido recalls hearing of a couple of special exhibits in December, and one in March. They wouldn't have been open to the general public, and didn't (as far as he can recall) have any art that would have granted someone size-changing powers. As it has been "a few months" since the event, doing research might bear fruit once you have some details to pursue.

As to the Hidden Lore results: Magic violins, malicious paintings, Egyptian funerary statuettes, and other things can act as a vector for a curse or possession. Usually such things have a clear origin with a divine or demonic creator who then lost control of the item to a thief, or simply gave it away to cause someone else grief. Such cursed artifacts rarely grant outright transformations like what Naomi reportedly has, though.

Other beings of power can, and do, build weird artifacts and grant mortals powers for inscrutable reasons. People being turned into giants in particular is rare. Most giants would be displeased by someone bestowing powers like that on random mortals, and few people who could make something like that would go out of their way to ignite a feud with all the giants.

In summary: it's possible, but it'd be a rare thing indeed.


Gekido can't tell if Noboru's hearing this for the first time or not. It doesn't help that the priest is doing a ritual on him at the moment.

Even if Taka didn't initially want to play the part of student, it seems he's willing to pay attention for now.


For Taka Jō:
Taka Jō has the feeling that Daiki's the guy in control in this room, and he knows it. Taka's got a hunch that Daiki is actually testing Gekido as much as he's here to evaluate Naomi and the other issues Noboru has brought to him. Gekido seems genuine in his abuse. That is, he's not being abusive for the sake of being abusive, he's trying to be a "tough coach" type of teacher to people he thinks need that approach. And it's very clear he thinks he is here to instruct.

As far as Taka can tell, everyone seems to be truthful.

PythagoreanCup
Jul 31, 2013

Widely regarded as a bad move.


Noboru Soga
Gekido continues his slights, not bowing in turn nor makes any apologies for his inappropriate tone. Noboru holds his tongue yet still, he had come to this meeting expecting colleagues. Daiki has done nothing to curtail his impudent associate. The mystical shine and expectations he had built up have lost their luster, it seems even they do not know the cause for Naomi's abilities, let alone where she came from. He curses himself internally for not having interviewed her himself, both he and the giant are not prepared for this encounter.

They speak of realms beyond our own, clans of giants and giant-slayers, those who would contract such beings to work in this world, cursed objects, and transformation. The stuff of children's books being discussed with grave faces by tough men in black suits, it'd be laughable from the outside. Noboru files away the details, the names and places for discussion with Daiki later on tonight.

Noboru ignores the brute's pleas to discuss matters of private intelligence out in the open. The man's attention seems to drift quickly, forgetting the matter entirely as he moved on to berate Noboru's subordinates. Whatever magic may exist in this world if he knows anything it is information and security of it. The best way to keep something controlled is to limit those who have access to it. He exhales deeply as the priest takes him to the side for the ritual.

Noboru responds to the priest quietly, whispering "Yes, I am a Catholic. Is that a problem?"

Always watching, always absorbing Noboru follows the priest's ritual. He makes careful note of what the man is doing and saying, whether or not he does things differently between people. Perception 15
Noboru listens to every word being spoken, does Naomi speak the truth? Do Gekido and Daiki earnest believe everything they say? Detect Lies 15

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Noboru pays close attention to the ritual- the strange morphemes and archaic words the priest chants, the elaborate way he glides around his subject, the precise and measured movements of his paper-strung staff, and even the way that the priest is facing for each part of the ceremony. He'd be hard pressed to recall the exact words to the chant, but there should be a few more opportunities to see it tonight.

The priest quietly says to Noboru, "Someone has blessed you in a manner favored by the western religions. Since you are Catholic, there is no problem. It is not unexpected for the faithful to be blessed."

The Shinto priest then says, much more loudly, "Mr. Soga is clear; your turn now," and he beckons to Ichiro.

As far as Noboru can tell, Gekido and Daiki seem to believe what they're saying.

Ekkerates
Sep 26, 2013


Ichiro
Ichiro bows slightly and then steps forward to be examined.
"I don't really see the purpose of examining me, honored priest, but please continue."
He inhales deeply the scents of the temple. He can barely recall the last time he saw a shinto priest up close. Ichiro's father had been very faithful and taken him to their local temple often in his youth, but Ichiro hadn't inherited the faith, it was all too esoteric for him. He'd gone to all the festivals of course, but that was just expected of you.

Perception 10 + (acute smell +3)= 13

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

The smell of incense, burned less than an hour ago, clings to the Shinto priest and the room in general. Ichiro inhales, letting the aroma of the temple tickle his memory. It's a little different from the incense he remembers from visits to other temples; there's a sweeter smell to it, a richness of overtones that is similar but more interesting than what he had encountered before.

There are other smells too, but they likely came with the other occupants in the room. Someone probably ate fried white fish recently, and there's also the smell of peanut butter.

The priest proceeds repeating the ritual on Ichiro, the motions the same as what he did previously for Minobe and Noboru. He spends a couple of minutes of chanting syllables that seem like very old words or nonsense, making very precise and measured movements that are almost like a dance, and finally finishes.

The priest quietly says to Ichiro, "I believe there's no problem. That ring of yours, I recognize the make- it shouldn't be an issue, but don't use it on these grounds please."

Ekkerates
Sep 26, 2013


Ichiro
"Excuse me, honored one. But what do you mean by that? This ring was a gift from my father and his father before him. It's just an heirloom, it has emotional value and nothing more." Ichiro says and raises his left hand, glancing at the silver and shibuichi ring, Completely unaware of it's true history or power.
He remembers his father once mentioning something about a samurai ancestor and the ring, when he was much younger, but only the faintest tones of his fathers story stay in his mind. Father's stories had never interested him much as a child, they lacked all the fanciful elements the catch the minds of children.

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Nemoto doesn't seem too surprised. "Ah, is that so? I have seen two other rings of that kind before; they are potent, and bear the same spiritual signature as yours." He quickly adds, as if in response to an inevitable question, "The two I've seen can perform remote manipulation of items: telekinesis. We can discuss this later, or you may ask Mr. Yamada or his associate."

He announces, "Mr. Tanaka is clear," and then beckons to Taka Jō, "Your turn, sir."

Ekkerates
Sep 26, 2013


Ichiro
telekinesis? Ichiro could hardly believe it. Usually he wouldn't, but the growing girl, which he had barely acknowledged in his mind, and the sudden and mysterious death of Katashi were forcing him reconsider his comfortable little world.
But if what Nemoto said was really true, then this heirloom which he rarely thought of consciously could prove to be a real asset.
"Of course, I shall learn more of this later." Says Ichiro and returns to his position just behind Noboru.

BuBuBear
May 9, 2009


Taka Jō - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Taka rises as his name is called, glancing briefly between Daki and Gekido. There was something going on there he wasn't fully aware of, and he found himself curious despite the voice in the back of his head saying there was nothing good to come from getting deeper into whatever it was.

He sighs and makes his way over to the priest, bowing slightly when he arrives.
"Apologies for earlier Gūji-san. I simply wished to speed the proceedings along"

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

The priest bows back politely, and says, "You didn't know, so it's fine. Forget about it."

He wipes his brow and starts performing the same ritual on Taka. Those of you who are paying attention are certain the motions and words are the same as before. The only difference is that the priest is visibly starting to look tired from all the activity. That's a bit odd since the dancing isn't particularly strenuous and the man isn't out of shape in the least.

As the priest repeats the ritual on Taka, Noboru's phone buzzes in his pocket. He's received a text. At the same time, Minobe reaches for his own breast pocket, where he keeps his phone. He then pauses, thinking twice about pulling the phone out in the middle of this meeting.

When the ritual is done, the priest announces, "This young man is clear, who is next? You, then?" and he beckons to Naomi.

Noboru, and only if he decides to check his message: It's from Saito, explaining that he can't finish his assignment tonight and possibly in the future, since his sister has gone missing and he's looking for her himself.

Cardinal Ximenez I don't know what you're doing, so your character gets to be an NPC for now.

BuBuBear
May 9, 2009


Taka Jō - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Taka nods and heads back to his seat. Yes, of course he was clear, he'd expected as much.
Now at least, he'd get to see what the old man thought of Naomi, to this, he would pay special attention.

GTD Aquitaine
Jul 28, 2004



Naomi Aoshima - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

"Of course," Naomi said. She bowed once she made her way to the priest, and followed the way the others had conducted themselves as best as she could--with this ancient religion, how many traps were there for her to fall into? Best to just stay quiet and try to muddle through. At least she wouldn't be interrogated about what "giant clan" she came from--hopefully.

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Some Guy Called 'Gekido' - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

An aggravated looking face twists into a far more displeased look than it's norm as Gekido's words... fall on uncaring, unresponsive ears.

People shuffle and are tested by the monk, words are exchanged and Naomi says nothing, not even a request for time to think.

His nose turning towards Noburo like a guided missile, words a touch louder than necessary are shared with the young man.

"Did you know that disrespect and general impertinence are the leading cause of death for most interacting with the hidden world? It can get quite vicious - to the point that even a group with guns and ill intent can become smears on a wall for a few words misspoke... or omitted."

He turns his gaze to the woman sitting before the monk, still speaking.

"Is that woman one of your subordinates? Do you let them all be that rude to people trying to help them, or just the ones seeking answers? If so, it is a marvel you have gotten any results at all."

PythagoreanCup
Jul 31, 2013

Widely regarded as a bad move.


Noboru Soga

As the barbarian screams his displeasure Noboru's face turns to stone, his eyes staring into Gekido's as if to bore holes into his skull. Noboru imagines he would be hard pressed to find anything of worth inside. This...this is too much. Surely, this has to be a test. The hypocrisy of it, it borders on absurd. The air has been fouled, Gekido clearly intends to have it out now and he will get it.

"She is. In exchange for her safety, in exchange for her secrecy, she has engaged in a pact with the Soga and I am her keeper. Her silence is my silence. From the moment we arrived you have done nothing but cast a miasma over this meeting. You will listen to me now. You have threatened me and my own. Thinly disguised threats are not conduct I expect from allies of my clan. This. Is. Unacceptable. I will not sit by and let YOU lecture me on respect. You have shown us none. Every opportunity you gotten, you would spite us, even refusing to bow in turn. You would play the teacher, but this subject is one in which you woefully require instruction." His voice is confident and assertive, this is not the tone of apologies and requests.

"It is as if you are here to sabotage this meeting. Your own associates have been nothing but courteous and yet you seem intent on ruining the relationship between our two clans. We need no more of this, time is of the essence, our enemies are prepared to strike at us with foul magic unknown to myself and you draw this meeting into chaos. I simply do not have the time to tolerate hindrances, at any moment I could be struck dead just as my dear friend was. Naomi is occupied at the moment, when she returns to us, you may ask your question again. You will ask it politely or not at all. This meeting will proceed as it should."

Noboru takes a breath, letting the scene pause "Daiki, my subordinates will receive due punishment for their lapses tonight." he speaks, just so, the implication of 'and I hope yours are as well' hanging in the air.

Public Speaking - 12

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Yamada looks at Gekido and says in an aside, "They may better understand your position and words if you let them see your proper form. You have them thinking you are a man, and they expect courtesies from their own kind which are easy to forget when one has nothing to do with civilization for a long time."

The Yakuza then bows to Noboru in apology. It is not the sort of overly deep bow that would leave a normal person embarrassed by being bowed to like that, but the sincerity of the gesture is clearly real. He says, "I am sorry for the confusion and misunderstandings. I must take responsibility for my associate; the fault was mine in not briefing him properly in how expectations have changed since he was last involved in city life."

He straightens, and then says, "What he has said is true. Some beings are very easy to offend. Sometimes standing up to them and shaming them into acting the way you want works. Sometimes it starts a fight or worse, a feud. If his other words seemed fraught with danger and threat, it is because the Hidden World itself is that sort of place. Life is cheap, and humans enjoy a position of protection from the night people only so long as they are ignorant of this side of life."

"It is the Yamada family's privilege and duty to help other Yamaguchi syndicate members either maintain that ignorance, or learn enough to be able to survive if it's too late. You all are past the point where ignorance is easy to recover, and I think you, Noboru Soga, personally would not want it since it would mean denying your revenge."

Meanwhile, the Shinto priest has finished his ritual dance around Naomi. He clears his throat and says, "If I may interrupt? The young lady's magic is tightly integrated into her and is of a format I have no experience with. But I can say she seems clear. So far as I can tell: no spy spells, no tracking spells. What the rest of the spell matrix bound her does is another matter. There may be surprises."

As Gekido has his say, the priest motions to Melissa and says, "Your turn, miss."

After the foreign woman steps forward he starts his ritual, and then stops mid-step. He stumbles, a grimace passing over his face. He wipes beads of sweat from his forehead and says, "I can't do anything with her. She has a powerful magic seal on her- placed by a Kigen, or something with that kind of power and ability. But that seal would keep a spy's spell from working on her too- so I can say she's clear. I just can't do anything else."

He's looking at Melissa with an expression that's equal parts wary caution and curiosity.

Noboru's appeal to Baki was a good one, and Baki responded to it well.

One of Melissa's hidden advantages has been revealed: AmyL, please add "Magic Resistance 20 [40]" to your sheet and lower the value of your Secret Advantages to [30].

John_A_Tallon fucked around with this message at Nov 26, 2014 around 01:51

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Some Tengu Called 'Gekido' - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

A mouth that has remained grumpy the entire meeting yawns wide at Baki’s words - and a tiny crab waving iridescent claws scuttles out of the gaping chasm. The motion ripples out beyond the lips, and where it passes flesh warps. Flesh bulges and darkens, heavy lines and ropy definition making him look like a living piece of Ukiyo-e writ in florid red. Hair recedes, a knobbly dome of a head topped by a tiny hexagonal hat that seems almost glued in place. Eyebrows, already quite fierce grow wilder and bushier, like the violent brushstrokes of an enraged artist. Most telling of all is the way Gekido’s nose pushes out of his face by at least a foot, its length visibly pulsing with veins that seem too close to the surface.

There’s also a thin set of lines (a tattoo, possibly) along the length of the tengu’s nose, though what they depict is a bit difficult to make out without staring.

The crab that just crawled free jumps back into the man’s - no, the Tengu’s mouth just as he begins to speak - yet somehow, there is no crunching despite the impossibility of the fit.

He says to Noboru with the same standoffish tone he’s exercised all meeting, “I tell you this now, young sir,” and here he is using an older term for the son of a rich family, “regardless of what your heart says, regardless of what you may be used to or feel is just, the simple and stark fact is that it is far wiser to swallow your resentment, your rebuke and your dislike and put on a compliantly genial facade. It will be rare indeed for those you would consider my kind to let such a comment pass without demanding you back it with strength or suffer for the remark. Brutal, primal - you can disparage such a method as you wish, but the point is that is how the Hidden World is.”

He shakes his head, nose slightly wobbling at the motion.

“This is why I pushed you, and will continue to push you: if you cannot tolerate me, it is better to learn it now than see your choices end not only your own life, but harm the family you owe allegiance to. It is a test of how well you’ll be able to shoulder the social burden that seems inevitable for your future - and it is a test that you should put more of yourself into: it is no idle thing.”

A hand with knuckles like scarred walnuts clenches, and it sounds like boulders rumbling as Gekido is rewarded with a staccato of pops. He scowls at his own fist.

“I have properly educated some thirty students in the school of Taihojutsu and inducted them into the Hidden World. Of those, a third have exceeded expectations for mortals in the Hidden World and were able to enjoy what many would call a fulfilling life in a world far more dangerous than the one they first knew. The others survived for a satisfactory period without having to resort to hiding within their homes in fear of the Hidden World. I cannot tell you that what I teach is enjoyable, but it is necessary because of how much more danger you will be in on a day to day basis by simple dint of what you now know and interact with. This realm you already entered and now learn of is not a kind one - but I can teach you how to weather that.”
He snorts as he eyes Noboru up and down.
“Unless you possess a passion and drive to the contrary, you would not need to learn the martial art, only the ways of the Hidden World.”

He sits back, crossing his arms above a paunch that almost seems larger than before.

“Do you understand, or are you still so attached to expressing your sensibilities rather than blending in as appropriate for the message to be cl-”
And then he overhears the priest mention the word ‘Kigen’ in his report to Yamada - and promptly jumps nearly a meter to the side, in a defensive crouch with his hands thrown up like the straight man in a television comedy act.
Nuoh, the work of re…”
Visibly remembering his company, the Tengu resumes his earlier posture, bowing his head in apology for the outburst even as he continues.
“Well, it’s somewhere to start, but a Kigen… hm.”
Quietly muttering under his breath, the Tengu adopts the fierce expression of a man working on a difficult puzzle, and says nothing more.

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

After the priest makes his announcement Yamada has a pained expression, like he has a headache, and openly rubs his temples. "Minobe, where did you find her?"

Minobe is quick to take it as literal prompt to answer, and says, "I met her in the bar by the Pachinko parlor; she complained about trouble finding work and we had some jobs she could do- fixed sport shows and other work from friendly entertainment agencies."

Ichiro and Taka both caught a subtlety in Gekido's word choice: When he called Noboru a "young sir" he used a form that is best used for younger children, not adult children of a well-to-do family. Because the word was so old, it would be easy to miss the full meaning of how he phrased it.

BuBuBear
May 9, 2009


Taka Jō - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Taka rapidly glances between Gekido and Noboru as Noboru says his piece, preparing himself to act if he needed to.

There didn't seem to be many things to take cover behind, but the door was close by, perhaps they could simply escape. If worst came to worst however he did have a trick up his sleeve

So taken up with considering possible options is he that he almost misses the Priest's announcements.
'So he doesn't know anything either then' he dimly notes

His brain stalls then, as the man known as gekido yawns wide, far too wide and his face contorts in an inhuman manner.
Countless possibilities flash through Taka's mind, but all fail to take hold in his consciousness.
The face continues to warp and Taka's mind races for anything to grasp on to, to make sense of what he's seeing.
There, the tattoo.
He focuses on the only familiar thing like a drowning man and his mind begins to piece together what happened, now that his consciousness is no longer addled by confusion.

The form was unmistakeable, a real live Tengu.
Something from stories and tales. Did this mean that the multitude of Kami were also real? Nurarihyon's hundred Yokai parade? The ghost in the bathroom across the football field?

He is snapped out of his thoughts as the Tengu moves with martial grace, and a small voice in his mind informs him of what happened while he was zoned out.

He tries to speak, tries to comment on Gekido's hidden insult, Melissa san's strange nature, the possibility that he was in a coma and dreaming all of this, but he is only able to utter

"Why don't you have wings?"


Artist (Body Art) 12
Observation 15

BuBuBear fucked around with this message at Nov 26, 2014 around 22:49

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


BuBuBear posted:

"Why don't you have wings?"
Tengu Called 'Gekido - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

There's no discernible change in Gekido's reproving expression as he turns to look at the boggling Taka.

"Why don't you have marketable deformities?"

TheBeardiestBob fucked around with this message at Nov 26, 2014 around 23:42

BuBuBear
May 9, 2009


Taka Jō - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Taka blinks slowly, processing the exchange.
'Crap I said that out loud'

"Ah, I apologize for my outburst, and any offense caused. I- uh, just didn't expect that"

TheBeardiestBob
Aug 3, 2013


Tengu Called 'Gekido - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

It could be a trick of the light, but as the bald headed maroon figure that is Gekido nods his grumpy disposition seems to soften.

"An inevitability to hammer into your mind and make a precept of your ongoing life. The variety of forms, resources and dispositions you can run into from here on are endless, and hoping to one day be prepared and informed on ALL of them is... unlikely within a mortal lifespan. If you cannot master your ability to be surprised into errant outbursts, it is quite likely that it will one day be your end. Saying the wrong thing to the wrong being can be all it takes to have one's life snuffed out if they aren't strong enough to resist the rebuke. Another benefit, to the approach I intend to teach you of vigilant geniality and enduring silence - it will do much to improve your chances of survival."

The Tengu's eyes stay focused on Taka, but all the same he still seems to feel quite attentive to Naomi and Noburo alike.

John_A_Tallon
Nov 22, 2000

Oh my! Check out that mitre!


Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

Even as Taka goggles at the yōkai before him, the part of him that's an artist first takes note of the line art on Gekido's nose. It's a skillfully done minimalist piece: a pair of curving lines filled in by just enough semi-circles to trick the eye into recognizing them as scales, and a few dots and lines to suggest a carp's face and fins. It's one of those things that's hard to unsee. The tattoo makes the whole nose look like a ruddy goldfish, wiggling as the tengu's head moves.

Gekido does not notice Taka paying extra attention to his nose; the human is acting like any yokel would when seeing an illusion dispelled for the first time.

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BuBuBear
May 9, 2009


Taka Jō - Shinto Shrine to the Raihōshin

This...definitely wasn't expected. The advice was sound, and the intent was to aid, even if it did come from the Gruff Gekido.
Taka's mind replayed the nights events in an instant and he found himself starting to wonder if maybe the problems were due to Gekido not being human himself
...Maybe he wasn't such a bad guy

Taka nods solemnly in acknowledgement of the Tengu's words.
At the very least, he'd give him a chance to prove it.

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